It shames me to say it, but there was no Wino Wednesday last week. Can you believe it? I don’t really have an excuse for my behavior — or, I suppose, lack of behavior — but I wanted to make up for it right off the bat this week and get back on the winning track with some live Spirit Caravan. As we come ever closer to a full year of Wino Wednesdays, it seems only right to make up for the lost time.
They’re not HD (I don’t think anything was a decade ago except rich people’s lives), but below you’ll find four clips of the trio Spirit Caravan — Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman (Earthride) on bass and Gary Isom (everybody) on drums — killing it live in North Carolina. This show was filmed about a month before the band called it quits following the release of their So Mortal Be single, and it’s among the latest into their tenure that I’ve seen. I don’t know what the situation was like in the band at this point, but the songs still sound awesome.
For a bonus, they even start the third part with a take on “Mourning” from The Obsessed‘s The Church Within, and while I’m not going to advocate for watching it out of order and missing out on the full 20 minutes, that’s pretty badass. However you approach it, hope you dig and as always, have a happy Wino Wednesday:
Posted in Features on May 15th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
My general assumption when it comes to conducting interviews — especially for people with whom I’ve never spoken before — is that the other person has no idea who I am, what I may have written about their work or any of it, and neither do they have interest in knowing. In that regard, guitarist/vocalist Sam Taylor of North Carolinian foursome Caltrop caught me a little off-guard when he asked if I was the one who wrote the review of his band’s latest album, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes (Holidays for Quince) that appeared on this site.
Without mentioning that I’m the only person who does reviews here, I said I was. I’d been asking about the pairing of obscure and concrete ideas that, to me, the album title and the names of several of the songs — “Shadows and Substance,” “Form and Abandon,” and so on — seemed to be driving toward. When I brought it up, Taylor already had some idea of what I was talking about. I was wrong, as it happened, in my interpretation. The real answer, go figure, was both more specific and more vague: 10 million years is how long it takes energy to form in the sun and eight minutes is as long as it takes to get to the earth. I was way off.
But I mention it not just to point out how off-base I was in estimating what I thought the album was trying to convey, but also to note that in his response, Taylor seemed to be speaking more to the review than to the question I’d actually asked, which was something unique among all the interviews I’ve done so far for this site. I’ve spoken to people who’ve seen their reviews beforehand before, and sometimes I’m more comfortable about that than others — it depends on the review and the amount of typos I find in it later — but Taylor was directly answering the case I made, and even having been wrong, that was exciting.
For me, it was also a thrill to talk to someone from Caltrop, of whom I’ve been a fan since their self-titled EP my way in 2005. I’d missed the release of 2008′s World Class (also on Holidays for Quince), but caught up to it later, and found the band’s growth as a heavy and intricately pastoral act as engaging as it was progressive. Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, four years later, loses nothing creatively for the length of time, and as Taylor explains in the interview that follows here, the process by which he and the rest of the band — bassist/vocalist Murat Dirlik, guitarist Adam Nolton and drummer John Crouch — rounded out the record is as interesting as the record itself, basically moving away from their joint writing process to each write a whole track and bring it in to the others.
Below, Taylor talks about some of Caltrop‘s motives for taking this approach with Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, gives his feelings as regards his band’s close relationship with Brooklyn post-metallers Hull, with whom Caltrop has toured several times (the two groups also appeared in each other’s press shots: see if you can spot them here and here), and discusses a range of other topics, including touring-life vs. real-life concerns and the reasoning behind noting who’s singing which part of a song between him and Dirlik in the liner notes of the album.
You’ll find the (mostly) complete 3,500-word Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 22nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ve written about North Carolina space rockers Tasha-Yar a couple times now. A review here, an interview there. They’ve been included in a podcast or two, and their sound has continued to develop and continued to fascinate. Their 2011 full-length, The First Landing, found them starting to come into their own, and the music they’ve made since has only furthered that process.
