Floor, Oblation: Offerings and Homegoings

Posted in Reviews on April 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been just over four years since Miami trio Floor played a one-off reunion show that warned, “One show. One chance. Don’t blow it,” and it’s been a decade since the band’s sophomore outing, Dove, was released in 2004. Since that time, the band has spawned a family tree rivaled by few, members of the lineup throughout their 12-year initial run going on to play in acts like Torche, Dove, House of Lightning, MonstrO, Holly Hunt and Cavity (the latter of whom ran concurrent to Floor and who seem like fodder for a reunion of their own), among others. The biggest impact in terms of audience has unquestionably been by Torche, who, led by guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks, inherited much of their pop-meets-bomb-drop-sludge-riffing ethic directly from Brooks‘ work in Floor, continuing to refine those methods and ultimately creating something new from them. Both bands now active, Floor release their first album since Dove and first new material since their reunion — 2009′s 8CD discography box set Below and Beyond notwithstanding — in the form of Oblation on Season of Mist. Its title refers to “an offering,” and that may well be what Floor have in mind, but while the core focus on tone and pop melody remains intact, there have been some very distinct changes in the approach of Floor – the trio of Steve Brooks, bassist Anthony Vialon (2010 interview here) and drummer Henry Wilson — since they issued their landmark 2002 self-titled debut and they show up audibly in the listening experience of Oblation.

That’s to be expected, right? It has been a decade. To expect Floor to get back together and release Floor Pt. 2 seems unreasonable and unfair. As righteous as that album is, for Brooks, Vialon and Wilson to have come in with the intent of recapturing that magic — and it is the self-titled lineup that’s reunited — would be shooting themselves in the foot before they started. No. Oblation is a collection of songs poised not to surrogate the hooks of old, but to serve as a beginning for this new stage of the band. In short, Floor have grown up. Oblation is not the work of a three-piece experimenting with their sound and happening into brilliance. There is poise, confidence, and awareness at its root, and whether it’s the ultra-thick underlying chugging of the spacious opening title-track or the ensuing upbeat rush of “Rocinante” — one of Floor‘s sonic gifts was to not only have tones so thick, but to make them move, and that remains the case here — or the standalone megastomp of “Love Comes Crushing,” the band offer crisp, assured songcraft and a defining clarity of intent. While the songs remain exciting well beyond the simple novelty of their existence, a new Floor album seeming like an impossibility for years, that clarity necessarily comes in trade for the spontaneous sensibility of their earlier work. That’s the nature of creative progression — once you know what you’re doing, your approach to it changes. The middle section of Oblation that runs from “New Man,” through “Sister Sophia,” “The Quill” and the aforementioned “Love Comes Crushing” before getting to the catchy “War Party” still works as a fitting summary for Floor‘s aesthetic — thick, at times lush, alternately crawling, running, but always moving, etc. — but it does so more in triumph at its level of execution than in raw punkish urgency.

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Holly Hunt’s Prometheus EP Out April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Having recently had the pleasure of seeing Florida’s Holly Hunt live, their upcoming EP, Prometheus, will arrive all the more anticipated. The Miami-based duo of guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro made their intent clear on their Year One debut, embroiled in a sonic demolition of big riffs and big stomp that hopefully continues its tide of destruction on the new release. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Time and the PR wire shall tell:

Holly Hunt – Prometheus (Other Electricities/Sonic TITAN) Out April 29, 2014

Following their highly lauded full-length album Year One, Holly Hunt returns with a 3-song, 12’’ EP, Prometheus. Recorded by Jonathan Nuñez of Torche and mastered by New Alliance East, the record builds on the two-piece’s reputation for metal that’s crafted with the heaviest alloys, and a most magisterial patterning – the type that drones vehemently and drowns in the blues.

Drummer Beatriz Monteavaro (Floor, Cavity) and guitarist Gavin Perry have demonstrated themselves as a loud and lumbering giant of the Miami music scene. The visceral impact of sound – the raising heart rate, neck chills, the warmth spreading throughout your torso – this is Holly Hunt’s raison d’être. Prometheus manages to transmit an almost perfect rendering, delivering listeners to a heightened physical (and mental and spiritual) state. The record conjures the image of an approaching behemoth, striking paranoia and fear until the final, exhilarating sweep of humanity’s total destruction.

