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.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Just a couple weeks out from losing gear in the same Detroit-area floods that took out the Small Stone Records offices, heavy rock troublemakers Against the Grain have announced they’ll hit the road in October alongside long-running punk outfits Guttermouth and Voodoo Glowskulls. To be perfectly honest, neither is really my thing, but I have no doubt that Against the Grain‘s high-energy thrust will do well on tour with them, and it’s yet another in the four-piece’s continuing series of runs that seems to be geared toward their perfecting their craft, rugged and dirty as that craft might be. I’m glad they’ve gotten their gear back and I’m glad they’re getting out again.
The PR wire puts it like this:
Against The Grain announce West Coast tour with Guttermouth/Voodoo Glow Skulls
Detroit’s speed rock machine Against The Grain are hitting the road with punk rock veterans Guttermouth and Voodoo Glow Skulls in October for month long west coast scheduled to start in Fresno, CA and end in Corona, CA. It will be the third 20+ date haul they’ve done this year and first packaged tour they have been a part of since their run with long time running Japanese doom/stoner band Church Of Misery in Fall 2013.
Sun Oct 5 – Fresno, CA – Strummers* Mon Oct 6 -San Jose, CA – Blank Club* Tues Oct 7 – San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge* Wed Oct 8 – Sacramento, CA – Assembly Hall of Music* Thurs Oct 9 – Sparks, NV – The Alley* Fri Oct 10 – Bend, OR – Domino Room* Sat Oct 11 – Tacoma, WA – Jazzbones* Sun Oct 12 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon** Mon Oct 13 – Missoula, MT – The Top Hat Lounge** Tues Oct 14 – Boise, ID – Crazy Horse** Thurs Oct 16 – Laramie, WY – Cowboy Saloon ** Fri Oct 17 – Salt lake City, UT – The Loading Dock** Sat Oct 18 – Grand junction, CO – Mesa Theatre** Sun Oct 19 – Denver, CO – The Marquis** Mon Oct 20 – Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep** Tues Oct 21 – Kansas City, MO – The Scene Rock Bar** Wed Oct 22 – Fort Worth, TX – Lola’s Saloon** Thurs Oct 23 – Midland, TX – Blue Max** Fri Oct 24 – Rio Rancho, NM – The Damn Bar** Sat Oct 25 – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace** Sun Oct 26 – Flagstaff, AZ – The Museum Club** Tues Oct 28 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick* Wed Oct 29 – Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar* Thurs Oct 30 – Corona, CA – M15* * = w/ Voodoo Glow Skulls ** = w/ In The Whale
Against The Grain suffered a major blow as a band when their gear was destroyed by flooding in their practice space due to freaks thunderstorms occurring in Detroit in early August but due to support from all over (including a message of assistance from the Valient Thorr/Revolving Beast camp), they managed to successfully raise the money needed to assist them in getting new gear to get back on the road. On September 12th, they will be a part of a benefit show being held at The Corktown Tavern in Detroit with Axe Ripper, Rawdogs and Mud Falcon playing as support to Against The Grain. Tesco Vee has signed on to be MC’ing for the night and to host a silent auction of vintage Meatmen/Touch and Go items.
In what has been an extremely active year of 2014 A.D. for the band, Against The Grain has toured all over the states in support of their re-release of Motor City Speed Rock that Self Destructo Records put out on 10” vinyl. They’re in the middle of writing new songs for their upcoming record that will see the light of day in mid 2015 with touring plans already solidified for January 2015 with a Detroit favorite of the underground scene, more of that plus other news in development in the following weeks.
Motor City Speed Rock and Surrounded By Snakes vinyl are available athttp://www.shopturbojugend.comand all digital streaming/download services (i.e. Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Mp3 and more) worldwide.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
As you can see in the photo above, the flood that ravaged Small Stone Records‘ offices two weeks ago (if you missed that news, see here) is being dealt with. Progress is being made, but of course there’s still a ton to do. The fundraiser has gotten an awesome response and has been about as visible as anyone could ask, so thanks to everybody for helping to get the word out and of course for donating. Please keep it going.
