Posted in Features on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
10.22.14 — 8:34PM — Wednesday evening — The van, somewhere in PA
“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the angel dust.” — Rob Sefcik
Pennsylvania is deep. Pennsylvania is so deep that Hawkwind should’ve been writing songs about it. As predicted, most of the day has been spent on Route 80, headed westbound to a town called Clyde, Ohio, plucked at just-a-little-less-than-random for its placement between New York and Ohio. It was an early start but we still wound up running late, not that it really matters when we get there. Pretty sure the Red Roof Inn in Clyde will stay open until we get there.
Steve and I got out pretty early this morning and headed to Lyndhurst, NJ, to pick up the van from the rental company. Right off Rt. 3 — familiar terrain. After that, we went in Manhattan to pick something up from his apartment and I snuck in a bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel and a cup of coffee, felt like I was getting away with something. It was glorious. Bagels like that don’t exist in Massachusetts. I had no idea so many of my tastes were regional until I moved. Whatever. Another great sandwich duly chronicled. Aaron met up with us there and we headed into Brooklyn to pick up the rest of the band at Kings Destroy’s practice space and get the gear packed up. It was a little before one when we hit the road, crossed over the George Washington Bridge and headed west on Rt. 80 like the warriors on the edge of time that we might as well be.
Few stops today. It’s mostly been about putting hours in. One piss break at a rest stop where some dude with “Don’t Tread on Me” and a $40,000 SUV gave me sideways looks as I stood outside the van. I’d like to know who he thinks is treading on him but I know the answer he’d give and I’d rather not hear it. We stopped in a town called Clarion not too long ago for dinner at a place called Captain Loomis — much pirate-voice ensued — that has apparently been open since before the Civil War. Stoner Girl who was our waitress wound up telling us about the pretty serious charges she copped in the last month or so and how she might face felony jail time. For pot. I kept thinking about Mr. Tread Upon and the general fucking cluelessness that surrounds us every day. Accordingly was quiet at dinner, not that I had much to add to the discussion of how much old hardcore singles bring in on eBay. Jim Pitts was on that shit. Admirably so.
Carl is driving now, and he’s got a solid playlist going: Sleep, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, old Helmet, Prong’s “Prove You Wrong,” some Nick Cave or something that sounds close enough to it to fool me. I’ll take it. It’s dark now but earlier in the day I got a decent look at some of what’s apparently a gorgeous autumn in Pennsylvania, leaves all different yellows and reds like bubbles on hillsides. I’ve seen it before, but nice to look without running off the road, which is usually the case driving way out here. It was pretty gray all day, and even now there’s cloud cover, but no major weather troubles or any other kind to report. Just putting in time to get to Chicago tomorrow so these guys can play the first show and start the tour, and I can do whatever it is I do out here.
Eager to see this thing start, but feeling good. Looking forward to getting to Clyde, Ohio, which isn’t something I ever really imagined myself saying.
I drove five hours to go to this show. That’s not something I mention because I’m Johnny Lovesriffs or something like that, like I’m all hard core, it just means I really wanted to see these bands play together. Nashville’s All Them Witches and Rochester’s King Buffalo were on the road and East Stroudsberg was about as close as they were coming to me. I could’ve waited a month and caught All Them Witches with Windhand – that tour came right through Boston — but this was the one I wanted to catch. These bands, playing together, right now. So I did.
And from the curious layout of the Living Room to All Them Witches drummer Robby Staebler climbing a tree when I showed up, it was one of the best gigs I’ve seen this year, easily (review here). Local post-metallers King Dead opened, and their drummer, Steve Truglio, also happened to tape both King Buffalo and All Them Witches‘ sets for a A/V series he calls My Show – back in 2012 I went to a taping he did with The Atomic Bitchwax (review here) — and the footage of both acts has been posted as part of that series. Needless to say, I’ve been digging in to remember the good times.
Everything All Them Witches played came off their sophomore full-length, Lightning at the Door (review here), and King Buffalo played all three tracks from their 2013 demo (review here) and then some, giving a taste of what their debut long-player will have to offer when it arrives, hopefully sometime in the New Year. Most importantly, both bands were in complete command of their sound — King Dead weren’t half bad either, for that matter — and revisiting the footage only affirms for me host lucky I was to be at the Living Room to see this one in the first place.
Hope you enjoy:
King Buffalo, Live at the Living Room, East Stroudsberg, PA, Aug. 23, 2014
All Them Witches, Live at the Living Room, East Stroudsberg, PA, Aug. 23, 2014
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Freaked out heavy psych rockers Ecstatic Vision will release their debut long-player next year on Relapse Records. The four-piece trace their origins to Philly — which seems to be following in Brooklyn’s footsteps in becoming a home to an East Coast psychedelic surge — and are a new band with some faces that metallers might recognize in guitarist/vocalist Doug Sabolick and drummer Jordan Crouse, both formerly of A Life Once Lost. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new group is a long way from the old one.
And hey, if you’re starting out with a new band, signing to Relapse is a pretty good beginning considering for most underground acts out there it qualifies as “living the dream,” so cheers to Sabolick and Crouse on the fresh take and if the demo for “Astral Plane” below is something to go on, 2015 will hold much reverby weirdness.
They announced the inkery as follows:
Ecstatic Vision Sign To Relapse Records
Band to Record Full-Length Debut this Month
Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of Philadelphia, PA heavy psych quartet ECSTATIC VISION (Doug Sabolick – Guitars / B3 / Vox, Michael Field Connor – bass, Jordan Crouse – Drums / Percussion, Muffinman – Percussion). Formed earlier this year, the group has quickly made a name for themselves in Philly, having already played numerous high profile shows.
ECSTATIC VISION will complete the recording of their full-length debut upon their return which will be released via Relapse in early 2015.
