Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ahead of a forthcoming EP release that will be pressed to CD and include a comic book to coincide with the tracks, Indiana heavy rocking five-piece The Mound Builders have announced a limited split with the cleverly-named Bo Jackson 5 (you see what they did there? They took a reference to a famous person and made two references out of it!) that will be released this weekend in honor of Record Store Day on tape through Failure Records and Tapes in a pressing of just 100 copies.
The striking cover art for the tape can be seen below, and while it festers into your consciousness to haunt your dreams, be sure to peruse the PR wire info that follows. The Mound Builders‘ last offering was 2011′s Strangers in a Strange Land(review here):
The Mound Builders and Bo Jackson 5 cassette tape split to be released on Record Store day!
After two and a half years The Mound Builders are set to release new material on Record Store Day, Saturday April 19th.
The new tunes were recorded over a 3 day period last July at Sonic Iguana Studios by Dan Precision (88 Finger Louie, Rise Against, Set Fire to Reason). 4 songs were completed of which 2, Sport of Crows and Barroom Queen, will be appearing on the split.
This limited edition tape (only 100 copies printed) is being released courtesy of Failure Records and Tapes. Anyone buying a tape will also receive a download card which will allow for a digital download of the songs. Only people buying the tape will have access to the digital download.
After the release of the tape The Mound Builders plan to release all for songs as an EP later this summer. The EP will first be available as a CD release accompanied by a comic book which will visually tell the story of each song on the CD!
Follow The Mound Builders on Facebook for more details on future releases!
Posted in Features on April 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
To those who knew him, he was of course much more, but to the heavy underground, Jason McCash will be best remembered as the foundational low end resonating from The Gates of Slumber’s groundbreaking traditional doom. McCash, who left the trio late last year, reportedly died yesterday, April 5, from causes as yet unknown or unannounced.
McCash joined The Gates of Slumber in 2003, and his partnership with guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon proved pivotal to the band’s ultimate success. Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, The Gates of Slumber became a vanguard of Midwestern trad doom. From the band’s 2004 debut, …The Awakening, to their 2011 final full-length, The Wretch, the partnership between McCash and Simon — as well as drummers Chuck Brown, J. Clyde Paradis and Bob Fouts — would develop into one of the most potent in the American underground, pulling in elements from epic classic metal on 2008′s Conqueror and 2009′s Hymns of Blood and Thunder.
The Wretch found The Gates of Slumber returning to a more doomed approach, effectively doing to Saint Vitus what Saint Vitus did to Black Sabbath, creating something original out of homage. Their final release, a Scion A/V-sponsored EP called Stormcrow, was issued last year and continued along similar lines. Already influential both in their native Midwest and beyond, The Gates of Slumber ended when McCash quit, and the members had begun to move forward on other projects. The door to a future reunion seemed open.
Karl Simon had this comment on McCash’s passing:
My best friend died last night. There will be no reunion – no more of TGoS. It’s dead beyond dead, and I’ve lost a brother.
Please be respectful or silent. It’s a small world and I’m still alive. Remember that shit.
On behalf of myself and this site, I offer condolences to Jason McCash’s friends and family. Even those who knew him casually, in bands, or who just appreciated his work know that his loss leaves a void in doom and in the lives of those close to him. His death, far too soon, is a reminder of the importance of community and support in dark times.
Posted in audiObelisk on January 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pat Harrington of Geezer‘s slide guitar fits so easily in with The Heavy Company‘s bluesy push that on first listen to “State Flag Blues,” you might not even give it a second thought. It makes enough sense alongside the guitar and vocals of Ian Gerber, the bass of Michael Naish and the drums of Jeff Kaleth throughout the six-and-a-half-minute new single from the Lafayette, Indiana-based outfit that it feels like of course it would be there. It’s not obvious, Harrington being in New York and The Heavy Company being in the Midwest, but works really, really well.
“State Flag Blues” is the latest output from The Heavy Co., whose 2013 full-length, Midwest Electric (review here), found them refining blues-psych jams for loose grooves, not sloppy, but human. The new single builds on that, adds Harrington for the guest spot, and brings a newfound political edge to the lyrics. Gerber champions an anti-prejudicial stance and calls out Indiana governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence by name in the last verse:
Well, you ain’t my man, Mitch And Pence, you son of a bitch Keep your hands off of my Hoosier home ‘Cause I’ll tell you right now Even in my hometown We think your shit is getting old
It’s a particularly bold statement in a heavy genre that’s usually apolitical if not inherently conservative, but you won’t find me arguing either with the message or how well Gerber, Naish and Kaleth make it flow in the song itself. If it’s a one-time thing or a new direction, I don’t know, but it comes across with conviction and the band’s usual lack of bullshit, and the track is cool, so there you go. That’s about all I need to post it.
