Some combinations in life, you just can’t go wrong. Ed Mundell and a wah pedal, for example. This proved to be the case last year when Mundell‘s jammy trio with bassist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan) and Rick Ferrante (Sasquatch), the cumbersomely-named The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, made their self-titled debut (review here), as it proved to be the case so many times over the guitarist’s years holding down leads in Monster Magnet and The Atomic Bitchwax. Well, further affirmation is welcome by me, and Mundell, McCoy and Ferrante seem only too pleased to provide it on the new tape EP, Through the Dark Matter.
A front-and-back j-card with blacklight-sensitive art from Brad Moore meant to invoke Miles Davis is included with the bright-orange cassette, which is pressed through Orbit Unlimited Records in a numbered (the numbers are also blacklight sensitive) edition of 200 copies. CDs were made available for the power trio’s recent European tour alongside Sasquatch, but 500 of those were made, so the tapes are somewhat harder to come by. Understandably, since the recording job by Snail‘s Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal Studios does so well in capturing the live dynamic between The UEMG‘s members, whether it’s Ferrante and McCoy stomping out on side 2’s “Day of the Comet” or Mundell setting an initial mood with minimal effects ambience on the introductory “Small Magellanic Cloud.”
Like the self-titled, Through the Dark Matteris clearly instrumental in its focus, but The UEMG do introduce some vocals for the first time to their studio work, McCoy stepping in for a suitably bluesy delivery on the Willie Dixon cover “Spoonful,” which is the centerpiece of the CD/digital version but closes side 1 of the tape following the intro and the jammed-out title-track. The effect its placement has is to ground the tape somewhat — these cats can jam, and when they do, they go pretty far out — a hook and start-stop funk-wah lead line reminding me no less of Clutch now than when I first streamed “Spoonful” and “Through the Dark Matter” here in April, and the relatively straightforward, traditional structure sits well between “Through the Dark Matter”‘s cosmic pulsations, the bass-heavy push of “Day of the Comet” and the space-jazz blissout of “Large Magellanic Cloud,” which closes out side 2, guitars, bass and drums all seeming to intertwine even as they stretch out in their own directions.
While it’s a relatively short 26 minutes — you wouldn’t call Through the Dark Mattera full-length, though it flows well — The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s EP is all the more worth digging into for how natural it sounds coming from the band. Lynch is an experienced engineer and gets a clear, professional sound here that plays well with the Rhodes McCoy adds or the layers in Mundell‘s guitar, but the overall vibe is that The UEMG could more or less show up somewhere, plug in and make this happen. Maybe that’s a testament to the experience of the players involved or the several years they’ve already been jamming together, but whatever it is, a short release that plays out with such substance is an accomplishment that makes Through the Dark Mattera worthy follow-up to the debut. Wherever their voyage next takes them, I doubt it’s going to be much of a challenge to follow.
The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter EP (2014)
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It was getting on two in the morning last night and I was yet again trying to figure out how to get the audio editing software I use to make podcasts to work on this laptop. Numerous failed downloads later, I decided screw it, I had nothing to lose, and I zipped up the directory containing the program on my old computer, WeTransfered it to myself, and unzipped it on the newer machine. Frickin’ worked. I couldn’t believe it. Proof that sometimes the stupidest solution of all is the way to go.
This is the first new podcast in a long time, I know. There’s been a lot of really cool stuff coming out in the last few months, but I wanted to still keep it as recent as possible. Some of this is out now and has been for a couple weeks, some of it isn’t out yet. I think it’s a good mix or I wouldn’t have uploaded it, and it gets pretty heavy for a while there, so watch yourself. Figured a good couple of rockers to open wouldn’t meet any complaints either, and hopefully that’s the case. Please enjoy.
