Duuude, Tapes! Dozer, Universe 75 Demo

Posted in Buried Treasure, Duuude, Tapes! on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Look at this frickin' thing.

A band’s early days are often a mishmash of releases, songs cobbled together from rehearsal recordings and put out as demos with live tracks from shows or different sessions. A few songs are copied for friends one week, and the next a demo is professionally pressed under the same title. That’s just part of promoting a new band. You try and get as much out there as possible. As such, when I opened the mail and found this surprise copy of Dozer‘s 1998 demo, Universe 75 – the tape gifted to me unexpectedly by Lansing, MI’s Postman Dan, who’s come up around these parts a few times over the years and will again before the next week is out — it wasn’t a shock to discover that its tracklisting differed from what’s Duuuuuuuuuuude.largely been settled on as being Universe 75.

I know the story behind this tape, know that Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa sent it to Dan when Dozer were putting out their early material, that it came with an orange flyer that had Han Solo on it firing a blaster the laser of which was the Dozer logo, and if you can’t trust Postman Dan, you can’t trust nobody, so its authenticity is without question as far as I’m concerned. I damn near wept when I opened the package and found it.
What’s commonly regarded as Universe 75 has six tracks, and this tape — dubbed onto a Maxell 100-minute blank cassette, though of course it reaches nowhere near that mark time-wise — has four. “Supersoul,” which opens, is the only song shared between the two. It and “Captain Spaceheart” Awesome.– written in the liner here as “Captain Space Heart” — also appeared on Dozer‘s 2000 full-length debut, In the Tail of a Comet, while “Centerline” and “Tanglefoot” showed up later in 1998 on the first of the two Dozer vs. Demon Cleaner split releases.

At this point, Dozer was Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, and these songs were recorded at the end of Jan. 1998 by Bengt Bäcke — here given the nickname “Action.” Of course, he’d come a long way by the time he was continuing to work with Holappa in Greenleaf and tracking that band’s albums, but even in ’98, Bäcke knew what he was doing. The sound of the tape is raw, and the bass is way, way high in the mix, but overall it’s clear enough to get a sense of the songs and where Dozer were coming from stylistically in some of their earliest days, Nordin sounding more directly indebted to Kyuss‘ John Garcia than he even would by the time In the Tail of a Comet was released, and the band seeming to work at full stonerly jamble on “Captain Space Heart” only to up the swing as “Tanglefoot” closes out.

As a longtime nerd for Dozer (obviously not as long as the Postman), I felt incredibly This.fortunate to hear these songs at all, let alone to be able to sit with them and think of them in context of the Borlänge four-piece’s pre-debut-LP progression. They were prolific as they solidified their sound, and over singles, EPs and splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, they honed a reinvented — maybe “relocated” is the word? — take on what was then desert rock that of course would turn them into something different entirely over their years together, which hopefully aren’t done as they continue to play shows periodically. A snapshot of one of Sweden’s greatest contributions to heavy rock as a young band is something genuinely special, and I know I’ll cherish it in a cool, dry place for years to come and use it as fodder while I continue to campaign for a compilation of their pre-album material.

Dozer, “Centerline”

Dozer on Thee Facebooks

Dozer’s website

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Dozer, Call it Conspiracy

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dozer, Call it Conspiracy (2002)

I think I’ve made my nerddom for Swedish heavy rockers Dozer plain over the years, but if not, let me just reinforce: The band fucking rules. From their early albums on Man’s Ruin, 2000′s In the Tail of a Comet and 2001′s Madre de Dios right on through the harder edged 2002 Molten Universe third outing, Call it Conspiracy, and their Small Stone era, which brought about 2005′s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008′s Beyond Colossal. All the splits, EPs, singles, etc., along the way, Dozer simply don’t have a bum release. There was no point at which they didn’t kick ass.

When it comes to Call it Conspiracy, I’ve always thought of it as the transitional moment for the band. Based as ever around the powerhouse riffs and full-speed charge of guitarist Tommi Holappa and Fredrik Nordin (the latter also vocals), Johan Rockner‘s bass and the driving thud of then-drummer Erik Bäckwall, Dozer‘s songwriting always made them a mandatory band, head and shoulders above most acts proffering heavy rock and roll then or now. But Call it Conspiracy stands out in their catalog as the bridge between the first two and the second two albums, moving away from the Kyuss loyalism of their beginnings and at the same time setting up the progression into bigger tones and a more generally bombastic sound on records four and five. It’s the center-point along that line — in output, not time; the first three Dozer albums were released in three years, the last two in twice that — and very much stands up to that stylistically. In that, it’s unlike anything else they’ve ever done. It was a leap from Madre de Dios for sure for arriving the next year, and when Through the Eyes of Heathens showed up three years later, Dozer had moved even further away from desert rock. Call it Conspiracy was a moment captured — like a snapshot of Dozer coming into their own as a band.

And while I already said it, I’ll reiterate that the songs themselves are unfuckwithable. The rush of “Rising,” the swagger of “Man Made Mountain,” the way “Crimson Highway” seems to invite a sing-along even when you’re hearing it for the first time. Dozer have been making periodic live appearances since last spring, and they released the Vultures EP (review here) last year, collecting unused tracks from the Through the Eyes of Heathens sessions, but as Holappa (Obelisk Questionnaire here) has been busy with Greenleaf – whose fifth album, Trails and Passes (review here), came out earlier this year — there’s been no word of a studio return from Dozer. Needless to say I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Hope you enjoy.

Up until today, I was doing really well with the rules I’d posted last week that I was trying to live by while The Patient Mrs. is in Athens. It’s 9:30PM and I haven’t left the house in two days. I knew that was gonna be a tough one when I wrote it, but was hoping I’d be able to keep up. Today and yesterday, neither the time nor the desire nor the need to go anywhere has been present. I might get in the car and drive around for 10 minutes when I’m done here, so at least I can say I did something, but otherwise, yeah. Been a lot of the couch, not a lot of not the couch. The little dog likes it.

