Posted in Reviews on May 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
With nearly 40 shows under their collective belt in support of their 10th album, Earth Rocker, Maryland roaddogs Clutch are still really just beginning the touring cycle. Fresh off a couple weeks’ break following a long run with Orange Goblin, they returned to Manhattan last night with The Sword and regular tour compatriots Lionize opening, playing a set that included all but two of the tracks from the new album as well as a few classics from their vast catalog.
There aren’t a lot of bands who can get away with this. The rock and roll cliche is that when you hear, “Here’s one from the new album,” it’s time to go get another drink. Clutch, and their fanbase, are an exception to the rule. Earth Rocker (review here) has been out for about a month and a half, and it was the new songs that people wanted to see, to get to know in a live setting, to find out where the band — guitarist Tim Sult, vocalist Neil Fallon, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster — would decide to throw in a jam here and there, and to learn how the new stuff meshed with the old.
Clutch last came through in December as part of their annual holiday tour (review here), and they had played a few of the Earth Rockercuts then, but now with more gigs behind them, the songs were unquestionably more refined. And there were more of them. Save for “Unto the Breach” and “Mr. Freedom,” the entirety of Earth Rockerwas spread throughout the set — eight tracks — mixed with a few cuts from its unofficial companion piece, 2004′s Blast Tyrant(the two albums shared a producer in NJ-based Machine), including “Cypress Grove,” “The Mob Goes Wild,” “Profits of Doom” and “The Regulator,” as well as “Mice and Gods” from 2005′s Robot Hive/Exodus, “The Yeti” from 1998′s ElephantRiders, and the finale, “Electric Worry,” from 2007′s From Beale Street to Oblivion.
The real kicker here is that no matter what Clutch play at a given show, they both picked the setlist right and left something out. 10 albums deep, there’s no way they can get to everything in a single night, so they’re probably right not to try, and with the expectation that a New York crowd probably doesn’t have a lot of first-timers in it — they’ve done and continue to do really well in the area; the sheer size of Terminal 5 can stand as testament — the way for Clutch to give their audience something it hasn’t seen before is to play the new songs. Frankly, that’s what I was there to see.
And they did not disappoint. Opening with “Earth Rocker” into “Book, Saddle and Go” and “Cyborg Bette,” the rush was immediate and their energy palpable. Fallon as ever was back and forth on stage, gesticulating wildly to emphasize the lyrics while Sult, Maines and Gaster held down the still-funkified rhythm behind. “Earth Rocker” seemed a little slower than on the album, but they got up to speed with “Book, Saddle and Go,” and when “Cyborg Bette” slammed into its last verse and chorus — “Cyborg Bette/You done me/Wrong for the last time…” and so on — it was clear by the sing-along just how quickly the crowd had taken to the new material.
Any night I get to see Clutch, I feel like I’ve won out, and any night I get to see them play “The Regulator,” all the more so. Maybe it was because the bulk of the newer songs are faster and more straightforward, but the slowdown mid-set seemed even more dynamic, Fallon picking up a guitar and easing into a more melodic delivery. By then, they’d run through “The Mob Goes Wild” — suitably riotous — and “Profits of Doom” en route to working a jam onto the end of “D.C. Sound Attack” that only added to one of Earth Rocker‘s best grooves, cowbell included. Clutch are known to alternate which member of the band picks the setlist each night, and I don’t know who got this one, but it flowed well and “The Regulator” made a good marker after “Mice and Gods” and “Cypress Grove,” which was shouted out to all the ladies in the house as much good vibing ensued.
In December, “D.C. Sound Attack” had seemed rough in some of its transitions, but that was resolved and the song executed as smoothly as everything else. It feels like a given to say Clutch are one of the tightest live acts I’ve ever seen — like, well duh, of course they are — but it’s worth highlighting just how impressive they really can be on stage, and that even in a space like Terminal 5, with two balcony levels above the floor and a stretch back to rival Roseland Ballroom,not at all intimate, they managed to bring the crowd along with them for the party they were throwing. I’m sure it helped that those in attendance were so willing to go, but still. To seem human in a place like that is a feat and they pulled it off like it was nothing. One more reason to keep coming back.
“Oh, Isabella” followed “The Regulator” and led to “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” which closes the new album. Sult‘s guitar did well in conveying the grandiose sensibility of the final moments, but I wondered if Clutch wouldn’t go so far as to add a second for that part, whether it’s Fallon handling it or someone else, just to give it that extra push when it kicks in at the end. I guess they probably have another 300 shows or so to figure out if that’s a choice they want to make, but it’s a great live song anyway, and fit surprisingly snug with the subdued “Gone Cold” following, that in turn giving way to “The Face,” a highlight of Earth Rocker and probably the song I was most hoping — aside from “The Regulator,” which is a constant on my wish list — they’d play.
Similar in its scope to the ending of “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” “The Face” makes an impression on the album through its sheer size and its story of rock and roll redemption. Live, it’s obviously rawer, but its epic riff sounds no less epic, and Fallon nailed the rhythm of the verses, making it all the more thrilling to watch. Hopefully it’s one that stays in the set for years to come. For the encore, Clutch threw in “The Yeti” and added a jam to the end that transitioned into “Burning Beard” — it wasn’t easy, but they got there — and then capped with “Electric Worry,” as one has come to increasingly expect over the last couple years.
For me, it was a laid-back kind of night. I’d worked late the few days prior and been pretty beat, so hitting up a Clutch show was more like seeing old friends — also helped that there were plenty of those in the crowd — than something to stress over. I got to relax, lean back and belt out a few killer tunes along with the band, and I don’t think there’s anything more I could’ve reasonably asked for a Thursday night. They were done just before midnight, I got back to my humble river valley a couple minutes after one, and woke up this morning with “The Face” still stuck in my head. It was the best Clutch show since the last one and it’ll be the best until the next one. That’s how they do.
Posted in Features on March 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was fortunate enough last fall to be asked to take some pictures of Clutch while they were recording their 10th studio album, Earth Rocker, at producer Machine‘s North Jersey studio, the Machine Shop. When I got there, vocalist Neil Fallon was putting down the chorus for what would become the album’s fourth track, “D.C. Sound Attack,” and the hook was so immediately strong that right away when I got back to my car I wrote down the words so I wouldn’t forget them when I had the song stuck in my head for however many months it would be until the album finally came out. It looked like this:
That was the first clue I had that Earth Rocker was going to be both something special and a very different album than Clutch‘s last, 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West. Where Strange Cousins pushed further into the mid-paced blues and jam explorations of recent years, even that tiny sample was enough to show that Earth Rocker was after a bigger sound, and in its finished product — released this week on the band’s own Weathermaker Music imprint — it got there. The massive room of a song like “The Face,” or the rush of its title-track, “Cyborg Bette,” “Crucial Velocity” or “Book, Saddle and Go”; it all adds up to a revitalized feel, and one well earned by the hard-touring Maryland stalwarts.
