Friday Full-Length: King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

An observation by King Crimson, and a brilliant one at that. The first time I heard King Crimson‘s 1969 debut, In the Court of the Crimson King was on the flight home from my honeymoon. I was 23, and while by some standards that was late to encounter the record, it’s a setting I wouldn’t have traded a decade for, returning from my first time out of the country, The Patient Mrs. sitting next to me as I loaded the disc into the bulky CD player I’d continue to use for years afterwards — 23-year-old me is a little disappointed every time 33-year-old me plays a song on my phone — the swells of the closing semi-title-track “Court of the Crimson King” matching the puffy whites and greys of clouds outside the aircraft window. It’s an association I’ll always have with the first King Crimson record, and that may well be part of why I consider it among the best albums I’ve ever heard, but sentiment aside, I think even the most objective observer would have to be taken aback by just how much ground the UK band — the lineup of Robert Fripp (guitar), Michael Giles (drums, backing vocals, percussion), Greg Lake (vocals, bass), and Ian McDonald (flute, clarinet, sax, keys, harisichord, piano, vibraphone, backing vocals, etc.) — were able to break on their debut release. Out through Island Records in the UK and Atlantic in the US for its original pressing, its 44 minutes continue to serve as a blueprint for the founding consciousness that typifies nearly every strain of progressive rock. It’s the higher consciousness that all those acid-heads were trying to attain.

King Crimson are probably more known for 1974’s Red, or their 1981 post-hiatus return, Discipline, which in many ways set the tone for everything that followed it, but In the Court of the Crimson King makes for an even more striking listen because it’s as much about its melodies as its experimentalism. From the jagged insistence of “21st Century Schizoid Man” — a landmark in itself and a defining moment for the band — through the closer’s spacious roll and minimalist interplay, King Crimson were beyond just freaking out. Every texture in the mellotron-infused “Moonchild,” and every pseudo-militaristic drum stop in “Epitaph” has its companion sense of melody, and the work as a whole is as gorgeous as it is complex. The dreamy wisps of “I Talk to the Wind” are much stronger for it, and while King Crimson would ultimately become more of a show of technicality and genre-defining progressive rhythms under various lineups incorporating the likes of guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Bill Bruford — nothing against that band, those players or anyone else who might have “I played ‘x’ in King Crimson” on their resumé — this earliest incarnation of the group was unafraid to complement all that distinguishing class with simple sweetness, and that was something that they’d never quite do in the same way again. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to the early part of “Moonchild.”

Of course, that’s not to belittle the band’s subsequent accomplishments or what Greg Lake would go on to do with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or what Fripp continues to do with the modern version of King Crimson — which if I recall correctly featured no fewer than three drummers on their most recent US tour; I was sorry I missed it — just to highlight the fact that In the Court of the Crimson King is something special and it was a shortlived moment in the band’s ultimate trajectory. I can’t imagine this post is anyone’s first time hearing it, but if it is or if you’re just revisiting, fair enough. I can’t imagine this version posted on YouTube will be there all that long before it gets taken down, so if nothing else, consider this a recommendation to take your copy off the shelf — CD, vinyl, whatever it might be — and give it another look, or if you don’t have a copy, to get one. It’s one of those records that goes a long way toward making a house into a home.

Either way, enjoy.

I’ve been thinking this week about the idea of curating. Announcing that I’m putting together that all-dayer for next August in Brooklyn has got me thinking about the various ways in which we curate our existence, the choices we make, the little things we do every day. My conclusion? I’m way fucking in favor. You know what the tradeoff is for all the privacy we’ve thrown out the window in the last two decades, all the data we’ve let be gathered and sold back to us, all the compromises we’ve made on our relationships to media and the relentlessly-cloying-yet-somehow-also-all-controlling corporatocracy in which we live? The tradeoff is the “I don’t want to see this” button.

It’s not quite my favorite thing in the world, but it’s definitely on the list. Imagine a real-life bullshit detector. I used to abhor willful ignorance, as though everyone should make an effort to expose themselves to everything, all the time — the least realistic of expectations. Our brains would explode. Fuck that shit. Life is short, and yeah, you should get out and see the world, but when you come across something you just know is garbage, “I don’t want to see this” comes in real, real handy.

