Goblin Cock, Necronomodonkeykongimicon: Misanthropic Conjurations

Posted in Reviews on September 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}

In 2015, Rob Crow quit music. In 2016, he’s put out two records, both with full bands. The first of them was You’re Doomed. Be Nice., which came out in March on Temporary Residence Ltd. under the banner of Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place, and the second is a return from the long-absent Goblin Cock, a third album, given the title Necronomodonkeykongimicon and issued via Joyful Noise Recordings.

Crow, who here is clad in a robe going by Lord Phallus and is probably best known in indie circles for his work with Pinback but has had a hand in a wide variety of outfits over the years including his own solo work and the delightfully bizarre Optiganally Yours, may not be much for retiring, but that can only be good news for any fan of quality songcraft. He’s proven time and again to be the kind of writer who can make a hook out of just about anything.

It’s been nearly eight years since the last time Goblin Cock had anything out — their second album, early 2009’s Come with Me if You Want to Live (discussed here), still gets periodic revisits — and it would seem that in light of what has no doubt been a tumultuous year-plus for Crow, that the perfect vehicle for giving the universe a big ol’ middle finger was already right at his disposal.

That, ultimately, would seem to be the impetus for Goblin Cock as a whole — there are levels on which they seem to be fuckall incarnate — but across their now-three albums beginning with 2005’s Bagged and Boarded, they’ve never been lazy either in songwriting or performance, and as the 13 tracks/36 minutes of Necronomodonkeykongimicon demonstrate, that continues to very much be the case more than a decade later. Hell, even naming the record clearly took effort on some level.

While the overall quality underlying the structures of the material is consistent, that’s not necessarily to say nothing has changed in Goblin Cock over the course of the last eight years. Necronomodonkeykongimicon actually speaks most of all to what was Crow‘s intention when he first put it together: to make a metal record. I wouldn’t say either Bagged and Boarded or Come with Me if You Want to Live were overly metal in their execution, though both were excellent heavy and/or stoner rock.

This time, while one might say the same of the mega-catchy “Flumed,” “Your Watch” or opener “Something Haunted,” the entire outing hits with a harder edge, marked out by copious gallop and double-kick bass in cuts like the chug-happy “Montrossor” and “Island, Island,” or “The Undeer” and “The Dorse,” while still retaining variety in its presentation that comes out more with repeat listens. Only slower and more spacious closer “Buck” reaches past the four-minute mark, so the songs are quick one into the next, and whether it’s the forward-thrust intensity of “Youth Pastoral” or the more swinging “Your Watch.”

goblin-cock

Whatever tempo they’re using at any given point, whatever the lyrics — “Something Haunted” boasts the lines “Fuck shit and fuckin’ fuck you” — the songs offset the kind of toss-off, joke-ish nature of the band through their sheer memorability. That’s always been the thing about Goblin Cock, and while Crow and company — whoever that company might be, if anyone — are very clearly having a good time in these tracks, they’re by no means screwing around when it comes to presentation. The band is tight, the songs are tight, the performances are spot on. A telling moment is when Crow holds a note vocally across multiple measures for so long in “Flumed” that it becomes comical. Yeah, you have to laugh at it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also really impressive.

And is Necronomodonkeykongimicon more metal than Goblin Cock were before? Probably. But by the end of the record, after the ups and downs in mood of “Stewpot’s Package,” “Bothered,” “World is Moving” and the two instrumentals, “Youth Pastoral” and the aforementioned “The Dorse” — both of which are perfectly placed to provide the tracklist with a shift in vibe without sacrificing momentum — it really doesn’t matter anymore. Or maybe it does, but the thing worth emphasizing about Goblin Cock‘s brand of metal is that it seems to be put together with zero preconceptions about what “being metal” means, or otherwise it’s actively working against them.

Crow has a long history of experimenting around pop forms, and maybe it’s fair to see Goblin Cock as a genre-based extension of those impulses, but if it was just an exercise in toying with sound, I’m not sure Necronomodonkeykongimicon would work as well as it does. It’s less narrative than was Come with Me if You Want to Live, the lyrics feel more personal — there’s no song about Billy Jack, for example — as though the closer of that record, “Trying to Get Along with Humans,” became a point at which “Something Haunted” could pick up after so much time passed.

