Earthless Sign to Nuclear Blast; October West Coast Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

San Diego heavy psych forerunners Earthless have signed to Nuclear Blast for the early-2018 release of their fourth album, recorded by Dave Catching at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, California.

Just off the PR wire:

earthless at rancho de la luna.

EARTHLESS sign to Nuclear Blast Entertainment + October headline dates announced

Nuclear Blast Entertainment is pleased to announce the worldwide signing of seminal psychedelic rock trio, EARTHLESS! The band–Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums)–recently finished recording their new album with Dave Catching (EAGLES OF DEATH METAL) at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA, and took a moment to offer a few words about their upcoming album and new partnership.

“EARTHLESS is beyond stoked to join a label that has kept its independence and vision so strong for 30 years,” commented drummer Mario Rubalcaba “It’s crazy to think that I’ve bought Nuclear Blast releases since I was still in my teens. We are psyched to put out yet another extension of ideas, sounds and the long-going chemistry that this band has forged over the years. There are some new inspired paths musically and vocally on this next album and we are very excited to see it released on Nuclear Blast.”

“The vibe out at Rancho is one that gels very naturally for EARTHLESS and lends itself to get creative very comfortably,” continues Rubalcaba. “You have nothing else out there to do except absorb the heat, stare at the stars and get in the zone! Dave and I first started talking about doing this project together a few years ago now and it was great to finally make it happen.”

Adds guitarist Isaiah Mitchell:
“Dave was a great person to be around while making this record. Very cool dude. And the studio itself is like a candy store: you want to try everything because there’s so much great gear.”

EARTHLESS will release their 4th full-length studio album in early 2018. More details to be announced shortly. Until then, don’t miss the band on their upcoming headlining run this fall. Tickets go on sale everywhere this Wednesday, August 23rd, at 10 am local time.

Oct-18 Los Angeles – The Echoplex
Oct-20 Portland – Tonic
Oct-21 Seattle – Sunset
Oct-22 Bellingham – The Shakedown
Oct-24 Boise – Neurolux
Oct-25 Reno, NV – Jub Jub’s
Oct-26 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
Oct-27 Felton, CA – Don Quixote’s
Oct-28 Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver
Oct-29 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room

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Desert Survival: How to Do Psycho Las Vegas on a Budget

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2017 banner

Hey, if you’re going to go broke, let’s face it: You’re not likely to run into many causes as worthy as the lineup culled together for Psycho Las Vegas. It ain’t cheap — any event that advertises a payment plan obviously knows it’s a considerable ask — but whether you’re going to see Slo Burn for their only US gig or King Diamond doing Abigail or Mulatu Astatke because going to see Mulatu Astatke is a life-event, the arguments in favor are plentiful and convincing. Whatever else you want to say, Psycho Las Vegas is the first annually-held American festival with a focus on heavy and underground rock to really establish itself as world class.

That in itself is a reason to support the cause, whether it’s through a day ticket or a pass for the entire weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily lesson the expense of making the trip or staying in one of the US’ most lucrative tourist traps, let alone things like band merchandise, meals and the occasional adult beverage if you’re inclined to have one. The thought of seeing NeurosisSleep and Carcass share a stage over the course of a weekend or watching Conan, the new trio-incarnation of Pentagram and Yawning Man poolside or from the balcony of a room in the Casino Tower is incredible, and after hearing stories from those who undertook the journey in 2016 or attended the prior Psycho California in 2015, the idea wants nothing for appeal. Fiscal issues can be a bummer. By the time August rolls around, I’ll have been out of paid work for two months. I know how it goes.

And I’m hardly the most responsible person when it comes to money, but the truth of the matter is there are ways to mitigate costs for travel, lodging and other concerns, and if the thing preventing you from picking up a ticket to the show has been the seeming impossibility of affording a stay at the Hard Rock or of finding a cheap-enough flight to get there, maybe it’s worth trying to shift finances around to make it happen. Music is important, and when debt collectors are spamming your phone it’s hard to think about the non-cash value of life experiences, but the fact is the bills you need to pay will still be there. The bill with Corrosion of Conformity in a lineup alongside Kylesa‘s Laura Pleasants, Domkraft, Swans, Elephant Tree and Heavy Temple? Much less so.

