Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Roadsaw news is good news. The Boston heavy rock magnates have announced that they’ll hit Mad Oak Studio to work with producer Benny Grotto next month in order to record their eighth album, the awaited follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here), which will be released — and here comes the twist — on Ripple Music. Formerly the quintessential Small Stone band, Roadsaw will work with Ripple for their new one, the label having already released material from heavy punkers White Dynomite, whose lineup features Roadsaw‘s Tim Catz and Craig Riggs.
Ripple continues its upswing and will have the new Roadsaw album out early next year, as the PR wire informs:
Boston Riff-Masters, Roadsaw, Sign World-Wide Deal with Ripple Music – New Album out Early 2017
Ripple Music is proud to announce the signing of legendary riff-masters, ROADSAW to the label’s hard and heavy roster. The veteran Boston motor-stoner act still consists of the decade-long classic line up and will be heading into the illustrious Mad Oak Studios with producer Benny Grotto to lay down a potent new batch of songs, due out early 2017, that are sure to please old fans and turn on new ones.
For the unfamiliar ROADSAW invite you to climb inside their jaded jalopy and careen headlong into their amplified analog landscape. From the shores of British electric blues, across the pond to America’s sonic 70s stomp; down to the Southern swamps, thru the New York groove, straight into heart of California’s psychedelic desert. ROADSAW’s long strange trip is a virtual history of heavy riffs.
ROADSAW’s often turbulent career includes 7 albums , numerous compilations, and a smattering of hard-to-find singles. The band has shared stages big and small on both sides of the Atlantic with comrades like Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nebula, Scissorfight, Karma To Burn, Black Label Society and many others. Together with Ripple, the band looks forward to adding a big bold exclamation point to this already impressive resume. US and European tours are being booked for spring 2017, including an appearance at London’s Desert Fest. Spirits are high for the much anticipated return of one of riff rocks most loyal disciples.
Like cockroaches in a post apocalyptic fall out, ROADSAW rise once again. Having survived every storm, war, trend and taste, ROADSAW simply refuses to die. Now, they’re signed to one of the world’s leading heavy rock, stoner, doom and heavy psych label’s, Ripple Music, and it’s a certainty that mayhem will follow. Look for limited edition vinyl, CD’s and digital to be spread around the world in Spring 2017.
So there you have it. New year. New music. New label. The ‘Saw remains the same.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Cheers to German heavy rockers Plainride on getting picked up by Californian imprint Ripple Music. The band issued their uptempo groover debut, Return of the Jackalope (review here), last year, and as they join the formidable and increasingly populated Ripple lineup, their first release will be a reissue of their first outing, presumably to be followed at some point by a sophomore effort. We’ll get there when we get there. No doubt the Cologne natives are kicking back a few in celebration of their new alliance, and I wouldn’t argue, either with the band or the booze.
From the PR wire:
PLAINRIDE – Cologne-based Stoner Rock ‘n’ Rollers sign worldwide record deal with Californian label RIPPLE MUSIC
“Imagine a pack of rabid tumbleweeds sweeping across the hot desert sand of Mojave set on fire by the nearby explosion of a Dodge Challenger ‘69 driven into a fuel soaked pile of Orange Half-Stacks by four whole-body bearded lumberjacks dressed in bearskin.”
This sentence originated in 2013 as part of an attempt to describe a German band that had only just been tossed onto the face of the Earth: Plainride. Little did these guys know they had just created what would soon become a self-fulfilling prophecy of dramatic extent. Three years later, the band is ridiculously close to their own, ambitious vision of themselves. Let’s recap: Beards? Check. Orange Amps? Check. Mojave? Well, kinda.
When you’ve got Plainride spinning on your turntable, you will barely believe these guys are in fact not from California, but from Cologne. Sweat-drippin’ drums, high voltage guitars, wailing solos and a voice so frenetic, one might assume the Beast himself took control of the mic.
That said, it comes to little surprise that Plainride eventually teamed up with Ripple Music from San Ramon, CA. The dedicated rock label will kick things off with a re-release of “Return Of The Jackalope”, the bands’ ferocious debut album, which had first been unveiled in Summer 2015. The re-issue is scheduled for this winter and will include a digital release on all platforms, a CD, a double vinyl release, and world-wide distribution.
