Lo-Pan: Sasquanaut Vinyl Pre-Orders Coming; Tour Update

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

At this point, I don’t even know what I’d do if a week went by and I didn’t have some news to post about Ohio four-piece Lo-Pan, who just wrapped a tour alongside Torche and KENmode and will head out over the course of July and August with the likes of Borracho, Devil to Pay, Gozu and Weedeater. Their second album, 2009’s Sasquanaut, is about to receive the vinyl treatment for the first time, so along with that and an excuse to put all their upcoming gigs in one place at the same time — at least those that have been to this point announced — there was no way I could resist.

Plus, all the whatnot about pre-orders and that gives me an excuse to post the stream of the album, which is an automatic win:

Lo-Pan Sasquanaut Vinyl + Tour Info

Small Stone Records is proud to announce the release of Lo-Pan’s highly acclaimed album “Sasquanaut” for the first time on limited edition 180g vinyl. Remastered for vinyl release, this limited edition LP will be available for pre-order July 2, 2013. The release will be available in five distinct color variations (silver, solid light green, translucent red, translucent green, and classic black). Additionally, each copy of the LP release will come with a download card, redeemable for a digital copy of the album.

Priced at $30, the first 100 deluxe pre-order packages will receive:
– choice of color variation
– 12” x 18.7” full color poster signed by the band
– limited edition patch
– lo-pan sticker

The tracklist for the “Sasquanaut” LP is:

Side Alpha
Savage Henry

Side Beta
Wade Garrett

Catch Lo-Pan live at the following upcoming tour stops:

Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Devil To Pay, Neon Warship
Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ Devil To Pay, The Garza
Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Temple w/ Devil To Pay, Venomin James
Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Devil To Pay, Barely Eagle, the Girls!
Jul 18, 2013 Pittsburgh, PA Howler’s w/ Borracho, Sistered, Supervoid
Jul 19, 2013 Washington DC Rock N Roll Hotel w/ Borracho, Kingsnake, King Giant
Jul 20, 2013 Stroudsburgh, PA The Sherman Theater w/ Borracho, Kingsnake
Jul 21, 2013 York, PA The Depot w/ Borracho
Jul 24, 2013 Worcester, MA Ralph’s Rock Diner w/ Gozu, Birch Hill Dam
Jul 25, 2013 Manchester, NH The Shaskeen Pub w/Gozu, Birch Hill Dam
Jul 26, 2013 Boston, MA O’Brien’s w/Gozu, Black Thai
Jul 27, 2013 Brooklyn, NY The Acheron *The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 w/Gozu, Supermachine, Black Black Black, Borracho, Wizard Eye, Lord Fowl, Geezer, Wasted Theory
Aug 01 2013 Chicago, IL Ultra Lounge w/Weedeater
Aug 03 2013 Nashville, TN Exit/In w/Weedeater
Aug 04 2013 Johnson City, TN Hideaway w/Weedeater
Aug 06 2013 Asheville, NC Broadways w/Weedeater
Aug 07 2013 Charlotte, NC Chop Shop w/Weedeater
Aug 08 2013 Richmond, VA Strange Matter w/Weedeater
Aug 09 2013 Raleigh, NC The Maywood w/Weedeater
Aug 10 2013 Wilmington, NC Soapbox w/Weedeater
Aug 24 2013 Kent, OH The Outpost w/Rebreather, Mockingbird, The Unclean, The Ravenna Arsenal, Vulture, Deathcrawl, Fully Consumed, Venomin James, Super Predator, Showboy

Lo-Pan, Sasquanaut 2.0 (2011)

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Lo-Pan and Devil to Pay Unveil ‘Spocktopus’ Tour Poster

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.

In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.

Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:

Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.

Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates:
Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship
Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza
Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap
Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House
Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James
Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!

In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below:

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Lo-Pan Announce July Dates with Borracho

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

If Lo-Pan do anything at all, they keep busy. The Ohio-based fuzz frontrunners — do I need to call them the best American heavy rock band going right now again what I do well okay they’re the best American heavy rock band going — will partner with Capital City riffers Borracho for what I’ve no doubt will be a long weekender of bro downs and fuzz outs. Pennsylvania seems to be the lucky state playing host to most of these shows, but fear not, rest of the country, as I seriously doubt this’ll be the last time Lo-Pan and Borracho pair up. They’re like stoner rock Superfriends.

I wrote this press release, so here’s me quoting myself:

LO-PAN: Ohio Rockers Announce Tour Dates With Borracho

They’re the hardest working band in fuzz, and on July 18, Columbus, Ohio’s LO-PAN will continue their mission to obliterate eardrums nationwide. Late in 2012, the foursome took to stages across the land with High on Fire and Goatwhore, and in June, they joined forces with Torche and KENmode.

