Långfinger Announce Fall 2016 European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

langfinger (Photo by Bengt Persson)

Swedish classic-style heavy rockers Långfinger have announced a new round of European touring for this September and October. The Gothenburg three-piece will head out for a run through Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic beginning Sept. 28 as they continue to support their 2016 offering, Crossyears (review here), released by Small Stone in the US in conjunction with Cargo Records in Europe.

Though they’re still young, Långfinger are fast becoming veterans of Europe’s heavy rock underground. With Crossyears as their third album behind 2010’s Skygrounds and 2012’s Slow Rivers, the band have more and more refined their sense of songcraft to make their tracks organic, memorable and engaging in their blend of ’70s roots and modern impulses. Earlier this year, they hit the road alongside labelmates Captain Crimson to represent two of Sweden’s strongest upstart presences in next-generation riffage.

Dates for the upcoming autumnal run and more info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

langfinger tour poster

Långfinger Autumn Tour
28/9 Kiel (DE) – Schaubude
29/9 Oldenburg (DE) – MTS LP’s & CD’s
30/9 La Louviere (BE) – La Taverne du Theatre
1/10 Rodewisch (DE) – Ars Vitae
2/10 Prague (CZ) – Fatal Club
3/10 Pod?brady (CZ) – Boss Bar
4/10 Kolin (CZ) – Bar Pod Hodinama
6/10 Weimar (DE) – Kasseturm
7/10 Lubbeneu (DE) – Kulturhof

Poster design by: Thomas V. Jäger from Monolord.

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 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.

Långfinger:
Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals
Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals
Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/crossyears
https://www.facebook.com/Langfingerofficial/
http://langfinger.net/

Långfinger, Crossyears (2016)

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Snail Post “Thou Art That” Live Video from The Obelisk All-Dayer

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

snail photo adam donnelly

I really think Snail should release their set from last year’s The Obelisk All-Dayer. I’ve never started any kind of online petition, and I’m not usually one to go fishing for comments — because I live in terror that I wouldn’t get any — but yeah, you can check out the video of their 10-minute epic roller “Thou Art That” from the show and if you agree with me that the whole set should see at least a digital release or a limited tape or something, please leave a comment on this post. I’m not saying if we hit a certain number of comments they’ll put something out, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. Right?

“Thou Art That” was a highlight of 2015’s Feral (review here), which came out on Small Stone and was the perfect occasion for the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson to hit the East Coast for the first time in their 20-years-plus history. They absolutely killed it at the show, with what seemed to me to be the night’s biggest crowd, and though I’d seen them on a rare tour years before in San Francisco (review here), this was obviously something special. I was lucky they could make the trip to play.

This isn’t the first live video they’ve posted from the All-Dayer either though. They had one for the title-track of 2009’s Blood (review here) that came out at the beginning of the year as well, so “Thou Art That” — shot by David Strayer with board-recorded audio by Jaime Traba and additional production from Matt Lynch — is the second time they’ve teased the prospect of doing something with that material. I already offered to write the liner notes for a tape or any other kind of release. Come on, guys. This one needs to happen.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a second The Obelisk All-Dayer for the better part of the last year. Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn was on board last I checked, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do again, especially with a baby on the way. We’ll see. If you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

Oh, and if you see some schmo down in the front rocking out at the end of “Thou Art That,” well clearly that’s just somebody who very, very much enjoyed the set. Ha.

Dig it:

Snail, “Thou Art That” Live at The Obelisk All-Dayer

The almighty SNAIL playing live at The Obelisk All Dayer in Brooklyn NYC 8-20-2016.

Video: David Strayer
Audio: Jaime Traba
Production: Matt Lynch

Snail, Feral (2015)

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Snail website

Snail at Small Stone Records

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Abrahma to Record New Album this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Prog-tinged Parisian heavy rockers Abrahma have announced their intention to enter the studio this fall to record their third full-length. It’ll be in October with the release itself following in 2018. Their last outing, 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here), offered a significantly expanded sonic palette from its likewise-cumbersomely-titled 2012 predecessor, Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), and the four-piece will no doubt look to move forward this time out as well.

