The track “We Let the Hell Come” would wind up as one of the most memorable songs on Scott Kelly‘s 2012 Scott Kelly and the Road Home album, The Forgiven Ghost in Me. Interpreted with subtle, still-minimalist interplay of electric and acoustic guitar and Kelly‘s mournful, gravel-throated wonderings, it was a highlight of the record (review here), engaging with a sweet, sad melody and the persistent strum of Kelly‘s strings. Little in that version would link “We Let the Hell Come” to its prior interpretation — the song having been performed over two years earlier live by Shrinebuilder.
At the very start of the video below, filmed at Skully’s in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the 2010 Scion Rock Fest – Shrinebuilder headlined that venue for the night; YOB, Pelican, Acrassicauda and others also played — the band says that “We Let the Hell Come” will be on the next record. It may well still be, but more than three years later, a follow-up to Shrinebuilder‘s 2009 self-titled debut (review here) has yet to surface, and with the band’s members — Kelly (also in Neurosis), Scott “Wino” Weinrich (also in The Obsessed andSaint Vitus at this point, as well as putting out solo material), Dale Crover (the Melvins) and Al Cisneros (Sleep and Om) — busy with their respective main outfits, it may be that Shrinebuilder was a one-time planetary alignment that we won’t be fortunate enough to see again.
If that’s the case, all the better that clips like this one of “We Let the Hell Come” are out there — the song also showed up on Shrinebuilder‘s Live in Europe 2010 vinyl, which I regret not buying when I had the chance — to give a sampling of what might’ve been or, who knows, might still be when and if there’s a second Shrinebuilder outing. This video was filmed by Chris Kimbrough and I hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:
Shrinebuilder, “We Let the Hell Come” Live at Scion Rock Fest 2010
I guess this show and the circumstances surrounding have become something of a tale to tell. In 2010, the supergroup Shrinebuilder were en route to play Roadburn and tour Europe to promote their self-titled debut and only album to date. Coming from the Western Seaboard, where all the members of the band — Scott Kelly and Wino on guitar/vocals, Al Cisneros on bass and Dale Crover on drums — were located, they got as far as New York before their flight was grounded like so many others at the time.
Not to be completely undone by that volcano — whose mere name, Eyjafjallajökull, strikes syllabic terror into the hearts of pronunciation guides everywhere — Shrinebuilder booked themselves a last-minute gig at Brooklyn’s Club Europa. While they were in town, they also recorded a session with Andrew Schneider for Coextinction Recordings that’s been featured here before. They had been to New York for a show about a month before and of course around the time the album came out as well in 2009 (review here), but as it was such a bizarre situation, and as they haven’t been back since, the Europa show has taken on a mystical kind of quality — not that anything these guys did wouldn’t already have had one.
Shrinebuilder did finally get to Europe, and they played Roadburn in 2011 as not the only act on the bill to be carried over from the year before. A self-released Live in Europe 2010 vinyl commemorated the experience, but since they basically started out as a headlining act because of the members’ pedigree in Neurosis, Sleep, Saint Vitus (etc.) and the Melvins, those earlier Shrinebuilder shows featured a couple covers, and on this one from Brooklyn of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Effigy,” Crover and Wino show a classic rocking side of Shrinebuilder that was unlike anything else they did.
Posted in Reviews on January 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Somebody’s Range Rover had broken down in the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, so the traffic getting across to the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn was a cruelty. The Patient Mrs. had business elsewhere in the borough as well, so we carpooled and sat for about an hour, waiting, inching forward, honking, being honked at, staring at the billboards for Soylent Orange or whatever it was, waiting. Waiting. Mostly it was waiting.
I was still early to the show, though, which was the live debut of the supergroup (they need to come up with a new tag for “band made up of people known for being in other bands”) Corrections House, whose lineup reads like a list of influences. Mike Williams of Eyehategod on vocals, Scott Kelly of Neurosis on guitar, Yakuza‘s Bruce Lamont handling sax, backing vocals and noise, and producer/Nachtmystium member Sanford Parker – permanently linked to the largely unmatched crush of Buried at Sea in my mind — acting as warden behind a podium with the band’s logo draped on the front, his laptop, sampler, drum machine adding to the experimental edge and providing the rhythmic base of the material.