Clutch tour. That’s their thing, and it’s why it took so long to get this record together. In the four years since Strange Cousins hit, a collection of acoustic reinterpretations coupled with a Weathermaker reissue of 2004′s Blast Tyrant — their first collaboration Machine — and a Record Store Day 2012 picture disc single for the track “Pigtown Blues” filled the space between LPs, but Clutch were only ever off the road long enough to regroup for the start of the next run. Yeah, it was time to get an album out, but hey when Motörhead calls, you answer.
The point is, if absence made their fanbase’s collective heart grow stronger, Clutch weren’t actually absent. They were going door-to-door. Still, in no small part because of its energetic material, Earth Rocker (review here) arrives as an extra satisfying listen, like the album is its own bonus. “D.C. Sound Attack” is a highlight, as is “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” as is the side-A-closing slowdown “Gone Cold,” as is each track for one reason or another. How have Clutch chosen to celebrate the new release? The only way they seem to know how. By touring.
Teamed with London-based destroyers Orange Goblin for the first US leg going on now, Clutch — Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster — have embarked on what’s sure to be years of slogging in support of Earth Rocker. I spoke to Fallon prior to the start of the shows, after the band had gotten home from a stint through Europe in January/February, which as he noted in our conversation, was their best batch of gigs there to date.
After the jump, please find the complete Q&A with Neil Fallon of Clutch about the album, touring and much more, as well as selected pictures taken at that first in-studio (the first two below) and Clutch‘s 2012 CMJ party and performance, where they previewed Earth Rocker material for a short but memorable set.
Posted in Reviews on February 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
By the time Marylander stalwarts of groove Clutch release Earth Rocker through their own Weathermaker Music imprint on March 19, it will have been nearly four years since they last issued a studio album. That record, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, pushed the four-piece’s blues/funk fetish to its furthest reaches to date, with cuts like “Abraham Lincoln” and “Let a Poor Man Be” enacting a successful blend of the blues and Clutch’s long-running thread of heavy rock consistency while “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” and “Minotaur” offered the lyrical quirk that fans have come to expect over the course of their career. Four years is the longest stretch ever between Clutch offerings, but during that time the band was hardly idle. In addition 2010’s “King of Arizona” digital single, Live at the 9:30 double-DVD set (review here) and overseeing Weathermaker reissues in 2011 of the three albums initially released on DRT Records – 2004’s Blast Tyrant, 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus and 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion (group review here) – the first of that set also including the Basket of Eggs EP of tracks from throughout their catalog reworked acoustically – as well as releasing a new single, Pigtown Blues, for Record Store Day in 2012, Clutch toured the holy hell out of Strange Cousins from the West (live reviews here, here, here and here), only really stopping to start up again in the US or Europe. Doubtless they could have kept going – theirs is a fanbase loyal and prone to showing up – but speaking as a fan of the band (which, make no mistake, is the point of view from whence this review comes) it was past time for a new album, and if you want a sense of how Earth Rocker relates to Clutch’s discography as their 10th outing, there’s really no need to look past the title. Where Strange Cousins from the West was long, somewhat meandering, vague in its origin, From Beale Street to Oblivion clear in its place but also on the longer side of a title, and Robot Hive/Exodus had that pesky slash offering grammatical complexity, Earth Rocker – the mere phrase – lands with a stripped-down thud as one imagines a large book might on a dusty table. The band has noted their drive to write faster songs and between that and their returning to producer Machine to record, Earth Rocker has no little amount in common with Blast Tyrant nearly a decade later. Even the syllabic rhythm of the two titles is the same, and you know Clutch get down with some syllabic rhythm.
If that’s the starting point, so be it, but Clutch – vocalist/sometimes-guitarist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster – are in no way repeating themselves with Earth Rocker, and whatever similarities of approach the latest work might share with Blast Tyrant, those similarities are filtered through the subsequent years of blues influence and road dogging. These songs are not a step backward. They are, however, some of the most straightforwardly heavy rocking tracks Clutch have written since Blast Tyrant, or, I’d argue, the preceding album, 2001’s Pure Rock Fury, albeit with a thicker, larger production sound. An impeccably structured 44-and-a-half-minute collection of 11 tracks, Earth Rocker is also the shortest of the band’s full-lengths (by about three minutes, but still), and telegraphs its side A/B split no matter the format, with the subdued blues moodiness of “Gone Cold” just as potent a centerpiece for the linear listen (CD/digital) as it is a cap for the first side of an LP, following the quick rush of an initial salvo in “Earth Rocker,” “Crucial Velocity,” “Mr. Freedom,” “D.C. Sound Attack” and “Unto the Breach,” all of which feed into a considerable sense of momentum. The opening duo of “Earth Rocker” and “Crucial Velocity” are especially indicative of the record’s course, coming on short, crisp and tight in casting aside (for the moment and relatively speaking) funk groove in favor of forward thrust. In its verses, “Earth Rocker” is a bold declaration of intent, with an acknowledgement of audience in the chorus that’s not to be overlooked. Gaster and Sult introduce the song with a tense quiet beginning, but when the track begins to move, it doesn’t stop again, Fallon injecting mwa-ha-ha-ha bogeyman laughter into the chorus as though the very notion of being an “earth rocker” – one who might proclaim, “I don’t need your stinking laminates/I don’t need your VIP/I don’t need your validation/’Cause I wear mine on the sleeve” – is something other or intimidating. He’s probably right, and as the song hits its peak, the frontman offers the plainspoken perspective, “Yes I’ve lost many battles/And even more days/But if I had to do it over/I’d do it just the same,” leading to a last chorus that in a few minutes has gone from mission statement to victorious decree. Not a bad jump to make in just three and a half minutes, and though the pace continues on “Crucial Velocity,” the lyrics move to a semi-sci-fi thematic with Fallon being pursued perhaps by his own future and escaping in an Oldsmobile.
“Rocket 88” was a 1951 single by Ike Turner and his band Kings of Rhythm that legend has it featured the first distorted electric guitar, so with that reference, the chorus of “My Rocket 88/Fastest in the land/Crucial, crucial velocity!” taps into more than one kind of escapism, Fallon going self-referential in the third verse with the lines, “Everybody, everybody keeps telling me/Neil you got to quit your lowdown ways.” The band behind is suitably motoring, Sult adding wah flourish while Gaster claims debt from his snare (beating it like it owes him money) and Maines builds himself a summer cottage in the pocket of a signature start-stop verse groove. On some level, this is Clutch sounding like Clutch, but it’s also bigger and tonally heavier than they’ve been since they last collaborated with Machine. The faster songs are refreshing without sacrificing their rhythmic presence, and they set up Earth Rocker to unfold its diversity with “Mr. Freedom” and the subsequent tracks. It’s a tricky turn between “Mr. Freedom,” – as politically-minded lyrically as the title would indicate – “D.C. Sound Attack,” “Unto the Breach” and “Gone Cold,” but they pull it off and keep a flow going without so much as batting an eye, keeping hints of the opening rush in “Mr. Freedom” while dialing back the tempo slightly, upping the funk for “D.C. Sound Attack” and delving, as previously noted, into quiet blues for “Gone Cold.” Clutch aren’t strangers to political material – digging back through lyrics, even “One Eye Dollar” as it appears on 1999’s Jam Room is easy to read that way – and “Mr. Freedom” stands on the shoulders of cuts like “Mr. Shiny Cadillackness” from From Beale Street to Oblivion and “Freakonomics” from Strange Cousins from the West in a line of recent excursions into progressive social commentary. Like the first two tracks and Earth Rocker as a whole, however, it’s also more blatant in calling out those who play on fear for political ends or find cause for righteousness in the superficial trappings of patriotism, not even through the first verse before Fallon gives it straight: “Every time you open up your mouth a load of horse shit comes flying right back out.” The stance notwithstanding (I’m not one to debate even if I felt a need), Sult’s wah should be enough to win any conservative holdouts. Maines, who at times can seem to be lost in the mix beneath layers of guitar, fills out the chorus well as part of what I consider heavy rock’s best rhythm section alongside Gaster, and though “Mr. Freedom” is the shortest piece on Earth Rocker at 2:45, it lacks nothing in impression left. I haven’t seen the preachy rear someone’s vehicle since I first heard it and not thought of the second verse line, “And every bumper sticker on the back your car makes you feel a little more real.”
