Tomorrow night, Detroit bruisers Against the Grain head out on a tour alongside Mothership and the resurgent Speedealer. The heavy rockers continue to live up to the ethic set forth with 2015’s Road Warriors (review here), by doing more than simply putting in time on the road, instead seeming to take a step forward with each subsequent tour. Over the last two-plus years, they’ve been out with Lo-Pan, The Atomic Bitchwax, Bongzilla, Black Cobra and others. I’ve yet to hear a complaint from anyone who’s been fortunate enough to see them play.
Given the significant amount of touring, maybe it’s not such a surprise that Against the Grain‘s new video for “Here to Stay” — a funny claim for a band with so much “go” in their approach to be making — is made up of a lot of live footage. There are some other clips and stuff spliced in, but the bulk of the thing finds the four-piece kicking ass on stage, which by now is probably where they’re most at home in so doing. I’ve heard they’ve got new material on the way at some point this year — they were included last month in the most anticipated for 2017 list, if you missed it — and there can be little doubt that when it arrives, in whatever form it takes, the follow-up to Road Warriors will be yet another occasion for the band to get out on tour. Much to their credit, it doesn’t seem to take much to convince them.
You’ll find the live dates under the video player below for the Speedealer and Mothership tour. Note also that Against the Grain will be at Berserker Fest in Pontiac, Michigan, in April. One assumes there are more dates to follow as we head deeper into the year.
Against the Grain, “Here to Stay” official video
Here’s our new music video for “Here To Stay”. Official video for “Here to Stay” off of 2015’s release “Road Warriors” available on Self Destructo/Failure Records.
See you on the road with Speedealer and Mothership!
Against the Grain live:
Southern Disruption tour w/ Speedealer and Mothership: 2/9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade 2/10 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia 2/11- Birmingham, AL – The Nick 2/12 – Nashville, TN – The End 2/13 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Cafe 2/14 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern 2/15 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note 2/16 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder 2/17 – San Antonio, TX – Hi-tones 2/18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links 2/19 – Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds ( all ages, early show)
4/15 and 4/16 – Pontiac, MI – Crofoot – Berserker Fest
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Dallas octane rockers Speedealer played a few gigs in November that they highlighted as a ‘return’ for the band, but they seem to have been doing shows for a while before that as well. Their last studio release was 2003’s Bleed, so one way or another, it’s probably fair to call anything they do a return. One recalls (vaguely and through a Shiner Bock-filtered haze) seeing them at SXSW in the mid-’00s — was it the tiki bar joint on Red River with JJ Paradise Players Club? — and being fairly blown out of the room, though to be fair, that was kind of how it went in Austin at the time. I haven’t seen word of a new record or anything, but even if they’re doing 10 days out to test the waters, they gotta have a reason. These things don’t happen by mistake, you know.
The two bands joining them on the run, as it happens, are both heralding new albums. In the case of fellow Texas trio Mothership, it’s the forthcoming High Strangeness (info here), which is out March 17 on Ripple Music. Less is publicly known at this point about Against the Grain‘s next full-length, but the Detroit-based speed rockers have at least announced their intentions toward a 2017 release. There’s plenty of year ahead, so let’s get there first and then we’ll see what comes.
Run has been tagged as the “Southern Disruption Tour 2017.” Poster and dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:
Speedealer w/ Mothership & Against the Grain: Feb 9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade. Feb 10 – New Orleans, LA – The Siberia. Feb 11 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick. Feb 12 – Nashville, TN – The End. Feb 13 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone. Feb 14 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern (no speedealer). Feb 15 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note (no Speedealer). Feb 16 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder. Feb 17 – San Antonio, TX – Hi-Tones. Feb 18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links. Feb 19 – Houston, TX – FitZgeralds.
It’s very true that Detroit trio Lavamoth could’ve just made a regular old performance video — three longhair dudes in a room playing a song but not really playing it while maybe the camera changes a couple times. They went a different route. Yeah, they’re rocking out in their new clip for “Moving On,” but they’re doing it in a spaceship after being beamed off the surface of the planet and jumping to light speed. I don’t know what video game they got that background from, but they make the most of it and I’m sorry, but watching the stars go by while they play really only adds charm to the straight-ahead heavy rock they’ve got on offer.
