Friday Full-Length: Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners (1997)

21 years ago, Roadrunner Records gathered together 15 bands on one compact disc, slapped a picture of an 18-wheeler truck in the desert on the front of it, and called it Burn One Up: Music for Stoners. It’s not easy to find a copy of it these days — I looked for a while before finally getting it in London in 2010 — but with bands like Queen of the Stone Age, Karma to Burn, Sleep, The Heads, Cathedral and Fu Manchu on board, it’s worth the search. Dig the full tracklisting:

1. Queens of the Stone Age, 18 A.D.
2. Karma to Burn, Ma Petit Mort
3. Fu Manchu, Asphalt Risin’
4. The Heads, GNU
5. Spiritual Beggars, Monster Astronauts
6. Floodgate, Feel You Burn
7. Slaprocket, Holy Mother Sunshine
8. Leadfoot, Soul Full of Lies
9. Celestial Season, Wallaroo
10. Cathedral, You Know
11. Acrimony, Bud Song
12. Blind Dog, Lose
13. Sleep, Aquarian
14. Hideous Sun Demons, Icarus Dream
15. Beaver, Green

It’s easy to argue that, as far as “stoner rock” goes, these are some of the bands who would most shape it. Yeah, Slaprocket never got an album out, but the New Jersey-based outfit divided into Solace and The Atomic Bitchwax, and both of them continue to make their mark to this day. Europe is represented through Dutch outfits Celestial Season, Hideous Sun Demons and Beaver, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars and Blind Dog, and the UK shows off some of its best in The Heads, Cathedral and Acrimony. The aforementioned Slaprocket speak for the Northeast, while Floodgate hail from Louisiana, Karma to Burn from West Virginia and Leadfoot from North Carolina, so the Southeast is accounted for as well.

And of course we wouldn’t even be talking about the genre if it weren’t for California, which brings Fu Manchu, Sleep and an early incarnation of Josh Homme‘s then-new, on-the-rebound-from-Kyuss outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, which featured a frontman known only as “The Kid”. That’s a particular point of fascination unto itself, but with a first-album-era vocalized Karma to Burn as well and an off-album track from Cathedral, there’s plenty of fodder to make Burn One Up worth seeking for anyone who’d do so, but while the comp wouldn’t serve as a debut for Cathedral, or Celestial Season — who followed a similar path from doom to stoner rock and didn’t stick around long enough to make the turn back before reuniting in 2011 — or Acrimony or Sleep, etc., it’s still amazing to look at it and think of the legacy many of these bands cast. Shit, Sleep just put out their first record in 15 years and took over the world. Would instrumental heavy rock be where it is today without Karma to Burn? And Slaprocket through their already noted ties and Floodgate‘s vocalist, Kyle Thomas (also Exhorder) is currently fronting a little band called Troublem so you know, not exactly minor shakes there.

Blind Dog put out two records through MeteorCity before splitting up, closers Beaver would soon have a split out with openers Queens of the Stone Age via Man’s Ruin Records, and this would be the final appearance for Hideous Sun Demons, who released their only album, Twisted, in 1995. Spiritual Beggars gave an early look at their third album 1998’s Mantra III, with “Monster Astronauts,” while The Heads showcased how far out aural weedism could go with “GNU,” inarguably the trippiest cut on the release.

And The Heads are just one of the several bands who continue to make an impact. Fu Manchu. QOTSA. Karma to Burn. Sleep. Spiritual Beggars. One could argue the only dude missing here is Wino, and he would’ve been coming off The Obsessed and just getting going with Shine — later Spirit Caravan — so that could just as easily be a question of timing as anything else. Okay, maybe a bit of Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard would’ve been cool. You can’t have everything.

As with most compilations, the sound is somewhat disjointed, as the material was recorded by different players in different studios often enough in different countries, but Burn One Up gives an amazing summary of where the genre was in the wake of Kyuss‘ breakup and as it looked forward to developing in the 21st century into the multi-headed beast it is now. You can hear the crunching influence of grunge in Beaver, Floodgate and Slaprocket, but clearly these bands and the rest were on their own wavelength already, and whether new or old, whether they went on to lead the aesthetic or folded soon after — that reminds me, I need to break out those old Leadfoot discs — Burn One Up: Music for Stoners shows an admirable prescience in its picks and is a true piece of treasure for anyone who’d seek it out in its summary of what heavy rock and roll was at the time and what it would go on to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Went to bed last night around 8PM. I’d been up since one in the morning, so somehow it made sense, plus The Patient Mrs. was having trouble getting The Pecan to go to sleep and she had half a cocktail to finish, so it seemed only fair to tag in. I’d woken up early on account of said Pecan as well, his sort of nighttime mumblings varying between actual fuss, crying and a kind of sleepy coo, and decided to spend the extra hours organizing stuff on my new laptop, which I’ve dubbed The Silver Fox. Because it’s silver, you see. Yes, we’re all very clever over here.

