Wo Fat’s Live Juju: Wo Fat at Freak Valley Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wo-Fat-5-Photo-by-Falk-Hagen-Bernshausen-480

On March 17, Texas riffers Wo Fat will release Live Juju: Wo Fat at Freak Valley. Their first official live album, it was recorded earlier this year as the name implies at Germany’s Freak Valley festival, which was part of Wo Fat‘s “Texas Takeover” European tour with Mothership, and is available to preorder now through the Dallas trio’s own Fuzz Lab Records in a limited vinyl pressing of 500 copies.

Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump of Wo Fat – who’ve already put out one of 2014’s best records in the form of The Conjuring (review here) on Small Stone – offered this comment on the new release and what was clearly a special performance for the band:

“Freak Valley was one of the highlights of what was a pretty smokin’ European tour that we did last spring. It was a transcendent experience for us to be a part of this amazing event with such a killer lineup of bands and the support of so many great fans. We decided to call the album Live Juju partly to try and convey some of the magic that was in the air that day that started out cold and wet and turned into a beautiful sunny spring day not long before our set.”

Preorders for Live Juju: Wo Fat at Freak Valley come with an immediate download of “Read the Omens,” which featured in their 40-minute Freak Valley set from The Conjuring. More info on the release follows here, courtesy of the band:

wo fat live juju wo fat at freak valley

Recorded Live at Freak Valley, Netphen, Germany, May 30, 2014 by Jens Hunecke of Heinen Studios
Mixed By Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound
Mastered by Nolan Brett at Crystal Clear Sound
Released by Fuzz Lab Records

The vinyl will include a download immediately of one song and a download of the entire album on the release date.

Track List:
1. The Black Code
2. Read the Omens
3. Bayou Juju
4. Enter the Riffian
5. Sleep of the Black Lotus

Artwork: David Paul Seymour - http://davidpaulseymour.com/

Recorded Live at Freak Valley, Netphen, Germany, May 30, 2014 by Jens Hunecke of Heinen Studios
Mixed By Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound
Mastered by Nolan Brett at Crystal Clear Sound
Released by Fuzz Lab Records

Pre-sale link: https://wofat.bandcamp.com/album/live-juju-wo-fat-at-freak-valley
https://www.facebook.com/wofatriffage/

Wo Fat, Live Juju: Wo Fat at Freak Valley (2015)

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Mothership Stream “Holy Massacre”; Mothership II Out Today

Posted in audiObelisk on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mothership

Mothership II, the aptly-titled second full-length and Ripple Music debut from Dallas heavy rocking trio Mothership, is available today. You can hear the complete thing on Ripple‘s Bandcamp if you’re so inclined, but given the opportunity to do so, I also wanted to feature a track from the record since it demonstrates so clearly how guitarist/vocalist Kelley Juett, bassist/vocalist Kyle Juett and drummer Judge Smith have progressed since their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), which Ripple also released last year.

If the power trio have moved forward from their first record — and I’ll point to the Floydisms of opener “Celestial Prophet” and later instrumental “Tami Massif” and the masterful use of tempo shifts on “Priestess of the Moon,” the progressive edge of “Holy Massacre” and the grand stoner epic closer “Serpents Throne” (not to be confused with Philadelphia-based instrumental outfit Serpent Throne) as evidence that they have — then it’s evolution hard won. The Juetts and Smith have spent a goodly portion of the last two years road-dogging back and forth across the country, even venturing to Europe for the first time mothership iithis past summer to play the Freak Valley festival and elsewhere. Their time on tour has fed into their confidence in their performance and their command of songwriting, so that “Astromancer” seems to offer payoff where The Sword never quite did and “Centauromachy” touches on classic metal chugging with the smoothness of tone and atmosphere — Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, who also helmed the debut, recorded Mothership II at his band’s Crystal Clear Studios in Dallas — that only heavy rock swagger can provide. And Mothership II is not short on swagger. Whether it’s the swing in Smith‘s crash or the interplay of Kelley‘s shred-ready guitar and Kyle‘s bass, Mothership are locked in and they sound like they know it.

The album is also two-sided both in the vinyl A/B sense and in terms of the songwriting. While “Priestess of the Moon,” “Astromancer” and “Centauromachy” tell stonerly tales of monsters and outer space, Mothership also get down with a fair bit of classic rock sleaze to break things up. Side A’s “Shanghai Surprise” and side B’s “Hot Smoke and Heavy Blues” — not to mention the borderline-creepy CD bonus track “Good Morning Little School Girl” — feed into a dudely heavy rock trope of long-standing. Though “Holy Massacre” doesn’t necessarily represent this lyrical aspect of Mothership II – something I’ll argue works in its favor — the song’s fluidity, natural tonality, live feel and high-octane delivery speak to many of the strengths at work across the album, and that’s not to mention the strength of the hook at play in its chorus. A bluesy chug emerges as it builds to its stomping apex, and Mothership shift tempo so smoothly that before you know it, you’re being carried off to the next movement.

