Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If Baltimorean four-piece The Flying Eyes‘ propensity for return trips to tour Europe is anything to go by, this won’t be their last trip to South America, but you only get one chance to make a first impression as ’80s commercials once informed me, so it’s a landmark for the band all the same. Pretty much a new continent. They’ll head down to play in Argentina on March 3 — that show with Buffalo, who rock like a whole season of hurricanes — and then follow-up with five shows in Brazil on the run presented by Abraxas Produtora, based in Rio. Shirts are pressed, shows are confirmed, the poster by Victor Bezerra is duly nipple-ized. They’re ready to roll.
The Flying Eyes‘ latest release was last fall’s Leave it all Behind Sessions on Noisolution, though they also took part in Summer 2014’s four-way Heavy Psych Sounds split with Naam, White Hills and Black Rainbows (review here), and have just recently posted a new demo recorded by Noel Mueller for a song tentatively titled “Heavy Fate” that finds them, as ever, comfortably nestled somewhere between heavy psych jam-outs and classic blues-based heavy rock. After releases on World in Sound and the aforementioned Italian imprint, The Flying Eyes are probably known more abroad than here in the States, but one could hardly say that’s slowed them down. Their reach, as this latest tour proves, continues to expand.
Dates and that demo follow, culled from various updates:
Two weeks South America!!!
March 3rd- Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Uniclub March 6th- Florianopolis, Brazil @ Célula Showcase March 8th- Petropolis, Brazil @ Grito Rock Festival March 12th- Rio de Janiero, Brazil @ Rio Rock & Blues Club March 14th- Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Inferno Club March 15th- Volta Redonda, Brazil @ TOCA DO ARIGÓ
Here’s one of the new demos we recorded last weekend. Recorded and mixed by Noel Mueller.
Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.
I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.
For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.
No, not really. At least not this year.
If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:
The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014
1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha
Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s Progenitor, Godflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.
A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.
One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.
Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.
Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.
There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.
As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimorean ambassadors of bluesy heavy psych The Flying Eyes have nailed down the remaining dates from their previously announced “Baltimore Invasion” tour of Europe, set to launch next month. They’ll be joined on their latest Euro trek by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, and while I’ve yet to see any word of what it might actually entail, they’ve posted what looks like cover art for something called Leave it all Behind Sessions, which presumably would be a new release of one kind or another. They keep busy anyway, so it’s not surprising they’d have something coming out, and both their style and dynamic is suited to live recording, so if that’s what it is, all the better. I’d take a collection of B-sides as well, or, you know, whatever.
Full routing for the tour follows. It looks to be a beast, but that’s nothing new for these guys:
The “Baltimore Invasion Tour” is complete!!! New shows added in France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Luxemburg…
All shows supported by LAZLO LEE & THE MOTHERLESS CHILDREN!
Presented by eclipsed, Slam, Stonerrock.eu and Magnificent Music:
18.09.2014 – DE Essen, Panic Room 19.09.2014 – NL Leeuwarden, Asteriks 20.09.2014 – DE Mannheim, Mohawk Open Air 21.09.2014 – DE Karlsruhe, Alte Hackerei 22.09.2014 – DE Köln, Sonic Ballroom 23.09.2014 – FR Chambéry, Le Brin De 24.09.2014 – ES Zaragoza, Ley Seca 25.09.2014 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound 26.09.2014 – ES Gijon, Casino Acapulco 27.09.2014 – ES Burgos, Estudio 27 01.10.2014 – CH Zürich, Kuba 02.10.2014 – CH Olten, Le Coq D’Or 03.10.2014 – CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers 04.10.2014 – CH Frauenfeld, Kaff 06.10.2014 – CZ Praha, Klub 007 07.10.2014 – AT Wien, Arena 08.10.2014 – SK Bratislava, Uocka 09.10.2014 – DE Jena, Kuba 10.10.2014 – DE Dresden, Beatpol 11.10.2014 – DE Stuttgart, Goldmarks 13.10.2014 – LU Luxemburg, Rocas 15.10.2014 – DE Würzburg, Café Cairo 16.10.2014 – DE München, Backstage 17.10.2014 – DE Frankfurt/Main, Sky High Festival @ Das Bett 18.10.2014 – DE Leipzig, UT Connewitz 19.10.2014 – PL Wroclaw, Disorder 20.10.2014 – DE Hamburg, Hafenklang 21.10.2014 – DE Kiel, Schaubude 22.10.2014 – DK Aalborg, 1000 Fryd 23.10.2014 – DE Bielefeld, Forum 24.10.2014 – DE Berlin, Cassiopeia 25.10.2014 – DE Lübeck, Treibsand
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes have announced plans to return to Europe this fall for more touring. They were there late last summer with Golden Animalsand will be joined this time by Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, with whom the band has shared the stage at the Moving the Earth fest. The Flying Eyes were most recently heard from on a Heavy Psych Sounds four-way split with Naam, Black Rainbows and White Hills (review here) and their most recent full-length was last summer’s sun-soaked Lowlands(review here), which delved into natural-sounding blues rock without losing a classically-influenced edge. They are, simply put, a better band than people seem to know.
Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I– and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam – who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow(review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.
Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vowhighlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
On May 5, with presentation earlier at the London and Berlin Desertfests, Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds will release a four-way split featuring some of heavy psych’s finest purveyors. Teaming up Naam and White Hills from Brooklyn and New York, Rome’s Black Rainbows and Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes, the double-LP is set to arrive in three separate vinyl editions as well as on CD, with preorders coming at the beginning of next month.
What’s truly terrifying isn’t this culling of impressive names establishing a wide variety within an aesthetic sphere — though certainly that’s something noteworthy as well — but as the video teaser below hints, this is the Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. 1, as in, the first of more to come. Gabriele Fiori, who runs the label and serves as guitarist/vocalist in Black Rainbows, is no stranger to supporting underground heavy and obviously has his ear to the ground in both the European and American psych scenes, but to think this might become a series puts it in a different category altogether. I’d be eager to find out what the plan ultimately is.
I’ll hope to have more to come on this one closer to the release, but as a notice to keep your eyes peeled for the preorder link, which can’t be far off, and to give a first taste with the promo clip, I humbly offer the below preliminaries courtesy of the PR wire:
Heavy Psych Sounds records
hps016 //::// Naam / White Hills / Black Rainbows / The Flying Eyes – Split album
released in double gatefold 12″ – 70 Ultra LTD edition in golden – 350 LTd edition in white splatter purple – solid red and digipack
the release will be presented at Desert Fest (Berlin and London) – April 25/26/27 2014
pre-sale starts end of march
available from 05/05/2014 in the best record shops and mailorders
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Been a while, right? Tell me about it. Although I love, love having The Obelisk Radio streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I’ve been wanting to bring back podcasting for a while now. I always thought it was fun, it just got to be time consuming and to be perfectly honest, the response over time took something of a shit.
Well, the idea here is to start with a clean slate. Anyone who’s listened to audiObelisk podcasts before will notice this one doesn’t have a title. There’s no theme running throughout — though I wanted to keep it focused on new stuff as much as possible — and though others ranged upwards of four hours long, this one clocks in at just under two. I gave myself some pretty specific limits and wanted to start off as basic and foundational as possible. I haven’t done this in a long time, and it seemed only appropriate to treat it like a new beginning.
Something else I’m keeping simple is the intro, so with that said, I hope like hell you download at the link above or stream it on the player and enjoy the selections. Here’s the rundown of what’s included:
Mystery Ship, “Paleodaze” from EP II (2013)
Carousel, “On My Way” from Jeweler’s Daughter (2013)
Ice Dragon, “The Deeper You Go” from Born a Heavy Morning (2013)
Black Mare, “Tearer” from Field of the Host (2013)
Beast in the Field, “Hollow Horn” from The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below (2013)
11 Paranoias, “Reaper’s Ruin” from Superunnatural (2013)
Vàli, “Gjemt Under Grener” from Skoglandskap (2013)
Beelzefuzz, “Lonely Creatures” from Beelzefuzz (2013)
Dozer, “The Blood is Cold” fromVultures (2013)
Toby Wrecker, “Belle” from Sounds of Jura (2013)
Shroud Eater, “Sudden Plague” from Dead Ends (2013)
Luder, “Ask the Sky” from Adelphophagia (2013)
Eggnogg, “The Once-ler” from Louis (2012)
Colour Haze, “Grace” from She Said (2012)
Borracho, “Know the Score” from Oculus (2013)
The Flying Eyes, “Raise Hell” from Split with Golden Animals (2013)
Demon Lung, “Heathen Child” from The Hundredth Name (2013)
Vista Chino, “As You Wish” from Peace (2013)
Across Tundras, “Pining for the Gravel Roads” from Electric Relics (2013)
Black Pyramid, “Aphelion” from Adversarial (2013)
Church of Misery, “Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilsen)” from Thy Kingdom Scum (2013)
Posted in Reviews on July 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
