Mars Red Sky Post New Video for “Join the Race”; European Tour Starts Sept. 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mars red sky

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure I have much insight to offer as regards Mars Red Sky‘s new video for “Join the Race,” the track taken from their 2014 sophomore LP and Listenable Records debut, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), but the short version is I get warm feeling whenever I listen to this song and the fucking band is great. They’re going on tour in Europe again, having just played the Reverence Festival, and man, I’d love to get to see them play again. Anywhere, really. Here, there, wherever. I don’t think another record has come out this year that I’ve gone back to as much as Stranded in Arcadia, and I’d relish a chance to hear the material live. Maybe next year.

The video for “Join the Race” is pretty much just compiled archive footage, grainy shots of the woods and train tracks put through psychedelic manipulations, but the point is the song itself. If you haven taken a second yet to get to know these guys, you’re missing out on some of the best heavy psych rock that’s out there right now.

And that’s that.

Dig:

Mars Red Sky, “Join the Race” official video

Following their spacey second effort “Stranded In Arcadia”, French stoner rockers MARS RED SKY recently presented their brand new video for “Join The Race”. In their own inimitable trippy style, the trio takes you along a kaleidoscopic journey across North America’s dusty deserted landscapes and railways. Sticking to the band’s DIY ethos, the video was exclusively made from archive images and edited by long time friend and video director Colin Manierka.

This fall, MARS RED SKY will keep on delivering fuzz to the European masses by playing an extensive serie of shows, which started last week with a smashing performance at heavy psych festival Reverence Valada in Portugal. Dates have already been locked in the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, as well as in France where they will share the stage with national doom heroes Year Of No Light. Expect more cities to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

UPCOMING SHOWS:

24.09 LILLE (59) L’Aéronef Club
25.09 LONDON (UK) The Black Heart
26.09 CORBIE (80) Festival Rockin’ the Docks
27.09 CAEN (14) Le Bocal
01.10 TOURS (37) La Belle Rouge
02.10 PARIS (75) La Maroquinerie
03.10 CHAMBÉRY (73) Blizzard Mountain’s Fest
04.10 PRATTELN (SWZ) Up in Smoke Festival
05.10 FELDKIRCH (AT) Graf Hugo
06.10 ERBA (IT) Rock Pub Centrale
08.10 VIENNA (AT) Arena
09.10 WÜRZBURG (GER) Immerhin Würzburg
10.10 ESSLINGEN (GER) Klub Komma
11.10 LINZ (AT) Kapu
12.10 BERLIN (GER) Bassy Club
13.10 SIEGEN (GER) Vortex Musikclub
15.10 KOHLN (GER) Underground Cologne
16.10 KARLSRUHE (GER) Alte Hackerei
17.10 FRANKFURT (GER) Sky High Festival
18.10 MUNICH (GER) Keep it Low Festival
19.10 MILANO (IT) Arci Lo-Fi
07.11 CLERMONT FERRAND (63) Le Raymond Bar
08.11 SAVIGNY LE TEMPLE (77) L’Empreinte
20.11 NANTES (44) Le Ferrailleur ***
21.11 BIARRITZ (64) L’Atabal ***
22.11 TOULOUSE (31) Le Connexion ***
10.12 POITIERS (86) Le Confort Moderne ***
12.12 STRASBOURG (67) La Laiterie ***
13.12 LYON (69) Le Marché Gare ***
18.12 BORDEAUX (33) Le Krakatoa – MRS & Friends ***
*** With YEAR OF NO LIGHT

https://twitter.com/marsredsky1
http://instagram.com/marsredsky
http://marsredsky.bandcamp.com/
http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com/
http://www.youtube.com/marsredsky

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The Top 15 of the First Half of 2014

Posted in Features on June 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s custom around here to do a Top 10 of the First Half of the Year, in advance of doing a Top 20 of the Year in December. The idea is that the later list will basically build on the earlier one. That’s never really how it works out — albums always drop off or appear unexpectedly depending on what gets listened to most, what gets reviewed late, etc. — but it always works out to be a good time anyway, and that’s really what it’s all about.

The difference this year is that instead of doing a Top 20 in December, I’m planning on expanding to a full Top 30, so to do a Top 10 of the stuff from January until now makes less sense. So here we are with a Top 15. A slightly longer list, but still the same basic idea as years past otherwise. These are albums I’m expecting will turn up again at the end of the year on the final Top 30, and though some will and some won’t and almost all of them will move around, there are more than a handful — particularly if we’re counting by fingers — of essential records released over the last six months recounted here.

If you missed something, I hope it’s something cool you get to check out, and if I missed something (as I inevitably did), I hope you’ll let me know in the comments. Please note that this is full albums only, no EPs, splits, singles or demos.

Enjoy:

 

15. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed April 25.

I’ll freely admit I was more than a little thrown off by the change in approach on Greenleaf‘s fifth album. Where prior outings like 2012’s Nest of Vipers (review here) and 2007’s megatriumph Agents of Ahriman had been lush heavy rock affairs helmed by Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa with a slew of guests on vocals, organ, etc., Trails and Passes dialed back the “extras” in favor of a more stripped down, stage-ready approach. Holappa‘s songwriting alone would likely be enough to have Greenleaf on this list one way or another, and Trails and Passes is one of the year’s best. The turn was just unexpected and I feel like I’m not caught up to it yet.

 

14. Druglord, Enter Venus

Released by STB Records. Reviewed Feb. 14.

Initially put out in a limited tape run in late 2013 (review here), the Enter Venus full-length from Richmond-based sludgers Druglord codified the noisy murk of their prior outings into one devastating wave of lurching riffage and echoing shouts. The Virginian three-piece recorded with Garrett Morris of Windhand and the STB vinyl topped off with artwork by W. Ralph Walters, making for a package both visually and sonically devastating, and though it’s short for an album at under a half-hour, the 12″ still earns the nod for the unmitigated heft its four songs carry. It’s one you can either dig or miss out, but Druglord show there’s more room for invention in sludge.

 

13. Wovenhand, Refractory Obdurate

Released by Deathwish Inc. Reviewed May 15.

There really isn’t much left to say when it comes to Wovenhand and their driving force, frontman David Eugene Edwards. Their first for Deathwish Inc., Refractory Obdurate is the latest document of one of this generation’s most accomplished songwriting progressions. It follows a brilliant record in 2012’s The Laughing Stalk (review here) and likely precedes one in whatever they decide to do next, and the enduring fascination on Edwards‘ part with tonal weight and groove continues to push Wovenhand into a creative territory that is without genre. Nobody else comes close.

