Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Roman trio Ape Skull are getting ready to release their second album for Heavy Psych Sounds, Fly Camel Fly. The record follows their 2013 self-titled debut through the same label, and Ape Skull are already gearing up to hit the road in Germany and Switzerland for a tour surrounding the May 8 arrival. Warm-toned and thick on boogie, the band’s latest will be pressed to limited red or black vinyl as well as CD, with more details to come.
They’ll make a stop at the Go Down fest in Berlin on May 15 as well. Details from the PR wire:
Heavy Psych Sounds Records is happy to announce the release of the new album of: ***APE SKULL***
Ape Skull was formed in 2008. A trio consisting of Pierpaolo Pastorelli (bass), Fulvio Cartacci (guitar) and Giuliano Padroni (vocals-drums). The first, self titled, album (Ape Skull) comes out in 2013 by Heavy Psych Sounds and it includes eight original tracks and a cover of ‘I Got No Time’ by Orange Peel. The record is published as vinyl as well as a CD and its reviews appear in many magazines and websites dedicated to Rock music.
Following two European tours and dedicated Rock festivals, together with performances alongside excellent groups from the Stoner, Hard Rock and Psychedelic Rock circuits, the band is now ready to bring on tour the second chapter:
“FLY CAMEL FLY” a new “but old” great record, 9 brand new awesome Retro, Vintage Rock songs, for Fuzz addicted, Rhythmic and Funky sounds mixed to 70s Hard Rock tunes, with a pinch of Garage, Blues and Acid Rock.
The new album will be released May 8 in 200 Ltd Red Vinyl, black vinyl cd and digital.
The band will be also on tour in Europe from May 8 to 16.
08/05/2015 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros 09/05/2015 CH Ins-Schuxenhaus 10/05/2015 CH Basel-Roxy tba 11/05/2015 CH La Chaux du fonds tba 12/05/2015 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum 13/05/2015 DE Augsburg-Blue Box Skate Park 14/05/2015 DE Halle- Hühner Manhattan 15/05/2015 DE Berlin-Tiefgrund “GO DOWN FEST” 16/05/2015 CH Olten-Coq d’Or
Feral is the upcoming fourth album and Small Stone debut from West Coast (CA/WA) outfit Snail. Their first record as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist/engineer Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson since their 1993 self-titled debut (reissue review here), Feral is set to issue this summer and features cover art by Brooklyn-based artist Seldon Hunt, known for his work with Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Made out of Babies, Kings Destroy and on and on. Always varied in his approach, from photography to line-drawings to exquisite fractals to whatever the hell you might call the cover of the recent Blind Idiot God album, Hunt has consistently been able to adjust his own style to suit the project at hand, and Snail‘s Feral is no exception.
There is a snail on it, somehow subtly despite it being right up front on the left side of the picture. Gorgeously colorful with natural reds, browns and greens, two knotted trees frame what in other hands might’ve been a simple nature scene. Two snakes wrap around a deer’s antlers, and there’s some kind of scared-looking 10-legged creature hiding partially behind one of the four large mushrooms in the foreground. But the real story is in the deer’s eyes, dead and yellow. They have a threatening look to them which seems to find its answer in the partially-buried human skulls at the bottom and the new-growth grass coming up around them. All of a sudden, it’s more revolution than nature scene, as though human civilization has given way to a new natural order.
In its colorful psychedelic vibe and quiet foreboding, Hunt‘s piece fits the Snail record well, and I’m happy to be able to premiere the cover art. Click the image below to enlarge it if you’d like a closer look. Some comment from the band follows:
Says Matt Lynch:
It was actually [The Obelisk’s] doing that we hooked up with him. I saw the art he did for Blind Idiot God because of your feature and we were still kinda exploring our options after many failed attempts by me to get something we could all agree on.
And I saw that art and thought “this guy gets it” you know, he had the feel of the record in him. The first idea he sent us was spot on. It was just a scribble sketch but we knew by the description that this was our guy.
