The Obelisk is Now on Twitter

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It just wouldn’t be hypocrisy if I hadn’t said it’d never happen. Many things change in four years’ time, and I’ve signed up for a Twitter account for The Obelisk. What does this mean to you? Well, if you don’t use Twitter, probably not a whole lot. If you do, it means you can keep up with The Obelisk-y doings via that most brevity-inducing of social media platforms by using the image on the right or the link below:

http://twitter.com/hptaskmaster

I’ve never been an early adopter of this kind of technology, so if I’m late to the party here, you won’t find me claiming otherwise. Nonetheless, if you’re on Thee Twitters, I hope you’ll take a second to follow along with my many fumbles as I figure out how to use a hashtag — it’ll always be a pound sign to me — and all the rest of it.

Thanks as always for your continued support.

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The Obelisk is Four Years Old Today

Posted in The Numbers on January 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I just wanted to take a minute out today to note the fourth anniversary of launching The Obelisk. The time has gone fast. I started this site because I had just gotten semi-laid-off — I’d be fully laid off within days of it going live — and when I put up the first post, I had no idea what it would become or how much of my everyday it would consume. I was like, “Oh, I’ll just put one thing up a day or every other day. Whatever. No big deal.” The fool.

And as I’m noting The Obelisk’s birthday, it seems only fair to single out Slevin and thank him for the last four years of diligent, mostly thankless, certainly without compensation work that he’s put into the site. From helping me that first weekend with registering the domain name and installing WordPress, to designing, putting up and managing the forum, to securing the box that houses the hard drive for The Obelisk Radio and dealing with the flurry of technical issues that have cropped up in the wake of that, Slevin has been dedicated to this site from day negative-one, and I feel lucky to be able to rely on him with issues that otherwise would’ve sunk me before I even started. I wouldn’t be typing this right now without him. Thanks dude.

On a level far less related to CSS customization but still ultimately vital, thanks to The Patient Mrs. for putting up with me talking for the last four years about “having work to do” and then going to post some band’s new video at 10 at night, or being anxious because some review I wanted to write I didn’t get time to write, or having to transcribe an interview, always wanting to listen to someone’s new album at midnight and so forth. I’m not an easy person to be with, and for the life of me I don’t know why she’d bother, but she does and I appreciate it.

Before I started, I said to myself to keep this short, so I’ll end off by thanking you, as always, for reading. I say it a lot, but I’m constantly astounded and humbled by the fact that I can type something up, put it online and someone — even if it’s only one person — gives a crap for what I’m talking about. If you’ve been along for the whole ride (as I know a few of you have), or if you’ve only come aboard recently, I hope you feel welcome here, because you are, and I hope that you continue to find this site useful or entertaining, that you continue to point it out when I screw up, and that you continue to share this passion for music.

I’ve never known what’s coming next with The Obelisk, and I still don’t, but four years later I’m still excited to find out. Thank you for that.

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The Numbers: 2,117,104 Views in 2012

Posted in The Numbers on January 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been a hot minute since I last posted the monthly numbers around here. The ego of it started to get to me. Shrug. But with the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, I wanted to take a second and mark the occasion of the year passing and most especially to say thanks to everyone who made the ridiculous figure above a possibility. In 2012, The Obelisk had a whopping 2,117, 104 page views. It’s the kind of number that makes me want to say “golly” in the high-pitched voice of some scamp from a ’50s sitcom.

That rounds out to over 176,000 page views per month, and that’s about where we’ve been (December was right around 166k). Not bad for some rinkydink one-man operation, and I’m even more stoked that things like the forum have managed to stay consistent and that The Obelisk Radio  has been getting a solid response. I genuinely had no idea what it would turn into when I started this site, but even up to the fact that just under 300 people took part in the 2012 Readers Poll, I’ve been consistently amazed and humbled by the response and support.

So this is the part where I announce I’m quitting and moving to the Riviera, right? Nah. Fact is I’m hooked into this thing now and I don’t think I could stop if I wanted to. My biggest complaint with the site these days (aside from the fact that the sidebar is too close to the main posts) is that I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to with it. Man’s gotta work. I hold down two jobs in addition to this, and do the best I can with the time I’ve got. If you sent me a CD and I didn’t get to review it, I’m sorry. If you emailed me and I sucked at getting back, I’m sorry. I’m trying and it’s a work in progress.

Let’s run down some numbers real quick:

The unfuckingbelievable 2.1 million page views came from an astonishing 185 countries around the world. The US accounted for just under half of the total traffic to the site, with the next five countries being the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia and France, in that order. In America, the top five states were California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas, with New Jersey and Oregon close behind, and NYC, L.A., Portland, Seattle and Chicago were the top cities. Makes me want to get out to the Pacific Northwest even more than I did already.

On the forum, there are currently 1,175 registered users, and 78,929 posts in 5,939 topics. Wild times continue to ensue. Meanwhile, The Obelisk Radio now has more than 15,000 songs in its playlist, doubling the original amount contained on the K666 drive when I got it. I’m going to keep pushing that and updating as much as I can, and hopefully expand it over the course of this year and beyond, ideally with things like weighted playlists (i.e. more Kyuss) and maybe even a live show once a week or something like that. In the meantime, thanks for checking out the stream if you have and if you haven’t had the chance yet, no time like the present.

While we’re here, some other business:

The Maple Forum: Please don’t forget that Clamfight‘s I vs. the Glacier is coming out Jan. 22. I’ve got the boys at work on a track-by-track for the album and hope to have that posted by the time presales go out next week. Stay tuned for much more as we get on release time, and if you’re in town, they’re playing their release show this Friday in Philly with Kings Destroy, Thee Nosebleeds and Wizard Eye. More info on that here.

Features: Much to come here too. I’d still like to do a Top 10 EPs/Demos list for 2012 if I can get a chance in the next week or so, and the annual Top 5 I Didn’t Hear is imminent as well. Interview wise, I owe emailer questions to Pleasure and Wight, among others, so I’ll get on that hopefully this weekend, and I’ve got that Arthur Seay Q&A in the can waiting to be transcribed. Sometime in the next couple weeks, expect a Looking Forward To 2013 list — I’ve started compiling it and it’s getting near the 20 mark. Lots of lists, but it’s that season.

Reviews: Well, I don’t want to forecast a whole year ahead, but there’s some great stuff coming up in both the near and far. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my review of the Clutch show in Allentown the other night, and then I’m headed out to see the three opening acts from that gig — Mondo Generator, Saviours and Wino — at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn, so I guess there’s no real slowdown in shows. Hell, Neurosis and Graveyard are rolling through. It’s a great time to be alive.

Radio: I’m pleased with the reaction it’s gotten so far. I know I’m about a decade behind on the whole internet radio thing, but I hope you’ll take a listen if you can and hope you get to hear something you might not otherwise. Ain’t no Weltraumstaunen on Pandora, last I heard. I’ve got another 50 records ready to go up tomorrow and I’ll keep up with the Add of the Week too. Check the update page for the latest.

