The Great Sabatini Post New Video for “The Royal We” and Announce Tour Dates

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

the great sabatini

If you checked out the video for Montreal four-piece The Great Sabatini‘s “Akela” back in July, you’ll want to go into their new one for “The Royal We” with advance notice that it’s a much different affair. Compiled from still photographs taken at the release show for their new album, Dog Years, it’s kind of herky-jerky visually, but I’m talking even more about the difference in the songs between the two. Where “Akela” was instrumental, contemplative acoustics, “The Royal We” is a noise basher through and through, bordering on black metal screams topping undulating, raw riffs. They could not be much farther apart from each other, and no doubt that was The Great Sabatini‘s intent all along.

The Great Sabatini have announced East Coast and Midwestern dates in Canada and the US, and you’ll find those courtesy of the PR wire after the video below. Enjoy:

The Great Sabatini, “The Royal We” official video

THE GREAT SABATINI Releases Yet Another Video From Recent LP; New Eastern North American Tour Announced

Montreal’s noise/sludge rock ringleaders, THE GREAT SABATINI, have just pulled the fifth official video from their Dog Years LP out of their hat, letting “The Royal We” loose into the crowd, while also declaring another new tour in support of the album.

In the ongoing outbreak of videos for their early June-released third album, Dog Years, already including “Akela,” “Periwinkle Love Hammer,”I love this album art. It's every school picture I ever took. “Munera” and “Guest Of Honour,” THE GREAT SABATINI filmed the latest at a recent gig among their massive, ongoing tour schedule — from loading in, to getting loaded, to unloading onto the crowd, with “The Royal We,” playing RIGHT HERE.

THE GREAT SABATINI will also reload and fire into the US again later this month, with another widespread incursion in support of Dog Years. The Dog Years Fall Tour 2014 will kick off with two shows in Canada before hitting eighteen Eastern American cities through the first week of October.

Dog Years was recorded, mixed and mastered by Sean Pearson (Cursed, Shallow North Dakota), and boasts THE GREAT SABATINI’s raw, unpolished approach to capture n act with years of accumulated experience touring, writing and recording together. The aim was to create a hi-fi document with all of their lo-fi sensibilities, grit and live energy intact, and the results are astoundingly destructive. French noise/metal label, Solar Flare Records, released the album on CD, digital and LP formats, the latter available on both black and transparent red vinyl; place orders through Solar Flare Records HERE and via the band HERE.

THE GREAT SABATINI Dog Years Fall Tour 2014:
9/17/2014 Petit Campus – Montreal, QC
9/18/2014 Sneaky Dees – Toronto, ON
9/19/2014 The Lair – Buffalo, NY
9/20/2014 The Mr. Roboto Project – Pittsburgh, PA
9/21/2014 Grandbar – Chicago, IL
9/22/2014 TBA – Appleton, WI
9/23/2014 The Habitat – Duluth, MN
9/24/2014 The Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
9/25/2014 West Wing – Omaha, NE
9/26/2014 Vandals – Kansas City, MO
9/27/2014 Blind Bob’s – Dayton, OH
9/28/2014 Three Kings Bar – Cincinnati, OH
9/29/2014 Highline Taproom – Louisville, KY
9/30/2014 Poison Lawn – Knoxville, TN
10/01/2014 The Big Gay Shanty – Roanoke, VA
10/02/2014 The Blue Nile – Harrisonburg, VA
10/03/2014 Lava Space – Philadelphia, PA
10/04/2014 TBA – Long Island, NY
10/05/2014 The Batcave – Montclair, NJ
10/06/2014 O’Briens – Allston, MA

http://www.thegreatsabatini.com
http://thegreatsabatini.tumblr.com
http://solarflarerds.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/solarflarerecords
http://solarflarerds.bigcartel.com

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Friday Full-Length: The Black Angels, Passover

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

The Black Angels, Passover (2006)

Doing something a little different to close out this week in that The Black Angels is a band about whom I know next to nothing. I’ve seen their name around plenty, especially earlier this year (or was it last year now?) when they supported Roky Erickson on tour, but listening to their 2006 debut LP, Passover, as I type this is the first significant amount of time I’ve ever spent with one of their records. It sounds pretty cool. If this came my way today from a new band, I’d it’s right on heavy psych, so considering it dropped eight years ago, before a lot of this kind of thing really caught on here or in Europe, that’s all the more impressive. Onto the Amazon Wishlist it goes, right next to damn near everything else I’ve ever heard.

