Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It turns out Pull had to them-out (get it?) of the first-ever Maryland Doom Fest, but they’ve been replaced by reunited riffers Nagato, who got back together last year after a cessation of activity in 2012. Thick on vibe, they’ll add progressive atmospherics and gorgeous tone to the lineup of the fest, which takes place from June 26-28 at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland. I’ve only been fortunate enough to see the four-piece once, at Stoner Hands of Doom XI in 2011 (review here), for which they also played on a Sunday, but that set left enough an impression that four years later I keep hoping I’ll hear some news about them putting out a record sooner or later.
They might get there. I know the members of Nagato are involved in a few other projects as well, so maybe their playing Maryland Doom Fest is enough for the moment. They’ve joined a killer lineup, for which the final schedule has just been announced.
And just so we have it all in one place, alphabetically, here’s the full lineup as of now (there are still a couple months to go, things can change) for the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest: Apostle of Solitude, Balam, Banned from H.E.L.L., Foehammer, Foghound, Into the Void, Iron Man, Lord, Mangog, Mind’s Eye, Nagato, Outside Truth, Primer Grey, Project Armageddon, Season of Arrows, Serpent Witch, Sixty Watt Shaman, Slaves B.C., Spirit Caravan, The Skull, Unorthodox, Valkyrie, Weed is Weed.
Poster by Audrey Mantel and running order follow, along with Nagato‘s return show last August:
The Maryland Doom Fest 1
June 26 – 28, 2015 Cafe 611, Frederick, MD
A weekend of doom metal in its purest form.
FRIDAY The Skull 1225-130 Sixty Watt Shaman 1115-1210 Unorthodox 1005-11 Weed Is Weed 855-950 Into The Void 755-840 Banned From H.E.L.L. 655-740 Primer Grey 6-640
SATURDAY Spirit Caravan 1215-130 Apostle of Solitude 1105-1200 Outside Truth 1010-1050 Valkyrie 910-955 Project Armageddon 815-855 Foghound 720-8 Balam 630-705 Slaves B.C. 540-615 Season of Arrows 445-525
SUNDAY Iron Man 1045-1215 Foehammmer 945-1030 Lord 845-930 Mind’s Eye 745-830 Nagato 650-730 Serpent Witch 655-735 Mangog 6-640
Portland, Oregon’s Last Giant released their debut album, Heavy Habitat, on Feb. 24 through Little One Ate the Big One Records. You might recall the song “Captain My Captain” was premiered here in December. Well, as a lousy American once said, “Fuck it — we’ll do it live.” That guy was a dick, and wrong about everything else, but he had it right in terms of the value of raw performance, and Last Giant are heeding that bit of inadvertent and once-viral wisdom, currently embroiled in a 12-date run around the West/Northwest that had them snowed out in Colorado last night, finds them driving to Idaho for tonight and tomorrow, and wrapping with two shows in Oregon this Friday and Saturday.
A not-insubstantial stint, and no doubt effective in getting the three-piece’s point across. That point? That you can kick ass and enjoy doing it. Tracked by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Recordings, Heavy Habitat was a solo-project in the studio for multi-instrumentalist/vocalist RFK Heise, formerly of System and Station, but live, Heise is joined by bassist Adam Shultz and drummer Matt Wiles, and naturally, the dynamic is different. One can see it in the video below of Last Giant on stage at The Trunk Space in Phoenix, Arizona. As they run through “Captain My Captain” live, Wiles‘ swing can’t help but drive the boogie in Heise‘s guitar and Wiles‘ bass, and the track departs from the intricate layering of its studio incarnation to something more basic that speaks to punkier roots than one might’ve initially heard in its crisp studio presentation.
But I guess that’s the whole point of doing it live. Last Giant will be looking to tour more this summer — including a makeup date for Denver that, since it won’t be March, is probably about 30 percent less likely to see snow — so keep an eye out. In the meantime, this clip comes from last Friday, Feb. 27, which I think counts as “fairly recent” by modern standards. Video is followed by the specifics on the remaining dates of the tour:
Last Giant, “Captain My Captain” Live at The Trunk Space, Phoenix, AZ, 02.27.15
Last Giant remaining current tour dates: 3/4 Flipside Lounge- Pocatello, Id 3/5 Crazy Horse- Boise, Id w/ My New Mistress 3/6 Lone Pine Cafe- Baker City, OR w/ guests 3/7 Foggy Notion- Portland, OR w/ Fortune Club + Human
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Who the hell doesn’t want to take some time off and go spend eight days kicking around Spain and Portugal? I can’t really fault Italian heavy rocking foursome Isaak for pausing work on their next record in order to tour the Iberian Peninsula later this month, nor would I attempt to try. They’ve done plenty of touring throughout Europe, but seriously, what, they’re going to regret going to Barcelona as Spring is starting to kick in? Somehow I doubt it.
