Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tones are warm, the vibe is free and the vinyl is limited. Oakland heavy psych outfit Mondo Drag‘s forthcoming self-titled sophomore outing is set to release in January on Bilocation Records. The cover is a triptych, but the album itself seems to break up nicely into two sides of the LP, which will arrive in gatefold form in an edition of 500 copies as the follow-up to 2010’s New Rituals (review here) debut, recorded in 2011/2012 with Blues Pills‘ Cory Berry and Zack Anderson as the rhythm section. A pretty special moment to bring to light, even if that’s not the current lineup of the band, which features vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, guitarists Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard (also synth), bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia.
MONDO DRAG to release new album on 16/01/15. Pre-sale started!
The highly anticipated second album by Oakland’s finest heavy-psych-rockers MONDO DRAG will see the light of day through Kozmik Artifactz on January 16th, 2015. It contains seven analogue recorded tracks. To be released on CD & high performance 180g vinyl!
Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, Mondo Drag has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not resounded through the atmosphere for decades. The band’s unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stem from the fact that core members John Gamino, Nolan Girard, and Jake Sheley actually grew up within a one mile radius from each other, attended the same schools, were a part of the same scene, and have played music with each other for 15 years.
Produced, engineered & mixed by Mondo Drag and Patrick Stolley. Mastered by Jim Brick. Artwork by Robert Beatty.
Available as CD & limited Vinyl
VINYL FACTZ – 100x marbled (EXCLUSIVE MAILORDER version) – 200x yellow – 200x black – Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl in Germany – Matt laquered 300gsm gatefold cover – Handnumbered – Mastered for vinyl
TRACKS A1. Zephyr 2:34 A2. Crystal Visions Open Eyes 4:36 A3. The Dawn 3:04 A4. Plumajilla 6:40
B1. Shifting Sands 5:24 B2. Pillars Of The Sky 6:45 B3. Snakeskin 6:10
Posted in Radio on December 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I try to do these every week. I’d like to, ideally, but it seems to be more like when folders and zip files clog up my desktop enough to really get on my nerves. Fair enough. A full 20 records joined the playlist today, including a couple wintry classics from Anathema that either were overlooked by me or wrongly left out, plus the new Witch Mountain album, and some other recently-reviewed and otherwise-written-about stuff. It’s actually a pretty killer list. If you’re into it, or if you want to see what else has been added lately or what was played today, check out the Playlist and Updates Page. I spend an embarrassing amount of time there. Here are a few more reasons why.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Dec. 5, 2014:
Burning Saviours, Unholy Tales from the North
The unheralded heroes of Sweden’s retro heavy movement return with their first full-length since 2007. Their fifth outing overall, Burning Saviours‘ Unholy Tales from the North follows a series of four singles released between 2012 and 2013 (recently compiled by I Hate Records and released under the title Boken Om Förbannelsen) and finds the Örebro four-piece reveling in ’70s-style doom once more, albeit with a rawer and less directly ’70s-style production. That is, it’s not as directly fuzzed as their self-titled debut was nine years ago, when it was pretty much them and Witchcraft digging on classic Pentagram alone, but still presented in the same spirit, a strong opening trio of “They Will Rise Tonight,” “And the Wolves Cried Out” and “Your Love Hurts Like Fire” creating a lasting impression somewhere between early metal (think Rocka Rolla-era Priest) and the heavy rock that preceded it. Two Swedish-language tracks, “Ondskan” and “Lyktgubben,” end each side, and at 28 minutes, it’s a quick runthrough, but shows easily that Burning Saviours – since 2010 the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mikael Monks, lead guitarist Jonas Hartikainen, bassist Fredrik Evertsson and drummer Martin Wijkström — remain vital in their approach, cuts like “Inside My Mind” and “The Sons of the North” exploring metal’s roots effectively and organically while crafting something new, if familiar, from them. Burning Saviours on Thee Facebooks, at Transubstans Records.
Soldat Hans, Dress Rehearsal
Swiss newcomers Soldat Hans seem to be embarking on an admirably ambitious journey with their self-released debut, Dress Rehearsal, the title of which hints at their thinking of it as a demo, but for which the extended four tracks included serve to craft a sense of ambience that marks it unmistakably as a full-length. Engrossing in its atmosphere, patient in its construction and impeccably conceived, Dress Rehearsal plays out lengthy builds fluidly and takes listeners from minimalist drone and slow unfolding to massive, feedback-caked sludge, and then back again, sounding natural in the process and brilliant for both its pummel and restraint. None of the four cuts — “Meine Liebste; Sie zerbricht sich” (15:21), “Esthère (im bronzefarbenen Licht)” (13:34), “Zikueth! Zikueth!” (18:25) and “Liefdesgrot” (15:08) — really departs from a bleak, moody feel, but there are shifts throughout, as “Esthère (im bronzefarbenen Licht)” moves from the linearity of the opener to brooding post-rock and jazzy exploration before hitting its own wash of viciousness. To have a band take such control of their sound on their first outing is remarkable, and the longest and farthest ranging of the tracks, “Zikueth! Zikueth!” provides Soldat Hans their shining moment, theatrical but not overdone, melodic early and raging late, hypnotic in the middle, as classic as it is avant garde. They close out with another maddening payoff in “Liefdesgrot,” and while in the future I’d be interested to hear them take on structures as wide-ranging as what they bring sonically to Dress Rehearsal, if this is just practice, I can’t wait for the show to start. Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
If you were to go by their sound alone, I don’t think there’s any way you could come out of hearing burly five-piece Olde‘s Hypaethral Records debut long-player, I, and not imagine they were from Virginia. In fact, they come from Toronto, but the aggro Southern metal they purvey on the album’s eight bruising tracks would be right at home in the heart of sludgeland, full as it is of steady rolls — Sons of Otis drummer Ryan Aubin provides trailmarking thud — the from-the-chest growling from Doug McLarty and lumbering riffs, songs like “Heart Attack” and “Changelings” in the tracklist’s midsection readily crossing the line between sludge and doom, all mudhole stomp, metallic affiliation and violent groove. There’s atmosphere at work, but it comes out through the aggression portrayed, and ultimately, I has about as all the ambience of having your teeth kicked in. And yes, that counts the variation on the theme in the closing “Perimeter Walk,” the more echoing guitar, farther back vocals, and so on. With a crisp production behind it, Olde‘s debut knows precisely the kind of beatdown it wants to deliver and sets about its task with brutal efficiency. Olde on Thee Facebooks, Hypaethral Records on Bandcamp.