The Patient Mrs. asks me all the time if I’ve seen this or that floating around, the latest horrific thing some Republican candidate said or did. There was a time where the answer would be yes, but now? Not a chance. I barely even pay attention to mass shootings, suicide bombings, war, greed, corruption, etc., anymore. Not when there are show flyers to check out! Is my being interminably beaten down by the needless cruelties we perpetrate on each other going to fix them? Nope. Am I improving myself by being upset by these things? Nope. Okay then.

I’m not saying compassion has no value — unless we’re measuring in terms of pure real-world productivity, which in most cases it does indeed have no value — or that the news isn’t worth keeping up with, but I’m saying that, like the news organizations, we’re fortunate to live in an age in which we’re also able to engage in what media studies calls “agenda setting.” I don’t know what Donald Trump said about Mexican immigrants. I don’t know how many people were blown up today in Baghdad. I do know Baroness have a new album coming out, and I know that the new Graveyard record kicks ass. And I’m perfectly okay with that balance. My agenda has been set.

Perhaps complemented by the revelation of a somewhat troubling tendency to gravitate toward ’90s television (Star Trek spinoffs, MST3K, etc.) and videogames, being able to curate my own life has proven a massive win, and it’s made me more conscious (again, for better and worse) of my decisions and habits, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The rest? Well, I don’t know about it, because I choose not to know. Other people can fret over the fact that nobody’s willing to do anything about climate change, that people on the internet say, write and do stupid, racist, sexist shit, and so on. Other people can protest wars like that’s ever going to stop them. It’s not like meaningful debate is a thing that exists or anyone’s interested in having. So yeah, beat your head against the wall of someone else’s dumbassery. Let me know how many years that adds to your life.

Next week, stay tuned for a Funeral Horse track stream, an initial announcement from Desertfest, reviews of Thera Roya and Uncle Acid and an interview with Monster Magnet‘s frontman, the inimitable Dave Wyndorf. There’s copious news already to go up on Monday about a new record from Saviours and the Melvins‘ next European tour, and I hear there’s an announcement coming from the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta as well, so stay tuned. Much goodness en route.

And if this site is one of the things to which you choose to expose yourself on a regular basis, please know you have my thanks and best wishes.

Great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Gurt and Diesel King to Tour Europe Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Two aggressive-as-hell Londoner outfits teaming up to, as they put it, “beat the shit out of Europe?” Yeah, I’d say the pairing of Gurt and Diesel King makes sense. All the more so since both bands have material recently out. Gurt issued their latest EP, D.I.Y.M.C.A. (get it?), back in April, and in June, Diesel King unleashed a free download single, beefing up Toto‘s “Hold the Line” with their particular brand of dudely extremity. Whether or not they’ll take that cover on the road, I don’t know, but it’s almost worth showing up to find out, even without the rest of the show.

You know the deal. Info and audio? Yes. Info and audio:

gurt diesel king euro tour

GURT + DIESEL KING // EURO TOUR 2015

Dead Pig Entertainment & When Planets Collide present : GURT & DIESEL KING

Beating the shit out of Europe for the first time together…

GURT take the blues and groove of 70s rock and drag it backwards through the swamps of Louisiana. The drums are thunderous, the vocals demonic and the guitars down-tuned, down-tempo and down-right sexy. This is not doom, this is not sludge, THIS IS GURT.

Diesel King play aggressive & abrasive music which has been described from sludge to hardcore to death metal. The London mob have been on various tours and have supported bands such as Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod, Entombed and many others. Playing in the UK and Europe and featuring on various high profile festival bills such as Bloodstock, their live shows are likened to being punched in the face repeatedly. With 2 Eps under their belt the band are set unleash their debut album in 2015 “Concrete Burial” and look to continue their dominance in the UK metal scene.

03.09 : UTRECHT (NL), dB’s
04.09 : get in touch
05.09 : SALZBURG (AT), Stonerhead Fest
06.09 : get in touch
07.09 : PARIS (F), Stoned Gatherings Klub
08.09 : LILLE (F), Le Biplan
09.09 : BRUXELLES (BE), Magasin 4

https://www.facebook.com/events/1463049980665347/
facebook.com/GURTsludge
http://gurt.bandcamp.com/
facebook.com/Dieselkinguk
http://dieselking.bandcamp.com/

Gurt, D.I.Y.M.C.A. (2015)

Diesel King, Hold the Line (2015)

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Strauss Post New Video for “2015”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

strauss

Despite its funky initial bassline, Strauss‘ “2015” paints a rather grim portrait of the bleak future in which we live. Lines like “No gravity or sense to life” pretty much say it all. Still, that doesn’t mean that the video can’t tell the tale of a fish-obsessed scientist — Blood Waters of Dr. Z, anyone? — losing his mind while the London five-piece pound out riff-led noise rock in a moist-looking concrete-walled space presumably somewhere in the vicinity. It doesn’t need to make sense. It’s science.

