Old Man Gloom Post Trailer for Here is a Gift for You

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Exactly what kind of audio/visual project is Old Man Gloom‘s forthcoming Here is a Gift for You? Hell if I know. The Boston post-metal don’t-call-us-a-supergroup-even-though-we-are-most-definitely-a-supergroup four-piece keep it cryptic with their just-unveiled trailer, as one would have to expect, showing off documentary interview footage — seen looking comfortable on a balcony at the start, Thor Anderson is a visiting professor at the San Francisco Art Institute — as well as a burning Zozobra effigy and live performance from the band that, because there are lights on and they’re actually visible, I’m going to assume was not filmed in their hometown. Old Man Gloom toured Europe earlier this year, including a stop at Roadburn (review here) and it could easily have come from one of those shows or just about anywhere else. Could be Nate Newton‘s basement. Anything’s possible with these guys.

Old Man Gloom‘s last release was 2012’s No, which marked the return of the project and their first outing since 2004’s Christmas, the lineup of Newton (also of Converge) on guitar/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist/vocalist Caleb Schofield and drummer Santos Montano (Zozobra) refreshing the cerebral pummel that made their earlier work like 2001’s one-two punch of Seminar II: The Holy Rites of Primitivism Regressionism and Seminar III: Zozobra both so distinct in what was than a nascent post-metal movement and years ahead of their time. I intended to pick up a copy of No after their performance at Roadburn was so blistering and didn’t because I suck and I’m broke, but the clip here is another argument in favor of digging through the couch for change to put toward that cause.

Whatever Here is a Gift for You is, it’ll reportedly be out this fall, produced and directed by Kenneth Thomas with burning Zozobra and everything. Here’s the trailer:

Old Man Gloom, Here is a Gift for You trailer

Old Man Gloom on Thee Facebooks

Hydra Head Industries

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Long-Player: Pelican, Australasia

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Pelican‘s debut, Australasia, turns 10 this year. I think if this album showed up in my mailbox today, I probably wouldn’t call it innovative, but I also think the main reason that’s true is because so many bands have tried so hard over the last decade to sound like this record. It’s one of those “change your opinions” albums that I think has gone a long way toward defining “heavy” in its wake, either through people who’ve heard it or people who’ve heard bands who’ve heard it. In any case, bit of a classic in waiting.

Tomorrow night Neurosis play the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn and I’m going. To be honest, the pre-show anxiety is already riding high. What if I get there and can’t find parking? What if I get there and can’t get in? What if I get there and all the pictures I take suck? What if I get there, everything’s going really smoothly and then Neurosis gets on stage, points at me and goes, “This guy’s an asshole and his blog sucks and because of that, we’re not gonna play ‘Raise the Dawn.'” We live in a universe of infinite possibilities and any of this could happen. Probably less so the one where I flatter myself into thinking I’m a blip on Neurosis‘ collective radar, but definitely that one about the parking.

Pending some such disaster, I’ll have a review of that show on Monday, and then Monday night is the Corrections House supergroup kicking off their tour at the Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn and I’ll be hitting that as well. Then, on Thursday, Graveyard roll through Philly and I’m slated to go to that, so expect much hyperbole to come about all of those. Also hoping to have a review of a new CD/LP reissue of Crooked Hook‘s demo before the week’s end and Gozu too if I can make that happen.

In addition to the Neurosis gig — which has consumed much space in my mind for the latter half of this week — this weekend I’m also planning on putting together a couple emailers that have been waiting and also considering a few phoners I want to put together. I’m decently caught up on reviews (much as I ever am) and it’s time to get back to interviewing people and start getting some opinions about records from the people who actually made them. Quite a novel thought.

If you’ve been a regular checking in on The Obelisk Radio, you probably noticed this week that the service has been shit, and intermittent shit at that. The company that hosts the stream has been getting a DDOS attack and I’m told that means my stream gets interrupted. No one’s going after The Obelisk Radio specifically, but just the server that hosts it and probably a million other online radio stations happens to be one of the lucky ones. Fortunately, Slevin is diligent in his keeping up with it and we hope to have the whole thing cleared up by next week. I still found time to update the playlist over the last couple days with another 35 or so records, so we’re not completely destitute.

Hope you have a great and safe weekend, and if you’re going to the Neurosis show, I’ll probably be the jerk annoying you with my stupidly large camera bag, so please feel free to say hi while you throw an elbow. See you on the forum and back here Monday for a resumption of shenanigans.

Tags: , , , ,

Where to Start: Post-Metal

Posted in Where to Start on October 20th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

At this point, the subgenre’s trend level has crested and most of what the specific style of music has to offer has likely been explored, but although it gets the ol’ eye-roll “not this again” treatment these days, it’s worth remembering that post-metal has produced some great, landmark albums, and that the bands who came after had solid reasoning behind being influenced as they were.

