Quarterly Review: King Hitter, Desert Storm, Sendelica, Drifter, Sula Bassana, Strange Here, Once-Ler, Waingro, Motorgoat, The Seduction

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

quarterly review

I must be out of my damned mind. After wrapping up last year with a special feature comprising 50 reviews spread over five days, I’ve somehow decided that it’s not a bad way to do things. So here we are. It’s been three months, that’s a quarter of a year, so it seems only fair to have a Quarterly Review to catch up on some things that might otherwise have gone missed.

And that’s precisely what we’ll do. Between now and Friday, it’ll be 10 reviews per day, rounding up releases from the last couple months. Some are out now, some aren’t out yet, but it’s all recent one way or another. Like with the Last Licks 2014, I’ll be checking in each day as well. Should be fun to see how my mental status deteriorates over the course of the next few days, until my brains are little more than a stinky jelly dripping from out my ears on Friday. At least that’s how I remember it going last time.

So let’s go:

King Hitter, King Hitter

king hitter king hitter

A North Carolina five-piece fronted by vocalist Karl Agell, best known as the frontman of Corrosion of Conformity for their 1991 Blind album – he’s also currently reviving that album live on stage with drummer Reed Mullin in C.O.C. Blind – the new outfit King Hitter reunites the singer with his former Leadfoot bandmate, guitarist Scott Little, and they test the waters with a five-track self-titled EP delivered via Candlelight Records. Crisply-produced, songs like “King Hitter” and “Feel No Pain” hit hard and gruff with just a touch of Southern heavy rock flair. The power of Agell’s voice is undiminished, but production is maybe too evident at times, and when they get down to the chugging “Suicide (Is the Retirement Plan,” politics meet personal perspective in a way that strikes deeper than might’ve been intended. Little and fellow guitarist Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss turn in worthy performances, but Agell’s command captures a good deal of the attention on this satisfying showcase of a songwriting process getting underway.

King Hitter on Thee Facebooks

King Hitter at Candlelight’s Bandcamp

Desert Storm, Omniscient

desert storm omniscient

Because one invariably measures British anything in “waves,” we’ll put Oxford double-guitar five-some at the crest of the New Wave of British Burl. Omniscient is their third full-length behind 2013’s Horizontal Life and their 2010 debut, Forked Tongues (review here), and it arrives through Blindsight Records with all the brash Southern metal riffing and dudely bellow one might expect. Orange Goblin are an immediate name to drop in comparison to opener “Outlander,” but “Queen Reefer”’s quiet solo section adds breadth and the acoustic “Home,” the Clutchy “Night Bus Blues” and the stomping, subtle djentery of closer “Collapse of the Bison Lung” continue to reveal an extended palette. A richer listen than it might appear the first time through, Omniscient still revels in its heaviness on “Blue Snake Moan” and “Sway of the Tides,” etc., but changes like the tempo downshift in “Horizon” give fodder for repeat visits to Desert Storm’s howling third offering.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

Desert Storm at Blindsight Records’ Bandcamp

Sendelica, Anima Mundi

sendelica anima mundi

Welsh space rockers Sendelica feel out some pretty peaceful vibes on songs like “The Pillar of Delhi,” “Azoic” or the sweet-washing closer “The Hedge Witch” from their self-released cosmos-tripper Anima Mundi, but there’s no shortage of spaced-out push either in songs like the 12-minute jam “Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Uninsulated Air” and electronic-pulsing “Baalbek Stones.” An experimental spirit underlies each of the eight included instrumental cuts, elements like sax, synth, keyboards, theremin, flute and various effects intertwining throughout Anima Muni’s 54-minute sprawl. Quiet moments like “Azoic” work well, but I won’t take away from the buzzsaw tone or swing behind “The Breyr, the Taeogion and the Caethion” either. The truly fortunate aspect of Sendelica’s latest is that it flows between its individual pieces, putting the listener in a position of open-minded experience while working around and through various psychedelic impulses, carefully woven and balanced in the mix, but vibrant and exciting and loose-feeling just the same.

Sendelica on Thee Facebooks

Sendeica on Bandcamp

Drifter, Violent at Altitude

drifter violent at altitude

Of the 13 songs on Melbourne trio Drifter’s Desert Highways debut LP, Violent at Altitude, only four reach past the three-minute mark, and even most of those play off a fuzz-punk intensity, shades of Melvins weirdness and Nick Oliveri heavy punker charge showing up in cuts like “Cool Breeze” or the raw, open “Another Life.” Closer “So Long” is given another look from Drifter’s 2013 debut EP, Head (review here), which it also capped, but the feel across Violent at Altitude is that guitarist/vocalist Dan King, bassist/vocalist Troy Dawson and drummer/vocalist Dave Payne is exploring the place where grunge and punk met on pieces like “Bi Polar,” the relatively spacey “Devil Digger” and quick-blasting 1:45 rush of “Russian Roulette,” their tones mean and their attack primal in its overall affect in a way that belies the stylistic nuance at work throughout. You can listen on an analytical level or you can be steamrolled by “Drugs.” Your call. Either way, Drifter are gonna tear it up in accordance with the altitude they’ve apparently hit.

