Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Can’t say it’s much of a surprise, but the lineup for Hoverfest 2015 looks pretty awesome. The second installment of the annual fest brought together by Hovercraft Amps, Cravedog and Nanotear is set for an all-dayer Aug. 8 in Portland, Oregon, and like last year, the lineup of acts is made up mostly of locals — there are a few to choose from in Portland these days — and to go with all that hometown spirit, they’ll bring in San Francisco kings of weirdo trad metal Slough Feg to headline.
Slough Feg will sit atop a mighty Portlander grouping, varied between the doomly ways of Witch Mountain, who make a return appearance, a return as well for the ’70s heavy of Danava, Lord Dying‘s don’t-tell-anybody-it’s-death-metal-because-we-like-playing-with-stoner-bands genrebending, Sons of Huns on the heels of their new album, While Sleeping Stay Awake, a second showing from Holy Grove, and first-timers Zirakzigil and Mane of the Cur to lead things off. Sounds like a good time to me.
Last year, Billy Anderson was brought on to work the mixer, and whether or not he’ll make another appearance has yet to be revealed, but the preliminaries are out. With presumably more to come, here they are:
Cravedog Presents HOVERFEST 2015
Cravedog, Hovercraft Amps, and Nanotear Booking have teamed up to bring the second annual HOVERFEST on Saturday 8.8.15 in Portland, OR
The rocks starts at noon and rolls til sundown. Once again set in the alley behind Cravedog with the gorgeous sunset view of the Fremont Bridge. 611 N. Tillamook Street
This year will be 21+ so the whole alley is a beer garden.
Rock, metal, and doom all day long from:
SLOUGH FEG WITCH MOUNTAIN DANAVA LORD DYING SONS OF HUNS HOLY GROVE ZIRAKZIGIL MANE OF THE CUR
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was kind of a surprise to have Ape Machine ink a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds, not because they don’t deserve to get picked up by a label doing cool things, but because they seemed so firmly entrenched in the roster of Ripple Music, which put out their last full-length, 2013’s Mangled by the Machine (review here), and earlier this year, the Live at Freak Valley (review here) live offering. And actually, it’s not that they’ve signed to Heavy Psych Sounds to the exclusion of everyone else, just that they’ll be working with the label for a tour — Heavy Psych Sounds has a booking arm — and an EP release to coincide with it.
It’s good news for the band, either way, and good news for those who’ve been fortunate enough to catch onto their intricate but still catchy wares. They’ll have a full-length out before too long on Ripple as well, and according to Heavy Psych Sounds — who posted the announcement below — it’s looking like the band will be on the road for the better part of a month. Doesn’t sound too bad. Dates are still to come, but here’s initial word from the label:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is honoured to announce the signing of another awesome band *** Ape Machine ***
A true four-piece, Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70?s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll.” Combining psychedelic, classic and progressive rock with arena-worthy metal, bluesy stoner-rock and catchy riffs in odd signatures.
Heavy Psych Sounds Records will release A new Record/Ep in November and will book a four weeks European tour from November 12 to December 5.
more details will be communicate in the next weeks together with new cool announcements!
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Wherever Red Fang go, they bring the party with them. Fresh off a headlining appearance at Desertfest, the reigning champions of Portland, Oregon’s densely populated heavy rock scene will head out this week to Australia and New Zealand, which sounds like an awesome thing to be able to say you’re doing later in the week, as in, “Yeah, I’m just getting this sandwich now because I’m flying to Australia on Wednesday,” or whatever it happens that you’re purchasing at that time and however little it might actually have to do with the travel being undertaken. Next month, they’re going back to Europe in support of 2013’s Whales and Leeches, for a June/July run that will take them into the heart of summer. One can only imagine that by then they’ll be ready to announce another full tour somewhere in the world.
The PR wire winds up and delivers:
RED FANG: Announce European Summer Tour, Festival Appearances
Portland, OR hard rockers RED FANG have announced a month-long headlining tour and festival appearances in Europe kicking off this June. The tour comes on the heels of the band’s headlining tour of Australia and New Zealand and will see RED FANG playing a special opening set for Faith No More in Bratislava plus making stops at various festivals including Hellfest, Forta Rock, Copenhell, With Full Force and many others. A complete listing of dates is available below.
