I’ve spent probably an inordinate amount of time these last couple months living vicariously through YouTube clips of the Spirit Caravan reunion. I didn’t get to see the reformed trio during their US run — I expect if they do more dates, I’ll travel to wherever they happen to be that’s closest, be it Rhode Island or New York or wherever — and they’re on the road now in Europe, having first gone over to perform at Desertfest in London and Berlin before starting the US tour with Pilgrim opening, so maybe they’ll come back and do more, maybe not. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about it.
In the meantime, there’s no shortage of video documentation of the US tour to wade through. This week’s Wino Wednesday clip was recorded video and audio by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer, and it’s the full Spirit Caravan set, more than an hour long, from Columbus, Ohio, at Skully’s Music Diner, from April 9. Pretty much any classic you could ask for — from “Fang” to “Cosmic Artifact” to “Brainwashed” — they’re all in there, and the three-piece of Wino, bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman and drummer Henry Vasquez were air tight by then, just six days before the tour wrapped at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn.
Spirit Caravan play this weekend at Hellfest in Clisson, France. On Sunday, June 22, they play The Valley stage with Unida and a slew of enviable others. I’m sure I’ll be looking out for video of that too when the time comes. Until then, and without knowing how long the Spirit Caravan reunion is going to go, if it’s going to result in a new batch of songs or just sort of wrap up and dissipate, I’m glad to have videos like this one to tide me over. Hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:
Spirit Caravan, Full Set at Skully’s Music Diner, Columbus, Ohio, April 9, 2014
These are a little later than I’d prefer, but if I ran everything on time around here as much as I wanted to, it would probably take me 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to go to the post office, or to The Patient Mrs.‘ workplace to scam free printer paper. I’m just saying things come up that can alter the course of your planned afternoon. One can either be flexible or go insane.
So, better (perpetually) late than never, and I hope you’ll agree with me that this stuff was worth waiting for.
Adds for June 17, 2014:
Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket, In a Dutch Haze
Behold the megajam: The jam that launched a thousand jams, and insert further hyperbole here, because this one earns it. At Roadburn 2012, the illustrious lineup of J. Mascis (Witch, Dinosaur Jr.) and his Heavy Blanket bandmate Graham Clise (also Witch and Lecherous Gaze) joined forces with Earthless‘ rhythm section, bassist Mike Egington and drummer Mario Rubalcalba for a one-time-only, off-the-cuff instrumental jam that has since become the stuff of legend. Yes, a legend two years later. Now dubbed “Paradise in a Purple Sky,” that hour-long one-track excursion into pure heavy psychedelic bliss is available as Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket‘s In a Dutch Haze, and the vibe is less that of a live album than a historical document. Call it lightning in a bottle, call it any other cliche you might want, but chances are In a Dutch Hazeis going to be the best live release you hear this year, and if the echoing intertwining guitar solos and unhindered thudding groove — immaculately captured by Marcel van de Vondervoort — aren’t enough to stir your soul and drive you to creation, then I’ve got nothing for you. This is heavy psych at its most vibrant and righteous. Burning World Records, Outer Battery Records.
Thine, The Dead City Blueprint
The Dead City Blueprint (out on PeacevilleRecords) is actually the third full-length from UK-based Thine, but it’s also their first since 2002, so the feel winds up somewhat like a debut anyway. What happened in the interim? Well, drummer Dan Mullins from the two-guitar five-piece has doubled in My Dying Bride since 2006, so that could at least partially explain the delay. Whatever else may have caused the stoppage, Thine make up for the years with 10 deep explorations of dark, melancholic rock. “Out of Your Mind and into a Void” is almost singularly indebted to Damnation-era Opeth, and opener “Brave Young Assassin” finds Thine somewhere between a less keyboarded Katatonia and a more active version of Anathema at their moodiest, but “The Precipice” provides an early peak to The Dead City Blueprintwith a surprise reinterpretation of NWOBHM guitar intricacy and wonderfully arranged vocals from Alan Gaunt, whose performance takes the piece to someplace entirely the band’s own. Winding, airy lead lines in “The Rift” will be a dogwhistle to those in the know, but the piano-inclusive apex of “Scars from Limbo” and ambient finale “Adrift through the Arcane Isles of Recovery” speak to an individuality in development, and if Thine get a follow-up out sometime before 2026, I wouldn’t be surprised to find them grown further into their style. Thine on Thee Facebooks, Peaceville Records.
Dwellers, Live at Bar Deluxe 29-04-2014
As the title hints, Live at Bar Deluxe 29-04-2014 is a new live release from Salt Lake City heavy rockers Dwellers, recorded in their hometown at the end of April. That puts it prior to the street date for their second album, Pagan Fruit (review here), but two cuts from that — “Rare Eagle” and “Totem Crawler” — make appearances anyway alongside highlights drawn from the first Dwellers offering, 2012′s Good Morning Harakiri (review here). Both those records were on Small Stone, but this 34-minute set is a self-release free download, essentially a band-endorsed bootleg to be spread around. The audio quality is definitely in the “audience recording” vein, but clear enough to let the spaciousness of “Old Honey” sink in as it flows out of “Ode to Inversion Layer,” and as this is as close as I’ve yet come to seeing Dwellers – the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano, bassist Dave Jones and drummer Zach Hatsis – live, I’m more than inclined to take it. Hearing Toscano nail the chorus to “Totem Crawler” as well as he does here only emphasizes how much I need to catch a gig sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s a fan piece, but screw it, I’m a fan. Dwellers on Thee Facebooks, Dwellers on Bandcamp.
