Posted in audiObelisk on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
One-man psych outfit Sleepy Cheese will make its debut on Halloween via Forged Artifacts with an EP called Thank God it Hurts. Four tracks tied together through a series of voicemails, the bedroom-recorded sound is minimal in places and intimate, but still carries some blown-out threat, vocals coming on in rasps throughout “Be Good,” “Credit Card,” “Roach” and “The Glory.” There’s a raw and exploratory feel that remains fervent just about the whole way, but going along with that is a very personal root that serves as the foundation from which the material emanates. There’s a human core under the inhuman sounds, in other words.
The fervent buzz in Sky Traceable’s guitar and the rasp that accompanies the molten, slow-progressing groove of “Be Good” brings to mind some stoner take on black metal, but that’s hardly scratching the surface of what’s at play stylistically throughout Thank God it Hurts. At the end of the opener, we’re also treated to the first in a series of recorded voicemails that string a thread through the four songs and create a narrative of a breakup in progress. Since a lot of what Traceable has to say lyrically is indecipherable, the voicemails go a long way in amplifying the mood, the fuzz that starts “Credit Card” sounding that much more mournful even before the organ and drum march starts in for the severance that came just before.
All told, it’s a short release, and things only get crazier as “Roach” launches with a creepy voice talking about a “stupid, stupid phone” before moving into shoegaze-gone-mad screaming and sleepy rollout, and by the end it can be kind of hard to take, but resolution comes with “The Glory,” on which Traceable is first scolded for drunk-dialing before the EP’s most satisfyingly classic-styled riff gives a glimpse at what retro rock might’ve become if it had spent the money on pills instead of vintage equipment. By the time he gets there, Traceable has more or less wrapped the narrative, but there’s an effects-drenched sample included in the song itself, which ties everything together before “The Glory”’s last push and the sudden, clean-break ending.
Sleepy Cheese’s Thank God it Hurts will be out on Halloween via Forged Artifacts, but you can check it out on the player below. Please enjoy:
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hot on the heels of their new EP, Realisations, which was released a few weeks back to help raise funds for their impending European tour, Brooklyn classic rocking trio The Golden Grass have shored up the run of that tour and have revealed the details of a new 7″ that they’ll have along with them containing the tracks “A Curious Case” and “The Pilgrim.” Like their earlier-2014 self-titled debut (review here), the single will be under the banner of Svart Records, and though the official street date isn’t until later in November, the band will have copies to sell on the road, their tour including a stop at YellowstockWinter Fest in Belgium on Nov. 29. Surely they’ll be bringing the warm vibes with them wherever they go.
The PR wire has details and the friggin’ awesome cover art for the single by Flatbush Brown:
THE GOLDEN GRASS to tour Europe next month, to release special 7″ single
Swamp Booking, in conjunction with Svart Records, is proud to announce the debut European tour by one of the most exciting new groups of the global underground heavy rock scene, The Golden Grass. Formed in early 2013 by Adam Kriney (La Otracina) and Michael Rafalowich (Strange Haze/Whooping Crane/Tav Falco’s Panther Burns), the band came together to write uplifting and feel-good heavy boogie rock music, complete with soaring soulful harmony-laden vocals, epic psychedelic/prog passages, Southern/country vibrations, and top-notch musicality.
Before The Golden Grass had even played a single show, their infectious classic sound caught the ear of Beastmilk’s Mat McNerney, who heard some early demos, and within weeks, the group was signed with Svart Records. The band has toured the Eastern USA extensively, playing with a slew of bands across the underground heavy/rock/psychedelic/metal scenes, resonating with headbanger and hippie alike, establishing an instant cult following wherever they performed.
The Golden Grass will bring their incredible live concert experience to Europe this November. Confirmed dates/venues are as follows:
November 13 – Liege, Belgium @ Inside Out November 14 – Charleroi, Belgium @ Le Vecteur November 15 – Drachten, Holland @ Iduna November 16 – TBA November 17 – Bruxelles, Belgium @ Spione Bar November 18 – Haag, Holland @ Dystopia Den November 19 – Hamburg,Germany @ Rock Cafe November 20 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Stengade November 21 – Aalborg, Denmark @ 1000fryd November 22 – Lund, Sweden @ Rocknroll Klubben November 24 – Helsinki, Finland @ On the Rocks November 25 – Tampere, Finland @ Klubi November 27 – Malmo, Sweden @ Grand November 28 – Siegen, Germany @ Vortex November 29 – Geel, Belgium @ Yellowstock Winter Fest
Hot off the heels of this maiden European tour, The Golden Grass will release a special two-song 7″ vinyl single via Svart Records. Featuring two dazzling new tunes,”A Curious Case”/”The Pilgrim” showcases the band’s abilities to bring those feel-good times with soulful hard-rockin’ grooves. But as you CAN and SHOULD expect with each new release from The Golden Grass, you’ll meet unexpected new musical ideas from this power trio. The group’s artwork and graphic design is always a priority, and with this release, it is no exception, as it features absolutely hilarious illustrations by Brooklyn artist Flatbush Brown that truly complete that feel-good vibe of the band. Set for release on November 28th but available for sale during the tour, cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for “A Curious Case”/”The Pilgrim” Side A: A Curious Case Side B: The Pilgrim
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Haven’t heard much from Brooklyn crunch specialists Family since their 2012 release, Portrait (discussed here), but they’ve obviously spent the two years since it came out making good friends. From Moon Tooth and Weedeater to Lunglust, The Cloth, Beak, Hosoi Bros., Laser Flames on the Great Big News, Order of the Owl and Horseskull, their upcoming tour is rife with badass accompaniment. They’ll alternate between sharing the road time with Order of the Owl and Beak, and that’s already some pretty nifty shakes, but this is one of those lists of tour dates where you go back and check out the acts listed as being played with in each town, since it’s obvious some effort was put into curating each of these bills. Very cool stuff.