A demo for the song “To The Astral Plane”, from the band’s upcoming debut, can be heard HERE while footage of the group live can be viewedHERE. Frontman Doug Sabolick commented on the new material:
“We are currently recording our debut album at various studios around Philly. The album is a great mix of trance inducing primitive African tribal meets heavy psych a la Hawkwind. We are stoked to be working hand in hand with Relapse to bring this unique album to fruition and bring our brand of heavy psych to the masses.”
Stay tuned for more information on ECSTATIC VISION.
Ecstatic Vision Tour Dates: Sep 09 Winston-Salem, NC The Garage Sep 10 Charlottesville, VA Tea Bazaar Oct 28 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus w/ Pallbearer and Tombs
Posted in Reviews on August 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
“There ain’t no saints allowed in here,” informed All Them Witches bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr. between songs in response to some half-heard banter from the crowd, who were referencing Anchorman. “If you’re a saint, you have to leave.”
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is a cool little town. And I’m not condescending; that’s what it is. A little town. It’s not a big place in the center, though homes range out into the hills around — my father lived there years ago — but there are bars and restaurants and in the vein of a lot of post-industrial centers, it’s been the artists left to revive it. When I parked, a folk duo were playing on a stage in an alleyway nearby. I hit Main St. Jukebox before heading over to see All Them Witches, King Buffalo and King Dead at the Sherman Theater Living Room, and was thrilled to find a CD copy of Demon Fuzz‘s Afreaka(the YouTube of which I’m just going to link here because that’s how much I think you should hear it). The venue was right down the road, and when I got to The Living Room, I found All Them Witches drummer Robby Staebler climbing a tree outside.
That’s something he’s licensed to do, and he had a harness on and whatnot, but clearly I was early. King Dead would start the show in about an hour, the local bass/bass/drum trio playing tracks off their debut demo (track stream here), which also happened to be recorded in that room. They were in their element, and cuts like “Length of Rope” and the particularly notable “God Makes a Lot of Fucking Promises” stood out well, the arrangement of the area of the floor on which they played such that they were almost sideways to the back of the venue. Well-worn easychairs and loveseats lined the other side, and were put to use, and all three bands played in front of local art. King Dead‘s atmospheric explorations carried through four-stringer KevinVanderhoof,six-stringer Will McGrath and drummer Steve Truglio to a crowd familiar with what they do, and despite a false start early on, they gave a solid showing as the audience started to trickle in.
People would continue to show up throughout the night. Next door, at the Sherman Theater proper, there was a metal show, so some spilled over from that to mix with those who’d actually come to see these bands. King Dead were a switched-on start, and after a short break so cameras could be set up to film the next two acts for Truglio‘s “My Show” web series, Rochester, NY’s King Buffalo rolled out spacious heaviness backed by flashing rope lights around their amps, playing not only the three tracks from their 2013 debut demo (review here) – “Pocket Full of Knife,” “In Dim Light” and the sprawling jam “Providence Eye” — but more from their impending STB Records debut LP, which should be out next year. Bassist Dan Reynolds had on an STB shirt, and as on the recording, he subtly loosed low-end righteousness in form and tone throughout the duration, giving sunglass’ed guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay room to trip out in his solos and a moving foundation for drummer/vocalist Scott Donaldson to match pace. They’re a relatively new trio, and McVay, suffering a migraine, had a garbage can next to him while he played as a precaution for nausea, but god damn did they kill.
I was a fan as well of Donaldson‘s prior outfit, the now-defunct Velvet Elvis, but King Buffalo tap into prime heavy psych fluidity while keeping enough of a base in classic rock songwriting to still have structures to work around. They were exciting to watch, in their individual play and together, and I felt more than somewhat vindicated in how much I’d been looking forward to seeing them. With more than a touch of blues as well, they were also an exceptional match and lead-in for Nashville’s All Them Witches, who would follow shortly, setting up a visually impressive Fender Rhodes for Allan Van Cleave to go with Parks‘ bass, Staebler‘s drums and Ben McLeod‘s guitar, which even from back in the corner of the room, was plenty loud enough to make an impression. I knew going into the night that I was going to see something special — this band at this moment — and I don’t want to oversell it, but something special was precisely what I got.
Most of what they played was recognizable from their soon-to-be-properly-issued sophomore full-length, Lightning at the Door(discussed here), including the opener “Funeral for a Great
Drunken Bird,” which immediately distinguished Van Cleave‘s contributions to the richness of All Them Witches‘ sound in a way I hadn’t previously appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, all four players are essential to what the band does, whether it’sMcLeod‘s slide work, Staebler‘s percussive swing — his drums out flat in front of him, almost like little tables he gets to smash, with minimal cymbal accompaniment — or Parks‘ deep tone and psych-blues echo vocals, but I guess just listening to Lightning at the Doorand the preceding Our Mother Electricity(review here), I didn’t understand the dynamic as well as I did actually watching them play “The Marriage of Coyote Woman,” a wide-open highlight of the evening along with the chugging “Swallowed by the Sea” and “Mountain,” the album’s alternately contemplative and riotous closer.
It was “Charles William” that finished out All Them Witches‘ set, and I don’t think I could’ve asked more from it than was delivered, the crashing apex and bounce of the thing infectious enough that it would remain stuck in my head the rest of the night. Parks‘ vocals, less compressed live, were all the more engaging — one can hear the soul and frontman’s confidence beginning to surface there — and the noise that capped was well earned and more than justified. To get to the point, I was really fucking glad to have been there to see it.