So that’s this October. Last time we heard from the band was last October, as it happens, and at that point guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Sebastien Bismuth and guitarist Nicolas Heller, were welcoming bassist Guillaume Theoden and drummer Sacha Viken to the Abrahma lineup and setting to work on the record, the tentative name for which was given as In Time for the Last Rays of Light. In the update that follows here, Bismuth doesn’t use that name or any other, so it may well be that they’ve opted for something else or a final decision has yet to be made in that regard.

Still, progress is progress, and it’s good to know work has continued on the outing, whatever it winds up being called when it’s done. Here’s what Bismuth had to say on the subject:

abrahma

ABRAHMA will enter ORGONE STUDIOS in October with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Cathedral, Ghost, Pallbearer,..) to record our third album.

This new album will go a little bit far away from what we’ve done before. We have added many influences we were scared to add on our previous works. We’ll have been through difficult times those last years and we have chosen to use music to heal our wounds…

The result needed to enlarge our influences and the addition of Sacha Viken and Guillaume Theoden made it all really natural. We can’t wait to share those new songs with you!

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

Abrahma, “Witchdoctor Woman” (Nazareth cover)

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Friday Full-Length: Halfway to Gone, Second Season

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Halfway to Gone, Second Season (2002)

A full 15 years since Halfway to Gone put out Second Season? Just over, actually. The sophomore full-length from the New Jersey outfit arrived in March 2002 via Small Stone Records and found the trio a tighter, meaner unit than even their impressive debut, High Five (discussed here), had shown them to be the year before. It was a purposeful play toward accessibility and craftsmanship that, when balanced with the tonal and rhythmic drive of songs like opener “Great American Scumbag” and the later “Lone Star Breakout,” resulted in a special moment for Halfway to Gone and their burgeoning audience alike. Comprised at that point of bassist/vocalist Lou Gorra, guitarist Lee Stuart and drummer Kenny Wagner, the three-piece cut themselves a place within the crowded sphere of NJ’s heavy underground — brimming at that point with bands like SolaceThe Atomic BitchwaxSolarized, etc., etc. — and staked a claim over Southern-stylized heavy rock that no one in the Garden State has been able to topple in the years since. A decade and a half later, Second Season still kicks your ass.

It does so mostly via songwriting. “Great American Scumbag” is the quintessential leadoff and boasts one of the record’s best — if not actually its best — hooks, but cuts like “Already Gone,” which immediately follows, and the post-C.O.C. chug of “Thee Song (A Slight Return)” and especially the bouncing “Whiskey Train” push deeper into thickened Heartland boogie such that by the time the swampy heavy blues of “Outta Smokes” and “Brocktoon’s Wake” arrive — the former distinguished by a guest harp performance from Eric Oblander of Ohio-based Small Stone labelmates Five Horse Johnson — Halfway to Gone are right at home in the down-home, and their balance between high-octane heavy rock and these other elements remains fluid through a burst like “Escape from Earth” and the later mid-tempo nodder “Never Comin’ Home.”

All the while, the band keep no secrets, make no bones about where they’re coming from in their classic influences, and ask absolutely nothing of the listener except maybe an adult beverage to wet the whistle and a bit of rocking out, which Second Season fosters to a nigh-irresistible degree. From the early trippy jam “Black Coffy” through the complementary, penultimate acoustic/electric sleepy vibe-piece “Tryptophan,” the record earns its way to the concluding cover of The Marshall Tucker Band‘s “Can’t You See” that consumes its final five minutes, and which also appeared on Small Stone‘s original Sucking the ’70s compilation in 2002, the group boldly taking on vocal harmonies and a loyalism to the original that speaks to their genuine love for Southern heavy despite their Northern origins.

Further, right from the start of when “Great American Scumbag” first kicks in, Second Season has such a sense of space to its sound. Like the drunken King Kong/Sasquatch/Yeti/whatever it is on its cover art, the record is positively huge, and it retains that largesse whether a given track is loud or quiet, faster or slower, uniting the material and only enhancing the flow of the 43-minute entirety. Having recorded High Five with Charlie Schaefer at W.O.M. Studios, they returned and took a more active role in the production the second time around, and the results speak for themselves in the impact of “Already Gone” and the breadth of the fuzz in “Brocktoon’s Wake.” At its core, Second Season is a great collection of songs, but it’s also a full album, and it resonates on both levels in lasting and righteous fashion.

