The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 15

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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It was last Friday about an hour before I had to head out for the start of Desertfest NYC that I cut the voice breaks for this episode, once again on my phone, while in transit. I did the same thing last time and it sounded like crap. I know the stakes are pretty low — that is, nobody really cares — but if you’re going to do a thing, at least try to do it well. I backed off the phone this time and hopefully that cut some of the overmodulation in my voice.

I say “hopefully” because I actually haven’t heard the show yet. I was at the fest on Sunday while it aired, so I’ll be catching the rerun at 9AM this Thursday when that’s on. This is the 15th episode of The Obelisk Show and it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks, but it’s still fun to put together, and there were some killer tracks included this time from Worshipper, Abrahma, Molasses, Stone Machine Electric, The Well, Kandodo, Methadone Skies, and so on. Any opportunity to throw in some Øresund Space Collective makes me happy, so that was a must, and I was kind of also doing myself a favor in including Natas as the “classic track” (yay! classic track!) for the episode.

So basically, unless I crapped it up, at least the music is good. That’s what matters anyhow, or so I’m told.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.28.19

Pelican Midnight and Mescaline Nighttime Stories*
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire*
BREAK
Molasses Drops of Sunlight Mourning Haze*
Los Mundos Subterráneo Mar Jurásico Calor Central*
Kandodo King Vulture K3*
Omen Stones Fresh Hell Omen Stones*
The Well This is How the World Ends Death and Consolation*
BREAK
Natas Samurai Delmar
Smear Old Town A Band Called Shmear*
Methadone Skies Where Were You When We Were into the Void? Different Layers of Fear*
Stone Machine Electric Purgatory Darkness, Dimensions, Disillusion*
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens Freak Out in the Fjord*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Stone Machine Electric, Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Stone Machine Electric Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

[Click play above to stream Darkness Dimensions Disillusion by Stone Machine Electric in its entirety. Album is out April 26 on Sludgelord Records.]

Stone Machine Electric are the bluesy, jammy, sometimes doomed sludge jazz called for by the times in which we live. The Hurst, Texas-based duo have consistently evolved over the course of their studio LPs, EPs, live offerings, etc., and for the last nine years, they’ve been an underrated act lurking in the crowded Lone Star underground, compatriots to Wo Fat and recording at that band’s Crystal Clear Sound studio, but never really touring and so never really getting the attention their particular take deserves. Darkness Dimensions Disillusion is their third album and first to be issued through Sludgelord Records. It follows behind 2016’s Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here) and its 2017 live companion, Vivere (review here), which were at that point the farthest yet that the two-piece of William “Dub” Irvin (guitar/vocals) and Mark Kitchens (drums) had pushed themselves, exploring nuanced reaches of dark psychedelia centered around the theme of the 2016 US presidential election, which was about as appropriate a subject as one could ask for their gleefully bizarre and malleable approach.

That willingness to discuss real-world issues had never been expressed to such a degree throughout prior outings like 2015’s The Amazing Terror EP (review here), 2014’s jam-based Garage Tape (review here), their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) and their 2010 demo, Awash in Feedback (review here), but it’s a theme that Darkness Dimensions Disillusion continues in its four component tracks. Perhaps not to the degree of having a portly rat king in a red tie on the front cover — though the diamond-encased staring-eye skull drawn by Kitchens is righteous — but still, it’s there in 12:48 opener “Sum of Man” and 14-minute closer “Purgatory,” the two tracks that bookend the album, as well as the all-caps “SAND” and “Circle” (premiered here), the latter of which is unarguably the most straightforward composition they’ve ever included on a record. That in itself is emblematic of Stone Machine Electric‘s steady creative evolution. They’re never predictable unless you count the reliable certainty that they’ll try new things. So it goes here.

And you don’t have to wait until the third of the four tracks to get to that point either. The very first movement of “Sum of Man” is indicative of their progressive bent, unfolding with surprising grace over the course of its first four minutes with a minimal but spacious stretch of effects ambience that’s greeted with melodic guitar/keys on a subtle linear build that’s nonetheless interrupted by the drums bringing about the shift into the first verse. Stone Machine Electric have done plenty of jamming in their time, but this is a different way of engaging atmospherics, and it’s more purposeful than a basic sonic meandering — nothing against that either — in terms of setting the mood for what follows and putting the listener in a more open headspace, such that even as Irvin intones “The sum of man is equal to his waste,” and “The sum of man/Can be measured/By the size of the void/Left upon the land,” the languid groove, while plenty heavy in terms of tone, remains laid back in its overarching affect.

stone machine electric

Repetitions of the title-line serve as a hook unto themselves, and after a few verses, Irvin and Kitchens take off on a fluid, solo-topped jam that seems to immediately signal no return. It feels earned. “SAND” is more chorus-based, but at over eight minutes long still has plenty of room to stretch out, and it takes advantage of it with a noisy midsection that parses out to angular turns leading into its solo and a slow, doomly roll that follows with some theremin or other synth accompanying, from whence they drop out and return to the hook in an effective showcase that says Stone Machine Electric know precisely which rules they want to break and when they want to do it in terms of working in and out of various structures, which is only fitting their experimentalist take and their level of craft in general. They are not just another band.