It was about five hours of road time for me to get to this show, so I feel somewhat compelled to explain why I was there. Both King Buffalo and All Them Witches were bands I knew I wanted to see this year. I could’ve waited. All Them Witches are touring with Windhand next month and coming much closer to where I live than Stroudsburg, and I’m sure I’d catch up with King Buffalo sooner or later, but I felt like this was the right show at the right time in the right place, all the more with King Dead opening, so I had to make the trip. To get to see King Buffalo and All Them Witches together, it just seemed like a chance to experience a moment before it was gone, and I knew it was one I wanted to witness. Not to toot my own horn or call myself Captain Foresight or anything, but I was absolutely right in that decision. Well worth the trip and then some.
Owing to a complicated scenario of mutual plans not really worth going into, I met The Patient Mrs. in New Jersey after the show. King Dead rounded out the night at The Living Room with a second set jamming out, but I knew I had a drive ahead, so I picked up The Patient Mrs. and we made our way back north into Connecticut, arriving at three in the morning to crash out and pick up in the morning back to Massachusetts. Sleep would play the next night in Boston, and much like this gig, I knew there was no way I was going to miss it.
Posted in Radio on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a pretty wide stylistic swath with this week’s adds to The Obelisk Radio, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you check out the playlists for the last couple days, you’ll see a considerable variety of track picked out — also a lot of Clutch – and that only bolsters the appeal of the stream as far as I’m concerned. Straight-up riffs all the time is cool, I guess, but sometimes a left turn out of nowhere can make your whole day seem richer. Maybe that’s what I’m going for with this week’s picks. Either way, it’s a lot of quality, so your tuning in is appreciated.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 15, 2014:
Ides of Gemini, Old World/New Wave
The Sera Timms-fronted three-piece return with Old World/New Wave, their second album on Neurot Recordings with a suitable foll0w-up collection of otherworldly melodies and ethereal instrumental explorations, setting a balance between doomly undulation and minimalist ambience. Also handling bass, Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman) is of course in command of her form vocally, and guitarist J. Bennett and drummer/backing vocalist Kelly Johnston play more than a complementary role, the trio functioning even tighter than on their 2012 debut, Constantinople, hitting on psychedelic mastery with “White Hart” and rolling out a classic riffly chug on the later “Fememorde.” Mood and ambience are never far from being the central focus, but Ides of Gemini let loose a bit on “The Chalice and the Blade,” with Bennett‘s guitar taking forward position in the mix with an echoing lead tone that seems to be in direct conversation with Timms‘ vocals. It’s a dialog worth hearing, and one that makes Old World/New Wavea markedly rich, immersive listening experience, the spaces the three-piece create in their songs seeming inevitably destined for headphone-on isolation, and in that context, flourishing. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
Michael Rudolph Cummings, “Long Haul”
A single following the earlier-2014 solo release, Get Low, from Pennsylvania-based Backwoods Payback guitarist/vocalist Michael Rudolph Cummings, the new song “Long Haul” finds Cummings partnered with his Backwoods bandmate Jessica Baker (bass), as well as guitarists Dan Metzker and Pat Shannon and drummer/vocalist Mike Bardzik under the adopted moniker mRc and the Souvenirs. The feel of the track is accordingly full-band, casting off most of the punk influence and heavy tonality that distinguishes Backwoods Payback‘s riff-led take in favor of warmer, classic rock vibing. Cummings‘ voice is suited to the change, and especially following Get Low, “Long Haul” feels like an exploration in progress — new ground being felt out — and I’d argue it’s successful in its push toward creating something distinct from Cummings‘ other solo work and the Backwoods itself. He’s reportedly got an EP coming with The Souvenirs, and as a first taste of what that might sound like, “Long Haul” holds promise of good things to come. Michael Rudolph Cummings on Bandcamp, Backwoods Payback on Twitter.
Kikagaku Moyo, Mammatus Clouds
Improvisational five-piece Kikagaku Moyo are obviously comfortable working in longer forms. The Tokyo outfit’s second offering, Mammatus Clouds, was initially released as limited tape through Sky Lantern Records and has been picked up by Cardinal Fuzz for a deluxe 2LP. No real question why — its three tracks, “Pond” (27:50), “Never Know” (16:50) and “There is No Other Place” (3:19), enact a lush wash of hypnotic, sitar-laced psychedelia. “Pond” is especially satisfying in its exploration, drones and melodies playing out over a consistent rhythmic bed, driving further and further out into ambient breaks and louder payoffs until dropping out to spacious waves of noise, but I won’t discount the appeal of realizing that Kikagaku Moyo are playing off The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in their own “Never Know” either, taking a recognizable sitar line and burying it deep within their own impulses, truly making an individualized work of it. Likewise, the closer “There is No Other Place” comes as a surprise, an effects-drenched psych rocker quick in its pulse and building to MammatusClouds‘ noisy conclusion. The sound here is richer than the average heavy jam, and the effectiveness of the ambience is not to be understated. I haven’t heard the vinyl or the tape, but I have a hard time imagining a format on which this music isn’t absolutely beautiful. Kikagaku Moyo on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz webstore, Sky Lantern Records on Bandcamp.
Witch Charmer, The Great Depression
Multi-vocalist UK bruiser doomers Witch Charmer debut on Argonauta Records with The Great Depression, the follow-up first full-length to their 2013 Euphoric CurseEP. Mixed and mastered as that release was by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, The Great Depressionworks well to establish a varied if not necessarily stylistically diverse sound, frontwoman Kate McKeown, guitarists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke and drummer Dave McQuillan all contributing vocals — the band is completed by bassist Richard Maher — over dense and accordingly depressive riffing. I’m not sure which of them does the Kirk Windstein-style growls, but they’re pretty dead on, as “A Watching of Wolves” will attest, and the tradeoffs both keep the record moving and keep a sense of spontaneity to coincide with the rolling riffs and longer arrangements, leading to the extended closer “Stare into the Sun,” which hides a sample-topped acoustic outro. Not sure why they’d feel the need to bury those impulses, but their first outing may be setting the stage for an unfolding creative progression, and cohesive as it is, I’m not going to knock it for solid riffs front to back and a doomed-out feel. Witch Charmer on Thee Facebooks, Argonauta Records.
