Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
By now, the origin of Lumbar has quickly become legend. In its complete recording form, Lumbar is instrumentalist/vocalist Aaron Edge, who’s joined by Mike Scheidt and Tad Doyle on vocals and vocals/recording, respectively. These are names of considerable consequence to have attached to a project. Between Doyle‘s pedigree in TAD and the awaited Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and Scheidt standing as one of his generation’s most innovative luminaries in doom (doominaries?) for his tenure over the last decade-plus in YOB, even before you get to rattle off the long list of projects in which Edge has taken part — Iamthethorn, Harkonen, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Himsa, Grievous, Maple Forum alums Roareth, countless others, and even more when you factor in those to whom he’s contributed art or design work — it’s hard not to be sold beforehand on Lumbar‘s Southern Lord debut, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome. On personnel alone, it’s a landmark, but the real crux of the album isn’t in some supergroup amalgam of ego. It’s in the intensely personal nature of the material. As Edge explained in an interview here, most of The First and Last Days of Unwelcomecame together during a period of immobility following his being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 40 days in bed. No stranger to self-recording, Edge programmed the drums, fired up a Verellen Skyhammer preamp pedal and transposed 24 minutes’ worth of visceral human experience into seven varied tracks that are at times hopeful, at times oppressive and defeated, but always essentially, deeply his own. After the parts were recorded, he brought them to Scheidt, who in turn suggested they track with Doyle at his Studio Witch Ape in Washington. The First and Last Days of Unwelcomeis impossible to divorce from this context, because it is the context, and knowing how it happened, the raw circumstance of how it was made, the freshness of the wounds driving it, brings a level of admiration to the project with which even its lineup can’t hope to compete.
I won’t feign impartiality. Between having helped Roareth put outtheir first and only record through this site’s in-house label — it was the first release, actually, and my conversations with Edge are good memories that were pivotal in making it happen — and having been in touch over the years with Scheidt as well as being a fan of his and Doyle‘s work, there’s just no way I can pretend to approach Lumbar from neutral ground. Generally, I look at that as a drawback, but in the case of The First and Last Days ofUnwelcome and how personal the nature of the album is, I think it actually helps. For years and years, Edge has bounced from one project to the next — even as I type this he’s looking for a band to sing for in Portland — but aside from being arguably the highest-profile, Lumbar might also be the most his own of everything he’s done. The expression in these songs, whether it’s the desperate cloying that begins centerpiece “Day Four” or the explosion of rage that emerges from it, is his. And the claustrophobia of “Day Five,” in which the world seems to be happening somewhere outside the echo chamber of the song itself, isn’t impartial. There’s no distance to Lumbar whatsoever, no moment where the artist responsible has stepped back and said, “I’m going to write about this experience.” That’s not what The First and Last Days of Unwelcomeis. Instead, each of these pieces is a transcription of a moment or a stretch of this time. Some, like “Day One,” “Day Two” (the tracklisting corresponding with the days) and “Day Six,” are transposed as relatively complete song ideas — the vocal and instrumental arrangements satisfy as finished products — but not everything is designed to be so neat. The drumless “Day Three” works around a frantic guitar-as-fiddle progression that seethes with tension waiting to boil over as a low rumble rises beneath, Edge shouting, “Why are you here?” from within the morass. He’s low in the mix, overwhelmed at first, and comes forward only as the song itself works to an end of echoing heartbeats and droning, and the aforementioned “Day Five” is a postcard from some unspoken level of hell that conveys its agonies and is gone. No verses or choruses; atmospheres and impressions. Front to back, it is a brief — again, just 24 minutes — but haunting listen.
Lumbar, “Day Six” from The First and Last Days of Unwelcome
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
There’s nothing comfortable about listening to Lumbar‘s debut and quite possibly only outing, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome. A 24-minute full-length comprised of seven tracks of huge tones and fraught wails, screams and psychedelic helplessness, there’s a consuming darkness in the audio that bleeds through the atmosphere in layers of drones, lumbering riffs and varied vocals from the three component members of the project — Aaron Edge (Roareth, Rote Hexe, Hauler, etc.), Tad Doyle (TAD) and Mike Scheidt (YOB, Vhöl) — all of whose personalities are evident throughout the monumental proceedings.
Aaron Edge has spent years bouncing from band to band, new project to new project, as well as working as a graphic designer for Southern Lord (which is releasing Lumbar) and others in a sort of tornado of creativity. In all my dealings with him — Roareth‘s first and only CD came out on The MapleForum – I’ve found him to be passionate, dedicated and exceedingly driven. The kind of person who’s already there by the time you’re ready to go. Relentless in his energy and will to create, he’s also a marathon runner, long-distance biker, vegan and straightedge. Someone for whom movement both conceptual and physical is the norm. Perhaps because of that it was all the more a shock early this year when he was diagnosed with MS.
Talking to him about it now, several months after the fact, Edge hardly remembers how he spent the 40 solid days in bed from the pain, but it was during this traumatic time that he wrote what would become Lumbar (and two other in-progress projects) once Scheidt and Doyle gotinvolved. The name Lumbar derives from the medical procedure “lumbar puncture,” also known as a spinal tap, wherein a needle is inserted between the vertebrae of a person’s back and spinal fluid is collected for diagnosis. Edge has had a few at this point, and one could easily look at The First and Last Days of Unwelcomeas the same kind of process.
Because where many might allow for some distance — that is, might wait until an experience is over and then write an album about it — in Lumbar, Edge thrusts listeners into the moment itself. The album’s seven tracks, broken down as “Day One,” “Day Two” and so on, are like a transcription of agony. There isn’t distance or the feeling of safety that distance might provide. With Scheidt and Doyle contributing to the vocal arrangements and recording, Edge tells a story through captured moments that’s haunting, tragic, beautiful, hopeful at times and incomplete in the way that life itself is incomplete and in the way that his story, his battle with this disease, is ongoing and continues to shape what has become his being.