Find the song on the player below, followed by some words from The Heavy Company about its origins and a quote from Harrington about contributing slide guitar. Enjoy:
The Heavy Company, “State Flag Blues” (2014)
Every once in a while you have to shake things up a bit. That’s what State Flag Blues is meant to do. While most of our counterparts in the stoner/doom genre are focusing on wizards, dragons, and galactic travel, The Heavy Co. has decided that it’s time to use their music for change. Don’t get us wrong. We love talking about wizards, dragons, and galactic travel, but sometimes you have to get your head into the real world. Being the proud Hoosiers that we are, we figured we aren’t going to let a small minded agenda get in the way of the social progress that desperately needs to happen. Not only in Indiana, but in our country as well. It might not be the popular thing to do, but it’s the right thing. Coincidentally, with yesterday’s passing of musician/activist Pete Seeger serving as a poignant reminder, we hope this song finds its way to the ears of those who need to hear it the most.
We hope you dig our new tune. We also really appreciate Pat Harrington of Geezer for lending his bodacious slide guitar to the track. As we say around here, he’s good company.
Please tune in…
Says Pat Harrington:
When Ian asked if I was down to play slide guitar on a new THC track, I said yes right away. I was a fan of their last release, Midwest Electric and definitely relate to who the band is. We both tread in those waters between blues and doom, too heavy for the blues purists and not heavy enough for the doom purists, so I was more than happy to contribute what I could to a kindred spirit. The fact that it was a good ole fashioned protest song just made it all even cooler! It was a lot of fun to do and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Indiana-based riffers The Heavy Co. have a new live EP in the works. Cleverly-titled The Uno Dose, it’ll be the trio’s second live outing behind their 2012 digital release, Live at Lafayette Brewing Company. To mark the occasion of the coming release, the wheres and whens of the recording for which are still something of a mystery, not to mention who’s playing bass on it, they’ve put together a video for the song “What’s Eating Harry Lee?” as the first glimpse at the set.
Near as I can tell from the clip, The Heavy Co.‘s approach to semi-psych laid back grooving is well intact from their 2013 debut full-length, Midwest Electric(review here). The song continues their unassuming sensibility in a restrained but still moving nod, guitarist/vocalist Ian Gerber‘s voice hinting at classic heavy rock swagger over the mid-paced push. They’re an easy band to listen to for heavy rock heads, but as the album had a deceptive stylistic breadth to it, I’d be surprised if “What’s Eating Harry Lee?” tells the full story of The Uno Dose upon the EP’s March 1 arrival.
Until then, here’s the video and some info about it, the EP and where it was recorded:
The Heavy Co., “What’s Eating Harry Lee?” video
Here’s the first look at our video project that we’ve been working on. On top of that, it’s a completely new song.
Here’s the first glimpse of our upcoming live EP, entitled “The Uno Dose EP”, due out March 1, 2014.
You know that line from ‘The Humboldt County Waltz’ that says ‘The one thing in life that I really need is a stash like Willie’s and some room to breath”?
Yeah? Well, Hooker Corner is one of those places and we are VERY thankful to Mark and Autumn for putting us up and helping us do this.
Recorded live at Hooker Corner by Mark McGregor Mixed by Jeff Kaleth Video editing by Ian Gerber
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Tomorrow is the arrival of the New Year, and among the pagan rituals, hangover-dispersal, Readers Poll results-posting and whatever other day-off-style shenanigans one might get up to, it’s also the on-sale date for Days of the Doomed IV tickets. To mark the occasion and the transition from an already-successful 2013 to a bigger 2014 to come, the festival has announced the addition of Ripple Music heavy rockers Devil to Pay to the lineup.
Devil to Pay, who released one of 2013′s best records in the form of their fourth album, Fate is Your Muse(review here), will make the drive north from their Indianapolis home-base to play Days of the Doomed IV alongside Blackfinger, The Mighty Nimbus, Age of Taurus, Wasted Theory and others. Many more bands are still to be announced, but the fourth installment of the metal-heavy doom outing, set for June 20 and 21, seems to be stepping up its game all around.
