Handsome Pants Premiere New Single “Rut”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

handsome pants

Canadian heavy rock newcomers Handsome Pants have a show booked for Oct. 3. Any other year, ‘Band Has Show in Ontario’ probably wouldn’t qualify as newsworthy on its own, but as you know, this isn’t any other year. So yeah. Oct. 3, at The 765 in London, ON, they’ll be playing. The band, formed by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Bateman, and the presumably-brothers rhythm section of bassist Jordan Nodwell and Kyle Nodwell after the dissolution of their prior outfit The Rapscallions, made their first audio public earlier this year in the form of the single “Turgid.”

It’s at the bottom of the post if you don’t feel like clicking through to chase it down on their Bandcamp, but with the newer track premiering below, called simply “Rut,” they bring something of a different look, playing off experimental-feeling twisted harmonica via Handsome Pants‘ non-Rapscallion member, Chuck Smith, as well as a languid bluesy groove, a subtle hook and vocal interplay that works well to add depth to the proceedings. I ain’t gonna lie, the fact that they swiped the Hot Wheels logo doesn’t hurt either in terms of catching the eye — lotta monster trucks around my house these days, with the toddler and all — but it was ultimately the cleverness of the song itself that won me over. I’ll spare you the “one to watch” cliché, but the song’s cool, and hell, you’ve got time. Don’t pretend like you don’t.

Their plans? How should I know, and who would even bother with plans at this point of planetary down-the-drainitude? They’ve got a show! They’ve got a new single! I fail to see what more you could possibly ask.

Song’s right below, PR wire announcement follows.

Enjoy:

Handsome Pants, “Rut” official premiere

Handsome Pants is the kind of band that shows up to a gig dressed haphazardly in mismatched Value Village clothes they picked out for each other. The kind of band that doesn’t take themselves seriously just wants to rock out and have a good time with their fans. Handsome Pants proves fun does not be sacrificed to make lively, highly creative music.

Loud and obnoxious is the name of the game for Handsome Pants and the rambunctious uniqueness really shines through with their new single, “Rut” which follows a concept that a lot of people are familiar with. The feeling of being stuck in a rut and turning to alcohol. The band explains the single in more depth:

“Rut is the second release in our early existence as a band. This song is something Andrew has been sitting on for a long time and rewriting lyrics. Finally finding the right content and lyrics putting it together at this time seems perfect. It seems to relate to a lot of people right now and what they are going through with the pandemic and everything else happening right now.”

The most mainstream track the band has to date still holds on to its originality with the layered vocals and prominent harmonica.

“Rut” is suitable for all kinds of rock radio, it’s punchy and tight, for fans of Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, and Clutch, Handsome Pants is just getting started and anticipates more music coming down the pipe.

Handsome Pants are:
Andrew Bateman – Lead Vocals and Guitar
Jordan Nodwell- Lead Bass
Kyle Nodwell- Drums
Chuck Smith- Harmonica

Handsome Pants, “Turgid”

Handsome Pants on Thee Facebooks

Handsome Pants on Instagram

Handsome Pants on Bandcamp

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LOOP to Record New Studio Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

If anyone had ‘new LOOP record’ on their 2020 Bingo card, kudos. I sure didn’t, and yet of all the truly horrible shit that’s gone down and continues to go down this year, a new LOOP offers promise of shimmer to come. The pioneering Britpsych outfit have put out word that their Array series — begun with the release of the Array 1 EP some five years ago now — is dead-dead-deadski, but that they’ll instead embark on putting together a new long-player which will, as the headline below says, be their first since 1990. That album was A Gilded Eternity. Put it on and it still sounds ahead of its time, but yeah, three decades later is probably fitting enough for a follow-up.

Not so much with the release dates or anything like that, but hell, what’re you gonna do, complain if it’s late? Get over yourself. It’s frickin’ new LOOP. If you say you knew it was happening at all three days ago, and you’re not, like, related to Robert Hampson or whatever, then you’re probably just lying.

Here’s what the esteemed Mr. Hampson himself had to say:

loop

LOOP CONFIRM FIRST ALBUM SINCE 1990…

2020… ?

It’s been quite a while since a full length LOOP album release.

Perhaps too long?

Perhaps not long enough?