As they prepare to headline the Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 fest in Brooklyn on July 27 at The Acheron, LO-PAN be taking Washington D.C. up-and-coming heavy trio Borracho along for a few dates along the Eastern Seaboard. Both bands have new material in the works and will be showcasing material from forthcoming releases.

LO-PAN will share the stage not only with Borracho, but also with Philly riff-slingers Kingsnake, Pittsburgh metallers Sistered and Supervoid and Virginia-based Southern metallers King Giant.

Check out the Chris Smith (http://burzum.deviantart.com/) poster above, and here’s the info for the shows:

Jul 18, 2013 Pittsburgh, PA  Howler’s  w/ Borracho, Sistered, Supervoid
Jul 19, 2013 Washington D.C.  Rock N Roll Hotel  w/ Borracho, Kingsnake, King Giant
Jul 20, 2013 Stroudsburgh, PA  The Sherman Theater  w/ Borracho, Kingsnake
Jul 21, 2013 York, PA  The Depot  w/ Borracho


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Before the Eyewall, Before the Eyewall: Which Way the Skyfalls

Posted in Reviews on May 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The self-released, self-titled debut full-length from Columbus, Ohio’s Before the Eyewall is the kind of record that’s going to surprise a lot of people who hear it in a very positive way, and by that I mean it’s really fucking heavy. An instrumental guitar, synth, bass and drums three-piece, the band formed early in 2010 after drummer Aaron O’Brien-Eichman and guitarist Garrett LoConti (both also provide synth) split from the post-metal outfit Kenoma (one might recall their 2006 split with Mouth of the Architect) and issued an ambitious 25-minute single-track demo in 2011 and joined forces with engineer Brian Whitten to capture the sonic largesse of the four-song, 43-minute Before the Eyewall, an album whose intricacy is telegraphed by its artwork. Featuring bassist Scott Hyatt alongside O’Brien-Eichman and LoConti, the band runs through three extended tracks and a concluding section of ambience across the course of “Skyrises” (9:18), “Path of Ash and Desperation” (15:52), “Tome of the Concentric Eye” (14:24) and “Skyfalls” (3:28), finding symmetry in its first and last titles and no shortage of tectonic aural crush in between. There are elements of post-metal lurking about in some of the ambient/heavy switchoffs and tidal riffy plod, but even at their most atmospheric, Before the Eyewall don’t succumb to the trap of redundancy in which so much latter-day post-metal is caught, “Skyrises” leading off with a fitting build of feedback hum and cymbal wash before LoConti announces the start of the lurching, angular progression with guitar howl and deep Sunn-amped tonality counteracted by the airier lead work that ensues. Smoothly and patiently, they unfold the interwoven heavy and ambient changes and tempo shifts that will mark the bulk of the next three tracks, repeating parts but never really announcing any singular movement as the chorus or leaving anything unchanged. Still, the flow they create over the course of the nine minutes of “Skyrises” is remarkable and the quiet intro to “Path of Ash and Desperation” suitably hypnotic, giving a sense of tension even at its stillest points.

With the extended runtimes of “Path of Ash and Desperation” and “Tome of the Concentric Eye” and the bookending effect of the titles “Skyrises” and “Skyfalls,” it’s hard not to think of the half-hour plus the middle two tracks represent as the “meat” of Before the Eyewall’s Before the Eyewall, though neither the opener nor the closer lack substance. Still, it you’re going to get lost anywhere within the full-length, it’s probably somewhere in the two longest cuts, the first of which launches after the two-minute mark into a heavy-stomping lumber of a groove that persists and introduces a kind of post-Mastodon (though played much slower) sense of weight before coming to a head and transitioning into a more ambient movement as it makes its way past eight minutes. The atmosphere remains dark without being cartoonish, and the stage is set for an increasingly noisy build that plays out over the course of the second half of the song, Hyatt’s bass rumble at the fore while LoConti’s guitar tosses out atmospheric notes prior to a stop and then resurgence of the full-bore crashing, one more shift into psychedelic ambience and then a faster, concluding push that winds up one of the album’s most memorable riffs, given its due over the course of the last two minutes before stopping cold to make way for “Tome of the Concentric Eye,” which resets the band’s position and essentially starts the build over from scratch. Here too, Before the Eyewall take their time in unfurling the complete heft of the song, but in the meantime, the interplay of LoConti’s guitar and Hyatt’s bass is the best of the record and O’Brien-Eichman does well in holding the progression together with a slow march, ride cymbal flourish and a tension that finds its answer in a slowly chugging riff contrasted by bass melody (yes, it exists) and guitar echoes reminiscent of some of Leviathan’s glorious noodling. There’s a break, as expected, and though the shift isn’t as smooth as the cut before, the effect remains strong thanks to O’Brien-Eichman’s ability to keep the piece in motion with rich cymbal work excellently captured and mixed and a structure to the following build reminiscent of “Path of Ash and Desperation” that remains distinct from it.

