30 Before ’15: Records Not to Miss Before the New Year Hits

Posted in Features on July 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I made this. (Etching by Jacob Strutt 1824)

Before I even start, let’s get one thing out of the way. I want a new Sleep album too. My not including them on this list isn’t due to the fact that I don’t think a new Sleep album is a good idea, but just because I haven’t seen anything about it being recorded or released in the next five-plus months. If it hits on Jan. 1, 2015, I’ll be the happiest Baby New Year you ever saw, but that’s a different list altogether.

Ditto that Om and High on Fire. The latter were writing as of May, and I know Om did some recording way back in January, but I’ve yet to see solid word of new records at all, let alone before the end of the year. Either or both or all three may happen, but until I see some hint of it, all I can go on is the info I can find.

Seriously though, how badass would it be if all three put out albums before the New Year? That excitement is kind of what this list is about. Some of these records I’ve heard, but most I haven’t, so it’s just basic speculation about what I think could be some of the best releases in the next couple months. You’ll note that while there are plenty of dates TBA, nothing listed arrives in November, so as 2014 winds down, there’s bound to be even more quality stuff than appears here.

In fact, I struggled to take things out to get it down to 30. And it still goes to 31! I figured no one would mind. They’re numbered, but the list is in alphabetical order.

If I left something out you’re dying to hear, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks in advance for reading:

 

1. Alunah, TBA (Sept.)

Thee band Alunah. I've used this picture A LOT.
Birmingham’s Alunah, like several others below, are a holdover from the Most Anticipated Albums list back at the start of the year. The difference between now and then is that, while its title still hasn’t been revealed so far as I know, their Napalm Records debut has been recorded, mixed and mastered, the latter by Tony Reed, the former by Greg Chandler of Esoteric, and given a September release date. Two years after Alunah made riffy doom sound easy on their sophomore outing, White Hoarhound (review here), I look forward to hearing how they’ve grown and shifted in their approach to warm-sounding tones and memorable hooks. They’ve set a pretty high standard for themselves. Alunah on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

2. Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (Oct.)

Dudes.
These guys. I don’t mind telling you it was a thrill when Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude were announced as having signed to Cruz del Sur to release their third album, Of Woe and Wounds, this fall. Their second outing, 2010′s Last Sunrise (review here), didn’t get the attention it deserved, but the handful of songs they’ve made public since have shown much promise, and as the first Apostle of Solitude full-length to feature guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (also Devil to Pay) in harmony with guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown — the band is completed by bassist Dan Davidson and drummer Corey Webb — this is definitely going to make for a doomly autumn. Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks, Cruz del Sur Music.

3. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance (Aug. 26)

Cartoon Darryl coming soon to Adult Swim. (Art by Alexander von Wieding).
Recorded late last year at Amps vs. Ohms in Boston, the third album from Maple Forum alum Blackwolfgoat — the prog-drone alter ego of guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, Black Pyramid, The Scimitar, Roadsaw, etc.) — is the project’s most expansive outing yet, and it seems Shepard is moving more in a song-based direction, rather than some of the building loops of the past two offerings. Of course, there will be plenty of those as well, but watch out for some acoustic guitar, and deep-in-the-mix vocals, as they could easily hint of things to come. Or Darryl could turn it on its head and do a calypso record. Either way, I’m on board with no pretense of impartiality. Blackwolfgoat on Bandcamp, Small Stone’s Bandcamp.

4. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (Aug. 5)

Lot of this lately.
The much-heralded Swedish/French/American psych-blues conglomeration Blues Pills will make their self-titled debut (short review here) next month, and while it’s probably going to be a bigger deal in Europe than in the States — at least until Nuclear Blast brings them over here for a tour, then the country is going to go apeshit for them — the songwriting and soulful execution of their tracks justifies the hype. There’s a bit of retro posturing to what they do, some Graveyard shuffle (it feels inevitable at this point with a ’70s-influenced band), but the grooves are easy to dig into and the potential is basically limitless for where they want to go. It’s scary to keep in mind, but this is just the beginning. Blues Pills on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast.

5. Bongripper, Miserable (July 7)

Frickin' Bongripper.
You may notice something strange about the date above for a list of upcoming albums in that July 7 was yesterday. Well, Chicago’s Bongripper posted their new three-track full-length monster Miserable on their Bandcamp for stream and download ahead of the vinyl’s arrival, and it was just too righteous to leave out. Those seeking landmark riffing need look no further than the 19-minute centerpiece “Descent,” which meters out stomp enough that future “scientists” will study its footprint, and closer “Into Ruin” (28:25) is guaranteed to be the heaviest half-hour you’ll spend today. Miserable feels like a no-brainer, but maybe that’s just because Bongripper have such a propensity for pounding skulls into mush. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, Miserable on Bandcamp.

6. Botanist, VI: Flora (Aug. 11)

Neato.
I feel like I missed a couple numbers from San Francisco-based environmentalist black metal unit Botanist along the way, but they’ll nonetheless issue VI: Flora on The Flenser next month, furthering their marriage of destruction and beauty and insistent percussive expression. The spaces Botanist — a one-man project from Robert Martinelli — create feel ritualistic without the dramatic posturing that pervades much of the genre, and sound, somewhere between raging and mournful, is hypnotic. Whatever your expectation might be, Martinelli seems pleased to use it to their advantage, and ultimately, defy it. Post-human, hammered dulcimer-laden black metal. It would be harder for Botanist to not be unique. Botanist on Thee Facebooks, The Flenser.

7. Brant Bjork, TBA (TBA)

Mr. Bjork, recording.
When Brant Bjork‘s next album might show up, I don’t know. I know he’s signed to Napalm, and I know the photo above was snapped as he finished some vocals before going on tour with his Low Desert Punk band that includes guitarist Bubba DuPree, bassist Dave Dinsmore and drummer Tony Tornay, but whether or not the album they made is the funk-inspired Jakoozi that’s been in the offing for a while, or another collection of songs, and if Napalm will get it out before the end of the year remain a mystery. I do find it interesting that for his first “solo” outing post-Vista Chino (that band being on hiatus), Bjork has assembled a new band to work with rather than record multiple instruments himself, but no matter who’s involved, when it’s Brant Bjork writing the songs, it’s gonna be high rock from the low desert. Can’t wait to dig into whatever comes. Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

8. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (Sept.)

Erf.
The headline for Earth‘s new album is it’s the one where they experimented with vocalists. And hey, if you’re going to toy around with the idea, you might as well get Mark Lanegan involved. The former Screaming Trees frontman is one of several singers appearing on Primitive and Deadly, due in September on Southern Lord, and it would appear that Earth‘s sound — always evolving, always somehow changing — is about to take another considerable turn. Fortunately, the Seattle band, led by guitarist Dylan Carlson and now approaching their 25th year, have long since proven worthy of trusting with their own direction. Earth will never be huge, by the simple nature of what they do, but their influence resounds and the quality of their output is unmatched. Earth on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.

9. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (Sept.)

Art by Jus Oborn.
“Wake up baby/It’s time to die.” So goes the title-track hook of Electric Wizard‘s new album and Spinefarm Records debut, Time to Die. As ever, it’s simple, hateful, drenched-in-fuzz misanthropy, and Electric Wizard revel in it accordingly. Their witchcult continues to grow in their native UK and abroad, and while their last two records have divided some listeners, they’ve invariably gained more ground than they’ve lost. A legal dispute with Rise Above finds them on the new label, and if there’s even the slightest chance that change will bring them to the US for a tour, I’ll take it. Expect 66 minutes of glorious filth. Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks, Spinefarm Records.

10. Fever Dog, Second Wind (TBA)

I cropped it.
Palm Desert youngsters Fever Dog have been kicking around the last few years finding their sound in varying elements of heavy rock and psychedelic experimentation. Most recently, they impressed with the single “Iroquois” (review here) taken from their new album Second Wind, and in looking forward to the full-length, I’m eager to learn how their style has solidified and what sort of vibes they conjure over its course. They’ve shown plenty of propensity for jamming in their prior work, so hopefully there’s a bit of that on hand as well. I’ve said before they’re a trio of marked potential, and nothing I’ve yet heard has dissuaded me from that impression. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.

