Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Tonight’s the night. Or at least it’s a night. One of 26 on the current European tour of San Diego heavy psych rockers Joy and Vancouver strutters Black Wizard, but it also happens to be the first one, so, you know, that’s not nothing. Joy head overseas supporting their sophomore full-length for Tee Pee, Ride Along! (review here), while Black Wizard made their debut back in February on Listenable Records with their third offering overall, New Waste (review here). I would not at all be surprised if these two wound up jamming onstage together at some point on this trip — if not at all points on this trip — and not that you’d really need another reason to show up, but surely that would be one.
They’ll hit Desertfest Belgium 2016 along the way. Tee Pee posted the dates thusly:
JOY is touring Europe with Black Wizard – mark the dates!
Joy & Black Wizard on tour: 27.09 DE / Oldenburg, MTS Citysound 28.09 DE / Berlin, Urban Spree 29.09 NL / Tilburg, Little Devil 30.09 FR / Caen, Portobello Club 01.10 FR / Tours, TBA 02.10 FR / Bordeaux, TBA 03.10 SP /Oviedo,TBA 04.10 SP / Madrid, Maravillas Club 05.10 SP / Bercelona, Incivic Zone 06.10 FR / St. Etienne, Thunderbird 07.10 CH / Olten, Le Coq D Or 08.10 CH / Kreuzlingen, Horst Klub 09.10 IT / Treviso, Punky Raggae Pub 10.10 SLO / Ilirska Bistrica, Mknž 11.10 SLO / Lubiana, beltinci 12.10 DE / Wurzburg, Immerhim 13.10 DE / Köln, Sonic Ballroom 14.10 BE / Antwerp DESERTFEST 15.10 NL/ Den Haag, Bazart 16.10 DE / Freiburg, White Rabbit 17.10 DE / Karlsruhe, AKK 19.10 AT/ Innsburck, Decentral 20.10 DE / Leipzig, LIWI 21.10 DE / Dresden, Chemiefabrik 22.10 AT /Linz, Kapu 23.10 DE / Halle, Hünermanhattan
Award-winning California psych rock band JOY released its new album, Ride Along!, Friday, April 29 via Tee Pee Records. Produced by vocalist / guitarist Zachary Oakley and recorded at San Diego’s Audio Design Studios (Earthless, Rocket From the Crypt), the album contains nine new JOY compositions and a searing cover of ZZ Top’s “Certified Blues”. Ride Along! features guest contributions from an all-star lineup of Cali psych rock heroes, including Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba, Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs and guitarist Brenden Dellar, of Tee Pee labelmates, Sacri Monti.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Dates have been floating around the social medias for the last month or so, but the PR wire has now confirmed that San Diego heavy psych forerunners Earthless will head out on a round of headlining US tour dates this December, looping across the Midwest and hitting the Eastern Seaboard in support of their earlier-2016 split with Harsh Toke (review here) on Tee Pee Records. They go heralding that release, but the truth is they could just as easily head out supporting, “duh, we’re Earthless,” and it would be reason enough to show up and watch them melt ears and the brains between them, so you know, if they’re coming near you, go to the gig.
They’ll have Philly outfit and Tee Pee labelmates Ruby the Hatchet along for the ride, which is also awesome. Info and dates:
EARTHLESS Announces U.S. Headlining Tour
Instrumental heavy rock kings EARTHLESS have announced a fall U.S. headlining tour. The San Diego band will launch the thirteen town trek on December 2 in Chicago, IL. Dates will run through December 17 in Detroit, MI. The award-winning group, currently hard at work on its fourth studio LP, continues to tour in support of its celebrated album, From the Ages. Support on the EARTHLESS tour will come from Philadelphia witch rockers Ruby the Hatchet.
