Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Mothership‘s new album is a scorcher, plain and simple. The Texas natives made waves with their self-titled debut, which got picked up by Ripple for a re-release, but Mothership II is a different beast altogether, and one that trounces its predecessor easily. I’ll have more on the record as we get closer to its newly-announced November release, again through Ripple Music, but for now, take this as notice that the album is one worth looking forward to, and particularly if you dug the first one, something that’s going to make a late addition to your best of the year list.
Details and tracks and art, just off the PR wire:
MOTHERSHIP Reveal Details of Sophomore Album, Mothership II
Ripple Music and Dallas, Texas-based riffers Mothership are excited to finally reveal the details of Mothership’s highly anticipated second release, Mothership II. After months of playing their new tunes to sweaty, ecstatic masses both in Europe and on across the United States, the trio is excited for fans to finally hear the album in its entirety. For the album art, the band chose good friend and incredibly talented artist Zach “EZ” Nelson (Instagram – @ezwheelin) to hand draw his version of the galactic Valkyrie who also appeared in another form on the cover of the band’s debut album. For the album’s engineering, Mothership returned to Kent Stump of Wo Fat, who also lent his magic to the group’s eponymous debut album, at Dallas’ Crystal Clear Studios. Mothership II will be released on single LP gatefold vinyl and on digipack CD.
US: November 11th Europe/UK: November 10th
1. Celestial Prophet 2. Priestess of the Moon 3. Shanghai Surprise 4. Holy Massacre 5. Centauromachy 6. Hot Smoke & Heavy Blues 7. Tamu Massif 8. Astromancer 9. Serpents Throne
The CD will have two bonus songs:
1. Eye of Sphinx 2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Doing something a little different to close out this week in that The Black Angels is a band about whom I know next to nothing. I’ve seen their name around plenty, especially earlier this year (or was it last year now?) when they supported Roky Erickson on tour, but listening to their 2006 debut LP, Passover, as I type this is the first significant amount of time I’ve ever spent with one of their records. It sounds pretty cool. If this came my way today from a new band, I’d it’s right on heavy psych, so considering it dropped eight years ago, before a lot of this kind of thing really caught on here or in Europe, that’s all the more impressive. Onto the Amazon Wishlist it goes, right next to damn near everything else I’ve ever heard.
Based out of Austin, The Black Angels have four LPs out and a couple EPs as well, so I guess if I want to get caught up, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Stuff is a little chic and has more than a touch of Neil Young – also ahead of the game on that, apparently, though also behind it if one counts the entire decade of the ’90s — but it swings and would do well on the highway late at night, which seems to be where I most listen to music these days, the couch notwithstanding. I’ll dig further and let you know how it goes. One thing that took me so long in checking these guys out was that everything I heard about them had to do with their lightshow, which of course says nothing about the actual music. That’s something of a dogwhistle to me, mostly because The Flaming Lips suck so very hard and all everyone talks about is flashing colors and whatever other bullshit happens when they play live. Anyway, on first impression, Passoveris pretty solid. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but if not, and really either way, I hope you agree.
It was either this or the self-titled Alice in Chains to end the week, and if I’m honest that’s way more where my head has been at the last several days — as evidenced perhaps by the fact that I’ve never heard Passoverbefore — but I closed a week with Sapback in January, and it seemed a little soon to revisit the band. To answer your next question, yes, I really do put that much thought into this crap. If you only knew… you’d probably get very sad.
Which is pretty much what I did all week. I put up a day’s worth of posts yesterday without getting out of bed, and since the Yankees were playing a day game, just stayed in bed until about five o’clock, before I made my way all the way downstairs to watch no fewer than five episodes of the Scott Bakula Star Trek spinoff — the Trek kick continues unabated; ask me about the name of the ship in the novel I’m writing in my head — as well as the fifth movie, also arguably the nadir of the film franchise, at least until the second remake. Anyway, I had some shit turn south on me this week after it seemed to not be and it kind of pulled the wind out of my sails. Not worth going into.
I’ve now been unemployed for five months. How about that?
I’m not dealing with it well, but I didn’t last time either, though last time I made this blog and proceeded to let it consume my existence. This time? More of that, I suppose, but also a lot of feeling like a useless sucker, like I sold myself out cheap a decade ago, pointless regret, the usual, very dire melodrama that eats my consciousness alive when I get like this and forces me to step back and remember how easy and how good I actually have it, little help though that is. Anyway, I have family coming north this weekend and I expect that will be chaotic enough to jolt my brain out of this very unfunky funk.
Speaking of things gnawing at my consciousness, I think I’m finally in deep enough with the YOB record to review it. I’ve been trying to get a time to interview Mike Scheidt the last couple weeks as well and it just hasn’t worked. I thought maybe tonight, but I’m gonna head to Worcester to catch a show, so maybe next week, though I’m also interviewing Soph Day from Alunah about their new record, so we’ll see. Anyway, that review will get done.