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Lo-Pan to Tour with Torche and KENmode

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I was wondering the other day what Ohio-based fuzz rockers Lo-Pan might have up their always-busy sleeves to follow their tour with High on Fire, and then all of a sudden, here’s an announcement that they’re hitting the road for two weeks in June with Torche and KENmode. That’s a pretty badass bill, three distinctly different takes on heavy that should make for a decent complement to each other as Lo-Pan continues to refine new material like the song “Colossus,” which you can check out footage of below.

But first, the dates. Remember, this will still be before Lo-Pan‘s previously announced short stint with Gozu that caps with both bands hitting Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 in Brooklyn. Behold:

JUST ANNOUNCED! Lo-Pan will be hitting the road with our buddies Torche and KEN mode for a couple of weeks in June. All current dates listed below.

Sat/06-01 Milwaukee – The Cactus Club
Sun/06-02 St. Louis, MO – The Firebird
Mon/06-03 Cincinnati, OH – The Taft
Tue/06-04 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
Wed/06-05 Cleveland, OH – The Grog Shop
Thu/06-06 Detroit, MI – The Magic Stick
Fri/06-07 Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme
Sat/06-08 Toronto, Canada – Lee’s Palace
Sun/06-09 Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
Mon/06-10 Boston, MA – Sinclair
Wed/06-12 Providence, RI – AS220
Thu/06-13 West Chester, PA – The Note
Fri/06-14 – TBA
Sat/06-15 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll

Lo-Pan, “Colossus” live in Portland, OR 12.15.12

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Duuude, Tapes!: EYE, Live at Relay

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on March 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Pictured above with the badass package in which it and the new Backdoor Jane/Wooden Nickels 7″ (listen/see here) arrived, the Live at Relay limited cassette from Ohio space rocking progressives EYE is a wonder of antiquated technology. Not so much the tape itself, but the cosmic expanse that the Columbus four-piece managed to fit thereupon, awash in Moog, synth, Hammond and even a bit of mellotron on side two. The band filmed a session for DonewaitingTV last June, comprised of three jams — “Usurpers” and “Restorers,” both of which appeared on EYE‘s Center of the Sun (review here, track stream here), along with the 19:36 dronedelica soundscape “Dream,” aptly-titled for its otherworldly vibing.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but if you like your Hawks windy and your Floyds a little less than red, more on the Pink side, then EYE is a band to whom you should commence grooving forthwith. Presented in the only-100-copies tape version, the rich bass of Matt Bailey comes through stellar on “Usurpers,” holding down a thick, natural groove while drummer Brandon Smith, Moog/synth/organist Adam Smith and guitarist Matt Auxier combine vocals to add to the progged-out trippery, and while one might think an aesthetic as lush as theirs would suffer on what’s widely regarded as a limited format, the effect the tape has is just making the material sound even more classic than it otherwise might.

Particularly considering this material was captured live — hence Live at Relay – the balance between the patient aspects of EYE‘s sound and their the-space-shuttle-has-just-taken-off-and-you’re-riding-shotgun rush is striking, and with continuous play on, it’s even easier to get lost from one side to the next. Both sides are also almost exactly the same length, right around 19:30, so that helps as well in that there isn’t much delay between them. All told, for about 39 minutes of live EYE, the Live at Relay tape has about everything a would-be sonic cosmonaut could ask of it. Even on “Dream,” when the ground is so far gone you can’t even see the people standing there, the band keeps a sense of someone standing behind the controls, which — as you probably guessed — are set for the heart of the sun.

The aforementioned 7″ is sold out already, but there are still copies of Live at Relay available for a whopping seven dollars at EYE‘s Bigcartel store, and consider it an advisable purchase. If you need further convincing, the video of “Usurpers/Restorers” culled from the same session is the way to go:

EYE, “Usurpers/Restorers” Live at Relay Recording Studio

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EYE Post “Wooden Nickels” and “Backdoor Jane” from New 7″ Single

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Columbus, Ohio-based space rockers EYE continue to impress with their latest 7″ single. The two-track outing, featuring the songs “Wooden Nickels” and “Backdoor Jane,” has arrived via Lost Weekend Records and is more diverse in six-plus minutes than most full-length albums. “Wooden Nickels” centers around a lush psychedelic vocal melody backed by sweet synth and gracefully introduced mellotron, while “Backdoor Jane” — true to its title — is a classically rocking jam through and through. Completely instrumental, it works in direct opposition to “Wooden Nickels,” which is so much about the vocal harmonies.

