Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tribute show is an essential part of the rock and roll Halloween experience — bands essentially dressing up as other bands, if only in sound — and kudos to the guys from NYC trio The Brought Low for teaming up with Carl Porcaro from Kings Destroy and Sweet Diesel‘s Nat Murray (of course The Brought Low have their own connections to that outfit as well) for hooking up a gig and not just doing a set of Misfits songs like probably hundreds of other acts along the Eastern Seaboard will be doing that weekend. On Oct. 28, performing as The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas, the five-piece will hit The Gutter in Williamsburg to pay due homage to the MC5. Maybe not the kind of thing I’d always post about, but given the personnel involved and the thought of how killer a time this one would actually be to attend, you’ll get no argument out of me.
And I gotta be honest with you, I could use another The Brought Low album. It’s been a surprisingly long six years since their Third Record (review here) came out in 2010 on Small Stone, and as early as 2012, there was discussion of a fourth, but nothing has yet materialized. Would be awfully nice, is all I’m saying.
While I go back and put on their last one again, here’s the highly exclamatory show info for The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas this Friday:
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas – MC5 Tribute @ Gutter
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas is The Brought Low and Carl from Kings Destroy on second guitar and Nat Murray from Sweet Diesel on lead vocals doing MC5 covers. We have a show at The Gutter in Brooklyn Friday, October 28th. Here’s the info:
Friday, October 28 The Gutter Bowling and Fine Brews 200 N 14th St, Brooklyn, New York 11249
Brothers and sisters!!!!!!! It’s time to see a sea of hands!!!!!! It’s time to kick up some noise!!!!!! It’s time to get down with it this Halloween weekend and I want to know… Are you ready to testify?!!!!!! Are you ready to testify?!!!!!!
I give you a testimonial….
The Rama Lama Fa Fa Fas!!!!!!!!!! A musical tribute to the MC5 with members of Breakdown, The Brought Low, Killing Time, Kings Destroy and Sweet Diesel!!!!!!!
Join us at The Gutter Friday, October 28th to kick out the jams motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Parisian heavy progressive rockers Abrahma have a new lineup and a new record in the making under the working title In Time for the Last Rays of Light. Last we heard from the band, they had posted a cover of Nazareth‘s “Witchdoctor Woman” intended to be used as part of the Underdogma Records tribute compilation Go Down Fighting that has yet to materialize. Not to say it won’t; just hasn’t yet. Their last album, Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here), came out in Spring 2015, and noting some personal setbacks, they’ve undergone this reworking around guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Sebastien Bismuth and guitarist Nicolas Heller, parting ways with brothers Guillaume Colin (bass) and Benjamin Colin (drums), and bringing in new bassist Guillaume Theoden and drummer Sacha Viken to move forward.
Moving forward, as it happens, is exactly what Abrahma did with Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, the somewhat gruesome title doing little to convey the many textures on hand throughout, unless I suppose one counts the visceral nature of their origins — the album was nothing if not from the guts. It was a considerable leap from 2012’s Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), and took a moodier approach overall while holding firm to the underlying current of songwriting that established such potential on the debut.
Stay tuned obviously for more updates from Abrahma and on In Time for the Last Rays of Light, or whatever it might finally wind up being called, as we shift into winter and ahead into 2017. These guys are always worth keeping tabs on.
Bismuth sent along the following brief word:
Abrahma welcomes two new members, Guillaume Theoden on bass and Sacha Viken on drums. We wish lots of luck to the Colin brothers for their killer new project!!
We are currently working on the new album which will go deeper in the soundscape we started to explore on Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird.
Swedish power trio Långfinger released their third album, Crossyears, on Sept. 30. Their first for Small Stone Records, the record — which was first announced here — comes jammed with premium boogie and classic songcraft delivered with a new generation’s energy. One need look no further than the track “Fox Confessor” for clear demonstration of all of the above. The side A cut finds itself a comfortable pace and builds tension in its verse only to let loose in a righteous hooked backed up by spacious lead guitar. Then they turn around and do it all again. Another round for everybody.
