Posted in audiObelisk on October 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 with 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.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 treated 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:
Posted in audiObelisk on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 with 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.
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 ordersHERE.
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
Posted in audiObelisk on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
November 4 marks the release date for For Those Which are Asleep, the debut full-length from Chicago doom five-piece The Skull. Tee Pee Records, known more these days for psychedelic rock (Naam, Weird Owl, Earthless) 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.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.
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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 Moss, Apostle 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:
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)
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)
Posted in Radio on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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
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
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
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 –Relapse, Metal 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
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
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.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 of 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.”
Posted in audiObelisk on October 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
At one point or another, Weed is Weed members Dave Sherman (vocals/guitar), Gary Isom (guitar) and Rob “Cougin” Brannigan (drums) were members of the underrated Maryland doom act Wretched, but that’s just one of the lines of connection between them. Isom, who also played drums in Pentagram for a time, was Sherman‘s bandmate in the original lineup of Spirit Caravan, and it’s safe to say that these dudes, as well as guitarist Jason Fisher, bassist Darren Waters and guitarist Rob Portillo – yeah, that’s right, up to four guitars — have been kicking around the underbelly of MD’s fertile doom underground for a while. Today marks the Ripple Music issue of their 2013 debut album, Blunt Force Trauma (review here), initially self-released.
What do you get with Weed is Weed? Weed. A lot of it. Also riffs. Their multi-guitar attack provides some density to the album’s 10 tracks but much of what you need to know about Blunt Force Trauma you can get from looking at the cover. It’s raw stoner fuckery, riffs leading the way with punkish abandon and Sherman‘s distinctive gravelly vocals tossing out simple but effective hooks on cuts like the opener “Weed is Weed,” the more Southern-styled “Alligator Crawl,” the shuffling “Goin’ Down to Harlem” and “Low to No,” which sleeks out a winding sort of groove while paying homage to Sabbath, Ozzy and, of course, reefer. Most of the songs deal with or at least mention weed on one level or another — it’s a steady theme — but they change it up musically some along the way and by the time they get down to “One Hit Wonder” and “Blunt Force Trauma,” the riffs win out. I won’t say much for “Eat Pussy” — though it’s important in a relationship to be attentive to your partner’s needs, and I’ve certainly heard worse advice than “Eat that pussy don’t you be no jerk” — but its alternate lyric, “Eat Cookies,” rounds out as a bonus track with no shortage of smirking cleverness and charm.
It’s one for the converted, but between half the band’s pedigree and the nod-ready riffs the six-piece ride into smoked-out oblivion, Blunt Force Trauma outstones the stoners and is a mean boogie the whole way through. They had it up somewhere at some point, and I already said it came out last year and was available from the band on CD, so I wouldn’t exactly call this a premiere, but I’m happy to be able to feature Weed is Weed anyway on the day of the Ripple release, and you’ll find the album in its entirety on the player below.
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Weed is Weed‘s Blunt Force Trauma is out now on Ripple Music. More info at the links.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After releasing their debut EP, Eat up the Sun, last year on Superhot Records, London trio Vodun – also seen as Vôdûn — issue their new single “Loa’s Kingdom” today as a free download in order to provide advance warning of their first full-length, which is due out next year. The three-piece take their cues from psychedelic rock, churning metallic tones and Afrobeat rhythmic complexity, and donning costumes and makeup for their stage show, they give a visual impression of a rawer form of Goat. The two acts actually share very little in common sonically, so don’t be fooled going into “Loa’s Kingdom,” which seems to subliminally implant its hook as it rushes past for a quick, under-three-minute listen.
Aside from the aesthetic vigilance, it’s that ability to blend memorable songcraft and a feeling of chaos that impresses most about Vodun, who never lose control of the material even when it seems most like it’s about to fly off the rails. Beginning with heavy rocks starts and stops and a forward percussive presence, “Loa’s Kingdom” unfolds with preaching vocals and a manic build of tension that lets loose in its chorus, the bass-less trio of singer Chantal Brown, drummer Zel Kaute (also of Groan) and guitarist Oliver Martinez enacting dizzying turns before a steady nod emerges. It’s a ferocious rush, and if it takes you two or three times through before you get your head around the song, my hope is you’ll consider it worth the effort.
