Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A couple years back, I don’t think there’s any way a fest like Moving the Earth 2 wouldn’t happen at Krug’s Place in Frederick, Maryland, but that formidable Mid-Atlantic scene seems to have pushed into various other places in the wake of that venue apparently giving doom the boot. I’ve never been to The Windup Space in Baltimore, but the bill for Moving the Earth 2 kind of makes me want to check it out, with two solid days of heavy delivered by respectable purveyors Sixty Watt Shaman and Iron Man. This will actually mark the first appearance back for Sixty Watt Shaman‘s reunion, so they’re right to bill it as “The Return Of…” and from Kingsnake and Foghound and Wasted Theory to Supervoid and Black Lung, there’s a lot to dig about the lineup.
If you’re the type to make travel arrangements, the fest is set for March 22 and 23 in Baltimore, and the roster of acts below seems to be pretty final, at least going by the revolutionary-themed poster below, contributed by Brendan Burns of Wasted Theory. With the deep reds, uniformed guards and raised fists of resistance, I can’t help but wonder what Moving the Earth‘s five-year plan might be. Dig:
We are super excited to announce the lineups for Moving The Earth Fest 2! Taking place again at the Windup Space here in Baltimore Maryland on Saturday and Sunday March 22nd and 23rd 2014.
The lineups are…
Saturday March 22nd 7pm The Return of Sixty Watt Shaman Kingsnake Wasted Theory Supervoid Compression Passage Between
Sunday March 23rd 6pm Iron Man Foghound Asthma Castle Bastards of Reality Fortress Black Lung Northwoods
Admission will be $10 per day, 21+. We look forward to bringing all these great bands together for what is sure to be an amazing 2 day celebration of Heavy, Stoner, Doom and Psych music!
Baltimore fuzz foursome Foghound have redone the garage and they hope you like it. Does the redecorating involve amps, an upside down American flag cross, Xmas lights and riffing? Well you know it does.The heavy rockers will celebrate the release of their debut album, Quick, Dirty and High (review here) on Jan. 24 at The Ottobar in Baltimore, and they’ve posted their first video from the record, for the song “Resurrect the Throwaways.”
Can’t argue with the choice. Among a slew of catchy, sharp-hooked tracks on Quick, Dirty and High — thinking of songs like “Long after I Die,” “Get in My Van” and “Gotta Go” — “Resurrect the Throwaways” is a standout, with a languid stonerly groove still beefy enough to have a USDA rating and a title that, whether it’s talking about tossed-off riffs or whatever it might be, is memorable and put-your-own-meaning-to-it vague in an evocative way. Appearing second on Quick, Dirty and High, it’s one of the album’s most resonant impressions.
The video was directed by Bob Mellor, and in addition to the release gig, Foghound – the lineup of guitarist Bob Sipes, guitarist Dee Settar, bassist Geoffrey Freeman IV and drummer Chuckrock Dukehart III, all of whom contribute vocals one way or another, mostly Sipes as the lead — will also take part in the upcoming Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 fest in Worcester, MA, this May. No doubt other appearances will emerge between the two as well.
In addition to the video, the apparently-final and much-less-’70s-nippley cover art for Quick, Dirty and Highhas been unveiled. Word on the street — and let’s just imagine you’re standing on one side of a corner and I’m around the other side and you just slipped me a $20 to make me tell you this — that Foghound will have copies on-hand at The Ottobar, so it’s good you know what you’re looking for.
Foghound, “Resurrect the Throwaways” official video
Posted in Reviews on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not entirely sure what Baltimore riff-rocking four-piece Foghound are referring to with the title Quick, Dirty and Highfor their late-2013 self-released debut. If it’s meant as a reference to the songs themselves, it’s not entirely accurate. They’re plenty dirty, and stoned enough to earn a Fu Manchu comparison in their fuzz, but the newcomer outfit don’t seem to be in any particular rush. “Get in My Van” builds to a fairly raucous conclusion with some double-time snare hits and there are other parts throughout that speed things up as well, but all told Quick, Dirty and Highclocks in at nine tracks/46 minutes and most of it resides at a comfortable-seeming mid-paced roll, straightforward both in its intent and presentation, captured by producer Frank “The Punisher” Marchand. Variety comes into play throughout the grower hooks of “Resurrect the Throwaways,” “Long after I Die,” “Slip Away” and “Get in My Van” (which, one assumes, is a boogie van) through the vocal arrangements, which find guitarist Bob Sipes mostly in the lead role, but readily backed by fellow six-stringer Dee Settar, who also comes to the fore on “Dragon Tooth,” bassist Geoffrey Freeman IV and drummer Chuckrock Dukehart III, all four contributing throughout the songs at various points. The effect that has is to change things up, and though the underlying structures of some of the material might be similar, each cut manages to showcase a personality of its own, which is harder than it sounds and all the more so on what remains a mostly straightforward album.
Chalk that up to the strength of the songwriting, which is really what Foghound have most working in their favor. The riffs are choice across opener “Easy Come, Easy Go” — the ride cymbal start of which had me flashing immediately to Clutch‘s “Earth Rocker” — and down through moodier, doomier closer “Buried at Sea,” if familiar in their purpose, and what brings the best results on Quick, Dirty and Highis when all four players are headed to the same place. “Easy Come, Easy Go” would seem to be of the Orange Goblin, “Some You Win, Some You Lose,” school of stoner rock fuck-it attitude, but the riff is pure late ’90s Fu Manchu. That comes up again on “Gotta Go” (not a Roadsaw cover), but “Resurrect the Throwaways” leaves a more individual impression, if somewhat vaguer in its lyric. There’s a swaggering sensibility in the riffing of Sipes and Settar, and both Freeman and Dukehart prove essential to carrying the groove beneath the wah leads that bridge the verse hook, percussion and backing vocals resting low in the mix but present enough to be felt. Somewhat morbid in its immediate, “Long after I Die” follows “Resurrect the Throwaways” with likewise infectiousness and guest vocals from Dan Soren of Sixty Watt Shaman fame that veer into rougher, almost growling territory. It’s unexpected, but it works in the song, which is the longest on the Quick, Dirty and High at 7:42 and further distinguished by a mostly-instrumental jam that fluidly executes loud/quiet changes and hits its stride around the 5:30 mark with a sense of unhinged Sabbath-ness that does quick justice to Church of Misery. Yes, that’s a compliment.
