Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
A couple months ago, while out on a run with The Obsessed and Karma to Burn — Tone Deaf is killing it with the package tours this year — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik of The Atomic Bitchwax sustained an injury to his arm that forced the band to cancel about half the dates. Sierra filled in, but still kind of a bummer for the stalwart NJ trio, whose 2015 Tee Pee Records album, Gravitron (review here), was among the year’s finest.
No doubt they’d get back out, and this time they’ll be headlining a coast-to-coast stint with Ohio’s Lo-Pan and Memphis blues rockers The Dirty Streets. For Lo-Pan, it will mark the four-piece’s first tour with new guitarist Chris Thompson, who was just announced as having joined the band earlier this week. They’re on the tour from Aug. 19 through Aug. 27 only, it looks like, so presumably the next night will serve as their stop at Psycho Las Vegas. The Dirty Streets, on the other hand, have an off-night as the Bitchwax and Lo-Pan roll into Tucson on Aug. 27, so I guess that’s when they’ll be playing the Vegas megafestival.
In any case, glad to see The Atomic Bitchwax heading off again and continuing to keep excellent company. Dates were posted by the band:
USA!! Arm is healed up so let’s try this again!!
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (ALL DATES) W/ LO PAN (8/19-9/27) and THE DIRTY STREETS (8/19-9/10 excluding 8/27) 08/19/2016 Charlotte NC The Milestone w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/20/2016 Hattiesburg MS The Tavern w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/21/2016 New Orleans LA Siberia w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/22/2016 San Antonio TX Limelight w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/23/2016 Houston TX White Oak Music Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/24/2016 Austin TX Grizzly Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/25/2016 Ft Worth TX Rail Club w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/26/2016 Albuquerque NM Ned’s Bar w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/27/2016 Tucson AZ Flycatcher w/ Lo-Pan 08/28/2016 San Diego CA Soda Bar w/ The Dirty Streets 08/29/2016 Los Angeles CA Viper Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/30/2016 San Francisco CA Elbo Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/31/2016 Portland OR Dante’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/01/2016 Vancouver BC Biltmore w/ The Dirty Streets 09/02/2016 Seattle WA El Corazon w/ The Dirty Streets 09/03/2016 Bellingham WA Shakedown w/ The Dirty Streets 09/06/2016 Minneapolis MN Grumpy’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/07/2016 Chicago IL Double Door w/ The Dirty Streets 09/08/2016 Cleveland OH Grog Shop w/ The Dirty Streets 09/09/2016 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie w/ The Dirty Streets 09/10/2016 Brooklyn NY Black Bear w/ The Dirty Streets
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
New Jersey duo Heavy Flow mix garage rawness with warm-toned fuzzy psychedelia, and yeah, they have a song that sounds kind of like Misfits. That one is “Hangin’ Round,” from their newly-issued 2016 second EP, Heavy Flow 2, which along with its self-titled 2014 predecessor, has just been compiled onto a new tape release by King Pizza Records. The band played a release show this past weekend and also took part in the label’s recent Pizzafest, which is pretty much how you win at naming festivals. All tracks are available for streaming and take about 10 seconds to dig into, so if you’re unwilling to make that effort, I’ve got nothing for you, but otherwise, have at it and enjoy.
The release info came down the PR wire for lazy summer perusal:
Heavy Flow I & II: It’ll Give You Goosebumps
Our favorite nasty two-piece from the dirty shores of the dirty Jerz have just released their first tape and we’re excited. It’s a combo of their first and second EP’s and they both rip.
Heavy Flow is James Matheson whose growling vocals and heavy blues licks are paired with Matt Weisser’s pounding drumming and howling backing vocals. II is the newest release from the duo and it’s the latter half of the tape (tracks 7-12) available through King Pizza. Fat, reverb-drenched guitars pierce the cave-like production with Matheson’s gravelly shouts and Weisser’s thumping beats hanging low overhead, warning of impending doom. Lick the salt and come with me to a forbidden land where we can gallop and headbang in peace and harmony with Mother Heavy and Father Riffs.
