Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Apparently it’s been a busy couple weeks for Eric Wagner. The former Trouble vocalist has got a new solo album out, an acoustic release called Highdeas Vol. 1 that seems to be drawn from demos and raw versions of material that would later be developed for records by his current bands The Skull and Blackfinger. A self-release put on sale in Wagner‘s BigCartel store, it’s available now, which if you’ve ever heard him sing is probably about all you need to know to make you click onward to a purchase. Fair enough.
In addition to that, The Skull have added guitarist Rob Wrong of Witch Mountain to their lineup, which, frankly, was something of a surprise. Wrong takes the place of sometimes-Pentagram axeman Matt Goldsborough alongside The Skull‘s Lothar Keller, Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Sean Saley, the latter of whom is also a Pentagram expat. The Skull also recently filmed a hometown show in Chicago for who knows what purpose, and will head out on a rather extensive European tour come Spring that includes a stop at Roadburn 2016. I’m assuming they’ll head back to the US sometime between, but they’ll also be appearing at Hellfest in France come June.
Like I say, a lot going on for Wagner, who posted the track “An Absurd Jurisdiction” in order to get word out about the release of Highdeas Vol. 1. Find the cover — reminiscent of some self-released Trouble live records from years past — album info, links, and of course the song itself, below:
The legendary voice of Trouble, Blackfinger, and The Skull, Eric Wagner enters the studio with nothing more than his acoustic guitar.
“Highdeas Vol. 1” is a collection of early song drafts that would eventually become part of The Skull and Blackfinger. Just Eric and his acoustic. Released 2015.
1. On Tuesday Morning 2. Trapped Inside My Mind 3. Ima Ghost 4. All The Leaves Are Brown 5. An Absurd Jurisdiction 6. Here Comes The Rain 7. My Many Colored Days 8. Yellowood 9. Heaven 10. As Long As I’m With You
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The self-titled debut 10″ EP from Chicago heavy ’10s boogie rockers Dead Feathers was originally due to be released by HeviSike Records in August, and I’d imagine that the delay in its coming out is probably owed to the same manufacturing holdups that just about every other imprint, band and record-pressing concern has been dealing with over the last year-plus. In any case, the songs have been streaming for a while now, and the platter itself is available to preorder from the label as of yesterday, in limited editions of gold and bone vinyl, different art between them and so on. They ship in January in time for a Jan. 15 official release date. Nothing like starting a New Year off with some groove.
Details go like this:
DEAD FEATHERS – EP [10″]
Ascend yourself into the blanketing incense smoke and celestial grooves that is Dead Feathers. Like the Night sky, this band is noting below a breath of fresh air. With melodic female Vocals and the Fuzz driven riffs you might as well be seeing the fortune teller herself when you see this band live. This band takes hold of you and does not let you go. Dead Feathers has shared the stage with countless Chicago bands and touring bands from all over North America alike. A group heavily influenced by rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s and the underground Psychedelic bands of today, They are currently in the process of recording their first full length album and playing in venues across Chicago.
Pre-Order from Thursday 19 November. Due to ship early January.
Debut EP by Chicago, IL psych rock five-piece Dead Feathers. Mastered by Welshman’s Pride.
This is a strictly limited edition numbered release of 500 copies.
– Deluxe Edition – £14 – 100 on GOLD vinyl – screen printed alternate art print (designed by Adam Burke, Nightjar Illustration) – exclusive Dead Feathers embroidered logo patch – individually numbered record jacket
– Limited Edition – £9 – 400 on bone-white vinyl – individually numbered record jacket
Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It had been a few days since I’d gone outside. Seriously. In Chicago for a work trip, I’d been holed up either at the conference I was in town for or the hotel immediately adjacent to it. Dinner had been ordered in three nights in a row, and I’d gone precisely nowhere since arriving in the city on Sunday. Not healthy. Not living right. In the end, it was the phone call from hotel security — checking on the wellness of the room’s occupant, since housekeeping hadn’t been allowed to clean in more than 48 hours — that shamed me into leaving to see Corrections House bandmates Scott Kelly (also Neurosis) and Bruce Lamont (also Yakuza and Bloodiest). Shame sometimes does the trick.