With “Circle,” though, they do toy with the idea of dead-ahead songwriting in a way they never have. At 4:45, it’s the shortest cut on Darkness Dimensions Disillusion by nearly half, and it’s a work of verse/chorus songwriting that pulls away from some of the burl in “SAND” in favor of a more melodic vocal that suits Irvin well, and shuffling snare work from Kitchens that seems to be a direct contrast to the track before. There’s a short guitar solo in the second half, and a sudden stop as if purposefully cutting themselves off before they launch into the next jam. There’s plenty of opportunity for such things in “Purgatory,” though, with a quiet keyboard-sounding intro to mirror “Sum of Man” for the first two and a half minutes and a smoother transition into the first verse — really embracing the “jazz” in “doom jazz”; no complaints — and bringing back the throatier vocals as they shift as well to meatier riffs and an unfolding nod that sounds like a culmination even before it serves as one.

Kitchens and Irvin are quick to move into more exploratory fare, but they hardly rest there, taking one movement into the next with a marked fluidity en route to the eventual noise wash that emerges with the vocals seeming to echo up from it as they move deeper into the second half of the track, guitar siren blaring amid the distortion flood until the whole thing goes away at the 10-minute mark and they work their way back into an easier groove topped with a highlight solo and the return of the keyboard line from the beginning of the song, which will be the last element to remain after the guitar and drums head out on a long fade, leaving on a note of quiet atmospherics like that which started the album in the first place.

One can only hope Stone Machine Electric continue to follow that impulse as they inevitably move forward from here, since their more confident approach to melody and more patient execution suits them so well, especially in “Sum of Man” and “Purgatory,” but as ever, they serve an intention toward experimentation, and that leads them to new and fascinating places throughout these songs. I wouldn’t bet on what their next record will sound like, but I’m willing to go on record in saying that they’ll keep moving forward, likely in a multitude of directions. They remain better than people know, and a band whose steady growth is matched only by the consistent quality of their output.

Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Instagram

Stone Machine Electric on Twitter

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Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

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Stone Machine Electric Premiere “Circle” Video; Album out April 26

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

I’m going to try really hard in this post not to review Stone Machine Electric‘s new album, Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, which is out April 26 through Sludgelord Records. At this point, I think I’ve written about nearly everything the underrated Texas duo have put out, so I’m not trying to get around or anything, but if you check back in on April 25, I’ll be hosting a full stream of the record and reviewing it then. So we’ll get there, but in the meantime, I’m gonna not say everything I want to say about the four-track offering before, you know, it’s time to actually say it. Stone Machine Electric are a fun band to write about, but in almost all cases, reviewing stuff twice is a bummer. “Didn’t I already do this?” and so on.

That bit of procedural declaration aside, let’s talk about “Circle” instead. On Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, it’s an immediate standout for being about half as long as the next shortest track on the record. That is, it’s 4:44 and the preceding “SAND” is 8:19. The bookending opening and closing cuts — the names of which I’m not even going to mention because that’s how much I’m not reviewing the album right now — are both over 12 minutes. “Circle” might also be a standout in the band’s entire discography as well, though, for its straightforward structure. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo/bridge, chorus, end. While kind of standard for the rest of the various forms of rock and roll, it’s still a shift in approach on the part of Stone Machine Electric, who’ve traditionally been more about crafting spacious jams than hooks, though they’re not exactly strangers to the idea, as their past work has shown.

The tonal crunch of guitar comes accompanied by a more melodic vocal from William “Dub” Irvin, and the changes between the movements in “Circle” are driven fluidly by Mark Kitchens‘ drumming in a way that underscores the jammy foundations shown on the rest of the album — which, again, I’m definitely not going to review now. In fact, I should probably just leave it there until later in the month.

Instead of hearing me ramble (more), why don’t you just go ahead and dig into Kitchens‘ art in the video for “Circle” below and enjoy a little bit of the old elsewhere-rock as only Stone Machine Electric can provide.

Brief comment from the band, live dates and preorder link follow:

Stone Machine Electric, “Circle” official video premiere

Circle is about the monotony that is life as seen from a macro perception, and sometimes you just want something to come crashing into it in order to reset the cycle.

