Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

For as long as I have a brain with which to remember it, I will consider myself fortunate to have been at Roadburn 2009 to witness the beginning — barring a warm-up show or two they played before leaving the US — of Saint Vitus‘ reunion. They hadn’t put out a record in 14 years by that point, and you’d have to add five more to that to get back to 1990’s V, their last studio outing to be fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich. Even though that Vitus reunion continued for the next half-decade, produced a righteous comeback in the form of 2012’s Lillie: F-65 (review here) and introduced a new generation to some of the finest American doom ever riffed through a Marshall, the beginning moments were a landmark. The start of a band getting its long over-due.

That Wino/Vitus reunion may continue, it may not. Following the former’s arrest last fall in Norway, the band linked up again with original vocalist Scott Reagers, and the future remains uncertain. But even if it is over, Saint Vitus have left behind a mark on their genre that will continue to be felt for years to come — not just for that full-length they were able to put together after so long away, but for the force with which they got on stage and delivered their classic material. It’s toward that classic material we turn for this week’s Wino Wednesday, finding Saint Vitus at Hellfest 2009 in Clisson, France, for “Mystic Lady,” which originally appeared on their 1985 sophomore outing, Hallow’s Victim (on which Reagers sang). Drummer Armando Acosta had already by then left the band prior to his death in 2010 and Henry Vasquez joined guitarist Dave Chandler, Wino and bassist Mark Adams, so even as they kept moving forward, the character of the band changed.

Still, these moments remain something special within doom, proving the timelessness of this band and their work. I hope you enjoy:

Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

Tags: , , , ,

Skraeckoedlan Post “Flod” Video; New Album Sagor Due June 10

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

skraeckoedlan

It won’t take long into Skraeckoedlan‘s “Flod” for the point to sink in. The song, which comes from their awaited second album, Sagor, boasts Truckfighters-style fuzzy smoothness, and a densely-weighted roll, melody and catchy vibe. My impression from what they say about working with different producers is that the record is actually pretty varied, but in giving a first impression, “Flod” — the title of which translates to “river” — seems to get things off to a solid start.

When the Swedish four-piece decided to change the title of their upcoming LP from Gigantos to Sagor, I’m not sure, but they’ve aligned themselves to Razzia Notes, a label headed by In Flames vocalist Anders Fridén, so they’ve no doubt gotten a bit of a push leading up to the June 10 release. Sagor will be the follow-up to 2011’s Äppelträdet (review here), and no doubt the complexity of the recording process will turn out to have been a factor in its somewhat delayed arrival.

Better late than never, though, and even if you didn’t hear the first outing, “Flod” should still be able to find solid footing. The video shows off a predilection toward classic sci-fi — they’ve begun to use the phrase “fuzzience fiction” — and spaced out themes, and that only adds to the charm of the song itself.

Clip follows here. Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, “Flod” official video

Skraeckoedlan is ready to release their new album, titled “Sagor”. It was recorded in multiple studios during a two year period and features collaborations with several technicians and producers such as Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) and Niklas Berglöf (Ghost, Den Svenska Björnstammen). Erik Berglund has done the mixing and has been an integral part in finding the sound of the album.

When working with “Sagor”, Skraeckoedlan got in contact with Anders Fridén and his record label Razzia Notes, who will release the record.

The album “Sagor” will be released June 10th.

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Razzia Records

Razzia Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Ché, Sounds of Liberation

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ché, Sounds of Liberation (2000)

By 2000, Brant Bjork was half-a-decade out of Kyuss. In 1997, he’d released his first album as the drummer for Fu Manchu, The Action is Go (he’d also produced their 1994 debut, No One Rides for Free), and in 1999, he released his own solo debut in the form of the landmark Jalamanta, bringing his funked-out, soulful desert rock songwriting front and center with laid back tones and nodding cool that dripped from the platter front to back. When Ché issued 2000’s Sounds of Liberation, Bjork was still with Fu Manchu — his final album with them would be California Crossing in 2001 — and it’s clear part of the drive was to be a bandleader in his own right. Having drummed in Kyuss and Fu Manchu and performed everything on his solo record, Ché was an outfit that could get out on stage and perform in a traditional band sense, and that seemed to be the idea behind it.

