HORNSS Get Colorful in “Debreeding” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The May 13 release date for HORNSS’ full-length debut, No Blood No Sympathy, is quickly approaching, and the San Francisco trio have a self-made video for the track “Debreeding” to help smooth the way for its arrival. Like “Heir to the Pickle Throne,” which was premiered here last month, “Debreeding” is a catchy and driving track, tying growed-up punker recklessness to headbang-ready thrashisms with an underlying fuckall that comes through as loud as the fuzz itself. The clip is short at just over three minutes, and “Debreeding” itself is shorter than that, but the setup in the video and the execution once the song gets going make it worth the time nonetheless. Enjoy.

HORNSS have also announced a quickie Euro tour around a performance at the Incubate festival in the Netherlands this September. Info follows the video, courtesy of the PR wire:

HORNSS, “Debreeding” official video

HORNSS Premiere New ‘Debreeding’ Video + Announce Incubate Festival 2014 Appearance

Unlike some who are content to adopt that desert sound, HORNSS were born into it. Moulded by it from the very beginning in the case of members Mike Moracha and Nick Nava, who originally got their start in the Palm Springs band Solarfeast alongside ex-Kyuss/Evolution’s End member Chris Cockrell.

Formed in 2010 with a line-up completed by drummer Bil Bowman (formerly of Zodiac Killers, blackQueen and Scrog) HORNSS have taken to the stage in support of Fatso Jetson, Naam, Windhand, YOB and The Freeks and are every inch the band you’d hope they would be given the ancestry, influence and arid air that forged their formation.

Thanks to the LA based label EasyRider Records, this May the trio will have a debut album to call their own. Recorded at Earhammer Studios in Oakland with Greg Wilkinson, if you were sold on the strutting doom groove of their demo The Red Death then No Blood, No Sympathy is going to blow your mind and then some. Drawing on influences such as Hawkwind, St. Vitus and The Ramones HORNSS deliver devastating doom, death punk fury (both Mike and Nick were also founding members of San Fran punk band The Jack Saints), stoned out meanderings and crushing desert progressions that will strike a chord no matter where your allegiances lie.

HORNSS take to the road throughout August/September for a European tour in support of their debut album No Blood, No Sympathy, which will be released via EasyRider Records on 13th May. The trio will also appear at the Incubate Festival in Tiburg, Netherlands on 21st September 2014.

HORNSS:
Mike Moracha – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Nava – Bass, Vocals
Bil Bowman – Drums

European Tour:
29th August – Utrecht @ ACU (Netherlands)
30th August – Siegen @ Vortex Musikclub (Germany)
5th September – Linz @ Ann And Pat (Austria)
6th September – Feldkirch @ Graf Hugo (Austria)
12th September – Ilirska Bistrica @ MKNZ (Slovenia)
20th September – Kortrijk @ The Pits (Belgium)
21st September – Tilburg @ INCUBATE FESTIVAL (Netherlands)

www.hornss.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/HORNSS
http://instagram.com/hornssband

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Ararat Post New Video for “Nicotina y Destrucción”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There are some albums that I review and never listen to again. I hate to say that — and I try to avoid making that the case whenever possible — but some stuff, I write it up and it sits on the shelf and that’s basically how it goes. Far fewer are the cases where sitting down to review something makes me want to hear it more, and that’s how it’s gone thus far with Ararat‘s new album, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here). The Buenos Aires trio’s third outing is one for which I’ve only gained more appreciation after digging further into the tracks, and what’s more, the more I’ve listened, the more I’ve found in them to keep me coming back.

“Nicotina y Destrucción” is the brand new video from Cabalgata Hacia la Luz. All things considered, it’s an easy pick to do a clip for, being relatively short as compared to some of the album and having one of the strongest hooks of any of the tracks in its chorus, bassist/vocalist/etc.-ist Sergio Ch. stepping forward in the mix to deliver what serves as a landmark in a widely varied and textured full-album flow — one of several such standout moments throughout Ararat‘s immersive, often hypnotic long-player held down by the driving drum-work of Alfredo Felitte. If you haven’t heard the song yet, also keep your ear out for the compression on the guitar solo from Tito Fargo, who also produced the video.

