Duuude, Tapes! Dozer, Universe 75 Demo

Posted in Buried Treasure, Duuude, Tapes! on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Look at this frickin' thing.

A band’s early days are often a mishmash of releases, songs cobbled together from rehearsal recordings and put out as demos with live tracks from shows or different sessions. A few songs are copied for friends one week, and the next a demo is professionally pressed under the same title. That’s just part of promoting a new band. You try and get as much out there as possible. As such, when I opened the mail and found this surprise copy of Dozer‘s 1998 demo, Universe 75 – the tape gifted to me unexpectedly by Lansing, MI’s Postman Dan, who’s come up around these parts a few times over the years and will again before the next week is out — it wasn’t a shock to discover that its tracklisting differed from what’s Duuuuuuuuuuude.largely been settled on as being Universe 75.

I know the story behind this tape, know that Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa sent it to Dan when Dozer were putting out their early material, that it came with an orange flyer that had Han Solo on it firing a blaster the laser of which was the Dozer logo, and if you can’t trust Postman Dan, you can’t trust nobody, so its authenticity is without question as far as I’m concerned. I damn near wept when I opened the package and found it.
What’s commonly regarded as Universe 75 has six tracks, and this tape — dubbed onto a Maxell 100-minute blank cassette, though of course it reaches nowhere near that mark time-wise — has four. “Supersoul,” which opens, is the only song shared between the two. It and “Captain Spaceheart” Awesome.– written in the liner here as “Captain Space Heart” — also appeared on Dozer‘s 2000 full-length debut, In the Tail of a Comet, while “Centerline” and “Tanglefoot” showed up later in 1998 on the first of the two Dozer vs. Demon Cleaner split releases.

At this point, Dozer was Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, and these songs were recorded at the end of Jan. 1998 by Bengt Bäcke — here given the nickname “Action.” Of course, he’d come a long way by the time he was continuing to work with Holappa in Greenleaf and tracking that band’s albums, but even in ’98, Bäcke knew what he was doing. The sound of the tape is raw, and the bass is way, way high in the mix, but overall it’s clear enough to get a sense of the songs and where Dozer were coming from stylistically in some of their earliest days, Nordin sounding more directly indebted to Kyuss‘ John Garcia than he even would by the time In the Tail of a Comet was released, and the band seeming to work at full stonerly jamble on “Captain Space Heart” only to up the swing as “Tanglefoot” closes out.

As a longtime nerd for Dozer (obviously not as long as the Postman), I felt incredibly This.fortunate to hear these songs at all, let alone to be able to sit with them and think of them in context of the Borlänge four-piece’s pre-debut-LP progression. They were prolific as they solidified their sound, and over singles, EPs and splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, they honed a reinvented — maybe “relocated” is the word? — take on what was then desert rock that of course would turn them into something different entirely over their years together, which hopefully aren’t done as they continue to play shows periodically. A snapshot of one of Sweden’s greatest contributions to heavy rock as a young band is something genuinely special, and I know I’ll cherish it in a cool, dry place for years to come and use it as fodder while I continue to campaign for a compilation of their pre-album material.

Dozer, “Centerline”

Dozer on Thee Facebooks

Dozer’s website

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Hoverfest Adds Acid King, Danava and Wounded Giant to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

King of Acid.

I mean, I suppose you could put on a heavy festival anywhere near the Western Seaboard and not have Acid King play, but I’m just not sure why you’d do such a thing. Hoverfest — the celebratory gathering to be perpetrated by Hovercraft Amplifiers in Portland, Oregon, next month — clearly feels the same way. The San Francisco trio have been added to the lineup along with Portland’s own Danava, who’ll be debuting a new lineup, and Wounded Giant, all three joining an already landmark gathering of YOB, Witch MountainMountain GodEight Bells and Holy Grove. Oh, and Billy Anderson‘s working the sound. God damn. Can you fucking imagine seeing Acid King with Billy Anderson doing the sound? Talk about seeing a band the way they’re meant to be seen. Yeah, so, here’s the dude who’s produced all their records — including the long-awaited new one, out early next year on Svart — fidgeting the dials for their stage show. Sign me up.

The final poster for the shindig, and the lineup and ticket info follows here, snagged ruthlessly from the clutches of the PR wire:

Danava gets billing over Acid King? Shenanigans.

DANAVA, ACID KING & WOUNDED GIANT added to Hoverfest; final lineup and poster revealed

We are proud to reveal the final lineup of HOVERFEST, happening on August 23rd, in the alleyway behind Cravedog in Portland, Oregon, at 12:00pm.

The final lineup is as follows:

YOB
DANAVA (FIRST live show with their new lineup)
ACID KING
WITCH MOUNTAIN
EIGHT BELLS
WOUNDED GIANT
HOLY GROVE
MOUNTAIN GOD

All sets will be mixed by Billy Anderson.

Tickets are $15 in advance can be found HERE.

Only 500 tickets will be sold.

On behalf of Hovercraft Amplifiers, we are thrilled to announce the first-annual Hoverfest, a festival of friends of and music created with Hovercraft amps, which will take place on August 23rd, 2014 in the blocked-off alleyway by Type Foundry Studios at 611 N. Tillamook St. in Portland, Oregon. Presales will be available in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is some info on this incredible event. The event is being graciously hosted by Cravedog Media, booked by Nanotear, sponsored by PBR, and the live music on the day of the show will be mixed by the legendary Billy Anderson. Presales will be available in the coming weeks.