You might recognize guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Kevin Edwards and drummer Mick Stone from 500 ft. of Pipe, who had three records out between ’97 and ’03 before going the way of most of the pre-social media generation of second wave (maybe third wave?) stoner rockers. They’re joined by bassist Wayne Crouton of metallers Shotgun Logic, and the groove is right on from the start. I don’t know if they’ve got an album together or a demo or an EP or a split or any other kind of release, or if it’s just this single for now, but the track was cool and the video was right on, and I don’t really need much more than that to go on at any given point.
Thanks to Chris Taylor of Blue Snaggletooth for the recommendation on this one.
Lavamoth, “Moving On” official video
LAVAMOTH’s video for “Moving On” teleports them on a journey through time and space at hypersonic speeds…They Rock there way through the galaxy and beyond…(c) 2016 The High Clopse Music BMI
Fuzzed-out,anthemic guitar riffs,combined with tribal,pounding drum and bass. Stoner Rock songs about space and time travel,messed up dope deals,dirty cops, and life in Detroit…Former members of Detroit’s own 500 Ft. Of Pipe & Shotgun Logic…laying down some new tracks to melt your brains…
Kevin Edwards~ Guitar/Vocals/Moog Synth Mick Stone~ Drums Wayne Crouton-Bass
[Click play above to stream Sweet Leaves Vol. I in full. Release date is Jan. 22. Thanks to the bands for letting me host the tracks.]
If you’re looking for a sampling of the madness infecting the Motor City’s underground these days, look no further than Sweet Leaves Vol. I. Detroit has long been an epicenter of all things raw and visceral in American rock — and by that I mean The Stooges and MC5 were from there — but in bringing together newcomer acts Bison Machine, Wild Savages and SLO across a limited-release three-way split tape, the classic form proves continually vital in the more recent outfits, each of which brings a grit of their own to reside under a heavy rock umbrella.
Appearing in that order — Bison Machine, then Wild Savages, then SLO — the tape gets more formative as it progresses through each pair of tracks, Bison Machine being the most established of the three with their debut long-player, Hoarfrost (review here), released last year on Kozmik Artifactz. Wild Savages have an EP up for streaming and SLO a demo, both issued in Sept. 2015, but both of the newer acts also share ties to Bison Machine through current and former members. Wild Savages features guitarist Casey O’Ryan, who also plays in Bison Machine, and SLO guitarist/vocalist Dusty Jones is an alum as well. Clearly as each of these bands spun off or came up around the same time, everyone remained tight enough to continue to collaborate, which in giving an idea of where the Detroit area is at (Wild Savages claim Ann Arbor as home, SLO Detroit proper and Bison Machine Hamtramck), is at very least a show of overall strength.
More importantly, the tape — which is a quick listen at a little over half an hour — rocks. None of the three groups wastes any time getting down to business, and with Bison Machine‘s “Hawk on the Wind,” the Sabbathian reference of the tape’s cover proves not to be the only classic heavy source from which the release draws. The recording that produced “Hawk on the Wind” and the subsequent “Soul Seeker” is older, with guitarist John deVries in the role that O’Ryan now occupies alongside vocalist Tom Stec, bassist Anthony Franchina (who put the split together) and drummer Breck Crandell, but their methods are no less righteous than on Hoarfrost, quick-turning shuffle pervading “Hawk on the Wind” amid a catchy hook while “Soul Seeker” rests on a bed of low-end chugging and Motörheady skate in the guitar.
The second track trips out a bit at the end, but in general, Bison Machine play it tight and don’t let up on the throttle, which makes for an easy transition into Wild Savages, who seem intent on living up to their moniker in grit, ’70s bass warmth and persistent proto-punk fuckall. “Stage Fright” has one of the most resonant hooks on Sweet Leaves Vol. I once you have a grip on what bassist Joe Kupiec is talking about — O’Ryan also provides vocals — and transitions easily into a dual-channel guitar jam atop some of the best vintage-sounding drums I’ve heard since Kadavar‘s debut from Stefan Krstovic, who has swing to match. By the time they get there, they seem to have left the verse structure behind, but even among the late-arriving boogie onslaught, they bring back the chorus for one last go. With funkier starts and stops in its early going and a similar overall approach, “Queen Bee” affirms no fluke on the part of Wild Savages, who rage in layers but with an energy that one imagines has no trouble translating live.
