Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light: Incendiary Procession

Posted in Reviews on February 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mondo drag the occultation of light

Before we get to any question of whether Mondo Drag‘s third album, The Occultation of Light (also their second release on RidingEasy), is the band’s best work, or how it shows them progressing or any of this or that, the first thing to say about it is that it is easily their most accurate LP to-date. What the hell does that mean? Well, their 2009 debut, New Rituals (review here), had no shortage of neo-psych charm, but was formative and didn’t really portray the full breadth of what their sound has become. That’s not taking away from it; the band’s circumstances changed. Recorded in 2012, their 2015 sophomore outing, Mondo Drag (review here), was captured prior to a move from Davenport, Iowa, to Oakland, California, and featured a short-lived incarnation of the band which, by the time the record came out, already had traded its rhythm section for the current one with bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia.

I won’t take away from that album either — it was among my favorites of last year — but as the eight tracks of The Occultation of Light were recorded last year, by Phil Manley (Trans Am, Wooden Shjips), as they were recorded live to tape, and as they were tracked just after the band got off tour, their current lineup of Garcia, O’Neal, guitarists Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard (also synth) and keyboardist/vocalist John Gamino intact, there can be little question that the band’s third offering is their most accurate portrayal yet of where they actually are in their growth, their songwriting and their collective performance.

I won’t say that makes it like a debut, since they’re definitely benefiting here from the several years this lineup has played together and the experience from the two prior LPs, but for what it’s worth, they seem to be in a good place, and their sound is fresh even as it plays off classic ideas throughout the winding opener “Initiation” and the transprogrified “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”-style roll of “Out of Sight.” More even than the self-titled, vintage progressive rock plays a role in Mondo Drag‘s sound here, whether that comes in the twists, underlying shuffle and key solo of the opener or the synth flourish in the subsequent track and the organ/drum lead-in for “Rising Omen,” which should be a highlight for anyone who has missed underrated King Crimson disciples Hypnos 69 as it unfurls a groove languid enough to make it totally natural when Gamino enters for the first verse and half the song is already over.

As much about atmosphere as its later energetic uptick, “Rising Omen” builds as it goes, but remains patient enough so that the immediacy of Garcia‘s bouncing snare at the start of “Incendiary Procession” is a direct contradiction, and one clearly enacted on purpose. Met by keys/synth for a lead in the first half and a noteworthy stretch of chases and stops in the second, it’s an instrumental finish to The Occultation of Light‘s first half that shows diversity in songwriting for exactly how plotted it is in comparison to the cut preceding, which seemed intended as more of a showcase for the band’s psychedelic side and foundation in a natural writing process.

mondo drag (Photo by Catalina Havlena)

That side will come up again throughout “The Eye” and “In Your Head (Part I & II)” and the near-eight-minute “Dying Light” on side B before “Ride the Sky” (not a Lucifer’s Friend cover) wraps the album, but what’s even more striking about The Occultation of Light‘s back end is how fluidly one piece transitions into the next. Particularly among the first three tracks — “Dying Light” ends cold and “Ride the Sky” picks up from there; not lacking flow, but not shifting immediately one into the other — there are no discernible seams. Also instrumental save for some Hawkwindy spoken word later on, “The Eye” starts with “Moonchild”-style minimalism and from there looses a rich, not-at-all-haphazard psychedelic push, organ and guitar intertwining late en route to the crashing start of “In Your Head (Part I & II),” which starts intense but mellows presumably as it shifts between its two component parts (there’s a stop beat and then all is chill), allowing space for some ethereal verses as it moves toward the end, which “Dying Light” meets quickly with a tense measure of amp noise before exploding into its full vibrancy.

The longest track included at 7:52, it’s also rife with movement throughout, shifting smoothly between its parts early on, riding a choice bassline as it moves toward its middle and building to a full-on prog freakout by about five minutes in, only to end on a line of guitars, keys, bass and drums, the band hitting into a swing riff and bringing it to a quick end before “Ride the Sky” takes hold. Probably not fair to call the shorter piece an afterthought, as its boogieing blend of organ and guitar helps reground The Occultation of Light in its final moments, but it’s obviously not at all geared toward the same kind of expanse as the rest of the side before it.

