Quarterly Review: Atomikylä, Sunnata, White Dynomite, Horehound, Sulfur Giant, New Planet Trampoline, Hypnos, Honky, Cheap Wine, Gurt & Trippy Wicked

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

This one’s for all the marbles. Or at very least tiddlywinks. The last day of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review begins. I’ll admit that when I was planning this out — started soon after the last Quarterly Review was finished in early April; that one ran late, this one has run early — I decided to take it easy on myself the last day. Still 10 reviews, so not that easy, but in terms of what’s included today, a lot of is stuff I feel pretty comfortable talking about, whether it’s bands I’ve covered before (which a lot of it is, now that I look at the list) or whatever. If you’ve been keeping up this week, thanks. I hope you found some cool music.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Atomikylä, Keräily

atomikyla Keraily

From the Finnish hotbed of Tampere, Atomikylä made a striking impression with their 2014 Svart Records debut, Erkale (review here), giving a take on psychedelic black metal that was immediately and truly their own in its balance of elements. The band, featuring members of Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, return with doom-jazz fervor on sophomore full-length, Keräily, with three songs covering yet-unnamed stylistic reaches and offering a get-to-the-studio-and-see-what-happens experimentalism to go with their plotted course on 18-minute opener and longest track (bonus points) “Katkos,” which is followed by the building horn freakout “Risteily” (9:15), from which a space rock push takes hold on drums, resulting in maddening guitar swirl – because of course – and closer “Pakoputki” (6:55), which consumes with a darker thrust and more up-front blackened vibe that still holds onto some of the psychedelia in its layers of guitar. Keräily progresses effectively from Atomikylä’s debut and highlights just how individualized they are as a group. They continue to have the potential to do really special work, and the argument is easy to make they’re already doing it.

Atomikylä on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Sunnata, Zorya

sunnata zorya

As opener and longest track (bonus points) “Beasts of Prey” careens toward its apex finish near the 12-minute mark and the title-track begins is crashing, harmonized intro before moving into an Alice in Chains-via-stoner verse, the distance Poland’s Sunnata cover on their second full-length, Zorya, begins to really unveil itself. There doesn’t seem to be a genre within the heavy sphere that’s off limits. They never get into death metal, but heavy rock, doom, psychedelia, prog, sludge – it’s all in play at one point or another in Zorya’s five-track/50-minute run. The reason the album works and isn’t just a haphazard mash of styles is because Sunnata, who’ve been active in Warsaw since the last decade, make each one their own and thus bend genre to suit their purposes and not the other way around. They continue to impress through the rush of “Long Gone,” the airy expanse of “New Horizon” and the more brooding closer “Again and Against,” conjuring effective flow from what in less capable hands would be disparate components.

Sunnata on Thee Facebooks

Sunnata on Bandcamp

White Dynomite, Action O’Clock

white dynomite action oclock

I have kind of a hard time with White Dynomite. Not musically – the Boston five-piece’s new EP, Action O’Clock (on Ripple) typifies their accessible punk rock; a reminder of a time when the style used guitars – but conceptually. Their lineup features bassist Tim Catz and vocalist Craig Riggs (on drums) of Roadsaw, as well as guitarist Pete Knipfing (also Hey Zeus, Lamont), vocalist Dave Unger and guitarist John Darga, and while I can’t argue with the charm of a track like “Werewolf Underwear” or “Evil Ballerina” — the lyric “Tutu woman, too too much for me” alone makes Action O’Clock worth the price of admission, let alone “I got fangs in my pants” from “Werewolf Underwear” – but I haven’t yet been able to listen to the band in the context of it having been six years since the last time Roadsaw released an album, and thinking about years passing, priorities and whatnot. They sound they’re having a blast all the way through, and I won’t begrudge them exploring other influences, I guess I just miss that band.

White Dynomite on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Horehound, Horehound

horehound horehound

Pittsburgh newcomers Horehound formed just last year, so one might go into their self-titled debut full-length thinking it’s an early arrival, but in an unpretentious seven-track/33-minute collection of straightforward but engaging doom rockers, the five-piece demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do sonically. While it may not represent where they’ll ultimately end up as a band, its songs sound fleshed out in terms of direction and the resultant feel on the release is much more album than demo. So be it. A particular highlight is “The Waters of Lethe,” on which a sweeter melody emerges in the guitar and vocals, but neither will I discount the low-end crunch and vocal call-and-response in closer “Waking Time” or the more uptempo thrust of second cut “Sangreal.” Not that Horehound don’t have room to grow, but their initial offering preaches well to the converted and should give them a solid foundation to work from in that process.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

Horehound on Bandcamp

Sulfur Giant, Beyond the Hollow Mountain

sulfur giant beyond the hollow mountain

Beyond the Hollow Mountain is the first full-length from Portuguese mostly-instrumentalists Sulfur Giant, who bring together influences from classic progressive rock, psychedelia and heavy rock so that when they dip into Iommic riffing on “Vertigo,” it’s no stranger than the peaceful jamming of “Whisper at Dawn,” which follows. Friendly if not exactly innovative, Sulfur Giant’s debut makes its chief impression with the four-piece’s instrumental chemistry, which brings about an easy flow within and between the eight tracks, which having already been issued digitally will see vinyl release later this year on Pink Tank Records. It’s hard to ignore what organ adds to “Evermore,” but “Sea of Stone” sneaks in some vocals amid its thicker-riffing and Sungrazer-style exploration, and “Magnolia” and the galloping “Unleash Fears” follow suit, so Sulfur Giant have a few tricks up their collective sleeve they hold back from the initial roll and gallop of the opening title-track. All the better.

