Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Admittedly, I don’t know much about the West Coast rooms that Eyehategod are playing on this brief run over the next couple weeks, but every show on the East Coast seems like a special event and I’d expect the same applies for out west. Brighton Music Hall should be resoundingly violent and it’s a place I could actually go, which is an appeal in itself. The Clash Bar in Jersey is a tiny room that Eyehategod seem likely to just level. The Saint Vitus Bar is the Saint Vitus Bar; that’s a draw on its own. And the show at the Ottobar? Vitus (the band) and Eyehategod on the same bill with Cro Mags and Misery Index? God damn. Hard to imagine the therapy everyone in attendance will need after so much head trauma.
I’m showing my regional roots in the Northeast for sure, and I’ve no doubt Alex’s Bar in Long Beach and Strummers in Fresno will be just as memorable for those out that way — these are rooms I wish I knew — but either way, it looks like Eyehategod are doing it up for this quick run before they spend a month in Europe in March/April.
The PR wire has more:
EYEHATEGOD: Louisiana Volume Dealers To Kick Off 2015 Live Invasion
Louisiana volume dealers, EYEHATEGOD, are readying for another bout of live demolitions this month commencing with a set of California rumblings through Bakersfield, Lancaster, Long Beach, San Luis Obispo and Fresno. From there, the band will head east to sonically traumatize Boston, Massachusetts, Clifton, New Jersey, Brooklyn, New York for two nights and a very special show in Baltimore, Maryland with the Cro Mags, Saint Vitus and Misery Index!
EYEHATEGOD: 1/22/2015 Jerry’s Pizza & Pub – Bakersfield, CA 1/23/2015 Moose Lodge – Lancaster, CA 1/24/2015 Alex’s Bar – Long Beach, CA 1/25/2015 Sweet Springs Saloon – San Luis Obispo, CA 1/26/2015 Strummers – Fresno, CA 2/04/2015 Brighton Music Hall – Boston MA 2/05/2015 The Clash Bar – Clifton, NJ 2/06/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY 2/07/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY 2/08/2015 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD w/ Cro Mags, Saint Vitus, Misery Index
Over two-and-a-half decades, EYEHATEGOD have helped define the NOLA sound: down-tuned, blues-inflected guitars awash in furious distortion, underpinning the tormented screams of Mike IX Williams over a thundering rhythm section. Though it was a long time between riffs, EYEHATEGOD reemerged stronger and more determined than ever before. EyeHateGod personifies desperation and addiction in the various backwaters of forgotten America, punctuated by the “N’awlins” sound of rebellion and pollution resulting in triumph over adversity. EyeHateGod is an exclamation mark on an already storied career, a statement of rebirth, catharsis, self-preservation and a sign of things to come.
To be perfectly honest, the video below for “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” from Crowbar‘s latest outing, Symmetry in Black, is the first I’m hearing of the record. A “promo stream” for the album, which came out on Tuesday, has been sitting in my inbox for a few weeks, but I haven’t clicked on it, because what the hell? I click on it, feel the need to review it, take the time, dig the album, and then add it to the growing list of CDs I want to buy but can’t afford. Super. Better to save myself the trouble of being bummed out and not listen in the first place.
“Walk with Knowledge Wisely” has some continuity with “The Cemetery Angels” (video here), which served as a single from 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here), in that it rounds out with a massive-sounding slowdown. They don’t milk quite as much this time around — not that I’ll complain either way — but the point definitely gets made, and the point seems to be that well over 20 years on, Crowbar still serve as a litmus test for sonic weight.
Looks like they’ll get on that list after all. It goes like this:
Crowbar, “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” official video
CROWBAR DEBUTS NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR “WALK WITH KNOWLEDGE WISELY”
SYMMETRY IN BLACK OUT NOW!
Well known NOLA earthquake purveyors CROWBAR have debuted a brand new music video for their single “Walk With Knowledge Wisely.” Directed by Mike Holderbeast (DOWN, EYEHATEGOD), this is the first of two videos we’ll see from the band’s all new LP SYMMETRY IN BLACK that debuted last week. “For this video we decided to let the music do the talking. Working with Mike was a breeze and a pleasure. He has filmed many of our live shows and he is a true professional.” says frontman Kirk Windstein.
Symmetry in Black tracklisting: 1. Walk With Knowledge Wisely 2. Symmetry In White 3. The Taste Of Dying 4. Reflection Of Deceit 5. Ageless Decay 6. Amaranthine 7. The Foreboding 8. Shaman Of Belief 9. Teach The Blind To See 10. A Wealth Of Empathy 11. Symbolic Suicide 12. The Piety Of Self-Loathing
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The good news is that Crowbar are touring. The good news is also that Crowbar are writing songs for a new album. I guess there really isn’t any bad news on this one. Crowbar‘s last album, 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand(review here), found the New Orleans sludge mainstays embracing the influence of many of the bands who followed in their discordant wake, working with producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, etc.) and taking on a more modern metal feel throughout the tracks. Of course, a song like the single “The Cemetery Angels” (video here) still had room for a landmark slowdown, but there’s no telling what Crowbar‘s 10th full-length might bring when it surfaces.
