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.
Posted in Features on June 23rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s something about the lysergic haze of “Palms of Opium” that gets me every time I hear it. It’s like if you put Tiny Tim through a multi-dimensional meatgrinder, and given the hell Weedeater unleashes on either side of that song on their fourth album, Jason… the Dragon, it’s all the more a standout. The North Carolinian trio of bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins, guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepard and drummer Keith “Keko” Kirkum survived broken bones and blown-off toes to get the Steve Albini-recorded full-length out the door, and when it hit in March — at least as someone listening who didn’t actually have to live through any of it — it was worth every minute of the hardship and impatient wait.
Weedeater‘s last album, 2007′s God Luck and Good Speed (which was also released through Southern Lord), saw the band begin to expand the reach of their ultra-fuzzed sludge, and on Jason… the Dragon, they took their sound to new places altogether, whether it was incorporating the guitar melody of “Homecoming,” or just ripping through the entire first half of the album live in the studio. From “The Great Unfurling” through the title-track, Weedeater were as raw and visceral as anyone could ever ask sludge to be, and a simple song like “Mancoon” or the plodding “Turkey Warlock” — which originally appeared on Shifty Records‘ Crushers Killers Destroyers II compilation in 2004 — hit that much harder for the energy that the band and Albini were able to capture on tape.
Front to back, Jason… the Dragon was just a really strong record — and in precisely the right way. They tweaked some little things in their approach and definitely were making an attempt to branch out musically, but Weedeater knew too what worked best about their style and kept more than enough of that to satisfy their audience, and most importantly, themselves. With each new album a band puts out, there are going to be people who favor the one before, or the one before that, but I think Jason… the Dragon more than stands up to Weedeater‘s back catalog, maybe even surpassing it in terms of killer grooves and memorable songs. Wherever it sits on your list of favorites, they nailed this one.
I just got back a bit ago from the wake of a dude I went to college with. We weren’t really friends, but we were friendly enough when we saw each other. He was an SOU rat, so was I, and at Seton Hall, where I was an undergrad, if you were in that it was pretty much you vs. the universe. Not that there wasn’t the occasional piece of shit, but by and large, most of us could agree that everyone else was much worse.
The plan was to go early and avoid the after-work crowd. Something about that kind of thing — “Nice to see you, wish it was better circumstances.” — just doesn’t do it for me. I was in and out of the thing and came back to the office to do more work and have a beer before calling it a day. I imagined it would be empty when I got back here. It isn’t. Whatever. I’m not really in mourning. Like I say, we weren’t close, and as much as I automatically internalize every little fucking thing and make it about me, I wouldn’t call myself devastated. No sympathy comments, I guess is what I’m saying.
Weedeater‘s first album, And Justice for Y’all showed up in my mail the other day — another in the recent swath of eBay purchases. The auction, oddly enough, went off at 3:49AM, and as my habit is that of last-second bidding, I set the alarm for 3:42 and was just conscious enough by the time the intervening seven minutes had passed that I could bid. The Patient Mrs., bless her heart, rolled over, grunted a sincere “What the fuck???” (three question marks included), and promptly went back to sleep. It was $27 after shipping, which in a more lucid state was probably more than I’d look to pay, but fuck it. At quarter to four in the morning, I wasn’t going to lose.
It was one of the original inclusions I made when I started my Amazon wishlist (probably six years ago now), and in all that time, it never once showed up as available on the site. Sleeping Village reissued it in 2009, and I think that’s out of print now too, but I wanted the Game Two original from 2001 and it was relatively cheap compared to “not available,” so I made it mine. Having just come back from watching some poor kid’s mother and sisters cry over him while he’s sitting in his coffin with his band’s CD by his hands, the cover-up makeup clashing against his skin-tone to mask the immediacy of flesh’s decay — incense burning to cover the smell — Weedeater‘s the perfect comfort.
Billy Anderson mastered the record, Arik Roper did the art, and what I most hoped about it — that Dixie‘s bass fuzz would be in tact as it is on all their subsequent records — turned out to be precisely the case. I might have felt like I paid too much money for it until I heard the opening of “Monkey Junction,” which vibrates so hard it should be used to relieve back pain, and fuck it. Just fuck it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Of course, if you read either the Ben Hogg interview or the Q&A with Sourvein‘s own T-Roy Medlin, you already knew the band was hitting the road in July starting at the Kung Fu Necktie in Philly on the sixth, but hey, I guess it’s nice to see all the dates in one place too. Here’s the PR wire info:
North Carolina sludge-slingers Sourvein will celebrate the release of their long-anticipated new full-length, BlackFangs, with a near-three-week US tour this July! The chaos will commence in Philadelphia with Jucifer on July 6 and steamroll its way through 16 more cities before coming to a close at GroundZero in Spartanburg on July 23. The trek includes three shows with psychedelic black metal enigmas, Nachtmystium.
Comments vocalist T-Roy: “I’m so ready to unleash Black Fangs on the public in a live setting… it’s gonna be awesome! I’ve been waiting for this for a while; it’s gonna crush! King James, Kong Moen and I will be joined by The Misanthrope Project bassist Ahmasi O’Daniel, who also laid down the low-end on the album, for the tour. Sourvein from Cape Fear… dates coming all year!”
