Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Consider my day made. I’ve been waiting for word of the new Acid King record, and here it is. Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is the title, and the release date is April 14. The band will do digital release directly and Svart has the CD and LP on lockdown. I don’t know what more you need to hear to get stoked. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve come up with after so long. More nerdly glee to follow.
Fresh off the PR wire:
ACID KING RELEASE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, CENTER OF EVERYWHERE ON APRIL 14
Acid King, pioneers of the San Francisco doom scene and one of the genre’s first bands to be helmed by a woman, return from their self-imposed 10-year recording hiatus on April 14 with the release of Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere.
“We had several songs in the works over the years that we spent most of our time touring Europe but in between working our day jobs, we didn’t put the effort into recording,” explained singer/guitar player Lori S. “I really wanted to accelerate the process and get new music out. It’s time. This music that we’ve been playing for so long, that was initially obscure and underground, seemed to grow over these past 10 years and the timing was right to release this now!”
Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere was recorded at both Sharkbite and Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, mixed at Different Fur Studios and produced by Acid King and Billy Anderson. The digital release will be released independently via Acid King while physical copies, both CD and vinyl, will be available via Svart Records.
Acid King bubbled up from San Francisco in 1993 through a fog of revved up riffs, thunderous drums, and a hypnotic vocal howl. They unleashed three EPs and three full-length albums, starting with Zoroaster in 1995, the 1999 full-length Busse Woods, and their most recent release, Acid King III, coming in 2005. Their seismic chemistry transfixed audiences everywhere from high-profile festivals such as Hellfest and Roadburn to now iconic shows alongside peers such as Sleep and Mystick Krewe of Clearlight.
The band recently confirmed their participation in Desertfest, April 24 to 26 in the UK. North American tour dates will be announced soon.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tones are warm, the vibe is free and the vinyl is limited. Oakland heavy psych outfit Mondo Drag‘s forthcoming self-titled sophomore outing is set to release in January on Bilocation Records. The cover is a triptych, but the album itself seems to break up nicely into two sides of the LP, which will arrive in gatefold form in an edition of 500 copies as the follow-up to 2010’s New Rituals (review here) debut, recorded in 2011/2012 with Blues Pills‘ Cory Berry and Zack Anderson as the rhythm section. A pretty special moment to bring to light, even if that’s not the current lineup of the band, which features vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, guitarists Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard (also synth), bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia.
MONDO DRAG to release new album on 16/01/15. Pre-sale started!
The highly anticipated second album by Oakland’s finest heavy-psych-rockers MONDO DRAG will see the light of day through Kozmik Artifactz on January 16th, 2015. It contains seven analogue recorded tracks. To be released on CD & high performance 180g vinyl!
Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, Mondo Drag has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not resounded through the atmosphere for decades. The band’s unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stem from the fact that core members John Gamino, Nolan Girard, and Jake Sheley actually grew up within a one mile radius from each other, attended the same schools, were a part of the same scene, and have played music with each other for 15 years.
Produced, engineered & mixed by Mondo Drag and Patrick Stolley. Mastered by Jim Brick. Artwork by Robert Beatty.
Available as CD & limited Vinyl
VINYL FACTZ – 100x marbled (EXCLUSIVE MAILORDER version) – 200x yellow – 200x black – Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl in Germany – Matt laquered 300gsm gatefold cover – Handnumbered – Mastered for vinyl
TRACKS A1. Zephyr 2:34 A2. Crystal Visions Open Eyes 4:36 A3. The Dawn 3:04 A4. Plumajilla 6:40
B1. Shifting Sands 5:24 B2. Pillars Of The Sky 6:45 B3. Snakeskin 6:10
At the time, I was still so hung up on Los Angeles trio Sasquatch‘s 2004 self-titled debut that I don’t think I properly appreciated the classic-rock-is-ours-now feel and heaviness of “Let it In,” “The Judge,” the vinyl-style symmetry of “Nikki” and “Catalina” and the rawness of character on display. Where the first album is kind of an outlier now in terms of sound for them, made formative by hindsight where at the time it seemed nothing if not accomplished — their songwriting was always top notch — II became more of the model with which they’d work, their ’70s-meets-’90s vibe running a riffy current through the tracks. Both 2010’s III (review here) and 2013’s IV (review here) built off what they did here, and their craft has never wavered.
They played one of Small Stone‘s by-then-legendary SXSW showcases as well during this era, and it was the first time I got to see the band, which only solidified my fandom. They haven’t been out east much — though they hit the Uninvited festival this year in Brooklyn; from what I hear it was a “Pleasure to Burn” — but I’ve been fortunate enough to see them once or twice more over the years and they’ve always delivered. II is a work of straightforward, perpetually-underrated heavy rock, and it’s easy to look at a band like Sasquatch and think about “oh, if X and Y and Z, these guys would be huge,” and I wouldn’t begrudge them making a ton of money or anything, but these guys make for an excellent underground secret too, like a litmus for those who know.
Small Stone put this one out on vinyl not too long ago, but I’m pretty sure they’re gone by now. Not bad for a record eight years later to continue to inspire such devotion, and I’ve no doubt that II will continue to do so no matter how high Sasquatch‘s numbers end up going. Please enjoy.
So, why a day late? I left home yesterday at 12:30PM to go to Brooklyn and see the first of YOB‘s two nights at the St. Vitus bar. I got to the venue around 6PM. That’s usually a four-hour trip. I was utterly fried after the show — turns out that not eating or drinking anything all day was the wrong choice; I was dizzy and nauseous in the packed room and stayed up front through “Marrow” but had to move back after that and get some water — and then afterwards, there was a solid hour of traffic getting to the Lincoln Tunnel. Got in to Jersey at about two in the morning. It was far less thrilling than the show itself, which was fantastic. I’ll be going back for round two tonight.
