Spirit Caravan‘s reunion last year earned them no shortage of love on both their US and European tours, and while that will no doubt continue in 2015 as the band comes together to headline gigs like the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest this June (info here) along with The Skull. The prospect of new material looms pretty large when it comes to Spirit Caravan. Their most recent outing, such as it is, is the 2003 MeteorCity compilation The Last Embrace, which culled together the bulk of their discography from their early singles as Shine on through to their final recorded tracks. That was, however, 12 years ago, and we’re even further removed from Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. What would become a landmark in Maryland-style heavy will be 16 this year — old enough to drive in some states — and while Wino certainly showed with Saint Vitus‘ 2012 reunion album, Lillie: F-65, that such outings can produce righteous results, particularly with Vitus/Spirit Caravan drummer Henry Vasquez propelling them, it remains to be seen whether Spirit Caravan will even get to the point of writing new material.
And it was three years before Vitus got to that point as well, so even if they do, there’s no guarantee such a thing would happen in 2015 or even 2016. That’s not to say it can’t — Wino‘s certainly a prolific enough cat, and one imagines bassist Dave Sherman would be on board despite his commitments with Weed is Weed and Earthride – but I’d rather err on the side of caution and call it unlikely than expect it and not have it show up. Fortunately, there’s enough documentation of both Spirit Caravan‘s reunion tours and their original run to get by in the meantime. We turn to the latter for this week’s Wino Wednesday, and find the original Spirit Caravan trio — Wino on guitar/vocals, Sherman on bass and Gary Isom on drums — live on stage at The 8×10 in Baltimore, Maryland. We don’t get the full set, or at least it looks that way since they’re tuning at the end of the video as opposed to breaking down the backline, but it’s certainly enough time for them to get their point across in cuts like “Black Flower,” “Dreamwheel” and “Retroman.”
Spirit Caravan, Live at The 8×10, Baltimore, Maryland, July 22, 2000
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
You’ve probably already seen this news everywhere, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about the fact that Mastodon and Clutch are touring together and that Big Business and Graveyard will switch off in the support role. Some things are just too badass not to post, no matter how ubiquitous they might be.
The tour starts April 16 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and all that’s really left to wonder is if Clutch‘s new album — which is being recorded this month — will be released by the time the run ends on May 24. Either way, it’s pretty astounding that these two have come together, so I’ll get out of the way and defer to the PR wire, which has dates and details:
MASTODON & CLUTCH JOIN FORCES TO PUMMEL THROUGH THE MISSING LINK TOUR
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY JANUARY 23RD FOR SPRING CO-HEADLINE TOUR
GRAVEYARD WILL SUPPORT / BIG BUSINESS TO SUPPORT WHERE NOTED
Two of the world’s most respected and influential hard rock bands Mastodon and Clutch are proud to announce THE MISSING LINK TOUR, which brings together both bands as they join forces along with special guests Graveyard and Big Business – each taking part of the tour as support.Together, this night of heavy rock will be one of the heaviest and most exciting concert events of the year.
THE MISSING LINK TOUR kicks off on April 16th in St. Paul, MN. with support provided by Big Business, who recently supported Mastodon throughout a sold-out European tour. Sweden’s Graveyard will then take over the main support slot starting in Los Angeles on April 29th for the remaining dates, closing out the tour in Columbus, OH on May 24th. Tickets are on sale now.
Mastodon and Clutch share a longtime friendship as fans will recall Clutch front man Neil Fallon contributed vocals to “Blood And Thunder” (from Mastodon’s 2004’s Leviathan) so fans can expect surprises in store for fans throughout the tour rumbling across North America. THE MISSING LINK TOUR will feature full sets from both Mastodon and Clutch. Clutch will close the show on April 24th in Vancouver, May 10th in Pittsburgh, May 15th in Bethlehem, May 16th in Baltimore and also the final night of the tour, May 24th in Columbus. Mastodon will close all other shows.
Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster had this to say about the tour.”We are very much looking forward to our US tour with our friends in Mastodon. We always enjoy playing live but when we have the opportunity to share the stage with a band as inspiring as Mastodon we know each evening will be that much more special. See ya out there!”
Mark your calendars, as THE MISSING LINK TOUR will roll into Denver’s prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 3rd, and joins the stellar line up for Atlanta’s Shaky Knee’s Festival on May 8th. The New York City show will take over the celebrated Central Park Summer Stage annual concert series on May 19th. General tickets on-sale Friday, January 23rd.
As previously announced, Mastodon have been nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for “High Road,” from ONCE MORE ‘ROUND THE SUN. This is the band’s third Grammy nomination. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Feb 8th. Tune into CBS TV.
Revered Maryland rockers Clutch have been pushing the boundaries that define heavy rock music since the 4 original members got together in high school. Clutch is an unmatched musical force that has been best described as “the quintessential American Rock Band”. Clutch released their tenth and latest studio album Earth Rocker via their own label Weathermaker Music on March 16, 2013. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date.
Clutch is currently working on their follow up to Earth Rocker which will be released in 2015.
