Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Four years after the release of their memorable and engaging second record, Spectra Spirit (review here), Detroit psychedelic explorers Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor will issue their third album, Desert Brain, on June 2 via Spain’s Mongolic Records. I don’t know much about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which I assume is what the band mean by “northern” when they talk about where they did the album, but my understanding is land is uncrowded and the night sky is beautiful, so yeah, I can see where maybe a psych-minded trio might adjourn there to record. How that translates to Desert Brainin terms of topography, I’m not sure, but I look forward to finding out.
Info follows along with the dates Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor will perform in Spain following the release. Dig it:
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor to Release Desert Brain June 2nd on Mongolic Records
Long-Awaited Third Album from the Detroit Psych-Rock Band to Be Launched on the Eve of Their First European Tour
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor are set to release Desert Brain, their third fully selfrecorded album, on Spain’s Mongolic Records June 2nd. The album will be available digitally, on cd, and on translucent clear vinyl with aqua splatter. The album features all new, original artwork by Sisters’ bassist and keyboardist, Eric Oppitz, who has given Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor their signature visual style. The release is scheduled to coincide with the band’s European tour, which will take them through France, Spain, and Greece. While already having built up a strong following overseas, this will be the first opportunity for European fans to witness Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s intense live show.
The band’s reputation as gear-heads is fully apparent on Desert Brain, with its many layered guitar effects, swirling keyboards, distorted chimes, and ephemeral voices all captured in analog to ½-inch tape. As with 2009’s eponymous first album and 2011’s Spectra Spirit, all recording and mixing was handled by Oppitz. Lead singer and guitarist Sean Morrow, drummer Rick Sawoscinski, and Oppitz have delivered their most ambitious album yet, with its ten tracks seamlessly blending together leaving little time for the listener to catch their breath.
In 2014, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor packed up their recording equipment and locked themselves in an isolated cabin in Northern Michigan to lay the foundation tracks for what would become their third full-length album and first since 2011’s Spectra Spirit. The trip away from their own Space Camp Studios was born more out of necessity than a desire for a change of scenery — misfortune struck a month before recording was to begin when a particularly heavy rainstorm flooded Morrow’s basement and bands studio in thigh-deep water.
Morrow describes his goal with Desert Brain as to “create an experience full of highs and lows that take the listener on a journey, eventually leaving them emotionally spent but fulfilled.” The album is once again anchored by Sawoscinski’s massive drum sound, which gives the record an almost relentless heaviness. Added during the recording of Spectra Spirit, the presence of Oppitz’s organ have been expanded upon to produce an even greater sonic depth. Desert Brain is Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s most ambitious album to date.
Desert Brain Track Listing Side A 1. Seventh Scene 2. Major Medicine 3. What’s your cloud nine, 37? 4. Magic Mother’s Tongue / A Little Jaunt into the Light Side B 1. Girl of a Thousand Voices 2. The Prettiest Sounds of Purgatory 3. Long Lovers Sun 4. Desert Brain 5. Like a Forest Runs 6. Highly Enchanting Eye
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor Spain shows: 9 Junio- Barcelona + RUNA 10 Junio- Madrid + My Expansive Awareness + Árida 11 Junio- Valencia (Mongolic Records Release Party)
Posted in Reviews on February 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
As much Detroit, the nine-track debut full-length from Italian three-piece Killer Boogie, boasts raw proto-punker tones, upbeat shuffle and relentless groove with just a touch of psychedelia in its scorch, even more pervasive throughout the Heavy Psych Sounds release is a sense of self-awareness. Led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, also of Black Rainbows, Killer Boogie come across as more geared toward the retro-style ’70s rock currently holding sway on the European scene in the wake of Graveyard‘s blues rock supremacy, but their take is rawer than most, and that gives them an edge. They are conscious of it. Fiori, who is joined by drummer Luigi Costanzo and bassist Matteo Marini — though Edoardo Mancini plays bass on the album — is someone involved enough in heavy rock, running Heavy Psych Sounds, booking tours and playing in Black Rainbows and now Killer Boogie as well, that in putting together this new band, the mission seems to be one of aesthetic. Could be that he, Costanzo and Mancini came together as happenstance, whipped up a batch of songs and Detroit is what came out of it, but the album feels more purposeful than that, from the opening rush of “Bad Rebel” to the psych-surge of “Cosmic Eyes,” which is more than twice as long as anything else here at 8:38 and opens side B of what’s clearly a vinyl-minded 36-minute release, smartly positioned in its concept and execution even down to the thick lines and deep orange and yellow tones of its cover art. The sound is raw and natural, but the songwriting has a more than accidental focus. Killer Boogie know what they’re doing, and they chose their name well.