11. Goat, Commune (Sept. 23)

Okey dokey.
Somehow, a band from Sweden who dress up in tribal costumes (problematic) and play Afrobeat psychedelia became a very, very big deal. I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to, and I won’t try, but I know that when Sub Pop releases Goat‘s second album, Commune, it’s going to be to a flurry of hype and heaps of critical fawning. It would be tempting to call Goat a novelty act, but their 2012 debut, World Music (discussed here), showcased a legitimately creative musical approach to go with the visual aspects of their presentation, and I find the fact that I have no idea what to expect from Commune to be refreshing. Goat on Thee Facebooks, Sub Pop Records.

12. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren (Aug. 11)

I guess the bearded brethren forgot their shirts.
UK heavy rockers Grifter will make a welcome resurgence on Ripple Music with The Return of the Bearded Brethren, an album that builds on the straightforward, catchy sounds of their 2011 self-titled label debut (review here) and takes their infectiousness to new places lyrically, such as exploring issues of aging via an ode to Princess Leia from Star Wars. That particular brand of humor and is writ large on Grifter‘s second Ripple outing, and the trio set to work refining their take without losing the engaging feel of their self-titled. It feels like a long three years since that record hit, and I’ll be glad to have a follow-up in-hand. Grifter on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.

13. Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future (TBA)

Aaaaaaaart.
Unclear at this point whether Boston outfits Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz collaborated on New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future, or if it’s a split. Either way, the prolific acts make a sound pairing. Both are vehemently creative and exploratory, psychedelic and progressive each in their way, and if what’s presumably a single finds them working together, all the better, but even if not, new material from either is nothing to balk at, particularly when topped off by such gorgeous artwork. Neither act is ever long from putting something out, so to have them come together one way or another makes a weird brand of sense, which I’m relatively sure the songs will as well. Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks, Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks.

14. Ides of Gemini, Old World New Wave (Sept. 16)

Will make a good tape.
Ides of Gemini‘s 2012 Neurot Recordings debut, Constantinople (discussed here), established the three-piece as freely inhabiting either side of the imaginary line between ambience and heaviness, J. Bennett and Kelly Johnston providing sometimes minimal, sometimes consuming foundations for vocalist Sera Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman, also Black Mare) to cast ethereal melodies. What Old World New Wave will hold sound-wise, I don’t yet know, but Ides of Gemini‘s otherworldly resonance and ultra-patient approach makes it well worth finding out. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

15. John Gallow, Violet Dreams (Aug. 4)

Art by Costin Chioreanu.
Frontman of Blizaro and Orodruin guitarist John James Gallo adds a ‘w’ to his last name and steps out solo on the I, Voidhanger Records release, Violet Dreams, the title hinting at some of his on-his-sleeve affinity for Italian psych-doom master Paul Chain and Swedish legends Candlemass. Gallo‘s work in Blizaro has a tendency to lean toward the progressive and cinematic, but as John Gallow, the focus is more on classic doom riffing and darkened metallurgy. As one would expect, he’s well in his element on the hour-long album, and I hope he decides to call the next one Ancient Theatre. Also note the incredible artwork of Costin Chioreanu. John Gallo on Thee Facebooks, I, Voidhanger Records.

16. John Garcia, John Garcia (Aug. 5)

Are there rams in the desert?
A long-discussed solo debut for the former Kyuss frontman following a stint alongside Brant Bjork in Vista Chino, John Garcia‘s John Garcia (review here) finds the singer right in his comfort zone, topping desert rock riffs with his trademark guttural vocals. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’d trade a second Vista Chino outing for it if given the choice — that band seemed to be on course for a sound of its own, separate from Kyuss‘ legacy, and that struck me as worth pursuing — but these songs have a similar enough production style that it’s easy to think of the one as an offshoot of the other, and of course Garcia calls his shots well throughout. John Garcia on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

17. King Buffalo, TBA (TBA)

Pretty sure this is a t-shirt design.
Including King Buffalo here was pretty speculative on my part, but I dig the Rochester, NY, outfit and didn’t want to leave the prospect of their STB Records debut long-player out. It probably won’t land until 2015 — the future! — but their demo (review here) still gets regular plays around these parts, and I’m very much looking forward to catching them with similarly-minded Nashville blues rockers All Them Witches when they tour together next month. Whatever King Buffalo‘s recording/release plans might be, they’re definitely one to keep an eye on in the back half of this year. King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks, STB Records.

18. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy (TBA)

Kangs Deestroy.
Love these guys, love this band. I make no bones about it. Their third record, self-titled and produced as the last two were by Sanford Parker, is as close as they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound, and while they’ve yet to nail down an exact release date, they have a couple very cool tours in the works for this fall, including dates next month with Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger, that will make a fitting lead-in to their best outing yet. I’ve heard this and had the chance to see some of the material live, and they’ve outdone themselves again, which, considering the esteem in which I continue to hold their 2013 sophomore full-length, A Time of Hunting, is really saying something. Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.

19. The Kings of Frog Island, V (Fall)

Thee ol KOFI.
Easily one of the LPs I’m most eager to hear over the next few months, and specifically on vinyl. The Kings of Frog Island have shown themselves to be so dedicated to the format that their early-2013 album, IV (review here), was presented as two bundled sides even digitally. They recently gave a taste of what their fifth album will in-part hold via a video for “Sunburn” and I’m told more jamminess ensues elsewhere to complement that track’s easygoing flow and platter-ready hook. All the better. The Kings of Frog Island on Thee Facebooks, The Kings of Frog Island on YouTube.

20. Lonely Kamel, Shit City (Sept. 9)

But that's not the way it happened.
I’d be lying if I said part of my immediate interest in Oslo heavy rockers Lonely Kamel‘s fourth record wasn’t due to the cheeky title, but it’s been three years since the Napalm Records four-piece released their last album, Dust (track stream here), and as they’ve put in plenty of road-time, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to go into this time around with elevated anticipation. I’m not sure you could get away with calling an album Shit City unless you meant business. Got my fingers crossed that’s precisely the case with Lonely Kamel. Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

21. Lo-Pan, Colossus (Oct. 7)

Nice. (Art by Jason Alexander Byers) (Oct. 7)
Fucking a. Doing the research for this list was the first I’d seen the Jason Alexander Byers cover art for Lo-Pan‘s fourth album, Colossus, or its Oct. 7 Small Stone release date. I haven’t heard the tracks yet — they recorded in Brooklyn back in March, and while I got 2012′s Salvador (review here) pretty early, the Columbus four-piece seem to be keeping a tighter lid on the follow-up — and I can’t help but feel like that’s my loss. Judging by what I’ve heard of the material live, Lo-Pan have dug further into their individual brand of riff-led soulful heavy, and I’ve got a high wager that a few months from now, Lo-Pan‘s latest will make an appearance on another list. More to come. Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

22. Novembers Doom, Bled White (July 15)

Pretty dark for something so white.
One of doom’s most fascinating and largely ignored progressions is that of Chicago melancholists Novembers Doom, who, when they started out 25 years ago, did so largely as a death metal band, and then moved on to pioneer an American interpretation of what’s commonly thought of as European doom, until, over their last several records, as they’ve started to move back to a more extreme, double-kick-drummed style. Bled White, on The End Records, continues along this path, but especially in the cleaner vocals of frontman Paul Kuhr there remain shades of the morose emotionality that typified what’s now become their mid-period doom idolatry. Unheralded, Novembers Doom keep exploring deeper, darker terrain. Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks, The End Records.

23. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (Aug. 19)

I requested a copy of this yesterday. A download. The email was ignored. Nice to be put in your place every now and again.
Foundations of Burden is unquestionably among the second half of 2014′s most anticipated albums. Arkansas-based doom four-piece Pallbearer will mark its release with extensive European and North American tours, and where their 2012 Profound Lore debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), came out and caught listeners off-guard with its unabashed emotional core, their sophomore outing finds them positioned at the forefront of American doom. Already the hype machine is rolling out the red carpet for the Billy Anderson-produced Foundations of Burden, but no one can say these guys haven’t put their work in, and the record is indeed one to look forward to. Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.