Next week, reviews of Dunst and Grifter. It’ll probably take me two days (at least) to transcribe it, but I’m going to try to get the Lowrider interview up as well. Look out for another batch of Radio adds, and one way or another, some vinyl’s getting written about. I still need to hook up my stereo. You’d think that would’ve been a day one activity moving into the new place, but all the CDs are still packed away as well.

Trying to find a new high-volume CD storage solution. I was looking at some radio station library racks online and I think something like that might be the way to go, but I have no idea where one acquires such a thing, let alone what it might cost. But yeah, I’m thinking it might just be time to buy a shelf that lets me store 18,000 CDs and then just fill it over the next however many years. In case you’re wondering, I’d probably take up a little more than a third of that now. I don’t know if you knew this, but in addition to the stuff I buy, I keep everything sent to me for this site. I don’t sell promos, or give them away, or anything like that. Every single CD that’s been sent to me, regardless of if it’s a CDR in a slimline or a sleeve or a full-art jewel case, gatefold digipak, whatever, it goes in the archive. I keep it all. Tapes and vinyl too. And not in some random pile either. It’s taken care of. Loved. I can’t nearly write about everything that comes in these days, but I hold onto everything. Even the press releases. Seriously. I’ve got files of them.

Got off on a tangent there. Anyway, I hope you dig the Dozer and that you’ll join me in my letter-writing campaign to Tommi Holappa to get the tracks from their first several singles released as an early works compilation à la Church of Misery. I was thinking about starting one of those White House petitions. Get Obama on the case.

Alright. I’m gonna go get in the car and wander aimlessly for a bit so I can say I did. Hope you have a tremendous and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Skraeckoedlan Unveil Teaser for Sophomore LP Gigantos

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Go figure. Also fish.

Of course, when I was putting together that list of albums I’m looking forward to for the rest of 2014 yesterday, I hadn’t heard anything since the start of the year about the sophomore outing from Swedish rockers Skraeckoedlan, Gigantos, but that’s only all the more reason to highlight their putting out this teaser video for the record, which is set to release digitally in the fall. At very least, it’s one for the “go figure” file.

Anyone who recalls the youngsters’ 2011 Transubstans Records debut, Äppelträdet (review here), will now immediately why I was anticipating the arrival of Gigantos, since the four-piece just about seamlessly pulled Mastodon and Truckfighters influences into a catchy and richly melodic concoction of their own. It’s been a while at this point since Gigantos was announced — it was an anticipated album for 2014 back in January –  and while my concern at that time was how Skraeckoedlan might fare outside the confines of Studio Bombshelter, where they recorded the first full-length, as the 90 seconds of fresh audio in the teaser below seem to indicate, there’s been no drawback either in fuzzy tonal heft or prowess of melody.

I won’t lie, it’s a bit of a relief. Äppelträdet was a sleeper, but it was also one of my favorites in 2011, and this teaser gives me one more to look forward to before the end of the year. Skraeckoedlan also have some shows coming up over the course of July and August — some fest appearances — in their native Sweden, and you’ll find those dates below the video, in case you happen to find yourself in that part of the world.

Enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Gigantos album teaser

Skraeckoedlan Swedish live dates:

2014-07-09 Stockholm (SE), KGB
2014-07-11 Umeå (SE), Verket
2014-07-12 Skellefteå (SE), Trästockfestivalen
2014-07-25-26 Sala (SE), Salafestivalen
2014-08-14 Leksand (SE), Krökbacken festival

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Tags: , , , ,

Troubled Horse Post Video for “Bring My Horses Home”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Thee Troubled Horse.

…Like two weeks ago.

I usually like to think of myself as being pretty up to date on this kind of thing, but Troubled Horse‘s new video for “Bring My Horses Home” slipped through the cracks, I guess. Not sure why. Not like I’ve had a lot going on lately or anything like that.

Anyway, better late than never. You could probably say the same thing for the video itself, as it’s been two years since Troubled Horse‘s full-length debut, Step Inside (review here), was released on Rise Above Records. If I’m working behind the times (which I am, always), at least I’m not the only one, but actually, making a video — it was directed by Jonas Wahlstrand — so long after the album came out basically has the effect of reminding listeners of how badass that record was in the first place. Two years later, one might not reach for Step Inside with the same regularity as when it first hit, so along comes “Bring My Horses Home,” and wham, the “Whoa-oh-oh” chorus gets stuck in the head again like it never left.

Because god damn, this song is catchy. The Örebro band’s ties to Witchcraft‘s retro-rocking glory days notwithstanding, frontman Martin Heppich carries the chorus with perfect drunkard’s swagger, and as Troubled Horse are reportedly getting ready to unveil details of their second long-player, a reissue of their original 2010 single — which just happened to have “Bring My Horses Home” as its A-side — provides further occasion to revisit the track ahead of their next outing.

So it’s off to the woods, then. Filmed as a four-piece, though they’re are apparently five of them now if the photo above is anything to go by, “Bring My Horses Home” is dark and engaging and only leaves the question about where that organ sound is coming from so deep in the forest.

Enjoy:

Troubled Horse, “Bring My Horses Home” official video

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Goat to Release Second LP Commune via Sub Pop on Sept. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Vaguely problematic.

Swedish cult-psych overseers Goat have announced that their second album will be out Sept. 23 in North America on Sub Pop. Stranded Rekords gets the release a day later in Scandinavia and Rocket has it for the remaining portions of the earth the day before. The record arrives with much anticipation following Goat‘s widely-heralded 2012 debut, World Music (discussed here), and the reputation they’ve built for themselves around theatrical costumed performances. Commune, the new one, doesn’t have the advantage of blindsiding people like the first one did, but I think they’ve done pretty well indoctrinating their audience, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

The PR wire brings info and new music, asking no thanks in return:

Triangular.