Spindrift, Exotic Detonation EP
Underrated cowboy psych outfit Spindrift — now featuring guitarist Thomas Bellier of Blaak Heat Shujaa — apparently had some material leftover from last year’s Spindrift: Ghost of the West, and three new songs surface as the Exotic Detonation EP via Tee Pee Records, bringing The Twilight Zone to mind immediately on the opening title-track before launching into the snare-march Morricone-isms in which they so readily trade. That Spindrift would wind up doing soundtrack work — to their own movie, no less — isn’t surprising, since their style is so cinematic, but I guess “Exotic Detonation,” the desert-jammy “Ghosts Go West” and the minimalist finale “High Plains Spindrifter” didn’t fit on the initial release. Issuing them on a complementary EP makes sense, and from the standpoint of the radio stream, it’s three more Spindrift songs that weren’t there before, so fair enough. They continue to reside in a very particular niche that’s very much theirs, and for fans of those who might happen into them live, Exotic Detonationwill seem right at home among their other Western thrills. Spindrift on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
I could tell you how long this took me to put together, but frankly it’s embarrassing. Still, this is but a portion of the albums added to The Obelisk Radio this afternoon. To see the full list (it includes Pallbearer), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page.
Posted in Reviews on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a cavernous and mystical sound that Heavy Temple have conjured for their self-titled debut EP. After impressing with a single for “Unholy Communion” last year — that song is also presented third of the extended three cuts on Heavy Temple and is out as a cassingle via Sarlacc Productions — the Philadelphia outfit were picked up by Germany’s Ván Records for the vinyl and digipak CD issue of this more complete first outing, and it’s an endorsement of no small consequence, Ván having long since proved the mettle of its tastes via picking up cult-minded acts like Year of the Goat and The Devil’s Blood. Heavy Temple – here a trio but now a duo with bassist/vocalist Elyse “High Priestess Nighthawk” Mitchell as the sole remaining founder — present a more laid back style of grooving than either of those two, but remain plenty heavy nonetheless across “Dirty Ghost” (8:17), “Legendary Conversations with Ants” (7:31) and the aforementioned “Unholy Communion” (13:15) and offer atmosphere to match the intermittent full-thrust tonal heft. They are, in fact, notably cohesive in their approach, and particularly for their first time out, Heavy Temple seem to arrive with a firm notion of their intent, what they want to sound like and how they want to achieve it. Mitchell‘s voice is dynamic and her approach shifts smoothly between “Dirty Ghost” and “Legendary Conversations with Ants” before delivering its most powerful performance on the closer, and in guitarist Shawn “Rattlesnake” Rambles and drummer Andy “Bearadactyl” Martin (also of Maple Forum alums Clamfight), she had a formidable complement with which to establish the range heard in these songs.
About those songs: They are spacious, psychedelic, heavy and they manage to avoid much of the cult rock cliché while proving both immersive and memorable over the course of Heavy Temple‘s 29-minute span. Working together as a debut EP, they more than succeed in giving the band’s audience a sense of what Heavy Temple want to do moving forward, and whether it’s the quiet doom blues in “Legendary Conversations with Ants” that gives way to a slow-motion effects-drenched freakout led by Rambles‘ guitar or the jammy bliss that emerges at the end of “Unholy Communion,” they retain their hold of the proceedings and excellently showcase the potential for what the band might or might have become going forward. “Dirty Ghost” commences with an otherworldly volume swell — minimal, quiet — before gradually unfolding itself with Martin‘s drums and Mitchell‘s bass and vocals, and it’s not until well past the halfway point of its eight-minute run that it finally explodes into full-on psych-grunge heft, like if someone wanted to turn peak-era Soundgarden production into a religion. That patience becomes a central element as Heavy Templeplays out, and the trio are just as likely to ride out a loud part as a quiet one, not shying either from crafting a void or filling it with distortion. The malleability of Mitchell‘s voice between the sultry croon in the first minutes of “Dirty Ghost” and the rawer shouting at the apex of “Unholy Communion” — the EP flowing smoothly between the two; something else that bodes well for a full-length — is another major asset working in their favor, and the stoner-mass of “Legendary Conversations with Ants,” while apparently more worldly in its lyric than the title might have you believe, executes a subtle linear build that ends with some classic doom riffing that bleeds right into the start of “Unholy Communion,” the whole release tying together seamlessly.
The first couple minutes of “Unholy Communion” are dedicated to building up tension, but at about 2:50, the song opens up and begins a payoff that will carry it through its midpoint, where it breaks to minimal ambience to set the stage for the EP’s final build and ultimate heavy psych payoff, Rambles‘ soloing meshing with layers of effects swirl that still keep enough room in the mix to sound human-made, though by then all three sound completely engrossed in the stirring concoction, even as they emerge from it for the big-riff finish and last-second string epilogue. Whatever Heavy Temple do from here is bound to be vastly different. I don’t know whether Mitchell intends to form a new trio or keep the band as a two-piece — she’s currently joined by drummer Saint Columbidae – but in any case, the change from the guitar, bass/vocals and drums lineup here is sure to manifest itself in subsequent output, even if her songwriting remains at the core. With that in mind, Heavy Templemay or may not be telling of the band’s future, and one would wonder about releasing it at all but for the fact that when a label like Ván comes calling, you answer. If this EP is to be Heavy Temple‘s beginning point, it starts them with a tumult marked by material of striking quality. It’s a familiar enough story for bands working under a principle songwriter, and if that’s to be the tale of Heavy Temple, the hope is they can find consistency in the chaos. Taken on its own merits, however, Heavy Templeis among the best short releases I’ve heard so far this year, and if it can serve as even the most rudimentary standard of quality from which the band can expand their sound, then they’re going to be just fine. Point is, even just in Mitchell‘s performance there’s potential here and a lot of it. How she handles that and what she does with it the next time out will be a big tell in terms of Heavy Temple‘s longer-term prospects, and either way, it seems likely that their sophomore studio outing will be as much a debut as this one. A live release in the interim would go a long way in giving a look at where Heavy Temple are headed.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Word has come down the PR wire that Tee Pee Records has picked up Philly rockers Ruby the Hatchet for the release of their debut full-length later this year. Ruby the Hatchet released their Eliminator7″ earlier this year and will record later this month with an eye toward having the album out in the fall. The band also recently played the Northside festival in Brooklyn alongside The Golden Grass, Gods and Nightbitch.