Here are a few pointers that hopefully can save you a couple bucks. Some of it’s day-one stuff, but things like hotel picks and transportation nuances are good to know either way.

Check it out:

psycho-las-vegas-2017-poster

Flying In
• Buy tickets on a Tuesday for the cheapest rates.
• Use a discount flight search.
• If you can, fly in on Thursday and leave on Monday for better rates, search different days and times to come in and leave.
• Book early. Rates go up in the summer.

Getting There
• Ride apps cost less than cabs.
• The Hard Rock is less than a mile from the airport. Cheap trip anyway.
• There are free shuttles from most Vegas hotels to the strip and tourist attractions.

Staying There
• This one is huge… don’t stay at the Hard Rock if you can’t afford it! Alexis Park, RUMOR, Red Roof Inn are all across the street and cheap. Scope out a position on a map if you need to; that’s what Street View is there for.
• Partner up to share rooms. You’ve got social media and it’s not like you’re going to do more than sleep and (hopefully) shower there anyway. Might as well join forces and save expense where you can.

Drinks
• BYO. Vegas has open-container laws. If you think hooch is too expensive at the Hard Rock, get loaded on the sidewalk before you go in.
• One way or another, hydrate. You’re staying in the desert in August. Don’t be stupid.

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Lineup
Abbath, Ace Frehley, Black Anvil, Blood Ceremony, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buzzov*en, Carcass, Celeste, Chelsea Wolfe, Cirith Ungol, Cloud Catcher, Code Orange, Conan, Corrosion of Conformity, Cough, Cult Leader, Cult Of Luna With Julie Christmas Diamond Head, Domkraft, Earthless, Elephant Tree, Eternal Tapestry, Fister, Floorian, Gatecreeper, GEQ, Gojira, Gost, Graf Orlock, Heavy Temple, Hollow Leg, Inter Arma, Khemmis, King Diamond, Laura Pleasants & Special Guests, Magma, Manilla Road, Merlin, Minsk, Morne, Mothership, Mouth of the Architect, Mulatu Astatke, Murder City Devils, Mustard Gas & Roses, Myrkur, Neurosis, North, Oathbreaker, Pelican, Pentagram, Psychic TV, The Rods, Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch, Saturndust, Sleep, Slo Burn, Slomatics, Snail, Sons of Otis, Sumac, Summoner, Swans, The Skull, Toke, Urchin, Usnea, Vhol, Weedeater, Windhand, Wizard Rifle, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yawning Man, Year of the Cobra, Youngblood Supercult, Zeal & Ardor.

http://www.vivapsycho.com
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

Pentagram, “Relentless / Broken Vows” Live in Richmond, VA, 2017

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Freak Valley 2017 Completes Lineup: Earthless, Mammoth Mammoth, Church of the Cosmic Skull & Green Orbit Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2017 lineup

And just like that, the lineup for Freak Valley 2017 is finished. The final four? Earthless, Mammoth Mammoth, Church of the Cosmic Skull and Green Orbit. Both Earthless and Green Orbit will be celebrating releases on the fest-affiliated Rock Freaks Records — a live album in Earthless‘ case, a studio debut for Green Orbit, which, from the description below, I’d be very interested in hearing — and Mammoth Mammoth‘s new record will be out by June as well as Church of the Cosmic Skull, whose first album, Is Satan Real? (review here), was among the best debuts of 2016.

Kudos to Freak Valley 2017 on another stellar lineup of bands. From Slo Burn and Ufomammut to Asteroid and OrangoGeezer and Elephant Tree, it’s a sick bill that, even in its final announcement, has set me once more to daydreaming about a trip to Siegen, Germany, this June.

One day.

Here’s word from the fest:

freak valley 2017 last adds

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2017 lineup is final now!!

Here are the last 4 bands:

Mighty Earthless will be back and will play an exclusive European show!! This will be the release show for their new album “Live at Freak Valley 2015” – Released by Rock Freaks Records.

Our Aussie buddies MAMMOTH MAMMOTH will finally join our Fest.

