Sleep, Live at Third Man Records: The Botanist Goes to Nashville

Posted in Reviews on May 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sleep live at third man records

‘The Vault’ is a quarterly subscription service from Third Man Records, the Nashville-based imprint, record store, studio and apparently live venue owned by Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes and currently of Jack White doing whatever the hell he wants, which would seem to include putting out Sleep records. The subscription fee is $60 per quarter, so not nothing, but the pull is that the releases are exclusive and limited, and at least in the case of Sleep‘s Live at Third Man Records, that $60 breaks down to $15 per each different-colored LP of a quadruple-LP box set release. It almost sounds sensible at that rate. I don’t know what releasing Sleep did for subscriptions, but the package in which Live at Third Man Records arrives is equal parts gorgeous and heavy — that is, you feel like you’re carrying records when you hold it, because you are — and with this kind of release, that’s definitely a piece of the experience, like the poster and patch also included.

The other part is a two-hour live set from Sleep — vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike, drummer Jason Roeder — recorded in Dec. 2018, months after the release of their awaited album, The Sciences (review here), and its companion single “Leagues Beneath” (review here), that finds the landmark trio playing much of the record to a duly salivating audience, as well as classics from 2003’s Dopesmoker (discussed here) and the mega-influential 1993 sophomore outing, Sleep’s Holy Mountain (reissue review here). It is, essentially, a fan piece, special in hindsight for those who were there to see it and a work for the rest of us plebs to chase down however possible. For what it’s worth, I don’t imagine anyone who is a more than casual Sleep fan doing so would regret it. The sound throughout the 11-song set is raw in live-set-recorded-to-acetate fashion, but that does no disservice to the material, and the band of course sound spot on. If they didn’t, Live at Third Man Records probably wouldn’t exist. It’s about as close to a sure thing as you can get, again, if you’re a fan.

They open with “Leagues Beneath” and then go directly into the trimmed down version of “Dopesmoker” they’ve been playing live for however long. It’s broken up into “Dopesmoker Pt. 1” and a much-shorter “Dopesmoker Pt. 2” and when one factors in the subsequent “Holy Mountain,” that already covers sides A, B and C in basically three songs. Welcome to the Sleep show. It’s as though they knew their audience showed up wanting to get pummeled by riffs so they got it out of the way quickly so they could get down to the business of… more pummeling with riffs, I guess. But what a way to go. Cisneros‘ vocals sound right on in a way that demonstrates how much he’s found a way to meld the newer, less guttural vocal style of the more recent songs with his throatier past, and his vocal patterning in “Dopesmoker” only adds to that meisterwerk’s unique appeal.

sleep

Of The Sciences, only “Antarcticans Thawed” isn’t aired (or the title-track intro, if you want to be technical about it), and a slowed down version of “Sonic Titan,” particularly in following “The Clarity” (review here), which was released in 2014 as a standalone single and the band’s first studio work in more than a decade, which also hits the brakes on tempo to some degree, is a righteous highlight, with Roeder‘s march setting the pace via snare taps that do justice to original drummer Chris Hakius while adding his own sense of purpose to each crash that accompanies. Likewise, Pike‘s solo shred is a fitting reminder of his near-unmatched stage force. “Sonic Titan” accounts for side E all on its own after “The Clarity” and “Aquarian” on side D, and from there, the three-piece dig even deeper into The Sciences, with “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” “Giza Butler” and “The Botanist” one into the next.

The difference is a live version of “Sonic Titan” had appeared on the 2003 Tee Pee release of Dopesmoker, but the other three were exclusive to the new record. The band break into the manic groove of “Marijuanaut’s Theme” after “Sonic Titan,” and then follow with “Giza Butler”‘s mellow intro and omega-riff later. With the languid, solo-topped “The Botanist” as a comedown after that, it’s as dynamic as Sleep have ever sounded on a recording, and absolutely representative of what they do on stage, whether it’s Cisneros announcing “The pterodactyl flies again over emerald fields” as part of the weedian storytelling of “Giza Butler” or Roeder‘s final tom fill in “The Botanist.” Closing out with “Dragonaut” is essentially a victory lap.

One more full dose of fuzz overload is applied, and Sleep ride the dragon on Mars all the way to unmatched stoner supremacy. The recording ends with Pike‘s guitar feeding back while the crowd cheers, which is a pretty efficient way of saying it all. I don’t think Live at Third Man Records is a release for a novice Sleep fan, and I also think that if one hasn’t seen Sleep since The Sciences came out, something of the context here will be lost. However, I also don’t really think Sleep have casual fans. This isn’t a band you maybe put on every now and again because, eh, whatever. This is a band that incites worship, as the increasingly rabid response to their post-reunion run has shown.