Another one to look out for in the back half of 2014. Somebody should really be keeping track of this stuff. Say in some kind of list form. Say next week or the week after that…
Info in blue:
RUBY THE HATCHET Signs To Tee Pee Records
Philly Dark Psych Gang Prepping “Cohesive Conceptual” Album
Philadelphia heavy rock quintet RUBY THE HATCHET have signed with NYC’s Tee Pee Records, the independent label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep. The hotly-tipped group, who MetalSucks says, “graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Led Zeppelin School of Proto Metal, where they majored in Sabbath and minored in Deep Purple,” and whose “brand of psychedelia should drive fans of bands like Baroness, Ghost, and Royal Thunder absolutely wild,” will enter Retro City Studios in Germantown, PA this month to record its as-yet-untitled new LP. A late fall release date is expected.
“We’ve been making music since 2010, but our upcoming full length is going to be a first in a lot of ways,” says RUBY THE HATCHET vocalist Jillian Taylor. “It’s our first label release and it’s with a label we’ve respected and admired from afar for some time. We managed to bump into the Tee Pee dudes at a Harsh Toke show in Brooklyn a few months back. It was a wild and blurry night, ending with us getting kicked out of a bar and talks of them putting out our full length. These new songs are medieval, melodic, murderous and fuzzed out. They came to us rapidly and embody a sound for us, that, for lack of better words, is right the fuck now.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I have to admit, looking at a post from Sadgiqacea tourmates Hivelords saying they’re looking for someone to tag along and sell merch on their upcoming month-plus run from June 20 to July 26 is a pretty tempting prospect. Would be a long time out, but The Patient Mrs. will be gone for most of that time anyway — she leaves at the end of June for a month away — and the only real concern is what would I do with the dog. Oh well.
While I don’t think I’ll be volunteering, you might want to, and if so, hit up Hivelords on their Thee Facebooks. The tour is an admirable run, with some house shows — or what look an awful lot like house shows anyway — mixed in with some bars/venues and a couple dates to be filled in yet as Sadgiqacea and Hivelords both head out in support of their 2013 debut LPs.
To be informed:
SADGIQACEA and HIVELORDS announce tour dates
Philadelphia blackened-sludge giants SADGIQACEA and HIVELORDS have announced a new US Tour. The tour, which starts on June 20 in New Jersey, sees both bands travel throughout the months of June and July before ending on July 30th in Philadelphia. Support on the tour comes from AJAX of Ardent Vein. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.
SADGIQACEA and HIVELORDS will be touring in support of their critically acclaimed albums ‘False Prism’ and ‘Cavern Apothecary’. Both albums are streaming now at the Anthropic Records websitewww.anthropicrecords.comand their respective Bandcamp pages.
Friday, June 20, 2014 – Lindenwold NJ – THE SEX DUNGEON Saturday, June 21, 2014 – York PA – THE DEPOT Sunday, June 22, 2014 – Providence RI – DUSK Monday, June 23, 2014 – Boston MA – O’BRIENS Tuesday, June 24, 2014 – Portland ME – ST. JOHN Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – Portsmouth, NH – HOUSE SHOW Thursday, June 26, 2014 – Worcester MA – RALPH’S DINER Friday, June 27, 2014 – Syracuse NY – GORHAM BROTHER’S MUSIC Saturday, June 28, 2014 – Rochester NY – THE BUG JAR Sunday, June 29, 2014 – Buffalo NY – THE LAIR Monday, June 30, 2014 Pittsburgh PA – THE SHOP Tuesday, July 01, 2014 – Kent OH – STONE TAVERN Wednesday, July 02, 2014 – Port Huron, MI – SCHWONK SOUND STEAD Thursday, July 03, 2014 – Covington, KY – THREE KINGS BAR Friday, July 04, 2014 – Indianapolis, IN – HOUSE SHOW Saturday, July 05, 2014 – Chicago IL – COBRA LOUNGE Sunday, July 06, 2014 – Madison, WI – DAS GEWOLBE Monday, July 07, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI – FRANK’S POWER PLANT Tuesday, July 08, 2014 – Wausau WI – THE STANK Wednesday, July 09, 2014 – Minneapolis MN Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Des Moines IA – HULL AVE TAVERN Friday July 11, 2014 – Kansas City MO – VANDALS Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Columbia MO – PESTE DE MERDE Sunday, July 13, 2014 – Saint Louis MO – FUBAR Monday, July 14, 2014 – Lexington KY – SIDECAR Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Huntington WV – HOUSE SHOW Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Nashville TN – THE SPRING WATER Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Atlanta GA – 529 ROOM Friday, July 18, 2014 – Knoxville TN – THE POISON LAWN Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Asheville NC – THE ODDITORIUM Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Charlotte NC – THE MILESTONE Monday, July 21, 2014 – Wilmington NC – REGGIE’S 42ND STREET BAR Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Richmond VA Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Washington DC Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Baltimore MD Friday, July 25, 2014 – New Brunswick NJ Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Brooklyn NY – THE ACHERON Wednesday July 30th, 2014 – Philadelphia PA – JR’S BAR
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Exciting news that Philadelphia’s Rosetta will have the chance this July to tour China. I mean, it’s cool enough just to get an opportunity to go to China, let alone tour there, so yeah, right on. Rosetta‘s latest release is 2013’s The Anaesthete, which you can hear in full below and was self-released last summer as a name-your-price download, but they’ve also got a new EP in the works called Flies to Flame that was mastered at the end of April and will be out later in 2014 on Translation Loss.