As it happened, they were playing a different hotel, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, in a space carved out as the “Drawing Room” and decorated in what I can only describe as man-bun living room chic; dimly lit (as the pictures I got will attest — god damn I need a new camera), all things made to look old and comfortable, leather-bound everything, like the Harvard club where people go to talk about how their new app is going to do away with various plights of inequality. “Gamechanging” modern design by making it look like a slavemaster’s parlor. I’m sure it was all very expensive. It looked very expensive. Strange setting for a show.
Not to say that with Misters Kelly and Lamont both playing solo sets — they shared a guitar — it should’ve been in a dive bar. The chair I sat in was perfectly comfortable. It was the second night of the Kelly/Lamont tour, which may or may not be taking the place of a full Corrections House run to support that group’s new album, Know How to Carry a Whip, out on Neurot Recordings, and the plan seemed to be in order: Lamont would play first, Kelly second, and then they’d play together. Not a method entirely dissimilar from the first time I saw Corrections House early in 2013 (review here), but obviously a different sonic context without Sanford Parker‘s beats — likely on his way to the West Coast with Buried at Sea — and without Mike Williams of Eyehategod‘s semi-spoken drug poetics. Worth it to say that nothing felt overly like it was missing once the show got started.
Part of that is probably thanks to Lamont‘s kitchen-sink experimental approach. Surrounded by his saxophone, clarinet, the guitar he was sharing with Kelly, at least two vocal mics and sundry other processors, pedals and effects, he was able to create a wash of droning noise all on his own. Lamont‘s solo album, 2011’s Feral Songs for the Epic Decline, was the basis for some of the performance, but much of what he did was manipulated, echoed, spaced out, and layered into something new. I know Bloodiest have a new full-length coming at the start of 2016 via Relapse, but if Lamont hasn’t considered recording a follow-up solo outing live and putting it out even in limited numbers through War Crime Recordings, his label co-owned by Sanford Parker, he probably should. Some of the most affecting moments came as he tilted his head back and let loose a soulful howl that reminded me of some of the spaciousness he was able to conjure in Yakuza, but the whole set was saturated with creativity and Lamont‘s sense of controlling the chaos was palpable.
The switch to bringing out Scott Kelly was done via an extended saxo-drone and a wave of the hand. Both mics were already set up, and so Kelly came out from the crowd and picked up the guitar. There were a couple songs he played I didn’t recognize — maybe new, maybe covers I couldn’t identify — but his meditative takes on the works of Townes van Zandt are always welcome. He did “Tecumseh Valley” early in the set, but the highlights were cuts from his 2012 Scott Kelly and the Road Home album, The Forgiven Ghost in Me (review here). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for “The Field that Surrounds Me,” but “The Sun is Dreaming in the Soul” did just fine, and particularly following “The Ladder in My Blood” from 2008’s solo album, The Wake. “We Let the Hell Come” provided an intense finish to his solo portion — Kelly rocking back and forth behind the mic in a less neck-dislocating fashion than he might on stage with Neurosis, but definitely with a similar rhythmic sensibility — arriving at its title line after gravel-throated incantations for which he backed off the mic about a foot but that still came through clear in their intent and vision.
A similar wave brought Lamont back to the front. Together Kelly and Lamont offered renditions of Townes Van Zandt‘s “The Rake” and Neil Young‘s “Cortez the Killer,” before finishing off with the Corrections House track “Run through the Night,” taken from their 2013 debut, Last City Zero. Standing side-by-side, Kelly‘s guitar and Lamont‘s sax cast a Morricone-style spell over the room, a hard strum spacious with both adding vocals until Lamont, having layered backing “ooh”s, created a sufficient wash and apex that seemed to swell one voice at a time until appropriately consuming. The studio version of that song gets pretty noisy, but live, it was more melodic, and when Kelly got back on mic to whisper out the last few lines, the multi-layer barrage he cut through made it plain that nothing else would follow. They cut out together and the show was over with a quick plug for merch, which had been placed on a table behind them while they played.
