Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
If Lo-Pan do anything at all, they keep busy. The Ohio-based fuzz frontrunners — do I need to call them the best American heavy rock band going right now again what I do well okay they’re the best American heavy rock band going — will partner with Capital City riffers Borracho for what I’ve no doubt will be a long weekender of bro downs and fuzz outs. Pennsylvania seems to be the lucky state playing host to most of these shows, but fear not, rest of the country, as I seriously doubt this’ll be the last time Lo-Pan and Borracho pair up. They’re like stoner rock Superfriends.
I wrote this press release, so here’s me quoting myself:
LO-PAN: Ohio Rockers Announce Tour Dates With Borracho
They’re the hardest working band in fuzz, and on July 18, Columbus, Ohio’s LO-PAN will continue their mission to obliterate eardrums nationwide. Late in 2012, the foursome took to stages across the land with High on Fire and Goatwhore, and in June, they joined forces with Torche and KENmode.
As they prepare to headline the Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 fest in Brooklyn on July 27 at The Acheron, LO-PAN be taking Washington D.C. up-and-coming heavy trio Borracho along for a few dates along the Eastern Seaboard. Both bands have new material in the works and will be showcasing material from forthcoming releases.
LO-PAN will share the stage not only with Borracho, but also with Philly riff-slingers Kingsnake, Pittsburgh metallers Sistered and Supervoid and Virginia-based Southern metallers King Giant.
LO-PAN AND BORRACHO ON TOUR: Jul 18, 2013 Pittsburgh, PA Howler’s w/ Borracho, Sistered, Supervoid Jul 19, 2013 Washington D.C. Rock N Roll Hotel w/ Borracho, Kingsnake, King Giant Jul 20, 2013 Stroudsburgh, PA The Sherman Theater w/ Borracho, Kingsnake Jul 21, 2013 York, PA The Depot w/ Borracho
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m very, very proud to be involved in helping promote The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 in the way that I am. After checking out the second in the festival series back in February, it’s an honor to have signed on to help spread the word about the third, which boasts a strong lineup of bands at a choice venue on what I’ve no doubt will be a sweltering weekend night of heavy rock and roll. The fest sent over a victory lap of a press release, which you’ll find below:
The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 set for Brooklyn, NY
Snake Charmer Booking announces its 3rd installment of its stoner rock and doom metal themed concert event “The Eye of the Stoned Goat”. The event will take place at The Acheron in Brooklyn New York on Saturday, July 27th 2013 at 6pm.
The Acheron, known to the locals as “the second coming of CBGB’s” is the perfect spot to host such a powerhouse line up, including Small Stone Records bands: Lo-Pan, Gozu, SuperMachine, and Lord Fowl. Washington, D.C.’s own Borracho, Delaware band Wasted Theory, and Philadelphia’s Wizard Eye will be making the trip up, while local support will be provided by Brooklyn’s Black Black Black, and Kingston, New York’s own Geezer.
In February 2013, Snake Charmer Booking hosted the second Eye of the Stoned Goat show in Delaware, home of event organizer Brendan Burns. Only a month later, Burns teamed up with Pat Harrington at the ‘Electric Beard of Doom’ podcast to announce that they would be bringing the event to New York.
Some of the bands who have previously played the ‘Stoned Goat events include- Pale Divine, Iron Man, Clamfight, Beelzefuzz, Blackhand, Skeleton Hands, Thee Nosebleeds and Black Cowgirl to name a few. “I’ve been fortunate being able to work with so many great bands, and this time around is no different” according to Burns. “This roster of artists are bands that I enjoy listening to regularly, and I am just absolutely thrilled to be working with them, it’s a promoter’s dream to work with bands that you listen to in your daily life”. Burns has also begun working on his roster for the Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 for 2014.
This summer’s event will also features such sponsors as Small Stone Records, The Obelisk, Wendigo Promotions and Electric Beard of Doom Podcast.
Tickets go on sale May 1st 2013 for $12.00 (online price), and will also be available at the door for $15.00 to first come first served. For more information, visitwww.TheEyeoftheStonedGoat.com.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Especially when it’s not for some falling out or some weirdo band drama, it’s a bummer to see a band go through lineup changes. In the case of Washington, D.C. heavy riffers Borracho, their guitarist/vocalist Noah has been out of the country for some time and will apparently continue to be for the foreseeable future, and the band has decided to press on with writing and recording in his absence, putting guitarist Steve Fisher in the vocalist role after playing for some time as an instrumental trio. I’ve seen Borracho three times since Noah left, and watched Fisher go from singing just a couple lines, to singing a little more, to filling a full-on vocalist position in March in Philly, the transition seems wholly natural and it’s all the better that Borracho got to work out the shift on stage, where it matters most.
Speaking of what matters most, Borracho have a beer coming! Beeracho! Okay, maybe they didn’t call it that, but the Port City Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale will have an official release show May 18 in D.C. with Wasted Theory, Cortez and WeedisWeed. Details, links and music follow:
Port City Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale coming May 18!
We’re proud to be working with Port City Brewing Company to create a limited edition beer — Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale — to be released on May 18 at The Pinch in Washington, DC. The beer will only be available at the 18th of May show, so plan to be there if you want to taste it! Check out the Facebook event page for more info!
Changing of the Guard
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Borracho will continue on for the foreseeable future without our brother Noah. Guitarist Steve Fisher has ably taken over vocal duties full time and our forthcoming releases will feature Steve on vocals. Get the full scoop.
Lots of cool shows coming up this spring and summer. We’re stoked to play with our buds from Boston Cortez for two nights, and we’ll be joined by a tremendous bunch of bands over two nights, including Infernal Overdrive, Weed Is Weed, and When the Deadbolt Breaks.
May 17, 2013, 8:00pm The Station, Philadelphia, PA w/ Cortez, Infernal Overdrive, When the Deadbolt Breaks & The Company Corvette
May 18, 2013, 8:00pm Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale release show The Pinch Washington, DC w/ Cortez, WeedIsWeed, and Wasted Theory
June 23, 2013, 6:00pm Moving the Earth Festival – Day 2 The Windup Space Philadelphia, PA w/ Convocation, The 91?s, Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children & more!
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Comprising what’s sure to be a weekend full of riffs, fuzz and grooving stomp, the inaugural Moving the Earth festival is set to roll out at The Windup Space in scenic (if you like stoner rock, anyway) Baltimore, Maryland. It shares a weekend with Days of the Doomed III out in Wisconsin, but for anyone on the East Coast lamenting not being able to make the trip to the Midwest, the lineup below certainly makes a compelling argument in its own favor, with The Flying Eyes assuming a headliner position among stalwart Marylanders like War Injun and Weed is Weed while out-of-towners like When the Deadbolt Breaks and Borracho add variety to the still-quite-heavy mix.
Here’s to the first of many:
Moving the Earth Fest, June 22-23 at The Windup Space, Baltimore, MD
You can hear the low rumble in the distance getting deafeningly louder with every closing second… Plumes of diesel smoke, fire, and dust billow upwards to block out the sun… An army of sonic bulldozers are coming together to lay waste to the Mid Atlantic region’s musical landscape…….
The MOVING THE EARTH FEST, a two day celebration of all that is Heavy/ Stoner-Rock / Psych/ and Doom will take place at The Windup Space in Baltimore MD Saturday/ Sunday June 22nd and 23rd…….
MOVING THE EARTH FEST DAY 1
Saturday June 22nd The Flying Eyes -(Baltimore psych rock heavyweights/ headliner) Foghound – (ex Sixty Watt Shaman/ Halfway To Gone) Weed is Weed – (ex Spirit Caravan / Earthride) War Injun -(MD Doom legends) When the Deadbolt Breaks -(NY/CT experimental, psychedelic, doom) Wasted Theory – (Philly/ Del Stoner Rawk) The Deserts of Maine -(ex Wooly Mammoth) The Walking Ghost – (Aaron from W.t.d.b.- solo accoustic opener)
MOVING THE EARTH FEST DAY 2
Sunday June 23rd 2013 Bastards of Reality (AllStar KickAss Black Sabbath tribute/ headliner) The Convocation – (ex-Moss Icon, Universal Order of Armageddon, & Born Against) The 91′s -(PA Stoner Fuzz) Borracho -(DC Stoner rock bulldozers) Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children – (manic garage/psych/ blues) We are Blackbirds – (“heavy wood” prog/stonerrock) Balors Eye -(inspired prog /tech metal w/ crushing grooves) Ophidian – (bleak sludge/ doom)
Venue: the Windup Space 12 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD. (410) 244-8855
Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was asked to take the above pic shortly before Borracho went on at Kung Fu Necktie Saturday night. It was the last of three shows the three bands in question — Borracho, Pittsburgh’s SuperVoid and Austria’s Been Obscene – were playing together, so it was an end-of-tour kind of deal. Been Obscene had done a fuller tour out on the West Coast alongside Ape Machine, and with just the trio of dates on the Eastern Seaboard before they headed back to Europe, I felt lucky to catch them as I did. They had just finished playing, second after SuperVoid with Borracho still to come and current Maple Forum interlocutors Clamfight closing out the night as the local act on the bill.
