Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Originally slated for release this month, Leave Me Alone, the debut album from Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable is now set to arrive on Oct. 28 courtesy of Schnitzel Records. The new band, as it were, is essentially Oliveri. He plays everything on the record but lead guitar, for which he enlisted a number of comrades and friends as guests. Not a bad way to go when you happen to be buddies with Phil Campbell from Motörhead. That’s a good friend to have.
The PR wire has details and more on Leave Me Alone:
release date of Nick Oliveri solo album moves from Sept. to October
Nick Oliveri’s debut solo album, Leave Me Alone, is having its U.S. release moved from September to late October. The album gives powerfully captivating proof of his mastery of multiple instruments while boasting some of the most intensely visceral, hard-rocking music he’s made – no small achievement for someone who’s served time in the ranks of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Dwarves, not to mention his own band Mondo Generator…among others.. Produced by Oliveri himself, recorded by Harper Hug and Trevor Whatever, and mixed by Mathias Schneeberger Leave Me Alone will be released on Schnitzel Records October 28.
Many artists struggle to establish their musical identity; Nick Oliveri has forged his through a long career of hard work and full command over his craft and his music. Recording at Thunder Underground Studios in his longtime haunt of Palm Springs, CA, Oliveri sang and played drums, guitar and bass — all the instruments on every track save the guitar solos. The solos were provided by an array of distinguished guests including Phil Campbell from Motorhead, Mickey Melchiondo (a.k.a. Dean Ween) from Ween and Moistboyz, Stephen Haas from Moistboyz, Mike Pygmie from Mondo Generator, Marc Diamond from The Dwarves and Bruno Fevery from Kyuss Lives!/ Vista Chino; mostly once and future bandmates. There’s also a guest vocal by Blag Dahlia from The Dwarves.
Born in Los Angeles, Oliveri began his musical career in the late 80’s with Katzenjammer whose personnel would eventually gain worldwide recognition under the name Kyuss. Appearing on their Wretch and Blues for the Red Sunalbums, Oliveri left the group and joined The Dwarves. He eventually rejoined Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme forming Queens of the Stone Age. Nick would go on to front his own band Mondo Generator and collaborate onstage and in the studio with a wide variety of distinctive, oftimes extreme outfits including the Mark Lanegan Band, Masters of Reality, Turbonegro, Moistboyz, Bl’ast, and Kyuss Lives!/Vista Chino to name but a few.
Posted in On Wax on September 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Five years after making their debut on MeteorCity with the cave-riffed 2009 first album, Native (review here), San Francisco stoner plod trio Flood reemerge with Oak, their second long-player. Released by Volcom as a 12″ platter with green-swirl vinyl, it’s the second time the label and band have worked together behind a 2010 split with Wildildlife that included the track “The Gate to the Temple of the Ocean King.” That track doesn’t appear on Native or either of Oak‘s two sides, but as the six included tracks show, it’s not exactly like Flood are short on riffs. Some of their methods are consistent on Oak – as with the first album, they earn immediate points by opening here with the longest track, “Perihelion,” though it’s worth noting that at just under 11 minutes, it’s still considerably trimmed down from “Aphelion”‘s 18:29. The two titles relating to orbital positions of planets in relation to the stars around which they’re revolving — perihelion is the closest point, aphelion the farthest — the two seem to be in direct conversation with each other, the newer track answering the lumbering thud of the older one with its own stomp and rumble, vocals echoing over slower riffing that picks up after about halfway through, if momentarily, to remind that somewhere along the line, Flood picked up a Fu Manchu influence.
The two-part “Holy Astro Shaman” follows on side A, and side B continues the heavy roll with “Beryllus” (also the longest song on its side at 8:14), “Baphomet Sermon” and “Lake Nyos,” proffering distortion largesse, echoing shouts and resonating percussive march in a post-Mastodon stoner metal with deep-running Sabbath/Sleep elements. The recording on Oak is rawer than was Native – the newer LP tracked by Bart Thurber at House of Faith Studio in Oakland — but in a way that sounds probably closer to Flood‘s live show and that brings out an extra edge from the material. In any case, the sound remains clear enough for the three-piece of guitarist Fozzy, bassist/vocalist Fink and drummer Eli to get their weighty message through. Periodic tempo shifts, as those in “Perihelion” and “Holy Astro Shaman Pt. II,” go a long way in changing up the feel. Longer than it might at first seem, even, since so much of what Flood does is consistent in its push and focus on tone, riffs, groove, but the two-part “Holy Astro Shaman” enacts a solid build across its span and, paying off that build about halfway into its second part, uses the remainder to explore a drum-led jam that fades out to cap side A.
Side B starts “Beryllus” with feedback and more consume-the-room riffing, a long Dopesmoker-style drum build opening not to riotous explosive heaviness, but to more jamming exploration prior to the first verse. Flood don’t sound like a patient band, but they are, albeit in a subtle way. Throaty vocals shouting from deep in the mix, the guitar and bass work well together across the Side B opener, which gives way to the familiar chugging of “Baphomet Sermon,” which breaks in the middle with some highlight bass work from Fink, but otherwise sticks mostly to its central riff, leaving some atmospheric vocals to do the work of distinguishing it in the first half while arriving at a verse only later on, when the rollout is more established. Closer “Lake Nyos,” which takes its name from a body of water in Cameroon on top of a volcano that, in 1986, emitted a cloud of carbon dioxide responsible for the deaths of 1,700 people, starts with an appropriate sense of foreboding, the bass and drums setting a doomed ambience to be joined soon enough by the guitar, a siren in the background signaling the transition into the next stage of the build that will run a line throughout its seven minute runtime, Fink‘s vocals cave-shouting from under the guitar and bass while Eli‘s fills shift between slow-moving measures, leading to a gradual disintegration. The guitar and bass chug out, the drums thud, and Flood‘s Oak caps its final movement with a couple last hits and a quick shot of feedback.
