Comet Control, Center of the Maze: Spreading Wings (Plus Track Premiere!)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

comet-control-center-of-the-maze

[Click play above to hear ‘Artificial Light’ from Comet Control’s Center of the Maze. Album is out this Friday on Tee Pee Records.]

Though it spends much of its time engaged in a garage-in-space push, the prevailing vibe on Comet Control‘s second album, Center of the Maze, is still one of serenity. The Toronto five-piece’s sophomore release follows their 2013 self-titled (review here), and like that debut it arrives via Tee Pee Records with a bright, vital blend of heavy psychedelic and space rock lent further shoegazy ethereality by the languid vocals of guitarist Chad Ross. Ross, joined in the band by guitarist Andrew Moszynski, bassist Nicole Howell, drummer Jay Anderson and keyboardist Christopher Sandes, is responsible in no small part for that serene impression, and after full impulse power of songs like opener “Dig out Your Head” and “Criminal Mystic” is disengaged and Comet Control set themselves to the relative drift of closing duo “Sick in Space” and “Artificial Light” — which between them comprise 18 of the record’s total 45-minute runtime — the vocals become another part of the lush and consuming arrangements that offer warmth as much as hypnotism.

Although Center of the Maze ultimately finds Ross and Moszynski pushing farther away from their work with prior outfit Quest for Fire (they were also in The Deadly Snakes), the songcraft and depth of mix in these eight tracks speaks to some measure of continuity between the two projects. Still, there’s little question that Comet Control have set themselves to the task of finding their own personality apart from what their members have done before, and that shows itself in dividends from one end of the LP to the other.

The sense of journey along the way isn’t to be understated. At their starting point in “Dig out Your Head,” Comet Control dive and weave and space-rock-stomp through what serves as an immediate hook on which they continue to build as they go forward into other early cuts like the more shuffling “Darkness Moves,” with some highlight snare work from Anderson, and the more folkish “Silver Spade,” which calls to mind Revolver-era The Beatles without aping them either in melody or structure. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of note, acoustics leading as Mellotron-style keys add melodic flourish and brighten the atmosphere. They seem to be setting up a solo freakout like that which “Darkness Moves” undertakes in its solo section, but keep it smooth as “Silver Spade” heads into the tambourine-laden shoegaze of “The Hive.”

comet-control-Photo-by-Melissa-Boraski-and-Jennifer-Keith

Acoustic strum is audible in kind with the spaced-out fuzz, and “The Hive” seems to deliver the swirlfest in its second half that “Silver Spade” hinted toward, the march that’s been underway the whole time subtle but already at some distance removed from when they set out on “Dig out Your Head,” the flow between songs remarkable and feeling very intentional but not in a way that sacrifices the natural sound of the material. Purposeful but not contrived. That continues as the motion of “The Hive” feeds into “Criminal Mystic,” on which Sandes comes forward in the chorus wind a similar course to the guitars but provide the hook beneath the heavier, lower-toned fuzz of the guitars and Howell‘s bass. “Criminal Mystic” is a particularly good example of the heavy psychedelia that Comet Control have made their own, a blend of instrumental push and vocal calm, swirling and spacious but still catchy as well. In its place at the end of side A (I think), it becomes a high point of Center of the Maze‘s first half.

There is, however, a decided sonic shift as Comet Control begin side B. It happens as the keys come to the fore on “Golden Rule” after space rock howling opens to elicit a late-’60s stomp, soon further emphasized through tambourine. In pace, it connects with a lot of side A — even “Silver Spade” moved — but it also sets up the transition into the more pastoral spaces that “Sick in Space” and “Artificial Light” will cover. The closing duo also comprise the two longest tracks on Center of the Maze at eight and 10 minutes, respectively, and between them also go further out into cosmic meandering, wonderfully melodic and full in sound and realization, “Sick in Space” soothing even as its wash grows more prevalent. That apex is powerful, but the song ends with Ross delivering the album’s title line and it feels like a setup for “Artificial Light,” which of course it is.