Where Year One established the bedrock of Holly Hunt’s punishing sound, Prometheus thunders with the clarity of a crack of lighting. It establishes a supremely balanced, critical distance between amp worship and riff devotion, rising and falling with ecstatic highs and sublime lows. And while Year One represented the genesis of the band’s existence; Prometheus stands as a churning, threatening hint of things to come.

https://www.facebook.com/HOLLYHUNT.LTD
https://www.facebook.com/SonicTITAN.ltd
http://other-electricities.com/

Holly Hunt, “Meano” from Prometheus (2013)

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Floor Announce Tour Dates; New Album Oblation Due April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Time does strange things. It’s 2014. Floor, Sleep, Spirit Caravan and most of Kyuss are back together. Black Sabbath won a Grammy. The whole fucking world is upside down, the underground is over(ground), and all these things that seemed impossible to see are right in front of us. And yet we still use the combustion engine. Go figure.

I got sidetracked. Floor. The point is Floor are touring again, and the key difference is they’ll have a new album out — Oblation, which will be their first in a decade. Season of Mist will have the collection in the public’s greedy mitts come April 29, and wouldn’t you know the tour starts the day after? One would almost swear these things were coordinated ahead of time.

So says the PR wire:

FLOOR announce North American tour

Cult underground rock outfit FLOOR (Steve Brooks (also of TORCHE)- Guitar, Vocals, Anthony Vialon – Guitar, Henry Wilson – drums) have announced a North American tour this spring. The Noisey/Vice sponsored tour starts on April 30th in Miami, FL, and will see FLOOR travel throughout the month of April, before ending on May 1 in Atlanta, GA. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

FLOOR will be touring in support of their forthcoming album, ‘Oblation’. ‘Oblation’ will be released via Season of Mist on April 29 in North America (April 25 worldwide). ‘Oblation’ can be pre-ordered in various formats here.

‘Oblation’ track list:
1. Oblation
2. Rocinante
3. Trick Scene
4. Find Away
5. The Key
6. New Man
7. Sister Sophia
8. The Quill
9. Love Comes Crushing
10. War Party
11. Homegoings and Transitions
12. Sign of Aeth
13. Raised to a Star
14. Forever Still

The Florida-based trio was originally formed by Brooks and Vialon in 1992, and issued singles on respected underground labels like No Idea, Bovine, Rhetoric and more. The band’s wildly influential self-titled album was recently inducted into the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame.

FLOOR Tour Dates
4/30 Miami, FL @ Churchills
5/2 Gainesville, FL @ The Wooley
5/3 Charlotte, NC @ The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall
5/4 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
5/5 Brooklyn @ Saint Vitus
5/6 Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
5/7 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
5/8 Buffalo, NY @ The Tralf
5/9 Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
5/10 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
5/11 Chicago, IL @ Double Door
5/13 Denver, CO @ Moon Room
5/14 Salt Lake City, UT @ Bar Deluxe
5/16 Portland, OR @ Branx
5/17 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
5/19 San Franciso, CA @ Elbo Room
5/24 Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
5/25 Fullerton, OC @ SlideBar
5/26 Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
5/27 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
5/29 Austin, TX @ Red 7
5/30 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
5/31 Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
6/1 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

https://www.facebook.com/floorofficial
http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/en/predefined-search/46421

Floor, “War Party” from Oblation (2014)

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Hollow Leg Unveil New Single “God-Eater”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian sludgers Hollow Leg are getting ready later this month to head out on a run up and back down the East Coast with Holly Hunt, and even as they prepare to do so supporting an Argonauta Records reissue of their 2010 first album, Instinct, they’ve posted audio for a new single called “God-Eater” (munch munch munch) that turns their previous two outings — Instinct and its 2013 follow-up, Abysmal (review here) — somewhat on their heads.

I say “somewhat” because, let’s face it, Hollow Leg haven’t gone polka-thrash or anything like that. They’re still working well within a heavy realm, but a lot of the ultra-slamming sludge of Abysmal seems absent from “God-Eater” in favor of a more laid-back, fuzzed-out approach. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here — the track is still called “God-Eater” — but the feel is less aggressive overall, and vocalist Scott Angelacos has shifted his vocals to match, finding roots in more of a Southern heavy rock vein than the screams of prior outings.

Again, in the grand scheme of life and what Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells me (and only me; we talk on the phone sometimes) is an endlessly expanding universe, it’s not a massive shift, but there’s been some reordering of the balance of elements at work in Hollow Leg‘s sound, and it makes me look forward all the more to seeing them on tour with Holly Hunt later this month.

