U.S. Christmas Heading Out on Long Weekender

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Pretty bold move to even think about leaving your house in the Southeast in July, let alone get in a vehicle and do shows, but intrepid North Carolinian psych purveyors U.S. Christmas are taking on the task nonetheless. With Generation of Vipers in tow they’ll be facing the swelter head on, finding refuge in venues alongside the likes of Sons of Tonatiuh and Divine Circles.

Get your icepacks on:

USX To Tour Southeast US With Fellow Appalachian Act Generation of Vipers This Week

Appalachian masters of dark psychedelia, USX, will take to the road this week for a run of shows through the Southeastern US states alongside local brethren Generation Of Vipers. The five-city run begins on Wednesday, July 17th in Asheville followed by Athens, Atlanta, Savannah and Columbia through next weekend, the two acts to share the stage with Sons of Tonatiuh, Across Tundras and more throughout the trek.

Stated USX founder Nate Hall of the trek: “We are anticipating some good hot and sweaty shows with our good friends Generation of Vipers, Sons of Tonatiuh, and some cool new southern bands. We are hitting some of our favorite cities and it would be cool to see a ton of people come out. As always, we will play as loud and hard as we can. And we are LOADED with merch.”

USX Tour w/ Generation Of Vipers:
7/17/2013 The Boiler Room – Asheville, NC
7/18/2013 Flicker – Athens, GA
7/19/2013 529 – Altanta, GA w/ Sons of Tonatiuh, Across Tundras
7/20/2013 The Jinx – Savannah, GA
7/21/2013 Jakes – Columbia, SC

A six-pack of talented musicians, USX, having converted the name from their initial moniker U.S. Christmas, is a long-running and major element to the Neurot Recordings roster, with a plethora of LPs and other releases as well as Nate Hall’s maiden solo effort on the label’s roster. The latest USX studio effort, the epic The Valley Path, was released via Neurot in mid-2011, the expansive album consisting of one mammoth, nearly forty-minute track of esoteric beauty, showcasing the sextet’s uneasily-classified folk and psyche-driven rock at its most expansive yet.

U.S. Christmas, The Valley Path (2011)

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Generation of Vipers, Howl and Filth: The Slow Burning of Ritual

Posted in Reviews on October 25th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Beginning right from the low-end percussive rumble of “Ritual,” an overwhelming fullness of sound is among the greatest assets working in favor of Howl and Filth, the third long-player from Tennessee post-doomers Generation of Vipers. Like their two prior outings, 2005’s Grace and 2007’s Dead Circle, Howl and Filth comes courtesy of the band’s own Red Witch Recordings, and I’ll admit it’s my first encounter with the trio, who make a solid first impression thanks to encompassing distortion and blown-out but perfectly swallowed vocals, mixed low under the guitars and bass by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, who also engineered the recording for Howl and Filth’s six tracks. The album seems structured for a vinyl side A/side B divide, the third cut “All of this is Mine” (2:55) being essentially an interlude that positions the band atmospherically leading into the record’s second half, but it works on CD as well, the Anthony Couri (Minsk) artwork no less striking in its sparseness in its digipak incarnation. That bleak, foreboding image makes a fine complement for the otherworldly darkness Generation of Vipers emit, offering a kind of Godflesh mechanicism in the bass of Travis Kammeyer that works to contrast the occasional excursions into melody from guitarist/vocalist Joshua “Asa” Holt. And of course, the rumble mentioned previously wouldn’t be possible without the excellent tom work of B.J. Graves, formerly of A Storm of Light’s touring lineup.

There’s a lot about Howl and Filth that’s going to be familiar, at least on a superficial level, to those who’ve followed the growth, sundry divergences within and capsizing of post-metal, but it’s worth highlighting the excellent treatment Ballou gives to Holt’s harsh vocals, using the growls and shouts to their full atmospheric potential as more than a mere expression of rage or post-modern disaffection, but as an instrument capable of coinciding with and even enhancing the guitars, bass and drums (periodic synth shows up as well, as on the piano-and-whisper-driven “All of this is Mine”). Holt’s guitar sounds that much louder for its position relative to the vocals, and likewise, Graves’ drumming that much more propulsive and Kammeyer’s bass thicker. It’s an easy mistake that’s often made to push all singing to the fore of a track, but no question that “Silent Shroud,” which builds on the momentum “Ritual” establishes at the very front, is stronger in ambience for the instrumentation’s lead position. As Holt moves to further prominence toward the end of the track, the drama is made palpable by his sheer ability to cut through the controlled chaos surrounding, so that as “All of this is Mine” offers momentary respite before “Eternal” kicks off the second half of Howl and Filth, the breather is well justified.

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