And it’s a finale worthy of setup. No doubt in my mind that when December list time comes around, “Artificial Light” will be one of the best songs of the year. Sonically, it recalls some of the best moments of Quest for Fire‘s laid-back mind expansion, but as they have all along, Comet Control put their own twist on it, this time via a flat-out beautiful meld of standout synth lines and background effects wash and overarching vocal harmonies for the ultra-memorable chorus, “I’ll be your eyes/I’ll be your heart and your breath/Spread your wings or fall to your death.” Once again, acoustic strum emerges alongside the electrified guitars, and Comet Control cap the triumph of their second record with a sense of patience that answers all the prior rush as if to wonder what was the hurry in the first place. As it gracefully waltzes into its second half solo, “Artificial Light” dives into classic heavy grandeur while sounding effortless and keeping its core rhythm, tempo and that current of acoustic guitar intact, never quite letting go until it casts out its final, long-fading wash of keys and noise to end the album.

Staggering in resonance and emotionally gripping as it is, Center of the Maze‘s finish is still just one part of what it has to offer, and after it’s over, it’s all the more worth looking back to “Dig out Your Head” and internalize the distance covered. It is vast. A follow-up from Comet Control had been one to anticipate, but I’m not sure even the most hopeful of scenarios could have accurately predicted what they achieve here.

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DEATH ALLEY Confirmed for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

Buy Tickets Here

With the addition of Amsterdam’s Death Alley, the bill for the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is complete. Show is Saturday, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. The complete lineup is as follows:

THE OBELISK ALL-DAYER:
Mars Red Sky*
Death Alley*
Snail*
Kings Destroy
EYE
Funeral Horse*
King Buffalo
Heavy Temple
* first East Coast appearance.

Death Alley

death alley
Motor-driven Netherlands heavy rockers Death Alley tore their way into the consciousness with their 2015 debut album, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), on Tee Pee Records. An offering that set itself a seemingly impossible task with its title and then managed to live up to it, the record pulled together straightforward, classic-style brashness and offered an edge of spaced-out expanse that worked in a scope few groups would dare attempt, especially their first time out.

With members of Gewapend BetonThe Devil’s Blood and Mühr in the lineup, they’re not exactly inexperienced, but the energy they brought to Black Magick Boogieland and the energy they bring to the stage is fresh and righteously their own. I was fortunate enough to see them at Roadburn in 2014 (review here) and again twice this year (reviews here and here), and the progress they’ve made in that time was evident both in their sound and in the crowd they drew to watch them play. A group that obviously enjoys what they do on stage and wants you to do the same, they’ll bring vitality and push to The Obelisk All-Dayer in a way that no one else could, and maybe get a little weirdo jammy in the process. Awesome.

The Afterparty

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh an afterparty. La-di-da. Let’s all do blow and talk about Reaganomics.” Not quite what I’m going for. The show itself will run from 2:30PM until about midnight. Today I’m thrilled to announce that at 12AM, two DJs will be taking over: DJ Adzo and Walter Roadburn.

I don’t think either needs much of an introduction. Walter is of course the creative force behind the aforementioned Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. DJ Adzo is also known as Adam from Brooklyn’s own The Golden Grass and La Otracina. Both are excellent human beings and I’m humbled they’re willing to be involved in The Obelisk All-Dayer.

From 12AM to 2AM, they’ll be spinning whatever the hell they want — classics, new stuff, stuff you know, stuff you don’t — and I feel completely comfortable trusting the taste of both of them and can’t wait to hear what they put on. After Mars Red Sky‘s headlining set, there’s still plenty of party left, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.

The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Official poster and set times coming soon.

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Saint Vitus, The Skull and Witch Mountain Announce US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

This is one of those tour-to-end-all-tours tours. Beginning in Austin on Sept. 27, including a stop Oct. 14 at Erosion Fest and culminating Oct. 23 at Southwest Terror Fest, the newly-announced tour with Saint VitusThe Skull and Witch Mountain also covers both coasts in nearly its month-long stretch. I’ll admit the prospect of seeing these three bands together at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn has my arm hair standing on end, remembering the Vitus-at-Vitus gig from 2012 (review here) as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, at that venue or anywhere else. It’ll be a different lineup of the band this time, with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in that position as the Die Healing-referential poster art indicates, but they’re keeping excellent company in The Skull and Witch Mountain as well, so kudos all around, including to Nanotear, which put the package together.