EARTHLESS tour dates: * = Ruby the Hatchet as support December 2 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle * December 3 St Louis, MO The Firebird* December 4 Norman, OK OPOLIS* December 6 Dallas, TX Club Dada* December 7 Austin, TX Barracuda* December 8 Houston, TX Rudyard’s Pub December 9 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon December 10 Atlanta, GA The EARL* December 11 Raleigh, NC Barcade December 12 Richmond, VA Strange Matter December 13 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom December 15 Pittsburgh, PA Club Cafe* December 16 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop* December 17 Detroit, MI El Club*
EARTHLESS features guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Whatever else you can say about Pittsburgh heavy rockers Carousel, they certainly had their adventures. The classically-styled outfit were brash, and their material brazenly took on ’70s stylization without going full-on vintage loyalist across their two albums, 2013’s Jeweler’s Daughter (review here) and last year’s 2113 (review here) — both on Tee Pee Records — and they came to represent a vision of classic heavy rock from the eastern half of the country that didn’t necessarily rely on the aggro approach of so many of the bands from the coast. Carousel were coming from their own place, soaked in booze and just a bit unhinged, but never veering from a quality songwriting that ultimately became their defining feature.
They call it quits after a somewhat tumultuous year. Last winter, they flipped their van in Wyoming on a West Coast stint. This Spring, they toured Europe alongside Elder with guitarist Alejandro Necochea (also of labelmates Worshipper) filling in for Matt Goldsborough (sometimes of Pentagram), playing Roadburn and Desertfest and many others besides. By that time, they’d already parted ways with drummer Jake Leger, who contributed to both albums, leaving just guitarist/vocalist Dave Wheeler and bassist Jim Wilson as original members as Justin Sherrell (ex-Blackout, Bezoar) took on the drums and John Dziuban (Sistered; who had initially joined on drums) became the guitarist. Like I said, tumultuous. Earlier this summer, Carousel canceled their scheduled appearance at Psycho Las Vegas for August, and a general lack of communication from the band ended with the announcement of their disbanding as Wheeler and Wilson plan to move forward in another band.
I was fortunate enough to see Carousel a year ago in Maryland (review here) and was struck by the vitality they brought to the classic rock form and the unabashed love they showed for the power of what a hook could do to an audience. Bottom line: Good band. They probably had more to offer than they got to.
Hello fans and friends… It’s difficult to make this post but the time has come for carousel to call it quits. It’s been a hell of a ride but frequent lineup changes and other unfortunate events have necessitated this decision. Thanks to anyone who supported us over the years. We’re still humbled by the fact that anyone gave a crap about us or our music and we’re truly grateful to our label Tee Pee Records for taking a chance on us. Jim and Dave will carry on with their other band Outsideinside. We leave you with a clip of Jeweler’s Daughter live in Bilbao, Spain from our last tour. Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It’s been a dream come true.
Kalas was a short-lived five-piece fronted by Matt Pike of High on Fire and Sleep. During their time together, which reportedly started in 2003, they released one full-length, self-titled, on Tee Pee Records. They did not tour extensively. I remember seeing them at SXSW 2006 in Austin, Texas, at a day party sponsored by Vice — at the time I had no idea what Vice was, but Witch were also playing, so I wasn’t missing it either way — and watching as Pike rushed through the crowd to get on stage because the band’s set was about to start. It was that kind of thing. Someone would tell me later that Kalas essentially came out of his desire to practice his vocals and expand his range for High on Fire — which the album Kalas most definitely does on songs like “Frozen Sun” and “Mother’s Tears” — but I think the appeal of the record goes further than that.
Consider that in 2006, Sleep were still broken up, seemingly permanently. With High on Fire, Pike released Blessed Black Wings in 2005 and would follow it up with Death is this Communion in 2007, indeed having greatly expanded his vocal range. Kalas‘ self-titled is not only a bridge between those two albums, but also a tie to the more purely stonerized riffing of Sleep — or at very least is less maniacally metal than High on Fire were at the time and have only grown to be more so. By stepping back and not playing guitar, Pike gave crucial ground to six-stringers Andy Christ (ex-Eldopa) and Paul Kott (ex-High Tone Son of a Bitch) and led the band, which also included bassist Brad Reynolds and drummer Scott Plumb, in a different way than he ever had before or than he has since. He only played guitar in Sleep, but in Kalas, he only sang (minus a solo on “Frozen Sun”), and that became a defining feature of the group and the album.