Working greatly in the band’s favor is their utter lack of pretense. Flood did not take five years to put out their second record because they were trying to conquer the world or write a progressive masterpiece. They got around to it when they got around to it. That wouldn’t work for everyone, but it suits them and what they do, keeping their approach relatively simple while adding flourish in moments of experimentation without losing track of the heaviness they’re looking to convey. Dudes riffing out. I don’t know what it was that took them so long to get the album together, but Oak shows — like a second debut, almost — that Flood‘s worship continues to provide a fix for those who might need one. It’s the kind of heavy that makes squares show their corners.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’re looking for a reference point for San Fran heavy trio Disastroid, think of a thicker-toned, more metallized Fatso Jetson and you might get something of a picture for what they do on their third album, Missiles. The record lobs eight such slabs of projectile rock, taking influence from the deserts to the band’s south but adding a but of noise crunch as well, like the Melvins but less showy in their weirdness, and guitarist Enver Koneya comes straight out of the Mario Lalli vocal school (which I very much wish was an actual school, like, one that I could go to). To wit, the husky soul of “Unsound Mind,” on which Koneya soothes over prog metal chugging and desert rock push. That’s one example and Missiles goes elsewhere on other tracks, but a standout all the same if you’re looking for a place to start.
Details on the album and some background on Disastroid follow, courtesy of the PR wire:
Disastroid is a heavy music trio from the San Francisco Bay Area who has carved a name for themselves in the Bay Area heavy music scene with their sporadic releases and intense/atmospheric live shows and complete DIY ethic and approach. Formed in 2007 by Enver Koneya, Travis Williams and Braden McGaw through their shared interest in Kyuss, fuzz pedals and Godzilla movies, the collective interests were then forged into a band that created a sound that one fan has described as: “It sounds like an armada of spaceships blasting across the galaxy in preparation for intergalactic war.” With two full lengths under their belt and a handful of E.P. releases, they guys keep pretty active and have already played alongside the likes of Fu Manchu, Yawning Man, Eagles of Death Metal Church of Misery, Jucifer, Black Cobra and Helmet since their inception.
The latest release from the San Francisco riffers is entitled Missiles and is follow up to their last 7” release Karoshi. Recorded and mixed in the Bay Area with mastering done in Los Angeles by Mike Wells, artwork/illustrations created by bass player Travis Williams. Eight songs of conceptual tone and carefully crafted riffs, it’s a break from what Karoshi brought with its slow sludgy tempo and feel. A faster/frantic pace and melodic sense is prevalent in most of the tracks, without sacrificing any of the characteristics that made them known for the sound they’ve forged for themselves and their audiences. Enver’s playing is much more upbeat with a good mix of clean tone harmonies and sludge infused grooves, Travis’s bass playing never wavering along with Braden’s drumming patterns. These guys musicianship and songwriting capabilities improve and excel with each new release they put out and it shows with Missiles.
Like all their other releases, this was a complete DIY effort in terms of the recordings, mastering and production. Other releases that Disastroid have done include:
Life or Death – 2009 Iris Failure E.P. – 2011 Money & Guilt – 2012 Karoshi E.P. – 2013
Posted in Radio on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a couple weeks since the last time I was able to get together a proper round of adds to The Obelisk Radio, and the list as a result is accordingly huge. I’d have to go back and compare the last 18-plus months to be sure, but I think 40 albums is up there with what I might have uploaded during the initial buildup of the playlist, just basically getting everything I could think of and a bunch of stuff I couldn’t to expand on what was on the hard drive when I got it. We’ll be at two years since the Radio stream went live before I know it. Time goes quick, and seems to all the more when each post has a timestamp.
I say this every time, but there’s a lot of killer stuff included this week, so I hope you find something you enjoy.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Sept. 13, 2014:
Bong, Bong Presents Haikai No Ku Ultra High Dimensionality LP
I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to try to ascertain what plane of being Bong are residing on these days, but suffice it to say, they’ve evolved beyond corporeal form and merged with the all-consuming distortion of the universe. At least that’s how it sounds. The maddeningly prolific UK drone-doomers present this release but aren’t actually on it, save for guitarist Mike Vest, who leads the side-project Haikai No Ku through five tracks of blissful psychout on Ultra High Dimensionality. If you’re looking for differences between the two outfits, Haikai No Ku lean less toward grim droning than Bong, and songs like “Dead in the Temple” and “Blue at Noon” roll out huge psychedelic grooves — the band is completed by bassist Jerome Smith and drummer Sam Booth – but there’s consistency to be found in the wash of noise and the complete hypnosis of their repetitions anyway, and as high as the dimensionality might be, the volume should be higher. One to get lost in for sure, and there’s enough space for everyone. Bong on Twitter, on Bandcamp.
Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, The Shining One
The pun in the moniker of Moscow double-guitar four-piece Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds probably doesn’t need to be pointed out. Featuring The Grand Astoria collaborator Igor Suvorov, Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds pull together touches of psychedelic impulsiveness and classic heavy rock structures with the production clarity and catchy songwriting of mid-era Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a danger underscoring the boogie of “How to Fix Things” from the band’s self-released debut LP, The Shining One, that seems to find payoff later in the big-groove hook of “Highlow World,” which provides one of the album’s most satisfying listens before shifting into an airier dreamspace and fading into the noisier “Lords of the Damned,” reviving the largesse of riff prior to the closing title-track. An intriguing debut for an outfit loaded with potential, the fullness of their sound boding particularly well for their confidence in their sound and the precision of their execution. One not to be missed. Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Desert Lord, To the Unknown
Finnish stoner-doom foursome Desert Lord get into some Sabbath-worship on their debut long-player, To the Unknown, but manage to avoid both the trap of retro ’70s-ism that has much of Europe so firmly in its grasp and the trap of sounding like Reverend Bizarre, whose legacy in their native land isn’t to be understated. Of particular note is that Desert Lord cite The Cult as an influence. One can hear shades of that in the guitars on opener “Forlorn Caravan,” but Desert Lord quickly move into doomier fare on the subsequent nine-minute “Wonderland,” which distinguished by weeded-out wah on Roni‘s bass. Middle-ground is sought and found on “New Dimensions,” with vocalist Sampo Riihimäki reminding of Earthride‘s Dave Sherman in his movement between rougher delivery, spoken word, and accentuated screaming, also hinting at roots in more traditional metal, though “Manic Survivor’s Song” gives way to more stoner territory in the guitar, reminding of some of Eggnogg‘s stylistic turns, though with less of a mind toward tonal thickness. They’re still figuring out where they want to be, but Desert Lord‘s To the Unknown has more than a few moments worth the effort of a listen. Desert Lord on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Space Mushroom Fuzz, Onward, to the Future
Perpetually progressive and perpetually prolific bizarro psych rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz return with another new release, dubbed Onward, to the Future. The Boston outfit, led by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside, include two tracks this time out, “Onward, to the Future,” a laid back space rocker made strange in its midsection with some theremin-style keys, and the waltzing “Half the Way Down,” which shows off some classical guitar work over a subtly oompah backing rhythm with soft, brooding vocals. Is it possible to have a shoegazing waltz? Space Mushroom Fuzz never lack character in they do, Abrams periodically leading the way through jams that could and sometimes do run into indulgent (if satisfying) noodlefests, but particularly with “Half the Way Down,” there’s something more grounded and sadder at the root. “Onward, to the Future” tells a tale of alien invasion — short version: they win — and showcases the band’s exploratory side, but even that ends contemplative and relatively minimal, sort of dropping instruments one at a time by its finish on a long fade. A lesson in taming expectation, perhaps, and a fascinating, quick journey from this inventive outfit. Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Plunger, Space Plumber
All seems to be on a course for weirdo noise punk as Los Angeles bass/drum duo Plunger get underway on their debut Space Plumber EP, some Melvins influence making itself felt on “Toxic Wrap,” and then they rumble and thump their way into the eight-minute centerpiece title-track, and it becomes apparent that there’s much more going on with twin brothers Mark (bass/vocals) and Kris Calabio (drums/vocals, also of Old Man Wizard) than it might at first seem. They quickly put their own minimalism to work for them on the faster opener “Blerg Rush,” but “Space Plumber” moves far off into sparseness, the drums barely there when they are and then gone ahead of the transition into “Sleep,” on which both Mark and Kris contribute vocals over a fuller rumble and steady roll, clearly enjoying the contrast. “Plunger” rounds out the release with a fuller take on some of the faster movement of the opener, starts and stops in the unpretentious 1;53 finale. One gets the feeling the (Super) Calabio Bros. are only going to get stranger from here, and that suits them well. Plunger on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Once again, these are five cool releases, but there were 35 other records that join the playlist today, including full-lengths from Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Apostle of Solitude and on and on. A couple of these will be on the year-end list, so if you get the chance to check out The Obelisk Radio playlist and updates page, I think it’s worth a look.
They kind of had to stretch to make the title work, but they got there in the end. For each respective side of the Battleground Records split tape between Arizona polisci sludgecore bashers Godhunter and Oakland atmospheric blackened doomers Secrets of the Sky, there are two songs. Godhunter present “Pursuit/Predator” and “Gh/0st:s” and Secrets of the Sky have “The Star” and “Gh/0st:s (Part II),” the latter cut for both deriving its title from an acronym of the bands’ names, the second one altered so that if written out it would appear as “Of the Sky: Secrets” and stylized with a zero where the ‘o’ in “of” would otherwise be. Again, it’s a stretch, but they make it work, and tie the two pieces together musically well. The two acts toured together earlier this summer around slots at the Doom in June festival in Las Vegas and they’ll partner again — with many others as well — for the Southwest Terror Fest as part of a booming lineup headed by Neurosis, SunnO))), Goatsnake, et al. On the earlier tour, the tape was sold in an edition of 100 copies with artwork by Nate Burns. Vinyl is due at the end of this month in cooperation between Battleground and The Compound.
What the two bands mostly have in common is that they’re heavy, and yes, I recognize that says next to nothing about them. Godhunterderive a big part of their sound from hardcore, and as the “Pursuit/running you down” call and response gang-style vocals over acoustic guitar round out “Pursuit/Predator” — which begins and ends with the Zodiac Killer, sampled — that’s all the more prevalent. To contrast, Secrets of the Sky take a Euro-style approach to blackened doom, a clearer production than one thinks of to fit the phrase “American black metal” adding a lush sensibility to their doomed progression on “The Star.” I suppose the two bands share an affinity for experimentation as well, however, since both 10-plus-minute installments of “Gh/0st:s” depart widely from the sphere of what one might expect from the band. In Godhunter‘s case, they bring in vocalist Julia DeConciniof Young Hunter and Burning Palms to top a moody, ambient tension with layers of otherworldly melody. There’s a spoken word break somewhere around the middle, and a guitar chug emerges later on, but at no point does “Gh/0st:s” explode with the kind of aggression shown in “Pursuit/Predator,” and that’s obviously the idea.
Immediately, Secrets of the Sky are on a different wavelength. Side two starts out with guitars slowly building up, and when “The Star” kicks in full brunt, the Oakland five-piece include a roaring death metal growl for good measure. A current of synth throughout provides further distinction, but even without, Secrets of the Sky have a more metallic root. Blackened vocals over a rolling doom verse give way to atmospheric guitar and spoken whispers, and it’s not until the final moments a cleaner-sung approach is revealed. By then, Secrets of the Sky have taken “The Star” up and down and around and beaten the hell out of it, a clear, full production ensuring that nothing is lost in the process. A more plotted feel presides over “Gh/0st:s (Part II)” as well, which is instrumental save for the endearingly blasphemous Exorcist sample at the end, as it too builds and recedes with crisply mixed toms, synth, acoustic guitar and plugged-in rumble. The sample is what pushes the track past 10 minutes, and I’d call it superfluous, but Secrets of the Sky and Godhunter pretty clearly had in mind that the pieces would complement each other and be of similar length, and they are.