This too is clearly a purposeful move on the band’s part, since as they’re giving listeners this most accurate glimpse at who they are sonically, that persona they establish here is nothing if not cognizant of the choices it’s making. While it’s only hitting a year after their preceding album, The Occultation of Light is a long time coming from Mondo Drag, and while it builds on what they’ve done before and particularly the progressive stylizations were taking hold with the self-titled, it also finds a core part of their identity in that process of moving forward. It feels like an arrival, but I wouldn’t bet on the band staying put for too long, creatively-speaking.

Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (2016)

Mondo Drag on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records

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Desert Generator Set for April 9; Red Fang, Brant Bjork, Acid King, Golden Void and Ecstatic Vision Playing

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

The tradition that Desert Generator is highlighting is evident right in the name of the fest. By now, the out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-center-of-everywhere parties from which what we’ve come to think of as California’s desert rock scene emerged are the stuff of heavy lore, and as the “stages” such as they were were powered by gas generators — which, though unreliable, have a certain charm — one would be hard-pressed to think of a better moniker for Desert Generator than the one it has. True to form, it sounds like a killer party.

Set for April 9 with a lineup that features Red FangBrant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk BandAcid KingGolden Void and Ecstatic Vision, the inaugural Desert Generator has a reach immediately beyond the locals of Pioneertown, CA, where the venue it will take place — Pappy and Harriet’s — is located, and with a Rolling Heavy magazine-sponsored van show, an outdoor stage and good times on offer, it seems like an atmosphere perfectly in line with the tripped-out and hard-hitting vibes of the lineup. I’d go. Just saying. I would.

Not sure if they’re making it an annual thing or one-shot-only, but what info there is follows, as yoinked off the fest’s website:


Saturday, April 9th, 2016. Rolling Heavy Magazine, Allnight Allnight, and Brant Bjork bring you DESERT GENERATOR, a heavy, psychedelic, rock & roll happening. We are inspired by the legendary generator parties (from which Brant’s band Kyuss originated) and the 1970’s “van-in” campouts. We got five rad bands and a custom van show – one day and one night of laid back fun. It all takes place in a wild west ghost town & dusty desert cantina in the birthplace of Desert Rock and Doom.

The ROLLING HEAVY VAN SHOW starts at high noon and will feature 1960s & 1970s custom vans, vendors, DJS and more (see next FAQ).

The DESERT GENERATOR concert will start as the sun begins to set on the desert. All bands will perform on the outside stage at Pappy + Harriet’s Pioneertown Saloon near Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley, California.

Red Fang
Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band
Acid King
Golden Void
Ecstatic Vision

DESERT GENERATOR TICKET IS REQUIRED for Concert @ Pappy & Harriet’s. Event is All Ages. Free Parking. Made in the USA!

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, “Buddha Time (Everything Fine)” live at Burg Herzberg 2015

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SunnO))) Announce Live Dates and Fest Appearances

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sunno (Photo by Peter Beste)

Volume-as-religion drone pioneers SunnO))) aren’t exactly road dogs these days, but they pick their battles wisely. Next month, they head to Australia to play a whopping three shows, including at the Adelaide Festival, and in April/May, they’re back in the US for select dates around the Southeast ahead of a couple more fest appearances. It ain’t exactly five weeks of straight touring, road dogging it and sleeping on floors and so on, but I don’t think anyone’s about to hold that against them. It’s SunnO))). They should pretty much be playing museums and institutions of higher learning, so if it’s a fest, take it. Personally, I’d be way into seeing them and Brian Wilson back to back.

They’re out supporting late-2015’s Kannon (I’ll get there one of these days), which of course came out on Southern Lord. The PR wire had this to say about it:

sunn poster

SUNN O))) Announces US Live Actions Including Big Ears Festival, Levitation, Moogfest, And More

SUNN O))) has just announced a series of US tour dates for the Spring months, including several massive festival performances.

