Karma to Burn Debut Two Making of Arch Stanton Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Today, Jan. 26, is an off-date for Karma to Burn‘s current North American tour. Last night, they were in Dallas for show number 18 of the 33-date run. Tomorrow, they’ll be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, alongside Sierra, with whom they’ve been touring in support of the US release of their latest album, Arch Stanton (review here). The instrumental trio, whose roots trace back to guitarist/founder Will Mecum‘s origins in Morgantown, West Virginia, have always done it the hard way, and this stint I’m quite sure is no exception.

But then, there’s always been something argumentative at the heart of Karma to Burn. Since the original lineup of the band came roaring back in 2010 with their fourth full-length, Appalachian Incantation (review here), Karma to Burn have reminded both friends and foes of their uncompromising position when it comes to straight-ahead riffing and the vision at the heart of their project. Mecum, who leads the trio now comprised of himself, drummer Evan Devine and bassist Eric Clutter, is the driving force behind Karma to Burn‘s no-frills heaviness, and half a decade after the group’s rebirth, there’s as little room for argument as ever.

Switzerland-based Snakehill Productions has put together a series of behind-the-scenes videos interviewing Karma to Burn about some of their life on tour and their general feelings and attitudes on being in the band at this point. It’s called “The Making of Arch Stanton,” but the vibe is really more about getting into what it’s like being Karma to Burn than about which amps were used to record “54” or anything like that. Either way, it’s a cool chance to hear MecumDevine and Clutter talk about what they’re listening to and what they dig about playing different songs, as well as their picks for the next in the band’s line of intermittent vocalists.

Remaining tour dates follow the clips below. Enjoy:

Karma to Burn, The Making of Arch Stanton Pt. 3 & 4

Pt. 1 & 2 can be viewed here.

KARMA TO BURN & SIERRA North American Tour

Remaining dates:
1/27/2015 Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
1/28/2015 The Nile Theater – Mesa, AZ
1/30/2015 Loaded – Hollywood, CA
1/31/2015 Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
2/01/2015 Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA
2/03/2015 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
2/04/2015 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
2/06/2015 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
2/07/2015 The Shredder – Boise, ID
2/08/2015 Area 51 – Salt Lake City, UT
2/09/2015 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
2/10/2015 Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
2/11/2015 Fubar – St Louis, MO
2/12/2015 Red Line Tap – Chicago, IL
2/13/2015 123 Pleasant Street – Morgantown, WV

Karma to Burn’s website

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Friday Full-Length: Motörhead, Overkill

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Motörhead, Overkill (1979)

Thirty-four of the most bullshit-free minutes ever pressed to a record. There are a lot of reasons to dig Motörhead, and they’re just about all accounted for at one point or another on Overkill, their 1979 sophomore album and one of three records (granted one of them was prior-recorded) they’d have out that year in the wake of the success of their 1977 self-titled debut. Too metal for punks and too punk to really be metal, Motörhead would nonetheless become a pivotal name dirtying up the cleaner, classier intentions of the NWOBHM in the early ’80s, and Overkill helped set the stage for that. Its raw power and full sprint were pivotal in the development of thrash as well, and as much as Motörhead – then the lineup of bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, guitarist Fast Eddie Clark and drummer Philip “Philthy Animal” Taylor — are forever bound to the landmark property that is “Ace of Spades,” songs like “Stay Clean,” “Overkill,” “No Class” and “Metropolis” are every bit as essential, and from the bruiser rock of “(I Won’t) Pay Your Price” to the could-have-been-Hawkwind “Capricorn” and the swaggering “Limb from Limb,” Overkill is a whiskey-drunk, balls-out classic that’s every bit the “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” album its reputed to be.

Motörhead don’t get much coverage around here, unless you count bands doing covers or Woody‘s column, the title of which is in reference to this LP, and I have my reasons for that. Their insurmountable history is one — more tours and records than just about anyone could count — and the fact that they’re more or less a given is another. You might be familiar with Overkill and you might not, but there’s just about no way you’re going to click play on the YouTube video above and it’s the first time you’ve ever heard Motörhead. Shit, they have their own cruise! It’s not like they’re hurting for press or there’s much left to say about them that’s never been said. You might as well write poetry about the moon.

But of course, plenty of people do that as well. I hope you enjoy Overkill. This is the 1996 reissue, so some bonus tracks kick in at the 34th minute. Listen to them or don’t. More Motörhead never hurt anybody, unless you count tinnitus.

Kind of a quiet week, at least on a personal level. That suits me at this point. My ankle is just about healed up save for some pretty specific flexibility issues, and my grandmother seems to be getting stronger physically after last week’s scare. She’s 99, so it’s not like she’s gonna go out and do a six-minute mile, but standing up is progress. I also left the house yesterday and didn’t get pulled over by any cops, which was a welcome change from the norm.

Of course, I live in terror even saying such things that a piano will magically fall from the sky as I walk to the mailbox or something, but my point is it was a stressful couple weeks to start 2015 and I’ll take what I can get as regards moments to catch my breath. I’m going to a show tonight in Providence to see USA out of Vietnam, and I’ll have a review of that early next week. Monday, an audio premiere from India’s Shepherd and a premiere of two behind-the-scenes Karma to Burn clips, so plenty going on one way or another.

