Friday Full-Length: Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n’ Flight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n’ Flight (2003)

First, I love this album. I don’t know that I have a favorite live record, but if I did, this would have to be high on the list if not at the top. From the dripping sentimental opening guitar lines of “The Ballad of Jody Fosty” used as the intro on down to Mark Lanegan himself showing up for “High Noon Amsterdam” and Chris Goss (2010 interview here) leading the way brilliantly through a set spanning what was already by then a substantial career backed by drummer John Leamy and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, ending with “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” and the Ramones cover “Cretin Hop,” it’s just perfect. Right band, right time, right songs. The versions here of “Rabbit One” and “Why the Fly?” outdo their studio counterparts (the latter is my favorite single Masters of Reality moment, period), and “Deep in the Hole” and “Third Man on the Moon” remind of how criminally underrated 2001’s Deep in the Hole — the full-length which Masters of Reality was touring to support at the time — is in the sphere of desert rock. Unreal, how good this record is.

Of course, Goss is probably best known as the producer of Kyuss at their peak, having helmed the holy trinity of 1992’s Blues for the Red Sun, 1994’s Welcome to Sky Valley and 1995’s …And the Circus Leaves Town, but Masters of Reality goes all the way back to 1981 when Goss started the band on the East Coast. Their first album, Masters of Reality (aka The Blue Garden) arrived in 1989 and it and 1993’s Sunrise on the Sufferbus set the band apart from both commercial rock and the nascent grunge movement, “alternative” still very much an underground ideal at that point. It would be six years before Welcome to the Western Lodge showed up in 1999, but when it did, it found Masters of Reality with a more psychedelic focus — influences and experiments that would solidify into the prime songwriting of Deep in the Hole two years later. Goss‘ second album working with Leamy, it also featured Dave CatchingLanegan, and a host of others, including Homme and Oliveri, who at that point were one year removed from Queens of the Stone Age‘s second album, Rated R.

I don’t know how they wound up doing the tour with GossRated R came out in June 2000, so a full year’s touring cycle (which included their disastrous stint on Ozzfest 2000) would’ve likely been done, but I’m not sure on the timeline of this European run, which was Sept.-Dec. 2001, and when Queens started working on their third record, 2003’s now-classic Songs for the Deaf, on which Goss also appears, singing lead on the bonus track “Mosquito Song.” Still, Flak ‘n’ Flight captures all of these players at an arguable pinnacle of their powers, and is a thrilling, special document of a moment not likely to come again. Masters of Reality‘s latest outing was 2009’s Pine/Cross Dover (review here), which showed Goss‘ will to manipulate a pop influence was unabated.

Hope you enjoy.

Next week is Vinyl Week. I’ve got a backlog of LPs that need to get written about, so I’m just gonna plow through them as best I’m able. To be honest, I doubt I’ll get through all of it — the pile’s like that — but I’m going to try damn hard to do precisely that and we’ll just see how it goes. Stay tuned as well for a couple giveaways (yes, vinyl giveaways) and anything else I can think of. I also have a couple streams planned, for Brain Pyramid and U Sco and who knows what else will come down the line in that regard, but my priority all next week is LP reviews, so if it’s news or whatever that has to get pushed back to fit that in, that’s what I’m going to do. The rest can wait. I gotta clear some space on my desk.

So, reviews of Storm Ross35007, The Kings of Frog IslandMos Generator and more coming up next week. It’ll be awesome.

I’m also leaving in a little over an hour’s time to go see Blackwolfgoat‘s CD release show in Allston, so I’ll review that as well. Big Friday night out. I was all set to go see Magic Circle in Cambridge last night, but the thought of being in such proximity to Harvard this close to the start of the semester scared me off. Wide-eyed scholarship winners perpetuating the global elite. I stayed home and hung out with The Patient Mrs. I’m sure the show was good, but can’t say I feel like I lost out.

