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

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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.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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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.

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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

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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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Sneakin’ a Peak at Some New Brant Bjork

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Two weeks from today, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk set off on a West Coast US tour alongside Corrosion of Conformity, Bl’ast and Lord Dying. Earlier this summer, the four-piece outfit — Bjork himself on vocals/guitar, drummer Tony Tornay, guitarist Bubba DuPree and bassist Dave Dinsmore – took flight on an inaugural run through Australia and New Zealand that reportedly followed completion of a new album set to serve as Brant Bjork‘s long-awaited debut on Napalm Records. It’s also his first solo-ish offering since 2010′s Gods and Goddesses (review here) and the first record he’ll have out since reuniting with vocalist John Garcia in the Kyuss-offshoot Vista Chino, who released one of 2013′s best full-lengths in the form of Peace (review here), also on Napalm.

Those familiar with his 10-album solo stint between 1999′s classic Jalamanta and Gods and Goddesses already know that Bjork (interviews here and here and Questionnaire here) is a purveyor of some of the finest sandy soul known to man. Instrumental to the coalescing of heavy rock in the ’90s as part of Kyuss and Fu Manchu, in the aughts, he dug into an inimitable style of groove that became as distinct as anything he did with either of those bands or any of his other numerous collaborations along the way — lest we forget Ché or his time with Nick Oliveri in Mondo Generator.

A four-year break between outings is the longest Bjork has had since he started putting out solo records (and yes, that counts the …and the Operators and the …and the Bros. iterations), but as is inevitable in the age of the digitally instantaneous, some new material has started to leak out from the Aussie gigs. Not much is out there that I’ve seen. A quality clip of a Star Wars-referencing track called “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” is on Vimeo, and that’s worth a look since it’s pretty close-up and you can really see the band nailing it, but the vocals are low. This version of “Requiem” is kind of far back, but the sound is clear enough to give an idea of what they’re up to — you’ll note the low-end shaking the camera — and for fans of Brant Bjork, there’s an awful lot to like.

Dates for the aforementioned West Coast tour follow the video (recorded by YouTuber “Dav Ozz”), and the band will also head to Europe this fall for gigs at Up in Smoke and Desertfest Belgium, among others. Please enjoy:

Brant Bjork, “Requiem” Live in Geelong, Australia, May 30, 2014

Corrosion of Conformity, Bl’ast, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, and Lord Dying tour dates:
8/20/2014 The Hop – Spokane, WA
8/21/2014 In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
8/22/2014 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
8/23/2014 Sister – Albuquerque, NM
8/24/2014 Club Red – Mesa, AZ
8/26/2014 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
8/27/2014 The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA
8/28/2014 DNA – San Francisco, CA
8/29/2014 Catalyst – Santa Cruz CA
8/30/2014 Dante’s – Portland, OR
8/31/2014 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
9/01/2014 The Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork’s website

Napalm Records

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Friday Full-Length: Torche, Torche

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

Torche, Torche (2005)

I remember when I got this album when it came out in 2005 — nine years ago now. It was the “former members of Floor” that caught my eye when Robotic Empire was getting ready to release it, but it was as soon as the hook of “Mentor” came on, I had my “holy shit” moment with Torche‘s Torche, and I guess a lot of other people did as well. Listening back to the album now, there’s so much more to it than that — the weird experimentalism of “Fuck Addict,” or the feedback-drenched “The Last Word” — things that Torche moved past on subsequent releases in their drive toward a cleaner, more daringly poppy sound, but that make this album’s threat seem all the more glaring. There was nothing like them when they started. This record could be so sweet sounding and still push past the limits of accessibility.

Of course, the context is different, hearing it now. Nearly a decade’s worth of hindsight, several follow-up LPs and a Floor reunion later, Torche‘s self-titled debut still comes across as brazen, but now it sounds more like a beginning point than the bold declaration it was. I haven’t heard much about Torche‘s impending full-length from Relapse, maybe you have the inside track, but something steered me toward this album today, and it wasn’t an impulse I was about to deny. Maybe Torche are a little too fresh, too recent in the consciousness, to start talking about classics, but in another nine or 10 years, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we come to see their debut in that light. My thinking was that maybe you hadn’t heard it in a while, and maybe you’d be as glad to revisit as I was.