This is something I know because every now and then a package shows up, usually from drummer Tim Greene, containing a new recording of Tasha-Yar music. Generally, there’s a handwritten note inside, like the one you see below (click to enlarge), explaining what it is I’m hearing and when it was put to tape, what they were going for and, sometimes, the personnel involved, which seems to be as nebulous occasionally as the music itself.
Such is how I came across “Casting Lots,” a 22:30 jam Tasha-Yar recorded last month that’s equal parts massive and endearing. Pretty sure most of it is improvised, but it was so psyched-out, so natural-sounding and so hypnotic, that I asked the band if they’d let me post it for streaming, and fortunately they said to go for it.
So, with the hope that those packages keep arriving and with the hope that it’s as warm and sunny where you are as it is in North Jersey this fine afternoon, please enjoy getting lost in Tasha-Yar‘s “Casting Lots” on the player below:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
“Casting Lots” was recorded Feb. 9, 2012, at Tasha-Yar‘s practice space in North Carolina. For more on the band, check them out on Thee Facebooks here, and to stream The First Landing and purchase a copy of the CD/DVD, hit them up on Bandcamp.
Posted in Reviews on March 21st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
As the album title indicates, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes sets itself to the task of organizing difficult concepts against easier ones. For the human mind to fathom 10 million years would take almost that long, but eight minutes you know. You have some idea of what you can do in that time, whereas 10 million years might as well be infinity. The music of North Carolinian four-piece Caltrop, for whom Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes marks their third outing (the first being a 2006 demo) and second through Holidays for Quince Records behind 2008’s World Class, works in similar fashion, blending such intangible qualities as pastoral vibes and progressive complexities against heavy riffs and thick, weighted grooves. Guitarist Sam Taylor and bassist Murat Dirlik (who also painted the album’s cover) trade vocals back and forth within and between songs, adding further variety to an already diverse eight tracks as guitarist Adam Nolton and drummer John Crouch fill out the Caltrop lineup – the former bolstering and playing off of Taylor’s work and the latter adding subtly technical snare fills to “Light Does Not Get Old” and proving equally capable of driving forward noise rock crunch and punctuating airy ambience within the 5:35 span of “Form and Abandon.” Caltrop are good at playing one side off the other, and Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes shows that just because a recording is raw or natural-sounding it can’t also be cerebrally engaged or melodic.
Both opener “Birdsong” and “Ancient,” which follows immediately, feature landmark guitar solos in their second half, but in fact they’re two very different songs, having in common mostly their tandem efforts to set the course for Caltrop’s breadth on their second full-length. The first cut feels like a journey and is; Taylor’s vocals leading the way with the guitar almost as much as the bass comes to prominence on the fuller, fuzzier Dirlik-fronted “Ancient.” Of the several things one might accuse Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes of being, redundant is not one of them. The album has its indulgent moments and ultimately requires more than a few listens to really sink in – the winding progressivism of “Ancient” alone feels like a test, warm and naturally-toned though it is – but every second of its 53:14 demonstrates its purpose, and Caltrop leave nothing wanting for individual take or even rocking simplicity. They sound like a band who enjoy making simple things complicated, and one good at it to boot. “Light Does Not Get Old” kicks in immediately from “Ancient” and is the most direct transition on the record, bluesy guitar leads backed by jazz rhythms stepping aside for lighter-touch modern-metal timing – Dirlik on bass and Crouch on drums both turn in remarkable performances throughout – as setup for the verses from Taylor. Neither he nor Dirlik is an overly technical singer, but as the music within these tracks shows increasing complexity throughout the album’s progression, their vocals serve to play up and maintain a natural, human feel to the recording. Mostly dry, mostly single-layer, they don’t soar by any stretch, but they serve the songs – and that’s more important.
