Earthless Added to Freak Valley 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

earthless

San Diego instrumental trio Earthless have been announced as the latest addition to Freak Valley 2015. The heavy psych rockers also recently gave notice they’ll be touring Japan in January alongside Eternal Elysium, and no doubt their stop at Freak Valley will come complemented by other European dates as well as they continue to support 2013’s excellent From the Ages (review here), which was released on Tee Pee Records.

Freak Valley 2015 is set for June 4, 5 and 6 in Netphen, Germany, and in joining the lineup, Earthless move into position among other headliners like Goatsnake and Crippled Black Phoenix. It’s a fitting place for the three-piece of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (also Golden Void), bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (also OFF!), whose influence has had a significant impact the last several years on San Diego’s burgeoning heavy psych scene, bands like Joy and Psicomagia, among others in and beyond the city limits, taking cues from their dynamic righteousness and classic-style chemistry.

Announcement follows, courtesy of Freak Valley:

earthless freak valley 2015

Listen Freaks!!!

EARTHLESS will bring their Cosmic Jams from San Diego to the holy fields of Freak Valley !!

Formed in 2001, Earthless prides itself on creating energetic, utterly unique and free thinking instrumental music inspired by an eclectic mix of German krautrock and Japanese heavy blues-rock. The Californian trio has dedicated itself to mastery of the mind-bending jam session, evoking the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath in equal measure. Named after a song title from vintage New York garage-psych band The Druids of Stonehenge, EARTHLESS’ sound has been called “A sonic kaleidoscope of lava and lightning”, earning it the title of “California’s loudest band”. The group delivers “one of the best live shows in all of modern, heavy rock,” leading to one reviewer stating that the band’s “epic shredding harkens back to the days were psychedelic rock had balls the size of grapefruits and wasn’t afraid to take its listeners on a ride for which they may never return.”

Each member of EARTHLESS has done time in many other bands. Drummer (and former pro skater) Mario Rubalcaba currently plays in the hardcore punk band OFF! and has also occupied the drum throne in Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes amongst many others. Bassist Mike Eginton played with Electric Nazarene and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell was most recently in Howlin’ Rain, has played with Nebula and Drunk Horse and also heads up the Bay Area band Golden Void. In the end, EARTHLESS is the musical rock that grounds the three musicians and now, after more than half a decade since the release of their last studio LP, EARTHLESS has returned and is out to prove — through sheer rock power — why they are considered the cream of the modern day heavy psych scene.

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015

FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!!
We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!

Tickets: www.freakvalley.de | Only 66€ for 3 days incl. Camping!!

Hardtickets now @ our onlineshop: http://shop.rockfreaks.de/

Also: http://kozmik-artifactz.com/ | Kozmik Artifactz

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL: No Fillers – Just Killers

Goatsnake – Earthless – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!

http://www.merchlackey.com/earthless/
https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
https://twitter.com/earthlessrips
http://teepeerecords.com/bands/earthless/index.php

Earthless, From the Ages (2013)

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The Skull Announce December Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Fresh off the Tee Pee Records release of their debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), Chicago’s The Skull will hit the road mostly in the Midwest starting Dec. 11. They’ll make it as far east as Baltimore — which if you’re looking at a map is pretty far east, at least as the US goes — before swinging back around to Ohio and Indianapolis and so on as they head toward a hometown gig Dec. 19 at Reggies in Chicago and a stop at The Metal Grill in Cudahy, Wisconsin, a venue they’ve played before as part of Days of the Doomed fest.

Though I won’t get to catch them this time out, I’ll keep my fingers crossed this is just the first leg of more to come as The Skull set about giving their record its due. Having just put out one of 2014’s finest doom albums, they’ll hopefully be riding pretty high when they open up this run in Pittsburgh.