You will have the privilege to be part of the first ever European mainland show of Church of the Cosmic Skull !!

2 Rock Freaks crew members play in Green Orbit. You’ll be more than surprised when you enjoy them live on stage!!

Formed in 2001, EARTHLESS prides itself on creating energetic, utterly unique and free thinking instrumental music inspired by an eclectic mix of German krautrock and Japanese heavy blues-rock. The Californian trio has dedicated itself to mastery of the mind-bending jam session, evoking the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath in equal measure.

Named after a song title from vintage New York garage-psych band The Druids of Stonehenge, EARTHLESS’ sound has been called “A sonic kaleidoscope of lava and lightning”, earning it the title of “California’s loudest band”. The group delivers “one of the best live shows in all of modern, heavy rock,” leading to one reviewer stating that the band’s “epic shredding harkens back to the days were psychedelic rock had balls the size of grapefruits and wasn’t afraid to take its listeners on a ride for which they may never return.”

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH are a heavy rock band from Melbourne Australia that smash the shit out of their stoner, glam, doom, punk and psychedelic rock influences. Their first video clip was immediately banned. It used 1970s European pornography and was pulled from youtube, myspace and facebook – but not before it had over 1 million views and probably as many complaints.

In this early 2017, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH emerge from the studio with a new album locked, loaded and ready to fire! Again, the recording was not without the usual disturbances that plague this foursome. Yes the police came (and not to jam a few tunes). Yes, there was a chemical fire. And yes, a little voodoo was practised. And okay, the bass player did barely survive a motorcycle crash juste before the final tracking. But nothing short of Armageddon was gonna stop MAMMOTH MAMMOTH from getting this job done.

CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL is a twofold entity: a new religious movement who seek to free mankind from their material possessions and unify all living beings into a singular cosmic whole; and a 7-piece supergroup based in Nottingham UK playing Prog/Psych/’70s Rock/Pop. For fans of Black Mountain, Ghost, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Uncle Acid and the deadbeats. The combination of guitar, hammond organ, electric cello, bass and drums recalls early @Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with six-part Queen-esque vocal harmonies and Thin Lizzy pop-rock structures.

Hailing from the deep woods near Siegen/Germany, Green Orbit will bring you their instrumental heavy psychrock. Warm fuzz sounds, sweetly interlaced with psychedelic vibes, tied together by energetic drums and surrounded by the floating sounds of a didgeridoo(m), their music will take you to another galactic home.

Musical Influences like Colour Haze, Rotor, Sungrazer and many more melt together into a heavy-groovy space-trip. Green Orbit’s debut-album “First Wave”, which already received positive reviews from all over the world, will be released in May 2017 on Rock Freaks Records.

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 15th-16th-17th June 2017
www.freakvalley.de www.rockfreaks.de

Freak Valley Festival 2017: No Fillers – Just Killers

LineUp 2017:
Slo Burn, Earthless, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Pentagram, Ufomammut, Greenleaf, Conan, Golden Void, Asteroid, Mammoth Mammoth, The Brew, Arbouretum, Maserati, Church of the Cosmic Skull, Föllakzoid, Mothership, Wand, Salem’s Pot, MaidaVale, Elephant’s Tree, Geezer, Kikagaku Moyo, The Great Machine, Orango, Vodun, The Black Willows, Sativa Root, Limestone Whale, Green Orbit

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/150965291977635/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Church of the Cosmic Skull, “Watch it Grow”

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Psycho Las Vegas Completes Lineup: Ace Frehley, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Corrosion of Conformity, Sasquatch, Mothership, Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple & Many More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The Psycho Las Vegas lineup wasn’t exactly lacking in ‘holy shit’-factor before, but, uh… holy shit. The poster below is so god damned packed it’s got me wondering if they’re going to sneak in an extra day to fit it all. Well, I guess they are if you count the pre-party — a fest unto itself with the additions of Ruby the HatchetSasquatch, ConanYawning Man and Great Electric Quest — but to see acts like EarthlessCorrosion of ConformityDiamondheadLaura Pleasants of KylesaMothershipSaturndust, Heavy TempleToke and so many others added to the bill for the fest proper, it borders on the overwhelming. Sons of OtisYear of the CobraEternal Tapestry? I take back that part about “borders on.” Shit’s giving me the vapors.