When it hits, “D.C. Sound Attack” is a highlight among highlights. Its groove is a little funkier, Gaster riding the riff while Fallon throws in some blues harp for the quick intro into the first verse, and the layering in the chorus makes it a standout as the vocals respond to their own calls and the lyrics, “Hell hounds on your trail/What a pity/But that’s the price you pay/Shakin’ hands in Necro City” lead to a cowbell-infused bridge no less memorable, calling for the titular D.C. sound attack. Of all the material on Earth Rocker, “D.C. Sound Attack” is a takeaway – one of those songs that will likely feature in the live set for years to come, and one well suited to that environment in spite of what the layering adds to the guitar and vocals in the studio version, the lyrics still consistent in their roughly sociopolitical lean with the much more blatant “Mr. Freedom.” Gaster’s drums prove as integral to the song’s ultimate success as Sult’s riffing, and the overall result proves immediately infectious where a track like “Crucial Velocity,” because it moves faster, needs a few listens to really sink in on the listener. That’s the case as well with “Unto the Breach,” which follows “D.C. Sound Attack” and revives the initial speediness of “Crucial Velocity” and the title cut. As it’s positioned between “D.C. Sound Attack” and “Gone Cold” – both distinguished right away in the tracklist – it’s easy to pass over “Unto the Breach” as an afterthought, but it fits well on side A, reviving the uptempo thrust and exuding a lyrical paranoia full of hobgoblins, Morris men, and the Swiss guard, dropping references to the Gutenburg press and of course the title call, snatched from Shakespeare’s Henry V. All these actors end their revels in just 3:31, so “Unto the Breach” is nothing if it’s not densely packed, and whatever landmark “D.C. Sound Attack” may have provided before it or “Gone Cold” might provide after, “Unto the Breach”’s full-run chorus is effective and engaging. Another track, less intricately arranged in its layering, that seems to be built for the stage, Sult taking a wah solo to break up the thud from Gaster’s drums and Maines poking through with low end just before the last verse/chorus rush. It’s a deceptive song in the spirit of “Child of the City” from From Beale Street to Oblivion, but its qualities emerge over a longer term of listens and its merits ultimately prove greater than one might initially believe.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Book, saddle and go! Clutch know full well that nothing goes with a tour like another tour, so to complement the first leg of their US dates in support of the forthcoming Earth Rocker (which will be reviewed here before the week is out) they’ve announced another run of shows, this time with Lionize and The Sword opening.
All this and then they go to Europe. Behold their schedule and be exhausted by it:
The Earth Rocker World Tour Heats Up!
With less than a month remaining before the release of CLUTCH’s highly anticipated new album Earth Rocker the band is pleased to announce the second leg of the Earth Rocker North American tour! Leg two kicks off May 1st in Richmond, VA and will run through May 26th in San Antonio, TX. Support on this run comes from The Sword and Lionize.
Tickets go on sale to fan club members Wednesday February 27th and for the general public Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd. Tickets for the first leg of the tour are beginning to sell out, make sure you get yours while you still can!
CLUTCH will kick off the first leg of the Earth Rocker North American tour March 8th in Cincinnati, OH and it runs through April 20th in Baltimore, MD. Support on the first leg will come from Orange Goblin, Lionize and Scorpion Child.
CLUTCH will also appear at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Exact info on show times and locations will be released soon. Make sure to stay tuned to http://pro-rock.com for the latest info.
As the summer season draws near, new European tour dates for CLUTCH are starting to be announced. A full list of dates including numerous high profile festival appearances can be seen below.
More shows are expected to be added in the coming weeks.
Earth Rocker World Tour 3/8: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s 3/9: Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works 3/10: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s 3/11: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom 3/12: Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom 3/14: Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom 3/15: Austin, TX @ SXSW 3/16: Austin, TX @ SXSW 3/18: Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep 3/19: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot 3/21: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues 3/22: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee 3/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Café Las Vegas Strip 3/24: Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues 3/26: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom 3/27: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory 3/29: Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market 3/30: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater 3/31: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House 4/1: Missoula, MT @ The Wilma Theater 4/2: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House 4/3: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom – SOLD OUT! 4/5: Calgary, AB @ Flames Central 4/6: Saskatoon, SK @ Odeon Events Centre 4/7: Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall 4/9: Winnipeg, MB @ The Garrick Centre 4/10: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue 4/11: Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s 4/12: Chicago, IL @ House of Blues 4/13: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room 4/15: Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater 4/16: New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place 4/18: Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy 4/19: Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE – Indoor 4/20: Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live – SOLD OUT!
Earth Rocker North American Tour Leg 2 5/1: Richmond, VA @ The National 5/2: New York, NY @ Terminal 5 5/3: Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall 5/4: Portland, ME @ State Theater 5/5: Boston, MA @ House of Blues 5/7: Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend 5/9: Tampa, FL @ State Theater 5/10: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution 5/11: Orlando, FL @ House of Blues 5/12: Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall 5/14: New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues 5/15: Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage 5/17: Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory 5/18: Columbus, OH @ Rock on the Range* 5/19: Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue 5/21: Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hill Ballroom 5/22: Fargo, ND @ The Venue 5/23: Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater 5/24: Pryor, OK @ Rocklahoma* 5/25: Houston, TX @ House of Blues *Denotes Festival Date*
European Tour Dates: 6/7: Zeppenlinfeld, Germany @ Rock im Park* 6/8: Nurburgring, Germany @ Rock Am Ring* 6/13: Madrid, Spain @ Gloos Club 6/14: Barcelona, Spain @ Music Hall Barcelona 6/15: Bilbao, Spain @ Sala Santana* 6/17: Bordeaux, France @ Le Krakatoa 6/18: Lyon, France @ Transbo Club (at Le Transbordeur) 6/19: Milan, Italy @ Flame Festival* 6/20: Zurich, Switzerland @ Earshakerdays @ Volkhaus* 6/23: Clisson, France @ Hellfest* 6/26: Thessaloniki, Greece @ Principal Club Theater 6/27: Athens, Greece @ VOX IERA Odos 6/30: Dessel, Belgium @ Graspop Metal Meeting* 7/4: Hisingen, Sweden @ Metaltown* 7/13: Stavern, Norway @ Stavern Festival* *Denotes Festival Date*
Clutch have posted a brand new lyric video for the track “Earth Rocker” from the forthcoming album of the same name. As the Maryland groovers wrap their current European tour, they prepare to take the show Stateside next month alongside Orange Goblin and Lionize. Dates and other info follow below, courtesy of the PR wire. Earth Rocker is due out March 19.