If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen to “Holy Massacre” below to get a taste for some of Mothership II‘s finest heavy. Hope you enjoy:

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

Mothership‘s Mothership II is out now on Ripple Music in Europe and North America. They’ll play their official release show Nov. 21 at Lola‘s Saloon in Ft. Worth, TX. More info at the links.

Mothership on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

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Mothership II Album Details Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Mothership‘s new album is a scorcher, plain and simple. The Texas natives made waves with their self-titled debut, which got picked up by Ripple for a re-release, but Mothership II is a different beast altogether, and one that trounces its predecessor easily. I’ll have more on the record as we get closer to its newly-announced November release, again through Ripple Music, but for now, take this as notice that the album is one worth looking forward to, and particularly if you dug the first one, something that’s going to make a late addition to your best of the year list.

Details and tracks and art, just off the PR wire:

MOTHERSHIP Reveal Details of Sophomore Album, Mothership II

Ripple Music and Dallas, Texas-based riffers Mothership are excited to finally reveal the details of Mothership’s highly anticipated second release, Mothership II. After months of playing their new tunes to sweaty, ecstatic masses both in Europe and on across the United States, the trio is excited for fans to finally hear the album in its entirety. For the album art, the band chose good friend and incredibly talented artist Zach “EZ” Nelson (Instagram – @ezwheelin) to hand draw his version of the galactic Valkyrie who also appeared in another form on the cover of the band’s debut album. For the album’s engineering, Mothership returned to Kent Stump of Wo Fat, who also lent his magic to the group’s eponymous debut album, at Dallas’ Crystal Clear Studios. Mothership II will be released on single LP gatefold vinyl and on digipack CD.

RELEASE DATES:

US: November 11th
Europe/UK: November 10th

TRACK LISTING:

1. Celestial Prophet
2. Priestess of the Moon
3. Shanghai Surprise
4. Holy Massacre
5. Centauromachy
6. Hot Smoke & Heavy Blues
7. Tamu Massif
8. Astromancer
9. Serpents Throne

The CD will have two bonus songs:

1. Eye of Sphinx
2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

mothershipusa.bandcamp.com
mothershiphaslanded.com
facebook.com/mothershipusa
twitter.com/mothershipusa
ripple-music.com
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com

Mothership, “Serpents Throne” live in Germany

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Wo Fat Stream Instrumental Version of New Album The Conjuring

Posted in audiObelisk on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure what prompted Dallas trio Wo Fat to produce an instrumental version of their latest and fifth album, The Conjuring (review here), taking away the vocal work of Kent Stump and Michael Walter to leave just their guitar and drums, respectively, and the bass work of Tim Wilson, but if you want to apply the old stoner rock cliché, it definitely fits: “It’s all about the riffs, man”

That’s been the case, more or less, all along for the heavy fuzz-rocking three-piece, but this instrumental take on The Conjuring brings into focus more than ever before just how righteous Wo Fat‘s nod is, how fluidly they roll from groove to groove. Even a shorter song like the just-under-seven-minute “Read the Omens” — which in its vocalized incarnation is among the record’s catchiest pieces — works smoothly as an instrumental moving between its riffs. Wo Fat have developed their jammy side particularly over the course of their last two albums, 2012’s The Black Code (review here), which was also their debut on Small Stone, 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), but whether it’s an airy Stump lead, smooth fill from Wilson or perfectly placed crash from Walter, the instrumental The Conjuring highlights just how dynamic and powerful a trio they’ve become.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 17-minute closing title-track, “Dreamwalker,” which feels all the more open without the verses or chorus to ground it, but of particular note as well is the centerpiece “Pale Rider from the Ice,” which, without its bluesy intro, launches with a solid 90 seconds of right-on tone, an utter wash of fuzz courtesy of Stump, before moving into a heavy psychedelic flow that, while satisfying on the regular edition, is an utter highlight here, and all the more so moving into the swaggering “Beggar’s Bargain.”

It’s not an official title or anything, but I’ve been referring to it as The Voiceless Conjuring. So, if you’ve ever wanted to do Wo Fat karaoke — I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t — The Voiceless Conjuring is your chance. Fuzz on:

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

Wo Fat‘s The Conjuring was recorded at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas and is available now on Small Stone Records. The band recently returned from a European tour alongside Mothership that included a stop at Freak Valley. More info and updates at the links.

