Mount Salem Premiere “Lucid” Video

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

mount salem

Chicago doom rock newcomers Mount Salem are headed to Europe this fall for an impressive festival run that will include Dutch Doom Days and Hammer of Doom. There are others, of course, but let that be indicative of the theme with which the four-piece are working: Doom. Their initially self-released debut, Endless, got picked up by Metal Blade, and Mount Salem haven’t looked back since. Today, they premiered a new video for the track “Lucid” from the album.

Knowing next to nothing about the band at the time, other than they were from Chicago and they were doomed out, I was fortunate enough to catch Mount Salem live last fall in Rhode Island (review here), and they’ve hit the road at least twice since then, so they’re working quick to get their songs in front of as many people as possible. I’d expect that momentum to only continue to build as they move into and beyond this first European incursion.

The video for “Lucid” is directed by Dave Skwarczek (http://www.skwarczek.com) and is followed by the tour dates. Please enjoy:

Mount Salem, “Lucid” official video

Recently, Mount Salem confirmed their first European tour in support of their album “Endless”. The band will be making their UK debut at The Black Heart in London on November 2, 2014. The following dates are confirmed by now and can be announced. More dates to be confirmed soon!

MOUNT SALEM European Tour
25/10/14 NL – Leeuwarden – Into The Void Festival
26/10/14 DE – Hamburg – Rock Club St. Pauli
30/10/14 DK – Copenhagen – Stengade
31/10/14 DE – Paderborn – Thumbs Up Fest
01/11/14 NL – Rotterdam – Dutch Doom Days
02/11/14 UK – London – Our Black Heart
07/11/14 ES – Zaragoza – Arrebato
10/11/14 IT – Milan – Lo-Fi
11/11/14 IT – Bologna – Freakout Club
12/11/14 AT – Wien – Arena
15/11/14 DE – Würzburg – Hammer of Doom Festival
16/11/14 DE – Leipzig – Plaque

Mount Salem comments: “We are very excited to be coming overseas for our first time. Traveling is a hobby for all of us so we’re thrilled to be able to see new countries, meet new people, and of course, play some music.”

MOUNT SALEM is:
Emily Kopplin – vocals & organ
Cody Davidson – drums
Mark Hewett – bass
Kyle Morrison – guitars

Mount Salem on Thee Facebooks

Mount Salem at Metal Blade Records

Tags: , , , , , ,

All Them Witches Announce Sept. 16 Release for Lightning at the Door Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, didn’t this album already come out, like 10 months ago?,” yeah, it pretty much did. Nashville heavy psych blues four-piece All Them Witches issued Lightning at the Door last November, just kind of tossed it up on Bandcamp and let their burgeoning (that’s not to say “booming,” though that might be more accurate) fanbase have its way with it. CDs were printed up, twice, since then, but basically what makes this new, Sept. 16 date different is that it’s the official release for the vinyl. If you follow them on Thee Facebooks, you may recall they pulled the Bandcamp stream of the album down a couple weeks ago. This was why.

Also hitting the road alongside King Buffalo this week — my plan is to drive to PA to catch the Sherman Theater show; King Dead are also playing — they’ll be on tour with Windhand when the album releases. This weekend, All Them Witches also put out word that their debut European appearances at Keep it Low and Desertfest Belgium and the touring surrounding them are canceled for this fall, presumably to be rescheduled for some point next year.

The PR wire has tour dates and other info:

all them witches lightning at the door

ALL THEM WITCHES RELEASE LIGHTNING AT THE DOOR ON SEPT. 16

JOIN WINDHAND FOR U.S. TOUR; PLAY NASHVILLE’S LIVE ON THE GREEN

SINGLE “CHARLES WILLIAM” STREAMING NOW VIA SOUNDCLOUD

All Them Witches, the Nashville-based quartet who made waves in underground psych circles when their 2012 debut album Our Mother Electricity received praise from Roadburn and a rerelease via Stefan Koglek’s Electrohasch Records, return with Lightning At The Door, on Sept. 16.

The album’s first single, “Charles Williams,” is already enjoying airplay at WRLT and was featured in the band’s recent Daytrotter session. All Them Witches have made the song available for streaming/embeds via Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/allthemwitchesband/charles-william).

The eight-song album finds the young band’s sound much more evolved, merging their psych-background with the rustic inspiration their stomping grounds afford. A sweaty, Southern rock outing, the band was so inspired during the demo process they recorded Lightning At The Door in mere days. “We tracked everything live in the same room,” explains singer/bass player Michael Parks, Jr. “We got a lot of bleed form the mics and the amps being together. Everything felt organic.”

The album comes as the band is in the midst of an extensive North American tour, with stops at Nashville’s Live on the Green (Aug. 28), the Midpoint Music Festival (Sept. 26 in Cincinnati), Day of the Shred (Nov. 1 in Santa Ana) and also includes a two-week span with Windhand (Sept. 4 to 21).

All Them Witches tour dates:

August 21 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
August 22 Philadelphia, PA Milkboy Philly
August 23 Stroudsberg, PA Sherman Theater
August 24 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
August 28 Nashville, TN Live on the Green
September 4 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
September 5 Pittsburgh, PA 31st Pub
September 6 Akron, OH Musica
September 7 Columbus, OH The Basement
September 9 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s
September 10 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
September 11 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social club
September 12 Cudahy, WI Metal Grill
September 13 Ferndale, MI The Loving Touch
September 14 Toronto, ON Coda
September 16 Ottawa, ON Café Dekcuf
September 17 Montreal, QC Petit Campus
September 18 Cambridge, MA The Middle East Upstairs
September 19 Providence, RI AS220
September 20 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
September 21 Ithaca, NY The Dock
September 26 Cincinnati, OH Midpoint Music Festival
November 1 Santa Ana, CA Day of the Shred

All Them Witches is Ben McLeod (guitar), Michael Parks, Jr. (vocals/bass), Robby Staebler (drums) and Allan Van Cleave (Fender Rhodes).

www.facebook.com/allthemwitches
www.twitter.com/allthemwitches
www.allthemwitches.org

All Them Witches, “Charles William”

