Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
…And they don’t mean, “Help me get that tree out of my yard” Sandy relief either. They mean like for people who don’t have a house anymore. Good for Ripple Music who continue to couple their love of all things classic, heavy and rockin’ with a desire to do some good in the world. Rare test pressings of Mos Generator and Stone Axe LPs will be going out this week on their eBay store, so make sure you follow the link to check it out. Yes, I’ve already added it to my “Watch List.”
Charity Auction for Superstorm Sandy Relief, Package Deal for Both STONE AXE and MOS GENERATOR LP Test Pressings
Continuing with the company tradition of giving back to the community, Ripple Music will auction a pair of extremely Rare Original Test Pressings in one package. Stone Axe: Captured Live! and Mos Generator Nomads vinyl are being made available with proceeds going to Superstorm Sandy Relief.
Only 5 copies of each test pressings exist, and these are the only one’s being made available to the public! You can jump into the auction, win a cool heavy rock collectible and benefit the agencies that commit money and manpower to lend a helping hand. To do so, just visit us at theRipple Music Ebay Store! The auction will start on Monday, November 19th and end on Monday, November 26th.
The Stone Axe and Mos Generator test press auction is the latest in a growing line of charity auctions that Ripple Music has created. Previously, rare JPT Scare Band, Mos Generator, Stone Axe, and the Heavy Ripples test pressings were auctioned with proceeds going to Gulf Disaster, The Wounded Warrior Fund, Japan Tsunami and the Joplin Tornado disaster relief agencies. With the sacrifices made by the men and women to assist their fellow Americans in need, Ripple founders John Rancik and Todd Severin thought the time was right to release another rare test pressing from their vault and raise money for a worthwhile effort.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
You know what’s awesome? Stone Axe songs. It’s a fact. When these dudes get together, they churn out memorable classic rock of a quality level to embarrass even some of the people who made it classic the first time around.
They may have taken a break from writing to let Tony Reed focus on Mon Generator‘s Nomadsalbum (review here) — a worthy cause indeed — but you just knew it wasn’t going to be long before Stone Axe picked up right where they left off.
And so they have, according to the PR wire:
STONE AXE Back In the Writing Process, Aiming at New Full Length in 2013
Afterdispelling break up rumorsearlier in the year, Port Orchard rock n’ roll preservationists, STONE AXE, have announced that writing and recording has resumed for the bands next album. Multi-instrumentalist Tony Reed and singer Dru Brinkerhoff have reconvened in recent weeks to put the final touches on a handful of tunes, as well as sketching out ideas for a new STONE AXE record, the first new material since 2010’s Stone Axe II.
“It’s early in the process,” states Tony Reed on the writing process for the new album, “Dru and I have met a few times to plot out a musical direction for the new full length album. And, in the meantime, we’ve been working on some songs that have been lying around for awhile that may be released as an EP in the near future.”
Though we’re going to have to wait until 2013 before we see a new release from the band, work is progressing at a steady pace. Some of the working titles in the mix include “Fell On Deaf Ears” for the new full length, and for the possible EP, “Lady Switchblade” and “Deep Blue”, a song reminiscent of the epic sci-fi thriller, “The Skylah Rae” from the STONE AXE self-titled album.
First, you have to understand that The Rambler, shady though the name might be, was awesome. The kind of awesome that has Westmalle at 3.50 Euro. I thought I was playing it safe — hell, I had the dubbel and not the tripel — but the fact that I’d eaten nothing up to that point in the day but a protein bar came back to haunt me. By the time I sauntered out of The Rambler, I was sloshed.
The good news is that tragedy — and by that I mean vomit — was avoided. And between arrival at and departure from The Rambler, massively good times ensued watching Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Stubb and Stone Axe play to an enthusiastic room that included several faces I recognized from Desertfest this weekend. I’d gotten into Eindhoven just a few hours prior, and was ready to have a little beery fun.
Chatted it up with the bands for a while, all of whom I saw last Friday (Stone Axe twice) and already had a few in me by the time Trippy Wicked took the stage. They’d soundchecked prior and the room — Xmas lights, wood floor, racks of CDs in the corner, full-size coffins to mark the men’s and women’s restrooms and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Lullabies to Paralyze on the P.A. — had pretty good acoustics. For rock. The stage area was wider than it was long, and I guess The Rambler was kind of a dive, but classier than that, even with the coffins. It was toying with country, is another way to put it. Again, it turned out to be a cool spot.
Unfortunately, riding around in a tour van all weekend had left Trippy Wicked guitarist/vocalist (and Stubb bassist/vocalist) Peter Holland with a cold. He looked and reportedly felt like hell, but wasn’t about to cancel the set; the show, going on, so forth. He rested up and before they played and when they got going, he played most of the set with his distortion off and changed the setlist to accommodate. I’ve seen Holland and drummer Christopher West do Trippy Wicked acoustic, so hearing the songs not as loud as they might otherwise be wasn’t really anything new, and in the semi-country surroundings, with the slight twang Holland puts on his singing voice, it actually sounded pretty good when they did “Southern” and “The Water.”
