Geezer Comment on Joining Lineup for Eye of the Stoned Goat 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

geezer

It is a busy few months ahead of New York blues rockers Geezer. Already this year, the trio oversaw the CD release through Ripple Music of their 2014 full-length, Gage (review here), the vinyl of which came out through STB and blew through its pressing more or less immediately following its going on sale in the Fall, and they’re soon to issue a split with Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho, also through Ripple, as the opening chapter of the label’s The Second Coming of Heavy series of multi-band vinyls, stepping in to replace Volume IV in that capacity. That’s not to mention working on new material with their recently-added bassist Richie Touseull, including a trip to the studio not so long ago to record a Hendrix cover as part of Magnetic Eye Records‘ forthcoming The Best of James Marshall Hendrix compilation.

Show-wise, 2015 seems to be likewise packed. Having just this past weekend done a couple gigs with Borracho that included a filmed, soon-to-be-unveiled set at The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA, Geezer will take off in late May for a round of dates alongside Bison Machine (who opened the latest podcast), playing with Sinister Haze, The Golden Grass, Wizard Eye and others — AND — finally I’m getting here, do you think it was built up enough??? — the trio have just been added to the Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 fest in June as a replacement for Weed is Weed, where they’ll play as direct support for Mos Generator as they headline the second of the festival’s two nights at Amityville Music Hall in Long Island, NY.

Badass? Yes, it is. That’s why I hounded Geezer guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington (Obelisk Questionnaire here) this weekend for some comment on the matter. This will be Geezer‘s third appearance at the Stoned Goat, having played the last two editions of the fest in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in Brooklyn, and you can find Harrington‘s words, Geezer’s tour dates with Bison Machine and the announcement from the fest following the poster below:

the eye of the stoned goat 5 poster

Once again, due to unforeseen circumstances, Weed is Weed will be unable to join us at this year’s event… but fear not folks, we have managed to actually fill the slot with a fucking sonic wrecking ball of a band. I give you the incomparable heavy blues of… Geezer!!!

Says Geezer‘s Pat Harrington:

Geezer is stoked to once again be a part of the Eye Of The Stoned Goat! This will be our third one and it looks to be the best one yet! So many killer bands to see and friends to catch up with. We’ll be fresh off our tour with Bison Machine and expect to be hitting on all cylinders with plenty of new tunes to get everyone grooving. Can’t wait!”

Geezer: Mind Over Mountain Tour with Bison Machine
Tuesday May 26th @ 31st St Pub, Pittsburg, PA w/ Sinister Haze & Old Dream
Wednesday May 27th @ Small’s, Detroit, MI w/ Wild Savages & SLO (Bison Machine: Hoarfrost vinyl release party)
Thursday May 28th @ Blind Bob’s, Dayton, OH w/ Grand Mammoth & Zuel
Friday May 29th @ The Living Room, Stroudsburg PA w/ Wizard Eye
Saturday May 30th @ Lucky 13 Saloon, Brooklyn, NY w/ The Golden Grass & Wolf Blood

https://geezertown.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/853840991328849/
https://www.facebook.com/TheEyeOfTheStonedGoat

Geezer, Gage (2014)

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Axis/Orbit to Release LP on Nasoni Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

axis orbit

Long Island trio Axis/Orbit have announced they’ll release their debut LP on limited vinyl through ultra-respected long-running German imprint Nasoni Records. The LP, of which the title has yet to be revealed, is the follow-up to a self-titled EP that contains three songs and was issued by the band digitally late in 2014, and to my knowledge, this will be their first physical pressing. Due date is June 1, though as the band notes, that’s tentative.

The prior EP is streaming on the band’s Bandcamp, and as you can hear below, they dig into classic heavy rock with some garage-style flourish. Tones are warm but not necessarily retro, and the vibe on cuts like “Hazy” and the bass-led “The Owl” is laid back — at least until the animal noises kick in — and closer “Riot Canal” has an open-spaced, jammy sensibility that follows a linear course toward a satisfying freakout. Not to spoil it if you were going to listen, but solos are had.

Here’s the announcement and the band’s bio off the PR wire:

axis orbit ep

Axis/Orbit sign with Nasoni Records to release limited edition vinyl!!

Long Island’s stone groovers Axis Orbit have signed with seminal Stoner/Psych label Nasoni Records in Berlin to release their debut LP in a limited edition run of colored vinyl. Tentative release is June 1, 2015. Distribution through Clearspot of the Netherlands.