Fever Dog, “Iroquois”
Just a quick look from these jammy Palm Desert youngsters at what their forthcoming sophomore full-length, Second Wind, will hold, but “Iroquois” bodes well, and in its two-minute span one can hear space rock ideals beginning to make themselves felt amidst a still tonally weighted push, the band’s confidence emerging as their sound continues to expand. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/thereminist Danny Graham, bassist/noisemaker Nathan Wood and drummer Joshua Adams (also synth), Fever Dog show they have a clear dedication to being more than a heavy rock band, and as brief as “Iroquois” is, the immediateness with which it enacts a vibe puts Second Wind on my list of most anticipated albums for the second half of this year. Lot of potential for the desert’s next generation. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.
Electric Lucifer, Coming to the Mountain
Not to be confused with Cincinnati’s Electric Citizen, Cleveland-based triple-guitar stoner rollers Electric Lucifer get down to some post-Electric Wizard idolatry on their Dec. 2013 Coming to the Mountain three-track EP. The nod is central and effective, and with three guitars at work, riffing is obviously half the point, though the leads mesh naturally with well-held grooves on “Electric Lucifer,” which leads off, and the subsequent “Phantoms from the Outer Rim” and “Red Wizard,” the last of which finds Electric Lucifer at their most blown-out, proffering stoner rock for stoner rockers with a clear passion for the tenets of the genre. There isn’t much fancy about it, but with a reemerging interest in straightforward Sabbath worship and a subsequent full-length released shortly after from Electric Lucifer, easy to think the five-piece would hit a nerve for heads already converted and looking to nod out. Electric Lucifer on Thee Facebooks, Electric Lucifer on Bandcamp.
Also added this week were releases by John Garcia and Swedish stoner punkers Lightsabres. For the full list of updates and more, check out The Obelisk Radio updates page.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Touring is imminent for Heavy Glow in support of their new album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. And by “imminent,” I mean tomorrow. The Cleveland-born trio release their somewhat poppier and professionally constructed sophomore effort today and begin a run of shows tomorrow in San Diego that will take them through the Southwest and into the Midwest. They’ll head out with the CD and digital versions available, while the vinyl is still to come and expected early next month. Good food takes time.
The three-piece have made the entirety of Pearls and Swine and Everything Fineavailable for streaming in honor of the release. It’s down there under release announcement, so feel free to dig in:
NEW HEAVY GLOW ALBUM DROPS TODAY
‘Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine’ is out today!
Produced By Michael Patterson (Trent Reznor) And Nic Jodoin (BRMC) Available on iTunes and cd!
You can also pre-order vinyl on 180 gram (Available around July 7th**approximately)
Cleveland, OH, June 3, 2014 — The new Heavy Glow album titled, Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine, was recorded with producer team Michael Patterson and Nic Jodoin. The full album will stream on the band’s websitewww.heavyglowmusic.comall day today for fans.
Heavy Glow Tour Itinerary (all dates may be subject to change): Wednesday, June 4th at Soda Bar in San Diego, CA Thursday, June 5th at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale, AZ Friday, June 6th at Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, AZ Saturday, June 7th at Leftwoods in Amarillo, TX Sunday, June 8th at The Boiler Room in Dallas, TX Monday, June 9th at Record Bar in Kansas City, MO Tuesday, June 10th at Firebird in St. Louis, MO // CANCELED! Wednesday, June 11th Washington in Burlington, IA Friday, June 13th at Wisco in Madison, WI Saturday, June 14th at Elbo Room in Chicago
This week brings even more radio adds than I expected. I had kind of a hard time whittling it down to figure what I wanted to write about, to be honest with you, but we got there in the end, and I’m thrilled to have another batch of additions to the playlist for this week. Doing this seems to have quickly become a Friday ritual for me, and frankly, I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon than listening to and writing about a bunch of records. Like just about everything else, for example.
Adds for May 30, 2014:
Iron Man, The Passage & Generation Void
Two brand new vinyl reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Digital promos are particularly useless in the case of badass LPs, and I’m pretty sure both of these albums by Maryland doom stalwarts Iron Man, 1994′s sophomore outing, The Passage, and it’s 1999 follow-up, Generation Void, are already on the Radio playlist, but screw it, it’s Iron Man. If the chances of hearing an Iron Man song go up with each file added, then it’s worth tossing both of these records on the server. Generation Voidis a full-on lost classic of doom, and if you don’t already own it, I’d imagine the vinyl of The Passagejustifies picking it up based on the artwork alone. Either way, you’re never gonna lose when it comes to these guys, and Shadow Kingdom‘s loyalty in following up its CD reissues with LP versions is commendable. On Thee Facebooks, Shadow Kingdom website.