I’m not sure when exactly this Spirit Caravan show was. Right before they play “Elusive Truth,” Wino announces it as the title-track of their new record, which will be out this fall. Elusive Truthwas released in May 2001, which makes me think maybe this was earlier in 2000 and then the album was pushed back, but I don’t actually know that. The show took place at the 8×10 Club in Baltimore, and having just made my way through the whole thing, it’s a balcony-shot scorcher of a gig. The video loses its sync after about 35 minutes, but even then it makes a killer listen, and anyway it’s not that bad when it’s off.
Here’s the setlist:
Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD
Darkness and Longing
Lost Sun Dance
Good show. You get to see Sherm step up for lead vocals on “Retroman” and though Spirit Caravan‘s persona was usually brighter, less bleak than, say, The Obsessed, a few cuts here sort of skirt that line. Still though, with Wino, Sherman and Gary Isom, you can’t go wrong. It’s worth noting that I am in no way over my excitement at the prospect of getting to see these guys play a show with their impending 2014 reunion. Rumor has it some US dates are impending in addition to their previously-announced Desertfest appearances, but nothing’s official yet. Wherever they wind up playing on the East Coast and whenever it is, I can’t imagine I won’t make the drive. Hell, I’ve already got the car packed.
While I wait for that and the invariable new live videos to this series it will bring, there’s plenty to post in the meantime. Today is Xmas, so in addition to a great Wino Wednesday, I hope you have a spectacular holiday. Enjoy:
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a considerable and ambitious lineup put together for Autumn Screams Doom II, the second in an annual series of Baltimore-based fests. Word of a follow-up was out even before the first fest was over last fall, but with the likes of Loss, Uzala, Negative Reaction, Satan’s Satyrs and others on the bill, it’s pretty clear the fest is establishing a reputation for itself as a place to be. The poster below isn’t final, but the info that follows from the PR wire gives some idea as to the scope of the event, which is set for Oct. 25-26 at the Ottobar and which will be recorded for a live compilation LP.
Autumn Screams Doom II Fest Descends Upon Baltimore in Late October
AUTUMN SCREAMS DOOM II
25-26 October 2013
The second annual Autumn Screams Doom fest descends upon Baltimore, MD on October 25th and 26th at the Ottobar. This year’s rendition of the fest features an exclusive East Coast appearance from none other than LOSS. Other highlights include the first Maryland appearance of Rhode Island’s CHURCHBURN, doom mainstays IRON MAN (recently signed with Rise Above Records), Virginia’s SATAN’S SATYRS, and doom miscreants UZALA. The complete lineup and details on the bands is located below.
Autumn Screams Doom is now in its second year, and showcases the very best from across the doom spectrum over two days.
Autumn Screams Doom II Lineup Friday, October 25th SINISTER HAZE (Richmond, VA) SERPENT THRONE (Philadelphia, PA) NEGATIVE REACTION (Long Island, NY) IRON MAN (Gaithersburg, MD) WEED IS WEED (Frederick, MD) SUNBURSTER (Philadelphia, PA)
Unholy Anarchy Records, in conspiracy with At War With False Noise (UK), will be recording the fest in preparation for a Double LP compilation that will feature a live track from each band playing the fest. The compilation will be mixed and mastered by Zack Allen of Obsidian Eye Studios, who mastered the vinyl edition of Loss’s Despond, and more recently, mixed the Recluse demo tape. Anton Escobar will handle the complete artwork and gatefold layout.
Information on pre-orders and news regarding the Double LP will be made availableHERE.
Single day and two day tickets are still available for pre-order at the Official Fest SiteHERE. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Iron Man, “The Worst and Longest Day” from South of the Earth (2013)
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Press play above to hear “The Worst and Longest Day” from Iron Man‘s new album, South of the Earth. Set for release on Oct. 1 through Metal Blade in North America and Sept. 30 on Rise Above in Europe, Iron Man‘s fifth full-length overall and first for the two mentioned imprints re-teams them with producer Frank “The Punisher” Marchand, who recorded 2009′s I Have Returned. Though the two outings have that in common and they’re united by the inimitable, smoke-on-the-finish tone of guitarist and band founder “Iron” Alfred Morris III, they’re nonetheless vastly different offerings from the long-running and long-underappreciated Maryland doom stalwarts.
Primarily in lineup. A change in the frontman position back in 2011 saw “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun enter the fold in place of the departed Joe Donnelly, and though it was clear from the first searing high notes of the 2011 Dominance EP that Calhoun lived up to his name as a singer of Halfordian power, it wasn’t until Iron Man brought drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann into the rhythm section alongside longtime bassist Louis Strachan that the South of the Earthlineup would be complete. Taking to the stage almost immediately, Iron Man soon became a new force in the live setting, also releasing the Att hålla dig över EP as the first output with the Morris, Strachan, Calhoun and Waldmann lineup to keep their momentum going into the recording of the new long-player.
But the differences on South of the Earth go well beyond the simple matter of personnel. Full in sound and crisply professional, Iron Man‘s latest serves as an arrival point for Morris‘ years of riff-slinging. With the validation of a release through Metal Blade/Rise Above behind them, Iron Man stand poised to take their place at the forefront of the American doom consciousness as a band that have never wavered from their purpose or, no matter who’s involved, sacrificed their loyalty to the Sabbathian traditionalism that served as their founding principle when they emerged out of Morris‘ prior outfit, Force, in the late ’80s. Top quality riffs, undeniable grooves and Calhoun‘s glass-shattering pipes make South of the Earthunlike anything Iron Man has released in years gone by — and their other records, whether it’s the 1993 Black Nightdebut, 1994′s The Passage, 1999′s Generation Void or I Have Returned, already kicked considerable ass. As a band, they’re simply at another level.
