Lo-Pan to Start Recording Next Month; Touring Starts March 20

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 revamped lopandemic.com website for show updates, new merch and other LO-PAN-centric awesomeness.


Lo-Pan, “Colossus” Live in Portland, OR, Dec. 15, 2012

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Electric Citizen Sign to EasyRider Records; Debut LP Sateen Due July 1

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

@electriccitizN (Twitter)
@electriccitizenband (Instagram)

Electric Citizen, “Burning in Hell”

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Valley of the Sun, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk: The Message

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 Seers was 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 Thunderhawk is 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 Thunderhawk delivers 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 Thunderhawk is 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.”

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On Wax: The Ravenna Arsenal, I

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 I with 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 I vinyl 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 I as 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.

The Ravenna Arsenal, I (2013)

The Ravenna Arsenal on Bandcamp

The Ravenna Arsenal on Thee Facebooks

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Fistula Announce Chemical Crucifixion Tour to Start this Weekend

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)
1/6 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
1/16 -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


Fistula, “WoodGlue…TheGoodShit”

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Valley of the Sun Sign to Fuzzorama; European Tour Dates Announced

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.

Dig it:


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!

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


Valley of the Sun, “Gunslinger”

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff Martin of Lo-Pan

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.

Lo-Pan, “Chichen Itza” official video

Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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EYE, Second Sight: Into Beyond

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 Sight as 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 Sun was 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 Sight together, 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.

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Lo-Pan, Deadsea, Brujas del Sol & Others’ Practice Space Robbed

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though in the past I’ve advocated its use in everything from cases of sexual assault to murder to someone cutting me off in traffic, I don’t actually believe in the death penalty. Among the strongest arguments in capital punishment’s favor, however, are people who steal from bands. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I’ve said it. Steal from corporations. They have money, and the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of shit like the below is nothing to them. To take equipment from people who actually either broke their asses playing out to earn the money to buy it or who balance a dayjob existence with their insatiable need to create something is fucking disgusting. I hope when the cops find whoever did this, they’ve been hit by a bus.

Along with a slew of others robbed early this past Saturday morning in a Columbus, Ohio, rehearsal space, Lo-Pan lost equipment and sent out the following updates via Thee Facebook. Goes without saying that if you’re in that part of the world and you see any of this stuff, do whatever you can to help the bands get it back.

Bummer note to start a week on, but imagine how the bands feel:

Our hearts go out to friends from Brujas Del Sol, Ride to Ruin, Fevernest/Struck By Lightening, Prosanctus Inferi, and others that had gear stolen in the break-in at our rehearsal facility. We also lost items but our lost gear pales in comparison to that of some others.

Be on the lookout for lists of stolen gear from these bands and others and let’s try to help them find their stuff. Mostly lots of guitars were taken and a couple of larger items.

Stealing a bands gear is one of the most low-bottom things you can do. Don’t do that. Just don’t.

A big thank to everyone for the outpouring of interest following the theft of our rehearsal space Friday night/Saturday morning. We had over 240 shares of our status with the gear list in 15 hours…that is amazing. Word has spread far and wide and we thank all of our friends for your assistance.

Let’s keep up the good work and get this equipment back where it belongs. The police are working hard and progress is happening. You may not see specifics regarding leads or suspects in the interest of preserving the investigation but rest assured that work is being done.

Special thanks to the amazing Columbus Arts Community, which has come together in a manor seldom seen. Respect.

Here is an up to date list of all things taken from our rehearsal space last night. PLEASE REPOST THIS EVERYWHERE.