24. The Skull, TBA (TBA)

Thee Skulle.  (Photo by Ty Klingsick)
For The Skull to put out an album of original material is a unique challenge. Their earlier-2014 first single (stream/review here) found them standing up to it on the new song “Sometime Yesterday Mourning,” but at least half the point of the band since its inception has been to pay homage to legendary doomers Trouble, from whence vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson come. For their Tee Pee Records debut full-length — yet untitled and hopefully out before 2015 — it’ll be most interesting to see how guitarists Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) and Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) rise to the occasion of building off some of doom metal’s most celebrated tones. Fingers crossed on this one. The Skull on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

25. Snail, Feral (TBA)

Also not the album cover.
Nothing has been formally announced yet, but on Small Stone Records‘ website, they list Snail‘s Feral among their upcoming releases. It would make a suitable pairing, the West Coast riffers having previously worked with MeteorCity on their 2009 post-reunion outing, Blood (review here), prior to independently releasing 2012′s Terminus (review here), and Small Stone seems like a good home for their fourth overall record and return to form as a trio, which was their original incarnation before their original dissolution circa 1994. How they expand on the heavier crunch of Terminus remains even more a point of fascination, and surely their cult following will be glad to find out. I know I will. Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

26. Steak, Slab City (Sept. 9)

Comics and such.
After two strong EPs in 2012′s Disastronaught (review here) and 2013′s best-title-ever-boasting Corned Beef Colossus (review here), it’s time for London stoner rockers Steak to step up their game for their Napalm Records debut full-length. The four-piece headed to the Californian desert to record Slab City, and so it’s fair to think some of that atmosphere may have worked its way into the material. Would be an awfully long way to go, otherwise. In either case, Steak have showcased considerable songwriting chops already, now it’s just a matter of sustaining it for a full album’s runtime and keeping enough variety in their approach. I have no doubt they’re ready for this next step. Steak on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

27. Stubb, Cry of the Ocean (TBA)

Obviously not the cover, this is Tony Reed's mastering sheet.
It is with simple, unabashed warm feelings that I look forward to hearing Cry of the Ocean, the second long-player and Ripple Music debut from UK riffers Stubb. They’ve traded out drummers since 2012′s self-titled (review here), bringing aboard Tom Fyfe with guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland, but I’m excited to hear what changes and shifts in sound Cry of the Ocean might have in store to match its provocative title. Goes without saying the photo above isn’t the final artwork, but instead Tony Reed‘s mastering sheet from back in May when he worked on the tracks. No solid release date yet, but hopefully soon. Stubb on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.

28. Torche, TBA (TBA)

Rock. (Photo by Janette Valentine)
Torche‘s new album and Relapse Records debut was originally slated for the end of the summer. Given that no official word has come out about a title or anything like that and the members of the band have been busy with other projects, it seems unlikely as of now that they’ll hit that target, but after something of a break so frontman Steve Brooks could focus on the resurgent trio Floor, Torche are in fact getting going again, beginning with their first tour of Australia this fall. Maybe their LP will be out by the time they go and maybe it won’t, but word on the street is that whenever the thing arrives, it’s gonna be heavy, which I have no problem believing. Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

29. The Well, Monomyth (Late Summer)

Not the final art. At least I don't think it is. I guess it could be.
I’ve been waiting since the March announcement that Austin trio The Well signed with RidingEasy Records for further word of their debut full-length, Monomyth (pretty sure that’s not the cover above), but thus far to no avail. Their 2012 single, Seven (review here), was a repeat-listen thriller, and anticipation abounds for what sort of psychedelic garage riffing they’ll conjure up for the album itself. It’s been a couple months at this point, and maybe it’ll be 2015 before Monomyth gets out, but screw it, a boy can hope. The Well on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.

30. Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels (Sept.)

Not final cover art replaced with band photo.

Please note: The original cover art with this post was not final and has been replaced with the above band photo.

Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain have spent much of the two years following their 2012 third LP, Cauldron of the Wild (review here) on tour in the US and abroad, playing fests, headlining, supporting, but generally putting in a lot of time. As such, Mobile of Angels, which will be out on Svart in Europe and Profound Lore in North America, comes as the end product of a considerable touring cycle. Has all that gigging worn Witch Mountain into the ground, or will they rise above it with metal-loving doom-blues supremacy? They’ve got a vinyl-ready 38 minutes on tap for September and if they’ve ever been in a position to make their case, it’s now. Watch out for the killer sway in “Can’t Settle,” the title of which seems a fitting theme for the band. Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.

31. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (Sept. 2)

Well yeah. Duh. (Art by Orion Landau)
Yet again — as was the case back in January — alphabetical order forces me to end with YOB, whose seventh full-length and Neurot debut might just be my most anticipated of all on this list. The recently-unveiled Orion Landau cover speaks to a brooding sentiment, and from the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it to-date, the four-track album from the Eugene, Oregon, natives corresponds to its visual side in being a more aggressive push than was 2012′s Atma (review here), but also more exploratory and contemplative in its approach. Now statesmen in American doom and the forebears of a cosmic-minded sound, YOB stand ready to showcase a creative progression that has yet to find its end point. YOB on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

Other Notable Mentions

Just a couple of these I’d be remiss if I didn’t note. Some were carried over from earlier this year, others just come up along the way. Not sure on all the release dates, but these are worth keeping an ear out for:

Acid King — Were listed in January, but their record has a Feb. 2015 release date.

Bright Curse — Second album recorded at Skyhammer Studios.

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — My understanding is the album is done and they’re waiting to secure a label. Seems like a good occasion for Southern Lord to step forward, if not Profound Lore or Neurot.

Eggnogg — Not sure if it’s their full-length, You’re all Invited, or something else that’s coming, but whatever. More stoner-funk riffing needs to be had.

40 Watt Sun — There was some word of this early in the year, but nothing since.

Godflesh — Their first in 15 years, A World Lit Only by Fire, will be out Oct. 7. A fuckup not including them on the list proper.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space — Eagerly awaiting the Small Stone debut from this instrumental outfit, but it might be next year.

Karma to Burn — New album, Arch Stanton, out in August. I emailed for a review promo and never heard back. Always a great feeling.

Larman Clamor — Solo-project from Alexander von Wieding has a new one in the can, but I’m not sure on the release schedule.

Lowrider — They’re working on it, but don’t hold your breath to have it out by December.

The Machine — Kind of a slow year for Elektrohasch, but the new one from these Dutch fuzzers would be a nice way end up.

NachtmystiumCentury Media releases their final album, The World We Left Behind, on Aug. 5.

Orange Goblin — Seriously debated putting them on the list, since I know they’ve recorded, but they seem to be promoting a recent reissue of 2007′s Healing through Fire and their upcoming European tour with Saint Vitus rather than their new album, so unless news comes out about it like this week from Candlelight, I wouldn’t expect it until early in 2015.

Pink Floyd – Believe it when I see it, but I honestly couldn’t care less either way if I tried.

Ruby the Hatchet — Their full-length Tee Pee debut is due sometime in the next couple months.

Sun Voyager — Upstate NY youngsters had hinted at new recordings.

Again, if I forgot anything — and I’m sure I did — please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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Earthless Announce East Coast Dates with The Shrine; Jam with Heavy Blanket at Sleep’s Boston Show

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Primo jammers.

Well, my summer is pretty much fucking made. When I first saw the tour dates last night for Earthless‘ upcoming East Coast stopover with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Shrine, I was all bummed out that it was either going to be drive down to New York or Philly to see them or pretty much fuck off. Then today along comes the news that not only will Earthless play Boston, but they’ll open for Sleep on Aug. 24 jamming out with J. Mascis and Heavy Blanket, as in doing a full-fledged version of the Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket righteousness from Roadburn 2012 that’s just been released as the In a Dutch Haze vinyl (review here). I could not be more stoked for this show if I tried.

Dates and whatnot follow, but for me the takeaway is “Holy shit fucking Earthless and Sleep on the same night,” so keep that in mind:

Thee dates.

EARTHLESS and THE SHRINE to Team Up for August East Coast Live Dates

EARTHLESS and J Mascis’ HEAVY BLANKET to Combine, Open for SLEEP at Special Boston Show August 24!

Award-winning San Diego power rock band EARTHLESS has announced a string of August east coast live dates in support of its critically-championed new album, From the Ages. The space rock kings will be joined on the tour dates by California “Destroyers of Rock ‘N’ Roll” (and Tee Pee Records label mates) THE SHRINE. Confirmed performances include Washington, DC (Aug. 20), Philadelphia, PA (Aug. 21), NYC (Aug. 22) and Brooklyn, NY (Aug. 23).

