Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs, “Heavy Kingdom” Live in Amsterdam, 2012

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

wino wednesday

One of the oddly satisfying things about doing Wino Wednesday for as long as I have at this point is the fact that whenever I think I’ve seen it all, I turn a corner and find something else I didn’t expect. I think it’s safe to say that because of the more widespread technology there are way more people taping shows now than in, just an example, 1994, when Wino was making a go of it with The Obsessed, so a lot of the majority of the live clips for Wino Wednesday are culled from the last five years, give or take. Even within that sphere, the supply might seem to dwindle, but it never runs dry.

I’ve been thinking of Wino‘s upcoming shows in Philly and New York right after the Xmas holiday for the Feast of Krampus two-nighter with Sixty Watt Shaman and about the recent announcement of a second Wino & Conny Ochs collaboration, dubbed Freedom Conspiracy, to be issued in 2015 probably through Exile on Mainstream, and I guess I’ve had acoustic stuff on the brain, so I’m looking through thinking I’ve done just about everything worthwhile from the Wino & Conny Ochs 2012 European tour, and then I find this video from Amsterdam of the two of them playing in what essentially looks like a box made of brick to a small, seated audience just one day before they’d hit Roadburn in Tilburg, and it proved once again that I’ve barely scratched the surface.

What makes this video special in my mind, apart from the intimacy of the setting at De Slang — bare lighting, bare stage, theatre-style seats — is the fact that there are no microphones. Both Wino and Ochs‘ voices are projected naturally to the crowd (I recognize a face or two from Roadburns past), and it gives a feel that’s just perfect for the raw nature of that material. They perform “Heavy Kingdom,” the title-track of their 2012 debut (review here) and cover “Nothing” by Townes van Zandt, and the results are gorgeous.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino & Conny Ochs, Live at De Slang, Amsterdam, April 11, 2012

Tags: , , , ,

Tank86 Battle in Stop-Motion in “Vault” Video

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

tank86

You could ask me exactly just what the gosh darn heck is going on in Dutch four-piece Tank86‘s new video for the song “Vault” — taken from their Obey album, which is out on Jan. 30 — and if it came to it, I could probably make up something plausible, but the underlying truth is that, yeah, I pretty much have no idea. There are two characters, and they fight, and it’s in stop-motion, and one of them is wearing one of those weird Eyes Wide Shut plague masks, and there’s heavy riffs and they fall down and some of it kind of reminds me of Street Fighter 2 and then they’re both on the ground and then the one guy gets up and leaves. Okay.

Why were they fighting, and what’s up with that mask? I don’t know. Probably better to just roll with the riffs and not worry about the rest. The video was shot and directed by Jelle van Dun of Animate the World, and if you’re epileptic or get a headache from watching quick, jerky movement, you might just want to put the song on in the background and let it play out, but otherwise, there is something hypnotic about it, and though the clip like the track itself is wordless, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the strange narrative of this nighttime battle somewhere, in some city, at some time. I guess that’s probably the whole idea.

Obey will be out next year. More info on the album and the clip follows the player below. Enjoy:

Tank86, “Vault” official video

Dutch instrumental heavyweights TANK86 have released a music video for the track “Vault” from their new Album “OBEY”, scheduled for release on Lighttown Fidelity / Rising Magma records in January 2015. The band just completed a successful kickstarter campaign to raise funds fo the follow up of 2011’s critically acclaimed “Rise”.

The video depicts an atmospheric battle between two grim figures shot in full stop-motion.

TANK86 has been creating its own particular brand of heavy instrumentalism since 2005. Two guitars, bass and drums are all the tools this band needs to get their heavy point across. A high dosage of riffs, harmonized layers and unconventional song structures effectively dismiss any need for vocals. No time for singing when you are pounded into oblivion…

Tank86 on Thee Facebooks

Tank86 website

Animate the World website

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Midnight Ghost Train Premiere Video for “Gladstone”

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

the midnight ghost train gladstone

If you’ve ever had the chance to see The Midnight Ghost Train live, then you don’t need me to tell you tales of their on-stage fury. The hard-touring Topeka, Kansas, heavy blues trio are kinetic, a broiling chaos of riffs, headbanging and stomp. They’ve been at it for years at this point, back and forth across the country as well as in Europe, and in March, they’ll make their debut on Napalm Records with their third album, Cold was the Ground, for which preorders are now available. Of course, if you haven’t seen the band before, I’d be happy to tell you those tales, but probably the best thing to do would be wait 15 minutes or so for them to announce another round of shows that includes wherever it is you happen to live. They’ll get there sooner or later.

Cold was the Ground contains 11 tracks championing the three-piece’s thick-toned, high-energy cause. It’s a record that deals out quick blows and doesn’t stick around too long to watch the damage before starting the next bombardment. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Moss, drummer Brandon Burghart and bassist Mike Boyne have a road-honed dynamic, and one can hear the progression from where The Midnight Ghost Train were just a couple years ago on their 2012 second album, Buffalo (review here). They’ve never wanted for confidence or push, but Cold was the Ground puts them in new territory in both how hard it slams its point home and in the range of its songwriting. Fuzz tones meet head on with Moss gruff-bordering-on-growl vocals, and the raging shuffle that ensues throughout is a demonstration of the kind of madness only a band at the top of their game can produce. It’s the kind of record that dares you not to headbang.

