Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
While I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to see an owl on the cover of a heavy album and not think of Rush‘s Fly by Night immediately, I’m also not sure that’s not the intent of San Diego three-piece Leather Nun America, whose new full-length, Buddha Knievel, is due out March 9 on Nine Records. Take that owl from the Adam Burke cover art, add in the Viking ship and the doomly-looking hilltop castle and you’ve got a decent sense of where the trio are coming from musically. It would hardly fit the aesthetic, but somehow if a bottle of wine could’ve been incorporated or maybe a Maryland flag from one of the castle ramparts, it might go even further toward conveying Leather Nun America‘s particular affinity for Maryland doom and the work of The Obsessed, which continues to be a pervasive influence on their sound, as the new song “Into Abyss,” audible below, demonstrates.
I’m only kidding about changing the art, just in case there’s any lingering doubt. One look at it and it’s pretty easy to tell there isn’t a damn thing missing. Also, kudos to Leather Nun America on the title Buddha Knievel. Not that I’m keeping a list of the year’s best album names or anything, but if I was, that would definitely make the cut.
To the PR wire:
LEATHER NUN america – Buddha Knievel
NINE004, CD, Release Date: March 9th, 2015
LEATHER NUN america releases new album called “Buddha Knievel” on cd and digital download through Nine Records. This record is packed full with eleven magic, but old heavy tracks! Taking a doom fueled journey through sounds rich with MD/DC standards, then branching into cold harder Northern sound. 45 minutes of traditional doom metal in the vein of Wino’s bands like The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand and Spirit Caravan. Fans of Maryland doom metal sound and style will be satisfied!
Leather Nun america from San Diego/California is active since 2003. They released three albums before for PsycheDOOMelic Records (“All Your Kin” 2006, “Absence of Light” 2008, “Kult Occult” 2011), all of which at high levels. Listen to the “Buddha Knievel”, and you will see that they have reached a higher level.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
News today from the camp of Cali-based psych-desert rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa, who’ve announced the addition of bassist Tom Davies. Known for his work in Nebula and The Freeks, Davies replaces Antoine Morel-Vulliez and arrives as the band is making preparations to enter the studio with Matt Hyde (Slayer, Monster Magnet) to track their yet-untitled third album, which will also be the follow-up to their first Tee Pee Records LP, 2013’s The Edge of an Era (review here). Not bad timing by any means.
Davies joins Blaak Heat Shujaa drummer Michael Amster and guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier — also of Spindrift and Sonny Simmons‘ psychedelic backing band, Moksha Samnyasin, whose late-2014 release, Nomadic (review here), will get many more plugs before I’m through with it — in a new version of the three-piece, whose last record followed the 2012 Tee Pee EP, The Storm Generation (review here), and whose experimental bent has led them to craft longform works of natural-toned psychedelic sprawl. As that EP and The Edge of an Era were recorded by Scott Reeder, whose heavy rock pedigree in Kyuss, The Obsessed, Goatsnake and most recently Fireball Ministry precedes him, one wonders what might come of sessions with Matt Hyde, who, yeah, has a Grammy under his belt (for a Jonny Lang record), but is much more known for more straightforward, commercial styles of sound.
Time will tell. No solid release date yet for the album (they might want to record it first; that’s fair), but here’s the announcement of Davies‘ entry into the band:
Psych rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa announce new album, new bass player Tom Davies (Nebula)
British bass player Tom Davies has joined the ranks of Los Angeles-based, Paris-born psychedelic rock trio Blaak Heat Shujaa. Know for his tenure with heavy psych mavericks Nebula (Sub Pop, TeePee Records), Davies is also active in The Freeks and LANTVRN.
Blaak Heat Shujaa have started pre-production on their third, full-length album. Grammy-winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Deftones, Monster Magnet) will produce what is expected to be the finest collection yet of Blaak Heat’s signature pieces, a magical and unequaled blend of reverb rock, middle-eastern riffs and heavy psychedelia.