Based out of Austin, The Black Angels have four LPs out and a couple EPs as well, so I guess if I want to get caught up, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Stuff is a little chic and has more than a touch of Neil Young – also ahead of the game on that, apparently, though also behind it if one counts the entire decade of the ’90s – but it swings and would do well on the highway late at night, which seems to be where I most listen to music these days, the couch notwithstanding. I’ll dig further and let you know how it goes. One thing that took me so long in checking these guys out was that everything I heard about them had to do with their lightshow, which of course says nothing about the actual music. That’s something of a dogwhistle to me, mostly because The Flaming Lips suck so very hard and all everyone talks about is flashing colors and whatever other bullshit happens when they play live. Anyway, on first impression, Passover is pretty solid. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but if not, and really either way, I hope you agree.

Boogie woogie.

It was either this or the self-titled Alice in Chains to end the week, and if I’m honest that’s way more where my head has been at the last several days — as evidenced perhaps by the fact that I’ve never heard Passover before — but I closed a week with Sap back in January, and it seemed a little soon to revisit the band. To answer your next question, yes, I really do put that much thought into this crap. If you only knew… you’d probably get very sad.

Which is pretty much what I did all week. I put up a day’s worth of posts yesterday without getting out of bed, and since the Yankees were playing a day game, just stayed in bed until about five o’clock, before I made my way all the way downstairs to watch no fewer than five episodes of the Scott Bakula Star Trek spinoff — the Trek kick continues unabated; ask me about the name of the ship in the novel I’m writing in my head — as well as the fifth movie, also arguably the nadir of the film franchise, at least until the second remake. Anyway, I had some shit turn south on me this week after it seemed to not be and it kind of pulled the wind out of my sails. Not worth going into.

I’ve now been unemployed for five months. How about that?

I’m not dealing with it well, but I didn’t last time either, though last time I made this blog and proceeded to let it consume my existence. This time? More of that, I suppose, but also a lot of feeling like a useless sucker, like I sold myself out cheap a decade ago, pointless regret, the usual, very dire melodrama that eats my consciousness alive when I get like this and forces me to step back and remember how easy and how good I actually have it, little help though that is. Anyway, I have family coming north this weekend and I expect that will be chaotic enough to jolt my brain out of this very unfunky funk.

Speaking of things gnawing at my consciousness, I think I’m finally in deep enough with the YOB record to review it. I’ve been trying to get a time to interview Mike Scheidt the last couple weeks as well and it just hasn’t worked. I thought maybe tonight, but I’m gonna head to Worcester to catch a show, so maybe next week, though I’m also interviewing Soph Day from Alunah about their new record, so we’ll see. Anyway, that review will get done.

On Monday, look out for a Snailking track premiere and later in the week one for Old Testament, which is a new project from Jason Simon from Dead Meadow. I’ll also review the show I’m going to tonight and hopefully the Blackwolfgoat record too.

Thanks to everyone for donating to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. Thanks to everyone who shared the Sleep review (particularly the cats from Earthless). Thanks to everyone for reading or listening to the radio or whatever. Thanks to everyone for everything. If I believed in being blessed, I’d consider myself blessed. I am lucky.

Splendid weekend to all, and if you’re in the States, enjoy your Labor Day. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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Wino Wednesday: The Hidden Hand, “The Crossing” Live in 2004

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the raw interwebular research I was able to put together — i.e., I Googled it — The Hidden Hand played the release show for their second album, Mother Teacher Destroyer, on Oct. 29, 2004, at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. If I’m wrong about that, I hope you’ll at least give me credit for trying to track down when this clip of “The Crossing,” the opening track from that record, was played. Whenever it was, bassist Bruce Falkinburg absolutely nails the vocals, and even in the “uploaded five years ago” quality, the song sounds pretty righteous.

Their 2003 debut, Divine Propaganda, was rawer, and 2007′s swansong, The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, more ambitious, but to me, Mother Teacher Destroyer was the quintessential outing from The Hidden Hand during their all-too-short run from 2003-2007. Not only did it have the rawness and progressive sensibilities in near-perfect balance, but the tracks themselves were so memorable, both individually and how they fed into each other, that the album remains high on my list of favorite Wino-related releases. I’ve featured the album before, so I won’t belabor the point, but it was the right offering at the right moment.

All the better, then, to get a glimpse of that moment nearly a decade later, by checking out this video of “The Crossing” from the release show. WinoFalkinburg and drummer Dave Hennessy are in top form — you can see them nail the tricky change shortly before the long guitar solo kicks in — and it seems fair to think this was if not as good as they got, then probably close to it. I still consider The Hidden Hand probably the least appreciated of the bands Wino has been in, the stalled-out and largely forgotten Premonition 13 notwithstanding, and something like this is a real treat at least for me, and I hope for you as well.

Please enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Hidden Hand, “The Crossing” Live at the Mother Teacher Destroyer CD Release Show

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Friday Full-Length: Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

There was a lot I liked about Samsara Blues Experiment‘s third album, Waiting for the Flood (review here), but nothing quite so much as the surprise factor. After their second full-length, Revelation and Mystery (review here), came out in 2011, I felt like I had the Berlin outfit more or less figured out. They had shifted away from the jamminess of the preceding 2009 debut, Long Distance Trip (review here), and I assumed they’d continue along in that direction, toward a straightforward heavy rock vibe, maybe still with some psychedelic elements, but more or less working in traditional structures toward traditional ends.