 

12. Papir, IIII

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Quick-working Danish jammers Papir made a strong impression with IIII early in the year, offering a progressive take on the style of heavy instrumental jamming that has flourished throughout Europe over the last half-decade or so. Immediately individualized, the Copenhagen three-piece carried across four intricately constructed pieces, most open with the 21-minute “III” but never lacking for twists and turns that were an utter joy to follow. A band that has already collaborated with the even-jammier Electric Moon and who’ve aligned themselves with Causa Sui‘s El Paraiso Records, they seem like a safe bet to continue to grow into reliable purveyors of high-quality instrumental heavy psychedelia.

 

11. Ogre, The Last Neanderthal

Released by Minotauro Records. Reviewed March 10.

Its arrival was heralded by the righteousness of a Lego video for “Nine Princes in Amber,” though even that was little preparation for the classic doomery that would take place on the return long-player from Portland, Maine’s Ogre. The trio of guitarist Ross Markonish, bassist/vocalist Ed Cunningham and drummer Will Broadbent broke up in 2009, got back together in 2012, and with their fourth album, they made it clear they still had plenty to offer those who worship trad-style riffing, Sabbathy grooves and the kind of hooks that stay with you for days. The Last Neanderthal had plenty of those, and “Warpath,” the aforementioned “Nine Princes in Amber,” “Bad Trip” and “Son of Sisyphus” tapped into what makes the best of doom so ready for repeat listens.

 

10. Floor, Oblation

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed April 22.

Another reunited trio, Floor had it tough coming into their first album in a decade, Oblation. The legacy of their 2002 self-titled would loom large over anything they put out, and guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks had since gained a huge following as the spearhead of Torche, but four years after they started playing shows again, Floor met the challenge head-on with Oblation‘s 14 tracks, showing a natural progression from where they left off so long ago without seeming like they were trying to recapture a past that inevitably would prove irretrievable. Instead, they’ve set themselves on a course for continuing to develop as a band, and though Torche have a new album expected out this summer on Relapse and doubtless that will take some time and focus away from Floor, hopefully they keep pursuing that growth.

 

9. Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed March 14.

I’ll claim no impartiality when it comes to Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock purveyors Mos Generator or the craftsmanship of guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed, but if half the point of a list like this is to nerd out over albums you dig (and I’ll gladly argue that it is), then Electric Mountain Majesty is right where it should be. Reed, bassist Scooter Haslip and drummer Shawn Johnson are clockwork-reliable when it comes to putting out high-grade material, and their second record since getting going again after Reed‘s few years in Stone Axe pushed beyond the considerable accomplishments of 2012’s Nomads (review here) and brought their sound to new and at times surprisingly doomed places while still keeping their core in a love of classic heavy rock songwriting. From where I sit, new Mos Gen is never one to pass up.

 

8. Blood Farmers, Headless Eyes

Self-released. Reviewed March 24.

Not that I didn’t expect a new Blood Farmers release to be cool, but Headless Eyes was still a surprise when it arrived earlier in 2014. Who was to say what the New York trio would concoct after a 19-year studio absence? Of course, what they came out with was dead-on horror-loving doomly plod, cuts like the instrumental “Night of the Sorcerers” and the deceptively catchy “Headless Eyes” not only worthy of Blood Farmers‘ substantial legacy but building on it. Void of pretense, Headless Eyes resonated with a brooding atmosphere capped by the surprising closer, “The Road Leads to Nowhere,” a cover of the theme from The Last House on the Left and positioned the three-piece of vocalist Eli Brown, guitarist/bassist David Szulkin and drummer Tad Léger among the fore of traditional doom’s practitioners.

 

7. The Golden Grass, The Golden Grass

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 25.

After seeing them live late last year (review here), digging their 456th Div. tape (review here) and putting their debut single on the best short releases of 2013 list, I had little doubt that their self-titled debut full-length would deliver a satisfying listen. Sure enough, the five-tracks of the quality-over-quantity release did precisely that, the Brooklyn three-piece harnessing unashamed positive vibes to mesh with a burgeoning psychedelic feel, catchy hooks and classic-style road songs serving as a reminder of the good times that rock and roll both provides and complements. Now that summer is here, I expect to revisit The Golden Grass plenty of time over these sunny, hot months, since it would seem the year has finally caught up with the band’s warmth and day-long spirit. The Golden Grass are reportedly headed to Europe later this year, so more to come on them for sure.

 

6. Ararat, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz

Released by Oui Oui Records. Reviewed April 4.

Every time I think I’m out, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz pulls me back in. The third full-length from Argentina trio Ararat seems to hit me with a different song each week. This week, it’s the six-minute “El Hijo de Ignacio,” with the insistent, punkish drums from Alfredo Felitte, backing noise and later keyboard eeriness from Tito Fargo and the low bass rumble of Sergio Chotsourian (ex-Los Natas), whose vocals seem to hover over the rest of the mix as though piped in from someplace else entirely. The whole album had a hypnotic effect that pulled the listener away from how diverse it actually was, moving into and out of heavy psych atmospherics with expert smoothness, but the more attention you paid, the more rewarding the experience became, as Ararat defied any expectations that might have come from their 2012 sophomore outing, II (review here), and boldly pushed toward new avenues of progression.

 

5. Conan, Blood Eagle

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Jan. 22.

Who’s heavier than Conan? The superlative UK trio have spent the two years since the release of their full-length debut, Monnos (review here), solidifying their dominance, and their first album for Napalm Records plays out like a victory lap over the skulls of lesser riffs. Opening with the near-10-minute lumber of “Crown of Talons,” Blood Eagle solidified the two-sidedness of Monnos into a back-breaking doom assault, and their pummel remains unparalleled as they continue to grow as players and songwriters. This year has also seen producer Chris Fielding join the band on bass, and as badass as Blood Eagle is — one would rarely think of a song called “Gravity Chasm” as being so aptly-named — I can’t help but look forward to hearing what Conan do from here and how they continue to refine one of doom’s most bludgeoning approaches.

 

4. Dwellers, Pagan Fruit

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed May 22.

It’s the songs. I really, really dug Dwellers‘ 2012 debut, Good Morning Harakiri (review here) as well, and I won’t say a bad word about that album, but Pagan Fruit is in a different class altogether. And you know, it’s not just the songs. It’s how the songs play next to each other, the mood they create, and the hooks that Dwellers bring to the table with so much stylistic poise, calling the bluffs of any number of heavy psych blues rockers on “Totem Crawler,” or “Creature Comfort,” or “Son of Raven” or “Spirit of the Staircase.” The Salt Lake City-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano, bassist Dave Jones and drummer Zach Hatsis brought new levels of cohesion to their sound throughout Pagan Fruit and it remains an album that I have yet to get enough of hearing, one that seems to offer more each time I put it on and let my mind drift to its patient, open spaces.