And maybe the idea with this tour is to road-test some new songs. The band recently parted ways with bassist Pat Bruders, so no word either on who’s handling the low end (other than everyone). Either way, Crowbar getting back out for a stint is a good thing, and if it’s new material or old, new members or old, the safe bet is it’s going to be loud. Crowbar will also perform at the 2013 Housecore Horror Film & Music Fest at Emo’s East in Austin, Texas, which runs Oct. 25-27 with Down, Goblin, Pig Destroyer and many more on the bill.
Here are the dates:
Crowbar and White Light Cemetery !!
Friday 11/29 Houston TX @Scout Bar Saturday 11/30 Dallas TX @Trees Sunday 12/01 Austin TX @Dirty Dog Thursday 12/05 Tyler TX @Clicks Friday 12/06 Shreveport LA @Riverside Warehouse Saturday 12/07 Lafayette LA @The Station May have more dates in week of 12/01 Thanks for all your support!!! Will post any additions as they come !!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Joe LaCaze, 1971-2013
He was the only drummer I ever saw snort something on stage. Word started coming through last night on Facebook of the passing of Eyehategod drummer Joe LaCaze. Details at this point are sketchy, and by that I mean nil, but tributes have begun pouring in for LaCaze, who had more than ably handled the task of solidifying the chaos of Eyehategod’s sonic malevolence since 1989, playing on their four studio full-lengths and sundry other releases and touring the world with the groundbreaking sludge five-piece.
Eyehategod just wrapped a 15-date UK and European stint in Toulouse, France, on Aug. 20 and were scheduled to play three special shows in September to mark their 25th anniversary as a band, including a return to the Rocks Off Concert Cruise in Manhattan and an appearance at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Fest in Austin, Texas. Word of a new album had also begun to spread again with the release last year of the new single “New Orleans is the New Vietnam,” which had been Eyehategod’s first non-compilation studio output since 2004. Their last full-length was 2000’s Confederacy of Ruined Lives.
Again, there is nothing really made public at this point about the circumstances of his passing or any official word from the band (I’ll update when I see some), but LaCaze — who also drummed in Eyehategod offshoots Outlaw Order and The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight — leaves behind a formidable presence within what’s inarguably sludge’s greatest influence. In his attitude and his style, he was the swinging rudder steering a tornado and across classic albums like 1992’s In the Name of Suffering, 1993’s Take as Needed for Pain, and 1996’s Dopesick, he solidified a legacy that few can match.
The Obelisk sends heartfelt condolences to the friends, family, bandmates and anyone else who knew LaCaze. He will be missed.
Eyehategod released this statement today:
Joseph M. LaCaze, New Orleans native and drummer for Eyehategod, Mystick Krewe of Clearlight and Outlaw Order passed away on Aug. 23rd in New Orleans after a very successful five week UK and European tour with EHG.
He also performed ceremonial voodoo drumming and in numerous solo experimental electronic projects. Doctors confirmed to family members the cause as respiratory failure. He also suffered from severe long term asthma.
An account is set up for the benefit of his daughter Lilith LaCaze. Checks can be made payable to the Lilith LaCaze or Joseph LaCaze donation fund at any Capital One Bank in any city.
Mystick Krewe of Clearlight are one of those bands who, once you hear them, you just want more. And to that impulse, the only answer is really “too bad,” because there just isn’t that much out there. The band, led by Jimmy Bower of EyeHateGod/Down, only ever released one full-length — a self-titled in 2000 on Tee Pee — and splits with Acid King and The Obsessed (the latter a single with A and B side Lynyrd Skynyrd covers) before fizzling out. As late as 2004, they had a track appearance on the High Volumecompilation released via High Times, but that’s the last heard from the instrumental classic heavy rockers to date. Once you’ve heard it all, there’s no place else to go.
In that regard, that makes the two tracks they included on the 2001 Acid King split all the more special. Featuring guest contributions from Wino on vocals and ebow, the two tracks “Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)” and “Veiled” that made up Mystick Krewe‘s portion of the split — which was subtitled The Father, the Son and the Holy Smoke in ultimate stonerly fashion — were a moment never to be repeated. At the time, Spirit Caravan were releasing their second album, Elusive Truth, and the next year, Bower would return to Down to record and release Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, leaving little time for a lower-profile project like Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, however righteous their jams may have been.
And while those who got down with their organ-heavy boogie the first time have held out vague hopes for a follow-up full-length, it’s yet to happen. Never say never in a world where even Black Flag can reunite, but I’m not exactly holding my breath for new Clearlight material anytime soon. Call me crazy.
