Sleep Announce “The Clarity” Australian Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

You know how in demand Sleep are? They put out a single, not even an album or an EP, and can go tour on the other side of the planet for it. Pretty badass, though come to think of it, I’m fairly certain Sleep could’ve gone over to Australia even without any new music out — and I’m also fairly certain they have before — and find themselves welcome. Still, not too bad for the weedian rifflords, who have begun the sometimes fraught transition from “reunion band” to “working band,” supporting new material and heralding the promise of more as they are. I’m sure Australia will be kind.

Of course, Sleep play this weekend in Boston as well, with an Earthless/Heavy Blanket jam opening, and I’m very much looking forward to that. So that those way far away can share a similar anticipation, here’s the Aussie tour announcement off the PR wire:

life is noise presents: SLEEP (USA) AUSTRALIAN TOUR DECEMBER 2014

life is noise is proud to announce the return of stoner-doom legends SLEEP for their first full Australian Tour.

When Sleep broke up in 1998, it looked like their magnum opus – the sprawling, hour+ long, single-track slice of epic stoner goodness that’s now known as Jerusalem or Dopesmoker – would never be heard. We realised stoner metal had lost one if its trailblazers and we tried our best to move on. But 16 years later, the masters of doom live again. The fever dream journey that is Dopesmoker has been unleashed in its unedited, epic glory, and Sleep are back with their first piece of new music since 1998 with what guitarist Matt Pike describes as “the lyrical follow up to a lifetime of marijuana enjoyment” – The Clarity.

Of course, we never thought it would happen like this. After the legal troubles nightmare that was Dopesmoker forced Sleep to disband, no one – not even the band themselves – thought Sleep would record again. But in 2009, Sleep was reborn. It was meant to be a one-off spectacle – a proper send-off for a trio of legends at All Tomorrow’s Parties – but it only snowballed from there. More festivals followed, then US and European tours, until far corners of their world were privy to the ceremonial trip that is Sleep.

In 2012, Southern Lord reissued Dopesmoker – in full, remastered and over an hour in length, the way it was meant to be heard. Finally, Sleep were getting the recognition they so sorely deserved 15 years ago. Finally, we got to feel the massive vibrations of stoner doom’s greatest power trio through a smoke-filled haze.

Now in 2014, Sleep looks like a super group. After their dissolution, vocalist and bassist Al Cisneros blazed trails with the rhythmic droning of OM. Matt Pike continued his devotional study of The Riff as the spiritual successor to both Lemmy and Iommi through sludge metal power trio High on Fire. Founding drummer Chris Hakius has since retired from touring but filling his huge shoes is Jason Roeder, who’s spent almost 30 years blowing minds behind the kit in Neurosis.

Sleep live is like mass hypnosis – a psychic trip of gargantuan proportions under the guidance of three sonic shamans. There’s never been a better time to be a Sleep fan. Prepare to ascend the Holy Mountain.

Catch Sleep on The Clarity: Australian Tour on the following dates:

Saturday December 6 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Monday December 8 – The Bakery, Perth
Tuesday December 9 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Thursday December 11 – Crowbar, Brisbane
Friday December 12 – Meredith Music Festival
Saturday December 13 – Manning Bar, Sydney

LINKS
Facebook
Official website
lifeisnoise.com
oztix.com.au

Sleep, “The Clarity”

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Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes Split: Tutta Forza

Posted in Reviews on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Intricate though it is, the jpeg cover art for Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes split on Go Down Records does little justice to the physical reality of the finished product. Pressed to limited white vinyl with screenprinted covers or available in a gorgeous fold-out digi-box with fractal designs and liner notes printed on a kind of psychedelic gatefold, Early Shapes is impressive both to hold and to hear, comprising three tracks from the Californian desert legends and four from the Italian upstart trio. For Fatso Jetson – the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli (also of Yawning Man), guitarist Dino Von Lalli, bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (now also playing with Brant Bjork) – it’s their second partnership with Italy’s Go Down Records, the first having been the limited run Live at Maximum Festival (review here) earlier this year, and their second recent split behind a 2013 collaboration with Yawning Man. In Herba Mate‘s case, Early Shapes is the first I’ve heard from them since their engagingly atmospheric 2009 debut, The Jellyfish is Dead and the Hurricane is Coming (review here), the Bolognese three-piece of bassist/vocalist Alessandro Trere, guitarist Andrea Barlotti and drummer Ermes Piancastelli having spent the last couple years playing shows and generally refining what was an already well-directed take on desert rock. Vinyl-ready at 38 minutes, Early Shapes is hypnotically jammed and sweetly melodic, the two acts not so much competing in the richness of what they do as celebrating the vibes they’re both so able to conjure musically. All the better for the front-to-back listen of the CD, which is consistent in its mood while still showcasing the distinct personalities of the two groups. Frankly, it’s a pairing that I thought would work well when I first heard about it and which works better than I anticipated.