The concept for the show was pretty complex. Two bands were opening: noise trio York Factory Complaint and blackened noisemakers Theologian, both NY-native. After them, each of the members of Corrections House would come up for a brief 10-15 minutes of solo work, then, once they were pieced together on the stage, a Corrections House set would close out the night. It was a cool theory, and it felt even better to know that St. Vitus bar was the first time they were trying it out, but I guess my concern going into it was how they’d actually make it happen with each member doing something different, what the order would be and how many songs Corrections House, as a band, could possibly have.
Answer? Three or four songs. But it was a long road to get there. York Factory Complaint went on at about 10PM, so I knew right away it was going to be a pretty late night. All the gear was backlined behind and around the outfit — which lists itself as a four-piece so perhaps someone was missing — who sat and knelt on the floor of the stage in front of their vintage-looking manipulators, Moogs and whathaveyous. Their noise was, well, noise. As advertised. Screaming vocals gave some inkling of structure, but there wasn’t really a verse as such, just lines spit over harsh audio.
I guess that’s going to happen from time to time, and for what it was, I thought the presentation was cool and the ambience creative. I always wanted to start a noise project with equipment hooked up to giant walls with knobs on them that I could dress as a mad scientist in a labcoat and run from side of the stage to side of the stage turning like a fool. Of course, with neither the money for equipment nor a knack for working with oversized knobs, it’s resided in the pile of band ideas next to my one-man black metal band with no music because nothing sounds kvlt enough and my doom project with lyrics based solely on the themes of Final Fantasy games.
York Factory Complaint was much simpler in their approach, and Theologian likewise, though the Leech-led live trio — which included Fade Kainer of Batillus on, you guessed it, synth and noise — were a little more grounded, relatively speaking, and had a projector going behind and over them while they played. That didn’t do much to make the sounds any friendlier or more accessible, but the point was the experiment, and their complex wash of synth, effects-laden vocals and array of abrasive screeches felt all the more purposed for its bleakness of mood. A couple toms on the side of the stage manned by Matt Slagle provided human-driven thud when called upon, and Leech‘s voice became as much a part of the wash as anything else. I wondered how they’d serve as a lead-in for Corrections House, but with Sanford Parker up first crafting a noise barrage of his own, it made more sense than one might have expected.
Dressed as all the members of the band would be in a black button-down withCorrections House logo patches sown on the arms and a larger logo on the back, Parker set quickly to work laying a bed of industrial-style beats and noisy flourishes. Samples came and went muddled by the surrounding swell as Parker, lost in the rhythm, continued to construct the sound one element at a time, even picking up a mic and manipulating feedback from it. After a while, Lamont joined him on stage, picking up his baritone sax and running it through a pedal board of his own, soon doing the same with some vocalizations and even scratches on the microphone that ran along the border between experimental and obnoxious. It can be a fine line sometimes.
Williams appeared unceremoniously on the side of the stage, holding a notebook, and gradually, Parker and Lamont brought the noise down to a steady drone. This actually worked really well, because in his reading — Williams in addition to fronting Eyehategod has done spoken word for a while now and has a book of poems called Cancer as a Social Activity– he gripped the mic, yelled and often had space to pause for the sound behind him filling what would otherwise have been silence tempting people in the crowd to talk over him. I’ve been to that kind of gig before and it’s excruciating, but whatever else you can say about Williams, he’s charismatic like few others I’ve seen on a stage. Like a magnet for eyeballs.
His poems/writings ran through a litany of post-beat disaffection, navigating a gamut of vague imagery and all-too-specific chemically-added grit. It’s hard to critique a written work by hearing a reading, but his delivery could change in a line from tragic and solipsistic to engaging with smiled charm, and not without interrupting the flow of a piece, and that’s worthy of commending. As he read, Kelly made his way to the front and took up position at the side of the stage, fresh off two rare East Coast Neurosis gigs, in Philly and at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple for a weekender preceding the launch of this tour. Lamont and Parker were still up there as well, the former kneeling in front of his pedal board in attentive semi-meditation and the latter tucked away behind his podium.
Closing out his portion with an extended poem that was a series of purposefully ridiculous claims ended by the refrain “That’s what the obituary said,” and finally ending it with what he seemed to make his own concerning his many-storied history of drug abuse — there was some mention of “finally kicking the habit” — Williams then made way for Kelly to run through a couple songs. This turned out to be something of a side-step, since each of the preceding additions of personnel to the stage had added to the atmosphere of what would become Corrections House, whereas Kelly‘s material is more straightforward and more definitively solo. Even “The Sun is Dreaming in the Soul,” which featured a second guitar on last year’s The Forgiven Ghost in Me(review here), was wholly Kelly‘s own despite complementing ethereal backing vocals from Lamont. I’m not about to complain for getting to watch Scott Kelly play his solo material — that can only make a good night better — but it was a turn from the process of building Corrections House on the stage, since what he was playing as part of the band turned out to be heavier, darker and more fitting to the rhythmic pulsations of Parker‘s drum machine.
