The Obelisk Radio Adds: Naam, T.G. Olson, The Glorious Rebellion, Unconscious Collective and Toke

Posted in Radio on August 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to check out the daily playlist feature that Slevin recently added to the Obelisk Radio updates page, but god damn, it’s frickin’ awesome. I get so stoked out on the stuff that’s played. Even when I don’t hear it — because I listen often but not 24 hours a day — it’s cool just to go through the day and see what’s played. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh yeah, I haven’t heard that in a long time!” and I’ll put a record on, and sometimes it’s a reminder of how badass a band was who aren’t doing much anymore. Earlier this afternoon I heard Swarm of the Lotus for the first time in a couple years and my head damn near exploded. Really wish that band had done a third album.

Anyhoo, if you get to check it out, I think it’s been a great addition to what The Obelisk Radio is, and of course huge thanks as always to Slevin for putting in the time and effort on this site’s behalf. It wouldn’t be here without him, so if you’re in North Jersey and you see him at the bar, please say thanks. A killer batch of stuff joined the playlist today, so let’s get to it.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 8, 2014:

Naam, Live in Berlin

As Brooklyn heavy psych forerunners Naam get ready to head out on another European tour in September (dates here), they present Live in Berlin, a free-download three-track EP recorded earlier this year (or late last year) at White Trash Fast Food. It’s a brief glimpse at what they can do on stage, but gorgeously assembled all the same, with the wash of fuzzy guitar and organ/synth crafting one the East Coast’s most potent space rock sounds on the near-11-minute “Starchild,” the semi-title-track from 2012’s The Ballad of the Starchild EP (track stream here) and the two cuts from 2013’s Vow (review here) that follow, “On the Hour” and “Beyond.” Their style refined with years of road work and their performances no less dynamic on stage than in the studio, Live in Berlin is a no-brainer to grab while the grabbing’s good, particularly at the asking price, and Naam continue to deliver quality, vital psychedelia the influence others are only beginning to feel. Even in the shorter “On the Hour,” with its quicker rush and catchy vocal interplay, there’s room enough to prove immersive, which only shows how on fire this band is at the moment. Vow was their best work to date, Live in Berlin, if short, is a fair complement and a suitable holdover to whatever they might have coming next. Naam on Thee Facebooks, Live in Berlin on Bandcamp.

T.G. Olson, The Rough Embrace

Though the forms he’s working with for his solo material are familiar — Americana, folk and rambling acoustic country blues — Tanner Olson is so unrelentingly forward-moving as a songwriter that his output almost can’t help but be original. As the frontman for Across Tundras, he adds sonic weight to the equation, but performing under the moniker T.G. Olson, he captures a more intimate spirit. Nonetheless, The Rough Embrace, his latest outing, has plenty of lush moments, and even the wide open spaces of “Providence Gone Again” seem to be full of melody and subtly rich arrangements, a layer of slide guitar doing a lot of work in fleshing out the central guitar line. As Olson performed, recorded, mixed and released the album himself — Across Tundras bandmate Mikey Allred mastered; vinyl is reportedly forthcoming on their Electric Relics Records imprint — it’s fair to give him credit for these embellishments as well, and The Rough Embrace ultimately lives up much more to the latter part of its title than the former. Like everything else he puts out on the Across Tundras BandcampOlson has made The Rough Embrace available as a name-your-price download, making it that much easier to get lost in the album’s wistful jangle and melancholy croon. Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Unconscious Collective, Pleistocene Moon

Noise rock and jazz have made strange enough bedfellows over the years, usually resulting in spastic, somewhat indulgent progressive stew, rawly presented. On their sophomore outing, the Tofu Carnage Records 2LP Pleistocene Moon, Dallas trio Unconscious Collective don’t so much try to impress with how many time signatures they can work into any given three-minute stretch as they do stretch out over long-form works — turning on a dime and plenty jagged, to be sure — but that put as much focus on atmosphere as on their bursts and fits. Pleistocene Moon is a whopping 78 minutes long, and in it the oft-costumed three-piece cast a wide stylistic net, but there’s also a natural sensibility in the room that comes through via spacious-sounding drums, and a live feel that permeates pieces like “Tribe Apini,” which feels if not made up on the spot then certainly performed that way, and the later “Methane Rising,” which brings in horns for an avant freakout of grand proportion that transitions into minimal droning in a fluid roll that continues onto side D with “The Transformation of Matter,” whose propulsive grooving and overarching foreboding feel reminds of a sans-vocal Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, which, if you have any idea who that is, should be enough of an endorsement to pique your interest. Unconscious Collective on Thee Facebooks, Tofu Carnage Records.

The Glorious Rebellion, I 7″

Taking elements from ’90s noise rock — most particularly Helmet‘s dissonant riffing — and merging with the burl of modern American heavy rock, Orlando, Florida’s The Glorious Rebellion debut with a two-song single on Magnetic Eye Records featuring the tracks “My Resume is a Suicide Note” and “Thanks to AA, I’m the DD.” Both songs offer lumbering riffs of considerable weight, and the latter proves even more aggro than the former, starting off with a spitting recitation of a verse over the bassline while the guitar and drums wait to kick in with the initial chorus. Glorious though the rebellion may be, it’s even more pissed off. The band keep to straightforward structures, prove capable of writing solid hooks and have a professional production, though there seems to be some play at a commercial appeal on the single, and I’m not sure how well that will serve them in these radio-less days of genre specialization. Still, it’s a significant push they showcase in about seven minutes’ time, and they’ve obviously got a handle on what they want to do as a band. For their first outing, there’s a lot that can be read into just two cuts. The Glorious Rebellion on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Toke, High Friends in Low Places

Toke hail from Wilmington, North Carolina, and specialize in riffy bruiser sludge, heavy on swing and heavy on riffs, topped with vicious screams in the vein of Bongzilla or, more closely, earlier Sourvein. This is the kind of band that gets compared to Eyehategod all the time, though there’s actually not that much in common. Their two-track outing, High Friends in Low Places, is their second demo following another earlier this year, and both “Into the Light” and “Great Awakening” tap straightforward riff-led pummel and throat-searing, weedian aggression. It isn’t exactly unique, but sometimes nothing will do but a good kick in the ass, and Toke seem glad to provide. With clean but not polished production and enough nod for a release twice as long, High Friends in Low Places meets the standard it sets for itself, and if Toke grow into an outfit more individualized or keep their approach strict to the tenets of Southern sludge, they seem to have gotten that part of the equation down early. Toke on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

You know how this goes by now. Of course this isn’t everything that joined the playlist this week, and unlike last time, I even managed to update the list before I put the post together saying I had updated the list. Progress! To see all of today’s adds, check out the playlist and updates page.

Thank you for reading and listening.

