Clutch to Release Record Store Day 7″, Earth Rocker & Robot Hive/Exodus Reissues

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last I heard, Maryland groove forerunners Clutch had started pre-production on a new album, but apparently that’s not all they’ve had in the works. In addition to headlining at Desertfest Berlin, the four-piece have slated a deluxe reissue for 2013′s album of the year, Earth Rocker (review here), as well as one for Robot Hive/Exodus. They’ve also got a split 7″ with Lionize in time for Record Store Day, a new claymation video for “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” which closed out Earth Rocker, and as ever, they’re going to be hitting the road pretty hard the next few months. Just when you thought it had been a while since you heard anything from the Clutch camp, here they come with a roundhouse to the face of news.

A considerable undertaking for the PR wire:





CLUTCH, the acclaimed Maryland-based rock group, have teamed with producer J. Robbins (The Sword, Coliseum) to record the new song “Run, John Barleycorn, Run.” The track will be released on Tuesday, April 19 via Weathermaker Music as a special split 7” single with labelmates Lionize as part of Record Store Day.

On June 10, 2014, CLUTCH will release a triple deluxe version of their acclaimed EARTH ROCKER album via Weathermaker Music. Released in 2013, EARTH ROCKER was tagged by Rolling Stone on the “Top 20 Metal Albums” list and hailed by the magazine for its fusion of “seething admixtures of jam-band chops, careening blues-punk riffs” (December 2013). The EARTH ROCKER triple deluxe album package will include: 1) the full record and brand new songs “Night Hag” and “Scavengers,” 2) “Earth Rocker Live,” a CD audio version of the album performed live; and 3) on DVD “Live In Denver” recorded with seven cameras in 1080i on Nov. 14 at the sold-out Ogden Theatre show in Denver, two videos shot, directed and edited by actress Aisha Tyler: “Gone Cold” (unreleased) and “Crucial Velocity.” To pre-order EARTH ROCKER, visit:

Produced, engineered and mixed by Machine (King Crimson, Lamb Of God), EARTH ROCKER’s triple deluxe cover artwork was created by long time CLUTCH art director Nick Lakiotis (see below). EARTH ROCKER continues to garner the group some of the best reviews of their career.

The group have announced their classic 2005 album Robot Hive/Exodus will receive a collector’s edition double vinyl release on Tuesday, June 10. The beautiful double LP is re-mastered and comes in a re-designed gatefold package boasting some of CLUTCH’s best tracks.

CLUTCH–NEIL FALLON (vocals, rhythm guitar), TIM SULT (lead guitar), DAN MAINES (bass,), JEAN-PAUL GASTER (drums and percussion)—will launch an overseas tour starting Tuesday, April 22 in Newcastle, UK at the O2 Academy taking them through the European festival circuit through June 29. In July, they’ll return to the U.S. for a handful of shows before joining Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello and Halestorm at the Shindig Festival in Baltimore, MD on Saturday, September 27. Expect the group to announce additional U.S. festival dates and headlining shows in the coming months.

Tue 4/22 Newcastle O2 Academy
Wed 4/23 Leeds Metropolitan
Thu 4/24 Manchester Academy
Sat 4/26 Berlin, Germany Desertfest at Astra
Sun 4/27 Antwerpen, Belgium Trix Muziekcentrum
Tue 4/29 Birmingham O2 Academy
Wed 4/30 Brighton Concorde 2
Thu 5/1 London Forum
Fri 5/2 Norwich The Waterfront
Sat 5/3 Nottingham Rock City
Sun 5/4 Bristol Temples Festival at Motion
Tue 5/6 Edinburgh Liquid Room
Wed 5/7 Glasgow O2 ABC
Thu 5/8 Belfast Limelight 2
Fri 5/9 Dublin Dublin Academy

Fri 6/8 Vienna, Austria Arena
Sat 6/9 Munich, Germany Backstage Werk
Weds 6/11 Hamburg, Germany Gruenspan
Thu 6/12 Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhell Festival
Fri 6/13 Cologne, Germany Essigfabrik
Sat 6/14 Switzerland Greenfield Festival
Sun 6/15 Stuttgart, Germany LKA Longhorn
Tue 6/17 Haarlem, Netherlands Patronaat
Wed 6/18 Nijmegen, Netherlands Doornroosje
Thu 6/19 Frankfurt, Germany Batschkapp
Fri 6/20 Paris, France Nouveau Casino
Sat 6/21 Clisson, France Hellfest
Sun 6/22 Switzerland Fete de la Musique
Tue 6/24 Thessaloniki, Greece Fuzz Club
Wed 6/25 Athens, Greece Fix Factory of Sound
Fri 6/27 Norrkoping, Sweden Bravalla Festival
Sat 6/28 Finowfurt, Germany Roadrunner’s Paradise Race 61 Festival
Sun 6/29 Roeser, Luxembourg Rock A Field Festival