More year-end stuff next week. Look out for a list of the year’s best debuts at some point, and maybe one of the best live gigs and some other stuff. I’ll also be reviewing these two nights at the Vitus bar, and anything else I might have time for. I feel like I say this all the time, but if you’re waiting on a review of something, I’m sorry. I’m one person. Most other sites have a staff of writers working on stuff, or at least a few people. I have me. If something takes me longer, or if I don’t get to it, I wholeheartedly and sincerely apologize. I’m doing the best I can to do as much as I can. If I had eight of me, it would be easier. As it is, I can barely answer email.
But anyway, I hope you dig the Sasquatch and I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at. Thanks for checking in, and please don’t forget to hit up the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
What’s that you say? High on Fire wanna do a quick run up the East Coast to wind up in Salem, Massachusetts, where they’ll record their next album? Who in the hell would possibly want or dare to stand in their way? The three-piece are about due in 2015 for a new full-length to follow-up 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here), and if you’re headed north, you might as well put in a week or so of shows and make a thing out of it.
Seems likely you might hear a new song or two as the band kicks themselves into top form on these dates, but whatever they decide to break out, it’s not like you lose by seeing High on Fire, ever, so what the hell? They’re coming through? It’s cold? Screw it, blood’s warm, and they’re always ready to shed a bit of that.
The PR wire brings good news:
HIGH ON FIRE Announce North American Tour Dates
Award Winning Metal Band Set to Record Highly Anticipated New Album
Herculean hard rock heavyweights HIGH ON FIRE have announced winter 2015 tour dates. The globally celebrated heavy metal pioneers will kick off the must-see live performances on January 6 in Birmingham, AL. The just-announced run will continue with stops in Richmond, VA (Jan. 8), Brooklyn (Jan. 9) and more, running through January 14. See below for full routing and details.
Immediately following the east coast run, HIGH ON FIRE will enter Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer Kurt Ballou to record its new, as-yet-untitled studio album. Earlier this year, the group convened for strategic writing sessions in both New Orleans, LA and Oakland, CA, with early reports indicating the band’s new material to be both “epic” and “sonically huge”. A 2015 release date via eOne Music will be announced soon for the new LP, the follow-up to 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis.
“Everyone is asking what the new High on Fire music sounds like,” says drummer Des Kensel. “Chew on some mescaline and listen to side B of Sabbath’s “Master of Reality” backwards at 78 RPM and it might give you an idea.”
HIGH ON FIRE tour dates: January 6 Birmingham, AL Zydeco January 7 West Columbia, SC New Brookland Tavern January 8 Richmond, VA The Broadberry January 9 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Bar January 10 Hartford, CT Webster Underground January 11 Portland, ME Port City Music Hall January 13 Poughkeepsie, NY The Loft at The Chance Theatre January 14 Providence, RI Simon’s 677
Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, HIGH ON FIRE creates modern heavy metal that merges primal fury and aggression, hesher bombast and hall of fame heaviness. Described as “a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume,” HIGH ON FIRE has rewritten the hard rock rule book since its formation in 1998, forging a style and sound that is both critically celebrated and absolutely unique. The group features vocalist and cult guitar hero Matt Pike — also a founding member of the famed underground band SLEEP — along with powerhouse drummer Des Kensel and talented bassist Jeff Matz. HIGH ON FIRE’s most recent studio album De Vermis Mysteriis was released on April 3, 2012.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After touring the West Coast last month with Lord Dying in support of their 2014 full-length, Under Siege, San Francisco genre-blenders Castle are set to head out again, this time exclusively in California. There aren’t many states in the union where you could do 14 dates reasonably all within their borders — maybe Texas if you want to play some gigs in some crazy-ass places — but looking at Castle‘s itinerary, it looks legit. I wouldn’t mind seeing them in Palm Desert, or in Oakland or L.A. with Borracho. Really anywhere would be fine.
Under Siege came out in May on Prosthetic Records in the US and Ván Records in Europe. Dates for the tour and Castle‘s video for “Evil Ways” follow:
CASTLE announce “California Cult” Tour
Thrash inspired Doom Metallers CASTLE have announced plans for their “California Cult” tour – an all California headlining trek beginning on January 16th, 2015 in Riverside, CA.
Following a month long Canadian headlining tour and a western US tour alongside Lord Dying, the “California Cult” tour will see CASTLE play to 15 cities across their native state in support of their most recent album “Under Siege”, released earlier this year. You can watch their newest music video for the fitting single “Evil Ways” below.
Part of the Castle “California Cult” tour – Jan 29th @ The Golden Bull in Oakland w/ DC’s Borracho and Jan 30th @Five Star Bar in LA w/ Borracho, Behold! The Monolith and The Love Below… heavy/heavy.
1/16 Riverside, CA – Back to the Grind 1/17 Palm Desert, CA – Schmidy’s 1/18 San Diego, CA – Tower Bar 1/19 Anaheim, CA – The Doll Hut 1/20 San Luis Obispo, CA – TBD 1/22 San Francisco, CA – The Eagle 1/23 Sacramento, CA – The Colony 1/24 Dunsmuir, CA – Spirits 1/25 Redding, CA – Bombays 1/27 Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon 1/28 San Jose, CA – The Rock Shop 1/29 Oakland, CA – Golden Bull 1/30 Los Angeles, CA – Five Star Bar 1/31 Ventura, CA – The Garage
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Tomorrow may be over, as the title of Chiefs‘ forthcoming debut full-length posits, but rest assured, yesterday yet arrived. When will then be now? Soon.
The Southern California/formerly Phoenix, Arizona, trio were heard from not all that long ago on a split with Fuzz Evil that was streamed here, and those looking for a sneak peak at what Tomorrow’s Over will hold might do well to check out their 2013 Buffalo Roam demo on Bandcamp or below as well, since all four songs from that release have been included on the album. The cover art and track info have been unveiled, as well as the Feb. 24 release date through Roosevelt Row Records — vinyl will reportedly follow in May on Battleground Records – and the PR wire has all the time-bending details one could ask.
