Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
This is some of the best news I’ve seen in a while: Good band signs to good label. In the case of UK heavy rockers Stubb and Ripple Music, it’s a perfect match. They were made for each other, and though it’s a ways down in the press release, you’ll also note that when Stubb head into the studio come January to record the follow-up to their righteously fuzzed 2012 self-titled debut (review here), they’ll do so at Skyhammer Studios, which is the recording space owned and built by Jon Davis of Conan, who seems to be wasting no time leaving a mark on the UK scene beyond even the considerable footprint of his own band.
Definitely one to watch for come the New Year. Look out for more as we get closer to the release date (including when that might be), and check out the announcement below in the meantime. Kudos to all parties involved:
UK Retro-power Rockers STUBB Sign Worldwide Deal With Ripple Music
RIPPLE MUSIC is proud to announce the signing of acclaimed, hard-hitting UK-based retro-heavy rockers, STUBB to their ever-expanding roster!
Stubb was formed in 2006 with Jack Dickinson on guitar and vocals, Aaron O’Sullivan on drums and Isa Bruni on bass. The power trios of the late 60′s and early 70′s were the blueprint for their loud driving, fuzzed up heavy blues rock. In 2009, Chris West joined on drums and Peter Holland on bass (both also members of Trippy Wicked), solidifying the first classic line-up. The band recorded their first full length album for Chris West’s label Superhot Records, and hit the road, gigging with such heavy rock luminaries as the Gentlemans Pistols, Firebird, Cherry Choke, Steak, Sungrazer and The Machine as well as appearing at Desertfest to a packed house Purple Turtle. Making the trip over to Europe twice with Stone Axe from the USA further cemented Stubb’s reputation as a solid live act with some serious chops.
“We are delighted to be signing with Ripple Music, who are one of the hardest working independent labels on the scene,” Dickinson said. “To be alongside the likes of Mos Generator, Mothership, Stone Axe and Grifter as labelmates is an honour and a pleasure. The new record will bring you the sound of Stubb that along with a whole load of new shades and surprises. We hope to come and play in front of new audiences and treat you all to the loud sound of three guys doing what they love.”
With the departure of Chris West, the band recruited Tom Fyfe (ex-Olde Crone) as the new drummer. Tom brings another new sound to the powerful rhythm section as they prepare to head to Skyhammer Studios with Chris Fielding, January 26 – 30 to record their Ripple Music debut. The album will mixed and mastered by Mos Generator’s Tony Reed at Heavy Head Studios, guaranteeing a sonic explosion of heaviness.
For the growing legions of Ripple fans, known as the Waveriders, Stubb will be another must-hear addition to the ranks of bands that already include such heavy rockers as Mos Generator, Devil to Pay, Mothership, Trucker Diablo and Ape Machine. You can bet that the combination of Stubb and Ripple Music will be a combustible mixture!
Be sure to catch Stubb live: 11/29 @ Hard Rock Hell Festival – Wales
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Maryland’s Weed is Weed released their debut album, Blunt Force Trauma (discussed here), earlier in 2013. In addition to being the most unabashed hailers of the leaf I’ve come across in some time, the sixsome also marks the reuniting of Gary Isom and Dave Sherman, both formerly of Spirit Caravan. Of course, Sherman‘s been fronting Earthride in the intervening years — Isom also did a stint in Pentagram – and he brings his indomitable personality to Blunt Force Traumaas well, most especially on my personal favorite track from the album, the snickering “Eat Cookies.”
Weed is Weed also play Stoner Hands of Doom XIII next week, and Ripple will reportedly issue Blunt Force Traumaearly next year. Please note that when I say “reportedly,” I mean according to the PR wire, which sent along the following:
WEED IS WEED – Featuring Legendary Alumni from Pentagram, Earthride & Spirit Caravan – Sign to Ripple Music
Top-tier stoner/doom metal band WEED IS WEED has signed a world-wide deal with Ripple Music for the release of their full-length album, Blunt Force Trauma.
Years of seismic rumbling have led way to the tectonic formation that is WEED IS WEED. Two legendary masters of Maryland Doom, Dave “Sherm” Sherman and Gary Isom, come with a stoner/doom metal pedigree second to none. Sherm and Gary have been the creative catalysts in such genre defining bands as Pentagram, Earthride, and Spirit Caravan, and now they’re set to launch their newest, blazing heavy rock venture. Having assembled their most blazing line-up ever, this group of musicians have crafted the perfect sound track for red-eyed blazers the world over – Blunt Force Trauma. Blitzed out, stoned heaviness is the order as this collection of tales of reefer madness and alligator fights is slated to be released early 2014 by the ever impressive Ripple Music.
That’s right folks… People are about to take notice.
Sherm is completely shredding the vocals, undoubtedly turning in his best performance to date, as he is more than ably backed by the rip and tear of the triple (3!) guitar attack courtesy of Gary on slide & lead guitar teamed up with Jason Fisher and Rob Portillo’s riffing and rolling. Match that with the full on rhythmic assault of Darren Waters on bass, and the single moniker’d Cougin on drums, and this band is ready to pummel the unsuspecting ear drums of those about to burn!
With the ink just dry on their contract with Ripple Music, it is being announced that WEED IS WEED has also signed on with 313 INC Artist Management to help further their reach and plan their underground takeover.