Everybody hear me now?
CLUTCH Release Earth Rocker Lyric Video
Earth Rocker Presale Now Available
CLUTCH’s first ever lyric video for the song “Earth Rocker” is in and can be viewed here. The video was created by Ramon Boutviseth and his team at Studio RB Films.
CLUTCH’s new album Earth Rocker is available for pre-order exclusively at http://www.clutchmerch.com. Fans can pre-order the record individually or partake in the special fan-friendly bundle packages that are being offered. WEATHERMAKER MUSIC has confirmed a March 19, 2013 North American release date for the CLUTCH Earth Rocker CD and Vinyl.
CLUTCH will kick off the first leg of the Earth Rocker North American tour March 8th in Cincinnati, OH and it runs through April 20th in Baltimore, MD. Support on the tour will come from Orange Goblin, and Lionize. Unfortunately our friends Kyng will not be able to be with us on this tour. Please visit their website for additional information.
Additionally CLUTCH will appear at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Exact info on show times and locations will be released soon. Make sure to stay tuned to http://pro-rock.com for the latest info.
Fans can keep up on the progress of Earth Rocker by visiting the new website www.earthrocker.com. The website is a hub dedicated to all things Earth Rocker. Fans can expect to see frequent updates including photos, videos from the studio, song title announcements and samples of new songs.
Earth Rocker European Tour 2/5: Oslo, NO @ Parkteateret – SOLD OUT! 2/6: Press Day in Stockholm, SWE 2/7: Stockholm, SWE @ Tyrol
Earth Rocker North American Tour 3/8: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s 3/9: Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works 3/10: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s 3/11: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom 3/12: Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom 3/14: Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom 3/15: Austin, TX @ SXSW 3/16: Austin, TX @ SXSW 3/18: Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep 3/19: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot 3/21: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues 3/22: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee 3/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Café Las Vegas Strip 3/24: Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues 3/26: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom 3/27: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory 3/29: Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market 3/30: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater 3/31: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House 4/1: Missoula, MT @ The Wilma Theater 4/2: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House 4/3: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom 4/5: Calgary, AB @ Flames Central 4/6: Saskatoon, SK @ Odeon Events Centre 4/7: Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall 4/9: Winnipeg, MB @ The Garrick Centre 4/10: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue 4/11: Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s 4/12: Chicago, IL @ House of Blues 4/13: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room 4/15: Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater 4/16: New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place 4/18: Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy 4/19: Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE – Indoor 4/20: Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
Posted in Features on January 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last year was a monster. You might say I’m still catching up on reviews for records that came out in October. Yet here we stand in 2013. It’s a whole new year and that means instead of looking back at some of the best releases, it’s time to look ahead and nerd out at what’s to come. Frankly, either way is a good time, but with some of what’s included on this list, 2013 has the potential to be yet another incredible year for lovers of the heavy.
Across a range of genres and subgenres, there are bands big and small, known and unknown, getting ready to unleash debuts, follow-ups and catalog pieces that by the time December rolls around, will have defined the course of this year. It’s always great to hold an album in your hands, to put it on and listen to it for the first or 19th time, but part of the fun is the excitement beforehand too, and that’s where we’re at now.
Some of these I’ve heard, most I haven’t, and some are only vague announcements, but when I started out putting this list together, my plan was to keep it to 10 and I wound up with twice that many because there was just too much happening to ignore. The list is alphabetical because it doesn’t make any sense to me to rate albums that aren’t out yet, and I hope if you find something you’d like to add, you’ll please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks in advance for reading, and enjoy:
Acid King, TBA
We begin with only the basest of speculations. Would you believe me if I told you that 2013 makes it eight years since the heavier-than-your-heavy-pants San Francisco trio Acid King released their last album, III? Of course you wouldn’t believe me. You’d be like, “Dude, no way,” but it’s true. Eight friggin’ years. They’ve hinted all along at new material, toured Europe and played fests in the States like Fall into Darkness, but really, it’s time for something new on record. Even an EP. A single! I’ll take what I can get at this point, so long as it’s Lori S. riffing it.
Chances are, the above isn’t the final art for Argentinian Los Natas-offshoot Ararat‘s forthcoming III, but frontman Sergio Chotsourian has posted a few demos over the last several months and the logo image came from that. Either way, with as far as last year’s II(review here) went in expanding their sound, I can’t wait to hear the final versions of the tracks for the next one. They’re still flying under a lot of people’s radar, it seems, but Ararat are quickly becoming one of South America’s best heavy psych acts. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out.
Brooklyn trio Bezoar‘s 2012 debut, Wyt Deth, might have been my favorite album that I never reviewed last year, and needless to say, that’s not a mistake I’m going to make twice. The new songs I’ve heard the three-piece play live have ruled and an alliance with engineer Stephen Conover (whose discography includes Rza and Method Man) is intriguing to say the least. I’m sure whatever Bezoar come out with, the performances from bassist/vocalist Sara Villard, guitarist Tyler Villard and drummer Justin Sherrell will be as hard to pin down as the debut was. It’s a record I’m already looking forward to being challenged by.
Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era
Due out April 9, Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s The Edge of an Era will mark the full-length debut for the ambitious trio (now based in L.A.) on Tee Pee Records following on the heels of the impressive The Storm Generation EP (review here). From the Scott Reeder production to the band’s engaging heavy psych/desert rock blend, this one seems bound to win Blaak Heat Shujaa a lot of new friends, and if the advance EP is anything to go by, The Edge of an Eracould prove to be aptly-titled indeed.
Black Pyramid, Adversarial
No release date yet, but so far as I know, Adversarial, which is Massachusetts doom rockers Black Pyramid‘s third album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard, is recorded, mixed and mastered. Song titles include “Swing the Scimitar,” “Onyx and Obsidian,” “Issus,” “Bleed Out” and “Aphelion” (the latter was also released as a limited single in 2012 by Transubstans as a split with Odyssey), and having seen the band live with this lineup, expect no less than a beheading. Also watch for word from the recently announced side-project from Shepard and bassist Dave Gein, The Scimitar.