Swoon.

Blah blah blah tickets, blah blah blah on sale, blah blah blah how much you don’t need me to tell you this is probably the best heavy lineup the US has ever seen. Also Ace Frehley will be there.

Full lineup follows:

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS

Psycho Las Vegas 2017

-CONFIRMED LINEUP-
KING DIAMOND (USA 2017 Exclusive)
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
ACE FREHLEY
GOJIRA
SWANS
NEUROSIS
MAGMA
SLEEP
MELVINS
CARCASS
MURDER CITY DEVILS
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
SLO BURN
DIAMONDHEAD
CIRITH UNGOL
ABBATH
CHELSEA WOLFE
CULT OF LUNA WITH JULIE CHRISTMAS
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
MULATU ASATKE
PSYCHIC TV
EARTHLESS
SUMAC
MANILLA ROAD
CELESTE
WINDHAND
PELICAN
BLOOD CEREMONY
CODE ORANGE
WEEDEATER
MINSK
COUGH
VHOL
ZEAL & ARDOR
OATHBREAKER
MYRKUR
BUZZOV-EN
THE SKULL
INTER ARMA
SLOMATICS
GOST
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
GATECREEPER
MOTHERSHIP
CULT LEADER
LAURA PLEASANTS & SPECIAL GUESTS
MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT
SONS OF OTIS
SNAIL
MORNE
DOMKRAFT
KHEMMIS
ETERNAL TAPESTRY
JEX THOTH
FISTER
NORTH
WIZARD RIFLE
USNEA
ROYAL THUNDER
YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT
TOKE
SATURNDUST
HEAVY TEMPLE
SUMMONER
BLACK ANVIL
FLOORIAN
HOLLOW LEG
YEAR OF THE COBRA
MERLIN
ELEPHANT TREE
CLOUD CATCHER

PSYCHO PRE-PARTY:
PENTAGRAM
CONAN
YAWNING MAN
SASQUATCH
MUSTARD GAS & ROSES
GRAF ORLOCK
RUBY THE HATCHET
URCHIN
GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 is set for Aug. 18-20 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Tickets are available at https://www.vivapsycho.com

http://www.vivapsycho.com
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Desert Generator 2017 Lineup Announced: Earthless, Brant Bjork, Black Rainbows, Orchid & The Shrine to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I don’t know how else to say it other than to say that the lineup for Desert Generator 2017 is fucking sick. The Pioneertown, CA-based fest made its debut last year with none other than Brant Bjork at the organizational helm, and the return installment builds on the first one unquestionably, importing Italian heavy psych forerunners Black Rainbows to play the fest proper at Pappy & Harriet’s and partnering with esteemed Euro booker Sound of Liberation on a pre-party the night before out in the desert with Yawning Man, Fu Manchu and Brant Bjork doing a set with Sean Wheeler. Like I said, it’s fucking sick.

Really, the only two words you’d need to sell the thing are “Earthless headline,” but the that’s just the start of what’s going on here. Orchid and The Shrine will be an absolute party, and the vibe Desert Generator 2017 is shooting for is so apparent I can feel it even from being situated on the other side of the continent. I wish to hell I could be there for this one, because it looks like it’s going to be something special.

Check it out:

desert generator 2017

DESERT GENERATOR 2017

A heavy, psychedelic, rock & roll happening.
Rolling Heavy Magazine; Allnight, Allnight; and Brant Bjork present:

DESERT GENERATOR and THE ROLLING HEAVY VAN SHOW
Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Saloon, The Pioneertown Corrals

Custom vans, killer bands, hanging and camping out all weekend with new and old buddies, cheersing and generally getting rad in the Southern California desert. Concert Tickets are on sale. If you were there in 2016, you know you gotta be there. If you missed it, well, you know you can’t make that mistake again. We are so stoked about this band lineup!