The album was recorded at Freedom of Speech Recording and engineered by Micky James (Chris Angel Mindfreak). Original art by Vincent Scala (www.vincentscala.com).

Axis/Orbit makes Rock and Roll. Stoner rock, retro rock, doomy, but unabashedly not completely metal. More of a cavalcade of 60’s-70’s rock stylings from the menace of Sabbath to the spaciness of Floyd’s cosmic tracks, to the heavy prog jam trio art of Cream and Band of Gypsies, with strokes of classic Cali folk rock, vintage grunge and straight up garage rawk. Formed in 2014 on Long Island, NY by drummer Mike Margulis, guitarist Bill Fridrich and bassist Lee Greenman with all contributing to writing, arranging and vocal duties, the group is rapidly gaining a following headlining regional shows, releasing an EP and preparing for a full length album of heavy psyche rancor for 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/axisorbitmusic
http://www.axisorbitmusic.com
http://axisorbit.bandcamp.com/releases
https://twitter.com/axisorbit
http://www.nasoni-records.com/

Axis/Orbit, EP (2014)

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Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 Official Poster Unveiled; Lineup Finalized

Posted in Visual Evidence on February 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Tickets go on sale March 6 for Eye of the Stoned Goat 5, set to take place June 12-13 at Amityville Music Hall, on Long Island. The Golden Grass and Mos Generator will headline, and the lineup has been finalized to include acts from the East Coast, the West Coast and in between — Lord FowlWounded Giant and Brimstone Coven, if you need an example of each — in what’s without a doubt the most expansive Stoned Goat festival yet.

The poster for this year’s Stoned Goat is by Joe Mruk, and you can see the final version below (click to make it even larger) followed by the official lineup announcement from the fest:

eye of the stoned goat 5 poster

‘Eye of the Stoned Goat 5’ announces official lineup for summer festival!

Snake Charmer Booking is pleased to announce the final artist lineup for the annual celebration of stoner-psychedelic rock and doom-heavy metal known as The Eye of the Stoned Goat Festival—now in its 5th year. The two-day fest, featuring some of the most exciting talent of the Mid-Atlantic, East and West Coast, will take place June 12th and 13th 2015 at the Amityville Music Hall in Long Island, New York.

Headlining the Friday night opener on June 12th are Brooklyn, New York trio The Golden Grass (Svart Records), whose catchy progressive psychedelic self-titled debut received numerous accolades as the “Best of 2014.” Another band that has received copious amounts of praise from rock blogs and music rags alike are none other than Long Island’s long-running rock outfit John Wilkes Booth, whose album ‘Useless Lucy’ was mentioned in many journalists “Best of 2014” lists. Also joining the bill from Long Island territory, those wildly eclectic heavy rockers Moon Tooth, who Metal Injection recently named one of “10 Awesome Underground Bands You Need in Your Life!”

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a ‘Stoned Goat’ show without giving attendees a healthy dose of band from the excellent Small Stone Records label. This year’s elite selection includes three bands that are simply a treat to bring to the stage: Boston’s master craftsmen and 2014 Desertfest alums, Gozu; local New York natives It’s Not Night: It’s Space; and returning ‘Stoned Goat’ retro rockers Lord Fowl, currently working on the follow-up to their 2012 riff encyclopedia, Moon Queen.

More contenders for total rock domination include Ripple Music stalwarts White Dynomite, composed of former members of such fine acts as Roadsaw, Lamont, and Wrecking Crew, to name a few. Also on the Ripple Music roster, from Frederick, Maryland: Weed is Weed, featuring Dave Sherman and Gary Isom of Pentagram, Earthride and Spirit Caravan fame. Additionally, hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fans will experience the infectious “sludge n’ space rock” vibe of Supervoid, who will be heading into the studio in February to record their follow-up to 2013’s Filaments.

For the first time, Seattle Washington’s own rising stars Wounded Giant will be bringing their blistering, monstrous, signature sound to this year’s festival. Also spearheading the volume-dealing campaign from STB Records is Connecticut’s Curse The Son, who’s latest offering Psychache (2014) was widely heralded as “the best of its kind in 2014” by The Sludgelord and other critics. Another band traveling a good distance to bring their doomy, occult craft to the east coast is Metal Blade Records’ newest acquisition, Brimstone Coven, who are currently working on their much anticipated next album for the label. Speaking of travelling a long distances, the festival will witness the U.S. debut of Toronto, Canada’s demonic stoner-blues rockers Ol’ Time Moonshine. Alongside this already hefty bill, ESG5 has decided to treat festival goers to the atmospheric retro-doom stylings of Totem Cat Records’ own Doctor Smoke.