They’re further tied together by the fact that both bands end their portion of Early Shapes with an eight-plus-minute (mostly) instrumental jam, and though Herba Mate‘s “Desert Inn II” feels more plotted than Fatso Jetson‘s “Nyquilt” — particularly because it complements and builds off “Desert Inn I,” which begins the trio’s side of the split — both resonate with an open creativity. Fatso Jetson‘s other inclusions, “Living all over You” and “Long Deep Breath” build on the notion of them not only as mainstays of the CA desert, but as an essential piece of that puzzle along with Yawning ManKyuss, and so on, both in sound and personnel. Mathias Schneeberger, who also recorded the opening duo, contributes Rhodes piano, and Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers) offers guitar and vocals to “Nyquilt,” while singer-songwriter Abby Travis guests vocally on “Long Deep Breath.” Gary Arce of Yawning Man is purported to also have contributed guitar to Fatso Jetson‘s tracks, and I’d going by the tone of “Long Deep Breath,” I’d believe it, but there’s no mention of him in the liner. Still, “Living all over You” begins the split with its most memorable push, a weighted groove unfolding topped by a serene, echoing vocal from Mario, far off from most of the jazzy spasms of Fatso Jetson‘s last full-length, 2010′s underrated Archaic Volumes (review here), but consistent stylistically with their past all the same and building to a satisfying apex before “Long Deep Breath” gets moving on the foundation of Tornay‘s drums, more open in atmosphere, but still cohesive, a chorus and bridge made even more gorgeous by Travis‘ voice joining Mario‘s before a buzzsaw solo takes hold. A mood only bolstered by “Nyquilt,” if this kind of inclusive, ambient spirit is where Fatso Jetson might be headed directionally for their next album, then it can’t get here fast enough. Perhaps most impressive about the tracks is that no matter where Fatso Jetson seem to head sound-wise, they still sound so distinctly like themselves, and they seem to be in full command of their aesthetic, not so much conforming to the desert rock style they helped create as taking those elements with them on a creative journey outside genre bounds.

fatso jetson

herba mate

It would be folly for Herba Mate to try to beat Fatso Jetson at their own game, but fortunately the three-piece are off on another trip. Trere is somewhat more aggressive vocally, but not by much, and the heavy roll that Herba Mate enact on “Desert Inn I” is pretty telling of what they have on offer in general, though following the original “Dance Dance Dance,” they surprise with a cover of Core‘s “Way Down,” adding tonal depth to the punkish ’90s heaviness of the New Jersey band’s original version. That and “Dance Dance Dance” are shorter, which accounts for Herba Mate‘s four tracks as opposed to Fatso Jetson‘s three, but the spirit of the material — which was captured live at Go Down‘s studio with some additional recording/mixing later — is fluid and engrossing, a sudden stop late in “Dance Dance Dance” being the only really jarring moment, and one clearly designed as such. Even the transition between the rush of “Way Down” and the languid heavy psych of “Desert Inn II” is natural, the latter feeling like the return to and expansion on the first installment that it is. Herba Mate‘s is a welcome return, and the jam-minded sensibilities, as well as the laid back approach they take to the release overall — including the Core cover seems to speak to an anything-goes mentality that suits them almost as much as the warm, organic production with which these songs are presented — speak to a confidence in what they’re doing that’s bound to serve them well as they move forward as much as it already serves them well here. I don’t know what either their plans or those of Fatso Jetson might be, but the quality of output from both bands makes Early Shapes feel like more than a simple stopgap en route to larger standalone releases, and whether one takes it as two distinct vinyl sides or listens straight through front-to-back to the CD, there’s really no interruption of flow, Herba Mate and Fatso Jetson pairing remarkably well for the sincerity of their approaches and the the immersion of what they create. It’s not often a release with two different bands recorded under multiple circumstances comes across as smoothly as Early Shapes, but there’s a likemindedness at root here that makes it barely a “split” at all.

Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes teaser

Fatso Jetson on Thee Facebooks

Herba Mate on Thee Facebooks

Early Shapes at Go Down Records

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Brant Bjork to Release New Album this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool that Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk are going to Europe to tour and playing Up in Smoke and Desertfest Belgium and so on, and it’s very cool that they’re going out starting next week on the West Coast with Bl’ast, C.O.C. and Lord Dying, but we already knew that stuff — even if I hadn’t seen a complete list of the Euro dates as yet — and what’s even better this time around is that the next Brant Bjork album has been slated for a Fall release through Napalm. I’d been trying not to get my hopes up too much.

And along comes the PR wire with reason to do precisely that. You may recall last week some live video of the new song “Requiem” went up. Below the news, you’ll find another quality clip of a track called “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” from the recent Australian tour that’s worth checking out:

BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band to Hit the Road With COC and B’last

Solo Album Set For Release This Fall on Napalm Records

BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band will be hitting the road later this month alongside COC and B’LAST. The dates begin August 21st in Salt Lake Utah and are set to run through September 1st in Vancouver, BC. A European tour is scheduled for October. All dates can be found below.

It was recently announced that BRANT BJORK signed with Napalm Records and is currently working on a new album due out this fall. BB will be playing songs from the upcoming record and some “Low Desert Punk” classics.

BRANT BJORK commented on the tour:

“I am super stoked and honored to be part of this legendary line up with COC and B’last! Not only will we be rocking but it is always great to tour with friends.”

Known for his work as a founding member of Kyuss and more recently for his work with John Garcia in VISTA CHINO, BRANT BJORK has had quite an eventful career as a founder of record labels (El Camino and Duna Records) and world-renowned producer. In addition to founding the record labels, playing, touring and recording, BRANT also works as a producer and has worked with many amazing artists throughout the years including teaming up with LAB (featuring ex Bl’ast members), Fatso Jetson, Fu Manchu and re-uniting with Nick Oliveri in Mondo Generator.

More info regarding the new album coming this fall on Napalm Records will be revealed soon.