Despite the sonic differences, there’s an apparent affinity between the two bands for each other’s work, and that comes across as they meet in the middle (it’s a very far out “middle”) on the two “Gh/0st:s” pieces. Still, each side of the tape has something different to offer underscoring the idea that, let’s say, if you’re showing up to a gig where both acts will be taking the stage, there’s really any number of angles from which your ass might be kicked.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Tomorrow, Sept. 9, marks the release date of Old Testament‘s self-titled debut on Xemu Records. The (relatively) new project is spearheaded by Jason Simon of Dead Meadow and retains a bit of his signature shoegazing psychedelic meander, but meets that swath of influence head on with touches of classic blues, languid Americana rollout and organ-laced ’60s psych. Songs are lush sonically but humble in their intent, and Simon‘s drawl works well as an alternate-reality Hank Williams on the rambling “Movin’ On,” as well as on the Earth-gone-fuzz drone rock of “Trip Light.”
Instrumentation and atmosphere vary widely throughout Old Testament‘s Old Testament, as Simon and his band — which here includes Nate Ryan, formerly of The Black Angels, as well as Oak Munson, Jessica Senteno, Ryan Rapsys, toy with country twang on “Dallas” and raga explorations on the penultimate “Now as in Ancient Times,” but in addition to Simon‘s voice tying the material together, there’s a unifying thread of joy deep within the slow-moving material, and while the songs aren’t always happy or boisterous, the album maintains a signature American optimism that carries through even in the train-ride blues of “Josephine” or the blown-out gospel folk of closer “Time to Rest.”
“Summer Grass,” which I have the pleasure of premiering today, pulls some of the diverse vibes of the album together nicely into a cohesive, twanging but still psychedelic fluidity. The interplay of organ, guitar and what sounds an awful lot like accordion gives a melodic foundation moved forward by drums and spacious enough for the vocals to breathe out engaging and unpretentious verses. It doesn’t sum up everything Old Testamenthas to offer, but it’s a good place to start.
Please enjoy. PR wire info follows the player below:
OLD TESTAMENT (FEATURING JASON SIMON OF DEAD MEADOW) TO RELEASE SELF-TITLED DEBUT SEPTEMBER 9th VIA XEMU RECORDS
Xemu Records has announced a September 9th release for the self-titled debut album from Old Testament (cover artwork appears above). The Los Angeles based outfit is helmed by Jason Simon (guitarist/vocalist/songwriter for Dead Meadow) and is intended to be an on-going project to add to his work with Dead Meadow.
On the group’s debut album, Old Testament have tapped into a strain of psychedelic imbued Americana. Droning backwoods ballads and haunting blues are possessed of warbling guitars, harmonium, singing drums, blown out harmonica, and Simon’s distinctive vocal styling. It’s a musical stretch of dusty highway that resides somewhere between Fred Neil’s Raga inspired improvisations and Robert Johnson’s haunted Mississippi Delta.
Simon says “I originally started working on these songs as solo material a few years back. I was inspired by the loose and weird quality of Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes. I gathered some friends together in my house and we tried to capture the vibe of traditional American songs… a lot of these traditional songs remind me of the strange stories found in The Old Testament. Stories of the bizarre and fantastical, dealing with love, murder and divine vengeance.” Over Time the material tapped into something else as Simon relates: “The songs took their own course as more droning, psychedelic and even eastern elements began to filter their way through.”
The members that appear on this album include Oak Munson, Jessica Senteno, Ryan Rapsys, and Nate Ryan (ex.The Black Angels). Old Testament has been active as a live band over the past year playing throughout California with only a self-released 7” available at shows. Following the release of the full-length on September 9th, the group intends to announce new shows.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I have no argument with Heavy Glow. Dudes clearly have their shit together, believe in what they’re doing and are working hard to get their music in as many ears as possible. Their 2014 album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine, is a more than solid slab of well crafted, straightforward songs. The production is a little smoothed out in the QOTSA tradition, but beyond that, there’s really nothing I can think of to ask that they don’t deliver either in terms of catchiness, melody or personality.
But, as any number of bands can tell you, sometimes these things take a while to catch on in a bigger way, so all the better Heavy Glow are getting out to hand-deliver their fuzz to those clued in enough to show up and receive it. They’ll head east and north from Texas starting on Sept. 18, and the PR wire checks in with dates and whathaveyou:
HEAVY GLOW Announces North American Headlining Tour
San Diego Rock Trio Heading Out to the Highway in Support of Celebrated New LP
Electric San Diego rock band HEAVY GLOW has announced a North American headlining tour in support of its new LP Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine. Set to kick off on September 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, the 18 city jaunt will showcase the trio’s unhinged explosiveness, which blends post-millennial blues-rock and haunting, Motown-esque hard soul, calling for comparison to The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Afghan Whigs and Cream.
Led by guitarist / vocalist Jared Mullins, HEAVY GLOW has been called “a bluesy slice of Free-meets-Grand Funk” and “an impressive Hendrix / ZZ Top hybrid that pays homage to other blues masters (Clapton, Cray) and modern-day fuzz tone titans.” Recorded with producers Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer) and Nic Jodoin (Spindrift, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine has been hailed as “blistering” and has yielded the crunching cuts “Headhunter” and “Look What You’re Doing to Me”; the latter track’s music video starring actress Mayra Leal of the Robert Rodriguez film “Machete.”