There’s more, but I need to put some water on for pre-show pasta. Do us both a favor and have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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The Heavy Company Post Live Video for “Smokey Little Number”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the heavy company

Last month, Indianapolis heavy blues trio The Heavy Company released a three-song show recording, Live at the Vogue, which as you might expect was taped at The Vogue in the band’s hometown. The set — and at three jammed-out tracks, I’m pretty sure it was their full set — was made available as a $2 download with the proceeds going to Small Stone Records, which in August suffered a flood that destroyed its office (you may have seen something about it around here, like at the top of the page for the last month), and while it’s definitely a live show recording, it still shows off the continually progressing chemistry of the three-piece, guitarist/vocalist Ian Gerber, bassist Michael Naish and drummer Jeff Kaleth tearing into classic psych blues jams across “Groove a Mile Wide,” “One Big Drag” and “Smokey Little Number,” none of which check in at under seven minutes long.

I can get down with that. Kaleth recorded and edited the performance, and it is an engaging bit of wandering they get up to throughout. Their new live video for the track “Smokey Little Number,” which closed out at over eight minutes, switches back and forth between a couple cameras to show The Heavy Company on a big stage in languid form, effects tripping out an easy groove that lives up to the song’s name. Unlike “Groove a Mile Wide” and “One Big Drag,” both of which come from The Heavy Company‘s 2013 Midwest Electric full-length (review here), “Smokey Little Number” has yet to appear on a studio outing — it seems also to be newer than the 2014 Uno Dose EP — so if it’s a peak at where the band is headed, it would seem they’re just gonna keep on jamming and find out where it takes them. Again, I can get down with that.

Check out the video below for “Smokey Little Number” and then head over to The Heavy Company‘s Bandcamp for the rest:

The Heavy Company, “Smokey Little Number” official video

The Heavy Co. on Thee Facebooks

Live at the Vogue on Bandcamp

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Cultura Tres Premiere New Video for “La Selva Se Muere”

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

cultura tres

Even without translating the title of the song “La Selva Se Muere” itself, Cultura Tres‘ latest video (their eighth, reportedly) makes its theme pretty plain, starting out in a dense, inhabited forest full of animals, people, water, insects, all manner of life, and winding up in a desert and a garbage heap. “The forest dies” is the title in English, and yeah, that’s pretty much what the aggressive bilingual Venezuelan sludge metallers give us in the clip, at one point guitarist/vocalist Alejandro Londoño switching from Spanish to repeat the line, “The ground is covered in blood,” reinforcing both the band’s respect for the land and their disdain for the ravages of colonialism and its thinly veiled corporate counterpart, globalization.

Disdain is something of a specialty of Cultura Tres — here Londoño, guitarist/backing vocalist Juan Manuel de Ferrari, bassist Alonso Milano and drummer David Abbink (recently replaced by Benoit Martiny) — and their 2013 full-length, Rezando al Miedo (review here), proved them to be masters of brooding viciousness and slow churn. If somewhat unipolar — the hazards of having a point to make — it was also consistent in its perspective lyrically and musically patient to a surprising degree. A band that seethes so much, one almost expects them to bust out thrashing at some point, but Cultura Tres never did, and “La Selva Se Muere” reminds of the deliberateness in their approach and the force behind their moody, lurching riffs.

Rezando al Miedo was released by Devouter Records, and Cultura Tres have started writing and demoing material for their next outing, which presumably will arrive in 2015. “La Selva Se Muere” was shot by LondoñoMilano and de Ferrari (somebody get that drummer a camera!) and edited by Londoño and de Ferrari. More to come next year as they start to move past Rezando al Miedo, but as you can see in the clip below, the band’s pissed off sensibility is as fresh as ever.

Enjoy:

Cultura Tres, “La Selva Se Muere” official video

Strong criticism of the aboriginal holocaust, the religious invasion and polluting of the rainforest are some of the concepts that visualize the hypnotic chants and grunts, revealing a powerful narrative of greed and death. “La Selva Se Muere”, an agonizing mixture of psychedelic guitar work and haunting vocals, comes from CULTURA TRES latest album “Rezando Al Miedo” released last year on the UK based label Devouter Records. The video was shot on location in the midst of the Venezuelan Amazons and Médanos de Coro National Park.

The band has been working hard behind the scenes following the arrival of Benoit Martiny on drums and are busy writing their 4th album, the follow up to the widely acclaimed predecessor “Rezando Al Miedo”.