Do not miss THE MISSING LINK TOUR this spring. Confirmed dates are as follows:
*Mastodon Closes The Evening. **Clutch Closes The Evening
Apr 16 *St. Paul, MN Myth Apr 17 * Winnipeg, MB The Burton Cummings Theatre Apr 18 *Saskatoon, SK O’Brian’s Events Center Apr 19 * Edmonton, AB Expo Centre Apr 21 * Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall Apr 23 * Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom Apr 24 **Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom Apr 25 *Portland, OR Roseland Apr 26 *Seattle, WA Showbox SODO Apr 28 *Oakland, CA Fox Theater Apr 29 *Los Angeles, CA Palladium Apr 30 *Tempe, AZ Marquee Theater May 01 *Las Vegas, NV House of Blues May 02 *Salt Lake City, UT The Complex May 03 *Denver, CO Red Rock’s Amphitheatre May 05 *San Antonio, TX Kapone’s Ballroom May 06 *Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom May 08 Atlanta, GA Shaky Knees Festival May 09 *Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre Street Stage May 10 **Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE May 12 *Clive, IA (Des Moines) 7 Flags May 13 *Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom Club Stage May 15 **Bethlehem, PA Sands Event Center May 16 **Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion May 17 *Boston, MA House of Blues May 19 *New York, NY Central Park Summerstage May 20 *Niagara Falls, NY Rapids Theatre May 21 *London, ON London Music Hall May 24 **Columbus, OH LC Pavilion
If time has taught us anything at all about rock and roll, it’s never say never. Shrinebuilder put out its self-titled debut in 2009 on Neurot Recordings with the staggering lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover, played here and there, followed-up with a single and a live record, played some more shows, and then receded. It was never intended to be a full-time project, and when they were done, everyone went back to their own bands, whether it was Sleep and Om for Cisneros, Saint Vitus for Wino, Neurosis and solo work for Kelly or the Melvins for Crover. Rumors of a second album persisted for a while and then similarly receded.
We may never get another Shrinebuilder record. Hell, we might not even get another Shrinebuilder tour, or a single show, but it seems just as likely that at some point and in some form — whether with all four of the same players or not — they’ll get together again for some purpose or other. The full set snagged for this week’s Wino Wednesday revelry was filmed by TubeVision, a long-running East Coast taper, and captures Shrinebuilder on their inaugural run from Nov. 2009, not yet a month after the release of the self-titled, live in full force at the Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. I was fortunate enough two nights later to see Shrinebuilder take the stage in Manhattan with Rwake (review here), and while it was just over five years ago now, I can still readily recall the powerful presence they had as a band on stage and the weight the performance carried because of who it was standing up there.
They might or they might not ever do another album, but whatever winds up happening, we were lucky enough to get it once. Hope you enjoy the video:
Shrinebuilder, Live at The Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 11.13.09
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
For Darsombra‘s sake, I hope they have a really comfortable van. I thought it was pretty admirable when the Baltimore drone/video duo of Brian Daniloski and Ann Everton hit the road for 10 solid weeks earlier this year — they were awesome to watch when they opened for Floor in Allston — but the plan for 2015 goes even further. Three legs of touring, each of them more than most bands dare to take on for a year in itself, and it’s made up entirely of places the two-piece wanted to visit within the US. Fucking a.
Hard not to admire the work ethic. I guess Everton and Daniloski have just sort of figured out how to make being on the road a significant portion of their lives. They’re (rightly) calling it the “Three-Legged Monster” tour, and it starts off Feb. 12. They still have some work in putting it together and finding venues, so if you’ve got a place that needs some drones and cool visuals, hit them up. Unsurprisingly, they seem pretty flexible on the whole thing.
Jaw-dropping list of dates follows:
Darsombra’s Three-Legged Monster Tour 2015
Hi Everybody! Happy fall!
We had so much fun on our ten week tour of the United States this past spring, that we pulled out a map and counted all the cities in North America we wanted to try and visit next year. . . and it ended up being over 100 places! A little much for one fell swoop, so we’re splitting the tour up into what we have been affectionately calling the “Three-Legged Monster”.
Nothing like dreaming big! If you can help us with anything in your town, please be in touch. We’ll play in your music venue, house, gallery, bar, cave, head shop, museum, botanical conservatory, nudist colony, burn, orgy ;) …wherever we can!
And of course, as always, thank you! Thank you for encouraging us to keep doing what we do as artists, as musicians, as travelers, as friends. We’re looking forward to visiting with you all in 2015!
