Friday Full-Length: Altamont, Civil War Fantasy

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Altamont, Civil War Fantasy (1998)

If you don’t know Altamont, a side-project led by Dale Crover of the Melvins with Acid King‘s Joey Osbourne on drums and Dan Southwick (ex-Acid King) on bass, you’d have to be forgiven. It’s been a decade since their last album, 2005’s The Monkee’s Uncle, came out on Ipecac-offshoot AntAcidAudio, and their prior label, Man’s Ruin Records, went out of business in 2001. To the best of my knowledge, their 1997 debut EP, Wanted Dead or Alive, has never been reissued, but their first LP, 1998’s Civil War Fantasy, and their 2001 sophomore outing, Our Darling, were compiled onto a limited box set late in 2014 after being remastered by Crover and Toshi Kasai, and certainly Crover has been plenty busy with the Melvins‘ various incarnations in the last 10 years, also taking part in Shrinebuilder during their run, so I can’t imagine the guy is exactly flush with spare time. Still, to listen to Civil War Fantasy, the project certainly has its merits in showcasing Crover‘s songwriting, and though a weirdo chugger like “Whips” had some Melvins-ness to it, the vibe overall was different enough to warrant distinction. Presented in the then-style of Man’s Ruin with the front cover on the back tray of the jewel case — taking advantage of every inch available for artwork — it’s remained an album dug into its niche worthy of taking on by those who’d either happen upon it or purposefully seek it out either via the MelvinsAcid King or producer (also organist) Billy Anderson, maybe seeing it on a list alongside his other works of that era with Sleep and Neurosis.

However one might find it, Civil War Fantasy proves a worthy find, from the Jimi Hendrix cover “Exy Rider” to the noisy grit of “Black Tooth Powder,” an underlying straightforwardness of form allowing CroverOsbourne and Southwick the space to work out either an early-Alice Cooper fetish or tap into ZZ Top as they willed, all the while retaining a post-grunge crunch that would continue to evolve one of the staples of heavy rock that remains prevalent to this day. Of its pre-digital age, for sure, but not necessarily dated either purposefully or inadvertently, the album offers an unpretentious take with some loosely experimental flourish that keeps things interesting for the duration. Altamont may have wound up something of a footnote in one of riffery’s most populous family trees — I’m pretty sure “Melvins” is its own plant species in that regard — but for its motoring catchiness and weirdo edge, Altamont‘s Civil War Fantasy is a footnote that begs investigation all the same.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I would say this week was one for the ages, but the truth of it is they all have been since about late May when I started working again. It’s been a rush for time ever since, and either my nights are spent writing or trying to catch up on stuff like email, and even downloading releases of stuff I want to check out, let alone getting to the actual, physical mail, is something that hangs over my head. I’m not saying it’s a hardship — well, I guess I am, but only in terms of not having enough time or energy for it, not in the people-sending-me-stuff part; that part I like quite a bit — but I am saying I’m frickin’ tired. All the time.

Getting sick last week was a bummer as well. It carried over well into Wednesday and even a bit yesterday, but I’m more or less back at full speed — much as I’m ever at “speed” — today, so that’s good. And work is good. I feel like I’m decently settled in. I wish I was about a decade less jaded than I am, but one could apply that to any number of existential facets.

But, I’m going down to Jersey this weekend to see family — what could be more restorative than an additional four hours of weekend road time? — and going out tonight to catch Reign of Zaius in Worcester, so I expect that will be good. Look out for that review on Monday or Tuesday, followed by reviews for BloodcowSons of Huns, and hopefully if there’s time, the Effervescent vinyl from All Them Witches. I also still have Radio Adds to do though, so a lot depends on time and energy, which if I was a betting man, is exactly what I’d bet against me having by the time the end of the week rolls around. Still, one does what one can.

I’m gonna get some Chinese food and then start driving. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wino Wednesday: Saviours & Wino, “Limb from Limb” (Motörhead Cover), Live in L.A., 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

happy wino wednesday

There has been a lot of quality video from this tour, which Wino undertook with Oakland, CA’s Saviours and Nick Oliveri after the three parties — Oliveri with his band Mondo Generator — opened for Clutch on their annual holiday run leading up to New Year’s 2013. It would also seem to have been the root of Wino‘s recent studio collaboration with Saviours (give me another week or two; we’ll get there) and for the advent of the yet-to-be-realized Royale Daemons collaboration with Oliveri, assuming that’s still a thing in the offing for somewhere down the line. Vague enough? Good.

