Posted in Reviews on June 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Lest the tonally-minded New Jersey four-piece be accused of not living up to the title of what might rightly — and might wrongly, so don’t quote me — be considered their debut LP, Nostalgia, the CD version of the release contains no fewer than six bonus tracks, culled from a June 2012 session dubbed Camp Fuzz. Those cuts add another 19 minutes to Nostalgia‘s otherwise manageable 45, which isn’t enough to push the limits of the format, but is enough that, if you’re going to take on the full 63-minute Nostalgia/Camp Fuzz listening experience, it’s worth being aware of the commitment one is making.
Taken on their own, the nine songs of Nostalgia proper find Eternal Fuzz exploring melodically resonant ground somewhere between post-rock and more densely-packed sludge, guitar and bass grit meeting with melodic vocals that at times, as on “Deep Fuzz Nebula,” recall a slower-paced Floor, the oddly credited lineup of Joe (general council), Kyle (recycling officer), Mike (party planning commissioner) and Luke (archivist) working in harmonized or near-harmonized vocal layers atop large-sounding roll, what might otherwise be a harsh sound if it played to screamy expectations proving oddly soothing — a lullaby of low end and melodic push, or at least it seems on the surface, since if one digs deeper into the crooning of the standout “Sea Change,” the lyrics, “Anyone with half a brain can see we’re fucked” and the repeated “can see we’re fucked,” are plain enough to the ear, and with the titular pun potentially referencing environmental impacts of climate change, the associations are anything but soothing. So be it.
The marriage of opposites there and elsewhere throughout Nostalgia only serves to enhance the listening experience overall, the band careening through lumber and plod on opener “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet,” the aforementioned “Deep Fuzz Nebula” and subsequent, chug-happy “Closer Beings,” but subtly working off a punkish edge on the following “Terraessence,” a version of which also appeared on Camp Fuzz, which was previously released digitally. Album-finale “Thrash the Snakepipe,” which seems to pull together space-stoner and skater themes lyrically, also appeared in a prior incarnation on Camp Fuzz, and if the jump in recording quality between the Nostalgia versions and the preceding ones is anything to go by, the development in Eternal Fuzz‘s sound has been significant over the last several years. “Terraessence” cuts down the runtime and ups the energy level, a steady, upbeat rumble giving way to quiet as it passes the midpoint and then igniting a slower rollout as it moves toward the finish and bleed into “Sea Change,” the structure of which is likewise linear and the rhythm of which holds firm to the momentum the band have thus far built.
That momentum is considerable, especially taking into account the snail’s-pace tempos at which they seem comfortable despite, at times on “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet,” sounding like they’re struggling against an impulse to move faster, and it continues into the loud/quiet trades of “Moody Hum,” which on the first couple listens might easily get lost behind “Sea Change,” but in the end earns the attention its airy guitar squibblies seem to be demanding. Together with “Astral Tractor Beam,” which follows, “Moody Hum” brings about a somewhat different look from the band, who because the vocals are so singularly melodic in their approach — a later-Isis style adding post-metal vibes throughout — at first come across as unipolar, but are actually working to offer a variety of moods.
“Atomic Beauty,” at 6:10, is the longest cut since “Closer Beings” (which is the longest on the album proper at 6:15) and builds tension over its first 90 seconds before unfolding its full tonal breadth, and cuts out at the halfway mark to cycle through again, this time from minimalism to the roll over a quicker span, ending in feedback to make room for “Thrash the Snakepipe,” a return to faster pacing and and Floored vibes, the almost poppy sound Eternal Fuzz elicit in the central verse riff underscoring the smoothness with which they’ve been able all along to pull together their stylistic blend. “Thrash the Snakepipe” is a charming finish, but hardly the end, with the entirety of Camp Fuzz (minus the original versions of “Terraessence” and “Thrash the Snakepipe”) still to follow, beginning with the three-minute, the opening stick clicks of which signal the shift to a live-in-studio feel that is maintained all throughout “Thok’Nor” and the ensuing tracks, which on average are shorter than their Nostalgia counterparts preceding, but carry a similar focus on tone and melody, “Mike Conover” dooming out more than the 2:09 “Aglow and Rampant” but closer “Earth/II-IV The Road” being arguably the most progressive of the bunch.