EYE reportedly have a live cassette on the way this month too. If the gig I saw in Philly was anything to go by, their stage show should translate pretty well. Stay tuned for more on that and dig these in the meantime:

EYE, “Wooden Nickels”

EYE, “Backdoor Jane”

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Venomin James Part Ways with Vocalist Jim Meador

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cleveland doomers Venomin James announced today that vocalist Jim Meador is out of the band. In the press release below, they cite a desire for a new direction, and considering they had more or less nailed down their sound before, I can’t help but wonder what that might mean. Could be 2013 has a surprise in store from these guys.

While we speculate, here’s the official word from the band regarding Meador‘s exit:

Cleveland doom metal band Venomin James parts ways with vocalist Jim Meador

Cleveland-based doom rockers Venomin James are parting ways with original vocalist Jim Meador. The band cites a change in vocal direction and Meador’s availability as the reasons, and will continue to record and perform live as an instrumental group until a replacement is found. Venomin James’ third album “Unholy Mountain”, which was completed this fall, will be released Q1 2013 on Auburn Records with Meador’s last vocal contributions, marking the end of his tenure in the band.

“We felt like a new direction was needed”, said Joe Fortunato, guitarist and founding member. “There is no ill-will towards Jim, he’s a natural talent and a genuinely good guy. It’s not an easy thing to make this big of a change after 6 years, but we feel like this is the right thing for Venomin James at this point in time. This decision wasn’t taken lightly”

The band completed their third full length album, “Unholy Mountain”, in the fall of 2012, after more than two years of tracking and mixing. This new release is also the last album to feature the drum tracks of original drummer, Jared Koston, who succumbed to cancer in June 2010.

In the near future, the band plans to continue to play instrumental live shows, after overwhelming positive response to a series of instrumental shows performed throughout 2012. Booking will continue as normal until a new vocalist is named. Writing for their fourth album has been underway since Summer 2012, and the band has been performing the material at recent shows.

Meador plans to continue making music, and will be seeking or forming a new project in the near future.

“The last six years have been a very positive and exciting experience with Venomin James, but sometimes good things must come to an end,” said Jim Meador. “ I treasure the memories, relationships and experiences I have shared with Joe, Tom, Erin, Jared, Bill, and most recently Eric. We created three rocking albums to be very proud of, most recently “Unholy Mountain”. I will be moving on, writing songs and exploring new opportunities. Thank you to everyone, family and friends that have supported myself and Venomin James through the years, I am very grateful. The guys will move on and I wish them success in achieving their goals, I will remain one of their biggest fans.”

Venomin James, founded in 2006, is a doom metal band, known for heavy riffs and intricate musical arrangements in the vein of Black Sabbath and “desert rock” bands like Kyuss and Unida. They have released 2 full length albums, and are currently signed to Auburn Records, owned and operated by legendary college radio DJ, Bill Peters.

To find out more, visit: venominjames.com, facebook.com/venominjames, twitter.com/venominjames.

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Live Review: High on Fire, Goatwhore, Primate and Lo-Pan in Philly, 11.29.12

Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Here’s a quick metaphor for how I feel about the city of Philadelphia. I was on my way down to Philly from my office, wanting to get to Union Transfer early to see High on Fire, Goatwhore, Primate and Lo-Pan. And I’m doing my usual not-there-yet stress thing. I’d never been to Union Transfer before, so what if there’s no parking anywhere, what if I can’t find it, what if I drive off the edge of a cliff — all that ultra-reasonable anxiety that sometimes is enough to keep me at home but generally accompanies me one way or another everywhere I go.

Parking space right outside the venue. Maybe 50 feet from the door. Street parking, free because it was after 6:30PM. Once more, Philly, your hospitality astonishes.

It was chilly waiting for the door to open, but I’d listened to enough NPR en route and the cold did me some good. My understanding is Union Transfer is a relatively recent advent, show-wise, and if it was actually a train station at one point, it makes a decent club. The room was sizable and the stage can be moved either forward or back to allow for more space on the floor. It was pretty far up. Apparently advance sales for the Thursday night show weren’t great, so the balcony was also closed, which was a bummer because that’s probably where I’d have been otherwise.

I grabbed a beer early (it would be my only one of the night) and waited about an hour for Lo-Pan to go on, sitting at one of the side tables killing time to the best of my ability. Gradually I made my way toward the floor and then up front. Though the room wasn’t nearly as full as it would be later, there were already a bunch of people there and I figured better safe than taking pictures of the back of some dude’s head.