Following the band’s run through Australia, with shows in Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne in mid-March, SUNN O))) will tour though the Southern US in April. First, the band will perform at Big Ears Fest in Knoxville on April 2nd, appearing as one of the main acts alongside the likes of Yo La Tengo, Sun Ra Arkestra, Andrew Bird, Wolf Eyes, and more. The festival will be immediately followed by shows in Nashville, Athens, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Tampa through April 8th. Later that month, SUNN O))) will travel to Austin to take part in Levitation 2016, playing Saturday, April 30th with Brian Wilson, Animal Collective, The Black Angels, Boris, Sleep, The Thurston Moore Group, and countless more.

SUNN O))) will assemble again in May, with a set at Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina, performing alongside Odesza, Gary Numan, GZA, Laurie Anderson, Explosions In The Sky, and many other artists. Additional live performances are also being scheduled.

The SUNN O))) touring lineup for these shows will include founding members Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, as well as longtime members Attila Csihar, Tos Nieuwenhuizen, and Steve Moore (Earth, Stebmo).

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
3/12/2016 Adelaide Festival – Adelaide, AU w/ Magma
3/15/2016 Manning Bar – Sydney, AU
3/16/2016 Max Watts – Melbourne, AU
4/02/2016 Big Ears Fest – Knoxville, TN
4/03/2016 Exit/in – Nashville, TN
4/05/2016 Georgia – Athens, GA
4/06/2016 Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
4/07/2016 Sun Ray Theatre – Jacksonville, FL
4/08/2016 The Orpheum – Tampa, FL
4/30/2016 Levitation – Austin, TX
5/21/2016 Moogfest – Durham, NC

SunnO))), Kannon (2015)

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Mountain Tamer, Mountain Tamer: The Burning Mind (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mountain tamer mountain tamer

[Click play above to stream Mountain Tamer’s self-titled debut in full. Album is out Feb. 12 on Argonauta Records.]

Tripped out trio Mountain Tamer made a lasting impression in 2015 with their vowel-less Mtn Tmr demo (review here), and they follow and expand on that initial offering with a self-titled debut on Argonauta Records. The three tracks that featured on the demo — “Dunes of the Mind,” “Satan’s Waitin'” and “Sum People” — return on Mountain Tamer, but the shift in context is striking as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Andru, bassist/vocalist Dave Teget and drummer/vocalist Casey Garcia carve out their niche somewhere between the lurching grunge of “Sum People” and “Knew” and the heavy psych freakouts of “Mind Burner” and “Pharosite” that bookend.

Based in Santa Cruz, California, their style is more intense overall than a lot of the chilled-to-the-max guitar-heroics of the post-Earthless set, but not necessarily born of wildly different influences in classic heavy rock, punk and desert jams. The result across the eight-track/40-minute span of the album is a work that’s as gritty as it is lysergic, elements of noise rock in the catchy “Knew” resting fluidly with the garage rock strut of “Wolf” as the fuzzier “Vixen” blends the two with hairy lead tones and molten percussive build. Still, a psychedelic haze settles in almost immediately on “Mind Burner” at the record’s laid back opening, and that seems to inform everything that comes after one way or another, and as driving as Mountain Tamer get, their overarching atmosphere is headier than it is aggressive.

In that way, they’re very much of their coast, but the multi-vocalist approach, their penchant for departing from structure into jammy flights on cuts like “Dunes of the Mind,” “Vixen” and “Satan’s Waitin'” and the swing they present in their underlying groove is markedly their own. Following the steady fuzz layering of “Mind Burner,” “Knew” picks up with the catchiest chorus of Mountain Tamer, delivered more in a shout backed by melodic vocals in a way that reminds of Nick Oliveri-fronted Queens of the Stone Age but never tips over into directly doing the same thing.

mountain tamer

“Knew” gets maddest in its second half, but it’s never actually out of control, and AndruTeget and Garcia bring it around to a last run through the hook that makes it all the more a highlight en route to the longer, farther-ranging “Dunes of the Mind,” which airs out the guitar tone in initial thickened boogie and stretches into psychedelic atmospherics later on, a slowdown setting up the all-thrust finale, cut short at the end of the track. Variety continues to be a running theme as “Vixen” picks up with a shoegaze-gone punk pulsation, guitars shooting from one channel to the next as the band leaves the verse behind, jamming out, coming back, jamming out, coming back again for a final bluesy push that rounds out side A with a reinforcement of the acid rock traditionalism on which a lot of Mountain Tamer‘s extrapolations are based. All those dudes were running blues riffs through wah. Nearly half a century later, so it goes again.