Announcement, links and Devil to Pay‘s kickass video for “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” (which premiered here) follow:
Happy New Year everyone! How about another band announcement For Days Of The Doomed Fest IV? Grab a PBR tallboy and get ready for the jams to kick your ass… from Indianapolis, I give you Ripple Music recording artist and purveyors of all things HEAVY.. Devil To Pay!
Back for its fourth installment June 20th & 21st, 2014! Days Of The Doomed Fest IV promises to bring the heavy! Bands will be announced over the next several months, so stay tuned! Tickets on sale starting 1/1/14 atwww.daysofthedoomed.com!
Days of the Doomed fest IV is scheduled for June 20th & 21st, 2014 at The Metal Grill in Cudahy (South Milwaukee), WI. It is the same venue as past fests, but it is under new ownership/management! Stay tuned for more details!
The Obelisk’s “10 Days of Stoner Hands of Doom XIII” coverage continues today with a video premiere from Indianapolis four-piece Devil to Pay, who headline Sunday night, Nov. 10 at Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia. They’ll be the absolute last band to play at this year’s SHoD, and they’re set to tour their way along the East Coast with the fest as the centerpiece in support of their 2013 Ripple Music album, Fate is Your Muse(review here). In addition, they’ll have a brand new 7″ on hand in two different colors with two different covers for the standout cut from that record, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” (the B-side is a cover of Eldemur Krimm‘s “Black Fog”), and they’ve got a new video for the song as well that today I have the pleasure of premiering.
Arriving relatively early on in Fate is Your Muse, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” is nonetheless one of the most immediately lasting impressions the album leaves. From the quirky narrative of the lyrics, the soulful melodic delivery of guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak – joined in the band by guitaristRob Hough (who plays the therapist in the new clip), bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle – to the catchy chorus and quirk of the title and the song itself, if nothing else, it’s a track that stays with you. And like their video for “Tie One On,” which premiered here back in August, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” finds Devil to Pay having fun with the form, whether it’s dressing up and dancing in lizard costumes or sitting down for a little D&D in the awesome space that the credits refer to as the “Godzilla Room.” You’ll know it when you see it.
It’s always a good time to see what Devil to Pay are up to, and between the cut and the video, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” sums up a lot of what I really, really like about this band. Check it out on the player embedded below, followed by the tour dates:
Devil to Pay, “Ten Lizardmen & One Pocketknife” official video
Devil to Pay SHoD XIII / East Coast Tour: 11/01 Valhalla Muncie, IN w/ So Sayeth & Witchdoctor 11/02 Radio Radio Indianapolis, IN w/ the Cocaine Wolves & Dead Birds Adore Us 11/06 Springwater Nashville, TN w/ Admiral Browning & Elder Skull 11/07 529 Bar Atlanta, GA w/ Admiral Browning , Volume IV & Iron Whip 11/08 Flat Iron Greensboro, NC w/ NONE and Jews & Catholics 11/09 Roger’s Pub Chesapeake, VA w/ Pillbuster, Wizard Eye, Faces of Bayon & Compel 11/10 Strange Matter Richmond, VA Stoner Hands of Doom XIII 11/11 The Maywood Raleigh, NC w/ Black Thai & Bedowyn 11/12 JR’s Bar Philadelphia, PA w/ Clamfight, The Cloth & Heavy Temple 11/13 Tobacco Road New York, NY w/ TBA 11/14 Geno’s Portland, ME w/ Eldemur Krimm & Eastern Spell 11/15 O’Brien’s Pub Allston, MA w/ Mollusk & Gut 11/16 Mr. Beery’s Bethpage, NY w/ Borgo Pass, Soma & Von Hell
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Bummer news out of the Midwest this morning as it seems Indianapolis trad doomers The Gates of Slumber have broken up following the departure of bassist Jason McCash. The trio’s last album was 2011′s stellar The Wretch(review here), and they also put out an EP through Scion A/V earlier this year, also closing out Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin back in June. Never say never, even in doom, but if this is really is the end for the band, they leave a sizable legacy behind them of having been at the forefront of introducing traditional, Vitus-style doom to a new generation of fans and producing some of the most epic doom of the last decade.