Also planning on having a new podcast up before next week is out and I’ll review Sonny Simmons and Moksha Samnyasin and Torche albums and the second Black Moon Circle LP if there’s time. The radio stream has been running on the backup server most of this week, so I didn’t do a round of adds, but I should hopefully have something going in that direction by next Friday. Fingers crossed.

Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, Nick Oliveri and Members of Saviours Cover “Hellbound Train” in Chicago, 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Last week, when I posted about Royale Daemons, a new trio featuring Scott “Wino” WeinrichNick Oliveri and Joey Castillo – whose debut show in L.A. got canceled; an auspicious start — I failed to make the connection of how the seeds of the collaboration between Wino and Oliveri likely started. Wino, playing acoustic, toured with Oliveri‘s band Mondo Generator at the start of 2013. Saviours were also on the bill, and at least during several of the gigs, WinoOliveri and some of the members of Saviours got on stage together and jammed. Seems likely that’s where the idea of Wino and Oliveri teaming up got its beginning. The same thing happened with Wino & Conny Ochs, the two having first met while on tour together in Europe.

“Hellbound Train” is a song that kicked around Wino solo sets and sets on the Wino & Conny Ochs tour for the better part of 2012 and 2013. He may or may not still play it, I haven’t seen an acoustic gig from him in a while at this point. Originally by Savoy Brown and appearing on the 1972 album of the same name, it’s open to a smooth guitar jam the kind of which the Wino/Oliveri/Saviours troupe provided, no fewer than three acoustic guitars involved along with Oliveri‘s electric bass and the drums. When that tour was winding down, I posted a full set from Pittsburgh in which the same kind of thing took place, noting at the time that a collaboration between Wino and Oliveri would be “awesome.” Glad to know my feelings on that have not changed in the intervening two years.

This weeks’ Wino Wednesday footage, however, is just the jam itself. It comes from Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago on Jan. 6, 2013, on the same tour and boasts another comfortable-sounding, engaging jam. The crowd seems to like it, if all the “woo”-ing is anything to go by.


Wino, Nick Oliveri & Saviours, “Hellbound Train” live in Chicago, Jan. 6, 2013

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Castle Set “A Killing Pace” in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

castle a killing pace video

There’s a fair amount of strobe in “A Killing Pace,” the new video from San Francisco metallers Castle, the song taken from their Billy Anderson-produced 2014 album, Under Siege, so if that kind of thing bothers you, be forewarned, but with some relatively simple ideas — shots of the band, visual metaphors of people as beasts of burden, etc. — the clip makes an atmospheric impression that adds to the intensity of the song itself. Consistently, there’s something brooding that underlies Castle‘s material, which has just as much thrash to it, if not more, as it does doom, and the video clearly works toward that in a minimalist-looking-but-definitely-not-minimalist-editing kind of aesthetic.

Castle – the three-piece of vocalist/bassist Liz Blackwell, guitarist Mat Davis and drummer Al McCartney — have been on the road since Jan. 16, bringing their darker themes out for a run up and down their native California for a total of 13 shows that will culminate on Jan 31 at The Garage in Ventura on a tour they’re aptly calling “California Cult.” California is probably one of two states in the Union where you could get away with such a thing — Texas is the other, and you’d be roughing it on some of those shows — but Castle seem to have picked the right spots for maximum coverage of their home state. I wouldn’t mind a two-week road trip in CA either, especially as it comes ahead of a European tour announcement.

The video for “A Killing Pace” and their remaining tour dates follow:

Castle, “A Killing Pace” official video

“A Killing Pace”, the new video from San Francisco doom-tinged heavy metal trio CASTLE, can be seen below. The clip was directed by Jaan Silmberg for Toronto-based Pistoltrixx.

“A Killing Pace” is taken from the bands third album “Under Siege” – which was produced by Billy Anderson (Cathedral, Sleep, Neurosis).

CASTLE guitarist and songwriter Mat Davis stated about the new music video, “We wanted to dial in the brooding intensity of the song with claustrophobic images and make it play visually like a haunted roller-coaster ride to the psyche”.

To coincide with the release of the video CASTLE is set to embark on the “California Cult Tour”, a two week headlining trek through California beginning January 16th in Riverside, CA. The band has also recently been confirmed to play Van Records “Acherontic Arts Fest” in Oberhausen, Germany on May 1st. A full European tour will be announced in the coming weeks.

1/21 Fresno, CA – Audies Olympic
1/22 San Francisco, CA – The Eagle
1/23 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
1/24 Redding, CA – Bombays
1/27 Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon
1/28 San Jose, CA – The Rock Shop
1/29 Oakland, CA – The Golden Bull
1/30 Los Angeles, CA – Five Star Bar
1/31 Ventura, CA – The Garage

Castle’s website

Castle on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records

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Mondo Drag Post “Zephyr” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mondo drag zephyr video

It’s the shortest track on the album, but “Zephyr” is a pretty efficient summary of what Oakland-based Mondo Drag have going on their self-titled offering (review here), newly released as of Jan. 16 on Kozmik Artifactz. The keys-laden shuffle and resonant psychedelic boogie that fades in to start the record continues as a running theme throughout, and though it’s just a snippet of the fleshed-out and expansive whole, “Zephyr” serves well along with the trippy imagery, animated cover art and stellar photography that get interlaced along with the video itself, the whole thing feeding into a space rock thick on vibe and progressive in tone. So like I say, an efficient summary of the album.

