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
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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.
Posted in audiObelisk on June 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
In just over a month’s time, Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes will be making a return trip to Europe for an extended, two-month tour. Joined for the majority of the trek by like-minded Brooklyn duo Golden Animals, the four-piece are out supporting their newly-released third album, Lowlands(you can see their video for the track “Under Iron Feet” here), while Golden Animals will be marking the issue of their new full-length, Hear Eye Go.
So although both acts have records they’re pushing, a month-plus on the road together is an occasion worth marking, and they’re doing exactly that with the release of a new split 7″ single on H42 Records. Set for release Aug. 1 — the same day The Flying Eyes‘ tour begins, by amazing coincidence — in an edition of 400 hand-numbered copies in red, black or “weird clear,” “Raise Hell”/”Never was Her Name” gives just a quickie sampling of where each band is at and provides lucky Euro-type showgoers with something to remember the tour by.
The Flying Eyes‘ contribution “Raise Hell” strikes first with an engaging sub-retro classic rock fuzz shuffle, stomping out the lines “Show me how to pray/So I can raise some hell” for a chorus that sounds like it’s ready to do just that, and Golden Animals‘ “Never was Her Name” offers a brief, two-minute meditation on its title line and amid meandering psychedelic guitar, the two-piece honing a moody sensibility that’s not at all cornball in its theatricality. H42 Records will start taking pre-orders shortly for 90 copies, while the rest will be available at shows only.
Today I have the extreme pleasure of hosting both “Raise Hell” and “Never was Her Name” for streaming. You’ll find them on the player below, followed by the dates and more info on the upcoming European tour. I hope you enjoy and get to use these songs as a springboard to check out Golden Animals and The Flying Eyes‘ new records :
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The Flying Eyes Over Europe 2013
THE FLYING EYES are a heavy, psychedelic rock band hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. Their name comes from a 1962 science fiction novel about giant, disembodied eyes that descend from outer space to control humanity. They have achieved a notable following in Europe with sold out club tours and highlights including: the Burg Herzberg Festival (sharing the main stage with Jeff Beck and Hawkwind), an appearance on the legendary Rockpalast television show, the Orange Blossom Special festival (DE), Stoned From The Underground (DE) and Trutnov Open Air (CZ). They recently finished their album “Lowlands” (produced by Rob Girardi and mixed by “Frenchie” Smith who discovered them at SXSW), which was paid for entirely through the support of their loyal social media following.
Modern-day psychedelic pioneers, GOLDEN ANIMALS, are a rock duo formed in Brooklyn, but owe much of their sound and vision to the 3 years they spent submerged in the rattling, secluded heat waves of the Southern Cali Desert. Their sound is a dead-ahead, no bullshit, loud, minimalist vehicle for strikingly well crafted, powerful songs. Referencing influences from Billie Holiday to Dr. John to Lou Reed to The Doors with many stops between, they believe in the simple as a means to the powerful.
01.08.2013 – DE Leipzig, Plaque 02.08.2013 – DE Bad Kötzting, Voidfest 03.08.2013 – DE Stuttgart, Zwölfzehn 04.08.2013 – DE Dresden, Chemiefabrik 06.08.2013 – DE Halle/Saale, Hühnermanhattan 07.08.2013 – DE Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg 08.08.2013 – DE Frankfurt/M., Nachtleben 09.08.2013 – CH Vinelz, Open Air am Bieler See 10.08.2013 – CH Sargans, Out In The Gurin 13.08.2013 – DE Kassel, H.Schmiede 14.08.2013 – DE Riegsee, Raut Oak Open Air (private) 15.08.2013 – DE Ludwigshafen, Club London Underground 16.08.2013 – DE Nürnberg, Misty Mountain Festival 17.08.2013 – DE Groß Lindow, Open Air Groß Lindow 19.08.2013 – PL Szczecin, Morion* 20.08.2013 – PL Zielona Gora, Rock-Out* 21.08.2013 – PL Poznan, Pod Minoga* 22.08.2013 – PL Gdynia, Desdemona* 23.08.2013 – PL Warszawa, Harenda* 24.08.2013 – PL Krakow, Kawiarnia Naukowa* 28.08.2013 – CZ Prague, Klub 007 Strahov* 29.08.2013 – DE Jena, Black Night * 30.08.2013 – DE Schüttorf, Komplex* 31.08.2013 – BE Brussels, DNA Café * 01.09.2013 – BE Wortel, Jeugdklub ‘t Slot* 02.09.2013 – DE Hannover, Mephisto @ faust * 03.09.2013 – DE Bremen, Meisenfrei* 04.09.2013 – DE Bielefeld, Forum* 05.09.2013 – DE Ahaus, Logo * 06.09.2013 – DE Siegen, Vortex* 07.09.2013 – DE Hamburg, Haus III70* 09.09.2013 – DE Freiburg, White Rabbit * 10.09.2013 – DE München, Backstage * 11.09.2013 – IT Milano, Lo-Fi * 15.09.2013 – IT Roma, Sinister Noise * 17.09.2013 – CH Genève, Le Kab * 18.09.2013 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound* 19.09.2013 – ES Madrid, La Boite* 20.09.2013 – ES Leon, Taberna Belfast* 21.09.2013 – ES Hondarribia, Psilocybenea* 23.09.2013 – FR Chambéry, Brin De Zinc * 24.09.2013 – DE Konstanz, Kulturladen* 27.09.2013 – DE Kiel, Schaubude* 28.09.2013 – SE Gothenburg, Showdown * 29.09.2013 – DK Copenhagen, Loppen * * = w/ Golden Animals
I continue to dig the hell out of Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes. The still-youngin’ four-piece will release their third full-length, Lowlands, on July 26, 2013, through Berlin’s Nois-O-Lution Records. To herald its arrival and precede a European tour with Brooklyn’s Golden Animals (more on that in the coming weeks), The Flying Eyes have just posted a new video for the song “Under Iron Feet” from Lowlands, that you can find below with some background on the band in case you missed their two albums to date, 2011′s Done So Wrong(review here) and their 2009 self-titled debut (review here).
Things to watch for: The Conan-esque wheel being pushed while the band plays atop, silhouettes, and grade A heavy psych rock that shows The Flying Eyes have obviously been paying attention to how it’s done during their extensive road time in Europe.
The Flying Eyes, “Under Iron Feet” official video
THE FLYING EYES are a heavy, psychedelic rock band hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. Their name comes from a 1962 science fiction novel about giant, disembodied eyes that descend from outer space to control humanity.
The Flying Eyes have played supporting gigs with national acts such as Dead Meadow, The Raveonettes, The Black Angels and Dan Auerbach among many others. They founded and host “Farm Fest”, a DIY music festival in the Maryland countryside. Farm Fest 2012 (“Farmageddon”) featured Black Moth Super Rainbow, Celebration and White Hills.
The Flying Eyes have achieved a notable following in Europe with sold out club tours and highlights including: the Burg Herzberg Festival (sharing the main stage with Jeff Beck and Hawkwind), an appearance on the legendary Rockpalast television show, the Orange Blossom Special festival (DE), Stoned From The Underground (DE) and Trutnov Open Air (CZ). They are currently finishing their album “Lowlands” (produced by Rob Girardi and mixed by “Frenchie” Smith who discovered them at SXSW), which was paid for entirely through the support of their loyal social media following. The band plans to support the release of the album with another European tour in late Summer 2013.
02.08.2013 – DE Bad Kötzting, Voidfest 03.08.2013 – DE Stuttgart, Zwölfzehn 04.08.2013 – DE Dresden, Chemiefabrik 06.08.2013 – DE Halle/Saale, Hühnermanhattan 07.08.2013 – DE Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg 08.08.2013 – DE Frankfurt/M., Nachtleben 09.08.2013 – CH Vinelz, Open Air am Bieler See 10.08.2013 – CH Sargans, Out In The Gurin 13.08.2013 – DE Kassel, H.Schmiede 14.08.2013 – DE Riegsee, Private Open Air 15.08.2013 – DE Ludwigshafen, Club London Underground 16.08.2013 – DE Nürnberg, Misty Mountain Festival 17.08.2013 – DE Groß Lindow, Open Air Groß Lindow 19.08.2013 – PL Szczecin, Morion* 20.08.2013 – PL Zielona Gora, Rock-Out* 21.08.2013 – PL Poznan, Pod Minoga* 22.08.2013 – PL Gdynia, Desdemona* 23.08.2013 – PL Warszawa, Harenda* 24.08.2013 – PL Krakow, tba* 29.08.2013 – DE Jena, Black Night * 30.08.2013 – DE Schüttorf, Komplex* 31.08.2013 – BE Brussels, DNA Café * 01.09.2013 – BE Wortel, Jeugdklub ‘t Slot* 02.09.2013 – DE Hannover, Mephisto @ faust * 03.09.2013 – DE Bremen, Meisenfrei* 04.09.2013 – DE Bielefeld, Forum* 05.09.2013 – DE Ahaus, Logo * 06.09.2013 – DE Siegen, Vortex* 07.09.2013 – DE Hamburg, Haus III70* 09.09.2013 – DE Freiburg, White Rabbit * 10.09.2013 – DE München, Backstage * 17.09.2013 – CH Genève, Le Kab * 18.09.2013 – ES Barcelona, Rocksound* 19.09.2013 – ES Madrid, La Boite* 20.09.2013 – ES Leon, Taberna Belfast* 21.09.2013 – ES Hondarribia, Psilocybenea* 23.09.2013 – FR Chambéry, Brin De Zinc * 24.09.2013 – DE Konstanz, Kulturladen* 27.09.2013 – DE Kiel, Schaubude* * = w/ Golden Animals