Actually, they weren’t closing out the night, exactly. Word had come down earlier in the week that the venue had a late-night gig starting at 11, so the four bands would all need to be finished by 10:30PM. On my end, it was nothing but convenient; from a morale standpoint, it’s much easier to start the two-hour drive back north from Philadelphia at 11PM than it would be at 1AM or sometime thereafter. If it was the final gig of three before I left the country, say, or even if I’d come from Pittsburgh or Washington D.C. to play, I might have felt differently about it, but a club’s gotta stay in business to put on good shows in the first place, and if that’s what it takes, then so be it. Like I said, it worked to my benefit as someone with a long ride ahead.
Speaking of convenience, the trip south to Philly also provided a decent excuse to stop at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, and pick up a few odds and ends that I’ll have more on hopefully later this week. Even with that detour, I got to Kung Fu Necktie early. One thing about these last several months of not drinking: It’s way harder to kill time at a bar — even after paying a cover to get in — if you don’t order a beverage. I met and chatted with the cats from Been Obscene for a while, who’d been staying in New York and told me they had a new song included in their set called “Pilot to Paris” that turned out to be one more reason I was glad I made the trip.
Soon enough, SuperVoid got going with some new material of their own along with the screamier “Wake the Smoke Jumper” from their 2012 debut EP, Endless Planets (review here). These three shows represented the first the band were playing outside their native ‘burgh, so it was expected that the five-piece would seem to be getting their bearings on stage, but they still ran through their songs well and showed personality from within their double-guitar framework. Vocalist Brian showed more melodic range live than on the EP, which bodes extremely well, and the interplay of lead and rhythm guitars balanced metal and rock influences while the rhythm section of John (bass) and Greg (drums) locked in heavy foundational grooves. At one point, they seemed to find their niche between Kyuss and Mastodon, and if that’s going to be their starting point for whatever might come next from them, they could do a hell of a lot worse.
I’d have been happy enough to watch a show with Borracho, Clamfight and SuperVoid on the bill, and might’ve even hiked to Philly to see it, but the chance to catch Been Obscene, and catch them so close to home, was something special even before they started to play. Their two albums to date — 2010′s The Magic Table Dance(review here) and 2011′s Night o’ Mine(review here) — have gotten multiple return visits, and though their set was short, they represented themselves well for the growing populace who made it out to Kung Fu Necktie. There was an eight-band fest happening upstairs, so people were coming and going between the one and the other, but I didn’t move.
I know I already said it was something special to see them make the trip over, and more so to be able to see the last show, but really, it’s worth saying again. Been Obscene played four songs — opening with “Alone” (it also could’ve been “Snake Charmer,” and I’m hoping someone tells me which, as both have been stuck in my head) before hitting their stride in “Demons,” unveiling the jagged desert hues of “Pilot to Paris” and closing out with Night o’ Mineopener “Endless Scheme,” the clarion lead lines of which were presented perfectly fuzzed in spite of the fact that the four-piece — guitarist/vocalist Thomas Nachtigal, guitarist Peter Kreyci, bassist/backing vocalist Philipp Zezula and drummer Robert Schoosleitner – were running through Borracho’s gear. But even as an abridged sampling of their warm heavy psych grooving, it was immediately clear they were running on a different wavelength. I dug the hell out of it, and was reminded of some of the other acts from modern European fuzz set that I’ve been fortunate enough to see: Sungrazer, The Machine, Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment and of course the godfathers of the sound, Colour Haze.
As someone who enjoyed how Been Obscene grew into their sound on Night o’ Mine, to be able to see them bring that sensibility and confidence to the naturalist jams of “Demons” from the first album, Nachtigal‘s “Watch the weather changing/Is it my fault” proving standout lines that carried me home after the show nearly as much as I-95. “Pilot to Paris” was less outwardly jammy, featuring some solid backing arrangements from Zezula on vocals, but still had room for a bit of meandering amid a straightforward Queens of the Stone Age start-stop given vitality and fitting attitude from Kreyci rocking out with Schoosleitner. I’m sure it wasn’t the best gig they played in the States — doubtless that happened out west in a clime more fitting to the open space in their aesthetic — but who the hell knows when or if they’ll come back, and even if they do, aren’t the circumstances bound to be different? On a certain level, every show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This one more so than many.
When they were done, it was picture time as noted above. Borracho were in the process of setting up their gear, but they ran out to take part and then back inside in time to start their set. Similar to the last couple times I’ve seen them — in October in Manhattan and at SHoD in Connecticut — they played as a trio, but in the last few months, guitarist Steve Fisher has further stepped up as a vocalist in place of the fourth in their four-piece, Noah, who last I heard was out of the country and may or may not still be involved in the band on some level. Either way, Fisher — whom I’ll admit I didn’t at first recognize without his long beard — more than held his own in the frontman role, taking on Noah‘s parts without doing an impression of the missing party and sounding comfortable as well in what I discerned to be newer material, presumably from a forthcoming release.
I’d dug them as a mostly-instrumental outfit, but as Fisher tossed off a joke about memorizing lyrics and bassist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano ran through “Concentric Circles” from their 2011 debut full-length, Splitting Sky, they made a more than solid power trio, and I’d be interested to see how they continue to develop if indeed they stay a three-piece. By the time they were done, Kung Fu Necktie was pretty full. It hadn’t been dark outside for all that long. The SuperVoid and Been Obscene guys were hanging out — I bought their two albums on vinyl and paid in Euros I had leftover from Roadburn last year — and people were up and down the stairs, in and out of the door, back and forth. Some knew what was coming, some were entirely unassuming.
And then it happened. Like the primordial riff-thrashing bastards that they are, Clamfight took the stage. Having helped release their second album, I Versus the Glacier(buy one here), on The Obelisk’s in-house semi-label, I won’t even feign impartiality where they’re concerned, but as I see it, a Clamfight set is always a good way to cap an evening. They got off to a rough start — bassist Louis Koble playing usual opener “The Eagle” where guitarists Sean McKee and Joel Harris and drummer/vocalist Andy Martin had decided to go with “Mountain” instead — but once they locked it in, they were lethal as ever. They dipped back to their first album, 2010′s Volume 1for “Viking Funeral” and the set closer “Rabbit,” but the highlight for me was new song “Block Ship,” which in the span of about five minutes affirmed my suspicions that I Versus the Glacierwas the realization of just a fraction of their overall potential. No bullshit, I got chills up my spine twice.
But as I said, I’m hardly an unbiased observer, so take that for what it’s worth. When their whiplash melee was done, I said a few quick goodbyes and headed back to my car. I know it wasn’t the optimal situation for the bands involved, but for me, it was my favorite kind of show — not because it was early, because it was something I may or may not ever get the chance to see again. Compared to Floor the evening prior, it wasn’t nearly so crowded in Philly, but doesn’t that just make it more exceptional for the people who are there? Maybe it’s the wrong attitude, but I think it does. Been Obscene were obviously a standout, but the whole night delivered, front to back. It was everything I could’ve asked it to be and then some.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Presented by Snakecharmer Booking, Small Stone Records, the Electric Beard of Doom podcast and yours truly once I manage to track down my hi res Obelisk logos, the Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 is set to take place July 27 at The Acheron in Brooklyn. It will have only been months since Eye of the Stoned Goat 2 suckerpunched Delaware upside its still-bragging-about-being-the-first-state head (review here), but with a lineup that includes Lo-Pan, Gozu, Supermachine, Black Black Black, Borracho, Wizard Eye, Lord Fowl, Geezer and Wasted Theory, I’m not about to complain.
As I’ll be helping present the damn thing, expect much more to come, including interviews with the artists, reviews and updates on their whathaveyou and maybe even a giveaway if I can square it with the powers that be. Till then, stare at the preliminary flyer below marvel at the wonders summer will bring:
Posted in Features on March 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
…Yeah, I know, 24 is a buttload of records to buy in the span of about a month and a half. To do the division, it would mean buying a new album every 2.04 days. Probably not feasible in terms of time, let alone budget, but hell, it’s a nice thought and seeing the onslaught of new stuff coming between now and the end of April, I thought maybe a list would help keep it all straight. Even if I’m only helping myself, I could probably spend my time in worse ways.