Drifter on Thee Facebooks

Drifter at Desert Highways’ Bandcamp

Sula Bassana, Live at Roadburn 2014

sula bassana live at roadburn 2014

Sula Bassana’s performance at Roadburn 2014 was their first as a full band. The experimental psychedelic project of guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (see also Electric Moon, Krautzone, Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, etc.) came to life with his Electric Moon bandmates Komet Lulu on bass and Marcus Schnitzler on drums, as well as Zone Six’s Rainer Neeff on guitar, and the four jams of the live recording Live at Roadburn 2014 tell the tale brilliantly. Schmidt, who is quite simply among the foremost heavy psych jammers in the world, leads the four-piece through cascading movements, immersive and clear on record as they were in person, rich with a sense of improvised creation even if based on prior parts. Anything went, as the 18-minute “Dark Days” showcases here, with synth and guitar and heavy bass intertwining to a brilliant cosmic whole, Schnitzler’s drums holding the proceedings together wonderfully. Short at 50 minutes, it’s every bit as switched on as one might expect in a studio album from these players, blurring yet another line as they expand psych-rock consciousness.

Sula Bassana on Thee Facebooks

Live at Roadburn 2014 at Sulatron Records

Strange Here, II

strange here ii

To listen to opener “Still Alone” from Strange Here’s Minotauro Records raw second LP, II, one might expect that Alexander Scardavian (ex-Paul Chain) and Domenico “Dom” Lotito (ex-Hand of God) are presenting some loosely-swung classic doom, shades of Candlemass and Death SS filtered through heavy riffing and Scardavian’s gruff vocals, but that’s barely half the story. More is told by putting eight-minute tracks “Born to Lose” and “Black, Grey and White” next to each other, as they appear here. Following the opening duo of “Still Alone” and the echoing “Kiss of Worms,” the two longer cuts unveil a sound alternately diving into morose doomed march and spacious psychedelic flourish. That blend continues as the marching “Acid Rain” gives way to the acoustic/drone interplay of “Only If…”and comes to a head on closer “Shiftless,” a contrast of back-and-forth impulses played off each other throughout the 47-minute offering. There’s work to do bringing the sides together should Strange Here choose to go that route, though the lines drawn between make it that much easier to catch the listener off guard, which II just might.

Strange Here on Thee Facebooks

Strange Here at Minotauro Records’ Bandcamp

Once-Ler, Once-Ler

once-ler once-ler

Marked out by the jazzy noodling of “The Douche Bag Guru” and the funky bassline on “Drift,” the new self-titled EP from Dayton, Ohio, four-piece Once-Ler dates back a decade in some of its material, the track “Law Dog” having appeared on the band’s 2005 full-length, Entropy. It’s an unassuming rumble, sort of humbly produced for a garage-heavy feel, but the clarity of purpose in centerpiece “Swing the Leg”’s crashing progression is plain enough to hear, and opener “The Victim” is the longest cut at 6:43, earning immediate points. A prog-metal undertone in that track sets up some expectation that the EP veers quickly away from with “Drift,” but guitarist Burns, bassist Deininger, vocalist Reif and drummer Minarcek make a solid case despite the rough sonic edges in the recording. At 25 minutes, Once-Ler’s Once-Ler is enough to give an impression of where the band is headed and a demo-style look at what their progressive heavy rock has to offer.

Once-Ler on Thee Facebooks

Once-Ler on Bandcamp

Waingro, Waingro

waingro waingro

Pummel, pummel, pummel. Vancouver trio Waingro debut at full-sprint with their 11-track/31-minute self-titled, which wastes little time shaking hands and goes immediately for the jugular on “Firebird.” About 10 seconds in, and the ride is underway with little letup to come as Waingro shove heavy tones along at breakneck speed on cuts like “Tailwind,” “Force Fed” and “Bathed in Tongues.” A remarkable sense of control lies beneath, the trio blending hardcore punk, heavy tones and modern metal twists fluidly as interludes like “Matador,” “St. Regis” and “Arboria” add complexity of method and “Rekall,” “Ride” and most especially side B cappers “Black Dawn” and “True North” brazenly craft something of Waingro’s own from familiar components. This album is self-released, but particularly if Waingro are able to tour at any length, it’s hard to imagine some imprint wouldn’t want to stand behind their brash but engaging thrust, professional already in its assured sensibility and rhythmic impact. The real question is whether they’ll wait around for anyone to notice or push ahead with the momentum they build here.

