Friday Full-Length: Solace, 13

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Solace, 13 (2003)

None more Jersey. With the not-always-underlying current of hardcore punk in their sound, their ‘Die Drunk’ mantra, the sheer force of their delivery, and the absolute dogshit luck that has plagued them since their inception, Solace are about as Garden State as Garden State gets. Born of the same Red Bank/Long Branch-area heavy scene (oh, I do remember some shows at the Brighton Bar… vaguely) that ignited the likes of Monster Magnet, Core, Drag PackThe Atomic Bitchwax, The Ribeye Brothers, Halfway to Gone, Daisycutter, Solarized, Lord Sterling, on and on, Solace started life as Godspeed and like Core, were picked up by Atlantic Records, for whom they’d release one album. Guitarist Tommy Southard and bassist Rob Hultz — the latter now also in doom legends Trouble — recruited singly-named, massively-talented and no-you-can’t-see-my-lyrics vocalist Jason and ran through a slew of drummers during the period of their 1998 self-titled EP and subsequent split with Solarized, which led into their 2000 debut, Further. Released by MeteorCity, that was an album ahead of its time, and it would be another three years before Solace were able to make the follow-up that would ultimately embody the tumult that has in large part always defined them: 2003’s 13.

Southard, Hultz, Jason and no fewer than four drummers — John Proveaux, Keith Ackerman, Bill “Bixby” Belford and Matt Gunvordahl — combined across, sure enough, 13 songs to make a record of near impossible cohesion. The kind of album one puts on, listens through, hears cuts like “King Alcohol,” “Common Cause” (with its Wino guest appearance from before that was a thing people did), the opening classic/modern meld of “Loving Sickness/Burning Fuel,” the raw aggression of “In the Oven,” the swinging Pentagram cover “Forever My Queen” (again, from long before everyone had their own version), the languid initial roll of “Try,” the conquering individualized blend that surfaces in “Rice Burner,” and so on, feels like they have a good understanding of, then gets through the end of bonus track “Shit Kisser” and is in a the-hell-did-I-just-witness daze for the rest of the day. Like few before or since, Solace have been able to bend chaos to their will. Part of that is personality — if you’re fortunate enough to know Tommy, it makes more sense — but part of it also originates in an inimitable complexity of songwriting that still comes through clear in its intent toward kicking ass, and with its punker roots, is never in danger of losing its way in a wash of pretentious technicality. Metal, punk, classic heavy and more all seemed to be in Solace‘s wheelhouse on 13, and over the course of the unmanageable, CD-era hour-plus runtime, Solace pivoted between them and drew them together in a ferocious, vibrant attack that no one, in Jersey or out, has been able to match, on stage or in studio. Sorry. No one.

True to form, it would be seven years before 13 got its own follow-up. They released two EPs, Hammerhead and The Black Black, in 2004 and 2007, respectively, with the lineup solidified around SouthardHultzJason, guitarist Justin Daniels and drummer Kenny Lund, but it still wasn’t until 2010 that their third full-length, A.D. (review here), arrived as their ultimate, and to-date final, triumph. No doubt it’ll be featured in this space at some point as well, but it was my pick for Album of the Year that year, and I stand by that entirely. At the time, it seemed Solace were back and ready to roll. I talked about it as the beginning of a new era for the band. Well, in 2012 they broke up, so there you go. They played what was to be their last show headlining at Days of the Doomed II (review here) in Cudahy, Wisconsin, and then were done until a semi-reunion brought SouthardDaniels and Hultz together with drummer Tim Schoenleber and vocalist/keyboardist Justin Goins for an appearance at 2015’s Vultures of Volume II (review here) in Maryland, playing on the bill directly under their one-time compatriots in Spirit Caravan, on their own reunion.

As to what the future holds, I wouldn’t dare to predict. The new incarnation of the band were in the studio as recently as this summer and fall working on new material, though to what end, I don’t know. Chaos remains a factor never far from the center of what they do, but I’ll note that we are coming up on seven years since A.D. in 2017, which would match the span between that and 13 before it.

Whether it’s new to you or old, I hope you enjoy 13. I’ve been a fan of the band for a long time, played shows with them, seen them more times than I could or would like to count and still pronounce their name “sol-ah-chay” in the spirit of Puny Human frontman Jim Starace (R.I.P., four years this month), but I can still hear new things in this album, and my sincere wish is that you do as well.