The Flying Eyes Adam Bufano- Guitar Mac Hewitt- Bass and Vocals Will Kelly- Vocals and Guitar Elias Mays Schutzman- Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Comprising what’s sure to be a weekend full of riffs, fuzz and grooving stomp, the inaugural Moving the Earth festival is set to roll out at The Windup Space in scenic (if you like stoner rock, anyway) Baltimore, Maryland. It shares a weekend with Days of the Doomed III out in Wisconsin, but for anyone on the East Coast lamenting not being able to make the trip to the Midwest, the lineup below certainly makes a compelling argument in its own favor, with The Flying Eyes assuming a headliner position among stalwart Marylanders like War Injun and Weed is Weed while out-of-towners like When the Deadbolt Breaks and Borracho add variety to the still-quite-heavy mix.
Here’s to the first of many:
Moving the Earth Fest, June 22-23 at The Windup Space, Baltimore, MD
You can hear the low rumble in the distance getting deafeningly louder with every closing second… Plumes of diesel smoke, fire, and dust billow upwards to block out the sun… An army of sonic bulldozers are coming together to lay waste to the Mid Atlantic region’s musical landscape…….
The MOVING THE EARTH FEST, a two day celebration of all that is Heavy/ Stoner-Rock / Psych/ and Doom will take place at The Windup Space in Baltimore MD Saturday/ Sunday June 22nd and 23rd…….
MOVING THE EARTH FEST DAY 1
Saturday June 22nd The Flying Eyes -(Baltimore psych rock heavyweights/ headliner) Foghound – (ex Sixty Watt Shaman/ Halfway To Gone) Weed is Weed – (ex Spirit Caravan / Earthride) War Injun -(MD Doom legends) When the Deadbolt Breaks -(NY/CT experimental, psychedelic, doom) Wasted Theory – (Philly/ Del Stoner Rawk) The Deserts of Maine -(ex Wooly Mammoth) The Walking Ghost – (Aaron from W.t.d.b.- solo accoustic opener)
MOVING THE EARTH FEST DAY 2
Sunday June 23rd 2013 Bastards of Reality (AllStar KickAss Black Sabbath tribute/ headliner) The Convocation – (ex-Moss Icon, Universal Order of Armageddon, & Born Against) The 91′s -(PA Stoner Fuzz) Borracho -(DC Stoner rock bulldozers) Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children – (manic garage/psych/ blues) We are Blackbirds – (“heavy wood” prog/stonerrock) Balors Eye -(inspired prog /tech metal w/ crushing grooves) Ophidian – (bleak sludge/ doom)
Venue: the Windup Space 12 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD. (410) 244-8855
Posted in Features on January 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last year was a monster. You might say I’m still catching up on reviews for records that came out in October. Yet here we stand in 2013. It’s a whole new year and that means instead of looking back at some of the best releases, it’s time to look ahead and nerd out at what’s to come. Frankly, either way is a good time, but with some of what’s included on this list, 2013 has the potential to be yet another incredible year for lovers of the heavy.
Across a range of genres and subgenres, there are bands big and small, known and unknown, getting ready to unleash debuts, follow-ups and catalog pieces that by the time December rolls around, will have defined the course of this year. It’s always great to hold an album in your hands, to put it on and listen to it for the first or 19th time, but part of the fun is the excitement beforehand too, and that’s where we’re at now.
Some of these I’ve heard, most I haven’t, and some are only vague announcements, but when I started out putting this list together, my plan was to keep it to 10 and I wound up with twice that many because there was just too much happening to ignore. The list is alphabetical because it doesn’t make any sense to me to rate albums that aren’t out yet, and I hope if you find something you’d like to add, you’ll please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks in advance for reading, and enjoy:
Acid King, TBA
We begin with only the basest of speculations. Would you believe me if I told you that 2013 makes it eight years since the heavier-than-your-heavy-pants San Francisco trio Acid King released their last album, III? Of course you wouldn’t believe me. You’d be like, “Dude, no way,” but it’s true. Eight friggin’ years. They’ve hinted all along at new material, toured Europe and played fests in the States like Fall into Darkness, but really, it’s time for something new on record. Even an EP. A single! I’ll take what I can get at this point, so long as it’s Lori S. riffing it.