A. Yakuza Heart Attack
Brat Curse – white Japanese Fender Mustang
B. Struck By Lightning/ Earthburner/
200? Gibson Les Paul Custom – Black w/ Gold hardware Lace drop and gain pick ups installed. Dimarzio strap locks. Oversized string gauge set up.
1978 Gibson RD Artist – Vintage Burst w/ Gold hardware Lace drop and gain pick ups installed Chris Krump engraved on the trus rod cover Schaller strap locks Oversized string gauge set up.
60th Anniversary eddition American Fender Telecaster – Tri Burst w/ Black pick guard. Oversized string gauge set up.
Jackson Rhodes – Black. String through body.
1979 Gibson G3 Bass Guitar – Vintage Burst. Missing bridge cover. Oversized string gauge set up.
200? Gibson Les Paul Studio – Black w/ Gold hardware. Neck repair. Dimarzio strap locks.
200? Gibson SG Special – Ebony w/ Chrome hardware. Dimarzio x2n bridge pick up. Dimarzio Air Norton neck pick up. Dimarzio strap locks.
198? Peavy Dyna Bass Guitar – Black Dimarzio strap locks.
Mexican Fender P Bass – Black w/ Black pick guard. EMG active pick ups. Chip on top horn. Dimarzio strap locks.
2 198? Peavy Mark IV Bass Amps. Electrical tape on the front.
Roadrunner RRMBGABS Molded bass guitar case – Black. Monster cables and Mogami cables inside.

C. Bummers/Tight Bros
Fender Telecaster (made in mexico, 3 saddle bridge, brown sunburst with paint chipped off the entire back)
Fender Stratocaster Standard (made in Mexico, black with white pickguard, large amount of sticker residue on body)

D. Lo-Pan
1 off brand custom stratocaster in case…pieced together not really traceable
2 – JBL PA towers 2×15
1- Shure SM 57

E. Brujas del Sol
2002-4 LAKE PLACID BLUE (white pickguard) crafted in japan Fender Jaguar
2009/10 TWO TONE SUNBURST (black pickguard) American Special Fender Stratocaster
2003/04 ALL BLACK Made in Mexico Telecaster
2002-5 Ibanez Omar Rodriguez Pro Model. White with Red tortoise guard.
1988/89 MIJ White Jazz Bass
Warmoth Custom P/Jazz Bass Surf green/Black pickguard. (one of a kind)
2012 Fender Pawn shop Bass XI. Black. Tortoise guard.

F. Magnumb Opus
Fender Deluxe Reverb 1×12 22W Amp (serial on request) – black casing with silver face
A second Fender Deluxe Reverb 1X12X22W Amp (serial on request)
(Bypass switch is missing on this amp on the back panel)
Ibanez AF 55 Art Core Hollow Body Guitar Red – Valued at 450.00

G. Little Professors
1 Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass(most likely Mexican made) Cream body w/ Tortoise pick guard
1 Maroon Hollow body Silvertone Guitar
1959 Danelectro Reissue guitar, black body w/ white pickguard

H. Smoking Guns/Matt Monta

I. Weight of Whales
Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe
Fender Frontman 212R with a bunch of local stickers on top
Behringer XENYX X1622USB USB Mixer with Effects
Dell Inspiron XPS Laptop
Ibanez 1977 Acoustic Guitar
Wood Fender Ukulele
Black Rogue Mandolin
Black Mexican Fender Stratocaster

Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus
Odyssey Black Flight Case

K. RIde to Ruin
Black Gibson Les Paul with three pickups (two gold and one pearl) in an epiphany hardshell case with lots of stickers
White 60′s Gibson Melody maker with a neck repair, one hum bucker in the bridge and one single coil in the neck in a gibson hardshell case (the serial number is painted over)
Green Lotus double cutaway with two humbuckers in a heavy duty flight case with a billy preston stencil on it
Black Epiphone Les Paul with two pickups and very heavy gauge strings in a soft-shell case.
Black Samic Strat copy in soft shell case

L. Deadsea
Modulus Quantum 5 5-string bass with graphite neck- dark green/black (serial number available upon request)
Ibanez Professional Model 2681 blonde guitar with pearl inlay on body and neck (serial number available upon request)
B.C Rich NJ Warbest Deluxe
Ibanez Xiphos XPT700