The tour starts Nov. 5 out on Long Island and takes off from there around the East Coast and Midwest, with the routing as such:
FAMILY FALL 2014 TOUR DATES
Wed 11/5 – Long Island, NY – Amityville Music Hall w/Meek is Murder, Bangladeafy, Moon Tooth Thurs 11/6 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/Sunburster, Bardus, The Cloth Fri 11/7 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar w/Weedeater, Full of Hell, Lazur/Wulf, Tiger Flowers Sat 11/8 – Cambridge – TT the Bear’s w/Tiger Flowers, Lunglust, Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan Wed 11/12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s w/Slaves BC, Edhochuli Thurs 11/13 – Columbus, OH – Ruby Tuesday w/Denounce Your Martyr, All My Friends Are Dead, Silence the Ocean, Asylum Effect Fri 11/14 – Chicago, IL – Township w/Beak, TBD Sat 11/15 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar w/Beak, Quaere Verum, Ashes and Iron, Fumer Sun 11/16 – Memphis, TN – Hi-Tone Cafe w/Beak, Hosoi Bros, Hombres Mon 11/17 – Nashville, TN – Springwater w/Beak, Sheep Shifter, Laser Flames on the Great Big News Wed 11/19 – Atlanta, GA – 529 w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Dead Register Thurs 11/20 – Charlotte, NC – The Milestone w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Viajando Fri 11/21 – Wilmington, NC – Reggie’s w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Mountain Thrower Sat 11/22 –Raleigh, NC – The Maywood w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Horseskull
Posted in Columns on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Woody is right. It’s been a minute since the last time there was a Spine of Overkill column featured here, but truth be told, his stint has lasted much longer than any of the other contributors in that little experiment, and since his stories are so cool, I’m happy to post them whenever he wants to send them over. Once every six months? Fine. Not like I’m working on a schedule. I’ll take what I can get.
This time around, the Mighty High guitarist/vocalist brings us a quality tale of seeing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest together at Madison Square Garden in 1982. Enjoy:
Jeez, it’s been six months since the last time I did anything for the Obelisk? Sorry H.P. You deserve better than that so I’m coming back with a big one. I could have sworn that I already wrote about the Judas Priest/Iron Maiden U.S. tour of 1982 but I did not. Thanks for your patience and to the dude on Twitter who reminded me of my metal duty to the Obelisk.
I’ve been a full blown Priest fanatic ever since hearing a live radio broadcast on WLIR from the British Steel tour. (I Rippled about that monumental day here). Next to Motörhead, Judas Priest was THE band for me. Every time I went to the record store I would discover yet another great album from them. The string of records they pumped out in the ’70s and early ’80s is fuckin’ impressive — Hell Bent for Leather, Sin After Sin, British Steel, Sad Wings of Destiny and so on. Not to mention the monumental live powerhouse of Unleashed in the East. Come on! It doesn’t get any better. 1981’s Point of Entry was a pretty big disappointment. “Heading out to the Highway,” “Solar Angels,” and “Desert Plains” kicked ass but crap like “You Say Yes” and “Troubleshooter” was totally bogus. When they played the Pier on the west side of Manhattan that tour I didn’t bother to go see them.
Then in July of ’82 Judas Priest released Screaming for Vengeance. I could tell by the album cover that it was going to be a lot better than Point of Entry and the opening double barreled assault of “The Hellion/Electric Eye” confirmed that. The title-track, “Riding on the Wind,” “Devil’s Child,” “Bloodstone” and, of course, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” were added to the list of my mother’s least favorite songs to hear thudding through my bedroom door. I usually skipped over “Fever” and “Take These Chains.”
Earlier in ’82 Iron Maiden released their third album, Number of the Beast. The first two Maiden albums were flat out incredible and this was the first one with new singer Bruce Dickinson. While I preferred the raw vocal stylings of Paul Di’Anno I had no problem rocking out to the new album. Hearing songs like “Number of the Beast,” “The Prisoner,” “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” and “Run to the Hills” for the very first time was special. It was obvious Maiden were influenced by Priest but they had a Deep Purple/Rainbow/UFO angle that made them totally unique.
Priest started getting some pretty heavy radio airplay with “You Got Another Thing Comin’.” One day at the end of the summer I hear a radio ad that Judas Priest was coming to NYC to play Madison Square Garden. Who’s opening? Iron Maiden. Holy shit. My heart was pounding. It seemed to good to be true — the two best metal bands on the same bill and it was happening on a Saturday night, Oct. 2. A couple days later I’m at work. The plan was to hop on the MetroNorth train into Manhattan as soon as I got paid at the end of the day. My friend Gavin (R.I.P.) from school was working with me that day and he decided to come along with me. He asked me who I was going to the show with and I said I didn’t know. Then he came up with the idea that he would go to the Priest show if I went to see Santana with him, also at the Garden. Alright, what the hell. I always liked the first few Santana albums even if I wasn’t into their current album Zebop, featuring the big hit “Winning.” We hit the city, scored our tickets and most likely bought lousy pot in Bryant Park.