This past weekend, in Portland, the fourth Ceremony of Sludge was held at the Tonic Lounge. The likes of Holy Grove, Disenchanter, Diestoand many others played, but notably absent was the trio Lamprey, who headlined the first night of the festival in 2014. The dual-bass three-piece of Justin Brown, Blaine Burnham and Spencer Norman are on a sort of mini-hiatus leading up to the release of their next album, what you might call a “break” rather than a “break-up,” while Brown takes up the bassist role in Witch Mountain and embarks on that band’s rather considerable touring schedule. Also a principal organizer of Ceremony of Sludge, Brown was in NYC this past Saturday opening for YOB and Enslavedwhen the fest was going on. Hey, if you gotta be somewhere.
I asked him about missing his fest at that show and he was bummed (I’ve always had a reverse-knack for conversation) not to be there, but said he’d spend the next however many months editing clips of the bands playing, so he’d get to experience it one way or another. As Lamprey begin to move past their 2012 EP, The Burden of Beasts (review here) and into their new record preceded by the recently-revealed video for “Iron Awake,” they make a fitting conclusion to this series of videos that it’s been my complete pleasure to host. They’re the sixth band — a total of eight played over the two nights last March — but the final clip is their “Lord Fire Giant,” which also closed The Burden of Beasts. In it, we can hear Burnham‘s shouts in all their rawness and hear the interplay of his and Brown‘s basses on the Club 21 stage while Norman keeps the groove in fluid motion, almost a calming presence behind the kit.
The other videos are here if you’d like to catch up, but having dug Lamprey for a few years now and been to-date unable to see them live, the quality footage is appreciated. As we move out of one series of Ceremony of Sludge videos and look forward to hopefully starting another, I’m glad to bring forth “Lord Fire Giant” in all its frothing, molten fury.
Audio is by Tim Burke at Penumbra Sound Arts. Video is by Cole Boggess and Justin Anderson. Please enjoy:
Lamprey, “Lord Fire Giant” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Following up on the project’s 2013 debut, Mannequin (discussed here), Sun and Sail Club will issue their sophomore outing, The Great White Dope, in May, and as you can hear in the teaser clip below, there are some major changes in store. Foremost, where they were formerly a mostly-instrumental trio with some vocoder work by guitarist/project-spearhead Bob Balch — joined in the band by his Fu Manchu bandmate, drummer Scott Reeder, as well as bassistScott Reeder of Kyuss/The Obsessed/Fireball Ministry fame; living the dream of an all-Scott Reeder rhythm section — they’ve now brought aboard vocalist Tony Cadena, aka Tony Adolescent of The Adolescents, and adopted a suitably punkish mentality.
All in good fun, of course. The idea behind Sun and Sail Club was experimental from the very beginning, so it seems reasonable that would extend to the range of style the band actually plays. Balch offers some comment on the new album in the below info, hoisted from the PR wire:
Sun & Sail Club Announce New Album “The Great White Dope” out May 2015
Sophomore LP features members of Fu Manchu, Kyuss, The Obsessed and Tony Adolescent!
SUN AND SAIL CLUB is a band that features Bob Balch on guitar (FU MANCHU), Scott Reeder on drums (FU MANCHU, SMILE), Scott Thomas Reeder on bass (KYUSS, FIREBALL MINISTRY, THE OBSESSED) AND NOW punk legend Tony Adolescent (THE ADOLESCENTS) on vocals.
When asked how Tony became part of the equation Balch replies…
“On the last record ‘Mannequin’ I recorded all the vocals using my guitar and a vocoder. I’m a big fan on Kraftwerk and Black Moth Super Rainbow and that album reflects that 100%. On this record I wanted to hear a singer. My first idea was Tony from THE ADOLESCENTS. I grew up listening to them. FU MANCHU covered their song “Things Start Moving” and he came up and sang it with us in Orange County. I watched that footage and was way into his voice with our sound. Not to mention his lyrics too! He rules.”
“I had a few riffs floating around, nowhere near a full record. I contacted Tony and he agreed to sing on the record. He hadn’t even heard one note! Once I read that response I was super pumped and wrote almost the entire record in 3 hours with his vocals in mind. The end result is a record that is super inspired and aggressive with songs that get right to the point.”
On the recording process Balch reveals…
“I always wanted to make a record that was punk influenced with big drums and fuzzy guitars. Like ‘What if the BAD BRAINS had to play a set on FU MANCHU’s gear?'”
