I knew when the guy behind the Icelandair check-in counter called me “dude” that everything was going to be okay. Actually, the first words out of his mouth when he saw my passport were, “You know about the delay, right?” Yup. Just an hour, though that in combination with the lack of traffic compared to what I thought I’d hit made me absurdly early. Security was a breeze, even carrying a bevvy of electronics. Still no idea how long it takes to get anywhere in Boston.
First to Reykjavik and then to Amsterdam, then to Tilburg. Have been sitting here two hours now and have two more to go until the new takeoff time. I don’t mind. The batteries on everything are charged, including the book I brought, and but for being warm and smelling the mass-produced whathaveyou being served at the restaurant to my left – some name I don’t know – it’s fine. A breeze from somewhere. Is Logan Terminal E big enough for wind?
Remembering travel stuff. Don’t look at anyone too long or they’ll look back. Put the computer in the back with the bottom facing out so that it and the camera can be upright in when the bag is laid down. Lessons already learnt, remembered situationally to no doubt be filed away again soon.
I enjoy people-watching as much as the next pseudo-creative, but it gets disheartening after a while, feeling very apart. In my head I hear cop voices in stern teenager-bound derision: “You think you’re special, son?” It’s the opposite. These people have made it. Front to back, they’re here, they’re in it, they’re human. They’re special. I’d be fooling myself if I thought I could ever do or be that thing. It just wouldn’t work. Some will tell you everybody feels that way, like they’re the muck. Maybe that’s true, but they don’t live it. Existence as an awkward-fitting pantsuit.
But the place I’m going is where it works at least well enough to pretend. To put me back into position of righteousness from which to designate the squares. Not the only congregation anymore, but maybe the most revered. It’ll be a quick few days at Temple Roadburn, but fucking hell I’m ready. Please, please get me there. Get me to no sleep and vicious tone. To the wind pushing on through Weirdo Canyon, the mad stench of the 013 on Saturday night. Get me there. In red block letters at my 12: “REYKJAVIK: Delayed.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
This week, Boston’s own Gozu fly to Europe to begin a tour that will carry them for the next two weeks from Roadburn to the Desertfest in Berlin. It’s an enviable trip with what’s sure to be extra-righteous beginning and endpoints, and though it will have only been about half a month since I last watched them play, I consider Gozu among my gotta-see Roadburn bands. Why? Because everybody brings it toRoadburn. Tired? Jetlegged? Whatever the circumstances are, if you’re ever gonna kill, you’re gonna kill there. I’m looking forward to it.
Dates and whatnots follow, as dictated by the PR wire:
GOZU: Massachusetts Riff Rockers To Embark Upon First-Ever European Tour; The Fury Of A Patient Man Limited Edition Vinyl Out Now
Massachusetts hellions, GOZU, will take their riffs overseas next week for their first-ever European takeover! Set to begin at the legendary Roadburn Festival, the band will wage a full-on volume ambush through ten select locales in the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia and Italy, concluding with a performance at Desertfest in Berlin.
GOZU will be touting the fruit of their The Fury Of A Patient Man full-length released last Spring via Small Stone. The self-produced ten track monster earned widespread praise for its Chris Cornellian vocal swells and robust, heavy rock swagger.
A special deluxe edition of The Fury Of A Patient Man was recently released via Small Stone in celebration of the upcoming European journey. Limited to 500 copies, the 2XLP set comes on 180-gram wax with a wide spine jacket, poly-lined sleeve, and two colors – LP one is “clear green” while LP two is “solid purple.” Sides one, two and three feature tracks from the original album, while side four offers up exclusive vinyl-only numbers with one original tune (“Break You”) and GOZUed renditions of Simply Red’s “Holding Back The Years” and D’Angelo’s “Shit, Damn, Motherfucker.”
GOZU Spring Tour 2014: 4/12/2014 Roadburn – Tilburg, NL 4/13/2014 Hafenklang – Hamburg, DE 4/15/2014 Feierwerk – Munich, DE 4/16/2014 Channel Zero – Ljubiljana, SI 4/17/2014 Magnolia – Milano, IT 4/18/2014 E20 Underground – Montecchio, IT 4/19/2014 TBA 4/20/2014 TBA 4/22/2014 Das Bette – Frankfurt, DE 4/23/2014 Musicon – Den Haag, NL 4/24/2014 The Underground – Cologne, DE 4/25/2014 Astra Kulturhaus Desertfest – Berlin, DE
Order the vinyl edition of The Fury Of A Patient Man atTHIS LOCATION.
Posted in audiObelisk on April 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Doomsayeris a fitting title for the forthcoming debut from Boston trio The Scimitar. The band build on the methodologies of BlackPyramid, the trio from which they splintered off last yearwith bassist Dave Gein and guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard picking up drummer Brian Banfield in the process, but craft their own identity as well in the blend of catchy songs and plodding, thudding doom. As a riffer and lead player, Shepard – also of Blackwolfgoat, Milligram, Hackman and too many others to count — sounds right at home on Doomsayer, though it might be the heaviest aesthetic in which he’s yet resided. Black Pyramid‘s 2013 outing, Adversarial(review here), which had Shepard and Gein in the lineup with drummer Clay Neely, is probably the closest comparison point, and Doomsayeris altogether a heavier album. Less bound by the expectations of stepping into someone else’s frontman spot, Shepard flourishes on cuts like “The Taker” and “World Unreal,” and the pummel the trio elicit only lets up on the acoustic interlude “Attrition.”
