Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Just over a month after announcing the addition of guitarist Chris Thompson to their lineup in place of Adrian Zambrano, Ohio heavy rockers Lo-Pan will head out on an inaugural tour with the new lineup. I’ve already seen video of them performing at this year’s Blackout Cookout in Kent, OH, where they’re a regular fixture, and the feel was right on. I’d expect them to get even tighter by the time this run is over, and a particularly noteworthy stop-off at Psycho Las Vegas should make for a pretty solid first-tour highlight for Thompson. “Welcome aboard, by the way, we’re playing with Alice Cooper this weekend.” Not too shabby.
Lo-Pan will be out with The Atomic Bitchwax and Dirty Streets. I told you I’d post these dates again:
LO-PAN: Ohio Riff Wielders To Kick Off Tour With The Atomic Bitchwax This Week; Band To Appear At Psycho Las Vegas
Ohio riff wielders LO-PAN will take to the streets again for a short run of live dates later this week supporting The Atomic Bitchwax on a portion of their tour through August 27th. Additional support will be provided by Dirty Streets. Set to commence this Friday, August 19th in Charlotte, North Carolina, LO-PAN’s latest trek includes a performance at Psycho Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino alongside the likes of Alice Cooper, Blue Öyster Cult, Electric Wizard, Sleep and many others. It also marks the four-piece’s first tour with new guitarist Chris Thompson.
Comments drummer Jesse Bartz, “The train don’t stop! New guitarist Chris Thompson has us practicing some older stuff too. We will be playing a wide variety of material from our previous recordings as well as some new material. Really stoked to be able to tour with The Atomic Bitchwax and Dirty Streets. Both are top notch not to be missed rock bands. We cannot wait to see some of our favorite bands of all time at Psycho Vegas!”
LO-PAN w/ The Atomic Bitchwax, Dirty Streets: 8/19/2016 The Milestone – Charlotte, NC 8/20/2016 The Tavern – Hattiesburg, MS 8/21/2016 Siberia – New Orleans, LA 8/22/2016 Limelight – San Antonio, TX 8/23/2016 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX 8/24/2016 Grizzly Hall – Austin, TX 8/25/2016 Rail Club – Ft. Worth, TX 8/26/2016 Ned’s Bar – Albuquerque, NM 8/27/2016 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ 8/28/2016 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Vegas
LO-PAN continues to tour in support of their critically lauded Colossus full-length, released via Small Stone. Produced and engineered by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Rosetta, East Of The Wall et al) at his own Translator Audio in Brooklyn, New York and named for an ancient statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun, Helios, the record continues to raise the eyebrows of fans and media globally.
This past weekend, West Coast riff-rollers Snail got together for rehearsal before they come east to play The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Nothing weird about that, right? Bands rehearse all the time.
Snail are spread out between Los Angeles and Seattle — and for those of you unfamiliar with American geography, that’s not a minor distance, even for being on the same coast. They don’t always get together to record, let alone practice, so to have the three of them in the same room performing material at all is something special, let alone their traveling across the country to play a gig.
The timing couldn’t have been better to have bassist/engineer Matt Lynch record some of their time together and put it in a video clip for “Smoke the Deathless.” Comprised of Lynch, guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson and drummer Marty Dodson, Snail come to The Obelisk All-Dayer on the heels of their finest work to-date, 2015’s Feral (review here), which was released by Small Stone.
It’s the third album they’ve put out since 2009, but their fourth overall. Their debut came in 1993 and was followed by an EP and a 16-year disbanding. Even since coming back, they’ve toured only sparingly, so I cannot emphasize this enough — if you ever want to see these guys, take advantage of this opportunity. It may or may not ever come again, let alone on a bill shared with Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Kings Destroy, Eye, Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple.
Thanks to Snail for making the trip to Brooklyn on Aug.20 to play The Obelisk All-Dayer and the trip to get in a rehearsal beforehand. You can check out the video from their session of “Smoke the Deathless” below in tripped-out style, then pick up your All-Dayer tickets at Ticketfly. Do that. Really.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
A couple months ago, while out on a run with The Obsessed and Karma to Burn — Tone Deaf is killing it with the package tours this year — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik of The Atomic Bitchwax sustained an injury to his arm that forced the band to cancel about half the dates. Sierra filled in, but still kind of a bummer for the stalwart NJ trio, whose 2015 Tee Pee Records album, Gravitron (review here), was among the year’s finest.
No doubt they’d get back out, and this time they’ll be headlining a coast-to-coast stint with Ohio’s Lo-Pan and Memphis blues rockers The Dirty Streets. For Lo-Pan, it will mark the four-piece’s first tour with new guitarist Chris Thompson, who was just announced as having joined the band earlier this week. They’re on the tour from Aug. 19 through Aug. 27 only, it looks like, so presumably the next night will serve as their stop at Psycho Las Vegas. The Dirty Streets, on the other hand, have an off-night as the Bitchwax and Lo-Pan roll into Tucson on Aug. 27, so I guess that’s when they’ll be playing the Vegas megafestival.