 

3. Fu Manchu, Gigantoid

Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed May 14.

From here on out, on any given day, any one of these is my album of the year. What a thrill it was to put on Fu Manchu‘s first album in five years, Gigantoid, and have it roll out such a tight-knit collection of heavy rolling excellence. The West Coast stoner riff gods of gnarl stripped down their production inspired in part by a reissue campaign of their earlier work on their own At the Dojo Records label, and the punkish feel suited them better than even they likely could’ve expected. With its opening four-song punch, the no-frills shot of “No Warning” and the closeout jam at the end of “The Last Question,” Gigantoid felt like more than one could’ve reasonably asked from a Fu Manchu long-player 20 years on from their debut, but the vitality they showed in its tracks, paired with the efficiency with which the songs were executed, showcased a timeless, perpetual appeal. They know what they’re doing and how they want to do it, and just because there was no doubt going into Gigantoid doesn’t make the end product any less of a payoff.

 

2. Mars Red Sky, Stranded in Arcadia

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed on March 11.

I’ve gone on at some length about what I find so appealing in the second full-length from Bordeaux trio Mars Red Sky, so even putting aside the deft hand with which they incorporated further heavy psych soundscapes into their songwriting, let me just focus on how memorable Stranded in Arcadia actually is. That was true as well of Mars Red Sky‘s 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but these songs are more ambitious, from the eight-minute opener “The Light Beyond” to the gorgeous melody-wash in the chorus of “Join the Race” and the stomp in the de facto closer “Seen a Ghost” before the leadout/refrain “Beyond the Light” calls all the way back to the first track. The development of Mars Red Sky‘s take isn’t necessarily such a surprise — the debut had its psychedelic, jammy feel as well — but the fact that the trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz managed to elicit such development while remaining true to the warm tones and humble, unpretentious vibe of the debut only makes Stranded in Arcadia more remarkable. I wouldn’t stop listening to it if I could.

 

1. Wo Fat, The Conjuring

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed June 18.

It wasn’t easy to hold off on reviewing the fifth album from the Texas power trio for as long as I did, but I thought the record was too good to jump the gun on, and so yeah, it’s a pretty recent writeup, but I feel comfortable putting The Conjuring at number one here because I’ve actually had a while to live with these songs. Or maybe “live in” them would be a better way to say it, since the dense wall of fuzz and jammed-out distortion Wo Fat create across this record is basically thick enough to take up residence. Recently back from a European tour, Wo Fat hit the road supporting their finest work to date, and as the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter are more or less self-sustaining in their own Crystal Clear Sound studio in Dallas, there’s no reason they can’t just keep developing along the path they are. The Conjuring boasts their best jams yet but also holds firm to the already-planted-in-your-consciousness hooks that Wo Fat have long since established a penchant for, and one could just as easily put the band at the fore of traditional heavy rock riffing as of American heavy psych jammers. Any way you look at them, they’re at the top of their class.

Quick honorable mention goes to Radio Moscow, The Wounded Kings, 1000mods (review forthcoming), Eyehategod, Abramis Brama, Truckfighters, Valley of the Sun, the live Causa Sui record and Alcest. Been a hell of a year so far, and I’m already putting together a list of anticipated records for the next six months, so there’s much more to follow.

Thanks as always for reading.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: Mars Red Sky, “Hovering Satellites”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I couldn’t be more thrilled to host the premiere of the new Mars Red Sky video for the track “Hovering Satellites.” Stranded in Arcadia, the Bordeaux fuzz-roller trio’s second album and Listenable Records debut from which the song comes, is easily among the best records I’ve heard this year (review here), refining the ultra-warm tones of Mars Red Sky‘s 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and complementing them with a far-out heavy psych expansion. I can’t think of another album that’s come along in 2014 that I’ve gone back to as much even since doing the review, so yeah, pretty much any chance I get to talk about how awesome it is, I’m gonna take it.

The new video is directed by Colin Manierka and it blends live footage (captured by Bartosch Salmanski) with psychedelic color work, space scenes and wave patterns, all feeding into the atmosphere of the song itself. We do indeed get to see the satellite hovering in orbit, as well as some artful details of Mars Red Sky — guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz – on stage, but of course the highlight is the song itself, which perfectly encapsulates Stranded in Arcadia‘s accomplished melodic sensibility, heavy grooving and memorable songcraft. I’m a total nerd for the album, but the video makes my day anyhow.

Mars Red Sky recorded Stranded in Arcadia with Gabriel Zander in Brazil following their visas being denied by US customs — they had originally planned to put it to tape in the California desert — and the band is just off tour in Europe and preparing to head out again in June with appearances slated at Hellfest in Clisson and Germany’s Stoned from the Underground festival. Dates below.

Stranded in Arcadia is available now in Europe and out June 10 in North America on Listenable Records.

Enjoy:

Mars Red Sky on Tour:
06.01.14 – PARIS (Fr) La Cigale ***
06.20.14 – CLISSON (Fr) HELLFEST OPEN AIR
06.26.14 – SALLES-ABRUISSANNAS (Fr) Willstock Festival
06.27.14 – VIC LE COMTE (Fr) Festival Alambic
06.28.14 – ÉVREUX (Fr) Le Rock Dans Tous Ses États Festival
07.11.14 – ERFURT (Ger) STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL
10.02.14 – PARIS (Fr) La Maroquinerie

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Mars Red Sky’s webstore

Listenable Records

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Mos Generator Premiere Video for “Electric Mountain Majesty”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Things get pretty tripped-out in Mos Generator’s video for the title-track to their new album and Listenable Records debut, Electric Mountain Majesty (review here), the Washington trio appearing as silhouettes — also in the case of Tony Reed as a kind of disembodied head — while an array of images play out behind from vivid space images to a finale of flying sparks. The clip, directed by Chris Mathews, Jr., gives some firm visual realization to the idea of Mos Generator‘s branching out from their straightforward heavy rock vibes on the record, taking their sound to new places. It’s an intriguing and mesmerizing video much the same way the album itself piques interest in unexpected ways.

Mos Generator played this past weekend with former Euro-tourmates Saint Vitus and have more planned in the months to come to support the album, which was released April 15.