Wo Fat on Thee Facebooks

Wo Fat’s website

The Conjuring at Small Stone’s Bandcamp

Small Stone Records

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Wo Fat, The Conjuring: It was No Dream

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

To those already familiar with Dallas riff forerunners Wo Fat, their fifth album, The Conjuring, will likely hold few surprises. It is foremost the next stage in the Texas heavy rock trio’s ongoing progression, captured at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound studio by guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, it runs a sonically consistent thread forward from their last several records even unto its Alexander von Wieding artwork, the German artist having contributed the last two covers as well, to 2012’s The Black Code (vinyl review here, CD review here), which was their debut on Small Stone, as well as 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), released by Nasoni. But as that collaboration has yet to yield a piece of such impact as that which adorns The Conjuring, so too do the album’s five songs/47 minutes find Wo Fat at their most developed yet, be it the smooth tempo shifts in “Read the Omens,” the hooks in the opening title-track or the boogie-strong “Beggar’s Bargain,” the bluesy humor of “Pale Rider from the Ice,” or the extended jam in the 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” which looms large over the rest of the tracklisting. Wo Fat have only become more spacious and jammed-out over time, so these things are natural progressions, and they very much remain a heavy rock band, but to trace their development since their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, and its follow-up, 2008’s Psychedelonaut (review here), is to understand the roots of the utter mastery of their sound they show in these tracks, the power trio dynamic between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter shining through the dense wall of fuzz and riffed excellence they’ve crafted. I consider myself a fan, but I think even the most impartial of ears would have to admit they’ve outdone themselves again.

Listening to “Dreamwalker,” one can only wonder how long it will be before Wo Fat jam out a single-track LP, one vital piece that brings their voodoo tales and rolling grooves to bear across a massive, 40-minute exploration, but as much as that cut is bound to be a focal point for anyone who takes on The Conjuring, that’s not to underplay the quality of songwriting that precedes (or, really, that contained within it; as stretched out as that song is, it’s also got a hook). The album opens with a sample culled from 1957’s Curse of the Demon, the quote, “I know the value of the cold light of reason, but I also know the deep shadows that light can cast,” topping a mounting swell of feedback that least to the first riffs of “The Conjuring,” which unfolds patiently but clearly announces its verse riff upon arrival. Immediately Wo Fat are in their element: Vital, natural-sounding, not forcing the song but enjoying the trip they’re taking with it. Between songs like “Shard of Leng” and “Lost Highway” from The Black Code, “Bayou Juju” and “Descent into the Maelstrom” from Noche del Chupacabra and “El Culto de la Avaricia” and “Analog Man” from Psychedelonaut, there’s no question Wo Fat have a history of mixing a few choice hooks into each record, the kinds of choruses you hear immediately in your head upon seeing the name of the song, but The Conjuring balances this impulse best of all with their predilection for jamming, extended tracks bookending the album while “Read the Omens,” “Pale Rider from the Ice” and “Beggar’s Bargain” hold true and further the methods they’ve established as their own over the course of their decade-plus tenure. I don’t know how many layers of guitar there are by the time “The Conjuring” wraps its near-10-minute run, but I know they’re all put to good use, and I know “Read the Omens,” which follows, continues the momentum with no letup and a raucous wash of cymbals to accompany.

Read more »

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Wo Fat to Release The Conjuring on June 17

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

If you’ve got a calendar, you might want to mark June 17 for the release of Wo Fat‘s new album, The Conjuring, or failing that, get your preorder ready to roll. However you go about it, the point is the fifth record from the Dallas fuzz explorers is one you don’t want to let slide. The artwork, release date and bio I wrote were already premiered here a little while back, but a reminder from the PR wire never hurt anybody, and in addition to the preorder link, this one also comes with confirmation of Wo Fat‘s European tour alongside Mothership, whose new album was just recorded with Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas.

That tour includes a stop at the Freak Valley festival, which looks awesome:

WO FAT: Dallas Psychedelic Haze-Bringers To Unveil The Conjuring Next Month Via Small Stone; European Takeover Announced

You can wade through as many WO FAT press quotes about being “Texas-sized” as you want or see how many top-whatever lists the band has made since the Dallas trio began raging in 2003, but none of that is going to be the same as staring down their swampadelic fuzz groove for yourself. If you want to know the monster, shake its hand.

Next month, WO FAT will release The Conjuring, their fifth full-length and second via the volume perpetrators at Small Stone. Much like their last two works — 2012’s The Black Code and 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra – The Conjuring is a heavy-riff/heavy-jam blast of a time, the sort of record that turns the vaguely interested into converts and makes the corners on squares look even sharper.

Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter are jazz-combo tight and their roll is easy and natural, much like Fu Manchu, but far bigger and in the case of The Conjuring, far darker. There’s been a creature lurking in the woods since WO FAT’s 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark. Their second album, 2009’s Psychedelonaut, pulled back on the threat some to lighten the mood, but whether it’s the motor-driven rush of “Read The Omens” or the you’re-already-lost-in-it riff-exploration of seventeen-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” The Conjuring is indeed a backwoods ritual. Bluesmen have sold their souls for less.