That, incidentally, could also be said to be the theme of the video, though Långfinger push deeper into narrative than just playing a show and selling their amps (and dog) for alcohol after being stiffed by the club owner, actually going so far as to take revenge on the club owner themselves. Street justice! They wind up living the high life on a rooftop, praising high art and chipping golf balls into the urban setting below. You know, as one does. It’s about a four-minute clip to tell this story, and about a three-minute song underneath, so efficiency is a major factor here to be sure, but Långfinger don’t need any more time than they take in order to make an impression. Crossyears benefits across its span from their clarity of purpose as much as it does from their choice riffing and rhythmic fluidity.
Plus it’s a bass tone you just gotta hear.
The band was kind enough to offer some comment on the making of the video and the song, which you’ll find below. Crossyears is also streaming in full at Small Stone‘s Bandcamp, linked at the bottom of this post.
Långfinger, “Fox Confessor” official video
Långfinger on “Fox Confessor”:
“Fox Confessor” is the first collaboration between Långfinger and cinematographer Anders Bryngel. We were exploring the idea of working together for some years and with the new album looming, it was more appropriate than ever.
One day we devised a syndicate. We then determined that the effort should be focused on a narrative and as the storyline progressed we let it evolve naturally with the group’s dynamic. A spontaneous process driven by our collective efforts.
As for the actual song, which like many of our songs, established itself as an instrumental; was inspired by our favorite Krautrock bands from the late sixties. That was up until I spent some time in rural Argentina. The lyrics began as rough scribbles, and in the attempt to characterize the broad landscape, which seemed to encompass most of my days spent there, a sort of comic relief broke out into lyric.
Långfinger: Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals
[Click play above to stream Captain Crimson’s Remind in full. Album is out Friday, Oct. 14, on Small Stone Records.]
Swedish four-piece Captain Crimson make their debut on Small Stone Records with their third album, Remind. It’s a record that begs the question of just what we’re being reminded. Comprised of 10 boogie-laden, grooving, swinging, catchy tracks, it follows just two years behind 2014’s Ageless Time (on Moving Air and Nasoni) and four behind the band’s 2012 Dancing Madly Backwards debut that found them paying so strongly to their namesakes in Captain Beyond and King Crimson.
Now working with the lineup of vocalist Stefan Lillhager (ex-Blowback), guitarist Andreas Eriksson, bassist Chris David and drummer/organist Mikael Läth, the Örebro natives have come unquestionably into their own throughout these tracks, moving well beyond the ‘70s worship for which their hometown is so known in favor of a full sound, marking a less dramatic shift than that of, say, Witchcraft, but mostly because Captain Crimson were less of a directly vintage mindset to start with. In any case, what they arrive with on Remind is a 42-minute collection of tightly written, smoothly executed cuts that seem to be vying with each other to occupy space in the listener’s consciousness.
Will it be “Black Rose” or “Let Her Go” stuck in someone’s head? I don’t know, but there’s a good chance that something here will hit a nerve among the converted, as Captain Crimson favor quality songcraft over the trappings of hyper-stylization, and so have no need of the latter as they make their way through, energetically and deftly using the momentum of one track to push through the next.
In the album’s ultimate affect, it feels ahead of the curve in such a way as to recall (which is not to say “remind”) of young-gun countrymen rockers and labelmates Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, who made their debut in 2011 and have followed a similar stylistic trajectory in taking what more vintage-minded outfits have been able to accomplish over the last decade-plus and carry it forward, blending with ’90s influences, yes, but coming across with something new from that mixture.
In the case of Captain Crimson, there are elements at play in early pieces like opener “Ghost Town” or “Bells from the Underground,” which immediately follows and is the longest inclusion at 5:29, that tie them further into the long legacy of quality Swedish heavy rock; most notably in what they’re able to do with the hooks of these songs and the ease of their transitions one might liken their work here to Greenleaf‘s earlier days, or specifically for “Bells from the Underground,” from some of what Astrosoniq had on offer with their last outing, Quadrant, at least on some superficial level, but neither does Remind lack its own personality.
The 10 tracks break evenly onto two neatly-structured vinyl sides, and though each song seeks to deliver an impact, and succeeds on one level or another, they tie together fluidly as well, as one can hear in the crisp jive of “Love Street,” on which Eriksson‘s guitar leads a strut bolstered by layered vocals in the chorus and punchy bass, and the subsequent “Black Rose,” which pulls back on some of the thrust initially to lock in a sleek, classically metallic groove, easily turns into an acoustic break, and emerges with newfound vigor to lead to the side A closer “Money.”