So it’s heavy in heavy’s element. Fair enough. As the first audio to surface from Doomsayerin its finished mix, “World Unreal” sets up a lot of what works really well about the album, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In the High on Fire-style thrash of “Babylon,” they heavy-rock-grooving centerpiece take on Motörhead‘s “Metropolis” and the thunder-weighted payoff of closer “Crucifer,” The Scimitar distinguish themselves from Black Pyramid and showcase a songwriting process that’s started from a position of considerable accomplishment and only likely to come further into its own. With lyrics criticizing a conspiracy-minded view of the world — the lines “You’re seeing patterns that don’t exist/You think that everyone’s an enemy” stand out — a steady, rolling groove and metallic undertone in the chorus, “World Unreal” makes a striking introduction to the outlook and heft of Doomsayer, and while the version of the song that I have the pleasure of premiering isn’t mastered, it should still be plenty loud enough to get its point across.
Doomsayer was recorded by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms Studios and mixed by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak. The Scimitar will release Doomsayerin the coming months through Hydro-Phonic Records. Shows are rare, but the trio will take part in the Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 festival, May 3 and 4 at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester, Massachusetts. More info at the links.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Prolific Boston garage-doomers Ice Dragon have issued a new single called “Demons from Hell” in their traditional write-it-record-it-toss-it-out-there fashion. Word arrived last night of the cut, which steps back from some of the psychedelic experimentation of their latest full-length, 2013′s Born a Heavy Morning (review here), and follows in the nastier-riffing footsteps of their prior two-tracker, Steel Veins b/w Queen of the Black Harvest (discussed here), taking a dark and metallic approach to axe-swinging heaviness.
Like everything they do, “Demons from Hell” was recorded by the band at their home studio, Ron’s Wrecker Service, and in addition to underscoring the breadth of sound they’re able to capture on their own — one probably wouldn’t listen to 2012′s Dream Dragonand think “Demons from Hell” was captured in the same room — the new track drives home just how much the lo-fi production sound has become an essential part of their aesthetic, whether it’s Ron‘s howling vocals or the sharp-edged turns of Joe‘s bass, Brad‘s drums and Carter‘s guitar. When the latter takes a noise-caked solo over steady tom runs, you can practically hear the tape hiss, even on the digital stream.
I don’t know whether or not “Demons from Hell” will be part of Ice Dragon‘s next full-length, which is reportedly in the works, or if its sound portends what that album might sound like — when it comes to these guys, any speculation is just setting yourself up to look dumb later — or if it will receive any kind of physical release to make the most of its Zé Burnay cover art, but it’s a catchy, raw cut that stands well with the band’s earlier outings, three of which are due for release on CD through PRC Music in May (plus Ingot Eyefrom ultra-bleak side-project Tentacle). As always, the song is available as a pay-what-you-will download from their Bandcamp page.
Posted in On Wax on March 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Even as far as 7″s go, the new Mad Oak Records/Wonderdrug Records split between riffy Boston punkers White Dynomite and heavy rock four-piece Hey Zeus is pretty brief. The two cuts included, White Dynomite‘s “Sweet Tooth” and Hey Zeus‘ “Stomach,” are done in under five minutes total, but the alliance of the two bands carries more substance than that might indicate. With members of Roadsaw and Wrecking Crew and Fast Acting Fuses in their lineup, White Dynomite are no slouches when it comes to pedigree. Recently signed to Ripple Music for a reissue of their 2013 self-titled full-length debut, they’ve also added guitarist Jay Fortin (currently of Supermachine, formerly of Scissorfight) to the ranks, and while he doesn’t play on “Sweet Tooth,” his presence is felt on the split anyway since he took the pictures of the bands on each side’s cover and handled the layout of the 7″ package, the liner card for which features a cigar-smoking chimpanzee and the cover(s) of which recall hardcore 7″s of days gone by. Eerily fitting for two bands made up of adults clearly having kid fun playing fast and brash rock and roll.
This split is the recorded debut of Hey Zeus, whose “Stomach” is the longer of the two tracks at just over three minutes. Fortin‘s photo on the cover comes from a show at the now-defunct-should’ve-been-sold-to-me Radio Bar in Somerville last July, a gig at which Hey Zeus shared the stage with The Scimitar and The Brought Low and covered Deep Purple twice (review here). Bassist Ken Cmar is the head of Wonderdrug Records, the logo of which it’s good to see again, guitarist Pete Knipfing and drummer Todd Bowman are veterans of Lamont, and vocalist Bice Nathan recorded “Stomach” at New Alliance Studios, and on the track, Hey Zeus make good on the experience of the players in question to proffer memorable, speedy, hook-minded songwriting. Less riotous than White Dynomite, they’re also tonally thicker — Cmar‘s bass has punch enough that one is tempted to duck — and take some cues from Lamont‘s Southern-on-speed methodology. They are not on swagger, which makes them all the more a match for White Dynomite, whose King Kong-size shenanigans are writ large all over “Sweet Tooth.”
Blink or misplace the needle on your turntable and you’re likely to miss the bass intro from Tim Catz that actually starts “Sweet Tooth” before John Darga‘s guitar and Craig Riggs‘ drums join in. No frills, no bullshit, White Dynomite offer sheer propulsion topped off with the classic punker vocals of Dave Unger. The four-now-fivesome recorded “Sweet Tooth” with Mad Oak Studios‘ Benny Grotto, and as one would expect the sound is natural and crisp in just the right balance. For all the chicanery at work in what White Dynomite do, they’re also remarkably tight, the members channeling punk roots and donning white suits as they sprint toward and past whatever one might expect from them based on their other past and current outfits. If you can’t keep up with “Sweet Tooth” the first time, it’s easy enough to put it on again.
