Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
There hasn’t yet been a physical pressing of Sleep‘s 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), that hasn’t sold completely through, and I wouldn’t expect any different from this forthcoming Feb. 2017 Southern Lord edition either. Guitarist Matt Pike (do I really need to say he’s also in High on Fire?) has said publicly that Sleep will record a new album next year as well, so whether this is a precursor to that, I don’t know, but given that it was five years between their first getting back together in 2009 and putting out The Clarity, it seems fair to think they’ll take their time with a what would be their first full-length since the now-legendary Dopesmoker, released some 15 years ago. Maybe 2018?
I don’t know. Sometimes my suppositions on that kind of thing are way off — certainly not like I saw The Clarity coming at the time — so don’t by any means take my baseless speculation as any kind of authority. Bottom line is that whenever it shows up, if it does, a new Sleep will be welcome, at least around these parts. If it’s another pressing of The Clarity in the interim, so be it.
From the PR wire:
SLEEP’s “The Clarity” 12″ To Receive Official Pressing Via Southern Lord
Southern Lord Recordings is pleased to announce the impending re-release of SLEEP’s “The Clarity.” The special 12″ contains the first new song from the band in nearly two decades.
Initially released digitally as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program in 2014, SLEEP’s “The Clarity” is the first new track the band released since their critically-adored, 1998-released Dopesmoker album. Afterward, the band issued a very limited run of the song on vinyl which was sold exclusively at their live shows and the band’s online store. Having been out-of-print in physical format since, Southern Lord will now re-release the mammoth track for official distribution.
Recorded by Neurosis’ Noah Landis and mastered by John Golden, the near ten-minute-long “The Clarity” has been re-cut by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering for this new pressing, which will see release on 180-gram 12″ vinyl pressed at RTI. The B-side of the platter features a special etching of the artwork by David V. D’Andrea (Samaritan Press), and will be housed in a heavyweight picture disc-style sleeve, silkscreened with the SLEEP logo.
The Clarity will see re-release in February 2017, with preorder info and more to follow shortly. Find other SLEEP titles and merch in the meantime RIGHT HERE.
Remaining one of the most widely-respected and influential acts in the stoner/doom metal universe, SLEEP’s popularity has grown tremendously since their reformation in 2009. The reborn lineup, reuniting bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (OM) and guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (High Oh Fire), and including drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), SLEEP continues to do what they have always done; largely and without pause, make music in tune with the ages.
Kalas was a short-lived five-piece fronted by Matt Pike of High on Fire and Sleep. During their time together, which reportedly started in 2003, they released one full-length, self-titled, on Tee Pee Records. They did not tour extensively. I remember seeing them at SXSW 2006 in Austin, Texas, at a day party sponsored by Vice — at the time I had no idea what Vice was, but Witch were also playing, so I wasn’t missing it either way — and watching as Pike rushed through the crowd to get on stage because the band’s set was about to start. It was that kind of thing. Someone would tell me later that Kalas essentially came out of his desire to practice his vocals and expand his range for High on Fire — which the album Kalas most definitely does on songs like “Frozen Sun” and “Mother’s Tears” — but I think the appeal of the record goes further than that.
Consider that in 2006, Sleep were still broken up, seemingly permanently. With High on Fire, Pike released Blessed Black Wings in 2005 and would follow it up with Death is this Communion in 2007, indeed having greatly expanded his vocal range. Kalas‘ self-titled is not only a bridge between those two albums, but also a tie to the more purely stonerized riffing of Sleep — or at very least is less maniacally metal than High on Fire were at the time and have only grown to be more so. By stepping back and not playing guitar, Pike gave crucial ground to six-stringers Andy Christ (ex-Eldopa) and Paul Kott (ex-High Tone Son of a Bitch) and led the band, which also included bassist Brad Reynolds and drummer Scott Plumb, in a different way than he ever had before or than he has since. He only played guitar in Sleep, but in Kalas, he only sang (minus a solo on “Frozen Sun”), and that became a defining feature of the group and the album.