You can read about that project under the China tour dates below, all info snagged from their Tumblr:
TOUR: China Summer Tour 2014
We are delighted to announce that we will be touring in CHINA this summer! This is one of the most exciting opportunities we’ve ever had. Because of family/life events, we’re not able to do any other significant touring in 2014, but this was too good to pass up. Spread the word!
July 2: Hong Kong @ Hidden Agenda July 4: Shenzhen @ B10 July 5: Guangzhou @ SD Livehouse July 6: Wuhan @ Vox Livehouse July 8: Shanghai @ YYT Livehouse July 10: Chongqing @ Nuts Club July 11: Chengdu @ Little Bar July 12: Xi’an @ Guangquan Club July 13: Beijing @ Mao Livehouse
Our new EP, titled Flies to Flame, [has been] mastered. It’ll be out later this year in traditional formats — LP and CD — on Translation Loss Records. This not a pay-what-you-wish digital release.
This recording was a departure from our normal working style. We wrote the material in late 2012 and recorded it in a garage in early 2013, while we were writing The Anaesthete. It’s deliberately lo-fi, jangly, and experimental, a tribute to the stripped-down sound of the post-rock and drone records we loved when Rosetta began. Most of it was improvised as it was being recorded, and it was not edited or ‘fixed’ to make it sound polished. All the grit is there. We used different instruments and equipment than we normally play with, since this material isn’t intended to be played live. Instead it functions as a kind of process document, from an important and transitional year in our life as a band.
For the first time since The Galilean Satellites, we did all recording and mixing ourselves (with the invaluable help of our intern engineer, Alex Ruday). Mike Wohlberg is returning to create the artwork and layout, and James Plotkin is mastering it for both CD and vinyl.
Track list: 1. Soot 2. Seven Years with Nothing to Show 3. Les Mots et les Choses 4. Pegasus
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
From the description Black Cowgirl sent down the PR wire, it sounds like a nightmare scenario that led them to release “The Traveler” as a pay-what-you-want download. The song was originally put to tape as the first cut for their Restricted Release debut. They went in the studio, put “The Traveler” down, took it home unfinished and then never heard from the engineer again. After putting the time in to write the songs, rehearse them, get everything where you wanted it to be, find someone to record, get to the studio, set up, get drum sounds, bass sounds, guitar sounds, vocal sounds, and then actually begin the process only to have it cut off like that — it sounds awful. What a waste.
It’s twice the bummer because the song sounds awesome. Their two-EPs-into-one-full-length self-titled was a cool listen, but already in “The Traveler” it’s clear the Lancaster, PA, four-piece were looking to take their tonal warmth to new heights and build on the steady heavy rock bounce they honed their first time out. I believe they had started working on the album in January, so hopefully they found someplace else to record, because “The Traveler” definitely warrants accompaniment.
For now though, it’s what we’ve got:
New free BLACK COWGIRL song!
Black Cowgirl entered a studio for one day in the dead of winter with the intent to begin recording their follow up their 2013 self titled release on Restricted Release Records. One song was recorded. The band went home that night with a unmixed, unfinished copy of a song called “The Traveler”. The plan was to go back and complete “The Traveler” and then record the rest of the album. Unfortunately the studio engineer mysteriously disappeared. Therefore the song cannot be finished and to celebrate the circumstances Black Cowgirl has made the demo for “The Traveler” available for free on band camp.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ve never made a zombie movie, but if I were to do such a thing, I can see the appeal of getting Pittsburgh riff metallers Supervoid involved. The double-guitar five-piece have just the right balance of metallic tone and stonerly charm — plus a decent sense of humor — to be a good fit, and they seem to bang out hooks the way I eat bowls of Peanut Butter Puffins cereal, which is daily, so yeah, it makes sense. That the flick in question, The Other Side, is filmed in and around Pittsburgh and that the soundtrack features bands all local to that area only furthers the logic involved, putting it square in the territory of the “no brainer.” Insert zombie pun here.
The film itself isn’t due until later in the year as I understand it, but being the energetic chaps they are, Supervoid have jumped the gun and made their soundtrack inclusion, “Against Sunrise” available now as a pay-what-you-want download through their Bandcamp. Those who heard their late-2013 full-length, Filaments (review here), will likely recognize the Kyuss-riff-meets-melodic-death-metal-vocal approach, no less gleefully flying in the face of trend here than it was on the last record. I like that about Supervoid, but the appeal of their songwriting also goes past whatever novelty factor one might tack to them because of the growling.
Space cadets, aliens, fellow space riffers, here is our new track we wrote and recorded for the local Pittsburgh film The Other Side. Please share it with your friends and let us know what you think!
This song was written and recorded for the full length feature film ‘The Other Side’ created by Pittsburgh-based indie production company Orchard Place Productions. The film showcases many local Pittsburgh bands in the soundtrack. Be sure to check out the movie once it is released!