Columns: Much love to Tommy Southard and Tim Catz for their work on “Drinking with the Devil (Dick)” and “70 RPMs,” but I think it might be time to find a couple new columnists. I understand dudes get busy, and it ain’t like I’m paying. So yeah, look for a couple new columns to come this year, maybe on these topics, but certainly on others as well. I’ve been back and forth with Ron from Ice Dragon about starting a horror-worship column and hopefully that will come to fruition, and Andy Clamfight‘s an archeologist when he’s not destroying his drums, so it might be fascinating to hear about that too. It’ll come together over time. I’m not looking to force anything, but if you have any suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear them.

Canon of Heavy: Expect more to come with this as well. So help me gawd. It’s too cool an idea to waste.

Alright y’all, I think we should be just about caught up. Huge megathanks again to everyone who joined in on the fun this year one way or another, and to everyone who will be along in the next 12 months, I hope you get some use out of it. Killer.

Wishing you the best in 2013 and beyond,
JJ Koczan
Humpty Phrumpty Taskmaster

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Visual Evidence: Obelisk Stickers Coming Soon from Skillit

Posted in Visual Evidence on November 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve got 300 of these bad boys on their way from Skillit, and whatever else I do with them, I know they’ll be included with pre-orders of the Clamfight CD. More info about that next week, but until then, check out the sticker design, once again courtesy of Skillit — who if I haven’t said it enough times by now — is the fucking man:

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May 2012 Numbers: The So, the it, and the Goes

Posted in The Numbers on June 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster


The last thing I did before going to bed last night at four in the morning after transcribing my interview with Stephen Flam of Winter — which I’ll be posting later today — was put together the above image for May’s numbers. As said numbers are down some 20,000 page views from the month prior, it was a humbling way to cap the evening. As Kurt Vonnegut often said, “So it goes.”

A goodly portion of that, I can’t control. Whatever happens on the forum, whether there’s a shitstorm or flamewar or whatever we’re calling it when people talk crap on the internet these days, isn’t up to me. A lot of the difference is my second job has started kicking my ass around the block a bit and I can’t post news stories there as often as I was doing in April, and without the Roadburn/Desertfest coverage as a draw to the blog directly, I guess some comedown was inevitable. All I can do is the best I can when I can, which is what I’ve done this whole time. The rest will happen as it will.

“Accept the things you cannot change — drink about them later.” Isn’t that how it goes? Wasn’t much solace to me last night at 4AM, but today seems a little less dire, as I was hoping it would.

According to Google’s terribly redesigned analysis, The Obelisk received 173,992 page views for May. The top five countries those views came from were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia, and in the US, the top five states were California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Texas and Oregon, which have both appeared in the top five in months prior, were numbers six and seven, respectively. Wyoming — dead last as always — had 10 visits.

The May podcast has been downloaded 216 times so far, and as of right now on the forum, there are 1,026 users and 68,568 posts in 4,882 topics. Not too bad. I wish I could reorder the forums (I’d like to move “Upcoming Shows” and “Players Club” up on the list), but phpBB won’t seem to let me do it. Probably better I don’t tinker with it, anyway, and just let it be what it’s going to be. I’ve enjoyed watching it become what it is so far.

Probably a good thing, too, as June looks like it’s going to offer no slowdown. Here’s a quickie look:

Wisconsin: First and foremost, I’ll be heading out to Cudahy, Wisconsin, in the middle of this month to cover the second Days of the Doomed fest. More info on it is here. I’m stoked that fest organizer Mercyful Mike Smith is willing to have me come out, and it should make for a pretty doomed start to the summer, which will end in likewise fashion at SHoD in August. Notes and pics to come.

audiObelisk: Well, today I’m putting up the entire new Black Shape of Nexus album to stream, and Monday I’ll be hosting a week-long exclusive stream of the entire SardoniS album (plus a 7″ giveaway), so if that’s not enough heavy to get your fix, I’m not sure what to tell you. A new podcast will I hope be ready to go for next weekend.

Columns: Everything kind of fell apart at once. I mean, I expected it to all fall apart, but gradually. One at a time. Next thing I know, I’ve got a column from Woody on deck to go up next week, and everyone else seems to be pretty much caught up in real life. The good news is Ben Ward is scheduled to begin a series this month, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it comes together. Something to look out for, anyway, because that dude is a trip.

Features: Like I said, Winter goes up today, one way or another. It’s a great, damn near epic, chat, and I’ve got pics to go with from Roadburn last year, so should be fun times all around as soon as I get there. Also in the can right now I’ve got Candlemass and Ancestors interviews, and Monday I’m set to chat via Skype with Tommi Holappa about the new Greenleaf record. Hopefully Tuesday I’ll get to do the same with Jon Davis about the US release of Conan‘s Monnos and the shows they’ve recently done with Sleep, etc. Also waiting on an emailer from the crew behind the Falling Down series of compilations and some other stuff I can’t remember. Did I mention I was up really late last night?

Reviews: “Friends week” has been good times and will round out today with Mos Generator‘s self-titled reissue. Next Monday will, pending disaster, bring The Disease Concept, and after that, the likes of Mr. Peter Hayden, Satellite Beaver, Mellow Bravo, Witch Mountain and many more. Witch Mountain are also playing Brooklyn next Friday night, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing that show. Naturally, review, photos, whathaveyou, all to come.

Other Stuff: I’m still dying to start the “Canon of Heavy” series of posts, and I’ve got another idea for a series running through entire catalogs of bands, but as I can’t seem to find the time to deal with the requests that come in via email for review, I don’t have a timeframe for when any of that stuff will actually happen. Fortunately, I have “Buried Treasure,” and that’s like my comfort food. I just bought a Kyuss bootleg this morning, so you know I’ll have something to say on that one once it shows up.

If you checked in over the course of the last month, popped on and off, clicked the ‘Like’ button or — my personal favorite — left a comment, thank you. I could go on, could rant about how much it means to me — it means a lot — but what it comes down to, now and all the time, is “thank you.” So thank you.

Much appreciated,
JJ Koczan
Hypnopompic Phrontist Taskmaster

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April 2012 Numbers: Done Sprung Feverish

Posted in The Numbers on May 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I think it’s time for a new header for this site. If you’re interested in making one, if you’re an artist or otherwise capable and willing designer-type, get in touch. It’s been over three years and technically, that’s not even an obelisk up there. It’s the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Way less phallic. Anyway, if you’re into it and have an idea, hit me up. I’ll be waiting by the inbox, dreaming in fda100 orange.

April was down some from last month, which I attribute mostly to the fact that I was less able to post stories in the news forum and link them from Thee Facebooks, which seems to drive a decent amount of page-views, even if it’s people just checking in and bouncing right off. Whatever. I’ll take what I can get as regards that, and I’m definitely not about to complain about 195,971 page views for April. I’m still awed that anyone else comes here other than me. Certainly is appreciated.

Google took their simple, easy-to-navigate Analytics layout and completely fucked it up sometime in the last month, no longer allowing me to go back to the “Old Version” that wasn’t a total pain in the ass to look at (god damn it, I hate things that are different from the way I’m used to them being), but after much digging, I uncovered those page view numbers, and found that they came from 135 countries around the world, the top five of which were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands. The UK had a big month, which is likely owed to Desertfest, and ditto that for the Netherlands for Roadburn. Either way, good to know a few people saw that stuff.