Upcoming Dates (more to come):
4/6/19 Anderson Mill Pub – Austin, TX
4/26/19 Division Brewing – Arlington, TX (Album Release Show)
5/17/19 Lost Well – Austin, TX
6/28/19 Tin Panther – Fort Worth, TX
6/29/19 Freetown Boom Boom Room, Lafayette, LA
8/31/19 Reno’s Chop Shop – Dallas, TX (Dallas Fuzz Rock Festival)

Preorder Darkness Dimensions Disillusion at: https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-dimensions-dillusion

Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Instagram

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Stone Machine Electric to Release Darkness Dimensions Disillusion April 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

I’m not even going to pretend I haven’t heard this one. Stone Machine Electric have a new album coming out. It has four songs on it, and it’s awesome. The Texan bizarrojam duo have been at it for nearly a decade now, and it’s been nothing short of a joy to hear them get weirder and more comfortable getting weirder as they’ve grown into their own style, and Darkness Dimensions Disillusion is four songs serving as the next step in that ongoing process. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll get to premiere a track or something this time around, but we’ll see as we get closer to the April 26 release on Sludgelord Records whether or not that happens.

Either way, the record is awesome, which is no less than I would expect from Stone Machine Electric, who’ve made that their ply and trade all the while. Their last offering was 2016’s Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here) and its 2017 live companion, Vivere (review here), so they’re due, and as they work once more with Kent Stump (Wo Fat) at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, they’re nothing if not right in their element. All the better.

More to come, but here are the PR wire preliminaries:

Stone Machine Electric Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

Texas-based duo best known for their weird approach in crafting a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming are ready to reveal their latest effort. This album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Texas.

Darkness Dimensions Disillusion informs you on the greater picture that is not seen, reinforces the confusion, reminds you nothing changes, and lets you know that you are still not in control.

Track Listing:
1. Sum of Man
2. SAND
3. Circle
4. Purgatory

Darkness Dimensions Disillusion will be released on Sludgelord Records on April 26th, 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
https://www.facebook.com/SludgelordRecords/
http://instagram.com/sludgelordrecords
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/new-day-dying

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric Set to Begin Recording Next Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Clearly working on the model of not fixing that which isn’t broken in the first place, Hurst, Texas, duo Stone Machine Electric will hit Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas later this month to begin recording material for their next long-player. As was the case with their woefully prescient but nonetheless deeply enjoyable 2016 album, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here), which went on to spawn the complementary 2017 live record, Vivere (review here), it will be none other than guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump of Wo Fat at the helm as producer. Stump did well capturing the jammy fluidity and weirdo-prone spacious noisemaking of the band the last time out, and I’d expect no less of the new outing, which if they hurry could even see release by the time Stone Machine Electric return to play this year’s Obelisk-sponsored Heavy Mash fest in October. More info on that here, but the underlying point is we should all go. You. Me. Everybody. Off to Texas.

It’s July and that’s in October, so unless Stone Machine Electric really bang it all out on the quick — hey, it could happen — the new album’s arrival might be later on or even early next year depending on pressing schedules, etc., but whenever it shows up, it’ll be welcome, as the band always seem to be underrated when it comes to their chemistry and the personality they bring to their songs.

Their latest update follows here:

stone machine electric

At the end of July, we’ll be making our way back to Crystal Clear Sound with Kent Stump (don’t act like you don’t know who he is, coughWOFATcough) behind the controls once again! We’ve got a handful of songs to record, and those will get organized and released into our next album. We’ve got no idea when that will occur. Baby steps?

In the meantime, feel free to raid our merch store so you can help us bring you more news (wink-wink, say no more)! Use the code – electricreport – at our bandcamp site and get 20% off of anything. Anything.

On 7/23/18 we’re playing with Apostle of Solitude and Pale Divine in Dallas, TX as part of their tour: https://www.facebook.com/events/231811624088265/

On 8/4/18 we’re celebrating our good friend Anton’s birthday at Division Brewing with Orthodox Fuzz, Space Ape, CI, and Dead Hawke: https://www.facebook.com/events/197067261107883/

Yes, we’re playing Heavy Mash! Get tickets HERE, read about it HERE

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018, Oct. 13 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash 2018 poster

After being fortunate enough to have been asked last year, there was no way I wasn’t going to be up for having The Obelisk on board to present Heavy Mash 2018. The second edition of the Arlington, Texas-based festival will take place on Oct. 13 and feature a full day and a full lineup of all-killer heavy rock, doom, psych and whatnot, with Austin-dwellers Duel as the headliners on the heels of their 2017 sophomore album, Witchbanger (review here). In fact, when fest organizer Mark Kitchens — also of Stone Machine Electric — brought up the issue recently, my only question was whether the awesome frog from last year’s poster would make a return. To the benefit of all humanity, you can see clearly above that it has.

