In addition to having them as headliners at The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, I’m thrilled to announce that The Obelisk will present the first coast-to-coast North American outing from French heavy psych mavens Mars Red Sky. Put together by Tone Deaf in conjunction with the band, Earsplit PR and Listenable Records, the tour also includes stops at Doom over Toronto, a New England warmup show, and Psycho Las Vegas before rounding out with a drive up the West Coast, concluding in Seattle.
Mars Red Sky — the trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Mathieu Gazeau — recently released their third album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), the to-date peak of their progressive blend of heavy riffs, melodic resonance and expansive atmospheres. Given exceeding depth through memorable songwriting, it’s a bold step forward from their past work and an early contender for my favorite album of 2016. I could not be more thrilled to have this site included in the tour in the small way that it is if I tried. Thanks to the band and to everyone else for having The Obelisk involved.
Dates, event links, the band’s new video for “Friendly Fire” and more follow:
The Obelisk Presents: MARS RED SKY
8/19/2016 O’Brien’s Pub – Boston, MA [info]
8/20/2016 Saint Vitus Bar @ The Obelisk All-Dayer – Brooklyn, NY [info]
8/21/2016 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA [info]
8/22/2016 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA [info]
8/23/2016 Spirit – Pittsburgh, PA [info]
8/24/2016 Cherry St Station – Wallingford, CT [info]
8/25/2016 La Vitrola – Montreal, QC [info]
8/26/2016 The Smiling Buddha @ Doom Over Toronto Festival – Toronto, ON [info]
8/27/2016 Reggies – Chicago, IL [info]
8/28/2016 Hard Rock Hotel And Casino @ Psycho Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV [info]
8/29/2016 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
8/30/2016 The Viper Room – Los Angeles, CA [info]
9/01/2016 Starlight Lounge – Sacramento, CA
9/02/2016 Panic Room – Portland, OR [info]
9/03/2016 The Funhouse – Seattle, WA [info]
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Mars Red Sky are giving away the mothership. First, however, they have to make the mothership, and it’s toward that effort that the Bordeaux-based three-piece — who, yes, are playing The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, thank you for asking — have launched a new crowdfunding campaign. The space capsule, along with other items being offered as donation rewards, will appear in a forthcoming video for the “Alien Grounds” two-song suite that opens their new album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), which, if 2016 was ending today, would be my bid for the best release of it. To make the video, as they explain in the fortunately-subtitled clip below, they’ll partner with director Seb Antoine, and they’re thinking of it more as a short film, since it will have dialogue and a plot and whathaveyou.
Probably best to let them explain it. Did I mention they’ll be at The Obelisk All-Dayer? Okay good.
Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) gets its official US release on May 20 via Listenable Records. Here’s what the band has to say:
We are working on a very special project:
A movie/video clip for the song Alien Grounds. To do so, we would like to lunch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Help us raising money to produce Mars Red Sky’s “Alien Grounds” video and win the spaceship that appears on the movie !
Mars Red Sky and Seb Antoine already collaborated on the making of a video for « The Light Beyond » in 2015 / Check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1PM2KT1j5o. This time, the idea is to produce a short movie based on the two first tracks of the Bordeaux-based trio’s new LP, Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul). Indeed those two tracks (Alien Grounds / Apex III) were originally composed and recorded as one and the same song. The main theme for this short movie revolves around space travel, this time featuring a cosmonaut behind the wheel of an old car and aboard a spaceship, wandering in a gloomy ill-famed dive bar, lost around a deserted gaz station…
To undertake such a project, a scapeship needs to be constructed, costumes designed and made up, comedians hired… Let’s just say a lot of preparation and organisation is required and resources are to be found to accomplish this task. This is why we have decided to launch a Kickstarter in order to raise funds to help us realize this project. The short movie will be released OCT 07th 2016 during the Bordeaux show at Le Rocher de Palmer. We’ve planned several rewards in return, spanning from a T-shirt with the movie artwork to the prototype of the space vessel itself, the cosmonaut suit and whatnot… We expect you to partake in the realization of this insane project !!
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator have signed a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds for European booking and will tour Europe this fall. The trio are preparing to release their new album, Abyssinia, this August in North America via Listenable Records, and recently took part in filming for an experimental concert video titled Songs for the Firmament at Joonior Studios in Seattle.
