The Golden Grass Give a Taste of Debut Single in New Video Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In addition to a Funkadelic t-shirt spotting — always an encouraging sign — on bassist Joe Noval, the expertly-edited video teaser below for The Golden Grass‘ debut 7″ has clips of both songs included, “One More Time” and “Tornado.” The Brooklyn trio, comprised of Noval as well as guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich (Strange Haze) and drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney (La Otracina), will issue the single on Svart Records and Electric Assault Records next week, and preorders are available now.

They’ve also got a few tour dates lines up that will take them out to Cincinnati for the Cincy Pysch Fest, and they’ll be headed north to Maine for a gig at Geno‘s in Portland, Maine, on Nov. 8. Fingers crossed they add a Massachusetts date so I can finally see what I’ve been fussing about all this time and maybe pick up a copy of their 456th Div. tape if there are any left (they only made 50).

Until then, here’s the teaser for the single:

The Golden Grass, One More Time/Tornado 7″ Preview

Here is the 7″ Preview Video of the forthcoming The Golden Grass 7″ on Svart Records/Electric Assault Records! Shot and directed by Max Warmbrodt!

Please share this!

Pre-order the 7″ in the EU here:


10/24 at Kung Fu Necktie/Philadelphia/PA w/ Mike Donovan (of SIC ALPS) -

10/25 at Howler’s/Pittsburg/PA w/ CAROUSEL + LOST REALMS -

10/26 at Cincy Psych Fest/Mayday Northside/Cincinnati/OH -

10/27 at Beachland Ballroom/Cleveland/OH w/ ELECTRIC LUCIFER + EXPLODING LIES -

11/8 at Geno’s/Portland/ME w/ HESSIAN + MANIC ABRAXAS + IDIOT GENES -

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Sannhet Come to Ruin in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve seen a few YuberToube clips in the last couple weeks that come with a warning for flashing lights and sharp cuts and such that might trigger epileptics to have a seizure. Seems fair enough. Sannhet‘s new clip for “Slow Ruin” from their 2013 Known Flood debut album on Sacrament Music doesn’t have one, but it easily could for its do-not-adjust-your-set intro or when the blastbeats kick in and our heroine, seemingly confined to a white-but-not-padded box, begins to make a clay version of herself to then cast into the ocean. Take that, constructed identities! Director AJ Annunziata, who also serves as bassist in the sample-prone Brooklyn instrumental post-metal trio, does well in aligning the visual to the audio of the track, which appears here somewhat edited from its seven-minute form on the album, much of the last two minutes of which was given to a wash of droning noise.

One of the highlight aspects of Known Flood (discussed here) is the efficiency with which Sannhet ebb and flow between black-metal-derived blasting and ambient explorations, and even abridged in terms of the latter, “Slow Ruin” brings that duality to light. Brutality and post-rock-style airiness persist in the guitars of Christopher Todd and drummer John Refano fluidly holds the song together in its torrential onslaught, the final product eliciting a feel of entranced worship as much as sonic punishment, calling later Godflesh to mind early but building up to something with an entirely different kind of seething at its center.

Word on the street is Sannhet will release a new digital single next month, and for those of you in that part of the world, they’ll be playing the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn this Friday, Oct. 18, with Pelican, Phantom Glue, Kings Destroy, Pyrrhon and Wreck and Reference as part of the second night of Invisible Oranges’ showcase for CMJ. Quite an evening. Here’s the video:

Sannhet, “Slow Ruin” official video

Sannhet on Thee Facebooks

Sacrament Music

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audiObelisk: Blackout Premiere “Amnesia” from Debut Album We are Here

Posted in audiObelisk on October 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They called the album We are Here, and who could argue? There they are. Marking their arrival by means of their self-released debut full-length on Oct. 25, Blackout — who hail from a small town on the Eastern Seaboard called Brooklyn (I think that’s how it’s spelled) — show up with big riffs, big stomp, and underpinnings of quirk that give their unabashed tonal weight a sense that’s both lighthearted in not taking itself too seriously and a huge part of what makes the album overall so effective. Copping influence from stoner heavyweights like the Melvins and Sleep — easy comparisons to make, but true all the same — Blackout might read on the surface like Riffy Brand X, but there’s more to We are Here than sonic redundancies and tonal largesse.

Not to understate the tonal largesse — both guitarist/vocalist Christian Gordy and bassist Justin Sherrell (also drums in Bezoar) proffer much viscosity in line with the swing of Taryn Waldman‘s drums – but with the weirdo compression on Gordy‘s vocals throughout the album, subtle melody and boogie of a song like “Seven,” as much as they’re setting up beach chairs in the pool of distortion they’ve crafted, Blackout haven’t neglected to give an individual spin to otherwise familiar elements. Rounding out with the heavy-hoofed march of “Seven,” We are Here gives the impression that Blackout are interested in and working at coming into their own sound-wise. Fortunately for all parties involved save perhaps eardrums, they save room for a noisy freakout at the end.

The early cut “Amnesia” may be short at 3:19 compared to some of what surrounds it, but the rush the trio creates across that span rings out like the echoes off a holy mountain, and it’s clear that whatever one might recognize in their approach, Blackout couple their unabashed stonerly crunch with idiosyncratic purpose. We are Here is an easy record to dig for the already converted, but its greatest strength lies in off-kilter moments like “Smoker” and “Indian,” which show this personality and burgeoning affinity for strangeness but never fail to serve the song and the album overall, striking a balance of indulgence and accessibility that’s a lot harder to nail than it might seem.

It’s a good ‘un, and both times I’ve had the chance to see Blackout live (reviews here and here), they’ve impressed, so I’m thrilled today to be hosting the premiere of “Amnesia” in advance of the release of We are Here later this month. Please find it on the player below and please enjoy:

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

Blackout‘s We are Here will be available on Oct. 25. More info and music at the links below.

Blackout on Thee Facebooks

Blackout on Bandcamp

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Roadburn 2014 Lineup: Hull, Morne and -(16)- Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Straight out of the “Fucking A” file comes the news that Brooklyn post-sludgers Hull have joined the lineup for Roadburn 2014. One can only hope that by the time April rolls around the now-foursome will be supporting a follow-up to 2011′s triumphant sophomore outing, Beyond the Lightless Sky (review here) — they’ve been playing new material live for a while — but even if not, it’s awesome to see them on the bill for Roadburn, where they’re almost certain to lay waste to what and whomever should stand in their path at the 013.

News has also come out in the last couple days that Boston funeral doomers Morne and CA sludge mainstays 16 have been added to the fest. Updates follow, courtesy of the Roadburn site:

Hull: Brooklyn Sludge Rock Alchemists Added To Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Brooklyn, New York sludge rock alchemists, Hull have been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Hull will be performing alongside a jaw-dropping lineup that already includes Opeth, Yob, Triptykon, A Storm Of Light, Crowbar, Graves at Sea, Lord Dying, and so many more.