Noteworthy that Isaak say they’ll be performing material from their recent split with Mos Generator – a 12″ was released in January on Heavy Psych Sounds – since their inclusion on that split was one 15-minute psychedelic exploration they dubbed “The Choice,” and represented something of a turn from the more straightforward fare one heard on their prior Small Stone label debut, 2013’s The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (streamed here). Should make for an interesting blend on stage, and one can’t help but wonder how “The Choice” might influence Isaak‘s next work, which will presumably also be out on Small Stone later this year once they finish it when they get back from the tour.
The band sent this update down the PR wire, along with the tour poster by the venerable and increasingly ubiquitous David Paul Seymour:
ISAAK IBERIAN TOUR 2015
Isaak is hitting the road again, this time for a Spain and Portugal tour. The band is having a break from recording their new album, that will be out this year via Small Stone Records.
The guys will perform their last album as well as their fresh released 12″ split shared with Mos Generator and unleashed via Heavy Psych Sound.
Tour poster made by David Paul Seymour and printed at The Giant’s Lab. Tour promoted by Red Sound Barcellona.
20/03 – BARCELONA ( Rocksound Almogavers) 21/03 – MADRID ( Sala Barracudas) 22/03 – ESTEPONA (Louie Louie) 23/03 – CALDAS DA RAINHA (tbc) 24/03 – LISBOA ( Sabotage Club) 25/03 – VIANA DO CASTELO ( BAR Kommix) 26/03 – VIGO ( Distrito 09) 27/03 – OURENSE (el sótano) 28/03 – GORLIZ ( Xurrut)
The last Emissions from the Monolith festival took place in 2007 in Austin, Texas, but the fest will always be associated with Youngstown, Ohio. A beaten, post-industrial burg off Route 80 on the other side of the Pennsylvania state line, there wasn’t much to see in Youngstown, and that was part of the point. Nestled deep in a street that, on any given day, someone might rob the deli down the block, the Nyabinghi itself was a mirror of dropped-out culture. Not the glorified kind, but the kind that actually didn’t give a fuck. From 2000 through 2006, Emissions from the Monolith was held at the Nyabinghi and its lineups looked an awful lot like the shape of heavy to come.
I only went to one. The last in Ohio, in 2006. A little band called Baroness opened one of the days and to date it’s the only US appearance Colour Haze have ever made. There was some blowup with SunnO))) that resulted in thrown monitors. To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of it I don’t remember. Apparently Orange Goblin and Scissorfight‘s tour took them out that way. Awesome. I remember seeing that in New York, but if I caught it at Emissions, it’s news to me. It was that kind of a thing. A blackout weekend every Memorial Day. There was very little fashionable about heavy rock and doom at the time, and barbecue sandwiches sold on the back patio. It’s hard to write about without glorifying it, but maybe it should be glorified. Probably not if we’re judging by standards of public safety. I remember handing one of my band’s demos to Greg Barratt, who owned the place and booked Emissions. He was polite enough.
Wino was a regular fixture at the fest, between Spirit Caravan in 2000 and 2001 and The Hidden Hand in 2003 and 2004. The year this week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes from is 2001. Spirit Caravan — Wino, bassist Dave Sherman, drummer Gary Isom — were joined on the bill by Warhorse, Bongzilla, Halfway to Gone, Weedeater, Witch Mountain, Disengage, Pale Divine, Tummler, Sherman‘s own Earthride and many others. I imagine it was a hell of a weekend. At the start of their set, Wino thanks Barratt for putting the thing on and says something about police activity the night before. That sounds about right.
Not sure who filmed it, but the audio is by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer. Enjoy:
Spirit Caravan, Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Australian megasludgers Watchtower have inked a deal to align with New York’s Magnetic Eye Records for the release of their new EP, Radiant Moon. It will be out digitally on March 10 and preorders are up now from the label and the band, who follow on the heels of fellow Melbourne natives Horsehunter in signing with Magnetic Eye but whose release will actually be out first — Horsehunter‘s Caged in Flesh LP is due in April — therefore changing the timeline to who-knows-what future-historical consequences.
The heavy rock boom in Melbourne continues unabated, and for Watchtower, Radiant Moon follows the 2014 live-recorded single Absinthism, which you can hear on the player below as a demonstration of their riffy wares. But first, the announcement of the signing from Magnetic Eye and the band’s comment on the situation.