“I sent the tunes to Reeder (drummer) and then drove up to Orange County to demo them. We jammed once and then we were in the studio the following week to track drums and rhythm guitars. We went with our buddy Andrew Giacumakis’ studio to record drums and rhythm guitars. We got him to mix too. His ears are impeccable. He plays in a band named MOAB and we love the tones he gets. He recorded drums, bass and mixed the last FU MANCHU record “Gigantoid” as well. Then we had Carl Saff at Saff Mastering master the record. He mastered the MOAB stuff and that stuff sounds massive!”
“From there I went to “The Racket Room” to get some vocals with Tony Adolescent and Jim Monroe at the board. Jim recorded guitars on the last FU MANCHU record and recorded the ADOLESCENTS a bunch of times so that decision made perfect sense.”
“Then I headed out to the desert to record leads and bass at Scott Reeder’s “Sanctuary.” It was always my intention and always will be my intention to record there. Not only because Reeder gets the best guitar, bass and drum tones ever, but also that way he can watch me fumble through the tracks on bass then annihilate my tracks by recording some of his own.”
The end result is a record that sounds massive and inspired. How could it not, given the members involved?
SUN AND SAIL CLUB “The Great White Dope” will be released May, 2015.
* Album layout by Peder Bergstrand (Lowrider, I Are Droid), Artwork by Helen Green
“The Great White Dope” Track List: 1. Krokodil Dental Plan 2. Dresden Fireball Freakout Flight 3. Baba Yaga Bastard Patrol 4. Migraine With A Chainsaw Reduction 5. Level Up & Shut It Down 6. Fever Blister & The Great White Dope 7. Full Tilt Panic 8. Alien Rant Factory 9. Inside Traitor Outside View 10. Cypherpunk Roulette
Pretty god damn clever to record in front of a green screen so you can go back and put different backgrounds in afterwards and make a video of it. Kudos to Van Nuys, California, doomers Lost Breed, who have been working on new material the last several months after overseeing Shadow Kingdom Records reissues in the past couple years of their two albums, 1993’s The Evil in You and Me and 1995’s Save Yourself, both originally put out by Hellhound Records, as well as one on At War with False Noise of their 1989 Wino Daze demo. That demo was recorded with Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals as his time in Saint Vitus was winding down — they’d put out V, their last (pre-reunion) album with Wino as frontman, in 1990 — and prior to his reigniting The Obsessed with their self-titled full-length, also in 1990. Initially released in 2007 by Helltown Records, it’s had a sort of cult presence all along thanks in no small part to Wino‘s involvement, so as Lost Breed put together new songs, it’s not surprising that Pat Lydon and Jamie Silver might call Weinrich up to come play some guitar and vocals.
Lydon handles bass on the unnamed track, and Silver drums, and what was recorded at SPL Studios in Van Nuys and credited songwriting to Wino is simply called “Wino Jam” according to the post. Aptly enough titled. The cut has a laid back groove, smooth in the weaving of bass and lead and rhythm guitar, and an easy flow that’s less trad doom than quiet contemplation. I’m not sure whether or not it will surface on whatever it is Lost Breed are culling, be it a new full-length, EP, or whathaveyou, but it’s new music, anyway, and a “Wino Jam” isn’t something I’m going to complain about. Wino‘s time in Lost Breed was pretty short, but their material both with and without him has managed to endure — a “lost album” called World of Power from 1989 is due out in June on Blood and Iron Records, who also issued a collection of recordings that would’ve been a third Lost Breed full-length last year with the title Bow Down — so I don’t see any reason why a new album doesn’t hold promise. The video for “Wino Jam” is hardly the highest-production -value clip you’ll ever see, but the song itself is studio clear and has a classic, distinctly Wino touch.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Danish six-piece outfit Grusom released their three-song demo last October, and by November, they were in talks with Kozmik Artifactz, who it has been announced will be handling the release of the band’s forthcoming full-length debut this July. The band’s blues-rocking style, marked out by dual guitars, standalone vocals and keys, is fitting in the progression past pure retroism that seems to be emerging throughout Europe, heavy ’70s influences being put in a more modern context, but one will still recognize some hallmarks in the single “The Journey,” for which Grusom have just released a new video.
