Posted in audiObelisk on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pressed in a grey/white splatter edition of 300 copies from Battleground Records, the new split 7″ between Arizona’s Fuzz Evil and fellow Southwesterners Chiefs is available as of today. With just over five minutes of music from each band — Fuzz Evil presenting “Glitterbones” and Chiefs “Stone Bull” — it’s a platter rife with easily-dug vibes and riff-heavy groove broken into sides F and G for a bit of alphabetical fun to coincide with the laid back, steady roll throughout. Chiefs have some demos under their belt, but for Fuzz Evil, which features guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell and bassist/vocalist Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine along with drummer Marlin Tuttle, it’s their recorded debut, and they’re off to a solid start.
Of course, for the Rudells, who with Powered Wig Machine released the Supa-Collider full-length (review here) earlier this year, it’s not really a start at all, but as Fuzz Evil and with Tuttle, they do explore different ground within the overarching sphere of heavy rock. “Glitterbones” as a swagger and hook reminiscent of early Queens of the Stone Age, played up with some falsetto vocals, and true to their name, some vicious fuzz. Less bluesy overall than Powered Wig Machine, they still find room as Fuzz Evil to reference Clutch in the lyrics — asking what the dollar’s for — and enact a stonerly nod in the track as they march toward the solo-topped apex given further breadth and classic feel from some deeply mixed organ following the central bruiser of a riff.
For Chiefs‘ part, the Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego-based trio start out “Stone Bull” with slower riffery but open up to a chugging verse and well-placed clean vocals buried Goatsnake-style under the mountainous tones of guitarist Paul Valle and bassist Jeff Podeszwik, both of whom sing while Kevin Michel holds down the drums. Big riffs get bigger as “Stone Bull” plays out, and though an overblown solo is teased in peppered lead lines, one never materializes, and Chiefs continue their forward push with a turn past the four-minute mark that marks the beginning of the song’s final movement, ending with a riffout that, were it not for the physical limitation of the medium on which it’s pressed, could probably keep going for considerably longer. Perhaps live it does.
Speaking of live shows, Fuzz Evil have a couple release gigs planned for the 7″, the first of which is tonight. That info is included under the player below, on which you can stream the split with Chiefs in its entirety.
The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7? from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.
Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7? on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7? – place ordersHERE.
With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7? in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.
FUZZ EVIL shows: 10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7? release show 11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7? release show 11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some cool stuff going on this weekend, but neither would I mind if someone showed up with a last-minute plane ticket to Arizona that got me out in time for the start of Southwest Terror Fest III. The four-day beatdown starts tonight with the considerable likes of 16 and Oryx before Neurosis, Goatsnake, Pelican and SunnO))) consume the rest of the weekend, bringing the festival to its biggest incarnation yet. Again, I’ll be glad to be where I’m at, but I wouldn’t argue.
If you’re headed that way, enjoy. The PR wire has a last-minute plug:
SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST III: THE WESTERN FRONT Takes Over Tucson This Week
Today, the massive SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST III: THE WESTERN FRONT begins in Tucson, Arizona, taking over the town for four solid days of brutal musical acts from across the Western half of the country. With the main event shows this Friday, Saturday and Sunday night taking place at the historic Rialto Theatre, with tonight’s kickoff show and afterparty shows at the nearby The District Tavern, the third year of SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST is by far the most massive installment yet.
Today, Thursday, October 16th, the event kicks off at the District Tavern with Twingiant, Conqueror Worm, Oryx and -16-. Friday’s main event sees Godhunter, Eagle Twin, Pelican and Goatsnake together, and the afterparty with Spiritual Shepherd, Take Over And Destroy, Blackqueen and The Atlas Moth. On Saturday, The Rialto Theatre hosts Sorxe, Author & Punisher, The Body and Neurosis, and the District afterparty bringing Windmill of Corpses, Secrets of the Sky, North and Primitive Man. And the final night, sees Sex Prisoner, Obliterations, Baptists and Sunn O))) closing down the festival from the Rialto’s stage.
Official SWTFIII shirts and merch, all event and area info and more is availableHERE.
Ticket packages for SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST are availableRIGHT HERE.
SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST was founded in 2012 by members of Tucson-based underground acts Godhunter, Inoculara, Diseased Reason and Great American Tragedy in conjunction with local venues and businesses, in order to bring a full-bore event to underground music fans the Southwestern portion of the country. 2013’s event doubled in size from the maiden voyage, and now the third installment of the crushing event will bring an exceptional amount of additional new fans to the festival than ever before.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
This summer, Arizona six-piece Take Over and Destroy released their second full-length, Vacant Face, and at the end of the month, they’ll head out in support of the new album alongside French doomers Year of No Light. The tour runs from Oct. 30 in L.A. to Nov. 9 in Oakland, and will be certain to harsh all kinds of mellows up and down that side of the nation. It’s a pretty interesting mix of bands, but both share an affinity for darkness that should serve well to tie one set into the next. Take Over and Destroy also play the Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, AZ, sharing the stage with The Atlas Moth, Blackqueen and Spiritual Shepherd at the Friday night after-show.
For those of us on the Eastern Seaboard, we won’t get to see TOAD, but Year of No Light have two shows booked at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar for Nov. 13 and 14. They are excellent live and will be joined by Sannhet and Gnaw and others.