With a couple European tours under their belt and a resulting sense of being in full command of their sound, Baltimore four-piece The Flying Eyes make a return with their Kickstarter-funded third album, Lowlands. Released on Noisolution Records, Lowlandsdoesn’t so much comprise a departure from the ground the band covered on their sophomore outing, 2011’s engaging Done So Wrong(review here), or even for that matter the roots from which they sprung on their 2010 EP compilation that served as their self-titled full-length debut (review here) — formative though that last seems in hindsight — as an arrival at a point of mastery for those ideas that bleeds into nearly every stretch of the record’s 44 minutes. Aligned to producer Rob Girardi (Arbouretum, Double Dagger, etc.) with a clean, dynamic mix from Chris “Frenchie” Smith, to say The Flying Eyes have never sounded better doesn’t really capture what’s working so well throughout Lowlands. They’ve never sounded so in control, or so assured of their approach. Whether that’s a result of working with Girardi or of their road time is ultimately secondary, the fact remains that The Flying Eyes have come of age as a band and that Lowlands makes for one of the best flowing heavy psych LPs I’ve heard yet in 2013. Its fuzz is rich and dense in the guitars of Adam Bufano and Will Kelly (the latter also vocals) and bass of Mac Hewitt, and drummer Elias Schutzman continues to provide able leadership for grooves, whether it’s the ’70s heavy-style rock of “Rolling Thunder” or the semi-grunge acoustic/electric blend of “Comfort Machine.” Whatever else is driving this material, The Flying Eyes have definitely — and perhaps unsurprisingly — taken some measure of influence from the modern European scene in which they’ve immersed themselves several times over. Flourishes of Mars Red Sky-style wah and fuzz show themselves throughout, winding up both in the airier leads of the aforementioned “Comfort Machine” and in the initial unfolding mid-paced comfort groove of opener “Long Gone,” Schutzman‘s snare also sharing some sonic commonality, either by coincidence or intent.
Moods vary within a consistent psychedelic atmosphere, and more than they ever have to date, Kelly‘s vocals have a grounding effect on the material. Like the rest of the instruments on Lowlands, his voice is more his own, having overcome some of the Jim Morrison-isms that showed up on the band’s earlier works to arrive at a natural, bluesy-sound that adds a touch of inadvertent Americana to the deceptively quick push of “Long Gone”‘s verses. He was a more than capable singer to start with, and his voice comes across fitting in smoothly with the touches of electric and acoustic guitar, the spaced-out wah leads and the rhythmic thickness Hewitt‘s bass so provides both on “Long Gone” and “Under Iron Feet,” which is even more commanding and drenched in attitude. Instrumental stops at the ends of the verses let Kelly carry the shift to the chorus — something The Flying Eyes will do again shortly on “Smile,” though in a different context — and upping the tempo in the second half, they border on cacophony making their way to a last-minute boogie chorus before ending cold and leaving Schutzman to announce the foreboding beginning of “Rolling Thunder.” It’s a deception, if a grand one, since “Rolling Thunder” is both the most propulsive rhythm yet and working at a pace more akin to the sort of loud-motor shenanigans the title may or may not be referencing — i.e. classic biker rock. A slowdown as they approach the midsection provides an unexpected turn, and Kelly adjusts his shout to something more reminiscent of West Coast lumber-riffers Snail, but they bring it back to the shuffling progression soon enough and by the halfway point are so deep in a jam that for a moment it seems like there’s going to be no getting out. A dead stop, of course, brings back the verse hook in building form, they riff it out, go back to the slowdown and end with a last push in a maddening series of turns as exciting as they are smoothly executed, Bufano and Kelly and Hewitt locking in with Schutzman‘s half-time stomp to bring the track to its conclusion. A sparser feel pervades throughout the six-plus minutes of “Smile,” but the tension the band creates throughout its linear build makes the darker vibe a highlight of Lowlandsnonetheless, Kelly giving a fitting sense of finality in his delivery of the lines, “I’m broke I know to your delight/You want my trust but it’s too late/Wicked deeds have sealed your fate,” after the first swell dies down to start the second from the album’s most silent, brooding moment.