Lo-Pan, Live at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3, Brooklyn, July 27, 2013

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Mollusk, Colony of Machines: The Consuming Shift

Posted in Reviews on December 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s probably fair to call Colony of Machines, the latest outing from Cincinnati, Ohio, atmospheric sludge duo Mollusk, an EP. It’s got four songs, they total about 28 minutes. For my money, however, it’s a follow-up full-length installment to their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and one that further expands their post-metal leanings at that. Where the self-titled seemed to place tracks according to an overall purpose, Colony of Machines constructs its purpose from the songs. That might seem like a minute distinction, but it manifests on the more recent self-release in the form of longer, more complete component parts. There are three extended cuts an the shorter title-track as an ambient interlude — “Shifting Decay” (9:07), “Hollowed” (7:45), “Colony of Machines (2:38) and “Denisova” (9:06) — and while one could argue it’s the opener and closer leaving the greatest impression because of their length, each piece has something to offer both on its own and in relation to the others. What the last two years seems to have brought to Mollusk‘s sound is a solidifying effect, a tightening of their grasp on their aesthetic, and a refining of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Neal Hunter and drummer/vocalist Chase Schleyer‘s ability to concoct an overarching flow. It’s principally because of how well the songs work together that I consider Colony of Machines an album at all, and that’s not to say Mollusk didn’t work similarly (, just that the process by which the two-piece gets to that point has gotten more efficient. And for what it’s worth, since I seem to be hung up on it as I was last time, Colony of Machines is actually longer than its predecessor, which was 24 minutes. Telling in how the band’s approach has shifted, however, is the fact that in that 24 minutes, they packed in nine songs, several of which were basically just parts waiting to be strung together. Well, now they have been, and as “Shifting Decay” begins its initial pulse, the task Mollusk have undertaken in developing their sound seems all the more worthwhile.

Since first encountering the band — and this applies to their earlier-2013 split tape with Stormbrewer as well (review here) — I haven’t been able to shake a distinct mental correlation to defunct Maryland bashers Swarm of the Lotus, who in the early and middle part of the last decade swallowed a Neurosis influence and spit out a vile maw of bombastic and cerebral crush. Mollusk share some of that intent, mostly in the shouting vocals cutting through oppressive distortion, but on Colony of Machines, the tone of Hunter‘s guitar is darker, and so the release sounds more atmospheric overall. “Shifting Decay,” with its immediate thrust and build of tension, is a monster of low end. Schleyer does a remarkable job in propelling the churn, and remains fluid whether it’s in the chugging onslaught or the brief, airier section that follows the first verses, playing only more of a central role in establishing the circular course of the next build with fast tom runs en route to open and vicious grooving. Where and when Mollusk tradeoff loud and quiet elements, they work quickly, and never seem too inclined to rest toward one side or the other — a measure here, a cycle there. The effect this has is to make “Shifting Decay” both more exciting and more linear. They’re not returning to a chorus after every verse; they’re going somewhere else. As it inevitably has to, the opener winds up in a deathly apex, first of thrashing chaos and then of layered, weighted doom riffing, at last hitting a final crash and giving way to silence before a feedback hum introduces “Hollowed,” a creepy guitar ambience giving over after about 90 seconds to Colony of Machines‘ heaviest single riff. It slow, it is tectonic, and it stands up to whatever lofty image of a field of crushed skulls it might conjure in your head. They’re more patient this time in getting to the vocals, but the approach is the same when they show up just before three minutes in, and as “Hollowed” drives toward its own crescendo, the chief difference between it and the opener is that it’s even more unrelenting.

Read more »

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Threefold Law Announce “Lifetimes Membership” Delivery Format

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cleveland heavy rockers Threefold Law have announced a program that will automatically update listeners with new material. Pay once, get everything, and apparently get it for more than one lifetime. The “Lifetimes Membership” costs $19.95, which seems like a lot until you consider you get the band’s entire catalog, plus everything they might ever put out. It’s an interesting idea, and consistent with Threefold Law‘s penchant for interesting modes of delivery, whether it’s selling USB sticks with mp3s or packaging CD releases with books put together by frontman J. Thorn.

