Dealer to Release Billionaire Boys Club Feb. 17; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

In what’s no doubt a grueling chronicle of the Bay Area’s culture clash between the creative class and the tech sector, Oakland heavy noise rockers Dealer make their debut in Feb. 2017 with Billionaire Boys Club. The trio have a somewhat tumultuous background for a band putting out their first record, with changes in the construction of the lineup, a cessation of activity and whatnot along their way to entering the studio this past summer with Brainoil‘s Greg Wilkinson behind the board, but as they introduce the album with the track “A.M. Gold,” streaming below, they’d seem to have effectively channeled that instability into sonic propulsion. I’d expect the outing to follow to be pretty brash based on what I’m hearing here, and that’s cool by me. California needs harsh heavy punk to keep it honest.

To the PR wire:

dealer-billionaire-boys-club

Oakland trio DEALER to release debut album Billionaire Boys Club in February | Stream and share new song ‘AM Gold’

Billionaire Boys Club will be released worldwide on Wicked World Records on 17th February 2017

The exact moment of Dealer’s formation is almost impossible to pin down. Lost in a fug of thick smoke, alcohol and noise; somewhere and someplace out of time and mind.

Tentatively starting out life as Sexless – featuring founding member Kevin Klausen on guitar/vocals and fellow Los Angelean Samantha Mancino on drums – the duo would make a habit of throwing open jam sessions to anyone in earshot. Years prior and by his own admission, Klausen had lost heart after numerous false starts attempting to form his own band and gave up on making music to assume the mantle of tour manager for close friends, The Shrine. Helping the band across Europe and struck by their professionalism, after years on the road he returned in the Spring of 2013 with a handful of songs and a newfound focus.

“After seeing all these straight ahead rock and roll bands everywhere we went, I was really eager to start my own project but wanted to do something totally different,” explains Klausen. “We started out as this grungy weirdo dissonant punk band. In the early days we treated it more like a sort of art statement rather than a categorical band, it was really abstract and fun but in a way very naive.”

Relocating to Oakland, Sexless performed their first few shows with whatever bassist they could land until the night they met Aaron Cundy of local outfit Easy Living. Followed soon after by the conscription of John Zamora on drums after the departure of Mancino they soon hit upon the sound they were seeking. Sorely shredding their way through discordant moments of pre-punk history – often in a crazed reverie of hard rock solos and cocksure hellfire – they stalked the grooves of Black Flag’s Slip It In and the riffs of Voivod’s Killing Technology. All the while, sporting the sharpest Canadian tuxedos they could find.

When Zamora eventually chose to leave the band in May 2015, Klausen and Cundy sought total reformation. Drafting in new drummer Darien McKinney for shows with the likes of The Shrine, Ho99o9, Lecherous Gaze and Joy, they performed their final gig as Sexless on 4th June 2016 before entering Earhammer Studios to record their debut album with producer Greg Wilkinson (Iron Lung, Graves at Sea, Lecherous Gaze) just two days later. A proposed, “cocktail of heavy metal, punk, grunge and rock and roll,” the trio emerged with Billionaire Boys Club in hand as Dealer; the Leather-Era…

Released on LP, CD, digital and cassette Billionaire Boys Club is released worldwide on Wicked World Records on 17th February 2017.

Dealer:
Kevin Klausen – Guitar/Vocals
Aaron Cundy – Bass
Darien McKinney – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/dealerrips/
http://dealeroakland.bandcamp.com/
http://dealerrips.tumblr.com/
http://wickedworld.storenvy.com/

Dealer, “A.M. Gold”

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Neurosis Announce Australia/New Zealand Tour for Feb. 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

London, Melbourne, Vancouver, San Francisco — I don’t give a shit if Neurosis are playing on the moon. If they’re anywhere, it’s a special night. True, the last few years have seen them ease their way back into life as a tour-prone band on some level, but if you’ll recall the days circa The Eye of Every Storm or even Given to the Rising, when it was maybe five shows a year — not to mention the power of those performances — it’s easier to appreciate the notion of what they bring to a stage just about any time they choose to bring it. They’ve got gigs in London next week, West Coast at the end of the month, and newly announced dates in Australia and New Zealand in February, all supporting their 2016 release, Fires Within Fires (review here). Not as nice as it would be if they were playing, say, my back yard, but hard not to dig a geographic spread like that from such a special band now with more than 30 years under their belt.

