Friday Full-Length: Dozer, In the Tail of a Comet

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dozer, In the Tail of a Comet (2000)

One might look at In the Tail of a Comet, the pivotal first LP from Sweden’s Dozer, as the closing chapter in a larger movement within heavy rock. Released by Frank Kozik‘s Man’s Ruin Records in 2000 following the band’s initial series of splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, the album followed landmark debuts like Acid King‘s Busse Woods and NatasDelmar, both issued by the same label in 1999, as well as the first Queens of the Stone Age and Alabama Thunderpussy (both 1998). Granted debuts from Orange Goblin (1997), Colour Haze (1995) and Electric Wizard (1995) also preceded, but in the post-Kyuss surge of heavy rock, by the time 2001 came around, this league of bands would be past first records and onto the work of developing what became a golden age of riffs. Dozer were a huge part of that process in Europe, and In the Tail of a Comet was the beginning point of a stylistic progression that got more charged over the years that followed.

The roots of that are audible in a song like “Cupola” and elsewhere, but the overarching vibe of In the Tail of a Comet is pure desert-style fuzz, very much in the vein of later Kyuss and the style that Man’s Ruin helped foster through releasing works from Suplecs, the Desert Sessions and some of the aforementioned. What really distinguished Dozer from the outset — and what would continue to distinguish them as guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (also principal songwriter in Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner and then-drummer Erik Bäckwall moved forward — was the songwriting. From opener “Supersoul” through “Lightyears Ahead,” “Speeder,” “Riding the Machine,” “Captain Spaceheart” and so on, Dozer‘s debut stood them out whether they were galloping through “Cupola” or swinging through the crashes of “Grand Dragon,” and where many at this point seemed to be getting their bearings, Dozer burst out of the gate with a collection of songs that helped shape European heavy rock and still ripples out its influence today.

I’ve had arguments back and forth about the merits of In the Tail of a Comet vs. Dozer‘s second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios or their 2003 third LP, Call it Conspiracy (discussed here), but the truth as I see it is they never stopped pushing forward in any of their releases, whether it was those or 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal (both on Small Stone), the latter of which stands as their most recent outing. Picking favorites is fun, but as their sound became more complex, Dozer never lost the core of craftsmanship that one can hear writ large over In the Tail of a Comet, and that would seem to make the entire body of work all the more admirable.

They’ve played shows sporadically for the last few years and hit the 20-year mark this year, and I keep my fingers crossed they’ll get a new LP out at some point. With Holappa concentrating on Greenleaf as a full-time band — they recently secured a US booking agent — that seems less likely in the near-term, but one can hope at some point they follow-up Beyond Colossal, because as anyone who heard that album can tell you, they still sounded like a band with more to say.

I did an interview this morning with Tom Geddes in the UK for The Desertfest Podcast that will be posted sooner or later from them. It was a Skype kind of deal, just Tom and I doing a lot of back and forth on how we got into music, some bits about writing, the book, the All-Dayer and so on. Mostly I think we talked about bands, but I love talking about bands, and especially with someone as knowledgeable as Tom, that’s all the more a pleasure. I’ll let you know when the podcast with the interview goes live. Not that you need to hear me run my mouth, but you know.

Also some interesting job news that I’ll talk more about next week, but that’s eaten up a lot of my consciousness for the last day or so. We’ll see how things shake out over this coming holiday weekend. Sorry to be vague, there are just some ducks to get in a row.

Thanks again to everybody who has ordered a copy of the book so far. The post office lost an entire box of signed copies — there were like 60 in it, minimum — so I’ll have more going out this weekend and will be following up on the lost ones to either find them or have more printed with the insurance money from the shipping. I was pissed either way. Still am, for all the good it does me.

Next week: I’ll be posting on Monday, even though it’s a holiday in the US. Plenty of international stuff to write about. Look for a review of Hijo de la Tormenta, followed by one Tuesday for the Earthless/Harsh Toke split, which is out now. Valley of the Sun and Stars that Move are the next two reviews on the list after that, but the plan for this week completely changed as we got into Wednesday and Thursday, so who the hell knows what might actually happen. Not gonna worry about it today. Point is, there will be rock and roll.