Strauss released their second EP, Luia (review here), in May. The follow-up to their more decisively desertized 2013 self-titled (review here), the five-songer impressed with its jump in aggressive style and individual presence on the part of the band. It’s good to know they’ve been keeping busy since putting it out, and if Luia might be their last short offering before they take on the task of their full-length debut, I don’t think anyone who bothers to make their way through “2015” could argue they’re not ready.

Video, including a somewhat quizzical leadoff sample of George W. Bush (who, if you were paying attention at the time, you know said plenty of quizzical shit), follows. Enjoy:

Strauss, “2015” official video

Strauss – 2015, taken from their recently released 2nd EP, Luia.

The video tells the classic heart-warming tale of an aquatically obsessed scientist driven to madness. Possibly by the filthy stoner metal grooves playing out in his deranged mind. No fish were harmed during the making of this video but some harsh words were exchanged.

Lyrics:
News go by on TV
Nothing’s left on my wall
I’ll carry on as they say
Whilst degrade is taking over
How could I ever see a light past the wicked eye?
A dream of truthfulness detached from reality
I came across it once but can’t recall the look
Just a feeling of calm and beauty
No gravity or sense to life
If only I could trust
That better days will come
I’d never lose my hope
To find the hidden sunlit world
Beyond our mind

Luia can be bought here: http://straussband.bandcamp.com/

Directed by – Peter Jones
Produced by – Luke O’Dwyer
DOP – Robin Kay
Edited by – Peter Jones
Additonal Footage – Matt Haworth
Gaffer – Jack Downes
Focus Puller – Martin Dobinson

Camera Assistants – Emma Langley, Michael Tselepis, Greg Childs

Special Thanks to Shift 4

Strauss on Thee Facebooks

Strauss on Bandcamp

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Vodun Post New Video for “Minos Army”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

vodun

Fast-paced London trio Vodun continue to excite with their new digital single, “Minos Army.” After issuing their debut EP, Eat up the Sun, on Superhot Records in 2013, the band has hooked up with Riff Rock Records for the “Minos Army” unveiling, and the quick-riffed track arrives complete with an animated video that shows copious tribe-on-colonial-oppressor slaughter, artfully crafted in rhythmic swirls of color that fit well with the song itself, which provides yet another showcase for vocalist Chan, whose command at the fore of the track is all the more stunning when one considers that Vodun don’t yet have a record out.

On that issue, a 2016 release is planned for Possession, the debut from the avant metal three-piece — Chan, drummer Zel, guitarist Oli — and that will presumably also hit through Riff Rock Records as the first non-compilation release backed by the newcomer imprint. If “Minos Army” is anything to go by, it’s going to be quite an offering, the band’s voodoo-inspired aesthetics and powerful thrust already proven as one waits to behold what sort of dynamics they might be able to bring to the mix. Nothing to do but sit by and find out, unless you count watching the clip for “Minos Army,” which if you need a kick in the ass — and I think we both know you do — offers a swift one.

Enjoy:

Vodun, “Minos Army” official video

Here’s the video for our first release. Vodun’s “Minos Army”.

Directed by Federico González Camargo and mixed by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Turbowolf, Band of Skulls). The track is mixed by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Turbowolf, Band of Skulls).

Available now via http://riffrockrecords.co.uk and all good streaming services.

Walk with the Vodun…

Heavy-Afro-Psych trio Vodun are the first signing to Riff Rock Records. We’ll be releasing a digital single in August mixed by Tom Dalgety alongside an amazing animated video.

If you don’t know Vodun, get in there now. They’ve been destroying crowds up and down the country with their incredible live shows for the last two years and we’re overjoyed to bring them on board as the first band on the Riff Rock roster. They play a blend of afrobeat and psychedelia that’s held together with massive, Sabbath-sized riffs.

