Atavismo Stream Debut Album Desintegración in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

atavismo

There’s a reason I asked Atavismo if I could stream their debut full-length, Desintegración, instead of just reviewing it, and it’s because I think hearing the songs themselves does the record the most justice. Released by the band in cooperation with Odio Sonoro and a host of others, Desintegración is comprised of just four tracks, but holds a world of lush and spacious heavy psychedelia within them, alternately folkish and expansive, minimal and encompassing. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve heard any of the trio’s past work in bands like the spaced-out Mind! or Viaje a 800 — who, sadly defunct, remain among heavy rock’s most criminally overlooked acts — so much as it matters that you’re willing to loan a piece of your psyche to “Blazava,” “Kraken,” “Oceanica” and “Meeh,” and engage the 37 minutes of Atavismo‘s debut on their own level. Among first releases I’ve heard this year, Desintegración is an immediate standout for its complexity, sense of arrangement and for Atavismo‘s ability to hold the material together and create an overarching flow between songs that each boast their own personality.

Witness the Yawning Man-style guitar tone that emerges from the initial synth sprawl of opener “Blazava.” Desintegración takes a minute to unfold, but it’s worth it. Over the course of the 11:31 opening and longest cut on the album (immediate points), guitarist/synthworker Poti, drummer Sandra and bassist Matt loose a ranging instrumental build of dreamy but earthbound heavy psych jamming, making their way across hypnotic tones and masterful breadth as they go, driving as much as they’re meandering toward a lead-topped culmination the underlying rhythmic layer of which is no less a highlight, gracefully executed and in no way giving into the temptation to blast out in terms of pace and upset the careful balance they’ve been able to set. One could trace the acoustic/electric strums to The Who or a host of others from the classic rock pantheon, but immediately, the song and the album belong to Atavismo, and the swirl that ensues on “Kraken” only affirms the hold they have on their approach.

atavismo desintegracionThough the fact that it’s named for a seabeast might lead one to think “Kraken,” the shortest piece here at 6:47, is that explosive moment, and its second half gets fairly raucous, but with a careful Floydian blissout of Mellotron-style keys and acoustics, the beginning half is actually the most soothing moment on Desintegración, and remains so even after the arrival of the album’s first vocals. Classic psychedelic pop, backed by swirl and airy tones, plays out over “Kraken”‘s course, until just before four minutes in, more foreboding, weighted guitar begins a quicker progression that builds into fuzzy lead and the instrumental jam that serves as the track’s still wildly psychedelic apex. Heavier riffing from Poti and a wash of crash from Sandra push “Kraken” to its peak, leading to the similarly minded but more subtle execution of “Oceanica,” which starts out on an even more reserved, otherworldly plane and executes its linearity so smoothly that, unless one were to jump from an early moment to a later one, it would be easy to be entirely lost within the track’s unfurling. Dual vocals come across gorgeously melodic atop light effects and keys and guitar strumming, Matt entering easily on bass and Sandra periodically donating a cymbal wash to the atmospheric cause.

It’s not until after five minutes in that the build really shows itself, the progressive interlude and following verse leading to an uptick around 4:30 that continues to a glorious takeoff almost exactly at the five-minute mark that still doesn’t separate itself from the peaceful vibe preceding but pushes forward into heavier riffing and near-stomp only to recede and end “Oceanica” with a return to the softer psychedelics of its beginning, in turn shifting into “Meeh,” a longer track bookending the album with “Blazava” that is based around the most singularly memorable guitar line on Desintegración. Again, Yawning Man is a point of reference, but there’s a tension even in first, wide open verse — the drums more forward, the bass tighter — that lets you know the payoff will be considerable. And so it is. A mostly instrumental course is led by the guitar into still-patient tradeoffs that ultimately round out “Meeh” with the record’s heaviest stretch, feedback passing the 7:30 mark to dip back into a couple lines before the final thrust begins. Atavismo cross 10 minutes with some vague sense of ritual in the guitar, but it’s still a relatively quick, efficient cap put on Desintegración, leading one to wonder how far the three-piece will push out the next time out.

I’m thrilled to be able to host the stream of Desintegración with permission from Atavismo. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and get to know the album. It’s one I have the feeling I’m going to be talking about here for a while.

Please enjoy:

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Atavismo‘s Desintegración is available now. More info at the links.

Atavismo on Thee Facebooks

Atavismo on Bandcamp

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It’s Casual Premiere “Their Own Cash” from The New Los Angeles II

Posted in audiObelisk on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

it's casual

If you’ve got just a minute of your time to give, It’s Casual would like to punch you in the face. The L.A.-based one-man outfit helmed by vocalist/guitarist/bassist/drummer Eddie Solis will release their new album, The New Los Angeles II, on Dec. 16 through Stoked Records. As the title hints, it’s a sequel to 2007’s The New Los Angeles, and even opens with a couple seconds fading out the drum progression of that record’s closer, “EZ Pass.” From there, however, The New Los Angeles II is a different beast, likewise pointed in its social commentary — Solis is vehement in his support for public transit — but turning his attention on real budget issues in Los Angeles. He’s the kind of guy who will run for mayor one day who will make more sense than everyone else and get the least airtime.

To wit, songs like “Less Violence, More Violins,” “Keep the Children Occupied,” “Sharing is Not Caring” and “Their Own Cash” point out the madness of not funding public education — the latter’s only lyrics, “Teachers use it's casual the new los angeles iitheir own cash to buy stuff for their class,” are repeated in the Black Flag tradition of emphasizing absurdity through insistence — where “TAP Card,” “WIC” and “California is Not an ATM Machine” take on economic issues via real-world concerns, all the while pummeling a blend of heavy punk and thrash, Solis‘ growl pushing out minimalist lines that leave a maximum impression. The album as a whole is 27 minutes long, and about nine of those are devoted to the instrumental noise rocker “The Gap is Widening,” which leads the way into closer “Kids Having Kids,” so It’s Casual never take too long in making a point, every other track (including the closer, though that also makes room for a hidden bonus cut) under two minutes. The word of the day is “immediacy,” and It’s Casual are well familiar with it.

The New Los Angeles II is It’s Casual‘s fourth full-length, behind a 2009 split 7″ with Bullet Treatment, the first installment, 2004’s Stop Listening to Bad Music and 2002’s Buicregl, and it finds Solis — who also hosts the Los Angeles Nista talk show on AM radio — in his element musically and in terms of the commentary at hand. “Their Own Cash,” likewise true and infuriating, serves as a prime example of the record’s attitude and call to arms, and I’m happy to be able to host the streaming premiere today of it, as well as the Q&A with Solis that follows the player below.

Please enjoy:

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eddie solis

Q&A with Eddie Solis of It’s Casual

On “Their Own Cash”:

It’s really a POSITIVE track. I am trying to bring to light that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other school districts are suffering from lack of resources. And that causes a trickle-down effect, for instance the music and art programs are cut and that leads to a challenge to keep the kids occupied. However what about the teachers’ perspective? What about their challenges? I have lots of friends and family that are teachers. They are already challenged with a modest salary but what about the ones that use “THEIR OWN CASH” for supplies? The song is a cry for help. It’s a testimony to the teachers who care and it’s also a cry for help. A topic that should be brought to light and should also be targeted and remedied. The lyrics: “Teachers use their own cash, to buy stuff for their class.”