As they’ve shifted back to being a working band promoting a new album, touring, headlining festivals, etc., they’ve not only harnessed a new generation of followers, but they’ve managed to give those who would pay homage a fitting altar to do so. They’re as much a community as a band at this point, and Live at Third Man Records is more than just a companion to The Sciences. It’s a document for and of that community at a pivotal moment, just months after the surprise release of that studio album, capturing the band as they set about that work. Not everyone’s going to get it, but isn’t that part of the appeal too?

Sleep, “Dopesmoker” live at Third Man Records

Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Sleep on Twitter

Sleep website

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High Tone Son of a Bitch Set June 21 Release for New Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

HIGH TONE SON OF A BITCH

I couldn’t help but feel that, as I watched High Tone Son of a Bitch perform recently at Desertfest NYC (review here) that I had seen them before. I narrowed the possibilities down to some drunken afternoon at SXSW circa 2004 — I recall Paul Kott‘s past band, Kalas, played there one year, but the details are long gone. Hazards of the trade when it comes to drinking in the Texas sun, which, if I’m honest I’d probably be okay never doing again. At least the drinking part.

What matters more than whether or not I’d seen them before is the likelihood that I’ll see them again, what with the band pressing forward after a long absence with a new single release next month. The two-tracker is called Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky and it’ll be out June 21, along with back catalog reissues that are only fair enough for a band who wasn’t around for so long.

The PR wire has details, a preorder link and a new track streaming:

high tone son of a bitch death of a new day eye in the sky

Reunited California Metal Band High Tone Son of a Bitch to Release New EP, ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’, June 21

Bay Area Group Featuring Members of Kalas, Noothgrush, Neurosis, Necrot, Saviours, Alaric, and More Returns!

Oakland, CA underground metal band High Tone Son of a Bitch (aka HTSoB) will release a new EP, titled ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’ on June 21.

The reunited Bay Area band, which features a core of Russ Kent (Noothgrush, Alaric), Chris Corona (Wildeyes), Joe Fucko (Strychnine), Paul Kott (Kalas, Cruevo), and Johann Zamora (Men of Porn, Totimoshi), along with studio and itinerant live contributions from HTSoB’s first singer, Scott Wagner, Dave Edwardson (Neurosis), and Sonny Reinhardt (Necrot, Saviours, Word Salad), and whose unique vision of heavy psychedelic hard rock breaks the genre box, recorded the new 2-track EP at Sharkbite Studios with famed producer Billy Anderson (Sleep, High on Fire). The EP features the herculean new song “Death of a New Day” along with a re-imagined, post doom metal take on the 1982 Alan Parsons Project classic “Eye in the Sky”. Pre-order ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’ at this location.

Fresh off a crowd-capturing live performance as part of the inaugural Desertfest New York — where the band shared the stage with Elder, Windhand, Worshipper, and more — and a U.S. tour run with Weedeater and The Skull, High Tone Son of A Bitch has fully returned and is firing on all cylinders. First formed in 2003 by the brothers Paul and Andrew Kott with bassist Ron Nichols (a veteran of Neurosis’ Noah Landis’ legendary punk band Christ on Parade), and named after named after the bumper sticker on an automobile from the Steven King novel, ‘The Dark Half’, HTSoB ultimately pulled together the talents of an all star cast, with the line-ups and contributing guests coming from and heading into bands like Kalas, Cruevo, Noothgrush, Hammers of Misfortune, Christ on Parade, Men of Porn, Neurosis, and others. The original lineup’s trajectory was cut short by tragedy when Andrew, who was struggling with addiction, died unexpectedly. In 2018, Andrew Kott’s step-son Juan, who plays in the Latin Grammy-nominated Mexican regional band Banda Troyana, urged Paul to start HTSoB up again. Paul then gradually re-formed a revised lineup of the band that has now fully arisen in triumph from the ashes of tragedy.

In its first outing as a band in 13 years, High Tone Son of A Bitch teamed up with old friend Billy Anderson to create a sprawling new vision of heavy music. The new original, “Death of a New Day”, features HTSoB vocalist Russ Kent joining forces with singer Scott Wagner (who sang on the group’s 2003 debut EP ‘Better You Than Me’) to set epic melodic vocal lines against a backdrop of titanic riffs that descend into and emerge from a synth and guitar-drenched psychedelic black hole. “Eye In the Sky” sees HTSoB put its spin on the Alan Parsons Project’s pop hit. Heavy and audacious, the song’s psyched-out “Vietnam helicopter” synth intro and sparse build-up crawl into an epic doom undertaking. Charting a new course that builds on its original direction, High Tone Son of a Bitch’s ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’ EP bends the possibility of the future of heavy music in a new direction, and sets a new course for the band’s bright future.