Recorded in Iowa before the band relocated to the West Coast, Mondo Drag features the rhythm section of Zack Anderson and Cory Berry, both formerly of Radio Moscow, who would go on to found Blues Pills after recording with Mondo Drag guitarists Nolan Girard and Jake Sheley and vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, who have continued on in Oakland, bringing in bassist Ventura Garcia and drummer Andrew O’Neil to help forge the next stage of the five-piece. When output might arrive from Mondo Drag as they are now, I don’t know, but for being the result of a brief period in the band’s history, the self-titled offers a glimpse at something special. So think of the new clip as a glimpse at the glimpse, if that makes any sense. Either way, those must have been some jams that birthed these songs.

Video for “Zephyr” below, followed by the album release announcement and live dates off the PR wire:

Mondo Drag, “Zephyr” official video


Heavy psych / prog band MONDO DRAG has just released their Self-Titled LP and a music video for the single, ‘Zephyr’. The Oakland, CA-based outfit’s heavy-hitting Self-Titled LP has been released via Kozmik Artifactz – on CD and vinyl (180-gram, gatefold LP).

Mondo Drag
Album: Mondo Drag
Label: Kozmik Artifactz
Artwork by: Robert Beatty
Video: Matt Robeson

This album features the lineup of John Gamino (vocals / keyboards), Nolan Girard (guitar), Jake Sheley (guitar), and the rhythm section of Zack Anderson (bass), and Cory Berry (drums), both formerly of Radio Moscow and founding members of Blues Pills.

January 25 – San Francisco, CA – Brick And Mortar Music Hall
February 13 – Oakland, CA – Leo’s Music Club (RECORD RELEASE SHOW)
February 27 – San Francisco, CA – Brick And Mortar Music Hall (NOISE POP)

Mondo Drag’s website

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Friday Full-Length: Sons of Otis, Spacejumbofudge

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sons of Otis, Spacejumbofudge (1996)

What’s not to like about Sons of Otis? Putting on the Toronto trio’s 1996 debut LP, Spacejumbofudge, is like listening to Monster Magnet at half-speed — an engrossing murk of tone and gurgling heavy psychedelia that feels like it’s swallowing audience and universe alike. The core of the band’s sound has always been slow, lurching riffs and expansive fuzz, the bellowed vocals taking a back seat to the all-consuming low-end. Their nod is primal, and as Spacejumbofudge proves, that’s been the idea the whole time.

Man’s Ruin Records picked up the band for the 1999 release of their second album, Templeball, and did a reissue of Spacejumbofudge with Frank Kozik art and a partially revamped tracklist the next year. When that label folded, Sons of Otis issued their third album, Songs for Worship, via The Music Cartel on Sept. 11, 2001 — timing is everything — and were one of several acts to be picked up by Small Stone, in good company with Acid KingDozerNatas and (The Men of) Porn. Their fourth, X, followed in 2005, and 2009’s Exiled (review here) and 2012’s Seismic (review here) affirmed their reign among the most stoned of the stoners, guitarist Ken Baluke‘s branded Oxfuzz effects swirl making an impression wholly distinct from the rising tide of heaviness around them.

Some six albums earlier, it’s maybe not such a shocker that Spacejumbofudge is rawer than the likes of Seismic, but a lot of what would typify Sons of Otis‘ sound over the better part of the next two decades is right there on the first album, even if it’s not as jammed out. Baluke, bassist Frank Sargeant and drummer Ryan Aubin are reportedly no longer with Small Stone, but there’s nothing to necessarily indicate they’re done as a band. While it’s been three years already since Seismic was first issued, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find Sons of Otis rising again sooner or later with another massive wall of fuzz built up behind them. Here’s hoping, anyway.

Now, I don’t believe in fate or the tempting thereof, but last Friday, spiritually exhausted and physically injured, I had the gall to say this: “What happens next? What shitty misadventure awaits? I don’t know and I don’t really care.”

Once again, I don’t believe in tempting fate, but Friday evening I started getting reports that Ed Barnard of Doommantia had died, I put together a tribute to the guy and the reports turned out on Monday to be wrong — I’m glad he’s still alive, and I certainly felt like a jackass for saying otherwise — and in the interim, I got call Friday from my family in New Jersey that my 99-year-old grandmother was in the emergency room, in and out of lucidity and I should probably think of heading down.

It had been less than a week since I was last in New Jersey, and if you’re not from this part of the world, let me explain to you that it’s a minimum four-hour ride from where I live in Massachusetts. A not inconsiderable trip, despite the frequency with which I make it. I’m not 20 years old anymore. I get fucking tired. But it’s my grandmother who, again, is 99, so what am I going to do? Be like, “No, I’m beat and I can barely walk and I’m staying home?” Of course not.

Last Saturday morning, The Patient Mrs. and I hightailed it to Jersey, and I spent two nights at the hospital, Saturday and Sunday overnight, with about two hours of sleep between them while my grandmother, not recognizing me or my sister who also stayed, accused us of stealing from her and redoing her house — it was the hospital room — without her permission. It feels like a complete-enough review of the experience to say it sucked. Monday she went home and has been receiving in-home care since. The Patient Mrs. — who was brilliant and set up said in-home care and is wonderful and whom I’m so lucky to have in my life — and I were at her house, and grandma still didn’t know who I was. “Who do I have in my family that’s an editor and has a beard and hair like yours?” I could only point to myself.