Blending post-rock elements with heavier, often crushing guitar work, the classification post-metal is as amorphous as any genre term. I’ve heard everyone from High on Fire to Ulver referred to under its umbrella, but I want to be clear that when I talk about post-metal, I’m thinking of what’s also commonly called “metalgaze,” the specific branch of metal heavily inspired by the bands below.

I wanted to do this Where to Start post not just for those looking to expose themselves to the genre, but also in case anyone who maybe is tired of hearing bands that sound like this has forgotten how killer these records were. Here’s my starting five essential post-metal albums, ordered by year of release:

1. Godflesh, Godflesh (1988): I saw the album art on hoodies for years before I knew what it was. 1989’s Streetcleaner was better received critically at the time for its industrial leanings, but Justin Broadrick‘s first outing after leaving Napalm Death has grown over time to be the more influential album. At just 30 minutes long in its original form (subsequent reissues would add bonus material), it’s a pivotal moment in understanding modern post-metal that predates most of the genre’s major contributions by over a decade.

2. Neurosis, A Sun That Never Sets (2001): Take a listen to A Sun That Never Sets closer “Stones from the Sky,” then go put on just about any post-metal record, and you’ll see many of them trying to capture the same feel and progression — if not just blatantly transposing that riff onto their own material. Say what you want about Neurosis‘ earlier material, I think if everyone was honest about it, it would be A Sun That Never Sets mentioned even more. An awful lot of the modern wave of post-metal bands formed in 2001 and 2002, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First Impressions: Torche, Songs for Singles

Posted in Reviews, Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

In the spirit of the release, I’m going to try to keep this short:

Torche songs are so easy to get excited about, because they’re actually exciting. They’re upbeat, energetic, accessible, friendly-sounding even at their heaviest. I just popped their new offering, Songs for Singles in my player for the first time, and already, I want to hang out with it. I want to sit with it and have a beer and watch the bug zapper. Eight songs in under 22 minutes isn’t the kind of numbers I usually get down with, but man, Torche kick ass with twice the efficiency of most bands.

What I like most immediately about Songs for Singles is that the first six tracks comprise half the listening time, and the last two make up the final 10-plus minutes. You’re through “U.F.O.” before you know it, and “Lay Low” is only 51 seconds long, so that’s barely started before it’s done, but “Shine on My Old Ways” seems to change the pace, and by the time “Face the Wall” comes on, you feel like you just hit it. The wall, that is.

If you dug the dreamy pop aspects of Meanderthal, you’re probably also going to drool over Songs for Singles, as even on the slower “Face the Wall” and six-minute capper “Out Again,” that element of their sound is a constant. There aren’t any über-heavy guitar bombs, and as “Out Again” stretches the instrumental section that gradually fades to close the record, it’s apparent that what Torche like playing with in their sound is the sometimes massive, sometimes sweet contrast. Right now, they’re doing it better than anyone else.

Tags: , ,

Harvey Milk Take Their Turn

Posted in Reviews on August 9th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Some bands you listen to because you enjoy them, some bands you listen to because you think they’re interesting. Some bands you listen to because they’ve influenced others and you want to hear why, and some bands you listen to because you just have to find out what the fuck the big deal is. The latter is my experience with Harvey Milk, who since their 2006 reunion and subsequent releases on Hydra Head have officially become the rock the cool kids dig. When the chance came up for me to check out A Small Turn of Human Kindness, the latest from the Athens, Georgia, trio, I more or less popped it on just to see what it was all about. I remember seeing Harvey Milk open for Khanate in NYC a few years back, and I remember being neither over nor underwhelmed, but whatever, maybe something’s changed.

Not really. A Small Turn of Human Kindness sounds like a genuinely cerebral exercise, so it probably isn’t. Creston Spiers, Kyle Spence and Stephen Tanner present the album as one long piece, with various misanthropic titles spread across seven tracks, ranging from “I Just Want to Go Home” and “I Alone Got Up and Left” to the ominous “I Did Not Call Out.” As the vocalist and guitarist, Spiers leads the way through the songs, which lumber with a heavy foot in and out of doomed minimalism, feedbacked solos, and a spiritually downtrodden demeanor that feels genuine enough to get by tagged “authentic.” Tanner’s bass tone is low the way you think of trenches, and Spence’s drums are perfectly suited to accenting the best of both his bandmates. It’s not surprising, since Harvey Milk has been around long enough for A Small Turn of Human Kindness to be their seventh album with the band having broken up and gotten back together, but as power trios go, they more than earn their name. For its consistency of mood alone, A Small Turn of Human Kindness is unrelentingly heavy.