Electric Citizen, Sateen
Led by guitarist Ross Dolan and vocalist Laura Dolan, this Cincinnati four-piece traffic in high-order retro-minded Sabbathisms that keep in mind just how much boogie went along with all that darkness. To wit, the shuffle at the heart of the organ-laced “The Trap” and “Burning in Hell” or the push in the earlier “Magnetic Man.” Sateen, the band’s debut on RidingEasy Records, features riffs and leads heavily, and Laura‘s croon never strays from the forefront in delivering a barrage of hooks through the ’70s-worship production, but as with Sabbath themselves, the foundation of what Electric Citizen accomplish in these memorable, immediately familiar tracks is built on a foundation of rhythmic excellence in the bass and drums, here provided by Nick Vogelpohl and Nate Wagner, respectively. That organ ain’t half-bad either. The album arrives with no shortage of hype, but it’s a shockingly cohesive debut in style and performance, and the songwriting more than earns its way. On Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
Disenchanter, On through Portals
The Sept. 2013 Back to Earth demo from Portland, Oregon, doom-blues metallers Disenchanter has been sitting on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. That release is added to the playlist as well, but on the early-2014 follow-up, On through Portals, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg, bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Jay Erbe stretch out the form somewhat. Both arrive as EP-style releases, but On through Portals tops half-an-hour and executes a darkened psychedelic flow over its three extended tracks — “Journey to Abydos/Moon Maid” (12:15), “Invoke” (7:38), and “Into Darkness” (11:20) — so it could just as easily pass for a short album. Either way, the partial shift in aesthetic suits Disenchanter well, and what seems to have been in-process on their first demo comes closer to fruition here. Songs are patient and lumbering, but never boring, and Stangenberg‘s vocals layer effectively at the front of the mix to give the impression of a consummate frontwoman in the making. I won’t declare their development finished, but On through Portalsis a big and interesting step for Disenchanter to take. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Junior Bruce, The Nomad
Just two tracks on this latest release from Southern heavy rockers Junior Bruce. The Nomad is the second of two (to date) digital releases following Junior Bruce‘s 2012 debut full-length, The Headless King, and intended as a complement to last year’s TheBurden. Fair enough. Taken as such or on their own, The Nomad‘s two cuts, “The Promised Sleep” and “Nomad,” offer unpretentious heavy rolling groove from the Floridian five-piece fronted by Scott Angelacos and featuring bassist Tom Crowther, both also of Hollow Leg and formerly Bloodlet and Hope and Suicide. Molasses riffs from guitarists Nate Jones and Bryan Raymond and steady crash from drummer Jeff McAlear further distinguish “Nomad” in the Southern tradition, and the single/EP is twice as intriguing in the context of Hollow Leg‘s most recent recording, “God Eater” (discussed here), which moved in a more rocking direction as well. Itseems to work for both bands. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Anuseye, Essay on a Drunken Cloud
Cuts like “J R” and “Wrong Blues” take ’90s crunch and heavy rock vibes to heart, but where Italy’s Anuseye really distinguish themselves on their Vincebus Eruptum Recordings debut — other than with their somewhat unfortunate moniker — is in the weirdo jamminess of “Push Magic Button” or the psychedelic exploration of “Earthquake.” Essay on a Drunken Cloud boasts a few riffs and effects-laced stretches like that in “Cursed Pills” that might call to mind guitarist Luca Stero and vocalist/guitarist Claudio C.‘s and prior work together in That’s all Folks, but Anuseye has a personality of their own here, with bassist Michele V. and drummer Antonello C. keeping step with the strange vibes every step of the way. The balance shifts effectively between psych rock and noisy post-punk, but songs like “Demon Pulse” and the penultimate “S.S. Abyss” find an engaging and unexpected middle ground on which to make an impression. And then they do. For those days when you feel like you’re heard everything a riff can do, Essay on a Drunken Cloudmight just convince you there’s still territory to be discovered. On Thee Facebooks, at Vincebus Eruptum.
For the complete list of this week’s adds, click here.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Neil Krug cover art for Ohio four-piece Electric Citizen‘s RidingEasy Records full-length debut has been revealed, and the July 1 release of the album is confirmed. Electric Citizen, who showed up ahead of the game in terms of getting their shit together, are currently on tour with Fu Manchu and the anticipation leading to Sateen coming out is palpable. I haven’t heard the record yet, but if their 2013 debut EP was anything to go by, it’s one to keep an eye out for this summer. Should be interesting as well to see the response after this tour.
For more, the PR wire checks in with the following:
Debut Album by ELECTRIC CITIZEN – Sateen LP (RidingEasy Records) Released 01/07/14
Following on from the premiere of ‘Burning In Hell’ on VICE’s Noisey earlier this year and limited edition releases on The Crossing and Breathe Plastic Records, the winners of this year’s Best Rock Band honour at the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards release their hotly tipped debut this July.
Formed just over a year ago by guitarist Ross Dolan, vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums) Electric Citizen have had a busy year turning heads and ears onto their dark and esoteric style of haunting and unhallowed ’60s West Coast rock, and decidedly British-influenced heavy psychedelia.
Like records by similarly late 60s/early ’70s-possessed anti-modernists Blood Ceremony, Wolf People and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, over nine tracks Sateen provides a blueprint for long term appreciation. Recorded and produced by fellow Ohioan and local stalwart Brian Olive (The Greenhornes, Soledad Brothers) the album draws on sounds synonymous with the roots of early ’70s proto-metal from groups such as Sir Lord Baltimore, Pentagram, Cream and the daemonic spirit of Amon Düül. Not to mention the comparisons it draws with the rock ‘n’ roll ceremony of forgotten acts like Frumpy and Shocking Blue when held up against the spellbinding light of high priestess Laura Dolan’s enigmatic voice and live presence.
From the cloudy and mystical swirl of ‘Hawk Nightingale’ to the shades of folk metal on ‘Shallow Water’, Electric Citizen pitch scholarly interpretations of the old guard in new and electrifying ways and not always from the vaults of forgotten masters. Take new single ‘Light Years Beyond’ with it’s swirling and ferocious concoction of guitars and drums or ‘Magnetic Man’ with its unabashed nod to Heart and classic Black Sabbath. Just a handful of many songs here that showcases just how good the band is at dropping sonic needles into the grooves of records that all serious rock ’n’ roll lovers hold dear.
After performing recent shows with Dead Meadow, Spirit Caravan and The Sword the band are currently on the road as official support to stoner rock Gods Fu Manchu on their North American tour.?? ‘Light Years Beyond’ is released on 20 May 2014 and paves the way for Sateen which will be officially released via RidingEasy Records on 1 July 2014.? The artwork for the album has been created by acclaimed artist Neil Krug who has previously worked with The Horrors, Lana Del Ray and Boards Of Canada).
Already tipped by some as one of the year’s most exciting debuts it marks the start of a promising journey for a band you need to hear.