Holy Grove, Live at Jooniors
Recorded at some point between then and now at Joonior Studios in Seattle, Washington — I’m guessing more toward “then” — the 2014 outing Live at Jooniors from Portland four-piece Holy Grove is only two songs, but even one would be enough to serve notice of their warm tonality and the bluesy vocals of Andrea Vidal, who pushes her voice to its reaches on “Holy Grove” and still manages to nail the emotional crux. Honestly, that would probably be enough to carry “Holy Grove” and the following “Nix” on its own — sold; I’m on board — but I won’t discount the fuzz in Trent Jacobs‘ guitar or bassist Gregg Emley‘s fills in “Nix,” or the seamless shift drummer Craig Bradford leads between subdued verses and the tense chorus of “Holy Grove.” As far as serving notice goes, Live at Jooniors does so and then some, and without sacrificing sound quality as so many underground live recordings do. Seems to me a 7″ release wouldn’t be out of order, but Holy Grove seem more intent on getting together their full-length debut, which if they can bring to the studio the vibe they create in just 13 minutes on stage, is going to be something to look out for indeed. Learn the name, because you’ll hear it again. Holy Grove on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Buenos Aires instrumental four-piece Persona formed in 2004/2005, but their newly-released self-titled appears to be their first LP, preceded by a 2012 EP. If the better part of the intermittent decade was spent jamming, it doesn’t seem to have hurt the band, who present nine plotted but flowing tracks that keep some loose sensibility to them while following a course of classic heavy and fuzz rock. The lineup of guitarist/bassists Lucas Podestá and Santiago Adano, guitarist Gustavo Hernández and drummer Esteban Podestá touch here and there on more metal tendencies, as on “Los Perros” and the brief “Cortina,” but that’s no more out of place than the proggy exploration of “Cuna de Fantasmas,” a King Crimson-style noodling underscored by subtly engaging snare work and giving way to a heavier push. The lead guitar on “Cazador” provides a particularly engaging moment of payoff for the album’s first half, but there’s enough variety throughout that Persona‘s Persona offers a range of satisfying moments. Still room for the band to develop their style, but they obviously have the will and chemistry to do so. Persona on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Dungaree, Climb out of the River
I’ll give it to Hungarian four-piece Dungaree based on their moniker alone. It’s simple, fun to say, and it evokes the rebelliousness of a bygone time. Their debut release, a three-song EP dubbed Climb out of the River, is likewise sharp-dressed, with a grunge-style production that pushes the dudely vocals of László Gergely to the fore ahead of Horváth T. Zoltán‘s guitar, Balogh Attila‘s bass and Dencs Dominik‘s drums to result in a sound that comes across to my American ears more akin to commercial hard rock than underground heavy, though in my experience the line in Europe and particularly Eastern Europe is both less distinct and less relevant. The tracks are short, straightforward, hard-hitting and catchy, with “Climb out of the River” a strong opening hook, “Dream Again” pushing into metallic guitar chugging in its breakneck chorus, and “Right Words” toying with a lounge boogie — snapping fingers and all — that assures the listener that although Dungaree have their sharp corners, they’re not about to take themselves too seriously either. Might not be for everyone, but shows a strong foundation of songwriting, and I wouldn’t ask any more of a first outing than that. Dungaree on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Six releases, and a pretty varied bunch at that. It’s still really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what went up to the server. I always like putting stuff on there — it’s like casting a fishing lure, except maybe without killing? I don’t know. More like tossing a fish in the ocean maybe and not knowing when it will swim by the boat again. Or maybe I just (re)watched Jaws recently and have aquatics on the brain.
Either way, we’ve passed the two-year mark since the stream went online and I’m very happy with how The Obelisk Radio has turned out. Special thanks to Slevin for all the work he’s put in over that time in helping me with hosting and making it go, and thank you as always for reading and listening.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
You could say I’m very much looking forward to the February release of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s self-titled debut on Neurot… and you’d be correct. I’d be like, “Wow, you’re right. Thanks for pointing that out.” It would probably be a weird conversation if it stopped there.
Nonetheless! The realization of a Brothers of the Sonic Cloth full-length more than half a decade after their demo (review here) and split with Mico de Noche (review here) is welcome and sure to result in one of early 2015’s heaviest pummelings. Aside from being the best t-shirt I own — seriously, it’s long enough and the sleeves come down past my elbows and it’s good, thick quality cotton that’s worn in well; everything I could ask in a shirt — the project led by Tad Doyle is a long time headed toward fruition, and while they probably won’t come east, the simple fact that they’re putting out a record means there’s a chance I could at one point ever possibly see them live, and I like that thought.
The PR wire works for a living and brings the album art, tracklisting, info and a teaser:
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, CRUSHING TRIO FEATURING SEATTLE LEGEND TAD DOYLE REVEALS FORTHCOMING ALBUM DETAILS; TEASER VIDEO POSTED
RELEASE DATE: 16 FEB 2015
Keeping up a long-held tradition of bringing forth some of the heaviest music from the darkest depths of the Pacific North West, Seattle’s legendary Tad Doyle – formerly of TAD, and Hog Molly – delivers his strongest songwriting and playing to date with his latest manifestation, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. Boasting a trio of musicians with Doyle on guitar/vocals, veteran bassists Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Anunnaki), Brothers of the Sonic Cloth will release their long-awaited, self-titled debut full-length February 16th, 2015 via Neurot Recordings.
Recorded at Robert Lang Studios and Tad Doyle’s own Witch Ape Studio in Seattle, Washington and mixed by Billy Anderson (Yob, Sleep, High On Fire, Melvins et al), Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth delivers five immense hymns, with two bonus tracks on the CD edition and fuses the collective and extensive rock histories and experience of its three members in the worlds of punk, hard rock and metal. The threesome’s sonic craftings is welcomingly unfamiliar, splicing serrated riffs through chilling post-punk drumming and hulking compositions that blow soulfully hot and desolately cold. Their longform pieces present the kind of mature ideas and expansive progressions that outpace the listener’s short-term memory leading them off the proverbial map; familiar landmarks like sludge, post-metal, rock all but disappeared over the horizon.
The record begins with an ominous eruption of riffs forged from deep within the earth, with “Lava,” and continues on this path throughout; a mammoth, relentless spirit on a timeless journey. Authentic and authoritative, this album is as much a persistent thudding body punch of sonic destructive force as it is a thoughtful statement of awareness and the inescapable raw condition of life.
Elaborates Doyle of the band’s creation: “After almost fifteen years without putting out a record, much time was spent woodshedding, riffing and writing new material. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth was originally a recording-only project and creative outlet for me playing all instruments on early unreleased demos but I quickly realised that I wanted the music to be played live so I would have to enlist other like-minded players. Peggy was an obvious choice with her enthusiasm and energy that made her an asset right from the start of integrating the band with other musicians. Dave French was a guy we both related to on a musical and deep spiritual level. We had played shows together with our respective bands, Peggy and I in Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and Dave who played bass in his band The Anunnaki. Dave completed the circle when he offered to play drums and his joining was this last piece that solidified the band. We are very honored and excited to have this release on Neurot Recordings whom with their legacy goes a fierce integrity that we are proud to be a part of.”
Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth Track Listing: 1. Lava 2. Empires Of Dust 3. Unnamed 4. La Mano Poderosa 5. I Am 6. The Immutable Path 7. Outro
Posted in Reviews on November 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to Murcielago‘s self-titled, self-released debut, it’s not a huge surprise that some of it comes across sounding akin to Boston heavy rock headliners Roadsaw. There are commonalities superficial and otherwise. First of all, their lineup boasts guitarist Ian Ross, who also plays in Roadsaw. The album was recorded by Benny Grotto, who has also helmed outings for Roadsaw, at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, which is owned by Roadsaw vocalist Craig Riggs. Riggs also makes a guest appearance on the boogie-fied penultimate cut, “Zora,” backing up bassist NeilCollins, whoworks in a somewhat likeminded style vocally at points throughout as well. And aside from the consistency of Ross‘ guitar tone and being demographically similar — at least the three-quarters of the band that’s notRoss; that part is demographically the same — the two acts share a core approach based around giving modern heavy interpretation to classic methods. As I understand it, Ross joined Murcielago after they had already been together for some time with Collins, guitarist/backing vocalist Matthew Robbins, who also sings lead on “Fairlane Swain” and took the photo on the cover, and drummer Brian Chaloux, so I don’t know where they were in terms of writing this material when he came aboard, but his tone, even in combination with Robbins‘, is recognizable. Murcielago distinguish themselves through what they do with their riff-led heavy grooves, and in the subtly brooding personality that emerges on cuts like opener “Bulldozers,” which leads off the 10-song/43-minute offering nestling quickly into a steady rolling groove that proves to be a specialty of Murcielago as the album progresses. Ultimately, if they prove anything across Murcielago‘s span, it’s that they know what they want sound-wise and they know how to make it a reality, which is more than a lot of “first albums” can offer.
If you’re a fan of unpretentious American heavy, Small Stone-style rock, there’s going to be little here with which to find argument. “Bulldozers” and “Money,” both right around six minutes, show off the fullness of sound Murcielago can harness when they so choose and the swing that they can bring to a rhythm, Collins giving away some punk roots in the chorus of the latter, which hits hard after a start-stop verse. Unsurprisingly for a two-guitar four-piece, there’s a good bit of soloing to be had, and Ross and Robbins trade off readily — the former in the right channel, the latter in the left — adding salt to “Money,” which but for “Fairlane Swain” is the longest track here at 6:01. “Cheebahawk,” which follows, is shorter and faster both, but not so far removed in spirit, its straightforward push, crisp cymbal sound and Collins‘ vocal command guiding from a riff-heavy beginning into a quick, semi-twanging midsection that presages some of what’s to come on “Smoke Season” before returning to the thick-toned riffs and a one-into-the-next solo from Robbins and Ross, leading to the last verse and chorus. When it arrives, “Smoke Season” is the first of three shorter pieces. It and the later “Like Bricks,” which provides a split between highlights “Way too Far” and “Fairlane Swain,” are interludes, and the backwards-cymbal-forwards-guitar “The Last Line” is the album’s outro after “Zora.” They get progressively longer until the last one, but the difference is “Smoke Season” is acoustic — Collins and Robbins working together on guitar — and it’s probably the most classic rock stretch of Murcielago, which is fitting since it kicks off a strong middle-third and comes before the fuzzed out “Don’t Do Nothin’,” Collins channeling his inner Riggs with just the right riff to do so over. One of the record’s most resonant hooks, “Don’t Do Nothing” gives way to the no-frills stomp-and-run of “Way too Far,” and the two make for an excellent pair, showing off some of Murcielago at their best.
That said, Murcielago is also a record that becomes a richer listen as it goes on. If one looks at the tracklist as divisible into three sections, “Bulldozers,” “Money” and “Cheebahawk” make for a solid lead-in, “Smoke Season,” “Don’t Do Nothin’,” and the mega-catchy “Way too Far” push further into quality songwriting and begin to expand the instrumental scope, and with “Like Bricks” as an intro, “Fairlane Swain,” “Zora” and “The Last Line” show that they’re not afraid to shake up their own approach, whether it’s with Chaloux‘s backwards cymbals on the outro, bringing in Riggs on “Zora” — which seems to be about a two-year sailing trip undertaken by Collins from 2004 to 2006 — or Robbins taking lead vocal charge on “Fairlane Swain.” At 7:44, the latter strikes a balance between instrumental progression and a foundational hook revolving around the lines, “Heavy metal parking lot/Just a dimebag of shit pot…” describing scenes taken from what seems to be personal reference — a photo of a 1966 Ford Fairlane provided by and presumably featuring one Steve Swain flipping off the camera is included in one of the inside panels of the six-panel digipak — atop a riff that’s just about universal before delivering the title line with underclassman’s reverence to a classic image of cool. Or is it contempt? Either way, the album’s instrumental payoff follows, built from the ground up and boasting highlight guitar work from both Robbins and Ross, and “Zora” gives a Dozer-worthy last kick in the ass before the quiet psych-bluesy “The Last Line” caps off a record that doesn’t seem to want to end. Fair enough, but by the time it gets there, Murcielago‘s Murcielago can’t be accused of leaving something unsaid. Rather, the foursome’s debut delivers a complete-album feel and a vibe that develops as it unfolds and helps greatly to individualize the band. Whatever, and whoever, they may share, Murcielago leave their first long-player behind them having given the listener a sense of who they are musically and what they want to accomplish here and going forward stylistically. They’re not green as musicians and they don’t sound like it, but the self-titled neither lacks pulse nor wants anything for songwriting.
Posted in Reviews on November 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Though Mississippi-based five-piece Face on Mars got together in 2006, their recent self-titled full-length is their debut. They had a track feature on a StonerRock.com compilation back when such things existed and released a split in 2011 with punkers Before I Hang, the song from which, “Jump the Gun,” also appears as the centerpiece of the nine-track Face on Mars. They position themselves as a psychedelic fuzz band, and eight-minute closer “The Last Astronaut” has some trippy effects and a jammier feel to bear that out, but the bulk of what the album has to offer is straightforward, Small Stone Records-style American heavy rock, guitarist/vocalist Drew Kern tapping into his inner Dave Wyndorf vocally while the band — Kern, guitarist/vocalist Matthew Curtis, bassist Jonathan Lee Parks, drummer Jarod Lumpkin and keyboardist/guitarist Drew White – drive home riffs somewhere between a less-garage Baby Woodrose and, particularly in the case of opener “We Get Loud,” earlier Queens of the Stone Age‘s still-accessible sprint. A love of classic heavy is professed, and I don’t doubt it, but the production is modern across Face of Mars‘ 43 minutes, which play out in capably heavy, somewhat predictable fashion their riff-led, full-toned thrust.
An earlier cut like “Golden Throne” and the later “Screaming Boy” seem to have some touch of Lord Fowl-style boogie, but not knowing when in the last eight years these tracks were written, I wouldn’t want to cite an influence mistakenly. No doubt the Chris Goosman mastering job had some effect in that regard — Goosman handles a lot of work for SmallStone, including the aforementioned Lord Fowl‘s 2012 outing, Moon Queen– but Face on Mars inject some classic Sabbathism into “Beat ‘em Dead”‘s bluesy roll and find further distinction through White‘s various synth/key/lapsteel contributions. Kern is an able vocalist well suited to the riffs he’s topping, his style gruff but not caricature dudely, and over Lumpkin‘s cowbell and funked out start-stop riffing in second cut “Psychedelic Jesus,” he keeps a solid balance of restraint and blues in what he does, bolstered by echoes so that the style comes across somewhere between KISS and Mountain as filtered through the second Sasquatch record. Face on Mars have a few killer hooks up their collective sleeve, and “Psychedelic Jesus” is one of them, and the fuzzier “Jump the Gun” is another, but there’s room to grow as well in the handling of a lower tempo in “Source of Ignition.” They’re right to want to change things up, and they’re right in where they want to do it, but while the second half of the track takes off in an airy barrage of guitar leads (before returning to the chorus), the earlier verses don’t have the same kind of power. “Screaming Boy,” which follows, is a suitable kick in the ass to get things moving again.
