Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Los Angeles heavy rockers Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed both have new albums out. In the case of the former, their 2015 self-titled debut has been newly reissued this fall via Ripple Music, while for The Rare Breed, it’s their own debut, Looking for Today, which came out in September to wide acclaim. The shows they’ll partner up for this week have been dubbed the Ripple Road Fest, which is an interesting prospect in itself. This time it’s just five gigs, but one could easily imagine a “Ripple Road Fest” turning into a thing. Maybe annual?
After all, why not? Not like the label doesn’t have enough bands across various strata at this point. I kind of like the idea of them heading out under a single banner. Makes sense from both a branding and a rock and roll standpoint, and as we all know, those are the two things that make the world go ’round.
Courtesy of the PR wire:
Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed – Ripple Road Fest Dec ’16
Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed, two LA-based heavy rock trios, are hitting the road for a quick RIPPLE ROAD FEST California tour to kick off the holiday season! Salem’s Bend just released their album with label Ripple Music in October and The Rare Breed will be signing their debut album with them as well for a release in early 2017.
Starting out in the sleepy central valley town of Turlock on Nov 30th at the Grizzly Rock, then hitting Oakland Dec 1st at The Golden Bull, Pacifica on Dec 2nd at Winter’s Tavern, then back down to SoCal for a local LA show at Lexington Bar on Dec 3rd, and finish out in Costa Mesa on Dec 4th at Tiki Bar.
5 shows, 5 days, it’ll be a fast gut-punch of hard rock to your eager ears! Innumerable great local bands will be joining them at each stop so it’s really going to be a must-see. Getting a bit cold for you with winter creeping up? Come out to a show and The Bend and The Breed will MELT YOUR FACE!
Salem’s Bend & The Rare Breed: Ripple Road Fest CA Tour: 11.30 Turlock Grizzly Rock 12.01 Oakland The Golden Bull 12.02 SF/Pacifica Winters Tavern 12.03 L.A. Lexington Bar 12.04 Costa Mesa Tiki Bar
I’ve listened to it front to back and I can honestly say this is the best podcast I’ve made in the last five months. Truth be told, I know there are plenty of people who do podcasts as their primary outlet, talk on them and whatnot (hey, I tried it once and reserve the right to do it again at some point), but if it’s between crossfading feedback from one song to another and writing a review of a new record, well, crossfading falls into the same category as just about everything else: Write first.
Fortunately, a longer span of time between casts makes it that much easier to pick tracks. Existence does not hand you a 45-minute Øresund Space Collective jam every day, so I thought that was worth featuring, and I just got Megaritual’s new vinyl for review, so I thought featuring their more recent single-song EP would work well too.
I’m happy with the blend overall, and with Asteroid setting the tone. Be patient with it. Let it unfold. Even with a rocking start, it gets pretty psychedelic pretty quickly, and only continues to move further out. My advice is go with it and see where you end up.
As always, I hope you enjoy.
Track details follow:
0:00:00 Asteroid, “Them Calling” from III
0:05:02 Stinkeye, “Orange Man” from Llantera Demos
0:08:31 Hornss, “Prince of a Thousand Enemies” from Telepath
0:11:36 Ice Dragon, “Broken Life” from Broken Life
0:16:08 Wasted Theory, “Odyssey of the Electric Warlock” from Defenders of the Riff
0:20:59 Pelander, “True Colour” from Time
0:29:41 The Freeks, “Blow Time Away” from Shattered
0:34:26 Baby Woodrose, “Freedom” from Freedom
0:37:27 Comacozer, “The Mind that Feeds the Eye” from Astra Planeta
0:45:21 Mos Generator, “Outlander” from The Firmament
0:51:13 Megaritual, “Eclipse” from Eclipse
1:16:25 Øresund Space Collective, “Visions Of…” from Visions Of…
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I can’t think of an American heavy rock label that undertook growth to match that of Ripple Music in 2016. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty out there, large, medium and small, doing good work, but in the quality and quantity of their roster expansion, the West Coast imprint stood itself out particularly this year as one of the foremost US outlets for things that go fuzz in the night, and they’ll look to continue their momentum into 2017 with signings like that of Poseidon. Look for the London-based psych-sludge doomers to make their full-length debut through Ripple having played Desertfest London, Bloodstock and more besides in a landmark 2016 of their own on the strength of their single-song Prologue: Omega EP, released just about a year ago and offering atmosphere a-plenty to go with its post-metallic quantum mysticism.