While this is undeniably a huge step, Plainride keeps on rolling with their sympathetic down-to-earth attitude, as singer Max confirms: „We’re not a business band at any rate. Rehearsals are what makes my week worthwhile. Hanging and rocking out with the guys, frequenting shady concerts – that stuff is like sex to me: Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty damn good! The day we decide to stop making fun of ourselves should be the day someone takes away our guitars and punches us in the face.” Beer-fueled banter aside, these guys aren’t in it just for the heck of it: “We always had the ambition to achieve as much as possible while staying true to our founding spirit. Signing with Ripple Music is an awesome and humbling opportunity for us and I’ll be damned if we’re not gonna work off our asses to honor that!”
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Texas doom rockers Las Cruces have set the Denizens of the Dark festival in San Antonio as their first appearance with original frontman Mark Zamarron. The vocalist, who appeared on the band’s last record, 2010’s Dusk (review here), has rejoined the band ahead of the release of their fourth album and Ripple Music debut, which has been in the works for at least the last three years. Considering the album before Dusk, the sophomore outing Ringmaster, came out in 1998, they’re still on pace for a significant decrease in the split from one record to the next at six or seven years, and of course they’ve continued to play shows all the while.
The lineup for Denizens of the Dark — which I’ve posted below the band’s announcement of Zamarron rejoining the fold — is a considerable gathering of heavy acts from Texas and beyond, easily worth your perusal. Check it out if you feel like spending the rest of your day digging on bands (and why wouldn’t you?):
Great news to share from the Las Cruces camp. Original frontman Mark Zamarron has returned to flock.
The prodigal son has returned from his ten year dragon slumber!
The Ringmaster himself, original frontman Mark Zamarron back in Las Cruces. First full set appearance will be at The Denizens of the Dark festival Sept 2nd. We will be recording our up coming album “Altar of the Seven Sorrows” on Ripple Music.
Las Cruces: George Trevino – Rhythm Guitar Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar Mark Zamarron – Vocals Paul De Leon – Drums Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar
Denizens of the Dark Festival September 2 & 3 Bonds Rock Bar 450 Soledad St, San Antonio, Texas 78205
Friday line up : Destroyer of Light (Austin) Las Cruces Jason Kane and the Jive Cursus Over the Top Kin of Ettins (DFW) King Earth
Saturday line up: Mos Generator (WA) Mala Suerte (Austin) Deguello Switchblade Jesus (Corpus) The Dirty Seeds (Houston) Orthodox Fuzz (DFW) Dead Hawke (DFW) Death’s Embrace
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
After issuing their debut album, The Vast Electric Dark, on deluxe vinyl through STB Records, Australian trio Witchskull will release the same offering on CD/DL through Ripple Music. The impending disc furthers the bicoastal alliance between NJ’s STB and CA’s Ripple, two of the strongest up and coming American heavy rock labels, and will be out on Sept. 23. Witchskull will head to US shores this fall for The Rage for Armageddon Fest at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, which is no small trip to make from their native Canberra, and if I hear of other gigs around that appearance — doesn’t seem unlikely, given the distance — I’ll let you know.
For now, Ripple Music speaks through the PR wire:
Proto-metal trio WITCHSKULL to release The Vast Electric Dark this September
The Vast Electric Dark is released worldwide on 23rd September via Ripple Music
Ripple Music is psyched to announce the official worldwide release of The Vast Electric Dark, the crushing debut album from Australian blues-based doom trio, Witchskull.
Formed in Canberra in early 2014 by drummer and former member of acclaimed Australian thrash legends Armoured Angel, Joel Green, along with old school friends Marcus De Pasquale (guitar) and bass player Tony McMahon; Witchskull is less a band and more a brotherhood.
Borne out of a love for Dio, Black Sabbath, Motörhead and the NWOBHM movement the trio locked into an almost hermetic groove from the very beginning. So much so by the Summer of that same year Witchskull were road testing freshly demoed songs at countless shows across Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. Capable of unleashing raw, balls-to-the-wall doom indebted in no small part to the influence of heavy blues-rock and proto-metal, their unmistakably primal sound marks them out as a stunning live spectacle… a force of nature awakening again and again, night after night.
Decamping to Mebourne’s Goatsound Studios with producer/engineer Jason Fuller (Blood Duster) in January last year, the trio emerged with what quickly became one of 2015’s finest underground releases. A mélange of gnarled vocal tones, pummeling drums and outright guitar majesty that provided the perfect tomb for the dark lyrics contained within, the self-released The Vast Electric Dark struck an instant chord with purveyors of heavy rock.
Following the exclusive STB vinyl-only version of the album which sold out in record time, Ripple Music will give everyone the chance to find out what makes Witchskull so special when The Vast Electric Dark is given an official worldwide release on CD and digital download on 23rd September 2016.