Once they were all there, again, Corrections House only had three, maybe four songs to play. The difference was it had already been about an hour, so it was more like an extended encore than a full set. I wasn’t about to complain. Aside from Kelly playing angrier and with more distortion, there wasn’t much about Corrections House that hadn’t already been revealed. A digital “leak” of their “Hoax the System” video had given some idea of what to expect, and the other material they played followed suit, once more leaning on the line between organic darkened heavy and industrial coldness. Williams spat fury with his characteristic nihilism, Lamont kept up with Parker in laying the foundation of noise, be it with his sax or mic or both, and where once there wasn’t one, an increasing swirl of chaos ensued. It was all I could do to realize how far we’d already come by the time Corrections House were into their second offering.
They wrapped with an extended take on “Hoax the System,” its insistent rhythm playing out steady as the final tide of feedback rolled over it and just about everything else, Williams seeming to hold on against the rush with repetitions of his last lyrics urging the title. It was nearly 1AM by the time they were done, and I knew The Patient Mrs. was waiting, so I was quick out the door of the St. Vitus bar and back down the block to where she’d parked and was waiting for me to drive back to Jersey. Fortunately, whoever’s Range Rover it was had been towed by then. Small favors.
Pretty much the whole way through, this show wasn’t what I’d expected or planned on. From the traffic getting there to Williams taking the frontman spot then relinquishing for Kelly only to resume it shortly thereafter, to Lamont‘s mic-scratching, to the clear-road record time I made to the valley afterwards, the vast majority of my preconceived notions of what Corrections House would be had turned out to be in need of — forgive me — correcting. That’s what they got, anyhow. Rumor has it a 7″ is in the works, after that, who knows. But whatever might come next for these guys in this collaborative form, at least now I know why I’m anticipating it.
Starting next week, the new underground supergroup Corrections House hits the road on their first tour, kicking off with a live set at the Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn. To give a little taste of the devastation in store, the unit — comprised of Mike Williams of Eyehategod, Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Bruce Lamont of Yakuza and Sanford Parker of Nachtmystium, Buried at Sea and everybody’s production credits — have just unveiled their first video, for the song “Hoax the System,” on which Williams blows out his anthemic misanthropy atop pulsing industrial-type beats and harsh feedbacking.
It’s gonna make for an interesting show:
CORRECTIONS HOUSE Winter Tour 2013 1/21/2013 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY 1/22/2013 Great Scott – Boston, MA 1/23/2013 BAR – New Haven, CT 1/24/2013 Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD 1/25/2013 DC9 – Washington, DC 1/26/2013 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA 1/27/2013 Kings Barcade – Raleigh, NC 1/28/2013 The Atlantic – Gainesville, FL 1/30/2013 Churchill’s – Miami, FL 1/31/2013 Crowbar – Tampa, FL 2/02/2013 Bottletree – Birmingham, AL 2/06/2013 Siberia – New Orleans, LA 2/07/2013 Rudyyards – Houston, TX 2/08/2013 Korova – San Antonio, TX 2/09/2013 Red 7 – Austin, TX 2/10/2013 Bryan Street Tavern – Dallas, TX 2/11/2013 Opolis – Norman, OK 2/13/2013 Slowdown – Omaha, NE 2/15/2013 Moon Room – Denver, CO
If it seems like kind of a no-brainer to mix performance footage and nature shots to make a Scott Kelly video, it’s only because the songs are so damn organic. My Proud Mountain oversaw the putting together of this clip for “The Sun is Dreaming in My Soul,” from this year’s Scott Kelly and the Road Home full-length, The Forgiven Ghost in Me (review here), which is fitting, since they also released the album in the UK and Europe.
Kelly is on the road currently in that part of the world, and you’ll find his remaining tour dates courtesy of the PR wire after the video below. Please enjoy:
Scott Kelly’s solo tour is now underway and his only UK show at London’s Black heart is looming.
My Proud Mountain have this week released a brand new video for the song ‘The Sun Is Dreaming In The Soul’ – taken from his latest solo album The Forgiven Ghost In Me.
During this tour, Scott Kelly will play songs from his two most recent records which also includes, Songs Of Townes Van Zandt as well as The Forgiven Ghost In Me, both released earlier this year on My Proud Mountain in the UK/EU.