Comments guitarist Nick Palmirotto, “Hull is absolutely elated to be a part of the vastly diverse lineup that will be gracing the stages of Roadburn 2014. Having had the tremendous experience of performing bass guitar duties for Jarboe in 2010, it is an honor for Hull to be a part of one of the most unique and unprecedented festivals in the world of heavy music. Our gratitude speaks no bounds, we shall forge onward through the barren lands, beyond the lightless sky.”

Hull released their monolithic Beyond The Lightless Sky full-length via The End Records in 2011. Commended by The Village Voice (NYC) its “motorcycle-revving D-beat, bog-trawling doom, sinister black metal, Neurosis drum-offs and hypnotic passages that gnash like a venom-dripping cousin to the final Isis album,” Beyond The Lightless Sky features guest appearances by vocalist Jarboe, keys/ambiance by Fade Kainer (Batillus / Jarboe / Inswarm) and has reaped critical acclaim internationally for its delicate balance of staggering heaviness and poetic grace.

Hull materializes as a massive entity storming stages and immersing their audiences in a blanket of grandiose down-tuned compositions. A shifting fault line of decibel heavy harmony, this collective force converges in a collision of thrash, doom, classic rock, and formal orchestral works.

Hull commands their listeners through each riff with incredible precision, as a seafarer guides vessels through ominous waters. Submerged in cosmic soundscapes, Hull challenges the mind with flowing, off-time fugues and powerful, dynamic movements.

Brace yourself for an onslaught of eruptive force as a new world of music is formed in the deafening clap of thunder that is Hull.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Boston’s Morne To Bring Outsider Funeral Doom To Roadburn 2014 Afterburner

Boston’s Morne has everything you could ever want in an outsider funeral doom band. Their sound, revolving around guitarist / singer Milosz Gassan, shifts from crushing bombast to dark psychedelia, from crumbling, downtuned riffage to lumbering drone and from post rock to gothic gloom and metallic crust. They traverse this wide range of sounds without dwelling in trendy post-metal circles or being part of the seemingly never ending enclave of Neurosis adepts.

On their latest album, Shadows (out on Profound Lore), Morne even delves into classic rock and 70s prog, which drives the band onwards though a darkened wasteland of melancholy and menace, fueled by bleakness, airily textural progressions, moody melodies and a fierce, riffy, but also straightforward chug.

Morne, huge favorites of Darkthrone’s Fenriz and Nocturno Culto –who incorporated the Morne logo into the artwork of Circle The Wagons, will bring their vulnerable slabs of despair to the 2014 Roadburn Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday , April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

-(16)- To Bring Jagged Blocks of Buzzing Sludge To Roadburn Festival 2014

Over the last two decades, Califorian veterans -(16)- have been pioneering heavy-as-hell, ill tempered sludge metal, alongside fellow luminaries Buzzov*en, Eyehategod and Crowbar (among others).

Despite all the anguish, pain and countless lineup changes that 20 years brought, -(16)- remained a dependable source of gutsy, misery infested, torturous sludge, captured on albums like Drop Out, Zoloft Smile and Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds (out on Relapse Records).

Whether its the band’s mid tempo, aggressive metal assault, their sludgy dissonance or aggro-punk-hardcore filth, -(16)- spits it out with hateful, jaw-punching glee – thriving on chugging guitars, grinding bass and growling vocals that drive home the point like a blast of scuzzed-up vitriol.

We’re looking forward to get punched in the gut, and smacked in the face as well by -(16)-‘s jagged blocks of buzzing sludge on Saturday, April 12th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Nope we won’t mind it abit, as we’ve been waiting for so many years for this to happen!

Turn up, tune down, give up…

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Hull, Live at St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, Feb. 10, 2013

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Naam Announce Winter European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Brooklyn space/psych rockers Naam are once again taking to European shores in support of their (inter)stellar 2013 album, Vow (review here). The hard-working four-piece already put in considerable road time in Europe this spring, and that run was followed by a complete six-week coast-to-coast slog through the US — they killed in Manhattan on the opening night — that ended in mid-August. Doubtless a little time out of the van has done them some good, but as excellent as the swirl they enacted at the start of the last tour was, I wouldn’t want to miss them for a much-needed injection of warmth this winter.

More dates are reportedly coming, but here’s what’s been announced so far — note the Winter Void fest in Germany (they’ll play with Camera and Fire Walk with Me, among others presumably to be announced) and dates alongside Mars Red Sky and Monkey3. It certainly looks like plenty and I’m sure will become even more considerable as the dates fill in.

NAAM European Winter Tour 2013

November 21 – December 20

More dates to be announced soon!

21.11 – BEL – Brussels – Salle Rogier w/ Mars Red Sky
23.11 – NL – Nijmegan- Merleyn
24.11 – GER – Wiesbaden – Schachthof w/ Monkey 3
25.11 – GER – Hamburg – Markthalle w/ Monkey 3
26.11 – GER – Cologne – Underground w/ Monkey 3
27.11 – GER – Wurzburg – Cairo
28.11 – GER – Berlin – Jaegerklause
29.11 – GER – Regensburg – Winter Void Festival
01.12 – GER – Munich – Orange House
02.12 – AUS – Vienna – Arena
03.12 – CH – Zurich – Mascotte
05.12 – ITA – Roma – Sinister Noise
06.12 – ITA – Bolonzo – Festival
07.12 – ITA – Vincenza – TBA
08.12 – CH – Lucerne – Sedel
09.12 – GER – Stuttgart – TBA
13.12 – GRC – Athens – Six D.O.G.S.
14.12 – GRC – Larissa – Stage Club

Naam, “Beyond” from Vow (2013)

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Blackout to Release We are Here in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve happened into the path of Brooklyn trio Blackout on two separate occasions (reviews here and here) and both times come out of it glad to have done so. The three-piece unveiled a sonic largesse with their We are Here demo/sampler earlier this year, and today word came down the PR wire that they’ll follow it up with a full-length of the same name. If you haven’t yet had occasion to get introduced, dig into the marching Melvins groove of “Seven” below — it closed the demo and will close the album as well — prepare to be won over.

Not sure if this is going to be the final album art, but here’s the info anyway:

BLACKOUT: NYC Psychedelic Doom Trio To Release New Full-Length

NYC psychedelic doom trio, BLACKOUT, is pleased to announce the release of their We Are Here debut! Recorded at Vacation Island Studio with engineer/producer Rob Laakso (Diamond Nights, Swirlies, Kurt Vile), We Are Here offers up six gristly hymns of bottom heavy, head-throbbing, red-eyed awesomeness. Appropriately described as “thick, riff-led heavy psych that blends Sleep’s stoner heyday and classic Melvins stomp with a touch of Rob Crow’s vocal compression in Goblin Cock,” by The Obelisk who further commends their “riffy stoner traditionalism,” BLACKOUT is in it to win it and will undoubtedly be knocking on your door like a hairy, black clad Jehovah’s Witness who wants to smoke you out and listen to Sabbath records.

Comments the band in a collective statement: “We are really excited to get this record out. We’re not a methodical band and our biggest hope was that the record sounded like us in the jam room… heavy, slow, and drunk. So that’s exactly what we did… drank lots of beer and let Rob do his thing. The whole session was pretty blurry but we’re psyched with the results.”