Poster artwork by Liesl Meissner.

facebook.com/hoverfestpdx
facebook.com/events/1508809612663911
hovercraftamps.com
cravedog.com
nanotear.com
southerncrosspr.com
billyanderson.net

Acid King, Live in Scotland, June 2014

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “Touch of Everything”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As far as The Obsessed deep cuts go, “Touch of Everything” is probably about as deep as they get. The song appeared as track 11 of the total 13 on The Obsessed‘s final album, 1994′s The Church Within. By then, the band was comprised of guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Guy Pinhas and drummer Greg Rogers, and whatever else you can say about The Church Within, by the time it got down to its 11th track, it had pretty much played all its cards. I dig that record and all, but it’s a straightforward album across the board and there aren’t a lot of surprises as it moves into its second half. Accordingly, it’s easy for a song like “Touch of Everything” to get swallowed up by all the classic riffing and rolling grooves surrounding, which, duh, is all the more reason to single it out. Presumably the person who put together the fan video below for it had the same idea.

What “Touch of Everything” might have to do with the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, I don’t know. That one’s a mystery. But that movie — which was the first appearance of Robby the Robot, which would later appear on tv’s Lost in Space and in numerous other films and shows and which also served as a major inspiration for the original Star Trek – is nonetheless the basis for the video, and it’s been edited so that the footage more or less lines up with the song. YouTube user “DaemonPazuzu” obviously put a lot of work into editing, so I’m not about to trash the effort just because I don’t see what one has to do with the other. Screw it, you get The Obsessed and old sci-fi. I’d hardly call that a loss.

Enjoy the song and the clip and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Touch of Everything”

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He Whose Ox is Gored Announce West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Thee band.

Following a deluxe-style 10″ release through Caffe Vita Records, Seattle bombast rockers He Whose Ox is Gored have issued their 2014 Nightshade two-song EP on tape via Breathe Plastic Records. There are, as they put it, 20 copies available in the US out of a total 100 pressed, so if you want one, it’s probably a good idea to place the order soon.

With however many they’ve got left by the time Aug. 5 rolls around, He Whose Ox is Gored will hit the road to support both the vinyl and the tape, playing with an assortment of badasses along the way, including Black Mare, who also had a tape out on Breathe Plastic last year.

The PR wire offers background and dates:

Thee poster.

HE WHOSE OX IS GORED: Northwestern Doomgazers Plot West Coast Tour

Tuned down and turnt up, He Whose Ox is Gored has been blasting through the underground of Seattle since 2009. Combining technical guitar work and atmospheric synth over a pummeling rhythm section and doomed aggression, they create a uniquely cinematic soundscape that paints a world ready to thrash and burn. Bleeding Light Records will release the band’s upcoming Rumours EP digitally and on 7″ vinyl in a few months’ time. With an upcoming full-length brewing and a busy tour schedule this year, the OX’s dynamic doom is poised to take over. The Seattle quartet is comprised of Brian McClelland on guitar & vocals, Lisa Mungo on synths & vocals, Mike Sparks on bass & vocals, and drummer John O’Connell.

He Whose Ox is Gored is preparing to embark upon a series of West Coast live actions that will begin on August 5th in Portland and wrap up in Spokane. They’ll be sharing stages with the formidable likes of Chasma, Black Mare, Glaciers, and more, and will unveil new material from their myriad upcoming releases.

HE WHOSE OX IS GORED WEST COAST TOUR
8/5 Portland, OR @ East End w/ Muscle & Marrow and Chasma
8/6 San Francisco, CA @ SUBMission w/ Glaciers and Roland
8/7 Oakland, CA @ Eli’s w/ Hellbeard, Glaciers, and Druid
8/8 Los Angeles, CA @ Complex w/ Lightsystem, Glaare, and Black Mare
8/9 San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar w/ Deep Sea Thunder Beast and Bhorelord
8/10 Tuscon, AZ @ The District w/ Ocean Void
8/12 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar w/ Bath House and Icelous
8/13 Denver, CO @ Bar Bar w/ Abrams
8/14 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Shred Shed w/ Stoic
8/15 Boise, ID @ The Shredder w/ Obstructed by the Sun and Swamp Shrine
8/16 Missoula, MT @ TBA
8/17 Spokane, WA @ Mootsie’s w/ Losing Skin and Rot Monger

https://www.facebook.com/hewhoseoxisgoredseattle/
http://hewhoseoxisgored.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/OxisGored
http://bleedinglightrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bleedinglightrecords/
https://twitter.com/BleedingRecords

He Whose Ox is Gored, Nightshade EP (2014)

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On the Radar: Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP

Posted in On the Radar on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Gonna try something new with OTR. See if it works. I hate OTR as it was.

If nothing else, Kiev one-man outfit Stonefromthesky has the most honest moniker I’ve ever encountered having anything to do with post-metal, the Ukrainian project taking its name from “Stones from the Sky,” the closer of Neurosis‘ 2001 A Sun that Never Sets album, which — to simplify it — is a founding moment for the genre as a whole. Fortunately, it’s also just a beginning point for what Alex Zinchenko, the self-recording, self-releasing human at the root of Stonefromthesky, has to offer on his debut EP, Orbital.

A five-track collection that’s in and out in a sneaky 22 minutes, Orbital blends post-metallic ideology — undulating, massive riffs, harsh vocals, a generally sludgy feel — with electronic music, dance beats underscoring huge guitars for a blend that’s immediately marching on largely uncharted territory. There are acts out there tapping into industrial retroism, but that’s not quite where Stonefromthesky is coming from on a song like the EP centerpiece “Weightless,” which steps into open air ambience and obscure sampling while permeating a synthesized drum beat behind. That’s a breather compared to opener “Interstellar” and viciously heavy highlight “Irreversible” before it, both of which plunder claustrophobic riffs, clever stutters, and somehow defiantly human growling to concoct a feel both familiar and foreign. It’s not until “Altered” that any of it Thee cover.resembles Godflesh in the slightest, and that in itself is an achievement.

