Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Mothership‘s new album is a scorcher, plain and simple. The Texas natives made waves with their self-titled debut, which got picked up by Ripple for a re-release, but Mothership II is a different beast altogether, and one that trounces its predecessor easily. I’ll have more on the record as we get closer to its newly-announced November release, again through Ripple Music, but for now, take this as notice that the album is one worth looking forward to, and particularly if you dug the first one, something that’s going to make a late addition to your best of the year list.
Details and tracks and art, just off the PR wire:
MOTHERSHIP Reveal Details of Sophomore Album, Mothership II
Ripple Music and Dallas, Texas-based riffers Mothership are excited to finally reveal the details of Mothership’s highly anticipated second release, Mothership II. After months of playing their new tunes to sweaty, ecstatic masses both in Europe and on across the United States, the trio is excited for fans to finally hear the album in its entirety. For the album art, the band chose good friend and incredibly talented artist Zach “EZ” Nelson (Instagram – @ezwheelin) to hand draw his version of the galactic Valkyrie who also appeared in another form on the cover of the band’s debut album. For the album’s engineering, Mothership returned to Kent Stump of Wo Fat, who also lent his magic to the group’s eponymous debut album, at Dallas’ Crystal Clear Studios. Mothership II will be released on single LP gatefold vinyl and on digipack CD.
US: November 11th Europe/UK: November 10th
1. Celestial Prophet 2. Priestess of the Moon 3. Shanghai Surprise 4. Holy Massacre 5. Centauromachy 6. Hot Smoke & Heavy Blues 7. Tamu Massif 8. Astromancer 9. Serpents Throne
The CD will have two bonus songs:
1. Eye of Sphinx 2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Posted in Reviews on August 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
UK trio Grifter walk a fine line on The Return of the Bearded Brethren. Their second album for Ripple Music, it’s a 10-track collection produced by Rich Robinson, mastered by Tony Reed, that breaks evenly into two 21-minute sides and strongly answers the songwriting prowess the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall, bassist Phil and drummer Foz showcased on their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) as well as their 2009 mission-statement EP, The Simplicity of the Riff is Key (review here) and its formative 2008 predecessor, High Unholy Mighty Rollin’. It also dares to be dudely. Very dudely. As dudely as the bearded dude on its front cover. As dudely as an unrepentantly straightforward heavy rock album with songs about Guinness and Princess Leia and digging out a bunker for the end of the world can be. And yet, what saves The Return of the Bearded Brethrenfrom being simple masculine caricature, and thus unlistenable, is the willingness to poke fun at themselves, the awareness of how silly dudeliness is in the first place. Not only that, but their ability to be tongue-in-cheek lyrically but still sincere, without giving themselves over to condescending irony, helps Grifter attain a rare balance of personality and intellect in their material. Fortunately, this comes coupled with a penchant for hooks second to very few in Britain or out of it, and songs like “Black Gold,” the evolution paean “Bow down to the Monkey” — with its steady references to Charles Darwin as “Mr. D.” — “Fire Water,” and “Princess Leia” make for memorable standouts on a record void of pretense and thick in quality. The Return of the Bearded Brethrenis plenty dudely, but by the end of it, you’d almost believe dudes were actual people.
Front to back, Grifter‘s second brims with motoring tones and rhythmic swing. Foz‘s cymbal work never veers into self-indulgence but provides a subtly complex foundation on which the riffs run, and they do, whether it’s shorter cuts like “She Mountain,” which follows opener “Black Gold,” or side B’s launch point, “Braggard’s Boast,” a 2:22 sprint that gives a look at the trio at their most raucous. That song works, and works well, but ultimately, Grifter are most comfortable dug into a mid-paced groove, quick enough not to be slow, but not fast enough to be aggressive. “Black Gold,” heralding the various attributes of Guinness — see lines like “Nothing else is true,” and “Top o’ the morning!” — works at a decent clip to start a momentum that carries right through to the end of side A. This stretch of five songs and the flow and movement between them is The Return of the Bearded Brethren‘s most lasting impression, “Black Gold” giving way to “She Mountain,” “Paranoiac Blues,” “Princess Leia” and “Bow down to the Monkey” in a fluid succession that’s as natural as one could ever hope of a live set. The scope is largely unflinching on initial listens, but the character of the songs comes out more with repeat listens, the Southern-style slide and stomp on “Paranoiac Blues” providing an engaging first-half centerpiece and an early shift in approach that pays dividends throughout the rest of the full-length. This in combination with the soul-searching and humor of the lyrics to “Princess Leia,” which tackles issues of aging in the context of an enduring crush on the Star Wars character, and the good times rush preceding on “She Mountain” ensure that the transitions on the first half of the album are seamless and that the momentum leading into the back end.
And since they are ultimately a classic-minded band — not at all retro-sounding, but working off classic influences all the same — side B of Return of the Bearded Brethrendoes expand the breadth of the album somewhat. The party-vibe of “Black Gold” finds hungover complement in side B’s midpoint, “Fire Water,” and after the boogie thrust of “Braggard’s Boast,” a chugging shuffle in “It’s Not Me it’s You” offers a kissoff somewhat more personal than that of the general religion-is-silly commentary of “Bow down to the Monkey.” If that’s Grifter honing their focus to a finer point, the songwriting remains consistent, and on the other end of “Fire Water”‘s less riotous verses and howling solo, the title-track breaks down the fourth wall with a sort of declaration of Grifter‘s purpose and position. Curious they’d bury it so near the conclusion of side B, but maybe they thought after pushing other highlights to the front, they’d hold something back to finish out. It makes sense, though the song itself is somewhat overshadowed by the Black Sabbath cover of “Faeries Wear Boots” that serves as closer. Inevitable maybe, and a somewhat obvious pick on the band’s part — though it’s been a while since anyone in my recent memory saw fit to take on the track, and in being unabashedly honest, it’s consistent with what Grifter do across the board, like an indirect challenge to the barrage of ’70s-worship retro bands trying to out-obscure each other or at least a reminder of what it’s all about — but they do the track justice and deliver a performance as clean and heartfelt as the nine original inclusions preceding, which is really all one might ask of them for it. Stygall, Phil and Foz presented no shortage of confidence on the self-titled, but there’s been clear growth in their command of their sound, and Return of the Bearded Brethrenstands as proof that straightforward classic heavy rock doesn’t need to enmesh itself with needless stylistic extras when the craftsmanship holds up. Grifter are a rare beast, and their second album satisfies both superficially and on closer inspection of its impeccably constructed, thoroughly dudely wares.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
My impression was that San Antonio doomers Las Cruces were going to be releasing their fourth album on Brainticket, but I apparently had it wrong. Happens daily, if not hourly. Anyway, a partnership with Ripple Music is a good fit, and it makes Las Cruces labelmates with their fellow Texans Mothership, and if that even slightly increases the odds that the two bands will hit the road together, say, in a Northeasterly direction, then I’m ready to mark it a win sight-unseen. Las Cruces‘ last record, 2010’s Dusk(review here), was a mean slugger that as I recall sat in the can for a while before being released, so it’s good to see the next one coming along with Ripple behind it.