Label honcho Scott Hamilton took some time out and sent some pics of the damage being repaired and updated on the progress being made:
We would personally like to thank everyone who has generously kicked in… It has been beyond helpful (lifesaving) and we are very thankful to any and all involved. We are now finally clean and dry… We still have a long way to go in terms of getting this up and running again, but here is a quick pic of the progress thus far.
90% of my time has been taken up with restoring all the above… i think i have been to home depot over 40 times in the last 2+ weeks
bottom line… this fundraiser has been saving my ass… the last time i was at home depot like this was 14 years ago when we first moved in… holy shit is everything way more expensive then it used to be!
So there you have it. A lot of work being done and a lot more still to come. It’s been amazing watching this community come together to support Small Stone and help Scott get back to where he needs to be, and thanks to folks like Ripple Music for hosting a charity auction, The Heavy Co. for donating all the proceeds of their new live album, and Seb from Abrahma for putting together a series of charity auctions as well. All of this is huge and it shows Scott there’s a reason all the work he’s putting in is worth the effort.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was painful last week to see the pictures of the Small Stone Records offices, flooded out from powerful storms that tore through the Detroit area. Still sealed label product floating through dirty water, files and CDs, the fruit of countless hours of work on the part of label owner Scott Hamilton, simply ruined. In one of the pictures, however, you can also see a floating vacuum cleaner, and that’s also important, because it reminds us that more even than being where kickass riffs come from, this is somebody’s home.
Scott is somebody whose tastes and whose efforts have helped greatly to shape the course of American heavy rock in the last decade-plus. Whether you’re a fan of Dixie Witch or Roadsaw or Sasquatch or Wo Fat or anyone else on his enviable roster, chances are even if you don’t listen to those bands, someone in a band you listen to does. Small Stone has become the standard-bearer, and you can see the influence it has had not only in bands going for “that Small Stone sound,” but also in labels who have come up in the last several years wanting to support the music they’re passionate about in a similar way.
But again, this is about more than music. It’s Scott‘s house too, and that’s why it’s so important that this community comes together to help him out. You and I are part of a worldwide subculture. Don’t believe me? Go to a show anywhere and look around you. It’s the same every place you go, and that’s no mistake. One of our own — someone who’s directly participated in making this weird, ongoing thing to which we belong — needs our help. Frankly, that should be enough to make you want to get involved.
Donations are being taken through the middle of next month, but since it’s a water cleanup process and there’s the ever-present threat of mold, time’s a factor. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support.
In August 2014, bad storms dumped flood waters all through the Detroit area, including into the offices of Small Stone Records, the label home of Sasquatch, Wo Fat, Greenleaf, Lord Fowl, Dixie Witch, Roadsaw and so many others.
Gear and product were both destroyed and insurance in Michigan is crap, so we’re coming together to help Scott from Small Stone with some of the massive expense of cleaning up from this flood.
Scott’s support for heavy music over the last 19 years that he’s run Small Stone has never wavered and this is a chance to help somebody who’s helped us by enriching our lives with great bands and great riffs.
Every bit helps. Thank you for your support.
–Please note that YouCaring.com takes no fees from donations and unlike other sites, ALL THE MONEY YOU DONATE GOES DIRECTLY TO HELP SCOTT.
This coming weekend, Detroit’s Small Stone Records hosts two label showcases on the East Coast. The first takes place Friday night at the Middle East in Boston and the second is Saturday at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar (info on both here). With Gozu and Freedom Hawk and Wo Fat headed overseas and new releases to come in 2014 from Dwellers, Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, Greenleaf, Wo Fat and Lo-Pan, it’s arguable that Small Stone has never had as much of an impact as it’s having now. A foray into the vinyl market seems to have paid off, and with acquisitions from across the pond like France’s The Socks, Italy’s Isaak and Portugal’s Miss Lava, the imprint’s reach only seems to be growing.
In 2015, Small Stone marks 20 years since its inception. It has succeeded against odds, trends and, frankly, logic, thanks to the vigilance and keen ear of its founder and owner, Scott Hamilton, who also plays guitar in the prog/psych rock outfit Luder. As a curator, Hamilton‘s ear is second to none, and his passion for searching out the underground’s best has led to landmark heavy rock from the likes of Dixie Witch, Sasquatch, Dozer, Los Natas, Halfway to Gone, Roadsaw, Acid King and many more. I sometimes feel like a nerd for covering as much Small Stone stuff as I do, but it’s inevitable. There’s no getting around the quality of the work being fostered by Hamilton‘s steady hand.