Of the four bands on the bill, I really only had more than nominal interest in two: Lo-Pan and High on Fire, the bookends on the bill. That said, I hardly suffered through either Primate or Goatwhore‘s sets. It went down like so:


I was especially looking forward to seeing Lo-Pan on this tour, it being the hardworking Columbus, Ohio, natives’ biggest yet. They lined up toward the front of the stage, all in a row, from bassist Scott Thompson on down through drummer Jesse Bartz, vocalist Jeff Martin and guitarist Brian Fristoe. Martin, who’s usually in the back while Bartz is out front — at least that’s how it’s been at every Lo-Pan show I’ve seen and I don’t mind saying I’ve seen a few at this point — was up there with everyone else and held his position well, projecting his powerful, soulful voice upward into the mic in front of him. Pipes for days. They played “Colossus” and “Eastern Seas,” the two new songs they had included in their set at the Small Stone Records showcase in Boston at the start of the month (review here), and though the one right after the other threw me for a bit, the driving “Chichen Itza” from Salvador was a highlight and “Dragline” from 2009’s Sasquanaut was something of a surprise. They intended to close with it but were granted some extra time and made the most of it with one more song. It wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve ever seen them, but as the openers, I imagine they’ve made a positive first impression on a lot of heads throughout this tour. They were more than worth showing up early for, and I hope they continue to tour at this level, because they’ve proven that they’re more than ready to carry the flag for heavy rock to a wider audience that won’t know what hit it.


Seems like the appeal of Atlanta-based grinders Primate was rooted in the fact that the band features Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp and Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher in the lineup. For a more Philly-specific angle, second guitarist Mike Brennan once slung for Philly dirt thrashers Javelina. Whatever the status of that band, his contributions to Primate were in line with the band’s general modus: Play fast, be angry. The barefoot Sharp has nothing to prove as a frontman, and his vocals remained consistently intense throughout the tightly-delivered set. Likewise, Kelliher‘s resume doesn’t exactly need padding at this point either. He made playing fast look like playing slow, hardly breaking a sweat as they went on. A straight-up hardcore punk persisted, and Primate only confirmed their intent with a cover of Black Flag‘s “Rise Above,” which the young dude standing next to me went — pun most definitely intended — apeshit for. He was not alone by any means. Theirs was a different kind of heavy from what I’m used to seeing, but hell man, I’ve done my time with extremity of sound and I can get down with that if need be. Their stuff was pummeling and precise in kind, and when that’s the case, even if it’s not what I’m interested in hearing on a given night, I have a hard time not appreciating it on its own level.


I’d have to go back and check the archives to be sure, but I think Goatwhore might be the fastest band I’ve ever taken pictures of. Maybe that’s not saying much, considering the context, but still, it was a new experience for me. It’s been more than half a decade since I even really vaguely paid attention to what they had going on, but it didn’t seem at Union Transfer that I’d missed all that much. Frontman Ben Falgoust still had his strangely effective hand gestures and every time I looked at guitarist Sammy Duet, I still just thought to myself, “Wow, he’s the dude from Acid Bath.” So it went. They were pro, though, and made the fine line between metal and capital-h Heavy seem much thicker than it has at other times. Duet spit on the stage at one point and I caught some ricochet, but other than that, it wasn’t unpleasant in the slightest. Despite all the time that’s passed since I heard one of their records, I recognized the breakdown in “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult,” and that was as much landmark as I really needed. The crowd I guess wasn’t as into it as Falgoust was hoping for, since at one point he reminded from the stage that, “It’s cool to like metal again.” I didn’t know it was ever cool to like metal. Someone better tell Shakira to get on that shit, lest she lose her pop relevance. Either way, when they were done, they broke down their own gear, and for a band who’ve been around as long as they have and toured as much as they have, I found that admirable.