Thu 7/24 Syracuse, NY Westcott Theater
Fri 7/25 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Sun 7/27 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s
The Shindig Music Festival with Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, and Halestorm
Sat 9/27 Baltimore, MD The Shindig Music Festival

Clutch, “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” official video

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Rukut Rattle Brains with “White Squirrel White Fox” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Aside from considering myself fortunate enough to call them personal friends, Baltimore-by-way-of-New-Jersey-by-way-of-Seattle-by-way-of-New-Jersey-etc. two-piece Rukut are also the band who, probably over a decade ago now, blindsided me with a lesson in the dynamic that a duo can offer at their best, distinct from solo artists, trios, and so on. Their passage between minimalist garage thrash, brutal punk, grind and sludge has played out DIY for years in small bars, clubs and just about anywhere else they’re asked to show up that they can park their van, but I’ve never heard it sound quite as full and devastating as it does on the new cut “White Squirrel White Fox,” taken from a brand new self-released EP, The Headless.

It’s been a while since Rukut – the duo of guitarist/vocalist Lew Hambley and drummer/graphic artist Chris Jones – released their last full-length, 2008′s Life’s Pain, but their years don’t seem to have been misspent. Hambley‘s vocals, turning vicious at switch-flick speed, touch on the guttural with “White Squirrel White Fox,” and the instrumental accompaniment they receive makes for due chaos, Jones switching between D-beat crust drive and all-out blasts after his stick-click count-in serves as the subtle announcement of the fury about to be unleashed after a grueling minute of stomping introduction. In short order, Rukut tear ass through a build that is brought to a raging, violent head precise enough to give Nasum a nod without losing Napalm Death‘s crucial soul.

By way of a spoiler, it starts with a white squirrel and ends with a white fox, but it’s really what’s between the two in the Jones-directed video that proves most essential. Rukut’s The Headless EP, can be heard at their Bandcamp page. “White Squirrel White Fox” doesn’t carry a warning for epileptics who might check it out, but it probably should: The aurally brutal comes with strobe to match.


Rukut, “White Squirrel White Fox” official video

Rukut on Thee Facebooks

Rukut on Bandcamp

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Iron Man Get Grainy in “South of the Earth” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Watching Iron Man‘s new video for the title-track to last year’s South of the Earth (review here), I can almost hear the nasally strain and SoCal-goofball chuckle of Ricky Rachtman introducing the clip on Headbanger’s Ball circa 1990. The Maryland doom four-piece are no strangers to a classic aesthetic, and the visuals of “South of the Earth” tap directly into one, whether it’s the slow-walking cemetery visitor shot in negative or the appearance and disappearance of the band’s members as the song plays out. In the case of frontman Dee Calhoun, who also directed, we get to see him multiple times over.

“South of the Earth” is pretty representative of what metal videos were in a time before cinematic budgeting or band-in-a-warehouse performance clips. You get a feel for what the song is about and the mood is certainly on display as Iron Man rocks through, guitarist Al Morris III locking his own grooving in with that of the camera ever so slightly while drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann copes with one cymbal that seems to be disappearing and bassist Louis Strachan, as ever, holds the whole thing together. For a record that was thoroughly metallized, the “South of the Earth” video most definitely follows suit.

And if you haven’t yet had the chance to savor Morris’ tone as captured by the skillful production of Frank Marchand or roll along with Strachan and Waldmann in the groove they harness, “South of the Earth” should make for a fittingly representative introduction. They named the record after it, if that tells you anything. South of the Earth is available now on Rise Above in Europe and Metal Blade in North America, and the video features camera work by Kelly Croston in addition to Strachan and Calhoun.