Thanks for reading.

Had to be something from New Jersey to close out this week, since I’m down here visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I don’t get to see my people that often, at least not en masse, and as I’ve gotten older and as the physical distance has settled in over the past few years since The Patient Mrs. and I moved north, I’ve come to miss them dearly. My nephews are growing up and I don’t get to be a part of it in the way I otherwise would. It makes me sad, and it makes me appreciate the chances I do get to be with them all the more. They’re eight (going on nine, he’d want me to note) and six now. The years fly.

If you’re in the States, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, however you marked the day. Like a lot of stuff about this country, it has a pretty fucked origin, what with all that genocide of the land’s native people and culture — ongoing; look at DAPL — but at least it’s become a holiday less about cashing in and more about sitting down to a meal with loved ones, whatever rampant consumerism might happen the day after. It’s a little easier for me to take that than the holidays about selling greeting cards or candy or whatever else. Anyway, hope you enjoyed yours as I enjoyed mine.

Tonight, we head back north, The Patient Mrs. and I. Exhausting, but worth it in order to wake up at home tomorrow in our own bed. I will make myself an entire pot of coffee, as is my wont, and drink it leisurely as I begin to put stuff together for next week and play the Final Fantasy V remake on my cheapie tablet. Here are my current notes for what’s coming up:

Mon: Comacozer LP review and Year of the Cobra video premiere.
Tue: Akris review and Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters video premiere.
Wed: Megaritual LP review and Black Moon Circle video.
Thu: The 2016 Readers Poll goes live. Yup, it’s Dec. 1 already. Also Backwoods Payback review.
Fri: Right now it’s a Child review, though that might shift depending on what else comes through.

Some of that still needs to be organized, but it’s a basic running plan anyhow. It’s a start. Whatever it winds up being, I appreciate you taking the time to read.

Please have a great and safe (holiday) weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Six Sigma Unveil Preorders and Cover Art for Tuxedo Brown

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s pretty rare an album can legitimately claim to be 15 years in the making, but Six Sigma‘s Tuxedo Brown is now available to preorder after beginning its life in 2001. The New Jersey-based heavy rockers issued their The Spirit is Gone debut LP at the turn of the century and apparently set about immediate work on the follow-up, only to be stymied by years and who knows what else. With the record evidently done and ready to roll with new mixes, a new bonus track, a variety of bundles and newly-unveiled artwork by David Paul Seymour — of which there’s more you can see at the band’s Thee Facebooks page, linked below — it would seem that drought is coming to an end.

Given the span of years from start to finish, it should be interesting to hear how new and old blend together when Tuxedo Brown is actually released. With the hope of more to come, here’s the info currently available:

six-sigma-tuxedo-brown

Six Sigma – Tuxedo Brown

Double Update!! http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/six-sigma

First – The name of our new Album: Six Sigma presents… Tuxedo Brown.

Second – We are pleased as punch to announce our new artwork created by the legendary David Paul Seymour. David has worked with some of our favorites including Clutch, The Sword, Graveyard, Kadavar and Truckfighters and we are stoked of his interest to join us for the ride. This artwork will adorn our music in all forms (digital, CD, Vinyl, 8-track). In addition, expect to see Tuxedo Brown smack dab on our posters, shirts and wherever else we can put him.

Who exactly is Tuxedo Brown? Stay tuned….

15 years in the making, Six Sigma’s brand new album is available to pre-order on PledgeMusic now.

Back in 2001, Six Sigma went to the studio to record a brand new album. But it was never released…

Now, for the first time ever, they are releasing this album to the world and you can pre-order it now on PledgeMusic.

The album will be available on download and signed CD or LP, alongside a host of exclusives – from attending the recording of the album to signed lyrics and eating Q with the Sigmas. PLUS, it will feature special newly-recorded bonus track and complete remixes completed this year.

From now until the album release date, Six Sigma will keep you updated with the album’s progress, bonus content and other news from their world through the ‘AccessPass’ section here once you have placed your order.

Pre-order now, and get an instant download of the newest single.

Get involved and be a part of this special journey!

