The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018, Oct. 13 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash 2018 poster

After being fortunate enough to have been asked last year, there was no way I wasn’t going to be up for having The Obelisk on board to present Heavy Mash 2018. The second edition of the Arlington, Texas-based festival will take place on Oct. 13 and feature a full day and a full lineup of all-killer heavy rock, doom, psych and whatnot, with Austin-dwellers Duel as the headliners on the heels of their 2017 sophomore album, Witchbanger (review here). In fact, when fest organizer Mark Kitchens — also of Stone Machine Electric — brought up the issue recently, my only question was whether the awesome frog from last year’s poster would make a return. To the benefit of all humanity, you can see clearly above that it has.

Duel sit atop the lineup with Californian imports Great Electric Quest and Dallas’ Mountain of Smoke, whose second album, Gods of Biomechanics, will be out July 7 and is an absolute crusher. As it turns out, Great Electric Quest are the only non-Texas band on the bill, as amid the roster of DoomstressStone Machine ElectricSwitchblade JesusOrthodox FuzzGypsy Sun RevivalWitchcryer and Dead Hawke, there isn’t one group that doesn’t call the Lone Star State home. I guess that’s what happens when the place you’re from is awash in creativity and, uh, huge. Just ask California.

The geographic theme at play only makes Heavy Mash 2018 more special, since Texas’ heavy underground is nothing if not worth highlighting, and no doubt at least some of the acts will have shared stages in the past, making it all the more of a party at Division Brewing, which once again will host the event and seems to just be asking for trouble in so doing. So much riffs. So much beer. I hope they have a good mop for afterward.

Get your ass to Texas:

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018

Oct 13 at 1 PM

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018.

Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up:

DUEL – 11pm
Great Electric Quest – 10pm
Mountain of Smoke – 9pm
Doomstress – 8pm
Stone Machine Electric – 7pm
Switchblade Jesus – 6pm
Orthodox Fuzz – 5pm
Witchcryer – 4pm
Gypsy Sun Revival – 3pm
DEAD HAWKE – 2pm

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

Heavy Mash 2018 event page

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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

Stone Machine Electric Announce Garage Tape Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Mind you, I don’t know if in the process of putting it out on compact disc, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric are actually re-titling their limited 2014 cassette — initially dubbed Garage Tape (review here) — as Garage Tape, er, CD?, but being relatively familiar with the Lone Star twosome’s work over the last however many years, I’d absolutely believe it. In fact, it’s precisely the kind of weirdo charm in which Stone Machine Electric specialize, and as one awaits further word of their next album, I’ll happily take whatever comes from these two deeply underrated psych jammers.

If you didn’t hear it the first time around, Garage Tape was comprised of two side-consuming, sprawling jams that came with a bonus track in the digital form. I don’t know if that will be included on the CD or not, but the chance to hear it all together as one flowing jam session seems like a pretty righteous opportunity, so yeah, here’s the info. Ships in March, apparently. That seems like forever from now, but apparently is very much not that thing:

stone machine electric garage tape

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Garage Tape, er CD?

Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, is re-releasing the mind-bending “Garage Tape” onto, what else, but CD. This is by semi-popular demand. Sshhh, yes, vinyl would be nice, we know.

You can pre-order this fabulous format at: https://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/album/garage-tape

Garage Tape tracklisting:
1. Side A 20:52
2. Side B 21:38

Improvised live on July 26, 2014 in Kitchens’ garage.

Expect these to start shipping beginning to mid-March.

For further information, contact the band at band@stonemachineelectric.net

Stone Machine Electric started in the summer of 2009 with founding members Mark Kitchens and William (Dub) Irvin. Dub had asked Kitchens if he’d be interested in helping him start a band since the two had been in other bands together in previous years.

