Mr. Plow Premiere “Shaolin Cowboy” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mr plow photo grooverock photography

You know who really likes Mr. Plow? Me, that’s who. And I’ll give you an example of why. The Texas-based heavy rockers have a new video for the song “Shaolin Cowboy,” which is taken from their 2018 album, Maintain Radio Silence (review here), and if you put it in, the charm is immediate. Dudes are sitting around a table, playing Dungeons and Dragons — as one does — and there’s a moment right after guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Stone‘s badass hippie mom offers fresh-baked cinnamon rolls to the assembled group where she says she’ll be in her bedroom watching her stories.

It’s 33 seconds into the clip, and pay attention to the left side of the screen, as the archquester in the red polo shirt — bassist Greg Green — is drinking presumably not-mead from a stein and just as the scene cuts away, he looks at the camera and is so clearly about to burst out laughing that he’s only saved by clever editing. That’s the whole thing, right there. Don’t get me wrong, the song is right on and the video that follows is clever and funny and does exactly what it means to do, but that single moment shows exactly where Mr. Plow are coming from. There’s never been any pretense in their work, or any kind of snobbish microgenre posturing. These are dudes having fun playing heavy rock and roll with songs about stuff they think is cool. That’s it. They’re a rock band.

One has to imagine there were multiple outtakes of “Shaolin Cowboy” — the comic the song is named after also makes an appearance early — especially as Metal Merlin shows up and transforms said cinnamon-roll-mom into Doomstress‘ own Doomstress Alexis, and then the two of them setting about whipping the band into rock and roll shape like some kind of ’80s movie montage, culminating in the band playing a gig at Houston’s own Rudyard‘s with a packed room, a celebratory high-five shared between Merlin and Alexis, a record deal, and even — as though just to underscore that they got it all right in the end — guitarist/vocalist Justin Waggoner wearing a The Obelisk t-shirt, which I assure you I didn’t know about when I agreed to host the premiere of the video, but which I very much appreciate just the same.

Wait, video premiere?

Yeah, that’s why we’re here. What did you think this was about, fun and games?

And with the assurance that someone in Mr. Plow will get that reference, I’ll gladly leave you with the clip for “Shaolin Cowboy,” laced with charm and easter eggs, a Lemmy tramp stamp on drummer Cory Cousins, and much more waiting to be beheld.

So behold:

Mr. Plow, “Shaolin Cowboy” official video premiere

Mr. Plow formed in 1997 when Kyuss and Fu Manchu were blowing out speakers in car systems across the land. When the term “stonerrock” was joining the lexicon for music writers who needed a category for riff-based rock that was tuned down and turned up. The band were influenced heavily by the times, but sought a different direction lyrically–instead of dark and evil, they went for pop-culture references and hooky riffs. Mr. Plow was way less about skulls and satanic imagery, and way more about good times that would be the soundtrack for summer trips to the beach or skatepark.

Mr. Plow is:
Justin Waggoner: guitar/vocals
Jeremy Stone: guitar/vocals
Greg Green: bass
Cory Cousins: drums

Mr. Plow website

Mr. Plow on Thee Facebooks

Mr. Plow on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Doomstress Premiere “Burning Lotus” from Sleep Among the Dead out May 10

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doomstress (Photo by thepassionoftherice)

Texas four-piece Doomstress make their full-length debut with Sleep Among the Dead on May 10 through DHU Records (LP) and Ripple Music (CD), and if it feels like it’s been an extra-long wait for the album’s arrival, that’s probably a result of all the touring the band has done since getting together in 2016. To the best of my recollection they haven’t gone out for two months at a time or anything like that, but there’s been a steady chipping away at various Stateside regions that’s kept momentum well on their side as they’ve issued engaging-if-frustratingly-not-an-LP releases like 2017’s The Second Rite (discussed here) and 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (discussed here) EPs, and along with slots at fests like Descendants of Crom and Maryland Doom FestSXSW and others, they’ve done a lot of the kind of preliminary work that would go into supporting a record before even having the record to support. Sleep Among the Dead, obviously, flips that scenario, and arrives not late but right on time with seven tracks and 41 minutes of right on Lone Star doom rock that shows the band’s foundations in acts like Well of Souls and Project Armageddon in its early riffing on “Bitter Plea” or “Burning Lotus” and uses that uptempo initial thrust to launch a more varied exploration of mood and impact. As their lineup has solidified with bassist/vocalist Doomstress Alexis, guitarists Brandon Johnson and Matt Taylor, and drummer Tomasz Scull (Sparrowmilk, ex-Venomin James), the band has clearly grown more confident in their approach, as can be heard in the tempo drawback of “Dreaming Spider,” which follows the opening one-two punch and begins to introduce the breadth of the album’s full scope.

So be it. Band has worked. Band has album. Great. When it comes to what distinguishes Doomstress from the multitudes who also might fit that generalized description, one doesn’t have to look far. The guitar work on “Bitter Plea” and even more on “Burning Lotus” might take a listen or two to sink in, but ultimately serves as the heart of Sleep Among the Dead, and in kind with Alexis‘ voice — itself more assured and melodic than it’s yet been on a recording and a vital instrument doomstress sleep among the deadput to welcome use here — the guitars drive the songs forward. That’s not to take away from Scull‘s drumming or Alexis‘ bass work, obviously, but there’s a willingness to engage with heavy metal in the melodic sensibility that is purely Texan throughout, and it’s introduced early, but manifests even in the later leads of centerpiece “Your God is Blind” and the righteously grandiose hook of “Bones and Rust,” even as the title line is delivered at the end in harmonized layers that should be taken by the band as a blueprint for future intent — I don’t usually say shit like that, but it works really well and is not an idea to be left alone. This amalgam of doom, heavy rock and metal isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it’s more than enough to give Sleep Among the Dead an identity of its own and leave the lasting impression of being what the EPs and steady touring were building toward — the album itself something of a payoff, never mind the chugging apex in the 7:53 penultimate cut “Apathetic Existence,” with a Sabbath-via-C.O.C. swing brought to bear after a doomly opening worthy of reminder that Doomstress‘ home state once produced Solitude Aeturnus.

As “Bitter Plea” and “Burning Lotus” set Sleep Among the Dead forth with uptempo thrust and a fervent rocking vibe, “Apathetic Existence” and the subsequent closing title-track bring the record down, way down, to its darker finish. There’s still plenty of guitar theatrics, and the chug in both songs ties them together effectively, but Doomstress leave little question about their intent that the record should push further into the ground as it goes, perhaps living up to its title in its realization through the listening process. That atmosphere is a further example of the real takeaway from Sleep Among the Dead as a whole, which is that Doomstress are not screwing around. Their level of craft, in terms of construction of this material and its execution, is well beyond the “first record” expectation of a band getting their feet wet or figuring out their sound. Doomstress are past that, and they took the hard way around, honing their approach on tour. That’s admirable, but the record would still need to stand up on its own, and so it’s doubly fortunate that Sleep Among the Dead does precisely that, answering the anticipation of its landing with a collection that’s dramatic without pretense, showy without indulgence and that despite the simmering performances throughout, still puts the songs first. Will Doomstress go on to outclass it? Maybe. They’ll have their work cut out for them in that regard, but that hasn’t stopped them yet. What’s more important for the time being is that Doomstress set themselves up for a big moment of arrival with their full-length debut, and Sleep Among the Dead lives up to that and then some.

My pleasure today to host the premiere of “Burning Lotus.” Please dig in on the player below.

And enjoy:

Doomstress Alexis on “Burning Lotus”:

“This was a rad one to work out in the studio, Tomasz really crushed it with that drum pattern and how it builds into the verse when the vocals kick in! It’s just a ripper of a track and top it all off with killer solos by Matt and special guest solo by Kent Stump of Wo Fat.”

Order Link: https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-among-the-dead

Order Link: https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/product/doomstress-sleep-among-the-dead

Doomstress is:
Doomstress Alexis – Bass/Vocals
Brandon Johnson – Guitar
Matt Taylor – Guitar
Tomasz Scull – Drums

Doomstress website

Doomstress on Bandcamp

Doomstress webstore

Doomstress on Thee Facebooks

Doomstress on Instagram

DHU Records webstore

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Doomstress to Release Sleep Among the Dead LP April 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Fair enough to call Doomstress‘ debut album awaited since their second EP, The Second Rite (discussed here) came out in 2017 and they were already touring hard at that point. They stopped at some point last year long enough to record Sleep Among the Dead, however, and DHU Records and Ripple Music will have it out on vinyl and CD this Spring, respectively. Preorders for the LPs start on March 29, which is astonishingly not that long from now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a song or two surfaced before the album itself shows up a month later. The art comes courtesy of Goatess Doomwych, and the tracklisting has been unveiled as well — you’ll note “Bitter Plea” included from the 2017 EP — and it seems like only a matter of time before the four-piece get back out on the road to support it, so stay tuned.

Info from the PR wire:

doomstress sleep among the dead

Doomstress to release debut full length album “Sleep Among the Dead” April 30th Walpurgisnacht

After releasing a 7″ in 2016 and a Split with Cleveland’s Sparrowmilk on DHU Records in 2017, the time has come for Doomstress to release their full length debut album titled “Sleep Among the Dead” on Limited Edition vinyl through DHU Records and on CD through Ripple Music respectively in this, The New Year of Heavy MMXIX.

“Sleep Among the Dead” was recorded amid the hectic and tense live touring schedule in 2018, and that intensity and raw energy you will hear and feel as you press play on this bad mother.

Musically and lyrically drawing from many wells of the dark side of life, personal experiences and the ever present doomed real world events, making this a deep seated Heavy Metal Doom monster from start to finish, mark my words!

Artwork for “Sleep Among the Dead” is done by the ever great Goatess Doomwych who also did the artwork for the Split with Sparrowmilk, side Doomstress, and it is a powerful piece.

Pre orders for the Doomstress – “Sleep Among the Dead” Limited Edition vinyl will go live Friday March 29th at 7PM CET

Official release date April 30th Walpurgisnacht

Available in following Editions:

-Burning Lotus Edition
(DHU Exclusive)
Limited to 90 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Flooded in black
Black polylined innersleeves
Double sided full color inlay
Artwork by Goatess Doomwych
Hand numbered DHU Exclusive card
Comes on Green/White Cornetto effect w/ Purple and Black Splatter 12″ vinyl

-Bones & Rust Edition
Limited to 150 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Flooded in black
Black polylined innersleeves
Double sided full color inlay
Artwork by Goatess Doomwych
Comes on Oxblood w/ Silver Splatter 12″ vinyl

-Test Press
Limited to 10 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Alternate artwork by Goatess Doomwych
White polylined innersleeves
Hand numbered
Hand stamped
Deluxe PVC sleeve
Black 12″ vinyl

Doomstress – Sleep Among the Dead (DHU032)

Side A
A1. Bitter Plea
A2. Burning Lotus
A3. Dreaming Spider
A4. Your God is Blind

Side B
B1. Bones and Rust
B2. Apathetic Existence
B3. Sleep Among the Dead

Doomstress is:
Doomstress Alexis – Bass/Vocals
Brandon Johnson – Guitar
Matt Taylor – Guitar
Tomasz Scull – Drums

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Doomstress Touring to Descendants of Crom, Doomed & Stoned and Heavy Mash Fests

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Science tells us that if you’ve got three festival appearances in the span of about two weeks, you should probably just make a tour of it. Accordingly, Texas heavybringers Doomstress are setting out on Sept. 25 for a round of shows that will take them to Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh, Doomed and Stoned in Indianapolis and Heavy Mash in their home state. They’ll start out in Connecticut on the run and head into the Midwest for gigs in Michigan and Wisconsin and Missouri en route to finishing Oct. 13 in Arlington. Having had the chance earlier this year to see them at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), I’ll confirm they put on a killer set, though to be honest with the amount of touring they’ve put in at this point for a band who don’t yet have a full-length out, they damn well better.

And speaking of — Hey Doomstress, how ’bout a record, one of these days?

Maybe we’ll get there in 2019. Until then, there are fests to hit:

doomstress tour dates

Doomstress fall tour run will see the band playing 3 fests as well as dates w/Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Come to Grief & Sierra. The band continues to expand their tour reach and will play their 1st shows in the upper northeast.

Doomstress is also officially announcing the inclusion of touring guitarist Matt Taylor as a full member of the band on this tour and the trio will be joined by Spike the Percussionist (of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom) handling drum duties for this tour.

9/25 New London, CT @ 33 Golden St.
9/27 Scranton, PA w/ Come to Grief & Curse the Son
9/28 Pittsburgh, PA @ Descendants of Crom Fest
9/29 Detroit, MI @ w/Sierra & Lucid Furs
9/30 Grand Rapids, MI @ w/Sierra
10/2 Milwaukee, WS @ Cactus Club
10/4 St. Louis, MO @ The Sinkhole
10/5 Indianapolis, IN @ Doomed & Stoned Fest 3
10/10 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall w/Windhand & Satan’s Satyrs
10/13 Arlington, TX @ Division Brewing – Heavy Mash Fest

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Review & Full Album Stream: Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mr plow maintain radio silence

[Click play above to stream Mr. Plow’s Maintain Radio Silence in its entirety. It’s out Aug. 10 on Ripple Music.]

Can you ever really know what to expect from a band after a 12-year absence? Sure, Houston’s Mr. Plow played sporadic local shows every now and again in between, but their last album, the self-released Kurt Vonnegut tribute Asteroid 25399 (discussed here), came out in 2006. I don’t know that they were ever broken up in the sense of making a public statement to that effect, but guitarist/vocalist Justin Waggoner went on to form Sanctus Bellum a few years back and it seemed like Mr. Plow, who had issued their first two albums — Head On and Cock Fights and Pony Racin’ — in 2000 and 2003, respectively, were yet another casualty of the pre-social media age of heavy rock.

In May 2017, the band announced a return with Cory Cousins of Sanctus Bellum (also Blues Funeral) taking over on drums, Waggoner, and original bassist Greg Green and guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Stone. They subsequently signed to Ripple Music and one has been looking forward to their fourth record, Maintain Radio Silence, ever since. And they’ve obviously been eager as well. Cousins doesn’t even give a full four-count on his hi-hat before opener “Sigil” kicks in. He only gets to two. But 12 years is not a short amount of time.

I’ll cop to being a Mr. Plow fan gladly, but even so, there were a few things it seemed fair to anticipate on Maintain Radio Silence. Straightforward songwriting has always been an asset for the band, and they’ve always had a full, natural sound on their records. The latest is no exception. With eight tracks and 40 minutes, Mr. Plow hit the standard easily — there were more songs recorded than wound up on the final LP; “Paxton,” “Southbound,” “Spark Arrester” and “Million Bucks” were on an earlier version that temporarily made its way out on Bandcamp — and aren’t through the aforementioned leadoff before they’ve dropped their first signature-style hook with Waggoner‘s gravely vocal up front as backed by Stone.

Their fuzz carries a familiar grit and their tracks overall, while (at least mostly) not based on the same kind lighthearted of references as, say, “Festivus” or “The Dude” from the second record, or working around the kind of central theme they did on Asteroid 25399, flow smoothly together and Cousins brings a touch of metal with him that can be heard in the cymbal work on “Samizdat” and the hard-hitting snare of the penultimate “Hammer Smashed Face,” which, no, is not a Cannibal Corpse cover. Between those and the wash of noise in third cut “Matchstick” and the airy lead and sense of space brought to the title-track, Maintain Radio Silence not only brings a mature incarnation of Mr. Plow‘s sound — something they had over a decade ago — but a bit of an edge.

It’s absolutely true some of that might be my reading into the context of Waggoner and Cousins‘ work in Sanctus Bellum, which was more aggressive on the whole, but in listening to the screaming at the end of “Sigil,” or even the deeper-in-mix shouts toward the end of “Matchstick,” there would seem to be a chip on the band’s collective shoulder. To coincide with this is the (presumed) side A closer, “Shaolin Cowboy,” which may or may not be based on the comic of the same name. It’s the shortest inclusion on the album at 3:49 — side B’s finale, “Memento,” is likewise brief at 3:56; “Matchstick” is the longest at 6:39 — and a dead-ahead uptempo rocker that seems to nod at Helmet in some of its start-stop riffing, but is nonetheless a rousing and catchy heavy rocker in line with some of Mr. Plow‘s older work.

mr plow

Accordingly, it fits well between “Matchstick” and the subsequent “Johnny Gentle,” with a half-time drum progression under a duly large-sounding riff and a title presumably nodding to the Infinite Jest character rather than the one-time Liverpool singer who toured with what would become The Beatles. “Johnny Gentle” has a slower, doomier roll to its rhythm and is more patient especially than “Shaolin Cowboy” before it, and that helps set up the title-track as well, which starts off gradually with guitars spacing out over solid bass and drum movements before easing its way into a fuzzy groove and the initial chorus.

Maintain Radio Silence, with its mix of elements new and old, is well summarized by the song that shares its name, which has some more aggressive push but an overarching sense of restraint and keeps composition first. One might expect “Hammer Smashed Face” to operate in the opposite manner, but it stays consistent. More upbeat than either of the two before, it acts as a bridge to “Memento” at the end and offers a dead-on hook that’s ultimately one of many throughout the record but a standout all the same. Hard not to get the line “My fellow man’s an asshole” stuck in your head.

And whether or not it’s intended to callback to the 2000 film of the same name, “Memento” caps the album with another straight-ahead heavy rocking groove that also works in some of the earlier aggro tendencies in Waggoner‘s vocals atop a winding lead line and weighted low end from Green. It might be as heavy as they get on Maintain Radio Silence, but I’d have to put it on a scale next to “Johnny Gentle” to be sure, and, well, that’s just silly. What matters more is that as “Memento” rounds out with a vigilant final push, Mr. Plow make their return plain to hear and show with no question they had more to say when they seemed to fade out those many years ago.

At the same time, one of the most crucial elements at work across Maintain Radio Silence that the band maintained from their original run is an utter lack of pretense. I don’t think Mr. Plow reunited in order to go on tour and play 150 or 200 shows a year. I don’t think they got back because someone offered them a ton of money to play a fest or something like that. I think it had been a while and they enjoy creating and playing music together. I don’t know what the future holds for Mr. Plow and with 12 years between their third and fourth outings, I won’t dare to predict when/if a fifth might arrive, but if anything could be carried over from their past, it’s clearly their passion for what they do, and with that as their motivating force, there’s no telling what might be next.

Mr. Plow website

Mr. Plow on Thee Facebooks

Mr. Plow on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Jody Seabody & The Whirls Premiere “Grenade Green” from Hawksamillion

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Jody Seabody and the whirls

Houston heavy thrashers Jody Seabody and the Whirls will release their third album, Hawksamillion, on Aug. 24 through Artificial Head Records. The first thing you should know is there’s no Jody Seabody. I mean, I’m sure there is somewhere, but not in this band. And I’m not sure what a Whirl is as applies to human beings, so I suppose there could be one or two among the lineup of Bryce Perkins, Dave Merriett, Clint Rater and Stuart Cooper, but there’s little on the record to indicate either way. What there is, however, is an eight-song/32-minute mostly-barrage of bruiser hardcore punk ripped through with classic thrash intensity. Remember when you couldn’t decide whether Suicidal Tendencies were punk or metal? It’s kind of like that, only way rawer in the production.

The effect that has, naturally, is to play up the punker edge along with the youngest-Metallica lights-hitting of the opening salvo in “Ultra Defiant,” the gang-shout-laden “Malignant Terror” and “Terror TV,” Jody Seabody and the whirls Hawksamillionwhich starts off with a sample and tears into a visceral riff topped with harsh shouts. That’s the course of a lot of Hawksamillion, but what that doesn’t necessarily convey is the fluidity with which Jody Seabody and the Whirls play various genre elements off each other. The frenetic energy and Slayer-inspired howl at the end of “All Gone White,” or the anti-genre turns the album makes in its second half, with the semi-ballad “Making Demons” and the tempo-shifting “Grenade Green” finding a balance between heavy rock and hard punk, working in more Slayer references in in both the riff that emerges just past the halfway point and the screams that accompany before the track turns to a slower march backed by organ and rambling guitar, shades of Texan twang arriving to make the band just a little bit harder to pin down even than the meld of “Malignant Terror” did on its own.

All the better for it, because even as the penultimate “Nightmares” kicks in and returns to ground heading into the even-more intense closer, the context has shifted such that one knows less what to expect from the band in general. And that departure in “Making Demons” and “Grenade Green” — the latter of which does well in bridging the gap between their core modus and the weirdo excursion — not only adds nuance to the proceedings overall here but brings Jody Seabody and the Whirls to a different level of execution overall while remaining consistent in the production. While so much of it hits like a blast following the Cro Mags cronk riff that launches the record in “Ultra Defiant,” the simple truth of Hawksamillion is that the truth of it isn’t so simple. And similar to, say, naming themselves after someone not in the band, they revel in the shenanigans and are all the more righteous in crossing genre lines for that.

They’re on tour starting Aug. 17 in their hometown, and you’ll find the dates for that run under the player below, on which you can hear the premiere of “Grenade Green.”

Please enjoy:

Jody Seabody and The Whirls has long been as difficult to define as its mysterious moniker — of which there is no Jody Seabody nor a group of Whirls among them. However, the Houston quartet’s forthcoming third album Hawksamillion seems an effort, at least, for the band to define itself.

Whereas the band’s 2015 sophomore album Holographic Slammer dabbled in psychedelia, garage-prog, proto-punk and neo-grunge with manic bouts of aggression, their new album is pure, refined bile and vitriol. The band had hinted at the sound to come on the last 3 tracks of their previous album, but even those hadn’t hit the extent of urgent fury evidenced throughout the 8 incendiary songs of Hawksamillion. With cover art by legendary Dead Kennedys/Alternative Tentacles collage artist Winston Smith, a sharp 180-degree turn from the work of Dutch ‘60s psychedelic artist Marijke (Cream, Apple Records, Procol Harum, The Hollies) even the album art is like a line drawn in the sand.

Just like the Bad Brains going from jazz-funk to inventing hardcore punk and onward, JS&TW have the musical chops to pull off any sound that takes their interest. Album opener “Ultra Defiant” starts off like a doom-inflected version of the aforementioned legends before jostling into a breakneck metalpunk storm with an ever-morphing riff and throat-searing vocals. “Malignant Terror” bursts out incisively decimating everyone in under 2 minutes, with the last 40 seconds dedicated to an instrumental jam. “Terror TV” shows the band’s melodic and acrobatic skills with blistering guitar work and multiple vocalists overlapping one another. Elsewhere, “Grenade Green” is the album centerpiece at nearly 7 minutes long, flitting between old fashioned punk rock and Kill ‘Em All-era thrash that may embody the fury of Hawksamillion best. Throughout, the level of intensity and anger is relentless, but not at the expense of the music.

Somewhere over the past two years, the people and society that the band members loved and trusted have betrayed them. This album is a response to that betrayal of the promise of a better life and the “good times” of rock and roll. These are ugly, bitter days, and these guys are watching, like a hawk.

Hawksamillion will be available on LP and download on August 24th, 2018 via Artificial Head Records.

JODY SEABODY & THE WHIRLS LIVE:
08/17 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
08/18 Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
08/19 Tulsa, OK @ The Soundpony
08/20 Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s
08/21 Topeka, KS @ Boobie Trap Bar
08/22 Lincoln, NE @ 1867 Bar
08/23 Lawrence, KS @ Gaslight Gardens
08/24 Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
08/25 Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine’s Live
08/27 Denton, TX @ Killer’s Tacos
08/29 San Marcos, TX @ Valentino’s
08/30 Austin, TX @ Dozen Street
08/31 San Antonio, TX @ Bexar Pub
09/01 Bryan, TX @ Revolution

Jody Seabody & The Whirls on Thee Facebooks

Jody Seabody & The Whirls on Bandcamp

Artificial Head Records on Bandcamp

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Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning: Blues for the Daredevils

Posted in Reviews on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

funeral horse psalms for the mourning

Any given song, any given part, any given measure, Funeral Horse can and will go wherever they please. Somehow, that’s what makes them work. Where so many bands would claim themselves as experimentalists and drown themselves and their audience in self-indulgence, somehow, Funeral Horse instead manage a genre-spanning balance of songwriting that nonetheless retains a sense of the truly weird. Psalms for the Mourning is the underrated Texans’ fourth album on Artificial Head Records behind 2015’s Divinity for the Wicked (review here), 2014’s Sinister Rites of the Master (review here) and 2013’s Savage Audio Demon (review here), and in addition to marking the first appearance of bassist Clint Rater alongside guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer and drummer Chris Bassett, it’s also by far the longest stretch they’ve had between outings.

Three years is a pretty standard stretch for bands on an 18-month touring cycle, but Funeral Horse have never hit the road to such a degree (though they did come east that one time to play The Obelisk All-Dayer in Brooklyn in 2016), but the truth is I think the material on the eight-track/39-minute LP benefits from that extra time. I don’t know how many songs Funeral Horse might’ve written over the course of that time, or how many they ultimately decided to put to tape — that is, whether this is everything produced since Divinity for the Wicked or not; I’d speculate not — but to listen to tracks like the punkier opener “Better Half of Nothing,” the woeful blues that follows in “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” (video premiere here), and even the uptempo keyboard-laced pop bounce that shows up in the second half of “Divinity for the Wicked” that seems to cite its own precedent in later Ozzy-era Sabbath, Psalms for the Mourning would seem to be the band’s most cohesive outing yet.

Their style, as ever, is based in no small part on toying with sundry influences between doom, punk, heavy rock, blues, country and anything else that might come their way, but in the blown out “California here I come” hook line of the penultimate “Burial of the Sun,” and in the barroom-jam-into-cacophony of the eight-minute “Emperor of all Maladies,” there’s a greater sense of maturity and purpose underlying. That’s not to say that Funeral Horse — who thrash away on “Sacrifice of a Thousand Ships” only after the bit of finger and piano in the side A-closing interlude “1965” — have been at any point lacking purpose, but even in the production of Psalms for the Mourning, their adaptability is being steered by hands not only capable as they’ve always been, but more confident and assured of the moves they’re making.

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It’s right there in the sound of the record itself as well as in the subtle way both “Better Half of Nothing” and “Sacrifice of a Thousand Ships” give their respective halves of the album a speedy opening, or how sub-three-minute closer “Evel Knievel Blues” takes a sudden turn into watery-vocal country like some long-lost Ween cut. What has made Funeral Horse‘s work so hard to pin down over the last five years is their seeming tendency to not have a core sound, instead just to jump from one vibe to another in willfully jarring shifts over the course of their outings. Fair enough, but the truth of the matter is that is their core sound, and Psalms for the Mourning proves that most plainly in ways Divinity for the Wicked seemed to hint at. It’s not about expanding from a root so much as leaping branch to branch with a genuine feeling of revelry in doing so.

Granted, much of Psalms for the Mourning is pretty downtrodden, regardless of tempo. “Better Half of Nothing” and “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” paint a pretty dark thematic picture at the outset, and “Emperor of all Maladies” touches on raw doom rock before the already-noted jam brings it to its feedbacking finish, and after “1965,” the aggro thrust of “Sacrifice of a Thousand Ships” and nodding initial blues of “Divinity for the Wicked” before its odd and resonant finish sets a foundation for the speedy, shuffling escapism of “Burial Under the Sun,” a highlight for its channel-spanning solo late and in-spite-of-itself catchiness, capping with a minimalist piano line before the twang of “Evel Knievel Blues” provides an epilogue of fuckaroundery that reminds the listener everything in life is ridiculous anyway. That ending, given a lot of the bum-out before it, fast or slow, almost has a nihilist twinge to it, but in the context of Funeral Horse‘s work overall, it somehow makes sense.

Come to think of it, that might be what’s at their core. That somehow, all of it makes sense. Even when it doesn’t, that not making sense makes sense. I’m not sure I’d have said the same thing about their debut — in fact, looking back, I didn’t — but one of the aspects of Psalms for the Mourning that shows how far Funeral Horse have come as a band despite personnel changes is the sheer unwillingness to not be itself. While there are still verses and choruses throughout, and “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” might be their greatest achievement in terms of craft to-date, what most works about the album is its ability to carry across an overarching flow while staying so outwardly disjointed. It’s simply not something a newer band could pull off, let alone to the degree Funeral Horse do here, but they’ve been a beast unto themselves since their start, and as they continue to grow and push themselves forward it should be little surprise to anyone who’s heard them that they’d stay that way.

Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning (2018)

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Funeral Horse Premiere Video for “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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I’m hoping at some point to review it, so I won’t go that deep into Funeral Horse‘s fourth full-length, Psalms for the Mourning, except to note that it’s a considerable step forward from its predecessor, 2015’s Divinity for the Wicked (review here), which is odd if you think about it because that album’s title-track — that is, “Divinity for the Wicked” itself — actually appears on the new record. But then, “odd” is kind of what Funeral Horse does and has done all along, starting on 2013’s Savage Audio Demon (review here) and the next year’s follow-up, Sinister Rites of the Master (review here). They’ve only gotten better at it, however, and it seems that a three-year break between releases where they’d been on a one-per-year pace before has resulted in a more cohesive approach overall.

Make no mistake, they’ll still dig into grown-up-punker-style stoner riffing on songs like the rolling “Emperor of all Maladies” or the grunge-vibing opener “Better Half of Nothing,” but with “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” dug into a woeful, been-done-wrong heavy blues, “Sacrifice of a Thousand Ships” bursting out with heads-down thrash immediately following the acoustic guitar funeral horse psalms for the mourninginterlude “1965” — because of course — “Burial Under the Sun” almost directly copping its central riff from Sabbath and closer “Evel Knievel Blues” warping handclap-laden countrified twang with vocal effects and a flash of fuzz near the end, Funeral Horse have never sounded freer to go where and do what they please than on Psalms for the Mourning. It’s a dangerous prospect, but sonic disconnect is clearly part of the intention, as demonstrated by the peaceful finish of “1965” leading to the manic fade-in of “Sacrifice of a Thousand Ships,” as well as by the jangling tambourine end of “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” giving way to the cough at the start of “Emperor of all Maladies.” They’re making a point to upset their own flow. It’s part of the fun.

This is the part where I tell you that no single song on Psalms for the Mourning necessarily represents the whole album, and yeah, that’s pretty much true. Guitarist/vocalist Walter “Paul Bearer” Carlos, drummer Chris Bassett and newcomer bassist Clint Rater — who no doubt has received a full-on Jason Newsted-style hazing by now — are all over the place on this one, but there’s a current of urgency, of disaffection and of weighted tone running beneath so much of the material that it somehow works together anyway. Again, I don’t want to go too deep into it because, well, I want to go too deep into it later, but for those who enjoy a bit of the bizarre with their rock, Funeral Horse strike a balance between memorable songs and weirdo vibes that by my estimation has only made them underrated for the last half-decade.

You can watch the premiere of the band’s new video for “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” below, followed by more info courtesy of the PR wire. Psalms for the Mourning is out June 15 via Artificial Head Records.

Dig it and enjoy:

Funeral Horse, “No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)” official video

Made up of front man/guitarist Paul Bearer, drummer Chris Bassett and new addition, Clint Rater on bass, Funeral Horse return to the fold this June with a brand-new studio album; their third in the canon for the Houston-based record label, Artificial Head Records.

Catching up on almost three years in the wilderness since the release of their 2015’s stoned-opus, Divinity For The Wicked, Psalms For The Mourning finds the industrious Texan trio revamping the thunderous doom-pop and hard rock that secured their cult status amidst the current crop of underground US rock. As an aural monument for the maligned, Divinity… made several inroads into the media with positive reviews, but here on Psalms For The Mourning, Funeral Horse serve up a true rock ‘n’ roll sermon for the masses. It’s an album that’s positively waiting to be picked up and played by those that have chosen their whole lives to turn on, tune in and drop out in pursuit of volume.

“We took more time writing and recording this material, taking in the turmoil from touring and personal conflicts and the loss of some good friends along the way,” explains front man Paul Bearer. “We’ve kept to the roots of who we are but the band’s tours in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Mexico last year was another big factor in the amount of care and time we took with the album. Those tours exposed us to some amazing bands and people who have helped to share in what the band is today.”

Psalms For The Mourning by Funeral Horse is released worldwide on 15th June via Artificial Head Records.

Live Dates:
16/6 – RECORD RELEASE SHOW: Spruce Goose Social Flyers Club – Houston, TX
17/6 – RECORD RELEASE SHOW: Antone’s Record Shop – Austin, TX
20/6 – 524 Studios – Baton Rouge, LA
21/6 – Hops and Habanas – Jackson, MS
22/6 – Old Nicks – Birmingham, AL
23/6 – Autograph Rehearsal Studio – Murfreesboro, TN
24/6 – Hot Springs Event Centre – Hot Springs, AR
7/7 – ARTIFICIAL HEAD RECORDS SHOWCASE: The Almighty Moontower Inn – Houston, TX

Line Up:
Paul Bearer – Vocals, Guitars
Chris Bassett – Drums
Clint Rater – Bass

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