Tags: , , , , ,

Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes Split: Tutta Forza

Posted in Reviews on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Intricate though it is, the jpeg cover art for Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes split on Go Down Records does little justice to the physical reality of the finished product. Pressed to limited white vinyl with screenprinted covers or available in a gorgeous fold-out digi-box with fractal designs and liner notes printed on a kind of psychedelic gatefold, Early Shapes is impressive both to hold and to hear, comprising three tracks from the Californian desert legends and four from the Italian upstart trio. For Fatso Jetson – the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli (also of Yawning Man), guitarist Dino Von Lalli, bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (now also playing with Brant Bjork) – it’s their second partnership with Italy’s Go Down Records, the first having been the limited run Live at Maximum Festival (review here) earlier this year, and their second recent split behind a 2013 collaboration with Yawning Man. In Herba Mate‘s case, Early Shapes is the first I’ve heard from them since their engagingly atmospheric 2009 debut, The Jellyfish is Dead and the Hurricane is Coming (review here), the Bolognese three-piece of bassist/vocalist Alessandro Trere, guitarist Andrea Barlotti and drummer Ermes Piancastelli having spent the last couple years playing shows and generally refining what was an already well-directed take on desert rock. Vinyl-ready at 38 minutes, Early Shapes is hypnotically jammed and sweetly melodic, the two acts not so much competing in the richness of what they do as celebrating the vibes they’re both so able to conjure musically. All the better for the front-to-back listen of the CD, which is consistent in its mood while still showcasing the distinct personalities of the two groups. Frankly, it’s a pairing that I thought would work well when I first heard about it and which works better than I anticipated.

They’re further tied together by the fact that both bands end their portion of Early Shapes with an eight-plus-minute (mostly) instrumental jam, and though Herba Mate‘s “Desert Inn II” feels more plotted than Fatso Jetson‘s “Nyquilt” — particularly because it complements and builds off “Desert Inn I,” which begins the trio’s side of the split — both resonate with an open creativity. Fatso Jetson‘s other inclusions, “Living all over You” and “Long Deep Breath” build on the notion of them not only as mainstays of the CA desert, but as an essential piece of that puzzle along with Yawning ManKyuss, and so on, both in sound and personnel. Mathias Schneeberger, who also recorded the opening duo, contributes Rhodes piano, and Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers) offers guitar and vocals to “Nyquilt,” while singer-songwriter Abby Travis guests vocally on “Long Deep Breath.” Gary Arce of Yawning Man is purported to also have contributed guitar to Fatso Jetson‘s tracks, and I’d going by the tone of “Long Deep Breath,” I’d believe it, but there’s no mention of him in the liner. Still, “Living all over You” begins the split with its most memorable push, a weighted groove unfolding topped by a serene, echoing vocal from Mario, far off from most of the jazzy spasms of Fatso Jetson‘s last full-length, 2010′s underrated Archaic Volumes (review here), but consistent stylistically with their past all the same and building to a satisfying apex before “Long Deep Breath” gets moving on the foundation of Tornay‘s drums, more open in atmosphere, but still cohesive, a chorus and bridge made even more gorgeous by Travis‘ voice joining Mario‘s before a buzzsaw solo takes hold. A mood only bolstered by “Nyquilt,” if this kind of inclusive, ambient spirit is where Fatso Jetson might be headed directionally for their next album, then it can’t get here fast enough. Perhaps most impressive about the tracks is that no matter where Fatso Jetson seem to head sound-wise, they still sound so distinctly like themselves, and they seem to be in full command of their aesthetic, not so much conforming to the desert rock style they helped create as taking those elements with them on a creative journey outside genre bounds.

fatso jetson

herba mate

It would be folly for Herba Mate to try to beat Fatso Jetson at their own game, but fortunately the three-piece are off on another trip. Trere is somewhat more aggressive vocally, but not by much, and the heavy roll that Herba Mate enact on “Desert Inn I” is pretty telling of what they have on offer in general, though following the original “Dance Dance Dance,” they surprise with a cover of Core‘s “Way Down,” adding tonal depth to the punkish ’90s heaviness of the New Jersey band’s original version. That and “Dance Dance Dance” are shorter, which accounts for Herba Mate‘s four tracks as opposed to Fatso Jetson‘s three, but the spirit of the material — which was captured live at Go Down‘s studio with some additional recording/mixing later — is fluid and engrossing, a sudden stop late in “Dance Dance Dance” being the only really jarring moment, and one clearly designed as such. Even the transition between the rush of “Way Down” and the languid heavy psych of “Desert Inn II” is natural, the latter feeling like the return to and expansion on the first installment that it is. Herba Mate‘s is a welcome return, and the jam-minded sensibilities, as well as the laid back approach they take to the release overall — including the Core cover seems to speak to an anything-goes mentality that suits them almost as much as the warm, organic production with which these songs are presented — speak to a confidence in what they’re doing that’s bound to serve them well as they move forward as much as it already serves them well here. I don’t know what either their plans or those of Fatso Jetson might be, but the quality of output from both bands makes Early Shapes feel like more than a simple stopgap en route to larger standalone releases, and whether one takes it as two distinct vinyl sides or listens straight through front-to-back to the CD, there’s really no interruption of flow, Herba Mate and Fatso Jetson pairing remarkably well for the sincerity of their approaches and the the immersion of what they create. It’s not often a release with two different bands recorded under multiple circumstances comes across as smoothly as Early Shapes, but there’s a likemindedness at root here that makes it barely a “split” at all.

Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes teaser

Fatso Jetson on Thee Facebooks

Herba Mate on Thee Facebooks

Early Shapes at Go Down Records

Tags: , , , , , ,

Small Stone Records Fundraiser Launched

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was painful last week to see the pictures of the Small Stone Records offices, flooded out from powerful storms that tore through the Detroit area. Still sealed label product floating through dirty water, files and CDs, the fruit of countless hours of work on the part of label owner Scott Hamilton, simply ruined. In one of the pictures, however, you can also see a floating vacuum cleaner, and that’s also important, because it reminds us that more even than being where kickass riffs come from, this is somebody’s home.

Scott is somebody whose tastes and whose efforts have helped greatly to shape the course of American heavy rock in the last decade-plus. Whether you’re a fan of Dixie Witch or Roadsaw or Sasquatch or Wo Fat or anyone else on his enviable roster, chances are even if you don’t listen to those bands, someone in a band you listen to does. Small Stone has become the standard-bearer, and you can see the influence it has had not only in bands going for “that Small Stone sound,” but also in labels who have come up in the last several years wanting to support the music they’re passionate about in a similar way.

But again, this is about more than music. It’s Scott‘s house too, and that’s why it’s so important that this community comes together to help him out. You and I are part of a worldwide subculture. Don’t believe me? Go to a show anywhere and look around you. It’s the same every place you go, and that’s no mistake. One of our own — someone who’s directly participated in making this weird, ongoing thing to which we belong — needs our help. Frankly, that should be enough to make you want to get involved.