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Garage Tape (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash Fest, Sept. 23 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash fest poster

Few things in life are better than spending a full day at a fest with a killer lineup, and so I’m happy as hell to have The Obelisk stand among the presenters for the inaugural Heavy Mash on Sept. 23 in Arlington, Texas. The all-dayer-type event features 10 bands from all around Arlington and Fort Worth, as well as one from Monroe and one from — because, hey, why not? — Adelaide, Australia, but a good swath of Lone Star heavy is represented, and anytime you get Wo Fat on board to headline, you know choice-cut groove will be had. The Dallas trio don’t do it any other way.

Heavy Mash will be held at Division Brewing, so one imagines all the more of a party atmosphere as the day plays out amid fine beers and good times from band to band, and with the likes of jam-psych duo Stone Machine Electric, classic style stoner rockers Boudain, and more aggressive groove-rollers like Cursus on the bill — not to mention the swaggering two-piece Filthy Lucre, who will make that journey across the Pacific to get there — it’s a sonically diverse lineup to which I’m proud to have this site’s name attached. I don’t think I’ll get to Arlington for it, because money, and money, and money, but if you’re either in the area or can make the trip, doing so seems like a total no-brainer. Hopefully it’ll be recorded one way or another, video and/or audio.

You already saw the awesomeness of the poster above, the Thee Facebooks event page is here, but here’s the full lineup and more info:

Heavy Mash 2017 featuring Wo Fat and more!

Arlington, TX Heavy Music Festival – Sept. 23, 2017

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

In conjunction with Division Brewing in Arlington, TX, we are pleased to announce this small fest sponsored by Division Brewing, The Obelisk, Off the Record Label, and Fistful of Doom Radio! It will be held at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on September 23rd from 2pm to midnight. Below is our full line-up, starting with the headlining act:

Wo Fat – the veteran swampadelic trio from Dallas, TX
Filthy Lucre – desert blues from Adelaide, South Australia
Stone Machine Electric – weird doom-jazz duo from Fort Worth, TX
Cursus – psychedelic sludge from San Antonio, TX
Orcanaut – heavy/progressive shit from Denton, TX
Boudain – stoner-groove four-piece from Monroe, LA
FTW – heavy blues trio from Fort Worth, TX
The Dirty Seeds – face melting stoner rock from Houston, TX
Black on High – three true thugs from Fort Worth, TX
Justinian – stoner metal from Arlington, TX

Wo Fat, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2017

Heavy Mash 2017 event page on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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

Friday Full-Length: Solitude Aeturnus, Beyond the Crimson Horizon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Solitude Aeturnus, Beyond the Crimson Horizon (1992)

It’s like staring into the very gates of doom itself. Solitude Aeturnus weren’t the first American doom band, but they were definitely among the earlier pioneers Stateside playing doom metal, and when it came to the second part of that equation, they offered it in abundance. With heavy influences from Candlemass, Trouble and of course Black Sabbath, the Arlington, Texas, five-piece got their start with a well-received demo in 1989 before signing to what was then Roadracer Records — soon to be Roadrunner Records — for the subsequent 1991 full-length, Into the Depths of Sorrow. From where I sit, that record is also a classic, but the 1992 follow-up, Beyond the Crimson Horizon, is widely hailed as both their pinnacle work and as a standard-bearer in US doom. Aside from the massive influence it would have on the development of metal, doom and heavy rock in Texas’ own fertile underground, it’s a record that helped clearly demonstrate that American outfits could capture the same kind of majesty their European counterparts had been bringing to the style for years in the wake of CandlemassMessiah Marcolin era, which by then had hit its peak several years before. I’ll gladly argue that not only did Beneath the Crimson Horizon prove this thesis, but it showed a path by which that influence could lead to individualized growth and progression, that doom — that slowest and most morose of metals — need not stagnate or lack energy to be effective in its atmosphere.

