Fall Tour Pt. 16: Pentagram, Radio Moscow, Bang and Kings Destroy, Baltimore, MD, 10.29.14

Posted in Reviews on October 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

baltimore soundstage (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Baltimore’s Soundstage is right down by the bay, so after Pentagram‘s soundcheck, I went down and looked at the water for a bit, listened to a street musician play drums on buckets of various sizes. He was alright, but the main attraction was the water. After being in the Midwest for a couple days, it’s good to be back near the coast. Even all the lakes in Michigan, rivers and whatnot on the way, there’s something different about salty water, even if it’s the kind you’d never want to get in and go for a swim. Makes the brain feel less claustrophobic, which is kind of ironic given all the open spaces in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, etc.

A five-band Wednesday night got started around 7:45PM. The sound was solid and it was the best lighting of the tour so far. I like Baltimore, have spent some significant time in the city over the years and was happy to run into Chuck Dukehart from Foghound (new stuff on the way) and Vang from Foehammer and chat for a bit. The Pilgrim opened:

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Not to be confused with Rhode Island’s Pilgrim, Baltimorean five-piece The Pilgrim released their self-titled debut back in 2012 (review here), and as vocalist Mis Zill announced from the stage, this was their last show for an indeterminate amount of time. They played well and obviously had the crowd in their corner, and I recognized some of what they played from the record, which was satisfying two years after the fact. Stylistically, they’re somewhere between ’70s boogie and classic metal, the two guitars working smoothly together while the bass and drums made up a definitive rhythm section. It’s a pretty classic dynamic, but The Pilgrim wore it ably and seemed to fit as they spread out on the wide stage, Mis Zill having room for leg-up Shiva poses and/or yoga moves while pushing out high notes.

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A little bit of changeup from Kings Destroy in opening with “The Mountie” from the first record into “Smokey Robinson” and “The Whittler.” The difference was notable immediately, and where “Old Yeller” often feels like the band is lurching to life, the crash-in with “The Mountie” was more immediate. At this point in the tour, it’s gonna work either way, frankly, and it did. I knew it was going to be a joy to watch these guys play every night. I don’t know if I’ve hit 20 times yet seeing them this year, but it has to be at least 15, and I’ve yet to walk away disappointed. Vocalist Steve Murphy called an audible at the end of the set, going around to guitarist Carl Porcaro, drummer Rob Sefcik, bassist Aaron Bumpus and guitarist Chris Skowronski to switch the closer from “Embers” to “Old Yeller,” and it looked pretty touch and go as to what song was about to start, but it worked out and “Old Yeller” made an excellent finale after “Casse-Tête” and the always raucous “Mr. O,” the value of which in the set isn’t to be understated in how the hook and uptick in tempo draws in a crowd on any given night, including at Soundstage.

Bang

Bang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Another tight set from Bang. “Redman,” “Our Home,” “Last Will and Testament” and others from their 1971 self-titled debut have become pretty familiar by this point in the tour, and it’s been satisfying to watch them come together over the course of these shows. Baltimore was a workman set. Bang — guitarist Frankie Gilcken, bassist/vocalist Frank Ferrara and drummer Jake Leger — got on stage and were all business from there on out, and as usual, they had a few fervent supporters in the crowd who had obviously picked up one or another of the various reissues they’ve had over the years. There was less Ferrara/Gilcken in the middle of the stage, but they were as tight as they’ve been all along anyway, and Leger‘s swinging style continues to be a perfect fit for their classic material. “Questions” closed out as it has, its resounding groove a reminder of the influence that era continues to have even now. Bang play off that well, with their vintage gear and swagger, but the prevailing vibe continues to be how glad they are to be back on stage.

Radio Moscow

Radio Moscow (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Slayed. Almost to a terrifying degree. Radio Moscow have demolished stages more or less since the tour began, but I guess the difference this time around was nothing went wrong, their set wasn’t cut short, there was no hiccup and Parker GriggsAnthony Meier and Paul Marrone could just wail on their songs. They had the best sound of the night coming out of the Soundstage P.A., and there were a couple moments — “Broke Down” is still stuck in my head, along with “250 Miles” and “Rancho Tehama Airport,” not to mention Marrone‘s drum solo in “No Good Woman,” which closed out — where you just had to step back and let out a “holy shit” at how hard they were hitting it. They’ve been a big part of the draw for this tour, and while Soundstage wasn’t as crowded as some of the other shows have been, even at its most packed, t was clear that a lot of the people who showed up were there in no small part because Radio Moscow were rolling through. They did so at top speed, impossibly tight and with zero pretense. I feel like people who don’t see this band have no idea what they’re missing.