Donations are being taken through the middle of next month, but since it’s a water cleanup process and there’s the ever-present threat of mold, time’s a factor. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support.

http://www.youcaring.com/helpscott

In August 2014, bad storms dumped flood waters all through the Detroit area, including into the offices of Small Stone Records, the label home of Sasquatch, Wo Fat, Greenleaf, Lord Fowl, Dixie Witch, Roadsaw and so many others.

Gear and product were both destroyed and insurance in Michigan is crap, so we’re coming together to help Scott from Small Stone with some of the massive expense of cleaning up from this flood.

Scott’s support for heavy music over the last 19 years that he’s run Small Stone has never wavered and this is a chance to help somebody who’s helped us by enriching our lives with great bands and great riffs.

Every bit helps. Thank you for your support.

–Please note that YouCaring.com takes no fees from donations and unlike other sites, ALL THE MONEY YOU DONATE GOES DIRECTLY TO HELP SCOTT.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Halfway to Gone, High Five

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Halfway to Gone, High Five (2001)

Put Halfway to Gone against any Southern heavy band you want to — including the late, great Alabama Thunderpussy, with whom they once shared a split — and see if they don’t stand up. Of course, they weren’t actually from the South, unless you consider Central New Jersey the South, which some people I know in North Jersey most definitely do. Born in 1999 as an offshoot of Solarized, Halfway to Gone came out of the same Red Bank scene that gave planet earth gifts like The Atomic Bitchwax, Solace, Core and the mothers of them all, Monster Magnet. They released three records on Small Stone in their time — 2001′s High Five was the debut (after the aforementioned ATP split), followed by 2002′s Second Season and a 2004 self-titled — and toured hard at the time, but have played only intermittently over the last eight or nine years. Guitarist Lee “Stu” Gollin and his brother, drummer Danny Gollin, continued on for a while in A Thousand Knives of Fire, whose 2007 outing, Last Train to Scornsville, was recorded in part by Halfway bassist/vocalist Lou Gorra, but that petered out when their bassist moved away. Gorra in the meantime founded his studio and set about recording other bands, including mine, Halfway to Gone getting together every now and again to play Long Branch’s The Brighton Bar, perpetually killing the place.

If I’m not mistaken, they did a show there last year. Last I saw them was 2012, and they were still a force on stage. There was talk at the time of a long-awaited fourth album, though to-date nothing has come of it. Gorra was playing bass with Sourvein this year for their European tour — it was a beyond-pleasant surprise to run into him at Roadburn — but knowing this band and knowing these dudes, I’d never quite count them out. Still, it’s good to go back to the beginning and revisit High Five, which from where I sit is a Jersey classic. Dig that slide guitar on “Story of My Life,” or the reworked Gettysburg Address in “Kind Words for the Southern Gentleman” – the band taking the “you’re not Southern!” contingent head on — and the hook in “Devil Spit (The Van Zant Shuffle)” or the slow roll of “Limb from Limb.” Gorra does whiskey-soaked vocals without the chestbeating Down-ery that seems to have unfortunately become the hallmark of the style over the last decade, and Stu and Danny tear it up, a thick-toned power trio ahead of their time as much as they were behind it. They’d tighten up further structurally on the second record and branch out stylistically on the third, but as far as starting points go, there’s not much for which I’d trade High Five.

Hope you enjoy.

In Connecticut for the weekend. Was here last weekend as well. Actually, the only reason I drove back to Massachusetts on Tuesday was to see High on Fire at The Sinclair – my first show in Boston in, uh… I don’t even know, since Fu Manchu maybe? — and I didn’t get in. It was a free show! No ticket for me. Ugh. I was so beat by the time I’d stood on line for half an hour, right at the front, and listened to the stupid-assed conversations of those around me after driving two-plus hours to get back up there that when I couldn’t get in, I didn’t even have the energy to make a case for myself. I walked back to my car through college-bound Cambridge and went the fuck home to bury my head. What a bummer.

Next weekend is Sleep at the House of Blues with Earthless and Heavy Blanket jamming out to open. Got my fingers crossed for that. The day before, I’ll be in Pennsylvania for All Them Witches and King Buffalo, so a bit of travel there as well. Whatever. I won’t regret it.

This weekend though, some rest and some research. I’ve got a few things in the works that I’m hoping fall into place over the next couple weeks — all very hush hush, or I’d give you the details outright — so it’s important to keep my head straight. Getting there is pretty much my intent for the next couple days.

Reviews coming up for Witch Mountain and maybe the Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate split, but after doing Powered Wig Machine today and Demon Eye yesterday, I’m starting to feel pretty good about tackling the pile, so I might keep up with that as well. I’ll play it by ear and do as much as I have the energy to do. You know how it goes by now. I pretty much post until I feel like I’m ready to fall over and then I stop for a few hours and then post again.

Clacky clacky clacky. Always with the keyboard.

For now though, I’m gonna go watch some Star Trek with The Patient Mrs. and call it a night.

Please have a great and safe weekend and please check out the forum and radio stream, because they are awesome.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , ,

Should’ve Been Sooner: Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider

Posted in Reviews on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure if I’m going to make “Should’ve Been Sooner” reviews a series or not, but I’m backed up enough on records that I probably could. Either way, after Demon Eye yesterday, it seemed only fitting to follow-up with another long-standing pile dweller, so here goes:

Arizona heavy rock four-piece Powered Wig Machine have the fuzz, they have the riffs, they have the groove, and yet there’s something about them that still seems to be working against expectation. At least the expected expectation. I’ll explain. The Sierra Vista natives make a self-recorded, self-released debut with Supa-Collider, and while its methods are familiar enough — a Clutch-style sway in closing nod-maker “Brain of Hank Pym” and a classic stoner rock toss-off lyric in “Wizard of Orgy” — for actually being near desert if not in it (Sierra Vista seems to be dry, but a mountain town), their sound is much more derived from barroom blues than laid-back Yawning Man-style jams. Supa-Collider is a quick listen at a thoroughly unpretentious seven tracks/33 minutes, the band — guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell, guitarist/organist/engineer Brian Gold, guitarist Dusty Hinkle, bassist/backing vocalist Joseph Rudell and drummer Daniel Graves – starting off with a showing of classic heavy rock influence in “At the Helm of Hades,” which reminds of some of the grooves Deep Purple was apt to nestle into at their peak, with Gold‘s organ moving alongside his and Wayne‘s guitars and the bluesy vocals overtop. While it’s among the most resonant of them, “At the Helm of Hades” is hardly all Supa-Collider has to offer in terms of hooks, and both the shorter, bouncing “Led Masquerade” and subsequent “Here Come the Freaks” find their moments of distinction, the latter with a shuffle in its midsection that opens up to bigger grooving toward the finish as Graves gives his crash cymbals what for before stepping back into the start-stop progression of the verse.