Iron Man, “South of the Earth” official video

Iron Man on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Metal Blade Records

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Sixty Watt Shaman Interview with Rev. Jim Forrester: Recalibration of an Ultra Electric

Posted in Features on March 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Tomorrow night, March 22, Baltimore heavyweights Sixty Watt Shaman will take the stage at the Windup Space as headliners for the Moving the Earth 2 festival. It’s a bill they share with a host of others loyal to the Doom Capitol in geography or spirit including Iron Man, Black Lung, Kingsnake and Wasted Theory, among others, and the beginning of a reunion some years in the making. Sixty Watt Shaman called it quits after the release of 2002′s Reason to Live on Spitfire Records, arguably as they hit their peak of notoriety. As bassist Rev. Jim Forrester elucidates, however, it wasn’t so simple as that. To be fair, it rarely is.

Moving the Earth 2 is the first of several fests at which Sixty Watt will appear in the coming months. They’ve been confirmed for Desertfest in both London and Berlin at the end of April, and May 3 will find them at the top of the bill at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Granted, they’ve played intermittently over the last decade, but it speaks to the continued relevance of Sixty Watt Shaman‘s studio albums that their work precedes them after all this time. Before Reason to Live served as their swansong, 2000′s Seed of Decades and 1998′s Ultra Electric positioned the Marylanders among the forerunners of what was then still a pretty deep underground. They’re a band whose influence has seeped into a lot of East Coast heavy rock, and the response to their return has been appropriately loud.

Comprised of Forrester, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Ingram (who replaced Joe Selby), returned drummer Chuck Dukeheart III (also of Foghound), who left in 2000, and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Soren, the reinvigorated Sixty Watt Shaman has hinted at new material of one form or another to come this year, and reissues of their past albums are in the works, though details remain to be solidified. Wherever they head after these fests, as Forrester describes in the interview that follows, the four-piece are taking a more mature, “grown-up” approach. So no, it seems they won’t be crashing on your couch this time around.

This interview was conducted a little while back, but Rev. Jim – whose involvement in post-Sixty Watt projects like Angels of Meth, Soaphammer, The Devil You Know and Serpents of Secrecy as well as his reputation as an all-around good guy precedes him — was kind enough to shed some light on how the Sixty Watt Shaman reunion came about, how it’s been getting back to work with the band, and where he thinks it might all be heading.

Please find the Q&A after the jump, and enjoy:

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live in Baltimore, March 7, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. The Spirit Caravan reunion tour is almost two weeks deep into its month-plus run and video has started to surface of the trio of bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer Henry Vasquez – who came into the lineup late as a replacement for original member Gary Isom. I expect this won’t be the last time new Spirit Caravan footage is featured on Wino Wednesday, but if you have to start somewhere, the beginning seems like as good a place as any, and that takes us to the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on March 7.

Excitement is high at the start of “Dreamwheel” as Wino introduces the three-piece and succinctly puts it, “The past is the past. Right now. Right here. Spirit Caravan.” And while it’s also true that those who saw the band during their original tenure and with their founding lineup will continue to have something over those who didn’t, it’s a fair enough perspective for Spirit Caravan to project, since much of their vibe has always been rooted in at least an outward positivity. It’s also factually accurate. This is what Spirit Caravan are now. To his credit, Vasquez adapts as fluidly to Isom‘s parts as he did to those of Armando Acosta when he replaced him in Saint Vitus back in 2009. Word has been dropped of a new Spirit Caravan full-length, and presumably that would include Vasquez as well.

This clip of “Dreamwheel” — taken from the 1999 EP of the same name — is the first I’ve seen from the tour, but like I said, I imagine there’s plenty more to come as the next several weeks of shows play out. I’ll keep my eye out as ever, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy “Dreamwheel” from the Metro Gallery and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Dreamwheel” Live at Metro Gallery, Baltimore, March 7, 2014

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Black Lung to Release Self-Titled Debut this June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I had hoped to head to Baltimore this coming weekend to cover the Moving the Earth festival down that way, with Sixty Watt Shaman, Supervoid, Wasted Theory, Foghound and others on the bill (details here), but it doesn’t look like I’m going to be so fortunate as to get there. Among my reasons for wanting to, however, is/was Black Lung — whose drummer, Elias Schutzman, and guitarist, Adam Bufano, can also be found in psych rockers The Flying Eyes — and a live video for the song “The Ghost,” which comes off their impending self-titled debut full-length, isn’t making me feel any better about missing their set. Such are the rigors of (low) finance.