When the drums on “Buck” have thudded out and the song has pushed out its last proggy keyboard line, I think the album in its entirety can only be said to benefit from Crow‘s background as a “metal outsider.” He has fewer restrictions. He brazenly takes the material where he wants it to go or is otherwise willing to let it go there on its own, and these songs are hammered out in a way that metal, as known by pitiful mortals, is often simply too indulgent either in its technicality or its chestbeating aggression to engage. Lord Phallus, it seems, knows no such boundaries.

Goblin Cock, Necronomodonkeykongimicon (2016)

Goblin Cock on Thee Facebooks

Goblin Cock on Bandcamp

Lord Phallus on Twitter

Rob Crow on Bandcamp

Goblin Cock at Joyful Noise Recordings

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Earthless Confirm US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

earthless-photo-by-camila-saufley

Dates have been floating around the social medias for the last month or so, but the PR wire has now confirmed that San Diego heavy psych forerunners Earthless will head out on a round of headlining US tour dates this December, looping across the Midwest and hitting the Eastern Seaboard in support of their earlier-2016 split with Harsh Toke (review here) on Tee Pee Records. They go heralding that release, but the truth is they could just as easily head out supporting, “duh, we’re Earthless,” and it would be reason enough to show up and watch them melt ears and the brains between them, so you know, if they’re coming near you, go to the gig.

They’ll have Philly outfit and Tee Pee labelmates Ruby the Hatchet along for the ride, which is also awesome. Info and dates:

earthless-tour-poster

EARTHLESS Announces U.S. Headlining Tour

Instrumental heavy rock kings EARTHLESS have announced a fall U.S. headlining tour. The San Diego band will launch the thirteen town trek on December 2 in Chicago, IL. Dates will run through December 17 in Detroit, MI. The award-winning group, currently hard at work on its fourth studio LP, continues to tour in support of its celebrated album, From the Ages. Support on the EARTHLESS tour will come from Philadelphia witch rockers Ruby the Hatchet.

EARTHLESS tour dates:
* = Ruby the Hatchet as support
December 2 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle *
December 3 St Louis, MO The Firebird*
December 4 Norman, OK OPOLIS*
December 6 Dallas, TX Club Dada*
December 7 Austin, TX Barracuda*
December 8 Houston, TX Rudyard’s Pub
December 9 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
December 10 Atlanta, GA The EARL*
December 11 Raleigh, NC Barcade
December 12 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
December 13 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
December 15 Pittsburgh, PA Club Cafe*
December 16 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop*
December 17 Detroit, MI El Club*

EARTHLESS features guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton.

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips/
https://www.instagram.com/earthlessrips/
https://twitter.com/earthlessrips
http://teepeerecords.com/collections/frontpage
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

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Thief Release Thieves Hymn in D Minor Debut LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

thief

It looks like a total of 250 copies of Thief‘s debut album, Thieves Hymn in D Minor, have been printed. That doesn’t seem like very many at all, and even fewer when one considers the breakdown between red and black vinyl. Seems to me that if it’s the kind of thing one might be into, one might be inclined to get on it before the getting is no longer good. Available through Lay Bare Recordings — also responsible for recent outings by Yawning Man and the European distro for Seedy Jeezus & Isaiah Mitchell‘s collaboration — 100 copies will come with a special silkscreen art print as well, further sweetening the pot.

Lay Bare had this to say via the PR wire:

thief-thieves-hymn-in-d-minor-700

New Lay Bare Recordings release THIEF – THIEVES HYMN IN D MINOR

Laid Bare from the city of Angels, THIEF, an ambient electronic project from DYLAN NEAL (hammered dulcimerist from the experimental black metal band Botanist). Seven haunting hymns on two vinyl editions.

LBR015, Two vinyl editions
1. 100 copies on Oxblood Red vinyl
2. 150 copies on black vinyl
3. With both color variations a special silkscreen printed art by Comaworx (http://www.comaworx.com/ ) can be ordered as a special indulgence for this release, only 100 printed!!

THIEF is a dark electronic project based in Los Angeles. Mixing a delicate relationship between choral and electronica – the sacred and the future – and featuring two live members of the highly acclaimed experimental black metal band Botanist, THIEF creates a new haunting story in the search for spirits in the machines.