Later into their time, Stone Axe frontman Dru Brinkerhoff brought Holland some whiskey and, his voice already pretty blown out, I guess he figured there was no more harm he could do. The distortion was kicked on and he was full-on dry-throating it through the end. Admirable, and again, it didn’t sound that bad. Heavy rock works with a gravely voice, so while it wasn’t necessarily the most representative outing for the band, though Holland, West and bassist Dicky King all played really well and the songs got their point across. I’m looking forward to checking out their new album, not just because Holland has grown so much as a vocalist, but also because both times I’ve seen the band now, their chemistry has been top notch. It was a casual night — at one point, Holland remarked on how he knew everyone in the crowd — but even so, Trippy Wicked rocked like pros and only got better as they kept going.
Holland still had to get through Stubb‘s set, so he wasn’t yet off duty. After a bit of a break, West went back to the drums, Holland moved over to bass, opting out of a microphone, which left guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson in charge of covering all the vocals. He did it, and did it well, and since most of the audience, myself included had already seen the band in the last week, everyone knew what was up and it was fine. Stone Axe drummer Mykey Haslip got up and shared Dickinson‘s mic for the chorus of “Mountain,” and “Hard Hearted Woman” and “Road” were great to hear again, even with the single vocals. Straight-backed and keeping perfect time while also executing a barrage of fills, West showed his versatility as a drummer and was a pleasure to watch, and by the end, even Holland was singing along. It was more of a party than a show, almost.
“Galloping Horses,” which closes their new, Superhot Records self-titled debut (review here) was especially killer, Dickinson shifting his inflection and timing just a bit to make a full verse out of the repeated line, “The skies are crimson red” and taking a long solo in the semi-psychedelic midsection before coming back for one last chorus. They’re pretty straightforward in terms of style, but more even than the record showed potential, the live show confirmed it. I’d say I’m excited for what Stubb do next — and I am — but don’t let that imply that I’m at all finished with the self-titled, because it’s got way more than two months of staying power. Classic fuzz is timeless.
And speaking of classic, Stone Axe are a band I could very easily get used to seeing on a regular basis. This was the third set in five days (granted, one was the Free covers set, but still), and I was only more stoked for having some idea of what was in store. They got going as I was wrapping what would not turn out to be my last beer, and seemed more relaxed than at Desertfest. Brinkerhoff looked to be pretty well in the bag, but his voice was spot on, and the hooch only added to the swagger of his stage presence, which along with Tony Reed‘s guitar, is an essential element of the band. The aforementioned Haslip on drums and bassist Mike DuPont showed their prowess as a rhythm section behind, and though standing on the left side of the stage, it was almost like watching two acts at once, they were undeniably on the same page with the same mission in mind.
Their set ran long, which, you know, was awesome, and they threw in “The Skylah Rae” and “Taking Me Home” along with “Black Widow” and “Riders of the Night” from the first album and “Chasing Dragons,” “Just a Little Bit” and the excellent “Ain’t Gonna Miss It” from the second. “The Skylah Rae” in particular was something special, but Stone Axe‘s AC/DC stomp was in top form the whole time, and everyone was smiles and laughs and drinks and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves through each catchy as hell chorus, Brinkerhoff driving home the memorability of Reed‘s songwriting every chance he got. And for his part, Reed demonstrated once again his clear mastery of the classic heavy rock form, backing Brinkerhoff on vocals every now and again and tearing through worship-worthy solos with what he made look like ease.
When it was over, I was more or less finished with the day. Several nights of less than stellar sleep had left me tired enough, and Westalle, though delicious, makes a lousy energy drink, so I said goodbyes and thanks and split out for the two block walk back to my hotel room, stopping along the way for pommes frites and more beer which I ended up crashing out before I could drink. It seems funny to say it, since all I’m going to be doing starting tomorrow for four days straight is seeing bands at Roadburn, but it was awesome to see a show over here that was just a gig, not a fest. Just another stop on a tour. Eindhoven’s a beautiful town and this was a really good night I won’t soon forget. I’m just glad I remember it.
Posted in Features on April 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04/06/12 — 22:47 GMT — Friday — Hotel
Beyond the blister lurking underneath the callous of my foot, it’s hard to remember where today even began, though I’ll say that having failed yet again to attain a cellophone for the Eurozone — I mention it only because my lack of competency at this point I find comical — I made my way around the High Street intersection, trying to follow the weirdos this way and that in search of the Black Heart. It was, as a young man named Isaac guided me, behind the Underworld, back down an alley called Greenland Place. I guess it was a street. Hard to know, really.