A bit of slide guitar in “Shadows and Substance” (another invocation of the album title’s idea of vague vs. concrete, perhaps?) provides a pathway over the barrage of tom work from Crouch, and soon the shuffle is underway, Dirlik providing choice fills amid an insistent riff. There isn’t a chorus, per se. Instead, Caltrop continue to pummel that main, cyclical guitar line until gradually it seems to develop a solo and embark from there on a long fadeout. One imagines it’s something that works better in a live setting – minus the fade, plus about five more minutes of balls-out jamming – but it adds a level of intrigue as the 13-minute “Perihelion” begins its deceptively humble intro. Of all the tracks on Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, “Perihelion” is one of two (near as I can tell) on which Taylor and Dirlik share vocal duties, and certainly the one on which they do the best job of it, the guitarist coming in later to provide despondent contrast to the pastures Dirlik constructs in earlier parts. The fuzz is warm, again, and gentle, and the vocals sweet, and “Perihelion” is easy to get lost in by the time its build really begins toward the five-minute mark. At 6:11, Nolton, Dirlik and Taylor step back to let Crouch introduce the progression of the second half, which he does with frenetic percussiveness, the other instruments joining in first as single-hit punctuation and then soon a full-on descending riff-and-solo interplay that opens into loose-sounding crashes before taking off into the culmination. Taylor takes over on vocals for a twice-repeated bluesman’s lament capped by the lines, “Lord knows I can’t take it anymore/I’m trying to ease your mind/Whoa yeah.”
Posted in audiObelisk on March 13th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Whatever else North Carolinian pastoral psych specialists U.S. Christmas might have going on in their sound at any given time (there’s quite a bit when they want there to be), one thing they’ve always excelled at is infusing Americana elements into their work, taking the environment around them and distilling it to audio. Last year’s The Valley Path did that clearer and more evocatively than they’d ever done it before, and was precise and coherent in its mission.
As such, when A Great River — the Neurot Recordings solo debut from U.S. Christmas guitarist/vocalist Nate Hall — came my way, the first thing I listened for was that unmistakable tinge of mountaintop sepia. It’s not a country twang, but definitively of its place musically and even more specifically Southern in its melancholy. A Great Riverhas that feel in common with Hall‘s band, and joins the ranks of highlight Neurot solo outings from Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till (both Neurosis) in its appreciation of classic folk, from Bob Dylan, whose influence shows up prevalently throughout, to a more stripped-down look at the brilliance of arrangement that has found a home in Wovenhand‘s David Eugene Edwards.
Foremost, the album is honest. Recorded in a single night last March, its “first album” feel is undercut by psychedelic flourish and the emotional depths Hall brings to the surface, and while there are still avenues of progression to be explored, a song like the Townes Van Zandt cover “Kathleen” — which I’m fortunate enough to be able to premiere on the player below — remains the beautiful and lush work of a singer-songwriter beginning what will hopefully be a long journey.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Nate Hall‘s A Great River is due out on Neurot in May. For more on the album (including Scott Kelly‘s take), check out Neurot‘s artist page here, or look up Hall on Thee Facebooks here. Special thanks to Earsplit PR, Neurot and Hall for their generous permission in letting me host this track.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 9th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It feels like cheating somehow to post the song “Blessed” from North Carolinian foursome Caltrop‘s new album, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes. I almost want to put out a spoiler alert with it — WARNING: THIS SONG CONTAINS AN ALBUM-DEFINING APEX.
Maybe that’s not the kind of thing that would fit on a government warning label, but it certainly applies to “Blessed,” which is the penultimate track on Caltrop‘s second full-length for Holidays for Quince Records. Like the rest of the tracks, it follows a blindingly creative direction that never lets go of its immediacy or tonal warmth, but really, to pick one song to premiere that represents Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes as a whole is impossible. The record is too varied, too progressively structured and too engaging as a single work to be so easily parsed.
So I picked what, to me, most feels like the culmination of it. We start off with winding, jazzy fuzz, but soon Caltrop — guitarist/vocalist Sam Taylor, bassist/vocalist Murat Dirlik (who also painted the butterflynoceros on the album cover), guitarist Adam Nolton, and drummer John Crouch — veer into the song’s proggy crux. Other parts of the record feel more informed by the band’s time on the road alongside Brooklyn post-metallers Hull, in what they’re playing more than how it actually sounds, but “Blessed” balances the same kind of tonal sweetness that made 2008′s World Class such a joy with neo-Southern lead work and an overarching build that sweeps you into it before you even realize you’re gone.