Track listing:

1.) Death of A New Day (6:43)
2.) Eye in the Sky (10:17)

Simultaneously upon the release of ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’, High Tone Son of A Bitch will digitally reissue both of its previous releases, the aforementioned 2003 EP ‘Better You Then Me’ and the ‘Velocipede’ EP (2004). Both the Alex Newport-produced ‘Better You Then Me’ and ‘Velocipede’ will also see limited edition 2-on-1 vinyl release via Throne Records (Spectral Lore, Corrupted, etc.)

https://www.facebook.com/htsob.oakland/
https://www.instagram.com/htsob.oakland/

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Zed Announce July 26 Release for Volume; Stream “The Other Kind”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed

New Zed is a ripper, which definitely makes it kin to old Zed. The album, out in July, is called Volume, and fairly enough so, and the track they’re streaming from it — available for listening at the bottom of this post, among other places — is called “The Other Kind.” If you want to think of it as a kind of check-in to let all interested parties know that Zed haven’t lost the chip on their collective shoulder since 2017’s Trouble in Eden (review here), I think that’s probably reasonable. Dudes know how to both turn and knock heads.

They’re fresh off their first excursion to European soil for a quick run that wrapped at Desertfest London 2019, so it’s hard to imagine the record announcement coming at a better time in terms of momentum. Their second album, Desperation Blues (discussed here), was also reissued by Ripple earlier this year, so you know, full calendar and all that. Busy busy.

Details come via the PR wire:

zed volume

ZED return with VOLUME on RIPPLE MUSIC | Stream and share new song ‘THE OTHER KIND’

Volume by ZED is officially released on 26th July 2019

Making their roaring presence felt in the Bay Area rock scene since 2007, with heavy footprints and sonically indelible marks are San Jose earth shakers ZED. With a sound based on the core principles of blues, heaviness and groove, this quartet is the genuine article. No bell bottoms, wizard sleeves or hip huggers for this crew. Instead, it’s a barrage of head-bobbing, air-guitaring, hip-shaking, blues-driven riffage as delivered by the true bastards of rock and roll.

From their inception ZED made a name for themselves with their crushing live shows and incessant grooves. Having played together in various projects since 1998, including releasing several albums with the band Stitch for Prosthetic and Metal Blade Records, guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari and bassist Mark Aceves joined up with guitar wizard Greg Lopez and drummer extraordinaire Sean Boyles to create a sound that was uniquely their own. Drawing from their varied influences, ranging from classic ’70s rock to punk and hardcore, by way of metal and old school funk, ZED write music fuelled by nasty grooves. The band has even been called, “a pissed off Led Zeppelin with Chris Cornell meets Ian Astbury on vocals.”

In recent years the band’s momentum has exploded, signing to Ripple Music and growing into a household name in the stoner rock community. Their hard-grooving live show has seen the band perform as headline support at Maryland Doom Fest and numerous SXSW events. They recently capped off their first European tour with a benchmark performance at Desertfest Lodon, where Kerrang! Magazine caught their set and said, “Their booze-drenched blues’n’roll almost breaks into a riot as both band and audience raise the roof and plenty of Hell in the process, leaving the most triumphant first impression.”

Volume by ZED is officially released on 26th July 2019 on Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Other Kind
2. The End
3. Wings of The Angel
4. Hollow Men
5. Take Me Home Again
6. Chingus
7. Poison Tree
8. The Great Destroyer
9. Time and Space
10. The Troubador

Zed is:
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/zedrocknow/
https://zedisded.bandcamp.com/
http://www.zedisded.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

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Review & Track Premiere: The Lord Weird Slough Feg, New Organon

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the lord weird slough feg new organon

[Click play above to stream ‘Headhunter’ from The Lord Weird Slough Feg’s New Organon. Album is out June 14 on Cruz Del Sur Music.]

For nigh on 30 years, The Lord Weird Slough Feg have served the greater good as classic metal’s gift to heavy rock. Or are they classic rock’s gift to heavy metal? Or metal’s gift to heavy? Plus Celtic influences? Whatever. The point is, across 10 full-lengths and a swath of other singles and splits, etc., the band have become one-of-a-kind practitioners of the metallic arts. New Organon is the San Francisco-based outfit’s first long-player in the five years since 2014’s Digital Resistance (review here) came out on Metal Blade, and it finds them reunited with Cruz del Sur Music for the first since 2009’s Ape Uprising! and 2007’s Hardworlder. It’s a solid fit, considering Slough Feg‘s traditionalist approach, and New Organon feels like a purposeful stripping down of tones and general vibe. Perhaps unsurprisingly to those familiar with Slough Feg‘s work, that suits the material well.

Across 10 tracks and a LP-prime 37 minutes, the four-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Mike Scalzi, fellow guitarist Angelo Tringali, bassist Adrian Maestas — who takes a lead vocal on side B’s “Uncanny” — and relatively-new drummer Jeff Griffin (John Dust also plays on the album), set about renewing the faith of the denim-clad faithful while at the same time mining the lecture notes of Scalzi, a philosophy professor, for lyrical themes. From the Rousseau through Sartre, Plato through Francis Bacon, from whose work the title derives, Scalzi turns cerebral and existential query into the stuff of fist-pumping proto-thrash and heavy rock and roll. It does not seem like a coincidence that they should re-don their full moniker for the effort, having gone simply by Slough Feg since 2005’s Atavism instead of the full The Lord Weird Slough Feg, since the atmosphere in the clear but sans-frills production and the basic structure of the songs is no less directed to the band’s own roots than those of heavy metal itself. They are among the most woefully underappreciated acts in metal, too bizarre it would seem even for the most brazen of self-declared nonconformists, but all the more righteous for standing alone.