My understanding is that if you’re in a heavy band and you’ve made your way through West Chester, Pennsylvania, on an East Coast tour, you’ve probably either stayed at Mike Cummings‘ house or played with his band, Backwoods Payback. As the frontman of the underappreciated and hard-driving foursome, Cummings presents an indomitable personality on stage and off, but is given to backing that up with a thoughtful approach in his lyrics as well as in writings apart from the band. A book of poetry, Confessions of a Lackluster Performer, was published in 2009, and aside from the self-deprecating title, it showed Cummings able to work in textures beyond those of his songcraft, though it seems to be that side of his creativity that most exerts itself. Backwoods Payback made their debut on Small Stone with 2011’s Momantha(review here) and subsequently issued a live EP in 2012 and a studio EP, In the Ditch(streamed here), earlier in 2014.
In addition, Cummings embarked on his first solo acoustic tour last fall (review here), and the release of his full-length solo debut, Get Low, is expected April 19.
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Michael Rudolph Cummings
How did you come to do what you do?
I’ve always written in some form or another, since as early as I can remember. Music just seemed to be the next extension of that. It just happened.
Describe your first musical memory.
I had a little portable record player in a blue canvas-colored suitcase. I’m sure there was one in most households with a kid my age (or maybe not, the more I think about it). The movie E.T. had just come out and my mom gave me the Neil Diamond “Heartlight” single. I played that for hours at a time, over and over.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
It changes all the time. Whenever I finish a recording or write a new song, that’s the high I’m always chasing. I just finished my first solo record. Listening back to the tape in the room and forgetting how we even made this thing that was being played back to me…that’s my best memory at the moment.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
Every day something I believe in is tested.
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
I can’t even begin to try and imagine where it leads. I just follow it wherever it wants to take me.
How do you define success?
Doing the best I can at whatever it is that I am doing and knowing that I gave it all I had.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
Everything I have seen makes me who I am today. Nothing… Some things are just harder to handle than others.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
I have so much to do still, books to write, songs to sing, pictures to draw. It’s such a strange trip when it happens. I can’t sit and force it. It’s like a wave, and I have to ride it out when it comes.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
Waking up tomorrow.
Michael Rudolph Cummings, “Ranch Song” from Get Low (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fresh off a tour alongside Truckfighters that took them through SXSW before heading out west, Pennsylvania’s Crobot have announced they’ll release their new, self-titled EP through Wind-Up Records on May 13. The four-tracker was recorded by Machine, whose largesse-capturing handiwork one might remember from Clutch‘s 2013 outing, Earth Rocker, and after a gig in Texas tonight — one of two this week; I’ve been lagging in keeping up with the news — they’ll meet up with Kyng and Kill Devil Hill at the end of next month, presumably to explore where the line between heavy rock and roll and something remotely viable to a wider audience exists. Intrepid work, gents. Best of luck.
As ever, the PR wire asks the hard-hitting questions:
WHO THE F**K IS CROBOT?
FIND OUT WHEN THE DIRTY GROOVE-ROCKERS RELEASE THEIR SELF-TITLED EP MAY 13
ON TOUR NOW, DATES WITH KYNG AND KILL DEVIL HILL ANNOUNCED, PLAYING ROCK ON THE RANGE
Central Pennsylvania band Crobot will release their self-titled four-song EP on Wind-up Records May 13, 2014. Tracks include “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer,” “Nowhere to Hide,” “La Mano de Lucifer” and “Skull of Geronimo” and were produced by famed producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes). Machine and the band are finishing up their debut album which will be released later this year. “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” will be available April 1 for download and streaming but fans can go to crobotband.com now and unlock #TheLegend to get a free version of the song. “Nowhere to Hide” is going to rock radio on Cinco de Mayo – May 5.
So who the f**k is Crobot?
The band embodies a mixture of groove-heavy riff-rock that will want to make you bang your head and shake your ass. Think of them as Wolfmother’s American cousins who smell like leather (they make leather-scented air fresheners!) and whose music scorches your ears like hot sauce to the taste (yes, they even have their own hot sauce!). You can’t help but feel that you are taken into another dimension and back again with the songs of Crobot.
Crobot will be on tour in select cities across the United States in 2014 doing solo shows, touring with Kyng and Kill Devil Hill and at Rock on the Range (dates below). More dates will be announced soon.
Crobot is Brandon Yeagley (Lead Vocals, Harmonica), Chris Bishop (Guitar, Vocals), Jake Figuroa (Bass) and Paul Figuroa (Drums).
EP TRACK LISTING: “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” “Nowhere to Hide” “La Mano de Lucifer” “Skull of Geronimo”
TOUR DATES: Mar 28 Corpus Christi TX Zeros Hardrock Club Apr 28 Atlanta GA The Masquerade With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill Apr 29 Wilmington NC Ziggy’s By The Sea With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 2 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s With Kill Devil Hill May 6 New York NY Marlin Room @ Webster Hall With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 7 Springfield VA Empire With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 9 Syracuse NY Lost Horizon With Kill Devil Hill May 10 Lancaster PA Chameleon Club With Kill Devil Hill May 11 Worcester MA The Palladium (upstairs) With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 15 Flint MI The Machine Shop With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 17 Columbus OH Rock on the Range May 20 Joliet IL Mojoes With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 21 St. Louis MO The Firebird With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill May 25 Lubbock TX Lonestar Amphitheater FMX Big Purple Party
Posted in audiObelisk on March 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
At 33 minutes, the self-titled and self-released debut from Pennsylvania instrumentalists King Dead sits right between an EP and a full-length outing. The trio’s sound is similarly nebulous, hovering between psychedelic post-rock, heavier amplified push and Morricone-via-Earth soundscaping, and as their first five songs showcase, they come equipped with a formidable scope. Shades of Pelican show up in the payoff to the cumbersomely-titled “As One Plows and Breaks up the Earth, so Our Bones Have Been Scattered at the Mouth of the Grave,” and when closer “God Makes a Lot of Fucking Promises” launches from its Dustbowl swirl into lumbering crashes and more vicious churn, Neurosis‘ “Times of Grace” seems a ready comparison-point, but King Dead – the Stroudsburg-based trio of four-string bassist Kevin Vanderhoof, six-string bassist Will McGrath and drummer Steve Truglio (the latter of whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve known and worked with for years) — do well to incorporate these into a still-forming cohesion, boldly captured live on this self-titled.