Well, along comes Waiting for the Flood. Four tracks, not a one of them under 10 minutes long. Just these huge, sprawling, cosmically gorgeous jams, deeply progressive but still swinging and loose, and everything I had expected from the band went right out the window. I loved it last fall when I first heard the record, and revisiting it today, my reaction is much the same. I’ve gone back to the album periodically since it came out — some records I review and they never get put on again; that’s not the case here — so I’m not at all flying blind, but I still feel a sense of spontaneity coming from the extended instrumental sections, the then-foursome letting various movements flesh out and go where they will, and I’m still enthralled with how well Samsara Blues Experiment are able to give the tracks hooks and definite verses and choruses amidst all this space-groove meandering. Trying to predict where these guys might go in their progression isn’t a mistake I’ll make again, particularly now that they’re pared down to a single-guitar trio, but if they wanted to use Waiting for the Flood as a foundation from which to continue to build stylistically, they gave themselves a lot work with.

More than that, though, I really like the album. It’s one I put on when I just want to drift out for a bit and it hasn’t failed me yet in that regard, up to and including the last 10 minutes, which I apparently just spent staring at the screen while opener “Shringara” moved into the title-track. Rock and bliss.

Tonight, I’m driving to Connecticut. Tomorrow, I’m driving to Pennsylvania to see King Dead, King Buffalo and All Them Witches, which is something I’m very much looking forward to. I haven’t been to Stroudsberg in years, and I expect it will be a good time. I’m driving back to Connecticut immediately after the show (I think?) in order to maximize the efficiency of getting back to the Boston area in time on Sunday to go see Sleep at the House of Blues with Earthless/Heavy Blanket opening. I have no doubt this will be one of the best weekends of shows of the year, and I can’t wait to hit the road and make it happen. I’ll have reviews and whatnot next week of both.

Also think I’ll probably review that Earth record, since that’s pretty well ingrained in my consciousness, and maybe Pallbearer, since that seems to have struck such a nerve with the entire planet. We’ll see. I’ve listened to that a couple times through already and it’s good, but I’m not sure I’m on board with the holy-fuck-this-is-the-best-thing-ever crowd. I wasn’t last time either, but so it goes. That band works hard. I don’t begrudge them what mainstream acceptance they’ve garnered along the way.

I was going to do a round of Radio Adds today, but every sentence I wrote in the earlier part of the day felt like pulling teeth — nothing against what I was writing about; it’s me, not you — so I just decided to have some fun and do that Earth guest singer thing instead. It was the right decision. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the little routines I make for myself that I forget that the reason The Obelisk is what gets me out of bed most mornings is because I enjoy it, not because I’m obligated to it. If you know what I’m talking about, you know that’s a huge difference.

Anyway, I gotta go pack so that when The Patient Mrs. gets home from whatever joyful social obligation it is that she’s out meeting we can hit the road south once again. Good times ahead.

Hope you have a wonderful, disaster-free weekend. Thanks to everyone who donated to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. I know a lot of you already gave, but it would be amazing if we could knock our way up to 10 grand in the next week or so, just because the dude needs the money to get his office cleaned up sooner rather than later. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check that link or just scroll to the top of the frontpage.

And when you’re done donating, please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Video Premiere: Beard of Bees, “General Butt Naked” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

beard of bees

Admittedly, it was a while ago, so if you don’t remember or had chalked it up to the ol’ sometimes-things-fall-through, no worries, but when this year’s Ceremony of Sludge was announced back in January, it was noted that I’d be premiering a series of videos captured there at Club 21 in Portland, Oregon, over the course of the two-day event. Well, the fest happened March 7 and 8, and sure enough, it was filmed, and last night, I was sent the first of what I hope will be many clips to come from that weekend.

The band in question is Beard of Bees, a Salem, OR, guitar/drum two-piece who kicked off the first night of the festival. They shared the stage with TsepeschSerial Hawk and Lamprey, and playing to an already crowded room, they evoked ’90s noise pummel and brandished thick, mostly instrumental grooves of considerable threat. It’s my first time hearing the band, which is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Russell Brown and drummer Nick Plaff – going by their Thee Facebooks address, they were at some point a trio and Bob left — but the tension in their buildups and the locked-in chugging of the ensuing payoffs makes for a satisfyingly heavy roll that has me empathizing with those in the crowd raising their beer cans in appreciation.