Swedish collective GOAT share details on behalf of Commune, their second album

Commune will be available September 23rd via Sub Pop Records in North America, September 24th via Stranded Rekords in Scandinavia, and September 22nd via Rocket Recordings for the rest of the world.

Commune is the follow-up to GOAT’s hypnotic 2012 debut, World Music, which received widespread acclaim and placed in many of that year’s top-ten lists. The mysterious, masked group continued to awe the world with their intense, ritualistic live shows, the “Dreambuilding” b/w “Stonegoat” 7″ (released in North America by Sub Pop in 2013), and the recent Live Ballroom Ritual double-album.

GOAT has scheduled a fall European tour in support Commune, which begins September 19th in Copenhagen, DK at Vega and ends October 3rd in London, UK at the Roundhouse. Please find a current list of tour dates below.

Commune is now available for preorder in North America via Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes and Amazon. While supplies last, customers who pre-order the LP version of Commune from megamart.subpop.com will receive the colored-vinyl “Loser Edition” of the album and a limited-edition, single-sided 7” with a non-album track.

Commune Tracklisting:
1. Talk to God
2. Words
3. The Light Within
4. To Travel the Path Unknown
5. Goatchild
6. Goatslaves
7. Hide From the Sun
8. Bondye
9. Gathering of Ancient Tribes

Tour Dates
Jul. 06 – Belfort, FR – Eurokeennes
Jul. 18 – Suffolk, UK – Latitude Festival
Jul. 20 – Ostrava, CZ – Colours of Ostrava
Aug. 03 – Stockholm, SE – Stockholm Music & Arts
Aug. 23 – Paredes de Coura, PT – Paredes de Coura Festival
Sep. 19 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
Sep. 20 – Tilburg, NL – Incubate
Sep. 21 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
Sep. 23 – Berlin, DE – Postbahnhof
Sep. 24 – Munich, DE – Ampere
Sep. 25 – Paris, FR – Trabendo
Sep. 27 – Liverpool, UK – Liverpool Psych Festival
Sep. 28 – Glasgow, UK – SWG3
Sep. 29 – Newcastle, UK – Northumbria University
Oct. 01 – Brighton, UK – Concorde 2
Oct. 02 – Bristol, UK – Trinity Centre
Oct. 03 – London, UK – Roundhouse

http://www.goatsweden.blogspot.se/
https://www.facebook.com/goatsweden
https://www.subpop.com/
https://www.facebook.com/subpoprecords

Goat, “Hide from the Sun”

Tags: , , , ,

Duuude, Tapes! Lightsabres, Demons

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Thee tape.

It is deceptively hard to get a handle on where Luleå, Sweden, rockers Lightsabres are coming from. Their debut tape, pressed and then re-pressed in limited edition by 808 New York (mine is #50 of 80), is called Demons, and while it’s quick at about 17 minutes long, and blown out in the lo-fi sense, it’s not to be mistaken for a demo. Eight tracks are presented four on each side, both sides start with an intro piece — “Fangs” and “Teeth,” respectively — and there’s cohesion and flow enough in what Lightsabres do that even if they weren’t working with a label to release it (there’s also vinyl out on Hink Inc.), to call it a demo would be selling it short. From the psychedelic ambience they pull off in the intros and side two’s closing “Demons,”Thee front(e) of thee case. the distorted stonery of side one opener “Black Hash,” and the stripped down punkish sneer of its side two counterpart “Born to Die,” Lightsabres tie together disparate elements with natural-sounding ease and come out of the release with a highly individualized garage-grunge that makes the memorable songwriting of “Fly Like a Bird” seem like fortunate happenstance.

Maybe it is, I don’t know. Maybe the members of Lightsabres – evidently content to remain nameless – showed up, pressed record, and that’s what came out. Either way, the heavy-pop bounce of that track is something most bands would have to work at. It’s as accessible as they go and well placed at the end of side one, following the rawer push of “Eyez,” on which the vocals come across even rougher than “Black Hash.” An unexpected turn, but one they pull off with apparent ease, and side two’s more psychedelic vibing affirms that Lightsabres have a broad creative range to go along with the effectiveness of their presentation. Post-rock guitar wisps begin “Teeth” only to be joined by air-moving bass fuzz, and while “Born to Die” strips away some of the prettier, melodic aspects, its half-time drums and noisy lead wash later on can’t cover up a basic heavy rock feel. Perhaps the most punkish moment of Demons is the first half of the Ty Segall cover “Caesar,” which breaks just Thee back of thee case.before the first of its two minutes into manipulated, floating notes moving backwards and forwards in hypnotic motion toward the closing title-track, which takes a more minimal, spacious approach and finds dual vocal layers coming together for a moment of crooning before flipping the whole thing backwards to maximize an experimental, anything’s-possible sense of uncertainty.

The edit on the tape of “Demons” is different than that on the digital version, and the download also has an extra track, “Red Light,” that serves as a centerpiece between the two sides, so if cassettes aren’t your thing, Lightsabres still have something to offer for your pay-what-you-will. There’s also reportedly a follow-up to Demons called Spitting Blood due out shortly, and the band seems to have some shared membership with psych rockers Tunga Moln, so expect to hear more from this promising outfit one way or another.

Lightsabres, Demons 

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

Lightsabres on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Blues Pills Self-Titled Debut Coming Aug. 5 on Nuclear Blast

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

All smiles.

