Quarterly Review: Atomikylä, Sunnata, White Dynomite, Horehound, Sulfur Giant, New Planet Trampoline, Hypnos, Honky, Cheap Wine, Gurt & Trippy Wicked

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

This one’s for all the marbles. Or at very least tiddlywinks. The last day of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review begins. I’ll admit that when I was planning this out — started soon after the last Quarterly Review was finished in early April; that one ran late, this one has run early — I decided to take it easy on myself the last day. Still 10 reviews, so not that easy, but in terms of what’s included today, a lot of is stuff I feel pretty comfortable talking about, whether it’s bands I’ve covered before (which a lot of it is, now that I look at the list) or whatever. If you’ve been keeping up this week, thanks. I hope you found some cool music.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Atomikylä, Keräily

atomikyla Keraily

From the Finnish hotbed of Tampere, Atomikylä made a striking impression with their 2014 Svart Records debut, Erkale (review here), giving a take on psychedelic black metal that was immediately and truly their own in its balance of elements. The band, featuring members of Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, return with doom-jazz fervor on sophomore full-length, Keräily, with three songs covering yet-unnamed stylistic reaches and offering a get-to-the-studio-and-see-what-happens experimentalism to go with their plotted course on 18-minute opener and longest track (bonus points) “Katkos,” which is followed by the building horn freakout “Risteily” (9:15), from which a space rock push takes hold on drums, resulting in maddening guitar swirl – because of course – and closer “Pakoputki” (6:55), which consumes with a darker thrust and more up-front blackened vibe that still holds onto some of the psychedelia in its layers of guitar. Keräily progresses effectively from Atomikylä’s debut and highlights just how individualized they are as a group. They continue to have the potential to do really special work, and the argument is easy to make they’re already doing it.

Atomikylä on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Sunnata, Zorya

sunnata zorya

As opener and longest track (bonus points) “Beasts of Prey” careens toward its apex finish near the 12-minute mark and the title-track begins is crashing, harmonized intro before moving into an Alice in Chains-via-stoner verse, the distance Poland’s Sunnata cover on their second full-length, Zorya, begins to really unveil itself. There doesn’t seem to be a genre within the heavy sphere that’s off limits. They never get into death metal, but heavy rock, doom, psychedelia, prog, sludge – it’s all in play at one point or another in Zorya’s five-track/50-minute run. The reason the album works and isn’t just a haphazard mash of styles is because Sunnata, who’ve been active in Warsaw since the last decade, make each one their own and thus bend genre to suit their purposes and not the other way around. They continue to impress through the rush of “Long Gone,” the airy expanse of “New Horizon” and the more brooding closer “Again and Against,” conjuring effective flow from what in less capable hands would be disparate components.

Sunnata on Thee Facebooks

Sunnata on Bandcamp

White Dynomite, Action O’Clock

white dynomite action oclock

I have kind of a hard time with White Dynomite. Not musically – the Boston five-piece’s new EP, Action O’Clock (on Ripple) typifies their accessible punk rock; a reminder of a time when the style used guitars – but conceptually. Their lineup features bassist Tim Catz and vocalist Craig Riggs (on drums) of Roadsaw, as well as guitarist Pete Knipfing (also Hey Zeus, Lamont), vocalist Dave Unger and guitarist John Darga, and while I can’t argue with the charm of a track like “Werewolf Underwear” or “Evil Ballerina” — the lyric “Tutu woman, too too much for me” alone makes Action O’Clock worth the price of admission, let alone “I got fangs in my pants” from “Werewolf Underwear” – but I haven’t yet been able to listen to the band in the context of it having been six years since the last time Roadsaw released an album, and thinking about years passing, priorities and whatnot. They sound they’re having a blast all the way through, and I won’t begrudge them exploring other influences, I guess I just miss that band.