This from the PR wire:
Arizona Black Acid Trippers TAKE OVER AND DESTROY Announce West Coast Tour w/ French Doom Monolith YEAR OF NO LIGHT
Phoenix, Arizona’s Take Over And Destroy will soon be invade the Pacific Northwest and its surrounding territories with their memorable, mysterious, and powerful music, joining French doom behemoths YEAR OF NO LIGHT for a string of dates that includes shows with the likes of LESBIAN, EIGHT BELLS, and more. The tour poster was designed and executed by esteemed illustrator Bryan Proteau (Navres Mortes) with text by Nanotear.
Check out the dates below!
YEAR OF NO LIGHT + TAKE OVER AND DESTROY TOURDATES 10/30 Los Angeles, CA – Complex 11/01 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe 11/02 Boise, ID – Crazy Horse 11/03 Spokane, WA – TBA 11/04 Seattle, WA – Highline 11/05 Bellingham, WA – Shakedown w/Lesbian 11/06 Olympia, WA – Obsidian 11/07 Portland, OR – Rotture w/Eight Bells 11/08 Sacramento, CA – Café Colonial 11/09 Oakland, CA – Uptown
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Battleground Records will release a split seven-inch between Fuzz Evil and Chiefs on Oct. 21. The 300-copies-only vinyl features one song from each band, and is pressed to gray/white splatter 7″, with preorders also serving as a contest entry to win a test pressing. It will mark the first physical release from Chiefs and I think for Fuzz Evil as well, who are an offshoot of Arizona heavy rockers Powered Wig Machine. No audio yet — with two songs there’s not much to give away — but info on the split came down the PR wire along with some Fuzz Evil live dates.
It goes like this:
FUZZ EVIL & CHIEFS Split 7-Inch EP To See October Release Via Battleground Records
The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7″ from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.
On the A-side, the FUZZ EVIL trio delivers a nearly five-and-a-half minute, solid, groove-laden, heavy psych rock track, “Glitterbones.” Hailing from Sierra Vista, Arizona, the band is comprised of Wayne and Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine on vocals/guitar and vocals/bass, respectively, and drummer Marlin Tuttle. Flip to the B-side, and the more than five-and-a-half minute big time jam of CHIEFS’ fiery “Stone Bull” lets loose. The California-based outfit, on this recording consisting of Paul Valle on vocals/guitar and Stephen Varns on drums, delivers prime, hard-hitting desert rock, as declared from the opening riff of their side of the shared release.
Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7″ on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7″ – place ordersHERE.
With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7″ in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.
FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS Split 7″ Track Listing: A. FUZZ EVIL “Glitterbones B. CHIEFS “Stone Bull”
FUZZ EVIL shows: 10/02/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ 10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7″ release show 11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7″ release show 11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ
They kind of had to stretch to make the title work, but they got there in the end. For each respective side of the Battleground Records split tape between Arizona polisci sludgecore bashers Godhunter and Oakland atmospheric blackened doomers Secrets of the Sky, there are two songs. Godhunter present “Pursuit/Predator” and “Gh/0st:s” and Secrets of the Sky have “The Star” and “Gh/0st:s (Part II),” the latter cut for both deriving its title from an acronym of the bands’ names, the second one altered so that if written out it would appear as “Of the Sky: Secrets” and stylized with a zero where the ‘o’ in “of” would otherwise be. Again, it’s a stretch, but they make it work, and tie the two pieces together musically well. The two acts toured together earlier this summer around slots at the Doom in June festival in Las Vegas and they’ll partner again — with many others as well — for the Southwest Terror Fest as part of a booming lineup headed by Neurosis, SunnO))), Goatsnake, et al. On the earlier tour, the tape was sold in an edition of 100 copies with artwork by Nate Burns. Vinyl is due at the end of this month in cooperation between Battleground and The Compound.
What the two bands mostly have in common is that they’re heavy, and yes, I recognize that says next to nothing about them. Godhunterderive a big part of their sound from hardcore, and as the “Pursuit/running you down” call and response gang-style vocals over acoustic guitar round out “Pursuit/Predator” — which begins and ends with the Zodiac Killer, sampled — that’s all the more prevalent. To contrast, Secrets of the Sky take a Euro-style approach to blackened doom, a clearer production than one thinks of to fit the phrase “American black metal” adding a lush sensibility to their doomed progression on “The Star.” I suppose the two bands share an affinity for experimentation as well, however, since both 10-plus-minute installments of “Gh/0st:s” depart widely from the sphere of what one might expect from the band. In Godhunter‘s case, they bring in vocalist Julia DeConciniof Young Hunter and Burning Palms to top a moody, ambient tension with layers of otherworldly melody. There’s a spoken word break somewhere around the middle, and a guitar chug emerges later on, but at no point does “Gh/0st:s” explode with the kind of aggression shown in “Pursuit/Predator,” and that’s obviously the idea.