Electric Citizen: Ross Dolan – Guitar Laura Dolan – Vocal Nick Vogelpohl – Bass Nate Wagner – Drums
Live Dates: 14 May – GROG SHOP, Cleveland, OH (w. Fu Manchu) 16 May – LEE’S PALACE, Toronto, ON (w. Fu Manchu) 17 May – CABARET MILE END, Montreal, QC (w. Fu Manchu) 19 May – MERCURY LOUNGE, New York, NY (w. Fu Manchu) 20 May – THE SINCLAIR, Boston, MA (w. Fu Manchu) 21 May – BARBARY, Philadelphia, PA (w. Fu Manchu) 23 May – ROCK & ROLL HOTEL, Washington, DC (w. Fu Manchu) 24 May – KINGS, Raleigh, NC (w. Fu Manchu) 25 May – EARL, Atlanta, GA (w. Fu Manchu) 27 May – RED 7, Austin, TX (w. Fu Manchu) 28 May – GAS MONKEY, Dallas, TX (w. Fu Manchu) 31 May – PUB ROCK LIVE, Mesa, AZ (w. Fu Manchu) 1 June – TBA, Albuquerque, NM 2 June – BLACK SHEEP, Colorado Springs, CO 3 June – RIOT ROOM, Kansas City, MO
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Bit of confusion on my part here, since I thought Ohio trio Valley of the Sun released their Electric Talons of the ThunderhawkLP (review here) back at the end of January in time for their European tour with Fuzzorama label heads Truckfighters. That’s not counting the copies of the vinyl that went out prior to that to those who supported their (obviously successful) crowdfunding effort to make the recording happen. But between those two, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawkstill remains unreleased in the US, and as the PR wire informs, that’s a situation set to rectify on June 10. So far as I understand, it’ll still be on Fuzzorama Records, and while for a band as accomplished-sounding as Valley of the Sun it’s odd to think of it as such, this will still be their debut full-length release. So congratulations. Now go make another.
Here’s me quoting the PR wire quoting me:
VALLEY OF THE SUN to Release “Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk” June 10
U.S. Heavy Hitters Sign to Fuzzorama Records for Release of Highly Anticipated Debut LP
Cincinnati “Volume Rock” power trio VALLEY OF THE SUN will release its debut full length LP Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk on June 10 via Fuzzorama Records, the label owned and operated by Swedish rock band Truckfighters. Recorded at Nada Studios in New York, the album is the follow up to the band’s 2011 EP The Saying of the Seers, which led hard rock mecca The Obelisk to state, “there’s no question that Valley of the Sun are placing themselves at the forefront of the new generation of American heavy rock.” Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk is available for pre-order purchase now at this location.
Featuring 10 electric tracks of confident, concentrated heavy music that hits hard with downtuned riffing, stadium-sized hooks, powerful artistic muscle and the take charge roar of guitarist / front man Ryan Ferrier, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk positions VALLEY OF THE SUN as a buzz band to watch. Relentless road dogs that have shared stages worldwide with friends and peers such as Truckfighters, Priestess, The Sword, Karma to Burn and more, VALLEY OF THE SUN has distilled the vigor and vibrancy of its triumphant live performances to tape, perfectly capturing their epic tone, rhythm, talent and attention to dynamics on the new record.
“The new record shows how we’ve grown as a band over the last couple years,” said VALLEY OF THE SUN drummer Aaron Boyer. “It’s been a lot of fun writing, recording and playing live in support of it. We’re really excited for our fans to be able to pick it up soon and let us know what they think.”
Track listing: 1.) Worm Teeth 2.) As Earth and Moon 3.) Maya 4.) Nomads 5.) Laser Vision Intermission 6.) Within the Glare 7.) The Message Is Get Down 8.) The Sleeping Sand 9.) Gunslinger 10.) Centaur Rodeo
As it’s written on the album cover, the title of the new Heavy Glow record is Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine. Phonetically, I have no issue. With lists, traditional grammar constructs would have you put a comma, so it’s “pearls, swine and everything…” (the Oxford comma is a matter of a whole different debate, I use it situationally), but it’s obvious the Cleveland heavy rocking trio are toying with long-standing aphorisms, and the double “and” is playful. What gets me about it is the ampersand.
Not that they use it. I tend not to except in headlines if I’m feeling particularly saucy — it’s embarrassing how true that is — but I’m cool with Heavy Glow using it in their title, especially on an album cover where space is limited. What makes the lid on my editor’s eye twitch is the use of the ampersand and then the use of “and.” Basically they’re saying “and” twice, but doing it once with an ampersand and once with the actual word. These guys are a good band going by everything I’ve heard from them, and I’m not sure I can explain why it bothers me in a way that doesn’t immediately lead to some kind of self-diagnosis, but to have the ampersand there and then “and” itself, well, it’s got my nerves in a bundle.
All the better, I suppose, that the latest track from what I’ve just decided I’m going to call Pearls and Swine and Everything Fineis “Nerve Endings,” and that its catchy, classic rocking stomp will soothe the aching brain. Heavy Glow‘s new album is out on June 3, but they’re taking preorders now on their Bandcamp, and “Nerve Endings” is just the most recent reveal in a series that can be tracked through their YouTube channel.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The three years since Lo-Pan released their landmark third album, Salvador (review here), have gone quick, but more importantly, they’ve gone. Ohio’s heavy fuzz four-piece have done no shortage of touring since that record came out (also before), but the time has come for them to get back in the studio, which they’re slated to do next month to record what’s already been dubbed Colossus for a release later this year on Small Stone. True to form, they’re hitting the road for one last go beforehand, turning the two nights of Small Stone‘s Boston and Brooklyn showcases into a 10-date run to honor their newfound alliance with Tone Deaf Touring.