It was raining outside when they were done, so I took a quick cab back to my temporary lair and tried to get a night’s sleep. No dice there, but I didn’t the least bit regret how the evening had been spent, whatever it took to get me out the door.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some 12 years after its original release, Buried at Sea‘s debut and only full-length, Migration, continues to resonate, and really, it’s no wonder. To be as straightforward about it as possible, Migration was one of the heaviest records ever released, in doom or out of it, and after more than a decade it still provides a measure of heft that very, very few can live up to. The band’s last release was the Ghost EP, which came out in 2007 on Neurot, and boasted a more atmospheric take, but on Dec. 18, War Crime Recordings will reissue Migration as a three-sided 2LP (the last side will be etched), and no doubt claim the lives of turntables worldwide.
To coincide, Buried at Sea will head out on a West Coast tour next month, starting at the Midnite Communion III and heading north from there as far up as Vancouver before turning back to Chicago, where six days later they’ll meet up with two of that city’s finest in The Atlas Moth and Sweet Cobra for a hometown gig. Details follow, as sent down the PR wire:
Chicago Cult Doomsters, Buried At Sea announce Migration LP reissue
Migration, the debut album from Chicago’s cult doom/drone band, BURIED AT SEA, will see its first vinyl pressing come December 18th, 2015. Initially released on Original Sound Recordings on CD in 2003, this reissue will be available on gatefold 2LP, CD and digitally by War Crime Recordings; the label owned and operated by BURIED AT SEA’s own Sanford Parker (Minsk, Corrections House) and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House).
The album features new artwork done by vocalist/bassist, Brian Sowell who also created the etched design for the D-side to the album. The LP is limited to 500 copies worldwide. Preorders can be found here:http://hyperurl.co/xnxmzb
Last seen live in 2011, the band has come together to play this year’s Midnite Communion in Long Beach, CA and a short string of dates following with old friends Unearthly Trance. A hometown show with The Atlas Moth and Sweet Cobra has also been booked.
BURIED AT SEA tour dates: Fri, Nov. 13 – Midnite Communion III at The Breakers, Long Beach CA Sat, Nov. 14 – Midnite Communion III at The Breakers, Long Beach CA Sun, Nov. 15 – The Golden Bull, Oakland CA w/ CHRCH, Abstracter Mon, Nov. 16 – Club 66, Ashland OR Tue, Nov. 17 – Star Theater, Portland OR w/ Samothrace, Ephemeros Wed, Nov. 18 – The Highline, Seattle WA w/ Samothrace, MGLA, Weregoat Thu, Nov. 19 – Hindenberg, Vancouver BC w/ Usnea, Haggatha Wed, Nov 25 – Reggies, Chicago, IL w/ The Atlas Moth, Sweet Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well shit. I guess, if you’re Goatsnake, and you’ve never played Chicago before, the band you want to team up with to do so is Pelican. The reunited riffers’ sporadic touring to support their 2015 return full-length, Black Age Blues (review here), will continue in December as they hit spots in the Midwest to coincide with their previously announced West and East Coast shows. Europe next year? I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at Temples or some other fests around in the spring, but nothing’s been revealed in that regard as yet. Seems like they have plenty to keep them busy in the meantime.
And fucking Pelican. You’d think they would get exhausted being awesome all the time, but nope. Their latest EP, 2015’s The Cliff, is right on as ever.
To the PR wire:
GOATSNAKE And PELICAN Confirm Midwest December Tour Dates
Southern California’s raging doom quartet, GOATSNAKE, will join up with atmospheric post-rock artisans and Southern Lord labelmates, PELICAN, for a run of tour dates through the Midwest US together this December, marking GOATSNAKE’s first time performing in the region.
The GOATSNAKE and PELICAN tour festivities will begin in Indianapolis on December 12th, the show also featuring Bongripper and more. Post-show, an afterparty has been scheduled to take place at the local Kuma’s Corner spot, where the bands’ prior special burgers will be made available as a trio of miniatures, the event also featuring DJ Sets by Greg Anderson of GOATSNAKE and Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch. The next show takes place on December 13th in Columbus, followed by Ferndale on the 14th and Chicago for the final show on the 15th with Cloakroom and Canadian Rifle.