Sulfur Giant on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records

New Planet Trampoline, Dark Rides and Grim Visions

new planet trampoline dark rides and grim visions

Never say never in rock and roll. From Cleveland, Ohio, the psych-rocking four-piece New Planet Trampoline called it quits in 2008, leaving behind an unfinished album. After coming back together for 2014’s The Wisconsin Witch House EP, the ‘60s-stylized outfit set themselves to the task of finishing what became Dark Rides and Grim Visions, basking in the glow of early Floyd, Beatles and others of the ilk while keeping a harder edge to songs like “Grim Visions” and a healthy cynicism to “We’ll Get What We Deserve” and the tongue-in-cheek keyboard-laced closer “Haunted as Fuck.” Of the several more extended tracks, the nine-minute “Acts of Mania” is the longest, and provides suitable patience and atmospherics to stand up to its scope. All told, Dark Rides and Grim Visions is a formidable journey at 13 songs/68 minutes, but after more than half a decade away, it’s hard to hold New Planet Trampoline having their say against them, particularly when that say is as lush and dreamy as “This is the Morning.”

New Planet Trampoline on Thee Facebooks

New Planet Trampoline on Bandcamp

Hypnos, Cold Winds

hypnos cold winds

With their second LP, Cold Winds (on Crusher Records), Gothenburg’s Hypnos seem to be betting that the next step in the retro game is NWOBHM. They make a convincing argument; it’s kind of how it went the first time around, and their songwriting offers a top-notch look at the moment where Thin Lizzy bounce became Iron Maiden gallop, as on second cut “I’m on the Run,” just minutes after opener “Start the Hunt” featured a flute solo. Broken into two sides, each one works its way toward a longer finale – “Det Kommer en Dag” (7:23) on side A and “1800” (8:32) on side B – but sonic diversity and changes in song structure throughout do much to keep Cold Winds from feeling overly plotted, and like their countrymen in Horisont, Hypnos offer a seamless melding of classic heavy rock and metal, soaring and scorching on “Descending Sun (Unrootables White)” and swinging and swaggering immediately thereafter on “Cold September,” both accomplished with unwavering command.

Hypnos on Thee Facebooks

Hypnos at Crusher Records

Honky, Corduroy

honky corduroy

Texas boogie rockers Honky were last heard from with 2012’s 421 – which I’ll assume is the “going to 11” equivalent for getting high – and their eighth outing, Corduroy, finds bassist JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Melvins) and guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down) hooked up with drummer Trinidad Leal of Dixie Witch and Housecore Records for the release. To call is business as usual for the underrated outfit in the classic swing and grit they hone would only be a compliment, songs like “Baby Don’t Slow Down,” “Bad Stones” and the harmonized “Double Fine” offering soul as much as push, ‘70s influences given a modern kick in the ass throughout as a swath of guests, including Melvins drummer Dale Crover, come and go, perhaps none making their presence felt as much as Rae Comeau, whose work on “Bad Stones” makes that song a highlight – not to take away from the a capella cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” here retitled as “Mopey Dick,” that closes. Chicanery ensues, booze flows, good times are had for those who’ll have them.

Honky website

Housecore Records website

Cheap Wine, Sad Queen

cheap wine sad queen

Distinguished as on centerpiece “The Rambler” by their use of organ amid a semi-retro heavy boogie style, French five-piece Cheap Wine recorded Sad Queen – as the cover art says – live for Celebration Days Records. It’s somewhere between an EP and album, and strips away some of the individual track length of their 2013 debut, Mystic Crow, in favor of maximizing the energy put into each piece, the subdued “Intro” and “Opening” that start sides A and B, respectively, aside, though as “Opening” feeds cleanly into the quiet, airy and soulful beginning of the title-track, even that seems to have a tension that builds toward its eventual release, different from the shuffling raucousness of the post-“Intro” opener “Cyclothymic” maybe, but palpable nonetheless. They close somewhat melancholy on “Yesterday’s Dream,” but the complementary guitar of Valentin Constestin and keys of Ahn Tuan aren’t to be missed, nor how well work in concert with vocalist Mathieu Devillers, bassist Valentin Lallart and drummer Louis Morati.

Cheap Wine on Thee Facebooks

Celebration Days Records website

Gurt & Trippy Wicked and teh Cosmic Children of the Knight, Guppy

gurt trippy wicked guppy

The UK heavy scene excels at not taking itself too seriously. To wit, Gurt and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight get together for a split (on When Planets Collide for CD and HeviSike cassette) and, they call it Guppy and the first two songs are “Owlmegeddon” and “Super Fun Happy Slide.” It kind of goes from there. Recorded together, sharing a drummer and collaborating on the centerpiece, “Revolting Child,” it’s basically two outfits who are close friends coming together to have a good time, but that doesn’t take away from Gurt’s sludgy intensity on “I Regret Nothing” or the nodding heavy rock Trippy Wicked hold forth on closer “Reign.” Taking its title from the two band names put together, one can only wonder if this will be the last conjoined offering Gurt and Trippy Wicked will make, or if there might be a whole school of guppies in the future. Frankly, this sounds like too good a party to only throw it once.

