Freedom Hawk, Into Your Mind: Underneath a Blood Red Sky

Posted in Reviews on June 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

freedom hawk into your mind

No question that Into Your Mind is, in its songwriting and construction and in the stylistic breadth it covers, a step forward for Virginia Beach heavy rockers Freedom Hawk. Named perhaps for being where the songs go, it’s their fourth outing overall and second for Small Stone behind 2011’s Moving On (review here), its 10-track/52-minute run reinforces the classic metal and heavy rock influences under which they’ve been working all along (Ozzy, Fu Manchu, etc.) while also pushing ahead into new ground, subtly psychedelic but still woven around earthy and traditional structures. Perhaps the biggest change of all is that the band are now a trio, having parted ways with guitarist Matt Cave since their last time out and continued to operate as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist T.R. Morton, bassist Mark Cave and drummer Lenny Hines.

Where the band might have been in the writing for Into Your Mind when that split occurred, I don’t know, but Matt is given a writing credit on opener “Blood Red Sky,” “Journey Home,” “Waterfall” and side B’s “Beyond Our Reach” — the tracklisting broken into sides even on back of the CD and very much operating in that kind of structure despite the format — though he doesn’t seem to have participated in the actual recording, the trio tracking the instrumental portion of the LP live with producer/engineer/mixer Jim Woodling with Morton handling the vocals afterward. Their chemistry comes through what’s still a crisp production across the board, though, and while there still sounds like a layer of rhythm guitar under the solo in “Blood Red Sky,” their operation with their new lineup configuration is fluid and the momentum they build over the course of the first two tracks, that opener and “Journey Home,” carries through to some of the more stylistically expansive material that follows.

One thing to get straight, we’re not talking about leaps and bounds here, but natural, incremental stylistic progression. Reasonable. It begins on side A, though the let’s-get-to-it-ness of “Blood Red Sky” and “Journey Home”‘s hooks signals business as usual from Freedom Hawk, “Lost in Space,” with its more patient intro from all three and keys from Morton, brings a turn that presages some of side B’s more adventurous moments. At its heart, it’s still catchy and largely straightforward, but the shift in atmosphere is palpable from the first two cuts and it begins a broadening process that continues later. The lead on “On Your Knees” is a standout, though more so the turn in approach of the vocals, which will later get a fuller exploration on the title-track, and Hines‘ drumming proves able to push the material along at whatever pace is set or direction it might be headed.

freedom hawk

He holds a tension in “Lost in Space” and the later “The Line” and is forward-minded, but definitely not without a sense of swing to coincide. “Journey Home” showcases that and he begins side A closer “Waterfall” with snare work that sets up the song’s more laid-back vibe, the verse arriving later, a few lines tossed out as a precursor to a relatively stripped down chorus compared to that of “Lost in Space” or “Blood Red Sky,” the trio ready and willing to let their chemistry do the talking when it suits them. Side B’s launch, “Radar,” is more of a riff-rocker, but it picks up in its midsection to find more of a rush in which the band seems utterly at home for the bridge before they turn back to the chorus, chugging central nod and surprisingly airy finish. With the shifts that the second half of Into Your Mind brings about, the beginning of that half is still pretty much in line with the cuts preceding. It’s not really until “Beyond Our Reach” kicks in that they fully show their hand.

A jazzy start like something Fatso Jetson might conjure begins “Beyond Our Reach,” and that rhythm holds after the riff and a NWOBHM-style lead progression commence to give an alternate vision of Freedom Hawk‘s brand of heavy rock. Layered vocals seem to mirror guitar harmonies and while the effect is still heavy and a shuffle is present, once again the context has changed. The previously-alluded-to vocal turn on “Into Your Mind” pushes further against expectation — Morton‘s compression-on higher-register vocals are as much a signature as the band has — and they’re not completely gone, but even changing into and out of the chorus establishes a dynamic in an unanticipated way, and “Into Your Mind” also proves to be Cave‘s best performance on bass, his presence in the pocket just behind the guitar only helps in setting that righteous tone.