Waingro on Thee Facebooks

Waingro on Bandcamp

Motorgoat, The Iron Hoof of Oppression

motorgoat the iron hoof of oppression

There’s little room left for frills amid the sludge-punk sneer of Motorgoat’s The Iron Hoof of Oppression, which makes no bones about its affinity for booze, metal and fuckall on songs like “Satanic Slacker,” which boasts the lines, “Trippin’ balls is total bliss/He don’t know what day it is,” and so on. Obviously there’s a humor element to “Revenge of the Towndrunk” and “No Pants – No Problems,” but the German four-piece have a sincere vibe as well as they recount loser tales in a viciously-toned punk-metal spirit, less tune-in-drop-out than tune-out-drop-tune, but it turns out heavy either way. Cohesive in spite of its stated penchant for chaos, The Iron Hoof of Oppression offers partytime disaffection that’s so prevalent it might as well be post-modern. After the world has ended, there’s nothing left to do but dance, and Motorgoat seem (mal)content to let their own hooves stomp the floor. An album that gets better when you read the lyrics. Don’t be fooled by how dumb they seem to be calling themselves.

Motor Goat on Thee Facebooks

Motor Goat on Bandcamp

The Seduction, You Catch Fire

the seduction you catch fire

The tell? The tell is the scream just before North Carolina foursome The Seduction move into the bouncing bridge on “Volga,” which launches their Mechanical Pig Records debut, You Catch Fire. From there, it’s pretty easy to hear the metallic vibe beneath their stoner-punk aesthetic. It comes up again in the breakdown for the later “Hell on Two Wheels,” but it’s there anyway, adding an aggressive edge to the record, which at 53 minutes has plenty of room for the breadth of the rocking highlight centerpiece “Flavor of the Weak” or the depth-charge of the penultimate “Starmageddon” – a few more screams there amid spit-out hardcore shouts – but it’s the meld of these with the party-pit vibe of “Daughter of a Holy Man” and “Irish Flu” that makes You Catch Fire effective in taking cues from some of the West Coast’s heavy methods – some Red Fang, some Queens of the Stone Age — and presenting them with a definitively East Coast punch.

The Seduction on Thee Facebooks

The Seduction on Bandcamp

 

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Electric Citizen Go Full-Sabbath in “Light Years Beyond” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

electric citizen

You’ve probably already seen Electric Citizen‘s video for “Light Years Beyond” elsewhere around the innertubes since it came out a week ago, but I felt like it needed to be here as well. Because the song’s good, yeah — it was a highlight of the Ohio four-piece’s 2014 RidingEasy Records debut, Sateen (review here) — but also because it kind of cuts to the heart of what the band is all about. Their sound is rooted in ’70s hard rock, and in the clip they push the Sabbath worship right over the ledge without looking back — you’ve seen that video for “Paranoid,” so you know what I’m talking about — but it’s plain to see that there’s a modern edge to it as well.

By that I mean that it’s not like the “Light Years Beyond” video was made by cutting tape and layering kaleidoscoping visuals over each other. It was done in editing software — and well fucking done at that. As much as the band is indebted to classic riffage, it’s a subtle reminder that, in fact, we live in the future and that this is a modern band carefully sculpting their aesthetic through their songwriting, and vice versa. That’s something worth keeping in mind as you make your way through, and keep in mind as well that Electric Citizen are already gearing up to hit the studio for a sophomore album and follow-up to Sateen. They’ll play the Psycho California fest in May, too.

For consideration and enjoyment:

Electric Citizen, “Light Years Beyond” official video

Electric Citizen is a rock n roll band from Cincinnati, Ohio who’s heavy sound is timeless and music to the ears of any rock n roll fan. Formed just over 2 years ago by guitarist Ross Dolan, vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), the band has had a very busy year turning heads and ears onto their music. Since signing with RidingEasy Records in early 2014, they’ve done several direct support tours with Wolfmother, Fu Manchu, and Budos Band. The band’s debut album came out July 2014 and ended up on several end of year best of lists. In May, Electric Citizen will be taking a break from recording their sophomore album to hit the west coast to play Psycho California with headliners Sleep and Pentagram.

Electric Citizen on Thee Facebooks

Electric Citizen on Bandcamp

RidingEasy on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy’s website

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The last Emissions from the Monolith festival took place in 2007 in Austin, Texas, but the fest will always be associated with Youngstown, Ohio. A beaten, post-industrial burg off Route 80 on the other side of the Pennsylvania state line, there wasn’t much to see in Youngstown, and that was part of the point. Nestled deep in a street that, on any given day, someone might rob the deli down the block, the Nyabinghi itself was a mirror of dropped-out culture. Not the glorified kind, but the kind that actually didn’t give a fuck. From 2000 through 2006, Emissions from the Monolith was held at the Nyabinghi and its lineups looked an awful lot like the shape of heavy to come.