Vodun head out on a round of UK dates Oct. 24. Find that list and some more info on “Loa’s Kingdom” under the player below, and enjoy:
Loa’s Kingdom is about the desire to transcend into the realm of the Gods – your highest self. A kingdom only fit for supreme beings, who must first pay penance to Papa Legba, as all the spirits do. He is the first and last, the beginning and end. He is the one who will let you into their world, and the one to let you out, so be generous with your offerings…
Rising from the ashes of London’s female-fronted metal band Invasion, VODUN blends a unique concoction of heavy metal and psychedelism, while embracing the African/Caribbean culture in the fullest possible way ever. Successfully reborn as voodoo Loa spirits Oya, Ogoun and Ghede, VODUN unleashed their first EP « Eat Up The Sun » in 2013, a perfect introduction to the trio’s singular and thrilling blend of shredding guitars, blazing rhythms and soulful vocals. After completing a short UK tour, the band revealed a vibrant new single entitled “Possession” (released in 2014 via the “New Heavy Sounds Vol. 3″ compilation), thus paving the way for their debut full-length, due out later in 2015. Second excerpt off VODUN’s forthcoming record, « Loa’s Kingdom » is a highly energetic ode to spiritual elevation marked by pounding riffage and incredibly catchy hooks. Get ready to unleash your inner Loa…
TOUR DATES 24.10 CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms 25.10 COLCHESTER – The Old Bus Station 26.10 NOTTINGHAM – Stuck On A Name 27.10 WAKEFIELD – The Unity 28.10 MANCHESTER – Kraak Gallery 29.10 LIVERPOOL – Maguires Pizza Bar 30.10 BRISTOL – Mothers Ruin 01.11 LONDON – The Victoria
Posted in audiObelisk on October 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are three tracks included on He Whose Ox is Gored‘s forthcoming Rumors 7″ (out Oct. 28 on Bleeding Light Records), and of them, “Buried Twice” is the shortest at 2:45. I was given my choice of any of the three for streaming, and while normally my impulse in that kind of situation is to go with the longest cut possible — in this case that would be the B-side, “Rumors,” at 5:18 — for the Seattle four-piece, I think “Buried Twice” is a crisp summary of the intensity that’s so central to their sound and their ability to balance that with a still-focused songwriting that ignores neither structure nor atmosphere. In picking one of the three, “Buried Twice” couldn’t help but stand out for how well all that is crammed into less than three minutes and how memorable the song is for passing in what’s essentially a flash.
Comprised of Lisa Mungo on synths/vocals guitarist/vocalist Brian McClelland, bassist/vocalist Mike Sparks and drummer John O’Connell, the band released their Nightshade EP earlier this year — it was also compiled with 2010’s OP AMPS II: Into the Ether on a tape by Breathe Plastic Records — as the latest in a slew of short releases, and their drive toward efficiency is no less prevalent on Rumors. With Mungo out front on vocals, they run a line of melody through what in other contexts would be fuzzed-out noise rock, but the emphasis there should be on “run.” “Void Assault,” “Buried Twice” and “Rumors” keep a steady sense of movement through them, not only making the material exciting, but giving it a sense of unpredictability as well. “Buried Twice” might catch you off guard, but let it. That only makes the effect more satisfying.
Five-hundred copies of the vinyl will be pressed by Bleeding Light. The band have a bunch of West Coast dates lined up starting right after the release, and you’ll find them after the player below, along with some more info from the PR wire:
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HE WHOSE OX IS GORED and Bleeding Light Records have joined forces to release the Seattle doom alchemists’ upcoming new 7″. Entitled Rumors, the three-song EP will see a digital release October 28, 2014, with a limited 500-strong vinyl pressing to follow. HWOIG have built a dedicated fanbase through DIY acumen and the irresistible pull of their heavy, fuzz-drenched, progressive-minded and thoroughly intriguing take on proggy rockin’ doom, all bolstered by Lisa Mungo’s powerful, windswept pipes.