Of course, The Midnight Ghost Train will hit the road (and hard) to support it. In fact, they’re already doing shows this week. The international release dates for the album and their current tour plans — lucky dogs are touring with Greenleaf — are underneath the player below, on which you’ll find the debut of their new video for “Gladstone,” an early kick in the ass from Cold was the Ground that’s just one of the many on hand.

Please enjoy:

The Midnight Ghost Train, “Gladstone” official video

Cold was the Ground Release Dates:
2.28.2015 – GSA / Europe / AUS
3.2.2015 – UK / NO / FR / DK / IT
3.04.2015 – SE / ESP
3.10.2015 – USA / CAN

The Midnight Ghost Train on Tour:
Dec 17 Launchpad Albuquerque, NM
Dec 18 The Blue Max Midland, TX
Dec 19 The Lost Well Austin, TX w/ Sabbath Crow
Dec 20 Vino’s Brew Pub Little Rock, AR
Dec 21 Lizard’s Lounge Wichita, KS w/ Bridegeist
Feb 24 Alte Malzerei Regensburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Feb 25 Arena Vienna, Austria w/ Greenleaf
Feb 26 Immerhin Wurzburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Feb 27 Vortex Siegen, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Feb 28 Gaswerk Winterthur, Switzerland w/ Greenleaf
Mar 01 Lo-Fi Milano, Italy w/ Greenleaf
Mar 03 White Rabbit Freiburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Mar 05 Feierwerk Munich, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Mar 06 Stahlfest Leipzig, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Mar 07 Treibsand Lübeck, Germany w/ Greenleaf
Mar 09 Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany
Mar 11 DAS BETT Frankfurt, Germany
Mar 12 Marlein Leuwaarden, Netherlands
Mar 13 Hell Over Esslingen Esslingen, Germany
Mar 14 Borom PomPom Oberentfelden, Switzerland
Mar 15 Il Principe In Bicicletta Treviso, Italy
Mar 16 No Cage Prato, Italy
Mar 18 PMK Innsbruck, Austria
Mar 19 kulturbahnhof Jena, Germany
Mar 20 Le Brin De Zinc Chambery, France
Mar 21 Mudd Club Strasbourg, France
Mar 22 Glazart Paris, France w/ Black Rainbows
Mar 24 Ostpol Dresden, Germany
Mar 25 Paunchy Cats Lichtenfels, Germany
Mar 26 Dustown Festival Berlin, Germany
Mar 27 7er Club Mannheim, Germany
Mar 29 dB’s Utrecht, Netherlands
Jun 19 Hellfest Clisson, France

The Midnight Ghost Train on Thee Facebooks

Cold was the Ground preorder

Napalm Records

Tags: , , , , , ,

Saturday Full-Length: Sasquatch, II

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

Sasquatch, II (2006)

At the time, I was still so hung up on Los Angeles trio Sasquatch‘s 2004 self-titled debut that I don’t think I properly appreciated the classic-rock-is-ours-now feel and heaviness of “Let it In,” “The Judge,” the vinyl-style symmetry of “Nikki” and “Catalina” and the rawness of character on display. Where the first album is kind of an outlier now in terms of sound for them, made formative by hindsight where at the time it seemed nothing if not accomplished — their songwriting was always top notch — II became more of the model with which they’d work, their ’70s-meets-’90s vibe running a riffy current through the tracks. Both 2010’s III (review here) and 2013’s IV (review here) built off what they did here, and their craft has never wavered.

They played one of Small Stone‘s by-then-legendary SXSW showcases as well during this era, and it was the first time I got to see the band, which only solidified my fandom. They haven’t been out east much — though they hit the Uninvited festival this year in Brooklyn; from what I hear it was a “Pleasure to Burn” — but I’ve been fortunate enough to see them once or twice more over the years and they’ve always delivered. II is a work of straightforward, perpetually-underrated heavy rock, and it’s easy to look at a band like Sasquatch and think about “oh, if X and Y and Z, these guys would be huge,” and I wouldn’t begrudge them making a ton of money or anything, but these guys make for an excellent underground secret too, like a litmus for those who know.

Small Stone put this one out on vinyl not too long ago, but I’m pretty sure they’re gone by now. Not bad for a record eight years later to continue to inspire such devotion, and I’ve no doubt that II will continue to do so no matter how high Sasquatch‘s numbers end up going. Please enjoy.

So, why a day late? I left home yesterday at 12:30PM to go to Brooklyn and see the first of YOB‘s two nights at the St. Vitus bar. I got to the venue around 6PM. That’s usually a four-hour trip. I was utterly fried after the show — turns out that not eating or drinking anything all day was the wrong choice; I was dizzy and nauseous in the packed room and stayed up front through “Marrow” but had to move back after that and get some water — and then afterwards, there was a solid hour of traffic getting to the Lincoln Tunnel. Got in to Jersey at about two in the morning. It was far less thrilling than the show itself, which was fantastic. I’ll be going back for round two tonight.