For a band to bring together members from four different nations is complicated enough, but Blues Pills, who seem to have settled in Swedish retro/heavy rock hotspot Örebro (home to Truckfighters, Witchcraft, etc.), make a fluid debut with their self-titled. The record is set to land on North American shores on Aug. 5 via Nuclear Blast (July 25 in Europe), and it follows the Devil Man EP and a Live at Rockpalast recording issued on the label last year, a buzz having more or less build around the four-piece since their demo surfaced in 2010 and their first single arrived in 2011.

They’ll play the Totem Psych Fest on July 25 in Italy, will play other fests all summer and have tour dates booked this fall around appearances at Desertfest in Belgium and the Up in Smoke and Keep it Low fests in October. More to come, I’m sure. Here’s the album info off the PR wire:

Hard to fuck with this art. Cover by Marijke Koger-Dunham.

Multicultural Rock Band BLUES PILLS to Release Self-Titled Debut August 5

Örebro, Sweden-based blues rock force BLUES PILLS will release its debut LP Blues Pills on August 5 via Nuclear Blast Records. The stunning young American-Swedish-French quartet, featuring vocalist Elin Larsson, drummer Cory Berry, bassist Zack Anderson and 17- year-old guitar phenom Dorian Sorriaux, are wise beyond their years, creating unique, intense and extraordinary rock music fueled by the timeless greats. The highly-anticipated follow up to 2013′s Devil Man EP, Blues Pills was recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Don Alsterberg (Graveyard, Horisont) and is advanced by the release of the blowback lead single “High Class Woman”.

Led by sensational Swedish songstress Elin Larsson, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, BLUES PILLS is a true musical experience; one we thought was long gone, lost forever in time. Larsson’s incredible, soul-filled vocals and siren-like presence recalls Hall of Fame heroines such as Etta James, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, impressively guiding and corralling the group’s deep dynamics; driving bass lines, tasty, fiery guitars and overarching hard edge that call for comparison to early hard rock and heavy metal greats such as UFO, Rainbow, Fleetwood Mac, Cream and the kingly Led Zeppelin.

Simply stated, BLUES PILLS create a beautiful and powerful mix of both old and new, mashing the sounds of legendary rock and soul pioneers while incorporating their own distinctive marks. The end result is impeccable, nearly-timeless blues-based power rock. Hearing is believing!

The album’s cover art was created by world renowned artist and musician Marijke Koger-Dunham, hailed as the mother of psychedelic art. Koger-Dunham designed clothing for The Beatles and Cream, created custom-painted instruments for John Lennon, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, printed posters sold at the counter culture shops of the day and was commissioned as a muralist to exercise her talents in large format for The Beatles’ Apple Boutique on Baker Street. Her striking artwork was chosen by the band because, in their own words, “it is a representation of the balance of life, as shown in all the symbolism of natural duality such as darkness and light, sun and moon, life and death. It shows how opposite forces are interconnected and compliment each other to form a whole. Besides that, it looks absolutely amazing!” Can you dig it?

Track listing:
1.) High Class Woman
2.) Ain’t No Change
3.) Jupiter
4.) Black Smoke
5.) River
6.) No Hope Left for Me
7.) Devil Man
8.) Astralplane
9.) Gypsy (Chubby Checker cover)
10.) Little Sun

Blues Pills is available for pre-order purchase now at this location.

http://www.bluespills.com/
http://instagram.com/bluespills
https://twitter.com/BluesPills
https://www.facebook.com/BluesPills

Blues Pills, “High Class Woman” from Blues Pills (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Asteroid, Asteroid

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Asteroid, Asteroid (2007)

I didn’t hear the 2007 self-titled debut from Swedish fuzz rockers Asteroid until two years later, but even half a decade after that, it remains a record I’ve gone back to over time when the situation calls for something brilliantly laid back, heavy, fuzzed out and catchy. There’s a band now from Ohio called Doctor Smoke; the closing track on this album is where they got their name. And while at nearly an hour long, the Örebro trio made their first outing a considerable undertaking, that song makes an excellent place to wind up as the journey rounds out.

And it is that. For all its stoner rocking charm, Asteroid‘s debut has a psychedelic flow underlying that would come more to the fore in 2010 with the delightfully jammy II (review here), but can be heard in the funky groove in the verse of “Panoramic Telescope,” and elsewhere of course. One of the album’s chief strengths, however, is its sense of flow, how easy the material leads you along the full-length course, how smooth Asteroid sound. Impressive for a band of any experience, let alone for a debut. On summer nights, I’ve sat and looked at the stars with this album, and I’ve used it like a blanket in winter. There’s no time that “The 13th Witching Hour” doesn’t feel just right.

Asteroid released a 7″ late in 2012 (review here), and word got around last year they had signed to Small Stone, but nothing has surfaced as yet. I consider myself lucky to have heard them jam out some of this material at Desertfest London in 2012, and though Fuzzorama, who initially released both albums, just put out a new pressing of the second one, hopefully it’s not too long before Asteroid‘s jammy take gets another studio installment. Got my fingers crossed.

Also my eyes are crossed, but that’s just from being tired. I doubt it’s been a major consideration in your life either way, but if you were wondering at all where I’ve been the last two days, I’ve been getting ready to move. Yesterday, The Patient Mrs. and I closed on a condo in East Bridgewater — 16 minutes away as I timed the trip last night. We went there yesterday to start taking some stuff over and to clean. We’ve been packing for the better part of the last 10 days. Today was cleaning all day, from morning to night, and getting the internet set up. We’re back at the other place now, in Abington, and I’m pirating signal off one of the neighbors. Thanks and sorry to whoever it is.

The closing was originally supposed to be today. It’s good we bumped it up a day, with so much cleaning to do. People never vacuum. Fucking cruelty. It was hot over there and sleeping on an aerobed with two people sucks, and we still had more stuff to pack, so we came back here. Movers come in the morning. The Patient Mrs. leaves for Greece for a month tomorrow night at 10:45. Get ready for some classic “I miss my wife”-type shit, as I expect I’ll be there by the end of next week. No central air and no Patient Mrs. is gonna be a rough July, I expect.