As one would hope, side B weirds out a little but more. “Wolf in the Streets” goes cowbell and howlin’ at first, but finds its crux in a heavy psych build that features some of the album’s best guitar/bass interplay in its instrumental payoff before the final chorus, and the familiar strains of “Sum People” (also listed as “Sum Peeps”) pick up with a drawn-down version of the intensity that came forward on “Knew,” that before-grunge-had-a-name disaffection presented through slogging toms and resonant vocal fuckall as a thesis with which it’s hard to argue. Even here, Mountain Tamer find room to jam, and the ending of “Sum People” leads particularly effectively into “Satan’s Waitin’,” which launches with a foundation of bass and shifts through a spacey verse into jazzier drum-led rhythmic fare topped with stoned guitar on its way back to wherever the hell it came from, ending with a drawl on the hook and that bassline.

Remember when I mentioned weirding out? There it is. Then comes “Pharosite” to play the one side directly off the other — somehow the tones are warmer as they do — on a mostly instrumental capstone topped with shaker, a few rock-as-tribal shouts and a riotous noise and cymbal finish that, frankly, the album well earned. It wraps on a quick fade as if the band ran out of the room, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was actually the case, since the energy they put into the presentation of these tracks seems to come with corresponding wandering of attention. That’s not to say the songwriting isn’t focused, just that it’s multi-directional. That invariably will be a plus as Mountain Tamer move forward, but it’s also essential in making their debut as raucous and switched on as it is. And it is.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

Mountain Tamer website

Argonauta Records

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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Zun Post Videos for “Into the Wasteland” and “Nothing Farther”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


If your calendar or whatever technologically-current equivalent system you use isn’t already marked for the March 25 arrival of Zun‘s Burial Sunrise, you can feel free to go ahead and rectify that situation now. I’ll be here.

Okay? Good. News of the band’s debut came out last month, and with the involved lineup of Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce on guitar and vocalists John Garcia (KyussSlo BurnUnida and so on) and Sera Timms (Ides of GeminiBlack Math Horseman), it’s a significant happening even before you get down to the involvement of players like Mario Lalli (Fatso JetsonYawning Man) on bass, Harper Hug of Thunder Underground on drums/synth, Yawning Man‘s Bill Stinson on drums and The Doors‘ Robby Krieger (who seems to enjoy hanging out in the desert; recall he played on Garcia‘s solo LP as well) playing electric sitar, let alone the sound any of these considerable names conjure across the record’s soundscaping span. The album will be out on Small Stone, and is sure to catch ears among the converted and maybe even beyond, as its sweet melodicism, laid back rhythmic fluidity and the performances Timms and Garcia give entrance the listener with a cohesion rare for something that might rightly be called a supergroup, let alone one that trades off lead singers.

To further whet appetites, Zun have two new videos for tracks from Burial Sunrise — one with Garcia singing, one with Timms singing — that are available now for viewing. Between the two, you can definitely get a sense of the kind of atmosphere the record establishes, and I think you’ll agree it’s an atmosphere worth losing yourself within for a while. On repeat.

Both clips were put together by Christina Bishop. Info I wrote for the album follows, circled back through from the PR wire.


Zun, “Into the Wasteland” official video

Zun, “Nothing Farther” official video

In an age when the underground is dug up and paraded, commoditized, cheapened and discarded seemingly on a weekly basis, guitarist Gary Arce remains a genuinely under-appreciated craftsman in heavy rock and roll. As the six-stringer for Yawning Man going back three decades, he’s one of the principal architects of the sound born in California’s sands and known commonly as desert rock. His contributions have been pivotal in the creation of a style no less American than Delta Blues and no less imitated worldwide, and with ZUN’s Burial Sunrise, set for release via Small Stone Recordings March 25th, he not only reaffirms the breadth and vitality that has made his work so essential, but builds on it in expansive and vibrant ways.