Black Lung‘s Black Lung is set for release in June, as the announcement below informs. Stay tuned for more on these cats. I’m digging the vibe:

Conquering the long, bitter winter of 2014, a new player emerges from Baltimore’s underground music scene. Dueling guitars and heavy-hitting drums form the backbone of Black Lung, a 3-piece coalition of local forces.

In the spring of 2013, multi-instrumentalist Dave Cavalier jumped at the chance to collaborate on a stripped-down rock n’roll project with Adam Bufano and Elias Schutzman from psychedelic rock group “The Flying Eyes.” Once peers in their local music scenes, these three friends now toe the line between sonic pain and psychedelic bliss.

With influences ranging from the raw blues-rock of early Black Keys to the stoned out riffage of Sleep, Black Lung skillfully forges a sound that is as heavy as it is soulful. Their self-titled EP is to be released via CD and Cassette June 3rd on Grimoire Records (US), with CD and Vinyl coming June 6th on Noisolution (EU).

Black Lung, “The Ghost” live video

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor”; North American Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Call it serendipity that Spirit Caravan decided to announce what’s hopefully just their first round of US tour dates on a Wednesday morning, and here we are, wrapping up this three-week Wino Wednesday series celebrating their reunion with the three studio tracks they recorded for the 2003 MeteorCity compilation, The Last Embrace — essentially their final recorded tracks. The trio of Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Dave Sherman and Gary Isom will begin their tour in Baltimore on March 7 at the Metro Galley – in addition to tour-support from Pilgrim, my understanding is Iron Man and Foghound are also on that bill — and wrapping up at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn on April 15. Between, they’ll cover coast-to-coast territory, presumably leaving Boston and L.A. for next time, before flying out to play at Desertfest in Berlin and London. It’s a hell of a run. If they’re not reunited yet, they certainly will be by the time this tour is over.

Check the poster for the dates:

Now then, we wrap up what became a three-week Wino Wednesday special with “Dove-Tongued Aggressor,” the last of the three then-new cuts included on The Last Embrace. Like “Brainwashed,” which was featured last week, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” pairs a social commentary with a stomping riff, but the song’s twists are different both lyrically and musically, moving into its bridge with quirky starts and stops before getting back to the chugging verse and more open-strummed chorus. Like “Brainwashed” and even the more subdued “The Last Embrace,” which was the leadoff on the comp, it’s unmistakably Spirit Caravan, and as we stand on the precipice of their reunion getting underway, perhaps most of all, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” shows just how much the band still had to offer when they called it quits.

I’m awfully glad they decided to tour. More to come. Have a great Wino Wednesday.

Spirit Caravan, “Dove-Tongued Aggressor”

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “The Last Embrace”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

With reunion slots booked at Desertfest in London and Berlin this April as well as Hellfest in France this June — nothing Stateside yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed — it seemed fitting to take a look at some of the very last Spirit Caravan recordings. The tracks “The Last Embrace” and “Brainwashed” were included as the first and second cuts on disc one and “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” track one of disc two of the 2003 MeteorCity compilation, The Last Embrace, which as the band’s to-date swansong culled to one place the bulk of their studio output. With material from everything the trio put out during what’s now become their initial run save for 1999′s Dreamwheel EP — their two full-lengths, 1999′s Jug Fulla Sun and 2001′s Elusive Truth, with some alternate versions, and songs from their early demos and split 7″ with Sixty Watt Shaman and the 2002 So Mortal Be single — it’s about as complete as one could ask of a 2CD release. As to why Dreamwheel was left out, I guess between runtime considerations and the fact that it was still in print on MeteorCity, they figured there was no need. Fair enough.

For the leadoff, “The Last Embrace” hardly hints at the tonal warmth and groovy vibes to come throughout. Spirit Caravan were always plenty heavy, but “The Last Embrace” centers more around an emotional resonance than a fuzzy one. Over acoustic guitar and a straightforward rhythm from bassist Dave Sherman and drummer Gary Isom, Wino delivers a subdued, melancholy vocal with image-based, almost impressionist lyrics contemplating time and mortality, maybe the end of the band. It’s a dark mood to start with, if a great song, but as Spirit Caravan were done by that time — Sherman had released Earthride‘s self-titled EP in 2000 and followed in 2002 with the Taming of the Demons full-length, and The Hidden Hand‘s Divine Propaganda surfaced the same year as The Last Embrace – there wasn’t going to be a more fitting title for their final release.

