Mark Deutrom Signs to Season of Mist; New Album Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hearty congratulations to Mark Deutrom on inking a deal to release his next solo album through Season of Mist. The Austin-based producer, solo artist, Clown Alley and Bellringer founder and peak-era Melvins (yeah, that’s right — I said it) bassist seems to have made a multi-tiered pact with the increasingly broad-minded and deeply respected purveyor imprint, and one can’t help but wonder if in addition to reissuing at least some of his back catalog — likely including Bellringer‘s 2016 debut full-length, Jettison (review here) — the next couple years won’t find Deutrom behind the board tracking other Season of Mist-related acts. I don’t know that you’d ever pry them away from Steve Albini at this point, but how cool would a Deutrom-helmed Weedeater album be? Or Crippled Black Phoenix?

There’s no word about anything of the sort, of course, but cool to know Deutrom, who’s been a pretty steady presence around here the last couple years, has more new stuff in the works and will be taking his audience reach to an entirely different level with this new affiliation. Right on.

From the PR wire:

mark deutrom

MARK DEUTROM signs to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of MARK DEUTROM. The prolific musician from Texas and former MELVINS member will not only release his next album via Season of Mist, but will also reissue his solo-material, and albums published under the BELLRINGER banner.

Regarding the signing, Mark comments: “I am delighted to be working with Season of Mist, and to be a part of their diverse and accomplished cabal. I’m also looking forward to a new chapter for my back catalog, as well as exploring new and uncharted sonic landscapes.”

MARK DEUTROM is a renowned guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer. Mark studied composition at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, USA. There he attended seminars with such composers as John Cage, Lou Harrison, Morton Feldman, Aaron Copland, and Morton Subotnick.

In 1986, MARK DEUTROM co-founded Alchemy Records in San Francisco, CA. During his time at the label he produced a record for his own band, CLOWN ALLEY, as well as records for scene stalwarts SACRILEGE, MELVINS, RKL, and NEUROSIS. Mark also released records for bands such as POISON IDEA, VIRULENCE, and more.

MARK DEUTROM was invited to play bass in the MELVINS in 1993. He joined the same year and remained in the band until 1998. Mark contributed material to the albums ‘Prick’, ‘Stoner Witch’, ‘Stag’, ‘Honky’, and additional releases. During his time with MELVINS, they toured with TOOL, NIRVANA, NINE INCH NAILS, KISS, and RUSH among others.

In 2006, MARK DEUTROM was invited to collaborate with SUNNO))) on various live dates in the USA and Europe.

Mark has released various solo projects and continues to produce for other bands.

Deutrom’s band BELLRINGER has served as the main live vehicle for his music and also collaborations with other musicians. BELLRINGER released their latest album ‘Jettison’ in 2016.

MARK DEUTROM will release his 6th solo album via Season of Mist in the coming winter.

www.markdeutrom.com
www.bellringeratx.com
www.facebook.com/BellringerTX
http://www.season-of-mist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist

Bellringer, Jettison (2016)

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Heavy Glow Announce Breakup; New Projects in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Songcraft specialists Heavy Glow have called it quits. Actually, if you want to go by their minimal statement of same, they’re calling it a ‘day,’ but it works out to be the same anyhow. They’re not a band anymore. The announcement came through Thee Facebooks late last week and as you can see below, that’s basically all they had to say about it.

Well, fair enough, right? Cool band breaks up? We’ve all heard that story before and really, that bottom line is what it is. Fine. But I decided to get some more info on the subject — investigative reporting! — and so I emailed frontman Jared Mullins over the weekend and asked what happened and what he’d be up to next. You might recall the trio had new material in progress as a follow-up to 2014’s Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (review here), which was also released last year by Kozmik Artifactz (info here).

Turns out that next album has been recorded and Mullins may still do something with it. He offered a frank update on the end of Heavy Glow and the plan going forward that you can find below in its entirety:

heavy glow

Heavy Glow – Breakup Announcement

We’ve decided to call it a “day.” Two more shows and then its on to better things. Thank you all.

Jared Mullins on what’s next:

We’re changing the band name. When I first started HG in 2008 I didn’t know any other bands that had “Heavy” in their name. I just thought it was a cool hippy thing kinda like Iron Butterfly where you put two extremes next to each other. I don’t think I was the first to use “Heavy” in a band name but I didn’t know anyone else that did at the time. It stood out to me. Now almost 10 years later, every city has at least one band with “heavy” in their names. For years we’ve fought off comments about Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heavy Flows, Heavy Blows, Heavy Snows etc. So we’ve got two more shows as Heavy Glow and then we’ll go silent and come back under a different band name.