Ararat‘s Cabalgata Hacia la Luz is out on CD through Oui Oui Records, who also put the whole thing up on Bandcamp at the end of last week, so if you like what you hear in the video, you can check out the rest of the record before you realize how worth your time and money it is and say you knew it all along. I know how it goes.

Enjoy the clip:

Ararat, “Nicotina y Destrucción” official video

Ararat on Thee Facebooks

Cabalgata Hacia la Luz at Oui Oui Records’ Bandcamp

South American Sludge Records on YouTube

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Honors Jason McCash in Tennessee

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Spirit Caravan reunion US tour is over as of last night, but I expect we’ll be seeing videos still coming out from it for a while. One of the best I’ve seen, or at least the most heartening, is this one from Tennessee. Playing The Hideaway in Johnson City just last week, Spirit Caravan bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman took the time to shout out fallen The Gates of Slumber bass player Jason McCash and say a few words about him and the underground doom community as a whole — subjects about which he knows no small amount, to be sure. Though Spirit Caravan won’t have had the chance, Sherman‘s own outfit, Earthride shared gigs and festival bills numerous times with the Indianapolis trad doomers, and The Gates of Slumber were always embraced by Maryland’s passionate scene — a haven of believers if ever there was one.

That remains the case, actually, since Baltimore’s The Sidebar will host a benefit for McCash‘s family on July 12 with Earthride headlining and Pale Divine, Argus and Beelzefuzz on the bill. It’s one of several tributes to McCash set for the coming months with the money going to his widow and children. More info on that here.

Spirit Caravan head to Desertfest next week and continue their reunion in London and Berlin. After that, it’s something of a mystery. Saint Vitus are set to begin their 35th anniversary tour on May 8 (dates here) and that will run through most of the rest of the month, and beyond that, I’d presume either Europe or recording with one band or another. The Obsessed are still ostensibly “active” too, though at this point that’s the reunion that has resulted in the fewest shows, sticking mostly to festivals in the US and abroad.

Whatever comes, I’ll do my best to keep up with it, and in the meantime, enjoy Sherman, Wino and drummer Henry Vasquez as they honor Jason McCash with “Fang,” which comes off their 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. Have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Fang” Live in Tennessee, April 6, 2014

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Hour of 13 Pay Homage to Jason McCash with Final Recorded Song

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though they’ve been effectively defunct since their final full-length, 2012′s 333, and will remain that way, North Carolina’s Hour of 13 has been resurrected in the form of a one-off single called “Upon Black Wings We Die.” The track is a trad metal homage to The Gates of Slumber bassist Jason McCash, who passed away this weekend, and finds band founder Chad Davis (also of Romannis MötteTasha-Yar, etc.) playing all the instruments, adding the vocals and recording himself in a true one-man-band production.

Davis offers his own words of tribute to McCash even as he closes the book on Hour of 13, so I won’t delay further except to note that tribute shows for McCash are starting to come together in Baltimore and Boston, and those links as well as the link to the fund to help Jason McCash‘s family with their finances can be found below.

Enjoy:

Hour of 13, “Upon Black Wings We Die”

Cosmic dust. We all return to it from our birthplace. And a long journey it is to make that return. An act so simple brings forth the beginning of that journey, regardless of proper timing…

Upon hearing the news of Jason McCash’s passing, it left me extremely awestruck. The late night conversations we had, discussing the mysteries of the universe, the state of modern day Heavy Metal, and the amazing basslines that solidified all of Christian Death’s music. All now a thing of the past. And so it brings forth this:

Last night I wrote a song for Jason, a farewell to his unquestionable legacy as one of the most solid bass players in the US Heavy Metal scene. A farewell to his kind and supportive nature. A farewell to the ideas we had tossed around of doing a project in the future.

And with this memoriam brings forth the demise of Hour Of 13.

This is the last and final document of HO13. A document that proves US Heavy Metal is still alive and strong. With many great bands around to continue to carry that flame, there is no better time to let go and begin my own personal journey. Mentally I cannot foresee any other reason to remain active, as all of the bands that mattered in the resurrection of Traditional Heavy Metal have all suffered loss, it only brings about confusion and disdain. This feeling became apparent witht the passing of my celestial brother Selim Lemouchi, and now solidified with the passing of Jason. And so it begins….