Two relatively newcomer acts comprised of veteran players, it’s not much of a surprise White Dynomite and Hey Zeus pair well here, and for both giving a first impression of what Hey Zeus conjure as far as driving riffs and for giving a sample of where White Dynomite are headed coming off their first album into the next stage of their tenure, it’s a 7″ that accomplishes an awful lot in less than five minutes. No substitute for efficiency.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If I have one regret about my anti-nonphysical media stance, it’s that it probably kept me from checking out Ice Dragon sooner. The Boston-based garage psych doomers will issue three of their earlier works, 2010′s The Burl, the Earth, theAether, 2011′s The Sorrowful Sunand 2012′s Tome of the Future Ancients on CD viaQuebecois imprint PRC Music on May 27, and they’re available now to preorder. Seems likely the discs won’t last long upon their release — I don’t know how many of each are being pressed, but Ice Dragon stuff moves quick from what I’ve seen — and though everything the prolific outfit puts out is a name-your-price download at their Bandcamp, for somebody who’d rather hold an album in their hands, this is a chance that doesn’t always come along.
Word from the band and the label’s notes on the records follow:
NEWS ALERT!!! Pre-Orders are up for the cd versions of “The Burl, The Earth, The Aether”, “The Sorrowful Sun”, and “Tome of the Future Ancients” through PRC MUSIC. They’ll be out on 05/27. Heads up and what not. Very psyched for these!
ICE DRAGON The Burl, the earth, the eather CD (PRC27)
This cult Americain doom metal band will finally see its first 3 albums available on CD for the very first time! “The Burl” is a masterpiece of classic Doom Metal. Heavy, Dark, disturbing… think BLACK SABBATH’s very first album on a crash course collision with a slower, noisier ELECTRIC WIZARD and you are pretty close to the perfection that is this seminal debut album. Get this now.
ICE DRAGON The sorrowful sun CD (PRC28)
Once again PRC MUSIC invites you to immerse yourself in pure classical, drug induced, doom metal. From the school of Ozzy-era BLACK SABBATH, this second album is majestic and disturbingly heavy. Here is what INVISIBLE ORANGES had to say about “The sorrowful sun”: “Imagine if Black Sabbath combined their heavy and psychedelic sides – they tended to toggle between those modes rather than combine them – and took even more drugs, and turned everything up into screaming, red-lined peaks. They then came down hard and also wrote pretty acoustic songs – not those bullshit interludes, but real, actual songs.” Enough said. Get this now.
ICE DRAGON Tome of the futur ancients CD (PRC29)
This is PRC MUSIC 3rd re-issue. The battery of torn-paged suspicions and spells this album promotes are surely divined by some great and sinister power. It masterfully blends the witchy metal of Black Sabbath, the crushing curses of Electric Wizard, and the thick dope smoke of Sleep, but it also integrates a phantasmagoria of heavy psych-drone into that formula for an all-together eerier descent into the mouth of ritualistic madness. This is beautiful. Get this now.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Gozu have a busy spring planned, between the Small Stone showcases later this month in Boston and Brooklyn and their inaugural European tour, which includes slots at Roadburn and Desertfest in Berlin. Couple that with a vinyl release for 2013′s stellar The Fury of a Patient Man(review here) which includes no fewer than three bonus tracks, and it’s a hell of a lot for the Boston four-piece to take on. To help with expenses, they’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to allow supporters to, well, support them as they make their way across the capital-C continent. There are a smattering of cool rewards as well, up to and including spending time in the studio as they record their next album (sounds good to me), signed vinyl, a guitar lesson from Doug Sherman and more.
Guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney smooth-talks his way into hearts and wallets alike in the video below, and if the style of the following PR wire info on the tour looks familiar, it’s because I wrote it.
Have at you:
GOZU Announce European Touring; Confirmed for Roadburn & Desertfest Berlin
The Fury of a Patient Man Vinyl Release Coming
Boston’s GOZU will be making their first trip to Europe this Spring, supporting their 2013 Small Stone release, The Fury of a Patient Man. The four-piece, who recently added drummer Mike Hubbard (ex-Warhorse) to their lineup, are slated to appear at April 12 at Roadburn 2014 in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and at Desertfest Berlin on April 15.
To mark the occasion(s), the band will release a limited 2LP edition of The Fury of a Patient Man through Small Stone and Germany’s Cargo Records, with 500 copies pressed and vinyl-exclusive tracks, including covers of Simple Red and D’Angelo. The LPs will be 180g vinyl and should be out in March.
Before they head overseas, GOZU will play two Small Stone showcases in Cambridge and Brooklyn, joining labelmates Roadsaw, Lo-Pan, Wo Fat, Neon Warship and others at The Middle East and the Saint Vitus Bar on March 28 and 29, respectively. All confirmed dates follow:
GOZU Tour Dates: 03/28 Cambridge, MA, The Middle East w/ Mellow Bravo, Wo Fat, Lo-Pan, Roadsaw, Neon Warship 03/29 Brooklyn, NY, Saint Vitus Bar w/ Wo Fat, Lo-Pan, Roadsaw, Neon Warship, Geezer 04/12 Tilburg, Netherlands, 013, Roadburn Festival 04/13 Hamburg, Germany, Hafenklang 04/14 Germany, TBA 04/15 Munich, Germany, Feierwerk 04/16 Ljubiljana, Slovenia, Channel Zero 04/17 Milano, Italy, TBA 04/18 Montecchio, Italy, E20 Underground 04/19 Italy, TBA 04/20 CH, TBA 04/22 Frankfurt, Germany, Das Bett 04/23 Germany, TBA 04/24 Cologne, Germany, Underground 04/25 Berlin, Germany, Astra Kulturhaus, Desertfest 2014
GOZU lineup: Marc Gaffney: vocals/guitar Joe Grotto: bass Mike Hubbard: drums Doug Sherman: guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Here comes shenanigans. Boston heavy punkers White Dynomite released their self-titled rager last year and have signed a deal to have Ripple Music deliver a vinyl version late this Spring. It’s the kind of record you listen to and have a hangover afterwards, as White Dynomite dress to kill and live up to the wardrobe. Squares be damned, the outfit — which already included Tim Catz and Craig Riggs of Roadsaw in addition to vocalist Dave Unger (Antler) and guitarist John Darga (Wrecking Crew) — have added former Scissorfight and current Supermachine six-stringer Jay Fortin on second guitar. His hollow-body gold-trim Gretsch is going to go really well with that suit.