Pentagram

Pentagram (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I feel like I’m repeating myself every day, but the truth is that at this point, the tour is locked in. All four bands are delivering their show. It doesn’t really matter where they are, who’s there to see it, whatever. They get on stage and just go for it. Pentagram is no different. They came on after their foreboding intro with guitarist Victor Griffin, bassist Greg Turley and drummer Sean Saley starting “Death Row” ahead of the quick arrival of frontman Bobby Liebling, who’s never failed to carry the stage of any size on this tour, whether it was the huge church in Pittsburgh or Soundstage with the back bar blocked off. This was as close as Pentagram will come to a hometown show on this run, and Baltimore is arguably the center of their influence — or at least in the central region of it — and they put the work in to show why they’ve earned the legendary status that they have. I continue to look forward to a follow-up to Last Rites and hearing this lineup take on more lost ’70s cuts and maybe a new composition or two.

Even at the end of the night, I felt better for this show than in Pittsburgh, took a couple minutes to just sort of enjoy it and let the night soak in before load-out had to start and I drove to the Comfort Inn in North East — which is both the name of the town and its geographic location — Maryland, about 45 minutes outside Baltimore. The plan was to hang around the motel for most of the next day, since it’s a relatively short drive to Philadelphia for the show at Johnny Brenda’s, which is sold out, but you know how it goes with plans.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Fall Tour 2014 Pt. 15: Ape is High

Posted in Features on October 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

into baltimore

10.29.14 — 5:22PM — Wednesday evening — Soundstage, Baltimore

“He is an epic failure.” — Aaron Bumpus, about anyone, ever.

Tour ebola is better today, or at least that’s what I’ve been forcing myself to believe as I mainline vitamin C and DayQuil. Tried to pick up some more Advil as well at a truck stop along the way, but failed. I wound up trying to charge an orange juice and had to buy a York Peppermint Patty to get past the two-dollar minimum for credit cards. Feels good. Rock and roll.

camden yardsJim Pitts picked up some Who and Thin Lizzy CDs and we listened to them in the van. Probably the right call as we made our way through cold, grey, bum-you-right-out Pennsylvania. I don’t know how many different weather systems we’ve seen — it was like 75 degrees when we got to Cleveland — but it’s been at least three so far, and there are still five shows left. It’s a small wonder the van resounds with coughs.

Slow start to the day, but the good news is I slept and slept hard. I didn’t necessarily feel like I had a choice in that — it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not — but I’m glad it did. There was about an hour to kill before we left out of New Stanton, where we stayed last night, and headed to Baltimore, so I nodded back off after showering as well. The more the merrier, even if I continued to wake myself up coughing, and likely Carl as well, who has the misfortune to be sharing my room.

Trip to Baltimore was uneventful in the extreme except for Aaron introducing all of us to Mandrill Is, the 1971 second album from NYC’s Mandrill, who ran a line between funk and soul and rock and about five other genres before they were done. I was way into it. Pretty expensive on CD, but I’ll keep my eyes open for a copy. We stopped at a music store so Rob could get a backup head for his kick drum, and there was a barbecue pub right next door so the pentagram soundcheckpre-show meal was had there. Early dinner, I guess. I had yet another in my ongoing series of chicken caesar salads. Chicken was good but the salad itself had almost no dressing on it. I didn’t care. I’ll take raw ruffage at this point. As long as it’s not from a gas station. Jim also bought dinner for everyone, which was very kind, but I threw in cash for myself since it didn’t feel right. Dude certainly doesn’t owe me anything and it’s not like I’m in the band. I don’t know.