Sleep well brothers, and may the experiences you both now have unlock all of the answers to the questions we had always asked.

Regards,
Chad Davis – Hour Of 13

Hour of 13 on Thee Facebooks

Baltimore Jason McCash tribute event page

Boston Jason McCash tribute event page

McCash Family Fund

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Rukut Rattle Brains with “White Squirrel White Fox” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Aside from considering myself fortunate enough to call them personal friends, Baltimore-by-way-of-New-Jersey-by-way-of-Seattle-by-way-of-New-Jersey-etc. two-piece Rukut are also the band who, probably over a decade ago now, blindsided me with a lesson in the dynamic that a duo can offer at their best, distinct from solo artists, trios, and so on. Their passage between minimalist garage thrash, brutal punk, grind and sludge has played out DIY for years in small bars, clubs and just about anywhere else they’re asked to show up that they can park their van, but I’ve never heard it sound quite as full and devastating as it does on the new cut “White Squirrel White Fox,” taken from a brand new self-released EP, The Headless.

It’s been a while since Rukut – the duo of guitarist/vocalist Lew Hambley and drummer/graphic artist Chris Jones – released their last full-length, 2008′s Life’s Pain, but their years don’t seem to have been misspent. Hambley‘s vocals, turning vicious at switch-flick speed, touch on the guttural with “White Squirrel White Fox,” and the instrumental accompaniment they receive makes for due chaos, Jones switching between D-beat crust drive and all-out blasts after his stick-click count-in serves as the subtle announcement of the fury about to be unleashed after a grueling minute of stomping introduction. In short order, Rukut tear ass through a build that is brought to a raging, violent head precise enough to give Nasum a nod without losing Napalm Death‘s crucial soul.

By way of a spoiler, it starts with a white squirrel and ends with a white fox, but it’s really what’s between the two in the Jones-directed video that proves most essential. Rukut’s The Headless EP, can be heard at their Bandcamp page. “White Squirrel White Fox” doesn’t carry a warning for epileptics who might check it out, but it probably should: The aurally brutal comes with strobe to match.

Enjoy:

Rukut, “White Squirrel White Fox” official video

Rukut on Thee Facebooks

Rukut on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Orange Goblin, Time Travelling Blues

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Orange Goblin, Time Travelling Blues (1998)

You wouldn’t know it to look at either my pajamas or my plans for the evening, which include experimenting with a parmesan cheese crisp recipe and watching baseball, but I must feel like partying on some level if I’m breaking out Orange Goblin‘s Time Travelling Blues. Yeah, the UK stoner doom forerunners vibe out Kyuss-style on “Shine” and bring things down a little bit on the title cut, but basically, that’s what this album is to me: A party. And not one of those parties you wind up at where you don’t know anybody and it’s all awkward and terrible. I’m talking about good friends, beers, the yard — all that nonsense. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that with this record on, but I’d be down to try.

Time Travelling Blues is the second Orange Goblin album, released in 1998 on Rise Above. Because the band has remained so vital — if anything, becoming more so; they’re certainly bigger now than they’ve ever been — it’s strange to think of the record as being 16 years old, but Orange Goblin have kicked a lot of ass for a long time, so there you go. This one I consider the middle part of an essential trilogy of Orange Goblin full-lengths, with their 1997 debut, Frequencies from Planet 10, on one side and 2000′s third offering, The Big Black, on the other, though really none of their stuff is to be fucked with, and live they destroy. No wonder the London scene is currently flush with bands working under their influence.

Orange Goblin‘s last album came out in 2012, but with how hard they’ve toured to support A Eulogy for the Damned, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think it might get a follow-up sooner rather than later. Maybe 2015? After the half-decade between 2007′s Healing through Fire and Eulogy, I certainly wouldn’t argue.

Next week is Roadburn, if you can friggin’ believe that. Snuck up on me this year, it did, though I’ve been doing enough work in preparation. The process is going to be a little different this year than in years past, I think. Sorry to be vague. I’ll explain it all next week. I fly out Tuesday night, get to Tilburg on Wednesday and probably start typing immediately. As ever, you know I’ll cover as much as I can and update as much as I can. Before I even start, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the fest and the 013 venue. It’s through the generous grace of both that I’m able to go at all.