They’ve already released a new single, and have another one in the works for next month, as the PR wire explains:


Lifetimes Membership – No downloads. No updates. No hassle. For eternity.

Threefold Law today introduced a new delivery channel, “Lifetimes Membership”. Without the need to download or install, fans of heavy music get instant access to the entire Threefold Law catalog, for eternity. The songs stream directly to any device connected to the internet including computers, laptops, tablets, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and more. In addition, new songs by Threefold Law will automatically appear in the player as soon as the band publishes them with no action required by the listener. Priced at just $19.95, the revolutionary delivery channel is competitive with most digital music purchases with nothing else to buy, ever.

“Listening trends continue to show a desire for immediate, streaming content from any device,” says J. Thorn, lead singer of Threefold Law. “The lifetimes membership delivery channel creates a new way for us to deliver music to our fans instantly and as soon as it’s available. We’ll still release our material on traditional CDs, but we’ve also got our eye on the future of the music industry.”

“Lifetimes Membership” can be purchased directly from Threefold Law via PayPal or credit card and comes loaded with the brand new song, “Birth to Death” with another new song, “Khan” coming in December of 2013.


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Electric Citizen Debut EP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Due out for release next month, the self-titled debut EP from Ohio five-piece Electric Citizen is certain to make an impression with its strong traditional folk melodies and underlying ’70s rock crunch, taking cultish cues from European acts like The Devil’s Blood and Mansion, but stripping away the religious iconography to leave behind an earthy psychedelic swirl. The retro-style production, especially one so ably done, is a rarity among American acts, who usually bring such influences to bear with a modern feel, but Electric Citizen sound like old pros on their first outing, which can be preordered now on vinyl through The Crossing and on tape through Breathe Plastic.

For ease of linkery, here are both:

Tape preorder: http://breatheplastic.bandcamp.com/album/electric-citizen-ep

Vinyl preorder: http://thecrossingzine.com/store/vinyl/electric-citizen/

Breathe Plastic announced today that their tapes will ship next month. You’ll find that pressing info included below from the PR wire, along with the Bandcamp stream of the four-track release, to get acquainted. Dig:

Electric Citizen pre-orders up!

Breathe Plastic release number 10 is Electric Citizen.

Their debut EP is now available to pre-order on cassette. Witchy 70s metal from Cincinnati, Ohio. A hauntingly beautiful combination of West Coast psych and dark, medieval folk that the summer of ’68 longed for.

Released as an edition of 100, orange shelled, cassettes it comes with a free Electric Citizen button!

Pre-order it here: breatheplastic.bandcamp.com/album/electric-citizen-ep

For Fans Of: Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Budgie, Blood Ceremony, Kadavar, Purson

Note: This is a pre-order and won’t ship until early December!

Electric Citizen, Electric Citizen (2013)

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10 Days of SHoD XIII, Pt. 6: Doctor Smoke Go to Tape

Posted in Features, On the Radar on October 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Part of the appeal of attending any festival worthy of the name is getting introduced to bands you might not have heard or encountered before, and when it comes to the lineup for this year’s Stoner Hands of Doom, which is set to run from Nov. 7-10 at Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia, the riffy four-piece Doctor Smoke immediately caught my eye. I can’t help it. Not one week goes by that I don’t still wind up with the chorus to the closing track of Swedish trio Asteroid‘s first album stuck in my head: “Doctor Smoke… Doctor Smoke/Life is but a joke to Doctor Smoke.” Seriously, that album came out in 2007. I’m kind of surprised it took so long for a band to take the name.