Immediately, Secrets of the Sky are on a different wavelength. Side two starts out with guitars slowly building up, and when “The Star” kicks in full brunt, the Oakland five-piece include a roaring death metal growl for good measure. A current of synth throughout provides further distinction, but even without, Secrets of the Sky have a more metallic root. Blackened vocals over a rolling doom verse give way to atmospheric guitar and spoken whispers, and it’s not until the final moments a cleaner-sung approach is revealed. By then, Secrets of the Sky have taken “The Star” up and down and around and beaten the hell out of it, a clear, full production ensuring that nothing is lost in the process. A more plotted feel presides over “Gh/0st:s (Part II)” as well, which is instrumental save for the endearingly blasphemous Exorcist sample at the end, as it too builds and recedes with crisply mixed toms, synth, acoustic guitar and plugged-in rumble. The sample is what pushes the track past 10 minutes, and I’d call it superfluous, but Secrets of the Sky and Godhunter pretty clearly had in mind that the pieces would complement each other and be of similar length, and they are.
Despite the sonic differences, there’s an apparent affinity between the two bands for each other’s work, and that comes across as they meet in the middle (it’s a very far out “middle”) on the two “Gh/0st:s” pieces. Still, each side of the tape has something different to offer underscoring the idea that, let’s say, if you’re showing up to a gig where both acts will be taking the stage, there’s really any number of angles from which your ass might be kicked.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
“The Mountain Man,” the rhythmically-centered, viciously lumbering finale of Sorxe‘s self-released debut album, Surrounded by Shadows, is led directly into by the title-track, a five-minute alteration of consciousness via ambience, some touches of brooding Neurosis drone emerging amid the Phoenix-based four-piece’s own exploratory sensibility. The pummel that emerges from the drum intro is all the more devastating for the extended break beforehand. As such, before you click play below, take a deep breath.
Sorxe‘s Surrounded by Shadowsdraws on the best elements left from the largely washed out post-metal movement. They tradeoff atmospherics and churning, crushing riffs, vary their approach widely, and toy with structures and builds to create a full-album sensibility that each individual song feeds into. The lineup of bassists Christopher Coons and Roger Williams (the latter a founding member of Graves at Sea), guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Tanner Crace (also synth) and drummer Shane Ocell made their debut in 2013 with an EP called Realms, and all three of those tracks reappear on Surrounded by Shadows, including the 10-minute “Make it So,” which on the full-length functions as the centerpiece around which the rest of the album swirls, darkly hued and rife with multi-directional aggression.
For having two bassists, the guitar isn’t lost in the mix — one always imagines a consuming wave of low end, as if the extra four strings preclude being able to hear anything else — but when Sorxe lock into a full-brunt weighted stretch, you can feel the impact of that extra heft. Even their quieter reflections seem to have a moody feel, and as Crace layers and alternates his vocals between cleaner singing, growls and screams, the band fluidly transcends the bounds of post-hardcore, doom, sludge and post-metal, while effectively maintaining an identity of their own that never seems content to commit to one or the other. No doubt that’s a big part of what makes Surrounded by Shadowssuch a satisfying front-to-back listen.
But that closer. “The Mountain Man” has its stomp and plod in rounding out the nine-track/55-minute offering, and its initial explosion in chaotic, crushing noise is high among Surrounded by Shadows‘ most satisfying moments, but there’s consciousness at work behind all that bludgeoning. It would be hard for any individual piece to completely sum up everything Sorxe have on offer with their debut, but in providing the album with its apex, “The Mountain Man” also provides a showcase for Sorxe‘s burgeoning dynamic. It is encompassing in its heaviness.
Hope you enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Sorxe will release Surrounded by Shadowson Sept. 9 with Bandcamp streams beginning one week before. They’re also slated to appear at this year’s Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18 in Tucson, AZ, where they’ll share the stage with Neurosis and The Body. More info at the links below:
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-Collideris 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-Colliderhas 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-Colliderjarring 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-Collideris 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-Collideris 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-Colliderwas 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.
As the title hints, IV: Ronkonkoma is the fourth short release from Tucson, Arizona, duo Methra. After bustling their lineup over the course of the last few years and putting out material on 7″ and 10″, a split with Godhunter, and digital, they’ve arrived at the duo of guitarist/vocalist Nick Genitals and drummer Andy Kratzenburg and the latest five-track outing, which clocks in at just over 21 minutes, finds them exploring the line between deathly sludge and more traditionally riffed doom, Nick switching his vocals between low-register guttural growling, raw-throated screams and Sabbathian cleaner singing following opener “Breatharian (Supreme Master Ascending),” which unfolds the start of side one with a thickened lumber stood out all the more by the use of a sample talking about breatharianism, which has its roots in Hindu philosophy but is essentially the practice of staring at the sun for nourishment.
The subsequent “Blessings” showcases more of the variety in Nick‘s vocals, with a chorus that’s made almost sneaky in how catchy it is by the viscous tones surrounding. Particularly for a duo, the sound throughout IV: Ronkonkomais full and demented more in the manner of Midwestern sludge — think Fistula and the many deeply troubled branches on their family tree, though I acknowledge the “meth” part of the duo’s moniker might be a factor there — than Methra‘s more metallized Tucson countrymen and drummer-sharers Godhunter, but particularly on tape a sense of rawness is maintained in “Honest Men” and perhaps most of all on side one finisher “Slumscraper,” which builds to a punkish noisy fuckall sudden stop leading to another sample, this one talking about slicing heads off with a cutlass. It’s a long way from charmingly dopey New Age spiritualism, but by then, Methra have indeed made it a journey.
