Lo-Pan, Colossus: A Sharpened Edge

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

lo-pan colossus

I’ll make no attempt to hide my appreciation for Ohio’s Lo-Pan, who over the last six years or so have emerged to take a place among the hardest-working American heavy rock bands out there, slogging back and forth across the country to deliver their fuzz one town, one venue at a time, but the fact of the matter is that if they didn’t have the songwriting to match their work ethic, they wouldn’t have come as far as they have. Plenty of bands tour, and even more bands kick ass. Lo-Pan distinguish themselves not only by what they do, but how they’ve done it and what they’ve gained from it. Since their 2007 sophomore outing, Sasquanaut, which was reissued as their first release on Small Stone in 2010 (review here), the four-piece of guitarist Brian Fristoe, vocalist Jeff Martin, bassist Scott Thompson and drummer Jesse Bartz have essentially been grinding themselves down to their essential parts. If one examines the progression from their 2006 self-titled debut through Sasquanaut, the subsequent 2011 full-length Salvador (review here) and their latest, the newly arrived Colossus, the path cut across these records is pretty clear, Lo-Pan moving from a relatively upbeat stoner rock sound to something much more focused, leaner, meaner sounding. Colossus, which at 10 tracks/43 minutes shaves a song and three minutes off Salvador‘s runtime, is their most pointed work yet. Their road time has made them tighter than they’ve ever sounded, and an Andrew Schneider production helps play up a more aggressive feel overall. They are not laying back on Fristoe‘s riffs so much as propelling them forward at the listener, and while pace varies throughout, the overarching whole of Colossus — named in honor of the Colossus of Rhodes, marking a triumph, perhaps simply of the band having come out of the last several years intact — has a breakneck feel and urgency that comes through even more than it did on Salvador, which when this decade is over I’ve no doubt will go down among its best heavy rock albums.

There’s continuity of structure between the two, and Lo-Pan‘s penchant for hooks remains strong, but opener “Regulus” signals the immediacy of Colossus quickly, shifting from the first verse into the chorus all within the first 30 seconds. Like Salvador‘s “El Dorado,” “Regulus” begins an opening salvo of four songs that boasts some of the album’s strongest material, its five minutes gone in breeze and rushing into the tighter, faster “Land of the Blind,” which is marked by a standout performance from Martin in its hook. Lo-Pan‘s singer has never skimped on soul or attitude either on record or from behind the drum kit on stage, but Colossus easily stands as his best recorded output in the band, and the graceful but forceful layering in “Land of the Blind” is among his most effective called-shots here; I’d also add the later call-and-response of “Relo,” “Marathon Man” and the commanding sway of “Eastern Seas” to that list, but it’s true elsewhere as well. Likewise, Bartz, Thompson and Fristoe have stepped up their game, drums picking up the start of “Black Top Revelation” from the end of “Land of the Blind,” a winding riff taking hold as Colossus‘ momentum continues to build. To call the album front-loaded would presume a dip in quality, but no question Lo-Pan bring Colossus up to full speed before throttling back as they did on Salvador‘s “Bird of Prey” with the six-and-a-half-minute “Marathon Man,” which fittingly enough begins with a vehicle — presumably their tour van, but I don’t know that — revving its worn-sounding engine before Fristoe‘s shuffling riff takes hold and the band remind that though the focus has been on push up to now, they still know how to boogie. After four minutes in and satisfying verse/chorus tradeoffs, there’s a turn to a bridge instrumentally that Martin ties to the original chorus well, his layering once again providing a highlight moment with this revamped hook and a play off the initial verse part. Before you can catch up to what just happened with “Marathon Man,” though, Bartz launches “N.P.D.” with another forward surge that slams Colossus‘ first half to a raucous but still controlled finish.

lo-pan (Photo by Meghan Ralston)