Here’s how it all looks according to the PR wire, which seems to be choosing its press quotes well these days:
LAS CRUCES: Texan doom crew ink new contract with RIPPLE MUSIC
Burly, Texan doom rockers Las Cruces have signed to California’s Ripple Music for a world-wide onslaught of heavy rock. The group, who just completed a standout performance at the infamous Doom in June Festival, have already started writing and making demos and will enter an undisclosed studio this summer to record their Ripple Music debut and follow up to 2010’s Dusk, which The Obelisk hailed as “something not to be missed by loyal doomers.”
Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces has spent the past several years bludgeoning audiences with their doom-driven, precision sound. Originated in 1994 by George Trevino, their influences range from Venom, Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning to vintage Sabbath. Las Cruces has risen to the top of the South Texas metal heap and left its mark across the Lone Star State, with a resume that includes opening slots with such acts as Overkill, Nebula, Kyuss, Trouble, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Monster Magnet, Rob Zombie, Bio-Hazard, Pissing Razors, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Sixty Watt Shaman, Vader, Kreator., Atomic Bitchwax, Gates of Slumber, Lo Pan, Earthride, Pale Devine, Kamelot, Sour Vein, Weedeater and many others.
Shortly after forming, Las Cruces began touring the Texas scene, gaining widespread recognition and the interest of John Perez, guitarist of Solitude Aeturnus & owner of Brainticket Records, thus forging the Debut release, S.O.L. After a year of touring Texas and the Southern States, Las Cruces decided to re-enter the studio. Driven by the hunger and sharpness of old school metal along with the power melodies of 70s rock, Las Cruces released their skull-crushing follow-up, 1998’s Ringmaster. Las Cruces was invited to perform at the first-annual Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in August of 1999 and have been asked to perform regularly at many heavy rock festivals in North America ever since.
Over the years Las Cruces has gone through line-up changes and rumors of break-up. However, these things have not foiled the bands ideology. The band was honored to be featured in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by author Daniel Bukszpan in 2003 as well as in the publication Rockdetector Music Presents: Stoner, Doom and Gothic Metal series published in 2003.
Described as “a journey into a parallel sonic universe of all that is heavy,” their songs are sprinkled mighty, bludgeoning riffs; barn-burning guitar work, and apocalyptic vocals that melt listener’s brains. Las Cruces is poised to begin the metal onslaught for the masses as they prepare to record their fourth full-length album.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Ripple Music to unleash the fourth Las Cruces record upon the underground,” comments Trevino. “Many of our friends and contemporaries have passed through the ranks and we’re thrilled to march onward into the streets with them at our side.”
In addition to George Trevino on guitar, Las Cruces features Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar, Paul De Leon – Drums and vocals, and Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar
When I was fortunate enough to be asked, I said yes immediately to hosting the premiere of the new Grifter video for the track “Princess Leia” from their upcoming album, The Return of the Bearded Brethren. My reasons were manifold. I’m excited about the release — it’s out Aug. 11 on Ripple Music as the follow-up to Grifter‘s 2011 self-titled debut (review here) — but the song itself also sums up a lot about what I think the UK trio do really well musically and lyrically.
It’s a straightforward song, and Grifter are a straightforward band. They write classic heavy rock hooks, but have a completely modern approach to their sound and perspective. Bassist Phil, drummer Foz and guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall have a crisp chemistry. Their material swings, as “Princess Leia” showcases, but it does so always with a forward direction in mind. The lyrics to “Princess Leia” also remind of Grifter‘s ability to couch some pretty personal issues in a humorous package. We’ve heard them do this before, on a song like “Young Blood, Old Veins” from the last album, but by using the frame of a boyhood crush on the Star Wars character, Stygall and company are able to look at getting older through an even cleverer lens.
And make no mistake, that is what they’re doing. The opening line of the song is “I’m a man of a certain age,” and the Orange Goblin-style rush of the chorus abandons all facade and pleads, “Take me back to better times, yeah/Strip the years away.” But rather than simply reflect on bygone days and regrets and the usual midlife blah blah blah, Grifter poke fun not only at themselves, but at the whole notion of mourning the passage of time, and “Princess Leia” — whatever it might be saying or speaking to emotionally — remains a fun, engaging song.
The video likewise. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Grifter is how even at their most gleefully classless — see “Alabama Hotpocket” from the self-titled — they work clean. Princess Leia does indeed appear in the video, and she does indeed boogie down (hilariously by the end of it), but she doesn’t strip, and Grifter don’t give into the gold-bikini impulse. That would be easy, and thoughtless, and Grifter aren’t that band.
The Return of the Bearded Brethrenis out Aug. 11 on Ripple Music. Enjoy “Princess Leia” below, as directed by Russell Cleave:
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The more I see Mothership post tour dates, the more I look forward to hearing what they’ve come up with for Mothership II. Their forthcoming second album and proper debut on Ripple Music is set to release before the end of the year, though no specific date has yet been given, and even as they wrap up a full run of the US, the Texas trio have announced another — admittedly smaller — stint that will kick off just nine days after the end of their current tour. Not only does it show they believe in what they’re doing, but also that they’re willing to get out and win hearts and minds the old fashioned way, which also just happens to be how they rock.
Joining Mothership this time around will be The House Harkonnen, as the PR wire affirms:
MOTHERSHIP announce SOUTHERN SHRED TOUR with House Harkonnen
Hot on the heels of two wildly successful tours in Europe and the U.S. and the completion of Mothership II (out later this year via Ripple Music), Texas heavy rock and rollers and family unit MOTHERSHIP have announced a quick southern-U.S. jaunt with fellow Dallas-dwelling shredders HOUSE HARKONNEN.
In early 2012, Mothership entered Crystal Clear Studios with Wo Fat mastermind Kent Stump manning the boards and by mid-year, the band self-released their debut album. It was the combination of the 70’s-era heavy rock fuzz and fury mixed with the blistering guitar solos of the NWOBHM-era that drew the bands attention to California-based heavy rock label, Ripple Music. In the waning months of 2012, after a successful year of traveling regionally throughout Texas and opening for national acts such as Prong, Red Fang, Gypsyhawk, Earthen Grave, and Lo-Pan, Mothership officially dubbed Ripple Music as its home port.
With the official Ripple Music release of the band’s self-titled debut album in February of 2013, Mothership began a torrid journey across America and parts of Canada, including a tour in support of Gyspyhawk and another in support of Scorpion Child and Kadavar. Currently, the band recently finished up their sophomore album, Mothership II, which will be available later this year.
Dates: 7/30/14 Dallas, TX @ Three Links 7/31/14 Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern 8/1/14 Pensacola, FL @ The Handlebar 8/2/14 Atlanta, GA @ 529 Club 8/4/14 Birmingham, AL @ The Nick 8/5/14 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s 8/6/14 Texarkana, TX @ Silver Dollar 8/7/14 Tulsa, OK @ Downtown Lounge 8/8/14 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Note 8/9/14 Fort Worth, TX @ The Grotto
Posted in Features on July 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Before I even start, let’s get one thing out of the way. I want a new Sleep album too. My not including them on this list isn’t due to the fact that I don’t think a new Sleep album is a good idea, but just because I haven’t seen anything about it being recorded or released in the next five-plus months. If it hits on Jan. 1, 2015, I’ll be the happiest Baby New Year you ever saw, but that’s a different list altogether.