Here in the States, the top five showings came from California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania, in that order. That’s business as usual for the top three, but Texas and Pennsylvania switched places. My home state of New Jersey was sixth, which I’ll take, and though I knew this month would be down from March, I was surprised to find a whopping 12 visits from Wyoming. Those are South Dakota numbers!

As of this post, this month’s podcast has been downloaded 144 times, which is wild considering it’s only been up for a little over a week, and on the forum, there are 991 registered users and 66,791 posts in 4,709 topics. I’ve been using the news forum more for posting press releases and stuff like that, and hopefully if you’ve seen it, it’s been useful. I can put stuff up a lot quicker that way, and sure, you don’t get commentary with it, but I figure the tradeoff is worth it and that I do plenty of opining either way. If you disagree, wait about five minutes, I’m sure I’ll completely change my mind on the issue by then.

But in the meantime, May is a busy month as they all seem to be these days. I’m looking for input on a few things though, so if you’ve got a second, I’d appreciate the time.

Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

The Maple Forum: The Clamfight dudes sent over a sketch of the front cover to their new album, and it’s looking more like the fall or later that it’ll be out, which suits me just fine. I’m in no rush, though the record rules and I’m eager for every brave soul who would dare take it on to hear it. We’ll get there though. In the meantime, I’ve got 64 copies left of the HeavyPink 7″, which are available in the label’s BigCartel store. Gratitude to everyone who has thus far supported the cause.

Interviews: My chat with Ed Mundell goes up this week, probably Thursday if the next two days work out the way I’m hoping they will. Next week is Caltrop, then after that probably Grifter, which is finally in the can. I’m also slated to get on the phone this week with Bible of the Devil, and we’ll see from there. Greenleaf and Ufomammut interviews will happen, probably by email, but I don’t know the timing yet on when. I’m also hoping to have an email Q&A with the folks behind the Falling Down compilation series before too long, and I still want to talk to Ancestors about their album as well, so much to come.

Reviews: You know, my goal is less to review specific things at this point than just to review things at all. Last week I got stuck a couple days and didn’t have time, and that was frustrating. I’m two for two so far this week, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back on track from here on out. Travel and subsequent illness are decent excuses, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve got a stack of releases waiting to be written on and that it’s getting added to constantly.

Along those same lines, I want to make it known that I’m directly prioritizing physical releases from here on out. I’m not saying I’m never going to review a digitally-delivered album again — I have neither the clout nor the prickishness to make that happen, though I might do it if I did — but in terms of promos sent in, if it’s going to be between someone to took the time and made the effort to send a full release and someone who emailed a Bandcamp download, my priority is going to be the disc. I don’t mean to discriminate against digital-only releases or anything like that, but on every level imaginable, some physical manifestation — whatever format it might actually be — is preferred, and as people sending real copies are actually taking time and money to do so, I feel the least I can do is acknowledge that effort with one of my own.

audiObelisk: Will continue rolling along. This week, a track premiere will go up with that Ed Mundell interview for The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic. I’m trying to work out a stream of a track from the new Naam EP, and rumor has it I’ll have some music from the new Black Shape of Nexus album toward the end of the month. I’m sure in between those two events will be full as well. The streams seem to get a good response, and I’m happy to host them as much as I can. If it’s not about the music, it’s not really about anything, so yeah.

Columns: Well, as I type this, I’m waiting on Tim Catz‘ next column, which I’m hoping comes in time to post either tonight or tomorrow. If that’s a no-dice, Woody has sent the next installment of “Spine of Overkill” already, so that’ll go up and maybe “70 RPMs” will run next week or something. I’ll figure it out. I also emailed Ben from Orange Goblin to see if he’d be interested in picking up that cult movie column now that the band’s spring tour seems to have wound down, but haven’t heard back as yet. Maybe I’ll find an alternate if he winds up saying he doesn’t have the time for it. If you know of any experts you might recommend, leave a comment.

Where to Start: Tomorrow I’ll be posting a guide to Small Stone Records that I’m expecting will take me most of the day to write. Should be fun anyway though. Stay tuned for that. Looking for some other stuff to write on if you’ve got any suggestions.

I’d also like to start some kind of classic albums section over the course of the next month, but I’m not sure yet what to name it. “Hall of Fame” is both obvious and taken. Maybe I’m just looking for another excuse to laud the brilliance of Master of Reality, but even if that’s the case, that’s my idea of good times, so I’m alright with that. I’ll get cracking on it and you let me know if you’ve got any ideas in the meantime. “Hall of the Gods?” But that’s still got “Hall” in it. Something about Olympus, maybe? “The Heavy Canon?” I don’t know. This is hard.

I actually might like “The Heavy Canon,” or perhaps some derivation thereof. Let me know if you can do better.

Alright, that’s enough of this silliness. Thanks as always to everyone who swung through these parts in the last month, or to those just doing so now. It’s a continued pleasure on my part to do whatever it is you call this, and I’m more than humbled by the ongoing support.

Sincerely,
JJ Koczan
Hircismic Pteridomaniac Taskmaster

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March 2012 Numbers: Waiting for the Boarding Call

Posted in The Numbers on April 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster


Well, if you can’t see the big orange letters above, The Obelisk had a whopping 212,304 page views over the course of March, which is nearly 20,000 more than February. What had been some slow growth between the first two months of the year suddenly shot up into what I can only assume will be a continuous exponential ascent to interwebular prominence, until The Obelisk is like some kind of profit-averse Google and I’m like a broke, fat, beardo Steve Jobs, or whoever it is who’s in charge of Google. Sorry, I don’t keep up with what’s happening online outside of this site, the forum and the alternating softcore porn and stoner metal YouTube clips that endlessly appear in my Facebook feed.

A bit of fun.

In all seriousness, thanks to everyone who made March such a stellar month. If you came through to listen to one of the many streams under the audiObelisk heading, I hope you enjoyed it. I took the Greenleaf one down today and was more than a little sad to do it, but there will be plenty more where that came from, so no worries. We’ll get there in a minute, but first let’s run down the March stats. Because nothing’s more fun than stats and we all know it.

You can see the page views above. Those came from an astonishing 138 countries, the top five of which were the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia. In America, the top five states were California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas. Some shuffle there, with Texas dropping back — perhaps everyone was too busy getting hammered at SXSW to check in — but otherwise the same five as last month, with my home state of New Jersey in sixth. Perpetually last, Wyoming was down three visits from February with a grand total of 13.

On the forum, there are currently 957 registered users and 64,715 posts in 4,540 topics. The build there has been gradual, and I’m glad for that since it’s a long-term thing and I don’t want it to explode. Lots of good people and a mostly cool atmosphere despite the occasional shitstorm that’s unavoidable from time to time. In any case, pretty wild, and I’ve been using the news forum to post press releases and stuff that I might otherwise not have time to put on the blog, and that’s been going really well, so all around, no complaints.

I guess the all-2008 podcast was kind of a flop. There wasn’t much of a comments response and it was only downloaded 133 times so far. I guess you can’t win them all, and maybe it was too soon. Not the end of the world, in any case. It’ll be up for a while longer, then I’ll have my usual post-Roadburn ‘cast upon my return from Europe in the middle of this month.