One band that has been tenaciously trekking through the rock scene for over a decade now is Philadelphia’s working class groove dealers, Kingsnake. The four boys of Kingsnake have had the honor of performing alongside such acts as Clutch, The Sword, Scorpion Child, The Skull, and Vista Chino, to name a few. Also on board for the 5th installment of the festival, Long Island locals Borgo Pass—a popular act that has developed quite an impressive loyal following.

Last, but not least, officially closing out this year’s Eye of the Stoned Goat festival is none other than Port Orchard, Washington’s stoner rock torch-bearer’s Mos Generator. This marks the band’s first ever performance in New York. Mos Generator have released 5 studio albums, a retrospective album, numerous splits, and a live album, attracting such labels as Roadburn, Small Stone, Ripple, Nasoni, and Lay Bare. For charismatic singer/guitarist Tony Reed and crew, touring has been just as important to the profile of the band as making records. Over the years, Mos Generator has shared the stage with many great heavy rock bands, and in March of 2013 joined a 26-date European tour with Saint Vitus, earning a whole new fan base to their fuzzy, energetic sound. On stage, Mos Generator embodies the word “chemistry,” revolving their sound around swagger and groove, while improvising just enough to keep the songs feeling fresh from night to night—often with delightful results.

Tickets for ‘Eye of the Stoned Goat 5’ will officially go on sale on March 6th 2015. The Event will be 21+ with I.D. Tickets will be $15 per night, or $25 for a weekend pass. For more information on the Eye of the Stoned Goat festival, visit www.TheEyeoftheStonedGoat.com

http://www.TheEyeoftheStonedGoat.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheEyeOfTheStonedGoat
https://www.facebook.com/events/853840991328849/
https://twitter.com/stonedgoatfest

The Golden Grass, A Curious Case/The Pilgrim (2014)

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Eye of the Stoned Goat 5: Doctor Smoke and Supervoid Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

eye of the stoned goat 5

Two more bands added to the Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 this afternoon, and it’s Ohio/Pennsylvania four-piece Doctor Smoke and Pittsburgh’s Supervoid, both of whom add to the festival’s already considerable tally of sonic heft. As it turns out, the lineup is nearly complete — just one more band to be announced, reportedly — and here’s the full roster of acts slated to appear thus far:

Weed is Weed
White Dynomite
Gozu
The Golden Grass
Lord Fowl
Kingsnake
Wounded Giant
Curse the Son
Doctor Smoke
Supervoid
Borgo Pass
John Wilkes Booth
Ol’ Time Moonshine
It’s Not Night: It’s Space
Brimstone Coven
Moon Tooth

Don’t think I left anyone out there. Either way, that’s plenty for two days, and with one still to come, Amityville, Long Island, should definitely have its fill of heavy. Doctor Smoke‘s trip to New York will be their second of the year by the time we get to June, as they’ll team up with Wasted Theory for a weekender at the end of March in support of last year’s The Witching Hour full-length on Totem Cat Records.

Newly signed to Ripple MusicSupervoid join the Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 lineup with late-2013’s Filaments full-length (review here) and 2014’s The Other Side single (streamed here) as their latest releases, and their melodic and metallic approach to heavy rock is sure to stand out from the crowd, but they’re no less hopped up on riffs than anyone, and no doubt they’ll find welcome when they hit Amityville. I’ll be particularly interested to see if they get paired off with Moon Tooth, whose sound also has a bit of bite to it, or if they’re split up over the two days.

Presumably we’ll find out sometime after the last band is announced, when the schedule comes out. Here’s the announcement from the fest for these two:

ESG5 is proud to announce, from Totem Cat Records, Ohio’s newest doom masters Doctor Smoke!!!

Also making their ESG5 debut in Long Island NY is Pittsburgh’s space-sludge warriors Supervoid!!!

Only 1 more artist to announce.. stay tuned kids, It’s gonna be a monster!

http://www.theeyeofthestonedgoat.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheEyeOfTheStonedGoat
https://www.facebook.com/SuperVoid.PGH
http://supervoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/drsmokedoom
http://doctorsmoke.bandcamp.com/

Supervoid, Filaments (2013)

Doctor Smoke, The Witching Hour (2014)

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Eye of the Stoned Goat 5: The Golden Grass and Borgo Pass Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

eye of the stoned goat 5

Lineup additions continue to trickle out in pairs from this year’s Eye of the Stoned Goat fest, to be held June 12 and 13 in Amityville, Long Island. Last we heard, the fest reached across the nation to pluck Wounded Giant out from their Seattle base of operations and have them join with Connecticut’s Curse the Son, and today it’s feelgood Brooklynite trio The Golden Grass and LI’s own Borgo Pass who’ve hopped on board.

