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 Dukeheart 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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Iron Man Track Premiere & Interview with Alfred Morris III: Four Jupiters Aligning

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on September 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Iron Man, “The Worst and Longest Day” from South of the Earth (2013)

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

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 Earth lineup 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 Earth unlike anything Iron Man has released in years gone by — and their other records, whether it’s the 1993 Black Night debut, 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.

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The Flying Eyes, Lowlands: Wicked Deeds

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, Lowlands doesn’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 Lowlands nonetheless, 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.

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Iron Man Sign to Rise Above Records

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

Iron Man, South of the Earth album trailer

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audiObelisk: The Flying Eyes & Golden Animals Stream New Split 7″

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 :

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

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

The Flying Eyes on Thee Facebooks

Golden Animals on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

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Iron Man Finish Work on New Album South of the Earth

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 Earth still feels like an event. Release date still to come.

While we wait on that, the album art and finished tracklisting for South of the Earth have 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

Iron Man, South of the Earth Preview

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The Flying Eyes Get Pushed Around in New Video for “Under Iron Feet”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

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.

Enjoy:

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

https://www.facebook.com/theflyingeyes
http://www.noisolution.de/
https://www.facebook.com/events/311919248938447/

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