Anyhoozle, kind of another rough night with the baby last night had me up at three. He was in the bed — something I swore up and down I wouldn’t let happen and then of course did — and had rolled toward me in such a way that I was against the wall pretty much pinned. By a kid who, at seven months, weighs about 18.5 pounds. Life does funny things to you. I woke up, enjoyed the snuggle-time for a bit, and then got up to work on the above post. Circa 5:30, The Patient Mrs. came out of the bedroom carrying the again-complaining baby — whose diaper I’d already changed at some point — and kind of at a loss for what to do. I went back to bed with both of them and sort of rocked him while standing up, a gentle bounce with his head on my shoulder and swayed back and forth until he was falling asleep, then got into bed while holding him basically the same way and he went out. We all caught a solid two hours of rest in that position and it’s early yet to call it (a little after 8 as I type this), but I think that might be the difference-maker on the day.

We’ll get in the car soon enough and head south from Connecticut, where we drove to yesterday for two magical hours of screaming-baby-in-the-car fun, to New Jersey, where once again we’re basically setting up shop for the summer. We’ll be back and forth between there and CT to hit the beach probably on weekends and/or various other times, and there’s still stuff that will need tending to in Massachusetts — The Patient Mrs.’ work commitments and the like — but it’ll be a lot of good family time over the summer with my people and her people and I’m looking forward to being in the New York area for probably the greatest amount of time in the half-decade since we moved away.

Around here, things will likely proceed as normal, if there is such a thing. Notes for next week look like this currently, but these things can and do change as you well know by now:

Mon: Demande a la Poussiere review/track premiere; Dust Lovers video premiere maybe.
Tue. Oresund Space collective review; Kal-El live video.
Wed. Orange Goblin review.
Thu.: Currently open. Maybe Astrosoniq review.
Fri.: King Heavy review/album stream.

Plus plenty of news and whatever else happens my way.

Ups and downs this week as ever, but I’m getting through. That’s the story from here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and stick around as there’s more good stuff to come. All the best. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Freak Valley 2018: Karma to Burn, The Freeks, Toke, Ouzo Bazooka Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2018

How do I know the following announcement from Freak Valley 2018 is awesome? Well, for starters I wrote the frickin’ thing. That might put me in something of a position of authority on the subject, but even if not, you don’t really need to look any further than the bands themselves to realize there’s righteousness afoot. Karma to Burn — always greeted as liberators — will make an appearance, and L.A.’s The Freeks will head to Germany supporting their yet-to-be-released new album.

I wasn’t as familiar with Ouzo Bazooka, though I’d seen the name (and once you see that name, you remember it), but checked out their stuff and found it wanting nothing in its blend of psychedelia and classic surf, but I think it’s Toke who are really going to surprise a lot of people when they take the Freak Valley stage. I’ve said before that the North Carolina trio are the inheritors of a Southern sludge legacy going back to Buzzov*en and other such early/mid-90s noisemakers, but they deliver their sound with a next-generation energy and have toured hard the last couple years to refine their attack. I would not be surprised if they come back from Europe a significantly bigger band.

Just my thoughts. Here’s that announcement, which, again, I wrote, as posted by the fest on the social medias:

Freaks, gather!

The time is coming ever closer, and we’ve already announced so many killer acts from OM and Yuri Gagarin to Russian Circles, Nap, and Year of the Cobra. We could not possibly be prouder of the fact that Freak Valley 2018 is already sold out, and we thank you so much for your support both this year and in festivals past. It’s the community of freaks that lets this thing happen year after year and keep getting bigger, so thank you!

Four new bands to welcome today and they’re awesome, so pay attention! Please say hi to Karma To Burn, The Freeks, Toke, and Ouzo Bazooka!