They recorded in Stroudsburg’s Living Room on Jan. 25, so the material is pretty fresh, and whether it’s the Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method-style sustained nod of opener “Ghosts along the Riverbank” or the loose-string jangle of centerpiece “Length of Rope,” their contemplation comes metered out in weighted bottom-end and patient timekeeping. The middle cut strikes as the smoothest in its transitions and the fullness of its course, a build taking place over the 6:42 run while parts are intertwined, refrained and deconstructed. It happens subtly, but when the high end drops out before the four-minute mark and McGrath and Truglio carry the atmosphere on their own, the return is clearly the beginning of an apex that, save perhaps for that of the more jagged closer, is the most satisfying to be had on King Dead‘s King Dead. And while the follow it with the shortest and most uptempo song on the release, “Drowning in Dust,” even there they continue an impressive grip on the ambience, some whistling arriving late to introduce a gallop straight out of the Spaghetti West.
Tracks also work smoothly one into the next, but to give a general idea of where King Dead are at their first time out and where they might subsequently progress, “Length of Rope” finds them in an engaging balance of driving push and tidal sway. King Deadwill be available on CD starting April 19. Please find “Length of Rope” on the player below, and enjoy:
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King Dead have been conspicuoulsy haunting the Stroudsburg PA area lately. Bass players Will McGrath and Kevin Vanderhoof, recruited New Jersey Transplant Steve Truglio on drums last summer, and have begun to wander around the NEPA/NJ area. Their debut record on the cusp of release, was recorded LIVE in their practice and performance home venue at The Living Room in Stroudsburg by Dave Reiser of ROCK HARD STUDIOS. They definitely have their own sound.
Call it sludge, doom, or what we like to say is spaghetti western doom sludge, it sure doesn’t sound like yer typical heavy 3 piece band these days. With virtually no vocals, aside from one song(not on the record) and a whistle solo in another, its all about dynamics and the building tempos. Creepy, dreary, sleepy and melodic riffs layered over deep bottom and pounding drums. A good soundtrack for any lethal injection event.
Posted in audiObelisk on February 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pennsylvania heavy rockers Backwoods Payback will release their new EP, In the Ditch, this coming Friday, Feb. 21. Usually when I post something about the band, it’s a list of tour dates. They’ve put in some regular road time before and since the release of their 2011 Small Stone debut, Momantha(review here), and an early-2013 live album (discussed here) kept momentum going around touring on the West Coast, various festival appearances, etc. In the Ditch, though, is the four-piece’s first studio outing since Momantha, and it’s even more of a follow-up than one might initially think. The six-track, 28-minute EP — they’re reportedly pressing a limited number of physical copies for a release show Friday night with Buzzard Wagon and Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies at Shore Road Tavern in Philly — was put to tape in late 2011/early 2012, so while it’s newly mixed and mastered, In the Ditchis about as direct a companion piece timing-wise for Momanthaas one could ask.
As its title hints, In the Ditchis a hard-times release, and there’s a core of raw honesty that underscores the songwriting across its tracks, whether it’s “On the Chain” asking “What’s the point of leaving if you didn’t need me to stay?” or the frustrations of closer “Buffalo Nickel.” Guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings‘ vocals are front and center, presented largely void of effects, and while In the Ditchis short, it efficiently demonstrates a range on the part of Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker, guitarist Rylan Caspar and drummer W.S. Curtiss that finds them no less at home in the sludgy lumber of “Fooled You” than the swaggering grunge of “The Village.” The EP hits its stride with “Always Something,” the third of the six cuts and sort of the emotional summary of where Backwoods Payback are coming from on the release. Over acoustic and electric guitars, Cummings recounts with effectively conveyed resignation the personal loss that seems to be at the heart of In the Ditch. The tone isn’t overly sentimental, but there’s a sense of redemption in the second half of “Always Something” that gives the remainder of the EP a more hopeful context.
The recording itself, engineered by Mike Bardzik at Noisy Little Critter Studio in the band’s native West Chester, PA, is bare-bones but more than clear enough to get a feel for the material, and flourishes like the acoustics in “Always Something” — also a bit of Alice in Chains‘ “I Stay Away” seems to show up around the 2:20 mark — the background shouts in opener “On the Chain” and the harmonies in “The Village” lend sonic depth and variety alike, but again, the crux of In the Ditchis the sincerity with which the tracks are presented, and that comes through superbly no matter how many layers are at work at any given point.
Please find In the Ditch in its entirety on the player below, followed by some commentary from the band, and enjoy:
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Backwoods Payback are now taking preorders for In the Ditch at their Bandcamp page, and will release the EP this Friday at Shore Road Tavern in Philadelphia, PA. Here’s what they have to say about it:
(to start at the beginning would take too long. you wouldn’t want to hear about most of it anyway.)
we were having one of those kind of lives. the kind where you almost run out of gas, but the tank is full enough to get you where you want. and that road gets winding, but every now and again there’s those stretches. those beautiful perfect stretches. and you can’t tell if the sun is coming up or going down, but you know you’re right in the middle of it either way. it was one of those kind of lives. and then the bottom fell out. and then when you didn’t think the bottom could fall out anymore, it fell out again.
you never really look at the clouds the same after that. they’re not floating anymore. they’re just kind of there.