The band will be hitting the road immediately after, tooling down the West Coast. They’ll arrive back home in Seattle at the Sunset Tavern on 11/16 to end it all in blaze of glory and prepare their imminent full-length for eventual release. There’s no rest for the wicked…
HE WHOSE OX IS GORED WEST COAST TOUR 10/30 Portland, OR @ Club 21 w/ Sioux & Towers 10/31 Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Eyehategod, Today is the Day, Power Trip, Iron Reagan & Plague Widow 11/1 Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull w/ Dimesland, Cormorant & Barren Altar 11/2 LA, CA @ Complex w/ QunQ, Facial & Half Goon 11/3 Las Vegas, NV @ The Dive w/ Uzala & Demon Lung 11/4 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room w/ Uzala, Cardinal Wyrm & Sorxe 11/5 Tucson, AZ @ Flycatcher 11/6 San Diego, CA @ Merrow w/ Deep Sea Thunder Beast 11/7 Lancaster, CA @ Lancaster Moose Lodge w/ Child Brides, Sona, Litaoa & Cactus 1994 11/8 San Francisco, CA @ El Rio w/ Worship 11/9 Reno, NV @ Holland Project w/ Sisters Doom 11/16 Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
Posted in audiObelisk on October 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Coming soon through Dutch imprint Headspin Records is a new split 12″ from German psych purveyors Krautzone and New Zealand’s Lamp of the Universe that features extended works from both bands and an overarching swirl between them that’s irresistibly if expectedly hypnotic. For Krautzone, whose lineup boasts members of Zone Six and Electric Moon – Sula Bassana and Modulfix on synth, Onkel Kaktus on bass, Komet Lulu on drums, Rainer Neeff (also The Pancakes) on guitar — it is the follow-up to their 2013 Sulatron Records debut, Kosmiche Rituale, and it presents in similar form. That album showcased three longer tracks of jammed out heavy space/Krautrock prog, and the new split follows suit, with the aptly-named two-parter “Superkraut” taking up the entirety of their side, accounting for 22 minutes of spaced-out instrumental progression, a steady current of organ and guitar fuzz marking out the improv-sounding jam in its first half while the second part gets even farther out into the cosmos, the drums holding firm as swirling drones begin a build of guitar that starts serene and ends serene but offers a surging wash of noise along the way in a satisfying trance of a journey.
While Krautzone plunge into the dark matter reaches of an unexplored spectrum, Lamp of the Universe provide fitting complement by taking that same search and turning it inward. Those familiar with the solo-project of Hamilton-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Craig Williamson know he’s always had a deeply spiritual approach, and his 22-minute track for this split, “Doors of Perception,” behaves accordingly, but where Williamson (ex-Datura) has spent the last couple years in the more straightforward heavy rock-minded Arc of Ascent and even Lamp of the Universe‘s last outing, 2013’s Transcendence (review here), seemed to move in a more traditional songwriting direction, “Doors of Perception” opens with seven-plus minutes of effects swirl before Williamson‘s signature clean-sounding acoustic guitar kicks in, and if you’ve been listening front to back after Krautzone‘s two tracks, the arrival of vocals about a minute later is like the exhale that must come when you reach the temple at the top of a mountain. Williamson unfolds a gorgeous, contemplative progression and then gradually gives way once again to psychedelic experimentation after the 13th minute, sitar, wah guitar and percussion gradually bringing the piece to a noisy apex.
The two acts pair together remarkably well, and both “Superkraut” and “Doors of Perception” offer substantial glimpses of psychedelic flourish that seem bent on drawing the distinction between consciousness and self. I encourage you to dig in on the player below, and be wary of getting lost in the lushness of the tones and vibes:
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Krautzone and Lamp of the Universe‘s split LP is coming soon on Headspin Records in a limited pressing of 500 copies — 200 color vinyl, 300 black — and boasts a silver embossed cover by Lulu Artwork. More info at the links.
