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

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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.

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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 »

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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.

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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.

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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

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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”

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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

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Isis Call it Quits; Announce New EP and Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

There are numerous reactions I could have to the following announcement that Isis has broken up. Here is a sampler:

There’s the snide: “That’s about five years too late.”

There’s the sad: “Well that’s a bummer, they did some great work (and they did).”

The realistic: “See you in three years, guys.”

The observant: “Funny how they say they want the music to do the talking in the middle of one of the biggest paragraphs I’ve ever seen.”

The critical: “They must have gotten tired of always being second fiddle to Neurosis.”

And the fanboy: “Oh nooooooooooes!!!!111!!!!!1!!”

However you feel about them, there’s no denying that a couple Isis albums have had a huge influence on the metal that’s come since, and on that level, it’s too bad to hear they won’t be making music together anymore. On the other hand, this is by no means the saddest news I’ve heard this week, so perhaps I’m just taking it with levity because everything’s relative. Whatever the case, here’s the statement from the band via the PR wire:

ISIS has reached an end. It’s hard to try to say it in any delicate way, and it is a truth that is best spoken plainly. This end isn’t something that occurred overnight and it hasn’t been brought about by a single cataclysmic fracture in the band. Simply put, ISIS has done everything we wanted to do, said everything we wanted to say. In the interest of preserving the love we have of this band, for each other, for the music made and for all the people who have continually supported us, it is time to bring it to a close. We’ve seen too many bands push past the point of a dignified death and we all promised one another early on in the life of the band that we would do our best to ensure ISIS would never fall victim to that syndrome. We’ve had a much longer run than we ever expected we would and accomplished a great deal more than we ever imagined possible. We never set any specific goals when the band was founded other than to make the music we wanted to hear and to play (and to stay true to that ideal), so everything else that has come along the long and winding path has been an absolute gift. As with any momentous life-changing decision (which this certainly is for the five of us), we feel a very dynamic range of emotions about this and cannot express all of it within the space of a few sentences, and perhaps it’s best to do what we’ve always done and let our music speak for us. It is and has been the truest expression of who we are as a collective and in some ways who we are as individuals for the 13 years in which we’ve been together. The last and perhaps most important thing we might say in relation to all this is how grateful we are for the people that have supported us over the years. It is a lengthy list that would include those who put out our records, those that played on them and put them to tape, the many bands with whom we shared the stage, all of our family, friends and companions who supported us in our individual lives and thus made it possible for us to continue on in the band, and most importantly those who truly listened to our music whether in recorded form or by coming to out to our shows (or both). It is quite true that we would never have done what we have without those people, that is many of you who are reading this. Our words can never fully express what we feel, but we hope that our music and the efforts made to bring it into being can serve as a more proper expression of gratitude for this life and for everyone in it. Thank you.

In more immediate and practical terms the tour we are about to embark upon is indeed our last. We are hoping that these final live rituals can help us bring a close to the life of this band in a celebratory and reverent way, and also provide us with a chance to say goodbye to many of those that have supported us over the years. While there is a measure of sadness that comes with the passing of this band, we hope that the final days can be joyous ones during which any and all that wish to come and join us will do so. It seems fitting that the last show of the tour and of our active existence will take place in Montreal, the site of the very first ISIS show in 1997 (though that was an unintentional move when booking the show initially). After the tour we also plan to follow through with other projects set in motion some time ago — pursuing the completion of a final EP, compiling live audio and visual material for future releases, and generally doing whatever we can to make our music available for as long as there are people who wish to hear it.

Thanks again to any and all,

ISIS, May 18 2010

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Torche Got Robbed by Assholes

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I know I’m taking a pretty strong stand here, and that my opinion might be controversial, but I have to say it: I am AGAINST robbing bands on tour. I don’t think it’s right, and I don’t think it’s the way nature intends mankind to behave.

There, I said it. I feel better. Really.