And if there’s romanticism in the trio’s vision of the city of Detroit, they’re thinking way more the land and the time that birthed the MC5 and The Stooges than the empty post-industrial wasteland it has become, landmarks like Michigan Central Station becoming ruined monuments of early 20th Century capitalist ambition. It’s a very specific idea of Detroit that Detroit proffers — the sons of working men picking up guitars, growing their hair, doing drugs and freaking out on the empty promise of straightlaced middle-class life, distortion ringing from open-air stages. Get your motor running. And they do. Fiori‘s guitar features no less prominently here than in Black Rainbows, and on “Bad Rebel” and the subsequent “Riding the Wind,” and his leads are positively searing. “Riding the Wind” burns white hot on a current of rhythmic swing propelled by Costanzo‘s crash cymbal and Mancini‘s bass, but it’s Fiori out front as the driving force, and that remains true for the duration. “My Queen” follows with a progression that will call to mind some of Radio Moscow‘s about-to-fly-off-the-rails-but-never-does unhinged ’70s push, Fiori tossing off another pair of righteous solos en route to “Little Flowers,” a similarly-minded vibe with a more open verse that continues the album’s momentum, which by this point seems like an unceasing forward motion, Killer Boogie rollercoastering their way up, down and through twists and turns of Cactus-minded wallop, but change is soon to arrive as well, and “Silver Universe” — a title it’s hard to believe Hawkwind didn’t already use — is the first sign of its coming. Slowed down, more spaced out, it’s Killer Boogie‘s first real headfirst dive into psychedelic textures, underscored by a tension in the drums that “Cosmic Eyes” pays off in full.
True, “Cosmic Eyes” is all the more a standout for being two-times the length of every other song on the record, but it also brilliantly moves between one of Detroit‘s most fervent stomps in its early verses to Om-meets-Hawkwind-style psychedelic ritualizing in its midsection, all effects swirl, resonant low end and build back up to the impact level of the track’s initial movement. They end quiet and remind some of Kadavar in how they seem to so easily switch modes from purposefully straightforward songwriting to spacious psych rock, but the unassuming “Summer Time” snaps the listener back to reality, such as it is, with a simpler, mid-paced rolling groove that transitions back to the full-throttle grooving of “Golden Age” and “Dynamite,” well placed as the closing duo to bookend the album on a similar feel to its arrival, almost like the excursion to that sprawling sonic elsewhere was a dream. So be it. “Golden Age” is particularly memorable coming out of “Summer Time,” and when “Dynamite” hits to round out Detroit, its rising surge of feedback and ensuing gallop make a fitting capstone to the record’s leave-those-edges-rough sensibility and offer a last showing of Fiori‘s tube-melting solo work. Killer Boogie leave nothing wanting in bringing their aesthetic to life or in the energy with which they pull off these songs, and Detroit‘s live feel is one of its most useful assets in conveying its stylistic purpose. I don’t know how the band will ultimately balance out with Black Rainbows — they have a new album, Hawkdope, due in March — but even if it’s relegated to side-project status in the end, Killer Boogie brings something of its own to the increasingly established classic heavy rock sound, and between the chemistry of the players throughout and its hints at future psych trips to come, there’s definitely enough to Detroit to warrant future exploration.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Before they split out for Europe in April and, presumably once reaching its shores decide never to return, Ohio fuzz rockers Lo-Pan will hit the road like they do with Detroit speedfreaks Against the Grain. The tour will be in the north and northeast, which should be almost thinking about thawing out by then, and is set to start March 12 and run until March 22. For Lo-Pan, they’re out supporting last year’s Colossus (review here), while the oft-touring Against the Grain will have by that time recorded their fourth album, which is set to release later in 2015.