Fu Manchu, “Radio Source Sagittarius” from Gigantoid (2014)
Radio Moscow, “Death of a Queen” from Magical Dirt (2014)
Abramis Brama, “Blåa Toner” from Enkel Biljett (2014)
The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, “Spoonful” from Through the Dark Matter (2014)
Boris, “Heavy Rain” from Noise (2014)
Eyehategod, “Robitussin and Rejection” from Eyehategod (2014)
Serpentine Path, “House of Worship” from Emanations (2014)
Triptykon, “Boleskine House” from Melana Chasmata (2014)
Wovenhand, “Field of Hedon” from Refractory Obdurate (2014)
Been Obscene, “Memories of Salvation” from Unplugged (2014)
1000mods, “Reverb of the New World” from Vultures (2014)
Electric Citizen, “Light Years Beyond” from Ghost of Me b/w Light Years Beyond (2014)
Mars Red Sky, “The Light Beyond” from Stranded in Arcadia (2014)
Salem’s Pot, “Creep Purple” from Lurar Ut Dig På Prärien (2014)
Black Bombaim, “Arabia” from Far Out (2014)
Dopelord, “Pass the Bong” from Black Arts, Riff Worship and Weed Cult (2014)
Holly Hunt, “Prometheus” from Prometheus (2014)
Posted in audiObelisk on April 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
They’re ultra electric. They’re mega galactic. And in just a couple days’ time, The UEMG – or The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, man — will begin a European tour alongside fellow Californian heavy rock mavens Sasquatch, launching the shindig at Desertfest in London before hopping over to Berlin and taking the show on the road from there for more shows in Germany as well as Italy, Austria, France, Switzerland and Belgium. To mark the occasion, the trio of guitarist Ed Mundell (ex-Monster Magnet), bassist/sometimes-vocalist Collyn McCoy (ex-Trash Titan) and drummer Rick Ferrante – the latter of whom will be pulling double duty on the road in Sasquatch — put a new EP to tape with Snail‘s Matt Lynch at his Mysterious Mammal Studios that they’re calling Through the DarkMatter.
For anyone who may have caught (solar) wind of The UEMG‘s self-titled debut last year (review here), the five-track/26-minute Through the Dark Mattertakes a somewhat different approach. Sandwiched by the spaced-out feel of the shorter “Small Megallanic Cloud” and longer “Large Magellanic Cloud,” the three middle cuts present distinct takes on the three-piece’s when-in-doubt-jam-it-out methodology, blending heavier space rock thrust from Ferrante and McCoy with Mundell‘s storied leads in acid jazz profundity. “Spoonful,” the centerpiece, is a cover of Willie Dixon and boasts a suitably bluesy boogie, Mundell stepping in to deliver funky start-stops that bring Clutch to mind while McCoy — for the first time recorded in The UEMG — takes the mic to handle vocals, which he does with a gravelly but not overly affected style. As he seems to hint in discussing the EP and Euro tour plans below, he won’t be the only vocalist for The UEMG, but “Spoonful” proves he could be.
“Through the Dark Matter” preceding and “Day of the Comet” following show the development in dynamic at the heart of The UEMG. The EP’s title-track puts Mundell‘s guitar front and center, while on “Day of the Comet,” it seems to be McCoy‘s bass at the fore — Ferrante ever-steady behind and not shy to step up and hold down the proceedings on his own when asked — while the guitar wails out noisy leads in cosmic echoing form. However you might approach the EP, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic continue to wow with their fluidity, and their motion into and out of “Spoonful” is as seamless as one could ask. It’s like they hid a party behind a moon deep in their own solar system.
As they get ready for Desertfest and more, I’m fortunate enough today to stream the title cut from Through the Dark Matterand “Spoonful” for your listening enjoyment. Please find them below, followed by some words from McCoy about the recording, the tour with Sasquatch and future plans for The UEMG.
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The EP – “Through the Dark Matter” – was recorded at Mysterious Mammal earlier this month with engineer/studio honcho Matt Lynch (of Snail).
Track list is as follows:
1. Small Magellanic Cloud 2. Through The Dark Matter 3. Spoonful (Willie Dixon) 4. Day of the Comet 5. Large Magellanic Cloud
Artwork by Brad Moore (who did the cover for Morpheus Descends’ “Ritual of Infinity” and a lot of other death metal classics). We chose this particular piece for its Bitches Brew/Abraxas vibe.