In addition, EARTHLESS will join J Mascis’ HEAVY BLANKET for a special support slot with metal titans SLEEP in Boston on August 24. At the show, the respected musicians will look to re-create the much-talked-about magic they initially combined to create at the 2012 Roadburn Festival, a searing live performance that will now see release under the title EARTHLESS Meets HEAVY BLANKET In A Dutch Haze on July 8 via Outer Battery / Roadburn Records. In A Dutch Haze is available for pre-order purchase at this location.

EARTHLESS + THE SHRINE tour dates:
August 20 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel
August 21 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
August 22 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
August 23 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
August 24 Boston, MA House of Blues (* EARTHLESS Meets HEAVY BLANKET w/ SLEEP)

The long-awaited EARTHLESS east coast shows will be the band’s first since the release of From the Ages, which was named one of 2013′s best albums by Rolling Stone. Formed in 2001 by drummer Mario Rubalcaba, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell and bassist Mike Eginton, EARTHLESS creates energetic, utterly unique and free thinking instrumental music inspired by an eclectic mix of German krautrock and Japanese heavy blues rock. The trio has dedicated itself to the mastery of the mind-bending jam session, evoking the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath in equal measure.

Undoubtedly one of America’s hottest underground bands, THE SHRINE plays loud, heavy rock ‘n’ roll that combines the hook-laden appeal of ’70′s garage rock and gritty ’80′s hardcore with a skate punk energy and attitude resulting in a sound the trio describes as “psychedelic violence”. Recorded on reel-to-reel tape using vintage gear and colossal Marshall stacks, the band’s new LP Bless Off is a record that attacks with buzzing riffs, blazing hooks and a bruising, mega-amplified punch.

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
https://www.facebook.com/theshrinefuzz
http://teepeerecords.com/

Earthless, From the Ages (2013)

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Ruby the Hatchet to Release Debut Album on Tee Pee Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

This is a band shot. (Photo by Gene Smirnov)

Word has come down the PR wire that Tee Pee Records has picked up Philly rockers Ruby the Hatchet for the release of their debut full-length later this year. Ruby the Hatchet released their Eliminator 7″ earlier this year and will record later this month with an eye toward having the album out in the fall. The band also recently played the Northside festival in Brooklyn alongside The Golden Grass, Gods and Nightbitch.

Another one to look out for in the back half of 2014. Somebody should really be keeping track of this stuff. Say in some kind of list form. Say next week or the week after that…

Info in blue:

This may or may not be an album cover.

RUBY THE HATCHET Signs To Tee Pee Records

Philly Dark Psych Gang Prepping “Cohesive Conceptual” Album

Philadelphia heavy rock quintet RUBY THE HATCHET have signed with NYC’s Tee Pee Records, the independent label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep. The hotly-tipped group, who MetalSucks says, “graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Led Zeppelin School of Proto Metal, where they majored in Sabbath and minored in Deep Purple,” and whose “brand of psychedelia should drive fans of bands like Baroness, Ghost, and Royal Thunder absolutely wild,” will enter Retro City Studios in Germantown, PA this month to record its as-yet-untitled new LP. A late fall release date is expected.

“We’ve been making music since 2010, but our upcoming full length is going to be a first in a lot of ways,” says RUBY THE HATCHET vocalist Jillian Taylor. “It’s our first label release and it’s with a label we’ve respected and admired from afar for some time. We managed to bump into the Tee Pee dudes at a Harsh Toke show in Brooklyn a few months back. It was a wild and blurry night, ending with us getting kicked out of a bar and talks of them putting out our full length. These new songs are medieval, melodic, murderous and fuzzed out. They came to us rapidly and embody a sound for us, that, for lack of better words, is right the fuck now.”

https://www.facebook.com/rubythehatchet
https://twitter.com/rubythehatchet
http://thehatchet.bandcamp.com/
http://instagram.com/rubythehatchet
http://teepeerecords.com/

Ruby the Hatchet, Eliminator EP (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Naam, Naam

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Naam, Naam (2009)

The 2009 self-titled debut from Brooklyn heavy psych forerunners Naam is an album that’s only grown in my esteem since its release, now five years ago, on Tee Pee Records. I think at the time my head was still trying to wrap around the preceding Kingdom EP, so when the full-length came out with the sprawling, 16-minute “Kingdom” as the title-track, it was almost too easy for me to take it as an extension of Naam‘s first offering, rather than the standalone beast that it is. At least that’s how I see it now. Looking back on the interview I did with drummer Eli Pizzuto around when it came out, I seemed pretty into it. Half a decade can do funny things to your brain.

Point is that for as brilliantly open and far out as the entire hour-long stretch of the album is, there’s no part of it that’s to be overlooked. It was last July that I most recently had the occasion to catch them live, which frankly is longer than I’d prefer — Massachusetts has a lot of rock and roll but not much of it could be called psychedelic — and Naam have grown beyond where they were with the self-titled even before you get to factors like the full-time addition of John Weingarten on keys, but that doesn’t at all diminish the appeal of this record for me, the bombastic space rock moments or the quiet stretch of “Tidal Barrens.” There’s so much here that I still feel like I’m digging into something new when I put it on.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I went and saw Negative Reaction tonight in Allston. Speaking of “been too long.” Ken-E Bones and company were in top form and got a great response from the crowd. Might be Tuesday before I get a review up, depending on holiday plans and whatnot for Memorial Day, but either way I got one or two pics at O’Brien’s to go with, so I’ll roll with that. Basically though it was just awesome to see them and to talk with Bones because, again, it had been a long time.

Also on Tuesday, look out for a full stream of the new Serpentine Path album. It’s out Tuesday, so we’re doing it up for the release date. I’m also interviewing John Garcia on Tuesday, and his solo album isn’t out for a while yet, but would be good to get that posted sooner rather than later. Wednesday I’m premiering a new Mars Red Sky video as well, so much goodness to come. At some point in there I’m also going to squeeze a Radio Moscow album review, and maybe one for that new Eyehategod too if I have time. That too depends on the holiday.

If you’re celebrating Memorial Day, I hope you have a good and not overly jingoistic one. Please have fun and be safe and I’ll see you back here either Monday or Tuesday for more of the ol’ clacky-clacky on the keyboard.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Comet Control, Comet Control: Electromagnetic

Posted in Reviews on April 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

When Toronto shoegaze-psych explorers Quest for Fire announced they were done in Jan. 2013, hints were dropped that new bands were already in the works. For guitarist/vocalist Chad Ross and guitarist Andrew Moszynski, that hint pays off in the arrival of Comet Control, who make their self-titled debut on Quest for Fire‘s former label, Tee Pee Records. Some elements are recognizable between the two bands — Ross‘ distinctly dreamed-out vocal style and a penchant for languid guitars permeate cuts like opener “Blast Magic,” “Hats off to Life” and closer “Master” in a way one might draw from one act to the other — but by the time Comet Control‘s Comet Control has played out its vinyl-ready eight songs and 40 minutes, there can be little mistaking one for the other. Quest for Fire‘s self-titled debut from 2009 and its 2010 follow-up, Lights from Paradise (review here), had their rocking moments as well, usually as a payoff to some gradual build, but Comet Control is by far a more active-sounding band. Comprised of Ross, Moszynski, bassist Nicole Howell, keyboardist Christopher Sandes and drummer Jay Anderson, the five piece get into some genuine space rock on memorable songs like “Future Forever,” the highly-stylized “Ultra Bright” and perhaps most of all on “Century,” the dividing point of the tracklist and presumed side B launch. The upbeat material is what most marks out Comet Control, but the emerging dynamic and fluidity with which they shift from faster material to slower psychedelia is no less integral to the overall vibe of the album, which is hazy enough to limit visibility and yet clearheaded in its execution of hooks like that on “Ultra Bright” and “Future Forever.”

