Red Mesa Premiere “Sacred Datura” from The Devil and the Desert

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

red mesa

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based heavy desert rockers Red Mesa release their second album, The Devil and the Desert via their own Desert Records imprint on June 1. The follow-up to the trio’s 2014 self-titled debut and their 2016 appearance alongside Blue Snaggletooth on Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter Four (review here), it’s a seven-track/38-minute outing the urgency of which seems to be affirmed through the sheer act of its creation.

To wit: Split into two vinyl sides and released on that format with money garnered via crowdfunding, the beginning of the recording process found guitarist/vocalist Bradley Frye without a band. Both bassist Shawn Wright and drummer Duane Gasper split after a gig last August (that must have been some show), and rather than call it a day and go home, Frye decided to hit the somewhat ironically named Empty House Studio with producer/engineer Matthew Tobias and press forward with making the record.

That decision in itself was pretty bold, and it pays dividends throughout The Devil and the Desert, the title of which refers to its dual themes. From front to back there would seem to be a narrative of hallucinogens, the arrival of the devil, the desert itself, and so on, and musically, the material becomes more severe the deeper into the record one goes, Frye starting out with a semi-acoustic swamp blues that touches on psychedelia in “The Devil’s Coming ‘Round” — which has a few heavy riffs of its own, like a Southwestern fuzz-proffering Monster Magnet with Frye cast in the Wyndorf role — and the ethereal sandy grunge of centerpiece “Desert Sol,” before tipping the balance to more weighted fare with “Sacred Datura,” the motor-chugging “Route 666” and the trippy desert heft and spaciousness of the 10-minute closing title-track.

red mesa the devil and the desertBy the time Frye gets around to “The Devil and the Desert,” he’s traveled a significant distance even from “The Devil’s Coming ‘Round” and other early cuts like opener “Devil Come out to Play” and the instrumental “Springtime in the Desert,” which opens psychedelic and fades out only to return with more grounded acoustics. That play between the real and unreal becomes central to The Devil and the Desert, and in order to better evoke it, Frye put Tobias to work on drums/percussion and brought in studio players Jon Mcmillian (bass) and lap steel/baritone guitarist Alex McMahon in order to better evoke the sense of a full-band playing. To be blunt, it works.

The danger with using session musicians especially on an independent release is that, while generally ultra-talented, they have little investment in the project at hand. They’ll play well, but won’t share the passion of those who hired them or who composed the material they’re playing. Frye and Tobias found the right people. To listen to the fleshed out arrangement of “Desert Sol” at the album’s center, McMahon‘s baritone and lead guitar melds easily with what Frye does on electric and acoustic guitar and vocals and with Tobias‘ percussion. And since the second, more generally weighted half of the record was made with the clearly self-aware Frye and Tobias working as a duo playing the parts of a full band — Frye taking up bass as well as guitars and vocals — there’s a shift in presentation as well as general mindset just where one is intended.

So again, it works. I don’t know if Frye — whose since brought on bassist Randy Martinez and drummer Roman Barham to play in the live incarnation of Red Mesa — would say losing two-thirds of his band prior to recording was an asset, but listening to the channels switch in the bouncing verse of “Sacred Datura,” or hearing the fuzzy rhythm part back the soaring lead, one would have a hard time arguing he didn’t make the most of it, and that The Devil and the Desert didn’t turn out as broad in sound as it is cohesive in its themes. It’s a mindful outing that rather than simply working within genre confines, uses the elements of desert rock, lost country and psychedelia in carefully set balances to suit its own needs and purposes. It is an album commanding aesthetic, rather than being led by the rules of it.

Below, you can hear the premiere of “Sacred Datura” and read more about the song specifically from Brad Frye. Once again, The Devil and the Desert is out June 1 via Desert Records. Preorders are up now through Red Mesa‘s Bandcamp page.

Please enjoy:

Brad Frye on “Sacred Datura”:

The song “Sacred Datura” was initially conceived from Carlos Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Life. In the book Don Juan explains that Sacred Datura is also known as Devil’s Weed. Sacred Datura is meant to give human beings remarkable powers, such as being able to fly, uproot big trees, go into heat to become pregnant, very powerful stuff. In regards to the song, it’s more about having the power to confront your demons (or the Devil) head-on and be able to survive the encounter.