SCOTT KELLY (Neurosis) Europe Tour 2012
Wed 28.11. FI Turku Klubi Thu 29.11. FI Oulu Nuclear Nightclub Tue 04.12. UK London The Black Heart Wed 05.12. CH Luzern Sedel Thu 06.12. CH Martigny Sunset Bar Fri 07.12. CH Moudon Les Prisons Sat 08.12.CH Delémont SAS Sun 09.12. IT Parma Bandits Pub Mon 10.12. GER Karlsruhe Jubez Tue 11.12. GER Dortmund Pauluskirche Wed 12.12. GER Leipzig UT Connewitz Thu 13.12. GER Osnabrück Bastard Club Fri 14.12. GER Berlin Jägerklause Sat 15.12. PL Poznan Blue Note Sun 16.12. GER Hamburg Molotow Mon 17.12. GER Rostock Mau Tue 18.12. DK Copenhagen Loppen Wed 19.12. NL Groningen Simplon Thu 20.12. NL Tilburg O13 Fri 21.12. LU Luxenbourg Decibal Bar Sat 22.12. BE Brüssel Ancienne Belgique
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Roadburn goes Hollywood! If there was any conflict involved, you could almost call this a clash of the titans. Somehow “alliance of the titans” doesn’t have the same kind of ring to it, or “titans putting on a killer show.” Still, pretty bitchin’ that Roadburn and Scion A/V Metal could get it together for a label showcase. How bitchin’, you ask? Well, it’s just about giant-size poster bitchin’.
Scion A/V Metal are excited to announce their next Scion Label Showcase with Roadburn Records!
We are taking over The Roxy in West Hollywood, CA on Saturday, November 10, and we’re bringing Enslaved, White Hills, Scott Kelly, Earthless, and Astra with us. RSVP coming soon, so stay tuned toScion A/V Metal’s Facebook page.
Posted in Features on August 17th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to Scott Kelly and the Road Home‘s The Forgiven Ghost in Me, it’s almost like Kelly — best known as the guitarist/vocalist of Neurosis — can’t escape the heavy. One doesn’t often think of folk-derived stripped-down singer-songwriterisms as being especially weighted, but even through lyrics about near-religious redemption and forgiveness, there’s a sense the spirit remains heavy. And more, the delivery remains heavy. Kelly, who is joined in The Road Home by guitarist/vocalist Greg Dale and Neurosis keyboardist Noah Landis and whose songcraft is at the core of the project, seems to just bleed the stuff.
Certainly the vast majority of his output over the last 25-plus years would bear that out, but more perhaps on The Forgiven Ghost in Me(review here) than ever before in Kelly‘s career, that sense of weight is given a counterbalance. Sure, tracks like “Within it Blood,” “We Let the Hell Come” and “The Field that Surrounds Me” — which features guests Josh Graham (A Storm of Light, also Neurosis‘ visuals) on guitar and Jason Roeder (Neurosis, Sleep) on drums — have darkened and foreboding atmospheres, but there’s an answer to them in “We Burn through the Night” and “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun,” or even the title-track, “The Forgiven Ghost in Me.” One need only to look at the titles and find images of hell, blood, burning, the sun and fire, to get a sense of the penance that has been the price of even this partial redemption, but it’s there, anyway.
But more than this offsetting defeat and triumph, The Forgiven Ghost in Meis about the songs themselves. It is a gorgeous listen, reveling in its moodier moments but never quite letting go of its sullen melodicism. Flourishes of tape noise on the darker “Within it Blood” may seem on paper to work against, say, the deep breath that starts off the album before “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun” begins, but in the actual listen, it’s fluid. Kelly is talking about the sharing of influences below when he posits that, “Music is a stream,” but you could just as easily apply that to the context of these songs and how he’s positioned them on the album.
In the interview that follows, Kelly discusses that positioning process, as well as his songwriting and what it was in these songs that seemed to warrant the input of Dale and Landis, as opposed to his 2008 outing, The Wake, which was directly a solo affair, and what separates Scott Kelly and the Road Home from his prior non-Neurosis collaboration with Landis in Blood and Time, and much more. Neurosis have a new album due for release in October called Honor Found in Decay (info here), but I wanted to focus this conversation more on The Forgiven Ghost in Meand the impact Kelly‘s solo work has had on a heavy underground that might not otherwise have so readily discovered the likes of Townes Van Zandt, to whom Kelly, Neurosis bandmate Steve Von Till and Shrinebuilder bandmate and acoustic tourmate Scott “Wino” Weinrich paid homage on the Songs of Townes Van Zandtthree-way split (track stream here) just a few months back.