If there were any doubts about Lo-Pan‘s confidence or the cohesiveness of their approach, let the knock-you-on-your-ass crispness within the delivery of “N.P.D.” be testimony in their favor. But for the fact that it closes side A, it feels like an afterthought movement following “Marathon Man,” and on most albums it would be an apex. The title-track begins the second half and is a song that Lo-Pan have played live for the last couple years — “Eastern Seas” still to come is another — sounding more reminiscent of the last time out than most of Colossus, though both Thompson‘s place in the mix and the fluidity of Martin‘s integration with the music behind him mark its progress. That’s not to mention Schneider‘s treatment of Bartz‘s snare; as a producer/engineer, the Brooklyn-based Schneider has consistently delivered excellence in drum sounds and Colossus is no exception. Side B feels thicker between “Colossus,” “Vox” and “Eastern Seas,” less of a thrust, but the hooks are still there, and “Vox” delivers in that regard both vocally and in its riff and crash, Martin‘s voice echoing in an open space and Black Black Black‘s Jason Alexander Byers (who also contributed the cover art) coming in for a guest spot later in the track. There’s a ringing sound I can’t quite make out that coincides with the drum roll at the start of “Eastern Seas,” but the song’s prevailing impression is in its more languid rhythm — its first part is the slowest in tempo but still mid-paced by most standards — and bigger groove, Martin still in whatever cave he recorded “Vox.” “Eastern Seas” splits almost evenly in half, everyone else dropping out as Fristoe‘s guitar establishes the riff and then kicking back in soon with a faster pace, vocals layered, Thompson getting a turn to stand alone as they push into a secondary hook and through to repetition of the line “Straight on till morning.” It feels like the end of the album, but isn’t. As “N.P.D.” jumped into action after “Marathon Man,” so does “Relo” punch into gear after “Eastern Seas,” though “Relo” is the more memorable of the two — “N.P.D.” and “Relo” share a 2:28 runtime, if you’d like another reason for the comparison — marked out by Fristoe‘s lead-as-rhythm in the verse and the aforementioned call and response near the end, the uptick in pace effective after “Eastern Seas”‘ slowdown in reinforcing the dynamic within Lo-Pan‘s sound at this point in their tenure.

Another likewise vague sample is inserted at the beginning of closer “The Duke,” which caps Colossus like a victory lap, underscoring much of what has made the album work — the meaner push, Martin‘s accomplished layering, the across-the-board energetic delivery, their attacking the beat — but is distinguished from the rest of the collection by the solo Fristoe takes beginning at 2:37, which comes to the head of the mix almost to the point of abrasiveness and wails over a steady rhythm from Bartz and Thompson, who return about a minute later with Martin to round out with a last hook and crashing end. That solo in particular seems to have been residing in Lo-Pan‘s pocket the whole time; in the context of Colossus as a whole, they seem to have saved it for last. And fair enough — it’s as raging a finish as Colossus in its entirety calls for. Perhaps because so much of the album moves, and moves fast, and shoves the listener along its course, and perhaps because four records deep, Lo-Pan show few signs of stagnating creatively, Colossus feels less like a destination than another point along the way. It’s their tightest, tensest outing, but in scrutinizing it on those terms, one can hear the potential for them to move further on the line of their progression, to continue to dig toward the heart of what it is they’re trying to convey. Still, it’s an album that changes who they are as a band and stands as their most refined, precise collection to date. It captures them at a different moment than did Salvador — one can see that even in the sharpened edges of the logo that appears on the album cover — but showcases a forward step in a pursuit that seems thus far unrelenting. I’ve said before that I consider them one of the finest currently active heavy rock acts in the US, and Colossus only strengthens that opinion.

Lo-Pan, Colossus (2014)

Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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Lo-Pan Premiere “Vox” from Colossus

Posted in audiObelisk on September 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

lo-pan (Photo by Meghan Ralston)

If you’re looking for Lo-Pan, they’re on tour. That’s where you’ll usually find the Columbus, Ohio, heavy rockers. They’ve spent the better part of the last five years kicking up dirt across this fair land in pursuit of riffy glory, and the time and effort have paid off. Their new album, Colossus — their fourth overall and second for Small Stone Records — finds them a tighter and more efficient-sounding unit than they’ve ever been, and where their last full-length, 2011’s Salvador (review here), was a pinnacle for their songwriting’s blend of fluid groove, soulful vocals and memorable tracks, Colossus reaps the reward of all that touring in pushing Lo-Pan‘s methods even further.