The new name will I think do us better by not poisoning the first impression of music-listeners. I’ve never been a stoner rock listener. For years I’ve been told my inspiration for writing has been all these stoner rock bands I’ve never listened to. Honestly I had no idea what stoner rock was when I was started the band. Now the name is synonymous with a genre I’m not truly a part of, and as the only contributing member of Heavy Glow since the start I need to be apart of something I believe in. I mean what really does “Got My Eye On You” have in common with bands like Mothership? Apples and oranges. Plus I have the added advantage of not being all that successful with the band so I’m not reluctantly forced to keep going with it.

So we’ll go blank for a few months and come back in a few with a new band name, new band members, new website, new photos etc. We recorded an album of 50 minutes of music in Oxfordshire England with Ian Davenport (Radiohead, Band of Skulls) back in January. Hardly anyone has paid attention to that I guess (proof it’s time after almost 10 years of Heavy Glow to do something else.) The album is the best thing I’ve ever written and closer to what I’ve been wanting to do with Heavy Glow. You don’t get invited to record in England if the material is no-good. So that’s the plan.

https://www.facebook.com/heavyglowband/
http://instagram.com/heavyglowmusic
https://twitter.com/heavyglowmusic
https://heavyglowband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavyglowmusic.com/

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (2014)

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Canyon of the Skull Announce The Desert Winter out Aug. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, it was pretty plain when instrumentalist Texas duo Canyon of the Skull released their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here), that the band was headed in the direction of a single-song release. It didn’t take them long to get there, it would seem. The first outing was comprised of two cuts, 17 and 18 minutes long, respectively, and the follow-up, which is titled The Desert Winter and due out Aug. 19, is one 37-minute track. Bound to happen. Had to happen. Is happening. Hard to argue.

Interesting that though it was recorded last October and seems to have a colder theme — if one that, like their name, gives a strong sense of place and warmth derived from that; i.e., the desert is hot (I know it’s insights like that that keep you coming back to The Obelisk; stay tuned for more information about the sky being blue) — it’ll arrive at basically the height of summer’s intolerable onslaught. Go figure? Yeah, go figure.

If you missed out on the debut the first go ’round, you can stream it at the bottom of this post. The PR wire checks in with the following:

canyon-of-the-skull-the-desert-winter

CANYON OF THE SKULL Releasing ‘The Desert Winter’ August 19

CANYON OF THE SKULL has returned! The instrumental Doom duo of guitarist Erik Ogershok and Adrian Voorhies (Humut Tabal) will release sophomore album The Desert Winter on August 19. The CD version will be available in a gorgeous 6-panel format.

Consisting of the undeniably epic 37-minute title track of blackened doom, The Desert Winter is a journey deep into the psyche. Listeners are strongly advised to clear out all head space (and any earwax) and settle in for this existential Ride of the Doomed!

The brainchild of Erik Ogershok, COTS was initially manifested in the winter of 2006. Several local appearances and lineup fluctuations later, life happened, and the project lay dormant. 2014 saw the return of Ogershok as he recruited new musical personnel in the form of drummer Adrian Voorhies of the Austin-based Black Metal outfit HUMUT TABAL and once more brought the doom ensemble to life to melt the faces of all who sought shade in the Canyon walls.

Recorded at WoodenHorse studios October 2016
Mixed and Produced by Zawicizuz and Canyon of the Skull
Mastered by Proscriptor McGovern (Russ R. Givens) at Nox Luna Inlustris Music
Artwork Layout and design by Erik Bredthauer

Adrian Voorhies- Drums, Percussion
Erik Ogershok- Guitars, Bass, Percussion

Canyonoftheskull.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/canyonoftheskull
Twitter.com/canyondoom

Canyon of the Skull, Canyon of the Skull (2015)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Greenbeard, Lödarödböl

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

greenbeard lodarodbol

[Click play above to stream Greenbeard’s Lödarödböl in its entirety. Album is out July 1 via Sailor Records.]