Speaking of that trip, let’s talk a bit about what April has to offer:

Adventure: Thursday I fly out to London to cover Desertfest this coming weekend. I cannot fucking wait. I’ll be in town Thursday night if anyone’s around, I’m staying in Camden a couple blocks away from where the shows are happening. It’s going to be a blast, and I’ll be reporting on it pretty much as it happens night by night over the course of this weekend.

Next week, instead of flying home, I’m staying in Europe. My plan is to hit Paris next Monday and do the tourist thing, then hop an overnight train to Berlin and go record shopping there on Tuesday before making my way to Amsterdam on Wednesday and either setting up camp there or continuing on to Tilburg in advance of Roadburn starting on Thursday, April 12. I’ll stay in Tilburg and cover the fest’s four days with words and pics, as I’ve done the last several years, and then over the course of Sunday night, April 15 into Monday, April 16, make my way back to London’s Heathrow Airport and fly back to the States at noon on Monday. It’s a trip like nothing I’ve ever done and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what comes out of it — other than fatigue, which is pretty much inevitable. Thanks to The Patient Mrs. for her support and coordination throughout this whole process.

Reviews: I’ll be honest. I’ve got a backlog of stuff here waiting to be done — digital promos apart from “big” albums are falling by the wayside faster than I can stop them from slipping through the cracks — and I know I’m going to bring a lot with me to listen to as I make my way here and that over the next week and a half, but if it’s go see the Mona Lisa or review some album, well, the album will still be there two days later, so I’m not going to kill myself to get these things done. I can only assume I’ll be doing a great deal of writing about the travel, and I want that to be my focus, so while I’ll have the stuff with me, I don’t want to guarantee and say, “I’ll definitely be doing this or that.” That said, I’m going to try desperately to get an Ufomammut review posted before I leave, and before April’s out, I’ll have writups on new ones from Black Space Riders, Candlemass, Pyramidal and others.

Interviews: In about 45 minutes, I’m gonna call up Sam Taylor from Caltrop and hopefully get that interview in the can, and I spoke to Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus this past Friday, so look for those before the month is out. I’ve also sent emailers to Sula Bassana of Electric Moon and the dudes from The Dirty Streets, and hopefully they’ll be back in sooner rather than later. If I can meet up with Ollie Stygall from Grifter at some point before or after his band’s set at Desertfest, I’d love to finally get that in the can, and if not, I think I’ve finally found a way to record from Skype, so one way or another, that’ll get done after their tour with Orange Goblin. Down the line, I’m hoping to put together interviews with Greenleaf and Ufomammut as well, probably emailers. I don’t know if that’ll be in April or not, but I figured it’s worth mentioning.

audiObelisk: Tomorrow I’m putting up a stream of the new Mangoo album, front to back. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll also have tracks from Barr and Adrift posted, and I’m hoping to lock down a few more before the month is out. As regards the podcast, I’m going to wait until I’m back to put together the next one with the spoils of whatever I’ve picked up along the way. I hear the exchange rate is nightmarish, but I can only imagine I’ll pick up enough odds and ends to put together a killer mix. I’ll probably talk over it too, if I can work out the timing on doing so.

Columns: I’ve been really thrilled with how these have gone so far, and I’ll definitely keep the rotation going while I’m gone. We’re already once through everyone’s rotation and then some, and this week will be Woody‘s second installment of “Spine of Overkill,” followed next week by Ben Hogg‘s second “Fire on the Mountain.” So far it’s a blast and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these dudes’ work as much as I have. To Woody and Ben, and Tommy Southard, Mario Lalli, and Tim Catz: thank you for your contributions to the site. I couldn’t be more thrilled than I am to have you guys on board going into the rest of 2012 and beyond.

From today to Wednesday is kind of a mess getting things ready at work (as I’m sure you can imagine), but as ever, I’ll be posting as much as I can in the interim. I just want to take one more opportunity though to say thank you for checking in this past month, and thank you for checking in over April to come. It’s going to be unreal and I hope you enjoy whatever comes out of it as much as I expect to.

Sincerely,
JJ Koczan
Heuristic Papyrocrat Taskmaster

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February 2012 Numbers: Making the Leap

Posted in The Numbers on March 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m pressed for time here, but as per protocol, I wanted to take a second on this first day of March to say thanks to everyone who checked in over this Leap Year February. The numbers worked out to beat January even with two fewer days. Your continued patronage is appreciated, and to those who hit up the site for the first time, thanks to you as well.

As you can see above, The Obelisk pulled in 192,762 page views for February 2012. The bounce rate was a little higher than I’d like at 55 percent, but I’m not really sure what to do to fix that other than a redesign — thoughts of which have been kicking around in my head lately — and I don’t really have the time to implement that right now, so I’ll make due with what I’ve got. Visitors came from 135 countries around the world, which I’m pretty sure is a new best.

The top five countries, as ever, were the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Australia. Sweden was number six. In America, the top five states were California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. That’s the same as January as well. Kind of standard operating procedure, I guess. Cool by me. Wyoming sent an astounding 16 visits.

January’s all-comp podcast has been downloaded 225 times so far, and as of this post, the forum has 922 registered members, with 62,211 posts in 4,253 topics. I’ve also been debating the merits of overhauling the look of the forum, if not the functionality, but again, time. I gotta work for a living, you know.

Speaking of, as I’m once again short on time, here’s a few updates I want to put out there as we go into March:

Columns: This has been going really well so far, I think. Woody High‘s column went up this week, and it was killer, and last week Mario Lalli‘s was great, as was Tim Catz‘ “70 RPMs” and Tommy Southard‘s beery adventures before that. I’ve asked Beaten Back to Pure/Birds of Prey frontman Ben Hogg to contribute a series on Southern living and Southern heavy, and he’s already turned the first one in. It’s called “Fire on the Mountain” and it’ll go up next week.

I’ve been thinking of doing a column myself too, but the debate continues, as I don’t exactly think The Obelisk is hurting for my opinions on stuff. We’ll see. Definitely not like I already have a post-it note with potential topics on my office wall or anything. Definitely not.

The Maple Forum: As you can see in the sidebar, there are 71 copies of the HeavyPink 7″ left. If you’d like one, and I think you would or I wouldn’t have put it out, click here to get it.

The Clamfight record has also been mastered and we’re looking at a June release date. It’s an excellent record. I’ve been grooving on it heavily the last couple weeks and I look forward to raving more about it once it’s pressed up and ready to go. They’re just putting together the art for it now. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to give away the title yet, so I won’t, but it fits the songs.

Reviews: A slew of new discs just got logged, and I still have a bunch I’ve been carrying around for a while. This month, look out for records from Wizard’s Beard, Vibravoid, Black Rainbows, Caltrop, Mendozza, Melvins Lite, Mangoo and several others that may or may not start with the letter ‘m.’ March is also a huge shows month. Tonight I’ll be checking out Windhand/Pilgrim in Brooklyn, and there’s also Black Pyramid and (maybe) Scott Kelly this weekend, and Truckfighters and Alcest later this month. Still undecided on making that trip to Portland, but if I do, throw Mars Red Sky in there too, because there’s no way I’d miss that provided I happened to be on the same coast.