KARMA TO BURN

Led by founding guitarist Will Mecum, KTB are pioneers of instrumental heavy rock and roll. Yeah, the first album had a singer, and they’ve brought in guests in the past – some dude named John Garcia, etc. – but as they are today, Mecum, bassist Eric Clutter and drummer Evan Devine have never been such a force from the stage, and after years and years of lineup changes, bad luck, more lineup changes and worse luck, it finally seems like Karma to Burn are ready to take their place among the top league of riffers worldwide.

THE FREEKS

Welcome to Freek Valley! Los Angeles classic heavy rockers The Freeks – with none other than Ruben Romano (Nebula, Fu Manchu) behind the kit – recently announced they’ll release a third full-length this year through Heavy Psych Sounds. Could we wait to hear what was in store after loving their 2016 offering, Shattered, so much? Obviously not. We booked them, didn’t we? Get ready for punk-funk-psych-boogie-blues like none other, because – hey, big surprise – The Freeks feel no need to fit in with the expected fare.

TOKE

These North Carolinian sludge bastards are pucking up the next generation of a legacy for filth-coated riffing and heavy-ass-those-bass-cabinets groove begun by the likes of Buzzov*en, Eyehategod, and Sourvein. Yes, that’s the league of bands we’re talking about. Their Orange LP was released earlier this year, and you might not know it yet, but Toke are very quickly getting ready to conquer every stage onto which they set their collective foot. Don’t miss the opportunity to see them prove the power of truly unhinged sludge riffing.

OUZO BAZOOKA

Look. We’re not saying you’re going to watch about 30 seconds of Ouzo Bazooka’s set and then immediately decide you need to hit the merch table as soon as they’re done and purchase everything they have for sale – but yes, that is exactly what’s going to happen. The Tel Aviv-based psych-surf four-piece issued their latest EP, Songs from 1001 Nights, at the start of 2018, and further refined their blend of Western and Middle Eastern influences to sound like nothing else out there – nuanced but familiar like a dance in some lost otherworldly dream.

Freak Valley Festival 2018 // No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2018:
OM, Russian Circles, Karma To Burn, My Sleeping Karma, My Baby, Mars Red Sky, Sumac, Lucifer, Yuri Gagarin, Dýse, The Freeks, Sacri Monti, Black Bombaim, Year of the Cobra, Purple Hill Witch, Ouzo Bazooka, Ruff Majik, Toke, Humulus, Kaleidobolt, Rage of Samedi, Nap
More tba soon

Have a freaky time – your Rock Freaks

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/738782742996668/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Karma to Burn, Live in Paris, Dec. 23, 2017

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Elav Stoner Open Air 2017 Starts Tomorrow; Karma to Burn, Monkey3, My Sleeping Karma & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Pretty impressive lineup that Italian heavy rockers Humulus have put together in conjunction with Elav Brewery for what’s being called Elav Stoner Open Air 2017, with Monkey3 and Karma to Burn headlining and performances locked in from Humulus themselves as well as Toner Low, My Sleeping Karma, Monte Nero, Ride Paranoia, Elepharmers and Bangarang. It’s a two-night affair, and one assumes that since it’s actually being held at the brewery itself it’ll be as much a party as it is a show, but all the better for the heavy and psychedelic vibe that seems to be the event’s ultimate aim.

Four bands tomorrow, five on Saturday. I know it’s kind of a crapshoot to think you’re going to be able to make it out to this one on such short notice if you didn’t already plan to go, but consider this notice at least that cool stuff like this is happening somewhere on the planet. On the most basic level, ideas like this one seem worth supporting to me. It looks like a good time.

Fest info follows, as run through a major tech firm’s translation matrix from its original Italian:

elav-stoner-open-air-2017

Elav Stoner- Open Air Festival

The Brewery opens the doors for the Stoner event of the year.

Friday 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017 will arrive in the year of the ELAV STONER OPEN AIR FESTIVAL at #Bergamo, a two-day stoner music with nine bands, between national and international, which will alternate on stage with: Psych-Stoner , Psychedelic vibrations, garage, rock and some blues notes …

The billboard took shape under the artistic direction of the Humulus, power trio Psych-Stoner of Brescia / Bergamo.
Guest star of Karma to Burn, US trio that with their rock instrumental stoner will explode the stage!