So I’ll probably keep going with it.
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Scott Hamilton
How did you come to do what you do?
I have been obsessed with music for my entire life (both as a fan and as musician), so I am pretty sure that obsession led me into what I do now. I knew in my high school and college years that I wanted to do music in some form for a career (plus you had the added bonus of not needing cut your hair or work in a stuffy office environment), but I had no clue or connections to point myself in the proper direction to make it a reality. After many an odd job in the early ’90s at various music related gigs (playing in bands and working at record stores, radio stations, major record labels, etc.), I discovered that I both wanted and needed to start a record label. Small Stone was born out of this.
Describe your first musical memory.
This is easy… It was my Dad blasting Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, James Brown and Santana in the house on his very vintage hi-fi system. I think by the time I was three, I was actually spinning the records from his collection myself, and mostly likely ruining a few of them in the process… Shortly thereafter, discovering bands like KISS and Aerosmith also have had a very lasting effect on me too.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
There are too many… so I will list my top five:
1. Seeing The Cult in 1985 on the Love Tour when I was a Junior in High School. To this day, one of the best concerts I have ever been too.
2. Playing in my first band in high school was awesome, even if it was the ’80s. It was great discovering that thing my bandmates and I used to call “the buzz.” The buzz is when you and your fellow musicians all lock in, everything clicks, and you go on this crazy spiritual high where the hair on the back of your neck stands up. It is was and is the ultimate feeling that every musician and music fan is always looking for. I sometimes get it with my current band Luder when we are rehearsing and working on new material from time to time.
3. Purchasing my first KISS album… It was KISS Alive, by the way. My mother still says that KISS ruined my life.
4. About eight years ago when I had shitty day job for Live Nation, I got to stand behind Joe Perry’s rig for the majority of the concert, and that was a big deal for me… It also helped that setlist was 95 percent pre-’80s Aerosmith, and for as lame as the band is now, they were fantastic on that evening.
5. Jane’s Addiction… I must have seen them 10 times between 1988 and 1991, and that band had the magic, and also gave that “buzz” I was talking about.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
I think that this happens on a monthly basis. It is just part of living, growing, and moving forward. It is usually not a fun experience, either…
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
I think it leads to greatness down the line for any individual that is creating something, be it music, art, whatever. A creative person will always feel the need to keep exploring and learning new things to better sharpen their skill sets. If I had more time, I would spend it writing riffs and melodies, and improve on any and all basic skills when it comes to a guitar, but I have limited time to do that since I have a family and a business that must come first. With that said, I am always humming something in my head, and I will sneak off to the basement for about 30 minutes per day when I can to make some music.
How do you define success?
To me, success means that I get to do what I want for a vocation versus wearing a suit at some soul-sucking corporate job. In that sense, I have great success. But on the other hand it would be nice to break a band on the roster and help get them to a level of a band like Clutch. But that has not happened as of yet, so I just keep on keeping on until I obtain that level of success in the future.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
In 1989 I was driving on the freeway about 20 miles west of Hartford, CT (on my way back to MSU from a Summer working on Nantucket). This convertible Corvette cam flying past me, and seconds later it somehow rear-ended the pickup truck in front of me. The Vette flew up in the air, flipped over the pickup and landed on on the freeway with his roof facing down — but the convertible top was down. The Vette driver was killed, blood, brains, and flesh all over the freeway. That vision has stuck with me ever since.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
I would love to be involved in creating a timeless album — a classic if you will. Something that has the staying power of Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zep IV, etc., and more realistically, I would love to create a very large swimming pool in my backyard.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If I’ve learned one thing in this still-pretty-new New Year, it’s that there’s going to be a ton of shit going on all the time, and on that level, kudos to Detroit four-piece Against the Grain for putting their hats and beards in the ring. The dudely duders who released their third full-length Surrounded by Snakeslast year (review here) and subsequently hit the road alongside Church of Misery will once more take it to the people starting next month, hitting the Midwest and the East Coast before heading back for a hometown release show for the forthcoming Self-Destructo Records 10″ vinyl issue of their 2012 Motor City Speed Rockrelease.