Speaking of, The Obelisk Radio broke a new record for listeners-at-one-time today. Thank you if you were a part of that or if you’ve ever checked it out. The Dozer record is done so I’m listening right now and it just went from Beast in the Field to Witch. Seriously some of the best money I’ve ever spent, putting this together. Tell your friends.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re celebrating Memorial Day, I hope that celebration doesn’t involve unthinking jingoism — that is, not just remembering why we send our children to die in war, but to whose benefit — and I hope at very least after thinking about that, you’re still able to enjoy the day off. Me? I’m splitting out of the office early and headed to the beach, because you’re god damned right I am.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Dozer: More 20th Anniversary Video Posted

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dozer centerline video

Swedish heavy rockers Dozer continue the video series started earlier this year to mark their 20th anniversary as a band. The latest two clips on offer both come from 2002, one from Berlin, Germany, one from who-knows-where in Europe, and find the band playing cuts from their second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios and a 1998 Molten Universe split with fellow Swedes Demon Cleaner that preceded the release of their first full-length, In the Tail of a Comet, in 2000. “Centerline,” the track from that split, represents an era of the band that I continue to feel like has been tragically overlooked.

Dozer, in addition to their 1998 demo, Universe 75 (discussed here), and their 1998 Coming Down the Mountain EP that wound up as a split with Unida the next year, had a trilogy of split releases with Demon Cleaner in ’98 and ’99. All issued via Molten Universe, Demon Cleaner vs. Dozer, Hawaiian Cottage and Domestic Dudes featured two songs each from each band, and to the best of my knowledge that material has never been reissued. Granted, the earliest post-Kyuss desert rock style they showed on those offerings was a long way from what they’d become by the time a decade had passed and they released 2008’s Beyond Colossal — their final outing to-date — but hell, not even a reissue?

I’ve been campaigning the last few years in my quiet way for an early works compilation from Dozer similar to that which Church of Misery first released in 2004, and I think this version of “Centerline” makes another solid argument in favor thereof. Whether or not that will ever happen — hasn’t yet — I don’t know, but for all that Dozer accomplished in the decade between 1999 and 2009, it seems like it’s a stage of the band worth not leaving out of the conversation.

Enjoy “Centerline” and “Full Circle” below:

Dozer, “Centerline” Live in Europe, 2002

Dozer, “Full Circle” Live in Berlin, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Centerline live in 2002 somewhere in Europe.

Full Circle live in Berlin, Germany 2002.

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Dozer 20th Anniversary Video Series Continues

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dozer cupola video

Earlier in Dozer‘s 20th anniversary video series, when they put up “Rising” live in Sweden and “Soulshigh” live in Finland, both from 2002 (both posted here), there was some discussion as to the seminal Swedish four-piece’s progression between their second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios, and its follow-up, 2002’s Call it Conspiracy. There’s an audible shift away from desert rock between the two records, and I was kind of wondering aloud what might’ve driven that progression, whether it was conscious or just something that kind of happened as the songs came together. If you didn’t see it, former Dozer drummer Erik Bäckwall answered my question in the comment section of that post, saying:

“There wasn’t an outspoken plan to change the sound or anything as far as I can remember. We just wanted the new record to sound better. We rehearsed a lot in those days and focused on writing new songs all the time. Some songs on CIC were written on the road. We rented a rehearsal space in Belgium for example, for at least two days there on some days off on a tour (the foundation of Man Made Mountain was written there). We also used some of our soundcheck time to work on some stuff (Feelgood Formula being one example). CIC also marked the first time we worked with a real producer (Chips K) and that made a huge difference I think. He spent time in the rehearsal room with us, making suggestions and questioning. I think he made the songs sound a bit more to the point.” – Erik, former drummer of Dozer

A shift in production style makes a lot of sense as explaining at least part of that turn, and I thank Bäckwall — who was joined in Dozer at the time by guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa and bassist Johan Rockner — for the insight. In the latest two clips in the series, it just so happens that the band feature tracks from their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet and the aforementioned Call it Conspiracy, essentially putting their most post-Kyuss material with the moment they really began to establish what would continue to be their own sonic course. Convenient, to say the least. You might need the studio versions to really make the point, but I think you can hear the evolution of the band anyway in the below.

Please enjoy:

Dozer, “Cupola” live in Germany, 1998

Dozer, “Man Made Mountain” live in Sweden, 2003

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Cupola live at Subway Festival, Enger, Germany 1998 with Unida, Nebula and Zeke.

Man Made Mountain from Sundsvall, Sweden 2003.

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Dozer Post More 20th Anniversary Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dozer live in 2013

This is the fifth clip posted in Swedish heavy rockers Dozer‘s 20th anniversary series (the others are here and here), and it only underscores how viciously badass they’ve been and for how long. The track “Octanoid” comes from their 2001 second album, Madre de Dios, and is a prime example. Then the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, Dozer tore into the foundations of post-Kyuss desert rock at a constant fifth gear, their forward momentum steamrolling the sand with enough heat and pressure to turn it into glass. As the follow-up to their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet, the Man’s Ruin Records release would solidify the energy that has come to define Dozer‘s output, regardless of where their sound has progressed through the years.