Point being, I hope you enjoy.

Quick week, but aren’t they all. Nice to get three bigger reviews done this week and to take a little time and note how grateful I was to The Patient Mrs. for doing a bit of shopping on my behalf while in Greece. I also took some time to make a list of the shows I want to see this and next month and into October. There are five in August starting on the ninth in Portland, Maine, with We’re all Gonna DieBlackwolfgoat and Murcielago, and going on from there. Five this month, six next. I don’t know if I’ll actually make it to all of them, but it’ll be good to end this summer’s shut-in lifestyle as we move into fall, however much I end up getting out.

Tonight? Chinese delivery and looking to spend a cloudy evening watching baseball. Not much for Friday night excitement, but I kind of felt like I never woke up today — was up in the middle of the night for an hour-plus — and yeah, been in a haze ever since. I guess some thrills came in the form of my dinner, which arrived, cost me upwards of $40 with the delivery tip factored in, and was uncooked. I’ve lived in this area a year now and have yet to find a place that’s got anything more than barely acceptable takeout. Granted I don’t get it every week or anything, but I’m up to five or six different spots now and only one was worth going back to. Yelp is no assistance whatsofuckingever. All anyone ever talks about is the fucking “crab rangoons.” It’s god damn deep fried crab meat and cream cheese! Of course it’s fucking delicious! The highlight of the meal was when the dog sat and stayed at the door while I futzed with my cash to give the delivery guy. It was all downhill from there.

Next week, look out for streams from Joy and Blackwitch Pudding, reviews of Heavy Temple and Witch Mountain and hopefully I’ll get the John Garcia interview posted, which I actually filed away thinking it already went up when clearly it did not. Whoops. Little late on that one, but so it goes.

Alright, onward to my evening of awful raw meat greasy-flavor aftertaste and watching the off-brand peckerwood Yankees lose to the Red Sox. I hope you have an excellent and injury-free weekend.

Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” Live at Hellfest 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As an American, it’s hard for me to imagine the scale of an event like Hellfest, which takes place every June in Clisson, France, but certainly easy enough to admire it. The Valley stage seems to be here Hellfest hosts its Heavy, and from the likes of Black Pyramid to Neurosis to Unida, it’s a stage that’s been graced by some of the best bands the underground has to offer. This year, as part of their European reunion tour, Spirit CaravanWino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals, Henry Vasquez on drums — made a stop at Hellfest as well, which seems only fitting. Wino had played there with The Obsessed a couple years back, and after appearances this spring at Desertfest and of course across the US, it’s a natural stop.

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t get to see them on their North American tour with Pilgrim that I’m so hung up on footage from the Spirit Caravan reunion gigs this year, or maybe it’s just that there’s so much video out there that I have a lot to choose from. Either way, the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. The clip below of “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” finds the three-piece locked into one of their most satisfying rolling grooves, Vasquez killing it on drums as he will while Sherman tilts his head back for the ride and Wino stands poised at the microphone like he’s about to fight it. Very, very cool video.

The song was featured earlier this year around the time the US dates were announced and comes from Spirit Caravan‘s swansong 2003 compilation, The Last Embrace. It’s one of the last tracks they’d record before splitting up, and echoes some of the themes Wino would later explore in The Hidden Hand, but as they showcase here, is still definitively a Spirit Caravan nod.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” Live at Hellfest 2014

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Electric Wizard Post New Video for “I am Nothing”

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

Presented with their usual fuckall, Electric Wizard‘s new video for “I am Nothing” simply takes the song from their upcoming Spinefarm Records debut — eighth LP overall – Time to Die and puts it to a psychedelic oil lightshow. The band doesn’t appear, there’s no discernible budget, but it’s a way of getting the song out and no matter what the UK stoner doom kings do at this point, people are going to find it and pay attention. So if nothing else, the fuckall is well justified.

Time to Die is out Sept. 30 on Spinefarm and marks a new stage in Electric Wizard‘s development, departing some of the smoothed out, psychedelic cultisms of 2010′s Black Masses (review here) and the preceding 2007 return, Witchcult Today in favor of something dirtier and more wretched sounding. It’s not really a return to the raw druggery of their early work, but something different blending that side of the band with their more recent era. Bottom line, it sounds like Electric Wizard, which try though they might, is something no one else seems to be able to pull off.