White Dynomite on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Horehound, Horehound

horehound horehound

Pittsburgh newcomers Horehound formed just last year, so one might go into their self-titled debut full-length thinking it’s an early arrival, but in an unpretentious seven-track/33-minute collection of straightforward but engaging doom rockers, the five-piece demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do sonically. While it may not represent where they’ll ultimately end up as a band, its songs sound fleshed out in terms of direction and the resultant feel on the release is much more album than demo. So be it. A particular highlight is “The Waters of Lethe,” on which a sweeter melody emerges in the guitar and vocals, but neither will I discount the low-end crunch and vocal call-and-response in closer “Waking Time” or the more uptempo thrust of second cut “Sangreal.” Not that Horehound don’t have room to grow, but their initial offering preaches well to the converted and should give them a solid foundation to work from in that process.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

Horehound on Bandcamp

Sulfur Giant, Beyond the Hollow Mountain

sulfur giant beyond the hollow mountain

Beyond the Hollow Mountain is the first full-length from Portuguese mostly-instrumentalists Sulfur Giant, who bring together influences from classic progressive rock, psychedelia and heavy rock so that when they dip into Iommic riffing on “Vertigo,” it’s no stranger than the peaceful jamming of “Whisper at Dawn,” which follows. Friendly if not exactly innovative, Sulfur Giant’s debut makes its chief impression with the four-piece’s instrumental chemistry, which brings about an easy flow within and between the eight tracks, which having already been issued digitally will see vinyl release later this year on Pink Tank Records. It’s hard to ignore what organ adds to “Evermore,” but “Sea of Stone” sneaks in some vocals amid its thicker-riffing and Sungrazer-style exploration, and “Magnolia” and the galloping “Unleash Fears” follow suit, so Sulfur Giant have a few tricks up their collective sleeve they hold back from the initial roll and gallop of the opening title-track. All the better.

Sulfur Giant on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records

New Planet Trampoline, Dark Rides and Grim Visions

new planet trampoline dark rides and grim visions

Never say never in rock and roll. From Cleveland, Ohio, the psych-rocking four-piece New Planet Trampoline called it quits in 2008, leaving behind an unfinished album. After coming back together for 2014’s The Wisconsin Witch House EP, the ‘60s-stylized outfit set themselves to the task of finishing what became Dark Rides and Grim Visions, basking in the glow of early Floyd, Beatles and others of the ilk while keeping a harder edge to songs like “Grim Visions” and a healthy cynicism to “We’ll Get What We Deserve” and the tongue-in-cheek keyboard-laced closer “Haunted as Fuck.” Of the several more extended tracks, the nine-minute “Acts of Mania” is the longest, and provides suitable patience and atmospherics to stand up to its scope. All told, Dark Rides and Grim Visions is a formidable journey at 13 songs/68 minutes, but after more than half a decade away, it’s hard to hold New Planet Trampoline having their say against them, particularly when that say is as lush and dreamy as “This is the Morning.”

New Planet Trampoline on Thee Facebooks

New Planet Trampoline on Bandcamp

Hypnos, Cold Winds

hypnos cold winds

With their second LP, Cold Winds (on Crusher Records), Gothenburg’s Hypnos seem to be betting that the next step in the retro game is NWOBHM. They make a convincing argument; it’s kind of how it went the first time around, and their songwriting offers a top-notch look at the moment where Thin Lizzy bounce became Iron Maiden gallop, as on second cut “I’m on the Run,” just minutes after opener “Start the Hunt” featured a flute solo. Broken into two sides, each one works its way toward a longer finale – “Det Kommer en Dag” (7:23) on side A and “1800” (8:32) on side B – but sonic diversity and changes in song structure throughout do much to keep Cold Winds from feeling overly plotted, and like their countrymen in Horisont, Hypnos offer a seamless melding of classic heavy rock and metal, soaring and scorching on “Descending Sun (Unrootables White)” and swinging and swaggering immediately thereafter on “Cold September,” both accomplished with unwavering command.

