Buried Treasure: Sound Effect Records in Athens, Greece

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Them compact discs.

A couple weeks ago, when The Patient Mrs. was in Athens, Greece, on one of her I’m-brilliant-so-I-get-to-do-awesome-things field trips, she mentioned over Skype that she has passed by a record store. If there’s one thing I like, it’s record shopping on foreign soil, even vicariously, so I got the name from her – Sound Effect Records – and proceeded to look them up. The second I saw that owner Yiannis Andriopoulos had the nickname “Kaleidosmoker” I knew she had stumbled onto the right place.

Turns out Andriopoulos was a former ‘zine head with a long history in Greece’s heavy rock scene. Sound Effect also runs a label out of the store and has distributed cool stuff from Montibus Communitas and others, so I immersed myself in the thousands of selections on the Discogs page and started putting together a wishlist. I kept it to CDs — traveling with vinyl yourself isVolumen. bad enough, let alone asking your wife to do it — and passed it on to her, with links, and told her when she went to the shop to ask for Yiannis, figuring that he’d be able to help her out with the stuff if she couldn’t find it.

Had to get a few Greek acts in there, and Planet of Zeus were on my mind for having recently checked out their Vigilante album (review here), so their first album, 2008′s Eleven the Hard Way, made the cut, as did Brotherhood of Sleep‘s 2009 self-titled debut. Both bands are native to Athens, and since I already had a copy of the new 1000mods, I was glad to dip back to some older, less available releases. There was also a ready stock of Nasoni Records stuff — not the first Weltramstaunen, unfortunately — but I asked her to grab Baby Woodrose‘s Dropout! collection of covers and a reissue of The Rising Sun‘s 1969 LP, Born to be Wild, as well as the 2CD Entering into the Space Country/Phaze Your Fears collection from Øresund Space Collective.

When she got home this weekend, she surprised me by bringing not only those, but the 2LP version of Los Natas‘ El Universo Perdido de Los Natas, filling both the Nasoni and the vinyl quotas in one fell I’m-the-luckiest-dude-ever swoop. I have the corresponding CD version that Oui Oui/MeteorCity released in 2007, but both the thought and the gatefold were beautiful, and if it’s another excuse to spend some time listening to Los Natas, I’m not going to lose. Apparently at some point in her trip to Sound EffectThe Patient Mrs. also let it slip that she was buying for her husband, explained who I was, and Andriopoulos gave her a copy of one of Sound Effect Records‘ releases, a joint issue with Nowhere Street Music from the band Drug Free Youth called A Message from Now.

And I’m glad he did, because apartDruggies. from the Los Natas vinyl, the Drug Free Youth CD might be the find of the trip. A modded-out late-’60s-style psych rocker, it’s got plenty of garage organ and guitar jangle. It’s actually a message from eight years ago, having been released in 2006, but the sound and production date back way further than that. It’s got 15 tracks in about 45 minutes, and they keep things pretty simple structurally, otherwise, but the 7:47 closer “Visions of a Gypsy Queen” — Eastern European influence in the organ and all — the buzzsaw leads in “Time is Iced in an Instant,” and the steady wash of effects and echo overall provide plenty of nuance for those who’d dig below the raw retro veneer. It’s a cool vibe and I’m glad I got to hear it.

I probably won’t get to Athens anytime soon, but I hugely appreciated The Patient Mrs. keeping an eye out for some records on my behalf, and thanks to Yiannis from Sound Effect for steering her in the right direction on the stuff I’d checked out on his Discogs. There’s a ton of vinyl as well, and between that and the store’s website itself, plenty of fodder for perusal. Obviously no complaints from my end.

Drug Free Youth, Selections from A Message from Now (2006)

Sound Effect Records website

Sound Effect Records on Discogs

Sound Effect Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Bongripper, We’re all Gonna Die, Sufferghost, Liquido di Morte, Planet of Zeus

Posted in Radio on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Obelisk Radio.

Click here to listen.

You may or may not have noticed, but on the updates page for The Obelisk Radio, you can now see the playlist for the entire day. Mad and thoroughly appreciated genius that he is, Slevin set it up so that even when a song doesn’t have an ID3 tag — as some of the older included mp3s obviously don’t — the filename itself appears, so you can still find out what was played. It goes back to July 10 now, because that’s when it was launched, but my understanding is it will just keep adding days, so there will be a full archive from here on out of what was played. I’ve been nerding out on it all week.