In that way, it’s fitting that they should mark their 20th anniversary with a bunch of live videos, since the vitality they bring to the stage bleeds through these clips so clearly and is such a huge part of what they do. It would continue to be as Dozer made their way through 2002’s Call it Conspiracy, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal, and no doubt it would still be if they got around to making a new record. I wouldn’t expect that this year, with Holappa and Rockner offering up a new Greenleaf album later this month and touring heavily to support it, but Dozer keep playing fests and periodic other gigs, so who knows? Maybe 2017? 2018? Could happen anytime, really.

Enjoy “Octanoid.” Not sure how long Dozer are going with the series, but if they want to keep it up for the year, that’s cool with me:

Dozer, “Octanoid” live in Finland, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Octanoid live in Finland 2002.

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Dozer Continue 20th Anniversary Video Series

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dozer in 2013

Swedish heavy rockers Dozer press on with their 20th anniversary video series, this time bringing out classic tracks from their second and third albums, performed live in their hometown of Borlänge, Sweden, and in Helsinki, Finland. Both recorded in 2002, possibly a couple nights apart, I suppose, the songs featured are “Rising” and “Soulshigh,” both of which exemplify the shifts the band was going through at the time. Though they had a consistent lineup between them of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall (later replaced by Olle Mårthans, seen in the photo above), 2001’s Madre de Dios and 2002’s Call it Conspiracy were wildly different records.

The former continued in the desert-minded style of 2000’s debut, In the Tail of a Comet, but with their third outing, Dozer pushed further into their own brand of heavy rock and roll. Riffs were still at the center, as “Rising,” which was the second song on that record, demonstrates, but there was more adrenaline. The songs on Call it Conspiracy hit harder, were more intense, and that would be the model, by and large, that Dozer would develop through their two subsequent LPs, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal. What’s most striking about watching “Rising” and “Soulshigh” back to back is just how quickly that switch happened. It was the next year. It’s not like Dozer let it sit for three years and then decided to change things up sound-wise. I’d love to know what drove that shift, whether it was something conscious on the part of the band, and if so, motivated by what.

I don’t have that answer, sadly. I do have two live Dozer videos that the band put up as they continue to celebrate their 20th anniversary, so I guess that’s no reason to complain. Check those clips out below, and please enjoy:

Dozer, “Rising” Live in Borlänge, Sweden, 2002

Dozer, “Soulshigh” Live in Helsinki, Finland, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Soulshigh live from Helsinki, Finland 2002 supporting Henry Rollins.

The song Rising from Peace & Love Festival, Borlänge, Sweden 2002.

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Dozer Celebrating 20th Anniversary with Video Series

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dozer

Well, heck. Congratulations to Dozer on hitting the 20-year mark. There was a lot of Swedish rock and roll before them, and there’s certainly been a lot of it since — a goodly portion of it working under their influence — but no one’s ever quite captured the same magic as Dozer across their five records. The last of those, Beyond the Colossal, is now approaching eight years old, having arrived in 2008 on Small Stone, and whether or not Dozer are an active band remains something of a mystery.

They’ve shown up at a couple festivals over the last three years or so — I still consider myself deeply fortunate for having seen them at Desertfest London 2013 — but there’s been no word of a steady return in the sense of writing, touring, basically being a band again. In the meantime, guitarist Tommi Holappa has brought his other band, Greenleaf, to life as a touring act, and their new album, Rise Above the Meadow — also their debut on Napalm Records — is unmistakably a highlight of the year. It’s so good, in fact, that I’m completely comfortable saying that on Jan. 7, with 359 days left to go before 2017 hits.

Where that leaves Dozer seems to be a question for another time. As the remaining founders of the band after parting ways with Erik Bäckwall, Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin and bassist Johan Rockner — joined now by Olle Mårthans on drums or at very least whatever of the drums are left after he’s done pounding the crap out of them — are celebrating 20 years since the inception of the band late in 1995, and they’re doing so with a series of video clips posted that contain old live footage edited together and set to audio from the era. Notice the rewind effect in the beginning. That’s a nice touch.

Two clips have been posted so far, but I’ll keep my eye out for more and do my best to keep up with it, because really, if there’s anything that’s going to improve any given day, it’s a Dozer video. Enjoy:

Dozer, “Speeder”

Dozer, “Tanglefoot”

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

/ Dozer

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audiObelisk Transmission 052

Posted in Podcasts on October 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

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

Whenever the hell it was that I started really doing podcasts again on a roughly-monthly basis, I said that there would be no theme from one to the other. That’s a rule I’ve bent a couple times since, and this is one of those instances as well. This podcast takes a look at the rather extensive lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2015 (posted in full here). It was a particular challenge to keep it to what’s become the standard two-hour format, but in the end, I think the tracklisting below brings together the headliners and some of the lesser known bands in a way that speaks to the breadth of the festival itself. Or at least I hope it does. It’s a killer mix, either way.