It’s possible to list an encyclopaedia’s worth of content of what has transpired since A GILDED ETERNITY in this battered and bewildering world of Prime Ministers / Leaders and the odd Demagogue here and there, who refuse to curtail their excesses until everything around them is completely shit and we are at each other’s throats over a piece of land or the colour of skin and a belief.

And then there’s just general bad behaviour by people who really should make way for others in their self serving lives and get with the fucking program.

Your liberty is not at risk for wearing a face covering.

Perhaps look at who you are voting for if you feel something like liberty is at risk first, then perhaps a bit of cloth might not seem so threatening.

Anyhoo…

Perhaps… nothing really changes?

Forever changes.

“Always Forward” pretty much has been my motto for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes, you have to go in reverse, to manoeuvre around the odd thing here and there.

Bringing LOOP back into life has had its trials and tribulations as much as anything you can figure on as it had back in the day, but the desire to explore further hasn’t left me…yet.

So, back in the studio then.

Can’t tell you what it’s all about just yet, apart from the fact it’s a blast of high octane guitars, rattling drums and low frequency bass.

To clear the air, sadly the Array project has been shelved indefinitely.

It seems pertinent to think on new projects than ones that didn’t get finished.

This is NOT ARRAY 2 & 3

We’re working with our man Joe Garcia in his smart studio on cooking something righteous and I’m sure I’ll be allowed to spill the beans here and there in how it’s all going.

So, it is what it is, and once it is out there, it’ll be tangible and then maybe I can talk on it further.

Until then, we all have to wait and see on where it goes and where it’ll end up

RH x

LOOP is:
Robert Hampson (vocal, guitar)
Hugo Morgan (bass)
Dan Boyd (guitar)
Wayne Maskell (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/loopbandofficial
https://www.instagram.com/loopbandofficial/
http://soundheads.org/

LOOP, “Radial”

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Orange Goblin Postpone December UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ORANGE GOBLIN

When Orange Goblin posted their Dec. 2020 tour dates in May, it seemed optimistic but not necessarily unreasonable to think they might happen. They’ve been pushed to 2021 in the hope that by the end of next year venues will once again be allowed to hold full capacities.

At this point, I’m wondering if that’s ever going to happen, or if the idea of “capacity” itself in a building, bar, venue, whatever, is going to have to be redrawn to allow fewer people in a given space. Does that look like a band playing the same room three nights in a row to three different crowds while on tour, each show holding a third of what it “used to?” I don’t know. Does that mean tours go three times as long? Is that remotely feasible? Or does live music become something that only happens in summertime, when it’s warm enough to be done somewhere outside?

How is it ever going to happen?

Maybe by the end of next year everything will be alright. In the UK. The US is fucked forever. I mean that.

Anyway, in a spirit of crossed fingers, here’s Orange Goblin‘s Dec. 2021 tour dates:

orange goblin dec 2021

ORANGE GOBLIN – UK TOUR RESCHEDULED DATES ANNOUNCEMENT

Legendary UK heavy metal four piece Orange Goblin have been forced to postpone their previously announced tour for December this year, until the same time period in 2021. In a move that will come as no surprise, the band have bowed to the inevitable and postponed their dates.

The newly scheduled shows will run as follows:

Orange Goblin UK & Ireland Tour 2021
(support Spirit Adrift & King Creature)
Wed 08 Dec – The Booking Hall, Dover, UK * (Orange Goblin only)
Thu 09 Dec – Tivoli, Buckley
Fri 10 Dec – Limelight 2, Belfast
Sat 11 Dec – Grand Social, Dublin
Mon 13 Dec – King Tuts, Glasgow
Tue 14 Dec – Gorilla, Manchester
Wed 15 Dec – Asylum, Birmingham
Thu 16 Dec – The Globe, Cardiff
Fri 17 Dec – The Underworld, London
Sat 18 Dec – The Underworld, London

All tickets purchased remain valid for the new dates, and both Dover and Buckley go on sale at 10am on Friday 11th Sept.

Vocalist Ben Ward explains the situation;

‘It is with a very heavy heart that we have to concede defeat and announce that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent venue restrictions, Orange Goblin are going to have to postpone our 25 Year Anniversary tour, scheduled for December 2020. We wanted to wait as long as possible to see whether we would be given the go ahead but with no clear indication that full capacity shows will be allowed by then we now have no choice but to reschedule for December 2021.