In all seriousness, you’ve got to be one serious fuckhead to rob a band on tour. Especially a band like Torche. I mean, go ahead, steal Saliva‘s shit. They didn’t pay for it, half those cabinets are empty, and they suck anyway. But to rob Torche while they’re sleeping after a show? That’s a special brand of asshole.

Here’s a note from the band via the PR wire:

After our Chicago show at the Congress Theater on May 14 between 1:30AM and 4:00AM our van was broken into while parked in front of Goethe Elementary and a bunch of equipment was stolen. Items taken include music equipment, personal items/luggage, band/personal checkbook, cameras, laptop, and passports.

The following items were taken:
* Custom Electrical Guitar Company bass w/hardcase #220
* First Act custom bass w/hardcase serial number # JN-0901002
* Black Gibson Custom Les Paul w/SKB hardcase
(has chip on the top L side of headstock, visible neck repair on top side of the neck,
may have missing paint opposite vol and tone knobs if sticker was removed).
* Custom woodfinish guitar w/hardcase
* Acoustic 370 Bass Head
* 2 x SKB PS25 pedal boards
* 2 x Boss tuning pedals
* MXR Phase 90
* Boss DD5 pedal
* Boss guitar EQ pedal
* Custom 3 way amp selector (metallic blue)
* Fulltone OCD pedal
* Aguilar Tone Hammer pedal
* Boss Bass EQ pedal
* Shure Beta 57
* Misc Mogami, Monster, and George L’s cable
* Suitcase style 7 space guitar stand
* Black iPod Touch
* Black Compaq Presario laptop
* Nikon Blue Coolpix camera
* Sony CyberShot camera
* Garmin 205W GPS
* Black Luggage containing: tubes, guitar strings, instrument cables, speaker cables, tuning pegs, surge protectors.

If you know anyone in the Chicago area we’d appreciate any help in spreading the word.


Since the band had their passports stolen and are unable to join Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive in Canada, Torche have assembled some last-minute house shows until they’re able to meet back up with the tour. Please go out and support the band, and if you’re feeling extra generous, you can make a donation here.

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Torche Continue Their Never-Ending Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 23rd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yeah, sure, Torche have just launched on a month-long US tour — nothing really new there — and I guess Hydra Head is going to issue the split they did with Boris, but the below info from the PR wire (oh, PR wire, how I missed you) also subtly drops the news that the band just finished a new recording. Doesn’t say of what sort, EP, LP or other, but whatever Torche has got that’s new is fine by me. Check it out:

Kicking off this week, Miami‘s Torche will head out on a month-long US tour supporting Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive. The tour will span both coasts, travel throughout the Midwest, and head to select cities in the Great White North.

In addition, Torche and Hydra Head have announced the band’s new split release with Boris, Chapter Ahead Being Fake, which will see the light of day on June 29th on 10″ vinyl.

And since teasing is our sort of our thing, the band just finished self-recording their next batch of hits for release late August 2010… but we’ll tell you more about that later…

Torche live w/ Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive:
04/22/10 Charlotte, NC. @ The Fillmore Charlotte

04/23/10 Atlanta, GA. @ Tabernacle

04/24/10 Lake Buena Vista, FL. @ House of Blues (Orlando)
04/25/10 Lauderdale, FL. @ Revolution

04/27/10 Houston, TX. @ Warehouse Live

04/28/10 Austin, TX. @ Stubb’s BBQ
04/29/10 Dallas, TX. @ Palladium Ballroom
04/30/10 Tulsa, OK. @ Cain’s Ballroom
05/01/10 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom

05/03/10 Tempe, AZ. @ Marquee Theatre

05/04/10 Pomona, CA. @ The Fox Theatre
05/05/10 San Francisco, CA. @ The Warfield