A brooding sense of regret pervades the song — it’s not by any means upbeat or a brash, boozy single — but the pickup in the second half demonstrates the kind of flow Grusom have on offer and bodes well for what might come with the first album. The announcement came via the PR wire:
Denmark’s finest GRUSOM are signing with Kozmik Artifactz
Debut album release summer 2015
Just one month after releasing their demo on Bandcamp, Grusom signed with the German record label “Kozmik Artifactz.” Jacob Bredahl from Dead Rat Studio did the recording of their debut album. Grusom wanted to keep the feel of the actual recording as true and authentic as possible. Jacob caught Grusom’s sound and soul by recording all music in one room at the same time. Grusom’s debut album is expected to hit the street and shelves sometime during July 2015 (vinyl, cd and digital).
The first single from the album called “The Journey” is to be released the 16th. of March 2015. “The Journey” was partially written and arranged while recording in Dead Rat Studio. “The Journey” can be found digital on iTunes and several other online platforms including Grusom’s official bandcamp site.
Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
In the world of Ice Dragon, six months between releases is kind of a long time. Not their longest stretch, I don’t think, but for the band who issued two full-lengths last August and September about two weeks apart — and who might put out another at a moment’s notice — it’s a notable span of time. And more than their prolific level of output, the growth of their aesthetic range over the last eight years since they released their 2008 self-titled debut (discussed here) has been even more impressive than their ability to self-record and release albums with little more ceremony than making a Bandcamp post public. Recent outings like the Aug./Sept. pair, Seeds from a Dying Garden (review here) and Loaf of Head (review here) have delved into psychedelic serenity and weirdo lysergic rock with equal abandon, the band seeming at times to follow a conceptual path sound-wise if not in narrative terms, but then also pushing against that impulse when their whim takes them elsewhere, as on the brash opening salvo of Loaf of Head. Their latest work, a half-hour full-length dubbed A Beacon on the Barrow, seems interested in bringing together these impulses with a sensibility of riffing more akin to the medieval, cavernous doom they conjured across records like 2010’s The Burl, the Earth, the Aether and 2011’s The Sorrowful Sun (both reviews here), but one of the five-track outing’s great strengths is that it keeps the anything-goes unhinged vibe of their later work, so that as A Beacon on the Barrow progresses, the material itself ranges further sonically and stylistically. Recorded, as ever, at Ron’s Wrecker Service, and with the (presumed) lineup of vocalist/drummer Ron Rochondo, guitarist/bassist Carter, bassist/guitarist Joe and drummer Brad, Ice Dragon continue one of the underground’s most intriguing progressions, rife with classic swagger and a truly open creative feel. They continue to bend genre to their will better than most of the few who actually try.
And unlike much of their other material — an exception perhaps in 2013’s Born a Heavy Morning (review here) — this record does follow a narrative course. Or at least it’s easy to put one to the consecutive titles “The Rider,” “The Journey,” “The Arrival,” “The Light” and “The Return,” and imagine that the songs are shifting according to where the story goes. Lyrics, which are included in the post with the album, are vague enough to be taken as chapters or not, but as the uptempo riffing and stonerly vibe of “The Rider” launched A Beacon on the Barrow, there’s little doubt Ice Dragon have movement in mind. While later cuts like “The Arrival” and “The Light” venture pretty far into doom, and even the chorus of “The Rider” itself has a slowdown, the momentum given to the album by its first cut, with its unabashed hook, ethereal vocal layering and near-Songs for the Deaf-style rush, proves invaluable as the story continues to play out. “The Rider” cuts its pace for a second-half doom weirdout, but the effect is accomplished anyway. “The Journey,” sure enough, is a march. Or at least a stomp. Or a slog. Big drums slam hard behind a winding riff, and a careening current of noise comes to the fore in the midsection, the progression resuming in the raw-throated verse, the song ending with the riff repeated topped by rhythmic screams. It seems for a minute there like “The Journey” isn’t going well, but inevitably it leads to the centerpiece of the album, “The Arrival.” Also the longest cut at 8:18, “The Arrival” is complex in its structure, early frenetic vibing topped by grandiose spoken word after a full-thrust verse leading to a stop, long pick-slide and swaggering chorus, cycling back through, and halting, after five minutes in, for a longer break before the chorus kicks back in, that leading to a stop of its own and some flourish of amp noise and drone that would seem to act as a signal for the oddities to come in “The Light” and “The Return.”