Features: The reason I’m in a rush with this post is that I’m slated to interview Fursy Teyssier of Les Discrets in less than an hour. I hope that one turns out well, as I really dug that record. If all goes according to plan, look for that feature to go up this month. Tomorrow my Q&A with Joseph D. Rowland of Pallbearer will be up, and I’m hoping as well to sort out a phoner with the dudes in Truckfighters about their documentary and more for tomorrow afternoon, so keep an eye out for that as well. I also still owe The House of Capricorn (it’s been months) questions for a Six Dumb Questions and Sula Bassana ones for a full email interview. Argh.

audiObelisk: I’m hoping to premiere stuff this month from Iron Man and Eye, though there’s a lot of coordination involved with these things and I don’t know how the timing is going to work out. Either way, there never seems to be a lack of music around here, and I’ll have a podcast up next weekend. I think the theme is going to be the year 2008, so if you have any suggestions, please feel free to make them in the comments.

Other than that, I think it’s business as usual, which means a lot of business, so stay tuned. And thanks as always.

Sincerely,
JJ Koczan
Horrent Panegoist Taskmaster

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January 2012 Numbers: Three Years and Counting and Changes to Come

Posted in The Numbers on February 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I usually mark this past weekend — the last in January — as the anniversary of The Obelisk, since that’s when the domain was originally registered and things began to come together on the back-end, before I finally went live with it on January 31, 2009, and put up the first test post. The real kicker came a couple days later, Feb. 3, when I lost what was then my job (that post here), so when the site actually began to take shape is a little nebulous. The January numbers seems as decent a time to note the occasion as any, so here we are. Three years of The Obelisk.

Visits were actually up for the month of January 2012 over December 2011, but the average number of pages-per-visit was lower, so it wound up being a little down at 184,861. Whatever. People still checked in from 126 countries and we passed the 900 mark in registered forum users, so I was pretty stoked on both of those things. As of right now, there are 904 users, with 59,766 posts in 4,045 topics. Hard not to like that.

Germany passed Canada for the number three spot among countries sending visitors; the top five were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia. Among American states, California and New York led the charge, followed by Texas, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. It was a pretty good month, and over time, the ups and downs bother me less, as I seem to be able to accomplish what I want to regardless. Much as I ever can, anyway.

On that note, there are some changes I’m going to be making in how the site works starting this month with a series of new columns, the first of which will go up next week. They’re all pretty open in terms of what people will be covering, but here’s a quick rundown of what each is about and who’s doing what:

Tommy Southard, former and once-again guitarist for Solace, will be writing about beer. His first column covers a visit to the Dogfish Head brewery and that will hopefully start us off next week, and he’ll take it from there in talking about brews from around the globe and whatever else hoppy and barley-y he wants.

Tim Catz, bassist of Roadsaw, is going to contribute a column called “70 RPMs” that will cover the ’70s and other classic heavy. He’s already turned in his first column and it rules, so stay tuned for it. Tony Reed of Stone Axe/Mos Generator/HeavyPink may also have a video series on the subject, depending on his schedule.

Mario Lalli has signed on to write about life in the desert and/or whatever the hell he wants. I just figured that someone who helped shape desert rock into what it is today in Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man has to have stories to tell. Plus, as a restauranteur, maybe he’ll share a recipe every now and again if we’re lucky. Maybe not.

Chris “Woody” MacDermott of Brooklyn’s Mighty High will be putting his unique and formidable expertise on ’80s metal to use in a column called “Spine of Overkill” and reminding us all that there was a time when we called albums “tapes” and that heavy rock never actually disappeared. The man is a walking encyclopedia.

And though for the moment he’s busy doing promotion and press for his band’s soon-to-be-released album, Ben Ward of Orange Goblin has signed on to contribute regular columns about classic and cult horror films. He’ll be starting later, owing to the prior-mentioned obligations, but I look forward to getting a whole new education in terror and hope you do as well.

The plan right now is to establish a kind of weekly rotation of contributions around the usual batch of reviews, interviews, On the Radars, Buried Treasures, Wino Wednesdays, etc., and like everything I’ve done on this site since day one — three years ago now — I’m going to play it by ear and see how it goes. While I have the platform to do so, let me please express my gratitude to all the parties above for their willingness to sign on and donate their expertise on the above topics, or even just to take time out of their lives to add something to this site.

I’m humbled to have each and every one of them involved, as I’m humbled every time I look at the numbers. Thank you.

Some other business to attend to: A podcast next weekend to try and get back on track a little bit time-wise, and interviews this month with Selim Lemouchi of The Devil’s Blood, Joey Toscano of Dwellers and a couple others. Light on shows, at least so far, but Hail!Hornet‘s coming around and I’m not about to miss them, so be on the lookout for words and pics from that as well as reviews of Sun Gods in Exile (Friday), Bushfire (Monday), Naughty Mouse, Pallbearer, Temples, Venomous Maximus, The Dirty Streets, Pale Divine and others.

Plus, tomorrow I’ll have a writeup of the new Stubb album and a video premiere to go along with it, so stick around for that because the record is a riffer’s delight. Next week I’ll also be giving away a few copies of the recently-streamed Rising record, so good stuff abounds.

Thanks for three killer years.

Sincerely,
JJ Koczan
Habromaniac Portreeve Taskmaster

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This is the 2,500th Post on The Obelisk

Posted in The Numbers on January 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Just a brief pause to mark this as post number 2,500 on this site. I was kind of hoping it would line up with doing the numbers at the end of the month — sort of kill two birds with one bit of self-aggrandizing, but apparently I’ve posted more the last couple weeks than I anticipated. Big change. Anyway, it’s only been six months since I marked post #2,000, so I guess the last half-year has been pretty busy. I hope that time was good to you.

We march on. Thanks for checking out The Obelisk, whenever, however, whyever you got here. If I could plot my own course, I would, but I’m pretty sure I’d fail miserably. I’d rather take that energy and put it into the next post, which will be up shortly. Until then, I know it’s kind of weird because chances are if you’re reading this, we don’t know each other, but take my word for it, I’m a real person, and I really appreciate your reading this site. Thank you and thank you again.

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December 2011 Numbers: It’s a Blown Out Blowout, Man

Posted in The Numbers on January 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Once the holidays came around, things kind of took a dip, and I guess that’s understandable. People travel, people celebrate, people spend time not in front of their computers. I mean, not me — I’m still in front of the computer — but people do those things. Or so I’m told.

The numbers were down again in December, but try though I might, I have a hard time feeling like 193,650 isn’t exhilarating. I remember when this site got like 10 hits a day and I thought that was cool, so maybe I’m working on a different scale. It’s not the biggest of the blogs out there, but screw it, I’m still having a good time, and I find the more I keep going with it, the more I’m refining the process of what I want this site to be. So far it’s a good bit of adventure.

And seriously, in 2011, The Obelisk had 2,867,775 page views. 2.8 million! I don’t care if it’s one dude sitting and clicking refresh that many times, I’m fucking blown away by that. It’s satisfying to know people are out there and I hope that as we move into 2012, you continue (or start) to get some use out of what goes on in this space.

In December 2011, visits came from 126 countries. The top five were America, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia. In the US, it was business as usual among the top five states: California and New York in the lead with Massachusetts, Texas and New Jersey behind. And Wyoming — perpetually last among the states — wasn’t. Wyoming sent a whopping 16 visits, which is twice as many as South Dakota. Change is afoot.