From the PR wire:

neurosis-photo-by-stefaan-temmerman

NEUROSIS Announces Fires Within Fires New Zealand/Australia February Tour Dates; Band To Play Two Special Shows In London Next Week

In the wake of releasing their eleventh studio album, Fires Within Fires, in recent weeks, NEUROSIS continues to book new live performances in support of the record into 2017, with a newly-booked tour of New Zealand and Australia just announced for February.

NEUROSIS’ impending live schedule leads with two special shows for Fires Within Fires in London next week, which will see the band performing with Earth on November 7th, and Discharge and Subhumans November 8th. Two shows in Portland with labelmates Yob and Kowloon Walled City follow on November 25th and 26th. December sees NEUROSIS playing San Francisco on the 17th, with support from Yob and Kowloon Walled City, and the next night, December 18th, will see NEUROSIS headlining the second night of The Power Of The Riff 2016, with six additional bands to be announced for the evening. Shows in Seattle and Vancouver follow, on December 19th and 20th, respectively, with support from Yob and Sumac.

The newly-confirmed first 2017 tour dates for NEUROSIS sees them traversing the Pacific for a run through New Zealand and Australia. Running from February 14th through 18th, 2017 the band will play in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Additional international tour dates from NEUROSIS are to be expected.

NEUROSIS Tour Dates:
11/07/2016 Koko – London, UK w/ Earth
11/08/2016 Koko – London, UK w/ Discharge, Subhumans
11/25/2016 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR w/ Yob, Kowloon Walled City [all ages]
11/26/2016 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR w/ Yob, Kowloon Walled City [21+]
12/17/2016 Regency Grand Ballroom – San Francisco, CA w/ Yob, Kowloon Walled City
12/18/2016 Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA @ The Power Of The Riff
12/19/2016 Neumos – Seattle, WA w/ Yob, Sumac [21+]
12/20/2016 Venue – Vancouver, BC w/ Yob, Sumac [19+]
2/14/2017 San Fran – Wellington, NZ
2/15/2017 Kings Arms – Auckland, NZ
2/16/2017 The Triffid – Brisbane, AU w/ Dispossessed
2/17/2017 Manning Bar – Sydney, AU w/ Dispossessed
2/18/2017 The Croxton – Melbourne, AU w/ Dispossessed

NEUROSIS’ acclaimed Fires Within Fires is available now on CD, LP, cassette, and all digital platforms through the band’s own Neurot Recordings; see all bundles and options RIGHT HERE.

http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialneurosis
http://www.twitter.com/neurosisoakland
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
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Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (2016)

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Sleep to Release The Clarity 12″ on Southern Lord

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

There hasn’t yet been a physical pressing of Sleep‘s 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), that hasn’t sold completely through, and I wouldn’t expect any different from this forthcoming Feb. 2017 Southern Lord edition either. Guitarist Matt Pike (do I really need to say he’s also in High on Fire?) has said publicly that Sleep will record a new album next year as well, so whether this is a precursor to that, I don’t know, but given that it was five years between their first getting back together in 2009 and putting out The Clarity, it seems fair to think they’ll take their time with a what would be their first full-length since the now-legendary Dopesmoker, released some 15 years ago. Maybe 2018?

I don’t know. Sometimes my suppositions on that kind of thing are way off — certainly not like I saw The Clarity coming at the time — so don’t by any means take my baseless speculation as any kind of authority. Bottom line is that whenever it shows up, if it does, a new Sleep will be welcome, at least around these parts. If it’s another pressing of The Clarity in the interim, so be it.