Doctor Smoke play Friday night, Nov. 8, at SHoD XIII, sharing the evening’s bill with It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Gozu, Weed is Weed, Order of the Owl, Freedom Hawk and others. It’s a considerable evening to play, and Doctor Smoke have an admirable slot on the strength of their debut four-track demo, aptly-titled Demo 2013, which was released at the end of August. Sure enough, Demo 2013 makes an impression, and the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Matt Tluchowski, lead guitarist Steve Lehocky, bassist Cody Cooke and drummer Dave Trikones offer a surprisingly cohesive, nigh-on-slick take on modern stoner metal, nodding at cult rock but never really taking it past “we watch horror movies” level, which is likely for the best.

Certainly it serves the material well. The swaggering opener “The Willow” darkens up heavy ’70s riffage, and the drive is modern, with Tluchowski‘s wizard doom vocals adding a modern edge somewhere between Kyle Thomas on the first Witch record and, on “Blood and Whiskey,” Billy Corgan‘s mid-’90s snarl. The dynamic between his and Lehocky‘s guitars accounts for a lot of the immediacy in Doctor Smoke‘s material — tradeoffs between leads and riffs are traditional, but well done — though Cooke and Trikones make their presence felt both on the slower “The Seeker” and the Pentagram cover, “Sign of the Wolf,” which closes Demo 2013 in appropriate and chugging fashion.

As they also prepare for Stoner Hands of Doom XIII, Doctor Smoke are looking past the demo as well and have plans to start recording their debut full-length completely analog at The Bombshelter Studio in Nashville (not to be confused with TruckfightersStudio Bombshelter). In order to help with the cost of going to tape, the foursome have started an Indiegogo campaign and are past the halfway mark on their goal of $3,000. It’s a pretty bold move for a band without a record out to hit up fans like that, but considering they’ve already got four takers on the $200 “We’ll write a special song just for you” contribution, obviously they inspire a good deal of loyalty in their listeners. At this rate, they might have enough material for a sophomore outing before they’ve even finished their debut.

Doctor Smoke, Demo 2013

Stoner Hands of Doom XIII

Doctor Smoke Indiegogo campaign

Doctor Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Doctor Smoke on Bandcamp

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Getting to Know Small Stone’s Latest Signings: Neon Warship and La Chinga

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Venerable Detroit-based imprint Small Stone Records — which I’d argue is probably the most prevalent American purveyor of heavy rock and roll these days, what with a roster that includes Roadsaw, Wo Fat, Dixie Witch, Sasquatch, Gozu, Lo-Pan, on and on — has announced the addition of two new power trios to its ever-growing stable: Dayton, Ohio’s Neon Warship and Vancouver’s La Chinga.

What the two bands have in common with each other they have in common with a lot of Small Stone‘s other groups, and that’s groove and a love of classic rock. La Chinga get down with no shortage of swaggering boogie, while Neon Warship hit into thicker tones and bigger crash, but both set themselves apart with quality riffing and oldschool vibes.

In case you haven’t had an encounter with one or both yet, here’s a little bit and some tunes to familiarize:

La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)

Yes, as in “The Fuck.” If you’ve got your hard-boozing and steal-your-girlfriend imagery ready to go, then you’re ready to meet Canadian trio La Chinga. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Carl Spackler, guitarist/vocalist Ben Yardley (also theremin!) and drummer/vocalist Jay Solyom, they bask in the glory days of early ’70s heavy rock, and update the form with a crisp, large production sound on their self-titled 2013 self-titled debut. Songs like “The Wheel” and “When I Get Free” offer 8-track-ready stomp and dynamic grooves, while the opening boogie of “Early Grave” and the motor-chugging “La Chinga” show off a vibrancy that puts La Chinga among Small Stone‘s most good-time swaggering acts. And you know that’s saying something when it comes to the bands on this label.