Those two particularly stand out for their relatively straightforward take. Comet Control opens with a sprawl; “Blast Magic” is the longest song on the album (immediate points) at 8:04 and can almost be read stylistically as a transition point between Quest for Fire and this new band. It is a slow roll, steady in its nodding appeal, and Ross‘ vocals in both the verse and the chorus incantations make a familiar impression over the lush instrumentation. Even here, though, Comet Control have a heavier, fuller sound, less concerned with minimalism and more comfortable in the heft emerging. This proves to be a precursor once the subsequent one-two shots of “Future Forever” and “Ultra Bright” introduce the faster, more swirling side of Comet Control‘s sound. Looking at the record’s structure in a linear form — digital or CD, though vinyl is pretty clearly what they were thinking of in putting it together — the five-piece depart from “Blast Magic” and continue to build momentum through “Century” before they pull back again on “Hats off to Life,” which puts “Future Forever,” “Ultra Bright,” “The Soft Parade” and “Century” into a distinct movement separate from the other four tracks included. To say half the record is fast and half is slow is over-simplifying it — and flat-out wrong, time-wise — but it reinforces how much opening with “Blast Magic” adds to the richness of the proceedings that the album as a whole comes across not as bifurcated along tempo lines, but as an engagingly complex and varied release, whether it’s the blown-out bass buzz of “The Soft Parade” adding a touch of garage to the effects wash and Anderson‘s well-grounded drumming or the acoustic psych-blues push of the penultimate “Fear the Haze.”

Read more »

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Aqua Nebula Oscillator US Tour Starts April 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

French psych rockers Aqua Nebula Oscillator will spend three weeks on the road in the US starting April 23 and including slots at Austin Psych Fest and Scion Rock Fest. A run that’s the better part of a month long and apparently the precursor to more touring on the West Coast is a bold undertaking for the spacey outfit, who released their fourth album, Spiritus Mundi, late last year on Tee Pee Records, but as you can see in the list of dates below, they’re playing with some killer acts along the way, including King Buffalo, The Golden Grass and Electric Citizen. Keeping good company always helps.

The PR wire puts it like this:

French Psych Rockers AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR Announce U.S. Tour Dates

Major Market Trek to Include High Profile Performances as Part of Austin Pysch Fest and Scion Rock Fest

Celebrated French underground psych rock trio AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR has announced a U.S. tour in support of its new album Spiritus Mundi. Now, with a head of steam and an established name in the U.S., AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR will perform the first-ever U.S. live shows of its storied career. The tour will kick off on April 23 in NYC and include A-level performances as part of both the Austin Psych Fest (May 2) and Scion Rock Fest (May 17).

AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR — formed in 2000 by David Sphaèr’os — creates utterly unique and fantastically tripped out occult psych rock inspired by parallel dimensions, voodoo, ethnic trance, horror and cult movies (from the 1920′s to the 60′s), painters like Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali, dark underground literature (H. P. Lovecraft, Isidore Ducasse, Antonin Artaud), aliens and UFOs! A modern mix of Krautrock / motorik with Hawkwind-style psychedelia, Hendrix-styled, ultra tripped out guitar action and an apocalyptic, Raw Power energy, AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR’s mind-burning, dark and dirty “chaos-sound” is a cauldron full of seething, psychedelic rock. ANO looks and sounds like it was buried in a tomb in the late 60′s / 70′s and has just been dug up, ready to resume its wild sound-making once again.

AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR tour dates:
April 23 Manhattan, NY Pianos (Free, Midnight show)
April 24 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Bar (w/ WHITE HILLS)
April 25 Philadelphia, PA Dobbs
April 26 York, PA The Depot (w/ The Golden Grass )
April 27 Baltimore, MD Holy Frijoles (* FREE show w/ The Golden Grass)
April 28 Richmond, VA Strange Matter (w/ ZOMBIE ZOMBIE)
April 29 Asheville, NC Double Crown
April 30 Atlanta, GA 529 (w/ Abby Gogo)
May 1 Mobile, AL Music Box (w/ Electric Sheep)
May 2 Austin, TX As part of Austin Psych Fest
May 5 Little Rock, AR Vino’s
May 6 Nashville, TN The Other Basement
May 7 Cincinnati, OH MOTR Pub (w/ Electric Citizen)
May 8 Pittsburgh, PA Brillo Box (w/ Shaky Shrines)
May 9 Rochester, NY Bug Jar (w/ Roz and the Rice Cakes)
May 10 Providence, RI Firehouse 13 (w/ Nervous Virgins)
May 12 Manhattan, NY Pianos
May 17 Pomona, CA * As part of Scion Rock Fest

AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR is: David Sphaèr’os (Guitar, Vox, Sithar and Organ, Master Of Ceremony), Adrian Bang (Drums, Orchestra Conductor), Andreas Carrere (oscillation, organ, flute, backing vocals) and Alexis Raphaeloff (Bass, EarthQuaker). Follow the group on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1410504235866643/
https://www.facebook.com/aquanebulaoscillator
https://twitter.com/aquanebulaosc

Aqua Nebula Oscillator, “Dead Soul” official video

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The Skull Premiere New Single “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” b/w “The Last Judgment”

Posted in audiObelisk on April 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today, Chicago’s The Skull release their debut single on Tee Pee Records. Sometime Yesterday Mourning b/w The Last Judgment arrives preceded by much anticipation as the first studio output from the Trouble offshoot, fronted by the inimitable Eric Wagner and featuring Trouble alumni Ron Holzner (bass), Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) and Chuck Robinson (guitar) in the five-piece lineup with Lothar Keller of Sacred Dawn. Its two songs were produced by Billy Anderson (Sleep, the Melvins, Acid King, so many others), and for classic Trouble fans, the inclusion of “The Last Judgment” is a bonus — the song minus an ‘e’ from when it appeared as “The Last Judgement” on Trouble‘s own recorded debut on the 1983 Metal Massacre IV compilation.

Right away then, The Skull seem to be geared toward a classic sound, and “Sometime Yesterday Mourning,” the first taste of their new, original material, feeds into that framework. Keller‘s guitar — I’m fairly certain Robinson wasn’t in the band yet when these were recorded — meters out a steady chug of a central riff to start, and he’s soon joined by Holzner‘s bass and Olson on drums, setting up a well-paced groove for Wagner‘s entry. When the vocals hit, they do so in crooning fashion, Wagner keeping to the lower end of his famous range for the verse while layering in higher-register parts for the chorus; a formidable hook worthy of the band’s pedigree. It’s an earthy sound but given ambient vitality later in its progression by the lead guitar and Wagner‘s suitably mournful echoing deeper in the mix, proving as an initial showcase that there’s more to The Skull‘s approach than riffs and familiar faces.

Trouble‘s “The Last Judgement” was also featured on their 1983 demo and has shown up on a few compilations since, and The Skull give it a respectful update. Following a descending pattern of tom hits from Olson, we’re greeted by rhythm and lead guitar interplay before moving into the rush of the song itself, crisp with Anderson‘s recording, and Wagner in a vocal duel with himself. He’s not quite looking to wail in the same way as 31 years ago, but he changes up his approach dynamically almost on a per-line basis and ultimately makes both faster and slower parts more engaging, the guitar taking over in the second half for a solo that furthers The Skull‘s allegiance to traditional metal, mounting a build all the way to the sudden ending, the vocals almost (but not) cut off for the last line, “It’ll be alright,” just as they were in the original version.

The real kicker about Sometime Yesterday Mourning b/w The Last Judgment is how well the two songs work next to each other despite the decades between when they were written. I doubt The Skull intended to give a lesson about the timelessness of doom on their first single so much as give a taste of what their debut full-length might have to offer sound-wise, but you won’t find me complaining with their having accomplished both.

Please find the two tracks below for your streaming pleasure, and enjoy:

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

The Skull‘s Sometime Yesterday Morning b/w The Last Judgment is available now through Tee Pee Records digitally and as a limited CD pressing. More info at the links.

The Skull at Tee Pee Records

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

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The Skull to Release Two New Songs on April 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Now a five-piece after recently adding ex-Trouble bassist Chuck Robinson on guitar alongside Sacred Dawn‘s Lothar Keller, The Skull have announced that the two songs recorded with Billy Anderson will be released as a single on April 8 through Tee Pee Records. Available for preorder as a $4 CD and a download, Sometime Yesterday Mourning c/w The Last Judgment pairs brand new material against a cover of some of Trouble‘s earliest output, “The Last Judgment” having been featured on 1983′s Metal Massacre IV comp a year prior to the release of Trouble’s first LP, Psalm 9, which turns 30 this year.