Camp Fuzz, with the two not-included-on-disc tracks, is available from the band as a name-your-price download, but being tossed on the disc in its entirety adds to the titular feel of Nostalgia and highlights the notion that the album is that much more special to the band with those cuts on there. It having been six years since they got their start in 2009 with the “Closer Beings” single and four since they issued their encouraging [Demo] (review here) in 2011, it makes sense that Eternal Fuzz would want to put as much as they had into the finished product here because who knows when, or if, they’ll get the chance to do this all again. On that level, it’s entirely possible Nostalgia takes its name from the band’s future vision of it as from any backward-looking they might be doing in the now, and while time invariably brings scrutiny to any creative work, especially by those who made it, I don’t hear anything in these songs that wouldn’t be worth remembering fondly.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some shows are a no-brainer, and if NJ riff-winders The Atomic Bitchwax are coming through your town with Mos Generator and/or Against the Grain on the bill, that’s pretty much a night you can mark off on your calendar. They’re out supporting their 2015 LP, Gravitron (review here), on Tee Pee Records, and this will be their most extensive run through the US in some time, after celebrating the new album’s release overseas in Europe.
Mos Generator will be on the tour from Sept. 1-18, and Against the Grain seem to be on the whole run. Dates follow as hoisted from the Bitchwax‘s Thee Facebooks page:
ITS ON!!!!!! THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX w/ MOS GENERATOR AGAINST THE GRAIN
NORTH AMERICAN SUMMER TOUR 2015
New Jersey’s legendary, riff-centric power trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (aka TAB) returns with gargantuan riffs and jaw-dropping psych sonics on its sixth full length LP,Gravitron. Now featuring TWO members of MONSTER MAGNET – bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella – alongside shred-tastic gunslinger Finn Ryan, the band has perfected its unique style of NYC hard rock that High Times appropriately tabbed, “thunder-boogie.”
On Gravitron, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX’s Rush-like riff mazes and carpal-tunnel-inducing riffs are on full display; every note bleeds with urgency. There’s far too much exuberant energy on the record to lazily tag this as “Stoner Rock”; this is high-octane, ’70s-based hard rock infused with stabs of psychedelia and landslides of Tommy Bolin-inspired guitar heroics ! Gravitron is an A-level masterclass in bad ass Rock’N’ Roll and cements the THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX as an undeniable force in today’s heavy music landscape.
8/13/2015 Brooklyn NY The Shop 8/14/2015 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie 8/15/2015 Cambridge MA Middle East 8/16/2015 Montreal QC Foufounes Electriques 8/17/2015 Ottawa ON Mavericks 8/18/2015 Sudbury ON Townhouse 8/19/2015 Toronto ON Bovine 8/20/2015 Rochester NY Montage 8/21/2015 Pittsburgh PA 31st St pub 8/22/2015 Dayton OH Rock Star Arena 8/23/2015 Detroit MI Smalls 8/24/2015 Chicago IL Double Door 8/25/2015 Milwaukee WI Metal Grill 8/26/2015 Kansas City MO Riot Room 8/27/2015 Denver CO Larimer Lounge 8/29/2015 Boise ID Neurolux 9/1/2015 Seattle WA Studio Seven 9/2/2015 Vancouver BC Rickshaw 9/3/2015 Portland OR Panic Room 9/4/2015 Oakland CA Leos 9/5/2015 Los Angeles CA Loaded 9/6/2015 Phoenix AZ Club Red 9/8/2015 Albuquerque NM Launchpad 9/9/2015 Dallas TX Three Links 9/10/2015 Austin TX Red 7 9/11/2015 Houston TX Rudyards 9/12/2015 New Orleans LA Siberia 9/13/2015 Atlanta GA Masquerade 9/16/2015 Richmond VA Strange Matter 9/17/2015 Baltimore MD Metro Gallery 9/18/2015 New York NY Bowery Electric
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
New Jersey-based heavy psychedelic four-piece Eternal Fuzz are getting ready to release their sophomore full-length. Titled Nostalgia and officially listed as “coming soon” by the band, the record is reportedly due out in a couple weeks, though exactly what form it will take — LP, CD, CS, DL, some other two-letter combinations I can’t think of — is as yet unclear. Nonetheless, Nostalgia will be the follow-up to a self-titled debut Eternal Fuzz put out in 2012, which also had a cover of time-lapse star photography, and a demo released in 2011 (review here) that showed marked promise for their brand of heavy groove, and yes, fuzz.