The proposed dates are as follows:
1st Leg: Feb 12 – Washington DC Feb 13 – Richmond VA Feb 14 – Norfolk/VA beach VA Feb 15 – Raleigh/Chapel Hill NC Feb 16 – Wilmington NC Feb 17 – Charleston/Columbia SC Feb 18 – Savannah GA Feb 19 – Jacksonville FL Feb 20 – Orlando FL Feb 21 – Miami FL Feb 22 – The Keys FL Feb 24 – St. Petersburg FL Feb 25 – FL Feb 26 – Winterhaven FL Feb 27 – Gainesville FL Feb 28 – Tallahassee FL Mar 1 – Montgomery/Birmingham AL Mar 2 – Atlanta GA Mar 3 – Athens GA Mar 4 – Chattanooga TN Mar 5 – Knoxville TN Mar 6 – Asheville NC Mar 7 – Johnson City TN Mar 8 – Winchester VA
2nd Leg: Mar 27 – Charleston WV Mar 28 – Cincinnati OH Mar 29 – Louisville/Lexington KY Mar 30 – Nashville TN Mar 31 – Memphis TN Apr 1 – Little Rock AR Apr 2 – Hot Springs/Fayetteville AR Apr 3 – Shreveport LA Apr 4 – New Orleans LA Apr 6 – Lafayette LA Apr 7 – Houston TX Apr 8 – Austin TX Apr 9 – San Antonio TX Apr 10 – Marfa TX Apr 11 – El Paso TX Apr 12 – Tucson AZ Apr 14 – Tempe AZ Apr 15 – Las Vegas NV Apr 16 – Los Angeles CA Apr 17 – So Cal CA Apr 18 – Santa Cruz CA Apr 19 – San Francisco/Oakland CA Apr 22 – Eureka CA Apr 23 – Redding CA Apr 24 – Reno/Carson City NV Apr 25 – Salt Lake City UT Apr 27 – Cheyenne/Laramie WY Apr 28 – Denver CO Apr 29 – Colorado Springs/Boulder CO Apr 30 – Santa Fe/Taos NM May 1 – Albuquerque NM May 2 – Amarillo/Lubbock TX May 3 – Oklahoma City OK May 4 – Lawrence KS May 5 – Kansas City MO May 6 – St. Louis MO May 7 – Indianapolis IN May 8 – Bloomington IN May 9 – Dayton OH
3rd Leg: Aug 14 – Philadelphia PA Aug 15 – NJ Aug 16 – NYC Aug 17 – Hartford CT Aug 18 – Providence RI Aug 19 – Boston MA Aug 20 – NH Aug 21 – Portland ME Aug 22 – Burlington VT Aug 23 – Montreal CANADA Aug 24 – Albany NY Aug 25 – Rochester/Syracuse/Utica NY Aug 26 – Buffalo NY Aug 27 – Toronto CANADA Aug 28 – Detroit MI Aug 29 – Ann Arbor MI Aug 30 – Lansing MI Aug 31 – Grand Rapids MI Sept 2 – Marquette MI Sept 3 – Duluth MI Sept 4 – Minneapolis MN Sept 5 – Fargo ND Sept 6 – Bismarck ND Sept 8 – Bozeman MT Sept 9 – Missoula MT Sept 10 – Spokane WA Sept 11 – Seattle WA Sept 12 – Portland OR Sept 14 – Bend OR Sept 15 – Boise ID Sept 17 – Billings MT Sept 18 – Rapid City SD Sept 19 – Sioux Falls SD Sept 20 – Sioux City IA Sept 21 – Omaha/Lincoln NE Sept 22 – Des Moines IA Sept 23 – Iowa City IA Sept 24 – Peoria/Ft. Wayne IN Sept 25 – Madison WI Sept 26 – Milwaukee WI Sept 27 – Chicago IL Sept 29 – Toledo OH Sept 30 – Columbus OH Oct 1 – Cleveland OH Oct 2 – Pittsburgh PA Oct 3 – Baltimore MD
Posted in Reviews on October 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimore’s Soundstage is right down by the bay, so after Pentagram‘s soundcheck, I went down and looked at the water for a bit, listened to a street musician play drums on buckets of various sizes. He was alright, but the main attraction was the water. After being in the Midwest for a couple days, it’s good to be back near the coast. Even all the lakes in Michigan, rivers and whatnot on the way, there’s something different about salty water, even if it’s the kind you’d never want to get in and go for a swim. Makes the brain feel less claustrophobic, which is kind of ironic given all the open spaces in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, etc.
A five-band Wednesday night got started around 7:45PM. The sound was solid and it was the best lighting of the tour so far. I like Baltimore, have spent some significant time in the city over the years and was happy to run into Chuck Dukehart from Foghound (new stuff on the way) and Vang from Foehammer and chat for a bit. The Pilgrim opened:
Not to be confused with Rhode Island’s Pilgrim, Baltimorean five-piece The Pilgrim released their self-titled debut back in 2012 (review here), and as vocalist Mis Zill announced from the stage, this was their last show for an indeterminate amount of time. They played well and obviously had the crowd in their corner, and I recognized some of what they played from the record, which was satisfying two years after the fact. Stylistically, they’re somewhere between ’70s boogie and classic metal, the two guitars working smoothly together while the bass and drums made up a definitive rhythm section. It’s a pretty classic dynamic, but The Pilgrim wore it ably and seemed to fit as they spread out on the wide stage, Mis Zill having room for leg-up Shiva poses and/or yoga moves while pushing out high notes.
A little bit of changeup from Kings Destroy in opening with “The Mountie” from the first record into “Smokey Robinson” and “The Whittler.” The difference was notable immediately, and where “Old Yeller” often feels like the band is lurching to life, the crash-in with “The Mountie” was more immediate. At this point in the tour, it’s gonna work either way, frankly, and it did. I knew it was going to be a joy to watch these guys play every night. I don’t know if I’ve hit 20 times yet seeing them this year, but it has to be at least 15, and I’ve yet to walk away disappointed. Vocalist Steve Murphy called an audible at the end of the set, going around to guitarist Carl Porcaro, drummer Rob Sefcik, bassist Aaron Bumpus and guitarist Chris Skowronski to switch the closer from “Embers” to “Old Yeller,” and it looked pretty touch and go as to what song was about to start, but it worked out and “Old Yeller” made an excellent finale after “Casse-Tête” and the always raucous “Mr. O,” the value of which in the set isn’t to be understated in how the hook and uptick in tempo draws in a crowd on any given night, including at Soundstage.