We Are Here Track Listing:
1. Indian
2. Amnesia
3. Smoker
4. Columbus
5. Anchor
6. Seven

With food, beer and America at the forefront, it only makes sense guitar player/vocalist Christian Gordy and drummer Taryn Waldman would meet at Gordy’s 2011 July 4th cookout in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Waldman, a former Hooter’s waitress turned big time commercial film editor, and Gordy, a one-legged bartender/artist/BBQ enthusiast were an oddball couple for NY’s heavily-styled metal scene. The duo began rapidly banging out monolithic snail-paced riffs that could party as much as they could crush. BLACKOUT – referring to blackout drunk, the absence of light, or a mobster hit on an entire family – was the only appropriate title for the band.

With a three-song demo recorded at the now defunct Headgear Studios in the bag, Waldman set out on the task of stalking and acquiring drum wizard Justin Sherrel for the bass position. The sound filled out and quickly grew like Chuck Berry’s mustache. Now with Sherrel’s nitty-gritty, rhythm-heavy mud beneath an electrical tide of riffs and explosions, the mighty river of sludge was primed to lurch forward.

We Are Here will be released independently on October 25, 2013. Live shows and preorder details to be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Blackout, We are Here sampler

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The Golden Grass First Show Video Footage Surfaces

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The boogie runs strong with The Golden Grass. I’d suspected as much when the announcement came through of the Brooklynite trio (featuring members of Strange Haze and La Otracina) releasing their debut single in October as a co-release between Svart and Electric Assault, but confirmation was provided last week at their first gig. Held at Brooklyn’s venerable St. Vitus bar and captured on film by the admirably dedicated Frank Huang, the 12-minute jammer “Wheels” provides sunshiny classic rock that seems only too willing to leave its cares behind.

Sharing vocal duties, guitarist Michael Rafalowich and drummer Adam Kriney lock in singalong-ready verses and choruses while bassist Joe Noval maintains low end flow. The cut definitely works in movements, and as this was their live debut, I’d guess they’re only going to get more fluid, but already you can see chemistry developing between the players as Rafalowich spaces out in a long, soulful jam — it sounds improvised, it may or may not be — before Kriney signals the change back to a simple but memorable hook of a chorus. At first it seems like they’ll let the jam finish the song, but they do right in reversing the structure — going from part one, part two, jam, to jam, part two, part one — adding much swing and intricacy in the fills along the way.

I continue to look forward to hearing that single, so expect to hear more about these guys in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you’re in that part of the world, The Golden Grass are playing their second show this very evening at Death by Audio in Brooklyn. More info on that follows the clip below.


The Golden Grass, “Wheels” live at St. Vitus, Sept. 8, 2013

TONITE TUE SEPT 10 2013, get on DOWN to Death By Audio/Brooklyn tonite for a righteously delicious musical concert….


TGG plays 3rd, 1030-ish on the rock’o'clock.

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The Golden Grass Announce Debut 7″ on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

From the little bit I’ve heard, The Golden Grass seem to have it going on. What kind of “it” are we talking? Little funky, way classic, but upbeat with some psych touches. Sunny-type rock, but still swinging a substantial groove, albeit without pretense toward aggression or trying to be heavy. The newcomer Brooklynite trio — comprised not at all of newcomers — have announced their debut performances and apparently they’ve made enough of an impression on Finnish imprint Svart‘s varied but reliable tastes to earn a label-stamped release for their first 7″ single, which will reportedly be out in October in partnership with US-based Electric Assault Records.

Cool unit, loads of potential. Hoping for good things and sharing the news of their single with a spirit of welcome:

Loosen your eyeballs and fix your mind on freewheelin’ psychedelic freakbeat band The Golden Grass! Hailing from NYC, inspired by bands like Cactus and The Move, and featuring members of La Otracina, Zoned Out and Strange Haze. Svart Records going to let loose their debut 7″ in October, in partnership with Electric Assault Records in the US. Undeniably feel-good, earnest and authentic rock and roll, hand picked and personally recommended by Mat from Hexvessel, as he joins the Svart workforce this Autumn. Get back to the garden, and dig deep into The Golden Grass!

The band is comprised of:

*Adam Kriney-drums/vocals

*Michael Rafalowich-electric guitar/vocals

*Joe Noval-electric bass

The debut 7″ single is entitled “One More Time” b/w “Tornado”. It will be co-released by Electric Assault Records (US) and Svart Records (Finland) in October. The release will coincide with tour dates in the North East and Midwest US in late October/early November 2013, interested parties should contact the group.

These are the bands debut live performances:
Fri Sep 6 THE GOLDEN GRASS w/ WINDHAND + RAMMING SPEED at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY

The Golden Grass promo video

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Live Review: Truckfighters, Kings Destroy, Iron Tides and Mirror Queen in Brooklyn, 08.19.13

Posted in Reviews on August 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

A four-band bill at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar after a full workday with a drive to Massachusetts afterwards lurking on the horizon, moving ever closer to reality — I will say immediately that attending the opening night of Truckfighters‘ latest US tour was probably the least responsible decision I’ll make all week. Well, maybe not, but still: Resoundingly irresponsible. Part of doing it was proving to myself that I could, and sure enough, I came out of it on the other end alive, despite the best efforts of I-95′s endless stretch to claim my heavy eyelids as part of its likewise endless stream of trophies. Behold, the living dope.

But if you have to be an eternal sucker, at least an act like Truckfighters put on a show to make it worth your while. The Swedish trio of bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren and drummer Andre “Poncho” Kvarnström were joined by NYC locals Kings Destroy, Iron Tides and Mirror Queen on a surprisingly diverse and at times surprisingly aggressive lineup at the Vitus, and the night proved quickly to have been worth the commute there and back again. Mirror Queen, who were fresh back from a European jaunt with Tee Pee labelmates Earthless and The Atomic Bitchwax that included a stop at Stoned from the Underground sounded crisp and tight, and since the last time I saw them was on the Rocks off Concert Cruise in June, part of the fun this time out was watching their set not get toppled by the choppy waters of the East River.

Not that that wasn’t its own kind of excitement, I’m just saying it’s a little easier to get a sense of the chemistry between lead guitarist Phi Moon and guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal when they can stand up and play. That chemistry, as it happens, is formidable and was in top form at the Vitus bar, Moon tearing into technically and spiritually engaging press-me-to-8-track classic rock solos on the right side of the stage while Sehgal, bassist James Corallo and drummer Jeremy O’Brien jammed out on “Into the Nebula” from the band’s 2011 outing, From Earth Below. A contingent of (apparently Australian?) bros in the front of the stage wearing red Truckfighters tanktops quickly let it be known they were going to be the biggest douchebags in the room for the duration, and much sweaty man-on-man-but-supposedly-not-at-all-homoerotic moshing and grabassery did ensue.