As for the song itself, it’s called “General Butt Naked,” and the clip was filmed by Cole Boggess, Justin Anderson, Justin Brown (Russell‘s brother and one of Lamprey‘s two bassists) and Eli Duke, and edited by Boggess. Beard of Bees don’t seem to have anything recorded or released as yet — they first got together in 2011 — so if you go looking and find some other band with the name, don’t be confused, but as an introduction, I think the live clip works well to make a favorable impression, and if nothing else, looks like the kickoff to a hell of an evening.

Enjoy:

Beard of Bees, “General Butt Naked” Live at Ceremony of Sludge, Portland, OR, March 7, 2014

Beard of Bees on Thee Facebooks

Ceremony of Sludge

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “Forever Midnight” from 1982 Demo

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m kind of surprised that a band hasn’t come along that sounds like this yet. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of doom bands sound like The Obsessed (half the state of Maryland walks by and waves). But I mean exactly like this, the way that vintage ’70s production styles have taken such hold of heavy rock and doom these last several years. Moving into the murky, more obscure ’80s style of doom — when it buried itself underground to escape the blast radius of New Wave and glam much like the rodentia that survived the collision that killed the dinosaurs — would seem the next logical stage in that progression, wouldn’t it? And there’s a definite style at work in The Obsessed‘s earliest demos and others from that era that through whatever studio magic or lack thereof could feasibly be translated to a modern recording. I guess to some degree that’s what Revelation/Against Nature have been doing on their last couple outings, but seems to me there’s room for more than just one band in that terrain, at least if the glut of ’70s worshipers is anything to go by.

The track “Forever Midnight” would show up again on The Obsessed‘s self-titled debut, released in 1990 by Hellhound Records, but as the demo shows, it predates the album by at least eight years. Of course, The Obsessed formed as Warhorse in 1976, and we’ve seen that band rocking out Led Zeppelin covers at high school in Rockville, Maryland, so “Forever Midnight” could feasibly go back even further than ’82, but I wouldn’t know how much. Even in the rough demo form, it’s a solid groover. Not much of an ending, really — it just kind of stops — but as an early showing of Wino‘s riffing style, it comes across as a feeling-out process for what later on became The Obsessed‘s ultra-straightforward, no frills doom metal. Structurally, the demo is just about the same as the finished version as well, so you can figure that Wino knew what he was going for at the time and was pleased with the results even eight years after the fact when the self-titled came out. Hard to argue.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Forever Midnight” Demo (1982)

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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats Post Video for “Runaway Girls”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Look hard enough amid all the vintage bikes, cult leaders and sexualized violence in Uncle Acid‘s new video for “Runaway Girls” and you might find something that surprises you: The band. They showed up in glimpses last year as well in the similarly-minded “Mind Crawler” video – no doubt also a nightmare in the editing — but they’re just a little more present in “Runaway Girls,” and fair enough. The UK garage doom forerunners are a more public entity than they were a year ago, what with a handful of live shows under their belt alongside Black Sabbath and an impending US tour beginning next month. The world already knows what you look like. Might as well show up in your own video.

Beyond that, “Runaway Girls” is all the tanlines and devil-worship one might expect from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, who by now have converted more than a handful of bands to their cultish ways following the 2013 release of Mind Control (review here), an album that pushed the grainy riffage of 2011′s landmark sophomore outing, Blood Lust, into more psychedelic expanses. The song itself is the highlight, of course, and it pulls back on some of the spaciousness of Mind Control to the eerie threats of Blood Lust. If it’s a leftover from the Mind Control sessions, it’s easy to see why it didn’t fit on the record, and if it’s older, then the many who salivated over Blood Lust at the time should be all the more pleased. I don’t think it’s a brand new recording either way, but if it is, then perhaps Uncle Acid are teaching a lesson about what we can do with our expectations, even as they reaffirm them with the video.

The Runaway Girls single is out Aug. 25 on Rise Above, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats start their US tour on Sept. 24 at the Underground Arts in Philly. Dates follow the clip, which was directed by Marc Morris, below.

Enjoy:

Uncle Acid, “Runaway Girls” official video

UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS North American Tour:
9/24: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
9/25: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
9/26: Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
9/27: Montreal, QC @ Il Motore
9/28: Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
9/30: Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
10/1: Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
10/3: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
10/4: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
10/6: Seattle, WA @ Neumos
10/7: Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw
10/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
10/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
10/11: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theater – SOLD OUT
10/12: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theater

Uncle Acid on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

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Mount Salem Premiere “Lucid” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mount salem

Chicago doom rock newcomers Mount Salem are headed to Europe this fall for an impressive festival run that will include Dutch Doom Days and Hammer of Doom. There are others, of course, but let that be indicative of the theme with which the four-piece are working: Doom. Their initially self-released debut, Endless, got picked up by Metal Blade, and Mount Salem haven’t looked back since. Today, they premiered a new video for the track “Lucid” from the album.