The PR wire takes it from here:
Poseidon signs worldwide deal with Ripple Music; Debut Album in the Works
Ripple Music is proud to announce the worldwide signing of UK stoner/doom rockers Poseidon to their ever growing roster of top-notch heavy bands. Having gestated for almost a year in the guts of East London, Poseidon rise to the fore. With their seeds rooted firmly in the dense sounds of 70’s rock and Doom metal, and having spawned from bands including the now defunct Light Bearer, the band bring together a sound that celebrates the vastness of the sonic landscape. From a rage of aggressive riffs, barked vocals and elemental drums to swimming rhythms and earthy melodies, Poseidon invoke the catastrophic nature which occupy both ends of their musical spectrum and dive head first into the abyss of the melancholic.
Raza Khan on signing to Ripple: “A chance to sign to a label of this realm and reputation, doesn’t come everyday. Poseidon are honoured and humbled to become part of the Ripple family, alongside such luminaries as Wo Fat, Mos Generator and Mothership. We couldn’t imagine better people to work with than Todd and Pope, and we cant wait to unleash the first Poseidon release next year!”
Poseidon bring a whole new dynamic to their heavy rock, with pulverizing heavy riffs, moments of stark, barren beauty, and mixture of Neurosis-ish drone and nuclear test site volume. Poseidon are currently writing their debut studio album, set for a 2017 release.
Having already stormed major festivals such as DesertFest London, Bloodstock Open Air, and Hard Rock Hell, and having shared the stage with the likes of Mastodon, Orange Goblin and Electric Citizen, Poseidon aims to take their critical success to new heights on their upcoming debut for Ripple Music. 2017 will surely see Poseidon back on the road again, and at the forefront of the heavy rock and metal world.
Poseidon is: Raza khan – Drums Matt Norris – Guitar Matthew Bunkell – bass/vocals Jamie Starke – guitar
When The Watchers announced earlier this year they had signed to Ripple Music, they did so with the release of a new video, so it’s only fitting their debut EP should arrive accompanied by one as well. “Sabbath Highway” is the opener and title-cut of the Bay Area heavy rockers’ five-tracker, and its meld of oldschool metal and West Coast-style stoner hooks could hardly make for a better introduction to the band’s straightforward and classic modus. Little need for frills when you can come up with a title like “Sabbath Highway.” Who the hell doesn’t want to drive down that? Hell, I wouldn’t even set my GPS. Just go ahead and get lost. Doesn’t matter. Take the Sabbath Highway to the 101. Good to go.
Sabbath Highway came out via Ripple on Nov. 4. On Halloween, it was announced here that The Watchers would take part in Maryland Doom Fest 2017 alongside The Skull, Bang, Borracho and a ton of others, very vew of whom will travel as far to get to Frederick. I think Beastmaker might be the only competition in that regard, but again, it all depends which highway you take. The Watchers have made public their inention to tour around that appearance, which seems reasonable given the distance. Will keep you posted when I hear more or when/if I see dates announced before next June, when MDDF17 is set to take place.
Till then, enjoy a trip down the “Sabbath Highway” below:
The Watchers, “Sabbath Highway” official video
Gathering together an impressive cast of seasoned players with vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread (SpiralArms, White Witch Canyon), Orchid drummer Carter Kennedy and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic (Black Gates, The Venting Machine) The Watchers is an out-and-out super group of musicians’ musicians and a fitting addition to Ripple Music’s ever growing roster.
After peddling some killer and powerful riffs earlier in year on their Evel Knievel-inspired video for ‘Today’, the band returns with the title track from Sabbath Highway.
The Watchers: Tim Narducci – Vocals Jeremy Von Eppic – Guitars Cornbread – Bass Carter Kennedy – Drums
[Stream Geezer’s self-titled in full by clicking play above. Album is out Nov. 18 on Ripple Music and Nov. 19 on STB Records.]