HEAVY GLOW North American Tour Dates: September 18 Ft. Worth, TX Lola’s Saloon. September 19 Oklahoma City, OK The Blue Note September 20 Kansas City, MO Mike’s Tavern September 21 Lincoln, NE Duffy’s Tavern September 23 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Iowa City September 25 Burlington, IA The Washington September 26 Grand Rapids, MI Billy’s Lounge September 27 Cleveland, OH 5 O’ Clock Lounge September 30 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place October 1 Rochester, NY The Bug Jar October 2 Hamilton, ONT This Ain’t Hollywood October 3 Toronto, ONT The Cavern Bar October 4 Toronto, ONT Duffy’s Tavern October 5 Windsor, ONT The Phog Lounge October 8 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Cafe October 9 Long Branch, NJ The Brighton Bar October 10 New York, NY Piano’s (as part of 2014 CBGB’s Festival) October 11 Philadelphia, PA North Star Bar October 12 Boston, MA The Spot Underground
Live and on stage is where HEAVY GLOW makes its heaviest impression and on the upcoming headlining tour, the group is set to show that its stellar reputation precedes it for a reason. Seeing is believing!
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
In case you were wondering, yes, desert rock can still come from the desert. Spearheaded by guitarist Dave Catching and featuring vocalist Bingo Richey, Mojave Lords will issue their debut LP, the aspirationally-titled Unfuckwithable, on Last Hurrah Records before the end of the year, all limited vinyl and whatnot. The list of guests showing up on said long-player reads like a who’s who of CA desert players, and if the couple tracks that have made their way to the public are anything to go by, the album is worth further investigation.
So, uh, I’ll get on that, I guess. Will be particularly interested to hear what Chris Goss brings to the mix, he and Catching having contributed together to Queens of the Stone Age over the years, as well as worked together in Goss‘ band, the perpetually underrated Masters of Reality.
Unfuckwithable is the Mojave Lords new limited edition, full-length vinyl LP on Last Hurrah Records. Born in Joshua Tree, California at Rancho De La Luna recording studio, the Mojave Lords is the brain-child of musical mastermind David Catching and his next door neighbor, the equally brilliant Bingo Richey. After years of working in the music industry on other people’s projects, they decided to team up, strap themselves in to a homemade rocket and press the launch button.
If you took the stone out of early Queens of the Stone Age and mashed it up with the boogie metal of Eagles of Death Metal you get the ruckus and rancor of the Mojave Lords. Dust-laden and seeped in dark nights of desert plains, Unfuckwithable is a heavy rock romp and stomp. With some help from their friends; Brian “Big Hands” O’Connor, Barrett Martin, Chris Goss, Joey “The Sexy Mexi” Castillo and Danny Frankel, they’ve made what the New York Times is calling “Dark, sexy rock & roll for a brave new race.” This is the next wave of Desert Stoner Rock. This is mature, smart and visceral. This is UNFUCKWITHABLE.
Eye-popping embossed skull and band logo jacket cover along with UV gloss explosion, along with flamboyant inner sleeve with lyrics and diamond eye labels. The record comes in two vinyl configurations: desert fire and bone marrow, both created by a mix of oqaque and translucent colors, limited to 350 copies (175 of each color).
Prepared for vinyl by J. Yuenger.
Side A 1. Sweet Little Down & Out 2. Hot Throwaway 3. Anytime Rock 4. Dancefloor Slammer 5. Second Skin
Side B 1. Knuckles 2. Microwave Me Baby 3. A Whole New World 4. Sage 5. Unfuckwithable
I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to see Saint Vitus on stage 27 years ago. The context of the time makes it nearly impossible. Vitus during the Reagan years? This show, captured here in its entirety on what I can only assume was a video camera sent back in time from an unknown future to document such a phenomenon, took place in Nipomo, California, which is south of San Francisco, north of Los Angeles. The room is basically a box. Those who showed up to see Saint Vitus at that point — touring on their third album, with their second singer — probably would’ve at least mostly already been into the band, so I don’t expect it would’ve been like those tales you hear of the band in 1985 surprising disgruntled punkers on tour with Black Flag and whatever else. But still, to think of Vitus not as Saint Fucking Vitus but just as another act coming through town is something I can’t really get my head around, as much time as the video spends on the audience of mosher dudes.
That being the case, it’s all the better that footage like this exists, not so we can coopt its grainy look for our own empty-inside nostalgia for things we never knew, but just so we can get a look at what it might have been like to be there at that time. Invariably, our own place in time affects how we see it, what we read into the sounds, the fashion, the amateurish camera angles, the analog-looking date stamp checking off the minutes as they pass by. Still, even to watch as an outsider as Vitus rips into songs from Born too Late, and the preceding two albums is impressive. Later in 1987, they’d release the Thirsty and MiserableEP, and it’s arguable this is the band’s peak era. I’m not sure I believe that or I’d say it more definitively, but you can make a good case either way, and this show would seem to be working in their favor.
Please note: I did some research on the purported name of the club where this show took place. I can’t find anything about it. If it’s a punk venue, I’m not sure how it might tie in with SoCal’s skinhead history, but the video seemed worth posting anyway.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all on board with desert rock legends Yawning Man going over to Europe for a round of dates. Would I rather they were playing the East Coast or, say, my back yard for myself, The Patient Mrs. and a handful of close friends? Yes. But failing that, a European tour’s as good as anything (except maybe a new album) in that at least they’re getting out. The only crucial bit of information missing is who’s in the band at this point.
Of course Gary Arce is on guitar. It’s his band. And it seems reasonable to expect Mario Lalli (see also: Fatso Jetson) will be on bass, but I’m not sure if Alfredo Hernandez (see also: Kyuss) is still with Yawning Man, and even if he is, people kind of come and go depending on who Arce is jamming with at the time, so there’s no real guarantee he’ll be along for the trip. I guess either way it’s worth showing up — hell, if it was Arce and his pedalboard alone, it’d be worth showing up — but I’d be more interested to know if Hernandez is going because that might give some tip on where the trio are at with making their next record, about which it’s been a while since we’ve had an update.