Way out west there’s a band called Spindrift, and they’ve been a-ramblin’ for the better part of 20 years now. Back in 2012, guitarist/vocalist Kirkpatrick Thomas — who’s seen ‘em come and seen ‘em go as regards bandmates — took his troupe of Ennio Morricone-inspired bandoliers out on a five-week run of ghost towns, because, uh, clinical depression? Nah, I don’t know that. Point is, Spindrift ventured out and brought a film crew along and made a movie basically to go with the sounds they make that are — wait for it — inspired by movies. Got it? If it’s a question of the chicken or the egg as to which came first, the movie or the soundtrack, the answer is yes.
Since then, Ghost of the West has been shown here and there at festivals and special premieres and whatnot, and the soundtrack — also Spindrift‘s eighth and latest long-player — came out in 2013 on Tee Pee Records. It closed with a punked up take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Very cool, lots of fun. Apparently there was some music left over, which is believable both because these cats jam and because some pieces are pretty short, and so the Exotic Detonation EP came to be. It’s a quick one, just three songs and about 11 minutes long, released on a two-sided, clear-blue cassette by Burger Records, but if you’ve ever or never heard Spindrift before, it makes a solid argument for what they do in their particular brand of cinematic desert-hued spaghetti Western psychedelia.
Side one of the tape is comprised of the title-track and “Ghosts Go West,” two shorter more livelier slices that are complemented on side two by the five-minute “High Plains Spindrifter,” which the tape notes also appeared in the film The Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace, to which Spindrift also supplied the score. That cut is something of a departure from the other two, a more minimal, foreboding atmospheric work marked out by Native American flute, sparse, descending guitar and a tense underlying drone — it has a threat of open spaces at night. To contrast, back on side one, opener “Exotic Detonation” starts with a direct port of the theme song to The Twilight Zone and moves into a gallop that, were it not for the punkishness of its drums, would just about make you dig at the grave of Arch Stanton.
“Ghosts Go West” as a more prominent low end and is in less of a rush generally, but the guitars open wider, echo further. Both it and “Exotic Detonation” are sort of thematic slices, but each is distinguished from the other, and by the time the tape clicks off at the end of “High Plains Spindrifter,” it’s a surprise because it’s so otherworldly and hypnotic. I haven’t seen Ghost of the West, but I’d be interested to know what visuals it accompanies. In my head it’s someplace where things like light pollution don’t exist.
Spindrift are about due for a follow-up to Ghost of the West, whether that’s a studio album with the current or at-least-current-last-time-I-looked-which-was-right-now lineup of Kirkpatrick Thomas, guitarist Thomas Bellier (also Blaak Heat Shujaa and who mixed the first two songs on Exotic Detonation and mastered the release), bassist Henry Evans and drummer James Acton, another soundtrack, or something else entirely. Whatever they wind up doing, they remain a band unto themselves soundwise and as a sampling of that, Exotic Detonation satisfies atmospherically and in its Western loyalist soundscapes.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Riffy Oakland metallers Blackwülf are the latest act to join forces with Ripple Music in what’s been an active early 2015 for the label, who announced last week that they’d also signed Desert Suns and that they’ll release a series of splits called The Second Coming of Heavy beginning in April. Their streak continues with Blackwülf, whose umlaut-laden sans-frills heaviness will make its label debut in June.
To mark the occasion, Blackwülf are streaming the song “Wings of Steel” — the reference to Judas Priest‘s “Painkiller” may or may not be intentional — from the album, and you can hear it via the Soundcloud player under the PR wire info that follows:
Ripple Music announce signing of Californian Quartet Blackwülf
Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of Oakland, California’s Blackwülf to their ever-growing and impressive roster of artists in 2015.
The band – made up of vocalist Alex Cunningham, guitarist Pete Holmes, drummer Dave Pankenier and bassist Scott Peterson – prowl the musical feeding grounds of stoner rock, doom-cloaked soundscapes and vintage heavy metal. Dark sonic forests that provide coverage for their unholy mix of parapsychological anger and aggression, and bluesy head-banging riffs.