Read more »

Tags: , , ,

Uh, So I Guess Buzzov*en are Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

News to me they were reuniting at all, but Kirk Fisher of North Carolina sludgers Buzzov*en issued an update in April and there were recently some tour dates posted, so it’s on. Can a Buzzov*en reunion ever live up to the chaos and volatility that has by now become the legend of their shows? I suppose we’ll all have to find out together.

Here’s the news from Fisher (who these days goes by Kirk Lloyd) and the dates, as found on the Tone Deaf Touring site:

So as time flies by as it does so often these days we are coming closer to the preparation of the upcoming US tour this fall. Guitar player from the EP The Gospel According to… Craig Baker recently appeared after I had presumed him dead or lost for good and it’s possible he may be playing on the Fall gigs. At a Loss is almost ready to hit the shelves again but this time with the addition of vinyl. Emetic Records is reissuing it. And on another note Hydra Head Records is finally gonna officially release Revelation:Sick again hopefully by the time we do our first shows in September. Things are coming together and I will also be doing some k.lloyd shows during some of these outings with Buzzov*en so stay tuned as dates should be announced here very soon. Also new merch is coming under a new merch company run by us. This should be up and new designs available within the next month or so. Thanks to everyone for their support and I’m hoping to see all of you this fall out on the road. Later, Kirk Lloyd

09/25 Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte NC
09/29 Reggies Rock Club, Chicago IL

09/30 Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard the Temptress, New York NY

10/01 Ottobar, Baltimore MD

10/02 Emo’s, Austin TX

Tags: , , , ,

Torche to Explore Singularity this September; Classy Album Art Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

This site seems awfully Torche-centric lately, with the Floor coverage (lackluster though it was — the coverage, that is) and the Meanderthal Demos writeup, but there’s word through the PR wire that they’ve got a new album out on Hydra Head September 21, so it’s only right to post said news in this space, which I think I’ll do right now:

Songs for Singles, Torche‘s upcoming addition to a six year stretch of well deserved lionization within the world of progressive metal, is basically a super solid collection of singles (though I’m pretty sure the title actually refers to one’s legal interpersonal status) written by, and therefore in, the instantly appealing songwriting style developed by the band…

You, just like me, have probably been waiting patiently for some new material since Meanderthal! If so, I’m honored to be the one to publicly confirm that new material is on its way! If you are one of those in need of an education on the subject, Songs for Singles will still find a way into your day to day… reason being… everyone’s Summer needs a jam (debate it) and Songs for Singles will be hitting shelves just in the nick of time!

Torche, Songs for Singles:
01 “U.F.O.”
02 “Lay Low”
03 “Hideaway”
04 “Arrowhead”
05 “Shine on My Old Ways”
06 “Cast into Unknown”
07 “Face the Wall”
08 “Out Again”

Tags: , , ,

Knut Bask in the Wonder of it All; Release New Album Today

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Here’s a fun fact that may or may not have been forgotten: Swiss sludgers Knut were around a long time before that baby polar bear of the same name got all famous at the Berlin Zoo. Today, their first album in four years, Wonder, is out on Hydra Head, who extols the band’s underground cred thusly by means of an unsuspecting PR wire:

There is simply too much music in the world these days, and little of it seems to embody what could be described as passion or even soul. Rarer still are the bands who have stuck around long enough to be considered consistent institutions of musical integrity and ingenuity. All but extinct are the bands that embody/possess the qualities above, and who have continued to produce, evolve and thrive despite deficient attention from the music buying public. While artists like The Melvins, Neurosis, Converge and Enslaved have managed to plumb the depths of the various caverns of heavy metal/hardcore/loud rock and emerged atop mountains of accolades (while simultaneously making careers of their craft), Knut have long labored in relative obscurity, churning out some of the finest all-enveloping-mathsludge-metal-pummelry known this (or that) side of the Atlantic.

16 years and 12-plus releases into their existence Knut have managed once again to top themselves and shame their peers with the creation of Wonder. A commentary on the human capacity for creative thought and numinous experience in the face of a violent and oppressive global-market ethos, Wonder stands as a testament to our will for survival and defiance in times of adversity and crippling doubt… and, yeah, it’s proof-positive that Celtic Frost and Swatch ain’t the only Swiss exports from which we may all reap unending benefits.

Knut live:
8/13 Ieper/Ypres, Belgium @ Ieper Fest w/ Converge, Kylesa, Gaza, Despised Icon, AmenRa
8/27 Gigors, Drôme, France @ Gigors, Drôme w/ Melt Banana, Human Toys, DK
8/28 Geneva, GE @ Usine, Geneva w/ Melt Banana
10/2 Bulle, Fribourg, Switzerland @ Ebullition, Bulle

Tags: , , ,