Most all the titles to songs on this record include the word ‘desert’ or ‘devil.’ I was originally going to name the song “Devil’s Weed” but I figured some hallucinogenic drug fans or plants geeks may appreciate the reference.

The other book that inspired the song was Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. There’s a chapter in the book where a boy accidentally eats Sacred Datura and has quite a trip before he eventually dies from dehydration in the canyon lands of Utah. Although I’ve never taken Sacred Datura, I used my own experiences with psychedelic mushrooms to write the song.

It’s the first track I’ve ever recorded with me playing bass. The tracking session mostly consisted of Matthew Tobias telling me to “do it again.” The whirling sound that you hear at the very beginning of the song and continues throughout the first half of the song is from a homemade Leslie rotating speaker cabinet made from some hippie dude that I bought from in the trippy little New Mexico town of Madrid.

The riff in the second half of the song is most certainly an ode to Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” riff. Seems like the kind of riff that would appear out of the cosmos on such a journey.
Plus, it being the devil’s triad (root note, with a octave up, and a flatted fifth), which was banned from the churches in Europe in centuries past, seemed fitting to have in this album.

The album was recorded at Empty House Studio in Albuquerque, NM. Matthew Tobias engineered, produced, and mixed the entire album. Doug Van Sloan Mastered the album. Side A was recorded in September and October of 2017. Side B was recorded in January and February of 2018.

Release date: 250 colored vinyl LP’s will be available for sale in early June 2018. Limited edition. Brad Frye’s new record label, DESERT RECORDS, will release the album. Look for more
releases in 2018 by DESERT RECORDS.

Red Mesa has a new rhythm section for 2018 for live shows.
Roman Barhan (Rezin Tree, Black Maria, Jagged Mouth,) will play drums.
Randy Martinez (Hounds Low, Jagged Mouth) will play bass.

Red Mesa is currently booking its first tour to play and promote the album.

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Red Mesa on Bandcamp

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Review & Full Stream: Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore, Split 7″

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bible of the devil still on top

[Click play above to stream the new split single from Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore. Copies are available now from the bands.]

“Got no time to lose” is one of the lines tossed out in the call and response hook to Bible of the Devil‘s “Still on Top,” which is their contribution to a new split 7″ single with Albuquerque’s Leeches of Lore. It might be true in the case of both bands, but for the Chicago outfit it seems especially so. After years of road-dogging, the antic-prone two-guitar four-piece have played it decidedly lower key since the release of their most recent album, For the Love of Thugs and Fools (discussed here), via Cruz del Sur in 2012. They’ve done periodic tours in the Midwest and hit local fests like Alehorn of Power, but where the aughts and early ’10s found them belting out album after album, tour after tour, and a succession of splits with the likes of ValkyrieSlough Feg and Winterhawk, the half-decade since the last full-length has been comparatively quiet.

One single, of course, isn’t going to make up for lost time, but “Still on Top” comes across very much as a song with a message, taking a workingman’s rocker perspective and assuring both the listener and the band that yes, they’ve still got it. Interestingly, it comes accompanied by Leeches of Lore‘s “Mountain of Mom,” which may or may not be the final recorded output from a group who recently and willingly gave that same “it” up. Following their to-date pinnacle work in 2015’s Toshi Kasai-produced Motel of Infinity (review here), the avant rockers led by guitarist/vocalist Steve Hammond played what was to be their last shows in May 2017, making this, at least technically, a posthumous offering. For what it’s worth, they hardly sound dead at all.

So in terms of communication, what Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore present in “Still on Top” and “Mountain of Mom” is — at least potentially — hello and a goodbye. One hesitates to speculate on the future of either group, particularly since the latter have said they’re done and since it’s been so long since the former had any other output, but that’s how it looks on the surface, and for a release that runs neatly under the nine-minute mark and comprises just two tracks, it’s a pretty efficient check-in. Accordingly, both groups play solidly to their strengths.