And they know it. In the interview that follows, Morris speaks with confidence about their stage presence, the writing and recording of “The Worst and Longest Day” and the rest of South of the Earth, Iron Man‘s impending UK debut this December at the two-day Rise Above 25th anniversary party in London and much more, giving the impression not of arrogance, but of someone whose decades of experience bleeds into everything he and his band does. Whatever notoriety or attention Iron Man are able to gain as a result of the new album upon its release, it will be well earned, by both past and current efforts.
As it happens, Iron Man are doing a track-by-track through the album this week on their Thee Facebooks page, and today’s is “The Worst and Longest Day.” You’d almost think it was planned out (it wasn’t). Here’s what they had to say about the track:
“I left you alone long enough for your guard to die…”
TRACK FOUR: THE WORST AND LONGEST DAY
Another track that is swampy and mean, “The Worst and Longest Day” is as unsettling in subject as it is heavy in delivery. Heavy guitars and soaring vocals ride atop a bouncy rhythm section, and drag you through a cold monologue, delivered by the thing that vexes you.
Special thanks to Metal Blade and to Rise Above for allowing me to premiere “The Worst and Longest Day.” Please find the Q&A after the jump and enjoy.
Posted in Reviews on July 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
With a couple European tours under their belt and a resulting sense of being in full command of their sound, Baltimore four-piece The Flying Eyes make a return with their Kickstarter-funded third album, Lowlands. Released on Noisolution Records, Lowlandsdoesn’t so much comprise a departure from the ground the band covered on their sophomore outing, 2011′s engaging Done So Wrong(review here), or even for that matter the roots from which they sprung on their 2010 EP compilation that served as their self-titled full-length debut (review here) — formative though that last seems in hindsight — as an arrival at a point of mastery for those ideas that bleeds into nearly every stretch of the record’s 44 minutes. Aligned to producer Rob Girardi (Arbouretum, Double Dagger, etc.) with a clean, dynamic mix from Chris “Frenchie” Smith, to say The Flying Eyes have never sounded better doesn’t really capture what’s working so well throughout Lowlands. They’ve never sounded so in control, or so assured of their approach. Whether that’s a result of working with Girardi or of their road time is ultimately secondary, the fact remains that The Flying Eyes have come of age as a band and that Lowlands makes for one of the best flowing heavy psych LPs I’ve heard yet in 2013. Its fuzz is rich and dense in the guitars of Adam Bufano and Will Kelly (the latter also vocals) and bass of Mac Hewitt, and drummer Elias Schutzman continues to provide able leadership for grooves, whether it’s the ’70s heavy-style rock of “Rolling Thunder” or the semi-grunge acoustic/electric blend of “Comfort Machine.” Whatever else is driving this material, The Flying Eyes have definitely — and perhaps unsurprisingly — taken some measure of influence from the modern European scene in which they’ve immersed themselves several times over. Flourishes of Mars Red Sky-style wah and fuzz show themselves throughout, winding up both in the airier leads of the aforementioned “Comfort Machine” and in the initial unfolding mid-paced comfort groove of opener “Long Gone,” Schutzman‘s snare also sharing some sonic commonality, either by coincidence or intent.
Moods vary within a consistent psychedelic atmosphere, and more than they ever have to date, Kelly‘s vocals have a grounding effect on the material. Like the rest of the instruments on Lowlands, his voice is more his own, having overcome some of the Jim Morrison-isms that showed up on the band’s earlier works to arrive at a natural, bluesy-sound that adds a touch of inadvertent Americana to the deceptively quick push of “Long Gone”‘s verses. He was a more than capable singer to start with, and his voice comes across fitting in smoothly with the touches of electric and acoustic guitar, the spaced-out wah leads and the rhythmic thickness Hewitt‘s bass so provides both on “Long Gone” and “Under Iron Feet,” which is even more commanding and drenched in attitude. Instrumental stops at the ends of the verses let Kelly carry the shift to the chorus — something The Flying Eyes will do again shortly on “Smile,” though in a different context — and upping the tempo in the second half, they border on cacophony making their way to a last-minute boogie chorus before ending cold and leaving Schutzman to announce the foreboding beginning of “Rolling Thunder.” It’s a deception, if a grand one, since “Rolling Thunder” is both the most propulsive rhythm yet and working at a pace more akin to the sort of loud-motor shenanigans the title may or may not be referencing — i.e. classic biker rock. A slowdown as they approach the midsection provides an unexpected turn, and Kelly adjusts his shout to something more reminiscent of West Coast lumber-riffers Snail, but they bring it back to the shuffling progression soon enough and by the halfway point are so deep in a jam that for a moment it seems like there’s going to be no getting out. A dead stop, of course, brings back the verse hook in building form, they riff it out, go back to the slowdown and end with a last push in a maddening series of turns as exciting as they are smoothly executed, Bufano and Kelly and Hewitt locking in with Schutzman‘s half-time stomp to bring the track to its conclusion. A sparser feel pervades throughout the six-plus minutes of “Smile,” but the tension the band creates throughout its linear build makes the darker vibe a highlight of Lowlandsnonetheless, Kelly giving a fitting sense of finality in his delivery of the lines, “I’m broke I know to your delight/You want my trust but it’s too late/Wicked deeds have sealed your fate,” after the first swell dies down to start the second from the album’s most silent, brooding moment.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not surprised that Iron Man got signed by Rise Above Records because I think they don’t deserve it. That’s not it at all. I’m surprised because they do deserve it and it actually happened.