Veterans of Roadburn, slated for Freak Valley 2014 and self-sufficient with Stump handling the recording at his own Crystal Clear Sound on their home turf, WO FAT pushes their jams farther than they’ve ever gone before on these five tracks. Topped off with a mastering job from Nolan Brett at Stump’s studio and an otherworldly cover courtesy of Alexander Von Wieding, the beast that WO FAT’s tectonic riffage calls to earth has never seemed more real or more alive than it does on The Conjuring.

The Conjuring Track Listing:
1. The Conjuring
2. Read The Omens
3. Pale Rider From The Ice
4. Beggar’s Bargain
5. Dreamwalker

The Conjuring will drop via Small Stone on June 17th, 2014 on CD, vinyl, and digitally. Preceding the release, WO FAT will take their smoky stoner rituals overseas on a twelve-date trek. The games begin on May 27th in London. From there, the band will spread their jams through France, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Spain, including an appearance at the illustrious Freak Valley Festival sharing the stage with Truckfighters, Blues Pill, Solstafir, Mothership and more!

Preorder The Conjuring today at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample fourth track, “Beggar’s Bargain.”

WO-FAT Live 2014:
5/27/2014 The Black Heart – London, UK
5/28/2014 Le Glazart – Paris, FR
5/29/2014 Little Devil – Tilburg, NL
5/30/2014 Freak Valley Festival 2014 – Netphen, DE
5/31/2014 Jagerklause – Berlin, DE
6/01/2014 Fonobar – Waraw, POL
6/02/2014 Chemiefabrik – Dresden, DE
6/03/2014 Chemiefabrik – Munich, DE
6/04/2014 Kinski – Zurich, SW
6/05/2014 Le Volume – Nice, FR
6/06/2014 Rocksound – Barcelona, ESP
6/07/2014 Peyote Fest – Madrid, ESP

http://www.facebook.com/wofatriffage
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Wo Fat, “Beggar’s Bargain” from The Conjuring (2014)

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Wo Fat to Release The Conjuring June 17; Artwork and Details Revealed

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today I have the extreme pleasure of premiering the artwork for Wo Fat‘s forthcoming fifth album, The Conjuring. Set for release on June 17 through Small Stone – though from what I hear it’ll be available at the merch table on the Dallas trio’s upcoming European tour — the cover art to The Conjuring arrives courtesy of none other than Alexander von Wieding, who has outdone himself in capturing the album’s brooding and dark psychedelia. Von Wieding did the cover as well for 2012’s The Black Code (review here), and of course counts Karma to Burn, his own Larman ClamorBlack ThaiManilla Road and many others among his clientele. Samples of his work are available at his website.

Click the image below for a more detailed look, and just for kicks, I’ve also included the Wo Fat bio for The Conjuring, which I wrote:

Wo Fat – The Conjuring Bio

You can wade through as many press quotes about “Texas-sized” as you want or see how many top-whatever lists Wo Fat have made since the Dallas trio got started in 2003, but none of that is going to be the same as staring down their swampadelic fuzz groove for yourself. If you want to know the monster, shake its hand.

In 2014, Wo Fat will release The Conjuring, their fifth full-length and second through Small Stone. Like their last two, 2012’s The Black Code and 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra, it’s a heavy-riff/heavy-jam blast of a time – the kind of record that turns the vaguely interested into converts and that makes the corners on squares look even sharper. Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter are jazz-combo tight and their roll is easy and natural, like you remember Fu Manchu being, but bigger-sounding and in the case of The Conjuring, darker as well.

There’s been a creature lurking in the woods since Wo Fat’s 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark – their second album, 2009’s Psychedelonaut, pulled back on the threat some to lighten the mood – but whether it’s the motor-driven rush of “Read the Omens” or the you’re-already-lost-in-it riff-exploration of 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” The Conjuring is indeed a backwoods ritual. Bluesmen have sold their souls for less.

Veterans of Roadburn, slated for Freak Valley 2014 and self-sufficient with Stump handling the recording at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Wo Fat push their jams farther than they’ve ever gone before on these five tracks. Topped off with a mastering job from Nolan Brett at their studio and an otherworldly cover courtesy of Alexander Von Wieding, the beast that Wo Fat’s tectonic riffage calls to earth has never seemed more real or more alive than it does on The Conjuring.

The Conjuring tracklisting:
1. The Conjuring
2. Read the Omens
3. Pale Rider from the Ice
4. Beggar’s Bargain
5. Dreamwalker

Wo Fat:
Kent Stump: Guitar/vocals
Tim Wilson: Bass
Michael Walter: Drums/backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/wofatriffage
http://wofat.net/
http://smallstone.com/
http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/

Wo Fat, “Nameless Cults” from Cyclopean Riffs split with Egypt (2013)

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On Wax: Wo Fat, The Black Code

Posted in On Wax on January 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve had Wo Fat on the brain lately, ever since I found out they’d have a new record out this year and they got announced for Small Stone‘s showcases in Boston and Brooklyn this March, as well as playing Freak Valley in Germany this coming May, so with a ton going on, it didn’t seem outlandish to pay their 2012 fourth full-length, The Black Code (review here), another visit. Small Stone put the thing out on vinyl last year in a first run of 500 split up among three color variations. Gone. Second pressing comes limited to 250 copies in 180g vinyl, either solid yellow or transparent orange. The one I got is solid yellow, which I think sits pretty well next to the Alexander Von Wieding album art, playing off the greens of the cover itself and in the gatefold and accenting the band’s logo and the sand of the otherworldly desert landscape. Call me superficial if you want, but in addition to being a fuzz-drenched glory-jam of a full-length, it’s also a nice-looking find.