So far, two new songs have been released off Nostalgia — “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” and “Astral Tractor Beam” — both of which showcase a fullness of sound and clarity of approach that seem an immediate step forward for the band from where they were with the self-titled, less melodically assured and tapping partially into a Baroness-style of heavy to some degree. With its slow march and multi-layered vocals, “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” still has some of that modern progressive edge, but seems to bend it to suit a slower, more rolling purpose. They toy some with pacing, but the central feel is patient and engrossing, and that suits Eternal Fuzz well in name and concept.
“Astral Tractor Beam” works in similar form, its big-riff focus reminiscent almost of Snail, but it ties to “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” by its melodic awareness and the fluidity of its loud/quiet tradeoffs. Both songs bode remarkably well for the album to come, whenever it does. Nostalgia was recorded in Fall 2014 with the lineup of Joe, Kyle, Mike and Luke, and you can hear both of the new tracks from it below, hopefully with more to follow:
“Nostalgia” will be available in roughly two weeks! In the meantime, hope you enjoy one more teaser-track up on bandcamp… Astral Tractor Beam
Posted in audiObelisk on April 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It would be wrong to say The Atomic Bitchwax‘s sixth album, Gravitron, is a return to the form of their early days, if only because it would somehow imply that the record — which is out tomorrow on Tee Pee — is backward-looking. The New Jersey-based outfit released their self-titled debut in 1999, and the only remaining member from that record is bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, so it’s not like The Atomic Bitchwax are trying to hearken back to some glory-days ideal from 16 years ago. Frankly, they don’t need to. The material across Gravitron‘s 10 tracks blazes in the best way possible, Kosnik, guitarist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella tearing into what’s become the band’s signature winding riffage and delivering it at a head-spinning pace on instrumental cuts like “Down with the Swirl” and “War Claw” (a tribute to Wroclaw, Poland, maybe?) and the early rager “No Way Man.” The Bitchwax‘s last outing, 2011’s The Local Fuzz (review here) was more of a concept piece than an album — a single extended track of riff-barrage, almost mocking the idea of “it’s all about the riffs,” and to considerable effect. With Gravitron, they reincorporate what’s always been their truest strength: Songwriting.
And they do so with considerable intensity. The first moments of opener “Sexecutioner” tell the tale — Gravitron begins at full blast and offers precious little letup until the penultimate “Roseland” transitions to the slower groove of closer “Ice Age Hey Baby.” It’s a tumult of head-down forward drive, Kosnik, Ryan and Pantella, maybe having benefited from getting “The Local Fuzz” out of their system — a grand purging — getting immediately down to business. For those who came aboard with The Atomic Bitchwax since the release of 3 in 2005, which was Ryan‘s first in the band, Gravitron will easily be the heaviest, meanest album encountered. The trio is tight, the turns are crisp and the flow of the album is thrust along with momentum that only builds as they dig into the catchy, classic Bitchwaxian “It’s Alright,” Ryan and Kosnik putting on a Rushy technical clinic without showing off or making the fact that they can play like that the point of the song while Pantella translates their twists into an accessible, memorable groove that’s one of the high points of the album. Add to that the momentary slowdown of “Coming in Hot,” which closes out side A with another on-fire jam, this one shifting out of the chorus with a drum solo that the guitar and bass join seamlessly in a manner fitting for the chemistry The Atomic Bitchwax have developed on stage in recent years. Killing it, in short. The trend continues on side B.