Knowing next to nothing about the band at the time, other than they were from Chicago and they were doomed out, I was fortunate enough to catch Mount Salem live last fall in Rhode Island (review here), and they’ve hit the road at least twice since then, so they’re working quick to get their songs in front of as many people as possible. I’d expect that momentum to only continue to build as they move into and beyond this first European incursion.

The video for “Lucid” is directed by Dave Skwarczek (http://www.skwarczek.com) and is followed by the tour dates. Please enjoy:

Mount Salem, “Lucid” official video

Recently, Mount Salem confirmed their first European tour in support of their album “Endless”. The band will be making their UK debut at The Black Heart in London on November 2, 2014. The following dates are confirmed by now and can be announced. More dates to be confirmed soon!

MOUNT SALEM European Tour
25/10/14 NL – Leeuwarden – Into The Void Festival
26/10/14 DE – Hamburg – Rock Club St. Pauli
30/10/14 DK – Copenhagen – Stengade
31/10/14 DE – Paderborn – Thumbs Up Fest
01/11/14 NL – Rotterdam – Dutch Doom Days
02/11/14 UK – London – Our Black Heart
07/11/14 ES – Zaragoza – Arrebato
10/11/14 IT – Milan – Lo-Fi
11/11/14 IT – Bologna – Freakout Club
12/11/14 AT – Wien – Arena
15/11/14 DE – Würzburg – Hammer of Doom Festival
16/11/14 DE – Leipzig – Plaque

Mount Salem comments: “We are very excited to be coming overseas for our first time. Traveling is a hobby for all of us so we’re thrilled to be able to see new countries, meet new people, and of course, play some music.”

MOUNT SALEM is:
Emily Kopplin – vocals & organ
Cody Davidson – drums
Mark Hewett – bass
Kyle Morrison – guitars

Mount Salem on Thee Facebooks

Mount Salem at Metal Blade Records

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Friday Full-Length: Halfway to Gone, High Five

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Halfway to Gone, High Five (2001)

Put Halfway to Gone against any Southern heavy band you want to — including the late, great Alabama Thunderpussy, with whom they once shared a split — and see if they don’t stand up. Of course, they weren’t actually from the South, unless you consider Central New Jersey the South, which some people I know in North Jersey most definitely do. Born in 1999 as an offshoot of Solarized, Halfway to Gone came out of the same Red Bank scene that gave planet earth gifts like The Atomic Bitchwax, Solace, Core and the mothers of them all, Monster Magnet. They released three records on Small Stone in their time — 2001′s High Five was the debut (after the aforementioned ATP split), followed by 2002′s Second Season and a 2004 self-titled — and toured hard at the time, but have played only intermittently over the last eight or nine years. Guitarist Lee “Stu” Gollin and his brother, drummer Danny Gollin, continued on for a while in A Thousand Knives of Fire, whose 2007 outing, Last Train to Scornsville, was recorded in part by Halfway bassist/vocalist Lou Gorra, but that petered out when their bassist moved away. Gorra in the meantime founded his studio and set about recording other bands, including mine, Halfway to Gone getting together every now and again to play Long Branch’s The Brighton Bar, perpetually killing the place.

If I’m not mistaken, they did a show there last year. Last I saw them was 2012, and they were still a force on stage. There was talk at the time of a long-awaited fourth album, though to-date nothing has come of it. Gorra was playing bass with Sourvein this year for their European tour — it was a beyond-pleasant surprise to run into him at Roadburn — but knowing this band and knowing these dudes, I’d never quite count them out. Still, it’s good to go back to the beginning and revisit High Five, which from where I sit is a Jersey classic. Dig that slide guitar on “Story of My Life,” or the reworked Gettysburg Address in “Kind Words for the Southern Gentleman” – the band taking the “you’re not Southern!” contingent head on — and the hook in “Devil Spit (The Van Zant Shuffle)” or the slow roll of “Limb from Limb.” Gorra does whiskey-soaked vocals without the chestbeating Down-ery that seems to have unfortunately become the hallmark of the style over the last decade, and Stu and Danny tear it up, a thick-toned power trio ahead of their time as much as they were behind it. They’d tighten up further structurally on the second record and branch out stylistically on the third, but as far as starting points go, there’s not much for which I’d trade High Five.

Hope you enjoy.

In Connecticut for the weekend. Was here last weekend as well. Actually, the only reason I drove back to Massachusetts on Tuesday was to see High on Fire at The Sinclair – my first show in Boston in, uh… I don’t even know, since Fu Manchu maybe? — and I didn’t get in. It was a free show! No ticket for me. Ugh. I was so beat by the time I’d stood on line for half an hour, right at the front, and listened to the stupid-assed conversations of those around me after driving two-plus hours to get back up there that when I couldn’t get in, I didn’t even have the energy to make a case for myself. I walked back to my car through college-bound Cambridge and went the fuck home to bury my head. What a bummer.