Additional info below:
SONG LIST 1. Rubber/Glue 2. My Own Name 3. Down and Out 4. Cold as Stone 5. Trouble Find Me 6. Daydream 7. Shelter 8. Holy Roller 9. Hangin’ Round 10. Let Me Down EZ 11. Close 12. Won’t Be Me
Two Fridays ago, we closed out the week with Internal Void‘s 1993 debut, Standing on the Sun, in honor of the band’s appearance at Maryland Doom Fest 2016. Now that the fest is over, it seems only fair to follow that up with something more current representing another side entirely of the offerings last weekend in MD. Philly/New Jersey’s Ruby the Hatchet are one of the groups I was most looking forward to seeing throughout the weekend for the simple reason that I’d never seen them before and their early 2015 Tee Pee label debut and second album overall, Valley of the Snake (review here), was positively entrancing, taking Uncle Acid-style garage doom to more psychedelic places with a classic sensibility in its swing and organ-inclusive melodies.
The songs were also catchy as hell, and that never hurts.
Comprised of six tracks for a 40-minute run, Ruby the Hatchet‘s second LP broke cleanly into its two sides and asked little more of the listener than to nod along to cuts like the strong opening duo of “Heavy Blanket” and “Vast Acid,” the latter of which seemed to wink directly at Uncle Acid‘s ultra-influential “I’ll Cut You Down,” but still come out of it with a personality of its own, and both of which were highlights of their performance at the fest. Frontwoman Jillian Taylor was responsible for a lot of that, and her vocal command is a major appeal throughout the record, but guitarist John Scarperia, bassist Mike Parise (since replaced by Lake Muir), drummer Owen Stewart and organist Sean Hur each have their say as well, and as they shift into the drawl of side A closer “Tomorrow Never Comes,” it’s Ruby the Hatchet as a whole working cohesively to elicit the doomed feel.
That song plays a bit of back and forth with tempo late, but its primary impression is slower than the two cuts before it. When they start side B with “The Unholy Behemoth,” the feeling is very much like they’ve gone back to the start, but “The Unholy Behemoth” and “Demons,” which follows, are both more the band’s own. Unafraid to break out an upbeat winding intro riff, “Demons” boasts plenty of swing and is still definitely cult rock in its atmosphere, but there’s a sense of Ruby the Hatchet putting their stamp on the sound more than playing to style. The hooks are no less prevalent, fortunately, and as they move into the sunshiny heavy psychedelia of the closing title-track, introducing it with some underlying noise, acoustic guitar and organ, they are completely in their own space. Some heft emerges later on as toms and electric guitar kick in, but Valley of the Snake‘s closer remains golden-hued all the same, capturing a sentimental vibe to finish that’s as resonant emotionally as it is sonically individual.
Post-MDDF, Ruby the Hatchet spent this week on tour with Black Mountain, and will wrap with the dates below:
Ruby the Hatchet live: 7/1 – Ithica, NY @ The Haunt* 7/2 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair* *supporting Black Mountain **supporting The Obsessed
As this is posted, I’m making my way back down to Maryland. The Patient Mrs.‘ car, which broke down on the final day of Maryland Doom Fest — literally right as I pulled into the parking space outside Cafe 611 as Mangog were getting ready to start — is still at a garage in Frederick. The alternator has been fixed, which is super, but Frederick is about seven hours in the car from where I live on the best of days, let alone the Friday before the July 4 holiday. Traffic sucked pretty bad last week. I don’t expect this trip will be any better.
My first (four-day) week of work at my new job is under my belt. It was good, I think. Actually managed to do something semi-productive yesterday — like an actual task that will be a part of my job going forward — without completely screwing it up, so that was a nice feeling. Other than that, it’s been a lot of meetings, a lot of meeting people, a lot of information overload, pretty typical stuff. I was good and beat by Wednesday night, yesterday dragged some, but today was a half-day, as are all Fridays, so getting out at 1 is pretty much what’s making it possible to get to Maryland, and I’m thankful for that. Can’t keep a rental car forever.
It’s a crowded office, and I share a cubicle, but the people seem nice and nobody’s told me to fuck myself yet. I wore sandals today and yesterday, and a t-shirt with an open short-sleeve button-down, so you know, could be worse. I figure I’ll lose the button-down altogether sooner or later. Don’t think it will be an issue. Too many people here for anyone to care.