Have at you:
Magnetic Eye Records and Watchtower are very pleased to announce that the band have signed to NY based record label Magnetic Eye Records.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It seems worth pointing out that, at 25 years old, new Slough Feg drummer Addison Filipczyk was likely born around the same time the band was first getting together and putting out early demo material in 1990. One could blather about the San Francisco troupe’s metal longevity, but frankly, if you don’t get it, the point’s lost. Former drummer Harry Cantwell played with the band following the release of Hardworlder in 2007 and could most recently be heard on last year’s Digital Resistance (review here), Slough Feg‘s ninth full-length and debut on Metal Blade Records.
What Filipczyk‘s contributions might bring to the band remains to be seen since he hasn’t yet played his first show with them — April 16 in San Fran; info’s below — but there’s reportedly a European tour currently being booked for May and June, so it doesn’t seem like it’ll be that long until we find out. As Scalzi notes, he’s down for upholding the prime directive, and that’s always a good start.
To the PR wire, friends:
Metal Blade Recording Artist Slough Feg Announce New Drummer
Now Booking European Tour Dates For May/June 2015
Slough Feg is proud to announce the arrival of new drummer, Addison Filipczyk. Filipczyk, 25, will have big shoes to fill following in the wake of Harry Cantwell’s departure, but after several months of rehearsal the group is confident that they are in capable hands and feet.
Bassist Adrian Maestas comments, “After trying out drummers for a few months we think we’ve found the right guy. Welcome aboard, Addison!”
Singer/Guitarist Mike Scalzi gave only a short list of the new Drummer’s vital statistics: -Loyal Slough Feg fan since 2007 -Sharp wit / keen philosophical / linguistic intellect -Corrective lenses necessary when drumming / viewing oversized metal chicks’ asses -Huge heavy metal fan, with tastes ranging from early Maiden and Priest to Budgie and Beethoven -Corporate spirit with liberal incentives towards Slough Feg’s prime directive
Guitarist Angelo Tringali couldn’t be reached for comment, but his answering machine informed us that he was out in search of “a different lime and whiskey cola.”
Addison will make his debut with Slough Feg on April 16th, 2015, at the Eagle S.F. in San Francisco. ONWARD!!!
“Digital Resistance” was recorded with Justin Weis (who produced the album with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi) at Trakworx in South San Francisco from January-October 2013 and marks the band’s first new studio album since 2010’s “The Animal Spirits.” Order your copy at metalblade.com/sloughfeg. The album is available digitally, on CD, and on vinyl. The opaque purple vinyl with grey haze is still available in limited quantities atindiemerch.com/metalbladerecords.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Unmistakably good news today from the camp of Richmond, Virginia, five-piece Windhand, as it’s announced they have entered the studio to work with producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Nebula, on and on) on their third album. The record has been given a tentative due date of Fall 2015, and I’d be surprised if Windhand didn’t hit that mark, since if their itinerary for their Relapse debut and sophomore outing, 2013’s Soma (review here), is any basis for judgment, they’ll likely already have tours booked before the record is released.
All the better. The response to Soma was massive, so anticipation for the follow-up will be likewise high. In the last year-plus, though, the band have become veterans of fests like Roadburn, Day of the Shred, Scion Rock Fest and others, in addition to putting in considerable road time on their own, headlining and supporting, their wash of volume and riffs finding welcome on a frighteningly close to universal scale. Seems like they’re working quick to get back in the studio, but you won’t hear me complain.
They’ve also got some shows in Atlanta with a little band called Sleep in May. Here’s the news, freshly hoisted from the PR wire:
WINDHAND ENTER THE STUDIO WITH JACK ENDINO TO RECORD NEW ALBUM OUT THIS FALL ON RELAPSE RECORDS
Richmond, VA psychedelic doomsters WINDHAND have entered the studio with legendary producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, High on Fire). The band is recording their highly anticipated third full-length album at Soundhouse Recording in Seattle, WA. The currently untitled album will see a fall release via Relapse Records and promises to be their most ambitious record to date. The album will contain nine songs including titles like “Two Urns”, “Hyperion” and “Kingfisher”.
Additionally, the group has confirmed two Atlanta shows with Sleep this May.
Stay tuned for more info on WINDHAND.