I was early, having failed gloriously to acquire a phone, and after getting my wristband (it’s gold, you can see some red ones above), I sat at the bar and had a few Camden Town Lagers. Amazing how similar their font looks to the Brooklyn Brewery. Even the taps looked alike. Anyway, the lager was decent, and I was waiting — viciously awkward soul that I am sitting at a bar by myself — for Stone Axe to go on and do their set of Free covers. I ran into Pete Holland from Trippy Wicked/Stubb and then Tony Reed from Stone Axe, and following a few more drinks and some pleasant conversation, Desertfest was underway. That’s probably as good a place to start as any.
Stone Axe made a set of Free songs so much their own that, half the time, I wouldn’t have even questioned whether or not they were covers. Helps a bit that Free is probably the single act from which the Washington four-piece — whose Live at Roadburn 2011 CD I somehow ended up buying twice — most draw stylistically, but either way, they killed it. Highlights included “Fire and Water” from the 1970 album of the same name and they closed with “All Right Now,” which was somewhat expected, it being Free‘s most enduring “hit,” but nonetheless one of the many tracks Stone Axe sounded natural embodying, vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff making the lyrics sound like something he just came up with. A killer way to start the fest and it made me look forward to their set of originals at The Purple Turtle still to come.
From there, I was fortunate enough to have some kind soul willing to lead my semi-drunk ass down the block to the Purple Turtle in time to catch Stubb. I’m not going to lie, for me, this was the meat of the fest. It’s why I came to London; to see bands I wouldn’t be able to catch otherwise. Stubb, which boasts in its lineup two-thirds of Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, did not disappoint. From “Mountain” — on which guitarist Jack Dickinson and bassist Pete Holland shared vocals excellently during the chorus — to the closer “Soul Mover,” they were an absolute thrill to watch, and as the room at The Purple Turtle was totally packed, it seemed I wasn’t the only one who thought so. It felt like I was transplanting myself on another locale’s scene, and you know, I was glad to do it. These dudes, aside from being a kickass band, I consider friends, and the chance to see them live, as well as to see Trippy Wicked immediately following, was something really special. In short, it’s why I’m here.
Holland moved over to guitar for the Trippy Wicked set, and drummer Christopher West stayed put as bassist Dicky King came on stage to make up the difference for Dickinson departing. He didn’t go far, though, as Trippy Wicked got going, backing up Stubb‘s power trio ethic with one of their own. They have a new album out, and I bought it back at the Black Heart, just to have the chance to support the band directly, and after hearing them play, I’m looking forward even more to checking it out. Holland‘s vocals have come a long way since they started out, and King and West make a formidable rhythm section behind the guitar melody. Like Stubb, they were a native band I felt lucky to be able to catch. As I’ve grown increasingly envious of the UK scene over the last few months, it was awesome to see Trippy Wicked in front of their own crowd. I think I’ll probably skip out on Berlin next week and try to catch these dudes with Stone Axe (and Stubb, naturally) in Eindhoven on Tuesday. We’ll see how it goes, but either way, killer set from a killer bunch of guys. Seriously. Made me glad I came.
Ditto that for Stone Axe, whom, though we hail from the same continent, I’ve only ever seen in Europe. Last year, their set at Roadburn made me not regret missing Ufomammut in the slightest — which should say something about the rock quotient; most of that set is available on that live CD I decided to make a double — and as afternoon transitioned into evening, I wanted to make sure I caught their originals to follow up on the killer start their set of Free covers made to the fest as a whole. Brinkerhoff and Reed showed no wear for pulling double-duty — maybe the fact that they’re touring with Trippy Wicked and Stubb had them keeping up with Holland and West on the two-set front — and the whole set was a party, the highlights of which were “Chasing Dragons” and “We Know it’s Still Rock and Roll,” which had one of the night’s best sing-alongs. I was right up front while they played, and I had no regrets for it. I missed Ancestors while Stone Axe was playing (and maybe a bit during the changeover to Greenleaf), but I’ll make the effort to see them next weekend at Roadburn. Stone Axe was a necessity.
Greenleaf, as the band who sealed the deal in my mind for coming here in the first place, all the more so. I didn’t anticipate much in their set older than 2007′s Agents of Ahriman, if only for the lineup involved, and that was pretty much how it went. They threw in a couple older songs, but by and large it was Agents material and songs from the new album, Nest of Vipers (review here), including the opener “Jack Staff,” “Case of Fidelity” and “Lilith,” which was missing its organ a bit, but still left me with no complaints overall. They started off with “Alishan Mountain” from Agents of Ahriman, in what I can only assume was a personal favor to me, and commenced from there to what I can say with no exaggeration I will consider a landmark experience for me as regards show-going. No bullshit. Greenleaf was a band I never thought I’d see. They were just too far away, and with guitarist Tommi Holappa in Dozer and vocalist Oskar Cedermalm in Truckfighters, I just didn’t think it would happen. No matter what else happens to me on this trip, I saw Greenleaf. Fuckin’ a. If I’m 100 percent honest, that’s enough. I could’ve caught a plane home after their set and still felt like I won out. Also cool to see Cedermalm‘s fellow Truckfighters, Niklas “Dango” Källgren and Oscar “Pezo” Johansson in the crowd. Gave the whole thing a family atmosphere, not that one was lacking after the sets that had already gone down at The Purple Turtle.