I’m a little behind on the news, which came out last week while I was gone, but here’s word off the PR wire about the vinyl and the band’s video for the song “White Dynomite,” which is about as exemplary an intro as you can get. Dig it:
WHITE DYNOMITE sign with RIPPLE MUSIC!
Boston’s “punk soul explosion” WHITE DYNOMITE have announced their signing with California-based label Ripple Music and the addition of a second guitarist.
Hard rock label Ripple Music, known for their excellent taste and quality of heavy rock music, have signed the super group and will re-release White Dynomite’s debut album in late spring of 2014. Pressed on white vinyl and including extra tracks, this dose of motor-punk soul will be an instant must-have for music fans who like it hard, fast-n-loud. White Dynomite have also officially announced the addition of Jay Fortin to the band. The ex-Scissorfight guitarist joins an already-heavy, veteran line up that includes former members of Roadsaw, Wrecking Crew and Fast Acting Fuses. With this twin-guitar front line in place, the group promises to pack more action than previously thought possible.
More details on the upcoming debut by White Dynomite to come this spring!
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Obviously the gag here is “no foolin’,” right? Well there it is. On April 1, Cortez and Borracho are set to pull a fast one on the universe. The Boston and D.C. natives have teamed up for a new split single on AM Records. For Cortez, this will be the first new material to come from the band since the 2012 release of their self-titled debut full-length (review here) and their first outing to feature their current five-piece lineup, whereas the riff-riding trio Borracho seem to be wasting no time in continuing the momentum of 2013′s sophomore outing, Oculus (review here), which was one of last year’s best records. Both bands contribute one song — Cortez has “Vanishing Point” while Borracho offers “Know My Name” — and the vinyl will be pressed in an edition of 500 in black as well as translucent purple or green.
“Vanishing Point” brings a different balance for Cortez‘s sound. Adding another player will do that, I suppose, but even more than just having Alasdair Swan‘s guitar to give Scott O’Dowd room to stretch out lead-wise — note that bassist Jay Furlo matches him note for note in the pre-solo lead section — the two seem to trade off before coming together for some quick harmonies before getting back to the motor-push of the verse, punctuated by Jeremy “How’s Your Elbow?” Hemond‘s snare and given an apex in large part thanks to his fills. The shift in overall feel can be heard too in Matt Harrington‘s vocals, which come through deeper in the mix than on the self-titled, given a sense of space through present-but-not-overdone reverb.
As Borracho continue to establish themselves as a trio, they seem to be doing so at the expense of no fullness of sound. Their “Know My Name” is just about a full minute longer than Cortez‘s track at 4:40, but that’s still pretty short for the three-piece overall. Either way, the time is well spent. Over an oozingly thick, rolling groove in Tim Martin‘s bass and Mario Trubiano‘s drums — not to mention his own guitar — vocalist Steve Fisher seems to be more confident in his approach, switching from cleaner verses to a throatier, gruff take for the chorus. A descending transition is put to good use, and as ever, Borracho sound right at home dug into a steady middle pace that shows off the meat of their tones. They make a good match for the speedier work of Cortez.
Both bands have a slew of notable appearances coming up. Cortez will play the lead-in spot for the Sixty Watt Shaman reunion at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 (info here) this May, whereas Borracho head to Desertfest London in late April (info here). The split will be out by then, but it’s available now too to preorder through Cortez‘s Bandcamp and Borracho‘s Bandcamp both, as well as AM Records‘ Bandcamp. A little friendly competition never hurt. It’s also streaming at either page and on the player below. Enjoy:
Cortez & Borracho, Vanishing Point/Know My Name Split 7″
Exploratory heavy rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz may have decided to call their second tape boxed set Back from the Past, but it’s actually comprised of some of their most recent material. The prolific Boston space/jam/heavy rockers led by Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) self-released four full-lengths last year between April and December, and all four — Man in the Shadow (April), A Possible Paradox (August), Stealing Some Time (November) and Burning the Almanac (December) — are gathered here, pressed DIY in an edition of only 20 copies (I got number 4, as I hope everyone does who winds up with one) and sold on the cheap for $8 through Space Mushroom Fuzz‘s Bandcamp. At two bucks an album, it seems fair to call Back from the Pasta bargain even before one actually cracks it open and listens to the music, which upon play shows development over the course of the year and the band from the jammy sensibilities of their older material to a kind of garage space rock, Abrams a steady presence on guitar and vocals, as well as periodically working on drums and bass despite being joined in those roles by Clay Neely (Black Pyramid) and John Belcastro on drums, Scott Levine on bass for Burning the Almanac, and for a couple songs, Steve Melanson on saxophone.