Next weekend is Sleep at the House of Blues with Earthless and Heavy Blanket jamming out to open. Got my fingers crossed for that. The day before, I’ll be in Pennsylvania for All Them Witches and King Buffalo, so a bit of travel there as well. Whatever. I won’t regret it.

This weekend though, some rest and some research. I’ve got a few things in the works that I’m hoping fall into place over the next couple weeks — all very hush hush, or I’d give you the details outright — so it’s important to keep my head straight. Getting there is pretty much my intent for the next couple days.

Reviews coming up for Witch Mountain and maybe the Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate split, but after doing Powered Wig Machine today and Demon Eye yesterday, I’m starting to feel pretty good about tackling the pile, so I might keep up with that as well. I’ll play it by ear and do as much as I have the energy to do. You know how it goes by now. I pretty much post until I feel like I’m ready to fall over and then I stop for a few hours and then post again.

Clacky clacky clacky. Always with the keyboard.

For now though, I’m gonna go watch some Star Trek with The Patient Mrs. and call it a night.

Please have a great and safe weekend and please check out the forum and radio stream, because they are awesome.

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Steak Premiere Video for “Rising” from New Album Slab City

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

UK heavy rockers Steak may have gone to the desert to record Slab City, but they went to the woods to film the video for “Rising.” Their full-length debut is due out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records, following two successful EPs, 2013′s Corned Beef Colossus (review here) and 2012′s Disastronaught (review here), and a host of European tours and festival slots. The London-based four-piece of vocalist Kippa, guitarist Reece Tee, bassist Cam and drummer Sammy will join forces with their labelmate John Garcia – who also puts in a guest appearance on the album — for a round of dates with his solo live band this fall. I’m not sure how many sjpws they’re doing together, but posters have started to surface, and what it all rounds out to is the next stage of progression for one of the fertile UK scene’s most potent up and coming acts.

Dudes in comics.Slab City was tracked at California desert hotspot Thunder Underground in Palm Springs, and I don’t know where the “Rising” clip was captured, but there isn’t a speck of sand to be seen. Off in the woods at night, there’s magical drug/artifact smoking, weird reincarnation rituals, and in the meantime, with spotlights behind branches like they used to do on the X-Files, Steak can be found jamming out with tree-falls-in-the-forest abandon. If you’re looking to get a feel for what Slab City is all about, the song itself is a more than suitable representation of its desert-minded grooves and bulk supply of spacious riffage. It is the apex of the record as well as its longest track and one of its most powerful executions, the band tackling the form of desert rock and invariably bringing something of their own to it.

“Rising” was directed by Samuel Smith and produced by Smith and Kieron Allender. Please enjoy:

Steak, “Rising” official video

Steak‘s Slab City will be out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records. The album is available now for pre-order. More info at the links.

Steak on Thee Facebooks

Slab City at Napalm Records

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Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs Cover Joy Division, Live in Germany, April 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the numbers — and you’d best believe I go by the numbers rather than my own memory of such things — this is the 150th Wino Wednesday post. In a few short weeks we’ll celebrate three full years of the feature, and I’m glad to say that I think I’ve only missed one week in that time. It’s become a staple in my consciousness, which band, what song, live or studio, what’s out there to find, what’s new, etc., and I’ve enjoyed trying to chase down something different each time out, even if it’s just another live version of “Born too Late” or something like that, bound to be familiar no matter what the source is.

This week we dip back to 2012 for some Wino & Conny Ochs. They were on tour in Europe that spring, having played Roadburn in the all-too-appropriate church setting of Het Patronaat (review here), and it was as comfortable on stage as I saw them, though by the time they got around to doing US dates afterward (review here), the collaboration seemed no less fluid. Supporting their Exile on Mainstream debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), they offered a look at raw folkish troubadour traditionalism, of course tempered with Ochs‘ bleeding emotionalism and Wino‘s inescapable heavy rock edge.

It might be the folk that comes most to the fore on “Isolation.” A cover of Joy Division, “Isolation” comes from that band’s 1980 swansong, Closer, and aside from extending it, Wino and Ochs take the British outfit’s post-punk/pre-New Wave melancholy and replace it with a righteous acoustic strum, so that “Isolation” sounds more like a public domain railroad song than something Ian Curtis penned before taking his own life. The build at the end is true to the original, but there’s room made for a solo that extends into a jam with the two guitars before bridging back to the chorus and finishing out, making “Isolation” — which also appeared on the Wino & Conny Ochs Latitudes release, Labour of Love – all the more distinctive in this interpretation.

The clip was recorded in Würzburg, Germany on April 3, 2012 at Cairo. Hope you enjoy:

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Isolation” Live in Germany, April 2012

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Tombs Deconstruct the Psyche in New “Seance” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Jam room.