That EP is available to preorder now, and the link for that and tour dates follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:
Against The Grain announce tour – Re-release of “Motor City Speed Rock” 10″
Against The Grain announce three week tour across Mid West/East Coast.
10” re-release of Motor City Speed Rock out this February via Self Destructo Records. Pre-order activated right now through the link below. Limited quantity of 500 pressed on both coke clear and black vinyl, each one hand numbered and hand stamped by Self Destructo Records.
Pre-order up and running right now, all are hand numbered and stamped. Comes in coke clear and regular black 10” and all pre-orders through www.shopturbojugend.com come with an exclusive patch designed for this release.
Detroit’s own Motor City Madmen – Against The Grain start off 2014 with a two month trek across Middle America and the Eastern Seaboard in support of their vinyl re-release of Motor City Speed Rock. Originally released in 2012, it was the album that laid the foundation for their presence in the heavy music community in their city of Detroit and neighboring states alike and opened doors for them to play alongside the likes of The Dwarves, Valient Thorr, Zeke, Holley 750, Riverboat Gamblers and The Meatmen.
Self Destructo Records released their third LP entitled “Surrounded By Snakes” in 2013, which catapulted the band full on into the world of stoner rock/doom. Following the release of Surrounded By Snakes, opening slots in Detroit for Saint Vitus, Orange Goblin and a tour with Japanese doom veterans Church of Misery ensued.
Posted in Reviews on January 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a brief but intense catalog of miseries that Detroit double-guitar five-piece Temple of Void emit on their 2013 debut release, Demo MMXIII. It is a demo, obviously, and self-released in an initial CD pressing of 200 — reportedly there’s a repress in the works — and it comprises just three tracks that total 22:15 between them, with “Beyond the Ultimate” and “Exanimate Gaze” hovering around six minutes each while closer “Bargain in Death” extends the lurch to 10:36, rounding out with cyclical riffing that more or less could go as long as the band wanted it. Aggressive, tonally weighted and dark in its atmosphere, Demo MMXIII is on the sludgier end of doom, but follows a course derived in no small part from extreme metal — death metal, particularly — and vocalist Mike Erdody, also of the live incarnation of Acid Witch and formerly of Borrowed Time, is a big part of what situates them as such. His vocals aren’t unipolar in the sense of just being low-register growls, but there’s no clean singing to be found in any of the three tracks, so Temple of Void wind up with a newer-school feeling take on death-doom. The tones of guitarists Eric Blanchard and Alex Awn are oppressively heavy, but not overly concerned with adhering to a classic approach, and though “Exanimate Gaze” speeds up some toward its end, the demo by and large makes its sonic impression with a thunderous plod thickened and pushed forward by bassist Brent Satterly and drummer Jason Pearce, and presents its extremity in a manner both professional and vicious.
Production quality comes into play quickly with Demo MMXIIIin that it would be a much different release if recorded dirtier. I guess that’s universally true — if things were different, they would be different — but it comes into relief with Temple of Void in that where their moniker might lead a listener to expect cave echoes and direct-to-Maxell rehearsal-room quality in the recording, “Beyond the Ultimate” dispels that idea before even the first verse has begun. Erdody sets the tone with a welcoming growl over a nasty, hulking riff, and by the time they’re a minute deep, Demo MMXIIIhas established a course far from the dictates of doomly trend. That is to say, there’s nothing cultish in their temple. Sure, the lyrics of “Beyond the Ultimate,” which come included with the CD version but are also available online, talk of “Haunting, cryptic visions,” and sacrificial summonings, but the vibe is utterly terrestrial and rather than try to creep you out with its vibe, it takes the (admittedly, more efficient) route of bludgeoning you with a hammer. The actual words to the song are largely indecipherable through Erdody‘s growls — at least until you’re reading along — and the aggression in his style is the stuff more of modern deathcore than most of what one runs into even in death-doom, where playing ultra-low growls and clean vocals or spoken parts, Novembers Doom-style, is the expected norm. Both for that reason and the sheer fact that the band sound so pissed off, I’m more inclined to think of Demo MMXIIIas death-sludge, but its foundations are unquestionably metal and the result is brutal and poised in like measure.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Even if you told me it was just Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor playing with Beast in the Field and Electric Citizen, I’d still call it a hell of a gig, but Echo Fest 4 pushes genre lines in melding swirling psych with blistering noise and a lot more. The show is set to take place Nov. 16 in Detroit — Spindrift plays the pre-party on the 12th — and aside from the fact that there’s a band playing called Oblisk, it seems to be a cool assemblage of creative Midwestern acts. Dig the PR wire info below:
DETROIT PSYCH-ROCK BAND SISTERS OF YOUR SUNSHINE VAPOR ANNOUNCE THE 4thANNUAL ECHO FEST AT THE LOVING TOUCH IN FERNDALE, MI ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16TH, FEATURING 12 BANDS FROM DETROIT AND THE MIDWEST.
