The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2015

Posted in Features on December 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 20 short releases of 2015

Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.

What’s a short release? Anything that’s not a full-length. I’ve done this list in the past and given a small list — The Top 20 EPs, Splits, Demos and Singles, or whatever — but “Short Releases” seemed more concise, and believe it or not, that’s something I shoot for.

Essentially, what we’re taking a look at here is everything else a band might put out in a given year. No question that albums are where the greatest impact is made over the longer term, but from landmark 7″s to EPs that provide crucial experiments or serve notice of bands solidifying their sound or marking pivotal first impressions, the shorter offerings have tremendous value, and it’s worth considering them on their own merit, rather than in comparison to LPs directly.

I know for a fact that there are releases I’ve missed here. Particularly among the Bandcamp-only demos, there’s just so much out there that for any one person to keep up with all of it is even more impossible than it’s ever been before. Before you berate me immediately with, “Hey you forgot X Band!” and start throwing tomatoes at your computer or mobile device screen, please keep in mind The Obelisk is run by a single individual and there are only so many hours in the day. As always, I do the best I can.

Here we go:

foehammer foehammer

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2015

1. Foehammer, Foehammer EP
2. Mos Generator & Stubb, The Theory of Light and Matter Split
3. Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze EP
4. All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
5. Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 Split
6. Fatso Jetson & Farflung, Split
7. Eggnogg & Borracho, Sludgy Erna Bastard Split 7″
8. Shroud Eater, Face the Master EP
9. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some EP
10. Stars that Move, Demo Songs
11. Wight, Helicopter Mama 7″
12. Thera Roya, Unraveling EP
13. Shatner, EP
14. Cities of Mars, Cyclopean Ritual EP
15. Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split
16. Sandrider & Kinski, Split
17. Mount Hush, Low and Behold! EP
18. Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, The Outer Dark Split
19. Groan, Highrospliffics EP
20. Rozamov & Deathkings, Split

Honorable Mention

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Notes

It’s something of a break in routine for me to put any kind of debut in a top spot (other, of course, than on the list of debuts), but Foehammer simply would not be denied. The Virginia trio’s three-song EP release on Grimoire Records (LP on Australopithecus Records), it was a self-titled that seemed to be telling you the name of the band twice as if in a warning against forgetting it. And that warning was one to heed. Foehammer‘s first outing brought the Doom Capitol region to new heights of extremity, and while at over half-an-hour long it could’ve just as easily have been called a full-length, part of the overarching threat is what the band will bring to bear when they actually get around to their first LP.

A good number of splits included here, with Mos Generator and Stubb‘s The Theory of Light and Matter (HeviSike Records), Geezer and Borracho‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 (launching a series for Ripple Music), Fatso Jetson and Farflung‘s joint release (on Heavy Psych Sounds) and Eggnogg and Borracho‘s Sludgy Erna Bastard (on Palaver Records) all cracking the top 10. No coincidence that Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho show up twice in that mix. As Pyramidal and Domo‘s blissful Jams from the Sun, Sandrider and Kinski‘s one-two, Godhunter and Amigo the Devil‘s Battleground Records collaboration and Rozamov and Deathkings‘ joint single feature between #11-20, a total of eight out of the full included 20 releases here are splits. Last year it was only five.

Whether that means the form is growing in an attempt to capture fickle social-media-age attention spans while cutting individual vinyl pressing costs, I couldn’t say — likely a combination of the two and more besides — but it’s noteworthy that a split is more than just a toss-off, between-albums castaway at this point, something for songs to later be included on rare-tracks comps. One could easily say the same of EPs as a whole. To that end, Sun Voyager‘s Lazy Daze was a brutal tease for the NY psychgaze outfit’s first album, hopefully out in 2016. And while All Them WitchesA Sweet Release was over 50 minutes long — longer, actually, than their Dying Surfer Meets His Maker LP, which was also issued this year — they considered it an EP/live collection, and that indeed proved how it worked best, immersive though its stretch remained.

