The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2015

Posted in Features on December 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 20 short releases of 2015

Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.

What’s a short release? Anything that’s not a full-length. I’ve done this list in the past and given a small list — The Top 20 EPs, Splits, Demos and Singles, or whatever — but “Short Releases” seemed more concise, and believe it or not, that’s something I shoot for.

Essentially, what we’re taking a look at here is everything else a band might put out in a given year. No question that albums are where the greatest impact is made over the longer term, but from landmark 7″s to EPs that provide crucial experiments or serve notice of bands solidifying their sound or marking pivotal first impressions, the shorter offerings have tremendous value, and it’s worth considering them on their own merit, rather than in comparison to LPs directly.

I know for a fact that there are releases I’ve missed here. Particularly among the Bandcamp-only demos, there’s just so much out there that for any one person to keep up with all of it is even more impossible than it’s ever been before. Before you berate me immediately with, “Hey you forgot X Band!” and start throwing tomatoes at your computer or mobile device screen, please keep in mind The Obelisk is run by a single individual and there are only so many hours in the day. As always, I do the best I can.

Here we go:

foehammer foehammer

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2015

1. Foehammer, Foehammer EP
2. Mos Generator & Stubb, The Theory of Light and Matter Split
3. Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze EP
4. All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
5. Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 Split
6. Fatso Jetson & Farflung, Split
7. Eggnogg & Borracho, Sludgy Erna Bastard Split 7″
8. Shroud Eater, Face the Master EP
9. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some EP
10. Stars that Move, Demo Songs
11. Wight, Helicopter Mama 7″
12. Thera Roya, Unraveling EP
13. Shatner, EP
14. Cities of Mars, Cyclopean Ritual EP
15. Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split
16. Sandrider & Kinski, Split
17. Mount Hush, Low and Behold! EP
18. Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, The Outer Dark Split
19. Groan, Highrospliffics EP
20. Rozamov & Deathkings, Split

Honorable Mention

The  Sunburst EP by Valley continues to resonate, as do splits from Goya & Wounded Giant and King Buffalo & Lé Betre. plus Derelics‘ IntroducingTime Rift‘s demo, the Carpet 7″, Watchtower‘s EP, Eternal Black‘s debut demo, Dorre‘s half-hour single One Collapsed at the Altar, and Mount Desert‘s two-songer all deserve serious consideration, as well I’m sure as many others.

Notes

It’s something of a break in routine for me to put any kind of debut in a top spot (other, of course, than on the list of debuts), but Foehammer simply would not be denied. The Virginia trio’s three-song EP release on Grimoire Records (LP on Australopithecus Records), it was a self-titled that seemed to be telling you the name of the band twice as if in a warning against forgetting it. And that warning was one to heed. Foehammer‘s first outing brought the Doom Capitol region to new heights of extremity, and while at over half-an-hour long it could’ve just as easily have been called a full-length, part of the overarching threat is what the band will bring to bear when they actually get around to their first LP.

A good number of splits included here, with Mos Generator and Stubb‘s The Theory of Light and Matter (HeviSike Records), Geezer and Borracho‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 (launching a series for Ripple Music), Fatso Jetson and Farflung‘s joint release (on Heavy Psych Sounds) and Eggnogg and Borracho‘s Sludgy Erna Bastard (on Palaver Records) all cracking the top 10. No coincidence that Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho show up twice in that mix. As Pyramidal and Domo‘s blissful Jams from the Sun, Sandrider and Kinski‘s one-two, Godhunter and Amigo the Devil‘s Battleground Records collaboration and Rozamov and Deathkings‘ joint single feature between #11-20, a total of eight out of the full included 20 releases here are splits. Last year it was only five.

Whether that means the form is growing in an attempt to capture fickle social-media-age attention spans while cutting individual vinyl pressing costs, I couldn’t say — likely a combination of the two and more besides — but it’s noteworthy that a split is more than just a toss-off, between-albums castaway at this point, something for songs to later be included on rare-tracks comps. One could easily say the same of EPs as a whole. To that end, Sun Voyager‘s Lazy Daze was a brutal tease for the NY psychgaze outfit’s first album, hopefully out in 2016. And while All Them WitchesA Sweet Release was over 50 minutes long — longer, actually, than their Dying Surfer Meets His Maker LP, which was also issued this year — they considered it an EP/live collection, and that indeed proved how it worked best, immersive though its stretch remained.