Duel sit atop the lineup with Californian imports Great Electric Quest and Dallas’ Mountain of Smoke, whose second album, Gods of Biomechanics, will be out July 7 and is an absolute crusher. As it turns out, Great Electric Quest are the only non-Texas band on the bill, as amid the roster of DoomstressStone Machine ElectricSwitchblade JesusOrthodox FuzzGypsy Sun RevivalWitchcryer and Dead Hawke, there isn’t one group that doesn’t call the Lone Star State home. I guess that’s what happens when the place you’re from is awash in creativity and, uh, huge. Just ask California.

The geographic theme at play only makes Heavy Mash 2018 more special, since Texas’ heavy underground is nothing if not worth highlighting, and no doubt at least some of the acts will have shared stages in the past, making it all the more of a party at Division Brewing, which once again will host the event and seems to just be asking for trouble in so doing. So much riffs. So much beer. I hope they have a good mop for afterward.

Get your ass to Texas:

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018

Oct 13 at 1 PM

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018.

Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up:

DUEL – 11pm
Great Electric Quest – 10pm
Mountain of Smoke – 9pm
Doomstress – 8pm
Stone Machine Electric – 7pm
Switchblade Jesus – 6pm
Orthodox Fuzz – 5pm
Witchcryer – 4pm
Gypsy Sun Revival – 3pm
DEAD HAWKE – 2pm

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

Heavy Mash 2018 event page

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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Stone Machine Electric Post Update on New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A vague update, a merch sale, and then, hey, a send-us-your-address-and-we’ll-send-you stickers-and-whatnot, and yeah, that’s pretty much the latest from Texas duo Stone Machine Electric. Charming as ever, and no, I’m not being sarcastic about that. They’ve had new material in the works for a while now for an album that either will or will not get out before the end of the year, and last we heard from them, they were talking up a CD pressing of their 2014 Garage Tape (review here) release that seems to be available to order now from their Bandcamp.

All good stuff, and I’m curious to find out if they’ll put together another Heavy Mash for this year. You might recall, the inaugural edition in 2017 was presented in part by this site. Still one of my favorite show posters as well.

Here’s the latest newsletter from the band:

stone machine electric

THE ELECTRIC REPORT 13

We’ve been a little recluse this year, but that’s because we’re working on all that “behind the scenes” stuff you never see. It’s ugly, we’re ugly, but everything is ugly! Don’t fret, unless you’re playing guitar, that means we’ve got news we’re not disclosing quite yet. Nothing big, just working on the newer material. Getting ready to do things with it.

In the meantime, feel free to raid our merch store so you can help us bring you more news (wink-wink, say no more)! Use the code – electricreport – at our bandcamp site and get 20% off of anything. Anything.

You can still email us at band@stonemachineelectric.net and send us your physical mailing address. Maybe we’ll send you a postcard, a sticker, or who knows what! Yeah, who knows what we’re doing – we don’t….

I bet you want to know Will we be playing Heavy Mash again this year? Are you wondering what Heavy Mash is?

Did you know Kitchens released a solo effort under the name Slow Draw? You should check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, “The Demon and the Bird” official video

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Stone Machine Electric Announce Garage Tape Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Mind you, I don’t know if in the process of putting it out on compact disc, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric are actually re-titling their limited 2014 cassette — initially dubbed Garage Tape (review here) — as Garage Tape, er, CD?, but being relatively familiar with the Lone Star twosome’s work over the last however many years, I’d absolutely believe it. In fact, it’s precisely the kind of weirdo charm in which Stone Machine Electric specialize, and as one awaits further word of their next album, I’ll happily take whatever comes from these two deeply underrated psych jammers.

If you didn’t hear it the first time around, Garage Tape was comprised of two side-consuming, sprawling jams that came with a bonus track in the digital form. I don’t know if that will be included on the CD or not, but the chance to hear it all together as one flowing jam session seems like a pretty righteous opportunity, so yeah, here’s the info. Ships in March, apparently. That seems like forever from now, but apparently is very much not that thing:

stone machine electric garage tape

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Garage Tape, er CD?

Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, is re-releasing the mind-bending “Garage Tape” onto, what else, but CD. This is by semi-popular demand. Sshhh, yes, vinyl would be nice, we know.

You can pre-order this fabulous format at: https://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/album/garage-tape

Garage Tape tracklisting:
1. Side A 20:52
2. Side B 21:38

Improvised live on July 26, 2014 in Kitchens’ garage.

Expect these to start shipping beginning to mid-March.

For further information, contact the band at band@stonemachineelectric.net

Stone Machine Electric started in the summer of 2009 with founding members Mark Kitchens and William (Dub) Irvin. Dub had asked Kitchens if he’d be interested in helping him start a band since the two had been in other bands together in previous years.

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Garage Tape (2014)

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