Maybe if you’re in Europe and you go to one of these shows, you can ask Gary yourself what’s up on that front:
YAWNING MAN SUNSET SUMMER TOUR
Yawning Man will be bringing our unique, surreal sounds to Holland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland August/early September. Our shows are limited this time around, so please, pack your friends up in your vehicle and make a road trip to come see us. We look forward to seeing you all!
29.08.14 Deventer, NETHERLANDS ~ DE HIP 30.08.14 Hummelo, NETHERLANDS ~ Mañana Mañana Festival 01.09.14 Vienna, AUSTRIA ~ THE ARENA 02.09.14 Berlin, Germany ~ Wild At Heart 03.09.14 Dresden, GERMANY ~ Ostpol 04.09.14 Jena, GERMANY ~ KULTURBAHNHOF 05.09.14 Frankfurt, GERMANY ~ DAS BETT Sky High Festival 06.09.14 Zurich, SWITZERLAND ~ Kinski Klub
Please contact the venues for ticket prices, times, etc.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
You know how in demand Sleep are? They put out a single, not even an album or an EP, and can go tour on the other side of the planet for it. Pretty badass, though come to think of it, I’m fairly certain Sleep could’ve gone over to Australia even without any new music out — and I’m also fairly certain they have before — and find themselves welcome. Still, not too bad for the weedian rifflords, who have begun the sometimes fraught transition from “reunion band” to “working band,” supporting new material and heralding the promise of more as they are. I’m sure Australia will be kind.
Of course, Sleep play this weekend in Boston as well, with an Earthless/Heavy Blanket jam opening, and I’m very much looking forward to that. So that those way far away can share a similar anticipation, here’s the Aussie tour announcement off the PR wire:
life is noise presents: SLEEP (USA) AUSTRALIAN TOUR DECEMBER 2014
life is noise is proud to announce the return of stoner-doom legends SLEEP for their first full Australian Tour.
When Sleep broke up in 1998, it looked like their magnum opus – the sprawling, hour+ long, single-track slice of epic stoner goodness that’s now known as Jerusalem or Dopesmoker – would never be heard. We realised stoner metal had lost one if its trailblazers and we tried our best to move on. But 16 years later, the masters of doom live again. The fever dream journey that is Dopesmoker has been unleashed in its unedited, epic glory, and Sleep are back with their first piece of new music since 1998 with what guitarist Matt Pike describes as “the lyrical follow up to a lifetime of marijuana enjoyment” – The Clarity.
Of course, we never thought it would happen like this. After the legal troubles nightmare that was Dopesmoker forced Sleep to disband, no one – not even the band themselves – thought Sleep would record again. But in 2009, Sleep was reborn. It was meant to be a one-off spectacle – a proper send-off for a trio of legends at All Tomorrow’s Parties – but it only snowballed from there. More festivals followed, then US and European tours, until far corners of their world were privy to the ceremonial trip that is Sleep.
In 2012, Southern Lord reissued Dopesmoker – in full, remastered and over an hour in length, the way it was meant to be heard. Finally, Sleep were getting the recognition they so sorely deserved 15 years ago. Finally, we got to feel the massive vibrations of stoner doom’s greatest power trio through a smoke-filled haze.
Now in 2014, Sleep looks like a super group. After their dissolution, vocalist and bassist Al Cisneros blazed trails with the rhythmic droning of OM. Matt Pike continued his devotional study of The Riff as the spiritual successor to both Lemmy and Iommi through sludge metal power trio High on Fire. Founding drummer Chris Hakius has since retired from touring but filling his huge shoes is Jason Roeder, who’s spent almost 30 years blowing minds behind the kit in Neurosis.
Sleep live is like mass hypnosis – a psychic trip of gargantuan proportions under the guidance of three sonic shamans. There’s never been a better time to be a Sleep fan. Prepare to ascend the Holy Mountain.
Catch Sleep on The Clarity: Australian Tour on the following dates:
Saturday December 6 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne Monday December 8 – The Bakery, Perth Tuesday December 9 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide Thursday December 11 – Crowbar, Brisbane Friday December 12 – Meredith Music Festival Saturday December 13 – Manning Bar, Sydney
Posted in Reviews on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Intricate though it is, the jpeg cover art for Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapessplit on Go Down Records does little justice to the physical reality of the finished product. Pressed to limited white vinyl with screenprinted covers or available in a gorgeous fold-out digi-box with fractal designs and liner notes printed on a kind of psychedelic gatefold, Early Shapesis impressive both to hold and to hear, comprising three tracks from the Californian desert legends and four from the Italian upstart trio. For Fatso Jetson – the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli (also of Yawning Man), guitarist Dino Von Lalli, bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (now also playing with Brant Bjork) — it’s their second partnership with Italy’s Go Down Records, the first having been the limited run Live at Maximum Festival(review here) earlier this year, and their second recent split behind a 2013 collaboration with Yawning Man. In Herba Mate‘s case, Early Shapesis the first I’ve heard from them since their engagingly atmospheric 2009 debut, The Jellyfish is Dead and the Hurricane is Coming(review here), the Bolognese three-piece of bassist/vocalist Alessandro Trere, guitarist Andrea Barlotti and drummer Ermes Piancastelli having spent the last couple years playing shows and generally refining what was an already well-directed take on desert rock. Vinyl-ready at 38 minutes, Early Shapesis hypnotically jammed and sweetly melodic, the two acts not so much competing in the richness of what they do as celebrating the vibes they’re both so able to conjure musically. All the better for the front-to-back listen of the CD, which is consistent in its mood while still showcasing the distinct personalities of the two groups. Frankly, it’s a pairing that I thought would work well when I first heard about it and which works better than I anticipated.