At 6:51, the penultimate “The Line” is the longest inclusion by nearly a full minute, and they use that extra time for an instrumental drive, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “jam,” since though it finds Hines on his ride, there always seems to be a plotted course being followed. Keys or layered-in background leads pepper the pre-chorus and return later during the extended instrumental part, which is also how they finish before bringing things back to earth for “All Because of You,” a more hook-based start-stopper that seems to be geared toward bookending with “Blood Red Sky,” but honestly, by the time they get there, the opener’s straight-ahead thrust feels like a long time ago and a long ways away. That feeling itself is evidence of the growth Freedom Hawk have undertaken despite losing a player, and though Into Your Mind finds them branching out, it also serves to reinforce the aspects of their sonic personality that have been their hallmarks up to this point in their career. They’re still Freedom Hawk, they’re just working to expand the definition of what that means.

Freedom Hawk, Into Your Mind (2015)

Freedom Hawk on Thee Facebooks

Freedom Hawk on Bandcamp

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone on Bandcamp

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Backwoods Payback Announce Acoustic European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

backwoods-payback

Fresh off completing the second of consecutive June weekenders heading out from their home base in West Chester, Pennsylvania, grit rock trio Backwoods Payback have announced they’ll make their inaugural incursion to European shores in July. Quite a jump from one to the other, but the band promised a return to activity when those weekenders were first posted, teasing the possibility of a new album to be recorded that would serve as the follow-up to their 2011 Small Stone debut, Momantha (review here), the arrival of their new drummer Pierson Roe and so on, and touring in the UK and Europe certainly counts as a return to activity, so they’re nothing if not keeping their word.

Operating as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker and the aforementioned Roe — who, since it’s an acoustic run, I’m not even sure will be making the trip — Backwoods Payback will begin in London on July 9 and work their way from there into Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, finishing with two nights in Paris. Kind of curious that they’d make their first tour abroad unplugged, but then, I guess that’s less amps to cart around and/or a cheaper backline. Hard not to admire the pick-up-your-guitar-and-go ideal under which they seem to be working, if nothing else.

And if you happen to be in that part of the world and free one of these nights from what I’ve no doubt is a busy schedule, tell them I said hi.

Tour announcement follows:

backwoods payback euro tour

Next month JULY 2015 we hit Europe for the first time ever. Acoustic shows throughout the land. Can’t wait to meet everyone across the pond!!

07/09 London UK Bowler Pub
07/10 Kingston UK Wiloughby Arms
07/12 Berlin DE Schokoladen
07/13 Berlin DE Arconoa
07/14 Amsterdam NL Backstage Hotel
07/15 Amsterdam NL Muzieke Cafe
07/16 Cologne DE Tankstelle
07/17 Liege BE Le Surlet
07/19 Paris FR The Pop In
07/20 Paris FR Le Tennessee

https://www.facebook.com/backwoodspayback
https://twitter.com/BckwoodsPayback
http://backwoodspayback.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/backwoodspayback/

Backwoods Payback, In the Ditch (2014)

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Freedom Hawk to Release Into Your Mind on June 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

freedom hawk

Next month, Virginia Beach trio Freedom Hawk head overseas to tour in Germany and the Netherlands around an appearance at this year’s Freak Valley festival. Shortly after their return to the States, they’ll present their new album, Into Your Mind. Their fourth full-length and second for Small Stone RecordsInto Your Mind tightens up the tones and songcraft that made the band’s 2011 outing, Holding On (review here), a riffy standout, and marks their first offering as a trio.

Into Your Mind is available to preorder now. Links, info and tour dates follow, hoisted off the PR wire:

freedom hawk into your mind

US heavy trio FREEDOM HAWK to unleash new album “Into Your Mind” this June on Small Stone Records; European tour dates announced.

If you need seriously heavy and high-spirited rock music in your life, then Virginia Beach’s groove-mongers FREEDOM HAWK are about to give you some, with their fourth album coming out this June on Small Stone Records. Leather, jean and maximum volume mandatory!

Emanating from the barrier dunes of Virginia, FREEDOM HAWK’s heavy riffs, rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies definitely produce a sound of their own. The trio’s brand of heavy rock capitalizes on the best of the heavy ‘70s, while presenting a modern fuzzy take based around quality songwriting rather than style-over-substance retro posturing.

FREEDOM HAWK made their debut on Small Stone Records with 2011’s Holding On. The follow-up, and their fourth album overall, is Into Your Mind, which brings a new dynamic to their buttery fuzz with all the stomp and swagger one could ask for after the previous effort. Get a taster with first excerpt “Blood Red Sky” HERE.