che sounds of liberationBringing together Bjork in guitar and vocals, a post-Queens of the Stone Age (also ex-Kyuss) Alfredo Hernandez on drums and Unida‘s Dave Dinsmore on bass, Ché was an exciting if short-lived prospect. Man’s Ruin, which also put out Jalamanta the year before, issued Sounds of Liberation, and even 15 years later it sounds like an album with considerable promise. In light of what Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band — which also includes Dinsmore — were able to accomplish with 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), Sounds of Liberation seems like a precursor to a similar kind of expression, Bjork‘s songwriting, tone and voice very much at the fore, but well complemented in a fashion that, at least going by the sound of it, seemed sustainable and tour-ready. That didn’t turn out to be the case, but with tracks like the jamming “Pray for Rock” and ultra-swinging “Blue Demon,” Sounds of Liberation stands the test of time. It didn’t prove to be the kind of rock and roll freedom Bjork was looking for, and the album has become kind of a footnote in the history of desert rock, but there’s nothing about the results that didn’t work.

Sounds of Liberation was reissued in 2008 by Bjork‘s Low Desert Punk Recordings and there are still copies around for those who’d find them. Hope you enjoy.

Still in Jersey. Going to Brooklyn in a little bit to see Conan, then up to Connecticut immediately thereafter. Plan is to drive back to Massachusetts during the day tomorrow, then up to New Hampshire to see Gozu. Reviews of both of those and the new The Machine album at some point next week, but I start work on Tuesday, so I honestly can’t say when or what that’s going to look like.

I’m a little nervous to start work again, but I think it will be good. I’ll have my own office and a little space to figure things out, so that’s good, and you know I’m going to do as much Obelisk stuff as I’m able all the while, whatever it costs me in mental stability or hours of sleep. If I could make a living doing this site, I would. Nobody’s cut me that check yet, so off to work I go. I’m happy to have a job.

Monday is Memorial Day, and I might review the Conan show, but there probably won’t be much more going on than that — four bands on the bill, so I’m sure that will be plenty — and Tuesday, since it’s my first day at the new office, I’ll have a podcast up and maybe a news story or something but that’s probably it. I said the same thing last week, but I ask you to please bear with me while I get settled. It might take a little time.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re in the States, enjoy the extra day off. Be safe and thanks for reading. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Humulus Premiere Video for “The Liar Priest”

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

humulus

Following a recent shift that brought aboard Andrea Van Cleef to handle guitar and vocals, Bergamo-based trio Humulus will this weekend issue their first release with the new lineup: A beer. A new collaboration with Birrificio Indipendente Elav arrives with a release party this weekend, and the three-piece also present their new video for the track “The Liar Priest” by Snakehill Productions to coincide.

The cut comes off Humulus‘ 2012 self-titled debut LP, which was released by Go Down Records, so it’s a bit of the old and new from the band, who are set to begin the process of songwriting for what will no doubt be a substantially different sophomore outing. In the meantime, “The Liar Priest” makes a stand in bruiser aggression residing on the border between heavy rock and sludge, thick riffery and gruff shouts abounding amid a catchy chorus and steady groove.

For the video, they — of course — perform at a brewery. Presumably, it’s Elav, and along with the trio kicking out “The Liar Priest,” we also get to see some beer being made which, again, of course, they sample at the end. Hardly the first to dig into a beverage after a hard day’s work, but they seem to be having a good time all the same. If you’re wondering, there will be fish sandwiches at the beer release party on Saturday. As if it would be a party otherwise.

I’m happy today to host the premiere of Snakehill‘s video for “The Liar Priest,” which is followed by some more background on Humulus for those who’d like to be filled in. Please imbibe responsibly:

Humulus, “The Liar Priest” official video

Humulus are a heavy-stoner power trio from Bergamo (Italy), formed in 2009. “The Liar Priest” is taken from the 2012 debut album “Humulus”.

Andrea Van Cleef (guitar-voice) Giorgio (bass) Massimiliano (drums)

Humulus are a heavy-stoner power trio from Brescia/Bergamo (Italy), formed in 2009. Their first self titled album is released by Go Down Records in december 2012. The ten tracks of this first work fully reflect the stoner attitude of the band and their aggressive sound that is best expressed during their live shows. 2013 and 2014 are truly years full of pivotal shows for Humulus career; the band shared the stage with bands like Corrosion Of Conformity, Karma To Burn, Naam and Truckfighters, and they participated also in festivals like Home Festival and Maximum Festival.

In 2014 another great love of the band sees the light: beer! Humulus produced for 2014 their eponymous black stoner IPA, brewed in collaboration with ELAV Indipendent Brewery. Humulus sound is just like that: a combination of fat and fuzzy guitars, heavy riffs…and a lot of beer!