Why The New Los Angeles II seven years after the original?

Seven years later because our album cycle didn’t really start till 2012. The record wasn’t properly distributed worldwide, toured and written about in the press till 2012.

Is the album a statement on sequel culture?

Yes, it is a statement on sequel culture. The New Los Angeles I was about being car-free, and celebrating the rich Los Angeles history through the eyes of a bus rider. However, The New Los Angeles II goes deeper. The New Los Angeles I was about history, culture, geography. Also a car-free lifestyle in a car culture. This The New Los Angeles II is about reporting on what I’m seeing on the buses and subway system. The people that are sitting right next to me. I’m talking about challenges people are facing. The positivity and the negativity, the yin and yang.

Any chance we could get a prequel at some point, something like The Old Los Angeles?

Yes, very possible. It’s realistic because there is a type of person that has been spawned from Los Angeles that is destructive and stunted and I want shed light on the sociology aspect of where this all comes from. Pre-MTA public transportation, L.A. life.

At what point did you know it would be The New Los Angeles II instead of some other title?

I was conscious. The New Los Angeles I inspired me. It was due to the fact that I was so inspired by all the press, shows and the music video that Rick Kosick of Jackass did for “The Redline.” It spawned my radio show Los Angeles Nista which started on internet-only but is now on AM talk radio as well in three major markets: Orange County (1510AM), Inland Empire (1510AM) and San Diego (1450AM). So when I wrote part two, it was about the same thread of commonality but going deeper into the neighborhoods and connecting with people.

Why the long break between albums?

The album cycle to the previous record started in 2012 so it was necessary.

When did the songs start to come together?

June 2012 was the pre-production date. And we tracked mixed and mastered in Aug. 2012, but the tracks started coming together during early 2012. The inspiration and juice came from The New Los Angeles I album cycle in 2012.

What was the recording like in comparison to the original The New Los Angeles?

Very similar. In fact the beginning of The New Los Angeles II starts out the way part one ends. The comparison and common thread is that it is completely is all about Los Angeles and is inspired by being car-free and green.

It’s Casual on Thee Facebooks

It’s Casual’s website

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Jakob Skøtt, Sleeping Pulse, Palm Desert, High Fighter and Sans Soleil

Posted in Radio on November 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

Managing to do rounds of adds to The Obelisk Radio two weeks in a row? Why, that’s almost too much on-it to bear. I’ll try really hard to contain my self-satisfaction. Okay no I won’t.

A pretty diverse bunch of records joining the playlist today. There are 11 total that went up, and in addition to correcting the oversight of not having put up YOB‘s Clearing the Path to Ascend yet (infinite apologies), there are also new ones from Lord Dying and PrimordialIt’s Casual and the recently-reviewed Elephant Tree. Also the Atavismo that I put up the info for the other day and which will be reviewed at some point soon, and five records I thought it would be worth highlighting out of the bunch. Some of these artists I’m sure you know, one or two maybe not, but again, it’s a fairly wide stylistic berth and that’s just the way I like it best.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Nov. 14, 2014:

Jakob Skøtt, Taurus Rising

jakob skott taurus rising
His third solo album, Taurus Rising is also the second of the year for Copenhagen-based Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt. Released through El Paraiso Records, it continues in the vein of earlier 2014’s Amor Fati in pursuing more of a full-band vibe, but strips that down somewhat to incorporate just synth and live drums. The result across Taurus Rising‘s five tracks is an unremitting progressivism, showcasing Skøtt‘s allegiance to krautrock in songs like opener “Escape from the Keep” while the centerpiece “Pleiades” has a little more of a psychedelic swirl. Keyboards arrive in multiple layers throughout, filling out the mix, and Taurus Rising becomes all the more impressive when one considers that Skøtt is essentially jamming with himself. He does so with a strong sense of evoking varied atmosphere from the tracks, the closing duo of “Bucket Brigades” (10:13) and “Taurus Ascendant” (7:59) pushing deep into spaced-out dynamics and, in the case of the latter, providing the album with its fullest wash and most satisfying linear build. Whether or not Skøtt intends to keep up this pace of releases, I don’t know — no reason not to so long as he’s inspired; it’s his playing, recording and label — but the prog-jazz sensibility of Taurus Rising seems ripe for further development. Jakob Skøtt on Thee Facebooks, El Paraiso Records.

Sleeping Pulse, Under the Same Sky

sleeping pulse unde the same sky

Sleeping Pulse are not yet fully through “Parasite,” the opening track on their Prophecy Productions debut, Under the Same Sky, before Mick Moss lets loose the full emotional juggernaut of his vocal delivery. The duo is a collaboration between Moss, best known as the frontman and founder of Antimatter, and Portugal-based guitarist Luís Fazendeiro of Painted Black, who wrote the music. At 10 songs and 55 minutes, Under the Same Sky is tied together both through Moss‘ voice and a persistent airiness that, were it not so cleanly presented, I’d almost be tempted to call post-rock. It is darkly progressive, and the lyrics match, weaving tales of manipulation in the subtly building “The Puppeteer” (also watch out for the sampled applause about a minute in) and betrayal throughout moody cuts like the later “Noose” and “War.” For those who know Antimatter – whose latest full-length, Fear of a Unique Identity (review here), was released in 2012 — Sleeping Pulse finds Moss well in his element across the board, but Fazendeiro varies the style such that the piano-led “The Blind Lead the Blind” and emergent distortion chug of “Painted Rust” fit well alongside each other, and Under the Same Sky flows smoothly to its concluding title-track, a minimal piano piece backed by ebow-style tones and once more showcasing the resonance in Moss‘ blend of fragility and defiance. A sleeper not to be slept on, particularly with winter ahead. Sleeping Pulse on Thee Facebooks, Prophecy Productions.

Palm Desert, Pearls from the Muddy Hollow

palm desert pearls from the muddy hollow

Perhaps unsurprising when one considers they take their name from the hometown of California’s ’90s desert rock movement, but Poland’s Palm Desert owe a large sonic debt to Kyuss. In the Wroc?aw four-piece’s style of riffing, tonality and propensity for the occasional stoner jam on their third album, Pearls from the Muddy Hollow (Krauted Mind Records), they show their allegiance to the desert style and its blend of fuzzed-up punk and laid back psychedelia. Vocalist Wojciech Ga?uszka helps change things up, however, with some elements of Soundgarden-era Chris Cornell to go with periodic John Garcia gruffness, so that Pearls from the Muddy Hollow‘s nine tracks make a suitable companion piece to Steak‘s 2014 full-length debut, Slab City, which basks in a similar mindset. That’s not to say Palm Desert bring nothing of their own to the style — both the quick “Rise Above” (not a Black Flag cover) and extended closer “Forward in the Sun” (8:19) branch beyond idolatry to an individualized moment — just that the resounding impression throughout Pearls from the Muddy Hollow is Kyuss loyalism. Within the style, they do well in portraying a warm-toned feel and shift smoothly between movements both inside of and between their songs. They’re not revolutionary, but Palm Desert do justice to a familiar sound and sometimes that’s plenty to make for a quality record. Another decent bit of output from Poland’s fertile scene. Palm Desert on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual EP