I only went to one. The last in Ohio, in 2006. A little band called Baroness opened one of the days and to date it’s the only US appearance Colour Haze have ever made. There was some blowup with SunnO))) that resulted in thrown monitors. To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of it I don’t remember. Apparently Orange Goblin and Scissorfight‘s tour took them out that way. Awesome. I remember seeing that in New York, but if I caught it at Emissions, it’s news to me. It was that kind of a thing. A blackout weekend every Memorial Day. There was very little fashionable about heavy rock and doom at the time, and barbecue sandwiches sold on the back patio. It’s hard to write about without glorifying it, but maybe it should be glorified. Probably not if we’re judging by standards of public safety. I remember handing one of my band’s demos to Greg Barratt, who owned the place and booked Emissions. He was polite enough.

Wino was a regular fixture at the fest, between Spirit Caravan in 2000 and 2001 and The Hidden Hand in 2003 and 2004. The year this week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes from is 2001. Spirit CaravanWino, bassist Dave Sherman, drummer Gary Isom — were joined on the bill by Warhorse, Bongzilla, Halfway to Gone, Weedeater, Witch Mountain, Disengage, Pale Divine, Tummler, Sherman‘s own Earthride and many others. I imagine it was a hell of a weekend. At the start of their set, Wino thanks Barratt for putting the thing on and says something about police activity the night before. That sounds about right.

Not sure who filmed it, but the audio is by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer. Enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001

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Lo-Pan Confirm US and European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lo-pan

The first European tour for Ohio’s Lo-Pan has been a while in the making, but I don’t think you could possibly accuse the band of not doing it in style now that they’re actually doing it at all. With stops at Roadburn, both London and Berlin Desertfests, as well as Poland’s Asymmetry fest, and club shows alongside Abrahma and Black Pyramid, all in support of 2014’s righteous Colossus (review here) on Small Stone, it’s an enviable itinerary that will be preceded by a Northeast run with Against the Grain in March, the four-piece continuing their penchant for heavy road work even as they expand to new territories. They’re gonna kill it in Europe.

And while I patiently await my invitation to join them on the road for the European stint — picture my breath, not held — the PR wire has dates and particulars for your perusal:

lo-pan against the grain tour

LO-PAN: Ohio Riff Dealers Announce US + Europeans Tour Dates In Support Of Colossus

Ohio riff dealers, LO-PAN, will take to the streets next month on a near two-week Northeastern run of live dates. Kicking off on March 12th in Detroit, Michigan at Berserker II alongside Poison Idea, Iron Reagan, Incantation, Full Of Hell and many others, the NxNe Tour 2015 will trounce eleven cities, coming to a close on March 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The band will be joined by Detroit rockers, Against The Grain. From there LO-PAN will take a short breather before crossing the Atlantic for a European expedition that will see the band level the stage of Roadburn, Desert Fest, Asymmetry Fest and more with psyche peddlers, Abrahma, and psychedelic war metallers, Black Pyramid, sharing the stage on select dates.

LO-PAN will be touring in support of their critically heralded Colossus long player, released last Fall via Small Stone. Produced and engineered by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Rosetta, East Of The Wall et al) at his own Translator Audio Studio in Brooklyn, New York and named for an ancient statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun, Helios, the record continues to raise the eyebrows of fans and media globally.

LO-PAN NxNe Tour 2015 w/ Against The Grain:
3/12/2015 The Loving Touch – Berserker II – Detroit, MI
3/13/2015 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
3/14/2015 The Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
3/15/2015 TT The Bear’s – Boston, MA
3/16/2015 Wonder Bar – Asbury Park, NJ
3/17/2015 The Depot – York, PA
3/18/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
3/19/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
3/20/2015 The Pinch – Washington, DC
3/21/2015 31st Street Pub – Pittsburgh, PA
3/22/2015 Spacebar – Columbus, OH
w/ Abrahma:
4/09/2015 Mudd Club – Strasbourg, FR
4/10/2015 Paunchy Cats – Lichtenfels, DE
4/11/2015 Rare Guitar – Munster, DE
4/12/2015 Roadburn – Tilburg, NL
4/14/2015 Black Sheep – Montepellier, FR
4/15/2015 Maravillas Club – Madrid, ES
4/16/2015 Rocksound – Barcelona, ES
4/17/2015 Helldorado – Vitoria, ES
4/18/2015 Le Volume – Nice, FR
4/19/2015 TBA – IT
4/20/2015 Altraquando Club – Zero Baranco, IT
4/21/2015 Orange House – Munich, DE
w/ Black Pyramid:
4/23/2015 Desertfest – Berlin, DE
4/24/2015 Romer – Bremen, DE
4/25/2015 Desertfest – London, UK
4/28/2015 Sedel – Lucerne, CH
4/2/20159 Gaswerk – Winterthur, CH
4/30/2015 Das Bett – Frankfurt, DE
5/01/2015 Schaubude – Kiel, DE
5/02/2015 Asymmetry Fest – Wroclaw, PL

