The Obelisk Questionnaire: Rynne Stump of Stumpfest

Posted in Questionnaire on April 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

rynne stump.jpg

Next weekend, Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon, plays host to the three-night Stumpfest IV. The festival, organized by Rynne Stump, has become a staple of the Pacific Northwest’s fertile heavy underground, and this year is no different. stumpfest roper posterHeadlined by familiar names from the region like Danava, YOB, Big Business, Lord Dying and Sandrider, its reach has only expanded in its years of operation, and with a near-infinite supply of heavy acts to choose from in the Pacific Northwest at the moment — oh wait, six new bands just formed right this second — there seems to be no shortage of fodder for Stump and her compatriots to show their dedication to the cause. With NorskaSons of HunsGraves at SeaMuscle and Marrow, and others on the bill, Stumpfest IV retains a commitment both geographic and stylistic, and its admirable mission has earned it increasing acclaim each year.

Now eight months pregnant and looking forward to the birth of her first son, Stump somehow found time between final fest preparations and packing a hospital bag to answer The Obelisk Questionnaire, and her efforts are appreciated. Enjoy:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Rynne Stump

How did you come to do what you do?

A lot of doing what the hell I wanted and not listening to other people or caring what people thought of me too much. Making my own decisions in life gave me the courage to take risks and be accountable for myself and my mistakes. Following my heart got me where I am and I wouldn’t change one damn bit of it. Of course it helped having parents and sisters who support me and accept my attitude. My father was a musician and he taught me music, how to listen to it, the language of harmony, and how to sing and perform. My mother taught me how to craft, create and to work hard. To not give up no matter what was against us. To never, ever let someone’s opinion of me affect who I really am inside.

Most importantly, if you are raised to be yourself and supported to be your unique self you will have your own life to be proud of no matter what!

Describe your first musical memory.

My dad waking me up out of bed when I was super tiny to listen to a record. I wish I remembered which record that was. He said to me, “Listen to the bass! Listen to the guitar! Hear that harmony, Zipper?” Then he took me outside to gaze upon the moon. This happened regularly in my house in my first years of life.

Also, performing at the Southern Indiana bluegrass festival Bean Blossom with my dad and sister Sara in my diapers that is a pretty intense first musical memory.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

There are too many to count! In addition to putting on Stumpfest every year, I am also a musician. Some of my best musical memories come from performing with my band leader Craig Elkins. To me, communication on a musical level is absolute! The energy, connection and elevation can take you beyond the moon! Plus, we just harmonize like angels together and we laugh at ourselves constantly. Song birding it up with Craig is the BEST!

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Daily, our beliefs are tested all the time. How we recover from this defines our character and strengthens our bond to our own spirituality.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Artistic progression is the higher evolution of ourselves and our souls. Through it, we can lead others toward their own elevated states of being and influence a positive reaction.

How do you define success?

Finding the happiness in all things. Attaining grounded, self-assured happiness allows us to know ourselves better, laugh at ourselves, forgive and love ourselves. When we do this we can connect fully with others and to do positive things for the universe. That is success in my eye. The idea of Stumpfest was to gather old friends together to do just that, and we have seen success every year.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Everything we see shapes us; our experience, our perspectives, our minds, who we are and who we become. Although things we see can harm our fragile egos we can take every experience and make ourselves better from the exposure. I am thankful for psychedelics, which help us to see things in multidimensional perspectives. They open our minds beyond the plane of consciousness that we operate in daily and further connect us to ourselves, others and the great unknown.

There was one time I saw a bum masturbating on the side of the road and I could probably live without that.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

My partner Danny Carey and I are creating life right now inside of me. I’m eight months pregnant, and that was always top on my list… to create the human form is the ultimate! Also, making my own record. Committing and immersing myself totally to the struggle of that inward path is a huge, frightening goal for me.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The birth of my son in June. I cannot wait to meet the product of Mr. Carey and myself. I bet he is going to be hilarious!

YOB, “Adrift in the Ocean” live at Stumpfest 2012

Stumpfest tickets

Stumpfest on Thee Facebooks

Stumpfest IV event page

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Young Hunter Launch Kickstarter for New Album Pressing

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

young-hunter

Now located in Portland, Oregon, Young Hunter have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish work on their new album. With a goal of $4,444 — the full-length will also be their fourth release since their first single in 2011 — they’ll need to mix, master and press the record, which is their second long-player after 2012’s Stone Tools (discussed here) and has been tracked with Adam Pike at Toadhouse Studios.