Baltimore’s own The Pilgrim are opening the show tonight at Soundstage, so it’s five bands. I remember their self-titled CD from a couple years back was cool, so it will be interesting to see them live and see where they’re at now. Pentagram were soundchecking when we got here and I got to hear them do “Walk in the Blue Light,” which was right on because it’s a good song and though it’s written on the setlist for each night, they haven’t actually been playing it, I guess opting for the Animals cover instead. No complaints there, but if it was one or the other, I’d probably take the original. Whatever my druthers are worth in things like salads and Pentagram setlists.

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The Flying Eyes Confirm Dates for ‘Baltimore Invasion’ European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Baltimorean ambassadors of bluesy heavy psych The Flying Eyes have nailed down the remaining dates from their previously announced “Baltimore Invasion” tour of Europe, set to launch next month. They’ll be joined on their latest Euro trek by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, and while I’ve yet to see any word of what it might actually entail, they’ve posted what looks like cover art for something called Leave it all Behind Sessions, which presumably would be a new release of one kind or another. They keep busy anyway, so it’s not surprising they’d have something coming out, and both their style and dynamic is suited to live recording, so if that’s what it is, all the better. I’d take a collection of B-sides as well, or, you know, whatever.

Full routing for the tour follows. It looks to be a beast, but that’s nothing new for these guys:

The “Baltimore Invasion Tour” is complete!!! New shows added in France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Luxemburg…

All shows supported by LAZLO LEE & THE MOTHERLESS CHILDREN!

Presented by eclipsed, Slam, Stonerrock.eu and Magnificent Music:

18.09.2014 – DE Essen, Panic Room
19.09.2014 – NL Leeuwarden, Asteriks
20.09.2014 – DE Mannheim, Mohawk Open Air
21.09.2014 – DE Karlsruhe, Alte Hackerei
22.09.2014 – DE Köln, Sonic Ballroom
23.09.2014 – FR Chambéry, Le Brin De
24.09.2014 – ES Zaragoza, Ley Seca
25.09.2014 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound
26.09.2014 – ES Gijon, Casino Acapulco
27.09.2014 – ES Burgos, Estudio 27
01.10.2014 – CH Zürich, Kuba
02.10.2014 – CH Olten, Le Coq D’Or
03.10.2014 – CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers
04.10.2014 – CH Frauenfeld, Kaff
06.10.2014 – CZ Praha, Klub 007
07.10.2014 – AT Wien, Arena
08.10.2014 – SK Bratislava, Uocka
09.10.2014 – DE Jena, Kuba
10.10.2014 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
11.10.2014 – DE Stuttgart, Goldmarks
13.10.2014 – LU Luxemburg, Rocas
15.10.2014 – DE Würzburg, Café Cairo
16.10.2014 – DE München, Backstage
17.10.2014 – DE Frankfurt/Main, Sky High Festival @ Das Bett
18.10.2014 – DE Leipzig, UT Connewitz
19.10.2014 – PL Wroclaw, Disorder
20.10.2014 – DE Hamburg, Hafenklang
21.10.2014 – DE Kiel, Schaubude
22.10.2014 – DK Aalborg, 1000 Fryd
23.10.2014 – DE Bielefeld, Forum
24.10.2014 – DE Berlin, Cassiopeia
25.10.2014 – DE Lübeck, Treibsand

https://www.facebook.com/theflyingeyes
http://www.theflyingeyes.com/
https://twitter.com/TheFlyingEyes

The Flying Eyes, “Farewell” Live at Mobtown Studios

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The Flying Eyes Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes have announced plans to return to Europe this fall for more touring. They were there late last summer with Golden Animals and will be joined this time by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, with whom the band has shared the stage at the Moving the Earth fest. The Flying Eyes were most recently heard from on a Heavy Psych Sounds four-way split with NaamBlack Rainbows and White Hills (review here) and their most recent full-length was last summer’s sun-soaked Lowlands (review here), which delved into natural-sounding blues rock without losing a classically-influenced edge. They are, simply put, a better band than people seem to know.

Dates and info for the tour follow, yoinked from the Thee Facebooks event page:

The Flying Eyes “Baltimore Invasion Tour” of Europe

The Flying Eyes, supported by their partners in crime LAZLO LEE & THE MOTHERLESS CHILDREN, will embark on the epic “Baltimore Invasion Tour” of Europe this fall!!!