No word on how this will affect The Gates of Slumber‘s slot supporting Church of Misery on their recently announced North American tour, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s off. Hard to do two weeks on the road when you’re not a band anymore. Twice the bummer.
Here’s the announcement, as originally posted on Hellride.
The Gates are Closed
Some of you may have noticed that Jason quit The Gates of Slumber this past week.
So, yeah. it’s done. I always said I’d never go on doing TGoS without Jason, I don’t think anyone ever really believed it, but yeah, it’s done. I did start the band, but McCash has been my best friend for the last 20 years, the last 10 in this damn band. He wrote amazing music and was a killer person to be around on the road.
Somewhere about 3 years back shit started to change, and it’s ended with him quitting. I’m sure he needs the break, probably from me… I’m starting to *kind of* get the hint.
So yeah. It’s done.
Says McCash on his leaving the band:
I am really sorry to see this decision being made. It wasn’t my intention to prematurely end something that Karl and I have slaved over and over of for so many years. I didn’t want to hasten this day in coming. I had to come to my decision as a matter of fixing all those things in my life that was damaged and left ignored. This Dam of my life is cracked and broken and the high water line is over flowing and I really need to devote all my attention and sanity to fix these problems. I can no longer ignore them. I so wish these weary travelers (Karl, Bob and myself) chose a different path to travel down recently than the one we recently choose as things could have and should have been a lot better than what they are and maybe I wouldn’t have made this decision which brought on everything else. I apologies to Karl Simon and Bob Fouts again for this. Who knows what tomorrow will bring…
The Gates of Slumber, “Death March” official video
Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay throw down a gauntlet in their new video for “Tie One On.” Anyone can make a song about drinking, and a goodly amount of those people can then make a video for said drinking song. But can they do it in a brewery? With the very works that create crisp, deliciously mind-numbing refreshment right behind them? I humbly submit that no, probably not. Unless they know someone at the brewery. Either way, kudos to Devil to Pay and Fountain Square Brewing. They made it real.
“Tie One On” comes off Devil to Pay‘s 2013 full-length, Fate is Your Muse (review here) an album big on riffs, melodies and charm. It wasn’t included on the vinyl version of the album (it’s on the CD and the download, all out through Ripple Music), so if you got your hands on one of the snazzy clear-LP versions, the new video — filmed by Kris Arnold and edited by DTP guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (recent interview here) — is a good way to get acquainted with the track itself, the spirit of it captured well in the beery misadventures of the band — Janiak, guitarist Rob Hough, bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle.
If you haven’t heard it before, you might find its pace and shuffle somewhat akin to “This Train Won’t Stop,” which premiered here late last year, but “Tie One On” has a groove and a hook all its own and it’s a standout on the CD from whence it comes. Make sure you watch it to the end, spot the Beelzefuzz t-shirt, keep your eye out for Apostle of Solitude drummer Corey Webb, and in case you’re wondering at any point whether Mr. Janiak is making eyes at you, oh, most definitely.
Devil to Pay, “Tie One On” official video
Metaphysical Doom Rockers DEVIL TO PAY Release New Music Video!
Hoosier Doom Rock veterans DEVIL TO PAY released a new music video for their song “Tie One On” today via exclusive premiere at The Obelisk.“Tie One On” is just the second video from their Ripple Music debut album, “Fate Is Your Muse”. The video footage was filmed by Kris Arnold at Fountain Square Brewing Company in the historic Fountain Square area of Indianapolis.
Before being included on their Ripple Music debut, “Tie One On” was released as the B-Side to the GloryHole Records “This Train Won’t Stop” 7-inch. The boogie-doom of “Tie One On” is described by the band as “ZZ Top and Trouble getting into a drunken conversation about the meaning of life.” The video clip shows the band performing as well as relaxing at the bar, interspersed with various 1950’s educational film footage.
DEVIL TO PAY was recently awarded “Best Metal Band” honors from NUVO Newsweekly’s “Best of Indy”for the fourth straight year. Said drummer Chad Prifogle, “We’re really honored to win. The voting is done by the readers of NUVO and we’re grateful to all our fans for their support.”
The band also just finished up a string of Midwest dates with Columbus Fuzz Rockers, Lo-Pan, and have more regional shows lined up before an east coast trip this fall, including an appearance at STONER HANDS OF DOOM 13 in Richmond, Virginia. DEVIL TO PAY will be performing with a wide variety of bands such as SOULFLY, EARTHEN GRAVE, DAIKAIJU, INCANTATION and ZZ TOP.
