Lunar Electric Premiere Video for “Crossfire Child”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lunar electric

You might not know Los Angeles’ Lunar Electric is a three-piece to look at their new video for “Crossfire Child,” but you can hear the bass in the recording underneath guitarist Dre DiMura‘s solo in the second half of the song and thickening the start-stop chug of the bridge. In the clip, however, mostly what we see are DiMura and drummer Kaleen Reading, who though they’re based in L.A. recorded Lunar Electric‘s self-titled debut EP, from whence “Crossfire Child” comes, in Brooklyn and shot the video in Philadelphia. Their bass player for the recording, Geena Spigarelli, hails from Austin, Texas. Because of course.

Though somewhat geographically unhinged — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either — Lunar Electric are much clearer in their purpose, as “Crossfire Child” demonstrates across its six minutes. Directed by Grayson Kohs with camera work by Aaron Dye (DiMura is also listed as producer), the video jumps back and forth between a chess match DiMura seems to be playing against himself, a tarot reading and performance footage of DiMura and Reading in a studio space, amps stacked behind, cinderblock in front of what would otherwise surely be a roving kick drum. The track itself starts out intense but unfolds to a more open verse, soaked in attitude and groove, building through the chorus en route to its breakdown and the aforementioned solo, the central figure of which speaks to some more aggressive influence underlying “Crossfire Child”‘s swagger.

Or maybe that’s just youth. Either way, you’ll know the part when it hits. Sorry to say, but the chess match doesn’t end well for DiMura. The song does. I’m not sure if Spigarelli is still in the band or not, but one imagines these things will become clear over time. Let’s start at the beginning, and that’s “Crossfire Child,” the video for which you’ll find below, followed by some bio info off the PR wire.

Lunar Electric‘s Lunar Electric EP is out May 12 on Electric Maiden Recordings. Enjoy:

Lunar Electric, “Crossfire Child” official video

Lunar Electric is the eponymous, debut EP from the Los Angeles-based three piece rock ‘n’ roll band being released digitally May 12 on Electric Maiden Recordings, via iTunes, BandCamp, SoundCloud, and Amazon among other outlets.

The three band members cut their musical teeth accompanying a wide range of renowned artists including the Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes, Gloria Gaynor, Dee Snider and Jon Anderson of Yes. The Lunar Electric was born out of the ashes of Resin Gypsy, a duo formed by guitarist/vocalist Dre DiMura and drummer, Kaleen Reading in 2011. DiMura and Reading met in 2008. Originally conceived as a studio project, the duo began performing live following the release of their self-titled debut album in 2012. Resin Gypsy was an independently released, energetic basement recording produced by DiMura. The group formally disbanded after just eight months, but the pair continued to write and record together.

In September 2014, Dre and Kaleen reentered the studio, this time accompanied by bassist Geena Spigarelli of Austin, Texas whom Reading had worked with in 2010. Featuring three tunes from Resin Gypsy’s repertoire and the brand new song, “Crossfire Child” Lunar Electric is a powerhouse 17-minute barn-burner with enough raw power to send you into a state of panic and euphoria all at once. Between the ultra-tight grooves provided by Reading, Spigarelli’s one-of-a-kind bass lines, and the innovative guitar work of DiMura, this trio’s debut proves distinctive and powerful enough to make even the most jaded stand up and take notice.

Dre DiMura’s website

Lunar Electric on Soundcloud

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Blaak Heat Shujaa Welcome Bassist Tom Davies; New Album in Pre-Production

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

News today from the camp of Cali-based psych-desert rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa, who’ve announced the addition of bassist Tom Davies. Known for his work in Nebula and The Freeks, Davies replaces Antoine Morel-Vulliez and arrives as the band is making preparations to enter the studio with Matt Hyde (Slayer, Monster Magnet) to track their yet-untitled third album, which will also be the follow-up to their first Tee Pee Records LP, 2013’s The Edge of an Era (review here). Not bad timing by any means.