The core trio of ZUN is Arce and vocalists Sera Timms (Ides Of Gemini, Black Mare, Black Math Horseman) and John Garcia (Kyuss, Vista Chino, Slo Burn, etc.). Arce plays bass and lap steel on Burial Sunrise as well, and he and Garcia and Timms are joined by drummers Bill Stinson (Chuck Dukowski, Yawning Man) and Harper Hug – the latter of whom also recorded the album at Thunder Underground Studios in Palm Springs, California. Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man) also contributes bass on a track, adding to the fluid, jammy feel that pervades the vast soundscapes conjured. Timms and Garcia divide lead-singer duties among Burial Sunrise’s six cuts, with Garcia lending his signature croon to “All That You Say I Am,” the brooding “All For Nothing,” and the drifting desert ode “Nothing Farther,” while Timms brings her ethereal, otherworldly presence to “Solar Days,” “Come Through The Water” and “Into The Wasteland,” the last of which might just be the album’s signature piece, seeming to mirror the wide-ranging, sandy thematic of “Nothing Farther” in bringing the desert – a place too often wrongly thought of as dead – to life in vivid colors and warm tonality, but pushing even further into an uncharted reach.

Known for forming and contributing to projects like Ten East (with Brant Bjork), Dark Tooth Encounter (with Lalli, Stinson and Scott Reeder), The Sort of Quartet, Yawning Sons (with Sons Of Alpha Centauri), and more, Arce brings a style that is inseparable from desert rock. For the partnerships he’s made in ZUN and for the scope of the album, its laid-back feel and pervasive exploratory sensibility, Burial Sunrise might just prove to be a landmark in his discography as well as the beginning of a new era of his work, continuing to reshape the genre he helped create in the first place in a manner that, like the sands themselves, seems to remain separate from time despite the chaos all around.

Zun are:
Gary Arce: guitars, bass, lapsteel
John Garcia: vocals
Sera Timms: vocals
Mario Lalli: bass
Robby Krieger: electric sitar
Bill Stinson: drums
Harper Hug: drums/ synths

Zun on Thee Facebooks

Zun preorder at Small Stone Records

Small Stone Records

Small Stone on Thee Facebooks

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Deathkings Premiere “The Storm” from All that is Beautiful

Posted in audiObelisk on January 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Los Angeles downer metal four-piece Deathkings release their second album, All that is Beautiful, March 18 via Midnite Collective.

I guess after their 2015 split with Rozamov (review here) it isn’t necessarily a shocker to find All that is Beautiful working in extremes. Even the title is an absolute — one that, in conversation with the overarching atmosphere of the record itself, seems to refer directly to notions of beauty in darkness — and as Deathkings lumber through the included four tracks/64 minutes offers no shortage of harsh stretches. What was a surprise was just how much of that sense of extremity is born of mood and emotionality. Recorded in 2014, which is the same year the band’s debut, Destroyer, was released, All that is Beautiful is as much a work of ambience as it is of sheer aural weight — if not most so — and most of its depressive aspect comes from the resignation of its subdued, downtrodden meditations.

That’s not to say everything’s hunky-dory when 18-minute opener “Sol Invictus” explodes into its growl-topped slow-motion plod from its quieter introduction, just that the integration of the former, particularly at the very start of the record, sets a tone for something more complex than a full album of just the latter would provide on its own. As Deathkings‘ extended tracks continue, whether it’s “Sol Invictus,” “The Storm,” “The Road to Awe” or “Dakhma,” the band leans to one side or another of their sound, and the effect is a multifaceted listen that remains cohesive in its atmosphere and overall mood. It is heavy, conceptually and sonically, and its sky-darkening roll will defy most common conceptions of beauty, but of course, that’s the idea to start with. Building tension in its quiet moments and paying it off either in massive volume or faster, thrashing movements, “Sol Invictus” offers breadth enough to justify its extended runtime, but even this is just a part of the larger work, feeding deathkings-all-that-is-beautifuldirectly into “The Storm” as though the two were one even grander piece.