New album “Into Your Mind”, out June 23 on Small Stone Records
CD & Limited Edition 180gr Vinyl preorder AT THIS LOCATION

Veterans already of Roadburn in the Netherlands, FREEDOM HAWK will return to Europe this June, including a special appearance at Germany’s Freak Valley Festival:

FREEDOM HAWK EUROPEAN TOUR
04.06 – ANTWERP (BE) Antwerp Music City
05.06 – NETPHEN (DE) Freak Valley Festival
06.06 – DÜSSELDORF (DE) Pitcher – Rock’n’Roll Headquarter
07.06 – NÜRNBERG (DE) Klub Nychka
08.06 – HAMBURG (DE) Bar 227
09.06 – JENA (DE) Kulturbahnhof
10.06 – BERLIN (DE) Jägerklause
11.06 – NIJMEGEN (NL) De Onderbroek
12.06 – MÜNSTER (DE) Rare Guitar
13.06 – LEIPZIG (DE) Black Label
14.06 – ROESELARE (BE) De Verlichte Geest

FREEDOM HAWK IS
Lenny Hines – Drums
T.R. Morton – Vocals, Guitar
Mark Cave – Bass

www.facebook.com/freedomhawkmusic
www.smallstone.com

Freedom Hawk, “Blood Red Sky”

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Abrahma Premiere “Weary Statues” from New Album Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird

Posted in audiObelisk on April 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

abrahma

Parisian outfit Abrahma release their second album for Small StoneReflections in the Bowels of a Bird, on May 12. The heavy psych rockers’ sophomore outing follows 2012’s debut, Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), and while the two records share some things in common, like a multi-part thematic piece running throughout, or a title on the longer side, the moods are remarkably distinct. Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, a gruesome mirror, is darker than its predecessor, moodier overall, with a primary impression of slower tempos and a somewhat grungier feel. Still psychedelic in terms of the airy guitar work of Seb Bismuth (also vocals and keyboards) and Nicolas Heller, the 10-track offering might have its dreamy side, but even that often comes accompanied by downer pacing and a pervasive melancholy.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. “Square the Circle” has the record’s shortest runtime at 3:42 and also its fastest push, and the ending of “Weary Statues” picks up effectively, but to compare that to the doomly swirl, effects and sax over churning riffs, of “Omens Pt. 2″ or even opener “Fountains of Vengeance,” which boasts one of Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird‘s strongest hooks, and the darker side is made plain. The rhythm section of bassist Guillaume Colin and drummer/engineer Benjamin Colin — the two are brothers — is well at home in making changes fluid and allowing the guitars the appropriate space, songs like “Kapal Kriya” and “An Offspring to the Wolves” proffering big riffs and echoes greatly bolstered by the rumble beneath Abrahma Reflections in the Bowels of a Birdand the thud and crash pushing them along. Guitarist Ed Mundell (The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, ex-Monster Magnet), who also appeared on Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives, makes a return guest spot for “A Shepherd’s Grief,” and comes to the fore suitably shredding in the midsection, and even that song ultimately gives way to a kind of depressive largesse, transitioning into the quiet minimalism of closer “Conium,” which builds to an effects-laden peak in its last 90-or-so seconds and provides the album with a particularly hypnotic finish.

Another constant held over from the debut, however, is the songwriting. As far out as Abrahma went on Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives, they never lost track of the fact that they were writing a piece to contribute to the whole of the record, and the same is true of Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird. More so, even, since the material is tighter and more cohesive and the album itself is nearly 20 minutes shorter at 52:41. It’s that core of songwriting that enables Abrahma to continue to engage the listener in this brooding manner, their attention to detail evident in the effects, solos, rhythmic changes and depth of the mix, which is the kind of abyss in which it’s a pleasure to lose oneself.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Weary Statues” for streaming ahead of the album’s release next month. Both one of the most driving and most open-sounding cuts on Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, it pulls together the varying sides of the record’s personality well, and speaks to the emotional and sonic intensity Abrahma bring to bear on their second offering. They’ll be on tour with Lo-Pan starting next week, and you can find those dates along with a short comment from Bismuth about “Weary Statues,” after the song on the player below.