Another tight set from Bang. “Redman,” “Our Home,” “Last Will and Testament” and others from their 1971 self-titled debut have become pretty familiar by this point in the tour, and it’s been satisfying to watch them come together over the course of these shows. Baltimore was a workman set. Bang — guitarist Frankie Gilcken, bassist/vocalist Frank Ferrara and drummer Jake Leger — got on stage and were all business from there on out, and as usual, they had a few fervent supporters in the crowd who had obviously picked up one or another of the various reissues they’ve had over the years. There was less Ferrara/Gilcken in the middle of the stage, but they were as tight as they’ve been all along anyway, and Leger‘s swinging style continues to be a perfect fit for their classic material. “Questions” closed out as it has, its resounding groove a reminder of the influence that era continues to have even now. Bang play off that well, with their vintage gear and swagger, but the prevailing vibe continues to be how glad they are to be back on stage.
Slayed. Almost to a terrifying degree. Radio Moscow have demolished stages more or less since the tour began, but I guess the difference this time around was nothing went wrong, their set wasn’t cut short, there was no hiccup and Parker Griggs, Anthony Meier and Paul Marrone could just wail on their songs. They had the best sound of the night coming out of the Soundstage P.A., and there were a couple moments — “Broke Down” is still stuck in my head, along with “250 Miles” and “Rancho Tehama Airport,” not to mention Marrone‘s drum solo in “No Good Woman,” which closed out — where you just had to step back and let out a “holy shit” at how hard they were hitting it. They’ve been a big part of the draw for this tour, and while Soundstage wasn’t as crowded as some of the other shows have been, even at its most packed, t was clear that a lot of the people who showed up were there in no small part because Radio Moscow were rolling through. They did so at top speed, impossibly tight and with zero pretense. I feel like people who don’t see this band have no idea what they’re missing.
I feel like I’m repeating myself every day, but the truth is that at this point, the tour is locked in. All four bands are delivering their show. It doesn’t really matter where they are, who’s there to see it, whatever. They get on stage and just go for it. Pentagram is no different. They came on after their foreboding intro with guitarist Victor Griffin, bassist Greg Turley and drummer Sean Saley starting “Death Row” ahead of the quick arrival of frontman Bobby Liebling, who’s never failed to carry the stage of any size on this tour, whether it was the huge church in Pittsburgh or Soundstage with the back bar blocked off. This was as close as Pentagram will come to a hometown show on this run, and Baltimore is arguably the center of their influence — or at least in the central region of it — and they put the work in to show why they’ve earned the legendary status that they have. I continue to look forward to a follow-up to Last Rites and hearing this lineup take on more lost ’70s cuts and maybe a new composition or two.
Even at the end of the night, I felt better for this show than in Pittsburgh, took a couple minutes to just sort of enjoy it and let the night soak in before load-out had to start and I drove to the Comfort Inn in North East — which is both the name of the town and its geographic location — Maryland, about 45 minutes outside Baltimore. The plan was to hang around the motel for most of the next day, since it’s a relatively short drive to Philadelphia for the show at Johnny Brenda’s, which is sold out, but you know how it goes with plans.
“He is an epic failure.” — Aaron Bumpus, about anyone, ever.
Tour ebola is better today, or at least that’s what I’ve been forcing myself to believe as I mainline vitamin C and DayQuil. Tried to pick up some more Advil as well at a truck stop along the way, but failed. I wound up trying to charge an orange juice and had to buy a York Peppermint Patty to get past the two-dollar minimum for credit cards. Feels good. Rock and roll.
Jim Pitts picked up some Who and Thin Lizzy CDs and we listened to them in the van. Probably the right call as we made our way through cold, grey, bum-you-right-out Pennsylvania. I don’t know how many different weather systems we’ve seen — it was like 75 degrees when we got to Cleveland — but it’s been at least three so far, and there are still five shows left. It’s a small wonder the van resounds with coughs.
Slow start to the day, but the good news is I slept and slept hard. I didn’t necessarily feel like I had a choice in that — it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not — but I’m glad it did. There was about an hour to kill before we left out of New Stanton, where we stayed last night, and headed to Baltimore, so I nodded back off after showering as well. The more the merrier, even if I continued to wake myself up coughing, and likely Carl as well, who has the misfortune to be sharing my room.
Trip to Baltimore was uneventful in the extreme except for Aaron introducing all of us to Mandrill Is, the 1971 second album from NYC’s Mandrill, who ran a line between funk and soul and rock and about five other genres before they were done. I was way into it. Pretty expensive on CD, but I’ll keep my eyes open for a copy. We stopped at a music store so Rob could get a backup head for his kick drum, and there was a barbecue pub right next door so the pre-show meal was had there. Early dinner, I guess. I had yet another in my ongoing series of chicken caesar salads. Chicken was good but the salad itself had almost no dressing on it. I didn’t care. I’ll take raw ruffage at this point. As long as it’s not from a gas station. Jim also bought dinner for everyone, which was very kind, but I threw in cash for myself since it didn’t feel right. Dude certainly doesn’t owe me anything and it’s not like I’m in the band. I don’t know.