Visitors came from Oman, Yemen, Madagascar, Nepal, Cyprus, and a bunch of other beautiful countries I’ll probably never be lucky enough to see in real life, and as of right now on the forum, there are 881 registered users, with 57,421 posts in 3,887 topics. Last month’s podcast, the second part of the year in review, was downloaded 191 times, and also featured on Grip of Delusion Radio (website here). Awesome.

Some business to attend to before I actually get into the swing of this year, so let’s do it:

HeavyPink: Two more sold after the last post, so there are 74 copies of the HeavyPink 7″ left, and just this morning, I typed in the link from the download card and it absolutely, 100 percent worked. So there. Thanks to everyone who’s made a purchase so far. If you haven’t yet, the Maple Forum store is here.

The Maple Forum: Speaking of, the latest on the label is that Riff Cannon, who’ve changed their name to Summoner, are going to shop their record around some more with the new name. This was my suggestion to the band, wanting them to be able to get the most out of their new moniker and hopefully get their music out to as many people as possible, and they agreed. The Maple Forum may yet do the release, but in any case, it won’t be for a while. Right now, it’s looking like Clamfight next. They’re in the mixing process for the record, and whenever it’s done (I’m in no rush), we’ll press up a bunch and get them out. After that, the Cortez CD is still a possibility, and then I think I’m going to dial back on stuff. This one-to-the-next thing is cool, but I don’t like feeling like I’m always trying to sell something, so I’d rather do a release every now and again when something comes along I really want to get behind, and I think that’s the model I’m going to follow. I’m not a label guy, anyway. I’m a schmuck with a keyboard.

Features: Barring catastrophe, I should have a couple 2012 preview posts up. That might take the place of an interview this week, depending on time, but as soon as I get my hands on a Y-adapter for my mic (it’s complicated), I’ll be Skyping with Grifter, and hopefully that will open up more international phoners as well, so stick around for that. Next week, I’ll have my Q&A with Mike Dean from C.O.C., and I’m also hoping to get on the phone this month with Clay Neely from Black Pyramid and I’d like to hook up and emailer with Sula Bassana, so stay tuned for those, which will hopefully come together in good time. I’m also slated to swing by a Kings Destroy practice on the 17th to check out their new material, and that’ll be fun, whatever comes of it post-wise.

Outside Writers: I’ve been kicking around the idea of bringing in other contributors to this site for a while, and I think I’m going to get the ball rolling on it. I think I’ve found a decent compromise point that I can live with, and while I’m not taking on a whole staff, you might hear from some people who aren’t me in the next month or two. It’s all pretty nebulous at this point, but I figured advance warning was only fair.

audiObelisk: I said when I did the first podcast that I reserved the right to speak on them in the future. Well, this month, I’m going to do that. It won’t be every month from here on out or anything, but for January at least. I think it’ll be a fun change. Should be up next week sometime. As regards audio, I’ll also have a track premiere tomorrow from Black Pyramid and hopefully King Valley in the next week or two.

Reviews: As soon as I finish this post, my plan is to get started on my review of the Clutch/C.O.C./Earthride New Year’s Eve show in Philly from this past Saturday. I’ll have photos with that as well. Also on the calendar for this month are recent top-20-toppers Graveyard playing in NYC and Monster Magnet the next night in Brooklyn. Backwoods Payback are playing ABC No Rio this weekend with several terrible metalcore/post-hardcore bands I didn’t think were still together, and I might swing by that as well. For discs, on the list are C.O.C., Cherry Choke, Pyramido, The Devil’s Blood, Fire Faithful, Trucker Diablo, Iron Man, Against Nature, among others.

I think that’s it. Actually, I know it’s not, but it’s all I can think of. Thank you for all your support in 2011, whether it was just checking out the site, lurking on the forum, leaving a comment, sending a CD for review, downloading a podcast, any of it. I know it’s hard to tell from words on a computer monitor, but I’m an actual person running this site — at least biologically speaking if not in terms of sociability — and the encouragement means a lot.

So thanks — as always.

JJ Koczan
Hoddypeak Perisologist Taskmaster

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November 2011 Numbers: Still Have Leftovers in the Fridge

Posted in The Numbers on December 4th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, I had a feeling November was going to be down, and it was, so whatever. I almost feel at this point that it’s not really worth giving the numbers, since except in rare occasions, they have little to do with that I’m actually doing on the blog and are more about what is or isn’t happening on the forum, but anyway, I’m thankful people are coming here, seeing this, still signing up for the forum and hopefully getting some enjoyment out of it. It’s fun.

In November, The Obelisk had 215,403 page views from around the world. They came from 127 countries, with the top five being the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia. In America, California beat out New York by a large margin to be the highest-attending state, and Texas, Massachusetts and New Jersey rounded out the top five, the latter only beating out Oregon by 31 visits. Wyoming checked in 4 times.

As of right now, there are 871 users registered for the forum, with 3,750 total topics and 54,966 total posts. It’s been a year almost to the day since the forum went up, and I thank everyone who has signed up, lurked, oggled tits, whatever. I’ve found a lot of killer music through the forum and I hope I’m not the only one. Thanks again.

The first half of the year-end podcast has so far been downloaded 254 times. I hope to have the next installment ready to go next weekend, and on that note, let’s take a look at what else the month will bring:

audiObelisk: This coming week, as I said in the Frydee post, I’ll have the new Sun Boxes 7″ streaming, which is a cool drone project from the artist Craig Colorusso, and I hope this month to have new audio from Lantlôs and psych doomers Uzala, and more. The next podcast should be up by the end of next weekend, so stay tuned for that as we start to wind down 2011.

Top 20 of 2011: Speaking of, if you haven’t yet submitted your top 11 to the Top 20 group poll, please do so here. I’m going to leave that post at the top of the page probably until the podcast goes up, then I’ll have a link in the sidebar, but there’s no time like the present, so please, fill out the form and contribute to the overall list. I’ll have my own top 20 posted as soon as I get the chance as well. I was debating doing it all one at a time countdown-style like I did last year, but I think that was just too much. Better to just get the list out and do a couple wrap-up posts if need be. Anyway, that’s all coming, and the poll closes for top 11 submissions on Dec. 31. I’ll have the results New Year’s Day, which is four weeks from today.

Reviews: Tonight I’m going to see Hull and EyeHateGod, and this week is also The Atomic Bitchwax, Black Cobra and Kyuss Lives! in Jersey, so I’ll be out for that. Mighty High and Cortez are playing the night before in Brooklyn as well, and I might hit that up if I’m not too dead after work on Friday, and on next Sunday, Black Cobra is at the Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn with The Body and Zoroaster, who I’ve yet to see with their new bass player. There’s also a shit-ton of albums waiting to be reviewed, so I’ll be whittling away at the pile as well.

If You’ve Emailed Me and I Haven’t Responded: I’m sorry. I have a backlog of people who’ve reached out who I haven’t had the chance to get back to. This semester has broken my ass, and I appreciate your patience.