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Sleep, Red Fang, Deamon’s Child, The Jackpine Snag, Cruthu

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess this is the part where I complain about lack of time, blah blah blah. Last week was a mess, it’s true, as were the last couple days, but what it comes down to is I do what I can when I can. That’s been my policy all along. A couple of these discs — CruthuDeamon’s Child — are my own rips as well from discs that were sent in, and as ever, there’s more that went up than just what is listed here. So one way or another, activity abounds. I need to find out how close I am to filling the three terabytes of the hard drive used for the server, but until then, the additions will continue unabated. It’s good to keep busy.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2014:

Sleep, “The Clarity”

To call the first new Sleep track since Dopesmoker an “event” would be underselling it. “The Clarity” arrives via the Adult Swim Singles Series not only as the Iommian legends’ first outing since that landmark release, but also their debut recording with drummer Jason Roeder and their first studio work since guitarist Matt Pike and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros went on to destroy/expand minds in High on Fire and Om, respectively, for the last decade-plus. A near-10-minute stonerly sprawl finds Sleep‘s central methodology intact. Grown up some from what it was 20 years ago, expectedly, but loyal to what they were without trying to recapture a magic that’s gone with that time. Cisneros has taken some flack for not roughing up his vocals à la Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but from where I sit, his cadence and cleaner style only makes “The Clarity” more honest, and if lyrics like “Iommic life complete” and “The dealer is my refuge” are easier to understand, you won’t find me complaining. They jam out most of the song’s second half, and ultimately “The Clarity” collapses in a sudden cut, leaving you to wonder if it ever happened at all — until of course you go back to the start for another glorious hit. If this portends more to come, I’m even more excited about the prospect of new Sleep than I was before the single arrived. Sleep on Thee Facebooks, Adult Swim Singles.

Deamon’s Child, Deamon’s Child

Even before you get to the dolphin sample in “Delfine,” and the garage thrashiness of the subsequent “Alles Bio, Immer Bio,” German trio Deamon’s Child give some hints that there’s more to what they do than the standard heavy noise rock. Comprised of guitarist Sven “Missu” Missulis (aka John Reebo of Reebosound, also ex-Psychedelic Avengers), bassist/vocalist Ana Maija Muhi (who also contributed to Reebosound‘s 2010 outing, This is Reebosound) and drummer Tim Mohr (also WhiteBuzz), Deamon’s Child debuted last year with an engaging demo and follow it with a self-titled debut of increased complexity and a sound that’s varied without the pretense, culling together punk, grunge, heavy rock and noise to create songs that feel like they could turn in any direction at once. The production plays up the frayed edges, and Muhi‘s layered vocals on a chugger like “Lutscher!” sound all the more Melvins-esque. Deamon’s Child is loaded with surprises, but doesn’t feel any more haphazard than it’s meant to, and while it may take a couple listens to catch up to it, the songs are consistent in their invitation for repeat visits. Deamon’s Child on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Red Fang, TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang

A free Red Fang acoustic EP — who’s going to argue with that? Not me, though the cumbersome and corporate-style title leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, once you get through all the namebrandery, what you come out with are acoustic renditions from Red Fang of “Failure” from late 2013’s Whales and Leeches and “Malverde” and “Human Herd” from the preceding 2011 outing, Murder the Mountains (review here). Hearing guitarist Bryan Giles soften up his usually-rough vocal approach on “Malverde” is interesting, given how much of the album version of that track is about the impact of the thing, but “Failure” becomes a brooding plea rather than the threat it is at full thrust, and “Human Herd” a kind of meditation that makes for the highlight of the whole release. One tries not to read too much into what was clearly a one-off thing, but it would be cool to hear what an acoustic album track from Red Fang might sound like. Their songwriting clearly translates, and between Giles and bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam – let’s not forget guitarist David Sullivan or drummer John Sherman – they prove here they can pull it off sounding confident and comfortable. Kind of an unexpected turn from the chicanery-fueled rock we’re used to from Red Fang, but they’re as easy to dig as ever on (deep breath) TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red FangRed Fang on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

The Jackpine Snag, The Fire Tower EP

Tonally, Michigan’s The Jackpine Snag seem rooted in punk, but a strong undercurrent of the weirdo runs throughout the songs on their new EP, The Fire Tower, and whether it’s the shouting on “With Wings” or “The Missaukee Strut” or the motoring noise of closer “Gonna Wreck My Life,” the trio present an individualized approach to bruiser expression. The Fire Tower is their longest outing yet at seven songs following a four-track 2013 debut 7″, but they have no trouble changing up their take enough to hold interest, while also keeping the tracks themselves relatively lean and concise. Maybe what the EP does best is balance that efficiency with a loose, tossoff-punker vibe, but The Jackpine Snag – guitarist/vocalist Joe Hart, bassist Jason Roedel and drummer Todd Karinen – show a keen awareness of how far out they want to go and how oddball they want to get in their ragged, grungy craftsmanship. No doubt that will serve them well should they decide next to tackle a debut full-length. The Jackpine Snag on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Cruthu, Creation Demo

The debut release from Lansing, Michigan’s Cruthu, the Creation Demo culls together an initial three tracks that sound somewhat raw but hold significant stylistic promise, blending a heavy ’70s psych-blues mentality with drearier rock tendencies and analog worship. Frontwoman Teri Brown provides a soulful lift to “S.O.S.,” as guitarist Dan McCormick leads bassist Scott Lehman and drummer Matt Fry through a subtly doomed murk, but pushes into rawer, strained-throat vocalizing on “Walk with Me” that immediately stands the Creation Demo apart from much of what claims to have been recorded live in terms of sheer honesty. And to Cruthu‘s further credit, I don’t think the tracks were recorded live. Particularly in “Separated from the Herd” and “Walk with Me,” which closes, Cruthu find some room for instrumental exploration along with Brown‘s vocals, and the path they’re on suits them well as the demo plays out. I’d be interested to hear them branch out further instrumentally, get weird with some percussion or strings or psychedelics, but there’s time for such things, and they’re off to an evocative start. Cruthu on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, there’s a lot more that went up this week than is listed here. Check out The Obelisk Radio playlist/updates page for the complete list.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Iron Man (x2), Electric Citizen, Disenchanter, Junior Bruce and Anuseye

Posted in Radio on May 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click here to listen.

This week brings even more radio adds than I expected. I had kind of a hard time whittling it down to figure what I wanted to write about, to be honest with you, but we got there in the end, and I’m thrilled to have another batch of additions to the playlist for this week. Doing this seems to have quickly become a Friday ritual for me, and frankly, I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon than listening to and writing about a bunch of records. Like just about everything else, for example.