Two years later, Halfway to Gone would issue their third long-player, Halfway to Gone, with a more mature sound overall, production by Bob Pantella of Monster Magnet (and a slew of engineers), and cuts like “Slidin’ down the Razor,” “Turnpike” and “Couldn’t Even Find a Fight.” By then, Halfway to Gone had been through a couple different drummers — among them Wagner and Sixty Watt Shaman‘s Chuck Dukeheart (now of Fogound and Serpents of Secrecy) — before settling in with Stu‘s brother, Danny Gollin, behind the kit. Perhaps weary from a few years of hard living and considerable time spent on the road, the self-titled would be the final Halfway to Gone offering of their initial run. Stu and Danny launched the new outfit A Thousand Knives of Fire as a two-guitar four-piece with Taj Estrada on bass and Paul Wiegand playing opposite Stu. They released their debut, Last Train to Scornsville, in 2008, killed it at shows up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and faded out as members moved onto other projects and Halfway to Gone regrouped for periodic reunion gigs in Jersey.

Though they’ve continually threatened to issue a follow-up, and as of the last time I saw them — granted it was five years ago now (review here) — they certainly sounded like they had at least one more kickass record in them, the self-titled has remained the third and final Halfway to Gone album since its release in 2004. As noted, through all that time, no one has come to claim their crown, and I expect that if they did ever get it together to produce a fourth outing, they’d be able to pick up where they left off despite the intervening years. That would be my wish for them anyway, but as a fan, I’m hardly impartial in that regard.

Great record. Underrated band. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Was up a dastardly five minutes before the alarm this morning. I suppose that’s better than being awake at 4AM, which was how it went yesterday, but still kind of annoying, both for missing out on that extra unconscious time and for how tired I was by the time I went to bed last night. It being a four-day week didn’t stop this one from being long as hell. Two weeks left of work as of today. Two weeks, then I’m unemployed again.

My feelings on the issue are somewhat complicated. If I made any money whatsoever doing this site, they would not be. Somehow I don’t think Donald Trump’s I’m-gonna-back-out-of-the-Paris-Accord ass is going to be the one to implement universal basic income, however, so even here in liberal Massachusetts (though not where I live; fucking racist white yutzes, everywhere), I’m not going to hold out much hope on that one. Some you win, some you lose. Some lose the popular count by three million votes and still win.

If you’re wondering, the baby boy The Pecan whom The Patient Mrs. and I are in the process of bringing into this wretched, doomed-in-a-bad-way world is doing well, as is she. 20-plus weeks along and starting to show, feeling aches and whatnot, but holding up. He’s riding low at the moment, which had me thinking of “Lameneshma” last night before dinner. “Hmm, maybe a Swedish name…” and so on. Golly Lowrider kick ass.

Writing at the kitchen table this morning instead of my usual place on the couch is my way of pretending it’s already the weekend. It isn’t, and in about half an hour I’ll need to get my shit together and head to the office, where as I did for most of this week I will sit and watch the minutes go by until I can leave and be with The Patient Mrs. again. That’s all I want these days. Together time.

This weekend is busy — a wedding in CT, some back and forth to do on Sunday — but here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Vokonis full album stream/review. Abrams video.
Tue.: Six Dumb Questions with Summoner. Conclave video.
Wed.: Second Coming of Heavy review. Heat video.
Thu.: Solstafir review, tentatively. Or maybe that new Tuber. We’ll see.
Fri.: Six Dumb Questions with Godhunter.

Yup, doubling up on Six Dumb Questions interviews. I’ve got a backlog of them at this point that I’ve been sending out to people and need to bring it up to speed. Trying to balance that and still not get too far behind on reviews, but I suck at balance, and I suck at keeping up with reviews anyway, so it’ll be what it is. I want to get the Godhunter one up either way, so yeah.

Whatever you’re up to over the next couple days, I hope it’s fun and that you enjoy and are safe and don’t get anymore messed up than you want to be, and that you please check out the forum and the radio stream as well.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Review & Track Premiere: Five Horse Johnson, Jake Leg Boogie

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

five-horse-johnson-jake-leg-boogie

[Click play above to stream ‘Hard Times’ from Five Horse Johnson’s Jake Leg Boogie, out June 30 on Small Stone Records.]