Even then, Stonefromthesky holds to an identity of its own, a swinging beat and low rumble meeting with Zinchenko‘s rhythmic growling and a post-rock guitar as a dysfunctional feel results from mixing beats, the rhythm at the fore while the melody acts as the bed behind — a direct reversal of what one generally expects from heavy music. A guitar solo is a grounding force compared to what’s going on alongside it, and a quick breath teases a larger payoff that never comes as an experimental vibe persists through the end of “Altered,” leaving the three-minute closer, “Forlorn” the heady task of rounding out, which is does with progressive synth melody and a building wash of rhythmic noise, slow moving but ready to be played at unspeakable volumes, keeping the tension as much as releasing it, frenetic, kinetic, but obviously controlled as well.

Zinchenko, who handles guitar, programming, and vocals himself, has quickly established a mastermind sensibility, and it seems coming into his first outing as Stonefromthesky that he knows exactly where he wants the band to go. All the better for a self-contained project like this, since if Orbital is anything to go by, he’s more than capable of acting as the driving force of his own exploration. Here’s one for the “heard it all” crowd to prove them wrong once again.

Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP (2014)

Stonefromthesky on Thee Facebooks

Stonefromthesky on Bandcamp

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Portugal’s Amplifest Announces Film Screenings; Lineup Additions Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Blah blah blah.

I’ll be honest. There are times when I post about all these badass European fests when I get frustrated, wondering when I might get to see Conan and Black Shape of Nexus and YOB and Wovenhand on the same bill in the US. But you know what the answer to that question is? Never. It’s never gonna happen. Talk to me all you want about the growing fest culture in the States — meaning there are like two that are sustainable over the long term — but we’re likely to win the World Cup before we’re able to make a show like this happen. Our healthcare sucks too and we’ve spent over a decade bankrupting ourselves fighting needless wars so that five or six dickbags can viciously profiteer therefrom. You take the good with the bad. At least we’ve got new Sleep.

I won’t get to Amplifest in Portugal, unfortunately, but if you’re in that part of the world at the beginning of October, consider yourself fortunate. The two-dayer has confirmed screenings for two Chelsea Wolfe films, and added Swans and others to its already considerable lineup.

Behold:

News news news.

AMPLIFEST: Chelsea Wolfe’s “Lone” and “March of the Gods” to be screened || Swans, Cult of Luna, Ben Frost & more confirmed

Amplifest is due to happen in Porto, Portugal, on the 4th and 5th of October. This year’s line-up features performances from Swans, Cult of Luna, Ben Frost, Conan, Pallbearer, Wolvserpent, Wovenhand, Pharmakon and more. Tickets on sale.

Chelsea Wolfe’s “Lone” and documentary on metal music in Botswana “March of the Gods” will be screening in Amplifest 2014, scheduled to the weekend of October 4th and 5th. With talks with the confirmed artists and exhibitions still to be announced, this year’s edition will also feature concerts and performances from artists as influential and important to modern art and music as Swans, Cult of Luna, Ben Frost, Marissa Nadler, Yob, Wovenhand, Wolvserpent, or Pharmakon, to name just a few.

“Lone” works as a cinematic counterpart of Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album “Pain is Beauty”, but it stands perfectly on its own as a beautiful and enthralling art piece. Crafted both by Wolfe herself and renowned director Mark Pellington, “Lone” brings to a visual dimension all the distinctive factors in Chelsea Wolfe’s music: beauty in darkness, innocence and violence. Following her memorably breathtaking show at last year’s Amplifest, we will again be delighted by Chelsea Wolfe’s art, this time on screen.

Heavy Metal music is, unquestionably, a product of western culture – but the anger that leads to such an extreme way of expression is universal. “March of the Gods”, directed by Raffaele Mosca, is a rockumentary that portrays the thriving Metal scene in Botswana, a sparsely populated, and mostly deserted, country in Southern Africa. With a focus on the story of Wurst, one of Botswana’s most popular metal bands, the film shows us how such an orthodox music style can blend with African traditions and create a microcosm full of passionate and peculiar characters.

Announced acts: Alhousseini Anivolla, Ben Frost, Black Shape of Nexus, Bosque, Conan, Cult of Luna, Hexis, Marissa Nadler, Pallbearer, Peter Brötzmann & Steve Noble, Pharmakon, Swans, Urfaust, VVOVNDS, ?, Wolvserpent, Wovenhand, Yob

Amplifest is more than a festival, it’s an experience. It is due to happen in Porto, Portugal, on the 4th and 5th of October. Tickets available at AMPLISTORE:
2-day passes: 65 euros
1-day pass: soon

http://www.amplificasom.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amplificasom/182459678459276
http://twitter.com/#!/amplificasom

Chelsea Wolfe, “Reins” Live at Amplifest 2013

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Nick Oliveri to Release Solo Debut Leave Me Alone

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though he’s had EPs and shorter releases out under his own name and built a catalog as principle songwriter in Mondo Generator, bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri will issue Leave Me Alone as his debut solo full-length, in September through Schnitzel RecordsOliveri, who’s spent the better part of 2014 working with Bl’ast, also put in appearances with The Dwarves and John Garcia‘s solo outing, in addition to his own acoustic shows — a solo appearance at the UK’s Download Festival stands out — and sitting in with his former band, Queens of the Stone Age, for one of the stops on their tour.

How Leave Me Alone might be distinct from Mondo Generator in vibe or approach remains to be heard, but Oliveri‘s lined up a selection of killer guitarists — including Kyuss Lives! bandmate Bruno Fevery – to contribute, and he produced the album himself at Thunder Underground, which has more or less become the home of CA desert recording, so it seems like it’s going to be worth finding out.

From the PR wire:

Just heard Bl'ast canceled their tour.

Nick Oliveri (ex Kyuss, QOTSA) releasing hard n heavy solo debut

Many artists struggle to establish their musical identity; Nick Oliveri has forged his through a long career of hard work and full command over his craft and his music. His new album, LEAVE ME ALONE, is a powerfully captivating proof of his multi-talented personality. The new album is being released on Schnitzel Records worldwide in late September 2014.