From the PR wire:

sleep-the-clarity-etching

SLEEP’s “The Clarity” 12″ To Receive Official Pressing Via Southern Lord

Southern Lord Recordings is pleased to announce the impending re-release of SLEEP’s “The Clarity.” The special 12″ contains the first new song from the band in nearly two decades.

Initially released digitally as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program in 2014, SLEEP’s “The Clarity” is the first new track the band released since their critically-adored, 1998-released Dopesmoker album. Afterward, the band issued a very limited run of the song on vinyl which was sold exclusively at their live shows and the band’s online store. Having been out-of-print in physical format since, Southern Lord will now re-release the mammoth track for official distribution.

Recorded by Neurosis’ Noah Landis and mastered by John Golden, the near ten-minute-long “The Clarity” has been re-cut by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering for this new pressing, which will see release on 180-gram 12″ vinyl pressed at RTI. The B-side of the platter features a special etching of the artwork by David V. D’Andrea (Samaritan Press), and will be housed in a heavyweight picture disc-style sleeve, silkscreened with the SLEEP logo.

The Clarity will see re-release in February 2017, with preorder info and more to follow shortly. Find other SLEEP titles and merch in the meantime RIGHT HERE.

Remaining one of the most widely-respected and influential acts in the stoner/doom metal universe, SLEEP’s popularity has grown tremendously since their reformation in 2009. The reborn lineup, reuniting bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (OM) and guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (High Oh Fire), and including drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), SLEEP continues to do what they have always done; largely and without pause, make music in tune with the ages.

http://www.southernlord.com/store/search/name:/artist_id:107/
http://www.southernlord.com
http://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
http://www.twitter.com/twatterlord
http://www.weedian.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialsleep
http://www.twitter.com/sleep_official

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Worm Ouroboros Stream New Track “Broken Movements”; What Graceless Dawn out Dec. 2

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Do your Tuesday drear a favor and treat it to a run through ‘Broken Movements,’ the new track streaming now to go with the announcement of Oakland atmospheric doomers Worm Ouroboros‘ upcoming third album, What Graceless Dawn, which will be out this winter on Profound Lore. I think you’ll find it’s a more than fitting complement in its pervasive melancholy, melodic resonance and ambient weight. It gets heavy, yeah, or at very least it gets spacious — I wouldn’t call even its loudest moments “crushing” or intended to be so — but even the quiet stretches seem to bear down on you, the unsuspecting listener, who’s just sad because Friday is still so far away. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, having missed out on their last outing in 2012, so please be on the lookout for more to come.

For now, art and info and audio, courtesy of the PR wire:

worm-ouroboros-what-graceless-dawn

WORM OUROBOROS: Dark Ethereal Doom Alchemists To Release What Graceless Dawn Full-Length Via Profound Lore This Winter; New Track Posted

With their third full-length, What Graceless Dawn, dark ethereal doom alchemists WORM OUROBOROS have brought into existence their deepest and most moving work to date. Set for release this December via Profound Lore, the follow-up to 2012’s critically-lauded Come The Thaw LP finds the Oakland-based trio of bassist/vocalist Lorraine Rath (ex-The Gault, Amber Asylum), guitarist/vocalist Jessica Way (Barren Harvest), and drummer Aesop Dekker (Vhol, ex-Agalloch, Ludicra) elevating the WORM OUROBOROS sound to a new echelon of sophistication through their amalgam of morose, 4AD-esque doom, introspective death rock, dark ambient, and enchanting chamber music. Through obsessive bass lines, ambient guitar movements, layers and overtones, the alluring vocal intertwining between Rath and Way, and Dekker’s subtle-yet-procession-like percussion What Graceless Dawn is a sonic vision of tragedy and despair, one of the saddest, most crippling, and gut-wrenching releases in the realm of heavy, dark, introspective music to bring the curtain down on the year.