The safety and well being of our fans, crew, venue staff and bandmates is always the most important issue for us so we hope that you understand our situation. The new dates are already in place and any tickets already purchased will still be valid for the shows in 2021. We are also happy to say that both support bands, Spirit Adrift and King Creature, are behind this decision and will be with us when we return in 2021. We have also added a couple of extra dates, one at The Booking Hall in Dover, which will be a warm-up show for the tour (No Spirit Adrift or King Creature for that one!) and a show at the Tivoli in Buckley too. As always, we thank you for your continued support!”

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://twitter.com/OrangeGoblin1
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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The Brothers Keg Album Release Show Set for Sept. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the brothers keg

A band playing a release show might not ordinarily be news, but this is 2020. Note that The Brothers Keg‘s celebration of their debut album, Folklore, Myths & Legends (review here), is taking place at London’s famed The Black Heart venue, and that it’s limited capacity, small-group seating only. 45 people get to go. I’ve been lucky enough to be in that upstairs room at The Black Heart where they do shows, and it’s by no means big, but I’d guess it holds about 150 when they’re crammed in, so 45 I guess is about right for these days. The show is put on by Desertscene — also known for Desertfest — and will feature The Grand Mal as well.

I don’t know how The Black Heart will work it with the bar downstairs and upstairs, and stuff like that, but I assume there will be copious mask-age involved, and maybe even some of those plastic faceshields. If you’re in that part of the world and thinking about going — having recently attended a live performance myself, it was spiritually refreshing in the extreme — maybe you just want to go all out and get a welding mask. Whatever it takes. I also just read about the UK locking down on social gatherings of more than like six people starting next Monday, so I don’t even know how that will affect this. Could be REALLY limited capacity, I guess. Like two people in the crowd, which would make it like heavy rock shows in the early ’00s.

But the show’s sold out its 45 spaces, by the way, as one might expect. Good luck, you intrepid pavers of the way. I hope the gig happens.

Desertscene posted the following:

the brothers keg release show

***DESERTSCENE – THE BROTHERS KEG – NEW SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT*** FOR 2020!

We’re very excited to be teaming up with our friends at The Black Heart to dip our toes back into the world of non-virtual, actually in a room with other human beings, live music events. Next Thursday we will be bringing you a limited capacity, socially distanced album release show from The Brothers Keg, with support from The Grand Mal. The current capacity for this show is 45 people and seated tickets will be available in groups of 2, 3 or 4 only – with some tasty Stone & Wood Brewing + ticket combos to boot.

More details about the social distance guidelines & on-the-day protocols can be found via the event page or ourblackheart.com. We really hope you’ll join us in trying to kickstart our scene back into action!

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1040600833040567/

The Brothers Keg are:
Tom Hobson – Guitar/Vocals
Paul Rosser – Bass/Vocals
Tom Fyfe – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thebrotherskeg/
https://www.instagram.com/thebrotherskeg/
https://thebrotherskeg.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

The Brothers Keg, “Moorsmen” official video

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Album Review: Black Helium, The Wholly Other

Posted in Reviews on August 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black helium the wholly other

The very first thing that The Wholly Other has to offer is tension. A chugging guitar begins the second album from London four-piece Black Helium — and the introduction of drummer Diogo Gomez to the fold — and it’s soon joined by a militaristic snare as the aggressively-titled “Hippie on a Slab” begins to unfurl. Offered up through Riot Season Records, The Wholly Other, both the name of the album and its execution, would seem to be deriving from Black Helium‘s drive toward individuality in heavy psychedelia and beyond.

The band — here guitarist/vocalists Stuart Gray and Davey Mulka and bassist/vocalist/graphic artist Beck Harvey alongside Gomez — made their debut in 2018 with the likewise ambitious and confrontational Primitive Fuck (review here, and it wouldn’t necessarily be correct to call The Wholly Other classier in its delivery, but it is obvious in listening to its six-track/41-minute run that Black Helium learned a few crucial lessons from their time in the studio and were able to translate those into this batch of material.

