Are Swarm of the Lotus Reuniting?

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


If the question is whether or not Swarm of the Lotus might be getting back together, I guess the short answer is “I hope so.” The Baltimore crushers have been out of commission for almost exactly five years, and it was five years before that that their second and final studio album, 2005’s The Sirens of Silence, was released. That record came out on Century Media, and like its 2004 predecessor, When White Becomes Black (which was on At a Loss), it was an absolute monster. Nobody was ever quite able to blend a post-hardcore bombast with weighted atmospherics like Swarm of the Lotus seemed to be able to do, and while members have continued on in other groups, it’s never been quite the same since Swarm of the Lotus called it quits. To wit, “Call to Abandon” from The Silence of Silence or “From Embers” from the debut. Devastating.

Yeah, posting a previously unreleased studio demo isn’t exactly announcing a world tour when it comes to reunion potential, but it’s more than has been heard from Swarm of the Lotus in an awfully long time, and the track in question, “Plagued by Ritual,” captures a lot of the bombastic groove that their best moments offered, and so, if you don’t know them, doesn’t actually make a bad way to get introduced. I remember seeing them play upstairs at The Pyramid, back when shows happened in Manhattan. It’s not every band that can elicit a windmill headbang out of me, but Swarm of the Lotus did so with no trouble whatsoever.

In addition to the post that follows here about the new-ish “Plagued by Ritual,” Swarm of the Lotus recently posted instrumental demos from their two albums and said that if Meatjack did a reunion show, they’d entertain the idea of following suit. I wouldn’t mind seeing that bill.

Dig it:

swarm of the lotus plagued by ritual

And now, I give you something I’m most excited about. Not exactly NEW music but essentially is to those that never knew, which is almost everybody save the band members and a small handful of people that may remember us playing it live….a very long time ago. I bestow upon you a sleeping giant, may she awake now from her slumber………

Peter Maturi-guitar/vox
Chris Csar-bass/vox
Cole Crickenberger-guitar
Jon-John Michaud-drums

Swarm of the Lotus, “Plagued by Ritual”

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Black Lung Premiere Video for “Behemoth”; Second Album in Progress

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

black lung

Baltimore heavy blues trio Black Lung have entered the studio with the esteemed likes of J. Robbins (ClutchThe Sword, Caustic Casanova) at the helm of Magpie Cage to record their yet-untitled second album, following-up their 2014 self-titled debut. That LP was recorded by Noel Mueller and released last June on Grimoire Records (Noisolution in Europe), and even as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Cavalier, guitarist Adam Bufano and drummer Elias Mays Schutzman — the latter two also of The Flying Eyes — are in the process of moving forward with their next outing, they return to Mueller, who also tracked and mixed the live audio accompanying their new video for “Behemoth,” which premieres today.

Clearly intended as a live act, Black Lung are tight enough in their swinging, classic-styled-but-modernly-presented groove to trick one into thinking they’ve been a band for way more than just a year, perhaps benefiting from Bufano and Schutzman‘s tenure together in their other outfit, but pushing smoothly into dual-guitar chemistry here with Cavalier, who takes command vocally on “Behemoth” with zero traceable hesitation. A catchy, fluid roll builds on what Black Lung brought to their self-titled and the work the band put into touring Europe to support it, and holds promise of even bolder sounds to come when they’re done in the studio with Robbins, who’ll also be contributing some bass to the album.

More on that record when I hear it — as in, release dates, art, info, a title, etc. — but if “Behemoth” is to be a stopgap to let their audience know Black Lung have a new offering in progress, it pretty much sets its own scale in getting the job done.

Video below, followed by more background on the band. Enjoy:

Black Lung, “Behemoth” official video

Filmed and produced by Matt Kelley
Shot at Mobtown Ballroom
Recorded and mixed by Noel Mueller
Additional filming by Julia Klinkert

In the deadly cold winter of 2014, Black Lung emerged from the underbelly of Baltimore with unprecedented volume. A union of Adam Bufano, Elias Mays Schutzman (of The Flying Eyes) and multi-instrumentalist Dave Cavalier, the trio toes the line between sonic pain and melodic bliss. With influences ranging from the raw blues of The White Stripes to the desert riffage of Queens Of The Stone Age, Black Lung seeks to create a sound that is as soulful as it is heavy.