Adds for May 30, 2014:

Iron Man, The Passage & Generation Void

Two brand new vinyl reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Digital promos are particularly useless in the case of badass LPs, and I’m pretty sure both of these albums by Maryland doom stalwarts Iron Man, 1994’s sophomore outing, The Passage, and it’s 1999 follow-up, Generation Void, are already on the Radio playlist, but screw it, it’s Iron Man. If the chances of hearing an Iron Man song go up with each file added, then it’s worth tossing both of these records on the server. Generation Void is a full-on lost classic of doom, and if you don’t already own it, I’d imagine the vinyl of The Passage justifies picking it up based on the artwork alone. Either way, you’re never gonna lose when it comes to these guys, and Shadow Kingdom‘s loyalty in following up its CD reissues with LP versions is commendable. On Thee Facebooks, Shadow Kingdom website.

Electric Citizen, Sateen

Led by guitarist Ross Dolan and vocalist Laura Dolan, this Cincinnati four-piece traffic in high-order retro-minded Sabbathisms that keep in mind just how much boogie went along with all that darkness. To wit, the shuffle at the heart of the organ-laced “The Trap” and “Burning in Hell” or the push in the earlier “Magnetic Man.” Sateen, the band’s debut on RidingEasy Records, features riffs and leads heavily, and Laura‘s croon never strays from the forefront in delivering a barrage of hooks through the ’70s-worship production, but as with Sabbath themselves, the foundation of what Electric Citizen accomplish in these memorable, immediately familiar tracks is built on a foundation of rhythmic excellence in the bass and drums, here provided by Nick Vogelpohl and Nate Wagner, respectively. That organ ain’t half-bad either. The album arrives with no shortage of hype, but it’s a shockingly cohesive debut in style and performance, and the songwriting more than earns its way. On Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.

Disenchanter, On through Portals

The Sept. 2013 Back to Earth demo from Portland, Oregon, doom-blues metallers Disenchanter has been sitting on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. That release is added to the playlist as well, but on the early-2014 follow-up, On through Portals, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg, bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Jay Erbe stretch out the form somewhat. Both arrive as EP-style releases, but On through Portals tops half-an-hour and executes a darkened psychedelic flow over its three extended tracks — “Journey to Abydos/Moon Maid” (12:15), “Invoke” (7:38), and “Into Darkness” (11:20) — so it could just as easily pass for a short album. Either way, the partial shift in aesthetic suits Disenchanter well, and what seems to have been in-process on their first demo comes closer to fruition here. Songs are patient and lumbering, but never boring, and Stangenberg‘s vocals layer effectively at the front of the mix to give the impression of a consummate frontwoman in the making. I won’t declare their development finished, but On through Portals is a big and interesting step for Disenchanter to take. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Junior Bruce, The Nomad


Just two tracks on this latest release from Southern heavy rockers Junior Bruce. The Nomad is the second of two (to date) digital releases following Junior Bruce‘s 2012 debut full-length, The Headless King, and intended as a complement to last year’s The Burden. Fair enough. Taken as such or on their own, The Nomad‘s two cuts, “The Promised Sleep” and “Nomad,” offer unpretentious heavy rolling groove from the Floridian five-piece fronted by Scott Angelacos and featuring bassist Tom Crowther, both also of Hollow Leg and formerly Bloodlet and Hope and Suicide. Molasses riffs from guitarists Nate Jones and Bryan Raymond and steady crash from drummer Jeff McAlear further distinguish “Nomad” in the Southern tradition, and the single/EP is twice as intriguing in the context of Hollow Leg‘s most recent recording, “God Eater” (discussed here), which moved in a more rocking direction as well. It seems to work for both bands. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Anuseye, Essay on a Drunken Cloud


Cuts like “J R” and “Wrong Blues” take ’90s crunch and heavy rock vibes to heart, but where Italy’s Anuseye really distinguish themselves on their Vincebus Eruptum Recordings debut — other than with their somewhat unfortunate moniker — is in the weirdo jamminess of “Push Magic Button” or the psychedelic exploration of “Earthquake.” Essay on a Drunken Cloud boasts a few riffs and effects-laced stretches like that in “Cursed Pills” that might call to mind guitarist Luca Stero and vocalist/guitarist Claudio C.‘s and prior work together in That’s all Folks, but Anuseye has a personality of their own here, with bassist Michele V. and drummer Antonello C. keeping step with the strange vibes every step of the way. The balance shifts effectively between psych rock and noisy post-punk, but songs like “Demon Pulse” and the penultimate “S.S. Abyss” find an engaging and unexpected middle ground on which to make an impression. And then they do. For those days when you feel like you’re heard everything a riff can do, Essay on a Drunken Cloud might just convince you there’s still territory to be discovered. On Thee Facebooks, at Vincebus Eruptum.

For the complete list of this week’s adds, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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The Obelisk is Five Years Old Today

Posted in The Numbers on January 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t think when this site was launched five years ago today I had any idea of what was going to happen with it. The Obelisk started basically because I was newly out of work and didn’t know what to do with myself in the wake of that. I wanted to write. Since the start, I’ve never really known what’s next, and that has continued to be the case over the last half-decade. As milestones have come up, things like adding the forum, adding the radio stream, etc., it’s really only been after the fact that I’ve been able to sort of step back and realize that any sort of shift has taken place. This is one of those times.

You know what’s coming, and though I say it with some regularity, I never quite feel like it’s enough. The internet is built on anonymity. If I’m lucky enough that your eyes are seeing this somewhere around the world, whether it’s Jersey or New Zealand, there’s a decent chance we’ll never meet. If we do, that’s awesome — please  say hi and I’m sorry in advance for being an awkward weirdo — but I know how it is to read a site like this one and have the author be an abstract, shapeless beyond the text presented, not really a consideration. I’m not saying everyone who looks at this page needs to know who I am or anything like that, just that I hope that if you’ve ever read this site before or if this is your first time here, you know that there’s a human being on the other end who is incredibly grateful to you for doing so.

The Obelisk has become a huge part of my life and a huge part of my every day, and five years on, it’s not only an outlet for writing, but a big piece of how I think about my own identity. I never anticipated that, but I’m not sorry it’s happened. I’m proud of this site, what it has managed to accomplish in its time, and I’m thrilled to be able to continue to develop it. I’m amazed at the passionate community that’s developed on the forum, and I think for the five bucks a month I spend to host it, the radio stream is worth the cash for my enjoyment alone, never mind anyone else’s. Thank you. Thank you so much. For checking in every now and again, for reading however often you might, for posting on the forum, listening to the radio, correcting my spelling on somebody’s name or offering suggestions for bands to check out, or to check out your band. For clicking Like or retweeting. All of it. Huge thanks to The Patient Mrs. for her years of rolled-eye indulgence, and to Slevin for his near-constant help in every technical aspect of running the site, from installing WordPress to designing the forum to finding the host for the radio to helping me size the header properly. There are days where The Obelisk is the reason I roll out of bed — over the last five years, more than a few — and I know that would not be the case without the kind of support I have received on every level. Once again, thank you.