On Monday, look out for a Snailking track premiere and later in the week one for Old Testament, which is a new project from Jason Simon from Dead Meadow. I’ll also review the show I’m going to tonight and hopefully the Blackwolfgoat record too.
Thanks to everyone for donating to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. Thanks to everyone who shared the Sleep review (particularly the cats from Earthless). Thanks to everyone for reading or listening to the radio or whatever. Thanks to everyone for everything. If I believed in being blessed, I’d consider myself blessed. I am lucky.
Splendid weekend to all, and if you’re in the States, enjoy your Labor Day. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Slow crawling malevolence, rich low end from a standup bass and vicious screams, Bludded Head come across more about the tension than the release, though there’s a fair bit of that as well. Not in the Melvins sense, where a verse riff kicks in and everyone goes, “Oh wow, aren’t the Melvins so weird?,” but in the next round of screaming, or, in the case of “Shitsucker Blues,” from the Denton, Texas, three-piece’s upcoming full-length, Reign in Bludd, in building a wall of noise that directly contrasts the minimalism and somehow ties back into it at the same time. The album, bless its punny heart, will be out in October on Sleeping Giant Glossolalia. It’s their third.
The story, according to the PR wire, goes like this:
BLUDDED HEAD Announce Release of New Album REIGN IN BLUDD
Reign in Bludd is released on 6th October 2014 via Sleeping Giant Glossolalia
Hailing from the North Texan city of Denton, Bludded Head was initially formed out of an appreciation for Henry Cow’s avant-garde leanings, La Monte Young-inspired minimalism and the sheer punishing volume of doom metal.
Yet this past year it has also served as something of a vibratory vessel of discovery for its mercurial founding member Nevada Hill. A vessel that today, from where we stand and Bludded Head perform, continues to turn out some of the loudest, loneliest and most vulnerable noises you’re likely to hear in 2014. A remarkable truth when you consider that Hill was diagnosed with melanoma – a rare form of skin cancer – in August 2013.
While Reign In Bludd, Bludded Head’s third and unquestionably best album to date picks up where Bludded Head (released earlier this year via Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) left off in its anti-commercial sentiment and cathartic bummer jams, never before has their sound felt so sincere or visceral. From the densely weathered riff that lumbers through ‘Shitsucker Blues’, lyrically drifting in and out of abject consciousness but sonically landing a punch somewhere between the The Body, Noothgrush and Corrupted, to the perfectly pitched cover of Codeine’s ‘Pea’ Reign In Bludd is as about as transformative as they come.
Recorded by Matthew Barnhart at Electrical Audio while the band were in tour throughout May of 2014 Reign In Bludd will be released on 6th October 2014 via Sleeping Giant Glossolalia on 180g audiophile and limited to 300 copies.
TRACK LISTING: 1. Shitsucker Blues (8:28) 2. Fuckitdry (4:07) 3. Pouring Rain (10:29) 4. Pea (3:46)
BLUDDED HEAD: Nevada Hill – Vocals, Guitar Ryan Williams – Upright Bass Jon Teague – Drums
Posted in audiObelisk on August 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Houston trio Funeral Horse occupy some pretty nebulous sonic space. At root in their style is a classic punk sensibility — their riffs are for the most part simple and there’s little on their second outing, Sinister Rites of the Master(review here), that one would consider “frilled” — but to call them “punk” or even “stoner punk” conveys only a fraction of the influences through which their album establishes itself. They debuted last summer with the Savage Audio Demontape (review here), and that showed the potential for what the three-piece do on the follow-up, but in the layered solos of “Until the Last Nation Falls” and the harmonica-laden drawl and spaciousness of “I Hear the Devil Calling Me,” guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer, bassist Jason Argonaut and drummer Chris Larmour tell a tale of adventurous sonic diversity that serves them incredibly well throughout their sophomore effort’s course.
The album is out now on Artificial Head Records, and in no small way, I’m thrilled to be able to stream it because I feel like thus far, none of the descriptions I’ve yet given have really done justice to the kind of creativity Funeral Horse have at their core. I’m not saying they’re revolutionaries, just that for a band to work within a genre while also feeling so free to toy with various aspects in and out of it while also keeping their songs cohesive and fluid is rare, and Sinister Rites of the Master does stand up on a front to back listen. As you make your way through the seven tracks, keep in mind the side break after “Communist’s Blues,” since the two parts of the LP go far in defining its structure, but even taken in one sitting, the songs stand up all the way down to the loose-knit garage style of “Stoned and Furious” and the Rush cover “Working Man” that closes out.
However you choose to take it on — 333 copies of the vinyl are pressed, so if you want to go that route, time may be a factor — Sinister Rites of the Masteroffers a listen worthy of the effort, and like its predecessor, speaks volumes to the potential of the band. Since you can hear it for yourself and since I keep coming up short with it anyway, I’ll leave it there.