Not only that, but Beyond the Crimson Horizon gave outlet to influences from the NWOBHM in cuts like opener “Seeds of the Desolate” and immediately met them head on with grittier chugging in “Black Castle,” setting up a dynamic that would continue to play out across its span. It wasn’t any more afraid to thrash out in the second half of “The Hourglass” than it was to directly confront the march of Candlemass‘ “Mirror Mirror” in the preceding “It Came upon One Night,” a seven-minute highlight of the record distinguished by its epic flourish of gong and spoken vocals from otherwise soar-prone frontman Robert Lowe, who would remain a defining presence in Solitude Aeturnus for their duration along with guitarist John Perez. Both shine in these tracks, it should go without saying, but the drumming of John Covington, the guitar of Edgar Rivera and Lyle Steadham‘s bass aren’t to be discounted either, as much as the latter might be mixed down as was the wont of the era. For what was still just their second album since forming in 1987, Solitude Aeturnus presented themselves as a complete, cohesive unit with the poise and confidence to execute their material in the face of otherwise-leaning trends both in and out of the underground and metal as a whole. To listen to a song like the Trouble-style “The Final Sin” or the penultimate chugger “Plague of Procreation,” one can hear the band’s reach expanding even as the tracklist makes its way from front to back, but at no point do Solitude Aeturnus relinquish their hold on a melodic sensibility or crushing atmosphere, the latter shown by the Metallica-esque stomp in the midsection of “Plague of Perception.” They would save the slowest and most grueling nod for last in the closing semi-title-track “Beyond…” and add suitable funeral bells over a long fade that dirge-plodded the record to its finish.

Dramatic? Oh yeah. Of its era? Most definitely — but also a blueprint from which future US doom metal would be and still is derived, either directly or indirectly. With Perez and Lowe as its founding anchors, Solitude Aeturnus would go on to issue Through the Darkest Hour in 1994 before embracing more of a groove metal feel on 1996’s Downfall and 1998’s Adagio, and a 2000 EP titled Justice for All would be their final release until 2006 brought a return both of the band generally and of their classically doomed form on the righteous Alone, which was offered through Massacre Records and topped an hour of prime darkened reveries that showed Solitude Aeturnus‘ core approach was not just still relevant, but vital in Texas metal and the wider sphere of what doom had become and was about to become in the social media age. Alone was followed by a 2009 live record titled Hour of Despair and the 2011 In Times of Solitude compilation, and Poland’s Metal Mind Productions had done a series of maybe-licensed reissues of Solitude Aeturnus‘ material, including Beyond the Crimson Horizon, in 2006, but as essential as Alone found Solitude Aeturnus to be, it hasn’t received a proper follow-up in the 11 years since. Perez works as a tour manager — he’s been out with Saint Vitus and Venom Inc. and recently accompanied Candlemass on the road — and Lowe did a stint in Candlemass from 2006 through 2012 after their fallout with Messiah Marcolin, but Solitude Aeturnus has languished, their final album (to-date) a testament to what Perez and Lowe could still accomplish if they decided to move forward with a new batch of material. One continues to hope that at some point they do.

Doom on and enjoy Beyond the Crimson Horizon. Thanks for reading, as always.

This was a four-day week for me and it was still too long by at least a day. Possibly two days. My work situation has devolved to the point where in about an hour when I go to the office I’ll be bringing my cheapie tablet with me in order to spend the bulk of the day playing and maybe even finishing Final Fantasy V. I took Monday off for a doctor’s appointment and since Tuesday have basically spent the days reading downloaded Shatnerverse ebooks and listening to baseball games (Tigers vs. Angels yesterday was a good time unless you’re a Tigers fan). Sounds like paradise except for existing in a cubicle. They’re still paying me until next Friday though, so I’ll be there.

Whatever. It’s almost over.

Then it’s back to being broke. How’re we gonna pay the mortgage? How’re we gonna pay the oil? How’re we gonna feed this baby? And so on. All completely valid questions, by the way, and the only reason I didn’t include the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of student loan debt The Patient Mrs. and I share between us is because it makes me too sad and/or panicky to think about it. So yeah. Back to that.

But at least I won’t be going to an office anymore. Losing two hours every day to a commute. Missing out on life in the meantime. More time to write. More time with the Little Dog Dio. Time with The Pecan when he arrives in October. All of that is good. Will be good.

Five workdays left.