Honestly, that would probably be enough to pique interest, but the album continues to deliver quality in the performance of the entire band and the songwriting. It’s not as rampage-prone as High on Fire, but Kalas grooves fluidly across its nine tracks, and the lyrics tackle issues of addiction and the resulting effects on life in a more direct way than Pike ever had before. It became a vibe that, on subsequent releases, might’ve come to develop along a path separate from anything else Pike was involved in, but instead it kind of languished behind the booming popularity of High on Fire — who were in the midst of doing some of their best work to-date — and the reunion of Sleep, which began in 2009. The self-titled would be the only thing they ever put out. Copies still float around, and if you’re lucky you might be able to find one in a used rack somewhere, but it continues to surprise me how little mention Kalas get in the Matt Pike discography, since they were unlike anything he’d done before or would do again. And, again, the songs hold up even a decade later.
More pre-social media heavy seemingly given up to the ages, awaiting reissue. Hope you enjoy.
I lost a little weight recently and so have been digging out some old t-shirts from boxes in the basement in hopes that they might fit. I chose the Kalas record because apparently at some point I purchased a Kalas t-shirt with the album cover on it. Must have been at that SXSW show, though I couldn’t say for sure — it was a long decade ago and I never went to Austin that I didn’t spend the entire half-week bordering on blackout drunk. Or my 20s. Ha.
Anyway, I think I might wear that Kalas shirt to The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is only eight days away. It’s pretty new looking. I might’ve never worn it before.
Next week the countdown to that show will continue. Look for exclusive and awesome stuff from Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple, and maybe a special writeup for the afterparty as well, because I’m really stoked on bringing Walter Roadburn and Adam from The Golden Grass on board to DJ after Mars Red Sky plays. It’s going to be such an awesome day. Please come. Please show up.
Also next week, look out for a review and some kind of audio premiere for the new Second Grave album, Blacken the Sky. To be followed Tuesday (I think) by Wretch and Wednesday by Blues Funeral. There’s more for later in the week, I’m just not sure what it is yet. Doing the All-Dayer countdown has put me way behind on videos as well. Might take a day to get caught up. We’ll see how it goes.
I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please get your The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets, and please check out the forum and radio stream.
True, it hasn’t been all that long since Amsterdam full-charge rockers Death Alley posted up a new clip for the title-track of their most excellent 2015 Tee Pee Records debut, Black Magick Boogieland (review here). Their doing so prompted something of a rant on my part — well fucking justified, from where I sit — about how god damn awesome they are live and how anyone in the US lucky enough to see them for the first time doesn’t even know the kind of right-past-the-next-level-and-onto-the-level-after-that-one show they’re in for.
Naturally, in bringing them aboard for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (tickets), it’s a sentiment by which I wholeheartedly stand.
All the better that as part of our countdown to The Obelisk All-Dayer, which is a mere 11 days away now, they should check in with a live video, as if to give any unsuspecting parties all the more reason to show up in-person. The clip is for “Supernatural Predator,” the epic and hypnotic space-infused closer from Black Magick Boogieland, and it was filmed this past June at Hellfest 2016 in Clisson, France.
Death Alley shared the Valley stage that day with Kadavar, Lecherous Gaze, Unsane and Puscifer, among others, and watching “Supernatural Predator,” it’s abundantly clear what a force they’ve become on stage. They come to The Obelisk All-Dayer to join forces with Mars Red Sky, Snail, Kings Destroy, Eye, Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple as part of a short US tour that no doubt will spread their name farther than the cities they happen to be hitting along the way.
Thanks to the band for letting me host this premiere, and for playing in Brooklyn on the 20th as well. I can’t wait.
Death Alley, “Supernatural Predator” live at Hellfest 2016
I feel like you don’t even know. Unless you’ve already seen Death Alley, I’m not sure it’s possible to fully appreciate the momentous occasion that their arrival in the US for their first shows on the North American continent represents. They come supporting their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut album, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), and having seen them twice at Roadburn, I can tell their live show is a righteous next step for classic heavy rock, as punk as it is metal and delivered with nigh-on-unmatched vitality that proves so completely essential to the good time the material winds up conveying. Also every now and then they get weird, and that’s awesome too.