What a shitter.

I slept as hard as I’ve ever slept in my adult life on Monday night, and Tuesday we came back to Massachusetts because The Patient Mrs. was — news to me as of the day before — flying to Austin, Texas, to visit a friend early on Wednesday. Probably better she didn’t tell me, to be honest, because it just would’ve been one more thing to worry about. In a welcome home fitting to my entire experience living in this area, I got a ticket en route to the airport in an empty (apart from the officer and I) speed-trap highway tunnel where the limit dropped to 35 miles an hour. Fucking perfect. I didn’t even answer the cop when he gave me the thing, just rolled up my window and proceeded on to terminal B. She comes back tomorrow, does The Patient Mrs., and I shit you not I haven’t left the house since I got back Wednesday afternoon except to get mail and take out and bring back in the recycling containers. I’m 33 years old. I’d blame the weather, which is shit forever, or the fact that I’m broke, but that’s not even it. I just don’t have anywhere to go. Unless, of course, you count New Jersey.

In Lord of the Rings, in one of the appendices it talks about how Arwen goes into the forest, I think at Cerin Amroth, and just sits there long enough that she becomes a tree. I feel like I’m about to become my couch. Like father, like son, but that’s a whole different story.

Not looking for sympathy on any of this, just trying to tell you what’s up and clear my head. A while ago I asked on Thee Facebooks about longer vs. shorter reviews and some guy said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m reading your diary. Less of that.” Ha.

Hey, seven posts today! Look at that. Have a great weekend. Smiley face.

Forum, Radio.

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo to Debut this Weekend as Royale Daemons

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Some exciting Wino-related news today in the announcement that he, former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri and former Danzig/Goatsnake/Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo have teamed up in a new band called Royale Daemons. The trio will make their live debut this coming Sunday at the Complex in Glendale, California, along with acoustic sets from both Wino and Oliveri at what seems to be a matinee put on by Church of the 8th Day. Here’s the info:

[PLEASE NOTE: As per an update from Oliveri, the show has been canceled. More if/when I hear it.]


That’s about all I know. The possibilities are pretty wide open for what kind of outfit Royale Daemons actually is — other than well-voweled — since Wino, Oliveri and Castillo have all proven over the years to be wildly versatile. Oliveri also debuted with his solo project Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable last year (streamed here), and how this might affect that, I’ve no idea. But whether it’s an acoustic thing, or a full-on heavy rock trio, something jammy, something doomed, or all or none of it, there’s no doubt this crew can handle whatever stylistic turns might come up. Needless to say, I’ll be looking for video next week from the show on Sunday, and whatever I find, I’ll pass along.

Until then, since Wino‘s also doing an acoustic set at the show, it made sense to me to hit up something from his initial solo run. The below clip comes from his European tour in 2010 supporting the Adrift album, and it’s the Motörhead cover “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” that’s been featured in Wino Wednesday probably more times than I can count at this point. This version from Belgium stands out not only for the performance, which is laid back and engaging, but for the setup Wino gives it, talking about seeing Sabbath in ’72, Alice Cooper Band and others and how it inspired his love of heavy rock and roll.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino, “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” live in Belgium, Oct. 10, 2010

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Cigale Post New Song “Harvest Begun”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Dutch four-piece Cigale introduce themselves with the song “Harvest Begun,” a sweet, air-toned melody that arrives somewhere between psychedelic folk and post-rock ambience. The band recorded their self-titled debut last year and, presumably, will release it sometime in 2015, and doubtless will turn some extra heads owing to guitarist Rutger Smeets and drummer Hans Mulders‘ past participation in defunct fuzzbearers Sungrazer, but in truth, Cigale are on a much different trip. If “Harvest Begun” is any example — and while it’s possible they’d put a song out to give people a first listen that had nothing to do with the rest of the album sonically, it seems like a silly idea — the vibe Cigale bring to bear is more serene, a wash of rich guitar tone bolstered by synth and multiple vocalists.

By late 2013, Cigale was in the studio tracking, and various teaser clips and rehearsal recordings have been released since then, but as I understand it, “Harvest Begun” is the first full song to surface from the album. It is a gorgeous first impression, with organ notes, a quiet snare shuffle underscoring from Mulders, and two guitars feeling their way through a progressing build that, by about halfway through the song, is brought to a head. Vocals add to the melody and emotional resonance of the track as the guitars get louder, but the vibe is more progressive than heavy, and while there’s definitely a peak to “Harvest Begun,” Cigale never take the song farther than it needs to go. The wash recedes quickly and they end quiet and thoughtful, which feels right given the organic nature of the sound and the human element at work in what they’re doing.

I’ll hope to have more on Cigale as they get closer to the self-titled’s release, but you can check out “Harvest Begun” in the video clip below. It’s not a video in the sense of the band playing in a warehouse — or, from the look of the above picture, a cafe — but even though the bulk of it is a shot of a record spinning on a turntable, the interpretative hand-dancing in the reflection of the EQ remind that there are people behind these otherworldly sounds. Also that those people sometimes enjoy making shadowpuppets.