I’d call the straightforward, un-Kyuss-ness of Supa-Collider jarring if Powered Wig Machine weren’t so solid in their performance and if the grooves weren’t so inviting. These aren’t dudes looking to change the world, or even to fix what isn’t broken about their genre, but neither should the quality of their output be written off nor should they be considered entirely unoriginal. Wayne comes across as an able frontman and vocalist, and the interplay throughout of guitar and organ — the latter appearing here and there in a flourish, then gone to make way for a solo or some other part — gives a sense of character and arrangement to these songs beyond what would seem to be the standard, “Led Masquerade” jamming itself to a finish as a lead-in for the starts and stops of “Here Come the Freaks,” the fuzz of which is all the beefier for the complement of keys. “Wizard of Orgy” follows, its “time-traveling pervert” chorus serving notice to anyone who might’ve through Powered Wig Machine were in danger of taking themselves too seriously, and “Mother Rocker” and the title-track deliver a one-two punch of heaviness — the latter is probably the band’s most singularly Clutch-derived groove — before the 6:18 “Brain of Hank Pym” rides in like a bluesy cavalry, putting the guitars even more in the lead as the vocals follow along, and encouraging the listener to fall in and do likewise. It’s the brain of Hank Pym — aka Ant-Man — as opposed to the body of John Wilkes Booth, at least going by the construction of the chorus, but as they’ve done throughout, Powered Wig Machine bring a spin of their own to established stylistic parameters. Keeping in mind that Supa-Collider is their debut even though they’ve been around since 2005/2006, it’s hard to ask more of the album than it delivers.

And Supa-Collider is all the more encouraging since not only is it a capable execution, but it’s self-made. Tony Reed mastered, but Gold recorded and mixed, the latter with Joey Rudell, who also designed cover and did the layout for the four-panel digipak pressing. Being self-contained on multiple levels has its ups and downs — see also: booking shows — but according to the liner, Gold built the studio in which Supa-Collider was tracked, so to think of them becoming more comfortable in a recording space as they continue to progress in terms of their writing and aesthetic only adds to the potential they show here. What matters most, however, are the songs themselves, and Powered Wig Machine already have the songs working in their favor on their debut.

Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider (2014)

Powered Wig Machine on Thee Facebooks

Powered Wig Machine on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Ides of Gemini, Michael Rudolph Cummings, Witch Charmer, Kikagaku Moyo, Spindrift

Posted in Radio on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

It’s a pretty wide stylistic swath with this week’s adds to The Obelisk Radio, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you check out the playlists for the last couple days, you’ll see a considerable variety of track picked out — also a lot of Clutch – and that only bolsters the appeal of the stream as far as I’m concerned. Straight-up riffs all the time is cool, I guess, but sometimes a left turn out of nowhere can make your whole day seem richer. Maybe that’s what I’m going for with this week’s picks. Either way, it’s a lot of quality, so your tuning in is appreciated.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 15, 2014:

Ides of Gemini, Old World/New Wave

ides of gemini old world new wave

The Sera Timms-fronted three-piece return with Old World/New Wave, their second album on Neurot Recordings with a suitable foll0w-up collection of otherworldly melodies and ethereal instrumental explorations, setting a balance between doomly undulation and minimalist ambience. Also handling bass, Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman) is of course in command of her form vocally, and guitarist J. Bennett and drummer/backing vocalist Kelly Johnston play more than a complementary role, the trio functioning even tighter than on their 2012 debut, Constantinople, hitting on psychedelic mastery with “White Hart” and rolling out a classic riffly chug on the later “Fememorde.” Mood and ambience are never far from being the central focus, but Ides of Gemini let loose a bit on “The Chalice and the Blade,” with Bennett‘s guitar taking forward position in the mix with an echoing lead tone that seems to be in direct conversation with Timms‘ vocals. It’s a dialog worth hearing, and one that makes Old World/New Wave a markedly rich, immersive listening experience, the spaces the three-piece create in their songs seeming inevitably destined for headphone-on isolation, and in that context, flourishing. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

Michael Rudolph Cummings, “Long Haul”

A single following the earlier-2014 solo release, Get Low, from Pennsylvania-based Backwoods Payback guitarist/vocalist Michael Rudolph Cummings, the new song “Long Haul” finds Cummings partnered with his Backwoods bandmate Jessica Baker (bass), as well as guitarists Dan Metzker and Pat Shannon and drummer/vocalist Mike Bardzik under the adopted moniker mRc and the Souvenirs. The feel of the track is accordingly full-band, casting off most of the punk influence and heavy tonality that distinguishes Backwoods Payback‘s riff-led take in favor of warmer, classic rock vibing. Cummings‘ voice is suited to the change, and especially following Get Low, “Long Haul” feels like an exploration in progress — new ground being felt out — and I’d argue it’s successful in its push toward creating something distinct from Cummings‘ other solo work and the Backwoods itself. He’s reportedly got an EP coming with The Souvenirs, and as a first taste of what that might sound like, “Long Haul” holds promise of good things to come. Michael Rudolph Cummings on Bandcamp, Backwoods Payback on Twitter.

Kikagaku Moyo, Mammatus Clouds

Improvisational five-piece Kikagaku Moyo are obviously comfortable working in longer forms. The Tokyo outfit’s second offering, Mammatus Clouds, was initially released as limited tape through Sky Lantern Records and has been picked up by Cardinal Fuzz for a deluxe 2LP. No real question why — its three tracks, “Pond” (27:50), “Never Know” (16:50) and “There is No Other Place” (3:19), enact a lush wash of hypnotic, sitar-laced psychedelia. “Pond” is especially satisfying in its exploration, drones and melodies playing out over a consistent rhythmic bed, driving further and further out into ambient breaks and louder payoffs until dropping out to spacious waves of noise, but I won’t discount the appeal of realizing that Kikagaku Moyo are playing off The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in their own “Never Know” either, taking a recognizable sitar line and burying it deep within their own impulses, truly making an individualized work of it. Likewise, the closer “There is No Other Place” comes as a surprise, an effects-drenched psych rocker quick in its pulse and building to Mammatus Clouds‘ noisy conclusion. The sound here is richer than the average heavy jam, and the effectiveness of the ambience is not to be understated. I haven’t heard the vinyl or the tape, but I have a hard time imagining a format on which this music isn’t absolutely beautiful. Kikagaku Moyo on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz webstore, Sky Lantern Records on Bandcamp.