To be honest, it would be more of a surprise if Borgo Pass didn’t play Eye of the Stoned Goat 5. The long-running bruise rockers are an institution out on Long Island, gigging regularly and consistently throughout the region for nearly 20 years while staying true to their roots in classic heavy metal, loosely Southern-styled sludge rock and burly groove. Releases have proved infrequent — their latest full-length, Deadwater (review here), came out in 2011, six years after the prior Nervosa — but Borgo Pass have never shied away from a Long Island stage, and to have both them and John Wilkes Booth on the bill, no one could accuse Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 of showing up to Long Island without giving native acts their due.

As regards Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass, their appearance at Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 will follow a trip to Europe for a stop at this year’s Roadburn festival to follow-up on their across-the-pond live debut last fall, with which their latest 7″, A Curious Case/The Pilgrim, was issued to coincide. Their 2014 self-titled full-length (review here) was released by Svart and served as one of last year’s finest first-albums, and they’ll have along with them their new bassist Morgan McDaniel, who joined either at the start of the year or late in 2014 to replace Joe Noval in the trio lineup with guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich and drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney, whose prior outfit, the psych-freakout-prone La Otracina, also seem to be rearing their head once more.

The Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 announced their additions as follows:

Alright Long Island, you wanted them.. You got ’em!

Announcing that appearing on the ESG5 stage this year is none other than New York’s sonic bulldozers… BORGO PASS!!! Additionally, we are absolutely thrilled to announce for the first time on the ‘Eye of the Stoned Goat’ is Brooklyn’s psych-rockers The Golden Grass!!!

https://www.facebook.com/TheEyeOfTheStonedGoat
https://www.facebook.com/BORGOFKNPASS
https://www.facebook.com/thegoldengrass

The Golden Grass, A Curious Case/The Pilgrim (2014)

Borgo Pass, Deadwater (2011)

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Eye of the Stoned Goat 5: White Dynomite and Weed is Weed Added to Lineup

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

eye-of-the-stoned-goat-5-logo

Lineup announcements have started coming through for the previously revealed The Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 festival, which will take place June 12 and 13 in Amityville, NY. It’s looking like a pretty tight assemblage of bands hitting Long Island for the fest, with Lord Fowl and John Wilkes Booth leading the charge as the first two announcements a couple weeks ago and Weed is Weed and White Dynomite just added last night to a bill that already also includes KingsnakeGozuIt’s Not Night: It’s Space, Brimstone Coven and Ol’ Time Moonshine.

If you’ll indulge me, I’ll get caught up on the announcements, including those for Weed is Weed and White Dynomite, just so we’re all on the same page going forward.

Here they are going all the way back:

Alright folks, it’s time to drop a couple heavy hitters on ya!

We are extremely proud to announce, appearing at this year’s festival is Massachusetts Rock n’ Roll time bomb White Dynomite!

Also, a band that truly needs no introduction, with former members of Pentagram, Spirit Caravan and Earthride… the almighty Weed is Weed!!!

We’ve been trying to get these guys on the ‘Stoned Goat for years, this year the planets all aligned in our favor.. Bringing their tough-as-nails, working class grooves to Long Island this year is none other than Philadelphia’s own Kingsnake!!!

Announcing the next two artists joining the Amityville Music Hall stage at ESG5 this June…. Small Stone Records and local New York Psych-Rock trio It’s Not Night: It’s Space!!!

Also, hailing from the depths of Toronto Canada, the demon-rock peddlers Ol’ Time Moonshine!!!

Alright folks, it’s time to kick things up a notch! Joining us on this year’s ESG5 installment is none other than Small Stone Records and Desertfest 2014 alums GOZU!!!

Next up…. We are thrilled to announce that appearing at ‘Eye of the Stoned Goat 5″ on June 12-13th is Long Island’s very own Moon Tooth and Metal Blade Records Occult Rock Dealers Brimstone Coven!!!