“The Light” immediately constructs a wall of megafuzz under which the vocals are buried, an echoing, indecipherable drawl that moves atop the slower verse, which gives way to a tense bridge that, later in the track, takes hold following a feedback-soaked dirge of psychedelic doom, a riff emerging but the shape of the song overall more amorphous than would allow for calling it a central figure. Briefly, they cut to just an intake of breath, then that original bridge line returns, this time met by obscure incantations that devolve into screams as the tension continues to build. It finally comes to a head and crashes out, the last 40 seconds or so of the song’s 6:47 given over to quiet amp hum that one almost expects to surge again at any time. With “The Return” still to go, it’s already been a considerable voyage. A Beacon on the Barrow‘s seven-minute closer is hauntingly beautiful; an experiment in subtle melodicism, drone-riffing and psychedelia gone right. “The Return” holds onto the rawness that has been pervasive all along and is by now a signature element in Ice Dragon‘s aesthetic, but its spaciousness and fluidity bring something new to the table for them as well. They’ve done plenty of droning in their time, but the way the guitar layers interlace across “The Return,” the way its instrumental course ebbs and flows, makes it something special. The band never fails to offer a twist of some forward-thinking sort or another, and as much as A Beacon on the Barrow updates some of their doomed impulses in cuts like “The Journey” and “The Rider,” it pushes ahead with “The Return” with a boldness as much Ice Dragon‘s own as the roughness of their production, ending their latest album with a humming resonance that gently gives way to silence. Those who’ve followed their growth in the last several years will know that when it comes to their material, anything can happen at any time, but A Beacon on the Barrow isn’t without its moments of surprise, and whether a listener is hearing Ice Dragon for the first time or the 30th, there’s as much weight in the creativity of these tracks as there is in the tones.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It is always a pleasure to play host to the live sets from Roadburn. This batch — the sixth to come from last year’s fest at the 013, Cul de Sac and Het Patronaat venues in Tilburg, the Netherlands — includes a couple particularly choice acts from the fest. I caught some of Papir through the door and they were awesome even being outside the room, and Sourvein kicked off the festival with a sludgy immediacy that let the Main Stage crowd know they were in for a hell of a weekend to come. That’s not to take anything away from Tribulation, Momentum, Promise and the Monster or Scorpion Child, but I can only go by what I saw.
And in that regard, I’m not sure any band who played Roadburn last year killed it quite as hard as did Conan at Het Patronaat. Having previously witnessed their Roadburn debut in 2012 (review here), it was something particularly special to see them come back and destroy in Roadburn‘s church, the stained glass windows rattling from the density of their low end, one tectonic riff feeding into another with explosive energy and ferocity unmatched in doom. They could’ve easily been on the Main Stage, but somehow it was even more appropriate in that venue. Fit for worship and then some.
They played the same day as Sourvein and Corrections House, and several of these others if I’m not mistaken. Oh, and if that pic of Sanford Parker looks familiar (it won’t, but I’m mentioning it anyway), it came from the review of their first show at the Saint Vitus Bar back in 2013. Good times.
As always, thanks to Walter for allowing me to host the streams and to Marcel Van De Vondervoort of Torture Garden Studio for busting his ass to record it all.
Conan – Live at Roadburn 2014
Corrections House – Live at Roadburn 2014
Momentum – Live at Roadburn 2014
Papir – Live at Roadburn 2014 (Saturday)
Promise and the Monster – Live at Roadburn 2014
Scorpion Child – Live at Roadburn 2014
Sourvein – Live at Roadburn 2014
Tribulation – Live at Roadburn 2014
For the other batches of audio from Roadburn 2014 — there’s some stuff worth digging for — click here, here, here, here, and here, and to read the coverage from last year’s fest, click here. For all Roadburn 2015 updates, click here.