Proof that we’re dealing with a more confrontational Bitchwax? How about “Fuck Face?” Punctuated by a jabbing snare and led by the guitar and bass simultaneously through an under-three-minute instrumental run soaked in wah, it’s nonetheless a fast-swinging barnburner and not the first or the last. “Porto World” follows and while it’s the first song to touch the four-minute mark — only “Ice Age Hey Baby” is longer, at 4:45 — it still rages, with Kosnik warning, “I hope you brought your battle axe” as they run at a sprint into a cowbell-inclusive groove before trading back to the next verse and hook, the cowbell returning again as a bridge before a final chorus closes out, quickly, classically-structured but still brimming with energy, which is all the more fitting for “Down with the Swirl”‘s jazzy turns and solo-topped build. They barely stop to take in the view as they reach that mountaintop in “Down with the Swirl,” but the song provides emphasis on the newfound vitality of the trio anyway, not so different ultimately from some of what “The Local Fuzz” had to offer, just in a different, more upbeat context, like a disgruntled In Rock-era Deep Purple raised on Red Bank burgers and fries. While “Porto World” and “War Claw” could easily be Euro-minded, “Roseland” is purely regionalist homage, taking its name and lyrical basis from the long-running venue in Manhattan (my grandmother danced there in the 1930s) turned into luxury condos just in case anyone needed a convenient example of how New York City has degraded itself in pursuit of profit post-9/11 and the financial collapse of 2008. The Atomic Bitchwax take a more sentimental view, bidding the big room goodbye with due sentiment and thud in what seems like a landmark hook until the handclaps start on “Ice Age Hey Baby.”
As they close out their sixth album, they seem to have learned the best lesson of their fourth, 2008’s TAB4, which caught some flack for being poppier and more slickly produced even than 3 or the 2006 Boxriff EP, but had more than a couple of gems to its credit as regards songwriting. That record finished with “Wreck You,” one of the band’s most infectious works to date, and “Ice Age Hey Baby” works in similar form, a rolling bassline and simple rhythm backing Kosnik‘s sing-along-ready chorus, displayed immediately and readily throughout the song, departing only to give Ryan some time to bust out a psychedelic lead. After the hit and run nature of most of Gravitron, the closer’s something of a breather, but well placed and well appreciated, mirroring and upping the game from “Coming in Hot” while reminding one last time that no matter how fast the Bitchwax might decide to go, and no matter how many jumps they might make here and there within a track, they’re still serving a bigger purpose. “Ice Age Hey Baby” is an outlier, and it’s positioned to leave a lasting impression when the record is over. No big surprise it succeeds at just that. While Kosnik and Pantella both play in Monster Magnet, still obviously going strong, with the likes of Solace, Halfway to Gone, Ryan‘s former band Core, and many others gone, The Atomic Bitchwax are sort of the last-band-standing from what was once a fertile Central Jersey heavy rock scene, based around Red Bank, Long Branch, etc. Their reach and their focus have gone well beyond their hometown, which is likely a major contributor to their survival, but to think of all the acts who’ve either outright broken up or transitioned into periodic gigging while Kosnik, Ryan and Pantella stand at the ready to tour Europe for another month and release a triumph of a record like Gravitron makes their having not only lasted but thrived all the more impressive. Whatever else they do from here, Gravitron will be a landmark.
They release the album tomorrow and hit the road in Europe starting at Desertfest in London on April 24. Please find the full stream of the album below, followed by the current tour dates, courtesy of Sound of Liberation. Enjoy:
New Jersey’s legendary, riff-centric power trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (aka TAB) returns with gargantuan riffs and jaw-dropping psych sonics on its sixth full length LP, Gravitron. Now featuring TWO members of MONSTER MAGNET — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella — alongside shred-tastic gunslinger Finn Ryan, the band has perfected its unique style of NYC hard rock that High Times appropriately tabbed, “thunder-boogie”. On Gravitron, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX’s Rush-like riff mazes and carpal-tunnel-inducing riffs are on full display; every note bleeds with urgency.
On Tour: 24.04.15 LONDON, UK DESERTFEST 25.04.15 BERLIN, D DESERTFEST 26.04.15 WARSAW, POL SKWER 27.04.15 DRESDEN, D OST POL 28.04.15 BREMEN, D ROEMER 29.04.15 BIELEFELD, D FORUM 30.04.15 JENA, D KULTURBAHNHOF 01.05.15 MAASTRICHT, NL TIMMERFABRIEK 02.05.15 LONGLAVILLE, FR CRYSTONER FEST 03.05.15 GEEL, BEL JH DE BOGAARD 04.05.15 DÜSSELDORF, D PITCHER 05.05.15 AACHEN, D MUSIKBUNKER 06.05.15 THESSALONIKI, GR EIGHTBALL 07.05.15 ATHENS, GR AN CLUB 08.05.15 FRANKFURT, D DAS BETT 09.05.15 SIEGEN, D VORTEX 10.05.15 LUCERNE, CH SEDEL 11.05.15 MUNICH, D FEIERWERK 12.05.15 ZURICH, CH KINSKI 13.05.15 MILANO, IT LO FI 14.05.15 NICE, FR LE VOLUME 15.05.15 BARCELONA, SP ROCKSOUND 16.05.15 BILBAO, SP KRISTONFEST 17.05.15 PORTO, POR CAVE 45
Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day four. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it, but you know, that’s what caffeine is there for. If I push past the day’s quota of mental energy, fine. Hasn’t stopped me yet, and there are only 20 reviews of the total 50 left. Not quite the home stretch, but it’s up there on the horizon. Some cool stuff today, and that always helps as well.