“Fate is Your Muse” has been a top-selling album for heavy rock indie label, Ripple Music. A scant few limited-edition, splatter colored vinyl LP’s are still available in the Ripple Music Store. The album was also release on black vinyl, CD, and digital formats. All are available at the Ripple Music Store (http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products) and Ripple Music Bandcamp, (http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/) as well as premium records stores world-wide and via Nail Distribution, Clearspot International and Code 7.
DEVIL TO PAY TOUR DATES:
AUG 10th – Mayne Stage, Chicago, IL w/ Earthen Grave with Rachel Barton Pine& Divinity Compromised AUG 11th – The Vogue Theatre, Indianapolis, IN w/ Soulfly, Lody Kong & Incite AUG 24th – The Haymarket Whiskey Bar, Louisville, KY w/ The Decline Effect. AUG 25th – Klipsch Music Center Side Stage, Noblesville, IN w/ Kid Rock & ZZ Top AUG 31st – Berlin Music Pub, Fort Wayne, IN w/ Born Under Burden, Maumee Project & Dogma SEP 6th – Beale Street Live, Indianapolis, IN w/ Daikaiju, The Dockers & Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes SEP 21st- Indy Metal Fest, Old National Center, Indianapolis, IN w/ Incantation, Archeron, Byzantine, Leatherwolf & more
Posted in audiObelisk on July 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Anyone who got hip to Indianapolis trad doom four-piece Apostle of Solitude’s Demo 2012when it was streamed here last year is going to want to pay attention to what they’re doing in this demo for the new song “Whore’s Wings.”
For those who heard that demo — if you didn’t, click that link and dig in; I do regularly — “Whore’s Wings” is going to be an immediate departure from the metered chugging of “Good Riddance” and the catchy woes of “Blackest of Times” and “Die Vicar Die.” Beginning with “Iron” Bob Fouts‘ bass, the track soon opens to a fast, aggressive and driving riff that sets the tone for the next five minutes to come. Apostle of Solitude retain the bleak atmosphere of the prior demo cuts — that bodes well for the album whenever it surfaces — but with jabbing verse lines from guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown and an emerging headbang-ready chorus, “Whore’s Wings” stands among the most upbeat tracks the band has ever written.
The versatility suits them well. Fouts and drummer Corey Webb pummel in the rhythm section, and Brown and fellow-guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak manage to inject a melody into the hook that’s dark even as it’s rushing by en route to a midsection breakdown and subsequent solo, which is followed by some heads-down extreme chugging, shades of black metal showing through, and a return to the chorus to end off with a lasting impression.
To be blunt, whatever it may or may not be saying about the plight of sex workers, the song rules. I don’t know what Apostle of Solitude have planned in terms of recording their next record, when, where or how it might happen or what label will be lucky enough to handle the release, but between the quality of the material on Demo 2012and the willingness to branch out musically into classic fist-pumping metal they show on “Whore’s Wings,” I can’t wait to find out what the rest of their third album might hold.
Here’s hoping the wait isn’t much longer. Enjoy this one:
Posted in Features on July 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Two weeks ago, Indianapolis doom rockers Devil to Pay hit the road for a handful of dates alongside Ohio-based cohorts Lo-Pan. It was Devil to Pay‘s first real road time since issuing their fourth album and Ripple Music debut, Fate is Your Muse(review here), earlier this year, and Fate is Your Museis the first Devil to Pay album since 2009′s Heavily Ever After. Much of the material on the record had been tested at East Coast gigs last fall leading up to a performance at Stoner Hands of Doom XII, but still, for it having been so long since their last outing, the quality of the songs on Fate is Your Musewas all the more startling.
With tracks like “Already Dead,” “This Train Won’t Stop,” “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” and the eerily proggy “Black Black Heart,” Devil to Pay showed growth in what was already an engaging songwriting methodology. Strong choruses backed by the thick but not overdone riffing of guitarists Steve Janiak (also vocals) and Rob Hough lent a slick feel throughout, but a natural vibe persisted and won out, bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle holding down a straightforward foundation of organic groove from which tracks branched out in varying but consistent directions — the whole process both unpretentious and flowing over the course of the album as a whole. There was, in short, very little not to like.