“The Storm” and “The Road to Awe” are the two shortest cuts of the four at 13:24 and 12:25, respectively, but they retain the dual-tiered brutality of “Sol Invictus,” guitarists Daryl Hernandez and Mark Lüntzel fluidly shifting between weighted and lighter tones, as Nicolas Rocha provides depth to the mix with his bass and the layers of his vocals, which shift between growls, shouts and cleaner moments, reminding in the early, airier verses in “The Storm” of Rwake while shifting in the song’s final stretch to an interplay of shouts and chants, both seemingly buried beneath the guitars and bass and the hi-hat/snare march of drummer Sean Spindler. After its first couple minutes, “The Road to Awe” lurches to life somewhat awkwardly behind its guitar, but retains a Neurosis-style interplay between Hernandez and Lüntzel as it moves forward, Spindler enacting a chorus before a harsher section and a few quiet measures lead to a build seemingly cut short as the 19-minute “Dakhma” takes hold to finish out.

By then, it’s not really a case of Deathkings needing to expand on what they do, or even reinforce what’s come before — their point has gotten across — so much as to bring the sonic themes presented throughout to their natural conclusion. “Dakhma” does this via particularly tumultuous tradeoffs in volume, quiet feeding into loud into quiet into loud in more of a direct back and forth than All that is Beautiful has proffered before. After a driving, blackened apex past the 13-minute mark, they click off an even out somewhat shortly before 15:30, providing their own epilogue and letting the record end somewhere in a middle-ground that they seem to have been working so hard to find all along. Maybe that catharsis, and the catharsis of the entire outing preceding, is the beauty Deathkings are conveying, but neither will I take away from how skillfully the band balances ambient, contemplative evocations and sheer sonic heft. From the two, All that is Beautiful derives a consistency of purpose that makes it feel all the more like a work of passion.

Today I’m thrilled to host the premiere of “The Storm” ahead of the album’s release. Find it below, followed by some more info, and please enjoy:

In the wake of their debut album, Destroyer, as well as the recent vinyl 7? split with ROZAMOV through Midnite Collective, DEATHKINGS descended upon listeners with their bleak, yet enlightening look at the world around them. This state of unrest was developed and channeled into aural and material form with the help of Derek Donley (Bereft, deathkings tour posterGravitron, National Sunday Law, You Big Ox, Pigeonwing, Intronaut) at his Ox Cave Studios in Los Angeles. With Donley at the helm, the band steers the listener through the blending of drowning, desperate rage blended with tranquil undertones.

All That Is Beautiful was finished in early 2014 at Donley’s Ox Cave Studios. Uniting with the Midnite Collective for the third time, both entities have grouped to carefully craft a visually stunning package, deserving of the music contained therein. The band will unleash aural and visual ruin via digital. CD. cassette tape and vinyl (later in the year) releases starting this Spring Harvest, 2016.

Deathkings on tour:
March 30 Que Sera, Long Beach, CA
April 1 The Merrow, San Diego, CA
April 2 Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA
April 3 High Water Mark, Portland, OR
April 4 Blacklodge, Seattle, WA
April 5 The Golden Bull, Oakland, CA
April 6 Complex, Glendale, CA

Deathkings on Thee Facebooks

Deathkings on Bandcamp

Midnite Collective

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Jerkagram Premiere “Anteater” from New Album Outer Limbs

Posted in audiObelisk on January 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Los Angeles duo Jerkagram release their second album, the Toshi Kasai-produced Outer Limbs, on Friday. And eight-track offering, it effectively bridges a generally-pretty-wide gap between technical prog and atmospheric post-rock, the fraternal twin two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Derek Gaines and drummer/vocalist Brent Gaines developing pieces smoothly but establishing a multitudinous intent across the full-length’s span, whether it’s the serene noodling of the penultimate “Two Pillars,” on which someone sure seems to be playing bass, or the jagged earlier twists of “Cloud Builder,” which is almost straightforward in its verse/chorus structure, but even so retains a complexity in its execution that’s nigh on blinding.