Hope you enjoy:
Funeral Horse‘s Sinister Rites of the Master was produced by Stephen Finley and Paul Bearer at Digital Warehaus Studio in Houston and is available now on Artificial Head in a pressing of 333 hand-numbered, multi-color vinyl copies. More info at the links:
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fully baked in primo Sabbathian roll, the new single “Mortal Bones” from Austin trio The Well bodes especially positively for their forthcoming RidingEasy Records debut album, Samsara. That record is out on Sept. 23, though you can order it from iTunes now — link below — and it was recorded by Mark Deutrom, formerly of the Melvins. Not sure if the artwork is by bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley as was the preceding 7″ Seven(review here), but it’s a similar pencil style and striking either way. If you told me it was I’d believe it.
The PR wire has info for the record and some backstory on the band if you want to get caught up, and the stream of “Mortal Bones” follows. If you skip to the song first and then go back, I think that might be a good way to go here. The proof is in the riffing:
Austin power trio THE WELL to unleash debut album SAMSARA this September
Texans to release eagerly anticipated album on 23rd September 2014 via RidingEasy Records
With a progressive sound that stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diverse as Joy Division and Blue Cheer, Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies.
The group blossomed when guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with bassist Lisa Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their east-side garage. Rounding out their sound, they stole drummer Jason Sullivan from Graham’s old band in a tale of vengeance and karma. His solid groove and reckless tribal beat gave the three-piece their ideal primal attack.
Due to their psychedelic doom edge, The Well reaps comparisons to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. The dual vocals of Graham and Alley evoke an ancient language that carries a mystic spell. Daunting rhythms and heavy guitars often accentuate their chilling chants. In the spring of 2012 The Well’s first studio experience was to record their debut 7? at the Barbeque Shack with Tia Carrera’s Jason Morales. Limited to 300 copies, Seven was pressed on mixed vinyl with several cover options featuring hand-drawn art that emulated a few of the band’s favourite album covers. Nicknamed the “rip-off” series, the single sold out quickly becoming a favourite among European collectors.
By the fall of 2012, The Well were back in the studio again, this time at Ohm Recording Facility with Producer Mark Deutrom (Melvins, Sun O)))) and Engineer Chico Jones to record their debut album. However, an opportunity to record with Converse Rubber Tracks during SXSW 2013 resulted in the epic track ‘Eternal Well’ and sparked the idea of an EP. First Trip was pressed with a handful of songs from the Ohm sessions together with ‘Eternal Well’ just in time for their West Coast Summer Tour. Due to the energy and excitement of their live shows, the vinyl sold out quickly. With each repressing, a different hand-screened cover was printed until all four limited editions sold out. One of their most rabid fans was RidingEasy Records label boss Daniel Hall who recently signed the band.
Inspired by early ’70s psych, heavy rock, blues and proto-metal, The Well has created a sound that reflects doom, punk and horror all rolled together into one ghostly rock soundtrack. Their full-length debut Samsara is their strongest collection of songs to date. Produced by Mark Deutrom and released through RidingEasy Records, the masterwork is a stripped down, electric blues fuzzfest and begs to be heard live. After a steady touring schedule that’s seen the band share the stage with international acts such as: Kadavar, Orchid, Fu Manchu, High On Fire, NAAM, Orange Goblin, Pentagram and Dead Meadow guarantees The Well are contenders.
“Writing dark, ominous music is how I deal with life,” admits Ian. “When we play live it’s like expelling the demons.” At a time when rock music is fading among the masses, The Well injects an intoxicating dose of raw adrenaline into a fatigued genre. Their nostalgic reverence, simple structure and modern expression put them at the forefront of today’s heavy rock.
Samsara is released via RidingEasy Records on 23rd September 2014.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
My impression was that San Antonio doomers Las Cruces were going to be releasing their fourth album on Brainticket, but I apparently had it wrong. Happens daily, if not hourly. Anyway, a partnership with Ripple Music is a good fit, and it makes Las Cruces labelmates with their fellow Texans Mothership, and if that even slightly increases the odds that the two bands will hit the road together, say, in a Northeasterly direction, then I’m ready to mark it a win sight-unseen. Las Cruces‘ last record, 2010’s Dusk(review here), was a mean slugger that as I recall sat in the can for a while before being released, so it’s good to see the next one coming along with Ripple behind it.
Here’s how it all looks according to the PR wire, which seems to be choosing its press quotes well these days:
LAS CRUCES: Texan doom crew ink new contract with RIPPLE MUSIC
Burly, Texan doom rockers Las Cruces have signed to California’s Ripple Music for a world-wide onslaught of heavy rock. The group, who just completed a standout performance at the infamous Doom in June Festival, have already started writing and making demos and will enter an undisclosed studio this summer to record their Ripple Music debut and follow up to 2010’s Dusk, which The Obelisk hailed as “something not to be missed by loyal doomers.”
Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces has spent the past several years bludgeoning audiences with their doom-driven, precision sound. Originated in 1994 by George Trevino, their influences range from Venom, Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning to vintage Sabbath. Las Cruces has risen to the top of the South Texas metal heap and left its mark across the Lone Star State, with a resume that includes opening slots with such acts as Overkill, Nebula, Kyuss, Trouble, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Monster Magnet, Rob Zombie, Bio-Hazard, Pissing Razors, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Sixty Watt Shaman, Vader, Kreator., Atomic Bitchwax, Gates of Slumber, Lo Pan, Earthride, Pale Devine, Kamelot, Sour Vein, Weedeater and many others.
Shortly after forming, Las Cruces began touring the Texas scene, gaining widespread recognition and the interest of John Perez, guitarist of Solitude Aeturnus & owner of Brainticket Records, thus forging the Debut release, S.O.L. After a year of touring Texas and the Southern States, Las Cruces decided to re-enter the studio. Driven by the hunger and sharpness of old school metal along with the power melodies of 70s rock, Las Cruces released their skull-crushing follow-up, 1998’s Ringmaster. Las Cruces was invited to perform at the first-annual Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in August of 1999 and have been asked to perform regularly at many heavy rock festivals in North America ever since.
Over the years Las Cruces has gone through line-up changes and rumors of break-up. However, these things have not foiled the bands ideology. The band was honored to be featured in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by author Daniel Bukszpan in 2003 as well as in the publication Rockdetector Music Presents: Stoner, Doom and Gothic Metal series published in 2003.
Described as “a journey into a parallel sonic universe of all that is heavy,” their songs are sprinkled mighty, bludgeoning riffs; barn-burning guitar work, and apocalyptic vocals that melt listener’s brains. Las Cruces is poised to begin the metal onslaught for the masses as they prepare to record their fourth full-length album.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Ripple Music to unleash the fourth Las Cruces record upon the underground,” comments Trevino. “Many of our friends and contemporaries have passed through the ranks and we’re thrilled to march onward into the streets with them at our side.”
In addition to George Trevino on guitar, Las Cruces features Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar, Paul De Leon – Drums and vocals, and Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Been a while since we last heard from occult-minded Houston heavy rockers Venomous Maximus, whose stage presence still lingers in my consciousness from when I was fortunate enough to see them last summer. Presumably they’ve been at work crafting the follow-up to 2012’s Beg upon the Light (review here), reportedly dubbed Firewalker, and like any potion worth brewing, these things take time. Not that you were necessarily going to, but you know what I mean.
They did a similar run last year, but for the Texan four-piece, this upcoming round of dates in August is marked out by an appearance at the pre-show for the Gwar-B-Q in Richmond, Virginia, which will be headlined by some band called The Black Dahlia Murder and which also features moody RVA sludgers Gritter. Not a bad spot to wind up.
The PR wire has it like this:
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS Announces U.S. Tour Dates
Houston Dark Metal Band Putting Finishing Touches on New LP Firewalker
Texas heavy metal band VENOMOUS MAXIMUS has announced a string of east coast U.S. tour dates set to kick off on August 7 in New Orleans, LA. As part of the major market jaunt, the award-winning band will perform as part of the 2014 GWAR-B-Q on August 15 in Richmond, VA, also set to feature Ice-T’s Body Count, Hatebreed and more. The upcoming live dates are as follows.
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS U.S. tour dates:
August 7 New Orleans, LA Siberia August 8 Birmingham, AL Upside Down Plaza (w/ Stoned Cobra) August 9 Atlanta, GA The Basement August 10 Johnson City, TN The Hideaway August 12 Baltimore, MD TBA August 13 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus August 14 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie (Late Show) August 15 Richmond, VA Broadberry (Gwar B4BQ w/ Black Dahlia Murder)
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS features Gregg Higgins (Vocals, Guitar), Christian Larson (Guitar), Trevi Biles (Bass) and Bongo (Drums).
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The more I see Mothership post tour dates, the more I look forward to hearing what they’ve come up with for Mothership II. Their forthcoming second album and proper debut on Ripple Music is set to release before the end of the year, though no specific date has yet been given, and even as they wrap up a full run of the US, the Texas trio have announced another — admittedly smaller — stint that will kick off just nine days after the end of their current tour. Not only does it show they believe in what they’re doing, but also that they’re willing to get out and win hearts and minds the old fashioned way, which also just happens to be how they rock.
Joining Mothership this time around will be The House Harkonnen, as the PR wire affirms:
MOTHERSHIP announce SOUTHERN SHRED TOUR with House Harkonnen
Hot on the heels of two wildly successful tours in Europe and the U.S. and the completion of Mothership II (out later this year via Ripple Music), Texas heavy rock and rollers and family unit MOTHERSHIP have announced a quick southern-U.S. jaunt with fellow Dallas-dwelling shredders HOUSE HARKONNEN.