The world in which Jake Leg Boogie takes place is one of grit, sneak-around-the-back-door blues, cheap hooch and the kind of swagger that can only result from the imbibing thereof. Issued via Small Stone, it is the eighth album from Toledo, Ohio’s Five Horse Johnson and the first since 2013’s The Taking of Black Heart (review here), and though that world might feel like a pipedream compared to some of the grim realities of modern existence, there are few acts who can sell the idea as well as the five-piece. They reunite here with original drummer Tim Gahagan, and after 22 years, their love of heavy rock and blues continues to be the core aspect that defines their work. With the rough-edged vocals of Eric Oblander out front, the riffing of Brad Coffin (also vocals) and Phil Dürr defining the course and the righteous classic rockery of bassist Steve Smith in the rhythm section alongside Gahagan‘s swing and push, Five Horse Johnson are as they should be throughout the 39-minute 10-tracker: Kicking ass, taking names, and fostering no regrets in the process.

Through cuts like “Magic Man,” “Little Lonely” and “Daddy was a Gun,” they weave tales of sleaze and professional-grade troublemaking, starting off with the Southern-style ruckus of the hook of the opening title-track, which is among the shorter songs at 2:40 but gets down to business almost immediately with a bouncing riff, room for a harp solo from Oblander and what sounds like a bit of slide on the guitar. One way or another, Five Horse Johnson are up to no good, and that sounds just about right. “Magic Man” brings together ’70s rock and blues in a fluid push that continues to build momentum from the opener, setting its place in Springfield, Missouri, and no doubt referring to a real-life incident involving some “bad company” that’s probably best not inquired after.

For a lot of what Jake Leg Boogie will do stylistically, the ground is already set. Five Horse Johnson aren’t a band known for nuance so much as getting drunk and still blowing everyone else off the stage, but the stomp and attitude they bring to the material here as “Cryin’ Shame” rears its riff back and lurches it forward again aren’t to be understated, and neither is the quality of songcraft that lies beneath them. Like both “Jake Leg Boogie” and “Magic Man” before it, “Cryin’ Shame” complements its boozery with a righteously and unabashedly welcoming chorus, and even as the opening salvo shifts into the slower-strummed, more-subdued “Ropes and Chains” — acoustics and electrics seeming to run side by side — Five Horse Johnson refresh their audience with an engaging verse/hook interplay before turning just past three minutes into a more boogie-laden instrumental finish to provide transition into the uptempo side A finale, “Hard Times.”

Thus far, the band has worked quickly and efficiently in offering true-to-their-nature heavy blues rock, but “Hard Times” is a standout for its craftsmanship and for the classically motoring riff at its center. It is very, very American. Chevys, whiskey spelled with the extra ‘e’, consciously ogling a lady standing right next to her dude — it’s all right there. “Hard Times” pushes through its four minutes so sure of itself and its place that one almost has trouble believing the lyrics, which of course are about hard times, but as it ends the first half of Jake Leg Boogie, it also marks the shift into the ultra-effective midsection of the album, which continues its up-jumped shuffle with “Smoke Show” before moving into the longest inclusion here, “Little Lonely.”

five horse johnson

It’s worth nothing that “longest” in this context means 4:53. No matter where Five Horse Johnson head on Jake Leg Boogie, they don’t lose sight of the album’s core mission in delivering sans-frills heavy blues. After the scorching leads on “Smoke Show,” “Little Lonely” draws back on the pace somewhat but makes up for it with a sing-along chorus and sleek groove, setting up the faster return of “Overload,” which offers more primo harp from Oblander, and the semi-finale of “Daddy was a Gun” — thereby making the speaker of the song a “son of a gun,” if it’s not obvious. Perhaps the clearest blues preach on offer, “Daddy was a Gun” also speaks to the closeness between Five Horse Johnson and Clutch, with whom Oblander has guested on tour and whose drummer Jean-Paul Gaster sat in on the last Five Horse record.

Still, they retain the consistency of their approach as they move toward the end of the record, which comes with the turn of the appropriately-named “Last Song,” a surprisingly quiet and sentimental short bookend to “Jake Leg Boogie” — the opener and the closer are the only cuts under the three-minute mark — that departs from some of the swagger in favor of an airier atmosphere, still soaked by Southern humidity but with an on-the-porch blues noodling guitar line and a tambourine as its only percussion, it’s a definite change nonetheless, and after all the brash crotchal thrust they’ve brought to bear across Jake Leg Boogie, they end on a note of understatement, as though to reaffirm we-didn’t-mean-no-harm sensibility that’s behind a string of nine liquor store robberies represented by the preceding tracks. “Boys will be boys,” said the cops.