I wanted to stay and see Sigiriya, but I also didn’t want to miss Asteroid back at the Black Heart, so I decided to compromise. I stayed for the first couple Sigiriya songs before heading out to the other venue. Worth noting that along with Ancestors, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Karma to Burn and Rotor were on the main stage at the Underworld tonight, but I didn’t make it there at all. Tomorrow I will to catch Roadsaw, Sungrazer, etc., but not tonight. Anyway, Sigiriya‘s Return to Earth wasn’t exactly fresh on my mind — that is, it’s been a minute since I last put it on — but the songs came right back, whether it was “The Mountain Goat” or “Whiskey Song,” and the grooves were mighty. They were killing it, hands down, but I had to head out to catch Asteroid, so I departed a few songs into their set and made back for the Black Heart, my own black heart heavy in my hands at having split out on what I knew was some righteous rock.
There was, however, no debating it. I had to see Asteroid. Not seeing Asteroid simply would not do. It brought the day full-circle to be back at the Black Heart, and I topped off what was already a several-hours-long buzz with one last Camden Town Lager and waited for the Swedish trio to take the stage. Outside, the dudes from Black Pyramid were getting ready to head across the street to catch Karma to Burn, and I knew that would be awesome, but hell, I’d come too far to miss it now. Asteroid took the stage promptly and kicked into what seemed like an hour-long jam. It’s interesting now that I’ve seen both bands to realize how much they have in common tonally with Graveyard, but they’re on their own trip. “Time” knocked me out, and “Disappear” was more than a treat. They wound up doing about half of “Dr. Smoke” from the first album as a semi-encore, the crowd singing along to the riff with hands held high. I was in the back by then, my feet beginning to feel those new-sneaker blisters taking hold, but I stayed until they were finished, and — I can’t think of another way to put it — they were awesome, guitarist Robin Hirse and barefoot bassist Johannes Nilsson splitting vocal duties with ease and capturing the organic sounds of their albums (the second one is reviewed here) with what seemed like no trouble at all.
I made my way back to the hotel as quickly as I could when they were done, hoping perhaps to catch an open coffee/sandwich shop along the Parkway here in Camden Town, alas, to no avail. Some spicy ramen noodles, a bag of salt and pepper chips and, finally, another protein bar served as dinner to cap a long day of music and drink. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and likely do it all again, though hopefully having some time in the morning to go CD shopping before Desertfest kicks up its sands again. I’ve got my wristband. My earplugs. My Advil. I’m ready for whatever comes.
Just a friendly reminder that some of what I’m most looking forward to seeing at Desertfest in London isn’t just happening there — that Stone Axe, Stubb and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight are hitting the road for nine days solid of shows together in the UK and Europe. I didn’t have the heart to ask them if they needed a merch beardo, but anyway, if you’re in that part of the world, consider this your official recommendation to show up at the following:
First up in the new releases feature is Stone Axe Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011. This release will be available on CD/LP. The LP has nine blistering tracks from our set at the Roadburn festival in Holland, April 16, 2011. The CD has four extra tracks. The set has a good mix of Stone Axe classics and songs that we rarely play live. Get it from Ripple Music.
Next up is the Stone Axe II deluxe 2CD set. Ripple Music has released the second installment of the Stone Axe reissue series. Unlike the two-disc Stone Axe I reissue from last year this is a 2CD set rather than a CD/DVD combo. For disc 2 of the set, I compiled everything that has only been available on vinyl up to this point, including our contribution to the Stone Axe/Wight split 12″. It’s 60+ minutes of virtually unheard material. It’s like having a new Stone Axe record.
Last but not least is the Wight/Stone Axe split 12″. This split is an interesting departure for Stone Axe. It marks the first studio recording that features the whole live band. Taking from Wight‘s queue, we set up at our studio and wrote and recorded three songs in two hours. All of the live tracks were kept and then vocals and keyboards were added to give a nice spacey feel to the songs. We feel like the sounds range from soundtrack-era Pink Floyd to Iron Butterfly. It was a treat for us to do. check out Wight and Fat & Holy Records.
Posted in Features on February 9th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’d like to review the new Ripple Music deluxe edition of Stone Axe II, the second album from the Tony Reed-led trad rockers, but it’s kind of a grey area, in that I wrote the liner notes for it. Plus, I already reviewed the album when it came out originally in 2010. In an effort to still help promote the album, which is a product I believe to be both enjoyable on a personal level and of a quality that justifies Ripple‘s reverent treatment of it, I’ve decided to post (with permission) the liner notes for you to check out if you’re so inclined.