Please enjoy:

“‘Weary Statues’ is surely the most aggressive but also emotive song we’ve ever done with ABRAHMA, as well as a good proof of the evolution we’ve made in our music.” — Seb Bismuth

ABRAHMA will be touring Europe with their labelmates Lo-Pan this spring, including a stop at Roadburn Festival in Holland.

09.04 – STRASBOURG (FR) Mudd Club
10.04 – LICHTENFELS (DE) Paucnhy Cats Inn
11.04 – MUNSTER (DE) Rare Guitar
12.04 – TILBURG (NL) ROADBURN FESTIVAL
13.04 – France TBA
14.04 – MONTPELLIER (FR) Black Sheep
15.04 – MADRID (SP) Maravillas Club
16.04 – BARCELONA (SP) Rocksound
17.04 – VITORIA (SP) Helldorado
18.04 – NICE (FR) Le Volume
19.04 – CALENZANO (IT) ASD Factory Club
20.04 – SAVIGNANO SUL RUBICONE (IT) Sidro Club
21.04 – MUNICH (DE) Feierwerk
22.04 – DRESDEN (DE) Ost-Pol

NEW ALBUM Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird – Out May 12th on Small Stone Records

Abrahma is:
Sebastien Bismuth: vocals, guitars, effects & keyboards
Nicolas Heller: guitars
Guillaume Colin: Bass guitar
Benjamin Colin: drums

Additional Musicians:
Ed Mundell: guitar solos on “A Shepherd’s Grief”
Vincent Dupuy: saxophone on “Omens Pt. 2″

Recorded by Benjamin Colin at Hakesound Studios, Romainville (France). Produced by Abrahma & Thomas Bellier. Mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer at Tree Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY (USA) except Conium, mixed by Benjamin Colin at Hakesound Studio, Romainville (France)

Abrahma’s website

Abrahma on Thee Facebooks

Abrahma on Twitter

Small Stone Records

Small Stone on Bandcamp

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Artwork Premiere: Snail, Feral Cover by Seldon Hunt

Posted in Visual Evidence on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

snail

Feral is the upcoming fourth album and Small Stone debut from West Coast (CA/WA) outfit Snail. Their first record as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist/engineer Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson since their 1993 self-titled debut (reissue review here), Feral is set to issue this summer and features cover art by Brooklyn-based artist Seldon Hunt, known for his work with NeurosisIsisPelicanMade out of BabiesKings Destroy and on and on. Always varied in his approach, from photography to line-drawings to exquisite fractals to whatever the hell you might call the cover of the recent Blind Idiot God album, Hunt has consistently been able to adjust his own style to suit the project at hand, and Snail‘s Feral is no exception.

There is a snail on it, somehow subtly despite it being right up front on the left side of the picture. Gorgeously colorful with natural reds, browns and greens, two knotted trees frame what in other hands might’ve been a simple nature scene. Two snakes wrap around a deer’s antlers, and there’s some kind of scared-looking 10-legged creature hiding partially behind one of the four large mushrooms in the foreground. But the real story is in the deer’s eyes, dead and yellow. They have a threatening look to them which seems to find its answer in the partially-buried human skulls at the bottom and the new-growth grass coming up around them. All of a sudden, it’s more revolution than nature scene, as though human civilization has given way to a new natural order.

In its colorful psychedelic vibe and quiet foreboding, Hunt‘s piece fits the Snail record well, and I’m happy to be able to premiere the cover art. Click the image below to enlarge it if you’d like a closer look. Some comment from the band follows:

snail feral seldon hunt

Says Matt Lynch:

It was actually [The Obelisk’s] doing that we hooked up with him. I saw the art he did for Blind Idiot God because of your feature and we were still kinda exploring our options after many failed attempts by me to get something we could all agree on.

And I saw that art and thought “this guy gets it” you know, he had the feel of the record in him. The first idea he sent us was spot on. It was just a scribble sketch but we knew by the description that this was our guy.

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Seldon Hunt’s website

Small Stone Records

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kent Stump of Wo Fat

Posted in Questionnaire on March 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

kent-stump

Across five records and nine fuzz-laden years, Dallas trio Wo Fat have become an institution in Texas heavy rock. Their latest album and second for Small Stone, The Conjuring (review here), is in many ways their strongest release to date, benefiting from the naturally-developed chemistry between guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer Michael Walter, as well as from the self-sufficiency of the band recording at their own studio, Crystal Clear Sound, in Dallas. While their reputation has built steadily since the release of their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, and its ’08 follow-up, Psychedelonaut (review here), 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), on Nasoni, proved a particular breakthrough point, leading to the band’s signing to Small Stone for the next year’s The Black Code (review here), for which they toured in Europe for the first time, making their continental debut at the 2013 Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands (review here) and setting the stage for the triumph to come with The Conjuring and a return trip across the Atlantic, this one marked out by an appearance at last year’s Freak Valley in Germany.