I’ve been anxious to hear what frontman Benjamin Blake and the rest of Young Hunter had to offer with for their sophomore LP since their 2013 EP, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (review here), pushed their aesthetic so much forward from the debut, with elements of Americana and goth rock and doom blended both stylishly and coherently into three memorable songs that, to be perfectly honest, I was just listening to this past weekend. So, you know, staying power and all.

Here’s the info on the campaign and the Kickstarter video, which has a preview of some new audio:

young hunter logo

///\\\ Young Hunter Album ///\\\

It has most likely been awhile since you have heard anything from us. That is because we’ve been busy moving to Portland, reincarnating into a new form, writing and recording a new album. It has been a long road, full of hard work, doubt, joy, and glory, and has ultimately lead us back to the heart of what Young Hunter’s mission in the world is.

It is hard to put a pricetag on music, and we have often released our music for free. We’ve debated long and hard over whether or not to use crowdfunding for this release, and came to the conclusion that to do this album justice, we simply can’t afford to pay for it all ourselves. So we have put together a variety of what we think are pretty awesome rewards, and now we stroll forth into the risky world of a Kickstarter campaign, with hope in our hearts that this will come to fruition. So if you have enjoyed our music in the past, we ask that you check out our page, and consider helping us make this happen, because without you, it simply won’t. We have 30 days from today, the clock is ticking.

We have finished tracking our album with Adam Pike at Toadhouse Studios, and it sounds great. We’ve been paying for the project out of pocket, and will continue to cover roughly half of the costs even if this Kickstarter is successful. We just feel so good about what we have already, we want to make sure that we continue to take the right steps to give this album the resources it needs to fully manifest. But without financial assistance, we won’t be able to make it happen. Only you, dear reader, can help us achieve this great and noble goal. Our next steps include:

-Mixing with Ephriam Nagler here in Portland, OR. An old friend who we have worked with before, who knows how to make things simultaneously huge and delicate.

-Mastering with Golden Mastering. Trustworthy and industry-standard bearers in mastering and making vinyl masters.

-Printing 1000 LPs, with a full color jacket and printed sleeve, as well as a smaller run of CDs with the same artwork.

-Artwork for the album, which will include hiring a professional photographer for an epic album cover.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, we hope your world is full of love, light, and rock’n’roll.

With gratitude,
Young Hunter

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1627817449/young-hunter-album
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-Hunter/127424170682508
http://younghunter.bandcamp.com/

Young Hunter, Kickstarter Video

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Last Giant Premiere “Harmony” Official Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

last-giant

What are Portland heavy rockers Last Giant doing in their new video for “Harmony?” They’re having a good time, as one might expect from listening to their Feb. 2015 full-length debut, Heavy Habitat (review here). Miniature American flags for drumsticks, flourescent lightbulb for a microphone (also phallus, also sort of guitar), and what looks like a tripod for a bass — it’s all business as usual for Last Giant, who play under a flickering light being visibly switched on and off in front of red white and blues streamers, the clip for “Harmony” having been filmed — on a phone, or so it looks — sometime during their Winter 2015 tour of the West Coast. They’re having fun with it, and so should we. If you take it too seriously, you’ve missed the whole point.

That said, “Harmony” is also a fitting example of Last Giant‘s songwriting, upbeat with an underlying current of punk, but still weighted tonally. Live, they’re the trio of guitarist/vocalist RFK Heise (ex-System and Station), bassist Adam Shultz and drummer Matt Wiles, but on the record — and it’s the studio version of the song you hear in the video, despite some other noise bled in — it was all Heise, recording guitar, bass, drums and vocals on his own with Red Fang producer Adam Pike at Toadhouse Recordings, and while the results are still a party, it’s easy to imagine that next time around, the dynamic in the band will be considerably different since, you know, there’s a band now and everything. Fancy that.

“Harmony” is the third Last Giant premiere (see here and here) I’ve hosted on this site, which might seem like overkill until you take a couple minutes to check out the song itself. Again, not sure where the video was shot — other than to say “America,” which isn’t all that specific but a pretty safe bet given the color scheme — but hope you enjoy anyway:

Last Giant, “Harmony” official video

Last Giant on Thee Facebooks

Last Giant on Bandcamp

Last Giant’s website

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Video Premiere: Lamprey, “Lord Fire Giant” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lamprey

This past weekend, in Portland, the fourth Ceremony of Sludge was held at the Tonic Lounge. The likes of Holy Grove, Disenchanter, Diesto and many others played, but notably absent was the trio Lamprey, who headlined the first night of the festival in 2014. The dual-bass three-piece of Justin BrownBlaine Burnham and Spencer Norman are on a sort of mini-hiatus leading up to the release of their next album, what you might call a “break” rather than a “break-up,” while Brown takes up the bassist role in Witch Mountain and embarks on that band’s rather considerable touring schedule.  Also a principal organizer of Ceremony of SludgeBrown was in NYC this past Saturday opening for YOB and Enslaved when the fest was going on. Hey, if you gotta be somewhere.