But at least while I’m sitting in the new place all next week (and presumably the subsequent three weeks), unpacking, etc., at least I’ll have plenty of time to write, which I didn’t this week. Monday, look out for that Wo Fat instrumental stream. Was supposed to go up today, but there were 10 hours of vacuuming and dusting to do, so there you go. I’d also like to do a batch of radio adds, and I should be able to transcribe that Lowrider interview as well, so keep an eye out for that. It was a doozy.

So, moving tomorrow, more cleaning, saying goodbye to The Patient Mrs. for a month, etc., but hopefully things will be workable by Monday. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a great time. It’s hot out there. Don’t forget to hydrate.

And please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite, Milligram, A Sad Bada, Phant, Damo Suzuki Meets Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Radio on June 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Running a pretty wide gamut this week, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This week is a pretty good example of one where there’s way more added than just what’s listed here, so make sure you check the updates page to see the full list of everything that went on the server. Next thing I knew, I turned around and there was a ton of awesome stuff waiting to go up. Tough times.

It’s been a few weeks doing the adds this way and I’m digging it so far, so I’m going to keep it up, at least until I think of something else or it gets to be a pain or whatever. Thanks for reading and checking out the radio stream.

Adds for June 6, 2014:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestite

The much-awaited follow-up to 2011′s Celestial Lineage finds Washington US black metal forerunners Wolves in the Throne Room not quite ready to let go of that album yet. Celestite is intended as a complement to its predecessor, and as the first release on the band’s own Artemesia Records imprint, it comes as a particularly bold move for a band clearly looking to shirk expectation. Its five included tracks are cinematic, ambient set-pieces — instrumental works that, when played at the same time as Celestial Lineage, enhance the atmospheres of those already dense songs. Of course, cuts like the 11-minute opener “Turning Ever Towards the Sun” and the centerpiece “Bridge of Leaves” have value on their own as well, but there’s little denying that the apex of Celestial Lineage in “Prayer of Transformation” is pushed further by Celestite closer “Sleeping Golden Storm” and vice versa. Anyone expecting forest screams or raging blastbeats is in for a surprise, but those who approach with an open mind will be rewarded, which has always been the case with Wolves in the Throne Room‘s work. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Milligram, Live on Pipeline (WMBR)


A band with a reach that has lasted much longer than their actual six-year run, Milligram retain a presence in heavy rock consciousness despite having really only gotten together to open for Kyuss Lives! in 2011 since calling it quits in 2002, prior to Small Stone‘s issue of their This is Class War full-length. Accordingly, the version of “Not Okay” included on this collection of live recordings from the radio station WMBR sounds like a blueprint for some of the soulful heavy vibes Lo-Pan would conjure in their early going. Also included are covers of the Misfits (“We are 138″) and Black Flag (“Jealous Again”), so in addition to hearing Milligram – which in 2000 when Live on Pipeline was recorded was comprised of vocalist Jonah Jenkins (see also Raw Radar War), guitarist Darryl Shepard (see also Hackman, Black Pyramid, Blackwolfgoat, The Scimitar, etc.), bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Zephan Courtney — tear into some of their own material, there’s also a look at their punkier roots. Shepard has begun a series of digital releases of his bands with this, so look out for more. All are available for name-your-price download through his Bandcamp. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective, Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective

Captured live and largely improvised on Valentine’s Day 2013, the 3LP Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective indeed proves a match meant to be. The Danish/Swedish space jammers and the krautrock legend — Damo Suzuki has released decades’ worth of solo output and collaborations, but is still best known for his contributions to Can — offer no single piece under 14 minutes long, so I guess as jams go, these worked out. The six inclusions are immediately exploratory, and while at just over two hours, the meeting of these expanded-mind entities can feel a bit like traveling through a wormhole where you snap back to consciousness on the other side and wonder how you got there, each piece also takes on a life and movement of its own, propelled by ceaselessly creative guitar work, engaging rhythmic nod and, naturally, a near-constant swirl of effects. Suzuki‘s voice echoes through “Dit Glimtende Øje” as though beamed in from another galaxy, and his first contact with Øresund Space Collective results in vibrant, cosmic jams that push through the psychedelosphere. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

A Sad Bada, White Rivers and Coldest Chains


Chilean four-piece A Sad Bada specialize in post-sludge that is lurching and atmospheric in kind. White Rivers and Coldest Chains is their first full-length, with it they offer five extended tracks of crushing density and grueling nod. They skirt the post-metal line — guitarists Gastón Cariola and Fernando Figueroa, who founded the band in 2008, keep a steady supply of airy echoes on hand throughout — but as a cut like the 11-minute “Hide and Grieve” shows, they’re never quite looking to get away from the sludgy churn of their slower-than-thou progressions, bassist Roberto Toledo and drummer Alejandro Ossandon expertly holding together the songs as Figueroa offers vicious, throaty growls over top. White Rivers and Coldest Chains (out on Australis Records) is intended as a slog, and it is one, but the soundscape that A Sad Bada enact over the course of the album has more appeal than just its tonal weight or extremity. There’s a darkness at its heart that comes from more than just the music itself, and that bleeds from the speakers with every oozing riff. On Thee Facebooks, Australis Records.