The PR wire brings the announcement:

the skull tour dates

THE SKULL: December U.S. Tour Dates Announced

THE SKULL — the heavy doom-rock band featuring original TROUBLE members, vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson, alongside longtime former TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner with SACRED DAWN guitarist Lothar Keller and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough – have recently announced a December U.S. tour to promote their debut record, “For Those Which Are Asleep” released worldwide this month (November 4) via Tee Pee Records. Confirmed tour dates are listed below.

December 11 – 31st Street Pub – Pittsburg, PA
December 12 – Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
December 13 – The Foundry Concert Club – Lakewood, OH
December 14 – Rock Star Pro Arena – Dayton, OH
December 15 – The 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN
December 17 – Fubar – St. Louis, MS
December 18 – Brauerhouse Lombard – Lombard, IL
December 19 – Reggies – Chicago, IL
December 20 – the Metal Grill – Cudahy, WI

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

The Skull, “The Touch of Reality”

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The Skull, For Those Which are Asleep: Out from the Shadow

Posted in Reviews on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull for those which are asleep

What began as former members of Trouble getting together to play Trouble songs on stage every now and again, mostly at fests like Days of the Doomed and Stoner Hands of Doom, takes on new life with the release of a debut album. The Skull, named for Trouble’s 1985 sophomore outing and invariably linked to that band’s legacy in both sound and personnel — vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson are former members — set a difficult task in distinguishing themselves from three-fifths of the lineup’s former act with For Those Which are Asleep, on Tee Pee Records, but ultimately, the album seems to be less about “not being Trouble and more about giving an honest take on a classic sound. By that I mean The Skull, lineup completed by guitarists Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram), are neither trying to sound like Trouble nor not sound like Trouble. They’re working in a traditional doom style that Trouble helped to establish on the 10-track/50-minute offering, but songs like “The Touch of Reality,” “Send Judas Down” and “Till the Sun Turns Black” don’t feel like they’re beating a dead stylistic horse. If anything, The Skull sounds vibrant — or as vibrant as doom will allow, anyway — across the new, original songs, and with the key element of Wagner‘s voice working in their favor, they push a lot of what worked best about the moody stretches on the last Wagner-fronted Trouble album, 2007’s Simple Mind Condition, to heavier and more foreboding places, fueled by burly riffing and metallic groove equally comfortable in faster or slower paces.

For those who’ve mourned the loss of Trouble as they were — of course, they’ve continued on and released their The Distortion Field full-length (review here) last year — The Skull are about as close as it seems likely to get. Opener “Trapped inside My Mind” sets expectations high with stellar guitar interplay from Keller and Goldsborough, a speedy chug and Wagner pushing his voice into his trademark higher register delivery. At this point, he’s clearly more comfortable with the mid-range sorrowfulness of “Sick of it All” or the downer-suited drawl of “Send Judas Down,” one of For Those Which are Asleep‘s most effective hooks, but his voice continues to have the power and resonance in the higher-pitch parts to carry them ably. “The Touch of Reality” (streamed here) follows the opener with a lurching nod and representative lead work and gives way in turn to the depressive “Sick of it All,” the airy verse of which seems like the first moment of the album that steps back for a more dynamic breath. Wagner excels at conveying this kind of downtrodden emotionality — to put “defeat” as a specialty seems cruel, but the fact is he’s good at it — and “Sick of it All” is a particularly crushing lyric, the organ-laced “The Door” picking up with layers of piano, acoustic and electric guitar to preview some of what the title-track will hold on side B, Olson‘s kick a steady foundation beneath. More morose than dramatic, there’s still a sense of richness to the arrangement that serves the song well, and the more raucous, riffier “Send Judas Down” follows suit to snap the listener back to reality and close out the album’s first half in rocking fashion, the starts and stops of the verse thrusting into a crash-filled chorus of Sabbathian doom that moves into an airy midsection jam before eventually returning to a stripped-down verse redux and solo-topped chorus finale.

