First Video of New Vista Chino Song Surfaces

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In one of the last shows they’ll play under the Kyuss Lives! moniker, Vista Chino joined forces with Orange Goblin and Red Fang (god damn that’s a good show) at the Metro in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 27. All three bands and many others are down that way for the massive Soundwave festival, and Vista Chino closed their pre-encore set with — wait for it — a new song. The title is either “Dragona” or “Gakona,” but likely it’ll be something else entirely by the time their new album streets, so it probably doesn’t matter yet anyway. Joining drummer Brant Bjork, guitarist Bruno Fevery and vocalist John Garcia was C.O.C.‘s Mike Dean on bass.

Here’s their full setlist:

One Inch Man
Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop
Green Machine
Freedom Run
El Rodeo

Allen’s Wrench

I know I already closed out the week, and I hope if this isn’t actually the first video of new Vista Chino someone will correct me, but seeing this, it was too cool not to post. The video’s a little rough (shot on an iPhone), but it should still be enough to give a general idea until something a little cleaner surfaces, which it’s bound to do. Till then, dig you some of this:

Vista Chino, “Dragona” Live in Sydney, Feb. 27, 2013

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On the Radar: AVER

Posted in On the Radar on July 27th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Priding themselves on their genre-blending approach, all-caps double-guitar Aussie four-piece AVER start off psychedelic on their self-titled, self-released full-length. Don’t be fooled, though: it’s not long before they’re kicking into some riff-driven grunge, vocalist/guitarist Burdt digging in deep and coming out with Nirvana-style vocals and the occasional well-placed scream. The sound resulting is vaguely stoner — if the first Snail album was, anyway — and cuts like “Real Eyes” set the varying elements of their sound directly against each other without coming off like an indiscernible mash.

The moody “Retreat to Space” is underscored by far-back drumming and ambient guitar lines before picking up into one of AVER‘s more potent grooves, and the payoff in the later “Stoneage Wasteland” proves to be worth the wait of the build prior. Their ’90s feel might be the most cohesive element in AVER‘s sound — right down to the mostly-unplugged closer “Phantom Limb” — since everything else they do comes across as building off that, but the blend is most definitely their own, and as a fan of rock from corners of the planet far from my own, it was a thrill to have them reach out and ask me to take a listen.

And since I’m digging their tunes this afternoon, I thought you might as well. They have some songs streaming on their Thee Facebooks page, but I hit up their Soundcloud and came back with this:

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Buried Treasure Gets Trampled by Buffalo

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wow. I guess if you don’t read this site regularly, that headline makes no fucking sense whatsoever. So be it. Mysterious headlines are totally tr00 kvlt.

Aussie rockers Buffalo issued one of the great underground classics of the heavy ’70s in the form of 1973’s Volcanic Rock. They were never huge in their day, they put out a couple records and lost members, put out a couple more records, and then broke up. Pretty much the story of every band ever. But if you’re a fan of early Black Sabbath and you don’t check out Volcanic Rock, you’re missing out.

It’s another one of those records that I’d had my eye on for what feels like an eternity before I finally gave in and picked it up from eBay. The version I got — a silver-disc in a full jewel case with professionally printed artwork — is nonetheless almost certainly a bootleg. There’s no label information on any of the art, but the disc says “SM The CD Label” and lists its country of origin as West Germany. Cold War boots. Awesome.

Whatever. Unlike every other edition of Volcanic Rock I could find in the wide intertubular expanse, this one was reasonably priced, so no regrets. It’s hard to pick a favorite track among the five killer bluesy, heavy riffing cuts, but I think “Freedom” might just be it. The bassline is too awesome to go ignored, and though opener “Sunrise (Come My Way)” is catchy, the preaching in “The Prophet” is top notch and the riff from “Shylock” is so “Symptom of the Universe” it makes my head want to explode that I didn’t buy this record sooner, there’s a doomed groove to “Freedom” that trumps all.

In the long run, Buffalo‘s second album is probably more known for its artwork — the skull-faced androgyne on top of a lava-menstruating volcano holding aloft a penis-shaped rock — than the music itself, but these songs flat-out rule. I’m glad as hell that I didn’t make a heavy ’70s podcast before picking this one up. Good shit, highly recommended for riff historians and those who, like me, weren’t there the first time around.

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On the Radar: Adrift for Days

Posted in On the Radar on October 6th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

My fascination with Aussie stoner and doom continues with the discovery of Adrift for Days, an unsigned doom/psychedelic blues five-piece from Sydney, whose debut album, The Lunar Maria, was released in August. The album is reportedly seven tracks/71 minutes long, and if the couple of songs the band has posted on their MySpace are any indication, it’s no small wonder. “Bury all That’s Chosen” alone is over 15 minutes, and it hardly feels like the band are stretching it on purpose to hit that mark. Seems like business as usual, in other words.