Phant, The Octophant Pt. II


Newcomer Swedish trio Phant return with their second self-released, digital-only EP in less than a year’s time, bringing their eight-armed elephant mascot deeper into a heavy-riff melee over two more extended tracks and an outro with The Octophant Pt. II. Like their predecessors on The Octophant Pt. I (review here), “Nativitas/Hakaisha” (13:53) and “Magna Cael” (9:31) blend cosmic doom and heavy rock tendencies, finding a cohesive balance of aggression and groove along the way, subtly adding effects amid echoing vocal interplay from bassist Jesper Sundström and guitarist Anton Berglind while drummer Elias Sundberg taps into reaches no less spacious via a constant-seeming wash of cymbals. Found sounds, samples and other sundry weirdness caps The Octophant Pt. II in “Outro Pt. II,” with tales of UFOs and government coverups. How long Phant might continue this series of EPs, I don’t know — they can at least get a trilogy out of it if they want; I’d take another 26 minutes of this no problem — but the heft the three-piece bring to bear across “Nativitas/Hakaisha” and “Magna Cael” also shows they’re more than ready to tackle their debut full-length, should they decide to go that route next. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Other adds to The Obelisk Radio this week include Novembers Doom, the four-way split between Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes, as well as Recitation, Sunwolf, Godflesh, Dylan Carlson of Earth‘s solo-project, Drcarlsonalbion. For the full list, check the updates page.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Deville Announce First-Ever US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Deville are in for a slog. The Malmö, Sweden, native heavy rocking four-piece have announced the first US tour dates in their decade-long existence, and they’re not exactly taking it easy on themselves. To take it easy would be the West Coast, go out, do 15 shows in the Northwest and down the coastline into California, maybe cap with a few in the desert somewhere or in Texas or the like. Deville are going the other way — starting in the Midwest and coming east to play venues in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. They’ve given themselves one day off and are playing four shows to cap the run in Ohio. It’s not going to be easy, but I guarantee whatever tour they do next time in the States is going to seem that way by comparison.

Kudos to the band for the undertaking. I’ll look forward to seeing them at the Worcester gig and hope they get to have some good times along the way. The US needs more European bands touring here, and the better stories Deville go home to tell, the more likely someone else is to come over too. So show up and buy merch.

Here are the tour dates:

The dates are up for the US tour! Check it out! Starting next week!

Jun 5, 2014 Madison, WI – Wisco
Jun 6, 2014 Detroit, MI – Trumbullplex
Jun 7, 2014 Altoona, PA – Pellegrin’s
Jun 8, 2014 Buffalo, NY – TBA
Jun 9, 2014 Burlington, VT – Nectars (Metal Mondays)
Jun 10, 2014 Boston, MA – O’ Brien’s
Jun 12, 2014 Worcester, MA – Ralph’s Rock Diner
Jun 13, 2014 New Haven, CT – Three Sheets
Jun 14, 2014 New York, NY – Northside Festival
Jun 15, 2014 Atlantic City, NJ – The Boneyard
Jun 16, 2014 Philadelphia, PA – J.R.’s
Jun 17, 2014 Columbus, OH – Cafe Bourbon St.
Jun 18, 2014 Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
Jun 19, 2014 Dayton, OH – Blind Bob’s
Jun 20, 2014 Cincinnati, OH – Mainstay Rock Bar
Jun 21, 2014 Chicago, IL – Grand Bar

https://www.facebook.com/devilleband
https://www.deville.nu
https://www.reverbnation/devilleband
https://www.youtube.com/devilleband
http://smallstone.com/

Deville, “The Knife” official video

Tags: , , ,

Mamont Remember the Good Times in “Airborne” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

And by “remember the good times” I mean like two months ago. Heavy rocking Swedish four-piece Mamont set out in February on a tour of Spain, and as they get ready to release their new EP, The Valleys Below, tomorrow through Ozium, Napalm Records and Bilocation Records – all different editions and limited numbers and so on — they’ve culled footage from that Spanish run and put it together as a video for the EP leadoff track, “Airborne.”

As previously noted, Mamont are headed out once again for a round of shows with Mud Walk, the tour having expanded to just under two weeks throughout Europe. The two bands teamed up last fall as well, so are well acquainted, and Mamont are also gearing up for their next full-length and the follow-up to 2012′s Passing through the Mastery Door (review here), so maybe they’ll come back with enough footage from these shows to put together another video for a song from that once the next record is put to tape.

Whether that’s how it plays out remains to be seen, but until then, “Airborne” looks like a good time:

Mamont, “Airborne” official video

Official music video for the song Airborne. From Mamont’s EP “The Valleys Below” (2014).

TRACKS
1. Airborne
2. Miranda
3. No Pills, No Power
4. Nebula VII
5. Morning Star

Footage from Mamont’s Spanish Tour (Feb-Mar 2014). Edited by Karl Adolfsson

We’ll hit the road once again with our lovely friends in Mud Walk! Looking forward to see you guys out there!

Tour dates:
May 09 – THE TIVOLI, Helsingborg (SE)
May 10 – UNGDOMSHUSET, Copenhagen (D)
May 11 – JÄGERKLAUSE, Berlin (DE)
May 13 – KLUB 007 STRAHOV, Prague (CZ)
May 14 – KULTURBAHNHOF, Jena (DE)
May 15 – DE ONDERBROEK, Nijmegen (NL)
May 16 – LE KLUB, Paris (FR)
May 17 – CRUMBLE FEST, Nantes (FR)
May 19 – ROCAS, Luxembourg (LUX)
May 21 – HEMGÅRDEN, Lund (SE)

Mamont on Thee Facebooks

Mamont at Napalm Records

Mamont at Kozmik Artifactz

Mamont at Ozium Records

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus Debut “Wind Seized” Video & Stream New Album in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk, Bootleg Theater on April 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, “Wind Seized” official video

If you’re not yet friendly with the early-onset heavy psych sprawl of Swedish youngins Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, chances are that by the time you make your way through their video for the song “Wind Seized,” you will be. Tomorrow marks the release of the Stockholm four-piece’s Small Stone label debut (third album overall), Spirit Knife, which follows the 2011 Transubstans release and recent Small Stone reissue, Bloom, in setting a dynamic, flowing course throughout its 59-minute run and across eight tracks that run a gamut of updated classic influences. Cuts like “Point Growth” delve into sweet, wide-open, Cream-style psychedelic blues, distinguished immediately through the use of organ, while elsewhere, “Sworn Collision” takes “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” head-on to a place no less endearing for its relative minimalism.