Six Sigma is:
Doug Timms – Vox/Guitar
Scott Margolin – Bass
Mappy – Drums

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/six-sigma
https://sixsigma.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/sixsigmaband/

Six Sigma, The Spirit is Gone (2000)

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Friday Full-Length: Core, Revival

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Core, Revival (1996)

Released some 20 years ago, Core‘s debut, Revival, is one of a whole league of records from its time and its place begging for a reissue. The mid-’90s were a strange time. I mean it. In the era of Clinton deregulation and corporate largesse, the music industry thrived, and it was the pre-filesharing peak of the CD era, but at the same time, there was almost no direction. The shadowy music-tastemaking illuminati — which at that point consisted of major labels, radio stations and print media, with some emerging online presence — had decided grunge was over after Kurt Cobain killed himself. It wasn’t, but whatever. Point is, there was no booming “Seattle scene” to take its place. In a way, one never came. But one positive turn that came out of the post-grunge music industry was that major labels, for a time, were willing to take a chance on rock bands. Nobody really knew why Nirvana took off — their biggest single was unintelligible; it defies the logic of pop — so there was a sense of, “Well, maybe this‘ll work too.” It’s how Kyuss got signed to Elektra. It’s how Monster Magnet got picked up by A&M. And it’s how A&R guy (and fellow WSOU alum) Jon Nardachone was able to get away with bringing New Jersey’s Core to sit alongside Clutch on Atlantic Records. Maybe stoner rock was the next great commercial movement?

It makes sense when one considers a style with attitude and weight in tone, and listening to Core‘s Revival — at 10 tracks and an hour long, plus 13 minutes of noise tacked onto the end of closer “Face” — they make a strong case for fuzz riffing as the answer for where to go next. The Long Branch trio of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan — now of The Atomic Bitchwax — bassist Carmine Pernini and drummer Tim Ryan worked with Billy Anderson on the album’s production and were probably at that point very much operating in Monster Magnet‘s shadow, as much of their scene would continue to do for the better part of the next decade. One can hear that influence in some of the spaced-out elements of opener “Way Down” — to say nothing of the “woo!” — or in the languid oozing of the 10-minute “Earth,” but Revival has as much crunch as it does cosmos, as the Alice in Chains-style melodies of “Cleargod,” the slower-nodding “Mosquito Song” and “Black Sand” showcased, and there were even a couple radio singles to be found in “Shift,” “Liquid” and “Kiss the Sun,” the latter of which remains a staple of The Atomic Bitchwax‘s live show. Topping an hour, Core had plenty of time to be multifaceted, and they were — here sounding like an East Coast answer to Fu Manchu or a precursor to Nebula, and there opening wide to the massive roll of “Sawdust” or “Face” itself, which remains a prescient blend of psychedelia, heavy fuzz and doom that was all the more a fresh blend two decades ago.

As it played out, stoner rock was not the next great commercial movement. Monster Magnet had a few significant hits, and Clutch got some airplay, but after a while, rap-rock and nü-metal took hold of the commercial sphere, labels became more inclined to acquire independent imprints than independent bands, and stoner rock became heavy rock, splintering into countless subgenres as it spread through a worldwide underground that only continues to flourish, never having really received a great major push. Maybe the timing was wrong. Maybe the marketing was wrong — 20 years ago, “stoner” was still a dirty word in the US. Maybe the line between grunge and those early stoner records — Acid King‘s Zoroaster, the stuff the Melvins were doing, Fu Manchu‘s No One Rides for Free, not to mention NJ acts like Godspeed (who were a little more metal but would spawn both Solace and The Atomic Bitchwax from their ranks) and Daisycutter (who had Tim Cronin and Ed Mundell in the lineup along with Jim and Reg Hogan, who went on to form Solarized) — was too thin and people wanted a radical shift rather than an evolution. There are any number of ways to look at this era. Like I said, it was a strange time. Bands were doing pivotal work, Core included — their 1999 follow-up, The Hustle is On, further solidified their trippy roll and was released by M.I.A./Tee Pee — and smaller labels like Man’s RuinTee PeeBong Load, and so on, were having an impact that still resonates, so while platinum records and massive airplay weren’t necessarily in the cards, one can only look at what heavy rock became and is still becoming and call it a success. As a representative of its epoch and a clarion to future development, Core‘s Revival is a shining document waiting for rediscovery.

Please note: Because the entire album isn’t on YouTube, I’ve had to make due with what’s available. The playlist above does not have “Way Down” included, but Revival is available used on the cheap via a variety of purveyors digital and physical, and you’re resourceful, so I figured it was better than nothing and those who wanted to dig deeper would be free to do so.

Either way, I hope you enjoy.