Includes the first UEMG track to feature vocals. A cover of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful.” We aren’t doing the Cream version, we’re actually are doing the Howlin’ Wolf version from his first (and only) “psychedelic” record, 1969’s “The Howlin’ Wolf Album.” Wolf hated this album, but we love it! For the five people who remember my band Trash Titan, you’ll remember that I do croon a bit.
In addition to singing (which I’ve been doing live with UEMG for a while, as the mood strikes) I played upright bass and Fender Rhodes electric piano.
Will be limited to 500 CDs and 200 cassettes. These will debut at the merch table of DesertFest London and we will (at least initially) sell them exclusively on tour. Also, as it turns out, the EP will be available online at CD Baby (today, I’m told) as well as on the merch table in Europe. But once they’re gone, they’re gone. No reprints!
While it still rocks, there’s more of a late 60s/early 70s jazz fusion influence on this record, which can be heard on the long jams (side B of the cassette). Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and “Sextant” era Herbie Hancock were some touchstones.
The cassette artwork is printed in blacklight sensitive ink. They’ll also be hand-numbered in blacklight sensitive ink. Includes a download code for people who don’t want to risk wearing it out in the tape deck of their ’86 Nissan.
We’ll also be bringing a small number of bootlegs for the merch table. We’ve got a buddy, Scrit, who tapes all of our shows. The sound quality is pretty great for field recordings. Eventually (by this summer), we hope to have a number of these bootlegs available for download through our website.
Which reminds me…fans, feel free to tape our shows! We try to play a different set every night, and we try to play the songs a little different each time.
We’ll also be doing some jamming with Sasquatch, and vice versa. These guys are our brothers from way back – shit, we share a drummer. Ed’s been playing with them and Keith’s been playing with us for years.
Tour Dates are below. We plan on making each show special in its own way, so fans should feel free to follow us around like we’re frickin’ Phish or something.
25.04.14 FRI UK London Desertfest 26.04.14 SAT GER Berlin Desertfest 27.04.14 SUN A Vienna Arena 28.04.14 MON GER Wiesbaden Schlachthof 29.04.14 TUE GER Munich Feierwerk 30.04.14 WED ITA Montecchio (VI) E20 Underground 01.05.14 THU ITA Milano Lo-Fi 02.05.14 FRI A Millstatt Bergwerk 03.05.14 SAT GER Hohenstein 15 Jahe Voice of Art 04.05.14 SUN GER Cologne Underground 05.05.14 MON GER Hamburg Markthalle 06.05.14 TUE GER Stuttgart Goldmarks 07.05.14 WED CH Pratteln Z7 08.05.14 THU BEL Leuven Sojo´s 09.05.14 FRI F Paris Glazart 10.05.14 SAT CH Winterthur Gaswerk
We hope to have some special guests joining us on stage at DesertFest Berlin. Who could it be? Ed has a lot of friends in the stoner rock music community, that’s all I’m gonna say.
Which reminds me, our next full length will feature some guest vocals. It’ll still be mostly instrumental, but we’re going to include some guest singers on a few tracks. Again, I can’t say who, but rest assured, if you’re reading this blog, you know who they are.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Here’s a quick impression of me the last time I saw Hull. Ready? Okay, here goes: “Duh Hull are fucking fantastic and I’m an idiot for not listening to them like every day. Duh.”
I was right, actually, because even now as I put on their 2011 to-date magnum opus, Beyond the Lightless Sky(review here), I’m reminded immediately of just how righteous the Brooklyn four-piece can get. I haven’t seen much word of new material for a follow-up, though they played some live if that counts (I think it does), and they reissued their debut EP, Viking Funeral, last year, so they’re definitely still active. Really interested to hear what they turn out for a new album though, since both their albums at this point have had such a conceptual framework. Like mom says though, good food takes time.