BRANT BJORK and The Low Desert Punk Band
8/21: Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
8/22: Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
8/23: Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
8/24: Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
8/26: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
8/27: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
8/28: San Francisco, CA @ DNA
8/29: Santa Cruz CA @ Catalyst

European Tour:
10/2: Vienna, Austria @ Arena
10/3: Milan, Italy @ Bloom
10/4: Pratteln, Switzerland @ Z7 (Up in Smoke Festival)
10/6: Stuttgart, Germany @ Universum
10/7: Paris, France @ Glazart
10/8: Amsterdam, Holland @ Melkweg
10/10: Cologne, Germany @ Underground
10/11: Berlin, Germany @ C-Club
10/12: Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix (Desertfest)
10/13: Hamburg, Germany @ Logo
10/15: Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen
10/16: Stockholm, Sweden @ Debaser Strand
10/17: Oslo, Norway @ John Dee
10/19: Leeds, United Kingdom @ Belgrave
10/20: Bristol, United Kingdom @ Exchange
10/21: Southampton, United Kingdom @ Joiners
10/22: London, United Kingdom @ Garage

For More Info Visit:
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.napalmrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” Live in Melbourne, May 25, 2014

 

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Interview with John Garcia: An Emphasis on Creation

Posted in Features on August 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

In talking to John Garcia about his self-titled solo debut, the one thing that seemed to keep coming across was a central appreciation for the process of creation, the actual making of the album. It couldn’t have been easy to put together. Released by Napalm last month, John Garcia‘s John Garcia (review here) utilizes just one drummer, Tom Brayton, and of course just one singer, but a slew of guitarists and bassists, among them members of Garcia‘s own past outfits, including Slo Burn and Hermano, whose guitarist, Dave Angstrom, was also an essential part of the creative process. The songs come from decades of demos and penned-out pieces stuffed in a cardboard box in Garcia‘s closet, and after talking about a solo project for years, it’s fitting it should come together around material he’s lived with this whole time.

Likely I don’t need to rattle off the list of bands for which Garcia has served as frontman, but I will anyway because it’s fun: KyussSlo BurnUnidaHermano, as well as countless guest spots live and recorded. He was one of two Kyuss members whose tenure spanned the entire length of the band, and no less essential to crafting their influence on desert rock than was guitarist Josh Homme or fellow Kyuss songwriter Brant Bjork, with whom Garcia reunited for last year’s Vista Chino full-length outing, Peace (review here), which, like John Garcia, was recorded at Thunder Underground Studios in the California desert with producer Harper Hug. His voice is like an unmistakable signature — a gritty, stomach-tightened soul that bursts from a subdued croon at a syllable’s notice — but on the album, it’s as much about the songwriting itself as what Garcia is doing vocally, and both impress.

And with an assortment of players involved, John Garcia also manages to sound cohesive and fluid from front to back, opener “My Mind” starting the record with one of its grandest hooks and setting the stage for a progression varied but never derailed, even as the fast-rolling “All These Walls” gives way to acoustic closer “Her Bullets Energy,” which is distinguished by a guest appearance by The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. For someone who’s long-since cast his legacy in stone with his vocal style and not his songwriting, it’s a particularly bold venture, but Garcia thrives on the new ground, and if his passion in realizing this material is anything to go by, a second solo outing may not be far off. He gives some hints in that regard as well.

For fans of Vista Chino, they’ll find that band on hold while Garcia and Bjork pursue their solo outfits and Mike Dean returns to C.O.C., who are also touring and have an album out. Garcia has put together a live group with whom he’ll tour much of the next year, including guitarist Ehren Groban of War Drum, and bassist Mike Pygmie and drummer Greg Saenz of desert-dwellers You Know Who. In the interview that follows, Garcia talks about transitioning out of Vista Chino and forming this new band, as well as assembling the songs and players for the record, his time in the studio and the prospect of touring a set spanning his illustrious career.

Full Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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Joy Premiere “Miles Away” from Under the Spell of…

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The gnarly flows like wine all through Joy‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Under the Spell Of…, and the trio rip into an assortment of classic heavy rock jams comprised of tripped out explorations, psychedelic and organic in kind. A trio based out of San Diego, the bluesy circles they run offer a touch of earlier Radio Moscow, but with longer songs — all but two over six minutes and one of those is the album’s intro – Joy distinguish themselves with a raw sense of killing it for the sake of killing it, and the only real question is whether they named themselves after the joy they get in creating this sonic thrust or the joy they give crowds lucky enough to watch them do it. Maybe both.

Guest spots show up throughout Under the Spell Of…‘s eight tracks/46 minutes including Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, Parker Griggs of the aforementioned Radio Moscow and Astra‘s Brian Ellis, who also produced, and each of them mesh smoothly with the classic power trio dynamic of guitarist/vocalist Zach Oakley, bassist Justin Holson and drummer Paul Morrone, honed over the two years since they made their self-titled, self-released debut in shows alongside the likes of EarthlessHarsh Toke and Mystery Ship. To wit, an early groover like “Evil” subtly draws back the initial charge of “Miles Away” and “Confusion,” setting up the later boogie of “Driving Me Insane,” which smooths progressive shifts in tempo and rhythm with tossoff-style ease. Supreme shuffle ensues, and after the quieter, semi-acoustic sojourn “Death Hymn Blues,” closer “Back to the Sun” feels like a victory lap touting the parsecs traveled since the record’s psyched-out launch in the intro “Under the Spell” and “Miles Away.”

Under the Spell Of… doesn’t make a show of nuance, but it’s there for those who want to hear it, nestled into the airtight, live-sounding performances, particularly West Coast take on heavy psych and blown out echoes of “Miles Away,” which you can hear on the player below. Its seven minutes only comprise a small piece of what Joy have to offer, but I think you’ll find it’s almost impossible not to get lost in it once you start out, and in that, it definitely represents the spell that trio are looking to cast.

Good vibes and busted amps:

Joy will release Under the Spell Of… on Aug. 19 through Tee Pee Records. More info at the links.

Joy on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Nocturnal Poisoning’s Doomgrass Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Oh, what a difference a decade can make. 2004 was Scott Conner‘s most productive year working with the name Malefic under the Xasthur banner, with two full-lengths, a demo and splits with other US black metal pioneers Leviathan and Nachtmystium, as well as Denmark’s Nortt and Germany’s Angra Mainyu, all out by the time the year was done. Conner was prolific as Xasthur until putting the project to rest in 2010, but never quite with the same intensity.

10 years later, Conner is readying the third album from his acoustic/bluegrass outfit, Nocturnal Poisoning – also the name of the first Xasthur album — for release via The End RecordsDoomgrass is available now to preorder from the label and will be out Oct. 7.