They’re partnered with Whores for that stint, which starts on March 20, and expect more on the release of Colossus in the months to come. Until then:
LO-PAN: Ohio Riff Rock Perpetrators Enter Studio Next Month; Band Unites With Tone Deaf Touring – Live Takeovers Announced
Ohio riff rock perpetrators LO-PAN, will enter Translator Audio in Brooklyn, New York next month to record their forthcoming new full-length for amplification station, Small Stone Recordings. Titled Colossus, the offering will be mixed and mastered by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, The Brought Low, Keelhaul) with art direction by Jason Alexander Byers (Black Black Black, Disengage). A Fall release is expected.
In related news, LO-PAN recently joined forces with the roadburning heavyweights at Tone Deaf Touring (Corrosion Of Conformity, Weedeater, ASG) and will embark upon a short stint of live abrasions later this month alongside manic noiserockers, Whores. The ten-date motorcade will include two special Small Stone Showcases in Cambridge and Brooklyn. The following month, the band will join reunited iconic stoner rock sorcerers, Spirit Caravan, and the wicked doom bringers in Pilgrim for a performance in Columbus with additional bouts of onstage debauchery to be announced in the coming months.
LO-PAN Spring Takeover 2014: 3/20/2014 The Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI w/ Whores 3/21/2014 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL w/ Whores 3/22/2014 Ruby’s – Columbus, OH Ruby’s w/ Fuck You Pay Me, White Wolves 3/23/2014 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH w/ Whores, Fuck You Pay Me 3/24/2014 The Union – Athens, OH w/ Whores, Horseburner 3/25/2014 Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Whores 3/26/2014 The Depot – York, PA w/ Neon Warship, Black Cowgirl, Witch Hazel 3/27/2014 The M Room – Philadelphia, PA w/ Neon Warship, Skeleton Hands 3/28/2014 Small Stone Showcase @ Middle East – Cambridge, MA w/ Roadsaw, Mellow Bravo, Gozu, Neon Warship 3/29/2014 Small Stone Showcase @ Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Wo Fat, Lo-Pan, Roadsaw, Neon Warship, Geezer 4/09/2014 Skully’s – Columbus, OH w/ Spirit Caravan, Pilgrim 4/17/2014 Pinned 4 – Columbus, OH w/ Neon Warship, Ride To Ruin, Beggers
Check out the revampedlopandemic.comwebsite for show updates, new merch and other LO-PAN-centric awesomeness.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fast-moving L.A. upstart imprint EasyRider Records continues a quick ascent since starting last year, this time signing Ohio retro rockers Electric Citizen for the release of their debut album, Sateen. The record is due out July 1, and the four-piece have a handful-plus of shows booked to precede it, some including the Mad Alchemy light show, which is sure to be a good match for Electric Citizen‘s heavy psychedelics.
Release info and a stream of the new track “Burning in Hell” follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:
Electric Citizen sign with EasyRider Records To Release Debut Album
EasyRider Records, the LA based label responsible for releases by the likes of Monolord, Sons of Huns and Salem’s Pot this week announced the signing of the heavy psychedelic outfit Electric Citizen.
Following on from limited edition vinyl/cassette-only releases on The Crossing and Breathe Plastic Records, the winners of this year’s Best Rock Band honor at the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards will release their debut album, entitled Sateen on 1 July 2014.
Taking their name from a song by the legendary Notting Hill Gate set the Edgar Broughton Band, Electric Citizen is the brainchild of guitarist Ross Dolan, enigmatic vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums).
Despite only forming last March the band has had a busy year turning heads and ears onto their dark and esoteric brand of haunting ’60s West Coast folk and quintessentially British sounding rock. Recorded and produced by fellow Ohioan and local legend Brian Olive (Greenhornes, Soledad Brothers) at The Diamonds, Electric Citizen follow in the footsteps of other, similarly 1970s obsessed anti-modernists Blood Ceremony, Wolf People, Graveyard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Drawing on influences and eras synonymous with the heaviest of heavy psychedelic rock and archaic ill vibes, and music by bands such as Shocking Blue, Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Black Widow and Amon Düül II.
The band takes to the road over the next few months ahead of Sateen’s official release on 1 July 2014 via EasyRider Records (www.easyriderrecords.com).
Tour Dates: Wednesday, March 19 – Double Door (Chicago) w. Mad Alchemy Thursday, March 20 – Pyramid Scheme (Grand Rapids) w. Mad Alchemy Friday, March 21 – Corktown Tavern (Detroit) Saturday, March 22 – Happy Dog (Cleveland) Friday, April 4 – Northside Tavern (Cincinnati) w. Valley Of The Sun Wednesday, April 9 – w. Spirit Caravan (Columbus) Saturday, April 26 – Milwaukee Psych Fest Wednesday, May 7 – MOTR (Cincinnati) w. Aqua Nebula Oscillator
Posted in Reviews on February 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The central question that emerged from Valley of the Sun‘s 2011 second EP, The Sayings of the Seers (review here), was whether or not the Cincinnati three-piece could maintain the level of energy, of sonic movement, of professionalism in songwriting and production over the course of a full-length album and still offer enough variety to keep tracks from sounding redundant. Their cumbersomely-titled debut long-player, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk, released through Fuzzorama Records — the imprint helmed by former and once again Valley of the Sun tourmates Truckfighters – answers that question with a simple yes. Yes, they can. And they do. After a successful crowdfunding campaign and an initial vinyl pressing for contributors, the trio show on the 10-track/44-minute outing that the support they received coming off of The Sayings of the Seerswas not misplaced, and that the crisp, cognizant and engaging presentation of that outing would serve as the foundation of an even bigger assemblage of ideas this time around. Recorded, mixed and mastered by John Naclerio (who also helmed the EP) at Nada Studios in New York, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawkis slick in its layers but expertly handled to craft a sense of space that guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ferrier, bassist Ryan McAllister (who also handled the cover art and layout) and drummer Aaron Boyer work within throughout the songs. In its front-to-back flow and its individual pieces, it is as smooth and balanced an execution of heavy rock as you’re likely to hear. Valley of the Sun come across as tasteful but edgy, produced but natural and in cuts like “As Earth and Moon,” “Nomads,” “The Message is Get Down,” and “Centaur Rodeo,” they offer memorable, classy hooks that long outlast the album’s runtime.