The instrumental “Minnows” (shortest here at 2:12) is a lead-in for “The Last Astronaut (longest at 8:37), but has its own progression as well, and particularly with how well the one plays off the other, I wouldn’t call what Face on Mars present on their first album underbaked or overblown — they simply give themselves avenues for further development should they embark on a follow-up to their debut. I’d be interested to hear them continue to toy with psychedelic elements — the keys, the wash of leads — as they refine their verse/chorus tradeoffs and tighten some of the transitions like that coming back to the hook in “Source of Ignition.” “The Last Astronaut” isn’t close to being their most raucous moment, but I’d argue it’s their most commanding, and the exploratory feel that comes forward as it moves past the halfway point (not to mention Parks‘ bassline) satisfies immensely. I guess that’s the kind of thing you do in your last song, but Face on Mars prove throughout this outing that they know what they’re doing enough to be more daring should they want to be. Among the elements that ultimately work greatly in their favor is the production of Face on Mars – helmed by the band with engineering/mixing by Mark Black at Black Magic Studios in Hattiesburg — sometimes in areas not known for a huge heavy rock scene, bands come out with records that sound either too metal and have no low end or too flat and lack warmth. Face on Mars sound crisp and come through clearly on these tracks, and are plenty full between the guitars, bass, and synth, but still have enough natural edge so that they don’t sound completely divorced from what the songs might be when coming from a stage. Whatever they do from here, however they might evolve, they’ll do so from a worthy first outing light on pretense and assured of where it wants to be sonically.
Here’s a fun fact: I fucking hate videos I’m in. Photos too. Really anything. If I can go without seeing, hearing, reading myself, seeing my name, feeling like I exist, escaping for 20 seconds from crippling neurotic self-awareness, whatever, that’s the way to go. The conundrum here is that even by saying that, I’m pointing out the fact that I’m in this video, but I think even if you didn’t know it was me and you watched it, you might be wondering to yourself, “Who’s the longhair dick up front taking pictures?” I’m that dick. That’s the guy. Get him.
I didn’t write about it in the tour report, but before the doors opened at The Met in Providence, I was sitting at the bar with The Patient Mrs., and one of the dudes who works there or owns the place or whatever came up and started asking where we got our passes all in an accusing tone of voice and shit, like we broke into the Pentagram show and stole them off the table or something. I was like, “The guy standing next to you gave them to us,” and then asked him if he wanted to fight about it. Got a winner of a look for that one — and rest assured, if he or the dude with him had wanted to fight, I’d have gotten my ass handed to me — but whatever. By then I’d been 12 nights out of 12 nights on that run and wasn’t ready to greet dickitude with anything other than the same.
Hope you enjoyed the digression. The mind makes these associations, event with place, place with time, song with season, and so on. To the best of my achingly limited understanding, this is the first video of Kings Destroy playing the song “Smokey Robinson.” It comes from that Providence show and was filmed by Pentagram drummer Sean Saley. I’m happy to report that even though I pollute the thing early on with my existence, the giant head that shows up right in front of the camera at the end belongs to someone else. We have to take our victories where we can get them.
Kings Destroy‘s next show is Dec. 12 at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar with YOB and Tombs. I am hoping to attend. “Smokey Robinson” will be featured on their third album, which will be out next year, and has been stuck in my head for the better part of the last three weeks even though I know about one-third of the words, and that’s being generous. It’s not something I’m posting because I feel obligated, or to fill space, or whatever. It’s a quality song and I had something to say about the video, so fucking there you go.
Kings Destroy, “Smokey Robinson” Live at the Met, Providence, RI, Nov. 2, 2014
The self-titled debut full-length from Floor is a monument to the gloriousness of weighted tonality. For me, particularly over the last couple years, it’s an album I’ve come to associate with motion, with going places. Reason being is that it was on an iPod I’d initially bought for The Patient Mrs. years back but wound up sort of appropriating after she more or less discarded it (this same iPod was also recently stolen out of my car by some jerk who remains at large), and with the relatively limited selection there as compared to my CD rack, I’d find it in the playlist usually while sitting in an airport and be all excited, pretty much each time out. So walking on airplanes, walking off airplanes, getting from here to somewhere else, Floor‘s Floor is the record for me by which that happens. It’s been my soundtrack for at least the last four trips to Roadburn.
It also seems fitting that it should be a travel album because the music itself is so compelling. Whether it’s “Scimitar,” or “Downed Star” or the one-two-three quick punch of “Twink,” “Sheech” and “Assassin,” which I still feel like I’m trying to catch up to, the album itself moves. The Miami trio of guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks – who’d go on to found Torche following Floor‘s dissolution — guitarist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson propelled themselves from one song to the next, sometimes in attention-deficit-disorder leaps that seemed to leave ideas incomplete in a punkish sort of tradition and sometimes just at the right time, but never with a moment wasted. To date, it remains one of heavy rock’s best examples of a lean record that still sounds mammoth and pummeling — that’s not to mention the upbeat tempos or pop influence — and its thrust and brash feel has had a considerable influence since the time of its release on No Idea Records in 2002. Probably too early to call it a classic just 12 years after the fact, but there’s nothing that seems like it’ll stop it from getting there as the years continue to progress.
All the more so because of Floor‘s reactivated status, and with this lineup. Earlier 2014’s Oblation (review here) was a worthy successor to Floor‘s original run, which came to an end with 2004’s sophomore outing, Dove. By then the lineup had changed and it was clear the dynamic in the band was shifted, but from the time Floor got back together following the welcome reception of their 10LP Below and Beyond box set through Robotic Empire (who also have a reissue of the self-titled for sale on their Bandcamp with outtakes), the question of a new album was always there, and they answered that question loudly and in progressive, still immensely heavy form. Brooks seems primed for a shift back to Torche in 2015 for their Relapse label debut, but Floor continue to play shows in support of Oblation as well, shifting from a “reunion” band to a working one. They’ll play Roadburn and Desertfest in 2015 and probably much more around Europe between. As a fan of the band, I hope they continue on and put out a follow-up fourth long-player, but the self-titled continues to hold a special place in my heart, even if that place seems to constantly be in motion.
Hope you enjoy.
Will keep it quick this time. Stay tuned next week. Hopefully I’ll have a review of the new Murcielago record, plus the Orange Goblin which I’m sure you’ve already heard, plus an interview one way or another, be it the Lowrider Q&A or one with Soph from Alunah. I’ve also got a track premiere and quickie Q&A with It’s Casual slated for Wednesday and maybe one or two audio-type tricks up my sleeve for the rest of the week as well. We’ll see how it shapes up.
I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Danish rockers Hjortene released their self-titled debut full-length back in the Spring, and having sold out of the first pressing have done the only reasonable thing and whipped up another batch. This time around, Hjortene‘s Hjortene is available in an edition of 300 thick-stock brown vinyl platters with alternate artwork from what they used on the first pressing. The record, if you’ll recall, was a frenzy of stoner riffing, so if you missed it before all the other copies went, the band and their imprint, Walden Rekords, have you covered in style.