That didn’t impede enjoyment of Mirror Queen, however, who round out as they did the last time I saw them with a jam on Captain Beyond‘s “Mesmerization Eclipse.” It’s a bouncing groove that’s always welcome in my cranium, but it did little in the end to foretell the aggression that would come with Brooklynites Iron Tides, who arrived with their own floodlites and an assortment of homemade-looking amps and cabinets — but for the Verellen heads behind bassist/vocalist Markus — to remind of the raw volume and power of earliest Zoroaster while keeping an underlying touch of New York noise in the jagged playing of guitarist Matt. They were loud, angry and, well, let’s go with “loud” again. Drummer Michele locked in impressive grooves throughout, and though Iron Tides had an EP for sale in the back (got it) that came out last year mixed and mastered by Hull drummer Jeff Stieber, most of what they played was reportedly new.

It was easy enough to guess that by Markus‘ remembering on stage who started what song, which gave their set a bit of humor and charm to go with its aggressive churning and tonal push. Their lights triggered by foot-switches, Iron Tides were nonetheless cohesive in their aesthetic and tight through the more angular aspects of their sound, which were complemented by stretches of ambience driven by Matt‘s guitar, sometimes seeming to nod at earlier Isis but never fully giving itself over to the heavy/atmospheric tradeoffs that have by now become post-metal cliche. Though their sound was obviously much different, I’d put Iron Tides in a similar category to Brooklyn heavy acts like Blackout and Polygamyst, who also take various familiar elements and seem to be making efforts to craft something of their own from them. Their effort in this regard and overall fervor were appreciated.

Kings Destroy hit probably the angriest set I’ve ever seen them play. Tossing in older cuts like “The Whittler” and “Dusty Mummy” alongside the newer “Blood of Recompense,” “The Toe” and “Turul” from this year’s A Time of Hunting (go buy it), they only seemed to get more pissed off after the aforementioned tanktop brigade — who, by the way, all matched — got into some hooliganry with vocalist Steve Murphy as he came down from the stage. I noted when one of them tried to pull him off again, the result was a fast as-he-was-jumping-to-the-floor kick square to the chest — no doubt a move leftover from Murphy‘s days in Uppercut. Laughed a bit at that.

Despite the shenanigans, Kings Destroy were tight and heavy as ever, made only more malevolent for the meanness that seemed to accompany their delivery. By the time they got around to “The Whittler,” it was like they were throwing the songs at you. They’re probably the single band I’ve seen most over the last two-plus years (live reviews here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) and I already look forward to seeing them with Pelican in October if I don’t run into them between now and then — they’re playing Vitus again on Thursday with Caltrop, should you happen to be in town – so please take it as coming from the voice of experience (oh yeah, their first record also came out on The Maple Forum, so there’s that) when I say that it wasn’t a put-on, or “show-anger.” Whatever it was, they played like they were fucking pissed off and it came through in the songs. Even “Turul” at the end was nastier than I’ve ever heard it, and while it’s always had a certain undefinable sneer, with the quiet riffing from guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and the everyone-together-now timed hits driven by bassist Aaron Bumpus and drummer Rob Sefcik there isn’t much room for all-out belligerence. They made room.

There seemed like a long break between Kings Destroy and Truckfighters, but once the latter got on stage, they were hard to miss. The crowd seemed to know the opening riff to “Desert Cruiser” was coming even before Källgren started playing it, and once Cedermalm and Kvarnström joined in, they locked in immediately from the start. I knew from seeing them at Desertfest in April that even with the new drummer addition they were as riotous as ever, and even though Kvarnström is a quieter presence behind the kit than was Oscar “Pezo” Johansson, now of Witchcraft, “Desert Cruiser” and longer jams like “Chameleon” from 2007′s Phi and “Last Curfew” from 2009′s Mania were as unbelievably tight as one could ask, the band stomping a sneaker print in the line between technical precision and showmanship as few can. I think Källgren alone put more energy into his performance than 90 percent of the entire bands I’ve seen this year, not including his own of course, jumping up and down, running back and forth, headbanging and all the rest.

And that’s the thing about Truckfighters. Because if they were just a band who got crazy on stage, you’d go, “Well okay, that’s cool,” and move onto the next thing. But not only are they out of their collective mind when they play, but over the years they’ve become increasingly progressive songwriters, so that a riff as epically memorable as that opening and comprising much of “Desert Cruiser” can exist next to a cut like “Majestic” from Mania, the sprawl of which outlasts even its 13-minute runtime, and they don’t miss a beat going from one to the next. Cedermalm tipped the mic into the crowd for the opening track, at one point Källgren jumped off the stage and made his way through to the bar in back of the Vitus, playing the whole time — I think it was during the jam on “Monte Gargano,” but don’t quote me on that — and when the set was over, Cedermalm also got off stage to add to his already considerable bass cacophony by running his strings on the torso of some kid in a Big Lebowski t-shirt. They’re fun to watch, but if they didn’t have the songs to back them up — which I’m glad to argue they do — they wouldn’t get beyond the novelty factor.

In the end, they obviously did, and I think they wore out the crowd in the process. I had competing impulses of exhaustion and dehydration fighting it out, but though I knew it was the wrong choice on a practical level, I didn’t at all regret inconveniencing later-me to see the show. Catching Truckfighters again as they started this tour was obviously the onus for my being there, but front-to-back it was a killer show. I didn’t make it all the way back to Massachusetts, but stopped in New Haven, CT, to crash for a few hours before resuming the trip this morning. I’ve felt like I got my ass kicked all day, but this one was well worth a beating.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

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Weird Owl to Release Healing on Oct. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

After two impressive and increasingly exploratory full-lengths on NYC’s Tee Pee Records, Brooklyn-based psychotomimeticists Weird Owl have announced they’ll unfurl a new 10″ on A Recordings, Ltd., the label owned by Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The new release — kind of an album, kind of an EP, from what I can gather; “why you gotta put everything in a box, man?” — will be out Oct. 15 and Weird Owl will herald its arrival with a weekender Oct. 3-5 in the Northeast.

Dig it:


East Coast Tour Confirmed

Weird Owl will release Healing on October 15, 2013 through A Recordings, Ltd (Redeye Distribution).

Weird Owl formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2004 and has released two full-length LPs as well as several EPs. Their presence and longevity in the New York psych scene has garnered international attention and they have shared stages with bands such as White Hills, NAAM, La Otracina, Hopewell, Earthless, Sleepy Sun, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, Quest for Fire, Spindrift and The Black Angels, including at the 2011 Austin Psych Fest.

Healing proves that Weird Owl to be a constantly evolving musical entity, striving to present itself in a continually fresh light. The fuzzed-out guitar tones that were once synonymous with the band have fallen into the background, and a more ambient, textured sound found its place in the forefront. This alchemical marriage of elements new and old resulted in a novel iteration of the Weird Owl identity, bringing the band even closer to the interstellar flight that has always been its objective. Recorded and mixed by Jeffrey Berner (NAAM, Heliotropes, La Otracina) at Galuminum Foil Studio in Brooklyn in April and May of 2013, Weird Owl’s new musical direction revealed itself as an exciting and unique mind blast.
Singer, Trevor Tyrrell posted rough mixes online which caught the ear of legendary Brian Jonestown Massacre founder Anton Newcombe, who offered to release Healing on his personal label, A Recordings, Ltd.