THIEF’s debut LP Thieves Hymn in D Minor throws away the use of synths and pads and is crafted almost entirely out of manipulated sacred orthodox music. Its seven electronic tombs beautifully unravel over distorted beats creating a lush, shimmering atmosphere. Mixing electronica, trip hop, and experimental sounds together, Thieves Hymn in D Minor will be available on vinyl through Lay Bare Recordings.

In the studio, it is a one-man project, but live it also features R. Chiang (the other live hammered dulcimerist in Botanist) on drums and Chris Hackman on bass.

THIEF is:
Dylan Neal – All music, vocals, production
Robert Chiang – Drums
Chris Hackman – Bass, Vocals

http://burningworldrecords.com/artist/thief
http://laybarerecordings.com/
http://www.facebook.com/laybarerecordings/
http://thiefdom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/THIEFsounds/
https://soundcloud.com/thief_official
https://twitter.com/THIEF_SOUNDS
https://thief-official.bandcamp.com/

Thief, “Skin to Jade”

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Neurosis, Fires Within Fires: Reflecting Forward

Posted in Reviews on September 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

neurosis-fires-within-fires

A new release of any sort from Neurosis should be seen as reason to celebrate, and their 11th studio album, Fires Within Fires, has hit with no shortage of fanfare, critical fawning, wax poetry, etc. I won’t necessarily disagree with most of it, but it’s hard to separate the record, which of course is released on the band’s own Neurot Recordings, from the context in which it arrives.

Part of that is narrative. The post-metal progenitors began marking their 30th anniversary in the past year, and with Fires Within Fires, they take on the task of summarizing their unmatched sonic progression in a variety of interesting ways, not all of them sonic. At the same time, one of the most pivotal aspects to what Neurosis do — and I’m writing as a fan — has been the forward-thinking crux, the willingness to push into uncharted places, relentless in passion and creative spirit.

Fires Within Fires representing that as well as pulling in aspects from the band’s past without being overly cerebral or coming across like a commentary from the band, by the band, about the band, might be its greatest triumph. Rather, in marking their history, Neurosis — the five-piece of guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till, bassist/backing vocalist Dave Edwardson, drummer Jason Roeder and keyboardist/noise specialist Noah Landis — conjure here some of the rawest sounds they’ve elicited in more than a decade.

That idea applies even to the five-track/40-minute runtime. Fires Within Fires is the shortest Neurosis full-length since 1990’s The Word as Law, and the visceral nature of opener “Bending Light” mirrors that paring-down process in its sound. At the same time, Fires Within Fires caps with “Reach,” which presents the most ambitious melodic vocal approach of the band’s career, so even as they reflect, that becomes part of an overarching ongoing pursuit.

This gives the album, produced by Steve Albini, who’s helmed everything they’ve done since 2001’s pivotal A Sun that Never Sets — which seems to find some reference here in the penultimate “Broken Ground” (probably not on purpose) — a certain front-to-back linearity. Especially with its somewhat truncated span compared to more recent Neurosis outings, be it 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here), which was an hour even, or 2007’s Given to the Rising, which was 10 minutes longer than that, the shorter stretch makes Fires Within Fires easier to take as a whole work as well as in terms of its individual pieces and what they accomplish.

Their recordings with Albini have always been very tied to their live presentation, so Fires Within Fires isn’t necessarily any more “stripped down” in its presentation than any of their other collaborations, but it does carry that rawer feel in the material itself, in the full-boar lurch of centerpiece “Fire is the End Lesson” as well as in the still-tense atmospherics of second cut “A Shadow Memory.”

Landis, whose contributions in eerie sampling and manipulation of sound, as well as keys, etc., continue to bolster the material well, immediately complement the initial rollout of “Bending Light.” Crashing in, the opener weaves its way forward on an intricately-toned guitar lead, quiets down to lull the listener into a false sense of security and then at 3:40 slams into its verse, Kelly‘s guttural sneer unmistakable as it spits the lines, “Watching through the eyes of a crow/I let it guide me/I let it guide me/I let it in/The end is endless/And washing [or watching] over me.”

The rhythmic repetition there is important, and comes up again shortly with the same line, “I let it guide me,” before Kelly and Von Till come together to deliver and repeat the lyric, “Peeling the skin away reveals the heart,” which could easily be read as a declaration of intent for the album itself (though again, probably not), their insistence as they belt it out four times in a row punkish in its intensity. Following a slowdown, Von Till takes the fore vocally and the track lumbers and undulates to its finish and into the airier start of “A Shadow Memory,” the shortest cut on Fires Within Fires at 6:50.