As Janiak‘s vocals were a particular point of growth — he doubles as guitarist/backing vocalist in Indy trad doomers Apostle of Solitude – it seemed all the more appropriate to ring him up for a quick interview about Fate is Your Muse, what went into making it and if splitting his time as he does had any effect on the songwriting process for these tracks. Janiak has a keen, critical and self-aware eye, so to hear him turn those impulses inward to discuss putting the record together was especially fascinating. We spoke just prior to their starting the gigs with Lo-Pan and you’ll find the complete Q&A with pictures from last year’s SHoD after the jump.
Posted in Features on July 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Lo-Pan‘s touring adventures continue. In our last installment, the Ohio heavy rock four-piece stomped their way through Dayton, Ohio, and Chicago, and having covered that ground, this time around they’ve moved on to Madison, Wisconsin, and Indianapolis on their tour with Indy-based Devil to Pay.
Please enjoy, and note that the lead photo here was taken by Devil to Pay‘s own Steve Jankiak:
July 6th and 7th — “Eat a Sandwich”
Did you know Otis Redding was from Madison, Wisconsin? Well, he was. So was Chris Farley. This auspicious town was the locale for our next tour adventure.
We woke up early in Chicago in order to get to Madison by the early afternoon. About a year ago a friend of ours took us to this amazing deli in Madison and hooked us up on some great sandwiches so we always like to revisit that spot when we are in town. Hospitality on tour is like a full tank of gas, or a clean load of laundry — it kind of sets everything back to zero and allows you to start fresh. In my experience, when you go on tour you start out with a plan. I’ve got so many so-and-so’s for so many days and this do-hickey goes in this pocket and that’s where it will be forever. Well, after about eight days, things start to become a little less concrete. Pockets of things change. Things break or get lost. You get hot and tired and you just plain stop caring about those things. After around 15 days you start to degrade into an animal state of instinct and muscle memory. 30 days in, you don’t even remember what home feels like. 40 days and wherever you are is your home. Then, when you go home, it takes a while to adjust. All of this is to illustrate that when you find hospitality — a welcome smile, a great plate of food, a person who lets you enter their home and use it as your own for a little while — all of these things serve to reset the dials, and get you centered to carry on. Madison is such a place for us because it is home to some very hospitable and kind people. It’s one of those places that when you are a few days away you start to hear the mantra, “If we can just make it to Madison, everything will be ok.” So we made it to Madison, our Midwest oasis.
The show was at a bar called Mr. Roberts. We had never played there before so we didn’t know what to expect. We were set to play with a band called The Garza. They are a three piece featuring our friend Nate Bush on bass. We made Nate’s acquaintance a couple of years ago when he was playing bass for Madison band Droids Attack. In addition, the drummer for The Garza [Mike "Magma" Henry] is also in Bongzilla. Hopefully for your sake, Bongzilla need no introduction. The last time we played in Madison was on tour with High on Fire. The show that time was at High Noon Saloon. This was certainly a different situation, but we did see quite a few people at this show that remembered us from the last show. It’s good to see that our travels and work are paying off.
Devil to Pay started off the evening with a killer set. DTP are one of those bands that seem to nail their recorded sound in a live setting, and do it with ease. We played second out of three bands and we decided to change up our set tonight. We were playing Sasquanaut start to finish but on the drive to Madison we decided we would rather play our newer material and that people would just have to deal with it. Whatever! We do what we want! The Garza closed out the night and after some drinks and laughs we packed up and headed to our accommodations for the evening.
Brian is a friend of ours and he owns a tattoo shop in Madison. He let us stay in his posh tattoo studio for the evening. I had an honest-to-goodness couch to sleep on. Jesse slept on his air mattress and Fristoe took up residence on an amazingly adjustable tattoo chair. Skot, however decided to sleep on the floor despite the availability of other tattoo chairs. Skot Thompson is a floor-sleeping sumbitch. He loves it. Got a hardwood, concrete, or tile floor? Skot will sleep on it. Got a dining room table? Skot will sleep under it. And he will sleep well.
We woke up around 9:30AM and tattoo Brian came to take us to breakfast. Nice guy, that Brian. We said our goodbyes and headed off towards Indianapolis.
Indianapolis, Indiana. Indy’s Jukebox Live. Devil to Pay is from Indianapolis. Do you know what else is from Indianapolis? I’m asking because I don’t know. Or maybe I just don’t care. If you have ever driven through Indiana, then you know what a wholly depressing place it can be. Unless you are into extremely flat, corn covered vistas, there is not much outside of DTP to lure you to the Hoosier State. Actually, President William Henry Harrison was from there. I stand corrected.