Following 2014’s Tired Old Horseshit EP and that same year’s Let’s Talk About Us debut long-player, Outer Limbs begins with the whistle/snare march of “Coat of Arms,” brandishing aggressive fight-song methods as a misdirect before the 10-minute “Lyra” takes hold, devoting its first half to subdued ambience before a more insistent progression takes hold, joined by vocals, ending in a psychedelic burst of noise, horn-ish sounds and chanting to herald the dawning of some alternate Age of Aquarius before “Anteater” hits with its subtle build along a linear path based around an omnipresent central figure, swelling and getting noisier as it passes through its intro and early verses. It’s neither the first nor last moment on Outer Limbs that feels genuinely experimental in the sense of the Gaineses trying things out in the studio and seeing what sticks, but that’s not to say it lacks cohesion or underlying purpose either.

jerkagram outer limbs“Cloud Builder” picks up along similar noise-rock lines, its own repetitive core progression holding fast while choruses and verses play out around and on top of it, but “Three Pillars” takes that modus to another place, longer, more languid in its overall affect though between the intertwining guitar and drums (and, again, apparent bass) there’s no small degree of tension maintained as the song builds, crests and evens out in looping turns that eventually depart to let the drums finish alone. By this point in the record, Jerkagram can go just about wherever they want, and they take the sides they’ve thus far presented and bring them together on “Orphaned Origin,” spacious early but building an increasingly prevalent push that caps with a layered squiggly lead and moves into crashing final measures that give way to the pastoral, also instrumental “Two Pillars,” quiet but hypnotic in the expanding foundation of guitar.

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Jerkagram close the album with “Empty Gesture,” bringing back the horns (or whatever they might be) from “Coat of Arms” and, before ending with a long, sustained left-the-amp-on drone, bursting into the record’s most frenetic bout of noise, drums and guitar in full assault mode for a brief but purposeful finish. Maybe that’s the titular empty gesture in an effort to resolve the tension built up over the album’s course, or maybe they just felt obligated to end with cacophony, I don’t really know. Either way, after all they’ve been through over the preceding tracks, it makes a weird kind of sense in context this all-out blurt before it’s done. What else could they possibly do?

They say that sometimes twins develop their own language, growing up so tight-knit. I don’t know if Derek and Brent ever did anything like that as kids, but their second album makes it clear they’re communicating on a wavelength of their own.

Jerkagram are on tour starting in March. Below, you can hear the track premiere for “Anteater,” and under that, find upcoming live dates.


Pinning down just what Jerkagram does is no easy task. “I never know what to tell people when they ask,” explains drummer Brent Gaines, one half of the fraternal twin duo, along with guitarist Derek. The raucous twosome is influenced by a very wide array of musical styles and philosophies, from the cacophonic yet buoyant heaviness of The Melvins to the orchestral post-rock of Explosions in the Sky to the loose jazz of Sun Ra.

Starting out exclusively as an improvisational stilted noise/free rock operation from New York, Jerkagram embarked on several tours, and came to find that their free approach was naturally gravitating towards something more foundational and song-oriented. This newfound energy for song-writing lead to the band releasing two records in 2014 — full-length Let’s Talk About Us and EP Tired Old Horseshit. Following these releases was an ambitious ten-week tour around the US, where they landed in Los Angeles, ready to tickle some more earlobes with sheepish grins.

Enter the band’s new full-length album, Outer Limbs. Recorded and mixed by Toshi Kasai (Melvins/Big Business), the record is an evolutionary refinement of their melting-pot sound. Each song has a motorik sensibility behind it and seems to grow and transition organically, yet also manages to feel unhinged and unpredictable. The interplay of sturdiness and freedom inherent in their songs, as well as the dynamics of the bludgeoning drums and ambient guitars switching roles in being the driving force behind them is what makes Jerkagram such an intriguing force — they don’t imply themselves or belong to any genre, and despite this, everything is characteristic, cohesive and thematically consistent, from the Morricone-inspired opener, “Coat of Arms,” to the frenetic yet poppy, “Cloud Builder,” to the jazz-rock closer, “Empty Gesture.”

Jerkagram plans to support the record with relentless touring in 2016, where they aim to showcase their captivating high-energy performance wherever it brings them and beyond. Outer Limbs will be available on CD and download on January 29th, 2016.