After releasing their self-titled debut (Grimoire Records/Noisolution) and being named “Best New Band of 2014” by the Baltimore City Paper, they embarked on a three week tour of Europe in the spring of 2015, centered around their performance at the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival (filmed and recorded for German national TV). Black Lung are now headed into the studio with producer and ex-Jawbox frontman J. Robbins (The Sword, Clutch) to begin work on their second album…

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Dave Heumann Posts Video for “Here in the Deep”; Solo LP out Friday

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

dave heumann (Photo by Matt Condon)

Next month, Baltimore singer-songwriter Dave Heumann — best known as the guitarist/vocalist of fuzz-folkers Arbouretum — will embark on a tour of Europe and the UK following the release of his solo debut LP, Here in the Deep, which is out this week on Thrill Jockey. Fans of Heumann‘s main outfit will no doubt find much to dig in the solo offering’s quiet reaches, his voice resonant and wistful in a way that speaks to pop traditionalism without aping any single approach or other. The title-track of the record has a new video directed by Jay Buim, and captures the sentimentality in the heart of the song with fluid, often slowed down footage from the closing day of Druid Hill Park Swimming Pool in Baltimore, people running, jumping, doing an impressive flip or two, in an effort to soak in as much summer as humanly possible before the season ends.

The correlation to the atmosphere of the song itself, once you hear it, goes without saying, but it’s worth pointing out that while on the surface a track like “Here in the Deep” might seem like a simple or even minimal affair, it turns out to be anything but. Layers of guitar and organ intertwine, a thudding drum — a simple line, true, but still a thoughtful arrangement that suits the piece — and Heumann‘s vocals arrive with accompanying layers that speak to co-conspirators even in this solo incarnation. It is a peaceful listen, but one that has emotional presence behind it so that it’s more than an ambient setpiece or exercise in songcraft. A dreamy guitar line plays out in a patient lead that fades gradually to finish out, not so much overstaying its welcome as holding on until the very last moment.


Dave Heumann, “Here in the Deep” official video

“Here in the Deep” is from the album “Here in the Deep” by Dave Heumann (of Arbouretum), out October 16 on Thrill Jockey Records.

Directed by Jay Buim.

iTunes :

Dave Heumann tour dates:
Oct. 22 – Baltimore, MD – The Crown
Oct. 25 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
Nov. 13 – Prague, Czech Republic – Divadolo Dobeska (with Chelsea Wolfe)
Nov. 15 – Leipzig, Germany – UT Connewitz (with Om)
Nov. 16 – Berlin, Germany – Magnet Club
Nov. 17 – Cologne, Germany – King Georg
Nov. 19 – Schorndorf, Germany – Club Manufaktur
Nov. 20 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Le Guess Who Festival
Nov. 21 – Oxford, UK – Audioscope Festival
Nov. 22 – London, UK – Moth Club

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Darsombra Complete “Three-Legged Monster” Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, I posted late last year when Baltimore’s audio/visual drone outfit Darsombra decided they were going to tour in 109 different cities throughout the US in 2015 and made that announcement public, so now that they’ve actually gone and done such a thing, it seems only fair to mark the fact that they made it through to the other side. Kudos to the band — guitarist Brian Daniloski and videographer/keyboardist/hitter-of-gong Ann Everton — on the ambitious and comprehensive run. They’re not the first act ever to play 100 shows in a year, but to my knowledge they did so without ever overlapping locale, starting out in Washington D.C. and ending in Baltimore and hitting a whole bunch of everywhere else in between Feb. and the start of this month.

What’s next? A new album, naturally. Daniloski posted the following update about their plans:

darsombra (Photo by Brandon Walker)

Hello everyone!

Well. . . we did it! Darsombra played over one hundred cities and towns in the United States and Canada this year (111 to be exact). From eating sapote in Miami to drinking kombucha in Asheville; from bathing in a park fountain in New Orleans to watching unexplained phenomena in Marfa, Texas; from meditating at a monastery in northern California to blazing our way across the salt flats of Utah; from cutting hair in a park in Queens, to cooking breakfast with the mountains in Yellowstone; from jamming in a cave in Rapid City to playing in a storage unit in Memphis. . . we have had an incredible, expansive, transformative journey absorbing so much of what the lower 48 (plus Montreal and Toronto!) has to offer.