Plenty of Obelisk stuff to keep me busy in the meantime. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change of course:

Mon.: Top 20 of 2017 So Far; BardSpec video.
Tue.: Radio Adds; The Necromancers video premiere.
Wed.: Lee Van Cleef Six Dumb Questions; Witch Charmer video.
Thu.: Destroyer of Light track premiere; Wren video.
Fri.: Abrams Six Dumb Questions; hopefully some other audio premiere or review.

That’s about where we’re at. Put my head down, keep writing. Everything else is distraction.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you might be up to. I’ll be in Connecticut tonight and tomorrow and then back to Massachusetts on Sunday. I have some travel coming up in the next few weeks — Maryland for a wedding next weekend, then down to North Carolina, then back up to New Jersey before finally heading back home; family stuff all — so it will be a bit of an adventure coming up, but I’m looking forward to getting through next week and getting to it. I’m sure we’ll have some fun in the meantime.

Thanks again for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem: Inside the Nightmare

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Stone Machine Electric Sollicitus Es Veritatem

One of the most impressive aspects of Sollicitus es Veritatem is that it is so grounded in its theme while being so open and spaced out musically. It’s the self-released second full-length from Texas heavy jam duo Stone Machine ElectricWilliam “Dub” Irvin on guitar/vocals, Mark Kitchens on drums/theremin — and in relatively impressionistic fashion, its five increasingly extended tracks take on the current political climate with predictive fervor and a healthy sense of dread. They’re not running down poll results by any means, but the interpretation of the album’s cover, its rat in a red tie, and Dub‘s gravely repetitions of “I really wish I was dreaming” in second cut “Dreaming” (10:17) both make the message pretty clear.

That’s an aspect of their approach that has developed in the three years since their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), though looking back there were certainly real-world elements at play there, as well as in the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here) that arrived at the start of primary season to set the table for this album, the Latin title of which translates to “Nightmares are Reality.” They may well be, but Stone Machine Electric meet them head on with languid roll, heavy tones and an underlying cohesion to their jams. Recorded by Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, the groove at times bears some resemblance to Stump‘s own outfit, but Sollicitus es Veritatem goes far, far out when it goes, and from the quiet, creeping three-minute start of opener “I am Fire” (7:08), the flow that Dub and Kitchens conjure is almost entirely their own, a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming and heavy blues melded together in seemingly amorphous shapes.

Together, the five tracks total 57 minutes, so Sollicitus es Veritatem is a substantial commitment in the listening if you’re going front to back, but the individual pieces that make it up sort of blur the lines one into the next and that makes the journey more fluid. That’s not to say that “I am Fire,” which is arguably the most straightforward-feeling of the inclusions even with that intro, doesn’t stand well on its own, just that while too long to fit on a single LP, the CD version of Sollicitus es Veritatem benefits from the smooth and linear progression of its component parts. In addition to leading the listener into the band’s world via cymbal wash, drone atmospherics, and guitar minimalism, “I am Fire” offers a declarative hook in its title line, and in light of the apparent thematic intention one has to wonder just who the speaker in the song might be.

stone machine electric

A chugging riff keeps the second half earthbound, but already Stone Machine Electric have set a focus on ambience, and the rest of the material — including the slight-return-style complementary closer, “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” (6:57) — continues to build on that, beginning with “Dreaming,” which picks up from the end of “I am Fire” with exploratory guitar feeling its way through the surrounding emptiness. Around two minutes in, after Kitchens has joined, the riff solidifies and the verse starts with Dub working quick to deliver dire warnings — not directly political in a naming-names sense, but applicable nonetheless — before a first chorus and quick trip solo that’s a precursor for the extended instrumental jam to come, brought back around to the chorus at the end for a satisfying bookend effect.