Riff Rock Records

Vodun on Thee Facebooks

Vodun on Bandcamp

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Hey Colossus and Hotel Wrecking City Traders Split 12″ Coming Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

hey colossus

hotel wrecking city traders

This one sounds like a winner. On Friday, Wild Animal Records and Bro Fidelity Records will release a split between UK outfit Hey Colossus and Melbourne’s Hotel Wrecking City Traders on 12″ vinyl that contains one extended track from each band. Apparently the two acts had been in touch for some time but finally got to play together when the Aussie duo hit Europe for a tour last year, including a slot at Desertfest in London.

I’ll admit I don’t know Hey Colossus nearly as well as Hotel Wrecking City Traders, but the six-piece band released a full-length titled In Black and Gold on Rocket Recordings, and if you know that label, that should be enough to pique your interest. In the meantime, Hotel Wrecking City Traders released their second full-length, Ikiryo (review here), last year just about the time they took off for Europe and followed it up with a single, “Loose Alcoholic,” at the end of 2014.

Split’s out at the end of the week, so here’s some PR wire info if you’d like to prepare:

hey-colossus-hotel-wrecking-city-traders-split

HEY COLOSSUS / HOTEL WRECKING CITY TRADERS SPLIT 12 INCH

This split’s been in the pipeline since 2006, Melbourne’s HWCT + London/Somerset’s HC have been long time talkers, finally meeting when they did some shows together in 2014. The Australian duo tore it round Europe for 3 weeks, HC hooked up for 3 of the shows (including the London Desertfest).

One long tune each.

HWCT go JAM-HEAVY with ‘Droned and Disowned (Pt.2)’, ripping on some mid 80’s NY insistent guitar clang, building and building, being led by the drums, chased by the riffs, 22 smoke filled mins.

HC take it doooooown with ‘Heaven Blows’, a 3am ‘question where you’re going with your life’ come down tune, drones flying about, twinkly dream synths, vocals from outta nowhere.

Split 12 / Download is out July 24th on Wild Animals Records + Bro Fidelity Records, both labels out of Melbourne, 216 copies (Various colored vinyl).

https://www.facebook.com/hotelwreckingcitytraders
https://hotelwreckingcitytraders.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/heycolossus
http://geni.us/itunesblackngold
http://wildanimalsrecords.blogspot.com.au/

Hotel Wrecking City Traders, “Loose Alcoholic” (2014)

Hey Colossus, In Black and Gold (2015)

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Dr. Crazy Release 1,000 Guitars EP on Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Mind you, I don’t actually know if there are 1,000 guitar tracks on the forthcoming second EP from UK trio Dr. Crazy, 1,000 Guitars, but if there were, I’d believe it. The three-piece made their debut last year with the four-song Demon Lady, and 1,000 Guitars seems to be following suit at least in the number of cuts included, though one can only imagine there’s a conceptual theme underlying “Demon Lady” from the first EP and “Mistress of Business” from this one. Could it be the same person? Notice how you never see the two of them in the same room.

Or for that matter the “Bikini Woman.” The plot thickens.

Since they last checked in, guitarist/bassist Chris West (formerly of Trippy Wicked) and vocalist Andreas Mazzereth (Groan) apparently brought on board drummer Mike Pilat (ex-Groan guitarist, currently also of Biggus Riffus) in place of one Tony Reed, whose absence is understandable considering the uptick in activity from Mos Generator so far this year. Rumor also has it Stubb‘s Jack Dickinson also lent a guitar solo to the cause somewhere on these tracks. Hopefully he doesn’t get lost among the thousand.

EP announcement follows, found on the internet!

dr crazy 1000 guitars

Good Morning!

Wrap your peepers round the amazing artwork created for us by Justin T Coons Art for our new EP, 1000 Guitars. The EP will be released on Friday this week and features these four bangers:

Hands off My Rock and Roll
Bikini Woman
1000 Guitars
Mistress of Business

Some of you may be wondering why it took so long to squeeze out the next 4 tracks of sweet rock n roll, well lemme tell you, tracking one thousands takes of guitar all in perfect unison so it sounds like just one guitar is no mean feat and takes time.

More news in a few days. Stay loose.