When I get back, I have some serious thinking to do. Need to find a job, and in the meantime, need to adjust the balance of my day to better facilitate that — which means maybe I don’t spend a nine-to-five’s worth on blogging about doom for no money. Maybe it’s time to put ads on the site and see if I can bring in some cash that way. I don’t know. I’d only like to do ads if they have nothing to do with music. Like if I could get banners for Palmolive and shit like that, I’d be down. Otherwise it’s like throwing your editorial integrity right out the window, though that’s essentially how it’s been since the first newspaper opened and did a story about the restaurant next door. I don’t know when unemployment monies start coming in, but my student loans are in deferment, which helps. Need to talk to The Patient Mrs. and see what my options are and how long we can hold out, because if you’re an out of work editor, nobody gives a fuck. I knew it before but didn’t have to care. Now I have to care and it’s fucking killing me. Need to find something that’s not just a resumé shot into a LinkedIn abyss.

Anyway. Before I head out next week, look for a Pilgrim review. I might hit up that Satan’s Satyrs/Magic Circle/Queen Elephantine show mentioned earlier as well on Sunday, and if I do, I’ll review that too.

Enjoy the Orange Goblin and have a great and safe weekend. Please hit up the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Video Trailers Posted for Desertfest 2014 in London and Berlin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll admit to carrying more than a bit of jealousy in my heart for those who’ll be in either London or Berlin at the end of the month when Desertfest gets underway in both towns. Either city is a trek I’d gladly make if I had cash for the flight, and I suppose if being broke has any upside, it’s saving me from having to choose one over the other. Poor consolation for not getting over there, but frankly I’ll take what I can get at this point.

A video trailer back Stubb‘s Jack Dickinson surfaced for the London fest about a week ago, and today Berlin followed suit in posting a trailer for the fest there. Again, either way you go, you can’t really lose. Whether you’re seeing Causa Sui and Stoned Jesus in Berlin or Pombagira and Borracho in London, you’re in for an amazing weekend you won’t soon forget and an experience of a community coming into its own even as it continues to discover what that means. This is a very cool year for Desertfest. So was last year. The one before that wasn’t half bad either.

You get the point though, and the point is me, unemployed and sulking. I’m sure I’ll have more about Desertfest before it actually launches, but I wanted to post these clips together just to give a sample of the vibe of both festivals and what they have to offer the discerning gormandizers who might hit them up. Desertfest Berlin runs April 24-26 at Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, Germany, and Desertfest London picks up April 25-27 at various venues in Camden Town. Info in the clips and at the links.

Desertfest Berlin 2014 trailer

24th, 25th, 26th April 2014 : DESERTFEST BERLIN

THURSDAY 24th – Spirit Caravan Official – Sleepy Sun – Siena Root – ASG – Sixty Watt Shaman – Pet The Preacher – ANCIIENTS – The Midnight Ghost Train – Cojones
—–
FRIDAY 25th — Kvelertak – Causa Sui – Church of Misery Official – Elder – Huata – HULL – GOZU – BLACK RAINBOWS – Prisma Circus – The Moth – Red Stoner Sun – MANTAR
—–
SATURDAY 26th — Clutch – Radio Moscow – The Machine – The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic – Stoned Jesus – THE GRAVIATORS – Sasquatch – Radar Men from the Moon – SardoniS – Castle – Metal Band – Powder for Pigeons – DoctoR DooM

Desertfest Berlin website

Desertfest London 2014 trailer

Desertfest 2014 is heavier than before & Taking over Camden, London during the 25-27th April.With over 60 bands from the underground stoner / doom and sludge scene peforminng this years fesitval is not to be missed, Headliners are Spirit Caravan / Kvlertak & Boris, plus weedeater, church of misery, ASG, blues Pills and many more…for the full line up please click below.

Desertfest London website

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Rodeo Drive Post “All in Vain” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“All in Vain” is a quick 2:45, but it gives a decent sampling of what Berlin trio Rodeo Drive might get up to on their forthcoming Morbid Beauty full-length, which is set to release this Friday. Fronted by bassist Hans Eiselt, who also plays guitar in heavy psych jammers Samsara Blues Experiment, Rodeo Drive are an altogether gruffer, more straightforward band. Eiselt‘s vocals, still melodic, are throaty and well suited to the rush of “All in Vain,” and while there are some psychedelic undertones, the sound is much more traditionally stoner rock, aimed for simpler execution and hitting the mark with what seems to be no trouble at all, guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and drummer Rene Schulze joining Eiselt in the steady push.

