The Skull Stream “The Longing” & “The Skull” from New EP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

In Fall 2014, Chicago doomers The Skull offered up their debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), on Tee Pee Records. For a few years prior, the band had been kicking around as a solid five-piece, mostly playing out with takes on classic material from Trouble, of which vocalist Eric Wagner (who also has a new solo album out) and bassist Ron Holzner were members during what might be called that band’s peak era. The Skull has seen a number of other players come and go around WagnerHolzner and guitarist Lothar Keller, including former Trouble drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and guitarist Matt Goldsborough, who has filled in with Pentagram for Victor Griffin. And their evolution continues in 2016. Their new self-titled five-song EP, called simply The Skull, finds the trio of KellerHolzner and Wagner joined by former Pentagram drummer Sean Saley and Witch Mountain guitarist Rob Wrong and presents the first new studio material from the group since For Those Which are Asleep in its leadoff track “The Longing.”

The classic doom swing of Trouble‘s landmark works lives on in The Skull — not to mention Trouble, who are also still active — but even as Wagner and Holzner continue to pay homage to what that band did, The Skull has its own progression under way as well. The LP showed that and the EP does likewise, whether it’s the high-low pairing of vocal the skull the skull eplayers in the chorus or the solo shredded out over the song’s transmoded “Hole in the Sky” riff. “The Longing,” which lives lyrically up to that title in describing a particular kind of soul torture, is paired with a remake of the Trouble song after which The Skull are named, taken from the 1985 sophomore outing of which it also served as the title-track. A cover, since Wagner is the only member tying the band to the album (Sean McAllister played bass on that record), tapping into Trouble‘s Christian lyrical themes and meeting them with an updated tonality, production, and sense of depth in the mix, which remains even in the furious thrashing apex late in the track, in which the guitars put on another clinic and Wagner pushes his voice to the point of breaking without going over that line.

Admittedly, the new studio material — these two songs — is a draw, but 2016 will see considerable touring from The Skull as well, and in addition to the perhaps-underappreciated “A New Generation” from For Those Which are Asleep, the recently-recorded live tracks “Assassin” (another Trouble cover, from Psalm 9) and “Til the Sun Turns Black,” captured just last month at Reggies in Chicago, make a solid case for the band’s live dynamic, even with this still-new lineup, and as they make ready to head to Europe for the first time — not before they represent their hometown in supporting Sleep at Thalia Hall on Jan. 27 — it seems apparent they chose to name the EP The Skull not just because of the Trouble tune they’re covering on it, but because of how well it represents the various sides of what they do, whether that’s reinterpreting a classic, forging ahead in developing their own identity, or bringing both to the stage with vitality that helped craft that legacy in doom in the first place.

The Skull‘s The Skull EP is out Jan. 22, and its studio tracks are available now to stream on the player below. More info on the release follows, as well as The Skull‘s tour dates, of which there are many.

Please enjoy:

New song, “The Longing” and updated take on “The Skull”. Also, ‘A New Generation” + 2 live tracks, recorded 12.4.15 in Chicago.

THE SKULL recently recorded two songs for a 7″ single for Tee Pee Records to be released in April. “The Longing” is a bluesy doom metal traditional Skull song while B-side “The Skull” is an updated version of the classic song that originally appeared on Trouble’s 1985 record of the same name.

1. The Longing
2. A New Generation (from “For Those Which Are Aleep”)
3. The Skull
4. Assassin (LIVE in Chicago)
5. Til the Sun Turns Black (LIVE in Chicago)

“Having named the band THE SKULL after the classic horror movie of the same name it seemed fitting to do an updated version of a song I co-wrote called “The Skull” for its 30 year anniversary,” commented vocalist Eric Wagner. ” Its the perfect B-side and Lyrically resonates in the World we live in Now….and it happens to be the name of our band. Funny how that works out.”

THE SKULL recorded their packed concert December 4th at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago and picked two additional songs to add to the new EP/CD. “Till the Sun Turns Black” a heavy Bluesy number and the crowd favorite “Assassin” will join “The Skull” and “The Longing” (from the 7″) as well as the single “A New Generation” from their critically acclaimed debut record “For Those Which Are Asleep.”