Have fun:

Cigale, “Harvest Begun”

Cigale on Thee Facebooks

Cigale on YouTube

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Friday Full-Length: Ufomammut, Eve

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ufomammut, Eve (2010)

I wanted to close out this week with something spacious and brain-meltingly heavy, and once I knew that, there was really nowhere else to turn other than to Ufomammut. When their sixth full-length, the 44-minute single piece divided into five parts Eve (review here), was released in 2010 on Supernatural Cat — prior to their signing to Neurot — the band had this to say about its making:

As per the band, the concept of Eve was initially inspired by Pink Floyd‘s Meddle album. “The idea was to work on a long song and some satellites” the band state. “Then we started in playing this song that was growing and developing bigger and bigger. And it was like we were reaching something new; a different knowledge. So I got the feeling we had to move it around something that was about freedom; the idea of rebellion, of fighting to reach something important, and peculiar.”

“The concept of Eve was cool because cause you can read it on both sides, like the Ouroboros; a serpent circle eating itself. When all the other numeric things we came out together it all sounded like it was fate, it had to be done.”

…And they said I was a fool for keeping a PR wire archive for half a decade. Fair enough on the concept, but the absolutely perception-shattering results aren’t to be understated. Though the Italian cosmic doom trio followed Eve with their two-part Neurot debut, Oro (reviews here and here) in 2012, I think Eve might still remain their definitive statement to date. The range they show, the tension in their builds, the sheer density of the mix and weight of their tones — it’s mad genius at work and unlike anything else in the heavy underground or otherwise. A landmark in the truest sense of the word. Ufomammut are a band I think would be much more influential if people could actually figure out how they construct the kind of noise-wash that permeates Eve.

As it stands, this record turns five years old this spring, and as Ufomammut move past their 15th anniversary and have recently finished work on a follow-up to Oro, it will be interesting to hear whether they’ve continued to expand their sound or, having paused to look back at their earlier material with the XV DVD (review here) and Magickal Mastery Tour live dates, if they might take influence from that and strip down some of the droning impulse ahead of their promised first North American tour. Did I say “interesting to hear?” Sorry. What I meant was “I can’t fucking wait to find out.” Yeah. That was it.

Whatever their wizardry conjures, Eve is a standout and was an early entry onto the list of the 2010s’ best albums of the decade. If you haven’t listened to it in a while, I hope you enjoy getting lost in its reaches all over again.

The Patient Mrs. and I watched the last Hobbit movie last night. Woof it sucked. There was, what, maybe 20 minutes of actual movie in the two-plus hours? And on the rare occasion dialogue made its way in among all the popping off of goblin heads in extended fight scenes, aerial shots of New Zealand (not complaining about that, New Zealand is fucking beautiful) and elf sashaying, lines like “I got this” induced more cringes than adrenaline. All I kept thinking was about the Deep Space 9 I wasn’t watching. And I frickin’ worshiped at the altar of Lord of the Rings. Just wasn’t enough there to make a third movie out of and you could tell it was drawn out to fill time. Hey bro, I’ll take a quality 100-minute movie over nearly three hours of hawt-is-good-ugly-is-bad fight scenes and needless Legolas time. Like anyone needed more Legolas.

Could just be I’m sour because I’m injured. The Patient Mrs. – because I’m afraid to leave the house by myself, apparently — and I spent the better part of last week in New Jersey. Actually it was family stuff, but the paranoia better suits my narrative, so fuck it. We come back this past Sunday night, it’s pouring and as we’re unloading the car after about five hours on the road, I fall down the outside stairs and do some excruciating ankle damage. We were in the ER until about 2AM Sunday night. Nothing broken. Got some crutches, some pain meds that we haven’t even picked up at the pharmacy and was sent on my merry way. Went to another doctor on Wednesday because it was still swollen and I was worried about ligament damage and it turned out all he wanted to talk about was how big my ass is. Super. Thanks. Yeah, I almost forgot about it, but any chance you could take a look at my fucking ankle? No? Okay, great.

So what does it all mean? For one thing, it means i’m not going to see High on Fire in Maine this weekend. Today’s really the first day I can put any weight on my left foot at all, and the thought of standing for four hours even for such a worthy cause seems like a good way to not continue healing. It also means that last night I was up until about 2:30AM setting things up to be posted today so that, let’s say around 3:30PM, I’d be able to knock off early and call it a week. What happens next? What shitty misadventure awaits? I don’t know and I don’t really care. All I know is I’ve had enough week and it’s time to hit reset.

Monday, look out for a Throat track stream, and, later in the week, one from Elder. I’m also planning to put up my 2015 most anticipated albums list, but I might push it back another week. We’ll see how tomorrow goes and if I can get a start, because it’s definitely a multi-day process.

Hope you dig the Ufomammut and have a tremendous goblin-free (unless it’s Orange Goblin, in which case, right on) weekend. Be safe, watch that bottom step, and we’ll see you back here Monday for more kvetching and riffs.

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, 1985 Promo Demo in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

This isn’t the first The Obsessed demo. Starting out as Warhorse in 1976 before switching to the lasting moniker the next year, the band already had at least two recordings prior to this one in 1980 and 1982, and there are other hints of things out there, live recordings and so on, that make the history even harder to chase down. Their self-titled debut was recorded around this time, and there was the whole thing with the lost Metal Blade album, so while I’d like to be able to speak with some authority about where/when this demo falls into place amid everything else, I’d only be pretending — as I think, would most others who attempted the same who weren’t actually involved in the band in some way.