Cultura Tres on Thee Facebooks

Devouter Records

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Inside Looking Out” Live in Las Vegas, 2014

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

True, I said I’d hold off putting up more clips from the Spirit Caravan reunion tour. Or at least I think I said it. Or at least I think I thought it. Either way, it was a stupid idea. There’s an awful lot of footage out there of Wino, Sherman and Henry Vasquez kicking ass across the land, and I’d be a fool to not embrace it because I live under the delusion that anybody’s keeping count of how often one or another of Wino‘s bands appears here. Hell, I’m damn near three years into doing Wino Wednesday. Redundancy stopped mattering a long time ago.

With that in mind, here’s something a little different. Ha. “Inside Looking Out” was originally released as a single by The Animals in 1966. A couple years later, in 1969, Grand Funk Railroad took it on and switched the lyrics so it was talking about reefer, and that apparently did the trick in terms of making the song awesome. It’s been covered by many over the years and has a classic boogie riff with some start-stops, and anytime Wino and Sherm want to share vocals, that’s cool by me. At about the halfway point in the video, right before the solo, the dude filming decides to throw the horns right at the bottom of the shot. I kind of thought the song itself was making the point of its own asskickery, but I have a hard time arguing with the sentiment.

This tour wasn’t Wino‘s first experience with “Inside Looking Out” either. The Obsessed released it in 1996 as the A-side of their Altamont Nation 7″ on Bongload Records with “The Peckerwood Stomp” accompanying, and it was also included in their 1999 compilation, Incarnate, on Southern Lord, which made it somewhat more readily available. As you can see in the clip below, experience counts.

Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, “Inside Looking Out” Live in Las Vegas, March 18, 2014

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Video Premiere: Sioux, “Let in the Night” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

sioux

A couple weeks ago, we began a series of pro-shot live videos shot at this year’s Ceremony of Sludge in Portland, Oregon, with footage of Beard of Bees playing “General Butt Naked.” It was as raucous a start as one could’ve hoped for, and with the second installment, we move into precision post-sludge tectonic riffing, courtesy of Portland’s own Sioux and their chug-a-lug stomper “Let in the Night.” Among the other things it is — progressive, complex, atmospheric — it is righteously heavy.

Sioux debuted in 2013 with a self-titled EP (review here), and at Ceremony of Sludge – held March 7 and 8 at Club 21 in Portland — they celebrated the release of their full-length debut, The One and the Many. “Let in the Night” is the opener from that album, and it ceremony of sludge posterhighlights the addition of the former trio’s fourth member, synth-specialist/vocalist/sampler Ben Jackson, whose alternately screamed and clean-sung approach makes an excellent complement to the gruff, sludgy style of bassist Kirk Evans. On “Let in the Night,” they trade parts effectively but make highlight moments out of unison between them, adding depth and a sense of arrangement to the already rich turns of guitarist Juan Caceres and gloriously half-timed plod of drummer Ryan McPhaill. The sense of early Mastodonic lumbering that pervaded the EP is still there, but no question Sioux have taken their approach to a new level.

They were the penultimate act on the second night of the fest, with only Holy Grove following, so it was a fitting way to mark the beginning of this stage of the band. Last week, Sioux followed up The One and the Many with a digital single covering Nine Inch Nails‘ 1994 breakout radio hit single “Closer” that’s available as a name-your-price download from their Bandcamp page. However you might feel about the original source, it’s a bold song to take on and Sioux do well in putting their own spin on it.

As with last time, Sioux‘s “Let in the Night” was filmed by Cole Boggess, Justin Anderson, Justin Brown and Eli Duke, and edited by Cole Boggess with sound by Tim Burke. Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come from the third annual Ceremony of Sludge, and please, enjoy:

Sioux, “Let in the Night” Live at Ceremony of Sludge, Portland, OR, March 8, 2014

Sioux on Thee Facebooks

Sioux on Bandcamp

Ceremony of Sludge

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Wight Get Literal with “Through the Woods into Deep Water”

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

wight

The good news is that German trio Wight are getting ready to embark on their third record. The not-necessarily-a-downside-but-one-feels-compelled-to-make-it-a-contrast-anyway news is that means leaving their second outing, 2012’s continually-appealing Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here), behind as they move forward. Much to their credit, I think Wight are doing so in grand style. While it seems they’ll continue to play at least some of the material live, guitarist/vocalist René Hoffmann, bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek have nonetheless decided to give Through the Woods into Deep Water a sort of Viking funeral, taking the album’s title-track out into the forest for a ritual farewell.