Chances are, the above isn’t the final art for Argentinian Los Natas-offshoot Ararat‘s forthcoming III, but frontman Sergio Chotsourian has posted a few demos over the last several months and the logo image came from that. Either way, with as far as last year’s II(review here) went in expanding their sound, I can’t wait to hear the final versions of the tracks for the next one. They’re still flying under a lot of people’s radar, it seems, but Ararat are quickly becoming one of South America’s best heavy psych acts. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out.
Brooklyn trio Bezoar‘s 2012 debut, Wyt Deth, might have been my favorite album that I never reviewed last year, and needless to say, that’s not a mistake I’m going to make twice. The new songs I’ve heard the three-piece play live have ruled and an alliance with engineer Stephen Conover (whose discography includes Rza and Method Man) is intriguing to say the least. I’m sure whatever Bezoar come out with, the performances from bassist/vocalist Sara Villard, guitarist Tyler Villard and drummer Justin Sherrell will be as hard to pin down as the debut was. It’s a record I’m already looking forward to being challenged by.
Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era
Due out April 9, Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s The Edge of an Era will mark the full-length debut for the ambitious trio (now based in L.A.) on Tee Pee Records following on the heels of the impressive The Storm Generation EP (review here). From the Scott Reeder production to the band’s engaging heavy psych/desert rock blend, this one seems bound to win Blaak Heat Shujaa a lot of new friends, and if the advance EP is anything to go by, The Edge of an Eracould prove to be aptly-titled indeed.
Black Pyramid, Adversarial
No release date yet, but so far as I know, Adversarial, which is Massachusetts doom rockers Black Pyramid‘s third album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard, is recorded, mixed and mastered. Song titles include “Swing the Scimitar,” “Onyx and Obsidian,” “Issus,” “Bleed Out” and “Aphelion” (the latter was also released as a limited single in 2012 by Transubstans as a split with Odyssey), and having seen the band live with this lineup, expect no less than a beheading. Also watch for word from the recently announced side-project from Shepard and bassist Dave Gein, The Scimitar.
Black Sabbath, 13
There was a bit of a shitstorm this past weekend when the title of Black Sabbath‘s first Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album since 1978 was revealed in a press release. Nonetheless, 13is set for release in June and will feature Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine on drums in place of Bill Ward, who last year was engaged in a well-publicized contract dispute with the band. Bummer though that is and as crappy and generic a title as 13 makes — especially this year — let’s not forget that Heaven and Hell‘s The Devil You Know also had a crap title and it was awesome. I’m not sure if I’m willing to stake anticipation on the difference between the vocals of Ronnie James Dio circa 2010 and Ozzy Osbourne in 2013, or Rick Rubin‘s production, but hell, is Geezer Butler playing bass on it? Yes? Well, okay then, I’ll listen. The world can do a lot worse than that and another batch of Tony Iommi riffs, whatever else may be in store.
Clutch, Earth Rocker
It’s a ripper. With Earth Rocker, Clutch reunite with Blast Tyrant producer Machine and the results are a record varied enough to keep some of the recent blues elements of the past couple albums (“Gone Cold”) while also showcasing a reinvigorated love of straight-up heavy rock numbers on tracks like “Crucial Velocity,” “Book, Saddle & Go” and “Cyborg Betty.” Longtime Clutch fans can expect a bigger guitar sound from Tim Sult, killer layering and much personality from vocalist Neil Fallon and yet another stellar performance from the best rhythm section in American heavy, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. No doubt in my mind it’ll prove one of the year’s best when 2013 is done. Once more unto the breach!
Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse
Last month, I hosted a Devil to Pay video premiere for the Indianapolis-based rockers’ new track, “This Train Won’t Stop,” from the 7″ single of the same name that precedes the release of their Ripple Music debut full-length (fourth overall), Fate is Your Muse. If the 575-plus Thee Facebook “Likes” are anything to go by, anticipation for the album is pretty high. Reasonably so. When I saw Devil to Pay at last year’s SHoD fest, the new material was killer and the band seemed more confident than ever before. Stoked to hear how that translates to a studio recording and how the band has grown since 2009′s Heavily Ever After.