NOCTURNAL POISONING SET TO RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM DOOMGRASS VIA THE END RECORDS OUT OCTOBER 7TH

PRE-ORDERS NOW AVAILABLE!

Widely known as a pioneer within the often isolated world of black metal, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Scott Conner has forged ahead to once again reshape what the music community may come to expect from him with Nocturnal Poisoning’s third full-length album – Doomgrass.

Scheduled for release on October 7 via The End Records, Doomgrass is a distinctive, demanding, and altogether rewarding listening experience, one that finds Conner using country and bluegrass guitar playing techniques as well as American folk music weaving dark yet melodious arrangements that are dissonant and melancholic.

Rhythms of finger-picked guitars layered upon each other ebb and flow throughout creating a stirring and galvanic atmosphere, while the vocals are delivered by Robert N. in a bluesy, chant-like style, gritty but clean, adding yet another layer to Nocturnal Poisoning’s unconventional sound.

“I think Doomgrass is probably the most fearless record I’ve done,” says Conner. “I think a lot of the ‘melancholic and ethereal’ elements have taken a backseat and more of a country, western, murky side is coming out in the music more, with a touch of doom, of course. I can learn and change as I go along with Nocturnal Poisoning; and this new album is an indication of that. Third time’s the charm and I think I have the hang of what I want to do now more than ever and how to get the results.”

As the creative force and sole member of Xasthur, the highly influential black metal project that Conner launched back in 1996, while never playing a single show, he went on to release a total of eight studio albums before dissolving the Xasthur project in 2010 to afford him the time to pursue more challenging musical endeavors, namely Nocturnal Poisoning (a name taken from Xasthur’s first official album released in 2002).

PRE-ORDER ‘DOOMGRASS’ NOW!

01. Slowly Passing Through
02. Prisoners Of Their Own Needs
03. Doomgrass
04. Starstruck By Garbage
05. Bet It All
06. Source Of Survival
07. Fight For Another Life
08. Illusion Of Worth
09. Old Light
10. Closure In Reach
11. Vagrant, Seeker Of Empty Treasures
12. Can’t Find The Sky
13. Running Out Of Highways
14. Question The Screen

For More Information:
Official Site
Facebook

Nocturnal Poisoning, Song from Doomgrass

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Wild Eyes Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The command of Wild Eyes‘ debut, Get into It! (review here), was easily enough heeded. A thoroughly kickass West Coast heavy four-piece native to San Francisco and boasting a connection to Saviours in bassist Carson Binks but on their own trip sonically, they partied hard, partied drunk and in the end, Get into It! stomped its way into the heart like the kind of happening you’d like to imagine you’d have now if you were still in your 20s, even though you — and by you, rest assured, I mean me — would still just be sitting around watching Star Trek waiting for your ship to come in. Have I gotten away from the point? Yeah, I guess so.

Fuck it. Wild Eyes – and good on them — have inked a deal with respectable Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds to release their next album. Even better, the label’s booking arm will take Wild Eyes overseas this November for their inaugural European tour. West Coast and Europe for tours. I feel like the only reason a band from anywhere else would want to tour the East Coast at this point is to be able to say they played the St. Vitus bar, should they actually be lucky enough to do so. Nonetheless, Wild Eyes will fly over on their way to the Continent for what I’m sure won’t be their last trip. The way I understand it, once you get a taste, you can’t have just one.

Heavy Psych Sounds makes the good news official:

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is Proud to announce the signing of ***WILD EYES***

(Acid Rock n’Rollers from San Francisco-California)

for their upcoming LP called “Above Becomes Below” out in late October..

in Vinyl and Digipack

Heavy Psych Sounds Booking is also taking care of the European Tour of the band from November 14 to December 6

..the band will rock countries as Italy,Switzerland,Austria,Germany,Netherland,France,Belgium

www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/WildEyesSF
http://wildeyessf.bandcamp.com/

Wild Eyes, Get into It! (2013)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Sleep, Red Fang, Deamon’s Child, The Jackpine Snag, Cruthu

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess this is the part where I complain about lack of time, blah blah blah. Last week was a mess, it’s true, as were the last couple days, but what it comes down to is I do what I can when I can. That’s been my policy all along. A couple of these discs – CruthuDeamon’s Child — are my own rips as well from discs that were sent in, and as ever, there’s more that went up than just what is listed here. So one way or another, activity abounds. I need to find out how close I am to filling the three terabytes of the hard drive used for the server, but until then, the additions will continue unabated. It’s good to keep busy.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2014:

Sleep, “The Clarity”

To call the first new Sleep track since Dopesmoker an “event” would be underselling it. “The Clarity” arrives via the Adult Swim Singles Series not only as the Iommian legends’ first outing since that landmark release, but also their debut recording with drummer Jason Roeder and their first studio work since guitarist Matt Pike and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros went on to destroy/expand minds in High on Fire and Om, respectively, for the last decade-plus. A near-10-minute stonerly sprawl finds Sleep‘s central methodology intact. Grown up some from what it was 20 years ago, expectedly, but loyal to what they were without trying to recapture a magic that’s gone with that time. Cisneros has taken some flack for not roughing up his vocals à la Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but from where I sit, his cadence and cleaner style only makes “The Clarity” more honest, and if lyrics like “Iommic life complete” and “The dealer is my refuge” are easier to understand, you won’t find me complaining. They jam out most of the song’s second half, and ultimately “The Clarity” collapses in a sudden cut, leaving you to wonder if it ever happened at all — until of course you go back to the start for another glorious hit. If this portends more to come, I’m even more excited about the prospect of new Sleep than I was before the single arrived. Sleep on Thee Facebooks, Adult Swim Singles.