Recorded and mixed at Oakland’s Earhammer Studios by Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil, Pallbearer, Noothgrush) Graceless Dawn will see official unveiling on December 2nd, 2016.
In the meantime, hear the forlorn sounds of second track, “Broken Movements,” via Profound Lore’s Soundcloud page at THIS LOCATION.

What Graceless Dawn Track Listing:
1. Day
2. Broken Movements
3. Suffering Tree
4. Ribbon Of Shadow
5. (Was It) The Cruelest Thing
6. Night

WORM OUROBOROS formed in June 2007 by Lorraine Rath and Jessica Way. With both musicians already having experience within the Bay Area heavy music scene — Way was previously part of metal band World Eater and Rath being a part of the influential Amber Asylum lineup as well as being co-mastermind of The Gault — WORM OUROBOROS set out to create music which explores the lines between fragility and strength, darkness and light, harmony and discord. Drawing inspiration from many places, including metal, doom, folk, progressive, and dark ambient genres, WORM OUROBOROS creates its own space; a creeping, dark landscape full of murky dreams and emotions. The band would see the inclusion of drummer Aesop Dekker in 2010 who would replace original drummer Justin Green.

http://www.facebook.com/WormOuroboros
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

Worm Ouroboros, “Broken Movements”

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Neurosis, Fires Within Fires: Reflecting Forward

Posted in Reviews on September 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

neurosis-fires-within-fires

A new release of any sort from Neurosis should be seen as reason to celebrate, and their 11th studio album, Fires Within Fires, has hit with no shortage of fanfare, critical fawning, wax poetry, etc. I won’t necessarily disagree with most of it, but it’s hard to separate the record, which of course is released on the band’s own Neurot Recordings, from the context in which it arrives.

Part of that is narrative. The post-metal progenitors began marking their 30th anniversary in the past year, and with Fires Within Fires, they take on the task of summarizing their unmatched sonic progression in a variety of interesting ways, not all of them sonic. At the same time, one of the most pivotal aspects to what Neurosis do — and I’m writing as a fan — has been the forward-thinking crux, the willingness to push into uncharted places, relentless in passion and creative spirit.

Fires Within Fires representing that as well as pulling in aspects from the band’s past without being overly cerebral or coming across like a commentary from the band, by the band, about the band, might be its greatest triumph. Rather, in marking their history, Neurosis — the five-piece of guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till, bassist/backing vocalist Dave Edwardson, drummer Jason Roeder and keyboardist/noise specialist Noah Landis — conjure here some of the rawest sounds they’ve elicited in more than a decade.

That idea applies even to the five-track/40-minute runtime. Fires Within Fires is the shortest Neurosis full-length since 1990’s The Word as Law, and the visceral nature of opener “Bending Light” mirrors that paring-down process in its sound. At the same time, Fires Within Fires caps with “Reach,” which presents the most ambitious melodic vocal approach of the band’s career, so even as they reflect, that becomes part of an overarching ongoing pursuit.

This gives the album, produced by Steve Albini, who’s helmed everything they’ve done since 1999’s Times of Grace and 2001’s pivotal A Sun that Never Sets — the latter of which seems to find some reference here in the penultimate “Broken Ground” (probably not on purpose) — a certain front-to-back linearity. Especially with its somewhat truncated span compared to more recent Neurosis outings, be it 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here), which was an hour even, or 2007’s Given to the Rising, which was 10 minutes longer than that, the shorter stretch makes Fires Within Fires easier to take as a whole work as well as in terms of its individual pieces and what they accomplish.

Their recordings with Albini have always been very tied to their live presentation, so Fires Within Fires isn’t necessarily any more “stripped down” in its presentation than any of their other collaborations, but it does carry that rawer feel in the material itself, in the full-boar lurch of centerpiece “Fire is the End Lesson” as well as in the still-tense atmospherics of second cut “A Shadow Memory.”