In the interviews that follow, Edge discusses how Lumbar came together, working with Scheidt and recording with Doyle, the relationships he’s had with the two over the years, doing art for YOB and playing drums for a time in Doyle‘s band, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, as well as sharing the first listen to the finished product of The First and Last Days of Unwelcome with family and friends in a moment of communal support, while Scheidt – checking in from Idaho on a solo tour alongside Uzala – expands on his friendship with Edge, how he came to be involved in Lumbar and his feelings on how the album came out.
Because I spoke to Edge first, then Scheidt, that’s how I’ve chosen to present the Q&As. If you haven’t yet, check out “Day Six,” one of the album’s most exceedingly righteous stretches, on the player above.
The First and Last Days of Unwelcome will be released on LP and digital through Southern Lord on Nov. 26, with CD to follow from the band and a cassette through Holy Mountain.
As always, thanks for reading. Interviews are after the jump.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
So you’re telling me that there’s a band walking around that has Mike Scheidt from YOB, Tad frickin’ Doyle from TAD/Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and Roareth alum Aaron Edge playing as a trio? Right now? On this planet? Well I dare say then that this, indeed, is where it’s at.
Southern Lord Recordings is the lucky outlet who gets to issue Lumbar‘s debut LP, The Firstand Last Days of Unwelcome, in November. Pretty sure Tad recorded, and Brad Boatright of Audiosiege mastered the record. It’s done. It’s coming. This is a real thing. You should be excited about it.
To trace the connections — which I’m sure go back much farther than this — Edge played for a time with Doyle in Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, and also designed the YOB logo and did the artwork for 2009′s we’re-back-and-we’re-pissed album, The Great Cessation(review here). Doyle also recorded Scheidt‘s solo album, Stay Awake. There’s probably much more to it than that, but what it all rounds out to is a Pacific Northwest stew of churning psychedelic worship and a full-length that plays to the strengths of all three involved. You know you’re getting something heavy and you’re right.
Expect more to come in the days that follow, but for now, check out the album art and the minimal announcement and then sweat it out until we can get some audio from this thing.
Lumbar — The First and Last Days of Unwelcome
A crushing sonic endeavor featuring: Mike Scheidt + Tad Doyle + Aaron Edge
We (Tad, Mike and Aaron) are proud to announce that our new recording, “The First & Last Days of Unwelcome”, shall be released this November on Southern Lord Recordings. More news when more news is known. Thanx for the support and interest thus far.
Update: Says Scheidt of the project:
“Aaron Edge wrote all of the music and lyrics, I helped with arranging the vocals and also contributed vocals, Tad did vocals and mixed the album. For the most part, this beast is all Aaron Edge and it’s about his struggle with MS. Heavy shit indeed.”
Posted in audiObelisk on August 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
As a precursor to the forthcoming full-length, Forever Becoming, which is due out Oct. 15, Chicago instrumentalists Pelican will release a 7″ single through The Mylene Sheath that’s set to feature an alternate recording of the song “Deny the Absolute.” On the album, the rush you hear at the start of “Deny the Absolute” signals the moment of switch between the opening ambience of “Terminal” and some of Pelican‘s most forward-driving riffage, and though it hardly showcases the depth of mood that Forever Becoming seems to have at its disposal — Pelican having long since come of age in joy as much as struggle, musically — sometimes it’s best to let a badass riff do the talking for you. Hardly the first time Pelican are doing that.
Check out “Deny the Absolute” on the player below, hoisted from Pelican‘s Soundcloud, and give it a listen in kind with the previously streamed “Immutable Dusk” for even more landmark-type riffing. The Mylene Sheath will issue the Deny the Absolute7″ on Aug. 20, and the pre-order link is included with Pelican‘s tour dates here.
Taken from the forthcoming 7″ on The Mylene Sheath. Available August 20th 2013.
PELICAN US TOUR DATES Oct 17 – Brooklyn, NY – Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase* Oct 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase* Oct 19 – Allston, MA – Great Scott * Nov 1 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s ^ Nov 2 – Washington, DC – DC9 ^ Nov 3 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church ^ Nov 4 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 ^ Nov 5 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade ^ Nov 6 – Birmingham, AL – Zydeco ^ Nov 7 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon ^ Nov 8, 9, & 10 – Austin TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest Nov 13 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge * w/ King’s Destroy ^ w/ Coliseum
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
They had the Ataraxia/Taraxis EP last year (review here), but Forever Becoming will be Pelican‘s first full-length since 2009′s What We all Come to Need. That album (review here) was the last to feature guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, and though the title hints at a sense of transition, the track “Immutable Dusk,” which the band premiered today, finds their signature blend of post-rock ambience and metallic crunch well intact. If you listen, make sure you listen the whole way through. The payoff at the end is stellar.
Pelican kick off a European tour tomorrow at Stoned from the Underground in Germany and have announced dates on the East Coast with Kings Destroy and others. Behold:
PELICAN ANNOUNCE FIRST NEW ALBUM IN FOUR YEARS
FOREVER BECOMING DUE THIS OCTOBER, FOLLOWED BY US TOUR WITH COLISEUM, KINGS DESTROY, AND OTHERS
Pelican, the Chicago-based quartet whose instrumental excursions to the confluence of caustic heaviness and cathartic melody pioneered a subgenre, have announced their first full album in four years, Forever Becoming, due October 15 on forward-thinking metal imprint Southern Lord. Recorded at Electrical Audio with Chris Common (who engineered the group’s last album as well as albums by Chelsea Wolfe and These Arms Are Snakes), Forever Becoming is an immense, speaker-rattling meditation on the acceptance of mortality and its place in the eternal cycle. Composed of eight songs (full tracklist below), the album boasts a sonic palette that veers from pummeling metal, to contemplative ambience, to melodic catharsis all with landmark grace.