“This will be our first headlining tour of Europe and we are really excited to return to some places we know well and also hit some cities we’ve never been to,” comments founding Mos Generator guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed. “We will be adding a lot of songs from the new album Abyssinia to our set and we will also be revamping some old numbers that haven’t been played in years or have never been played live.”
Exact dates for the European tour are TBA, but it is set to run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, and so will start just days after the band’s recently announced appearance at Erosion Festival 2016 (info here). That slot follows a summer US tour set to kick off in mid-June alongside Year of the Cobra, for which you can find the dates below.
Mos GeneratorUS tour: 6/16 Portland OR – High Water Mark lounge 6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace* 6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest) 6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive 6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater 6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar* 6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store) 6/22 St Paul MN – Big Vs (night show)* 6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub* 6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s 6/25 Columbus OH – Ace of Cups 6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611 6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s* 6/28 Birmingham AL – The Nick* 6/29 Little Rock AR – Vino’s* 6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store) 6/30 Tulsa OK – Downtown Lounge (evening show)* 7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto* 7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well* 7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad* 7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom* 7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar* 7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux* 7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation* 7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC* 10/14 Missoula MT – Erosion Fest * w/ Year of the Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Washington heavy rock trio Mos Generator and duo Year of the Cobra recently got together to record songs on a 4-track tape for an upcoming split single, with Mos Generator‘s Tony “The Restless” Reed at the helm. The news today is that this split, which will be out on Ripple Music and H42 Records, will coincide with a US tour beginning in June that also leads Mos Generator closer to the release of their new album, Abyssinia, on Listenable Records in July. I’d expect this to be just the first round of what will probably be a several-legged run to support Abyssinia. Ever since Mos Generator took to the road following 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) with a revamped lineup, they have basically never looked back.
Year of the Cobra‘s debut long-player is set to arrive later this year as well. Not sure if it’ll be out by the time of this tour — STB was handling the release, last I heard — but they’re sure to be heralding its coming one way or another. Their 2015 EP, The Black Sun (review here), can be streamed below.
Tour dates and the recently-unveiled art for Abyssinia follow, as seen on the social medias:
“Been waiting to announce this for a while… Year of the Cobra and Mos Generator have a split 7″ record coming out on Ripple Music and H42 Records. Both bands will tour the U.S. together this summer to support it. Check the poster for dates! Also, both bands will be playing separately on the dates not listed – check our websites for more info on that. Looking forward seeing and meeting some new friends this summer.”
Mos Generator have unveiled the cover artwork of their new full-length album, ‘Abyssinia’, scheduled for a July release.
Tony Reed comments”These new songs show major change and growth for the band, I wanted the cover to represent that as well. I knew it was going to be collage art style and in searching for an image that moved me I came across this untitled piece. Abyssinia is slang for “I’ll be seeing you”. Sometimes my brain feels like the image on the cover.”
Here are the complete dates for the Mos Generator U.S. tour. More Regional (northwest) dates and European dates for MG coming soon.
6/16 Portland OR – 6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace* 6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest) 6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive 6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater 6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar* 6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store) Big Vs (night show)* 6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub* 6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s 6/25 Columbis OH – Ace of Cups 6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611 6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s* 6/28 6/29 Little Rock AR – Vito’s* 6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store) Downtown Lounge (evening show)* 7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto* 7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well* 7/03 OFF 7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad* 7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom* 7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar* 7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux* 7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation* 7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC* * w/ Year of the Cobra
Posted in Reviews on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s much to The Golden Grass‘ credit that their second album, Coming Back Again, retains the ‘g’ at the end of the word “coming.” The Brooklynite trio seem to have a sense of just where the line is that would put them over-the-top, beyond belief, and they walk that line carefully throughout their sophomore long-player and Listenable Records debut as they did on their 2014 self-titled first outing (review here), released on Svart. That record’s primary contribution came via its overarching positivity — its material dared to be sweet, melodic, graceful, friendly and warm in a climate that reads authenticity mostly via the miserable, even as regards underground heavy music. The Golden Grass‘ boogie worked in direct opposition to that, and much to their credit at their beginning, they had the songwriting to back up their stylization. Fortunately, that remains true on Coming Back Again.