That said, if anyone wants to donate a complete history of 1985 Promo Demo, I’m all ears. Seems likely to me this is compiled from different sources, but if you want to check out some raw versions of “Feelings,” “Kill Ugly Naked,” “Neatz Brigade” and “Mental Kingdom,” it’ll sort you out with all the tape hiss you can ask for. Still, even with only half the story told — the half that goes, “It’s a thing and it exists” — it’s worth a glimpse into the earlier doings of The Obsessed, and after you listen I doubt you’ll need me to point out how well these tracks have managed to hold up even as we hit the 30-year mark since they were put to tape.

With Spirit Caravan‘s reunion having taken such precedent last year, there wasn’t much word from The Obsessed throughout 2014, and I’m not sure how much that’ll change this year with the promise of a new Wino & Conny Ochs album and other projects on the horizon, but they”re always somewhere in the background, and as a vehicle for Wino to return to whenever he feels it’s right, they’ve proven a more than worthy home base.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, 1985 Promo Demo

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Curse of the North Post New Video “Sleep While You Can”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

curse of the north

Seattle heavy rock trio Curse of the North are gearing up to released their debut full-length, I, later this month. The self-produced, self-released, Kurt Ballou-mixed long-player will follow 2011’s Revelations EP, which was recorded by Matt Bayles, and to herald its arrival, the three-piece have put together a video for the track “Sleep While You Can” that features an impressive array of Marshall stacks, headbanging, up and downlighting and the band themselves rocking out right in the middle there. Can’t miss ‘em.

I haven’t heard the record yet, but “Sleep While You Can” has some touches of metal and hard rock in with its heavy riffing, giving the song a kind of clean feel, but kicks up some dirt in its midsection, so it’s worth the time to dig in. If it hits you right and you’d like to make it yours, Curse of the North have made “Sleep While You Can” available name-your-price-style on their Bandcamp page, the link to which follows the info that follows the video below. You know how this goes.

It goes like this:

Curse of the North, “Sleep While You Can” official video

“Sleep While You Can” is the first release off Seattle, WA band Curse of the North’s self produced LP “Curse of the North: I” mixed by Kurt Ballou(High on Fire, Skeletonwitch, Black Breath) at God City Studios.

Curse of the North is a no frills heavy band from Seattle, WA featuring members Christiaan Morris (Guitar/Vocals) Nick Cates (Bass, 3 inches of blood) and Burke Thomas (Drums, Duff McKagan’s Loaded). COTN will be releasing their first full length LP “Curse of the North: I” Spring 2015. The band self produced the album and it was mixed by Kurt Ballou (High on Fire, Black Breath, SkeletonWitch). Curse of the North released their first EP “Revelations” in summer 2011 which was produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, Botch). COTN will be touring in support of “Curse of the North: I” throughout 2015.

Curse of the North on Thee Facebooks

“Sleep While You Can” Bandcamp download

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Midnight Premiere: When the Deadbolt Breaks, “The Woods are Full of Killers”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

when the deadbolt breaks the woods are full of killers

I don’t know much of anything about anything, but if you’re out in the woods and you see the above aviator-plague-beak-robe-guy hanging out with a couple cronies, some in, some out of gas masks,  you have just entered the wrong woods. But then again, Connecticut trio When the Deadbolt Breaks could probably write a song about a laundromat and make it horrifying. Some bands just have a gift.

It’s midnight, and tonight is the release party for When the Deadbolt Breaks‘ video, “The Woods are Full of Killers,” which is the second clip from 2013’s Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth. It’s a special night, with guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis pulling a sort of triple-duty in the malevolent drone-doomers Deadbolt and the more rock-minded Buzzard Canyon while also showing not only this video but a selection of his photography as well at The Reserve in Meriden, CT, which I’m not familiar with but surely isn’t prepared for the onslaught of volume it will have received by the time this goes live. The show also marks the live debut of new drummer Dumas, who’ll be entering the studio with Lewis and bassist Mike Parkyn later this year to record their next full-length.

“The Woods are Full of Killers” itself is a monster. A 13-minute onslaught of jet-black psychedelic drones and visceral sludge, it takes its time to unfold as one might expect, and works at a grueling pace to craft a threatening, chaotic swirl. The video switches back and forth between a narrative — bondage ritual in the woods, featuring our friend above — and performance footage, but the whole thing is made for lights-off horror, and whether you’re talking about the song or the video that accompanies, black and white save for bizarre washes of color, the whole affair is pretty warped.

Clearly somebody went into the wrong woods.

Details about the production and tonight’s release show — happening right now! — are below, and more stills will be arriving shortly at Lewis‘ photography website, Lounge708.com.


When the Deadbolt Breaks, “The Woods are Full of Killers”

On January 2 When the Deadbolt Breaks will be releasing our 2nd video for from our 2013 album, “Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth” for the “the woods are full of killers “. The concept behind this video came from a photo shoot idea I (Lounge SevenZeroEight Photography. www.lounge708.com), had been developing for quite some time. While we were shooting a video I also did a photo shoot with all the girls involved.

January 2 will also be a gallery showing as well as the live video viewing at The Reserve in Meriden CT. This gallery will include 3 large shoots that I’ve done over the past couple years but nobody has seen yet. I was waiting for the right time. The Blood Angel shoot, The Dark Deception shoot, and the shoot that coincides with the video.