Posted in Radio on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yeah, it’s been a couple weeks since I added records to The Obelisk Radio playlist, mostly because these posts are a pain to set up, but once again, I’ve been keeping track of stuff to go up and this time around we’ve got 24 new albums joining the ranks. Some of it is stuff recently covered — 35007, Ice Dragon, Truckfighters — and some has yet to be — Nick Oliveri, Brant Bjork — but as ever, it’s a lot of good stuff, so if you get the chance to hit up the playlist and updates page, you should find plenty there for your perusal, in addition to the running tab of the playlist, which from where I sit puts the whole stream in a different league of enjoyable. Hope you agree.
A lot to cover, so let’s get to it.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Oct. 3, 2014:
The Melvins, Hold it In
Sometimes I have to wonder how it is that for a band who are so off the wall and experimental one can still basically approach any Melvins record no matter who’s involved in making it and have a decent idea of what to expect. Yeah, guitarist/vocalist King Buzzo and drummer Dale Crover have hooked up with JD Pinkus and Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers, and yeah, “You Can Make Me Wait” sounds like it would play over alternate universe credits to The Breakfast Club, but a lot of Hold it In (released by Ipecac) — “Bride of Crankenstein,” “Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad,” “Sesame Street Meat,” “Nine Yards” — is pretty much in the Melvins wheelhouse. It’s in moments like the jangly “Eyes on You,” trucker rocking “Piss Pisstoferson,” spacious seven-minute jammer “The Bunk Up” and sprawling noise finish “House of Gasoline” that Hold it In really distinguishes itself, but there are stretches even in those where the Melvins just continue to sound like the Melvins. I know they’ve got a fanbase that will eagerly snap up everything they do, and after 30 years of busting their collective ass on tour and in the studio without major commercial success, I’ll far from begrudge them their following, it just seems like for as much praise is heaped in the direction of every new Melvins release, there’s not nearly as much genuinely new ground being broken as time goes on and that even the gleefully weird territory Hold it In covers is starting to feel an awful lot like a comfort zone. The Melvins on Thee Facebooks, Ipecac Recordings.
Slow Season, Mountain
Whichever of Cali four-piece Slow Season‘s parents introduced them to Led Zeppelin, thanks. The Visalia outfit will release their second album, Mountains, this November on RidingEasy Records, following-up a 2012 self-titled, and by way of advance notice, the thing’s a ripper, echoing out Plant-style vocals and Bonham stomp with an underlying skater-rock groove that fits well with the label’s output in bands like The Well, Electric Citizen, and so on. Of course, there’s more than thatat play — second cut “Synanon” reminds of some of The Flying Eyes‘ heavy psych rollout — but from the oohing and ahhing that cap “Damo’s Days” to the bombast that comes to the fore in “Wasted Years,” Zeppelin are a central influence, bolstered throughout by touches of early Soundgarden and forays into mega-swagger for “King City” and acoustic psychedelia in “Apparition.” Mountains‘ bread and butter, though, is the meaty riffer fare of “Shake” and closer “The Defector,” the sheer arrogance of which impresses, let alone the fluidity of the riff or the obvious aesthetic drive of the production. Slow Season on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
Beak, Let Time Begin
Not to be confused with Beak>, who are a different band entirely, post-metal four-piece Beak are based in Chicago and Let Time Begin (released by Someoddpilot Records) is their chugging, growling, atmospherically ranging debut full-length. Chicago has proven a hotbed for the genre, and Beak seem well aware of the tenets, trading off crushing riffs for atmospheric post-rock airiness, the lineup of Chris Eichenseer, Jason Goldberg, Andy Bosnak and Jon Slusher taking an Isis influence to unexpected synthy weirdness on “The Breath of Universe” — a vocoder early bringing to mind some of Cynic‘s post-reunion proggism — after the lumbering of “Light Outside.” Longer songs like “Into the Light” and “Carry a Fire” flow well, incorporating some blackened guitar squibblies and echoing screams between them, and the penultimate “Over the Shelter, the Morning” moves from abrasive feedback to contemplative ambience ahead of “Fiery They Rose,” which meters out weighty pummel but ultimately caps Let Time Begin on a subdued note that’s both satisfying and emblematic of a burgeoning will toward individuality. Beak on Thee Facebooks, Someoddpilot Records.