He was as brutally honest in conversation as he is in his songwriting, as regards his work, what goes into it from and through him, and the influence it’s had on others.
You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in Reviews on July 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The idea of putting The Forgiven Ghost in Me, the new mostly-solo outing from Scott Kelly, in any kind of proper context is ludicrous. It’s like trying to cover a mountain with a tarp. For the better part of 30 years, Kelly has stood alongside fellow guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till at the fore of Neurosis’ explorations and so has become one of the most influential figures of his generation in underground heavy. In 2001, Kelly released his first solo album, Spirit Bound Flesh, on which he began to incorporate the elements of country and dark Americana and also to refine his gravely, exhausted vocal approach that, while still closely related to his contributions to Neurosis, was on songs like “The Passage” more melodic and given an entirely new perspective. Joining forces with Neurosis keyboardist Noah Landis and others in Blood and Time, Kelly helmed the songwriting for 2004’s At the Foot of the Garden (Blood and Time would also release a Latitudes session in 2007 with a lineup that included Kelly, Landis and A Storm of Light’s Josh Graham and Vinnie Signorelli), and the track “Remember Me” from that album also showed up on his next solo outing, 2008’s The Wake. In the time since Spirit Bound Flesh, in addition to the Blood and Time outings, Kelly had released four albums with Neurosis – 2001’s A Sun that Never Sets arrived almost concurrently, 2003’s collaboration with Jarboe, 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm and 2007’s Given to the Rising – as well as begun the preliminaries for what would result in the 2009 self-titled debut from the supergroup Shrinebuilder, in which Kelly is joined by luminaries Al Cisneros (Sleep), Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, etc.), and Dale Crover (the Melvins). It wasn’t necessarily much of a surprise that The Wake found Kelly more developed and clearer-headed about what he wanted his solo aesthetic to be – he’d certainly had time to think about it doing everything else.
But still, The Wake was surprisingly cohesive. One can get a sense of where Kelly was headed with it listening in hindsight to Blood and Time’s Latitudes session, on which both Townes van Zandt and Roky Erickson were covered, but still, for many, it was blindsiding, and in no small part I mark it as a beginning touchstone of a new wave of “acoustic heavy” that in the last several months alone has found the likes of Mike Scheidt of YOB and Nate Hall of U.S. Christmas releasing similarly-minded solo outings, a clear thread between them being an influence from Kelly’s work on The Wake. In 2011, Kelly toured with Wino (then supporting his acoustic solo debut) and released a split single and earlier 2012 brought the Songs of Townes van Zandt three-way tribute between Kelly, Wino and Von Till, so as The Forgiven Ghost in Me arrives via Neurot with Kelly performing once again alongside Neurosis’ Landis, as well as Greg Dale under the moniker Scott Kelly and the Road Home, the album has no small task ahead of it in drawing together the Americana and drearily ambient styles in Kelly’s past work. This is unquestionably the album’s greatest success, and that the eight songs/41 minutes are executed with no sacrifice of emotional pull or songwriting acumen only makes the record more impressive. As in Blood and Time, Kelly has once again a fitting partner in Landis (who also recorded The Forgiven Ghost in Me) and throughout these songs, Scott Kelly and the Road Home manage to vary atmospherics while never losing a cohesive mood. The vocals play a large role in establishing the overall scope (Josh Graham does a guest spot late into the record on “The Field that Surrounds Me,” as does Neurosis/Sleep drummer Jason Roeder), but if the opening duo of “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun” and “The Forgiven Ghost in Me” – the construction of their titles being not the only similarity between them – establish anything, it’s that it’s the songs themselves that are the focus of the album, and nothing else.