More than anything, the mission of Space Mushroom Fuzz seems to be to weird out and have a good time. I can dig that. A studio project, that they’d have a slew of releases isn’t necessarily much of a surprise, and that there’s a glut of material doesn’t seem to take away from any kind of completeness in the songs — that is, sometimes when I band is geared toward putting out a lot of stuff, things can get rushed so they can move onto the next project. Abrams as the driving force of Space Mushroom Fuzz allows songs to develop to a natural point across these four albums, so that the layers of effects in “Gallopie” and “Wreckage” from Stealing Some Timeare as much a part of the atmosphere as the root riffs and verses (at least verses in the case of the latter, since “Gallopie” is instrumental). In addition, I don’t know if it’s just because there’s so much of it all right next to each other, but it’s easy enough to read a sonic clarity coming into focus from one side of the tape to the next. The albums are positioned such that side one of tape one is the oldest album, Man in the Shadow — still less than a year old — and it runs through so that side two of tape two is the newest, Burning the Almanac. Finding a narrative arc there isn’t hard, and by the time Burning the Almanac comes around andLevine has joined his bass with Abrams‘ guitar and Belcastro‘s drums, Space Mushroom Fuzz sound that much more like the full band they’ve become.
That seems to be something the band acknowledge themselves on Burning the Almanacopener “The Cosmic Evolution,” though if I’m to be completely honest, I’ll say it’s an evaluation I made after hearing the digital version of that record, because when I flipped the tape over to listen to side two for the first time, my player promptly made a feast of it. Technical difficulties on my part notwithstanding, Space Mushroom Fuzz continue to be somewhat elusive as an act, working around a center of space rock that’s off-center and feeling its way through an ongoing progression even as it results in more and more recorded output, but in cases like Back from the Past, it’s interesting to have them step aside from time to time and take a look at what they’ve done. Their prior tape set, Seeing Double (review here), worked similarly if not as expansively, and the compilation format suits the project. As a lead player and the figure devising these songs and directing their progression, Abrams presents a gleefully strange take on psychedelia, weaving into and through convention en route to something decidedly and purposefully different. One might expect Space Mushroom Fuzz to lead with their newest work and move backwards from there, but listening to it front-to-back, their being counterintuitive seems to be part of the fun.
Space Mushroom Fuzz, Back from the Past (Dec. 2013)
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Recently pared down from a four-piece to a trio following the departure guitarist/vocalist Liz Walshak, Boston heavy thrashers Rozamov will set out on an East Coast tour next month, beginning with a show Feb. 15 at Brooklyn’s The Acheron, where they’ll match wits with the mammoth plod of Eggnogg in what I can only imagine is a show that will test the structural integrity not only of that building, but of the sundry warehouse spaces sharing the block with it. Good bill, in other words.
Speaking of, Rozamov will be back up in MA and closer to home in May for Eye of the Stoned Goat 4. Details on that and more follow below, delivered with care down the PR wire:
Rozamov Announces February East Coast Tour Dates, Playing New Material
One of Boston’s most crushing doom exports, Rozamov have announced a run of East Coast tour dates beginning February 15th at The Acheron in Brooklyn, NY. Recently reborn as a more aggressive and pummeling three piece, the band has been hard at work on their most genre-pushing and crushing music yet and will unveil some of the fruits of their labor on this run.
In addition, Rozamov is offering their most recent EP Of Gods and Flesh for free download for a limited time on Bandcamp. Of Gods and Flesh was recorded at Q Division studios in Somerville, MA by AJ Peters (Summoner, Batillus) and self-released this past summer.
FEBRUARY EAST COAST TOUR 2/15- Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron w/ Godmaker, Eggnog, Crushed 2/16- Washington, DC @ Velvet Lounge w/ The Osedax, Gholas 2/18- Columbia, SC @ Foxfield Bar w/ Darkentries & TBA 2/19- Atlanta, GA @ The Drunken Unicorn w/ Wolves and Jackals, Crawl 2/20- Savannah, GA @ Graveface Records 2/21- Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood w/ Corpse Mountain, Heron, Dreaded 2/22- Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter w/ The Osedax, Thrones of Deceit, Vorator 2/27 – Manchester, NH @ The Shaskeen w/ Vaporizer
5/3-5/4/14- Worcester, MA @ Ralph’s – Eye of The Stoned Goat w/ Order of The Owl, Sixty Watt Shaman, Summoner, Cortez, Phantom Glue + others
Massachusetts trio Elder made their debut in a split with Queen Elephantine in 2006 and have since gone on to establish one of the more forceful approaches in the next generation of American heavy rock, melding heavy psychedelic influences amid deeply weighted cycles of riffing. Comprised of the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto, Elder‘s debut, a 2008 self-titled, found them embarking on a creative discovery of their sound, already plenty engaging with a strong nod to the stonerisms of Sleep, but it was with 2011′s Dead Roots Stirring (review here) that the three-piece made good on the potential they showed their first time out. Both albums were released through MeteorCity, and in 2012, a two-song EP followed via Armageddon Shop called Spires Burn/Release (streamed here) that pushed their sonic individualism even further and resulted in their most distinguished songwriting yet.
Touring in the Eastern and Midwestern US followed in 2012, and in 2013, Elder joined forces with Pet the Preacher for a run of European dates that included the Roadburn festival — the LP version of their set is due soon, but it’s available now to download. After spending much of the summer continuing to write their third album and playing local shows, the band went on hiatus in August so that DiSalvo would be able to spend an academic year abroad, teaching English in Essen, Germany, from where Elder will pick up in April to join the lineups for Desertfest in Berlin and in London.