I look forward to continuing to say thanks for as long as this lasts, however long it might be, wherever it might go from here, and wherever we might be headed. I’ll probably never be able to convey just how much your support and your involvement is appreciated, but please, please know that it is.

All the best,
JJ Koczan

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Michael Wohl, Eight Pieces for Solo Guitar

Posted in Radio on December 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a release home-recorded entirely with instrumental acoustic guitar, so yeah, it should probably go without saying that Michael Wohl‘s Eight Pieces for Solo Guitar has an intimate vibe. Nonetheless, Wohl, who also serves as guitarist/vocalist in Seattle rockers Mystery Ship – their EP II (review here) was one of my favorite short releases this year — manages to explore a range of emotional expressions within the decidedly minimal atmosphere, from the toe-tapper “No Ticket Blues” to the open-spaced folk of “Lonesome No More.”

Calling it primitive feels like underselling it, but fortunately there’s very little of the cloying-at-authenticity in what Wohl does that one often finds in neo-Americana folk. And it’s not simple by any means. Each of the titular eight pieces has a concept at work, as Wohl himself elucidates in a track-by-track accompanying the digital release even as he gives the tuning info:

Eight instrumental acoustic guitar songs recorded in my apartment between January 2012 and May 2013. Remastered July 2013.

1. Sheepmanblues: drone blues with a nod to Murakami, played in CGCGCE tuning. The SHEEPMAN is ever-present and cryptic in his instruction & aim.

2. No Ticket Blues: Played in DADF#AD. An original composition, indebted to Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Skip James. Ain’t got no Ticket, ain‘t got no ride.

3. Moonfeeder: nocturne played in DADFAD

4. Poor Boy Long Ways From Home: adapted from an arrangement from John Fahey who I think adapted primarily from Barbecue Bob and Booker White. This is one of the oldest songs. No one wrote it but it floats in the firmament of American music. Rev. Robert Wilkins secular song “That’s No Way to Get Along” became “Prodigal Son” when he took up the cloth and this song bears much similarity. Adapted by the Stones on the Beggar’s Banquet album.

5. Melatonin Blues / Fever Dream: I stayed up for way too long and improvised this arrangement of a couple ideas and figures I had been playing for a while.

6. Rainin’ Sideways: came up with on the couch while visiting my home, played in Open C. Recorded in Seattle on one of the ugliest days in history.

7. Long After We Are Dead: one of the first instrumental songs I wrote. It came together after visiting Antietam, Gettysburg, and other Civil War sites.

8. Lonesome No More: In E Standard tuning, capo’d 2nd fret. A foray into spatial composition…echo & distance.

Naturally, having a direct discussion from Wohl on the intent and meaning behind the songs gives the 27-minute album a different context, but even without it, it’s easy to get a sense of where the divide in “Melatonin Blues/Fever Dream” lies, the former staying somewhat in line with the rootsy style of “Sheepmanblues” and the latter wandering into more intricate changes, still keeping a down-home twang, but come into a folkier place.

The overall spirit of the songs is humble — a far cry from some of the swagger Wohl shows in Mystery Ship — and deeply personal, and in some cases, immediately and unconsciously familiar. The take on “Poor Boy Long Way from Home” gives a bare-bones look at where Masters of Reality picked up some of the melody for “John Brown,” and “Rainin’ Sideways” takes even more appeal from the fact that it seems like it’s about to come apart at any given moment.

Wohl has a tape version of Eight Pieces for Solo Guitar out and a 7″ coming that’s also set to feature “Moonfeeder,” but because it’s something that might catch people off guard in listening, I thought it would be perfect as well for The Obelisk Radio. You can hear it there now as part of the regular streaming rotation and check it out on the Bandcamp player below. Enjoy:

Michael Wohl, Eight Pieces for Solo Guitar (2013)

Michael Wohl on Thee Facebooks

Michael Wohl on Bandcamp

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The Dead-End Alley Band, Whispers of the Night: Finding the Reaches

Posted in Reviews on December 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

With heavy nods along the way to Pink Floyd, early Alice Cooper and The Beatles, young Peruvian psychedelic rockers The Dead-End Alley Band conjure a classic moodiness throughout their full-length debut, Whispers of the Night, beginning with the immediately meditative vibing of opener “Mirrors and Seagulls.” More or less an introduction, the song still manages to set up a good deal of the spirit of the Lima-based act’s first outing, released on CD by Ice Label Records in Peru with vinyl through Nasoni. A spare, peaceful guitar sets out in minimalist exploration, slow, patient, but still moving, and toward the very end, a brief spoken word takes hold to smooth the transition into the rest of the 52-minute album, which is engaging and varied in approach but consistent in overall mood and the feel that the group’s core duo of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Javier Kou and vocalist/key-specialist (organ, piano, synth, etc.) Sebastian Sanchez-Botta are able to elicit throughout the total 10 tracks.

Structurally, the material is pretty straightforward, but there’s a wandering sensibility all the same, and in the compression of the bass tone and snare drum (it sounds like a real drummer, but might be programmed), the textures of the organ and synth, the layering of the vocals, The Dead-End Alley Band immediately conjure a ’70s LP vibe. Fifty-two minutes is long for that kind of feel — usually one encounters a more vinyl-ready 35-45 minutes — but they make the time work well, adding Eastern flair to “Lizards and Snakes” in following the traditional psych-folk of the title-track, into which “Mirrors and Seagulls” almost directly bleeds. Tradeoffs between the two singers in the lead role adds to the diversity as “Lizards and Snakes” gives way to the organ-and-bass-led creepiness of “Centuries,” which includes a somewhat surprising mash of news samples that, perhaps contrary to the band’s mission of psychedelic traditionalism, pull the listener into a more modern sphere with references to Japan’s Fukushima disaster and Today Show host Matt Lauer. The results are sonically fluid, but somewhat incongruous in theory, the late ’60s Floydian modus crashing into modern realities. Maybe that blend is what brought about the title “Centuries” in the first place, but it’s striking either way.

Read more »

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Øresund Space Collective, Live at Loppen 2013-11-19

Posted in Radio on November 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you ever want to know the fastest way into my heart, name a song “Black Sabbath Forever in Space” and see how long it takes for me to nerd out on it. Rest assured it’ll be some record time. That most righteous of titles closes the new live set from instrumental Danish outfit Øresund Space Collective, Live at Loppen 2013-11-19, which was captured just over a week ago at the Loppen club in Christiania, Denmark, as the band was opening for Siena Root (who have a new 7″ out; man I’d like to see that band play). There are four songs, the shortest one of them is 11 minutes long, and true to Øresund Space Collective‘s jam-based ethic, there isn’t a moment of the thing that doesn’t feel like it was made up on the spot. The lineup for the evening was Nicklas and Rune on guitar, Jiri on bass, Birk on drums, and Rasmus and sometimes-Obelisk-contributor Scott “Dr. Space” Heller on synth.