GOATSNAKE Tour Dates: 9/24/2015 Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 9/26/2015 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 9/27/2015 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 10/11/2015 TRIX – Antwerp, BE @ Desertfest 10/13/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ YDI, Big|Brave 10/14/2015 Black Cat – Washington, DC w/ YDI, Big|Brave 10/15/2015 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ YDI, Big|Brave 11/19-22/2015 Le Guess Who? Festival – Utrecht, NL 12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Pelican, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather 12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Pelican 12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Pelican 12/15/2015 ThaliaHall – Chicago, IL w/ Pelican, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle
PELICAN Tour Dates: 10/25/2015 High Noon – Madison, WI w/ Zebras, Jon Mueller 12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Goatsnake, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather 12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Goatsnake 12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Goatsnake 12/15/2015 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Goatsnake, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle 12/18/2015 Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, SE @ Scorched Tundra Festival
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good news out of the camp of Chicago doomers The Skull in that the five-piece band, which features two former members of Trouble and now two former members of Pentagram, are headed to Europe for the first time since the release of their 2014 debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here). That record was a trad-doom gem issued by Tee Pee that boasted highlight work from some of those who set the traditions of doom in motion in the first place. With the still-relatively-recent addition of ex-Pentagram drummer Sean Saley to the lineup, The Skull will set out late in Feb. 2016 and continue through a goodly part of March with more dates still to be added.
While these cats are known for regularly breaking out Trouble songs during the set — you might say that’s how they started out — it says something at this point that if you’re going to see them play, it’s probably even more to get the cuts from For Those Which are Asleep. If you haven’t heard that record, you probably should.
The news came late last night down the PR wire:
The Skull NEW tour dates
THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are heading to Europe in March 2016 for performances across the continent!
Featuring original TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner and long time TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, THE SKULL are giving their legendary former band a run for their money with their new Tee Pee Records / Plastic Head release “For Those Which Are Asleep”.
In 2012, THE SKULL hit Europe as headliner for the Hells Pleasure Fest in Germany, and then followed up as headliner for their own European tour in November 2012 which included performances in Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden; including co-headlining the Hammer of Doom Festival with Pentagram in Wurzburg, Germany. In 2014, THE SKULL’s European headlining tour included headlining the Day of Doom Festival in Barcelona, Spain, as well as venues in Portugal and a headline show at Camden World in London, England playing the classic Trouble album “Psalm 9” in its entirety on this tour.
THE SKULL’s current show includes a large blend of Trouble classics and rarities spanning the Eric Wagner and Ron Holzner periods with the band as well as new “The Skull” material from their critically acclaimed record “For Those Which Are Asleep” played in Europe for the first time ever. The show also includes the occasional cover and expanded live jam versions. It’s doom that rocks.
THE SKULL (ex-Trouble, ex-Pentagram) For Those Which Are Asleep European Tour 2016 Presented by Rock Hard Magazine, Guitar Magazine, DrumHeads Magazine, & Grow! 26.02.2016 NL-Tilburg, Little Devil 27.02.2016 NL-Amsterdam, Q-Factory 29.02.2016 DE-Cologne, Underground 01.03.2016 DE-Bielefeld, Forum 03.03.2016 DE-Hamburg, Klubsen 04.03.2016 DE-Leipzig, Bandhaus 09.03.2016 DE-Dresden, Chemiefabrik 10.03.2016 DE-Berlin, Cassiopeia 11.03.2016 DE-Markneukirchen, Framus & Warwick Music Hall 12.03.2016 DE-Munich, Backstage 14.03.2016 AT-Graz, Explosiv 15.03.2016 SK-Bratislava, Muzeum Obchodu 17.03.2016 AT-Wien, Viper Room 18.03.2016 AT-Innsbruck, Weekender 19.03.2016 IT-Bologna, Freakclub 20.03.2016 DE-Karlsruhe, Jubez
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good news for those on the western side of the country in that reborn Illinois outfit Minsk are heading out for a round of dates in support of their 2015 return album, The Crash and the Draw (review here), which came out earlier this year on Relapse. They’ve already been to Europe for the album, playing Roadburn and touring alongside Floor, which if you’re going to make a comeback after six years is a damn good way to do it. With the West Coast covered this time around, that really just leaves the East still to do, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think more dates will follow before the end of this year, though if it winds up being early 2016, certainly they could be forgiven.