GravelRoad, El Scuerpo
Seattle blues rockers GravelRoad get the vibe just right on “Waiting for Nothing,” which opens their fifth album, El Scuerpo (Knick Knack Records), rocking out quiet, unpostured blues to lead the way into the record’s varied takes, from the boogie-woogie shuffle of “40 Miles” to the psychedelic fluidity of “Green Grass,” straight-up heavy rock of “DD Amin,” languid roll of “Asteroid” and upbeat finish of “Flesh and Bone,” which is among the happiest songs I’ve ever heard about cannibalism. My chief issue with some of their past work has been a tendency toward disjointedness and a modern blues production style that hones in on clarity and the brightness of the guitar and gives up some of the malevolence of the low end — something more related to my own perspective listening than the actual mission of the band — but El Scuerpo flows well and a mix by Jack “Yes, That Jack Endino” Endino treats eight-minute heavy jam rocker “Asteroid” with its due reverence, and the more I hear it, the more I want to hear it. GravelRoad on Thee Facebooks, Knick Knack Records.
Lords of Beacon House, Lords of Beacon House
Los Angeles heavy rockers Lords of Beacon House serve notice of their arrival this fall via a three-song EP on Homhomhom that takes loose, Graveyard-style ’70s worship and adds a touch of Western flair in the snare march of “Seven Days” and Sabbathian string pull on “Cool Water Blues.” The EP (they call it an album, it’s really more of a demo, but whatever you want to call it) runs shortest to longest, and opener “Distant Thunder” is the most straightforward of the bunch accordingly, but even in its 8-track chug, Lords of Beacon House showcase natural tones and a penchant for writing strong hooks that continues right through until the last repeat of the line “I asked for water/She gave me gasoline” in “Cool Water Blues,” which rounds out with familiar if welcome nod. They’re a new band and so far as I can tell, this self-titled is the first audio they’ve made public, but they seem to have a handle on what they want to do, and that’s never a bad place to start working from. More to come, I’m sure, and thanks to Bill Goodman for steering me their way. Lords of Beacon House on Thee Facebooks, Homhomhom.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Experimentalists of the proggy psychedelia, Portland’s Eternal Tapestry always seem to conjure something different with each release. Their latest outing, Guru Overload – I keep wanting to type “overlord,” but it’s not, it’s “overload” — is available now through Finland’s Oaken Palace Records and is a hypnotically ambient collection of Krautrock-inspired musings given melt-in-it presence through warm tones, synthesized beats and a self-directed will to let an idea go where it will. With an opening duo that comprises more than half the total 41-minute runtime, Guru Overload is shoegaze peaceful and heavy psych resonant without giving way really to one side or another.
This is respectable in itself, but the spirit throughout has less to do with respectability than with tripping out on wah-drenched vibery and languid rhythmic push on opener “Trout Fishing on the Street of Eternity” or the later, drone-fueled “The Double Bed Dream Gallows,” which rings out minimalism in swirling tones behind a barely-there guitar. Each of the five included cuts gives something of a different take, but by the time “Trout Fishing on the Street of Eternity” and the 11-minute follow-up, “Karma Repair Kit,” are done, one is bound to be lost in the album’s flow. More to the point, “Karma Repair Kit” in itself has a formidable dangling-watch effect, the five-piece pulling a “you’re getting very sleepy” with what, because of the beat underneath, winds up being one of Guru Overload‘s more grounded jams. Still, its blend of organic and synth elements and the not-all-who-wander-ism throughout make “Karma Repair Kit” a more than satisfying journey in itself, and an excellent sample of the cranial alterations Eternal Tapestry render so smoothly across the board.
The album is out as of this past weekend in 140g vinyl through Oaken Palace, with proceeds going to The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. More info follows the song, which you can stream on the player below.
Oaken Palace Records is proud to announce the release of the new full-length by Portland-based psych overlords Eternal Tapestry! As every release on Oaken Palace Records, the new album – entitled Guru Overload – is dedicated to an endangered species. Eternal Tapestry have chosen the orang-utan, and all profits will be donated to The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.
Guru Overload, mastered by James Plotkin, features 5 new jams that the band recorded in a private cabin deep in the woods. The album manages to strike a balance between the freaked-out “A World Out Of Time” and the more laid-back “Dawn In 2 Dimensions”, both in terms of style as well as track length. The result is a wonderfully smooth flow of new material that combines exotic and new sounds with the best of Krautrock and Psychedelic Rock.