Like I said, after this, Lo-Pan are off to Europe alongside Black Pyramid, but it’s worth noting that this will be their first tour with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, so it should be a chance for them to further solidify before they go. They’ve given themselves a high-energy companion in Against the Grain, who will no doubt keep them on their toes for the duration.
The PR wire brings details and dates, and we all like details and dates, right? Okay then:
Lo Pan & Against The Grain to tour Northeast in March
Columbus riff titans Lo Pan will be pairing up with Detroit neck breakers Against The Grain for a ten date Northeast tour in the month of March in what will be a travelling showcase of two of the heaviest bands going from the Midwest.
Both bands coming off a successful campaigns in 2014 with Against The Grain seeing the release of Motor City Speed Rock on vinyl and nonstop touring throughout the year with dates that included runs with Guttermouth, Koffin Kats and Nashville Pussy and Valient Thorr to close out the year.
Against The Grain start the year doing a two shows with Detroit’s own Koffin Kats in Chicago (Reggie’s) and in Westland, MI (Token Lounge) and a local show with notable punk/metal band Gang Green in the Detroit area (Corktown Tavern). From there, the four will be spending the month of February recording the follow up to 2012’s “Surrounded By Snakes” at Train – A Comin’ Studios in Mt. Clemens, Michigan which will be slated for a summer release.
Dates: March 12 – The Loving Touch (Ferndale, MI) March 13 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH) March 14 – The Lost Horizon (Syracuse, NY) March 15 – TT the Bears (Boston, MA) March 16 – TBA March 17 – TBA March 18 – Saint Vitus Bar (Brooklyn, NY) March 19 – Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia, PA) March 20 – The Pinch (Washington D.C.) March 21 – 31st St. Pub (Pittsburgh, PA) March 22 – Spacebar (Columbus, OH)
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Heavy rockers Bison Machine will release their debut album, Hoarfrost, in 2015 via Bilocation Records. The Detroit four-piece get down on some serious boogie, as the check-out-our-vinyl-master sample track “Cosmic Ark” — not to be confused with the Mos Generator song of the same name — showcases, shuffling Graveyard style to do a wild roundabout back to ’70s Detroit influences: Detroit to Örebro to Detroit. Their impending Spring 2015 tour, with dates yet to be unveiled, may or may not take them that far, but it’s a cool sound one way or another and Bison Machine seem towield it well.
The PR wire saw fit to provide the details and a bit of background on the band:
BISON MACHINE are signing with Bilocation Records
Detroit’s finest heavyrockers BISON MACHINE signed for a vinylrelease with Bilocation Records. Their album ‘Hoarfrost’ will be out during 2015 on limited high performance 180g vinyl.
“Conceived in a single family wigwam on the far eastern reaches of the city of Detroit, and thrust from the birth canal in a dusty basement in Hamtramck, Bison Machine giveth and Bison Machine taketh away.
No Prisoners; no one survives. Liveshows are things of wonderment. Volume, blues, saturation. That is the prevailing ethos. Hamtramck’s own rock spectacle, heavy and melodic. Things are broken, blood is spilled, clothes and loin cloths are rent from bodies, antler and hides are prevalent.
Picture a small child raised on the delta blues since birth, then force fed Zeppelin and Sabbath til they could no longer move, then beaten and whipped with Kyuss, Pentagram, Earthless, Dead Meadow, Willie and Waylon, Queens of the stone age and Thin Lizzy, until one day, the child rears its ugly bruised and mishapen head perched upon its grizzled, muscular, agromegalic body rippling with virility, shrugs of it’s chains, and runs down Jos Campau naked, riding a sabertooth tiger.
This is the music that poor soul would be singing.
…and no one survives.”