As to the record itself, well, if you didn’t hear it when you came out, not to be a prick about it, but you’ve been missing out on some of the finest heavy fuzz the US has to offer. As the folks — myself included — who caught Wo Fat at Roadburn last year, they’ll tell you. Wo Fat tap into classically hairy tones and fit them to whatever proportional gag about “Texas-sized” you might want to make. Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump drives the formidable groove of “Lost Highway” and “The Black Code” on side A, opening things up a bit to let drummer Michael Walter tie up purposefully-left-loose ends on “Hurt at Gone” while bassist Tim Wilson adds bottom end heft to the languid-but-swinging push. The Black Code was self-recorded, but wants nothing for production in either its clarity of natural vibe, and Wo Fat lock in their riffy grooves like the unpretentious heirs to Fu Manchu, saving plenty of room to jam in these long, spacious-sounding tracks.

That’s true all the more on side B of the vinyl, which feels all the more like a wall of fuzz with the CD-closing duo of “The Shard of Leng” and “Sleep of the Black Lotus” flowing one right into the next. One factor that particularly stands out in revisiting The Black Code is that although it’s the jammiest outing Wo Fat have released to date, the songs also hold tightly to memorable choruses, whether it’s “The Shard of Leng” building from its slow-groove intro into more straight-driving riffy crunch or “Lost Highway” kicking the record off with one of its most resonant hooks back on side A. As a power trio, Stump, Wilson and Walter are dead-on and their transitions run accordingly smooth. “The Shard of Leng” stomps its way through swaggering riffery, comfortably paced but irresistibly grooving, with Walter backing Stump‘s vocals in the chorus before breaking out the cowbell and signaling the move into The Black Code‘s longest jam, Echoplex and all.

“Sleep of the Black Lotus” keeps a similar vibe in its okay-this-is-the-song-and-then-we-jam-the-crap-out-of-these-riffs mentality, and though both sides are about even time-wise, the second feels longer with the two more extended tracks. Still, they make an excellent pairing even more on vinyl for being isolated from the rest of The Black Code, righteous and exploratory as they are. Whatever Wo Fat might have in store for their fifth album, and whenever it might arrive this year amid their touring first to the Northeast from Dallas and then overseas, it comes on the heels of their most accomplished full-length to-date — anyone further fiending for their fuzz should explore their 2013 split with Egypt (review here) — and for as great as The Black Code looks and sounds on wax, I can’t wait to hear how they follow it up.

Wo Fat, The Black Code (2012)

Wo Fat on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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audiObelisk: Elliott’s Keep Unveil “Gates Beyond” from New Album Nascentes Morimur

Posted in audiObelisk on November 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

For over half a decade, Dallas, Texas, doom metal trio Elliott’s Keep have paid homage to fallen comrade Glenn Riley Elliott, the three-piece of Kenneth Greene (bass/vocals), Jonathan Bates (guitar) and Joel Bates (drums) having made their debut with 2008’s In Medias Res (review here). In some ways, that album has proven to be the blueprint for everything Elliott’s Keep have done since. Released on Brainticket, it established Elliott’s Keep as a powerfully metallic act running an electric current of Solitude Aeturnus-style traditional American doom metal through their songs. The ensuing follow-up on the same label, Sine Qua Non (review here), was more cohesive and more metal, but crucially, more confident in establishing its darkened course.

Elliott’s Keep‘s third album, the forthcoming Nascentes Morimur, holds to some of the band’s established traditions. It has a Latin title (meaning, “From the moment we’re born, we die”), as well as artwork with a castle keep on the front cover, and it sure enough taps into trad doom and metallic elements from what I’ve heard of it, but like last time around, there’s also progression on the part of the band. And since they returned to record with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Absu, Mercyful Fate), that progression comes through with clarity and a professionally crisp presentation that’s still heavy as all hell. For example, take the closing track of the CD’s total nine, “Gates Beyond.”

What impresses most about the song isn’t necessarily that it expands the band’s sonic palette by incorporating violin alongside Greene‘s mournful vocals, but how well that expansion blends with the strength in the songwriting. Yeah, “Gates Beyond” is interesting, but it’s also quality doom, and I feel like all too often the one is sacrificed in service of the other (or the other to the one, as it were). Elliott’s Keep have been able to hold firm to the parts of their processes they want to maintain and at the same time bring in new ideas and ultimately change the output in a natural way. “Gates Beyond” proves that, five-years on from their first record, Elliott’s Keep are able to bend their sound to their will. They’re the masters of their own fate.