Baltimore’s own The Pilgrim are opening the show tonight at Soundstage, so it’s five bands. I remember their self-titled CD from a couple years back was cool, so it will be interesting to see them live and see where they’re at now. Pentagram were soundchecking when we got here and I got to hear them do “Walk in the Blue Light,” which was right on because it’s a good song and though it’s written on the setlist for each night, they haven’t actually been playing it, I guess opting for the Animals cover instead. No complaints there, but if it was one or the other, I’d probably take the original. Whatever my druthers are worth in things like salads and Pentagram setlists.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
At one point or another, Weed is Weed members Dave Sherman (vocals/guitar), Gary Isom (guitar) and Rob “Cougin” Brannigan (drums) were members of the underrated Maryland doom act Wretched, but that’s just one of the lines of connection between them. Isom, who also played drums in Pentagram for a time, was Sherman‘s bandmate in the original lineup of Spirit Caravan, and it’s safe to say that these dudes, as well as guitarist Jason Fisher, bassist Darren Waters and guitarist Rob Portillo – yeah, that’s right, up to four guitars — have been kicking around the underbelly of MD’s fertile doom underground for a while. Today marks the Ripple Music issue of their 2013 debut album, Blunt Force Trauma (review here), initially self-released.
What do you get with Weed is Weed? Weed. A lot of it. Also riffs. Their multi-guitar attack provides some density to the album’s 10 tracks but much of what you need to know about Blunt Force Trauma you can get from looking at the cover. It’s raw stoner fuckery, riffs leading the way with punkish abandon and Sherman‘s distinctive gravelly vocals tossing out simple but effective hooks on cuts like the opener “Weed is Weed,” the more Southern-styled “Alligator Crawl,” the shuffling “Goin’ Down to Harlem” and “Low to No,” which sleeks out a winding sort of groove while paying homage to Sabbath, Ozzy and, of course, reefer. Most of the songs deal with or at least mention weed on one level or another — it’s a steady theme — but they change it up musically some along the way and by the time they get down to “One Hit Wonder” and “Blunt Force Trauma,” the riffs win out. I won’t say much for “Eat Pussy” — though it’s important in a relationship to be attentive to your partner’s needs, and I’ve certainly heard worse advice than “Eat that pussy don’t you be no jerk” — but its alternate lyric, “Eat Cookies,” rounds out as a bonus track with no shortage of smirking cleverness and charm.
It’s one for the converted, but between half the band’s pedigree and the nod-ready riffs the six-piece ride into smoked-out oblivion, Blunt Force Trauma outstones the stoners and is a mean boogie the whole way through. They had it up somewhere at some point, and I already said it came out last year and was available from the band on CD, so I wouldn’t exactly call this a premiere, but I’m happy to be able to feature Weed is Weed anyway on the day of the Ripple release, and you’ll find the album in its entirety on the player below.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Weed is Weed‘s Blunt Force Trauma is out now on Ripple Music. More info at the links.
It’s a quick two minutes and “Of Sanctum and Solace” is over. The song barely feels like it has a second verse (it does), but what it signals is the beginning for Righteous Bloom. The new band, announced earlier this month as a new vehicle for former Beelzefuzz members Dana Ortt (guitar/vocals), Greg Diener (lead guitar) and Darin McCloskey (drums), the latter two also of Pale Divine, are reportedly set to enter the studio to record a full-length debut for 2015. For “Of Sanctum and Solace,” that trio teamed up with Bert Hall of Revelation/Against Nature for the bassist role, and while there’s no word as to whether or not that partnership was a one-time thing or a permanent situation, it says a lot for what Beelzefuzz accomplished that Righteous Bloom would start out with the likes of Hall contributing, his own legacy in the sphere of Maryland doom not inconsiderable.
“Of Sanctum and Solace” also gives a taste — again, a brief one — of the interplay between Ortt and Diener‘s guitars. Those who caught Beelzefuzz at their final shows over the last two or three months probably had a leg-up in this regard, but Righteous Bloom will mark the first time they appear on a studio recording together, and while they’re distinct in tone — Ortt‘s guitar-as-organ experimentations having been so core to the approach of the prior outfit — you can also get a feel for how they complement each other now and might continue to do so moving forward. That’s more toward the end of the song, which seems to come to an early close in a way that makes me wonder if there isn’t more to come in a longer version of the track that will perhaps show up when Righteous Bloom‘s debut LP surfaces in the New Year via The Church Within Records.
We’ve got a while to go before we find out, I guess. Till then, here’s “Of Sanctum and Solace” for your enjoyment:
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be long before we heard from some combination of former Beelzefuzz members that a new band was starting up. Righteous Bloom brings together guitarist/vocalist Dana Ortt, drummer Darin McCloskey and recently-added guitarist Greg Diener– also McCloskey‘s bandmate in Pale Divine – as a new three-piece with classic-rocking intent set to record by the end of this year for a new album due in 2015. As with Beelzefuzz‘s 2013 self-titled debut/swansong, the Righteous Bloom full-length is slated for release through The Church Within Records.