Shroud Eater and Bedroom Rehab Corporation both turned in impressive outings that showed marked progression from their last time out, while Shatner‘s first batch of tracks tipped off a songwriting process well-honed and Stars that Move, Cities of Mars, Thera Roya and Mount Hush — I’d put Mount Desert in this category as well — had compelling outings that, like Foehammer at the top, showed much potential at work in formative sounds. Not to be forgotten, Wight‘s Helicopter Mama 7″ gave listeners a heads up on the funkified stylistic turn their upcoming full-length, Love is Not Only What You Know, will take even further, and UK stoner miscreants Groan proved once and for all that, along with logic and reason, a constantly changing lineup can’t hold back their good times.

Like I said — like I always say — if I left something out, let me know about it in the comments. Really let me have it. Call me a jerk. It’s cool. I can take it.

Please note: I can, in no way, take it.

Still, if I left something/someone out, I hope you’ll let me know. And please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet, you can still contribute your list of 2015 favorites to the year-end poll until Dec. 31. EPs, LPs, whatever, however many, it doesn’t matter. All entries are welcome there.

Thanks for reading.

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GIVEAWAY: Win Borracho & Eggnogg Split 7″ Vinyl from Palaver Records!

Posted in Features on March 23rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

borracho eggnogg vinyl

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Easily one of the best short releases I’ve heard so far this year, I’m stoked to be able to giveaway TWO copies of the brand new Sludgy Erna Bastard split 7″ by Borracho and Eggnogg. The vinyl was released on March 19 by Palaver Records, and to win a copy all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Make sure your email address is in the form provided so if your name is drawn, I actually have a way to contact you. Would be helpful. Winners will be drawn and notified on (or around) Monday, March 30.

Sludgy Erna Bastard (review here) brings new material from both outfits, Washington D.C. trio Borracho‘s “King’s Disease” offering a taste of what the follow-up to 2013’s Oculus might hold and their progression as a riff-riding three-piece after a likewise encouraging split last year with Boston’s Cortez, while Eggnogg provide a reminder of their elephantine stomp and gleefully weirdo vibe with “Slugworth,” their first new studio track since 2012’s Louis EP and released ahead of the coming full-length, You’re all Invited.

I feel like past the words “free vinyl,” this one doesn’t really need me to sell it, but both cuts are quality work on the part of the bands, and I’m thrilled to be able to host the giveaway. Vinyl is limited to 300 copies with art from Eggnogg‘s Justin M. Karol, and if you need a refresher of the badassery on hand, here’s the full stream of both tracks:

Once again, how to enter:

Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form provided. Please note: I neither have the interest nor the capacity to save or sell any personal information given to me. You will not be added to any email lists as a result of entering. It’s really just free vinyl.

Good luck to all who enter and thanks to Palaver Records for the giveaway! Please check them out and the bands as well.

Palaver Records

Borracho on Thee Facebooks

Eggnogg on Thee Facebooks

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Borracho and Eggnogg Announce Sludgy Erna Bastard Split; Both Tracks Streaming

Posted in audiObelisk on February 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

borracho

eggnogg

Today — pretty much right now, if you want to be technical about it — Palaver Records has launched preorders for the first in a series of split 7″s it’s calling Sludgy Erna Bastard. Say the title out loud and with just the right accent and it becomes a play on “sludgier than a bastard,” which is a standard that the first installment, featuring Washington D.C. heavy rockers Borracho and Brooklyn’s own Eggnogg, easily lives up to across its relatively brief span. Both bands contribute one song, topped off with cover art by Eggnogg guitarist Justin M. Karol, and between the two of them it’s more or less 11 minutes of choice, thick-cut riffing and heavy, rolled-out grooves, Borracho‘s “King’s Disease” finding that trio pushing further its modus of hooks and badass swing, while Eggnogg‘s “Slugworth” unleashes an elephantine stomp that’s bound to turn some heads their way.

borracho king's diseaseWhat the two bands have in common is that they’re both in the process of settling into their current configuration. For BorrachoSludgy Erna Bastard Vol. 1 is another step forward from last year’s split with Boston’s Cortez (review here) and their second full-length, 2013’s Oculus (review here), and as one can hear on the track, guitarist/vocalist Steve Fisher, bassist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano sound not only cohesive but dynamic, the chemistry between the three of them having been honed across a bevvy of short tours, around the Eastern Seaboard, in Europe last year (including a stop at Desertfest), and most recently for three shows in California last month. As their reach has expanded — they’ll also have a split out on Ripple in April/May with Volume IV — their riffy style has solidified, and after starting as a four-piece on their first album, 2011’s grower Splitting Sky (review here), they’ve progressed into one of the finest three-pieces East Coast heavy rock has to offer. “King’s Disease” has a touch of Southern-styled raucousness to it, but is right in line with the kind of roll that Borracho does best.