Ditto that Om and High on Fire. The latter were writing as of May, and I know Om did some recording way back in January, but I’ve yet to see solid word of new records at all, let alone before the end of the year. Either or both or all three may happen, but until I see some hint of it, all I can go on is the info I can find.
Seriously though, how badass would it be if all three put out albums before the New Year? That excitement is kind of what this list is about. Some of these records I’ve heard, but most I haven’t, so it’s just basic speculation about what I think could be some of the best releases in the next couple months. You’ll note that while there are plenty of dates TBA, nothing listed arrives in November, so as 2014 winds down, there’s bound to be even more quality stuff than appears here.
In fact, I struggled to take things out to get it down to 30. And it still goes to 31! I figured no one would mind. They’re numbered, but the list is in alphabetical order.
If I left something out you’re dying to hear, please let me know in the comments.
Thanks in advance for reading:
1. Alunah, TBA (Sept.)
Birmingham’s Alunah, like several others below, are a holdover from the Most Anticipated Albums list back at the start of the year. The difference between now and then is that, while its title still hasn’t been revealed so far as I know, their Napalm Records debut has been recorded, mixed and mastered, the latter by Tony Reed, the former by Greg Chandler of Esoteric, and given a September release date. Two years after Alunah made riffy doom sound easy on their sophomore outing, White Hoarhound (review here), I look forward to hearing how they’ve grown and shifted in their approach to warm-sounding tones and memorable hooks. They’ve set a pretty high standard for themselves. Alunah on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
2. Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (Oct.)
These guys. I don’t mind telling you it was a thrill when Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude were announced as having signed to Cruz del Sur to release their third album, Of Woe and Wounds, this fall. Their second outing, 2010’s Last Sunrise (review here), didn’t get the attention it deserved, but the handful of songs they’ve made public since have shown much promise, and as the first Apostle of Solitude full-length to feature guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (also Devil to Pay) in harmony with guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown — the band is completed by bassist Dan Davidson and drummer Corey Webb — this is definitely going to make for a doomly autumn. Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks, Cruz del Sur Music.
3. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance (Aug. 26)
Recorded late last year at Amps vs. Ohms in Boston, the third album from Maple Forum alum Blackwolfgoat — the prog-drone alter ego of guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, Black Pyramid, The Scimitar, Roadsaw, etc.) — is the project’s most expansive outing yet, and it seems Shepard is moving more in a song-based direction, rather than some of the building loops of the past two offerings. Of course, there will be plenty of those as well, but watch out for some acoustic guitar, and deep-in-the-mix vocals, as they could easily hint of things to come. Or Darryl could turn it on its head and do a calypso record. Either way, I’m on board with no pretense of impartiality. Blackwolfgoat on Bandcamp, Small Stone’s Bandcamp.
4. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (Aug. 5)
The much-heralded Swedish/French/American psych-blues conglomeration Blues Pills will make their self-titled debut (short review here) next month, and while it’s probably going to be a bigger deal in Europe than in the States — at least until Nuclear Blast brings them over here for a tour, then the country is going to go apeshit for them — the songwriting and soulful execution of their tracks justifies the hype. There’s a bit of retro posturing to what they do, some Graveyard shuffle (it feels inevitable at this point with a ’70s-influenced band), but the grooves are easy to dig into and the potential is basically limitless for where they want to go. It’s scary to keep in mind, but this is just the beginning. Blues Pills on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast.
5. Bongripper, Miserable (July 7)
You may notice something strange about the date above for a list of upcoming albums in that July 7 was yesterday. Well, Chicago’s Bongripper posted their new three-track full-length monster Miserable on their Bandcamp for stream and download ahead of the vinyl’s arrival, and it was just too righteous to leave out. Those seeking landmark riffing need look no further than the 19-minute centerpiece “Descent,” which meters out stomp enough that future “scientists” will study its footprint, and closer “Into Ruin” (28:25) is guaranteed to be the heaviest half-hour you’ll spend today. Miserable feels like a no-brainer, but maybe that’s just because Bongripper have such a propensity for pounding skulls into mush. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, Miserable on Bandcamp.
6. Botanist, VI: Flora (Aug. 11)
I feel like I missed a couple numbers from San Francisco-based environmentalist black metal unit Botanist along the way, but they’ll nonetheless issue VI: Flora on The Flenser next month, furthering their marriage of destruction and beauty and insistent percussive expression. The spaces Botanist — a one-man project from Robert Martinelli — create feel ritualistic without the dramatic posturing that pervades much of the genre, and sound, somewhere between raging and mournful, is hypnotic. Whatever your expectation might be, Martinelli seems pleased to use it to their advantage, and ultimately, defy it. Post-human, hammered dulcimer-laden black metal. It would be harder for Botanist to not be unique. Botanist on Thee Facebooks, The Flenser.
7. Brant Bjork, TBA (TBA)
When Brant Bjork‘s next album might show up, I don’t know. I know he’s signed to Napalm, and I know the photo above was snapped as he finished some vocals before going on tour with his Low Desert Punk band that includes guitarist Bubba DuPree, bassist Dave Dinsmore and drummer Tony Tornay, but whether or not the album they made is the funk-inspired Jakoozi that’s been in the offing for a while, or another collection of songs, and if Napalm will get it out before the end of the year remain a mystery. I do find it interesting that for his first “solo” outing post-Vista Chino (that band being on hiatus), Bjork has assembled a new band to work with rather than record multiple instruments himself, but no matter who’s involved, when it’s Brant Bjork writing the songs, it’s gonna be high rock from the low desert. Can’t wait to dig into whatever comes. Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
8. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (Sept.)
The headline for Earth‘s new album is it’s the one where they experimented with vocalists. And hey, if you’re going to toy around with the idea, you might as well get Mark Lanegan involved. The former Screaming Trees frontman is one of several singers appearing on Primitive and Deadly, due in September on Southern Lord, and it would appear that Earth‘s sound — always evolving, always somehow changing — is about to take another considerable turn. Fortunately, the Seattle band, led by guitarist Dylan Carlson and now approaching their 25th year, have long since proven worthy of trusting with their own direction. Earth will never be huge, by the simple nature of what they do, but their influence resounds and the quality of their output is unmatched. Earth on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.
9. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (Sept.)
“Wake up baby/It’s time to die.” So goes the title-track hook of Electric Wizard‘s new album and Spinefarm Records debut, Time to Die. As ever, it’s simple, hateful, drenched-in-fuzz misanthropy, and Electric Wizard revel in it accordingly. Their witchcult continues to grow in their native UK and abroad, and while their last two records have divided some listeners, they’ve invariably gained more ground than they’ve lost. A legal dispute with Rise Above finds them on the new label, and if there’s even the slightest chance that change will bring them to the US for a tour, I’ll take it. Expect 66 minutes of glorious filth. Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks, Spinefarm Records.