“We are eagerly anticipating having the EP in our hands and for sale at our SOLD OUT pre-tour show with SLEEP at the Thalia Hall in Chicago, added bassist Ron Holzner. This year is starting off with a bang and gonna be a busy one.”

THE SKULL ON TOUR:
Jan 27 Thaila Hall Chicago, IL w/ Sleep
Feb 26 Little Devil Tilburg, Netherlands
Feb 27 Poppodium Q-Factory Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feb 29 Underground Koln, Germany
Mar 01 Forum Bielefeld, Germany
Mar 03 Klubsen Hamburg, Germany
Mar 04 Bandhaus Leipzig, Germany
Mar 05 JUZ Klex Greifswald, Germany
Mar 06 Ucho Gdynia, Poland
Mar 08 Paunchy Cats Lichtenfels, Germany
Mar 09 Chemiefabrik Dresden, Germany
Mar 10 Cassiopeia Berlin, Germany
Mar 11 Framus & Warwick Music Hall Markneukirchen, Germany
Mar 12 Backstage München, Germany
Mar 14 Explosiv Graz, Austria
Mar 15 Museum Obchodu Bratislava, Slovakia
Mar 16 Dürer Kert Budapest, Hungary
Mar 17 Viper Room Wien, Austria
Mar 18 Weekender Club Innsbruck, Austria
Mar 19 Freakclub Bologna, Italy
Mar 20 Jubez Karlsruhe, Germany
Apr 14 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 15 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 16 1000Fryd Aalborg, Denmark
Apr 17 Stengade København N, Denmark
Apr 19 Truckstop Alaska Gothenburg, Sweden
Apr 20 Revolver Oslo, Norway
Apr 21 Onkel Aksel Kristiansand, Norway
Apr 22 Tribute Sandnes, Norway
Apr 23 Inside Bergen, Norway
Jun 18 HellFest Clisson, France

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Pelican Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

pelican

Chicago stalwarts of heavy post-rock Pelican will head to Europe in April for their first tour abroad since 2013. Last time they went over, it was to play Stoned from the Underground and herald the arrival of their 2013 full-length, Forever Becoming (review here). This time, it’s to support last year’s The Cliff EP — though they may well have an album coming out that will be announced between now and the spring — and they’ll take part in Deserfest in Berlin and London as well as other shows and fests around the UK and Europe.

Last month, you might recall, Pelican went out for a Midwest weekender alongside Goatsnake. The moral of the story? Pelican do awesome shit.

Here’s the PR wire with details:

pelican european tour 2016

PELICAN Announces First European Tour Since 2013

Chicago’s celebrated torchbearers of instrumental metal, PELICAN, will return to Europe for a string of dates this Spring. This marks the band’s first European tour since the successes of their innovative 2013 LP Forever Becoming and 2015’s 4-track EP, The Cliff — both released via Southern Lord — and their 2014 Arktika live 2xLP. PELICAN will take their dense, meditative sounds, affectual melodies, and distorted atmospheric prowess to Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Denmark, including performances at Desertfest, Young Team Festival, A Colossal Weekend and more.

PELICAN European Tour Dates:
4/28/2016 Astra- Berlin, DE @ Desertfest
4/29/2016 MTC Club – Koln, DE
4/30/2016 Electric Ballroom – London, UK @ Desertfest
5/01/2016 The Fleece – Bristol, UK
5/02/2016 Audio – Glasgow, UK
5/03/2016 Gorilla – Manchester, UK
5/04/2016 Le Grand Mix – Lille, FR
5/05/2016 La Maroquinerie – Paris, FR
5/06/2016 Dunk! Festival – Zottegem, BE
5/07/2016 Les Trinitaires – Metz, FR @ Young Team Festival
5/08/2016 Rote Fabrik – Zurich, CH
5/10/2016 Arena – Vienna, AT
5/11/2016 NOD – Prague, CZ
5/12/2016 Hafenklang – Hamburg, DE
5/13/2016 A Colossal Weekend – Copenhagen, DK

PELICAN’s most recent release, The Cliff EP was released in February, featuring new track as well as four remixes of “The Cliff” from the band’s What We All Come To Need Southern Lord LP, including remakes by Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh, Jesu), Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer of ISIS/Palms, and, for only the second time in their fourteen year career, vocals. Allen Epley (Shiner, The Life and Times) once again returns to the band’s fold to transform, in a complementary manner, the concept and overall outcome of what we have come to know as PELICAN.