On a side note, congrats to Tony Reed on the announcement today of his signing on with LACE Music Products. I’m looking forward to Stone Axe‘s set of Free covers at the London Desertfest and many boozy nights self-reminiscing and singing along to the forthcoming Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011. In the meantime, here are those Stone Axe II notes:
“It’s what the kids are doing now that school is over The sweat of summer’s love has made the winter sober And the scene this awful mindless short attention Has left the teenage dream forever in detention” –“We Know it’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll”
If you’ve picked up this reissue of Stone Axe II, chances are you already know the deal. This album was originally released in March 2010 on the band’s own Music Abuse Records, and Ripple Music has picked it up to give it a similar deluxe treatment as that which the first, self-titled Stone Axe got a little while back. This time you get a second disc of compilation material – songs that were only on vinyl previously or included on split or other comps. You know Stone Axe have had a few. Give it another year or two and they’ll be ready for a box set.
They’re prolific, is what I’m trying to say, but there’s no question that Stone Axe II captured something special to tape and something that goes to the very heart of the band’s purpose. Led by multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer T. Dallas Reed – who’s joined by vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff, drummer Mykey Haslip and bassist Mike DuPont – Stone Axe call themselves “Seventies Rock Preservationists,” and in that, they’re not wrong. But it goes beyond just the heavy riffing or references to bands like Free, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. What Stone Axe are saving isn’t just the music, but the freedom of spirit that led to its creation in the first place.
Reed is at the center of the experience. He ends each of the album’s two programs with a lead vocal, and mans most of II’s instruments, with part-time contributions from Haslip and DuPont, who fit in smoothly to their songs and their roles without a hiccup in the overall flow. But Brinkerhoff’s boozy arrogance is essential to Stone Axe’s classic feel as well. Songs like “Chasing Dragons,” “We Know it’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Ain’t Gonna Miss It” are as much Brinkerhoff’s as they are Reed’s, and what he gives them in addition to verbalization is a sense of humanity and personality that’s long since forgotten in modern, digitized, corporate rock.
True to form, before the dust even began to think about settling on Stone Axe II, the band had another release under their belts. The June 2010 split with weedian Brooklyn punkers Mighty High would be Stone Axe’s first collaboration with Ripple Music, and the formation of the relationship that would later find Reed doing engineering work for the label, including helming the 2010 remaster of Poobah’s lost classic, Let Me In, from 1972. The band also found time to hit the road supporting doom metal legends Saint Vitus just as the Mighty High split was being issued, and proceeded to bide their time and prepare for a Spring 2011 European tour that included a slot at the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands in April.
Mos Generator, Reed’s prior outfit (whose self-titled has coincidentally also been reissued on Ripple), had played Roadburn a few years earlier, but it was Stone Axe’s first time there, and they killed. Their energy and the sincerity in what they do and their love of the form in which they work came through the speakers even louder than DuPont’s bass, which was plenty loud. For those that saw them, they were a highlight of the fest, and then, in the tradition of the true rock and roll journeymen, they were gone, back on tour for a couple more dates with British trio Stubb. And because they never seem to be able to hit the road without, there was some more new vinyl as well: This time a four-way split called Heavy Ripples, on which Stone Axe teamed with UK rockers Grifter as well as Mighty High and Southern-minded New Englanders, Sun Gods in Exile.
At the same time, Ripple’s deluxe version of Stone Axe dropped and – thanks I’m sure in no small part to the eloquence and minimal spelling errors contained in its liner notes (sorry, Dru) – was a huge success and chance for those who caught onto the band later to get their hands on their first offering. Shortly after, Stone Axe filmed a show in Texas for a live DVD and then shot up to Las Vegas for a slot at the second Doom in June Fest alongside the likes of Wino and Solitude Aeturnus, and on July 2, 2011, Stone Axe played the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, supporting Rush on the side stage.
A couple months without a vinyl would seem like a slowdown, but Reed kept busy nonetheless, recording the first Saint Vitus full-length in 17 years, mixing Stubb’s album, recording with Texas rockers Blood of the Sun and releasing a debut 7” from psychedelic side-project, HeavyPink. All the while, Stone Axe were getting ready to release a split 12” with German stoner heavies Wight, comprised on their side of three freeform jams that are also included on the second disc of this release, and saving up cash to hit up Europe again in 2012 with Stubb and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight.
As for what the rest of 2012 and beyond will bring, who knows. There’s that Texas DVD, and rumor has it their Roadburn set was recorded and came out pretty well. Whatever comes next, the safe bet, though, is that Stone Axe will press forward in their quest to remind everyone what life was like before rock music needed “saving.” With the constantly productive nature of the band and the particular chemistry that has developed in the live setting between not just Reed and Brinkerhoff, but Haslip and DuPont as well, Stone Axe could go anywhere from here and still maintain the honesty and the spirit of tribute that drives them.
Until then, please enjoy this deluxe edition of Stone Axe II and the unabashed, unashamed love of rock and roll it represents.