Hypnos on Thee Facebooks

Hypnos at Crusher Records

Honky, Corduroy

honky corduroy

Texas boogie rockers Honky were last heard from with 2012’s 421 – which I’ll assume is the “going to 11” equivalent for getting high – and their eighth outing, Corduroy, finds bassist JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Melvins) and guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down) hooked up with drummer Trinidad Leal of Dixie Witch and Housecore Records for the release. To call is business as usual for the underrated outfit in the classic swing and grit they hone would only be a compliment, songs like “Baby Don’t Slow Down,” “Bad Stones” and the harmonized “Double Fine” offering soul as much as push, ‘70s influences given a modern kick in the ass throughout as a swath of guests, including Melvins drummer Dale Crover, come and go, perhaps none making their presence felt as much as Rae Comeau, whose work on “Bad Stones” makes that song a highlight – not to take away from the a capella cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” here retitled as “Mopey Dick,” that closes. Chicanery ensues, booze flows, good times are had for those who’ll have them.

Honky website

Housecore Records website

Cheap Wine, Sad Queen

cheap wine sad queen

Distinguished as on centerpiece “The Rambler” by their use of organ amid a semi-retro heavy boogie style, French five-piece Cheap Wine recorded Sad Queen – as the cover art says – live for Celebration Days Records. It’s somewhere between an EP and album, and strips away some of the individual track length of their 2013 debut, Mystic Crow, in favor of maximizing the energy put into each piece, the subdued “Intro” and “Opening” that start sides A and B, respectively, aside, though as “Opening” feeds cleanly into the quiet, airy and soulful beginning of the title-track, even that seems to have a tension that builds toward its eventual release, different from the shuffling raucousness of the post-“Intro” opener “Cyclothymic” maybe, but palpable nonetheless. They close somewhat melancholy on “Yesterday’s Dream,” but the complementary guitar of Valentin Constestin and keys of Ahn Tuan aren’t to be missed, nor how well work in concert with vocalist Mathieu Devillers, bassist Valentin Lallart and drummer Louis Morati.

Cheap Wine on Thee Facebooks

Celebration Days Records website

Gurt & Trippy Wicked and teh Cosmic Children of the Knight, Guppy

gurt trippy wicked guppy

The UK heavy scene excels at not taking itself too seriously. To wit, Gurt and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight get together for a split (on When Planets Collide for CD and HeviSike cassette) and, they call it Guppy and the first two songs are “Owlmegeddon” and “Super Fun Happy Slide.” It kind of goes from there. Recorded together, sharing a drummer and collaborating on the centerpiece, “Revolting Child,” it’s basically two outfits who are close friends coming together to have a good time, but that doesn’t take away from Gurt’s sludgy intensity on “I Regret Nothing” or the nodding heavy rock Trippy Wicked hold forth on closer “Reign.” Taking its title from the two band names put together, one can only wonder if this will be the last conjoined offering Gurt and Trippy Wicked will make, or if there might be a whole school of guppies in the future. Frankly, this sounds like too good a party to only throw it once.

Gurt on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

When Planets Collide website

HeviSike Records

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Devil to Pay Reveal Art and Tracks for A Bend Through Space and Time

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

devil to pay

I’m pretty sure what the W. Ralph Walters cover art for the new Devil to Pay record is going for is an accurate historical depiction of humanity’s encounter with ancient aliens. No doubt A Bend Through Space and Time is exactly how it went down, or so the ancient astronaut theorists believe, a big-boobed alien blowing knowledge-smoke in the face of a caveman/Neanderthal-type who may or may not be the titular character for the song “Knuckledragger.” I’m getting pretty tired of supporting the objectification industrial complex when it comes to cartoon tits, I’ll be honest, but I like Devil to Pay, so you’ll find the cover art and the tracklisting for the album below. You might recall the band premiered their video for “Your Inner Lemmy” here back in February.