Egypt, Become the Sun
Technically speaking, Become the Sun is the full-length debut from North Dakota doomers Egypt. The band released their self-titled demo through MeteorCity in 2009 (review here), were broken up at the time, and reassembled with a new guitarist for Become the Sun– which is the only album on this list to have already been reviewed. I don’t know about a physical release date, but it’s available now digitally through iTunes and other outlets, and however you do so, it’s worth tracking down to get the chance to listen to it. Underrated Midwestern riffing, hopefully with a CD/LP issue coming soon.
The Flying Eyes, TBA
Currently holed up in Lord Baltimore Studios with producer Rob Girardi, Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes are reportedly putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to 2011′s immersive Done So Wrong, an album full of young energy and old soul. Along with Blaak Heat Shujaa above, I consider these dudes to be right at the forefront of the next generation of American heavy psych and I’m excited to hear what kind of pastoral blues works its way into their tracks when the album finally gets released. They’re a band you’re probably going to hear a lot about this year, so be forewarned.
Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man
The melodicism of Boston-based Gozu‘s second Small Stone full-length, The Fury of a Patient Man (I swear I just typed “The Fury of a Patient Mrs.”) is no less striking than its album cover. I’ve had this one for a while, have gotten to know it pretty well and my plan is to review it next week, so keep an eye out for that, but for now, I’ll just say that the sophomore outing is a fitting answer to the potential of Gozu‘s 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here) and marks the beginning of what already looks like another strong year for Small Stone. I never thought I’d be so into a song called “Traci Lords.”
Halfway to Gone, TBA
What I’d really like to see happen is for Halfway to Gone – who are high on my list of New Jersey hometown heroes and who haven’t had a new LP out since their 2004 self-titled — to put out a new record in 2013, for it to lay waste to everyone who hears it, and for the band to finally get the recognition they’ve long since deserved. I’ve been charged up on revisiting their three albums since I saw them at the Brighton Bar this past July and after a long wait, rumors, breakups, makeups, etc., I’ve got my hopes up that this year is when these dudes pull it together and make a new one happen. It’s been too long and this band is too good to just let it go.
Kings Destroy, TBA
Confession time: I have the Kings Destroy record. I’ve had it for a bit now. It rules. I don’t know when you’re gonna hear it, but it’s strange and eerie and kind of off the wall stylistically and it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there. Last I heard they’re looking for a label, and whoever ends up with it is lucky. I use a lot of descriptors for bands and their albums, but rarely will I go so far as to call something unique. This album is. If you’ve had the chance to check out songs like “The Toe” and “Turul” live, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, then stick around because with all the sessions I’ve had with the tracks, I still feel outclassed by what these guys are doing. Shine on, you doomed weirdos.
The Kings of Frog Island, Volume IV
I keep going back to the video for “Long Live the King” that Leicester, UK, fuzz rockers The Kings of Frog Island put up back in October. No, really, I keep going back. It’s a good song and I keep listening to it. Just about any other details regarding their fourth album and first without guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt (Josiah, Cherry Choke), Volume IV, are nil, but periodic updates on the band’s Thee Facebooks have it that progress on the recording is being made, and in the meantime, I don’t seem to have any trouble paying return visits to “Long Live the King.” Hopefully Elektrohasch stays on board for a CD release, and hopefully it happens soon.
Several times over the last couple months I’ve had occasion to say it to people and I’ll say it here as well: I think Lo-Pan are the best American stoner rock band going right now. I was interested to see how they handled the bigger stage for their opening slot for High on Fire and Goatwhore (review here), and as ever, they killed. I haven’t the faintest idea what their recording plans might be, if they’ll even sit still long enough to put an album to tape in time to have it out in 2013 — I suspect it depends on what tour offers come up in the meantime — but new songs “Colossus” and “Eastern Seas” bode well for their being able to continue the course of momentum that the excellence of 2011′s Salvador(review here) and all their hard work before and since has put them on.
Queens of the Stone Age, TBA
It probably wouldn’t be fair to call the upcoming Queens of the Stone Age album a reunion between Josh Homme and Dave Grohl since the two also played together in Them Crooked Vultures and Grohl only drummed on Songs for the Deaf, but it’s exciting news anyway and could mean good things are coming from QOTSA, whose last outing was 2007′s comparatively lackluster Era Vulgaris. The big questions here are how the time apart from the band may or may not have affected Homme‘s songwriting and where he’s decided he wants to take the Queens sound. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sungrazer & The Machine, Split
With the Strikes and Gutters tour already booked to support it (dates above; or here), Dutch upstart heavy psych jammers The Machine and Sungrazer have teamed up for a split release as well that’s bound to feature some of the year’s best fuzz. The two bands have a lot in common, but they’re pretty distinct from each other sonically too, and with The Machine guitarist/vocalist David Eering helming the recording, you can safely bet it’ll capture the live, jammy feel both groups share. Latest word has it that the mastered tracks are in-house, so watch for more to come as we get closer to the Valentine’s Day launch of the tour.