Honestly, that would probably be enough to pique interest, but the album continues to deliver quality in the performance of the entire band and the songwriting. It’s not as rampage-prone as High on Fire, but Kalas grooves fluidly across its nine tracks, and the lyrics tackle issues of addiction and the resulting effects on life in a more direct way than Pike ever had before. It became a vibe that, on subsequent releases, might’ve come to develop along a path separate from anything else Pike was involved in, but instead it kind of languished behind the booming popularity of High on Fire — who were in the midst of doing some of their best work to-date — and the reunion of Sleep, which began in 2009. The self-titled would be the only thing they ever put out. Copies still float around, and if you’re lucky you might be able to find one in a used rack somewhere, but it continues to surprise me how little mention Kalas get in the Matt Pike discography, since they were unlike anything he’d done before or would do again. And, again, the songs hold up even a decade later.
More pre-social media heavy seemingly given up to the ages, awaiting reissue. Hope you enjoy.
I lost a little weight recently and so have been digging out some old t-shirts from boxes in the basement in hopes that they might fit. I chose the Kalas record because apparently at some point I purchased a Kalas t-shirt with the album cover on it. Must have been at that SXSW show, though I couldn’t say for sure — it was a long decade ago and I never went to Austin that I didn’t spend the entire half-week bordering on blackout drunk. Or my 20s. Ha.
Anyway, I think I might wear that Kalas shirt to The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is only eight days away. It’s pretty new looking. I might’ve never worn it before.
Next week the countdown to that show will continue. Look for exclusive and awesome stuff from Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple, and maybe a special writeup for the afterparty as well, because I’m really stoked on bringing Walter Roadburn and Adam from The Golden Grass on board to DJ after Mars Red Sky plays. It’s going to be such an awesome day. Please come. Please show up.
Also next week, look out for a review and some kind of audio premiere for the new Second Grave album, Blacken the Sky. To be followed Tuesday (I think) by Wretch and Wednesday by Blues Funeral. There’s more for later in the week, I’m just not sure what it is yet. Doing the All-Dayer countdown has put me way behind on videos as well. Might take a day to get caught up. We’ll see how it goes.
I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please get your The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets, and please check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
In the fine tradition of, well, last year’s Psycho fest, 2016’s Psycho Las Vegas has announced an overwhelmingly impressive initial group of acts for its lineup, including some of the finest North America has to offer and choice imports. Notable in that category are Candlemass, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Colour Haze, Mars Red Sky, Belzebong, Øresund Space Collective and The Cosmic Dead, and they’re joined by returning figureheads Sleep and Pentagram, who headlined the 2015 Psycho California fest, along with YOB, Down, Mudhoney, Acid King, Fu Manchu and a whole host of others listed below.
The truly insane part about Psycho Las Vegas is that, like last year with Psycho California, the lineup is staggered, so this isn’t it. On Valentines Day, the festival will announce its full lineup of acts, which I’m just going to go out on a limb and assume includes everyone else on earth, and then after that, in March, they’ll follow up again with the headliners. So what we learn today is that 2015’s headliners will have someone playing over them. I don’t know who, or how that could be possible, but you can bet your ass I’m anxious to find out.
All the details so far unveiled about Psycho Las Vegas, as well as the link to purchase tickets, appear below:
PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2016
Neon Knights arrive and ignite the the city of light in a sleepless celebration of heavy culture. High rollin’ low lifes will low roll the high life at the world famous Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in “Sin City”, Las Vegas. For three straight days, from August 26th through the 28th, born losers win as Psycho Las Vegas holds a rock steady hand of bands, performance artists, tattoo artists, art exhibits, a black light chamber, custom van and chopper show, pinball arcade, and much more.
Psycho Las Vegas sins and grins two blocks south of the strip at the expansive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The high-octane Rock ‘n’ Roll-themed casino resort hosts three stages; The Joint, which is a main stage, Vinyl, the rock club and out under the desert night sky is the second main stage, The Pool Stage. Experience live music, 24 hours a day.
In between bands and bets, ride outside to the venue’s open lot and witness the most bitchin’ rides this side of Death Valley at Psycho’s first ever custom van and chopper show!