Recorded at Thunder Underground Studios in Palm Springs, CA. Oliveri plays all the instruments on this recording, including drums, guitar, bass and vocals. It features guitar solos from some special guests though, namely Phil Campbell from MOTORHEAD, Dean Ween (a.k.a. Mickey Moist) from WEEN and MOISTBOYZ, Stephen Haas from MOISTBOYZ, Mike Pygmie from MONDO GENERATOR, Marc Diamond from THE DWARVES and Bruno Fevery from KYUSS LIVES! and VISTA CHINO. There’s also a guest vocal by Blag Dahlia from THE DWARVES.

Produced by Oliveri himself, recorded by Harper Hug and Trevor Whatever, and mixed by Mathias Schneeberger the album will be released on Schnitzel Records this September.

Schnitzel Records is home to Ween, Alain Johannes, Dean Fertita (Hello=Fire), Moistboyz and The Moons.

Oliveri will spend most of 2014 on the road. Playing both acoustic and with his new band, UNCONTROLLABLE. Nick will also be headlining the Acoustic Stage at this year’s Download Festival.

https://www.schnitzel.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/schnitzelrecords
https://twitter.com/SchnitzelUK
http://instagram.com/schnitzel_records

Nick Oliveri, Live at the Black Heart, London, 2014

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Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty: Setting the Balance

Posted in Reviews on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Stoner rock.

According to the liner panel of the digipak, Morbid Beauty, the debut full-length from Berlin-based DIY heavy rockers Rodeo Drive, was recorded in “October 2014.” Certainly anything’s possible, and if the album does indeed hail from the near-future, it’s got a modern take on fuzz and flourishes of heavy psychedelia to match what one might expect. Featuring Samsara Blues Experiment‘s Hans Eiselt on bass and vocals and recorded by Richard Behrens, formerly of the same outfit and currently handling low end in Heat, Rodeo Drive hit on classic power trio methods and present them with a newcomer act’s intensity of purpose. Joined in the band by guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and René Schulze on drums/synth, Eiselt takes some cues in patterning vocals from his main outfit — one might recognize throaty, echoing shouts from Samsara Blues Experiment‘s earlier days — but on the whole is more stylistically geared toward straightforward, traditional stonerisms. Stemmer leads the charge throughout most of Morbid Beauty‘s eight tracks/41 minutes, but moments of adventurousness shine through and Rodeo Drive show a bit of boldness in their choices throughout, like opening with “Stoner of Mass Destruction,” a six-minute instrumental that, until closer “Snuff Eater,” also proves to be their jammiest stretch. Even there, however, what Rodeo Drive most specialize in their first time out is establishing a riff, working around it, and then returning to it in bigger, sometimes slower form. “Stoner of Mass Destruction” does this effectively, as do “All in Vain,” “Poultry Bro,” “Vlansch” and “Snuff Eater,” though the moods of these tracks vary around a consistent, jazzy chemistry between Eiselt and Schulze and the varyingly psychedelic and dense tonality in Stemmer‘s guitar.

Particularly with Eiselt‘s vocal delivery, the recording captures a live feel, and that proves all the better for the deft rhythmic changes that begin to show up on “Stoner of Mass Destruction” and continue into the shorter “All in Vein” (tied with “Poultry Bro” for the briefest here at 2:38) and well beyond. The second cut has less space for jamming out, but serves to demonstrate early the diversity in Rodeo Drive‘s approach, which continues to shift as Morbid Beauty progresses, whether it’s to the extended drum solo intro to “The Void,” which unfolds with a Songs for the Deaf-style thrust, or “Poultry Bro,” with its circular vibe and intricate boogie feel, Schulze running back and forth on toms to build a tension that opens to a wide-strummed chorus. If one was to divide Morbid Beauty into sides, “Vlansch” would likely end the first (the back cover of the CD supports this), and it does so playing slow psychedelic blues off bigger-riffed nod, keeping the tempo down, especially in relation to “Poultry Bro,” out of which it emerges, and the mood wistful even as Stemmer‘s winding lead opens to jammier wah-shuffle. It’s not long before they’re back to the turned-on downer vibe, Eiselt‘s voice raw without sounding like a put-on, and the lumbering riff from whence they came, building it to a finish that fades its rumble out before the grunge guitar opening of “Earth Dark Diseases” begins the album’s second half, which isn’t necessarily more stylistically adventurous than the first, but differently arranged, with three tracks instead of five, “Earth Dark Diseases” (7:35) and “Snuff Eater” (7:55) being the longest songs with the instrumental “Aggrestic” (4:37) between.

I took this screen cap when I posted the video and they wound up using it as a press shot. Fair enough.  A little dark, maybe, but otherwise alright.

As noted, “Snuff Eater” is where Rodeo Drive are at their jammiest, and though it reaches similar lengths, “Earth Dark Diseases” has a different personality. Eiselt‘s vocals are almost a growl over Stemmer‘s plus-sized riff, and while it opens up in the middle, there’s a moody sensibility maintained even during the instrumental build, coming to a head just before the five-minute mark when the guitar and drums drop out and the bass leads back into the progression that will serve as the foundation for the next two minutes’ groove. The bass also starts “Aggrestic,” though Eiselt‘s soon joined by Stemmer and Schulze, and what seems like another jangly sort of rush is offset temporarily by noodling and subsequent forward motion. It ultimately adds little the album hasn’t already put in Rodeo Drive‘s wheelhouse, but as a precedent and a break between the two longer cuts, an entirely instrumental track isn’t a bad thing to have. And though it reaches nearly eight minutes long, “Snuff Eater” doesn’t lose track of where it’s headed, and the immersive jam pulls back to the verse/chorus structure before the song is over, as if to remind listeners that Rodeo Drive haven’t forgotten. As the first public offering of their songwriting, that’s good to know, and like the bulk of Morbid Beauty, “Snuff Eater” sets the trio on a path from which to progress from here on out. They’ve reportedly been a band for eight years, so I don’t know what kind of pace they’re working with in terms of releases, but Morbid Beauty establishes a chemistry worth a follow-up and provides a strong front-to-back level of quality in the meantime. I’ll take it on its own if that’s how it’s coming, but I’d much rather see Morbid Beauty as a sign of things to come when Rodeo Drive get to the actual near future.

Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty (2014)

Rodeo Drive on Thee Facebooks

Rodeo Drive on Bandcamp

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Lae to Release Break the Clasp Debut LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Totally necessary, I'm sure.

So you’ve got Lae, a post-punk/post-rock troupe from Montreal who were onto some cool stuff in their time in the ’90s — when they were called Lae-Tseu — but who never put an album out at the time. They get back together to record, and tap avant noise rock genius Steve Austin of Today is the Day to engineer, and then Austin winds up fronting the band as well. I fail to see how that’s not the absolute best-case scenario for all parties involved.

The resulting long-player – Lae‘s first, remember — will be out in the coming months on Battleground Records/The Compound. It seems like the material that comprises the album is stuff that the band had written during their first run, so it should be interesting to hear how it sounds both with a modern production and with Austin at the helm, whose work is both beyond time and utterly his own.

To the PR wire!

This is awesome.

LAE: Debut LP By Montreal Psychedelic Post-Rock Act To See Release Via The Compound/Battleground

Bringing a decade-and-a-half of silence to an end, Montreal-based quartet, LAE, is eager to release the band’s official debut full-length release, and the entire reincarnation of the band.

Performing under their original moniker, LAE-TSEU, the band evolved out of the mid-’90s post-rock/post-hardcore scene, seeking to distance themselves from the established conventions of rock music as well as the trappings of the various alternative subgenres. Not without irony, trace elements of many of those persist in their sound, itself a peculiarly familiar presence, as varied as it is satisfying. Nods to the likes of Three Mile Pilot, Swans, Sonic Youth, Unwound and Slint will surely not go unnoticed, but LAE’s total is far greater than the sum of its influences. Scathing, desperate and heartbreaking vocal sentiments set against richly layered backdrops, amplified and acoustic, melodic and deafening.

After earning a solid regional fanbase and foundation, the band was dissolved in 2001, without having released an official album. Their regional peer acts would go on to receive massive attention just after LAE’s premature and unexpected demise, and it would seem that the band had missed the boat completely as these other hometown acts entered the international spotlight. Yet, perhaps there is more than one boat…

Having reformed with a diehard goal of finally bringing their unfortunately unsung anthems to fruition with more passion and dedication than ever before, LAE excitedly returns to active duty with their impending debut full-length LP coming together for release in late 2014. In mid-2013, LAE’s current lineup — bassist, Ronald Jean-Gilles, drummer Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, and guitarists Stephane Desgroseilliers and Marc Lucas Ablasou — set out to record their debut LP, Break The Clasp, bringing their anthems from two decades ago to new life, completely re-envisioned with incredible musicianship and finesse. To capture these anthems with the appropriately beautiful yet tortured tones, the band sanctioned the talents of producer Steve Austin of Today Is The Day, flying him along with some major pieces of recording equipment from his Austin Enterprises out to Montreal for the recording sessions. Yet, once the recording sessions were underway,Austin instantly became intertwined in the recording process full-on, in the end supplying lead vocals to the entire Break The Clasp LP. An incredible array of musical experimentation seamlessly coalescing into a more than fifty-minute-long, mesmerizingly psychedelic yet anguished style of post-rock, LAE’s mammoth sound is unlike anything else one can imagine; incredibly beautiful yet inescapably depressing.

Late this year, Break The Clasp will finally see its long-awaited dawn through a collaborative release between DIY labels The Compound and Battleground Records, on all digital formats as well as deluxe digitpak CD and deluxe 2xLP formats. The otherworldly cover art crafted by LAE’s longtime cohort Sonny Kay is viewable HERE.

Stay tuned for the official street date as well as samples of the album and more to be released in the coming weeks. LAE will also take to the highways of North America in support of Break The Clasp before the end of the year as well.

http://laetseu.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAE-Band/614579391922975
http://www.thecompoundrecs.com
http://www.facebook.com/thecompoundrecs
http://www.earsplitdistro.com
https://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords

Lae-Tseu, “A Chair in Hawaii”

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Inaugural Totem Psych Fest Canceled Due to Weather

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

…And now, a bummer. The first annual Totem Psych Fest has been called off. It was set to take place this weekend at a castle in Rocca Sinibalda, Italy, which — since it’s also the highest point in the town — would only put it closer to the rainstorms that have been forecast for when it would be going on. An impressive lineup was culled together with Church of MiseryBlues Pills and Nik Turner as headliners and many other killer acts supporting, but it would seem it just wasn’t to be this year.

Heavy Psych Sounds and Black Rainbows‘ Gabriele Fiori, who might be his country’s single most passionate ambassador of heavy fuzz, organized the fest and put out word today that it was a no-go. Sympathies to him and to anyone who might’ve been looking forward to what was surely going to be a unique event.

Replacement shows for some of the headliners have been announced, and those details follow here:

Womp womp.

TOTEM PSYCH FEST CANCELLATION

Heavy rainfalls and lightning are expected in Rocca Sinibalda during the days of the Totem Psych Fest, expecially in the area of the Castle that is in the town’s highest part.

Local authorities responsible for security have therefore established requirements and limitations that make it impossible to perform the planned Event in the unique setting of the Castle.

We have no viable alternatives; with great regret, both for the quality of the event and for the great organizational effort we put in these months, we have to cancel the Totem Psych Fest.

Our disappointment is great, beacuse of the encouraging ticket pre-sales and the confidence of a resounding success of the Event.