The Swedish fuzz juggernauts’ fourth album overall, this will be Truckfighters‘ first with new drummer McKenzo alongside the core songwriting duo of Dango and Ozo. They’ve been teasing recording updates and threatening song clips, but as soon as I run into something concrete, I’ll share. I’m especially looking forward to the Truckfighters album since it means they’ll likely come back to the US for another tour, and since 2009′s Mania (review here) was so damned brilliant. Not sure on a release date, but it’s high on the list of necessities anyway, however low it may appear alphabetically.
Valley of the Sun, TBA
All I’m going on in including Ohio-based desert rockers Valley of the Sun on this list is a New Year’s message they put out there that read, “Happy New Year, Brothers and Sisters!!! You can count on a Valley of the Sun full-length in 2013.” Hey, I’ve relied on less before, and even if you want to call it wishful thinking, the Cincinnati trio are due a debut full-length behind 2011′s righteous The Sayings of the Seers EP (review here). Even if it doesn’t show up until November or December, I’ll basically take it whenever the band gets around to releasing. Riffs are welcome year-round.
Well, I mean, yeah. Right? Yeah, well, sure. I mean. Well. Yeah. I mean, sure. Right? It’s a supergroup with YOB‘s Mike Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune on guitar, Sigrid Sheie of Hammers of Misfortune on bass and Aesop Dekker of Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros on drums. Album’s done, set for release on Profound Lore. So, I mean, you know, yeah. Definitely. No music has made its way to the public yet — though that can’t be far off — but either way, sign me the fuck up. Anywhere this one goes, I’m interested to find out how it gets there.
Vista Chino, TBA
After that lawsuit, it’s not like they could go ahead and call the band Kyuss Still Lives!, so the recently-announced Vista Chino makes for a decent alternative and is much less likely to provoke litigation. But still, the Kyuss Lives! outgrowth featuring former Kyuss members John Garcia, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork along with guitarist Bruno Fevery is of immediate consequence. I’m not sure what the timing on the release is, but they’ve already been through enough to get to this point that one hopes a new album surfaces before the end of 2013. What I want to know next is who’s recording the damn thing.
Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You
Not much has been said in the time since I interviewed Gary Arce, guitarist and founder of influential desert rock stalwarts Yawning Man, about the 2LP Gravity is Good for Yourelease (the Raymond Pettibon cover for which you can see above), but the band has been confirmed for Desertfest since then and they’re playing in L.A. on Jan. 25, so they’re active for sure and presumably there’s been some progress on the album itself. It remains to be seen what form it will take when it surfaces, and the lineup of the band seems somewhat nebulous as well, but when there’s a desert, there’s Yawning Man, and there’s always a desert. 2010′s Nomadic Pursuits(review here) was a triumph, and deserves a follow-up.
Anyone else notice that the “20 Albums to Watch for” list has 22 albums on it? Maybe I wanted to see if you were paying attention. Maybe I can’t count. Maybe I just felt like including one more. Maybe I had 21 and then added Vista Chino after someone left a comment about it. The possibilities are endless.
So too is the list of bands I could’ve included here. Even as I was about halfway through, a new Darkthrone track surfaced from an album due Feb. 25 called The Underground Resistance, and news/rumors abound of various substance concerning offerings from YOB, Eggnogg, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Mars Red Sky, Asteroid, Apostle of Solitude, Windhand, Phantom Glue, the supergroup Corrections House, Kingsnake, Sasquatch — I’ve already made my feelings known on the prospect of a new Sleep record — news went up yesterday about Inter Arma‘s new one, and you know Wino‘s gonna have an album or two out before the end of the year, and he’s always up to something good, so 20, 22, 35, it could just as easily go on forever. Or at least very least the whole year.
If there’s anything I forgot, anything you want to include or dispute, comments are welcome and encouraged.