And then the warning above applies. “Blessed” has forward motion so subtle but so effective, I couldn’t help pick it to stream, and I hope you’ll agree when you enjoy it on the player below:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
04/12 Charleston, SC Tin Roof
04/14 Charlotte, NC Snug Harbor
04/20 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus w/ Hull
04/21 Richmond, VA Strange Matter “Year of Shit III”
05/19 Asheville, NC The Get Down
05/22 Harrisonburg, VA Blue Nile
05/23 Pittsburgh, PA 31st Street Pub
05/24 Columbus, OH Carabar
Posted in Features on January 12th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
You have to understand, even if the forthcoming self-titled Corrosion of Conformity full-length wasn’t their first as a trio — as this trio — since 1985′s Animosity, the record would still be a landmark, just for the fact that it’s C.O.C. The stalwart North Carolinian heavy Southern rockers haven’t had a record since 2005′s In the Arms of God, mostly due to guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan‘s ongoing tenure with the supergroup Down, leaving bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and returned drummer Reed Mullin the task of picking the band back up and moving forward as a three-piece.
But the announcement yesterday that this lineup of C.O.C. will headline Sunday night, April 8, at the London Desertfest is just the latest endorsement it has earned. Dean, Weatherman and Mullin toured twice in 2011 with Clutch, including their New Year’s tour last month, and played the 2011 Maryland DeathFest and Roadburn festivals (among others), supporting the single Your Tomorrow on Southern Lord. The track “Your Tomorrow” would wind up as one of the strongest on the album Corrosion of Conformity as well, but the record does an excellent job meeting and surpassing any aesthetic expectations that could be put on it.
Because, hey, let’s face it, if you’ve got a trio lineup of C.O.C., they’ve got a lot to live up to. Animosity is a crossover classic, and coupled with everything the band was able to accomplish after Keenan joined, then Corrosion of Conformity needs to cover a lot of ground to be a success. The album’s greatest attribute, however, is that it seems to ignore all of that in favor of just rocking out on some killer songs. As a result, cuts like “Rat City” and “Leeches” and “What We Become” hone in on the band’s hardcore past without seeming like a put-on while “Psychic Vampire,” “The Moneychangers” and “Come Not Here” bring in elements of the riffy Sabbathian groove that was always present in their sound, however prevalent it may or may not have been.
If you’re interested, the full album review is here. Just prior to their heading out with Clutch to put 2011 to bed, Dean and I spoke about what brought C.O.C. back together in this form and how it was composing the new album without Keenan, recording it with longtime producer John Custer, his own process for composing lyrics, and much more. Like the music on the self-titled, he was honest and straightforward in his responses, as you can see in the interview that follows here.
–Special thanks to Candlelight Records for letting me give away THREE copies of the new C.O.C. album on vinyl! Enter to win by sending your name and address below. Contest runs until Jan. 20!
[Please note: This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered.]
Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
From their teenage punker beginnings to being a Grammy-nominated major label darling to influencing a generation of heavy Southern bands, few acts can claim either the enduring relevance or creative scope of Corrosion of Conformity. The North Carolinian band, which passes its 30th year in 2012, and true enough to form, they do so with the beginning of a new age – or at very least, a bold new foray down a familiar path. 2010 saw C.O.C. regroup and tour with what was billed as the Animosity-era lineup, meaning the trio of guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin. They released the Your Tomorrow 7” and hit the road to much acclaim from traditionalists who’d been aching for some of C.O.C.’s earlier, crossover-style material. Absent from this mix was guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, who’d joined on guitar for 1991’s Blind and come to take the vocalist position as well, leading the band through their commercial peak on Columbia Records albums Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996). His ongoing tenure in the Southern metal supergroup Down seemed to be the stumbling block keeping C.O.C. from getting together to issue a follow-up to 2005’s excellent In the Arms of God (Down released their third album in 2007 and toured extensively to support it), and Dean, Weatherman and Mullin – the latter who didn’t play on the last record but was back in the fold after playing with Dean in his Righteous Fool side-project – eventually decided not to wait any longer. Their new album, Corrosion of Conformity (Candlelight Records), is the band’s first studio LP as a trio since 1985.