Davies joins Blaak Heat Shujaa drummer Michael Amster and guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier — also of Spindrift and Sonny Simmons‘ psychedelic backing band, Moksha Samnyasin, whose late-2014 release, Nomadic (review here), will get many more plugs before I’m through with it — in a new version of the three-piece, whose last record followed the 2012 Tee Pee EP, The Storm Generation (review here), and whose experimental bent has led them to craft longform works of natural-toned psychedelic sprawl. As that EP and The Edge of an Era were recorded by Scott Reeder, whose heavy rock pedigree in KyussThe ObsessedGoatsnake and most recently Fireball Ministry precedes him, one wonders what might come of sessions with Matt Hyde, who, yeah, has a Grammy under his belt (for a Jonny Lang record), but is much more known for more straightforward, commercial styles of sound.

Time will tell. No solid release date yet for the album (they might want to record it first; that’s fair), but here’s the announcement of Davies‘ entry into the band:

blaak heat shujaa (Photo by Steve Thill)

Psych rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa announce new album, new bass player Tom Davies (Nebula)

British bass player Tom Davies has joined the ranks of Los Angeles-based, Paris-born psychedelic rock trio Blaak Heat Shujaa. Know for his tenure with heavy psych mavericks Nebula (Sub Pop, TeePee Records), Davies is also active in The Freeks and LANTVRN.

Blaak Heat Shujaa have started pre-production on their third, full-length album. Grammy-winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Deftones, Monster Magnet) will produce what is expected to be the finest collection yet of Blaak Heat’s signature pieces, a magical and unequaled blend of reverb rock, middle-eastern riffs and heavy psychedelia.

https://www.facebook.com/blaakheatshujaa
http://www.blaakheatshujaa.com/
http://blaakheatshujaa.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com/

Blaak Heat Shujaa, “The Obscurantist Fiend (The Beast Pt. 1)” official video

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Duuude, Tapes! Spindrift, Exotic Detonation

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on February 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

spindrift-exotic-detonation-tape-and-case

Way out west there’s a band called Spindrift, and they’ve been a-ramblin’ for the better part of 20 years now. Back in 2012, guitarist/vocalist Kirkpatrick Thomas — who’s seen ‘em come and seen ‘em go as regards bandmates — took his troupe of Ennio Morricone-inspired bandoliers out on a five-week run of ghost towns, because, uh, clinical depression? Nah, I don’t know that. Point is, Spindrift ventured out and brought a film crew along and made a movie basically to go with the sounds they make that are — wait for it — inspired by movies. Got it? If it’s a question of the chicken or the egg as to which came first, the movie or the soundtrack, the answer is yes.

spindrift-exotic-detonation-tapeSince then, Ghost of the West has been shown here and there at festivals and special premieres and whatnot, and the soundtrack — also Spindrift‘s eighth and latest long-player — came out in 2013 on Tee Pee Records. It closed with a punked up take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Very cool, lots of fun. Apparently there was some music left over, which is believable both because these cats jam and because some pieces are pretty short, and so the Exotic Detonation EP came to be. It’s a quick one, just three songs and about 11 minutes long, released on a two-sided, clear-blue cassette by Burger Records, but if you’ve ever or never heard Spindrift before, it makes a solid argument for what they do in their particular brand of cinematic desert-hued spaghetti Western psychedelia.

Side one of the tape is comprised of the title-track and “Ghosts Go West,” two shorter more livelier slices that are complemented on side two by the five-minute “High Plains Spindrifter,” which the tape notes also appeared in the film The Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace, to which Spindrift also supplied the score. That cut is something of a departure from the other two, a more minimal, foreboding atmospheric work marked out by Native American flute, sparse, descending guitar and a tense underlying drone — it has a threat of open spaces at night. To contrast, back on side one, opener “Exotic Detonation” starts with a direct port of the theme song to The Twilight Zone and moves into a gallop that, were it not for the punkishness of its drums, would just about make you dig at the grave of Arch Stanton.

spindrift-exotic-detonation-j-card“Ghosts Go West” as a more prominent low end and is in less of a rush generally, but the guitars open wider, echo further. Both it and “Exotic Detonation” are sort of thematic slices, but each is distinguished from the other, and by the time the tape clicks off at the end of “High Plains Spindrifter,” it’s a surprise because it’s so otherworldly and hypnotic. I haven’t seen Ghost of the West, but I’d be interested to know what visuals it accompanies. In my head it’s someplace where things like light pollution don’t exist.