Not content with the usual round of fuzzy cellphone pictures and the requisite group shot where everyone in the bands stands together at the end of the run and makes funny faces before going their separate ways, UK heavy rockers Stubb are putting together a documentary of their time on the road with Stone Axe surrounding the latter’s Roadburn performance this past April. Stubb guitarist/vocalist Jack “Mindzap” Dickinson put up a trailer for the finished product still in progress, and it looks like good times:
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Congratulations to Ripple Music on their one-year anniversary. The label is home to the likes of Mighty High, Poobah and Stone Axe, and in celebration of their solar revolution (hopefully the first of many), they’ve made an exclusive digital compilation available for free download from their Bandcamp page. That’s cool enough, but the compilation also features new music from Iron Claw and Grifter, who’ll both have new albums out before the end of the year.
Here’s the news from the label, followed by the audio stream of the comp:
Now, as Ripple Music moves into its second year, founders John Rancik and ToddSeverin want to celebrate the enthusiasm of their music lovers with some anniversary specials. As a thank you to their fans and supporters who’ve allowed Ripple to strike out and bring independent music to the world, Ripple is releasing it’s first ever free digital compilation album.
Featuring every band that has made the first year of Ripple Music such a success, Ripple‘s anniversary album kicks off with Stone Axe, before heading down the Ripple highway of Poobah, JPT Scare Band, Fen, and more. And as a special bonus, The anniversary album features the world’s first sneak peeks at two new Ripple releases; Grifter‘s self-titled debut album, and the eagerly anticipated A Different Game, from underground legends, Scotland’s Iron Claw. But the free compilation album may be available for only a limited time, so get over there quickly to get yours!
But wait, there’s more. Over at the Ripple Store, everything is still 15% off until July 4, and every waverider who places an order will get their name placed into a drawing for a very special, last-one-of-a-kind surprise test pressing!
Appropriate enough to take us home on this Friday night is Port Orchard, Washington, classic rock outfit Stone Axe. I found this clip of the band doing “King of Everything” from Rocket Records in Tacoma, which isn’t a store I’ve ever been fortunate enough to shop in, but earns points nonetheless just for having these dudes do an in-store. By way of a cheap plug, there’s a live version of this track on the bonus disc of the Ripple Music reissue of Stone Axe‘s first album, for which I’m honored to have written the liner notes.
If you’ve been keeping up, I have 24 copies of Blackwolfgoat‘s Dronolith left. You can buy that here.
It had been my intention to do a big review of Clutch‘s recent reissues for Blast Tyrant, Robot Hive/Exodus and From Beale Street to Oblivion today, but I just ran out of time. Monday if I can swing it. I figured the Ghost review was timely and I’d promised the Sourvein interview would be up, so that was the way to go. The encouraging comments to both are much appreciated. Thank you for that. It was kind of a hectic week, and that stuff means a lot. I know I say that all the time, but it’s true.
One thing I forgot to mention in this week’s numbers post was the TFFH, the Top Five of the First Half of the year, which I’ll be counting down later on this month. It’s gonna be tricky coming up with a list. I have three records I spin pretty much constantly, but deciding what order to place them in and rounding out a full five is going to be interesting — at least for me, hopefully for you as well. Either way, that’s a thing that’s happening.
I’m in Connecticut for most of this weekend for the Fuzz Fest with Stone Titan, Sea of Bones, Curse the Son, King of Salem and Lord Fowl at Cherry St. Station in Wallingford. If you’re in the area, you should come down and support some good bands. It’s going to be a blast, as you can see from the info on the flier below. Wherever you are, I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll have a new podcast up asap and an interview posted this week with artist David V. D’Andrea, who rules. Good stuff to come.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
This isn’t the first charity auction that Ripple Music founders John Rancik and Todd Severin have put together. In the past, they’ve auctioned off test pressings for Stone Axe and The JPT Scare Band for the BP oil spill and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disasters, and as the planet continues to show us just how badly it wants us off of it, Ripple Music is once again stepping forward to help out the tornado victims of Joplin, Missouri.
The PR wire has the details. Help out if you can:
Continuing with the company tradition of giving back to the community, Ripple Music will auction an extremely rare original test pressing of Heavy Ripples: Vol. 1, featuring Stone Axe, Sun Gods in Exile, Grifter and Mighty High, with proceeds going to benefit Joplin tornado victims. The auction will take place on eBay at the Ripple store, starting Tuesday, May 31, and run for seven days only.
Only five of these test pressings exist, and this is the only one made available to the public. You can jump into the auction, win a cool heavy rock collectible and benefit disaster relief at the Ripple Music Ebay Store.
Posted in audiObelisk on May 4th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Whether you were there or not, part of the Roadburn experience each year is reliving it (and hearing the bands you didn’t get to see) with the flood of live audio streams that always emerge after the festival is over. As with last year, the fest was kind enough to grant me permission to host the links to the streams where you can listen, so here’s the first bunch. Some killer sets here from Acid King, Naam, Stone Axe (I’d recommend starting there), Evoken, Hooded Menace et al. Hope you like it heavy.