One might have to stare a couple extra seconds at the title Lödarödböl before putting the proper long ‘o’ sounds where they should be, but once that’s deciphered, a good portion of Greenbeard‘s intent is revealed. The Austin, Texas-based three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Chance Parker, bassist Dan Alvarez and drummer Buddy Hachar follow-up their 2015 debut, Stoned at the Throne (discussed here), with six tracks of correspondingly weedian craftsmanship that balances straightforward hooks with jammier impulses in clear but fluid divide. That is, in listening, one looks at a song like the eight-minute “Lanesplitter” and can probably guess that Greenbeard are about to stretch out a bit, but the trio do well to tie their pieces together, whether it’s that song leading out of aptly-named opener “Swing” or into the driving “Young Concussion.”

All told, Lödarödböl comprises six tracks pulled off over a pretense-free 35 vinyl-ready minutes, and there isn’t a weak one in the batch. With subtle shifts in tone brought to bear through a production/mix job by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon, so many others) — who also adds synth to “Swing,” “Lanesplitter” and 10-minute closer “Wyrm” — a few guest vocal appearances and variety of structure, Greenbeard keep a consistent groove from song to song while playing a kind of back and forth between shorter and longer-winded stretches. Momentum is built and well maintained, and ultimately, Lödarödböl succeeds in casting an amiable interpretation of modern stoner heavy: informed but not solely indebted to the likes of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, and jammed out in all the right places.

With their road bowl loaded, Greenbeard set themselves in immediate motion with the introductory riff of “Swing,” calling to mind a fuzzier take on earlier Red Fang in their chug and straightforward, uptempo push. Even the verse is catchy, and the chorus itself is the first of several deceptively ear-worming melodies that Lödarödböl offers, but it’s also telling and somewhat foreshadowing that “Swing” moves into its second half with the aforementioned keys from Bayles and a more laid back, languid, semi-psychedelic spaciousness added on top of that initial core chug. That tension is essential to what makes Lödarödböl function, and to have it play out directly prior to the fadeout of the album opener shows consciousness on the part of the band in terms of informing their audience of their intent throughout. Was that what they had in mind when they wrote the song? Probably not, but it’s a crucial function “Swing” plays anyway, and likewise the transition into the nodding “Lanesplitter” is smooth enough that there’s no jarring moment where one track ends and the next one starts.

greenbeard

Parker‘s vocals about a minute in remind of Chris Goss in Masters of Reality in how they top the bounce, but “Lanesplitter” is headed outward, and after a little more than three minutes, the track crashes out to a just-guitar progression as the founding element of the likely-plotted jam that will carry through the rest of its eight-minute runtime, some righteous half-time drumming from Hachar and Bayles‘ organ work setting up a guitar solo while Alvarez holds the proceedings together on bass so that as they move into the more-improv-sounding next stage of the jam and build toward the crashing apex, the sense of motion remains prevalent. That turns out to be pivotal as Greenbeard shift method again into the shorter and more structured “Young Concussion,” rounding out the album’s first half with a strong hook that speaks to the Songs for the Deaf influence, stops to make room for a bit of rock-gasm, and ably returns to its chorus to finish.

Lest they be accused of not being stoned enough, ParkerAlvarez and Hachar start side B with “Battleweed.” Like “Swing” at the outset, there’s a certain amount of blending impulses in the five-minute-plus second-half leadoff, but “Battleweed” functions doubly in reinforcing not only the two different sides of Lödarödböl, but how readily Greenbeard are able to unite them into a functioning singular presentation. There may be a certain tongue-in-cheek aspect to the lyrics, but with its turn into and subsequently out of midsection boogie and casual rhythm, it’s a highlight all the same, and it comes backed by the “Love has Passed by Me,” the penultimate cut and shortest at 3:33. A sans-frills swing-and-hook masher, it thick-shuffles through its verse en route to the maybe-Kyuss referential chorus (though that was “…Passed Me By,” not “…Passed by Me” as it is here) and holds its pace for the duration, playing effectively into the bass-thickened start of “Wyrm.”