Wake up, baby. It’s time to die:

Electric Wizard, “I am Nothing” official video

TIME TO DIE, THE NEW ALBUM FROM ELECTRIC WIZARD, TO BE RELEASED SEPT. 30

OFFICIAL “I AM NOTHING” VIDEO CLIP UNLEASHED

ALBUM/BUNDLE PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE

Electric Wizard have revealed that their forthcoming studio album, Time To Die, will be released on Sept. 30 via Spinefarm Records; Time To Die is the eighth full-length offering from the masters of aural punishment, and is testament to the fact that Electric Wizard continue to be the most uncompromisingly heavy, genuinely twisted and evil band in the world.

This will be their first album release since signing a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records.

In addition to this, a brand new video clip for “I am Nothing” has been unleashed via www.ElectricFuckinWizard.com.

EW guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn has said if the track, which harnesses the dark underground death metal spirit of 1984:

“It was the year I became a metal-head. It was heavy shit for real – there was no way you were ever going to get a decent job. So I became a Satanist, I dug up a grave, I got into tape-trading, I had a one-man noise/black/death metal band called Regurgitated Guts, and there were loads of documentaries on TV warning us not to listen to the devil’s music…”

All official Electric Wizard pre-order bundles are now live on www.ElectricFuckinWizard.com, featuring limited numbers of vinyl, CD, T-shirt, back-patch and pin badge packages.

Electric Wizard, who have just played headline slots at a number of European festivals, including Hellfest (France), Roskilde (Denmark) and Sonisphere (UK), have the following appearances lined up for 2014, with more shows to be added:

August 16 London, UK Jabberwocky (The Excel Centre)
September 12 Portugal Reverence Valada (headline with Hawkwind)
October 10 Antwerp, Belgium Desertfest

Electric Wizard are here for Revenge… Be Afraid…

Electric Wizard’s website

Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Electric Wizard on YouTube

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Video Premiere: Red Kunz Perform “Four Good Reasons” Live in Switzerland

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

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time that the bassists and drummers of Red Fang and Kunz (also ex-The Ocean) came together to perform in front of an audience as Red Kunz. Of course, their debut EP, Teeth, Hair and Skin, was tracked live, as we learned in the video premiere of the session two weeks ago, but this gig at Le Romandie in Lausanne, Switzerland, seems to be it for live shows for the time being, though the two component bands — Red Fang and Kunz — have several shows lined up for August, and I guess there’s a chance Red Kunz could get some stage time in there as well.

The song in the video is “Four Good Reasons,” third of the four tracks on Teeth, Hair and Skin, which is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. As you can see, Kunz‘s Louis Jucker and Red Fang‘s Aaron Beam share vocal duties while drummers Luc Hess and John Sherman tear up their drums behind. A catchy, upbeat heavy rock push ensues, interrupted only by a feedback-soaked, noisy bridge, and though the track is under four minutes long, its momentum is undeniable. And the crowd — which had never heard this or anything else Red Kunz played that night back in January — would seem to agree.

Teeth, Hair and Skin is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. Special thanks to both labels for letting me host this second premiere, and even more thanks to you for checking it out. The only reason I’m able to do things like this is because you take the time to listen/watch. It is hugely appreciated.

Enjoy:

Red Kunz, “Four Good Reasons” Live

Red Kunz is a project that gathers RED FANG (Aaron Beam and John Sherman) and KUNZ (Louis Jucker and Luc Hess – ex-THE OCEAN, COILGUNS).

PRE-ORDER (release date august 15th 2014) visit:

http://hummus-records.com/portfolio/red-kunz/

http://divisionrecords.bigcartel.com/product/red-kunz-red-fang-kunz-teeth-hair-skin-lp

The whole HUMMUS RECORDS catalog is available for free here: http://hummusrecords.bandcamp.com

Not sure whether RED KUNZ will be performing, but RED FANG and KUNZ will play the following shows together:

2014
Aug 1st — Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Aug 3rd — Le Grillen, Colmar, France
Aug 12th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 13th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 15th — Rock Altitude Festival, Le Locle, Suisse

Red Kunz on Thee Facebooks

Kunz website

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Hummus Records website

Division Records website

 

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