The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank Caira present six tracks/38 minutes conveniently split across two sides, tracked by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Productions, and geared to be as friendly, welcoming and accessible as possible, while also retaining a sense of heft to the tones and rhythmic push — if you want people to dance, give them a shove — and exploring a newfound progressive flourish in the instrumental chemistry that marks a clear, mindful step forward from the debut two years ago. That answers a big question coming into the album, since it was plain from the effort the band put into their presentation that they had no intention of standing still creatively, but it was up in the air how that progression would manifest. It’s manifested as progress. Go figure.
Crucially, as Coming Back Again moves The Golden Grass‘ sound ahead from where it was, that doesn’t come at the expense of the feelgood atmosphere or the melodic richness overall. If anything, even as the emotional context broadens with some more wistful lyrics, it deepens both the atmosphere and level of performance, as opener “Get it Together” (video premiere here) launches with an immediate rhythmic movement leading to a call and response verse from Rafalowich and Kriney, whose harmonies have only become more engaging. Psychedelic lead guitar in a quick break prefaces jams to come, but the band is looking to start out with earthier fare, and the boogie is as strong as the hook in “Get it Together.” It’s not until the break after about four minutes in that the guitar and drums begin to signal some of the sonic shift Coming Back Again will really present, building to a psych-prog swirl atop Caira‘s rock-solid bassline before Rafalowich‘s dream-tone lead takes hold, shifting back to ground in a tambourine-inclusive gallop that finishes the song. That’s a lot of ground to cover in about two minutes’ time, but The Golden Grass masterfully guide “Get it Together” to a sunshiny melodic finish and the tones fade just in time to let the jazzier “Reflections in the Glass” take hold with a smooth entrance.
Caira shines in the transition between verses, along with some keys and interwoven layers of acoustic and electric guitar — the band once again making complex ideas sound simple — and Rafalowich and Kriney execute a thoughtful vocal arrangement to add to the lushness, both easing back for a more gentle delivery than the harder rocking “Get it Together,” but still finding resolution in the last moments of “Reflections in the Glass,” guitar, bass and drums rounding out deceptively complex turns that meet head on with the launch of side A finale, “Shadow Traveler,” more immediately psychedelic. As one of two cuts on Coming Back Again over eight minutes, one might expect full-on prog exploration, but at least in its early going, “Shadow Traveler” is some of the rawest boogie here on offer, Rafalowich calling out both himself and Kriney in the lyrics — “Hey now here comes Adzo/He gonna show you how to swing” — and so he does, in one of the album’s most resonant choruses and subsequent grooves.
Much of the second half of the song is given to an extended psych jam, Rafalowich and Kriney trading lines back and forth referencing other songs on the album — “Get it Together,” “Reflections in the Glass,” the forthcoming “Down the Line” and closer “See it Through” — in a manner classic and brilliant in how it positions the first-time listener with an immediate familiarity with what they’ve just heard. After a finishing wash and crash, side B begins with the interlude “Hazy Daybreak”; two and a half-minutes interplay between far-back airy electric and progressive acoustic guitar, quiet drums, finger snaps, shaker, etc., that, sadly, doesn’t meet with any vocal harmonies on its brief path. I would not be surprised if next time, i.e., on the next album, the case turns out to be different, but if The Golden Grass are telegraphing future experimentation, they’re no less clearheaded about it than they are with their more established movements on Coming Back Again, such as the building tension of the opening to “Down the Line,” which becomes a defining piece for the album in more than just its 9:45 runtime, an early chug and vocal harmonies giving due sense of motion to the chorus “Going down the line.”
After the initial Kriney-led verses, Rafalowich takes the fore through a section past three and a half minutes in that is the departure point for an extended jam careening through psychedelic lead work and rumbling into quiet bass, drums and sparse guitar noise as it moves into the song’s midsection — the foundation of a subdued dream-prog sequence that moves back to reality via Kriney‘s toms and eventually, skillfully, brings back the verse and chorus to close out with emphasis on the control that was never lost. That makes closer “See it Through” something of a victory lap, though a subtly moodier take in the lyrics — plus another noteworthy performance from Caira — also serve as distinguishing factors. And they find room for a boogie jam as well, pushing toward the last hook with handclaps, interspliced layers of fuzz and bass, cowbell, snare and so on as they execute one final round of deceptively tight rhythmic turns while sounding like they’re smiling all the while. The push ends with a “woo!” and that’s about all that needs to be said.