Following a hiatus that saw the departure of founding guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec and the arrival of new second guitarist Dallas Thomas (also of The Swan King), the forthcoming album is the work of a wholly revitalized unit, sounding more focused and assured than ever. The current lineup’s undeniable chemistry was forged in front of crowds at festival appearances, including Bonnaroo, Roadburn, and Maryland Death Fest, as well as a handful of headlining club shows. Pelican return to the road in support of the new album this Fall with reigning post-hardcore stalwarts Coliseum. The tour focuses on the East Coast (the band’s first tour of the area since 2009), in addition to a coveted slot at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest and a run of previously announced European dates that kick off this week (all dates below).
US TOUR DATES Oct 17 – Brooklyn, NY – Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase* Oct 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Invisible Oranges CMJ Showcase* Oct 19 – Allston, MA – Great Scott * Nov 1 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s ^ Nov 2 – Washington, DC – DC9 ^ Nov 3 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church ^ Nov 4 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 ^ Nov 5 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade ^ Nov 6 – Birmingham, AL – Zydeco ^ Nov 7 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon ^ Nov 8, 9, & 10 – Austin TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest Nov 13 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge * w/ King’s Destroy ^ w/ Coliseum
FORVER BECOMING TRACKLIST 1. Terminal 2. Deny the Absolute 3. The Tundra 4. Immutable Dusk 5. Threnody 6. The Cliff 7. Vestiges 8. Perpetual Dawn
PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED EUROPEAN TOUR DATES July 11 DE – Erfurt – Stoned From The Underground July 12 DE – Berlin – Festival Kreuzberg July 13 FIN – Joensuu – Ilosaarirock July 15 UK – Brighton, The Haunt July 16 UK – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (w/ JK Flesh) July 17 UK – London, The Garage (w/ JK Flesh) July 18 NL – Tilburg, 013 (w/Torche) July 19 BE – Dour, Dour Festival (w/Torche, Converge) July 20 DE – Siegen, Vortex Club July 22 ITA – Milan, Segrate July 23 ITA – Roma, Traffic Live July 24 AT – Innsbruck, PMK July 25 AT – Vienna, Arena (w/ Mouth Of The Architect) July 26 RU – Moscow, Plan B (w/ Mouth Of The Architect) July 27 RU – St Petersburg, Arktika (w/Mouth Of The Architect)
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I assume the drummer position in Weedeater will once again be filled by Travis Owen (Whores), who took on the role for the trio’s short tour around Maryland Deathfest a couple weeks ago replacing founding member Keith “Keko” Kirkum, as well of course as for the fest itself, though I guess you never know. Maybe they found a permanent replacement. Maybe it’s him. One way to find out would be to show up at the gig, I suppose.
So it goes. As volatile as their on-stage persona can be, Weedeater had a better run with their original lineup than most. Joining them throughout the summer dates below are ASG, whose new record Blood Drive has apparently been met with a welcome reception, and Lo-Pan, who are currently on the road with Torche.
Here’s the latest from the PR wire:
WEEDEATER AND ASG ANNOUNCE U.S. TOUR
ASG’S BLOOD DRIVE MARKS N.C. BAND’S HIGHEST DEBUT
Weedeater and ASG have announced a four-week tour across the United States, kicking off on June 27 in Savannah, Ga. at The Jinx.
The tour comes as ASG celebrate their highest charting and most critically acclaimed album to date, the breakthrough release Blood Drive. The twelve-song collection landed at #15 on Billboard’s Heat Seeker chart and also had impressive debuts on the trade magazine’s Hard Music (#32) and Indie (#67) charts. The album is streaming via Bandcamp at asgnation.bandcamp.com.
Weedeater & ASG presented by Brooklyn Vegan and Invisible Oranges June 27 Savannah, GA The Jinx June 28 Atlanta, GA The Earl June 30 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks July 1 Houston, TX Fitzgeralds July 2 San Antonio, TX Korova July 3 Austin, TX Red 7 July 4 Denton, TX Rubber Gloves (Free Show) July 5 Norman, OK The Opolis July 7 Tempe, AZ Pub Rock July 9 San Diego, CA Soda Bar July 10 Los Angeles, CA The Whiskey July 11 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst July 12 Oakland, CA Oakland Opera House July 13 Portland, OR Ash St. Saloon July 14 Seattle, WA The Highline
ASG only July 16 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge July 17 Lawrence, KS The Replay Lounge July 18 Oklahoma City, OK The Conservatory July 19 Nashville, TN Springwater July 20 Asheville, NC Broadway
Weedeater July 16 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl July 18 Calgary, AB The Palamino July 20 Edmonton, AB The Pawn Shop July 23 Winnipeg, MB Windsor Hotel July 24 Fargo, NC The Aquarium July 25 Great Falls, MT Machinery Row July 27 Missoula, MT Farmageddon Festival July 30 Denver, CO Marquis Theater
Weedeater & Lo Pan August 1 Chicago, IL Ultra Lounge August 3 Nashville, TN Exit/In August 4 Johnson City, TN Hideaway August 6 Asheville, NC Broadways August 7 Charlotte, NC Chop Shop August 8 Richmond, VA Strange Matter August 9 Raleigh, NC The Maywood August 10 Wilmington, NC Soapbox
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
San Francisco duo Black Cobra‘s forever tour continues. The two-piece are still out in support of 2011′s Invernal, traveling overseas once more to join forces with Bison B.C. — who seem to have finished their contract with Metal Blade after three albums — and Norwegian punk noisemakers Arabrot. They’ll start in France tomorrow, and Black Cobra will wrap the tour there as well, their final date of the Euro/UK trek being as part of the Hellfest in Clisson, where they’ll share a stage called “The Valley” (wonder where you got that idea, Hellfest) with Neurosis, Sleep and BlackPyramid,among others.