More year-end stuff next week. Look out for a list of the year’s best debuts at some point, and maybe one of the best live gigs and some other stuff. I’ll also be reviewing these two nights at the Vitus bar, and anything else I might have time for. I feel like I say this all the time, but if you’re waiting on a review of something, I’m sorry. I’m one person. Most other sites have a staff of writers working on stuff, or at least a few people. I have me. If something takes me longer, or if I don’t get to it, I wholeheartedly and sincerely apologize. I’m doing the best I can to do as much as I can. If I had eight of me, it would be easier. As it is, I can barely answer email.

But anyway, I hope you dig the Sasquatch and I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at. Thanks for checking in, and please don’t forget to hit up the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed Cover Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “On the Hunt”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Until a pair of live albums surfaced in 2012 to coincide with The Obsessed‘s touring reunion, their 2001 split with Jimmy Bower‘s underappreciated The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight was their final release. A 7″ vinyl put out on Southern Lord, it featured just one song from each band, both of them Lynyrd Skynyrd covers. For The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, it was “Cheatin’ Woman,” and for The Obsessed, “On the Hunt,” both taken from Skynyrd‘s 1975 full-length, Nuthin’ Fancy.

Aside from being a ringing endorsement for that album, the single was kind of a curio for The Obsessed. By 2001, guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich had moved on to Spirit Caravan – hell, by later in 2001, you could say Spirit Caravan were on their way out, though they didn’t disband until 2002 — and so far as I know The Obsessed weren’t playing any shows or anything like that. “On the Hunt” had also appeared on the 1999 Incarnate compilation, and it was recorded by Joe Barresi in 1994, so it’s not like Wino called up Guy Pinhas and Greg Rogers and said “let’s go,” but for The Obsessed having called it quits six years earlier, to have one song surface on a 7″ seems a little out of left field.

I won’t argue, though. With Dale Crover of the Melvins enlisted for a guest spot on drums and backing vocals, “On the Hunt” gets stomp to match its riffy groove, and while The Obsessed was never quite as arranged as Skynyrd – no piano, no 17 guitars or however many it wound up being — they pretty clearly get to the heart of the track with their cover. Wino was still covering “On the Hunt” as recently as 2010, though by then it was a solo acoustic rendering, so I guess he managed to strip it down even further some 16 years later. Go figure.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “On the Hunt”

Tags: , , ,

Lamprey Post Stop-Motion Video for New Song “Iron Awake”

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

lamprey iron awake

According to Lamprey bassist Justin Brown, he and Sarah Crosley took on the task of creating the band’s stop-motion video for their new song “Iron Awake” as a way of developing his video-editing skills. I don’t know much about stop-motion, but it sounds to me a little like jumping off a mountain to learn to climb back up. Nonetheless, for Lamprey, a power trio employing two basses where one might otherwise find a guitar, it’s fitting with their character to go all out.

Brown, bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham and drummer Spencer Norman have a new record due early in 2015 recorded by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Studio (see also Red Fang, Last Giant, etc.), and while info on that is as-yet minimal, a lot of what one might need to know about the follow-up to Lamprey‘s 2012 The Burden of Beasts EP (review here), one can probably glean from “Iron Awake” itself, aurally and visually. The song is 94 rumbling seconds that pummel efficiently and broadly, an epic feel immediate in the stomping riff, echoing vocals and lead tones (yes, that’s still bass; Lamprey are wizards), Norman‘s crash huge and fitting the tones Burnham and Brown conjure. In the video, the band is represented by three loincloth-clad warriors — pretty sure those are old He-Man action figures, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you which ones — who meet various villainous presences along their path.

Werewolves are beheaded, monsters and giants are bested, and in the end, Lamprey are transported by what looks like a tooth-covered shower head with googly eyes (fuck yes) to what I can only assume is the “Stage Playset” from which individual figures are sold separately, where they pick up their instruments and rock out the last couple seconds of the song before being once more blipped away.

“Iron Awake” is the first audio I’m hearing from Lamprey‘s new release, but in both sound and in how they present it, you’ll get no argument out of me. A minute and a half excellently spent:

Lamprey, “Iron Awake” official video

Lamprey on Thee Facebooks

Lamprey on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Brant Bjork, Jalamanta

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

Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999)

Yeah, I know I’ve written about this record a lot over the years. Some albums you just keep going back to, and for me, Brant Bjork‘s 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, is one of those. Released by Man’s Ruin Records, it was the first time the then-Fu Manchu drummer had stepped out to do something on his own, and the vibe he captured on these tracks continues to resonate, songs like “Automatic Fantastic,” “Defender of the Oleander,” “Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians” and of course “Low Desert Punk” becoming staple examples of what desert rock has become, but the way Bjork builds off those sounds, the low-end funk of “Cobra Jab,” the primo rock of “Toot” (on which Mario Lalli makes a guest appearance), and so on, it makes the listening experience that much richer in taking the album on front-to-back. The Man’s Ruin bio for it called it, “12 tracks of ghetto vibe wonder,” which is fair enough, but it’s the individual mash of influences and Bjork‘s willingness to account for them all while making them his own that results in both the vibe and the wonder, ghetto or not.