So it’s a meaner, more precise Lo-Pan this time around — the band is still comprised of vocalist Jeff Martin, guitarist Brian Fristoe, bassist Scott Thompson and drummer Jesse Bartz — but they’re also branching out in terms of what their songs do. That will probably make no sense until you listen to “Vox” below. Lo-Pan have done big songs before, but “Vox” gives a spacious feeling in Martin‘s echoing voice that’s genuinely new for them — not to mention a guest spot near the end from Black Black Black‘s Jason Alexander Byers (also ex-Disengage) — and they blend it well with Fristoe‘s smooth-running riffs, Thompson‘s viscous but always moving basslines and the ever-raucous stomp from Bartz. In its hook, and in its subtle — and not so subtle — rhythmic shifts, “Vox” emphasizes a lot of the progression in Lo-Pan‘s approach, and less surprisingly, kicks a good deal of ass along the way.

Please find “Vox” on the player below, prepare yourself to spend the rest of the day listening to it on repeat, and enjoy:

Lo-Pan recorded Colossus with Andrew Schneider at Translator Audio in Brooklyn and will release the album Oct. 7 on Small Stone Records. Cover art is by Jason Alexander Byers. Lo-Pan have been on tour with Black Cobra since Aug. 28. Remaining dates for the run are as follows:

LO-PAN w/ Black Cobra:
9/04/2014 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
9/05/2014 Handlebar – Pensacola, FL
9/06/2014 Orpheum – Tampa, FL
9/07/2014 Gramps – Miami, FL
9/08/2014 Back Booth – Orlando, FL
9/09/2014 529 – Atlanta, GA
9/10/2014 The Mothlight – Asheville, NC
9/11/2014 Chop Shop – Charlotte, NC
9/12/2014 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/13/2014 The Metro – Baltimore, MD
9/14/2014 Dusk – Providence, RI
9/15/2014 Nectars – Burlington, VT
9/16/2014 TT The Bears – Boston, MA
9/17/2014 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2014 Saint Vitus – New York, NY
9/19/2014 Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
9/20/2014 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
9/21/2014 The Outpost – Kent, OH *
9/22/2014 Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2014 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/24/2014 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN
9/26/2014 Replay – Lawrence, KS
9/27/2014 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
9/28/2014 Burt’s Tiki Bar – Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2014 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
9/30/2014 The Alley – Sparks, NV
10/01/2014 The Garage – Ventura, CA
10/02/2014 New Parish – Oakland, CA
10/04/2014 Downtown Lounge – Tulsa, OK *
*LO-PAN headlining date/No Black Cobra

Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks

Colossus at Small Stone’s Bandcamp

Small Stone Records

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Here’s a Bio I Wrote for Lo-Pan’s Colossus

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I gotta say, of the several band bios I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to write over the last couple years — for Neurosis, for Conan, for Wo Fat, etc. — the one below for Lo-Pan‘s upcoming fourth album, Colossus, was among the easiest. It required little flourish, as the band’s accomplishments since the release of 2011’s Salvador (review here) speak for themselves, and the record itself is so direct and driving, that to pepper the piece with a bunch of extra descriptors or grandiose language would immediately be overdoing it. And one doesn’t want to overdo it.

Last Friday evening, Lo-Pan announced they’d be supporting Black Cobra for a month on the road ahead of Colossus‘ Oct. 7 release on Small Stone, and you’ll find those dates under the bio below, which I’ll keep in PR wire blue even though it’s my byline, just for form’s sake:

Lo-Pan, Colossus bio:

Lo-Pan’s fourth album, Colossus, is named for the Colossus of Rhodes – a 96-foot statue constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the city of Rhodes itself. No surprise it’s the Columbus, Ohio, four-piece’s most personal album yet and a testament to their growth and survival, as a band and as human beings.

Three years on from their third record, Salvador, Lo-Pan have logged countless miles, crossing the country multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater. They’ve become one of the most ferocious live acts in American heavy rock, and Colossus stands tall to reap the rewards of their experience.