Witch Mountain have a couple dates as well en route to meeting up with the others. Find the complete routing, including those shows, below:

saint vitus the skull witch mountain tour

SAINT VITUS tour dates
All dates with THE SKULL, WITCH MOUNTAIN
Sept. 27 Austin, TX @ Midway Field House
Sept. 28 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Dallas
Sept. 29 San Antonio, TX @ The Mix
Sept. 30 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse
Oct. 1 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s Saloon
Oct. 2 Atlanta, GA @ The EARL
Oct. 3 Raleigh, NC @ Kings
Oct. 5 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Oct. 6 Boston, MA @ @Middle East
Oct. 7 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar
Oct. 8 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Oct. 9 Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge
Oct. 10 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Bar
Oct. 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
Oct. 12 St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Oct. 14 Missoula, MT @ Erosion Festival
Oct. 15 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Oct. 16 Portland, OR @ Star Theater Portland
Oct. 18 Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Oct. 19 Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro Operahouse
Oct. 20 Costa Mesa, CA @ Wayfarer.
Oct. 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Viper Room
Oct. 22 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
Oct. 23 Tucson, AZ @ Southwest Terror Fest

Witch Mountain shows on the way to meet up with Saint Vitus + The Skull:
9/22 Portland, OR – Dante’s (WM only)
9/23 Boise, ID – Neurolux (WM only)
9/24 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro (WM only)
9/25 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive (WM only)

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Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live at Hellfest 2015

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Friday Full-Length: Hermano, …Only a Suggestion

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 3rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hermano, Only a Suggestion (2002)

Hermano was and to a certain extent remains a band John Garcia formed after the dissolution of his prior outfit, Kyuss. One imagines that was a hard rebound. Hermano formed in 1998. By then, Slo BurnGarcia‘s first post-Kyuss band — were done, and Unida getting together was roughly concurrent. Recorded in 1999 and 2000, Hermano‘s debut album, …Only a Suggestion, was eventually released by Tee Pee Records in 2002, and at just barely 28 minutes long, it’s always felt somewhat understated as a first offering. I wouldn’t expect or even necessarily want an hour-long epic, but both of Only a Suggestion‘s follow-ups, 2004’s Dare I Say… and 2007’s Into the Exam Room… were 43 minutes long, so even by comparison to their own work, there’s a significant difference. All the more reason …Only a Suggestion qualifies as a quick kick in the ass.

In addition to finding Garcia at the top of his game in terms of the powerful delivery that made Kyuss‘ later work and Slo Burn‘s Amusing the Amazing such landmarks in his career, the guitars of David Angstrom and Mike Callahan, the bass/keys of Dandy Brown and the drums of Steve Earl came together immediately in cuts like “5 to 5” and the sleek-grooving “Alone Jeffe.” The crux of …Only a Suggestion arrives in its midsection with “Senor Moreno’s Introduction” and “Senor Moreno’s Plan,” but the rolling nod of opener “The Bottle” sets a tone of heavy desert groove that the rest of the record seems only too happy to build on, and the push of “Manager’s Special” and the hook of “Landetta (Motherload)” offer standout moments that are both memorable and prescient for what would continue to develop as staples of Garcia‘s style all the way up to his 2014 self-titled solo debut (review here), arguably the most him moment of his career to-date.

As noted, Hermano‘s latest album is now coming up on nine years old. Into the Exam Room… was something of a departure from Hermano‘s two prior outings, with a fuller sound and more depth of arrangement, particularly in the vocals. It remains my favorite post-Kyuss recorded performance for Garcia as a singer — though I’ll admit some stiff competition in that regard from Vista Chino‘s 2013 debut/maybe-swansong, Peace (review here). That album was much rawer in its production but all the more natural for that, where Into the Exam Room… (which I assume will close out a week around here at some point; maybe next year to mark a decade since it came out) had a kind of sweeping effect on the listener. I bring it up because there were rumors about a fourth Hermano album in the works for a 2016 release, as well as a second solo LP from Garcia, which seems more likely, and I can’t help but wonder which direction a new record would go after so long, whether they’d strip back to …Only a Suggestion-style desert rock or continue to build on where they were in 2007. I guess we’ll find out if it ever happens.