Psycho Las Vegas features some of the most revered screen printed poster artwork with an exclusive exhibition from commissioned Psycho Las Vegas artist David D’Andrea. D’andrea, who returns to Psycho for a second year, created all the official festival artwork. Attendees will be able to eternally commemorate the event on their own walls with signed, limited edition works from D’Andrea.
Psycho Las Vegas acts and events were co-curated with music scene stalwart Sean “Pellet” Pelletier. (“Last Days Here” documentary) “Thief Present’s ‘Psycho’ festivals are visionary and have consecutively been the number one music event I’ve want to attend since they’ve started”, said Pellet. “I’ve been dreaming about putting on a cool culture and music festival for quite some time and I jumped at the chance to help us all go psycho in Las Vegas! The event is a celebration of subculture and a spiritual gateway for all of us into sonically connected sub-genres of heavy rock that hopefully, some of which, may be new to our senses. I’m booking bands that I’ve always personally wanted to see and have requested setlists that we’ve all wanted to hear.”
Among the first string of live acts announced will be hard rock legends, BLUE OYSTER CULT with a set heavy on their early songs that have inspired so many great bands over the years. Mark Arm and Steve Turner, also both of Green RIver-fame, will remind us why MUDHONEY are heralded as essential grandfathers of grunge. English psych rock pioneer, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN returns to America with a performance sure to highlight where groundbreaking artists such as Kiss, Alice Cooper, and Ghost may have gotten some of their ideas. We’ve reunited proto-metal masters TRUTH AND JANEY who will appear for an exclusive live set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their underground classic debut, “No Rest For The Wicked”! “A Band Called Death” documentary film stars DEATH, pulsate the pool stage and will show us why they are finally considered one of the first Detroit punk bands. Germany’s top psychedelic stoners COLOUR HAZE have chosen the festival for a rare US manifestation that’s sure rise us all high above the neon. Swedish doom metal ministers CANDLEMASS come crushing in yet another one of Psycho Las Vegas’s special performances. Stay tuned for the announcement of even more acts, over 60 in total, over the next few months.
Thief presents Friday, August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM – Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM (PDT) Las Vegas, NV
SLEEP BLUE ÖYSTER CULT CANDLEMASS DOWN THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN MUDHONEY COLOUR HAZE PENTAGRAM FU MANCHU ACID KING DEATH (Detroit) YOB BELZEBONG ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE DANAVA TRUTH AND JANEY GOLDEN VOID JUCIFER BONGRIPPER MARS RED SKY A STORM OF LIGHT CAVE OF SWIMMERS THE COSMIC DEAD
ACCOMMODATIONS Join the bands and crew at the Hard Rock Hotel & use the code: Psych16 at checkout to recieve 30% off your rooms.
Sleep, “Antarcticans Thawed” Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2009
This was a gig of firsts and lasts. The 2009 All Tomorrow’s Parties fest in Minehead, UK, was Sleep‘s first reunion show, and the first time that the song “Antarcticans Thawed” — written during the sessions for Dopesmoker — was played. It was also the last show with drummer Chris Hakius, who by the time the band went on to a full-fledged reunion in the next year or so, would leave owing to a debilitating back issue and be replaced by drummer Jason Roeder, also of Neurosis. Hakius‘ departure makes the clip somewhat bittersweet in hindsight, but if you weren’t, just imagine being in front of this stage. Here’s Sleep, who haven’t played a show in what, more than a decade?, and not only are they back, but oh hey, how about a new song too, even if it’s not actually new. It must have been insane. One is surprised the cameras could get the footage above with what must have been all the exploding brains in the audience.
In the six years-plus since this appearance, Sleep have headlined major fests across the US and Europe, from Roadburn to Maryland Deathfest to Southwest Terror Fest, Hellfest and Desertfest and on and on. Their 2014 single, “The Clarity” (review here) was their first new studio output since Dopesmoker finally surfaced in 2003, but much of the word of a new album has subsided, at least for the moment. I wouldn’t write off the possibility, but as guitarist Matt Pike continues to throttle crowds the world over with High on Fire, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros has reportedly entered the studio to track a long-awaited next Om full-length, and Roeder is soon to do the same with Neurosis, it seems going into 2016 that while no doubt Sleep will show up somewhere at sometime, the immediate priorities are elsewhere.