In 2015, after a change of formation, Humulus are ready to write new songs for their second album that probably will see the light at the beginning of 2016

Beer release party event page

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Humulus on Bandcamp

Snakehill Productions on YouTube

Go Down Records

Tags: , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Bedemon, “Time Bomb” at Psycho California 2015

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

wino wednesday

As for how Scott “Wino” Weinrich came to front Bedemon at the Psycho California fest this past weekend, that — as one might expect coming from the doom outfit who are rightly considered legends despite never having played live before — is something of a long story. Bedemon‘s collection of rare tracks and demos, Child of Darkness, was reissued earlier this year by Relapse, and I guess that’s as good a place as any to start while the band fills in on the rest:

BEDEMON has never performed a single show, ever, with any line-up. When discussion of possibly appearing at Psycho California first came up in November, we were honored. As the months have passed though, determining who would be in the band has proven to be a real challenge on many levels for many reasons. Ultimately, due to prior commitments, neither long-time member bassist Mike Matthews nor current BEDEMON vocalist Craig Junghandel will be able to participate at the Psycho California show. There was some talk about possibly having PENTAGRAM vocalist Bobby Liebling do the set, having appeared on the 70s songs contained on their Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes release which has just been reissued by Relapse Records in both CD and vinyl form, but in the end it was felt that his focus needed to be on PENTAGRAM, who are also appearing at Psycho California and additionally are currently finishing up a new studio album for release later this year.

Yet despite these seemingly insurmountable setbacks, you can’t kill BEDEMON that easily and doomed you will be, Psycho California, as Greg Mayne of PENTAGRAM’s classic 70s line-up will be appearing on bass. Mayne also has BEDEMON ties himself, as he was in the line-up that recorded the 1986 BEDEMON sessions after Mike had moved to Washington state. This will be the first time Mayne and O’Keefe have appeared on stage together in nearly 40 years.

And speaking of Geof O’Keefe, better-known as the drummer for the 70s PENTAGRAM who recorded the original studio versions of “Forever My Queen,” “Be Forewarned,” “Last Days Here” and others, at this show he’ll be playing guitar.

“People not familiar with the early beginning of PENTAGRAM might not realize that when Bobby and I put the band together back in the fall of 1971,” says O’Keefe, “I was originally the guitarist for the first two versions of the band. I’ve actually been playing guitar longer than drums. Not only is this the first time I’ll be playing guitar live on stage but it’s the first time I’ve stepped on a stage in 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited and appreciative to be part of this special and historic experience!”

So with Junghandel and Liebling not singing, who will be handling the BEDEMON vocals? Stepping in on this very special occasion is a rather unique guest and another DC legend in his own right: Scott “Wino” Weinrich! (SAINT VITUS, SPIRIT CARAVAN, THE OBSESSED, PLACE OF SKULLS, SHRINEBUILDER, THE HIDDEN HAND as well as having released a number of great solo projects).

Says O’Keefe of these developments: “While I am really disappointed neither Mike and Craig can perform at this particular show due to prior career commitments, this is an amazing line-up for a very special show. I’m excited to have my old buddy Greg Mayne on board. I haven’t seen him in nearly thirty years and haven’t played with him in forty. And Wino is a DC legend and international star in his own right and it’s an honor to have him guesting on vocals.”

So what becomes of it? Probably nothing. I don’t think we’re going to see Wino fronting a reactivated incarnation of Bedemon anytime soon. One never knows, but Bedemon released their proper debut full-length, Symphony of Shadows (track stream here), in 2012 and seem to be content to do their own thing, and with the Spirit Caravan reunion ongoing and the new Wino & Conny Ochs just out, it seems more likely that if Geof O’Keefe (interview here) was itching to keep the band moving forward, he’d find a situation a little less complex to enter into with a frontman. Though Wino-fronted Bedemon would be pretty badass.

That’s the impression the video below of “Time Bomb” gives, anyhow. Filmed at Psycho California in front of what’s clearly a packed house, Bedemon‘s first show ever featured this track off Child of Darkness and it looks to have been every bit the landmark occasion one might expect.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Bedemon, “Time Bomb” Live at Psycho California, May 15, 2015

Tags: , , , , ,

Mars Red Sky Explore “The Light Beyond” in New Video

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

mars red sky

In just under a week’s time, Bordeaux heavy psych rollers Mars Red Sky will make a return trip to South America for shows in Argentina and Brazil. The latter, of course, is where they wound up recording their second album and Listenable Records debut, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), after their original plan to track in the California desert was scrapped by US customs in what I’ve since considered an embarrassing international incident caused by the ignorance of my countrymen to quality fuzz. No doubt somebody went home that day and thought they’d done a good job. Wrong-o, chief.