Seems only reasonable to cap this week with The Flying Eyes, from Baltimore, as I’m situated outside the city for the weekend. The Patient Mrs. has family down here and I’ve adjourned early on what if the noise level emanating from downstairs is an ongoing evening, but yeah, I’m pretty much done with the night. I left work early to head south, we’ve got the dog with us, and there will be plenty more geniality tomorrow. Honestly, I think last night’s Thanksgiving food coma carried over into today. No amount of coffee could make me stir, and all a few glasses of wine with leftovers for dinner did was increase my longing for the comforts of pajamas, bed and laptop glow. So here I am.
The Flying Eyes have a new album in the works that I’m looking forward to hearing, and in the meantime, this full set from Rockpalast Crossroads is full-on righteous. There are a few young bands right now that make me excited for the prospects of next-gen American heavy. The Flying Eyes are one. Eggnogg are another, and bands like Pilgrim and Elder seem like a given by now, but they’re both still plenty young as well. As long as everyone remembers to turn the bass up, things should be just fine. I’m excited to hear what The Flying Eyes have in store for their next record.
Kind of wild week, but I guess that happens with holidays. In any case, I took a little shit for it, but I was glad to get that Om review up yesterday. Coincidence has it that they’re playing the Ottobar in Baltimore tomorrow night, with Arbouretum opening. I’ve never seen Arbouretum, and I’d like to, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Kind of a hard sell to be like, “Hey, yeah, we’re coming to stay with you for the weekend but by the way we’re gonna skip out and go to a show and oh by the way do you mind watching our dog for the night she’s allergic to peanut butter okay thanks bye!” Seems a little scummier than I’m interested in being, at least this weekend.
Nonetheless, I’m hoping to get into town proper tomorrow for a bit in the afternoon, maybe get a crabcake sandwich and hit a record shop or two, as is my wont. I’ll be sure to report on any and all acquisitions, and otherwise, stay tuned next week for reviews of Kowloon Walled City‘s new one, Cultura Tres, and probably one or two others, as well as a High on Fire live review — they hit Philly on Thursday and I’m going — an interview with Dylan Desmond about the new Bell Witch album and a track stream of the Don Juan Matus/Oxido split 7″ that’s been out for a while but I wanted to feature all the same because it’s limited and because it’s cool.
And speaking of audio, it seems only fair to give you the early heads up that on Monday I’m going to be launching a live, 24-hour streaming radio station. The Obelisk Radio. I’ll have more details Monday and you’ll probably be able to check it out before then since I’ll be putting the links up and stuff over the weekend, but yeah, that’s happening. Thanks to Johnny Arzgarth, I got the hard drive that was the old K666 from StonerRock.com, Slevin essentially set up the stream, and I’ll be adding to it as we go. The first record that I put up today as a test — in addition to the hundreds already there — was Sungrazer‘s Mirador. Much more to come on that.
Until then, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I will see you on the forum and back here Monday for a whole new league of shenanigans.
Ah, to be young, creative, and constantly on the road throughout the European Union. Such seems to be the plight of Baltimorean heavy psych-blues specialists, The Flying Eyes. Seems they’ve just about bypassed every bit of their locality in favor of a more worldly approach to supporting their two albums, The Flying Eyes and earlier this year’s Done So Wrong. An interesting way to go about it, but it seems to be working for them.
Their new video, for the song “Overboard” from the latest album, can be viewed below with the background info following, and then be sure to check out the flyer for their newest string of European dates, which is set to kick off Nov. 17. Dig:
The music video was shot on Super 8 film in Baltimore, September 2011 by VeruschkaBohn from Germany (http://veruschka.tumblr.com). Developed by hand, this video pays tribute to the analogue days of video production and was successfully presented as a pre-diploma project at HfG Offenbach, where Veruschka studies Photo & Film. The song “Overboard“ is taken from the album Done So Wrong (Trip in Time/World in Sound, 2011).
Posted in Reviews on June 17th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Young men carrying old souls, Baltimore four-piece The Flying Eyes first made an impression by collecting two EPs into a self-titled Trip in Time full-length debut early last year, blending heavy psychedelia and Southern blues to an effect both surprisingly individual and confident given their age and the fact that it was their first album. Now following it with Done So Wrong, the collective of childhood friends continues to refine their approach and expand it a bit, shirking off some of the more stonerly elements in their sound – for better or worse – and instead working shades of indie, country and folk into their palette. The lead vocals of guitarist Will Kelly remain soulful and strongly presented, embodying in many ways the “beyond their years” aspect of The Flying Eyes’ sound, though the overall retro psychedelia in tracks like highlight “Overboard” and the Dead Meadow-toned instrumental “Heavy Heart” don’t hurt in that regard either, the band drawing more from late-‘60s pop sprawl than the hard-driving riff rock that would rise to prominence just a few years later.