Info, background and the album stream follow, courtesy of the band, who also promise new material on the horizon:
HJORTENE news: New heavy brown vinyl + concert dates + new sounds (soon)
The first edition (300) of Hjortene S/T on black heavy vinyl sold out a few months ago. Therefore we have made a new batch (300), and this time on heavy brown vinyl.
The artwork is slightly altered – as it is a brown print on heavy rough cardboard. This edition includes a free download coupon for the album. All other owners of the first vinyl edition can write us for a free download code as well.
The self titled record was recorded live at Black Tornado studios in Copenhagen, Denmark with Anders Onsberg Hansen (Baby Woodrose, Spids Nøgenhat, Highway Child) and the album is indeed very warm sounding since all songs are recorded direct to analogue tape (btw on the same tape recorder Nirvana used to record ‘In Utero’).
On the album, the band worked with three distinct handpicked guest musicians:
— Valient Himself from American Valient Thorr lend his vocal duties on the opener 180.000 km/t. The guest vocals became possible after a long correspondence between the lead singer and the band, and the recording took place in a conference room at the venue before Valient Thorr’s last gig in Copenhagen.
— Lorenzo Woodrose from Baby Woodrose and Spids Nøgenhat is an old friend of the band, who guests on Canada with a 1½ minute double fuzz- space echo-wah solo, where he plays against himself in guitar sequences intertwining endlessly.
— President Fetch/Molle from legendary danish punkband President Fetch participates on the shortest track of the record, James Brown. The President wrote the lyrics about the King of Soul, who wishes to fly with UFO’s in Thuringia and walk on coals with the Mau Mau.
The sound of Hjortene is like dry wood beeing chopped with a fuzz pedal set to 11, and an old tube amp puking blood. The album is packed with solid bass heavy riffs that will cater for fans of Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, Nebula, The Sword and Mudhoney, but with more unconventional song structures and experimental (animal-)sounds.
Previously all Hjortene’s songs have been in their native language, but on this album Danish and English is mixed. The lyrics are a bipolar mixture focusing from birth to death and on the mind’s darkets corners. For example the 9 minute long Canada: What happens, when you’re sitting in the most peaceful enviroment in the forests of Canada, and suddenly you feel yourself so clearly that all the bad things you have accumulated over time just comes tumbling.
In 2004 Hjortene won an P3 Guld-award and later they released the 10” mini album ’Brøl Stød Løb’ (2007). In 2008 Hjortene released the split-EP ‘World Domination’ (2008) with Swedish band Omar.
This winter the following concerts are booked:
November 8 with President Fetch @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (Denmark) December 12 @ Gimle Soundtjek, Roskilde (Denmark) January 30 @ Festival, Aalborg (Denmark) January 31 @ Radar, Aarhus (Denmark)
— NEW RIFFS — Hjortene also started working on new material, and some sound snippets will be up on the band’s Soundclouad in the nearest future:https://soundcloud.com/hjortene
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Now located in Oakland, California, after first coming together in the Midwest, Mondo Drag are preparing to issue their sophomore long-player. Self-titled and due out this winter through Kozmik Artifactz, the record features the rhythm section of Cory Berry and Zack Anderson, both now out of the band and better known as the now-former drummer and bassist for Blues Pills and Radio Moscow. Mondo Drag was recorded right around the time Blues Pills were getting going, and though Berry and Anderson would soon split for Sweden, their presence on the album, especially at what was a pretty tumultuous time coming off their unceremonious departure from Radio Moscow, makes the follow-up to Mondo Drag‘s 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), an even more enticing prospect.
The PR wire brings a look at the cover art and tells the whole story:
MONDO DRAG sign for new album with Kozmik Artifactz
Heavy psych / prog band MONDO DRAG is proud to announce the release of their second full-length LP which is Self-Titled. The Oakland, CA-based outfit’s heavy-hitting new record will be released this Winter – on CD and vinyl (180-gram, gatefold LP) — via Kozmik Artifactz.
Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, MONDO DRAG has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not resounded through the atmosphere for decades. The bands unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stem from the fact that core members John Gamino, Nolan Girard, and Jake Sheley actually grew up within a one mile radius from each other, attended the same schools, were part of the same music scene, and have played in bands with each other for 15 years.
The release of New Rituals (Alive Records)in 2010, saw the band headlining numerous U.S tours, appearing at many high-profile fests around the country including several official showcases at SXSW (and a dozen more unofficial ones), and headlining slots at both the Chicago Pysch Fest and the Cincy Psych Fest. You can also find them on the Austin Psych Fest 3 DVD (w/ The Black Angels, The Warlocks, Warpaint, et al.).
After a tumultuous tour in March 2011, Johnnie (drums, vocals) and Dennis (bass) left the band. After looking high and low for a new rhythm section, the band caught a break when Cory Berry and Zack Anderson moved back to Iowa after quitting Radio Moscow. The two came to live with the band, while rehearsing and preparing material for the new album. This transitional period also saw John assume the role of vocalist for the band.
In the Winter of 2011-2012, the band returned to Future Appletree Studios Too (New Rituals was recorded here also) to record with friend and gear guru, Patrick Stolley. Zack and Cory came to stay with the band again, but this time they also brought along with them Elin Larsson. While Zack and Cory were recording with Mondo Drag they were also forming Blues Pills and recording their Bliss EP for Crusher Records.
Utilizing Stolley’s extensive vintage gear library and his expansive knowledge of analog recording, they were able to capture full-band live performances recorded to analog tape. Most of the live tracking was recorded with 1940’s and 50’s RCA ribbon mics and everything recorded on the album ran through tube pre-amps and transformers of the same era.
Shortly after the album was recorded, Zack moved to Sweden and Cory soon followed to pursue their new group, Blues Pills, which was really taking off in Europe. This left the band with still no rhythm section. After much thought, the band decided it was time to move and reform the group so in 2013 they caravanned to Oakland, CA with all of their records and gear.
Since then, the band has picked up a new rhythm section and has quickly become a staple of the bay area’s psych/prog scene playing with bands like Hot Lunch, Lecherous Gaze, Wild Eyes, Once and Future Band, and Hedersleben.
This album features the lineup of John Gamino (vocals / keyboards), Nolan Girard (guitar), Jake Sheley (guitar), and the rhythym section of Zack Anderson (bass), and Cory Berry (drums), both formerly of Radio Moscow and founding members of Blues Pills.
Upcoming shows: 12/12 at Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco W/ Older Sun, Banquet
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Riff monger three-piece Moon Curse first came to my attention at Days of the Doomed last year, delivering more than solid stoner march and deeply weighted groove. Their self-titled debut full-length was originally self-released in 2012, and the band has been through two pressings (there are still a couple copies left of the second at their Bandcamp) up to this point and no doubt soon enough the third will be gone as well, with Bilocation Records stepping in to get behind the release for a European audience. Of all the records I regret not buying at that fest, theirs just about tops the list, but I’ve drowned my sorrows numerous times in the stream of the album, which now includes the bonus track “Seminary Woods,” included for your perusal here.