Those issues are easy enough to put aside because Stranded in Arcadia, which was recorded at Estúdio Superfuzz by Gabriel Zander, turned out so well. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz crafted not only a progressive step froward from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but a highly individualized blend of sonic weight and psychedelia, the melodies, the riffs and heft all their own. It was a gorgeous record, whatever the circumstances of its making, and even as they’ve recently announced intentions toward a third album, they’re still supporting Stranded in Arcadia both on the road — that stopover in South America will be followed by another European tour — and with a new video, this one for the opening cut “The Light Beyond.”

It’s one of the most singularly gorgeous tracks on Stranded in Arcadia and the video is their most elaborate production to date. They’re known for sort of compiling clips through manipulated footage, maybe blending live shots with old movie clips and things like that, but “The Light Beyond” is a more traditional music video approach, the band staged on a sandbar as a giant manta ray made of shadow flies over head and a mysterious shaman wanders the desert. Fun note: From what I hear, the drone used for filming the band actually crashed in that lake. Hazards of working with robots, I guess.

As always, hope you enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “The Light Beyond” official video

Taken from 2014’s critically acclaimed ‘Stranded In Arcadia’ album, the gallic power trio rockers stay true to their roots. Shot on location in France and Australia, ‘The Light Beyond’ features downtuned fuzzed up guitars, blues soaked doom laden riffage, wandering shaman, flying manta rays and deserts as far as the eye can see. 

The band will be off for a their « Soviet Attack tour » in South America next week, which will be quickly followed by a full European tour, including a special guest slot in London with Eyehategod at Desertscene Festival, among other nice events this summer:

26.05 BUENOS AIRES (Ar) Uniclub
27.05 PORTO ALLEGRE (Br) Signos Pub
28.05 SANTA MARIA (Br) Boteco do Rosário
29.05 PETROPOLIS (Br) Gypsy Bar
30.05 RIO DE JANEIRO (Br) Rio Rock & Blues
31.05 SAO PAULO (Br) Inferno Club
25.06 CARDIFF (UK) Moon Club
26.06 MILTON KEYNES (UK) Crauford Arms
27.06 LONDON (UK) The Dome (w/ Eyehategod)
28.06 PARIS – Deep #2 – Péniche Antipode
03.07 BRESCIA (It) Somen Fest
04.07 JESI (It) Field Fest
05.07 ROMA (It) Sinister Noise
17.07 MIRAMONT DE GUYENNE (47) Abracada’Sons
18.07 DOUR (Bel) Dour Festival
19.07 NIJMEGEN (NL) Valkhof Festival
29.07 KIEV (Ukr) Open Air
14.08 SAINT NOLFF (56) Motocultor Festival
15.08 VERDUN (55) Musiques & Terrasses
29.08 THONES (74) Backwoods Festival
25.09 SAINT PETERSBURG (RU) Zoccolo 2.0
26.09 MOSCOW (RU) Depressive Fest – Volta

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Mars Red Sky’s Bandcamp

Listenable Records

Tags: , , , , ,

The Machine Post New Video for “Coda Sun”; Offblast! out June 1

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

the machine

Two weeks after the initial announcement of their awaited fifth album’s Summer release date, Dutch heavy rock trio The Machine unveil a new video from Offblast!, for the song “Coda Sun.” Directed by guitarist/vocalist David Eering, it’s a trippy performance clip captured at Elektra in Sliedrecht and is the premiere audio to be made public from the upcoming full-length, which will be out on Elektrohasch and finds the three-piece of Eering, bassist Hans van Heemst and drummer Davy Boogaard grooving easily around a fuzzed-out central riff, watery vocals trailing the turns as a jammy vibe pervades following an initial verse/chorus split, an extended guitar solo taking hold and carrying the track through the better part of its second half before a quick return to the verse provides a neat bookend reminding of the songwriting still at work no matter how far out The Machine are willing to let their wanderings roam.