I asked him about missing his fest at that show and he was bummed (I’ve always had a reverse-knack for conversation) not to be there, but said he’d spend the next however many months editing clips of the bands playing, so he’d get to experience it one way or another. As Lamprey begin to move past their 2012 EP, The Burden of Beasts (review here) and into their new record preceded by the recently-revealed video for “Iron Awake,” they make a fitting conclusion to this series of videos that it’s been my complete pleasure to host. They’re the sixth band — a total of eight played over the two nights last March — but the final clip is their “Lord Fire Giant,” which also closed The Burden of Beasts. In it, we can hear Burnham‘s shouts in all their rawness and hear the interplay of his and Brown‘s basses on the Club 21 stage while Norman keeps the groove in fluid motion, almost a calming presence behind the kit.

The other videos are here if you’d like to catch up, but having dug Lamprey for a few years now and been to-date unable to see them live, the quality footage is appreciated. As we move out of one series of Ceremony of Sludge videos and look forward to hopefully starting another, I’m glad to bring forth “Lord Fire Giant” in all its frothing, molten fury.

Audio is by Tim Burke at Penumbra Sound Arts. Video is by Cole Boggess and Justin Anderson. Please enjoy:

Lamprey, “Lord Fire Giant” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Lamprey on Thee Facebooks

Lamprey on Bandcamp

Ceremony of Sludge on Thee Facebooks

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Ape Machine to Release Live at Freak Valley May 26; West Coast Tour on Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

ape machine

Underrated Portland heavy rockers Ape Machine kicked off a West Coast tour last night at the Star Theater in their hometown. The run will take them down through California and into Texas for South by Southwest and then back up to Seattle over the next couple weeks with stops in Arizona along the way. Kind of standard procedure for Ape Machine by this time, as they seem to bust out West Coast dates on the regular. They’re still supporting 2013’s right-on-the-money Mangled by the Machine (review here), but they’ll have a new live record, Live at Freak Valley, out through Ripple Music in May as well.

They’re also gearing up to record their next studio album, and are promising some new material on this tour, so if you happen to be in their path, it seems like solid reasoning to stay there. We turn to the PR wire for the particulars:

ape machine tour dates

Ape Machine to release Live At Freak Valley LP/DVD set via Ripple Music | US Tour Dates for March (Inc. SXSW appearance)

Ape Machine’s Live At Freak Valley (LP/DVD) to be released on 26th May 2015

Having recently toured the US and Europe in support of their latest full-length album Mangled By The Machine, Portland stoners Ape Machine are set to hit the road this month in support of their new Live LP/DVD combo release Live At Freak Valley on Ripple Music.

The daring new release was filmed and recorded at the Freak Valley Festival in Germany last year; an event that has proven to be a veritable showcase and ‘Who’s Who’ in the brave new world of upcoming psychedelic and heavy stoner-rock bands. The set features Ape Machine’s blistering hour-long performance in front of a sold-out festival crowd and serves up proof that the band lives up to their reputation of captivating and commanding live audiences.

In addition to the upcoming Live at Freak Valley release, Ape Machine has released three critically acclaimed full-length albums, two recent releases of which – Mangled By The Machine and War To Head – were produced by Ikey Owens (Jack White, Mars Volta, Mastodon) who also contributed keyboards to both albums. Owens was slated to produce the band’s fourth full-length this summer before his untimely death this past October while on tour with Jack White. In Ikey Owens’s absence, the band plans to record their next full length this April with long-time friend Jacob Golden producing.

Last year also found Ape Machine touring extensively, sharing the stage with bands such as Motorhead, Helmet, Orange Goblin, Crobot plus many others. This March however the band kicks off their own West Coast tour, bringing their frenzied live show stateside on a trip through SXSW and beyond. (For the full list of dates see below.)

With their Live At Freak Valley release arriving on 26 May, this coming spring tour across the US, a new album in the pipeline and more planned for later in the year, 2015 promises to be busy year for one of the best new bands on the scene.