05/07/10 Portland, OR. @ Roseland Theater

05/08/10 Seattle, WA. @ Showbox SoDo
05/10/10 Murray, UT. @ Murray Theater
05/11/10 Denver, CO. @ Ogden Theatre
05/13/10 Minneapolis, MN. @ First Avenue
05/14/10 Chicago, IL. @ Congress Theatre
05/15/10 Royal Oak, MI. @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
05/17/10 Boston, MA. @ House of Blues
05/18/10 Montreal, QC. @ Metropolis
05/19/10 Toronto, ON. @ The Sound Academy
05/22/10 Philadelphia, PA. @ The Electric Factory
05/26/10 New York, NY. @ Rumsey Playfield
05/27/10 Washington, DC. @ 9:30 Club
05/28/10 Washington, DC. @ 9:30 Club
07/31/10 Chicago, IL. @ Subterranean * no Coheed or Circa Survive

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Kayo Dot Let the Horns Do the Howling

Posted in Reviews on April 13th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sometimes it feels as though words like “experimental” were invented solely for critics to hide behind and explain away any bouts of unconventional creativity they may come across. “What do you mean this doesn’t have a chorus???” etc. Then sometimes you run into a collective like New York’s Kayo Dot, whose leader Toby Driver seems to have, by means of his output with the band, inserted himself into a lineage of avant-garde musicians that can be traced back over the last half-century to artists like John Coltrane and Peter Brötzmann all the way down to John Zorn and King Crimson’s proggy ramblings.

The latter is brought specifically to mind with Driver’s Adrian Belew-style vocal on “Calonyction Girl,” the opening track of Kayo Dot’s fourth studio album, Coyote (Hydra Head). Driver also handles bass duties throughout, but he’s by no means the whole show on the album. With both alto and tenor sax – courtesy of Daniel Means and Terran Olson, respectively – Tim Byrnes’ trumpet, David Bodie’s sundry percussives and the contributions of longtime member Mia Matsumiya on violin and guitar, Kayo Dot is as much a band on Coyote as it ever was. Each member has a specific role to play in the ultimately surprising and oddly engaging outcome.

Disjointed instrumentation is toyed with toward the latter moments of “Whisper Ineffable,” particularly between Byrnes on trumpet and Driver on bass, but there are also subtle injections of noise and drums throughout that confirm once again that nothing is ever simple with Kayo Dot. I’m not at all convinced Coyote has a straightforward moment, “Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux” being not much more than a 3:46 lead in for the 13:40 of “Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature,” although the latter does see the horn section meet up, however briefly, for some memorable note runs, and that’s at very least planned out beforehand, Matsumiya’s violin and the drums playing out a patterned rhythm behind while the rumble of Driver’s bass provides a foundation.

Read more »

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No, Kayo Dot’s New Album isn’t Out Yet; Yes, They are Announcing Their Next EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hydra Head artsy rockers/metallers/experimentalists/thinky-thinky-doers Kayo Dot have yet to issue their new full-length, Coyote, which is due out, appropriately, on April 20. Nonetheless, the troupe, led by frontman Toby Driver, have embarked on their next offering already, dubbed Stained Glass. Some people just like to work. The PR wire has more:

Kayo Dot has entered the studio to begin recording their new EP, Stained Glass. The EP will consist of one, long composition of the same title, featuring the lineup of Coyote plus vibraphonist Russell Greenberg (Hi-Red Center, Yarn/Wire, Hunter/Gatherer). Kayo Dot will once again be recording with Jim Fogarty at Zing Studios in Westfield, MA — the man and studio behind Kayo Dot‘s Choirs of the Eye, Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue, Toby Driver‘s In The L..L..Library Loft, and maudlin of the Well’s Bath, Leaving Your Body Map, and Part the Second.

Additional recording will take place in various locations around the globe on portable four-track cassette and antique 1/4″ one-track reel-to-reel. The end result will be a dualistic rapport between Fogarty‘s super-clean, crystalline production and the intimate atmosphere of 2AM bedroom whispers. Stained Glass will be released by Hydra Head later in 2010.