I’ll have a review of the album at some point soon, but “Coda Sun” is a welcome first look from The Machine, whose evolution beyond 2012’s Calmer than You Are (review here) stands them out from the heavy psychedelic pack in terms of their chemistry and the fluidity of their jams. I don’t at all mind telling you I’ve been looking forward to the album for some time, and between its lengthy jams at the front and back and the flowing earliest Queens of the Stone Age vibes that persist between, it’s one that’s been well worth looking forward to. So, with the June 1 release date solidified and the promise of more to come, please find the video for “Coda Sun” below, and enjoy:

The Machine, “Coda Sun” official video

There were some technical difficulties during the mixing stage (a.k.a. the phasing phase), a number of various things had to be sorted out, band members were having babies, etc. In other words: it took a while but it’s finished. Needless to say, we’re very proud to present you the final details of Offblast!.

Although we had a lot of positive reactions after posting the April Fools version of the artwork, we still decided to proceed with Jakob Skøtt’s beautiful piece. Wait until you see the fold out vinyl cover. Speaking of vinyl: due to a popular demand for wax discs, the production time for the LP will take a couple of months. But hey, it will be summer by then so we’ll take it easy.

The Machine – Offblast!
Elektrohasch Records
CD – June 1, 2015
LP – August XX, 2015

01 – Chrysalis (J.A.M.) [16:25]
02 – Dry End [03:05]
03 – Coda Sun [05:34]
04 – Gamma [06:48]
05 – Off Course [06:36]
06 – Come To Light [12:11]

Recorded and produced again by David, we’re super happy with the final result. It is by far our best sounding album to date. And we’re most certainly not done yet.

The Machine on Thee Facebooks

The Machine’s BigCartel store

Elektrohasch Schallplatten

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: B.B. King, L.A. Midnight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

B.B. King, L.A. Midnight (1972)

B.B. King was pushing 50 by the time he got around to releasing his 12th studio long-player, L.A. Midnight, in 1972, but unlike its offspring in rock and roll, blues more often has a tendency to get better with age. Born in 1925 in Mississippi and aged 89 at the time of his death last night at home in Las Vegas, King‘s legacy and influence are immeasurable. In blues, rock, soul and just about anything else that might on occasion groove, he seems to have had if not a direct impact, then at very least a tertiary hand in the development of the style, and while he didn’t invent electrified blues, he was one of its landmark practitioners and remains a key figure in the development of 20th century American popular culture. There were very few players who had more effect than he did on how electric guitar is commonly played, and most of those were working off his style.

He was, as the chorus behind him put it when I saw him at Drew University in the mid-’90s, the “King of the blues. The one and only. B.B. King.” Almost 20 years later, that chorus, b.b. king l.a. midnightrepeated as it was for 15 minutes over a slick-as-hell jam by King‘s backing band after the man himself left the stage, still rings in my head at the mere mention of the name, like I was brainwashed by that band. By 1972 he’d made most of his principal impact, but L.A. Midnight fascinates all the same not only for his own play, but for the arrangement around him, some touches early on of psychedelic guitar, funkified bass, mentions of Vietnam and all-out jams the likes of which wouldn’t have necessarily had a place on his earliest work, which predates not just such stylistic choices but the album era as a whole. There are touches of classic blues in the been-done-wrong turns of “I Got Some Help I Don’t Need” and “Can’t You Hear Me Talking to You,” but by the early ’70s, King was long past having to prove his bluesy mettle, and the album brims with an established mastery of the form even as it touches — only touches, nothing too alienating — the borderlines of other genres.

There are hundreds of thousands more qualified to speak on King‘s enduring legacy — artists, press, whoever — than I am, so I’m happy to leave them to it, but he’s someone whose hands and whose output ignited the creative passions of others, and his legend will endure. The king of the blues. The one and only.

Had my last interview for that job yesterday. Nailed it. Got it. I start May 26, the day after Memorial Day and am very much looking forward to having a professional life again. It has nothing to do with music, but will require some travel, and I humbly ask that you bear with me for the next few weeks while I establish a work/Obelisk balance. It’s been a while since I last had to commute to an office, let alone do anything once I got there, so yeah. It will be a big adjustment, but you know I’m going to continue to do as much as I can.

In the meantime, this weekend is ClutchMastodon and Graveyard at House of Blues in Boston, so I’ll be there, and hey, since I have to go to New Jersey to pick up my busted-ass car anyway, I might as well stick around to catch Ufomammut and then Conan a couple days later, both at the Saint Vitus BarGozu and Shatner play next weekend in New Hampshire as well. I’m thinking of it as my big unemployment blowout before who the hell knows what happens to my ability to make such ridiculous travel plans on a whim.

Thanks to everyone who’s suffered through my whining this last year-plus. Your support has been invaluable.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , ,