Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
In 2015, ultra-respected Italian print ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum did a story in its 19th issue (review here) highlighting the prodigious and sometimes bizarre Houston noise rock scene. Around the same time, the label wing of the same publication hooked up with the Linus Pauling Quartet to release the early-2016 full-length, Ampalanche (review here), basically putting their money where their mouth is. Or at very least continuing to in a manner beyond the already considerable factor of running a print outlet in the 2010s.
Seems fair to look at Vincebus Eruptum Recordings picking up Houston’s Project Grimm (ex-The Mike Gunn) to issue their first album in well over a decade, The Crass Menagerie, as an extension of the same impulse. The record is set to arrive on Feb. 15, and feature eight tracks split up over two sides of a vinyl limited to just 300 copies, 100 red, 200 black, that, when you buy it direct from the label, come with a copy of Vincebus Eruptum No. 21.
Preorders are up now. Vincebus Eruptum Recordings posted the following info on the subject:
PROJECT GRIMM “The Crass Menagerie”
Issue date: 15th of February 2017
Limited edition vinyl (VELP016): 300 copies (100 copies on red vinyl + 200 copies on black vinyl)
Track-list: A1 – E. Pluribus Merman A2 – Solvent A3 – Cloud No Larger Than A Man’s Hand A4 – New Two B1 – Deliveryman’s Threat B2 – Cartographer B3 – Grifters B4 – A German Beach
The first album by the Houston cult band after 15 years!!! From the ashes of THE MIKE GUNN to that heavy-psych unique sound! The trio is composed by John Cramer (ex Mike Gunn) on guitar and vocals, Drew Calhoun on bass and Ricky Costello on drums.
THAT VINYL WILL BE SHIPPED TOGETHER WITH A FREE COPY OF VINCEBUS ERUPTUM MAGAZINE N.21
The cost contains the fee to subscribe and/or the donation to the Associazione Culturale VINCEBUS ERUPTUM
With their new video, Houston bizarro heavy rockers Funeral Horse are more or less saying goodbye to their 2015 album, Divinity for the Wicked (review here), but true to form, that’s hardly all they’re saying. The clip premiering below for “Underneath all that Ever Was” starts off with a Stranger Things reference, digs into a narrative about a downer bureaucrat — played by drummer Chris Bassett — working a suicide prevention hotline and not caring, cuts suddenly to guitarist/vocalist Walter “Paul Bearer” Carlos on his phone waiting to shoot for his solo, and then goes back to Bassett‘s character drinking at his desk, only to be visited by Death, who very cleverly high-fives him, ending his life, and leaving a slew of distraught people on the other end of the suicide hotline.
Got all that? If so, you’re one up on me. Fortunately, director Larry Czach — who also worked with the band on their video for “There will be Vultures” (posted here) — was on it, but suffice it to say it’s very much Funeral Horse‘s thing to be on their own wavelength, so they’re right at home in “Underneath all that Ever Was” in addition to being part of a longstanding tradition of weirdo Texan noisemakers. The three-piece have a few live dates in the Lone Star State this month at which they’ll introduce new bassist Clint Rater, and then it’s back to preparations for their next full-length, which will presumably be out sometime before the end of the year, likely on Artificial Head Records. I’d make a prediction as to when specifically, but I think both the song and video below bear out the futility of trying to predict anything when it comes to Funeral Horse.
A few words from Carlos and Bassett follow, as well as the tour dates.
Funeral Horse, “Underneath all that Ever Was” official video
Walter Carlos on making the video:
Working on this video was an intense experience in that it was more like a movie production. We purposely wanted to make something that had more of a cinematic quality to it rather than standard band footage. At one point, we did have some live shots of the band, but that got scrapped in production in favor of the guitar diva scene. We decided on the song “Underneath All That Ever Was“ because it’s not only one of our favorites to play live, it’s one of our darkest topics… which fit with the theme of the failed suicide prevention consultant from the video.
This marks the second collaboration between the band and Larry Czach –- who produced the video for “There Shall Be Vultures” –- also from the current record. Larry has a long history in the Houston music scene -– going back to 1970 when he ran lights for psychedelic rock bands that came to town.
Chris Bassett on making the video:
It was a blast working on this video! We got to work on a lot of ideas to help bring the story to life. Working with Larry was a breeze. He listened to our ideas but also had some neat tricks up his sleeve for capturing the essence of what the story was all about. I think it worked out quite well.
Funeral Horse January Texas Tour (with Shadow Giant from Louisiana) 01/25 Satellite Bar (Houston, TX) 01/26 Black Monk (Corpus Christi, TX) 01/27 TBA (McAllen, TX) 01/28 Faust (San Antonio, TX)
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Dallas octane rockers Speedealer played a few gigs in November that they highlighted as a ‘return’ for the band, but they seem to have been doing shows for a while before that as well. Their last studio release was 2003’s Bleed, so one way or another, it’s probably fair to call anything they do a return. One recalls (vaguely and through a Shiner Bock-filtered haze) seeing them at SXSW in the mid-’00s — was it the tiki bar joint on Red River with JJ Paradise Players Club? — and being fairly blown out of the room, though to be fair, that was kind of how it went in Austin at the time. I haven’t seen word of a new record or anything, but even if they’re doing 10 days out to test the waters, they gotta have a reason. These things don’t happen by mistake, you know.
The two bands joining them on the run, as it happens, are both heralding new albums. In the case of fellow Texas trio Mothership, it’s the forthcoming High Strangeness (info here), which is out March 17 on Ripple Music. Less is publicly known at this point about Against the Grain‘s next full-length, but the Detroit-based speed rockers have at least announced their intentions toward a 2017 release. There’s plenty of year ahead, so let’s get there first and then we’ll see what comes.
Run has been tagged as the “Southern Disruption Tour 2017.” Poster and dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:
Speedealer w/ Mothership & Against the Grain: Feb 9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade. Feb 10 – New Orleans, LA – The Siberia. Feb 11 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick. Feb 12 – Nashville, TN – The End. Feb 13 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone. Feb 14 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern (no speedealer). Feb 15 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note (no Speedealer). Feb 16 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder. Feb 17 – San Antonio, TX – Hi-Tones. Feb 18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links. Feb 19 – Houston, TX – FitZgeralds.
You might be able to search the earth and find a batch of heavy rock weirdos with as much charm as the Linus Pauling Quartet — because, hey, it’s a big planet — but I can safely guarantee you’re not going to have an easy time of it, and unless you’re ultra-stubborn and committed to the quest, it’s probably just going to be easier to hand the title over to the Houston five-piece and call it even. They made their label debut through Vincebus Eruptum Recordings early this year with Ampalanche (review here) and ran a gamut from flute-laden riffs to drones running more than three quarters of an hour, proving once again that while they’re definitely the kind of band who might line their press shot with empty bottles of Shiner Bock, they’re also just about limitless in their creativity.
And when it comes to the charm referenced above, that’s definitely a major factor as well. To wit, their new video that premieres today for “Brisket” tells the all-too-true (allegedly) story of LP4 guitarist/vocalist Charlie Naked who, hungover, missed a barbecue and went on a pilgrimage for the titular smoked meat. If you’re not simultaneously laughing and hungry by the time his journey takes him into the woods to meet the Meat Wizard — yup — gain his power and fulfill his beefy destiny while the band plays out a psychedelic break with tips on rubs and how long to smoke brisket, well, I simply have nothing for you. You’ll also note that Naked‘s beard length changes at several points throughout the clip. This is completely unexplained and unaddressed by the band. Once again: Charm.
They tell their own story below better than I could ever hope to, so I won’t delay any further except to say that if you haven’t yet checked out Ampalanche, I’ve added the full stream from Bandcamp to the bottom of this post — which I don’t usually do for something like a video premiere since obviously if there’s any single piece of media I want you to pay attention to, it’s the one being premiered — because that’s how worth your time I think it is.
Info and audio follow the video. Enjoy:
The Linus Pauling Quartet, “Brisket” official video
Do you smell that, friends? The scent of smoke rising from the mesquite fired hecatombs across the state of Texas as it rises to the pleasure of the Gods and Goddesses of Barbecue. This ritual sacrifice of cattle that is carefully overseen by the Meat Wizards across the state as they imbibe in an elixir of barley and hops is a sacred rite among Texians.
We here at the LP4 are no strangers to this ritual yet sometimes when we (OK, Charlie) are drinking and carrying on like Sir John Falstaff at Glitter Karaoke, we may find ourselves oversleeping. This indeed is the nightmare Charlie found himself in one Saturday morning when he awoke to find that he was running late to a Blood Brothers BBQ. Having missed the Brisket, he set about writing the words that grace this track from the LP4s latest release, Ampalanche on Italy’s Vincebus Eruptum Records.
The video you are about to see is inspired by these events with a wink and a nod to Joe Massot.
“Brisket” is the first video of the latest album, Ampalanche, by the Linus Pauling Quartet
Pequod Films Presents – The Linus Pauling Quartet’s “Brisket”
Starring Charlie Naked and his amazing randomized beard length and introducing Clinton Heider as The Meat Wizard.
Director/Editor/Storyboard/Camera: Ramon Medina, with assistance and suggestions from Charlie Naked, Clinton Heider, Stephen Finley, and Larry Liska.
The Linus Pauling Quartet: Stephen Finley: Bass Clinton Heider: Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals Larry Liska: Drums Ramon Medina: Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals Charlie Naked: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
A scant couple months after rounding out the summer with a run through the Midwest, Houston-based dark heavy rockers Doomstress will head out on their next tour, this time hitting the Southeast on a run dubbed “Southern Bounty.” Sure enough it’s harvest season, and by the time they go, Doomstress will have released their new single, Wicked Woman, on limited vinyl through DHU Records, so all the more appropriate in terms of their timing. In October, they’ll also make a hometown appearance at the End Hip End It fest, alongside Radio Moscow, Mondo Drag, Crypt Trip and a vast assortment of others.
Worth noting that bassist/vocalist “Doomstress” Alexis Hollada and lead guitarist/backing vocalist Brandon Johnson will be joined this time around by a different drummer and second guitarist, rounding out the latest lineup of the four-piece. I’ll be curious to see how their lineup ultimately shakes out past this second single and headed into whatever might be next, be it an EP, full-length debut or what. Till then, tour starts Nov. 4:
DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour
Doomstress “Wicked Woman” 7″ vinyl from DHU Records officially released on Halloween adn we are hitting the road again! DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour to cover 6 states across southeastern US beginning with our hometown debut in Houston, TX at End Hip End It psych fest and spreading across the gulf coast into Florida and Georgia
On this tour, the DOOMSTRESS lineup will consist of: Doomstress Alexis – bass & vocals Brandon Johnson – lead guitar & backing vocals Andy Kaos Vehnekamp – drums (Texas Massacre/H.R.A./The Guillotines) and Davis Jumper – 2nd guitar (PuraPharm/Saxon King)
10/22-Houston/Old Town Spring, TX @ End Hip End It psych fest (www.endhipendit.com) 11/4-Lake Charles, LA @ Luna Live 11/5-Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern 11/6-Lafayette, LA @ Steam Press Cafe 11/7-Birmingham, AL The Nick 11/8-Atlanta/Macon, GA @ tba 11/9-Jacksonville, FL @ Shantytown Pub 11/10-Tampa, FL @ Lucky You Tattoo 11/11-Ft. Lauderdale @ Kreepy Tiki Bar 11/12-Gainseville, FL @ Hardback Cafe
Posted in Reviews on August 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
A fervent undercurrent of metal runs beneath the progressive atmospheres of The Search. It extends even to the liner notes of the CD, which not only contain the full lyrics, typed out clear with credits, but notes included for which of the two guitarists — Maurice Eggenschwiler and Jan “El Janni” Kimmel, both also vocals — is taking the solo in that place. More often than not, it’s one, then the other. Shades of oldschool thrash there, but the debut full-length from the Houston, Texas, four-piece owes much more of its crux to prog metal and heavy rock than to anything so raw as younger Slayer. Still, the dogwhistle blows to those who might hear that particular frequency, and the spirit of precision that was always an undercurrent both of thrash — underproduced as it was — and the NWOBHM manifest in these vinyl-ready six tracks/41-minutes, topped off with artwork by David Paul Seymour.
The band was founded by Kimmel, Eggenschwiler and drummer Cory Cousins in 2014 following the hiatus of Sanctus Bellum, and in bringing on board bassist Gabriel Katz, they’ve also shifted their sonic focus toward grander fare. Tonally, The Search, which was recorded and mixed at Lucky Run Studio in Houston, adopts a heavy rock feel, but as it’s presented in such a clean, clear style — and maybe standard tuning? — the overarching impression becomes that of the band’s reach rather than their heft. That’s fitting for the traditions in which they’re working, from Uriah Heep to latter-day Opeth — also noteworthy that Kimmel handles keys, specified by the band as Nord, which Opeth‘s Per Wiberg also used — and with the shared vocal duties, they bring something of themselves fluidly to what winds up being an ambitious debut release.
Variety in the songwriting extends to within individual tracks as well as between them. With the exception of the penultimate title-cut at 9:45, songs range around five to six minutes long, but as Blues Funeral show immediately with the blend of Thin Lizzy bounce and proggy lead work in opener “Autumn Dream.” A previously posted live version had reminded me of Beelzefuzz, and though that’s less the case tonally on the record, some element remains, though the context of The Search immediately broadens with “Harbinger,” the shortest track at 5:19, which takes the central groove of Black Sabbath‘s “A National Acrobat” and successfully repurposes it to suit a rhythmic base for vocal harmonies dressed out with flourish of acoustic guitar, choice ride work from Cousins and later thickening of tone behind the soloing of Eggenschwiler and Kimmel.
Something of a darker feel results than anything either “Harbinger” or “Autumn Dream” before it offered, but the rush of “Planet Void” and the urgency of its push assure Blues Funeral aren’t mired one way or the other. With more impressive dual-vocal work and nods vocally and in the riff to Iron Maiden, it’s Katz‘s low end again that holds the proceedings together as the guitars are prone to launching into momentary fits of scorch, only to return to the verse shortly thereafter, as though nothing ever happened. The vocals are dry at least for the most part, and I don’t think some treatment of reverb would hurt, but as it stands they effectively emphasize harmonies when intended, as in the chorus of “Planet Void,” which is revisited just before a final solo — from Kimmel — brings the first half of The Search to a close.
Kimmel adds organ to “Paragon of Virtue,” and with the creepier doom vibe that follows, it would seem to mirror the Beelzefuzzing of “Autumn Dream” while, again, putting its own ’70s-inspired spin on it. The organ rises to prominence in the mix before all drops out leaving light, intricately-plucked Akerfeldtian guitar as the bed for an instrumental midsection — solo included, naturally — that builds guitar harmonies in layers before shifting into its next phase of lower-toned chug behind another solo section. A little Ritchie Blackmore circa Rainbow would seem to be the initial basis for the start of The Search‘s title-track, but there’s a more patient take in the album’s longest cut — it meanders a bit, purposefully — before sweeping in with organ to its first verse at around the two-minute mark, and the classic heavy rock style still holds its complement of metallic vibe, Katz‘s bass getting a moment to shine early for its heretofore underappreciated tonal warmth.
With more spacious vocals, “The Search” offers a hook as well as proggy expanse, and even after it veers into a more extended organ solo, it takes the time to bring back the chorus and keep the composition itself as the focus, rather than the execution. One might’ve expected Blues Funeral to follow it by ending with a lighter, more melancholic feel. They go the opposite route. “Palmdale” rounds out with nigh-on-thrashy riffing and a leveled-up push from even what “Planet Void” brought to bear, delivered with a down-to-business efficiency and a Candlemass-style soaring vocal that serves to highlight how skillfully the band is able to mesh their influences together.