Point is the tour-as-nexus also yielded much documentation, be it in full-set videos or clips of other on-stage jams between the various players. It must have been a good one, since nobody’s quite let it completely go. Fair enough to revisit, then, as we continue to wind down the Wino Wednesday feature on the march to number 200 in a few more weeks (this is #194, if you’re counting). This time around, it’s Wino and Saviours delivering a killer take on Motörhead‘s “Limb from Limb.”

The clip comes from Los Angeles, was filmed Jan. 11, 2013, at The Satellite, and even this wasn’t the first time Wino and Saviours had jamemd out — the band having brought the legendary frontman on stage at Scion Rock Fest in 2010 as well — but clearly by the time they got out to L.A., they were comfortable sharing a stage together. Of course, the song is the closing track from Motörhead‘s 1979 sophomore outing, Overkill, and it’s no less of a classic than that album as a whole, but Wino and Saviours give it its due, the former hanging onto the microphone in a manner that anyone who saw him with Saint Vitus over the last six years will likely recognize.

Hope you enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saviours & Wino, “Overkill” Live in Los Angeles, Jan. 11, 2013

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Church Become CHRCH; Touring with Primitive Man

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Church or CHRCH, this band fucking destroys. They could call themselves Donnie and Marie Osmond — though one doubts it would cut back on legal troubles — and they’d still be one of the most potential-filled acts in doom. Their Unanswered Hymns full-length (review here) is set to release on vinyl from Battleground Records Sept. 28 and it’s easily one of the year’s best debuts. Not even a question. They’ve also got tour dates coming up with Primitive Man, which sounds even more devastating. In all seriousness, however you hear them, do it. Don’t miss out. The situation that brought about the change sounds like it was a bummer, but at least the vinyl is still coming.

The PR wire speaks of preferred nomenclature:

chrch (Photo by Susan Yee)

CHRCH (Formerly CHURCH): Sacramento, California Doom-Slingers Formally Announce Name Change, Tour Dates

Sacramento, California’s fresh-faced psychedelic doom crew formerly known as CHURCH just crushed their way onto the scene with their stunning debut album Unanswered Hymns to overwhelmingly positive response, enchanting metal’s toughest critics and bringing crowds to their knees all over the west coast. The group signed to Battleground Records to release the vinyl version of the debut on September 28. However, due to a cease and desist sent to the band by a lawyer hired by Australian alternative rock group The Church, the band has opted to avoid further confrontation and drop the vowel, simply continuing on as CHRCH. Aside from the name change, the vinyl release and tour dates will proceed as planned.

Official statement from the band:

“Due to the fact that defending the claim of ‘willful infringement’ and ‘unfair competition’ is lengthy and expensive, we are now CHRCH. The bourgeoise system of ownership demands that knowledge and culture be rationed by the ability to pay. We thank everyone for their overwhelming support thus far. We are approaching our dates with Primitive Man and Northless August 13th-17th and we open for Pentagram in Santa Cruz on August 29th. In darkness, CHRCH.”

Official statement from Battleground Records:

“The band having to change their name due to a legal technicality is just that, a technicality. Underground artists like CHRCH and small labels like ours just don’t have the resources to get into legal squabbles over such matters. Regardless of the name, what truly matters is that we’re helping to release a great record from a great band that people out there want to get a hold of. We’ve simply got to keep moving forward. Many thanks to everyone who supports the label and the bands we work with. -BR”

See CHRCH live:

Aug 13th – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock w/ Primitive Man, Northless, Church Abstracter
August 14th – Oakland, CA @ The Metro (Deadfest)
August 16th – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Primitive Man and Northless
August 17th – Chico, CA @ 1078 Gallery w/ Primitive Man, Northless, Amarok, Vexed
August 29th – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium w/ Pentagram
October 3rd – Record Release show: Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Special guests
November 13th – Long Beach, CA @ The Breakers (Midnite Communion III)

Eva – Vocals
Matt – Drums
Shann – Guitar
Ben – Bass
Chris – Guitar, backing vocals

Church, Unanswered Hymns (2015)

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Mountain Tamer Sign to Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Of the various kinds of stories I might post on this site any given day — band announces tour, band announces album, band farts in a cup and makes you smell it, etc. — my favorite is quite possibly “cool band signs to cool label.” Nobody loses when parties like Santa Cruz trio Mountain Tamer — whose MTN TMR Demo (review here) recently impressed — and Italian imprint Argonauta Records join forces. Band gets wider exposure, label gets a good band. A heartwarming tale for all times and a classic win-win scenario.

Kudos to Mountain Tamer on the signing, and I’ll look forward to the release impending of their self-titled full-length, which I think we can officially list as “coming soon.”

Dig it:

mountain tamer


Today a new great band is in the Argonauta Records family: MOUNTAIN TAMER, a heavy psych trio, emerged from the forests of Santa Cruz, CA in 2010. The three have refused to set a limit on psychedelic experimentation, demonstrated by their immersive recordings and their one of a kind, hypnotic live performances. The mind-expanding sounds and heavy riffs Mountain Tamer creates can be traced from an influence of 60’s and 70’s classic/psych rock delivered with an in-your-face punk rock attitude. Melodic hooks, omnipresent bass riffs and complex rhythms pull you into Mountain Tamer’s dark, kaleidoscopic world, transporting you to a realm that transcends both time and space.

About working Argonauta, the band says: “We’re excited to be working with Argonauta, an awesome label with some great musical talents. We are looking forward to release our new, self titled album through Argonauta, as it is our most focused and accessible effort to date. We can’t wait to show the world what we have been working on and enjoy our musical future with Argonauta”.

Mountain Tamer, MTN TMR Demo (2015)

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Behold! the Monolith New Album Architects of the Void Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

behold the monolith

Los Angeles heavyweights Behold! the Monolith are taking orders now for their third album, Architects of the Void, which is set to release Sept. 29. The band have a bunch of different bundle deals set up for those who’d like a shirt to go along with their CD or vinyl (or both), and it’s their first outing since the death in a car accident of vocalist Kevin McDade in 2013, which is about as heavy as context gets, quite frankly.

The album was recorded and mixed by the one and only Billy Anderson, and the striking cover art is by Dusty Peterson. For more, we turn to the PR wire:

behold the monolith architects of the void

BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH to Release ‘Architects of the Void’ on September 29

Los Angeles stoner/doom metal band BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH will release new album Architects of the Void September 29 on CD, digital, and vinyl formats. The album can be pre-ordered at this location.

Legendary producer Billy Anderson has expertly harnessed the band’s smoke-belching locomotive style, while the songwriting is the most captivating of the quartet’s career. Guitarist Matt Price had this to say about the results:”It’s a relatively dark album, which is probably fitting. A few of the riffs and ideas had pretty much coagulated right before Kevin’s accident, and most of the others were colored by it, so yeah it feels kinda heavy and dark to me. I hope I don’t sound like a high falootin’ artisté, but it felt personal for me and Chase, so it wound up being more than just stringing riffs together, ya know? That being said Cas and Jordan came in and kicked ass and brought their own stamp to the sound. So it’s a bit different, but I think it captures the essence what Behold! The Monolith is all about!”

Architects of the Void follows critically acclaimed 2012 release Defender, Redeemist and marks the debut of vocalist Jordan Nalley who took the reigns following the tragic 2013 death of Kevin McDade in a car accident. The album will also be the first for new bassist Jason “Cas” Casanova (SASQUATCH). The album artwork was created by Dusty Peterson (Bloodbath, Six Feet Under, Oceano).

Jordan Nalley – Vocals
Matt Price – Guitar
Jason “Cas” Casanova – Bass
Chase Manhattan – Rhythm and Lead Drums

Produced by Billy Anderson and Behold! The Monolith

Behold! The Monolith, Live in Los Angeles, March 18, 2015

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Acid King Announce US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

acid king

You know what I said when I saw the email that Acid King were going on their first US tour in nine years? “Yay!” No. I mean, I actually said it out loud. Sitting at my desk. “Yay!” I share an office with nobody. I said “Yay!” out loud to an empty room. Stop and think for a second and let me know when the last time you did that was. I’m willing to bet it’s been a while.

Still, I can’t really argue with the motivation. Acid King are taking their riffs on the road to coincide with their previously announced appearance at the Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18, and they’ll go coast to coast this time in support of their 2015 stunner Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), which, if you missed it last week, is my pick for the top album of the first half of the year.

Dates follow, as per the PR wire. I hope they brighten your day as they did mine:

acid king tour



Acid King, one of North America’s original doom acts, have announced a U.S. tour, their first in nine years, kicking off Oct. 16 at Brick by Brick in San Diego.

Acid King founder/singer/guitar player Lori S. said: “After touring Europe for the past several years we’re looking forward to traveling across the U.S. and seeing if the beer has gotten any better along the way!”

U.S. tour dates:

October 16 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
October 17 Los Angeles, CA Complex
October 18 Tucson, AZ SW Terrorfest (Club Congress)
October 19 Albuquerque, NM Sister
October 21 Austin, TX Red 7
October 22 New Orleans, LA Siberia
October 23 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
October 24 Raleigh, NC Kings
October 25 New York, NY Saint Vitus
October 26 Boston, MA Middle East
October 27 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
October 28 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class
October 29 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
October 30 St. Louis, MO Firebird
October 31 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
November 1 Denver, CO Hi Dive

Tickets for are on-sale this Friday.

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2015)

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Sacri Monti, Sacri Monti: Slipping from the Day

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


[Please press play above to hear a full stream of Sacri Monti’s Sacri Monti, which is out July 24 on Tee Pee. Preorders are available here. Thanks to the label, PR and band for allowing me to host the album.]

SoCal five-piece Sacri Monti traffic in liquefied kosmiche bliss. The natural word to follow that is “exclusively,” but that’s not quite true in this case, as it would indicate a single-mindedness that neither they nor their self-titled six-track/43-minute Tee Pee Records full-length debut actually possess, the album instead working in a natural-flowing, bright toned spectrum of guitar-driven, organ-laced classic heavy psych, six-stringers Brenden Dellar (also vocals) and Dylan Donavon, Evan Wenskay (organ, synth, Echoplex), bassist Anthony Meier (also of Radio Moscow) and drummer Thomas Dibenedetto (also of JOY) touching on progressive ideas and methods without going full-on krautrock noodle or losing their sense of groove, which remains paramount through the initial shuffle of “Staggered in Lies” and the harder-hitting swing of “Glowing Grey” in the 14-minute one-two punch that leads off.

The established track record of their rhythm section should speak for itself, but it’s worth pointing out that as is the case in the best of heavy psych scenarios, it’s the drums and the bass anchoring the bulk of this material, the especially memorable “Slipping from the Day” seeming that much dreamier because of the solid foundation from which it spreads itself out. Dellar, Donavon and Wenskay enact an immersive swirl on “Staggered in Lies” and vibe remains prevalent throughout the cuts that follow, Sacri Monti‘s Sacri Monti kaleidoscoping through a wash of fuzzy distortion that seems to revel in the chaos of its own making.

Improv seems to play pretty heavily into the band’s methodology, so it’s not really such a surprise that “Slipping from the Day,” “Glowing Grey” and “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” would differ from the versions included on Sacri Monti‘s Demo 2014, released on tape by Under the Gun Records. “Slipping from the Day,” formerly a 12-minute jam, is here trimmed down to six and a half, and it proves a highlight toward the middle of the record, soaked in wah and centered around the repeated line, “Hold on, you’re really slipping from the day,” and variations thereupon. The psychedelic fervor Sacri Monti conjure isn’t to be understated, and it really is an album-long vibe, but far from monochromatic, “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” takes ’70s biker riffing and launches it into a stratosphere of swirling boogie, Dellar‘s voice echoing out as Wenskay seems to manipulate the Echoplex for further looped intricacy — just in case things weren’t freaked out enough.

sacri monti (Photo by Dana Trippe)

At just over five minutes, “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” is the shortest of the six cuts, but it packs plenty of space into that time and one has the feeling that on any given night Sacri Monti happen to play it, it might range much further. The subsequent “Ancient Seas and Majesties” brings a turn that pushes the guitar forward, finding a middle ground between the otherworldly mastery of “Slipping from the Day” and the earthier “Staggered in Lies,” the organ seeming to follow the vocals as much as it sets matches step with the bass and drums and adds to the melody proffered by the guitar. In short, it’s everywhere, and it works much to the advantage of the song and the album as a whole.