Black Sabbath, 13
There was a bit of a shitstorm this past weekend when the title of Black Sabbath‘s first Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album since 1978 was revealed in a press release. Nonetheless, 13is set for release in June and will feature Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine on drums in place of Bill Ward, who last year was engaged in a well-publicized contract dispute with the band. Bummer though that is and as crappy and generic a title as 13 makes — especially this year — let’s not forget that Heaven and Hell‘s The Devil You Know also had a crap title and it was awesome. I’m not sure if I’m willing to stake anticipation on the difference between the vocals of Ronnie James Dio circa 2010 and Ozzy Osbourne in 2013, or Rick Rubin‘s production, but hell, is Geezer Butler playing bass on it? Yes? Well, okay then, I’ll listen. The world can do a lot worse than that and another batch of Tony Iommi riffs, whatever else may be in store.
Clutch, Earth Rocker
It’s a ripper. With Earth Rocker, Clutch reunite with Blast Tyrant producer Machine and the results are a record varied enough to keep some of the recent blues elements of the past couple albums (“Gone Cold”) while also showcasing a reinvigorated love of straight-up heavy rock numbers on tracks like “Crucial Velocity,” “Book, Saddle & Go” and “Cyborg Betty.” Longtime Clutch fans can expect a bigger guitar sound from Tim Sult, killer layering and much personality from vocalist Neil Fallon and yet another stellar performance from the best rhythm section in American heavy, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. No doubt in my mind it’ll prove one of the year’s best when 2013 is done. Once more unto the breach!
Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse
Last month, I hosted a Devil to Pay video premiere for the Indianapolis-based rockers’ new track, “This Train Won’t Stop,” from the 7″ single of the same name that precedes the release of their Ripple Music debut full-length (fourth overall), Fate is Your Muse. If the 575-plus Thee Facebook “Likes” are anything to go by, anticipation for the album is pretty high. Reasonably so. When I saw Devil to Pay at last year’s SHoD fest, the new material was killer and the band seemed more confident than ever before. Stoked to hear how that translates to a studio recording and how the band has grown since 2009′s Heavily Ever After.
Egypt, Become the Sun
Technically speaking, Become the Sun is the full-length debut from North Dakota doomers Egypt. The band released their self-titled demo through MeteorCity in 2009 (review here), were broken up at the time, and reassembled with a new guitarist for Become the Sun– which is the only album on this list to have already been reviewed. I don’t know about a physical release date, but it’s available now digitally through iTunes and other outlets, and however you do so, it’s worth tracking down to get the chance to listen to it. Underrated Midwestern riffing, hopefully with a CD/LP issue coming soon.
The Flying Eyes, TBA
Currently holed up in Lord Baltimore Studios with producer Rob Girardi, Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes are reportedly putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to 2011′s immersive Done So Wrong, an album full of young energy and old soul. Along with Blaak Heat Shujaa above, I consider these dudes to be right at the forefront of the next generation of American heavy psych and I’m excited to hear what kind of pastoral blues works its way into their tracks when the album finally gets released. They’re a band you’re probably going to hear a lot about this year, so be forewarned.
Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man
The melodicism of Boston-based Gozu‘s second Small Stone full-length, The Fury of a Patient Man (I swear I just typed “The Fury of a Patient Mrs.”) is no less striking than its album cover. I’ve had this one for a while, have gotten to know it pretty well and my plan is to review it next week, so keep an eye out for that, but for now, I’ll just say that the sophomore outing is a fitting answer to the potential of Gozu‘s 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here) and marks the beginning of what already looks like another strong year for Small Stone. I never thought I’d be so into a song called “Traci Lords.”
Halfway to Gone, TBA
What I’d really like to see happen is for Halfway to Gone – who are high on my list of New Jersey hometown heroes and who haven’t had a new LP out since their 2004 self-titled — to put out a new record in 2013, for it to lay waste to everyone who hears it, and for the band to finally get the recognition they’ve long since deserved. I’ve been charged up on revisiting their three albums since I saw them at the Brighton Bar this past July and after a long wait, rumors, breakups, makeups, etc., I’ve got my hopes up that this year is when these dudes pull it together and make a new one happen. It’s been too long and this band is too good to just let it go.
Kings Destroy, TBA
Confession time: I have the Kings Destroy record. I’ve had it for a bit now. It rules. I don’t know when you’re gonna hear it, but it’s strange and eerie and kind of off the wall stylistically and it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there. Last I heard they’re looking for a label, and whoever ends up with it is lucky. I use a lot of descriptors for bands and their albums, but rarely will I go so far as to call something unique. This album is. If you’ve had the chance to check out songs like “The Toe” and “Turul” live, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, then stick around because with all the sessions I’ve had with the tracks, I still feel outclassed by what these guys are doing. Shine on, you doomed weirdos.
The Kings of Frog Island, Volume IV
I keep going back to the video for “Long Live the King” that Leicester, UK, fuzz rockers The Kings of Frog Island put up back in October. No, really, I keep going back. It’s a good song and I keep listening to it. Just about any other details regarding their fourth album and first without guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt (Josiah, Cherry Choke), Volume IV, are nil, but periodic updates on the band’s Thee Facebooks have it that progress on the recording is being made, and in the meantime, I don’t seem to have any trouble paying return visits to “Long Live the King.” Hopefully Elektrohasch stays on board for a CD release, and hopefully it happens soon.
Several times over the last couple months I’ve had occasion to say it to people and I’ll say it here as well: I think Lo-Pan are the best American stoner rock band going right now. I was interested to see how they handled the bigger stage for their opening slot for High on Fire and Goatwhore (review here), and as ever, they killed. I haven’t the faintest idea what their recording plans might be, if they’ll even sit still long enough to put an album to tape in time to have it out in 2013 — I suspect it depends on what tour offers come up in the meantime — but new songs “Colossus” and “Eastern Seas” bode well for their being able to continue the course of momentum that the excellence of 2011′s Salvador(review here) and all their hard work before and since has put them on.
Queens of the Stone Age, TBA
It probably wouldn’t be fair to call the upcoming Queens of the Stone Age album a reunion between Josh Homme and Dave Grohl since the two also played together in Them Crooked Vultures and Grohl only drummed on Songs for the Deaf, but it’s exciting news anyway and could mean good things are coming from QOTSA, whose last outing was 2007′s comparatively lackluster Era Vulgaris. The big questions here are how the time apart from the band may or may not have affected Homme‘s songwriting and where he’s decided he wants to take the Queens sound. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sungrazer & The Machine, Split
With the Strikes and Gutters tour already booked to support it (dates above; or here), Dutch upstart heavy psych jammers The Machine and Sungrazer have teamed up for a split release as well that’s bound to feature some of the year’s best fuzz. The two bands have a lot in common, but they’re pretty distinct from each other sonically too, and with The Machine guitarist/vocalist David Eering helming the recording, you can safely bet it’ll capture the live, jammy feel both groups share. Latest word has it that the mastered tracks are in-house, so watch for more to come as we get closer to the Valentine’s Day launch of the tour.
The Swedish fuzz juggernauts’ fourth album overall, this will be Truckfighters‘ first with new drummer McKenzo alongside the core songwriting duo of Dango and Ozo. They’ve been teasing recording updates and threatening song clips, but as soon as I run into something concrete, I’ll share. I’m especially looking forward to the Truckfighters album since it means they’ll likely come back to the US for another tour, and since 2009′s Mania (review here) was so damned brilliant. Not sure on a release date, but it’s high on the list of necessities anyway, however low it may appear alphabetically.