For the first time in nearly a decade together, Lo-Pan knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and “Colossus” for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn just days after headlining Small Stone showcases in that city and Boston this March, they belted out songs that show just how much they’ve moved beyond their influences and arrived at their own sound – a style built on aggression without caricature, fuzz without cliché, melody without redundancy and their meanest groove to date.

Completed with a cover courtesy of Jason Alexander Byers (ex-Disengage, Black Black Black), Colossus will be supported by numerous tours including a full US stint this fall alongside fellow road dogs Black Cobra and much more to come. Like its namesake, Colossus was built in defiance of gods and men, and while Lo-Pan’s loudest statement has always been made on stage, the material they craft and the power with which they execute it on this album is bound to stand for years to come.

BLACK COBRA US Tour w/ Lo Pan:
8/28/2014 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
8/29/2014 Sister – Albuquerque, NM
8/30/2014 Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
8/31/2014 Doublewide – Dallas, TX
9/02/2014 Red 7 – Austin, TX
9/03/2014 Fitzgeralds – Houston, TX
9/04/2014 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
9/05/2014 Handlebar – Pensacola, FL
9/06/2014 Orpheum – Tampa, FL
9/07/2014 Gramps – Miami, FL
9/08/2014 Back Booth – Orlando, FL
9/09/2014 529 – Atlanta, GA
9/10/2014 The Mothlight – Asheville, NC
9/11/2014 Chop Shop – Charlotte, NC
9/12/2014 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/13/2014 The Pinch – Washington, DC
9/14/2014 Dusk – Providence, RI
9/15/2014 Nectars – Burlington, VT
9/16/2014 TT The Bears – Boston, MA
9/17/2014 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2014 Saint Vitus – New York, NY
9/19/2014 Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
9/20/2014 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
9/22/2014 Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2014 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/24/2014 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN
9/26/2014 Replay – Lawrence, KS
9/27/2014 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
9/28/2014 Burt’s Tiki Bar – Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2014 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
10/01/2014 The Garage – Ventura, CA
10/02/2014 New Parish – Oakland, CA

https://www.facebook.com/lopandemic
http://smallstone.com/

Lo-Pan, “Eastern Seas” Live at Ralph’s Diner

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live in Columbus, Ohio, April 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve spent probably an inordinate amount of time these last couple months living vicariously through YouTube clips of the Spirit Caravan reunion. I didn’t get to see the reformed trio during their US run — I expect if they do more dates, I’ll travel to wherever they happen to be that’s closest, be it Rhode Island or New York or wherever — and they’re on the road now in Europe, having first gone over to perform at Desertfest in London and Berlin before starting the US tour with Pilgrim opening, so maybe they’ll come back and do more, maybe not. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about it.

In the meantime, there’s no shortage of video documentation of the US tour to wade through. This week’s Wino Wednesday clip was recorded video and audio by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer, and it’s the full Spirit Caravan set, more than an hour long, from Columbus, Ohio, at Skully’s Music Diner, from April 9. Pretty much any classic you could ask for — from “Fang” to “Cosmic Artifact” to “Brainwashed” — they’re all in there, and the three-piece of Wino, bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman and drummer Henry Vasquez were air tight by then, just six days before the tour wrapped at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn.

Spirit Caravan play this weekend at Hellfest in Clisson, France. On Sunday, June 22, they play The Valley stage with Unida and a slew of enviable others. I’m sure I’ll be looking out for video of that too when the time comes. Until then, and without knowing how long the Spirit Caravan reunion is going to go, if it’s going to result in a new batch of songs or just sort of wrap up and dissipate, I’m glad to have videos like this one to tide me over. Hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, Full Set at Skully’s Music Diner, Columbus, Ohio, April 9, 2014

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Lo-Pan to Start Recording Next Month; Touring Starts March 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The three years since Lo-Pan released their landmark third album, Salvador (review here), have gone quick, but more importantly, they’ve gone. Ohio’s heavy fuzz four-piece have done no shortage of touring since that record came out (also before), but the time has come for them to get back in the studio, which they’re slated to do next month to record what’s already been dubbed Colossus for a release later this year on Small Stone. True to form, they’re hitting the road for one last go beforehand, turning the two nights of Small Stone‘s Boston and Brooklyn showcases into a 10-date run to honor their newfound alliance with Tone Deaf Touring.