In keeping with the full-length’s organic nature and psychedelic sprawl, Wight play “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in their new video, with sound captured by Hoffmann (he’s done live audio for Monster Magnet, among others) and direction by Johanna Amberg. The woods in which they’re jamming are located in Eutersee, Hesseneck–Schöllenbach, and they seem to have found the perfect clearing among all the old growth to jam out. The purging is complete when, as the song winds its way toward its languid conclusion, Wight jump in a lake and wash themselves clean, a literal portrayal of going through the woods and into deep water of a mind with the slow movement of the track itself.

Through the Woods into Deep Water was a huge leap forward from Wight‘s 2011 debut, Wight Weedy Wight (review here), and the two were really only separated by one year. Since the three-piece’s next one isn’t likely to show up before 2015, that’ll be nearly three years between their second and third albums, so it should be fascinating to hear the direction they take their sound. One more to look forward to hearing in the New Year, and in the meantime, a stellar goodbye to this era of the band.

Enjoy:

Wight, “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in the forest

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Leaf Hound, Growers of Mushroom

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

Leaf Hound, Growers of Mushroom (1971)

Among those who care about the genre in more than a passing way, there’s an ongoing debate about when “stoner rock” actually began. The same question applies to metal, other subgenres, life and any number of other things, so maybe that’s not a huge surprise, but people like to argue about things and that’s one of them. I usually fall into the Blue Cheer camp when it comes to that issue, that band’s focus on volume and heft being a pivotal influence, but there’s no question Leaf Hound‘s 1971 debut outing, Growers of Mushroom, was stoned as all anything. The UK five-piece — featuring vocalist Peter French, who’d go on within two years’ time to sing in both Atomic Rooster and Cactus and who serves as the lone remaining classic-era member in the modern incarnation of Leaf Hound — formed in 1969 under the name Black Cat Bones, and have ties to Free and Foghat in addition to the other acts mentioned. They were split up by the time they released Growers of Mushroom, but it’s an album that endured first on the collector market and then flourished again in the last decade or so thanks to reissues, internet word of mouth and an apparently decades-strong supply of swing.

Reasonably so. I wouldn’t call it the first stoner rock document, but easily one of the best early examples of the twist on heavy blues, acid rock and psychedelia that I’ve heard, classic cuts like “Freelance Fiend,” “Sad Road to the Sea,” the jamming “Work My Body,” riff-nodding “Drowned My Life in Fear” and “Growers of Mushroom” making for a delightful heavy vibe one can hear traces of in everything from Graveyard to CathedralLeaf Hound have been active the last several years, playing fests mostly, but also releasing the Live in Japan live record (review here) this year on Ripple Music, culling tracks from Growers of Mushroom and their earlier 2007 reunion album, Unleashed, for a surprisingly seamless blend that reinforced the timeless nature of heavy rock. As with the best of them, though, Growers of Mushroom stands alone both in their catalog and out of it, and as summer starts to wind down, it’s a last bit of warm weather to enjoy while we still can.

Hope you dig it.

I guess I wrote two reviews this week, the YOB and that Kind show, but I’m frustrated at not having done more. Need to find a way to balance my time more. So much news around here lately, and the scope of bands just keeps getting wider, but I’ve also got stacks of discs, folders clogging up my desktop, and at this point five or six vinyl records and a couple of tapes that need to get covered as well. I hate not being able to stay on top of it, how easy it is to get behind on that stuff when my brain gets burnt out. I’ve got two-weeks-plus of emails that need to get answered as well. Ugh.

Basically I’m frustrated that I didn’t get to review the new Earth record this week. Look for that on Monday or Tuesday.

Just applied for two editor-type jobs. Won’t get either, but screw it, at least I sent the resumé out, and somehow knowing that I’d be better at both those gigs than whoever’s brother-in-law is actually going to get hired for them is some measure of comfort. At this point it probably shouldn’t be, but it is.