Whether or not The Last Embrace will remain that, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Enjoy “The Last Embrace” and have a fantastic Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “The Last Embrace”

Spirit Caravan on Thee Facebooks

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Sixty Watt Shaman, Iron Man, Kingsnake and More to Play Moving the Earth Fest 2 on March 22-23 in Baltimore

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

A couple years back, I don’t think there’s any way a fest like Moving the Earth 2 wouldn’t happen at Krug’s Place in Frederick, Maryland, but that formidable Mid-Atlantic scene seems to have pushed into various other places in the wake of that venue apparently giving doom the boot. I’ve never been to The Windup Space in Baltimore, but the bill for Moving the Earth 2 kind of makes me want to check it out, with two solid days of heavy delivered by respectable purveyors Sixty Watt Shaman and Iron Man. This will actually mark the first appearance back for Sixty Watt Shaman‘s reunion, so they’re right to bill it as “The Return Of…” and from Kingsnake and Foghound and Wasted Theory to Supervoid and Black Lung, there’s a lot to dig about the lineup.

If you’re the type to make travel arrangements, the fest is set for March 22 and 23 in Baltimore, and the roster of acts below seems to be pretty final, at least going by the revolutionary-themed poster below, contributed by Brendan Burns of Wasted Theory. With the deep reds, uniformed guards and raised fists of resistance, I can’t help but wonder what Moving the Earth‘s five-year plan might be. Dig:

We are super excited to announce the lineups for Moving The Earth Fest 2! Taking place again at the Windup Space here in Baltimore Maryland on Saturday and Sunday March 22nd and 23rd 2014.

The lineups are…

Saturday March 22nd 7pm
The Return of Sixty Watt Shaman
Wasted Theory
Passage Between

Sunday March 23rd 6pm
Iron Man
Asthma Castle
Bastards of Reality
Black Lung

Admission will be $10 per day, 21+. We look forward to bringing all these great bands together for what is sure to be an amazing 2 day celebration of Heavy, Stoner, Doom and Psych music!

Foghound, “Gotta Go” at Moving the Earth Festival, 2013

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Foghound Reveal “Resurrect the Throwaways” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Baltimore fuzz foursome Foghound have redone the garage and they hope you like it. Does the redecorating involve amps, an upside down American flag cross, Xmas lights and riffing? Well you know it does.The heavy rockers will celebrate the release of their debut album, Quick, Dirty and High (review here) on Jan. 24 at The Ottobar in Baltimore, and they’ve posted their first video from the record, for the song “Resurrect the Throwaways.”

Can’t argue with the choice. Among a slew of catchy, sharp-hooked tracks on Quick, Dirty and High — thinking of songs like “Long after I Die,” “Get in My Van” and “Gotta Go” — “Resurrect the Throwaways” is a standout, with a languid stonerly groove still beefy enough to have a USDA rating and a title that, whether it’s talking about tossed-off riffs or whatever it might be, is memorable and put-your-own-meaning-to-it vague in an evocative way. Appearing second on Quick, Dirty and High, it’s one of the album’s most resonant impressions.

The video was directed by Bob Mellor, and in addition to the release gig, Foghound – the lineup of guitarist Bob Sipes, guitarist Dee Settar, bassist Geoffrey Freeman IV and drummer Chuckrock Dukehart III, all of whom contribute vocals one way or another, mostly Sipes as the lead — will also take part in the upcoming Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 fest in Worcester, MA, this May. No doubt other appearances will emerge between the two as well.

In addition to the video, the apparently-final and much-less-’70s-nippley cover art for Quick, Dirty and High has been unveiled. Word on the street — and let’s just imagine you’re standing on one side of a corner and I’m around the other side and you just slipped me a $20 to make me tell you this — that Foghound will have copies on-hand at The Ottobar, so it’s good you know what you’re looking for.