Hull will join the lineups for Desertfest in London and Berlin (they’re also playing Roadburn), and I’ve also included recent announcements below for Ed Mundell‘s The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and German rockers Powder for Pigeons, who’ll play Berlin.
We are thrilled to announce today that Sludge rock conjurors HULL will play at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014!
Hailing from the streets of Brooklyn, HULL materializes as a massive entity storming stages and immersing their audiences in a blanket of grandiose down-tuned compositions. A shifting fault line of decibel heavy harmony, this collective force converges in a collision of thrash, doom, classic rock, and formal orchestral works. Submerged in cosmic soundscapes, HULL challenges the mind with flowing, off-time fugues and powerful, dynamic movements.
Hard at work since the release of their seminal EP “Viking Funeral” in 2006, HULL unleashed in 2009 a new creation “Sole Lord” that offered a promising extension of the ambitiously psychedelic doom legacies of Neurosis and Isis. Two years after, the band’s sprawling latest saga “Beyond the Lightless Sky” emerged, and was a colossal and cohesive statement full of misdirection and surprises.
Moment of atmospheric drift, mathematical twist, and belligerent march tied together into the suggestion that this was a band to watch. Fortunately for all of us, HULL has planned to embarked on a European mission with Elder this spring, and we are proud to get them at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014 (with maybe new songs, if we believe what we could read on their facebook page!)
Some of you expected them, and here they are : THE ULTRA ELECTRIC MEGA GALACTIC! We are proud to welcome Ed Mundell (ex Monster Magnet, The Atomic Bitchwax) at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014!!
When he left Monster Magnet in 2010, Ed Mundell began to explore a range of psychedelic jams. Gradually, this jammy impulse led to the formation of THE ULTRA ELECTRIC MEGA GALACTIC (from now on refered to as TUEMG), and toward the end of the last decade, the band composed of Ed Mundell, bassist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titans, Otep) and drummer Rick Ferrante (Sasquatch), began playing out here and there on the American West Coast.
TUEMG play an instrumental psychedelic, heavy spaced out power rock and it’s bloody fantastic! Hard Rocking, 70’s inspired, the band bring a new fresh take on the power trio set-up and they know how to make their instruments talk. As soon as you start listening TUEMG, the atmospheric mix of terrific and imaginative bass runs, cosmic guitar sounds and fanstastic drumming takes you for a trip into the furthest reaches of the seventies flavoured psychedelic universe the trio inhabits.
Early 2013 brought their S/T debut, and if you dig space travelling, these 9 songs are a must that you European people will be abe to enjoy in live for the first-time ever at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014!
We are pleased to announce today the German-based Australian-born rockers POWDER FOR PIGEONS!!
POWDER FOR PIGEONS are an exceptional rock duo that was founded in 2012 by Rhys Jones (vocals/guitar) and Meike Hindemith (drums) in the hot and dusty Outback of Western Australia. Inspired by the rugged surroundings, they have crafted a gigantic sound that fills the frequency spectrum with punchy, warm, fuzzy guitar riffery and thumpin drums to be heard for miles around.
After releasing their debut album “Hell outta here” in March 2013 which they recorded live in the arid Australian desert, the Power Duo has toured extensively throughout Europe with stops in Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, UK, Switzerland, Austria.
Stationed in Germany for months now, with a swag full of dirty new material, the band released last week their new amazing and thriving Rock and Roll effort making quite clear that they “live and breathe” the music for/on every rocking note! We are very happy to have them bringing their brand of sweaty fuzz/grunge to DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014!
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Palm Springs desert rockers Dali’s Llama, led by Zach and Erica Huskey , will celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band on Oct. 5. They’re throwing a killer party to mark the occasion, and before you ask, yes of course it’s in the desert. Forest music they are not, though their last album, 2012’s Autumn Woods(review here), leaned that way a bit in its atmosphere.