That’s fair, and quite frankly, even if Cisneros, Pike and Roeder set to writing a new LP, I’d rather have them take their time, do it right and not force anything. I dug “The Clarity” a lot, and if that’s the pace at which new material is going to surface — mind you, I don’t know that it is or isn’t; there could be an album announcement coming this week — so be it.
Either way, hope you enjoy “Antarcticans Thawed.” Crazy to think Sleep have been “back” or six years.
I was on the road most of yesterday, down to Connecticut for work and then back up to Massachusetts. The Patient Mrs. was kind enough to drive down in the morning and a decent portion of the ride back as well, which was when I started putting posts up in the afternoon. I get to be a pain in the ass if stuff that’s waiting or that needs to be written doesn’t go up, and I think at this point she kind of shrugs it off. We stopped to get an AC adapter for her car so I could charge my laptop while running a wifi hotspot off my phone. It was like a very lame movie.
Speaking of movies, I haven’t seen Star Wars yet and I’m having a bit of an existential crisis about it. We thought about going yesterday, but wanted to get back north, then were too tired to leave the house, and today I’ve been up for a few hours already, but I’m starting work on the Top 30 Albums of 2015 list and I expect that will eat up a goodly portion of the afternoon. Tonight, Kind, Summoner, Worshipper and Leather Lung are playing in Jamaica Plain, and I’m planning on going to that as my last show of the year. It’s basically the Boston rock and roll Xmas office party. Should be a good time. Familiar faces and such. I’ll get to Star Wars sooner or later.
Look for a review of that show on Monday — I’m actually going; my ankle is healed enough to stand up and everything — and the Top 30 of 2015 no later than Tuesday. Somehow, even though I posted a story today and put a bunch up yesterday too and even though it’s the friggin’ week before Xmas, I’m still behind on the news, and I have a giveaway for Canyon of the Skull‘s debut CD ready to go out anytime now. I’m going to try to sneak in a Deville review on Wednesday too. Don’t tell anybody.
If you’re the type to notice such things, you may have noticed the t-shirt and hoodie sale is over. It was supposed to end last night, but I fell asleep, so I wound up taking down the order pages first thing this morning. Either way, a tremendous thank you to everyone who got to place an order. The Patient Mrs. and I will be compiling everything this weekend and will send the info to Made in Brooklyn Silkscreeners immediately thereafter. I’d expect shipment sometime in the next three weeks, depending on how long the pressing takes.
Alright, that should do it for me. I’m gonna sign off, though really I’ll just be working in the back end putting stuff together for the Top 30, so it’s not like I’m actually going anywhere. Still, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’ve seen Star Wars, no spoilers. See you back here Monday for that review and a ton more.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
This news came through the other day, but now that tickets are on sale, I didn’t figure anyone would really mind a retread of the fact that Neurosis have added Sleep and Shellac as openers for their 30th anniversary shows next March in San Francisco. They’ll play two nights at the Regency Ballroom March 4 and 5, doing career-spanning sets that they’ll be taking overseas a month later to perform again at Roadburn 2016. Hard to imagine a career as landmark as theirs being summed up even in two nights, but no doubt that 30 years after the fact, Neurosis know what the hell they’re doing.
And they’re certainly keeping good company. The PR wire has it like this:
NEUROSIS Announces Sleep And Shellac As Support For San Francisco 30th Anniversary Shows; Tickets Go On Sale Tomorrow
NEUROSIS announces the details for the band’s upcoming stateside 30th anniversary performances set to take place in San Francisco this March, including the opening support acts and ticket links.
Passing their thirty-year mark this Winter, NEUROSIS will celebrate this milestone with two stateside performances on March 4th and 5th at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, and then two more sets on April 16th and 17th headlining Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands. At these four very special performances, NEUROSIS will deliver a massive two-hour set list, invoking material spanning their entire recorded lineage, from 1987’s Pain Of Mind through 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, with varied set lists at each event. These sets will span the band’s entire career, showcasing the comprehensive evolution, from their primitive beginnings into the seminal, epic outfit of today, as the band’s ever evolving, sonic palette has become a genre-defying template for underground music over the last three decades, avoiding genre classification.