Mazz (Groan) – vocals; Chris West (ex-Trippy Wicked) – guitar, bass; Mike Pilat (Biggus Riffus) – drums

http://drcrazyrocks.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/DrCRAZYRocks

Dr. Crazy, Demon Lady (2014)

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Quarterly Review: Foehammer, Holy Serpent, Wicked Inquisition, AVER, Galley Beggar, Demon Lung, Spirit Division, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Mountain Tamer, Ohhms

Posted in Reviews on June 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

I said back in March that I was going to try to make the Quarterly Review a regular feature around here, and once it was put out there, the only thing to do was to live up to it. Over the last several — like, five — weeks, I’ve been compiling lists of albums to be included, and throughout the next five days, we’re going to make our way through that list. From bigger names to first demos and across a wide swath of heavy styles, there’s a lot of stuff to come, and I hope within all of it you’re able to find something that hits home or speaks to you in a special way.

No sense in delaying. Hold nose, dive in.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Foehammer, Foehammer

foehammer foehammer

Relatively newcomer trio Foehammer specialize in grueling, slow-motion punishment. Their self-titled debut EP follows a well-received 2014 demo and is three tracks/34 minutes released by Grimoire and Australopithecus Records of doomed extremity, the Virginian three-piece of guitarist Joe Cox (ex-Gradius), bassist/vocalist Jay Cardinell (ex-Gradius, ex-Durga Temple) and drummer Ben “Vang” Blanton (ex-Vog, also of The Oracle) not new to the Doom Capitol-area underground by any stretch and seeming to pool all their experience to maximize the impact of this extended material. Neither “Final Grail,” “Stormcrow” nor 14-minute closer “Jotnar” is without a sense of looming atmosphere, but Foehammer at this point are light only on drama, and the lower, sludgier and more crushing they go, the more righteous the EP is for it. Stunningly heavy and landing with a suitable shockwave, it is hopefully the beginning of a long, feedback-drenched tenure in death-doom, and if the EP is over half an hour, the prospect of a follow-up debut full-length seems overwhelming. Easily one of the year’s best short releases.

Foehammer on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Australopithecus Records

Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent

holy serpent holy serpent

It’s not like they were lying when they decided to call a song “Shroom Doom.” Melbourne double-guitar four-piece made their self-titled debut as Holy Serpent last year, and the five-track full-length was picked up for release on RidingEasy Records no doubt for its two-front worship of Uncle Acid’s slither and jangle – especially prevalent on the eponymous opener and closer “The Wind” – and the now-classic stonerism of Sleep. That blend comes together best of all on the aforementioned finale, but neither will I take away from the north-of-10-minute righteousness of “The Plague” preceding, with its slow roll and malevolent vibe that, somehow, still sounds like a party. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Scott Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Michael Macfie and drummer Keith Ratnan, the real test for Holy Serpent will be their second or third album – i.e., how they develop the psychedelic nodes of centerpiece “Fools Gold” along with the rest of their sound – but listening to these tracks, it’s easy to let the future worry about itself.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records

Wicked Inquisition, Wicked Inquisition

wicked inquisition wicked inquisition

There are a variety of influences at work across Wicked Inquisition’s self-titled debut long-player, from the Sabbath references of its eponymous closer to the earlier thrashery of “In Shackles” and “Sun Flight,” but the core of the Minneapolis four-piece resides in a guitar-led brand of metal, whatever else they decide to build around it. Guitarist/vocalist Nate Towle, guitarist Ben Stevens, bassist Jordan Anderson and drummer Jack McKoskey align tightly around the riffs of “M.A.D.” in all-business fashion. Shades of Candlemass show up in some of the slower material, “M.A.D.” included as well as with “Crimson Odyssey,” but the start-stops of “Tomorrow Always Knows” ensure the audience is clued in that there’s more going on than just classic doom, though a Trouble influence seems to hover over the proceedings as well, waiting to be more fully explored as the band moves forward.

Wicked Inquisition on Thee Facebooks

Wicked Inquisition on Bandcamp

AVER, Nadir

aver nadir

Clocking in at an hour flat, Sydney all-caps riffers AVER construct their second album, Nadir, largely out of familiar elements, but wind up with a blend of their own. Fuzz is prevalent in the extended nod of opener “The Devil’s Medicine” (9:46) which bookends with the longest track, finisher “Waves” (9:48), though it’s not exactly like the four-piece are shy about writing longer songs in between. The production, while clear enough, lends its focus more toward the low end, which could be pulling in another direction from the impact of some of Nadir’s psychedelia on “Rising Sun” second half solo, but neither will I take anything away from Jed’s bass tone, which could carry this hour of material were it asked. The vocals of guitarist Burdt have a distinct Acid Bathian feel, post-grunge, and that contrasts a more laid back vibe even on the acoustic-centered “Promised Lands,” but neither he, Jed, guitarist Luke or drummer Chris feel out of place here, and I’m not inclined to complain.