John deVries- guitar Breck Crandell- drums Tom Stec- vox Anthony Franchina- bass
Posted in Radio on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I wanted to make sure I did a round of radio adds for this week. Not just because they’re fun to do and it’s a bit like submerging my head in heaviness for an afternoon, but because I’ve already got one or two records in mind to join the playlist next week (or the week after, depending on time) and I don’t want to get too far behind. As always, these five are just picks out of the bunch. Over 20 records went up to the server today, so there’s much more than this to dig into. As well as all the rest of everything up there. I don’t even know how much stuff that is at this point. Last I heard from Slevin, it was “a lot.” Nothing like more, then.
The Obelisk Radio adds for Oct. 16, 2014:
Godflesh, A World Lit only by Fire
It seems that after a decade-plus of moving further away from Godflesh‘s sound in Jesu, guitarist/vocalist Justin K. Broadrick has had no problem whatsoever slipping back into songwriting for the ultra-influential early-industrial outfit. Preceded by an EP called Decline and Fall (review here) that was also released through Broadrick‘s Avalanche Recordings imprint, the 10-track A World Lit Only by Fire harnesses a lot of the churn that was so prevalent in prime-era Godflesh and, more impressively, successfully channels the same aggression and frustration without sounding like a put-on. The chug in “Carrion” is visceral, and while “Life Giver Life Taker” recalls some of the melody that began to show itself on Godflesh‘s last album, 2001’s Hymns, and subsequently became the core of Jesu, songs like “Shut Me Down” and the gruelingly slow “Towers of Emptiness” find Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green enacting a familiar pummel that — and this is a compliment — sounds just like Godflesh. No doubt some of that is because so much of the duo’s elements are electronic, and while they might sound dated after a while, electronics don’t actually age in the same way people do, but even in the human core of the band, Godflesh are back in full, earth-shattering force. A World Lit Only by Fire is a triumphant return. I don’t know if it necessarily adds much to the Godflesh legacy that wasn’t already there, but as a new beginning point, a sort of second debut, its arrival is more than welcome. Godflesh on Bandcamp, Justin Broadrick on Thee Facebooks.
Early Man, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All
After starting out in Ohio and making their way to New York around the middle of the last decade, the duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mike Conte and guitarist Pete Macy — better known as Early Man — recorded their new album, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All, as they put, “inside various closets, attics and basements within the greater Los Angeles area over the past year.” I recall seeing them in Manhattan and getting their demo in 2004/2005 and Early Man was the shit. They were gonna be huge. A contract with Matador Records brought their debut and then they went five years before their next album came out, and by then, retro metal and heavy rock has passed them by. Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All taps some of the same younger-Metallica vibing of their earliest work on “Black Rains are Falling” and closer “The Longer the Life,” but the current of Sabbathian heavy that was always there remains strong and “Always Had a Place in Hell to Call My Own” ups the ante with a more punkish take. The recording is raw in the new digital sense, but the tracks get their point across well enough, and Conte‘s songwriting has always produced some memorable results — the keyboard-soaked “Hold on to Nothing” stands out here — but it seems like the story of Early Man is still waiting to be told. Early Man on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural
Any given song, it can be hard to tell where Detroit’s Temple of Void come down on the spectrum of doom/death and death/doom, but whatever genre tag you want to stick on it, their debut long-player, Of Terror and the Supernatural, is fucking grim. A roaring morass of thuds, low growls, bouts of extreme violence and bludgeonry, and horror — oh, the horror. Last year’s Demo MMXIII (review here) was fair enough warning, but what the double-guitar five-piece do across these eight tracks is a cruelty of atmosphere and lurch. Squibbles perpetrate “Invocation of Demise,” which also has some surprise key work that sounds like a flute, and a moment of respite arrives with the subsequent “To Carry this Corpse Evermore” in Opethian acoustics, but as the title would indicate, “Rot in Solitude” throws the listener right back into the filth and it’s there Temple of Void seem most in their element. Buried deep in “Exanimate Gaze” is a melodic undertone and 10-minute finale “Bargain in Death” shows a fairly dynamic approach, but the core of what they do is rooted in toying with a balance between death and doom metals, and already on their first outing they show significant stylistic command. If they tour, it’s hard to imagine one of the bigger metal labels —Relapse, Metal Blade — wouldn’t want them somewhere down the line. Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks, Saw Her Ghost Records, Rain without End Records.