Quarterly Review #31-40:
Leather Nun America, Buddha Knievel
Though they’re mostly indebted to a Wino-style Maryland doom sound, San Diego three-piece Leather Nun America touch on more dramatic fare late into their fifth album, the awesomely-titled Buddha Knievel (on Nine Records). Pairing the acoustic-led instrumental “Gloom” and 7:51 “Winter Kill,” which swirls its way to an apex of lead guitar from John Sarnie with some subtle touches of extreme metal from drummer Sergio Carlos, they expand beyond a riff-and-groove ethic – though of course they do that well too. Sarnie and bassist Francis Charles Roberts (also of Old Man Wizard) offer familiar structures but satisfying tones, cuts like “Into Abyss” taking a darker turn on some of Spirit Caravan’s road-ready groove. An intro (“Prologue”) and subsequent interludes offer further depth, but the heart of “Burning Village” and Buddha Knievel as a whole is in the three-piece’s take on doom rock, and some of the record’s most satisfying moments come from precisely that, even unto the surprisingly boogieing closer “Irish Steel.”
Seems longer than three years since Virginia’s Corsair made their self-titled full-length debut (review here), but with the fervent support of Shadow Kingdom Records, they return with One Eyed Horse, an album much sweeter than its somewhat disturbing cover art might indicate, the four-piece of guitarist/vocalists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring, bassist/vocalist Jordan Brunk and drummer Michael Taylor gracefully delving further into progressive heavy rock textures in cuts like “Shadows from Breath,” which though it winds up in blastbeats, never loses its sense of pose. That’s emblematic of the masterfully-handed twists and turns One Eyed Horse presents throughout its 45 minutes, highlights like “Sparrows Cragg” soaring and immersive while elsewhere “Brothers” reminds that sometimes it’s important to just get down to business and rock out. Corsair remain a well-kept secret, and one wonders while listening to the harmonies and post-rock bliss of “Royal Stride” just how long they can stay that way. Gorgeous, heavy and definitively their own, there’s nothing one could ask of One Eyed Horse that it doesn’t deliver. And yes, I mean that.
“Seer,” “Moros” and “Chronos” are the first three tracks to be released by Boston newcomer post-metallers Sea, but already their Demo showcases an impressive atmospheric breadth. Churning riffs from guitarists Liz Walshak (who also drew the cover; ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi (Rhino King) are given added depth from bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth), and propelled ahead by drummer/engineer Andrew Muro, though there’s room left in each cut for ambience as well, “Seer” trading off, “Moros” beginning a linear build, and “Chronos” finding a middle-ground in switching between harsh and clean vocals before a slowdown brings about the chugging, memorable finale. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points), Demo proves an ambitious first release, but there’s nothing Sea set out to do on it that they don’t accomplish, and I take it as a particularly encouraging sign that in three cuts, there’s just about no structural repetition to be found. That bodes well in the classic demo sense, but more than what’s to come, these songs are already worth hearing.
Aggressive Sabbath-style doom with East Coast roots – The Munsens recorded at Moonlight Mile with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Kings Destroy) in NJ – Weight of Night finds the trio amidst the legal flora of Denver, Colorado, which is a fitting enough setting for the three riff-led cuts they offer on the tape. Of them, side one’s “Slave” is the most decidedly Iommic, a layered solo rounding out after “Under the Sun”-style descent — it also opens with a sample of Julie Newmar as the devil from The Twilight Zone — but both “Weight of Night” and side two’s 11-minute “The Hunt” boast the root influence as well, though the latter is invariably a standout for its crawling progression, almost Pallbearer-esque, that pushes up the tempo in its second half, arriving at a driving pace that’s even farther from where it started than the runtime would have you believe. The opening title-track works somewhat similarly, but ends with a piano interlude, and the shouting, metallic vocals hold back later on “The Hunt,” making its lumbering all the more hypnotic.