They will also be releasing the collection “Leave It All Behind Sessions” via Noisolution on September 19th, available on CD and vinyl throughout the tour…

Presented by eclipsed, Slam, Stonerrock.eu and Magnificent Music:

18.09.2014 – DE Essen, Panic Room
19.09.2014 – NL Leeuwarden, Asteriks
20.09.2014 – DE Mannheim, Mohawk Open Air
21.09.2014 – DE Karlsruhe, Alte Hackerei
24.09.2014 – ES Zaragoza, Ley Seca
25.09.2014 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound
26.09.2014 – ES Gijon, Casino Acapulco
27.09.2014 – ES Burgos, Estudio 27
02.10.2014 – CH Olten, Le Coq D’Or
03.10.2014 – CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers
04.10.2014 – CH Frauenfeld, Kaff
07.10.2014 – AT Wien, Arena
09.10.2014 – DE Jena, Kuba
10.10.2014 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
11.10.2014 – DE Stuttgart, Goldmarks
15.10.2014 – DE Würzburg, Café Cairo
16.10.2014 – DE München, Backstage
(http://www.backstagetickets.eu/theflyingeyes.html)
17.10.2014 – DE Frankfurt/Main, Sky High Festival @ Das Bett
18.10.2014 – DE Leipzig, UT Connewitz
19.10.2014 – PL Wroclaw, Disorder
20.10.2014 – DE Hamburg, Hafenklang
21.10.2014 – DE Kiel, Schaubude
(https://www.tixforgigs.com/site/Pages/Shop/ShowEvent.aspx?ID=9709)
22.10.2014 – DK Aalborg, 1000 Fryd
(https://billetto.dk/the-flying-eyes)
23.10.2014 – DE Bielefeld, Forum
24.10.2014 – DE Berlin, Cassiopeia
25.10.2014 – DE Lübeck, Treibsand

More dates to be announced…

https://www.facebook.com/theflyingeyes
https://www.facebook.com/events/319460838178803/
http://theflyingeyes.bandcamp.com/

The Flying Eyes, Lowlands (2013)

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Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes Split: So Much Space, So Little Time

Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I – and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam – who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow (review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.

Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vow highlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.

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Clutch Announce More US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

With a Robot Hive/Exudos 2LP reissue and a deluxe 2CD/DVD edition of last year’s Earth Rocker (review here) coming this month, Clutch have hit the road in Europe. The Marylander groove kings will be back in time for a few shows in July, however, and they’ve just announced they’ll spend the bulk of September touring as well around appearances at Riot Fest in Chicago, Toronto and Denver and the Shindig Music Festival in their native Baltimore. So, you know, plenty more Clutch. Which is a win.

As I decide to just make the headline “ClutchAnnounce More US Tour Dates” a permanent fixture around here, the PR wire steps in with details:

CLUTCH ANNOUNCES FALL U.S. TOUR

‘EARTH ROCKER’ SET FOR TRIPLE DELUXE (2xCD/DVD) RELEASE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014 VIA WEATHERMAKER MUSIC

‘ROBOT HIVE/EXODUS’ CLASSIC CLUTCH ALBUM TO RECEIVE COLLECTOR’S EDITION DOUBLE VINYL RELEASE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 10

CLUTCH, the acclaimed Maryland-based rock group, have announced they’ll launch a fall U.S. tour kicking off September 5th in Providence, RI. See full tour itinerary below.

On June 24, 2014, CLUTCH–NEIL FALLON (vocals, rhythm guitar), TIM SULT (lead guitar), DAN MAINES (bass), JEAN-PAUL GASTER (drums and percussion)–will release a triple deluxe version of their acclaimed EARTH ROCKER album via Weathermaker Music. EARTH ROCKER was tagged by Rolling Stone on their “Top 20 Metal Albums” list and hailed by the magazine for its fusion of “seething admixtures of jam-band chops, careening blues-punk riffs” (December 2013). The EARTH ROCKER triple deluxe album package will include: 1) the full record and brand new songs “Night Hag” and “Scavengers”; 2) “Earth Rocker Live,” a CD audio version of the album performed live; and 3) the DVD “Live In Denver” recorded with seven cameras in 1080i at a sold-out Denver show with audio remixing by Paul Logus and editing by Dave Brodsky; and two videos shot, directed and edited by actress Aisha Tyler: “Gone Cold” (unreleased) and “Crucial Velocity.” To pre-order the EARTH ROCKER triple deluxe, visit: www.clutchmerch.com.