In any case, glad to see The Atomic Bitchwax heading off again and continuing to keep excellent company. Dates were posted by the band:
USA!! Arm is healed up so let’s try this again!!
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (ALL DATES) W/ LO PAN (8/19-9/27) and THE DIRTY STREETS (8/19-9/10 excluding 8/27) 08/19/2016 Charlotte NC The Milestone w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/20/2016 Hattiesburg MS The Tavern w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/21/2016 New Orleans LA Siberia w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/22/2016 San Antonio TX Limelight w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/23/2016 Houston TX White Oak Music Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/24/2016 Austin TX Grizzly Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/25/2016 Ft Worth TX Rail Club w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/26/2016 Albuquerque NM Ned’s Bar w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/27/2016 Tucson AZ Flycatcher w/ Lo-Pan 08/28/2016 San Diego CA Soda Bar w/ The Dirty Streets 08/29/2016 Los Angeles CA Viper Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/30/2016 San Francisco CA Elbo Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/31/2016 Portland OR Dante’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/01/2016 Vancouver BC Biltmore w/ The Dirty Streets 09/02/2016 Seattle WA El Corazon w/ The Dirty Streets 09/03/2016 Bellingham WA Shakedown w/ The Dirty Streets 09/06/2016 Minneapolis MN Grumpy’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/07/2016 Chicago IL Double Door w/ The Dirty Streets 09/08/2016 Cleveland OH Grog Shop w/ The Dirty Streets 09/09/2016 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie w/ The Dirty Streets 09/10/2016 Brooklyn NY Black Bear w/ The Dirty Streets
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been under two months since Ohio heavy rockers Lo-Pan announced the departure of guitarist Adrian Zambrano, who was added to the band late in 2014 following the release of their fourth album, Colossus (review here), via Small Stone. They’ve now posted word that Chris Thompson has joined in Zambrano‘s stead, and though they’ve said they’re already writing new songs, they’re still playing it close to the chest on the status of the tracks they recorded when Zambrano was still in the group, among them the absolutely stellar “Pathfinder,” which they brought to stages earlier this year on their tour with Bongzilla (review here).
The timing is noteworthy because Lo-Pan, who it seems are never off the road for long, are confirmed to play Psycho Las Vegas next month. I don’t know how much of a factor that has been for their making a decision on a quick turnaround, but it’s a chance to be part of arguably the best heavy-festival lineup that’s ever been put together in the US, and I think if you were going to find a guitarist in time for any gig, that would probably be the one. I doubt Lo-Pan would hire a guitarist who isn’t at this point, but if Thompson is up for touring, it seems likely the four-piece will announce more dates in the weeks or months to come for before the end of the year and likely into 2017, when a new album — whenever it’s recorded and whoever might be playing on it — would be released.
That’s all speculation, of course. And speculation on top of speculation.
In any case, good luck to Thompson — who also plays in Sleepers Awake and shares his last name with bassist Scott Thompson; I thought perhaps there was some relation, but the band confirmed not — and of course to the rest of Lo-Pan as well, the lineup rounded out by drummer Jesse Bartz and vocalist Jeff Martin. Hope to see the new incarnation soon.
Here’s there announcement and the ceremonial photo:
Please help us welcome our new guitarist Chris Thompson. Chris is a very talented guy and we are lucky to have him. Lo-Pan is back in action and we are already working on new material. Lots of good stuff coming soon including a new release and, as always, more tour dates. Stay tuned.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian newcomer desert-minded rockers Them Bulls have made the opening track of their self-titled debut album available to stream. The record lands Aug. 26 via Small Stone, and finds the band following up their first EP, the awesomely-titled Space Cadillacs, as they dig in deep to classic Queens of the Stone Age vibes while also finding their own place within a classic heavy rock songwriting modus. They formed in 2014, so have worked quickly toward their first long-player, but the hooks hold up and should pique the interest of those ingrained in the rock of sprawling sands.
I don’t think I wrote this bio from scratch, but I definitely edited it. Dig:
Them Bulls – Them Bulls
Having already shared stages with labelmates in Abrahma and Lo-Pan, as well as Turbonegro, Nick Oliveri and many others, Italian heavy rockers Them Bulls will release their debut full length, Them Bulls, on Small Stone Records later this Summer.