They’re partnered with Whores for that stint, which starts on March 20, and expect more on the release of Colossus in the months to come. Until then:

LO-PAN: Ohio Riff Rock Perpetrators Enter Studio Next Month; Band Unites With Tone Deaf Touring – Live Takeovers Announced

Ohio riff rock perpetrators LO-PAN, will enter Translator Audio in Brooklyn, New York next month to record their forthcoming new full-length for amplification station, Small Stone Recordings. Titled Colossus, the offering will be mixed and mastered by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, The Brought Low, Keelhaul) with art direction by Jason Alexander Byers (Black Black Black, Disengage). A Fall release is expected.

In related news, LO-PAN recently joined forces with the roadburning heavyweights at Tone Deaf Touring (Corrosion Of Conformity, Weedeater, ASG) and will embark upon a short stint of live abrasions later this month alongside manic noiserockers, Whores. The ten-date motorcade will include two special Small Stone Showcases in Cambridge and Brooklyn. The following month, the band will join reunited iconic stoner rock sorcerers, Spirit Caravan, and the wicked doom bringers in Pilgrim for a performance in Columbus with additional bouts of onstage debauchery to be announced in the coming months.

LO-PAN Spring Takeover 2014:
3/20/2014 The Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI w/ Whores
3/21/2014 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL w/ Whores
3/22/2014 Ruby’s – Columbus, OH Ruby’s w/ Fuck You Pay Me, White Wolves
3/23/2014 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH w/ Whores, Fuck You Pay Me
3/24/2014 The Union – Athens, OH w/ Whores, Horseburner
3/25/2014 Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Whores
3/26/2014 The Depot – York, PA w/ Neon Warship, Black Cowgirl, Witch Hazel
3/27/2014 The M Room – Philadelphia, PA w/ Neon Warship, Skeleton Hands
3/28/2014 Small Stone Showcase @ Middle East – Cambridge, MA w/ Roadsaw, Mellow Bravo, Gozu, Neon Warship
3/29/2014 Small Stone Showcase @ Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Wo Fat, Lo-Pan, Roadsaw, Neon Warship, Geezer
4/09/2014 Skully’s – Columbus, OH w/ Spirit Caravan, Pilgrim
4/17/2014 Pinned 4 – Columbus, OH w/ Neon Warship, Ride To Ruin, Beggers

Check out the revamped lopandemic.com website for show updates, new merch and other LO-PAN-centric awesomeness.

http://lopandemic.com
http://smallstone.com

Lo-Pan, “Colossus” Live in Portland, OR, Dec. 15, 2012

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff Martin of Lo-Pan

Posted in Questionnaire on December 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ohio fuzz rockers Lo-Pan have been among the underground’s hardest touring bands for the last several years. In 2011, they reissued their 2009 sophomore outing, Sasquanaut (review here), through Small Stone, and followed it with Salvador (review here), a progressive and soulful look at the shape of riff to come. Last Fall, touring alongside High on Fire and Goatwhore showed increasing profile in the public eye for the four-piece, and stints alongside Torche and Weedeater have continued their momentum in 2013. Though he’s generally found positioned behind drummer Jesse Bartz on stage, vocalist Jeff Martin‘s powerful voice has been essential in pushing Lo-Pan beyond the confines of genre.

Last weekend, the band’s practice space in Columbus was robbed and they, among many others, lost gear in the burglary (info here). Prior to that, Martin answered The Obelisk Questionnaire as follows:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff Martin

How did you come to do what you do?

I often wonder that myself. If someone told me at 17 that this would be where I was at nearly 35, I wouldn’t have believed them. I look back and I wonder how it all happened, sometimes. I met this person who introduced me to this person who left me and another person came into my life and whamo… Here I am. Life flies by and you sometimes just have to marvel at it later.

Describe your first musical memory.