More than two decades on, Five Horse Johnson have little to prove, and Jake Leg Boogie is accordingly less about taking over the world than about the band doing what they’ve always done well in affecting a controlled but still boozy tumult. With the return of Gahagan on drums, and consistency in presentation from working with longtime producer Al Sutton at Rustbelt Studios and cover artist Mark Dancey, the band are very much in form, and the world they create for and through these songs is as inviting as it is raucous.

Five Horse Johnson on Thee Facebooks

Five Horse Johnson website

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

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The Cold Stares Premiere Title-Track of New Album Head Bent

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

THE COLD STARES

The Cold Stares make their label debut on Small Stone Records June 16 with their second album, Head Bent. It’s a title that evokes the notion of capitulation, and particularly in the context of Southern and blues tinges the Nashville-based two-piece bring to their brand of heavy rock, also of prayer. Vocalist/guitarist/etc.-ist Chris Tapp and drummer/percussionist Brian Mullins deliver a crisp 11 tracks in 37 minutes as they follow-up 2014’s A Cold Wet Night and a Howling Wind and a series of EPs and singles, and the clearheaded traditionalism of their taut songcraft becomes one of Head Bent‘s most defining aspects. It also rocks, and that certainly doesn’t hurt its cause either.

Along the circuitous but accessible path of songs like opener “John,” “Neighbor Blues,” “God and Country” and the later “Kings,” The Cold Stares offer swagger and groove in bulk, hooks a-plenty and subtle plays at religious themes that don’t so much make an attempt at overblown social comment as acknowledge something that always seems to be in the background of American culture to one degree or another. Even the Clutch-style starts and stops of “Price to Pay” and the righteous fuzz of the penultimate “One Way Outta Here” nod in that direction before subdued closer “Break My Fall” more directly takes on the issue. I won’t profess to know the band’s affiliation or lack thereof, but just going by what they bring to the table with Head Bent, it feels like a safe guess somebody made them go to services at some point in their life, whether they still do or not.

the cold stares head bentThat underlying theme isn’t at all a detriment to the album, and if anything, it works to tie the material together in a way that might otherwise find the songs standing apart, as moods vary between a sharp, uptempo motor-thruster like “Head Bent,” the subsequent, almost doomly roll of “Neighbor Blues” and the nestle-into-mid-paced-comfort of “Caught in the Weather” later on. The record has obviously been as meticulously arranged in terms of tracklisting as the songs have been constructed and recorded — but contrary to their moniker, The Cold Stares lack nothing for energy in their execution, and whatever kind of movement a given track might offer, there always seems to be a direction in mind as the band leads the way through Head Bent‘s tidy, efficient and unpretentious course.

And while we’re talking about themes, one would be remiss not to point out the sheer level of command Tapp and Mullins bring to the material here. “Stuck in a Rut” brings forth a hook worthy of fellow Tennesseans Dirty Streets, and the sweet side B ballad “Ball and Twine” toys with Southern rock convention before arriving at a late-cut blowout riff toward its end, having accomplished what would take many bands eight minutes in a span of three. Yet, as often would be the case with this kind of release, there’s no sense that The Cold Stares are looking to convince their audience of how brash they are, or how drunk, or how sexist, and among the various histories they play toward with Head Bent, one of the most engaging is a drive toward making the conventions of style their own via the quality of their craft and their ability to draw listeners in and hold attention while making that very, very difficult task sound practically effortless.

Small Stone has the aforementioned opener “John” streaming at its Bandcamp page, and I’ve included that here as well at the bottom of the post, but you can dig into the premiere of the title-track from Head Bent below, as well as a quote from Tapp about the song and the album, which comes courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Chris Tapp on “Head Bent”:

“Listening to a bit of Queen and always loved ‘Tie Your Mother Down,’ so started writing with that in mind. The music just sounds like bikes to me. I’ve always had hot rods and bikes and wanted to do a tribute song to all the good people in those communities. Big part of my cancer recovery was getting my mind right, and just riding, nothing like the focus and peace it brings. The bike and gear head community is so much about family and respect, and just love for the machine. Head Bent is that feeling of 80 mph wind twisting your neck down the highway.”