Landis, whose contributions in eerie sampling and manipulation of sound, as well as keys, etc., continue to bolster the material well, immediately complement the initial rollout of “Bending Light.” Crashing in, the opener weaves its way forward on an intricately-toned guitar lead, quiets down to lull the listener into a false sense of security and then at 3:40 slams into its verse, Kelly‘s guttural sneer unmistakable as it spits the lines, “Watching through the eyes of a crow/I let it guide me/I let it guide me/I let it in/The end is endless/And washing [or watching] over me.”

The rhythmic repetition there is important, and comes up again shortly with the same line, “I let it guide me,” before Kelly and Von Till come together to deliver and repeat the lyric, “Peeling the skin away reveals the heart,” which could easily be read as a declaration of intent for the album itself (though again, probably not), their insistence as they belt it out four times in a row punkish in its intensity. Following a slowdown, Von Till takes the fore vocally and the track lumbers and undulates to its finish and into the airier start of “A Shadow Memory,” the shortest cut on Fires Within Fires at 6:50.

Within the first minute, its forward motion is underway, the guitars and keys accenting each other as Roeder, as ever, gives fluidity to what for most drummers would be impossible to interpret (without his blueprint). Von Till and Kelly work through a call and response on vocals and drop out for a moment of ambience before a section of drawn guitar line reminiscent of “Water is Not Enough” from Given to the Rising hits and carries through the halfway point, after which they stop and then shift again into a more direct thrust. That will serve as the capstone movement, and the guitar line returns to tie it together, behind another effective dual vocal that only adds to the manic feel before swirling noise ends cold and cuts into the immediate impact of “Fire is the End Lesson.”

neurosis-photo-by-john-sturdy

Also on the shorter end (6:54), it reverses the structure thus far of subdued intros into bursts forward, though it does build with much credit to Edwardson at the low end until they move through the two-minute mark, cutting out some of the wall-of-noise push to air out keys and what sounds like strings but could just as easily be a sample or other manipulation from Landis — it can be tricky sometimes to tell — but the thrust revives with a rising, consuming wash of noise and guitar, all seeming to come to a head and then only growing more abrasive, finally cutting out just past five minutes in to the same progression that answered the first payoff, which by this time has an almost soothing presence.

They finish with repeated lines before dropping to feedback to set up the gorgeous wash of keys that begin “Broken Ground.” One might be reminded of “A Sun that Never Sets” from the album of the same name by Roeder‘s drumming and the vocal that emerges, and as “Broken Ground” moves into its apex, it might seem to be speaking to the genre-foundational “Stones from the Sky” off that same record, but Neurosis today is a different beast than they were 15 years ago, and they shove what might be Fires Within Fires‘ standout riff into a chorus that holds its volume and opens into lines of what sounds like (but likely isn’t actually) flute behind the vocals, dipping back right away into the verse before a return to the quiet guitar, keys and drums of the intro just past the halfway point brings Von Till back for a more subdued delivery.

At 5:39, they kick back into that riff and take it through another chorus, and though it seems fair to expect them to ride that through the remaining three minutes, they instead cut back again and end quiet, watery effects on a few final lines on a long drift with just a current of noise remaining. The closer and longest track, “Reach” (10:37) begins almost like its predecessor, but the mood is immediately different, the drums accenting a march that Von Till meets with melodic singing in a voice usually reserved for his solo work.

Not only that, but soon enough Kelly joins in and the two duet in a way that I’m not sure has ever happened on a Neurosis record. A build has begun, however, and carries through the next verse and joint-vocal chorus, and at 4:30, they shift into what will be the ground level for Fires Within Fires‘ last push, a long section of melancholy guitar lead over patient and quiet, but tense, guitar, bass and drums.

You know it’s coming, you just don’t know when, but at 7:59, “Reach” lunges forth its crescendo, a vicious and somewhat angular rhythm very much the band’s own that moves back and forth between the guitars at the fore, brings in Edwardson on backing vocals — he’s a weapon not often but effectively used — and teases its finish with words that rhyme with the title before the guitar, bass, drums, keys and everything else drops away and the final call — “reach” — is delivered, the band basically living up to that promise in manifesting the undulled searching that has been their core for the last three decades. In the end, it only takes them one word to say it all.