Witch Charmer, The Great Depression

Multi-vocalist UK bruiser doomers Witch Charmer debut on Argonauta Records with The Great Depression, the follow-up first full-length to their 2013 Euphoric Curse EP. Mixed and mastered as that release was by Mos Generator‘s Tony ReedThe Great Depression works well to establish a varied if not necessarily stylistically diverse sound, frontwoman Kate McKeown, guitarists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke and drummer Dave McQuillan all contributing vocals — the band is completed by bassist Richard Maher — over dense and accordingly depressive riffing. I’m not sure which of them does the Kirk Windstein-style growls, but they’re pretty dead on, as “A Watching of Wolves” will attest, and the tradeoffs both keep the record moving and keep a sense of spontaneity to coincide with the rolling riffs and longer arrangements, leading to the extended closer “Stare into the Sun,” which hides a sample-topped acoustic outro. Not sure why they’d feel the need to bury those impulses, but their first outing may be setting the stage for an unfolding creative progression, and cohesive as it is, I’m not going to knock it for solid riffs front to back and a doomed-out feel. Witch Charmer on Thee Facebooks, Argonauta Records.

Spindrift, Exotic Detonation EP

Underrated cowboy psych outfit Spindrift — now featuring guitarist Thomas Bellier of Blaak Heat Shujaa — apparently had some material leftover from last year’s Spindrift: Ghost of the West, and three new songs surface as the Exotic Detonation EP via Tee Pee Records, bringing The Twilight Zone to mind immediately on the opening title-track before launching into the snare-march Morricone-isms in which they so readily trade. That Spindrift would wind up doing soundtrack work — to their own movie, no less — isn’t surprising, since their style is so cinematic, but I guess “Exotic Detonation,” the desert-jammy “Ghosts Go West” and the minimalist finale “High Plains Spindrifter” didn’t fit on the initial release. Issuing them on a complementary EP makes sense, and from the standpoint of the radio stream, it’s three more Spindrift songs that weren’t there before, so fair enough. They continue to reside in a very particular niche that’s very much theirs, and for fans of those who might happen into them live, Exotic Detonation will seem right at home among their other Western thrills. Spindrift on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

I could tell you how long this took me to put together, but frankly it’s embarrassing. Still, this is but a portion of the albums added to The Obelisk Radio this afternoon. To see the full list (it includes Pallbearer), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Orange Goblin Album Back from the Abyss Due in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

orange goblin

Well, one of the few remaining questions I had about releases in 2014 was whether or not the new Orange Goblin was going to arrive before the end of the year, and it looks like Candlelight Records has taken care of answering that. London’s heavy rock forerunning stalwarts will have Back from the Abyss – I’ll just assume that’s not their statement on touring in the US — out this October, gunning for an autumnal addition to the year-end best-of lists and, I’m sure, getting it. I know I’ll be keeping a slot open. There’s a new track posted at Loudwire that I haven’t listened to yet, but I wanted to get the news posted right away because, well, it’s new Orange Goblin, and that’s kind of a big deal.

They’ll head out on tour in Europe with Saint Vitus immediately following the release. No doubt much boozy destruction will ensue.

The PR wire has it like this:

ORANGE GOBLIN’s New Album Coming This October

Candlelight Records today confirms October 7th as the North American release date for ORANGE GOBLIN’s new album, Back From The Abyss. Recorded earlier this year in London, the album reunites the band with producer Jamie Dodd. It was mastered at Turan Audio in late July. Back From The Abyss will be available for preorder via iTunes and Amazon beginning August 26th. Fans can begin to preorder the CD today via Candlelight’s official webstore and Bandcamp page.

Loudwire.com is celebrating the announcement with an exclusive North American stream of the album’s first single, “The Devil’s Whip.” Vocalist Ben Ward says, “This song is a real old-school banger stuffed full of riffs, sleaze, filth, and speed… just like the best metal should be! It’s Motörhead-style, outlaw-biker rock in all its glory, destined to get heads banging, fists pumping, drinks flowing and asses shaking. If you don’t find yourself breaking the speed limit to this song, desperate to find the roughest bar in town, start a fight and spending the night in a cell, then you are quite clearly already dead. Let’s ride, let loose, let’s rip… that’s right, you can’t escape ‘The Devil’s Whip.’”

Back From The Abyss follows the band’s most successful release, 2012′s A Eulogy For The Damned, and the recent reissue of their 2007 album Healing Through Fire. Featuring twelve new songs, it delivers the quartets now internationally respected heavy metal. Decibel Magazine calls the band’s sound, “maximum riffage and turbo doom.” Blabbermouth dubs them, “a big burly bag of rock goodness.” Rocking hard as fans have come expect, Back From The Abyss shows not only the band’s tried-and-true blues and doom but the high caliber of their musicianship.

ORANGE GOBLIN will kick off the Autumn with a European tour alongside doom legends St. Vitus. Set to begin in France on October 9th, the tour will work its way through thirteen countries before concluding in Germany on November 14th. On the tour’s announcement Ward said, “We are extremely excited to be going on tour with our good friends and long-time heroes St. Vitus. Vitus are one of the bands that inspired us to form ORANGE GOBLIN all those years ago and to be able to promote our new album and celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary at the same time just blows my mind.”

American dates in support of Back From The Abyss are anticipated to start early in the new year. Details to be announced shortly.

Together since 1995, ORANGE GOBLIN has released seven full-length studio albums. A Eulogy For The Damned was the band’s first for Candlelight Records and closed a five year recording hiatus. The album was supported with the most live dates by the band in their history; touring that saw the band on North America soil first alongside Clutch then on a full-scale headline tour that found them on thirty-eight stages across the US and Canada. Two videos were filmed and released for the album, including “Red Tide Rising” and the special Scion A/V video for “Acid Trials.”