Interviews: I hope to be able to get my conversation with Ken-E Bones of Negative Reaction posted this week. Next week will be Eric Wagner, formerly of Trouble and currently of the new band Blackfinger, and I’ve also got Six Dumb Questions emailers out to ultra-doomers Blut and sludgy bastards Morbid Wizard, so hopefully those will be in before the month is out, and I’ll be sending questions to the German band Wight this week as well, which should make a good complement for the SDQ with Wiht that went up last week. Words are great.

The Maple Forum: There are 85 copies left of the HeavyPink 7″, and if you want one, they’re available here. You can pay with PayPal or a credit card. I think the plan for next year is going to be to first sell out of these, then do Riff Cannon‘s new record (tis excellent) sometime around March, then probably Clamfight and Cortez over the summer or after, if everything comes together for those. It’s all so nebulous with the label, but that’s what it’s looking like right now. Tasha-Yar was talking about their next album too, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the time or the money to do it. We’ll see how it all shakes out. First thing though is HeavyPink, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, please do, and if you want to hear a sample of the two songs on the record, click here.

Lots happening either way, lots to stay tuned for, and check back in on. Hard to believe we’re almost through 2011 already, but it’s been an interesting year — had its ups and downs — and I’m looking forward to 2012 and the inevitable apocalypse it will bring. Until then, thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of this.

All the best in the next month,
JJ Koczan
Hastate Proboscis Taskmaster

 

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October 2011 Numbers: Elaborations of Carbon

Posted in The Numbers on November 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yeah, yeah, there were 290,166 page views last month. Much of that I owe to the sundry shitstorms that took place on the forum, but whatever. Thanks for checking in either way, whichever trainwreck you may have been there to see. I’ve got a note on the forum below, if you want to check that out, but yeah, I’m glad people are getting some use out of it. It’s there pretty much for whatever you want it to be.

I don’t have much time before I need to be at a dentist’s appointment, so here’s a quickie rundown. People checked in from 133 countries around the world, which, if I’m not mistaken, is the most ever. The top five were the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia, and surprise visits came from the Isle of Man, Burma, Bahrain, Sudan and Haiti. Other than Guyana and Suriname, every country in South America checked in. Mongolia sent three visitors.

That’s just one less than Wyoming, which was last in America with four. The top five states were California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The top five cities were New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and  Chicago. The numbers there among those cities and around the world are staggering, and much as one might expect the novelty of something like that to fade, it hasn’t. I continue to be humbled.

To date, last month’s podcast has been downloaded 270 times. As of this moment, there are 845 users registered on the forum. We passed the 50,000 mark in posts this month and are currently at 51,764 total in 3,543 topics. Right on.

The forum seems as good a place to start as any for the business end:

The Forum: I’ve gotten a few complaints over the last month or so from people who view others as having violated what I pretty much view as the board’s only rule: “Don’t be a dick if you can help it.” I’m considering appointing another moderator or two to handle this stuff, since I’m both bad at it and short on time between work, school and the rest. I’ve always been a better lurker anyway. If you’re interested, get in touch and we’ll compare philosophies.

HeavyPink: Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered the HeavyPink 7″. Those records have shipped from the plant and I’m expecting them any minute now from Tony Reed. Obviously they’ll go on sale as soon as they come in, and the pre-orders will ship as soon as I have the records to send. If you haven’t placed your order yet, feel free to do so here, and know you have my appreciation for your support.

The Maple Forum: I’ve also heard some rough mixes of the Clamfight CD and I’ll just say it: it’s better than the first one. I think and hope you’re going to be stoked on it, because I certainly am. 2012 looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Top 11s: Before we get there, though, I asked Slevin to build me a form that feeds into a database so we can collect everyone’s top 11 of 2011 and compile a big group list. I need to check in with him on it, but hopefully we’ll be able to get that happening this month so people can start submitting if so inclined. I think that kind of thing is good times, anyway.

Giveaways: The Moth Eater/Black Thai splits have gone out to their respective winners, and thanks to all who entered that contest. I have an idea of what I want the next giveaway to be, but I haven’t reached out yet to the other party involved, so I’ll just say stay tuned and hopefully when/if it comes up, you dig it. Either way, now that the door’s open, nothing to do but keep walking.

Interviews: I finally transcribed Black Cobra last night, so that’ll be up today if I’m up to it after the dentist or tomorrow at the latest. I’ll also have Fu Manchu before the end of the week as well. Next week will be French heavy psych purveyors Mars Red Sky, and after them, Elder. The holdup with Skype has been figuring a way to record the calls, and I think I’ve got that worked out now, so maybe I’ll finally be able to get Ollie Stygall from Grifter on the horn this month. It shames me that it’s taken me so long to make that happen. This month, also expect a Six Dumb Questions with Wiht and hopefully a Q&A with Negative Reaction, who have a new album out on PsycheDOOMelic I’ll also be reviewing.

Reviews: There’s a lot. I’m backlogged as usual, but not as backlogged as usual, so at least that feels somewhat good. I seem to have fallen into the habit of listing the next week’s reviews (or most of them, anyway) in the Frydee posts, so I think I’ll stick to that rather than try and lay out a whole month ahead of time and have things get screwed up timing-wise.

That’s it, I’m out of time and have to split out of the office. Thank you all for checking in this month, as always. I wish you all the best from New Jersey.

Much appreciated,
JJ Koczan
Hailing Porpoises Taskmaster

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September 2011 Numbers: Give Me Champagne When I’m Thirsty…

Posted in The Numbers on October 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

This post doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Bongzilla track “Champagne and Reefer” from their 2005 album Amerijuanican (or with Muddy Waters‘ original version, for that matter), I just had it stuck in my head as I often do. Miss that band.

Anyhoo, as you can see above, The Obelisk received a whopping 255,132 page views for September, which is fairly awesome. Some of that is directly attributable to the forum and the fallout over Black Pyramid breaking up, but there were a few other spikes across the month, and they helped out as well. It may or may not be a fluke (each month I always think there’s no way I’ll ever be able to top that month), but over a quarter-million hits in 30 days is pretty killer any way you look at it. I’ll take that.

So thanks as always. Visits came in from 120 countries around the world, with the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Australia comprising the top five (Sweden was sixth). Among American cities, New York City was tops as per usual, but California edged out New York for top state, followed by Texas, Massachusetts and Oregon. My home state, New Jersey, was sixth, and Wyoming — which is perpetually last — sent a whopping 8 visitors this way. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record.

The podcast, which I fear is being outshined by all these track premieres and streams of albums, was downloaded a meager 115 times. On the forum, on the other hand, there are 817 registered users as of right now, with 46,551 posts total in 3,293 topics. General Discussion alone is nearing the 40,000-mark at 39,443. It’s pretty awesome and I’ve managed to find some killer bands on there. If you missed it, Curse the Son posted their album for streaming, and that’s good stuff.

Lots to come in October though, so here’s a quick-ish rundown:

The Maple Forum: I’ll be putting the HeavyPink 7″ up for pre-sale tonight or tomorrow. What that will consist of is the same ol’ link where you can buy it, so basically it’s the same thing as ever. The difference is I put aside a shipping label with your name on it and send you a record when they come in, which should be in two or three weeks. The system works. More soon.