10. Fever Dog, Second Wind (TBA)
Palm Desert youngsters Fever Dog have been kicking around the last few years finding their sound in varying elements of heavy rock and psychedelic experimentation. Most recently, they impressed with the single “Iroquois” (review here) taken from their new album Second Wind, and in looking forward to the full-length, I’m eager to learn how their style has solidified and what sort of vibes they conjure over its course. They’ve shown plenty of propensity for jamming in their prior work, so hopefully there’s a bit of that on hand as well. I’ve said before they’re a trio of marked potential, and nothing I’ve yet heard has dissuaded me from that impression. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.
11. Goat, Commune (Sept. 23)
Somehow, a band from Sweden who dress up in tribal costumes (problematic) and play Afrobeat psychedelia became a very, very big deal. I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to, and I won’t try, but I know that when Sub Pop releases Goat‘s second album, Commune, it’s going to be to a flurry of hype and heaps of critical fawning. It would be tempting to call Goat a novelty act, but their 2012 debut, World Music (discussed here), showcased a legitimately creative musical approach to go with the visual aspects of their presentation, and I find the fact that I have no idea what to expect from Commune to be refreshing. Goat on Thee Facebooks, Sub Pop Records.
12. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren (Aug. 11)
UK heavy rockers Grifter will make a welcome resurgence on Ripple Music with The Return of the Bearded Brethren, an album that builds on the straightforward, catchy sounds of their 2011 self-titled label debut (review here) and takes their infectiousness to new places lyrically, such as exploring issues of aging via an ode to Princess Leia from Star Wars. That particular brand of humor and is writ large on Grifter‘s second Ripple outing, and the trio set to work refining their take without losing the engaging feel of their self-titled. It feels like a long three years since that record hit, and I’ll be glad to have a follow-up in-hand. Grifter on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.
13. Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future (TBA)
Unclear at this point whether Boston outfits Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz collaborated on New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future, or if it’s a split. Either way, the prolific acts make a sound pairing. Both are vehemently creative and exploratory, psychedelic and progressive each in their way, and if what’s presumably a single finds them working together, all the better, but even if not, new material from either is nothing to balk at, particularly when topped off by such gorgeous artwork. Neither act is ever long from putting something out, so to have them come together one way or another makes a weird brand of sense, which I’m relatively sure the songs will as well. Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks, Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks.
14. Ides of Gemini, Old World New Wave (Sept. 16)
Ides of Gemini‘s 2012 Neurot Recordings debut, Constantinople (discussed here), established the three-piece as freely inhabiting either side of the imaginary line between ambience and heaviness, J. Bennett and Kelly Johnston providing sometimes minimal, sometimes consuming foundations for vocalist Sera Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman, also Black Mare) to cast ethereal melodies. What Old World New Wave will hold sound-wise, I don’t yet know, but Ides of Gemini‘s otherworldly resonance and ultra-patient approach makes it well worth finding out. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
15. John Gallow, Violet Dreams (Aug. 4)
Frontman of Blizaro and Orodruin guitarist John James Gallo adds a ‘w’ to his last name and steps out solo on the I, Voidhanger Records release, Violet Dreams, the title hinting at some of his on-his-sleeve affinity for Italian psych-doom master Paul Chain and Swedish legends Candlemass. Gallo‘s work in Blizaro has a tendency to lean toward the progressive and cinematic, but as John Gallow, the focus is more on classic doom riffing and darkened metallurgy. As one would expect, he’s well in his element on the hour-long album, and I hope he decides to call the next one Ancient Theatre. Also note the incredible artwork of Costin Chioreanu. John Gallo on Thee Facebooks, I, Voidhanger Records.
16. John Garcia, John Garcia (Aug. 5)
A long-discussed solo debut for the former Kyuss frontman following a stint alongside Brant Bjork in Vista Chino, John Garcia‘s John Garcia (review here) finds the singer right in his comfort zone, topping desert rock riffs with his trademark guttural vocals. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’d trade a second Vista Chino outing for it if given the choice — that band seemed to be on course for a sound of its own, separate from Kyuss‘ legacy, and that struck me as worth pursuing — but these songs have a similar enough production style that it’s easy to think of the one as an offshoot of the other, and of course Garcia calls his shots well throughout. John Garcia on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
17. King Buffalo, TBA (TBA)
Including King Buffalo here was pretty speculative on my part, but I dig the Rochester, NY, outfit and didn’t want to leave the prospect of their STB Records debut long-player out. It probably won’t land until 2015 — the future! — but their demo (review here) still gets regular plays around these parts, and I’m very much looking forward to catching them with similarly-minded Nashville blues rockers All Them Witches when they tour together next month. Whatever King Buffalo‘s recording/release plans might be, they’re definitely one to keep an eye on in the back half of this year. King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks, STB Records.
18. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy (TBA)
Love these guys, love this band. I make no bones about it. Their third record, self-titled and produced as the last two were by Sanford Parker, is as close as they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound, and while they’ve yet to nail down an exact release date, they have a couple very cool tours in the works for this fall, including dates next month with Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger, that will make a fitting lead-in to their best outing yet. I’ve heard this and had the chance to see some of the material live, and they’ve outdone themselves again, which, considering the esteem in which I continue to hold their 2013 sophomore full-length, A Time of Hunting, is really saying something. Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.
19. The Kings of Frog Island, V (Fall)
Easily one of the LPs I’m most eager to hear over the next few months, and specifically on vinyl. The Kings of Frog Island have shown themselves to be so dedicated to the format that their early-2013 album, IV (review here), was presented as two bundled sides even digitally. They recently gave a taste of what their fifth album will in-part hold via a video for “Sunburn” and I’m told more jamminess ensues elsewhere to complement that track’s easygoing flow and platter-ready hook. All the better. The Kings of Frog Island on Thee Facebooks, The Kings of Frog Island on YouTube.
20. Lonely Kamel, Shit City (Sept. 9)
I’d be lying if I said part of my immediate interest in Oslo heavy rockers Lonely Kamel‘s fourth record wasn’t due to the cheeky title, but it’s been three years since the Napalm Records four-piece released their last album, Dust (track stream here), and as they’ve put in plenty of road-time, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to go into this time around with elevated anticipation. I’m not sure you could get away with calling an album Shit City unless you meant business. Got my fingers crossed that’s precisely the case with Lonely Kamel. Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
21. Lo-Pan, Colossus (Oct. 7)
Fucking a. Doing the research for this list was the first I’d seen the Jason Alexander Byers cover art for Lo-Pan‘s fourth album, Colossus, or its Oct. 7 Small Stone release date. I haven’t heard the tracks yet — they recorded in Brooklyn back in March, and while I got 2012’s Salvador (review here) pretty early, the Columbus four-piece seem to be keeping a tighter lid on the follow-up — and I can’t help but feel like that’s my loss. Judging by what I’ve heard of the material live, Lo-Pan have dug further into their individual brand of riff-led soulful heavy, and I’ve got a high wager that a few months from now, Lo-Pan‘s latest will make an appearance on another list. More to come. Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
22. Novembers Doom, Bled White (July 15)
One of doom’s most fascinating and largely ignored progressions is that of Chicago melancholists Novembers Doom, who, when they started out 25 years ago, did so largely as a death metal band, and then moved on to pioneer an American interpretation of what’s commonly thought of as European doom, until, over their last several records, as they’ve started to move back to a more extreme, double-kick-drummed style. Bled White, on The End Records, continues along this path, but especially in the cleaner vocals of frontman Paul Kuhr there remain shades of the morose emotionality that typified what’s now become their mid-period doom idolatry. Unheralded, Novembers Doom keep exploring deeper, darker terrain. Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks, The End Records.
23. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (Aug. 19)
Foundations of Burden is unquestionably among the second half of 2014’s most anticipated albums. Arkansas-based doom four-piece Pallbearer will mark its release with extensive European and North American tours, and where their 2012 Profound Lore debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), came out and caught listeners off-guard with its unabashed emotional core, their sophomore outing finds them positioned at the forefront of American doom. Already the hype machine is rolling out the red carpet for the Billy Anderson-produced Foundations of Burden, but no one can say these guys haven’t put their work in, and the record is indeed one to look forward to. Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.
24. The Skull, TBA (TBA)
For The Skull to put out an album of original material is a unique challenge. Their earlier-2014 first single (stream/review here) found them standing up to it on the new song “Sometime Yesterday Mourning,” but at least half the point of the band since its inception has been to pay homage to legendary doomers Trouble, from whence vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson come. For their Tee Pee Records debut full-length — yet untitled and hopefully out before 2015 — it’ll be most interesting to see how guitarists Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) and Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) rise to the occasion of building off some of doom metal’s most celebrated tones. Fingers crossed on this one. The Skull on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
25. Snail, Feral (TBA)
Nothing has been formally announced yet, but on Small Stone Records‘ website, they list Snail‘s Feral among their upcoming releases. It would make a suitable pairing, the West Coast riffers having previously worked with MeteorCity on their 2009 post-reunion outing, Blood (review here), prior to independently releasing 2012’s Terminus (review here), and Small Stone seems like a good home for their fourth overall record and return to form as a trio, which was their original incarnation before their original dissolution circa 1994. How they expand on the heavier crunch of Terminus remains even more a point of fascination, and surely their cult following will be glad to find out. I know I will. Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
26. Steak, Slab City (Sept. 9)
After two strong EPs in 2012’s Disastronaught (review here) and 2013’s best-title-ever-boasting Corned Beef Colossus (review here), it’s time for London stoner rockers Steak to step up their game for their Napalm Records debut full-length. The four-piece headed to the Californian desert to record Slab City, and so it’s fair to think some of that atmosphere may have worked its way into the material. Would be an awfully long way to go, otherwise. In either case, Steak have showcased considerable songwriting chops already, now it’s just a matter of sustaining it for a full album’s runtime and keeping enough variety in their approach. I have no doubt they’re ready for this next step. Steak on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
27. Stubb, Cry of the Ocean (TBA)
It is with simple, unabashed warm feelings that I look forward to hearing Cry of the Ocean, the second long-player and Ripple Music debut from UK riffers Stubb. They’ve traded out drummers since 2012’s self-titled (review here), bringing aboard Tom Fyfe with guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland, but I’m excited to hear what changes and shifts in sound Cry of the Ocean might have in store to match its provocative title. Goes without saying the photo above isn’t the final artwork, but instead Tony Reed‘s mastering sheet from back in May when he worked on the tracks. No solid release date yet, but hopefully soon. Stubb on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.
28. Torche, TBA (TBA)
Torche‘s new album and Relapse Records debut was originally slated for the end of the summer. Given that no official word has come out about a title or anything like that and the members of the band have been busy with other projects, it seems unlikely as of now that they’ll hit that target, but after something of a break so frontman Steve Brooks could focus on the resurgent trio Floor, Torche are in fact getting going again, beginning with their first tour of Australia this fall. Maybe their LP will be out by the time they go and maybe it won’t, but word on the street is that whenever the thing arrives, it’s gonna be heavy, which I have no problem believing. Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
29. The Well, Monomyth (Late Summer)
I’ve been waiting since the March announcement that Austin trio The Well signed with RidingEasy Records for further word of their debut full-length, Monomyth (pretty sure that’s not the cover above), but thus far to no avail. Their 2012 single, Seven (review here), was a repeat-listen thriller, and anticipation abounds for what sort of psychedelic garage riffing they’ll conjure up for the album itself. It’s been a couple months at this point, and maybe it’ll be 2015 before Monomyth gets out, but screw it, a boy can hope. The Well on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
30. Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels (Sept.)
Please note: The original cover art with this post was not final and has been replaced with the above band photo.
Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain have spent much of the two years following their 2012 third LP, Cauldron of the Wild (review here) on tour in the US and abroad, playing fests, headlining, supporting, but generally putting in a lot of time. As such, Mobile of Angels, which will be out on Svart in Europe and Profound Lore in North America, comes as the end product of a considerable touring cycle. Has all that gigging worn Witch Mountain into the ground, or will they rise above it with metal-loving doom-blues supremacy? They’ve got a vinyl-ready 38 minutes on tap for September and if they’ve ever been in a position to make their case, it’s now. Watch out for the killer sway in “Can’t Settle,” the title of which seems a fitting theme for the band. Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.
31. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (Sept. 2)
Yet again — as was the case back in January — alphabetical order forces me to end with YOB, whose seventh full-length and Neurot debut might just be my most anticipated of all on this list. The recently-unveiled Orion Landau cover speaks to a brooding sentiment, and from the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it to-date, the four-track album from the Eugene, Oregon, natives corresponds to its visual side in being a more aggressive push than was 2012’s Atma (review here), but also more exploratory and contemplative in its approach. Now statesmen in American doom and the forebears of a cosmic-minded sound, YOB stand ready to showcase a creative progression that has yet to find its end point. YOB on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
Other Notable Mentions
Just a couple of these I’d be remiss if I didn’t note. Some were carried over from earlier this year, others just come up along the way. Not sure on all the release dates, but these are worth keeping an ear out for:
Acid King — Were listed in January, but their record has a Feb. 2015 release date.
Bright Curse — Second album recorded at Skyhammer Studios.
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — My understanding is the album is done and they’re waiting to secure a label. Seems like a good occasion for Southern Lord to step forward, if not Profound Lore or Neurot.
Eggnogg — Not sure if it’s their full-length, You’re all Invited, or something else that’s coming, but whatever. More stoner-funk riffing needs to be had.
40 Watt Sun — There was some word of this early in the year, but nothing since.
Godflesh — Their first in 15 years, A World Lit Only by Fire, will be out Oct. 7. A fuckup not including them on the list proper.
It’s Not Night: It’s Space — Eagerly awaiting the Small Stone debut from this instrumental outfit, but it might be next year.
Karma to Burn — New album, Arch Stanton, out in August. I emailed for a review promo and never heard back. Always a great feeling.