Philly trio Gondola waste just about no time showing off primo guitar antics on their Budro Records-released Get Bent LP, a penchant for jamming underscoring a lot of the wah-drenched movement on opener “Brain Ghost” and its side A compatriots “Psychic Knife,” “Poison Path” and “The Hornet.” There’s a decidedly stoner influence, vocals gaze-out Dead Meadow-style on “Psychic Knife,” but a Naam jam in “Brain Ghost” and the Fu Manchu drive of side B highlight “Electric Werewolf” offer plenty of variety within that sphere, guitarist/vocalist Rocky Rinaldi, bassist/vocalist Jordan Blumling and drummer Tim Plunkett finding space to make their own thanks in no small part to a palpable chemistry between them. Heavy rock and roll, and a damn good time, Get Bent comes across more as a suggestion than an imperative by the time the arm’s returned after “Life Cult” but either way, Gondola’s jam-laden push and brainmelter leads make this one a howler not to be missed, and just because it vibes hard doesn’t meant the songs don’t move.
Consistently unpredictable and reliably prolific, Boston outfit Space Mushroom Fuzz – spearheaded by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside – isn’t through opener “Let’s Give Them Something to Hate About” before a sampled bong and sickly-sweet solo interwine with a progressive psychedelic jam. One never really knows what’s coming from Space Mushroom Fuzz, and on Future Family, it seems to be a blend of traditional songwriting with the project’s long-established weirdo sensibilities. “A Day in the Strife” is particularly Floydian, but even that has a structure, and “Saving all My Love for U2” has just about the heaviest, most straightforward push I’ve heard from Abrams in this context, even though there’s plenty of freakout to be had as well. What holds the release together is the persistent anything-goes vibe, which is maintained even unto the acoustic-led swirl of closer “L’Americana,” not quite fully departing an underlying cynicism, but escaping sonically the irony in some of the album’s titles in a manner that’s sincere whether or not it wants to be.
The key to Deep Aeon’s Temple of Time (released on H42 Records) is in the momentum the German four-piece commence to build on opener “Element 24” and how utterly unwilling they are to relinquish it at any point over the release’s 29-minute span. Even six-minute closer “River” has a shuffle – and handclaps. Vocalist Marcel Röche keeps a gruff edge to his voice throughout, but that could just as easily be from keeping up with guitarist Alexander Weber, bassist Axel Meyer and drummer Nikolaj Marfels. Songs like “Floating” and side-B launch “With that Priest on the Back Seat” offer straightforward fuzzy heavy rock, but rhythmically, Temple of Time swings and swings and swings and there’s just no getting away from it. If the record was 50 minutes long, I’m not sure it would be sustainable – someone’s bound to need to catch their breath, band or listener – but for being in and out in under half an hour, Deep Aeon make a clean, efficient run with little use for letup. Bonus points for the Alexander von Wieding artwork.
“Come with me, let’s go get high,” urges Teepee Creeper guitarist/vocalist Jon Unruh on “Rainbow Sex Glow” from his band’s seven-track/33-minute Ashes of the Northwest full-length, recorded by Mos Generator’s Tony Reed, who also drums and whose band released a split 7” with Teepee Creeper last year (review here). I won’t say “let’s go get high” sums it all up, but a lot of it. Riffs rule the day, and deservedly so, on tracks like “Far Far Away,” the live-tracked “Crushing the Gods of Men” and “The Raven’s Eye,” which caps with a particularly righteous roll. Rounded out by bassist Jeremy Deede – no slight presence in the mix – and now featuring drummer Ian Hall, Teepee Creeper seem to get better the higher the volume goes, the impressive and open-sounding tones surrounding the listener on the aforementioned “Rainbow Sex Glow” like a meaner version of Texas’ Wo Fat, and yes, that is a compliment. The album may or may not reduce their native region to ashes, but it’s bound to turn some heads in their direction.