In early 2012, Mothership entered Crystal Clear Studios with Wo Fat mastermind Kent Stump manning the boards and by mid-year, the band self-released their debut album. It was the combination of the 70’s-era heavy rock fuzz and fury mixed with the blistering guitar solos of the NWOBHM-era that drew the bands attention to California-based heavy rock label, Ripple Music. In the waning months of 2012, after a successful year of traveling regionally throughout Texas and opening for national acts such as Prong, Red Fang, Gypsyhawk, Earthen Grave, and Lo-Pan, Mothership officially dubbed Ripple Music as its home port.
With the official Ripple Music release of the band’s self-titled debut album in February of 2013, Mothership began a torrid journey across America and parts of Canada, including a tour in support of Gyspyhawk and another in support of Scorpion Child and Kadavar. Currently, the band recently finished up their sophomore album, Mothership II, which will be available later this year.
Dates: 7/30/14 Dallas, TX @ Three Links 7/31/14 Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern 8/1/14 Pensacola, FL @ The Handlebar 8/2/14 Atlanta, GA @ 529 Club 8/4/14 Birmingham, AL @ The Nick 8/5/14 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s 8/6/14 Texarkana, TX @ Silver Dollar 8/7/14 Tulsa, OK @ Downtown Lounge 8/8/14 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Note 8/9/14 Fort Worth, TX @ The Grotto
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I like this idea. Texas duo Stone Machine Electric have shown plenty of adventurous spirit over the last couple years, be it in their Kent Stump-recorded 2013 self-titled (review here), or bringing in a Warr guitarist (only to shortly dismiss him), or their prior 2010 live demo, Awash in Feedback(review here), so it seems to me they’ll be right in their element when it comes to wheeling in a portable recording setup and just seeing what happens.
The results — whatever they might turn out to be — will be pressed to a cassette and released sometime in the coming months. They’re calling it the Garage Tapein advance, which already speaks to a raw, jam-room feel. Stone Machine Electric is guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/thereminist Mark Kitchens, and while they don’t have an exact release date for the tape yet (the art below is also not necessarily the cover, just a logo I grabbed), it’s one I’ll look forward to hearing in the months to come.
Dig, Lazarus, dig:
Stone Machine Electric – Garage Tape
Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, is planning to have the studio come to them in the next month to record what is being called the “Garage Tape”.
Good friend and owner of Tin Can Records, Erik Carson, will be dragging his equipment into the practice space of the band. He’ll set up and record whatever Stone Machine Electric plans to do, which is unknown at this point.
The agenda for this outing is to provide a raw account of what goes on in their confines, which usually ends up on the stage. This could turn into an all out improvised jam, some new tracks the duo has been working on, or all of the above.
No release date is set. The outcome will be put out on cassette to provide that garage demo feel.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
An Aug. 11 release date has been made official for Funeral Horse‘s Sinister Rites of the Master. The full-length (review here) is the second outing from the Houston stoner/punk/rockers, and follows behind last year’s Savage Audio Demontape (review here). 333 copies will be pressed.
I guess that means I kind of jumped the gun writing the review, since it was two months prior to the release at that point, but I wanted to make sure the release date got noted as well because these guys do interesting stuff and make it sound raw and natural in the process. I’d have sworn they had the whole thing streaming before, but whatever, ahead of the release, you can hear the track “Until the Last Nation Falls” below.
The PR wire fills in the particulars:
FUNERAL HORSE – SINISTER RITES OF THE MASTER LP (Artificial Head) Released on 11th August 2014
Made up of front man/guitarist Paul Bearer, bassist Jason Andy Argonauts and drummer Chris Larmour, Houston’s Funeral Horse are offhand in their attitude to technical virtuosity. Whether rocking their way through dark blues or dissonant experimentation Sinister Rites Of The Master is unapologetically thunderous.
Following on from last year’s Savage Audio Demon, Sinister Rites… will be released this August on Artificial Head Records. An imprint that to date has seen releases from fellow Texans and garage convivialists The Escatones, David Gedge’s much-loved Cinerama and the criminally undersung post-punk outfit Art Institute.
Under the influence, this current assembly of unholy noisemakers produce music to gouge minds to. Murky and fuzzed out, punk by execution but unmistakably proto-metal in mass and volume the album peddles the sort of sounds you might find at the angrier end of a Sub Pop or Touch and Go discography. A shot in the vein of Tad via Mudhoney’s raw megaphonic vocals (‘Until The Last Nation Falls’, ‘Amputate The Hands Of Thieves’) Funeral Horse also take in the vintage and lo-fi grind of traditional stoner, and even classic rock, as best heard on their storming cover of Rush’s ‘Working Man’.