That Santana show turned out to be really cool. The crowd was full of rowdy Mexican low riders and ’60s burnouts. Just about everyone had a massive afro and a thick mustache (even some of the ladies). I will never forget the enormous cloud of pot smoke hovering over the crowd at the top of the arena. Still the biggest cloud I’ve ever seen. Carlos and his band boogie’d hard with plenty of percussion discussions amongst the drummers. As good as it was, I knew Priest would be even better.
Saturday October 2nd finally rolled around and I was fuckin psyched. I’d played the hell out of my Maiden and Priest albums all Zeptember but didn’t listen to any of them all day Friday and Saturday. That remains a rule for me – never listen to the band you’re going to see on the day of the show. It’s bad luck. For some reason Gavin decided to bring along a girl named Pam to the show. Nice girl but not metal at all. Neither was Gavin. He was into Neil Young (UGH) and the Grateful Dead (BLECH). Suddenly I realized this wasn’t such a great arrangement after all. I didn’t want to be the third wheel on their stupid date! At least they brought some weeeeeeeeed and shared it with me. The train was full of wasted teenagers screaming out band names and song titles. One guy kept yelling “lick my butt!” I thought it was hilarious but my companions thought it was atrocious behavior.
I got my usual Fosters oil can when we hit Grand Central for the walk over to the Garden. The streets were clogged with metal heads and peddlers selling nickel bags, mesc and bootleg shirts. I bought a killer black jersey with red sleeves. On the front was the cover of Screaming for Vengeance and the back had Number of the Beast. Later when I unrolled mine I discovered that it said “IRON MAID” on the back and “EN” was silkscreened on the elbow. It must have been folded under when they made it. Fuck it, I didn’t care. It was still mint as hell.
Finally the lights went down and Iron Maiden hit the stage. Our seats were pretty crappy — up high and off to the side but I could care less because the sound was loud as hell. Maiden opened up with “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and everyone went nuts. Everyone except for the two people I came with. They sat their holding hands and trying to talk. I ignored them and just rocked out. “Wrathchild,” “Run to the Hills” and a few more from the new album were blasted out. Then Eddie himself came out during the song “Iron Maiden.” I had seen lots of pictures of him onstage in Kerrang magazine but had no idea he’d make an appearance. So cool. They finished up the set with a big singalong on “Drifter.”
The crowd was so fired up on metal and you could hear a lot of headbangers say that Priest might not be able to top that. Soon enough the lights went down and the opening notes of “The Hellion” blasted the Garden. The stage set up was massive. Two levels with the drummer upstairs and the rest of the band downstairs. All you could see was stack upon stack of Marshall amps. Since my seats were on the side I could see Halford crouching down behind the amps on the upper level ready to make his entrance. “Up here in space I’m looking down on you” he sang as he rounded the corner. Dressed completely in black leather he had the cover to Screaming for Vengeance painted on the back of his vest. Impressive.
Priest’s set was flawless. “Riding on the Wind,” “Heading out to the Highway,” “Metal Gods,” “Sinner,” “The Ripper,” and so on. The regular set finished with an absolutely stunning “Victim of Changes.” “Livin’ After Midnight” was the first encore and they left the houselights on so everyone could see how hard the crowd was fist pumping and singing along. The pot cloud hovering above was not as big as the one at Santana but still impressive. “Green Manalishi” was up next and, finally, the Harley revved up and hit the stage for “Hell Bent for Leather.” Fucking unreal.
Over the years I’ve discovered that some of my friends were at the show before we knew each other. My friend Vinny came to the show from Queens. He said there was a girl behind him who screamed “K.K. I wanna have your baby” all night. Another friend Eric was there and enjoyed lighting banners on fire with his crew of derelicts from Brooklyn.
32 years later, almost to the day, Priest will be playing Brooklyn. Vinny and I will be there. It’s going to be a great night but a far cry from ye olde ‘82. You just don’t get nights like that anymore.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I know they’re just band-recorded four-track takes, but the way the swelling electric solo gives way to the acoustics in “The Robin Song,” which leads off The Golden Grass‘ new digital EP, Realisations, is killer anyway, and for the rawer sound, that track is even more ’70s stylized. The Brooklynite good-vibes trio are pretty fresh on the brain, for having seen them just last weekend, but I’m not about to complain about something new to dig into as well, and Realisations comes as part of a fundraiser they’ve got going to help fund their first European tour, set to start Nov. 13 and cap Nov. 29 with a slot at Yellowstock‘s Winterfest. They have limited physical pressings as incentives for the crowdfunding whathaveyou, which are tempting both for the songs and the collectible hierarchy of “I have it and you don’t,” as well as a slew of other merch packages.
Info on the EP follows with the stream from their Bandcamp:
“Realisations” is a newly assembled collection of 4-track cassette recordings, spanning the past year and a half of the band, specially selected and curated to help raise funds for our 2014 Euro Tour in November. It consists of 4 of our warm/analog home-studio-recorded tracks, including 2 demos, a sound-collage experiment, and 1 alternate version! A 33 minute EP of feel-good analog vibes!
This album is available (at this price) until Dec 01, 2014 only. After that date, the album will go up to $15 for digital download.