And that being the case, all the better that I have the opportunity to premiere “Gates Beyond” in advance of the album release. Check it out on the player below, and please enjoy:

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

Elliott’s Keep‘s Nascentes Morimur is due in December and will be available on CD/digital. More info at the following links.

Elliott’s Keep on Thee Facebooks

Brainticket Records

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Elliott’s Keep Finish Recording Nascentes Morimur

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

With their eyes on a Fall 2013 release, Dallas doomers Elliott’s Keep have finished recording their third album, Nascentes Morimur. Last we heard from the trio, they were starting to record in May, so as the record is being mixed, they’re on track to have it out as planned. J.T. Longoria (whose considerable credentials you can see below) will be handling the mix, and while it’s probably not up there with the highest profile outings he’s worked on, Elliott’s Keep‘s mission of honoring their fallen comrade with heavy-as-hell trad doom continues to impress with both its sincerity and its metallic heft.

The band sent an update down the PR wire:

ELLIOTT’S KEEP COMPLETES RECORDING OF THIRD ALBUM

ELLIOTT’S KEEP, the Dallas metal doom trio have completed the recording of their third full-length album, entitled Nascentes Morimur, which is scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

As with their first two releases, ELLIOTT’S KEEP recorded again with J.T. LONGORIA (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Absu, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Volbeat). Primary recording was completed again at Nomad Studios in Carrollton, Texas. Drums were tracked at Empire Sound Studio in Carrollton, Texas.

Nascentes Morimur is currently being mixed by J.T. LONGORIA, with GARY LONG of Nomad Studios again mastering. In keeping with the band’s use of Latin titles, Nascentes Morimur means “from the moment we are born, we begin to die.”

Song titles for Nascentes Morimur are as follows:

Waves of Anguish
Days of Hell
Now Taken
Feanor’s Bane
Regicide
Tale of Grief
Convergence
Omen
Gates Beyond

In Medias Res was released in November 2008 on Brainticket Records. Sine Qua Non was released in September 2010 on Brainticket Records.

Elliott’s Keep, “Days of Hell” practice recording

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Wo Fat / Egypt, Cyclopean Riffs Split LP: Hellhound in the Temple

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

Texas fuzz mavens Wo Fat and resurgent North Dakota riff rockers Egypt join forces on a new limited-to-500 split LP released via Totem Cat Records. Dubbed Cyclopean Riffs perhaps because the two bands see through one eye or as a play on the fact that the parts work in cycles, the 12″ smoke-colored splatter vinyl features two cuts from each trio. So, to go by the numbers it’s one eye, one release, two bands, two songs each, three members in each band. If you want to keep it going, there’s four songs total and each band has five letters in its name. To draw further correlation, each three-piece also recorded and mixed their own material, with Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump playing the role of engineer for the extended “Nameless Cults,” which starts off their side, and “Electric Hellhound,” while Egypt‘s own six-stringer, Neal Stein, helmed “Blood Temple Hymn” and “Ancient Enemy.” Both have done their own recordings before — Stump has grown into his own as a producer over the course of Wo Fat‘s four albums and Stein proved himself up to the task earlier this year on Egypt‘s comeback LP, Become the Sun (review here) — and with a little over 18 minutes apiece, both bands give a firm sense of where they’re coming from sonically while making a surprisingly good pairing for each other. It’s not necessarily a shock that two fuzzy, heavy rock bands would go together well — that happens all the time — but front to back, Cyclopean Riffs makes the most of a palpable stylistic kinship between Wo Fat and Egypt, its songs based around top quality riffing and classic jamming swagger.

There aren’t sides, per se, but Wo Fat are given top billing, and they launch Cyclopean Riffs with “Nameless Cults,” a song that plays into a similar kind of swamp-mystic thematic that has presented itself across their last two full-lengths, 2012’s The Black Code (review here) and 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), while remaining consistent on a musical level as well. One thinks of 10-minute-plus jamming excursions like “The Shard of Leng” from last year’s outing or the title-track of the record before it and it seems Wo Fat‘s penchant for improv-style fuzz wandering has remained strong in the time since they put The Black Code to tape. They continue to hone a blend between that side of their approach and a knack for memorable choruses, as both “Nameless Cults” and the considerably less open-structured “Electric Hellhound” offer a hook worthy of their reputation, the former using a straightforward verse/chorus beginning as a springboard for an instrumental jam that holds sway for the entirety of the second half of the track — Stump taking leads here and there while bassist Tim Wilson and drummer Michael Walter (also backing vocals) keep a sense of motion and build rolling along — while the latter works largely the same, only without the departure from its initial base structure. An increase in stomp from Walter and build throughout the song itself would make an extended jam almost redundant, not to mention the fact that they just did one and would run out of room on the side of an LP.

