Heliotropes Sign to The End Records; New Album Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Psychedelic rockers Heliotropes — now, but not always, a four-piece — have signed a deal to release their sophomore full-length through The End Records in Spring 2016. Led by vocalist/songwriter Jessica Numsuwankijkul, the band made their debut in 2013 with A Constant Sea, and though the specifics are few and far between for the follow-up, the band shared the stage earlier this month with Matt and Kim at Music Hall of Williamsburg and they’ll open for Rob Crow in March. Maybe they can convince him to do another Goblin Cock record. That’d be spiffy.

Speaking of spiffy, If you didn’t hear it, A Constant Sea was right on. It’s streaming below, after the announcement from the PR wire:


Brooklyn Psych-Rockers HELIOTROPES Sign To THE END RECORDS!

Brooklyn-based genre-benders Heliotropes have officially signed with The End Records for the release of their upcoming full-length studio album, set for release Spring 2016.

Heliotropes combine sludgy metal guitar tones, introspective shoegaze interludes, psychedelic drone, and atmospheric harmonies to create a sound that’s as equally hard to pin down as it is alluring.

Heliotropes is comprised of founding member/songwriter/vocalist Jessica Numsuwankijkul, along with a rotating cast of collaborators, including drummer Cici Harrison, bassist Richard Thomas, and guitarist Ricci Swift, who are all featured on the band’s upcoming album.

The band’s first recorded offering came with 2012’s Ribbons 7”, followed the next year by their debut LP entitled A Constant Sea, which was named by Mother Jones as one of the 10 Best Albums Of 2013. Since then, the band has performed on the road with Esben And The Witch and toured nationally with stops at South By Southwest, Firefly and Culture Collide, sharing the stage with a far-reaching variety of bands including Thurston Moore, The Geto Boys, Matt and Kim, Kurt Vile, Parquet Courts, The Black Angels and The Raveonettes.

Says Jessica, “I’m very excited to release our upcoming album. We’ve been working on it for a while now and we’re very pleased to work with The End, who are gracious enough to remind us to do normal stuff like make album artwork.”


Heliotropes, A Constant Sea (2013)

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Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand Split 7″ Reissued

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you’d like to put the split release between Brooklyn doomers Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand into some kind of context — and hey, who doesn’t love context? — the year it first came out on Chrome Peeler Records, 2010, was the same year that Unearthly Trance released their final to-date album, V (review here), on Relapse. They also had a collaborative release out that year with Swedish outfit Suma, with whom they toured. Wooden Wand, in the meantime, released the Death Seat album through Michael Gira‘s Young God Records after working with Thurston Moore‘s Ecstatic Peace imprint on 2009’s Hard Knox.

Neither outfit, then, coming into the split in anything resembling a slouch. Unearthly Trance would call it quits soon enough — I think in no small part because of the aforementioned tour — but the Manson split remains a curio, with Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand both taking on songs written by the serial killer, and both working in a decidedly dark but quiet aesthetic, the underlying threat of the material made plain across its relatively brief span.

Chrome Peeler, in order to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the release and Unearthly Trance‘s return to activity this month with a West Coast tour, has made the tracks available as a name-your-price download. The particulars:

unearthly trance wooden wand split

Unearthly Trance / Wooden Wand “Manson” 7″

Celebrate the 5th anniversary of UNEARTHLY TRANCE / WOODEN WAND “Manson” 7″. Now available to download HERE.

About the record:
Unearthly Trance reach into the hole of the infinite with their haunting version of Charles Manson’s “People Say I’m No Good” while Wooden Wand programs the young love with a version of “Get On Home.” Originally released in an edition of 200 that sold out instantly.

UNEARTHLY TRANCE side recorded at SIR, NYC 2010.

WOODEN WAND side recorded at Pagan Sound, Lexington, KY spring 2010.