The first pressing will be limited to 500 copies on 140g red vinyl, housed in a 100% recycled card sleeve, printed with non-toxic colours, and produced by a carbon neutral pressing plant. An additional 20 test pressing copies on black vinyl, housed in hand-crafted sleeves with alternative artwork, will be available exclusively in the Oaken Palace webshop. Both editions come with a free download code. Oaken Palace Records is a registered charity (#1154786).
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This one’s beamed in from a universe of all good times. I don’t want to walk around tooting my own horn like I actually did anything, but you’ll pardon me if I say that once you get on board here, you might not want to jump back off. The flow is up and down, alternately drawn out and rushing, and right up to the last song which is a bit of a return to earth, the second hour is the most spaced out it’s ever been around these parts. I’m way into it. I hope you’re way into it.
Like last time, I tried to get a mix of excellent stuff upcoming with other recent items you might’ve missed. One of these days I’m gonna do another one of these where I talk, but this is straight-up track into track the whole way through and I think it moves really well that way. Please feel free to grab a download or hit the stream and dig in and enjoy.
The Melvins, “Sesame Street Meat” from Hold it In (2014)
Fever Dog, “One Thousand Centuries” from Second Wind (2014)
Lo-Pan, “Eastern Seas” from Colossus (2014)
Witchrider, “Black” from Unmountable Stairs (2014)
Alunah, “Awakening the Forest” from Awakening the Forest (2014)
Craang, “Magnolia” from To the Estimated Size of the Universe (2014)
Slow Season, “Shake” from Mountains (2014)
Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, “Guillotine” from The Shining One (2014)
The Proselyte, “Irish Goodbye” from Our Vessel’s in Need (2014)
Flood, “Lake Nyos” from Oak (2014)
Lord, “Golgotha” from Alive in Golgotha (2014)
My Brother the Wind, “Garden of Delights” from Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One (2014)
Spidergawd, “Empty Rooms” from Spidergawd (2014)
The Myrrors, “Whirling Mountain Blues” from Solar Collector (2014)
Witch Mountain, “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)” from Mobile of Angels (2014)
Posted in audiObelisk on September 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you didn’t know, this Saturday, Sept. 27, is Cassette Store Day, a tape-minded answer to the hugely successful Record Store Day initiative supporting independent music retailers. I’m sure you did know, because you’re on top of it like that, but more to the point, Allston’s Phantom Glue have a special release coming out to mark the occasion. Working with Negative Fun Records, they’ll release Angels of Meth, a four-track demo collection taken from their early going when they worked under that moniker.
A lot of what works today about Phantom Glue was present in their sound back then — their blend of raw punk, sludge and metal — but of course the demo material is less solidified than the band would become by the time they got around to releasing their 2009 self-titled debut (review here) or A War of Light Cones (review here) last year. Their aesthetic was plenty assured by the first album and refined as much as something so bruising can be called refined on the second. The Angels of Meth demo has the elements there, but it’s a nastier churn and a dirtier distortion lurching out of their amps. Of course, this has an appeal entirely of its own on a song like “Tazed,” which I’m happy to have the chance to host for streaming ahead of the demo’s release.
The track hasn’t been completely unavailable or anything. If you’re willing to dig through the morass that MySpace has become, you can find it hidden somewhere in Phantom Glue‘s profile. This, however, is much easier (and higher quality), so I’ll go ahead and encourage you to just press play below instead. Angels of Meth will be the first time this material has been physically pressed as well.
Track and release info follow, courtesy of Negative Fun. Enjoy:
For all intents and purposes, Phantom Glue is Angels of Meth. The band was birthed by Matt Oates and has existed in various states since the mid-2000s.
The band was known as Angels of Meth up through the recording of the Phantom Glue S/T’d record. It wasn’t until after the recording process was completed for the Phantom Glue’s s/t record that the band decided to change the name.
This is the 1st recorded output from the band, which has never existed in a physical format until now, and further illustrates the dramatic development and shift in sound from release to release.