1. The Robin Song [Lyrics: Kriney | Music: Kriney] 2. Wheels (June 2013 Demo) [Lyrics: Kriney | Music: Rafalowich/Kriney/Noval] 3. A Curious Case (Alternate Version/April 2014 Demo) [Lyrics: Kriney | Music: Noval/Kriney/Rafalowich] 4. Down The Line (April 2014 Demo) [Lyrics: Kriney | Music: Kriney]
Adam Kriney – Drums [All Tracks] / Vocals [All Tracks] Joe Noval – Bass Guitar [All Tracks] Michael Rafalowich – Guitar [All Tracks] / Vocals  / Acoustic Guitar  / Wurlitzer  Recorded/Mixed/Produced By Adam Kriney Mastered By Andrea Zavareei Cover Artwork By Psydefects Band Logo By Adam Burke
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A local fest, with local headliners, but because it’s in Brooklyn, that also means those headliners are world class acts who’ve been around the globe and then some. Naam and While Hills will take the stage at The Paper Box on Nov. 15 to cap a fest that’s been dubbed Sludgefeast. It’s not all Brooklyn bands — the geographical radius seems to have been about two hours north or south with acts from New Paltz, New Haven and Philly — but it’s a strong showing of what Brooklyn heavy has to offer anyway, even apart from the headliners, with Blackout, Eidetic Seeing and Mountain God featured, among others. I don’t know the venue, or at least I don’t think I do (I saw Wolves in the Throne Room one year on my birthday in Brooklyn in a place I might describe as a paper box, but to be honest with you, I don’t remember much else about it), but a good time is a good time and Sludgefeast for sure looks like one of those.
The PR wire has lineup and other info for the calendar marking:
The Bent Unit and Some Pig Present: SLUDGEFEAST
A day of heavy music in Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, November 15
The Paper Box: 17 Meadow St, Brooklyn NY 11206
Brooklyn-based music review blog The Bent Unit and booking agency Some Pig Presents are proud to announce the first annual one-day heavy music festival SLUDGEFEAST. SLUDGEFEAST was conceived as a way to celebrate the best in metal, sludge, doom, psych rock and more from Brooklyn and beyond. In a city where indie, electronic, and revivalist genres dominate the airwaves, SLUDGEFEAST looks to give heavy music its rightful claim, especially as metal and its subgenres see a renaissance of sorts in other parts of the country.
Headlining the inaugural SLUDGEFEAST are Brooklyn’s own NAAM and White Hills. Both are torch-bearers of New York’s heavy scene, and no strangers to the international touring circuit. Since 2009 NAAM has been putting their unique brand of pummeling psychedelia to wax courtesy of Tee Pee records, and are currently awaiting release of their third full length. SLUDGEFEAST will see them newly returned from a 6-week European tour, including appearances at the Berlin Swamp Fest and Valada Reverence Festival. White Hills, described by NPR as a “relentlessly heavy psych-rock band with scorching wah-wah and fantastic outfits,” will hold the festival’s penultimate time slot, and is internationally reputed as a forerunner of modern, heavy space-rock.
Filling out the bill will be Brooklyn-based bands including noise/sludge outfit No Way, self-proclaimed “cave” rockers Blackout, psych-drone shamans Eidetic Seeing, doom titans Mountain God, sludge punkers Wonderbreed, and hardcore/metal masters Blackest. Joining us from the vast outside are Chimpgrinder (Philadelphia, blues/doom), It’s Not Night: It’s Space (New Paltz, space/drone), Grizzlor (New Haven, sludge/noise).
SLUDGEFEAST 2014 is more than a concert: it’s an unholy celebration of the dark, the heavy, the infernal. It’s the dawn of a new reign of heavy music in Brooklyn…
Posted in On Wax on October 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Way less of a surprise when you put it on paper than when you hear it, but it’s amazing what an impact an additional 14 minutes of music can have on a release. Primo New York blues rockers Geezer issued their Gage EP last year digitally, but aligning with STB Records, they’ve made it available as a full 36-minute 12″ in limited pressings — the only one left at this point is the OBI strip version, and its availability is due to a manufacturing holdup; STB‘s witchcult grows — with notably gorgeous orange and red splatter work and a striking front cover from Alexander von Wieding. It’s a beautiful package, which isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s followed the development of the label, but just as noteworthy is the sound of Gage itself, which has gone from a loose collection of jams — the last of them, “Dude, it’s Molecular,” was recorded live — to a genuine LP.
Gage distinguished itself immediately from Geezer‘s Handmade Heavy Blues full-length by showcasing a more languid, heavy psych approach from guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Freddy Villano and drummer Chris Turco. They were still plenty bluesy — the die-hard edition of STB‘s release of Gage was pressed to black 190g vinyl to evoke a vintage 78rpm feel, and the music justifies that — but “Ancient Song” and “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” unfolded a jammy spirit, easy-moving and grooved out, that the first album didn’t yet have, playing off the long-established chemistry between Harrington and Villano inGaggle of Cocks but moving in a distinct direction. “Ancient Song” and “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” opens and close side A, respectively, with the shorter slide-guitar blues number “Thorny” in between, a fuzzy distortion vague and buried in the background behind Harrington‘s surprisingly smooth vocal, a departure from his generally gruff, whiskey-soaked delivery.