Watch for some pre-release touring to be announced soon.
It’s no doubt that the riffs are gonna be huge, the vocals are gonna be gritty and the low end will rumble that PBR floating in your stomach. Weed Is Weed is taking over… and it’s going to be a smoky green revolution.
The Obelisk’s “10 Days of Stoner Hands of Doom XIII” coverage continues today with a video premiere from Indianapolis four-piece Devil to Pay, who headline Sunday night, Nov. 10 at Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia. They’ll be the absolute last band to play at this year’s SHoD, and they’re set to tour their way along the East Coast with the fest as the centerpiece in support of their 2013 Ripple Music album, Fate is Your Muse(review here). In addition, they’ll have a brand new 7″ on hand in two different colors with two different covers for the standout cut from that record, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” (the B-side is a cover of Eldemur Krimm‘s “Black Fog”), and they’ve got a new video for the song as well that today I have the pleasure of premiering.
Arriving relatively early on in Fate is Your Muse, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” is nonetheless one of the most immediately lasting impressions the album leaves. From the quirky narrative of the lyrics, the soulful melodic delivery of guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak – joined in the band by guitaristRob Hough (who plays the therapist in the new clip), bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle – to the catchy chorus and quirk of the title and the song itself, if nothing else, it’s a track that stays with you. And like their video for “Tie One On,” which premiered here back in August, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” finds Devil to Pay having fun with the form, whether it’s dressing up and dancing in lizard costumes or sitting down for a little D&D in the awesome space that the credits refer to as the “Godzilla Room.” You’ll know it when you see it.
It’s always a good time to see what Devil to Pay are up to, and between the cut and the video, “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” sums up a lot of what I really, really like about this band. Check it out on the player embedded below, followed by the tour dates:
Devil to Pay, “Ten Lizardmen & One Pocketknife” official video
Devil to Pay SHoD XIII / East Coast Tour: 11/01 Valhalla Muncie, IN w/ So Sayeth & Witchdoctor 11/02 Radio Radio Indianapolis, IN w/ the Cocaine Wolves & Dead Birds Adore Us 11/06 Springwater Nashville, TN w/ Admiral Browning & Elder Skull 11/07 529 Bar Atlanta, GA w/ Admiral Browning , Volume IV & Iron Whip 11/08 Flat Iron Greensboro, NC w/ NONE and Jews & Catholics 11/09 Roger’s Pub Chesapeake, VA w/ Pillbuster, Wizard Eye, Faces of Bayon & Compel 11/10 Strange Matter Richmond, VA Stoner Hands of Doom XIII 11/11 The Maywood Raleigh, NC w/ Black Thai & Bedowyn 11/12 JR’s Bar Philadelphia, PA w/ Clamfight, The Cloth & Heavy Temple 11/13 Tobacco Road New York, NY w/ TBA 11/14 Geno’s Portland, ME w/ Eldemur Krimm & Eastern Spell 11/15 O’Brien’s Pub Allston, MA w/ Mollusk & Gut 11/16 Mr. Beery’s Bethpage, NY w/ Borgo Pass, Soma & Von Hell
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you haven’t started your list of albums to watch for in 2014, yet, UK heavy rock trio Grifter might just make a decent first entry for it. They’ve wrapped up work on the follow-up to their self-titled 2011 Ripple Music debut (review here), and today reveal that the full-length will include such song titles as “Princess Leia” and “Bow Down to the Monkey,” as well as a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Fairies Wear Boots,” so by all accounts, their methods seem to be intact.
While we await the early 2014 release, the cover art and the hopeful revelation of some audio from The Return of the Bearded Brethrensooner or later, I submit the following from the PR wire:
GRIFTER: New Album Completed; Title & Tracks Revealed
Ass kickin’, booty shakin’, whiskey rock ‘n’ rollers GRIFTER have announced their new album is all mixed and mastered, artwork is being completed now and everything will be delivered to Ripple Music for release early in 2014. The album will be called The Return Of The Bearded Brethren and will feature the following tracks.
1. Black Gold 2. She Mountain 3. Paranoiac Blues 4. Princess Leia 5. Bow Down To The Monkey 6. Braggard’s Boast 7. It’s Not Me It’s You 8. Fire Water 9. The Return Of the Bearded Brethren 10. Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)
The Return Of The Bearded Brethren will be released on CD, download and vinyl including a limited run ofBlack & Cream Guinness Splatterwax. GRIFTER will also be working on shows to support the album’s release and the band’s 10th anniversary. Details to come.
And finally, GRIFTER will also be running a competition via their Facebook page once they hit 3,000 likes based around the new album so head over, like the page and start growing your beards!www.facebook.com/grifterrock
Portuguese riffers The Fuzz Drivers recently announced they’d signed to Ripple Music. The four-piece have just unveiled a new video for the song “Carved Time,” which comes off their self-titled debut, released earlier this year. I’m not quite sure if Ripple will be reissuing that album or just moving forward with them on the next, but either way, the clip finds the band doing what heavy rock bands do best in videos — playing in the woods. Also a room though, so there’s some changing it up.