The final portion of Lödarödböl earns its extended stretch-out with a patient opening and loosely hypnotic flow, a particularly impressive vocal from Parker when the vocals arrive and a break at the halfway mark into an abbreviated crescendo. This makes for an especially welcome ending, because rather than build and jam their way out, Greenbeard actually turn back to the chorus and the central progression of “Wyrm” and ride that to the album’s end, working in defiance of expectation and easing the listener back to reality with a return from Bayles on keys and a last churning hum. In some ways, Lödarödböl is a quintessential second full-length. It clearly has learned from its predecessor, and it demonstrates mindful growth on the part of Greenbeard without giving the sense that they’ve finished the process of becoming who they’ll be as a band. That’s a convenient narrative, but they play well to it, and their preaching should have no trouble finding welcome among the ears of the already converted or those looking to be.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Greenbeard on Bandcamp

Greenbeard on Instagram

Greenbeard website

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

Sailor Records on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records webstore

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Review & Track Premiere: Destroyer of Light, Chamber of Horrors

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

destroyer-of-light-chamber-of-horrors

[Click play above to stream ‘Lux Crusher’ by Destroyer of Light from Chamber of Horrors, out July 14 via Heavy Friends Records.]

The last couple years have apparently done much to hone the focus of Austin, Texas’ Destroyer of Light. Chamber of Horrors is the third full-length from the four-piece and their first standalone outing since 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, which was followed by the 2015 Endsville split/collaboration LP (video premiere here) with Godhunter, and its seven tracks mark a significant turn of approach and mood. This could well be the result of heavy touring undertaken since Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 came out, but it feels like a conscious decision one way or the other, and as guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Jeff Klein and drummer Penny Turner elicit their most directed and longest offering yet at 44 minutes, they also find themselves holed up in a doomed swamp befitting the Adam Burke cover art, otherworldly and ruinous as it is.

Patiently and with purpose, they roll out massive grooves like that of 10-minute closer “Buried Alive” or the preceding “Prisoner of Eternity,” on which Colca‘s vocal cadence and the march in general seems to be in direct conversation with Sweden’s Goatess more than the brash heavy rock Destroyer of Light offered on their previous outings. Flourish of organ in that track, guest vocals and samples on “The Virgin” and ambient pieces like the intro “Whispers into the Threshold” and the centerpiece/presumed side B opener “Twilight Procession” add depth and complexity to the morose vibe, and a mix by Matt Meli of Austin’s Orb Recording Studios sets up a suitable abyss into which the band can feel free to plummet. And plummet they do. Gloriously.

The first grim claw is raised not long after “Whispers into the Threshold” begins with a sample of a creaky, heavy-wood door opening into an echoing room and likewise echoing guitar (also actual whispers). It’s worth noting that at the end of “Buried Alive,” there’s a corresponding shutting of that door, and one assumes that’s the band putting their audience in the titular Chamber of Horrors. So be it. That bookend is one more example of the kind of cohesion and attention to detail Destroyer of Light bring to their third album, and the songwriting holds up to a similar standard, whether it’s the mournful wail of lead guitar and earlier shouts turning to moans in the second half of “Into the Smoke” that set the stage for more of what’s to come later or the more direct horror-worship of “The Virgin,” which with its guest vocals alongside Colca and even more dramatic take is something of an outlier in the tracklist, despite the engaging flow that’s already been crafted between the first two songs and which continues throughout. It’s almost as though, after years of being called a doom band, Destroyer of Light decided to turn around and become one.

destroyer of light

It suits them. The devil himself shows up on “The Virgin,” which almost feels like it was bound to happen somewhere along the line, and amid spacious lead guitar, the band unfurl an accordingly resonant melody and percussive thud to lead into the first creeper verse of an effective linear build. As with “Into the Smoke,” they’re telling a story. I don’t know if Chamber of Horrors would or should be considered a concept record, but it’s definitely thematic, and there’s a clear intent in the way it plays out piece by piece. A somewhat minimalist weaving of two guitar lines over a subtle dirge of drumming takes hold with “Twilight Procession,” and almost before the listener realizes what’s happened, Destroyer of Light have constructed a momentum that’s carried them through side A without misstep.

It’s one thing for a group to grow into a new sound. It’s another for them to arrive at it sounding already so well schooled in the tenets of the style and so readily knowledgeable about which rules they want to abide by and which they want to break. As they touch on post-Electric Wizard riffing to start “Lux Crusher” in a way that mirrors somewhat the progression at the outset of “Into the Smoke,” it again makes clear the level of nuance to which Destroyer of Light are playing, and though, as noted, “Lux Crusher” calls to mind the righteous swaying Vitusism of Goatess especially in Colca‘s vocal approach, the band bring this influence into their own sonic context, harsher shouts emerging as they roll toward the track’s chugging, feedback-laden conclusion and into its six-minute companion-piece “Prisoner of Eternity,” which begins with rim taps from Turner and clean-sounding guitar before its full rumble kicks in, signaling the end is near. Like “The Virgin,” “Prisoner of Eternity” centers more around its hook, but the addition of organ beneath and around its guitar solo adds an even more classic feel. That’s fair game for Destroyer of Light at this point, because with the 10-minute “Buried Alive,” which follows and rounds out, they engage an entirely different level of doomly traditionalism.