With a résumé that includes member stints with bands like San Francisco’s Acid King, The Nads, Tucson’s Naked Prey and Mountain Pig, Blackwülf is already a seasoned predator. Formed in 2012, it wasn’t until January of last year that the band unleashed their debut album Mind Traveller on Wicker Man Recordings, pressed on clear red vinyl and featuring jacket illustrations from acclaimed San Franciscan artist Alan Forbes (Queens Of The Stone Age, The Misfits). The record, much like Blackwülf themselves was unabashed in its typical, “What you see is what you get” aesthetic. Melding heavy stoner riffs to sincere, pure rock indulgence that has since paved the way for the self-released 7” split single ‘Acid Reign’ with Portland’s Black Snake last September.
Offering up another dose of melody and raw power and a nod to the golden old schools of heavy 70s and 80s pre-thrash metal Blackwülf will release their new album this June via Ripple Music.
Posted in Radio on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I have continued to enjoy putting together these posts, and hopefully, whether you listen to The Obelisk Radio or you don’t, you get some use out of them. The fact is that it’s a pretty overwhelming amount of music being released these days — I feel like I’ve been behind all week, and for good reason — but it’s a good problem to have, and all you can really do is your best to keep up as much as you can. Accordingly, some of the stuff joining the playlist this week isn’t out yet, some is newly released and some of it has been out for a long time. Months are irrelevant. Riffs are timeless.
Let’s get to it.
The Obelisk Radio adds for Feb. 6, 2015:
UK heavy proggers Hark – also stylized in all-caps and with spaces between the letters — have all the noodly twists and turns one might expect in the shouty post-Mastodonic sphere of modern heavy, but what the trio do even better is use those turns toward building crescendos, so that songs like “Palendromeda,” the opener from their 2014 Season of Mist debut, Crystalline, isn’t just a mash of technical indulgence, but it actually moves somewhere too. Later cuts like “Sins on Sleeves” and “All Wretch and No Vomit” have some straightforward heavy rock to them as well –guitarist/vocalist/cover artist Jimbob Isaac used to play in Taint — but as one might expect, neither he nor bassist Nikolai Ribnikov (who seems to have since been replaced by Joe Harvatt, unless I have that backwards; things like who plays on what don’t matter in the age of digital promos) and drummer Simon Bonwick stay in one place too long. A guest appearance from Clutch‘s Neil Fallon on 10-minute closer “Clear Light of…” follows some particularly fervent tapping and presages another in Crystalline‘s series of crescendos, a long fade following topped by heady swirl that finishes out. Parts can be a bit much, but the full-on sprint that starts “Breathe and Run” and the weighty groove that follows make Hark‘s debut a solid fit for those seeking blinding fretwork that doesn’t necessarily sacrifice dynamic on the altar of technicality. HARK on Thee Facebooks, Season of Mist.
Born out of last year’s hot-shit-and-then-gone The Oath, London/Berlin four-piece Lucifer make their Rise Above debut with the Anubis/Morning Star 7″, vocalist Johanna Sadonis crooning out vaguely devilish incantations over The Wizards‘ riffs, Dino Gollnick‘s bass and Andrew Prestidge drums. The results on “Anubis” are probably the most Sabbathian bit of Sabbathery that’s come along since Orchid wandered along — the progression of “Anubis” is almost singularly indebted to “Snowblind.” “Morning Star” is likewise familiar, nestled somewhere between a theatrical take on ’80s proto-doom and ’70s cultistry and bolstered by the craft of Sadonis and former Cathedral guitarist Gary “Gaz” Jennigs. Hey, if it works, fair enough. One imagines that by the time the single arrives in April, word of Lucifer‘s coming will have spread far and wide, and if the single is meant to intrigue and pique interest ahead of a full-length to be issued later in 2015, I’ve no doubt it will do precisely that. Lucifer on Thee Facebooks, Rise Above Records.