The PR wire has the announcement:
MINSK: Announce US Tour Dates
Illinois post-metal quintet MINSK have announced their first US tour dates in support of their new album The Crash & The Draw. The dates kick off on September 1st in St Paul, MN and run through September 12th, including a series of West Coast shows as direct support for Sweden’s Cult of Luna along with SubRosa. A complete listing of dates is available below.
MINSK released their first album in six years, The Crash & The Draw, this past April to immense critical acclaim. Captured by the band alongside Sanford Parker (Voivod, Eyehategod, Yob etc.), mixed by Parker and MINSK and mastered by Collin Jordan (Eyehategod, Indian, Wovenhand, Voivod etc.) with additional vocal tracking by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City, Old Man Gloom, Floor) and further tracking, editing, and mixing by Kevin Rendleman and Aaron Austin, The Crash & The Draw is an instant contender for one of the most forward-thinking metal records of the year. The album can be streamed in it’s entirety via Bandcamp here.
The album is available on CD/2xLP/Digital and can be purchased via Relapse atTHIS LOCATIONor digitallyHERE.
MINSK Tour Dates: Sep 01 St. Paul, MN Turf Club Sep 03 Billings, MT The Railyard Sep 05 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theater* Sep 06 Seattle, WA Neumo’s* Sep 07 Portland, OR Star Theater* Sep 08 San Francisco, CA Slims* Sep 09 Hollywood, CA The Roxy* Sep 10 Las Vegas, NV Dive Bar Sep 12 Denver, CO GLOB * = with Cult of Luna & SubRosa
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fascinating transition for The Skull, who since the release of their 2014 Tee Pee Records debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), have gone from being more Trouble than Trouble to owing just as much of their collective pedigree to Pentagram with the addition of drummer Sean Saley alongside guitarist Matt Goldsborough — both of whom I’m pretty sure were in Pentagram when I saw them at Desertfest London in 2013. Go figure.
What that means to The Skull‘s overall aesthetic will of course remain to be seen, guitarist Lothar Keller (who was never in either Trouble or Pentagram — yet!) having such a huge role in what they do, as well as bassist Ron Holzner and vocalist Eric Wagner, but wherever they go from their first album, I’m glad to see them getting out for a decent bit of touring, even if it’s headed west instead of east. The rest will sort itself out, but more time on stage can only make them a tighter unit and expand on what they were already able to bring to the studio the first time around.
The PR wire has tour details:
The Skull Announces North American Tour Dates
Doom Titans featuring Ex-Members of Legendary Metal Bands TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Set to Hit the Road
THE SKULL, featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends TROUBLE, guitarist Matt Goldsborough and drummer Sean Saley (both ex-PENTAGRAM) and guitarist Lothar Keller, has announced a North American tour in support of its debut album, For Those Which Are Asleep.
THE SKULL will launch the 16-city trek on September 11 in Milwaukee, WI. The tour will run through September 29 in New Orleans, LA. At the shows, THE SKULL will perform both songs from For Those Which Are Asleep and time-tested favorites from its canon of TROUBLE classics. The just-announced live dates are as follows:
THE SKULL tour dates: September 11 Milwaukee, WI Metal Grill September 12 Kansas City, MO Riot Room September 13 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge September 15 Spokane, WA The Pin September 16 Boise, ID Neurolux September 17 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw September 18 Seattle, WA El Corazon September 19 Portland, OR Star Theatre September 20 Oakland, CA Opera House September 22 Los Angeles, CA Satellite September 23 San Diego, CA Hideout September 24 Phoenix, AZ Pub Rock September 25 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad September 26 Fort Worth, TX Lola’s September 27 Tulsa, OK Downtown Lounge September 29 New Orleans, LA Sibera