I’ve gone on before about how I consider Dali’s Llama‘s ethic of following their passion for two decades deeply, richly admirable and inspiring, so I’ll spare you that, but suffice it to say that even in a realm of the underground where people say they are on their own path all the time, Dali’s Llama actually are. And they have been for a long, long time. 20 years, or so I’m told. Kudos. One of these days I’ll get to interview Zach or Erica. Maybe for the next record, which never seems to be far off.
The cast of characters they’ve assembled to help them celebrate two decades at what they’ve awesomely decided to call “Dali’s Llama’s Wild Rumpus” reads like a desert wishlist for people you’d want to have show up to a party. Lineup, link and a cool Skillit poster follow:
Dali’s Llama’s Wild Rumpus
Celebrating 20 Years Underground
13 Bands (only $5)
at The Palms in Wonder Valley
All Ages • Bar with ID
Free Overnight Camping
Bands start at 2:00 pm!
We hope you’ll join us to celebrate our band’s 20th Anniversary with a gathering of friends, music & fun.
Rubber Snake Charmers (feat Mario Lalli & family + special guests)
The Freeks (former members Nebula, Fu Manchu, Backbiter, The Angry Samoans)
Ultra Electric Mega Galactic (former/current Monster Magnet, Sasquatch, Trash Titan)
Hornss (members of Solarfeast & The Jack Saints)
Rise of the Willing (high desert DOOM masters!)
Whiskey and Knives (desert stoner/punk kings!)
Brave Black Sea (former members Kyuss, QOTSA & Slo Burn)
Undead Cuervo (L.A. stoner rock!)
Caveman Voicebox (feat member of The Adolescents)
Hit It! (like early Redd Kross)
and special acoustic performances by
Joe Dillon & Scott Brooks (The Hot Beat Duo!)
Josh Heinz (the Big Daddy of Blasting Echo)
After the show there will be a free informal test screening of the music documentary “Lo Sound Desert”.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The lineup is admirably varied and unflinchingly heavy, and Doom in June III is set to take place June 1, 2013, at the Cheyenne Saloon in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the day-long get-down are now available via the link embedded below in the info sent down the PR wire:
DOOM IN JUNE III MUSIC FESTIVAL
Saturday, June 1st, 2013
The Cheyenne Saloon in Las Vegas
April 2, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV — The celebrated DOOM IN JUNE MUSIC FESTIVAL returns for the third time on Saturday, June 1st, 2013 with some of the coolest names in Doom, Stoner Rock and Metal. The event provides a full day of immersion into some of the greatest music of the genres, drawing people from around the world to Las Vegas to get down and get rockin’. Prepare for another wicked dose of the heaviest of the heavy.
Remaining true to the original format, Doom In June III kicks off the summer on the first weekend in June. Thirteen bands are confirmed – including many established acts — as well as providing an opportunity for guests to catch some of the brightest young talents. The venue offers a carefree, good time environment which is why bands and guests alike look forward to returning to The Cheyenne Saloon (3103 N. Rancho Blvd.).
Performances include THE SKULL featuring former TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner and bass player Ron Holzner offering the best of Trouble; legendary ‘80s cult favorites MANILLA ROAD; instrumental power trio KARMA TO BURN, ANCESTORS, New Mexico’s LAS CRUCES, CASTLE, SNAIL; Monster Magnet guitarist’s Ed Mundell’s new band ULTRA ELECTRIC MEGA GALACTIC; Las Vegas’ female-fronted doom four-piece DEMON LUNG — who will celebrate the event as a record release show for their highly anticipated debut album on Candlelight Records; a couple San Diego area bands DALI’S LLAMA and ALBATROSS OVERDRIVE and two promising locals opening the day – MEGATON and SPIRITUAL SHEPHERD.