Colossus is out now via Small Stone Recordings. Order your copy today at THIS LOCATION.

http://www.lopandemic.com
http://www.facebook.com/lopandemic
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Lo-Pan, Colossus (2014)

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Mississippi Bones Sign to Bilocation Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mississippi bones

The PR wire brings word that Ohio-based Southern-style heavy rockers Mississippi Bones have inked a deal to release their third album, Songs for the Rejects, Slackers and Rabble Rousers later this year on German vinyl-minded label Bilocation Records. No exact release date yet, but it seems likely they won’t waste too much time getting the album out provided it’s actually done — Bilocation has a busy schedule just about all the time for their constantly expanding operation. If I hear, I’ll let you know.

Announcement goes like this:

mississippi bones logo

MISSISSIPPI BONES are signing with Bilocation Records.

Hardin County, Ohio: Mississippi Bones signed for a vinylrelease with Bilocation Records. Their album ‘Songs for the Rejects, Slackers and Rabble Rousers’ will be out during 2015 on handnumbered, limited edition high performance 180g vinyl.

“Mississippi Bones formed in the flat lands of Hardin County, Ohio in 2010 as a 2 man studio project, thanks to some free studio time, with no other motives than to lay down some rock and no intentions of a future. In the last 4 years the rock has not stopped. They have moved from a 2 to a 6 man (5 men 1 lady) band, and have went from peddling discs in their small town to selling albums across the globe, but the goal remains the same, laying down some rock.

Inspired by all things that rock, bad sci-fi movies, beer, comics, good sci-fi movies, and bad jokes, they come bearing loads of riffs, tasty grooves, run on sentences, and a serious irreverence. Over the years they have continued to expand the borders of their sound but one thing always holds true, whether it be fast and furious, tinged with metal, dirty, swampy, bluesy, fuzzed out, or low and slow just like a good barbeque, it will always be about laying down some sweet rock.

They like to laugh. They like to make music. They like watching horror movies on the garage door in the drive way while eating pulled pork sandwiches. People know them as Mississippi Bones. You can become one of those people. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.”

Mississippi Bones:
Dusty Donley – Guitars
Jared Collins – Vocals
Derik “The Moustache” Dunson – Guitars
Jason Rector – Bass
Jason Miller – Drums
Heather “Baby Swiss Pissy Sheets” Collins – Backing Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/mississippibones/
http://mississippibones.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/artist/mississippi-bones/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?s=3

Mississippi Bones, Tracks (2012)

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Lo-Pan and Against the Grain Announce Northeast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Before they split out for Europe in April and, presumably once reaching its shores decide never to return, Ohio fuzz rockers Lo-Pan will hit the road like they do with Detroit speedfreaks Against the Grain. The tour will be in the north and northeast, which should be almost thinking about thawing out by then, and is set to start March 12 and run until March 22. For Lo-Pan, they’re out supporting last year’s Colossus (review here), while the oft-touring Against the Grain will have by that time recorded their fourth album, which is set to release later in 2015.

Like I said, after this, Lo-Pan are off to Europe alongside Black Pyramid, but it’s worth noting that this will be their first tour with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, so it should be a chance for them to further solidify before they go. They’ve given themselves a high-energy companion in Against the Grain, who will no doubt keep them on their toes for the duration.

The PR wire brings details and dates, and we all like details and dates, right? Okay then:

lo-pan against the grain march tour 1

Lo Pan & Against The Grain to tour Northeast in March

Columbus riff titans Lo Pan will be pairing up with Detroit neck breakers Against The Grain for a ten date Northeast tour in the month of March in what will be a travelling showcase of two of the heaviest bands going from the Midwest.

Both bands coming off a successful campaigns in 2014 with Against The Grain seeing the release of Motor City Speed Rock on vinyl and nonstop touring throughout the year with dates that included runs with Guttermouth, Koffin Kats and Nashville Pussy and Valient Thorr to close out the year.

Against The Grain start the year doing a two shows with Detroit’s own Koffin Kats in Chicago (Reggie’s) and in Westland, MI (Token Lounge) and a local show with notable punk/metal band Gang Green in the Detroit area (Corktown Tavern).   From there, the four will be spending the month of February recording the follow up to 2012’s “Surrounded By Snakes” at Train – A Comin’ Studios in Mt. Clemens, Michigan which will be slated for a summer release.