They didn’t lack confidence before — one does not call a record Primitive Fuck in a timid spirit — but there’s an element of direction to The Wholly Other that comes through likewise in its individual pieces and in the front-to-back listening experience. Tonally and melodically rich, they are brazen enough stylistically to require their audience’s attention and grab it without asking, and the effect of “Hippie on a Slab” is to do precisely that, with the already noted tension of its rhythm as well as its deceptively memorable chorus. It is a clever opener, with a short intro of birdsong before the guitar and hi-hat kick in — there’s a floor tom thud that starts off as well — and the ensuing energy buildup that seems headed toward release over the song’s first 90 seconds before… it stops. Dead.

It’s just for a few seconds, but it’s a really important few seconds. In the first minute and a half of The Wholly Other, Black Helium are telling their audience to broaden their expectations, and maybe even to raise them somewhat. This isn’t going to be simple genre fare, a runthrough of well trod clichés and familiar elements. In subsequent side A tracks “Two Masters” and the 10-minute “Death Station of the Goddess,” respectively, they directly reference Nirvana‘s “Drain You” in another build and make the likewise pivotal choice of keeping the established vocal chant mellow even as the track hits into one of the album’s most consuming washes of tone. In making choices like these, Black Helium simply put themselves on another level of songcraft, and whether this is done in calculated fashion — a kind of progressive decisiveness behind each nuance throughout — or in the raw spirit of what comes out of the jam room by collaborative instinct, the same holds true.

black helium (photo by Steve Gullick)

There are, of course, holdover aspects from Primitive Fuck that carry into The Wholly Other. “Hippie on a Slab”‘s later reaches play cacophony over atmospheric spaciousness, and even the Britgrunge of “Two Masters” rampages through a dense fuzz as it makes its way back toward its central riff to close. “Death Station of the Goddess” is an inevitable focal point in its graceful procession and ensuing mania, which is something that its 10:34 side B counterpart “Pink Bolt” — positioned as the centerpiece of that side’s three tracks rather than as the album’s finale; another clever move to contradict genre convention — doesn’t try to match, instead playing out in less linear fashion as it moves from heavy post-rock airiness into a wandering jam and resolving in a lumbering plod that tops the Electric Wizard-style horrormaking of the sample-topped roller “One Way Trip” just before and rumbles beneath its own noisy crescendo.

Shit is massive. Tell your friends or someone else will.

Can it be that after all this, Black Helium find some kind of collective resolution? “Teetering on the Edge,” which rounds out The Wholly Other feels like a peace offering in following “Pink Bolt.” As though the four-piece were scooping up the melted remnants of their audience’s psyche and saying, “Sorry about that, here’s this now, everybody take a breath.” Assuming the purposeful nature of how the two sides of The Wholly Other play out, with the first two tracks leading into “Death Station of the Goddess” and “Pink Bolt” surrounded on either side — these two more extended pieces playing off the shorter cuts around them — the flow with which Black Helium cap off, as though harnessing the ethereal presence of an ultra-mellow Dead Meadow, isn’t to be understated. They’ve already blown out the airlock. It’s time to explore the vacuum.

So they do, with no less aplomb than they brought to The Wholly Other at its noisiest and most sonically forceful. They never quite return to the tension of “Hippie on a Slab,” even in “Two Masters,” which has its own chug, but the album remains informed by it nonetheless, and the sense of not knowing what to expect at any given turn throughout is something they use masterfully to their advantage when it comes to carving out their sonic persona in the manner they seem to have set as their goal. That too is an outgrowth of the work they did on the debut, marking out a range of avenues they might traverse and, here, forging a modus that fluidly or strikingly draws from among them as best serves the songs. This is harder than it sounds, rarer than it sounds, and certainly ‘other’ enough to be noteworthy.

And when considering the attention to detail Black Helium bring to their second album, one shouldn’t ignore Harvey‘s cover art either, the freaked-out freneticism of it and the geometric shape beneath. The font and positioning of the band’s name would seem to be important as well, and at least to my eyes it recalls the staging of the Now That’s What I Call Music series of top 40 pop compilations. If that is the standard to which Black Helium have set themselves against and what they’re reacting to, their second LP could not be better named. Perhaps most exciting of all, though, is that even after this collection of songs is over, it’s hard to guess how the band might continue their forward creative growth, but whatever manifestations may lay ahead, The Wholly Other is a beast unto itself.