Most curious about the tape is that “SBS” occupies side two all by itself. Listening first to the digital version, I wondered if maybe the one on the tape was extended somehow, if Nick and Kratzenburg just rode that chugging riff for 20 minutes to even it up, or if there was a long sample to make up for that time, or something to draw side two out to match side one, but nope, the cassette of IV: Ronkonkomais the same as the mp3, and though “SBS” fakes its ending on both before crashing back in for a few more measures, the tape has a long silence following. If it was Methra‘s intent to single the song out — it’s not like you actually have to sit there and listen to all that nothing, what with this modern age of fast-forwarding and whatnot — they did it, and “SBS,” with its anti-having-a-job lyrics and air-pushing groove, earns its place well with a modus consistent with “Blessings” and “Honest Men,” only pushed further with a longer runtime and a sense of build added to by Kratzenburg‘s frantic snare work and Nick‘s vocal tradeoffs.
If the way they want to go is to keep belting out shorter offerings, then IV: Ronkonkomaseems to set them up well. Methra weren’t far off from putting the pieces together on 2012’s self-titled digital release, but the latest installment builds on that in a way that makes them sound even more solidified, and if Nick and Kratzenburg choose to continue as a duo, they’ve given themselves ground on which to progress while also establishing a style that smoothly bridges subgenre gaps and comes across as inherently their own. The edges are rough, but that’s the idea. Don’t be fooled. Methra know what they’re doing. And if they want to take on the task of a debut full-length, they’re ready for that too.
Some part of me feels like I just need to finally have it out with these songs. Late last fall, when Tucson, Arizona’s Young Hunter issuedthe three tracks “Welcome to Nothing,” “Trail of Tears” and “Dreamer” online as the Embers at the Foot of Dark MountainEP, there was no doubt in my mind that it was one of 2013’s best short releases. The 18-minute collection has become a staple in the months since its release, perfect for killing late night silences, and in Ohioan‘s Tetralogía Lavaplatos, it has a match. The two recordings share personnel, a spirit born of the land from whence they come and some lyrical themes — albeit manifested differently in texture — so it’s only fitting they’d wind up together, Ohioan‘s four songs, “Madrugada Sonora,” “Fat Children (with Privilege),” “Herida de Llorona” and “Dogshit in Plastic Bags” showcasing American drone-folk of varied intent and poetic critique to complement Young Hunter‘s emotionally-resonant spiritual weight.
The tape arrives in a hand-made package, the cover on front, a quote from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road on back that reads, “People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.” A piece of black tape seals the cardboard, which unfolds to various stamped symbols and the tape itself, black with gold paint, accompanied by a download card and folded sheet with lyrics for Young Hunter‘s songs and the two of Ohioan‘s that have them. The sides on the outside have “YH & OH” stamped on them, and it’s a fitting answer to Young Hunter‘s 2012 CD outing, Stone Tools, which showed similar depth in presentation. For a format as maligned as tapes often are, this split (limited to 200 copies) is one more argument for the validity of them as an outlet for creativity. Still, once one puts the thing on and presses play, there’s very little else that matters.
Droning at the start, “Welcome to Nothing” bursts Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain to life with terrifying lucidity. Young Hunter frontman Benjamin Blake intones at the start, “Abandon those around you/Do not be afraid…” beginning a verse that plays out a subtle build over the song’s first minute-plus before the drums and full-breadth guitars kick in. Even on tape, the sound is huge, the pulse vital, the mood darkened by the continued drone that becomes the out-front riff of the verse. A chaos swirl is given push by pounding drums — both Adan Martinez-Kee and Matthew Baquet are credited on the three tracks, I don’t know who plays where — and “Welcome to Nothing” is at a running pace the tension and drama of which is contrasted by the subdued delivery of the vocals. Crashing drums and a lead line from the guitar provide a sort of instrumental chorus while the hook resides in the refrain of the verse, the line “Welcome back to the void,” serving as an anchor up to the cacophony that rounds the track out and cuts echoing into the beginning of “Trail of Tears,” a single, spacious guitar introducing the line that will be the song’s central figure as a series of drum hits slam home punctuation.
I do not mind saying that there are several “holy shit” chill-up-the-spine moments on the Young Hunter side of the tape, and the unfolding of “Trail of Tears” is one of them. The band reels back and then lets loose a staggering nighttime landscape, guitars doing coyote howls to set up the first verse, Julia DeConcini joining Blake atop the complex wash from guitarist Mike Barnett, guitarist/keyboardist Samuel Christopher (who, like DeConcini, also appears with Ohioan) and bassist Michael Huerta, all of them and the drums coming together to create this rumbling, presence that both consumes and grooves, “hey-heys” and “ooh-oohs” showing up for an understated chorus before the keys and guitars duke it out in multilayered solos. The stomp from the beginning of the track reemerges in the second half as the foundation for a build the culmination of which is the tape’s most singularly devastating moment of tonal largesse and impact — Neurosis worthy — the drums pulling back to half-time at just the right moment and immediately afterwards starting in on the beat that is the foundation for “Dreamer,” the shortest of Young Hunter‘s three inclusions on the split.