Hope you enjoy, as always.

Today was my last day at my job. I resigned on Monday, after last Friday accepting a position at the toy company Hasbro. They’re located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which cuts about an hour a day off my commute between actual distance and direction of traffic, it’s more money, better work — I’ll be copywriting as part of a team in their Games division — half-day Fridays, prospects or at very least basic potential for a future there, and access to the company toy store.

For the first time in a long while, I’m excited on any level about professional employment. Would I rather be retired and live in the woods, spending my days writing, keeping house and sipping homemade iced tea? Obviously, but as I don’t live in the magical pretend-time plane of existence where that’s possible for me at age 34, I need to make the best of what I got. New job starts on Tuesday, June 28. I thought it wiser to give myself an extra day coming back from Maryland Doom Fest, which is the prior weekend.

Until then? I plan on decompressing a lot. The work I’ve been doing for the past year has taken a lot out of me. More than I realized really until I went to Roadburn in April and remembered how good life could actually be at its best and how far from that I was spending most of my time. I’ll look to catch up on not sitting in traffic — though it did take me two hours to get home after leaving the office early and I am going back into Boston later to go to the Obelisk-presented Gozu record release show, so maybe not off to the best start there — and do some writing, some housecleaning, catching up on things like the mail, which has been piling up, going to the beach and spending some time with my family. The Patient Mrs. called it “funemployment,” having apparently read same somewhere on the internet. Sounds good to me.

I had originally slated the next Quarterly Review to take place what’s now the week I’ll be starting my new job, so yeah, that’s not happening. Rather than push it back, to when I’ll be in the thick of getting adjusted to a new office and new tasks, I’ve decided to push it forward, to when I’ll be sitting on my ass anyway. I’ll be finishing setting up the preliminaries this weekend — so I can start actually setting it up after that — and then we’ll kick it off on June 20.

In the meantime, next week I’ve got an interview and video premiere (both! in one post!) for Greenleaf, as well as reviews of tonight’s Gozu release show and records by West, Space & LoveSergio Ch., and hopefully Surya Kris Peters. Also new videos from Blues Pills and Mother Mooch, news about Monkey3‘s impending album — spoiler alert: there is one — and much more that I’m already behind on. It’s going to be an absolute blast and I’m looking forward to being able to give The Obelisk my complete attention, at least for a couple weeks before the next version of real life kicks in.

Thanks everyone for checking in this week. Hope you have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Earthless & Harsh Toke, Acid Crusher / Mount Swan: Acidic Compounds

Posted in Reviews on May 31st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

earthless harsh toke acid crusher mount swan

Whoever first had the idea to pair up Earthless and Harsh Toke for a split full-length, he or she was correct. Hardly the deepest critical insight I’ve ever had, but there it is. The San Diego longform heavy psychedelic rockers team exceedingly well on the 12″ platter, Acid Crusher / Mount Swan, each band offering a side-consuming single track immersion with a different take on similarly-intentioned righteousness. For the heads who will get it, this review is superfluous. Not only does Acid Crusher / Mount Swan sell itself to the already-converted, but comes across more as a victory lap than a release, Earthless‘ “Acid Crusher” and Harsh Toke‘s “Mount Swan” both taking ‘er easy all over lazy-day lysergics, unleashing instrumental chemistry between them the likes of which few others could claim as their own. That’s true of both bands, by the way, and not just Earthless.

Aside from the sonic commonalities, one reason Acid Crusher / Mount Swan works so well is that it brings together that landmark three-piece — whose last album was 2013’s From the Ages (review here) but who also had a new song out earlier this year on a Scion-sponsored multi-band EP — with a younger outfit who clearly on one level or another are working under their influence and successfully bringing their own personality to their approach. There’s little question that Earthless have been a key factor in the boom of West Coast heavy psych of the last five years or so, and their presence here alongside Harsh Toke both reinforces their position at the fore of that movement and demonstrates some of the best of what’s being done with the impact they’ve had.