Black Helium, The Wholly Other (2020)

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Black Helium on Bandcamp

Black Helium on Instagram

Riot Season Records website

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

Riot Season Records on Thee Facebooks

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Stream Review: Elephant Tree, Live at Buffalo Studio, London, 07.24.20

Posted in Reviews on July 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

elephant tree boiler room

It is a fortunate happenstance of relative geographic positioning that so many live streams taking place in European primetime occur right in the midst of my toddler son’s afternoon nap. An 8PM start in Elephant Tree‘s native London meant 3PM for me, and amidst global pandemic and a chaotic year that no one could have anticipated except for all the people who did and were ignored, I’ll take what I can get. As far as I’m concerned, 3PM is primetime anyway.

I parked myself on the couch to stream Elephant Tree‘s hour-long performance at Buffalo Studio in East London — presented and produced/directed by The Preservation Room — and even managed to cast it to the tv, which the Facebook app has been iffy on in the past. Presumably, the four-piece would’ve been on tour by now under different circumstances, supporting their album-of-the-year-contending second LP, Habits (review here), on Holy Roar/Deathwish Inc., but like everybody’s everything, well, you’re alive, so you know.

Shit luck. The record deserves to be hand-delivered by the band to audiences far and wide. Elephant Tree‘s progression as a four-piece, what guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist John Slattery — who joined in 2018 — brings to the lineup, was evident when I last saw the band in Nov. 2019 at Magnetic Eye‘s Brooklyn showcase at Saint Vitus Bar (review here), and they seemed all the more comfortable highlighting songs from Habits, moving from a windy drone opening similar to that which starts the album with “Wake.Repeat” into lead-single “Sails,” quickly adjusting the line sound to pull Sam Hart‘s reverby snare down and bring up fellow founder Jack Townley‘s guitar and vocals, joined in the chorus as he was by Slattery and bassist Peter Holland (also of Trippy Wicked). Under studio lighting with two movable cameras, it was very much a made-for-tv stream, as opposed to more of a concert-minded experience.

If there was a warmup-factor, they were through it fast. I don’t know how often the four of them have been able to get together or rehearse over the last several mostly-locked-down months, but they ended “Sails” tight and shifted immediately to the between-song banter that has become a staple of their live sets, Townley remarking on how is ears were too small for the in-ear monitors in what would become a running gag for the set — Slattery later referred to himself as “blessed” in that regard — before they moved into the harmony-focused roller “Faceless,” continuing to follow the progression of the album’s tracklisting, Townley chastising himself after for getting the lyrics wrong. New songs. Likewise, Hart reminded Holland before they went into “Wasted” that the count-in was six stick-clicks. Holland pointed to the camera: “Six clicks. Remember.”

They had threatened new material — newer even than the album, which came out in April — but none was aired. The combination of fuzz tones and keys in “Wasted” would be a highlight just the same, Slattery bringing more synthy melody later in the song, before they wished a happy birthday to superfan Sister Rainbow and APF Records‘ Andy Field and launched into “Aphotic Blues.” It was one of two cuts from their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) they would play, and perhaps shifting into something older let them loosen up a bit more, but as that track turned to its bigger-riffing second half, they seemed to let fly a little and get into it, having pushed through the three-part vocal midsection and positively nailed it.

elephant tree buffalo studio

Goofing their way through a vinyl giveaway that would continue after — the game was that Townley was thinking of a number between 1-1,000 and if you guessed it you won a vinyl; I guessed eight and 42 — they soon went into “Bird,” another Habits high point and particularly emblematic of the progressive edge that’s emerged in their sound. With a duly floating vocal above Hart‘s steady drum and Holland‘s bass, they segued smoothly into the song’s atmospheric middle and dynamic ending with energy worthy of a live show, and though I’d seen them play it in November, knowing the song from actually having the record of course made a difference. Not ashamed to say I was singing along with the television at several points during their set, “Bird” being one of them.

Holland, who had been handling shout-outs (though Townley mentioned Sister Rainbow), gave me a hello — hey Pete — and “Exit the Soul” followed, with its extended break, three-part vocal and before closing with “Dawn” from the first record, they gave away the Habits vinyl. The winning number was five. At least I was close. Finishing off, they seemed once more right at home, as they had long since gotten momentum on their side and rolled through with apparent ease. Newer songs or older, they had it down and I don’t know if it was me projecting or an actual feeling on the part of the band, but there was evident relief when it was over before the feed cut, like they were glad to have gotten it off their collective chest. There wasn’t a full audience in the room to see it, but hell, at least they got to play and at least those who tuned in got to watch.