So I’ll defer to it:
CHIEFS: SoCal Desert-Rock Trio Announces Debut Full-Length Album, Tomorrow’s Over, Out February 24 via Roosevelt Row Records
Hot off the heels of releasing a split 7″ with Fuzz Evil through Battleground Records, SoCal desert rockers CHIEFS have returned with a debut full-length record in the bag. The album, entitled Tomorrow’s Over, was recorded at Arcane Digital Recording Studio in Chandler AZ and recorded, mixed and mastered by Ryan Butler (Landmine Marathon/Unruh). The record will be out on February 24th through Roosevelt Row Records on CD/DD, with a vinyl reissue shortly thereafter.
Album artwork by David Paul Seymour.
Tomorrow’s Over Track Listing: 1. Buffalo Roam 2. Like A Match 3. Ride 4. Lows & Highs 5. Palms 6. Peel 7. Tesla 8. Sharp Shooter 9. 1999 10. Vovi 11. Tomorrow’s Over
CHIEFS originally began as a two-piece back in January of 2012 in Phoenix, AZ, but after years of releasing demos, touring and playing often around the Phoenix Valley, the duo made the decision to relocate to San Diego, CA. Shortly after, they released a four-song demo entitled Buffalo Roam, and did numerous short west-coast tours to support it. Eventually the group became a three-piece with the permanent addition of bassist Jeff Podeszwik, who filled out the low-end of the band and transformed their sound. Look for more details in the coming weeks about the band’s debut full-length, Tomorrow’s Over, and prepare yourself for to shed some California light onto the cold winter on February 24th.
CHIEFS is: Paul Valle – Vocals/Guitar Jeff Podeszwik – Bass Kevin Michel – Drums
Posted in audiObelisk on December 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Originally put out by the band on CD and tape late last year, Bloodmoon‘s debut full-length Voidbound is available now to preorder on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records ahead of a Dec. 20 release date. The three-song LP from the genre-bending San Luis Obispo trio — who’ve dubbed their progressive, metallic, blackened and sludgy style “grey metal,” which is at very least more efficient — has been remastered by James Plotkin for its 12″ platter edition, but honestly, even if it hadn’t, and even if it was still streaming on their Bandcamp page (no doubt it will be again soon), I’d still want to stream a track from it for the simple reason of how willfully individualized it is and how effectively Bloodmoon blend elements of different styles into what sounds like the beginning of a progression all their own. Particularly for being a first album — they also released an EP, Orenda, in 2012 — Voidbound is admirably ambitious and sets a high standard of accomplishment from which guitarist/vocalist Peter Tomis, bassist Pat Mullholland and drummer/vocalist Jason Goldie can work going forward.
Of the three included pieces, “The Singing Flame” is the shortest at 7:17. The closer, it’s also the biggest riff on offer, though Bloodmoon never stay in one place too long. Like its longer predecessors, “Voidbound” (17:56) and “Back World” (13:25), “The Singing Flame” works in movements, each part flowing into the next, fading in on an initial tension of rumble and snare work from Goldie before the full plod of the progression takes hold, topped with harsh, echoing vocals somewhere between the post-hardcore rawness of sludge and blackened theatrics. It does not waste time. Playing off the atmosphere crafted over the course of “Voidbound” and “Back World,” it feels like a specially crafted apex shift, but there’s still room for a shift into ambience before the chugging, shouts and double-kick resurfaces, vicious and running along a memorable line of thickened riffing. And if there was any doubt Bloodmoon have more to say, let the fact that “The Singing Flame” fades out while essentially still in progress stand as assurance that it won’t be long before this richly creative trio make a return.
On that note, whether you’ve heard it before or not, I hope you’ll take the time to dig into “The Singing Flame” on the player below. For me, I consider it correcting an oversight for a record that deserved way more coverage than I gave it when it first landed, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so. PR wire info follows underneath.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
San Luis Obispo, California’s blackened sludge act BLOODMOON is set to reissue their transformative 2013 album, Voidbound, on limited edition vinyl. The new version has been completely remastered for vinyl by James Plotkin (Sunn 0))), ISIS, Conan, Slomatics).
Gazing into the void with combined effort since 2010, BLOODMOON have been exploring the musical elements of sludge, doom, stoner, black and death Metal with heavy doses of psychedelia to give themselves a highly distinctive sound of their own. Over the past two years, the band has released two albums, embarked upon several tours, and played countless shows all over the west coast at any given point in between. Between shows, they are continually writing with the self-imparted directive of releasing new music every year while always experimenting with different ways to bring the heavy in their own way.
As if traveling an entire, bitter lifetime, Voidbound takes you for a ride through curiosity and emptiness in three movements. And once it ends, feels as though it has taken part of you back into the depths it calls home.
Yeah, I know I’ve written about this record a lot over the years. Some albums you just keep going back to, and for me, Brant Bjork‘s 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, is one of those. Released by Man’s Ruin Records, it was the first time the then-Fu Manchu drummer had stepped out to do something on his own, and the vibe he captured on these tracks continues to resonate, songs like “Automatic Fantastic,” “Defender of the Oleander,” “Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians” and of course “Low Desert Punk” becoming staple examples of what desert rock has become, but the way Bjork builds off those sounds, the low-end funk of “Cobra Jab,” the primo rock of “Toot” (on which Mario Lalli makes a guest appearance), and so on, it makes the listening experience that much richer in taking the album on front-to-back. The Man’s Ruin bio for it called it, “12 tracks of ghetto vibe wonder,” which is fair enough, but it’s the individual mash of influences and Bjork‘s willingness to account for them all while making them his own that results in both the vibe and the wonder, ghetto or not.