Released on Relapse Records, RED FANG’s current album Whales and Leeches debuted at #66 on the Billboard Album Chart, marking the group’s highest sales week and first debut in the Top 200. RED FANG are generating worldwide critical acclaim from SPIN, Revolver, Magnet, Alternative Press and more for their current album Whales and Leeches, which was produced by Chris Funk (Decemberists) and mixed by Vance Powell (White Stripes, Raconteurs, Kings of Leon). Featuring such guests as Mike Scheidt (YOB) and Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), Whales and Leeches propels RED FANG into the upper stratosphere of the heavy rock and metal elite. The album can be streamed in full via their official Bandcamp page.
May 07 Rosemount Perth Wa, Australia May 08 Fowlers Live Adelaide, Australia May 09 The Barwin Club Geelong, Australia May 10 Cherry Rock 015 Melbourne, Australia May 12 Crowbar Brisbane, Australia May 13 Crowbar Brisbane, Australia May 14 The Manning Bar Sydney, Australia May 15 The Prince Bandroom St. Kilda, Australia May 16 Kings Arm Newton, New Zealand May 17 San Francisco Bath House Te Aro, New Zealand Jun 05 Rock for People Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic Jun 06 FortaRock 2015 w/ Epica Nymegen, Netherlands Jun 08 Feierwerk Munchen, Germany Jun 09 Arena Wien, Austria Jun 10 Aegon Arena w/ Faith No More Bratislava, Slovakia Jun 12 Cage Livorno, Italy Jun 13 Hangar 22 Catania, Italy Jun 14 Jailbreak Festival Cagliari Ca, Italy Jun 18 John Dee Oslo, Norway Jun 19 Copenhell 2015 Copenhagen, Denmark Jun 20 Azkena Rock Festival ARF 2015 Bilbao, Spain Jun 21 Hellfest Clisson, France Jun 23 Circolo Mame Padova, Italy Jun 24 Traffic live Rome, Italy Jun 25 Solomacello Fest Milano, Italy Jun 26 Provinssirock Festival Seinajoki, Finland Jun 27 Bravalla Festival Norrkoping, Sweden Jun 28 Rock Werchter Haacht, Belgium Jun 30 Knust Hamburg, Germany Jul 02 Ponte Rougue Monthey, Switzerland Jul 03 Glemmride Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria Jul 04 Vainstream Rockfest Münster, Germany Jul 04 With Full Force Löbnitz, Germany Jul 05 Mighty Sounds Festival Tabor, Czech Republic
One hesitates uniformly to toss out words like “definitive,” but it’s hard to imagine a descriptor more accurate for Minotauro Records‘ recent reissues of the first two albums — 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells — by Portland, Maine, traditional doomers Ogre. The Sabbathian trio called it quits for the second time last year, but far from bitter, these thick-stock LP-style gatefold digipaks carry an air of celebration for what was always an underrated band, and prove to be archive-worthy versions of what were arguably Ogre‘s two most landmark contributions to doom.
Both are limited to 500 copies. Dawn of the Proto-Man, the debut, includes an obi-strip, a CD sleeve liner, vertical gatefold art by drummer Will Broadbent and a two-sided foldout poster that includes a larger version of the gatefold art with characters from Ogre‘s lyrics all the way up to their 2014 swan song, The Last Neanderthal (review here), the album itself, of course, plus three bonus tracks, separate liner notes written by guitarist Ross Markonish, a sticker, credits and more art on the CD sleeve. All of which can be housed in the digipak that itself fits in a protective plastic sleeve.
Packaged similarly, Seven Hells is even more expansive. A six-panel gatefold houses the CD of the album as well as a DVD with two live shows, from 2007 and 2006, filmed at Geno’s in their hometown of Portland, plus a two-sided poster with photos from throughout the band’s tenure, including the 2008 tour that took them to Japan alongside Blood Farmers and Church of Misery, as well as pics from the studio, equipment shots, and so on. It also has an obi strip proclaiming its limited edition, liner notes from Markonish and art and info on the CD sleeve expanded from the Gustave Doré cover, as well as — like on the debut — the advice to “Listen to this album as loud as humanly possible!” which is about as sagely as wisdom gets when it comes to experiencing an Ogre record, whichever one it might happen to be.
They are, in short, gorgeous, and it’s rare to see a band in doom get their due in such a fitting manner. Bassist/vocalist Ed Cunningham, Markonish and Broadbent were as much ahead of their time in their Sabbath worship as they were behind it, and each of these discs seems to be heralding these records for the special documents that they are.