We cannot but apologize for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of the Festival, expecially for those who had planned their coming to Rocca Sinibalda.

All tickets will be refunded: those who have purchased through Ticketgate and Paypal circuits will be entitled to reimbursement from August 4th; those who bought the ticket physically in Rome will be refunded on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th of July at the AirportOne, Centocelle’s Airport, Rome.

We managed to bring 3 of the Festival headliners in Rome, AirportOne, Centocelle’s Airport.

Therefore TOTEM PSYCH FEST, in collaboration with INIT CLUB presents:

Friday, July 25th:
Blues Pills
Nik Turner (ex Hawkwind)

Saturday, July 26th:
Church of Misery + opening

https://www.facebook.com/totempsych.fest

Black Rainbows, Live at Sweet Leaf Festival 2014

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Duuude, Tapes! Methra, IV: Ronkonkoma EP

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Thee tape.

As the title hints, IV: Ronkonkoma is the fourth short release from Tucson, Arizona, duo Methra. After bustling their lineup over the course of the last few years and putting out material on 7″ and 10″, a split with Godhunter, and digital, they’ve arrived at the duo of guitarist/vocalist Nick Genitals and drummer Andy Kratzenburg and the latest five-track outing, which clocks in at just over 21 minutes, finds them exploring the line between deathly sludge and more traditionally riffed doom, Nick switching his vocals between low-register guttural growling, raw-throated screams and Sabbathian cleaner singing following opener “Breatharian (Supreme Master Ascending),” which unfolds the start of side one with a thickened lumber stood out all the more by the use of a sample talking about breatharianism, which has its roots in Hindu Thee liner.philosophy but is essentially the practice of staring at the sun for nourishment.

The subsequent “Blessings” showcases more of the variety in Nick‘s vocals, with a chorus that’s made almost sneaky in how catchy it is by the viscous tones surrounding. Particularly for a duo, the sound throughout IV: Ronkonkoma is full and demented more in the manner of Midwestern sludge — think Fistula and the many deeply troubled branches on their family tree, though I acknowledge the “meth” part of the duo’s moniker might be a factor there — than Methra‘s more metallized Tucson countrymen and drummer-sharers Godhunter, but particularly on tape a sense of rawness is maintained in “Honest Men” and perhaps most of all on side one finisher “Slumscraper,” which builds to a punkish noisy fuckall sudden stop leading to another sample, this one talking about slicing heads off with a cutlass. It’s a long way from charmingly dopey New Age spiritualism, but by then, Methra have indeed made it a journey.

Most curious about the tape is that “SBS” occupies side two all by itself. Listening first to the digital version, I wondered if maybe the one on the tape was extended somehow, if Nick and Kratzenburg just rode that chugging riff for 20 minutes to even it up, or if there was a long sample to make up for that time, or something to draw side two out to match side one, but nope, the cassette of IV: Ronkonkoma is the same as the mp3, and though “SBS” fakes its ending on both before crashing back in for a few more measures, the tape has a long silence following. If it was Methra‘s intent to single the song out — it’s not like you actually have to sit there and listen to all that nothing, what with this modern age of fast-forwarding and whatnot — they did it, In all its glory.and “SBS,” with its anti-having-a-job lyrics and air-pushing groove, earns its place well with a modus consistent with “Blessings” and “Honest Men,” only pushed further with a longer runtime and a sense of build added to by Kratzenburg‘s frantic snare work and Nick‘s vocal tradeoffs.

If the way they want to go is to keep belting out shorter offerings, then IV: Ronkonkoma seems to set them up well. Methra weren’t far off from putting the pieces together on 2012′s self-titled digital release, but the latest installment builds on that in a way that makes them sound even more solidified, and if Nick and Kratzenburg choose to continue as a duo, they’ve given themselves ground on which to progress while also establishing a style that smoothly bridges subgenre gaps and comes across as inherently their own. The edges are rough, but that’s the idea. Don’t be fooled. Methra know what they’re doing. And if they want to take on the task of a debut full-length, they’re ready for that too.

Methra, IV: Ronkonkoma EP (2014)

Methra on Thee Facebooks

Methra on Bandcamp

Acid Reflux Records

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Witch Charmer Sign to Argonauta Records; New Album The Great Depression Due Sept. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

What? A black and white picture of a doom band from the UK? Not on this site, mister. Never before. This is the first time.

Today brings the news that UK doom rockers Witch Charmer have inked a deal to issue their first album, The Great Depression, via Italian imprint Argonauta Records. It will be the follow-up to the fivesome’s 2013 debut EP, Euphoric Curse, and is set to feature cover art by guitarist/vocalist Adam Clarke and a mix/mastering job by the omnipresent Tony Reed of Mos Generator, who, for a guy who doesn’t actually live in Britain, certainly finds himself involved in a lot of music coming from that part of the world.

Witch Charmer will head out tour ahead of the release of The Great Depression starting Aug. 16, and the dates can be found in the poster below, which also makes use of the album’s cover art. A rehearsal room demo of the song “Suffer” follows after the announcement of the signing, hoisted from Argonauta‘s page.

Dig it:

On the road.

New signing: WITCH CHARMER!

After the great feedback received across the board for their debut E.P. “Euphoric Curse“, Sunderland (UK) based Stoner/Doom/Metal outfit WITCH CHARMER follow it up with their first full length record raising the bar on what came before. The band (featuring the talents of Kate McKeown – Vocals, Dave McQuillan – Drums & Vocals, Len Lennox – Guitar & Vocals, Adam Clarke – Guitar & Vocals, Richard Maher – Bass) expands on the sound from their previous release and add a monolithic slab of smoked out doom and groove to take you on a satirical journey to enlightenment.