No word on whether Diener will stay on guitar or move to bass to cover the spot that in Beelzefuzz belonged to Pug Kirby, or if they’ll get someone else or go without bass altogether, but this is a preliminary “this band exists” kind of announcement, and the fact that they’re putting a recording plan out there at all means that one way or another work is already underway. I’ll be interested to hear the similarities and the differences between the two acts. You might note the logo is somewhat reminiscent. I’ll be waiting for t-shirts:
Righteous Bloom is a heavy rock band from North East MD formed in 2014 from the ashes of Beelzefuzz. Righteous Bloom incorporates a very unique style of heavy music similar to the classic sounds of early 70’s bands such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Black sabbath as well as contemporary acts Pentagram, Graveyard and Earthride. Still Righteous Bloom remain decidely independent with their own personal brand of melodic heavy rock and the David Byron meets John Lawton crossed with Mark Farner vocal stylings of singer and guitarist Dana Ortt. Dana Ortt along with drummer Darin McCloskey and lead guitarist Greg Diener (Pale Divine) will enter the studio by the end of 2014 to record a new album to be released on Church Within records early 2015.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimorean ambassadors of bluesy heavy psych The Flying Eyes have nailed down the remaining dates from their previously announced “Baltimore Invasion” tour of Europe, set to launch next month. They’ll be joined on their latest Euro trek by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, and while I’ve yet to see any word of what it might actually entail, they’ve posted what looks like cover art for something called Leave it all Behind Sessions, which presumably would be a new release of one kind or another. They keep busy anyway, so it’s not surprising they’d have something coming out, and both their style and dynamic is suited to live recording, so if that’s what it is, all the better. I’d take a collection of B-sides as well, or, you know, whatever.
Full routing for the tour follows. It looks to be a beast, but that’s nothing new for these guys:
The “Baltimore Invasion Tour” is complete!!! New shows added in France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Luxemburg…
All shows supported by LAZLO LEE & THE MOTHERLESS CHILDREN!
Presented by eclipsed, Slam, Stonerrock.eu and Magnificent Music:
18.09.2014 – DE Essen, Panic Room 19.09.2014 – NL Leeuwarden, Asteriks 20.09.2014 – DE Mannheim, Mohawk Open Air 21.09.2014 – DE Karlsruhe, Alte Hackerei 22.09.2014 – DE Köln, Sonic Ballroom 23.09.2014 – FR Chambéry, Le Brin De 24.09.2014 – ES Zaragoza, Ley Seca 25.09.2014 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound 26.09.2014 – ES Gijon, Casino Acapulco 27.09.2014 – ES Burgos, Estudio 27 01.10.2014 – CH Zürich, Kuba 02.10.2014 – CH Olten, Le Coq D’Or 03.10.2014 – CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers 04.10.2014 – CH Frauenfeld, Kaff 06.10.2014 – CZ Praha, Klub 007 07.10.2014 – AT Wien, Arena 08.10.2014 – SK Bratislava, Uocka 09.10.2014 – DE Jena, Kuba 10.10.2014 – DE Dresden, Beatpol 11.10.2014 – DE Stuttgart, Goldmarks 13.10.2014 – LU Luxemburg, Rocas 15.10.2014 – DE Würzburg, Café Cairo 16.10.2014 – DE München, Backstage 17.10.2014 – DE Frankfurt/Main, Sky High Festival @ Das Bett 18.10.2014 – DE Leipzig, UT Connewitz 19.10.2014 – PL Wroclaw, Disorder 20.10.2014 – DE Hamburg, Hafenklang 21.10.2014 – DE Kiel, Schaubude 22.10.2014 – DK Aalborg, 1000 Fryd 23.10.2014 – DE Bielefeld, Forum 24.10.2014 – DE Berlin, Cassiopeia 25.10.2014 – DE Lübeck, Treibsand
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes have announced plans to return to Europe this fall for more touring. They were there late last summer with Golden Animalsand will be joined this time by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, with whom the band has shared the stage at the Moving the Earth fest. The Flying Eyes were most recently heard from on a Heavy Psych Sounds four-way split with Naam, Black Rainbows and White Hills (review here) and their most recent full-length was last summer’s sun-soaked Lowlands(review here), which delved into natural-sounding blues rock without losing a classically-influenced edge. They are, simply put, a better band than people seem to know.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Frederick, Maryland, has doubled as a secondary Doom Capitol for some time now. For several years the home of the Stoner Hands of Doom festival, is just happens to be in a place central enough to pull bands from near-enough-by Baltimore, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It has kind of an out-of-the-way feel, but for years there was a genuine scene around Krug’s Place on the outskirts of the town that was strong and true to the roots of doom, which in the US more or less began in that region as well. The first Vultures of Volume will bring a doom fest back to the town after a couple years’ absence, and has assembled a lineup worthy of showing up for, with Trouble offshoot The Skull and a rare Unorthodox reunion headlining and backup on the bill from the likes of Nagato, Gorgantherron, Black Manta, Beelzefuzz, Blizaro, Ogre and Pale Divine.
Of those, I think Ogre might be traveling furthest — from Maine — but Indiana to Maryland is no picnic either in terms of road time, so Gorgantherron will put some miles on as well. Between Unorthodox, Nagato, Beelzefuzz and Black Manta, Maryland is also well represented.