Spindrift are about due for a follow-up to Ghost of the West, whether that’s a studio album with the current or at-least-current-last-time-I-looked-which-was-right-now lineup of Kirkpatrick Thomas, guitarist Thomas Bellier (also Blaak Heat Shujaa and who mixed the first two songs on Exotic Detonation and mastered the release), bassist Henry Evans and drummer James Acton, another soundtrack, or something else entirely. Whatever they wind up doing, they remain a band unto themselves soundwise and as a sampling of that, Exotic Detonation satisfies atmospherically and in its Western loyalist soundscapes.

Spindrift, “High Plains Spindrifter”

Spindrift on Thee Facebooks

Spindrift’s website

Burger Records

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Video Premiere: Lords of Beacon House, “Distant Thunder”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lords of beacon house distant thunder

Way back in October — in the before times, the long, long ago — I reviewed a three-song self-titled EP from Los Angeles trio Lords of Beacon House as part of a batch of radio adds. Well, as it turns out, that wasn’t so much the three-piece’s first EP as a teaser for their eight-song full-length debut, which is coming soon through Hom Hom Hom. Whoops. Whatever you want to classify those tracks as, “Distant Thunder,” “Seven Days” and “Cool Water Blues” made a remarkable opening argument in favor of Lords of Beacon House, steeped in heavy-’70s-via-’10s West Coast boogie and naturalist roll, their groove rich in tone and unpretentious in swing but still ready to be soldpsycho california festival over the counter as a mustache-growing vitamin supplement.

Good news followed soon behind when Psycho California announced that Lords of Beacon House – the lineup of Amir Ouaddi, Peter King and Michael Lopez — would take part in its illustrious lineup this May 15-17 along with Earth, Om, Sleep, Pentagram and quite literally dozens of others, and that the band would have their full self-titled (as in, not just three tracks) out on Hom Hom Hom before they took the stage at The Observatory in Santa Ana. A worthy goal. In the meantime, the trio have a new video for “Distant Thunder” directed by Gregory Ontiveros and I’m happy today to be able to host the premiere.

If it’s your first encounter with Lords of Beacon House, some of their ’70s stylization might at first seem familiar, but if you listen to the track there’s actually little about it to call retro. The sound is clear and modern — a bluesy foundational bassline leading the way for the chug-riffing guitar and drums to follow — and in its hook and heft, the song has more in common with the new breed of skater heavy than the proto-metal that many will no doubt cast as its major influence, but so it goes. Whatever you want to call it, the track is catchy as all hell, and whether you’re listening just to this video, or to the three songs thinking they’re a standalone release when they’re definitely not that at all or just making your way through in anticipation of the album’s arrival, I think you’ll find the first impression satisfying.

Lords of Beacon House have a handful of California shows booked this month. Dates follow the video below. Enjoy:

Lords of Beacon House, “Distant Thunder” official video

lords of beacon house tour poster

Lords of Beacon House upcoming shows:

02.14 4th St. Vine, Long Beach, CA
02.18 Los Globos, Los Angeles, CA
02.20 Ham & Eggs, Los Angeles, CA
02.21 The District, Redlands, CA
02.24 The Blue Lagoon, Santa Cruz, CA
02.25 El Rio, San Francisco, CA
02.27 TBA, Santa Cruz, CA
02.28 Stork Club, Oakland, CA

Lords of Beacon House on Thee Facebooks

Lords of Beacon House on Bandcamp

Lords of Beacon House website

Hom Hom Hom

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Wake up Lucid Premiere “Get Fucked” from New Album Gone with the Night