If you don’t recall and don’t feel like clicking, that video is also below. A Bend Through Space and Time is out Aug. 20 on Ripple Music. Art and info:

devil to pay a bend through space and time

DTP RELEASE ‘A BEND THROUGH SPACE AND TIME’ ALBUM ART & TRACK LIST

Today DEVIL TO PAY release album art and the track list for their upcoming release, “A Bend Through Space and Time”. Recorded in 2015 by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Indiana, “A Bend Through Space and Time” showcases the further development of DEVIL TO PAY’s songcraft and explorations in heavy, riff-oriented rock and roll. The album was preceded by the early release of a download and music video for the song “Your Inner Lemmy” in honor of the rock legend Lemmy Kilmister’s passing last December.

The cover art features an original painting by the amazing W. Ralph Walters.

“A Bend Through Space and Time” will be released worldwide August 20th on Ripple Music.

A BEND THROUGH SPACE AND TIME:
1. On and On (in your mind)
2. Don’t Give Away the World
3. Kobold in the Breadbasket
4. Laughingstock
5. the Meaning of Life
6. Recommended Daily Dosage
7. Knuckledragger
8. Kerfuffle
9. Your Inner Lemmy
10. the Demons Come Home to Roost

https://www.facebook.com/deviltopay
http://deviltopay.net/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/track/your-inner-lemmy

Devil to Pay, “Your Inner Lemmy”

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Sweat Lodge Sign to Brutal Panda Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Austin-based heavy rockers Sweat Lodge recently announced they’d hit the road with Monolord and Beastmaker this August. The band, who released their full-length debut, Talismana (review here), last year on Ripple Music, just completed a long weekender alongside Crypt Trip, and word has come down that they’ve been picked up by Brutal Panda Records for a vinyl reissue this summer.

Already this qualifies them for “got a lot going on” status, but Sweat Lodge will also record a new short release titled Tokens for Hell — presumably you need them on the subway to get there, or maybe you can exchange them for prizes once you arrive — that will follow-up on the Brutal Panda version of Talismana, which again, is due in the coming months.

The PR wire confirms the above:

sweat lodge

SWEAT LODGE Sign to Brutal Panda, Announce Talismana Reissue + Upcoming Tour Dates

Brutal Panda Records is proud to announce the signing of Austin, TX quartet SWEAT LODGE. Formed in 2010, the Hard Rock / Heavy Psych / Progressive Rock / Proto-Metal band have released a self-titled EP (2013) and a full-length Talismana (2015), the latter of which will see a vinyl reissue via Brutal Panda this summer. SWEAT LODGE are known for their vigorous live shows and have performed with YOB, Acid King, Earthless, The Sword, Pentagram and many others.

SWEAT LODGE are currently on the road with fellow Texan hard rockers Crypt Trip and have been announced as support for the upcoming summer tour with Sweden’s Monolord and California’s Beastmaker. A full listing of dates is available below.

Additionally, SWEAT LODGE will enter the studio later this year to record a new EP entitled Tokens for Hell, which will see a late 2016 release via Brutal Panda. Details will be announced shortly.

The band commented on the signing:

“Sweat Lodge is really excited about the vinyl reissue of Talismana and our new EP. Killer roster, killer people! Look out for us this summer with Monolord and Beastmaker!”

SWEAT LODGE Live:
*All Dates 8/5 – 9/10 with Monolord & Beastmaker*
8/5 Seattle, WA – Barboza
8/6 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown
8/8 San Franciscio, CA – The Chapel
8/9 Los Angeles, CA – The Viper Room
8/11 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
8/12 Scottsdale, AZ – The Rogue Bar
8/13 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
8/15 Dallas, TX – The Rail Club
8/16 Austin, TX The Sidewinder
8/17 Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
8/18 San Antonio, TX – The Korova
8/19 New Orleans, LA – Siberia
8/20 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
8/21 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge
8/22 Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub
8/23 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
8/24 Richmond, VA – The Broadberry
8/26 Baltimore, MD – The Windup Space
8/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar
8/28 Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Lounge
8/30 Boston, MA – Great Scott
9/1 Toronto, ON – Coalition: T.O
9/2 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
9/3 Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
9/4 Minneapolis, MN – The Cabooze
9/5 Omaha, NE – Lookout Lounge
9/6 Denver, CO – Lost Lake
9/7 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Bar
9/8 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
9/9 Portland, OR – Ash Street Saloon
9/10 Vancouver, BC – Astoria Hastings