This in itself makes C.O.C.’s latest a landmark, but moreover, it’s the defiance of expectation that really sets Corrosion of Conformity apart. One might look at the fact that they chose to make it a self-titled as a kind of statement that this lineup is somehow definitive, maybe a subtle “fuck you” to Keenan, but I don’t think that’s the case. Rather, naming the record after the band feels appropriate for these songs because what these songs do is essentially distill 30 years of natural and genre-transcending progression into a cohesive set of 11 tracks that play out over 43 minutes. In every move they are C.O.C., and that seems to be more the basis of choosing the title rather than showing anyone up. I acknowledge that’s speculation and opinion on my part as a listener and a fan of the band, but I’d gladly offer the forward-looking development of these tracks as supporting argument. Dean, Weatherman and Mullin could easily have slopped together 35-40 minutes of crossover punk, called it Animosity 2 and ridden the coattails of their past glories to reunion-act glory, but they didn’t do that. Instead, with Corrosion of Conformity, they take the band’s past scope and form something cohesive and – most of all – new from it. Whatever else you take away from this review, take that. C.O.C. are not rehashing what they’ve done before. As much as these songs may be carved from a lineup dynamic that existed 27 years ago, the ensuing time has meant that the players are different people than they once were, and the album shows that right from the beginning of opener “Psychic Vampire.”
In a way, the first 40 seconds of Corrosion of Conformity tell the whole story, and even more so when one considers the efficiency and lack of pretense with which the album is executed front to back. It’s perhaps in that spirit that C.O.C. most capture the simplicity of their earliest days, but one can’t deny the grunt at the beginning of “Psychic Vampire” and the riff-led groove that ensues as epitomizing a side of the band, just as does the faster, more propulsive 10 seconds that follow and open into the verse groove. Without warning, Dean, Weatherman and Mullin have established much of the course of the record, which sets its dynamics through pacing changes and balances Southern heavy rock with unabashed punk-born fury. “Psychic Vampire” sets itself out among the strongest cuts on the album in doing so and is based in large part on these two opening riffs, which play out in juxtaposition as Dean takes the frontman/vocalist role for two distinct choruses that he keeps through much of the material, backed capably by Weatherman and Mullin. Where some other tracks, particularly later in the set, need time to sink in, the likes of “Psychic Vampire” and “River of Stone,” which follows, are more immediately memorable. Weatherman’s riffing, as captured by longtime C.O.C. producer John Custer’s excellent recording job, is part of that, keeping a tonal consistency with In the Arms of God while also capitalizing on the added rawness of having one six-stringer versus two.
Mullin distinguishes himself right away on “River of Stone,” which is the longest song on Corrosion of Conformity at 6:12. His double-bass drumming is consistent throughout the first part of the track, but not rushed in terms of pace. The song opens in its chorus, but is mostly head-down forward motion, playing off some of the faster crossover elements that were hinted at with “Psychic Vampire” and are brought to the fore on “Leeches” still to come. Most of the song’s extra length comes from a break at 3:20 wherein Dean’s bass, soaked in wah, leads to a solo from Weatherman that carries the song back to its verse and chorus. Again, they show tempo flexibility and establish a solid flow, and Custer makes his presence felt as a shout rises in the mix to transition back into the verse that leads to the chorus finale. Dean’s vocals surprise in their capability to carry the song, and though it’s not a shock C.O.C. would want to establish this early, he impresses throughout the album in both arrangement and occasionally deceptively melodic execution. Not, however, on “Leeches,” which is two-plus minutes of crossover rawness that goes directly to the Animosity roots. It’s the shortest song on the album, and possibly the rawest, though Weatherman rips several leads worthy of the band’s legacy, and Mullin handles the changes fluidly while the vocals trade off leads and backing shouts. “Rat City,” which arrives just before closer “Time of Trials,” works in a similar vein, but “Leeches” is more outwardly aggressive, making the interlude that comes with “El Lamento de las Cabras” feel well earned.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kudos to North Carolinian heavy rockers ASG on living the stoner rock dream and getting picked up by Relapse. The acronymic outfit kicked a good deal of ass with Weedeater and Naam in NYCearlier this year, and though they haven’t had a record out in four years, their work on the road has obviously paid off. So well done.