Larman Clamor — Solo-project from Alexander von Wieding has a new one in the can, but I’m not sure on the release schedule.
Lowrider — They’re working on it, but don’t hold your breath to have it out by December.
The Machine — Kind of a slow year for Elektrohasch, but the new one from these Dutch fuzzers would be a nice way end up.
Nachtmystium — Century Media releases their final album, The World We Left Behind, on Aug. 5.
Orange Goblin — Seriously debated putting them on the list, since I know they’ve recorded, but they seem to be promoting a recent reissue of 2007’s Healing through Fire and their upcoming European tour with Saint Vitus rather than their new album, so unless news comes out about it like this week from Candlelight, I wouldn’t expect it until early in 2015.
Pink Floyd – Believe it when I see it, but I honestly couldn’t care less either way if I tried.
Ruby the Hatchet — Their full-length Tee Pee debut is due sometime in the next couple months.
Sun Voyager — Upstate NY youngsters had hinted at new recordings.
Again, if I forgot anything — and I’m sure I did — please let me know in the comments.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a quick post from London heavy rock trio Stubb, but it serves as a reminder of yet another record set to arrive in the coming months worth watching out for. Actually, there’s no release date yet, but I’m hoping this one makes it out before the end of the year. Stubb‘s 2012 self-titled debut (review here) was a winter album, and if their second outing and first for Ripple Music, Cry of the Ocean, follows suit, I’ll take it.
Stubb recorded the album at Skyhammer Studios, owned by Jon Davis of Conan, and Cry of the Ocean will mark the first recorded appearance by drummer Tom Fyfe, who came aboard to replace Chris West (also ex-Trippy Wicked), who played on the first record and subsequent single, Under a Spell (review here). Fyfe joins guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland, who now also plays in Elephant Tree.
So yes, Stubb‘s sophomore full-length will find the band in a different situation than did their debut, and opening with a two-parter — even, let’s say if part one is an intro and part two is the song itself — speaks to a progressive ambition on their part, but I have little doubt that the songwriting will deliver, and if you heard the first record, you know that’s what it’s all about with these guys. Well, that and the thick-bottom grooves they lock in along the way.
Will keep you apprised when I get more info on the release — things like the art, arrival date, and so on — but here’s the tracklist, courtesy of the band:
These are the song titles in order for our new album ‘Cry Of The Ocean’
Cry Of The Ocean Part 1 Cry Of The Ocean Part 2 Heavy Blue Sky Sail Forever Heartbreaker Devil’s Brew Snake Eyes You’ll Never Know
If you, like me, have been itching to get a taste of some new Mothership, then this live footage of the song “Serpents Throne” from the Texas trio’s forthcoming second LP is going to be just what the rock and roll doctor ordered. The trio has been touring hard more or less since last year, and in 2014 they’ve done SXSW and a run alongside Germany’s Kadavar as well as a recent European jaunt with Wo Fat that included a stop at the Freak Valley festival. Hard to imagine they would have found time to record in there, but at the end of April, they went in and tracked 11 songs with Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump (and if it feels like I’m ignoring the fact that Wo Fat‘s new album, The Conjuring, came out today, that’s only because I’m planning on reviewing it tomorrow) for what will be released as Mothership IIon Ripple Music hopefully sometime before the end of the year.
And as tastes go, “Serpents Throne” is a remarkable one. Filmed in Dresden, Germany, at Chemiefabrik by Jörg Steinhauer, the video below seems to show the full glory of eight-minute ride, from the stoner-style riffing that starts it to the sprawling jam that ensues and finally, to a big rock finish worthy of the spaciousness preceding. Mothership‘s self-titled debut, reissued by Ripple last year (review here), won hearts and minds precisely because it was so straightforward and built on quality songwriting, and it would seem the band have set to work expanding their sound a bit even as they hold firm to strong hooks, balls-out riffing and motor-ready groove. I don’t know where in the set “Serpents Throne” might have appeared, but it certainly feels like a closer.
Mothership began their “Summer Invasion” tour this past weekend with support from problematically-named Portland jammers Black Pussy. Dates follow the video below.
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” Live in Dresden, Germany, June 2, 2014
Mothership Summer Invasion tour with Black Pussy 6/18 – The Mothlight – Ashville, NC 6/19 – Southgate House Revival Room – Newport, KY 6/20 – Hi Tone – Memphis, TN 6/21 – Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO 6/22 – Downtown Lounge – Tulsa, OK 6/23 – Blue Note – Oklahoma City, OK 6/25 – Duffy’s Tavern – Lincoln, NE 6/26 – Moon Room – Denver, CO 6/27 – Triple Nickel Tavern – Colorado Springs, CO 6/28 – Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT 6/29 – Neurolox – Boise, ID 7/1 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA 7/2 – Backstage Bar – Las Vegas, NV 7/3 – The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA 7/4 – Bandit Town – North Fork, CA 7/5 – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA 7/6 – Whiskey Dicks – South Lake Tahoe, CA 7/7 – Jub Jub’s – Reno, NV 7/9 – Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA 7/10 – Volcanic Theatre Pub – Bend, OR 7/11 – Kenton Club – Portland, OR 7/12 – Highline – Seattle, WA 7/14 – Johnny B’s – Medford, OR 7/17 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA 7/18 – Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ 7/19 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX 7/20 – Backstage – Lubbock, TX 7/21 – Lola’s Saloon – Fort Worth, TX
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Exciting and interesting news out of the Ripple Music and STB Records camps in that the two imprints have announced they’ll partner up. STB, which to date has specialized in high-quality limited runs of vinyl, will continue to do so, but they’ll team with Ripple on digital distribution for those albums. Doubtless this will bleed over into how records are promoted as well, the labels both having garnered much loyalty over the last couple years in the American heavy underground.
What remains to be seen is how deep the collaboration will go and if maybe this is just the beginning of further efforts bridging Ripple and STB. Though STB‘s vinyl rules — their latest is the self-titled Ancient Warlocks — they’ve never put anything out on CD, whereas Ripple can be relied on for a quality jewel case for most of what they’ve put out, up to and including their own latest release, Volume IV‘s debut, Long in the Tooth (review/stream here). A logical next step beyond having Ripple do the digital distro is to partner up to bring STB stuff to Ripple CDs at least in some limited number, but I guess I’m getting ahead of where the deal currently stands between the two imprints. And maybe I’m just the last person on the planet who gives a crap about a sturdy jewel-case compact disc.
Be that as it may, STB announced the alliance thusly:
Exciting announcement.. STB Records and Ripple Music have joined forces!!.. The best part is nothing changes. Just two awesome DIY labels working together to make the best releases even better. Now STB Records releases will all be available on all digital formats via Ripple Music. STB brings the vinyl as always, and now Ripple Music takes it to the next level and get its for you all on digital format..
Really excited to see what the future brings with this union..
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
As they have several times over the last couple years when a worthy cause arises, the good people of Ripple Music have put together a charity auction for the family of late The Gates of Slumber bassist Jason McCash. True to McCash‘s impact on Midwestern doom as a member of the aforementioned pioneering trio and as the founder of the Templars of Doom fest, it’ll be a test-pressing of Chicago doomers Earthen Grave‘s self-titled 2LP up now on eBay with all proceeds going to the McCash family.