Anton Newcombe states (via email):

Weird Owl is currently John Cassidy (organ, synth, bass guitar), J. David Nugent (synth, vocals), Sean Reynolds (drums) and Trevor Tyrrell (vocals, guitar, synth).

THU OCT 3 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
FRI OCT 4 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio
SAT OCT 5 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie (Upstairs Gallery)

Healing Tracklisting (available digitally, CD and Double 10” day-glo pink and yellow color vinyl)
1. Change Your Mind
2. Stars on a Coffin Lid
3. Seventh of Seven Sundays (777)
4. Master of the Mysteries
5. Healing

Weird Owl, “Healing” from Healing

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus Live at St. Vitus, 09.25.12

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Saint Vitus at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn last year was one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. I’m still not really over it, to be honest with you, and here we are coming up on a year since it happened. Of course, I reviewed it at the time, but it was one of those nights that you just keep going back to. It becomes a touchstone; a standard for other gigs to meet and fall short to. Vitus at the venue that bears their name would’ve been enough, but to have the top-notch Southern sludge of Sourvein and Weedeater both as well? I’d have gone to see any one of those bands and called it a good night. All three was something special.

The place was packed out. I didn’t care. I stayed up front for as long as I could, and then when beer started getting tossed around made my way to the back for a dryer vantage. Vitus were stellar and guitarist Dave Chandler seemed particularly tickled that there was a venue with the same name as his band. You have to figure, right? Here’s a guy whose band hasn’t gotten shit for recognition for two and a half decades and all of a sudden the friggin’ New York Times is writing up the show. It was fun to watch. Wino‘s vocals were dead on — you can see his seething in the Wino Wednesday header above; the pic comes from that night — Mark Adams and Henry Vasquez killed it, whether it was the raging “War is Our Destiny” or the super-plod of “The Troll,” and the crowd was duly appreciative of the one-of-a-kind experience to which they were being treated.

Venerable Brooklyn-based filmographer Frank Huang (check out his site here) captured the full Vitus set in all its glory, and it’s with a deep personal pleasure that I present it to you on this, the 99th consecutive Wino Wednesday. Please enjoy:

Saint Vitus, Live at St. Vitus bar, 09.25.12

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Spine of Overkill, by Woody High

Posted in Spine of Overkill on July 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

This one is something special, and since the story Chris “Woody High” MacDermott is telling is so excellent, I don’t even want to spoil it with too much intro. Here, 30 years to the day, are Woody‘s memories of seeing Motörhead for the first time ever, July 31, 1983, at L’Amour in Brooklyn.


It certainly doesn’t feel like THIRTY FUCKIN’ YEARS ago that I first saw Motörhead, but the ticket stub clearly states 7/31/83. And not only was it my first time seeing my favorite band but it was also my first trip to the legendary metal club L’Amour in Brooklyn.

I have no idea how I heard about the show. Probably from one of L’Amour‘s radio ads. They’d loop the opening riff to Van Halen‘s “Mean Streets” as background music and an announcer would read off the list of upcoming shows — Twisted Sister, Johnny Winter, Saxon, etc., etc. Earlier in ’83, L’Amours opened a second location called L’Amours East in Elmhurst, Queens. A lot of bands would play both clubs on consecutive nights. But when Motörhead came to town they had to outdo everyone and play three nights in a row – - Friday, July 29, in Queens then Saturday and Sunday in Brooklyn. The Sunday show was going to be all-ages. (The Queens show was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show and later released on CD). I was 15 years old at the time with a fake ID acquired at the Postermat on 8th Street in Greenwich Village. It worked buying beer at Milk-N-Things in Pelham and Jack Daniels at the liquor store next to it, but I had no idea if it would get me into a Brooklyn nightclub. The drinking age was only 18 back then but I didn’t want to get shut down trying to see Motörhead. The Ticketron outlet in the New Rochelle mall must have been gone because I had to take a MetroNorth train into Manhattan to buy a ticket at the Grand Central location. I can still remember the thrill of buying that ticket. I had worked all morning on a Saturday at my job making trophies in the garage of my science teacher. We finished early that day and when he paid me I walked straight to the train station. I didn’t have time to go downtown to buy any records on this trip but I did pick up a Hustler magazine and a Foster’s oil can for the train ride home. Even just a 20-minute visit in NYC provided more thrills than a month up in Westchester County.

In June of ’83. Motörhead had released their latest album, Another Perfect Day. I just happened to be in Bleecker Bob’s the day that it came in. Man, I was fuckin’ stoked. I knew they had a new album coming but had no idea when I’d actually see it. There it was in the bins alongside a 12″ single for “I Got Mine.” Even though they were both expensive imports ($5.98 for the single alone!), I knew I might never see them again. The cover to Another Perfect Day really tripped me out. It looked like someone had the cover to Overkill painted on the back of their denim jacket in watercolors and then left it out in the rain. There was also a cool insert with lyrics on one side and a hilarious comic strip on the other. The band photo on the cover of the “I Got Mine” single was cool. They all looked completely hungover. Brian Robertson‘s designer jeans and silver jewelry looked a little silly but, hey, he was in Thin Lizzy and he looked better than he did on the cover of Fighting. I instantly loved the record. I thought it kicked ass from start to finish and I thought Brian‘s guitar playing was incredible. Totally different from Fast Eddie‘s but it still sounded like Motörhead. There was zero radio airplay and no one else at school had the record so I wasn’t influenced at all by other people’s opinions. Kerrang gave it a decent review but I didn’t give a shit what they had to say neithers.

Anyway, it was complete torture waiting for the end of July to roll around but eventually it was Sunday, July 31. My friend Wayne was supposed to go to the show with me but he made the mistake of telling his parents the truth and got shut down. I, of course, completely lied to my mother. Never in a million years would she go for it. The only reason she let me go to shows at Madison Square Garden was because I bought the tickets with the money I was earning. As long as I put a certain amount in the bank every week, my metal habit was barely tolerated. I had a big decision to make. Should I blow off Motörhead or travel to Brooklyn alone? There really was no choice. (I must mention that about a year later I had to bail out on Wayne for a Metallica show at L’Amour at the last minute. I’m still not over it.)

After an uneventful MetroNorth train ride into Grand Central I had to confront the reality of not knowing how the hell I was going to get to Brooklyn. Don Cherry asked the question “Where Is Brooklyn” on his classic Blue Note album in 1966. Here I was as a 15-year-old dipshit with a Motörhead ticket inside my velcro Motörhead wallet with the same problem. I asked the token booth clerk how to get to 62nd Street in Brooklyn and he told me to take the B train. After a few confused attempts, I finally found where to get on the B and I was on my way. The summer of ‘83 was the first time air conditioning was added to some subway cars. The one I was riding on definitely did not have any for the very long ride into Bensonhurst. When I finally got off the train I had no idea where the club was. I spotted a dude in a Twisted Sister shirt puffin’ on a joint so I asked him. Without exhaling (or offering me any) he just pointed down the street. As I turned the corner I saw a completely industrial block full of headbangers. I could hear someone blasting a Motörhead tape out of a parked car. People were hanging out and drinking beers. Every single person had on some kind of metal shirt and most had a denim vest with something painted on the back and covered in patches. There were lots of bullet belts, studs and spikes, too. I thought I was hot shit in my Motörhead shirt with an Iron Maiden button on it. Not so much.