In centerpiece “PorR” (14:25) and the subsequent “Demons” (18:46), Stone Machine Electric get to the thick of Sollicitus es Veritatem‘s jam-room vibe, though layering would seem to be an essential part, obscure volume swells and noises in the background — could be theremin with effects, I suppose — an essential part in the quiet open of “PorR,” the main progression of which is a rolling guitar figure that kicks in loud in a manner with which I’ll admit some personal association I can’t quite shake, but serves as the foundation for the album’s most resonant jam, Dub pulling back on his gruff vocal delivery for a more melodic take well suited to the creeper vibe. Though it ultimately has enough room to cover its wide swath, “Demons” is more progressive at its heart, dooming out on either side of a long middle stretch of jazzy shuffle that starts after “Moonchild”-style noise past the seven-minute mark and eases into a long and welcome airy solo topping a steady rhythm.

Guitar and vocals harmonize together past 14 minutes in, and from there the riff re-thickens, diminishes, and returns with YOB-esque push toward the fadeout, giving the album a fitting apex before “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” begins its cymbal washes recalling the opener. The lyrics are different and the instrumental approach is different — definitely some theremin — almost like Dub and Kitchens took the basic instrumental foundation they had put down for “I am Fire” and built it out in another way. A studio experiment, maybe, but its weirdo vibe is right at home on Sollicitus es Veritatem, and its raucous, noisy and swirling crescendo not only serves as an epilogue post-“Demons” but a manifestation of the otherworldly nightmarish realization Stone Machine Electric would seem to have been moving toward all along. I’ve been a fan of the band since I first heard their demo in 2010 (review here), and though they’ve walked a difficult, sometimes rough path between trying out third members and so on, their second full-length brings a sound and vibe that suits them remarkably well and, as a fan, I can only hope they continue to move forward in this direction.

Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)

Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Duuude, Tapes! Stone Machine Electric, Garage Tape

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on December 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

stone-machine-electric-garage-tape-cassette-and-case

Well, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric didn’t call it Garage Tape because they broke the bank and spent half a million dollars recording it, but don’t be put off. While the title speaks to the DIY nature of its origins, Garage Tape actually sounds clear and warm enough to get its message across. Guitarist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer Mark Kitchens tracked the release — which is comprised of two extended improvisations — in the actual garage of the latter with Erik Carson of Tin Can Records, who also mixed and mastered the tape, on July 26, 2014. Their mission, as they put it, was to give listeners a raw look at their creative process, and as time goes on, they seem to be driving further toward making jamming central to that. The chemistry between Irvin and Kitchens is undeniable (their connection has resulted in a number of come-and-gone-again bassists) across each of Garage Tape‘s component halves, duly named on the translucent blue cassette as “Side A” (20:52) and “Side B” (21;39), and the languid, thick-toned rollout that ensues is only given stone-machine-electric-garage-tape-liner-horimore of a demo feel with the analog hiss of a tape beneath.

At one point relatively late into side A, Irvin seems to loop a rhythm track and proceeds to solo over it. That’s a progression that fades out as the first of the tape ends (there’s a bit of silence since “Side B’ is longer) and in again as the second half begins, so yeah, I have no trouble believing that Stone Machine Electric played out the material for Garage Tape live in one whole jam. In that way, breaking it up into two sides actually kind of interrupts the flow for a minute, but honestly, if after the 20 minutes of “Side A” are done, you’re not completely immersed in Irvin and Kitchens‘ hypnotic repetitions, it probably wasn’t going to happen at all. As they push closer to the core of their own creativity, their material becomes more fluid, extended and accomplished, but if you can’t get down with improv heavy jamming, Garage Tape isn’t the place to start, even with Irvin‘s effects experiments throughout, “Side B” seeming to bubble with Echoplex-style pulsations behind its airy soloing and rhythm track to which, to Kitchens‘ credit, the drums hold firm, shifting as the six-minute mark of “Side B” approaches to drive the jam into its next stage. This stone-machine-electric-garage-tape-liner-insideconversation between drummer and guitarist takes place in the several movements of “Side A” as well, and it’s clearly a language that’s developed between the two players over their time together.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who can hang with a 40-minute getdown, Stone Machine Electric‘s Garage Tape cycles through this-could-be-a-song-oh-wait-let’s-try-this riffy movements with an utter lack of pretense and a molten fluidity that a still-limited number of bands in the US seem keen on portraying at all, let alone developing or using as the basis for their approach. That makes Garage Tape a bolder release, though honestly it’s not like Stone Machine Electric have been stifling impulses to-date, whether it’s their 2013 self-titled full-length (review here) or subsequent live outing, 2013.02.07. One could easily see that live set as a manifestation of the same impulse driving Garage Tape — to put as little space as possible between the band’s processes and the listener’s experience — but Garage Tape gets more to the heart of where they’re coming from and what they have to offer those who’d take them on. It’s an admirable goal and an admirable jam, and with their experimental will reinforced via a download called “Side C” that collaborates with Arlington-based noisemaker the owl and the octopus to remix and retool a 20-minute version of the initial Kitchens and Irvin jam, Garage Tape still shows there’s more weirdness to come from the duo, who’ve always excelled in that regard.