Posted in audiObelisk on January 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wake up lucid

Clearly, Los Angeles three-piece Wake up Lucid are not playing it subtle on “Get Fucked.” The song is a nine-minute languid roll of a groove, somewhere between Dead Meadow-style shoegaze drawl and rawer, underfed Stooges-style snarling heavy rock, taken from their soon-to-be-released second full-length, Gone with the Night. Effects add an otherworldly choppiness to the guitars on what becomes an extended jam, the lineup of Ryan Baca, Ian Baca and Jamie Baca — all cousins — devolving what seems at first like a relatively straightforward structure into a smoldering pile of noise-wash goo topped with unhinged shouts.

And the best part of the whole thing? That’s when the bassline kicks back in and they easy-ride that groove into wake up lucid gone with the nightthe fadeout ending a progression that sounds more or less like it could just keep going into perpetuity, the final lyric, “Look what I started,” vigilantly ominous over the hazy atmosphere that emerges. It’s a long way from where “Get Fucked” started, its invitation handed out liberally in between, and while I haven’t heard the rest of Gone with the Night, both the initial bounce of the track and the fluidity with which it shifts into off-kilter heavy psych weirdness — synth and swirl never quite gone, but swelling to the fore later on — speak of a vicious approach at work.

We’ll find out on March 31, when Wake up Lucid releases Gone with the Night on their own WUL Records. The album was produced by The Icarus Line‘s Joe Cardamone, and you can find out more in the PR wire info that follows the track below.

Enjoy:

On their upcoming fourth release Gone With The Night, Los Angeles gutter rock trio Wake Up Lucid puts it simply: “Give us something real, something we can feel. Or get fucked.” This statement resounds as both rejection of fakery and pursuit of honest music, which have remained Wake Up Lucid’s only guidelines for writing and performing throughout the half decade’s worth of their existence. The new album was produced by Icarus Line’s Joe Cardamone at his studio, Valley Recording Co. in Burbank and is being released March 31 on WUL Records.

Gone With The Night is a sampling of the fruits of the group’s determined efforts to develop further as song-writers, offering songs that are much more focused and realized, and diversely dynamic — a departure from the band’s usual m.o. of grit and groove hammered-out at high volumes — while still maintaining the inimitable Wake Up Lucid vibe that has crept around L.A. for the past few years.

Their authenticity and immediacy as writers and performers is rooted in their experience of growing up together in the same extended family—a musical one to boot. After pursuing their respective musical aspirations in other outfits, they formed their own some six years ago, distilling their now matured, ripened abilities into the woozy juggernaut that is Wake Up Lucid.

Wake up Lucid on Thee Facebooks

Wake up Lucid on Twitter

Wake up Lucid’s website

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Saturday Full-Length: Sasquatch, II

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sasquatch, II (2006)

At the time, I was still so hung up on Los Angeles trio Sasquatch‘s 2004 self-titled debut that I don’t think I properly appreciated the classic-rock-is-ours-now feel and heaviness of “Let it In,” “The Judge,” the vinyl-style symmetry of “Nikki” and “Catalina” and the rawness of character on display. Where the first album is kind of an outlier now in terms of sound for them, made formative by hindsight where at the time it seemed nothing if not accomplished — their songwriting was always top notch — II became more of the model with which they’d work, their ’70s-meets-’90s vibe running a riffy current through the tracks. Both 2010’s III (review here) and 2013’s IV (review here) built off what they did here, and their craft has never wavered.

They played one of Small Stone‘s by-then-legendary SXSW showcases as well during this era, and it was the first time I got to see the band, which only solidified my fandom. They haven’t been out east much — though they hit the Uninvited festival this year in Brooklyn; from what I hear it was a “Pleasure to Burn” — but I’ve been fortunate enough to see them once or twice more over the years and they’ve always delivered. II is a work of straightforward, perpetually-underrated heavy rock, and it’s easy to look at a band like Sasquatch and think about “oh, if X and Y and Z, these guys would be huge,” and I wouldn’t begrudge them making a ton of money or anything, but these guys make for an excellent underground secret too, like a litmus for those who know.