Releases June 16, 2017.

The Cold Stares is:
Chris Tapp: vocals, stringed instruments, keys
Brian Mullins: drums and percussion

The Cold Stares, “John”

The Cold Stares website

The Cold Stares on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

Small Stone on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

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Bison Machine Sign to Small Stone Records; New Album Due this Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bison-machine-Photo-by-Rory-Rummings

Bison Machine have inked a deal to release their second album on Small Stone Records. The Michigan-based four-piece will hit Rustbelt Studios this summer to record the follow-up to 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), and on June 3, they’ll host the Burnin’ Turf II fest with BoneHawk, Wild Savages, Dead Feathers and others at the Parisville Saloon in Ruth, MI. That event (more info here) is also presented by The Obelisk, and ticket presales are on now if you’re so inclined. It looks like a damn good time, what with all the motorcycle silliness and the rock and roll and whatnot.

Even if both entities weren’t Michigan natives, the pairing of Bison Machine and Small Stone strikes me as especially fitting given the band’s propensity for bringing a modern edge to classic boogie and the label being essentially the place where that method has been pioneered in the US over the last 15-plus years. Very much looking forward to the next Bison Machine album. Maybe a Fall release if they’re recording in the summer? I’ll take it whenever.

I wrote this press release, but you and I can just pretend it came through circled back from the PR wire. Our secret:

burnin turf ii

Bison Machine Sign to Small Stone; New Album Coming Soon; Burnin’ Turf II Fest to be Held June 3

Michigan heavy rockers Bison Machine have signed to American heavy rock institution Small Stone Records. The Hamtramck-based volume dealers have been on a this-time-it’s-personal quest to hand-deliver their riffs across the country since the 2015 release of their debut album, Hoarfrost, on Kozmik Artifactz, and with tours of the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, North, South and in between under their belt, they’re ready to take their game to the next level.

Bison Machine are currently preparing a new album for release later this year as their Small Stone debut. They will enter Rustbelt Studios (Five Horse Johnson, Halfway to Gone, Novadriver) later this Summer to record.

“It’s amazing!” enthuses Bison Machine bassist Anthony Franchina about the signing. “Small Stone has released some of my favorite records, from Sasquatch to Greenleaf to Lo-Pan, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Scott [Hamilton] on our next record, which is going to completely blow away everything we’ve done before. We’ll be hitting the road too, so keep an eye out!”

In addition to working on their next LP, the members of Bison Machine are involved in organizing the Burnin’ Turf festival, which is set for June 3 at the Parisville Saloon in Ruth, MI, with a lineup featuring Bison Machine, Wild Savages, Dead Feathers, BoneHawk, Red Stone Souls, Rip VanRipper, and Gear Jammer, as well as chopper games, raffle prizes, van and tank lettering by Zak Warmann of Detroit Sign Painters, camping, DJ Smoak (Loy Smoak Jr.) all the way from San Antonio, bonfires, and of course, plenty of beer. Ticket presales are available AT THIS LOCATION: http://burninturf2.brownpapertickets.com

“I can’t wait to hear what Bison Machine bring to this next record,” says Scott Hamilton of Small Stone Records. “They’ve been unstoppable on tour for the last couple years and I’m thrilled to welcome them into the Small Stone fold representing the next generation of great American heavy rock and roll.”

Bison Machine released their latest single, “Cloak and Bones,” last year. A video for the track is streaming now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mcL_NF1CO8

Stay tuned for more on Bison Machine, Burnin Turf II, and the new album in the months ahead.

Bison Machine is:
Casey O’Ryan – Guitar
Breck Crandell – Drums
Tom Stec – Vocals
Anthony Franchina – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/bisonmachinedetroit/
https://www.instagram.com/bisonmachine/
https://twitter.com/bisonmachine
bisonmachine.bandcamp.com
http://bisonmachine.bigcartel.com/
http://burninturf2.brownpapertickets.com
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords/
http://smallstone.com/

Bison Machine, “Cloak and Bones” official video

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Five Horse Johnson to Release Jake Leg Boogie June 30; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Some bands, you just know they’re out to make trouble. That’s been Five Horse Johnson‘s game all along. The Midwestern heavy blues rock outfit haven’t had a record out since 2013’s The Taking of Black Heart (review here), and though four years isn’t the longest stretch in the world, it’s certainly been long enough. Jake Leg Boogie is set to hit June 30 via Small Stone, and with preorders up and a new song streaming now, it’s bound to land with some fervent anticipation. I’m not gonna say I’ve heard it yet or anything — actually, I guess I’ll say that I have because I wrote the bio on which the press release below is based — but it smokes. Dudes are long-since established as ace songwriters but they still sound they just bang out tunes for the hell of it to play in dive bars while they get loaded. Call it the best of both worlds.