Before I check out and take over driving from The Patient Mrs., I’d like to extend a special thanks to Sean “Skillit” McEleny for absolutely killing it on the poster for The Obelisk All-Dayer (tickets here) Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar. If you didn’t see it, click below to enlarge:
It turned out better than I could’ve hoped and his monumental effort is massively appreciated. Superlatives all around. Dude is amazing.
Been a stressful week, gonna be a stressful next day or two down to MD and back to CT, then MA, but whatever. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Might put one or two posts up Monday relevant to Europe if anything comes through, or might just let it ride until Tuesday. Maybe a podcast! It’s been forever. Gonna play it by ear.
Northern New Jersey-based trio Green Dragon released their latest single, Time for Now, on Record Store Day 2016 via Gloom Records/GernBlandsten Records. It’s their first offering since their initial demo, titled Demo (review here), was issued in the waning hours of 2013. Not an impossibly long time, but still, it’s been a minute. Pressed to white or green vinyl , the Time for Now 7″ brings two new tracks, “Time for Now” and “Mercury is Heavy,” with the returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist Zack Kurland (Sweet Diesel), bassist Jennifer Klein (The Plungers) and drummer Nate Wilson (Devoid of Faith) proffering low-frills fuzz and pretense-free heavy grooves.
The recording, unsurprisingly, is an upgrade in professionalism from the demo, with Kurland following upbeat but still thick riffs that maybe betray some of the band’s roots in hardcore and punk, but still have those rounded Sabbathian edges tonally and in their execution. One of the things I’ve dug most about Green Dragon (formerly The Green Dragon) in the nearly four years since I first posted their video for “Downflame” is that they’re completely what-you-see-is-what-you-get. It’s friends getting together every now and again and rocking out. No agenda, no “we’re gonna take over the world” BS. Just a group of players writing songs for their own enjoyment and that of whoever else happens to encounter them. When you get that, and it’s genuine, there are few things as appealing.
I’ve called them a garage band in the past. I guess “Time for Now,” the lyrics to which bring a kind of carpe diem message, holds up on that to a certain extent, but the relative smoothing out of the sound on the 7″ gives it a different feel. You can make your own assessment, I know, but the vibe I got was slowdown Black Flag filtered through pre-grunge-era alt-rock. You can check out the artwork for the 7″ in the video below and order it at the link that follows that.
Hope you enjoy:
Green Dragon, “Time for Now” artwork video
Time for Now – A Side of Green Dragon s/t 7″ limited green vinyl Record Store Day edition and White vinyl on Gern Blandsten/Gloom Records. Featuring ex-members of Devoid Of Faith, Sweet Diesel, The Plungers, Monster X, Das Oath, Your Adversary.
New Jersey-based heavy rockers Dinosaur Eyelids are currently in their seventh year and working on their fifth album. Their last offering, Bypass to Nowhere — even as I know the exact bypass they’re talking about I can’t help but wonder why it always comes back to highways with New Jersey — was released in 2014 and among its featured tracks is the spacey, jammy “Vernal Equinox.” And it just so happens that Dinosaur Eyelids have a new video for that song put together with satellite/ISS views from space, performance footage that I’m pretty sure comes from the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, some cool sunspots and so on.
Point is I doubt it’s anything you’d see paired with the track itself and think it’s out of place. While I think I’ll always hear an underlying edge of aggression in anything from my formerly beloved Garden State, Dinosaur Eyelids are at very least toning it way down here, I guess leaving the crunchier vibes for album cuts like “Halo Judgment” and “Talkin’ to Me” while the bulk of the record basks in a post-grunge alternamelodic looseness, and if it’s disaffection, well, at least it’s disaffection in the summertime humidity. These guys have always been right on the line between what I think fits around here and what doesn’t, and I won’t speak for their currently-in-progress next record, but at least this song works.
Find the “Vernal Equinox” video below, and enjoy:
Dinosaur Eyelids, “Vernal Equinox” official video
Official music video from the album “Bypass to Nowhere”
We’d like to take a moment to clear up some of the rumors currently circulating in the media. Yes, we are in the studio working on our fifth album. Yes, it is better than anything we’ve ever done. Yes, we are working with music legend Ed Wilson as our producer. Yes, Mark has impregnated all of the Kardashians.