Worth noting that even with 24 albums, presented below in order of release, I feel like there’s stuff I’m forgetting. Frankly, it’s an overwhelming amount of material, so if I’ve missed something or there’s something you’d like to see added to the list, as always, that’s why there’s a comments feature.
Okay. These are numbered just for fun, but listed by date:
1. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans (March 12)
My understanding is that London’s foremost doom scoundrels, none other than Orange Goblin, have been selling copies of A Eulogy for the Fans since starting their US tour with Clutch on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio, but today is the official release date, and I can think of no better place to start than with the four-piece’s ferocious performance at the 2012 Bloodstock festival, captured audio and video in all its bloodsoaked glory. Not to be missed or taken lightly because it’s a live record. Album review here.
2. Borracho, Mob Gathering 7″ (March 13)
Even though it’s comprised of older tracks, the new Mob Gathering 7″ from Borracho is welcome by me for two reasons: I’ve never heard the songs before and Borracho rocks. The Washington D.C.-based riffers recorded “Mob Gathering” and “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” in 2009 and are set to release the cuts on a limited platter in black and orange swirl through Spain’s Ghost Highway Recordings and Germany’s No Balls Records. They’ve been playing live as a mostly-instrumental outfit while guitarist/vocalist Noah is out of the country on what I can only assume is an awesome spy mission, so if you need a Borracho fix — and it’s obvious from the way your hands are shaking that you do — this might be the way to go. More info here.
3. Inter Arma, Sky Burial (March 15)
Like Windhand below, Inter Arma are recent Relapse Records signees from Richmond, Virginia, and Sky Burial will serve as their first release for the label. Literally and figuratively, the album is expansive, topping 69 minutes and pummeling the whole way through with a genre-transcending concoction of bleakness that’s not so much aligned to any particular heavy aesthetic so much as it is set to its own atmospheric purposes. Through this, Inter Arma emerge terrifyingly cohesive where many others would falter, and their second LP behind 2010′s Sundown (review here) leaves a progressive impression despite an almost complete lack of sonic pretense. Mostly, it’s fucking heavy. Track stream and info here.
4. Clutch, Earth Rocker (March 19)
If 2013 ended tomorrow, Clutch‘s Earth Rocker would be my album of the year. That’s not saying the situation will be the same nine months from now when I actually start putting that list together (already dreading it), but as of March 12, it’s the cat’s pajamas and no foolin’. The long-running Marylanders outdid themselves and put together a surprisingly fast, energetic collection of songs that don’t forsake the bluesy tendencies of their last album, 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West, so much as they put some of the jamming on lockdown in favor of all-out pro-grade heavy rock and roll. The velocity is crucial and the wolfman is out, but it feels like the party’s just starting. Look for them on tour sometime between now and forever. Album review here.
5. Black Mare, Field of the Host (March 20)
Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini frontwoman Sera Timms (who’s also recently collaborated with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce in the new outfit Zun) steps further out on her own with the solo-project Black Mare, from whom Field of the Host is the first album. Due March 20 on LP through The Crossing and on cassette through Breathe Plastic, limited in both cases and sure to be gone shortly after release if they’re not already taken through pre-orders. Fans of Timms‘ past works will be glad to hear the misty wash of melody and dreamy, somehow sad, languid roll of “Blind One,” for starters. Audio and info on the forum.
6. Kvelertak, Meir (March 26)
Short of setting themselves on fire, Norwegian triple-guitar six-piece Kvelertak did just about everything they could to get noticed in support of their 2010 self-titled debut LP (review here), and sure enough, their work paid off in getting signed to Roadrunner Records for all territories outside their native Scandinavia (where Indie Recordings holds sway) and trumpeting up a wave of anticipation for their second full-length, Meir. Their energetic, genre-crossing approach might not be for everybody, but the band have turned a lot of heads and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find them on bigger tours this year with Roadrunner behind them. More info on the forum.
7. Black Pyramid, Adversarial (April 2)
This is actually the first time the Eli Wood cover art for Black Pyramid‘s Adversarial has been seen in full, so you know. The Hydro-Phonic Records release of the third Black Pyramid album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard along with bassist David Gein and drummer Clay Neely punctuates the beginning of a new era for the Massachusetts trio. If the advance listen to closing track “Onyx and Obsidian” is anything to go by, they could very well be at their most potent yet, and though I’d hardly consider myself an impartial observer, as a fan of the band, this is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. More to come. Track stream here.
8. Moss, Horrible Night (April 2)
I’ve yet to hear the complete album, but UK trio Moss seem poised to surprise with a cleaner vocal approach on Horrible Night, their first offering since 2008′s impressive Sub Templum LP and two EPs in 2009, so in addition to wondering how they’ll pull it off, the level of the shift remains to be seen. That is, how big a deal is it? Should I call my mom? Is this something grandma needs to know about? Time will tell, but for it having been five years since the last time a Moss record reared its doomly head, it seems only fair to give the band a little breathing room on their evolution. More info and video here.
9. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide EP (April 8)
How glad am I that French fuzz rockers Mars Red Sky have a new EP coming? Well, I’m not as happy that it’s coming as I am that it’s frickin’ awesome. The trio keep the weighted bass tones that gave so much depth to their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but they’ve also clearly set to work expanding the formula as well, adding stomp to second track “Seen a Ghost” and an eerie repetitive sense to side B closer “Stranger,” while also broadening their melodic reach and taking claim of whichever side of the line they want between fuzz rock and heavy psychedelia while remaining so much more to the ears than either genre descriptor can offer to the eyes. At half an hour, my only complaint with it is it’s not a full-length album. Video trailer and info here.
10. Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era (April 9)
A sample of the poet Ron Whitehead — who also featured on Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s late-2012 debut EP for Tee Pee Records, The Storm Generation (review here) — comes to clarity just in time for the gonzo Boomer poet to let us all know that, “America is an illusion” (that may be, but it’s an illusion with an army of flying killer robots), and from there, the youngin’ desert transplants embark on a low-end-heavy freakout topped with sweet surf rock guitars and set to use in intricate, sometimes surprisingly jagged, rhythmic dances. Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson guests, Scott Reeder produced. Review is forthcoming, but till then, there’s more info here.
11. Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse (April 9)
Fate is Your Muse serves not only as Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay‘s Ripple Music debut, but also as the double-guitar foursome’s first outing since 2009′s Heavily Ever After. With tales of lizardmen attacks and the alleged end of the world, it’s got its fair share of personality, and set to the chugging riffs, melodic vocals and straightforward heavy grooves, that personality still goes a long way. I’ll have a review up before this week is out (I hope), but still, I wanted to make sure to include Devil to Pay here too, since their songs command both attention and respect. To wit, I just can’t seem to get “This Train Won’t Stop” out of my head. Video and info here.
12. Cough & Windhand, Reflection of the Negative Split (April 15)
Virginian doomers Cough and Windhand share a hometown in Richmond, a love of volume, a bassist in Parker Chandler and now a label in Relapse Records, so yeah, a split makes sense. Reflection of the Negative will be Windhand‘s first release through Relapse ahead of their sophomore full-length, scheduled for later this year (info here). For Cough, this split marks their first outing since 2010′s An Introduction to the Black Arts split with UK masters The Wounded Kings (review here), and they’ll present the 18-minute “Athame,” while Windhand bring forth “Amaranth” and “Shepherd’s Crook.” More info here.
13. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (April 15)
What the last Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats album, 2011′s Blood Lust (semi-review here), did so well was capture the atmosphere and the grainy imagery of late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelic horror and put it into audio form. For that, Blood Lust earned massive praise, but I still think that without the central core of songwriting underneath the genre trappings, it would’ve fallen flat. When it comes to Mind Control, the question waiting to be answered is if the band wants to stick to the blueprint they’ve established or go brazenly into uncharted weirdness. I’m not really sure they can lose, either way. Info and music here.
14. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (April 16)
Their debut on new label Nuclear Blast and the quick-arriving answer to my pick for 2012 debut of the year, Abra Kadavar arrives with plenty of anticipation leading the way. The retro-rocking German trio have their work cut out for them in following that self-titled, but however it turns out in the comparison, it will be fascinating to learn how Kadavar develops the band’s sound and whether or not they prove able to push the boundaries of their aesthetic while simultaneously setting a new standard for promo photos. New video here.
15. Spiritual Beggars, Earth Blues (April 16)
I guess when it comes to these long-running Swedes, everybody’s got their favorite lineup, their favorite tunes, etc., but for me, I’m just impressed that Michael Amott — now more than 20 years on from starting Spiritual Beggars as a side-project while still in grindcore pioneers Carcass — still has any interest in keeping the classic rock Hammond-loving outfit grooving. Their last outing, 2010′s Return to Zero (review here), was the first to feature vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, formerly of Firewind, and though those songs were solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re more settled in on Earth Blues when it drops via InsideOut Music on April 16. More info on the forum.
16. Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (April 19)
Alternating between periods of brooding intensity and all-out crushing heaviness, the second full-length from New Zealand’s Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire, is nasty, nasty, nasty. It’s nasty when it’s quiet and it’s nasty when it’s loud. It’s the kind of record you put on and you’re like, “Damn that’s nasty.” And you’re not wrong. The four-piece — touring shortly with Unida — upped their game even from 2011′s self-titled debut (review here), and for anyone who heard that record, you know that’s saying something. I’m still in the “getting to know it” phase, but so far all that nasty feels pretty right on. More info here.
17. Ghost, Infestissumam (April 19)
Man, this one just kind of happened, huh? I suck — and I mean S-U-C-K suck — at keeping up with band hype. I’m the dude who hears the record three months later and goes, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool,” as countless reviews here can attest, including the one for Ghost‘s 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, but with the Swedish cult heavyweights, all of a sudden I turned around and blamo, major label deal, semi-name change to Ghost B.C., and enough slathering over the impending Infestissumam to make the first album seem like less than the hyperbole it was treated to initially. Funny how that happens. Out in April? I’m sure I’ll review in June and go, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool.” More info on the forum.
18. One Inch Giant, The Great White Beyond (April 19)
Now signed to Soulseller Records, Swedish heavy rockers One Inch Giant will unveil their debut full-length on April 19 and as three of my favorite words in the English language are “Swedish heavy rockers,” I’m excited to find out how this Gothenburg four-piece follow-up their Malva EP, and if they can capture some of the extreme dynamic they brought to their live show when they toured the US last summer — a run of shows that included a stop at SHoD. Hard not to pull for a band after they come over to play club dates. More info and music here.
19. The Heavy Co., Midwest Electric (April 20)
It was actually the other day writing about The Heavy Co.‘s Midwest Electric that I had the idea for this feature, so however high the profile might be for some of these albums — Ghost walks by on their way to cash a check — it was these unpretentious Hoosier rockers and their new outing, Midwest Electric, that started me off. From what I’ve heard so far, the new collection sounds a little more confident in exploring psychedelia than did the trio’s 2011 debut EP, The Heavy (Please Tune In…) (review here), so I’m looking forward to hearing if and how that plays out over the course of the whole thing. Video trailer here.
20. Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (April 23)
I have an interview slated for later this week with Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and I’m even more excited for this time than I was when we last spoke, around their 2009 Small Stone debut, Locust Season (review here), since in everything but its goofball song titles, the sophomore outing marks a huge developmental step in the band’s melodic reach and songwriting chemistry. Stay tuned for that interview and check out the Bandcamp stream included with the album review here.
21. Yawning Man & Fatso Jetson, European Tour Split 7″ (April 26)
Note: I don’t actually know that April 26 is the day that what’s sure to be 2013′s most desert-rocking split is due to arrive, I just know that it’s Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man‘s European tour split, and that’s the day the Euro dates start — with performances at Desertfests London and Berlin, to be more specific. Given both the greatness of Fatso Jetson‘s last record, 2010′s Archaic Volumes (review here), and of Yawning Man‘s own 2010 outing, Nomadic Pursuits (review here), the bands’ shared lineage and the relative infrequency of their touring, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope that, even for a single, they pull out all the stops. And starts. And riffs. More info on the forum.
22. Serpent Throne, Brother Lucifer (April 29)
Philly-based instrumental heavy rockers Serpent Throne will follow-up 2010′s White Summer/Black Winter (review here) with Brother Lucifer, and while no one can ever really know what to expect, it’s a safe bet that the dual-guitar outfit will have the solos front and center once again. Having seen them do a couple new songs back in December, I can’t blame them in the slightest. Looking forward to letting these songs sink in for a while and having those solos stuck in my head. Track stream here.
23. Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages (April 30)
Hey wow, a Melvins covers album. Finally, an opportunity for the band to let their hair down and go wild a bit, right? I mean, at long last, they can really feel free to indulge a little and explore their musical roots in a free and creative way. Okay, you get the point. In all seriousness, it’s a pretty cool idea and anything that teams the Melvins with Scott Kelly to do a Venom song is probably going to be a worthy cause. The most amazing part of it is they haven’t already done a version of “Black Betty.” More info on the forum.
24. Revelation, Inner Harbor (April 30)
Their most progressive outing yet and their first album since 2009, Revelation‘s Inner Harbor (review here) is bound to surprise some who thought they knew what to expect from the Maryland doom stalwarts who double as the classically rocking Against Nature. Good thing Inner Harbor had a digital release last year through the band’s Bland Hand Records to act as a precursor to this Shadow Kingdom CD issue. Rumor has it vinyl’s on the way as well, so keep an eye out, since John Brenner‘s guitar tone should be heard on as natural-sounding an apparatus as possible. More info here.
Okay, so you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, that’s a lot of stuff.” You’re absolutely right. But even as I was typing up this feature, I got word of a new Queen Elephantine full-length coming in April, so even as much as this is, it’s not everything. And that’s not even to mention May, which will bring a new Shroud Eater EP, a new Kylesa record and a new Mark Lanegan collaboration, among however much else. Tons of stuff to keep your ears out for, and like I said way back at the top of this thing, if you have something to add, a comment’s always appreciated.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
D.C. sound attackers Borracho will issue their sorta-new 7″ Mob Gatheringin a physical pressing of 300 copies, 100 marbled orange and black and 200 black, through No Balls and Ghost Highway Recordings on March 12. They’ve put it up for pre-order and streaming through the Borracho Bandcamp now. The two songs on the single, “Mob Gathering” and the B-side “Short Ride (When it’s Over),” are taken from their initial demo sessions, prior to the recording of their Splitting Skydebut full-length.
To support the new release, Borracho are taking to the road for a weekender that will have them thrice kicking out the proverbial jams alongside Austria’s Been Obscene and Pittsburgh burl-bringers SuperVoid. Dates and more info about the single came down the PR wire today. Think I might have to hit that Philly show:
Borracho dust off tracks from the vault for new 7″ release
Doom Capital fuzz fanatics Borracho today announced the upcoming release of the “Mob Gathering” 7″ single, to be co-released in a limited edition of 300 copies (200 black, 100 orange/black swirl) via No Balls Records (Germany) and Ghost Highway Recordings (Spain) on March 12. Both “Mob Gathering” and the B side track “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” are available for streaming, and the 7″ can be pre-ordered on the band’s Bandcamp site.
These tracks represent the first new material released by the band since they debuted in 2011 with “Splitting Sky.” Since then they have released a 7″ for “Concentric Circles” b/w “Circulos Concentricos,” a 10″ for “Plunge/Return,” and pair of broadcast quality videos for “Concentric Circles” and All in Play,” all from that debut. But, these tracks are not newly recorded material. They have a long history.
Back in the spring of 2009, Borracho began work on what was planned to be their debut studio release, recording in an old, abandoned Art Deco mansion nestled in the woods of Arlington, Virginia. These early “Mansion Sessions” wrapped up that summer, but the band opted to not release these recordings. In the end, only two tracks from the mansion sessions were used as publicly available demos, and some of the material was re-recorded for “Splitting Sky”. The rest never saw the light of day…
…until now. Dusted off and polished up with a brand spanking new mix by Frank Marchand — who engineered and produced “Splitting Sky” — these two tracks offer an historical glimpse into the early sound the band was crafting nearly four years ago. Shorter, faster, and with the requisite twists and turns, they offer something new for the Borracho fan and those new to the band.
“We never expected to do anything with these songs,” declared bassist Tim Martin. “There is an unbelieveable saga behind those sessions, and for Frank to have so spectacularly rescued the original mixes, we had to give them a proper release.”
On the road again! Catch the band on the road soon, teaming up with Been Obscene (Austria) and SuperVoid (Pittlburgh PA) for a trio of shows in March, with friends El Grande, Neon Warship, and Clamfight joining them along the way. Three great shows, and three opportunities to grab a copy of the new 7” from the band.
March 28, 2013 Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC w/ El Grande
March 29, 2013 Howlers Pittsburgh, PA w/ Neon Warship
March 30, 2013 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA w/ Clamfight
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Washington D.C.-based purveyors of burl Borracho sent word earlier today that their awaited Plunge/Return 10″ on Strange Magic Records will be available starting November 27. The track, which was on the CD of their Splitting Skydebut, didn’t make the cut time-wise for the LP release, and not wanting to leave it out, the band is giving it a special look on this limited release.