Diesel King, Concrete Burial
If you’ve got a quota for burl, London sludge metallers Diesel King will likely meet it with their When Planets Collide debut long-player, Concrete Burial, an album that hands out grueling, ultra-dudely chugging like a beefed-up Crowbar, vocalist Mark O’Regan offering shouting and growling extremity bordering at times on death metal. Shit is heavy, and it lives up to the violent threat of its title on songs like the catchy “Inferis” and “Horror. Disgust.,” the latter of which actually manages to make the lumbering guitar tones of Geoff Foden and Aled Marc move, propelled by the metallic drumming of Bill Jacobs while bassist Will Wichanski adds to the already pummeling low end. The 80-second “Mask of the Leper” is straight-up grind, but don’t be fooled by shifts in tempo — Diesel King‘s bread and butter is in sludged-out chug-riffing and growled chestbeating, like a testosterone supplement you take via your ears. Diesel King on Thee Facebooks, When Planets Collide.
Planes of Satori, Planes of Satori
Made for vinyl and pressed in that manner by Who Can You Trust? Records as the follow-up to last year’s Son of a Gun 7″ (review here), Planes of Satori find easy sanctuary on uneasy ground, smoothing out jagged edges and uncautious twists on their self-titled debut full-length. Bassist Justin Pinkerton doubles as the drummer in Golden Void, but though Planes of Satori share a West Coast affinity for the golden age of krautrock, cuts like “Eyes,” “Gnostic Boogie” and “The Ballad of Queen Milo” are on a much different trip, psychedelic afrobeat rhythms unfolding their insistence under the echoed out vocals of Alejandro Magana while Raze Regal tears into jazzy solos and Chris Labreche somehow manages to make it swing. The airier, more rhythmically settled “KTZ” retains a progressive feel both in the underlying tension of its bassline and in the open, creative vibe through which it careens. Call it “manic peace,” but it works well for Planes of Satori on a cut like the earlier “If You Must Know,” which reimagines ’90s indie weirdness through a lens of what-if-it-wasn’t-so-cool-not-to-give-a-crap, and “Green Summer,” which follows a building course without tipping off its hand until you’re already wrapped up in Regal‘s live-sounding leads. The closing solo guitar echo of “The Snake and the Squirrel” speaks to yet-unexplored drone dynamics and further delving into psychedelia to come. Sign me up. I have the feeling that the more bizarre Planes of Satori get, the more satisfying the trip is going to be. Their debut already shows a pervasive adventurous spirit. Planes of Satori on Thee Facebooks, Who Can You Trust? Records.
Stonebride, Heavy Envelope
Late 2014’s Heavy Envelope is the third Stonebride record behind 2010’s Summon the Waves (review here) and their 2008 debut LP, Inner Seasons. Released by Setalight Records, it finds the Zagreb, Croatia, four-piece’s sound way solidified as compared to the psychedelic sprawl of the prior release, a ’90s-style rolling crunch riff to “Lay Low” following the distinctly Alice in Chainsian vocal melodies of “Lowest Supreme” and preceding the effectively replicated Queens of the Stone Age bounce of “Coloured Blue.” Some intervening solidification in the four years between the second and third albums might explain the shift in sound — the opposite could also be true — but drummer Steps and guitarist Tjesimir, bassist Alen and vocalist Sinisawork well within their newfound sphere, even finding room to branch out a bit on the more extended closing duo of “Sokushinbutsu” and “Venomous,” never quite hitting the same psyched-out feel of Heavy Envelope‘s predecessor, but definitely adding further individual sensibility to an engaging take on heavy rock. Stonebride seem ripe for a new beginning, and Heavy Envelope boasts precisely that kind of energy. Stonebride on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, Setalight Records.