“Headhunter,” which opens, is also the longest track at just over five minutes (immediate points), and the band waste no time whatsoever in letting the listener know the order of things. Guitars intertwine in tense riffing for an early verse over tom runs and the chorus bounds through not quite paying off that tension, but driving it forward nonetheless. A post-midsection movement of starts and stops offset by NWOBHM-style lead work — not the last of it to come — leads to a more ripping-style solo and back to the verse telling tales of piles of shrunken heads and so on. It’s a rousing start to New Organon, and it leads to the brooding and likewise tense “Discourse on Equality,” on which the drums time quick stop-start thuds behind matching guitar/bass chug with a lead line sprawled over with the vocals.

slough feg

It is stomach-tightening, and when they finally let go a little bit and blowout consecutive solos in the back half of the track, it’s a palpable relief as, the go-where-they-want mood set, Slough Feg move into “The Apology,” with a creeping verse and a more standout hook, which perhaps is rivaled only by the title-track still to come as the strongest of the record. “Being and Nothingness” follows, and as every Slough Feg review must at some point include a Thin Lizzy reference, there’s mine, but even more striking is the initial thrust of the song’s intro, which emphasizes how well the band ties together thrash and classic heavy rock. New Organon is a dirtier-sounding album than anything Slough Feg have done in some time, and it’s meant to be. They’re digging in and inviting those who can get on board to do the same, but “Being and Nothingness” isn’t about accessibility. Cut short in its solo and giving way directly to the start of the title-track, it’s a moment meant to dangerously careen near the edge of oblivion, and it does that successfully without losing itself in the process, perhaps finding its completion in “New Organon,” with Scalzi donning Bacon’s perspective for the chorus, “The sum of my knowledge will conquer the earth/And the sons of my college will rise/And give birth.” Take that, scientific method of old!

The title-cut rounds out side A with more fervent chug and ripping soloing, squeezing in a last verse effectively amongst the fray, and turns over the proceedings to “Sword of Machiavelli” and an immediate shift in vibe. Slower and more fluid in its groove, it finds Scalzi‘s vocals more laid back and an almost garage-style feel to the drums and tape-worthy guitar. The shortest inclusion at 2:17, it soon gives way to the sharp, early-metal-style “Uncanny,” which brings Maestas into the vocalist role, which is a change that further builds on the signal sent by “Sword of Machiavelli” that the second half of the album represents a shift from the first. That holds true for the swaying strangeness of “Coming of Age in the Milky Way,” taking its title from Timothy Ferris’ 1988 book of the same name.

Near as I can tell, that’s as modern as the philosophy gets on New Organon, which is fair enough, and the more laid back sensibility that accompanies feels like a massive change from the tightened-fist of “Discourse on Equality” and “Headhunter,” turning back to the Thin Lizzyism on “Exegesis/Tragic Hooligan” with acoustic and electric guitars woven together effectively in the chorus, ahead of the fitting summary that is closer “The Cynic,” with one last megadose of soloing amid a roll-credits melody and something of a return to where Slough Feg came from on the first half of the record. Of course they end on a fading guitar ringout — how could they not? — but as ever with the band’s material, there’s more at play throughout New Organon than riffs and leads, and it’s in the less-tangible nature of what they do that one finds their personality. The sound of struggle in Scalzi‘s vocals. The quick turns of bass and drums. The willful way in which they set their own rules and then play at breaking them. The Lord Weird Slough Feg are unique even among classic metal loyalists. I don’t know if they’ll ever get their due for the quality of the work they’ve done over their time, but they’re clearly engaged in a broader conversation.

The Lord Weird Slough Feg website

The Lord Weird Slough Feg on Thee Facebooks

The Lord Weird Slough Feg on Instagram

Cruz del Sur Music website

Cruz del Sur Music on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music on Bandcamp

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Psychic Hit Sign to DHU Records; Fortune’s Wheels EP Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The Fortune’s Wheels EP by Psychic Hit can be streamed in full through the band’s Bandcamp page. Formerly known as Promo 2018 and released on tape, the four-song outing will be pressed in an ultra-limited edition of 66 copies in what DHU Records is calling an “exclusive press.” I won’t quibble with that, but I can’t help but think that especially given the band’s traditionalist aesthetic that “private press” wouldn’t work just as well. No, not everything in the universe needs to be retro, but I mean, imagine 40 years from now trying to hunt down and original copy of this edition of this EP. Doesn’t “private press” just seem right for whatever bragging you’d end up doing for the rest of your life at having encountered such a thing?