Valley of the Sun, TBA
All I’m going on in including Ohio-based desert rockers Valley of the Sun on this list is a New Year’s message they put out there that read, “Happy New Year, Brothers and Sisters!!! You can count on a Valley of the Sun full-length in 2013.” Hey, I’ve relied on less before, and even if you want to call it wishful thinking, the Cincinnati trio are due a debut full-length behind 2011′s righteous The Sayings of the Seers EP (review here). Even if it doesn’t show up until November or December, I’ll basically take it whenever the band gets around to releasing. Riffs are welcome year-round.
Well, I mean, yeah. Right? Yeah, well, sure. I mean. Well. Yeah. I mean, sure. Right? It’s a supergroup with YOB‘s Mike Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune on guitar, Sigrid Sheie of Hammers of Misfortune on bass and Aesop Dekker of Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros on drums. Album’s done, set for release on Profound Lore. So, I mean, you know, yeah. Definitely. No music has made its way to the public yet — though that can’t be far off — but either way, sign me the fuck up. Anywhere this one goes, I’m interested to find out how it gets there.
Vista Chino, TBA
After that lawsuit, it’s not like they could go ahead and call the band Kyuss Still Lives!, so the recently-announced Vista Chino makes for a decent alternative and is much less likely to provoke litigation. But still, the Kyuss Lives! outgrowth featuring former Kyuss members John Garcia, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork along with guitarist Bruno Fevery is of immediate consequence. I’m not sure what the timing on the release is, but they’ve already been through enough to get to this point that one hopes a new album surfaces before the end of 2013. What I want to know next is who’s recording the damn thing.
Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You
Not much has been said in the time since I interviewed Gary Arce, guitarist and founder of influential desert rock stalwarts Yawning Man, about the 2LP Gravity is Good for Yourelease (the Raymond Pettibon cover for which you can see above), but the band has been confirmed for Desertfest since then and they’re playing in L.A. on Jan. 25, so they’re active for sure and presumably there’s been some progress on the album itself. It remains to be seen what form it will take when it surfaces, and the lineup of the band seems somewhat nebulous as well, but when there’s a desert, there’s Yawning Man, and there’s always a desert. 2010′s Nomadic Pursuits(review here) was a triumph, and deserves a follow-up.
Anyone else notice that the “20 Albums to Watch for” list has 22 albums on it? Maybe I wanted to see if you were paying attention. Maybe I can’t count. Maybe I just felt like including one more. Maybe I had 21 and then added Vista Chino after someone left a comment about it. The possibilities are endless.
So too is the list of bands I could’ve included here. Even as I was about halfway through, a new Darkthrone track surfaced from an album due Feb. 25 called The Underground Resistance, and news/rumors abound of various substance concerning offerings from YOB, Eggnogg, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Mars Red Sky, Asteroid, Apostle of Solitude, Windhand, Phantom Glue, the supergroup Corrections House, Kingsnake, Sasquatch — I’ve already made my feelings known on the prospect of a new Sleep record — news went up yesterday about Inter Arma‘s new one, and you know Wino‘s gonna have an album or two out before the end of the year, and he’s always up to something good, so 20, 22, 35, it could just as easily go on forever. Or at least very least the whole year.
If there’s anything I forgot, anything you want to include or dispute, comments are welcome and encouraged.
Posted in Reviews on January 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
How bummed was I to miss Wino opening for Clutch, you ask? Well I was super friggin’ bummed. Thanks for rubbing it in. Between parking and standing on line to get into Crocodile Rock, I missed his set entirely to the point that I thought maybe he was going on after Saviours and before Mondo Generator, or maybe even after Mondo Generator and before Clutch, where they could transition from one set to another by launching into “Red Horse Rainbow” from Pure Rock Fury, on the album version of which Wino guested on guitar. No such luck. Turns out I just missed him.
It was a shitter way to start out an otherwise great night. Saviours were just getting ready to start up when I walked in. In all the years I’ve been going to shows, this was my first time at Crocodile Rock, which reminded me a bit of the Machine Shop in Flint, MI, in its late-’90s vibe. They were around for nü-metal and had the framed pictures on the wall of Union and Ill Nino to prove it. The sound wasn’t bad, but the place was already packed and only became more so. Doubtless a good portion of the crowd came as refugees from the originally scheduled Starland Ballroom show, unfortunately canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy while that venue, which was flooded out, rebuilds and regroups.
But for missing Wino (I mean, seriously, how do I miss Wino? I’m Mr. Wino Wednesday — you’d think I’d just have like a Wino-dar to go off and let me know when he’s playing), the evening had much to offer. Clutch rolling through on their annual holiday run playing no fewer than four new songs from the forthcoming Earth Rocker, a reinvigorated Mondo Generator, and Saviours, who I hadn’t seen in three years since they hit Brooklyn supporting Saint Vitus. Not much had changed, though their stonerly riffer’s thrash seemed all the more Californian perhaps because it was 20 degrees outside and half the crowd had their winter coats on. Some stuff is just better left to warmer weather.
Still, the band seemed to waste no time in winning over any skeptics who might have been present. “Crucifire,” from their full-length debut of the same name, was especially visceral, with guitarists Austin Barber and Sonny Reinhardt doing classic metal harmonics for an audience that seemed to appreciate the Maiden influence. Bassist Carson Binks and drummer Scott Batiste made a formidable rhythm section beneath the rampant soloing, locking in fast grooves in a kind of insistent thrust, all thrash but aware too of classic metal and hints of doomed thickness. Whatever else you can say about Saviours, they’ve always effectively straddled genre lines, and though I basically missed the boat on their 2011 album, Death’s Procession, they made a resounding statement in its favor by closing with “Crete’n” from it. If I’d been able to get to the merch table from where I was standing, I’d probably have bought a copy.
Ditto that for Mondo Generator‘s 2012 offering, Hell Comes to Your Heart, because whatever else you can say about Nick Oliveri‘s many adventures — in and out of Kyuss Lives/Vista Chino, on probation for a well-publicized swat team incident, etc. — he fucking brought it to Croc Rock. I was surprised, though I probably shouldn’t have been. He’s got more than enough presence to front a band, and though in Mondo Generator, the focus is largely on the abrasive-type edge he brought to Queens of the Stone Age during his tenure there, his songwriting core remains above average. I’m a firm believer that neither he nor Josh Homme are as strong separately as they are together, but I suppose you could say the same for any number of pivotal collaborations. Either way, the band behind him was tight, and they threw in enough QOTSA material — opening with “Ode to Clarissa” and also sprinkling “Gonna Leave You” and “Millionaire” throughout — to keep any attention that might have otherwise wandered, my own included.