Dates:
March 12 – The Loving Touch (Ferndale, MI)
March 13 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
March 14 – The Lost Horizon (Syracuse, NY)
March 15 – TT the Bears (Boston, MA)
March 16 – TBA
March 17 – TBA
March 18 – Saint Vitus Bar (Brooklyn, NY)
March 19 – Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia, PA)
March 20 – The Pinch (Washington D.C.)
March 21 – 31st St. Pub (Pittsburgh, PA)
March 22 – Spacebar (Columbus, OH)

https://www.facebook.com/lopandemic
http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/colossus
https://www.facebook.com/Againstthegraindetroit/
http://againstthegrain-atg.bandcamp.com/
http://selfdestructorecords.bandcamp.com/

Lo-Pan, Colossus (2014)

Against the Grain, Surrounded by Snakes (2013)

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Doctor Smoke and Wasted Theory Announce Weekender Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’ll be a riffy couple days in March when Doctor Smoke and Wasted Theory combine forces for a weekender to close out the month. For Wasted Theory, who reside in Delaware, they’ll be making their way more or less around their stomping ground of Philly, York, and Brooklyn, but Doctor Smoke are making the trek east from Ohio for the occasion, and upon doing so, they’ll meet up not only with D.C. heavy rockers Borracho, but Boston’s Gozu as well, who’ll help close out the three-date run with Wasted TheoryDoctor Smoke and Reign of Zaius at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn.

Both Wasted Theory and Doctor Smoke are supporting albums released last year. Doctor Smoke‘s The Witching Hour is the more recent of the two, and while they toured the east coast in 2014 on the heels of their prior demo, this will be the first time they’re on the coast since their debut hit. Again, for Wasted Theory, they’re on familiar turf, but since their own full-length debut, Death and Taxes (review here), came out last Spring, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a new cut or two to work into their set, and I’ve yet to see them that they haven’t delivered live.

Dates and info follow for the tour, which kicks off March 26:

doctor smoke

wasted theory

Ohio Occult-Rockers Doctor Smoke team up with Delaware Riff Slingers Wasted Theory for a 3-day run in March 2015.

Thursday, March 26th 2015
Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie*

Friday, March 27th 2015
York, Pennsylvania @ The Depot*
*With support from Washington DC Heavy Groove Dealers and Desertfest 2014 alums Borracho!

Saturday, March 28th 2015
Brooklyn, New York @ Bar Matchless*
*With support from Small Stone Records and Desertfest 2014’s very own GOZU!

For additional Info:
Facebook.com/WastedTheoryBand
Facebook.com/drsmokedoom
Facebook.com/BorrachoDC
Facebook.com/Gozu666

Doctor Smoke, The Witching Hour (2014)

Wasted Theory, Death and Taxes (2014)

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Last Licks 2014: Brain Pyramid, Zaum, Fire Faithful, Pendejo, Heavy Glow, Bibilic Blood, Thera Roya & Hercyn, The Spacelords, The Good Hand and Byzanthian Neckbeard

Posted in Reviews on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yesterday was kind of crazy, but I don’t mind telling you I think today might be the most all-over-the-place of the week each of the five piles on my desk — now three, soon two — offers something different from the others, but it’s a wide spectrum being covered here, and there’s a couple abrupt turns from one to the next that I didn’t really do on purpose but I think will make for an interesting challenge anyway. In case you’ve been wondering, that’s what kind of nerd I am. Also the Star Trek kind.

I’m feeling really good about this series so far. Really good. I reserve the right to, by Friday, be so completely done with it that I never want to even think of the idea again, but I can only begin to tell you how satisfying it is to me to be able to write about some of these records after staring at them for so long sitting on my desk. Today’s batch is reviews 21-30 of the total 50, so we’ll pass the halfway point in this pile. If you’ve been keeping count since Monday or checking in, thanks, and if not, thanks anyway. Ha.

It’s about that time:

Brain Pyramid, Chasma Hideout

brain pyramid chasma hideout

Although it was streamed here in full in September, the persistent stoner charm of French trio Brain Pyramid’s debut album, Chasma Hideout (released by Acid Cosmonaut Records), seemed to warrant further highlight. Whether it’s small touches like the organ underscoring centerpiece “Lucifer” or the wah-ready bass of Ronan Grall – joined in the band by guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo – or the memorable if genre-familiar turns of “Into the Lightspeed,” the band’s first LP impresses with unpretentious heavy rock front to back. It’s not perfect. Lainé’s vocals come across high in the mix on opener “Living in the Outer Space” and there are points where the “familiar” runs stronger than others, but especially as their initial full-length offering, Chasma Hideout is one that one seems to continue to grow on the listener as time goes on, and one hopes that the heavy psych chicanery from which they launch the 11-minute closing title-track becomes the foundation from which they build going forward. Potential worth reiterating.