“The Great Depression” has been mixed and mastered by Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) and will be released by Argonauta Records in September 2014. Just wait for a massive dark, groove-laden, heavy stoner-doom album that fans of Acid King, Purson, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Goatsnake & Electric Wizard cannot miss!

https://www.facebook.com/witchcharmerband
http://witchcharmer.bandcamp.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Witch Charmer, “Suffer” rehearsal demo

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Grifter Premiere Video for “Princess Leia”

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

 Thee band Grifter. (Photo by Sarah Stygall)

When I was fortunate enough to be asked, I said yes immediately to hosting the premiere of the new Grifter video for the track “Princess Leia” from their upcoming album, The Return of the Bearded Brethren. My reasons were manifold. I’m excited about the release — it’s out Aug. 11 on Ripple Music as the follow-up to Grifter‘s 2011 self-titled debut (review here) — but the song itself also sums up a lot about what I think the UK trio do really well musically and lyrically.

It’s a straightforward song, and Grifter are a straightforward band. They write classic heavy rock hooks, but have a completely modern approach to their sound and perspective. Bassist Phil, drummer Foz and guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall have a crisp chemistry. Their material swings, as “Princess Leia” showcases, but it does so always with a forward direction in mind. The lyrics to “Princess Leia” also remind of Grifter‘s ability to couch some pretty personal issues in a humorous package. We’ve heard them do this before, on a song like “Young Blood, Old Veins” from the last album, but by using the frame of a boyhood crush on the Star Wars character, Stygall and company are able to look at getting older through an even cleverer lens.

And make no mistake, that is what they’re doing. The opening line of the song is “I’m a man of a certain age,” and the Orange Goblin-style rush of the chorus abandons all facade and pleads, “Take me back to better times, yeah/Strip the years away.” But rather than simply reflect on bygone days and regrets and the usual midlife blah blah blah, Grifter poke fun not only at themselves, but at the whole notion of mourning the passage of time, and “Princess Leia” — whatever it might be saying or speaking to emotionally — remains a fun, engaging song.

The video likewise. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Grifter is how even at their most gleefully classless — see “Alabama Hotpocket” from the self-titled — they work clean. Princess Leia does indeed appear in the video, and she does indeed boogie down (hilariously by the end of it), but she doesn’t strip, and Grifter don’t give into the gold-bikini impulse. That would be easy, and thoughtless, and Grifter aren’t that band.

The Return of the Bearded Brethren is out Aug. 11 on Ripple Music. Enjoy “Princess Leia” below, as directed by Russell Cleave:

Grifter, “Princess Leia” official video

Grifter on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music

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Death Penalty to Release Self-Titled Debut in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Capital punishment is fucked.

Today is the official release date for the debut seven-inch from Death Penalty, the new band featuring former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings along with vocalist Michelle Nocon and drummer Frederik Cosemans, both formerly of Belgian doom outfit Serpentcult. Together with bassist Raf Meukens, also of death metallers Torturerama, Jennings and company issue Sign of Times through Rise Above in a varied pressing of 500 copies ahead of a self-titled debut which is set to release in September.

That album will mark Jennings‘ first full-length outing since Cathedral met their end, and given his unearthly pedigree of riffing, it’ll be interesting to hear what he brings to this new project. As you can hear below, the single bodes well.

Ever-vigilant, the PR wire has details on the album and more background on how the band came together

Yup, that's a death penalty.

DEATH PENALTY (Featuring Gaz Jennings of Cathedral) to Release Self-Titled Debut on Rise Above Records September 16th in North America

Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

When all is said and done, the art of making people bang their heads comes down to one central component: the riff. The riff has been refined and redefined so many times over the last four decades that ownership of a guitar and half a brain should be all that’s required to at least have a decent stab at getting things right, and yet very few people seem capable of tapping into the true essence and ethos of what made Tony Iommi such an all-conquering pioneer and overlord of six-string power and glory. Over the last 25 years, discerning metal fans may have struggled to pinpoint any bona fide contemporary greats amongst the never-ending proliferation of also-rans and wannabes, but as chief composer and guitarist for UK doom metal legends Cathedral, Gaz Jennings has more than earned the mantle of the modern age’s most consistent and supremely talented Riffmaster General. A perennial unsung hero of the heavy underground, Gaz has already contributed a vast number of classic songs to the metallic canon, but when Cathedral finally called it a day in 2013 it looked as if another guitar hero was destined to disappear into the shadows. Gloriously, he has now returned with a brand new band, DEATH PENALTY, and an eponymous debut album that once again proves his absolute mastery of the form.

“When Cathedral split I didn’t have any intention of getting another band together,” Gaz admits. “I wanted to do a record, because Lee [Dorrian, Cathedral front man and Rise Above Records boss] has been saying for years that he’d give me a deal! But all my time was taken up writing stuff for Cathedral. I had a few bits and bobs lying around, so I started writing material a few years back and that’s where it all started. And now the album is ready to go.”

With such a formidable reputation to uphold, it was absolutely vital for Gaz to select the right musicians to work with in his new band. Enter vocalist Michelle Nocon and Fredrik ‘Cozy’ Cosemans, members of Belgian doom warriors Serpentcult; a band that Gaz greatly admires and fellow Rise Above alumni. Although resident in Belgium, Michelle and Cozy were simply the right people for the job and kindred spirits that Gaz suspected would be perfect for helping him to realize his new musical vision.

With the DEATH PENALTY line-up completed by the addition of another Belgian, bassist Raf Meukens, Gaz was now fully equipped to bring his new band into the spotlight. The first results emerged via a debut seven-inch single, Sign Of Times/Seven Flames, which showcased DEATH PENALTY’sfiery blend of old school heavy metal, subtle doom shades and Michelle Nocon’s extraordinary vocal talents. The real meat of the matter will be unveiled upon the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, a triumphant tour-de-force of pounding heaviness that brilliantly encapsulates everything that Gaz has brought to the table with Cathedral while veering off on a number of new and distinctly compelling tangents along the way. Fans of the NWOBHM era will find themselves instantly entranced by the likes of Howling At The Throne Of Decadence and Golden Tides, while diehard doom acolytes will be immediately reassured that Gaz’s ability to pen timeless riffs remains entirely undimmed, as demonstrated on the grandiose grit of Into The Ivory Frost and Children Of The Night.