Stone Machine Electric, Garage Tape (2014)

Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Stone Machine Electric Announce Garage Tape Remix

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

stone-machine-electric-(Photo-by-Lynda-Kitchens)

Arlington, Texas, two-piece Stone Machine Electric are moving ever closer to the heart of the jam. They’ve set a Dec. 9 release date for the limited cassette issue of Garage Tape, the title of which seems to tell a lot of the story. It’s Stone Machine Electric — the once again and seemingly permanently sans-bass duo of guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/thereminist Mark Kitchens — jamming in a garage. In August, they had Erik Carson of Tin Can Records record them at their practice space, and the fruits of that session are what you get with Garage Tape. Considering the band’s last release was the show-recording 2013.02.07 (discussed here), they seem to be pushing further toward giving listeners an inside look at what they do, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s always an awesome thing to see with a band like this.

Not only are they going as raw as possible, though, but as a bonus, they’ve partnered with Texan countryman expirimentalist and lower-case practitioner the owl and the octopus for a special remix of Garage Tape itself. I guess the whole thing? I’m not really sure, but it’s a fascinating idea. The PR wire has more:

stone machine electric garage tape

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Garage Tape Remix

On December 9th, 2014, we will release the “Garage Tape” digitally and on cassette. This outing will show you what it is like peer into our jam space. These jams weave in and out of consciousness, glazing the listener with tonal build-ups and tearing out landscapes with riff-laden precision. “Garage Tape” demonstrates how to lose your head and see what happens.

Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, will be releasing the “Garage Tape” on December 9th, 2014. In anticipation of this, the band has decided to add a little something extra to this release.

Stone Machine Electric has recruited local noisemaker extraordinaire, the owl and the octopus, to do a remix of the “Garage Tape”. It will be included as an extra with the download of the tape. Please note that all tapes will come with a digital download included. Hopefully it will be ready by release…

Release show is set for January 16th, 2015 at The Grotto with Wo Fat and Maneaters of Tsavo, with special guests Whoa! Fat Machine.

To check out the owl and the octopus, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/owlandoctopus

http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stone-Machine-Electric/280507262510

Stone Machine Electric, 2013.02.07 (2013)

Tags: , , , , ,

Six Dumb Questions with Stone Machine Electric

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on January 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Now a trio with bassist Mark Cook on board, Arlington-based heavy fuzz rockers Stone Machine Electric nonetheless recorded their self-titled, self-released debut as the core duo of Mark Kitchens and William “Dub” Irvin. The album (review here) was recorded by Kent Stump of Dallas heavyweights Wo Fat, and shares some of that band’s tonal thickness as a result, but Dub and Kitchens take tracks like “Carve” and “Mushroom Cloud” in a direction more their own, jamming out organic fuzz with psychedelic flourish, sounding raw live and studio lush all at once.

Stone Machine Electric, who are aligned to the fertile Dallas scene that also includes Orthodox Fuzz, Kin of Ettins and the rip-rocking Mothership as well as the aforementioned Wo Fat, made their debut in 2010 with the live demo Awash in Feedback (review here), on which the audio was rough but still gave some idea of where they were coming from. Emphasis on “some” only because the self-titled  feels so much more fleshed out and shows them as having a clear idea of what they want Stone Machine Electric to be as a band and where they want to go with their music. It’s a big jump from one to the other, and as they’ve since undergone the pivotal change of bringing Cook in on bass, there’s potential for another such leap next time around.