Here’s the announcement, plus tour dates and new album details, off the PR wire:
Relapse Records is extremely proud to announce the signing of NorthCarolina’s finest psychedelic stoner punks, ASG! Impossible to pigeonhole, ASG has been wheelin’ and dealin’ in kickass rock ‘n’ roll since forming in 2001. The band has previously released four albums with including their most recent, critically acclaimed effort Win Us Over in 2007. ASG has gained a reputation for their wildly energetic live shows, and has found themselves on the road with heavy-hitters Motörhead, The Sword, CKY, FuManchu, Torche and TheDwarves among others.
ASG plan to enter the studio in February 2012 to record their highly anticipated Relapse debut with producer MattHyde (Slayer, Children of Bodom, Fu Manchu). More details will be announced shortly. Additionally, the band has confirmed a string of Southern US dates in January plus a special appearance at next year’s Hellfest in France. A complete list of tour dates are included below.
ASG guitarist/vocalist Jason Shi commented on the signing: “To be part of such a well respected music label like Relapse and to be included in their roster of bands both past and present is quite an honor for us. We plan to record our first release on Relapse in the winter of 2012 with MattHyde and are very excited for everyone to hear it! We are amping!”
01/04 Savannah, GA The Jinx 01/05 Jacksonville, FL Brewster’s Pit 01/06 SatelliteBeach, FL The Sports Page 01/07 NewSmyrna, FL Beachside Tavern 01/11 Orlando, FL SIP Art Gallery 01/12 LakeWorth, FL Speakeasy Lounge 01/13 Vero, FL Filthy McNasty’s 01/14 Daytona, FL Frank’s Front Row 01/20 Wilmington, NC Soapbox (w/ Hail!Hornet, SSS) 01/21 Charlotte, NC Tremont Music Hall (w/ Hail!Hornet, SSS) 06/15 Clisson, FranceHellfest 2012
Some things to note in the Weedeater clip above: First and foremost, that room looks to be about the size of my office. Second, they come out to the theme song from Sanford and Son. Third, there’s a bottle of Robitussin taped to the side of “Dixie” Dave Collins‘ amp with a straw sticking out of it that he drinks from at several intervals, including as they transition from “God Luck and Good Speed” to “Wizard Fight,” when he chases it with what I assume is whiskey.
Another reason I decided to go with Weedeater was because earlier today I did a phone interview with artist Joe Wardwell. Wardwell‘s paintings draw a lot from heavy rock and doom for inspiration and a gallery show he has going on in NYC through October is titled “Untied We Stand” — a line taken from “God Luck and Good Speed” — so the song’s been in my head. I’ll hopefully have that Q&A posted in the next week or two. In the meantime, you can check out Wardwell‘s work here. It rules and the interview was great as well. Dude loves his Boris, loves his Sabbath, loves his Melvins. Right on.
Given all that, I couldn’t possibly have chosen anything else to close out the week — not to mention Weedeater‘s earth-swallowing volume or tonal weight, which is suiting me perfectly on this tired-as-hell Friday afternoon. The reason I’m signing off early (usually I’d wait to cap another ultra-exciting couch-bound Friday night with a post, but it’s about 4PM now) is because I’m heading out in a bit to make my way down to Philadelphia, again, for the start of the Small Stone showcase, which kicks off tonight at The M-Room. I don’t want to miss Infernal Overdrive, and I think they’re opening, so I need to haul ass a bit.