For Bible of the Devil, that means a classic-sounding blend of rock and metal, with guitar work by Nathan Perry (also vocals) and Chris Grubbs in the spirit of the NWOBHM as most informed by Thin Lizzy-style good times, and an upbeat hook propelled by the rhythm section of drummer Greg Spalding and bassist/vocalist Darren Amaya. On the basic level of its approach, it could hardly be more their own if it was about “the night,” but while the method and structure may be familiar, a rawer production than one necessarily might expect from Bible of the Devil after For the Love of Thugs and Fools or the preceding 2008 triumph, Freedom Metal, gives a live feel to the proceedings such that there’s almost a garage sensibility to the initial chug and the verse, before the background vocals or harmonized guitar lead take hold.

This might make “Still on Top” an even more fitting complement to “Mountain of Mom,” as Leeches of Lore have always been (or “always were,” depending on the tense in which one wants to categorize them) a rawer band, even under the guidance of Kasai, taking cues from noise rock, punk, country, extreme metal and the great anti-genre beyond where few dare to tread. Their final lineup consisted of HammondKris KerbyNoah Wolters and Andy Lutz, but whether or not that’s who appears on the single I don’t actually know. In any case, like Bible of the Devil before them, Leeches of Lore are very much at home in the 4:09 “Mountain of Mom,” working quickly even with the title to make the listener ill-at-ease as only good art can in terms of just what the hell they’re talking about and whether or not it actually has anything to do with the song itself.

That’s a question that remains as Hammond moves vocally between cleaner singing, falsetto, and harsher shouts and the band around him between circuitous lumbering marked out by its transitional drum fills and sustained pulls of guitar and a last-minute delve into lead guitar and organ that comes close enough to punk rock cabaret to recall some of Leeches of Lore‘s more offbeat aesthetic aspects, even if the basic structure it keeps to is relatively straightforward. If indeed it is their final output — again, one never says never in rock and roll — it’s a suitable weirdo-metal farewell with early screams leading to talk of the end of the world and traffic jams and so on. One might call it “the usual,” but in the grander scheme, there’s hardly anything usual about it, and of course that’s a big part of the fun.

Like much of Leeches of Lore‘s work during their time together, “Mountain of Mom” benefits from longer-term digestion over multiple listens, but those repeat visits are well-enough earned by the quickened feel and the front-to-back linear transition the band undergoes. As was the case throughout their tenure, their reach remains underrated and underappreciated, and despite a more immediate take, the same could easily be said of Bible of the Devil, the quality of whose work has always made them something of a well-kept secret within the American Midwest. If there’s anything tying the two bands together, it’s probably that most of all, but neither should one discount the fact that throughout their careers — one maybe restarting, the other maybe over — neither of them has been willing to compromise who they are at their root or give up exploring outward from their sonic foundation. Their split may be short, but there’s no lack of substance whatsoever.

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Bible of the Devil on Bandcamp

Bible of the Devil website

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Leeches of Lore on Bandcamp

Leeches of Lore website

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Leeches of Lore Confirm Final Show for May 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

leeches of lore

Sorry to hear that Albuquerque weirdo heavy rockers Leeches of Lore are hanging up their collective spurs this month? You bet your ass I am. Really, really, really glad to have been able to see them live when I did? That’s also a huge yes. The band may be coming to an end as they also mark their 10th anniversary — and hey, never say never in rock and roll, right? — this month with a hometown gig at Sister Bar, but it’s also easy to argue they’re going out at the top of their game. They’ve got a new split en route with Chicago’s Bible of the Devilinfo here (), and their last album, 2015’s Toshi Kasai-helmed Motel of Infinity (review here), was unquestionably their greatest accomplishment to-date. I guess guitarist/vocalist/band-spearhead Steve Hammond decided it would also make a hell of a swansong, and I can’t argue.

The May 20 show is actually the second of two farewell gigs Leeches of Lore had slated for this month — the other was this past weekend — so if you want to see them, time is fleeting. Should it be at all within the realm of the possible for you, I can only recommend it based on my personal experience.

Hammond sent this along the PR wire:

leeches-of-lore-last-show

Leeches of Lore’s Final Days

Hey folks,

It’s been a fun 10 years, but Leeches of Lore is calling it quits this month. I’m moving out of New Mexico and can’t keep the band running at a distance.