Within the first minute, its forward motion is underway, the guitars and keys accenting each other as Roeder, as ever, gives fluidity to what for most drummers would be impossible to interpret (without his blueprint). Von Till and Kelly work through a call and response on vocals and drop out for a moment of ambience before a section of drawn guitar line reminiscent of “Water is Not Enough” from Given to the Rising hits and carries through the halfway point, after which they stop and then shift again into a more direct thrust. That will serve as the capstone movement, and the guitar line returns to tie it together, behind another effective dual vocal that only adds to the manic feel before swirling noise ends cold and cuts into the immediate impact of “Fire is the End Lesson.”

neurosis-photo-by-john-sturdy

Also on the shorter end (6:54), it reverses the structure thus far of subdued intros into bursts forward, though it does build with much credit to Edwardson at the low end until they move through the two-minute mark, cutting out some of the wall-of-noise push to air out keys and what sounds like strings but could just as easily be a sample or other manipulation from Landis — it can be tricky sometimes to tell — but the thrust revives with a rising, consuming wash of noise and guitar, all seeming to come to a head and then only growing more abrasive, finally cutting out just past five minutes in to the same progression that answered the first payoff, which by this time has an almost soothing presence.

They finish with repeated lines before dropping to feedback to set up the gorgeous wash of keys that begin “Broken Ground.” One might be reminded of “A Sun that Never Sets” from the album of the same name by Roeder‘s drumming and the vocal that emerges, and as “Broken Ground” moves into its apex, it might seem to be speaking to the genre-foundational “Stones from the Sky” off that same record, but Neurosis today is a different beast than they were 15 years ago, and they shove what might be Fires Within Fires‘ standout riff into a chorus that holds its volume and opens into lines of what sounds like (but likely isn’t actually) flute behind the vocals, dipping back right away into the verse before a return to the quiet guitar, keys and drums of the intro just past the halfway point brings Von Till back for a more subdued delivery.

At 5:39, they kick back into that riff and take it through another chorus, and though it seems fair to expect them to ride that through the remaining three minutes, they instead cut back again and end quiet, watery effects on a few final lines on a long drift with just a current of noise remaining. The closer and longest track, “Reach” (10:37) begins almost like its predecessor, but the mood is immediately different, the drums accenting a march that Von Till meets with melodic singing in a voice usually reserved for his solo work.

Not only that, but soon enough Kelly joins in and the two duet in a way that I’m not sure has ever happened on a Neurosis record. A build has begun, however, and carries through the next verse and joint-vocal chorus, and at 4:30, they shift into what will be the ground level for Fires Within Fires‘ last push, a long section of melancholy guitar lead over patient and quiet, but tense, guitar, bass and drums.

You know it’s coming, you just don’t know when, but at 7:59, “Reach” lunges forth its crescendo, a vicious and somewhat angular rhythm very much the band’s own that moves back and forth between the guitars at the fore, brings in Edwardson on backing vocals — he’s a weapon not often but effectively used — and teases its finish with words that rhyme with the title before the guitar, bass, drums, keys and everything else drops away and the final call — “reach” — is delivered, the band basically living up to that promise in manifesting the undulled searching that has been their core for the last three decades. In the end, it only takes them one word to say it all.

The visual side of Neurosis‘ output — from the artwork to their years spent accompanied by Josh Graham‘s video presentations during live sets — has always been a major element in conveying theme. With Honor Found in Decay, there was a strong sense of ritual, and the open gray space of 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm was no less appropriate than the charred and fossilized flesh of 1993’s Enemy of the Sun.

With the Fires Within Fires cover by Thomas Hooper, we see several elements that factor into the story surrounding the album, from the burning world representing passion to the key that might very well be just that — the key — in saying passion is central to the band and what has sustained them. Also important and thematic through the package are circles, in both the world on the cover surrounded by ethereal lines that could well be taken as spirit, as well as on back and inside, and this too plays into the notion of Neurosis taking a rare moment to examine themselves and what their time together has wrought for them as artists and people.