For as stoner rocking as their name is, “Carved Time” isn’t exactly pure Kyuss worship or really anything of the sort, instead residing in a kind of Southern hard/heavy rock that relies pretty heavily on its chorus. The Fuzz Drivers will head out on a European tour next weekend and you can check out the dates under the video below.
The Fuzz Drivers, “Carved Time” official video
THE FUZZ DRIVERS Debut New Video in Preparation For Their European Tour
RIPPLE MUSIC is still pumped over the addition of Portuguese Southern-vibed, heavy rockers, Fuzz Drivers, to the Ripple Music family. Now, they’re even more thrilled to announce the release of The Fuzz Drivers new video with an exclusive premiere at Melodicrock.com!
“Carved Time” is the third single from heavy rockers The Fuzz Drivers. The video comes shortly after the announcement of their worldwide deal with Ripple Music. The band will be appearing live in Spain, UK, Scotland, Belgium and Germany throughout August and September. Their self-titled debut is available for free at www.thefuzzdrivers.com
The Fuzz Drivers are gearing up to hit the road with King Lizard and The Scams.
Dates are as follows: August 30th – ES – Leon, Taberna Belfast August 31th – ES – Irún, Sala Tunk September 11th – UK – Grimsby, Yardbirds September 12th – UK – Edinburgh, Bannerman’s September 13th – UK – Bradford, Gasworks September 14th – UK – Southampton, ROXX September 15th – UK – London, The Underworld September 16th – B – Tongeren, Club Sodom September 18th – GER – Hamburg, Rock Café St. Pauli September 19th – GER – Cologne, MTC September 20th – GER – Hamminkeln, KuBa
Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay throw down a gauntlet in their new video for “Tie One On.” Anyone can make a song about drinking, and a goodly amount of those people can then make a video for said drinking song. But can they do it in a brewery? With the very works that create crisp, deliciously mind-numbing refreshment right behind them? I humbly submit that no, probably not. Unless they know someone at the brewery. Either way, kudos to Devil to Pay and Fountain Square Brewing. They made it real.
“Tie One On” comes off Devil to Pay‘s 2013 full-length, Fate is Your Muse (review here) an album big on riffs, melodies and charm. It wasn’t included on the vinyl version of the album (it’s on the CD and the download, all out through Ripple Music), so if you got your hands on one of the snazzy clear-LP versions, the new video — filmed by Kris Arnold and edited by DTP guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (recent interview here) — is a good way to get acquainted with the track itself, the spirit of it captured well in the beery misadventures of the band — Janiak, guitarist Rob Hough, bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle.
If you haven’t heard it before, you might find its pace and shuffle somewhat akin to “This Train Won’t Stop,” which premiered here late last year, but “Tie One On” has a groove and a hook all its own and it’s a standout on the CD from whence it comes. Make sure you watch it to the end, spot the Beelzefuzz t-shirt, keep your eye out for Apostle of Solitude drummer Corey Webb, and in case you’re wondering at any point whether Mr. Janiak is making eyes at you, oh, most definitely.
Devil to Pay, “Tie One On” official video
Metaphysical Doom Rockers DEVIL TO PAY Release New Music Video!
Hoosier Doom Rock veterans DEVIL TO PAY released a new music video for their song “Tie One On” today via exclusive premiere at The Obelisk.“Tie One On” is just the second video from their Ripple Music debut album, “Fate Is Your Muse”. The video footage was filmed by Kris Arnold at Fountain Square Brewing Company in the historic Fountain Square area of Indianapolis.
Before being included on their Ripple Music debut, “Tie One On” was released as the B-Side to the GloryHole Records “This Train Won’t Stop” 7-inch. The boogie-doom of “Tie One On” is described by the band as “ZZ Top and Trouble getting into a drunken conversation about the meaning of life.” The video clip shows the band performing as well as relaxing at the bar, interspersed with various 1950’s educational film footage.
DEVIL TO PAY was recently awarded “Best Metal Band” honors from NUVO Newsweekly’s “Best of Indy”for the fourth straight year. Said drummer Chad Prifogle, “We’re really honored to win. The voting is done by the readers of NUVO and we’re grateful to all our fans for their support.”
The band also just finished up a string of Midwest dates with Columbus Fuzz Rockers, Lo-Pan, and have more regional shows lined up before an east coast trip this fall, including an appearance at STONER HANDS OF DOOM 13 in Richmond, Virginia. DEVIL TO PAY will be performing with a wide variety of bands such as SOULFLY, EARTHEN GRAVE, DAIKAIJU, INCANTATION and ZZ TOP.
“Fate is Your Muse” has been a top-selling album for heavy rock indie label, Ripple Music. A scant few limited-edition, splatter colored vinyl LP’s are still available in the Ripple Music Store. The album was also release on black vinyl, CD, and digital formats. All are available at the Ripple Music Store (http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products) and Ripple Music Bandcamp, (http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/) as well as premium records stores world-wide and via Nail Distribution, Clearspot International and Code 7.