Closing out the week with Core was a pick by a reader named Alex who checked in via comment to another post, so never let it be said I don’t take requests. Actually, he had a whole list from which I may pluck others. When was the last time you seriously considered the Celestial Season catalog in context? Exactly.

I don’t even know what kind of week this was, quick or not. I was trucking I suppose until Wednesday. Left work early to go to a doctor’s appointment up north, up by where I used to work before I got the Hasbro gig this summer, and decided to go visit my old office to say hi to the people there, who were never the problem. It was like 3PM by the time we left, and The Patient Mrs. and I wound up sitting in traffic for two life-sucking hours to get home. Reminded me of how much I hated making that drive every day. Really, by the time I got off I-95, I was cursing at people. Just awful.

Since then, absolutely dead on my feet. Just demolished. Wednesday night? Wreck. Yesterday, same. Today, I’m the kind of tired where I feel like I can’t even hold my head up without actually using a hand to help support it. I want to crumple into a pile of skin and sleep until I feel human again. Or at least as close to it as I ever get.

Today I’m working a little late as well, which I expect will be a different kind of torturous, but kind of needs to happen to make up the time. Need money, is the bottom line. Holidays are coming, I’ve taken a lot of days off for a dude who’s only worked at a place for like four months, so yeah. I’ll be at my desk if you need me. At least until it’s time to go pick the dog up at doggy daycare, which she started this week and to our pleasant surprise did not explode from the change in her routine. Hate leaving the dog home alone and she can’t come with me to this office, so there you have it.

Here’s what’s in the notes for next week:

Mon: Full stream/review of the Krobak record, an announcement about a certain festival in Maryland and a video premiere from Dead Witches.
Tue: Review of the Seedy Jeezus & Isaiah Mitchell collaboration, plus the new 11Paranoias video.
Wed: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard review.
Thu: Ten East review, because it hasn’t quite been desert-y enough around here lately yet.
Fri: Full EP stream from Balam-offshoot The Sweet Heat.

I’ll fill out with other stuff and there’s news to come, of course, but that’s at least what’s going to be reviewed as of now throughout the week. Could move around. It looked totally different yesterday morning than yesterday afternoon, so always fluid to some degree.

Anything else? How are you? I hope you’re good. Think this post is long enough?

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please enjoy. Drink good coffee, eat good food, be with people you love, rock and roll, and please check out the forum and the radio stream. Thank you for reading.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Friday Full-Length: Monster Magnet, Dopes to Infinity

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Monster Magnet, Dopes to Infinity (1995)

Have you looked to your orb lately? Of all the warning systems ever designed by humanity, orb-based is probably the most crucially overlooked. Nonetheless, Dopes to Infinity, Monster Magnet‘s third album, is 21 years old. In its and the band’s home state of New Jersey, it could drink legally, though something about cuts like “Dopes to Infinity,” “Negasonic Teenage Warhead,” “Third Alternative,” “Blow ’em Off” and “King of Mars” makes me suspect the record wouldn’t have waited until now to imbibe. Even more than two decades later, Dopes to Infinity is still way more the snotty 14-year-old kid in a way-too-big leather jacket in the woods with a bottle of his dad’s Whatever teasing anyone in the vicinity who sips and is surprised at the taste. I was fortunate enough to see the band perform this album live — though the songs weren’t in the same order, as I recall — in Brooklyn in 2012 with Naam and Quest for Fire on the bill, either of whom could easily be considered an acolyte on some level, and nearly five years after that, the resonant impression remains that this was the moment where the band’s early freakout impulses really began to meet with a more straightforward hard rock style that the band would develop to wider commercial success. Don’t get me wrong, their 1991 Spine of God debut should be considered among the finest East Coast psychedelic records ever tracked — we’re talking Velvet Underground-style pedestal-putting, in a perfect world — but even as “All Friends and Kingdom Come” tripped out, it also kept a sense of hook, and in the years to come, it was that impulse which more fully took hold.