Oft-and-loudly-lauded Brooklyn genre benders Tombs received their customary round of praise for their new album, Savage Gold, and like last time, they earned it. They’ll hit the road in support of the record this fall alongside Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar on what I’m sure will be one of the season’s most-sought-after tickets, and today, they premiered a video for the track “Seance,” one of the most biting from the record.

That in itself is certainly enough to pique interest — it exists, therefore watch — but I got a special thrill out of seeing the clip was directed by Jaclyn Sheer. About a thousand years ago, Ms. Sheer and I worked together, she in PR and I in editorial, and it always warms my cold, dead heart to see excellent people doing cool things. Like directing Tombs videos. If you’re epileptic or otherwise sensitive to flashing lights, you might want to take care, but otherwise, dive in and enjoy:

Tombs, “Seance” official video

TOMBS Premiere Video For “Seance”

TOMBS released their critically acclaimed album Savage Gold this June via Relapse Records. They have completed work on the album’s first video for the song “Seance”. The video was directed by Jaclyn Sheer and can be viewed HERE.

Front man Mike Hill on the video:

“Watching the video is like observing this realm dissolve as you pass into a higher level of consciousness.”

TOMBS have released an official IPA beer with Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA. The Savage Gold beer is an imminently refreshing and crushable IPA. Brewed with red wheat and oats. Hopped intensely and aggressively with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc. Enormous notes of white grape, green pepper, mango, and marijuana. 5.2% abv.

Additionally, frontman Mike Hill has launched a specialty coffee company, Savage Gold Coffee, inspired by his love for high quality, organic coffee. The first roast, Savage Gold Prime, is an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee bean grown between 6,000 and 6,500 feet above sea level. It is an aromatic and dynamic coffee roasted to perfection with a large flavor profile. It is sourced from a co-op of Ethiopian farmers and is 100% Fair Trade, certified organic and wet (mechanically) processed. More info on the coffee is available via the official Savage Gold website HERE.

In support of Savage Gold, TOMBS will hit the road this fall for a three week tour with Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar. The shows kick off on October 17th in Nashville, TV and run through November 9th in Dallas, TX. A complete list of dates can be found below.

Tombs Tour Dates:

***All dates w/ Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar***

Oct 17 Nashville, TN Exit/In
Oct 18 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlie’s
Oct 19 Champaign, IL High Dive
Oct 20 Madison, WI The Frequency
Oct 21 Detroit, MI The Magic Stick Lounge
Oct 23 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
Oct 24 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
Oct 25 Montreal, QC Il Motore
Oct 26 Boston, MA Great Scott
Oct 27 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
Oct 29 Philadelphia, PA Black Box at Underground Arts
Oct 30 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
Nov 01 Atlanta, GA The Earl
Nov 02 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
Nov 05 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
Nov 09 Dallas, TX Three Links

Tombs on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records

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Friday Full-Length: Hawkwind, Hawkwind

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

Hawkwind, Hawkwind (1970)

Like most humans who’ve never actually been in the band — there are still five or 10 of us left; we get together on weekends — I am viciously underqualified to discuss the life and times of Hawkwind. I haven’t even seen the BBC documentary, though I have to wonder how more than four (I think it was three at the time) decades of space-rock pioneering could possibly be summarized in a single viewing anyway. In any case, all of Hawkwind‘s groundbreaking, all of their lysergic push, all the drugs, all the riffs, and their insurmountable discography — they continue to release albums; I interviewed Dave Brock a few years back about one of them — all began with their 1970 self-titled debut. If you’re looking for the launch point, this would be it.

At the time, Hawkwind was Brock on vocals/guitar/keys, Nik Turner — who’s touring this fall with his own incarnation of the band — on sax/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Huw Lloyd, bassist/vocalist John A. Harrison, synth/key specialist Michael “Dikmik” Davies and drummer Terry Ollis. I doubt any of them could’ve known the movement they were beginning or the litigation they’d eventually undertake when they recorded this album live with The Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor, but as they continued to refine their sound (and lineup) over the next five years, getting through the classic 1971 outing, In Search of Space, en route to albums like 1974′s Hall of the Mountain Grill 1975′s Warrior on the Edge of Time, it became apparent that what they were doing was more than just the standard psychedelic fare, and the rhythmic thrust that became their signature is still widely influential today, 40-plus years after the fact.

That thrust is hardly writ large over the self-titled, but as you can hear as the record plays out, Hawkwind were pretty much making it up as they went along, and of course the tradeoff for self-realization on the part of a band is a necessary narrowing of focus. Hawkwind, the album, is all the more varied for the fact that the band hadn’t really taken shape yet, and so it captures a moment that, in all their releases, studio, live and whatever else, would never come again.