On the bill for this show were Death Trap and Stealing Volume. Death Trap seemed to be having some technical difficulties during their set. They got off to a rocky start but finally got it dialed in towards the end. It sucks when you are just trying to play some music but you end up wrestling your gear into submission the whole time instead. Stealing Volume was a surprise to me. They had a punchy punk sound and they were very tight. Really good stage presence and delivery. I liked Stealing Volume very much. We played what felt like a good set to a sparse but engrossed audience and Devil to Pay headlined for the home town. After the show we packed up rather quickly and headed for home. Real life loomed large on the horizon, at least for a few days until we pick back up with the DTP boys in Detroit.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ripple Music has done a few benefit auctions along the way, building goodwill and community as well as giving diehard fans a chance to have a special item from their bands. This time around it’s a Devil to Pay test pressing for their new album, Fate is Your Muse, and the cause is a dear one. All proceeds will go directly to Doommantia.com founder Ed Barnard, who continues to struggle with health problems and the resulting medical bills.
Aside from the fact that Fate is Your Muserules, I have a hard time thinking of a better way to support one of doom’s longest running and most respect-worthy champions. Here’s the info:
Ripple Music and Devil to Pay Auction Extremely Rare Test Pressing of Fate is Your Muse to Benefit the Medical Needs of Doommantia Founder, Ed Barnard
Ripple Music is proud to announce the latest in their ongoing series of rare test pressing auctions for charity, this time benefiting the medical needs of Doommantia founder, Ed Barnard. The long-running site, Doommantia (www.doommantia.com) is one of the leading forces bringing CD Reviews, Interviews, Authorized free downloads and Promotion for bands in the Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Drone, Sludge Metal genres. The site also has an active forum (www.doommantiaforum.com) for heavy rock maniacs to share ideas and views, creating a solid doom rock community.
For those unaware, Ed had been forced into homeless by a medical condition but still manages to keep the Doommantia site viable online. Ed suffered a series of heart attacks that forced Ed to become unemployed. Those events, plus the exorbitant cost of cardiac medications made paying the rent an impossibility and he was evicted from his place in Aberdeen, Washington. Now homeless, the doom and metal community has been rallying around his cause with benefit concerts and a compilation of 39 heavy bands that all donated their music to help Ed’s cause. The compilation, Doommantia Vol. 1, is available at: doommantiavol1.bandcamp.com
Now Ripple Music offers their assistance to help a musical brother in need. After establishing an ongoing company policy of giving back to the community, Ripple Music has auctioned off some of their rarest test pressings to help the BP Spill Gulf Clean Up, Wounded Warriors, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research, and Joplin Missouri Tornado Relief, amongst others. The auction of the extremely rare test press for Devil To Pay’s Fate is Your Muse will continue that tradition, offering heavy rock/doom fans a chance to get one of only two test-pressings ever to be released to the public.
Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.
In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.
Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:
Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.
Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates: Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!
In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below:
Posted in Reviews on June 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Based in Lafayette, Indiana, heavy rock outfit The Heavy Company made their debut in the form of the 2011 EP, The Heavy (Please TuneIn…). It was a release that, despite raw self-production, had a number of things working in its favor — most notably a prevailing lack of pretense and natural sensibility. When it comes to hearing the follow-up first full-length, Midwest Electric, the discovery that those elements have carried over from the EP (review here) comes with some measure of relief, since it’s precisely this modest ethic that stands The Heavy Co. out from the bulk of their peers. If anything, it’s amplified on the seven-tracks of Midwest Electric, which is out on a limited CD run through the band’s own DPR Records in hopes of financing a vinyl pressing, and the album nestles itself easily into an overarching groove while maintaining sonic and structural diversity between its individual pieces. The band, down to the duo of guitarist/vocalist/bassist Ian Gerber and drummer/vocalist/guitarist Jeff Kaleth from their original trio incarnation — bassist Scott Gilkey plays on the first half of the album — elicit a strikingly organic, jammed sensibility, resulting in a full-album flow that’s unmistakably aware of European heavy psychedelia but hardly at all reaching for it sonically, instead weaving into and around American-style riff rock with understated finesse, here a Clutch groove, there an organ-laced tribute to Neil Young that sounds more like Mark Lanegan, at least in terms of the vocals. The Heavy Co. remain underproduced, but what’s encouraging about that in terms of the manageable 37-minute stretch of Midwest Electricis they turn that roughness into a part of their aesthetic, so that the opening push of “The Humboldt County Waltz” comes across with a garage sensibility, like a less urban The Brought Low underscored by a steady rumble of stoner-rocking low end, indicative perhaps of some of the sonic shifts to come as the songs play out. They never quite touch on Americana, and they never quite touch on retro ’70s rock, but there are pieces of both brought into the melting-pot-stew of their sound.