It’s worth acknowledging as well that Acid Crusher / Mount Swan might be a listener’s first exposure to Harsh Toke, who made their debut on Tee Pee in 2014 with the grower-listen Light up and Live, touring Europe that same year including a stop at Roadburn and going back last fall alongside labelmates Sunder, and if that’s the cast, then all the better for the impression they give. Their “Mount Swan” clocks in at just a bit under 20 minutes and offers molten psychedelic flow, some early vocals acting as the ground from which the subsequent instrumental breadth takes off. I don’t know how much of it is improvised or plotted out beforehand, outlined or meticulously written out measure by measure, but the flow they enact feeds gorgeously from the laid back motion of Earthless‘ 15-minute “Acid Crusher,” which over on side A pulls back on some of the thrust for which the band is known in favor of a key-and-percussion-laced fusion-style rollout, steady funk groove underlying the straightforward, grounding drum progression from Mario Rubalcaba.

earthless harsh toke acid crusher mount swan vinyl

The fluidity there becomes the theme that unites both tracks, and though Harsh Toke start out with a somewhat foreboding nod, after the initial verses, by the time they’re two minutes in, they set to a for-its-own-sake meandering that defines the rest of the song, starting out with a wash of feedback and noise and tripping on slow-motion cosmic swirl marked by periodic upticks in pace and an increased push of kick drum late. Would be fair enough to call it a payoff toward the end, but “Mount Swan” is less about a linear progression upward than a liquefied spreading outward, and that remains true even as the wheels start to come off near the finish and the dual guitars chug and solo around the central rhythm when the drums have faded out. The guitars fade out too, as it happens, which leads me to believe that somewhere on this planet there exists and even longer version of “Mount Swan” than that which appears here.

I started with the B-side for a reason, and that reason might be that Earthless are almost a given at this point. Rubalcaba, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (also of Golden Void) and bassist Mike Eginton, hit their 15th year together in 2016, and though they only put out albums sporadically, the mark they’ve left can be heard throughout the West Coast and beyond. With “Acid Crusher,” they make it plain that they’ve by no means finished their exploration. They waste no time getting down to the business of groove with serene key work and fuzzy tones marching in step backed by percussion, flourishes of tambourine and an underlying current of volume swells and other effects, what sound like Echoplex loops but may or may not actually be. As is their wont generally, “Acid Crusher” is entirely instrumental, but it’s more than a jam as well, setting its vibe in the first half and expanding it in the second as Mitchell takes an extended solo at the 10-minute mark and uses it to lead the band to the song’s peak, which subsides in the last minute or so — presumably by then the acid in question has been thoroughly crushed — and they return to the locked-in groove that’s been at the center all along.

In showcasing their nuance and the fact that they can basically go wherever they want and make it work, “Acid Crusher” brings forward a different side of Earthless than some of the more raucous classic-style heavy psych for which they’re known, and Harsh Toke complement that well with “Mount Swan” while also affirming that Light up and Live‘s follow-up will be one worth anticipating. As I said at the outset, there will be many listeners who take on Acid Crusher / Mount Swan for whom its quality will be an absolute given, but even for those who might approach it on less sure footing, the delivery on the part of both acts winds up being pretty inarguable. These are two of the finest in heavy psych that California has to offer. They’re doing what they do.

Earthless, “Acid Crusher”

Harsh Toke, “Mount Swan”

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The Skull and Witch Mountain Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Have to chuckle a bit at The Skull calling a tour ‘November of Doom,’ when they’re from Chicago and that same city is host to Novembers Doom, but hey, sometimes coincidences happen. On their latest run of Europe, which follows two earlier this Spring, including one that stopped for a total of three sets at Roadburn 2016, they’ll be joined by Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain. As coordination would have it, the two bands share a guitarist in Rob Wrong at this point, so though he’ll be pulling double-duty, the pairing makes an awful lot of sense. The Skull, who are continuing to support their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), as well as a self-titled follow-up EP (review here), features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller and drummer Sean Saley, in addition to Rob Wrong.