At least from where I was standing, it seemed like a pretty hip room, so I think most people knew what and whom they were watching, though I heard someone comment that they must have been from NJ because guitarist Ian Taylor was wearing a shirt that said “Don’t Mess with Jersey” on the front. That led me to wonder what it might be like to see Mondo Generator without any of the context of Oliveri‘s time in Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, etc., and just to take it all on the level of “some band opening for Clutch.” I think I’d still call them a solid stage act, but the level of appreciation would undoubtedly be different, as when they closed with “13th Floor” from 2000′s Cocaine Rodeo, realizing the song also appeared on QOTSA‘s Rated Ras “Tension Head.” It’s the little things. In any case, for never having caught Oliveri‘s outfit live before, they impressed, and his bass tone remains enviable pretty much unto itself.
I was still holding out hope that Wino might just jump on stage for a couple acoustic songs before Clutch got going, but no dice. It would’ve been hard to follow the unhinged punkisms of Mondo Generator anyway, and the crowd around me didn’t exactly look like the unplugged type. Dudes in Fear Factory and Deftones shirts, Black Label Society and so forth. Sometimes I forget how distinguishable “heavy” and “metal” can be, but it’s cool, or at least it was once Clutch took the stage. They were universally agreed upon.
The set opened with “The Mob Goes Wild” and went right into “Walking in the Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks” from Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths. That Clutch would hit up their full-length debut — which turns 20 in 2013 — at all was a shocker, but to do it so early in the set even more so. By the time they got around to some of the new songs, though, it made sense. Following “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” from 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West, the landmark Maryland foursome dove headfirst into “Crucial Velocity,” which was as straight-ahead and aggressive a song from them as I’ve heard since 2001′s Pure Rock Fury. They’ve said all along that was their intent for Earth Rocker, or at least how things wound up, but still, “Crucial Velocity” hit with a surprising swiftness from a band who’ve spent their last three records reveling in blues and funk influences almost exclusively.
Nothing against either approach. Frankly, Clutch could do whatever the hell they want and their audience, likely myself included, would be along for the ride. And if Clutch have in fact decided to take an approach more similar to their earlier noise-rocking days — some of the stuff I’ve heard from Earth Rocker bears that out, some less so; I’ve yet to listen the whole album and can only go on what I’ve seen them do live — it makes an interesting kind of sense in terms of how they relate one album to the next. Interview fodder, if nothing else. They backed “Crucial Velocity” with “Gravel Road,” frontman Neil Fallon picking up his slide and joining Tim Sult on guitar, while bassist Dan Maines — who I ‘m pretty sure was in the pocket before he even walked on stage — and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster held together a semi-extended jam that seemed to indicate that Clutch are working on reconciling the different aspects of their musical personality, still developing after more than 22 years.
“Earth Rocker” itself, the title-track of the upcoming album, reads more or less like a manifesto. Lines like, “If you’re gonna do it, do it live on stage/Or don’t do it at all,” and, “I don’t need your stinkin’ laminate/I don’t need your VIP/I don’t need your dedications/’Cause I wear it on my sleeve,” certainly back that up, and Fallon makes a convincing case with Clutch‘s roadtime bolstering his argument. The chorus was smoother in Allentown even than when I saw them play the track in Jersey in October. Once again offsetting old and new, “Earth Rocker” shot into “A Shogun Named Marcus,” and though I’d seen the setlist beforehand to take a picture of it, it was still a palpable thrill when they threw in “Regulator” from 2004′s Blast Tyrant — their first collaboration with producer Machine, who also helmed the new album. Have I mentioned Clutch have a new record coming yet? Oh, I have? Okay then.
One hopes you’ll forgive the overkill on the point, but honestly, seeing the new stuff was a big part of the reason I wanted to catch the show, Clutch‘s holiday tour tradition notwithstanding. “Cyborg Betty” seemed like it needed some more time to set in than the other two — or maybe that’s just because I didn’t know it as well — though it did well shifting into “Child of the City” from From Beale Street to Oblivion, which is a cut I initially wrote off when the record came out but has since become a favorite live, and “Cypress Grove” once again from Blast Tyrant, the pair of songs united by a heavy stomp that is definitively Clutch‘s own, and before I knew it, the show was almost over. I stayed up front the whole time, having kind of hollowed out a niche near the security barricade, and waited for “D.C. Sound Attack,” positioned as the penultimate feature of the regular set, right before “Electric Worry.”
That’s pretty good company to keep, especially for a new song, but Clutch seemed to be betting that the harmonica and midsection cowbell jam would find favor even among people unfamiliar with the song as a whole, and they were right. Probably also helped that “D.C. Sound Attack” has one of those choruses you seem to want to sing along to even before it’s over the first time — “Hell hounds on your trail/What a pity/But that’s the price you pay/Shaking hands in Necro City” — but no question that the place went off when Fallon picked up the cowbell from his mic stand. They seemed like they were still nailing down some of the transitions, and especially compared to “Cypress Grove” or “Child of the City,” two songs Clutch could probably play in their sleep if they were so inclined, “D.C. Sound Attack” seemed particularly new, but they killed it nonetheless, and one imagines that by the time Earth Rocker is out and they come back through with Orange Goblin in tow, the response will be significant.
When they came back out for an encore following “Electric Worry” — a fight broke out in the middle of the song and Fallon called it “boring” — the joke was that it was for “a couple more thrashers,” but with “Animal Farm” from 1995′s self-titled and “Pure Rock Fury,” that kind of turned out to be the case. They ripped through one song and then the next, both are classics in the Clutch canon at this point, and then were gone, offstage just past midnight. It seemed like a fast 90 minutes, but there you go.
By the time I got home about 95 minutes later, I could already feel the cold I’d been nursing come to its full brunt, and though I consoled myself for missing Wino by saying I’d catch him in Brooklyn with Mondo Generator and Saviours as their tour continues following the end of the Clutch holiday run, I left work early on account of feeling like crap and now know that’s not the case. So it goes. But though I spent Dec. 31 in full-on dead duck mode, hopped up (down?) on NyQuil and barely conscious, I still feel like I sent out 2012 in high spirits for having seen Clutch one more time before hanging up the new calendar.
If you’re clever, you can spot me taking some pics in the video below for the title-track to Clutch‘s forthcoming album, Earth Rocker. The band recently announced the first of what I assume will be many rounds of tour dates, bringing Orange Goblin with them as they crisscross the countryside.
I’ll also be seeing them this weekend in Allentown, PA, on their New Year’s tour, so look for a review of that this week. In the meantime, here’s “Earth Rocker” filmed live at the Machine Shop studio in scenic Belleville, NJ:
Very much looking forward to this one. 2013′s already got a few releases I’m dying to hear on the docket, but I don’t think I’m looking forward to anything quite as much as Clutch‘s Earth Rocker, because you know that no matter what turns the band makes, they’re going to deliver. The album art just came down the PR wire and I wanted to post it right away, so you’ll find it below, followed by their first round of North American tour dates to support it. You know there’ll be plenty more of those coming.
CLUTCH Reveal Album Artwork for Earth Rocker
Announce Initial North American Tour Dates
First Taste of New Music to Come on Christmas Eve!
With a little bit more than three months left before the release of CLUTCH’s highly anticipated new studio effort Earth Rocker, the band has officially unveiled the album’s artwork and has announced the initial dates for the first leg of the North American Earth Rocker world tour.