the skull

“A New Generation” and “Till the Sun Turns Black,” which open the second half of For Those Which are Asleep, are the two shortest cuts on the album, each at 4:11 (“Trapped inside My Mind” and “The Touch of Reality” were pretty close), and Wagner once again touches on the higher register for the first of them as he makes his way smoothly into the chorus of the straightforward chugger. Some off-mic shouting and a count-in start “Till the Sun Turns Black,” giving an in-studio feel that’s somewhat jarring for how full the production is but that works with the track’s livelier, more upbeat vibe. Both it and “A New Generation” before are catchy, no frills cuts that emphasize the timeless approach The Skull have taken on their debut, but things open up further stylistically with “For Those Which are Asleep,” the longest song at 7:14, which like “The Door” before it blends acoustics and electrics and a grander sense of arrangement to match its emergent consuming, plus-sized riff. Verses marked out by Olson‘s fervent hi-hat transition sharply into said riff, KellerGoldsborough and Holzner obviously pushing for maximum impact as Wagner remains relatively calm over top. A midsection solo bridges back to the verse and a final chorus that move into a stopping finish that sounds closer-worthy and could’ve easily been the end of the album. It’s not. After the long fadeout of its title-track, For Those Which are Asleep rounds out with “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” and the Trouble cover, “The Last Judgment,” which were released earlier this year as The Skull‘s debut studio recordings on a CD single through Tee Pee (streamed here). I’m pretty sure the versions included here are the same Billy Anderson-recorded ones that appeared before, so it’s kind of curious that they’d be tacked on and not even referred to as bonus tracks or something like that, but there you go. “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” is no less welcome now than it was in Spring, and the Trouble song is likewise an excellent take on the track which originally appeared in 1983 on the Metal Massacre IV compilation.

That the Trouble song and first single also found their way onto the full-length makes for a startling end, but I won’t discount their value or that of the material before them. The Skull‘s debut benefits greatly from the pedigree and experience of the band’s members, and there’s no getting around the band’s link to Trouble – nor do I think they’re asking their audience to; they do close with that cover after all — but For Those Which are Asleep also marks the beginning of a branching out from that foundation, and hopefully it’s just the start of a progression that continues to take on a life of its own as it moves forward. For now, within classic doom, I can’t think of anything I could ask from these players that it doesn’t deliver.

The Skull, “The Door”

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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The Skull Premiere “The Touch of Reality” from For Those Which are Asleep

Posted in audiObelisk on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

November 4 marks the release date for For Those Which are Asleep, the debut full-length from Chicago doom five-piece The SkullTee Pee Records, known more these days for psychedelic rock (NaamWeird OwlEarthless) than the sort of traditional Sabbathry in which The Skull traffic, will be handling the CD/LP, and if The Skull are something of an odd fit, one can certainly say extenuating circumstances apply.

With three-fifths of the band’s lineup — bassist Ron Holzner, drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and vocalist Eric Wagner – culled directly from US doom legends Trouble, no doubt many of those who approach The Skull‘s first long-player will do so with a firm expectation of what’s in store. In some ways, those expectations will be right, but with guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) each playing a significant tonal role, For Those Which are Asleep sets its own course through doomly traditions.the skull for those which are asleep Wagner‘s inimitable vocal style, semi-spoken and subdued on “Send Judas Down” and “The Touch of Reality” and pushing into higher-register theatrics on the title-track and “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” — which, coupled with a cover of Trouble‘s “The Last Judgment,” was released earlier this year as a single (streamed here) to herald the album’s coming — to further the band’s utterly classic sound, modern and crisp in its production in a way that coincides with some of the album’s more forward-thinking moments, The Skull not just interested in paying homage to Trouble‘s legacy, which is how they started, but in moving ahead and building on it as well.

Today I have the extreme pleasure of debuting the track “The Touch of Reality.” It’s the second cut on For Those Which are Asleep behind “Trapped Inside My Mind” and it slips easily into one of the record’s most satisfying grooves, Olson smoothly riding the rhythm in Keller and Goldsborough‘s riffing, given heft by the breadth and ever-dynamic bass-work of Holzner while Wagner holds court over top. With The Skull, one of doom’s most enduring legacies breathes new life, and For Those Which are Asleep is as resounding a wake up call as one could ask. Heads and headbangers alike will be pleased.