Produced, engineered and mixed by Machine (King Crimson, Lamb Of God), EARTH ROCKER’s triple deluxe cover artwork was created by long time CLUTCH art director Nick Lakiotis (see below).

Robot Hive/Exodus–the group’s classic 2005 album–will also receive a collector’s edition double vinyl release on Tuesday, June 10. The beautiful double LP is re-mastered and comes in a re-designed gatefold package boasting some of CLUTCH’s best tracks. In addition, the group recently teamed with producer J. Robbins (The Sword, Coliseum) to record the new song “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” as a special split 7” single with labelmates Lionize in honor of Record Store Day, available now: www.clutchmerch.com.

CLUTCH continue their european festival tour through June 29. In July, they’ll return to the U.S. for a handful of shows before performing at all three Riot Fest dates (Toronto, Chicago and Denver) before joining the Shindig Festival alongside Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello and more in Baltimore, MD on September 27. See all tour dates below.

EUROPE SUMMER 2014
FRI 6/8 Vienna, Austria Arena
SAT 6/9 Munich, Germany Backstage Werk
WED 6/11 Hamburg, Germany Gruenspan
THU 6/12 Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhell Festival
FRI 6/13 Cologne, Germany Essigfabrik
SAT 6/14 Switzerland Greenfield Festival
SUN 6/15 Stuttgart, Germany LKA Longhorn
TUE 6/17 Haarlem, Netherlands Patronaat
WED 6/18 Nijmegen, Netherlands Doornroosje
THU 6/19 Frankfurt, Germany Batschkapp
FRI 6/20 Paris, France Nouveau Casino
SAT 6/21 Clisson, France Hellfest
SUN 6/22 Switzerland Fete de la Musique
TUE 6/24 Thessaloniki, Greece Fuzz Club
WED 6/25 Athens, Greece Fix Factory of Sound
FRI 6/27 Norrkoping, Sweden Bravalla Festival
SAT 6/28 Finowfurt, Germany Roadrunner’s Paradise Race 61 Festival
SUN 6/29 Roeser, Luxembourg Rock A Field Festival
US TOUR
THU 7/24 Syracuse, NY Westcott Theater
FRI 7/25 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
SAT 7/26 Columbus, OH The Great Summer Smokeout
SUN 7/27 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s
US TOUR
FRI 9/5 Providence, RI Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
SAT 9/6 Clifton Park, NY Upstate Concert Hall
SAT-SUN 9/6-9/7 Toronto, ON Riot Fest
TUE 9/9 Knoxville, TN The Bijou Theatre
WED 9/10 Lexington, KY Buster’s Billiards & Backroom
THU 9/11 Toledo, OH Headliners
FRI-SUN 9/12-9/14 Chicago, IL Riot Fest
SAT 9/13 Grand Rapids, MI The Orbit Room
MON 9/15 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
TUE 9/16 Sioux Falls, SD The District
THU 9/18 Kansas City, MO Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
FRI 9/19 Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium
FRI-SUN 9/19-9/21 Denver, CO Riot Fest
MON 9/22 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre
TUE 9/23 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
THU 9/25 Huntington, NY The Paramount
FRI 9/26 Norfolk, VA The NorVa
SAT 9/27 Baltimore, MD The Shindig Music Festival

www.pro-rock.com
http://instagram.com/clutchofficial
https://www.facebook.com/Clutchband
https://twitter.com/clutchofficial
https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialClutch
http://weathermakermusic.com/

Clutch, “Crucial Velocity” official video

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Rukut Rattle Brains with “White Squirrel White Fox” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Aside from considering myself fortunate enough to call them personal friends, Baltimore-by-way-of-New-Jersey-by-way-of-Seattle-by-way-of-New-Jersey-etc. two-piece Rukut are also the band who, probably over a decade ago now, blindsided me with a lesson in the dynamic that a duo can offer at their best, distinct from solo artists, trios, and so on. Their passage between minimalist garage thrash, brutal punk, grind and sludge has played out DIY for years in small bars, clubs and just about anywhere else they’re asked to show up that they can park their van, but I’ve never heard it sound quite as full and devastating as it does on the new cut “White Squirrel White Fox,” taken from a brand new self-released EP, The Headless.