The video for the track is likewise down to earth — a few different cameras capture the band rocking out in a dimly lit room. Posters adorn the wall behind them, and at the start of the clip, somebody — presumably Eiselt — says the phrase, “psychedelic relic.” Maybe that was the original name of the song, or maybe it’s a sort of general assessment from the band on their style, but sure enough, “All in Vain” does hint at more ethereal sonic territory, and a cut like the seven-and-a-half-minute “Earth Dark Diseases,” which is up for streaming at Rodeo Drive‘s ReverbNation page, would seem to indicate that “All in Vain” is just the start of what the band might have to offer on Morbid Beauty.

Still, not a bad place to start. Rodeo Drive release Morbid Beauty this Friday at a gig at Berlin’s Jägerklause with Olympus Mons and Liquid Silk, should you happen to be in the area. If not, you can check out “All in Vain” below.

Enjoy:

Rodeo Drive, “All in Vain” official video

Rodeo Drive on Thee Facebooks

Rodeo Drive at ReverbNation

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Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs, “Angels and Demons” Live in the Czech Republic, 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It remains to be seen if we’ll actually get a sophomore album from the collaboration between Scott “Wino” Weinrich and German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs. The Exile on Mainstream labelmates released their debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), in 2012 and celebrated with a fair amount of touring as a duo in Europe and North America, and they did answer Heavy Kingdom quickly with the Latitudes session, Labour of Love, but a good portion of that was cover material and the mission seemed more about enjoying playing together than actually furthering the writing partnership creatively. Not to take away from that release, since among other things it boasts the only to-date recorded version of Wino & Conny Ochs doing Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s “Find the Cost of Freedom,” and that’s worth the price of admission alone. Still, a second record has proved elusive.

Among the trove of video from those tours, however, there are glimpses of material other than that which was included on Heavy Kingdom or Labour of Love, and whether it was a cut written subsequently, or something pulled from either’s solo catalog, there’s plenty of it taped out there — Wino & Conny Ochs probably makes a relatively easy set to capture, as they’re not likely to blow out the volume on whatever recorder might be used — and it’s from that vast and disorganized archive that “Angels and Demons” comes. Snagged in HD on that European tour in the Czech Republic (I believe) on May 3, 2012, the track originally appeared on Ochs‘ 2012 long-player, Raw Love Songs, and sure enough, he takes the lead on it. Wino adds a bit of ambience to the start, but the track really comes alive later when the two of them lock into a part that, considering it was written before they started collaborating, only emphasizes how fitting a pair they make.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Angels and Demons” Live in the Czech Republic, 2012

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Iron Man Get Grainy in “South of the Earth” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Watching Iron Man‘s new video for the title-track to last year’s South of the Earth (review here), I can almost hear the nasally strain and SoCal-goofball chuckle of Ricky Rachtman introducing the clip on Headbanger’s Ball circa 1990. The Maryland doom four-piece are no strangers to a classic aesthetic, and the visuals of “South of the Earth” tap directly into one, whether it’s the slow-walking cemetery visitor shot in negative or the appearance and disappearance of the band’s members as the song plays out. In the case of frontman Dee Calhoun, who also directed, we get to see him multiple times over.

“South of the Earth” is pretty representative of what metal videos were in a time before cinematic budgeting or band-in-a-warehouse performance clips. You get a feel for what the song is about and the mood is certainly on display as Iron Man rocks through, guitarist Al Morris III locking his own grooving in with that of the camera ever so slightly while drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann copes with one cymbal that seems to be disappearing and bassist Louis Strachan, as ever, holds the whole thing together. For a record that was thoroughly metallized, the “South of the Earth” video most definitely follows suit.