Thanks to everyone for checking in this week. It was crazy on this end, between the Brooklyn show and Kyuss Lives! Wednesday night, and it isn’t over yet. I’ll be in Philly the next two nights, then back to Jersey Sunday to do school work. Next week it starts all over. I do hope to get some more album reviews posted next week, but I’ll be checking out Akris at the Cake Shop in Manhattan on Tuesday, and I hope to get my massive interview with Rwake frontman CT posted, so we’ll see what there’s time for. In the meantime, keep your ears posted for a Windhand stream that’s coming Thursday and hopefully another that I can’t quite reveal just yet in case it falls through.
Some news for The Maple Forum coming soon as well, it looks like.
So big stuff yet to come. Not sure yet how I’m going to handle posting from/about the showcase, but if you check in over the weekend, you might find some stuff on it up.
Either way, great and safe couple days. See you on the forum and back here for more shortly.
Being of the generation that once dreamed of climbing that ladder (Sam didn’t know how good he had it), I can get down with paying homage to Melissa Joan Hart, but more importantly, with a track length of 17 minutes, the song definitely gives enough time to get a sense of what Old Mountain are really about.
And what they’re about is heavy. Though “Clarissa” doesn’t use its full runtime for pummeling, they certainly pack plenty of it in there. Thunderous riffage, blown out screams, quicksanding bottom end and searing crash are all elements that’ll be familiar enough to fans of Southern sludge, but true to their name, Old Mountain show a kind of patience in “Clarissa” that’s rare for a new band. Couple that with massive tones from guitarist N. Brown and bassist/vocalist M. Reisch, set it to drummer A. Milstein‘s forceful hits, and it’s the kind of plod that gets dudes from Animal Planet thinking they’ve just found bigfoot.
I didn’t want to read Doomantia‘s writeup before posting my own, so if I’m just repeating what’s there, I apologize, but for fans of the new school of sludge — a less apocalyptic Thou comes to mind, or older Rwake — Old Mountain should be a welcome find. After about 12 minutes, “Clarissa” cuts to noisy droning and eventually gives way to a conversation about phantom limbs, inadvertently showing that the band doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Like the slowly churning riffs that came before, that too can only serve them well as they move forward.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 28th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Traditional doom heathens will recognize the names Gábor Holdampf and Kolos Hegyi, or at least the formidable Hungarian outfits from which they come — Wall of Sleep and Mood. Re-teamed in the four-piece Magma Rise, they follow last year’s Lazy Stream of Steel full-length with the track “Five” on a multi-continental split 7″ with North Carolinian rockers The Asound.
And while we’re talking familiarity, The Asound should ring bells with anyone who stops by this site regularly, since they’ve been reviewed twice now (here and here). It’s seems like a curious pairing at first — a Hungarian doom outfit and American heavy rockers — but both bands make off with some righteous riffery, and The Asound even slow their tempos a bit from their past offerings and match Magma Rise for doomly stomp. Seriously, “The Baron” pretty much marches.
The split is a joint release between Tsuguri and PsycheDOOMelic, and since I have reviewed The Asound twice in the span of 13 months, I thought hosting the tracks for streaming might be time well spent for anyone who hasn’t yet checked them out. If you’ve missed Magma Rise too up till now, you’ll definitely want to hit up “Five” on the player below, as it also rules. Dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
The Asound/Magma Rise split is out now in a limited edition of 500 7″ vinyl. Special thanks to Tsuguri Records (website here) and PsycheDOOMelic (website here) for letting me stream the tracks.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Not really any big surprise here. Weedeater play shows. All the time. That’s what they do. The real news would be if Weedeaterdidn’t announce a North American headlining tour.