Wild times as always, but that seems to be Black Cobra‘s specialty. Here’s the latest from the PR wire:
BLACK COBRA EU/UK TOUR WITH BISON BC AND ARABROT KICKS OFF THIS WEEK
San Francisco-based sludge-mangling duo BLACK COBRA will uncoil across the UK/EU taking part in a summer tour with Bison BC and Arabrot, the shows kick off this week in Paris and culminate in the massive annual three day Hellfest extravaganza in Clisson, France. Running from June 21st through 23rd, this year’s festival includes bands as massive as Kiss, ZZ Top, Danzig and Twisted Sister, with Black Cobra playing on the first day in “The Valley” joining Neurosis, Sleep, High On Fire, Pallbearer, labelmates Black Breath and Eagle Twin and more on one massive bill.
Here are the full dates:
31/05/2013 Glazart, Paris – France 01/06/2013 Saint Des Seins, Toulouse – France 02/06/2013 TBA – France 03/06/2013 Borderline, London 04/06/2013 TBA – UK 05/06/2013 Ivory Blacks, Glasgow 06/06/2013 Exchange, Bristol 07/06/2013 Patronaat, Haarlem – Netherlands 08/06/2013 Magasin 4, Brussels – Belgium 09/06/2013 Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin – Germany 10/06/2013 Bastard Club, Osnabruck – Germany 11/06/2013 Chemiefabrik, Dresden – Germany 12/06/2013 Juha West, Stuttgart – Germany 13/06/2013 L’Usine, Geneva – Switzerland 14/06/2013 Les Caves du Manoir, Martignv – Switzerland 15/06/2013 Freakout Club, Bologna – Italy 16/06/2013 Lo-Fi Club, Milano – Italy 17/06/2013 Arena, Vienna – Austria 18/06/2013 Feierwerk, Munchen – Germany 19/06/2013 Schalchthof, Wiesbaden – Germany 20/06/2013 L’Entrepot, Arlon – Belgium 21/06/2013 Hellfest, Clisson – France
Released in October 2011 via Southern Lord, BLACK COBRA‘s fourth LPInvernalwas one of the most critically acclaimed releases to emerge from the metal/sludge scene that year. Recorded at Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou’s God City Studio and mastered by John Golden (Neurosis, Melvins, Weedeater), the album propelled the most diversified and matured songwriting from the duo to date forward with incredibly thunderous production, the theme to the entire record based on a post-apocalyptic trek to a nuclear infested and mutated Antarctica, inspired in part by the treks of English researcher Ernest Shackleton. The band perpetually toured through the year surpassing their 600th show mark in 2012 since the release of their debut LP Bestial in 2006.
Whatever your political affiliation, I think it’s safe to say at the very least that the middle of the last decade was an interesting time to be an American. Still reeling from post-9/11 paranoia about terrorism, the country having split into vehement factions either for or against going to war in Iraq (for all the good it did, either the war or the protests leading up to it), George W. Bush‘s reelection in 2004 — things seemed to be tripping over themselves to fall apart. But you know, you had to go buy an iPod or the terrorists won.
Through all this mass psychosis and jingoistic fuckery, The Hidden Hand released their second album in 2004′s Mother Teacher Destroyer. In my opinion, it’s the strongest of the Wino-led trio’s three albums — striking a balance between 2003′s punkish Divine Propaganda and 2007′s more progressive The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote — but more to the point, it’s a solid and concise chronicle of the sentiments in both the public conscious and unconscious. Together with bassist Bruce Falkinburg and drummer Dave Hennessy, Wino made some of the most explicit social commentary of his career.
To wit, the third song on the album, “Desensitized.” At six and a half minutes, it was the longest track on Mother Teacher Destroyer, and while other songs delved into Zeppelin-style epic themes and tales of battles lost and won, “Desensitized” and “Travesty as Usual” stood in the tradition of protest songs, each driving riff serving as another mark of resistance. The lyrics echoed this sentiment as well:
Sad times are here today all around Strange vibes here to stay to bring us down For the people they don’t care Pushing all into despair
No, it can’t be true It couldn’t happen to you Hey, it must be clear They’ll try to keep us in fear
Disinformation is the tool Media controlled, divide and rule Anxious minds their questions lead To the structure of deceit
No, it won’t be true Don’t let it happen to you Hey, it must be clear They’ll never keep us in fear
Note that the last chorus ends in a hopeful tone, but there’s something too in the verses that seems to know the size of the struggle being engaged. Wino‘s always had a socially conscious side to his songwriting, but that was never quite so prevalent as in The Hidden Hand, and they were nothing if not timely in their arrival.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
You’d have to figure that in order to be Earth‘s longest tour since the band got together in 1990, it would have something like 137 dates scheduled. Nope, 25. Still a solid month on the road though, so kudos to the band for pushing themselves 22 years later to go farther and continue exploring new ground, sonic and geographic.
Aligned with the likes of Eagle Twin, Stebmo and The Body along the way, it’s kind of like a tour of Earth playing with acts influenced by Earth. Can’t imagine that’s anything new for them at this point.
They’re still out supporting Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II(review here), and the shows start this week, so keep an eye out:
EARTH Prepare For American Fall Tour
Following bursts of worldwide touring in support of their two-part Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light album series, Seattle’s EARTH will embark on their newest tour this week, with a nearly month of live performances confirmed across America.