Brain Pyramid on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

Zaum, Oracles

zaum oracles

With the backing of venerable Swedish imprint I Hate Records, Canadian two-piece Zaum release their first LP in the four-song Oracles, a 48-minute work taking its central musical and atmospheric themes from Middle Eastern cues. Melodically and atmospherically, it relies on chants, slow, deep low end and minor key riffs to convey a dense ambience, reminding some of Om’s Mideast fixation on “Peasant of Parthia” – third and shortest here at 8:13 – but otherwise on a much heavier, darker trip entirely. Opener “Zealot” (12:55) and closer “Omen” (14:08) both offer plodding pace and a methodology not unlike Nile played at quarter-speed, but it would be a mistake to call the hand with which Kyle Alexander McDonald (vocals, bass, synth, sitar) and Christopher Lewis (drums) approach their aesthetic anything but commanding, and when McDonald switches to a semi-blackened rasp in the second half of “Omen,” Zaum demonstrate a desire to push even further into extremity’s reaches. I can’t help but wonder how far they’ll go.

Zaum on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records

Fire Faithful, Organized Occult Love

fire faithful organized occult love

Some of the organ sounds on “Eye Opener,” the aptly-titled leadoff from Virginia four-piece Fire Faithful’s second LP, Organized Occult Love, remind of what Beelzefuzz conjured atmospherically, but an even more primary impression is the uptick in production value from Fire Faithful’s 2012 outing, Please Accept this Invocation (review here). Recorded by Windhand’s Garrett Morris, songs like “Last Fool on Earth” and “Organized Occult Love” brim with tonal resonance and a perfect balance the mix. Guitarist Shane Rippey handled the latter with Morris, and throughout, his tones and that of bassist Jon Bone shine, but whether it’s a more straightforward, Earthride-style groover like the title-track, or a more ranging doomer like “Combat,” vocalist Brandon Malone is well balanced to cut through the morass and drummer Joss Sallade’s crash resides comfortably behind the thick chugging. Melissa Malone and Gabrielle Bishop contribute backing vocals to “Last Fool on Earth” and only affirm how much Organized Occult Love brings Fire Faithful’s Southern doom to another level of presentation. An important forward step.

Fire Faithful on Thee Facebooks

Fire Faithful website

Pendejo, Atacames

pendejo atacames

Five years after debuting with 2009’s Cantos a Ma Vida, Amsterdam-based Pendejo return on Chancho Records with Atacames, a 10-track/44-minute wallop of classic heavy rock riffing and Latin American influence via the Spanish lyrics of vocalist El Pastuso and his readily-wielded-but-not-overused trumpet, which makes a surprising complement to Jaap “Monchito” Melman’s fuzz-heavy guitar, Stef “El Rojo” Gubbels’ bass and Jos “Pepellín” Roosen’s drums, but in context works well to bring personality and an individualized sensibility to a sound otherwise heavily indebted to the likes of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Quality songwriting and variety in songs like the slower “Amiyano” and the building “Hermelinda” ensures Atacames offers more than novelty to those who’d gape at its other-ness, and when that trumpet does hit, it never falls flat. Closing out with a pair of big-riffers in “El Jardinero” and “La Chica del Super No Se Puede Callar,” Pendejo’s sophomore effort produces results as substantial as they are fun, and serve to remind that’s why we’re here in the first place.

Pendejo on Thee Facebooks

Chancho Records

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine

heavy glow pearls and swine and everything fine

Cali trio Heavy Glow – guitarist/vocalist Jared Mullins, bassist Joe Brooks and drummer St. Judas – have spent a decent portion of the year on tour in support of their full-length, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. Understandable, and all the better to pick up your girlfriend in-person. Smooth, well-baked grooves permeate cuts like “Mine all Mine,” which also appeared on their prior 7” (review here), and the later “Nerve Endings,” a Queens of the Stone Age-style production giving about as much of a commercial vibe as a record can have and still be heavy rock, but the songwriting is paramount and definitely an element working in Heavy Glow’s favor, whether it’s the takeoff chorus of “Domino” or near-lounge vibe of “Fat Cat.” There’s an aspirational sensibility at the album’s core that’s going to make for an odd fit for some riff-heads who might be puzzled how something so nearly desert rock can still sound not at all like Brant Bjork, but hooks is hooks, and Heavy Glow use them well.

Heavy Glow on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Glow website

Bibilic Blood, Snakeweed

bibilic blood snakeweed

Bibilic Blood released three albums between 2009 and 2011, but the Eastlake, Ohio, duo haven’t been heard from since – their nightmarish, depraved psychedelic sludge vanishing in a smoky, somehow hateful wisp. Snakeweed marks their fourth album, and with it bassist/vocalist Suzy Psycho and drummer/guitarist Scott “Wizard” Stearns unfurl another demented collection of chaos snippets from an alternate, terrifying universe, the 11 songs totaling just 27 minutes with enough lumber and obscure freakout on two-minute mainliners like “Severed” and “Bloodnomicon” in the middle of the record to be a genre on itself — like a grainy horror flick made scarier by its rawness. Closer and longest cut at 4:10 “Bloody Rabbit” starts with Boris, Flood-style noodling from Stearns on guitar, but samples transition into Snakeweed’s most gruesome chapter, Suzy Psycho’s voice echoing, twisted, from out of an abyss that might as well be your own subconscious, referencing Jefferson Airplane along the way. Their particular brand of malevolence has been missed, and hopefully Snakeweed starts a new bout of activity.