My mother was a music teacher and choir director when I was growing up, so music was just always around during my childhood. She gave piano lessons and voice lessons at our house, so the halls were always filled with the sound. Probably my earliest memory would be my mom singing me to sleep. In particular I recall that she would sing “O’ Danny Boy” to me while sitting on the edge of my bed. It always did the trick. My mom has a beautiful singing voice.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

The high point thus far would have to be December 22, 2012. My band played in San Francisco at Slim’s with High on Fire and Goatwhore. It was the end of a 45 day tour for us and it was a sold-out show in one of the best clubs in the country. We played really well for a packed house and it just felt fantastic. That was a special night.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

When I was in high school I believed that the government had the best interest of its citizens at heart. Does that answer your question?

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I suppose it depends on the person. With someone like David Bowie I would imagine it leads to free expression and artistic respect that puts him in the upper echelon of musicians that have ever walked the earth. For someone like me it can lead to despair and total frustration. Progression does not always denote growth. Serial killers progress and their crimes become even more horrid. Artistic progression can lead to unfocused blather if it isn’t tempered by rational argument at some point of the process.

How do you define success?

If you attempt something and it goes as you hoped… that’s success. In any field, any size project. Did you accomplish your goals? Yes? Then you are successful. There are many rungs on that ladder, though. Incremental success is something most people have to come to terms with. Measured success, as opposed to complete success must sometimes be enough.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

One time I came in contact with a musician that I have idolized for many years and he was a total mess. It was gross. He was rude and awful. It changed my opinion of him and of his music. A total bummer.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to learn more tools and fabrication of different materials. I would like to have a talent for building furniture, or other items.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to finishing and actually performing a comedy routine that I have been working on for some time.

Lo-Pan, “Chichen Itza” official video

Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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EYE, Second Sight: Into Beyond

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Birthed in a not-at-all cosmic reality known as Columbus, Ohio, the four-piece space rock outfit EYE nonetheless execute their sound with classical majesty on their sophomore full-length, Second Sight. Their first outing, 2011’s Center of the Sun (discussed here and here), was gorgeous enough to get the attention of Kemado Records, who issued it on vinyl in 2012, and the still-quick follow-up comes preceded by a 7″ single (discussed here) and a live tape (review here). Clearly, EYE — who also self-recorded the new long-player — aren’t ones for sitting still, and that sense of movement extends to the music on Second Sight as well, beginning in the gong hits and synth waves that patiently establish the psychedelic course of 21-minute opener “Lost are the Years.” Here EYE begin to unfold not just the first side, but the LP as a whole, and though it’s only been about a year and a half since Center of the Sun was released, the sense is that something ancient has awakened. There is a near-immediate sense of texture to “Lost are the Years,” also the longest track on the 45-minute outing (bonus points), and that comes in large part from the wash of Moog and analog synth effects created by Adam Smith. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Auxier has no shortage of effects on his guitar either, and even drummer Brandon Smith gets in on the ambience with chimes, congas, the aforementioned gong and other percussion in addition to regular old rock drums, so while bassist Matt Bailey would seem to be the one charged with holding the five tracks of Second Sight together, actually it works out more that the four-piece never really lose control. As spaced-out as they go — and they go plenty spaced out — the record keeps a mood that’s calm-ing if not calm-ed, and when they want to, EYE drift with futuristic efficiency into atmospherics that even the first record only seemed to hint at, a song like “Wooden Nickels” retaining some human element through harmonized vocals from Auxier and both Smiths.