Opener “Worn Teeth” begins at a half-echo blues before unfurling its full crunching breadth, but the central ideas around which Valley of the Sun seem to work are still based in desert rock. Kyuss are a central influence, and Ferrier seems to shift skillfully between the inflections of John Garcia and peak-era Chris Cornell — yes, that is a compliment — but both through their being a Midwestern act and via what seems to be their own creative will, Valley of the Sun present familiar riffing methods with their own take. Heads will find much recognizable as the easy roll of “Worn Teeth” kicks into the full-run of “As Earth and Moon,” but the momentum they build and the flow of Electric Talons of the Thunderhawkdelivers more than desert affectations. McAllister also shares a tenure in the rhythm section of Kentucky’s Moonbow with Hermano drummer Steve Earle, and some of Hermano‘s …Into the Exam Room seems to serve as a guide for how Valley of the Sun‘s debut plays out, whether it’s the funk-swinging starts and stops of “The Message is Get Down” or the push-to-apex groove of the penultimate “Gunslinger.” “The Sleeping Sand” would seem to pay shuffling homage to a desert landscape, but on side A, “Maya” and “Nomads” seem less geographically loyal, the former showing early richness in the bass while Ferrier‘s vocal clarity steps forward in the chorus as a defining element of the album. Like a lot of the record, the structure of “Maya” is straightforward, but as various layers of guitar rise up and drop out, as Boyer‘s thudding toms poke through the mix en route to the last chorus, there’s more than enough to keep the audience hooked for the duration of the two sides into which Electric Talons of the Thunderhawkis very much broken, the first ending with the two-minute acoustic “Laser Vision Intermission,” and the second starting with the fade-in rush of “Within the Glare.”
Posted in On Wax on January 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
With the acknowledgement that not everyone who reads this post is going to immediately hit up The Ravenna Arsenal‘s Bandcamp page and plunk down $14 for a copy of I — which they present in limited-to-300 transparent red 180g vinyl with art by Chris Smith — let me kindly suggest that if you’re at all interested in getting a feel for what the Ohio four-piece do on their 2013 debut full-length, the thing to do is start by tossing them a couple bucks, grabbing one of the downloads of the album, and arranging the tracklisting in the order which they have it on the LP version. That’s not to discount the value of “Ammunation,” “Knights,” “The Pregnant Void” or “The Sun,” but it’s a completely different record with or without them, and that’s true both in the substance of its runtime (57 minutes with, 31 without) and in the flow from song to song. On wax, The Ravenna Arsenal‘s I is a crisp execution of progressive heavy rock that leaves the listener wanting more. In its nine-track digital entirety, it’s more complex and working with a broader sonic range, but also less efficient in establishing its emotional and sonic course.
From there, if you hear the neo-stoner metal crush of “Ultra Heavy” and how well “The Water that Covers the Sky” beefs up its Rush influence en route to the album’s apex and decide you want to hear more from the band, well, the other tracks are right there waiting for you. Seems unlikely that a single LP was The Ravenna Arsenal‘s preferred method of releasing — production costs can be a killer — but if they’d presented Iwith all nine cuts, it’s entirely likely that a double 12″ would’ve had trouble building a flow, because basically you’d be changing a side or record after every second song. The compromise pays dividends on the Ivinyl as it is. Side A gives you a sense of the dynamic in the lineup of Ken Royer, Aaron Shay, Mike Shea, and Bill Govan and a breadth that runs from post-Mastodon lumber to a more modern alt-rock vocal style, combining them to a chugging degree in the rolling groove of “Fire Moth.” An album highlight arrives at the start of side B with the 10-minute “The Desert Shows No Mercy,” which actually arrives third in the digital version but is more effectively placed fourth on the vinyl, letting the listener more directly focus on not only I‘s longest inclusion, but also its greatest sonic achievement and most engaging sprawl, growls and slow, sludgy crush giving way to post-rock psychedelics that in turn move fluidly through a proggy build as patient as it is hypnotic.
And granted, when they get heavy again, there’s no doubt what’s coming, but the destination satisfies as much as the journey. The awaited, albeit temporary, return of vocals marks arrival at I‘s summit, and gradually The Ravenna Arsenal push downward from it, noisy, feeding back, but clearly in the finishing throes, afterthought guitar reminding of some of the heft of what preceded and what closer “The Water that Covers the Sky” must then emerge from. Placed last on the digital version as on the vinyl — though there are five tracks between “The Desert Shows No Mercy” and it digitally — “The Water that Covers the Sky” is less interested in reviving the crushing tonality of the song before than broadening the emotional range, which ultimately serves not only Ias it appears on record, but the other songs as well, giving them a wider context in which to fit among the five appearing on the platter. Its subdued course is deceptively quick at over seven minutes, and ultimately manifests as a different vision of the patience The Ravenna Arsenal display on “The Desert Shows No Mercy,” their ethic allowing them to take the time to make their point properly without overdoing it on the indulgent end.