Much seems to be in the works to celebrate both The Skull’s original track and Trouble’s ongoing legacy. The PR wire has this:

THE SKULL: Release Date Revealed For Two New Singles

Worldwide Debut To Air On Heady Metal with Jeff Olson

Listening Party Scheduled In Chicago

There’s no “trouble” for THE SKULL – the heavy doom-rock band featuring original TROUBLE members vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson, longtime former TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner and newly recruited former TROUBLE bassist Chuck Robinson, now on dueling guitar, alongside SACRED DAWN guitarist Lothar Keller – as they will unleash their two new singles recorded with acclaimed producer/engineer Billy Anderson (MELVINS, NEUROSIS) worldwide on Tuesday, April 8th via Tee Pee Records.

The “limited edition” white vinyl replica CD featuring “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” (side A) and “The Last Judgment” (side B) is now available for pre-order at Tee Pee Records (http://shop.teepeerecords.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-skull) Downloads of the singles will be available at your favorite digital retailer on April 8th.

In other news, THE SKULL’s worldwide debut of “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” and “The Last Judgment” will premiere exclusively on drummer and keyboardist Jeff “Oly” Olson’s podcast HEADY METAL WITH JEFF OLSON via InThePitRadio.com on Friday, April 4th from 7PM-9PM EST. Olson will be live on-air and field reporting from THE SKULL’s listening party that evening at the Ragnarokk Metal Apocalypse Fest in Chicago located at Reggies Rock Club where fans can purchase the CD. Olson, along with vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Chuck Robinson, and guitarist Lothar Keller, will all be available to personally sign the limited edition white vinyl replica CD.

“Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is a doomy metal song written by Keller, Holzner and Wagner that showcases the genre pioneers’ distinct style while “The Last Judgment” is a “revisiting” of the classic TROUBLE song of the same name that originally appeared on the classic 1983 “Metal Massacre IV” compilation album.

“I think “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is the perfect song for THE SKULL to lead with and there’s a reason why it was the first song we completed as a band,” commented Wagner. “It’s about coming to a point in life when it’s just time for a new beginning, a fresh start if you will, and finally coming to terms with the past.

“Being that it is the 30th anniversary of the release of the song “The Last Judgment” — the first song we ever released — we thought it fit perfectly for the B-side and considering what “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is about, it made sense to me. You have to go through your past to get to your future.”

Drummer and keyboardist Jeff “Oly” Olson on Chuck Robinson’s addition to the band:

“We are excited and honored that Chuck Robinson has accepted our invitation to join the band. He is the perfect fit for THE SKULL.”

“I’ve always enjoyed rehearsing with Chuck as he is disciplined with his art. He’ll surely bring a bonus to the band with his experience as a former TROUBLE member and as a seasoned musician who utilizes both his talented song writing ability and his exceptional recording skills. We are looking forward to tour with our brother again.”

Olson added, “Chuck is more then a bass player. He grew up playing guitar with his father, also a very talented guitarist. Eric, Ron, Lothar, and myself know that Chuck is more than capable for the job. He’ll bring chops with a heavy groove to our debut album, as well as bring his charisma to the stage.”

THE SKULL has confirmed the following three shows.

May 09 – Cleveland, Ohio – The Grog Shop
May 10 – Chicago, Illinois- Reggies
August 29 – Montreal, Canada – The Wings of Metal Festival

The Wings of Metal Festival will be a headlining performance consisting of two sets. The first set will be a performance of TROUBLE’s 1984 debut album “Psalm 9” in it’s entirety. The second set will include a performance of their newly recorded songs as well as TROUBLE classics.

THE SKULL will follow the release of the new songs with its debut full length LP, tentatively slated for release this autumn.

THE SKULL is:

Eric Wagner – vocals
Jeff “Oly” Olson – drums/keys
Ron Holzner – bass
Lothar Keller – guitar
Chuck Robinson – guitar

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
http://shop.teepeerecords.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-skull

The Skull, New Song Live at Doom in June III

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Comet Control to Release Debut Album May 20 on Tee Pee

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time they split at the beginning of 2013, it was starting to get a little silly how much I dug Toronto slow-psych aficionados Quest for Fire. Their second album and swansong, 2010′s Lights from Paradise (review here), I still consider top notch, gotta-have heavy psych for those unstirred by the bulk of the post-Dead Meadow fuzzgaze set, and when bassist/vocalist Chad Ross released the 2011 debut from his Nordic Nomadic solo-project, Worldwide Skyline (review here), I was right on board with the folkier vibes as well. What Comet Control, which reunites Ross with former Quest for Fire guitarist Andrew Moszynski — as well as bassist Nicole Howell and drummer Jay Anderson — might portend sound-wise, I don’t know, but you can be damn sure I’m interested in finding out.

Comet Control will make a self-titled debut via Tee Pee Records on May 20. The PR wire offers the following:

COMET CONTROL to Release Debut Album “Comet Control” May 20

From the Ashes of Celebrated Rock Band QUEST FOR FIRE, A New Shooting Star Rockets Towards the Heavy Psych Scene

COMET CONTROL is the new band from Andrew Moszynski (guitar) and Chad Ross (vocals/guitar), formerly of Canadian psych rock champions QUEST FOR FIRE. The powerhouse musicians are joined in COMET CONTROL by Nicole Howell (bass), Jay Anderson (drums) and Christopher Sandes (keys) and the group’s eight song self-titled debut is nothing short of stunning. Comet Control will drop on May 20 via Tee Pee Records.

COMET CONTROL extends the dark, bass-driven washes of sound that QUEST FOR FIRE fabulously produced and drenches it in majestic bursts of pastel post-rock guitars and bright, breezy vocals. Recorded at Toronto’s Candle Recording (Fucked Up, Sebastien Grainger) and mastered by Carl Saff (Bass Drum of Death, Earthless), the album exceeds expectations, delivering a driving, dreamy sound that will lodge itself in your ears and refuse to let go. Simultaneously heavy and sunny, COMET CONTROL rocket to the forefront of today’s dark psych scene and deliver a modern classic with their triumphant debut. Out-of-this-world, futuristic cover art and packaging for Comet Control, designed by far-out artist SIGNALSTARR (known for his work for the 20th Century Fox film “Prometheus”) adds to the potent push of the record’s searing scope.

“After Quest for Fire broke up, Andrew and I still had a lot of songs in the works,” commented Ross. “We are very excited about how things turned out. Everything clicked really fast with the new band, and the songs have taken a step in a fresh, new direction.”

Track listing:
1.) Blast Magic
2.) Future Forever
3.) Ultra Bright
4.) The Soft Parade
5.) Century
6.) Hats Off to Life
7.) Fear the Haze
8.) Master

https://www.facebook.com/CometControl
teepeerecords.com

Quest for Fire, “Sessions of Light” from Lights from Paradise (2010)

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The Skull Adds Former Trouble Bassist Chuck Robinson on Guitar

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Newly signed to Tee Pee Records, Chicago-based Trouble offshoot The Skull have announced that they’ve added former Trouble bassist Chuck Robinson on guitar alongside Lothar Keller and a lineup of former Trouble luminaries: bassist Ron Holzner, vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson. Shortly lived as a four-piece, The Skull have two songs in the can recorded by Billy Anderson set to release in Spring, with a full-length slated to follow later in the year.

It’s also been revealed that The Skull will appear at Montreal’s Wings of Metal festival, playing full sets, one comprised of Trouble‘s Psalm 9 in its entirety to mark the album’s 30th anniversary. The PR wire has details:

THE SKULL’s New Guitarist Revealed

There is now more “Trouble” for THE SKULL – the new band featuring original TROUBLE members vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson alongside TROUBLE’s longtime bassist Ron Holzner and SACRED DAWN guitarist Lothar Keller – as they have recruited former TROUBLE bassist Chuck Robinson as their new dueling guitar player.

Drummer and keyboardist Jeff “Oly” Olson comments: “We are excited and honored that Chuck Robinson has accepted our invitation to join the band. He is the perfect fit for THE SKULL. I’ve always enjoyed rehearsing with Chuck as he is disciplined with his art. He’ll surely bring a bonus to the band with his experience as a former TROUBLE member and as a seasoned musician who utilizes both his talented song writing ability and his exceptional recording skills. We are looking forward to tour with our brother again.”