Small Stone put this one out on vinyl not too long ago, but I’m pretty sure they’re gone by now. Not bad for a record eight years later to continue to inspire such devotion, and I’ve no doubt that II will continue to do so no matter how high Sasquatch‘s numbers end up going. Please enjoy.

So, why a day late? I left home yesterday at 12:30PM to go to Brooklyn and see the first of YOB‘s two nights at the St. Vitus bar. I got to the venue around 6PM. That’s usually a four-hour trip. I was utterly fried after the show — turns out that not eating or drinking anything all day was the wrong choice; I was dizzy and nauseous in the packed room and stayed up front through “Marrow” but had to move back after that and get some water — and then afterwards, there was a solid hour of traffic getting to the Lincoln Tunnel. Got in to Jersey at about two in the morning. It was far less thrilling than the show itself, which was fantastic. I’ll be going back for round two tonight.

More year-end stuff next week. Look out for a list of the year’s best debuts at some point, and maybe one of the best live gigs and some other stuff. I’ll also be reviewing these two nights at the Vitus bar, and anything else I might have time for. I feel like I say this all the time, but if you’re waiting on a review of something, I’m sorry. I’m one person. Most other sites have a staff of writers working on stuff, or at least a few people. I have me. If something takes me longer, or if I don’t get to it, I wholeheartedly and sincerely apologize. I’m doing the best I can to do as much as I can. If I had eight of me, it would be easier. As it is, I can barely answer email.

But anyway, I hope you dig the Sasquatch and I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at. Thanks for checking in, and please don’t forget to hit up the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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It’s Casual Premiere “Their Own Cash” from The New Los Angeles II

Posted in audiObelisk on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

it's casual

If you’ve got just a minute of your time to give, It’s Casual would like to punch you in the face. The L.A.-based one-man outfit helmed by vocalist/guitarist/bassist/drummer Eddie Solis will release their new album, The New Los Angeles II, on Dec. 16 through Stoked Records. As the title hints, it’s a sequel to 2007’s The New Los Angeles, and even opens with a couple seconds fading out the drum progression of that record’s closer, “EZ Pass.” From there, however, The New Los Angeles II is a different beast, likewise pointed in its social commentary — Solis is vehement in his support for public transit — but turning his attention on real budget issues in Los Angeles. He’s the kind of guy who will run for mayor one day who will make more sense than everyone else and get the least airtime.

To wit, songs like “Less Violence, More Violins,” “Keep the Children Occupied,” “Sharing is Not Caring” and “Their Own Cash” point out the madness of not funding public education — the latter’s only lyrics, “Teachers use it's casual the new los angeles iitheir own cash to buy stuff for their class,” are repeated in the Black Flag tradition of emphasizing absurdity through insistence — where “TAP Card,” “WIC” and “California is Not an ATM Machine” take on economic issues via real-world concerns, all the while pummeling a blend of heavy punk and thrash, Solis‘ growl pushing out minimalist lines that leave a maximum impression. The album as a whole is 27 minutes long, and about nine of those are devoted to the instrumental noise rocker “The Gap is Widening,” which leads the way into closer “Kids Having Kids,” so It’s Casual never take too long in making a point, every other track (including the closer, though that also makes room for a hidden bonus cut) under two minutes. The word of the day is “immediacy,” and It’s Casual are well familiar with it.

The New Los Angeles II is It’s Casual‘s fourth full-length, behind a 2009 split 7″ with Bullet Treatment, the first installment, 2004’s Stop Listening to Bad Music and 2002’s Buicregl, and it finds Solis — who also hosts the Los Angeles Nista talk show on AM radio — in his element musically and in terms of the commentary at hand. “Their Own Cash,” likewise true and infuriating, serves as a prime example of the record’s attitude and call to arms, and I’m happy to be able to host the streaming premiere today of it, as well as the Q&A with Solis that follows the player below.