And if you haven’t yet had the chance to savor Morris’ tone as captured by the skillful production of Frank Marchand or roll along with Strachan and Waldmann in the groove they harness, “South of the Earth” should make for a fittingly representative introduction. They named the record after it, if that tells you anything. South of the Earth is available now on Rise Above in Europe and Metal Blade in North America, and the video features camera work by Kelly Croston in addition to Strachan and Calhoun.

Enjoy:

Iron Man, “South of the Earth” official video

Iron Man on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Metal Blade Records

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Super Witch Premiere Video for “Army of Werewolves”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“Beware the wolfen blitzkrieg” is some fairly sound advice, and if nothing else, Memphis, Tennessee, four-piece Super Witch seem to know what they’re talking about when it comes to matters of monsters. Right in time for April Fools, the heavy horror rockers have unveiled a new single called “Army of Werewolves,” and as you might guess, the song is about werewolves, in an army, attacking the populace. In case you were wondering.

Super Witch, comprised of Joey Killingsworth, Eldorado Del Rey, John Pickle and Chris Mccoy, released their four-track The Sun EP earlier this year, taking the name from Memphis’ legendary Sun Studios, where it (plus a bunch of stuff by Elvis and Johnny Cash, etc.) was recorded in 2013. “Army of Werewolves,” however, is newer than that, recorded at Rocket Science Audio and taken from the band’s debut full-length, which is reportedly coming soon.

For not having been recorded in a space where pop culture history was made, “Army of Werewolves” certainly lacks nothing for sonic punch. Guitars, bass and drums hit heavy with a blend of noise and stoner influences, and the double-layered vocals give a punkish edge to the proceedings matched by the track’s stripped-down structure and efficient use of the under-three-minute runtime. If you’re interested in getting a good look at the band, however, the Pickle-directed clip for  “Army of Werewolves” (there wolves. there castle.) keeps them mostly anonymous, focusing instead on the instruments at work, save for when vocal lines are delivered. Even then, no eye contact. Makes for an interesting take on the usual performance video. One doesn’t generally think of that as a way to stay anonymous.

Please find the clip for Super Witch‘s “Army of Werewolves” below and enjoy. More to come on their full-length, and in the meantime, the single and 2013′s The Sun EP are available to download through their Bandcamp.

Super Witch, “Army of Werewolves” official video

Super Witch on Thee Facebooks

Super Witch on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Colour Haze, Colour Haze

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Colour Haze, Colour Haze (2004)

My understanding is that the version of Colour Haze‘s 2004 self-titled seventh full-length album is the 2007 reissue. I figured any Colour Haze‘s Colour Haze was the right choice. The difference is that the original CD edition was about 55 minutes long. Too much for a single LP, obviously, so the CD closer, “Flowers” is gone, as is “Mountain,” from side A. I’ll miss the latter more than the former, but as the album that’s come in a big way to define Colour Haze‘s sound as one of the most distinct in the European underground over the 10 years since its release, this clip — which was also the best quality available — wasn’t a loss either way. I don’t have this on vinyl. Maybe I should. I’d be lying if I said putting it on full-screen and watching the record spin with the cover propped up behind wasn’t a good sell.

It’s hard to pick a winner between Colour Haze and its 2006 follow-up, Tempel, also released through Elektrohasch. Usually I’ll abdicate the responsibility. I’ll say that I remember when I got the CD of the self-titled and put it on, it was one of those moments where you can feel your blood get warmer. Particularly for arriving so soon after 2003′s Los Sounds de Krauts, it was a different vibe than that 2CD, fuzzier, more assured, jammier. Again, I don’t really have a favorite from Colour Haze, but this one is as  essential as any you might want to put next to it. One interesting thing the vinyl seems to do is keep “Peace, Brothers and Sisters!” intact, timing-wise. A 22-minute B-side is nothing to scoff at, and every nuance leading to it is a joy. For “Love” alone, it’s one of the best heavy psych records ever made.

Enjoy.

Tonight is the Small Stone Records showcase at the Middle East in Boston, and I’ll be hitting that up. I didn’t anticipate having the energy to close out the week afterwards, so it seemed prudent to do so beforehand. Monday I’ll have a review of that showcase and a full-stream of the new Causa Sui live album, Live at Freak Valley, with an accompanying review. Probably not the smartest thing I ever did to book both of those on the same day, but hell, not like I have a job, right? If I spend my afternoon furiously typing alternate descriptors for “heavy,” well at least I wasn’t in bed with my head buried under pillows dwelling on what a spectacular failure my decade in the music industry was. Gotta stay busy!