Until then, enjoy:

Mos Generator, “Electric Mountain Majesty” official Video

Washington state hard rock heroes MOS GENERATOR released their new LP Electric Mountain Majesty on April 15 via Listenable Records. Recorded at HeavyHead Recording Company by guitarist / vocalist and renowned engineer Tony Reed, Electric Mountain Majesty is the follow-up to MOS GENERATOR’s 2012 release Nomads and a record that has been hailed as a “heavy, doom-based take on rock and roll” for fans of High on Fire, COC and Down. Today, Guitar World premieres the new MOS GENERATOR music video — for the new album’s title track — calling the cut “fuzzy, heady, psychotropic hard rock” and advising music fans to “Break out your pipe and riff-rock slippers, things are about to get weird.”

“Electric Mountain Majesty’ is an attempt to fuse our live energy and our usual controlled studio sound into something that I think is a nice forward step in the Mos Generator sound,” says Reed. “We didn’t over think the writing and recording process and we let more of our unconventional influences creep into the songwriting. In both composition and recording technique, this is the most diverse Mos Generator album to date.”

Track Listing:
1.) Beyond the Whip
2.) Nothing Left but Night
3.) Enter the Fire
4.) Spectres
5.) Neon Nightmare
6.) Breaker
7.) Early Mourning
8.) Electric Mountain Majesty
9.) Black Magic Mirror
10.) Heavy Ritual

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records

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Mars Red Sky Premiere “The Light Beyond” from Stranded in Arcadia

Posted in audiObelisk on April 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Among the highlights of 2014 so far, Mars Red Sky‘s Stranded in Arcadia (review here) is out next week in Europe on Listenable Records (June 10 in North America). The album is the second from the Bordeaux trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz (his first), and it was put to tape in Brazil late last year after plans to tour the West Coast of the US and record in the California desert were undone by American visa troubles. Presumably the TSA saw Kinast‘s beard and assumed he was a terrorist, but I don’t know that for sure.

Either way, listening to Stranded in Arcadia – as I can’t seem to stop doing — the three-piece leaves little doubt that they made the most of their situation. Like their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and subsequent 2013 EP, Be My Guide (review here), there’s a humility in the sweet melodies that complement the huge fuzz riffs of songs like “Hovering Satellites” and “Seen a Ghost,” but as opener and longest cut at just over eight minutes “The Light Beyond” shows, Mars Red Sky have greatly expanded their sound to include more psychedelic atmospheres. Production-wise, Stranded in Arcadia unfolds gracefully into a sprawl the largesse of which not only serves to make the tones come across thick and/or echoing, but also to provide the landscape in which the next stage of the band’s songwriting can develop, coming into focus like an old Polaroid photo as “The Light Beyond” bursts to wah-soaked life from its soft, ambient intro.

Like “Join the Race,” “Seen a Ghost,” and the more swaggering “Circles,” “The Light Beyond” is a highlight of Stranded in Arcadia, but for anyone who heard the first record or its follow-up EP, the song also offers firm evidence of how Mars Red Sky have grown in the last couple years. More than that, it’s the kind of track that feels like it’s swallowing you whole as it eases between its verses and jammed-out vibing. Taking both into consideration, there was no way I wasn’t going to stream it when the opportunity arose.

Find and enjoy “The Light Beyond” on the player below, followed by info about Mars Red Sky‘s special May 15 release show in Bordeaux and other tour dates:

Into The Mars Red Sound » may 15th in Bordeaux!

On the occasion of the release of their new album ”Stranded In Arcadia” in Europe on April 28th, MARS RED SKY announced a release party in their hometown Bordeaux on May 15th. The band will perform a classic live set alongside Russian rockers The Grand Astoria, as well as an experimental video and sound creation featuring Julia Al Abed.

Mars Red Sky on tour:

04.26.14 – SAINTES (Fr) Coconut Party
05.06.14 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE (Lux) Rockhal ***
05.07.14 – LAUSANNE (Swz) Les Docks *** w/ Detroit
05.08.14 – AMIENS (Fr) Le Cirque Jules Verne ***
05.15.14 – BORDEAUX (Fr) Barbey, Release Party “Into The Mars Red Sound”
05.17.14 – ANGOULÊME (Fr) La Nef
06.01.14 – PARIS (Fr) La Cigale ***
06.20.14 – CLISSON (Fr) HELLFEST OPEN AIR
06.26.14 – SALLES-ABRUISSANNAS (Fr) Willstock Festival
06.27.14 – VIC LE COMTE (Fr) Festival Alambic
06.28.14 – ÉVREUX (Fr) Le Rock Dans Tous Ses États Festival
07.11.14 – ERFURT (Ger) STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL
10.02.14 – PARIS (Fr) La Maroquinerie

Preorder Stranded in Arcadia at Listenable Records

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records

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Mars Red Sky Announce Stranded in Arcadia Release Show

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The North American release date for Mars Red Sky‘s stellar sophomore full-length, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), is June 10. In Europe, it’s out April 28. I guess in setting up their release show, the French fuzz trio decided to split the difference. On May 15, they’ll play their native Bordeaux on a bill that includes Russian progressive heavy rockers The Grand Astoria as openers and a live video/audio collaboration with Julia Al Abed. It’s an evening they’ve billed as “Into the Mars Red Sound.”

As one would have to imagine, there’s a video teaser that gives a closer look at the event, and you can find that below, included for the double reason that it also provides an audio sample of opener “The Light Beyond” from Stranded in Arcadia, which is easily among the best albums I’ve heard thus far into 2014, with a sound that builds on the rolling fuzz of Mars Red Sky‘s first album and furthers a lush heavy psychedelia without sacrificing the humanity at the core of their approach. No easy feat — they just make it sound that way.

Dig it:

Into The Mars Red Sound » may 15th in Bordeaux!

New Album : April 28th for Europe & June 10th for North America.

On the occasion of the release of their new album ”Stranded In Arcadia” in Europe on April 28th, MARS RED SKY announced a release party in their hometown Bordeaux on May 15th. The band will perform a classic live set alongside Russian rockers The Grand Astoria, as well as an experimental video and sound creation featuring Julia Al Abed.

Infos and presales available here :
http://www.rockschool-barbey.com/conc…

Music : Julia Al Abed (fields recording) / Mars Red Sky : “The Light Beyond” From the album “Stranded in Arcadia” (Listenable Records) Recorded and mixed by Gabriel Zander in Rio de Janeiro.