On Monday, I’ll have that Old Testament track premiere, which is Jason Simon from Dead Meadow‘s new project. Might have a Larmon Clamor track by the week’s end too, but basically I want to get a couple reviews up, maybe that Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky tape and the new Steak in addition to that Earth. Pretty ambitious, I know. We’ll see how it goes.

Meantime, hope you have a great weekend, be safe, eat well, hydrate and whatnot. We’ll see you back here Monday.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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It’s Not Night: It’s Space Launch New Video for “The Gathering”

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

it's not night it's space

New Paltz final-frontiersmen It’s Not Night: It’s Space released their debut and most recent full-length, Bowing Not Knowing to What (review here), back in 2012. They were announced as having signed to Small Stone at some point last year and their new album is reportedly in progress, but no solid release date has been given yet. One imagines the instrumental trio will get there sooner or later, and in the meantime, Bowing Not Knowing to What still has plenty of cosmic delights to offer those who’d take it on, as the new video for “The Gathering” demonstrates.

The clip, which appropriately enough features a slug laced in with spaced-out B-roll, was put together by John Lutomski, brother of It’s Not Night: It’s Space drummer Michael Lutomski, and like the song itself, it’s a peaceful but increasingly foreboding build, cinematic in the sense of having grandeur, but ultimately weirder than you’d find in most movies. “The Gathering” does well in blending natural elements — flute, percussion — and a steady effects wash as it builds up, which makes sense considering it’s the leadoff on Bowing Not Knowing to What and the introduction to the rest of the album, but the languid ritualism is what carries through most of all, and in that it’s a fitting representation for what It’s Not Night: It’s Space have to offer.

That record, as well as the band’s 2011 debut EP, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, is available as a name-your-price download through Bandcamp, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get acquainted if you’ve yet to do so. It’s Not Night: It’s Space is Lutomski, bassist Tommy Guerrero and guitarist Kevin Halcott. and their new LP was recently performed in full at the New Paltz Rocks Fest over Labor Day weekend. More to come on the release, I’m sure.

Until then, enjoy “The Gathering” on the player below:

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, “The Gathering” official video

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Thee Facebooks

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Bandcamp

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, Full Set Live in Nipomo, CA, 04.16.87

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

I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to see Saint Vitus on stage 27 years ago. The context of the time makes it nearly impossible. Vitus during the Reagan years? This show, captured here in its entirety on what I can only assume was a video camera sent back in time from an unknown future to document such a phenomenon, took place in Nipomo, California, which is south of San Francisco, north of Los Angeles. The room is basically a box. Those who showed up to see Saint Vitus at that point — touring on their third album, with their second singer — probably would’ve at least mostly already been into the band, so I don’t expect it would’ve been like those tales you hear of the band in 1985 surprising disgruntled punkers on tour with Black Flag and whatever else. But still, to think of Vitus not as Saint Fucking Vitus but just as another act coming through town is something I can’t really get my head around, as much time as the video spends on the audience of mosher dudes.

That being the case, it’s all the better that footage like this exists, not so we can coopt its grainy look for our own empty-inside nostalgia for things we never knew, but just so we can get a look at what it might have been like to be there at that time. Invariably, our own place in time affects how we see it, what we read into the sounds, the fashion, the amateurish camera angles, the analog-looking date stamp checking off the minutes as they pass by. Still, even to watch as an outsider as Vitus rips into songs from Born too Late,  and the preceding two albums is impressive. Later in 1987, they’d release the Thirsty and Miserable EP, and it’s arguable this is the band’s peak era. I’m not sure I believe that or I’d say it more definitively, but you can make a good case either way, and this show would seem to be working in their favor.

Please note: I did some research on the purported name of the club where this show took place. I can’t find anything about it. If it’s a punk venue, I’m not sure how it might tie in with SoCal’s skinhead history, but the video seemed worth posting anyway.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, Live in Nipomo, CA, April 16, 1987

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

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

the great sabatini

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

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

The Great Sabatini, “The Royal We” official video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday Full-Length: The Black Angels, Passover

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

The Black Angels, Passover (2006)

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

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

Boogie woogie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

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

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

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

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

beard of bees

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

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

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

Enjoy:

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

Beard of Bees on Thee Facebooks

Ceremony of Sludge

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

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

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

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

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Forever Midnight” Demo (1982)

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