Kayo Dot, “Whisper Ineffable” from Coyote:
Whisper Ineffable

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Harvey Milk Make a Small Turn

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

My, the children do love that Harvey Milk. The children in tight flannel shirts, anyway. But if you read the following PR wire release carefully, you’ll see that the band — or at least their label, the ever-suave Hydra Head — is well aware of their hipster appeal. You can tell with the “slumming it” line, which from where I sit is a direct shot to the center of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and any dig on those kids is fine by me. I’m getting sidetracked. Harvey Milk have a new record coming out, and it’s called A Small Turn of Human Kindness. Here’s the info:

A Small Turn of Human Kindness is as dense and as heavy temperamentally as it is musically. The seven songs so subtly bleed together that the listener has no choice but to view the entire album as a linear orchestration with a singular ebb and flow…. a rising and falling action, refined to hell and back. And so, all of these things lead me to believe that any and all true Harvey Milk fans will eventually argue this record as the band’s finest work. Or at least the vinyl version will become the quintessential mantle-piece for a generation of suburban children slumming it in the inner city… you know who you are!

1. *
2. I Just Want to Go Home
3. I Am Sick of All This Too
4. I Know This is No Place For You
5. I Alone Got Up and Left
6. I Know This is All My Fault
7. I Did Not Call Out

Harvey Milk Live:
3/5 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/6 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/7 Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/8 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/9 Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/10 Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/11 Toronto, ON @ Wreck Room w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/12 Hamtramck, MI @ Small’s w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/13 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
5/27 Nashville, TN @ Rockettown w/ Converge, Lewd Acts, Black Breath
5/28 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade w/ Converge, Lewd Acts, Black Breath

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Kayo Dot Create Another Subgenre, Again

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Say what you will about experimentalists Kayo Dot, their music is always two things: atmospheric and interesting. I don’t even think I heard 2008’s Blue Lambency Downward, but the band are back now with a new one called Coyote through Hydra Head, and it just might be time for me to catch up. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Toby Driver is also curating the month of February at NYC performance space The Stone, and the band will be doing a bunch of shows there with a bunch of varying lineups. More specific info on that is here. Here’s the PR wire goods on the album, which is due out April 6:

Coyote, Kayo Dot‘s fourth studio album, is a single, narrative-driven, long-form composition written with story and text provided by a close, terminally-ill friend of the band, Yuko Sueta, in the final stage of her life. Coyote was once again engineered by Randall Dunn (SunnO))), Earth, Six Organs of Admittance) in Seattle, Washington, forging a new genre of “goth fusion” which combines elements of early Cure, Faith and the Muse, and Bauhaus with Herbie Hancock‘s psychedelic album, Sextant, and Scott Walker‘s recent album, The Drift. The lyrics and story were constructed with deliberate melodrama to pay homage as well to the intended gothic vibe, expressing the protagonist’s loneliness and longing to be in a better place, and her journey through her own personal looking-glass through a hallucinatory world of fear and wonder.

The musical objective this time around was to create a piece of music that uses the sonic aesthetic of this specific era of gothic art-rock integrated with a more modern-classical approach to form and architecture. To achieve this, Kayo Dot has put together a new instrumentation, which features trumpet (provided by former Candiria trumpet player Tim Byrnes) and alto saxophone at the lead, backed up by violin, keyboards, piano, organ, bass guitar, percussion, and a pronounced lack of guitar across the album. This album also marks the return of former Kayo Dot member, Terran Olson, whose contributions were heard on the band’s 2003 debut, Choirs of the Eye, as well as with Kayo Dot‘s alter-ego, Maudlin of the Well. The music is also more rhythmically-driven than any previous Kayo Dot work, and being a performance-oriented composition, it was recorded mostly live (similar to 2006’s Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue). Coyote also brings back some of the aggression absent from 2008’s Blue Lambency Downward.

Tracklist for Coyote:
I. Calonyction Girl
II. Whisper Ineffable
III. Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux
IV. Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature
V. Cartogram out of Phase

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