“Thorny” has a bit of psychedelia to its echo, but the context of the track is completely different when one considers “Ancient Song” before it and “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” after, the two longer jams fleshing out heavy vibes and, in the case of the latter, unfurling a heavy rock hook of a cadence that reminds of Halfway to Gone‘s “Great American Scumbag” while reveling in its own wall of fuzz on the way to its jammed-out payoff. Over on side B, “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” (14:27) doesn’t so much distinguish itself for how psychedelic it is, but how far-ranging. It’s almost three songs in one, with a spaced-out beginning, more straightforward play of verses and chorus, a chugging jam, riff-out and final hook marked out by the lines, “And when we come for you/There will be blood.” “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” manages to successfully flow from one movement to the next, ending with an Echoplex swirl that gives way on the LP to the live guitar noise that begins the jam “Dude, it’s Molecular,” a rolling groove emerging that the trio carries to a natural conclusion.
For anyone who might have heard Gage in its original incarnation, “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” gives the STB version a much different personality, fortunately without pulling away from the laid back vibe of the self-release, however foreboding the extended track might at times be. If anything, it signifies how much Geezer are still in the process of discovering their sound, and refining their approach to be more than just a blues side or a psychedelic side. I’d be interested to know when it was written in relation to, say, “Ancient Song,” but that’s only so I might be able to cheat and make a more educated guess as to where they might be headed next. I was intrigued to find out before, but with the vinyl of Gage, the plot’s just gotten that much thicker.
Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tour had started two nights prior at Underground Arts in Philadelphia. The night before, they were in Boston, and it would’ve been a much shorter drive to hit that show, but it was my 10th wedding anniversary. A drive down to New York to pop into Manhattan and catch Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats with Danava at Bowery Ballroom didn’t seem unreasonable. Traffic on the way down, on the other hand, was. I still managed to get to the venue before they opened the doors to the upstairs room where the show was actually happening — I’d never seen a line inside the downstairs bar before — so though I felt like I was going to be late the whole time, I still managed to get a spot up in front of the stage. Doomly serendipity.
Portland, Oregon’s Danava, who are veterans of Kemado Records, were the lone openers. A double-guitar foursome, they weren’t unknown to me, having made a somewhat less than favorable impression at Roadburn in 2012. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing them, to be quite honest. I don’t even remember what it was about their Roadburn slot that had me so irked — maybe just the simple fact that they were on before Conan and the room was so crowded– but by the time their set was three songs in, it was clear I was the one with the problem and not the band, who boogied down on winding ’70s-style riffage like they were born to do it, bangs-sporting guitarist/vocalist Gregory Meleny trading riffs with Pete Hughes, also of Sons of Huns, in a flurry of shuffle and push met head-on by the bass and drums, not quite retro but definitely skipping a couple decades in its influence.
It was a sold-out show, and people came early, so Bowery Ballroom was plenty packed for Danava‘s set. “Shoot Straight from a Crooked Gun” and “White Nights of Murder” from their most recent album, 2011’s Hemisphere of Shadows, were both aired, but the primary impression I had of them was mostly of my own jackassery after our paths last crossed. Again, not sure what my deal was or where the distaste came from, but they were more than solid and held the fickle attention of a Friday night Manhattan crowd. For that alone they deserve some measure of credit. I guess one of these days I’ll have to go back and dig into their records, but at least I know for the next time they come through that it’s worth showing up. Lesson learned.
Old tube televisions, one or two with built-in VCRs — there was a time when these things were a premium — were spread throughout Uncle Acid‘s amp backline, and they’d flicker on and off with static as part of the UK outfit’s lightshow, otherwise minimal. Guitarist/vocalists Kevin “Uncle Acid” Starrs and Yotam Rubinger and bassist/backing vocalist Dean Millar were backlit, their faces obscured, as the lights above switched colors from red to blue to green, orange, yellow, etc., each song in the set seeming to come with its own hue. Light-up cat’s eyes were attached to cymbal stands on either side of Itamar Rubinger‘s drum kit, and they remained on for the duration, feeding into the band’s schlock horror cultistry and malevolent mystique, the crowd eating it up from the start of “Mt. Abraxas” onward.
For a band to sell out a place like Bowery Ballroom is not an inconsiderable achievement, and NYC is far from the only city on the tour to receive the band thusly, but that it’s Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ first run through the US only emphasizes the passionate response they have received. In the UK, they toured with Black Sabbath, and after a couple shows in London, they made their official live debut at Roadburn in 2013 with a slot on the Main Stage curated by Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard. Their two latest albums, 2011’s Blood Lust (review here) and 2013’s Mind Control (review here), are among the most lauded records in this half of the decade, and their influence is already being felt in a burgeoning movement of garage doom that one expects will only continue to grow. They’ve got a lot riding on their next full-length, but Uncle Acid are already a big fucking deal, and they were greeted accordingly in Manhattan, the audience roaring like something off a live record as the first recognizable strains of “I’ll Cut You Down” emanated from the stage.
I wouldn’t dare understate the power behind that song’s foreboding swing, murderous threat and otherworldly melody, but it was one highlight among several, “Crystal Spiders,” new single “Runaway Girls,” “Death’s Door,” “13 Candles” and “Mind Crawler” doling out rapturous hooks in Starrs‘ and Rubinger‘s vocals. They finished the regular set with “Withered Hand of Evil” and made an encore out of “13 Candles,” “Desert Ceremony” and the thudding “Devil’s Work,” a catchy finish but subdued in comparison to a lot of what preceded. No doubt this was by design, as was the entirety of the presentation, but the scale and realized sensibility with which Uncle Acid conjured up their demons and those of the multitudes in attendance — who almost to a head stuck through until the end — seemed to show a band rising to the occasion of the fervency they’ve induced. That is, while their ascendancy was already well underway by the time they started playing out, they’ve more than caught up with it. It would not be a surprise if on their next US tour, they play on even bigger stages.