From where I sit, this might be the feel-good story of the year. I’ve seen Iron Man slog it out in mostly-empty rooms on more than one occasion and deliver sets that would’ve thrilled arenas — they most recently killed it closing out the first night of Days of the Doomed III. One hopes that getting picked up by Rise Above for a Sept. 30 release of their new album, South of the Earth, ushers in a new era of appreciation for the long-running Maryland doomers. They’ve long since had it coming.
Huge congratulations to the band and here’s looking forward to South of the Earth!
IRON MAN ‘SOUTH OF THE EARTH’
(RISE ABOVE 2013)
Rising out of the same Maryland/DC mean streets as fellow US doom pioneers Pentagram and The Obsessed, IRON MAN was formed in 1988 as a Black Sabbath tribute band by guitarist Alfred Morris III, whose musical career began in 1977 with mysterious proto-doom cult FORCE. Al’s legendarily heavy, unearthly guitar tone was already much in evidence on FORCE’s ultra-rare 1981 debut EP – and it has only deepened, hardened, improved and refined in the ensuing 32 years.
“The main thing for me is Al’s tone,” enthuses Lee Dorrian, owner of Rise Above Records and Morris worshipper since the late 80s. “It’s so brutal but in a natural way, no frills, straight for the gut. Listening to his riffs is like being stuck in a vat of molasses, unable to move with a rotating grinder lodged into the middle of your forehead down to the base of your stomach. It’s that heavy!”
“When I felt ready to be a live performer, I asked myself, who are the baddest guitar players out there?” says Al Morris of his earliest sonic inspirations. “I thought about it and came up with Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi! Being that they are both left-handed players, it was like looking into a mirror as their hands went up and down the fretboard. I dialled in the tone for soloing, but had to add some bass tone to get the Tony/Geezer sound combination!”
Signed to the legendary underground doom label Hellhound Records, IRON MAN released the stellar ‘Black Night’ debut in 1993 – “an absolute classic in the field of Sabbath-inspired Doom,” Lee asserts – followed by ‘The Passage’ in 1994, before line-up and label instability forced the band into a late 90s wilderness period. They re-emerged in 1999 with ‘Generation Void’, before another extended hiatus. This time it took a full ten years before Al reassembled the indestructible IRON MAN with yet another new line-up for the aptly-named return-to-form ‘I Have Returned’ on Shadow Kingdom.
In 2010, Maryland doom circuit veteran ‘Screaming Mad’ Dee Calhoun joined IRON MAN on vocals, recording two EPs before starting work on their latest masterpiece, the monstrous snorting rocking doom behemoth ‘South Of The Earth’. Bursting with inspirational tunes, from the killer anthemic rumble of the opening title track to the blissful elegiac blues-doom of the closing ‘Ballad Of Ray Garraty’, IRON MAN’s fifth album is shot-through with stunning soulful leads, gargantuan riffs, powerful throaty vocal melodies and a muscular, resounding rhythm section.
“Every time Iron Man goes into the studio, we treat it like a blank canvas. As things progress, the art form takes shape,” says Al Morris on the band’s creative process. “We wrote this album in about 2 months. Then we practiced our asses off to perfect the performance of the songs. This CD was done with Frank Marchand, an engineer/producer with a head full of ideas! He enhanced every element of this CD. We have great trust in Frank and followed his ideas. This is what came out!”
“I’ve loved all of Iron Man’s work,” says Lee Dorrian. “‘South of the Earth’ easily matches it and the band sound better than ever. Great musicianship all round and they have a seriously killer vocalist with Screaming Mad Dee.”
Asked how Al feels the latest incarnation of IRON MAN compares to the line-ups he’s worked with over the last few decades, his reply displays a heartening, positive renewed enthusiasm for the bullishly durable group he founded all those years ago. “I am not the only person pushing the band forward!” he beams. “Now all of the band is pushing in the same direction!! We can write great songs together and perform on stage with lots of energy!”
Tour details will follow, you lucky bastards – in the meantime, get familiar with ‘South Of The Earth’, surely IRON MAN’s finest, fullest achievement to date.
IRON MAN: ‘SOUTH OF THE EARTH’ (RISE ABOVE) 1. South Of The Earth 2. Hail To The Haze 3. The Whore In Confession 4. The Worst And Longest Day 5. Aerial Changed The Sky 6. IISOEO (The Day Of The Beast) 7. Half-Face/Thy Brother’s Keeper (Dunwich Pt 2) 8. In The Velvet Darkness 9. The Ballad Of Ray Garraty
Al Morris III – guitars ‘Screaming Mad’ Dee Calhoun – vocals Louis Strachan – bass Jason ‘Mot’ Waldmann – drums
Recorded and mixed at Hudson Street Sound, Anapolis, Maryland Produced/engineered by Frank Marchand III Mastered at Bias Studios, Springfield, Virginia
Posted in audiObelisk on June 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
In just over a month’s time, Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes will be making a return trip to Europe for an extended, two-month tour. Joined for the majority of the trek by like-minded Brooklyn duo Golden Animals, the four-piece are out supporting their newly-released third album, Lowlands(you can see their video for the track “Under Iron Feet” here), while Golden Animals will be marking the issue of their new full-length, Hear Eye Go.
So although both acts have records they’re pushing, a month-plus on the road together is an occasion worth marking, and they’re doing exactly that with the release of a new split 7″ single on H42 Records. Set for release Aug. 1 — the same day The Flying Eyes‘ tour begins, by amazing coincidence — in an edition of 400 hand-numbered copies in red, black or “weird clear,” “Raise Hell”/”Never was Her Name” gives just a quickie sampling of where each band is at and provides lucky Euro-type showgoers with something to remember the tour by.
The Flying Eyes‘ contribution “Raise Hell” strikes first with an engaging sub-retro classic rock fuzz shuffle, stomping out the lines “Show me how to pray/So I can raise some hell” for a chorus that sounds like it’s ready to do just that, and Golden Animals‘ “Never was Her Name” offers a brief, two-minute meditation on its title line and amid meandering psychedelic guitar, the two-piece honing a moody sensibility that’s not at all cornball in its theatricality. H42 Records will start taking pre-orders shortly for 90 copies, while the rest will be available at shows only.