That’s what “Black Magick Boogieland” is all about — bringing these pieces together. I could not, could not, could not be more thrilled to have Death Alley in the lineup as part of The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (JUST BUY YOUR FUCKING TICKETS ALREADY), and if the fact that they’re doing more dates besides — including Psycho Las Vegas — means more heads will catch on, then all the better. I cannot imagine being in the same building while they play and not being swallowed up by their energy. It’s going to be completely over the top in completely the best way possible. I fucking mean it.
They’ve got a new video for the aforementioned “Black Magick Boogieland” that you can dig into below. Clip info and tour itinerary follow:
Death Alley, “Black Magick Boogieland” official video
Video by: Boitelle & Grygierczyk Audio Visual Rock Productions
Title track from debut album Black Magick Boogieland. Out on Tee Pee records.
See you punks at one of these! 8/19 – Philadelphia – Kung Fu Necktie 8/20 – New York City – Saint Vitus (Obelisk Alldayer) 8/21 – New York City – Cake Shop 8/27 – Las Vegas – Hard Rock Hotel (Psycho Las Vegas festival) 8/31 – San Francisco – Elbow Room 9/01 – Los Angeles – Viper Room 9/02 – San Diego – Til Two Club 9/03 – San Diego – Til Two Club
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
A couple months ago, while out on a run with The Obsessed and Karma to Burn — Tone Deaf is killing it with the package tours this year — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik of The Atomic Bitchwax sustained an injury to his arm that forced the band to cancel about half the dates. Sierra filled in, but still kind of a bummer for the stalwart NJ trio, whose 2015 Tee Pee Records album, Gravitron (review here), was among the year’s finest.
No doubt they’d get back out, and this time they’ll be headlining a coast-to-coast stint with Ohio’s Lo-Pan and Memphis blues rockers The Dirty Streets. For Lo-Pan, it will mark the four-piece’s first tour with new guitarist Chris Thompson, who was just announced as having joined the band earlier this week. They’re on the tour from Aug. 19 through Aug. 27 only, it looks like, so presumably the next night will serve as their stop at Psycho Las Vegas. The Dirty Streets, on the other hand, have an off-night as the Bitchwax and Lo-Pan roll into Tucson on Aug. 27, so I guess that’s when they’ll be playing the Vegas megafestival.
In any case, glad to see The Atomic Bitchwax heading off again and continuing to keep excellent company. Dates were posted by the band:
USA!! Arm is healed up so let’s try this again!!
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (ALL DATES) W/ LO PAN (8/19-9/27) and THE DIRTY STREETS (8/19-9/10 excluding 8/27) 08/19/2016 Charlotte NC The Milestone w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/20/2016 Hattiesburg MS The Tavern w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/21/2016 New Orleans LA Siberia w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/22/2016 San Antonio TX Limelight w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/23/2016 Houston TX White Oak Music Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/24/2016 Austin TX Grizzly Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/25/2016 Ft Worth TX Rail Club w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/26/2016 Albuquerque NM Ned’s Bar w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets 08/27/2016 Tucson AZ Flycatcher w/ Lo-Pan 08/28/2016 San Diego CA Soda Bar w/ The Dirty Streets 08/29/2016 Los Angeles CA Viper Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/30/2016 San Francisco CA Elbo Room w/ The Dirty Streets 08/31/2016 Portland OR Dante’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/01/2016 Vancouver BC Biltmore w/ The Dirty Streets 09/02/2016 Seattle WA El Corazon w/ The Dirty Streets 09/03/2016 Bellingham WA Shakedown w/ The Dirty Streets 09/06/2016 Minneapolis MN Grumpy’s w/ The Dirty Streets 09/07/2016 Chicago IL Double Door w/ The Dirty Streets 09/08/2016 Cleveland OH Grog Shop w/ The Dirty Streets 09/09/2016 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie w/ The Dirty Streets 09/10/2016 Brooklyn NY Black Bear w/ The Dirty Streets
Two Fridays ago, we closed out the week with Internal Void‘s 1993 debut, Standing on the Sun, in honor of the band’s appearance at Maryland Doom Fest 2016. Now that the fest is over, it seems only fair to follow that up with something more current representing another side entirely of the offerings last weekend in MD. Philly/New Jersey’s Ruby the Hatchet are one of the groups I was most looking forward to seeing throughout the weekend for the simple reason that I’d never seen them before and their early 2015 Tee Pee label debut and second album overall, Valley of the Snake (review here), was positively entrancing, taking Uncle Acid-style garage doom to more psychedelic places with a classic sensibility in its swing and organ-inclusive melodies.