Please find “The Touch of Reality” on the player below, followed by some info off the PR wire, and enjoy:

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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, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which are Asleep on iTunes

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Naam Announce Extended Hiatus

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Just days after returning from a month-long European tour, Brooklyn four-piece Naam have effectively announced they’re calling it quits. The heavy psych/space rock forerunners have left the door open — or maybe that’s just wishful thinking — to regrouping at some point, but their headlining slot at the previously-announced Sludgefeast next month will serve as their final live appearance. No word as yet on whether the members of the band, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar, bassist John Preston Bundy, drummer Eli Pizzuto and keyboardist John Weingarten, will pursue other projects. I guess it’s early for that kind of thing.

Naam made their debut in 2009 with the Kingdom EP (review here), which sounds raw now compared to what the band would become over the course of their tenure but is nonetheless a landmark in the development of Brooklyn’s heavy scene. Signing to Tee Pee RecordsNaam released their self-titled debut full-length later that year (discussed here) and through years of work on the road, positioned themselves both among the label’s best acts and among Brooklyn’s most quality exports.

They’d go on to put out a 7″ of Nirvana covers, another EP in 2012’s The Ballad of the Starchild (review here) and a follow-up full-length in last year’s Vow (review here), which affirmed their status at the fore of American heavy space rock, the addition of Weingarten‘s keys not only distinguishing Vow from its predecessor, but becoming a crucial element in the band’s sound. More touring ensued — I think the best show I ever saw them play was at Desertfest London in 2013 — and Naam pushed their sound even further into cosmic manipulations earlier this year on a split with The Flying EyesBlack Rainbows and White Hills (review here). At the time, that seemed to herald continued growth and a new experimental bent in their approach that one hoped would continue on their next album.

Whether or not Naam regroup at some point, their legacy is set in their two albums and slew of other releases — they have a physical pressing of their Live in Berlin EP coming next year — but also in the grind they did on the road, touring for a month at a clip either in Europe or the US, pushing themselves to and apparently past the brink in an effort to get their music to as many people as possible. Their greatest statement was always made on stage, and as much as it’s a bummer to think they won’t have another studio outing anytime soon, the thought of not seeing them live again is even more of a downer. Brooklyn’s brand of heavy would not be what it is today without Naam‘s example to follow.

They announced the end thusly:

naam

We regret to inform you all that we have decided to take a very long hiatus and will not be performing or writing for many years and possibly ever again. We love all of you and greatly appreciate all of the support and good times you have given us over the years.

We will be playing our final show on November 15th in Brooklyn, New York at Sludgefeast with our buddys White Hills. We suggest buying your tickets now at the link below. We plan on going out with a bang.

Thanks again for everything and we will see you around. Peace.

http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/683149?utm_medium=460163
https://www.facebook.com/KingdomOfNaam
https://twitter.com/Naamsongs

Naam, Vow (2014)

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audiObelisk Transmission 039

Posted in Podcasts on August 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

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

This one’s a couple minutes shorter than the last few have been, but lacks nothing for substance, and particularly after YOB‘s “Marrow,” anything I put at the end would’ve just been filler to meet some imaginary obligation on my part. If you feel like you’re lacking the four minutes, give me a call and we’ll chat about records for the rest of that time. It’ll be a hoot. In any case, I think there’s plenty here to sink into — stuff that for a lot of people, myself included, will be on year-end lists and albums for which 2014 will be remembered when all is said and done. Two of my four current contenders for Album of the Year are featured, first and last.

Parts of this podcast are gorgeous, parts are ugly, but I think everything here holds up in terms of quality and listening back, I like the way this one gets immersive with a mix of longer tracks and shorter ones, slower and faster, etc. As always, I hope you enjoy, and I thank you sincerely for taking the time to check it out.