So what’s next for Darsombra? Are we going to tour as extensively next year? We plan on finishing a new album, with new video work. . . and then who knows? We are open to opportunities. So if you want us, let us know! We will come to you.

Much love and gratitude to all!

Darsombra, Climax Community (2012)

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Dave Heumann Announces European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Arbouretum guitarist/vocalist Dave Heumann has announced a round of European dates to support his debut solo offering, Here in the Deep, set for release Oct. 16 via Thrill Jockey. He’ll be bringing a band along with him that includes Arbouretum keyboardist/percussionist Matt Pierce, and will play support slots for the formidable likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Om. Shows are set for the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and the whole thing kicks off in Prague on Nov. 13.

The heavy folk blend of Heumann‘s main outfit, who are on a hiatus of sorts, is a secret kept only too well, so I’m looking forward to hearing what elements he brings to a solo album and how much it does or doesn’t coincide with Arbouretum‘s approach. Side note, I recently picked up Arbouretum‘s 2007 sophomore full-length, Rites of Uncovering, kind of on a lark, and it has likewise owned a portion of my consciousness since.

Dates and background follow:

dave heumann

Great news for Europe! Arbouretum’s Dave Heumann has announced his first ever Euro tour as a solo artist later this year, including dates with Chelsea Wolfe and Om.

He’ll be bringing a fantastic live band with him on this tour featuring Matt Pierce (Arbouretum), and Alex Neilson and Alasdair Mitchell from Glasgow folk-rockers Trembling Bells.

Fri Nov 13th Prague, Czech Republic – Divadlo Dobeška *
Sun Nov 15th Leipzig, Germany – UT Connewitz ^
Mon Nov 16th Berlin, Germany – Magnet Club
Tue Nov 17th Cologne, Germany – King Georg
Thu Nov 19th Schorndorf, Germany – Club Manufaktur
Fri Nov 20th Utrecht, Netherlands – Le Guess Who? ^^
Sat Nov 21st Oxford, UK – Audioscope Festival
Sun Nov 22nd London, UK – MOTH CLUB **
* w/ Chelsea Wolfe
^ w/ OM
** w/ David Morris & Red River Dialect
^^ Protomartyr

Dave Heumann, leader of the beloved Arbouretum, branches out with his debut solo record, Here in the Deep. While Arbouretum was on a year-long hiatus, Heumann continued writing, finding himself with a collection of material that displayed a different style of songwriting than in his past efforts. The recording of these songs gave Heumann a chance to play with a talented group of friends, including Walker Teret of Lower Dens, drummer/percussionist Mike Kuhl, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and accomplished pianist Hans Chew, among others. The songs on Here in the Deep were arranged with a mind to explore textures outside of what Arbouretum typically embodies. Significantly, Here in the Deep was mixed by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman, Giant Sand) whose sense for the deep, warm spaces the songs occupy allowed him to give the album a distinct clarity not found on any Arbouretum album. Here in the Deep is a lush showcase of the considerable lyrical, vocal and guitar talents of Dave Heumann and, for the listener, a rich escape.

In many ways, Heumann’s venture out on his own has brought him back to what’s closest to him in life and music while at the same time blazing forth into a brave new frontier as an artist. “I went out to look for tinder, and found myself on fire,” sings Heumann— a simple metaphor for the flames of inspiration burning throughout Here in the Deep. Sometimes it takes a jump off the cliff to discover you can soar.

Dave Heumann, “Ides of Summer”

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The Flying Eyes to Release Poison the Well / 1969 7″

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the flying eyes

Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes recorded their impending single in Brazil. They’ll release it through a label based in Germany. The cover was shot by a Polish photographer. If they hadn’t yet been cemented as an international act — and they have been, make no mistake — this should probably do it. Following up their 2014 Leave it all Behind Sessions mostly-acoustic collection and their last full-length, 2013’s Lowlands (review here), the H42 Records 7″ finds the four-piece taking on The Stooges in a cover mashed-up with their own “Poison the Well,” a track from their 2011 sophomore outing, Done so Wrong (review here).

You can see a video of them playing the mashup live in Germany below, but the studio version was tracked at Estúdio Superfuzz — also where Mars Red Sky recorded their last album — and will be out in three different editions early next year. The label provided the following details:

## The Flying Eyes News ##

After their last years excursion into blues and country-heavy fields, now the The Flying Eyes returns musically to the sound robes of their first albums: Psychedelic Rock!