Walking back the couple blocks to my car, it felt good to be back in New York. It had been a full year to the day since I last went to a show in Manhattan, which I think was the longest stretch I’ve had in more than a decade. I stopped into a cafeteria with some fantastic smelling Middle Eastern food and got a bottle of water for the road and then hit it, back up the FDR and toward the drunk-driver nightmare that was I-95 North heading into the weekend.
More pics after the jump. Special thanks to Jon Freeman for making this one happen and thanks to you as always for reading.
Posted in Features on September 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
PLEASE NOTE: This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered.
You know the drill. Leave a comment on this post to enter for your chance to win the gorgeous slab of wax shown above, signed by the band themselves. Geezer‘s Gage was released this past weekend by STB Records and, true to form, they went quick. The NYC trio self-released the EP last year, but STB presents its first physical pressing in a gorgeous orange/red vinyl swirl limited to 125 copies with full-size art by Alexander von Wieding and a couple photos on back by yours truly. That’s the “Not So Standard” edition (the OBI strip version was delayed at the press; “Die Hard” edition has one copy left as of this post), and it lives up to its name.
I’m extremely grateful to the trio for offering up this signed copy of the EP, and all the more for its limited numbers. I’ll have a review up in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more, but the short version is you don’t want to miss your chance to own a copy, especially at the price here, which is nothing.
Not So Standard Edition – Limited to 125 Pieces Vinyl – Orange and Oxblood mixture configuration
The not so standard edition boasts a beautiful configuration of two colors form the inner part of the cover art. Orange and dark reds. The swirl created by this mixture is bar none and really compliments the cover art and labels. Comes in a high quality hand numbered reverse board jacket
Artwork and design by – Alexander von Wieding Layout by – Justin @Justinedgedesigns (instagram) Label Design – Niklas Olsson (Spelljammer)
*Leave a comment on this post to enter. Winner is chosen one week from today. Please make sure to include your email address in the comment form so I can contact you if you win.
Oft-and-loudly-lauded Brooklyn genre benders Tombs received their customary round of praise for their new album, Savage Gold, and like last time, they earned it. They’ll hit the road in support of the record this fall alongside Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar on what I’m sure will be one of the season’s most-sought-after tickets, and today, they premiered a video for the track “Seance,” one of the most biting from the record.
That in itself is certainly enough to pique interest — it exists, therefore watch — but I got a special thrill out of seeing the clip was directed by Jaclyn Sheer. About a thousand years ago, Ms. Sheer and I worked together, she in PR and I in editorial, and it always warms my cold, dead heart to see excellent people doing cool things. Like directing Tombs videos. If you’re epileptic or otherwise sensitive to flashing lights, you might want to take care, but otherwise, dive in and enjoy:
Tombs, “Seance” official video
TOMBS Premiere Video For “Seance”
TOMBS released their critically acclaimed album Savage Gold this June via Relapse Records. They have completed work on the album’s first video for the song “Seance”. The video was directed by Jaclyn Sheer and can be viewed HERE.
Front man Mike Hill on the video:
“Watching the video is like observing this realm dissolve as you pass into a higher level of consciousness.”
TOMBS have released an official IPA beer with Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA. The Savage Gold beer is an imminently refreshing and crushable IPA. Brewed with red wheat and oats. Hopped intensely and aggressively with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc. Enormous notes of white grape, green pepper, mango, and marijuana. 5.2% abv.
Additionally, frontman Mike Hill has launched a specialty coffee company, Savage Gold Coffee, inspired by his love for high quality, organic coffee. The first roast, Savage Gold Prime, is an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee bean grown between 6,000 and 6,500 feet above sea level. It is an aromatic and dynamic coffee roasted to perfection with a large flavor profile. It is sourced from a co-op of Ethiopian farmers and is 100% Fair Trade, certified organic and wet (mechanically) processed. More info on the coffee is available via the official Savage Gold websiteHERE.
In support of Savage Gold, TOMBS will hit the road this fall for a three week tour with Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar. The shows kick off on October 17th in Nashville, TV and run through November 9th in Dallas, TX. A complete list of dates can be found below.
Tombs Tour Dates:
***All dates w/ Pallbearer and Vattnet Viskar***
Oct 17 Nashville, TN Exit/In Oct 18 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlie’s Oct 19 Champaign, IL High Dive Oct 20 Madison, WI The Frequency Oct 21 Detroit, MI The Magic Stick Lounge Oct 23 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop Oct 24 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace Oct 25 Montreal, QC Il Motore Oct 26 Boston, MA Great Scott Oct 27 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Oct 29 Philadelphia, PA Black Box at Underground Arts Oct 30 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery Nov 01 Atlanta, GA The Earl Nov 02 Tampa, FL The Orpheum Nov 05 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s Downstairs Nov 09 Dallas, TX Three Links
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Brooklyn cosmic rock originals Naam are headed back to Europe next month. They made two trips over last year in support of their 2013 sophomore Tee Pee Records full-length, Vow (review here), and will bring with them a new free live EP, Live in Berlin, that was presumably recorded on one or the other of those runs. Between that EP, Vow‘s continued resonance in the consciousness of their audience and their participation in Heavy Psych Sounds‘ four-way split with Black Rainbows, The Flying Eyes and fellow New Yorkers White Hills, they’ve got plenty of cause to spend some time abroad, and from this tour it looks like they’ll be making the most of it.