high fighter the goat ritual

Formed earlier this year as an amalgam of members from A Million Miles and Buffalo Hump, Hamburg, Germany’s High Fighter storm out of the gate with the five-song The Goat Ritual EP, a 21-minute thrust of modern metal and heavy rock ideals. Vocalist Mona Miluski shifts readily between a bluesy clean delivery and searing screams over the nod-ready riffing of guitarists Christian “Shi” Pappas and Ingwer Boysen, bassist Constantin Wüst and drummer Thomas Wildelau trading off between riding the grooves on “2Steps Blueskill” and energizing the bounce on “Fire in the Sun.” Second cut “Breaking Goat Mountains” seems to be particularly geared toward Kyuss‘ “Green Machine” in its riff, but bleaker, screamier centerpiece “Black Waters” shifts between the EP’s heaviest assault and a guitar-only peaceful moment that rounds out with a bit of fading feedback that leads to the wakeup punch of “Fire in the Sun,” in turn given over to the mosh fodder of “In Veins”‘s early going, which somehow transitions into more laid-back heaviness in its second half, of course building back to the initial riff to round out. In its production and much of its execution, it’s metal, but High Fighter keep command of heavy rock elements in such a way as to showcase the nascent moments of what has the potential to be a fascinating progression. The ritual, it would seem, is only beginning. High Fighter on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Sans Soleil, A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky

sans soleil a holy land beneath a godless sky

Calling a string-infused, instrumental post-metal release “atmospheric” seems completely superfluous, but Austin fivesome Sans Soleil put enough of a focus on ambience throughout their four-track Tofu Carnage Records debut long-player, A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky, that to not say so would be worse. Eva Vonne‘s viola plays a major role in the band’s sound on “A Holy Land” and is complemented there and thereafter by guitarists Dustin Anderson and Lee Frejyalune and bassist Theron Rhoten, but it doesn’t come across as trying to fill a gap where vocals might otherwise be, instead just a weaving current between the distortion and sub-doom plod of drummer Zach Hoop, whose crash distinguishes itself on “An Umbral Plain” in keeping a slow march together early and moving fluidly to double-time in the middle third. Dense but not claustrophobic, the subsequent “Across Brilliant Sands” opens direct interplay between Vonne and a line of lead guitar before moving into Grayceon-style sparseness and explosion, or at least a more doomed interpretation thereof, and building to what feels like an apex for the album until the 11-minute closer “Beneath a Godless Sky” busts into a gallop as it passes the halfway point and relents from there only to resume again with greater force, closing out A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky with a fitting push to coincide with the tonal weight preceding. An exciting and engaging debut from a group who arrive with a firm sense of what they want to convey sonically and emotionally. Sans Soleil on Thee Facebooks, Tofu Carnage Records.

Like I said at the outset, a little all over the place this week, but hopefully you find something to dig one way or another. To check out the full list of adds for this week and every week back to late 2012, and to see what’s been played on The Obelisk Radio today (some good stuff there), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page. It’s where the cool kids hang out, or something.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Mothership Stream “Holy Massacre”; Mothership II Out Today

Posted in audiObelisk on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mothership

Mothership II, the aptly-titled second full-length and Ripple Music debut from Dallas heavy rocking trio Mothership, is available today. You can hear the complete thing on Ripple‘s Bandcamp if you’re so inclined, but given the opportunity to do so, I also wanted to feature a track from the record since it demonstrates so clearly how guitarist/vocalist Kelley Juett, bassist/vocalist Kyle Juett and drummer Judge Smith have progressed since their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), which Ripple also released last year.

If the power trio have moved forward from their first record — and I’ll point to the Floydisms of opener “Celestial Prophet” and later instrumental “Tami Massif” and the masterful use of tempo shifts on “Priestess of the Moon,” the progressive edge of “Holy Massacre” and the grand stoner epic closer “Serpents Throne” (not to be confused with Philadelphia-based instrumental outfit Serpent Throne) as evidence that they have — then it’s evolution hard won. The Juetts and Smith have spent a goodly portion of the last two years road-dogging back and forth across the country, even venturing to Europe for the first time mothership iithis past summer to play the Freak Valley festival and elsewhere. Their time on tour has fed into their confidence in their performance and their command of songwriting, so that “Astromancer” seems to offer payoff where The Sword never quite did and “Centauromachy” touches on classic metal chugging with the smoothness of tone and atmosphere — Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, who also helmed the debut, recorded Mothership II at his band’s Crystal Clear Studios in Dallas — that only heavy rock swagger can provide. And Mothership II is not short on swagger. Whether it’s the swing in Smith‘s crash or the interplay of Kelley‘s shred-ready guitar and Kyle‘s bass, Mothership are locked in and they sound like they know it.

The album is also two-sided both in the vinyl A/B sense and in terms of the songwriting. While “Priestess of the Moon,” “Astromancer” and “Centauromachy” tell stonerly tales of monsters and outer space, Mothership also get down with a fair bit of classic rock sleaze to break things up. Side A’s “Shanghai Surprise” and side B’s “Hot Smoke and Heavy Blues” — not to mention the borderline-creepy CD bonus track “Good Morning Little School Girl” — feed into a dudely heavy rock trope of long-standing. Though “Holy Massacre” doesn’t necessarily represent this lyrical aspect of Mothership II – something I’ll argue works in its favor — the song’s fluidity, natural tonality, live feel and high-octane delivery speak to many of the strengths at work across the album, and that’s not to mention the strength of the hook at play in its chorus. A bluesy chug emerges as it builds to its stomping apex, and Mothership shift tempo so smoothly that before you know it, you’re being carried off to the next movement.

If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen to “Holy Massacre” below to get a taste for some of Mothership II‘s finest heavy. Hope you enjoy:

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Mothership‘s Mothership II is out now on Ripple Music in Europe and North America. They’ll play their official release show Nov. 21 at Lola‘s Saloon in Ft. Worth, TX. More info at the links.

Mothership on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: The Golden Grass, Leeches of Lore, Olson/Shively/Barry, Lotus Ash, Slow Order

Posted in Radio on November 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

My measure these days for how quickly time goes is how annoyingly long it gets to be between bunches of albums being added to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio. Maybe that’s not true — I still use a clock — but you get the idea. This week, a healthy dose of 15 records have joined the stream, and the only reason it’s not more is because there are others I want to write about next time, whenever that might be. If you get the chance, the full list is up now on the The Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates Page.