https://www.facebook.com/Sweat-Lodge-124403460982785/
https://sweatlodgemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sweat_lodge/
https://twitter.com/sweatlodgetx
https://www.facebook.com/BrutalPandaRecords/
https://twitter.com/brutalpanda
http://www.brutalpandarecords.com/

Sweat Lodge, Talismana (2015)

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Ape Machine Tour Starts June 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

ape machine

There’s a good chance that, at any given point, Oregonian heavy rockers Ape Machine are either announcing a tour, actually on said tour, just off touring, or getting ready for their next tour. They went to Europe last fall to herald the arrival of Spring 2016’s Coalition of the Unwilling (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds, and they’ve been on the road steadily for the last several years. To wit, the run that starts June 15 through the Midwest and West Coast, which includes a stop at Crucialfest 6 in Salt Lake City, will be their second US stint of 2016 after one in March around the latest release, and it only seems fair to speculate that it won’t be the last time they get out this year. Some acts do it the hard way, and Ape Machine seem to prefer delivering rock and roll personally. So be it.

Dates follow here, as sent down the PR wire:

ape-machine-tour-poster

Rock’n’roll ain’t dead! Portland rockers APE MACHINE announce more US tour dates this summer.

Rock’n’roll has never been so alive, as Portland’s most exciting and hard-hitting riff merchants APE MACHINE are set to make heads turn again, with the release of their fourth album, on Heavy Psych Sounds. “Coalition Of The Unwilling” landed in March in all good record stores, followed by Southern US tour dates. The psychedelic apes bring the riffs to the Mid-West this summer with dates starting in June and an appearance at the highly regarded stoner-rock fest – Crucialfest – in Salt Lake City.

The name APE MACHINE is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the Portland 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, the band 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 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”.

Summer Tour Dates:
Wednesday June 15: Shredder, Boise ID
Thursday June 16: Crucialfest, Salt Lake City (Metro Bar)
Friday June 17: Larimer Lounge, Denver CO
Saturday June 18: Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
Sunday June 19: Reggie’s, Chicago IL
Monday June 20: Fubar, St. Louis MO
Tuesday June 21: Melody Inn, Indianapolis IN
Wednesday June 22: The Roxy, Overland Park KS
Thursday June 23: Blue Note Lounge, Oklahoma City OK
Friday June 24: Leftwoods, Amarillo TX
Saturday June 25: Deadhorse Saloon, San Angelo TX
Sunday June 26: Lowbrow Palace, El Paso TX
Monday June 27: Casbah, San Diego CA
Tuesday June 28: Blue Lamp, Sacramento CA

APE MACHINE IS
Caleb Heinze – Vocals
Ian Watts – Guitar
Brian True – Bass
Damon De La Paz – Drums

http://apemachine.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apemachinemusic
https://twitter.com/apemachine
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm
www.ripple-music.com

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Kind West Coast Tour Starts June 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Located on opposite coasts, both Boston’s Kind and Los Angeles’ Salem’s Bend made their full-length debuts late in 2015. Salem’s Bend‘s was a self-release that led to their being picked up by Ripple Music, while Kind‘s Rocket Science (review here) was put out on CD by the same label with vinyl that followed this Spring. Next week, Kind will head out West to join their labelmates for a run of shows supporting their respective outings, which is no minor feat in Kind‘s case considering the band shares its members with ElderWhite Dynamite (also on Ripple, with a new EP out), Rozamov and the plethora of guitarist Darryl Shepard‘s bands. There are more all the time. Dude is the Mayor of Boston’s Rock Underground.