Today I have the extreme pleasure of hosting both “Raise Hell” and “Never was Her Name” for streaming. You’ll find them on the player below, followed by the dates and more info on the upcoming European tour. I hope you enjoy and get to use these songs as a springboard to check out Golden Animals and The Flying Eyes‘ new records :
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The Flying Eyes Over Europe 2013
THE FLYING EYES are a heavy, psychedelic rock band hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. Their name comes from a 1962 science fiction novel about giant, disembodied eyes that descend from outer space to control humanity. They have achieved a notable following in Europe with sold out club tours and highlights including: the Burg Herzberg Festival (sharing the main stage with Jeff Beck and Hawkwind), an appearance on the legendary Rockpalast television show, the Orange Blossom Special festival (DE), Stoned From The Underground (DE) and Trutnov Open Air (CZ). They recently finished their album “Lowlands” (produced by Rob Girardi and mixed by “Frenchie” Smith who discovered them at SXSW), which was paid for entirely through the support of their loyal social media following.
Modern-day psychedelic pioneers, GOLDEN ANIMALS, are a rock duo formed in Brooklyn, but owe much of their sound and vision to the 3 years they spent submerged in the rattling, secluded heat waves of the Southern Cali Desert. Their sound is a dead-ahead, no bullshit, loud, minimalist vehicle for strikingly well crafted, powerful songs. Referencing influences from Billie Holiday to Dr. John to Lou Reed to The Doors with many stops between, they believe in the simple as a means to the powerful.
01.08.2013 – DE Leipzig, Plaque 02.08.2013 – DE Bad Kötzting, Voidfest 03.08.2013 – DE Stuttgart, Zwölfzehn 04.08.2013 – DE Dresden, Chemiefabrik 06.08.2013 – DE Halle/Saale, Hühnermanhattan 07.08.2013 – DE Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg 08.08.2013 – DE Frankfurt/M., Nachtleben 09.08.2013 – CH Vinelz, Open Air am Bieler See 10.08.2013 – CH Sargans, Out In The Gurin 13.08.2013 – DE Kassel, H.Schmiede 14.08.2013 – DE Riegsee, Raut Oak Open Air (private) 15.08.2013 – DE Ludwigshafen, Club London Underground 16.08.2013 – DE Nürnberg, Misty Mountain Festival 17.08.2013 – DE Groß Lindow, Open Air Groß Lindow 19.08.2013 – PL Szczecin, Morion* 20.08.2013 – PL Zielona Gora, Rock-Out* 21.08.2013 – PL Poznan, Pod Minoga* 22.08.2013 – PL Gdynia, Desdemona* 23.08.2013 – PL Warszawa, Harenda* 24.08.2013 – PL Krakow, Kawiarnia Naukowa* 28.08.2013 – CZ Prague, Klub 007 Strahov* 29.08.2013 – DE Jena, Black Night * 30.08.2013 – DE Schüttorf, Komplex* 31.08.2013 – BE Brussels, DNA Café * 01.09.2013 – BE Wortel, Jeugdklub ‘t Slot* 02.09.2013 – DE Hannover, Mephisto @ faust * 03.09.2013 – DE Bremen, Meisenfrei* 04.09.2013 – DE Bielefeld, Forum* 05.09.2013 – DE Ahaus, Logo * 06.09.2013 – DE Siegen, Vortex* 07.09.2013 – DE Hamburg, Haus III70* 09.09.2013 – DE Freiburg, White Rabbit * 10.09.2013 – DE München, Backstage * 11.09.2013 – IT Milano, Lo-Fi * 15.09.2013 – IT Roma, Sinister Noise * 17.09.2013 – CH Genève, Le Kab * 18.09.2013 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound* 19.09.2013 – ES Madrid, La Boite* 20.09.2013 – ES Leon, Taberna Belfast* 21.09.2013 – ES Hondarribia, Psilocybenea* 23.09.2013 – FR Chambéry, Brin De Zinc * 24.09.2013 – DE Konstanz, Kulturladen* 27.09.2013 – DE Kiel, Schaubude* 28.09.2013 – SE Gothenburg, Showdown * 29.09.2013 – DK Copenhagen, Loppen * * = w/ Golden Animals
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The forthcoming South of the Earth will be the first Iron Man album in four years — nothing compared to the decade between Generation Void (1999) and I Have Returned (2009; review here) — and the first with “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun as the frontman, and though a handful of EPs as the band ironed out their approach over the last couple years have given some hint of what to expect (i.e., doom), South of the Earthstill feels like an event. Release date still to come.
While we wait on that, the album art and finished tracklisting for South of the Earthhave been made public, and you can find them below along with a preview of the record:
Maryland doom legends Iron Man are happy to announce completion of their fifth full-length album, “South of the Earth.”
Recording and mixing took place at Hudson Street Sound in Annapolis, Maryland with producer/engineer Frank Marchand III. This was Iron Man’s second project with Marchand, who was also at the controls for the band’s 2009 album “I Have Returned.” “South of the Earth” was mastered at Bias Studios in Springfield, Virginia.
Digital distribution of “South of the Earth” will be handled by MusicLive365/Sony. The album’s physical distributor will be announced soon.
The track listing for “South of the Earth,” which is set for a summer release, is as follows:
South of the Earth Hail to the Haze A Whore in Confession The Worst and Longest Day Ariel Changed the Sky IISOEO (The Day of the Beast) Half-Face/Thy Brother’s Keeper (Dunwich pt. 2) In the Velvet Darkness The Ballad of Ray Garraty
Iron Man “South of the Earth” personnel: Alfred Morris III – guitars, backing vocals Screaming Mad Dee – voice, piano, keyboards Louis Strachan – bass, backing vocals Mot Waldmann – drums, percussion
I continue to dig the hell out of Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes. The still-youngin’ four-piece will release their third full-length, Lowlands, on July 26, 2013, through Berlin’s Nois-O-Lution Records. To herald its arrival and precede a European tour with Brooklyn’s Golden Animals (more on that in the coming weeks), The Flying Eyes have just posted a new video for the song “Under Iron Feet” from Lowlands, that you can find below with some background on the band in case you missed their two albums to date, 2011′s Done So Wrong(review here) and their 2009 self-titled debut (review here).