The first of several tribute/benefit shows for McCash took place this past weekend in Indianapolis, and the True Templar of Doom benefit is set for July 12 at The Sidebar in Baltimore, Maryland. Info on that is here.
The PR sends the following about Ripple‘s auction:
RIPPLE MUSIC launches benefit auction for the family of Jason McCash of The Gates Of Slumber
Nearly a month ago, the metal community lost a brother, a father, a husband, a friend, and a comrade when Jason McCash of Indianapolis doom outfit The Gates of Slumber passed away at the young age of 37. The entire extended heavy-music family has felt the effects of the tragedy and, in times like this, it’s more important than ever that we gather together to help one another and show the love and support we so vehemently stand for.
Ripple Music has a long-standing tradition of donating all proceeds from auctions of its rare test pressings to charity, so when the time came to let go of this beautiful 2XLP test-press copy of Earthen Grave’s debut album, it was clear that the money should go to the family of Jason McCash.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
In their ongoing bid to both burl-rock the pants off of everybody in the house and help save the environment — please note: I have no idea that either of those is a stated goal for either band — Atlanta-based outfits Volume IV and Order of the Owl will be carpooling their way north together as they both head to Worcester, MA, to play The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 on May 4. For Volume IV, they’re out supporting their Ripple Music debut, Long in the Tooth(review/stream here), and Order of the Owl will hit stages boasting a recently-recorded batch of new material that’s likely to see proper release later this year, either by the band itself or through some yet-undisclosed label.
It’s not listed with the rest of the dates below, but Order of the Owl just announced they’ll also be opening for Eyehategod at the Masquerade in Atlanta on May 28 and later in summer, they play the Southern Darkness Fest 2014 on Aug. 23 with ASG, Zoroaster, Pelican, A Storm of Light and more at the Orpheum in Tampa, Florida. Info on that is here.
Dates for the Volume IV and Order of the Owl tour follow, courtesy of the PR wire:
VOLUME IV announce ‘No Sleep till Stoned Goat’ tour with ORDER OF THE OWL
VOLUME IV and ORDER OF THE OWL, two of Atlanta’s ultra-heavy favorites, have announced a co-headline tour/path of destruction in the days leading up to the Eye of the Stoned Goat Festival.
TOUR DATES: 4/29 Johnson City TN @ Hideaway 4/30 Pittsburgh PA @ Garfield Artworks 5/1 Allentown, PA @ Good Weekend 5/2 Buffalo, NY @ The Lair 5/3 Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron 5/4 Worcester, MA @ Ralph’s Rock Diner, (Eye of the Stoned Goat) *5/22 Birmingham, AL @ TBA *5/23 Nashville.TN @ Foobar *5/24 Savannah, GA @ The Jinx
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Whatever else might happen to Ape Machine over the course of their existence, they’ll be able to say they opened for Motörhead. No matter the trials, the victories, the downs and ups that might come to them as a band and as people, when they finally shuffle off this mortal coil, they will do so having played gigged with gods.
I don’t know if this will be the case for the members of the band, but that certainly seems like the kind of thing that, when you’ve had a shitty day and everything seems super-fucking dire and whatever else, you might feel much, much better after you sit back for a second and say, “Wait. I opened for Motörhead.” That’s bound to work for a while, anyway.
The Portland, Oregon, four-piece will fulfill their destiny on Tax Day in Arizona. Info follows, courtesy of the PR wire:
APE MACHINE announce new tour dates; opening for MOTÖRHEAD
Portland, Oregon stoner-rockers APE MACHINE have joined forces with TKO BOOKING and now share a roster with the likes of Motörhead, Anthrax, Superjoint Ritual and other legendary acts. For now, they have revealed three new spring dates in support of their latest record, Mangled By The Machine, which is out now in the Ripple Music storehere.
The name APE MACHINE is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment. With a heady mix of animal aggression and technical precision, APE MACHINE’s music carries an organic depth and warmth rarely heard since the time of rock’s glorious early years (or your Dad’s bad ass record collection) infused with an exceptional modern sensibility. When the mystical lyrics of vocalist Caleb Heinze lock in with the band’s stone-cold groove, APE MACHINE demonstrates an earth-shaking ability to rock. A true four-piece, the group has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the ’70s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll.”
Blending equal parts rock ‘n’ roll, blues, stoner rock and psychedelia, Ape Machine is out to melt faces and pound the apathy out of otherwise jaded listeners with a wall of heavy rock n’ roll tones unheard since the days of bell bottoms, long hair and blaring tube amplifiers.
Ape Machine’s mission is to combine intense melody, cutting riffs and blistering live improvisation. Where many bands rely on meticulously rehearsed, just-like-the-record-parts, Ape Machine provides a live experience that is as unique as each evening it shares with an audience.
4/13 Portland, OR @ The Know (w/ Berri Txarrak, and Order of the Gash) 4/14 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah – 2 sets on patio stage 4/15: Chandler, AZ @ Ovations Live! (w/ Motörhead!)
You’d probably need a week to sit down and list all the bands and projects to which Tony Dallas Reed has contributed in one form or another over the better part of the last two decades. From playing drums in death metallers Woodrot to self-recording all-instrument Pentagram covers in his “spare time,” Reed‘s substantial body of work is the result of a genuinely restless creative spirit. Over the course of the last 10 years, he’s bounced between the heavy rocking Mos Generator and more specifically ’70s-minded Stone Axe while also embarking on the side-project HeavyPink and building his own HeavyHead Studio, where he’s done not only his own recording, but tracked Saint Vitus‘ comeback album, Lillie: F-65, among others, as well as mixed and mastered outings from Wight, Trippy Wicked, Alunah and many more from the US and Europe, often between or while on tours.
Reactivated following a run focused on Stone Axe, Mos Generator released the full-length Nomads(review here) on Ripple Music in 2012, two live albums in 2013, and will shortly issue a follow-up, Electric Mountain Majesty(review here), as their first outing on Listenable Records. Reed is also recently returned to his Port Orchard, Washington, home after a trip to Australia to record Seedy Jeezus and remixed/remastered Mos Generator‘s 2007 Songs for Future Gods album for reissue through Ripple, available now. Mos Generator also has splits with Copenhagen’s Doublestone and Washington’s Teepee Creeper coming soon.
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tony Reed
How did you come to do what you do?
As a musician I started when I was 12. After years of mimicking KISS and Rush in my bedroom I figured that I should actually learn how to play. I borrowed a guitar from a guy up the street and the first song I learned was “Iron Man.” I started playing drums around the same time. I just wanted to take it all in.
As a recording engineer I guess you could say it was around the same time. I started recording everything with a boom box from the get-go. I have a recording of the first time I played drums. Over time I collected a few mics and got a three-channel Radio Shack mixer and two cassette decks and I was into overdubbing. When I was 20 I got my hands on a four-track and the rest is history.
Describe your first musical memory.