If you listened over the course of the last two weeks, you might’ve noticed the running playlist was down. Well, Slevin fixed it the other day so we’re back up and running. I know you were worried. I was worried too. The important thing is nobody panicked and we all got through it. Let’s talk about some records. Please note, I was all set to include the new Old Man Gloom in this list but then I heard some nonsense about their new album actually being two albums with the same name and their having sent a fake version of the thing to the press with the explanation, “We will always trick you.” Whatever. Pass. I’d just as soon not spend my time getting fucked with in a weird, smug, high-school-level douchery “watch us pull the rug that we made out from under you” kind of way that makes me like the band a whole lot less. Way to take the media that’s spent the last decade sucking you off down a peg. Utterly necessary. I’m sure they’ll be really hurt by the lack of coverage.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Nov. 7, 2014:

The Golden Grass, Realisations

the-golden-grass-realisations

A digital-only release (at least for now) put out in order to help fund their inaugural European tour this month, Realisations is a considerably rawer affair than was The Golden Grass‘ earlier-2014 self-titled debut full-length (review here), but the good-vibe Brooklynlite heavy psych rock trio still manage to get pretty lush on “The Robin Song,” which leads off the four-track collection of home recordings. Trippy ’70s prog and bright melodies ensue, a demo version of “Wheels” from the album moving into a tom-led jam much like its final counterpart, drummer Adam Kriney sharing vocal duties with guitarist Michael Rafalowich while bassist Joe Noval provides groovy foundation. “A Curious Case” is a track they’re using for a tour-exclusive 7″, and it appears here in a demo from this past Spring offering the sage advice to “Let it ride and take it easy.” Closer “Down the Line” is a more psyched-out vibe, jammy with Rafalowich‘s perfectly airy tone and the room-mic sound of the recording, loose but aware of where it’s headed in a blissfully exploratory kind of way. Feels redundant at this point to keep singing The Golden Grass‘ praises, but what the hell. These guys are legit and deserve more attention than they’ve gotten. Dig in and dig. The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Leeches of Lore, Live on KUNM 89.9

leeches of lore live on kunm 89.9

Last month, New Mexican weirdo rockers/charm specialists Leeches of Lore hit the airwaves on 89.9 KUNM to play a live set. The purpose, aside from its own excuse for being, seemed to be to plug a Halloween gig at which they covered the entirety of Alice Cooper‘s 1971 Love it to Death album, and indeed, they round out this set with “Second Coming/The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” after running through a set of originals including “White Debbie/Don’t Open Till Doomsday,” “The Sixth Finger” and “The Sleeping God,” a gleeful, complicated track cut through black metal, heavy rock, Western stylizations and periodic bouts of Melvins rush. Part of the joy of listening to Leeches of Lore is having them speed past you like a cartoon bird and leave you in a cloud of their multi-genre dust, grasping for air as you try to catch up. After being fortunate enough to see them live earlier this year on their home turfLive at KUNM 89.9 is like a clear-recorded testament of what the phenomenon was live. Like non-blurred footage of some elusive desert bigfoot gone out to buy eggs, milk and other breakfast essentials. These guys are about due for a new full-length, but I’ll happily take this in the meantime. Leeches of Lore on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Olson/Shively/Barry, Tierra del Fuego Blues

olson-shively-barry tierra del fuego blues

Spaciousness abounds on Tierra del Fuego Blues, the independently-released collaboration between Tanner Olson of Across TundrasMatt “Big Jim” Shively and Walter Barry, each of whom handle a variety of instruments from acoustic guitar to zhonghu and drones. There’s a sense of root tracks being fleshed out, but the whole across the five included instrumentals is lush and engrossing. They tell you up front that “Patience yields best results,” and that’s fair, but don’t take it to mean there’s nothing happening on a song like “The Needles,” or that the layers throughout don’t provide plenty of evocative fodder to parse through, calling to mind everything from coyote yips on that song to howling winds on the 12-minute “Jagged Cliffs,” a sun-down guitar drama that would make Morricone proud. Experimentalism pervades, as one would have to imagine, but Olson/Shively/Barry keep the sonics tied to the land somehow, whether it’s the Dylan Carlson-style guitar of “No Blood” or the percussion underneath “Shaky Steps on Solid Ground,” and that goes a long way toward approachability for what might otherwise be too far out for many listeners, though frankly I doubt mass appeal is high on the list of goals here anyway. Hopefully it’s not the last time these three get together, since even in piled on parts there’s obvious chemistry at work that’s worth developing. Big Jim Shively on Thee Facebooks, Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Slow Order, Hidden Voices

slow order hidden voices

Don’t expect to be overwhelmed by the originality of Slow Order‘s Hidden Voices, since what they do it pretty straightforward instrumental heavy, but the Italian trio manage to find a niche somewhere between Karma to Burn-style rock and a more metallic impulse, some of the basslines calling to mind a much-less-mathematically-complex Meshuggah in their punch. The entirety of the record is instrumental, but in bits and pieces the layering of lead and rhythm guitar on “Drunk” or the pacing shifts in “Pazuzu Master” make for a decent listen. There are light touches of classic heavy throughout and samples in “Garage Anthem” and elsewhere to provide a human touch, but by and large the focus is on forward-moving rhythmic drive and riff-led heavy rock grooving. Their second release behind 2011’s Pyramid Toward OblivionHidden Voices doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t, and the fuzz and ambience at the end of “In the Centre of the Sun” speak to a budding interest in atmosphere that can only make their sound richer as they go forward. Slow Order on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Lotus Ash, The Word of God

Lotus-Ash---The-Word-of-God

Post-metal’s tricky these days. As a subgenre, it seems to be waiting for someone to come along and add elements to the mix outside of the sphere of Neurosis/Isis crush/drone tradeoffs, tribal drums and Godfleshy atmospheric foreboding. Milwaukee’s Lotus Ash, with members in tow from NorthlessEllis and Maidens, have a better grasp of melody than most in the style, and put it to good use in cuts like “Soul of Man,” creating a contrast between weighted tones and clean vocals that sounds progressive and creates a lasting impression as the song continues to build to its noise-soaked apex. Standalone vocalist Brandon Bocian, guitarist Nick Willkomm, synth-specialist Nick Elert, bassist Kyle O’Donnell and drummer Brian Brown are a relatively new act, having gotten together last year, but their debut showcases a firm grasp on churning riffs and tidal sway — the centerpiece title-track is a highlight — and sounds full in a way that speaks to a confidence of approach and patience in composition, the molten flow from track to track serving as evidence of both. It’s early to call them the group that will reinvigorate the style, but much like Brooklyn’s Hull or Belgium’s AmenraLotus Ash seem primed to find their place within post-metal and develop an individualized approach from there. As first impressions go, that’s not a bad one to get from a debut recording. Lotus Ash on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Also added to the Radio playlist today were new ones from Stubb, No Way, Werwulf, Geezer, Rhin, Sky Children and more. If you get the chance, the full list is up on the Playlist and Updates page. Your continued support of this silly project is appreciated.

Thank you for reading and listening.

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Rhin Premiere “Consumed” from New Album Bastard

Posted in audiObelisk on November 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

rhin

West Virginian trio Rhin will release their second album, Bastard, Dec. 1 through Grimoire Records. It is a noisy barrage of a record, taking cues in aggressive and abrasiveness from Unsane and Sourvein and concocting a vicious churn from them that seems to spit at you even through speakers. Songs like “Bull Doze” and the quicker “I Want More” tread heavy on the line between punk and heavy noise, taking root with a nasty sort of drive that takes on different forms throughout Bastard‘s seven tracks, but never seems to relent no matter where it turns.