The key to the album, though, is immersion. Much as one might look at the moniker Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus and feel lost within it before getting to the last syllable, so too does 10:37 opener “Fog by the Steep” prove encompassing, a languid, rolling groove demonstrating an underlying core of heavy rock that consistently works its way into and through the ensuing full-length as guitarist/vocalist Karl Apelmo, guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren and drummer Henke Persson — as well as guest organist Patrik Kolar, whose contributions aren’t to be forgotten — weave smoothly through atmospheres alternately rambunctious and serene, drawing rounded lines between so that Spirit Knife eases the listener along their path. A catchy shorter cut like “Wind Seized” (for which you can see the video above) retains its airy vibes, and likewise, the space-rocking finale title-track keeps its songwriting in focus even as its swirl seems to consume the album whole, and this balance between gives Spirit Knife not just a sense of consciousness, but of accomplishment as well, the band offering old Zeppelin-style soul in “Clang” and carving their identity in passages in the dream-echoes of “Deep Hardened Woods.”

I won’t lie: Spirit Knife surprised the living hell out of me the first time I heard it. Not just because the band is relatively few in years, but because it’s an hour long and they seem to have no trouble holding it together for that stretch. The closing duo of “Point Growth” and “Spirit Knife” provide both apex and post-script, and in the fullness of their sound, the scope of their influences and the edge of individuality they bring to them, Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus are every bit worth the investment of time and attention. You might notice Small Stone has the record up on its Bandcamp page, but given the opportunity ahead of the release date — which is tomorrow, April 29 — the chance to feature it here in full alongside the premiere of the “Wind Seized” video wasn’t something I was going to pass up. Please feel free to dig in below, and enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus release Spirit Knife April 29 on Small Stone Records. The album was recorded and mixed by Viktor Källgren at Puch Studios in Stockholm and mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio in Ann Arbor, MI. The band have the following live dates booked:

08.05.2014 Insikten, Jönköping (S)
09.05.2014 Hagenbusch, Marl (D)
10.05.2014 Alte Molkerei, Bocholt (D)
07.06.2014 Pustervik, Göteborg (S)

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus on Thee Facebooks

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus’ website

Spirit Knife at Small Stone’s Bandcamp

Small Stone Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Greenleaf, Trails and Passes: To be Always Climbing

Posted in Reviews on April 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

With their fifth album, Trails and Passes, Swedish heavy rockers Greenleaf hit reset — and not for the first time. After the grandiose feel of 2012′s Nest of Vipers (review here), the one-time side-project of Borlänge-based Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa parted ways with the bulk of its lineup, including vocalist Oskar Cedermalm (also Truckfighters), guitarist Johan Rockner (also Dozer) and drummer Olle Mårthans (also Dozer). That would be enough change for any band to go through in two years’ time, but Trails and Passes (released by Small Stone) also marks a considerable turn in methodology, and where Greenleaf formerly played host to numerous guest appearances from countrymen luminaries like Lowrider vocalist Peder Bergstrand (who also sang on the initial Greenleaf EP back in 2000; someday it will be mine), Dozer guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin (who also sang on the first two Greenleaf full-lengths, 2001′s Revolution Rock and 2003′s Secret Alphabets), organist Per Wiberg (formerly of Opeth and now in Spiritual Beggars) and others, this time around, it’s a four-piece band and that’s it. You get guitar, bass, vocals and drums. Simple, and more to the point, tour-able. For Greenleaf to hit the road before would’ve required a family band, but with the inclusion of new vocalist Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson, the band sounds ready to bring this material to a live setting and capture its rawer appeal in full force. Whether or not the album was produced with the intent of Greenleaf shifting into being a harder-touring act, I don’t know – Dozer‘s hiatus seems to be ongoing, so it’s easy to imagine Holappa getting the itch — but it works out that way anyhow. There are some more complex vocal arrangements on songs like “Depth of the Sun” and the title-track, but on the whole, Trails and Passes feels more stage-primed than anything Greenleaf has produced in over a decade.

Of course, while there are no shortage of changes at hand with the nine-track/42-minute run of Trails and Passes, there’s plenty of continuity as well. As with Nest of Vipers, instrumental recording for Trails and Passes was helmed by former Greenleaf, former Demon Cleaner and current The Old Wind drummer Karl Daniel Lidén, and the partnership between Holappa and bassist/co-founder Bengt Bäcke remains central to the course of this material. One need hear only the interplay of guitar and bass on the later cut “The Drum” to get a sense of the pervasive chemistry between them. Some of Jonsson‘s vocals come in a style not so dissimilar from Cedermalm‘s, particularly on tracks like “Ocean Deep” and “Equators,” and Holappa‘s songwriting also makes for a consistent factor tying Trails and Passes to Greenleaf‘s prior work. The guitarist is one of heavy rock’s finest craftsmen — period — and cuts like those already mentioned as well as the hook-minded opener “Our Mother Ash,” the funk-via-Clutch‘s-”Profits-of-Doom” of “Humans” and the eight-minute exploratory build of “With Eyes Wide Open” serve all the more as a showcase for songwriting with the relative lack of frills surrounding. Trails and Passes emerges as an album that’s exceedingly easy to listen to on repeat. “Our Mother Ash” and “Ocean Deep” set up a series of tradeoffs between straight-ahead rockers and more contemplative material that continues until “Trails and Passes” caps with a blend of the airier elements at work on “Depth of the Sun,” “With Eyes Wide Open” and “Bound to be Machines” and the irresistible push of the cowbell-infused “Equators” (on which both Lidén‘s production and Olsson‘s creative fills are distinguished) and the have-chorus-will-travel “The Drum,” Bäcke serving as the foundation for a finale worthy both of Greenleaf‘s past efforts and the considerable achievements of their current incarnation.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,