High on Fire

Near as I can tell from the small sample I’ve seen, here’s the difference between watching Matt Pike sober now and Matt Pike not at all sober before: Earlier in his career, he came out on stage like he was swinging a double-sided battle axe and conquered the stage, claiming the heads of any and all who opposed him as though anyone would be foolish enough to attempt such a thing. He was a shirtless madman. That’s enjoyable but hardly sustainable for a career. Now when Matt Pike comes out on stage, it’s not even a question whose stage it is. The battle axe need not apply. He just owns it. That’s not to say High on Fire were in any way lacking their trademark sonic fury, just that it had direction, knew where it was headed and the band — Pike, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensell — were smarter with the tools of their trade. They fucking killed. Most of the set came from this year’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), set opener “Serums of Laio” even more riotous on stage than it is starting off the record. “Last” and especially “10,000 Years” from the recently-reissued The Art of Self-Defense were highlights, and the moments of slower groove on “DII” or “Madness of an Architect” came as welcome changes of pace from the ripping likes of “Spiritual Rites,” “Fury Whip” or “Devilution.” High on Fire have a catalog of five strong albums to draw from — “Speedwolf” represented 2002’s Surrounded by Thieves — but it was the title-track to 2010’s Snakes for the Divine that did the closing duties, and with its grandiose lead work, it seemed suited to the task. By then I’d long since moved to the back of Union Transfer to extricate myself from the violence up front, but wherever you were, there was no getting away from the fact that High on Fire have pushed themselves forward and that watching them now, there’s no doubt who the headliners are. Pike was more subdued in his stage persona, as one would have to expect, but he still played to the crowd, as did Matz, and Kensell was so buried in his kit you could only really see the top of his head, so if High on Fire have a rock star aura about them, it’s certainly one cast in their own image. However derailed they may have seemed or whatever hit their momentum may have taken earlier this year by their ducking out on the commercial exposure Mayhem fest would’ve brought, they’re back rolling hard and they seem clear-headed and ready for whatever could be coming their way. The stage looked small around them.

I’d taken Friday off from work, but a drive to Boston awaited in the morning and I had a two-hour trip home to my humble river valley, so I was out of there pretty quick once the house lights came on. Of course, it was Philly, so I had no trouble getting to where I was going, hit no traffic and made it home in record time. God damn I love that city.

Extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Lo-Pan Tour with High on Fire and Goatwhore Starts Tuesday

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

…Because really, if you’re going to start the biggest tour of your career to date, you don’t want to do it on a Monday. Lo-Pan head out beginning Nov. 13, this coming Tuesday, to meet up with High on Fire and Goatwhore in Austin. From there, the three bands and periodically others like Mastodon/Brutal Truth-offshoot Primate and C.O.C. – whose Eye for an Eye reissue came out this week — will storm the countryside, and as if the tour wasn’t long enough, Lo-Pan have some off-dates booked as well.

If you have even a passing interest in American heavy rock, you probably don’t need me to tell you how crucial Lo-Pan is at this point. Just go to the show and make sure you get there early.

This from the PR wire:

LO-PAN: Ohio Road Burners To Kick Off North American Tour With High On Fire

Ohio road burners, LO-PAN, are readying for their next round of live assaults supporting heavy metal juggernauts High On Fire. The full North American takeover will commence on November 15 in Austin, Texas and is slated to run through December 22 in San Francisco, California. Additional support will come from Goatwhore as well as special guests Primate (featuring Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher and Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth) and Corrosion of Conformity on select dates. Additionally, LO-PAN will be picking up a few off dates in surrounding cities. Check the full itinerary below.

Don’t miss LO-PAN on their final dates of 2012!

LO-PAN Tour Dates 2012:
11/13/2012 Buccaneer – Memphis, TN
11/14/2012 Downtown Music – Little Rock, AR
11/15/2012 Emo’s – Austin, TX w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/16/2012 Korova – San Antonio, TX w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/17/2012 Tree’s – Dallas, TX w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/18/2012 Happy Hippie – Lake Charles, LA w/ Large Marge
11/19/2012 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/20/2012 Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/21/2012 Jinx – Savannah, GA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
11/23/2012 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/24/2012 Sinclair – Boston, MA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/25/2012 The Bug Jar – Rochester, NY w/ Primate
11/26/2012 Opera House – Toronto, ON w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/27/2012 La Tulipe – Montreal, QC w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/28/2012 Port Street Music Hall – Portland, MA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/29/2012 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
11/30/2012 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
12/01/2012 Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, Primate
12/03/2012 Mohawk – Buffalo, NY w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/04/2012 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/05/2012 Aces of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ High Ow/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/06/2012 Firebird – St. Louis, MO w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/07/2012 Double Door – Chicago, IL w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/08/2012 Turf Club – Minneapolis, MN w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/09/2012 High Noon – Madison, WI w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/10/2012 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/11/2012 Bluebird – Denver, CO w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/12/2012 Burt’s Tiki Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
12/13/2012 Nerolux – Boise, ID w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/14/2012 Neumos – Seattle, WA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/15/2012 Dante’s – Portland, OR w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/16/2012 The Venue – Vancouver, BC w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore
12/18/2012 The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, C.O.C.
12/19/2012 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, C.O.C.
12/20/2012 Slidebar – Fullerton, CA Slidebar w/ Goatwhore
12/21/2012 Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore, C.O.C.
12/22/2012 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA w/ High On Fire, Goatwhore

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Congratulations to Lo-Pan on Touring with High on Fire

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Heartfelt congratulations, kudos and generic cop compliments to Ohio foursome Lo-Pan, who will tour all over the frickin’ place with High on Fire and Goatwhore starting Nov. 15. I can’t think of a band of their fuzzy ilk who’ve earned it more with the touring they’ve done and the fantastic records they’ve released, so well done, gentleman. Way to make all that hard work start to pay off. Now go do a bunch more hard work. Ha.