Jalamanta has been reissued a couple times through Bjork‘s own Duna Records imprint since the dissolution of Man’s Ruin, and rightfully so. It remains a vital piece of his discography, and the one-man jams he sets up on songs like “Sun Brother” and “Let’s Get Chinese Eyes” go far in setting the course for what his songwriting produces to this day. When it originally came out, in Oct. 1999, Bjork was already several years removed from his tenure in Kyuss, though he’d also appeared alongside former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme on Desert Sessions Vol. 5 and 6, also released by Man’s RuinFu Manchu, whose ranks he’d joined prior to 1997’s The Action is Go, were just months away from putting out King of the Road, and in 2000, Bjork would unite with Alfredo Hernandez, who replaced him in Kyuss and had just finished playing with Queens of the Stone Age, and Unida‘s Dave Dinsmore in the short-lived trio Ché, whose only album, Sounds of Liberation, presaged some of what Bjork‘s songwriting would manifest with some of his backing bands, be it The Bros. on 2007’s Somera Sól or the currently-active Low Desert Punk Band, whose Black Power Flower (review here) was released this year on Napalm Records and in whose lineup Bjork has reunited with Dave Dinsmore.

For me, Jalamanta has always been a summer album, but I hope you’ll indulge the bit of climatic wishful thinking on my part, and please enjoy.

Quick week, or maybe I’m just still recovering from Thanksgiving last week/weekend. Either way, we’re starting to wind down the year, so in addition to the usual bout of reviews and such — I think I’m going to go see Kind in Allston next week, and I’ll be at at least one of the two YOB shows in Brooklyn next weekend, if not both — I’ll be starting wrapup coverage, lists and such. Putting up the Readers Poll on Monday was just the start, and huge thanks to everyone who’s submitted a list so far for that, but starting next week we’ll dig deeper into what will probably still just be a fraction of how much I’d actually like to do. I also need to get my own top albums of the year together, which I’ve been putting off though I think I have the top five in place and proper order.

I teased a year-end podcast as well, and I’ll have that coming soon too, though it would have to be 10 hours long to cover all the excellent stuff that came out this year — and I promise you I’m not going to do a 10-hour podcast. I’ll whittle it down as best as I can, and even if it’s not next week, it’ll be up sometime soon. Obviously before the New Year, and likely before Xmas as well.

This week, I not only flaked on posting the Alunah interview, because I suck, but reviewing the Wounded Giant/Goya split as well. I’ll attempt to correct, but the stacks of CDs people have sent in sitting on my desk is starting to weigh pretty heavy on my soul as we get down to the wire on 2014, so other stuff might have to take a backseat for a bit. I’d love to find some way to do a roundup and give some cursory glance at records, but I’m not sure what that looks like or how it would come together in a way that doesn’t destroy all of my available time. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to make function, and I’ve tried. I still try from time to time. Not enough hours in the day for all the rock and roll, and though I work against it, I continue to need at least a little sleep each night.

First World problems, I guess, and there’s been plenty lately to remind me of just how privileged an existence I lead, despite all my miserable-bastard mopery. I hope wherever you’re at, you can feel safe.

Be well, have a great weekend and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Blue Snaggletooth Get Down to Business in “Transmutation” Video

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

blue snaggletooth (Photo by Doug Coombe)

In the time since Ann Arbor, Michigan, heavy rockers Blue Snaggletooth released their 2011 debut, Dimension Thule (review here), guitarist/vocalist Chris “Box” Taylor has changed out the entire lineup of the band other than himself. As they are now on the newly-released sophomore outing, Beyond Thule, Blue Snaggletooth is comprised of Taylor as the principal songwriter, with guitarist Casey O’Ryan bassist Joe Kupiec and drummer Mike Popovich. There’s some continuity in the references of their song titles — “Ahamkara” is a dragon in the video game Destiny and “Nameless Cults” comes from Lovecraft, etc. — but the vibe on the new record comes across tighter than on the debut, and that’s what really matters.

Their new video for relatively brief album closer “Transmutation” is similarly tight, or at very least a straightforward affair. One by one, the band walks into a building — you’ll note it’s drummer Mike Popovich who gets there first; right on time — and once inside, they proceed to jam the hell out of the song, and then they leave. It might be the quickest practice they’ve ever had, but it makes for a cool clip, bathed as they are in blacklight and surrouded by posters responsive to same. There’s a break in the middle where they touch visually and sonically on psychedelia, but the song’s primary impression clicks somewhere between punk and heavy rock, and Taylor is well suited to his position as bandleader.

I’ve been trying all week to get a second to get the clip posted, and I think once you put it on, the appeal speaks for itself. Beyond Thule is available now on clear vinyl from Blue Snaggletooth‘s Bandcamp, where the full album is also streaming.

Enjoy:

Blue Snaggletooth, “Transmutation” official video

From the band’s latest release Beyond Thule, Transmutation. Recorded at Metro 37 Studios, Mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound.