ECHO FEST IS AN 18-AND-UP SHOW FEATURING THE BEST OF THE MIDWEST’S PSYCHEDELIC SOUNDS September 26, 2013 — (Detroit, MI) — Detroit psych rock band Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor are very excited to announce their 4th annual ECHO Fest, to be held at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, MI on Saturday, November 16th at 6:00PM. Formed and curated by the band, ECHO Fest showcases Detroit’s and the Midwest’s burgeoning and varied psychedelic music scene, including psych rock, shoegaze, garage and more. Mixed with its trademark visuals and mood-filled lighting it has become an event that stands on its own. The night will be filled with swirling lights, fuzzed out guitars, and of course so much delay that time travel may become possible.
After three successful years at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit, ECHO Fest’s steadily growing popularity has required the organizers to move it to a more spacious venue. This has allowed us to not only include more bands but also to expand the overall vision. This year’s ECHO Fest will feature 12 bands on two stages from across the Midwest, half of which are from the Detroit area. Also, for the first time, ECHO Fest is an 18-and-over show. This year’s line-up includes ECHO Fest organizers Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Beast in the Field (Mt. Pleasant, MI), Electric Citizen (Cincinnati, OH), Heaven’s Gateway Drugs (Ft. Wayne, IN), Moss Folk (Milwaukee, WI), Oblisk (Detroit, MI),Haunted Leather (Grand Rapids, MI), and more.
ECHO Fest tickets are on-sale now for $8 through TicketWeb.com. Doors will open at 6PM and the first act will start at 7PM. To encourage folks to get there early, the first fifty audience members through the door will receive a screen printed ECHO Fest record bag full of swag from the bands and our sponsors, and The Loving Touch will be offering early drink specials.
ECHO Fest Pre-Party: Los Angeles spaghetti-western psych rock veterans Spindrift will be kicking off the festival with a pre-party at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit on Tuesday, November 12th at 9:00PM. They will be touring in support of their new album, Ghost of the West, available October 22nd on Tee Pee Records. They will be supported by local acts PALACES and Electric Lion Sound Wave Experiment. This show is 21+ and admission is $7.
Sponsors: We are currently still accepting sponsorships. If there are any local businesses or organizations who would like to have their name attached to this event please let us know and we can work out the details.
ECHO Fest 4 Where: The Loving Touch 22634 Woodward Ave Ferndale, MI 48220 When: Saturday, November 16th, 2013. Doors at 6:00PM, Music at 7:00PM How Much: $8 in advance, and at the door Event:https://www.facebook.com/events/567226530002906
ECHO Fest 4 Lineup: Beast in the Field (Mt. Pleasant) Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor (Detroit) Electric Citizen (Cincinnati, OH) Heaven’s Gateway Drugs (Ft. Wayne, IN) Moss Folk (Milwaukee, WI) Wasabi Dream (Detroit) Oblisk (Detroit) Haunted Leather (Grand Rapids) Brujas del Sol (Columbus, OH) 3FT (Detroit) The Philter (Detroit) VS TR S (ex FUR / Warhorses) (Detroit)
ECHO Fest Pre-Party Where: PJ’s Lager House 1254 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48226 When: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013. Doors at 9:00PM, Music at 10:00PM How Much: $7 at the door
Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Detroit four-piece Luder made their debut with 2009’s Sonoluminescence on Small Stone. A band born from tragedy in that it was the death of Slot guitarist Billy Rivkin that led that band’s bassist/vocalist Sue Lott and drummer Eddie Alterman — the latter replaced by Novadriver‘s Eric Miller before the first album was released — to enlist guitarists Phil Dürr (Big Chief) and Scott Hamilton in the renamed outfit, they nonetheless immediately set about exploring a vast sonic scope on Sonoluminescence(review here), and in a few key ways, the sophomore outing, Adelphophagia, follows suit. Aside from being likewise syllabically cumbersome, the second Luder album picks up in some respects where the debut left off, pushing forth stylistically open and progressive vibes tied together through brisk