Back From The Abyss Track Listing:
1. Sabbath Hex
2. Ubermensch
3. The Devil’s Whip
4. Demon Blues
5. Heavy Lies The Crown
6. Into the Arms of Morpheus
7. Mythical Knives
8. Bloodzilla
9. The Abyss
10. Titan
11. Blood Of Them
12. The Shadow Over Innsmouth

ORANGE GOBLIN is vocalist Ben Ward, guitartist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Christopher Turner. The band are endorsed by Marshall Amplification, Orange Amplification, Fender Bass Guitars, Natal Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins, Vans, Volcom, Boss Pedals, Rotosound Strings, and Jagermeister.

http://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial
http://www.orange-goblin.com
http://www.candlelightrecordsusa.com

Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

Bloodcow Launch Kickstarter to Press New Album Crystals and Lasers

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

bloodcow

If we lived in a universe where justice and righteousness reigned, Bloodcow wouldn’t have to come a-knockin’ with a Kickstarter campaign to finish mixing and press their forthcoming fourth album, Crystals and Lasers, because they’d already be millionaires. The riotous, hook-laden, perma-sarcastic DIY outfit began the recording process early in 2012 — the song “Little Chromosome” was streamed here in October of that year — and though I don’t usually like to post crowdfunding-type stuff, my motivation here is the thinking that the sooner they reach their goal, the sooner I can get to hear the album, which is the follow-up to their logic-defying 2007 outing, Bloodcow III: Hail Xenu. Selfish reasons rule the day.

They’ve got some legitimately cool rewards as well, including original art and, if you live close enough to Council Bluffs, Iowa, a house show they’ll come play for you. Lock up the fancy silver and soundproof the living room if that’s the one you go for, but either way, if you giving them money means Crystals and Lasers gets done, then yeah, do that.

Here’s the info and their campaign video:

Fucking a.

New Bloodcow Record – “Crystals and Lasers”

The fourth full length release from Bloodcow, ‘Crystals and Lasers’ is their most ambitious to date. One word description? Epic.

How it started.

When we started writing songs for this new album, we talked a lot about how rock music was consumed in the past, how you might sit in a poorly lit room full of smoke with your headphones on and trip out on the music while staring at some cool artwork. That’s how we wanted people to be able to enjoy this record…not only a collection of songs, but our contribution to an experience.

What’s the plan?

To fund the release of Bloodcow’s 4th full length entitled ‘Crystals & Lasers’ on multiple formats including vinyl, cd, and digital download.

Where we are right now.

We were fortunate enough to record at ARC in Omaha, NE with uber engineer Jim Homan and also in the science lair of uber producer Aaron Gum. All the music is in the can (that’s music business lingo) and we have since mixed 3 songs. We have album and CD artwork finished and are coming up with the sticker and T-shirt art as you read this.

What are you funding?

Remainder of mixing with Jim Homan.
Mastering at TurtleTone Studio with Mike Fossenkemper.
180 gram Vinyl Records.
CD Digipaks.
Digital download cards.
Stickers
Kickstarter only T-shirts.
The Kickstarter/Amazon fees that have to be paid in order to run this campaign.

What if the goal is surpassed?

We have ideas in place to record a music video with Aaron Gum involving drag queens in an awesome club setting…and yes that was totally serious.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bloodcow/new-bloodcow-record-crystals-and-lasers
https://www.facebook.com/Bloodcow
http://www.bloodcow.com/

Bloodcow, Crystals and Lasers Kickstarter video

Tags: , , , , ,

Should’ve Been Sooner: Demon Eye, Leave the Light

Posted in Reviews on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“Better late than never,” or so the adage goes. If you’ve ever read more than two sentences on this site, chances are you’ve witnessed me complaining about being perpetually short on time, unable to fit in everything that I want to, etc. That’s been the case for at least the last four years. I’m always working at a deficit, and it’s usually just a question of whether or not I’m able to live with the level of behind that I am. In the case of Demon Eye‘s Leave the Light, I simply can’t take it anymore.

Released back in January on Soulseller Records, the debut long-player from the Raleigh, North Carolina, witch-rocking four-piece has haunted me — daily — as it has sat on the stack waiting to be reviewed, its righteously devilized jewel case cover burned into my consciousness no less than the cowbell-stomped chorus of “Adversary,” just one of the album’s 11 memorable exaltations of the left hand path. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Erik Sugg, lead guitarist Larry Burlison, bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen, Demon Eye owe much to early Pentagram‘s vaguely Luciferian swing and Sugg‘s touches of Eric Wagner influence go far in “Edge of the Knife” and the brooding “Fires of Abalam,” but they’re distinguished by proto-thrash riffing and ultimately wind up with an energetic, somewhat mystical concoction not entirely dissimilar in concept from Texas’ Venomous Maximus, though the
execution of Leave the Light works with its own blend.

To wit, opener “Hecate”‘s resonant hook and tradeoff of chugging and winding riffs and slower Motörhead spellcasting sets the stage for varied invocations of classic metal, but nowhere on Leave the Light do Demon Eye lose their heavy rock tonality or vibe. “Shades of Black” owes more to Thin Lizzy than Slayer, and the subsequent “Secret Sect” has a natural enough sound to namecheck Kadavar or Graveyard in terms of its ’70s loyalism. Side B branches out but remains catchy, with the shorter “Witch’s Blood” (2:47) setting up a moodier run with “Fires of Abalam” referencing Pentagram‘s “When the Screams Come” and delivering the band’s eponymous line while pulling back on the thrust to make “Devil Knows the Truth” sound even more motion-based, dueling leads just past the halfway point making it all the more a standout en route to “The Banishing,” which turns around the lyrical perspective to give Lucifer himself a chance to speak (anyone remember when Type O Negative did that for Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath?”) and, before its 4:35 are done, earns a bit of sympathy for the devil to go with the classic heavy rock swagger, like Scorpions when they knew what was up.

demon eye leave the lightThe single-mindedness of a 46-minute full-length where just about every song is in one way or another about hellishness and ghouls and Satan and whatnot becomes a factor by the time Demon Eye get down to the closing duo of “From Beyond” and “Silent One” — both choice riffs, the latter locking into a groove every bit worthy to end the record — but what ultimately saves Leave the Light from monotony are the sonic shifts between the songs and the flow that the CD enacts as it plays out. It’s worth noting that, as their first outing, Leave the Light is remarkably consistent in the quality of its songcraft, and as six of these cuts — “Hecate,” “Witch’s Blood,” “Shades of Black,” “Fires of Abalam,” “Devil Knows the Truth” and “Silent One,” in that order — also appeared as Demon Eye‘s 2013 self-released debut EP, Shades of Black (a tape also came out through Sarlacc Productions), the band obviously knows a good thing when they hear it. Reusing one or two tracks from a first EP to first LP isn’t uncommon, but to incorporate all of them — and more importantly, to be right in doing so — shows a confidence in their approach that serves the band well as the other songs work their way between.