Video Production: The Garage Auteurs
Shot by: Brad Torreano + Robert Felts
Directed / Edited by: Brad Torreano

BST is:
Chris Taylor – vocals, guitar
Casey O’Ryan – guitar
Joe Kupiec – bass, vocals
Mike Popovich – the drum kit

Blue Snaggletooth on Thee Facebooks

Blue Snaggletooth’s website

Beyond Thule on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: The Hidden Hand, Full Set Live in Amsterdam, 2007

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

wino wednesday

I count myself lucky to have seen The Hidden Hand the few times I did. I could tell you a story about blowing a chance to do a show with them owing to a snowstorm around when their last album, The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, was released in 2007, but more pleasantly, I recall a few especially killer gigs circa 2004’s Mother Teacher Destroyer that were an enlightenment in terms of showing me the power of what a classic heavy trio could accomplish on stage, Wino and bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg playing off each other’s work so well. When it hit, their third and final outing didn’t do as much for me — its narrative of rebellion seemed put together after the fact and the songs came across as moving away from the warmth of the record prior, which I still hold as their best — but even without drummer Dave Hennessy or Evan Tanner, who played on 2005’s Devoid of Color EP as well as The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, they were an excellent and continually underappreciated band. At the time, you could say the same for Spirit CaravanThe Obsessed and Saint Vitus too.

Fair enough. The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote came out in Feb. 2007, and they were done by August of that year, but in between they took time to hit Europe for a full month. The complete set which you can see below was webcast May 9, 2007, on fabchannel.com — not linked because it doesn’t exist anymore — and features cuts from all three The Hidden Hand records, emphasizing some of what was best about that band in their prime. The show was at Paradiso in Amsterdam, and also on the tour were Philly heavy prog instrumentalists Stinking Lizaveta and weirdo doomers Beehoover. Sounds like a solid bill. Quality on the clip isn’t the greatest if you’re looking to make it fullscreen, but it’s still worth checking out for the pro audio alone.

Either way, hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

The Hidden Hand, Live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, 2007

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow

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

Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

Thing is, by 1975, most of the decade’s best heavy rock had already been made. The psychedelic era was over. Black Sabbath had done Master of Reality, and Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Stooges and Pink Floyd had (at least arguably) hit their peak, not to mention the slew of heavy rock acts that popped up and had by then receded — Sir Lord Baltimore, Cactus, Atomic Rooster, Buffalo and the like. Some had gone super-prog like Jethro Tull and others, like King Crimson, were already there. Hawkwind still had some cool stuff going on, as did plenty of others and heavy metal proper would start to take shape before 1980, but still. All of a sudden, here’s Ritchie Blackmore, out of Deep Purple post-Stormbringer, linked up with some dude named Ronnie James Dio from a band called Elf, and they blow out one of rock and roll’s all-time powerhouse records. With most of Elf as their backing band, Blackmore and Dio concocted one of rock’s most essential debuts in 1975’s Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, reviving the former’s career and establishing the latter as a major presence on some of the world’s biggest stages.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was the first of three records that, by my judgment, are indispensable. No single one of them is perfect, but when Rainbow, who shifted their lineup after Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow to become a more permanent project, locked in, they simply could not be argued with. The first album has more than a few of those moments. Of course there’s “Man on the Silver Mountain,” and the ripping Quartermass cover “Black Sheep of the Family,” but even the subdued groove-blues of “Catch the Rainbow” has movement at its center, and the fantasy elements that came together across “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and “The Temple of the King” established what became the lyrical basis of a good portion of Dio‘s career. True, Craig Gruber (bass), Gary Driscoll (drums) and Micky Lee Soule (keys, clarinet) kind of got the shaft in being ousted before 1976’s Rising – to be replaced by Jimmy BainCozy Powell and Tony Carey, respectively — and they basically had their singer swiped out from under them by Blackmore, but the results speak for themselves. Ritchie Blackmore’s RainbowRising and 1978’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll are as much monuments to ego as to talent, but they prove just how much room there was for both in this band at that point in time.

And GruberDriscoll and Soule made their presence felt in cuts like “If You Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the closing Yardbirds cover “Still I’m Sad,” both of which played off a strong sense of boogie while also showcasing Blackmore‘s inhuman ability and command as a lead guitarist. Any given day, I could pick any one of the first three Rainbow records as my favorite, but no question the first of them was a special moment put to tape and had a kind of let’s-try-this-and-see-what-happens air to it that even a year later they’d never be able to capture again. A complete classic.

I hope you enjoy it.

By way of a confession, and a transgression I hope you’ll forgive, I didn’t put the Rainbow record on while I typed out the above. A couple minutes here or there, but I’ve had a severe-enough headache for most of the night that I couldn’t really hang with the front to back and wanted something I knew well enough that I wouldn’t need to. My brain feels like it’s throwing itself against the sides of my skull like it’s trying to break a door down so it can escape. I almost went with Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll for “Sensitive to Light” alone. It would be only too appropriate as I sit here and type in the dark, which I think is actually bad for a headache with the light from the computer monitor, but I’ve got that turned way down as well. Still a bit of throb going on.