Friday, July 7

MONKEY3 (Switzerland)
Psychedelic vibrations, stoner rock slides with a twist prog, instrumental music that invites to travel through the mind. During a 14-year career, Monkey3 has released 6 albums. Over the years, the Swiss quartet played everywhere in Europe, taking part in the best festivals: Roadburn, Hellfest, Desertfest, Burg-Herzberg, Freak Valley …

HUMULUS (Italy)
A power-trio Psych-Stoner set up in 2009. Their first album of the same name comes out for Go Down Records in December 2012. In 2015, after a change of training, the Humulus are ready to write new songs; An EP of 3 songs entitled “Electric Walrus EP” sees the light in October 2015. 2016 is a year full of important concerts and new ideas for new songs that will compose the new LP entitled “Reverently Heading Into Nowhere.”

ELEPHARMERS (Italy)
Stoner rock band from Cagliari, two guitars with heavy tuning, battery and voice. The sound of the trio brings with it the teaching of the Black Sabbath, the “cosmic” blues of the 60s and 70s, the groove of the stoner of the ’90s. The Elepharmers sound continues to have a sabbatical matrix, but with respect to the first album the songs are longer and more dilated, there are more instrumental parts and the arrangements are richer, thanks to the presence of acoustic guitars and synth arrangements and hammond By Matteo “Baro” Paper.

Bangarang! (Italy)
Quartet with a loud rhythm, a strong ironic vein and the lyricism of the sampler that becomes a sort of “virtual singer”. The Bangarang Concert! Is littered with voices, noises, quotes, and dialogues around and inside the songs. In 2016 the Bangarang! Come back with a new work in the studio: ten tracks that go to create RELIGION CATODICA, an album that tells the many aspects of Italian television, for good and for evil, and which leads to the extreme consequences of the fusion of the power of a schizophrenic power trio And the quotation of the sampled voices.

Saturday, July 8

KARMA TO BURN (USA)
With their rock instrumental stoner they are ready to blow up the stage! For more than 20 years, the US trio proposes a rock stoner that is for all such lovers a solid and historic reference point; With their latest EP “Mountain Czar” Karma To Burn propose another wave of what they like to call “Mountain Rock” … and we are ready to make us invest in this mountain of increasingly aggressive and rhythmic riffs .

MY SLEEPING KARMA (Germany)
Aschenburg’s rock psychedelic German group, with 4 studio albums behind and a lot of live experience. With their new album “Moksha” and a series of live sold out across Europe, My Sleeping Karma arrives at the Brewery together with their instrumental rock, a real journey out of the mind: hypnotic atmospheres, engaging guitar riffs and a Massive dose of rock that never breaks.

TONER LOW (Netherlands)
Band Doom Stoner who released the third album “III” in April 2013 on Bilocation Records / Kozmik Artifactz and Roadkill Rekordz.
The band features a rock stoner characterized by very low and rhythmic obsessive frequencies typical of the doom, which live become a real space trip.

MONTE NERO (Italy)
The Monte Nero project is a unique Distinct Music Moloch. After 15/20 years of ripening in various cellars, dance halls and stages throughout Italy, some operative musicians from rock band Bergamo (Gea, Spread, In The Howling Storm) are transferred to the BDC Room by Stefano Locatelli To spend another two years of maturing. Then, when the elements have reached full maturity, they blend together to create rock songs with a rich, intense aroma and full and round flavor.

RIDE PARANOIA (Italy)
A rock band from Brescia, born in 2014, is the meeting between the two completely different music companies. Claudio, Davide, Andrea and Marco are part of The Credo band, which has been active since 2006, the fifth element of the band is Giovanni, eclectic guitarist, formerly a member of the French Wine Coca and Waiver. The result of this sound fusion has given rise to the sound of the Paranoia Ride, explosive mix of stoner, garage, rock, embellished with a touch of electro.

https://www.facebook.com/events/134003620485445/
https://www.elavbrewery.com/
https://www.facebook.com/humulusband/

Humulus, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (2017)

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The Obsessed Announce Tour Dates with Karma to Burn, Fatso Jetson & Lo-Pan

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obsessed

The Obsessed have announced a massive round of tour dates for April and May to support their first album in more than 20 years, Sacred, which is out April 7 on Relapse Records. Direct support on the run will come from Karma to Burn (with whom The Obsessed also toured last year), and Fatso Jetson and Lo-Pan will trade off for the West Coast and East Coast portions, respectively. In addition, a record release party will be held in Philly on April 8 at Kung Fu Necktie, at which The Obsessed legendary founding guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich will perform acoustic.