It’s been a while since Rukut – the duo of guitarist/vocalist Lew Hambley and drummer/graphic artist Chris Jones – released their last full-length, 2008’s Life’s Pain, but their years don’t seem to have been misspent. Hambley‘s vocals, turning vicious at switch-flick speed, touch on the guttural with “White Squirrel White Fox,” and the instrumental accompaniment they receive makes for due chaos, Jones switching between D-beat crust drive and all-out blasts after his stick-click count-in serves as the subtle announcement of the fury about to be unleashed after a grueling minute of stomping introduction. In short order, Rukut tear ass through a build that is brought to a raging, violent head precise enough to give Nasum a nod without losing Napalm Death‘s crucial soul.

By way of a spoiler, it starts with a white squirrel and ends with a white fox, but it’s really what’s between the two in the Jones-directed video that proves most essential. Rukut’s The Headless EP, can be heard at their Bandcamp page. “White Squirrel White Fox” doesn’t carry a warning for epileptics who might check it out, but it probably should: The aurally brutal comes with strobe to match.

Enjoy:

Rukut, “White Squirrel White Fox” official video

Rukut on Thee Facebooks

Rukut on Bandcamp

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Sixty Watt Shaman Interview with Rev. Jim Forrester: Recalibration of an Ultra Electric

Posted in Features on March 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Tomorrow night, March 22, Baltimore heavyweights Sixty Watt Shaman will take the stage at the Windup Space as headliners for the Moving the Earth 2 festival. It’s a bill they share with a host of others loyal to the Doom Capitol in geography or spirit including Iron Man, Black Lung, Kingsnake and Wasted Theory, among others, and the beginning of a reunion some years in the making. Sixty Watt Shaman called it quits after the release of 2002’s Reason to Live on Spitfire Records, arguably as they hit their peak of notoriety. As bassist Rev. Jim Forrester elucidates, however, it wasn’t so simple as that. To be fair, it rarely is.

Moving the Earth 2 is the first of several fests at which Sixty Watt will appear in the coming months. They’ve been confirmed for Desertfest in both London and Berlin at the end of April, and May 3 will find them at the top of the bill at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Granted, they’ve played intermittently over the last decade, but it speaks to the continued relevance of Sixty Watt Shaman‘s studio albums that their work precedes them after all this time. Before Reason to Live served as their swansong, 2000’s Seed of Decades and 1998’s Ultra Electric positioned the Marylanders among the forerunners of what was then still a pretty deep underground. They’re a band whose influence has seeped into a lot of East Coast heavy rock, and the response to their return has been appropriately loud.

Comprised of Forrester, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Ingram (who replaced Joe Selby), returned drummer Chuck Dukehart III (also of Foghound), who left in 2000, and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Soren, the reinvigorated Sixty Watt Shaman has hinted at new material of one form or another to come this year, and reissues of their past albums are in the works, though details remain to be solidified. Wherever they head after these fests, as Forrester describes in the interview that follows, the four-piece are taking a more mature, “grown-up” approach. So no, it seems they won’t be crashing on your couch this time around.

This interview was conducted a little while back, but Rev. Jim – whose involvement in post-Sixty Watt projects like Angels of Meth, Soaphammer, The Devil You Know and Serpents of Secrecy as well as his reputation as an all-around good guy precedes him — was kind enough to shed some light on how the Sixty Watt Shaman reunion came about, how it’s been getting back to work with the band, and where he thinks it might all be heading.

Please find the Q&A after the jump, and enjoy:

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live in Baltimore, March 7, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. The Spirit Caravan reunion tour is almost two weeks deep into its month-plus run and video has started to surface of the trio of bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer Henry Vasquez – who came into the lineup late as a replacement for original member Gary Isom. I expect this won’t be the last time new Spirit Caravan footage is featured on Wino Wednesday, but if you have to start somewhere, the beginning seems like as good a place as any, and that takes us to the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on March 7.