Even before it kicks in, one can already hear the organ behind Kelly’s guitar on the open-your-hymnal-and-turn-to-page-three opener “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun,” on which lyrics like, “I’ve washed the blood from my hands/I’ve forgiven myself in my soul/And I stand before you as nothing and no one/But my hands draw the moths to the flame,” are delivered not with hopped up religious zealotry, but subdued resignation – a sort of restless peace. It’s a folk hymn in the end, with another layer of guitar added, but still a relatively sparse arrangement in terms of what’s actually included – organ, guitar, voice – for how full it sounds. That efficiency is at play across the bulk of The Forgiven Ghost in Me, and when it’s veered from, as on the necessarily busier “The Field that Surrounds Me,” it’s clearly done so on purpose. Most of the songs, though, feature some accompaniment for Kelly at least later in the track, as with the added guitar on “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun,” and presumably those are the contributions of Dale, though I don’t know that to say for sure. In that regard, however, the title cut, which begins humbly with an intake of breath, joins “The Field that Surrounds Me” as one of the busier inclusions, with early-arriving electric guitar behind the central acoustic figure and – preceded by audible creaks of a chair – a multi-vocal chorus underscored by organ. But for the drums to come later, it’s about as “lively” as The Forgiven Ghost in Me gets, and listening to the rhythm of the acoustic line after that chorus, it’s almost “Stones From the Sky” repurposed. Excellently repurposed, at that, and if Kelly had that in mind when he wrote “The Forgiven Ghost in Me,” he certainly wouldn’t be the first to borrow from that pivotal Neurosis moment. Insistent as that musical hook is by its very nature, here it is patient and in service to a far less bombastic atmosphere – the chorus is more the highlight. “In the Waking Hours” begins with louder guitars and what sounds like tape hum in the background, playing up the organic atmospherics before the electrics come in once again, farther back and played with a slide. The progression isn’t a build, as such, but a definite apex comes later into its 4:28, the last minute or so devoted to a memorable guitar strum.
Posted in audiObelisk on May 30th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Come June 12, the good souls at Neurot Recordings will release a three-way split CD tribute to Townes Van Zandt that features none other than Scott “Wino” Weinrich alongside Neurosis vocalist/guitarists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till. The Nashville singer-songwriter’s melancholic minimalism has had an impact on all three players’ solo outings, perhaps least of all Wino‘s Adrift, though given that he added a version of “Highway Kind” from Van Zandt‘s 1972 album High, Low and in Between, one imagines that will change when he does his next acoustic album. When Wino toured with Scott Kelly in early 2011 in support of Adrift, the two covered Van Zandt both individually and together (Kelly does a version of “Tecumseh Valley” here, which he played on that tour as well), and I seem to recall Wino crediting Kelly with having introduced him to Van Zandt‘s work in the first place.
So the ties are there both between Wino and the material and Wino and these players. Von Till‘s own excellent solo acoustic work derives heavily from Van Zandt‘s and he covered “Spider” on his 2008 offering, A Grave is a Grim Horse, so couple that with Kelly being a bandmate of Wino‘s in Shrinebuilder, and all three of them having performed Van Zandt material in the past, and a release like Songs of Townes Van Zandt seems almost inevitable, something like the culmination — or at very least the solidifying — on an appreciation that has played out for several years already. The song “Nothing” appeared as “Nothin’” on 1971′s Delta Momma Blues and subsequently on the posthumously-released Absolutely Nothing, and has a haunting melody as delivered by Wino that more than earns the ‘g’ on the end of the word.
I’m honored today to premiere “Nothing” from Songs of Townes Van Zandt as performed by Wino. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some context from Neurot about the release. Please enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Townes Van Zandt never reached significant fame during his lifetime. Although highly respected by his peers and other songwriters, the mood and atmosphereof his music, coupled with his sometimes dark and sarcastic nature, was not suitable for the commercial country-industry of Nashville.
Van Zandt’s songs did, however, reach popularity in his day through artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. Within his circle of outsider singer-songwriters, he was adored, though ultimately depression and alcoholism overshadowed his life. Van Zandt’s friend, singer Steve Earle, has been quoted as saying, “TownesVanZandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on BobDylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”
Van Zandt passed away in 1997, and the fact that artists as diverse as Robert Plant, Mudhoney, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett and Dylan himself have kept his songs alive and vital is a testament to the influence and impact of his music.
So now do Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly and Wino stand and sing his tribute, each focusing on the essence of VanZandt’s music and lyrics in his own personal way. The result is a great homage, whose intensity lies in fragility and elementary human truths. Van Zandt’s brokenhearted love songs and gloom-ridden talesare most deserving of this tribute and praise.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s some good and some curious news that comes out of the following press release announcement of a Scott Kelly West Coast tour. The good news is he’s playing new material for a record he’s going to lay down once off the road — if you didn’t hear it, his last album, The Wake, was a triumph. The curious news is what his touring and recording solo means for the timeline of a new Neurosis album and the second Shrinebuilder. Both bands have been playing new material live, and Kelly‘s obviously integral to the lineups of each, so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out going into 2012.