On vinyl, the limits of the production come out somewhat. The band sounds full and clear and loud, but there’s a tinny flourish on the snare in “Fire Moth” that, while I’ll take it over whatever digital sample might have replaced it, cuts through the surrounding tones perhaps more than was intended in the mixing. Minor issue in the grand scheme of the album — and the album indeed is a grand scheme — and far more prevalent is the sense that The Ravenna Arsenal will take the lessons of crafting their first outing and be able to progress with their next. A band who starts with this kind of scope rarely has any interest in repeating themselves, so I’d expect a subsequent offering to come with a personality and context of its own whatever elements present here might remain and be refined, but I makes a resounding introduction and a record I have the feeling I’m going to be even gladder to have down the line.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess I missed the news that Fistula had relocated to Massachusetts. That’ll happen. It also goes toward explaining how Fistula, who are originally from Ohio, hooked up with Nightstick, who live a town over from me, for a tour at the end of the summer. Might take me a while, but I’ll put the pieces together eventually. Sometimes.
Fistula are quick to start off 2014 bringing their fuckall door-to-door up and down the Eastern Seaboard. They’ve also got some new material, as the song, “WoodGlue… TheGoodShit” can attest on the player below, and they’ll be playing with some killer bands this run, including Druglord, Heathen Bastard, Order of the Owl, Sons of Tonatiuh and Pallbearer. Pretty good gigs, and in sludgiest fashion, this two-week run was preceded not by months of hype, viral tour teasers and whatever else, but by a single announcement of the dates, which you’ll find reprinted here.
As ever, Fistula just don’t give a fuck:
Beginning Saturday night. Long Island gets it first. Doom? Grind? Punk? We don’t give a flying fuck what you do. Just bring a helmet.
FISTULA Chemical Crucifixion Tour 2014
1/4 NY @ Even Flow, Bay Shore, Long Island with Artificial Brain (members of REVOCATION) 1/5 IN the Sneaky Bandit with BLACK GOAT OF THE WOODS, TEENAGE STRANGE, AND ALARMA! 1/6 Richmond VA @ Strange Matter with DRUG LORD 1/7 Wilmington NC @ Reggies 1/8 Charleston @The Sparrow with HEATHEN BASTARD 1/10 Orlando FL @ Will’s Pub 1/11 Pensacola FL @ The Handlebar 1/12 NOLA LA @ Siberia (early show) 1/13 TX, San Antonio @ TOFU HOUSE 303 N. Rio Grande. with NOT IMPRESSED 1/14 Little Rock,AR @ White Water Tavern with PALLBEARER and SEA HAG 1/15 -GA..east ATL 529 with SONS OF TONATIUH, ORDER OF THE OWL AND CAPSIZED 1/16 -Birmingham AL-@ the Forge with HOG MOUNTIN,and CRAWL and ELECTRIC SHEEP 1/17 TN,Chattanooga at Sluggos 501 Cherokee Blvd, Chattanooga, 37405 with HOG MOUNTIN, CAPSIZED
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kudos are in order to Cincinnati, Ohio, trio Valley of the Sun. Word has come down the PR wire that the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ferrier, bassist Ryan McAllister and drummer Aaron Boyer have aligned themselves with Sweden-based Fuzzorama Records, the label helmed by none other than Truckfighters. Touring with Truckfighters in Europe is also set for February 2014, and Valley of the Sun‘s debut long-player, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk will be out at the end of March.
A hearty hell yeah to the dudes in Valley of the Sun – their 2011 EP, The Sayings of the Seers(review here), left an impression worthy of the achievement — and here’s looking forward to good things to come.
VALLEY OF THE SUN SIGN TO FUZZORAMA RECORDS!!!
New Album & European Tour Dates in Spring 2014!
US Power Stoner Rock band VALLEY OF THE SUN just announced that they have signed with Truckfighters’ label Fuzzorama Records, who will be releasing the band’s upcoming album “Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk” on March 28th in Europe & March 31st 2014 for the UK! To celebrate the release of their new album live, Valley Of The Sun will be also finally hitting the road next year for some long-awaited European shows alongside with TRUCKFIGHTERS and WHITE MILES!
Check out all tour dates below & mark your calendar for the release of the new album by Valley Of The Sun – “Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk” – set to hit the European stores March 28th & in the UK on March 31st 2014 via Fuzzorama Records – but rumors said you will be able to pick up an early copy at all upcoming live shows!
TRUCKFIGHTERS, VALLEY OF THE SUN & WHITE MILES live in Europe: Feb 14: Debaser Strand – Stockholm, Sweden Feb 15: Blaa – Oslo, Norway Feb 16: Beta – Copenhagen, Denmark Feb 18 Uebel & Gefaehrlich – Hamburg, Germany Feb 19 Lido – Berlin, Germany Feb 20 Groove Station – Dresden, Germany Feb 21 Backstage – Munich, Germany Feb 22 Chelsea – Vienna, Austria Feb 24 Hafenkneipe – Zurich, Switzerland Feb 25 Freakout – Bologna, Italy Feb 27 Melkweg – Amsterdam, Netherlands Feb 28 Divan du Monde – Paris, France Mar 06 Luxor – Cologne, Germany Mar 07 AB – Brussels, Belgium Mar 08 Underworld – London, United Kingdom
Posted in Questionnaire on December 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ohio fuzz rockers Lo-Pan have been among the underground’s hardest touring bands for the last several years. In 2011, they reissued their 2009 sophomore outing, Sasquanaut (review here), through Small Stone, and followed it with Salvador(review here), a progressive and soulful look at the shape of riff to come. Last Fall, touring alongside High on Fire and Goatwhore showed increasing profile in the public eye for the four-piece, and stints alongside Torche and Weedeater have continued their momentum in 2013. Though he’s generally found positioned behind drummer Jesse Bartz on stage, vocalist Jeff Martin‘s powerful voice has been essential in pushing Lo-Pan beyond the confines of genre.
Last weekend, the band’s practice space in Columbus was robbed and they, among many others, lost gear in the burglary (info here). Prior to that, Martin answered The Obelisk Questionnaire as follows:
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff Martin
How did you come to do what you do?