Just saying.

Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:

psychic hit

Psychic Hit sign to DHU Records

DHU Records is extremely excited to announce the signing of Oakland, CA Proto Metal Sweethearts Psychic Hit to release their debut EP “Fortune’s Wheels” (DHU038) (previously known as “Promo 2018”) on extremely Limited Edition vinyl!

In a new series of releases by DHU Records known as an Exclusive Press, 66 copies will be pressed on Crystal Clear 180Gr Lathe Cut vinyl through Royal Mint Records.

Oakland, CA based hard rockin proto-metal sweetheart band, Psychic Hit, was formed in 2017 by guitarist Andrea Genevieve (Queen Crescent, Purple Rhinestone Eagle) and vocalist/violinist Ariana Jade (Hedersleben, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind). Having met through the thriving Bay Area rock n roll network, the tenacious pair began to dream up a project that fused their wide-ranging tastes in music. What resulted was a band that would combine the raw power of early Judas Priest and Scorpions, the melodic sensibilities of Fleetwood Mac, and the esoteric appeal of lesser known acts such as Lucifer’s Friend and Flower Travellin’ Band.

In 2018, the duo was joined by bassist Melanie Burkett (Ovvl) and drummer Justin Divver (Funeral Chant). With the talented rhythm section locked in, the four musicians began to embark on a songwriting enterprise that resulted in their first, self-recorded demo in the fall of that year. After the demo was recorded, the band welcomed fifth member, Jake Palladino (Pins of Light, Hightower), to join Andrea Genevieve on guitar.

Although Psychic Hit’s sound is heavily influenced by both 70s greats and rarities, the band is anything but an anachronism. Like modern contemporaries such as Kadavar, Lucifer, and Hällas, Psychic Hit seeks to recast rock music in their own image, rather than to just simply imitate eras past. In an age where the dark forces of monotony and monocracy loom large on the horizon, Psychic Hit appeals to their listeners to embrace the regenerative, communal power of rock n roll.

Exclusive Press
Limited to 66 copies
Single Sleeve w/ 3mm Spine
Black flood inside
Double sided full color inlay
Black polylined innersleeves
Artwork by Caitlin Mattisson
Housed in a PVC sleeve
Comes on 180Gr Crystal Clear 12″ Lathe Cut vinyl

Side A:
A1. The Fool
A2. Fortune’s Wheels

Side B:
B1. Plateau
B2. The Whip

Pre order and release date coming soon…

Psychic Hit
Ariana Jade (vocals, violin, synthesizer)
Andrea Genevieve (lead guitar, synthesizer)
Melanie Burkett (bass guitar, acoustic guitar)
Justin Divver (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/psychichit/
https://www.instagram.com/psychic_hit/
https://psychichit.bandcamp.com/
https://www.psychic-hit.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Psychic Hit, Promo 2018

Psychic Hit, “Plateau” official video

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Acid King Announce Busse Woods 20th Anniversary Tour and Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

acid king

Fuck yes. Acid King. Playing Busse Woods. 20th anniversary. Reissue on RidingEasy Records. Fuzz. “Electric Machine.” The whole bit. What the hell is going to be better than that? Whatever else you had planned, can it. Get yourself to where you really need to be and nod yourself into oblivion. Seriously. This is going to be fucking incredible. Desert island record.

The reissue is out Aug. 30 with modified art and a new master, which is fine because it’s probably going to make it louder and that’ll be just great thank you kindly.

Is the show in your calendar yet? It should be. I just added it. Might have to trek down to Philly for two in a row… Hmm…

Looky looky:

Acid King busse woods tour poster

Acid King announce Busse Woods reissue on RidingEasy Records and 20th anniversary tour

San Francisco stoner-rock trio touring with support from Wizard Rifle and Warish

San Francisco trio Acid King announce the 20th Anniversary reissue of their 1999 sophomore album Busse Woods to be released on RidingEasy Records. The reissue is in conjunction with an extensive North American tour commemorating the landmark album. Please see dates below.

The tour features support from Wizard Rifle and RidingEasy label mates Warish.

Originally released via Frank Kozik’s groundbreaking Man’s Ruin Records in 1999, Busse Woods will be remastered, with updated artwork for release via RidingEasy Records.

Busse Woods will be available on LP, CD and download on August 30th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records.