Jalamanta has been reissued a couple times through Bjork‘s own Duna Records imprint since the dissolution of Man’s Ruin, and rightfully so. It remains a vital piece of his discography, and the one-man jams he sets up on songs like “Sun Brother” and “Let’s Get Chinese Eyes” go far in setting the course for what his songwriting produces to this day. When it originally came out, in Oct. 1999, Bjork was already several years removed from his tenure in Kyuss, though he’d also appeared alongside former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme on Desert Sessions Vol. 5 and 6, also released by Man’s Ruin. FuManchu, whose ranks he’d joined prior to 1997’s The Action is Go,were just months away from putting out King of the Road, and in 2000, Bjork would unite with Alfredo Hernandez, who replaced him in Kyuss and had just finished playing with Queens of the Stone Age, and Unida‘s Dave Dinsmore in the short-lived trio Ché, whose only album, Sounds of Liberation, presaged some of what Bjork‘s songwriting would manifest with some of his backing bands, be it The Bros. on 2007’s Somera Sól or the currently-active Low Desert Punk Band, whose Black Power Flower (review here) was released this year on Napalm Records and in whose lineup Bjork has reunited with Dave Dinsmore.
For me, Jalamanta has always been a summer album, but I hope you’ll indulge the bit of climatic wishful thinking on my part, and please enjoy.
Quick week, or maybe I’m just still recovering from Thanksgiving last week/weekend. Either way, we’re starting to wind down the year, so in addition to the usual bout of reviews and such — I think I’m going to go see Kind in Allston next week, and I’ll be at at least one of the two YOB shows in Brooklyn next weekend, if not both — I’ll be starting wrapup coverage, lists and such. Putting up the Readers Poll on Monday was just the start, and huge thanks to everyone who’s submitted a list so far for that, but starting next week we’ll dig deeper into what will probably still just be a fraction of how much I’d actually like to do. I also need to get my own top albums of the year together, which I’ve been putting off though I think I have the top five in place and proper order.
I teased a year-end podcast as well, and I’ll have that coming soon too, though it would have to be 10 hours long to cover all the excellent stuff that came out this year — and I promise you I’m not going to do a 10-hour podcast. I’ll whittle it down as best as I can, and even if it’s not next week, it’ll be up sometime soon. Obviously before the New Year, and likely before Xmas as well.
This week, I not only flaked on posting the Alunah interview, because I suck, but reviewing the Wounded Giant/Goya split as well. I’ll attempt to correct, but the stacks of CDs people have sent in sitting on my desk is starting to weigh pretty heavy on my soul as we get down to the wire on 2014, so other stuff might have to take a backseat for a bit. I’d love to find some way to do a roundup and give some cursory glance at records, but I’m not sure what that looks like or how it would come together in a way that doesn’t destroy all of my available time. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to make function, and I’ve tried. I still try from time to time. Not enough hours in the day for all the rock and roll, and though I work against it, I continue to need at least a little sleep each night.
First World problems, I guess, and there’s been plenty lately to remind me of just how privileged an existence I lead, despite all my miserable-bastard mopery. I hope wherever you’re at, you can feel safe.
Be well, have a great weekend and please check out the forum and radio stream.
Riff legends and Iommic scholars Sleep launch an Australian tour this coming weekend. The other night, I saw they posted the following on their Thee Facebooks page. I guess they had been getting requests — probably daily, if not hourly — for a reissue of 1992’s ultra-classic Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and this was their response:
For those asking…
Sleep cannot re-issue Holy Mountain on vinyl. Or CD. Or MP3.
Nor can Sleep print t-shirts or posters, etc with the original Holy Mountain artwork.
All rights to that album (and any related art) are owned by Earache records. Forever.
…and no, Sleep doesn’t make a dime from that record and hasn’t since the early 90’s.
Bands: Please be very careful what you sign.
My immediate reaction is, “Really, Earache?” and that seems as good a place to begin as any.
With landmark back catalogs from Napalm Death, Entombed, Godflesh, Cathedral and many, many others, UK imprint Earache Records has one of the most enviable discographies in heavy music. Formed in 1986, it’s seen trends come and go and like few others — Metal Blade comes to mind first as a comparison — it has managed to thrive. Is Earache well within its rights to hold onto Sleep’s Holy Mountain and use that property for all it’s worth? It would seem so. They reissued it on CD in 2009 (review here), still press t-shirts with the cover art (or at least they did last time I bought one), and the above indicates that Earache owns copyright on the music and art for the record into perpetuity and there’s nothing the band can do about it.
Not a great contract if you’re Sleep.
The answer for the trio — bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and then drummer Chris Hakius (now drummer Jason Roeder) — at first seems like an easy one. Bootleg it. Fuck it. They’ve done it before, as the initial, unofficial self-release of Jerusalem with its righteous Arik Roper cover showed. Not as simple to do now as it was in 1998, however. Look at the response they got to the new single “The Clarity” (review here) this year. Granted, it wouldn’t be the same for a reissue as for the first new music to come from them in over a decade, but still. Sleep are a much higher-profile band than they were in the late ’90s, and if they were to just press up a bunch of copies of Sleep’s Holy Mountain, even to sell at shows, they’d probably catch hell for it one way or another, probably with litigation.
A pretty great contract if you’re Earache.
I won’t pretend to know the circumstances of the label’s wares, that is, how much of its back catalog it owns as thoroughly as it seems to own Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and neither will I give into some doomer-hippie impulse and say something like, “Oh man, they should just give Sleep the rights because it would be the cool thing to do and art for artists and whatever blah blah.” That’s naive as shit and not in any way reflective of the world in which we live. Earache has the rights, Sleep signed that deal. Bam. Done. The label is under no obligation to let the band have anything, so if they don’t want to, that’s their prerogative.
No question Sleep’s Holy Mountain is one of the most pivotal records in heavy rock and doom. What Pike, Cisneros and Hakius crafted has spread through influence the world over, to bands from Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. They’re as close as an underground band can be to being a household name, and their work helped define a generation of heaviness. It is timeless, integral, and essential. They deserve to be making money from it.