Track Listing: 1. Until The Last Nation Falls 2. Amputate The Hands Of Thieves 3. Communist’s Blues 4. Executioner Of Kings 5. I Hear The Devil Calling Me 6. Stoned And Furious 7. Working Man
Funeral Horse: Paul Bearer – Vocals, Guitar Jason Andy Argonauts – Bass Chris Larmour – Drums
Posted in audiObelisk on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not sure what prompted Dallas trio Wo Fat to produce an instrumental version of their latest and fifth album, The Conjuring(review here), taking away the vocal work of Kent Stump and Michael Walter to leave just their guitar and drums, respectively, and the bass work of Tim Wilson, but if you want to apply the old stoner rock cliché, it definitely fits: “It’s all about the riffs, man”
That’s been the case, more or less, all along for the heavy fuzz-rocking three-piece, but this instrumental take on The Conjuringbrings into focus more than ever before just how righteous Wo Fat‘s nod is, how fluidly they roll from groove to groove. Even a shorter song like the just-under-seven-minute “Read the Omens” — which in its vocalized incarnation is among the record’s catchiest pieces — works smoothly as an instrumental moving between its riffs. Wo Fat have developed their jammy side particularly over the course of their last two albums, 2012’s The Black Code(review here), which was also their debut on Small Stone, 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra(review here), but whether it’s an airy Stump lead, smooth fill from Wilson or perfectly placed crash from Walter, the instrumental The Conjuringhighlights just how dynamic and powerful a trio they’ve become.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 17-minute closing title-track, “Dreamwalker,” which feels all the more open without the verses or chorus to ground it, but of particular note as well is the centerpiece “Pale Rider from the Ice,” which, without its bluesy intro, launches with a solid 90 seconds of right-on tone, an utter wash of fuzz courtesy of Stump, before moving into a heavy psychedelic flow that, while satisfying on the regular edition, is an utter highlight here, and all the more so moving into the swaggering “Beggar’s Bargain.”
It’s not an official title or anything, but I’ve been referring to it as The Voiceless Conjuring. So, if you’ve ever wanted to do Wo Fat karaoke — I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t — The Voiceless Conjuring is your chance. Fuzz on:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Wo Fat‘s The Conjuringwas recorded at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas and is available now on Small Stone Records. The band recently returned from a European tour alongside Mothership that included a stop at Freak Valley. More info and updates at the links.
Posted in Reviews on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
To those already familiar with Dallas riff forerunners Wo Fat, their fifth album, The Conjuring, will likely hold few surprises. It is foremost the next stage in the Texas heavy rock trio’s ongoing progression, captured at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound studio by guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, it runs a sonically consistent thread forward from their last several records even unto its Alexander von Wieding artwork, the German artist having contributed the last two covers as well, to 2012’s The Black Code (vinyl review here, CD review here), which was their debut on Small Stone, as well as 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), released by Nasoni. But as that collaboration has yet to yield a piece of such impact as that which adorns The Conjuring, so too do the album’s five songs/47 minutes find Wo Fat at their most developed yet, be it the smooth tempo shifts in “Read the Omens,” the hooks in the opening title-track or the boogie-strong “Beggar’s Bargain,” the bluesy humor of “Pale Rider from the Ice,” or the extended jam in the 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” which looms large over the rest of the tracklisting. Wo Fat have only become more spacious and jammed-out over time, so these things are natural progressions, and they very much remain a heavy rock band, but to trace their development since their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, and its follow-up, 2008’s Psychedelonaut(review here), is to understand the roots of the utter mastery of their sound they show in these tracks, the power trio dynamic between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter shining through the dense wall of fuzz and riffed excellence they’ve crafted. I consider myself a fan, but I think even the most impartial of ears would have to admit they’ve outdone themselves again.
Listening to “Dreamwalker,” one can only wonder how long it will be before Wo Fat jam out a single-track LP, one vital piece that brings their voodoo tales and rolling grooves to bear across a massive, 40-minute exploration, but as much as that cut is bound to be a focal point for anyone who takes on The Conjuring, that’s not to underplay the quality of songwriting that precedes (or, really, that contained within it; as stretched out as that song is, it’s also got a hook). The album opens with a sample culled from 1957’s Curse of the Demon, the quote, “I know the value of the cold light of reason, but I also know the deep shadows that light can cast,” topping a mounting swell of feedback that least to the first riffs of “The Conjuring,” which unfolds patiently but clearly announces its verse riff upon arrival. Immediately Wo Fat are in their element: Vital, natural-sounding, not forcing the song but enjoying the trip they’re taking with it. Between songs like “Shard of Leng” and “Lost Highway” from The Black Code, “Bayou Juju” and “Descent into the Maelstrom” from Noche del Chupacabraand “El Culto de la Avaricia” and “Analog Man” from Psychedelonaut, there’s no question Wo Fat have a history of mixing a few choice hooks into each record, the kinds of choruses you hear immediately in your head upon seeing the name of the song, but The Conjuringbalances this impulse best of all with their predilection for jamming, extended tracks bookending the album while “Read the Omens,” “Pale Rider from the Ice” and “Beggar’s Bargain” hold true and further the methods they’ve established as their own over the course of their decade-plus tenure. I don’t know how many layers of guitar there are by the time “The Conjuring” wraps its near-10-minute run, but I know they’re all put to good use, and I know “Read the Omens,” which follows, continues the momentum with no letup and a raucous wash of cymbals to accompany.