I was glad I did, and again, thankful for the afternoon timing making it possible to do so. I wound up spending a decent portion of the second half of the set being chewed on by our new puppy, which reminded me not only to take her out, but of how “real life” and music interact with live streaming in a way that never happens with actual live shows. If it was 10PM, would I have watched in bed on my phone before crashing out for the night? If it was 7PM, would I have been annoyed at having my nightly Star Trek viewing interrupted? Maybe. These are weird times and they’ve forced those who care about art and creativity to adjust the balance of the space they occupy in the day to day. The dog nipped at my hand while they played “Exit the Soul.” I was happy that at no point did she pee on the floor.

Watching the several streams I’ve seen — some trying to capture a band-on-stage experience, some a fly-on-wall camera in the rehearsal space, some, like this, kind of in-between — I can’t help but feel some pressure to bring it in the context of the “current moment,” but honestly, screw that. Bands are trying to get by, like everyone else. They can’t play shows so this seems to be what’s happening. It’s interesting seeing different acts’ personalities come through their A/V presentation, and of course it’s different than watching a band on stage. Do I need to say that? Do I need to say how important supporting each other through a global pandemic is? If I do, I shouldn’t have to. Whatever.

I took the dog for a walk after Elephant Tree were done, then got the kid up from his nap at the appointed wake-up time (4:38PM, if you’re curious). We drove around for a bit while he looked at sundry construction vehicles and ate some food, and when we came home, watched PBS Newshour, took the dog for another walk. I made leftovers for dinner, we watched Star Trek, the dog peed on the floor, and we went to bed. The Yankees — also playing without a crowd — had a day off. Life happened, and the stream got folded into the day, not quite the escapist experience a live show would be, but still something special while it lasted. Listen to Habits.

If you’re still reading, thanks and I’ll make it easy:

Elephant Tree, Habits (2020)

Elephant Tree on Thee Facebooks

Elephant Tree on Instagram

Elephant Tree website

Holy Roar Records website

Holy Roar Records on Thee Facebooks

Deathwish Inc. website

Deathwish Inc. on Thee Facebooks

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Trippy Wicked Premiere Acoustic Crowbar Cover “The Lasting Dose”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Trippy wicked

Hey, if you’re feeling like you’re having the year you expected to have in 2020, congratulations on your success as a supervillain. For the rest of us, it’s improv-mode, trying to make the most of whatever we’ve got to make the most of. For London heavy rockers Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight that means stepping back from putting together their third long-player and instead working at home, remotely, on putting together properly recorded versions of the backlog of acoustic versions of their own songs and covers that they’ve built up over the years. The third of these is Crowbar‘s “The Lasting Dose,” which premieres below.

The original Crowbar song was the lead cut on 2001’s landmark Sonic Excess in its Purest Form and I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say it’s one of the band’s best tracks — something of a landmark in their increasingly vast discography. As with the other acoustic cuts they’ve unveiled thus far, guitarist/vocalist Peter Holland (here on ukulele and vocals) and drummer Christopher West (here on acoustic guitar) did a live take on “The Lasting Dose” some eight years ago. Seated at what appears to be a backyard picnic table, they manage to hold it together as a car horn honks and neighbors start chatting loudly in the second half of the song. If you think that doesn’t add charm, I’ll invite you to watch that clip after the premiere of the new one and revisit your position.

In listening to the two back-to-back, one might notice a bit more embellishment from Holland on the vocal melody, but the basic form is consistent, and despite taking a very, very heavy song and taking out the tonal weight, the emotional burden of the tempo remains. I’m not sure what the plans are for Trippy Wicked — generally completed by bassist Dicky King — to release the acoustic material they’ve put to tape at this point. I don’t even know if they know. But again, they’re making the most of what they’ve got, and I think once you listen you’ll agree it’s worth the effort.

Please enjoy:

Trippy Wicked, “The Lasting Dose” (Crowbar cover) premiere

The Lasting Dose is the third in a series of acoustic singles we’re putting out in 2020.

We were recording our 3rd full length album at the beginning of the year when coronavirus happened and we had to stop working on that.

Without any work and not able to continue with the album we started recording and releasing some acoustic songs because we can record them remotely from each other.