For SLO, their “The Darkness” and “Shield Maidens” follow a two-song demo recorded on a four-track, but already one can hear in their sound a beefed up dual-guitar via Thin Lizzy approach that, in “The Darkness” delves in its midsection into some transposed “Hole in the Sky” riffing as if to remind the listener what it’s all about. Fuzz in the guitar and bass goes full-on hairy as the song rolls to what seems to be its finish before the initial groove is revived and swirl-faded out to end, which lets “Shield Maidens,” the only song on the release that tops six minutes (though each band has a track that comes close), close out with proto-metallic rush and a grander approach vocally.
Whether that’s drummer Charlie McCutcheon or bassist Brian Blair joining Jones singing — Kevin Sullivan is the only member of the four-piece not credit with vocals on the prior demo — I don’t know, but it adds a classic metal sensibility to complement the quiet midsection and deftly intricate guitar line that transitions into an instrumental finish, thick tonally but still ready to move and keeping that fist-pump feel thanks to a late solo either from Sullivan or Jones. Their cap for Sweet Leaves Vol. I is encouraging, and that descriptor seems to apply to the release overall as well. Of course, one can’t completely summarize the complete breadth of a region’s output by getting together a couple similarly driven bands and putting together a split tape — if one could, I’d expect to see more of them — but, even in showing the direction a few of the Detroit area’s groups are taking with a brash, classically-minded heavy rock sound, Sweet Leaves Vol. I serves notice of attention-worthy doings in volume and aesthetic.
Yours truly rated Temple of Void‘s 2014 lurker Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) as one of the best debuts of the year, so you’ll pardon me if I think it’s a good thing it’s getting another look. The record’s second go around will come in Sept. courtesy of Shadow Kingdom, for whom it was also recently announced that Temple of Void would play at their Shadow Kingdom Riot fest.
That gig is on Sept. 3, and the album is reissued on Sept. 4 — you’d almost swear these things were planned out ahead of time — so it seems to me like the Shadow Kingdom Riot will turn into a de-facto-if-not-officially-announced-as-such release party for Of Terror and the Supernatural, which was originally released by Saw Her Ghost and Rain without End Records, its pile of victims continuing to grow.
Or, as the PR wire puts it:
TEMPLE OF VOID Signs to Shadow Kingdom Records
Detroit Death-Doom Despots to See Debut LP, ‘Of Terror and the Supernatural’ Re-issued September 4
Detroit death-doom band TEMPLE OF VOID has signed to underground independent label Shadow Kingdom Records. The band’s first order of business with its new label will be a re-issue of the group’s debut album, Of Terror and the Supernatural, a pulverizing record that steamrolls via a morbid, high-fidelity death metal assault. The album, which has been called, “powerful and overwhelming like thick fog in an old graveyard” will see a September 4 release through Shadow Kingdom, complete with eerie cover art by legendary science fiction and fantasy artist Bruce Pennington.
Wielding a weighty, deafening power that has been called “a right balance of creeping lurch and extreme plunder”, TEMPLE OF VOID creates crushing metal that will appeal to fans of Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Dismember, Hooded Menace, Incantation and (old) Paradise Lost. The band’s sound combines the slow tempos and depressive moods of doom metal with the subhuman vocals and double kick drumming of classic death metal. Check out the video for TEMPLE OF VOID’s “Savage Howl” now at this location.
TEMPLE OF VOID will perform as one of the featured acts at the just-announced Shadow Kingdom Riot, set to take place on September 3 at Cleveland’s Agora Ballroom. The evening will showcase a diverse lineup from Shadow Kingdom Records’s ever-growing roster, and will see TEMPLE OF VOID share the stage along with now-labelmates Venomous Maximus, Iron Man and more. For full details, visit the show’s Facebook event pageHERE.
Track listing: 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
Tour dates: June 18 Pittsburgh, PA The Smiling Moose (w/ Cemetery Filth, Abysme) June 19 Philadelphia, PA Millcreek Tavern (w/ Crypt Sermon) June 20 Bayonne, NJ Lot 13 Longbar (w/ Morpheus Descends, Malignancy, etc.)
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 JJ Koczan
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 JJ Koczan
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)