I’ve made a lot of comparisons to their past work, and I think those hold up to scrutiny (or I wouldn’t have made them), but at no point do I believe Neurosis sat down and said, “Okay, now we’re gonna reference ‘Through Silver in Blood.'” Instead, it’s more likely these connections emerged naturally as the songs came together, and while at some point they had to consciously acknowledge they were doing something different than before — if only in realizing Fires Within Fires is 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor — I’m not convinced that’s anything so far removed from their usual method of making a record.

Still, the circles. One thinks of ouroboros, of ends as beginnings. It may well be that Neurosis have come full circle and they’ll draw that circle to a close, a completion, but just as likely, the turn in approach they present here may signify a new beginning for the band as much as punctuation for their first 30 years. What can be said for certain is Neurosis will keep moving forward, as it’s all they’ve ever done, and even as they may or may not be looking back, they refuse to stop changing on Fires Within Fires as well. Recommended.

Neurosis, Fires Within Fires album teaser

Neurosis website

Neurosis on Thee Facebooks

Neurosis on Twitter

Neurot Recordings website

Neurot Recordings store

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High on Fire Post “The Black Plot” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

high on fire (Photo by Jimmy Hubbard)

High on Fire just keep killing it. To the point that it’s almost moot to say so. I mean, of course they’re killing it. That’s what they do. They find it, they kill it. They’ve got a tour coming up alongside Sweden’s Meshuggah, and from where I sit the pairing couldn’t be more appropriate even though the two bands don’t have much in common sonically beyond basic onslaught of volume. They’re both among the most important metal bands of their generation, and they’ve both cast a net of influence that ranges years and knows no borders. They’ll invariably draw different crowds. Will the djent types get the raw force with which High on Fire present themselves on stage? Will the beer-guzzlers be able to keep up with Meshuggah‘s algorithmic patterns? At the end of the night, it won’t matter. Every room will be flattened.

To the issue at hand: High on Fire have a new video for “The Black Plot,” which comes from their 2015 album, Luminiferous (review here). That record was arguably the band’s most furious yet, but also found them delving into a more melodic approach and expanding on what they do in a few key ways, building on the foundation of intensity that has only come to sustain them more and more. Well, “The Black Plot” is less about that than straight-up pummel, but fortunately, that’s also a pretty excellent representation of what the band is all about. And as to the clip itself, it’s by Skinner and Hey Beautiful Jerk and it’s suitably insane. You can watch it for yourself and see if you can keep up. I’m not sure I can.

Tour dates and comment via the PR wire follow the video below. Enjoy:

High on Fire, “The Black Plot” official video

HIGH ON FIRE Unleashes “The Black Plot” Animated Video

Power Trio’s Critically Acclaimed Albums ‘Snakes for the Divine’, ‘De Vermis Mysteriis’ and ‘Luminiferous’ See Limited Edition Cassette Release

World-renowned heavy metal power trio HIGH ON FIRE has premiered a new music video for the song “The Black Plot”. Created by Skinner and Hey Beautiful Jerk, “The Black Plot” video, which made its broadcast debut on Adult Swim, is an animated tour de force and a wild psychedelic fantasy epic. “The Black Plot” is taken from HIGH ON FIRE’s latest album, Luminiferous.

“I wanted to make an animated short film with Hey Beautiful Jerk, I just didn’t know how completely crazy it would get,” says Skinner. “At first I thought we should do a real simple story with action fights to wear down the timing a little bit. But then I thought, fuck it, here’s a super complicated story with a million characters and it’s off the wall crazy and shit. Wanna do it?”

“This has definitely been the most challenging and the most rewarding project in the history of Hey Beautiful Jerk,” adds the team of Mark Szumski and Gina Niespodziani. “Creatively, we did not make many concessions and we really pushed ourselves to see how far we could take this thing. It worked.”

Additionally, HIGH ON FIRE’s celebrated albums Snakes for the Divine, De Vermis Mysteriis and the aforementioned Luminiferous, are available on cassette for the very first time via eOne. The cassettes, released as a limited edition bundle pack, can be purchased now, at this location.

HIGH ON FIRE will tour North America this fall as direct support to Sweden’s Meshuggah. The titanic team-up will kick off on October 11 in Atlanta, GA, running through November 6 in Silver Spring, MD.