Of particular note are appearances at this year’s Reverence, Blizzard Mountain and Up in Smoke festivals. As we begin to move out of summer and into the fall, the common perception is that festival season is over, but it’ll be October as Naam close out this run — though they warn that this is an “initial” batch of dates, which could just as easily mean more will be added — at Up in Smoke in Pratteln, Switzerland, so clearly summer-only rules no longer apply. I’m a little surprised the four-piece aren’t sticking around another week to play Desertfest Belgium after doing London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, but if there are more dates to come, I wouldn’t rule anything out entirely just yet.
It’s past time to start thinking of Naam as one of the US’ finest heavy psych exports, and great to see them getting out again:
Naam European Tour 2014
02.09 Berlin 8MM (DJ Set) 05.09 Oslo Psych Fest 06.09 Naumburg Sallepartie 07.09 Kassel Secret Show 08.09 Munich Feierwerk 09.09 Karlsruhe Alte Hackeri 10.09 Dresden Ost Pol 11.09 Lisbon Reverence Warm Up 12.09 Valada Reverence Festival 14.09 London The 100 Club 17.09 Mannheim 7 ER Club 18.09 Jena Kulturbanhof 19.09 Berlin Swamp Fest 20.09 Rotterdam Baroeg Open Air 23.09 Copenhagen Loppen 26.09 Helsinki Bar Loose 27.09 Oulu Nuclear Night Club 30.09 Hamburg Hafenklang 02.10 Chambery Blizzard Mountain Festival 03.10 Weil der Stadt Kloster 04.10 Pratteln Up in Smoke Festival
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A heads up from my beloved Garden State in that Jersey City atmospheric black metallers Hercyn are about to issue a limited split CD with Brooklyn post-metallers Thera Roya. You might recall Hercyn released a 24-minute single-track EP last fall called Magda (review here), which they’ve since followed up with an acoustic version, and the allegiance between the two acts gets even more traction with the fact that Thera Roya used to be known as The Badeda Ladies, whom I was fortunate enough to see late in 2012 at The Grand Victory in Brooklyn (review here).
I’ll be interested to hear what kind of growth the moniker swap has brought that trio, and Hercyn have already proved themselves to be stylistically adventurous, so their inclusion on All this Suffering is Not Enoughis one to look forward to as well. It’s out Aug. 5 and they’re playing a release show in Jersey on Aug. 2, should you happen to be in that part of the world:
Hercyn and Thera Roya releasing split CD
This spring, Jersey City’s epic black metal band Hercyn joined together with Brooklyn’s own gloomy doom band Thera Roya to record a a CD split entitled “All This Suffering Is Not Enough” on the DIY outfit Ouro Preto Productions.
The release finds both American bands contrasting Hercyn’s epic atmosphere and weaving black metal with Thera Roya’s gloomy and sorrowful doom / post-metal. Hercyn deliver Dusk and Dawn, a 14 minute sprawling black metal piece with sub-layers of synth and acoustic strings. Thera Roya’s side of the split features Gluttony, a 9 minute slowly thundering song drenched in emotion. Both bands have worked in private on the creation of the split. All production and recording was handled’s by Hercyn’s Tony Stanziano (ex-Annunaki, ex-Blood Feast). “All This Suffering Is Not Enough” follow’s Hercyn’s 2013 self-released 24 minute epic Magda (listen here) and Thera Roya’s self-titled (listen here).
The split will see an official summer release of August 5th in hand numbered CDs and will be highly limited to 333 total copies. Pre-orders will be announced shortlyhere.
In celebration of the split, both bands will share the same stage August 2nd at the Lamp Post in Hercyn’s hometown (382, 2nd street, Jersey City). The release showis free, music starts at 10pm. Opening the show is special guest, Bible Gun – a dramatic piano and saxophone duo from Montclair, New Jersey (listen here). Early copies of the split CD will be available for purchase at the show.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Just before the song starts, there’s a backwards vocal sample at the start of The Golden Grass‘ “All You Have Grown,” and I won’t spoil the party by giving away what it says when you reverse it, but the band make it easy to agree with the sentiment. The track comes from Who Can You Trust? Records‘ upcoming Sweet Times Vol. 2release, a four-way split with the Brooklyn trio share with Italy’s Sultan Bathery, Metalleg (which features members of Dirty Fences) and The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell-offshoot Gorilla. It’s a lot of lovin’ to pack onto a 7″ platter, but it’ll be out by the end of August, and as the first recording from the feelgood rockers since their self-titled debut (review here) was released earlier this year on Svart, it offers an interesting look at where they might be headed from here.
First of all, it’s short. With four bands sharing a 7″ release, everybody’s gotta keep it brief, so if you’re coming into “All You Have Grown” looking for a 12-minute jam à la “Wheels” from the self-titled, that’s not what’s going on here. In the quick three minutes, though, The Golden Grass – guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney and bassist Joe Noval – do manage to create an awful lot of texture. The song itself is still structured for maximum hookage, but some upped psychedelic wash in the guitar layering sits gorgeously alongside the vocal harmonies, making the band’s approach sound even brighter than before. Naturally, it’s a sound that’s perfect for summer, and while I’d never expect these guys to do one thing exclusively for a whole album’s duration, they’re already showing a desire to reach beyond what they’ve already done stylistically.