ACID KING ‘BUSSE WOODS’ 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR 2019:
09/20 Portland, OR @ Star Theater – Hesh Fest *
09/21 Seattle, WA @ Highline *
09/23 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater *
09/24 Omaha, NE @ Slowdown *
09/25 Chicago, IL @ Reggies *
09/26 Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle *
09/27 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
09/28 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place *
09/29 Boston, MA @ Sonia *
09/30 New York, NY @ Knitting Factory *
10/01 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
10/02 Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall *
10/03 Raleigh, NC @ Kings *
10/04 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight *
10/05 Atlanta, GA @ The 529 *
10/06 New Orleans, LA @ One Eye Jack’s *
10/07 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey *
10/09 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister *
10/10 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red *
10/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite *
10/12 San Francisco, CA @ Chapel *

* w/ Wizard Rifle, Warish

Acid King is:
Lori S. – Guitar & Vocals
Rafa Martinez – Bass
Bil Bowman – Drums

www.facebook.com/AcidkingSF
https://www.instagram.com/acidkingrocks/
www.acidking.com
ridingeasyrecs.com
http://www.nanotear.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Nanotear/

Acid King, Busse Woods 20th anniversary tour video

Acid King, Busse Woods 2004 reissue

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Brant Bjork to Reissue Jalamanta Sept. 13 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What, you thought Heavy Psych Sounds was going to embark on a series of Brant Bjork reissues and not do the one that started it all? Of course not. Originally released in 1999 through Man’s Ruin Records, Jalamanta (discussed here) is top-five all-time pivotal desert rock releases, if not top three, and its enduring relevance not only to Bjork‘s work but for the slew of others he’s influenced speaks for itself. Presented with a new mix by Bjork and Tony Mason and a fresh master from John McBain, as well as new cover art, it’s just one of the best records ever to come out of the Californian desert. That’s all. No big deal.

Except it is a big deal. Preorders start later this week, as the PR wire tells it:

brant bjork jalamanta reissue

*** BRANT BJORK – JALAMANTA *** Reissue for the 20th Anniversary – remastered/remixed version

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 13th
PRESALE STARTS: MAY 23rd

It’s been 20 glory years when desert rock icon, BRANT BJORK, released his first solo album Jalamanta.

2019 will see the Kyuss and Fu Manchu- legend celebrate his 20th anniversary in style, when he will re-release his pathbreaking, cult album Jalamanta on September 13rd with Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Recorded by Tony Mason at Rancho De La Luna, Joshua Tree, California, in February 1999 and produced by BRANT BJORK, Jalamanta still belongs to the most distinctive desert rock records of all time.

“Jalamanta was a life changing record for me. It’s the record that launched my journey as Brant Bjork.“ he comments. “Listening to the tapes 20 years later was amazing. Tony Mason and myself were transported back to that moment in time. Jalamanta was a first for both Tony and myself. My first record as a solo artist and his first record as an engineer. We didn’t think twice about re-mixing it. With our combined experience over the years, we knew we could take Jalamanta to the place we always wanted it to go. And we did. Dig it.“

Jalamanta has been re-mixed by Tony Mason, with a freshly baked re-master by John McBain at JPM Mastering, San Francisco. New cover art by Branca Studio. Heavy Psych Sounds is proud to start the pre-order of this timeless classic on May 23rd, in the following available album formats:

RELEASED IN DOUBLE GATEFOLD VINYL IN :
45 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
250 LTD WHITE SPLATTER RAINBOW VINYL
250 LTD WHITE MARBLED PURPLE VINYL
600 SOLID YELLOW VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK
DIGITAL

TRACKLIST
1. Lazy Bones
2. Automatic Fantastic
3. Cobra Jab
4. Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians
5. Sun Brother
6. “Let’s Get Chinese Eyes”
7. Toot
8. Defender Of The Oleander
9. Bones Lazy
10. Low Desert Punk
11. Waiting For A Coconut To Drop
12. Her Brown Blood
13. Indio
14. Take Me Away ( Blue Oyster Cult cover )

Brant Bjork live:
19.06.19 – Nuremberg | Hirsch (DE)
20.06.19 – Netphen | Freak Valley Festival (DE)
21.06.19 – Nijmegen | Doornrosje (NL)
22.06.19 – Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival (UK)
23.06.19 – Izel | La Fete De La Musique (BE)
24.06.19 – Aachen | Musikbunker (DE)
25.06.19 – Darmstadt | Centralstation (DE)
26.06.19 – Hannover | Musikzentrum (DE)
27.06.19 – Saarbrücken | Garage (DE)
28.06.19 – Düdingen | Bad Bonn (CH)
29.06.19 – Salzburg | Rockhouse (AT)
30.06.19 – Korinthos | Under The Sun Festival (GR)
02.07.19 – Thessaloniki | Eightball Club (GR)
04.07.19 – Viveiro | Resurrection Festival (ES)

Brant is still promoting his 13th solo album, “Mankind Woman”, which will was released via Heavy Psych Sounds in September.

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http://www.brantbjork.com
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https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999)

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Friday Full-Length: Hermano, …Into the Exam Room

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hermano, …Into the Exam Room (2007)

In the vast catalog of vocalist John Garcia, which includes Unida, Slo Burn, Vista Chino, three solo records, Zun and more guest appearances than I can count in addition to his time fronting the formative desert rockers Kyuss, Hermano‘s third album, …Into the Exam Room, is the most undervalued. Issued in 2007 by Suburban Records, it was recorded in no fewer than six studios, featured writing contributions from Garcia as well as guitarists Dave Angstrom and Mike Callahan, bassist Dandy BrownChris Leathers completed the lineup and I’m sure came up with his own parts — and Sean Bilovecky, who was one of the 10 engineers credited working in geographic locales like Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and indeed, Palm Springs, California. At that point, is it even fair to call …Into the Exam Room a desert rock album? Therein lies the appeal. It is desert rock, and so much more.