“Consumed,” which closes, is the culmination of all this tension. Rhin‘s late-2013 self-titled debut was also seven tracks that rounded out with a closer extended in comparison to what surrounded it, but Bastard feels more assured, the trio of bassist/vocalist Dominic Gianninoto, guitarist Tucker Riggleman and drummer Ben Proudman storming their way through “Ted’s Shed,” “Gravy” and the penultimate furiousness of “Man is Bastard” (not to be confused with powerviolence pioneers Man is the Bastard) with rhin bastardimmediacy and confidence. In that it’s 10 minutes long and the rest of the album’s tracks are less than half that in runtime, and takes more of a building approach rather than unleashing its onslaught all at once, “Consumed” maybe doesn’t represent the entirety of Bastard as much as another cut might, but I think after you make your way through it, you’ll be able to get a decent sense of what Rhin are going for and you’ll have a hard time arguing it doesn’t live up to its title.

After climbing to a midpoint apex, “Consumed” opens up to a more languid groove, calling to mind an East Coast answer to some of Akimbo‘s swaying explorations and never losing its sense of purpose as the adrenaline gradually returns, measure by measure until the final chugging, feedback, sample and fade take hold. “Consumed” is not a light undertaking, but it serves to demonstrate that the entirety of Rhin‘s scope can’t necessarily be summarized either by noise rock or sludge. If you let it carry you, it will:

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Rhin‘s Bastard is out Dec. 1 on Grimoire Records and is available now to preorder. More info at the links.

Rhin on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

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Spectral Haze Stream I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on October 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

SpectralHaze_band

On Nov. 7, Oslo heavy psych rockers Spectral Haze will release their debut full-length, I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains through Soulseller Records. It’s the follow-up to a 2012 self-titled EP and their first outing to feature Thereminist/noisemaker Electric Starling, a six-track, two-sided collection of tripped out compositions, consuming in their psychedelic wash but with enough movement in the low end to keep from getting completely out of control, except, you know when that’s where they want to go.

The Norwegian fivesome of Electric Starling, guitarist/vocalist Spacewülff, guitarist Sönik Slöth, bassist Döômdögg (or at least I think that’s bass; he’s credited with “Dronemachinated AUM”) and drummer Cëlestïal Cöbra got their spectral haze iev transmutated nebula remains-1400start in 2011, and their sound is geared for maximum swirl. On I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains, they trip out almost immediately, the three cuts on side A becoming an amorphous, molten flow that continues through the end of the 11-minute “Black Gandharvas,” and onto the relatively brief side B intro, “I.E.V. II: Observing the Centre of Infinity.” One gets flashes of Nebula at their most blissed, but the push behind the subsequent “Descent through the Intravoidal” is pure space rock, and Spectral Haze maximize that vibe with a steady undercurrent of synth and effects.

I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains culminates with the 13:45 “Triads and Trishulas,” an expansive, multi-layered jam that, if you weren’t yet lost in the album, is bound to drag your consciousness away with it into some grandiose cosmic void. Like the record as a whole, it’s a satisfying journey of well executed, full-sounding space and heavy psychedelia, layers intertwining as the jam progresses through multiple stages en route to the lysergic payoff of both itself and the five songs preceding, a crash-laden groove marking “Triads and Trishulas” as a suitable finale for the vastness before it.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the full album for streaming. Set the controls for the heart of the fuzz, and enjoy:

[THIS STREAM HAS EXPIRED. THANKS FOR LISTENING.]

Spectral Haze‘s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains is due out Nov. 7 via Soulseller Records on CD/LP/DL. More info at the links.

Spectral Haze on Thee Facebooks

Soulseller Records

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Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable’s Leave Me Alone Out Now; Available to Stream

Posted in audiObelisk on October 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

nick oliveri

Some people get a reputation and spend the rest of their days trying to distance themselves from it, but Nick Oliveri‘s always been a little more punk rock. The former bassist for Kyuss, former bassist/vocalist for Queens of the Stone Age and intermittent member of Dwarves, Bl’ast, Vista Chino and his own Mondo Generator, Oliveri today releases Leave Me Alone, the debut full-length from the new heavy rocking solo-project Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable. Out on Schnitzel Records, it’s an album that should find root with anyone who’s bemoaned the adultification of Queens of the Stone Age, brimming with hard-driven riffing and a sense of danger that’s been a trademark of Oliveri‘s songwriting even down to his acoustic records.

It’s a “solo” album in the sense that Oliveri handles bass, drums, rhythm guitar, vocals and is credited as producer alongside with engineers Trevor Whatever and Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, but it’s also a “solo” album in the sense that there are a ton of people playing solos on it. Dig this track listing:

1. Human Cannonball Explodes (feat. Dean Ween)
2. Keep Me in the Loop (feat. Stephen Haas)
3. Luv Is Fiction (feat. Lightnin’ Woodcock & Marc Diamond)
4. Come and You’re Gone (feat. Marc Diamond & Blag Dhalia)
5. The Robot Man (feat. Phil Campbell)
6. Get Lost (With Me) (feat. Rex Everything)
7. Leave Me Alone
8. The Void (feat. Bruno Fevery)
9. Death Leads the Way (feat. Mike Pygmie)

Of course that’s Dean Ween from Ween, Stephen Haas from Moistboyz, Phil Campbell from Motörhead, Blag Dhalia and Marc Diamond from Dwarves, Bruno Fevery from Vista Chino, and so on. Oliveri even sneaks in for a go himself as his alter-ego Rex Everything. All this has the effect of making Leave Me Alone – an album that, despite its title, thrusts itself in your face at nearly every turn — even more unhinged, Oliveri tackling his infamous run-in with a SWAT team on “The Robot Man” and building a record-spanning momentum that caps with, what else?, “Death Leads the Way”‘s riotous apex, Mike Pygmie of Mondo Generator stepping in to help out.

Oliveri has never left much room for middle-ground reactions, but love him or hate him, Leave Me Alone is about as Oliveri as Oliveri gets. Take a listen if you’re so inclined and find out for yourself:

Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable‘s Leave Me Alone is now available on Schnitzel Records. More info at the links.

Nick Oliveri on Twitter

Nick Oliveri on Thee Facebooks

Schnitzel Records

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Stubb Premiere “Sail Forever” from New Album Cry of the Ocean

Posted in audiObelisk on October 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Stubb

London heavy rockers Stubb will release their second album, Cry of the Ocean, on Nov. 14. Their first for Ripple Music, it was recorded in Skyhammer Studios, mastered by Tony Reed, and pushes further into the classic-rock-inspired vibes of their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), which came across as a fuzzer’s delight with the memorable songwriting of guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson at the fore. Dickinson, who’s joined once again by bassist/backing vocalist Peter Holland (Trippy Wicked, Elephant Tree) and new drummer Tom Fyfe, continues to refine his approach on the new album, branching ambitiously into bolder elements of soul and heavy psychedelia.