Also next week, look for a full-album stream from Hotel Wrecking City Traders, whose new one is killer. I’m in the process of working out a premiere for Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus too, because I think that’s worth hearing for people who may not be familiar with the band — I also didn’t really appreciate what they were doing until I heard it for myself and sat with it a while — but I’m not sure if it’ll be next week or sometime thereafter. I’ll figure it out one way or another.

You might notice an awful lot of Kyuss and Black Sabbath (also Colour Haze, and Grails and a bunch of Small Stone stuff) on the radio stream. It’s the backup server. The main server was at my now-former office in Jersey, and this week I asked Slevin to run by and pick it up, which he was kind enough to do. It’s being brought north by my family, who are coming up tomorrow for a visit (“uh, hey guys, can you bring this computer and also a bunch of food?” — classy), and I’ll hope to have it running at some point over the weekend. Until then, Kyuss and Sabbath hardly seems like a downer.

Have a great and safe couple of days and I’ll catch you back here Monday for more wild adventures. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wovenhand Unveil “Hiss” from Refractory Obdurate; New Album out April 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I have a particularly hard time speaking about Wovenhand in terms other than hyperbolic praise. The David Eugene Edwards-fronted genre-defiers will release their new album, Refractory Obdurate, through Deathwish Inc. and Glitterhouse Records on April 29. It’ll be Wovenhand’s seventh full-length, following 2012′s The Laughing Stalk (review here), which continued to push their sound into new places in terms of influence and arrangement, the band getting progressively heavier, more joyful, more intense as they go along. Their style, though it always shifts from record to record, is distinctly their own, and the new single “Hiss” follows that pattern with a fullness of tone and spaciousness in the recording.

On the sheer level of its chugging riff and furious tension, “Hiss” is up there with the heaviest output Wovenhand have had to date, though in the bigger picture of their work overall, that’s a tertiary consideration. I wouldn’t expect “Hiss” to speak for the entirety of Refractory Obdurate more than I’d expect the river to speak for the lake, but it’s a clear signal that Edwards as the principal songwriter has maintained a fascination with what weighted sound can bring to Wovenhand‘s aesthetic. They continue to be on a level of their own in both their mastery of what they do and their drive to push beyond that mastery, out of their comfort zone, and into new ground.

Release info follows the video. Enjoy:

Wovenhand, “Hiss”

Brought to you by a partnership of Deathwish and Glitterhouse Records, release dates are as follows:

April 29th: Deathwish Release Date (World)
April 25th: Glitterhouse Release Date (Europe)

Wovenhand is a band led by dedicated life-musician and lyricist, David Eugene Edwards. Over the last two decades, his prolific work in both Wovenhand and the legendary 16 Horsepower has influenced and inspired a generation of musicians throughout the expansive alternative music world.

Wovenhand cannot be described in traditional terms. Their sound is an organic, weavework of neo-folk, post rock, punk, old-time, and alternative sounds. All coming together as a vehicle for David’s soulful expression and constant spiritual self exploration. Sometimes sad and sorrowed and at other times uplifting, Wovenhand are always unforgettable in spirit and sound.

“Refractory Obdurate” is the latest album from Wovenhand. Joining David on this album are longtime percussionist Ordy Garrison, along with musicians Chuck French and Neil Keener (Planes Mistaken For Stars, Git Some).

“Refractory Obdurate” is a moving masterwork that shows Wovenhand exploring louder roots hinted at on prior albums. As they maintain their melodious course, “Good Shepherd”, “Field of Hedon”, and “Hiss”, stomp forth with a newly amplified punk rock heart. While “The Refractory”, “Salome”, and “Obdurate Obscura” each ascend epically into a multi-layered haze. Ten songs in all, “Refractory Obdurate” plays as a beautifully crafted patchwork that transcends genres and expectation; a true artistic achievement, that only Wovenhand could offer.

Track Listing:
01. Corsicana Clip
02. Masonic Youth
03. The Refractory
04. Good Shepherd
05. Salome
06. King David
07. Field of Hedon
08. Obdurate Obscura
09. Hiss
10. El-bow

Wovenhand on Thee Facebooks

Deathwish Inc.