If you, like me, have been itching to get a taste of some new Mothership, then this live footage of the song “Serpents Throne” from the Texas trio’s forthcoming second LP is going to be just what the rock and roll doctor ordered. The trio has been touring hard more or less since last year, and in 2014 they’ve done SXSW and a run alongside Germany’s Kadavar as well as a recent European jaunt with Wo Fat that included a stop at the Freak Valley festival. Hard to imagine they would have found time to record in there, but at the end of April, they went in and tracked 11 songs with Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump (and if it feels like I’m ignoring the fact that Wo Fat‘s new album, The Conjuring, came out today, that’s only because I’m planning on reviewing it tomorrow) for what will be released as Mothership IIon Ripple Music hopefully sometime before the end of the year.
And as tastes go, “Serpents Throne” is a remarkable one. Filmed in Dresden, Germany, at Chemiefabrik by Jörg Steinhauer, the video below seems to show the full glory of eight-minute ride, from the stoner-style riffing that starts it to the sprawling jam that ensues and finally, to a big rock finish worthy of the spaciousness preceding. Mothership‘s self-titled debut, reissued by Ripple last year (review here), won hearts and minds precisely because it was so straightforward and built on quality songwriting, and it would seem the band have set to work expanding their sound a bit even as they hold firm to strong hooks, balls-out riffing and motor-ready groove. I don’t know where in the set “Serpents Throne” might have appeared, but it certainly feels like a closer.
Mothership began their “Summer Invasion” tour this past weekend with support from problematically-named Portland jammers Black Pussy. Dates follow the video below.
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” Live in Dresden, Germany, June 2, 2014
Mothership Summer Invasion tour with Black Pussy 6/18 – The Mothlight – Ashville, NC 6/19 – Southgate House Revival Room – Newport, KY 6/20 – Hi Tone – Memphis, TN 6/21 – Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO 6/22 – Downtown Lounge – Tulsa, OK 6/23 – Blue Note – Oklahoma City, OK 6/25 – Duffy’s Tavern – Lincoln, NE 6/26 – Moon Room – Denver, CO 6/27 – Triple Nickel Tavern – Colorado Springs, CO 6/28 – Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT 6/29 – Neurolox – Boise, ID 7/1 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA 7/2 – Backstage Bar – Las Vegas, NV 7/3 – The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA 7/4 – Bandit Town – North Fork, CA 7/5 – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA 7/6 – Whiskey Dicks – South Lake Tahoe, CA 7/7 – Jub Jub’s – Reno, NV 7/9 – Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA 7/10 – Volcanic Theatre Pub – Bend, OR 7/11 – Kenton Club – Portland, OR 7/12 – Highline – Seattle, WA 7/14 – Johnny B’s – Medford, OR 7/17 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA 7/18 – Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ 7/19 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX 7/20 – Backstage – Lubbock, TX 7/21 – Lola’s Saloon – Fort Worth, TX
On each side of the splatter pink 12″ vinyl edition of Funeral Horse‘s second offering, Sinister Rites ofthe Master, appears one of the above phrases, etched in past the music. Side A has “I am perplexed,” and side B, “Who is the 13th doctor?,” and neither of them come with much by way of context. The former were the final words of Aleister Crowley and the latter phrase is either a Doctor Who reference or I don’t know what. Either or both would seem a decent match for the seven songs and two sides of Sinister Rites of the Master, which follows Funeral Horse‘s summer 2013 tape debut, Savage Audio Demon(review here). A liner included with the record, which is limited to 333 copies pressed by Artificial Head Records, also has a microfiction from drummer Chris Larmour that takes place in the lost city of Carcosa, as seen in Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce and most recently the HBO drama True Detective, so there’s clearly a dedication to atmosphere and a complete album package being about more than just the music, though their songwriting has progressed audibly since the debut.