I often wonder that myself. If someone told me at 17 that this would be where I was at nearly 35, I wouldn’t have believed them. I look back and I wonder how it all happened, sometimes. I met this person who introduced me to this person who left me and another person came into my life and whamo… Here I am. Life flies by and you sometimes just have to marvel at it later.
Describe your first musical memory.
My mother was a music teacher and choir director when I was growing up, so music was just always around during my childhood. She gave piano lessons and voice lessons at our house, so the halls were always filled with the sound. Probably my earliest memory would be my mom singing me to sleep. In particular I recall that she would sing “O’ Danny Boy” to me while sitting on the edge of my bed. It always did the trick. My mom has a beautiful singing voice.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
The high point thus far would have to be December 22, 2012. My band played in San Francisco at Slim’s with High on Fire and Goatwhore. It was the end of a 45 day tour for us and it was a sold-out show in one of the best clubs in the country. We played really well for a packed house and it just felt fantastic. That was a special night.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
When I was in high school I believed that the government had the best interest of its citizens at heart. Does that answer your question?
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
I suppose it depends on the person. With someone like David Bowie I would imagine it leads to free expression and artistic respect that puts him in the upper echelon of musicians that have ever walked the earth. For someone like me it can lead to despair and total frustration. Progression does not always denote growth. Serial killers progress and their crimes become even more horrid. Artistic progression can lead to unfocused blather if it isn’t tempered by rational argument at some point of the process.
How do you define success?
If you attempt something and it goes as you hoped… that’s success. In any field, any size project. Did you accomplish your goals? Yes? Then you are successful. There are many rungs on that ladder, though. Incremental success is something most people have to come to terms with. Measured success, as opposed to complete success must sometimes be enough.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
One time I came in contact with a musician that I have idolized for many years and he was a total mess. It was gross. He was rude and awful. It changed my opinion of him and of his music. A total bummer.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
I would like to learn more tools and fabrication of different materials. I would like to have a talent for building furniture, or other items.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to finishing and actually performing a comedy routine that I have been working on for some time.
Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Birthed in a not-at-all cosmic reality known as Columbus, Ohio, the four-piece space rock outfit EYE nonetheless execute their sound with classical majesty on their sophomore full-length, Second Sight. Their first outing, 2011′s Center of the Sun(discussed here and here), was gorgeous enough to get the attention of Kemado Records, who issued it on vinyl in 2012, and the still-quick follow-up comes preceded by a 7″ single (discussed here) and a live tape (review here). Clearly, EYE – who also self-recorded the new long-player — aren’t ones for sitting still, and that sense of movement extends to the music on Second Sightas well, beginning in the gong hits and synth waves that patiently establish the psychedelic course of 21-minute opener “Lost are the Years.” Here EYE begin to unfold not just the first side, but the LP as a whole, and though it’s only been about a year and a half since Center of the Sunwas released, the sense is that something ancient has awakened. There is a near-immediate sense of texture to “Lost are the Years,” also the longest track on the 45-minute outing (bonus points), and that comes in large part from the wash of Moog and analog synth effects created by Adam Smith. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Auxier has no shortage of effects on his guitar either, and even drummer Brandon Smith gets in on the ambience with chimes, congas, the aforementioned gong and other percussion in addition to regular old rock drums, so while bassist Matt Bailey would seem to be the one charged with holding the five tracks of Second Sighttogether, actually it works out more that the four-piece never really lose control. As spaced-out as they go — and they go plenty spaced out — the record keeps a mood that’s calm-ing if not calm-ed, and when they want to, EYE drift with futuristic efficiency into atmospherics that even the first record only seemed to hint at, a song like “Wooden Nickels” retaining some human element through harmonized vocals from Auxier and both Smiths.
Vocals are never really the complete focal point (Amy Michelle Hoffman and Anthony Jacobs contribute as well), but they’re gorgeous anyway and make the band that much richer and more lush-sounding. It is nearly five minutes of build-up before they arrive over bass and acoustic guitar on “Lost are the Years,” signaling the start of the song’s peaceful second movement. Tension is minimal, melody is rampant, and EYE are immediately the masters of the universe they’re exploring. Auxier takes a bluesy, echoing solo over acoustic strum and Bailey‘s bassline, and Adam keeps the texture varied while Brandon seems to rest until about the seven-minute mark a fill leads to the next progression, a more upbeat, distorted and somewhat foreboding swirl. The vocals are deeper in the mix, part of that swirl, not above it, and the swaying riff that backs the subsequent guitar solo calls to mind some of Hypnos 69‘s more recent progressive triumphs. The course of “Lost are the Years” is winding as the third movement builds to a crashing finish and the acoustic strum of the second movement returns, backed by subtle percussion and bathed in mellotron sunshine. It is even more graceful in its Floydian sprawl than when it first appeared, and it shifts fluidly into more exploratory acoustic guitars, a thunder sample signaling the change impending before a full stop brings back the heavier swirl, all channels full and vibrant as they transition into a shuffle led by Brandon‘s drums and soon joined by Adam‘s keys, rising, cresting and receding. They’ve departed the back and forth of one part to another that they’d previously established in favor of an extended jam, the guitars, bass, drums and keys all serving to further the atmosphere, layers of lead and rhythm guitars coming forward for a King Crimson-style push after 16 minutes in even as Auxier is in mid-rip on another solo. A series of hits ensues and backed by a jazzy snare roll, the guitars lead down a psych rock rabbit hole, ending up in a winding line that brings a return of vocals and precedes the key-driven push into the final payoff. It would need to be sizable to answer for all the twists and turns of “Lost are the Years” so far, and it is, but not necessarily any more grandiose than is warranted. Guitar is still are the fore, trading off lead lines and heavy riffing, and they cap with a return to the hits that led the way into the last movement, ending a song that, if you try to consciously keep pace with each of its changes, you’re going to wind up exhausted in the best way possible.