Sourvein July tour dates:
07/06 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA w/ Jucifer
07/07 Heirloom Arts Danbury, CT w/ Jucifer
07/08 St. Vitus Brooklyn, NY
07/09 Popeye’s Peekskill, NY
07/10 Big Jar Rochester, NY
07/11 Sidebar Baltimore, MD
07/12 Now That’s Class Cleveland, OH w/ Nachtmystium
07/13 Mac’s Lansing, MI w/ Nachtmystium
07/14 31st St Pub Pittsburgh, PA
07/15 Ravari Room Columbus, OH
07/16 Volrath Indianapolis, IN
07/17 Pyramid Grand Rapids, MI
07/18 Frank’s Power Plant Milwaukee, WI
07/19 The Empty Bottle Chicago, IL w/ Nachtmystium
07/20 Fubar St. Louis, MO
07/22 The Hideaway Johnson City, TN
07/23 Ground Zero Spartanburg, SC
Posted in Features on June 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Crude, crusty and eternally sludged, 18 years into the band’s existence, Sourvein have rightfully amassed a reputation for bullshit-free heaviness the likes of which almost no one else could even begin to think about matching. Frontman, vocalist, founder and lone original member T-Roy Medlin offers a look at life that’s as intense as it is intimate, casting off the “songs about monsters” ethic in favor of a brutal honesty that’s won Sourvein loyal fans the world over. Raw expression is barred by neither language nor culture, and Sourvein‘s primal take is about as close to “real” as it gets when human beings are involved.
The North Carolinian outfit’s new full-length, Black Fangs (Candlelight), is their first long player since the beginning of the Bush era. In 2002, they released their sophomore outing, Will to Mangle, on Southern Lord and began to cement a legacy they’ve since backed by nearly a decade of constant touring and solid EP and split releases with the likes of Japanese mayhem bringers Church of Misery (twice) and now-defunct Israeli crushers Rabies Caste. Their trio of Sourvein-only EPs, Emerald Vulture (2005), Ghetto Angel (2008) and Imperial Bastard (also 2008), allowed them to keep on the road without taking too much time off to record, while still also maintaining a momentum of offerings going into the eventual next album.
And as that album emerges in 2011 in the form of Black Fangs, Sourvein find themselves with perhaps their most potent, gritty batch of songs yet. Medlin — joined in the band by guitarist “King” James Haun (Ol’ Scratch), bassist Ahmasi O’Daniel (Earthride’s Dave Sherman filled in on recent tours) and drummer Jeffrie “Kong” Moen — is scathing in his throat-ripping assertions, seeming to inflict physical and emotional pain in equal measure on himself and audience alike. That feeling comes straight out of Sourvein‘s live show, and captured on Black Fangs by Vince Burke of Beaten Back to Pure, it’s balanced perfectly with clarity of sound.
To be blunt, there was a lot to discuss with Medlin. From the time between albums to the origins of the material on Black Fangs itself, Roadburn, other upcoming tours and his appreciation of tragic Hollywood starlets (Theda Bara graces the cover of the latest record, and the band have had a years-long love affair with the memory of Sharon Tate), he was no less honest over the phone than he ever is in Sourvein, and it was exciting to hear him talk about taking the lessons he’s gleaned from his years in the band and using them to move forward into their next record and beyond.
Please find the complete 3,300-word Q&A after the jump, and please enjoy.
Posted in Reviews on June 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Many moons ago, there was a compilation called Transcendental Maggot. It was released on Meconium Records and boasted, among a slew of grinding noise acts, contributions from Sourvein and Benümb. That was 2001. Fitting enough, then, that 10 years later, on Tsuguri Records – the new name of the label helmed by Jon Cox of Seven Foot Spleen – there should appear the 20-track, 67-minute slaughterfest Son of the Transcendental Maggot with songs from the likes of Russian stoner punkers The Grand Astoria, North Carolinian psychedelic mavens U.S. Christmas and Atlanta sludge dwellers Sons of Tonatiuh. There are a total of 13 bands for 20 songs, and along with the familiar names – the aforementioned, plus The Wayward, who once proliferated their tech-punk mayhem in the form of a 2006 self-titled via Black Box Recordings, the label founded by Mike Hill, now of Tombs – there are a host of lesser-known acts, among them Oakland chuggers Pigs, the remarkably under-produced Ahleuchatistas, Akris, Enoch, Yellowthief, Yuugen Syndrome and Shit and Shine.
It is, if nothing else, a diverse gathering, but what draws the bands on Son of the Transcendental Maggot together is a consistency of rough production – even the U.S. Christmas track is a demo – and basic element of amplifier worship. More exploratory acts like the tech-jazz Yellowthief (who submit six tracks for a total 6:12 run time, more than half of which is dedicated to the last one, dubbed “Gzilimpur Gbgda?a”) and Ahleuchatistas, whose guitarist Shane Perlowin also contributes the subdued opening cut, “Buried Histories,” are offset by some of the more straightforward material. The Grand Astoria submit an Ash Ra Tempel cover of “Light: Look at Your Sun,” and U.S. Christmas’ 2009 demo of “Fonta Flora,” which later showed up on the much-heralded Run Thick in the Night full-length, provides a moment of subtle psychedelic build. Theirs is the longest cut on Son of the Transcendental Maggot by nearly two full minutes. On the other hand, the later-arriving spastic grind of Yuugen Syndrome’s “JAAJAN” is unsettling nestled between Enoch’s “Robbie’s Song” and Sons of Tonatiuh’s two donations, “Consumed” and “Chain Up the Masses.” It’s just two minutes, but it’s not an easy two minutes by any stretch.