http://www.pelicansong.com
http://www.facebook.com/pelicansong
http://www.twitter.com/pelicansong
http://www.instagram.com/pelicansong
http://www.southernlord.com
http://www.southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/SLadmin

Pelican, The Cliff (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Motörhead, Owl, Waingro, Frank Sabbath, The Sonic Dawn, Spelljammer, Necro & Witching Altar, Stone Machine Electric, Pale Horseman, Yo Moreno

Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review winter

Pushing through the first batch of reviews and into the second. Always seems easier on the downhill somehow, but if the worst thing that ever happens is I have to put on 10 records a day, you aren’t likely to hear me complain. Today we get deeper into the round, and that while I’ll note that the context for today’s first review has changed decidedly for the unfortunate since it was slated for inclusion in this roundup, I’m trying still to take it on its own level, which is what any record deserves, regardless of its circumstances. No sense in delaying. Let’s go.

Quarterly review #11-20:

Motörhead, Bad Magic

Print

The four ‘X’es on the cover of Motörhead’s 23rd album, Bad Magic (on UDR Music) are placed there each to represent a decade of the band’s existence, and while the context of the 13-track/42-minute offering will be forever changed due to the recent passing of iconic frontman/bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister and because the remaining members – guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee – have said it will be their final new studio release, it goes to show that one of metal and punk’s most landmark acts came in raging and went out raging. To wit, barnburners like “Thunder and Lightning” and “Teach Them How to Bleed” are quintessential Motörhead, and the propulsive “Shoot out All of Your Lights” is a blueprint for both their righteousness and relentlessness. A closing Rolling Stones cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” borders on poignant in hindsight, but on cuts like “Evil Eye,” “Electricity” and “Tell Me Who to Kill,” Bad Magic is basically Motörhead being Motörhead, which was of course what they did best.

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UDR Music

Owl, Aeon Cult

owl aeon cult

Topped off with some of the least-pleasant cover art one might (n)ever ask to see, the Aeon Cult EP is the third from German progressive sludge outfit Owl in two years’ time after two initial full-lengths. It comprises three songs that span genres from the slow-motion lurch of “The Abyss” to deathly intricacy – preceded by a groove that doesn’t so much roll as slam – on “Ravage” to an atmospheric extremity of purpose on “Mollusk Prince,” and is over in a whopping eight and a half minutes. Seriously, that’s it. At the center of the tempest are multi-instrumentalis/vocalist Christian Kolf, also of Valborg, and drummer Patrick Schroeder, formerly of Valborg, who elicit inhuman heft and bleakness across a relatively brief but nonetheless challenging span, and who seem to revel in the melted-plastic consistency of the sounds they create. Creative rhythms and ambience-enhancing keyboard work give Aeon Cult a futuristic edge, and if this is the world into which we’re headed, we should all be terrified.

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Zeitgeister Music

Waingro, Mt. Hood

waingro mt hood

The self-titled debut from Vancouver trio Waingro (review here) was a half-hour affair brimming with intensity and forward motion, and while the band’s second outing, Mt. Hood, follows suit tonally and in its neo-progressive thrust, the 11-track outing also provides a richer all-around experience and shows marked growth on the part of the band. “Desert Son” opens the album with an expansive solo section and intricate vocal layering to go with its metallic crunch, and while Waingro keep a short, efficient songwriting process at their core, that track and the slower, seven-minute “Mt. Hood” show their process has become more malleable as well. Likewise, while the methods don’t ultimately change much, shorter instrumental pieces like “Raleigh” on the first half of the album and the rolling “Frontera” on the second add variety of structure and make Mt. Hood as a whole feel more widespread, which, of course, it is. Waingro still have plenty of intensity on offer throughout, but their sophomore LP proves there’s more to them than unipolar drive.