Kind of a wild bill, but heavy is heavy and I’ve no doubt Lo-Pan will make a lot of new friends on the road. Once again, congrats.

Here’s the news from High on Fire‘s point of view:

HIGH ON FIRE Announces North American Headlining Tour

California Power Trio to Storm Stages Across the Continent this Fall!

Oakland, CA heavy metal juggernaut HIGH ON FIRE has announced a full North American tour in support of its new album De Vermis Mysteriis. The eagerly anticipated run — the band’s first since the release of the new LP — will kick off on November 15 in Austin, TX and is slated to run through December 22 in San Francisco, CA. Support on the HIGH ON FIRE headlining tour will come from Goatwhore and Lo Pan with special guests Primate (featuring Mastodon‘s Bill Kelliher and Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth) joining the trek from November 23 to December 1 and Corrosion of Conformity hopping on the caravan from December 18-21. Simply put, HIGH ON FIRE will hit the road with all guns blazing for what will undoubtedly be one of 2012’s best heavy music tours!

On December 20 at the Mayan in Los Angeles, HIGH ON FIRE will headline a special “Power of the Riff” show that will also feature COC and SunnO)))). For more details, visit this location.

HIGH ON FIRE fall North American tour:
(all dates include Goatwhore & Lo Pan)
(Nov. 23 – Dec. 1 also includes Primate)
(December 18-21 also includes COC)
November 15 Austin, TX Emo’s
November 16 San Antonio, TX Korova
November 17 Dallas, TX Tree’s
November 19 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
November 20 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
November 21 Savannah, GA Jinx
November 23 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
November 24 Boston, MA Sinclair
November 26 Toronto, ON Opera House
November 27 Montreal, QC La Tulipe
November 28 Portland, ME Port City Music Hall
November 29 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
November 30 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
December 1 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
December 3 Buffalo, NY Mohawk
December 4 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
December 5 Columbus, OH Ace Of Clubs
December 6 St. Louis, MO Firebird
December 7 Chicago, IL Double Door
December 8 Minneapolis, MN Turf Club
December 9 Madison, WI High Noon
December 10 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
December 11 Denver, CO Bluebird
December 13 Boise, ID Neurolux
December 14 Seattle, WA Neumos
December 15 Portland, OR Dante’s
December 16 Vancouver, BC Venue
December 18 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
December 19 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
December 20 Los Angeles, CA Mayan (* Power of the Riff w/ COC, Sunn O))) )
December 21 Santa Ana, CA Observatory
December 22 San Francisco, CA Slims

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Lo-Pan Premiere New Video for Chichen Itza; New Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t know if it counts as a quote from the PR wire when you’re the one who wrote the press release, but here goes anyway:

You couldn’t stop Lo-Pan if you wanted to, and you don’t. Fresh off their March tour that included a stop at Small Stone Records’ annual SXSW showcase, Ohio’s finest in fuzz have just unveiled their first official video, for the track “Chichen Itza.”

The song comes off Lo-Pan’s 2011 landmark outing, Salvador, and the video, directed by Joe Fortunato, shows the band doing what they do best: Multi-tasking. Robe-clad frontman Jeff Martin soulfully belts out “Chichen Itza,” singing into his spatula as he cooks morning breakfast. Grapefruits are hoisted in metallic paean, peppers are chopped, bacon is slabbed, and like everything Lo-Pan does, it’s an absolute blast.

Check out “Chichen Itza” here:

Never ones to rest (ever), Lo-Pan will embark on a weekend jaunt with West Virginian instrumental heavy legends Karma to Burn starting tonight, March 22, before heading out on a Midwest run with fellow Ohioans, Mockingbird.