Stepping inside L’Amour was unreal. The DJ was cranking some of the best metal I’d ever heard and a lot of it was brand new to me. I will never forget hearing Accept‘s “Fast As A Shark” for the first time there. The crowd was singing along to the “hi-dee-hi-doh-hi-da” intro and I had no idea what was going on when I heard a big needle scratch. When the furious double-bass drums kicked in I was completely floored. People were seriously losing their shit and headbanging like crazy. The first band hadn’t even played yet! It was also the first time I heard “Nuns Have No Fun” by Mercyful Fate. Everyone but me seemed to know the words. I didn’t even bother trying to ask anyone about where to get these records or which ones to buy. It was like I was trying to start a fire with two twigs and they had flame throwers. I had a lot of catching up to do. The DJ announced some upcoming shows, including one the following week by Raven and Metallica and people went completely berserk.

There were two opening acts. The first was The Poison Dollys, an all-female metal band. I’m pretty sure the second one was Cities. I don’t remember much about them because once Motörhead stormed the stage they were ancient history. There was no intro tape or anything. The DJ stopped playing records and everyone just started screaming “MOTÖRHEAD” at the top of their lungs. The first one out was Philthy behind the drums, followed by Lemmy and Robbo. There were only one or two people in front of me on Robbo‘s side of the stage. There were three Marshall stacks behind him. Lemmy had three more on the other side. Phil‘s drum set was huge. They started checking their instruments and it was significantly louder than Judas Priest and Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden. That was a loud show. It was also louder than the Ramones show I saw in the front row of Iona College in New Rochelle the year before which was also loud as hell. Holy shit, this was gonna be awesome.

After screaming something into the mic about today’s show being for the young, Lemmy fired up the bassline to “Back at the Funny Farm,” the opening song on Another Perfect Day. When the band came in the noise was tremendous. You could see everyone sort of lean back for a second. Me and everybody else were banging their heads ferociously. This was at least a year before “moshing” became a regular thing at metal shows and it was glorious. The whooooshing sound of your noggin’ rockin’ only added to the deafening cacophony of Motörhead at full bore. It was no big deal if the dude behind you or next to you rested an arm on your shoulder to steady himself from time to time. The sound was so powerful it could knock you off balance. No worries. There were a few skinheads and punkers around, too but there were no hassles at all. I miss those days.

Most of the set were songs from Another Perfect Day — “Marching off to War,” “Tales of Glory,” “One Track Mind,” etc. They only played a few older songs like “America” and “Iron Horse.” No “Ace of Spaces,” “Bomber” or “Overkill.” I was dying to hear those songs but didn’t really care what they played as long as it was fast and loud. Robbo used some kind of fancy guitar synthesizer on the song “Another Perfect Day” to replicate the stuff he did on the album. I was totally blown away seeing a guitarist that great up close. I was also impressed he could rock that hard wearing satin shorts and a mesh tank top. The club was hot as hell and Robbo kept a bucket of water nearby and he’d splash himself in between songs. He wouldn’t take off his guitar or anything. I thought he’d electrocute himself. He would also duck behind his amps pretty regularly for a second and come back sniffing like crazy. It was obvious all three of them were jacked up to the max. I thought it was so cool how blatant they were about everything. Philthy had a big rotating fan behind him. He had horrible B.O. and it was just getting blasted into the crowd on top of the soundwaves. Lemmy had on a black t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, jeans, bullet belt and white boots. Earlier that day while waiting to get into the club I saw Lemmy come out of the backstage area and cross the street to get on the bus in the same outfit except for flip flops and cut off denim shorts. Bullet belt included.

When the show was over I was basically in a metal daze. I couldn’t hear a fuckin’ thing and my mouth must have been hanging open. It took almost three hours to get home but it was worth it. The next morning my ears were ringing very loudly. I loved the sound. I was amazed that they continued to ring for EIGHT MORE DAYS. After seeing Motörhead at L’Amour life was never the same.

Motörhead, Live at L’Amour East, Brooklyn, July 29, 1983

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Live Review: The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 in Brooklyn, 07.27.13

Posted in Reviews on July 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though most of the acts were out-of-town imports, there was a strong familial vibe at The Acheron even before The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 got started. Not knowing what traffic wonders awaited on a Saturday evening — could be nothing, could be armageddon — I headed into Brooklyn early so as to catch the start of the nine-band bill and got there well in advance of commencement. Plenty of time to sit outside and chat with fest organizer Brendan Burns, who’d later take the stage with his band Wasted Theory, Pat Harrington of Geezer and the Electric Beard of Doom podcast — who were among the presenters of the show along with The Obelisk, Small Stone Records, Wendigo and Burns‘ own Snakecharmer Booking — the cats from Lo-Pan and plenty of others coming through.

It was still sunny out with a few hours of daylight to come, but people were beginning to assemble. Word of the show had spread pretty well, so although people came and went throughout the evening and seemed to split their time between The Acheron‘s venue room and The Anchord Inn, which occupies the other half of the space, there wasn’t any point where I’d say it cleared out, and right up to when Lo-Pan took the stage as headliners, there was a steady build of heads filling the room. The bar next to the stage was certainly busy all night.

Soon enough, though, it was time to go inside as the night started to get underway with Philly merchants of stone, Wizard Eye. From there, it was a one-after-the-next succession of heavy. Here’s how it all went down:

Wizard Eye

They’re veterans of Eye of the Stoned Goat by now, but where the second installment earlier this year in Delaware had them teamed with fellow Philadelphia natives Heavy Temple, Thee Nosebleeds and Clamfight, in Brooklyn, they were on their own in representing the City of Brotherly Love. Not only that, but it was their third show with new drummer Mike in the trio with the dreaded guitarist/vocalist Erik Caplan and bassist/backing vocalist Dave. If there was any anxiety on their part, they didn’t show it. Wizard Eye seemed as comfortable as ever as they nestled into their thick, air-pushing Sleep-style stoner grooves, Caplan moving from his guitar to the theremin at just the moment when it seemed the former wouldn’t deliver anymore wail than that which had already been extracted from it. My overarching impression of the band remains the same as when I saw them in February — they need to get an album out. It’s time and even being 33 percent new, their presentation was tight enough to make me think they’re more than ready to go. Hopefully soon.


If Wizard Eye were the stonerly start, then NYC’s Geezer were the answer for anyone looking for a taste of blues, guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington working in a liberal use of slide while bassist Freddy Villano and drummer Turco filled out a heavy rocking stomp behind the classically fuzzed distortion and gravelly vocals. The band is still fresh off the release of their impressive 2013 Gage EP (discussed here), and they brought that jammier sensibility to their set, seeming right at home in slower progressions that they made move when they needed them to and offering unpretentious drinkin’ man’s music well met by the getting-started crowd. Harrington‘s was among the most believable “whiskey-soaked” style singing that I’ve heard in years, and he and Villano (who also play in Gaggle of Cocks together) obviously had years’ worth of chemistry working in their favor, despite Geezer being a relatively recent advent. Closer “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” was a highlight, and as they’re reportedly working on a vinyl release for Gage, they seem to be building some momentum going into whatever they have in the works for after that. A solid blues-based heavy rock jam is something I’ll never argue with, and Geezer had that in spades.