By way of a spoiler, I interviewed Wino yesterday about the new album — which rules — and he’s stoked to take it on the road. More to come on that as soon as I get the conversation transcribed.

Meantime, without further ado here are the dates from the PR wire:

THE OBSESSED TOUR

THE OBSESSED Announce Headlining US Tour Dates

Maryland doom legends THE OBSESSED have announced a full US tour in support of the forthcoming album Sacred. The tour commences on April 12th in Pittsburgh, PA and runs through May 20th in Baltimore, MD. Karma To Burn will provide direct support on all dates while Fatso Jetson (April 17 – May 1) and Lo-Pan (May 3 – May 20) will provide additional support on select dates. THE OBSESSED will also join Weedeater and label-mates Primitive Man on five West Coast shows during the run (April 27 – May 1). All confirmed tour dates below.

Additionally, THE OBSESSED will hold a record release show for Sacred on April 8th at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia, PA. The band will also perform at this year’s Berserker Fest IV in Detroit, Michigan the weekend of April 14-15. Stay tuned for further tour announcements in the future!

April 7, 2017 will see the worldwide release of Sacred via Relapse Records on CD/LP/DLX. 2xLP/Digital. Physical pre-order and bundles are available via Relapse.com HERE and digital downloads can be pre-ordered by Bandcamp AT THIS LOCATION. The Deluxe 2xLP bundle includes an enamel logo pin, signed art print and two bonus tracks!

With renewed energy and purpose, THE OBSESSED sounds heavier and more relevant than ever before. On Sacred, the band doubles down on enormous, heaving riffs and pummeling low-end across 12 tracks of eternal doom. Rounded out by Wino’s lyrical honesty and iconic throaty vocals, Sacred is an album that further pushes THE OBSESSED into the annals of heavy metal history, well worth the two-plus decade wait. The band will perform once again as three piece featuring Wino, Reid Raley and Brian Costantino.

THE OBSESSED Tour Dates:
Apr 08 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie *Record Release Party/Acoustic Wino Set*
— All Dates Apr 12 – May 20 With Karma To Burn —
Apr 12 Pittsburgh, PA Cattive
Apr 14 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
Apr 15 Pontiac, MI Berserker IV (The Crofoot) &
Apr 17 Indianapolis, IN 5th Quarter +
Apr 18 Kansas City, MO Riot Room +
Apr 19 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge +
Apr 20 St. Louis, MO Fubar +
Apr 21 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co. +
Apr 23 Denver, CO Hi-Dive +
Apr 24 Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall +
Apr 25 Boise, ID Neurolux +
Apr 26 Bellingham, WA Shakedown +
Apr 27 Seattle, WA Highline ** +
Apr 28 Portland, OR Star Theater ** +
Apr 29 Sacramento, CA Starlite ** +
Apr 30 San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge ** +
May 01 Los Angeles, CA Regent Theater ** +
May 02 Mesa, AZ Club Red
May 03 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad #
May 04 Dallas, TX Three Links #
May 05 Austin, TX Grizzly Hall #
May 07 San Antonio, TX Korova #
May 08 New Orleans, LA Siberia #
May 09 Savannah, GA The Jinx #
May 10 Johnson City, TN Hideaway #
May 11 Atlanta, GA EARL #
May 12 Miami, FL Gramps #
May 13 Spartanburg, SC Ground Zero #
May 14 Raleigh, NC Pour House #
May 16 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie #
May 17 Boston, MA ONCE Ballroom #
May 18 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus #
May 19 New Hanover, CT The Ballroom at Outer Space #
May 20 Baltimore, MD Otto Bar #

& No Karma To Burn
** W/ Weedeater + Primitive Man
+ W/ Fatso Jetson
# W/ Lo-Pan

https://www.facebook.com/TheObsessedOfficial
http://relapse.com/the-obsessed-sacred/
https://theobsessed.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords

The Obsessed, “Punk Crusher”

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Descendants of Crom: Penance to Headline; Solace, Karma to Burn, The Midnight Ghost Train and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

descendants of crom

Lineup additions have continued to come out over the last week-plus since Pittsburgh-based fest Descendants of Crom made its first announcements with the formidable likes of EarthrideEYEFoghound and Stinking Lizaveta taking part. West Virginian instrumental trailblazers Karma to Burn, New Jersey rock destroyers Solace, Kansas boogie-thrusters The Midnight Ghost Train — as the names have appeared, the geographic reach of Descendants of Crom 2017, which is set for Sept. 30 on the Cattivo Nightclub‘s two stages, has only expanded, but perhaps the biggest addition yet brings the festival much closer to home.