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Nick DiSalvo
How did you come to do what you do?
I discovered punk rock and started developing my own taste in music when I was about 11 or 12. My brother can take most of the credit for that. I was electrified by the music, the energy, I think it resonated with me in my own youthful exuberance. Of course I wanted to emulate my new idols as every child does, so I got a drum set and a guitar as soon as I had the money and started learning to play. I think there’s not a huge gap between any of the offshoots from rock n’ roll and it was a matter of time before I was introduced to doom and stoner rock. The rest is history.
Describe your first musical memory.
I only have a collective memory of my first musical experiences, the chronology is rather foggy… My childhood best friend and I used to hang out all of the time and write short songs and record them on a four-track recorder I got for Christmas one year. Our “band” probably recorded at least 150 songs, sadly only a few dozen ever made it to the cassette-dubber. Perhaps that sort of “quantity-over-quality” mentality played a role in me adapting quite the opposite attitude nowadays, attempting to compose long, epic songs.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
This is a real toss-up. The first thing that comes to mind is Elder’s Roadburn appearance last April during our first European tour. I had visited Roadburn twice in the past and always viewed the festival as a landmark event (Emissions from the Monolith was, alas, before my time) for the scene, so being able to play was a real honor. The room was packed to the walls and brimming with energy; that was my only gig thus far which really seemed to be as long as the blink of an eye, that’s how adrenaline-filled it was for me.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
Ambivalence has been a major theme of my life ever since I’ve been old enough to think for myself. I can’t think of any firmly held beliefs which aren’t subject to constant criticism and consideration within my own mind.
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
In my ideal world, progression leads to the full realization of the artist’s potential, the discovery of the “true” artistic self. What that means in less pretentious (musical) terms is finding “one’s own sound.” I guess for me, progression means both artistic development and a honing of one’s craft to best express ideas.
How do you define success?
I suppose success is the feeling of having accomplished your goals, and so that really depends on the goals you’ve set for yourself. I think that the perception of success gets twisted over time, however. The goals I set for myself musically years ago have all long since been met; I used to daydream about having my own record, and then I could die happy! Now with every step forward there’s something new to daydream about. I guess that’s one of those American values that have, for better or for worse, been instilled in me, always try to keep moving forward, climbing the ladder, etc. Success should be when you’ve reached happiness.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
Does it sound too clichéd to say that every experience is an enrichment of the character in some way? No, in all seriousness, I think I’ve been fortunate in life and haven’t witnessed anything I would wish to un-see, except for a few unsavory internet videos.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
I can’t wait to get into the studio and start recording the next Elder album. It’s still being written but is inching ever closer to completion. For me, this band, which started off as a free-time project between friends, has really become my baby and the outlet for all of my own creative expression. We’ve been working on the full-length successor to Dead Roots Stirring for many years now and bringing it into physical existence will be an enormous weight off of all of our shoulders.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
I’m living abroad at the moment and am very much looking forward to returning to my friends and loved ones. Other than that, most of the joy in my life is derived from playing and enjoying music, so I can’t comment further!
Posted in Reviews on January 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fun fact: I saw Gozu in Allston just about a year ago, down the street from Great Scott at O’Brien’s (review here). Oh, what a difference a year can make. For me, now I live here. For them, after the early 2013 release of The Fury of a Patient Man (review here), they spent much of the ensuing 12 months playing out in various Eastern Seaboard haunts while reaping international praise for their second Small Stone outing the likes of which landed them a slot at the impending Roadburn 2014 and Berlin Desertfest in April, between which they’ll presumably tour (unless they’re going for frequent flier miles, which is possible) their inaugural European run. Late last year, they also swapped out drummer Barry Spillberg (ex-Wargasm) for former Warhorse basher Mike Hubbard and added Jeff Fultz on third guitar alongside Marc Gaffney and Doug Sherman. I guess their year was somewhat busier than mine. Fair enough.
That last move in particular I found puzzling. Fultz is an experienced, classy player — one might recall his tenure in Seemless last decade, and he currently holds a spot in Mellow Bravo in addition to having joined Gozu — but I wasn’t sure what a five-piece incarnation might add to Gozu‘s dynamic that wasn’t already there in the four-piece. And so curiosity was part of what got me out of the house; the other part was cabin fever. I’d been treating home more or less like a cocoon for the whole week while riding out what the Weather Channel’s website couldn’t seem to stop calling the “Polar Vortex” (which sounds like a stoner rock song if it isn’t one yet). A break in the blistering cold, though it was raining, didn’t hurt either. Seems the mettle of my Mid-Atlantic sensibilities is being tested by my first winter in New England. If I forfeit can it be May?
The night was a five-band bill with Gozu, Never Got Caught, Township, Await Rescue and Thunderbloods, and I won’t pretend to have seen the whole show. I understand that’s how it goes here and bills are stacked regularly and shows are dirt cheap (two bucks per band on this occasion), but with respect for the fertile creative ground that is the Boston scene, I had work still to do. Never Got Caught were on stage when I walked into the Great Scott – a room I dig a lot despite their apparent stance against lighting acts while they play — and though it was catching Gozu that got me out the door like the misshapen pupa I am, I was glad to run into the native four-piece, whose guitarist/vocalist Bryan “Uzi” Hinkley and his brother, drummer Bill Hinkley, trace their pedigree back to ’90s hardcore/heavy rockers Tree.