Doors are at 1:00 pm and event features thirteen bands performing for twelve hours on one stage. Tickets now on sale atwww.brownpapertickets.comfor only $16 advance. Rooms are available at The Fiesta Rancho Hotel/Casino which is located very close to the Cheyenne Saloon and offers affordable accommodations.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Doom In June III on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/doominjune. Event sponsors include Fly PR, Heavy Planet, Planet Fuzz, Doom Metal Alliance, All That Is Heavy Shop and Hellride Music.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess if you’re gonna take a long weekend, that’s the one to do it. Ed Mundell‘s The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, The Freeks – featuring ex-members of Nebula — and desert newcomers Blaak Heat Shujaa are hitting the road on a five-date weekender circa April 20 that’ll find them on a pilgrimage around California. As if the last two posts about Desertfest and Roadburn weren’t enough to fill your April, check this out:
4/20 Weekend Tour (USA)
(The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, The Freeks, Blaak Heat Shujaa)
Three major players of the California heavy psych underground will join forces on a five-day American Southwest tour on 4/20/2013 weekend.
The 4/20 Weekend Tour will feature the first shows from The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, the latest endeavor of Ed Mundell (of Monster Magnet and Atomic Bitchwax fame), which also includes members of Sasquatch and Trash Titan. They will be joined by psych warriors, The Freeks (with Ruben Romano from Fu Manchu and Nebula on guitar, and Tom Davies from Nebula on bass), and by TeePee Record’s hottest new signees, Blaak Heat Shujaa, who deliver a loud, enticing blend of fuzz heaviness, surf rock and neo-psychedelia.
Dates: 04.17 The Slidebar – Fullerton, CA 04.18 Level 2 Bar & Lounge – Cathedral City, CA* 04.19 The Tin Can – San Diego, CA 04.20 Favorites – Las Vegas, NV 04.21 The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA**
* Pre-Coachella Festival Party, w/ Yawning Man & Hot Beat Pussy Fiend. ** Third edition of TeePee Records Night LA.
Posted in Reviews on March 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
As lead guitarist in Monster Magnet from 1993-2010, Ed Mundell contributed to some of the most essential American heavy psych and heavy rock put to tape. Exploratory albums like Superjudge and Dopes to Infinity led to the more straightforward and commercial Powertrip and God Says No, and while the band settled into that aesthetic, Mundell continued to show his affiliation with heavy psych and traditional classic rock ethics in The Atomic Bitchwax, a project he left after releasing two full-lengths and an EP upon relocating to California circa 2004. His tenure would continue for more than half a decade with Monster Magnet and the Bitchwax continued on and have thrived against the expectations of many in his absence, but Mundell began to explore a range of psychedelic jams in the years subsequent, beginning with a track contribution by an instrumental trio called The Formula to the High Volume compilation put out by High Times magazine in ’04. Gradually, this jammy impulse led to the formation of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, and toward the end of the last decade, the band began playing out here and there on the West Coast, low key. Shows were jams, basically, with Mundell joined by bassist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan) and drummer Rick Ferrante (Sasquatch), but sooner or later an album was bound to happen, and when it finally did, Snail’s Matt Lynch stepped in to record at his Mysterious Mammal Studios.
The resulting self-titled full-length (released through the band’s own Orbit Unlimited imprint) is probably too layered with psychedelic effects, backwards guitar, Echoplex, and leads to completely represent The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic’s live show, but at the root of each of the album’s nine tracks is an organic sounding jam that’s simply been built upon. Commonalities exist on songs like “Hello to Oblivion” to early The Atomic Bitchwax, and perhaps that’s to McCoy and Ferrante’s credit as a versatile rhythm section as much as it is to Mundell, who leads with no shortage of twists and turns in his intricate riffing. They are, true to form, a powerful trio, and the album – instrumental but for an intro spoken by the writer Harlan Ellison that appears reprinted on the inside of the gatefold digi-liner – essentially works as a showcase for their chemistry, playing out with immersive, driving psychedelia over the course of just under 55 minutes. Sasquatch guitarist Keith Gibbs appears on second track “Exploration Team,” donating a solo in complement to Mundell, and flourishes of sitar and extra percussion appear on the Eastern-keyed “The Man with a Thousand Names,” but for a good portion of the album, it’s McCoy, Mundell and Ferrante on their own in outer-headspace, the backwards guitar and warm bass tone of intro cut “Unassigned Agent X-27” providing lead-in for “Exploration Team”’s winding riffs and immediately engaging fuzz. As with most of the material on the album, riffs feel plotted out beforehand – that is, for how well McCoy plays off Mundell’s guitar with bass fills, I don’t think he’s hearing this stuff for the first time as though it were made up on the spot in the studio – and changes are positioned well, guitars emerging, receding, making way for the bass and then coming forward again, but the underlying core is organic and working on a time-tested ethic of players in a room playing. Everything else is added around that central idea.