The info for the tour is below. Grayskull Booking put the shows together and they’ve got a goodly portion of the West Coast covered, as you can see:

kind west coast tour

KIND announce West Coast dates with Salem’s Bend

Boston riff dealers KIND and Los Angeles rock merchants Salem’s Bend, both on Ripple Music, are hitting the road together for a weeklong tour of the west coast, starting in Seattle on June 9 and working their way down to San Diego on June 15.

KIND, featuring members of Elder, Roadsaw, The Scimitar and Rozamov, is touring in support of their debut full length “Rocket Science”, which has been garnering critical praise far and wide for its combination of doom, psychedelic and straight-up heavy rock. Salem’s Bend has a cassette out on Burt Records but they have since been picked up by Ripple Music, who will be releasing the tape on vinyl and compact disc in the coming months.

Expect lots of high volume riffing and memorable songs from these two bands as they travel down the west coast delivering the goods. Tour booking was handled by Grayskull Booking out of Boston.

Dates are as follows:
June 7 – tba, Turlock, CA (Salem’s Bend only)
June 9 – The Funhouse, Seattle, WA
June 10 – High Water Mark, Portland, OR
June 12 – The Golden Bull, Oakland, CA
June 13 – Doll Hut, Anaheim, CA
June 14 – Complex, Los Angeles/Glendale, CA
June 15 – Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA

https://www.facebook.com/KINDtheband/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/rocket-science
https://www.facebook.com/salemsbend
https://salemsbend.bandcamp.com/releases
www.ripple-music.com

Kind, “Rabbit Astronaut”

Salem’s Bend, “Balshazzar” official video

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Craneium Sign to Ripple Music; Explore the Void Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

craneium

From the Finnish heavy hotbed of Turku, four-piece rockers Craneium issued their debut full-length, Explore the Void, last fall. The band has been picked up to do a pressing of the album via Ripple Music, and it’s received a “winter” release date, no doubt because the label’s schedule is so packed. Fair enough. It may be 2017 before the CD and/or LP shows up, but Explore the Void can be streamed in full now from Craneium‘s Bandcamp (also below), and boasts a fuzzy sound as true to its intent as it is the fiery skies in Alexander von Wieding‘s cover art.

You’ll find that below, followed by the release announcement from the PR wire.

Goes like this:

craneium explore the void-700

Ripple Music Signs Finnish Psych Rockers Craneium to World-wide Deal and New Album

Prepare for a huge slab of protometal leads, psychedelic riffs, rolling bass lines, with killer melodies and grooves, as Ripple Music unleashes the debut album from Finnish rockers Craneium “Explore the Void”.

Craneium was formed 2011 in Turku, Finland, but the roots of the members grow deep in rural Ostrobothnia, the bible-belt of Finland, further north where the are more Holy Books than Sabbath records on the shelves. Craneium formed around one goal – to write some seriously intense and fuzzy riff rock. Eager to play they immediately headed out for live shows as soon as they had penned together some tunes. Live the energetic nature of the band really comes alive and shines. When they perform they are one force with the music, which they projectile right into to the crowd at full volume. Needless to say, they always end a concert dripping in sweat with the audience mangled against a wall of fuzz.

The band released The Slowerdrive Tapes on cassette in 2013 and a 12″ split in 2014 with fellow ‘nauts 3rd Trip. 2014-15 they spent long hours recording the essence of these four years: “Explore The Void”, a 50 minute journey through fuzz rock mayhem. The bands sound is a constant ebb and flow of different influences. They go from atmospheric clean vibes that build up and build up, only to clash into fuzzy grooves. While they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel they’re giving it a hard spin with their own brand of fuzz rock!

Wrapped up in some stunning, artwork, this album creates a total sonic experience; the sort of thing that you can get utterly and beautifully lost in, as you travel beyond the valley and into the void.