Things to watch for: The Conan-esque wheel being pushed while the band plays atop, silhouettes, and grade A heavy psych rock that shows The Flying Eyes have obviously been paying attention to how it’s done during their extensive road time in Europe.
The Flying Eyes, “Under Iron Feet” official video
THE FLYING EYES are a heavy, psychedelic rock band hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. Their name comes from a 1962 science fiction novel about giant, disembodied eyes that descend from outer space to control humanity.
The Flying Eyes have played supporting gigs with national acts such as Dead Meadow, The Raveonettes, The Black Angels and Dan Auerbach among many others. They founded and host “Farm Fest”, a DIY music festival in the Maryland countryside. Farm Fest 2012 (“Farmageddon”) featured Black Moth Super Rainbow, Celebration and White Hills.
The Flying Eyes have achieved a notable following in Europe with sold out club tours and highlights including: the Burg Herzberg Festival (sharing the main stage with Jeff Beck and Hawkwind), an appearance on the legendary Rockpalast television show, the Orange Blossom Special festival (DE), Stoned From The Underground (DE) and Trutnov Open Air (CZ). They are currently finishing their album “Lowlands” (produced by Rob Girardi and mixed by “Frenchie” Smith who discovered them at SXSW), which was paid for entirely through the support of their loyal social media following. The band plans to support the release of the album with another European tour in late Summer 2013.
02.08.2013 – DE Bad Kötzting, Voidfest 03.08.2013 – DE Stuttgart, Zwölfzehn 04.08.2013 – DE Dresden, Chemiefabrik 06.08.2013 – DE Halle/Saale, Hühnermanhattan 07.08.2013 – DE Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg 08.08.2013 – DE Frankfurt/M., Nachtleben 09.08.2013 – CH Vinelz, Open Air am Bieler See 10.08.2013 – CH Sargans, Out In The Gurin 13.08.2013 – DE Kassel, H.Schmiede 14.08.2013 – DE Riegsee, Private Open Air 15.08.2013 – DE Ludwigshafen, Club London Underground 16.08.2013 – DE Nürnberg, Misty Mountain Festival 17.08.2013 – DE Groß Lindow, Open Air Groß Lindow 19.08.2013 – PL Szczecin, Morion* 20.08.2013 – PL Zielona Gora, Rock-Out* 21.08.2013 – PL Poznan, Pod Minoga* 22.08.2013 – PL Gdynia, Desdemona* 23.08.2013 – PL Warszawa, Harenda* 24.08.2013 – PL Krakow, tba* 29.08.2013 – DE Jena, Black Night * 30.08.2013 – DE Schüttorf, Komplex* 31.08.2013 – BE Brussels, DNA Café * 01.09.2013 – BE Wortel, Jeugdklub ‘t Slot* 02.09.2013 – DE Hannover, Mephisto @ faust * 03.09.2013 – DE Bremen, Meisenfrei* 04.09.2013 – DE Bielefeld, Forum* 05.09.2013 – DE Ahaus, Logo * 06.09.2013 – DE Siegen, Vortex* 07.09.2013 – DE Hamburg, Haus III70* 09.09.2013 – DE Freiburg, White Rabbit * 10.09.2013 – DE München, Backstage * 17.09.2013 – CH Genève, Le Kab * 18.09.2013 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound* 19.09.2013 – ES Madrid, La Boite* 20.09.2013 – ES Leon, Taberna Belfast* 21.09.2013 – ES Hondarribia, Psilocybenea* 23.09.2013 – FR Chambéry, Brin De Zinc * 24.09.2013 – DE Konstanz, Kulturladen* 27.09.2013 – DE Kiel, Schaubude* * = w/ Golden Animals
The Flying Eyes Adam Bufano- Guitar Mac Hewitt- Bass and Vocals Will Kelly- Vocals and Guitar Elias Mays Schutzman- Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Looks like Pittsburgh imprint Shadow Kingdom Records and underappreciated Maryland doom stalwarts Revelation will be continuing their alliance with a release of the latter’s newest album, Inner Harbor (review here), in April. As they usually do, Revelation self-released the album digitally last year and highlighted a more progressive sound, still melancholic, but steeped in a kind of resigned mellowness of spirit as well. If you didn’t hear it then, it’s worth hearing now.
The members of Revelation‘s other outfit Against Nature (same dudes, different band) will be playing a show in Philadelphia earlier in April as well that a trailer has just been released to help promote. Find that after the PR wire info about the Inner Harborrelease:
Shadow Kingdom Records To Release REVELATION’s “Inner Harbor” In April
April 30th, 2013 will see the release of Inner Harbor, the newest album from long-running prog rock/doom outfit REVELATION.
In existence since the mid-80′s REVELATION has earned the respect of many bands and fans from all around the world and are often credited with creating the Progressive Doom Metal genre. They’ve taken the very best sounds of Rush, Black Sabbath, and early Heavy Metal to create yet another masterpiece amongst a catalog of many with Inner Harbor. This is quite possibly the band’s most fluid and laid-back release to date. While the sound is difficult to pinpoint, one can hear classic REVELATION mixed in with a dash of 70′s Italian Progressive Rock. The music flows through you so smoothly and freely, that you’re going to feel like you’re in a state of deep relaxed meditation.
The combined creative forces of drummer Steve Branagan, guitarist/vocalist John Brenner and bassist Bert Hall Jr. are responsible for over twenty full-length releases – split between REVELATION and their eclectic alter-ego AGAINST NATURE – and countless demos and EPs. Inner Harbor was made available as a digital release last year by the band’s own Bland Hand Records (www.againstnature.us/BH/) and will see worldwide distribution on CD format by Shadow Kingdom Records in April. Pre-orders are being taken at the newly revamped Shadow Kingdom Records Webstore atwww.shadowkingdomrecords.com.