The most extensive American tour EARTH have planned since their 1990 inception, the Seattle purveyors of the slow-motion riff will traverse the country and back on a twenty-five date run, kicking off this Wednesday, October 24th in Portland, Oregon. Along the way the quartet will take part in the massive annual Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas alongside literally dozens of international artists of all genres. This will be the first U.S. tour since they hit the road in support of Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I in 2011, the band’s set for the tour confirmed to contain a majority of the material from Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II.
While the band is touring in support of the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light albums, the EARTH lineup for this voyage will be the touring lineup from the band’s lauded 2008 LP The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, comprised of Steve Moore on keys and trombone, Don McGreevy on bass, Adrienne Davies on drums and founder Dylan Carlson on guitar. Support will be provided by Stebmo (featuring members of Earth and more) as well as Southern Lord labelmates Eagle Twin and Fontanelle throughout the journey.
EARTH Fall Tour: 10/24/2012 Rotture – Portland, OR w/ Fontanelle, Stebmo 10/26/2012 Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock – Los Angeles, CA w/ Fontanelle, Stebmo 10/28/2012 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA w/ Fontanelle, Stebmo 10/29/2012 Soda Bar – San Diego, CA w/ Stebmo 10/31/2012 Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AZ w/ Balmorehea, Stebmo 11/02/2012 Auditorium Shores – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Festival 11/03/2012 Bryan Street Tavern – Dallas, TX w/ Stebmo 11/04/2012 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA w/ Stebmo 11/06/2012 Will’s Pub – Orlando, FL w/ Stebmo 11/07/2012 The Earl – Atlanta, GA w/ Daughn Gibson, Stebmo 11/08/2012 Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC w/ Stebmo 11/09/2012 Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/10/2012 Littlefield – Brooklyn, NY w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/11/2012 TT the Bears – Cambridge, MA w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/12/2012 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/13/2012 Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/14/2012 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/15/2012 Taft Ballroom – Cincinnati, OH w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/16/2012 Township – Chicago, IL w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/17/2012 Township – Chicago, IL w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/18/2012 Triple Rock Social Club – Minneapolis, MN w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/19/2012 The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO w/ Eagle Twin, Stebmo 11/21/2012 Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO w/ Stebmo 11/24/2012 The Shakedown – Bellhingham, WA w/ The Body, Low Hums 11/25/2012 The Crocodile – Seattle, WA w/ The Body, Stebmo
We’re more than halfway through 2012, and we’ve already seen great releases from the likes of Orange Goblin, Pallbearer, Conan, C.O.C., Saint Vitus and many others, but there’s still a long way to go. The forecast for the next five months? Busy.
In my eternal and inevitably doomed quest to keep up, I’ve compiled a list of 13 still-to-come releases not to miss before the year ends. Some of this information is confirmed — as confirmed as these things ever are, anyway — either by label or band announcements, and some of it is a little bit vaguer in terms of the actual dates, but all this stuff is slated to be out before 2013 hits. That was basically my only criteria for inclusion.
And of course before I start the list, you should know two things: The ordering is dubious, since it’s not like I can judge the quality of an album before I’ve heard it, just my anticipation, and that this is barely the beginning of everything that will be released before the end of 2012. The tip of the fastly-melting iceberg, as it were. If past is prologue, there’s a ton of shit I don’t even know about that (hopefully) you’ll clue me into in the comments.
Nonetheless, let’s have some fun:
1. Colour Haze, She Said(Sept./Oct.)
I know, I know, this one’s been a really, really long time coming. Like two years. Like so long that Colour Haze had to go back and remake the album because of some terrible technical thing that I don’t even know what happened but it doesn’t matter anymore. Notice came down yesterday from guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek that the recording is done and the long-awaited She Saidis on the way to be pressed on vinyl and CD. Got my fingers crossed for no more snags.
2. Enslaved, RIITIIR (Sept. 28)
The progressive Norwegian black metallers have put out 10 albums before it, and would you believe RIITIIRis the first Enslaved album that’s a palindrome? Kind of cheating to include it on this list, because I’ve heard it, but I’ve been through the record 10-plus times and I still feel like I just barely have a grasp on where they’re headed with it, so I think it’ll be really interesting to see what kind of response it gets upon release. Herbrand Larsen kills it all over these songs though, I will say that.
3. Mos Generator, Nomads(Oct. 23)
Hard for me not to be stoked on the prospect of the first new Mos Generator album since 2007, especially looking at that cover, which RippleMusic unveiled on Tuesday when it announced the Oct. 23 release date. It’s pretty grim looking, and even though Mos once put out a record called The Late Great Planet Earth, I’ve never thought of them as being particularly dark or doomed. I look forward to hearing what Tony Reed (Stone Axe, HeavyPink) has up his sleeve for this collection, and if he’s looking to slow down and doom out a bit here, that’s cool too. I’ll take it either way.
4. Ufomammut, Oro – Opus Alter(Sept.)
No, that’s not the cover of Oro – Opus Alter, the second half of Italian space doom grand masters Ufomammut‘s Oro collection — the first being Opus Primum (review here), which served as their Neurot Recordings debut earlier this year. That cover hasn’t been released yet, so I grabbed a promo pic to stand in. I’m really looking forward to this album, though I hope they don’t go the Earth, Angels of Darkness Demons of Lightroute and wind up with two records that, while really good, essentially serve the same purpose. I’ve got my hopes high they can outdo themselves once again.