Wo Fat‘s latest release is a document of their set there: Live Juju: Wo Fat at Freak Valley will hit the public on March 17. Later this year, the band will also take part in Magnetic Eye Records‘ tribute to Jimi HendrixElectric Ladyland [Redux], covering “Gypsy Eyes.”

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kent Stump

How did you come to do what you do?

Well, what I do is play music and I record music, which is how I make my living – recording music, that is. Music has always been a huge part of my life. Both of my parents are musicians, so it was something that was just ubiquitous and inescapable in our house when I was growing up. Never once in my life did I consider doing anything with my life other than becoming a musician and doing something relating to music, although the place I’m at now is not where I would have thought I would be when I was a teenager, or even when I was in college. My journey to the heavy and the riff is a bit of a circuitous one.

I went to college to study jazz and fully planned on getting out of college and going on to be a jazz musician. While at college, I got turned on to a much wider world of music by so many great people with widely varying tastes. I discovered punk rock and ‘70s funk and African music and all the great ‘70s rock and the ‘80s NY noise scene, and on and on. And most importantly, I really discovered the blues. I had always known a bit about the blues since I was heavily into jazz, but I became much more hip to a lot of blues musicians that I hadn’t previously checked out, and that eventually led me to realize that my whole life I’ve been drawn to music that comes from the blues – rock, funk, etc. That, along with a friend I had that was into all things heavy who got me listening to Sabbath as well as a lot of ‘80s hardcore and metal, led to my desire to make heavy blues music.

When I was in college in Denton, Texas, the music scene at that time was absolutely electric, and the vibe was very open and experimental. Punk rock and funk and metal with a jazz edge were all kind of mixing together and it was a really artistically open-minded vibe at the time, which I think shaped my thinking about music a lot. So eventually in the late ‘90s I discovered bands like Sleep, Fu Manchu, Nebula, Kyuss and all the Man’s Ruin bands and I came to the realization that this is the music, along with the blues, that speaks to me on the most primal level and this is what I want to play.

Describe your first musical memory.

My first musical memory is laying on our living room floor when I was very young, maybe four or five years old, and my dad putting on a record of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It’s an amazing piece of music and it definitely left an impression on me. I think, if I’m not mistaken, when that piece was premiered in Paris it caused a riot. Stravinsky is pretty hardcore.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I don’t know if I have just one best musical memory. I’ve got a lot of things that were landmark musical moments in my life though. Getting to play at Roadburn is without a doubt one of the best musical memories for me. Roadburn is such an iconic thing and it was the first show that we played on our first European tour, which was also the first time I had ever been to Europe and it was just kind of a surreal, epiphenal and mindblowing experience. It was amazing to walk into the scene there and see a whole bunch of people that are hardcore fans of the same music I dig. I had never seen that, at least not on that level, before.

You don’t see that kind of thing when it comes to this kind of music in the US. And to be performing at this amazing festival was just awesome, and also a bit nerve-racking at the same time. I remember going to see High on Fire’s set after we played and it was packed and the crowd was just electric and High on Fire sounded better than I’ve ever heard them before. I think they were just vibing on the amazing vibe of the fans. Same with Elder’s set, who I got to see a little later that night. The vibe from the crowd was so intense and Elder kicked ass riding that wave, I think. Amazing day.

I have memories of a lot of transcendental shows that I would put in the great musical memory category. Getting to see Sleep a couple years ago was bad ass. Sometime around 1997 or 1998 I went to SXSW in Austin, before SXSW totally turned into utter crap, and I got to see Fatso Jetson just destroy as well as an amazing showcase that had Fu Manchu and Queens of the Stone Age right before they hit big. There was a whole Man’s Ruin showcase that was killer.