What’s fortunate about that is that Monster Magnet — then Dave Wyndorf on vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, theremin, production, etc., Ed Mundell on guitar and bass, Joe Calandra on guitar and bass, and Jon Kleiman on drums and bass — had the songwriting chops to make landmark choruses seem like tossoffs, like something thrown together over the course of an afternoon. And maybe they were, I don’t know. The point is that although Monster Magnet would eventually become a much different band and be a much different band for a long time on 1998’s Powertrip, 2001’s God Says No and 2004’s Monolithic Baby!, Dopes to Infinity catches a crucial transitional moment in action coming off Spine of God and its 1993 follow-up, Superjudge, also essential. Of course, after 2010’s Mastermind (review here), the band — Wyndorf as the last original member still present — made a stylistic pivot back toward a more psychedelic vibe with 2013’s Last Patrol (review here) and would continue to develop their rediscovered weirdo impulses over the course of two revisionist works, 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here) and 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here), revisiting Last Patrol and Mastermind, respectively. But even as they made that sonic shift, Dopes to Infinity could easily be said to be the model being followed more even than the two records before it, precisely because of that memorable songcraft one hears coming to the fore on “I Control, I Fly” and the brilliant lyrical proclamations of “King of Mars.”

Monster Magnet toured Europe this Spring “celebrating the A&M years” — A&M Records having released their work between 1993-2001 — and that’s fair enough, but as relevant as Dopes to Infinity still is, Monster Magnet keep moving forward even when looking back on older material. I don’t know what they’ll do at this point other than to say it’s a safe bet they won’t be touring the US anytime soon, but one hopes their progression will continue going into their next record. And I hope they keep getting weirder. We’ll see when we get there.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Total comedown this week from the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer (wrap here) at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn last Saturday. A return to real life that found me working at about 30 percent consciousness until, well, I’ll be generous and say Wednesday. Plenty of good music to help me keep my head up, but yeah. The week dragged and was a drag.

One more time, thank you if you came out to the Vitus Bar for making the day so special. The day had its ups and downs, but in the end it was exactly the vibe I was hoping to capture. I hope I remember it for as long as I can remember anything.

As I write this it’s early Friday morning and the sun is just rising. I can still hear nighttime crickets. It’s nearly 6AM now; I’ve been up since about four. I’ve been going to bed early at night and getting up early to write reviews and posts like this on weekdays, and it’s helped me keep sane during the work week and try to balance job things and Obelisk things in a way that might otherwise prevent my head from exploding. Doesn’t do much for my ability to get to shows generally — I’m 34 years old and can’t wait for that midlife crisis to kick in so I can start going out again to non-fest gigs — but I’m doing what I can to write as much as possible. That’s what matters to me.

The Patient Mrs. is going south to Connecticut this weekend. I am not. Aside from the fact that it’s August and that’s not exactly my idea of beach weather — I recognize this does not apply to the rest of humanity — I think a quiet Saturday in the air conditioning will go a long way toward continued recovery from last weekend and this week. Plus there’s laundry to do. It just seemed like the way to go. So yeah, I’ll be around. I’m sure by Saturday night/Sunday morning I’ll be so bored out of my head I won’t know what to do with myself. That’s the hope, anyway.

Next week, look out for a full stream and review of the Swans-related record from Quin Galavis that’s noisy and folky and bizarre in a lot of the right ways, as well as a review/video premiere (a rare one-two combo) of the new Monkey3 album, a review of the new and apparently final The Wounded Kings full-length, and a whole lot more. I’m also hoping to nail down my travel plans to Norway next month for Høstsabbat, and will keep you posted on how that goes.

In the meantime, thank you for reading. Please have a great and safe weekend and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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The Atomic Bitchwax, Lo-Pan & The Dirty Streets Announce Coast-to-Coast Tour

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 BurnTone 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:

the atomic bitchwax lo pan dirty streets tour-700

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

https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
https://www.facebook.com/lopandemic/
https://www.facebook.com/thedirtystreets
http://tonedeaftouring.com/

The Atomic Bitchwax, Live in Toulouse, France

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Heavy Flow Release I & II EP Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

heavy flow

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyFlow/
http://heavyflow.net/
http://music.heavyflow.net/album/heavy-flow-2
http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com/products/16031166-heavy-flow-i-ii-cassette
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/

Heavy Flow, II (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: Ruby the Hatchet, Valley of the Snake

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ruby the Hatchet, Valley of the Snake (2015)

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-MDDFRuby 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:

the obelisk all-dayer poster skillit

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.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Green Dragon Posts Artwork Video for “Time for Now”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

green dragon time for now

Northern New Jersey-based trio Green Dragon released their latest single, Time for Now, on Record Store Day 2016 via Gloom Records/Gern Blandsten 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.

Green Dragon on Bandcamp

Green Dragon website

Gern Blandsten Records

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