Foghound, “Resurrect the Throwaways” official video

Foghound on Thee Facebooks

Foghound on Bandcamp

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Foghound, Quick, Dirty and High: Opening the Van Door

Posted in Reviews on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not entirely sure what Baltimore riff-rocking four-piece Foghound are referring to with the title Quick, Dirty and High for their late-2013 self-released debut. If it’s meant as a reference to the songs themselves, it’s not entirely accurate. They’re plenty dirty, and stoned enough to earn a Fu Manchu comparison in their fuzz, but the newcomer outfit don’t seem to be in any particular rush. “Get in My Van” builds to a fairly raucous conclusion with some double-time snare hits and there are other parts throughout that speed things up as well, but all told Quick, Dirty and High clocks in at nine tracks/46 minutes and most of it resides at a comfortable-seeming mid-paced roll, straightforward both in its intent and presentation, captured by producer Frank “The Punisher” Marchand. Variety comes into play throughout the grower hooks of “Resurrect the Throwaways,” “Long after I Die,” “Slip Away” and “Get in My Van” (which, one assumes, is a boogie van) through the vocal arrangements, which find guitarist Bob Sipes mostly in the lead role, but readily backed by fellow six-stringer Dee Settar, who also comes to the fore on “Dragon Tooth,” bassist Geoffrey Freeman IV and drummer Chuckrock Dukehart III, all four contributing throughout the songs at various points. The effect that has is to change things up, and though the underlying structures of some of the material might be similar, each cut manages to showcase a personality of its own, which is harder than it sounds and all the more so on what remains a mostly straightforward album.

Chalk that up to the strength of the songwriting, which is really what Foghound have most working in their favor. The riffs are choice across opener “Easy Come, Easy Go” — the ride cymbal start of which had me flashing immediately to Clutch‘s “Earth Rocker” — and down through moodier, doomier closer “Buried at Sea,” if familiar in their purpose, and what brings the best results on Quick, Dirty and High is when all four players are headed to the same place. “Easy Come, Easy Go” would seem to be of the Orange Goblin, “Some You Win, Some You Lose,” school of stoner rock fuck-it attitude, but the riff is pure late ’90s Fu Manchu. That comes up again on “Gotta Go” (not a Roadsaw cover), but “Resurrect the Throwaways” leaves a more individual impression, if somewhat vaguer in its lyric. There’s a swaggering sensibility in the riffing of Sipes and Settar, and both Freeman and Dukehart prove essential to carrying the groove beneath the wah leads that bridge the verse hook, percussion and backing vocals resting low in the mix but present enough to be felt. Somewhat morbid in its immediate, “Long after I Die” follows “Resurrect the Throwaways” with likewise infectiousness and guest vocals from Dan Soren of Sixty Watt Shaman fame that veer into rougher, almost growling territory. It’s unexpected, but it works in the song, which is the longest on the Quick, Dirty and High at 7:42 and further distinguished by a mostly-instrumental jam that fluidly executes loud/quiet changes and hits its stride around the 5:30 mark with a sense of unhinged Sabbath-ness that does quick justice to Church of Misery. Yes, that’s a compliment.

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, Live at the 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure when exactly this Spirit Caravan show was. Right before they play “Elusive Truth,” Wino announces it as the title-track of their new record, which will be out this fall. Elusive Truth was released in May 2001, which makes me think maybe this was earlier in 2000 and then the album was pushed back, but I don’t actually know that. The show took place at the 8×10 Club in Baltimore, and having just made my way through the whole thing, it’s a balcony-shot scorcher of a gig. The video loses its sync after about 35 minutes, but even then it makes a killer listen, and anyway it’s not that bad when it’s off.

Here’s the setlist:

Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD
Spirit Caravan
Black Flower
Healing Tongue
Darkness and Longing
Elusive Truth
Futility’s Reasons
Lost Sun Dance

Good show. You get to see Sherm step up for lead vocals on “Retroman” and though Spirit Caravan‘s persona was usually brighter, less bleak than, say, The Obsessed, a few cuts here sort of skirt that line. Still though, with Wino, Sherman and Gary Isom, you can’t go wrong. It’s worth noting that I am in no way over my excitement at the prospect of getting to see these guys play a show with their impending 2014 reunion.  Rumor has it some US dates are impending in addition to their previously-announced Desertfest appearances, but nothing’s official yet. Wherever they wind up playing on the East Coast and whenever it is, I can’t imagine I won’t make the drive. Hell, I’ve already got the car packed.