Olson added, “Chuck is more than a bass player. He grew up playing guitar with his father, also a very talented guitarist. Eric, Ron, Lothar, and myself know that Chuck is more than capable for the job. He’ll bring chops with a heavy groove to our debut album, as well as bring his charisma to the stage.”

THE SKULL has confirmed the following three shows. More shows will be added for North America and Europe in the coming weeks.

May 09 – Cleveland, Ohio – The Grog Shop
May 10 – Chicago, Illinois – Reggies
August 29 – Montreal, Canada – The Wings of Metal Festival

The Wings of Metal Festival will be a headlining performance consisting of two sets. The first set will be a performance of TROUBLE’s 1984 debut album “Psalm 9” in it’s entirety. The second set will include a performance of newly recorded songs as well as TROUBLE classics.

As previously reported, THE SKULL has inked a deal with Tee Pee Records and has recently recorded two songs with acclaimed producer/engineer Billy Anderson (MELVINS, NEUROSIS) which will see the light of day this spring. THE SKULL will follow the release of the new songs with its debut full length LP, tentatively slated for release this autumn.

THE SKULL is:
Eric Wagner – vocals
Jeff “Oly” Olson – drums/keys
Ron Holzner – bass
Lothar Keller – guitar
Chuck Robinson – guitar

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull

Trouble, Psalm 9 (1984)

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The Skull Sign to Tee Pee Records; Debut Album Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Fascinating news today that Trouble-offshoot The Skull have inked a deal to release their debut album on Tee Pee Records. The Skull‘s traditional doom is something of a step aside for the label, which has focused in recent years on psychedelia and retro-style heavy punk, but a cool fit either way. As the PR wire informs, The Skull recently tracked two songs with Billy Anderson that will be issued as the first studio audio from the band.

Looking forward to hearing this one:

THE SKULL Signs to Tee Pee Records

New Band Featuring Members of Doom Metal Pioneers TROUBLE Set to Release New Music

THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner and SACRED DAWN guitarist Lothar Keller — have inked a deal with Tee Pee Records, the NYC record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

THE SKULL recently recorded two songs with acclaimed producer / engineer Billy Anderson (Melvins, Neurosis) which will see the light of day this spring. “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is a doomy metal song written by Keller, Holzner and Wagner that showcases the genre pioneers’ distinct style while “The Last Judgement” is a “revisiting” of the classic TROUBLE song of the same name that originally appeared on the classic 1983 “Metal Massacre IV” compilation album.

“I think “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is the perfect song for The Skull to lead with and there’s a reason why it was the first song we completed as a band,” commented Wagner. “It’s about coming to a point in life when it’s just time for a new beginning, a fresh start if you will, and finally coming to terms with the past. Being that it is the 30th anniversary of the release of the song “The Last Judgement” — the first song we ever released — we thought it fit perfectly for the B-side and considering what “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is about, it made sense to me. You have to go through your past to get to your future.”

THE SKULL will follow the release of the new songs with its debut full length LP, tentatively slated for release this autumn.

Follow THE SKULL online and via Facebook for breaking news and tour information.

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
http://theskullusa.com/

The Skull, “The Tempter” Live in Ohio

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Friday Full-Length: Witch, Witch

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

Witch, Witch (2006)

I was fortunate to be skinny enough at the time to get into SXSW and see Witch play around the release of their 2006 self-titled debut. I still also have the promo of the CD. During that era, Tee Pee sent out full jewel case promos, with a grey back card, no cover. It was a while before I saw what the album actually looked like, but I played the shit out of that disc and still hear the riff to “Seer” that opens the record in my head on the regular. Some songs just plant themselves in your brain and never leave. A dreamy vibe thanks to Kyle Thomas (Feathers) vocal drawl and the ultra-dirty fuzz of Graham Clise, it’s a record whose influence you can see in bands coming out now, maybe more in Europe than the States, but it’s out there.

They had some indie cred in their early going thanks to Dinosaur Jr.‘s J. Mascis playing drums — his kick at those SXSW shows was pretty much living room-sized — but I cared way less about that than the vibe of Witch itself. With Dave Sweetapple on bass who’s kicked around in a couple Tee Pee bands since, including Sweet Apple, they were a foursome to be reckoned with. Their second album, 2008′s Paralyzed, didn’t resonate on nearly the same level with me, but Witch‘s potency as endured to the point of playing Roadburn in 2012 at the behest of Voivod. Because who could ever say no to Voivod? Not me. I went and they didn’t even ask.

But whatever its enduring legacy/influence/whatever might be, Witch‘s self-titled has unfuckwithable vibe, and that’s timeless as far as I’m concerned. As always, hope you enjoy.

Boy, hello Massachusetts. Come for the blistering cold, stay for the two feet of snow. I’ll admit I was more than a little excited when the top story on the BBC last night was about the East Coast weather and I got to say “I live there!” when I read about how “one town in Massachusetts” got hit with 20-plus inches. Today was all about drifts and wind and digging out. Also reviewing Truckfighters. Managed to sneak that one in there, much to my delight. It came at the expense of posting the Top 10 Albums I Didn’t Hear in 2013 — the LAST of the 2013 lists, I promise. I’m scrapping posts for “Comeback of the Year” (Monster Magnet) and my favorite live act (Kings Destroy), because enough is enough. Time to move on… to the Albums to Watch for in 2014 list. What am I, fucking Buzzfeed?

So anyway, it felt good to post something that wasn’t a numerical ordering of stuff that ruled, though that’s fun too, and next week I hope to get some more reviews up as we settle back into post-holiday reality. Right now I’m thinking Insider and Foghound and if I have time, Blackfinger, but I don’t want to let the aforementioned Albums to Watch for in 2014 linger too long or they’ll all be released. I’ll see what I can do. Time is precious and gone quickly.

Going a little stir-crazy though, as I’ve been inside all week, so I think The Patient Mrs. and I are going to head out for a bit tonight. There’s a theater in Boston playing Aliens at midnight, and I’m not about to turn something like that down. I expect much Vasquez-high-fiving and Bill Paxton quoting to ensue. Game over, man. Game over.

Hope you enjoy your weekend and if you’re somewhere that got snowed in, hope digging out isn’t too much of a pain in the ass. Have fun, be safe (in that order) and we’ll see you back here Monday for more tunes and good times.

Until then, please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Live Review: Blaak Heat Shujaa and Mirror Queen in Massachusetts, 11.14.13

Posted in Reviews on November 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Since the time change, it’s been getting dark at around 5PM, which means that as I made my way out west on the Masspike to Florence to see Blaak Heat Shujaa and Mirror Queen at the pleasantly-named JJ’s Tavern, it was too dark to enjoy the late-fall scenery. Too bad, as that’s some good forest. Anyone interested in demographic study might do well to take a look at how hardcore did so well up here in the ’90s instead of black metal. I’d suspect it has to do with socioeconomic factors — a hardcore 7″ is cheap and Norwegian LPs would’ve meant paying import prices; with its roots in zealotry, Massachusetts maintains a healthy love of its working class foundations — but from the bare branches to the legacy of witch burnings, it seems like someone would’ve put some corpsepaint on by now and given the misty Pacific Northwest a run for its money. So it goes.

I had time to consider these things on the drive to Florence (my grandmother’s name) and JJ’s Tavern (my name), which was a solid two hours. Both bands would be in Providence, Rhode Island, the next night, which is only half as far away, but I had other obligations and didn’t want to miss Blaak Heat Shujaa, who were making an overdue first appearance on the Eastern Seaboard in support of their sophomore full-length and Tee Pee long-play debut, The Edge of an Era (review here). The young desert rock trio from Los Angeles via Paris were partnered up for the excursion with NYC labelmates Mirror Queen, whose own style of grooving has become familiar at shows this year with The Atomic Bitchwax and Truckfighters (see here and here). There were four bands on the bill, but by the time I arrived at JJ’s, local radio rockers Odds of Eden were on as the second of four, which meant that Mirror Queen weren’t far behind.