In just over two years since forming early in 2014, Them Bulls have refined their approach to their unique desert-style fuzz of their initial EP called Space Cadillacs, and have now brought their game to a new level entirely. Executed with melodic precision but a loose feel, the songs like “Pot Gun” and “Bandana, Carlos” nod at the poppy bounce of peak-era Queens of the Stone Age, while “Too Much Hot” offers an attitude all the band’s own and “We Must Live Up” drives the point home with rare emphasis for a band who are still so relatively new.
Marking the debut with the band of second guitarist/backing vocalist Francesco Maria Pasi alongside founding vocalist/ guitarist Daniele Pollio, drummer Giampaolo Farnedi (Mondo Generator, Brant Bjork and the Bros.) and bassist Paolo Baldini, Them Bulls was recorded and mixed by Mattia Dallara at Deposito Zero Studio in April and mastered by Mathias Schneeberger. Them Bulls will be hitting many a stage in support of this release.
1. As Fangs In Stone 2. Bandana, Carlos 3. Devil’s Kiss 4. Pot Gun 5. Too Much Hot 6. Made Of Ghosts 7. Twisted Tongues 8. Through The Sun 9. We Must Live Up 10. Just Another Please
Them Bulls: Daniele Pollio – Vocals/Guitars Giampaolo Farnedi – Drums Paolo Baldini – Bass Francesco Maria Pasi – Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’re feeling like you might be ready to boogie, then Långfinger are ready for you. Today, the Gothenburg trio announce that their third LP, Crossyears, will be released by none less than Small Stone Records on Sept. 30. From the swing and stomp of its title-track to the organ-laced grandeur of “Atlas,” the record brims with classic spirit, but casts off the stylistic restrictiveness of vintage production in favor of a full, vibrant sound, resulting in a mix that brings out the strengths of both without sacrificing the obvious chemistry the band has built over their time together. Also it rocks. Confidently.
The PR wire brings background and a first streaming track. Check it out:
Långfinger – Crossyears
A kick-ass power trio is quite probably the perfect rock formation. If there aren’t that many trios around, that’s because it’s a hard thing to pull off: with just three people having to nail the rhythmic fusion of bass and drums, the wild colours of guitar and the soul-grabbing focus of the human voice, there can be no passengers aboard. Extraordinary chemistry is essential. Everyone has to be right on it, and locked in. Which is why lots of trios fail, or cop out and recruit extras.
Långfinger, from the fertile rock ‘n’ roll city of Gothenburg, are masters of the art. They’ve been playing together since they were in their early teens, and their imminent third album, called ‘Crossyears’, is both the thrilling culmination of their collective endeavour, and a rumination on it – on how Time has shaped them and brought them to this point.
Within its hard-hitting grooves, the interlocking of Långfinger’s three disparate characters – Kalle, the unflappable, precision axeman; Jesper, the athletic sticksman battering out physical revenge on his kit; and Victor, the intense, exploratory spirit, bridging thundering bass and howling exorcism – is a magical proposition.
Tracklisting: 1) Feather Beader 2) Say Jupiter 3) Fox Confessor 4) Crossyears 5) Atlas 6) Silver Blaze 7) Buffalo 8) Caesar’s Blues 9) Last Morning Light 10) Window in the Sky
Långfinger: Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ohio heavy rockers Lo-Pan have announced the departure of guitarist Adrian Zambrano from their lineup. Zambrano joined the Columbus-based four-piece late in 2014 to fill the role initially occupied by Brian Fristoe, and accompanied the band on their inaugural European tour last year as well as US dates earlier in 2016 with Black Cobra, Bongzilla and Kings Destroy (review here).
His leaving is a genuine surprise. Lo-Pan have most if not all of a new album recorded as a follow-up to their fourth outing, 2014’s Colossus (review here), and Zambrano‘s departure, which the band notes is amicable, leaves it to question what’s to become of those songs and those recordings of them in particular. Of course, the bigger and more immediate issue is who’s going to take over that spot in the band — riffs aren’t exactly a small part of what they do — but the future is yet uncertain or at least unannounced for what would have been and may still be his studio debut with Lo-Pan, now also a swansong for this incarnation of their lineup.
Zambrano, who also plays in Brujas del Sol, excelled in the guitarist position while he had it. I was fortunate enough to see Lo-Pan with him twice and both times he added a presence and energy alongside drummer Jesse Bartz, bassist Scott Thompson and vocalist Jeff Martin that only added to the force of their stage delivery. Should probably go without saying, but good luck to him and good luck to the band in finding somebody to handle guitar. When and if I hear more about their next release, I’ll let you know.
Lo-Pan are currently slated to play Psycho Las Vegas in August. Here’s the statement from the band:
Our guitarist Adrian Zambrano has decided he needs to walk away from Lo-Pan at this time to focus on some other important parts of life. We would like to emphasize that this is an amicable split and we wish him all the best. We are currently on the hunt for a new guitarist and we hope to see you all again as soon as possible. Stay tuned for announcements and new music.