Shroud Eater and Bedroom Rehab Corporation both turned in impressive outings that showed marked progression from their last time out, while Shatner‘s first batch of tracks tipped off a songwriting process well-honed and Stars that Move, Cities of Mars, Thera Roya and Mount Hush — I’d put Mount Desert in this category as well — had compelling outings that, like Foehammer at the top, showed much potential at work in formative sounds. Not to be forgotten, Wight‘s Helicopter Mama 7″ gave listeners a heads up on the funkified stylistic turn their upcoming full-length, Love is Not Only What You Know, will take even further, and UK stoner miscreants Groan proved once and for all that, along with logic and reason, a constantly changing lineup can’t hold back their good times.

Like I said — like I always say — if I left something out, let me know about it in the comments. Really let me have it. Call me a jerk. It’s cool. I can take it.

Please note: I can, in no way, take it.

Still, if I left something/someone out, I hope you’ll let me know. And please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet, you can still contribute your list of 2015 favorites to the year-end poll until Dec. 31. EPs, LPs, whatever, however many, it doesn’t matter. All entries are welcome there.

Thanks for reading.

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Shroud Eater Premiere “Face the Master” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

shroud eater

Oh, it does feel good to hear Shroud Eater crushing it once again. The Miami-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Jeannie Saiz, bassist/vocalist Janette Valentine and newcomer drummer Davin Sosa will release a new single, Face the Master, April 7 on Primitive Violence. It’ll be the first new Shroud Eater since 2013’s murder-prone Dead Ends EP (review here), which of course followed 2011’s debut full-length, ThunderNoise (review here) and their 2009 demo (review here), and while it’s just two songs and done in under seven minutes, it reestablishes the three-piece’s momentum, which seemed to be building to a tipping point coming out of Dead Ends, before the lineup change. Some East Coast tour dates following the Face the Master release won’t hurt in that regard either.

But mostly, it’s just a joy to have Shroud Eater back, the efficiency of their neo-sludge on display in the 2:44 “Face the Master,” which culls its lyrical basis from the 1979 film adaptation of Stephen King‘s Salem’s Lot, shroud eater face the masterand moves swiftly from destructive thrash to a slowed-down, harmonized finish worthy of whatever ’90s comparison you’d want to attach to it. The subsequent “House of Endings” is a little longer and more straightforward h-e-a-v-y rock, but spacious and huge-sounding as it rolls into a drawling solo in the second half that leads to a grueling semi-deconstruction, the resonant rumble being the last remaining element to fade out. The hope, of course, is that Face the Master precedes more to come from Shroud Eater either later this year or in 2016, but even if this is it for now, I doubt many who take the time to listen will be complaining.

The video for “Face the Master,” which I have the pleasure of premiering, was put together by Valentine and, like the song itself, features retooled clips from Salem’s Lot asking whether or not your faith is enough.

So is it?

Shroud Eater, “Face the Master” official video

Miami, Florida’s SHROUD EATER will release their two-song EP, Face The Master, April 7th, 2015 on regular and special-edition cassette via Primitive Violence Records & Visual, as well as a digital download. In celebration of the EP’s release, the band will also be embarking on an eight-day trek up and down the east coast in support of the release.

SHROUD EATER continue to deliver crushing alms to the altar of heavy. Their newest two-song offering, FACE THE MASTER, which was recorded by Davin Sosa and Aric Meerbott at Guzu Recordings, Miami, Florida and mixed and Mastered by Jay Matheson at The Jam Room in Columbia, SC, is a face-ripping romp in vicious tones, gritty vocals, and unexpected turns that have come to define the scuzzy Shroud Eater sound. Riding high off 2013’s highly acclaimed EP Dead Ends and re-energized with a new lineup, Shroud Eater has borne comparisons to metal behemoths like Kylesa, High on Fire, and Acid King, all while forging their own dynamic sound in the metal landscape.

TOUR DATES:
4/22 – Savannah, GA @ THE JINX
4/23 – Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood
4/24 – Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
4/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus
4/26 – Washington DC @ TBA
4/27 – Wilmington, NC @ TBA
4/28 – Charleston, SC – “Tunnel of Lust” House Show

SHROUD EATER is:
Jean Saiz: guitar, vocals
Janette Valentine: bass, vocals
Davin Sosa: drums, vocals

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Shroud Eater’s website

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