Gurt on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

When Planets Collide website

HeviSike Records

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Bellringer Release Jettison in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

As announced last month, Austin’s Bellringer will make their full-length debut this summer. In addition to that release on Rock is Hell, Bellringer mainman Mark Deutrom will have a vinyl split with Australia’s Dead tomorrow. So what’s new? Well the title of that Bellringer offering is Jettison — presumably calling it “release” would’ve been too straightforward — and two Melvins records that Deutrom played bass on, Stag and Stoner Witch, will be reissued tomorrow on Third Man Records. And that’s enough for me.

The PR wire has it like this:

bellringer

BELLRINGER: Texas Act Formed By Ex-Melvins/Clown Alley Guitarist Mark Deutrom To Issue Jettison LP Via Rock Is Hell In August

Austin, Texas-based BELLRINGER, founded by guitarist/vocalist Mark Deutrom, has completed the brand new Jettison LP, and is preparing for it to strike this August through Rock Is Hell.

The live vehicle for the music of Deutrom – formerly of West Coast hardcore punk outfit, Clown Alley, and Prick/Stoner Witch/Stag/Honky-era Melvins, and others – BELLRINGER currently also embodies the contributions of musicians James Flores, Aaron Lack, Monique Ortiz, and Brian Ramirez. Recorded in Austin earlier this year, the outfit’s swanky new Jettison album was fully written and produced by Deutrom. The six expansive tracks traverse an immense volume of genre territory with nearly forty minutes of action, fusing elements of psychedelic and exploratory rock with bluesy and jazzy jam elements, all coalescing in the signature Mark D style. Outer-cosmos radioactive dust cloud soundscapes go head-to-head with lush, organic, earthling grooves, while a quirky edge stimulates hallucinations of animated characters colonizing psychedelic parallel existences.

Partnering once again with trusty label counterpart Rock Is Hell, who also released Deutrom’s Brief Sensuality & Western Violence LP+7″, Ruckus Juice 12″, The Value Of Decay 2xLP, as well as titles from his wife Jennifer Deutrom, Burmese, Bulbul, Shit & Shine, and others, BELLRINGER’s Jettison LP will see release am an offset/hand-screened limited edition LP and digital download on August 1st. Stand by for the cover art, audio samples, a video trailer, an official video, preorders, and more as the LP nears release in the coming weeks.

In related news, Mark Deutromhas a split LP with Australian outfit DEAD which sees release on WeEmptyRooms Records this Friday, June 24th, the release limited to 250 copies on 180g vinyl with a hand-screened cover. This will be a vinyl only release, with no digital available in any form. A promo video is available HERE, and is the only way to hear any audio from the release online. The preorder is up HERE for USA customers, and HERE for Australia/Oceania customers.

Additionally, this Friday, June 24th, Third Man Records is reissuing the classic Melvins titles, Houdini, Stoner Witch, and Stag, the latter two of which Deutrom performed on, which sees any of these albums being pressed on vinyl for the first time in over two decades; preoreders are live HERE.

BELLRINGER Live:
7/22/2016 Andy’s Bar – Denton, TX
8/19/2016 Curtain Club – Dallas, TX
9/03/2016 Bang Bang Bar – San Antonio, TX

http://markdeutrom.com
http://markdeutrom.bandcamp.com
http://soundcloud.com/mark-deutrom
http://rockishell.bigcartel.com

Mark Deutrom & Dead, Split LP teaser

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Sweat Lodge Sign to Brutal Panda Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Austin-based heavy rockers Sweat Lodge recently announced they’d hit the road with Monolord and Beastmaker this August. The band, who released their full-length debut, Talismana (review here), last year on Ripple Music, just completed a long weekender alongside Crypt Trip, and word has come down that they’ve been picked up by Brutal Panda Records for a vinyl reissue this summer.

Already this qualifies them for “got a lot going on” status, but Sweat Lodge will also record a new short release titled Tokens for Hell — presumably you need them on the subway to get there, or maybe you can exchange them for prizes once you arrive — that will follow-up on the Brutal Panda version of Talismana, which again, is due in the coming months.

The PR wire confirms the above:

sweat lodge

SWEAT LODGE Sign to Brutal Panda, Announce Talismana Reissue + Upcoming Tour Dates

Brutal Panda Records is proud to announce the signing of Austin, TX quartet SWEAT LODGE. Formed in 2010, the Hard Rock / Heavy Psych / Progressive Rock / Proto-Metal band have released a self-titled EP (2013) and a full-length Talismana (2015), the latter of which will see a vinyl reissue via Brutal Panda this summer. SWEAT LODGE are known for their vigorous live shows and have performed with YOB, Acid King, Earthless, The Sword, Pentagram and many others.

SWEAT LODGE are currently on the road with fellow Texan hard rockers Crypt Trip and have been announced as support for the upcoming summer tour with Sweden’s Monolord and California’s Beastmaker. A full listing of dates is available below.

Additionally, SWEAT LODGE will enter the studio later this year to record a new EP entitled Tokens for Hell, which will see a late 2016 release via Brutal Panda. Details will be announced shortly.