It really has been months that Leave the Light has worn on my mind, and though I feel a bit like writing this review is an exorcism, the songwriting here and the cohesiveness of Demon Eye in what’s still their early going (they got together in 2012) stand as testament to the fact that this won’t be the last time we hear from them. Next time around, I’ll be ready.

Demon Eye, Leave the Light (2014)

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Mother of God Announce UK Tour with Molior Superum

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Swedish heavy rockers Mother of God are hitting the UK for a few inaugural dates next month alongside countrymen Molior Superum and Britain’s own Baron Greenback. The three shows, presented by Snuff Lane and Monster Rock Booking, will be to support Mother of God‘s latest EP, Black Ocean, on H42 Records, and 2013′s Small Stone debut, Anthropos, thought the four-piece are reportedly already at work on their next outing as well, so should you happen to be in Bristol, Manchester or Oxford in September, seems likely you’ll be treated to some new material.

If you’re into it, and yeah, you’re probably into it, the PR wire’s got diggable info for your eyeball digestion below:

Snuff Lane Promotions has partnered with ‘Monster Rock Bookings’ to deliver Mother of God in their debut tour of the United Kingdom. Supporting these Swedish rockers are fellow labelmates Molior Superum, making their first appearance in the United Kingdom and both touring in support of their new EP’s.

Snuff Lane are also delighted to be adding Bristol’s very own hard-hitting Baron Greenback to the tour, whose debut album is due for release in the forthcoming weeks.

The tour starts on Saturday 20th September, with exclusive and unique acoustic performances at the debut “Music Is the Healer” charity event. Taking place at The Cavern Club, Bristol, this event will be in support of national charity Nordoff Robbins – who provide music therapy services for thousands of people across the country.

All proceeds from “Music Is the Healer” will go directly to the charities involved.

Also announced is Swedish psychedelic stoner rockers Kamchatka’s debut UK headlining event at The Black Heart, London on Friday 19th September.

Mother of God + Molior Superum + Baron Greenback – UK September Tour
Saturday 20th September – The Cavern Club, Bristol (Day & Evening)
Sunday 21st September – Gullivers NQ, Manchester
Monday 22nd September – The Cellar, Oxford

Events: http://tiny.cc/5i12jx
Tickets: http://tiny.cc/fx6cjx
Early Bird Tickets available until 25th August, at an exceedingly cheap £6.00.

https://www.facebook.com/MOGmusic
http://www.motherofgod.se/

Mother of God, Anthropos (2013)

Tags: , , ,

On Wax: Curse the Son, Psychache

Posted in On Wax on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Nearly two years on from its initial self-issued CD version, Curse the Son‘s Psychache has gotten the release it deserves. In the capable hands of STB Records, the Connecticut trio’s Psychache (review here) has been pressed in three separate editions — a standard of 125 copies in gatefold with tri-color vinyl, an OBI strip edition limited to 100 with clear/black vinyl and a blood red splatter, a die hard edition limited to 75 with both the bone-grey and clear/black vinyl and the splatter, and a test press version — and as ever for the NJ-based imprint, the focus seems to be on reverence. Reverence for the music, for the form and, in this case, for an album that feels a long time in arriving.

From the opening riffs of “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” Curse the Son‘s weedian roll finds a stylistic match in many other acts in all but quality. Guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore leads the charge with molasses tone — my stereo system never seems to have enough low end; Psychache is cavernous and warrants all it can get — and bassist Richard “Cheech” Weeden and drummer Mike Petrucci (now also of Lord Fowl) enact a stonerly nod that remains one of the best the last couple years have seen. As a reissue, I’m glad to have the chance to experience the album again, but as the first vinyl pressing, I also feel like I’m finally hearing Psychache the way the band intended, with the side split coming after the title-track and before the interlude “Valium For?,” creating a side A comprised of massive, catchy hooks in “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” “Spider Stole the Weed” and “Psychache” and a side B that immediately delves curse-the-son-psychache-gatefold-leftfurther into the lysergic with “Valium For?” before slipping into the slower “Somatizator” and closing out with “The Negative Ion,” which opens ambient and then explodes into a thunderously plodding finish, Vanacore‘s voice a Sabbathian echo over the doomly churning.

At Stoner Hands of Doom XII in Sept. 2012 (review here), Vanacore handed me a CD in a plastic clamshell case of the mastered version of Psychache. I remember putting it on that night on my way back to where I was staying in Connecticut, and I’ve done the same many late nights since. Also afternoons, and pretty much whenever. This is an album I’ve lived with for two years, and aside from being gratified to see it get its due, I’m glad to have a new form in which to experience it. It’s one thing to know a record has two halves and another to actually have to get up and flip it over. That changes the personality of the listening experience, and after putting Psychache on so many times either with that CD or the digital curse-the-son-psychache-gatefold-rightversion — they’ve intermittently made it available as a free download on Bandcamp — it’s somewhat jarring to have the raucous end of the title-track not give way immediately to “Valium For?,” but it works. The languid shuffle of “Spider Stole the Weed” finds a counterpoint in the more severe declension of “Somatizator,” and “Goodbye Henry Anslinger” and “The Negative Ion” feel even more complementary as the bookends between which the course of the release takes place, the righteous stomp of the closer coming across that much sweeter with the needle returning afterwards, as if there’s nothing more to say.

For some who picked up or who will pick it up, the vinyl version is their first experience of Psychache, and that seems like an advantage, since clearly this is how Curse the Son have wantedcurse-the-son-psychache-back-cover it to be heard all along. From my perspective, I’ll say that there aren’t a lot of records that, two years later, I’m still going to have such appreciation for seeing them show up again — opening the gatefold and seeing the live shot of the band, it looks like a classic — but Psychache was something special that first night I put it on and it remains something special now. My only hope is that, with this out, VanacoreWeeden and Petrucci can get to work on their third album and be able to capitalize on what can only be considered the unmitigated success of Psychache. They remain an underrated band, but obviously the word is spreading, and if you’re fortunate enough to get a copy of the STB vinyl before it’s completely sold out, you’re likely to find it an endeavor worth revisiting.