Vultures of Volume is set for Aug. 30, 2014 at Cafe 611 in Frederick. Poster art by Brad Moore and info follow:
“VULTURES OF VOLUME FEST” SET TO DEBUT IN FREDERICK, MD THIS AUGUST
Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 30, 2014 for the debut of “Vultures of Volume”, a new annual festival coming to Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD.
“Vultures of Volume” promises to shine the spotlight on local and national acts that bring it loud, hard, and above all else, heavy! This first installment of “VoV” proudly presents the return of Maryland legends UNORTHODOX, featuring the 1995 “Balance of Power” lineup of Ronnie Kalimon (drums), Josh Hart (bass) and the legendary Dale Flood (guitar/vocals) for this one time only reunion! Not to be missed!
Also joining in on the worship of the riff will be Chicago’s THE SKULL, featuring original Trouble members Eric Wagner and Jeff ‘Oly’ Olson, as well as fellow Trouble alumni Ron Holzner (rounded out by guitarists Matt Goldsborough, formerly of Pentagram, and Lothar Keller). THE SKULL will commemorate the 30th anniversary of their classic 1984 debut album “Psalm 9” by performing it in its entirety at the inaugural “Vultures of Volume” fest!
As if that wasn’t enough, also performing will be a strong supporting roster of local and national heavy weights: Nagato (MD), Gorgantherron (IN), Black Manta (MD), Beelzefuzz (MD), Blizaro (NY) Pale Divine (PA) and Ogre (ME).
Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I– and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam – who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow(review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.
Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vowhighlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
With a Robot Hive/Exudos 2LP reissue and a deluxe 2CD/DVD edition of last year’s Earth Rocker (review here) coming this month, Clutch have hit the road in Europe. The Marylander groove kings will be back in time for a few shows in July, however, and they’ve just announced they’ll spend the bulk of September touring as well around appearances at Riot Fest in Chicago, Toronto and Denver and the Shindig Music Festival in their native Baltimore. So, you know, plenty more Clutch. Which is a win.
As I decide to just make the headline “ClutchAnnounce More US Tour Dates” a permanent fixture around here, the PR wire steps in with details:
CLUTCH ANNOUNCES FALL U.S. TOUR
‘EARTH ROCKER’ SET FOR TRIPLE DELUXE (2xCD/DVD) RELEASE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014 VIA WEATHERMAKER MUSIC
‘ROBOT HIVE/EXODUS’ CLASSIC CLUTCH ALBUM TO RECEIVE COLLECTOR’S EDITION DOUBLE VINYL RELEASE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 10
CLUTCH, the acclaimed Maryland-based rock group, have announced they’ll launch a fall U.S. tour kicking off September 5th in Providence, RI. See full tour itinerary below.
On June 24, 2014, CLUTCH–NEIL FALLON (vocals, rhythm guitar), TIM SULT (lead guitar), DAN MAINES (bass), JEAN-PAUL GASTER (drums and percussion)–will release a triple deluxe version of their acclaimed EARTH ROCKER album via Weathermaker Music. EARTH ROCKER was tagged by Rolling Stone on their “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) the DVD “Live In Denver” recorded with seven cameras in 1080i at a sold-out Denver show with audio remixing by Paul Logus and editing by Dave Brodsky; and two videos shot, directed and edited by actress Aisha Tyler: “Gone Cold” (unreleased) and “Crucial Velocity.” To pre-order the EARTH ROCKER triple deluxe, visit:www.clutchmerch.com.
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).
Robot Hive/Exodus–the group’s classic 2005 album–will also 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. In addition, the group recently teamed with producer J. Robbins (The Sword, Coliseum) to record the new song “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” as a special split 7” single with labelmates Lionize in honor of Record Store Day, available now: www.clutchmerch.com.
CLUTCH continue their european festival tour through June 29. In July, they’ll return to the U.S. for a handful of shows before performing at all three Riot Fest dates (Toronto, Chicago and Denver) before joining the Shindig Festival alongside Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello and more in Baltimore, MD on September 27. See all tour dates below.
EUROPE SUMMER 2014 FRI 6/8 Vienna, Austria Arena SAT 6/9 Munich, Germany Backstage Werk WED 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 US TOUR THU 7/24 Syracuse, NY Westcott Theater FRI 7/25 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE SAT 7/26 Columbus, OH The Great Summer Smokeout SUN 7/27 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s US TOUR FRI 9/5 Providence, RI Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel SAT 9/6 Clifton Park, NY Upstate Concert Hall SAT-SUN 9/6-9/7 Toronto, ON Riot Fest TUE 9/9 Knoxville, TN The Bijou Theatre WED 9/10 Lexington, KY Buster’s Billiards & Backroom THU 9/11 Toledo, OH Headliners FRI-SUN 9/12-9/14 Chicago, IL Riot Fest SAT 9/13 Grand Rapids, MI The Orbit Room MON 9/15 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue TUE 9/16 Sioux Falls, SD The District THU 9/18 Kansas City, MO Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland FRI 9/19 Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium FRI-SUN 9/19-9/21 Denver, CO Riot Fest MON 9/22 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre TUE 9/23 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue THU 9/25 Huntington, NY The Paramount FRI 9/26 Norfolk, VA The NorVa SAT 9/27 Baltimore, MD The Shindig Music Festival
This week brings even more radio adds than I expected. I had kind of a hard time whittling it down to figure what I wanted to write about, to be honest with you, but we got there in the end, and I’m thrilled to have another batch of additions to the playlist for this week. Doing this seems to have quickly become a Friday ritual for me, and frankly, I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon than listening to and writing about a bunch of records. Like just about everything else, for example.