The band commented on the signing:

“Sweat Lodge is really excited about the vinyl reissue of Talismana and our new EP. Killer roster, killer people! Look out for us this summer with Monolord and Beastmaker!”

SWEAT LODGE Live:
*All Dates 8/5 – 9/10 with Monolord & Beastmaker*
8/5 Seattle, WA – Barboza
8/6 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown
8/8 San Franciscio, CA – The Chapel
8/9 Los Angeles, CA – The Viper Room
8/11 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
8/12 Scottsdale, AZ – The Rogue Bar
8/13 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
8/15 Dallas, TX – The Rail Club
8/16 Austin, TX The Sidewinder
8/17 Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
8/18 San Antonio, TX – The Korova
8/19 New Orleans, LA – Siberia
8/20 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
8/21 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge
8/22 Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub
8/23 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
8/24 Richmond, VA – The Broadberry
8/26 Baltimore, MD – The Windup Space
8/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar
8/28 Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Lounge
8/30 Boston, MA – Great Scott
9/1 Toronto, ON – Coalition: T.O
9/2 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
9/3 Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
9/4 Minneapolis, MN – The Cabooze
9/5 Omaha, NE – Lookout Lounge
9/6 Denver, CO – Lost Lake
9/7 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Bar
9/8 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
9/9 Portland, OR – Ash Street Saloon
9/10 Vancouver, BC – Astoria Hastings

https://www.facebook.com/Sweat-Lodge-124403460982785/
https://sweatlodgemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sweat_lodge/
https://twitter.com/sweatlodgetx
https://www.facebook.com/BrutalPandaRecords/
https://twitter.com/brutalpanda
http://www.brutalpandarecords.com/

Sweat Lodge, Talismana (2015)

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Mark Deutrom & Bellringer Announce New Releases

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Austin heavy rock outfit Bellringer has gradually been making its way toward a debut full-length with a series of digital singles released over the last year-plus, and the mainman behind the project, Mark Deutrom (Clown Alley, ex-Melvins), has already seen a rotating cast of players in and out of the band. Word has come down about new releases from Bellringer — the aforementioned first LP, out this summer on Rock is Hell — and Deutrom as himself, who will have a split out with Australia’s Dead next month and a new solo offering this fall, currently slated for a November release.

The info below, in addition to giving a rundown of the new/current Bellringer lineup, also makes some mention of touring later in the year. To my knowledge, that would be a first run for the project.

From the PR wire:

mark deutrom dead collective fictions

I’m pleased to announce the release of a split LP from Mark Deutrom and Austrailan band DEAD from WeEmptyRooms Records June 24 2016.

The release will be limited to 250 copies on 180g vinyl with a hand screened cover. This will be a vinyl only release, with no digital available in any form.

The preorder is up here for USA customers,
and here for Australia/Oceania customers .

A promo video is the only way to hear any audio from the release online.

The Bellringer LP is mastered and will be released mid summer from Rock is Hell. The album will feature 6 tracks recorded in Austin, Texas earlier this year. The album will be available on limited 180g colored vinyl and there will be a hand screened edition also. There will be a download available.

Bellringer is the live music vehicle for the music of Mark Deutrom, and currently features James Flores on Drums, Aaron Lack on Drums and vocals, Monique Ortiz on bass and vocals, and Brian Ramirez on Bass and Vocals.

Bellringer plays regionally in Texas, and will be touring in the fall.

Mark Deutrom’s fifth solo release is due in November.

www.markdeutrom.com
www.bellringeratx.com
www.facebook.com/BellringerTX

Mark Deutrom & Dead Split LP promo

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Friday Full-Length: Dixie Witch, Into the Sun

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dixie Witch, Into the Sun (2001)

I don’t think Texas heavy rock is what it is today without the groundwork that Austin’s Dixie Witch laid. I remember seeing them at Small Stone showcases at SXSW in the mid-’00s, and it was so clear whose town it was. When drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal walked into Room 710, he owned the place. Nothing’s universal, of course, and Texas is huge, but do you get Mothership or Wo Fat without Dixie Witch paving the way? I don’t know. The trio of Leal, guitarist Clayton Mills and bassist Curt “CC” Christenson made their debut on John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus‘ vastly underrated Brainticket Records imprint, and would go on to sign to the aforementioned Small Stone by the time the follow-up, One Bird, Two Stones, arrived in 2003, reissuing Into the Sun that same year. Their songs of perservering through hard times and being on the road, blistering solos, thick grooves and Southern-without-caricature brand of rock would make them one of the quintessential Small Stone bands of their generation, kicking ass in the pre-social media age on songs that would become staples like the extended megagroover “Freewheel Rollin’,” “Into the Sun” itself and “Throwin’ Shapes.”

Like the best of their contemporaries, Dixie Witch recalled classic heavy rock and roll without sounding anything other than modern. A full 15 years later, if you sent me Into the Sun to review, I’d in no way call it dated. I’d call it awesome, from the title-track at the outset down to the cover of Joe Walsh‘s “The Bomber,” which closes. The soul and the force they put into these tracks — doubly impressive on a debut — would serve as a defining moment for everything they did after, whether it was One Bird, Two Stones, 2006’s Smoke and Mirrors or their 2011 last-LP-to-date (one never knows), Let it Roll (review here), and “Thunderfoot”‘s whiskey-drinking ways, trippy solo and fervent crash makes a great model to follow. That’s not to say the band didn’t grow during their tenure — Smoke and Mirrors was expansive and Let it Roll showed just how tightly honed their songwriting was, even though Mills had left the band — just that Into the Sun set the tone that Dixie Witch would build on as they moved through the decade that followed.