HIGH ON FIRE tour dates:
September 25 San Francisco, CA Stinky’s al Fresco
(w / Meshuggah)
October 11 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
October 12 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
October 13 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works
October 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
October 15 New Orleans, LA Tipitina’s (* HIGH ON FIRE only)
October 16 Houston, TX House of Blues
October 17 Dallas, TX House of Blues
October 19 Los Angeles, CA The Novo
October 24 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
October 25 Lawrence, KS Liberty Hall
October 26 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
October 27 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company (* HIGH ON FIRE only)
October 28 Chicago, IL House of Blues
October 29 Detroit, MI The Majestic
October 30 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
October 31 Montreal, QC Metropolis
November 1 Ottawa, ON Mavericks (* HIGH ON FIRE only)
November 2 Boston, MA House of Blues
November 3 New York, NY PlayStation Theatre
November 4 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero Theatre
November 5 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
November 6 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore

High on Fire on Thee Facebooks

High on Fire cassette bundle preorder

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Glitter Wizard to Release Hollow Earth Tour Oct. 21 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

glitter-wizard

San Francisco glam weirdos Glitter Wizard have signed to Heavy Psych Sounds for the release of their next album, Hollow Earth Tour. The alliance continues the label’s successful run of Californian hookups — see also: Wild Eyes SF, Farflung, Hot Lunch, Fatso Jetson, etc. — and when it comes to Glitter Wizard, they strike me as the kind of band who are way too busy writing the next album by the time the current one has been released to worry about the particulars. Nonetheless, their strange, vaguely subversive and often catchy heavy rock and roll was most recently heard from on the earlier-2016 7″ Life Under Traffic/Circle of Kings, neither song from which will be featured on Hollow Earth Tour, which is out Oct. 21 with preorders going live Sept. 30 and two songs streaming now.

What’ll you think they’ll call the tour?

Album art, announcement and tracklisting follow, courtesy of the label:

glitter-wizard-hollow-earth-tour

Glitter Wizard – Hollow Earth Tour

21 OCTOBER 2016 RELEASED IN: LP / DIGIPAK / DIGITAL

As the group enters its ninth year, Glitter Wizard are set to release their most ambitious album yet. Hollow Earth Tour is a concept album of sorts; chock-full of reptilian overlords, underwater fascists, and inner-earth explorers. This band of California rifflords pillage the best of vintage hard rock while keeping their laser eyes on the future, creating a unique brand of oddball psychedelia. Their onstage performance is a glammed-up force to be reckoned with and they’ve been taking their act on the road from the West Coast all the way to Europe.

Lipstick stains on the rim of a bong.

Hollow Earth Tour tracklisting:
Smokey God
Mycelia
The Hunter
Scales
Stoned Odyssey (pt 1/2/3)
Fungal Visions
UFOLSD
Sightseeing with Admiral Byrd
Death of Atlantis

EUROPEAN TOUR PLANNED FOR NEXT SPRING.

Presale 30 September.

Glitter Wizard:
WENDY STONEHENGE: “Master of Ceremonies,” vocals / flute / lyrics / piano
LORFIN TERRAFOR: “Minister of defense,” guitar / vocals / piano / percussion / bong
KANDI MOON: “Ambassador to Hollow Earth,” bass / vocals / acoustic & electric guitar / piano
FANCY CYMBALLS: “Minister of Transportation,” drums / tecate
DOUG GRAVES: “Minister of Records,” keys / synth / organ / violin / vocals

https://glitterwizard.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Glitter-Wizard/77619029508
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Glitter Wizard, Hollow Earth Tour presale tracks

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Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil: Desert Iconic (Plus Lyric Video Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

brant-bjork-tao-of-the-devil

[Click play above to watch a lyric video premiere for Brant Bjork’s ‘The Gree Heen.’ Tao of the Devil is out Sept. 30 on Napalm Records.]

Brant Bjork didn’t invent desert rock, but there’s nobody who more closely epitomizes it or whose work has become so synonymous with it. Whether one is considering his pioneering work in Kyuss and Fu Manchu, the stylistic exploration undertaken with Ché or his 17-year solo career, which has undoubtedly become his greatest contribution at this point, in songwriting, style and persona, Bjork is a singular icon and a touchstone of the desert underground — by now a worldwide phenomenon long grown out of the confines of its initial Southern California home.