Nov. 13-14 – Midnite Communion III at The Breakers, Long Beach CA w/ Morne, Brainoil, Dopethrone & more
Nov. 15 – The Golden Bull, Oakland CA w/ CHRCH, Abstracter
Nov. 16 – Club 66, Ashland OR
Nov. 17 – Star Theater, Portland OR w/ Samothrace, Ephemeros
Nov. 18 – The Highline, Seattle WA w/ Samothrace, MG?A, Weregoat
Nov. 19 – Hindenberg, Vancouver BC w/ Usnea, Haggatha


Unearthly Trance & Wooden Wand, Manson Split (2010)

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Reign of Zaius Release New Single “Farewell to Arms”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure how Brooklyn stoner riffers Reign of Zaius knew I was thinking about setting up an Evil Dead marathon this Halloween (whether or not it materializes is another concern entirely, but I was thinking about it) but good on the four-no-wait-five-piece for keeping up with my half-formed intentions. I’m not really a big Halloween guy, actually — did you know people get dressed up for that? — but one thinks of these things. Clearly I wasn’t the only person thinking of Bruce Campbell, as Reign of Zaius have just released a new single called “Farewell to Arms” that takes its theme from the cult Sam Raimi trilogy of films, and I guess by extension from the new tv arm of the franchise, Ash vs. Evil Dead, which also premieres this weekend.

The song itself I remember from when the band played Worcester, MA, over the summer (review here) — watch out for getting your soul swallowed — and “Farewell to Arms” follows their last single, “Power Hitter” (posted here), and finds them welcoming guitarist Vlad the Inhaler back into the fold. Details follow:


Reign Of Zaius release Evil Dead themed song “Farewell to Arms”

Brooklyn-based stoner rockers Reign of Zaius have released a new single: “Farewell to Arms”, a musical tribute to the classic cult-horror film Evil Dead 2.
The song is available as a free download at the band’s website: http://reignofzaius.net/

“Farewell to Arms” arrives just in time for the Halloween premiere of “Ash vs. Evil Dead”, the latest installment in the Evil Dead franchise, produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell for the Starz network.

Like their previous single “Power Hitter”, the song “Farewell to Arms” was recorded independently by Reign of Zaius at their secret headquarters in Brooklyn. This is the band’s second recording with vocalist Leon “Space” Chase and guitarist Mike “Creepy Mo” O’Neil. The single also marks the official return of guitarist “Vlad the Inhaler”, who left Reign of Zaius under mysterious circumstances a year ago but has now officially re-joined the band full-time.

In response to allegations that “Farewell to Arms” might actually contain ancient incantations capable of unleashing real-life demons into the homes of its listeners, Chase said only this: “As long as nobody plays it backwards, we’ll all be fine.”


Reign of Zaius, “Farewell to Arms”

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Kings Destroy Post New Video for “Smokey Robinson”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

kings destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was at this show. The bill was Elder, Kings Destroy, Apostle of Solitude and Clamfight, and it was May 5 of this year at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (review here). It was a great night, by all accounts. Kings Destroy were celebrating the release of their self-titled (review here) via War Crime Recordings, and they were doing so at the place that’s more or less been their home base for the last several years, surrounded by friends and family. I was very glad to have been there.

Whenever possible or appropriate for me to do so, I try to post a video by Frank Huang. Not that the dude needs my help in the slightest, but the Brooklyn-based videographer is so on his game, every single time out, that you know immediately it will be quality work that deserves every eyeball that winds up on it. Murphy from KD is right when he talks below about Huang‘s documenting Brooklyn’s heavy scene. He’s the kind of guy that in a few years someone will make a documentary about, and rightfully so. Some people should earn a living just by existing, and Frank is one of them.

It’s fitting that he should be the one to have shot and edited the new Kings Destroy video for “Smokey Robinson,” since he, like the band, is a part of the weird heavy explosion that’s happened in Brooklyn the last seven, eight years or so. I was glad to see him that night, stood next to him and tried (also failed) to stay out of the way while he filmed. Again, that was a fun night. Everybody killed, front to back, and it was a firm reminder of all the things I miss most about going to shows in New York. Mostly the people I see there.

Kings Destroy have some big news coming. I’m not allowed to say what it is or I would, but it’s incredible. Keep an eye out.

“Smokey Robinson” is a great tune. I remember when they started playing it live, the starts and stops. It opens the record, which, if you haven’t heard yet, just fucking click the link and get yourself a copy. You’ll thank me later.

They’re playing with Acid King (some other cool bands as well) this weekend, and with YOB and Black Cobra next month. Dates follow the video. Enjoy:

Kings Destroy, “Smokey Robinson” official video

NYC stoner rock/doom rock unit, KINGS DESTROY, unveils a brand new video for the track “Smokey Robinson.” Shot by Pit Full Of Shit’s Frank Huang at their official record release show earlier this year at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar, the tune comes by way of the band’s self-titled War Crime Recordings-issued full-length.