It was exceedingly difficult to argue with the idea when New York heavy blues jammers Geezer opted to take their 2013 Gage EP and build it out into a second full-length the next year as their debut on STB Records and the follow-up to their self-released first outing, Electrically Handmade Heavy Blues. Since then, they’ve remained prolific. The Gage LP (review here) came out through STB and Ripple Music, and Geezer went on to release the Live! Full Tilt Boogie (review here) tape that same year as well as the 2015 digi-single “Long Dull Knife” (discussed here) before also taking part in the first installment of Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy series of limited split LPs, working alongside Washington D.C.’s Borracho (review here).
On some level or other, each new outing has marked a step forward in the trio’s progression, and this encouraging trend continues on their self-titled LP (also through Ripple and STB), which presents 51 minutes of new material across an eight-track stretch that plays between straightforward mega-fuzzed bounce and expansive jamming as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Chris Turco ooze their way through extended fluidity on “Sun Gods,” “Bi-Polar Vortex” and “Dust,” a sort of jamming trilogy that follows the more straightforward opening duo “Sunday Speed Demon” and “One Leg Up” and ends up making a major statement in the personality of the album as a whole, despite a measure of sonic variety in itself. Worship of tone, the stellar fretwork and graveling voice of Harrington and the nod from Touseull and Turco regardless of tempo tie the songs together as Geezer step into their own, and if it’s not a coincidence that their third long-player is self-titled and the statement they’re making is this is who they are as a unit, then the confidence that signals in their approach is well justified.
They begin at a boogie clip with “Sunday Speed Demon,” the shortest inclusion at 3:19, and continue to push through with strong momentum as Turco‘s drums lead the way into “One Leg Up.” Other reviews have called out the latter track’s lyrics as sexist. The band has countered saying context is everything. I won’t argue with either side. The artwork they had for the digital single didn’t do much to help their case, and while we’re citing the politically suspect, closer “Stoney Pony” fits right in as well. One could debate endlessly about how Uncle Acid get to write songs about murdering women and have it called aesthetic artistry while Geezer tap into “My girl’s built like a pony” and it’s not. I don’t care to. “One Leg Up” is almost woefully catchy, however — for that matter, so is “Stoney Pony” — and by being almost twice as long as the opener and departing into a dreamy wah solo in its midsection, it effectively smooths the path into the drifting “Sun Gods,” the 9:25 highlight of Geezer‘s Geezer and the first part of the aforementioned trilogy of jammers with “Bi-Polar Vortex” (8:56) and “Dust” (7:59) behind it, the former perhaps the most spaced-out of the three and the latter finding ground in part thanks to a hook referencing Queens of the Stone Age‘s “Long Slow Goodbye.”
It’s important to note that although each of the record’s “big three” have this unfolding grandeur, they’re also memorable thanks to an underlying core of songwriting. Geezer have proven time and again to be ace jammers as few East Coast acts are — the deluxe edition of the self-titled comes accompanied by the bonus LP A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness (premiered here); a single-song half-hour semi-improvised work that further drives the point home — but as the slow-rolling “Dust” begins the shift back to more structured vibes that will continue through “Hangnail Crisis,” “Superjam Maximus” and “Stoney Pony,” their blend of the ethereal and the terrestrial is seamless and their flow once again seems to be the realization of what their progression to this point has been driving toward. Again, Geezer‘s Geezer indeed.
I’m not sure where the LP actually splits — if it’s four tracks on each side and “Dust” starts side B” or if “Stoney Pony” is a CD-only cut; it has kind of a bonus-track-y feel to it, almost tacked on — but it’s clear as the guitar starts “Hangnail Crisis” that the album has entered the last of its three movements. Think of it as a trip out and back. You start on the ground, launch, and return. That’s not to say the roll of “Hangnail Crisis” or the layered lead work late in the surprisingly uptempo “Superjam Maximus” don’t have their hypnotic aspects, but it’s no less of a palpable turn than that into “Sun Gods” from “One Leg Up” despite the work Harrington, Touseull and Turco do to ease the transition. When they commence, the starts and stops of “Stoney Pony” offer one last bounce and nod to the listener and another catchy, bluesy chorus, which isn’t really anything that “Hangnail Crisis,” “Superjam Maximus,” or for that matter “Sunday Speed Demon” and “One Leg Up,” didn’t accomplish, but neither does it detract from the outing overall, which maintains its fluidity right up to the end.