So enjoy “Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)” for what it is. Wino gives an especially killer performance, and if you’ve never had the chance to check it out, I think you’ll find it’s worth the time. Happy Wino Wednesday:
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
You’d need a checklist like on the back of a G.I. Joe action figure to keep up with all the splits and EPs Louisiana sludgers Thou put out, but when it comes to actual full-lengths, they occur somewhat less frequently, and so the news of a 2013 release for Heathen— their fourth behind the also-single-word titles Summit(2010), Peasant (2008) and Tyrant (2007) — is welcome. The band put the album to tape at the Living Room Studio in Algiers, LA, and it’ll reportedly top 60 minutes, which if you’re keeping track, is a whole lot o’ sludge.
Adam from Gilead Media sent over confirmation of Thou’s progress in the label’s latest newsletter:
I spent January 5th-8th down in New Orleans hanging out with Thou while they finished up tracking for their new full-length album, Heathen.
It was great to get out of Wisconsin for a bit–particularly after 14 inches of snow in the last month and a half–and spend some time in a drastically different environment. Especially watching things come together on the new Thou record. Many thanks to the guys for hosting me while I was down there. Always a pleasure to spend some time with my favorite Louisiana folks.
Recording took place at The Living Room Studio in Algiers, LA, engineered by James Whitten. Heathen should be released on CD by Gilead Media in June, after James completes mixing and Adam Tucker at Signaturetone Recording gives it the ol’ mastering treatment. Vinyl should be ready around the same time, but we haven’t ironed out if the band will be releasing it themselves or not. I need to keep hammering away at Bryan to let me take care of it.
The album will ultimately clock in at around 60 minutes, their longest single piece of work to date.
Posted in Reviews on September 21st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
The carton from which Lo-Pan frontman Jeff Martin is drinking in the candid picture above reads “Boxed Water is Better.” There’s a life lesson in there somewhere, but mark my words, I have no clue what it might be.
After bolting from a school obligation in Newark and stopping only to grab sushi takeout on my way to Brooklyn for the BrooklynVegan/The Obelisk-presented gig at Union Pool with The Brought Low, Lo-Pan and Suplecs. I was excited to see the bands and glad it had stopped raining from earlier in the day, but more than either of those, I was just in a hurry to get there.
Being involved in booking and promoting shows is nerve-wracking work, and to those who do it on a regular basis — and that includes Fred from BrooklynVegan, who invited me to be a part of the show out of the blue and the kindness of his heart — much respect. I can’t imagine being responsible for making people show up somewhere, trying to draw a crowd. I have a hard enough time getting my own ass off the couch, let alone anyone else’s.
That said, if e’er a rock bill in Brooklyn was going to do it, it was this one. With the two-day Small Stone Records showcase in Philadelphia this weekend featuring all three of these bands (and many others), I was thinking of the show as an unofficial warm-up, a kind of unofficial mini-showcase — but really, however you phrase it, it was a killer night. The Brought Low went on at 9:30, and if you looked back from there, you wasted your time.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it at this point, but every time I see them affirms my opinion that The Brought Low are the best rock band in New York. They played a set that felt short, but pulled probably the night’s biggest crowd. The two faster cuts from their recent Coextinction Recordings EP, “Army of Soldiers” and “Black River” — on which bassist Bob Russell took lead vocals from guitarist Ben Smith — sounded great, and the material from last year’s Third Record was no less thrilling than when I heard it the last time I saw them in December. Nick Heller‘s drumming behind Smith‘s come-a-creepin’ guitar line on “My Favorite Waste of Time” gave me a newly-revitalized appreciation for that song.
That was about as subdued as they got. The rest of their time was devoted to energetic, upbeat songs like “Blues for Cubby” off of 2006’s Right on Time, which was another highlight. They were probably the perfect way to kick off the show, and set a high bar for Lo-Pan, who I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen this year at this point (another to come Friday in Philly). Union Pool‘s sound suited them well as they ran through tracks from the instantly classic Salvador, released earlier this year.
Guitarist Brian Fristoe played probably the best and most engaged set I’ve seen from him — Lo-Pan‘s stage configuration puts the instruments out front and the aforementioned Jeff Martin in the rear, and Fristoe is usually pretty subdued compared to drummer Jesse Bartz and bassist Skot Thompson, seemingly preferring to let the fuzz and the riffs do the talking — but it didn’t wind up doing him any favors. Late in the set, he broke a string and the considerable momentum Lo-Pan had built coming off “Bird of Prey” took a substantial hit.
It didn’t stop them. Jokes were tossed back and forth in the break while Fristoe changed out the string, and Lo-Pan was tight enough that when they picked back up and closed out with “Generations,” I didn’t hear another word about the string. In talking to the band before and after they played, they said they were well rested, and they played like it. Comparing it to a few weeks back at Stoner Hands of Doom XI, they were pretty great then, but better last night. Clearly just a band at the top of their game making the most of their time on the road. It’s exciting to watch them.