The visual side of Neurosis‘ output — from the artwork to their years spent accompanied by Josh Graham‘s video presentations during live sets — has always been a major element in conveying theme. With Honor Found in Decay, there was a strong sense of ritual, and the open gray space of 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm was no less appropriate than the charred and fossilized flesh of 1993’s Enemy of the Sun.

With the Fires Within Fires cover by Thomas Hooper, we see several elements that factor into the story surrounding the album, from the burning world representing passion to the key that might very well be just that — the key — in saying passion is central to the band and what has sustained them. Also important and thematic through the package are circles, in both the world on the cover surrounded by ethereal lines that could well be taken as spirit, as well as on back and inside, and this too plays into the notion of Neurosis taking a rare moment to examine themselves and what their time together has wrought for them as artists and people.

I’ve made a lot of comparisons to their past work, and I think those hold up to scrutiny (or I wouldn’t have made them), but at no point do I believe Neurosis sat down and said, “Okay, now we’re gonna reference ‘Through Silver in Blood.'” Instead, it’s more likely these connections emerged naturally as the songs came together, and while at some point they had to consciously acknowledge they were doing something different than before — if only in realizing Fires Within Fires is 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor — I’m not convinced that’s anything so far removed from their usual method of making a record.

Still, the circles. One thinks of ouroboros, of ends as beginnings. It may well be that Neurosis have come full circle and they’ll draw that circle to a close, a completion, but just as likely, the turn in approach they present here may signify a new beginning for the band as much as punctuation for their first 30 years. What can be said for certain is Neurosis will keep moving forward, as it’s all they’ve ever done, and even as they may or may not be looking back, they refuse to stop changing on Fires Within Fires as well. Recommended.

Neurosis, Fires Within Fires album teaser

Neurosis website

Neurosis on Thee Facebooks

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Neurot Recordings website

Neurot Recordings store

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Mondo Drag, The Well & Crypt Trip Announce US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kind of nice to post some US tour dates for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I love covering stuff from Europe or happening in Europe, and as regards this fall, that’s clearly where the party’s at, what with the 7,000 festivals — exact number — happening every weekend and all, but it’s nice to know that as the heavy underground turns its focus toward the old world, the new won’t be entirely bereft of good times.

To wit, the teaming up of Oakland psych-proggers Mondo Drag, who’ll be out supporting this year’s The Occultation of Light (review here) after a European run this Spring, a residency in L.A. and a stop at Psycho Las Vegas, with their RidingEasy Records labelmates in Austin troublemaking trio The Well, who’ll have their new one, Pagan Science, out on Oct. 14, and San Marcos upstarts Crypt Trip is sure to take some of the sting out of not being in Switzerland, or Belgium, or Germany, or wherever on any given day. It’s nice to know somebody still cares, that’s all.

Hope you go to a show and make it worth their while, because that’s how tours keep happening. You don’t need me to tell you that shit. We’re cool. It’s all those other jerks we need to worry about.

RidingEasy announced the dates thusly:

mondo drag the well tour

Mondo Drag, The Well and Crypt Trip are hitting the road! What show will you be at???

10/7/2016 Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Co
10/8/2016 Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
10/9/2016 Detroit, MI @ El Club
10/11/2016 Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
10/13/2016 Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
10/14/2016 Asbury Park, NJ @ Wonder Bar
10/15/2016 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
10/16/2016 Baltimore, MD @ Metro
10/17/2016 Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage
10/18/2016 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Thursday 10/20/2016 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
Friday 10/21/2016 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
Saturday 10/22/2016 Houston, TX @ End It Fest
Sunday 10/23/2016 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
Wednesday 10/26/2016 Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
Thursday 10/27/2016 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar

https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
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Mondo Drag, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Friday Full-Length: Kalas, Kalas