Look for Craneium’s Ripple Music debut “Explore the Void” this winter on limited edition vinyl, world-wide vinyl, CD and digital.

https://www.facebook.com/craneiumband/
http://craneiumband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/craneiumband/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Ripple-Music-369610860064/

Craneium, Explore the Void (2015)

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Gozu, Revival: Acts of Vitality

Posted in Reviews on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

gozu revival

In some ways, Gozu‘s Revival is defined by its barnburners. There are a few of them, and the impression they create across the Boston four-piece’s third album — first for Ripple Music — is one of a more intense approach overall than was showed either on 2013’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) or 2010’s Locust Season (review here). Those records, both released by Small Stone, had their driving moments, but to listen to “Nature Boy,” “Oldie” or the penultimate “DD McCall” from Revival is to realize how much harder Gozu are pushing themselves across the album as a whole.

The production of Dean Baltulonis at The Wild Arctic and Benny Grotto at Mad Oak brings that out even in a swinging track like “Big Casino” or the soul-fueled “By Mennen.” It’s not necessarily about tonal thickness — that’s not what they’re going for — so much as what kind of impact each instrument can have. Add to this the fact that for the first time on record, Gozu have a cohesive lineup in guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, guitarist Doug Sherman, bassist Joe Grotto (brother to the aforementioned Benny) and drummer Mike Hubbard, and it becomes less of a wonder that these eight songs/41 minutes are the strongest the band has yet presented in their tenure. As Gozu enter relative maturity as a group — three LPs deep — they show clear growth in performance, craft and chemistry, while keeping many of elements of the prior work intact that helped push them to the fore of their home region’s crowded heavy rock sphere. To rephrase: They kick ass early and often.

I’ll note at this point that I’m hardly an impartial observer, having been a fan since Locust Season and grown to think of them as friends, but feel no compunction in offering critique, whether it’s of Gaffney‘s vocals dominating the mix in the crashing apex of “By Mennen” (as opposed to the end of it, where the vocals stand alone and would inherently dominate the mix, being the only thing in it), or of the continued use of gag/reference song titles. “Lorenzo Llamas” is clever, but hardly does justice to the spaciousness of the side A closer itself or the manner in which it complements and sets up “Tin Chicken” as the album’s finale. In any case, if you want to take my continued respect for Gozu‘s work with a grain of salt, feel free, but Revival also stands legitimately on its own as their finest hour to date. Whether it’s the blistering, immediate zero-to-100 that “Nature Boy” brings to lead off or the sleeker groove of “Bubble Time” that follows, there isn’t a level on which Gozu aren’t moving beyond what they’ve done before.

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Photo shoot with Gozu, at The Sinclair. Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Grotto, who played on part of The Fury of a Patient Man, and Hubbard, formerly of Warhorse, make for a rhythm section formidable enough to stand up to the melodies and layering in Gaffney‘s vocals and the crunch in his and Sherman‘s guitars alike, and though the attack here is more pointed than it has been in the past, that suits Gozu remarkably well as they lend each song a personality of its own while uniting the work as a whole through hooks, harmonies and a sense of abandon like that shown in the layered soloing that pushes “Bubble Time” over the top at the end. That song and “Nature Boy” before it build momentum into the more shuffling “Big Casino,” which rides a hypnotic chugging riff — something of a miniaturization of “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf” from the last outing — in its middle and after one more chorus trips out a bit with far-back falsetto from Gaffney and consistent punctuation from Hubbard as it fades into the crashes that begin “Lorenzo Llamas,” which builds across its seven-minute span with semi-psychedelic patience as a vocal highlight, subtly insistent riff and fluid groove add to the otherworldly feel the ending of “Big Casino” put forth. Through soloing from Sherman, interplay of the two guitars, and more forceful delivery from Gaffney, “Lorenzo Llamas” gives a fitting cap to Revival‘s first half and sets up the continued expansion of reach that follows in the second.