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Waingro on Bandcamp

Frank Sabbath, Frank Sabbath

frank sabbath frank sabbath

A self-titled debut full-length that breaks down into two subsections – the first is tracks one through five and is titled Emerald Mass and the second is tracks six through 12 and is titled The Quétu – clearly the intentions behind Frank Sabbath’s opening statement are complex. All well and good, but more importantly, the work of the Parisian trio of guitarist/vocalist Jude Mas, bassist Guillaume Jankowski and bassist Baptiste Reig is cohesive across the record’s 12-track span, and those two parts not only meld the songs that make them up together fluidly, but work set one into the next to bring a full-album flow to the proceedings, spanning classic progressive (the kind that’s not afraid to let the guitars get jazzy) rock and psychedelic mind-meld into a sometimes-strange, sometimes-in-Spanish brew of potent lysergics. The three-piece set a vast range from “Waves in Your Brain” onward and wind up delivering the “Fucking Moral,” which seems to be “Never be afraid of who you are/Never be ashamed of what you are.” Clearly, while their moniker might be playing off acts who came before, Frank Sabbath are not afraid to stand on their own sonically.

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Frank Sabbath on Bandcamp

The Sonic Dawn, Perception

the sonic dawn perception

Sweet soul and classic psychedelic methods pervade The Sonic Dawn’s Perception (on respected purveyor Nasoni Records) debut album, and the Copenhagen trio of guitarist/vocalist Emil Bureau, bassist Neil Bird and drummer Jonas Waaben find an easy, spacious flow through songs that, despite being relatively straightforward, retain an expansive feel. Shades of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors make themselves felt early on, but Bureau’s voice shifts smoothly into and out of falsetto and the tonally The Sonic Dawn seem immediately in search of their own identity. The effects-soaked finish of “All the Ghosts I Know” and the apex of “Wild at Heart” would seem to indicate success in that process, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they push the psychedelic impulses of “Watching Dust Fall” even further their next time out, and if they can do so while holding onto the accessible foundation of Perception, all the better. An impressive debut from a three-piece who do right in making a show of their potential.

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Nasoni Records

Spelljammer, Ancient of Days

spelljammer ancient of days

Ancient of Days follows two impressive EPs from Swedish tonal constructionists Spelljammer (on RidingEasy), and is the trio’s full-length debut, a pretense-less 39-minute offering that basks in post-Sleep riff idolatry while leaving room in a cut like the 12-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Meadow” for nodding atmospherics as well. “Meadow” and the 11-minute closer “Borlung” sandwich the rest of Ancient of Days, which moves between the acoustic minimalism of the quick “Laelia” to the already-gone centerpiece “From Slumber,” which rises gradually, swells in its midsection, and recedes again – beautifully – and the eight-minute groove-roller “The Pathfiner,” which would be the apex of the record if not for the crashing finale of “Borlung,” which churns and plods and caps the record – how else? – with a swirl into empty space. Following a cult response to 2012’s Vol. II EP, that Spelljammer would deliver big on their debut album isn’t necessarily a surprise, but it remains striking just how easy it is to get lost in the morass of riffs and outward vibes they present in these five cuts. Should’ve been on my Best Debuts of 2015 list.

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RidingEasy Records

Witching Altar & Necro, Split

necro witching altar split

This doomy twofer from Hydro-Phonic Records plants a veritable garden of unearthly delights in bringing together Brazilian doom outfits Witching Altar and Necro and highlighting the similarities and the differences between them. Pressed to CD late in 2015 with vinyl impending, it offers four cuts from Witching Altar, whose take on doom is ultra-traditional to the point of working in a Sabbathian “All right now!” for “She Rides the Seventh Beast,” and three from Necro (shortened from Necronomicon), a yet-unheralded trio of ‘70s progressive traditionalists who offer up the new single “Contact” and two tracks revisited from their two to-date full-lengths. Both prove immersive in their own right, Witching Altar setting a course for weird quickly on “The Monolith” which some theremin that reappears later, and Necro vibing out on the warm bassline of “Holy Planet Yamoth,” but each has their own ideas about what makes classic doom so classic, and the arguments on both sides are persuasive.