Good band. They’re about due for a follow-up, but I’m glad to see this record getting some attention with the Bilocation issue, about which you can find more info below, courtesy of the PR wire:
MOON CURSE – Moon curse LP
Beneath the faded light of Milwaukee’s infamous “polish moon” clock tower (a structure built for the sole intent of dominating the night sky and the view of it’s immigrant residents), three bleary eyed mystics brew stoner hymns dedicated to baphomet bongsmoke, Pontiac muscle and 70’s rock n’ rollers. following a DOOMED path, tred by true HEAVY fanatics before them, a path that will always remain for those dedicated to the riff; MOON CURSE walk with intent to play loud and proud! Keith bangs the drums, Rochelle strums the Squier P bass, and Matt breaks Orange amplifiers and howls. One could cite Sabbath (duh!), Zeppelin, or a handful of other protometal-fuzz-stoner-whatever-rock as influnces, but you get the idea! You know it! You love it! So … GET CURSED!
VINYL FACTZ -100x white w/ green (EXCLUSIVE MAILORDER edition) -200x clear w/ white -Plated & pressed on high-performance 180g vinyl -pressed in Germany -matt laquered 300gsm gatefold cover -Artwork by Vincent Zager -handnumbered -especially mastered for vinyl -incl. bonus track
Posted in On Wax on October 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A spirit of reverence is immediate, even before you put on the self-titled debut full-length from Norway’s Spidergawd. The vinyl — now in its third pressing, as I understand it — comes courtesy of Crispin Glover Records, and is presented in bright red, 180g form, housed in a blue transparent plastic sleeve. Already we see the interplay of color that the album itself will proffer. Its striking, thick-glossy-stock pagan-futuristic cover art follows suit, the tracklisting and recording info hidden inside, waiting to be found, and the whole package, which also includes a CD, is housed in a clear plastic sleeve that boasts the band’s logo for a layered-over effect when the put together. Spidergawd‘s music is as intricate a take as I’ve heard on ’70s-style boogie, with at-times manic progressive rhythmic turns matched to upbeat, classic heavy forward motion, and clearly the 12″ was meant to be a multi-sensory experience. Even unto how the texture of the sleeve feels in your hands, it offers more than just the audio.
The name Motorpsycho won’t be as immediately familiar to Americans as to Europeans, but the rhythm section of the long-running prog pioneers features here, bassist Bent Sæther and drummer Kenneth Kapstad joining guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Per Borten and saxophonist Rolf Martin Snustad in the Trondheim-based Spidergawd, the self-titled also boasting pedal steel from Roar Øien and trumpet from Kim Alexander Eriksen. The horns are used well beginning from side A opener “Into Tomorrow,” accenting the chorus of the album’s shortest cut without being overdone, adding to the excitement of the song itself, Borten‘s vocal command — readily on display throughout — and the instrumental chemistry between the guitar, bass and drums. “Into Tomorrow” is a forward, driving heavy rock song with an ear toward ’70s rock, but nothing on Spidergawd‘s Spidergawd is particularly retro-sounding, the production clear and full and not necessarily geared toward playing up a vintage style, though “Blauer Jubel” or “Southeastern Voodoo Lab” definitely lean more into that influence stylistically.
Even aside from Kapstad‘s gonna-put-on-a-clinic-and-still-sound-like-I’m-having-fun drumming, there’s a lot about the LP that’s easy to get into. Borten‘s guitar jangles and swaggers over Sæther‘s twisting fuzz jam, and though Spidergawd obviously have the chops to pull off the blinding shuffle of “Blauer Jubel,” technical prowess isn’t shown off at the expense of songwriting. “Master of Disguise” sees fit to out GraveyardGraveyard, a tense verse opening to a raucous, full-speed-ahead chorus of classic pursuit, and even if they hadn’t built such momentum over the course of “Into Tomorrow” and “Blauer Jubel,” the play of guitar and bass in the solo section — that low end tone — is a firm signifier these cats mean business. Still keeping a modern production, they update the best aspects of classic heavy rock and deliver a style both familiar and their own wrapped in virtuosic performance and variability, the horns returning on “Southeastern Voodoo Lab” to help round out side A in swinging fashion, pushing toward a guitar-led blues-solo apex with Kapstad pulling back to a half-time crash before once more joining the air-tight rush for a return to the verse.
A flip to side B brings more surprises in the form of the 14-minute “Empty Rooms,” an extended heavy psychedelic jam that begins with a solid minute-plus of Snustad‘s echoing sax before the guitar and bass begin to swell into the mix. Fuck, it’s righteous. They bring the volume up and hold a ringout as Kapstad‘s snare drumrolls a quick build, and Borten starts the vocals of the first verse about four minutes after the song began, backed by Sæther‘s bass. They take off from there, once again at barnburner speed, and a solo at around eight minutes in brings a tempo change to a more languid groove, the bass and guitar fuzzed out in a descending progression toward what would seem to be a finish before start-stop chugging revives the movement, bass once more serving as the foundation for the guitar and Soundgarden-gone-psych compressed vocals that carry past the 10-minute mark. A jazzy, airy, unhurried solo caps over the last couple minutes, the sax gone, pedal steel buried deep in the mix but there enough to be in conversation with Borten, and the jam gradually fades out past its 14th minute, a jarring last minute swell signaling the shift into closer “Million Dollar Somersault,” its title and its initial bassline reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age but ultimately working on a different plane, like the embodiment of everything hyper-stylized indie rockers fall short of conveying, ultra-swinging and poised even as its noisy apex approaches, fittingly grounding after “Empty Rooms” but still way, way out there, coming to a sudden finish as the needle returns, daring you to go another round.
Spidergawd have a couple singles under their belt on Crispin Glover, but this is their first full-length. One doesn’t want to get into they’re-gonna-be-huge kinds of hyperbole, both because it’s useless and because it ultimately detracts from conveying the actual value of the album, but there’s nothing Spidergawd sets out to do that its six tracks don’t accomplish, and front to back, the record breathes life into ’70s influenced heavy, showing there’s more to be done than simply trying to ape the sound as best as possible. I’ll say flat out it’s a hell of a record. If you don’t take my recommendation to heart, I hope it finds you some other way.
Sometimes in listening to Captain Beyond‘s classic 1972 self-titled debut, it’s easy to forget that there were just four members in the band. At times they’re almost orchestral, layers of guitar and vocals making their way in and around winding, still-heavy riffs and grooves. The lineup was considerable even then — vocalist Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple), guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly), bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly) and drummer Bobby Caldwell (who played with Johnny Winter and would go on to form Armageddon) — but no question that Captain Beyond‘s Captain Beyond was more than the sum of its parts. Few records of the era so successfully bridged the then-widening gap between heavy rock and prog, and frankly few have come along since that could excite fans of both. Its bizarre structure, with each side almost a record unto itself with its own themes and progression, makes it all the more complex, but it’s also a remarkably smooth listen, with cuts like “Mesmerization Eclipse,” “Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air),” “Raging River of Fear” and “As the Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea)” creating memorable, lasting impressions.
Lasting enough that Captain Beyond has had four decades of cult influence. After hearing Evans sing “Frozen Over,” I don’t think one can put on early Pentagram without hearing a similarity in Bobby Liebling‘s approach — Pentagram also had the lead track on Record Heaven‘s Thousand Days of Yesterdays tribute — and from The Atomic Bitchwax to Mastodon, scores of bands have taken lessons from Reinhardt‘s style of riffing and spaced-out leads, his layering acoustic and electric rhythms and the jazzy punch of the movement in this Caldwell‘s compositions. And Captain Beyond‘s Captain Beyond was truly a moment that wouldn’t come again. By the time a year has passed, Caldwell was out of the band, and replaced on 1973’s Sufficiently Breathless by Marty Rodriguez, with Dorman at the fore as principal songwriter. Sufficiently Breathless was a more than solid follow-up to Captain Beyond, but the group’s legacy continues to be based largely on their accomplishments here and the rare character and breadth that this album brought to bear. It is rightly considered among the most pivotal works of early heavy rock.