I’m gonna get started on that math. You enjoy this from the PR wire:
Scott Kelly has announced his next solo acoustic tour for late this Autumn, with 16 shows confirmed throughout the western half of America from the end of November through mid-December.
The Neurosis/Shrinebuilder guitarist will be playing most of his next upcoming studio album, which will be recorded immediately following the tour. Kelly will be joined by several companions including country/folk artist JayMunly and outlaw country rocker BobWayne as opening support on all dates. Stated Kelly about the purpose of this new tour: “I have two main goals with this tour: The first is to play all of my new songs, as I will hitting the studio to record my new record the day after the tour finishes. The other is to keep forging a new path for underground folk and country inspired artists such as Munly, Bob and myself; this is something that I am committed to doing.”
Scott Kelly Western US Tour w/ Jay Munly, Bob Wayne:
11/29 Tractor Tavern Seattle, WA 11/30 Mississippi Studios Portland, OR 12/01 Neurolux Boise, ID 12/02 Garage on Beck Roadhouse & Grill Salt Lake City, UT 12/03 Hi Dive Club Denver, CO 12/05 Low Spirits Albuquerque, NM 12/06 Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ 12/07 Club Congress Tucson, AZ 12/08 Bar Pink San Diego, CA 12/09 Juke Joint Anaheim, CA 12/10 Echo Los Angeles, CA 12/11 Alex’s Bar Long Beach, CA 12/13 Fulton 55 Fresno, CA 12/14 The New Parish Oakland, CA 12/15 Brick and Mortar San Francisco, CA 12/16 Crepe Place Santa Cruz, CA
Posted in Reviews on February 14th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
If it wasn’t enough that it was The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday and I still got to go to the show, I knew walking into The Mercury Lounge that it was going to be a good night because the dude at the door said, “Hey man, I dig your beard.” Had it been anyone else playing that night, I might have just cut my losses and gone home right then, opened up my diary (or WordPress) and written, “Today was a good day.” Instead I celebrated with an $8 Sierra Nevada.
I figured out the last time I was at the Mercury Lounge was a couple years back to see Dax Riggs, and though I expected my skin to be burned off in hipster hell, it wasn’t actually that bad. Well, maybe it was, but the last acoustic show I went to was Six Organs of Admittance, and the volume of that crowd was so loud it was offensive, and that definitely wasn’t the case here. I don’t care how ironic your flannel is so long as you’re there for the music and you’re not a dick about it.
Opening the show was Hunter Hunt-Hendrix of black metallers Liturgy doing a solo performance that turned out to be him, a looper, some vocal effects, and nothing else. His voice mimicked strings and he set up elaborate choruses of himself over the course of a couple separate pieces. It was brave, but probably not something that should be done for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, as after that the “What the hell am I doing here?” impulse kicked in and I went to the bar out front for another drink and to wait for Man’s Gin. People were in and out from the back room and I could hear just fine in case he, you know, took out a guitar or something. Nope. Semi-melodic moaning all the way.
The plan for the night was Man’s Gin, then Wino, then Scott Kelly, then Wino and Scott Kelly together, and it was a good plan by me. I dug Man’s Gin‘s Smiling Dogs record and was psyched to see the Erik Wunder-fronted outfit in their full-band incarnation after when I last caught them at Lit Lounge and it was just Wunder and standup-bassist Josh Lozano with percussion behind. Fade Kainer (Inswarm, Batillus) handled drums and Scott Edward guitar, and they were loose, but sounded good all the same.
They got a mixed reaction from the crowd, but it seemed more positive than ambivalent, which translates to triumph in Manhattan. Everyone in attendance who was conscious of their surroundings during the grunge era probably had a better idea of what they were going for than those who weren’t, whatever that says. Highlight of the set was the Neurosis-style drum jam at the end and “Doggamn.” Still waiting for them to do “The Ballad of Jimmy Sturgis” live.
It was a party when Wino took the stage, and that spirit continued through his set, numerous whoops and hollers coming from the crowd. Wino, up there by himself with just an acoustic guitar, couldn’t help but rip into a fuzzed-out solo about halfway in, but aside from playing them a bit faster (as he acknowledged he had a tendency to do in our interview), he was loyal to the versions of the songs that appear on his Adrift album. The split 7″ single he shares with Scott Kelly was mentioned as being for sale for just $5 — end of tour blowout price — and it seemed only proper to pick one up.
He covered Townes Van Zandt, as would Kelly when he took the stage later, but the highlight of Wino‘s set was probably “I Don’t Care,” which he prefaced with a story about being 15 and getting locked up in a Maryland juvenile detention center and writing the song then. It was one of my least favorite tracks on Adrift, but the performance live and the context made it a high point of the evening. I actually saw people dance. It happened.