While I wait for that and the invariable new live videos to this series it will bring, there’s plenty to post in the meantime. Today is Xmas, so in addition to a great Wino Wednesday, I hope you have a spectacular holiday. Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Live at 8×10 Club, Baltimore, MD

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Sixty Watt Shaman to Play London Desertfest 2014

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

News continues to surface about 2014′s Sixty Watt Shaman reunion, in that in addition to putting out new music and performing at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 next May in Worcester, MA, the reinvigorated Maryland rockers will be joining Spirit Caravan in representing the Free State at Desertfest in London. There’s a fun bit of symmetry there, with both bands reuniting. They put out a split together in 1999, so here they are a decade and a half later. The more things change.

Riffs will be had! Find the announcement below, courtesy of the Desertfest website, with words by Rich from The Day After the Sabbath:


Sixty Watt Shaman are back! Back, that is, from an important time in stoner rock history when the southern rock infusions of bands like The Mighty Nimbus and Alabama Thunderpussy were ruling.

SWS started in 1996 in Maryland, quickly becoming an established name in underground rock but live have remained a growing concern since their third and final 2002 album with only very occasional live appearances.

The Shaman’s sound is characterised by soulful grooves, husky vocals and whiskey-drenched attitude, born from the collective experience of guys who know a thing or two about life and have put that wisdom into the form of swaggering riffs and swinging rhythm. Over the years they’ve toured the US with Nebula, Spirit Caravan, Black Label Society, Crowbar, Clutch, Corrosion Of Conformity, Alabama Thunderpussy and toured Europe with Karma To Burn.

Joining the original Sixty Watt Shaman line-up of vocalist/guitarist Dan Soren, bassist Rev Jim Forrester and drummer Chuck Dukehart III, Todd Ingram from King Giant is initiated into the gang as their new lead guitarist to help hone their sound to even higher levels and take them back into the studio. At DesertFest 2014 they will be delivering the goods with a set of well-proven classics, along with some new surprises to celebrate this seasoned outfit’s new burst of life.

Sixty Watt Shaman, “My Ruin” from Reason to Live (2002)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Neil Fallon of Clutch

Posted in Questionnaire on December 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

For over two decades, Maryland four-piece Clutch have served as one of heavy rock and roll’s most reliable stalwarts, with constant touring, inimitable groove and unmatched stage presence. In March 2013, they issued their 10th LP, Earth Rocker (review here), through their own Weathermaker Music imprint and began yet another tour cycle that’s ongoing now with their annual holiday run impending and more winter dates in the US before they head to Soundwave in Australia in February 2014 and headline Desertfest Berlin in April. This summer, frontman Neil Fallon came off the road to have spinal surgery, and it was the first time in memory that Clutch canceled shows. By September, he was back out for makeup dates, supporting Earth Rocker to Clutch‘s expanding and loyal fanbase.

They’re among the most consistently-covered bands around these parts (check out another interview with Fallon here, and that’s not the first), but that’s for good reason. Enjoy:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Neil Fallon

How did you come to do what you do?

JP, Dan, and I had a band in high school. We parted ways after graduation, but JP and Dan met up with Tim and started another band. After having booked a show, the singer they were working with had a scheduling conflict. The guys gave me a call and asked me to fill in. I’ve been filling in ever since. A scab for 22 years.

Describe your first musical memory.

I remember playing my dad’s 45s at a very young age. My dad was mostly into new folk music like Bob Dylan, Emmy Lou Harris and Joan Baez. He did, however, have one bit of psychedelia that made quite an impression on me. The name of the band was The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. They did a cover of Zappa’s “Help I’m a Rock.” I recall listening to that song on headphones and getting thoroughly freaked out at a very tender age. I listened to it over and over again until that track went white from replay.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

It really is a toss up between the Bad Brains in ’88 and Fugazi in ’90 (if memory serves). I’ve been lucky enough to see countless concerts of all types, but those two bands made their marks when I was just cutting my teeth on live music. I think those instances were revelations in that I realized a live performance could elevate the crowd into a religious experience.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

A few months back I had some surgery done on my spine. Since it requires general anesthesia the nurse is required to ask about living wills and religious beliefs. Being asked to describe one’s belief system in just a few words while high on morphine is certainly a test. I’m pretty sure I failed miserably.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think most artists, regardless of their medium, are trying to discover the unknown. Artistic redundancy is a bit like a chasing your own tail. And the creative process can be very frustrating at times. But the frustration is part of the journey. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Speaking for myself I think artistic progression is always an education. Any artist who feels they have mastered their craft is no longer an artist. Much more can be learned from a failed attempt than repeating a familiar success.

How do you define success?