Tour Dates:
March 13 – Club 66 (Ashland, OR)
March 14 – Cafe Coda (Chico, CA)
March 15 – Audie’s (Fresno, CA)
March 16 – Slide Bar (Fullerton, CA)
March 17 – JR’s (Sierra Vista, AZ)
March 18 – Blue Max (Midland, TX)
March 19 – Eastdown Warehouse (Houston, TX)
March 20 – DIY Spot (Tyler, TX)
March 21 – SXSW Official Showcase on the Monster Energy Stage (Austin, TX)
March 21 – Fuzzed Out (Lola’s) (Ft. Worth, TX)
March 23 – Flycatcher (Tucson, AZ)
March 24 – Casbah (San Diego, CA)
March 25 – The Saloon (Encinitas, CA)
March 26 – El Rio (San Francisco, CA)
March 27 – Black Forest (Eugene, OR)
March 28 – The Mix – (Seattle, WA)

apemachine.com
facebook.com/apemachinemusic
twitter.com/apemachine
youtube.com/user/ApeMachineMusic/videos
instagram.com/apemachinemusic/
ripple-music.com

Ape Machine, “Wear Me Out” from Live at Freak Valley (2015)

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Last Giant Premiere Live Video of “Captain My Captain”

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

last giant

Portland, Oregon’s Last Giant released their debut album, Heavy Habitat, on Feb. 24 through Little One Ate the Big One Records. You might recall the song “Captain My Captain” was premiered here in December. Well, as a lousy American once said, “Fuck it — we’ll do it live.” That guy was a dick, and wrong about everything else, but he had it right in terms of the value of raw performance, and Last Giant are heeding that bit of inadvertent and once-viral wisdom, currently embroiled in a 12-date run around the West/Northwest that had them snowed out in Colorado last night, finds them driving to Idaho for tonight and tomorrow, and wrapping with two shows in Oregon this Friday and Saturday.

A not-insubstantial stint, and no doubt effective in getting the three-piece’s point across. That point? That you can kick ass and enjoy doing it. Tracked by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Recordings, Heavy Habitat was a solo-project in the studio for multi-instrumentalist/vocalist RFK Heise, formerly of System and Station, but live, Heise is joined by bassist Adam Shultz and drummer Matt Wiles, and naturally, the dynamic is different. One can see it in the video below of Last Giant on stage at The Trunk Space in Phoenix, Arizona. As they run through “Captain My Captain” live, Wiles‘ swing can’t help but drive the boogie in Heise‘s guitar and Wiles‘ bass, and the track departs from the intricate layering of its studio incarnation to something more basic that speaks to punkier roots than one might’ve initially heard in its crisp studio presentation.

But I guess that’s the whole point of doing it live. Last Giant will be looking to tour more this summer — including a makeup date for Denver that, since it won’t be March, is probably about 30 percent less likely to see snow — so keep an eye out. In the meantime, this clip comes from last Friday, Feb. 27, which I think counts as “fairly recent” by modern standards. Video is followed by the specifics on the remaining dates of the tour:

Last Giant, “Captain My Captain” Live at The Trunk Space, Phoenix, AZ, 02.27.15

Last Giant remaining current tour dates:
3/4 Flipside Lounge- Pocatello, Id
3/5 Crazy Horse- Boise, Id w/ My New Mistress
3/6 Lone Pine Cafe- Baker City, OR w/ guests
3/7 Foggy Notion- Portland, OR w/ Fortune Club + Human

Last Giant on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Habitat on iTunes

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Big Business Added to Headliners for Stumpfest IV in Portland, OR

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

big business

Yes, the news here is that Big Business will headline the Saturday night of Portland, Oregon’s Stumpfest IV, but the sometimes-duo, sometimes-trio, one-time-a-four-piece outfit are also heading out on a full run of the US between the end of this month and the end of next month, and that includes dates on that little ol’ tour that Clutch and Mastodon have kicking. The moral of the story? Big Business are keeping good company all the way around.

That’s certainly the case at Stumpfest IV, where they join YOB and Danava among the headliners and a lineup that also includes Lecherous GazeSandriderNorskaGraves at Sea and so on, for three nights of heavy and what I understand is a healthy dose of “bro love.” Fair enough.

You should read what the PR wire says. All the cool kids are doing it:

stumpfest 2015

STUMPFEST: BIG BUSINESS Confirmed As Saturday Headliner; Individual-Day Tickets Now Available For All Three Days

In 2015, the “fantastic amalgam of music, bro love and art” returns to Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon on April 23-25. Hosted by none other than the beloved Stump sisters, the three-day festival is more stacked than ever. As of today we can finally reveal that BIG BUSINESS will headline Sunday, April 25th–pulling double-duty after opening for Clutch and Mastodon at The Roseland Theater downtown and giving the Stumpfest crowd an intimate performance.