Wasted Theory

Up from their home in Bear, Delaware, double-guitar unit Wasted Theory handled themselves well on The Acheron‘s stage, as Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 organizer Brendan Burns sat back for drums behind guitarist/vocalist Jackson, lead guitarist M. Kramer and bassist J., the four-piece striking hard on a balance of post-Down Southern metal and more driving stoner fare. They seemed in good spirits after having performed about a month ago at the Moving the Earth festival in Baltimore, and as they hit into songs off this year’s GodSpeed EP and Jackson swung his guitar around his back, they seemed to have come far even since I got my first glimpse of them earlier this year, locking in some fervent Pepper Keenan-style chugging on guitar while J. gave the riffs a thick foundation to rest on. They were energetic and engaged the whole way through, and though they didn’t pull in the biggest crowd of the night, they capped off with a motor-boogieing new song, Jackson half on guitar, that positioned them well coming out of GodSpeed. By the time they were done with their short set, the fest seemed like it was moving along quickly.


I’d reviewed it the day before, so I don’t think Borracho‘s second album, Oculus, would’ve been any fresher on my mind if I’d listened to it on the way to the show. The D.C.-based trio had been out the weekend before for a set of four gigs with Lo-Pan, so I expected they’d be pretty tight and they did not disappoint. Owing to time constraints, they only played three or four songs, starting out with “Empty” and “Stockpile,” the opener and centerpiece from Oculus. Guitarist Steve Fisher has taken to the vocalist role well, and he seemed right at home on both of the Oculus cuts, the set as well giving me a whole new appreciation for the richness of bassist Tim Martin‘s tone. Dense and packed with low end push, it created the waves on which Borracho‘s slower grooves rode, punctuated and given further physicality during the jammier stretches of “Stockpile” by drummer Mario Trubiano. Dipping back to their 2011 debut, Splitting Sky, the trio capped off with the quick burst of “Concentric Circles,” Fisher showing no hesitation to deliver the lines shouting up into a dangling microphone, Motörhead-style. The earlier sets were all pretty short — 25 minutes for the first couple bands, then 30 for the next several — but Borracho had enough time to pack in maximum riffage and give anyone there who’d never seen them before a good idea of where they were coming from as a three-piece.

Lord Fowl

Here’s where I’m at with New Haven, Connecticut, four-piece Lord Fowl. They’re so tight and so professional that on stage they look like they could be playing one of those all-day amphitheater commercial radio shows with a goofy name. You know the ones: “WFUK presents the Summer Fling this Saturday at the Giant Corporate Bank Park,” and so on. Only snag is Lord Fowl don’t suck and all those bands do. It’s been over two years since I first saw them, and while they may not have the same kind of surprise factor going as they did that night, my enjoyment for what they do has only increased as they’ve gotten signed to Small Stone and last year released, Moon Queen (review here). Opening with the same wow-that-cop-is-saying-some-racist-shit sample that starts the song on the album, they kicked into the funk-riffed “Dirty Driving” as guitarists Vechel Jaynes and Mike Pellegrino traded off vocal parts, setting the tone for the rest of their all-too-short set. “Split” and “Hollow Horn” were welcome inclusions, bassist John Conine and drummer Don Freeman locking in with the starts and stops of the latter, balancing classic rock and modern heavy off each other with born-to-do-it ease. I asked Jaynes afterwards and he said a new record’s in the works, which was some of the best news I heard all night.


To my knowledge, no such award was handed out, but if Eye of the Stoned Goat wanted to start handing out prizes for the prettiest guitars, one would almost certainly have gone to Supermachine‘s Jay Fortin. I don’t even play guitar and the sight of his gold-trimmed, hollow-body Gretsch had me in awe, both in look and sound. As Fortin, bassist Dave Jarvis, drummer Mike McNeil and vocalist David Nebbia stepped into the New Hampshire biker rock groove of “Buffalo,” I could hear a touch of the tonality Fortin and Jarvis brought to their prior outfit together, Scissorfight, and while I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to listen to Supermachine and not consider that context — which isn’t really fair to the band, who are going for a different style altogether; it’s also why I’ve not to date reviewed their self-titled debut — there’s no doubt they’re a crisp, clear-headed and heavy four-piece who can put together a dead-on, ballsy set. “Crutch” was absurdly catchy and correspondingly full sounding, new song “Broiled Alive” was, well, also those things, and I came away from their set glad I had seen them before and had some sense of what to expect, since it allowed me more of a chance to relax and take Supermachine in on their own level. That being the case, I wondered if maybe repeat exposure would continue the trend, and if so, I could think of far worse things.

Black Black Black

The first two words in the page of notes I took during the Black Black Black set were “holy” and “shit.” The only New York band on the bill besides Geezer — also the only other act playing Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 besides Geezer that I hadn’t seen live before — Black Black Black took the stage in unassuming-enough fashion and proceeded to demolish the space around them. It was like they decided to bring their self-titled debut (see here, here and here) to life and then punch everyone in the face with it. “Light Light Light” crushed in a manner that threw down a gauntlet that dared Gozu and Lo-Pan to match its weight, and “Pentagram On,” “Wisdom, Knowledge and Fucked,” the raging “ReDeath” and “Son of Bad” brought a zero-genre-allegiance sonic versatility that was lethal in kind to the band’s presentation of the material. As their time wore on — it went quickly, make no mistake — and guitarist Jacob Cox manipulated feedback to add atmosphere to the pummel, I tried to think back to the last time I got a recommendation as good as when Jesse Bartz from Lo-Pan put me onto them. I couldn’t come up with anything. With no loss of energy or assault in their delivery, Black Black Black – Cox, vocalist Jason Alexander Byers, bassist Jonathan Swafford and drummer Jeff Ottenbacher – included two new songs near the end, the latter of which offset a shuffling riff with vocals that bordered on airy before they shifted into their final round of intense bludgeoning. It was, in short, a fucking delight.


It made a strange kind of sense to me as I watched Boston’s Gozu load onto the stage that, last weekend, I should be in Boston watching The Brought Low at a show which members of Gozu were attending just to hang out, while this weekend, I’m in New York watching Gozu, who are from Boston, and here’s Ben Smith from The Brought Low, come to check out the gig. I feel like there’s some element of symmetry there and I just don’t have a brain able to process mathematics complex enough to enjoy it. Nonetheless, at The Acheron, Gozu played the heaviest set I’ve ever seen them play. Whether it was “Bald Bull,” the thrashing “Charles Bronson Pinchot” or the boogie-ready “Snake Plissken” from this year’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here), or “Regal Beagle” from their 2010 Locust Season debut, everything they played seemed to pack some extra bite, and particularly in the case of drummer Barry Spillberg, the band hand-delivered a rager that set back some of their soul influence in favor of showing off hardcore roots, closing out with “Mr. Riddle” from Locust Season, which had thrust enough to its groove alone to justify Gozu’s place on the bill. I don’t generally think of Gozu as putting such an emphasis on heaviness — yeah, they’re a heavy rock band and guitarists Marc Gaffney and Doug Sherman and bassist Jay Grotto obviously have heft to their tones — but this was a different league entirely. They were almost metal, but if metal pulled its head out of its ass and remembered how good it felt to groove every now and again. Whatever symmetry I may have enjoyed in seeing them in New York this weekend, that was trumped easily by their actual performance, which was downright threatening.