On the flip side of the record is a live version of “Grab the Reins” that was streamed here way back in August. Here’s the latest:
“Plunge/Return” gets the vinyl treatment with limited edition 10″ release
Fans, collectors, and vinyl completists rejoice! Today Borracho announced that “Plunge/Return”, the epic closing track from their 2011 debut Splitting Sky, will finally see vinyl release on November 27 via Strange Magic Records. The track — previously unreleased on vinyl — will be available on this limited edition 10″ slab, after being excluded from the limited edition vinyl LP released by No Balls Records because of its length.
The B side is a previously unreleased live version of “Grab the Reins” recorded in December 2011 at the Velvet Lounge in Borracho’s hometown of Washington DC. Three color options will be available — clear, transparent blue, and solid white — all on high quality wax. Hand numbered gatefold sleeves seal the deal on this collector’s dream.
Splitting Sky, from which both songs on the 10″ come from, was met with praise both critical and organic. The album scored glowing reviews and high end-of-year rankings from Heavy Planet, The Sodashop, The Obelisk, The Ripple Effect, and The Sludgelord, among many others. Having the lone track that didn’t make the LP pressed to wax is sure to please fans and collectors, as it sure as hell pleases the band.
“We’ve been plotting to do this release for so long, and we’re really excited and proud to be able to get Plunge/Return onto vinyl. The amazing presentation is icing on the cake,” remarked vocalist/guitarist Noah Greenberg. And so, 13 months after Splitting Sky got the vinyl treatment, it’s crowning epic now gets the treatment as well. Preorder is now available via the band’s Bandcamp page or directly from Strange Magic Records.
Wax available early at shows!
TODAY November 16, 2012 Mojo 13, Wilmington, DE w/ Black Cowgirl, Wizard Eye, Behind The Ghost & Wasted Theory
December 8, 2012 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA The Workhorse III w/ Kingsnake & Brain Candlew
January 28, 2013 DC9 Philadelphia, PA w/ Bible of the Devil & Above the Silence
For more information on the band, reviews, and music, visit their website at borrachomusic.com.
Posted in Reviews on October 19th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was stoked for this show. If I hadn’t been, I probably wouldn’t have gone. Still, there was a point early into the evening at which I stood back and had the thought, “I’m at a CMJ showcase.” It’s been years. Like a lot of the overblown hoopla in the music industry, I usually skip out on NYC’s CMJ fest — because here’s the thing no one tells you: It’s no different from NYC every other night. Oh, there are 100 shows and industry types lurking around in suit jackets and jeans? Sorry, that happens every single week. It’s a big part of why the last show I went to in Manhattan was in March.
This, however, was the Heavy Planet CMJ showcase, and if something was going to get me to drive my jaded, been-in-this-business-too-long ass across the self-proclaimed greatest city in the world, it was the chance to see Borracho, Valley of the Sun, Eggnogg and Summoner on the same bill. Shock Radar opened and the show was at Fontana’s – a place that, if I’ve ever been there, it was probably when I was in college, and then probably a CMJ show — and after being kept late at work, I got there early into Shock Radar‘s set, having parked outside at the same time Borracho arrived and seen them get into a parking altercation with another driver. They were right to not want to give up that spot. It was prime.
Much like the show itself. Here’s how it all went down:
New York natives and apparently somewhat responsible for lining up Fontana’s as the venue for the gig, it was my first experience with Shock Radar in a live setting after checking out some of the tracks from their Live Like Lions10″ in advance. Admittedly, I didn’t catch the whole set, but I must have gotten most of it, and in any case, it was enough for the band’s post-grunge affected East Coast noise crunch to make an impression. The vocals had that kind of throaty 1995 vibe like when everyone realized they couldn’t be Layne Staley and had to think of something else to do, but they were solid — the kind of moody act you’d happen onto on one of those nights stumbling through the city, winding up in some hole with more liquor in your system than you intended. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
I could tell right away that Boston’s own Summoner were used to playing on stages this size because every time vocalist/bassist Chris Johnson turned around, he pulled the neck of his bass in toward himself so as to avoid a collision with guitarist Joe Richner. The four-piece had impressed at SHoD, so I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the vitality they brought to their performance or the appealing interplay of Richner and AJ Peters‘ guitars, but their new-school crush satisfied nonetheless, and both Peters and drummer Scott Smith went out of their way to mention they’ll be recording a new album next month. Their latest, Phoenix, is still pretty fresh, but I look forward to hearing the intensity they bring to new material in the studio. In the meantime, “The Interloper” from Phoenixwas a highlight and they went back to their early days as Riff Cannon to close out with the title-track to 2009′s Mercury Mountain, a last-minute burst of energy that made for a raucous finish. I could’ve done with a longer set, but Summoner made every second count, and the smoothness with which they execute their changes and the sheer joy they seem to take in playing these songs made them a pleasure to watch. Again.
My second Eggnogg gig and I’ve no doubt I’ll be back for thirds. The Brooklyn trio included two new songs in their set from their forthcoming and mostly completed new album, including the eponymous “Eggnogg,” which seems to revive the elephantine stomp of “The Gods Will Destroy the Hive” from their prior EP compilation, The Three. Their methods are simple, but their employ more than effective. They riff and groove — tonal thickness is a must — and bassist Bill O’Sullivan‘s bluesy delivery took a turn for the shoutier on the newer material. Especially seeing them right after Summoner emphasized the stark contrast between the two young acts. Both are very good at what they do and cohesive beyond their years, but Eggnogg‘s patience and relatively simplistic songwriting modus and Summoner‘s intensity and rampant dual lead-work seemed to be coming from different places entirely. I liked that, though. Eggnogg are getting their bearings as a live act, but between this gig and the show at the St. Vitus bar in August that I was lucky enough to catch, they’ve affirmed what I dug so much about their recorded material and given me something to look forward to on the next one. Time for them to start piling up amplifiers and get their tones to room-shaking volume.
Valley of the Sun
The lesson of Cincinnati’s Valley of the Sun — and this is a lesson I’m happy to learn anytime the opportunity presents itself — is “oh what a difference a great drummer makes.” You know the scene. You’ve seen those bands that seem to have it all together, and there’s just that one missing element. In my experience, what can really put a good band over the top is a killer, creative drummer, and Valley of the Sun have one in Aaron Boyer. Guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ferrier and bassist Ryan McAllister had their shit together, no doubt about it, but together with Boyer, they hit a level of professionalism that’s road-ready and completely attuned to its aesthetic. Valley of the Sun also played some new tunes, as well as a few highlights from 2011′s The Sayings of the Seers(review here), which I was stoked to be able to pick up on vinyl, and it was crisp American-style heavy rock, desert-fuzzed and in the Kyuss tradition, but fluid in its ’70s worship and presented with the utmost confidence. This being my first time seeing them, what I got was exactly what I’d hoped to get. For having just two EPs out, their sound is remarkably mature, and that speaks to Ferrier, McAllister and Boyer having a clear idea of what they want to do musically, which can only serve them well leading into their next studio outing. Good band, man. A name to watch for.
In another flashback to this year’s Stoner Hands of Doom, the three-piece incarnation of Washington D.C.’s Borracho — or, as I’ve come to call them, Borratrio — took the stage at Fontana’s with barely so much as a hello. Led by guitarist Steve Fisher (who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of classic rock t-shirts — awesome) in the absence of guitarist/vocalist Noah, who is out of the country on what I can only assume is a dangerous spy mission, they once again let the riffs do the vast majority of the talking, though vocals showed up in what would otherwise be the backing lines toward the end of “All in Play” and in “Concentric Circles,” which remains viciously catchy no matter who’s fronting it. Overall, Borracho were much tighter here than at SHoD, not only for the lack of technical difficulties, but in general on the level of chemistry between Fisher, bassist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano, who seemed only too happy to pick up the gauntlet Aaron Boyer threw down in Valley of the Sun‘s set. The two bands are reportedly headed back to D.C. tonight for another gig. They worked well together, so hopefully this isn’t the last time they join forces. Despite Noah‘s continued MIA-ness, Borratrio have new songs in progress as well.
Ultimately, I think that’s what made last night special — the fact that Borracho, Summoner, Valley of the Sun and Eggnogg all have new stuff on the horizon that hasn’t yet been released. Maybe Shock Radar too, I don’t really know, but to have everyone on board playing fresh material alongside a few familiar tracks was awesome, and in true showcase fashion, I felt like I was watching acts each in their own way poised to hit the next level in what they do. Kudos to Heavy Planet for putting together an excellent bill (I got to meet Toby at the show and he seemed like a good dude), and to the bands for kicking ass.