When I was in college I got to see free jazz great Cecil Taylor. That was an absolutely kick ass show. He was just pounding the piano and pieces of the pads inside the piano were flying out as he was playing. And there were maybe 10 people there to see this free jazz icon. So many great shows that have shaped my thinking.

I also have a lot of memories of late nights fueled with alcohol, and other things, and hanging with friends who turned me onto heavy, heavy tunes that I wasn’t previously hip to. Some of these rank up there with the great musical moments to me – sitting on the couch and tripping out to amazing, life-changing jams… These things all are part of my story as a musician and music lover that has brought me to where I am now.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

That’s a tough question. I kinda feel like most my life, my beliefs and likes/interests have been juxtaposed between two opposing worlds. For example, my heavily schooled musical upbringing versus a more primal, less technical, organic approach to playing. Or, being a recording engineer like I am, most of my peers are gearheads focused on the technical aspects of engineering, which I am to a certain extent, but I am far more focused on the musicality of recording and finding ways to make a recording reach you on an emotional level, so I’m not über-obsessed with technical- and gear-related things about recording.

Also in this particular time, my political versus spiritual beliefs, that to me, are completely simpatico, are to most, seemingly at odds with one another.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Ideally artistic progression leads to more artistic progression. Art and music is a neverending journey. I don’t think I’ll ever have arrived at a stopping place artistically because every move forward reveals more things to reach for and directions to consider. That’s the beauty of it. You’re never finished. You can just abandon the quest if you want, but there is always further to go.

How do you define success?

I think it’s being happy and doing what you makes you happy. Despite the fact that financially, life is a struggle for me, I feel like I’ve achieved a good amount of success in the sense that I’m playing music I love and people are digging it, we own a killer studio and my day job involves doing things that are artistic and deal with music and, on top of it all, I’ve got the most amazing wife who I’ve been married to for 18 years.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

On the one hand there’s probably a lot I wish I hadn’t seen, but at the same time, all those experiences contribute to making me who I am, although there are some things that I could probably do without ever seeing that wouldn’t change me too much. One thing that I wish I hadn’t seen is this: The studio that we run is in an industrial area of Dallas and there are a lot of stray dogs that run around in packs in that area. Seeing a stray dog is something I don’t like seeing to begin with because I love dogs and I want to help them all, but we’re full up at my house with dogs. My wife and I already have five dogs so there’s no more room at the inn.

Anyway, one day I saw a little Chihuahua-mix stray being harassed by a couple of big dogs. At first I thought they were playing, but then I realized that that was not the case and I wasn’t able to get to them to break it up before the larger dogs had inflicted a mortal wound on the little guy. It just breaks my heart that I couldn’t help him and it still pains me to this day to think about it. I hate to see the helpless get brutalized by the powerful, which, sadly, happens all around us every day.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I really wish that I could draw and paint. I would love to be able to create art like Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo. I don’t think that will ever happen for me, though, because I don’t have any of those skills. There is, of course, much more music I’d like to create. I’m always wanting to incorporate disparate musical styles and influences together in our music, like Afro-Cuban music, blues, jazz and metal.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Having dinner and watching hockey with my wife.

Wo Fat, Live at Freak Valley 2014

Wo Fat on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Clear Sound website

Small Stone Records

Magnetic Eye Records

 

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Isaak Touring Spain and Portugal this Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

isaak

Who the hell doesn’t want to take some time off and go spend eight days kicking around Spain and Portugal? I can’t really fault Italian heavy rocking foursome Isaak for pausing work on their next record in order to tour the Iberian Peninsula later this month, nor would I attempt to try. They’ve done plenty of touring throughout Europe, but seriously, what, they’re going to regret going to Barcelona as Spring is starting to kick in? Somehow I doubt it.

Noteworthy that Isaak say they’ll be performing material from their recent split with Mos Generator — a 12″ was released in January on Heavy Psych Sounds — since their inclusion on that split was one 15-minute psychedelic exploration they dubbed “The Choice,” and represented something of a turn from the more straightforward fare one heard on their prior Small Stone label debut, 2013’s The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (streamed here). Should make for an interesting blend on stage, and one can’t help but wonder how “The Choice” might influence Isaak‘s next work, which will presumably also be out on Small Stone later this year once they finish it when they get back from the tour.