Posted in Reviews on April 25th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hard to know where a split ends and a compilation begins, but in the case of Heavy Ripples Vol. 1 (Ripple Music), I’m inclined towards the former, if only because the release’s format makes you pay specific attention to each of the bands involved, rather than bludgeoning you with track after track from disparate acts. Everyone here is pretty like-minded, and there’s only four of them, so it’s not too much to handle, and the double-7” release ensures that you’re going to be really working to listen – the longest side is just about seven minutes – so Heavy Ripples isn’t something you can put on and forget about. Not that you’d want to with the likes of Stone Axe, Sun Gods in Exile, Grifter and Mighty High around anyway, but at just under 20 minutes total runtime, Heavy Ripples is an efficiently drawn beeline to the rock. Each of the bands contributes something unique to the whole, and for something you could feasibly listen to three times in an hour, Ripple’s latest split packs more memorable songs than most full-length albums. Like I say, efficient.
Stone Axe open with “Nightwolf.” The track finds the Port Orchard, Washington, revivalists in their core duo form of vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer T. Dallas Reed, but as usual with them, nothing in personality is lost for the lack of personnel. Brinkerhoff has enough swagger in his delivery for three bands, and I can’t think of any more appropriate way to kickoff Heavy Ripples than a non-ironic song with “night” in the title. If you know Stone Axe, you know what they’re about, and “Nightwolf” is right in line both in terms of style and quality with the bulk of their work. And excellently complemented on side B by Maine upstarts Sun Gods in Exile, whose “Over My Broken Bones” is set to appear (re-recorded) on their second Small Stone full-length later this year. Sun Gods in Exile’s Black Light White Lines was a solo-enthusiast’s wet dream, and “Over My Broken Bones” follows suit, but as was the case with that record, the guitar histrionics is backed by solid songwriting and isn’t showy just for showiness’ sake. Two strong modern classic rockers with a little over nine minutes between them, kicking out righteous jams that, even had Ripple chosen to release this as a one-disc affair, would still be worth investigating.
Posted in Features on April 16th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
3:01AM — Saturday Night/Sunday Morning — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
I wound up giving up on seeing Shrinebuilder and Ufomammut tonight in favor of Stone Axe and Swans. I don’t know if it was the right decision, and quite frankly, fuck it, I’m through making the right decisions. I’m too tired and I’m too fuck-offy to care what I should be seeing. I made tonight at Roadburn what I wanted it to be, and you can fuck right off if you think I should have been somewhere other than I was.
Pushed my way through to Ramesses in the Green Room when I got back to 013, and no regrets for that, although the space was packed. They were ballsy, they were heavy, they killed, blah blah blah. It was good, and the more I stood there the more I wanted to hear their upcoming album, the promo for which is on my desktop at the office, so I guess mission accomplished. I’m starting to run out of euphemisms for “I liked it.” So fuck it. I liked Ramesses. They were good.
While making my way through the merch area for the umpteenth time this weekend, I ran into the dudes from Stubb, who were on tour with Stone Axe until tonight. I kind of offered to put out their record if they couldn’t find a better deal, so that was something, but more importantly, after shooting the shit for a while, I did the science and decided to see Stone Axe instead of Shrinebuilder. The math was simple and went like this: I’ve seen Shrinebuilder; I haven’t seen Stone Axe. Equation over.
Stone Axe, for what it’s worth, laid rocking waste to the Bat Cave. Theirs was the first set all weekend I’d seen in there, and if it’s the only one — which, since nothing for the Afterburner is booked in there, I guess it will be — it was the right choice. They rocked. And that’s it. I felt like I knew them from listening to the records, but live, Stone Axe is a different beast entirely. Tony Reed killed it on guitar and Dru Brinkerhoff was drunk enough to swipe my beer from the front of the stage before their set even started. It was a rock and roll party, and for a couple minutes, I managed to let go of what a miserable bastard I am, how fucking stressed out I’ve been about work, about school, about this site, all that shit.
It was brief, but for just a bit of Stone Axe, I genuinely didn’t care anymore about any of it. I pulled my earplugs out and let go, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve done that since Neurosis played here in 2009. It didn’t matter that when I get back to Jersey I have a ton of shit to catch up on, or that I spent most of the day wanting to blow my brains out all over the gorgeous Tilburg sidewalk, or that hits are down this month and everyone thinks I give a shit one way or the other what gets posted on the forum when I don’t, or what kind of asshole dwells on this crap anyway when he’s supposed to be having the time of his life: I just rocked out and that was it. I had to travel over 3,600 miles to make that happen.
Like I said, the respite was short-lived, and I was soon back to my grumpy fuck-all. I walked out of Stone Axe partied out, watched them close through the door and soon and set up shop in the main stage photo pit (fucking where else?) for Swans, who proved unphotogenic and apocalyptic in equal measure. I stayed until they did “Jim” from last year’s My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky and then split to come back to the Mercure and call it a night and revel in the foulness of mood for a bit. Oh, if only Evoken were playing now.