To my recollection, this is the first time Witch Mountain will be headed to Europe since acquiring vocalist Kayla Dixon. They toured North America last Spring alongside Enslaved and YOB and are about due for a follow-up to 2014’s Mobile of Angels (review here), their gorgeous and fraught fourth full-length.

Both bands also play Erosion Festival 2016 (info here) in Missoula, Montana, this October.

From the PR wire:

the skull witch mountain

THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are returning to Europe in November 2016!

The Skull & Witch Mountain:
11/04 Bristol, UK Exchange
11/05 Milton Keynes, UK Crauford Arms
11/06 London, UK Underworld
11/07 Tilburg, NL Little Devil
11/08 Utrecht, NL DBS
11/09 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez
11/10 Vienna, AT Doom Over Vienna
11/11 Arnstadt, DE Rockjunfer
11/12 TBA
11/13 Drachten, NL Iduna
11/14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthof
11/15 Kassel, DE Schlachthof
11/16 Hamburg, DE Hafenklang
11/17 Dortmund, DE Piano
11/18 Würzburg, DE Hammer Of Doom
11/19 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk

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The Skull, Live at Roadburn 2016

Witch Mountain, Live at King’s Barcade, Raleigh, NC, March 26, 2015

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Friday Full-Length: Earthless, Live at Roadburn

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Earthless, Live at Roadburn (2008)

Among the hallowed ranks of performances at the Netherlands-based festival, there are few that have earned the legendary status of that which would become EarthlessLive at Roadburn. Four songs, more than 80 minutes long, it’s a mammoth, beast of an undertaking. The year was 2008. I wasn’t there to see it, much to my chagrin, but Earthless had played earlier in the weekend and were taking somebody’s place or something like that, and next thing anyone standing at the 013 knew, the San Diego trio of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba blew everyone’s ass out of the room. The proof is in the pudding and the pudding is pressed to plastic on Live at Roadburn — the three-piece rip into “Blue,” “From the Ages,” “Godspeed” and “Sonic Prayer” with authority well beyond what they showed on the prior Sonic Prayer Jam live outing or their two studio albums at that point, 2006’s Sonic Prayer and 2007’s Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky, which, like Live at Roadburn, was released on Tee Pee Records.

Though Earthless offered a number of splits in the interim, it would be another five years before Live at Roadburn got a proper follow-up in the 2013 studio album, From the Ages (review here), which not only featured a solid half-hour’s take on the title-track, which made its first appearance here, but fostered the same kind of command. In the years since, Earthless have been at the spearhead of a West Coast heavy psychedelic movement, touring the US, Europe, Australia — I don’t know off-hand if they’ve been to South America and Japan, but let’s assume yes — as one of its most essential bands and having a hand in influencing a new generation of acts grown up in their wake. If you think that’s overstating it, go and listen to those bands. Earthless‘ amorphous-seeming compositional sprawl is writ large on the jams of others, and while they’re not the only point of reference for the West Coast’s sun-baked vision of heavy — the heavy ’70s have certainly played a part in the development thereof — they are a key factor, inarguably.

It’s been over seven years since I last saw Earthless on their own — I did catch them with Heavy Blanket in 2014 (review here) — which by any measure is too long, but though their legacy has grown in that time and no doubt their chemistry as well and their methodology has shifted to include occasional vocals from Mitchell when it suits their purposes, the core of what has made Earthless so special is still present in Live at Roadburn, and I think it still comes through even eight years after the fact how utterly incredible this show must have been to see. Imagine being blindsided by witnessing the moment of this band’s arrival. It’s enough to give you chills.

Hope you enjoy.