How right the umlaut-happy Hellräd are when the Philly sludge slammers posit that Things Never Change. Their destructive, blown-out grime makes its nihilism plain in songs like “Homegrown Terrorist,” “My Jihad Against My Own Mind,” “Dopefiend Jesus,” and of course “Smoke More Crack,” weighted, lumbering grooves switching off at a clip with full-speed punker fuckall. Guitarist Mike Hook, noisemaker/vocalist Dirty Dave (not the same Dirty Dave from The Glasspack), bassist Herb Jowett and drummer Robert Lepor get down to all-out bludgeonry from the start of “Street Zombies,” the opener and longest track (immediate points) at 6:55, but there’s just something about the rolling groove of “Fuck Up (All I’ll Ever Be)” that hits home. Probably not as primal in its making as the energy with which it’s conveyed might lead one to believe, the ultra-nasty 38-minute debut full-length is nonetheless likely to leave a dent in your skull. Or have your skull leave a dent in something else. A wall, maybe. Or another skull.
Working in longer form on the four original tracks included on Dead Sun Worship, their full-length debut, Dublin four-piece Venus Sleeps make an atmospheric centerpiece out of the Syd Barrett cover “Golden Hair,” which in the context of what surrounds it is almost an interlude. Shades of Electric Wizard show themselves on the howling “I am the Night,” but the opening duo of “Ether Sleeper” and “Dawn of Nova” is more progressive, the guitarist/vocalist Sie Carroll, guitarist/backing vocalist Steven Anderson, bassist Seán O’Connor and drummer Fergal Malone exploring a psychedelic blend of doom and heavy rock riffing that comes to the fore again on 11-minute closer “Age of Nothing,” despite that song’s healthy dose of wah. The range they show in the original material seems only bolstered by the cover, and especially as their debut, the ambition and scope Venus Sleeps showcase is admirable. There are moments when the production seems to contract when a given part wants it to expand, to sound bigger, but Dead Sun Worship lacks nothing for clarity in purpose or execution.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Not that I’ve heard it yet or anything, but I think The Atomic Bitchwax‘s impending sixth full-length, Gravitron, is going to surprise a lot of people who believe they know what to expect from the stalwart New Jersey trio. Set for release April 21 via Tee Pee and available now to preorder, Gravitron has the kind of tight-knit, winding riffs one has come to identify as signature Bitchwax, but the production is heavier and crisper and the whole band seems to hit harder — suffice it to say, it’s a kick in the ass. And for those who think they’ve got a pretty good idea of what the three-piece do, the album shows that book’s not really closed yet.
And hey, they named the record after my favorite ride at the fair, so that rules too. They’ll launch Gravitron with slots at Desertfest in London and Berlin. Below, the PR wire offers album details and that preorder link:
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX to Release New Album Gravitron April 21
New Jersey Rock Icons and Monster Magnet Members Ready Sixth Full Length LP
New Jersey’s legendary, riff-centric power trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (aka TAB) will release its long-awaited, sixth full length LP, Gravitron on April 21 via Tee Pee. Filled with gargantuan riffs and jaw-dropping psych sonics, Gravitron was recorded at Shorefire Studios (Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi) in Long Branch, NJ and was mastered by Alan Douches (Motörhead, Tombs).
Gravitron is available for pre-order purchase now atthis location.
Since its formation in 1993, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX has inspired hundreds of developing rock and metal bands, but no group of musicians has come close to matching TAB’s unique style of fun, frenetic and formidable R’N’R! Now featuring TWO members of MONSTER MAGNET — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella — alongside shred-tastic gunslinger Finn Ryan, the band has perfected its unique style of NYC hard rock that High Times appropriately tabbed, “thunder-boogie”.
On Gravitron, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX’s Rush-like riff mazes and carpal-tunnel-inducing riffs are on full display; every note bleeds with urgency. There’s far too much exuberant energy on the record to lazily tag this as “Stoner Rock”; this is high-octane, ’70s-based hard rock infused with stabs of psychedelia and landslides of Tommy Bolin-inspired guitar heroics?! Gravitron is an A-level masterclass in bad ass Rock ‘N’ Roll? and cements the THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX as an undeniable force in today’s heavy music landscape.