On their last tour through Brazil, they recorded a mushup of ‘Poison The Well’ and ‘1969’ (Iggy And The Stooges Cover). The Track was mixed and produced by Gabriel Zander in the Super Fuzz Studio in Rio de Janero!

Wojtek Dobrogojski is responsible for the wonderful live shot.

On the occasion of the third anniversary of H42 Records early 2016 the single will be released in three different editions:
– Retail Edition with red artwork
– 3rd Anniversary Edition with orange artwork (Given free only for H42 Records customers)
– Testpress with black/white artwork

More about presale start and street day coming soon….

Adam Bufano- Guitar
Mac Hewitt- Bass and Vocals
Will Kelly- Vocals and Guitar
Elias Mays Schutzman- Drums

The Flying Eyes, “Poison the Well / 1969” Live in Germany

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, Dreamwheel EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

happy wino wednesday

If you’re so inclined, you can go back through the annals of Wino Wednesday and find plenty of Spirit Caravan clips, but their 1999 Dreamwheel EP has never been featured in full. With just five posts left in what’s apparently a series of 200, there’s still some time to correct that and you’ll have to pardon me, but I’m going to take advantage.

Dreamwheel was issued in 1999 as the follow-up to the same year’s full-length debut, the gonna-be-if-it-isn’t-already classic Jug Fulla Sun. No easy feat to be the next release after that record, but Spirit Caravan — then the trio of Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass and Gary Isom on drums — did themselves a favor in issuing an EP to shift the conversation before moving on to their second and final long-player, 2001’s Elusive Truth. To go with its six-minute opening title-track, the under-20-minute EP, with its strange cover art and songs like “Sun Stoned” and “C, Yourself,” was the first association between Wino and the label MeteorCity, which would continue through the next several years with Spirit Caravan‘s The Last Embrace compilation and the first two albums by The Hidden Hand before that band went on to work with Southern Lord.

Very interested to find out where Spirit Caravan reunion goes in the next several months and beyond. They played the Maryland Doom Fest in June with Ed Gulli (ex-The Obsessed) on drums in place of Henry Vasquez, whose tenure with Saint Vitus continues, but whether or not that’s a permanent change, I don’t know. And further, whether or not they’ll work on new studio material is the real question, if Wino and Sherman will keep going as Spirit Caravan — and one hopes they will — it seems inevitable at some point, but I wonder when or if we might start to hear new songs played live, recording rumors, etc.

We’ll see how it plays out, but until then, here’s Dreamwheel for Wino Wednesday number 196. I hope you enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Dreamwheel (1999)

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Iron Man Post Live Video of New Song “Eulogy for Queen City”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

iron man

Just what the hell is Dee Calhoun talking about in the new Iron Man song “Eulogy for Queen City?” I have no idea, but man that guy can wail. And “Iron” Al Morris can riff, and bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann groove like madmen, so here we are. Iron Man‘s got a new track out. The rest can be sorted later.

“Eulogy for Queen City” marks the first new song Iron Man have made public since the release of their 2013 full-length and Rise Above Records label debut, South of the Earth (review here). The band have had quite a ride since that album came out, playing the UK for the first time and getting at least a fraction of their due as their tenure moved further beyond the quarter-century mark, but I guess it’s reasonable to have them working on new stuff at this point — been a quick two years since that album showed up.

The clip below — prepare yourself for some cymbals early on — was filmed at the first annual Maryland Doom Fest last month in Frederick, MD, which also featured the likes of Spirit Caravan and The Skull. As much as Iron Man have done in their time, it’s hard to imagine them being at home anywhere more than at a Maryland Doom Fest. Their career is more or less an analog for the entire MD doom scene at this point: Quality over profile, vastly underrated. They certainly seem to be in their element in the video, which was filmed by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer.


Iron Man, “Eulogy for Queen City” live at Maryland Doom Fest

Upcoming Iron Man shows:
August 15- Tennessean Sludge Fest (Murfreesboro)
August 28 – All That Is Heavy, Ottawa, ON Canada
August 29 – Toronto (benefit)
Sept 3 – Shadow Kingdom Records Riot (Cleveland)
Sept 26 – Shadow Woods Metal Fest (White Hall, MD)
Oct 2 – Sidebar Baltimore

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