Eye of the Stoned Goat is proud to announce the first two bands appearing at ESG5 in Long Island, NY June 12-13th are none other than former ESG alums- LORD FOWL and John Wilkes Booth!

https://www.facebook.com/TheEyeOfTheStonedGoat
http://www.theeyeofthestonedgoat.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WeedIsWeed
https://www.facebook.com/WhiteDynomiteBoston

White Dynomite, White Dynomite (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Cactus, One Way… or Another

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cactus, One Way… or Another (1971)

“I know some of you people like to dance
And I know some of you people just like to roll and rock
And roll and rock
So come on honey, it’s alright
We’ll do whatever YOU feel like…”
— Cactus, “Whatever You Feel Like”

The exact recording dates, I’m not sure, but Cactus‘ second album, 1971’s One Way… or Another, was put to tape at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan sometime after the release of their 1970 debut, and listening to Tim Bogert swagger out the second “roll and rock” in “Whatever You Feel Like,” no question Jimi Hendrix was a presence in mind at the time. All that’s missing is a little “uh huh” after “rock.” Considering the studio opened in Aug. 1970 and Hendrix was dead less than a month later, it seems only fair to think Cactus would’ve been working with some of his influence in following up their first record, their fluid tempo shifts on “Rock and Roll Children” and the wah/acoustic layering on “Song for Aries” are easy enough to see in that light as well, though of course Cactus were foremost indebted to blues rock, and there’s plenty of that to be had on One Way… or Another as well.

Immediately, as it happens. One Way… or Another opens with the Little Richard cover “Long Tall Sally,” also done by Elvis and The Beatles and many, many others. But Cactus take the original and slow it down to a vicious, sleazy groove, guitarist Jim McCarty basically giving bassist Tim Bogert — who usually handled backup vocals to Rusty Day‘s leads, but took the fore on “Whatever You Feel Like” (Day got his moment in a harmonica solo) — and drummer Carmine Appice all the room they could ever ask for to swing through and then some. Cactus‘ Cactus was a little more unhinged, a little more dangerous overall, but the fullness of sound and tonal satisfaction that One Way… or Another provides isn’t to be understated. That’s not to say “Big Bad Mother Boogie” doesn’t have its edge, just that if you listen back to their take on “Parchman Farm” from the first record it sounds like the song is about to fly out from under them.

Their take on Chuck Willis‘ “Feel so Bad” gives a bluesy start to a side B that branches out soon with “Song for Aries” and hits possibly its most righteous note in “Hometown Bust,” a heavy return that’s as huge as anything that might’ve been called metal at a later point in the decade, McCarty wailing out a lead that, yeah, there’s Hendrix again, and killing it in the process while Day throws in some chops on harmonica. The closing title-track rests on an up-down nod of a riff not frantic but still maddening in its turns, Bogert and McCarty playing off each other brilliantly before the last chorus return, Day‘s vocals doubled for maximum effect en route to the last, all-too-quick fade.

Cactus had one more album, 1971’s Restrictions, with the same lineup, though the changes that would result in lineup shifts for 1972’s ‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty — bringing in Leaf Hound‘s Peter French to replace Rusty Day — were already taking root. I’m not sure which I’d pick over the other, Cactus or One Way… or Another, but both are heavy rock classics and definitely the sophomore record makes some compelling arguments in its case, the upped Hendrixery among them.

Hope you enjoy.

In case you’re also wondering, no, I have no idea where November went. Next week is Thanksgiving, which is another one of those US holidays celebrating a fiction — this one about peace between European colonists and the native people being colonized — like Xmas or Columbus Day or Labor Day, and so on and so on, but screw it, a day off is hard to argue with. The Patient Mrs. and I are heading south for the occasion — I know you’re shocked — to New Jersey. I expect family time will consume the bulk of the week, but I’ll have some posts along the way where and when I am able as well, including a new podcast on Wednesday, so if you’re traveling for the holiday, or just sitting on your ass (it works either way), you might want to grab that when it’s up. I’m gonna shoot for Wednesday morning, but we’ll see how it goes.

Also look out for a Murcielago review hopefully on Monday and something or other on Tuesday to fill time while I pack to head to Jersey on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends and, if I’m honest, to not being in the house for a while but also knowing where I’m going, ever. After a year of where-the-hell-am-I-what’s-the-fastest-way-to-the-highway-and-which-highway-do-I-want-anyway, it’s starting to wear a little thin. Novelty fades. Inconvenience is forever.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of the holidays by sitting as quietly and as still as possible. It’s like meditation except it involves watching hours of Star Trek episodes at a time.