For the complete list of what went up today and everything else that’s been added recently and everything played going back I don’t even remember how long at this point, be sure to check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page. Hope you find something you dig and that you think is worth hearing.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Oakland progressive doomers Secrets of the Sky have signed to Metal Blade Records for the release of their as-yet-untitled second album later this year. The new record, which follows 2013’s To Sail Black Waters, has been recorded and is I guess just kind of hanging out until the schedules align. Figure with Secrets of the Sky‘s blend of black metal, doom, post-whathaveyou and penchant for atmospherics, you’d expect a summer or fall release, but we’ll see if they want to wait that long. Probably depends on tour plans as well, since I doubt Secrets of the Sky would’ve been picked up had their promotional plan involved sitting on ass.
Bottom line? Same as ever: More to come as I hear it. For now, this from the PR wire:
Secrets of the Sky signs to Metal Blade Records
Oakland, CA natives, Secrets of the Sky, have signed with Metal Blade Records and will be releasing their sophomore album in the summer of 2015! The psychedelic, doom act released “To Sail Black Waters” through Kolony Records in late 2013.
After touring in support of “To Sail Black Waters” over the past two years, Secrets of the Sky are prepared to take their next step. They’ve completed tracking their sophomore album at Trident Studios with producer/engineer Juan Urteaga (Testament, Machine Head, Cattle Decapitation). Details and new music will be released this summer.
Secrets of the Sky comments on joining forces with Metal Blade Records: “We are very excited to be joining the Metal Blade Records roster. The Metal Blade legacy, reputation and commitment to heavy music has stood the test of time. The staff we have been working with genuinely “get” what it is that our band is doing and have been tremendously supportive of it thus far. We are also pleased to announce that our second full length will be released in the coming months. The album was again recorded by Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios and is another abstract concept piece. We believe we pushed ourselves in writing it to further develop our sound and we put more focus on creating a collection of songs that flow from beginning to end, while still retaining the cinematic qualities we originally set out with on our debut.”
Posted in Features on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fatso Jetson‘s current European tour alongside compatriots and fellow desert rock progenitors Yawning Man began last night, in Dortmund, Germany. The band is touring as a trio, with the father/son team of Mario and Dino Lalli switching off on guitar and bass while Tony Tornay drums. Absent are bassist Larry Lalli (Mario‘s cousin) and saxophonist Vince Meghrouni, who aren’t out of the band or anything, just couldn’t make the trip. So if Europe’s being treated to a somewhat rawer form of Fatso Jetson, they’re also getting an extra dose of desert jamming from Yawning Man, in which Mario Lalli plays bass alongside Gary Arce‘s guitar and, this time, Bill Stinson‘s drums. The plan is to have Dino, who’s 18 and has been sharing stages with his father for the last half-decade or so — the two playing together in Auto Modown prior to Dino actually joining Fatso Jetson — sit in on guitar and jam during Yawning Man‘s sets. Everything evens out one way or another.
Sounds more complicated than it is, maybe. The idea to take away from it is the amorphous nature of the two bands — a symbiosis between them — and Mario Lalli‘s pivotal contribution to both. This is a Fatso Jetson interview because that was most of what I wanted to ask about; his role on the tour and writing with his son, helping Dino find a creative voice while also progressing his own band after 2010’s excellent and underrated Archaic Volumes (review here), and whether the material they contributed to their 2014 split with Herba Mate (review here) was at all indicative of where Fatso Jetson‘s next record is headed. It just as easily could’ve been talking about Yawning Man and when one might at last expect a follow-up to 2010’s Nomadic Pursuits (review here), or Mario‘s 30-year collaboration with Arce, which has served as a foundational element in the creation of what we now call desert rock in no small part because that’s where they happened to be jamming out when they created it. That’s another interview, though. We’ll get there when the time comes.