People don’t like to talk about money and its effect on creativity, as though art and commerce are church and state, but in practice, they’re no more separate. Sleep probably do well at this point in terms of their take-home from shows, but it took them 20 years and success in other bands — Om, High on Fire — to get there, and they don’t tour 100 gigs a year. I don’t know if they have dayjobs or not, and I highly doubt any income earned on Sleep’s Holy Mountain would be life-changing in that regard one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.
But “deserve” is irrelevant. Sleep “should” earn money from Sleep’s Holy Mountain? So what?
It seems to me there’s some opportunity for middle ground somewhere between “label gets all” and “band gets all,” whether that’s a licensing fee Sleep pay to Earache or something like that — hell, I’m sure if Earache were to put the rights up for sale, the band could crowdfund just about any price named and not even have to go out-of-pocket — or like a rent-to-own deal on the publishing. I’m not going to call Earache dicks for not coming to the table if there’s been any discussion of a discussion, they’re a business acting like a business needs to act in order to survive, but if Sleep were able to work Sleep’s Holy Mountain again in some way mutually beneficial to themselves and the label, I don’t see where anyone loses.
Doesn’t matter if Earache doesn’t want to budge and if they’re still able to sell those shirts with the cover on it or repress the album every so often. An unfortunate situation for a band that have earned their place in the pantheon of heavy and managed to, like the label, remain vital where so many others haven’t, but as they say, be careful what you sign. Too bad that’s a lesson that had to be so harshly learned, and too bad a record so warmly loved by fans has to carry such baggage for the band themselves.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Black Cobra at this point — the most recent was with Lo-Pana couple months back in Cambridge — but I’ve never watched them get on a stage and not subsequently destroy that stage and the room surrounding with a relentless assault of volume and intensity. The news that they’re doing a run down the West Coast with Wolvhammer is nifty, and though I won’t get to see them this time, it’s good to know they’re out there, but the buried lead here is that they’ve begun writing for a follow-up to 2011’s excellent Invernal (review here) and that indeed is something to look forward to.
Not much info on the new record yet, but that progress is even vaguely underway is more than I’d heard to this point, so right on. The PR wire has info:
BLACK COBRA To Headline West Coast December Tour With Wolvhammer; Band Continues To Hatch New Material For Next LP
With the dust settling on the country consequent to the band’s recent full US tour with support from Lo Pan, San Francisco’s most devastating duo, BLACK COBRA, will shred the West Coast this December with support from Midwest cult, Wolvhammer.
As Wolvhammer treks westward on the second phase of Desanctifying North America 2014, they’ll liaise with the mighty BLACK COBRA in Portland, Oregon on December 3rd. From there, the two bands will lay down an extremely diversified but wholly deadly salvo of metallic destruction in Seattle, Eugene, Sacramento, Los Osos, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura before the final gig of the tour for BLACK COBRA in San Francisco on December 13th, while Wolvhammer tours back east.
BLACK COBRA West Coast Tour w/ Wolvhammer: 12/03/2014 Rotture – Portland, OR 12/04/2014 Highline – Seattle, WA 12/05/2014 Wow Hall – Eugene, OR 12/06/2014 Press Club – Sacramento, CA 12/07/2014 Sweet Springs – Los Osos, CA 12/08/2014 Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA 12/10/2014 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA 12/11/2014 Complex – Los Angeles, CA 12/12/2014 The Garage – Ventura, CA 12/13/2014 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA
While little else from BLACK COBRA is available for public consumption at press time, the band has been slaving away on new material which is being penned for their next full-length album which will be completed in the first several months of 2015 for release later in the year.
Posted in audiObelisk on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’ve got just a minute of your time to give, It’s Casual would like to punch you in the face. The L.A.-based one-man outfit helmed by vocalist/guitarist/bassist/drummer Eddie Solis will release their new album, The New Los Angeles II, on Dec. 16 through Stoked Records. As the title hints, it’s a sequel to 2007’s The New Los Angeles, and even opens with a couple seconds fading out the drum progression of that record’s closer, “EZ Pass.” From there, however, The New Los Angeles II is a different beast, likewise pointed in its social commentary — Solis is vehement in his support for public transit — but turning his attention on real budget issues in Los Angeles. He’s the kind of guy who will run for mayor one day who will make more sense than everyone else and get the least airtime.
To wit, songs like “Less Violence, More Violins,” “Keep the Children Occupied,” “Sharing is Not Caring” and “Their Own Cash” point out the madness of not funding public education — the latter’s only lyrics, “Teachers use their own cash to buy stuff for their class,” are repeated in the Black Flag tradition of emphasizing absurdity through insistence — where “TAP Card,” “WIC” and “California is Not an ATM Machine” take on economic issues via real-world concerns, all the while pummeling a blend of heavy punk and thrash, Solis‘ growl pushing out minimalist lines that leave a maximum impression. The album as a whole is 27 minutes long, and about nine of those are devoted to the instrumental noise rocker “The Gap is Widening,” which leads the way into closer “Kids Having Kids,” so It’s Casual never take too long in making a point, every other track (including the closer, though that also makes room for a hidden bonus cut) under two minutes. The word of the day is “immediacy,” and It’s Casual are well familiar with it.
The New Los Angeles II is It’s Casual‘s fourth full-length, behind a 2009 split 7″ with Bullet Treatment, the first installment, 2004’s Stop Listening to Bad Music and 2002’s Buicregl, and it finds Solis — who also hosts the Los Angeles Nista talk show on AM radio — in his element musically and in terms of the commentary at hand. “Their Own Cash,” likewise true and infuriating, serves as a prime example of the record’s attitude and call to arms, and I’m happy to be able to host the streaming premiere today of it, as well as the Q&A with Solis that follows the player below.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Q&A with Eddie Solis of It’s Casual
On “Their Own Cash”:
It’s really a POSITIVE track. I am trying to bring to light that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other school districts are suffering from lack of resources. And that causes a trickle-down effect, for instance the music and art programs are cut and that leads to a challenge to keep the kids occupied. However what about the teachers’ perspective? What about their challenges? I have lots of friends and family that are teachers. They are already challenged with a modest salary but what about the ones that use “THEIR OWN CASH” for supplies? The song is a cry for help. It’s a testimony to the teachers who care and it’s also a cry for help. A topic that should be brought to light and should also be targeted and remedied. The lyrics: “Teachers use their own cash, to buy stuff for their class.”