A double-guitar outfit with Bryan on lead vocals backed by fellow guitarist Dave Ward and bassist Jesse Sherman, they were somewhat moodier live than I recalled from their 2009 Creepshowfull-length, but still rich in tone with the guitars tapping at times into Wino-style fuzz without ever relinquishing their own identity to do so. Their songs were catchy and had character, but weren’t overly poppy, and when Bryan and Sherman and Ward all got on mic at the same time, the vocal interplay was clear, professional and made the songs all the more engaging. I’d never seen Never Got Caught before, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for a chance to do so again. They’ve reportedly got a new album in the works to release in Spring on Mad Oak Records.
Gozu followed immediately and played a set of eight songs evenly split between their two Small Stone records, 2010′s Locust Season(review here) and the aforementioned The Fury of a Patient Man, looking somewhat crowded on the Great Scott stage, but sounding tight although they’re clearly still smoothing out the presentation of the new lineup. Fultz seemed to have stage left to himself at first, while Gaffney was in the center, leaving bassist Joe Grotto and Sherman (Doug, as opposed to Jesse from Never Got Caught) packed on the right — neither of them has ever been wont to stand still while playing in my experience, but there were no collisions that I saw — and Hubbard behind. By the time they finished, they were more comfortable than they had been when they started. Fultz‘s amiable confidence meshed well with the rest of the band, Hubbard hit hard and slaughtered his way through the changes in “Signed, Epstein’s Mom” and “Ghost Wipe.” If nothing else, it was probably the loudest set I’ve seen from Gozu, and at this point I’ve seen a few.
And as they relaxed, sort of letting the songs do their work, the potential for Gozu as a five-piece really began to sink in. I had a forehead-slap moment of “holy shit, duh,” when Sherman and Fultz kicked into dueling solos for Locust Season highlight “Regal Beagle.” Gaffney held down the melody smoothly on vocals, and when the chorus was done and it was time for the guitars to take the lead, all of a sudden it was Gozu doing Thin Lizzy harmonies, adding a completely new twist on a familiar song, and whatever mental block I had to understanding why the band might want to add a third six-stringer evaporated. While Gaffney‘s a more than capable rhythm guitarist, before, it was clearly Sherman‘s role to handle the vast majority of the soling. With Fultz, not only is there a dynamic between lead and rhythm guitar, but between the lead guitars themselves as well. I don’t know why I didn’t get that before I actually stood there to see it — actually yes I do, it’s because I don’t play guitar — but being there made all the difference.
I was suddenly very glad to have left the house, and I felt like I also could relax from that point on in Gozu‘s set, which, as it stormed through “Meth Cowboy” and “Ghost Wipe” en route to closing out with “Mr. Riddle” only gained momentum. If it hadn’t been one before — and I think it had been — it was a party when Gozu were finished, but I beat a quick retreat like the misfit ogre I am and headed out into the moist but above-freezing air to slip on melting ice on the way back to my car. Served me right for not staying for the whole show.
Some more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Boston trio The Proselyte have been looking for a home for their Our Vessel’s in NeedEP for a hot minute or two — there was word of it last April — but the good news is they’ve landed on Chicago-based Gypsyblood Records, the imprint helmed by Stavros Giannopoulos of The Atlas Moth. Not sure on the exact release date, but The Proselyte‘s 2011 outing, Sunshine(discussed here) was a good time, so it’ll be one to keep an eye on.
The three-piece are also braving the cold in order to spread the aforementioned good news. They’ll be hitting the road starting tonight in Allston and heading south and west into the very heart this “polar vortex” I keep hearing so much about but know nothing of because I never leave the house.
Wisdom off the PR wire:
THE PROSELYTE Align With Gypsyblood Records, Announce Winter Tour
The noisy, sludgy, genre-baiting miscreants behind Boston, Massachusetts’ The Proselyte have returned with their most cohesive and menacing effort yet. Ungodly screams and melodic harmonies square off as The Proselyte weave a web anger and beauty inspired in part by the sonic dichotomies of The Melvins and Torche, concocting a heady rush of stoner doom, Seattle grunge, and canny melodicism.
Now a trio, this Boston band have toured the states numerous times and are gearing up for a busy 2014 with a new EP entitled Our Vessel’s In Need. They are pleased to announce that upstart Chicago label Gypsyblood Records will handle the limited vinyl pressing & digital version while artwork will come from Billy Crisafi. The record was engineered by their own Alec Rodriguez at New Alliance Audio and mastered by Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonnella at New Alliance East.
The EP was recorded during the February 2013 blizzard that pummeled the northeast, leaving them and a team of videographers literally trapped inside New Alliance Audio. The result is a balance of solidarity and frightful cabin fever. Now, as the United States grapples with yet another wintery hellscape, The Proselyte rides again.
The band will embark on a short Northeastern run in advance of their Gypsyblood debut, beginning at O’Brien’s Pub on January 9th (dates below!).
THE PROSELYTE JANUARY TOUR 2014 January 9th Boston MA @ O’Brien’s Pub* January 10th Long Branch NJ @ The Brighton Bar* January 11th Pittsburgh PA @ Howler’s* January 12th Columbus OH @ Carabar* January 13th Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle* January 14th Lexington KY @ Al’s Sidecar January 15th – Cincinnati OH @ The Rakes End January 16th Philadelphia PA @ Johnny Brenda’s January 17th Brooklyn NY @ Acheron January 18th New London CT @ The Orphanage# *with Jar’d Loose # with Sea of Bones
THE PROSELYTE is: Nicholas Wolf-vocals, guitar Alec Rodriguez-vocals, drums Brad Macomber-bass
Posted in Reviews on December 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’d never seen Queens of the Stone Age before. Had plenty of chances to, for sure, but I was always worried that going to a show would make me like the band less. It wasn’t until earlier this year when I sat, transfixed, and watched the online broadcast of the band playing the entirety of 2013′s …Like Clockwork (review here) as well as other selections from their catalog that I finally said to myself, “Well maybe now’s the time.” The band around guitarist/vocalist Josh Homme – guitarist/backing vocalist Troy Van Leeuwen (who seems to set a standard of wardrobe for the others to match), guitarist/keyboardist Dean Fertita, bassist Michael Shuman and drummer Jon Theodore — sounded so tight and the …Like Clockwork material was so dead-on to how it came across on the album, I decided that at the risk of coming out of it less of a fan of the band than I went in and generally not liking arena shows either as a concept or reality, it was worth showing up.