Dawn of the Proto-Man (2003)
What’s most striking about Ogre‘s first album 12 years on isn’t how well it holds up — it does, make no mistake — but how raw it is. Ogre‘s brand of doom on Dawn of the Proto-Man is about as barebones as you can get. Guitar, bass and drums are topped off with Cunningham‘s vocals, which veer into madman shouts of various sorts on “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death,” but for the most part retain an Ozzy-style cadence. And maybe context has something to do with this, but listening to it now, Ogre don’t sound tentative through the first record at all. They’re completely willing to stand on this sans-frills foundation. Opener “Ogre” is a clarion of classic riffery, and the swing of “Colossus” and the faster, bass-led boogie of “78” showcase all the breadth Ogre would need, each track offering something distinct from the one before it, but serving an overarching album flow. The tones aren’t overly thick, but the groove they enact is, and between doom and classic heavy rock, Ogre carved their place in stone with a sense of poise that one rarely finds credited to bands who sing about monsters, invaders from the East, etc. Its epics, “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death” branch out smoothly with Broadbent‘s steady roll and Markonish‘s righteous leads, and already one can hear the power trio dynamic at the heart of what Ogre would accomplish together. What was a 50-minute record here stretches to 79 with the three bonus tracks, which were recorded in 2000, and have a demo feel and rougher recording, but still show that Ogre knew where they wanted to take their sound even in their earliest going.
Seven Hells (2006)
Launching with “Dogmen (of Planet Earth),” which is one of Ogre‘s most signature tracks, their 2006 sophomore outing, Seven Hells expands on the debut’s straight-ahead doomly drive by proffering more classic fuzz in Markonish‘s tone and by and large longer, jammier tracks. They’re not out of “Dogmen” before an extended ripper of a solo has made an impression following the initial swing of the verses, Cunningham‘s vocals still by and large dry and forward in the mix, but even more assured. More than Dawn of the Proto-Man, Seven Hells carries the feel of a guitar album, but I won’t take away from the low-end heft or punctuating snare of “The Gas” either, though after the jams in “Dogmen” and the 10-minute “Soldier of Misfortune,” which follows, there’s plenty that would seem ground — though, to Ogre‘s credit, even “Soldier of Misfortune” gets reigned in for a final verse before continuing on its howling, classically-metallized over-the-top way. The notable Pentagram cover “Review Your Choices” is the only cut on Seven Hells under six minutes long, so wherever Ogre might be headed at any given moment, they give themselves plenty of time to get there, but the growth in chemistry and the personality they bring to the established tenets of classic doom throughout Seven Hells, even on that cover or in a choice rocker like “Woman on Fire,” which boasts Broadbent‘s best drum performance as well as a fluid tempo shift into a second-half slowdown, would make the album a standout even if the songs weren’t so memorable. They still had plenty of their Sabbathian core intact at this point — as they would for their whole career — but were clearly looking to make their own stamp as well, as shown in the strange stoner vibes late in “Sperm Whale” or the noise wash that takes hold as closer “Flesh Feast” draws down. The DVD, which present the two sets in reverse chronological order, has a host of selections from the two albums, as well as a killer take on Saint Vitus‘ “Mystic Lady” to close out the 2007 one. Maybe not for casual fans, but again, as a document of where they were at the time, of unquestionable value.
Minotauro released The Last Neanderthal in a similar style package, and whether or not that will actually prove to be Ogre‘s final offering, only time can show. With just their third album, 2008’s Plague of the Planet (review here), left unissued by the label, it seems likely it will show up sooner or later, though whether Cunningham, Markonish and Broadbent will make a return at that time, well, you get the idea. Whatever the future does or doesn’t bring, there’s little about Dawn of the Proto-Man or Seven Hells that these reissues leave unsaid, and for the obvious passion that went into producing them as well as for the songs themselves, they’re deeply admirable outings that deserve every bell and whistle they’ve been given.
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. Headlined 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 Norska, Sons of Huns, Graves at Sea, Muscle 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!
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 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.
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:
This past weekend, in Portland, the fourth Ceremony of Sludge was held at the Tonic Lounge. The likes of Holy Grove, Disenchanter, Diestoand 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 Brown, Blaine 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 Sludge, Brown was in NYC this past Saturday opening for YOB and Enslavedwhen 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