Please enjoy:

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

eddie solis

Q&A with Eddie Solis of It’s Casual

On “Their Own Cash”:

It’s really a POSITIVE track. I am trying to bring to light that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other school districts are suffering from lack of resources. And that causes a trickle-down effect, for instance the music and art programs are cut and that leads to a challenge to keep the kids occupied. However what about the teachers’ perspective? What about their challenges? I have lots of friends and family that are teachers. They are already challenged with a modest salary but what about the ones that use “THEIR OWN CASH” for supplies? The song is a cry for help. It’s a testimony to the teachers who care and it’s also a cry for help. A topic that should be brought to light and should also be targeted and remedied. The lyrics: “Teachers use their own cash, to buy stuff for their class.”

Why The New Los Angeles II seven years after the original?

Seven years later because our album cycle didn’t really start till 2012. The record wasn’t properly distributed worldwide, toured and written about in the press till 2012.

Is the album a statement on sequel culture?

Yes, it is a statement on sequel culture. The New Los Angeles I was about being car-free, and celebrating the rich Los Angeles history through the eyes of a bus rider. However, The New Los Angeles II goes deeper. The New Los Angeles I was about history, culture, geography. Also a car-free lifestyle in a car culture. This The New Los Angeles II is about reporting on what I’m seeing on the buses and subway system. The people that are sitting right next to me. I’m talking about challenges people are facing. The positivity and the negativity, the yin and yang.

Any chance we could get a prequel at some point, something like The Old Los Angeles?

Yes, very possible. It’s realistic because there is a type of person that has been spawned from Los Angeles that is destructive and stunted and I want shed light on the sociology aspect of where this all comes from. Pre-MTA public transportation, L.A. life.

At what point did you know it would be The New Los Angeles II instead of some other title?

I was conscious. The New Los Angeles I inspired me. It was due to the fact that I was so inspired by all the press, shows and the music video that Rick Kosick of Jackass did for “The Redline.” It spawned my radio show Los Angeles Nista which started on internet-only but is now on AM talk radio as well in three major markets: Orange County (1510AM), Inland Empire (1510AM) and San Diego (1450AM). So when I wrote part two, it was about the same thread of commonality but going deeper into the neighborhoods and connecting with people.

Why the long break between albums?

The album cycle to the previous record started in 2012 so it was necessary.

When did the songs start to come together?

June 2012 was the pre-production date. And we tracked mixed and mastered in Aug. 2012, but the tracks started coming together during early 2012. The inspiration and juice came from The New Los Angeles I album cycle in 2012.

What was the recording like in comparison to the original The New Los Angeles?

Very similar. In fact the beginning of The New Los Angeles II starts out the way part one ends. The comparison and common thread is that it is completely is all about Los Angeles and is inspired by being car-free and green.

It’s Casual on Thee Facebooks

It’s Casual’s website

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Friday Full-Length: Captain Beyond, Captain Beyond

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Captain Beyond, Captain Beyond (1972)

Sometimes in listening to Captain Beyond‘s classic 1972 self-titled debut, it’s easy to forget that there were just four members in the band. At times they’re almost orchestral, layers of guitar and vocals making their way in and around winding, still-heavy riffs and grooves. The lineup was considerable even then — vocalist Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple), guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly), bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly) and drummer Bobby Caldwell (who played with Johnny Winter and would go on to form Armageddon) — but no question that Captain Beyond‘s Captain Beyond was more than the sum of its parts. Few records of the era so successfully bridged the then-widening gap between heavy rock and prog, and frankly few have come along since that could excite fans of both. Its bizarre structure, with each side almost a record unto itself with its own themes and progression, makes it all the more complex, but it’s also a remarkably smooth listen, with cuts like “Mesmerization Eclipse,” “Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air),” “Raging River of Fear” and “As the Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea)” creating memorable, lasting impressions.