Anyway, I’ll crash out shortly. If you’re in the States, I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving yesterday. Much family time on my end. Tomorrow, The Patient Mrs. and I drive back north to Massachusetts from New Jersey — I got my license back (did I tell you about that? It was like I pulled a bad card from the Monopoly deck; “bureaucratic issue, go directly to the Registry of Motor Vehicles”), so I can actually drive — and hopefully we’ll get some rest before next week starts. Could use a quiet afternoon, to be honest. And some Advil.

Next week, look out for a Balam track stream on Monday, plus reviews of Deadpeach, a new split between Goya and Wounded Giant and Stone Machine Electric‘s new tape. We’re getting on December, so it’ll be time to start the year-end wrap-ups soon, and I have a few new ideas for that I’d like to work in, provided there’s time. Or maybe they’re not new and I thought of the same stuff last year, didn’t get to it and forgot to write it down. That’s entirely possible. Either way we’ll try again. I’m also already planning out this year’s best-of podcast. It will be up before Xmas. Not that it would be a huge draw either way, but I might talk on it. Probably not. But maybe.

Gonna try to get my interview with Alunah online this week as well, so keep an eye out for that.

All the best to you and yours as we move into the holiday season. Before we get there, though, I hope you have a great and safe weekend.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , ,

Samavayo Post New Video for “Oblivion”

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

samavayo (Photo by Davi Selton)

Berlin’s Samavayo walk the line between hard and heavy rock, but always seem to find room for the fuzz. This year, they released a split with One Possible Option that featured their first recorded work as a three-piece, having bid farewell to guitarist/backing vocalist Marco Wirth last year after 13 years with the band. Like the original version of that song, which came out on 2010’s One Million Things long-player, “Rollin’ 2014″ has a bruiser riff and heavy hook with just an undertone of metal, but in comparing it to some of the style in which their last full-length, 2012’s Soul Invictus, was executed, there could be the potential for a shift in focus on their next album, which is being put together now for a 2015 release.

Does that mean more fuzz to come? I don’t know, but Samavayo — guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi, drummer/backing vocalist Stephan Voland and bassist/backing vocalist Andreas Voland — aren’t quite done with Soul Invictus yet. They’ve got a brand new animated video for the song “Oblivion,” taken from the record and set to animation by Bastian Wienecke that brings to life the dystopian critique of the lyrics. And after touring in Brazil this summer, they’re making ready to head out again on tour as well in March, this time with anything-goes Russian heavy rockers The Grand Astoria. Seems likely they’ll be trying out new material before they go in and record their next outing.

Dates for that run are still being shored up, and you can check out what’s confirmed and the video for “Oblivion” below. If you notice some similarities between the style that Wienecke uses and that of the series of clips that came out around Queens of the Stone Age‘s …Like Clockwork last year, I doubt it’s a coincidence. Please enjoy.

Samavayo, “Oblivion” official video

Samavayo on Tour, March 2015:
04.03. Wed GER Potsdam, tbc
05.03. Thu GER Hamburg, Bar 227
06.03. Fr GER Harburg, Marias Ballroom
07.03. Sa GER Cottbus, Muggefug
08.03. Su GER Erfurt, Tiko
10.03. Tue GER Halle, Rockpool
11.03. Wed GER Nürnberg, Artischocken
12.03. Thu GER Karlsruhe, Alte hackerei
13.03. Fr GER/FR tba
14.03. Sa FR Paris, tbc
15.03. Su FR tba
17.03. Tue CH/FR tba
18.03. Wed CH/FR tba
19.03. Thu CH Genf , l’Usine
20.03. Fr CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers
21.03. Sa CH Olten, Coq d’or
24.03. Tue AT tba
25.03. Wed AT Graz, tbc
26.03. Thu AT Wien, Arena
27.03. Fr GER Weiden, Salute Club
28.03. Sa GER Jena Kulturfabrik
31.03. Tue GER Schwerin, Dr. K
01.04. Mi DK Roskilde, Gimle
02.04. Do DK tba
03.04. Fr NOR Stavanger, Chevy’s
04.04. Sa NOR tba

From 04.03. until 28.00. With The Grand Astoria (RUS)
From 18.03. until 25.03. With The Grand Astoria (RUS) and Six Months Of Sun (CH)
From 31.03. until 04.04. With Sonic Man (GER)

If interested please contact booking@samavayo.com!

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo at Setalight Records

Tags: , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Shrinebuilder, Full Set Live in Baltimore, 11.13.09

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

wino wednesday

If time has taught us anything at all about rock and roll, it’s never say never. Shrinebuilder put out its self-titled debut in 2009 on Neurot Recordings with the staggering lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover, played here and there, followed-up with a single and a live record, played some more shows, and then receded. It was never intended to be a full-time project, and when they were done, everyone went back to their own bands, whether it was Sleep and Om for CisnerosSaint Vitus for WinoNeurosis and solo work for Kelly or the Melvins for Crover. Rumors of a second album persisted for a while and then similarly receded.