Drummer Jeremy O’Brien was local to the area, so there was a familial contingent present in the short-ceilinged upstairs space — almost a loft, with a bar in another little room to the side and pool tables in back — as Mirror Queen got going. Lead guitarist Phi Moon and bassist James Corallo had played Brooklyn two weekends prior as members of Polygamyst, who opened for Orange Goblin at the St. Vitus bar (review here), and it hadn’t been that long anyway since I last caught Mirror Queen, so although I felt like I knew what I was getting, that didn’t make their set any less enjoyable, whether it was the Cream-y riffing of “Scaffold of the Skies” or the catchy and insistent chorus of “Vagabondage.” Guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal set up to the far right-side of the stage, and Moon and Corallo had plenty of room to rock out their parts in classic fashion.

And there was a twist! I’d anticipated they’d close with the Captain Beyond cover “Mesmerization Eclipse,” as they have the last couple times I’ve seen them, but no dice. Instead, they gave a take on Iron Maiden‘s “Phantom of the Opera” for their finishing move, and it only emphasized for me how tight their jams are at this point. Sehgal and O’Brien have been playing together going back to their days as Aytobach Kreisor, whose self-titled debut was issued on Rubric Records in 2002, but with Moon‘s swaggering solos and the sheer enjoyment for playing that Corallo brings to his work on bass, Mirror Queen seem all the more solid at the base of their sonic fluidity. I’ve yet to catch a set and be bummed out, and though I’d been looking forward to a little Captain Beyond, the Maiden worked just fine in its place.

Between reviews, video premieres, track premieres, interviews, news posts and whatever else I can’t think of at the moment (it’s all here), I’ve said an awful lot about Blaak Heat Shujaa the last couple years, and I was greatly anticipating seeing them play live. The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier, bassist Antoine Morel-Vulliez and drummer Mike Amster were surprisingly loud once they got going. Considerable volume. The effect was to make their sound even fuller than on the record, and give Bellier a task in letting his effects-laden vocals cut through the tones surrounding. Those tones, it’s worth emphasizing, were gorgeous. As much of a role as Morel-Vulliez‘s bass plays in setting the mood on The Edge of an Era, live it is all the more a foundational element, and Amster‘s drumming has a vitality behind it that a studio album would be hard-pressed to convey. Everything I’ve enjoyed about the band since I caught wind of their 2010 self-titled debut (review here) was only more prevalent in their stage presentation.

That’s especially true of some of their more subdued stretches. With Amster keeping a steady intensity to his tom runs even as Morel-Vulliez and Bellier set about the purposefully meandering jams of the “The Beast” two-parter which Bellier announced as “the first side of our new record,” smirking in full awareness of just how awesome that sounds to say, there was a sense of build that came across as hypnotic in its repetitions and still consciously focused on movement forward. This made the payoff in that progression all the more of one. It was gratifying to see, not just because I enjoyed the album, but because what the album seemed to be hinting that the band could do was right there on stage at full blast. Their jamming was jazz-tight and the surf rock in Bellier‘s guitar acknowledged the roots of the desert that Blaak Heat Shujaa has adopted as their home. Whether it was “Society of Barricades” or the closing sprawl of “Land of the Freaks, Home of the Brave,” I was really, really glad to have made the trip to see them play.

My new appreciation for their songs in tow, I split out of JJ’s Tavern when Blaak Heat Shujaa were done and made my way back east along the same route I’d taken west to get there. At around 1:40AM, still an hour out, I got pulled over doing 81 in a 65 and got a ticket. 16 miles over the limit at $10 a mile had me cursing the rest of the way, but traffic violations come and go, and nights like this one leave longer impressions than dents in a checking account.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Blaak Heat Shujaa Get a Text from the Beast in Video for “The Obscurantist Fiend”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

You’ll probably find your own favorite moment in Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s new video for the 11-minute “The Obscurantist Fiend (The Beast Pt. I).” Maybe it’s when the band put on creepy animal masks and stalk through the woods. Or maybe it’s seeing them talking on office phones in the cosmic shame of a corporate-dayjob. All valid choices, but for me, it’s gotta be the point where, about halfway through, our be-suited protagonist calls 9-1-1 and gets a text back from “The Beast” and all it says is “You Are Fucked.” Brilliant. It’s the best use of a cellphone in a video since Infernal Overdrive‘s “Duel,” which was a while ago at this point.

“The Obscurantist Fiend (The Beast Pt. I)” comes from Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s sophomore outing and full-length Tee Pee Records debut, The Edge of an Era (review here), and the new video was directed by Andrew Baxter and Cole Jenkins, who previously helmed the documentary web-series aired here about the recording of the album with Scott Reeder, as well as the clip for “The Revenge of the Feathered Pheasant” from the preceding The Storm Generation EP (review here). Boasting a couple different locales — first they’re in the desert, then they’re in the woods, then they’re in front of the Los Angeles skyline — and some choice free-your-mind desert rock preaching, the clip is a winner all around.

Blaak Heat Shujaa are coming east for a run of dates in support of The Edge of an Era, and you can find them swiped from the prior announcement under the video below. Enjoy:

Blaak Heat Shujaa, “The Obscurantist Fiend (The Beast Pt. I)” official video

Blaak Heat Shujaa Northeast Tour:
11/08 Glasslands, Brooklyn NY
11/09 Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia PA
11/10 The Pinch, Washington DC
11/11 Mojo Main, Newark DE
11/12 Brillobox, Pittsburgh PA
11/13 CFC, Montréal QC, Canada
11/14 JJ’s Tavern, Florence MA
11/15 AS220, Providence RI
11/16 Cake Shop, New York NY

www.blaakheatshujaa.com
www.facebook.com/blakheatshujaa
www.teepeerecords.com

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Truckfighters’ The Chairman Special Edition EP Available to Preorder; Band on Tour in Europe

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Attention fuzzdudes and fuzzladies: The new Truckfighters EP is available to pre-order. If you’re having trouble receiving this message, then check your fuzztenna. Repeat: TruckfightersThe Chairman EP can now be pre-ordered in a special edition through Last Hurrah Records — who, it should be noted, have also gone suitably all out in the packaging, what with the 12″ 45RPM vinyl and the variations on the colors with mixtures of opaque and transluscent. I’m not sure what the difference between “Desert Sunset” and “Desert Sunrise” might be, but I don’t mind the excuse to pick up an extra copy and find out.

Truckfighters are on tour in Europe now — dates below — and the EP is limited to 500 copies in the Last Hurrah edition. Check it out:

Pre-orders are now available for the Truckfighters The Chairman Special Edition EP multi-colored vinyl 12-inch. Sweden’s Truckfighters blaze an incendiary trail through high desert plains and mountains of stoner rock. Presented at 45 RPM for best possible sound quality, The Chairman Special Edition contains over 30 minutes of power “fuzz” and features the title track plus three live songs recorded on tour in Australia earlier this year.

The jacket cover artwork has spot UV gloss, spot PMS, and silver metallic ink designed by artist Lindsey Kuhn.

The 12-inch vinyl comes in two different vinyl colors: Desert Sunset and Desert Sunrise, each a mix of oqaque and translucent colors, limited to 500 copies (250 of each color).

Pre-order available here and should start shipping on October 31.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the record to arrive, check out the video for the title track “The Chairman” below…

Truckfighters European Tour Dates
02.10.13, [DE] LEIPZIG – UT Connewitz
03.10.13, [DE] ASCHAFFENBURG – Colos Saal
04.10.13, [DE] Dortmund – FZW (Visions Westend Festival)
05.10.13, [CH] Pratteln – Z7 (Up In Smoke Festival)
07.10.13, [FR] Nantes – Le Ferraeulier
08.10.13, [LX] Luxembourg – Rock Box
09.10.13, [NL] Rotterdam – Baroeg
10.10.13, [BE] Antwerp – Trix
11.10.13, [NL] Groningen – Vera
12.10.13, [DE] Siegen – Vortex
13.10.13, [DE] Karlsruhe – Alte Hackerei
15.10.13, [AT] Innsbruck – PMK
16.10.13, [IT ] Milan – Lo-Fi Club
17.10.13, [IT ] Bolzano – Point
18.10.13, [AT] Linz – Stattwerkstatt
19.10.13, [DE] Munich – Feierwerk
20.10.13, [DE] Bremen – Römer

Truckfighters, “The Chairman” official video

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