Excitement is high at the start of “Dreamwheel” as Wino introduces the three-piece and succinctly puts it, “The past is the past. Right now. Right here. Spirit Caravan.” And while it’s also true that those who saw the band during their original tenure and with their founding lineup will continue to have something over those who didn’t, it’s a fair enough perspective for Spirit Caravan to project, since much of their vibe has always been rooted in at least an outward positivity. It’s also factually accurate. This is what Spirit Caravan are now. To his credit, Vasquez adapts as fluidly to Isom‘s parts as he did to those of Armando Acosta when he replaced him in Saint Vitus back in 2009. Word has been dropped of a new Spirit Caravan full-length, and presumably that would include Vasquez as well.

This clip of “Dreamwheel” — taken from the 1999 EP of the same name — is the first I’ve seen from the tour, but like I said, I imagine there’s plenty more to come as the next several weeks of shows play out. I’ll keep my eye out as ever, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy “Dreamwheel” from the Metro Gallery and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live at Metro Gallery, Baltimore, March 7, 2014

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Black Lung to Release Self-Titled Debut this June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I had hoped to head to Baltimore this coming weekend to cover the Moving the Earth festival down that way, with Sixty Watt Shaman, Supervoid, Wasted Theory, Foghound and others on the bill (details here), but it doesn’t look like I’m going to be so fortunate as to get there. Among my reasons for wanting to, however, is/was Black Lung — whose drummer, Elias Schutzman, and guitarist, Adam Bufano, can also be found in psych rockers The Flying Eyes — and a live video for the song “The Ghost,” which comes off their impending self-titled debut full-length, isn’t making me feel any better about missing their set. Such are the rigors of (low) finance.

Black Lung‘s Black Lung is set for release in June, as the announcement below informs. Stay tuned for more on these cats. I’m digging the vibe:

Conquering the long, bitter winter of 2014, a new player emerges from Baltimore’s underground music scene. Dueling guitars and heavy-hitting drums form the backbone of Black Lung, a 3-piece coalition of local forces.

In the spring of 2013, multi-instrumentalist Dave Cavalier jumped at the chance to collaborate on a stripped-down rock n’roll project with Adam Bufano and Elias Schutzman from psychedelic rock group “The Flying Eyes.” Once peers in their local music scenes, these three friends now toe the line between sonic pain and psychedelic bliss.

With influences ranging from the raw blues-rock of early Black Keys to the stoned out riffage of Sleep, Black Lung skillfully forges a sound that is as heavy as it is soulful. Their self-titled EP is to be released via CD and Cassette June 3rd on Grimoire Records (US), with CD and Vinyl coming June 6th on Noisolution (EU).

http://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-lung
https://www.facebook.com/blacklungbaltimore
https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords
https://www.facebook.com/MovingTheEarthFestival

Black Lung, “The Ghost” live video

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Sixty Watt Shaman, Iron Man, Kingsnake and More to Play Moving the Earth Fest 2 on March 22-23 in Baltimore

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!

https://www.facebook.com/MovingTheEarthFestival

Foghound, “Gotta Go” at Moving the Earth Festival, 2013

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Foghound Reveal “Resurrect the Throwaways” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

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 High has 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.

Dig:

Foghound, “Resurrect the Throwaways” official video

Foghound on Thee Facebooks

Foghound on Bandcamp

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Foghound, Quick, Dirty and High: Opening the Van Door

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 High for 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 High clocks 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 High is 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.

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, Live at the 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

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 Truth was 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
Spirit Caravan
Black Flower
Healing Tongue
Dreamwheel
Darkness and Longing
Retroman
Elusive Truth
Futility’s Reasons
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:

Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

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Autumn Screams Doom II Set for Oct. 25-26 in Baltimore

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.

Dig it:

Autumn Screams Doom II Fest Descends Upon Baltimore in Late October

AUTUMN SCREAMS DOOM II
25-26 October 2013
Baltimore, MD

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)

Saturday, October 26th
LOSS (Nashville, TN)
SATAN’S SATYRS (Herndon, VA)
UZALA (Boise, ID)
CHURCHBURN (Pawtucket, RI)
DRUGLORD (Richmond, VA)
WIZARD EYE (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 available HERE.

Single day and two day tickets are still available for pre-order at the Official Fest Site HERE. Tickets will also be available at the door.

https://www.facebook.com/events/571909856182413/

Windhand, “Woodbine” Live at Autumn Screams Doom 2012

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