5. Witchcraft, Legend(Sept. 21)
I guess after their success with Graveyard, Nuclear Blast decided to binge a bit on ’70s loyalist doom, signing Witchcraft and even more recently, Orchid. Can’t fault them that. It’s been half a decade since Witchcraft released The Alchemist and in their absence, doom has caught on in a big way to their methods. With a new lineup around him, will Magnus Pelander continue his divergence into classic progressive rock, or return to the Pentagram-style roots of Witchcraft‘s earliest work? Should be exciting to find out.
6. Wo Fat, The Black Code(Nov.)
After having the chance to hear some rough mixes of Texas fuzzers Wo Fat‘s Small Stone debut, The Black Code, I’m all the more stoked to encounter the finished product, and glad to see the band join the ranks of Lo-Pan, Freedom Hawk and Gozu in heralding the next wave of American fuzz. Wo Fat‘s 2011 third outing, Noche del Chupacabra (review here), greatly expanded the jammed feel in their approach, and I get the sense they’re just beginning to find where they want to end up within that balance.
7. Blood of the Sun, Burning on the Wings of Desire(Late 2012)
As if the glittering logo and booby-lady cover art weren’t enough to grab attention, Blood of the Sun‘s first album for Listenable Records (fourth overall) is sure to garner some extra notice because the band is led by drummer/vocalist Henry Vasquez, better known over the past couple years as the basher for Saint Vitus. Whatever pedigree the band has assumed through that, though, their modern take on classic ’70s heavy has a charm all its own and I can’t wait to hear how Burning on the Wings of Desire pushes that forward. Or backward. Whatever. Rock and roll.
8. Swans, The Seer(Aug. 28)
This one came in the mail last week and I’ve had the chance to make my way through it only once. It’s two discs — and not by a little — and as was the case with Swans‘ 2010 comebacker, My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky(review here), the far less cumbersomely titled The Seeris loaded with guest contributions. Even Jarboe shows up this time around, doing that breathy panting thing she does. Unnerving and challenging as ever, Swans continue to be a litmus for how far experimentalism can go. 3o years on, that’s pretty impressive in itself.
9. Swallow the Sun, Emerald Forest and the Blackbird(Sept. 4)
Apparently the Finnish melo-doom collective’s fifth album, Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, came out earlier this year in Europe, but it’s finally getting an American release in September, and as I’ve always dug the band’s blend of death metal and mournful melodicism, I thought I’d include it here. Like Swans, I’ve heard the Swallow the Sun once through, and it seems to play up more of the quiet, weepy side of their sound, but I look forward to getting to know it better over the coming months.
10. My Sleeping Karma, Soma (Oct. 9)
Just signed to Napalm Records and tapped to open for labelmates Monster Magnet as they tour Europe performing Spine of Godin its entirety this fall, the German four-piece are set to follow-up 2010′s Tri(review here) with Soma. Details were sketchy, of course, until about five minutes after this post initially went up, then the worldwide release dates, cover art and tracklist were revealed, so I updated. Find all that info on the forum.
11.Eagle Twin, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale(Aug. 28)
Way back in 2009 when I interviewed Eagle Twin guitarist/vocalist Gentry Densley about the band’s Southern Lord debut, he said the band’s next outing would relate to snakes, and if the cover is anything to go by, that seems to have come to fruition on The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale, which is set to release at the end of next month. As the first album was kind of a mash of influences turned into cohesive and contemplative heavy drone, I can’t help but wonder what’s in store this time around.
12. Hooded Menace, Effigies of Evil(Sept. 11)
You know how sometimes you listen to a band and that band turns you on in their liner notes to a ton of other cool bands? I had that experience with Finnish extreme doomers Hooded Menace‘s 2010 second album, Never Cross the Dead (review here), except instead of bands it was hotties of ’70s horror cinema. Needless to say, I anxiously await the arrival of their third record and Relapse debut, Effigies of Evil. Someone needs to start a label and call it Hammer Productions just to sign this band.
13. Yawning Man, New Album (Soon)
Make no mistake. The prospect of a new Yawning Man album would arrive much higher on this list if I was more convinced it was going to come together in time for a 2012 release. As it is, Scrit on the forum has had a steady stream of updates since May about the record — the latest news being that it’s going to be a double album — and Scrit‘s in the know, so I’ll take his word. One thing we do know for sure is that the band in the picture above is not the current Yawning Man lineup. Alfredo Hernandez and Mario Lalli out, Greg Saenz and Billy Cordell in. Bummer about the tumult, but as long as it’s Gary Arce‘s ethereal guitar noodling, I’m hooked one way or another.
Since we closed with rampant speculation, let me not forget that somewhere out there is the looming specter of a new Neurosis album, which the sooner it gets here, the better. Perhaps also a new Clutch full-length, though I doubt that’ll materialize before 2013. And that’s a different list entirely.
Thanks for reading. Anything I forgot or anything you’d like to add to the list, leave a comment.
Posted in Features on June 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last weekend, reinvigorated New York doomers Winter played the Maryland Deathfest. This weekend, they’re at Chaos in Tejas in Austin. Over the course of the last year-plus, they’ve taken part in the Southern Lord-driven Power of the Riff festival and they played the main stage at SunnO)))‘s curated day at Roadburn 2011. They’ve come to be seen as a pivotal act within extreme doom — forbears of the likes of Grief and among the first American bands to incorporate the influence of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost into metal that was as heavy in tempo as it was in tone. Their influence has spread through more than one generation of acts.