As much as it affirms what The Golden Grass accomplished their first time out, Coming Back Again also leaves that record behind in terms of its ambition and the chemistry in development between Rafalowich, Kriney and Caira, who by no means sounds as new to the band in these tracks as he was when they were recorded. With a grander scope that still sounds definitively natural, The Golden Grass strike a rare balance between accessibility and progressive drive in cuts like “Shadow Traveler,” “Reflections in the Glass” and “See it Through” that, along with “Hazy Daybreak,” set a context for future growth while giving their audience songs that, in the present, are worth returning to the way one enjoys visiting good friends. They’re working toward forward movement sonically, but The Golden Grass remain a band with a deeply individual take on heavy rock, and there’s nothing else out there quite like them.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hell’s bells that’s a good show! Here I’ve been considering getting a crowdfunding page going in order to bring Elephant Tree over from their home base in the UK specifically to pair them up with Bordeaux, France, heavy psych masters Mars Red Sky at The Obelisk All-Dayer in August, and Snuff Lane has gone and beat me to making the match. It’s a five-show run through the UK, and they’ll meet up with Black Lung along the way and play Riff Conspiracy III in Manchester, but for however long these two are getting together, it’s a fit that works so well, it’s hard to imagine this will be the only time it happens.
If you haven’t heard it yet, Mars Red Sky‘s recently-issued third LP, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), is currently holding my top spot for album of the year. Yeah, I know there’s a lot of year to go, but woof, that’s a good record. Elephant Tree‘s self-titled debut (review here), which is due out at the end of April through Magnetic Eye, is currently holding my top spot for debut of the year. Take that as an indication of how highly I regard these two bands at this point. These gigs are going to be killer. If you get to go, consider yourself lucky.
Dates from the PR wire:
MARS RED SKY’s will be touring the UK in May in support of their brand new album ‘Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul)’, pushing boundaries further into a colossal heavy sound like never before.
Produced by Gabriel Zander (from Brasil who also engineered ‘Stranded in Arcadia’) and Jacob Dennis in Studio Cryogene in Bègles in France – The band has forged grandiose and hypnotizing thickly produced songs rooted through a wider range of musical influences stretching from Robert Wyatt, The Beatles, Nick Drake, Neil young to bands like Electric Wizard, Acid King and obviously Black Sabbath.
French revered psych-pop doom fuzzers are set to grace the United Kingdom in May for 5 special events, with tour support will be provided by sitar welding, London based Elephant Tree, who are due to release their new album self-titled album through Magnetic Eye Records.
‘Prise for the Burning Soul’ May UK Tour: 12/05 – The Exchange, Bristol Alongside: Black Lung (ft. members of The Flying Eyes), Indica Blues, The Brackish, Raptor 13/05 – The Phoenix, Coventry 14/05 – Birthdays, London Support TBC 15/05 – Rebellion, Manchester Part of Riff Conspiracy III (Noiz) 16/05 – Audio, Glasgow
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess I didn’t realize that the prior release date for Mars Red Sky‘s third album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), didn’t apply worldwide. Fair enough. I’m not about to say the record doesn’t deserve all the focus it can get, so if that means a May 20 issue in North America via Listenable Records, you’ll get no argument from me. Another excuse to put it on, another excuse to check out their video for “Mindreader,” another excuse to plug their upcoming appearance at The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, on and on. There’s really no downside.
Mars Red Sky are on the road now and are shortly to tour in France alongside Stoned Jesus. The PR wire brings info, dates and more:
MARS RED SKY: French Psychedelic Stoner Doom Trio To Release Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul) In North America This May Via Listenable Records
Bordeaux, France-based psychedelic stoner doom trio, MARS RED SKY, will release their stunning new album Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul) in North America this May via Listenable Records.
Already available to European audiences, Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul) was captured by Gabriel Zander, who also engineered the band’s lauded Stranded In Arcadia offering, and Jacob Dennis in Studio Cryogene in Bègles, France and truly pushes the boundaries of the band’s already monolithic sound. With Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul), MARS RED SKY delivers grandiose and hypnotizing hymns rooted in a far wider range of musical influences stretching from Robert Wyatt, The Beatles, Nick Drake and Neil Young to Electric Wizard, Acid King and, naturally, Black Sabbath.
Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul) Track Listing: 1. (Alien Grounds) 2. Apex III 3. The Whinery 4. Mindreader 5. Under The Hood 6. Friendly Fire 7. Prodigal Sun 8. Shot In Providence
Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul) will be officially unveiled in North America on May 20th via Listenable Records. To secure your copy today visitTHIS LOCATION.
Mars Red Sky on tour: 18/03 EINDHOVEN (NL) Tuchthuis 19/03 HANNOVER (DE) Faust Gold 29/03 RENNES (35) L’Ubu 30/03 ROUBAIX (59) La Cave aux Poètes 31/03 ANGERS (49) Le Chabada – Angers (club et salle de concerts) 01/04 LORIENT (56) MAPL / Le Manège / Les Studios – Lorient 02/04 NANTES (44) Metalorgie Festival 05/04 STRASBOURG (67) La Laiterie Artefact 06/04 LYON (69) Marché Gare 07/04 DRAGUIGNAN (83) Bucéphale 08/04 BARCELONA (SP) Sala Plataforma 09/04 MONTPELLIER (34) Le Black Sheep 10/04 CLERMONT FD (63) Coopérative de Mai 12/04 TOURS (37) Le Temps Machine 16/04 LE MANS (72) Salle Jean Carmet 17/04 DUNKERQUE (59) Les 4Ecluses 20/08 NYC (USA) The Obelisk All-Dayer 26-28/08 LAS VEGAS (USA) Psycho Fest LV
It’s not long into The Golden Grass‘ forthcoming second album, Coming Back Again — out April 15 on Listenable Records — that the Brooklynite trio revive the sunshiny spirit of their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), and likewise, it’s not much longer after that that they begin to showcase the progression of their sound they’ve enacted over the two years since that record came out. “Get it Together” opens Coming Back Again and couches a relatively simple, friendly lyrical message in a complex vocal arrangement with the refined harmonies of guitarist Michael “Professor Plum Brandy” Rafalowich and drummer Adam “Adzo” Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank “The Fireball” Caira topping the first of the outing’s easy-flowing grooves. Tonally, structurally and conceptually engaging, “Get it Together” is about a minute in before Rafalowich dives into an airy psychedelic lead, and with a particularly choice hook, the opener sets a warm tone to which the rest of Coming Back Again seems only too glad to live up.
The video trips out some DIY performance footage, and proves even more how far The Golden Grass have gone to develop their sound. Before they introduce the key progressive stylization in the back half of “Get it Together” that will be fleshed out across the LP, we can see in the video that Caira joins Rafalowich and Kriney on vocals. Of the three (that we know of) bassists who’ve played with The Golden Grass since their first record, he’s the only one to contribute as a singer as well. I’d imagine a good portion of the material for Coming Back Again was written or at least in progress before he was announced as joining back in December, after the band had already been confirmed for Freak Valley 2016 this May in Germany, but he was there when it was recorded, so I’d be interested to find out where his voice appears between the recognizable styles of Kriney and Rafalowich, who’s where in the harmonies and how that will continue to develop from here. If you think that sounds like an interview question, you’re probably right.
April 15 is the North American release, April 22 is the European release for Coming Back Again by The Golden Grass, who have European tour dates to be announced and more to come all around. You can see and hear “Get it Together” on the player below, followed by more particulars on the album, courtesy of the PR wire.
The Golden Grass, “Get it Together” official video
Listenable Records is proud to release the stunning new sophomore full-length, Coming Back Again, from Brooklyn, New York-based psychedelic rock trio THE GOLDEN GRASS this April.
A truly serpentine journey where the epic glory and might of ’70s psychedelia, the sun-drenched warmth of Laurel Canyon’s golden country/folk era and sheer blues-based Southern rock boogie give way to exploratory landscapes, lysergic prog arrangements and a swinging jazz touch, the six-track follow-up to the band’s 2014 self-titled Svart Records debut, was tracked by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Productions.
In support of their forthcoming new album, THE GOLDEN GRASS will embark on their third European tour this coming May which already includes an appearance at the legendary Freak Valley Festival.
Coming Back Again will be available on CD, limited edition colored vinyl and digitally on April 15th in North America and April 22nd in Europe with preorders, track teasers and tour dates to be unveiled in the weeks to come.