I hope you enjoy.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to drive north to Portland, Maine, to see the last of the three slated We’re all Gonna Die reunion shows. They’re playing with Murcielago and Blackwolfgoat, so I’m expecting a good time and a late night both. I haven’t been to a show in more than a month, with the move and all, so I’m very much looking forward to getting out for a bit and hearing something loud. The plan is to review on Monday.

Also Monday, I may or may not have a Steak video premiere? I’m not sure what’s going on with the timing of that, or if I’m doing a premiere or it’s just coming out, or what the deal really is. I figure it’ll get sorted sooner or later and I’ll adjust accordingly. While I’m talking about nascent plans that may or may not fall through, I got offered a Funeral Horse album stream today that I’d very much like to do because that band rules that I was hoping to do Tuesday. Got my fingers crossed it comes together.

The party don’t stop either way, though. Tuesday night High on Fire play the Sinclair in Cambridge and I’ll be out for that, because if you’re gonna jump back in, do it like you mean it, and I’ll hope Wednesday to get a piece up on that. More Radio Adds to come, and hopefully a review of the Witch Mountain record, which is a little more bittersweet now that Uta Plotkin has announced it’ll be her last with the band. So it goes.

Of course there’s other stuff too, but I can’t possibly imagine what it might be because my mind is in full-on Hawkwind drift. We’ll just have to figure it out when we get there.

Please have an excellent, safe weekend. Eat ice cream and kick ass, because you can.

And don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Old Man Gloom Post Trailer for Here is a Gift for You

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

Exactly what kind of audio/visual project is Old Man Gloom‘s forthcoming Here is a Gift for You? Hell if I know. The Boston post-metal don’t-call-us-a-supergroup-even-though-we-are-most-definitely-a-supergroup four-piece keep it cryptic with their just-unveiled trailer, as one would have to expect, showing off documentary interview footage — seen looking comfortable on a balcony at the start, Thor Anderson is a visiting professor at the San Francisco Art Institute — as well as a burning Zozobra effigy and live performance from the band that, because there are lights on and they’re actually visible, I’m going to assume was not filmed in their hometown. Old Man Gloom toured Europe earlier this year, including a stop at Roadburn (review here) and it could easily have come from one of those shows or just about anywhere else. Could be Nate Newton‘s basement. Anything’s possible with these guys.

Old Man Gloom‘s last release was 2012′s No, which marked the return of the project and their first outing since 2004′s Christmas, the lineup of Newton (also of Converge) on guitar/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist/vocalist Caleb Schofield and drummer Santos Montano (Zozobra) refreshing the cerebral pummel that made their earlier work like 2001′s one-two punch of Seminar II: The Holy Rites of Primitivism Regressionism and Seminar III: Zozobra both so distinct in what was than a nascent post-metal movement and years ahead of their time. I intended to pick up a copy of No after their performance at Roadburn was so blistering and didn’t because I suck and I’m broke, but the clip here is another argument in favor of digging through the couch for change to put toward that cause.

Whatever Here is a Gift for You is, it’ll reportedly be out this fall, produced and directed by Kenneth Thomas with burning Zozobra and everything. Here’s the trailer:

Old Man Gloom, Here is a Gift for You trailer

Old Man Gloom on Thee Facebooks

Hydra Head Industries

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live in North Carolina, 1999

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’ve had a lot of Spirit Caravan around these parts lately for Wino Wednesday. Reasonably so, what with the reunion and the wealth of videos posted from their tours of the US and Europe. I thought maybe this week we’d run with it but change it up a bit and go back to the three-piece’s original run. Spirit Caravan as a working band rather than the returning conquerors, playing to small rooms and caving in the chest cavities of those fortunate enough to be in the know.

In March 1999, when the below version of “Brother Blue Steel” was recorded, Spirit Caravan hadn’t yet released their debut album, Jug Fulla Sun. That record, which came out through Joe Lally of Fugazi‘s Tolotta Records, was still two months off. They’d been kicking around for a couple years both as Shine and Spirit Caravan and had put the track “Darkness and Longing” on a split with Sixty Watt Shaman, but their full-length debut wouldn’t arrive until May. It makes more sense, then, that Spirit Caravan would take on a song like “Brother Blue Steel,” which Wino originally wrote and recorded with The Obsessed.

It was the opener from The Obsessed‘s 1991 return outing, Lunar Womb, and it seems fair to expect that if someone’s in the crowd at a Spirit Caravan show before the band has an LP out, they’ve probably heard The Obsessed, so yeah, a take on “Brother Blue Steel” is understandable. While there’s always some stylistic bleedthrough between Wino‘s bands because of his tone and songwriting process, I still think you can see in the below some of the differences in character between the two groups, bassist Dave Sherman and then-drummer Gary Isom hitting into a bounce that foreshadowed a big part of Spirit Caravan‘s sonic personality as Wino chugs out the verse riff. For being the same song, it’s definitely a different take.

Hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live at The Caboose, Garner, NC, March 27, 1999

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