Fortunately, that progression hasn’t come at the expense of the raw vibe of the songs’ production. The vinyl has a different mix from the digital version of Sinister Rites of the Master and an even more garage-minded style, but either way you go, there’s a clarity to some of the ideas that sounded formative last time out, the three-piece of Larmour, guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer – who also donates a mean harmonica solo to round out “Communist’s Blues” at the end of side A — and bassist Jason Argonaut now mischievously jumping from one side to another around the line between punk and heavier rock. The bass tone is warm, vocals mostly distorted, and the drums creative but largely straightforward, so there is a punkish vibe throughout, but while “Amputate the Hands of Thieves” has a definite insistence in its rhythm, it’s thicker, and the fact that Funeral Horse close with what they’ve billed online as a “slight revision” of Rush‘s “Working Man” speaks to other influences at play.
One could say the same of side B in general, though. The three songs on the first half of Sinister Rites of the Master– “Until the Last Nation Falls,” “Amputate the Hands of Thieves” and “Communist’s Blues” — work around a similar stylistic basis of garage stoner movement, the latter pulling back somewhat in tempo, but still in the same vein, while the four cuts that follow the flip — “Executioner of Kings,” “I Hear the Devil Calling Me,” “Stoned and Furious” and the aforementioned Rush cover “Working Man” — change up the approach. This in itself is a classic form — if you’re going to get weird, do it on side B — but where the earlier cuts take inspiration from the likes of John Milton and Kang Chol-Hwan, “Stoned and Furious” is said to be “inspired by true events.” A bit of humor never hurts as a reminder that it’s all supposed to be a good time, and in this way, the digital and vinyl editions of the album feed into each other; you can listen to one and read about the other. “Stoned and Furious” is sonically consistent, however, and the biggest stylistic turn comes with the relatively brief “I Hear the Devil Calling Me,” which brings in Sarah Hirsch of Houston’s Jealous Creatures for a guest vocal over swamp harmonica and strummed guitar.
Well placed and a genuine surprise on the first listen, “I Hear the Devil Calling Me” feels somewhat like an outro, which would make “Stoned and Furious” and “Working Man” bonus tracks for the album, but both sides of Sinister Rites of the Masterwork in terms of their flow, so I’m not about to argue (with myself) over adherence to a theme. The wailing leads of “Stoned and Furious” do well to call back the tom runs at the start of “Executioner of Kings” that act as the bed for a full-sounding wall of riff, and “Working Man” gets reinvented as an early Pentagram demo, blown-out vocals and all. I don’t know who the 13th doctor is, but what Funeral Horse do on their second full-length release is to show that while they keep things loose and natural sounding, they’re still working on a conscious progression of their sound. Sinister Rites of the Master is likely to be a sleeper vinyl, but it departs entirely from the stereotypical post-Pantera Texan burl and is so gleefully stoned in parts that one can’t help but wonder how they hold it together as long as they do. They’ve taking away some of the dronier sounds they presented their first time out, but spend their time well nonetheless.
Funeral Horse, Sinister Rites of the Master (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Austin sludge rockers Destroyer of Light are heading west beginning June 13. The riff-crunching Texan four-piece released their sophomore outing, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, earlier this year on vinyl through Heavy Friends Records, and previously toured in the Southeast this past April in support of the album. Neither that tour nor this one heads very far north, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the second half of 2014 held more to come from the band, who skillfully blend elements of doom, sludge, thrash and stoner shuffle into a dark-sounding brew of semi-psychedelic potency.
Dates and info come courtesy of the PR wire:
DESTROYER OF LIGHT announce summer U.S. tour
Austin-based doom band DESTROYER OF LIGHT has announced a U.S. tour spanning from Texas to the West Coast in June.
Destroyer of Light formed in Austin, Texas the beginning of 2012. Each member coming from different bands wanted create slow, heavy, riff-induced music and wield it toward the masses. Gathering influences from a variety of different styles, each member brings their flavor to the table, and the music speaks for itself. Destroyer of Light is a 4-piece band consisting of Steve Colca on guitars/vocals, Keegan Kjeldsen on lead guitar, Jeff Klein on bass, and Kelly “Penny” Turner on drums. As of now, their second EP, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 has been released both digitally and on vinyl through Heavy Friends Records. May the power of the riff compel you!
Dates are as follows (TBA dates to be updated next week):
June 13th – Austin, Tx @ Holy Mountain June 14th – Midland, TX @ VFW Hall June 15th – Las Cruces, NM @ The Trainyard June 16th – Albuquerque, NM @ TBA June 17th – Tuscon, AZ @ The Rock June 18th – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room June 19th – Spring Valley, CA @ The Bancroft June 20th – LA @ TBA June 21st – San Bernadino, CA – Black Flame Collective June 22nd – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern June 23rd – Oakland, CA @ Eli’s Mile High Club June 24th – Fresno, CA @ TBA June 25th – Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyanne Saloon June 26th – SLC @ The Shred Shed June 27th – Colorado Springs, CO @ TBA June 28th – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive June 29th – Haysville, KS @ KC’s Too June 30th – Texarkana, TX @ Silver Dollar July 1st – Dallas, TX/Fort Worth, TX @ TBA