One more day to go. It’ll be 4AM at least by the time I finish uploading the photos for this post, so I’ll wake up when I wake up and head over to 013, probably same as today. I’m tired, I miss The Patient Mrs. and my tolerance for weirdos is at its end, but on my way out of the venue, I ran into Winter‘s drummer and he seemed like a cool cat, and I got Johan Lundquist, Robert Lowe and Leif Edling to sign my Roadburn flyer, and I told David D’Andrea I wanted to interview him for this site, so I don’t at all mark the night a loss. I also got one of the last discs of whatever it was White Hills was selling, so tongue out to anyone else who wanted it.
A photographer took my picture yesterday for the Dutch 3voor12 site, which in addition to covering the fest is doing a special pictorial on beards. I had to give my name (JJ Koczan), where I was from (New Jersey) and how long I’ve been growing my beard (a year-plus), and though she told me it would be online today, I can’t find it. Probably for the best. The first part of the series is here if you want to check it out. The rest I don’t know. Maybe I’ll show up there sooner or later and you can find out first-hand why I make it a policy never to put pictures of myself on this site.
Afterburner tomorrow. I want to see Sungrazer so bad I can taste it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
I shared this link on the Facebooks over the weekend, but thought it was worth posting it here as well. Ripple Music, which just recently put out a deluxe CD/DVD and vinyl edition of Stone Axe‘s self-titled full-length, are auctioning off one of the vinyl test pressings to aid Japanese relief charities. It’s a good cause, good album and good people, so bid high.
Here’s some PR wire info on the auction and the link:
Starting Monday, March 28, and running for seven days only, Ripple Music and Stone Axe will auction off the only available test pressing of Ripple Music‘s release; Stone Axe I Collector’s Edition LP. Proceeds from this auction will go to benefit Hands On Tokyo, a charitable relief effort to aid Japan after their recent disasters.
Only five of these test pressings exist, and this is the only one ever to be made available to the public. You can jump into the auction, win a cool Stone Axe collectible and benefit disaster relief at the Ripple Music eBay Store.
Also, plan to catch Stone Axe on tour in Europe and the UK, ending at the world famous Roadburn Festival.
04/08 The Wheatsheaf, Oxford (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Desert Storm)
04/09 The Unicorn, Camden, London, UK (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Grifter)
04/10 The Earl, Sheffield, UK (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Groan)
04/11 The Captains Rest, Glasgow (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Low Sonic Drift)
04/12 Asylum 2, Birmingham (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Alunah)
04/14 The Vortex, Siegen, Germany (with Stubb)
04/15 MTC, Cologne, Germany (with Stubb and more)
04/16 RoadburnFestival, Tilburg, Holland
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’re in the area, you can catch Stone Axe tomorrow night at Voodoo Lounge in the band’s native Port Orchard, Washington. It might not be an album-release show, but the band has plenty to celebrate all the same. As the press release below shows, they’re about to head over to Europe for the first time for a batch of shows in the UK alongside the likes of Stubb, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Grifter and Groan, then they’ll hit the continent-proper en route to Roadburn, heralding the Ripple Music deluxe CD/DVD reissue of their first album and a split with Sun Gods in Exile, Mighty High and Grifter.
So yeah, they might be in good spirits at the Voodoo Lounge.
Said deluxe CD/DVD reissue also features a liner notes bio written by yours truly, and it’s available for pre-orders starting today. Hit that up here, and check out the news and tour dates below. I have nothing but respect for these guys:
Classic rock preservationists Stone Axe have officially announced that they’re hitting the road through the UK, parts of Europe, and wrapping up the tour with a night at the illustrious Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Holland! Starting on April 8 in Oxford, England and running through April 16, this will mark the third time that the band has ventured to foreign soil with the aim of converting new ears to their sonic-brand of classic rock, but this time they’ll be doing it in support of their first CD/DVD package.
Scheduled for release on April 5 and in time for the tour, Stone Axe has put together a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut album. The CD portion of the package features eight bonus live tracks, while the DVD portion features more than 70 minutes of videos, interviews, and live footage! Released through Ripple Music,Stone Axe – Expanded Edition CD/DVD will be available for pre-order beginning Feb. 18, 2011 on the label’s website.
Tour Dates: 04/08 The Wheatsheaf, Oxford (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Desert Storm)
04/09 The Unicorn, Camden, London, UK (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Grifter)
04/10 The Earl, Sheffield, UK (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Groan)
04/11 The Captains Rest, Glasgow (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Low Sonic Drift)
04/12 Asylum 2, Birmingham (with Stubb, Trippy Wicked, Alunah)
04/14 The Vortex, Siegen, Germany (with Stubb)
04/15 MTC, Cologne, Germany (with Stubb and more)
04/16 RoadburnFestival, Tilburg, Holland
Stone Axe has also contributed a song to the Heavy Ripples double vinyl 7” compilation that will also feature tracks from UK blues-based bike rockers Grifter, Brooklyn-based stoner-fied punks Mighty High, and New England’s southern-rock-tinged Sun Gods in Exile (on loan from incomparable Small Stone Records). The record will be officially released on April 19 to a worldwide audience!