And what to say about Suplecs? The New Orleans trio’s bassist Danny Nick mentioned from the stage that it was the band’s first time in Brooklyn since opening for Clutch and The Hidden Hand at L’Amour in 2004. Last time I saw them was right around then as well, at South by Southwest that year. So seven years and two albums later, they loaded onto the Union Pool stage and let loose with songs from across their discography. I missed the start, but came back in shortly thereafter in time for the anthemic punk chorus of “Stand Alone” from 2011’s Mad Oak Redux, which carried even more heft live, Nick and guitarist Durel Yates sharing vocal duties and driving the rhythms nailed down by the stellar drumming of Andrew Preen.
“White Devil” from 2001’s Sad Songs… Better Days made my night, plain and simple. And that Suplecs followed it up with their take on The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which was included on the same album tacked to the more shuffling “Unstable” was even more righteous, but what was most striking about their performance wasn’t even how tight the band was — 15 years of a solid lineup will do that — but just how much diversity there is in their material.
Maybe it’s harder to hear on their records (though I would and have argued that their studio stuff has much to offer in terms of personality), but throughout the course of their time, it occurred to me just how many different roads Suplecs was taking the audience, from the hardcore punk of “Stand Alone” to the ultra-stonerly riffing of “White Devil” and “Dope Fu,” to the extended jams and solos they fused into the latter half of their set, to the off-the-cuff take on early Metallica — I think it was “Four Horsemen” — they threw into their finale. Yates, Nick and Preen made all these changes and shifts work, so that if you weren’t paying attention, you hardly even noticed the movement from one to the next.
On a night of impressive feats, that of Suplecs was as appropriate a finish as The Brought Low‘s was a start, and for that, and for the utterly transcendent fuzz of Lo-Pan in between (yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a nerd for Lo-Pan), the show was perfect. The crowd was filled with good people, Union Pool‘s sound is killer, and I even managed to make it back to my foggy river valley in New Jersey without running out of gas. I couldn’t possibly have asked more from the show than I got.
And for that, I owe Fred from BrooklynVegan thanks. I’m no promoter, and I don’t know squat about putting on shows, but Fred was cool enough to ask me if I wanted to be involved and it was hugely appreciated. Thanks too to everyone who came out and made it as special as it was. If I needed another reason to be stoked for Philly this weekend (I didn’t), this was it.
Posted in Features on April 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was a long road that finally brought New Orleans trio Suplecs to Small Stone Records and the 2011 release of their fourth album, Mad Oak Redoux. After putting out their debut, 2000’s Wrestlin’ with My Lady Friend, and second album, 2002’s Sad Songs… Better Days, Man’s Ruin Records collapsed. A negative experience that apparently continues to this day with This Dark Reign Recordings soured Suplecs‘ reissue of the latter, and although tours alongside Clutch helped get their name out to the stoner rock underground, they never were quite able to capitalize on it the way some other acts were.
All this, of course, pales in comparison to the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought on their hometown in August 2005. After retreating to Austin, Texas, for a time and still living out of a FEMA trailer upon his return, bassist/vocalist Danny Nick oversaw the release of the third Suplecs album, the PepperKeenan-produced Powtin’ on the Outside, Pawty on the Inside through local Nola imprint Nocturnal Records that same year. This too would prove a less than satisfactory situation for the band, although obviously they had much bigger things on their mind at the time.
Following more personal trials, in 2008, they recorded their fourth album again through Nocturnal, but work, real life and other such considerations got in the way, and when Suplecs finally approached Small Stone about a deal the next year, label honcho Scott Hamilton sent them northward to Mad Oak Studios to re-record their latest batch of material with engineer Benny Grotto. The resulting and appropriately-titled Mad Oak Redoux (review here), is a crowning achievement for the simple fact that it finally got released. For a while there, it was looking kind of grim.
The songs on Mad Oak Redoux contain the sort of cathartic release one would have to expect. Tracks like “FEMA Man” deal with the aftermath of Katrina, while “Tried to Build an Engine” tackles some of the more human elements that can bring a person down. If nothing else, Mad Oak Redoux is a triumph for Suplecs on the level of the persistence it took to realize it. More importantly, though, it rocks.
Danny Nick — joined in Suplecs by guitarist/vocalist Durel Yates and drummer Andy Preen — took time out for a phoner before the band’s trip to this year’s South by Southwest in Austin. We discussed what they and what he personally had been through in the six years since the release of the third album, everything it took to get the new one out, the band’s Mardi Gras rock and roll drive-bys, signing to Small Stone, and much more.
Complete 4,800-word Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy. Special thanks to Larry Stern for the photos from SXSW.