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Wino Wednesday: The Hidden Hand, “The Last Tree” from Divine Propaganda

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Hidden Hand happened at a pretty interesting juncture for American heavy, just when underground riff-worship was really starting to get a foothold in a wider public consciousness beyond what it had been in the days before the widespread instant-gratification of the internet became a way to access just about anyone’s music anytime. Their second album, the stellar Mother Teacher Destroyer, certainly got some attention when it was issued by Southern Lord in 2004 — helped perhaps by the publicity of Dave Grohl‘s Probot project, released that same year, and Wino‘s visible involvement in that on guitar and vocals — but the preceding full-length debut, 2003′s Divine Propaganda, had no such high-profile lead-in. Not to shoehorn it into too convenient a narrative, but it was simply Wino‘s new band after Spirit Caravan broke up.

Listening back now, over a decade later and in light of the two albums The Hidden Hand released after it, Divine Propaganda is a standout if somewhat uneven release. Issued by MeteorCity, it was the first studio output from Wino, bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg and drummer Dave Hennessy, and it introduced a lot of the Illuminati/conspiracy/socio-political framework in which a good portion of the band’s lyrics would work for the duration of their tenure, but thanks in no small part to the Weinrich/Falkinburg collaboration in the songwriting, it also pushed into territory that was neither The Obsessed-style doom nor the freewheeling heavy rock of Spirit Caravan. There was something else going on, and that’s evident on Divine Propaganda, even if the trio were still figuring out what they wanted their sound to be and what shape that collaboration would take.

In all honesty, “The Last Tree” — track seven of the record’s total 10 — probably could’ve been a Spirit Caravan song with its rolling groove of a chorus riff, but as the verse shows, The Hidden Hand were already becoming something distinct, and the fuzz that Falkinburg puts on his bass in the track is not to be missed. It’s something of a forgotten gem from the largely underappreciated band, whose timing and whose songwriting continue to intrigue.

Happy Wino Wednesday:

The Hidden Hand, “The Last Tree” from Divine Propaganda (2003)

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Friday Full-Length: Kyuss, Welcome to Sky Valley

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kyuss, Welcome to Sky Valley (1994)

Yeah, I know. It’s technically self-titled. But you know, sometimes majority rule renames a record. The White Album was self-titled too, and I consider Welcome to Sky Valley no less pivotal in the influence it’s had in the two decades since its release — the 20th anniversary is June 28, wanna have a party? — bands around the world picking up the elements of what would become desert rock largely in this album’s wake. Kyuss‘ legacy is ongoing in Vista Chino and Queens of the Stone Age and all the groups who’ve taken cues from these tracks, presented in three distinct movements (plus a goofy “bonus” cut), but Welcome to Sky Valley, like any monument, is cast in stone.

Seems like overkill to rant about how great it is. If you’d like more, it’s in the Canon of Heavy, and was voted number one on the list of the Best Stoner Rock Records of All Time in the poll taken here a little while back. I feel like there are very few things that can be universally agreed upon, and Welcome to Sky Valley is one of them. If you’re on this site, reading this sentence, even if you don’t actually press play and listen to the thing, on some level you can probably get into it. At least that’s the hope.

So, today was my last day as editor of The Aquarian, which if you didn’t know was the last dayjob from which I hadn’t been laid off. I’m now completely unemployed.

The last couple days I’ve spent applying for different jobs, editor gigs, corporate gigs, one or two public sector deals. Nothing back yet, obviously, but I hear that’s how it goes. It’s been a pretty downer week, to be honest. My boss told me he wanted to talk on Monday and then blew me off until Tuesday. That’s right. I got blown off from getting fired. Imagine how little what you do means when that happens. All of a sudden I was Milton from Office Space. Except he still got a paycheck.

Welcome to Sky Valley is the blanket I’ve pulled over my head. At least it’s warm. I also thought I was getting pinkeye last night, though that seems to have abated.

Things are lookin’ up!

Like I said the last time I lost a job, I don’t know what the future holds for me, this site or anything else. If anyone knows of any professional opportunities, my resumé is here. I’m open to anything.

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

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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