DEVIL TO PAY TOUR DATES:
AUG 10th – Mayne Stage, Chicago, IL w/ Earthen Grave with Rachel Barton Pine& Divinity Compromised AUG 11th – The Vogue Theatre, Indianapolis, IN w/ Soulfly, Lody Kong & Incite AUG 24th – The Haymarket Whiskey Bar, Louisville, KY w/ The Decline Effect. AUG 25th – Klipsch Music Center Side Stage, Noblesville, IN w/ Kid Rock & ZZ Top AUG 31st – Berlin Music Pub, Fort Wayne, IN w/ Born Under Burden, Maumee Project & Dogma SEP 6th – Beale Street Live, Indianapolis, IN w/ Daikaiju, The Dockers & Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes SEP 21st- Indy Metal Fest, Old National Center, Indianapolis, IN w/ Incantation, Archeron, Byzantine, Leatherwolf & more
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Portland heavy rockers Ape Machine are at it again. After touring Europe this Spring, the four-piece are headed out for a West Coast run starting next Friday in Sacramento in support of their recently-released Ripple Music debut, Mangled by the Machine (review here). No word on when or if their good-time heavy boogie will grace the Eastern Seaboard, but hell, if you’re these guys coming from the West Coast and you’re going to go that far, you might as well stay on the plane until it lands in Europe and you can get paid, so I get it.
If you’re out that way, and even if not and you’re just generally interested in what cool bands are up to, dates follow:
APE MACHINE Announce West Coast Tour Dates
Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine is hitting the road for the third time this year, once again plowing their way across the urban wastelands of the U.S. West Coast!
For the first time since the band’s landmark European tour this past June, Ape Machine is revisiting the frequent haunts of past West Coast tours, all in the support of the band’s critically-acclaimed Ripple Music debut, Mangled By The Machine. The quartet that admittedly is “out to melt faces and pound the apathy out of otherwise jaded listeners” is eager to bring the live Machine back to stages, and show the masses what hard and heavy music is supposed to do to the senses.
“We spent sixteen days trekking across Europe and that experience helped us refine our live set to be much more precise,” states guitarist and band founder, Ian Watts. “We’re a live band. The album (Mangled By The Machine) was recorded in a live setting and all in one session. It’s a natural setting for us and a place we itch to get back to every time we get off the road.”
APE MACHINE West Coast Tour Dates: Aug 16th @ Blue Lamp – Sacramento, Ca. Aug. 17th @ Audie’s Olympic – Fresno, Ca. Aug. 18th @ The Local Bar (Hangover Sundays) – Anaheim, Ca. Aug. 19th @ Soda Bar – San Diego, Ca. Aug. 20th @ The Royal Dive – Oceanside, Ca. Aug. 21st @ On The Rox – West Hollywood, Ca. Aug. 22nd @ Dex Records – Chico, Ca. Aug. 23rd @ Oak Street Speakeasy – Eugene, Or. Aug. 24th @ New Frontier Lounge – Tacoma, Wa.
Mangled By The Machine was released in early May of 2013 by Ripple Music, and is distributed throughout the North America through Nail/Allegro Distribution, the UK through Code 7, and Continental Europe through Clearspot International.
Posted in Reviews on August 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
With their third album and Ripple Music debut, Portland, Oregon, four-piece Ape Machine take something of a turn toward the straightforward within heavy rock. The semi-retro vibes they presented on their prior outing, 2011′s War to Head(track stream here), still show up on Mangled by the Machine, but tonally the focus seems to have moved somewhat more toward crunch than fuzz, and the songs by and large are crisper, higher tempo and shorter. It all makes for a quick listen throughout the album’s 38 minutes, and where Mangled by the Machinedoes not at all falter is in the quality of the songwriting, which if anything is all the more highlighted by this somewhat stripped down approach. Seeming to nod at latter-day Lo-Pan, “Gun You Down” opens the record with a fervent groove and soulful vocals from Caleb Heinze, the band’s stated affinity for recording analog showing itself through a natural feel and warmth in the guitars of Ian Watts, the bass of Brian True and Damon de la Paz‘s drums. Songs move quickly and smoothly one into the next, the strong hook of “Everybody Bleeds” taking hold quickly before it seems like the introductory rush of “Gun You Down” has had time to develop. That ethic plays out over the course of the vinyl-ready offering — the tracks don’t sound hastily composed, but the album has a rush to it all the same — and the material is further tied together by Heinze‘s consistent vocal approach, which keeps largely to a higher register and adds to the energy of the instruments behind (and sometimes in front of) him.
There’s an angularity underlying some of Watts‘ riffing that seems to be filtering classic prog through the Melvins, and it can be heard on “Everybody Bleeds” as well as several of the other cuts’ chugging progressions, but it’s not jagged enough to make the several guest organ spots from Ikey Owens seem out of place, the first of them arriving on “Everybody Bleeds” with others showing up on the title-track and side B cuts “Ruling with Intent,” “Grind of Defeat,” the ultra-catchy “Strange are the People” and closer “Pay Attention.” If that seems like a lot, it is, but Ape Machine put the organ to good use within the tracks, bolstering the classic rock atmosphere and adding to the melodies in what’s still definitively a modern sound — that is, not given to the same kind of retro audio manifestation as any number of European acts working with similar influences. And still, the riffs lead the way, which makes me think the songs were composed before the organ was brought into the process, and as “Tyrant’s Arm” gives way as the third in a raging opening trio to the more landmark riffing of “Angry Man,” there isn’t so much a change in tempo as one in energy that suits the band well, True‘s bass stepping in to fill out the guitar work with some of the album’s best fills, which of course also lets de la Paz deliver choice freakout fills. The whole album is impeccably constructed, but the most satisfying change of all might be “Angry Man” running headfirst into “Mangled by the Machine” to close out side A.