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Mothership Summer Tour with Communion Starts June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

After marauding this Spring with like-minded booze rockers Gypsyhawk, Texan trio Mothership are taking to the streets once again this month for a week of shows alongside Communion. The tour will include a stop, as noted below, at the pre-party for Show Class magazine’s Born Free 5 fest.

No word yet on a follow-up to the band’s self-titled debut, self-released by the band last year and reissued by Ripple Music earlier in 2013, but I can only imagine they’re hammering out new songs on the road, which for what Mothership does, is where they belong.

The PR wire takes it from here:

MOTHERSHIP Gearing Up For Summer Tour With COMMUNION

The Dallas, Texas-based trio of heavy rock bad asses known as MOTHERSHIP is about to make a return the road for a brief run with psychedelic doomsters COMMUNION.

Those who missed out on the band’s Spring run with GYPSYHAWK now have a second chance to experience some no-frills rock n’ roll magic when MOTHERSHIP kicks off their Summer tour on June 24th at Hotel Vegas in Austin, TX. This run will include a June 28th stop in Trabuco Canyon, CA for Show Class Magazine’s Born Free 5 Festival People’s Champ Party. Details for Born Free 5 and the pre-party can be found at the following links:

bornfreeshow.blogspot.com
www.showclassmag.com
www.heavy-clothing.com

In other news, the song “Lunar Master,” off of MOTHERSHIP’s self-titled debut, has been ranked #3 on The Paranoid Hitsophrenic ‘Regular Old Doom Charts.’ Check out the rankings, which includes a link to a stream of the track, at this location.

MOTHERSHIP Summer 2013 Tour Dates w/ COMMUNION
June 24 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
June 25 El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace
June 26 Tucson, AZ @ Surly Wench Pub w/ Thorncaster
June 27 San Diego, CA @ The Void w/ Harsh Toke
June 28 Trabuco Canyon, CA @ Cook’s Corner – Born Free 5 Pre-Party w/ O Zorn
June 30 Los Angeles, CA @ TBA
July 1 Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room w/ Flying Scorpion
July 2 Albuquerque, NM @ TBA
July 3 Midland, TX @ Blue Max

Mothership, Mothership (2013, Ripple)

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Hawk vs. Dove, Hawk vs. Dove: An Unexpected Landing

Posted in Reviews on May 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

A fun game to play for first-time listeners of the four-piece Hawk vs. Dove‘s self-titled, self-released debut might be to give the songs a runthrough and try to guess where on earth the band might be from. On my initial hearing, I ran a geographical gamut from Georgia to London to Brooklyn to California, going by the various influences I heard in their sound, from angular riffing to sweet multiple-participant vocal arrangements, languid rhythms and periods of thick, crunching stomp that give way to classic rocking guitar and organ interplay, subdued moody crescendos and drawn-out melodies. Finally I settled on Portland, if only because it seemed to me the region where such a melting pot of elements might thrive, given the variety of the scene there.

Spoiler alert: Hawk vs. Dove are from Dallas, Texas. They recorded the eight songs of Hawk vs. Dove at The Echo Lab in Denton, following a series of digital singles, and have put it out both on CD and vinyl with detailed artwork from Larry Carey. The foursome — guitarist/vocalist Johnny Hardy, guitarist/vocalist Sean Butler, bassist/vocalist James Losoya and drummer/vocalist Joe Hardy – have little of the Southern metal burl to their tones, but what they offer instead makes the 39 minutes of their debut a much more enjoyable listening experience; a genuine sense of assured aesthetic while also keeping a diverse approach to their songs and shifting the mood along with the tempo. Even on CD, Hawk vs. Dove is broken into sides, and rightly so, beginning with the winding Skynyrd-via-Mastodon riff of “Between the Headlines,” the shortest cut on the record at 2:31 and a motor-ready mover to build immediate momentum as they go forward.

Right away, the vocals make an impression. “Between the Headlines” is brief, but it establishes the singing as one of Hawk vs. Dove‘s standout factors, and the band continue to prove their ability in this regard throughout the tracks, whether it’s in the actual performances of the members or the skillful hand with which those performances are arranged. “The Sabbath” might just as easily be named for its bassline, but half-time drumming gives the track an open feel to go with its initial stomp and the slow-rolling verse, the alternately Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead vibes of which reminded me of some of Crystal Head‘s well-honed dynamics, but Joe‘s drumming keeps a sense of motion underlying even the stillest parts of Hawk vs. Dove, so that when the Losoya-thickened Helmet-style groove of “Only Words” — its pacing fluid and undulating — takes hold, it’s no more out of place than “The Sabbath” was coming off of “Between the Headlines.”