And primarily what it’s underscored for me is just how much good shit there is on that playlist. It’s unreal. Please feel free to peruse. Here’s some more stuff that just went up.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 18, 2014:

Bongripper, Miserable

Teefers.
Chicago four-piece Bongripper once more crawl out of the muck with another collection of lurching, extended instrumental tracks, proliferating malevolent riff worship and lumbering, head-slung hopelessness. Like Pelican‘s evil twin, they offer a couple catch-your-breath moments throughout “Endless” (somewhat ironically the shortest track at 17:49), “Descent” (18:52) and the insurmountably mammoth “Into Ruin” (28:25), but the bulk of their sixth album is dedicated to destructive crash and vicious low-toned riffing, and even when they drone out in the last six minutes of “Descent,” the mood remains dark and crushing. All the more fitting as a lead-in for “Into Ruin,” which has its own breaks for good measure but makes its impression more in the tectonic weight of its impact. Everything heavy. All heavy. Nothing not heavy. Bongripper have been at it for nearly a decade now, and they’ve only gotten meaner. Miserable gets bonus points for the Mike Miller cover art. One would be hard pressed to think of something more appropriate. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

We’re all Gonna Die, These are the Old Ways

They changed the cover since they first put this up, but I like the negative Wreck of the Minot artwork better. Sue me.
When Boston heavy rockers We’re all Gonna Die — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey (also Black Thai), bassist Jesse Sherman (also Never Got Caught) and drummer Scott Healey (also Gut) — announced their return a short while ago for three summer shows, they sent word of a new single “Pleurisy.” That single, included on These are the Old Ways, has been expanded to include a collection of previously unreleased cuts from the band’s history, resulting in the 24-minute These are the Old Ways. Lineups and recording vibes vary — the EP caps with two instrumentals that show off some solid riffs but are clearly incomplete demos — but “Pleurisy” itself and “I’m Free” showcase the driving, forward rhythms and Healey‘s towering vocals following the riff, and “The Day I Walked Away,” while rougher sounding, offers the most memorable hook of the release. Round it out with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “That Smell” and the aforementioned instrumentals “Small” and “Awash,” and These are the Old Ways adds intrigue to the new single and reminds of the variety that We’re all Gonna Die were always able to bring to their gritty, aggressive approach. We’re all Gonna Die on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Sufferghost, Thaw

Janga janga janga.
In historical hindsight, it’s tempting to think of Connecticut’s Sufferghost as a prelude to guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore and bassist Richard “Cheech” Weeden‘s work in Curse the Sun, but the truth is, it’s an entirely different band. Vanacore, still on vocals, plays drums on Sufferghost‘s recently-unearthed 2007 outing, Thaw, and the guitars are handled by Anthony Buhagiar, whose burst aortic aneurysm would effectively end the band in 2009, leading to the founding of Curse the Son. There are some consistencies of method between the two — riffs lead the way, albeit less tonally developed than Vanacore would be by the time Curse the Son put out 2012′s Psychache (review here), which has just been released on vinyl through STB Records — but Sufferghost had a musical personality of its own as well, and while “Leave the Church” offered stonerly roll, and “Neuralgia” engages righteous, mostly instrumental Sabbathizing, “Summer Insane” and the slower “Land of the None/Evilled” have some shades of burlier Black Label Society-style metal, and that’s terrain Vanacore and Weeden (who’ve been in bands together since the mid ’80s) have avoided in their subsequent act. Thaw makes you wonder what might’ve been had Sufferghost continued to develop, and gives listeners an opportunity to explore the roots from which Curse the Son sprouted. Sufferghost on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Planet of Zeus, Vigilante

Greece! That's where The Patient Mrs. is. Do you think it's coincidence?
Vigilante is the third LP from dudely Athens-based riffers Planet of Zeus, and while Clutch remains a primary influence, songs like “Burn this City Down,” “Tornado” and closer “The Beast Within” find the four-piece come into their own sound more than did 2011′s sophomore outing, Macho Libre. Still, moments will ring familiar, if roughened up, and the bluesy roll and organ of “No Tomorrow,” the gospel preaching of the title-track and the start-stop funk of “Second Coming” would seem to continue the pattern. They do it better than most who try, and for the touches of individuality, the impact of the production, and for the ease with which they move into instrumental psychedelia on “The Beast Within,” Vigilante (released on Ihaveadrum Records) makes a catchy endeavor for the already converted. Some of the harder-edged vocals from guitarist Babis might surprise, but it’s easy enough to get oriented throughout, and if Planet of Zeus have a more aggressive take on an established style, that only furthers their ability to stand out within it. Planet of Zeus on Thee Facebooks, Vigilante on Bandcamp.