Deamon’s Child, Deamon’s Child

Even before you get to the dolphin sample in “Delfine,” and the garage thrashiness of the subsequent “Alles Bio, Immer Bio,” German trio Deamon’s Child give some hints that there’s more to what they do than the standard heavy noise rock. Comprised of guitarist Sven “Missu” Missulis (aka John Reebo of Reebosound, also ex-Psychedelic Avengers), bassist/vocalist Ana Maija Muhi (who also contributed to Reebosound‘s 2010 outing, This is Reebosound) and drummer Tim Mohr (also WhiteBuzz), Deamon’s Child debuted last year with an engaging demo and follow it with a self-titled debut of increased complexity and a sound that’s varied without the pretense, culling together punk, grunge, heavy rock and noise to create songs that feel like they could turn in any direction at once. The production plays up the frayed edges, and Muhi‘s layered vocals on a chugger like “Lutscher!” sound all the more Melvins-esque. Deamon’s Child is loaded with surprises, but doesn’t feel any more haphazard than it’s meant to, and while it may take a couple listens to catch up to it, the songs are consistent in their invitation for repeat visits. Deamon’s Child on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Red Fang, TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang

A free Red Fang acoustic EP — who’s going to argue with that? Not me, though the cumbersome and corporate-style title leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, once you get through all the namebrandery, what you come out with are acoustic renditions from Red Fang of “Failure” from late 2013′s Whales and Leeches and “Malverde” and “Human Herd” from the preceding 2011 outing, Murder the Mountains (review here). Hearing guitarist Bryan Giles soften up his usually-rough vocal approach on “Malverde” is interesting, given how much of the album version of that track is about the impact of the thing, but “Failure” becomes a brooding plea rather than the threat it is at full thrust, and “Human Herd” a kind of meditation that makes for the highlight of the whole release. One tries not to read too much into what was clearly a one-off thing, but it would be cool to hear what an acoustic album track from Red Fang might sound like. Their songwriting clearly translates, and between Giles and bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam – let’s not forget guitarist David Sullivan or drummer John Sherman – they prove here they can pull it off sounding confident and comfortable. Kind of an unexpected turn from the chicanery-fueled rock we’re used to from Red Fang, but they’re as easy to dig as ever on (deep breath) TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red FangRed Fang on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

The Jackpine Snag, The Fire Tower EP

Tonally, Michigan’s The Jackpine Snag seem rooted in punk, but a strong undercurrent of the weirdo runs throughout the songs on their new EP, The Fire Tower, and whether it’s the shouting on “With Wings” or “The Missaukee Strut” or the motoring noise of closer “Gonna Wreck My Life,” the trio present an individualized approach to bruiser expression. The Fire Tower is their longest outing yet at seven songs following a four-track 2013 debut 7″, but they have no trouble changing up their take enough to hold interest, while also keeping the tracks themselves relatively lean and concise. Maybe what the EP does best is balance that efficiency with a loose, tossoff-punker vibe, but The Jackpine Snag – guitarist/vocalist Joe Hart, bassist Jason Roedel and drummer Todd Karinen – show a keen awareness of how far out they want to go and how oddball they want to get in their ragged, grungy craftsmanship. No doubt that will serve them well should they decide next to tackle a debut full-length. The Jackpine Snag on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Cruthu, Creation Demo

The debut release from Lansing, Michigan’s Cruthu, the Creation Demo culls together an initial three tracks that sound somewhat raw but hold significant stylistic promise, blending a heavy ’70s psych-blues mentality with drearier rock tendencies and analog worship. Frontwoman Teri Brown provides a soulful lift to “S.O.S.,” as guitarist Dan McCormick leads bassist Scott Lehman and drummer Matt Fry through a subtly doomed murk, but pushes into rawer, strained-throat vocalizing on “Walk with Me” that immediately stands the Creation Demo apart from much of what claims to have been recorded live in terms of sheer honesty. And to Cruthu‘s further credit, I don’t think the tracks were recorded live. Particularly in “Separated from the Herd” and “Walk with Me,” which closes, Cruthu find some room for instrumental exploration along with Brown‘s vocals, and the path they’re on suits them well as the demo plays out. I’d be interested to hear them branch out further instrumentally, get weird with some percussion or strings or psychedelics, but there’s time for such things, and they’re off to an evocative start. Cruthu on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, there’s a lot more that went up this week than is listed here. Check out The Obelisk Radio playlist/updates page for the complete list.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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High on Fire Announce North American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Presumably this is the tour during which High on Fire will shake off the stage rust from writing their new album. I’m not sure if they’ve recorded yet, but 2012′s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) was tracked with Kurt Ballou, and he’s in Salem, MA, so starting off in Cambridge coming out of the studio would make sense. Either way, it seems fair to expect a new song or two will work its way into the set as they make their run across the country with stops off at the Hopscotch Music Festival and Motörhead’s Motörboat cruise, which one can only assume they will promptly sink.

Whether they’re road-testing new material or taking it out for a victory lap, High on Fire are an unremitting stage act, so anytime they’re coming through town, that’s where you want to be. But you already know that.

Fresh off the PR wire:

HIGH ON FIRE Announces North American Tour Dates

Uber-Power Trio to Headline First-Ever Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour; Locked in to Perform at Both 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival and Motörhead’s Motörboat Rock Cruise

Herculean hard rock heavyweights HIGH ON FIRE have announced summer tour dates. The globally celebrated heavy metal pioneers will kick off the must-see live performances on August 12 in Cambridge, MA as headliners of the inaugural Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour. The just-announced run will continue with stops in Toronto (Aug. 14), Brooklyn (Aug. 15), Los Angeles (Aug. 19) and San Francisco (Aug. 20). Tickets for the Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour are free (see below for ticketing links) and the jaunt will coincide with Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” recording studios in each city, providing opportunities for emerging artists to unleash their creative spirit.