Posted in Features on July 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Two weeks ago, Indianapolis doom rockers Devil to Pay hit the road for a handful of dates alongside Ohio-based cohorts Lo-Pan. It was Devil to Pay‘s first real road time since issuing their fourth album and Ripple Music debut, Fate is Your Muse(review here), earlier this year, and Fate is Your Museis the first Devil to Pay album since 2009′s Heavily Ever After. Much of the material on the record had been tested at East Coast gigs last fall leading up to a performance at Stoner Hands of Doom XII, but still, for it having been so long since their last outing, the quality of the songs on Fate is Your Musewas all the more startling.
With tracks like “Already Dead,” “This Train Won’t Stop,” “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife” and the eerily proggy “Black Black Heart,” Devil to Pay showed growth in what was already an engaging songwriting methodology. Strong choruses backed by the thick but not overdone riffing of guitarists Steve Janiak (also vocals) and Rob Hough lent a slick feel throughout, but a natural vibe persisted and won out, bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Profigle holding down a straightforward foundation of organic groove from which tracks branched out in varying but consistent directions — the whole process both unpretentious and flowing over the course of the album as a whole. There was, in short, very little not to like.
As Janiak‘s vocals were a particular point of growth — he doubles as guitarist/backing vocalist in Indy trad doomers Apostle of Solitude – it seemed all the more appropriate to ring him up for a quick interview about Fate is Your Muse, what went into making it and if splitting his time as he does had any effect on the songwriting process for these tracks. Janiak has a keen, critical and self-aware eye, so to hear him turn those impulses inward to discuss putting the record together was especially fascinating. We spoke just prior to their starting the gigs with Lo-Pan and you’ll find the complete Q&A with pictures from last year’s SHoD after the jump.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Powered by vocalist Pete French, the reformed Leaf Hound will issue Live in Japan 2012 on Ripple Music later in 2013. The band have been playing periodically since releasing their 2007 comeback album, Unleashed, with stints at Roadburn and last year’s Desertfest (review here) under their belt as well as 1971′s Growers of Mushroom, which remains among the most formative works of modern heavy and stoner rock. Yes, really.
Ripple sent over the following:
Legendary Rocker, Pete French, Teams With Ripple Music To Release New LEAF HOUND Album, Live In Japan
Late 60s/early 70s classic rock band LEAF HOUND is legendary.
And now the band’s equally legendary frontman, Pete French, and the rest of LEAF HOUND has joined forces with Ripple Music to release an LP, CD, DVD project of all newly recorded live material – Live in Japan.
Recorded live in July of 2012 in Tokyo, Live in Japan will see worldwide release later this year via Ripple Music. Look out world, LEAF HOUND has been unleashed once again!
Few bands from the proto-metal period command the undying respect and nods of approval as does Leaf Hound. Talk about a pedigree. Leaf Hound formed in 1969 under their original name, Black Cat Bones. Early incarnations of the Black Cat Bones featured guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke who both left to form Free. Black Cat Bones issued one album then replaced their vocalist with perfect-wailer Peter French, Guitarist Rod Price departed soon after to join Foghat and French added his cousin Mick Halls on guitar. With that change, Leaf Hound was born.
In 1970, Leaf Hound released the seminal album “Growers of Mushrooms” which has rightly been hailed as a bonafide classic of 70′s British underground rock scene. Classic Rock magazine has raved that “Growers of Mushrooms” is one of the most influential pieces of music on the stoner rock, and the album has gained a reputation as being one of the true lost gems of the early British hard rock scene. Original Decca vinyl copies on are one of the most rare collectable rock albums out there with prices soaring above £4,000!
After the band broke up, Peter French found himself in high demand. He has been the voice of Atomic Rooster, Cactus and Randy Pie as well as releasing an acclaimed solo album on Polydor, ‘Ducks In Flight’, which featured the likes of Micky Moody, Brian Robertson and Kenny Jones. But the legend of Leaf Hound wouldn’t die. Interest in the band took a seismic shift when the album was first re-released on CD in 1994, finally giving rock fans easy access to the buried treasure. It gained a second re-release in 2005. The music is a prime slice of classic 70′s hard rock – a heady mix of Cream, The Who, Free, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
Following intense public demand, Pete French put a new version of Leaf Hound together in the Spring of 2004, and in 2007 Leaf Hound released their first new album in decades, ‘Unleashed’ on the R.A.R.E/Repertoire label to highly positive critical acclaim. The opening track, ’105 Degrees’, was voted one of the top 100 rock tracks of 2007 by Classic Rock magazine. To launch the release of the album, they headlined the second night of the All Hallows Festival at London’s Camden Underworld.
Now, the next chapter in the myth that is Leaf Hound unfolds as the band has joined the stalwart heavy rocking label, Ripple Music to unleash an all new set of killer live Leaf Hound onto the unsuspecting public. Soon to be released on LP, CD and DVD formats, Ripple Music will bring to a whole new audience the legend that is Leaf Hound. With a roster of classic proto-metal rockers that includes Poobah, JPT Scare Band, and Iron Claw, Ripple Music has already proven its ability to bring classic rocking bands to a modern audience.