They were underrated at the time, but as a new generation of heavy rockers have come up in the last five or six years, Dixie Witch have been off the touring circuit. Guitarist Joshua “JT” Todd Smith, who replaced Mills for Let it Roll, seems to have relinquished his position to its former holder, and through 2015 and up to this March, Dixie Witch have done sparse live shows. Seems like an act ripe for a triumphant comeback, but of course Leal is touring and playing with Honky now as well, so what if anything might be in the cards for Dixie Witch is anyone’s best guess. But man, they were incredible on stage, and Into the Sun continues to hold up, as I expect it will into perpetuity.

Hope you enjoy.

The Patient Mrs. has been in London since last Sunday. She took a group of some of her students over on a study tour — my wife is a college professor — and will return next Wednesday. It probably would’ve been worse being home alone this week if I hadn’t spent so much time in traffic. 90 minutes to work every morning, except yesterday when it was 100, and at least another hour and a half to get home afterwards. Punishing. By the time I’ve gotten home, I’ve been too exhausted to be lonely. And well, being at work is what it is anyway. It’s not like that’s time otherwise spent hanging out. Not to say I don’t miss her, because I do very much. Fortunately, this trip is nowhere near as long as when she went to Greece for a month two years ago.

But yeah, just kind of a slog to get through the days this week. I knew I was tired when that Radio Moscow giveaway went up yesterday with the wrong venue address. I corrected it, and those things happen, but for me it’s usually a sign I’m on my ass. Get exhausted, get sloppy. I don’t think I’m the only one in the universe.

Good news is I’ve got a friend coming north to chill this weekend and I’ve got a day or two to get some errands done — air conditioners need to go in windows, dog food needs purchasing, some laundry, etc. — and the weather isn’t supposed to be shit here in the Commonwealth, so I should be vaguely restored by the time Monday comes back around and the bullshit parade begins anew. To offset that, I’ve got a pretty busy week in store.

Monday, I might have a Black Moon Circle track premiere from their new EP? Not sure yet, but I’m trying to work it out. Also a King Buffalo track stream. Tuesday a full stream of the new Farflung. Also going to try to fit in reviews for Electric CitizenEarthless/Harsh Toke and Hijo de la Tormenta, and there’s already a ton of news I’m behind on and a couple new videos to get up as well, so yeah, I expect a barrage. Anyone notice yesterday was seven posts? Today wound up being seven too. Wednesday was six. Not complaining, it’s just a lot to keep up with.

Sometimes as a result a venue that’s in Long Beach gets mixed up with the same venue in North Hollywood. It happens. Pretty sure no one notices but me anyway. Oh, and Albatross Overdrive. They noticed.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’m going to try to do the same and not throw out my back dealing with that AC. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Destroyer of Light Announce West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Multi-level intrigue from Austin’s Destroyer of Light, who were also recently confirmed for the Shadow Woods Metal Fest in September (info here). The band will tour as a trio for the first time in June/July, still supporting last year’s Endsville (video premiere here) split with Godhunter — with whom they also toured in 2015 — and have a new album in the works, to be released early next year through a TBA label. Could be their Heavy Friends imprint will link up with Battleground again, as happened with the split, or could be they’ve been picked up by someone else. Also curious to see what happens with their lineup, since the PR wire hints at future announcements in that regard as well.

These dates were announced a bit ago at this point, but curiosity reigns:

destroyer of light west coast tour

DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Texas Outfit Confirms Western US June/July Tour; New Album In The Works

Austin, Texas-based psychedelic doom metal outfit, DESTROYER OF LIGHT, has confirmed a string of tour dates spanning the Western US in late June into mid-July.

The upcoming trek is the first extensive tour from the outfit since their massive run through the US in the Summer of 2015 with cohorts and labelmates, Godhunter, which was booked in support of their Endsville split 2xLP. This new trek sees DESTROYER OF LIGHT taking their Endsville anthems back out to the masses, beginning in Fort Worth on June 16th, then running up through the Central and Midwestern states to the Pacific Northwest, before running down the West Coast on their way back to Texas, the final show going down in the band’s hometown on July 11th.

Following the recent departure of their brother Keegan Kjeldsen, this tour will see DESTROYER OF LIGHT taking to the streets as a three-piece for the first time, with Jeff Klein handling lead guitars, Steve Colca on guitars and vocals, and Penny turner on drums, the trio strategically bulking up on extra amplification for the journey. The band is working on their new album, which will see release in early 2017 on a label to be announced at a later date along with more info on the permanent lineup.

Endsville is available through a joint release with Godhunter co-owned Battleground Records and DESTROYER OF LIGHT’s Heavy Friends Records, the 2xLP bearing two slabs of 180-gram vinyl on two colors packed in a gatefold sleeve. Order the digital and vinyl HERE.