Cry of the Ocean is a more complex offering, as the sweet acoustics of “Heartbreaker” and the handclap-inclusive apex of the two-part opening title-track demonstrate, but ultimately no less satisfying. Dickinson, Holland and Fyfe have been able to expand the palette of the first record while still maintaining the basic focus on craftsmanship that made so many of that outing’s cuts resonate. So “Heavy Blue Sky” might unfurl withSTUBB-CRY-OF-THE-OCEAN a more melancholy roll, and “Devil’s Brew” might get down to boogie business in quick fashion ahead of the organ-ified “Snake Eyes,” but what ties the material together is the quality of its execution, and in branching out, Stubb seem to in no way have bit off more than they can chew. “Snake Eyes” and the subsequent “You’ll Never Know,” at seven minutes each, make up a substantial closing duo that brings out some of Cry of the Ocean‘s best moments. And in case you’re worried, there’s no shortage of fuzz either.

As proof, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Sail Forever” for streaming. In it, one can get a sense of the wider emotional net that Cry of the Ocean casts and the warm tones that have remained very much an essential part of their approach. Stubb push the balance to one side or the other several times over the course of the eight tracks, but “Sail Forever” makes an excellent summary, pulling its vibe from elements on all sides and putting it to use with one of the LP’s strongest hooks.

Hope you dig it:

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Stubb‘s Cry of the Ocean is due Nov. 14 in North America, Nov. 17 in Europe. More info at the links below.

Stubb on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music

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Sleepy Cheese Debut Thank God it Hurts EP

Posted in audiObelisk on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

sleepy cheese


One-man psych outfit Sleepy Cheese will make its debut on Halloween via Forged Artifacts with an EP called Thank God it Hurts. Four tracks tied together through a series of voicemails, the bedroom-recorded sound is minimal in places and intimate, but still carries some blown-out threat, vocals coming on in rasps throughout “Be Good,” “Credit Card,” “Roach” and “The Glory.” There’s a raw and exploratory feel that remains fervent just about the whole way, but going along with that is a very personal root that serves as the foundation from which the material emanates. There’s a human core under the inhuman sounds, in other words.

The fervent buzz in Sky Traceable’s guitar and the rasp that accompanies the molten, slow-progressing groove of “Be Good” brings to mind some stoner take on black metal, but that’s hardly scratching the surface of what’s at play stylistically throughout Thank God it Hurts. At the end of the opener, we’re also treatedsleepy cheese thank god it hurts to the first in a series of recorded voicemails that string a thread through the four songs and create a narrative of a breakup in progress. Since a lot of what Traceable has to say lyrically is indecipherable, the voicemails go a long way in amplifying the mood, the fuzz that starts “Credit Card” sounding that much more mournful even before the organ and drum march starts in for the severance that came just before.

All told, it’s a short release, and things only get crazier as “Roach” launches with a creepy voice talking about a “stupid, stupid phone” before moving into shoegaze-gone-mad screaming and sleepy rollout, and by the end it can be kind of hard to take, but resolution comes with “The Glory,” on which Traceable is first scolded for drunk-dialing before the EP’s most satisfyingly classic-styled riff gives a glimpse at what retro rock might’ve become if it had spent the money on pills instead of vintage equipment. By the time he gets there, Traceable has more or less wrapped the narrative, but there’s an effects-drenched sample included in the song itself, which ties everything together before “The Glory”’s last push and the sudden, clean-break ending.

Sleepy Cheese’s Thank God it Hurts will be out on Halloween via Forged Artifacts, but you can check it out on the player below. Please enjoy:

Sleepy Cheese on Thee Facebooks

Thank God it Hurts on Bandcamp

Forged Artifacts

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Fuzz Evil and Chiefs Stream New Split 7″ in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

fuzz evil chiefs split

Pressed in a grey/white splatter edition of 300 copies from Battleground Records, the new split 7″ between Arizona’s Fuzz Evil and fellow Southwesterners Chiefs is available as of today. With just over five minutes of music from each band — Fuzz Evil presenting “Glitterbones” and Chiefs “Stone Bull” — it’s a platter rife with easily-dug vibes and riff-heavy groove broken into sides F and G for a bit of alphabetical fun to coincide with the laid back, steady roll throughout. Chiefs have some demos under their belt, but for Fuzz Evil, which features guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell and bassist/vocalist Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine along fuzz evilwith drummer Marlin Tuttle, it’s their recorded debut, and they’re off to a solid start.

Of course, for the Rudells, who with Powered Wig Machine released the Supa-Collider full-length (review here) earlier this year, it’s not really a start at all, but as Fuzz Evil and with Tuttle, they do explore different ground within the overarching sphere of heavy rock. “Glitterbones” as a swagger and hook reminiscent of early Queens of the Stone Age, played up with some falsetto vocals, and true to their name, some vicious fuzz. Less bluesy overall than Powered Wig Machine, they still find room as Fuzz Evil to reference Clutch in the lyrics — asking what the dollar’s for — and enact a stonerly nod in the track as they march toward the solo-topped apex given further breadth and classic feel from some deeply mixed organ following the central bruiser of a riff.

For Chiefs‘ part, the Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego-based trio start out “Stone Bull” with slower riffery but open up to a chugging verse and well-placed clean vocals buried Goatsnake-style under the mountainous tones of guitarist Paul Valle  and bassist Jeff Podeszwik, both of whom sing while Kevin Michel holds down the drums. Big riffs get bigger as “Stone Bull” plays out, and though an overblown solo is teased in peppered lead lines, one never materializes, and Chiefs continue their forward push with a turn past the four-minute mark that marks the beginning of the song’s final movement, ending with a riffout that, were it not for the physical limitation of the medium on which it’s pressed, could probably keep going for considerably longer. Perhaps live it does.

Speaking of live shows, Fuzz Evil have a couple release gigs planned for the 7″, the first of which is tonight. That info is included under the player below, on which you can stream the split with Chiefs in its entirety.

Please enjoy:

The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7? from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.

Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7? on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7? – place orders HERE.

With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7? in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.

FUZZ EVIL shows:
10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7? release show
11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7? release show
11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ

Fuzz Evil on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records

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The Skull Premiere “The Touch of Reality” from For Those Which are Asleep

Posted in audiObelisk on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

November 4 marks the release date for For Those Which are Asleep, the debut full-length from Chicago doom five-piece The SkullTee Pee Records, known more these days for psychedelic rock (NaamWeird OwlEarthless) than the sort of traditional Sabbathry in which The Skull traffic, will be handling the CD/LP, and if The Skull are something of an odd fit, one can certainly say extenuating circumstances apply.

With three-fifths of the band’s lineup — bassist Ron Holzner, drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and vocalist Eric Wagner – culled directly from US doom legends Trouble, no doubt many of those who approach The Skull‘s first long-player will do so with a firm expectation of what’s in store. In some ways, those expectations will be right, but with guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) each playing a significant tonal role, For Those Which are Asleep sets its own course through doomly traditions.the skull for those which are asleep Wagner‘s inimitable vocal style, semi-spoken and subdued on “Send Judas Down” and “The Touch of Reality” and pushing into higher-register theatrics on the title-track and “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” — which, coupled with a cover of Trouble‘s “The Last Judgment,” was released earlier this year as a single (streamed here) to herald the album’s coming — to further the band’s utterly classic sound, modern and crisp in its production in a way that coincides with some of the album’s more forward-thinking moments, The Skull not just interested in paying homage to Trouble‘s legacy, which is how they started, but in moving ahead and building on it as well.