I get to do what I love for a living. Other than all the mundane things that a day might require, I am only obligated to do two things: perform music or write music. I can’t think of a more fortunate position to be in.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I’ve seen quite a number of fatal car wrecks that I wish I had not seen.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A novel.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

My wife is making posole for dinner. I am looking forward to that!

Clutch, “Earth Rocker” Live in NJ, Oct. 17, 2012

Clutch on Thee Facebooks

Clutch’s website

Weathermaker Music

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Clutch Release Earth Rocker Live Double Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a somewhat rare between-tour moment for Clutch. They just wrapped up a Fall tour that was their return to the road after frontman Neil Fallon‘s back surgery — they were great as usual in New Hampshire — and it’ll be another month before they’re back out again for the annual holiday tour. The Maryland masters of groove are never really at rest, however, and today they’ve released the Earth Rocker Live double-vinyl, which couples the studio version of their 2013 full-length, Earth Rocker (review here), with live renditions of the same songs, presented in the same order as on the album, recorded earlier this year in the Midwest.

The vinyl’s a limited edition and when Clutch do releases like this, they always go quick, so if you’ve got an order to place, my suggestion is to place it. Here’s the latest from the PR wire:

CLUTCH Earth Rocker Live Double Vinyl Picture Disc – In Stores Now!

CLUTCH’s Earth Rocker Live is now available in stores and online at the CLUTCH Merch Store. This special and limited collectors’ item is a double vinyl picture disc set. The first LP is the studio version of Earth Rocker. The second LP consists of live versions of the same tracks in the same sequence as the original. This is not a live recording of one show. The individual tracks of the live version were recorded at different shows throughout the band’s May 2013 US tour: Houston and San Antonio (TX), Lincoln (NE), Indianapolis (IN) and Fargo (ND). The stunning artwork displays the four Indian heads from the original package in all their colorful beauty: one for each side.

In December, between Christmas and New Years, CLUTCH will be back on the road for their traditional holiday shows. Support on the holiday shows will come from Into Another, The Mike Dillon Band and Lionize. Touring will continue in January with dates set from the 2nd in Asheville, NC to the 19th in Flint, MI. All dates and links to purchase tickets can be found below. The Sword and Crobot will provide support on these dates.

February 2014 will see CLUTCH will head down under to Australia as they take part in the 2014 Soundwave Festival. In addition the Soundwave dates, CLUTCH has confirmed a handful of headlining Australian shows. These shows are set for February 20th in Sydney at The Metro, February 21st in Brisbane at The Zoo and February 27th in Melbourne at Prince Bandroom.

Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is looking forward to the band’s return to Australia:

“Can’t wait to get back to Australia. It’s been a while… The band is looking forward to the Soundwave Festival as well as the headline dates. We ready to rock any stage Down Under: big or small.”

CLUTCH has confirmed one final date for their January tour. The show will be in Flint, MI at The Machine Shop on January 19th. Tickets for fan club members go on sale tomorrow and to the general public this weekend.

Check the link HERE for your chance to purchase a very limited Earth Rocker Charity Snare Drum signed by the band. Only five of these were produced and 100 % of all the proceeds will go to charity.

Holiday Tour Dates:
With Into Another and The Mike Dillon Band
12/26: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
12/27: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
12/28: Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater

With Into Another and Lionize
12/29: Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall
12/30: Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
12/31: Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

2014 Dates:
With The Sword and Crobot
1/2/14: Ashville, NC @ The Orange Peel
1/3/14: Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theater
1/4/14: Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theater
1/5/14: Jacksonville, FL @ Freebird Live
1/7/14: Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
1/9/14: South Bend, IN @ Club Fever
1/10/14: Buffalo. NY @ Town Ballroom
1/11/14: Port Chester, NY @ Capital Theater
1/12/14: So. Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
1/13/14: Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
1/15/14: Stage College, PA @ Levels
1/16/14: Charlottesville, VA @ The Jefferson Theater
1/17/14: Wilmington, DE @ World Café Live**
1/18/14: Huntington, WV @ V Club
** The Sword not on this date **

2/22/14: Soundwave Festival Brisbane
2/23/14: Soundwave Festival Sydney
2/28/14: Soundwave Festival Melbourne
3/1/14: Soundwave Festival Adelaide
3/3/14: Soundwave Festival Perth

Clutch, “Cyborg Bette” Live in Vancouver, 2013

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