Live: 30th October 2016 – The Rage for Armageddon Fest – St Vitus Bar, New York
San Jose aggro heavy rockers Zed will head out this October on a run down the West Coast in order to promote their new album, Trouble in Eden. The record drops Aug. 26 via Ripple Music, and the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari, guitarist Greg Lopez, bassist Mark Aceves and drummer Rich Harris have a new video for the track “Royale,” which leads off the album, providing and opening punch from which they can build moving through the tracks. Like a lot of what they do, it has a straightforward, stripped-down appeal driven by its energetic delivery and rhythmic thrust, which comes accompanied by a solid chorus.
The circumstances of the “Royale” video’s arrival are also pretty true to who they are as players. Comprised of performance footage filmed on an iPhone, a DSLR and a GoPro and edited in Final Cut Pro X, Aceves describes it below as “fully DIY,” the band having hired a director who wound up unable to make the gig. Fair enough for making the most of what they had to work with. The clip winds up benefiting from the change in camera-type, and in the spirit of Zed‘s music, it offers more than a superficial glance can really tell. Doesn’t hurt either that the track is so damn catchy.
Zed play the release show for Trouble in Eden on Aug. 19 in San Francisco at Bottom of the Hill. Info for the rest of their dates and the aforementioned comment from Aceves follow the “Royale” video, which you’ll find below.
Zed, “Royale” official video
Mark Aceves on “Royale”
“The video was filmed in mid-July and it was a fully DIY effort in that we were slated to work with a producer/director who at the last minute had some family issues come up and he just disappeared, so we decided to take things into our own hands. We had the room booked, so we invited some friends to come hang out who help set up and we filmed it in one afternoon, and I think it came out pretty good! We chose this song as it is the opening song on the album and it comes out with a bang! I think it really captures the essence of ZED, which is big riffs and hooks, being both heavy and groove oriented at the same time. This one’s a real head bobber and ass shaker!”
Trouble In Eden will be officially released on 26th August through Ripple Music.
Zed live: 19 August Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA (RECORD RELEASE PARTY!) 10 September The Uptown Oakland CA 2 October The Caravan San Jose, CA 13 October Black Water Portland, OR 14 October Skylark Seattle, WA 15 October Black Forest Eugene, OR 20 October Viper Room Los Angeles, CA 21 October Til Two San Diego, CA 22 October Dive Bar Las Vegas, NV 19 November Uptown Oakland, CA
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
As just about anyone who’s ever experienced Wo Fat‘s live show or heard their recorded output — most recently represented in this year’s Midnight Cometh (review here), their first album for Ripple Music and sixth overall — handling low end for the Dallas trio is no minor task. It’s an integral part of what they do, in true power trio form — all elements necessary. With that in mind, I don’t imagine that finding someone to take the spot of Tim Wilson was an easy task for guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump or drummer/vocalist Michael Walter. That makes the announcement of Zack Busby (Burden Brothers, Descender) all the more intriguing in terms of what he might be able to bring to the group’s exploratory dynamic.
We’ll find out in time. Wo Fat play the Psycho Roadshow on Aug. 20 in Austin, TX, with The Cosmic Dead, Acid Witch, Mala Suerte and many others, so that’ll probably be a good place to start. Beyond that, one doubts it’ll be too long before they hit the road again, since I don’t think at this point they’d be inclined to bring in a new player who couldn’t tour. This may turn out to be an opportunity for them to up the amount of time they spend on that. Again, it’ll be a little bit before we know either way.
In any case, good luck to Busby and continued success to the band, whose reach only seems to be expanding these days toward the forefront of American heavy rock:
Wo Fat Announces New Bass Player
Wo Fat are without a doubt regarded as one of the leading forces in riff-heavy stoner rock. With a sound that pulls from straight up blues and swamp boogie, as much as the classic riffing of Black Sabbath, Wo Fat’s Ripple Music debut, “Midnight Cometh” ranks as their most critically praised album ever. Having separated with their long-term bass player, Wo Fat engaged the services of Ryan Lee, from Crypt Trip, who ruled on bass duties for the band’s recent European tour. But still, a full-time anchor on bass had to be found.
Now the wait is over.
Wo Fat are thrilled to announce the introduction of another master of the low end to the mighty Wo Fat family.
Kent Stump says, “We would like wish a warm, rock and roll welcome to Zack Busby – the new bass player of Wo Fat. Zack is a road-hardened, veteran Rock and Roller of the Dallas heavy music scene who has stepped in to fill some heavy shoes, and has kicked some ass in so doing. We’re thrilled to have Zack laying down the low end for us and you can check him out at our upcoming shows.”