That’s evidenced on “The Humboldt County Waltz” well enough, but more so on the subsequent “A Groove a Mile Wide,” which is longer and more psychedelic thanks in part to a guest solo by Michael Rafalowich of Brooklyn’s Strange Haze. A cut in the tempo gives Kaleth‘s drums some sense of bounce, and the vocals seem content to ride the laid back groove through the verses, making room for ascending and descending guitar runs in between. There’s an undercurrent of psychedelic noise and effects that’s subtle, but there all the same, and it rises to prominence just before two minutes in when Rafalowich‘s solo takes hold. Gerber joins and the two guitars hold something like a mini-freakout, departing as quickly as they game as watery vocals return over more present low end and backwards cymbal washes. They cap “A Groove a Mile Wide” by delivering the title line and then seeking to embody it, and but for some of the tastier riffs to come on “Greasy Mush” and “One Big Drag,” I’d be inclined to say they got there, but the instrumental ending of “A Groove a Mile Wide” serves its purpose well nonetheless, and by the time the moodier “Neil Young” arrives, it has become abundantly clear that The Heavy Co. are working with a much wider sonic breadth this time around than on The Heavy (Please Tune In…). Quiet guitars strum out cleanly amid rising and falling organ swells and smoky vocals — could be Kaleth taking the fore from Gerber, I don’t know, but the style is different enough to make me think it’s someone else — and though distortion never feels far off, by the time it arrives, the band has successfully widened their scope and given a lonelier vibe to more accomplished songwriting. Lead notes echo out behind “Neil Young”‘s final moments, and the song ends with guitar and organ in quick succession, which does little to setup the shift into the fervently stonerized groove of “Greasy Mush,” but obviously recognizes that the latter is so immersive it doesn’t matter anyway. A riff easily mouthed along with, “Greasy Mush” makes the most of its central figure, stretching upwards of six minutes and peppering an open-sounding instrumental chorus with some of Midwest Electric‘s best bass work — the “voom”s in the would-be verses are a nice touch as well, as the band themselves say when the jam has ended. Before they get there, the guitars lead the way down an extended heavy psych jam that keeps its soothing sensibility even as it moves further away from the song’s initial idea, which is brought back at the end to excellently bookend the proceedings.
I’ve got good news and good news. The good news is that Indianapolis melancholic doomers Apostle of Solitude have a new album in the works. So what’s the other good news? The other good news is that in the meantime, to herald this progress, the four-piece has put together a performance clip of the song “Blackest of Times” from their previously-streamed Demo 2012, and they’ve been gracious enough to let me host a premiere of it.
Demo 2012has never strayed too far from my player or consciousness since I picked it up last year at Days of the Doomed II in Wisconsin, and I don’t think there’s been a cloudy morning since that I haven’t at least had the chorus of “Blackest of Times” run through my head since. The song has one of those quintessentially doomed melodies that Apostle of Solitude seem to toss off at will, carried across by the vocals of guitarists Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak (the latter also of Devil to Pay) while bassist “Iron” Bob Fouts and drummer Corey Webb lock in an ultra-heavy groove as a base for said melody to soar, following the song’s righteously heavy progression through a verse and chorus equally memorable and into a galloping, chugging payoff that proves more than worthy of the “oh fuck yes” response it demands.
With audio initially recorded by Fouts at Basement Rage Studios and the video filmed and edited by Janiak, the video for “Blackest of Times” is definitely an in-house affair, but it’s nonetheless a quality clip that shows Apostle of Solitude in their native habitat — the rehearsal space — and gives some sense of the dynamic from which their emotionally resonant and engagingly personal doom emerges. Between that and having an excuse to revisit the track itself — definitely deserving of another look, whatever the context — there was no way I was going to pass this one up.
Apostle of Solitude, “Blackest of Times” official video