The songs were also catchy as hell, and that never hurts.
Comprised of six tracks for a 40-minute run, Ruby the Hatchet‘s second LP broke cleanly into its two sides and asked little more of the listener than to nod along to cuts like the strong opening duo of “Heavy Blanket” and “Vast Acid,” the latter of which seemed to wink directly at Uncle Acid‘s ultra-influential “I’ll Cut You Down,” but still come out of it with a personality of its own, and both of which were highlights of their performance at the fest. Frontwoman Jillian Taylor was responsible for a lot of that, and her vocal command is a major appeal throughout the record, but guitarist John Scarperia, bassist Mike Parise (since replaced by Lake Muir), drummer Owen Stewart and organist Sean Hur each have their say as well, and as they shift into the drawl of side A closer “Tomorrow Never Comes,” it’s Ruby the Hatchet as a whole working cohesively to elicit the doomed feel.
That song plays a bit of back and forth with tempo late, but its primary impression is slower than the two cuts before it. When they start side B with “The Unholy Behemoth,” the feeling is very much like they’ve gone back to the start, but “The Unholy Behemoth” and “Demons,” which follows, are both more the band’s own. Unafraid to break out an upbeat winding intro riff, “Demons” boasts plenty of swing and is still definitely cult rock in its atmosphere, but there’s a sense of Ruby the Hatchet putting their stamp on the sound more than playing to style. The hooks are no less prevalent, fortunately, and as they move into the sunshiny heavy psychedelia of the closing title-track, introducing it with some underlying noise, acoustic guitar and organ, they are completely in their own space. Some heft emerges later on as toms and electric guitar kick in, but Valley of the Snake‘s closer remains golden-hued all the same, capturing a sentimental vibe to finish that’s as resonant emotionally as it is sonically individual.
Post-MDDF, Ruby the Hatchet spent this week on tour with Black Mountain, and will wrap with the dates below:
Ruby the Hatchet live: 7/1 – Ithica, NY @ The Haunt* 7/2 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair* *supporting Black Mountain **supporting The Obsessed
As this is posted, I’m making my way back down to Maryland. The Patient Mrs.‘ car, which broke down on the final day of Maryland Doom Fest — literally right as I pulled into the parking space outside Cafe 611 as Mangog were getting ready to start — is still at a garage in Frederick. The alternator has been fixed, which is super, but Frederick is about seven hours in the car from where I live on the best of days, let alone the Friday before the July 4 holiday. Traffic sucked pretty bad last week. I don’t expect this trip will be any better.
My first (four-day) week of work at my new job is under my belt. It was good, I think. Actually managed to do something semi-productive yesterday — like an actual task that will be a part of my job going forward — without completely screwing it up, so that was a nice feeling. Other than that, it’s been a lot of meetings, a lot of meeting people, a lot of information overload, pretty typical stuff. I was good and beat by Wednesday night, yesterday dragged some, but today was a half-day, as are all Fridays, so getting out at 1 is pretty much what’s making it possible to get to Maryland, and I’m thankful for that. Can’t keep a rental car forever.
It’s a crowded office, and I share a cubicle, but the people seem nice and nobody’s told me to fuck myself yet. I wore sandals today and yesterday, and a t-shirt with an open short-sleeve button-down, so you know, could be worse. I figure I’ll lose the button-down altogether sooner or later. Don’t think it will be an issue. Too many people here for anyone to care.
Before I check out and take over driving from The Patient Mrs., I’d like to extend a special thanks to Sean “Skillit” McEleny for absolutely killing it on the poster for The Obelisk All-Dayer (tickets here) Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar. If you didn’t see it, click below to enlarge:
It turned out better than I could’ve hoped and his monumental effort is massively appreciated. Superlatives all around. Dude is amazing.
Been a stressful week, gonna be a stressful next day or two down to MD and back to CT, then MA, but whatever. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Might put one or two posts up Monday relevant to Europe if anything comes through, or might just let it ride until Tuesday. Maybe a podcast! It’s been forever. Gonna play it by ear.