If you thought by the time you got there that Sacri Monti had no more tricks up their collective sleeve, the languid, bluesy initialization of “Sacri Monti” serves as a swift correction, unfolding gracefully over the course of its first two-plus minutes with a building wave of keys and guitars, the latter introducing the next movement’s riff at 2:40 into the total 12-minute run. It’s mostly instrumental, which is fitting since the band have toyed with structures throughout, but when the vocals do arrive in the second half of the song one can’t help but be reminded of some of Hypnos 69‘s proggy triumphs, and Sacri Monti seem to be working form a similar base of influences in their finale.

As the song comes to its head — hypnosis long since enacted on the listener — and spends its last minute or so wrapping up, one can’t help but hope that the fivesome continue to explore that side of their sound, and begin to mold energy as readily as they do volume, resulting in a shift of atmospherics no less molten than the overarching affect of their debut. As it stands, Sacri Monti is an exciting opening salvo from an act whose promise feels written into each of its jams, and whose balance between songcraft and improvisation serves as an immediately distinguishing factor amid an increasingly crowded Southern Californian heavy psych scene.

The way their songs play out here, they’d almost have a harder time not sounding like themselves, since so much of what they do is based around the forming chemistry of their lineup that one hopes will continue to grow the more time they spend on stage. How much that will happen owing to members’ obligations elsewhere, I don’t know, but if Sacri Monti‘s debut is an alert to the lysergic converted of a pursuit under way, it’s one that well earns any and all attention paid.

Preorder Sacri Monti

Sacri Monti on Thee Facebooks

Sacri Monti on Instagram

Tee Pee Records

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Atala West Coast Tour Starts July 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

atala (Photo by Alyssa Herrman)

After touring their way north early last month, Coachella Valley-based Atala recorded an EP with none other than Billy Anderson in Oregon reportedly to be titled Euphony of Enchanted Chaos that will serve as the follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut (review here). I’m not sure what the occasion is for the week of dates that kick off July 22, that is, if they’ve got something going in Sacramento after the last show or if they’re just going home, but if they’re pushing new material on the road, that’s really enough of an excuse in itself to get out.

And just in case your life wasn’t complicated enough, Atala are not to be confused with Attalla, from Wisconsin. Chew on that for a bit.

Dates and info follow off the PR wire:

atala tour dates

ATALA Announces Week Tour Stint in Various Western United States brought to you by ADHD Entertainment.

Giving the Hi-Desert a sound of its own!

After a grueling, week-long recording session for their sophomore release with heavy music pioneer Billy Anderson (Sleep, the Melvins, Mastodon), Southern California Hi-Desert natives Atala plan to hit the road in various states on the west. They seek to level each place they visit with their unique, massive sound that channels their energy through harmonious dissonance and reserved aggression.

Atala “Summer is Doomed” Tour Dates
7/22 – Bisbee, AZ @ The Quarry Bisbee
7/23 – Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue Bar
7/24 – Farmington, NM @ Studio 18
7/25 – Denver, CO @ The Toad Tavern
7/26 – Salt Lake City- UT @ Metro Bar
7/27 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
7/29 – Sacramento, CA @ The Press Club

Atala consists of Kyle Stratton (Rise of the Willing, Domiculumn) John Chavarria (Rise of the Willing, A’rk, Sons of Serro) and Jeff Tedtaotao (Forever Came Calling). With fall of Stratton and Chavarria’s previous band, Rise of the Willing, Atala began its slow mold to what it is now today. John would later join to complete the band, both musically and mentally. Together, they pursue their future endeavors day by day with a strong sense of passion and clarity.


Atala, “Broken Glass” official video

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