Geezer‘s third album isn’t perfect — nor is it intended to be — and while I don’t believe a group who base so much of what they do around improvisation and songs developed therefrom necessarily finishes growing at any given point, I do think this is the moment at which Geezer have locked into and demonstrated clear intent toward a multifaceted style that engages the listener with deceptive variety and consistent, high-quality songcraft. On a sheer performance level, they’ve never sounded better, whether that’s the increased confidence and melodic range in Harrington‘s vocals, the blend of fuzz in the bass and guitar or the manner in which any player at any point seems ready to take the fore. Considering that in combination with the strength of the material they’re putting forth, it becomes even easier to see their self-titled marking Geezer‘s true arrival as a band.
Geezer, “A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness” official video
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ripple Music‘s steady ascent continues with the next edition of the label’s dubiously-titled The Second Coming of Heavy series of limited split LPs. After broadening the reach to international terrain the last time out in bringing together Michigan’s BoneHawk with Sweden’s Kingnomad (review here), The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Four once again pairs two US bands — Red Mesa from New Mexico and Blue Snaggletooth from Michigan — in keeping with earlier chapters that highlighted the work of Geezer and Borracho (review here) and Supervoid and Red Desert (review here). As with the entire series, cover art is supplied by Joseph Rudell and Carrie Olaje, and the release date is set for Dec. 9.
Each band has a song streaming now that you can check out under the PR wire info below:
The return of Ripple Music’s The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV | New split album from Red Mesa and Blue Snaggletooth
The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV is released on vinyl on 9th December 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 Series.
Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each installment 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 form a mind-blowing image direct from the underground.
Following on from the series’ first installment released in 2015 featuring Geezer and Borracho; Chapter II’s split between Supervoid and Red Desert earlier this year and last June’s BoneHawk and Kingnomad offering, the latest installment brings you brand new music from Albuquerque trio Red Mesa and Ann Arbor quartet Blue Snaggletooth.
RED MESA – Coming at you from yonder, down the mountain atop the deserted mesas of New Mexico, like their name suggests Red Mesa instill a sense of desert haze. Touting a varied psychedelic-stoner sound that begs for maximum volume with a high octane, pedal to the metal attitude, the Albuquerque trio – consisting of vocalist/guitarist Brad Frye, bassist Shawn Wright and drummer Duane Gasper – will take you on a vivid journey. Utilizing elements of doom, punk rock and psychedelic fuzz, Red Mesa are the living embodiment of hard riffing hallucinogens.
BLUE SNAGGLETOOTH – If anyone is proving that you can honor hard rock’s past while pumping fresh blood into its future, it’s Blue Snaggletooth. Billing themselves as purveyors of “Psychedelic D&D Rock & Roll,” the Ann Arbor, Michigan quartet combine elements of hard rock, heavy metal, and psychedelia (all pre-1975), and fuse those styles with lyrics inspired by classic sci-fi and fantasy. While the results are likely to please anyone into stoner rock, Blue Snaggletooth have no truck with irony or tongue-in-cheek glances at the past, and instead embrace their classic influences to build a sound that’s physically powerful but with plenty of sinewy groove.
The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter IV will get an official vinyl release on 9th December 2016 and is limited to 300 copies in three alternative versions (100 of each) – The Resurrection Edition, The Risen OBI and The Ascension Edition.