Bluesier licks permeate, backed by serene organ flourish, and a flowing jam ensues, more patient than any of the faces Captain Crimson have yet shown, and so a decent setup for some of side B’s expansion of the album’s overall scope. Of course, before they get there, it’s only fair to match “Money” with a barnburner, and “Drifting” opens Remind‘s second half in raucous form, effectively reestablishing the momentum of “Ghost Town” as side B begins to unfold.
There’s some twang underlying the title-track, which follows, but the focus remains on the chorus, cleanly realized with push coming from Läth‘s kick drum, a prominent but not ever really out of place element across the record. Stomp suits Captain Crimson, and “Let Her Go,” with its blues-inflected harmonica (a guest performance from Timo Tilli), backs that up, finding a comfortable pace that allows them to continue to spread out their sound from its foundation of craft and structure in subtle and intriguing ways that become clearer on repeat listens. Then there’s the more drastic change brought on by the penultimate “Alone.”
Almost snuck in before closer “Senseless Mind” reaffirms the decades-spanning stylistic meld, the acoustic-led alone offers Lillhager a showcase in which to shine and he does not disappoint. With vocals and guitar, Captain Crimson depart from the rest of the album toward a different level of emotional resonance, but the presentation is still clear, and there’s never any sense of control lost.
Maybe “Senseless Mind” is meant to work as a reaction to that, or maybe it’s just the drastic contrast between the final two songs, but the ending feels especially riotous by the time it’s over. Before that, like “Black Rose” earlier, it cuts to a quieter interlude, but when the four-piece slam into the final thrust, there’s little doubt the apex has been reached. Like the record as a whole, they telegraph their intentions there, but three albums in, I don’t think there’s anything one could call to question in their intentions.
They clearly know what they’re doing, in the construction of their material, in putting together a record, and in filtering out anything that doesn’t best serve the song at hand. That makes Remind a strong depiction of a group who’ve clearly hit their stride, and leaves one to suppose that perhaps the title is referring to how much of a force such a group can be when captured at their best.
Hell-raising Vancouver heavy rockers La Chinga released their second album, Freewheelin’ (review here) earlier this year on Small Stone just in time to head abroad for a European tour. No doubt that was good times, since good times seem to be the band’s specialty — classic brash-duder songcraft given a modern booze-ready execution, unabashed in its affection for a drive-ready hook and an appeal to the songcraft sucker in all of us. Only fair they should take that show on the road, since that seems to be where it was made for in the first place.
You can see that ethic coming to life, plus a bit of other imagery, in their new video for “Gone Gypsy.” Something of a road-song in itself, “Gone Gypsy” speaks to the restlessness that lies beneath the drive to get out and do a show in a different city every night, and accordingly, the video is a party. Out in a field. With fire. And booze. And vans. And tiny motorcycles. Shirts optional. You get the picture. And I mean that, because as the song itself plays toward classic ideas and ideals, so too does the video — with its kind of inexplicable NSFW splash screen below — work off a well established lifestyle ethic. I don’t know how often La Chinga go party in fields, but they certainly look like they’re having a good time doing it here, and as noted, good times are the whole idea.
La Chinga, “Gone Gypsy” official video
Vancouver-based riff rock unit LA CHINGA has just issued a new video from their Freewheelin’ full-length released earlier this year through Small Stone Records.
Offers the band on the video, “Three shaggy haired men lost in the valley on a Summer’s day are picked up by a roaming band of strange of Boogie van neer’do’wells and are taken to the secret backwoods compound where the booze, bikes, broads, and Rock begin to flow in ridiculous amounts! As the sun sets the heat begins to rise…and so does the electric riffage! And then the deranged mayhem ensues! Warning! Not for the faint of heart! Pregnant women! Small children! Those with a delicate condition are warned to not watch this high rollin’ low brow goin’ freak fest! The living word in the flesh is presented here on the silver screen! Righteous and loose! Free and easy! Three men unbound, unchained and the pulchritudinous women who love them! LA CHINGA! In ‘Gone Gypsy’.”