The band sent this update down the PR wire, along with the tour poster by the venerable and increasingly ubiquitous David Paul Seymour:

isaak iberian tour 2015

ISAAK IBERIAN TOUR 2015

Isaak is hitting the road again, this time for a Spain and Portugal tour. The band is having a break from recording their new album, that will be out this year via Small Stone Records.

The guys will perform their last album as well as their fresh released 12″ split shared with Mos Generator and unleashed via Heavy Psych Sound.

Tour poster made by David Paul Seymour and printed at The Giant’s Lab. Tour promoted by Red Sound Barcellona.

20/03 – BARCELONA ( Rocksound Almogavers)
21/03 – MADRID ( Sala Barracudas)
22/03 – ESTEPONA (Louie Louie)
23/03 – CALDAS DA RAINHA (tbc)
24/03 – LISBOA ( Sabotage Club)
25/03 – VIANA DO CASTELO ( BAR Kommix)
26/03 – VIGO ( Distrito 09)
27/03 – OURENSE (el sótano)
28/03 – GORLIZ ( Xurrut)

http://www.isaakband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/isaakband
http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/
http://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mos-generator-isaak-split-album

Isaak, “The Choice” from Split with Mos Generator (2015)

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Abrahma Reveal Art and Teaser for New Album Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

abrahma (photo by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen)

Paris heavy psych rockers Abrahma will release their second album for Small StoneReflections in the Bowels of a Bird, this May. The album release comes after a European tour alongside Lo-Pan that includes stops at Roadburn and Desertfest Berlin, and is the follow-up to 2012’s debut, Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), which established the four-piece’s balance of memorable hooks and psychedelic flourish. The new album boasts a guest appearance from Ed Mundell of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and has a co-production credit from Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s Thomas Bellier, with whom Abrahma‘s Sébastien Bismuth collaborated on the Sonny Simmons and Moksha Samnyasin late 2014 album, Nomadic (review here).

You can see the stunning Jalón de Aquiles artwork below, and Abrahma have posted a video teaser for the album that follows the PR wire info and tour dates with Lo-Pan. Dig it:

abrahma reflections in the bowels of a bird

Paris heavy sorcerers ABRAHMA reveal artwork and details for their new album on Small Stone Records

Paris-based heavy psych outfit ABRAHMA just unveiled more details on their sophomore record “Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird”, due out mid-May on Small Stone Records.

“Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird” will be ABRAHMA’s second full-length on Small Stone Records, and features prestigious guests such as Ed Mundell (Monster Magnet, The Atomic Bitchwax), as well as Thomas Bellier (Black Heat Shujaa) as its co-producer. Its fabulously coloured artwork was created by Barcelona’s artist Jalón de Aquiles.

The band released a teaser that displays all album details as well as the release date for their upcoming video “An Offspring To The Wolves”.

Forcefully ascending from the depths of Paris rock underground, it only took ABRAHMA one album to emerge as one of the torchbearers of French heavy rock on the international scene. Released in late 2012 on renowned North American label Small Stone Records, “Through The Dusty Paths Of Our Lives” unveiled an incredibly mature songwriting, while showcasing the band’s sombre and complex music realm. With this first full-length, they laid the foundations of their peculiar stoner aura adorned with the darkest riffage of the Seattle sound, and drew the attention of the international press. 2015 will see the Parisian foursome release their second album to date, due out this spring on Small Stone Records.

UPCOMING SHOWS:
09.04 – STRASBOURG (FR) Mudd Club
10.04 – LICHTENFELS (DE) Paucnhy Cats Inn
11.04 – MUNSTER (DE) Rare Guitar
12.04 – TILBURG (NL) Roadburn Festival
13.04 – France TBA
14.04 – MONTPELLIER (FR) Black Sheep
15.04 – MADRID (SP) Maravillas Club
16.05 – BARCELONA (SP) Rocksound
17.05 – VITORIA (SP) Helldorado
18.04 – NICE (FR) Le Volume
19.04 – Italy TBA
20.04 – SAVIGNANO SUL RUBICONE (IT) Sidro Club
21.04 – MUNICH (DE) Orange House
22.04 – DRESDEN (DE) Ost-Pol
23.04 – BERLIN (DE) Desertfest Berlin

www.abrahmamusic.net
www.facebook.com/ABRAHMAMUSIC
www.twitter.com/ABRAHMAMUSIC
www.smallstone.com

Abrahma, Reflection in the Bowels of a Bird Teaser

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