Posted in Features on September 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
How surprised was I to win the Stoner Hands of Doom XII raffle last night? Well, I’m not exactly the guy who never wins anything, but I am the guy who says he never wins anything when he wins something once every eight to 10 years, so yeah, I was pretty blown away. I didn’t even really get the chance to go through the box of goodies last night — Pale Divine had just played and The Skull was about to take the stage — but the loot is plentiful.
My ticket won me a bounty of doomly goods, from Iron Man vinyl to CDs from Kin of Ettins, Beelzefuzz, Faces of Bayon, Black Cowgirl, Ichabod, One Inch Giant, and so on, plus posters for the last several SHoD fests, including one for SHoD VII in Arizona, when Acid King played. There are ones in there for SHoD X and SHoDXI as well, both of which I played in different bands, so it’s kind of special to have them, and an assortment of doomly patches and stickers — not to mention an entire wardrobe of t-shirts — but the highlight of the whole package has to be the official Stoner Hands of Doom XII pedal, which has the Skillit-designed skull artwork of this year’s fest painted right on. I can’t wait to get it home and hook it up to my ukulele. I’m dead serious.
Thanks obviously go out to Rob and the whole SHoD crew. One of the great things about being here the last several days has been seeing all the familiar faces. Today is the final day of the fest. When I came out of the El ‘n’ Gee last night, the entire town of New London appeared to be smashed, so it’s not such a surprise that it’s kind of sleepy and quiet now as I write this in a shady corner in the parking lot across from the venue, but soon enough, Minneapolis sludgers Witchden will start another full day of excellent heaviness that I’ll once more be documenting as we go along.
If you’ve been reading these posts, thank you for that. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. It’s kind of a trip to be reviewing a band’s set and then have them come over and say hi, as happened a few times yesterday, but it’s been a lot of fun. More to come in a bit for day four of SHoD XII.
UPDATE 2:02PM: They had a hell of a trip to get here and a first-band-on crowd to play to, but Minneapolis sludgers Witchden were tight enough to show they had a little road time along their way. The two-guitar five-piece boasts Jeff “Kong”Moen, now apparently formerly of Sourvein on drums, and he provided both energy and crash behind vocalist Jason Micah, whose vicious screams came across with an almost hip-hop style presence. Maybe it was the upturned hat, but everyone else was pretty much headbanging, and his stage moves just gave off that kind of vibe. On the other hand, the riffs of guitarists were straight out of the sludge playbook, heavy enough to transcend the stoner and really get into some muddy nastiness. I bought the CD, and they were also selling handmade dugouts, which are apparently a thing that exist. They were $20 a pop, and as much as I like to support independent woodworking, I stuck with the album and think it was probably the right idea. A heavy start, and the first fog machine of the whole fest (surprised the hell out of me, like, “Oh yeah! Fog!” — it’s been a long weekend), but we’re underway for sure now.
UPDATE 2:46PM: They were a lot of fun, because they were literally kids — their parents were here — but Insano Vision also seriously brought it to SHoD XII, and by “it” I mean the inimitable vitality of rock and roll youth. They were fast and heavy and jumping around the stage, and it gives what I’ve been calling “energetic” all weekend an entirely different touchstone. A double-guitar four-piece from North Haven, I’d be amazed if a single one of them could gain entry to the bar area at the El ‘n’ Gee, but heavy is heavy. Lead guitarist Doug Glaser (above) tapped through a couple killer solos, jumping around the stage during set highlight “Unknown,” and while they still have their kinks to work out, they have plenty of time to do it. Very cool, very metal, and great to see some youngins kicking ass. As they’re local, I don’t know that I’d put them on after Witchden, but I think they surprised everyone here with both their chops and their presence. They tore through their set quickly, leaving a strong impression in their wake. Will be interesting to see how they develop, but it was more than pleasant to be caught off-guard as I was and I think a lot of others were as well.
UPDATE 3:39PM: I think I pulled my rock muscle. It was a pretty bold choice on New Jersey four-piece Infernal Overdrive‘s part to throw in the 12-minute jam (which was shortened, but still) “Motor” so early into the set, but they pulled it off, ranging far into psychedelic moodiness and then bringing it back into their own brand of classic-type riff rock. Brothers Keith (bass) and Marc Schleicher (guitar/vocals) held down cuts like “Viking” — which I’m dying to hear the final version of — the former with his customized Captain America bass, now featuring blue knobs. They’re always a show, huge on personality, but the songwriting backs it up. “I-95,” from their Small Stone debut, Last Rays of the Dying Sun (review here) is maddeningly catchy, and though Marc didn’t jump off the stage in his James Brown boogie routine, he and guitarist Rich Miele both sounded excellent and drummer Mike Bennett pushed a big rock finish over the top, the band’s logo proudly blazing off the front of his kick bass. For a band that doesn’t tour six or seven months each year, Infernal Overdrive always throw down, and every time I see them, I manage to enjoy it more than the last. Word is Hovel‘s brakes went out, and while they’re reportedly okay, they’re also reportedly not coming. Bummer, as it would’ve been cool to catch their set, but at least nobody got hurt.
UPDATE 5:OOPM: Some more familiar faces in Richmond, Virginia, SHoD veterans Fire Faithful. Their most recent full-length, Please Accept this Invocation (review here), was fit to please, if somewhat under-recorded, but like last year, the four-piece delivered in a live setting. As expected they called for backup (vocals) well into the proceedings, but the earlier “Wonton Lavey,” and “Dollar Bottomed Out” also stood out. The Ladies Faithful joined in for “Harvest Moon,” “A Devil in London” and the finale “King Macabre,” helping Fire Faithful do Virginia proud. Their Southern-style metal/doom is definitely traceable to its geography, with guitarist Shane Rippey‘s Pepper Keenan-style riffs and the post-Dave Sherman/Phil Anselmo vocal approach of Brandon Malone, but the band is clearly also working to come into their own more in terms of sound, and just going by this set, it seems to be worth their effort. There’s growth yet to be had, but they’re closer even than they were at SHoD XI. We’ll see when their next release drops how their development translates to the studio, but they’re getting there.
UPDATE 6:01PM: Near as I can tell, New Hampshire trio Skrogg only played four songs — “The Cajun Lady” and “Anita Ride” from their 2011 self-titled debut EP (review here) and two new ones — but man, that set was full. Low end permeated guitar and bass alike, and drummer Felix Starr had a floor tom mounted as his rack for extra thunder to stand up to Reverend Maxfield and Jasper Gloom. Maxfield handled vocals in addition to the guitar, delivering classic-rock-style lyrics with a dudely burl that seemed less like a put-on than some I’ve heard. Helps the authenticity cause that he spoke the same way. They cracked jokes between songs, with Starr referencing Wayne’s World (“I like to play”) and Dumb and Dumber(“the beer flows like wine”), among others, in the process. The two newer songs were both longer and more expansive instrumentally than the EP material, the first a wide-berth blues number and the second blending familiarly thickened fuzz into a twisted biker metal groove. They brought their own crowd to go with that already present at the El ‘n’ Gee, and I’d gladly wager that when Skrogg plays locally in New Hampshire, it’s a fucking rager of a party. I wouldn’t mind seeing it, but the export version was pretty killer as well. This is one of those bands who are just too dead on to not get picked up by some label sooner or later. I’ll look forward to hearing the new stuff put to tape.
UPDATE 7:02PM: Kind of a hard-luck set for Doom Capitol quality heavy rockers Borracho, who played SHoD XII as a trio sans guitarist/vocalist Noah. They made the best of it. Most of the set was instrumental — the midsection of “Grab the Reins” recognizable anyway — but guitarist Steve Fisher took the front position on “Concentric Circles.” Add to Noah‘s absence Fisher’s own technical problems with his Model T, and it’s probably not how they’d want to be remembered, but they still grooved the shit out of the El ‘n’ Gee, bassist Tim Martin also having his say vocally and filling the gaps in tone left by the lack of second guitar, the warmth of Martin‘s tone all the more audibly locked in with Mario Trubiano’s drumming. It was kind of an oddly-constructed set, with most of the instrumental material up front and then a last couple songs with vocals, but they made it work with what they had as a trio, though I think if they’d opened with “Concentric Circles” and then gone into the extended instrumental stuff, it might have flowed more easily. I don’t know for sure and so don’t want to conjecture, but I don’t think Noah is actually out of the band, just not here, so it doesn’t seem like something that was really planned for. Hopefully everything’s cool and Borracho can get back to four-piece form soon, and if for whatever reason that doesn’t happen, they still showed promise as a trio keeping the riffs at the fore.