Liquido di Morte, Liquido di Morte

Jammy hammy.
Made up of three recorded-live psychedelic jams that spread smoothly over the total runtime of 37 minutes, Northern Italy outfit Liquido di Morte‘s self-titled debut is marked out by some post-rock sensibilities in the guitar and the lead/rhythm dynamic that periodically merges into bigger, more lumbering grooves throughout. The double-guitar four-piece use samples or guest speakers for vocals and the feel across the tracks is pretty vast, but there’s also clearly a consciousness at work on opener “Ozric Pentacles,” and as the riffy largesse mounts backed by chaos swirls and loops, it’s hard not to be reminded of some of Ufomammut‘s earliest goings, though that’s just one element at work. “In Death of Space/Of Death in Space” pushes further with the plotted feel, a tension and intensity trading off as movements weave in and out and open and close, culminating in a noisy wash that only highlights how much Liquido di Morte have known all along where they were heading, and the 18-minute finale “144″ builds from an effects-laden early few minutes into their most hypnotic and consuming roll yet, spoken word guest vocals emerging late to pipe a last-minute sense of reality into what had clearly, by then, departed from it. A more than impressively cohesive first offering — all the more because it was recorded live — from a band whose potential is writ large in their material. Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

As ever, this isn’t even close to everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist this week. For the full list and to check out today’s playlist, visit the updates page.

Thanks for reading and listening.
 

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Planet of Zeus Hit the Road Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

There’s promospeak and then there’s promospeak, and short of saying their lineup features James Brown, Greek burl-bringers Planet of Zeus are getting the job done. Fortunately they’re putting in road time to match. As they say in the PR wire-type update below, Planet of Zeus will begin a European tour next Friday night, April 19 at White Trash in Berlin that will see them stomp their way around the Continent, including a stopoff in the UK for a slot at Desertfest in London on April 28. Right on.

Here’s the info and vigorous self-promotion:

Greece. A country internationally known for its ancient history, democracy, sun, beaches, mustaches, olive oil, mousaka, tzatziki, bouzouki, souvlaki… Well, forget that. Open your arms and welcome the new heavy rock empire and its ambassadors, Planet of Zeus.

The hardest working rock band in the entire universe, who’ll fear nothing and overcome every obstacle emerging on their way to heavy, sincere and loud rock ‘n roll. Rumors about members of the band selling some of their parents’ vital organs to finance their career have not yet been confirmed.

Having the re-issue of “Eleven the Hard Way” in vinyl format, as well as “Macho Libre” re-issue in digipack cd on their luggage, they once again hit the European roads.

“Tonight We Hit The Road” Tour 2013
19.4 White Trash , Berlin, DE,
20.4 KB18 kødboderne, Copenhagen, DK
21.4 Logo Hamburg, Hamburg, DE,
23.4 Sonic Ballroom, Koln, DE
24.4 ACU, Utrecht, NL
25.4 Magasin 4, Brussels, BE
26.4 JUZ, Mannheim, DE
27.4 Litlle Devil, Tilburg, NL
28.4 Desertfest, London, UK
30.4 Pitcher, Düsseldorf, DE
1.5 Blue Devils officiel, Arras, FR,
2.5 Les Combustibles, Paris, FR,
3.5 Infrared, Orleans, FR,
4.5 Brin de Zinc, Chambery, FR
5.5 Rumpelthum, St Gallen, CH
7.5 Rote Frabrik, Zurich, CH
8.5 Rockhouse, Salzburg, AT
9.5 Metro Music Bar, Brno, CZ
10.5 Madness Club, Wroclaw, PL,
11.5 Vortex, Siegen, DE
12.5 Rockpool, Halle, DE
14.5 Spatif, Sopot, PL
16.5 Politeia, Patra, GR
17.5 Boxx, Ioannina, GR
18.5 8ball Club, Thessaloniki, GR
19.5 Vox Club, Volos, GR

Planet of Zeus, Macho Libre (2011)

www.planetofzeus.gr
https://www.facebook.com/planetofzeus
http://planetofzeus.bandcamp.com/