Why The New Los Angeles II seven years after the original?
Seven years later because our album cycle didn’t really start till 2012. The record wasn’t properly distributed worldwide, toured and written about in the press till 2012.
Is the album a statement on sequel culture?
Yes, it is a statement on sequel culture. The New Los Angeles I was about being car-free, and celebrating the rich Los Angeles history through the eyes of a bus rider. However, The New Los Angeles II goes deeper. The New Los Angeles I was about history, culture, geography. Also a car-free lifestyle in a car culture. This The New Los Angeles II is about reporting on what I’m seeing on the buses and subway system. The people that are sitting right next to me. I’m talking about challenges people are facing. The positivity and the negativity, the yin and yang.
Any chance we could get a prequel at some point, something like The Old Los Angeles?
Yes, very possible. It’s realistic because there is a type of person that has been spawned from Los Angeles that is destructive and stunted and I want shed light on the sociology aspect of where this all comes from. Pre-MTA public transportation, L.A. life.
At what point did you know it would be The New Los Angeles II instead of some other title?
I was conscious. The New Los Angeles I inspired me. It was due to the fact that I was so inspired by all the press, shows and the music video that Rick Kosick of Jackass did for “The Redline.” It spawned my radio show Los Angeles Nista which started on internet-only but is now on AM talk radio as well in three major markets: Orange County (1510AM), Inland Empire (1510AM) and San Diego (1450AM). So when I wrote part two, it was about the same thread of commonality but going deeper into the neighborhoods and connecting with people.
Why the long break between albums?
The album cycle to the previous record started in 2012 so it was necessary.
When did the songs start to come together?
June 2012 was the pre-production date. And we tracked mixed and mastered in Aug. 2012, but the tracks started coming together during early 2012. The inspiration and juice came from The New Los Angeles I album cycle in 2012.
What was the recording like in comparison to the original The New Los Angeles?
Very similar. In fact the beginning of The New Los Angeles II starts out the way part one ends. The comparison and common thread is that it is completely is all about Los Angeles and is inspired by being car-free and green.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Neurosis are in Mexico City next weekend for the Bestia festival, and they’ve also just announced they’ll do a trio of California shows to round out 2014, a year that’s already seen them play multiple shows and fests in a kind of gradual return to playing live which, if you’ll recall, they weren’t so much about for most of the last decade. They’ve already confirmed Maryland Deathfest for 2015 and one imagines it won’t be the only gig they wind up playing. If they keep it up, one might almost be tempted to think of them as a touring band again. How that might play into the post-metal progenitors following-up their 2012 studio outing, Honor Found in Decay (review here), is anyone’s best guess, but if time has proven anything it’s that the appropriate course of action is to let Neurosis do whatever the fuck they want at their own pace and excellence will ensue.
The PR wire lets you know how it is:
NEUROSIS Announces Trio Of Year-End California Performances
NEUROSIS has just confirmed three more shows for 2014, set to take place during the final days of the year in California. While the members of NEUROSIS currently reside in numerous areas of the country, the Bay Area will forever remain the land of the band’s origin, and to commemorate one of their most active years performing abroad in their nearly three decades in existence, they’ll unite for a trio of concerts including two shows back where it all began.
The first of the year-end live run will see NEUROSIS playing at The Observatory in Orange County’s Santa Ana on Monday, December 29th. The next two evenings — Tuesday, December 30th and Wednesday the 31st — will see the band back in their native Bay Area lands, with two consecutive shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Supporting NEUROSIS on all three of these headlining shows will be an incredibly diverse and destructive lineup, including Portland’s morose d-beat hardcore icons, Tragedy, San Diego-based industrial drone man/machine act, Author & Punisher, and San Francisco’s sludge/noise rock outfit, Kowloon Walled City.
NEUROSIS Tour Dates: 11/19-23/2014 Bestia Festival – Mexico City, MX w/ The Ex, Monogatari, more 12/29/2014 The Conservatory – Santa Ana, CA w/ Tragedy, Author & Punisher, Kowloon Walled City 12/30/2014 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA w/ Tragedy, Author & Punisher, Kowloon Walled City 12/31/2014 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA w/ Tragedy, Author & Punisher, Kowloon Walled City 5/24/2015 Maryland Deathfest – Baltimore, MD w/ Amorphis, Anaal Nathrakh, Goatsnake, Primordial, more
The newly-announced trio of performances comes as NEUROSIS continues their massive 2014 live campaign, as the band has just conquered the Housecore Horror Film Fest in Austin, Texas, as well as Southwest Terror Fest III in Tucson, Arizona, and next week will headline the second annual Bestia Festival in Mexico City, Mexico. The five-day gala, set to run from November 19th to the 23rd, will include performances from The Ex, Monogatari, (SIC), Han Bennink, Terrie Ex, Marc Ribot, Ray Anderson, Bob Stewart and others confirmed, in addition to music workshops, film screenings and more will fill the festival grounds. Additional NEUROSIS concerts for 2015 are aligning, including the band’s return to Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore alongside fellow Neurot acts Ufomammut and Yob, where NEUROSIS plays on Sunday, May 24th with Amorphis, Anaal Nathrakh, Demilich, Goatsnake, Inverloch, Primordial, Winter, Tombs and more.