With perhaps the boldest take on clean vocals out front to start, “Buried Alive” reinterprets an ambience that brings to mind The Gates of Slumber, and though they’ll move into more extreme growls and a wash of noise before they’re done, the lumbering misery of their finale never gets lost in the slow-motion cacophonous melee that ensues. Once again, they cap with feedback before that door closes, and though it’s hard to know from the context of the audio whether we’re trapped in the Chamber of Horrors or we’ve managed to escape, one way or the other, the album makes a lasting and colorful impression such that, even if we’re out, we’re not unaffected by what’s been witnessed within. It’s not the most dramatic sonic turn that’s ever taken place — that is, Destroyer of Light had elements of doom even at their most psychedelic moments, and they have elements of psych here even at their most doomed — but Chamber of Horrors nonetheless represents a brazen reset on the band’s part and whether they continue to walk along this bleak path or head elsewhere aesthetically, what they’ve accomplished in pulling off the shift in these brave and willfully dismal tracks is not to be understated.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

Heavy Friends Records on Thee Facebooks

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From Beyond Sign to Candlelight/Spinefarm; Debut Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Been a minute since last we heard from Austin four-piece From Beyond, and by that I mean three years since they release their split single with ASG (premiered here) as a free download via Scion A/V. Remember those? Alas, the Scion era may be over, but From Beyond have apparently been working toward a bright future all the while, as the news arrives they’ve inked a deal to put out what will be their debut long-player this Fall via the combined efforts of Candlelight Records and Spinefarm Records. Not too shabby.

As it has been so long, I’m going to make the narrow-minded assumption the record — whatever it winds up being called — is already in the can and that it was duly shopped before being picked up, in part causing a delay. I don’t know any of that, of course, but it’s a narrative that fits. Could just be From Beyond took their time writing, or it’s still in progress. I know nothing about nothing.

Either way, it’s great news for the band, whose grim, suitably candlelit visages you can peep below, courtesy of the PR wire:

from beyond

Austin’s From Beyond have signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm.

With several EPs, including a split with ASG in their repertoire, the band is ready to take things to the next level by linking up with the label and releasing their debut album this fall.

With a tour history that includes gigs with The Sword, Purson, Truckfighters, and Saint Vitus, From Beyond make new fans and believers the minute they step on any stage.

Blending thundering amplifier stacks and massive drums with synthesizers and effects, the band create something hauntingly familiar in unexplored sonic territory.

Everything you love about horror and all things strange, dark, and heavy find their way into their music in a something-for-everyone approach that leaves no stone unturned — no matter how heavy.

From Beyond is:
Rob McCarthy – Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizers
Dave Grooman – Guitars
Anthony Vallejo – Drums
Brooks Willhoite- Bass

https://www.facebook.com/FromBeyondBand/
https://musicfrombeyond.bandcamp.com/
http://bandfrombeyond.com/
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/usa/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
https://twitter.com/Spinefarm

From Beyond, “The Fall to Earth”

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audiObelisk Transmission 061

Posted in Podcasts on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 61

Click Here to Download

 

Yes! A new podcast! Are you stoked? I’m stoked. If you’re not, you will be when you look at the list of bands included. In any case, let’s be stoked together, because rock and roll, and heavy psych and good music and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much stuff to be stoked about. It’s been absurdly long since the last time we did one of these. Too long. I don’t really have an excuse other than… gainful employment? Don’t worry, though. That’ll be over soon enough. Then it’ll be podcasts out the ass.

