Lo-Pan and Devil to Pay Unveil ‘Spocktopus’ Tour Poster

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.

In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.

Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:

Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.

Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates:
Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship
Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza
Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap
Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House
Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James
Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!

In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below:

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Visual Evidence: Hollow Leg and Orbweaver Announce “Abysmal Transmissions” Tour

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian outfits Hollow Leg and Orbweaver have teamed up for a long weekender from Aug. 2-5. Playing four nights in their native state, both bands will be supporting new releases — in the case of Hollow Leg, it’s their new full-length collection Abysmal, which is out on Last Anthem Records on July 30. For Orbweaver, the Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon EP will mark their studio debut with a release on Primitive Violence.

Taking from the titles of both, the Abysmal Transmissions tour runs from Orbweaver‘s home in Miami to Hollow Leg‘s in Jacksonville. The poster below has specifics:

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver – Abysmal Transmissions Tour 2013

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver tour dates:
Aug. 2 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
Aug. 3 Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL
Aug. 4 Bowman Motorcycles, St. Petersburg, FL
Aug. 5 Burro Bar, Jacksonville, FL

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Orbweaver on Thee Facebooks

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Nice Package: Shroud Eater, Dead Ends Cassette on Primitive Violence Records

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Visual Evidence on May 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

My only issue with the limited edition tape of their new Dead Ends EP that Shroud Eater put out through Primitive Violence Records is that so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to open the damn thing. Oh, I’ve heard the EP itself (review here), so I know it kicks plenty of ass, but looking at the limited packaging — which just seems like it should have a little cutout space near the top so it can hang on a peg in some record and or head shop 20 years ago — I just can’t pull those staples out and open it up.

Primitive Violence is the band’s own imprint — there’s a CD of Dead Ends coming later this month on The Path Less Traveled Records as well — and so I take this tape as kind of the definitive version of the album, what a certain British label seems consistently to refer to as the “diehard edition.” Only 22 were made, they sold out just this past Tuesday (there are more regular tapes left), and here’s what’s included:

No, Pinhead from Hellraiser doesn’t come with it, but everything else in the bottom part of that collage does. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who’d want to show off their Shroud Eater affiliation, with a sticker, patch and pin, and that rules in and of itself, but there’s also the full-color lyric sheet, transparent red tape and — as you can see in the top right corner of the pic above — also a limited edition figurine made in Peru that actually seems to have been the impetus behind there only being 22 of these made, since the people who made the “Death charms” in turn died and these are the last ones ever. Dead Ends indeed.

All this adds up not only to something really special for collector nerds like me and those converted to the cassette nostalgia cultism, but a complete, every-level experience for what in a lot of band’s minds would probably be a toss-off EP release. Cheers to Shroud Eater for going all out in putting the tape of Dead Ends together (even the regular one looks pretty sweet) and continuing to highlight the appeal of physical media in an age regarded by squares as digital. Awesome.

Shroud Eater, “Tempest” from Dead Ends

Shroud Eater’s merch page

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

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Here’s Why My Wife Fucking Rules — MACARONI SABBATH!

Posted in Visual Evidence on April 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

During the coverage of the first day of Roadburn 2013, in talking about my general sucktitude at existence, I said that the first meal I’d eaten in a couple days made me feel, “like someone had just given me a piece of particleboard with macaroni glued onto it in the shape of the cover to Volume 4, and by that I mean ready to take on the world.”

Well, I got off the airplane yesterday, and The Patient Mrs. presented me with this:

That’s right. It’s the cover of Black Sabbath‘s Vol. 4, made of dried pasta. She glued the pieces to a slab of slate — so much more doom than particleboard — and gave it to me as a homecoming present upon my return from the Netherlands and the UK last night. Rare are the times when I’ve felt more like someone in the universe truly understands who I am as a human being.