First Hour:
Lo-Pan, “Regulus” from Colossus (2014)
Steak, “Liquid Gold” from Slab City (2014)
The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara (2014)
Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss (2014)
Kvlthammer, “Hesh Trip” from Kvlthammer (2014)
Snailking, “To Wonder” from Storm (2014)
Earth, “From the Zodiacal Light” from Primitive and Deadly (2014)
Pallbearer, “Watcher in the Dark” from Foundations of Burden (2014)
Sorxe, “Her Majesty” from Surrounded by Shadows (2014)

Second Hour:
Humo del Cairo, “Tres” from Preludio EP (2014)
Joy, “Miles Away” from Under the Spell Of… (2014)
Megaton Leviathan, “Past 21” from Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell (2014)
Bong, “Blue at Noon” from Haikai No Ku – Ultra High Dimensionality LP (2014)
YOB, “Marrow” from Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)

Total running time: 1:53:47

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 039

 

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The Skull Debut Album For Those Which are Asleep Coming Nov. 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Don’t put 2014 to bed yet! After releasing their debut single earlier this year (review here), The Skull will issue their first full-length, For Those Which are Asleep, on Nov. 4 via Tee Pee Records. I’m in genuine suspense to hear how the Trouble offshoot — vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson hailing from the seminal Chicago doomers — pay homage to their origins and even more how guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) distinguish themselves in tone and style and thus plot a new course for The Skull distinct from that of the band to whom they were originally formed as a tribute.

The title fascinates as well. The phrase “for those which are asleep” would seem to speak of things not human, otherwise it would be “for those whom are asleep.” Not sure if it’s meant to speak of an personify inanimate objects or if it’s just an odd turn of phrase, but it’s one more thing to add intrigue — if only to grammar dorks — about the album.

The Skull have the unenviable task of driving from Montreal to Delaware next weekend to appear at the Wings of Metal and Vultures of Volume festival. Bit of a hike that I’m sure will prove worth their while.

A certain PR wire has specifics:

the skull for those which are asleep

THE SKULL to Release For Those Which Are Asleep November 4

Metal Band Featuring Former Members of Doom Legends TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Finalize Debut LP

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, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which Are Asleep track listing:

1.) Trapped Inside My Mind
2.) The Touch of Reality
3.) Sick of It All
4.) The Door
5.) Send Judas Down
6.) A New Generation
7.) Till the Sun Turns Black
8.) For Those Which Are Asleep
9.) Sometime Yesterday Mourning
10.) The Last Judgment

This month, THE SKULL will pay tribute to TROUBLE’s landmark debut Psalm 9 (which Wagner and Olson co-wrote and performed on) in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the record’s release. THE SKULL will perform the influential album in its entirety at both the Wings of Metal Festival (Aug. 29 in Montreal) and the Vultures of Volume Festival (Aug. 30 in New Castle, Delaware) as headliners of each gathering. The band has also been confirmed to perform the full album at Barcelona’s Day of Doom Festival on October 10. Additional shows are expected to be announced as well.

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
https://twitter.com/troubletheskull

The Skull, “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” b/w “The Final Judgment” (2014)

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Joy Premiere “Miles Away” from Under the Spell of…

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The gnarly flows like wine all through Joy‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Under the Spell Of…, and the trio rip into an assortment of classic heavy rock jams comprised of tripped out explorations, psychedelic and organic in kind. A trio based out of San Diego, the bluesy circles they run offer a touch of earlier Radio Moscow, but with longer songs — all but two over six minutes and one of those is the album’s intro — Joy distinguish themselves with a raw sense of killing it for the sake of killing it, and the only real question is whether they named themselves after the joy they get in creating this sonic thrust or the joy they give crowds lucky enough to watch them do it. Maybe both.