As stylized as they are, though, what’s most consistent about The Flying Eyes is prowess in songwriting. The funky, bass-led groove of “Poison the Well” – Mac Hewitt laying down warm low end in the verses while drummer Elias Schutzman one-e-and-a’s his hi-hat to classic affect later echoed on the toms during guitarist Adam Bufano’s solo break – offers immediate contrast to the fuzz and wah swirl of opener “Death Don’t Make Me Cry,” but both ultimately work. The diversity is subtle, but it’s there, showing up also in the chic neo-grunge feel of “Sundrop” and the thoughtful acoustics of closer “Leave it all Behind,” on which Kelly is joined by a female guest vocalist for a duet worthy of capping off Done So Wrong. Their heaviest moment, at least in the sense of playing fast and loud, might come in the cut before “Leave it all Behind,” “Greed,” which in addition to breaking down to guitars sounding more like violins, has one of the album’s several catchy and memorable choruses. Another strengthening Done So Wrong’s swaggering back half is “Overboard,” ringing notes from Kelly and/or Bufano topped with vocals that sound run through a just-overmodulated vintage mic. There’s obviously a self-aware element to what they do, but The Flying Eyes make it sound spontaneous, and ultimately, that’s why they succeed with the record.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes, whose self-titled debut was reviewed early last year, are in the process of preparing a follow-up for release via World in Sound/Trip in Time. The next album, reportedly titled Done So Wrong, is due out March 18, and drummer Elias Schutzman was kind enough to send over the track “Nowhere to Run” for your advance streaming pleasure. Check it out on the Soundcloud player below.
Done So Wrong is due out March 18 on World in Sound/Trip in Time. For more info on The Flying Eyes, check out their Facebook page.
Posted in Features on January 25th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
Young Baltimore rockers The Flying Eyes offer bag-packed voyage-ready psychedelia amid one of the world’s most potent and vibrant doom scenes. If this makes them stand out, they hardly seem concerned. Their recent collection of two EPs, released as a self-titled full-length through Trip in Time, shows heavy blues American melancholy mixed with smart and urgent rock. They groove well beyond their years.
The story (as seen after the jump) goes that drummer Elias Schutzman, guitarist Adam Bufano and bassist/vocalist Mac Hewitt still considered themselves incomplete until vocalist/guitarist Will Kelly came along. Perhaps it’s that unwillingness to be — like so many others — a trio without a frontman that sets The Flying Eyes apart from their rocking peers. Whatever it is, the energy and vibrancy of their music stands testament to the success of the “getting together” process. When it’s the right people, it just sounds better.
Schutzman took time out recently for a Q&A exchange that’s available for checking out immediately after the jump. Hope you dig and thanks for reading.
Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
Before I took the (literally) three seconds to fact-find on the situation with Baltimore psych-blues rockers The Flying Eyes’ self-titled Trip in Time debut, the fact that the album was split into two parts had me searching for some conceptual or sonic split between them, mining the tracklist for clues and trying to understand what it was about the first five tracks the band would want to call Bad Blood and what about the back half that would lead the four-piece to dub it Winter. It was an exhaustive search. The significance of three out of the five Bad Bloodtracks end with the word “Me” in the title grew with each listen. I thought for sure “Red Sheets” (track seven of the total 10) held a clue beneath its retro fuzz riffing. Certainly the peacocks in Kiryk Drewinski’s album art mean something.
But yeah, it’s a compilation of two EPs, one named Bad Blood and one named Winter. Less thrilling than an underlying spiritual union of metaphysical sonics, perhaps, but at least it’s a fucking answer.
Two immediate thoughts when listening to The Flying Eyes opener “Lay with Me,” in order: (1.) alright, that acoustic guitar is pretty cool, and (2.) wow, this guy sounds like Jim Morrison. The “this guy” in question is guitarist/vocalist Will Kelly, whose powerful vocals not only are reminiscent of the spindly “poet” whose work still mesmerizes would-be deep 13 year olds the world over, but also are a good portion of the reason The Flying Eyes pull off their sound. The brazenness of his approach, backed by bassist/vocalist Mac Hewitt on the more compact, atmospheric “Better Things,” is a means of putting the listener precisely where the band wants and a constant that provides a connection between the sundry musical shifts beneath. Almost wistful notes on “Better Things” give way to organ and riff dance hall stomp on the first EP’s title cut — both of which can be attributed to guitarist/organist Adam Bufano — but Kelly’s voice links the two tracks with each other and with the rest of Bad Blood and Winter.