I’ve engaged in no shortage of The Patient Mrs.-worship in this space over the years, but seriously, in the days to come when I need an example of how fucking awesome my wife is — when perhaps I’m explaining to somebody about the dynamic of our relationship — I feel like I have a new milestone to work from. It’ll go like this: “I’m a self-absorbed jerk who does nothing that isn’t completely about me, and she made me Macaroni Sabbath. I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

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VISUAL EVIDENCE: Backwoods Payback, Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Sun Gods in Exile Tour Booked for April

Posted in Visual Evidence on April 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

My only hope is that as Backwoods Payback, Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Sun Gods in Exile head out for these four shows, they bring the poster with them. Seems the Small Stone Records bannerfolk have united under the flag of their label and are hitting the Northeast for a bill they’re dubbing “4 Bands, 4 States, 4 Shows, 1 Label.” Call it a tour by the numbers.

Since Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Sun Gods in Exile all live in New England, so with Backwoods Payback tagged on from Pennsylvania, you can pretty well imagine this one’s going to be a debauched-type good time. A long weekend that no one involved will recall by the time it’s over. Nonetheless, if you’ve gotta have something to remember it by, the following Alexander von Wieding poster is a gorgeous reminder.

Octopus reigns supreme among green-lady headwear:

4 bands. 4 states. 4 shows. 1 label.

SMALL STONE RECORDS NORTH EAST US TOUR

featuring:
BACKWOODS PAYBACK
SUPER MACHINE
LORD FOWL
SUN GODS IN EXILE

04.25.13 – The Dover Brickhouse, Dover NH
04.26.13 – KCs Tap, Pawtucket RI
04.27.13 – The Winchester, Woodbridge CT
04.28.13 – Leftfield NYC, Manhattan NY

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Nice Package: Romero, Couch Lock/In the Heather Cassingle

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Visual Evidence on April 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They only made 50, and when I was in the process of writing up Romero‘s new album, Take the Potion (review here), I stumbled on the band’s prior cassette single — yes, a cassingle — dubbed Couch Lock/In the Heather. Released through Triceratrax Records last year, the limited pressing comes complete with red tape, a 7″ x 14″ foldout (the kind that would normally house a 7″ record) with 3D graphics and 3D glasses to see them. Sorry, but that’s frickin’ awesome.

Both the included tracks on the tape, “Couch Lock” and “In the Heather,” were re-recorded for Take the Potion, but neither is wanting for production on the single either, even if they’re somewhat rawer than they’d wind up. I’ll admit when I shelled out the cash for the tape (I think it was five bucks), it was the packaging that drew me in — the art is by Miranda Martin and guitarist/vocalist Jeffrey Mundt – but it’s not like the Wisconsin trio put all this effort and detail into a practice tape.

And speaking of detail, even the inside of the tape liner — the J-card, as I learned this week that they’re called because of their bend — has a 3D design:

But the righteousness of the design goes further than just the 3D stuff. The layout of the lyric sheet on the inside of the foldout poster (designed by drummer Ben Brooks) is also well thought out and stylized, not to mention hand-numbered:

Of course, there’s good news and bad news. Taking latter first, the pressing of 50 is sold out. I bought the last tape even before I was done with the album review. So unless Romero decide to do another round somewhere down the line, it’s a goner. The good news, however, is that Couch Lock/In the Heather is still up for a pay-what-you-want download, so if you’re thinking of hitting it up, there’s still some opportunity. They’ve even got the 3D images up in case you have a spare pair of glasses around.

To that end, here’s the stream from the Romero Bandcamp:

Romero, Couch Lock/In the Heather Single

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Nice Package: RABBITS, Flexihead

Posted in Visual Evidence on March 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Unless you work at The Onion or are on-set editing new episodes of Arrested Development, this is probably the cleverest thing you’re going to see today. Portland, Oregon’s Rabbits last year made a release called Flexihead in honor of Record Store Day. It’s a postcard on one side and on the other is a playable record with two opposing covers — Minor Threat‘s “Straight Edge” and Black Flag‘s “Wasted.”