Today I have the extreme pleasure of debuting the track “The Touch of Reality.” It’s the second cut on For Those Which are Asleep behind “Trapped Inside My Mind” and it slips easily into one of the record’s most satisfying grooves, Olson smoothly riding the rhythm in Keller and Goldsborough‘s riffing, given heft by the breadth and ever-dynamic bass-work of Holzner while Wagner holds court over top. With The Skull, one of doom’s most enduring legacies breathes new life, and For Those Which are Asleep is as resounding a wake up call as one could ask. Heads and headbangers alike will be pleased.

Please find “The Touch of Reality” on the player below, followed by some info off the PR wire, and enjoy:

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THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which are Asleep on iTunes

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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audiObelisk Transmission 041

Posted in Podcasts on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

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I didn’t realize, but it’s been over a year now since I started putting together podcasts regularly again. Almost 14 months, actually. Goes quick. I’m still having a good time doing them though. It’s become kind of a late-night ritual for me, assembling the audio and putting the tracklisting together and uploading everything the night before it goes live. It’s heading toward one in the morning as I type this. Long since asleep, The Patient Mrs. calls it “JJ time.” Fair enough.

A few twists and turns in this one, so watch out. I was all getting on some rocking vibes with Brant Bjork and that He Whose Ox is Gored, but after The Golden Grass things took a pretty wild turn. You may not have heard Atomikylä yet, but it’s players from Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, so it gets pretty bleak pretty quick. From there, it’s just further into doom with MossApostle of Solitude and The Sabbathian before Godflesh – as only they can — provide a slap back to reality. The second hour, as habit dictates, is a full-on freakout. That Olson/Shively/Barry track is members of Across Tundras and the album was just released, so if you get the chance to check it out, I’d say go for it. In the meantime, enjoy:

First Hour:
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, “Stokely up Now” from Black Power Flower (2014)
He Whose Ox is Gored, “Buried Twice” from Rumors 7” (2014)
Weed is Weed, “Eat Cookies” from Blunt Force Trauma (2014)
The Golden Grass, “The Robin Song” from Realisations (2014)
Atomikylä, “Ihmiskallo” from Erkale (2014)
Moss, “Carmilla (Marcilla)” from Carmilla (2014)
Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” from Of Woe and Wounds (2014)
The Sabbathian, “Nightshade Eternal” from Ritual Rites (2014)
Godflesh, “Life Giver Life Taker” from A World Lit Only by Fire (2014)
Lords of Beacon House, “Cool Water Blues” from Lords of Beacon House (2014)

Second Hour:
Geezer, “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” from Gage (2014)
Olson/Shively/Barry, “Jagged Cliffs” from Tierra del Fuego Blues (2014)
Dead Sea Apes, “Threads” from High Evolutionary (2014)
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Psychopomp” from Psychopomp (2014)

Total running time: 1:59:36

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 041

 

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Godflesh, Early Man, Temple of Void, Mage and Lamperjaw

Posted in Radio on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

I wanted to make sure I did a round of radio adds for this week. Not just because they’re fun to do and it’s a bit like submerging my head in heaviness for an afternoon, but because I’ve already got one or two records in mind to join the playlist next week (or the week after, depending on time) and I don’t want to get too far behind. As always, these five are just picks out of the bunch. Over 20 records went up to the server today, so there’s much more than this to dig into. As well as all the rest of everything up there. I don’t even know how much stuff that is at this point. Last I heard from Slevin, it was “a lot.” Nothing like more, then.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Oct. 16, 2014:

Godflesh, A World Lit only by Fire

Godflesh A World Lit Only By Fire cover

It seems that after a decade-plus of moving further away from Godflesh‘s sound in Jesu, guitarist/vocalist Justin K. Broadrick has had no problem whatsoever slipping back into songwriting for the ultra-influential early-industrial outfit. Preceded by an EP called Decline and Fall (review here) that was also released through Broadrick‘s Avalanche Recordings imprint, the 10-track A World Lit Only by Fire harnesses a lot of the churn that was so prevalent in prime-era Godflesh and, more impressively, successfully channels the same aggression and frustration without sounding like a put-on. The chug in “Carrion” is visceral, and while “Life Giver Life Taker” recalls some of the melody that began to show itself on Godflesh‘s last album, 2001’s Hymns, and subsequently became the core of Jesu, songs like “Shut Me Down” and the gruelingly slow “Towers of Emptiness” find Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green enacting a familiar pummel that — and this is a compliment — sounds just like Godflesh. No doubt some of that is because so much of the duo’s elements are electronic, and while they might sound dated after a while, electronics don’t actually age in the same way people do, but even in the human core of the band, Godflesh are back in full, earth-shattering force. A World Lit Only by Fire is a triumphant return. I don’t know if it necessarily adds much to the Godflesh legacy that wasn’t already there, but as a new beginning point, a sort of second debut, its arrival is more than welcome. Godflesh on Bandcamp, Justin Broadrick on Thee Facebooks.

Early Man, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All

early man thank got you've got the answers for us all

After starting out in Ohio and making their way to New York around the middle of the last decade, the duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mike Conte and guitarist Pete Macy – better known as Early Man – recorded their new album, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All, as they put, “inside various closets, attics and basements within the greater Los Angeles area over the past year.” I recall seeing them in Manhattan and getting their demo in 2004/2005 and Early Man was the shit. They were gonna be huge. A contract with Matador Records brought their debut and then they went five years before their next album came out, and by then, retro metal and heavy rock has passed them by. Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All taps some of the same younger-Metallica vibing of their earliest work on “Black Rains are Falling” and closer “The Longer the Life,” but the current of Sabbathian heavy that was always there remains strong and “Always Had a Place in Hell to Call My Own” ups the ante with a more punkish take. The recording is raw in the new digital sense, but the tracks get their point across well enough, and Conte‘s songwriting has always produced some memorable results — the keyboard-soaked “Hold on to Nothing” stands out here — but it seems like the story of Early Man is still waiting to be told. Early Man on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural

Temple Of Void - of Terror and the Supernatural - cover

Any given song, it can be hard to tell where Detroit’s Temple of Void come down on the spectrum of doom/death and death/doom, but whatever genre tag you want to stick on it, their debut long-player, Of Terror and the Supernatural, is fucking grim. A roaring morass of thuds, low growls, bouts of extreme violence and bludgeonry, and horror — oh, the horror. Last year’s Demo MMXIII (review here) was fair enough warning, but what the double-guitar five-piece do across these eight tracks is a cruelty of atmosphere and lurch. Squibbles perpetrate “Invocation of Demise,” which also has some surprise key work that sounds like a flute, and a moment of respite arrives with the subsequent “To Carry this Corpse Evermore” in Opethian acoustics, but as the title would indicate, “Rot in Solitude” throws the listener right back into the filth and it’s there Temple of Void seem most in their element. Buried deep in “Exanimate Gaze” is a melodic undertone and 10-minute finale “Bargain in Death” shows a fairly dynamic approach, but the core of what they do is rooted in toying with a balance between death and doom metals, and already on their first outing they show significant stylistic command. If they tour, it’s hard to imagine one of the bigger metal labels –RelapseMetal Blade – wouldn’t want them somewhere down the line. Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks, Saw Her Ghost Records, Rain without End Records.