Of the latest clip, vocalist Steve Murphy comments, “Our previous videos always had storylines so this time we bring you a live sampling of the band. It made sense to have it filmed at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York on our record release show because that place is home to us much like CBGB was home to our hardcore bands. The people at Saint Vitus have nurtured us from our early days. We also chose Frank Huang to produce it. Frank is in the process of documenting the heavy scene in NYC like no one else. His work is important and down the road it will be Frank who will be recognized for his tireless contribution to our scene. I did not tell the band that we were doing this video so it’s a true representation of KINGS DESTROY live. The words of the song have darker undertones about the problems we have with racial equality in our country. The words play off the more upbeat tempo of the song.”

In related KINGS DESTROY news, the band will take to the streets again on a short run of live dates supporting the likes of Acid King, YOB and more with future onstage debauchery in the plotting stages.

10/24/2015 Kings Barcade – Raleigh, NC, w/ Acid King, Demon Eye
10/25/2015 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY, w/ Acid King, Sanhedrin
10/27/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA, w/ Acid King, Heavy Temple
11/7/2015 Webster Hall (Marlin Room) – New York, NY w/ Yob, Black Cobra

Kings Destroy at War Crime Recordings

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks


War Crime Recordings on Thee Facebooks

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Thera Roya, Unraveling: That Feeling of Falling Inward

Posted in Reviews on September 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

thera roya unraveling

Unraveling is the second EP from Brooklyn post-sludgers Thera Roya, following a 2013 self-titled, a split with respected NJ black metallers Hercyn (review here) and a smattering of singles going back to when they were called The Badeda Ladies and played as a duo, circa 2012/2013. Tour veterans with Maryland’s Foehammer and others and regular denizens of The Meatlocker in scenic Montclair, New Jersey, and the formidable group of bands that haunt that space — DutchgutsSet and SettingThe Sun the Moon the Stars and so on — the three-piece also recorded the three-song Unvraveling there and push the line between an EP and an LP at 28 minutes but in the end benefit from the concise intensity that a shorter offering brings.

Working under the basic concept of portraying a panic attack, drummer Ryan Smith (also Mountain God) varies between lyrics and indecipherable syllabic screams, and he, guitarist Christopher Eustaquio (also Sunrot) and bassist Jonathan Cohn bring about a suitable tumult to fit that ideal, though as stormy as it is at its most raging, Unraveling is never far from its sense of atmosphere, and as the vinyl-ready structure moves between the first two seven-minute tracks “Anomie” and “Body Breaker” and into the 13-minute closing title-cut, the scope likewise broadens. Looking at it on the level of its concept, I’m not sure I’d say Thera Roya have made sense of the panic attack, but they’ve at very least begun to process what has just given way within the body. It feels significant enough to mention that after all the explosiveness and abrasion contained in these tracks, Unraveling ends quietly.

The EP arrives as a customized presentation of the cover art — almost like a greeting card from the recesses of your psyche. Inside one finds a note in challenging handwriting, various symbols and words jumbled together and a download code, the band tapping into DIY ethics without necessarily having to pay to press a CD or tape. As noted, the structure of Unraveling is suited to vinyl and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up that way sooner or later, but a digital release works for setting up a linear, front-to-back flow in a way that vinyl wouldn’t allow, however enjoyable it might be to see Miriam Carothers‘ cover art at such a scale. That flow winds up a major argument in favor of considering Unraveling as a full-length, but the stated intent is otherwise, and at under a half-hour, it’s still easy to read the release as offering a sample of where Thera Roya are at in their progression.

THERA ROYA - Unraveling - tour thera 2015

For an answer, they present the punch-you-in-the-face feedback that launches “Anomie,” a thick, grueling riff emerging in slow grind soon topped by screams, deceptively intricate building, and a pervasive rollout offset by post-hardcore-style turns — Isis at their angriest — but by the time it gets down to its final minute, the mood is more desperate than infuriated. “Body Breaker” picks up from there with a tense underlying fuzz that Smith soon joins on drums, its opening more dedicated to instilling unease than smashing away, though of course they get there as well. Around the halfway point, “Body Breaker” shifts into bigger post-metallic riffing, setting up a transition into a quiet, isolated-sounding ambient stretch that carries through the last two-minutes-plus of the song, Cohn‘s bass and Eustaquio‘s guitar taking a forward position as a softer nod takes hold, but it’s not until “Unraveling” itself that they really revive the push.