Nonetheless, they rule — and it’s an excuse for me to use the above picture again (this time in snazzy black and white!). Here are the dates off the PR wire:
After a few months off the road, NorthCarolina sludge demons Weedeater have just announced another headlining North American tour for September/October, still in support of their recently-released full-length, Jason… The Dragon.
While Weedeater‘s caustic style of aggressive sludge is devastating on its own live, the trio have enlisted some help on this rampage from Saviours, Bison B.C. and FightAmp supplying opening support for the duration the venture. Saviours will not play the Philly or Brooklyn shows, but Oxbow will be supplying direct support for Weedeater at the Brooklyn gig.
Weedeater North American Headlining Tour:
09/06 Kings Barcade Raleigh, NC
09/07 Sonar Baltimore, MD
09/08 Strange Matter Richmond, VA
09/09 North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA (no Saviours)
09/10 Europa Brooklyn, NY w/ Oxbow (no Saviours) 09/11 Middle East Downstairs Cambridge, MA
09/13 Lee’s Place Toronto, ON
09/14 Montage Music Hall Rochester, NY
09/15 Outland Live Columbus, OH
09/16 The Pyramid Scheme Grand Rapids, MI
09/17 Reggie’s Rock Club Chicago, IL
09/18 Upfront & Company Marquette, MI
09/19 Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN
09/20 Rock Island Brewing Company Rock Island, IL
09/23 Larimer Lounge Denver, CO
09/24 Burt’s Tiki Lounge Salt Lake City, UT
09/26 The Highline Seattle, WA
09/27 Rickshaw Theatre Vancouver, BC
09/28 Branx Portland, OR
09/29 The Independent San Francisco, CA
10/01 Soda Bar San Diego, CA
10/02 Key Club West Hollywood, CA
10/04 Lanchpad Albuquerque, NM
10/06 Emo’s Austin, TX
10/07 Fitzgerald’s Houston, TX
10/08 Siberia New Orleans, LA
10/09 The Earl Atlanta, GA
10/10 New Earth Music Hall Athens, GA
10/11 Engine Room Tallahassee, FL
10/12 The Orpheum Tampa, FL
10/14 The Jinx Savannah, GA
Earlier this year, following our interview, Weedeater bassist/frontman “Dixie” Dave Collins told me that if he ever made a video, it would involve a zombie cheerleader pep rally where everyone got eaten while the band played in the background. The clip below for “Mancoon/Turkey Warlock” from Weedeater‘s excellent Jason… the Dragon doesn’t nearly follow that concept, but is pretty entertaining nonetheless, as the titular character(s) seem to torture the band by making them eat a giant sandwich and then chase them through the woods. Enjoy:
Posted in audiObelisk on June 28th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Southern metal rogues’ gallery returns! Four years ago, the assemblage of doomed bastards known as Hail!Hornet made their debut in the form of a Dwell Records self-titled, and it was some of the dankest metal ever to rise from the muck. Now signed to Relapse, the four-piece of vocalist T-Roy Medlin (Sourvein; interview here), bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins (Weedeater; interview here), guitarist Vince Burke (Beaten Back to Pure) and drummer Erik Larson (The Might Could/ex-Alabama Thunderpussy; interview here) make an overdue return with their second album, Disperse the Curse, on July 19.
Recorded by Burke (who I guess I need to get on interviewing) in his own Sniper Studio, Disperse the Curse is a little more focused, more linear than was Hail!Hornet‘s first outing — all things relative — but it’s still dirty as hell tonally and topped off with Medlin‘s trademark throat-searing screams. It’s not all sludge, but those elements are definitely in there, and there’s no denying that when these guys kick into a groove, it’s absolutely brutal.
Relapse was kind enough to grant me permission to premiere the track “Unholy Foe” for streaming, so dig this:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Hail!Hornet‘s Disperse the Curse is out July 19, 2011, on Relapse Records, and is available for preorder through the label’s website. The cover art, which rules, is by Brian Mercer.