Teaser : Colin Manierka

https://www.facebook.com/events/1420580848195545/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredsky
https://twitter.com/#!/marsRedSky1
http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com
https://marsredsky.net
http://www.listenable.net/

Mars Red Sky, “Into the Mars Red Sound” teaser

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tony Reed of Mos Generator

Posted in Questionnaire on April 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

You’d probably need a week to sit down and list all the bands and projects to which Tony Dallas Reed has contributed in one form or another over the better part of the last two decades. From playing drums in death metallers Woodrot to self-recording all-instrument Pentagram covers in his “spare time,” Reed‘s substantial body of work is the result of a genuinely restless creative spirit. Over the course of the last 10 years, he’s bounced between the heavy rocking Mos Generator and more specifically ’70s-minded Stone Axe while also embarking on the side-project HeavyPink and building his own HeavyHead Studio, where he’s done not only his own recording, but tracked Saint Vitus‘ comeback album, Lillie: F-65, among others, as well as mixed and mastered outings from Wight, Trippy WickedAlunah and many more from the US and Europe, often between or while on tours.

Reactivated following a run focused on Stone Axe, Mos Generator released the full-length Nomads (review here) on Ripple Music in 2012, two live albums in 2013, and will shortly issue a follow-up, Electric Mountain Majesty (review here), as their first outing on Listenable Records. Reed is also recently returned to his Port Orchard, Washington, home after a trip to Australia to record Seedy Jeezus and remixed/remastered Mos Generator‘s 2007 Songs for Future Gods album for reissue through Ripple, available now. Mos Generator also has splits with Copenhagen’s Doublestone and Washington’s Teepee Creeper coming soon.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tony Reed

How did you come to do what you do?

As a musician I started when I was 12. After years of mimicking KISS and Rush in my bedroom I figured that I should actually learn how to play. I borrowed a guitar from a guy up the street and the first song I learned was “Iron Man.” I started playing drums around the same time. I just wanted to take it all in.

As a recording engineer I guess you could say it was around the same time. I started recording everything with a boom box from the get-go. I have a recording of the first time I played drums. Over time I collected a few mics and got a three-channel Radio Shack mixer and two cassette decks and I was into overdubbing. When I was 20 I got my hands on a four-track and the rest is history.

Describe your first musical memory.

I actually think it is “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations. I used to love that song. I also have recollections of the album cover for “Paranoid” being around the house and when I got that album in sixth grade I somehow already knew the songs on it, so I am assuming it was played frequently when I was a child. My mom also has a funny story of me stealing a “Nights in White Satin” 45 from K-Mart when I was two years old. She let me keep it.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I would say that it would be 26-date Saint Vitus/Mos Generator European tour in 2013. It was a lot of hard work but we got to play for some rabid audiences and travel in style. Being on the road is all about making memories and of course later down the line you only remember the good bits.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I believe that there is really no ending point to a musician who is driven and passionate. Growth is constant and sometimes moves faster than other times. Sometimes it would appear to move backwards and hopefully something can be learned from that too.

How do you define success?

I define success by respect. Someday I would like to be well respect as a musician and songwriter and recognized for the passion and dedication that I put into the music I make.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

My grandmother’s eyes the day before she died. I think she had moved on already because I didn’t see her in there anymore.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to create and album or song that moves people the way that certain songs move me. Sometimes I am so humbled by the songs I love that it makes me want to stop writing music because I believe I may never achieve these emotions in what I write. I also look at it as a goal and a challenge.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Even though this is musical in its subject, it doesn’t directly affect me musically. I am looking forward to watching the musical journey my son is going on. He has the passion in his blood and it’s great to see him doing things to make music his life.

Mos Generator, “Breaker” from Electric Mountain Majesty (2014)

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

HeavyHead Superstore

Listenable Records

Ripple Music

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Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty: Enter the Fire

Posted in Reviews on March 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

To look at the grim cover art for the two full-lengths Mos Generator have released since guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed got back together with bassist Scooter Haslip and drummer Shawn Johnson, one might expect rambling, depressive miseries. Their 2012 return, Nomads (review here), on Ripple Music, boasted a cawing black crow on a gravestone silhouetted against a red sky, and though its tones are brighter in beiges and yellows, the trio’s follow-up, Electric Mountain Majesty — which also serves as their Listenable Records debut — features an Adam Burke painting that’s striking and ultimately no less mournful, cavernous skull eyes staring directly at the viewer while a totem eagle drawn on hints at some lost sense of ritual. If that’s the titular majesty that waits on top of the Electric Mountain, we’re boned, however, within the 10 tracks of the album itself one finds a much different picture being crafted by the Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists, though Electric Mountain Majesty is a bleaker album thematically and in its execution than was Nomads. Well comfortable in his role as auteur, Reed once again engineered, mixed and mastered the album himself, but in so doing seems to have pushed the sense of physical space in the recording much further than the last time out, giving tracks like the bass-heavy “Enter the Fire,” richly grooved “Neon Nightmare” and even the speedier title-track an open-air feel. It’s a bigger sound, but it suits the songs well, and as ever for Mos Generator, it’s the songs themselves that come across as the primary concern.

Whether in Mos Generator, Stone Axe, HeavyPink or any number of the other bands and projects he’s had along the way, Reed‘s genius has always rested in the crafting of memorable, structured songs, and no, I don’t think “genius” is too strong a word. He’s a natural and practiced songwriter, and over Electric Mountain Majesty‘s press-it-to-vinyl 43 minutes, there resound in songs like “Black Magic Mirror,” “Nothing Left but Night” and opener “Beyond the Whip” the kinds of choruses one anticipates from an artist of such accomplishment. The chief distinction is in the character of these songs. In “Nothing Left but Night,” which is the second cut behind “Beyond the Whip,” Reed intones, “You may find me on the edge of the light/But deep inside me there’s nothing left but darkest night.” This after one of the album’s several already-impressive solo sections. It’s a long way from Nomads‘ “I’m a traveler in a cosmic ark,” and more along the lines of some of the sorrowful lyrical ground Stone Axe covered in its heavy ’70s style, leaving an underlying moodier side to what still remain upbeat heavy rock numbers. Maybe Electric Mountain Majesty was to be Mos Generator‘s doom album, and if so, fair enough in their pushing stylistic bounds, but musically, “Beyond the Whip” still shuffles, and “Breaker” and “Electric Mountain Majesty” have a motoring rush, all the more so the latter, that works in contrast to lines like, “You can believe what you want to believe/But we all die in the end/Don’t waste your time trying to save my life/I’m dying now the way I want to,” from “Breaker.” Taken as a whole, it’s hard to decide where the real heaviness on Electric Mountain Majesty lies, in the music or the lyrics.