By the time they get there, of course they end with a solo-topped big rock finish. Well earned. Keeping in mind that The Search is their first outing — preceded by no recordings so far as I know — Blues Funeral meet their considerable ambitions head on, while also setting themselves up for stylistic expansion in any number of directions. They effectively bridge gaps between the classic and modern, rock and metal, and metal and prog worlds, and, most encouraging of all, sound like they’re only going to keep growing.
Since their inception three years ago, Houston heavy rockers Funeral Horse have proved to have more than enough weirdo edge to match their rolling, classic-style groove. In the fine and long-standing tradition of Bizarro Texas, their material is both strange and familiar somehow, playing smartly off conventions of traditional metal and punk and noise rock, but establishing an experimental undercurrent that assures they’re completely allied to none of the above.
From their first record, 2013’s Savage Audio Demon (review here), onward, Funeral Horse have willfully defied expectation. At the time I confirmed them for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar — just EIGHT DAYS AWAY; get your tickets here — I did so in no small part because I thought maybe seeing them live would help explain at least in part just what the hell it is they’re up to. I wound up seeing them this past February and not only did I get a sense of the roots of their offbeat vibe, but was taken aback by their stage presence and the tightness of their performance as well. Bonus.
The song in today’s countdown video is called “Burial of the Sun.” It was filmed in Houston a couple weeks ago and it comes from Funeral Horse‘s impending fourth album, Psalms of the Mourning, which is currently being recorded. I’m stoked beyond all repair to welcome Funeral Horse to The Obelisk All-Dayer and hopefully watch as they blow a few minds and catch a lot of people off-guard, which they’re bound to do even if you think you might know what to expect.
Funeral Horse join Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Snail, Kings Destroy, EYE, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple on the bill at The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC. For more info and to get your tickets for under the door price, click here.
Enjoy “Burial of the Sun” below:
Funeral Horse, “Burial of the Sun” Live in Houston
It was little more than a week ago that Houston dark heavy rockers Doomstress announced their forthcoming Wicked Woman single, to be released as a 7″ vinyl in time for their upcoming tour. There were a few shows announced at the time for that stint, including the Tennessean Sludge Fest, where Doomstress will headline along with Place of Skulls and Shroud Eater, among many others playing, but the rest of the tour has completely solidified with a Chicago venue just added for Sept. 3. Nice to get these things nailed down.
They’ll be traveling with Venomin James‘ Joe Fortunato — apparently now also in Ancient VVisdom — on second guitar and continue to record new material as they go. Doesn’t look like the 7″ will be done in time to hit the road with the band, but something tells me this won’t be the last tour they announce. Call it a hunch.
From the PR wire:
DOOMSTRESS – Wicked Summer Midwest Tour
DOOMSTRESS hits the road for a series of dates around the midwest US as well as continuing recording new material at Supernatural Sound in the Cleveland, OH area.
DOOMSTRESS will consist of the recording lineup of:
Doomstress Alexis – bass & vocals Brandon Johnson – lead guitar & backing vocals Tomasz Scull – drums
and also on 2nd guitar: Joe Fortunato – of Venomin James, Sparrowmilk and the new bassist for Ancient VVisdom!
8/18 – Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge (w/ Archarus, Spirit Division & Ice Howl) 8/19 – Murfreesboro, TN @ Tennessean Sludge Fest (Place of Skulls, Shroud Eater, Order of the Owl, Flummox, Black Tar Prophet, Crawl & more!) 8/20 – Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s Underground 8/21 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room Grill 8/25 – Cleveland, OH @ The Foundry Concert Club (w/ The Great Iron Snake and Toro Blanco) 9/2 – Milwaukee, WS @ The Metal Grill 9/3 – Chicago, IL @ Township (w/ Fox 45 & Black Road)
**of Special note: The “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds” ep was limited to only 150 CDs of which 1/3 are already gone! This ep and the upcoming “Wicked Woman” very limited edition 7″ single from DHU Records (due sometime this Fall) will be the only available recordings for our remake of Coven’s “Wicked Woman”!