Mage, Last Orders
UK fivesome Mage debuted in 2012 with Black Sands (review here) and showcased a burly blend of heavy rock and metal, and tonally and in the drums, their sophomore outing, Last Orders, follows suit in copping elements of thrash, Voivod-style otherwordliness and a penchant for shifting tempos effectively while keeping a seemingly downward path. Vocalist Tom has pulled back on the ultra-dudely vocals and it makes a big difference in the band’s sound for the better. He’s much better mixed and exploring some new ground on “The Fallen,” but he boldly takes on the task with the slower “Beyond” — the longest song here at six minutes flat — and comes out stronger for it. Guitarists Ben and Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy showcase some Electric Wizard influence in that song, but I wouldn’t tie Mage‘s sound to any one band, as “Lux Mentis” before offers huge-sounding stomp and “Violent Skies” after feeds an adrenaline surge of chugging and turns before opening to Last Orders‘ satisfying payoff, Tom tapping into mid-range Halford along the way and closer “One for the Road” reminding that there’s still a riffy side to the band as well. Mage on Thee Facebooks, Witch Hunter Records.
Lamperjaw, Demo EP 2014
Formed in 2011, Virginian trio Lamperjaw make their three-track debut with the descriptive Demo EP 2014, drunken-stomping the line between sludge and Southern heavy. One can’t help but be reminded of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s glory days listening to “Throw Me a Stone,” but with guitarist Dedrian, bassist Lane and drummer Codi all contributing vocals, Lamperjaw bring something immediately distinguishing to their approach. “Blood Dreams” aligns them with the burl-bringing Southern set, some screams and a metallic chug surprising after the opener’s booze-rocking vibe, but their real potential comes out on the seven-minute “Menace of a Cruel Earth,” which moves from low-in-the-mouth whoa-yeah-style grit across a successful linear build to a harmonized, well-arranged apex. It’s always hard to judge a band’s intent by their first release, and there’s a lot about their sound Lamperjaw are still figuring out, but they’ve given themselves some directional liquidity on their first demo, and it will be interesting to hear how they proceed from this point. Lamperjaw on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Like I said, this is just a fraction of the stuff that went up to the server this afternoon, so if you get a second, I hope you’ll peruse the The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page, or whatever it is I’m calling it in my head this week. It’s the same page as always either way.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Their name is their mission statement, and on Jan. 14, 2015, Italian trio Killer Boogie will try to get a jump on the New Year with their debut album. The three-piece is fronted by Gabriele Fiori of Black Rainbows and will release their Detroit LP through his ever-expanding Heavy Psych Sounds imprint, but with The Wisdoom‘s Luigi Costanzo on drums and Matteo Marini on bass, the sound is much more blown out than the sort of fuzz delivered by Fiori‘s other band. No word at this point whether Killer Boogie is a side-project or a new full-time group, but they’ll have their first nine-day tour in December, so they’re starting off with a bang in any case.
A YouTube trailer with some songs from Detroit was just released, and as you can hear below, Killer Boogie are nestled right into that late ’60s/early ’70s garage buzz, not quite proto-metal, but still heavy and definitely with a mind to boogie.
The PR wire had it like this:
KILLER BOOGIE Debut Album “DETROIT” will be released via HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Rec. 14/01/2015
the band will be on tour from Dec. 11 to 20 in Europe!!
Fuzz Fuzz Fuzz !!!
Killer Boogie are a brand new band well versed in the making of ’70s riff making; a new machine in the retro ’n’ roll scene adept at mixing bluesy frequencies into an extremely fuzzy sound with psychedelic shades. Gabriele Fiori on guitars and vocals (Black Rainbows) , Luigi Costanzo on drums (The Wisdoom) and Matteo Marini on bass.