Be well, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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John Wilkes Booth, Useless Lucy: Soaking the Perimeter

Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

john wilkes booth useless lucy

Long Island heavy rockers John Wilkes Booth will mark their first decade together next year. 10 years. The band — who, if you’re wondering, took on what I think even they’d tell you (perhaps while smirking) is a lousy name in order to capture something universally hated — made their full-length debut in 2008 with Sic Semper Tyrannis (review here) following a split with 12 Eyes and my former band, Maegashira, and a 2006 self-titled EP, and five years later, they answer their long-player with the eight-track/34-minute sophomore outing, Useless Lucy, which both beefs up the production overall and delves into darker noise rock terrain on cuts like “From the North” and “Masturbation Song” while tapping various veins of ’90s alt rock in “Six One” and the later “Ladder and Vacuum,” at least before the latter switches to its crunching hook, Tool-style bleaker prog riffing from guitarist Jason Beickert winding out a resonant chorus that consumes much of the three-minute song’s second half, vocalist Kerry Merkle recounting an everyman tale of woe overtop, somewhat ironically (and again, perhaps smirkingly) following the parental love-letter “Soaking the Perimeter.” The Booth have always had something of a progressive drive, musically and vocally, and Merkle does well in changing his approach here from gutting out the start-stop chorus in “Masturbation Song” and the verses in “13 Years” to more cleanly riding the funk-rock push of “Ladder and Vacuum,” bassist Harry Vrooman and drummer Christian Horstmann stepping up the bounce there where in the midsection of closer “Family Crest” they smoothly hold together a post-bridge jam as Beickert embellishes an exploratory-sounding lead.

To make a prior allusion explicit, I’ve known the John Wilkes Booth guys for years, played shows with them, collaborated on releases, and so on, so I’m not about to claim a measure of impartiality when it comes to appreciating what they do. They are one of those bands. Nestled into their geography out on Long Island, separate from the entirety of the country with the morass of New York traffic between, they rarely get out, have never toured for any length of time, but have continued to hone their craft at familiar local spots, have kept a consistent lineup because they must genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and have put together a solid album of new material written not with the rush of an impending touring cycle, but with time taken to fully embrace the process of hammering out parts and making the songs sound the way they want them too. Would they be a bigger, more solidified unit if they’d hit the road six years ago and never looked back? Probably. Or they might’ve broken up. Who the hell knows? The point is that when it comes to Useless Lucy and the Booth in general, what you see is what you get. They might cop an experimental vibe here and there — with its slower progression and foreboding vibe, opener “From the North” is probably the farthest they veer from their more straightforward norm — but by and large they traffic in unpretentious heavy rock and roll, vibed out with various echoes in the guitar and vocals and made stronger by the chemistry of the rhythm section. They’re not looking to be a huge band or to “get a buzz going” in any other than the beery sense of the phrase. As I’ve always seen them, their motives are pure. They create because they feel joy in the expression. That’s kept them going for a decade so far.

john wilkes booth

And somewhat more astoundingly, they do so without really ever pushing into self-indulgence. Even the penultimate “Intro 2 (Lick My Spacesuit),” which is essentially 90 seconds of an effects buildup leading the way into “Family Crest,” serves a purpose in adding to the atmosphere of the album overall and giving the listener a breather after “Ladder and Vacuum” and before the finale. Earlier, “Six One” showcases an airier sensibility than either of the opening duo in front of it, but neither that nor the rolling fuzz of “13 Years” which follows, fail to convey a well-developed songwriting process, and everywhere John Wilkes Booth go on Useless Lucy, that’s what remains most consistent. They’ll never be a big band — even the phrase “I like John Wilkes Booth” pushes the boundaries of taste; they prefer “F the Booth” as a slogan — and they’ll probably never quit their jobs and go on perma-tour, get big press and whatever else, but frankly, the fact that they’re going to do what they do regardless makes them all the more admirable in my eyes. There’s nothing insincere about Useless Lucy, or that feels cynical or like it’s just there because it’s what’s popular. It’s not what’s popular. If it was they’d sound like Graveyard or Uncle Acid. Instead, they sound like the Booth. It won’t turn heads, and the album’s not perfect by any stretch — Merkle‘s voice comes across high in the mix in places, and the recording is clean more à la modern rock than heavy rock — but it’s honest, and going into a band’s new record with the expectation of honesty is a rare and not-to-be-understated delight.

John Wilkes Booth, Useless Lucy (2014)

John Wilkes Booth on Thee Facebooks

John Wilkes Booth on Bandcamp

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