Additionally, HIGH ON FIRE will appear among the featured acts at the 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival, set to take place September 4-6 in Raleigh, NC. HIGH ON FIRE, who feature guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz, will headline the Lincoln Theater on Saturday, Sept. 6 as part of the festival, with Witch Mountain, Subrosa and Demon Eye opening the evening’s festivities. HIGH ON FIRE will showcase at Hopscotch alongside fellow headliners Mastodon, St. Vincent, Sun Kil Moon, The War on Drugs and more. For full details, visit HopscotchMusicFest.com.

Finally, HIGH ON FIRE will take its audio annihilation to the sea as part of the inceptive Motörhead’s Motörboat. Described as “the ultimate music festival cruise vacation”, the seafaring soiree will set sail September 22-26 from Miami, FL aboard a Carnival Cruise ship, christened as “The Loudest Boat In The Wörld”. Joining HIGH ON FIRE will be Motörhead (natch), Megadeth, Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, DOWN, Testament and more. Visit MotorheadCruise.com for full details.

HIGH ON FIRE North American tour dates:

** = Converse Rubber Tracks Tour presents HIGH ON FIRE
# = Blackest supports
% = Arctic supports

August 12 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair ** #
August 14 Toronto, ON Adelaide Hall ** #
August 15 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg ** #
August 19 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex ** %
August 20 San Francisco, CA The Chapel ** %
September 6 Raleigh, NC Hopscotch Festival (w/ Mastodon, Sun Kil Moon, St. Vincent, Valient Thorr, etc.)
September 19 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
September 20 Miami, FL Grand Central
September 21 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub ?
September 22 THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN as part of Motörhead’s Motörboat (w/ Megadeth, Anthrax, DOWN, etc.)
September 27 Portland, OR Dantes

HIGH ON FIRE have begun work on their new, as-yet-untitled studio album. The group has 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 tentative release date via eOne Music is expected 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 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.”

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire

High on Fire, Live at the Ottobar, April 27, 2014

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Nick Oliveri to Release Solo Debut Leave Me Alone

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though he’s had EPs and shorter releases out under his own name and built a catalog as principle songwriter in Mondo Generator, bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri will issue Leave Me Alone as his debut solo full-length, in September through Schnitzel RecordsOliveri, who’s spent the better part of 2014 working with Bl’ast, also put in appearances with The Dwarves and John Garcia‘s solo outing, in addition to his own acoustic shows — a solo appearance at the UK’s Download Festival stands out — and sitting in with his former band, Queens of the Stone Age, for one of the stops on their tour.

How Leave Me Alone might be distinct from Mondo Generator in vibe or approach remains to be heard, but Oliveri‘s lined up a selection of killer guitarists — including Kyuss Lives! bandmate Bruno Fevery – to contribute, and he produced the album himself at Thunder Underground, which has more or less become the home of CA desert recording, so it seems like it’s going to be worth finding out.

From the PR wire:

Nick Oliveri (ex Kyuss, QOTSA) releasing hard n heavy solo debut

Many artists struggle to establish their musical identity; Nick Oliveri has forged his through a long career of hard work and full command over his craft and his music. His new album, LEAVE ME ALONE, is a powerfully captivating proof of his multi-talented personality. The new album is being released on Schnitzel Records worldwide in late September 2014.

Recorded at Thunder Underground Studios in Palm Springs, CA. Oliveri plays all the instruments on this recording, including drums, guitar, bass and vocals. It features guitar solos from some special guests though, namely Phil Campbell from MOTORHEAD, Dean Ween (a.k.a. Mickey Moist) from WEEN and MOISTBOYZ, Stephen Haas from MOISTBOYZ, Mike Pygmie from MONDO GENERATOR, Marc Diamond from THE DWARVES and Bruno Fevery from KYUSS LIVES! and VISTA CHINO. There’s also a guest vocal by Blag Dahlia from THE DWARVES.

Produced by Oliveri himself, recorded by Harper Hug and Trevor Whatever, and mixed by Mathias Schneeberger the album will be released on Schnitzel Records this September.

Schnitzel Records is home to Ween, Alain Johannes, Dean Fertita (Hello=Fire), Moistboyz and The Moons.

Oliveri will spend most of 2014 on the road. Playing both acoustic and with his new band, UNCONTROLLABLE. Nick will also be headlining the Acoustic Stage at this year’s Download Festival.

https://www.schnitzel.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/schnitzelrecords
https://twitter.com/SchnitzelUK
http://instagram.com/schnitzel_records

Nick Oliveri, Live at the Black Heart, London, 2014

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Sleep Post New Single “The Clarity”

Posted in audiObelisk on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Thank you, gods of riff.

It’s the first new Sleep track since Dopesmoker, and the first song Sleep have produced with the lineup of founding vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros (Om), founding guitarist Matt Pike (High on Fire) and drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), who came aboard a few years back in place of Chris Hakius. Those who’ll take it on — which should be everybody above the age of seven or under it — will find Sleep‘s classic and pioneering Sabbath worship intact over the course of the song’s meandering, near-10-minute crawl, starting out with a compressed nod of the central riff as though a machine was lurching to life. Cisneros brings his Om-style cleaner vocals to the proceedings, rather than the rougher shouts one might find on 1993′s classic Sleep’s Holy Mountain. Important to remember that was 22 years ago now.

Of course, Sleep have been playing live shows for half a decade on and off, and those have featured material either put together or resurrected from the days following Dopesmoker, but “The Clarity” is the first studio output they’ve had since the reunion began. Any new Sleep at all is obviously one of the year’s biggest advents, regardless of the song itself, but the gargantuan roll that unfolds throughout “The Clarity” and the way the song wanders and jams out to its sudden stop after its weedian verses bodes very, very well for the long-awaited and rumored and speculated-upon full-length that still may or may not be in the works. Hopefully it is. It’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of a new Sleep album listening to “The Clarity,” since the dynamic at the heart of the band is clearly alive and well. And stoned. Dig the subtle “War Pigs” nod before Pike‘s solo in the midsection. Fucking hell these guys kill.