Look for Wo Fat to hit the road for Psycho Roadshow and other special dates, as well as frequent shows in their hometown of Dallas, Texas. Meanwhile, Wo Fat and Ripple Music are working on a couple special Wo Fat projects, including a split 7″ with label-mates, Mothership, and a re-issue of the limited Wo Fat “Live At Freak Valley,” LP that the band self-released, this time complete with a bonus 10″ of more head-swirling live jams.
And more Wo Fat is to come. Stay tuned. The rock goes on!
Posted in Reviews on August 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It would seem that as Ripple Music‘s split series presses forward in number it’s doing likewise in sound. As well it should. The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three once again brings together two acts on a single LP, two bands in the earlier stages of their career but who each seem to be working toward making a stylistic mark.
Topped off as were the prior editions (and reportedly all those still to come) with artwork by Joseph Rudell and Carrie Olaje, this next installment in the ambitiously-titled run pairs Michigan heavy rockers BoneHawk and Swedish semi-cultist harmonizing newcomers Kingnomad, who represent the biggest geographic leap The Second Coming of Heavy has yet taken — they’re the first non-US band to be featured — and a coinciding stylistic shift, nestling as they do into a storytelling laid back fuzz never quite given to boogie rock, but definitely taking some cues from that scene as well as garage doom, finding a place between the two almost immediately and residing there comfortably until the jammy trip-out on closer “The Suicide King.” For them, this represents the first physical release they’ve had since getting together, and for BoneHawk, their four songs here provide a follow-up to their well-received 2014 debut LP, Albino Rhino, of which Ripple also did a pressing earlier this year.
The two bands share little in common tonally or conceptually apart from a basic affinity for riffs, but those who’ve followed The Second Coming of Heavy through its first two chapters with Geezer and Borracho (review here) and Supervoid and Red Desert (review here) should come into this matchup with fairly open expectations. Thus far, Ripple has done well in finding complementary but still distinct acts.
Prior to this, BoneHawk issued a Spring 2016 7″ honoring Thin Lizzy, and right at the start of their first track on side A, “The Scout,” that vibe comes through in the dual guitars Matt Helt (also vocals) and Chad Houts (also backing vocals), who are joined in the immediate bounce and shuffle by bassist Taylor Wallace and drummer/backing vocalist Jay Rylander, though their tones are of course thicker and more purposefully fuzzed, and they owe perhaps more of their raucous, party-style vibe to Red Fang. That’s an easy tag these days for upbeat heavy rock bands, and I think Red Fang‘s reach is still expanding, but it’s by no means the end of the story for BoneHawk, who cast their identity in the classic rock interplay of guitar and remind of the also-predatory-fowl-minded Virginian troupe Freedom Hawk on second cut “Fire in the Sky,” which slows the roll from the opener a bit in order to bask in a smooth nod that comes not at the expense of a hook, but rather to enhance it.
In terms of tempo, they play this back and forth twice, and in doing so demonstrate a clear attention to presentation that I would imagine extends to their live show as well. Either way, “Los Vientos” — driven by Rylander‘s creative drumming — revives the forward momentum of the opener while stepping away a bit from the party vibe of the opener, the energy of which is maintained through pacing but not necessarily mood. “Aurora,” their six-minute finale, starts with an introductory bassline from Wallace and digs into a fluidity marked by toy piano flourish in its chorus and and a funky groove in the second half that gives way to double-guitar freakery deftly brought back to earth before the ending fade.
An aesthetic shift is quick to perceive as Kingnomad‘s “Lucifer is Dead” lurches to life with warm-toned fuzz, laid back roll and vocals one might be tempted to call shoegazing were they not so intricately harmonized. They craft a hook around the title-line, and the song, which the band — guitarist/vocalist Mr. Jay, bassist Maximilian, guitarist Marcus and drummer Mr. N — has stated was the first thing they wrote together, explores these textures somewhere between Dead Meadow and the eerie melodicism of Ghost, but brings something rawer to it as well in the shuffling second half of the track and on the trippier fuzz of “Sibylline Oracles” as well.
More developed in terms of the two guitars working together, “Sibylline Oracles” also brings in an organ and ends with acoustic strum, so the growing reach of the band becomes evident barely 10 minutes into their half of the split, which can only serve them well going forward. “God of Stone and Sand” revels in its spacious tonality and imbues a classic stoner riff with a sense of individualized personality thanks to more harmonies in the vocals, while “The Suicide King,” as noted, steps back to let a jammier, more psychedelic feel take hold. Like BoneHawk before them, Kingnomad have crafted an easy flow to their portion of the LP, and much to their credit as a new band, they don’t give into the cliche of having “The Suicide King” set up for a linear build, showing patience and a will to let their songs go where they want to go.