Lasting enough that Captain Beyond has had four decades of cult influence. After hearing Evans sing “Frozen Over,” I don’t think one can put on early Pentagram without hearing a similarity in Bobby Liebling‘s approach — Pentagram also had the lead track on Record Heaven‘s Thousand Days of Yesterdays tribute — and from The Atomic Bitchwax to Mastodon, scores of bands have taken lessons from Reinhardt‘s style of riffing and spaced-out leads, his layering acoustic and electric rhythms and the jazzy punch of the movement in this Caldwell‘s compositions. And Captain Beyond‘s Captain Beyond was truly a moment that wouldn’t come again. By the time a year has passed, Caldwell was out of the band, and replaced on 1973’s Sufficiently Breathless by Marty Rodriguez, with Dorman at the fore as principal songwriter. Sufficiently Breathless was a more than solid follow-up to Captain Beyond, but the group’s legacy continues to be based largely on their accomplishments here and the rare character and breadth that this album brought to bear. It is rightly considered among the most pivotal works of early heavy rock.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

So. Last Saturday, my mother-in-law’s old, sick pekingese got dropped off so The Patient Mrs. and I could take care of it while her mom was on vacation. You can see where this is going. The week started off — first thing Monday morning — with The Patient Mrs. asking me to get up and confirm her suspicion that the dog had died. Sure enough. I checked for a pulse, as if such a thing were possible on so fluffernutter a dog as a pekingese, and declared her suspicion correct. Added surreality came when a structural engineer and a lawyer showed up to look at something with the house (long, irrelevant story) and I had to hurry to pick up the dog and clean up the various leaked-out fluids so they could enter without having to step over the body. I had not yet brushed my teeth.

The Patient Mrs. found a local kennel that also doubled as a crematorium — take a second and let that sink in — so what else to do? I put the dog in a box and we drove over, about 15 minutes in the car. Our own dog, the little dog Dio, we left home to deal with her confusion. There was a form The Patient Mrs. filled out and then the lady behind the counter at the crematorium was like, “Okay, come on,” and directed us to follow her to the furnace, telling us along the way about the state contracts they have with the Mystic Aquarium, the roadkill, etc. All the while we’re on this piece of property back in the woods, walking past the pet cemetery, canopy of trees overhead with grey skies. I was fairly certain that The Patient Mrs. and I were both going to be killed and shoved in the furnace with only the texts I’d sent my family about the ordeal left for detectives to trace the whereabouts of our murderers.

We weren’t, thankfully. We got into an open barn with what was quite clearly the furnace in the middle of the room, ashes and metal trays on the floor, the vague smell of burning in the air, and I began to wonder if it was a do-it-yourself kind of deal. This worry also proved unfounded. The woman directed me to put the box down on a table nearby and we left, chatting pleasantly and awkwardly as we traipsed through the woods back to my car. I knew this dog well, and there wasn’t really much to say anyhow, so that was it. And everything was fine until I started to have these thoughts that what if I was wrong? What if the dog wasn’t really dead, if it had just peed itself and been asleep and breathing too shallow for me to tell? Of course it was dead — the body was limp when I picked it up — but still, I couldn’t shake the image of the dog waking up in that cardboard box on that table, and it stayed with me the last five days. Even now, and we’ve already gotten the call to go pick up the cremains.

That was how the week started. It’ll end in a little while when I head out to see Kind and The Golden Grass in New Bedford at a taco joint. So yeah, a little strange.

Next week, stick around for a review of that show, plus on Monday a stream of the new split between Krautzone and Lamp of the Universe, an Apostle of Solitude giveaway, review of the new Lo-Pan and Electric Wizard and as many other records as I can manage to fit. If you didn’t notice, I tried to cut back on the word counts for reviews because they were getting out of hand again. We’ll see how long it lasts, but at least I’m trying to keep it under control. Sometimes the sentences just keep going.

Go Giants for Acid King, go Orioles for all of Maryland doom. Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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