AVER on Thee Facebooks

AVER on Bandcamp

Galley Beggar, Silence and Tears

galley-beggar-silence-and-tears

Sweet, classic and very, very British folk pervades the gorgeously melodic and meticulously arranged Silence and Tears by London six-piece Galley Beggar, released on Rise Above. The eight-track/40-minute album packs neatly onto a vinyl release and has near-immediate psychedelic underpinnings in the wah of opener “Adam and Eve,” and side B’s “Geordie” has some heavier-derived groove, but it’s the beauty and lushness of the harmonies throughout (finding satisfying culmination in closer “Deliver Him”) that stand Galley Beggar’s third offering out from worshipers of a ‘60s and ‘70s era aesthetic. The highlight of Silence and Tears arrives early in nine-minute second cut “Pay My Body,” a wonderfully swaying, patient excursion that gives equal time to instrumental exploration and vocal accomplishment, but to a select few who let themselves be truly hypnotized and carried along its winding course, the album’s entire span will prove a treasure to be revisited for years to come and whose sunshiny imprint will remain vivid.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Demon Lung, A Dracula

demon-lung-a-dracula

With inspiration reportedly from the 1977 demon-possession horror flick Alucarda, Las Vegas doomers Demon Lung return with A Dracula, their second offering via Candlelight Records after 2013’s The Hundredth Name, and as the movie begins with a birth, so too do we get “Behold, the Daughter” following the intro “Rursumque Alucarda,” later mirrored by a penultimate interlude of the same name. Billy Anderson produced, so it’s not exactly a surprise that the slow, undulating riffs and the periodic bouts of more upbeat chug, as on “Gypsy Curse,” come through nice and viscous, but vocalist Shanda brings an ethereal melodic sensibility, not quite cult rock, but on “Mark of Jubilee” presenting momentarily some similarly bleak atmospherics to those of the UK’s Undersmile, her voice seeming to command the guitars to solidify from their initial airiness and churn out an eerie apex, which closer “Raped by the Serpent” pushes further for a raging finale.

Demon Lung on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight USA’s Bandcamp

Spirit Division, Spirit Division

spirit division spirit division

Spirit Division’s self-titled debut full-length follows a 2014 demo that also hosted three of the tracks – opener “Spirit Division,” “Through the Rounds” and “Mountain of Lies” – but is fuller-sounding in its post-grunge tonality and doomly chug than the earlier offering, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Hoffman, bassist/vocalist Chris Latta and drummer/vocalist David Glass finding a straightforward route through moody metallurgy and weighted riffage. Some Wino-style swing shows up on “Bloodletting,” and “Cloud of Souls” has a decidedly militaristic march to its progression, while the later “Red Sky” revels in classic doom that seems to want to be just a touch slower than it is, but what ultimately unites the material is the strong sense of purpose across the album’s span and Spirit Division’s care in the vocal arrangements. The production is somewhat dry, but Spirit Division walk the line between sludge rock and doom and seem comfortable in that sphere while also sparking a creative progression that seems well worth further pursuit.

Spirit Division on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Division on Bandcamp

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Until Next Time

space mushroom fuzz until next time

I was all set to include a different Space Mushroom Fuzz album in this roundup, but then I saw that the project was coming to an end and Until Next Time was issued as the band’s final release. The deal all along with the band headed by guitarist/vocalist Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) has been that you never really know what he’s going to do next. Fair enough. Abrams brings it down in suitably bizarre fashion, a keyboard and guitar line backing “Class Onion” in direct mockery of Beatlesian bounce, where “The DeLorean Takes Off!” before compiles five-plus minutes of experimental noise and “Follow that DeLorean” answers with another round after. Elsewhere, opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Here Comes Trouble” resonates with its central guitar line and unfolds to further oddity with a quiet but gruff vocal, while “The Rescue” vibes like something Ween would’ve conjured after huffing roach spray (or whatever was handy) and closer “Back in ‘55” moves from progressive soloing to froggy singing and weirdo jangle. All in all a strange and fitting end to the band.