UPDATE 8:04PM: This is a band about whom I can’t even really hope to feign impartiality. I’ve known frontman Ken-E Bones of Long Island sludge mainstays Negative Reaction for about a decade at this point if not longer, and drummer Joe Wood is my touchstone for awesome when it comes to human beings. Like you meet someone and go, “Wow, this seems like a really cool person.” My next step is to wonder if they’re as good a person as Joe Wood, and in every instance so far, the answer as been no. It was a thrill just to see these dudes, let alone watch them play a set. Of note, however, is that Bones and Wood have a new bass player in Jaime (pronounced hi-may), who replaces Damon Lippy. Not sure what’s the situation there, but as ever, Negative Reaction made for a strong trio, hitting up “Docking Bay 94″ and “Dopamine” from their 2011 outing, Frequencies from Montauk(review here) amid classics like “Go Die” and rousing opener “Loathing.” They got a good response from the crowd and seemed to be genuinely enjoying each other’s company and that of the audience, so right on. Add to that Bones flopping around on stage during the finale of “A Bit of Numb,” and you’ve got good times all the way through.
UPDATE 8:56PM: I’m starting to drag, and not a little, but Boston double-guitar foursome Summoner (né Riff Cannon, which if nothing else was a more descriptive name) were definitely not. Once upon a time — last year — I was in talks with the band to release their full-length, Phoenix, on The Maple Forum. That didn’t work out, but the band remains killer, vocalist/bassist Chris Johnson jumping up on drummer Scott Smith‘s kit early in the set and only getting more into it from there as guitarists Joe Richner and AJ Peters alternated between post-metal noodling and sludged-out crunch. I’d never actually seen them before, either as Summoner or their prior incarnation, but it was like they were trying to drive their music directly into the skull, no need for soundwaves or anything. They played in the dark, as some bands will do, but were a treat to watch, and if I was just a little bit more the vinyl-buying type, I’d be walking out of here tonight with a copy of Phoenix. Nonetheless, I’ll be revisiting my download of the record this week for sure. Their builds and crashes warrant yet another in an ongoing series of listens. Good band, and they seem like they’re only going to get better as they keep pushing themselves.
UPDATE 9:45PM: So here’s a bit of breaking news for you on a Sunday night: Massachusetts trio Black Pyramid just finished recording a new album — today. Apparently right before the three of them — guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard, bassist Gein and drummer Clay Neely – got in the car to come to New London. How badass is that? “Yeah, so we just finished our album, whaddya wanna do now?” “Let’s go play SHoD.” “Okay.” They rolled into the El ‘n’ Gee like the riff marauders they are and from there it was all battle axes and scimitars and bloodspurts. Most of what they played was off that new album, including a ripping instrumental that only served to emphasize how quickly they’ve come together as a unit and how tight they are performance-wise. Shepard brings a lot of personality to the band, and I don’t know the names of the songs, because they’re new and I’ve only just heard them here, right now, but there was one start-stop part where I feared for the lives of his strings he was hitting it so hard. I didn’t even know they were recording as of yet, so it’s awesome to hear that’s on the way, and gives me something to look forward to in 2013 as well as hopes of catching Black Pyramid again soon.
UPDATE 10:52PM: Holy shit. I finally got to fucking see Elder. You know those bands that every single time you would otherwise be in the same place on the same night — them on a stage, you probably drunk and awkward at a bar — it never works out? That’s me and Elder. It’s been years at this point. They’re in New York, I’m in Boston. They’re in Boston, I’m in Jersey. I’m in Boston, they’re in Germany. But here’s the thing. There’s not a chance I’d trade seeing Elder tonight for seeing them ever before, because right now, they’re at their absolute best yet. I don’t know if you heard the Spires Burn/Release12″ that was streamed here not too long ago, but it’s been nearly half a decade and Elder – guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, mulletted bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto – just keep getting better. They slammed into “Release” from that 12″ and it was glorious, no shit, and capped an already fantastic set with the title-track from Dead Roots Stirring. My only mistake was opening the laptop too early, so I had to stay back by the bar longer than I would’ve wanted to and not go up front, but other than that, it was perfect. I’m trying really hard lately to guard myself against hyperbole, because while it’s great for having bands use your quotes in their promotional materials, it’s shitty criticism and every act has things that work and things that don’t. That said, Elder fucking made my night. I mean it. Of all the really, really cool shit I’ve already seen today — from old friends to bands I’ve never even heard of — to finally see Elder was incredible. Might be some of the best American heavy psych I’ve ever seen.
UPDATE 12:25AM: This was the first time I’d seen Iron Man since they acquired vocalist Dee Calhoun. In that time, they’ve put out two EPs — last year’s Dominance (review here) and the new Att hålla dig över, which I picked up tonight at the merch table. Calhoun‘s singing is pure Halford, right down to the face-ripping screams and the double-hand clutch on the mic, but god damn can he pull it off. If you want to compare to former Iron Man vocalists, he’s a better Halford than Joe Donnelly was an Ozzy, and Joe Donnelly did a pretty mean Ozzy. Decked out in bandanna, beard and doomly black duster, Calhoun gave Iron Man a presence of up front like I’ve never seen them have before, raw talent blended with performance edge, and it seemed more than ever like guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III has finally met his match in a singer. Morris is the walking embodiment of all that is Maryland doom (at very least, he makes up half and Earthride‘s Dave Sherman comprises the rest), so it goes without saying that he killed it, and watching them run through “Ruler” and other songs off the EPs and Iron Man‘s last full-length, 2009′s I Have Returned, like opener “I Have Returned” and “Run from the Light” gave me a new appreciation for the dynamic between Morris and bassist Louis Strachan, whose fills added both raw groove and vitality in playing off Morris‘ riffing. If there’s a more perfect way to cap off a Stoner Hands of Doom fest, I can’t think of it. For the finishing touch, they brought up SHoD organizer Rob Levey (above, with Calhoun) to sing the title-track from 1993′s Black Night, noting as they did that he fronted the band at that time. Before Iron Man started, Levey was on stage after they picked the raffle winner (I didn’t go two for two), and he said this was the best lineup of the band he’d seen in the last 15 years. I don’t have the same kind of experience with them, obviously, but they’re definitely in a new class, and well deserved. They brought the house down, and when they finished, I said a crazy amount of goodbyes and adjourned to the same parking lot where I posted from this morning. Seemed only fitting to round out the day in the same spot. As anyone who saw me move into the same corner and plug in my laptop during almost every band’s last song over the course of the last three days might be able to tell you, I’m a creature of habit. I’m going to get in the car in just another minute or so and drive back to where I’m staying, but unless some of the adrenaline in me from the end of SHoD XII dies down, I’ll add a conclusion to this when I land, so stay tuned. Not quite done yet.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
“Grab the Reins” was a highlight of Washington D.C. heavy lifters Borracho‘s 2011 full-length debut, Splitting Sky. The album (review here) has continued to earn the band a reputation for thickened grooves and if this live version of the track proves anything it’s that the record was no fluke. Borracho will be heading out for a couple shows — in D.C., Philly and Boston — before appearing at day four of this year’s Stoner Hands of Doom fest in New London, CT, and to give a taste of their tourly wares, they’ve graciously granted me permission to host the song for streamy-type goodness.
And if you’ve got 11 minutes to dedicate to groove, I can think of few finer uses for that time than this one. The band, who also recently appeared on Ripple Effect’s digital anniversary compilation, will be using this recording of “Grab the Reins” on a Strange Magic Records 10″ as the B-side to the previously CD-only “Plunge/Return.” That’ll be out this fall, and until then, this is the only way to hear the song, so please enjoy the stream on the player below, followed by a press release with the tour info and more on Borracho‘s latest doings:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Borracho to tour Northeast US, play Stoner Hands of Doom XII, and premiere track
Capital city stoner rock torch-bearersBorrachowill end out the summer of 2012 on the road, kicking off a Labor Day weekend road trip in their hometown before visiting Philadelphia, Boston, and capping it off with an appearance at theStoner Hands of Doom XII (SHoD) festival in New London, CT.
For the unconverted, Borracho’s 2011 debut Splitting Sky made a strong impression, hauling in gushing review after review, and boasting inclusion inten end-of-year top album lists. Upon its releaseThe Washington Post, gushed “Borracho has mastered the delivery of an infectious hook. ‘Splitting Sky’ is bursting with catchy riffs and skilled playing.”Heavy Planetproclaimed it “an instant classic,” The Ripple Effect dubbed it “an epic, earsplitting fuzz-fest,“ and The Sludgelord predicted “This album is going to be a classic of the genre. No question about it.” The band has since released a 7” single andvideo for album standout track “Concentric Circles,” and an enchantingvideofor “All in Play,” and plan a 10” single/EP release for late this year.
