Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good news out of the boozy Grifter camp today in that the band are finishing up the writing sessions for the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled Ripple Music debut. That album (review here) was more or less a collection of landmark choruses, some of which get re-stuck in my head at the mere mention of a given song title (hello, “Good Day for Bad News”), and being a fan of the ultra-catchy, I’m interested to hear what the UK trio have to offer their second time out. The PR wire sends over word of the impending.
Long live heavy rock and roll:
UK’s GRIFTER Putting Finishing Touches On Material For New Album
UK-based dirty rock n’ roll trio GRIFTER are putting the finishing touches on the follow up to their self-titled debut full-length, which was released in 2011 by Ripple Music.
Promising to deliver an album full of material that has been described as “heavy as fuck,” guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall made the following statement about the band’s forthcoming record:
“We’re tantalisingly close to finishing writing for the album. One new track ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ just needs a few tweaks to round off some of the rougher edges but it’s sounding tasty…it has kind of a swing blues vibe to it, albeit much heavier. We’re also looking at dusting off “Woman Of Mine” and making the definitive version of it. We’ve always loved the song but it could do with a spruce up…I have some nice ideas. Once that’s done we just need to think about getting in and recording it!!!”
More news on this release as it comes. In the meantime, GRIFTER’s self-titled debut, which Planet Fuzz called “the perfect soundtrack to a night of debauchery,” is currently available via Ripple Music. Head over towww.ripple-music.comto order.
GRIFTER has recently been confirmed for this year’s Hard Rock Hell, which runs from November 28th through December 1st in Pwllheli, Wales. Also confirmed so far are Black Star Riders (Thin Lizzy), Nazareth, Gentlemans Pistols, The Answer, Paul Dianno, Blaze Bayley, Lawnmower Deth, Chrome Molly and Crucified Barbara with many more to be announced. For updates, tickets and information visitwww.hardrockhell.com.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 17th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been like three days solid that I’ve had Grifter‘s “Good Day for Bad News” stuck in my head. Their 2011 self-titled full-length (review here) had a couple serious business hooks, and the opener’s a great place to start. The UK trio’s toured with Orange Goblin since they put it out and this record got a sizable response last year, so it’ll be interesting to see how they follow it up. I guess I’m a little bit getting into 2013 mode, looking ahead, and the next Grifter is definitely one to look out for.
This week brought some pretty good news of a personal nature. I put it out on Facebook but it’s worth documenting here as well that The Patient Mrs. got a job offer that would invariably lead to a move to Massachusetts next fall, which I’ve pledged to myself not to be terrified of, it being a big change and I having spent the better part of the last two years bitching to anyone who would listen and plenty who were just patiently waiting for their turn to speak that I needed a big change. So yeah, stoked.
My internet’s been crapping out — likely just crappy service-related and not an aftereffect of the hurricane three weeks later, right? — and I’ve had a couple glasses of wine, so I’m not even sure this is going to get posted tonight, but no worries. Whenever it goes up, I’m sure I’ll still have Grifter stuck in my head, so it works. Speaking of agonizingly catchy, next week I’ll be reviewing the new Five Horse Johnson album, and Om are rolling through Manhattan, and while I was pledging things to myself yesterday, I managed to sneak going to that onto the list. I’m also expecting interview questions back from John Brenner of Revelation at some point this weekend, so hopefully that’ll be up too. And if I get time, we’ll do another inductee into the Canon of Heavy.
Before I jump off and go back to this glass of wine and Season One Disc Three of Arrested Development, I want to say a special thanks to everyone who took the time out to respond to the not-being-in-a-band post. From Jim Poobah‘s discussion of determination to Flyin’ Ryan, Harry Booth and Joe Wood‘s show memories, all of those comments meant a lot. If you got something out of that, I’m really glad. That’s the best case scenario of this whole thing. Everything.
Hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll see you on the forum and back here on Monday, or, you know, as soon as the wifi starts working again. Good fun.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
This kind of news is always welcome by me, and not just because The Obelisk is mentioned in the press release (though that never hurts). It’s great to see that a killer band like Grifter both have a new album in the works and are so clearly psyched about how it’s coming together. Writing and being happy with what you’re writing is one of the most exciting parts of being in a band, and I’m looking forward to what the UK trio put forth next time out.
Ripple Music sent the following word down the PR wire:
GRIFTER Gear Up for Extended Studio Time to Record Follow-up to Their Critically-Praised Ripple Music Debut
They stormed the stage at Deserfest. They laid wasted to the the ears and minds of the U.K. on tour with Orange Goblin. They created a crater sized hole where the stage used to be at Freak Valley. They were called to lend their brand of hard-rawking, Harley blooze n’ roll to the American television show, Dog, The Bounty Hunter.
Now the story continues.
Following up on a year that found Grifter releasing one of the best albums of 2011 (according to notable rock resources The Soda Shop. The Obelisk. The Ripple Effect. Heavy Planet. Chybucca Sounds, Steaming Heathen, and Sonic Abuse), U.K.’s own oil-and-chain sweat rockers are aiming to take their hard-hitting sound higher and farther than ever before.
In between times sharing the stage with Orange Goblin, Roadsaw, Black Pyramid, Leafhound, Truckfighters, Valiant Thorr, Gentlemans Pistols, Colour Haze, Stubb, and XII Boar (and having a song appear on a recent Stargun British Rock Compilation CD) Grifter have been making time in the studio writing and recording the eagerly anticipated follow-up to their chart-busting debut.
As main Grifter, Ollie tells it, “Writing for the album has resumed in a big way. In the space of one practice we have written a new song that has totally blown my balls off called Fire Water. It’s pretty epic, I think it could be a centrepiece of the new album. We also started jamming ideas for another new tune that should come together very quickly called Big Man Blues which is utterly filthy, you’ll need to take a shower afterwards!!! It’s heavy as hell but all done on slide with a gnarly blues vibe and a stomping beat that could raise John Bonham from the grave.”
That means Grifter will be delievering just what their legions of growing fans are yelling for: more gritty, dirty, and bloozy, hard-driving, riff-mad rock n’ roll!
While the anticipation builds, don’t forget to check out Grifter‘s one-foot-in-the-gutter debut for hard-rock specialty label, Ripple Music. And don’t forget that Grifter’s riff rock first appeared on the Ripple roster on the Heavy Ripples, Vol. 1 compilation with the band contributing two barnstorming, high-octane rock classics!
Posted in Features on May 18th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
A Grifter chorus is a hard thing to ignore, and if you have any love at your heart at all for classic or heavy rock and roll, I can’t imagine why you’d bother to try. The Southern UK trio have been together nearly a decade, but following a demo and the increasingly solid High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ (2008) and The Simplicity of the Riff is Key EPs, they made a substantial impact with the 2011 full-length debut, Grifter, on Ripple Music — an album of impeccable catchiness and near-immediate familiarity that was nonetheless fresh and vibrant-sounding, like an old friend you didn’t know you had.
The band also appeared on Ripple Music‘s Heavy Ripples four-way split, but the album would prove to be one of 2011′s best, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Subsequent acclaim and momentum led Grifter to be forerunners of a particular side of the formidable and growing British scene that as guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall — joined in the band by bassist Phil and drummer Foz — points out was neither given to sludge, nor doom, nor fuzz-drenched stoner rock (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those), but straight up heavy in a classic tradition. Our paths crossed last month at the second day of Desertfest London, as the band headlined at The Black Heart, and they proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend.
I don’t mind saying this interview was a long time coming. Pretty much since before the album was reviewed, Stygall and I were back and forth trying to figure out a way to conduct a phoner without a phone. Where I used to be able to record from Skype on my home desktop, that computer shit the bed and my laptop was more of a prick about it. Finally, though, I gave in and purchased a program allowing me to record directly from an audio call and Stygall and I finally were able to connect after he and the rest of Grifter wrapped their tour with Orange Goblin, of which Desertfest was the start.
And though he and I were both sick at the time — the recording is a tradeoff of his coughs and my sniffles as well as his answers and my questions — he was still a good sport in talking about Grifter‘s next album, for which the writing has begun, the response they got to the self-titled and how that translated to the round of shows he’d just finished, a then-upcoming string of dates in Belgium that’s now begun and includes a performance at the Freak Valley festival on May 19, Desertfest and the strength of the UK scene in general, post-tour blues, and a lot more. The Skype connection started to feedback toward the end (as everything should), by the time our conversation was finished, I felt like it was worth the wait, and as you commence to read through, I hope you agree.
Complete 3,000-word Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in Features on April 7th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04/07/12 — 23.00 — Saturday — Hotel
Today was the day I decided to have it all. Maybe it was walking up High Street circa noon to hit Music and Video Exchange and buying a ham and cheese crepe for breakfast to go with my cup of coffee. Maybe it was the simple fact that for all the drinking I did yesterday, I wasn’t hungover in the slightest. Maybe it was just the entire galaxy of good music playing out the middle day of this fest. Whatever it was, I was on board today. All the way. Let’s go.
And go I did — or, I guess I went. Whatever. The schedule was packed today. Really. From the time I rolled into The Black Heart to the time I left The Black Heart — digging a certain symmetry in starting and ending each day at Desertfest‘s smallest venue, definitely — it was basically nonstop. Whereas yesterday I got to basically park myself at The Purple Turtle, at the expense of seeing Ancestors, but still, there was none of that happening this afternoon and evening. As the day wore on, in fact, it only got busier.
My major question was how the hell I was going to see everything I wanted to see. Orange Goblin, Black Pyramid, and Grifter all went on in 25-minute succession of each other, in that order. All three bands — and after a full day of rock. It wasn’t going to be easy.
As far as starts to the day go, however, I couldn’t have asked for something more mellow than an acoustic set from Deville. Frontman Andreas Bengtsson took the stage on his own, just him and a guitar. He was plugged in — Desertfest: “Where Even the Acoustic Guitars Run through Orange Stacks” — and he ran through a charming set of reworked Deville tracks, including “Lava,” which I recalled from their recently posted video for the song. Roadsaw frontman Craig Riggs and I would have an interesting conversation later about how much videos matter again now, but watching Bengtsson perform, there was clearly more to his songwriting than a funny video could convey. I don’t know the name of the last song he played, but it was a classic Kyuss riff, and hearing it through an acoustic was like finding a copy of Paranoid in a museum. Read: just right.
There was a 40-minute break between Bengtsson and the next band at The Black Heart, which was Steak, so I made use of the time and went across the street to The Underworld to check out some of Shrine ’69‘s set. They were young, but heavy, and no one told me, but apparently giant embroidered v-necks are the new t-shirt and jeans. Fair enough. I was more into the UK natives than I thought I’d be just going by their name, and I picked up their CD to give it a listen later on, figuring no time like the present, and contrary to what I told the French lady who sold me my breakfast, it’s not every weekend I’m in London. Shrine ’69‘s crowd knew them better than I did, and I was glad to default to the judgment of the masses on this one. Helped, I suppose, that I agreed with them. Another quality UK band to add to the seemingly endless list.
Also local, Steak drew a large crowd back at The Black Heart. I had bought their EP yesterday without knowing who they were, and only later found out that the band includes Dan and Reece from DesertScene, who organized the fest. They were solid heavy rock, self-aware stoner, and they proved yet again one of the things I’ve always most enjoyed about this kind of music — the people who are into it, do it. Seeing these dudes made me wish I didn’t live in the asshole of the world, considering the raw passion for what they do and the time and effort they were willing to put into putting Desertfest together across three venues in busy Camden Town, 50-plus bands over three nights. They’ve made it really easy for someone outside of this geographic scene (like I am, despite having people in it I consider friends), to be jealous of it, and they rocked besides. Can’t ask for more than that.
I’d seen the Roadsaw dudes around, shot the shit for a while with drummer Jeremy Hemond, bassist (and Obelisk columnist) Tim Catz, the aforementioned Mr. Riggs and guitarist Ian Ross, and I was looking forward to their set at The Underworld. Not because I’ve never seen them before, but because I knew this was a special show. It was special for me just being here, so I figured being that dudes from basically the same region I’m from (at least relative to London), who flew out just for this show and then were set to fly back home, they’d be really into it, and Roadsaw did not disappoint. Awesome to look by the side of the stage and see the Orange Goblin guys showing respect, and awesome to see Roadsaw throw down. They played a couple tracks off their Desertfest EP, which they were also giving away on CD free of charge — I took two — and “Thinking of Me” and “Long in the Tooth” off the self-titled (review here) were highlights. I’ll have to see if they’re playing at all in Boston come June or July, because as I stood and watched them tear through these songs, it occurred to me that I’ve never seen them on their home turf, and that’s something I should probably get on remedying. They did New England proud.
Sungrazer was on next, so I stayed put at The Underworld. This was my second time seeing the Dutch natives, who were a highlight of Roadburn last year and who I really consider to be the future of fuzz. Sander Haagmans‘ Rickenbacker rules all. If Sander Haagmans‘ Rickenbacker was running for US president as a republican, I would go against my beliefs and vote for it, because it’s just that awesome. But you know what? Sander Haagmans‘ Rickenbacker wouldn’t run as a republican, because it’s warm and inviting and progressive and doesn’t give a shit if gay people want to get married. It’s fucking great, is what I’m trying to say. His and guitarist Rutger Smeets‘ tones were dead on. They opened with “If” from their 2010 self-titled (review here) and went directly from there into “Octo” from last year’s fabulous Mirador (review here), but what I was really hoping for came later, with the new song “Dopo.” When I saw them last, they played a couple Mirador tracks, and with the acknowledgement that one live listen is no real basis for judgment, I’ll say it seems like they’re going even further into their meandering heavy psych, leaving behind some of the Colour Haze-type influence and doing more of their own thing. Maybe that’s me reading into it, but that was the impression I got, anyway, and it made me excited to hear what they do on their next record. They finished with the Fu Manchu-worthy fuzz of “Common Believer,” which of all the songs I heard today from all the bands I saw, is the one still stuck in my head.
There was a little time before Alunah were set to go on at The Black Heart, but I made my way over there early to get a spot up front. Grabbed a beer and bought a copy of Alunah‘s Call of Avernus before they took the stage, which they did following some technical difficulties with bassist Gaz Imber‘s amp. The troubles were short-lived, though, which I suppose is one of the benefits of having your fest sponsored by Orange — an awesome-sounding replacement for whatever’s broken is never far off. They were cool, unpretentious riffy doom. Vocalist/guitarist Soph Day had the crowd eating out of her hand, and the whole band seemed right at home both with the audience and in the venue. I’m still reminded of Acid King by Day‘s echoing vocals, but that’s hardly a complaint in my mind. Their next record, which will be their first for PsycheDOOMelic — apparently titled White Hoarhound — is one to look forward to. Like Grifter who would play later, Alunah seem to be coming of age as a band and it was exciting to watch. Valient Thorr was on at The Underworld, and I heard later they were great, but seeing Alunah play under their psychedelic lighting effects, I felt like I was right where I needed to be.
This is where things got really tricky. I’d worked out the rest of the evening so that the order of bands was going to be as follows:
Truckfighters at The Underworld (18.30-19.15) Dopefight at The Purple Turtle (19.15-19.45) Church of Misery at The Underworld (19.45-20.30) Orange Goblin at The Underworld (21.00-22.15) Black Pyramid at The Purple Turtle (21.25-22.25)
and Grifter at The Black Heart (21.50-22.50)
I wouldn’t get to see Serpent Venom or Slabdragger, but this way I felt like I was maximizing the amount of bands I’d see, catching the headliners where last night I didn’t, and still getting back to the hotel in decent time to write about this massive fucking day. Obviously I didn’t see everyone’s set front-to-back, and there was one point where I left The Underworld after Church of Misery thinking Black Pyramid was going on immediately only to find I wasn’t that far into the schedule yet, but basically this plan worked, which I guess is why I felt so victorious as I started this review.
Though I guess it would be hard not to be stoked on any night watching Truckfighters. Yes, it was my third Truckfighters show in a month’s time (see here and here), but as soon as Dango started up the “Desert Cruiser” riff, The Underworld went off. Heads were banged, fists were pumped, fuzz was thick, and where they had been relatively subdued in Manhattan, the Swedish trio pulled no punches for Desertfest. It was intense, heavy desert rock. They followed “Desert Cruiser” with “Monte Gargano,” and at that point, there was no turning back. Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm showed no wear for the set he did last night fronting Greenleaf at The Purple Turtle, and as ever, their energy was infectious and they brought the crowd along with them via killer grooves and some of the finest stoner riffing to be found the world over. Desertfest was perfect for them and they were perfect for Desertfest.
It killed me to leave, but Dopefight awaited. The British trio were one of the native bands I was most excited to see (seems like I say that for every native band, but it’s true), especially after their debut, Buds, found such favor late in 2010. Knowing their modus of “slow riffs first, then punk out with vocals,” I assumed it would take them a little while to get going, and it did. They played an instrumental intro before unleashing a few cuts off Buds and a new song from their upcoming split with Gurt. Good times were had. Much like Alunah and Steak earlier in the day, the crowd knew Dopefight and had pretty clearly seen them before. I hadn’t, and they killed. “Specimen” and “Nob. Nod. Noi.” made sure I didn’t go anywhere for the duration of their time on stage, though I’ll admit to getting a Newcastle and moving to the back of The Purple Turtle, as the day was beginning to wear on me. Nonetheless, Dopefight were every bit worth sticking through. I hope this isn’t the last time I see them.
Rumors were around that Japan’s Church of Misery had a new singer and guitarist, the latter coming on as a replacement for Tom Sutton, but lo, when I got back to The Underworld for the start of their set, there was Sutton himself. They did have a new vocalist since the last time I caught them, but as ever, Church of Misery delivered, Tatsu Mikami wearing his bass characteristically low-slung as he stood on the stage monitors. I don’t know who the new singer was — or, come to think of it, if it wasn’t in fact Hideki Fukasawa. He had the noisemakers going and the songs they played off 2009′s Houses of the Unholy (review here) sounded right on, but the stage presence was different, less manic and frantic. Less fake-shotgunning the crowd. It didn’t matter to the crowd, who were dead into it from the outset. It seemed like they didn’t play long, but I guess it just went quick. Either way, they’re touring Europe this month, playing Roadburn next week, and then heading to the States for a cross-country run that includes a stop at Maryland Deathfest at the end of May. Whoever’s in the band, they seemed ready.
Hometown heroes, Orange Goblin made for an especially cool headliner for the first Desertfest Saturday night because in no small way they’re responsible for influencing the current British scene. From Grifter, with whom they’re touring, to the likes of Desert Storm who play tomorrow, Orange Goblin — on the road supporting this year’s excellent A Eulogy for the Damned (review here) — are the statesmen of this scene, and though they’re as raucous as ever, they play the role well. The setlist was amazing. “The Fog” and “Stand for Something” off the new one, plus “Scorpionica” for an opener, “Some You Win, Some You Lose” and a rendition of the anthemic “The Filthy and the Few” that they brought out Craig Riggs from Roadsaw to join Ben Ward on vocals. I know it hasn’t been that long since they were last on my home shores, but I really hope Orange Goblin get to do a US tour for this album. The songs are so tight and crisp, but still rougher live than they are on the record. I’d love another shot at checking them out. You’ll note the headline for this post comes from “The Ballad of Solomon Eagle.” No coincidence there. Orange Goblin were a high point of the weekend.
In fact, I probably stayed at The Underworld longer than I should have, because by the time I got back down the road to The Purple Turtle — a 10-minute walk, basically — Black Pyramid was already well into “Mercy’s Bane” and the room was full. I’d heard a lot of people say they specifically wanted to see them, and I guess since the whole of Desertfest was running a little early, I just mistimed it. I stayed for a little while and grooved out for a couple minutes, and was glad for their success here as I was last year seeing a different incarnation of the band kill it at Roadburn, but soon enough I was back out the door and on my way north (was it north? Felt like north, but it was uphill, and I’m no judge, so take that for what it’s worth) to round out the night at The Black Heart, not before buying a copy of Serpent Venom‘s Carnal Altar album from their merch table in its awesome weirdo packaging. My camera bag was starting to weigh down my shoulder from the heft of the day’s acquisitions, but if the worst that comes of it is my arm falling off, I can’t really say I lost out.
Though by the time Grifter were getting ready to roll, I was tired and I could feel myself being tired. For a soundcheck, the three-piece jammed out a bouncy, low-key riff — it reminded me of something Asteroid might have extended for another six or seven minutes the night before in the same room — and inadvertently hooked the crowd, so that when they stopped, the room erupted in cheers. It was awesome, though kind of a bummer they didn’t just pick up from there and keep going. There were still a couple minutes before their set actually began, but when it did, it was worth the wait. Like last year’s Ripple Music self-titled full-length (review here), the live show showed them as a no bullshit heavy classic rock band. They played a couple older songs off their first EPs, which were well received, and were a cool way to finish up the night. I think a lot of people had gone off to the pub or decided to call it quits on the evening, but those who stayed for Grifter were definitely rewarded for the effort. I did, anyhow. Their set was like the destination I’d been running to all day, and I suppose it was. I’ll be honest: I didn’t make it through the whole thing, with time wearing on and knowing this was going to be the giant slab of probably typo-laden copy it has turned into. As as been the case many times so far this weekend, though, I was glad I saw what I did.
Tomorrow’s Easter — Happy Easter, if that’s your thing — and I think the whole town has the day off, but Desertfest rolls on. It’s the last day, and way more relaxed than was today (no doubt in my mind that was a purposeful move on the part of the DesertScene crew), but I’m still looking forward to seeing the likes of Wiht‘s last show ever, Leaf Hound and Samsara Blues Experiment, so as soon as I can, I’m going to crash out. It’ll probably be another hour or two of putting together the photos for this post [NOTE: No such luck. Post went up at 04.58), but whatever. I got takeout Indian food for dinner and am feeling strong as a result. Days like today, if they happen once, you’re lucky. I’m exhausted, and sore, and I don’t know if I’d call myself “lucky” — something about doing so just makes me think a piano will immediately fall out of the sky and land on my head — but “fortunate” definitely applies.
Posted in Features on December 9th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Please note: This list is made up of my personal picks, not the results of the Readers Poll, which is ongoing — if you haven’t added your top 11 to that yet, please do.
It was an impossible task to keep up with everything that came out this year. I’ll say flat out that I didn’t. There are records that I just didn’t get to hear, and I should note at the outset that this list is mine. It’s based on my personal opinions, what I listened to the most this year and what I think 2011′s most crucial releases have been.
I’ve spent the better part of this week (and last, if brain-time counts) constructing this list, and I finally got it to a point where I feel comfortable sharing. Since last December, I’ve kept a Post-It of names, and all year, I’ve logged bands I’d want to consider for the final top 20. In the end, there were 78 bands and more that I didn’t get to write down for whatever reason. 2011 was nothing if it wasn’t overwhelming.
But here we are, anyway, and it’s done. Let’s get to it:
This is nothing if not a sentimental pick. Last year, I put Electric Wizard in the #20 spot because the record wasn’t out yet, and this year, I’m putting Suplecs (interview with bassist Danny Nick here) in just because I couldn’t imagine this list without them. Until literally a few minutes before I clicked “Publish” on this post, there was someone else in this spot, but ultimately, it had to be them. The New Orleans trio’s first record in half a decade wasn’t what I listened to most in 2011, it wasn’t the best album, or the most important, or career-defining, but when it came right down to it, god damn, I was just happy to have Suplecs back. It had been too long.
After a while, I was kind of shocked to find myself continuing to listen to Favourite State of Mind, the second album by Polish rockers Elvis Deluxe. The record’s dynamics didn’t immediately open up to me, but once I dug into the songs, I was wowed by their balance of catchy hooks and substantial-sounding riffs. The album was genre-relevant without being genre-minded, with vocal changes, organ, atmospheric shifts and a whole host of moods and turns. After hearing their 2007 debut, Lazy, I wasn’t expecting much out of the norm from Favourite State of Mind, and I’m still thrilled by just how wrong I was, and “Take it Slow” is among my favorite single songs of the year.
The gloomy opening statement from former Warning guitarist/vocalist Patrick Walker turned heads around the world with its unabashed emotional conviction, which was so much the central focus of the record as to be made a novelty by those who don’t usually consider doom an emotionally relevant genre (the widespread arguments against that notion I’ll leave for another time). What most stood out to me about The Inside Room was how the sentimentality translated into a gorgeous melodic sensibility and resulted in a lonely mood that was engrossing. On that level, it was easily among 2011′s most effective releases. It made you feel what it seemed to be feeling.
It was an album that lived up to its name. Return to Earth marked the remaking of one of heavy rocks most stoned outfits: Acrimony. But, as Sigiriya (interview with drummer Darren Ivey here), the four-piece (down from five) would show that the years since the demise of their former band had found them progressing as musicians, resulting in a sound less directly stoner, more modern, more earthy. The songs, however, were what made it. It’s still a rare day that goes by that I don’t hum at least part of the chorus of “Mountain Goat” to myself, and if Return to Earth was a new beginning for these players, I can’t wait to see where they go next.
In addition to being Totimoshi‘s first album for At a Loss following the end of their deal with Volcom, Avenger was the first Totimoshi record since 2003′s ¿Mysterioso? not to be produced by Page Hamilton, and where 2006′s Ladrón and 2008′s Milagrosa moved away from some of the noisy crunch in the guitar of Tony Aguilar (interview here), Avenger managed to be both a return to form and a progression of the band’s melodicism. It seems, as ever, to have flown under most radars, but Totimoshi continue to refine their songwriting and have become one of the heavy underground’s most formidable and least classifiable bands.
With their 2010 EP release, upstart British trio Grifter informed us that The Simplicity of the Riff is Key, and on their self-titled Ripple Music debut, they put that ethic to excellent use, resulting in straightforward, catchy songs that were as high-octane as they were low-bullshit. The ultra-catchy “Good Day for Bad News” showed Grifter at the top of their form, and with a dose of humor thrown in, Grifter was the drunken stoner rock party you always wanted to be invited to and, of course, finally were. Now if only I could get Skype to work and get that interview with Ollie Stygall moving, I’d be happy to tell him personally he put out one of 2011′s most kickass rock records.
I don’t know what’s most impressive about The Book of Knots‘ Garden of Fainting Stars — the songs themselves or that they were able to make any songs at all. With upwards of 20 guest spots around the core four-piece, the third in a purported trilogy of records from the avant rock originalists was an epic in every listen. Songs like “Microgravity” and the Mike Watt spoken word “Yeager’s Approach” pushed the limits of both genre and expectation, and miraculously, Garden of Fainting Stars was cohesive and enthralling in its narrative aspect. If it really was their last album, it was triumphant in a manner befitting its expanding-universe thematics.
Had it been a full-length, Invisible White would be higher on this list. Many out there who were enamored of Ancestors‘ 2008 Neptune with Fire debut have gone on to bemoan the Californian collective’s shift away from extended sections of heavy riffing and tales of sea monsters and other things that go “doom” in the night. I’m not one of them. The Invisible White EP was a brave step along a fascinating progression, and as Crippled Black Phoenix didn’t release a new album in 2011, I was glad to have Ancestors there to fill that morose, contemplative void, and I look forward to seeing how they expand on the ideas presented on Invisible White (if they decide to stick to this direction) for their next full-length.
Speaking of shifting approaches, still-young Massachusetts trio Elder also moved away from the Sleep-centric methods of their 2008 self-titled debut on the follow-up, Dead Roots Stirring. Still based very much around the guitar work of Nick DiSalvo (interview here), Elder songs like “Gemini” and the über-soloed “The End” pushed an influence of European heavy psych into the band’s aesthetic, and the result was both grippingly heavy and blown of mind. As an album long delayed by mixing and business concerns, when Dead Roots Stirring finally arrived, it was a relief to hear that Elder, though they’d varied the path, were still headed in the right direction.
Hands down the year’s best traditional doom release. The Wretch so gleefully and so earnestly employed the conventions of ’80s-style doom — most especially those of Saint Vitus and Trouble — that even though the lyrical and musical content was miserable, I couldn’t help but smile as I listened. Songs like “Bastards Born” and “The Scovrge ov Drvnkenness” pushed The Gates of Slumber away from the barbarism the Indianapolis outfit had been touting on their last couple albums, including 2008′s Conqueror breakthrough, in favor of a more purely Chandlerian plod. “To the Rack with Them” remains a standout favorite and a line often referenced in my workplace dealings.
I don’t know what you say to someone at this point who doesn’t like Weedeater. It just seems like a terrible way to go through life, without the madman ranting of “Dixie” Dave Collins (interview here) echoing perpetually in your ears, or never having witnessed their ultra-viscous fuzz in person. Jason… the Dragon was one of the earliest landmark releases of 2011, and practically the whole year later, it retains its hold, whether it’s the stomping fury of “Mancoon,” the lumbering groove of “Long Gone” or the surprisingly melodic “Homecoming.” The hard-touring, hard-hitting band did right in recording with Steve Albini to capture their live sound, and Jason… the Dragon was their strongest outing yet in terms of both songwriting and that unmistakable quality that makes Weedeater records Weedeater records.
I was surprised to see Rwake crack the top 10. Not because their first album in four years, the Sanford Parker-produced Rest, wasn’t superb, but because of how much the songs on the album stayed with me after listening. The Arkansas band’s last outing, Voices of Omens, was heavy and dark and had a lot going for it, but Rest upped the songwriting on every level and together with frontman CT (interview here) adopting a more decipherable shout over most of the record’s four main extended tracks, Rwake felt like a band reborn, and theirs was a highlight among several 2011 albums that showed there’s still room for individual growth and stylistic nuance within the sphere of post-metal.
It was back and forth, nine and eight, between Rwake and Hull for a while, but when all was said and done, the fantastic scope of Beyond the Lightless Sky gave the Brooklyn triple-guitar masters the edge. With a narrative structure behind it and a breadth of ambience and crushing, post-doomly riffing, Beyond the Lightless Sky was the defining moment that those who’ve followed Hull since their Viking Funeral demo have been waiting for. In concept, in performance, in sound and structure and heft, it absolutely floored me, and of all the heavy records I’ve heard with the tag applied to them in 2011, Hull‘s second full-length seems most to earn the tag “progressive.” A stunning and groundbreaking achievement.
One of 2011′s most fascinating developments has been the boom in European heavy psychedelia, and the self-titled debut from French band Mars Red Sky was among the best releases to blend a jam-based sensibility with thick, warm fuzz and memorable riffs. Together with the sweet-hued vocals of Julien Pras (interview here), those riffs made for some of the most infectious hooks I heard all year on songs like “Strong Reflection” and “Way to Rome,” and where other bands jammed their way into psychedelic oblivion, Mars Red Sky were able to balance their focus on crafting quality songs, so that although they sounded spontaneous, the material was never self-indulgent or lacking accessibility. One just hopes they don’t lose sight of that musical humility their next time out.
There was a point earlier this year at which I had forgotten about All We Destroy. After reviewing it in March, I simply moved on to the next thing on my list, and the thing after, and the thing after. But before I knew it, in my head was the voice of Jackie Perez Gratz, singing the line “As I live and breathe” over her own cello, the guitar of Max Doyle and Max Doyle‘s drums. It got so persistent that, eventually, I went out and bought the record, because the mp3s I’d been given to review simply weren’t enough. That was probably July, and I don’t think I’ve gone a week since without listening to Grayceon. So although I classify it in the same league as Rwake and Hull in terms of what it accomplishes in and for its genre, All We Destroy gets the extra nod for the fact that I simply haven’t been able to let it go. And though I’ve come to further appreciate “Shellmounds,” “Once a Shadow” and “A Road Less Traveled,” the 17-minute “We Can” — from which the above-noted lyric is taken — remains the best single song I heard in 2011.
On paper, this one should’ve flopped: Band with minor buzz and a cool video hooks up with indie rock dude to record an album of dopey riffs and beardo bombast. Instead, Red Fang‘s second album and Relapse debut became the 2011 vanguard release for the Portland heavy underground, which is arguably the most fertile scene in the US right now. They toured the record widely, and made another killer video for the mega-single “Wires,” but the reason Murder the Mountains is top five material is because it’s lasted. It was February that I reviewed this record, and March that I interviewed guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles, and I still can’t get “Into the Eye” and “Hank is Dead” and “Number Thirteen” (especially the latter) out of my head. When it came down to it, the songs on Murder the Mountains lived up to any hype the album received, and I’m a sucker for quality songwriting. I mean, seriously. That key change late into “Number Thirteen?” It’s the stuff of the gods.
I wasn’t particularly a fan of Swedish rockers Graveyard‘s 2008 self-titled debut. Even watching them at Roadburn in 2010, I was underwhelmed. But when I heard Hisingen Blues and was able to get a feel for what the retro-minded foursome were getting at stylistically — and most of all, that they were acknowledging that they were doing it without being glib or ironic about it — I found the material irresistible. We’re getting into seriously indispensable records now; ones that I’ve been unwilling to leave home without since they came, in, and Graveyard‘s Hisingen Blues has been a constant feature in heavy rotation. Everything from the devilish testimony of the title-track to the wiry guitars of the chorus to “Ungrateful are the Dead,” to the Skynyrd-ified solo capping “Uncomfortably Numb”: It’s been a year of revelry in all of it, and since they overcame my prejudice to impress on such a level, Graveyard (interview with drummer Axel Sjöberg here) are all the more deserving of their spot on this list.
What I hear in the second album from Dutch trio Sungrazer is the heralding of a new generation of fuzz rock. Taking influence from their forebears in Colour Haze and Kyuss, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Rutger Smeets (interview here), bassist/vocalist Sander Haagmans and drummer Hans Mulders followed and surpassed their stellar 2010 debut on every level, playing heavy riffs on expansive psychedelic jams and still finding room for some of 2011′s most memorable choruses in songs like “Sea” and “Goldstrike.” In so doing, Sungrazer affirmed the character of next-gen European fuzz and placed themselves at the fore of their scene, with touring and festival appearances to support. For their warmth of tone and for the fact that I spent the better part of the summer streaming the record through the Dutch website 3voor12, there was no way they were going to be left out of the top 20. It wasn’t until I sat down and actually put the numbers together, though, that I realized how vital Mirador actually was.
I was lucky enough to be sent some rough listening mixes of Ohio outfit Lo-Pan‘s Small Stone Records debut (following a reworked reissue of their Sasquanaut sophomore full-length), and in my email back to label head Scott Hamilton, I told him I thought he had a genuine classic on his hands. A year, I don’t even know how many Lo-Pan gigs and listens through Salvador later, I still feel that way 100 percent. If you were from another planet, and we got to talking at a bar, and you asked me what rock and roll should sound like in the place where I’m from, I’d hand you Salvador. I still think they should’ve started the album with “Generations,” but if that’s my biggest gripe, they’re clearly doing alright. “Bird of Prey” was the best live song I saw all year, and I saw it plenty, and cuts like “Bleeding Out” and “Struck Match” set the standard by which I’ll judge American heavy rock for a long time to come. Like the best of any class, Salvador is bigger than just the year in which it was released, and at this point, I don’t know what else to say about it.
This is as good as it gets, and by “it,” I mean life. YOB‘s last album, 2009′s The Great Cessation, was my album of the year that year as well, and I knew from the second I heard the self-produced Atma that nothing to come this year would top it. Like Ufomammut‘s Eve in 2010, Atma brings the entire genre of doom along with it on the new ground it breaks, refining what’s fast becoming YOB‘s signature approach even as it pushes ever forward. I still have to stop whatever I’m doing (not exactly good for productivity) whenever “Prepare the Ground” comes on, and songs like “Adrift in the Ocean” and “Before We Dreamed of Two” were humbling. Seriously. Humbling. Listening to them was like looking at those photographs from the Hubble that cover trillions of miles that we’ll never know and reveal gorgeous colors where our naked eyes only see black. If that sounds hyperbolic, thanks for getting it. YOB guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt (interview here) is, almost in spite of himself, one of American doom’s most crucial contributors, and with Atma, he and the rhythm section of bassist Aaron Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster released what is without a doubt the best album of 2011.
A few quick housekeeping items and we’ll call it quits. First, honorable mentions. If this list went to 25, also included would be The Wounded Kings, Earth, Larman Clamor, Olde Growth and The Atlas Moth. Roadsaw were also in heavy consideration, so they’re worth noting, as are many others.
Obviously, I couldn’t include them, but two of my favorite releases in 2011 also came from Blackwolfgoat and HeavyPink, and I’m thrilled and honored to have helped put them out in the small way I did.
And as I said above, there are records I didn’t hear. I haven’t heard the new Black Pyramid yet. Or Orchid. Or a bunch more that I could go on listing. I’m only one man and this is only my list, for better or worse. Again, I really do hope you’ll contribute yours to the group poll, the results of which will be out Jan. 1.
I’ll probably have some more to wrap up 2011 as the month winds down, but until then, thank you so much for reading this and the rest of the wordy nonsense I’ve put up the whole year long. Your support and encouragement means more than I’m able to tell. Here’s to 2012 to come.
Posted in Reviews on August 30th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Grifter have a lot working in their favor. After two increasingly strong EPs and arguably the most memorable contributions out of the four bands included on the Heavy Ripples split Ripple Music 7”, the UK trio make their debut in the form of the 11-track Grifter, also released via Ripple. The album keeps to much the same ethic as their 2010 The Simplicity of the Riff is Key EP, at least philosophically, but the band – vocalist/guitarist Ollie Stygall, bassist Phil and drummer Foz – has grown remarkably in terms of their songwriting and Stygall’s vocals, so that where their prior work had potential, Grifter’s Grifter is showing it already beginning to pay off. This is doubly impressive for what’s essentially their first record, but the band has been kicking around England’s southwest since 2003 and Grifter shows it. They are mature in basically every way but the lyrics, which take a charming, smirking delight in the sexually perverse or mundane frustrations of the everyday dude. Misogynist fecalphilia isn’t really my thing – and I don’t think it’s Grifter’s either, though you never know – but I’m not about to deny that “Alabama Hotpocket” is catchy as hell, the title also accounting for roughly half of the rudimentary, blues-styled lyrical content. Keeping it simple, indeed.
Stygall, Foz and Phil are remarkably good at just that. Grifter as an album makes no effort to hide where it comes from as Stygall caps riffingly infectious opener “Good Day for Bad News” with a “yowza” straight out of the Axl Rose playbook or throws a well-timed “Alright now/Won’t you listen?” into “Strip Club,” the expectation being that most who find Grifter lurking amidst the crowded mass of potent heavy rock acts out there will appreciate the nod to Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf.” They’re right, and if nothing else, it gives those who’d encounter Grifter a sense of being among peers. Where many bands will deny outright listening and enjoying the kind of music they play, Grifter sound like fans of heavy rock, so that their ‘70s moves (think a less fuzzed Josiah, if we want to stay with British acts for comparison), such as including a second track somewhat off-kilter in approach from the rest of the album, feel genuine if also self-aware. The riffs and grooves throughout the album are their own, and the songs are stripped down in approach as to be near universal in their application. “Good Day for Bad News” sets a tone of memorable songwriting and proves no fluke in terms of the level of the rest of the material. It’s the kind of track that one listen will have imprinted on your consciousness and three will make the mark near permanent, affirming what “Hey Ron” from Heavy Ripples first asserted concerning Grifter’s ability to right a rock tune, and “Asshole Parade” makes subtle pushes toward stoner distortions in its “And I’m beautiful when I’m pissed off” break without ever going completely over to that side of the genre. It is the longest track on the album at 4:36 and puts that extra time into a closing instrumental break that’s nonetheless justified by its groove and the crisp layers of Stygall’s guitar.
That is one thing about Grifter that will probably surprise those who usually traverse the grounds of heavy rock: It sounds immaculate. Recorded and mixed between December 2010 and January 2011 by Rich Robinson at Big Red Recording, the guitar and bass are clear and separated, and Foz’s cymbals ring through excellently on “Strip Club” and elsewhere, but nothing sounds overdone or digitally lifeless. I’ve little doubt Grifter recorded onto a computer, but as an increasing number of engineers are proving able to do, Robinson gets a vibrant, warm feel from the band, so there’s a bit of the best from both worlds in the finished product of “Young Blood, Old Veins,” which closes Side A, and about which one doesn’t even initially notice the recording job for the hooky chorus riff. In that way, Grifter is like the machine you only see half the gears of; it only looks simple compared to the hard work that’s actually gone into it. As Stygall touts his lack of regrets on “Young Blood, Old Veins” or invokes a handclap revival in the verses of “Bucktooth Woman” (the centerpiece of the CD), all is secondary to the song, which is precisely as it should be for this kind of rock. Grifter’s tones are thick and satisfying on that level, but nothing outrageous in themselves, and Foz proves more than capable as Grifter progresses – adding swing to the final verse of “Bucktooth Woman” – but is never showy or overly complex in what he does. Again, they keep it simple, but the trio in no way revel in the kind of haphazardness of some heavy rockers. The performances are tight and the mix is well balanced.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
I think I’ve hyped this up enough by now, but if you’ve seen a couple mentions of this being posted here, it’s because British power trio Grifter, who already impressed with their The Simplicity of the Riff is Key EP and appearance on Ripple Music‘s Heavy Ripples four-way split release, are really beginning to come into their own. Their rock is straightforward and unpretentious, but also full of personality and classic groove.
Most importantly, where Grifter‘s past work has shown potential, the album Grifter (also released on Ripple Music) is starting to see that potential pay off. The band’s ability to create a memorable song is all over the record, and the later cut “Unwelcome Guest” shows that perfectly.
The label was kind enough to let me host the song for your streaming pleasure, and after teasing it for so long, I won’t delay it further. Please enjoy “Unwelcome Guest” from Grifter‘s Grifter:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
UK-based Grifter unleash their first full-length album under the Ripple Music banner later this summer. This self-titled 40-plus minute barrage of hard and heavy, gritty-biker blues rock owes as much to the classic sounds of AC/DC and Motörhead as it does the more modern soundings of Soundgarden and Clutch. After forming in 2003, this trio of ’70s-loving hard rockers have delivered heaping loads of heavy rock ‘n’ roll to music lovers across the British Isles, and now, they’re bringing their high-octane, Guinness-fueled sound to the rest of the world!
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Technically speaking, I still have Grifter‘s “Hey Ron” from the Ripple MusicHeavy Ripples compilation (review here) stuck in my head, since it’s not like it left at any point and then came back. It’s just been there the whole time. Man, that shit was catchy.
Well, look forward to more of that, because the heavy rockin’ British outfit have finished their new album and sent along an update confirming such. Dig it:
It’s been a while since our last update but there’s been plenty going on.
Our album is all done and dusted and ready for release through Ripple Music on Oct. 4. Pre-orders will be available from the label a month before and hopefully we’ll be selling copies ourselves as soon as we’re able… we’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime here is an exclusive preview of a track from the album called “Good Day for Bad News.” It’s free so have a listen:
07/09 – The White Swan, Aylesbury w/ XII Boar and Whoremoan
07/23 – Junction Underground, Plymouth w/ Kernuyk and Mad Hatter 2.0
08/27 – The Alma Inn, Bolton w/ Domes of Silence, Caravan of Whores and more TBC
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Congratulations to Ripple Music on their one-year anniversary. The label is home to the likes of Mighty High, Poobah and Stone Axe, and in celebration of their solar revolution (hopefully the first of many), they’ve made an exclusive digital compilation available for free download from their Bandcamp page. That’s cool enough, but the compilation also features new music from Iron Claw and Grifter, who’ll both have new albums out before the end of the year.
Here’s the news from the label, followed by the audio stream of the comp:
Now, as Ripple Music moves into its second year, founders John Rancik and ToddSeverin want to celebrate the enthusiasm of their music lovers with some anniversary specials. As a thank you to their fans and supporters who’ve allowed Ripple to strike out and bring independent music to the world, Ripple is releasing it’s first ever free digital compilation album.
Featuring every band that has made the first year of Ripple Music such a success, Ripple‘s anniversary album kicks off with Stone Axe, before heading down the Ripple highway of Poobah, JPT Scare Band, Fen, and more. And as a special bonus, The anniversary album features the world’s first sneak peeks at two new Ripple releases; Grifter‘s self-titled debut album, and the eagerly anticipated A Different Game, from underground legends, Scotland’s Iron Claw. But the free compilation album may be available for only a limited time, so get over there quickly to get yours!
But wait, there’s more. Over at the Ripple Store, everything is still 15% off until July 4, and every waverider who places an order will get their name placed into a drawing for a very special, last-one-of-a-kind surprise test pressing!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
This isn’t the first charity auction that Ripple Music founders John Rancik and Todd Severin have put together. In the past, they’ve auctioned off test pressings for Stone Axe and The JPT Scare Band for the BP oil spill and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disasters, and as the planet continues to show us just how badly it wants us off of it, Ripple Music is once again stepping forward to help out the tornado victims of Joplin, Missouri.
The PR wire has the details. Help out if you can:
Continuing with the company tradition of giving back to the community, Ripple Music will auction an extremely rare original test pressing of Heavy Ripples: Vol. 1, featuring Stone Axe, Sun Gods in Exile, Grifter and Mighty High, with proceeds going to benefit Joplin tornado victims. The auction will take place on eBay at the Ripple store, starting Tuesday, May 31, and run for seven days only.
Only five of these test pressings exist, and this is the only one made available to the public. You can jump into the auction, win a cool heavy rock collectible and benefit disaster relief at the Ripple Music Ebay Store.
Posted in Reviews on April 25th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hard to know where a split ends and a compilation begins, but in the case of Heavy Ripples Vol. 1 (Ripple Music), I’m inclined towards the former, if only because the release’s format makes you pay specific attention to each of the bands involved, rather than bludgeoning you with track after track from disparate acts. Everyone here is pretty like-minded, and there’s only four of them, so it’s not too much to handle, and the double-7” release ensures that you’re going to be really working to listen – the longest side is just about seven minutes – so Heavy Ripples isn’t something you can put on and forget about. Not that you’d want to with the likes of Stone Axe, Sun Gods in Exile, Grifter and Mighty High around anyway, but at just under 20 minutes total runtime, Heavy Ripples is an efficiently drawn beeline to the rock. Each of the bands contributes something unique to the whole, and for something you could feasibly listen to three times in an hour, Ripple’s latest split packs more memorable songs than most full-length albums. Like I say, efficient.
Stone Axe open with “Nightwolf.” The track finds the Port Orchard, Washington, revivalists in their core duo form of vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer T. Dallas Reed, but as usual with them, nothing in personality is lost for the lack of personnel. Brinkerhoff has enough swagger in his delivery for three bands, and I can’t think of any more appropriate way to kickoff Heavy Ripples than a non-ironic song with “night” in the title. If you know Stone Axe, you know what they’re about, and “Nightwolf” is right in line both in terms of style and quality with the bulk of their work. And excellently complemented on side B by Maine upstarts Sun Gods in Exile, whose “Over My Broken Bones” is set to appear (re-recorded) on their second Small Stone full-length later this year. Sun Gods in Exile’s Black Light White Lines was a solo-enthusiast’s wet dream, and “Over My Broken Bones” follows suit, but as was the case with that record, the guitar histrionics is backed by solid songwriting and isn’t showy just for showiness’ sake. Two strong modern classic rockers with a little over nine minutes between them, kicking out righteous jams that, even had Ripple chosen to release this as a one-disc affair, would still be worth investigating.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
UK champions of the uncomplicated Grifter have announced their Catacomb Records EP, The Simplicity of the Riff is Key is now available for download-type purchasing. They’ll also be included on a split with some killer acts courtesy of Ripple Music. I’d say more, but don’t want to spoil it. Here’s the news from the band:
We don’t have much going on gig wise at the moment, though with some exciting developments hopefully that will be changing soon. We are happy to announce though that we will be hitting the studio in October to record our debut full-length album at long last. We will also be recording a track for inclusion on a proposed split vinyl release being put together by the awesome Ripple Music label in America that will also be featuring Stone Axe, Sun Gods in Exile and Mighty High. Exciting times indeed!!!
We have also made our latest EP on CatacombRecords, The Simplicity of the Riff is Key available to buy digitally on Bandcamp so for those of you that prefer bitrates to shiny pieces of plastic now’s your chance to grab a high-quality download copy at a special low price.
The Elephantine demo and the High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ EP on Fury 76 are also available to download for free (or a small donation to the recording fund).
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’re a fan of that which doesn’t cost money to obtain, then British riff rockers Grifter have good news for you in the form of their High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ EP, which is now available for free listening on Bandcamp. Vocalist/guitarist Ollie Stygall checks in with the following update:
First and foremost we’ll be hitting London again on Saturday June 19th for a night of rock and roll noise at The Unicorn, 227 Camden Road in the very able company of Sons of Merrick and AlternativeCarpark. Entry is completely free so hopefully we’ll see a few people down there for a pint and some random shouting!!!
Secondly we’ve decided to stick out first EP, High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ up on Bandcamp as we’ve run out of copies ourselves. Please feel free to download it. The cheapskates can have it for free but if you feel generous you have the option to make a donation.
In the future we may well put the original Elephantine demo up there as well as that’s also long out of print.
In the meantime, we’ve been writing some new stuff and pretty much have all the tracks ready to go in and record our debut album. We’re just waiting for the nod from the studio for dates then once it’s complete we’ll be hassling unsuspecting labels for a release. More news as we have it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
UK rockers Grifter, who practice what they preach on their new EP, The Simplicity of the Riff is Key, are getting set to head out with Sun Gods in Exile on a short tour. In addition, the aforementioned EP is also at the presses, and there’s going to be a limited Grifter/Sun Gods in Exile split for the shows. Here’s an update from the band with more details:
The new EP on Catacomb Records entitled The Simplicity of the Riff is Key is going to pressing, the artwork is all complete and there is a tentative release date of the first week in April. Obviously we’ll be letting the world know as soon as it’s available so you can rush to buy copies!!!!
To coincide with the EP’s release we’ll be going on tour in the first week in April with Sun Gods in Exile from Boston [actually Maine – ed.] on their first visit to the UK. Their debut album on Small Stone Records, Bright Light White Lines has been getting awesome reviews pretty much everywhere so this tour is certain to kick some ass!!! There are plans to put out a split EP with Sun Gods featuring a couple of unreleased tunes by each band. This will be strictly limited edition and low key for the tour.
Catch both bands at: Truro – Bar 200 (Live Bar) Monday April 5th
TBC Tuesday April 6th (hopefully Bristol) Birmingham – The Old Wharf Digbeth Wednesday April 7th – support from Alunah Sheffield – The Cremorne Thursday April 8th – support from Alunah Leicester – Retribution Friday April 9th – support from Alunah London – Loud Howls Festival at The Gaff, Holloway Road alongside End of Level Boss, The Freezing Fog, Suns of Thunder, Domes of Silence, Alunah, Stubb, Bodukwe and Obiat – DJ set from Orange Goblin
Plans are also afoot for our first trip to Europe as we’re looking at a couple of gigs in northern France…more news as we have it.