Dig it:

Hollow Leg, “God-Eater”

Ready to start for a U.S. Spring tour and while promoting the reissue of their album “Instinct” on Argonauta Records, Florida sludge masters HOLLOW LEG just released a new song: “God Eater”, as single track, encompasses the next direction for the band, sonically, visually and lyrically. The song works as a prelude to album number three and all within the band are excited to summon more new material. “God Eater” can be streamed via the Argonauta Records YouTube channel: http://youtu.be/ffO5M2ynjSw

March 21-29 Hollow Leg/Holly Hunt tour:
03/21 Mars Pub, Gainesville, FL w/ Gaul, Thunderclap
03/22 Hippo Records, Greensboro NC w/ Irata
03/23 The Dougout, Washington D.C. w/ Public Suicide, Paranoid Minds
03/24 Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA w/ Clamfight, Sunburster
03/25 O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA w/ Ichabod, Balam
03/26 St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY w/ Clamfight, Kings Destroy, The Scimitar
03/27 Rogers, Va Beach VA w/ The Pestilence Choir, Kombat Wombat
03/28 Reggie’s, Wilmington, NC w/ Hadea, Kohmats, Toke
03/29 529, Atlanta, GA w/ Dasher, Motherfucker, Roman Gabriel Todd
For more infos, gigs and more to come, check out and follow the band through the official pages:

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Hollow Leg on Bandcamp

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Holly Hunt and Hollow Leg East Coast Tour Starts March 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Next month, Floridian compatriots Holly Hunt and Hollow Leg will embark on an East Coast run together. For Hollow Leg, they’ll be out supporting the Argonauta Records reissue of 2010′s Instinct (info here) as well as their Summer 2013 full-length, Abysmal (review here), while Holly Hunt will arrive fresh off appearances at the International Noise Conference (video below), and gigs alongside Jucifer and Darsombra while toting copies of their 2010 2LP, Year One.

Both bands were kind enough to offer some comments on the tour, and you’ll find those with the tour dates below:

Says Hollow Leg:

Hollow Leg have been fortunate to be comrades with the Unholy Miami Trinity of Volume — Shroud Eater, Orbweaver, Holly Hunt — and the upcoming dates of live sonic excess will further solidify our bond with one of the Masters. Holly Hunt exercise the power of guitar and drums that was the same foundation at the inception of Hollow Leg and both bands love nothing more than to crush all into a blissful nothing. This tour is a further testament to all that is heavy from Florida as we creep up the East Coast: good friends, good tunes, and good fun.

Says Holly Hunt:

We’ve loved Hollow Leg since the very first time we saw them at Churchill’s playing with our friends Shroud Eater. Their brutal heaviness combined with excellent song writing make them a absolute must see band. We’ve been able to get to know them and hang out with them often in the last few years. We are thrilled to be able to go raging with them up the East Coast and back… we cannot wait!

March 21-29 Hollow Leg/Holly Hunt tour:
03/21 Mars Pub, Gainesville, FL w/ Gaul, Thunderclap
03/22 Hippo Records, Greensboro NC w/ Irata
03/23 The Dougout, Washington D.C. w/ Public Suicide, Paranoid Minds
03/24 Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA w/ Clamfight, Sunburster
03/25 O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA w/ Ichabod, Balam
03/26 St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY w/ Clamfight, Kings Destroy, The Scimitar
03/27 Rogers, Va Beach VA w/ The Pestilence Choir, Kombat Wombat
03/28 Reggie’s, Wilmington, NC w/ Hadea, Kohmats, Toke
03/29 529, Atlanta, GA w/ Dasher, Motherfucker, Roman Gabriel Todd

Hollow Leg, “Abysmal” Live at House of Blues, Jan. 27, 2014

Holly Hunt, Live in Miami, 2014

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Holly Hunt on Thee Facebooks

Hollow Leg/Holly Hunt tour event page

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Shroud Eater and Orbweaver Announce Winter Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I got a copy of Orbweaver‘s 2013 album, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon, to review because when I first heard it I was like, “Fuck yeah, this is awesome!” For what it’s worth, I was right about that, but when it came time to actually sit down and write it up, it felt like I was trying to get a square peg in a round hole and that as much as I dug the extreme and progressive death metal influence that the Miami outfit thickened to sludge viscosity, I couldn’t really make it fit. I felt bad (as I always do, and as I still do) that the band went out of their way to be cool enough to send the disc. The moral of the story was it wasn’t Orbweaver‘s fault, it was mine.

Obviously not the end of the world, but I prefer to keep my commitments when I’m able. The band seems to be doing just fine, as they’ve teamed up with fellow Miami crushers Shroud Eater for a winter tour that will take them to the West Coast and back over the course of February into March. With the dates though, I’ve included the Bandcamp stream of Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon, in case maybe you didn’t get the chance to check it out. Not the usual fare you find around these parts, but badass nonetheless:

SHROUD EATER 2014 WINTER TOUR

Sludge juggernaut to decimate stages in Feb/March 2014

We are proud to announce that Miami’s Shroud Eater will be touring US cities from February 19 to March 10 2014. The band will be decimating stages from Florida to California with experimental death metallers Orbweaver.

Get ready to have your face melted, your brain warped and your senses pulverized!

Wed. Feb. 19 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub with: Ad Nauseum, Ex Vietnam
Thurs. Feb. 20 – Tallahassee, FL – The Shark Tank with: Atrocitus, Short Walk
Fri. Feb. 21 – Pensacola, FL – The Handlebar
Sat. Feb. 22 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia with: Lord Dying, Gristnam
Sun. Feb. 23 – Austin, TX – Beerland with: Crawl, Khringe
Tues. Feb. 25 – Riverside, CA – Kim’s Sports Bar
Wed. Feb. 26 – Oakland, CA – The Metro
Thurs. Feb. 27 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Frankie Teardrops with: Hashmouth
Fri. Feb. 28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Complex with: Lightning Swords of Death
Sat. March 1 – Phoenix, AZ – The Yucca Taproom
Sun. March 2 – Santa Fe, NM – TBA
Mon. March 3 – Dallas, TX – Taquerias Pedritos
Tues. March 4 – Little Rock, AR – Vino’s Pizza Pub & Brewery with: Crankbait
Wed. March 5 – Nashville, TN – TBA
Thurs. March 6 – Greensboro, NC -TBA
Fri. March 7 – Charlotte, NC – TBA
Sat. March 8 – Atlanta, GA – TBA
Sun. March 9 – Jacksonville, FL – Burro Bar with: Porter, Atma
Mon. March 10 – St. Petersburg, FL – Fubar Downtown with: Landbridge, Ulcer, Cosm

https://www.facebook.com/events/781613115185577/
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater
https://www.facebook.com/Orbweaver.Official

Orbweaver, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon (2013)

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Hollow Leg to Reissue First Album Instinct on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian sludge metallers Hollow Leg have announced they’ll reissue their 2010 full-length debut, Instinct, through Argonauta Records. The CD of the four-piece’s first outing has been gone for some time, and with the release earlier this year of the follow-up, Abysmal (review here), Hollow Leg showed a penchant for atmosphere that stomped in time with their crushing tones.Instinctwas a bit simpler in its intent — not surprising for a debut –but positively vicious nonetheless, as the stream of the album below can testify.

Cool to see the album coming out again and glad to have an excuse to post it for anyone who may have missed it up to this point. Hollow Leg get down with some heavy shit. Third track “The Return” is a particular favorite off this one, if you’re looking for a place to start. Nothing quite like a solid bit of death boogie:

Hollow Leg to re-release ‘Instinct’ on Argonauta Records!

U.S. sludge monsters HOLLOW LEG will have a worldwide re-release of their album “Instinct” under the flag of ARGONAUTA Records. The band, a duo now quartet, is an enormously toned groove engine hailing from the highways between Deland and Jacksonville, Florida. Their first full length, Instinct, as a duo of guitar and drums from late 2010 and released independently (now completely sold-out), was an action blown forth by their inherent and creative strengths housed within its lyrics and riffs. Since their incarnation as a duo, Hollow Leg has held live performances akin to Sleep and Eyehategod cooperatively steering a runaway freight train through the center of a volcano. Instinct will be again available February 2014 for a full new life thanks to the exclusive digi-sleeve packaging by the label and the worldwide release. Just wait for a massive assault of slow head-banging music!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hollow-Leg/128288623854274
www.facebook.com/argonautarecords
www.argonautarecords.com

Hollow Leg, Instinct (2010)

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Hollow Leg, Abysmal: Crying Havoc

Posted in Reviews on September 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though in the minds of many listeners there’s no doubt that Southern sludge is an aesthetic with set associations. Bands playing or even dabbling in the style are hard-pressed to emerge without being saddled with the inevitable Eyehategod comparison, and to their credit, Floridian four-piece Hollow Leg work in a more nuanced approach than most. Their second full-length, Abysmal, finds them working within and beyond the usual stylistic constraints, here and there touching on Sourvein-style nod while offsetting that with Earthride‘s rolling stoner-doom groove. The riffs of guitarist/backing vocalist Brent Lynch are a driving force, as one might imagine, but Abysmal (released on Last Anthem Records) showcases a songwriting acumen that goes beyond focusing on any single member of the band and is most effective when Lynch, bassist Tom Crowther, drummer Tim Creter and vocalist Scott Angelacos are all pushing in the same direction. Moreover, with the strength of several landmark choruses behind it — namely those of “Blissful Nothing,” “Ride to Ruin,” “Lord Annihilation” and closer “Cry Havoc” — Abysmal also tests out the boundaries of melody. While Angelacos‘ vocals are largely unipolar in their throaty, shouting approach, Lynch provides suitable accompaniment and also works in some flourish on guitar, making the material across the album’s eight tracks/35 minutes that much more complex. What on first listen sounds like it might be “another sludge record” gradually emerges as a display of character that, while utilizing some familiar elements, ultimately shows Hollow Leg as having more to them than Take as Needed for Pain rehash and/or derivative antiestablishmentism.

At their core, Hollow Leg are riotously heavy. Recorded by Jeff McAlear at High Five Audio in Deland, FL, and mastered by Collin Jordan, the album’s mix leans toward the metallic, but stays true to a sludgy nature by not sacrificing tonal weight in the name of speed or showy play. That Hollow Leg would turn out to be crafters of memorable songs should be less of a surprise to those who caught the not so subtle hints on their 2010 full-length debut, Instinct — also recorded by McAlear  — but it’s a distinguishing factor on their second album and the growth they show proves demonstrative of their progress overall. Abysmal creeps to a start with the fade in of its title-track, a song that shows little of the breadth that comes across over time, but establishes several key factors in Hollow Leg‘s approach all the same, from the fluid rhythms proffered by Crowther and Creter, to the weighted chug of Lynch‘s guitar and vicious rasp from Angelacos at the forefront. Angelacos seems at first to be very much in the T-Roy Medlin spirit of screamers, and “Abysmal” suits that form, though deviations emerge both in the chorus layering and in his tradeoffs with Lynch, and as the slower, more subdued “8 Dead (in a Mobile Home)” takes hold, Hollow Leg immediately build on the straightforward thrust of the album’s beginning to toy with heavy/soft dynamics, the guitars adding melody at the end to hint at some more of what’s to come. Between the two songs, a good portion of Abysmal‘s course is set, but I’d argue that the most resonant hooks are still to come, and “Blissful Nothing” settles into an easy groove with a dually-layered vocal in the chorus, shout-along ready, essentially proving the argument.

Read more »

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Shroud Eater Announce September Southeast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian trio sans-connerie Shroud Eater have announced that they’ll take to the road in their native Southeast for a handful of tour dates next month. The run comes in support of the Miami three-piece’s destructive 2013 EP, Dead Ends, which as fate would have it is available this very minute on Primitive Violence and The Path Less Traveled in a variety of physical and digital formats. You may recall I found the tape particularly alluring, though whatever delivery system it arrives by, Dead Ends is worthy of a fervent nerding-out. Mark my words when I say that one of these days I’m going to actually get to see this band play. On a stage. At a place. Where I am.

While I carve that bold declaration in the particleboard of my desk with my Lord of the Rings letter opener, please go ahead and peruse the tour dates below, making changes to your calendar as need be to allow for travel. On Sept. 8, Shroud Eater will join with The Body, Deadbird, Pallbearer, Rwake, The Dirty Streets and Black Oak Arkansas at the Mutants of the Monster fest. You know you always wanted to visit Little Rock in the fall.

Behold:

SHROUD EATER is excited to announce a Southern tour September 5-10, taking them to Little Rock, AR for a performance on the Mutants of the Monster Fest III. The band is touring in support of their highly  acclaimed 2013 EP “DEAD ENDS”, out on The Path Less Traveled Records and Primitive Violence Records and Visual.

SEPTEMBER 2013 TOUR DATES:
Thursday 9/5/13 MIAMI, FL @ Churchills Pub
Friday 9/6/13 ATLANTA, GA @ The Masquerade (Purgatory)
Saturday 9/7/13 NASHVILLE, TN @ The Owl Farm
Sunday 9/8/13 LITTLE ROCK, AK @ Mutants of the Monster Fest III
Monday 9/9/13 BIRMINGHAM, AL @ The High Note
Tuesday 9/10/13 JACKSONVILLE, FL @ Warehouse 818

Shroud Eater, Dead Ends EP (2013)

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Visual Evidence: Hollow Leg and Orbweaver Announce “Abysmal Transmissions” Tour

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian outfits Hollow Leg and Orbweaver have teamed up for a long weekender from Aug. 2-5. Playing four nights in their native state, both bands will be supporting new releases — in the case of Hollow Leg, it’s their new full-length collection Abysmal, which is out on Last Anthem Records on July 30. For Orbweaver, the Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon EP will mark their studio debut with a release on Primitive Violence.

Taking from the titles of both, the Abysmal Transmissions tour runs from Orbweaver‘s home in Miami to Hollow Leg‘s in Jacksonville. The poster below has specifics:

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver – Abysmal Transmissions Tour 2013

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver tour dates:
Aug. 2 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
Aug. 3 Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL
Aug. 4 Bowman Motorcycles, St. Petersburg, FL
Aug. 5 Burro Bar, Jacksonville, FL

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Orbweaver on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sean Proper, Canal Machinery

Posted in Radio on May 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Rarely does a young guitarist blend acoustic resonance and droning textures and come across sounding anything other than self-indulgent, but when it comes to Floridian six-and-12-stringer Sean Proper (aka Sean Wrubel), the balance sounds easy. With a variety of fingerpicking methods, Proper is able to evoke surprisingly rich atmospherics using what seem like simple and even minimalist methods on the new 28-minute self-release, Canal Machinery. The drama is immediate from the start of the first track, “1.”

All five of Canal Machinery‘s pieces follow that numerical course in their titling, which doesn’t do much to highlight the differences between them — like the dense weaving of notes that “2″ brings about, vaguely Western in its feel but not at all countrified, or the sprawl of “4″ and the tension it builds, or the wandering sensibility of “3″ or the final contemplations of “5″ — but the songs, such as they are, stand up on their own in terms of mood and ambience. As the last of them, “5″ stands out as particularly resonant, the 12-string guitar arriving at what feels like a thick riff given punctuation by harder strums and plucks, resulting in a layered feel that holds its intrigue to the very end.

Wrubel has a couple releases under his belt using the Sean Proper moniker, all released this year. FFS compiles earlier recordings from 2005-2009, and Live at Newcollege 2/15 is, as the title would indicate, a live recording, so to get an idea for the kinds of textures the project is aiming to achieve, Canal Machinery seems like it’s the way to go. And if three releases within the span of five months hints at anything, it’s that it probably won’t be all that long before Sean Proper has a follow-up in the works. All the better.

You can hear Sean Proper‘s Canal Machinery now as part of the regular rotation on The Obelisk Radio as well as check it out and grab a free download from the Bandcamp player below. Either way, enjoy:

Sean Proper, Canal Machinery (2013)

Sean Proper on Bandcamp

Sean Proper on Thee Facebooks

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Nice Package: Shroud Eater, Dead Ends Cassette on Primitive Violence Records

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Visual Evidence on May 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

My only issue with the limited edition tape of their new Dead Ends EP that Shroud Eater put out through Primitive Violence Records is that so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to open the damn thing. Oh, I’ve heard the EP itself (review here), so I know it kicks plenty of ass, but looking at the limited packaging — which just seems like it should have a little cutout space near the top so it can hang on a peg in some record and or head shop 20 years ago — I just can’t pull those staples out and open it up.

Primitive Violence is the band’s own imprint — there’s a CD of Dead Ends coming later this month on The Path Less Traveled Records as well — and so I take this tape as kind of the definitive version of the album, what a certain British label seems consistently to refer to as the “diehard edition.” Only 22 were made, they sold out just this past Tuesday (there are more regular tapes left), and here’s what’s included:

No, Pinhead from Hellraiser doesn’t come with it, but everything else in the bottom part of that collage does. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who’d want to show off their Shroud Eater affiliation, with a sticker, patch and pin, and that rules in and of itself, but there’s also the full-color lyric sheet, transparent red tape and — as you can see in the top right corner of the pic above — also a limited edition figurine made in Peru that actually seems to have been the impetus behind there only being 22 of these made, since the people who made the “Death charms” in turn died and these are the last ones ever. Dead Ends indeed.

All this adds up not only to something really special for collector nerds like me and those converted to the cassette nostalgia cultism, but a complete, every-level experience for what in a lot of band’s minds would probably be a toss-off EP release. Cheers to Shroud Eater for going all out in putting the tape of Dead Ends together (even the regular one looks pretty sweet) and continuing to highlight the appeal of physical media in an age regarded by squares as digital. Awesome.

Shroud Eater, “Tempest” from Dead Ends

Shroud Eater’s merch page

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

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Endless Void, Apparitions: Strange Things Abound

Posted in Reviews on April 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The first thing to know about Endless Void? There’s not much to know. The one-man project of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist James Owen has opted out of the internet sphere, so that even the most vigorous of Googling only results in a few hits from others writing about the band and nothing at all from Owen himself. Plenty of bands claim to eschew the social media sphere, far fewer actually do, and it means that when it comes to the background on Endless Void, it’s just about nil. There wasn’t a band, then there was. The late-2012 Apparitions demo was preceded by an earlier outing, 2010′s Final Doom, released through a mysterious AIF Records, the only website for which I found seemed to promise an all-in-one solution to becoming a rock star. Not sure if it’s the same label or not. Hope not.

I suppose there’s something to be said for trying to keep a band obscure. I’m not sure what, but something. Certainly kvlt-ish posturing has done favors in street cred for any number of acts over the last couple years, but I don’t know if that’s Endless Void‘s trip or not. More relevant, Apparitions is comprised of four grim, lo-fi cuts — “R.I.P./March of the Dead,” “Spiritualistic Medium,” “Bereaved” and “Apparitions and the Undertaker” — that bask in darker NWOBHM riffing and vague doomed allusions. Owen seems to be working from a base of Witchfinder General crunch, but the production on the tracks is rougher, giving the 20-minute outing a grim, cassette-ready vibe. The sort of pretentious vibing in “Spiritualistic Medium” — the title’s extra “-istic” where “spiritual” would’ve sufficed, for example — I’d trace back to a latent black metal affinity, but there’s next to none of that in the actual sound of Apparitions, which gives little indication of Endless Void being a one-man outfit as “R.I.P./March of the Dead” gets underway with fittingly metallic circumstance, the drums ’80s echoing behind the lyric tale of zombies coming back to life and, well, marching.

“Spiritualistic Medium” keeps picks up the pace and reminds of some of Iron Man‘s classic moments, more metal than doom, but the swagger of “Bereaved” is probably the highlight of the demo, stomping and grooving with more NWOBHM guitar compression and stops in the drums that only add to the swing. Vocally, Owen mostly follows the guitars (his), but the thicker distortion of “Apparitions and the Undertaker” to close out Apparitions is worth following. Structurally, the demo as a whole is straightforward, but a faithful representation of metal’s 80′s roots for all that, and Owen quickly ends the title-track to fade up a line of organ (presumably that’s “The Undertaker,” though I’ve not yet confirmed whether or not it’s the wrestler’s entrance theme) and give a last-minute injection of weirdness to the proceedings. Weirdness wasn’t exactly lacking, however, but even in context with the rest of Endless Void‘s oddities, the organ is a bit unexpected and its entrance awkward.

Still, if it’s rough, well, it’s a demo and that’s what it’s there for. Word on the street has it that Owen is looking to put a full lineup together, so although he’s made it difficult to get in touch with the band or track down more info, total misanthropy isn’t the aim. I guess we’ll have to see how it finally pans out, but for now, if you can manage it, Apparitions is a curio at least worth a few minutes of listening time, particularly if you’ve ever found yourself mourning the tape-trade treasures of yesteryear.