“Woods Are Full Of Killers” the second video from CT’s When The Deadbolt Breaks; takes you on a mind bending journeydouble album “Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth” debilitating doom/sludge metamorphosis by When the Deadbolt Breaks from the Ear One Productions CD release.

Written by Aaron Lewis.
Directed by Aaron Lewis and Charlie Winthal.
Edited by Aaron Lewis and Charlie Winthal.
Visual Effects by Charlie Winthal.

Purchase limited edition double CD digipack

When the Deadbolt Breaks on Thee Facebooks

When the Deadbolt Breaks on Bandcamp

Lounge 708 Photography

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Friday Full-Length: Fu Manchu, The Action is Go

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Fu Manchu, The Action is Go (1997)

If you’re gonna start something — a year, for example — you might as well do it right, so yeah, it’s Fu Manchu‘s 1997 fourth album, The Action is Go. And so it was. Arriving just a year after their landmark third outing, In Search Of…, The Action is Go marked the beginning of a new era for the SoCal fuzz progenitors, who had in the time between the two records traded out guitarist Eddie Glass and drummer Ruben Romano for Bob Balch and Brant Bjork, respectively.

That’s no minor switch. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue it’s a pivotal moment in the development of American heavy rock in the mid and late ’90s. That sounds like hyperbole, but I don’t think it is. Glass and Romano would go on to form Nebula, whose first EP surfaced in ’98 and who went on to have a significant impact on the US and European stoner and heavy psych scenes in the ’00s until dissolving in 2010. Romano can currently be found in The Freeks, while Glass is MIA. Meanwhile, for Brant Bjork – who had produced Fu Manchu‘s 1994 debut, No One Rides for Free — filling the drummer role was his first solid gig since his departure from Kyuss, and it was a position he’d hold until 2001’s California Crossing, only four years but also three records later, also releasing the debut from Ché and his first solo record, Jalamanta, in the meantime. And as for Balch, well, his lead work and style of play has become an institution in and of itself and is as integral to Fu Manchu‘s sound as the riffs and attitude-dripping vocal style of guitarist Scott Hill or the density of Brad Davis‘ bass. Fu Manchu‘s with-Balch discography — records like The Action is Go, 1999’s Eatin’ Dust, 2000’s King of the Road, 2001’s California Crossing, all the way up to last year’s stellar Gigantoid (review here) — reads like a riff-lover’s dream playlist, and Fu Manchu simply wouldn’t be who they are today without him.

So yeah, The Action is Go was a very important time for US heavy rock, but I doubt it would be half as much so if the record itself didn’t kick so much ass. From “Eagle Eye” down through “Laserbl’ast” and “Saturn III,” it’s the kind of album that feels so much of its place and time — its fisheye-lens cover photo of a late-’70s skater dude is almost too perfect — that it manages to translate that atmosphere even going on 18 years later. I know I’ve written about The Action is Go a lot over the years. A live clip of “Eagle Eye” was one of the first week-closers I ever did. But it’s one of those albums that, well, if you like stuff that doesn’t suck, it’s worth going back to over and over. I’ve yet to not have my ass kicked by it.

Happy New Year, and enjoy.

Please note, this isn’t actually the close of the week since at midnight I’m premiering a new video from When the Deadbolt Breaks. No, it’s not the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’ll all make sense later.

No New Year’s resolutions for me. Not that I couldn’t stand some self-improvement on any number of fronts — intellectual, physical, spiritual, sarcasm-mitigation — just that tying such things to days of the week has always seemed silly. If it’s your bag, good luck. Enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something good for yourself — at least that’s usually how resolutions go; I don’t think anyone ever resolved to start smoking — while I’m still the same jerk I’ve always been. This guy in his frickin’ pajamas talking about riffs all day.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I wrote 50 fucking reviews this week. Five. Zero. Fifty. That’s one more than 49! The stack of discs on my desk? Demolished. It was a god damned thrill. I don’t know what the previous record was, but I beat it.

Gonna try to establish some post-holiday normalcy this coming week. Monday I’ve got a track stream from Spidergawd going up, and I want to get back to the stack of vinyl waiting for writeups. I’m pretty burnt out on lists, and after doing all those shorter reviews this week I feel like I’m ready to tackle something like the new Colour Haze, so I’ll do that sometime before next Friday. And despite being burnt out on lists, I’ll be continuing to put together my 2015-most-anticipated assemblage, which at this point is up over 70 entries. Not sure yet how I’m going to organize it, but it’ll be week after next anyway. Need to catch my breath a little.

Before I roll out, thanks to everyone again for checking out the best of 2014 coverage, be it the top 30, the Readers Poll, short releases list, debuts list, or whatever. I had more I wanted to do, but I think it might be time to let it go, save it for this Dec., and start looking forward instead. But especially with Facebook deciding all my posts don’t backtrack anymore to the Like button on this page (a more significant source of stress for me this week than it should have been), I appreciate you checking stuff out and sharing links, etc. That means a lot to me.