I actually think it is “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations. I used to love that song. I also have recollections of the album cover for “Paranoid” being around the house and when I got that album in sixth grade I somehow already knew the songs on it, so I am assuming it was played frequently when I was a child. My mom also has a funny story of me stealing a “Nights in White Satin” 45 from K-Mart when I was two years old. She let me keep it.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
I would say that it would be 26-date Saint Vitus/Mos Generator European tour in 2013. It was a lot of hard work but we got to play for some rabid audiences and travel in style. Being on the road is all about making memories and of course later down the line you only remember the good bits.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
I believe that there is really no ending point to a musician who is driven and passionate. Growth is constant and sometimes moves faster than other times. Sometimes it would appear to move backwards and hopefully something can be learned from that too.
How do you define success?
I define success by respect. Someday I would like to be well respect as a musician and songwriter and recognized for the passion and dedication that I put into the music I make.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
My grandmother’s eyes the day before she died. I think she had moved on already because I didn’t see her in there anymore.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
I would like to create and album or song that moves people the way that certain songs move me. Sometimes I am so humbled by the songs I love that it makes me want to stop writing music because I believe I may never achieve these emotions in what I write. I also look at it as a goal and a challenge.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
Even though this is musical in its subject, it doesn’t directly affect me musically. I am looking forward to watching the musical journey my son is going on. He has the passion in his blood and it’s great to see him doing things to make music his life.
Mos Generator, “Breaker” from Electric Mountain Majesty (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I managed to find Space Probe Taurus‘ self-titled Buzzville Records debut at the since-defunct Bullit Records in beautiful Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 2012, and it wasn’t a purchase I regretted making. Today the news has come down the PR wire that the Swedish heavy rockers have inked a deal to release their forthcoming sophomore outing — some six years in the making — on Ripple Music this coming summer. Exact date is TBA, but though Space Probe Taurus have done numerous soundtrack and compilation appearances over their many years, it seems reasonable to expect they’d be in a hurry to get Mondo Satan out after so long.
Cult Acid Fuzz Rockers SPACE PROBE TAURUS Sign Worldwide Deal With Ripple Music!
New album “Mondo Satan” to be released in summer 2014!
RIPPLE MUSIC is proud to announce the signing of acclaimed, hard-hitting acid biker heavy rockers, SPACE PROBE TAURUS to their ever-expanding roster!
Space Probe Taurus has been around in one form or another since 1992, but it wasn’t until a name change and shortening of the songs in 1997 that the band settled down into doing what they still do today: preaching the gospel of dirty garage rock Swedish style. Their music has been called Biker Movie Acid Fuzz and that sums it up as well as anything we could say!
Since the release of the Blue Cheer tribute CD “Blue Explosion”, by Black Widow Records, the band has been part of many compilations. And the year after saw the release of their first own record, the “Insect City” EP on Game Two/Slowdive Records. The band has also been involved deeply in the American low budget movie scene, first providing a song for the “I Am Vengeance” soundtrack (released by Meteor City Records in 2001), then having 12 songs in the movie “Actress Apocalypse”. Upcoming in 2014 is the movie “Franklin” which will include yet another song (a demo version of the song “Mondo Satan”).
In 2008 it was time for the first album, a self-titled debut released by the Belgian label Buzzville Records, which got outstanding reviews from all over the world. Since the release of the album the band has kept writing new material, played live and kept recording new demos. In 2012 the general feeling was that a new album needed to be done, and after a long process of deciding on the songs the band started to record, what would become the album “Mondo Satan”, scheduled to be released on Ripple Music in summer 2014!
“Mondo Satan” tracklist: 1. Scorpio Queen 2. Kill City Death Cult 3. Spahn Ranch Motherfucker 4. Make Me Bleed 5. Galaxy Travelin’ Blues 6. Superfuzzed 7. Mondo Satan 8. Dust Joint 9. The Iguana 10. The Righteous One
For the growing ranks of Ripple fans, known as the Waveriders, Space Probe Taurus will be another must-hear addition to the ranks of bands that already include such heavy rockers as Volume IV, Devil to Pay, Mothership, or Ape Machine.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was just about a year ago that Atlanta trio Volume IV — who I think it’s safe to say have the best band moniker to come along since Masters of Reality — self-released their self-titled debut EP, compiling four tracks in what save for its cohesiveness might’ve been considered a demo. March 2014 finds them having worked quickly on their first full-length outing, Long in the Tooth, which is out next week on Ripple Music, available now to preorder and based around 10 songs boasting similar heavy rock burl and dudely push, influences from Clutch, C.O.C., early Down and Alabama Thunderpussy showing up in various points filtered through songwriting of consistent quality and marked heft. If you’ve never had a riff stuck in your head for days on end, there’s probably a good deal about what Volume IV have to offer that will be either over (or under) your head, but among the whiskey ‘n’ Sabbath set, a cut like the ’70s motor-shuffling “Wager” is bound to feel just like home.
You might note a twin guitar lead in that one — because when you’re going to do Thin Lizzy, you do it right, goddammit — but Volume IV are indeed a three-piece, made up of guitarist/vocalist Joe Carpenter (ex-Nihilist, and not the Nihilist who became Entombed, but a different Nihilist), bassist Blake Parris and drummer Troy King. They deal volume with gusto enough to crash lesser media players on swaggering jams like “Blackwater” and opener “Looking Low for a High,” but in partially acoustic pieces like “Cabal” and “Save Your Prayers” — which together sandwich the formidable hook of “Awake the Dreamer” — Volume IV show there’s more to their approach than beardo ballsiness, organ on the country-fried “Save Your Servant” adding to the lost-soul overtones in Carpenter‘s delivery. “Save Your Servant” (5:05) and the hey-remember-the-self-titled-Clutch-record easy-rolling groove of “Blackwater” (6:21) are the two longest in Long in the Tooth, but otherwise share little in common, making a conveniently assembled example of the album’s sonic diversity within its bruiser sphere.
That is to say that while the bulk of Volume IV‘s stylistic take could easily ring familiar to heads who’ve been around Southern heavy for a minute, the band has more in mind than copping riffs from Deliverance, though with a lyrical Pulp Fiction reference in tow, “Kong” seems ready with precisely that brand of righteousness. In order to get a feel for the full LP, there’s nothing quite like a complete listen, so ahead of the official March 11 release, I’m happy to be able to host a front-to-back stream of Long in the Toothfor your listening pleasure. Find it on the player below, followed by some info on the limited edition vinyl version, which is awfully pretty:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Less than 100 of these beauts were pressed! Multi-colored vinyl includes 11 x 17 poster, download card and Long In The Tooth CD!!!
With equal parts elegant beauty and steamrolling aggression, Atlanta’s Volume IV serve up a piece of ear candy for the ages with Long In The Tooth. This first release with Ripple Music is a concise thirty-six minute thrill ride of swampy metal heroics, featuring heavy grooves, classic stoner riffs, and an overall impending sense of doom. Led by singer/guitarist Joe Carpenter (Nihilist) and filled out by bassist Blake Parris and drummer Troy King, Volume IV is set to stun the music world with one of the most anticipated releases of the year!