Following the release of their Live At Roadburn 2007 album and reissues of some of the band’s most seminal recordings — including their Souls At Zero and Enemy Of The Sun LPs and the Sovereign EP — throughout 2010 and 2011, NEUROSIS released one of their most ambitious albums to date, with 2012’s mighty Honor Found In Decay LP, all through their own cultivated Neurot Recordings. The album showcased the band taking their esoteric but leveling and categorization-free style of extreme music to even diverse areas of exploration, and following the record release show for the album, the outfit disbanded with their longtime visuals at their live shows, empowering their grand anthems to their fans in a monolithic, more human approach. Since its release, NEUROSIS has been more active tour-wise than they have since before the turn of the millennium, and seemingly shows no time of ending the campaign any time soon.
Posted in Reviews on November 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
To call Black Power Flower a Brant Bjork solo release would be a misnomer. Undoubtedly he’s the principal songwriter, as each of the album’s 10 tracks bear his penchant for smooth, laid back desert groove, funky turns and ’70s slang — to wit, “That’s a Fact, Jack,” “Hustler’s Blues,” “Buddha Time (Everything Fine)” — but the presence of the other players in the Low Desert Punk Band, of guitarist Bubba DuPree (ex-Void), bassist Dave Dinsmore (formerly of Bjork‘s Ché project) and knocks-it-right-out-of-the-park drummer Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson), and the energy infused into the recording itself gives the record a full band feel worthy of consideration as more than the work of one artist. Add to that the jammy sensibility in a cut like closer “Where You from Man” and it becomes clear there’s more than one player at the heart of the group, however much it may be Bjork calling the shots. The former Kyuss and Fu Manchu drummer’s last solo outing was 2010’s Gods and Goddesses (review here), and though he initially signed to Napalm Records late in that same year, it’s not until now that this follow-up outing is surfacing, Bjork having spent the last several years taking part in the semi-reunion of Kyuss in Kyuss Lives! and Vista Chino, whose 2013 debut, Peace (review here), was also released through the label. As vocalist John Garcia put that project on hiatus to focus on his own solo work, so too did Bjork pick back up with his own new band, though between recording at Thunder Underground and the winding guitar lines of “Soldier of Love,” there definitely feels like there’s continuity between Vista Chino‘s Peace and Black Power Floweras well.
Whatever end of the desert they might come from, the band’s punk roots come through solidly across the album, beginning with the upbeat shuffle of opener “Controllers Destroyed” and the following “We Don’t Serve Their Kind,” which commence a catchy side A on Black Power Flower that keeps momentum driving forward despite fluctuations in pace. The actual opening riff is slow enough to give a surprisingly doomed feel, but driven by Tornay‘s toms and Dinsmore‘s bass, the Low Desert Punk Band soon kick into gear and Bjork arrives for an initial couple lines of vocals sounding very much in command of the proceedings. His singing style, immediately recognizable, has been a major factor in all of his releases, solo or with past backing groups like The Operators or The Bros., and it is on Black Power Flower as well, a semi-spoken delivery finding melody in layers and sitting so well on top of fuzzed-out grooves in later cuts like “Ain’t No Runnin'” or the quiet first half of the penultimate “Hustler’s Blues,” which boasts one of the collection’s most memorable lyrics in the line, “How do you say no to the woman that makes you tea?” Before they get there, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band continue the initial push on “Stokely up Now,” the catchiest hook with a call and response chorus and a title likely namedropping ’60s Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael, though I haven’t seen a lyric sheet to be sure. It would fit with the name of the album itself, and though words are sparse, “Where You from Man” seems to be addressing issues of race as well in its way, echoing cop-impression voices asking, “Hey man, where you from?” etc. “Buddha Time (Everything Fine)” and “Soldier of Love” fit together well after the surge of “Stokely up Now,” both having some of that Vista Chino spirit at their core — Bjork was, of course, a major songwriting contributor to that band and may be again if they decide to do another LP — and the latter seems to set up a conversation about gender taken up on side B with “Hustler’s Blues” with the lyrics “See, these chicks have a way of running this beautiful universe,” followed by something about if you don’t believe it, hold the purse. Not exactly hard-hitting analysis, but it’s catchy.
Bass starts “Boogie Woogie on Your Brain” to open Black Power Flower‘s second half, a somewhat moodier presence in the low-end fuzz and rougher shout from Bjork himself, but the tension built opens up just past the halfway point and the vocals smooth out to match, a satisfying nod emerging momentarily before shifting back into the verse, which closes out and gives way to the wah-soaked funk of “That’s a Fact, Jack,” one of the clearest two-guitar grooves on offer. A rolling riff is established after dual noodling, and the vocals skate easily over the wah, coming in layers for the initial chorus part, which does right to hold back on the title line until the second round through, making the song a standout less driving than “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” or “Controllers Destroyed” but still righteously fuzzed. “Hustler’s Blues” and the jammier “Where You from Man,” the latter also the longest inclusion at 8:13, make a departure of a closing duo, but aren’t out of place with the atmosphere of Black Power Flower overall, “Hustler’s Blues” taking off right around 2:45 for an instrumental second half topped by exploratory leads, heavy and immersive and “Where You from Man” feeling its way through its progression, the vocals seemingly added after the fact or maybe just tossed in off-the-cuff, a subtle nod around four minutes in to the central riff of Kyuss‘ “Green Machine” not lost in the mix but well placed to blend with its surroundings. They end with a noisy wash of a finish on perhaps their most full-band note, showing the chemistry at work in Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band as a unit of players who’ve known each other for years despite this being their first album together under this moniker. With all the flux surrounding Vista Chino and Bjork, Garcia and Nick Oliveri having released solo/semi-solo records in 2014, I wouldn’t dare to predict what might follow Black Power Flower or in what incarnation we might next year from Brant Bjork, but 10 records on from his solo debut in 1999’s Jalamanta, there’s little question he remains the godfather of desert groove and that no one else does it quite like him. He’s in good company here.