While that goes to deepen the actual listening experience, The UEMG’s Hendrixian jam-ready modus probably would’ve come through no matter what they put on top. Even as he takes an extended, soulful solo in “Get off My World!,” Mundell seems to leave room for the groove Ferrante and McCoy ride, and the result is one of the self-titled’s more engaging moments of laid back heavy psychedelia, produced crisply but not overly clean, and a distinguishing factor between The UEMG and Mundell’s work in his past outfits, the real character of the band emerging even as the track fades into “7000 Years through Time,” and the signature style of winding riffs is revived. Structured into two vinyl sides with cuts both just over 11:40 ending each one, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic is well symmetrical as an album, whatever spontaneous characteristics it might present, and the band works ably within that sphere. Perhaps after so many years in Magnet, Mundell couldn’t help but give this record a sense of structure, even as comparably off the rails as it might seem on the surface with the difference of approach. Either way, it’s a stronger, richer listen for it, and with “7000 Years through Time” running into the extended “The Third Eye” to end the first half, their cosmic flow is well underway, only moving farther out into the far out with the longer jam, which starts out barn-burner fast, but eases into a slower groove toward the middle to rock a build near the end with some of McCoy’s best basslines of the album, holding the song together in its stillest moments and driving it forward toward the end at its most raucous.
Posted in audiObelisk on February 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ll be reviewing this one as well in the next month or so, but as California’s The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic made their self-titled debut available for streaming today through Bandcamp, it seemed only fair to cap the week with it. I hope you’ll forgive the preemptive doubling up. I’ve been stoked for this album since interviewing guitarist Ed Mundell and premiering a track from the band last year, so to finally hear the record in full is a boon.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band moniker as ripe for acronymic representation as is The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic — a trio completed by the formidable rhythm section of bassist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan) and drummer Rick Ferrante (Sasquatch) — and the band even occasionally refers to themselves as “The UEMG.” As such, though I don’t usually like to abbreviate band names, I’m on board this time around, and I’ve decided that should they come up in conversation, I’ll be pronouncing UEMG as “oo-meg,” which, you know, is fun.
As always, I hope you dig the selection.
What I week this was, and I hope you can hear me exhale as I type that knowing it’s “over” as much as it ever is. I feel like between The Eye of the Stoned Goat 2 last Saturday and the YOB show on Sunday, I was finished before I even crossed the starting line, but a couple late nights at work and my ass is pretty well kicked. We’re supposed to get some snow between now and then — nothing like last week — but my plan for tomorrow is to head into Brooklyn and catch Elder at The Acheron with It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Eidetic Seeing and Ancient Sky. Should be an evening of heavy reverb. If you’re going, I’ll see you there.
That review should be posted Monday if all goes to plan, and also look for writeups on new records by Magic Circle and Endless Boogie next week. The latter outfit are NYC native and playing Brooklyn tonight with Arbouretum. That’s actually a show I’d have loved to have seen, but Williamsburg on a Friday night’s a pretty daunting prospect these days, driving, parking and existence-wise. Still, the record’s killer so far and I’m looking forward to digging in deeper for the review this week.