By this time, Young Hunter have crafted a dense atmosphere, dark but not cultish or silly and earning its heaviness through control and presence. “Dreamer” essentially breaks into three parts. Guitars match the drum beat step for step and develop from there in a tense push that opens wide for an airy verse before trading back. The major change comes with the line “See the bones left where the spirit wakes up,” which marks the beginning of a build that will lead to the split’s most driving payoff, Blake coming to the fore over the maddening drive to ask, “When you gonna wake up?/Are you gonna wake up when you die?” ending the apex in screams not black metal-influenced like some of those on StoneTools, but rawer, more primal. And just to show that even as they’ve gone so far out, Young Hunter aren’t so out of control as to snap back with a hit of the snare, return to the original guitar rhythm/drum beat and cap “Dreamer” with a bookend to underscore the accomplishment of its songwriting. The several minutes of silence that follow offer well-appreciated opportunity for recovery.
Ohioan‘s take comes from another angle. Both “Madrugada Sonora” and “Herida de Llorona” are instrumental, the first launching the dark-folk/Americana outfit’s side with a bed of drone. More even than Young Hunter, whose songs prove distinct almost in spite of themselves, Ohioan‘s material gives the impression of being meant to be experienced as a whole. Extended waves of guitar notes make for a minimalist beginning, layers weaving in throughout “Madrugada Sonora” in a subtle and cautious build that comprises the first five minutes of Tetralogía Lavaplatos — something I’ll readily admit I only know because of the digital version of the EP. On the tape, it blends together seamlessly, and even when more distinct feedback arrives, it’s hard to know exactly where “Fat Children (with Privilege)” starts, though there’s little obscurity once the vocals begin. O Ryne Warner (who also appears with Young Hunter and has contributed bass to Ghost to Falco, from Portland, Oregon) is credited with co-engineering and mixing, as well as “other shit” in the studio, and listed first among a host of others as “faculty” — all info online; no personnel info with the tape liner — so I’m relatively comfortable presuming its his voice recounting the tale in the lyrics of “Fat Children (with Privilege),” but don’t quote me.
He’s joined throughout Ohioan‘s four songs by the aforementioned Christopher and DeConcini, as well as Connor Gallaher, Andrew Collberg, Jeff Lownsbury, Jeff Grubic, Sasha, Geoff Saba, Ryen Egglestein, Jim Colby, Isadora Moreno-Frisby, Alexandra Cer and Benjamin Ford-Sala (who also did the art for foldout), though who’s doing what is a mystery and to delve into speculation seems like overkill. The lyrics of “Fat Children (with Privilege)” are less about the titular youths themselves than the cultural excesses of wealth and hubris they’re meant to represent. It’s Howl meets service-industry blues:
“I cleansed every dish That the rich tooth missed I fed their fat children With privilege On skin On organs And flesh With the skin Of my friends,”
And isn’t long in going on to talk about a “life, ever spent, paying rent” — something Young Hunter touched on as well in “Dreamer” with “Another life spent chasing paychecks” — the disillusion with adult consumerist life indicative both of creative restlessness and the core of resentment that bleeds through the remainder of the track. Where Young Hunter crashed and slammed, Ohioan seethe, though in Angels of Light-esque form, there’s a swell of volume and lurching heft as well near the end of the track, topped by strings (real or inorganic) and multiple vocals as it is. The song breaks back down to its root frustration and silence precedes the instrumental “Herida de Llorona,” a twanging, guitar of country’ed sweetness offering some contrast to the gnashing teeth in the prior cut’s finish.
That atmosphere of sentiment for the impossible — something other countries rightly shake their heads at but is nonetheless a core element of American culture — continues into “Dogshit in Plastic Bags,” though neither the title of the song nor its lyrics would draw one to that notion. If it was Ohioan‘s intent to toy with contrast, they did a more than able job of it, the words barely spoken in sweet, patient melody as the lines, “Our legacy will be dicks drawn on bathroom walls, empty windows and dogshit in plastic bags outside the mall” provide the capstone for what would otherwise superficially appear as a dreamy, wistful country exploration, complete with pedal steel and slow, soft drumming. They do not linger after those lines are delivered with cadence that seems to playfully distract from the message itself, and the split concludes in a fashion rather unassuming considering the scope of what’s played out over the course of the prior 40-or-so minutes.
Last I heard, Blake had moved to Portland, Oregon, so if there’s a future for Young Hunter or what that might look like, I don’t know. Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain remains a substantial contribution either way. Ohioan, nebulous as they are, have several other releases to dig into available via their Bandcamp — 2011’s Balls Deep in Babylon catches the eye — in some alliance with Infinite Front, which seems to be an artist collective as much as a record label. Fair enough. What remains true for both acts is the essential nature of the work they’ve given here. I’m not sure if a tape does it justice. I’m not sure what format would — some form of audio tattoo? But a tape makes sense coming from two groups who’ve obviously stood under a huge desert sky and realized how little it matters one way or another, so a tape it is. Recommended.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After releasing the CD last month through The Compound and their own Battleground Records, Tucson, Arizona, sludge freethinkers are set to have their debut full-length, City of Dust(streamed here), show up on vinyl May 1. The destructive six-piece will tour a week with Secrets of the Sky starting June 6 at this year’s Doom in June fest in Las Vegas, and the LP will be limited to 300 copies with a handy bunch of extras which the PR wire is happy to detail below.