Mage, Last Orders

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UK fivesome Mage debuted in 2012 with Black Sands (review here) and showcased a burly blend of heavy rock and metal, and tonally and in the drums, their sophomore outing, Last Orders, follows suit in copping elements of thrash, Voivod-style otherwordliness and a penchant for shifting tempos effectively while keeping a seemingly downward path. Vocalist Tom has pulled back on the ultra-dudely vocals and it makes a big difference in the band’s sound for the better. He’s much better mixed and exploring some new ground on “The Fallen,” but he boldly takes on the task with the slower “Beyond” — the longest song here at six minutes flat — and comes out stronger for it. Guitarists Ben and Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy showcase some Electric Wizard influence in that song, but I wouldn’t tie Mage‘s sound to any one band, as “Lux Mentis” before offers huge-sounding stomp and “Violent Skies” after feeds an adrenaline surge of chugging and turns before opening to Last Orders‘ satisfying payoff, Tom tapping into mid-range Halford along the way and closer “One for the Road” reminding that there’s still a riffy side to the band as well. Mage on Thee Facebooks, Witch Hunter Records.

Lamperjaw, Demo EP 2014

LAMPERJAW - Demo EP 2014

Formed in 2011, Virginian trio Lamperjaw make their three-track debut with the descriptive Demo EP 2014, drunken-stomping the line between sludge and Southern heavy. One can’t help but be reminded of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s glory days listening to “Throw Me a Stone,” but with guitarist Dedrian, bassist Lane and drummer Codi all contributing vocals, Lamperjaw bring something immediately distinguishing to their approach. “Blood Dreams” aligns them with the burl-bringing Southern set, some screams and a metallic chug surprising after the opener’s booze-rocking vibe, but their real potential comes out on the seven-minute “Menace of a Cruel Earth,” which moves from low-in-the-mouth whoa-yeah-style grit across a successful linear build to a harmonized, well-arranged apex. It’s always hard to judge a band’s intent by their first release, and there’s a lot about their sound Lamperjaw are still figuring out, but they’ve given themselves some directional liquidity on their first demo, and it will be interesting to hear how they proceed from this point. Lamperjaw on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, this is just a fraction of the stuff that went up to the server this afternoon, so if you get a second, I hope you’ll peruse the The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page, or whatever it is I’m calling it in my head this week. It’s the same page as always either way.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Slow Season Premiere “Endless Mountain” from New Album Mountains

Posted in audiObelisk on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

slow season

Short of slicing a piece of tree trunk and putting that on your turntable, vinyl is widely regarded as about as natural-sounding as you can get. We’ve seen a lot of analog worship over the last several years as a result, fed into by a movement of ’70s-minded retroists, and while Slow Season definitely have some of those elements at play, what’s more striking about their RidingEasy Records debut and second album overall, Mountains (review here), is the spaciousness of the recording. Particularly as the record was put together without digital means, without hand-picking their reverb from a thousands-long list of plugins, the breadth of their mix lives up to the aspiration of the LP’s title — something large, immobile, and seemingly removed from time.

I said when I reviewed Mountains that Slow Season possess a strong current of Led Zeppelin fetishism, and that’s true slow season mountainsof the track “Endless Mountain” as much as the bulk of the rest of the album. You can hear it in the echoing harmonica and in Cody Tarbell‘s stomping, swinging approach to the drums, which lead the march alongside Hayden Doyel‘s bass and the guitars of David Kent and Daniel Rice, the latter of whom is also responsible for the vocals, somewhere between a rawer take on Graveyard and of course the early, riff-riding work of Robert Plant. As a demonstration of the movement and bounce that Slow Season enact over the course of Mountains, “Endless Mountain” is a prime example, the band easing into a swaggering shuffle that starts and stops in the verse and opens well in the chorus without losing its jammy sensibility.

Mountains will be out Nov. 11 on RidingEasy Records (preorder from the label here), and you can check out “Endless Mountain” on the YouTube player below, followed by more info on the release with some comment from Slow Season. Please enjoy:

Slow Season, “Endless Mountain”

SLOW SEASON to release new album via RIDINGEASY RECORDS on 11th November 2014

Press “play” on Slow Season’s second full-length album Mountains (RidingEasy Records), and you might just forget what era you’re in. It could very well be the sixties, seventies, or now. It almost doesn’t matter though because this is hypnotic, heavy, and howling rock ‘n’ roll that defies both musical and temporal categorization.

The Central California quartet – Daniel Rice (vocals, guitar), David Kent (guitar), Hayden Doyel (bass), and Cody Tarbell (drums) – scale new heights, while recognising where it all began.

“I’d love for people to wonder if this record is actually from 1969,” grins Cody. “We wanted to capture that spirit. That was the goal.”

In order to do so, the musicians holed up in Cody’s home studio, which actually doubles as his parents’ garage, and cut Mountain’s ten tracks throughout the course of early 2014. Hayden had just returned home from a short detour at college in Idaho before recognizing he belonged jamming with his brothers. Officially back in the fold, excitement to record proved pervasive. Moving when inspiration struck, they actually recorded the songs live on reel-to-reel tape. Eschewing the digital mindset of today and not even uttering the words “Pro Tools”, everything was caught on analog, giving the music a crackling kinetic energy.

“I like everything associated with reel-to-reel,” Cody goes on. “I love the sound. I like the mojo that comes along with it.”

“Working with the limitations of tape really pushed us to play our best,” adds Daniel. “You have to prioritize your ideas. You can’t layer too much on there. You also have to nail the takes. You don’t get to go back and cut paste. You have to feel it when you’re playing it. When everything comes together, it really shines because we’re all playing together on tape.”

They lock in during the album opener and first single, ‘Sixty-Eight’. It snaps into a bluesy riff and bombastic beat before Daniel lets out a soaring refrain and a screeching solo roars. “We wanted to nod back to Led Zeppelin,” the vocalist says. “We managed to get this really big sound in the garage. It’s very organic and natural. The subject matter is pretty gnarly, and I’d encourage everyone to take a close listen to the lyrics.”

That mystique carries over to the hazy ‘Synanon’, which details the exploits of a mountain cult nearby where the boys reside. Meanwhile, ‘Endless Mountain’ drives forward on robust guitars and propulsive drums. It also reflects the overarching theme inherent within the title.

“Mountains embody a few things,” explains Daniel. “They’re difficult, seemingly insurmountable, and bigger than us. They’re both foreboding and beautiful at the same time. I had been doing a lot of hiking and backpacking in the higher Sierra Nevada. It all fit together. We live right next to Sequoia National Park, and we go up there all the time. We connect with the idea of man versus nature.”

Slow Season first emerged in 2012 with their self-titled debut. Supported by shows throughout California and nationally, they began to garner palpable buzz. Now, Mountains kicks off their next chapter. However, they’ll continue to exist within an epoch of their own.

Daniel leaves off, “I want people to walk away knowing there’s integrity behind the music, the process, the words being sung, and the notes being played. We love what we do, and we hope that listeners do too.”

Slow Season on Thee Facebooks

Slow Season’s website

Mountains preorder

RidingEasy Records

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