Penance released their Alpha and Omega album in 2001 via the Martyr Music Group, and with it debuted a five-piece incarnation that will play for the first time in 15 years at Descendants of Crom, in a great add to the bill that fulfills the stated mission of the fest in honoring Pittsburgh’s own underground contributions as well as looking outside its borders. Badass all around.

In addition to the already-noted, CantOl’ Time Moonshine and Archarus, have also been added, so the more right on. Here’s the latest from the fest, including some comment from organizer Shy Kennedy on Penance signing on:

DESCENDANTS OF CROM – Penance to Headline with ‘Alpha & Omega’ Lineup

All-day fest set for Sept. 30, 2017, with two stages fueled by riffs created by the riddle of steel.

This all day music festival is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The underground scene of stoner and doom here is healthy and thriving and the location at Cattivo Nightclub is perfect with two large floors, a stage on each, and good sound with friendly staff.

Descendants of Crom Festival lineup:
CANT
MONOLITH WIELDER
OL’ TIME MOONSHINE
ARCHARUS
HORSEBURNER
WASTED THEORY
FOGHOUND
EYE
BRIMSTONE COVEN
SOLACE
THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN
KARMA TO BURN
VALKYRIE
EARTHRIDE
STINKING LIZAVETA
PENANCE (Alpha & Omega lineup)

Shy Kennedy on Penance headlining:

It all starts out with an idea of, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if there were a gig in Pittsburgh that had a bunch of riff-fueled bands of all rock and metal genres?’ It’s the perfect place for it, really. The scene here is supportive and it’s an accessible city to many. It doesn’t come out of nowhere –- you have to make it happen.

Next, who headlines this underground, doom-rooted event? The answer would be Penance but they’ve been dormant for some time. The Alpha & Omega lineup are all right here and nearly all active in the scene someway or another. Turns out that you just have to ask. Penance are as excited to be a part of the Descendants of Crom as I am. A lot of the seasoned fans are going to appreciate this and for those who aren’t familiar with Penance are going to get a little lesson in Pittsburgh Doom History.

DESCENDANTS OF CROM will bring great regional talent to a hungry crowd, utilizing national fan favorites to lure them to learn about these other amazing artists. This first year is anticipated to be a contender among other established annual fests and will not be an event to miss.

http://facebook.com/descendantsofcrom
http://www.descendantsofcrom.com/

Penance, “Wizards of Mind”

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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Stoned from the Underground 2017: All Them Witches, Elder, Monolord, Zeke, CJ Ramone, Steak, Karma to Burn Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Long-running German festival Stoned from the Underground has announced that All Them Witches will headline the first of its three nights on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Presumably that means the Nashville outfit will be on a European tour supporting their now-impending fourth album, Sleeping Through the War, which is out in February, but either way, as they join a lineup that also features ElderMonolordZekeSteakKarma to Burn, and somewhat curiously, CJ Ramone, they’re obviously keeping good company in Erfurt. I’ll keep an eye out for those tour dates and for more lineup announcements from Stoned from the Underground 2017 both, and hopefully be better at keeping up with fest than I admittedly was this time around.

Info follows as translated by robots from German into English:

stoned from the underground 2017

STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND 2017 – July 13-15

Hi guys, just before Christmas there are a couple of bands for 2017 the stoned from the underground.

Here we have all of them witches, which will be headlining on Thursdays. But that was not enough for us! We could also add the heavy Rock Heavyweights Sasquatch. And a little punk attitude hurts nobody and that’s why we have the cult-Speed Rocker Zeke booked for you. What, you guys that’s still not enough? Well, because Christmas is here let’s put another, cj ramone on it.

You can look forward to 2017 on earth ship (ENG), Elder (USA), karma to burn (USA), Mono Lord (SWE) and steak (UK)
Get your tickets here: http://www.sftu.de/pages/raquo-tickets.php

The Stoned From The Underground 2017 takes place from July 13th until July 15th 2017.