WINDHAND US LIVE DATES: May 3 – Atlanta, GA The Masquerade ^ May 4 – Atlanta, GA Center Stage Theatre ^
Posted in Reviews on March 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s little room left for argument after all the air’s been pushed from your lungs. Six years after issuing their initial demo (review here) and subsequent split 10″ with Mico de Noche (review here), Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at long last make their full-length debut with a self-titled release on Neurot Recordings, and whatever weight is brought to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth via guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle‘s pedigree for having fronted underrated Seattle heavy rockers TAD or work engineering at his own Witch Ape Studio, where this album was also recorded (Billy Anderson mixed), rest assured that’s still less heft than the tones on crushers like “Empires of Dust” and the churning, 11-minute “La Mano Poderosa.” Together with bassist Peggy “Pegadeth” Tully (also his wife) and drummer Dave French (also of The Annunaki), Tad leads the charge through seven rounds of atmospheric post-sludge, the record’s 44 minutes no less concerned with ambience and mood than with gritting their teeth and bashing the listener over the head with waves of tectonic nod. It is a massive, unforgiving impression that the album leaves behind, rife with churning tension, a volume-as-ritual sense of purpose and an impact that becomes undeniable by the time “I Am” shifts into the drum-led, Neurosis-style tribalism of “The Immutable Path,” but there’s also breadth to it, and even its repetitions have a reason behind them. French‘s drums alternate between doomed marching and driving propulsion, but the hitting is consistently hard, and that seems to be true just about across the board. Even in quiet stretches, like the beginnings of “Unnamed” or “I Am” or the piano-led “Outro,” which closes, there is a tense, clenched feel that never quite lets the listener be fully at ease.
It goes without saying, but that’s obviously the point. The intensity of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s Brothers of the Sonic Cloth is not happenstance. It’s pervasive, and it begins with the very start of the album, on opener “Lava,” where what might otherwise have been an intro riff expands into a three-minute song topped with growled verses and crashing at full turn-this-up-now righteousness. A turn to a jagged riff sits well on some half-time drums and vocal call and response make the track an outlier compared to what follows — the next four cuts comprise the meat of the album and they’re all nearly or more than twice as long — but it’s as honest an introduction as one could ask. The only thing missing from it is the grueling and slow, and “Empires of Dust” quickly (also slowly) remedies the issue. Its first three minutes are devoted to far-back gutturalism and dirge riffing, and even after things open from there, setting up a back and forth that plays out again over “Empires of Dust”‘s 7:51 resulting in a morose but creative and semi-melodic doom, the vibe remains pummeling. Tad gurgles out lyrics obscured by the distortion surrounding and echoes of noise end out, leading to the spacious guitar line that starts “Unnamed” on a more subdued, peaceful note, as if all that swirling malevolence was just a dream. It wasn’t. In tone and vocal delivery, the quicker thrust of “Unnamed” reminds somewhat of the last Amebix as each syllable of each line seems spit out, but the churn behind is more in league with Through Silver in Blood‘s brand of chaotic atmospherics, and after five and a half minutes, the song moves into a different cycle entirely, chugging its way toward an apex met by vocals that prove the most melodic on the album. They jump back to the churn with less than a minute to go — an effective bookend — and the 11-minute “La Mano Poderosa,” a version of which also appeared on the demo, introduces its roll with the guitar, its central progression a theme from which it deviates only twice along its march, once for an angular break in the middle, and again for a bigger finish on which French once again pulls back on the drums to let the guitar and bass sound as huge as possible.
In its length and position, “La Mano Poderosa” is the centerpiece, but the following “I Am,” which was also a demo cut, is a more dynamic listen, following a build structure that starts quiet and brooding, makes its way toward its peak in the middle and, with a stop and scream just past 5:10 to signal arrival, rides out its groove for the remaining three minutes. To look at the waveform, there are clear indicators of increasing density, and the sound is no less marked out, but the flow crafted over the course of “I Am” makes it a highlight, and in some respects its the apex of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, since neither “The Immutable Path,” on which Doyle joins John O’Connell on drums and layers a quiet vocal on top with droning ambience behind, nor the piano-led “Outro” approach the same kind of heft, though certainly each of the last two tracks has an atmospheric resonance of its own. That might be true even more of the two-minute “Outro,” which with just piano echoing has a disjointed feel that holds firm to its melody even as it begins to fade out to end the record. My understanding is “The Immutable Path” and “Outro” are both bonus tracks for the CD/DL editions of the album, but they have a function in the overarching mood of what comes before them anyway. No doubt part of the reason Brothers of the Sonic Cloth have garnered such a response is Tad Doyle‘s legacy and this self-titled being his first studio release since Hog Molly‘s lone outing in 2000, but this trio does nothing if they don’t set themselves apart from that legacy, and the spirit that pervades this material isn’t backward-looking in any way. That said, with six years between the demo and the album, I wouldn’t try to hazard a guess at when a follow-up might be in the beginning stages, let alone completed, but Brothers of the Sonic Cloth is an outing that does well standing on its own and its scope and sheer ferocity speak to a vibrant creativity at work.