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower Preview
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Now located in Oakland, California, after first coming together in the Midwest, Mondo Drag are preparing to issue their sophomore long-player. Self-titled and due out this winter through Kozmik Artifactz, the record features the rhythm section of Cory Berry and Zack Anderson, both now out of the band and better known as the now-former drummer and bassist for Blues Pills and Radio Moscow. Mondo Drag was recorded right around the time Blues Pills were getting going, and though Berry and Anderson would soon split for Sweden, their presence on the album, especially at what was a pretty tumultuous time coming off their unceremonious departure from Radio Moscow, makes the follow-up to Mondo Drag‘s 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), an even more enticing prospect.
The PR wire brings a look at the cover art and tells the whole story:
MONDO DRAG sign for new album with Kozmik Artifactz
Heavy psych / prog band MONDO DRAG is proud to announce the release of their second full-length LP which is Self-Titled. The Oakland, CA-based outfit’s heavy-hitting new record will be released this Winter – on CD and vinyl (180-gram, gatefold LP) — via Kozmik Artifactz.
Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, MONDO DRAG has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not resounded through the atmosphere for decades. The bands unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stem from the fact that core members John Gamino, Nolan Girard, and Jake Sheley actually grew up within a one mile radius from each other, attended the same schools, were part of the same music scene, and have played in bands with each other for 15 years.
The release of New Rituals (Alive Records)in 2010, saw the band headlining numerous U.S tours, appearing at many high-profile fests around the country including several official showcases at SXSW (and a dozen more unofficial ones), and headlining slots at both the Chicago Pysch Fest and the Cincy Psych Fest. You can also find them on the Austin Psych Fest 3 DVD (w/ The Black Angels, The Warlocks, Warpaint, et al.).
After a tumultuous tour in March 2011, Johnnie (drums, vocals) and Dennis (bass) left the band. After looking high and low for a new rhythm section, the band caught a break when Cory Berry and Zack Anderson moved back to Iowa after quitting Radio Moscow. The two came to live with the band, while rehearsing and preparing material for the new album. This transitional period also saw John assume the role of vocalist for the band.
In the Winter of 2011-2012, the band returned to Future Appletree Studios Too (New Rituals was recorded here also) to record with friend and gear guru, Patrick Stolley. Zack and Cory came to stay with the band again, but this time they also brought along with them Elin Larsson. While Zack and Cory were recording with Mondo Drag they were also forming Blues Pills and recording their Bliss EP for Crusher Records.
Utilizing Stolley’s extensive vintage gear library and his expansive knowledge of analog recording, they were able to capture full-band live performances recorded to analog tape. Most of the live tracking was recorded with 1940’s and 50’s RCA ribbon mics and everything recorded on the album ran through tube pre-amps and transformers of the same era.
Shortly after the album was recorded, Zack moved to Sweden and Cory soon followed to pursue their new group, Blues Pills, which was really taking off in Europe. This left the band with still no rhythm section. After much thought, the band decided it was time to move and reform the group so in 2013 they caravanned to Oakland, CA with all of their records and gear.
Since then, the band has picked up a new rhythm section and has quickly become a staple of the bay area’s psych/prog scene playing with bands like Hot Lunch, Lecherous Gaze, Wild Eyes, Once and Future Band, and Hedersleben.
This album features the lineup of John Gamino (vocals / keyboards), Nolan Girard (guitar), Jake Sheley (guitar), and the rhythym section of Zack Anderson (bass), and Cory Berry (drums), both formerly of Radio Moscow and founding members of Blues Pills.
Upcoming shows: 12/12 at Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco W/ Older Sun, Banquet
Posted in audiObelisk on October 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some people get a reputation and spend the rest of their days trying to distance themselves from it, but Nick Oliveri‘s always been a little more punk rock. The former bassist for Kyuss, former bassist/vocalist for Queens of the Stone Age and intermittent member of Dwarves, Bl’ast, Vista Chino and his own Mondo Generator, Oliveri today releases Leave Me Alone, the debut full-length from the new heavy rocking solo-project Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable. Out on Schnitzel Records, it’s an album that should find root with anyone who’s bemoaned the adultification of Queens of the Stone Age, brimming with hard-driven riffing and a sense of danger that’s been a trademark of Oliveri‘s songwriting even down to his acoustic records.
It’s a “solo” album in the sense that Oliveri handles bass, drums, rhythm guitar, vocals and is credited as producer alongside with engineers Trevor Whatever and Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, but it’s also a “solo” album in the sense that there are a ton of people playing solos on it. Dig this track listing:
1. Human Cannonball Explodes (feat. Dean Ween)
2. Keep Me in the Loop (feat. Stephen Haas)
3. Luv Is Fiction (feat. Lightnin’ Woodcock & Marc Diamond)
4. Come and You’re Gone (feat. Marc Diamond & Blag Dhalia)
5. The Robot Man (feat. Phil Campbell)
6. Get Lost (With Me) (feat. Rex Everything)
7. Leave Me Alone
8. The Void (feat. Bruno Fevery)
9. Death Leads the Way (feat. Mike Pygmie)
Of course that’s Dean Ween from Ween, Stephen Haas from Moistboyz, Phil Campbell from Motörhead, Blag Dhalia and Marc Diamond from Dwarves, Bruno Fevery from Vista Chino, and so on. Oliveri even sneaks in for a go himself as his alter-ego Rex Everything. All this has the effect of making Leave Me Alone – an album that, despite its title, thrusts itself in your face at nearly every turn — even more unhinged, Oliveri tackling his infamous run-in with a SWAT team on “The Robot Man” and building a record-spanning momentum that caps with, what else?, “Death Leads the Way”‘s riotous apex, Mike Pygmie of Mondo Generator stepping in to help out.
Oliveri has never left much room for middle-ground reactions, but love him or hate him, Leave Me Alone is about as Oliveri as Oliveri gets. Take a listen if you’re so inclined and find out for yourself:
Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable‘s Leave Me Alone is now available on Schnitzel Records. More info at the links.