Lo-Pan with Karma to Burn:
03/22 Kent, OH The Outpost w/ Karma to Burn
03/23 Charleston, WV The Sound Factory w/ Karma to Burn
03/24 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant St. w/ Karma to Burn

Lo-Pan with Mockingbird:
04/05 Akron, OH Annabells w/ Mockingbird
04/06 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class w/ Mockingbird
04/07 Detroit, MI Corktown Tavern w/ Mockingbird, Knife
04/08 Chicago, IL Ultra Lounge w/ Mockingbird, Heaving Mass
04/09 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Mockingbird
04/11 Huntington, WV The V Club w/ Mockingbird
04/12 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Mockingbird
04/13 Morgantown, WV The Cue w/ Mockingbird. West by God, Hovel
04/14 Pittsburgh, PA Bloomfield Bridge Tavern w/ Mockingbird, Sistered
04/15 Columbus, OH Ruby Tuesday w/ Mockingbird, BeforeTheEyeWall


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audiObelisk: EYE Premiere Closing Track From Center of the Sun

Posted in audiObelisk on March 8th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Columbus, Ohio, heavy psych four-piece EYE will make their debut on Kemado with the LP/download Center of the Sun on April 3. The band, who were previously On the Radar-ized at the recommendation of Jesse Bartz of Lo-Pan, boasts former and current members of The Pretty Weapons, Deadsea and Teeth of the Hydra, but functions on a different wavelength than any of those bands, melding mellotron-era King Crimson with space-bound Pink Floyd cosmic exploration and beefing up warm, live-sounding tones with the occasional freakout or weighted jam. Listening to the four-song full-length, one doesn’t get the sense that EYE feel like they need to be heavy at any given moment, but neither do they shy away from it.

That only makes Center of the Sun feel more spontaneous, adding to one of the record’s great strengths. Another that works in similar regard is the sense of movement, and for that, I’m glad to be able to host the premiere stream of album closer “Rik Rite,” which brings forth some of EYE‘s best linear work. Jazzy snare fills underscore a space rock build that pays off twice, first fast, then slow, never losing its sense of melody or control. It’s a more than satisfying conclusion to Center of the Sun, with lyrical talk of interstellar harmonies and cosmic winds sounding not at all out of place amid just a touch of Om-esque ritual. It’s a gorgeous track from a gorgeous record and I hope you enjoy it on the player below:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

EYE‘s Center of the Sun was recorded and mixed at Columbus Discount Recording and Backroads Recording in Columbus, OH, and features cover art by Anthony Yankovic. The album is due out April 3 through Kemado Records. More info is available through the band’s Thee Facebooks page or the label’s website.

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This is Me, Urging You to See Lo-Pan…

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

…And if you don’t know why, click here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Yeah, that’s right. I broke out the Lo-Pan links. No better way to let you know the Ohioan fuzz titans mean business. Doubtless that’ll also be the case as they head down to sunny Austin, Texas, to take part in this year’s recently-announced Small Stone showcase at SXSW. Here’s the poster with the dates — click to enlarge as you see fit:

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On the Radar: Eye

Posted in On the Radar on November 7th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

The recommendation to check out heavy space rock trio Eye came from Lo-Pan‘s Jesse Bartz, and man, was he right. On their self-released Center of the Sun debut, Eye — nearly impossible to locate via Googular means — blend half-speed low-end Hawkwind with organ-era Clutch and are partial to the occasional excursion into minimal drone worship, harmonized vocal or military march — and seriously, that’s just on the 19-minute opening title-track, which has a scope that even that all-over-the-place description only touches the surface of. It’s exciting to know people are doing this kind of stuff.

Guitarist/vocalist Matt Auxier and drummer/vocalist Brandon Smith both come from the Columbus psych outfit The Pretty Weapons, and bassist Matt Bailey was a member of post-Mastodon crushers Teeth of the Hydra, who released their Greenland album on Tee Pee in 2006, so the combination was bound to result in something interesting. As Eye, the three-piece indulge in extended, blinding washes of thickened psychedelics. The songs feel born of jams but not unstructured, even as the languid plod of “Usurpers” gives way to the frantic guitar jabs of “Restorers,” there’s a cohesiveness and a plan at work behind the madness. They can and do go anywhere, and there’s an underlying intensity that keeps hold of the attention however far out Eye might be spiraling.

Plus: mellotron. Well utilized mellotron, at that. Where it shows up as contributed by Adam “Smitty” Smith (who also engineered the record), it gives Eye that feeling of being the life-changing obscure 1974 vinyl you pick up at a garage sale and soon quit your job to worship. Center of the Sun is blown out where it needs to be, but not afraid of being classy either, and the jazzy shuffle of “Restorers” in its latter half proves it, Auxier‘s killer wailing solo included. As closer “Rik Rite” moves from blues rock classicism to epic cosmic proclamations, the journey feels like coming through a wormhole. In an instant you’re somewhere else, you have no idea how you got there, and any sense of time you had has been evaporated.

Much thanks to Bartz for the recommendation. If you want to check out Eye — and you do — feel free to hit them up on Thee Facebooks. They’ve also got Center of the Sun for sale as a pay-what-you-want download on their Bandcamp, the proceeds from which they’re hoping to use to press a limited CD run. A band after my own heart. Here’s the album for streaming goodness:

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