That expansion comes in hand with a feeling that each of side B’s tracks is in conversation with a counterpart on side A, reversing the first three songs and aligning for the longer fourth so that “Oldie” opens with a chug and hook that could be playing off the sway of “Big Casino,” “By Mennen” answers the soul of “Bubble Time” with swaggering, heavy funk — the early bassline is a highlight — and “DD McCall” follows up on the all-out thrash style with which “Nature Boy” lead off, leaving “Tin Chicken” to build on what “Lorenzo Llamas” accomplished. One doubts that kind of symmetry was something that came to mind for Gozu as they were writing — it’s not like they’re making a concept record — but it does give Revival‘s presentation another level of cohesiveness, and whether it’s the fading-out guitar harmonies of “Oldie” or Gaffney pushing his voice to its limits in that standalone part at the end of “By Mennen,” Gozu manage to add to what they did earlier without sonic redundancy.

This is true in the heads-down thrust of “DD McCall” as well as the immediate contrast that “Tin Chicken” brings with its quiet, fluid guitars, subdued drums and soft vocals. The closer pushes through a louder part and quiets again momentarily before launching into the atmospheric payoff that “Lorenzo Llamas” teased, still heavy but swirling as well before cutting back to fade out after a few quiet lines bringing it back to the intro; the song seems to kind of wander off, but it works with the trance-inducing effects display preceding. And as it goes back to its start in a different way, “Tin Chicken” also summarizes some of what works best about Revival, which is the sense of how purposefully built the album is. While the performances are crisp, the natural chemistry Gozu have harnessed onstage remains intact, and the intensity with which they bring it to bear feels like something the band has been waiting for the opportunity to do. They make the most of that opportunity, and what results is some of the best American heavy rock you’re likely to hear in 2016 in composition and execution.

Gozu, “Nature Boy” official video

Gozu on Thee Facebooks

Gozu on Bandcamp

Ripple Music

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three out June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ripple Music is keeping pace with its split series The Second Coming of Heavy. The second installment — or chapter, as it were — included cuts from Supervoid and Red Desert (review here), while the first paired Geezer and Borracho (review here). For the third, it’s Sweden’s Kingnomad and Michigan good-timers BoneHawk doing the honors, and the limited-run LP (300 copies) will be released June 24. I don’t know if Ripple‘s plan is one per year, two per year or “as often as we feel like,” but they’re working at a good clip to get through the series, which last I heard was going to have 10 installments, all of them already booked.

Info from the PR wire on The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three follows, as well as tracks from Kingnomad (who I hadn’t heard before but sound awesome) and BoneHawk (less of a surprise, but still cool), which you can stream:

the second coming of heavy chapter iii kingnomad bonehawk

The return of Ripple Music’s The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III | New split album from BoneHawk and Kingnomad

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III is released on vinyl on 24 June 2016

Already recognised as one of the world’s leading purveyors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych, Ripple Music upped the ante in 2015 with the arrival of one of the year’s most ambitious projects, The Second Coming Of Heavy.

Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each instalment shines a light on those worthy of your attention. Consisting of one, 12” slab of multicoloured vinyl with full colour sleeves and inserts, the series is designed to be saved and treasured, like a fine anthology of books. So much so, when the albums are filed next to each other, the complete collection of aligned spines forms a mind-blowing image direct from the underground.

Following on from the series’ first instalment released last summer featuring Geezer and Borracho, and February’s Chapter II’s split between Supervoid and Red Desert, the latest chapter, released this June offers up new music from hard hitting Michigan quartet BoneHawk and Sweden’s Kingnomad.

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III will get an official vinyl release on 24th June 2016 and is limited to 300 copies in three alternative versions (100 of each) – The Resurrection Edition, The Risen OBI and The Ascension Edition.

https://bonehawk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bonehawkkzoo/
https://www.instagram.com/bonehawk_band/
https://www.facebook.com/kingnomadofficial/
https://kingnomad.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.instagram.com/kingnomadofficial/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Ripple-Music-369610860064/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

BoneHawk, “The Scout”

Kingnomad, “Lucifer is Dead”

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