The band also have a new studio album out called Organic Earthly Flotation. They’ll be playing the 2014 Freak Valley festival on May 29-31 alongside Mos GeneratorStubbWo Fat, Samsara Blues Experiment and many others, and Live at Loppen 2013-11-19 is one of several gigs recently uploaded for free acquisition through Archive.org (check them out here). They (rightly) encourage audience taping, and as you can hear following the second of the four cuts here, “Galaxy X74W32,” even they’re surprised sometimes where their songs end up. Dr. Space introduces the lineup and gives the crowd the skinny on their approach, and in a brief moment, Øresund Space Collective are under way again. The set is half over at that point — they opened with the rich textures of “Star Search,” which is a fitting title for what’s essentially an exploration of space rock — and it’s abundantly clear that any warming up or settling in they needed to do is long since past. Though their roster of contributors changes regularly, what remains constant in Øresund Space Collective is the absolute liquidity of their jamming.

I don’t know if the Miles mentioned in “Miles, Where are You?” is in fact Miles Davis, but I’d have to believe it if you told me it was. At a meager 11:32, it’s the shortest of the jams here, but features a highlight bassline in the early going from Jiri and some impressive jazzy guitar interplay as well. Of course, the synth is more or less a constant, filling out the open spaces with brazenly psychedelic swirling and effects, making the whole sound fuller and more immersive. Things start to unravel a bit after eight minutes in, but Jiri and Birk hold the piece together until finally the drums stop and the song ends with a laugh from Heller. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “Black Sabbath Forever in Space” is the most riff-led of the inclusions from the show. Guitars start and stay at the fore for an initial stretch as the texture swells up around, soloing and riffing gradually being absorbed, leaving just the bass and drums to remind of the initial progression. Doubtless if that was the “Black Sabbath,” then what ensues is the “Forever in Space,” but the transition between the two is raw, natural and molten. At their best, Øresund Space Collective present the organic product of a creative process, and that’s just what you get with Live at Loppen 2013-11-19.

Archive.org allows for embedding players, so you can check out the release below. All told it’s a full hour of deep psychedelic hypnosis, but even in its component pieces, Øresund Space Collective manage to put the listener in a trance, and that’s precisely why I wanted to include Live at Loppen in the playlist for The Obelisk Radio. However you dig into it, either there or on the player that follows, please enjoy and space on.

Øresund Space Collective, Live at Loppen 2013-11-19

Øresund Space Collective at Archive.org

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Mountain Witch, Cold River

Posted in Radio on November 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As heavy ’70s loyal as the sound of Mountain Witch (not to be confused with Witch Mountain) is, one would almost expect the band to make their home in Sweden, but the three-piece hail from Germany and release their second LP, Cold River, on This Charming Man Records. Shades of earliest Witchcraft show up on “Ancient Light” and “School of Night” pays off with Electric Wizard levels of fuzzy lumber, and while the chugging swing of “The Covey” is easily traced to “Children of the Grave” — something I view as a definite positive — where Mountain Witch really win favor is in their tones and in the album’s overall presentation. A vinyl-ready 39 minutes, with an evenly split eight tracks, one could argue its style is retro, but really it seems like the trio of guitarist/vocalist René Sitte, bassist Tobert Knopp and drummer/vocalist René Roggmann are focused on cave echo more than on trying to seem like they walked into the studio right after Sir Lord Baltimore left.

That serves them well across Cold River, which feels unpretentious and even lighthearted as the rolling groove of second cut “Shrubbery the Warlock” unfurls, though the mood throughout remains set to perma-doom. It’s easy to imagine that the warm distortion in Sitte‘s guitar is all the more prevalent on the vinyl version of the album, but even digitally, the record sounds natural and not at all short on charm, delving into the occasional fit of noise to offset some of the other vaguely minimal aspects of its style. “Ancient Light” starts at a crawl and seems at first like it’s going to stay that way, but while there’s more of a focus on flow and riffs and low end depth than on-a-dime changes, Mountain Witch remain conscious of putting a build into their tracks, and “Ancient Light” shifts smoothly into a payoff section of faster chugging before returning to its lurch, Roggmann keeping the momentum going over “War Pigs” holdouts in understated but appropriate fills.

Most of the moves the Hamburg outfit make throughout Cold River should be familiar enough to experienced listeners that there will be little problem accessing their methods, right down to the air-pushing bass that rests under the layered guitar solo in “School of Night” and the vocals that reach up from the recesses of the mix on the closing title-track, giving a sweet, hungover sensibility to its first stretch, from which it launches into a standout riff and ends the album on a resoundingly smooth back and forth that in itself is a summation of what Mountain Witch do so well with their sophomore outing — creating an atmosphere that draws you in and carries you on the waves of its tones. Whatever aspects of its sound might be recognizable, Cold River makes use of these elements in a way that distinguishes Mountain Witch as bending their influences to their own purposes, and it’s a take on doom that warrants hearing.

You can check out Mountain Witch‘s Cold River now as part of the regular playlist on The Obelisk Radio and get a sample from the Bandcamp player below. Enjoy:

Mountain Witch, Cold River (2013)

Mountain Witch on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Witch on Bandcamp

This Charming Man Records

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Los Asteroide, Los Asteroide

Posted in Radio on October 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Judging an album by its cover,  I expected the self-titled debut full-length from Argentinian trio Los Asteroide to explore a heavy psych subtlety à la the post-Colour Haze European sphere. Indeed, there are parts of the instrumental, self-released, nine-track outing that do precisely that — songs like “Rockamuchacha” and the peaceful “El Traición” are at least in part peacefully, serenely noodled and echoing with that particular brand of tonal warmth — but Los Asteroide‘s Los Asteroide isn’t solely indebted to the influence of European heavy psych, and some of the album’s most memorable stretches arrive when the three piece of guitarist Lucas Veccio, bassist Mariano Cerbasi and drummer Alan Mikkelsen lock into a particularly driving groove, like that which emerges in the midsection of 13-minute opener “Houston Tenemos un Problema” (following a long sample of NASA radio chatter) or the later early Queens of the Stone Age-style bounce of “B-612.”