Gravitron track listing:
1.) Sexicutioner 2.) No Way Man 3.) It’s Alright 4.) War Claw 5.) Coming in Hot 6.) Fuckface 7.) Proto World 8.) Down With the Swirl 9.) Roseland 10.) Ice Age “Hey Baby”
More information on THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX’s Gravitron, including new music, will be issued soon. Stay tuned toTeePeeRecords.com
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Beginning tonight, New Jersey heavy rock stalwarts Monster Magnet hit the road for a return trip to Europe in support of 2014’s Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol (review here), which took tracks from 2013’s Last Patrol (review here) and twisted them in different directions, whether it was mixing out the guitar, adding Hammond B-3, redoing the vocals, pretending it’s 1968, and so on. Monster Magnet‘s last tour in North America — also their first in more than a decade — was late 2013 heralding Last Patrol and wound up being canceled before it was finished owing to illness on the part of frontman Dave Wyndorf. No word on if they’ll tour again in the States, but Athens is the launch point for a month on the road and it’ll be March by the time these guys get home.
The PR wire invites you to let the circus burn:
MONSTER MAGNET – NOW ON TOUR IN EUROPE!
MONSTER MAGNET is Rock ‘n’ Roll at its best, Rock ‘n’ Roll in its strongest propagation, loud & flashy Psychedelic Rock! Right at the raging psychedelic maze: Front man Dave Wyndorf, is a dazzling figure of light and leading figure in personal union.
MONSTER MAGNET are now on tour all over Europe! Germany, Belgium, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denkmark – to name just a few stops! Catch them live on the road & check all upcoming tour dates here:
30.01.2015 GR – Athens / Stage Volume 1 31.01.2015 GR – Thessaloniki / Principal Club Theater 02.02.2015 CH – Lausanne / Les Docks 03.02.2015 DE – Frankfurt / Batschkapp 04.02.2015 DE – München / Backstage 06.02.2015 AT – Vienna / Szene 07.02.2015 CH – Lyss / Kufa 08.02.2015 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle 10.02.2015 NL – Deventer / Burgerweeshuis 12.02.2015 BE – Antwerp / Trix 13.02.2015 UK – Nottingham / Rock City 14.02.2015 UK – Glasgow / Garage 15.02.2015 UK – London / Electric Ballroom 17.02.2015 DE – Saarbrücken / Garage 18.02.2015 NL – Eindhoven / De Effenaar 20.02.2015 DK – Arhus / Voxhall 21.02.2015 SE – Gothenborg / Sticky Fingers 22.02.2015 NO – Oslo / Parktheatret Scene 23.02.2015 NO – Stavanger / Folken 25.02.2015 DE – Bremen / Schlachthof 26.02.2015 DE – Hannover / Capitol 27.02.2015 DE – Dresden / Reithalle 28.02.2015 NL – Rotterdam / VanNelle Fabriek
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Tomorrow here in the US it is Thanksgiving, which has some questionable origins but in practice is actually one of our less-abominable holidays, with a focus on togetherness, good food, and enjoying the company of loved ones. Today, the day before, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year while people get to wherever they’re going. Even if you don’t manage to find it until after the holiday is over, it seemed only fitting to make a new podcast so that anyone who might want to take it along for the ride would be able to do so.
My head has started to get into year-end wrap-up mode, so don’t be surprised if one or two or three of these bands show up in subsequent “Best Of” coverage. Maybe even four, looking at the list. It’s been a crazy good year, and as it starts to wind its way down and we make our way into the next one, I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these podcasts and hopefully discovered something you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. That’s really the whole idea.
If you’re traveling by road, rail, or air, I wish you a pleasant journey, and even if you’re staying put, the same applies.
Stubb, “Heavy Blue Sky” from Cry of the Ocean
Murcielago, “Way too Far” from Murcielago
Dune, “Of Blade and Carapace” from Aurora Majesty
The Skull, “Send Judas Down” from For Those Which are Asleep
Elephant Tree, “Attack of the Altaica” from Theia
Renate/Cordate, “Laudanum” from Growth
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” from Mothership II
Space Guerrilla, “Event Horizon” from Boundless
Monster Magnet, “End of Time (B-3)” from Milking the Stars
Memnon Sa, “Megalith” from Citadel
Soldat Hans, “Meine Liebste; Sie Zerbricht Sich” from Dress Rehearsal
Atavismo, “Meeh” from Desintegración
Øresund Space Collective, “Remnants of the Barbonaeum” from Music for Pogonologists