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Mars Red Sky, Stranded in Arcadia: Light in Orbit

Posted in Reviews on March 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There can be little question that Stranded in Arcadia is not the album that Mars Red Sky set out to make, or at very least that it wasn’t made under the intended conditions. The best laid plan of the forerunning French heavy psych rockers was to do a week of shows in South America before heading north to the California desert to track their second full-length and Listenable Records debut, but the usual visa issues (what my country has against importing quality guitar tone, I’ll never know) kept them in Rio de Janeiro for that week instead, and rather than go home without a record done, they hit Estúdio Superfuzz to put to tape with Gabriel Zander what eventually became the eight-song/45-minute long-player that takes its title from the circumstances of its creation. Stranded in Arcadia sounds better in any case than “stuck in Rio” would have, and speaking as someone who’s become a fan of the band since the 2011 release of their self-titled debut (review here), it’s hard to argue with the results in the finished product. Even from last year’s Be My Guide EP (review here), Stranded in Arcadia marks audible progress in the psychedelic, airy feel from guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz, who makes his proper debut here after first appearing on part of the shorter 2013 release.

What has made Mars Red Sky such an utter joy on the ears to this point has been the smoothness with which they tie that heavy psychedelia to both a melodic sweetness and a huge-tone desert rock groove. Listening to Stranded in Arcadia tracks like “Hovering Satellites” the later “Seen a Ghost” and the ultra-swinging “Holy Mondays,” on which Kinast joins Pras for vocals in the verse only to take the lead for the chorus — something also done on the self-titled’s “Marble Sky,” but achieved more confidently here — I’m glad to find these elements are enhanced if anything, and that while there’s more impact to the tones and the notes seem to land with more of a thud than the prior LP or EP, that comes at no sacrifice of melody. Indeed, on “Join the Race,” Mars Red Sky are their most unabashedly blissful yet, tapping a psych-era Beatles influence for one of Stranded in Arcadia‘s most effective hooks. Those are not in short supply, incidentally. Where the self-titled nestled into the rolling grooves of “Way to Rome,” “Strong Reflection” and the extra dreamy “Up the Stairs,” the second outing seems to build on these accomplishments with the expansive but efficient craft of “Circles,” “Join the Race” and opener and longest track at 8:04 (immediate points) “The Light Beyond,” which explodes from an initial far-off guitar line into otherworldly vocals and elephantine plod, only then to unfold the first of Stranded in Arcadia‘s highlight choruses in tones more weighted but no less patient than one could hope given the band’s work up to this point.

If I seem locked into comparing Stranded in Arcadia with its predecessor releases from Mars Red Sky, perhaps that’s because there’s so little else one might relate in terms of the band’s methods. Mars Red Sky have very quickly, very masterfully become a singular act within heavy psych, and quite frankly there’s nobody else so able to maintain their balance of lush melody, tonal heft, jammy sensibility, memorable songwriting and unmistakable groove. That Stranded in Arcadia held firm to these is triumph enough, but to hear “Hovering Satellites” kick in with Matgaz‘s double-bass drumming and send its quicker roll headfirst into the wide-open chorus easily positions the album among the most satisfying I’ve heard thus far into 2014. An already fervent appreciation deepens as “Hovering Satellites” moves into a wah-soaked guitar-led jam, only to have the instruments drop out as Pras begins a return to the chorus with just his echoing vocals, setting up a build that will play out over the remaining 90-plus seconds. “Holy Mondays” is the shortest of the actual songs here — closer “Beyond the Light” is a two-and-a-half-minute reprieve of “The Light Beyond” — but solidifies around the dually-delivered singing of Kinast and Pras to set in stone a specific point of progression on the part of the band and one I hope they continue to develop going forward, Kinast‘s lower register approach meshing well with Pras‘ higher range, which gets further showcase  on the aforementioned chorus of “Join the Race,” which follows.

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Mos Generator’s Electric Mountain Majesty Coming April 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

An update off the PR wire today brings a solidified April 15 release date for Electric Mountain Majesty, the new album from Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rockers Mos Generator. With preorders available through Listenable Records, the reinvigorated trio also have a video planned for the title-track to the follow-up of 2012’s Nomads (review here), and while I’m looking forward to that and to the album as a whole, past experience tells me that when Mos Generator decide to cap an album with a song called “Heavy Ritual,” it’s going to be one worth hearing. You might recall “This is the Gift of Nature” from Nomads was one of that record’s many high points.

One or two songs have started to leak out from the record, and you’ll find “Enter the Fire” under the news below. Cheers:

MOS GENERATOR to Release New Album “Electric Mountain Majesty” April 15

Highly Respected Power Trio Returns at the Very Top of Its Game with Fuzzbombing New LP

Washington state hard rock heroes MOS GENERATOR will release their new LP Electric Mountain Majesty on April 15 via Listenable Records. Recorded at HeavyHead Recording Company by guitarist / vocalist and renowned engineer Tony Reed (who co-produced SAINT VITUS’ return album Lillie: F-65), Electric Mountain Majesty is the follow-up to MOS GENERATOR’s 2012 release Nomads. Electric Mountain Majesty is available to pre-order now at this location.

A sprawling celebration of heavy amplification, fretboard psychotropics and kick ass heavy rock, Electric Mountain Majesty is unquestionably MOS GENERATOR’s finest hour of its decade-plus existence. From chest-beating metal salvos like the massively loud “Nothing Left But Night” and “Black Magic Mirror” to more nuanced, slow-burning fare like the spellbinding “Enter the Fire” through to colossal closer “Heavy Ritual”, the album is an amalgam of nasty and effervescent, alternating between ugly doom tones and lofty emotiveness, resulting in an epic, colorful listen brimming with richly-nuanced, timeless music that drips with melody, muscle and cool.

“Electric Mountain Majesty’ is an attempt to fuse our live energy and our usual controlled studio sound into something that I think is a nice forward step in the Mos Generator sound,” says Reed. “We didn’t over think the writing and recording process and we let more of our unconventional influences creep into the songwriting. In both composition and recording technique, this is the most diverse Mos Generator album to date.”