They’re further tied together by the fact that both bands end their portion of Early Shapeswith an eight-plus-minute (mostly) instrumental jam, and though Herba Mate‘s “Desert Inn II” feels more plotted than Fatso Jetson‘s “Nyquilt” — particularly because it complements and builds off “Desert Inn I,” which begins the trio’s side of the split — both resonate with an open creativity. Fatso Jetson‘s other inclusions, “Living all over You” and “Long Deep Breath” build on the notion of them not only as mainstays of the CA desert, but as an essential piece of that puzzle along with Yawning Man, Kyuss, and so on, both in sound and personnel. Mathias Schneeberger, who also recorded the opening duo, contributes Rhodes piano, and Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers) offers guitar and vocals to “Nyquilt,” while singer-songwriter Abby Travis guests vocally on “Long Deep Breath.” Gary Arce of Yawning Man is purported to also have contributed guitar to Fatso Jetson‘s tracks, and I’d going by the tone of “Long Deep Breath,” I’d believe it, but there’s no mention of him in the liner. Still, “Living all over You” begins the split with its most memorable push, a weighted groove unfolding topped by a serene, echoing vocal from Mario, far off from most of the jazzy spasms of Fatso Jetson‘s last full-length, 2010’s underrated Archaic Volumes(review here), but consistent stylistically with their past all the same and building to a satisfying apex before “Long Deep Breath” gets moving on the foundation of Tornay‘s drums, more open in atmosphere, but still cohesive, a chorus and bridge made even more gorgeous by Travis‘ voice joining Mario‘s before a buzzsaw solo takes hold. A mood only bolstered by “Nyquilt,” if this kind of inclusive, ambient spirit is where Fatso Jetson might be headed directionally for their next album, then it can’t get here fast enough. Perhaps most impressive about the tracks is that no matter where Fatso Jetson seem to head sound-wise, they still sound so distinctly like themselves, and they seem to be in full command of their aesthetic, not so much conforming to the desert rock style they helped create as taking those elements with them on a creative journey outside genre bounds.
It would be folly for Herba Mate to try to beat Fatso Jetson at their own game, but fortunately the three-piece are off on another trip. Trere is somewhat more aggressive vocally, but not by much, and the heavy roll that Herba Mate enact on “Desert Inn I” is pretty telling of what they have on offer in general, though following the original “Dance Dance Dance,” they surprise with a cover of Core‘s “Way Down,” adding tonal depth to the punkish ’90s heaviness of the New Jersey band’s original version. That and “Dance Dance Dance” are shorter, which accounts for Herba Mate‘s four tracks as opposed to Fatso Jetson‘s three, but the spirit of the material — which was captured live at Go Down‘s studio with some additional recording/mixing later — is fluid and engrossing, a sudden stop late in “Dance Dance Dance” being the only really jarring moment, and one clearly designed as such. Even the transition between the rush of “Way Down” and the languid heavy psych of “Desert Inn II” is natural, the latter feeling like the return to and expansion on the first installment that it is. Herba Mate‘s is a welcome return, and the jam-minded sensibilities, as well as the laid back approach they take to the release overall — including the Core cover seems to speak to an anything-goes mentality that suits them almost as much as the warm, organic production with which these songs are presented — speak to a confidence in what they’re doing that’s bound to serve them well as they move forward as much as it already serves them well here. I don’t know what either their plans or those of Fatso Jetson might be, but the quality of output from both bands makes Early Shapesfeel like more than a simple stopgap en route to larger standalone releases, and whether one takes it as two distinct vinyl sides or listens straight through front-to-back to the CD, there’s really no interruption of flow, Herba Mate and Fatso Jetson pairing remarkably well for the sincerity of their approaches and the the immersion of what they create. It’s not often a release with two different bands recorded under multiple circumstances comes across as smoothly as Early Shapes, but there’s a likemindedness at root here that makes it barely a “split” at all.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool that Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk are going to Europe to tour and playing Up in Smoke and Desertfest Belgium and so on, and it’s very cool that they’re going out starting next week on the West Coast with Bl’ast, C.O.C. and Lord Dying, but we already knew that stuff — even if I hadn’t seen a complete list of the Euro dates as yet — and what’s even better this time around is that the next Brant Bjork album has been slated for a Fall release through Napalm. I’d been trying not to get my hopes up too much.
And along comes the PR wire with reason to do precisely that. You may recall last week some live video of the new song “Requiem” went up. Below the news, you’ll find another quality clip of a track called “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” from the recent Australian tour that’s worth checking out:
BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band to Hit the Road With COC and B’last
Solo Album Set For Release This Fall on Napalm Records
BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band will be hitting the road later this month alongside COC and B’LAST. The dates begin August 21st in Salt Lake Utah and are set to run through September 1st in Vancouver, BC. A European tour is scheduled for October. All dates can be found below.
It was recently announced that BRANT BJORK signed with Napalm Records and is currently working on a new album due out this fall. BB will be playing songs from the upcoming record and some “Low Desert Punk” classics.
BRANT BJORK commented on the tour:
“I am super stoked and honored to be part of this legendary line up with COC and B’last! Not only will we be rocking but it is always great to tour with friends.”
Known for his work as a founding member of Kyuss and more recently for his work with John Garcia in VISTA CHINO, BRANT BJORK has had quite an eventful career as a founder of record labels (El Camino and Duna Records) and world-renowned producer. In addition to founding the record labels, playing, touring and recording, BRANT also works as a producer and has worked with many amazing artists throughout the years including teaming up with LAB (featuring ex Bl’ast members), Fatso Jetson, Fu Manchu and re-uniting with Nick Oliveri in Mondo Generator.
More info regarding the new album coming this fall on Napalm Records will be revealed soon.
BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band 8/21: Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue 8/22: Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall 8/23: Albuquerque, NM @ Sister 8/24: Mesa, AZ @ Club Red 8/26: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick 8/27: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy 8/28: San Francisco, CA @ DNA 8/29: Santa Cruz CA @ Catalyst
European Tour: 10/2: Vienna, Austria @ Arena 10/3: Milan, Italy @ Bloom 10/4: Pratteln, Switzerland @ Z7 (Up in Smoke Festival) 10/6: Stuttgart, Germany @ Universum 10/7: Paris, France @ Glazart 10/8: Amsterdam, Holland @ Melkweg 10/10: Cologne, Germany @ Underground 10/11: Berlin, Germany @ C-Club 10/12: Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix (Desertfest) 10/13: Hamburg, Germany @ Logo 10/15: Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen 10/16: Stockholm, Sweden @ Debaser Strand 10/17: Oslo, Norway @ John Dee 10/19: Leeds, United Kingdom @ Belgrave 10/20: Bristol, United Kingdom @ Exchange 10/21: Southampton, United Kingdom @ Joiners 10/22: London, United Kingdom @ Garage
Posted in Features on August 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
In talking to John Garcia about his self-titled solo debut, the one thing that seemed to keep coming across was a central appreciation for the process of creation, the actual making of the album. It couldn’t have been easy to put together. Released by Napalm last month, John Garcia‘s John Garcia(review here) utilizes just one drummer, Tom Brayton, and of course just one singer, but a slew of guitarists and bassists, among them members of Garcia‘s own past outfits, including Slo Burn and Hermano, whose guitarist, Dave Angstrom, was also an essential part of the creative process. The songs come from decades of demos and penned-out pieces stuffed in a cardboard box in Garcia‘s closet, and after talking about a solo project for years, it’s fitting it should come together around material he’s lived with this whole time.
Likely I don’t need to rattle off the list of bands for which Garcia has served as frontman, but I will anyway because it’s fun: Kyuss, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, as well as countless guest spots live and recorded. He was one of two Kyuss members whose tenure spanned the entire length of the band, and no less essential to crafting their influence on desert rock than was guitarist Josh Homme or fellow Kyuss songwriter Brant Bjork, with whom Garcia reunited for last year’s Vista Chino full-length outing, Peace(review here), which, like John Garcia, was recorded at Thunder Underground Studios in the California desert with producer Harper Hug. His voice is like an unmistakable signature — a gritty, stomach-tightened soul that bursts from a subdued croon at a syllable’s notice — but on the album, it’s as much about the songwriting itself as what Garcia is doing vocally, and both impress.
And with an assortment of players involved, John Garciaalso manages to sound cohesive and fluid from front to back, opener “My Mind” starting the record with one of its grandest hooks and setting the stage for a progression varied but never derailed, even as the fast-rolling “All These Walls” gives way to acoustic closer “Her Bullets Energy,” which is distinguished by a guest appearance by The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. For someone who’s long-since cast his legacy in stone with his vocal style and not his songwriting, it’s a particularly bold venture, but Garcia thrives on the new ground, and if his passion in realizing this material is anything to go by, a second solo outing may not be far off. He gives some hints in that regard as well.
For fans of Vista Chino, they’ll find that band on hold while Garcia and Bjork pursue their solo outfits and Mike Dean returns to C.O.C., who are also touring and have an album out. Garcia has put together a live group with whom he’ll tour much of the next year, including guitarist Ehren Groban of War Drum, and bassist Mike Pygmie and drummer Greg Saenz of desert-dwellers You Know Who. In the interview that follows, Garcia talks about transitioning out of Vista Chino and forming this new band, as well as assembling the songs and players for the record, his time in the studio and the prospect of touring a set spanning his illustrious career.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The gnarly flows like wine all through Joy‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Under the Spell Of…, and the trio rip into an assortment of classic heavy rock jams comprised of tripped out explorations, psychedelic and organic in kind. A trio based out of San Diego, the bluesy circles they run offer a touch of earlier Radio Moscow, but with longer songs — all but two over six minutes and one of those is the album’s intro — Joy distinguish themselves with a raw sense of killing it for the sake of killing it, and the only real question is whether they named themselves after the joy they get in creating this sonic thrust or the joy they give crowds lucky enough to watch them do it. Maybe both.
Guest spots show up throughout Under the Spell Of…‘s eight tracks/46 minutes including Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, Parker Griggs of the aforementioned Radio Moscow and Astra‘s Brian Ellis, who also produced, and each of them mesh smoothly with the classic power trio dynamic of guitarist/vocalist Zach Oakley, bassist Justin Holson and drummer Paul Morrone, honed over the two years since they made their self-titled, self-released debut in shows alongside the likes of Earthless, Harsh Toke and Mystery Ship. To wit, an early groover like “Evil” subtly draws back the initial charge of “Miles Away” and “Confusion,” setting up the later boogie of “Driving Me Insane,” which smooths progressive shifts in tempo and rhythm with tossoff-style ease. Supreme shuffle ensues, and after the quieter, semi-acoustic sojourn “Death Hymn Blues,” closer “Back to the Sun” feels like a victory lap touting the parsecs traveled since the record’s psyched-out launch in the intro “Under the Spell” and “Miles Away.”
Under the Spell Of…doesn’t make a show of nuance, but it’s there for those who want to hear it, nestled into the airtight, live-sounding performances, particularly West Coast take on heavy psych and blown out echoes of “Miles Away,” which you can hear on the player below. Its seven minutes only comprise a small piece of what Joy have to offer, but I think you’ll find it’s almost impossible not to get lost in it once you start out, and in that, it definitely represents the spell that trio are looking to cast.
Good vibes and busted amps:
Joy will release Under the Spell Of… on Aug. 19 through Tee Pee Records. More info at the links.