Support for NEUROSIS on Friday, March 4th will be provided by longtime Bay Area comrades and masters of the sonic doom riff, Sleep. Support for Saturday, March 5th will be handled by Steve Albini’s minimalist rock outfit, Shellac, also longtime friends of NEUROSIS through Albini’s involvement in helping capture much of the band’s recorded material since before the turn of the millennium.
Tickets to all of NEUROSIS’ San Francisco and Netherlands 30th Anniversary shows go on sale, Friday, November 20th, at Noon Pacific.
NEUROSIS 30th Anniversary Performances: 3/04/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA 3/05/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA 4/15/2015 Hat Patronaat – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL *STEVE VON TILL and SCOTT KELLY solo performances 4/16/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL 4/17/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Great googly-moogly. The full lineup — and set times, because apparently that’s how on their shit these cats are — for this year’s Southwest Terror Fest have been posted, and it’s breathtaking. Sleep and Acid King and Bongripper among the headliners, with the likes of Dropdead and Thou and the Body and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth strewn about a four-day span for the fourth edition of the festival, which in accordance with doomly mandate and the Order of Things has been dubbed Southwest Terror Fest Vol. 4. I doubt I’ll get to Tucson to witness it, but it looks like a hell of a time.
As the PR wire puts it:
SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST Vol. 4: Entire Lineup Of Annual Arizona Underground Metal Festival Announced; Tickets Available
Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead, Bongripper, Xibalba, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth And More Confirmed
The entire itinerary for the fourth edition of the annual SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST has been disclosed, as the 2015 installment is confirmed to consume Tucson, Arizona for four days once again this October.
SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 will run from October 15th through 18th, with events scheduled at three Tucson venues — The Rialto Theatre, Club Congress and 191 Toole. The festivities will begin on Thursday, October 15th with a nighttime kickoff show, followed by both matinee and late club shows on Friday the 16th, and the main events on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, and the running orders for each show has now been posted. The confirmed acts include headliners Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead and Bongripper, as well as Xibalba, Landmine Marathon, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Graves At Sea, Cult Leader, Call Of The Void, Demon Lung, Immortal Bird, In The Company Of Serpents, Abstracter, Gale, and more. Additionally, soloist Amigo The Devil will perform impromptu sets throughout the weekend once again.
Tickets for all SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 events have been posted and are linked below alongside the running order for the entire weekend. Additionally, there are 100 VIP passes being sold this year, which are disappearing quickly; get them before they’re goneRIGHT HERE.
SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 Lineup:
Thursday, October 15th // Kickoff show at 191 Toole (All Ages): Main Stage: 10:15 – End — Thou & The Body 8:45 – 9:30 — In The Company Of Serpents 7:30 – 8:00 — Heat Dust 6:30 – 7:00 — Gale Side Stage: 9:30 – 10:15 — Dead To A Dying World 8:00 – 8:45 — Abstracter 7:00 – 7:30 — Hanta 6:00 – 6:30 — Methra
Friday, October 16th // Matinee show at 191 Toole (All Ages): Main Stage: 10:20 – End — Dropdead 9:10 – 9:50 — Landmine Marathon 8:00 – 8:40 — Xibalba 7:00 – 7:30 — Immmortal Bird 6:00 – 6:30 — Gatecreeper Side Stage: 9:50 – 10:20 — Call Of The Void 8:40 – 9:10 — Bastard Feast 7:30 – 8:00 — 908 6:30 – 7:00 — Swamp Wolf 5:30 – 6:00 — Warmonger
Friday, October 16th // Late show at Club Congress (21+): 12:20 – End — Bongripper 11:10 – 12:00 — Graves At Sea 10:20 – 10:50 — Skycrawler 9:30 – 10:00 — Naught
Saturday, October 17th // Main show at The Rialto Theatre (All Ages): 10:30 – 12:30 — Sleep 9:10 – 10:10 — Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth 8:10 – 8:50 — Cult Leader 7:20 – 7:50 — Goya 6:30 – 7:00 — Languish
Sunday, October 18th // Closing show at Club Congress (All Ages): 10:30 – 12:00 — Acid King 9:20 – 10:10 — Demon Lung 8:20 – 9:00 — Night Demon 7:20 – 8:00 — Fuzz Evil 6:30 – 7:00 — Ice Sword
Now in its fourth consecutive year, SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST was founded in 2012 by members of Tucson-based underground acts Godhunter, Inoculara, Diseased Reason and Great American Tragedy, in conjunction with local venues, vendors and businesses, in order to bring a full-bore event to underground music fans. Each year the event expands into new directions and brings a massive variety of internationally-known headliners together with incredible acts from across the Southwest and beyond.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
True to their word, it’s Jan. 15 and Psycho California 2015 has announced the headliners for what looks like the best American festival lineup I’ve seen since the days of Emissions from the Monolith. That’s not to take away from the hard work anyone else is doing, but just look at the list of bands. It’s unreal. You’d want to be everywhere at the same time to see all of it. Absolutely wild.