Recorded and produced by drummer Jay Solyom in his home studio with the tracks “K. I .W.” and “Right On” captured by Eric Neilson and mastered by Chris Goosman (Acid King, Dixie Witch, Solace, Sasquatch et al), the ten-track Freewheelin’ is available through Small Stone Recordings on CD, digitally and limited vinyl with orders available at THIS LOCATION.
Produced and directed by Brian Johnson of Stampede Breakfast Productions.
Carl Spackler: Bass, Vocals Ben Yardley: Guitars, Vocals Jason Solyom: Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian heavy rockers Isaak took a major step forward late last year with their second album, Sermonize (review here). Released through Heavy Psych Sounds and Small Stone Records — two rousing endorsements to have — it found the band going well beyond the confines of 2012’s The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (streamed here) and toward a much more individual approach. After spending a decent portion of the last few years, the band has announced they’ve just swapped out drummers, and while one expects that will change their dynamic some going forward, I’d expect their growth will continue onto whatever it is they do next. Some momentum you just don’t stop.
I got sent a shorter version of the statement below, but wanted to print the thing in full since I think it speaks well of how much this music means to the people who are making it, and I guess that’s really what it’s all about. So here you go:
Isaak line up Change
Loads of things have happened after that dinner in a Mexican restaurant, choosing the name ISAAK after “some” Margarita.
What is the reason of starting with this sentence? We are going to explain you in a while, but we believe a short introduction is doubtless needed. ISAAK wasn’t just a change of name from Gandhi’s Gunn. Isaak became (and continue being nowadays) a completely different band from that moment. After that dinner we turned the page on the past and we looked forward, we always did it musically and not only. Band has been always more important than the single members and this shared belief has often allowed us to go ahead despite difficulties.
Who has been part of this project is perfectly aware of what we’re talking about. This band survived the distance, the adaptation to changes, the thefts, the necessities of life of the single members. This band has survived to the fact that it was possible to rehearse only during weekends. This situations has lasted for YEARS and only when we managed to be there all together (we also managed to make a record this way!). These are sacrifices that each one of us has done with pleasure and that each one of us would blindly be willing to do it again, from the first to the last.
For those who don’t know , Andre (our drummer) has been living in a city that is nearly 4 hours far away from Genoa. During three years he held it on, giving priority to our band and giving up on many other things. He did it for real. He did his best for the band.
Today Andre leaves the band but he will be always part of this family. He has significantly contributed on this project, he believed in ISAAK and we have been witness of it. He has definitely helped us to make this dream come true.
A simple post on Facebook certainly cannot summarize all this. Andre passes the baton to another great genoese drummer a great friend who will join us on the Isaak path, is name is Davide Foccis! We’ll see you under the stage to give him an eager welcome to the family!
Giacomo H Boeddu – Vocals Gabriele Carta – Bass Davide Fox Foccis – Drums/Vocals Francesco Raimondi – Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Virginian heavy rockers Freedom Hawk will head out on a tour of the Eastern Seaboard next month. Freedom Hawk head out in support of their 2015 offering, Into Your Mind (review here), their fourth album and second for Small Stone Records, and will kickoff with a D.C. gig alongside King Giant and Serpents of Secrecy. From there, they’ll be out with North Carolina’s Colossus, and this tour will also act as the inaugural run with new guitarist Brendan O’Neil, who recently joined on to make Freedom Hawk a reborn four-piece.
Have to wonder how that will change the dynamic of the band, particularly considering just how metal O’Neil‘s background seems to be, but even more, what that does for Into Your Mind, which was recorded as a trio, and how that material might change with the addition of a second guitar. Of course, Freedom Hawk were a four-piece previously, as heard on 2011’s Holding On (review here), so that would seem to make Into Your Mind even more of a standout in the band’s catalog. Interesting times.
They’re also dropping hints — as you can see below — for big announcements to come for 2017. I have a pretty good feeling what that might mean, but don’t want to hazard a guess and have it turn out wrong, which it almost invariably would. Needless to say, more to come when I hear it.