That was back in May. This past cold Friday night at Boston University’s Agganis Arena found Queens of the Stone Age no less righteous in their execution, most especially of the newer songs, but also in general. They put on a crisp, professional-grade show. Opening act The Kills were chic enough that I felt like a hick looking at a magazine ad for a product I couldn’t afford and that almost certainly wouldn’t fit anyway, but another example of the malleable nature of a Stooges influence if nothing else, though vocalist Alison Mosshart‘s strut was pure Jagger more than Iggy Pop, so take that for what it’s worth in my assessment of influence. There were four percussionists behind them — so far away on a big arena stage — but a drum machine going as well, which I didn’t understand, but whatever. I’m not sure they were doing anything rhythmically that a single drummer or two wouldn’t have been able to handle, but the contrast of spectacle with minimalism seemed to be part of the fun. Fair enough.
Not my thing as much as I have one, but neither am I inclined to call a dogwhistle broken just because I can’t hear it. To The Kills‘ credit, they managed to bring an intimate vibe — albeit one highly stylized — to a venue that boasts of holding 7,200 people. In that sense, they served well to warm up the crowd for Queens of the Stone Age, who arrived on stage following a 60-second countdown and launched their set with a firm one-two-three punch in “You Think I ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire” and “No One Knows” from 2002′s Songs for the Deafand plunging into the upbeat first single from …Like Clockwork, “My God is the Sun,” arguably the most “desert rock” moment on the latest album and a decent fit alongside the older material for its forward rush and sand-dune thematic. Not surprisingly, “No One Knows,” which was arguably the mega-single that broke the band commercially, garnered a huge response.
As one would have to expect with its relevance and commercial success, …Like Clockworkfeatured heavily in the set, with eight of the total 10 tracks being aired — only “I Appear Missing” and opener “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” were shelved, much to my dismay in the case of the former — and as it would have to, that came at the expense of other songs. Can’t do “Mexicola” if you’re doing “If I Had a Tail.” No room for “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” if you want to push “Smooth Sailing.” Fine. As huge as the record was, I couldn’t really begrudge the Elvis-wiggling Homme and the rest of the band wanting to play new songs. If I wanted to see “Mexicola,” maybe I should’ve showed up a decade ago when I was hemming and hawing about it — or, you know, two years ago when they toured playing that whole album in honor of the reissue. And both “Monsters in the Parasol” and “Better Living through Chemistry” from 2000′s sophomore outing, RatedR,were included, so there was a nod to the beginnings of the band there.
“Better Living through Chemistry” was especially potent in its druggy and meandering way, snapped back to reality at the end as an early example of the scope of Homme‘s songwriting. At the show, it followed after “Fairweather Friends,” a highlight cut from …Like Clockwork‘s B-side not the least because of Sir Elton John‘s guest appearance, which in turn was positioned after “Make it wit Chu” and “Sick, Sick, Sick” from 2007′s Era Vulgaris. Kind of a strange sequence there, but I wouldn’t argue if you told me that was the whole point. Though it was more subdued, the progression of “…Like Clockwork” into Lullabies to Paralyze(2005) brooder “I Never Came” made sense as it started to pick up into “If I Had a Tail,” but “Kalopsia” might’ve been the high point of the whole night. The band more or less sounds like it was constructed in order to be able to pull off that track. I know that’s not the case — Van Leeuwen and Shuman have been on board for years, even if Fertita and Theodore are relatively new — but that’s how it sounded. And of course they nailed it, even down to the dreamy midsection peppered with lighthearted delivery of the song’s title. All systems functional.
When they kicked into “Go with the Flow” to put the cap on the pre-encore portion of the set, the charge was so fast that I didn’t even recognize it at the first line. That could’ve been an effect of where I was sitting, but I managed to catch up before the verse kicked in. That would wind up being the final highlight, as the encore of “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” an extended “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and “A Song for the Dead” seemed uneven. Maybe it was the immediate jump from Homme sitting at a piano asking, “Does anyone ever get this right?” to namedropping drugs that didn’t quite work, but Queens of the Stone Age seemed to be working off two different impulses — one a mature arena rock professional delivery, cold if ably done — and the other a more chaotic and dangerous entity, stumbling around stage and assaulting with feedback, drawling out a chorus of “Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.” I felt like I was at Sesame Street trying to puzzle through “one of these is not like the other.”
Of course, when “A Song for the Dead” kicked in, it didn’t matter. Standing on top a short stack of amplifiers, Homme was every bit stewing in the wash of noise the band created, and the rush was irresistible; despite the size of the room, the space on the stage, the “no bags” rule at the Agganis Arena and anything else, there was an element of danger that had reared its head a couple times throughout. Then the show was over and it was time to go sit in the underground parking lot for half an hour waiting to make my way back to Comm Ave. I was still home before midnight, and no less a fan of the band than when I’d left.