LEAF HOUND is: PETER FRENCH – VOCALS LUKE RAYNER – GUITAR PETER HERBERT – BASS JIMMY ROWLAND – DRUMS
Posted in Features on June 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
This is always fun, and because the year’s only (just about) half over, you always know there’s more to come. The last six months have brought a host of really stellar releases, and the whole time, it’s felt like just when you’ve dug your heels into something and really feel content to rest with it for a while, there’s something else to grab your ears. So it’s been for the last six months, bouncing from one record to the next.
Even now, I’ve got a list of albums, singles, EPs, tapes, demos, whatever, waiting for attention — some of which I’m viciously behind on — but it’s time to stop and take a look back at some of what the best of the first half of 2013 has been. Please note, I’m only counting full-lengths here. While I’ve heard a few killer EPs this year — looking at you, Mars Red Sky — it doesn’t seem fair to rate everything all together like that. Maybe a separate list.
If you’ve got a list of your own or some quibbling on the numbers, please leave a comment and be heard. From where I sit, that’s always the best part of this kind of thing.
The third Endless Boogie album on No Quarter was basically the soundtrack to the end of my winter, with smooth grooving cuts like “The Artemus Ward” and the classic rock shake of “On Cryology” providing a soundtrack as cool as the air in my lungs. It was my first experience with the longform-jamming improv-heavy foursome, and a CD I’m still stoked to put on and get lost in, having found that it works just as well in summer’s humidity as winter’s freeze, the off-the-cuff narrations of Paul Major (interview here) carrying a vibe unmistakably belonging to the rock history of the band’s native New York City. Was a sleeper, but not one to miss for its organic and exploratory feel.
Proffering righteous traditional doom and misery-drenched atmospherics, the debut full-length from Massachusetts-based Magic Circle hit hard and showed there’s life yet to the old ways. It never quite veered into the cultish posturing that comprises so much of the trad doom aesthetic these days, and from the grandiose riffing of guitarists Dan Ducas and Chris Corry and the blown-out vocals of frontman Brendan Radigan, it found the band carving a memorable identity for themselves with clear sonic ideas of what they wanted to accomplish. Out of all the bands on this list, I’m most interested to hear what Magic Circle do next to build on their debut.
Berlin trio Kadavar had a tough task ahead of them in releasing a sophomore answer to their self-titled, which I thought was the best first album of 2012, but when Abra Kadavar surfaced as their debut on Nuclear Blast, it was quickly apparent that the retro heavy rockers had put together a worthy follow-up. Cuts like “Come Back Life” and “Doomsday Machine” underscored the straightforward triumphs of the prior outing, while late-album arrivals “Liquid Dream,” “Rhythm for Endless Minds” and “Abra Kadabra” gave a sense that Kadavar were beginning a journey into psychedelia the results of which could be just as rewarding as even the most potent of their choruses. Their potential remains one of their biggest appeals.
It wasn’t without its rough edges, but at the core of Indianapolis heavy rockers Devil to Pay‘s fourth record was an unflinching songwriting quality that quickly established it among my go-to regulars, whether it was the quirky doom hook of “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife,” the darkly progressive riffing of “Black Black Heart” or the suitably propulsive rush of “This Train Won’t Stop.” The double-guitar four-piece didn’t have much time for frills in terms of arrangement or structure, but by building on the developments over the course of their three prior releases, Devil to Pay delivered a slab of deceptively intricate standouts that made hard turns sound easy and demanded the attention it deserved.
6. Beast in the Field, The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below
Unfuckwithable tone set to destructive purpose. Immediately upon hearing the unsung Michigan drum/guitar duo’s fourth album, the impact of The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below — overwhelming though it is at times throughout the album; hello, “Oncoming Avalanche” — refused to be denied. Beast in the Field haven’t gotten anything remotely close to the attention they should for this devastating collection, but it’s one I absolutely can’t put down, cohesive in theme and full of skull-caving riffs as dynamic as they are brutally delivered by the instrumental twosome. If it’s one you missed on CD when Saw Her Ghost put it out in March (as I did), keep your eyes open for a vinyl release coming on Emetic in the next couple months. Really. Do it.
Massachusetts trio Black Pyramid quickly dispatched any doubts of their ability to continue on after the departure of their previous guitarist/vocalist, bassist Dave Gein and drummer Clay Neely joined forces with Darryl Shepard (Hackman, Blackwolfgoat, Roadsaw, etc.) to reinvigorate their battle-ready doom, and whether it was the extended jamming on “Swing the Scimitar” or the surprisingly smooth riffing on “Aphelion,” the results did not disappoint. Regardless of personnel, I’ve yet to hear a Black Pyramid album I didn’t want to hear again, and though I’ll freely admit they’re a sentimental favorite for me at this point, Adversarial is a suitable dawn for their next era. Long may they reign.
True, I will argue tooth and nail that Boston four-piece Gozu should get rid of their goofball, sitcom-referential song titles, but that’s only because I believe the band’s lack of pretense speaks for itself through the music and their tracks are too good to give listeners a chance not to take them seriously. When it comes to The Fury of a Patient Man — their second full-length behind the impressive 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here) — I knew the first time I heard it toward the end of last year that it was going to be one of 2013′s best, and while I’ve heard quibbles in favor of the debut, nothing has dissuaded me from thinking the sophomore installment outclasses it on almost every level. Expect a return appearance when the year-end list hits in December.