New Sleep. What more do you need out of a Friday afternoon?

Sleep‘s “The Clarity” will be available as a free download starting Monday via the Adult Swim Singles Series. For now this’ll do.

Dig it:

Sleep, “The Clarity”

Adult Swim Singles Series

Sleep’s website

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Slow Motion Rider to Release Self-Titled LP Sept. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles heavy psych rockers Slow Motion Rider put the digital edition of their self-titled debut out in May, and The Committee to Keep Music Evil will issue the physical version of the album this September. The record was produced by Rob Campanella of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the release will make the three-piece labelmates with the likes of FederaleThe Asteroid 4 and Spindrift. Accordingly, the collection spaces out its vinyl-able 42 minutes with trippy effects and a shoegazing drawl that sounds desert-baked. I dig it. You might also dig it. Which is why I’m posting about it. Right on.

The PR wire sends its regards, as well as audio:

The Committee To Keep Music Evil would like to announce the release of the debut album by Slow Motion Rider

Produced by Rob Campanella of The Brian Jonestown Massacre

digital release/ May 1st 2014 -hard copies / September 1st 2014

Slow Motion Rider can take you places. This heavy psych trio has created a strong identity of powerful musicianship, taking it back to its roots and giving it all they can. Hailing from the LA circuit with renown for groovy carefree parties and a strong sense of community, their live shows are raw and full of energy. Having a number of influences in their DNA you will think of Spacemen 3 and the pure blood of The Doors and Hendrix.

Talented with their ability to get into a groove and even riff without over indulgence these songs will have you hooked and truly take you back to the times when rock and roll was straightforward and honest. With a release amongst the stellar lineup of The Committee To Keep Music Evil that includes The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Meadow, and more, they are already poised to move up in the community and bring a new consciousness to it all at once. From a trek through the California desert all the way to the deep reaches of our universe, these vibes are transcendent.

With performances at Austin Psych Fest 2014, other regional tours are scheduled for fall 2014. Slow Motion Rider has already been getting some airplay in the US as well as Europe which includes European syndicated Volks Radio Show. It drew the attention of Joe Foster “Slaughterhouse Joe”, co-founder of Creation Records and producer of countless bands including The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, who has recently signed on to work on their European presence and production of their second album. This album is scheduled for worldwide distribution by September 1st.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slow-Motion-Rider/113494355371841
slowmotionrider.net
http://ctkme.com

Slow Motion Rider, Slow Motion Rider (2014)

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Old Man Wizard West Coast Tour Begins Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Call them the highwaymen. Inventive, progressive Southern California trio Old Man Wizard have announced a two-week West Coast run in support of their impressive late-2013 debut LP, Unfavorable (review here). The tour will begin next Friday in San Diego and wrap in Los Angeles — the band makes its home in both cities — on Aug. 2, with not a day off in between.

It’s an ambitious course for the three-piece to set as their first tour, but I’m sure they’ll come out of it with a few new friends made along the way and probably a good sleeping-on-the-floor kind of story to tell.

From their newsletter, which you can sign up for here:

Good day. If you’re new to this, welcome to the Tower of Stone. Our tower now stands high enough to oversee the western United States, which we will promptly visit to regale with our tales of heroes, travellers, and fools. If you live in or near any of the cities listed above, we hope to see you in the flesh, and we hope you bring your comrades to share the experience with.

Today I am writing for one purpose and one purpose alone: To tell you how important it is that we bring people to these shows. There is no such thing as an independent band that tours or sells records. We are dependent on you: Our friends and fans. Without you we would be an independent idea, hungry for people to share itself with. Let us burn with life and be content.

Old Man Wizard’s Summer Tour Dates:
7/18/2014 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
7/19/2014 – Tucson, AZ – The Rock
7/20/2014 – Tempe, AZ – Rogue Bar
7/21/2014 – Anaheim, CA – Doll Hut
7/22/2014 – Oakland, CA – Eli’s
7/23/2014 – San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern
7/24/2014 – Eugene, OR – Tiny Tavern
7/25/2014 – Portland, OR – East End
7/26/2014 – Tacoma, WA – TBA
7/27/2014 – Seattle, WA – Highline
7/30/2014 – Boise, ID – The Bouquet
7/31/2014 – Salt Lake City, UT – Shred Shed
8/01/2014 – Las Vegas, NV – The Divebar
8/02/2014 – Los Angeles, CA – Loaded

https://www.facebook.com/events/701012619936904/
http://oldmanwizard.com/
https://twitter.com/OldManWizard
http://oldmanwizard.tumblr.com/

Old Man Wizard, Unfavorable (2013)

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John Garcia, John Garcia: The Time was Right

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Over the last two-plus decades, John Garcia‘s voice has set the standard for the sound of the California desert. His work in genre-progenitors Kyuss speaks for itself — loudly, and with much fuzz — and subsequent outfits UnidaSlo BurnHermano and more guest appearances than one can count have kept his presence steady in the international underground he played an essential role in forging, and his first solo outing, John Garcia, arrives via Napalm Records following a run with the semi-Kyuss reunion outfit Vista Chino, which ultimately brought together Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork with guitarist Bruno Fevery and Corrosion of Conformity bassist Mike Dean to tour the world in support of their 2013 outing, Peace (review here), after a couple years prior on the road as Kyuss Lives!, that project born out of Garcia‘s own Garcia Plays Kyuss, which launched at the 2010 Roadburn festival. In some ways, the album John Garcia is an extension of Vista Chino, particularly in terms of Garcia‘s performance and in terms of the production. An 11-track/45-minute full-length, material was culled from years of Garcia‘s own tapes, freshly arranged by the singer with some input by Hermano guitarist Dave Angstrom, and brought to bear by producer Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, the same studio where Peace was recorded. However, since some of the source material for these songs is older, and because there are a variety of players appearing throughout, from The DoorsRobbie Krieger on acoustic-led closer “Her Bullets Energy” to Danko JonesAngstrom himself, Nick Oliveri and The Dwarves‘ Mark Diamond and Tom Brayton, there’s also no shortage of diversity in the sound.