We may never get another Shrinebuilder record. Hell, we might not even get another Shrinebuilder tour, or a single show, but it seems just as likely that at some point and in some form — whether with all four of the same players or not — they’ll get together again for some purpose or other. The full set snagged for this week’s Wino Wednesday revelry was filmed by TubeVision, a long-running East Coast taper, and captures Shrinebuilder on their inaugural run from Nov. 2009, not yet a month after the release of the self-titled, live in full force at the Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. I was fortunate enough two nights later to see Shrinebuilder take the stage in Manhattan with Rwake (review here), and while it was just over five years ago now, I can still readily recall the powerful presence they had as a band on stage and the weight the performance carried because of who it was standing up there.

They might or they might not ever do another album, but whatever winds up happening, we were lucky enough to get it once. Hope you enjoy the video:

Shrinebuilder, Live at The Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 11.13.09

Tags: , , , ,

The Midnight Ghost Train Post Cold was the Ground Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the midnight ghost train

Seems unfair to call the video put out today by Topeka blues bashers The Midnight Ghost Train a “teaser,” since it’s longer and less promo-speaky than a lot of album teasers wind up being — plus it has a plot and production value — despite its function being roughly the same in giving fans of the trio a glimpse at the new record’s sound and atmosphere. Their slammed-home boogie seems to be in good standing, and as for atmosphere, well, all you really have to do is look at the big sky country and the expanses of land featured in the clip to see where The Midnight Ghost Train are coming from on Cold was the Ground, their new album, which is out March 2015 on Napalm Records.

I’m looking forward to hearing what they’ve come up with this time out, so even just a sneak peak at some of the riffing here is welcome as far as I’m concerned. The story of the video seems to center around the overall-clad guy who resists and then finally succumbs to the band’s riffy wiles after pretty much the whole world around him has already done the same. The last holdout. That same gentleman also features on the album cover for Cold was the Ground, which presumably was put together around the same time as this short film, and does well in the form of silent expression. No doubt his experience in the clip mirrors that of many who’ve discovered The Midnight Ghost Train these last couple years, so much awareness of them having come from word of mouth from those who’ve caught them killing it live on stages throughout the US and Europe.

They’ll likely keep doing that as well, unhindered by blizzards or barbecue sauce on the face or whatever it might be. Preorders for the album reportedly start Dec. 2. Enjoy the video:

The Midnight Ghost Train, Cold was the Ground short film

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… The Midnight Ghost Train’s very own short film for the new album “Cold Was The Ground”. We created this film to give you a listen, (and a look) at the new record. A bit of a tease. This is for the fans. Enjoy.

The Midnight Ghost Train on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Cactus, One Way… or Another

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

Cactus, One Way… or Another (1971)

“I know some of you people like to dance
And I know some of you people just like to roll and rock
And roll and rock
So come on honey, it’s alright
We’ll do whatever YOU feel like…”
— Cactus, “Whatever You Feel Like”

The exact recording dates, I’m not sure, but Cactus‘ second album, 1971’s One Way… or Another, was put to tape at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan sometime after the release of their 1970 debut, and listening to Tim Bogert swagger out the second “roll and rock” in “Whatever You Feel Like,” no question Jimi Hendrix was a presence in mind at the time. All that’s missing is a little “uh huh” after “rock.” Considering the studio opened in Aug. 1970 and Hendrix was dead less than a month later, it seems only fair to think Cactus would’ve been working with some of his influence in following up their first record, their fluid tempo shifts on “Rock and Roll Children” and the wah/acoustic layering on “Song for Aries” are easy enough to see in that light as well, though of course Cactus were foremost indebted to blues rock, and there’s plenty of that to be had on One Way… or Another as well.

Immediately, as it happens. One Way… or Another opens with the Little Richard cover “Long Tall Sally,” also done by Elvis and The Beatles and many, many others. But Cactus take the original and slow it down to a vicious, sleazy groove, guitarist Jim McCarty basically giving bassist Tim Bogert — who usually handled backup vocals to Rusty Day‘s leads, but took the fore on “Whatever You Feel Like” (Day got his moment in a harmonica solo) — and drummer Carmine Appice all the room they could ever ask for to swing through and then some. Cactus‘ Cactus was a little more unhinged, a little more dangerous overall, but the fullness of sound and tonal satisfaction that One Way… or Another provides isn’t to be understated. That’s not to say “Big Bad Mother Boogie” doesn’t have its edge, just that if you listen back to their take on “Parchman Farm” from the first record it sounds like the song is about to fly out from under them.

Their take on Chuck Willis‘ “Feel so Bad” gives a bluesy start to a side B that branches out soon with “Song for Aries” and hits possibly its most righteous note in “Hometown Bust,” a heavy return that’s as huge as anything that might’ve been called metal at a later point in the decade, McCarty wailing out a lead that, yeah, there’s Hendrix again, and killing it in the process while Day throws in some chops on harmonica. The closing title-track rests on an up-down nod of a riff not frantic but still maddening in its turns, Bogert and McCarty playing off each other brilliantly before the last chorus return, Day‘s vocals doubled for maximum effect en route to the last, all-too-quick fade.

Cactus had one more album, 1971’s Restrictions, with the same lineup, though the changes that would result in lineup shifts for 1972’s ‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty – bringing in Leaf Hound‘s Peter French to replace Rusty Day — were already taking root. I’m not sure which I’d pick over the other, Cactus or One Way… or Another, but both are heavy rock classics and definitely the sophomore record makes some compelling arguments in its case, the upped Hendrixery among them.