The final piece of the puzzle slotted neatly into place when Gaz chose a name for the new band. Anyone that has followed the guitarist’s career over the years will recognise that DEATH PENALTY is the title of Witchfinder General’s classic 1982 debut album; a record that has long been an essential part of Gaz’s inspirational armoury. However, beyond paying homage to his childhood heroes, he freely confesses that the name was simply the first and only credible option and a telling alternative to the countless terrible band names currently doing the rounds.

Once DEATH PENALTY’s debut hits the shops (and the nebulous world of online retail, of course), it seems highly likely that everyone from Cathedral fans and old school diehards to new school doom and psych rock admirers will celebrate the arrival of another truly great heavy metal band for the modern age. Quite content to remain an underground concern, DEATH PENALTY are just beginning their journey into the outer limits of refined riff worship and Gaz Jennings’ hopes and expectations are every bit as humble and honest as long-time fans will expect.

Death Penalty Track Listing:
1. Grotesque Horizon
2. Howling at the Throne of Decadence
3. Eyes of the Heretic
4. Golden Tides
5. Into the Ivory Frost
6. Children of the Night
7. The One That Dwells
8. She is a Witch
9. Immortal by Your Hand
10. Written by the Insane

For More Info Visit:
http://www.riseaboverecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/riseaboverecords

Death Penalty, “Sign of Times” (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Goatsnake, I

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Goatsnake, I (1999)

Essential heavy. Also known as Goatsnake Vol. 1, Vol. 1Goatsnake I and probably two or three other titles by now, the 1999 debut from Goatsnake, I, remains a classic within heavy rock and roll. The smooth, attitude-laden crooning of Pete Stahl, the Sunn-toned riffs of Greg Anderson, thick roll from Guy Pinhas and wide, huge-sounding cymbals from Greg Rogers all aligned just perfectly to make the album not only one of the best records Man’s Ruin ever put out, but one of the finest releases in the genre, period. From its nonsensical cover art — something Southern Lord‘s reissue would change when pairing I with the subsequent 2000 EP, Dog Days in ’04 — to the hooks of “Slippin’ the Stealth” and “What Love Remains,” it’s an album the influence of which continues to resonate and one that only grows in status with the passing of time.

Goatsnake have been on my mind, with the rumor of new material in the works — pictures posted of the band writing — and their confirmation for the 2015 Maryland Deathfest, the Southwest Terror Fest in October, etc., so paying I a visit doesn’t seem out of line. At the very least, it’s a perfect hot weather album. The band haven’t posted any sort of schedule on a release or anything that I know of, and whatever they put out next will be their first offering since the 2004 EP, Trampled under Hoof, which followed 2000′s second album, Flower of Disease, but I know I’ll be interested to hear what they come up with and how on earth they might sound, given all the years that’ve passed between then and now, Anderson‘s progression with SunnO))), and so on. Time and riffs will tell.

Though they’ve played at this point a handful of shows since first getting semi-reunited in 2010, I’ve yet to see Goatsnake live (I did interview Greg Anderson about the reunion at the time). When it finally happens, they’ll be a big name to cross off the list, and an enduring affection for I is a huge part of why. Hope you enjoy it.

When I finish this, I’m going to go back upstairs, grab my pillow and a couple packs of gum which I forgot to bring down, and head south to New Jersey for the weekend to see family. I was looking around for a show to hit tomorrow night in New York and didn’t see anything. Would be good to get out. I think I’ve just had residual exhaustion from the move, and really before that, but it’s been a long time. I broke my rule about staying in the house for two days straight this week, which was a bummer, but I figured four hours’ highway time this evening would balance things out — especially if by “balance things out” I mean continue to drain my energy and prevent me from feeling like I’m getting settled into the area that I’ve called home for a year and still have no idea to get around in. Feeling groovy.

Whatever, at least baseball’s back on.

So yeah, Jersey this weekend, then back on Sunday. I thought about hanging out a little longer while I basically kill time waiting for The Patient Mrs. to return from her month-long trip to Greece — she gets back next Saturday — but better to come home. I spend less money here than I do in New Jersey. Or at least it feels that way. If you count buying this townhouse, those statistics probably go right out the window. Would take a hell of a lot of alfredo dinners to catch up to a 30-year mortgage, though I’m sure I’ll try.

Thanks to everybody who shared the Sleep single this afternoon or took the time to read the post with it. I’m not sure I would’ve, so if you didn’t, no worries, but yeah. That was some cool news to get out of the blue, though it effectively ended my day. I was all set to post another review and then it was like, “Why on earth would I ever attempt to follow a new Sleep song with anything and expect anyone to read it?” I had no answer, so I made lunch instead. Win win, really.

On Monday, I’ve got a video premiere from Grifter coming, so look out for that. They picked what I think is one of the most interesting songs on their new album, The Return of the Bearded Brethren (review forthcoming), and made a clip for it that sort of inadvertently emphasizes a lot of what I like about the band. There’s a bit to talk about with it, which will be cool. I’ll also have reviews of Rodeo Drive and Methra, whose tape got the shaft this afternoon when that Sleep track hit, and since it felt so good to hook up my stereo this week, probably some more vinyl as well. I’ve got a few records stacked up waiting for words. It just wouldn’t feel like a week if I wasn’t lagging behind on basically everything.

I hope you have an excellent weekend and that all is well and full of joy and loud, heavy riffs where you are. If you see some longhair jerk in a Volvo on I-95 bobbing his head like a fool and singing along to Parliament records this weekend, yeah, that’s probably me. Feel free to pass on the right or run me off the road or whatever.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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