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Desertfest London 2013 Update: Ufomammut, Cough, Witch Mountain, Abrahma, Planet of Zeus & Whoremoan Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Bit of a roundup here of adds to the 2013 London Desertfest lineup. Since the New Year hit, Desertfest has announced a slew of bands for its second incarnation, among them American acts Cough and Witch Mountain, Greek rockers Planet of Zeus, Italian cosmic doomers Ufomammut and local slingers Whoremoan. Info follows culled from the Desertfest website:

Ufomammut

Taking their cues from the Jedi knights of Sleep, Electric Wizard, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and King Crimson, the ‘Mammut are heavier than a thousand Hubble telescopes, each lined with the mass of its own internal black hole. They’re also the masters of the long-player format; recent voyage Oro opus was so vast that it could not be confined to a single LP, and its two disks bolt together to form one glorious 94-minute riff labyrinth. Past conquests ‘Eve’, ‘Idolum’, ‘Lucifer’s Songs’, ‘Godlike Snake’ and ‘Snailking’ all spawned marauding, psychedelic orgies of aggressive, yet graceful and pace-varied prog-doom which set these Tortona natives up as one of Europe’s premier heavy music acts. Backed by the Malleus Rock Lab, their one-of-a-kind art-visuals project, Signors Vito, Urlo and Poia have set the controls for the heart of Camden and are preparing their battery of equipment to hurl you into another dimension this coming April at DesertFest 2013.

Cough

Cough smashed into worldwide acclaim within doom / sludge circles with the crushing 2008 début album Sigillum Luciferi, followed in 2010 with the fully engulfing psyche-sludge of Ritual Abuse (available on Relapse Records) and a split with the UK’s own doom titans The Wounded Kings. Encompassing monolithically pounding, horror-raising, weed-tuned riffs and vocals stylings ranging from classic occult doom to downright demonic, blackened screams of desperation, the band have proven they are a force to be reckoned with both in this realm and beyond. Having played across the U.S. in the last few years with the likes of Buzzov-en / Weedeater / Eyehategod, as well as even reaching to play a 2011 tour in Australia, Cough will most definitely be a must for any devotees of the heaviest tone with their appearance at The Underworld at DesertFest 2013″

Witch Mountain

The time is upon us for the arrival on our shores of the magnificent Doom beasts that are ‘Witch Mountain’. Hailing form Portland Oregon, these masters of their art blend crushing sludge riffs with the female classic rock vocal stylings of Uta Plotkin. Its a match made in heaven and one that should not be missed as they have been very hard at work producing not 1 but 2 EPs last year that have been amazingly received and its their first visit to the UK so expect walls to shake and foundations to crumble at the h_d_p/WPC stage!

Abrahma

Parisians set to romance Desertfesters with riffs, licks and pounding grooves. Abrahma was formed in Paris, back in 2005 under the original moniker Alchosonic. The French 4-piece are made up by Seb Bismuth:on Guitar/Vox, Nicolas Heller on Guitar and they are joined by the Colin brothers Guillaume on Bass and Benjamin on Drums. Signed to Small Stone Records, the Psych Rockers have recently released ‘Through the dusty paths of our lives’ which features a guest appearance by the legend that is Ed Mundell (Monster Magnet/Atomic Bitchwax). Very Heavy Rock is very much on the menu, with large amounts of psychdelia running throughout their music, so don’t miss out on the French invasion at Desertfest 2013.

Planet of Zeus

The Greek Stoners were formed way back in the year of 2000 in Athens, and are made up by four demigods, Babis/Vox & Guitars, Yog/Guitars, JayVee/Bass and Syke/Drums. It was 8 years until the they released their debut album ‘Eleven the Hard Way’ this was followed up in 2011 with ‘Macho Libre’. If you haven’t already experienced Planet of Zeus then expect plenty of stoner fuzz riding heavy on plenty of riff. They have shared the stage with many of the biggest bands on the scene like Monster Magnet, Karma to Burn, Hermano and not forgetting their apperance at Stoned from The Underground in Germany. By the power of Zeus do not miss your chance to see these heavy rock gods!

Whoremoan

Veterans of 20 years by now, Canvey Island’s Whoremoan have been kicking out the jams since 1992 and working hard at it ever since. Having released a series of EPs and LPs, they keep the DIY punk ethic alive and stick it to the man by recording, producing and selling it all themselves. If you dig the relentless concrete-block barrage of bands like Helmet, a side-order of stoner groove and even a shot of Clutch-lovin’ southern rock, these guys will be just the ticket to a sore neck, a few whoremoans no doubt, and a delierously good time at Desertfest 2013!

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