Endless Void, “Spiritualistic Medium”

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Shroud Eater, Dead Ends EP: Tempestry

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

One never likes to predict the future when it comes to bands and what the given response to a release will be, but I have little doubt that when the story of Shroud Eater — however that story might turn out to read — is over, their Dead Ends EP will serve as the moment of their arrival. Over the course of these five tracks, four plus an intro, the Miami-based trio showcase not only the professionalism in their songwriting, but a maturity of approach and presentation that their prior full-length debut, 2011′s ThunderNoise (review here), began to hint at. During the time since that album’s release, Shroud Eater Jean Saiz on guitar/vocals/artwork, Janette Valentine on bass/backing vocals and Felipe Torres on drums — have played shows and toured around and beyond the Southeast, and while that’s bound to have an effect on their approach even if only subconsciously, what really separates Dead Ends from ThunderNoise and their self-titled 2009 demo (review here) is the production. That is to say, Shroud Eater‘s songs were already there, and in the emergent gallop here of “Tempest,” the roots found in “We are Beasts” from ThunderNoise seem to have broken through to the surface, but a huge part of what makes that so apparent in listening to Dead Ends (CD on The Path Less Traveled, tape on Primitive Violence) is the still-natural-sounding crispness with which the EP is presented. Whether it’s the doomly tectonics of “Lord of the Sword” or the out-of-nowhere onslaught of “Sudden Plague,” there’s nothing on Dead Ends that isn’t the most professional, mature and satisfying material yet to come from Shroud Eater. And so, like I say: Arrival.

It’s worthwhile to note that the four main tracks of Dead Ends are longer than anything Shroud Eater have done to this point. But for the intro, “Cannibals,” at 2:07, nothing on the EP is under five minutes long, which is a line the band had only previously crossed on ThunderNoise opener “High John the Conqueror.” More importantly, the songs are expansive in their reach and bring together the varied sides of Shroud Eater‘s sound that showed up before on separate tracks, so that once the initial threat of “Cannibals” is laid out — Torres‘ drums driving the point home amid not inconsiderable amp rumble and far-back whispers, blown-out shouts — “Sudden Plague” has room for both a beginning that’s utterly miserable in its doomed lumber and a contrasting second half made propulsive by Saiz‘s riffing. Of immediate distinction is the tone Valentine brings out of her bass; an asset to Shroud Eater‘s sound I’d previously overlooked. Joined by guitar feedback and creeping drums, the bass leads the way into “Sudden Plague”‘s first movement, patiently building a groove for more than a minute before crashing to full breadth. After the lead-in that “Cannibals” provided and the first two minutes of “Sudden Plague,” Dead Ends is nothing if not properly introduced to its audience, but when the second cut takes off, it nonetheless earns the first word of title. As faster riff comes to a head shortly before the two-minute mark, and Saiz‘s vocals emerge, semi-melodic in the mid-period Kylesa tradition, but functioning to serve a consuming swirl that only gets more fervent as the song moves forward.

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Floor Sign to Season of Mist for Release of New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Some news you expect. On the other hand, some news is that Floor have signed to Season of Mist and are putting out a new record. It’s a pretty big difference. I already knew I was looking forward to seeing them on Friday in Brooklyn, but hearing there’s a new record in the works. I mean, shit man. Floor. Kind of hard to fuck with that.

Dig it:

Season of Mist is proud to announce the signing of the widely-respected underground rock band FLOOR.

FLOOR (Steve Brooks – Guitar, Vocals, Anthony Vialon – Guitar, Henry Wilson – drums) recently reunited on the heels of their career retrospective ‘Below and Beyond’ boxset, and are preparing to enter the studio for an imminent release.

FLOOR was originally formed by Brooks and Vialon in 1992, and issued singles on respected underground punks labels like No Idea, Bovine, Rhetoric and more. The band released their wildly influential self-titled full-length album in 2002, before splitting. Brooks went on to form another critically-acclaimed band: TORCHE, while Wilson formed DOVE.

Additionally, the reactivated band will hit the road for short run of dates before they enter the studio. The run will begin on May 27th in Charlotte, NC and conclude on April 10th in Birmingham, AL. Support on all dates comes from Joe Preston’s THRONES. A full list of dates can be found below:

FLOOR tour dates
Mar 27 Charlotte, NC – Tremont Music Hall
Mar 28 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
Mar 29 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
Mar 30 Providence, RI – AS220
Mar 31 Allston, MA – Great Scott
Apr 1 Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary
Apr 3 Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
Apr 4 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
Apr 5 Cleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop
Apr 6 Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme
Apr 7 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
Apr 8 Chicago, IL – Subterranean
Apr 10 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree Cafe

Floor, Floor in full

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