EARTHLESS
BRANT BJORK
ORCHID
THE SHRINE
BLACK RAINBOWS

— Yeah, buddy, that’s right. Let that soak in for a minute, then read on…

!!! SOMETHING EXTRA RAD AND NEW FOR 2017 !!!
>>> \\\\ * STONED & DUSTED * //// <<<

Presented by Sound of Liberation
Friday April 7th, 2017

A concert that can happen only with these desert rock legends and only in this desert. We’re throwing a generator party in the middle of nowhere and you’re invited. The location sits on nearly 700 acres of undisturbed desert. No telephone poles, no roads, no people, nothing but rocks and rockers, stones and stoners.

Mario Lalli is bringing the gas-powered electricity and his band Yawning Man are bringing the loudest amps they can find. Brant Bjork is swooping up the Low Desert Punks in his badass Dodge Challenger and special guest Sean Wheeler is riding in on the hood. Fu Manchu finally found the party they were in search of this whole time! And you can find it too if you have a ticket. Meet the bands, break bread, and see them rock out in this super secret desert location.

FU MANCHU
BRANT BJORK w/ SPECIAL GUEST SEAN WHEELER
YAWNING MAN

* Hang with the bands before the show
* Enjoy Hot Tacos & Cold Drinks
* VERY LIMITED number of tickets
* Super rad desert location
* Loud as fuck

https://allnightallnight.ticketleap.com/desert-generator-2017/
http://www.desertgenerator.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RollingHeavyMagazine/

Brant Bjork w/ Sean Wheeler, “Dave’s War” Live in Athens, Greece

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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Earthless Confirm US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

earthless-photo-by-camila-saufley

Dates have been floating around the social medias for the last month or so, but the PR wire has now confirmed that San Diego heavy psych forerunners Earthless will head out on a round of headlining US tour dates this December, looping across the Midwest and hitting the Eastern Seaboard in support of their earlier-2016 split with Harsh Toke (review here) on Tee Pee Records. They go heralding that release, but the truth is they could just as easily head out supporting, “duh, we’re Earthless,” and it would be reason enough to show up and watch them melt ears and the brains between them, so you know, if they’re coming near you, go to the gig.

They’ll have Philly outfit and Tee Pee labelmates Ruby the Hatchet along for the ride, which is also awesome. Info and dates:

earthless-tour-poster

EARTHLESS Announces U.S. Headlining Tour

Instrumental heavy rock kings EARTHLESS have announced a fall U.S. headlining tour. The San Diego band will launch the thirteen town trek on December 2 in Chicago, IL. Dates will run through December 17 in Detroit, MI. The award-winning group, currently hard at work on its fourth studio LP, continues to tour in support of its celebrated album, From the Ages. Support on the EARTHLESS tour will come from Philadelphia witch rockers Ruby the Hatchet.

EARTHLESS tour dates:
* = Ruby the Hatchet as support
December 2 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle *
December 3 St Louis, MO The Firebird*
December 4 Norman, OK OPOLIS*
December 6 Dallas, TX Club Dada*
December 7 Austin, TX Barracuda*
December 8 Houston, TX Rudyard’s Pub
December 9 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
December 10 Atlanta, GA The EARL*
December 11 Raleigh, NC Barcade
December 12 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
December 13 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
December 15 Pittsburgh, PA Club Cafe*
December 16 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop*
December 17 Detroit, MI El Club*

EARTHLESS features guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton.

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips/
https://www.instagram.com/earthlessrips/
https://twitter.com/earthlessrips
http://teepeerecords.com/collections/frontpage
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

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Buried Treasure at The Sound Garden in Baltimore

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sound garden haul

Try to stay with me on this one. Last weekend was Maryland Doom Fest 2016. I drove down from Massachusetts last Friday to Frederick, MD, for it with The Patient Mrs., dropping her off first at family friends’ outside of Baltimore. We had her car, which, on Sunday, died in the parking spot outside the venue and had to be towed to a garage to receive a new alternator. Okay. That’s step one.

Step two: I had to get back to Massachusetts on Monday to start my new job on Tuesday. As her car would not be ready in time, The Patient Mrs. rented another vehicle and came and picked me up in Frederick and north we went. The repair would end up costing $900, but I made it to work on Tuesday and all went well, so it could’ve been much worse. The snag was that her car remained in that garage in Frederick and the rental would also need to be returned to Maryland, so looming all week was this impending journey back down I-95/I-78 to swap out cars again.