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kalas, Kalas (2006)

Kalas was a short-lived five-piece fronted by Matt Pike of High on Fire and Sleep. During their time together, which reportedly started in 2003, they released one full-length, self-titled, on Tee Pee Records. They did not tour extensively. I remember seeing them at SXSW 2006 in Austin, Texas, at a day party sponsored by Vice — at the time I had no idea what Vice was, but Witch were also playing, so I wasn’t missing it either way — and watching as Pike rushed through the crowd to get on stage because the band’s set was about to start. It was that kind of thing. Someone would tell me later that Kalas essentially came out of his desire to practice his vocals and expand his range for High on Fire — which the album Kalas most definitely does on songs like “Frozen Sun” and “Mother’s Tears” — but I think the appeal of the record goes further than that.

Consider that in 2006, Sleep were still broken up, seemingly permanently. With High on Fire, Pike released Blessed Black Wings in 2005 and would follow it up with Death is this Communion in 2007, indeed having greatly expanded his vocal range. Kalas‘ self-titled is not only a bridge between those two albums, but also a tie to the more purely stonerized riffing of Sleep — or at very least is less maniacally metal than High on Fire were at the time and have only grown to be more so. By stepping back and not playing guitar, Pike gave crucial ground to six-stringers Andy Christ (ex-Eldopa) and Paul Kott (ex-High Tone Son of a Bitch) and led the band, which also included bassist Brad Reynolds and drummer Scott Plumb, in a different way than he ever had before or than he has since. He only played guitar in Sleep, but in Kalas, he only sang (minus a solo on “Frozen Sun”), and that became a defining feature of the group and the album.

Honestly, that would probably be enough to pique interest, but the album continues to deliver quality in the performance of the entire band and the songwriting. It’s not as rampage-prone as High on Fire, but Kalas grooves fluidly across its nine tracks, and the lyrics tackle issues of addiction and the resulting effects on life in a more direct way than Pike ever had before. It became a vibe that, on subsequent releases, might’ve come to develop along a path separate from anything else Pike was involved in, but instead it kind of languished behind the booming popularity of High on Fire — who were in the midst of doing some of their best work to-date — and the reunion of Sleep, which began in 2009. The self-titled would be the only thing they ever put out. Copies still float around, and if you’re lucky you might be able to find one in a used rack somewhere, but it continues to surprise me how little mention Kalas get in the Matt Pike discography, since they were unlike anything he’d done before or would do again. And, again, the songs hold up even a decade later.

More pre-social media heavy seemingly given up to the ages, awaiting reissue. Hope you enjoy.

I lost a little weight recently and so have been digging out some old t-shirts from boxes in the basement in hopes that they might fit. I chose the Kalas record because apparently at some point I purchased a Kalas t-shirt with the album cover on it. Must have been at that SXSW show, though I couldn’t say for sure — it was a long decade ago and I never went to Austin that I didn’t spend the entire half-week bordering on blackout drunk. Or my 20s. Ha.

Anyway, I think I might wear that Kalas shirt to The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is only eight days away. It’s pretty new looking. I might’ve never worn it before.

If you don’t have your tickets yet for The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar, get them here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1067269

Next week the countdown to that show will continue. Look for exclusive and awesome stuff from Funeral HorseKing Buffalo and Heavy Temple, and maybe a special writeup for the afterparty as well, because I’m really stoked on bringing Walter Roadburn and Adam from The Golden Grass on board to DJ after Mars Red Sky plays. It’s going to be such an awesome day. Please come. Please show up.