Track listing:
1.) Beyond the Whip
2.) Nothing Left but Night
3.) Enter the Fire
4.) Spectres
5.) Neon Nightmare
6.) Breaker
7.) Early Mourning
8.) Electric Mountain Majesty
9.) Black Magic Mirror
10.) Heavy Ritual

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://www.listenable.net/
http://shop.listenable.net/category.php?id_category=165

Mos Generator, “Enter the Fire” from Electric Mountain Majesty (2014)

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Mars Red Sky Sign to Listenable Records; New Album Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There wasn’t really any doubt that Mars Red Sky, who toured the world more or less as an independent band, were going to end up on some label, just a question of which and when. Those questions have been answered by the announcement this morning that the Bordeaux trio have inked a deal with Listenable Records in time to have their second full-length out in April, preceded by a limited 7″ with exclusive material. Good news all around, and most importantly, it gets the album here sooner than later. Should make for a good spring soundtrack.

O! PR wire! Sing unto me of fuzz and laid back groovy rock and roll!

MARS RED SKY sign to Listenable Records; new album released this Spring.

France’s stoner rock emblematic trio MARS RED SKY just inked a deal with European record label Listenable Records, on which the band will release its brand new full-length as well as a 7’’ EP, both set for release this spring.

Considered as one of the greats of the European stoner rock scene, France based MARS RED SKY have gained international recognition thanks to a unique sound imprint based on thick infectious grooves and melodic aerial guitar riffs. This is truly a one of a kind experience, wrapped up by Julien Pras’ ethereal vocals, Matgaz’ powerful rhythms and Jimmy Kinast’s pachydermic bass lines. Somewhere between doom metal and 70’s psyche pop, the Mars Red Sound intrigues to begin with, after which it irremediably attracts the masses to celebrate this cosmic ritual of solar burning fuzz and reverberated atmospheres.

Driven by the huge success of their eponymous debut record, which was recorded in Spain’s mystic Bardenas desert and released in 2011, the Bordelais were quickly invited to play on the largest European stages with Kyuss Lives!, Dinosaur Jr, Sleep, and popular festivals such as Eurockéennes de Belfort (Fr), Roadburn (NL), London and Berlin Desertfest, Sziget Festival (Hun), SXSW (USA), leading them to play in more than 20 countries.

With their incredibly heavy and hypnotic performances, MARS RED SKY have been considered as one of the most thrilling live acts among the international stoner rock scene. In 2012, they paired up with French doom metal monsters Year Of No Light to release a 3-track split record, which sold out in a blink of an eye.

The release of their EP “Be My Guide” in the spring of 2013 prophetically opened the path for an extensive tour across Europe, then across the Atlantic Ocean for a few exciting gigs in Latin America, where they recorded their new album, due out in April 2014 on LISTENABLE RECORDS (Ghost, Gojira, Behemoth…).

A limited edition 7” EP containing exclusive material will be released in March, more details coming shortly.

MARS RED SKY upcoming tour dates:

Feb. 05 – La Roche Sur Yon, Le Fuzz Yon (Fr)
Feb. 27 – Larissa, Stage Club (Greece)
Feb. 28 – Thessaloniki, Eightball Club (Greece)
Mar. 01 – Athens, Six D.O.G.S (Greece)
Mar. 21 – La Teste de Buch, Le Zik Zak (Fr)
Jun. 20 – Clisson, Hellfest Open Air (Fr)

http://www.marsredsky.bigcartel.com/
http://marsredsky.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband
http://www.listenable.net/

Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide (2013)

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Mos Generator Announce Electric Mountain Majesty Details and Stream Track

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Who’s gonna argue with some Mos Generator album news? Not me. And maybe a new track to boot? Yeah, I won’t fight that one either. My list of 2014 gotta-haves is getting longer every day, and Mos Generator are definitely on it. Their 2012 return outing, Nomads (review here), was a joy to behold, and if the boogie of the curiously-unembeddable title-track is anything to go by, Electric Mountain Majesty – also the Washington-based trio’s Listenable Records debut — seems to just be waiting to follow suit.

The PR wire takes it from here:

MOS GENERATOR Release New Song; Reveal New Album Details

Northwestern U.S. stoner rock gurus MOS GENERATOR, who recently inked a deal with Listenable Records, has announced that their forthcoming album will be entitled Electric Mountain Majesty. The band’s first release since joining the Listenable Records roster, Electric Mountain Majesty is scheduled for a Spring 2014 release. Plans are currently being laid for a European tour in May.

To give fans a taste of what Electric Mountain Majesty has to offer, MOS GENERATOR and Listenable Records are now streaming the album’s title track. Listen at this location.

MOS GENERATOR guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed comments on the new song,Tony Reeds comments the track :”ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN MAJESTY was riffed out and recorded in about 15 minutes. Shawn and I did a demo of it and when i sat down and started to work on it the next day i realized that the drum track on this demo was killer! It had all of the fire and expression that Shawn would have live. I tracked the guitars and performed the vocals over the course of the next day and here it is. Our love for heavy rock, metal, and melody all come together in this tune.”

Track listing for Electric Mountain Majesty is as follows:
Beyond the Whip
Nothing Left but Night
Enter the Fire
Spectres
Neon Nightmare
Breaker
Early Mourning
Electric Mountain Majesty
Black Magic Mirror
(Interloping: Heavy Ritual)
Heavy Ritual

Electric Mountain Majesty was recorded at HeavyHead Recording Co. in Port Orchard, Wash. and was produced, mixed and mastered by T. Dallas Reed.

MOS GENERATOR music and merchandise, along with materials from other Tony Reed-related acts can be found in Reed’s own HeavyHeadSuperStore. Check out the great selection of t-shirts, CDs, rare & limited-edition vinyl and more at http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com.

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Mos Generator Sign to Listenable Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Rarely at rest, Washington-based heavy rock trio Mos Generator announce today that they’ve signed to Listenable Records for the release of their next album. The reinvigorated three-piece toured Europe earlier this year alongside Saint Vitus, and the run resulted in two live offerings — the vinyl In Concert (review coming this week) and the cassette Live in Europe 2013 (review coming next week) — both arriving in the wake of the welcome reception of their return full-length, 2012’s Nomads (review here), issued through Ripple Music. It looks as though plans are already in the works for a return trip in 2014 in support of the next Mos record.

Kudos to the band and the label. Whatever results in more Mos Generator is good news as far as I’m concerned. This came down the PR wire:

MOS GENERATOR Signs With Listenable Records

Listenable Records has inked a deal with Northwest U.S. stoner rock gurus MOS GENERATOR. The band is currently working on a new record, which is scheduled for a spring 2014 release on Listenable Records. MOS GENERATOR will tour Europe in support of the album in May.