Tell that to Stephen Flam, though, and you might get a laughing response like, “Eh, this generation’ll be done with Winter in probably about two years.” The guitarist and cowriter of Winter‘s only album to date, 1990′s Into Darkness (reissued by Southern Lord in 2011), is humble as regards the band’s seminal position, and — to hear him tell it — largely unaware of the contemporary genre he helped form. This interview was conducted the week of Maryland Deathfest (just a couple days after I ran into him at the Pallbearer and Loss show in Brooklyn, which also comes up in conversation), and Flam‘s tone was more curious than accomplished. At several points, he asked me, “Really?” when I spoke of the impact Winter had following their breakup. I suppose it’s debatable as to the reach of underground death-doom, but within that realm, Winter was doing what they were doing on the East Coast at a time when just about nobody had caught on yet. Naturally, that sounds great in hindsight, but at the time, nothing supports a doomly atmosphere like being almost entirely misunderstood.
As such, Flam tells stories of being flipped off by headbangers looking to mosh and finding a more open-minded base of operations in New York’s early ’90s crust and underground punk scene. His voice picks up talking about playing basements and Squat or Rot benefits for Rock Against Racism alongside bands like Nausea and Apostate. Compare that to his stories of opening for Death or Sepultura out on Long Island, and there’s little question where Winter‘s fonder memories reside. He’s not bitter about it, by any means — there was more laughter here than I noted in the transcription — but the sense of surprise he conveyed in talking about the reception Winter has had since their resurgence began was unquestionably genuine. 20 years ago, no one got it. Now they do. That’s a big change when you go from one idea of what your band was to the other.
But if Winter are at home in anything, it’s extremes. Flam, bassist/vocalist John Alman and drummer Jimmy Jackson (who played live previously and has since replaced Joe Goncalves full-time) have begun to write new material and Flam is optimistic they’ll be able to capture and expand on the same vibe as Into Darkness without repeating themselves. The guitarist spoke at some length on both the future and the past of the band. Seriously, you might wind up taking this one on in pieces, but it’s definitely recommended reading, and as Winter do interviews about as often as they put out records, I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring you the conversation in its entirety. We were on the phone for about 50 minutes, and Flam being a native New Yorker, that translated to just over 7,100 words.
You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump, and please enjoy. Thanks to Steve Murphy for his help in coordinating.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
After hearing “Heartbreaker” recently at the Saint Vitus Bar, I broke out Goatsnake‘s first album, I, this past weekend, and it was one of those “holy shit” moments, as in, “holy shit, why don’t I listen to this record more?” I was on a pretty sizable Goatsnake kick for a while there, but like all good kicks, they kind of fell from the consciousness forefront and ‘G’ is a hard space to reach on the shelf and blah blah blah.
The point is that it’s a mistake I’m working to correct. If you need convincing to break some Goatsnake out today, here are five solid reasons you should do so:
1. Because it’s sunny or rainy or whatever.
Unlike most bands, Goatsnake can go with any kind of climactic condition. This is because they play both kinds of music: Stoner and doom.
Sunny day? You’ve got “Slippin’ the Stealth” from the first record ready to go. Rainy as shit? Their version of Sabbath‘s “Who are You?” is fittingly miserable. A band for all days, they were.
2. Because unless you’re one of 30 people, you haven’t seen this video.
Someone took it upon themselves to make an animation for the song “Raw Curtains” from 2000′s Dog Days EP. Check it out:
3. Because of Greg Anderson’s guitar tone.
This one kind of goes without saying, but seriously, when was the last time you heard a Sunn amp do that? Okay, it probably hasn’t been so long at this point, but when was the last time you heard a Sunn amp do that in 1999? They were truly ahead of their time.
4. Because Pete Stahl is a weirdo.
See also: earthlings? You could write a masters thesis on the layering and the melodies thrown into “IV” from the first record — and don’t think I haven’t wanted to — but whatever level you want to approach it on, the way Stahl rides that groove is unreal. He’s basically riff-surfing. Not to mention Guy Pinhas‘ bass line. Seriously, if you’re not listening to Goatsnake yet, try and resist this:
5. Because if we all do it, maybe they’ll tour.
I’m not going to say I want a new Goatsnake record, because I think all these dudes, including Stuart Dahlquist (Asva) who played bass on the second record, Flower of Disease, and drummer Greg Rogers (also, like Pinhas, of The Obsessed) have other stuff going on, but a couple East Coast shows would be much appreciated, like one in my back yard with the bug zapper going. Let’s try and make that happen.
Posted in Reviews on April 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
If the question is, “What are Pelican doing on their new four-song Ataraxia/Taraxis EP?” then the answer is, “Whatever the hell they feel like.” The Chicago instrumental foursome, now marking more than a decade of existence, have successfully interwoven post-rock atmospherics into doomed guitar crunch, and over the course of their career, helped set the stage for what we now think of as post-metal while never quite conforming wholly to the aspects of that or any other genre. Ataraxia/Taraxis finds its release through Southern Lord, and like the band’s label-debut full-length, What We all Come to Need (review here), did in 2009, the latest studio outing seems to be bent on keeping the band’s urban escapist atmospheres alive while measuring them against noisy tonal heft. It’s interesting that the title, which comes from the opening and closing tracks, respectively, would refer to first a state in which anxiety is absent, and then to the opposite – one in which it’s very much present. One might expect that to coincide sonically, the four tracks of Ataraxia/Taraxis – those being “Ataraxia,” “Lathe Biosas,” “Parasite Colony” and “Taraxis” – would also get progressively heavier or more frantic, as we move from one state to the next, but that doesn’t seem to really be the case. Although there’s no shortage of heaviness, particularly as the build of the five-minute closer comes to its head, Pelican’s flow isn’t so cut and dry as that, and listening, that’s probably to the benefit of the individual pieces themselves, as each has its own stylistic and structural agenda apart from the service it does to the 18-minute EP as a whole, beginning with the gradual arrival of “Ataraxia” and the intertwining of acoustic and electric guitars and other ambience that makes up its progression.