DESTROYER OF LIGHT West Coast Tour 2016:
6/16/2016 The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX
6/17/2016 Road Map – Texarkana, AR
6/18/2016 Soundpony – Tulsa, OK
6/19/2016 The Elbow Room – Wichita, KS
6/20/2016 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NB
6/21/2016 Three Kings Tavern – Denver, CO
6/22/2016 Flux Capicitor – Colorado Springs, CO
6/24/2016 Wastelander Studio – Boise, ID
6/25/2016 VFW – Missoula, MT
6/26/2016 Emerald of Slam – Richland, WA
6/27/2016 Victory Lounge – Seattle, WA
6/28/2016 The Panic Room – Portland, OR
6/29/2016 The Wandering Goat – Eugene, OR
6/30/2016 Club 66 – Ashland, OR
7/01/2016 Starlite – Sacramento, CA
7/02/2016 Hemlock Tavern – San Francisco, CA
7/03/2016 Sweet Water Saloon – Los Osos, CA
7/04/2016 Lexington – Los Angeles, CA
7/05/2016 Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
7/06/2016 The Womb Room – Las Vegas, NV
7/07/2016 Yucca Tap Room -Tempe, AZ
7/08/2016 Gary’s Place – Tucson, AZ
7/09/2016 The Sandbox – El Paso, TX
7/10/2016 The District O’Bar – Lubbock, TX
7/11/2016 The Grand – Austin, TX

http://www.destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heavy-Friends-Records/1396186950655438

Godhunter vs. Destroyer of Light, Endsville (2015)

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Honky Confirm May 27 Release for Corduroy

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last time we heard from Austin boogie-hard-and-boogie-all-the-time three-piece Honky, they were announcing a UK tour to be performed this July/August in the burly company of Desert Storm. As the PR wire now confirms, their first album in four years, Corduroy, will be out May 27 via Housecore Records. The record finds the band joined by Dixie Witch‘s Trinidad Leal on drums, which if that doesn’t mean anything to you, should. If Dixie Witch were putting out the albums today that they were putting out 10-15 years ago, you can bet your ass you’d know who they were. As it stands, like Honky, they’re way underrated, so in addition to being ass-kicking Texan heavy rockers, it’s a good fit on multiple levels.

The new song “Outta Season” is streaming in advance of the album release, and you’ll find it under the info below. Enjoy:

honky

HONKY: Long-Running Austin-Based Superboogie Trio Featuring Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Down, And Dixie Witch Alumni To Release Corduroy Full-Length This Month; New Track Posted

When you think of Texas, what comes to mind? Big skies? Big trucks? Hot women with big… hair? Everything, as they say, is bigger in Texas… And that what ain’t bigger is more bizarre. After all, in a state that refers to itself as a republic, things can get pretty skewed.

Enter HONKY, who proudly carries the torch held by the likes of Bloodrock, Pantera, ZZ Top and the red-headed stranger himself, Mr. Willie Nelson. This Austin superboogie trio was founded in 1996 by long time Butthole Surfer/part time Melvins bassist JD Pinkus, Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down, Skrew, …) on guitar, and Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch) on them skins. Together the riff-rocking three-some have released some of the best stripped down, butt-shakin’, rock ever cut to wax, tape, or CD and have toured with the likes of Nashville Pussy, the Reverend Horton Heat, Fu Manchu, Melvins, Peter Pan Speedrock, Down, and David Allan Coe.

HONKY’s newest release (and eighth overall!) entitled Corduroy is another feast of down and dirty rock, rollin’ across the finish line on May 27th via on Philip Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Boasting nine tracks thick enough to eat with a fork but you’ll wanna keep a spoon handy so ya don’t miss out on that gravy, Corduroy was produced by JD Pinkus and mastered by Paul Leary with artwork and layout by Ryan Everett. Drum duties were handled by a more-than-qualified group of drummers, including Leal, Michael “Night Train” Brueggen (Blackula, Syrup, Supagroup), Dale Crover (Melvins), and even original HONKY drummer, Lance Farley, all makin’ the grooves proper. Guest appearances include Mark “Speedy” Gonzales and the Fantasma Horns, as well as the band’s favorite Honkette, Rae Comeau.

Corduroy Track Listing:
1. Corduroy
2. Baby Don’t Slow Down
3. Outta Season
4. Bad Stones
5. Ain’t Got The Time
6. Double Fine
7. Snortin’ Whiskey
8. I Don’t Care
9. Mopey Dick

Get down with HONKY live on their upcoming Texas and UK dates with additional live performances to be announced soon.

HONKY with Desert Storm:
6/11/2016 R.O.T. Rally @ Cowboy Harley-Davidson – Austin, TX
7/08/2016 Boneshakers – Corpus Cristi, TX
7/09/2016 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
7/26/2016 Portland Arms – Cambridge, UK
7/27/2016 The Cavern – Exeter, UK
7/28/2016 The Underworld – London, UK
7/29/2016 The Bullingdon – Oxford, UK
7/30/2016 Red Sun Festival – Cardiff, UK
7/31/2016 Craufurd Arms – Milton Keynes, UK
8/01/2016 Exchange – Bristol, UK
8/02/2016 The Iron Road – Evesham, UK
8/03/2016 Arches Venue – Coventry, UK
8/04/2016 The Anvil – Bournemouth, UK

http://www.facebook.com/groups/76991967660/
http://www.honky.net
http://www.facebook.com/housecorerecords/
http://www.thehousecorerecords.com

Honky, “Outta Season”