The thing about Wino is that, even if he’s doing something else (i.e. playing acoustic), he’s a classic rock songwriter, and he can’t help but rock out. He brought the crowd along with him for the trip, and when Scott Kelly took the stage later, it was clear that, despite their apparent friendship and cohabitation in the supergroup Shrinebuilder, they’re two very different performers.
Scott Kelly plays s-l-o-w. He’s really, really good at it. The room — apart from one dude who decided it would be a good idea to accompany Kelly‘s guitar by banging on a cinderblock and eventually brought the show to a screeching halt — was dead quiet. So much so that Kelly remarked approvingly on it more than once (we did good!) as he went through his set of morose, low-key but still highly emotive songs. He covered his half of the split with Wino, taking three tries to get through the song because of the aforementioned cinderblock jackass, and by the time his version of “Tecumseh Valley” was done, my arrived-at conclusion of the evening became, “Well, I guess it’s time to buy a Townes Van Zandt record.” He made a pretty convincing argument.
I had been hoping for “Remember Me,” which originally appeared on Blood and Time‘s At the Foot of the Garden before Kelly re-recorded it for his last solo album, the brilliant The Wake. That was a no dice, but the new Shrinebuilder song Kelly brought Wino on stage to play, and the jam that ensued from there, was more than enough to make up for anything lacking. The crowd had thinned some by the time they were done, but not much, and those who were there were entranced by what they were watching. Wino took leads (higher in the mix, or maybe it was where I was standing) while Kelly played rhythms, and each guitarist seemed to enjoy most of all the chance to be on stage with the other. It was something I was glad to have witnessed when it was over.
Something I was less glad about was having lost the ticket from coatcheck. Whoops. It really is a wonder I’m not divorced by now. The Patient Mrs. and I stood, describing the contents of her coat pockets to the heavy-sighs of the girl at the rack, and eventually, we got her jacket and left. I don’t know if it was her best birthday ever, and I don’t know if it’s the only time I’m ever going to get to see Wino and Scott Kelly perform together in this fashion (they looked to be having a good enough time that I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again at some point), but man, if ever there was a time I was happy to be in New York on a Saturday night, this was it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
The only thing I don’t like about Wino and Scott Kelly touring together performing solo acoustic sets (as opposed to when they tour together as part of the same band in Shrinebuilder) is that they’re playing New York on The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday. And 2011′s a big one. Curse you, satisfying and longstanding loving relationship!
But just because I can’t nerd out doesn’t mean you can’t. This came down the wire the other day, so it might be old news by now, but here’s the US release info for Wino‘s acoustic album, Adrift, and the tour dates:
Answering the call from his friends and supporters to record an acoustic solo album following the sudden and tragic passing of friend and bandmate Jon Blank, who appeared on Wino‘s Punctuated Equilibrium album in 2009, Scott “Wino” Weinrich set to work on his most personal and powerful recording to date. Adrift is a revealing alternative view of this underground legend’s personality and history. Stripped down to the bare minimum — just his voice and his guitar — the songs on Adrift follow classic American songwriting ideals offering a compelling mixture of emotion and storytelling.
02. I Don’t Care
03. Hold on Love
04. Mala Suerte
05. Old and Alone
06. Iron Horse/Born to Lose
07. Suzanes Song
10. Shot in the Head
12. Green Speed
Adrift is set for official release on respected German label Exile on Mainstream Records March 8th, 2011, in North America, the label now distributed domestically by E1 Entertainment. A limited edition vinyl version of the album featuring extended liner notes and more is to be released in the US on January 18th by Volcom Entertainment.
Wino will hit the road Stateside this February on a short acoustic tour, rocking alongside longtime friend, and also Shrinebuilder bandmate, Scott Kelly (Neurosis). The tour will be in support of the upcoming split 7″ between Wino and Kelly, to be released early in the year by Volcom, as well as the Adrift album. Sponsored by BrooklynVegan, the tour will venture through California, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York, showcasing both legendary artists each in solo, acoustic mode.
Wino/Scott Kelly February 2011 Tour:
02/05 Viper Room, Hollywood CA
02/07 Casbah, San Diego CA
02/08 Emo’s, Austin TX
02/09 Abbey Pub, Chicago IL
02/10 Great Scott, Allston MA
02/11 Sonar, Baltimore MD
02/12 Mercury Lounge, New York NY