Going by “Bury all That’s Chosen” and the much shorter “The Leech” (a meager 4:59), what Adrift for Days excel at are the quiet, creepy moments of doom, the lone guitar ba-domp, ba-domps. They get a lot of their bluesy feel from that, Ron Prince and the aptly-monikered Lachlan R. Doomsdale handling riffs and solos throughout while the well-balanced bass of Matt Williams — I always feel like the bass never makes it through MySpace‘s audio compression, so to actually hear it is nice — and drums of Steve Kachoyan provide solid rhythmic foundation.

Mick Kaslik‘s vocals have some of that Anselmo/Down “hey whoa momma yeah” inflection that an entire generation of heavy singers seems to have adopted, but he changes it up on “Bury all That’s Chosen” with some Al Cisneros-style monotone that offsets the rest of the song well, and on “The Leech” there’s even a couple screams layered in, so he’s by no means limited to one approach.

Adrift for Days could just as easily be from Maryland as Australia, and with lumbering grooves and a capable showing of melody, they’ve managed to make a good case with these two tracks for keeping them on the radar. I’m sure they also made a few friends this past weekend when they played with Acid King, Pod People and others at the Doomsday Festival in their hometown, and I can only say I wish I’d been there to see it. Doom on, gentlemen.

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The Dolly Rocker Movement: Tyme is on Their Side

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

If 1964 was 1968, if Sydney, Australia, was San Francisco, CA and if life was half scored by Strawberry Alarm Clock and half scored by Ennio Morricone, Aussie five-piece outfit The Dolly Rocker Movement would fit right in. However, since none of those conditions are met by existence as we know it (the former being impossible according to the laws of physics), the band’s unique blend of pop rock, bright-hued psychedelia and occasional flourishes of spaghetti western atmospherics is individual enough to make their third album, Our Days Mind the Tyme (Bad Afro), memorable beyond its songs.

I say “if 1964 was 1968” because tunes like “Our Brave New World” and the acoustic-led waltz “A Sound for Two” have an innocent sweetness to them prevalent in A Hard Days Night-era British invasion rock that was lost by the time the sultry lysergisms of late-‘60s hippie rock took over, despite the fact that the keys of Martin Walters inevitably aligns The Dolly Rocker Movement with the latter musically. And although Our Days Mind the Tyme is unquestionably a work of psychedelic rock, its pop sensibility and lack of outward heaviness make it an accessible, friendly album that capitalizes on a retro ideology without overdoing any single aspect of the era it’s emulating. Guitarist Dandy Lyon’s vocals, in sometime trade-off with a female vocalist, as on “Coffin Love,” only enhance the retro atmosphere, calling to mind visions of orange bellbottoms and paisley bandannas the likes of which simply aren’t found in the world as we know it in the 21st Century.

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Right to the Point of Arrowhead

Posted in Reviews on February 18th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I like newbie bands. I like bands who come out of nowhere, release their own stuff and play music because they love to do it. That’s how the genre grows. I don’t get nearly as psyched about some band putting out their eighth record in 12 years, who haven’t done anything to change their sound for half their career and are just pumping out formulaic songs, as I do about getting a hold of a new demo from a group I’ve never heard before, whose approach is still growing, who maybe haven’t even figured out how they want to sound yet. That’s exciting, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. A song could go anywhere, and even if it doesn’t most of the time, giving it a shot is usually worth the gamble.

In the case of Sydney, Australia’s Arrowhead, who are a novelty right off the bat because of their locale, a self-titled, self-released demo EP is their first excursion into recording. The band formed in 2008, and the four tracks on the CD are over in just under 16 minutes (and all streaming on the Arrowhead MySpace), with few extra frills or niceties. To cap their sound in a word, I’d probably choose “Dozer,” but it’s clear from listening to “Mayflower,” “Edge of the Earth,” “Sorceress” and “Liquid in Motion” that the trio are still finding their way. The closer takes Kyuss’ “One Inch Man” guitar rhythm to a spacier, semi-psych space, while “Mayflower” and “Sorceress” provide straight-ahead riff and roll for those who can’t get enough of it. On “Edge of the Earth,” they get a little heavier (a little more new Dozer than old Dozer, if you catch my meaning), and that track proves to be the highlight of Arrowhead, even if the vocals are a bit high in the mix and cut through probably more than they should.

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