I kept it pretty quiet, but I’ve been on a work trip all week. If all goes well, by the time this is posted I’ll be back, safe and sound, in Connecticut with The Patient Mrs., but as fingers hit keys I’m in Atlantic City, NJ. Spent the early part of the week in North Jersey, which was good since I got to see my family on the side, but came down to AC on Wednesday and have been here since, am very much looking forward to leaving. Not really my kind of town, haven’t been here since I saw Clutch half a decade ago or whenever it was. I don’t even know and I’m too exhausted to go chase down the link, but suffice it to say it was a long time before right now. Atlantic City is still a depressing place to be.

Being here for work hasn’t helped in that regard, frankly.

I’ve been short on time, haven’t even had a second to trim down the Greenleaf interview to be transcribed. I’ll get there. I promise I will. If not this weekend — because I might seriously put my laptop down after I finish typing this and not pick it up again until Sunday when I prep stuff to go up on Monday — then definitely next week. I’m just so friggin’ tired.

Monday: A full album stream from Atala. But wait, didn’t I already review the record with a track premiere? Yuppers. They asked if I wanted to do a stream of the full LP, so I said sure. Cool album, anyway, so screw it. I have no idea what I’ll write to go with it, but I’ve got a couple days to sort that. Also look for a Kaleidobolt track premiere on Tuesday and a King Buffalo review sometime before next week is done.

And sometime next week — not even gonna say when — I’ll announce two more bands for The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is Aug. 20 at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Get your tickets here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be in full-on recovery mode until Sunday, at which point I have to take The Patient Mrs. to the airport so she can go to London for like 10 days with students. I’d be like mad about it if I hadn’t been to Roadburn for the last eight years. Ha.

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Comet Control Release Center of the Maze June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

comet control (Photo by Melissa Boraski and Jennifer Keith)

Feels like a long time since Toronto’s Comet Control made their self-titled debut (review here) on Tee Pee Records, but it was only two years ago. Perhaps it’s my own impatience for a follow-up to that album’s alternatingly laid back and driving heavy psychedelia that makes it seem longer. That same impatience has me very much anticipating the June 24 arrival of the band’s second outing, Center of the Maze, also on Tee Pee. Fingers crossed the play between shoegazing sprawl and rhythmic propulsion is still in check, but something tells me wherever this one goes, it’s going to be a pleasure to stow away for the trip. And by that I mean I can’t wait to hear it.

The PR wire brings the particulars of the peculiars:

comet control center of the maze

COMET CONTROL to Release New Album ‘Center of the Maze’ June 24

Psych Rock Vets Take to the Skies on Shining Sophomore LP

Toronto space rock cosmonauts COMET CONTROL will re-enter the atmosphere on June 24 with their stargazed sophomore album, Center Of The Maze (Tee Pee Records). The band features vocalist / guitarist Chad Ross and guitarist Andrew Moszynski, each formerly of heavy psych champions QUEST FOR FIRE and garage rockers THE DEADLY SNAKES. The powerhouse musicians are joined in COMET CONTROL by Nicole Howell (bass), Jay Anderson (drums) and Christopher Sandes (keys). Engineered by Josh Korody (Fucked Up, Moon King) at Candle Recording, and mastered by Carl Saff (Sweet Apple, Earthless), Center of the Maze is the follow-up to COMET CONTROL’s 2014 self-titled debut.

Flooded with swirling synths, ghostly vocals and fuzz-bomb guitars that burst into flames in electrifyingly airborne ways, Center Of The Maze effortlessly merges the ethereal and the terrestrial. The album is a 43-minute collection of blinding explosions and brilliant fade-outs. Overdriven riffs reign supreme and songs build with a mantra-like power before collapsing into majestic dreaminess. Like watching a rocket take off at close range, the sound of COMET CONTROL is both exhilarating and mesmerizing, propelled into orbit by unwavering melody and unhinged creativity.

Ross comments, “‘Center of the Maze’ is about feeling comfortable getting lost.”

Track listing:
1.) Dig Out Your Head
2.) Darkness Moves
3.) Silver Spade
4.) The Hive
5.) Criminal Mystic
6.) Golden Rule
7.) Sick in Space
8.) Artificial Light

https://www.facebook.com/CometControl/
http://teepeerecords.com/collections/frontpage

Comet Control, “Blast Magic”

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