Bibilic Blood on Bandcamp

Goat Skull Records

Thera Roya & Hercyn, All this Suffering is Not Enough

thera roya and hercyn all this suffering is not enough

Gloom prevails and takes multiple shapes on All this Suffering is Not Enough, the new jewel-case split between Brooklyn post-metallers Thera Roya and progressive New Jersey black metallers Hercyn. Each band includes one song, and for the trio Thera Roya, that’s “Gluttony,” which builds its churn from the ground up and intersperses spacious guitar and almost punkish clean singing en route to a wash of scream-topped distortion, trading off volume and ambience and ultimately delivering a lot of both in a densely-packed eight minutes. Hercyn, a four-piece, counter with the 14-minute “Dusk and Dawn,” which follows their also-longform Magda EP (review here) in grand and squibbly form, a gallop taking hold early topped with throaty screams and shifting between melodic and dissonant impulses, a midsection solo offering a standout moment before the bludgeoning resumes. Each act offers a quotient of noise not to be understated, and despite working in different styles, that’s enough to let them complement each other well on the searing 23-minute Ouro Preto Productions release.

Thera Roya on Thee Facebooks

Hercyn on Thee Facebooks

The Spacelords, Synapse

the spacelords synapse

Synapse, the third full-length from German trio The Spacelords, arrives like a gift from the bliss-jam gods. Four extended mostly-instrumental cuts arranged two per side on a Sulatron Records LP, crafting memorable impressions with washes of synth and guitar, intelligent jams that feel partially plotted and intelligent but still exploratory and natural in how they flesh out. Guitarist Matthias Wettstein is out front in the mix, but bassist Akee Kazmaier and drummer Marcus Schnitzler (also of Electric Moon) aren’t far behind, as much as a title like “Starguitar” might make you think otherwise. The chemistry between the three-piece remains tight across the album’s 41 minutes, and from the rich bass and chugging guitar of the opening title-track to the more laid-back groove of “No. 5” and voicebox strangeness of “Pyroclastic Master,” which has the record’s only vocals in robotically spoken lines, Synapse seems to make all of its connections along the way. Heavy psych heads previously unfamiliar will want to take note. The vinyl, of course, is limited.

The Spacelords on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records

The Good Hand, Atman

the good hand atman

A progressive heavy rock trio from the Netherlands, The Good Hand present Atman, their second album, on Minstrel Music, with an adventurous semi-desert sensibility given crisp production and a somewhat wistful feel in songs like “Greenwich Mean Time” and “Unity.” For a record that starts out with lead guitarist/vocalist Arjan Hoekstra (also tuba, trombone, bugle, keys, percussion) declaring “I am god,” Atman is surprisingly not-arrogant, owing probably as much to Radiohead as Kyuss and keeping an experimental feel to the stops and arrangement of “The Opposite,” bassist/vocalist Dennis Edelenbosch and drummer/vocalist Ingmar Regeling (both also Monotron) swinging out classic style but holding firm to a modern edge. Out of nowhere is the 19-minute closing title-track (nothing else hits six), on which The Good Hand unfold varied movements that push beyond the charm of “The Death of the Real”’s ‘60s affiliations and into spaces jazz-funky, or droning, or doomy, or all of them. No easy accomplishment, but The Good Hand manage to hold it all together fluidly.

The Good Hand on Thee Facebooks

Minstrel Music

Byzanthian Neckbeard, From the Clutches of Oblivion

byzanthian neckbeard from the clutches of oblivion

Okay, seriously. What the hell do you think a band who live on an island in the English Channel and call themselves Byzanthian Neckbeard sound like? Burly as hell? Well you’re right. The Guernsey foursome of guitarist/vocalist Phil Skyrme, guitarist Jon Langlois, bassist Dano Robilliard and drummer Paul Etasse get down on some dudely, dudely grooves on their 2014 debut, From the Clutches of Oblivion. “Doppelganger” nestles somewhere between death rock, stoner and sludge, and there’s a heaping crash of doom on “Plant of Doom” (duh) and “To Seek the Cyberdwarf” to go with the more swaggering take of “Hive Mind Overlord” as well. But primarily, you don’t put the word “Neckbeard” in your band’s name unless you’re on a pretty masculine trip, and Byzanthian Neckbeard do not fuck around in that regard or in the aggro boogie of “The Ganch.” CD is limited to 200 copies in a four-panel digipak to house the growl-laden, riff-led plunder that ensues across its brief but bloody 32-minute span.

Byzanthian Neckbeard on Thee Facebooks

Byzanthian Neckbeard on Bandcamp

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