They are joined by fellow headliners YOB, LORD DYING, DANAVA and many more.

Three-day passes for Stumpfest IV are now SOLD OUT, but you can purchase individual day passes for $15 at the following links:

THURSDAY 4/23 (DANAVA, LORD DYING, LECHEROUS GAZE, BLACK PUSSY, SONS OF HUNS & PRIZEHOG)

FRIDAY 4/24 (YOB, INTRONAUT, AUTHOR & PUNSHER, GRAVES AT SEA & MUSCLE AND MARROW)

SATURDAY 4/25 (BIG BUSINESS, SANDRIDER, NORSKA, RAJAS & BILLIONS AND BILLIONS)

Big Business on tour:
March 30, 2015 – THREE LINKS – Dallas, TX
March 31, 2015 – RED 7 – Austin, TX w/Skycrawler
April 01, 2015 – WALTERS DOWNTOWN – Houston, TX
April 02, 2015 – SIBERIA – New Orleans, LA
April 4, 2015 – THE CRYING WOLF – Nashville, TN
April 06, 2015 – NEPTUNE’S PARLOR – Raleigh, NC W/BIRDS OF AVALON
April 07, 2015 – OTTOBAR – Baltimore, MD, USA
April 08, 2015 – UNDERGROUND ARTS – Black Box – Philadelphia, PA
April 09, 2015 – THE STUDIO AT WEBSTER HALL – New York, NY
April 10, 2015 – BUG JAR – Rochester, NY
April 12, 2015 – GARRISON – Toronto, ON
April 13, 2015 – THE CROFOOT – Pike Room – Pontiac, MI w/ We Are Hex
April 14, 2015 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL w/ We Are Hex
w/ Clutch & Mastodon:
April 16th–St. Paul, MN at Myth
April 17th–Winnipeg, Canada at Burton Cummings Theater
April 18th–Saskatoon, Canada at O’Brians Event Center
April 19th–Edmonton, Canada at Expo Centre
April 21– Calgary, Canada at Macewan Hall
April 23–Vancouver, Canada at Commodore Ballroom
April 24–Vancouver, Canada at Commodore Ballroom
April 25–Portland, OR at Roseland Theater
April 26–Seattle, WA at Showbox Sodo
April 28–Oakland, CA at Fox Theater

facebook.com/STUMPFEST777
mississippistudios.com
southerncrosspr.com

Big Business, Battlefields Forever (2013)

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Young Hunter Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

young hunter amp

Oregon-by-way-of-Arizona outfit Young Hunter announced over the weekend that they have begun tracking their next full-length at Toadhouse Recording in Portland. At this point, not much more has been said than that as regards a title, tracks, or even who is in the band, which was a seven-piece when their debut, Stone Tools (discussed here), was released in 2012, prior to guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Blake relocating to the Pacific Northwest from the desert he’d previously called home.

The band’s last release was the three-song Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain EP that arrived first on its own digitally late in 2013 and then as one of 2014’s best short releases in a limited split tape with Ohioan (review here), whose drone-folk experimentalism and Swansian bitterness complemented the emotional depth of sonic weight of Young Hunter‘s “Welcome to Nothing,” “Trail of Tears” and “Dreamer,” which built on the distorted desert impulses Stone Tools laid out while also sounding fuller and more assured, the three songs bleeding together as one longer, dynamic work, as smooth in its flow as it was ranging in its impact. Whether that material is an indication of where Young Hunter might go sonically on the upcoming full-length is unknown; that EP was a significant-enough shift from the prior full-length that it seems pointless to hazard a guess.

Those who’ve been fortunate enough to see them over the last few months in Portland might be better able to speculate. Young Hunter have been playing shows with increasing regularity taking time to put together the new band. Two dates in January found them alongside GalateaLamprey and Johanna Warren, and on Feb. 24 — presumably after the recording is done — they’re set to take the stage with Disenchanter as part of Portland’s “Heavy Tuesdays” series at Rotture. One assumes more will follow once the album, whatever it’s called and whenever it lands, comes out.

Hopefully more to come as they continue the process leading up to the release. Their statement, recounted in full below as posted on Jan. 31, is suitably minimal:

young-hunter-lava-lamp

Today, we begin recording our next album.

Young Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Young Hunter on Bandcamp

Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (2014)

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