And though it has its quieter moments, it’s more in those starts and stops and takeoff grooves that Los Asteroide establish their sound on their first record, which follows an EP released in 2012. The extended opening track is the longest included (immediate points), but “Lazer” and the wah buildup of “Noveno Mandamiento” showcase no less character on the part of the band, and while a lot of what they do will be familiar or at least accessible to heavy psych heads, has Mikkelsen announces the arrival of the next rolling push with a quick snare fill in “Noveno Mandamiento,” that familiarity doesn’t detract from the appeal. If anything, in context, it makes Los Asteroide all the more a varied act, since they’re no less fluid on the denser riffing of closer “Diez Vikingos” than the earlier, more loosely-packed “Chiva Cosmica,” which has the sizable task of bringing listeners back to reality after the enduring hypnosis of “Houston Tenemos un Problema.”

True, that hypnosis might be all the more prevalent if Los Asteroide (not to be confused with the Swedish trio Asteroid) were to settle some in their sound and dial back some of the rush of “Lazer” or the quick changes in the cowbell-inclusive “Vuelos Espaciales,” but I’m not about to criticize them for what it is that ultimately gives their debut its personality just because the record was something other than what I anticipated when I first checked it out, particularly when a cut like “El Traición” still offers plenty of sunshine in which to bask. Wherever they take their sound — or, depending on how much their approach relies on jamming, wherever their sound takes them — Los Asteroide have a burgeoning stylistic blend at work and I’m glad to have been able to add their first album to The Obelisk Radio.

You can check out Los Asteroide there in regular rotation as part of the 24/7 stream, or get a taste on the Bandcamp player below. Either way, enjoy:

Los Asteroide, Los Asteroide (2013)

Los Asteroide on Thee Facebooks

Los Asteroide on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sinister Haze, Demo

Posted in Radio on October 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They may or may not have pared down to a trio since, but it appears that for the bulk of their short tenure, Richmond, Virginia’s Sinister Haze were fronted by Brandon Malone, also of Fire Faithful. He’s not listed as being in the band now — the current lineup given is guitarist/vocalist Brandon Marcey (Cough), bassist Sam Marsh (Dry Spell) and drummer Joe Dillon (Balaclava) — but Malone‘s low, Southern metal soul delivery definitely has left a mark on Sinister Haze‘s aptly-titled 2013 Demo, whether it’s the bluesy Church of Misery-style swagger of “Changin’ Ways” or the loose Electric Wizard affiliation shown through the nine-minute “Black Shapeless Demon.” Marcey‘s own vocals are mostly screams that come forward more on the shorter “Betrayed by Time,” which closes out the three-song affair, but there are times especially on the first two tracks when it’s pretty clear there are two voices working in tandem, and presumably that’s a result of Malone and Marcey both contributing, not just different layers on the Griffin IV-recorded CD and tape, which is set for release through Unholy Anarchy Records in time for the band’s headlining gig at the first night of this year’s Autumn Screams Doom at The Ottobar in Baltimore, Oct. 25.

If it seems strange that a band just putting out their first demo of whom there seems to be no record going back any further than the start of 2013 would be playing last for the night at a fest that also features Negative Reaction, Weed is Weed, Iron Man, Wizard Eye and Serpent Throne — all of whom have been around considerably longer and are not without pedigree of their own in varying degrees — one might chalk it up to the immediately recognizable and acknowledged Saint Vitus influence in Marcey‘s guitar, delivered in kind with Dillon‘s bombastic crash. Or hell, maybe they know someone. Point is it’s a fucking quality demo, full of Southern grit without the post-Down dudely posturing, and raw and fucked-up sounding without making a lo-fi caricature of garage doom. “Black Shapeless Demon” is probably my pick of the three cuts here, but “Betrayed by Time” has a creeper catchiness to it that begs for repeat listens and even “Changin’ Ways” makes a hook out of its chorus, as oddly dismantled as it might seem. If nothing else, they make it apparent that their interest in fucking around is slim to none.

And with the prospect of what could be a different configuration that’ll either position Marcey as the frontman or bring someone else into the band to replace Malone, there’s even more intrigue for Sinister Haze as they move past their Demo, but most importantly for their first time out, these songs are heavy as hell and show Sinister Haze as being more than able to take the reins on a drunken sludge lurch. Always a welcome find, and bonus if it leads to further distorted misanthropy down the road.

You can hear Sinister Haze‘s Demo now streaming as part of the 24/seven The Obelisk Radio playlist, or check it out on the Bandcamp player below:

Sinister Haze, Demo (2013)

Sinister Haze on Thee Facebooks

Sinister Haze on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Akûma, For the Beloved Bones

Posted in Radio on October 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

By no means do I want to imply that a straightedge post-metal band from Central Mexico is the thing you’re least likely to encounter in a given day, but Akûma are the first I’ve come across. The Morelia four-piece made their debut on Magnetic Eye Records last year with their Fearless John EP, and they follow it up with their sophomore full-length, For the Beloved Bones, tapping into atmospheric influences from an array of sources, pulling elements from Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Mastodon, some black metal, some post-hardcore destructiveness, and set it to inhumane tonality weighted enough to turn those beloved bones into beloved powder. That they don’t drink or do drugs, whoopie, I don’t really care. They’re heavy as fuck and that’s the part that matters.

Shades of High on Fire-style thrashing show up on “Peach” and the bonus track “MM/Mx,” but on the whole, Akûma seem to be more concerned with apocalyptic aural oppression and atmospheric densities. In the realm of post-metal, there are bands who sound like Isis and there are bands who don’t. Akûma don’t, and as a comparison point, the lonely echoing guitar on “Avalon” reminds me more of the latest Beast in the Field than anything else, setting an open-sky ambience that comes crashing down with the subsequent “Exiled Sons of Eve,” a gang-shouted paean to aggressive songcraft that finds surprising resolution in post-rock melodic soloing. Doomed more in mood than method, For the Beloved Bones puts just enough of an individualized twist on familiar elements to emerge sounding fresh, and whether it’s the acoustic centerpiece “Amongst the Vessels” or the tense build of “Tombs” into album-proper closer “Koyaanisqatsi,” Akûma‘s double-guitar blasts do well in leaving a metallic taste that comes with little sense of posturing.

Songs vary in approach and six out of the 11 on the 36-minute offering are instrumental, so as much as Akûma seem geared toward endtime tales, their priority remains the music itself. Their first album was 2010’s Invocations on the Storm, which was instrumental to an even higher ratio, so one is led to think that maybe they’re adapting themselves over time to a vocalized approach. If that’s what they’re working toward on For the Beloved Bones, the album isn’t any weaker for being a step in an ongoing progression, and if anything, it’s a sign of further heaviness to come. Cuts like the raging “Olas de Sangre” and maddening intro “According to the Currents” probably aren’t going to change your opinion one way or another on post-metal, but as Akûma continue to hammer out their sound, it’s clear they’re working from a strong base of varied influences.