Track Listing: 1. ‘Cactus Highway’ by Red Mesa 2. ‘Low And Slow’ by Red Mesa 3. ‘Goin’ To The Desert’ by Red Mesa 4. ‘Utopia’ by Red Mesa 5. ‘Sand Witch’ by Blue Snaggletooth 6. ‘Crystal’s Gaze’ by Blue Snaggletooth 7. ‘Mystic Waters’ by Blue Snaggletooth
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well yeah, it’s been a few months, so seems like it’s about time again for Ape Machine to announce a string of tour dates. The Portland, Oregon, four-piece will head out to shut the door on Spring 2016’s Coalition of the Unwilling (review here), which they released via Heavy Psych Sounds, and move ahead with road-testing new songs as they make ready to record a fourth long-player. Presumably that’ll be out sometime early next year, though whether through Heavy Psych Sounds or Ripple Music, which handled their prior full-length, 2013’s Mangled by the Machine (review here), remains to be seen. And by that I mean I don’t know. Just being honest, folks. Gotta stay humble.
The band sent the dates down the PR wire:
Ape Machine West Coast tour
Ape Machine is planning for one more run of dates before the year’s up. We’re basically wanting to try out some new material and have some studio time booked to start working on the next (fourth) full-length. We figured we might as well go rock a few shows while we’re at it!
November 9th: Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA November 10th: Frank’s Place – Fresno, CA November 11th: Til Two Club – San Diego, CA November 12th: Pier View Pub – Oceanside, CA November 13th: Silverlake Lounge – Los Angeles, CA November 16th: Dante’s – Portland, OR November 17th: Funhouse – Seattle, WA
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”.
APE MACHINE IS Caleb Heinze – Vocals Ian Watts – Guitar Brian True – Bass Damon De La Paz – Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It is completely consistent to the band’s progression that as of basically a month ago, Swedish riffers Vokonis were searching for a label as they announced plans to record a second album and now we find out they’ve been picked up by Ripple Music. Their first LP, Olde One Ascending (review here), was released earlier this year and stands among 2016’s best debuts, and since changing their name from Creedsmen Arise, the three-piece have had a laser focus on getting their work in order. They hit into their songs with a clear idea of what they wanted, and obviously I wasn’t the only one who thought they were successful in realizing that idea in the recording.
Congrats to the band, who find themselves labelmates to the likes of Wo Fat, Roadsaw, Foghound, Mothership, Devil to Pay, Gozu and many others on an imprint that has thrust its way to the forefront of the American heavy rock consciousness and is only continuing to expand its reach. Look for more news on Vokonis‘ sophomore outing and Ripple debut, The Sunken Djinn, as well as a Ripple reissue for Olde One Ascending, we move into the New Year.
Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:
Swedish Doom Masters Vokonis Sign to Ripple Music, World-Wide Release of New Album, The Sunken Djinn
Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of Vokonis to a world-wide release for the upcoming album, “The Sunken Djinn”. Fans of the band can expect a deluxe reissue of their last epic of doom, “Olde One Ascending” to follow.
Already making huge waves in the heavy and doom scenes, Vokonis turned heads with the release of their “Olde One Ascending” album, mixing stellar musicianship with pulverizingly heavy riffs to create a sound unlike any other in the doom world. Heavy but progressive, viscous yet melodic. The album caught the ears of the producers of the Planet of Doom film who quickly enlisted Vokonis to write an exclusive track for the next film in the animated anthology.
Meanwhile, talks had already begun with Ripple Music, the California-based purveyor of heavy, doom, stoner and psych. The chemistry between band and label was instantaneous and in less than a week Vokonis were welcomed into the Ripple family of heavy rockers, alongside such bands as Mothership, Wo Fat, Roadsaw, Devil to Pay and more.
The Vokonis story dates back to October 2015, when three fuzzers with a strong sense of D.I.Y attitude, Simon, Jonte and Emil broke from their prior band, Creedsmen Arise, to focus on a new direction. Hailing from the Swedish city of rain, they were held indoors and practiced, played and cried tears of fuzz days on end. Eventually these hours of fuzz turned into songs that became their first album “Olde One Ascending”, which would receive critical acclaim from all corners of the world.
Now they set their sights forward and team up with Ripple Music to deliver their sophomore album, “The Sunken Djinn” for a summer release in 2017.” More madness is sure to follow.
VOKONIS is: Simon Ohlsson: Vocals, Guitar Emil Larsson: Drums Jonte Johansson: Bass, Backing vocals