Also next week, look out for a review and some kind of audio premiere for the new Second Grave album, Blacken the Sky. To be followed Tuesday (I think) by Wretch and Wednesday by Blues Funeral. There’s more for later in the week, I’m just not sure what it is yet. Doing the All-Dayer countdown has put me way behind on videos as well. Might take a day to get caught up. We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please get your The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk All-Dayer

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Neurosis Announce UK 30th Anniversary Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

neurosis (Photo by John Sturdy)

Having been fortunate enough to witness two of Neurosis‘ 30th anniversary sets in-person at Roadburn 2016 earlier this year, I’ll say from personal experience that attendance should be considered mandatory for even the mildest fan of the band. They not only tackle the scope of their entire career — a seemingly impossible feat to blend the raw punk of their earliest work with the groundbreaking experimentalism that followed — they do so with all the on-stage force one could ask of Neurosis, who are among the most dynamic live bands in the world, regardless of genre. Somehow I doubt adding material from their forthcoming 11th studio LP, Fires Within Fires, is going to hurt.

Unless you don’t bring earplugs, that is.

The PR wire brings details of the two 30th anniversary shows that Neurosis will play in the UK this November. They’re also in Europe starting tomorrow. Words:

neurosis london shows

NEUROSIS Reveals Two Special UK Shows To Mark Their Thirty-Year Anniversary And Celebrate The Release Of Fires Within Fires

With NEUROSIS having marked their thirty-year milestone with three shows in San Francisco, two shows at the respected Roadburn Festival, and a Summer of touring across Europe on the horizon, the anticipation for something special in the UK is palpable. It therefore comes with great pleasure to announce two London shows in November this year with thrilling, and unexpected, special guests.

On Monday, November 7th, NEUROSIS shall be joined by Earth, and on Tuesday, November 8th, they will be joined by Discharge and Subhumans. These bands represent perfectly the cross-section of music which NEUROSIS as a collective deeply admire and relate to, which makes these two shows all the more important in this milestone year. Tickets go on sale today.

Prior to the UK shows, on September 23rd, NEUROSIS takes a dominant leap with their eleventh full-length, Fires Within Fires. Three decades in the making, and following 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, the album is a testament both to the history and future of Neurosis. In true Ouroborean style, Fires Within Fires gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Striking the band’s signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, dense sonic heaviness and reflective space. Fires Within Fires is succinct, raw and deeply soulful, an all-encompassing reminder that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength. Our first and only glimpse of the music on this record, prior to release date, is sampled in a new video which showcases the exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper.

The journey of their music has found the band relishing the unpredictable, embracing the unknown and exploring the possibility of where the music was capable of taking them. Going beyond the remarkable, NEUROSIS has become unforgettable. Fires Within Fires is the next powerful step towards a destination that has long been and continues to be the very heart of “becoming” for NEUROSIS.

Neurot Recordings will release Fires Within Fires on September 23rd worldwide. Preorders are now being taken via the Neurot webstore RIGHT HERE.

NEUROSIS Tour Dates:
8/10/2016 Brutal Assault Festival – Jaromer, CZ
8/11/2016 Festa Radio Onda D’Urto – Brescia, IT
8/12/2016 Rock Altitude Festival – Le Locle, CH w/ Tesa
8/13/2016 Oya Festival – Oslo, NO
8/14/2016 Arena – Vienna, AT w/ Ufomammut, Tesa
8/15/2016 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE w/ Tesa
8/16/2016 Gruenspan – Hamburg, DE w/ Tesa
8/17/2016 Patronaat – Haarlem, NL w/ Tesa
8/18/2016 Pukkelpop Festival – Hasselt, BE
8/19/2016 Substage – Karlsruhe, DE w/ Tesa
8/20/2016 Motocultor Festival – St. Nolff, FR
8/21/2016 Amplifest – Porto, PT w/ Tesa
11/07/2016 Koko – London, UK w/ Earth
11/08/2016 Koko – London, UK w/ Discharge, Subhumans

STEVE VON TILL Tour Dates:
8/10/2016 007 – Prague, CZ
8/22/2016 Passos Manuel – Porto, PT @ Amplifest

http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialneurosis
https://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com
http://www.twitter.com/neurosisoakland
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Neurosis, Fires Within Fires album teaser

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