Guest spots show up throughout Under the Spell Of…‘s eight tracks/46 minutes including Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, Parker Griggs of the aforementioned Radio Moscow and Astra‘s Brian Ellis, who also produced, and each of them mesh smoothly with the classic power trio dynamic of guitarist/vocalist Zach Oakley, bassist Justin Holson and drummer Paul Morrone, honed over the two years since they made their self-titled, self-released debut in shows alongside the likes of EarthlessHarsh Toke and Mystery Ship. To wit, an early groover like “Evil” subtly draws back the initial charge of “Miles Away” and “Confusion,” setting up the later boogie of “Driving Me Insane,” which smooths progressive shifts in tempo and rhythm with tossoff-style ease. Supreme shuffle ensues, and after the quieter, semi-acoustic sojourn “Death Hymn Blues,” closer “Back to the Sun” feels like a victory lap touting the parsecs traveled since the record’s psyched-out launch in the intro “Under the Spell” and “Miles Away.”

Under the Spell Of… doesn’t make a show of nuance, but it’s there for those who want to hear it, nestled into the airtight, live-sounding performances, particularly West Coast take on heavy psych and blown out echoes of “Miles Away,” which you can hear on the player below. Its seven minutes only comprise a small piece of what Joy have to offer, but I think you’ll find it’s almost impossible not to get lost in it once you start out, and in that, it definitely represents the spell that trio are looking to cast.

Good vibes and busted amps:

Joy will release Under the Spell Of… on Aug. 19 through Tee Pee Records. More info at the links.

Joy on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Naam Announce European Tour Dates and New Live in Berlin EP

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

Brooklyn cosmic rock originals Naam are headed back to Europe next month. They made two trips over last year in support of their 2013 sophomore Tee Pee Records full-length, Vow (review here), and will bring with them a new free live EP, Live in Berlin, that was presumably recorded on one or the other of those runs. Between that EP, Vow‘s continued resonance in the consciousness of their audience and their participation in Heavy Psych Sounds‘ four-way split with Black RainbowsThe Flying Eyes and fellow New Yorkers White Hills, they’ve got plenty of cause to spend some time abroad, and from this tour it looks like they’ll be making the most of it.

Of particular note are appearances at this year’s ReverenceBlizzard Mountain and Up in Smoke festivals. As we begin to move out of summer and into the fall, the common perception is that festival season is over, but it’ll be October as Naam close out this run — though they warn that this is an “initial” batch of dates, which could just as easily mean more will be added — at Up in Smoke in Pratteln, Switzerland, so clearly summer-only rules no longer apply. I’m a little surprised the four-piece aren’t sticking around another week to play Desertfest Belgium after doing London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, but if there are more dates to come, I wouldn’t rule anything out entirely just yet.

It’s past time to start thinking of Naam as one of the US’ finest heavy psych exports, and great to see them getting out again:

Naam European Tour 2014

02.09 Berlin 8MM (DJ Set)
05.09 Oslo Psych Fest
06.09 Naumburg Sallepartie
07.09 Kassel Secret Show
08.09 Munich Feierwerk
09.09 Karlsruhe Alte Hackeri
10.09 Dresden Ost Pol
11.09 Lisbon Reverence Warm Up
12.09 Valada Reverence Festival
14.09 London The 100 Club
17.09 Mannheim 7 ER Club
18.09 Jena Kulturbanhof
19.09 Berlin Swamp Fest
20.09 Rotterdam Baroeg Open Air
23.09 Copenhagen Loppen
26.09 Helsinki Bar Loose
27.09 Oulu Nuclear Night Club
30.09 Hamburg Hafenklang
02.10 Chambery Blizzard Mountain Festival
03.10 Weil der Stadt Kloster
04.10 Pratteln Up in Smoke Festival

https://www.facebook.com/KingdomOfNaam
https://twitter.com/Naamsongs
http://teepeerecords.com/

Naam, Vow (2013)

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

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

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.)


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.)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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.)


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.)


“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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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.)

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)


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

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:

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

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:

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.

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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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