Going to try and maybe work in some shorter-type reviews as well, with the thought that not every record benefits from the 1200-word treatise and that time is limited whereas my backlog is dauntingly infinite, but maybe that’ll be this week or maybe it’ll be never. In the more immediate is fixing The Obelisk Radio, which has been down for several days now and is bumming me out. Glad to say Slevin seems to be on the case. I registered this afternoon with a different company to host the stream and last I heard he’s got it in process in terms of switching over with minimal upset to anyone who may have put the playlist in iTunes or anything like that. I’ll keep you posted when I have some better sense of when it’ll be up and running. My hope is sometime over the weekend, but these things are rarely as simple as they seem or would preferably be.
Whatever you spend your weekend listening to, I hope it’s a great and safe one and that you enjoy the holy hell out of it. I’m down to 32 copies of the Clamfight CD, and if you haven’t bought one yet, I’d sure appreciate the support if you could. Either way, thanks as always. I’ll see you on the forum and back here Monday for more keyboard-driven shenanigans.
It was a surprise to fans when following the release of 2010’s Mastermind, lead guitarist Ed Mundell announced he was leaving New Jersey-based hard rockers Monster Magnet after a tenure that stretched back to 1993’s Superjudge. Mundell‘s persona on stage was certainly lower key than Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf, but you could say the same about nearly everyone on the planet, and though Mundell showed a love of heavy power trios in his work on The Atomic Bitchwax‘s early albums, he’d long since left that band and moved to Los Angeles. An instrumental track called “Hello to Oblivion” from the Mundell-led trio The Formula showed up on 2004’s High Volume: The Stoner Rock Collection compilation, but that was just one song, and it’d be more than half a decade before Mundell actually left Monster Magnet.
During the last couple years, however, the cumbersome name The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic has been popping up, and as 2012 takes its shape musically, that will no doubt continue to be the case. The instrumental three-piece is comprised of Mundell on guitar (duh) joined by bassist Collyn McCoy of Trash Titan (who released a killer self-titled EP last year) and drummer Rick Ferrante, also of heavy rockers Sasquatch. They’ve been jamming for a while now and playing sporadic but rare live shows — just enough to gain a reputation — and they’re in the midst of finalizing their full-length debut at Mysterious Mammal Recording with none other than Snail bassist Matt Lynch (his band’s new album, Terminus, is reviewed here) at the helm. The goal is to translate the live chemistry between Mundell, McCoy and Ferrante to the yet-untitled album, and then layer on top whatever the hell they feel like.
That sounds like a joke, but to hear Mundell talk about the backwards guitar, wah, echoplex and loops that show up in The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s jam-based songs, it’s abundantly clear that these traditionally psychedelic effects and the lengthy solos he crafts from them are indicative of the higher ideal of complete creative freedom, something he obviously relishes about working with McCoy and Ferrante, and his feelings of being refreshed creatively come through unabashedly. He sounds not just excited about the prospects for his new band or about his joy in working with these players, but also like the idea of being able to do what he wants on an album without being second-guessed is a novelty, and without saying so explicitly as regards his work in Monster Magnet, the guitarist hints that indeed that’s the case. It is a novelty.
All the more thrilling, then, is the prospect of the album the band is in the midst of recording. In our interview, Mundell discussed his feelings post-Magnet, the jams at the roots of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and the process by which some of those jams are turned into songs, working with Lynch as producer and engineer and just what goes into mixing a track that has so many layers cast on top of its original live recorded base, and much, much more. This is the first time I’ve interviewed Mundell, but his excitement about the band was palpable (if I haven’t yet made that clear), and he seemed completely in touch with what he wants this band to be, as well as admiring of McCoy, Ferrante and Lynch to the output that is as yet forthcoming. It was more than enough to make me look forward to the record.
By way of a teaser for that, I’m honored to have been granted to host an exclusive stream of the track “Rockets Aren’t Cheap Enough” from The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s debut. They’ve had a rough version of a track on their website for a while, but to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time audio from the album itself has been made public. Special thanks to Lynch for making the connect that allowed this to happen.
Please enjoy “Rockets Aren’t Cheap Enough” and the complete 3,800-word Q&A (people from Jersey talk fast, no matter how long they’ve lived elsewhere) with Mundell, as well as photos of the band in the studio, after the jump.