The songs are a mix of acoustic covers of heavy songs and also acoustic versions of our own songs that we have worked on over the years.

Check out the playlist of acoustic singles here: https://youtu.be/CUfW5RioWDQ

Trippy Wicked, “The Lasting Dose” (Live in 2012)

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Instagram

Trippy Wicked on Bandcamp

Trippy Wicked website

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Friday Full-Length: Stubb, Stubb

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Stubb did not emerge out of London’s heavy underground as a band trying to keep secrets. There was no asking how they did what they did on their 2012 self-titled debut (review here) — it was all right there for the listener to hear. Issued through Superhot Records, Stubb‘s Stubb collected eight tracks of just-varied-enough riff rockers, driven by a dense fuzz and hooky songwriting that unfolded to some later jamminess. As debuts go, the eight-song/35-minute outing was not void of ambition, but it was what it already showcased in its dynamic that made it so enjoyable, whether it was the PG-sleaze of “Soul Mover” and “Scale the Mountain” with its “And I hope I can scale your mountain sometime” chorus and “Hard Hearted Woman” in the classic panacea of British heavy or the opening pusher “Road,” the winding boogie of “Flame” and on and on. Happening concurrent to the beginning stages of a boom in UK heavy fostered by Desertfest in London, Stubb‘s laid-back but still weighted grooves, the interplay on vocals between guitarist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland (who went on to join Elephant Tree) and the solid foundation of the established chemistry between Holland and drummer Chris West from working together in Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight helped to enrich the songs and give the record all the more personality.

Tempos shift through side A’s four tracks, but the songs are united through the vitality of the performance, the tried and true power trio dynamic that lets Dickinson‘s guitar get playful on “Road” before the more relaxed rollout of “Scale the Mountain.” To contrast, side B starts with the acoustic “Crosses You Bear,” still catchy and deceptively quick-moving in the guitar, but at just over two minutes, it’s enough to efficiently signal the increase in the album’s scope and the departure from the ultra-straightforward shove of Stubb‘s first half. The album was recorded by Tim Cedar of Part Chimp, and though “Road,” “Flame” and “Galloping Horses” had appeared on Stubb‘s Dropout Sessions demo in 2007 — a completely different lineup around Dickinson at the time — they each sounded fresh in their inclusion on Stubb, the latter closing out side B with a stretch past the seven-minute mark that found the band purposefully breaking their own rules in terms of craft, setting up a catchy progression of repeated lines early — “The skies stubb stubbare crimson red,” “Ride on high/Crimson sky” — before turning just about at the halfway point to a broader jam. There’s a stop preceded by West wailing on his snare, and Dickinson‘s guitar returns in standalone fashion to set the stage. Holland and West reenter and by the time they hit 4:30 of the total 7:13, they’re underway and headed outward. Dickinson — who by then has already impressed in terms of soloing on “Road,” “Flame,” “Soul Mover,” the bluesy drift that emerges in “Hard Hearted Woman,” and even the melancholy penultimate inclusion “Crying River,” on which the guitar seems most to sing the chorus on its own — leads the trio’s exodus as Holland and West offer sharp but not overblown groove coinciding. A brief return hinting at the hook finishes out, and Stubb finish out with a crash and a bonk like they hardly got a speck of dirt on them despite kicking up so much on their way.

2012 saw a few landmark releases, from Conan‘s Monnos and Orange Goblin‘s A Eulogy for the Damned in the UK to records from the likes of OmNeurosisKadavarGreenleaf and Colour Haze elsewhere. Through that glut, Stubb still managed to make an impression with these songs, and again, it wasn’t a mystery why. They represented a next generation of English fuzz that, far from trying to escape the past, embraced it and pushed it forward into a new era. In some ways they were a vanguard of things to come from London’s soon-to-be-flooded underground, but while there was a buzz in the town at that time, it’s friggin’ London. There almost always is. In any case, the fact that Stubb had already toured — they did a UK stint in 2011 with Stone Axe, whose guitarist Tony Reed (soon enough to reignite Mos Generator) would end up mixing and mastering the LP — undoubtedly had an effect on how the songs ultimately came out. They feel tightened and worked through in their construction even eight years after the fact, but maintain their natural base, and the clarity of the recording only helps the organic guitar and bass tones shine through with the drums punctuating underneath. Stubb were the kind of band a kid could listen to and want to start a band, and I suspect a few did along the way.