La Chinga released La Chinga in April and are set to return to the studio before 2013 is out, with their label debut release coming in 2014. Until then, dig into the self-titled and try not to think of summer:

La Chinga, La Chinga (2013)

Neon Warship (Dayton, OH)

With the lineup of Kevin Schindel, Matt Tackett and Jay Bird, Ohio’s Neon Warship crashed into our plane of existence early in 2013 with their own self-titled work, a vinyl-ready 36 minutes of alternately soulful and thundering tonal weight, barely tamed at all on tracks like the 10-minute centerpiece “Paralyzed,” which proved to be anything but with its smoking leads, crashing riffs and memorable ’90s-style vocal melodies, only to lead to more metallic gallop on the your-skatepark-isn’t-big-enough “In Waves” like nothing ever happened. Earlier cuts “Carry You Away” and “Weather Breeder” showed a penchant for hooks and grooves, but Neon Warship were just as lethal in the stretches of nine-minute closer “Burn the Breeze.”

They’ll support Orange Goblin on Oct. 25 at the Rockstar Pro Arena and are reportedly working on writing songs for their first Small Stone outing to be recorded next year. Shuffle on this in the meantime:

Neon Warship, Neon Warship (2013)

Kudos and good luck to both bands on making their Small Stone debuts. More on all parties at the links below.

La Chinga on Thee Facebooks

Neon Warship on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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Fistula and Nighstick Team up for Northeast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you see a trail of slime across the Northeastern portion of the United States at the end of next week — I’ve no doubt it will be visible from space — don’t sweat it, it’s just Fistula and Nightstick touring. The two bands will start out at O’Brien’s in Allston, Massachustts, on Labor Day and wind up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, leaving I’m sure a slew of blown eardrums and feedback echo behind when they’re done. If it clues you in any further, they’re calling it “Rock ‘n’ Roll Vermin.”

Fistula will make the trip out from Ohio to support a slew of splits and EPs released over the last couple years, while Nightstick will be out behind their 2012 At War with False Noise full-length, Rock ‘n’ Roll Weymouth, named in honor of their hometown of Weymouth, MA, which I’m pretty sure is the next town over from me. If that makes it seem like I don’t know for sure whether or not it is, then please rest assured, I don’t.

Here’s the news off the PR wire:

FISTULA: Cleveland Sludge Kingpins To Kick Off Shows With Nightstick Next Week

Long-running Cleveland ministers of sludge, FISTULA, are preparing to spread their aural disease along the East Coast with a short stretch of live assaults. Scheduled to commence on Monday September 2, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Vermin Tour 2013 will filthify its way through Allston, Providence, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Allentown. FISTULA will be joined by their diseased brethren, Nightstick. Hearing will be damaged. Feelings will be hurt.

FISTULA – Rock ‘N’ Roll Vermin Tour 2013
w/ Nightstick

9/02/2013 Obrien’s – Allston, MA
9/04/2013 Dusk – Providence, RI
9/05/2013 Acheron – Brooklyn, NY
9/06/2013 The Mill Creek Tavern – Philadelphia, PA
9/07/2013 Sportsman’s Café – Allentown PA

In other FISTULA activities, the band has a host of resinated new offerings on the rise including the brand new Vermin Prolificus LP set to detonate via To Live A Lie early next year. FISTULA will be crash-test driving the tunes “Smoke Cat Hair and Toe Nails,” “Pig Funeral” and “Goat Brothel” throughout next week’s live takeover. Additionally, FISTULA will appear on a split cassette with Radiation Sickness to be unleashed through Die Song this October as well as a split 12″ with Ravens Creed through Doomentia in 2014. Finally, the band will be featured on the forthcoming release from XXX-rated funk legend Blowfly. Dubbed Black in the Sack, the eight track offering marks Blowfly’s first studio album in seven years and includes a curious collaboration with team FISTULA, Dave Szulkin (Blood Farmers) and Tesco Vee (The Meatmen) on the track “Dick Stabbath.” Black in the Sack will see release via PATAC Records this Fall.

FISTULA on Facebook

Nightstick, “Nightstick” from Rock ‘n’ Roll Weymouth (1998)

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