The first STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND took place in 2001…the festival offers a platform for diverse kinds of bands within the underground and beyond. The STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND is a pure scene festival…a festival made by fans for fans.

https://www.facebook.com/stonedfromtheundergroundfestival
http://www.sftu.de/
https://www.instagram.com/stonedfromtheunderground

All Them Witches, Live on Rockpalast 2016

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Friday Full-Length: Karma to Burn, Karma to Burn

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Karma to Burn, Karma to Burn (1997)

They weren’t yet the band they wanted to be, and it’s important to acknowledge that at the outset. Seven years ago, when I spoke to now-former Roadrunner Records A&R head honcho Monte Conner about his label’s involvement with the makings of stoner rock in the late ’90s, Karma to Burn were bound to come up. In addition to having issued the Burn One Up: Music for Stoners compilation in 1997 (which featured the West Virginian outfit alongside a very early appearance from Queens of the Stone Age with a different singer, as well as The Heads, Gnu, Sleep, Blind Dog, Fu Manchu, Spiritual Beggars, Slaprocket and others), and though they were of course known more as a metal label and were releasing the likes of Type O Negative, Life of Agony, Fear Factory and Sepultura at the time, Roadrunner was the party responsible for bringing Karma to Burn‘s self-titled debut to public attention — part of a kind of under-the-underground involvement in what was then a burgeoning post-Kyuss movement of heavy rock. In the almost two decades since its release, and of course in light of all the instrumental work the band has done since, the narrative about the label forcing them to get a singer has become an essential piece of context. Here’s what Conner had to say in 2009:

“Basically, we saw Karma to Burn for the first time here in New York at a club called Brownies, myself and Howie Abrams, the guy who led the charge in signing the band. We saw them as an instrumental trio and were just absolutely floored at the power. You could listen to Karma to Burn even without vocals and it was still captivating, at least for one record. It might wear thin after a while, especially with songs called ‘Thirty-Nine,’ ‘Forty,’ ‘Forty-Two,’ it’s a little hard to keep track at that point.

But we did see Karma and we were absolutely floored and we thought, ‘God, if these guys get a singer there’s gonna be no stopping them!’ At the time we signed the band, the whole courtship process and signing the band, the band at that point did want to get a singer and agreed to get a singer, and it was only after frustration of not finding someone that I think the band realized, ‘Hey, maybe we’re better without a singer, we’re more unique this way, we don’t need a singer.’

At that point, they told us ‘No singer,’ and we were objecting because we signed them with the intention of getting a singer, and as I said, that was laid out from the beginning and when we signed them, they said, ‘Yes, we are going to get a singer.’ So they kind of changed the game on us, and they had already recorded the entire record prior to having a singer, figuring, ‘We’ll get the singer and he’ll just go in and lay down the tracks.’ Eventually, due to pressure from us, the band still couldn’t find a singer and had a local friend of theirs, Jason Jarosz, come in and put down vocals.

Not traditional vocals at all, but these really sinister, kind of strange — as you can hear on the record — kind of weird vocals, that we thought were cool, even though they were not typical vocals at all. It kind of gave the whole thing an eerie, avant garde feeling. So we accepted it, we were okay with it, but I think in the end, it really wasn’t the type of vocals we imagined. I think we were settling at that point, just because we wanted to get the record out.

The band went along with it to appease us, but in the end I don’t think they liked this guy’s vocals. They were very rebellious and were like, ‘Fuck this, we don’t want a singer,’ so they basically parted ways with this guy and decided to continue on as an instrumental band and at that point we weren’t interested in continuing, so we dropped them…” — Monte Conner (more here)

I think my favorite part about that entire quote is “They were very rebellious,” since it basically encapsulates the entire career of Karma to Burn and particularly their sole remaining founder, guitarist Will Mecum, whose perspective seems to have always been a middle finger in the face of anyone who’s going to say otherwise on just about any issue. I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken about the band, who released the Mountain Czar EP (review here) and toured with The Obsessed this year, without calling their sound “bullshit-free,” and indeed, I consider that to be their defining sonic feature. Right up there with “riffs.”