Hope you enjoy.

In case you’re also wondering, no, I have no idea where November went. Next week is Thanksgiving, which is another one of those US holidays celebrating a fiction — this one about peace between European colonists and the native people being colonized — like Xmas or Columbus Day or Labor Day, and so on and so on, but screw it, a day off is hard to argue with. The Patient Mrs. and I are heading south for the occasion — I know you’re shocked — to New Jersey. I expect family time will consume the bulk of the week, but I’ll have some posts along the way where and when I am able as well, including a new podcast on Wednesday, so if you’re traveling for the holiday, or just sitting on your ass (it works either way), you might want to grab that when it’s up. I’m gonna shoot for Wednesday morning, but we’ll see how it goes.

Also look out for a Murcielago review hopefully on Monday and something or other on Tuesday to fill time while I pack to head to Jersey on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends and, if I’m honest, to not being in the house for a while but also knowing where I’m going, ever. After a year of where-the-hell-am-I-what’s-the-fastest-way-to-the-highway-and-which-highway-do-I-want-anyway, it’s starting to wear a little thin. Novelty fades. Inconvenience is forever.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of the holidays by sitting as quietly and as still as possible. It’s like meditation except it involves watching hours of Star Trek episodes at a time.

Be well, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Wino Wednesday: Get Well Soon, Wino

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

wino wednesday

I’ve been kicking around the idea lately of ending Wino Wednesdays. I mean, it’s been over three years. We’ve covered an awful lot of the man’s career with The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Shrinebuilder, Premonition 13, solo band, solo acoustic, guest spots, and so on, and aside from having run a decades-long gamut of the available videos, it’s starting to feel a little fanboyish. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Wino‘s work a lot, but I’m not trying to stalk the guy. 162 weeks later, I worry it’s getting to be a bit much.

Last week, Scott “Wino” Weinrich got arrested in Norway with what turned out to be 11 grams of of meth. Not an inconsiderable amount. He was deported back to the US, which left the remaining three members of Saint Vitus to finish out the last few shows of their 35th anniversary co-headlining European tour with Orange Goblin on their own. They did it, and from what I’ve heard they were pretty good, but no question it wasn’t the victory lap they had in mind. The whole situation was a bummer on just about every level, and it brought to mind a refresher of just how rampant addiction is in this community. Everything from meth to coke to prescription abuse to beer to vinyl, doom appeals to those who have a habit of forming habits. All the more reason to watch out for your friends and hope they do the same for you.

Wino issued a statement yesterday to Decibel saying he’s entered rehab for treatment and he’ll be back next year with a new Wino & Conny Ochs release, a new solo album, a new webshop and a biography. That’s all well and good — except perhaps for the biography, which much to my personal disappointment I didn’t get to write — but the important thing is that he gets himself well first. New records and projects are cool, but life needs to take precedence. On behalf of this dinky website, I wish Wino all the best in the challenge ahead of his recovery. We’ll be here, continuing to pull for him each week, for the foreseeable future.

Here’s that statement:

At this time I feel it is necessary to release an official statement of the facts in regard to my recent deportation from the country of Norway. First, I want to apologize to all Saint Vitus fans, and to my band members and crew for my lapse in judgment that ultimately resulted in me missing the last six shows on our Born Too Late 35th anniversary European tour. On November 9th before noon just over the Norwegian border, I was arrested for possession of an illegal substance. I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. The other members and crew were unaware of my substances use. I was truthful with the authorities, and initially sentenced to 16 days in jail minus the three initial days immediately following my arrest. On those days I was in solitary confinement, with no reading or writing material and fed solely bread water. Despite these conditions, I was treated respectfully and cordially by all Norwegian authorities. Initially, I believed I would be fined, allowed to continue the tour, and upon its end, I agreed to return to Norway to finish my sentence. I was disheartened to realize that I was to be deported straightaway back to the US, and not allowed to finish the tour. I sincerely regret the inconvenience and loss incurred by everyone involved with these gigs, the inspiring co-headlining Orange Goblin, our booking agent, promo folks and the venues, and of course fans and ticketholders. I want to salute the members of Saint Vitus for carrying on with these shows without me, and proving admirably the class of true road warriors they are. Again, my deepest apologies to all. After several productive years of sobriety, the rigors of almost nonstop touring and life’s circumstances led me to develop a dependency that has become detrimental to my health and now, my freedom. As of now, I am currently off the road, and actively engaged in treatment.

And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES….

I will continue my course of creating music and art. Early next year you will see the release of “WINO AND CONNY OCHS” new full-length recording, “FREEDOM CONSPIRACY” on Exile on Mainstream records. Also on the near horizon: A full-length Wino solo acoustic recording, the launch of my art and music web store, and my no holds barred biography.

Thanks to all who Believe!
Wino, November 18th,2014

And to keep with Wino Wednesday tradition, here’s Saint Vitus doing “Saint Vitus” in Stockholm, Sweden, at Wino‘s most recent show with the band:

Saint Vitus, “Saint Vitus” Live at Debaser Strand, Stockholm, Nov. 8, 2014

Tags: , ,