That being the case, John Garcia ran a pretty hefty risk in the making of coming across disjointed, but the consistency in the production and of course the focus element of Garcia‘s voice tie tracks together neatly, the album opening with its biggest chorus in “My Mind,” a track that immediately casts the wide-open spaces in which the rest of the songs will take place. Those familiar with his work will hear shades of various Garcia-fronted bands throughout the album, from the Slo Burn-style rush of later cut “Saddleback” to the Vista Chino-esque bounce of “Rolling Stoned,” a cover of Canadian trio Black Mastiff which undercuts some of its laid-back vibe with the opening lyrical threat, “If you leave me, I will kill you.” Nonetheless, “Rolling Stoned” follows “My Mind” as part of a strong opening salvo that continues through “Flower” and “The Blvd” and “5,000 Miles” to proffer memorable hooks, compressed but warm tones and an engaging presence from Garcia, who departs from the post-lawsuit bitterness that comprised much of the thematic of the Vista Chino offering to tell more of a story, as on “The Blvd” or the following “5,000 Miles,” which resounds as a classic coming-home song set to a particularly effective riff, somewhat more open than the first four cuts, but still largely consistent in pace and quality. Truth be told, though the mood changes somewhat along the way, there really isn’t a point where John Garcia falls into clunker-ism. And neither should there be. This project was years in the making and even more years in the discussing, and with Garcia‘s experience in the studio and on stage, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that if something wasn’t working toward the benefit of the album, it would be discarded. Over repeat listens, John Garcia begins to give that impression — not of being a confessional, exactly, in the way that some “solo albums” are, but of being carefully constructed selections chosen to represent this singer and his songwriting process.

Read more »

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Friday Full-Length: Yawning Man, Vista Point

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yawning Man, Vista Point (2007)

I’m not one for mindless patriotism. I have reasons I’m glad I was born an American and reasons I’m not. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge today is July 4, the day my country celebrates Independence Day. It’s a day off work for the three or four of us left who still have jobs. As that’s not me, it seemed the least I could do to spend the afternoon typing. Not that I’d know what else to do with my time anyway. It’s raining here as an alleged hurricane makes its way somewhere along the Eastern Seaboard, so the traditional barbecue is out, and if I’m wasting electricity by running the air conditioning for the better part of the afternoon, well, that feels pretty American.

Still, I wanted to find something that represents something I can be proud for my country having produced, and Yawning Man came to mind pretty quickly. Their only real competition was Funkadelic, and I did the self-titled last year, so Vista Point it is. Classic desert rock sound, made in America. It’s everywhere now, of course, but when Yawning Man started in the ’80s, with Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, Larry Lalli and Alfredo Hernandez, that wasn’t the case, and their surf-rock-without-the-water would become the foundation for an international movement the influence of which is still only expanding. Released in 2007, Vista Point – which it bothers me more than a little that I don’t own on CD — culled together Yawning Man‘s two official studio outings up to that point, 2005′s Rock Formations long-player and the Pot Head EP (have those), into one hour-plus of reverbed trippery, the dynamic between ArceMario Lalli (Larry had long since left, though he remains in Fatso Jetson to this day with Mario) and Hernandez dripping across every dreamy movement in the songs. In true desert rock fashion, Yawning Man were about two decades late in getting recognized for the influence they had and the excellence they proffered — as much as they have to this point, anyhow — but they continue to bring something distinct to what they do that no one else has been able to capture. Oh yeah, and Kyuss covered them one time.

Enjoy Vista Point, in the spirit of the holiday and with the hopes of Yawning Man‘s next record turning up sooner rather than later.

Well, thus ends the first of my four weeks without The Patient Mrs. while she’s in Greece. It went pretty quickly, to be honest. After the move last weekend, there was a ton of cleaning to do at the new condo — home ownership! mortgage debt! the American dream! — and lots to unpack, scrub down, set up, etc., and that consumed a large portion of my week, the first couple days in an A/C-less swelter and the last couple in relaxed comfort. We’ve spoken just about every day, including today, but I’ve nonetheless developed five rules for myself to live by while she’s not around. Even wrote them on the markerboard:

If you can’t read my handwriting, which isn’t great, they are as follows:

1. No more than one (1) full day can be spent in bed, and not in the first ten (10) days.

2. No Anathema or Alice in ChainsSap.

3. Eat a vegetable at least four days a week. Potatoes don’t count.

4. No more than one full day can be spent in the house. Opening the door for the dog is not “going out.”

5. No “Ain’t No Sunshine” either.

I’m happy to say I’ve lived up to each of these at least so far — though I saw a link to Alternative 4 on Thee Facebooks last night and had to stop myself. We’ll see what the next couple of weeks bring. It’s pretty funny to be reminded every now and then of my own complete lack of independence, though. Hilarious to be so utterly inept at what to most people are daily tasks and to go entire days (though not two in a row!) where most of my conversation happens between myself and the dog. Indeed. Quite a week it’s been. Did I mention I’ve started watching Star Trek again from the beginning of the series?

Next week, the Conan interview goes up. This will happen come hell or high water. It’s been a while at this point since we spoke (it was the week of Hellfest), so yeah, it’s time. Also reviews of Wasted Theory and John Garcia‘s solo record.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and I hope it already began and involves friends and good food and all that wonderful stuff. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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