Final Show and 10 Year Anniversary Saturday May 20 at Sister in Albuquerque NM with SuperGiant and Black Maria. This show will be a long one, encompassing our entire career. I never recommend people come from out of town to see one of our shows, but this might be the exception!

It’s hard to believe that what started as a one-off solo album turned into over 50 original songs from 5 full length albums and 3 EPs and lasted ten years!

I want to thank all of our fans from all over the world and especially our friends and family here in Albuquerque. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

Cheers!
Steve Hammond

https://www.facebook.com/events/523268441395460/
https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/
http://lorchestralrecordingcompany.com/
http://facebook.com/leechesoflore
http://leechesoflore.com/

Leeches of Lore, Motel of Infinity (2015)

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Red Mesa & Blue Snaggletooth, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Four: Deserts and Mystic Waters

Posted in Reviews on December 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-4-red-mesa-blue-snaggletooth

One can’t help but wonder if, when Ripple Music first announced their The Second Coming of Heavy series of splits in early 2015, the California-based imprint had any idea what they were getting into. They committed at the outset to make it 10 releases, each one dubbed a “Chapter,” and aside from the logistical nightmare of coordinating such a thing from recordings to cover art to pressing and the invariable presence of bands outside their window in long jackets holding boomboxes over their heads playing their own songs to try to be a part of it, even timing out the arrival of each subsequent LP seems daunting. There’s a reason most “series” of splits or comps don’t get past their first installment, and it’s because they’re a monumental pain in the ass to put make happen.

After bringing together Borracho and Geezer (review here), Supervoid and Red Desert (review here), and BoneHawk and Kingnomad (review here), The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Four highlights two more acts from the American underground in desert-is-as-desert-does Albuquerque trio Red Mesa and Ann Arbor, Michigan, power rockers Blue Snaggletooth. As has been the custom of the series, each band gets a side on the limited edition vinyl to work with — Red Mesa‘s is about 22 minutes, Blue Snaggletooth‘s about 19 — and an opportunity to ply their wares to a wider audience and collectors alike by teaming up. Red Mesa and Blue Snaggletooth do this while at the same time complementing each other’s style and, ultimately, adding to the breadth of The Second Coming of Heavy as a whole, underscoring the core belief of the project that heavy rock and roll knows no boundaries or other limits of any kind. It can, and does, emerge from anytime, anyplace.

The first line of the release tops a speedy motor riff. It’s Red Mesa‘s “Cactus Highway,” one of their four inclusions, and the lyric is “Let’s go to the desert/Leave it all behind.” Immediately, the impression is straightforward, somewhere between a vocalized Karma to Burn and Kyuss, and through that opener and “Low and Slow,” which follows, it seems like that’s going to be the course of the thing. Nothing wrong with that. “Cactus Highway” has a touch of shuffle in the drumming of Duane Gasper, and the tone of guitarist/vocalist Brad Frye is well-suited to the Motörhead-style thrust of the track, on which he’s backed by bassist Shawn Wright, but particularly the second half of “Low and Slow” begins to hint at a broader approach. Slower overall as one would hope based on the title, it opens to a wider feel under the solo and then gets even more spacious after its final chorus. This makes it an even more jarring turn when Red Mesa shift into the jangly-party-time strum of “Goin’ to the Desert,” with its handclaps and howls and intentional barroom blues, vaguely countrified but only lasting about 90 seconds of the song’s seven minutes before thunder crashes, a cymbal washes and the three-piece shift into minimalist psychedelia, vocals and guitar gradually returning, leading to a crash-in at the midpoint of heavier riffing and subsequent build of Monster Magnet-esque heavy space rock noise wash, the apex of which gradually fades out over the last minute with more thunder and rain sounds remaining.