His second through Napalm Records after 2014’s righteous Black Power Flower (review here), the newest outing, Tao of the Devil, is also the second to feature the backing of The Low Desert Punk Band, with guitarist Bubba DuPree (formerly of Void), bassist Dave Dinsmore (Ché) and drummer Ryan Güt (who makes his debut here replacing Tony Tornay), and it presents eight songs/50 minutes in a spirit of celebrating the laid back, soulful groove of which Bjork has long since established himself a master, while tightening the songwriting some from the last outing, so that tracks like opener “The Gree Heen” — with a roll worthy of Goatsnake — and “Luvin'” stand out early and the later section of the record gives way to longer-form jamming on “Dave’s War” and “Evening Jam,” which run nine and 13 minutes, respectively, and are smartly divided with the ultra-languid mega-vibe of the title-track between them.

Counting outings with The Operators (not quite a full band, but still some other players involved), The Bros. and The Low Desert Punk Band, as well as those solely under his own name — the most recent of which was 2010’s Gods and Goddesses (review here) — Tao of the Devil is upwards of the 11th full-length to bear Bjork‘s name, and longtime fans will to some extent know what’s in store.

Hard to imagine seeing that as anything other than cause for jubilation, and be it the classic ’70s boogie of “Humble Pie” that takes hold after the massive stoner-is-as-stoner-does riff of “The Gree Heen” or the in-conversation-with-the-blues slow-motion shuffle of “Biker No. 2” later on, which gets a sleek pulled-string solo as it moves into its second half and boasts one of the album’s many resonant hooks, if it’s a familiar form, it’s one still changing and progressing as well.

In that way, “The Gree Heen” sets the tone for a lot of what follows it, in that it’s instantly memorable, though its thicker tones are actually something of an aberration in themselves and go unmatched throughout, despite a more aggressive lyric and rhythmic push on “Dave’s War” before the jam takes hold — marked out by lines like, “No ass left to fuck/No cock left to suck/Well you must be on top” — but if it’s the songwriting that stands out across Tao of the Devil as much as Bjork himself, the songwriting feels like it’s more than up to that considerable task.

brant-bjork

I’ve jumped around a bit in the tracklisting to this point, but it’s also worth pointing out the flow from one song into the next and just how easy Bjork and company make it to traverse the album from to back. From “The Gree Heen” through the funk hypnosis of “Evening Jam,” it’s a collection that speaks directly to its audience with a complete lack of pretense about needing anything more than a good time and maybe to crash for a couple days if that’s cool? Won’t be more than a couple days, I swear? Awesome. You’re the best.

To the point, the early personality that comes through in “Humble Pie,” “Stackt” (video posted here) and “Luvin'” digs deep into quality, classic songwriting after the opener’s larger push and weedian anthemic — the first lines, “I got all that I need/I got the gree-heen,” tell the tale — and it’s probably fair to put “Biker No. 2” in that category as well to comprise an A-side that hits its target head-on without fail. I don’t actually know where the vinyl split is, but it’s likely with “Dave’s War” leading off side B, and between that track, “Tao of the Devil” and “Evening Jam,” which by the time it hits nine minutes in has morphed into minimalist progressive bass noodling, only to surge forward again in grander-finale fashion — still pretty laid back, which works — side B opens wide from the crisp delivery of Tao of the Devil‘s first half, only really letting go when it wants to as it jams out toward natural-sounding purposes.

“Evening Jam” may just be that — the jam they recorded that evening — but it’s also the perfect closer after the moody, bluesy title-cut, and the liquefied transition from “Dave’s War” to it and into the wah-twang intro of the closer isn’t to be underappreciated. Not that Bjork needed to demonstrate he knows how to put a record together, but such stretches, particularly when paired with the depth of songwriting, organic tones and spirit of the earlier tracks, only serve to reinforce his position as the Godfather of Desert Rock.

Tao of the Devil‘s greatest victory might be in how much of Bjork‘s own it seems to be even as it expands that definition from its predecessor, and its honesty is crucial to that success. It’s a rare figure who earns that kind of hyperbole, but it’s even rarer to find someone who 17 years on from their first LP is continuing to grow and refine their craft in the way Bjork does on Tao of the Devil, adding to his signature approach here and reveling in a full-band dynamic there as he presents yet another piece in his catalog that should be considered essential to longtime fans and novices alike. Very clearly one of 2016’s best albums.