There’s some killer goods here though. Yeah, I decided to do a “Yeti” double-shot with Green Yeti into Telekinetic Yeti. That’s my version of me being clever. But both bands are righteous, and if you haven’t heard the Savanah record, or that new Tia Carrera jam, or the Cachemira or Big Kizz or Yagow or Vokonis or the Elder — oh hell, frickin’ all of it — it’s worth your time. That Emil Amos track just premiered the other day and I think will surprise a lot of people, and I liked the way it paired with the dark neofolk of Hermitess. And of course we get trippy in the second hour, as is the custom around here. But first a moment of prog clarity from the aforementioned Elder. That’s a good time as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” from The Sunken Djinn
0:06:47 Tia Carrera, “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)” from Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)
0:16:33 Supersonic Blues, “Supersonic Blues Theme” from Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul
0:19:28 Emil Amos, “Elements Cycling” from Filmmusik
0:22:28 Hermitess, “Blood Moon” from Hermitess
0:26:24 Savanah, “Mind” from The Healer
0:34:22 Yagow, “Non-Contractual” from Yagow
0:42:35 Big Kizz, “Eye on You” from Eye on You
0:45:53 Cachemira, “Jungla” from Jungla
0:52:05 Green Yeti, “Black Planets (Part 2)” from Desert Show
0:58:02 Telekinetic Yeti, “Stoned and Feathered” from Abominable

Second Hour:

1:02:10 Elder, “The Falling Veil” from Reflections of a Floating World
1:13:20 Riff Fist, “King Tide” from King Tide
1:24:15 Cavra, “Montaña” from Cavra
1:39:18 Causa Sui, “A Love Supreme” from Live in Copenhagen

Total running time: 1:55:53

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 061

 

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Friday Full-Length: Amplified Heat, How Do You Like the Sound of That

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Amplified Heat, How Do You Like the Sound of That (2007)

The lesson here is simple: If you can chase down Amplified Heat records, do it. They’re not always the most politically correct of bands, but chances are that they can out-boogie just about anyone else in the room. Based in Austin, Texas, and comprised of brothers Jim Ortiz (guitar and vocals), Gian Ortiz (bass and backing vocals) and Chris Ortiz (drums), Amplified Heat stand among the most powerful of power trios I’ve ever had the pleasure to see grace a stage, and it’s a no-brainer to consider them one of the most underrated classically styled rock bands active on any level. I mean, we’re talking Radio Moscow-level good. Boogie as a frantic, manic-expression of raw thrust. You can hear it even in the acoustic/handclap tomfoolery of “Moonshine” on their second long-player, How Do You Like the Sound of That, which Arclight Records released in 2007, let alone in dirt-rocking scorchers like “What Went Wrong,” the quick drum-solo blast of “S.A.P.O.,” the ultra-catchy “Rambler” or the later title-track with its channel-swapping lead work over blown-out cymbal wash. Pure fucking righteousness, front to back.

When one considers this record came out a decade ago, right around the same time Graveyard were making their debut, and it’s Amplified Heat‘s second outing behind their 2003 self-titled EP and the next year’s debut long-player, In for Sin (also on Arclight), the context becomes even more intriguing. But Amplified Heat have always been more concerned with being behind their time than ahead of it. In their construction, in their raw presentation and in their base of influence, they’re a true ’70s-inspired outfit, seemingly ready for private-press vinyl at a moment’s notice, and even as it starts out with the time-to-kick-ass threats of “Tough Guy” and gets all sloppy with your ladyfriend in the groovy “Man on the Road,” it does so with such a command of songwriting and performance that it’s hard to do anything other than go along with it. Their earlier work on the EP and In for Sin was more formative, but How Do You Like the Sound of That is more than confident — that’s not to say arrogant — enough in its swagger to live up to the challenge its title poses. The Ortiz brothers come along with this bluesy attitude in “She Drank that Wine” and the comedown closer “Sickness,” and on first listen, it seems like their greatest asset might be the energy of their delivery, but the truth of the matter is it’s their underlying core of songwriting that sustains them. Not only do they pack this punch in their sound, but the songs eek their way into your head. “Rambler?” “Through and Through?” Even the instrumental shuffle of the penultimate “Amplified Boogie” seems to have a hook, and the Ortizes make them all work to their advantage throughout the record’s still-quick 36-minute rush.

Again, it can be a tough one to keep up with, but if you need to listen twice, Amplified Heat more than earn that with the quality of the work itself, and the subtle twists of arrangement that find them working from all-out Blue Cheer worship into the slow-ride nod of “Through and Through,” with acoustic guitar layered in even under the torn-through solo at the finish. When they seem to be a garage band, they’re pulling the wool over your eyes so they can blindside you with the next round of heavy fuzz, grab your drink and guzzle it on the quick while you’re not looking. It’s like that. Hey, they’re on a budget, and beer’s not cheap in Austin these days.