The new material is said to be stretching the core sound of the band into some new and interesting directions. Guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed comments, “We always try and push the heavy rock sound into other areas. Sometimes it’s forced and sometimes we are letting natural and honest influences enter the equation. On the new material we are letting ourselves be open to whatever comes along.”

MOS GENERATOR formed during the winter of 2000 in Port Orchard, Washington from the ashes of a ten year off & on collaboration between it’s three members, all of which are long time veterans of road & studio. The need to strip down to the basics of hard rock was apparent from the start and continues to be the foundation for all the bands recent material. MOS GENERATOR have released 5 studio albums, a retrospective album, and a live album on such labels as Roadburn, Small Stone, Ripple, Nasoni, and Lay Bare. Touring has been just as important to the profile of the band as making records has. Over the years MOS GENERATOR has shared the stage with many great heavy rock bands and in March of 2013 they did a 26-date European tour with Saint Vitus, opening up a whole new fan base to the MOS GENERATOR sound. On stage the band defines the word “chemistry”. Revolving their sound around swagger and groove while improvising just enough to keep the songs feeling fresh from night to night…sometimes with interesting results.

www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
www.reverbnation.com/mosgenerator
heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com

Mos Generator, Nomads (2012)

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New Keepers of the Water Towers, The Cosmic Child: Weight of Space

Posted in Reviews on January 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been two years since Stockholm heavyweights New Keepers of the Water Towers released their sophomore full-length, The Calydonian Hunt, through MeteorCity, and that span of time has found them making a jump in more than just their label. Issued via Listenable Records, their third album, The Cosmic Child, finds New Keepers of the Water Towers a much more mature, more patient band, embarking on progressive psychedelic sprawl and incorporating acoustics alongside periods of the more expected weighted distortion. Tracks are by and large longer than either the second album (review here) or their Chronicles debut (review here), which compiled two self-released EPs into a 60-minute long-player rife with formative Mastodonic crush, and the three-turned-four-piece don’t shy away from including atmospheric interludes both within the songs and in the form of the closing title-track. All told, The Cosmic Child runs through six tracks in just under 47 minutes, and while there are times where it seems like New Keepers of the Water Towers have wandered beyond their capacity to restore structured order, there’s never actually a moment throughout where the songs get away from them, and the record winds up being as much of a success as it is a surprise, though those diametrically opposed to progressive indulgences will want to stay wary, as The Cosmic Child is full of them right from the beginning of opener “The Great Leveller,” which swirls to a march led by drummer Tor Sjödén and complemented by the guitars of Rasmus Booberg and Victor Berg (Björn Andersson has since joined on bass, but in this liner-noteless digital age, there’s no word on whether or not he’s actually playing on the album). “The Great Leveller” swells to a slow verse plod topped with melodic vocals and open, big-sounding guitar, gradually giving way to the chorus and a chugging rhythm playing out under a grandiose echoing, winding solo. The Mastodon feel isn’t completely gone from New Keepers’ sound – let’s not forget that they too “went prog” – but The Cosmic Child feels less outwardly concerned with showy technicality than it does with mood and atmosphere, “Visions of Death” setting a side-to-side sway in its guitar line that rests on a strong rhythmic foundation between the bassline and the drums.

There’s a current of excellent guitar leads throughout The Cosmic Child, and “Visions of Death” certainly has one in its midsection, but even these are never so over-the-top as to distract from the overall balance of the material, which rests between modern prog metal and heavy psychedelia. At nearly nine and a half minutes, “Visions of Death” presages much of what’s to come thematically from 12-plus-minute cuts like “Pyre for the Red Sage” (12:05) and “Lapse” (12:32), but each piece of the album has an identity of its own that simultaneously works to the benefit of the whole work. This is the best case scenario for a thematic, semi-narrative album, which The Cosmic Child purports to be (no lyric sheet with that download). Piano drives a transition between “Visions of Death” and the subsequent “Pyre for the Red Sage,” which opens with the same line and adds acoustic guitar for its introductory base. By the end of the first full minute, the song has unfolded its grandeur, but as big as it gets – it gets plenty big – there remains a grounding element in a catchy chorus and driving kick bass. Booberg, Berg and Sjödén all handle vocals reportedly, and on “Pyre for the Red Sage,” layers assure that as much largesse is carried across musically, it’s duly met with the singing. Before its halfway point, the track breaks to synth ambience and moves gradually, patiently, over its next couple minutes to post-Floydian prog metal, a thrashy riff running rhythm for a semi-shred solo that works because of the time spent getting to it. The guitar line that follows is one of the more memorable aspects of the song and indeed the album, and it’s met by far-off echoing vocals before a slowdown introduces the acoustics that will carry into “Cosmosis,” typified by a sweet vocal melody and rounding out with a darker electric guitar line that serves as a foreshadow to “Lapse,” the culmination of The Cosmic Child and New Keepers’ most ambitious single work to date.

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audiObelisk: Blood of the Sun Premiere Title-Track to Burning on the Wings of Desire

Posted in audiObelisk on November 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster


The movement in Blood of the Sun‘s “Burning on the Wings of Desire” is immediate. It’s the title-track of the fourth album by the Texas ’70s worshipers, and the band, led by drummer Henry Vasquez (also of Saint Vitus) and organist/keyboardist Dave Gryder, have tapped the vein of a boogie rarely captured so well. They shift from shuffle to adrenaline-quickened builds, from organ melodies to the swaggering vocals of John O’Daniel and killer leads of guitarist Rusty Burns, both of Southern rockers Point Blank, come aboard for this, Blood of the Sun‘s first release on Listenable Records.

Burning on the Wings of Desire will be issued on Nov. 27, and to herald its arrival, I’ve been granted permission to host the title cut for streaming. The album (full review here) is quick to build classic rock momentum, and does well to hold it for the duration. Its title-track is well chosen, as it more or less embodies the ethic of the whole, with a strong hook, unpretentious style and unabashed love for the glory days of guitar-led heavy rock. But in the grand tradition — and Blood of the Sun reside in several grand traditions — of eponymous songs, it’s worthy of being the one by which the album is defined.

You may also recognize some elements in the songwriting or production as reminiscent of Stone Axe/Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed. Reed, who also recorded Saint VitusLillie: F-65, played bass and some guitar on the album, also overseeing the process of putting it to tape. So if Blood of the Sun wasn’t already familiar enough, that’s one more element working in favor of their accessibility.

Please find “Burning on the Wings of Desire” on the player below, and please enjoy.

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Blood of the Sun will release Burning on the Wings of Desire on Nov. 27. More info on the band at their Thee Facebooks or at the Listenable Records website.

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