The inclusion of acoustics itself is notable within Pelican’s back catalog, though it’s not the first time they’ve come up, but they do seem to be more of a focal point on Ataraxia/Taraxis than they’ve ever been, and it’s enough to make me wonder if the band came into this recording thinking they were doing their version of the proverbial “unplugged” release. If that’s so, they’re still very much plugged in, whether it’s the sweet electric notes and underlying noise rumble of “Ataraxia” or the distorted riffy chug of “Lathe Biosas,” which answers the relative stillness of the preceding track with an unabashed heavy groove made all the more potent by drummer Larry Herweg’s changes between straightforward and half-time measures. The arrival of “Lathe Biosas” acts as what “Ataraxia” has been building toward – it’s the payoff, in other words – but if “Ataraxia” is an intro, it’s certainly one with a progression of its own. In any case, the guitars of Laurent Schroeder-Lebec and Trevor de Brauw carefully shift from the opening riff of “Lathe Biosas” into lead and rhythmic positions before meeting again in what serves as a sort of music-only chorus, until about halfway in, a break offers airy post-rock noodling skillfully kept grounded by bassist Bryan Herweg’s progressive maintenance of the build. The “chorus” returns, and “Lathe Biosas” reveals itself to be something of a pop song, structurally, right up to the repeated chorus and the chugging outro brought to a halt by Herweg’s punctuating snare. Where What We all Come to Need seemed to patiently revel in its atmospherics, to dwell more in its parts, Ataraxia/Taraxis moves quickly – perhaps that’s the shift that inspired the title – but there’s still a decent amount of space imbued into “Parasite Colony.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I had more or less forgotten about it until reading the bit about the snakes in the below press release, but way back in September 2009, I interviewed Gentry Densley of Eagle Twin and he spoke about some of these themes that are apparently set up to play out on the band’s forthcoming sophomore outing, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale. Good to know this stuff has been brewing with the duo for a while.
Chalk up another one to look forward to:
Salt Lake City-based heavy rock duo Eagle Twin have completed their anticipated sophomore LP and are preparing to devastate forward-thinking riff-seekers once again in 2012.
Titled The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale, the new Eagle Twin opus picks up right where the band’s acclaimed debut LP, The Unkindness of Crows, left off. In this installment, the crows documented in the first album have battled the sun and were burned back down to earth as black snakes, the concept of the album continuing mainly on the snake and its various mythic and symbolic incarnations. Ultimately the great ancestral snake is transformed from its lowly beginnings back into a bird soaring upon the thermals. Recorded with Randall Dunn in London Bridge Studio, also as with the first album, the record boasts some of the most mesmerizing and monstrous riff transformations from Eagle Twin to date.
Eagle Twin merges the talents of guitarist GentryDensley of legendary post-hardcore/jazz icons Iceburn with the thunderous percussion of TylerSmith formerly of Form of Rocket. Following a cult split 7″ with NightTerror in 2009, Eagle Twin‘s incredibly potent and unique, multifaceted approach became apparent to the world when their debut album, The Unkindness of Crows,stormed doom and experimental music fans later that year.
Posted in Reviews on February 1st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
One would be hard pressed to overstate Earth’s legacy. The long-running and relentlessly creative Seattle drone unit led by guitarist Dylan Carlson have, over the last 20-plus years, amassed an outstanding discography of influential work – from 1993’s Earth 2, which helped solidify the grooves now inherent to riff rock, to 2005’s Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, which found a reformed Earth infusing their sound with elements from Americana the ripples of which are felt today in indie rock, dark folk and alternative metal. They didn’t do it alone, but they did it. In 2011, Earth followed 2008’s jazzy and defiant The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull with Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (review here), which moved further out of the shadow of Hex, bringing in Lori Goldston’s cello as a major focal point musically alongside Carlson’s guitar, the drums of Adrienne Davies and Karl Blau’s bass, and beginning to shift Earth’s attentions toward improvisation. The 20-minute closing title-track of that album was all improv, and with Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (Southern Lord), Earth continue to expand on the ideas they presented in the first half, while also revealing more of the ever-changing band’s personality in this incarnation. Sonic congruencies abound – as one would expect, considering the two parts were recorded in the same sessions with Stuart Hallerman (who also helmed Earth 2) – but Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II does more than just continue the strain of its predecessor.
Goldston’s cello, again, is in a featured role, and superficially, the two Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light albums don’t vary much in mood or overall tone. Earth’s patience is just as prominent throughout the centerpiece “Waltz (A Multiplicity of Doors)” as it was on “Father Midnight” on I. The drive toward juxtaposition in track titles – songs like “Descent to the Zenith” and “Hell’s Winter” – seems to have dissipated on Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II, however, as “Sigil of Brass,” “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine” and “The Corascene Dog” are working, linguistically, in another vein. Perhaps it’s ironic or nitpicking to talk about language on an album that’s entirely instrumental, but titles and themes are an important part in how Earth sets the mood for a record or even a single track. One reads the minimalist interplay between Carlson and Blau differently as “Sigil of Brass” opens the album because of the track name. It’s also among the album’s moodiest pieces, and the shortest by nearly five minutes; the last could also lead to one seeing it as an introduction, but there’s enough substance to it to argue to the contrary as it gives way to the nine-minute “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine,” which, however “jammed” it might be – the quotes there to mark the distinction between what Earth are doing here and the usual ebb and flow of guitar-led jamming – still retains some clear compositional elements. If they’re improvising, they’re working from a base of prior construction – a starting point to get them going – and on “His Teeth Did Brightly Shine,” they’re doing so without Davies. As the song develops, that lack of clear drums can leave it feeling somewhat unhinged, but it’s hard to imagine that isn’t what Earth were going for, or at very least, that Carlson was pleased with the outcome when it was over.