It’s worth noting that the Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man tour is called “Legends of the Desert Volume II,” and indeed, it’s the sequel to a run the two groups did together back in 2013 that was built around appearances at Desertfest in London and Berlin. Says something about the ongoing first-exposure to their particular brand of heavy rock and roll that the two groups — whose sounds are complementary for sure but ultimately have two different styles — would find demand fervent enough for a repeat trek. In the end, you gotta give the people what they want. Fatso Jetson, as Lalli points out, has never done a full US tour, which is something they hope to change, but the next task seems to be recording. Their LP will be the first with Dino in the band, and while there’s a lot of history one can talk about with Mario Lalli, whose involvement in groups like Sort of Quartet and Yawning Man and Across the River and Fatso Jetson means he was the guy who was always there, it seemed that much truer to what he does musically to look forward rather than back. I hope you’ll agree.
Please find the complete Q&A after the jump, and enjoy.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Longtime residents of Kemado Records‘ lineup, Oakland heavy thrashers Saviours have signed to Listenable Records for the release their next album, to be recorded this Spring with none other than Billy “I have the original mixes of Dopesmoker under my desk” Anderson following a quick West Coast tour in March. Saviours mark a decade since the release of their Warship debut EP in 2015, and they’ve been slugging it out the hard way most of that time, heavy touring and a string of four-to-date full-lengths that have kept them in public consciousness as they’ve heralded a new breed of West Coast heavy rock.
It’s been four years since Death’s Procession, their last LP, and I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t know when I say the climate for heavy bands has changed in that time and is continuing to change, so I’ll be interested to see what kind of response Saviours gets, and if the band is able to transition to maturity while keeping the brashness that’s served for the last 10 years as the core of their sound.
While I stroke my beard and consider the possibilities fully aware of my own ridiculousness, feel free to dig into this off the PR wire:
SAVIOURS ink deal with Listenable Records!
California’s SAVIOURS continue to forge ahead with towering riffs, colossal rhythm, monumental guitar harmonies and an obsession with the end of times, the occult, psychedelics and arcane. Still building upon the foundations laid by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Motörhead, SAVIOURS enter their second decade in a new partnership with French label LISTENABLE RECORDS, preparing a new album for a Fall 2015 release.
The band generously comments: “We’re very happy to finally announce our deal with Listenable. They’re true supporters of what we do and have been a pleasure to work with thus far. Since last June we’ve been beating the new songs into submission and now its really starting to take shape and sound killer. There are some doomy crushers and faster ragers in the mix so its sounding like a natural and logical continuation of where we left off with Death’s Procession. In March we’ll play some West Coast shows then begin recording at Type Foundry in Portland with the inimitable Billy Anderson. Can’t wait to get this new record out, its been too fucking long!”
SAVIOURS new album will be recorded this spring for a later 2015 release.
The band will also be in for a short West Coast tour this March.
SAVIOURS Possess The West 2015 Tour 18.03 – LOS ANGELES (CA) Los Globos 19.03 – SAN DIEGO (CA) Soda Bar 20.03 – SAN FRANCISCO (CA) DNA Lounge 21.03 – RENO (NV) Shea’s Tavern
SAVIOURS IS: Austin Barber – Guitar & Vocals Sonny Reinhardt – Guitar & Vocals Scott Batiste – Drums Andy Anderson – Bass
DISCOGRAPHY Full length albums: “Crucifire” – LP / CD (Level Plane, 2006) “Into Abaddon” – LP / CD (Kemado, 2008) “Accelerated Living” – 2LP / CD (Kemado, 2009) “Death’s Procession” – LP / CD (Kemado, 2011)
EP and singles: S/T Demo – Cassette (Self released, 2004) “Warship” – 12″ EP / CDEP (Level Plane, 2005) “Cavern Of Mind” – 12″ EP (Kemado, 2007) “F.G.T.” – 7″ EP (Kemado, 2009) “Burnin Cross” – 7″ EP (Kemado, 2009) “Acid Hand” – 7″ EP (Kemado, 2009) “The Eye Obscene” – 12″ EP (Kemado, 2011) “Crete’n” – 12″ EP (Kemado, 2011)