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Quarterly Review: Wheel in the Sky, Sun Dial, LSD & the Search for God, Duel, The Canadian Sweetmen, Wren, Transient, Desert Storm & Suns of Thunder, Telstar Sound Drone, Fantasy Arcade

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

So it begins. I’d say this one snuck up on me, but the terrible truth of these things is that there are months of planning involved. You know the drill by now: Between today and Friday, I’ll be posting 50 record reviews in batches of 10 per day, and that’s the Quarterly Review. They’re not really in any order. Some have been out for a while, some aren’t out yet. I have tried to mark 2015 stuff where possible, if only to keep my own organizational modus straight. We’ll see how that goes as the week plays out. In any case, I hope you find something here that you dig. I know I have.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Wheel in the Sky, Heading for the Night

wheel in the sky heading for the night

Although Wheel in the Sky’s presentation is modern enough on their The Sign Records debut album, Heading for the Night, to steer them clear of Sweden’s boogie-mad masses, they’re still very clearly taking influence from classic rock, most notably The Who on cuts like opener “Fire, Death to All” (also the longest track; immediate points), “Total Eclipse of the Brain” and “Thrust in the Night.” The clarity of sound and approach puts them more in line with bands like The Golden Grass and, for a countrymen example, Troubled Horse, than Graveyard, and the Uppsala/Stockholm four-piece distinguish themselves further through the dual-lead interplay of “A Turn for the Wicked,” which hints just a bit toward Thin Lizzy bounce to feed into closer “God on High,” which coats its vocals in echo to add a sense of grandeur before the last instrumental push, which picks up the pace at the end to cap a first album from a band clearly looking to find their own niche within a classic heavy rock feel.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records

 

Sun Dial, Mind Control

sun dial mind control

Offered first by the band in 2012 and reissued through Sulatron Records with two bonus tracks from the same recording session, Sun Dial’s Mind Control puts the long-running UK psych/space rockers in their element in a kosmiche expanse quickly on “Mountain of Fire and Miracles,” and while electronic experimentation is a factor throughout “Radiation” and “Burned In,” there’s always a human spirit underneath and sometimes out front in what Sun Dial do, and the newly-included “Seven Pointed Star” and “World Within You” fit in with the sense of acid ritual that the original album tracks convey, the title cut transposing Hawkwindian warp drive on a more relaxed atmosphere, each measure seemingly a mantra in a longer meditation. Even with its wah-soaked ending, “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” has a more straightforward tack, proving that even when you think you know what a group like Sun Dial are up to, you’re probably wrong.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Mind Control at Sulatron Records

 

LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place

lsd and the search for god heaven is a place

The second EP from San Francisco-based shoegazing psychedelic rockers LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place, arrives a whopping nine years after its self-titled predecessor. Granted, it might be the wash of effects and the almost-whispered vocal melodies that seem to barely break the surface of the waves of airy distortion, but if any of this material goes back that far, it doesn’t show its age. The five-piece – guitarist/vocalist Andy Liszt, vocalist Sophia Cambell, guitarist Chris Fifield, bassist Ryan Lescure and drummer Ricky Maymi – offer five tracks of blissed-out, dripping wet vibe, with “Outer Space (Long Way Home)” at the center of a post-grunge swirl following the cosmic push of “(I Don’t Think that We Should) Take it Slow” and before the serenity of “Elizabeth” takes hold as a lead-in for seven-minute finale “Without You,” simultaneously the most lucid and dreamy of the cuts included. Nine years is a long time. Heaven is a Place begs for a quicker follow-up.

LSD and the Search for God on Thee Facebooks

LSD and the Search for God on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Fears of the Dead

duel fears of the dead

Austin purveyors Duel make a striking impression from the cover onward with their Heavy Psych Sounds full-length debut, Fears of the Dead. The four-piece, which by all reports features two former members of Scorpion Child, get down with classic swing on the opening title-track and thereby broadcast the intent of the album as a whole, bringing ‘70s-style grooves and boogie forward in time with modern fullness and a crisp production that highlights the gruff vocals of guitarist Tom Frank, who alongside bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants, guitarist Derek Halfmann and drummer JD Shadowz, swaggers through the record’s eight included slabs as one might through a crowded venue for the next in a long series of an evening’s beers. Later cuts like “When the Pigs are Fed” and 7:52 closer “Locked Outside” bring some more variety to the approach, but the heart of Fears of the Dead remains brash and unbridled, and one doubts if Duel would have it any other way.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds

 

The Canadian Sweetmen, Intro b/w New Cigarettes

the canadian sweetmen intro new cigarettes

One might blink and miss the debut single from somewhat mysterious psychedelic rockers The Canadian Sweetmen, which totals its A and B sides together for a runtime of about four and a half minutes, but the fact that the 90-second “Intro” (the A side) manages to marry The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys in that span is definitely something worth taking the time to note. There’s just about no information on the band as to who they are, where they come from, where they’re going, etc., but the three-minute “New Cigarettes” makes an impression on style and substance alike and offers an encouraging glimpse at what seems to be a psychedelia bolstered by organ and Rhodes and unbound by a need to adhere to genre tenets. “Intro” doesn’t even stick around long enough to do so, but “New Cigarettes” careens into a rhythmic push for its chorus that offers an earthy undertone to the heady, spaced-out vibe. More please.