Vocals are never really the complete focal point (Amy Michelle Hoffman and Anthony Jacobs contribute as well), but they’re gorgeous anyway and make the band that much richer and more lush-sounding. It is nearly five minutes of build-up before they arrive over bass and acoustic guitar on “Lost are the Years,” signaling the start of the song’s peaceful second movement. Tension is minimal, melody is rampant, and EYE are immediately the masters of the universe they’re exploring. Auxier takes a bluesy, echoing solo over acoustic strum and Bailey‘s bassline, and Adam keeps the texture varied while Brandon seems to rest until about the seven-minute mark a fill leads to the next progression, a more upbeat, distorted and somewhat foreboding swirl. The vocals are deeper in the mix, part of that swirl, not above it, and the swaying riff that backs the subsequent guitar solo calls to mind some of Hypnos 69‘s more recent progressive triumphs. The course of “Lost are the Years” is winding as the third movement builds to a crashing finish and the acoustic strum of the second movement returns, backed by subtle percussion and bathed in mellotron sunshine. It is even more graceful in its Floydian sprawl than when it first appeared, and it shifts fluidly into more exploratory acoustic guitars, a thunder sample signaling the change impending before a full stop brings back the heavier swirl, all channels full and vibrant as they transition into a shuffle led by Brandon‘s drums and soon joined by Adam‘s keys, rising, cresting and receding. They’ve departed the back and forth of one part to another that they’d previously established in favor of an extended jam, the guitars, bass, drums and keys all serving to further the atmosphere, layers of lead and rhythm guitars coming forward for a King Crimson-style push after 16 minutes in even as Auxier is in mid-rip on another solo. A series of hits ensues and backed by a jazzy snare roll, the guitars lead down a psych rock rabbit hole, ending up in a winding line that brings a return of vocals and precedes the key-driven push into the final payoff. It would need to be sizable to answer for all the twists and turns of “Lost are the Years” so far, and it is, but not necessarily any more grandiose than is warranted. Guitar is still are the fore, trading off lead lines and heavy riffing, and they cap with a return to the hits that led the way into the last movement, ending a song that, if you try to consciously keep pace with each of its changes, you’re going to wind up exhausted in the best way possible.

Read more »

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Lo-Pan, Deadsea, Brujas del Sol & Others’ Practice Space Robbed

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though in the past I’ve advocated its use in everything from cases of sexual assault to murder to someone cutting me off in traffic, I don’t actually believe in the death penalty. Among the strongest arguments in capital punishment’s favor, however, are people who steal from bands. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I’ve said it. Steal from corporations. They have money, and the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of shit like the below is nothing to them. To take equipment from people who actually either broke their asses playing out to earn the money to buy it or who balance a dayjob existence with their insatiable need to create something is fucking disgusting. I hope when the cops find whoever did this, they’ve been hit by a bus.

Along with a slew of others robbed early this past Saturday morning in a Columbus, Ohio, rehearsal space, Lo-Pan lost equipment and sent out the following updates via Thee Facebook. Goes without saying that if you’re in that part of the world and you see any of this stuff, do whatever you can to help the bands get it back.

Bummer note to start a week on, but imagine how the bands feel:

Our hearts go out to friends from Brujas Del Sol, Ride to Ruin, Fevernest/Struck By Lightening, Prosanctus Inferi, and others that had gear stolen in the break-in at our rehearsal facility. We also lost items but our lost gear pales in comparison to that of some others.

Be on the lookout for lists of stolen gear from these bands and others and let’s try to help them find their stuff. Mostly lots of guitars were taken and a couple of larger items.

Stealing a bands gear is one of the most low-bottom things you can do. Don’t do that. Just don’t.

A big thank to everyone for the outpouring of interest following the theft of our rehearsal space Friday night/Saturday morning. We had over 240 shares of our status with the gear list in 15 hours…that is amazing. Word has spread far and wide and we thank all of our friends for your assistance.

Let’s keep up the good work and get this equipment back where it belongs. The police are working hard and progress is happening. You may not see specifics regarding leads or suspects in the interest of preserving the investigation but rest assured that work is being done.

Special thanks to the amazing Columbus Arts Community, which has come together in a manor seldom seen. Respect.

Here is an up to date list of all things taken from our rehearsal space last night. PLEASE REPOST THIS EVERYWHERE.