I’m also in talks with Riff Cannon, Cortez, When the Deadbolt Breaks and Tasha-Yar about doing albums with them in 2012, and there’s still Clamfight to come when that record’s done, so yeah, a lot of good stuff in the works as far as the label goes. I don’t think I’ll get to put out all those albums, but those are quality bands you should check out one way or another, and I’d be proud to work with any or all of them, time and finances permitting.

audiObelisk: The plan is to have a new podcast coming this weekend. Not sure when I’m going to have time to actually make it, but that’s the timeline I’m working on anyway. Until then, enjoy the Colour Haze track, which I was thrilled to be able to post, as I’m a total nerd for that band. I’ll also have Lonely Kamel and Sandrider tracks up this week, Isole and Samsara Blues Experiment next week, and more after that, I’m sure. Music on a blog about music. Crazy times, indeed.

Features: Rwake goes up this week. I still need to get my questions out to Mars Red Sky and Sungrazer. Email interviews always take me forever to put together. I’m still trying to work out how to Skype with Ollie Stygall of Grifter — hopefully that doesn’t take me this entire month to make happen — and I’d love to get on the phone in the coming weeks with Elder and Black Cobra as well, as their albums are pretty stellar. I’ll also be putting together a Six Dumb Questions with Wiht, who were just reviewed today, if you missed it. Speaking of reviews…

Reviews: The list goes on. I’ve got a bunch of stuff at home that still needs to be logged in, but on my list here at the office for the next month is Ogressa, Sea of Zyn, Morbid Wizard, The Heavy Co., Samsara Blues Experiment, a Groan/Vinum Sabbatum split, Hull, Eggnogg, The Dive and plenty more I hope to get to. The plan for the rest of this week is Elder, Sandrider, Beastwars and The Wounded Kings. Always a lot to review. I’ve more or less accepted it as a fact of life. Won’t hear me complain.

Live Reviews: Seemed to be something of a glut this month with the Small Stone showcase and the rest, perhaps at the expense of a couple disc reviews, but I’m doing my best. This Friday I’m headed to Brooklyn to see Archon, When the Deadbolt Breaks and Earthride, and I’ll be at shows Saturday and maybe Monday as well before next weekend, so it doesn’t look like there’s much of a slowdown. Hope you’ve enjoyed the recent live review stuff, anyway, and the pictures, despite the weird flash trickery. I need to buy a flash, I guess.

I know there’s more, but as always, I haven’t a clue what it might be. Instead of pushing it, I’ll just say thanks again for reading, writing and all the rest.

Much appreciated,
JJ Koczan
Hamartia Pabulous Taskmaster

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August 2011 Numbers: It’s Not the Heat, it’s the Hurricane

Posted in The Numbers on September 2nd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’re getting on toward 1AM as I start this numbers post, and I’m at my office doing it because my internet at home is still out following its lost battle with Hurricane Irene. I’m so tired my eyes are starting to blur, and the office’s air conditioning runs on a timer, which lets it get just hot enough for me to think my head is going to explode before it kicks in. It’s like some obscure kind of torture.

Nonetheless (not sure what it is with me and that word lately), as you can see above, The Obelisk pulled a remarkable 220,135 page views for the month of August. That might have been a little higher had Irene not come through the Eastern Seaboard this past weekend, but honestly, that’s an impressive enough number that I’m not gonna sweat the math. Thank you as always.

Visits came from the US and 116 other countries around the world, including Honduras, Botswana, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and just about the whole European continent. Badass. America, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia were once again the top five hitters, and in terms of American states checking in, all 50 did once again.

California was first, followed by New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Texas in the top five. My home state, New Jersey, moved back down two spots to number seven, with Pennsylvania in sixth place. Wyoming had a grand total of 3 visits. Always like to check on Wyoming.

On the forum, as of this second, there are 784 registered members, a total of 42,282 posts in 3,025 topics. That tends to change quickly, for which I’m thankful. I’m so glad people are using that and hopefully having some fun with it.

I feel like the proverbial broken record saying it every month, but thank you all for reading, checking in here or on the forum, commenting, signing up, finding me on Thee Facebooks, or none of it, and just clicking a link that brought you here. Whatever it is that led you to read this sentence, I appreciate it.

Here’s how September looks:

The Maple Forum: Well, if you didn’t see it, I just announced today that I’m putting out the debut 7″ from T. Dallas Reed‘s latest project, HeavyPink, and I’m way stoked on that. Two songs, but a cool vibe. Different from anything he’s done before, but still kin enough to it that fans will dig. I’ll have more on it as we get closer to the release (hopefully first week in October), but I’m excited.

In the meantime, the Blackwolfgoat disc sold out and an extra special thanks to everyone who picked that up. I know progressive drone isn’t exactly the most accessible sound in the world, but I thought Dronolith was a genuine achievement in terms of what it did with just guitar and I hope everyone who got a copy agrees.

As for Clamfight, they’ve had some delays (it’s called life, and it happens), but I’m expecting the album will be done before November, so I might press it and put it out come January as a kickass start to 2012. Depends on the timing with HeavyPink and all that. I’m still awfully raw at this stuff, so we’ll see how it comes together.

audiObelisk: Last month’s podcast has been downloaded 196 times so far. I’ll have another installment up this weekend, and I’m hoping in the next month to introduce a few newer-type bands with track premieres. Don’t want to give away anything yet because it’s not nailed down, but there’s good stuff to come besides the regular podcast, which will kick ass as usual.

Features: I’ve got interviews with Totimoshi and Michael Gira of Swans in the can as of now, I’m waiting on a few emailers back (Wizard’s Beard, Sleestak, etc.), and the more I listen to this Rwake record, the more I want to get CT on the phone and talk about it. Also want to chase down Grifter, Mars Red Sky and Dixie Witch, but those might not come together before the end of the month. Kyuss Lives! will also happen. Hopefully next week.

Reviews: I don’t know how many I’m behind and I’m not going to look. Whatever. I’m gonna do my thing and take the time I need. I’ll say this though: what’s most pathetic about me being at my office typing this so late is that I’m annoyed at myself because I’m too tired to review Skraeckoedlan before I head home. That’ll be tomorrow, then Rwake Monday if all goes to plan. This month I hope to visit records from Black Skies Dawn, Lord, Ivy Garden of the Desert, Iron Claw, Whitehorse, Sandrider and the aforementioned Dixie Witch, among others. I’m sure one or two emergency gotta-review-this-right-now things will pop up too. They usually do, and I haven’t gotten the new Sungrazer or Elder records yet, so there you go.

Wino Wednesday: Is a thing now. The first one was this week. Good times.

Where to Start: Any requests?

And you New Yorkers — whatever you do, don’t forget the Suplecs, Lo-Pan and The Brought Low show this site and BrooklynVegan are teaming up to present at Union Pool in Brooklyn. That’s on Sept. 20, and it’s going to be ridiculous amounts of fun. It’s NYC‘s unofficial pre-party for the Small Stone Records showcase that weekend in Philadelphia.

I know there’s more, but shucks, it’s even later now than it was when I started, so I think that’s plenty. Thank you all again. I’m too tired to think of synonyms for “grateful,” and that’s what I am. Let’s roll with it.

You rule.

Much appreciated,
JJ Koczan
Habilable Polliwog Taskmaster

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