This is also the first I’m seeing of the Doom in June lineup, which looks right on with Ides of Gemini, Novembers Doom, Demon Lung, AcidWitch, Godhunter, Secrets of the Sky and Christian Mistress. That’s a heavy goddamn show.
Specificity is key:
GODHUNTER: Tour With Secrets Of The Sky Confirmed
Preorders For Deluxe LP Version Of City Of Dust Available
Following the triumphant CD/digital release of GODHUNTER’s dynamic debut full-length, City Of Dust, today the deluxe vinyl edition of the album have been posted, in addition to the band’s next bout of widespread touring in support of the album.
Having been released through a union of Earsplit’s label, The Compound, and GODHUNTER’s Battleground Records, the two DIY factions will release City Of Dust in a deluxe vinyl run, which is currently being manufactured. The record will be available in a run of 300 copies on clear 180-gram vinyl with red splatters analogous with the desert rose cover artwork, all poly-bagged with a black sleeve and full-color 12×24 lyric/liner sheet and full-color jacket. Preorders for the impending vinyl adaptation of the album have been posted; all pre-street date orders placed via Earsplit Distro will see the LP shipped with a free copy of City Of Dust on CD and will ship by May 1st. Preorder placement for the vinyl as well as and an arsenal of additional GODHUNTER merch can all be located HERE.
Late this Spring, GODHUNTER will take off on a wild west US trek with Oakland’s progressive doom metal sextet, Secrets Of The Sky. On June 6th and 7th the bands will rendezvous at the annual Doom In June Fest in Las Vegas, both set to perform amidst the lineup including Novembers Doom, Christian Mistress, Acid Witch, Ides of Gemini, Demon Lung and more. From there they’ll co-headline a course through Oakland, San Luis Obispo, Glendale, Palm Desert, Tucson and Phoenix.
GODHUNTER & SECRETS OF THE SKY Spring Tour: 6/06/2014 Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV @ Doom In June 6/07/2014 Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV @ Doom In June 6/08/2014 Stork Club – Oakland, CA 6/09/2014 Frankie Teardrops – San Luis Obispo, CA 6/10/2014 Billy O’s – Ventura, CA 6/11/2014 The Complex – Glendale, CA 6/12/2014 The Palms – Palm Desert, CA 6/13/2014 The District Tavern – Tucson, AZ
Bearing the underlying subtitle, A Conversation Between Hope and Despair, the fifty-minute dust storm of groove-laden, resin-coated sludge metal intensity City Of Dust delivers the most concise, diverse, and infectious hymns from the politically-motivated Tucson, Arizona-based outfit to date. Through a brutally honest outcry the album boasts thought-provoking, thematic tirades against the governmental members and parties the residents who embody GODHUNTER feel are directly responsible for a wide array of vital societal issues affecting their home region, including equal rights, a widespread water shortage, immigration and more.
Posted in Features on February 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
02.27.14 — 3:40PM Pacific — Thursday — Somewhere in Arizona
“Elevation 7,735″ — Sign on highway
Some wacky changes in the landscape on this ride, going from Nevada into Arizona. Coming out of Las Vegas was desert, then we got into snow-capped mountains, into some high-altitude forest, then back down into desert, both peopled and empty, and now just coming into these giant red rocks coming near the New Mexico border that look like eroded pyramids, these monolithic things that come up out of nowhere. You can see the layers. Millions of years.
The wind we’ve hit and been hit by has also been utter madness, delivering a beating to the makeshift windows. We’ve come through a couple sandstorms, and it’s been a slalom down the road, tossed from one side to another. There are other cars out here, trucks in the left lane moving slow. Last estimate I heard had us getting to Albuquerque by 6:30PM. I seem to recall that was the estimate last night and we were close enough to it. Just a matter of putting in the time to get there, covering the ground.
And it’s significant ground to cover. I barely knew the routing when I was getting on the plane to Seattle, but to think of how far this trip has gone already, it’s wild. The equivalent of Boston to Georgia, probably, if not more than that. Most of it in the last two days, owing to the drive from Portland to San Francisco being split over two days. So it goes. Not much time for hanging out either in the cities or out in the middle of nowhere, but still cool to see all this stuff not from an airplane flying over, to be affected by the stretch of it. I don’t care how much paved road runs through it, the land is humbling.
New Mexico is a little more populated, at least the stretch we just came through, but we’re still neck deep in desert. Completely bizarre to think that tomorrow at this time, we’ll be headed back north to Denver for the second-to-last night of their tour. Rocky hillside dark with cloud cover. Debris on the road. It all looks very permanent. How on earth can you “just be passing through” a sandstorm? A torrential downpour of dirt? We stopped a bit ago and the wind blew the sunglasses out of my hand and halfway across the parking lot of the rest stop, which sold a bunch of Navajo Indian knick-knacks. There’s Navajo casinos out here too. Because that’s over, right? Sure thing.
Leeches of Lore are playing the show tonight. Four bands: Leeches of Lore, Kings Destroy, Radio Moscow, Pentagram. That’s a solid fucking show. I looked in my luggage this morning and saw I only had two clean t-shirts left after the one I’m wearing today, and for a second I was kicking myself because I thought I miscounted in packing to come out. Nope. A week of shows is just more than half over.