To my knowledge, it’s been a minute since they got out and properly toured, but they remain active playing shows around their hometown — the social medias shows them on stage next month with Corky Laing’s Mountain and Duel, and that seems like appropriate enough company (event page is here). Their most recent studio work came in the form of 2011’s On the Hunt, which refined the craftsmanship on display throughout How Do You Like the Sound of That in memorable tracks like “Dirty Love, No Romance” and “Give it to Me,” but yeah, the bottom line when it comes to Amplified Heat is that there aren’t nearly as many people worshiping at their altar as there probably should be. I don’t know if they’ve got another record in the works or what — six years later, you’d obviously call them due — but you definitely wouldn’t hear me complain if one happened to show up.

Until then, if you know these cats, I hope you dig the chance to revisit, and if you don’t, I hope you dig their particular brand of push ‘n’ swing. As much boogie rock as is out there nowadays, few groups do it so well or with as much conviction as Amplified Heat. And they were doing it a decade ago.

In any case, I hope you enjoy, as always.

It’s the morning. Some cinnamon-flavored protein powder in my coffee doing me right as we approach 6AM. In a little bit, I’ll have to get up, put on real pants — those real pants, over there — and drive to work. Then, as though in preemptive penance for the two days off I’m about to enjoy over the weekend, I’ll have to drive back.

Rest assured, I’d much rather stay here, in my pajamas, and casually sip my coffee on the couch alongside the sleepy Little Dog Dio. Yesterday was her 11th birthday. She celebrated with a beef marrow bone. We celebrated with crust-less pesto quiche and sauteed spinach on the side. I cooked extra garlic for my spinach in chili powder and red pepper flakes. It was glorious. Shaved parmesan cheese and coarse-grated black pepper everywhere.

And yes, if you’re wondering, my making and eating cooked spinach is the result of an inspiration I brought back from this year’s Roadburn fest. Roadburn always changes you. This year, it changed me into someone who loves cooked spinach.

This week started off pretty rough. Enough so that I got a note in response to the photo captions, which happens rarely enough for me to pretend that no one reads them (this is just fine by me). I’m hoping that today will bring it to an at-least-innocuous end and I can affect some kind of mental reset on Saturday and Sunday. Part of it is being down post-Roadburn. Part of it is work — knowing that I’m losing my current job next month and still having to go every day is a drag. There’s other stuff too.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years embracing the idea of caveats, of obstacles. “If only X, then Y,” where X is some pain in my ass and Y is living with a reasonable sense of contentment about myself and/or my situation. “If only I made more money, then I’d be fine.” “If only I had time to write, I’d be set,” and so on. The harder truth? The issue isn’t some circumstance in my way. The issue is I’m a miserable bastard. I always have been and I always will be. There’s always going to be something. It’s inescapable. If it’s not obvious like “golly, I sure would feel better about my day if I wasn’t about to be shitcanned,” then rest assured, I’ll dig through until I find something else. I’m the problem.

Time for meds? Maybe. Hitting that point is usually a pretty good sign we’ve arrived there. Meds make you gain weight — not that the occasional bit of quiche doesn’t — which terrifies me, but yeah, we’ll see. Maybe if I’m on meds I won’t care. Ha. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next Thursday to have blood drawn for a general checkup, so maybe I’ll be like, “Hey, so I’d like to drive into the median on the way home. Something we can do about this?”

Anyway, one presses through because that’s what one does. I’m not gonna sit here on my couch with my snoring dog listening to dreamy psychedelic rock and pretend I have it the hardest anyone has ever had it.

Here’s what’s in my notes for next week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Yagow full album stream/review. This one’s a gem. Also Hermitess video.
Tue.: Causa Sui live album review. Doing myself a favor. Also Big Kizz video.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Vokonis. Also PH video.
Thu.: Samsara Blues Experiment interview. Might also have a track premiere.
Fri.: Second Coming of Heavy review and whatever else comes along.

Full week. Monday and Tuesday are already packed for news and whatnot as well, so you know. We keep busy over here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading, for checking in this week if you did, and for continuing to support this site. We’re about to get back to a place where The Obelisk is all I’ve got again, at least for a couple months, so expect some gushing about how much your ongoing involvement in this project means to me. Because it means an awful lot. Thank you.

Talk soon. Forum and Radio.

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