As always, I hope you enjoy.
So. Last Saturday, my mother-in-law’s old, sick pekingese got dropped off so The Patient Mrs. and I could take care of it while her mom was on vacation. You can see where this is going. The week started off — first thing Monday morning — with The Patient Mrs. asking me to get up and confirm her suspicion that the dog had died. Sure enough. I checked for a pulse, as if such a thing were possible on so fluffernutter a dog as a pekingese, and declared her suspicion correct. Added surreality came when a structural engineer and a lawyer showed up to look at something with the house (long, irrelevant story) and I had to hurry to pick up the dog and clean up the various leaked-out fluids so they could enter without having to step over the body. I had not yet brushed my teeth.
The Patient Mrs. found a local kennel that also doubled as a crematorium — take a second and let that sink in — so what else to do? I put the dog in a box and we drove over, about 15 minutes in the car. Our own dog, the little dog Dio, we left home to deal with her confusion. There was a form The Patient Mrs. filled out and then the lady behind the counter at the crematorium was like, “Okay, come on,” and directed us to follow her to the furnace, telling us along the way about the state contracts they have with the Mystic Aquarium, the roadkill, etc. All the while we’re on this piece of property back in the woods, walking past the pet cemetery, canopy of trees overhead with grey skies. I was fairly certain that The Patient Mrs. and I were both going to be killed and shoved in the furnace with only the texts I’d sent my family about the ordeal left for detectives to trace the whereabouts of our murderers.
We weren’t, thankfully. We got into an open barn with what was quite clearly the furnace in the middle of the room, ashes and metal trays on the floor, the vague smell of burning in the air, and I began to wonder if it was a do-it-yourself kind of deal. This worry also proved unfounded. The woman directed me to put the box down on a table nearby and we left, chatting pleasantly and awkwardly as we traipsed through the woods back to my car. I knew this dog well, and there wasn’t really much to say anyhow, so that was it. And everything was fine until I started to have these thoughts that what if I was wrong? What if the dog wasn’t really dead, if it had just peed itself and been asleep and breathing too shallow for me to tell? Of course it was dead — the body was limp when I picked it up — but still, I couldn’t shake the image of the dog waking up in that cardboard box on that table, and it stayed with me the last five days. Even now, and we’ve already gotten the call to go pick up the cremains.
That was how the week started. It’ll end in a little while when I head out to see Kind and The Golden Grass in New Bedford at a taco joint. So yeah, a little strange.
Next week, stick around for a review of that show, plus on Monday a stream of the new split between Krautzone and Lamp of the Universe, an Apostle of Solitude giveaway, review of the new Lo-Pan and Electric Wizard and as many other records as I can manage to fit. If you didn’t notice, I tried to cut back on the word counts for reviews because they were getting out of hand again. We’ll see how long it lasts, but at least I’m trying to keep it under control. Sometimes the sentences just keep going.
Go Giants for Acid King, go Orioles for all of Maryland doom. Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Radio on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yeah, it’s been a couple weeks since I added records to The Obelisk Radio playlist, mostly because these posts are a pain to set up, but once again, I’ve been keeping track of stuff to go up and this time around we’ve got 24 new albums joining the ranks. Some of it is stuff recently covered — 35007, Ice Dragon, Truckfighters — and some has yet to be — Nick Oliveri, Brant Bjork — but as ever, it’s a lot of good stuff, so if you get the chance to hit up the playlist and updates page, you should find plenty there for your perusal, in addition to the running tab of the playlist, which from where I sit puts the whole stream in a different league of enjoyable. Hope you agree.
A lot to cover, so let’s get to it.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Oct. 3, 2014:
The Melvins, Hold it In
Sometimes I have to wonder how it is that for a band who are so off the wall and experimental one can still basically approach any Melvins record no matter who’s involved in making it and have a decent idea of what to expect. Yeah, guitarist/vocalist King Buzzo and drummer Dale Crover have hooked up with JD Pinkus and Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers, and yeah, “You Can Make Me Wait” sounds like it would play over alternate universe credits to The Breakfast Club, but a lot of Hold it In (released by Ipecac) — “Bride of Crankenstein,” “Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad,” “Sesame Street Meat,” “Nine Yards” — is pretty much in the Melvins wheelhouse. It’s in moments like the jangly “Eyes on You,” trucker rocking “Piss Pisstoferson,” spacious seven-minute jammer “The Bunk Up” and sprawling noise finish “House of Gasoline” that Hold it In really distinguishes itself, but there are stretches even in those where the Melvins just continue to sound like the Melvins. I know they’ve got a fanbase that will eagerly snap up everything they do, and after 30 years of busting their collective ass on tour and in the studio without major commercial success, I’ll far from begrudge them their following, it just seems like for as much praise is heaped in the direction of every new Melvins release, there’s not nearly as much genuinely new ground being broken as time goes on and that even the gleefully weird territory Hold it In covers is starting to feel an awful lot like a comfort zone. The Melvins on Thee Facebooks, Ipecac Recordings.
Slow Season, Mountain
Whichever of Cali four-piece Slow Season‘s parents introduced them to Led Zeppelin, thanks. The Visalia outfit will release their second album, Mountains, this November on RidingEasy Records, following-up a 2012 self-titled, and by way of advance notice, the thing’s a ripper, echoing out Plant-style vocals and Bonham stomp with an underlying skater-rock groove that fits well with the label’s output in bands like The Well, Electric Citizen, and so on. Of course, there’s more than thatat play — second cut “Synanon” reminds of some of The Flying Eyes‘ heavy psych rollout — but from the oohing and ahhing that cap “Damo’s Days” to the bombast that comes to the fore in “Wasted Years,” Zeppelin are a central influence, bolstered throughout by touches of early Soundgarden and forays into mega-swagger for “King City” and acoustic psychedelia in “Apparition.” Mountains‘ bread and butter, though, is the meaty riffer fare of “Shake” and closer “The Defector,” the sheer arrogance of which impresses, let alone the fluidity of the riff or the obvious aesthetic drive of the production. Slow Season on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
Beak, Let Time Begin
Not to be confused with Beak>, who are a different band entirely, post-metal four-piece Beak are based in Chicago and Let Time Begin (released by Someoddpilot Records) is their chugging, growling, atmospherically ranging debut full-length. Chicago has proven a hotbed for the genre, and Beak seem well aware of the tenets, trading off crushing riffs for atmospheric post-rock airiness, the lineup of Chris Eichenseer, Jason Goldberg, Andy Bosnak and Jon Slusher taking an Isis influence to unexpected synthy weirdness on “The Breath of Universe” — a vocoder early bringing to mind some of Cynic‘s post-reunion proggism — after the lumbering of “Light Outside.” Longer songs like “Into the Light” and “Carry a Fire” flow well, incorporating some blackened guitar squibblies and echoing screams between them, and the penultimate “Over the Shelter, the Morning” moves from abrasive feedback to contemplative ambience ahead of “Fiery They Rose,” which meters out weighty pummel but ultimately caps Let Time Begin on a subdued note that’s both satisfying and emblematic of a burgeoning will toward individuality. Beak on Thee Facebooks, Someoddpilot Records.