Posted in audiObelisk on February 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It should say something about the conceptual nature of Godhunter‘s approach that their lyric sheet comes with footnotes. Today, the Tuscon-based six-piece release their debut long-player, City of Dust, on CD via Battleground Records/The Compound. It’s an album that wears its aggression and political mentality likewise on its sleeve, and from the opening sample that, backed by feedback and effects, leads the way into the undulating, punishingly slow riff of “Despite All,” Godhunter show that they’re more than willing to manually drive these ideas into your brain if that’s what it’s going to take to get them there. Tackling issues within their native Arizona (“Rats in the Walls,” “Snake Oil Dealer”) and the Southwest in general (the closing “Plague Widow”), the eight component tracks of the 49-minute album come across with staggering intensity despite what’s usually a fairly grueling pace. It is as much a multi-chapter sludgecore manifesto as it is a collection of memorably-riffed songs.
Godhunter‘s hardcore roots shine through in their arrangements, and even with cellist/keyboardist/effects specialist Matthew Davis at work throughout, the riffs of “Despite All,” “Palace of Thorn” and the guitar-siren-infused “City of Dust” lumber in classic-if-thickened fashion. Elsewhere, guitarists David Rodgers (also vocals) and Jake Brazelton bring an almost Southern metal sensibility to the largesse of “Brushfires,” while bassist Ryan “Dick” Williamson and drummer Andy Kratzenberg lend further heft and punctuation to the steady roll, but the raw-throat of vocalist Charlie Touseull keeps City of Dustaligned to a tradition of socially conscious underground rage, lines like “No rescue for those already dead/Reason cast aside for myth instead,” from “Brushfires” showcasing the rhythmic push that accompanies such vitriol. If there’s an aberration from Godhunter‘s onslaught, it comes in “Shooting down the Sun” at the start of the second half of the tracklist, on which guest vocalist Carlos Arzate sings clean over mournful acoustic guitars and Davis‘ cello. It’s the shortest track on City of Dust at 4:44, but the gravitas it lends the surrounding material is put to solid and pummeling use.
The corresponding affirmation of Godhunter‘s brutality, then, would have to be the closer. “Plague Widow,” with gang-style backing vocals from Matt Martinez, Nate Garrett and Chthon Leemont, is a 10-minute sensory assault that compounds references to the Bible and The Tempest with keyboard atmospherics and an insistent repetitions over a marching riff that aren’t so much hypnotic as like being punched with music, cello and amp noise finally serving as City of Dust‘s leadout over the fading guitar, bass and drums. The line that Touseull and company leave on is “This is hell and all the devils are here,” and like the rest of City of Dust, it seems unlikely that’s happenstance. So thought-through is the album that it’s easy to forget it’s Godhunter‘s first — their prior release was late 2011’s WolvesEP (review here) — but if they’re to move forward from this as their starting point, they’ve presented a multifaceted and passionate foundation from which to progress. On any angle from which you might want to approach it, City of Dustis more than just a sludge record.
They’ve got it at their Bandcamp, but I’ve been given permission to stream the album here and I’m not about to say no. After the player, you’ll find the lyric sheet with track-by-track info on all the songs. Please enjoy.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Arizona four-piece Powered Wig Machine will release their Supa-Colliderfull-length at a hometown show in Sierra Vista on March 6, and from there begin a tour that will take them around the desert lands in Arizona, over to Vegas and end at Palm Desert in California. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect scenario for a heavy band putting out a record, honestly, so kudos to Powered Wig Machine. Their Supa-Colliderhas been a while coming (the video below for “At the Helm of Hades” premiered last summer), which I suppose will happen when you build the studio before you record in it. All the more reason to celebrate in style.
The PR wire sends dates and info:
POWERED WIG MACHINE – SPRING 2014 SUPA-COLLIDER TOUR AND NEW ALBUM
Powered Wig Machine has set a hard release date of March 6th, 2014 for their new album Supa-Collider. In support of the new album Powered Wig Machine has announced the “Spring 2014 Supa-Collider Tour” with the following dates:
3/6 – Sierra Vista, AZ – JR’s Bar w/Throw the Goat(CA), The Bastard Sons (UK) 3/8 – Tucson, AZ – The Plush w/Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, The Risin Sun (Mexico), Mark Matos & OS Beaches. 3/12 – Phoenix, AZ – The Sail Inn w/Wolves of Winter, Enirva 3/13 – Las Vegas, NV – The Dive w/TBA 3/14 – Ventura, CA – Billy O’s w/TBA 3/15 – Palm Desert, CA – The Hood w/Fever Dog, The Hellions
Powered Wig Machine has put a lot of work into the Supa-Collider album including building a studio from the concrete foundation, up to the roof, along with everything inside of it. The album is now finished and off in the hands of Tony Reed (Stone Axe, Mos Generator) for mixing and mastering. The video of “At the Helm of Hades” was released last year in preparation for the Supa- Collider album release. the sci-fi video including cowboys, car chases, and wormholes can be viewed here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K29E2mpWvE
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
True, 2013’s just about over, but as we start to look ahead to 2014, there’s a ton of cool stuff comingand this reissue of Arizona outfit The Myrrors‘ 2008 debut, Burning Circles in theSky, seems to be first in line. I’ll admit to not knowing much about the desert-psych wanderers prior to getting word of the impending Rewolfed Gloom Records vinyl, but the album has the kind of open-spaced vibe that’s perfect for imagining vast sands and the arm of the Milky Way dividing a night sky. Goes without saying, but I dig it.