While Borracho went from four to three, Eggnogg have gone from three to four in the last couple years. Bassist Corey Dozier joined in 2013 as Bill O’Sullivan (also vocals) moved from bass to guitar alongside Karol, and drummer Jason Prushko (also of math-rockers Mean Little Blanket and numerous other projects) came aboard in 2012, following the recording of Eggnogg‘s most recent studio outing, the Louis EP (review here) — though they also had a compilation of material, Apocrypha, out in 2013. As the first recorded track with both Prushko and Dozier eggnogg slugworthinvolved, “Slugworth” bodes remarkably well for what might come when Eggnogg get down to releasing their awaited next full-length, You’re all Invited, as their nod has never sounded more righteous. “Slugworth” starts out all quiet an unassuming, but once the full tonal thickness kicks in, it’s an enviable push of low end, Prushko‘s kick drum the hard foot landing each crater-making marker of time. Palaver says Eggnogg‘s You’re all Invited is due to release later this year. Listening to “Slugworth,” I hope even more that turns out to be the case.

Sludgy Erna Bastard Vol. 1: Borracho & Eggnogg is out March 19 and can be ordered now from Borracho‘s Bandcamp and Eggnogg‘s Bandcamp. Please enjoy the premiere of “King’s Disease” and “Slugworth” below, followed by the official announcement from Palaver:

Palaver Records announce split 7” featuring Borracho & Eggnogg

Palaver Records announce the release of a new split 7” single featuring Washington, DC riff monopolizers Borracho and Brooklyn, New York-based genre-bending heavy rockers Eggnogg, to be released on March 19. The record will feature a brand new Borracho original “King’s Disease” and new Eggnogg tripper “Slugworth.” The limited edition of 300 copies will be available on black vinyl, with original artwork by Eggnogg’s own Justin Karol. Both tracks can now be streamed at TheObelisk.net, and preorders are available from Palaver Records.

The record is the first in Palaver Records’ new “Sludgy Erna Bastard” series, that aims to pair up and highlight some of the best heavy underground acts today. Palaver Records representative Gary Branigan said “We’ve been working with Eggnogg for 4-5 years now and really want to embrace this scene. We’ve never seen such a responsive audience. Sludgy Erna Bastard will cater to fans of heavy rock (desert, stoner, doom, sludge, psychedelic), specifically those that love vinyl. The name Sludgy Erna Bastard is a play on words from an American phrase. This is the first of many Sludgy Erna Bastard releases. All of which will feature two bands with artwork by Justin Karol from Eggnogg.”

Sludgy Erna Bastard will be Eggnogg’s first release since 2013’s Eggnogg Apocrypha. After a break in studio recording following the departure of drummer Ryan Quinn, Eggnogg is proud to present the “Slugworth” single, a fascinating excerpt from their forthcoming LP You’re All Invited. Featuring the drumming of Jason Prushko, who joined Eggnogg’s ranks in the summer of 2012, “Slugworth” marks a new height of creative achievement for the band. “Slugworth” is an indication of things to come from a newly resurrected Eggnogg—one which promises to be “sludgier than a bastard.” Eggnogg’s part in the split single Sludgy Erna Bastard will pave the way for their full-length You’re All Invited, which will be released in 2015.

This release is Borracho’s second split 7” in the past year, following 2014’s split with Cortez. In that time the band has taken their live show to Europe and back, and will be kicking off a schedule of winter and spring dates in the eastern US starting tomorrow. The dates include some familiar stops, and team the band up with some powerhouses and rising stars of the US stoner/doom scene. Their March 20 hometown show at The Pinch in Washington DC will serve as the official 7” release show, and will also feature Columbus OH fuzz-freaks Lo-Pan and Detroit’s Against the Grain. Expect more news and new music from Borracho very soon.

Borracho Eastern US dates
February 19 – Washington, DC @ Velvet Lounge w/ Carousel, Joy & Caustic Casanova
March 20 – Washington, DC @ The Pinch w/ Lo-Pan & Against the Grain
March 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Doctor Smoke, Wasted Theory & Heavy Temple
March 27 – York, PA @ The Depot w/ Doctor Smoke & Wasted Theory
March 28 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Elder, Fortress & The Convocation
April 25 – Stroudsburgh, PA @ The Livingroom
June 7 – Washington, DC @ The Pinch w/ Mos Generator, Wounded Giant & Wasted Theory

Borracho on Thee Facebooks

Borracho on Bandcamp

Eggnogg on Thee Facebooks

Eggnogg on Bandcamp

Palaver Records’ store

Palaver Records

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