My job is in Rhode Island and gets out early on Fridays. 1PM. After swinging through Frederick to get her car and dropping off the rental, we got to where we were staying Friday night at 11PM. Between that, the fact that I’d survived my first week at a new job while still feeling positive about the experience, and the likewise impending trip back north, there was basically zero fucking chance I wasn’t going to The Sound Garden in Baltimore to do some serious-business record shopping before we hit the road.

So that was Saturday morning. My foot still screwed up, I hobbled toward the Psychedelic section (which had moved since last I was there) and started grabbing discs. Some new, some old, some in between, but The Sound Garden is arguably the best record store I’ve been to on the Eastern Seaboard — my heart will always hold a place for Vintage Vinyl in NJ, of course — so I knew I was going to find plenty.

I don’t record shop the way I used to. It used to be constant, a snag-this-snag-that process to put CDs on the shelf. I’m a little less likely to find stuff now, buy more online and direct from bands, and so on, but though I couldn’t really walk in the early part of the day, I still very much enjoyed digging through the rows to see what there was that needed to get bought. Turned out I did fine:

Maria Bamford, Ask Me About My New God!
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
Causa Sui, Return to Sky
Comet Control, Center of the Maze
Conan, Revengeance
Death, For all the World to See
Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
Flower Travellin’ Band, Satori
Graves at Sea, The Curse that is Graves at Sea
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Noeth ac Anoeth
The Meters, Look-Ka Py Py
Monolithe, Epsilon Aurigae
The Motherhood, I Feel so Free
The Peace, Black Power
The Pretty Things, S.F. Sorrow
Valley of the Sun, Volume Rock

Some of that was stuff I had to own on principle. How often do you run into a US-based store with El Paraiso Records distribution? Causa Sui, then, was a must. I was likewise surprised and thrilled to see Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Monolithe, so those were musts. The Death record (and documentary) was recently re-recommended to me from a trusted source, so I figured I’d grab that, and then stuff like Graves at Sea, the Earthless / Harsh Toke split, Comet Control, Valley of the Sun and Beastmaker were records I’d written about that I wanted physical copies of anyway. I’m about 80 percent sure I already have a copy of the latest Conan. but thought I’d get it while I was there, and if I wound up with a double, worse things have certainly happened.

From the aforementioned Psychedelic section, a couple treasures in Flower Travellin’ Band‘s Satori, which was also the first of the haul I put on, its hard-thudding krautrock-inspired proggy proto-metal enough to gloriously alienate a room, and The Pretty Things‘ concept album S.F. Sorrow, and The Motherhood‘s I Feel so Free — all ’70s-era outings. The Funk/Soul section yielded The Peace and The Meters, and Comedy/Spoken Word the Maria Bamford, which I picked up in no small part because her show on Netflix, Lady Dynamite, is so remarkably brilliant. If you haven’t yet watched it, do so immediately.

By the time I got through finding Monolithe, Graves at Sea and Beastmaker in the metal section to grabbing the Death record as I walked past it on my way to the register, I was feeling considerable discomfort at standing on my right foot, which was in the same supportive cast — I call it “das boot,” well aware that the actual German word means “boat” — I had on at the fest last weekend. That put something of a rush on the tail end of the shopping experience as I needed to get somewhere I could sit down, but while I probably could’ve spent a few more hours dicking around at The Sound Garden, I don’t at all feel like I missed anything except perhaps a t-shirt from the store, which I’ll grab next time, and for a trip that was made under less than ideal circumstances, I definitely felt as I walked out that I’d made the best of the time I had.

There are all kinds of record shop ratings out there, but if you happen to be in Fells Point or the greater region, The Sound Garden really is one of the best stores I’ve ever been to, and it continues to be a destination in my mind for when I’m around. It made the long drive back north that much easier to endure, which is saying something in itself.

The Sound Garden – Baltimore website

The Sound Garden on Twitter

The Sound Garden on Thee Facebooks

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