It’s a sudden, somewhat odd turn for “Goin’ to the Desert” to make — seeming to present people’s ideas about actually doing so measured against the terrifying reality of the ecosystem — and it completely shatters the expectation for what “Utopia,” which closes Red Mesa‘s side, might present. As plausible as it seemed going into “Cactus Highway” to get a handle on their aesthetic of dudely desertism, coming out of “Goin’ to the Desert” renders most guessing irrelevant. They finish over the course of the 6:51 track by trading volume back and forth between “Planet Caravan” impulses filtered through Southwestern nighttime skies and harder riffing, but shift into an acoustic-led psychedelic bridge in the midsection that acts as the foundation for their last build, setting up a return to the chorus that highlights the notion of just how much Red Mesa‘s side flows across its abbreviated course, and the outward progression the band effectively sets up. It feels way more like an EP than a split side simply bringing songs together — a genuine mini-album to follow their self-released 2014 self-titled debut — and hopefully speaks to where they’re headed in terms of sound overall.

the-second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-four-red-mesa-blue-snaggletooth-lp-700

Comparatively, Blue Snaggletooth have the benefit of experience over Red Mesa. With frontman and founder Chris “Box” Taylor at the fore, Blue Snaggletooth debuted in 2011 with Dimension Thule (review here) and followed that with 2014’s Beyond Thule (discussed here) and last year’s The Last Voyage of Amra EP, settling in the meantime on a formidable lineup with Taylor working alongside guitarist Casey O’Ryan (also Bison Machine), bassist Joe Kupiec (also Wild Savages) and drummer Mike Popovich, which is the four-piece present on these three tracks as well. Beginning with the 8:30 “Sand Witch,” an opener and longest inclusion (immediate points), Blue Snaggletooth reinforce the classic heavy basis from which modern riffery stems, all the while refusing to give into cliché vintage-ism or sacrifice a modern tonal presence in the name of worshiping at the altar of their forebears. Across “Sand Witch,” “Crystal’s Gaze” and “Mystic Waters,” they demonstrate a wah-prone take that owes more to 1972 than 1968, but takes the lessons of psychedelia and suits them to their straight-ahead, mostly structured purposes.

Some echo in the chorus of “Mystic Waters” goes a long way, for example, and the swirl of intertwining guitar leads with what may or may not be Deep Purple-style organ underneath the peak of “Sand Witch” makes for an exciting stretch worthy of any size stage that thinks it could contain it. Updating that classic heavy grandeur by blending it with a humbler semi-desert fuzz is a major factor in making “Sand Witch” work so well, but Blue Snaggletooth tie their three inclusions together through a consistency of songwriting that makes each chorus a standout, and whether it’s “Sand Witch” pushing out into that dual-guitar mythology creation, or “Crystal’s Gaze” calling to mind the early fuzz triumphs of Sasquatch and drenching them in wah, or “Mystic Waters” bringing the whole thing together and making it boogie, the four-piece hold firm to their own processes and thus their identity, executing their material with confidence and a fluidity that contrasts the linear outward course of Red Mesa, emphasizing a different manner of stylistic blend in the process.

As though in conversation with their side A companions, Blue Snaggletooth start at their farthest-out point and seem to work their way back in, and while that gives The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Four an overarching progression through its two sides, it’s worth noting that, like all of the offerings thus far issued as a part of the series, this LP draws strengths as much from the differences between the players involved as from the similarities. I don’t think I’ve let a review pass yet without noting my issue with the number in the name — that is, that “heavy” has had more than two comings at this point in its span of generations — but as The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Four clearly demonstrates, Ripple and the bands it’s selected to be a part of this increasingly pivotal project are less about looking back at history than casting a new place within it.

Red Mesa on Bandcamp

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Blue Snaggletooth website

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Ripple Music website

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Red Mesa & Blue Snaggletooth to Feature on The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Four Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Ripple Music‘s steady ascent continues with the next edition of the label’s dubiously-titled The Second Coming of Heavy series of limited split LPs. After broadening the reach to international terrain the last time out in bringing together Michigan’s BoneHawk with Sweden’s Kingnomad (review here), The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Four once again pairs two US bands — Red Mesa from New Mexico and Blue Snaggletooth from Michigan — in keeping with earlier chapters that highlighted the work of Geezer and Borracho (review here) and Supervoid and Red Desert (review here). As with the entire series, cover art is supplied by Joseph Rudell and Carrie Olaje, and the release date is set for Dec. 9.

Each band has a song streaming now that you can check out under the PR wire info below:

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The return of Ripple Music’s The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV | New split album from Red Mesa and Blue Snaggletooth

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV is released on vinyl on 9th December 2016

Already recognised as one of the world’s leading purveyors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych, Ripple Music upped the ante in 2015 with the arrival of one of the year’s most ambitious projects, The Second Coming Of Heavy Series.

Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each installment shines a light on those worthy of your attention. Consisting of one, 12” slab of multicoloured vinyl with full colour sleeves and inserts, the series is designed to be saved and treasured, like a fine anthology of books. So much so when the albums are filed next to each other, the complete collection of aligned spines form a mind-blowing image direct from the underground.

Following on from the series’ first installment released in 2015 featuring Geezer and Borracho; Chapter II’s split between Supervoid and Red Desert earlier this year and last June’s BoneHawk and Kingnomad offering, the latest installment brings you brand new music from Albuquerque trio Red Mesa and Ann Arbor quartet Blue Snaggletooth.

RED MESA – Coming at you from yonder, down the mountain atop the deserted mesas of New Mexico, like their name suggests Red Mesa instill a sense of desert haze. Touting a varied psychedelic-stoner sound that begs for maximum volume with a high octane, pedal to the metal attitude, the Albuquerque trio – consisting of vocalist/guitarist Brad Frye, bassist Shawn Wright and drummer Duane Gasper – will take you on a vivid journey. Utilizing elements of doom, punk rock and psychedelic fuzz, Red Mesa are the living embodiment of hard riffing hallucinogens.

BLUE SNAGGLETOOTH – If anyone is proving that you can honor hard rock’s past while pumping fresh blood into its future, it’s Blue Snaggletooth. Billing themselves as purveyors of “Psychedelic D&D Rock & Roll,” the Ann Arbor, Michigan quartet combine elements of hard rock, heavy metal, and psychedelia (all pre-1975), and fuse those styles with lyrics inspired by classic sci-fi and fantasy. While the results are likely to please anyone into stoner rock, Blue Snaggletooth have no truck with irony or tongue-in-cheek glances at the past, and instead embrace their classic influences to build a sound that’s physically powerful but with plenty of sinewy groove.

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV will get an official vinyl release on 9th December 2016 and is limited to 300 copies in three alternative versions (100 of each) – The Resurrection Edition, The Risen OBI and The Ascension Edition.

Track Listing:
1. ‘Cactus Highway’ by Red Mesa
2. ‘Low And Slow’ by Red Mesa
3. ‘Goin’ To The Desert’ by Red Mesa
4. ‘Utopia’ by Red Mesa
5. ‘Sand Witch’ by Blue Snaggletooth
6. ‘Crystal’s Gaze’ by Blue Snaggletooth
7. ‘Mystic Waters’ by Blue Snaggletooth

https://redmesarock.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/redmesaband
http://www.bluesnaggletoothmusic.com/
https://twitter.com/BSnaggletooth
https://www.instagram.com/bluesnaggletoothmusic/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
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https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

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Leeches of Lore Announce West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

New Mexico bizarro rockers Leeches of Lore will head out on a West Coast tour starting April 9 with a hometown show in Albuquerque. The gigs pick up again a couple nights later in Tucson and continue from there, taking the band up and through San Francisco, Portland and Seattle before heading south again through Boise and Denver, all in support of their Toshi Kasai-produced 2015 outing, Motel of Infinity (review here), which found them as gleefully weird as ever, but obviously with a more pro-shop-type production value, their songs both memorable and endearingly strange.

Their live show, at least that time I saw them, back when life was a broke adventure and my only monotonies were of my making, is likewise memorable and likewise strange, the band utilizing heavy rock as a core from which to branch out with more individualized expression in a matter of minutes than most conjure in a career. Yes, I mean that. If you live on the West Coast and you don’t know these cats — but of course you do, because if you live on the West Coast, you’re hip to all kinds of stuff — get yourself informed and get yourself to a show.

Dates follow:

leeches of lore tour

Leeches of Lore West Coast Tour in April

We will be heading West in April.

Here are the tour dates:

Sat 4-9: TOUR KICKOFF at Moonlight Lounge ABQ with Jackhammer
Thu 4-14: High Life Tucson
Fri 4-15: Cafe NELA L.A.
Sat 4-16: Bender’s Bar and Grill San Francisco
Sun 4-17: The Maltese Chico, CA with Sex Hogs II and Panther Surprise
Mon 4-18: High Water Mark Lounge Portland with EMS and A Volcano
Tue 4-19: Funhouse Seattle with EMS
Wed 4-20: The Shredder Boise
Fri 4-22: Tennyson’s Tap Denver with Modern Goon

If you don’t live in these towns, please invite any friends you may have that do.