There’s a big part of me that feels like a sucker for digging …Like Clockwork, the first Queens of the Stone Age full-length since 2007′s relatively lackluster Era Vulgaris, but when it comes right down to it, I hit the point in listening to the album that I came around to its sheen, its up-and-down moodiness and its unabashed self-importance. I hit the point where I was able to separate …Like Clockwork from its “viral marketing” and just enjoy Josh Homme‘s all-growed-up songwriting for what it is. Would I have loved a second self-titled album? Probably, but it wasn’t realistic to think that’s what …Like Clockwork would be, and as much as I’ve tried out other spots for it, I’d be lying if I put this record anywhere else on this list but here. So there you go. I understand the arguments against it, but reason doesn’t always apply when it comes to what gets repeat spins.
I was late to the party on the second Uncle Acid offering, 2011′s Blood Lust, as I often am on records where the hype gets to din levels, but by the time the subsequent Mind Control was announced, I knew it was going to be one to watch out for. Aligned to Rise Above/Metal Blade, the UK outfit began to unravel till-then mystery of itself, playing live and developing the brazen psychedelic pop influences hinted at in the horrors of Blood Lust so that the swing of “Mt. Abraxas” and the acid-coated psych of “Valley of the Dolls” could exist within the same cohesive sphere. Between the death-boogie of “Mind Crawler” and mid-period Beatlesian exploration of “Follow the Leader,” Mind Control continues to be an album I hear as much on the mental jukebox rotation as one I actually put on to listen to again. Either way, there’s no getting away from it — the eerie melodies of guitarist/vocalists Kevin “Uncle Acid” Starrs and Yotam Rubinger are hauntingly ever-present.
Obvious? Probably, but that doesn’t make it any less genuine. To set the scene, here’s me on the Masspike a couple weeks ago in the Volvo of Doom™ with the little dog Dio, 90 miles an hour shouting along to “Crucial Velocity” at the top of my never-on-key lungs. I couldn’t and wouldn’t endeavor to tell you how many times I’ve listened to Earth Rocker since I first got a taste, but from the title-track on through the surging groove at the end of “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” front to back, the 10th Clutch album still does not fail to roil the blood with not a dud in the bunch. The Maryland road dogs of course shine best on a stage, and Earth Rocker‘s polished, layered production is a studio affair in the truest sense, but all that does is make me hopeful they’ll complement it with a live record soon. Clutch could easily have phoned in a follow-up to 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West and their fanbase probably would’ve still salivated over it, myself included, but by boldly pushing themselves to write faster, more concise material, they’ve reenergized one of heavy rock’s best sounds. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a brand new listener, Earth Rocker is utterly essential.
Two more records I have to mention: Kings Destroy‘s A Time of Hunting and Clamfight‘s I vs. the Glacier. I wasn’t involved in releasing the Kings Destroy, but felt close to it nonetheless, and since the Clamfight came out on The Maple Forum, it wouldn’t be appropriate to include it in the list proper, but hands down, these are my two favorite records of the year so far and made by some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to know over the course of my years nerding out to heavy music.
Some other honorable mentions go to Toner Low, Cathedral, Church of Misery, Serpent Throne, Naam, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and All Them Witches. Like I said, it’s been a hell of a year so far.
You may note some glaring absences in the list above — Black Sabbath, ASG, Orchid, Ghost, Kvelertak and Voivod come to mind immediately. Some of that is a result of my disdain for digital promos, and some of that is just a matter of what I listened to most. Please understand that although release profile is not something discounted, at the heart of what’s included here is one individual’s personal preferences and listening habits.
Thanks for reading. Here’s to your own lists and to the next six months to come!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ripple Music has done a few benefit auctions along the way, building goodwill and community as well as giving diehard fans a chance to have a special item from their bands. This time around it’s a Devil to Pay test pressing for their new album, Fate is Your Muse, and the cause is a dear one. All proceeds will go directly to Doommantia.com founder Ed Barnard, who continues to struggle with health problems and the resulting medical bills.
Aside from the fact that Fate is Your Muserules, I have a hard time thinking of a better way to support one of doom’s longest running and most respect-worthy champions. Here’s the info:
Ripple Music and Devil to Pay Auction Extremely Rare Test Pressing of Fate is Your Muse to Benefit the Medical Needs of Doommantia Founder, Ed Barnard
Ripple Music is proud to announce the latest in their ongoing series of rare test pressing auctions for charity, this time benefiting the medical needs of Doommantia founder, Ed Barnard. The long-running site, Doommantia (www.doommantia.com) is one of the leading forces bringing CD Reviews, Interviews, Authorized free downloads and Promotion for bands in the Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Drone, Sludge Metal genres. The site also has an active forum (www.doommantiaforum.com) for heavy rock maniacs to share ideas and views, creating a solid doom rock community.