As if the pairing of those two tracks wasn’t enough — notice “Wasted” comes after “Straight Edge” — the manner of presentation for Flexihead is what makes it. They even went so far as to include a Dorothy Parker quote on the back. The cleverness is pervasive. Check it out:

They only made 250 copies of the 5″ x 7″ postcard, so I felt lucky to get one, and I’ll honestly say that in the whole of my music connection — by no means the world’s largest archive of riffs, but by no means inconsiderable at this point — Flexihead is a one of a kind. Here’s a closer look at the Coke vs. Coors Light art by Kevin Abell:

Now for the big question: Does it play? Not on my turntable it sure doesn’t. I gave it a couple shots and after that decided I didn’t want to either break the arm on my record player or damage the postcard anymore than shipping already had, bent corners and such. Fortunately others had better luck, and the tracks can be heard below, or at the Rabbits Bandcamp, if you’d prefer something even less of the physical realm:

Feel free to applaud the ingenuity of Rabbits on Thee Facebooks

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Visual Evidence: Quintuple-State Convergence April 6 in NYC with Black Thai, Infernal Overdrive, John Wilkes Booth, When the Deadbolt Breaks and Wasted Theory

Posted in Visual Evidence on March 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Five bands, five states. Well, NYC has never been anything if it hasn’t been a melting pot, so when Black Thai (from Massachusetts), Infernal Overdrive (New Jersey), When the Deadbolt Breaks (Connecticut), John Wilkes Booth (Long Island, NY) and Wasted Theory (Delaware) converge on Tobacco Road in Manhattan on April 6, at least it’ll be in the borough’s long-standing tradition. If you’re on Thee Facebooks, the event page is here, and I thought I’d share the poster for the show, since it’s awesome.

Behold:

Five bands for $7 is a pretty heavy deal, if you’re into bargain-hunting.

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Visual Evidence: Red Fang are Heading to Europe…

Posted in Visual Evidence on March 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

…And it looks like they’re not coming back. Can’t say I blame them, what with the social safety net, centuries of cultural richness, and Scandinavian riffing, but even so, wow, this is the longest list of tour dates I’ve seen in a while.

Good for Red Fang and all, but with so many cities and countries being stormed, one has to wonder how on earth they’re going to have time to get a follow-up out to 2011′s excellent Murder the Mountains. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, there isn’t one part of this that doesn’t bleed its excellence:

Red Fang European Summer 2013 Tour Dates Announced!

May 31 Madrid, ES Auditorio Miguel Rios, Sonisphere
June 01 Barcelona ES Parc del forum,Sonisphere
June 04 Athens, Greece Gagarin 205
June 05 Thessaloniki , Greece Eightball
June 06 Istanbul , Turkey TBA
June 08 Kiev, Ukraine Bingo
June 09 St. Petersburg,Russia Zal Oghidania
June 10 Moscow, Russia Plan B
June 11 Krasnodar, Russia Arena
June 12 Rostov, Russia Podzemka
June 13 Murg-Oberhof , GER Cafe Verkehrt
June 14 Interlaken,Switzerland Greenfield
June 15 Sliedrecht,Netherlands Elektra Tuinfest
June 16 Donnington, UK Download
June 17 Belfast, Northern Ireland Limelight
June 18. Ireland, Dublin Whelans
June 19 Bristol, UK The Fleece
June 20 Jaworzno, Poland Metalfest
June 21 Geneve,Switzerland Fête De La Musique
June 22 Clisson FR Hellfest
June 23 Gigors et Lozeron FR Gigors Electric
June 25 Rome , IT Traffic
June 26 Milano , IT Solo Macello
June 27 Salzburg , Austria Rock House Bar
June 28 Roitschzjora, GER Full Force Festival
June 29 Osnabrück, GER Bastard Club
June 30 Dessel , Belgium Graspop Metal Meeting
July 02 Eindhoven, Netherlands Effenaar
July 03 Marburg GER KFZ
July 04 Bochum GER Matrix
July 05 Sulingen GER Relaod Festival
July 06 Bingen GER Bingener Open Air
July 09 Feldkirch, Austria Poolbar Feldkirch
July 10 Esslingen, GER Komma
July 13 Neskaupstadur, Iceland Eistnaflug Festival

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Visual Evidence: Kadavar Post Cover for Nuclear Blast Debut

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Whatever else German retro heavy specialists Kadavar do, they take a good picture. Fortunately they also rock, so you can imagine that once Abra Kadavar, their Nuclear Blast label debut and second offering behind last year’s self-titled, drops, it’ll live up to the high standard set by their facial hair below. If such a thing is possible. The album cover was unveiled today, and it goes a little something like this:

Kadavar, “Black Sun” Official Video

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Nice Package: The Re-Stoned, Plasma

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Moscow-based heavy psych outfit The Re-Stoned have sandwiched the bulk of the material on their new album between two massive 11-minute tracks, opener “Faces of Earth” and closer “Alpha Rhythm,” but that’s really just the beginning of the story when it comes to how Plasma is put together. The instrumental band led by and mostly comprised of guitarist/bassist Ilya Lipkin released their last record, Analog (review here), through R.A.I.G. in 2010, and Plasma sees issue through the same label as well, but instead of a jewel case arrives bundled in a folded cardboard box — almost like a miniaturized vinyl mailer with the logo printed on the front and the album info on back. It may not prove the most durable packaging option when it comes to standing the test of time, but it certainly is creative.

Lipkin, who is joined by drummers Vasily Bartov, Pavel Voloshin and Evgeny Tkachev throughout Plasma‘s eight tracks/58 minutes, employs a host of effects on his guitar and bass to add flourish to the tradicionnyj stoner riffing that lies at the heart of the band’s sound, and while the cardboard packaging doesn’t seem to have any direct correlation to what’s happening musically or thematically with the album or its titles –  though one does unfold the package and the flow of the album unfolds as well — it does grab the attention as only intricate physical media can. I’ve never thought of cardboard as particularly groovy, but maybe that’s what Lipkin is going for. I couldn’t really say.

The album boasts two covers — an extended jam on Jefferson Airplane’s “Today” in the first half and one on Pink Floyd‘s “Julia Dream” in the second — and with guest vocals from Veronika Martynova, they stand out in the tracklisting immediately and wind up as some of the record’s strongest material, incorporating elements of psychedelic folk with Lipkin layering acoustic and electric guitar. Elsewhere, the standout soloing of “Moon Dust” seems to be surfing with Joe Satriani‘s alien, while the riffs on the earlier “Grease” remind of some of the Karma to Burn-isms that showed up last time around. Fittingly titled, “Acoustic” is no less rich than any of the other material, given depth by Arkady Fedotov‘s synth and Tkachev‘s percussion, and as it occurs directly toward the middle of the album, it too seems to fall in line as another well-placed element at work to the benefit of Plasma.

Really, rather than be fed into by the music as part of an overarching theme, the uncommon packaging option for Plasma serves as an example of how intricately the record as a whole is constructed, be it the space-rocking jam of “The Clay God” or the more open, airy musicality of “Alpha Rhythm,” slowly developing over the calming course of its 11:26. The Re-Stoned and in particular Lipkin as the driving force behind the band impress on all fronts, and if it’s the package housing the CD that gets you to notice the album first, it’s one more thing to be thankful for after you’ve heard it later.

I’ve spouted off plenty of times about what a difference physical media can make in giving someone an impression of a work, so I’ll spare it, but in a case like this, the artwork — Lipkin also designed the logo — and the presentation to the audience becomes a part of the experience, and every time I reach for Plasma, it will be a different feeling than anything else that might be situated on that shelf, including Analog. If the record wasn’t up to par as a listen, it would be gimmicky, but The Re-Stoned have even more tools with which to satisfy sonically than they do in terms of the aesthetic in their choice of casing, so in addition to being a nice package, Plasma is also a complete one.

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Visual Evidence: Kings Destroy Added to Acid King Show Feb. 23 at St. Vitus Bar

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really even have a good excuse for posting this flyer, I’m just psyched for the show. On Saturday, Feb. 23, Acid King will return to the East Coast for the first time in I don’t even know how long it’s been, and Maple Forum alums and all-around excellent human beings Kings Destroy have signed on to support along with Blackout on the three-band bill. I guess at that point, I don’t need an excuse. It’s just awesome. All hail crushing February:

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Visual Evidence: Blaak Heat Shujaa Reveal CD/LP Covers for The Edge of an Era

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Currently based in L.A., psychedelic desert rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa will make their full-length debut on Tee Pee Records with The Edge of an Era on April 9. Today I have the pleasure of hosting for your check-it-outs the cover art by the Paris-based Arrache toi un oeil! collective. Below, artist Emy Rojas give some background on the inspiration for the pieces. The Edge of an Era was produced by none other than Scott “Yes that Scott Reeder” Reeder and follows on the heels of BHSTee Pee debut EP, The Storm Generation (review here).