Given that, it seemed time to hit up Dub and Kitchens for Six Dumb Questions about the self-titled, recording with Stump, having Darryl Bell from Dub’s prior band play bass on the track “Hypocrite Christ,” their striking album art, and so on. They were much quicker in obliging than I actually was in sending out the questions, and you’ll find the results below. Please enjoy:

1. Tell me about the time between the live demo and recording the full-length. Was there anything specific you learned from the demo that you tried to being to the studio?

Dub: The demo was just a live recording that we were ok with releasing. Something for people to hear until we could get in the studio. We did try to bring that “liveness” of the demo to the studio by playing together as much as possible.

2. How long were you in the studio with Kent from Wo Fat? What was the atmosphere like and how did the recording process go? Did Dub record bass parts first or after the guitar?

Kitchens: We were in the studio with Kent for about two and a half days. The first day and a half was spent recording, and the rest was just getting the mixes done. We’re friends with Kent, so that made it feel like we were just hanging out, but recording at the same time. We recorded the drum and guitar tracks together (other than the additional guitar tracks) to get a more live and rawer sound. “Hypocrite Christ” was the only exception. Daryl played the bass with us on that track.

Dub: Yeah, since Kent is a brother it was real laid back. He already knew what we sounded like, so it was all gravy. Like Kitchens said, all the basic guitar and drum tracks (and bass on “Hypocrite Christ”) were recorded with us in the same room together. After that I laid down the remaining bass tracks. Followed by vocals, then guitar overdubs last.

3. How did you wind up including “Hypocrite Christ” from Dub’s Dead Rustic Dog days, and how was it having Daryl Bell in the studio on bass for that?

Dub: Man, having Daryl in there was great. We don’t get to hang out or jam together much at all anymore, so I’m really glad he was able to do it. Not to mention that no one can play that tune quite like him.

That tune just seems to fit into what we do. It’s almost like it was written for SME before there was SME. Actually, Kitchens was also in the band at the time this song was written, so it seemed almost natural to bring it into SME. We played this tune early on and then dropped it for a while. We’ve been wanting to resurrect it again, and what better way than to put it on the album.

4. How has bringing in Mark Cook on bass changed the band’s sound? Have you started to write new material yet? If so, how much of a role does he play?

Kitchens: Mark is helping fill out our sound. We’ve had people tell us we sound great as a two- piece live, and that we pull it off well. You just can’t beat having that low end though. We are working on new material now, so I’m looking forward to what he’ll bring.

Dub: Cook not only helps fill out our sound but also opens it up. He brings in a whole other dimension. We are just now beginning work on new material, and hearing what Cook has brought to the existing tunes I’m excited to see how the new stuff will turn out.

5. Where did the idea for the collage cover art come from? Is there a message being conveyed there, and if so, what is it?

Kitchens: Terry Horn, who was our bassist for a while, did the artwork. I had given him some ideas that I had, but he came back with the collage. I’d never thought of that, and I loved it. We ended up not have any logo or text on the cover because it didn’t look right, and I like that idea as well. Terry is an exceptional artist.

Dub: Yeah, I dig Terry‘s work.

Terry Horn: It was spontaneous. I just put the CD on and listened to it and started flipping through magazines and sketchbooks. Ultimately, I wanted to do something for the cover that was different than most artwork you see on stoner rock/doom stuff today.

Not to sound too cliché, but sometimes art is just art.

6. Any other plans, gigs or closing words you want to mention?

Kitchens: It would be great if we could do a few weekend tours this year hitting some places around Texas or the adjoining states. I’d love to play one of the festivals that happen here in the states. Hoping in a year or so we are back in the studio with Kent. I’ll end with a big thanks to our friends and fans for digging our stuff!

Dub: I think he just summed it up right there. Don’t just keep your finger on the pulse, become part of the pulse!

Stone Machine Electric’s website

Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,