A. Yakuza Heart Attack
Brat Curse – white Japanese Fender Mustang
B. Struck By Lightning/ Earthburner/
200? Gibson Les Paul Custom – Black w/ Gold hardware Lace drop and gain pick ups installed. Dimarzio strap locks. Oversized string gauge set up.
1978 Gibson RD Artist – Vintage Burst w/ Gold hardware Lace drop and gain pick ups installed Chris Krump engraved on the trus rod cover Schaller strap locks Oversized string gauge set up.
60th Anniversary eddition American Fender Telecaster – Tri Burst w/ Black pick guard. Oversized string gauge set up.
Jackson Rhodes – Black. String through body.
1979 Gibson G3 Bass Guitar – Vintage Burst. Missing bridge cover. Oversized string gauge set up.
200? Gibson Les Paul Studio – Black w/ Gold hardware. Neck repair. Dimarzio strap locks.
200? Gibson SG Special – Ebony w/ Chrome hardware. Dimarzio x2n bridge pick up. Dimarzio Air Norton neck pick up. Dimarzio strap locks.
198? Peavy Dyna Bass Guitar – Black Dimarzio strap locks.
Mexican Fender P Bass – Black w/ Black pick guard. EMG active pick ups. Chip on top horn. Dimarzio strap locks.
2 198? Peavy Mark IV Bass Amps. Electrical tape on the front.
Roadrunner RRMBGABS Molded bass guitar case – Black. Monster cables and Mogami cables inside.

C. Bummers/Tight Bros
Fender Telecaster (made in mexico, 3 saddle bridge, brown sunburst with paint chipped off the entire back)
Fender Stratocaster Standard (made in Mexico, black with white pickguard, large amount of sticker residue on body)

D. Lo-Pan
1 off brand custom stratocaster in case…pieced together not really traceable
2 – JBL PA towers 2×15
1- Shure SM 57

E. Brujas del Sol
2002-4 LAKE PLACID BLUE (white pickguard) crafted in japan Fender Jaguar
2009/10 TWO TONE SUNBURST (black pickguard) American Special Fender Stratocaster
2003/04 ALL BLACK Made in Mexico Telecaster
2002-5 Ibanez Omar Rodriguez Pro Model. White with Red tortoise guard.
1988/89 MIJ White Jazz Bass
Warmoth Custom P/Jazz Bass Surf green/Black pickguard. (one of a kind)
2012 Fender Pawn shop Bass XI. Black. Tortoise guard.

F. Magnumb Opus
Fender Deluxe Reverb 1×12 22W Amp (serial on request) – black casing with silver face
A second Fender Deluxe Reverb 1X12X22W Amp (serial on request)
(Bypass switch is missing on this amp on the back panel)
Ibanez AF 55 Art Core Hollow Body Guitar Red – Valued at 450.00

G. Little Professors
1 Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass(most likely Mexican made) Cream body w/ Tortoise pick guard
1 Maroon Hollow body Silvertone Guitar
1959 Danelectro Reissue guitar, black body w/ white pickguard

H. Smoking Guns/Matt Monta
untouched

I. Weight of Whales
Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe
Fender Frontman 212R with a bunch of local stickers on top
Behringer XENYX X1622USB USB Mixer with Effects
Dell Inspiron XPS Laptop
Ibanez 1977 Acoustic Guitar
Wood Fender Ukulele
Black Rogue Mandolin
Black Mexican Fender Stratocaster

J. ROEVY
Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus
Odyssey Black Flight Case

K. RIde to Ruin
Black Gibson Les Paul with three pickups (two gold and one pearl) in an epiphany hardshell case with lots of stickers
White 60’s Gibson Melody maker with a neck repair, one hum bucker in the bridge and one single coil in the neck in a gibson hardshell case (the serial number is painted over)
Green Lotus double cutaway with two humbuckers in a heavy duty flight case with a billy preston stencil on it
Black Epiphone Les Paul with two pickups and very heavy gauge strings in a soft-shell case.
Black Samic Strat copy in soft shell case

L. Deadsea
Modulus Quantum 5 5-string bass with graphite neck- dark green/black (serial number available upon request)
Ibanez Professional Model 2681 blonde guitar with pearl inlay on body and neck (serial number available upon request)
B.C Rich NJ Warbest Deluxe
Ibanez Xiphos XPT700

https://www.facebook.com/lopandemic

Lo-Pan, Live at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3, Brooklyn, July 27, 2013

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