Till then, dig this:
Freedom Hawk Tour News
After being quite for a while after last years European tour, we have no worked in a new guitarist (Brendan O’Neil from the thrash band Pestilence Choir) to round us out as a 4 piece once again and have been busy writing new material. We have decided to take a pause from writing to get out on the road to do a very short tour run around the Northeast accompanied by our metal maniac mates in Colossus (Raleigh, NC). We have relatively exciting news (at least to us that is) coming up to announce… 2017 is looking bright.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hard to mess with this one. Born out of a kind of screwy Yawning Man live set in 2014 where members of Automatic Sam wound up sitting in with Gary Arce and Bill Stinson, Ten East‘s first album in eight years, Skyline Pressure, will be out Oct. 14 on Small Stone. The project has always had a revolving-door lineup, and what bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg bring to it is well worth capturing in a studio setting. You kind of need the context to really understand how it all came about, though. Fortunately, the PR wire is happy to provide precisely that, in the form of a bio I wrote for the album.
Ten East also have opening track “Daisy Cutter” streaming in its 13-minute entirety, which you can find below, and I think you’ll agree it gives a substantial glimpse at what the record is going for. Preorders are up now.
TEN EAST: Experimental/Jam Rock Project Featuring Members Of Yawning Man And Automatic Sam To Release Skyline Pressure Via Small Stone; New Track Posted
Look, sometimes these things just happen. Desert legends and Dutch heavy rockers sometimes get together on stage and it turns out better than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. It was exacly that when guitarist/desert rock progenitor Gary Arce and drummer Bill Stinson of Yawning Man wound up playing with bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg of Automatic Sam at the Mañana Mañana Fest (which Harbers and Holkenborg also organize) in the Netherlands in 2014. You can see videos of it on YouTube.
Although the impromptu foursome had never played together before, the chemistry was there. The fluidity was there. As they jammed in and around Yawning Man songs, it was clear the union had a breadth that was only beginning to be explored. Two years later, Arce, Stinson, Harbers, and Holkenborg have come together again, this time as a new incarnation of Arce’s TEN EAST project. They proudly present their album, Skyline Pressure, through Small Stone as the next stage of their collaboration.
TEN EAST was last heard from in with 2008’s The Robot’s Guide To Freedom, which was their second offering behind 2006’s Extraterrestrial Highway. Between the two records, Arce’s co-conspirators have included the likes of Bryan Giles (Red Fang), Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Fireball Ministry), Mario Lalli (Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson), Greg Ginn (Black Flag), and Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu). Harbers and Holkenborg earn their place in this illustrious company across the entire span of Skyline Pressure, from the sandy reaches of “Planet Blues” to the peaceful roll of the title-track, to the subdued sprawl of the fourteen-minute “Sonars And Myths.”
The album was recorded by Harper Hug at Thunder Underground and also features guitarist Nico Morcillo of French experimentalists Hifiklub on select tracks (“Planet Blues,” “Tangled Forest,” “Stalactite Dip”), but for anyone familiar with Arce’s pioneering work in Yawning Man, his mark on Skyline Pressure is unmistakable. The stuff of tonal archetype. And while it started out as one of those things that just happened, the album has captured that spirit of improvisation and natural chemistry that emanated from the stage at Mañana Mañana Fest, and brought it to a lasting document that’s all the more special for the spontaneity that lies at its heart.
Skyline Pressure will see release via Small Stone on October 14th, 2016 on CD, digital and limited edition vinyl. For preorders and to sample opening track “Daisy Cutter” point your browser to THIS LOCATION.
TEN EAST is an experimental/jam rock project based in the Palm Desert and Los Angeles area of the United States. The musicians involved share a common respect for improvised jamming mixed with years of playing and listening to all types of rock, psychedelic, Latin, jazz, blues, surf, and punk music. The end result is an intense, cohesive wall of sound of heavy, dark, instrumental blues, with psychedelic and surf overtones.
The name “Ten East” comes from the highway which leads from the heart of Los Angeles towards the desert cities. The music is an expression of feelings that overcome oneself as they travel the two hours’ time down the length of highway, leaving behind the bustling metropolis and suburban sprawl in the wake of the mesa, mountains, and distant windmills.
Ten East is: Gary Arce: guitars Pieter Holkenborg: guitars Erik Harbers: bass Bill Stinson: drums Nico Morcillo: guitars