The artwork was created by Nick Lakiotes, long time CLUTCH art director, who has worked on previous efforts including: Robot Hive/Exodus and Strange Cousins From the West.
CLUTCH has announced the initial dates for the first leg of the North American Earth Rocker world tour. The dates kick off March 8th in Cincinnati, OH and are currently slated to run through March 24th in Anaheim, CA. Support on these dates will be provided by Orange Goblin, Lionize and Kyng. Tickets for fan club members go on sale today via Pro-Rock.com and tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday December 21st. Look for more dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
Before they hit the road for their annual Holiday run, CLUTCH will be headlining the KBPI “When Hell Freezes Over” show this Friday night December 21st in Denver, CO at the Fillmore Auditorium. To get more information on the show and to purchase tickets visit http://bit.ly/SyLxpD.
CLUTCH’s Holiday tour dates kick off December 26th in Washington, DC and conclude with a special New Year’s Eve performance in Worcester, MA at The Palladium.
Fans can keep up on the progress of Earth Rocker by visiting the new website www.earthrocker.com. The website is a hub dedicated to all things Earth Rocker. This Christmas Eve www.earthrocker.com will debut a live video of the title track Earth Rocker, which was recorded live at The Machine Shop. Fans can expect to see frequent updates including photos, videos from the studio, song title announcements and samples of new songs.
In addition to the new website CLUTCH has joined the world of twitter. Follow CLUTCH on Twitter @ClutchOfficial.
KBPI “When Hell Freezes Over” Radio Show 12/21: Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
Holiday Tour With Mondo Generator, Saviors and Wino 12/26: Washington DC @ 9:30 Club SOLD OUT! 12/27: Asheville NC @ The Orange Peel 12/28: Lexington KY @ Buster’s Billiards & Backroom 12/29: Columbus OH @ Newport Music Hall 12/30: Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock on Sale Friday 12/31: Worcester MA @ The Palladium
Earth Rocker European Tour 1/21: Press Day in London, UK 1/22: London, UK @ Koko SOLD OUT! 1/23: Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg 1/24: Press Day in Paris, FR 1/25: Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie SOLD OUT! 1/26: Stuttgart, GER @ Universum 1/27: Munchen, GER @ Backstage Club 1/28: Press Day in Berlin, GER 1/29: Berlin, GER @ Lido 1/30: Press Day in Cologne, GER 1/31: Cologne, GER @ Luxor 2/1: Brussels, BE @ VK 2/2: Hamburg, GER @ Logo SOLD OUT! 2/3: Copenhagen, DK @ Amager Bio 2/4: Press Day in Oslo, NO 2/5: Oslo, NO @ Parkteateret 2/6: Press Day in Stockholm, SWE 2/7: Stockholm, SWE @ Tyrol
Earth Rocker North American World Tour 3/8: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s 3/9: Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works 3/10: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s 3/11: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom 3/12: Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom 3/14: Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom 3/18: Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep 3/19: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot 3/21: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues 3/22: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee 3/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Café Las Vegas 3/24: Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good morning and good news. Clutch have unveiled Earth Rocker as the title of their next record, which is due March 2013 on their own Weathermaker Music imprint, with an expected huge amount of touring to coincide. Details (there are many) follow, courtesy of the PR wire.
CLUTCH Announce Earth Rocker as New Album Title
Earth Rocker World Tour to Kick off in January 2013
Maryland rockers CLUTCH have announced Earth Rocker as the title of their new studio album. Earth Rocker is scheduled for a worldwide release in March of 2013 on CLUTCH’s label Weathermaker Music.
In conjunction with the album’s release CLUTCH will embark on the Earth Rocker world tour beginning in The United Kingdom in January of 2013. In addition to the tour dates, the band will be available for press opportunities on select dates. A complete list of dates can be found below. A full United States and Canadian headline tour will follow and is slated to run from March 8th through April 20th.
The band has completed tracking Earth Rocker with Machine handling all production duties. Machine is currently in the mixing process on the album. Fans can keep up on the progress of Earth Rocker by visiting the new website www.earthrocker.com. The website will be a hub dedicated to all things Earth Rocker. Fans can expect to see daily updates including photos, videos from the studio, song title announcements and samples of new songs. In addition to the new website CLUTCH has joined the world of twitter. Follow CLUTCH on Twitter @ClutchOfficial.
Frontman Neil Fallon commented on the the recording process for Earth Rocker and how it differs from other CLUTCH albums:
“Last minute overdubs are fun. Harmonicas, tambourines (yes, we use those), claps, the odd backing vocal. Recording can be monotonous, so those unintended moments can be a lot of fun. It’s kind of like kindergarten music class, but with beer. And sometimes the spontaneity of a last ditch idea breathes a lot of life back into a song that we’ve been beating up for weeks on end. A looming deadline can be a great muse!”
He continues, “It has a lot in common with Blast Tyrant in that Machine’s production techniques are really unique. It differs from Blast Tyrant and a lot of other CLUTCH records in that, overall, the songs are faster and concise.”
When asked about how this record how it differs from other CLUTCH releases guitarist Tim Sult added, “As far as the composition of the songs go, this is the heaviest and fastest CLUTCH album to date. “
CLUTCH will also take to the road starting on Halloween for a quick run of dates including two stops in Flint, MI and two stops in Detroit, MI. MonstrO will open these shows with Lionize providing direct support.
In what has become an annual tradition, CLUTCH will play a string of Holiday tour dates this December. The dates kick off December 26th in Washington, DC and conclude with a special New Year’s Eve performance in Worcester, MA at The Palladium. Support on these shows will come from Mondo Generator, Saviours and Wino. A complete list of all dates is below.
With Lionize and Monstro 10/31: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop 11/1: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop (Sold Out – Rescheduled from 5/13) 11/2: Joliet, IL @ Mojoes 11/3: Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall (Sold Out – Rescheduled from 5/12) 11/4: Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
Holiday Tour With Mondo Generator, Saviors and Wino 12/26: Washington DC @ 9:30 Club 12/27: Asheville NC @ The Orange Peel 12/28: Lexington KY @ Buster’s Billiards & Backroom 12/29: Columbus OH @ Newport Music Hall 12/30: Sayreville NJ @ Starland Ballroom 12/31: Worcester MA @ The Palladium
Clutch Earth Rocker World Tour 1/21: Press Day in London, UK 1/22: London, UK @ Islington Academy 1/23: Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg 1/24: Press Day in Paris, FR 1/25: Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie 1/26: Stuttgart, GER @ Universum 1/27: Munchen, GER @ Backstage Club 1/28: Press Day in Berlin, GER 1/29: Berlin, GER @ Lido 1/30: Press Day in Cologne, GER 1/31: Cologne, GER @ Luxor 2/1: Brussels, BE @ VK 2/2: Hamburg, GER @ Logo 2/3: Copenhagen, DK @ Amager Bio 2/4: Press Day in Oslo, NO 2/5: Oslo, NO @ Parkteateret 2/6: Press Day in Stockholm, SWE 2/7: Stockholm, SWE @ Tyrol