Hermano‘s earlier work on 2002’s …Only a Suggestion (discussed here) and 2004’s Dare I Say… was straight-up desert-style songcraft, following in a tradition Garcia helped create. Though it must have been a logistical nightmare to put together, let alone to mix — I think this was the first time I interviewed Garcia; he was working as a vet tech; he mostly spoke about being a family man and was driving his family to a basketball game at the time? pretty sure that’s how it went — …Into the Exam Room blew down the doors of genre. Absolutely, songs like “Left Side Bleeding” and “Hard Working Wall,” “Adoption Boy,” the penultimate “Our Desert Home” and even opener “Kentucky” had desert rock on lockdown. No question. The push, the tonal weight, and of course Garcia‘s vocal style — yes. It was all there. But …Into the Exam Room‘s 12 tracks went so far beyond that as to make it just one more element at their disposal, to be used at moments when it might be most effective, for example, with “Left Side Bleeding” taking off at a sprint from the finish of the acoustic “Dark Horse II.” Garcia’s last crooned line in that song was, “I’m so much more,” and …Into the Exam Room was the record where he proved it.

Not just on mostly-unplugged cuts like “Dark Horse II,” “Bona Fide” or “At the Bar” — which itself appeared ahead of the mega-hook in “Our Desert Home” — but on the unmitigated heavy funk rock of “Exam Room” itself, or the loose-feeling but still tightly constructed “Out of Key, But in the Mood” or even “Don’t Call Your Mama,” with its relatively dead-ahead start and memorable chorus, which ended up reiterated by Garcia alone for the final minute as the instruments largely dropped out behind him. Through complex arrangements and nuanced sonic dhermano into the exam roometailing, these songs pushed well beyond anything Hermano had done before, and that extended even to the in-the-studio atmosphere given to the tracks by the inclusion of short intros, even just toss-off gag lines and things like that. I don’t think one would get away with including the inflected lisp at the beginning of “Our Desert Home” these days without being called out for it — at least I hope not — but whether it was the quick bit of guitar noise at the start of “Hard Working Wall,” the far-away dream vocals that begin “Dark Horse II” or the revving motor that set the album in motion in “Kentucky” and the reference to “Dueling Banjos” that ended that opener, these little moments added to the inherent diversity of the material and helped set a wide-open creative sphere in which the record took place. They gave it more personality, and in the case of “At the Bar,” the recorded child’s voice of Calliope Brown — presumably the progeny of Dandy Brown — set up the closer “Letters from Madrid” two tracks later, which featured Angstrom‘s daughter and son, Audrey Angstrom and Evan Angstrom, strumming an acoustic guitar and repeating the line, “Everyone still believes in you but you” before ending with both kids saying “I love you, daddy.” Tearjerker.

And maybe that’s what Hermano were doing on …Into the Exam Room. I recall Garcia at the time noting that the title referred to looking at one’s life, and certainly the semi-title-track “Exam Room” lived up to that — “Well you’ve got 40 more years to go drown in your tears/And the little hand’s slower than the big hand, honey” — so perhaps this work, spread from one end of the country to the other and recorded in a manner so complicated I can even pretend to have a grasp on how it happened, is Hermano with the advent of middle age, with home life. Maybe it was supposed to be a blowout. I don’t know. Whatever it was, …Into the Exam Room was a mature vision of style that legitimately did desert rock in a way it had never been done before. And it kinda flopped.

Maybe it was the wrong moment? Maybe if it came out today it would do better? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that …Into the Exam Room was the last record Hermano released — though they were playing new material three years ago, so when I say “last,” take the potential impermanence of that into consideration — and that Garcia subsequently went on to form Garcia Plays Kyuss in 2010, which became the semi-reunion Kyuss Lives!, which in turn became Vista Chino. In some ways, I look at …Into the Exam Room like Vista Chino‘s lone 2013 album, Peace (review here, also discussed here). It was a way to move forward. Still acknowledging the past, but not necessarily dwelling in it. I thought Vista Chino had a real chance to build something new, but I think it was another case where they didn’t get the public response they wanted, so went their separate ways.

Same thing here, though the complex logistics very well could’ve also played a part. Still, Dandy Brown does solo work. Angstrom has stayed involved with Garcia on the songwriting front, Garcia dutifully delivers desert rock with his Band of Gold, and Hermano kind of disintegrated at least until their onstage reunion a few years back at Hellfest in France. Entirely possible they’re working quietly on a follow-up fourth LP, but even if they are, that doesn’t change the fact that …Into the Exam Room has languished for 12 years as a ridiculously underrated album. What should’ve been a springboard to Hermano stepping out of the shadow of Garcia‘s past in Kyuss instead became their final record. A loss for sure in terms of the potential, but listening back to …Into the Exam Room more than a decade after the fact, I can’t help but feel lucky we got this record in the first place.