Curse the Son, “Spider Stole the Weed” official video

Curse the Son on Thee Facebooks

Curse the Son on Bandcamp

STB Records webstore

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Yawning Sons’ Ceremony to the Sunset Vinyl Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I was fortunate enough to be there to take the above photo of Yawning Sons at the 2013 Desertfest in London. Their set was plagued by technical difficulties — all the more a bummer since the collaboration between Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and UK instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri doesn’t happen every day — but still, my affection for Yawning Sons‘ debut album, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), had (and has) endured to the point where it hardly mattered. Just being there to watch them jam out, even for about half their allotted time, was one of the high points for me of that entire trip.

Seems I’m not the only one who still digs on Ceremony to the Sunset five years after its initial release through Cobraside Distribution. Respected Spanish imprint Alone Records has the album slated for a vinyl pressing on Oct. 6, with a preceding digital reissue next week. That’s notable because the record is gorgeous and worth hearing for anyone who hasn’t yet had the occasion, and because in addition to reworked cover art, the new version will also feature a previously unreleased track from Yawning Sons, started with the intent of being included on the album but never finished.

You can find the vinyl details below — pressing of 500, transparent colors, etc. — courtesy of the PR wire, but keep an eye out either way, since rumor has it this is a prelude to further collaboration between Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri, and if that’s the case, the desert just got richer.

Dig:

YAWNING SONS is the result of a unique collaboration between musicians from different sides of the Atlantic. ALONE RECORDS are proud to present the vinyl release of the desert rock classic CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET.

Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange vinyl this release includes the original closing album track from the studio master tapes not on the 2009 release! CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET has proven itself as a classic desert rock album and five years after initial release deserves the fullest vinyl release treatment – a revelation to fans of any and every of the artists involved.

Since 2009 and this release, YAWNING SONS have gone from strength to strength releasing their first 7″ single from Abbey Road Studios in 2010 with desert brothers ‘WaterWays’ and beginning live performances in 2013. Return now to the beginning of the adventure with this deluxe release and remember the freedom of music and the spirit of the CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET!!

Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange heavy vinyl.

Highly limited pre-orders begin here: http://www.the-stone-circle.com/store/ and the LP release date is October 6th.

The album will be digitally re-released on Monday August 25th.

http://www.the-stone-circle.com/store/
https://www.facebook.com/yawningsons

Yawning Sons, “Ghostship – Deadwater”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Steak Premiere Video for “Rising” from New Album Slab City

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

UK heavy rockers Steak may have gone to the desert to record Slab City, but they went to the woods to film the video for “Rising.” Their full-length debut is due out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records, following two successful EPs, 2013′s Corned Beef Colossus (review here) and 2012′s Disastronaught (review here), and a host of European tours and festival slots. The London-based four-piece of vocalist Kippa, guitarist Reece Tee, bassist Cam and drummer Sammy will join forces with their labelmate John Garcia – who also puts in a guest appearance on the album — for a round of dates with his solo live band this fall. I’m not sure how many sjpws they’re doing together, but posters have started to surface, and what it all rounds out to is the next stage of progression for one of the fertile UK scene’s most potent up and coming acts.

Dudes in comics.Slab City was tracked at California desert hotspot Thunder Underground in Palm Springs, and I don’t know where the “Rising” clip was captured, but there isn’t a speck of sand to be seen. Off in the woods at night, there’s magical drug/artifact smoking, weird reincarnation rituals, and in the meantime, with spotlights behind branches like they used to do on the X-Files, Steak can be found jamming out with tree-falls-in-the-forest abandon. If you’re looking to get a feel for what Slab City is all about, the song itself is a more than suitable representation of its desert-minded grooves and bulk supply of spacious riffage. It is the apex of the record as well as its longest track and one of its most powerful executions, the band tackling the form of desert rock and invariably bringing something of their own to it.

“Rising” was directed by Samuel Smith and produced by Smith and Kieron Allender. Please enjoy:

Steak, “Rising” official video

Steak‘s Slab City will be out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records. The album is available now for pre-order. More info at the links.

Steak on Thee Facebooks

Slab City at Napalm Records

Tags: , , , , ,

On the Radar: Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo

Posted in On the Radar on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Spanish cult rockers Lewis and the Strange Magics have worked fast. In late June, the Barcelona garage doomers released their debut demo, aptly-titled Demo, with an initial three songs available digitally for those who might have the inclination to check them out. Less than two months later, the band — whose lineup remains a mystery and of whom no photos have surfaced — signed a deal with Soulseller Records to release their first album, on which they’ve already begun work. The Demo itself moves with similar efficiency. Barely 90 seconds have passed into opener “How to be You” before Satan is invoked in a catchy chorus reminiscent of Ghost for its harmonies and The Devil’s Blood for its psychedelic swirl, but rougher in its production than either. Both of those bands owed a considerable debt to ’70s cultistry, and Lewis and the Strange Magics do likewise – see CovenSalem MassBlack Widow, etc. — but a sense of theatricality comes through the subsequent “Cloudy Grey Cube” (also featured in July’s podcast), and it’s more in line with classic Alice Cooper Band than anything so specifically devilish.

There also seems to be a different vocalist on the second of Demo‘s three cuts from that on “How to be You” — the opener also being the longest inclusion; immediate points — but I could be way off on that, and I suppose the nebulous unknown is part of what makes Lewis and the Strange Magics an engaging listen. So far as I know, they’ve done no shows, and while the elephant in the room stylistically here is unquestionably Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, who rode similar garage mystique all the way to an opening slot for Black Sabbath and an impending major market US tour, Lewis and the Strange Magics aren’t so singular in their influence as the construction of their moniker might have you believe. Tonally, Lewis and company delve into vintage-isms, and there are at least two guitars on “Cloudy Grey Cube,” though that could just as easily be tape layering in the solo section before a return to the classic stoner swing of the verse riff that finishes out.

“Golden Threads” rounds out in spooky proto-metal form, a late ’60s Halloween psychedelia persisting in echoing soul vocals and a jangly but threatening intro/chorus riff, a dead giveaway of some underlying metallic influence. The closer opens up to a doomly groove, but never loses its swing, and deftly returns to its verse and instrumental chorus to close the quick 15-minute romp with a hint at darker explorations to come. Whoever they are, Lewis and the Strange Magics have arrived with a strong sense of what they’re looking to accomplish aesthetically, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to find their Soulseller debut a more complex, individualized effort than Demo, the three tracks included here make it easy to understand what all the hubbub is about, trading as they do in a fresh sound and giving another spin on what’s quickly becoming an established subgenre in its own right with garage-influenced doom rock. One way or another, expect to hear more about Lewis and the Strange Magics as they approach their debut proper, since buzz of this sort rarely disappears overnight.

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo (2014)

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,