In other news, Revelation‘s alter ego Against Nature will be playing a rare gig in Philly on April 6 with Beelzefuzz, Wizard Eye and Lucertola at The M Room. A video promo for the show has been put together by Lucertola‘s Tad Leger (also Blood Farmers) and you can find it below:
Maryland’s Sixty Watt Shaman released their third album, Reason to Live, in 2002. Hard to believe it’s been that long, but I guess it has. I remember getting the album from Spitfire Records at the time and thinking it was pretty damn heavy, and sure enough, the first impression has lasted for a decade-plus, even if the band hasn’t. Sixty Watt Shaman broke up after Reason to Live, with drummer “Minnesota” Pete Campbell joining forces with The Mighty Nimbus and playing with Victor Griffin in Place of Skulls (he also features in Griffin‘s new outfit, In~Graved) and bassist Rev. Jim Forrester moving on to a variety of projects, including the current Serpents of Secrecy, whose details remain — you guessed it — a mystery.
They reunited in the later part of the last decade with their final lineup of Forrester, Campbell, guitarist Joe Selby and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Kerzwick, and have done shows here and there, mostly locally, but Reason to Liveremains Sixty Watt Shaman‘s last studio outing to date, and on the album, the 12-minute “All Things Come to Pass” serves all-too-fittingly as a closer. The song boasts a raging, burly jam, with Kerzwick repeating the title line ad infinitum, and that jam has two guests: Scott “Wino” Weinrich on guitar and Scott Reeder on bass.
If you have to have two names on a song, those are ones to have. Wino and Reeder, both former members of The Obsessed, leave a stamp on the extended cut to the point that after the big rock finish more than eight minutes in Kerzwick, calls them each out by name and says thanks. The impression given is that the jam was put to tape live with everyone in the studio at the same time, and while I don’t know if those were the actual circumstances of the recording, it sounds natural enough and it’s a killer groove, so I’m not about to complain.
“All Things Come to Pass” doesn’t use the full 12 minutes. There’s an acoustic hidden track afterwards, but as that’s got a cool vibe and this clip had the better sound quality of the ones I could find, we get the finish of Reason to Live in its entirety.
Posted in Reviews on February 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Baltimorean outfit make no direct claims about their fifth album being narrative in its structure, but there can be little question that Arbouretum’s Coming out of the Fog ends in a different place than it began. In a concise but peaceful 39-plus minutes, the four-piece move from “The Long Night” to the closing title-track, “Coming out of the Fog,” which contrasts the darker push of the opener with a soothing melody and soft strum from founding guitarist/vocalist Dave Heumann. With “All at Once, the Turning Weather” positioned near the album’s center, the metaphors may be mixed, but the hopeful movement is nonetheless conveyed over the course of the eight analog-recorded tracks. The Arbouretum lineup that also brought forth 2011’s excellent The Gathering – Heumann, bassist Corey Allender, drummer Brian Carey and Matthew Pierce on keys and extra percussion – has returned and that album’s lush tendency for creative genre defiance has been retained as well, Arbouretum working with patience and grace to walk a line between heavy psychedelia, doom, folk and indie rock(s), and while the album flows easily and naturally, there is a definite structure to Coming out of the Fog as well, each side ending with a quieter piece, be it “Oceans Don’t Sing” or the aforementioned title-track. Something else Arbouretum’s latest shares with its predecessor is a strong launch point – “The White Bird” was one of The Gathering’s high points, and “The Long Night” has an immediate appeal here as well, residing on the heavier end of the band’s sound without unveiling the full tonal crunch that will make itself known on “The Promise” still to come. Heumann begins solo on guitar and introduces the first two lines of the verse vocally before Allender’s bass and Carey’s drums join in. A not-overbearing hook persists in both the verse and the chorus, and Pierce makes his presence felt playing off the guitar in a bluesy solo section as the rhythm section holds fast to the established groove before shifting on a stop back into a final verse, where they end rather than reviving the chorus for a last runthrough – more a testament to the weight of that progression than an oversight – there’s nothing on Coming out of the Fog that feels like a misstep when it comes to songwriting.
Or, for that matter, performance. Heumann gives the music plenty of space to breathe, but when singing, he’s very much at the fore vocally and shows no hesitation in carrying the band when appropriate. On second track “Renouncer,” a dug-in distorted riff is complemented by the vocal line following it, but with the heavier “The Promise,” Heumann is all the more up front in his delivery, and where’s “Renouncer”’s chorus has a gentle bounce, “The Promise” announces its arrival with sharp snare hits from Carey and an insistent, thick rhythm bolstered by Pierce’s added percussion. At no point on Coming out of the Fog are Arbouretum trying to be heavy for heaviness’ sake, instead using aural heft as a tool in their varied arsenal to evoke a specific feeling or add to the overarching atmosphere of the album. Such is the case on “The Promise,” which meets Heumann’s solo with a layer of surprisingly abrasive feedback noise that comes on with two minutes left in the song and remains for the duration of the instrumental jam remaining even as the rest of the music fades out, working to setup the transition into “Oceans Don’t Sing.” A contrast in sound winds up making the flow between the two tracks work, as the side A finale, even at the peak of its build, is given more toward Americana twang, filled out by a pedal steel guitar. At 3:24, when the song opens wider, Pierce’s piano adds to the breadth, and Heumann’s vocal doesn’t quitesoar, but is masterful nonetheless in keeping the fragility of earlier in the track. A pair of heavy rockers in “All at Once, the Turning Weather” and “World Split Open” start out side B, the former stretching Arbouretum’s sonic naturalism into psychedelics late into its run while the latter affirms the earthier fuzz of “Renouncer” while setting it to a more active rhythm. Both are exceedingly engaging, especially for listeners from the fuzzier end of the musical spectrum, rife with tonal warmth and a maintained balance of influence that still finds Arbouretum sounding like no one so much as themselves. Take your pick for which is the high point of the album; it could just as easily be any cut on Coming out of the Fog, depending on your mood when you hear it.