This will be the band’s second appearance at the SHoD festival, and the Tres Hombres tour will bring them to the city of brotherly love and New England for the first time. They’ll be joined in DC and Philly byOne Inch Giant from Gothenburg Sweden, Philly and Boston byBlack Thaifrom Boston, and Boston and SHoD byFire Faithfulfrom Richmond VA. Rest assured, every single stop will bring a kinetic display of fuzz and fury, matching geographically diverse bands who can crush skulls in their own unique ways. Don’t miss this show when it comes to your town.
TodayThe Obeliskpremieres a previously unreleased live recording of the band’s epic solute to apathy, “Grab the Reins.” VisitThe Obelisknow for the exclusive stream. Borracho also contributed a track to a new digital compilation, “The Ripple Effect Presents: Volume One – Head Music.” A previously unreleased live version of“All in Play”is available exclusively on the comp, and the entire collection is a free download. Both tracks were recorded in Washington, D.C. in December 2011 by Frank Marchand, who manned the faders for the recording of Splitting Sky. These live tracks offer fans who have not had an opportunity to see the band perform live a chance to hear how they bring it on stage. Don’t miss them when they hit a stage near you!
BORRACHO ON TOUR:
August 30, 2012 – 8:00 PM DC9 Washington, D.C. w/ One Inch Giant & Auroboros
August 31, 2012 – 8:00 PM Gunners Run Philadelphia, PA w/ Black Thai & One Inch Giant
September 1, 2012 – 8:00 PM O’Brien’s Pub Allston, MA w/ Black Thai & Fire Faithful
September 2, 2012 – 1:00 PM Stoner Hands of Doom XII El n’ Gee Club New London, CT w/ Iron Man, Black Pyramid, Elder, & more!
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kudos to heavyweight supporters of the rock The Ripple Effect. Today they sent out word that in celebration of their five-year anniversary, they’ve released a digital compilation that includes the likes of recent Ripple Music signees Devil to Pay alongside Borracho, Stubb, Hong Faux, Hosoi Bros., Venomin James and many more. Dig the news and the Bandcamp stream below:
The Ripple Effect Unleashes 5 Year Anniversary Free Download Compilation
What started out five years ago as a forum for two music lovers to share their obsession with obscure/little-heard rock music, has grown and evolved into a record label, a top-rated radio show, and one of the world’s premiere sites for discovering new and lost classic music: The Ripple Effect.
To celebrate five years of collective Ripple Madness, Todd Severin (Racer X) and John Rancik (Pope JTE) are unleashing a massive download compilation album, featuring some of the best of the new wave of modern heavy rock bands. And it’s all entirely free!
Best of all, the compilation features many brand new, previously unheard, unreleased tracks by some of the bands leading this charge of the Heavy. In addition, you’ll find tracks from several albums buzzing across the websites and music blogs, and several new and waiting-to-be discovered bands.
To be released on July 22, throughBandcamp, The Ripple Effect unveils, The Ripple Effect Presents: Volume 1- Head Music. In its depths you’ll find such notable bands as Stubb, Ape Machine, Devil to Pay, Miss Lava, Voodoo Johnson, Borracho, and more. 23 tracks in all. All free. Some of the absolute best heavy rock the world has to offer.
And continue to check outThe Ripple Effecteach day for the latest music discoveries, and theRipple Music record labelfor the latest releases from bands like Stone Axe, Mos Generator, Grifter, Trucker Diablo, Poobah, Fen, JPT Scare Band and more.
Not something I usually recommend, but you might want to go full-screen on this one. The brand new video for Washington D.C. heavy rockers Borracho‘s “All in Play” was directed by Richard Bomgren, who you might remember as having put together the desert-minded clip for Valley of the Sun‘s “Riding the Dunes.” “All in Play” works with similar methods, playing long and short cuts of breathtaking HD nature footage off each other in time to the music of the eight-plus-minute song.
The chief difference is that with “All in Play,” there’s a progression in the video, gradually pulling away from the earth until, finally, you’ve left it. The song comes off Borracho‘s 2011 full-length debut, Splitting Sky — the gatefold vinyl cover art of which you can see above — and if you haven’t had the chance to check out the band, kick back and enjoy the perfect opportunity to get to know them and see the lava flows and the craters that so perfectly complement their work.
Dig it, followed by an update on the band’s doings, which are manifold:
Capital City fuzz fanatics Borracho today unleash the video for “All In Play” – the follow up to the first single from their debut long player Splitting Sky. The video’s imagery focuses on the elemental nature of the Earth, and provides a scenic backdrop to one of the band’s defining songs. Watch it now on the band’s YouTube channel.
Conceived and created by RichardBomgren, a fan of the band from the north of Sweden, the new Borracho clip takes viewers on a journey from the center of the Earth, around the globe, and out into space in the span of the eight-and-a-half-minute track. Brilliant, awe-inspiring footage of earth, air, water, fire, and ice collide in glorious high definition with soaring guitars, bombastic rhythms, and gritty vocals, creating an audiovisual experience that must be seen and heard.
The video drops on the eve of the release of a new digital compilation from The Ripple Effect,The Ripple Effect Presents: Volume One – Head Music, which will feature a live version of “All in Play.” Recorded in Washington, D.C. in December 2011, the live track offers fans who have not had an opportunity to see the band perform live a chance to hear them in their natural setting. The comp will feature a mix of new and more established bands, with previously unreleased tracks being contributed by Devil to Pay, VenominJames, and BlackEarth, among many others. Keep your eyes open for its release in the coming weeks.
But that’s not all. Borracho will be appearing at the 12th Stoner Hands of Doom Festival on Sept. 2, 2012, in New London, CT, and will join brothers-in-arms Black Thai for shows in New York and Boston leading up to the festival. These shows mark the first live dates for the band since February, and will include some surprises for fans and newcomers to the band alike. More details on all live performances are below.
08/31 TBD, New York, NY w/ Black Thai, TBC 09/01 O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA w/ Black Thai, FireFaithful, TBC 09/02 The El ‘n Gee Club, New London, CT, Stoner Hands of Doom Festival
After a week that was fairly heavy on the self-releasing bands — what with Arrowhead, Black Space Riders, Crystal Head, Biblical and Sanctus Bellum — it seems only fitting to cap off with the likes of Borracho, who are one of the strongest yet-to-be-aligned heavy rock groups in the US right now, at least as far as I’m concerned. They released the above video for the track “Concentric Circles” from their 2011 Splitting Sky full-length debut while I was away, so not having had the chance to post it yet, it seems only fitting to do so now. Better late than never, and so forth.
All the better better late than never too, because it just so happens Borracho have a ton going on right now. They’re playing SHoD again this year, driving north to Connecticut for it, and I very much look forward to seeing them there. And I don’t know who else is involved, but they’re slated to have a track on an upcoming compilation from the Ripple Effect blog, and they’re currently in the studio wrapping some other material. Meanwhile, the Splitting Sky track “All in Play” will also get the video treatment come next month. So there’s much in the works for the Washington D.C. outfit, who — again — are just a killer band. Splitting Sky grew on me something fierce and continued to do so well after I reviewed it. I didn’t think much of it at first, but it turned out to be an album I just couldn’t put down.
In fact, thinking of it now, I can’t help but wish I brought the record with me to Connecticut, where I am for the weekend as is often my wont (and my want) in the summertime. I’ll be here until at least Sunday, which is refreshing, as I worked late every night this week and slept poorly, etc. Hopefully over this long Memorial Day weekend, I’ll have a chance to catch my breath a little bit, rejuvenate some and maybe not be such a miserable bastard when forced to return to real life. I won’t hold out much hope for that last potentiality — damn these unrealistic expectations! — but the rest doesn’t seem out of reach. Not while I’m here, anyhow.
Wherever you are, please be safe this weekend. Every other commercial I heard on the radio on the way up here was like, “If you drive drunk the cops are gonna rape your soul,” so please, take care out there. I’ll be kicking around on the forum every now and again and I’ve got a ton of email I need to answer — a really pathetic amount; I’m sorry if you’ve gotten in touch lately and I haven’t yet responded — but in general I’m going to try to have a good time and I hope you do the same.
Next week I’ll have new audio from Wino (you’ll never guess what day) and Black Shape of Nexus and, provided I have time to transcribe it, a truly epic interview I did the other day with Stephen Flam of Winter. It was badass, and definitely worth staying tuned for. It’s also friends-reviews week, where I won’t even attempt to feign impartiality in reviewing buddies’ bands. That’ll be fun, and I hope for you too. Please feel free to keep in touch via comments, likes, shares, email, forum posts, or whatever your preferred method as we move through this thing, and most of all, thanks for reading this week. More to come.