Here’s word of the release with the Bandcamp stream. Check out the record and see if you dig it. Interesting that it’s half a decade old, since if you told me it was recorded in September I’d probably still call it forward thinking:
The Myrrors – Burning Circles In The Sky (LP)
File Under: Heavy Psych / Desert Rock
We proudly present the first release on “Rewolfed Gloom Records”; THE MYRRORS! Merlins Nose’ new sublabel Rewolfed Gloom Records is dedicated to Heavy Psychedelia / Desert Rock / Stoner / Space Rock / Jam / Experimental etc.
The official releasedate is 01.01.2014. Coloured copies (limited to 100) are almost gone, but a handfull is still available for dealers. First come, first served! Orders will be processed on 01.01.2014!
Comes in a 350gsm Gatefold and on 180g vinyl! The desert lives and within it a few wild creatures, some of them are rock-musicians if it happens to work out geographically just as it does with the Phoenix / Arizona based outfit THE MYRRORS. And the desert with it’s supernatural, magical atmosphere was a huge influence on the four teenagers along with all kinds of psychedelic rock, Arabian, Latin American, Turkish and Indian folk music and mind bending free-jazz. And therefore the music sounds like a journey into the deep solitude of the desert in peace with oneself but still boiling and simmering hot, engrossedly floating fraught with visions and ghostly hallucinations from a strange world., even sometimes like taking a stroll in the garden of Eden.
The stereoscopic, vivid and sometimes washy sound brings a trance like mood. Desert sounds like a cricket’s chirring and spiritual chants, as to be found in the long track „Mother of all living“ intensify the hypnotic effect further on. The band formed by high school friends in 2005 recorded it’s only album in 2008 with rather elementary equipment and prepared the privately released Cdr in manual labour not long before falling apart due to the usual reasons such as work and studies. The incredible success of their peace anthem „War paintings“ as Youtube clip came after the break and posthumously brought the band well deserved publicity and appreciation, what conserves their music for all fans of psychedelic desert rock and smoothes the way for a reissue in an adequate sound carrier format.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yeah, I guess it’s cool that Arizona-based TOAD — an acronym for Take Over and Destroy — are sharing the stage tomorrow with Ghost as that band comes through on their latest tour, but the real news here is that the band (who I believe have a new bass player since the picture above was taken), are heading out on a full US tour with Agrimonia, playing in the West, in the East and in the Middle over the course of November into December in support of their Endless Nightvinyl, which was released this summer. Pretty badass. Go get ‘em, dudes.
The PR wire tells it like it is:
TOAD: Arizona Blackened Death Rock Ringleaders Announce Tour With Agrimonia; Band To Open For Ghost B.C. Tomorrow
Arizona blackened death rock ringleaders will join forces with post-crust horde Agrimonia next month for a US run of live assaults. Set to commence November 12th in Glendale, California, The Nights Of Rites Tour will trample its way clockwise through the entire country until their final riff crushes Phoenix, Arizona on December 4th. As precursor to the expedition, team TOAD will be opening for occult rockers, Ghost B.C. in Phoenix tomorrow. The performance marks the band’s first show with new bassist, Dylan Thomas.
Comments TOAD, “We’re stoked to be playing our first show with our good buddy Dylan on bass. We’re equally as excited that this is happening on the night we share the stage with Ghost B.C.! This is their first time playing Phoenix and we’re happy to be a part of it. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re thrilled to be touring with Agrimonia, at a point when our lineup is stronger and tighter than it’s ever been. We really dig their new record and can already tell we’re gonna have a blast together. This tour came together so naturally and we know it will be unforgettable. See all of you very soon…”
TOAD w/ Ghost B.C.: 10/25/2013 The Press Room – Phoenix, AZ w/ Agrimonia: 11/12/2013 The Complex – Glendale, CA w/ Ancestors 11/13/2013 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA w/ Embers, Femacoffin 11/14/2013 Alibi – Arcata, CA 11/15/2013 Branx – Portland, OR w/ Eight Bells 11/16/2013 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Tragedy, Death Raid 11/17/2013 Shredder – Boise, ID w/ Exmortus, Hatchet 11/18/2013 Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT w/ SubRosa 11/19/2013 3 Kings – Denver, CO w/ Wayfarer, Weaponizer 11/20/2013 Duffy’s – Lincoln, NE 11/21/2013 Fubar – St. Louis, MO w/ Enabler 11/22/2013 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL w/ Enabler 11/23/2013 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH 11/24/2013 Howler’s – Pittsburgh, PA 11/25/2013 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ Sannhet 11/26/2013 Black Cat – Washington DC 11/27/2013 Pinhook – Durham, NC 11/29/2013 Siberia – New Orleans, LA 11/30/2013 Mango’s – Houston, TX 12/01/2013 Red 7 – Austin, TX 12/03/2013 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM 12/04/2013 Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AZ w/ True Cross, Cave Dweller