You can listen to “All You Have Grown” to get a sense of the progression, or listen because it’s a good time. That’s up to you. Either way, it’s three minutes you won’t regret. Thanks to the band and Who Can You Trust? Records for letting me host the premiere.
Sweet Times Vol. 2 will be out late August in an edition of 500 copies. First 100 include 3D glasses. The Golden Grass are shortly to announce a European tour for November and have a few upcoming gigs in the meantime:
Aug 2 – Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ w/ BANG + YEOMAN Sept 12 – Bar Matchless, Brooklyn, NY w/ MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN + KING BUFFALO + GEEZER Oct 3 – No Problemo, New Bedford, MA w/ KIND (members of ELDER) Oct 4 – Acheron, Brooklyn, NY w/ ANCIENT SKY + KIND (members of ELDER) 10/17 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA w/ NEEDLE POINTS + THE ORANGE DROP
European Fall Tour 11/13 – 11/30 Currently being organized bySwamp Booking.
Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I– and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam – who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow(review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.
Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vowhighlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Starting tomorrow, Brooklyn heavy summer rockers The Golden Grass will head to the Midwest for a few shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Detroit. They’re playing with some killer acts along the way — see Main Street Gospel, Mike Cummings from Backwoods Payback, and the very, very fuzzy Electric Lucifer — and they’ll get back to Brooklyn just in time to play two shows at this year’s Northside Festival on June 14 and 15, which no doubt will be a righteous coming home party.
The Golden Grass head out supporting their self-titled Svart Records debut, which was streamed in full here. They’ve also got a new video for the song “One More Time” that you can dig into following the PR wire info below:
THE GOLDEN GRASS to embark on USA tour
Beginning tomorrow, THE GOLDEN GRASS will embark upon a mini-tour of the United States, supporting their self-titled debut album for SVART RECORDS (which can be streamed in its entirety HERE). Released last month, The Golden Grass has won over critics worldwide with a sound that authentically hearkens back to the golden age when heavy rock music was upbeat, skillfully played, energetic, edgy, and bursting with goodtime sunshine vibes. Now, THE GOLDEN GRASS will be taking those psychedelic textures and jaw-dropping proto-metal moves to audiences across the USA. Confirmed dates and venues are as follows:
June 4 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox w/ OUTSIDE INSIDE + COME HOLY SPIRIT June 5 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class w/ ELECTRIC LUCIFER + WEATHERED LOVER June 6 – Columbus, OH @ The Tree Bar w/ MAIN STREET GOSPEL June 7 – Cincinnati, OH @ House Show (e-mail email@example.com for RSVP/Facebook invite) June 8 – Louisville, KY @ Modern Cult Records w/ TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN DAWN June 9 – Akron, OH @ Annabell’s w/ Mike Cummings (BACKWOODS PAYBACK) June 10 – Detroit, MI @ Painted Lady Lounge June 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Northside Fest/Spike Hill w/ RUBY THE HATCHET + NIGHTBITCH + GODS + CONTACT June 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Northside Fest/Baby’s All Right w/ ANCIENT SKY, SLOTHRUST + NOWAY? + Drippy Eye Projections <***matinee/early show***>
THE GOLDEN GRASS formed in early 2013, and before they had even played their first show, they were signed to Svart Records. Their debut 7” was issued in October of that, as a split release with US label Electric Assault Records. Since playing their first show in September of 2013, they’ve shared the stage with an impressive and eclectic range of rock and metal groups, including Windhand, Natur, Ramming Speed, Serpent Throne, Wolf People, and an appearance at the Cincy Psych Fest.
What truly sets THE GOLDEN GRASS apart from the pack of modern ’70s-inspired music is their relentlessly upbeat, soulful energy and feel-good vibe, which is a welcome departure from the faceless sea of proto-metal/doom bands currently drowning the underground scene. This catchy five-track album will make you dance, smile, and catch yourself singing along! This album is a sure treat for fans of classic underground hard rock such as Truth and Janey, Dust, and Josefus as well as fans of classic UK psychedelia such as The Move, The Pretty Things, and Mighty Baby. THE GOLDEN GRASS will also greatly appeal to folks into the contemporary sounds of Danava, Horisont, Graveyard, and Dead Man.
The album was recorded by Andrea Zavareei at Urban Spaceman Studio in Brooklyn, New York where many seminal early La Otracina albums were also tracked. The album was mixed by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Studio in Brooklyn. Jeff has also recorded albums by Naam, Heliotropes, and Weird Owl, among others, at this studio, and he is also a member of Psychic TV. The album was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. The artwork was constructed by Niko Potocnjak of Seven That Spells. The collective experiences and talents of all involved were of utmost importance to the creation of this album.
THE GOLDEN GRASS is: *Adam Kriney – drums/vocals (also of LA OTRACINA and past tour member of NEBULA/CULT OF YOUTH/CASTANETS/CLOUDLAND CANYON) *Michael Rafalowich – electric guitar/vocals (also of STRANGE HAZE/WHOOPING CRANE and past tour member of TAV FALCO’S PANTHER BURNS) *Joe Noval – electric bass