You can hear the entirety of For the Beloved Bones now as part of the 24/7 stream on The Obelisk Radio and check it out on the player below, snagged from the Magnetic Eye Records Bandcamp:

Akûma, For the Beloved Bones (2013)

Akûma on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Picaporters, Elefantes

Posted in Radio on August 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The story goes that Buenos Aires-based desert rockers Picaporters recorded their apparently-self-released, apparently-debut full-length, Elefantes, live over the course of two days in March 2013, and I’ll admit that I don’t know much more about them than that. Their sound is heavy, full of swing and ultimately geared toward a brilliantly effective laid back atmosphere, but as to their origins, how the trio of Juan Pablo Herrera (bass), Lucas Barrué (guitar) and Juan Pablo Vázquez (drums) got together (they seem to have lost a member or two along the way), if in fact Elefantes is their debut album, or even if it’s been or will be pressed physically, it’s as yet a mystery. All that leaves, then, is the music.

And to that, I’ll say I broke one of my own rules when it comes to Elefantes. An email came in from the band with little more than, “Hey, listen to our record here’s the Bandcamp link,” and where nine times out of 10, that note gets little more effort in a response than that which was put into the initial contact — i.e., next to none — I checked out Picaporters on a whim and was immediately consumed by the slow unfurling of 11:40 album opener “Hijo de Gaia,” which captures an in-the-studio vibe that still manages to be so relaxed that I couldn’t help but go with it. Some stuff just grabs you. Moments of burst early on do little justice to the flow the band creates, and though they’ll soon enough get up to some grunge-type riffing in the first half of “Idea RAM,” throughout “Hijo de Gaia” and “Emergiendo en Ondas,” a heavy psych groove pervades and sets a calming, engaging tone for the rest of Elefantes to come. “Idea RAM” winds up blending its early-’90s rush with effective jamming explorations, with sets up cool ’70s feel of “Lluvia de Metal,” the beginning of what seems to be a trilogy with “Sol de Metal” and “Eclipse de Metal” to follow. The bass emerges here with standout fills amid airier guitar lines and bouts of reinterpreted Sabbath-meets-Graveyard groove, vocals staying collected throughout en route to an echoing blues solo. The “de Metal” portion might be some of Elefantes‘ most effective material, but really it’s just one portion of the record’s diverse and universally switched-on course.

“Lluvia de Metal” finishes out with a touch of boogie built around quick rhythmic turns, and “Sol de Metal” picks up from silence to spend its first two minutes or so in humble desert guitar exploration before a heavier rock riff breaks down the door and pushes forth with significant thrust. A change in the vocal approach finds Picaporters tapping into echo that reminds of earliest Jesu – could be coincidence, could be on purpose — even as they hit on a relatively straightforward progression. That contrast makes the Elefantes centerpiece all the more intriguing, but as it becomes increasingly clear throughout, the real highlight moments are to be found in the instrumental interplay between the band members and the overall mood of the songs themselves — not dark, not pretentious, not trying too hard to fit with genre. The solo on “Sol de Metal” is almost too active to pair with the longer-held vocals that precede it, but it’s a minor gripe and the band soon breaks to bass and drums to reset the jam for what seems like a more fitting, improvised build before they fade back into the soft guitar line that opened the song for an unexpected show of symmetry. Though it’s less than half the length of its predecessor at 3:10, “Eclipse de Metal” ends the sequence fading up to find Picaporters in medias res on another warm instrumental excursion, the guitar wandering around lead lines while the bass and drums hold together a straightforward, classically heavy groove that seems to be in direct conversation with that of “Lluvia de Metal.” Seems only fitting.

Gradually, they fade “Eclipse de Metal” back to the silence from whence it came — another show of symmetry that gives a “slice of life” touch to the song — and shift course to the sweetly Hendrixian “Alternative Girl.” Also instrumental, it feels like the beginning process of what might’ve come out on the other end as a complete, structured song, but here winds up being an unabashedly pretty stretch that of course finds contrast to its brief two-minute pulse with the brash heavy rock return of “Amantes Instantes.” With Elefantes most insistent heavy groove, the penultimate track stretches over eight minutes and meets early verse/chorus tradeoffs with a solo-led jam that, among other things, also accounts for the best basswork on the album. A sudden break after three minutes in is a surprise, but the bass leads the rebuilding process and just past minute four, they surge to life again, dynamic and with multiple layers of vocals where everything else seemed to be singularly delivered. Crashes and stops add a sense of chaos, and they break again, with soft vocals over quietly plucked guitars. This time, when they return with just about two minutes left, it’s with a slower, more low-end-driven part, pushed along, it would seem in its own miniature ebbs and flows.

How else to end such a thing but with a raging thrash breakdown in the last 30 seconds? “Amantes Instantes” is one of those songs that has more twists to it than some other bands’ whole albums, and it was clearly intended to be the culmination of Elefantes since what follows is a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll” that presents the Led Zeppelin IV single as a handclap-inclusive blues stomper, complete with jangly shuffle, soulful solo, drum breaks and repurposed “ooh yeah”s that groove the record out with a lighthearted sense that’s not quite a return to the unassuming start that “Hijo de Gaia” provided, but is nowhere near as severe as it would’ve been had they closed with “Amantes Instantes.” The whole album is available for free download through Picaporters‘ Bandcamp, and though they’re not exactly forthcoming on their backstory, sometimes the music does all the speaking that really needs to be done. However long they’ve been around, whether it’s two years or 10, Elefantes impresses with its cohesiveness, natural vibe and shifts in tone.

You can hear it now as part of the regular playist for The Obelisk Radio and stream it on the player below:

Picaporters, Elefantes (2013)

Picaporters on Thee Facebooks

Picaporters website

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Nonsun, Sun Blind Me

Posted in Radio on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The crux of Nonsun‘s Sun Blind Me is set early on, as the Ukrainian duo of Goatooth (vocals/guitar/bass) and Alpha (drums) unfold the first of their latest release’s four massive tracks with an ultra-patient, ultra-dark droning atmosphere. That song, “Rain Have Mercy,” is the longest at 11:57 (immediate points), but consistent in its sprawl and intent with the rest of Sun Blind Me, having been extended from a prior version included on the Lviv twosome’s last outing, 2012’s Good Old Evil, which was dubbed an EP though it ranged close to 50 minutes. Sun Blind Me follows this ethic as well, and between “Rain Have Mercy” and the subsequent “Forgotten is What Never Was” (11:22) is comprised half of older material and half of newer — the latter two cuts, “Alphomega (Part I: Sunlit Darkness)” and “Alphomega (Part II: Upward Blindness)” taking the drone and the darkly metallic plod that offsets it to even more inhuman-sounding aesthetic cohesion.