Here is the Facebook event page if you are into that kind of thing. https://www.facebook.com/events/220111945002828/

The new record “Motel of Infinity” will be available at the shows for a discounted price, or you can always get it and our other releases at https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/.

https://www.facebook.com/events/220111945002828/
https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/
http://lorchestralrecordingcompany.com/
http://facebook.com/leechesoflore
http://leechesoflore.com/

Leeches of Lore, Motel of Infinity (2015)

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Leeches of Lore, Motel of Infinity: Burning Souls and Sleeping Gods (Plus Album Stream!)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 15th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Leeches-of-Lore-Motel-of-Infinity

[Please note: Press play above to hear a full-album stream of Leeches of Lore’s Motel of Infinity. Thanks the band for letting me host the premiere. Album is out Sept. 22.]

It’s been a long three years since Albuquerque’s favorite weirdo sons Leeches of Lore last graced an unsuspecting cosmos with a full-length, and their new one, Motel of Infinity, stands as a testament to the genre-blender mastery the band has undertaken. Released by their own Lorchestral Recording Company, it slices, it dices, it riffs out, thrashes on, drops in, tunes out, digs mightily and thrusts in a manner not suitable for public transit. It rages and carouses and careens and tumbles. It rocks heavy and it rocks often, an 11-track/36-minute that sculpts chaos out of punk, riffs, rockabilly and various metals from thrash to black metal to doom and comes out of it at the end having not yet broken a sweat.

Sounds like hyperbole, and maybe it is, but Leeches of Lore pack enough stylistic breadth into a two-minute slice like “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” that most bands who claim to be open-minded should be embarrassed to stand and behold it. Singles, EPs and stopgaps like last year’s Live at KUNM 89.9 (review here) — a handy preview for some of these songs — have helped ease the burden while the band, which is based around the core trio of Steve Hammond (guitar/vocals), Noah Wolters (keys/vocals) and Andy Lutz (drums/vocals), though one never knows who might show up on any given night, put together this record, writing the material and eventually recording with Toshi Kasai (Melvins, etc.), but taken as a follow-up to 2012’s Frenzy, Ecstasy and 2011’s Attack the Future (review here), the newer release is in a different league entirely in terms of its professionalism of sound and how centered and assured the band sounds as they conjure the storms in these tracks.

And I do mean storms. From the first hits and tom runs of “Radium Jaws,” Motel of Infinity executes broad-ranging tension in guitar, keys, drums, handclaps — alternate universe surf rock, or else some style that someone cleverer than me will have to name. Still punker raw in tone, but much bolstered by Kasai‘s production, Leeches of Lore are in command immediately and they cede no ground as “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” takes hold, vocals answering each other in switching channels before Hammond unveils his strange falsetto, only to be met by gang shouts en route to a finish of key-led bounce that feeds into “The Sixth Finger,” its own rush underway in about 10 seconds. To issue “expect the unexpected” as a warning feels cheap, but the blackthrash screaming that tops “The Sixth Finger” as it plunders along slams headfirst into Thin Lizzy dual-guitar shenanigans and catchy ’70s swing, and, well, few other warnings seem appropriate.

leeches-of-lore

It’s also not just that Leeches of Lore are working with these various forms, tossing them together haphazardly, or just that the album is a good time — though, make no mistake, it is — but the fact that they create something cohesive from them that stands alone within the US heavy rock underground. And on Motel of Infinity, they sound damn good while doing it. “White Hole” is the shortest cut at 1:55, and it keeps its movement largely forward, but “The Man Who was Never Born” pulls back on tempo, tosses in classic prog acoustics, and a near-Western ramble that leads to a keyboard highlight performance from Wolters and the layered acoustic/electrics of “The Sleeping God,” which serves as the centerpiece of the tracklist. In under three and a half minutes, it trades back and forth between full-on rush and “Space Oddity”-esque float — twice — and winds up more exhausting than exhausted, as “White Debbie” rings out its darkabilly cabaret, complete with all-too appropriate theremin, cowboy stick clicks and, in the last of its two and a half minutes, church organ and a Melvinsy spoken part that sits back to sound like it’s about to eat the mix.