Their finishing move, “Unraveling” is a monster. It starts out full-boar, finds a middle-ground and even introduces some cleaner singing — a first on the release — before turning to slower plod. All within its first two minutes. Aside from demonstrating Thera Roya‘s ability to work in longer forms, something which I’d be very surprised if they didn’t try again at some point, it’s the richest of the three inclusions and the most atmospherically complex, setting rhythms against each other and moving into an ambient stretch that sets up a linear build to serve as the apex of the EP but not its actual ending, which after. A series of crashes at 6:30 are topped with shouts from Smith as the band move into a highlight, densely-weighted low-end groove, the bass and guitar distinguishable only in the level of force they elicit.

It’s from this foundation that the peak of “Unraveling” is launched in somewhat abbreviated flourish of melody in the guitar, Eustaquio finding room in all that onslaught for subdued, post-rock noodling. The vocals don’t dare — yet — but for this outing, the threat is enough, and before “Unraveling” falls apart at the close, Thera Roya underscore the potential for growth in their sound. Already, they’ve ranged farther than they probably knew they would when they started writing this material, but it still sounds like just the beginning of what they could accomplish stylistically, figuring out how to play off the loud/quiet trades, the dynamics between bass and guitar, where and how and what vocals can add to the atmosphere as another instrument in conveying intent. Unraveling does not suffer from a lack of ambition, but neither is that all it has to offer, and it proves an immersive listen that shows its real strength in putting the listener in the mindset where the band wants them to be. It is disturbing and engaging in kind.

Thera Roya, Unraveling (2015)

Thera Roya on Thee Facebooks

Thera Roya on Bandcamp

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Lineup Announced for Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous; Saviours, Witch, The Skull and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Respected purveyor Tee Pee Records will host what they’ve dubbed the Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous on Sept. 5 and 6 at The Wick in Brooklyn. The two-day fest is headlined by Witch and Saviours, and will feature a pair of sets from The Bevis Frond as well as Tee Pee label-denizens CarouselMirror Queen and The Skull, as well as Brooklyn natives The Golden Grass and Boston’s Worshipper. Pretty badass to get The Bevis Frond over at all, so yeah, two sets makes sense, and it’s not like Witch play out every day, so mark it down as a win for brand extension and rock and roll in general.

This one doesn’t really need me to sell it. The PR wire brings details:

tee pee cosmic sonic rendezvous


September 5th & 6th at The Wick in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Day 1: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring SAVIOURS, THE SKULL, MIRROR QUEEN, THE BEVIS FROND
tickets: http://bit.ly/1KjuqRK

Day 2: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring WITCH, CAROUSEL, THE BEVIS FROND, THE GOLDEN GRASS, WORSHIPPER
tickets: http://bit.ly/1Kjuv82

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous! Tee Pee Records has always been proud to offer a lovingly loud collection of the finest rock bands to the world, and it seemed only natural to create a unique event and annually bring together many of our favorites to New York City.

While most of the bands on the Tee Pee roster have a definite guitar-based sensibility, there is quite a range therein that we and the bands are constantly exploring. Fans of underground rock know that they are witnessing a contemporary explosion of creative bands purveying in everything from joyous riff-rock to full-on psych; from the heaviest doom to neo-thrash; from bands who nod to the occult to a new wave of space-rock to bands who hearken to the blues; etc, etc.

We hope you enjoy these two fantastic nights of music, comprised of bands both rising and those that are stalwarts. Some have albums out on Tee Pee, while others we gleefully listen across what is not a great divide. We feel they all represent what is at least one part of the underground rock ethos: you do it because you simply have to, and you love it loud.

See you there!

260 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206


Saviours, “Final Live” at the DNA Lounge, San Francisco, CA

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Blind Idiot God Sign with Paperclip Agency for European Booking

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

This makes sense. If I was Blind Idiot God, back together and having released my first new album in 23 years — that being Before Ever After (review here) on Indivisible Music — I’d probably go to Europe too. Plans are in the works, apparently, for the trio to do precisely that. They’ve signed with Netherlands-based Paperclip Agency for booking, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to have them show up on the Continent sometime in Spring 2016 — say around April, and say about an hour outside of Amsterdam by rail in a sleepy corner of a town taken over by weirdos for about a week annually — nothing’s yet been announced in such concrete terms and there’s some mention of them getting over before the end of the year as well.