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork website

Napalm Records website

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Ten East Announce Skyline Pressure Due Oct. 14; Preorders and Track Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hard to mess with this one. Born out of a kind of screwy Yawning Man live set in 2014 where members of Automatic Sam wound up sitting in with Gary Arce and Bill Stinson, Ten East‘s first album in eight years, Skyline Pressure, will be out Oct. 14 on Small Stone. The project has always had a revolving-door lineup, and what bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg bring to it is well worth capturing in a studio setting. You kind of need the context to really understand how it all came about, though. Fortunately, the PR wire is happy to provide precisely that, in the form of a bio I wrote for the album.

Ten East also have opening track “Daisy Cutter” streaming in its 13-minute entirety, which you can find below, and I think you’ll agree it gives a substantial glimpse at what the record is going for. Preorders are up now.

Dig it:

ten-east-skyline-pressure

TEN EAST: Experimental/Jam Rock Project Featuring Members Of Yawning Man And Automatic Sam To Release Skyline Pressure Via Small Stone; New Track Posted

Look, sometimes these things just happen. Desert legends and Dutch heavy rockers sometimes get together on stage and it turns out better than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. It was exacly that when guitarist/desert rock progenitor Gary Arce and drummer Bill Stinson of Yawning Man wound up playing with bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg of Automatic Sam at the Mañana Mañana Fest (which Harbers and Holkenborg also organize) in the Netherlands in 2014. You can see videos of it on YouTube.

Although the impromptu foursome had never played together before, the chemistry was there. The fluidity was there. As they jammed in and around Yawning Man songs, it was clear the union had a breadth that was only beginning to be explored. Two years later, Arce, Stinson, Harbers, and Holkenborg have come together again, this time as a new incarnation of Arce’s TEN EAST project. They proudly present their album, Skyline Pressure, through Small Stone as the next stage of their collaboration.

TEN EAST was last heard from in with 2008’s The Robot’s Guide To Freedom, which was their second offering behind 2006’s Extraterrestrial Highway. Between the two records, Arce’s co-conspirators have included the likes of Bryan Giles (Red Fang), Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Fireball Ministry), Mario Lalli (Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson), Greg Ginn (Black Flag), and Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu). Harbers and Holkenborg earn their place in this illustrious company across the entire span of Skyline Pressure, from the sandy reaches of “Planet Blues” to the peaceful roll of the title-track, to the subdued sprawl of the fourteen-minute “Sonars And Myths.”

The album was recorded by Harper Hug at Thunder Underground and also features guitarist Nico Morcillo of French experimentalists Hifiklub on select tracks (“Planet Blues,” “Tangled Forest,” “Stalactite Dip”), but for anyone familiar with Arce’s pioneering work in Yawning Man, his mark on Skyline Pressure is unmistakable. The stuff of tonal archetype. And while it started out as one of those things that just happened, the album has captured that spirit of improvisation and natural chemistry that emanated from the stage at Mañana Mañana Fest, and brought it to a lasting document that’s all the more special for the spontaneity that lies at its heart.

Skyline Pressure will see release via Small Stone on October 14th, 2016 on CD, digital and limited edition vinyl. For preorders and to sample opening track “Daisy Cutter” point your browser to THIS LOCATION.

Skyline Pressure Track Listing:
1. Daisy Cutter
2. Eye Soar
3. Historical Graffiti
4. Planet Blues
5. Skyline Pressure
6. Sonars And Myths
7. Stalactite Dip
8. Tangled Forest

TEN EAST is an experimental/jam rock project based in the Palm Desert and Los Angeles area of the United States. The musicians involved share a common respect for improvised jamming mixed with years of playing and listening to all types of rock, psychedelic, Latin, jazz, blues, surf, and punk music. The end result is an intense, cohesive wall of sound of heavy, dark, instrumental blues, with psychedelic and surf overtones.

The name “Ten East” comes from the highway which leads from the heart of Los Angeles towards the desert cities. The music is an expression of feelings that overcome oneself as they travel the two hours’ time down the length of highway, leaving behind the bustling metropolis and suburban sprawl in the wake of the mesa, mountains, and distant windmills.

Ten East is:
Gary Arce: guitars
Pieter Holkenborg: guitars
Erik Harbers: bass
Bill Stinson: drums
Nico Morcillo: guitars

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/skyline-pressure
https://www.facebook.com/teneast
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Ten East, “Daisy Cutter”

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