We hope this clears things up.
Thanks to everyone who came out to our ALS Benefit Show at John in Peter’s (New Hope, PA) in December! We raised almost $1,000 for a very good cause. Thank you also to everyone who came to our big return to the Court Tavern (New Brunswick, NJ) on March 4th. It was our 20th show in the basement and definitely one of the best.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
That is a gosh darn significant lineup. The Obsessed, The Atomic Bitchwax and Karma to Burn? I mean, really. Who’s gonna complain about that show? Unless you happen to live in/near a city not being hit by the tour, I can’t really see anything to bitch about when it comes to pairing those acts up. Each offers something different from the others, but is completely excellent at what they do, whether that’s The Obsessed‘s trailblazing Maryland doom, The Atomic Bitchwax‘s frenetic winding riffage or Karma to Burn‘s instrumental crunch. Seems reasonable to expect these will be some killer evenings.
Word came out from The Obsessed a bit ago, but Karma to Burn — still in the midst of a current European tour — newly announced the run as follows via the PR wire:
KARMA TO BURN Announce North American Tour With The Obsessed and The Atomic Bitchwax
In support of their new release Karma To Burn will hit the road this spring with The Obsessed and The Atomic Bitchwax. The tour starts May 13th in Washington, DC and runs through June 11th in Atlanta, GA. A complete list of dates can be found below.
The band commented on the upcoming tour:
“What better way to follow a full European tour than following The Obsessed and Atomic Bitchwax around America? How about a month off in Sardinia, followed by a year living in the Netherlands. As much as we would like that, we should do the tour, it’s only our second full US tour in 5 years, so we’re a bit overdue in our own country. The stacked lineup and extensive schedule should make up for our absence. THE OBSESSED…Wino…the demi-god of DOOM…we couldn’t pick a better US band to support. But honestly we’re most excited about the burritos and burgers. See you on the road.”
There’s no indication that things are about to slow down for this band – what with their spring 2016 tour coming up, which has already been confirmed. So no signs of fatigue in the Karma To Burn camp. “More than 20 years ago, people told me that a purely instrumental band could never work in the long run,” William Mecum recalls. “But Karma To Burn are like a boxer with a big heart, amazing stamina and a talent for getting back on his feet again and again.” Which is just as well, seeing that in this case there’s a mountain to be conquered.
KARMA TO BURN W/ The Obsessed and The Atomic Bitchwax, 5/13: Washington DC @ Black Cat 5/14: Pittsburgh PA @ Altar Bar 5/15: Harrisonburg PA @ Golden Pony 5/16: Brooklyn NY @ Saint Vitus Bar 5/18: Richmond VA @ Strange Matter 5/19: Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie 5/20: Huntington WV @ V Club 5/21: Indianapolis IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge 5/22: Chicago IL @ Beat Kitchen 5/23: Minneapolis MN @ 7th Street Entry 5/24: Rock Island IL @ Rock Island Brewing Co. 5/25: St. Louis MO @ Fubar 5/26: Kansas City MO @ Riot Room 5/28: Denver CO @ 3 Kings 5/30: Seattle WA @ El Corazon 5/31: Portland OR @ Dante’s 6/2: San Francisco CA @ Slim’s 6/3: Los Angeles CA @ Complex 6/4: San Diego CA @ Brick By Brick 6/5: Phoenix AZ @ Club Red 6/7: Austin TX @ Dirty Dog 6/8: Ft. Worth TX @ Tomcats West 6/9: Houston TX @ Walter’s 6/10: New Orleans LA @ Siberia 6/11: Atlanta GA @ Drunken Unicorn
True, The Atomic Bitchwax‘s sixth album, 2015’s Gravitron (review here), hit really hard. A lot of it was all-out, full-on, other-hyphenated-phrases-that-mean-really-fast winding riffage, the New Jersey trio of bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella leaving most bands in their dust while also writing catchy, memorable songs. Think that’s easy? Try it.