The Canadian Sweetmen Tumblr

The Canadian Sweetmen on Soundcloud

 

Wren, Host

wren host

Absolutely devastating. UK post-sludgers Wren dole out a punishment that won’t be soon forgotten on their second EP, Host (on Holy Roar), following up the blackened post-rock of their 2014 self-titled EP (review here) and their 2015 split with Irk (review here) with four pummeling but still richly atmospheric cuts. Working now as the lineup of Owen Jones, Chris Pickering, Robert Letts and John McCormick, Wren have had three different vocalists on their three releases, but not a one of them has failed to add to the ambience and crushing impression of their riffs, and the hook of “No Séance” particularly on Host signifies that despite whatever lineup shifts they may have had, Wren continue to progress and refine their attack. “Stray,” “No Séance,” “The Ossuary” and “Loom” are unshakable, deeply weighted and righteously spaced. They may have flown somewhat under the radar up to this point, but Wren are too loud to be a well kept secret for much longer.

Wren on Thee Facebooks

Wren on Bandcamp

 

Transient, Transient

transient transient

Some 12 years after their initial demo surfaced in 2003, Massachusetts’ Transient present an atmospheric take on alt-metal with their self-titled debut full-length, self-released last fall. Bringing together nine tracks/46 minutes with a patient but tense pacing and underlying currents of progressive metal in cuts like “Ditch of Doubt” and “Wrong Time,” it unfolds gracefully with the intro “Voyager One” and finds an aggressive burst in “Wrong Time” and the Tool-gone-psych build of the penultimate “Slightest Scare.” That song is part of an extended two-cut closing suite with “Hold this Grudge,” which highlights Scott McCooe’s bass tone as it provides a surprising but satisfying laid back finish. McCooe, joined here by guitarist/vocalist Tim Hayes and drummer John Harris, splits his time with metalcore progenitors Overcast, and as Transient was recorded over a year’s stretch and then mixed and mastered a year after that – living up to the band’s name – it may be a while before a follow-up, but after so long from their demo, it’s still a welcome debut.

Transient on Thee Facebooks

Transient on Bandcamp

 

Desert Storm & Suns of Thunder, Split

desert storm suns of thunder split

Issued by H42 Records in a limited edition for this year’s Desertfest, the new split 7” from UK heavy platoons Desert Storm and Suns of Thunder is so dudely they could sell it as vitamin supplements on late-night tv. A complex critique of gender it is not, heavy it is. One track from each band. Desert Storm bring the burl of “Signals from Beyond,” which with its strong hook and gravely vocals brings to mind Orange Goblin nestled into a nodding riff. For Swansea’s Suns of Thunder, it’s “Earn Your Stripes,” with its complex vocal arrangements for lyrics about small men and big men, paying your dues and other whathaveyou that dominant culture tells those with testicles will make them more complete people. Fine. Masculinity and femininity are scams to sell pants, but “Earn Your Stripes” is catchy as all anything and “Signals from Beyond” is even catchier than however catchy that is, so a testosterone overdose seems a small price to pay.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

Suns of Thunder on Thee Facebooks

 

Telstar Sound Drone, Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles

telstar sound drone magical solutions to everyday problems

Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles is the second album from Copenhagen-based auralnauts Telstar Sound Drone, and like much of what Bad Afro releases, it presents a strong temptation to drop out, tune in and turn on. Little surprise the band is something of an offshoot from Baby Woodrose, sharing guitarist Mads Saaby and drummer Hans Beck with the seminal garage rockers, but the lush impression made on “Something I Can’t Place” with the watery vocals of Sean Jardenbæk comes from an even more lysergic place, and the experimental side that comes through on “Closer Again,” “Dark Kashmir” and the languid “Dead Spaces” is a multi-tiered dreamscape that closer “Lean down on White” seems sad to leave. Reasonably so. With guest spots from members of Spids Nøgenhat, Bite the Bullet and Baby Woodrose (Kåre Joensen on bass/synth), Telstar Sound Drone’s sophomore outing is an otherworldly psychedelic vision that, as promised, does seem to cure what ails, exciting even in its most subdued moments.

Telstar Sound Drone on Thee Facebooks

Bad Afro Records

 

Fantasy Arcade, Fantasy Arcade

fantasy arcade fantasy arcade

Initially offered by the band in 2012 and subsequently pressed to a six-song 7” and jewel case CD, the self-titled debut EP from San Diego trio Fantasy Arcade only runs about 11 minutes, but that’s all it needs to bring together punk, thrash, sludge and heavy rock across fuckall-heavy cuts like “The Dwarves are Missing” – the longest song here at 3:38 – and the rumbling finale “Die Before You Suck,” which gallops and shouts and seems to crash into walls on its way out, though drummer/vocalist Adam, bassist/vocalist Chris and guitarist Mike actually do well in deciding when to keep control and when to let it go. More nuanced than it lets on, Fantasy Arcade is an aggressive pulse given to moments of frustration boiling over, but being rooted in metal as much as punk, its dwelling in two worlds gives heft to the freneticism at play, as shown in “Poison Arrow,” the first half of which runs at a sprint right into the brick wall slowdown of its second, and final, minute.

Fantasy Arcade on Thee Facebooks

Fantasy Arcade on Bandcamp

 

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