Easy to get why Ripple would include both bands as they seek to expand the definition of the “heavy” whose coming they’re heralding, and as The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three rounds out, one looks forward even more to the next collection for the increase in scope this one represents. This second coming — and I’ve quibbled about the numerology in each of these reviews so far, so you’ll pardon me if I skip it this time — is only growing more multifaceted, like heavy rock itself.
BoneHawk & Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three (2016)
[Click play above to stream the premiere of Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel’s ‘Departure’ from the new album, Human Collapse, out Sept 9 on Ripple Music.]
French heavy rockers Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel have been conceptually-focused since their outset, so it’s little surprise that their third full-length and Ripple Music debut, Human Collapse, would follow a similar course. What is surprising about the album is just how tight that focus has gotten when taken in consideration with the band’s songwriting. The Strasbourg-based five-piece of guitarist/vocalist Nico, bassist/vocalist Julien, guitarist Romain, keyboardist/vocalist Dany and drummer Greg began their tenure with 2011’s Soundtrack from the Motion Picture (review here), a charm-laced and uptempo run through the tropes of desert rock that stood itself out from an increasingly-crowded post-Truckfighters sphere of heavy rock by following a genuine plotline.
The inevitable follow-up, 2013’s Arcane, brought this to ideas and themes less directly related to desert rock itself, and the music followed suit, taking on a sharper edge — something that Human Collapse continues to push forward. To go with its ominous title, the band offers a lyrical journey of seemingly just one particular human — as opposed to it being the whole species collapsing; though I suppose one could stand in for the whole — from beginning to end, following a logical course of loss and redemption in song titles as the narrative seems to dictate the mood of the songs; “Community,” for instance, is a more melodic, welcoming post-rock sway after the semi-metallic tumult of “Border.” In light of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, it’s impossible to ignore a social context in which Human Collapse arrives, but even apart from that, the level of dynamic that has developed in Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel‘s sound would be enough on its own to carry a weightier sense of impact than either of their prior LPs.
For anyone who has followed Ripple Music over the last several years, the West Coast imprint has emerged as one of the most reliable American purveyors of heavy. Already in 2016, they’ve issued new records from heavyweights Wo Fat, Foghound and Gozu and continued their ambitious The Second Coming of Heavy split series, so to say that Human Collapse is arguably the most forward-thinking album they’ve put out to-date should not be taken as rank hyperbole or a statement disregarding of the context in which Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel‘s latest arrives.
Rather, it’s an acknowledgement of the breadth that the band covers in these 10 tracks/56 minutes, which begin with “7PM Choice” and end with “5PM Arrival,” taking us as listeners through 22 hours of travelogue musical and lyrical, a journey that starts with grand crashes and progressive melodies and moves through driving moments early in “Decision” and “Departure” presented with a commercial-production-style crispness — which, in the tradition of European heavy rock, doesn’t necessarily draw away from the impact of the songs — and only growing broader as it moves past “Border” into later stretches like “Rebirth,” “Determination,” and at last, the eight-minute “5PM Arrival.” Moods vary across the span but the prevailing impression is somewhat brooding, and the band works well with that, finding room in their multifaceted songs for vocal harmonies and resounding hooks, clever arrangements of guitar and keys, and in an earlier cut like “Trip,” clear evidence of how far their craft has come in the last half-decade delivered via efficient, progressive, still-straightforward heavy rock and roll, the screams in the second half setting up fluidity into the more lumbering “Border” that typifies the flow enacted across the entire album.
Perhaps most impressive of all is how easily Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel make it sound to blend songs that are individually catchy and that stand on their own — “Departure,” “Border,” “Community,” the thick-chugging “Determination” — with an overarching linear concept. One wouldn’t want to speculate as to which came first, the music or the concept, but either way, it’s no small feat for a group to compile material that would work so smoothly on both levels. As Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel wind up pushing through “5PM Arrival” into the melodic apex of the album, it’s no small arrival whatsoever, and it would also seem to mark their own arrival as a band working under their own impulses rather than feeding off the influence of others — at least to such a degree as to make the material distinguished in its sound.
This blend of progressive storytelling and heavy-riffed roots may continue to define them, it may not, I don’t know, but with Human Collapse, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel would seem to realize the vision that they set out with more than five years ago, while also refining their songwriting to its most potent, resonant degree. It plays smartly to its strengths in multi-layer vocal arrangements and interweaving of guitar/key textures with big, nodding rhythms, but what it accomplishes with these elements is not to be overlooked.