But the Bitchwax do as the Bitchwax does, and while so much of Gravitron raged ahead with frenetic impact, closer “Ice Age” took a more laid back approach. They never lack for groove either way, but the album’s finishing track recalled some of the band’s more pop-informed fare, like “Wreck You” from 2008’s TAB4 in the unmitigated centrality of its hook, but still fitting with Gravitron‘s vibe overall. They’ve got a new video for “Ice Age” that reminds of how easy it was to get the song stuck in your head.
Actually, on the back of the CD, the song is listed as “Ice Age ‘Hey Baby'” with the “Hey Baby” in double quotes, and the promo I got had it as “Ice Age Hey Baby,” but the video calls it “Ice Age,” and since it’s the band putting it together, I won’t ague. By any other name, it’s still catchy as hell. Both the phrase “ice age” and the phrase “hey baby” get repeated enough either way that you’ll be able to pick up immediately which song it is if you heard the record, and if you didn’t, shit, you’re in for a treat.
Have at it:
The Atomic Bitchwax, “Ice Age” official video
New Jersey’s legendary, riff-centric power trio THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX 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.
It’s been a busy year for New Jersey’s primo twisters of riff The Atomic Bitchwax. In addition to releasing their sixth full-length, Gravitron (review here), on Tee Pee Records, the Garden State trio toured Europe this spring and in the US in the early fall, and in less than two weeks’ time, they’ll head abroad once more to round out 2015 on the road with dates in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark and the UK. They’ve got one day off on an 18-show run, and it seems as though they’re trying to match the intensity of Gravitron‘s high-speed churn with a touring ethic that sees them hand-delivering the riffage one town at a time.
Today, the velocity-prone three-piece of bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik (also now of Monster Magnet), guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella (also also of Monster Magnet) premiere a new video for the track “It’s Alright,” and like much of their work, it balances a laid back sensibility on top of a rhythmic mania in a manner that, in less capable hands, would completely fall flat. Like other album highlights “No Way Man” (video here) and “Coming in Hot,” it’s got blinding riffs and a hook that, though moving quick, implants itself on your brain in that signature Bitchwax style. The band’s energy throughout Gravitron is unmatched in their back catalog, and they seem comfortable working at a jog that for many heavy acts would be a sprint beyond their pace.
As to the video itself? Dancing girls, copious sunglasses, the band jamming out and Pantella mysteriously in and out of a pig mask (note that the pig still wears sunglasses) — it’s hard to argue it doesn’t have something for everybody. The European tour starts Nov. 25, which is just a couple days before the US celebrates Thanksgiving, but they’ll be back in time for Xmas, so, you know, it’s alright.
The Atomic Bitchwax, “It’s Alright” official video
In April 2015, TAB released their 6th album “Gravitron” on Tee Pee Records, and toured in Europe during the spring! Fuzz on Bitchwax!
EURO WINTER TOUR DATES ARE IN!!! 25.11.15 HANNOVER – MEPHISTO – GERMANY 26.11.15 UTRECHT – DB’s – HOLLAND 28.11.15 TOULOUSE – LE SAINT DES SEINS – FRANCE 29.11.15 NANTES – LE FARRAILLEUR – FRANCE 30.11.15 PARIS – LA MECANIQUE ONDULATOIRE – FRANCE 01.12.15 LONDON – BLACK HEART – UK 02.12.15 MILTON KEYNES – CRAUFURD ARMS – UK 03.12.15 GLASGOW – AUDIO – SCOTLAND 04.12.15 COVENTRY – THE PHOENIX – UK 05.12.15 EBBW VALE GWENT – EVI CULTURAL ARTS CENTRE – UK 06.12.15 DRACHTEN – IDUNA – HOLLAND 07.12.15 DORTMUND – PIANO – GERMANY 08.12.15 KIEL – SCHAUBUDE – GERMANY 09.12.15 HAMBURG – ROCK CAFE – GERMANY 10.12.15 COPENHAGEN – KB18 – DENMARK 11.12.15 GOTHENBURG – TRUCKSTOP ALASKA – SWEDEN 12.12.15 AALBORG – 1000 FRYD – DENMARK 13.12.15 BERLIN – BASSY – GERMANY