Fair enough. The PR brings us the known knowns:

blind idiot god


New Album, Before Ever After, Co-Produced by Bill Laswell With Original Artwork By Seldon Hunt Out Now

Indivisible Music announces that Blind Idiot God has signed on with Dutch booking agency, Paperclip. Agency heads, Rob Berends and Hilde Spille, are working on festival and tour dates all over Europe for late 2015 through 2016.

The band has always received huge accolades from European press, most recently The Wire UK called the band’s new record “sound as physical force.” NME wrote “They’re post-everything in the best sense of the term.” Melody Maker stated “Blind Idiot God are worthy of cult status.”

Band co-founder Andy Hawkins explains, “Paperclip booked Blind Idiot God’s first tours in Europe starting in the ’80s while we were on SST. We still get positive feedback from people who came to those shows. The band’s focus on a powerful, particular sound has increased over the years so if feels good knowing we’ll be able to connect with those fans again. We anticipate high quality bookings with Paperclip handling us – which is great, since we’re itchin’ to get back to Europe and unleash!”

Paperclip Agency’s Rob Berends adds, “My aim is to bring the band back to Europe for a series of tours covering the entire continent, putting them in front of the largest possible audiences. European capitals, cult venues and a wide variety of festivals are the places the band should perform. We will help get them there.”

Blind Idiot God is Andy Hawkins on guitar; Tim Wyskida (Khanate, Jodis, Plotkin & Wyskida) on drums; Will Dahl on bass (though founding member Gabe Katz plays bass on the album). The band has shared the stage with artists like John Zorn (a collaborator who released their third album on Avant Records), Helmet, Black Flag, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Die Kreuzen, Don Caballero, Jesus Lizard, Napalm Death, HR, Eekamouse among many others.

Although Before Ever After is the band’s first release in over twenty years — live and on the recording, they continue their deep exploration of heavy, funk and dub sounds. Respected music publications including Noisey/Vice, Pitchfork, Talk House, New Noise, and many others have all featured the band, exploring their story and sound. Three songs from the new album are featured on the soundtrack of the VHI documentary film about Napster titled, Downloaded, starring Mike D, Henry Rollins, Noel Gallagher and directed by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Lost Boys, Freaked). The band plays regularly in New York where they are based.


Blind Idiot God, “Antiquity”

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Reign of Zaius Release New Single “Power Hitter”

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

reign of zaius (Photo by Jason Lee)

Been a while since the last time we heard from Brooklyn heavy rockers Reign of Zaius. Long enough, as it happens, for them to revamp their lineup and re-embark on a long series of regional gigs. It’s been a few years since I last was able to see them on stage, but they’ve been a steady presence around New York City’s heavy underground, and they’ve just put out a new single called “Power Hitter,” which marks the first time I’m hearing them with vocalist Leon Chase, and it’s an immediately favorable impression with some punker edge that suits the band’s roots well.

They played Brooklyn last night at Bar Matchless as the first of a three-night weekender that continues this evening in Worcester, MA, and concludes tomorrow in New London, CT. Single announcement and show details follow:

reign of zaius worcester show

Reign of Zaius Releases “Power Hitter”

Brooklyn-based stoner rockers Reign of Zaius have announced the earthly debut of a brand new single: “Power Hitter”. The song is available as a free download at the band’s website: http://reignofzaius.net/sounds

“Power Hitter” was recorded by Reign of Zaius at their secret headquarters (a.k.a. “the practice space”) in Brooklyn. This is the band’s first recording since a series of massive lineup changes—first with the recruitment of singer Leon “Space” Chase in 2014 and then, more recently, the addition of guitarist Mike “Creepy Mo” O’Neil. The change in personnel brought a definite shift in sound—with “Power Hitter”, the band’s previous two-guitar bombardment has given way to the much grittier, stripped-down feel of Mo’s single Les Paul.
The new single arrives just in time for Reign of Zaius’ “Obesity in Three Cities” mini-tour of the Northeast, beginning Thursday, July 30th at Brooklyn’s own Bar Matchless, and ending all the way up in New London, Connecticut on August 1st. Complete show info is available here: http://reignofzaius.net/events


Reign of Zaius, “Power Hitter”

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