Johnny and Sean work mostly in tandem on “Only Words,” but still find room for lead/rhythm interplay, enhancing the noisy feel that (East Coast boy that I am) I always relate to Unsane but could just as easily be culled from The Jesus Lizard or any number of other acts, and though the first three tracks are relatively short — all under four minutes — compared to what follows, Side A of Hawk vs. Dove finds its arrival point in the drumroll and brazen classic heavy riffing of “(Run the) Rockwaltz,” organ joining the guitar while the vocals weave into and out of falsetto and a sense of bluesy chaos pervades a desert booziness. There’s the inevitable jam, and Hawk vs. Dove let it ride to the end, gradually deconstructing “(Run the) Rockwaltz” (the initial minutes of which are, indeed, a waltz) as they play out its 8:35 so that by the finish, there’s nothing left but a wash of amp noise and some fed-up sounding cymbal crashes.

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Elliott’s Keep Recording New Album for Fall Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Good news from Texas today in that Dallas trio Elliott’s Keep have a batch of new material they’re getting ready to record next month. According to the update below, which the band sent down the PR wire, they’ll be working again with engineer J.T. Longoria, who also manned their 2010 sophomore outing, Sine Qua Non (review here). A sampling of his credits, which are considerable, is listed below.

Look for more on the album, dubbed Nascentes Morimur in Elliott’s Keep‘s tradition of Latin titles, as we get closer to the Fall 2013 release, but for now here’s the announcement and the front cover of what’s to come:

As we did three years ago, we will begin recording the next Elliott’s Keep record over Memorial Day weekend. This one is entitled Nascentes Morimur, which translates to “From the moment we are born, we begin to die.” The cover art is attached. We will be working again with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Concept of God, Absu, King Diamond).

Nine tracks this time. The record should be released in the fall.

Elliott’s Keep, “Fearless” from Sine Qua Non

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Wo Fat Update on Spring Gigs – Roadburn, Desertfest, SXSW and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I love a bit of fuzz in the springtime. Okay, really any time of the year, I’ll take it when I can get it, but either way, I’m glad to read the news that Texas trio Wo Fat are heading overseas to act as fuzz ambassadors. Following gigs at SXSW and the inaugural Fuzzed Out! fest in Fort Worth, they’ll stamp their passports and hit up Roadburn, Desertfest London and a slew of other European outlets. Living the dream as it were. Always glad to see things coming together for bands who kick ass, which Wo Fat most certainly do.

They sent an update down the PR wire:

Upcoming Spring Gigs!

Wo Fat has got a number of great shows coming up and we wanted to make sure you knew about them. In March we will be doing a weekend Texas tour that will start with a performance at the Small Stone Records showcase at SXSW in Austin with a killer lineup of our labelmates, followed by a mini Small Stone showcase in San Antonio with Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and doom masters Las Cruces. Then we’ll finish up the weekend at the first annual Fuzzed Out! Fest in Fort Worth, which features a great lineup of bands that are part of the new wave of stoner rock, including Ape Machine, Mothership, Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and Been Obscene.

Coming up in April is our “Lost Highway Across Europe Tour” which includes stops at Roadburn and Desertfest London. We won’t be able to hit as many places in Europe as we would have liked this time around due to commitments at home, but we hope to do a more extensive European tour in the future.

Check out the dates below. We hope to see you at one of our shows!

Mar 14, 2013 – Small Stone Records SXSW Showcase – Headhunters, Austin, TX with Mellow Bravo, Supermachine, Luder, Freedom Hawk, Lord Fowl and Suplecs
Mar 15, 2013 – Small Stone San Antonio Showcase – Nightrocker Live, San Antonio, TX with Lord Fowl, Freedom Hawk, Las Cruces and Maneaters of Tsavo
Mar 16, 2013 – Austin Heavy Music Showcase – Special afternoon show at the Spiderhouse Ballroom, Austin, TX. Wo Fat plays at 1:15pm.
Mar 16, 2013 – Fuzzed Out! Festival 2013 – The Grotto, Fort Worth, TX
The new wave of Stoner Rock with Lord Fowl, Wo Fat, Freedom Hawk, Southern Train Gypsy, Ape Machine, Been Obscene and Mothership
April 12, 2013 – Boiler Room, Dallas, TX with Mothership, Hawk Vs. Dove and Mount Salem
Apr 20, 2013 – Roadburn Festival – 013, Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 21, 2013 – White Trash Fast Food, Berlin, Germany with Abrahma
Apr 22, 2013 – Vera, Groningen, Netherlands
Apr 23, 2013 – Les Combustibles, Paris, France with Witch Mountain, Cough and Abrahma
Apr 24, 2013 – L’Usine, Geneva, Switzerland with Abrahma
Apr 25, 2013 – Vortex, Siegen, Germany with Maserati and Abrahma
Apr 26, 2013 – De Pit, Terneuzen, Netherlands, Terneuzen is On Fire Pre Party with Abrahma, Swamp Machine and Idealus Maximus
Apr 27, 2013 – Desertfest London, The Underworld, Camden, United Kingdom

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