Posted in Reviews on January 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ve had an itch to catch Baltimore’s Arbouretum live really since I caught wind of their 2011 album, The Gathering (which I didn’t review here because I didn’t think it would fit; I’ve since stopped caring), but especially since hearing about their sharing the stage with Om in their hometown the same weekend I was there and not being able to make that gig. Hearing their new record, Coming Out of the Fog, which is due out Jan. 22 on Thrill Jockey, only added to the urgency, and when I heard they were sharing a two-band bill with long-running alt country pioneers Freakwater at The Bell House on a Tuesday night, the decision basically made itself.
The ride in was easy enough. I’d stayed at the office late to split on time to get there for a 9PM start and miss most of the tunnel traffic, and when I got to The Bell House, I paid the door charge and was somewhat surprised to find rows of foldout chairs set up in front of the stage. I was taken aback, since last time I was there was to see YOB in May 2012, but I grabbed a seat up front and proceeded to make an activity of waiting the 10 or so minutes for the band to come out. It was mildly awkward and I felt a bit like the curtain behind Brian Carey‘s drums was going to rise and we were all going to be treated to a live The Creation of Adam à la Arrested Development (“Where is god?” “There is no god!” etc.), but no, in another couple minutes, Arbouretum emerged from the side door and the show began.
This being my first time watching them play and a big part of my attraction being their tonal warmth, I was particularly interested to see what kind of amps guitarist/vocalist David Heumann was playing through. It would be just as easy to imagine full stacks from some obscure fuzz factory, or even Dead Meadow-style Orange combos, given the sonic richness and fullness that pervades from Heumann and bassist Corey Allender, though the reality was far more understated. Heumann ran two small Egnater half-stacks arranged separately (it was a bit of linguistic near-irony when one of them started smoking mid-set; I couldn’t get “ignitor” out of my head), and while the striking visual aspect wound up working in the opposite direction from what I’d figured, his tone was unmistakable, and the band quickly went to work straddling and crossing the lines between heavy psychedelia, folk, indie and doom, as few other than them seem to be able to do.
My familiarity is really with the last couple albums (I was kind of hoping they’d have any of the first three on their merch table and I’d be able to get caught up, but no dice), but I recognized a goodly portion of the material they played, the memorable “Oceans Don’t Sing” standing out from Coming Out of the Fogalong with “Renouncer” and “The Promise.” The three cuts from the new album ran in order as they do on the record behind set opener “Mohammed’s Hex and Bounty” from 2007′s Rites of Uncovering. It seemed a curious choice to me to start off with — one would expect something more recent, and, if they’re playing tracks two, three and four from the new one, then “The Long Night,” which leads off Coming Out of the Fog, wouldn’t have been out of place — but it very quickly became apparent they knew what they were doing.
The lightly rolling groove of “Renouncer” and more lumbering fuzz of “The Promise” — on which Matthew Pierce turned from his Rhodes to add percussion and complement Carey – were an excellent setup for the instrumental build of “Oceans Don’t Sing,” which also proved a highlight for showcasing Heumann‘s voice, like an earthier David Bowie gone west. The setlist was probably tailored to the show, that is, playing with Freakweather, Arbouretum probably weren’t looking to blast out eardrums — though before they got going, Heumann warned that parts would be pretty loud and they were — but the flashes of heavy that came through the songs seemed to be met with appreciated from where I was sitting. Catchy almost in spite of itself with the vocals following the guitar line in a bouncing melody, “Renouncer” rumbled a subtle threat in Allender‘s bassline, and “The Promise” paid that off with a noisy finish and a solo that Heumann didn’t seem to want to let go.
Contrast was a big part of what made it all work. Arbouretum balanced heaviness and sweetness of melody and tone and ranged dynamically in terms of pace and volume. Rites of Uncoveringopener “Signposts and Instruments” followed “Oceans Don’t Sing” with a similar if less countrified linearity and the subsequent “St. Anthony’s Fire” provided the most raucous stretch of the set. Longer than everything else and seeming to range even further than the studio version (which appears as part of a 2012 split with Hush Arbors called Aureola), “St. Anthony’s Fire” gave way to a legitimately huge-sounding jam led by Heumann‘s guitar, which broke into an extended heavy solo, periods of shred offset only by the crunch elicited when the guitar, percussion and bass came together with Carey‘s thudding drums. Maybe it was the fact that I was sitting right in front of it, but Heumann’s lead was particularly impressive, sounding soulful and even a little funky as it moved along in a world seemingly of its own.
Little doubt that’s what Heumann was thinking of when he warned earlier they’d get loud, and the band lived up to the warning. The crowd at The Bell House had been filtering in throughout their whole set, but there were enough people in the room by the time Arbouretum got around to “St. Anthony’s Fire” to give a genuine response, and it was a cool moment to witness, cheers coming up after Heumann finished that solo. I had been hoping for “The Long Night” or even “The White Bird” from The Gathering, which still gets stuck in my head on the regular, as a closer, but they finished with the title-track to Coming Out of theFog. It rounds out the album as well and might have been somewhat faster live owing to the sheer momentum they built during “St. Anthony’s Fire,” but they made it work anyway, despite what looked like some technical difficulty in Allender‘s backing vocals.
Given that it was still early when they finished, I thought maybe I’d stick around for a bit and catch at least some of Freakwater, even just for myself if not to write about it later, but the temptation of being able to go to a show in Brooklyn and still get back to Jersey before midnight won out. I waited for the band to emerge so I could buy a copy of Coming Out of the Fogand then headed out, the freezing rain that would turn to snow overnight just starting to fall as I crossed the street to my car.