According to guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier, The Edge of an Era will have two separate covers — one for the digipak CD release and one for the vinyl, both courtesy of Rojas, who offered the following:

“Arrache toi un oeil! made many silk screened gig posters in Paris, that’s how Thomas from Blaak Heat Shujaa discovered my work and then asked me to work on the cover of the album. The title “The edge of an era” inspired me a lot, something psychedelic, mystical, cosmic that flies away…and, at some point, ends but then announces something new. So I tried to have an image of this idea which also matched the style of the band. When I draw a cover, I always listen to the band to get closer to its universe, that’s very important for me.”

Here is the artwork in hi-resolution. Please click either image to enlarge.

Digipak CD

Vinyl

The Edge of an Era is due out April 9. Stay tuned for more on the album ahead of the release.

Blaak Heat Shujaa on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

Arrache toi un oeil website

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Visual Evidence: The Machine & Sungrazer Unveil Cover for Split Release

Posted in Visual Evidence on January 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dutch heavy psych outfits The Machine and Sungrazer just a couple minutes ago unveiled the cover art for their upcoming split release to coincide with their “Strikes and Gutters” tour. Of course, it’s a little late to include it in the Albums to Watch for in 2013 list, but I’m still really looking forward to this one. Art is by Maarten Donders and it’s pretty manic. Check it out:

For more on the “Strikes and Gutters” tour, check out The Machine on Thee Facebooks or Sungrazer on Thee Facebooks.

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Nice Package: Black Black Black’s Black Black Black Artbook

Posted in Visual Evidence on January 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ahead of the Aqualamb Records release of Black Black Black‘s self-titled debut on Feb. 5 (details here), the label was kind enough to send a promo of the NYC-based heavy/noise rock band’s album. Included as well in said promo was a copy of the limited 40-page artbook designed by vocalist Jason Alexander Byers (ex-Disengage), also a visual artist who’s had gallery showings in Miami, his native Ohio, and current residence in Brooklyn as well.

One of the most impressive aspects of Black Black Black‘s Black Black Black (review here) is how widely the band’s personality varies between tracks, whether it’s the strong hooks of “Wisdom, Knowledge and Fucked,” or the raging NY-style noise of “Pentagram ON,” on which Dave Curran from Unsane contributes guest vocals, or the later despondency of “Lexipro Devil,” memorable for its melody even as it feels detached from reality in a manner befitting its chemical allusion. Elsewhere, chugging riffs like that of “Night Moves” and the even-more-plodding “Light Light Light” give a modern heavy sensibility offset by touches of ’90s alt rock, but no matter which angle you try to approach it from, Black Black Black shows little interest in easy categorization.

So it goes as well with Byers‘ work in the artbook, which ranges from horror schlock to the target-minded interpretations that form the basis of a lot of his style and indeed, the band’s logo above, which draws the eye toward the center and the heart of the work. Also including the liner notes credits, a table of contents and thanks, pages are broken up by each song, with lyrics handwritten over culled and distorted images:

“Pentagram ON”

“Mishandled Cult Funds”

“Soar Like a Spider”

You can see in the sample shots above that the mood is pretty dark across the board, but that the images themselves vary, and I’d say that’s true of the album as well. If nothing else, the book makes an excellent companion to the tracks on the record — which aren’t exactly lacking atmosphere on their own but are made even more vivid all the same. This being Black Black Black‘s first full-length, I hope the blend of aural and visual is something Byers and his bandmates, Jacob Cox (guitar), Johnathan Swafford (bass) and Jeff Ottenbacher (drums) continue to experiment with, since it offers a level of engagement with the material rarely seen in these days of digital minimalism.

Black Black Black‘s Black Black Black is due out Feb. 5 on Aqualamb Records. For more on the band, check out their Thee Facebooks or the label’s site, and for more of Byers‘ art, his website is here.

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