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Witching Altar on Thee Facebooks

Hydro-Phonic Records

Stone Machine Electric, The Amazing Terror

stone machine electric the amazing terror

One never knows quite what to expect from Texas two-piece Stone Machine Electric, and that seems to be precisely how the duo of guitarist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens like it. The Amazing Terror is something of a stopgap EP, released on CDR by the band as a follow-up to late-2014’s Garage Tape (review here) and a lead-in for their next full-length, reportedly recorded last month with Wo Fat’s Kent Stump at the helm. Taken from the Garage Tape sessions, The Amazing Terror makes a standout of its languid, jammy title-track and surrounds it by three more instances of the band’s exploratory ideology, delving into the quietly cosmic on “Before the Dream” and feeding a cyclical delay expanse on closer “Passage of Fire,” a likely companion-piece to the opening “Becoming Fire,” which may or may not play thematically into where Stone Machine Electric are headed with their next record. As always with these guys, I wouldn’t dare place a bet either way and look like a fool on the other side.

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Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

Pale Horseman, Bless the Destroyer

pale horseman bless the destroyer

Chicago post-sludgers Pale Horseman featured a remix by Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu), originally on their 2013 self-titled debut, on their second outing, 2014’s Mourn the Black Lotus (review here), and their third full-length, Bless the Destroyer, boasts a mixing job by Noah Landis of Neurosis. All three records were also recorded by Bongripper guitarist Dennis Pleckham, so it seems fair to say that Pale Horseman know who they want to work with and why. The results on Bless the Destroyer speak for themselves. With the 15-minute penultimate cut “Bastard Child” as an obvious focal point, the four-piece give a clear sense of progression in terms of their patience and overall range. The earlier “Caverns of the Templar” still boasts plenty of post-Godflesh chugging intensity – elements of death metal, see also centerpiece “Pineal Awakening” – but closer “Olduvai Gorge” sleeks along with a poise that even in 2013 Pale Horseman would’ve driven into the ground on their way to doing the same to everything else in their path. Their growth has made their approach more individual, and it suits them well.

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Pale Horseman on Bandcamp

Yo, Moreno, Yo, Moreno EP

yo moreno yo moreno ep

A self-titled four-track debut EP from Argentina heavy rockers Yo, Moreno finds the band coming out swinging. The San Miguel de Tucumán-based four-piece of vocalist Marcos Martín, guitarist Lucas Bejar, bassist Noel Bejar and drummer Omar Bejar elicit a surprisingly aggro mood on “A Lot of Pot,” the opener, but groove remains paramount, and fuzz abounds. “Noelazarte” is more adventurous all around, an early build setting a tone with prevalent bass before Martín comes in after the halfway mark. Since “Para Noico” returns to the angrier spirit of “A Lot of Pot” and closer “3,000” heads outward on an instrumental exploration that blends grounded, weighted tones with spacier impulses, it seems easy to think that someone, somewhere would pick Yo, Moreno up for a 10” release. Especially as their first offering, it skillfully blends doomier atmospheres with fuzz-heavy nods, and stakes its claim in a niche that’s never completely one side or the other. Even formative as it is, it’s an intriguing blend.

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Yo, Moreno on Bandcamp

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Eric Wagner Posts Acoustic Track “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

eric wagner

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:

eric wagner highdeas vol. 1

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

http://ericwagner.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull/

Eric Wagner, “An Absurd Jurisdiction”

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Dead Feathers Debut EP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

dead-feathers

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 dead feathers

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

Expected release date: 15 January 2016

http://hevisike.bigcartel.com/product/dead-feathers
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http://deadfeathersmusic.bandcamp.com/
http://facebook.com/hevisike

Dead Feathers, Dead Feathers (2016)

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Live Review: Scott Kelly and Bruce Lamont in Chicago, 11.11.15

Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

scott kelly and bruce lamont 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

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.

bruce lamont 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)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” scott kelly 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)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.

Thanks for reading.

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Buried at Sea: Migration 2LP Reissue Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

buried at sea

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:

buried at sea migration preorder flyer

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

http://warcrimerecordings.bigcartel.com/product/buried-at-sea-migration-2lp-etched-d-side-preorder
https://www.facebook.com/Buried-at-Sea-58375831421/
https://www.facebook.com/WarCrimeRecordings

Buried at Sea, “Migration” Live in Chicago, 2011

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Goatsnake and Pelican Announce Dec. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

goatsnake (Photo by Samantha Muljat)

pelican

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 pelican bongripper

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

https://goatsnakesl.bandcamp.com/releases
https://pelicansl.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.southernlord.com
http://www.southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/SLadmin

Goatsnake, Black Age Blues (2015)

Pelican, The Cliff EP (2015)

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