With the hope that I’ll have more to come before the album’s actually out, here’s the announcement off the PR wire and the stream of the title-track:

five-horse-johnson-jake-leg-boogie

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON: Toledo Blues Riffers To Release Jake Leg Boogie This June Via Small Stone; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

When FIVE HORSE JOHNSON formed back in 1995, referring to themselves as a “blues band,” a few brows might well have been furrowed. But this is a band that has always understood that the blues isn’t a formula – it’s a way of looking at the world. Their take on the “blooze” is as a dirty, sensual thing, enhanced with a healthy dose of humor.

Now some two decades and seven albums into their career – with eighth Jake Leg Boogie, set to drop late this June on Small Stone – FIVE HORSE JOHNSON has dug out a niche of their own, a genuine love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock leading them to likewise become one of the most loved and respected bands in the heavy rock underground. Always a freight train live, they’ve toured the US (with Clutch and Halfway To Gone) and Europe extensively (including the festival circuit), gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the Western World.

Jake Leg Boogie sees FIVE HORSE JOHNSON going back to its recording roots. Original drummer Tim Gahagan has rejoined, and the results are powerful. Brad Coffin’s guitar has never sounded heavier, his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander’s harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, and his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howlin’ counterpoint to Coffin’s gruff style. Steve Smith’s bass is a strong backbone, while Phil Dürr’s guitar complements that of Coffin, adding extra edge for good measure. From the slow, bluesy stomp of the title-track, to the dirge vibe of “Daddy Was A Gun” – a story of some weird goings-on in a strange parish – Jake Leg Boogie is pure old-school FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, recorded live, everyone in the same room, with as little overdubbing as possible. Accordingly, it feels lively and loud in the MC5-come-Hendrix vibe of “Hard Times,” the hard-rocking “Magic Man” (a tale of depravity set in the town of Springfield, Missouri), and the near-Texan boogie of “Smoke Show.”

Elaborates Oblander of the release, “Having original drummer Tim back in the band made writing Jake Leg Boogie so much damn fun. It feels like we’re back to Fat Black Pussycat form. This time around we channeled a little more Hendrix and Funkadelic as much as the usual bluesy Aerosmith insanity. All the songs are a bit more stripped down, and have a deep-pocket groove thanks in part to Tim locking it down. Brad had a lot to do with the overall creation of this record. He came up with the concept for the title, and sings more than half the songs this time around. We can’t wait to hit the road with thing and flex these new songs live!”

Jake Leg Boogie was recorded at Rustbelt Studios, with longtime producer Al Sutton (Big Chief, Novadriver, Halfway To Gone, Detroit Cobras) at the production helm, with a definitive nod to Dave Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons). Artwork was provided by noted graphic artist and FIVE HORSE JOHNSON -collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999’s Fat Black Pussycat.

Jake Leg Boogie will see release via Small Stone Recordings June 30th on CD, limited LP, and digital formats. For preorders, visit the Small Stone Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample the opening title track.

Jake Leg Boogie Track Listing:
1. Jake Leg Boogie
2. Magic Man
3. Cryin’ Shame
4. Ropes And Chains
5. Hard Times
6. Smoke Show
7. Little Lonely
8. Overload
9. Daddy Was A Gun
10. Last Song

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is not a band that makes apologies, and compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock ‘n’ roll for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. FIVE HORSE JOHNSON will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you and ask for another. Which you will.

Five Horse Johnson is:
Eric Oblander: vox & harp
Brad Coffin: vox & guitar
Steve Smith: bass
Phil Dürr: guitar
Tim Gahagan: drums & percussion

http://www.facebook.com/Five-Horse-Johnson-official-band-page
http://www.fivehorsejohnson.com
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Five Horse Johnson, Jake Leg Boogie (2017)

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