[Throttlerod release Turncoat on June 24 via Small Stone. Click play above for an exclusive track premiere.]
After a certain point, a band’s new album becomes a believe-it-when-you-see-it prospect. Throttlerod, seven years and one social media revolution removed from the release of their last full-length, 2009’s Pig Charmer (review here), were past that point. Still, they haven’t been completely inactive over that span, playing periodic shows near founding guitarist/vocalist Matt Whitehead‘s home-base in Richmond, Virginia, and apparently crafting enough material so that their fourth outing, Turncoat, clocks in at a considerable 55 minutes with 12 tracks. It’s long. CD long, in a vinyl time, but as ever for these cats, the songwriting holds up. Small Stone Records — which was also behind Pig Charmer, 2006’s Nail, the 2004 Starve the Dead EP and 2003’s Hell and High Water (their 2000 debut, Eastbound and Down, was on Underdogma) — is once again handling the release.
While that’s business as usual for Throttlerod, Turncoat still makes for a departure from their past methods in that instead of working with Andrew Schneider, who helmed all the outings listed above, the three-piece of Whitehead, bassist Jeremy Plaugher (who makes his first appearance here; Schneider also played on Pig Charmer) and drummer Kevin White enlisted J. Robbins to act as producer/engineer at his Magpie Cage Studio. Like a lot of bands, Throttlerod have been through lineup changes and this and that, but swapping producers after 15 years is huge, and Robbins — known for his work with Clutch, The Sword, Murder by Death, among many others, as well as for playing in Jawbox and other projects — makes a mark on this material in a way distinct from anything Throttlerod have done before.
Distinct, but not outlandishly removed from Pig Charmer. That in itself is something of a change as compared to, say, the sonic jump they made between Hell and High Water and Nail, which, with less than half the time between Pig Charmer and Turncoat, found Throttlerod revamping their sound from Southern heavy rock to angular noise drawing on influence from early and mid-’90s dissonance. Pig Charmer continued that thread, and Turncoat follows suit to an extent, but as opener “Bait Shop” shows in its chorus, the push comes with a heightened sense of melody as well. Whitehead‘s vocals, layered, are less shouted than sung, and as the two in the one-two punch, “Lazy Susan” answers in kind to “Bait Shop,” Throttlerod seem at least on some level to be reconciling their latter day approach with their beginnings, either consciously or not.
Granted, that melody comes off more post-grunge than Southern-inflected, but as they slow the roll on the early parts of the more brooding “Never was a Farmer,” those elements are easy enough to read into the proceedings, even if the context is different these years later. Rhythmic insistence comes back to the fore on “Lima,” with White propelling a middle-paced push as Whitehead squibbles out on guitar late, his vocals buried under the wall of his and Plaugher‘s tones. The title-track follows accompanied by “You Kicked My Ass at Losing,” and both songs tap into the more grunge-laden approach, the latter more raucously and of course with the best title on the record, which the chorus well earns, capping the first half of the record with a sudden stop and quick-fade cymbal ring-out. They have a long way to go, but Throttlerod are working efficiently and effectively, and for a band who’s been more or less absent for the last seven years, there’s little rust to be heard in this material.
Guitar scorches at the beginning of “Gainer,” an angular beginning opening to a more manageable verse and chorus en route to a finish that recalls once-labelmates Puny Human and that band’s frontman, Jim Starace, in whose memory Turncoat is dedicated and presumably not titled after. The subsequent “Every Giant,” “Cops and Robbers” and “Breadwinner” mostly tap into moods that the record showed earlier, but each has something about it to make one understand how it wound up in the final tracklisting, whether it’s the handclaps in “Breadwinner,” the what-if-Weezer-got-really-pissed-off aggro build in “Every Giant” or the frantic, jazzy bassline in the verse of “Cops and Robbers,” which brings to mind the melodic take on classic noise rock of Black Black Black without sounding directly akin.
Crashing and full-sounding, “I Know a Ship” offers one last landmark hook before closer and longest cut (at 6:29) “The Guard” finishes out with what starts as a more atmospheric take and then moves into chugging starts and stops — I’m tempted to call them Tool-esque, but to be fair, let’s make it pre-up-their-own-ass-Tool — that nonetheless drive as White does laps around his toms toward the finish of the record. Ultimately it’s hard to know how much of an effect Robbins‘ production might’ve had in bringing forward the melodic side of Throttlerod‘s approach — it’s not like there’s a version of the record tracked by someone else to do a side-by-side — but one way or another, the band have come back after seven years and made a record that is a definitive step forward from where they were their last time out. It might take a listen or two to sink in, but Throttlerod‘s Turncoat is one that only grows richer from there.