Derek Gaines: Vocals, Guitar
Brent Gaines: Vocals, Drums

02/19 San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
03/03 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
03/06 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
03/07 Houston, TX @ The Satellite
03/08 New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar
03/10 Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
03/11 Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s
03/13 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
03/15 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
03/16 New Haven, CT @ BAR
03/17 Boston, MA @ O’Briens
03/18 Providence, RI @ Funky Jungle
03/19 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY @ Bard College
03/21 Montreal, QC @ L’Esco
03/23 Toronto, ON @ the Handlebar
03/25 Pittsburgh, PA @ Gooski’s
03/26 Louisville, KY @ Mag Bar
03/28 Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
03/29 Milwaukee, WI @ The High Dive
04/01 Kansas City, MO @ Mini Bar
04/03 Denver, CO @ 7th Circle
04/06 Portland, OR @ High Water Mark
04/07 Seattle, WA @ Substation
04/09 Olympia, WA @ Redhouse
04/10 Vancouver, BC @ LanaLou’s
04/13 Eugene, OR @ Wandering Goat w/ Gaselle/s/ & Paleons
04/15 Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull

Jerkagram on Thee Facebooks

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Disastroid Announce New Single Love is What You Bring on Home; Both Tracks Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


San Francisco trio Disastroid have a new short release out this month (better hurry up, January’s almost over) in the form of the two-song seven-incher Love is What You Bring on Home. Titled for its frenetic, mathy, winding A-side, the release is done in about seven minutes and streaming in full now — see below — so we’re not talking about a major commitment here, but gives a fervent sampling of the gamut the band runs in that time. Both “Love is What You Bring on Home” and its companion, the infectious, somewhat longer “Gadabout,” meld mathy impulses with overarching groove, derived from punk and duly jagged but precisely executed on a technical level even unto the quick-scale leads that pepper the first track.

No huge surprise they pull it off as well as they do — Disastroid aren’t exactly newcomers with three albums out — but it’s a fierce approach anyway, as blinding as it is rhythmically exciting. See if you can keep up.

The PR wire has a story to tell, so it tells:


Thanks to technology granting us instant information, it’s become that much more convenient and easy for a heavy music fan to discover new bands on a whim. However, the reality being the genre has become heavily saturated with the millennial generation discovering Black Sabbath in the internet age, therefore having great, uncompromising and deserving groups often go overlooked! The San Francisco power trio, Disastroid, is not a name that most would recognize at first on the heavy rock smorgasbord but with a back catalog of three full lengths and a handful of EPs, it’s time that you know who these guys are and what they’re about.

How best to summarize Disastroid? Imagine Helmet’s Strap It On being the soundtrack to an intergalactic battle that pitted the three headed King Ghidorah against Frank Kozik, David Yow and George Carlin. THAT’S Disastroid in quick summary form!

Disastroid is releasing their first offering of 2016 in the form of a 7” E.P. entitled Love Is What You Bring On Home. Two tracks that carry on the power trio’s sound of frantic yet harmonious riffs/chord structures by guitarist/vocalist Enver Koneya, low end counterpart Travis Williams and battery man Braden McGaw. The A-side, being the title track, is an attack on the central nervous system consisting of harsh single note riffing and fast paced time changes. The B-side concludes with “Gadabout”, a harmonious up tempo track that mellows the listener from side A’s onslaught. The album is a solid combination of math rock with some stoner elements in place to calm nerves. Aesthetics of these guys would match very well with a fan of the Man’s Ruin Records and Amphetamine Reptile Records rosters.

True to their nature of supporting local business, all production aspects for Love Is What You Bring On Home was kept within the confines of San Francisco with recording by Josh Garcia at Motor Studios, mastering by John McBain at JPM Mastering and pressed handled by renowned Pirates Press. Cover illustration and artwork the creation of notable Bay Area artist Aaron John Gregory, whose work has been featured on album covers by Giant Squid and Helms Alee.

Love Is What You Bring On Home is due out in January on 7” vinyl and available through all streaming and download providers and is their sixth self release as a band.

Track Listing:
Side A – “Love Is What You Bring On Home” (2:06)
Side B – “Gadabout” (5:05)

Disastroid is:
Enver Koneya (Guitar/Vocals)
Travis Williams (Bass)
Braden McGaw (Drums)

Disastroid, Love is What You Bring on Home (2016)

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