Worth noting that this is the second podcast this year that has started with Goatsnake. That is not an accident. I tried to keep things as current as possible here, and their new one destroys. I think the only cuts not from the band’s latest album are Bongzilla, Monomyth and Monolord, and well, the songs included speak for themselves either way.

Desertfest Belgium 2015 happens this weekend at Trix in Antwerpen. If, like me, you won’t be there, hope this provides a bit of fodder escapist daydreaming. If you’re going, it’s never to early to get psyched on it. Either way, please enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “House of the Moon” from Black Age Blues
0:05:17 Crystal Head, “Wouldn’t You Know” from Crystal Head
0:08:05 Orange Goblin, “Demon Blues” from Back from the Abyss
0:12:40 Ufomammut, “Temple” from Ecate
0:20:08 Fever Dog, “The Great Tree” from Second Wind
0:26:05 Causa Sui, “Echo Springs” from Euporie Tide
0:30:56 Dozer, “Flood” from Beyond Colossal
0:34:46 Monolord, “Icon” from Empress Rising
0:42:56 Mars Red Sky, “The Light Beyond” from Stranded in Arcadia
0:50:55 Stoned Jesus, “Silkworm Confessions” from The Harvest

Second Hour:
1:00:00 Fatso Jetson, “Flesh Trap Blues” from Split with Herba Mate
1:06:25 Bongzilla, “H.P. Keefmaker” from Apogee
1:16:46 Earth, “Badgers Bane” from Primitive and Deadly
1:29:05 The Machine, “Chrysalis (JAM)” from Offblast!
1:45:16 Monomyth, “Huygens” from Monomyth

Total running time: 2:02:20

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 052

 

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Desertfest Belgium 2015 Adds Goatsnake, Dozer, Ruby the Hatchet, Sunder, Moon Duo and The Progerians to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest belgium 2015 banner

Well shit, Desertfest. If you wanted me to come that badly, you could’ve just booked a flight. I’d show up. I guess going out and getting Goatsnake to headline is a pretty badass way to send the message as well though, so I won’t argue. I’m not sure I’ll actually be able to make it — do you have any idea how much a week in Europe costs? It’s insane — but it’s nice to feel wanted, even in this most abstract and completely imaginary of ways.

Along with Goatsnake, the golly-I-wish-they’d-do-another-record Swedish heavy rockers Dozer will be brought in for an appearance — oddly enough not accompanied by Lowrider — and Ruby the Hatchet, Sunder, Moon Duo and The Progerians have been added to the bill as well, which, if you’ll recall, wasn’t exactly hurting, with Ufomammut, Orange Goblin, Greenleaf, Siena Root and so on already confirmed.

Still, if the question is “Goatsnake?” then the answer is definitely Goatsnake.

This from the PR wire:

desertfest belgium 2015

Goatsnake, Dozer, Moon Duo and more added to the DESERTFEST BELGIUM lineup!

We are happy to announce that Californian sludge-blues royalty GOATSNAKE have been added to the DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2015 line-up! Additionally, we have confirmations for the touring beast that is DOZER, the face-melting psych of MOON DUO, those fine purveyors of stoner SUNDER and RUBY THE HATCHET, and another slice of Belgian psych with THE PROGERIANS. Spread the news!

Bands already confirmed are: Goatsnake, Orange Goblin, Fatso Jetson, Dozer, Moon Duo, Greenleaf, Valient Thorr, Ufomammut, Causa Sui, Siena Root, Glowsun, Carlton Melton, Child, Ruby The Hatchet, Planet Of Zeus, Psychonaut, The progerians, Wheel Of Smoke, Sunder, Fever Dog and 3rd Ear Experience.
More acts to be announced in the coming weeks…

DESERTFEST BELGIUM 2015
October 9-11th at Trix Muziekcentrum – Antwerp
3 day tickets (96€) on sale HERE

More infos at www.desertfest.be

After a great first edition that saw the likes of Electric Wizard, Brant Bjork, Yob, Kadavar tear down Antwerp, the DESERTFEST promoters decided to run their second Belgium edition this fall. Located in Antwerp outskirts, the Trix venue will once again host the world’s best heavy bands, spread over three stages drenched in that underground atmosphere we all love. Beware of the sandstorm!

https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium
https://twitter.com/desertfestBE
http://www.desertfest.be/

Goatsnake, Live in Glendale, CA, May 21, 2015

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