GravelRoad, El Scuerpo
Seattle blues rockers GravelRoad get the vibe just right on “Waiting for Nothing,” which opens their fifth album, El Scuerpo (Knick Knack Records), rocking out quiet, unpostured blues to lead the way into the record’s varied takes, from the boogie-woogie shuffle of “40 Miles” to the psychedelic fluidity of “Green Grass,” straight-up heavy rock of “DD Amin,” languid roll of “Asteroid” and upbeat finish of “Flesh and Bone,” which is among the happiest songs I’ve ever heard about cannibalism. My chief issue with some of their past work has been a tendency toward disjointedness and a modern blues production style that hones in on clarity and the brightness of the guitar and gives up some of the malevolence of the low end — something more related to my own perspective listening than the actual mission of the band — but El Scuerpo flows well and a mix by Jack “Yes, That Jack Endino” Endino treats eight-minute heavy jam rocker “Asteroid” with its due reverence, and the more I hear it, the more I want to hear it. GravelRoad on Thee Facebooks, Knick Knack Records.
Lords of Beacon House, Lords of Beacon House
Los Angeles heavy rockers Lords of Beacon House serve notice of their arrival this fall via a three-song EP on Homhomhom that takes loose, Graveyard-style ’70s worship and adds a touch of Western flair in the snare march of “Seven Days” and Sabbathian string pull on “Cool Water Blues.” The EP (they call it an album, it’s really more of a demo, but whatever you want to call it) runs shortest to longest, and opener “Distant Thunder” is the most straightforward of the bunch accordingly, but even in its 8-track chug, Lords of Beacon House showcase natural tones and a penchant for writing strong hooks that continues right through until the last repeat of the line “I asked for water/She gave me gasoline” in “Cool Water Blues,” which rounds out with familiar if welcome nod. They’re a new band and so far as I can tell, this self-titled is the first audio they’ve made public, but they seem to have a handle on what they want to do, and that’s never a bad place to start working from. More to come, I’m sure, and thanks to Bill Goodman for steering me their way. Lords of Beacon House on Thee Facebooks, Homhomhom.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Twelve days might not be much advance notice for the locking up the good china, but it’s what we’ve got to work with ahead of Ripple Music reissuing the 2012 self-titled debut from Boston heavy punkers White Dynomite. The fivesome — high in the running for “Dudes Who Took ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ Most Literally” — are reportedly putting together new material for a sophomore outing to come in 2015, unless I’m crazy and didn’t actually see that somewhere, probably Thee Facebooks. Anyway, a lot of what you need to know is right there on the cover, so I won’t delay the news with a lot of whathaveyou.
Goes like this:
WHITE DYNOMITE to reissue self-titled debut via Ripple Music
Ripple Music is proud to announce that Boston’s riff-heavy rockers WHITE DYNOMITE are set to release the vinyl re-issue of their 2012 self-titled album in October. The reissue will be released on limited edition black and colored vinyl as well as digitally via bandcamp.
Release Dates: North America: Oct 14, 2014 Europe/UK: Oct 13, 2014
Born of boredom and bourbon, WHITE DYNOMITE are considered gentlemen of experience and true Rock City pedigree. Featuring ex-members of ROADSAW, LAMONT and WRECKING CREW, this five man band has a shared love for all things loud, fast and loose. There’s more to their story than just the suits.
WHITE DYNOMITE call Boston home but their brand of action requires a map. Jump into their jalopy for a trip thru the streets of NYC with The Ramones and The Dictators blaring thru the deck. Then shoot across the pond to London for a holiday party with Slade and T.Rex. Get back behind the wheel and swerve left into Sweden thru Hellacopters and Turbonegro country. Make a quick stop in AC/DC’s Aussie garage before bouncing down Detroit’s back alleys with The Stooges and MC5 riding shotgun. WHITE DYNOMITE do it all in one night.
Say what you will about the white polyester suits. Throw away the cheap shades. You can even make them bathe and shave. It won’t matter. WHITE DYNOMITE have enough punk muscle and rock ‘n’ roll heart to deliver the dangerous goods loaded, rolling and exploding in a cloud of smoke.
A five-track release of pro-produced, deeply aggressive beer metal, Entierro‘s Entierro EP has been pressed to tape in a limited edition of 50 copies. The tape itself is white, the J-card professionally printed as a one-side foldout, and the five songs included repeat on both sides. Download included. Both the material and its presentation are straightforward — the Connecticut outfit would much rather steamroll than impress with nuance — and as their first release under the moniker after forming as Treebeard in 2010, I’d expect no less from the Waterbury/New Haven double-guitar four-piece. Bassist/vocalist Christopher Taylor Baudette doubles in Nightbitch, but Entierro are a far more down-to-earth project, proffering dudely, metallic chugging and beer-raising groove with more than an edge of East Coast intensity.Baudette, guitarist/vocalist Javier Canales, guitarist Christopher Begnal and drummer John Rowold all feed into a burl that stays consistent throughout and only gets more prevalent as they push toward the thrashy closer “Fire in the Sky.”
Opening with the longest inclusion in the 5:11 “Cross to Bear” (immediate points), Entierro‘s Entierro starts out slow with a rolling, crisply produced riff around which the vocals work in a clean, metallic melody, the pace quickening in the second half to a chugging shuffle. As it should, “Cross to Bear” sets the tone. Guitars trade and combine leads, the tempo builds from slow to raucously fast, and Entierro cap with a big round of riffing, drawing back to the chorus and reinforcing a structure that — while not in doubt — shows they’re coming out of the gate with a good handle on their songwriting. The subsequent “Time Rider” provides the most memorable hook of the tape, and centerpiece “The Mist” opens up the groove and stomps out its rhythm with a sense of foreboding befitting its lyric. Again, Canales and Begnal impress on guitar, as they did in the early going of “Time Rider” as well, and though it seems like “Entierro/More Dead than Alive” is going to be somewhat calmer — the eponymous part of the song seems to be a bass solo from Baudette — it winds up a rager to set up the further aggro-ism of “Fire in the Sky,” which rounds out as if to remind the listener Entierro were a metal band the whole time.
There was no doubt, whatever other heavy elements they worked in, but “Fire in the Sky” is sufficient payoff for the tension of the tracks preceding either way, its lyrics not bothering to look to tales of monsters or horror but focusing on the everyday terrors that exist on the current world stage. What they have to say about it is basically that the situation is grim and we’re all screwed, and it’s hard to fault them the perspective. Four years on from getting together, Entierro have a handle on their sound well enough, but I’d be interested to hear how it sounds live in comparison to the tape, since the clarity of production is such a big part of what makes it sound so particularly metal. I don’t take metal as a negative necessarily, I’m just curious if the band’s next outing will continue down that path or expand soundwise into more of a rock feel in kind with some of the earlier riffing on “Time Rider” or “The Mist.” I wouldn’t speculate, and more importantly for the time being, Entierro‘s Entierro intrigues enough that seems worth waiting to find out.