They are and have for a long time been the straightest line to heavy rock and roll, and while records like 1999’s Wild Wonderful Purgatory and 2001’s Almost Heathen provided the defining hours for their approach — Mecum along with bassist Rich Mullins and drummer Rob Oswald — the self-titled has always been by its very nature a standout from everything that followed it. Jarosz‘s vocals, quieter and less burly than what, say, Sixty Watt Shaman were doing at the time, had an attitude all their own, and while one might find some politically suspect lyrics in “Mt. Penetrator,” there’s an underlying sad blue-collar poetry to the words that gets lost in a lot of modern Southern rock, which is more about the boozing, the womanizing, the party-as-escape. Karma to Burn‘s self-titled, which also introduced the band’s signature numbered instrumentals with “Eight,” “Thirteen” and “Six” after the landmark hook of opener “Ma Petite Mort,” undercut that impulse to a degree and came across as an emotionally richer and somewhat more honest offering because of it.

Maybe don’t tell that to the band. In 2012, they’d revisit this material and release it completely instrumental as Slight Reprise, a fitting swansong for the then-reformed Mecum/Mullins/Oswald lineup. Mecum has of course carried the band forward, working now with a strong European focus and the rhythm section of bassist Eric Clutter and drummer Evan Devine. Their last full-length was 2014’s Arch Stanton (review here) — Clutter was not yet in the lineup — but they’ve been reborn as a touring act. This fall, they made the rounds in Europe and played Desertfest in Athens as well as Keep it Low, and having been fortunate enough to see them this summer at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), I can attest to the drive and push they emit from a stage being as middle-finger as ever, and so, true to the foundation they laid with this self-titled debut.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

How was your week? Mine went by in a blur of corporately-tinged workflow process acronyms — letters that meant nothing to me until a few months ago (and some that still don’t). Made me think maybe I should come up with important-sounding abbreviations for what I do here. “Why did you get up at 5AM?” “I had a big RWM to get through,” where all RWM means is “review-writing in the morning.” Or, more appropriately, “I had to finish the FFL.” Friday Full-Length.

You get the idea.

However, since I don’t really talk about the site with anyone, it would pretty much be an inside joke with myself, and that seems kind of sad in this context.

Before I forget — THANK YOU to everyone who has submitted their best-of 2016 list so far to the YEP (Year-End Poll). If you haven’t yet, please do. As of right now, the tally stands at 370 submissions. I hope by the end of the weekend to pass 388, which was last year’s total for the entire month of December. Not bad for being less than half the time. I am humbled and deeply grateful.

You might’ve noticed the Album Covers that Kicked Ass in 2016 list didn’t go up this week. I had crazytimes at the office and though the piece about that Comet Control track being my favorite song of the year turned out to be a doozy in its own right, it required much less time on the back end than tracking down and laying out different art jpegs would. I’ll get to work on it this weekend — I also have some fest writeups to do — and have it up on Monday, disaster pending.

Speaking of “subject to change,” here’s the rest of what’s in the ol’ notes for next week:

Mon.: Art list (who knew?) and new video from Sun Blood Stories. Don’t miss either of them.
Tue.: News on the SonicBlast Moledo fest and new recordings from Australia’s Merchant, an album stream from Elbrus and video from Crippled Black Phoenix. Don’t miss any of that either.
Wed.: Track premiere from Indian metallers Rudra.
Thu.: Review of the new Sgt. Sunshine.
Fri.: Review of the new T.G. Olson.

We get kind of tentative there toward the end of the week, and I’m basically doing myself favors at this point in terms of picking what I want to write about. Anytime you see me covering something from T.G. Olson or his main outfit, Across Tundras, you can pretty much guess that I’m doing so in order to maximize enjoyment of the day. Not that I don’t dig writing about most of what I write about — no point to the site otherwise — but as you know if you’ve already made out your top 20 and turned it in for the Year-End Poll, these things are relative.

Hey, have a great weekend, alright? Please do that.

Largely at the insistence of The Patient Mrs., I went ahead and took Monday off from work (will make sure to put up my “OOO”). She rather correctly asserted that I needed a three-day weekend. No argument, I just don’t get paid for the time I don’t work, so it’s money out of my pocket to stay home. Still, money ain’t everything and sometimes those hours are worth their weight in gold. So I’ll be around. In my pajamas. Sitting on ass. Hopefully playing Final Fantasy. And writing. And that’s my plan.

Whatever you’re up to, please be safe and have a great time. Thanks for reading this long-ass post if you have, and we’ll see you back here Monday. In the meantime, please check out the forum and radio stream.

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