melodicism and Lott‘s varied singing. Songs on the nine-track/62-minute full-length are mostly extended, with opener “Never Liked You” being the only one to dip below the five-minute mark, and the chief difference between Adelphophagiaand Sonoluminescencelies not necessarily in a dramatic shift in approach — certainly there’s stylistic growth evident, but it doesn’t feel forced or the result of some master plan — but in the warmth of the tones and the foursome’s willingness to explore the textures they’ve created. Longer pieces like “One Eye” (7:33), “Heartfelt” (8:57), “Dirge” (9:48) and the closer “Remember What I Said” (9:19) make use of the room in their runtime to allow Hamilton and Dürr the space to enact a rich tonal wash, and with a kick drum less forward in the mix and excellent balance of Lott‘s voice in the mix — you can hear it particularly on “Remember What I Said,” but it’s true of the album as a whole as well — Adelphophagiahits a remarkable mixture of heavy psychedelia, progressive rock, and ’90s-style riffy crunch, coming across on the whole as less aggressive than its predecessor, but all the more aesthetically accomplished for that because of the sense of flow within and between the songs included.
Not to speak for anyone else, but I think there’s a certain reticence on the part of reviewers to gush when it comes to Luder because of Hamilton‘s involvement in the band in addition to his being the head of Small Stone Records. That’s fair enough. While Luder don’t sound like anything else on the Small Stone roster, between their Detroit roots and the underlying heavy rock sensibility — Lott‘s bass is thick the way you think of Michigan snowfall as a blanket — I can see that side of the argument. Nobody wants to appear as being in someone else’s pocket. Frankly, I don’t either, whether it’s Small Stone or anyone else. The validity of critique relies on the illusion of impartiality — and yes folks, it’s an illusion. At the same time, Adelphophagia‘s achievements stand worthy of praise regardless of who’s in the lineup, and in fact the effects Hamilton brings to the mix alongside Dürr‘s leads are a big part of what makes the record so immersive and easy to get lost within as “Never Liked You” — the lyrics of which cast an immediate indictment that stands in line as a follow-up to “Selfish and Dumb” from Sonoluminescence– transitions into the slowly churning groove of “Astrolabe,” an early one-two shot of progressive heft further distinguished by the underlying heft of Lott‘s bass and the smoothness which which their choruses are launched. A dreamy but solidified course for Adelphophagiais set, “Astrolabe” building instrumentally to a formidable crescendo before ringing out into the languid guitar intro of “One Eye,” which in like form sets about rising from the bed its made itself. There are verses and choruses, but the central riff is a hook unto itself, building tension but staying in control even as the second chorus gives way to the more raucous crashes that launch the instrumental build that brings “One Eye” to its greatest wash, guitars embroiled alternately in leads and sustained, hard strums echoing in a plod of their own while Miller‘s drum fills add a sense of chaos before the quieter ending cuts to the start of “Heartfelt,” similarly minded in its scope, but even airier and more fluid in its transitions.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
This is just the preliminary of the preliminary announcements, but a Small Stone label showcase is always a good time — seriously, I’m the most miserable bastard you could ever hope to (not) meet and I have a blast whenever I’m fortunate enough to attend one of the things — so I figured better to get the word out early so anyone interested in making the trip could mark the calendar now. The lineup for this year’s Detroit gig is still coming together, but already you’ve got Gozu, Lord Fowl, Lo-Pan and Luder on the bill, so for a whopping $10, it officially qualifies as what I believe the kids might call a “sick show.”
Oct. 12 is the date, The Magic Stick is the place. Here it is from the source:
Date: 10/12/2013 Venue: The Magic Stick Location: Detroit, MI Line Up: Gozu, Lord Fowl, Lo-Pan, Luder, TBA (most likely Freedom Hawk or Sasquatch). Doors: 7:30 – All Ages Price: $10.00