For those unaware, Ed had been forced into homeless by a medical condition but still manages to keep the Doommantia site viable online. Ed suffered a series of heart attacks that forced Ed to become unemployed. Those events, plus the exorbitant cost of cardiac medications made paying the rent an impossibility and he was evicted from his place in Aberdeen, Washington. Now homeless, the doom and metal community has been rallying around his cause with benefit concerts and a compilation of 39 heavy bands that all donated their music to help Ed’s cause. The compilation, Doommantia Vol. 1, is available at: doommantiavol1.bandcamp.com
Now Ripple Music offers their assistance to help a musical brother in need. After establishing an ongoing company policy of giving back to the community, Ripple Music has auctioned off some of their rarest test pressings to help the BP Spill Gulf Clean Up, Wounded Warriors, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research, and Joplin Missouri Tornado Relief, amongst others. The auction of the extremely rare test press for Devil To Pay’s Fate is Your Muse will continue that tradition, offering heavy rock/doom fans a chance to get one of only two test-pressings ever to be released to the public.
Posted in audiObelisk on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Earthen Grave, “Death is Another Word” from Earthen Grave LP
I’m still not sure about these new Bandcamp players, and by that I mean I hate them because I’m not used to them, but here we are. What was I gonna do, not end the week with “Death is Another Word,” the bonus track from the forthcoming Ripple Music reissue of Earthen Grave‘s Earthen Grave? Obviously that’s not an option.
So while what has become the standard purveyor of streaming music and direct-to-or-from-band commerce departs its earlier unintrusiveness in favor of the page-consuming behemoth you see above (ah, but you could choose one of the smaller players that oh wait no one can fucking see them because they’re terrible), I hope you’ll know I take consolation for the lost screen real estate in the form of Earthen Grave‘s melodic semi-traditional doom, which is brought all the more into focus approaching “Death is Another Word…” as a single. I don’t know when this was recorded in relation to the album, but it’s a cool sound and it’s interesting to think how Earthen Grave might’ve grown by the time their next album — which will presumably also show up on Ripple – surfaces. A million possibilities.
Among my own possibilities is that this weekend The Patient Mrs. and I buy a house. Got an offer accepted on a place and an inspection tomorrow, so pending what that turns up and yet another round of mortgage haranguing, I may yet wind up with somewhere to live by the time summer’s over. However that winds up, I’ll be up in Massachusetts, and barring disaster will head out to catch It’s Not Night: It’sSpace, Queen Elephantineand Elder side-project Gold and Silver at P.A.’s Lounge in Boston, so whether I’m drowning my sorrows in riffs or celebrating the glorious future to come [NOTE:Actually, I had to turn around and head back home, so I drowned in I-95 traffic], I’ll at least be making the most of the drive from Jersey. A drive which is becoming a familiar staple of my weekends at this point and a drain on my overall energy level — in short a drive I look forward to not needing to make anymore.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
Next week, reviews of that show and the new Sabbath – we’ll doom like bastards — and a countdown of the Top 10 Albums of the Year so far, plus whatever videos, news, audio, etc. I can dig up. My plan is to head out Wednesday for Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin next weekend. I’ve put in for the time off work(s), so we’ll see if both I and my car make there in one piece. I wouldn’t be reviewing that until the week after this one coming, obviously, but if I get the chance, I might throw up a picture or something. Or, since I’m not drinking, maybe I’ll just live-blog the whole thing. Again, a million possibilities. Let me get through tomorrow afternoon before I decide anything about anything.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and please have a great and safe weekend.
Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.
In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.
Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:
Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.
Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates: Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!
In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below:
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
After marauding this Spring with like-minded booze rockers Gypsyhawk, Texan trio Mothership are taking to the streets once again this month for a week of shows alongside Communion. The tour will include a stop, as noted below, at the pre-party for Show Class magazine’s Born Free 5 fest.
No word yet on a follow-up to the band’s self-titled debut, self-released by the band last year and reissued by Ripple Music earlier in 2013, but I can only imagine they’re hammering out new songs on the road, which for what Mothership does, is where they belong.
The PR wire takes it from here:
MOTHERSHIP Gearing Up For Summer Tour With COMMUNION
The Dallas, Texas-based trio of heavy rock bad asses known as MOTHERSHIP is about to make a return the road for a brief run with psychedelic doomsters COMMUNION.
Those who missed out on the band’s Spring run with GYPSYHAWK now have a second chance to experience some no-frills rock n’ roll magic when MOTHERSHIP kicks off their Summer tour on June 24th at Hotel Vegas in Austin, TX. This run will include a June 28th stop in Trabuco Canyon, CA for Show Class Magazine’s Born Free 5 Festival People’s Champ Party. Details for Born Free 5 and the pre-party can be found at the following links:
In other news, the song “Lunar Master,” off of MOTHERSHIP’s self-titled debut, has been ranked #3 on The Paranoid Hitsophrenic ‘Regular Old Doom Charts.’ Check out the rankings, which includes a link to a stream of the track,at this location.
MOTHERSHIP Summer 2013 Tour Dates w/ COMMUNION June 24 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas June 25 El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace June 26 Tucson, AZ @ Surly Wench Pub w/ Thorncaster June 27 San Diego, CA @ The Void w/ Harsh Toke June 28 Trabuco Canyon, CA @ Cook’s Corner – Born Free 5 Pre-Party w/ O Zorn June 30 Los Angeles, CA @ TBA July 1 Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room w/ Flying Scorpion July 2 Albuquerque, NM @ TBA July 3 Midland, TX @ Blue Max