Deville Run the Edge in “The Knife” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Following up on a Heavy Psych Sounds reissue of their 2007 Come Heavy Sleep debut, Swedish heavy rockers Deville have a new video for the song “The Knife.” The track comes from the Malmö four-piece’s 2013 full-length, Hydra (review here), which was also their first release on Small Stone Records. As timing would have it, Deville head out on a European tour this week, having finalized the dates at the start of April, and “The Knife” makes a solid argument for showing up to see them if you happen to be in that part of the world. One doubts they’ll be playing on top of a giant guitar or that there will be huge spinning blades — probably for the best — but as Deville stand in a fine tradition of their country’s heavy rock without bowing to the retro pressures of the current scene, they only make themselves more individualized for their efforts.

Between that conceptual appeal and the actual fruit of Deville‘s songwriting, it doesn’t seem like a way to lose out. “The Knife” was among the most memorable cuts on Hydra, so whether you caught wind of the album or not last year, it’ll be worth either the refresher or the initial exposure to check it out. Rock and roll:

Deville, “The Knife” official video

Music video by Deville performing The Knife.
Taken from the album “Hydra” Small Stone Records 2013.
Directed by: Henrik Christoffersson
Filmed by: Henrik Christoffersson & Peter Tarpgaard
Edited by: Henrik Christoffersson

Europe spring tour is up! New dates added!

25/4 GER Duesseldorf-Pitcher
26/04 CH Lugano TI/STREET/ART Festival
27/04 IT Pescara-Orange Rock Cafè
28/04 IT Roma-Sinister Noise
29/04 IT Santa Croce Sull’ Arno-Rock City
30/04 IT Montecchio Maggiore-E20
01/05 IT Piacenza-Cuncertass Festival
01/05 IT Seregno-Sala Malasangre
02/05 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum
03/05 IT Torino-Cafè Liber
04/05 FRA Lyon-Le Moko
05/05 FRA Draguignan-Bucephale
06/05 IT Padova-Sotterranei
07/05 FRA Besanqon-Les passagers du Zinc
08/05 BEL Hasselt-Carpe Diem
09/05 GER Munster-Rare Guitar
10/05 GER Berlin-Jaegerklause

Deville on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

Heavy Psych Sounds’ Bandcamp

Tags: , , , ,

On Wax: Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Live at Roadburn 2011

Posted in On Wax on April 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As somebody who was in that room when it happened, I don’t so much want to listen to this vinyl as build an altar to its graces. It was Candlemass‘ 25th anniversary show at Roadburn 2011, celebrating a quarter-century since the release of the seminal Swedish doomers’ debut, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. To mark the occasion, they reunited for the first time with original signer Johan Längquist, who had never really even played with the band or done much more with them than sing on that record, and I tell you in all honesty, it was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen a band — any band — play, at Roadburn or otherwise. The Main Stage room at the 013 in Tilburg was jammed with people waiting to see what was billed as an early headlining set. Candlemass was the first act to go on that day, and they had originally been scheduled to appear in 2010, but for the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption and subsequent disrupting of European airspace. So there they were, a year after the fact, fronted by Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus and running through a string of hits, when Lowe takes a bow and moves off stage to make room for the arrival of Längquist.

Svart has done the moment justice on this 2LP set. It is a gatefold, limited to 800 copies — 400 black, 400 white — thick stock package and vinyl, three sides of music with side D an etching of the LP art, interpreted from the original Epicus cover by Erik Rovanperä. In look and in sound, it is a reverential artifact of that set. Two songs appear on each of the three sides, with the recordings helmed by Astrosoniq drummer and habitual captor of Roadburns Marcel van de Vondervoort as well as Robi de Lorijn, running in the standard album order, and live photos are included from in front of the stage, the band donating brief quotes of memories about playing along the bottom of the gatefold, bassist and principle songwriter Leif Edling going so far as to remark that he hopes one day to release a DVD of the performance as well. I wouldn’t mind that either. Looking at it on paper beforehand, it had seemed questionable whether Längquist, who hadn’t performed with Candlemass in so long, would be able not just to pull off the material, but match presence and fit with the rest of the band — Edling, guitarists Lars Johansson and Mats “Mappe” Björkman and drummer Jan Lindh — and by the time they hit the first chorus of “Solitude,” it was clear there was no issue.

Obviously those questions are long-since answered, but to hear that version of “Solitude,” as well as “Demon’s Gate,” “Crystal Ball,” “Black Stone Wielder,” “Under the Oak” and “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” — each a classic, each essential — so clearly and crisply on this vinyl only underscores how righteously Längquist stood in for the performance. It wasn’t just special, it was also good. Of course, 25 years later, the voice changes, and the highs in “Solitude” were left there in favor of something more attainable, but Längquist‘s voice had power enough not just to step in for Lowe, but to own those songs, which other singers had been working to make their own for over two decades. By the time I get to trading out the first LP for the second to hear them close out with “Under the Oak” and “A Sorcerer’s Pledge,” the little differences between the studio versions and the live ones stand out, how Johansson tackles the solos, the pacing differences, etc., and in both spirit and presentation, it’s Candlemass playing arguably their most classic outing, front to back, celebrating their legacy in what if I’m not mistaken has been a one-time-only fashion — that is, I don’t think they’ve done it again since. Whether you saw it or not, what doomed soul wouldn’t want to bear witness to such a thing?

Edling better get moving on that DVD.

Candlemass, “Under the Oak” Live at Roadburn 2011

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Live at Roadburn 2011 at Burning World Records

Tags: , , , , , ,