Nearly everything I’ve seen from Nonsun in terms of press quotes marks them out as a sludge band, and indeed they do themselves as well, but I disagree, at least if you’re looking at sludge in the sense of acts like EyeHateGod or Iron Monkey. Where chaos is part of the appeal in the work of those outfits, Nonsun come across as much more complex, the “Alphomega” two-parter taking its time even more than the first two songs on Sun Blind Me in moving between a mounting static noise of the first part to the emergence of an overlaying guitar part over the more minimalist second. At first, it seemed strange to me that Nonsun would open with older songs before moving into newer ones, but with the last half of Sun Blind Me being instrumental and even more broiled in its droning morass, it ultimately makes sense. That’s not to say “Rain Have Mercy” or “Forgotten is What Never Was” are particularly accessible, but at least there are vocals, and it shows that whatever Goatooth and Alpha might bring to their newest outing, they’re not willing yet to give up completely the methodologies they proffered on their debut.

As for those, I’d mark them more in league with a droned-out take on Euro-doom than sludge, though that influence may well be at work as well. There’s a sense of a plan at work throughout Sun Blind Me, though, and that remains so even as “Alphomega (Part II: Upward Blindess)” moves into the Earth-style sparseness of its second half, sounding mechanical while even for being plenty brutal in their own right, “Rain Have Mercy” and “Forgotten is What Never Was” eventually come around to the human element of vocals, growled and lurching though those vocals may be. Whatever sphere they’re working in and however drone-heavy that sphere might wind up being, Nonsun present a caustic but hypnotic take on tonal weight and a vague industrial influence without coming off as trying to reside in one genre or another. Their sound is clearly still in development, as indicated by the progress in approach from the first offering to the next, but they seem to be heading in a fascinating direction and I’ll look forward to finding out where it might go from here when and if they embark on an official full-length debut or subsequent EP or single.

Listen to Sun Blind Me as part of the playlist in regular rotation on The Obelisk Radio now. Already distributed digitally by Drowning, Nonsun will issue a tape of Sun Blind Me through Breathe Plastic that’s due out soon. You can also listen to it on the Bandcamp player below:

Nonsun, Sun Blind Me (2013)

Nonsun on Thee Facebooks

Breathe Plastic

Drowning

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This is the 4,000th Post on The Obelisk

Posted in The Numbers on July 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

This one kind of crept up on me. I saw a couple weeks ago we were getting closer to 4,000 posts, but then I guess I forgot to pay attention and looked two days ago and we were there. Time flies when, uh, time is flying.

It’s been a lot of upheaval the last couple weeks for me on a personal level. Buying a house, then not buying it, having to scramble to find a place to live in a state I don’t really know (yet), then finally finding it, maybe not, maybe yes. Yes? I guess so. Seems like it, but that’s hardly the first time. If nothing falls apart and no secret chemical spills come to light, The Patient Mrs. and I will move next Thursday. A week from today.

The point is it’s stressful, and as has become my habit over the last four-plus years, I’ve been using this site as a means for finding some kind of stability in what’s been a teeth-grindingly unstable time. Thank you for continuing to read, to show your support, to be patient in my not answering emails in a timely fashion, to spread links, retweet, like posts, leave comments, whatever it is. Just yesterday, that Monster Magnet stream topped 1,000 Thee Facebooks likes. I try not to define my self-worth by such things, and I know for a fact that the link spreading around has nothing to do with my writing and everything to do with the fact that the song is good and it’s their first US tour in a decade, but this is the internet and I take validation wherever I can get it. So again, thank you.

I never have so I won’t start now to claim to have any idea what the future holds, for me, for this site, for anything. But as we pass 4,000 posts on this site, I’m glad for the things it has been able to accomplish and I have enjoyed watching it become the time-consuming beast it has become. If you’re reading this, then you’re keeping me going, so one more time before I move to the next thing, thank you.

Onward.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Geezer, Gage EP

Posted in Radio on May 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In the Gozu interview that went up yesterday, there was a discussion of that feeling when a song fits together almost instantaneously in the rehearsal space — no real back and forth, no drama over parts, nothing like that. It just happens and then is done. New York heavy bluesers Geezer seem to have recently experienced such a phenomenon, and their new self-released EP, Gage, is what they have to show for it.

It’s only been a couple months since Geezer released their debut full-length, Handmade Heavy Blues — not enough time for me to review it, apparently — an album rife with slide guitar and gravely vocals, easy grooves and even an early-featured cover of The Beatles‘ “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road,” which sums up a good deal of the attitude present throughout. Gage came together as a quick follow-up when the trio — guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Freddy Villano and drummer Chris Turco — entered the studio to record a track, presumably the fuzz-dreaming opener “Ancient Song,” for an upcoming Grip of Delusion Radio compilation. One became three, the live cut “Dude, it’s Molecular” was added, and an EP was made. Sometimes it’s just that simple. Rarely, but sometimes.

The EP itself reflects the relative smoothness of the process that bore it into the world. Harrington‘s guitar leads the way through “Ancient Song,” but the laid back groove that Villano and Turco throw down is not to be understated, the band departing from some of Handmade Heavy Blues‘ insistence in favor of a languid pace and jammy feel, the vocals tapping into American stoner rock burl while staying deep in the mix and giving the riff the primary space it deserves. Second cut “Thorny” is shorter and bluesier, but also quiet, and the shift to a more subdued atmosphere is at once unexpected and naturally done. The three-piece prove more dynamic throughout than one simple meter or vibe, and “Thorny” feels quick at just over four minutes of airy electric strum, warm bass and minimalist timekeeping, like the psychedelic Americana that Scott H. Biram forgot he always wanted to make, or like Larman Clamor at its most reserved.

With a rhythm and inflection similar to a less bombastic take on Halfway to Gone‘s “Great American Scumbag,” “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” is the highlight of Gage for its open verses turning Sunday school into a bad trip and extended its solo break, which Geezer skillfully bring back to the chorus at the end, never letting the jam get the best of them. Reportedly played only the one time, “Dude, it’s Molecular” fades up with a clearer live guitar swell and snare rattle to gradually morph into an organic, improv-sounding instrumental that sounds as close to the jam room as we’re likely to get with the band, ending as unassumingly as it started. Geezer — who will play The Acheron in Brooklyn on July 27 as part of The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 (more info here) — are a relatively new band, but comprised of veterans who obviously know the value that chemistry between players can bring to a lineup. I’m thrilled to get Gage added to The Obelisk Radio this week.

You can hear it there now as part of the regular playlist, or check it out on the player below from the Geezer Bandcamp, where it’s also available for a pay-what-you-will download:

Geezer on Bandcamp

Geezer on Thee Facebooks

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