Killer Boogie grounds its roots in the sound of Blue Cheer, The Stooges, MC5, Cactus and Radio Moscow.
Their debut album Detroit (with killer artwork by Starcade Designs) will be released in December, and a small European tour follows to introduce the band to fuzz loving audiences from December 11 to 20.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Brutality always has a place, and Detroit death/doomers Temple of Void seem to have found a right balance of creeping lurch and extreme plunder. Their debut long-player, Of Terror and the Supernatural, arrives tomorrow, Sept. 30, courtesy of Saw Her Ghost and Rain Without End Records. Of course, when it comes to Midwestern death/doom, my head goes immediately to Chicago stalwarts Novembers Doom, but if you’re looking to compare the two acts, you won’t get far. At least going by “The Embalmer’s Art,” which you can hear below, the Detroit five-piece keep away from more dramatic fare and stick of a varied but consistently bludgeoning approach — not without melody in the guitar, but far more pummeling than theatrical.
Or you can check it out for yourself. To the PR wire:
Death / Doom band TEMPLE OF VOID Release Debut Full Length “Of Terror and the Supernatural”
On September 30th the Detroit, Michigan (U.S.) Metal act TEMPLE OF VOID will release their debut full length album “Of Terror and the Supernatural” on multiple labels as well as multiple formats. “Of Terror and the Supernatural” includes Eight Tracks of early British Doom mixed with Old School American Death Metal with a running time of just over fifty minutes.
The album was recorded by Clyde Wilson ~Mt. Doom Studio / Mark Hudson ~Audiolux Studio, with Todd Konecny ~Bright White Light Studio handling the mixing and Tony Hamera with the Mastering duties. While the artwork was provided by the legendary fantasy artist Bruce Pennington (http://www.brucepennington.co.uk). “Of Terror and the Supernatural” will be released on Double LP & Cassette on Saw Her Ghost Records and on CD through Rain Without End Records. Preorders are now available through both labels Webstores. Sell your soul and enter the Temple of Void!
An Official Video for a track from “Of Terror and the Supernatural” has been filmed and will be released to the general public in the near future.
1. The Embalmer’s Art 2. Savage Howl 3. Beyond the Ultimate 4. Invocation of Demise 5. To Carry this Corpse Evermore 6. Rot in Solitude 7. Exanimate Gaze 8. Bargain in Death
TEMPLE OF VOID Eric Blanchard (Guitar) Mike Erdody (Vocals) Brent Satterly (Bass) Jason Pearce (Drums) Alex Awn (Guitar)
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Look, I could tell you how much I appreciate everyone giving up a little bit of their hard-earned to help out Small Stone in the label’s time of need, but the fact is it’s not about me. It’s about Scott Hamilton, who runs the label, being able to continue putting out some of the finest heavy rock and roll the world has to offer, him worrying more about getting the Lo-Pan pressing back from the plant in time for the October release rather than if his basement is going to have mold in it leftover from the flood. Priorities. Getting things to where they need to be.
All told, the Small Stone fundraiser brought in over eight thousand dollars, and that wouldn’t have been possible without your help, so thank you. If you donated, that’s amazing. Some gave $100 at a clip, some gave $5, but what really matters is that when it came to it and someone who has been a major contributor to this weird, pan-global community required assistance, people stepped up and pulled together and showed they were willing to support somebody who needed it when they needed it. I know there have been crossover bands and every now and then some mainstream entity deigns to not completely ignore this genre, but heavy rock and roll is still a very underground phenomenon, and if we don’t help each other, it’s not like there are a million people lined up outside to pick up the slack.
So thank you for being a part of this. Even if you didn’t get to donate and you just spread the link around, that’s huge. I know Scott‘s repairs are ongoing after the flood, but the water’s gone and he’s got a desk and a shelf for label product and his amps and gear set up down there, and that’s definitely a start. As somebody who’s spent years nerding out on Small Stone‘s output, I’m just happy to know I’ll be able to keep doing that.