Sleep and Pentagram were pretty clear choices to headline. Not only for being legends in the heavy underground, but for also being just about two of the only bands left. Sweden’s Cult of Luna were something of a surprise, but for a festival already showing a European reach in bringing aboard the likes of Samsara Blues Experiment and Stoned Jesus, they make sense. Hell of a bill. Kudos to anyone who actually gets to go to the thing.
Announcement follows, courtesy of the PR wire:
PSYCHO CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCES HEADLINERS: SLEEP, PENTAGRAM AND CULT OF LUNA
WEST COAST METAL FESTIVAL HAPPENING MAY 15, 16 & 17 AT THE OBSERVATORY IN SANTA ANA
FIRST WAVE OF ARTISTS ANNOUNCED INCLUDED KYLESA, EARTH, OM AND RUSSIAN CIRCLES
Psycho California, the west coast’s first annual metal festival and a must see for fans of doom, heavy psych and sludge, has announced the headliners for this year’s event: Cult of Luna (May 15), Sleep (May 16) and Pentagram, who will perform First Daze Here in its entirety (May 17).
“2015 is going to be a slow year for Cult of Luna. However as much as we are musicians we are also fans,” said Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson. “Evaluating if the offer to play Psycho California was worth dusting off our instruments was not hard after looking on the line-up. Being on the same bill as Pentagram, Sleep and a festival packed with the best bands around is a privilege in itself and we’ll try to live up to that honor.”
The lineup for Psycho California is: Sleep, Pentagram, Cult of Luna, Kylesa, OM, Earth, Russian Circles, Bedemon, Conan, Wrench, Eyehategod, Indian, Earthless, Pallbearer, Stoned Jesus, Old Man Gloom, Cave In, Acid Witch, Truckfighters, Tombs, Bang, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, SubRosa, Eagle Twin, Mammatus, True Widow, Anciients, Bellwitch, Dead Meadow, Lord Dying, Death By Stereo, Radio Moscow, Ancient Altar, Samsara Blues Experiment, Atriarch, Elder, Mothership, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Goatsnake, Crypt Trip, Wrench, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet and Loom.
Festival interludes will be provided by Housecore Records’ artist Author & Punisher and vinyl DJ set from Bob Lugowe (Relapse Records) and Sean Pellet (Last Daze Here).
Previously announced early bird tickets sold out immediately. Tickets for the festival are on-sale this morning with both a 3-day pass ($149.50) and a 3-day VIP pass available ($256.66)
VIP packages include a 3-day festival pass, a signed screen print concert poster by David D’Andrea, express entry via artist check-in booth, access to artist VIP lounge, a limited edition Thief X Obey festival tee, a Psycho record bag and patch as well as access to a complimentary craft tequila bar, premium microbrews and artisan snacks.
Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.
I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.
For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.
No, not really. At least not this year.
If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:
The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014
1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha
Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s Progenitor, Godflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.
A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.
One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.
Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.
Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.
There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.
As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.