This one’s for Slevin. As always, I hope you enjoy.

I got unceremoniously fucked out of an audio premiere this week. Brutally. It happens all the time that PR companies and record labels decide to do streams with a bigger outlet, and hey, I get it. They’re getting paid to get shit in front of as many eyes as possible, and just because I might write some hyper-wordy piece about how crucial a band’s work is doesn’t mean I have the same reach as Revolver or Kerrang or whoever. I get it. I’ve been involved one shape or another in the music industry for 15 years. People have dumb hair and wear t-shirts, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. Not personal.

Usually I let it go. This is a low-stakes thing. We’re not solving climate change here. This one hurt though primarily because of the people involved, and because it was something that had been committed to me that was when taken away for ostensibly a bigger outlet (I’m not even sure that it is, but I’m not going to name names, and obviously it was neither of the mags above). I was set to go, and after arranging it like a month ago, this week it got pulled. It’s one of the year’s best records, from band I’ve been writing about for seven years, on a label I’ve been covering voraciously since before this site started 10 years ago, and yeah, I just got straight-up fucked over. As I said, brutal.

That, combined with ongoing tooth pain, kind of colored my week in a distinct hue of “everybody fuck off.” I went saw the Deep Space Nine documentary with The Patient Mrs. on Monday in an opiate fog of leftover percocet from some medical procedure or other, and was still holding my aching head in my hands by the end. I finally got to the dentist on Tuesday afternoon and they indeed found an infection that had spread to multiple teeth and decided I needed an emergency root canal as well as antibiotics. Super duper. So they numbed me up and let me sit there and wait 45 minutes before starting the procedure — dentist had two patients with the same appointment and was next door fitting a crown, as I could hear through an open doorway — then came back, found I wasn’t numb enough when they started digging through my tooth and it was excruciating. Another three shots of novocaine, the last two right in the nerve, which hurt. Significantly.

Eventually I was numb enough that I couldn’t feel the dentist scraping the nerve out of my tooth. He left it open so the infection could drain — yup, gave me a big ol’ hole-in-the-tooth; still got it — and I have to go back Monday so they can finish the procedure. I fainted at the counter making my next appointment. Fell over and everything. Ker-plunk. They put me on the couch and gave me one of those little plastic rinse cups of water. I felt old, and sad, and alone.

So yeah. My mouth still hurts, though nowhere near the constant infected throb it was last weekend. Just enough to still be there.

Here’s what’s up for next week:

MON 05/20 WOLF PRAYER VID PREMIERE; KANDODO3 TRACK PREMIERE/REVIEW
TUE 05/21 VALLEY OF THE SUN REVIEW
WED 05/22 ABRAHMA FULL ALBUM STREAM
WED 05/22 TOUR ANNOUNCE; SLEEP LIVE RECORD REVIEW
FRI 05/24 SLOUGH FEG PREMIERE/REVIEW (MAYBE)

That Slough Feg is going to happen, it’s just a question of whether it happens next Friday or some other time. The rest is pretty much locked in, as much as anything. Subject to change blah blah, as usual.

The process of moving south back to New Jersey has begun as The Patient Mrs. and I have started packing. Home Depot moving boxes haven’t changed much in the last half-decade, it seems. Old t-shirts and stuff go first, I guess. I’ll do records sooner or later. I’d prefer sooner, just to get it done, but who the hell knows. It’s going to be a long, busy summer on the I-95 corridor, I think. Good thing I’m not doing anything crazy like flying to Ireland next week.

Oh wait.

Yeah, that’s happening. The Patient Mrs., in one of her final acts as full-time faculty for Bridgewater State University, here in not-at-all-scenic Southeastern Massachusetts, is taking students on a study-abroad trip from I guess this Thursday through June 3. It’s madness, I tell you. I’m going basically to provide childcare, as I did in London last year. I don’t know how that will affect posts or whatever during travel days. I’d like to buy a throwaway cheapie 11″ laptop rather than risk traveling with this one, which is huge and has like my whole life on it, but I don’t think the money is there for such things.

Oh, and tonight’s like a going-away party The Patient Mrs. is throwing with two of her friends at our place that maybe like 30-50 people are coming to? Strangers to me, mostly. I didn’t invite anyone because I don’t have any friends in real life and I expect to be sad and then to go to sleep early without saying goodnight. Because that’s who I am. I’m the guy who faints at the counter in the dentist’s office.

Fuck it. I’m gonna premiere Kandodo3 and Slough Feg next week. Life is awesome.

Have a great and safe weekend. Please hit up the shirts and such at Dropout Merch, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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