Stubb toured again with Stone Axe  and Trippy Wicked — Holland and West pulling double-duty — in Europe, and I was fortunate enough to see them in Eindhoven (review here). What a night. What a blast. Hard to think about it now and not get sentimental. In any case, Stubb went on to sign to Ripple Music ahead of the release of their second album, 2014’s Cry of the Ocean (review here), which incorporated more soulful influence and psychedelic range. By then, Tom Fyfe (now also The Brothers Keg) had replaced West on drums and a split with Mos Generator (discussed here) followed in 2015 through the then-emergent-since-collapsed HeviSike Records. Stubb continued to play shows, bringing Tom Hobson in on bass and exploring jammier and more psychedelic textures on the 24-minute 2017 single “Burning Moon” (premiered here). That blowout is the last they were heard from in terms of studio work, though they played Ripplefest in London and have maintained a social media presence all along. The latest is they’re passing ideas back and forth digitally during COVID-19 distancing, so perhaps a new album could follow in the next year or two. Cry of the Ocean hardly sounded like a band with nothing left to say, so whenever such a thing might surface, it would only be welcome on these shores.

An album that, for me at least, is a bit of an escape into nostalgia, but which has not at all gone stale in the actual listening. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading.

So, we got a dog. A Wheaten/Poodle mix. She’s eight weeks old as of today — bought her from a family in Wisconsin who had a litter; my mother-in-law trekked out there to get her — and we’ve named her Iommi, though she mostly just goes by Omi. “Omi come,” “Omi sit,” “Omi don’t chew that,” “Omi no!” “Good girl, Omi,” and so on. She is currently asleep and dream-wiggling on my feet.

Kid and dog together is a lot. Either on their own is plenty, to be honest. I’m not sure The Pecan is in an emotional place where he’s ready to share things like attention with something new — it’s like he got a little sister — but it is what it is, and unless the dog starts showing crazy aggression, which seems unlikely given what we’ve seen of her personality this first week, I don’t think she’s going anywhere.

I wasn’t really ready for a new dog either, to be honest. I thanked my wife this week for picking one that was all-black, as opposed to the still-much-missed Dio, who was just about all-white. But behavior comparisons are inevitable; puppies, like people, engage in certain universal behaviors. I catch myself playing with her a certain way or talking to her a certain way and feel a bit like I’m cheating on the memory of my old dog. Which I suppose I am, if you want to come right to it. Isn’t that what you do when a dog dies and you get another dog, like some broken toy you replace?

What a species we are.

But it’s been nearly two years and the boy needs a dog — the one overriding point with which I can’t argue and, ultimately, the reason we have a dog — so there it is. She’s cute, as nearly almost all puppies and baby animals are. It’s a transition. Everything is change. Constant change. Every new reality, every new ability The Pecan demonstrates, it’s all a new world to which my puny hew-mon brain stumbles in processing.

We picked him up from daycare yesterday and while we were changing his shoes to leave — they put them in slippers to hang out — he pulled the fire alarm. I was holding him at the time, and he just looked up, saw a thing, reached up and pulled it. The bell was right above us and it was loud the way you think of Sunn O))) as loud. It was also naptime, so as caregivers rushed out of the adjoining rooms to see what the hell happened and/or what was on fire, an entire daycare’s worth of kids and babies woke up crying. That’s my son. I feel relatively sure that, having done it once, he’ll try it again. I can only hope a plastic box of some kind is placed over the fire alarm.

“He’s not the first,” said the woman who runs the place. I told her that was very comforting and kind of her to say. I said this while wearing a mask that, sadly, could not hide the shame in my eyes.

By the end of the day, it was already kind of funny. I suspect in years to come it will grow more so. But off, living through it was a rough and loud couple minutes. Then The Pecan ran away from us on our way out to the car. He was overwhelmed — obviously; we all were — but still totally unacceptable. That was another meltdown that basically ended with driving home and putting him down for his afternoon nap.

The dog is awake and puppy-chewing my toes. “Omi no biting.”

You can see perhaps why I might have been driven toward a nostalgia for simpler times in picking Stubb to close out the week.

No Gimme show today. Back next week with a new one.

Have a great and safe weekend, and again, thanks for reading. Be safe, have fun. And don’t tell anybody, but I’m going to have another post up after this.

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