Then things get really offbeat. Well, at very least they continue to push farther out from where Attack the Future or their 2009 self-titled debut (review here) dared to tread. “The Olm” at over six minutes starts out innocently enough but becomes a bleak swirl first rumbling and then minimal and constructed of far-away noise that surges forward suddenly before finishing out in feedback from which the opening thud of “Woth-o-Voll” picks up immediately, its own brief, two-minutes shifting into almost Patton-style crooning atop lounge keys and easy-rolling drums that finish in silence. Not sure how Leeches of Lore might have been able to better set the table for “Noah’s Soul (is Burning),” one of Motel of Infinity‘s most standout cuts, marked by its start-stop progression, at-least-three-part vocals with lines about sexting and Chex Mix and the ultimate affirmation that the band know exactly what they’re going as they’ve run this gamut coming in a psych’ed up solo and key interplay, the bassline seeming to be the piece holding it all together also serving as the leadout.

It’s a somewhat blindsiding cut, even in the context of the madness surrounding, and it gives way quietly to “Jeep Marmalade,” the instrumental at the end of the world, which seems to take the only road available to it in that, just when you think it’s about to explode in thrashing madcap, it holds onto its steady build and rounds out Motel of Infinity not with a lack of movement, but with a relatively straightforward progression that’s all the more disorienting for the sundry freakouts and fast turns preceding. Underrated since always, Leeches of Lore have only grown more and more adventurous in their sound and steadfast in their convictions, and Motel of Infinity shatters expectations and finds the band standing tall, proving they were right all along. A rare band truly operating on their own terms and in their own style has just unveiled their finest hour to-date. Anyone who doesn’t feel like that’s a joyous occasion is missing out.

Leeches of Lore on Thee Facebooks

Leeches of Lore on Bandcamp

Lorchestral Recording Company

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Leeches of Lore Release Motel of Infinity Sept. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

leeches of lore

New Mexican bizarrorockers Leeches of Lore are the band you go to when everything else just seems too normal. They’ll perform a mercy on the universe on Sept. 22 when they at last unveil their new album, Motel of Infinity, dealing a crushing and hopefully fatal blow against the forces of the generic. The album, produced by Toshi Kasai and pressed up all-class vinyl-style after a successful crowdfunding campaign, culls tracks (some of which have floated around for a bit) that mash styles against each other with such ease that by the time they get around to the Morricone gallop of “White Debbie,” which also appeared on their second record, 2011’s Attack the Future (review here), the full-throttle thrash of “The Sixth Finger” is but a distant memory, despite only having been a few tracks prior.

I’ll have more on Motel of Infinity later this month — as the band notes in the announcement below, the album will be streamed here on Sept. 15 — but Leeches of Lore have also sent word about a two-night release spectacular to be held at Albuquerque’s top-notch establishment Sister Bar on Sept. 18 and 19, special guests and family and all. Looks like a good time:

Leeches of Lore Motel of Infinity

Leeches of Lore’s “Motel of Infinity” Out Sept. 22!

We are excited to announce the release of our new album “Motel of Infinity” on September 22! The album was recorded and mixed by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business, Tool, etc..) and mastered by JJ Golden.

We are currently taking pre-sales at https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/album/motel-of-infinity.

We will also be doing two nights at Sister Bar in Albuquerque with lots of special guests. Two totally different sets, no cover either night, details below:

Friday September 18:
The Leeches of Lorchestra Big Band

With Special Guests:
Lionhead Bunny
Bloom (Steve’s brother’s band from Kansas)

Saturday September 19:
“Motel of Infinity” in its entirety + the Kickstarter EP in its entirety

Special Guests:
Toshi Kasai
Raven Chacon
and
DJ Rygar

Buy the new vinyl for a discounted price of only $10 at these shows!

The album will also be streaming in its entirety at theobelisk.net on September 15.

Flying Midget Records is becoming Lorchestral Recording Company.

https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/album/motel-of-infinity
https://www.facebook.com/leechesoflore

Leeches of Lore, Motel of Infinity sampler

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