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

Mountain Tamer, MTN TMR DEMO

mountain tamer mtn tmr demo

Santa Cruz trio Mountain Tamer have been kicking around the West Coast for the last several years, and since they released a full-length, Liquid Metal, in 2013, and a prior EP in 2012’s The Glad, it’s tempting to try to read some larger shift sonically into their MTN TMR Demo, as though having completely revamped their sound, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Andru, bassist/vocalist Dave Teget and drummer/vocalist Casey Garcia trying out new ideas as they redirect their approach. That may well be the case, with “Satan’s Waitin’,” “Sum People” and “Dunes of the Mind” each standing at over five-minutes of neo-stoner roll, more psychedelic than some in the growing fuck-it-let’s-skate oeuvre, but still plainly born after, or at least during, grunge. The finisher comes to a thrilling, noisy head as it rounds out the short release, and if Mountain Tamer are taking on a new path, it’s one well set to meander and I hope they continue to follow those impulses.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

OHHMS, Cold

ohhms cold

Like their late-2014 debut, Bloom, OHHMS’ sophomore outing, Cold, is comprised of two extended tracks. Here the Canterbury five-piece bring “The Anchor” (18:30) and “Dawn of the Swarm” (14:27), blending modern prog, sludge and post-metallic vibes to suit a melodic, ambitious purpose. Atmosphere is central from the quiet drone starting “The Anchor” and remains so as they lumber through a linear build and into an apex at about 13 minutes in, dropping out to quiet only to build back up to a striking melodic push that ends on a long fade. Side B, “Dawn of the Swarm” is more immediately post-rock in the guitar, the lineup of vocalist Paul Waller, guitarists Daniel Sargent and Marc George, bassist Chainy Chainy and drummer Max Newton moving through hypnotic sprawl into angular Isis-ism before finding their own way, the second cut pushing structurally against the first with loud/quiet tradeoffs in a well-timed back half. Clearly a band who arrived knowing their purpose, but not so cerebral as to detract from the heavy landing of the material itself.

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Riff Rock Records Makes Label Debut with Free Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

London-based Riff Rock Records makes its mission plain with its first release a free 10-track compilation bringing together a swath of acts from the UK and beyond. Most of the bands on Riff Rock Records Vol. 1 have a demo or an EP out to their credit — Ten Foot Wizard might be the most established, with two albums under their belt, but BongCauldron have been around for a couple years as well. Perhaps the outliers of the whole deal are Howling Giant, who sneak into the lineup as the only American band, being based in Nashville, TN. Near as I can tell, Alpine heavy rockers Mount Hush are the only other band not from England or Scotland.

There are far worse ways for a label to start off, though, than by showing that its ear-to-the-ground extends outside of its native scene. Headed up by Leigh Jones of heavy rock/metal mischief-makers Groan, Riff Rock RecordsRiff Rock Records Vol. 1 boasts up and comers like Skunk, Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Bad Meat and Tradish, and is available now as a name-your-price download through Bandcamp. Note the three ‘r’s in the logo of the artwork.

More to come as the imprint gets going. With the promise of making public the first signing soon, the compilation announcement was pretty brief, but it went like this:

riff rock records vol. 1

Riff Rock Records Vol. 1

Our first compilation is now available to download.

http://riffrockrecords.co.uk/album/riff-rock-records-vol-1

The best new unsigned hard rock, stoner, doom and sludge for FREE!

1. Ten Foot Wizard – Up & Away
2. Mount Hush – King Beyond
3. SKUNK – Black Hash
4. Tradish – Nautilus
5. Atragon – Dead Weight of Unimportant Flesh
6. Derelics – Ride the F*ckin’ Snake to Valhalla
7. Howling Giant – Whale Lord
8. Bad Meat – March of the Hawk
9. BongCauldron – Bigfoot Reigns
10. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters – Mother Chub

Please help us out in these early days by sharing this around if you dig it. Thank you!

http://riffrockrecords.co.uk/album/riff-rock-records-vol-1

https://www.facebook.com/RiffRockMusic/
https://twitter.com/riffrockrecords

VA, Riff Rock Records Vol. 1

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