Adds for May 30, 2014:
Iron Man, The Passage & Generation Void
Two brand new vinyl reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Digital promos are particularly useless in the case of badass LPs, and I’m pretty sure both of these albums by Maryland doom stalwarts Iron Man, 1994’s sophomore outing, The Passage, and it’s 1999 follow-up, Generation Void, are already on the Radio playlist, but screw it, it’s Iron Man. If the chances of hearing an Iron Man song go up with each file added, then it’s worth tossing both of these records on the server. Generation Voidis a full-on lost classic of doom, and if you don’t already own it, I’d imagine the vinyl of The Passagejustifies picking it up based on the artwork alone. Either way, you’re never gonna lose when it comes to these guys, and Shadow Kingdom‘s loyalty in following up its CD reissues with LP versions is commendable. On Thee Facebooks, Shadow Kingdom website.
Electric Citizen, Sateen
Led by guitarist Ross Dolan and vocalist Laura Dolan, this Cincinnati four-piece traffic in high-order retro-minded Sabbathisms that keep in mind just how much boogie went along with all that darkness. To wit, the shuffle at the heart of the organ-laced “The Trap” and “Burning in Hell” or the push in the earlier “Magnetic Man.” Sateen, the band’s debut on RidingEasy Records, features riffs and leads heavily, and Laura‘s croon never strays from the forefront in delivering a barrage of hooks through the ’70s-worship production, but as with Sabbath themselves, the foundation of what Electric Citizen accomplish in these memorable, immediately familiar tracks is built on a foundation of rhythmic excellence in the bass and drums, here provided by Nick Vogelpohl and Nate Wagner, respectively. That organ ain’t half-bad either. The album arrives with no shortage of hype, but it’s a shockingly cohesive debut in style and performance, and the songwriting more than earns its way. On Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
Disenchanter, On through Portals
The Sept. 2013 Back to Earth demo from Portland, Oregon, doom-blues metallers Disenchanter has been sitting on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. That release is added to the playlist as well, but on the early-2014 follow-up, On through Portals, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg, bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Jay Erbe stretch out the form somewhat. Both arrive as EP-style releases, but On through Portals tops half-an-hour and executes a darkened psychedelic flow over its three extended tracks — “Journey to Abydos/Moon Maid” (12:15), “Invoke” (7:38), and “Into Darkness” (11:20) — so it could just as easily pass for a short album. Either way, the partial shift in aesthetic suits Disenchanter well, and what seems to have been in-process on their first demo comes closer to fruition here. Songs are patient and lumbering, but never boring, and Stangenberg‘s vocals layer effectively at the front of the mix to give the impression of a consummate frontwoman in the making. I won’t declare their development finished, but On through Portalsis a big and interesting step for Disenchanter to take. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Junior Bruce, The Nomad
Just two tracks on this latest release from Southern heavy rockers Junior Bruce. The Nomad is the second of two (to date) digital releases following Junior Bruce‘s 2012 debut full-length, The Headless King, and intended as a complement to last year’s TheBurden. Fair enough. Taken as such or on their own, The Nomad‘s two cuts, “The Promised Sleep” and “Nomad,” offer unpretentious heavy rolling groove from the Floridian five-piece fronted by Scott Angelacos and featuring bassist Tom Crowther, both also of Hollow Leg and formerly Bloodlet and Hope and Suicide. Molasses riffs from guitarists Nate Jones and Bryan Raymond and steady crash from drummer Jeff McAlear further distinguish “Nomad” in the Southern tradition, and the single/EP is twice as intriguing in the context of Hollow Leg‘s most recent recording, “God Eater” (discussed here), which moved in a more rocking direction as well. Itseems to work for both bands. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Anuseye, Essay on a Drunken Cloud
Cuts like “J R” and “Wrong Blues” take ’90s crunch and heavy rock vibes to heart, but where Italy’s Anuseye really distinguish themselves on their Vincebus Eruptum Recordings debut — other than with their somewhat unfortunate moniker — is in the weirdo jamminess of “Push Magic Button” or the psychedelic exploration of “Earthquake.” Essay on a Drunken Cloud boasts a few riffs and effects-laced stretches like that in “Cursed Pills” that might call to mind guitarist Luca Stero and vocalist/guitarist Claudio C.‘s and prior work together in That’s all Folks, but Anuseye has a personality of their own here, with bassist Michele V. and drummer Antonello C. keeping step with the strange vibes every step of the way. The balance shifts effectively between psych rock and noisy post-punk, but songs like “Demon Pulse” and the penultimate “S.S. Abyss” find an engaging and unexpected middle ground on which to make an impression. And then they do. For those days when you feel like you’re heard everything a riff can do, Essay on a Drunken Cloudmight just convince you there’s still territory to be discovered. On Thee Facebooks, at Vincebus Eruptum.
For the complete list of this week’s adds, click here.