Hope you dig the Fu Manchu, hope you had a great New Year’s, hope you check out the forum and radio stream, and hope to see you back here at midnight for that Deadbolt video and on Monday. Cheers.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Live at Feast of Krampus, Brooklyn, NY, 12.28.14

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Seems only fair to close out another year of Wino Wednesdays with the most recent clip possible. I guess it’s not really such a novelty anymore that a show can happen and video from it can surface almost immediately — instant gratification isn’t really anything new at this point, at least as regards digital media — but I still get a kick out of it when something like this clip of Wino at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn this past weekend comes up. Because, hey, this pretty much just happened. And I’m old. The latter probably has something to do with it as well.

The occasion was a two-night fest called Feast of Krampus held in Philly at Underground Arts and the aforementioned St. Vitus bar. Also on the bill with Wino were Sixty Watt ShamanGodmakerMoon ToothBirch Hill DamWizard Eye and Buzzard Canyon. A stacked lineup, to say the least, and plenty of volume to precede an acoustic set that probably would be a mystery to all but the converted who knew what and whom they were watching. Anyone else might wonder why six loud-as-hell bands might precede a guy playing (mostly) unplugged solo singer-songwriter material.

But you get it, so it doesn’t really need explaining. I’m happy to be able to round out 2014’s many Wino Wednesdays with this latest show from the man himself, and all the better that it was filmed by ubiquitous Brooklyn cameraman Frank Huang, whose work is as admirable as the ethic that so steadily produces it. Seems like it was a pretty cool show, and of course no matter the context, Wino always manages to pull off unmatched heavy vibes.

Hope you enjoy and hope you have a great New Year’s:

Wino, Live at Feast of Krampus, St. Vitus bar, Brooklyn, 12.28.14

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Video Premiere: Blackwitch Pudding, “Gathering Panties” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

blackwitch pudding at ceremony of sludge

If you put your mind to it, you can probably think of one or two things as romantic to do on Valentine’s Day as going to see Portland’s own Gods of Grungus Blackwitch Pudding close out their “Magic up Your Butt” West Coast tour with a hometown gig at High Water Mark, but I doubt any of them would be as much fun. The wizard-robed three-piece streamed their Covered in Pudding Vol. 1 EP here earlier this year, and it was a work of demented genius to follow-up their 2013 debut full-length, Taste the Pudding (review here), but I don’t imagine either captures the full tonal spellcasting they do on stage.

To that end, the series of occasional video premieres we’ve been doing (“we” being you and I) from the 2014 Ceremony of Sludge continues, this time with Blackwitch Pudding themselves. The song they dig into in the clip below carries the charm-laden title “Gathering Panties,” and it comes from the LP. You’ll note the creeper riff at the start and the pummeling it portends. More curious, perhaps, is the arrival of a fourth wizard on keyboard. I’m not sure the designation of this particular magician. Likely he was conjured from the ether to further the efforts of Space WizardLizard Wizard and Wizard Wizard in crafting their otherworldly murk, and to that ether he soon returned. Or something.

We’re getting to the point where Ceremony of Sludge should be announcing who’ll be taking part in 2015 — the festival was held in March this year at Club 21 and seems to have drawn a good crowd — so if and when I hear anything on that, I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, Blackwitch Pudding have some underwear they’d like to round up and I’m no one to stand in the way.

Direction by Cole Boggess, audio by Tim Burke. Tour details follow the video:

Blackwitch Pudding, “Gathering Panties” Live at Ceremony of Sludge

Paying Homage to the rotten filth from which they were born, Blackwitch Pudding are actually a band of three wizards. Legend has it they were raised from a stagnant, used puddle of ergot, left by the mysterious Blackwitch no less than 600 years ago. Trained in the dark arts of doom and witchery, these wizards wander the cosmos in search of nothing, for their path is a simple one: The riffs must be heavy and the smoke must be heavier.

Following the wildly successful release of their new EP, Covered In Pudding Vol. 1, the 600-year-old wizards of Blackwitch Pudding are taking their magic, their smoke, their lazers–and most importantly their riffs–on the road. Starting January 15th, you can catch the traveling wizard doom party extravaganza across the U.S….and a show so entertaining that no other doom metal band in their weight class can muster.


1/15 Seattle, WA @ The Narwhal
1/16 Portland, OR @ The Kenton Club
1/17 Ashland, OR @ Club 66
1/18 Sacramento, CA @ TBA
1/21 San Diego, CA @ The Til Two Club
1/22 Pomona, CA @ Characters
1/23 Tempe, AZ @ Tempe Tavern
1/24 Tucson, AZ @ Sky Bar
1/25 El Paso, TX @ Grynde Bar
1/26 San Antonio, TX @ Lime Light Bar
1/27 Houston, TX @ Rudyards
1/29 Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
1/30 Dallas, TX @ Lola’s Room
1/31 Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s
2/1 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
2/2 Amarillo, TX @ TBA
2/3 Santa Fe, NM @ The Launchpad
2/4 Flagstaff, AZ @ The Hive
2/5 Las Vegas, NV @ The Dive Bar
2/6 Los Angeles, CA @ Los Globos
2/7 San Luis Obispo, CA @ Sweet Springs Saloon
2/8 San Francisco, CA @ The Hemlock Tavern
2/10 Bend, OR @ TBA
2/14 Portland, OR @ High Water Mark

Space Wizard – Guitar, Vocals
Lizard Wizard – Bass, Vocals
Wizard Wizard – Drums, Vocals

Ceremony of Sludge on Thee Facebooks

Blackwitch Pudding on Thee Facebooks

Blackwitch Pudding on Bandcamp

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