It had been a long day. Lo-Pan were slated to hit the stage at midnight, and by the time they did — give or take a few minutes, but basically on time — I was long since beat, but already eight bands deep, there was no way I was missing anything the Ohio fuzz rockers had to offer. And I was even gladder I didn’t cut out early once they actually started playing; the setlist was packed with new material. “Eastern Seas” and “Colossus” were aired — familiar titles from recent shows — but “Hunters,” which if I’m not mistaken Jeff Martin said was being played for the first time (don’t quote me), brought out guttural, soulful shouts from the singer powerful enough to cut through the volume of the three players — bassist Scott Thompson, drummer Jesse Bartz and guitarist Brian “It’s His Tone, We’re Just Living in It” Fristoe — positioned in front of him. Light moshing occurred, which I guess is what happens when people 25 and under show up to gigs. New songs were joined by the familiar rush of “Deciduous” and “Generations” from 2011′s there’s-no-hyperbole-left-for-me-to-use-so-I’ll-just-say-it’s-fucking-awesome Small Stone debut, Salvador (review here), but Lo-Pan returned to new material to close out, ending off their set with “The Duke,” on which Martin‘s voice was presented sort of answering itself in delay. The final locked-in groove of that song justified its position as the finale, but when Lo-Pan were done, the shouts of “one more!” were immediate. Bartz had already gotten off the stage, but he came back up and Martin said they’d only do one more if someone bought Scott a shot of whiskey. It arrived during the first verse of “Kurtz” and was fed into his mouth as he played. More moshing ensued — heathens! — and Lo-Pan capped a killer night with a spectacle well worth sticking around to see. Until next time.

The efforts of Brendan Burns in making Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 happen are worth reiterating and commending. The Acheron also made an excellent host for the show — the sound straight through left nothing wanting in either volume, devastation or clarity — and each of the bands stepped up to deliver a fitting answer to the one in front of them, starting with Wizard Eye and ending with Lo-Pan. I got out of Brooklyn on the quick since it was already pushing 1AM, got back to my humble river valley a little after two and crashed out, satisfied that there was no more I could’ve asked of the night.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Dust Interview with Marky Ramone: Paying Homage to a Heavy Legacy

Posted in Features on July 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In the influential and seemingly ever-expanding canon of formative ’70s proto-heavy, the name Dust has echoed for much longer than its four letters might lead you to believe. Aside from launching the careers of future Ramones drummer Marc Bell (aka Marky Ramone) and KISS producer Richie Wise (guitar/vocalist) and bassist Kenny Aaronson, who went on to play with Bob Dylan, Blue Öyster Cult and many, many others, Dust‘s two albums, 1971′s Dust and 1972′s Hard Attack stand as documents of the formation of what would soon become American heavy metal, full of the riff-led, blues-driven sensibility that  collectors have hounded after for years both from Dust and similarly-minded acts from the era.

The 40th anniversary of Hard Attack passed in 2012, but Sony/Legacy stepped in to reissue both Dust albums earlier in 2013 on a limited single-CD and double-LP collection in time for Record Store Day. Both albums are remastered for a full, louder sound, and with liner notes documenting the young trio’s getting together, writing, recording, touring and disbanding, it’s as complete a recounting of what Dust was able to accomplish during their time and their enduring influence over heavy rock as one could ask. What’s more, the songs sound fantastic, whether it’s the driving-but-melodies thrust of “Chasin’ Ladies” from the first album, or the Beatles-meets-Who exploration of “Walk in the Soft Rain” from the second. Whatever they’ve gone on to accomplish in the years since, there was still obviously a sense of reverence on the part of the band in putting Hard Attack/Dust together.

All the better to talk to Marky Ramone about putting the complete package together. In the interview that follows, the former Dust drummer recounts some of what it was like to be in the band circa 1971 and how they got started, still in high school, what brought about the end of Dust and how the reissues came about now, how it felt to revisit the material and so on. His current outfit, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, is currently on tour in Europe and will hit the road in the States as well this fall, while Wise has continued his work with KISS, Gladys Knight and others, and Aaronson can be found in the modern incarnation of influential glam rockers New York Dolls.

Hard Attack/Dust is available now on Sony/Legacy. Please find the Marky Ramone Q&A after the jump and please enjoy.

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Video Premiere: Kings Destroy Unveil New Clip for “Casse-Tete”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The third track on the second Kings Destroy record, “Casse-Tete” (or, more properly, “Casse-Tête”) follows “Storm Break” and “The Toe” to round out an initial trio of heavy, lumber-rocking bruisers with the moodiest feel yet to come on A Time of Hunting. By the time you get there, after the chugging downer vibes of the opening duo, any sense of hope at all would be a shift, but if the image above of a be-suited guy in a diver helmet leaning against a fake palm tree at Coney Island is anything, it’s a suitable visual representation for the loneliness at the heart of “Casse-Tete” itself. Probably all the better that Kings Destroy based the video around it, then.

Actually, threaded in with performance footage of the dual-guitar fivesome belting out the insistent groove in a strikingly stark white room, we get to follow an entire narrative surrounding our diver friend. He’s walking down streets crowded and abandoned, isolated in either case, at home trying to figure out the puzzle that the lyrics inform us has missing pieces, and finally, discovering the same determination the track seems to as it segues after the last chorus into its final rush, the line, “It’s a shame it’s not a game,” repeated before arriving at “You’re insane,” as if to remind that those times you think it’s you against the world, there’s a pretty good chance the world is right.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere of the Lucia Grillo-directed video for “Casse-Tete,” and if you take away anything from it, take my recommendation that as soon as you’re done watching it, you track down a copy of A Time of Hunting, which I feel is one of the year’s best and most difficult-to-define albums — the disparity of comparisons in the reviews I’ve seen backing me up on that one — their sound never having been quite so doomed and yet unlike anything commonly residing in the genre. I could go on. I won’t. Watch the video:

Kings Destroy, “Casse-Tete” official video

Kings Destroy Live Shows
July 26 Brooklyn, NY St Vitus w/ Dawnbringer, Polygamyst and Crypter
Oct. 17 Brooklyn, NY Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase w/ Pelican
Oct. 18 Brooklyn, NY Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase w/ Pelican
Oct. 19 Allston, MA Great Scott w/ Pelican

Kings Destroy are Carl Porcaro and Christopher Skowronski (guitars), Steve Murphy (vocals), Aaron Bumpus (bass) and Robert Sefcik (drums). A Time of Hunting is available now on War Crime Recordings. “Casse-Tete” was directed by Lucia Grillo. Thanks to the band and label for letting me host the premiere.

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks

War Crime Recordings


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