Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
NYC heavy rockers Thinning the Herd have had about as tough a couple months as a band can have, with the untimely death of drummer Rick Cimato over the holidays and questions as to whether or not the band would even continue on and release their Steve Albini-recorded sophomore full-length, Freedom from the Known. After soul searching and a series of tryouts, guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman and bassist Wes Edmonds have recruited Garth Macaleavey for the drummer position and will press ahead with not only putting the album out, but shows and new material as well.
As someone fortunate enough to see Thinning the Herd when Cimato was in the band, I can say the trio was definitely at their strongest point yet going into this album, and I’m glad to see it’s coming out and the band is going to keep going. Here’s word of the May 9 release for Freedom from the Known, courtesy of the PR wire:
THINNING THE HERD Confirms Details Of Delayed But Anticipated New Album
Following a tumultuous several months of hardships and hard work, once again restructuring the band for the second time in a year, NYC’s THINNING THE HERD this week confirms the details of the band’s pending second full-length, Freedom From The Known.
Founding vocalist/guitarist Gavin Spielman had replaced the crew on TTH’s 2011-released debut full-length, Oceans Rise, recruiting a new rhythm section in 2012 with bassist Wes Edmonds and drummer Rick Cimato (ex-Locked In A Vacancy). The ultra-solid new lineup honed the newest songs, and shipped out to Chicago last Summer to record the sophomore album Freedom From The Known at Electrical Audio Studios with studio guru Steven Albini. The trio filmed a new video for the album, and as they were preparing to release the best THINNING THE HERD material yet, Rick Cimato was tragically killed in a head-on collision over the 2012 holiday season.
Mourning the loss of their friend, Spielman and Edmonds hosted several local listening parties of the album for local fans and friends to honor Rick and his family, then started the process of bringing yet another lineup together to execute the new songs live, proudly, as Cimato would have wished. Spielman recently crossed paths with Brooklyn drummer Garth Macaleavey, and after hitting it off, brought Garth into the THINNING THE HERD camp.
With nearly forty-five minutes of brand new material, the varied Freedom From The Known continues the THINNING THE HERD tradition of avoiding genre pigeonholing, merging their blues, jam, sludge and NYHC influences into their expansive doom/rock foundation. Lyrically the band explores as wide an array of topics; surviving everyday life, achieving a higher consciousness through transcendentalism, the existence of alien and otherworldly life forms and more. This is where party-hard buildups melt into boundary-free jam sessions; THINNING THE HERD is the pinnacle of prime underground New York City rock. Freedom From The Known will finally be released on the band’s own Saint Marks Records, just as their previous EP and Oceans Rise full-length were, on May 9th, 2013.
Live THINNING THE HERD shows and regional tour plans are in the works for the immediate future, and will be announced in the coming days and through the Summer months in support of Freedom From The Known; stay tuned.
Some videos just have it all, man. Drug innuendo, psychedelic booty dancing, a swirling drummer, tripped out ’90s-type digital effects, Orange stacks, the Buddha. The list goes on. Such is the case with “Never Wanted,” the first featured new track from NYC heavy rock trio Thinning the Herd‘s new full-length, Freedom from theKnown. The three-piece, led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman (who also directed the video), put the album to tape with none other than Steve Albini and are expecting a release by the end of the year.
Mixed by bassist Wes Edmonds, it’s the most natural sound I’ve heard yet from the band, who issued their Oceans Risedebut last year (review here), and it seems that together with drummer Rick Cimato, Edmonds and Spielman have been able to tap into the rawness of sound the band has always been begging for while still conveying the strong core of songwriting that carries through their approach. Aside from the video being killer, it makes me look forward to hearing the album when the time comes.
Here’s “Never Wanted” followed by the album release info, courtesy of the ol’ PR wire:
Thinning the Herd, “Never Wanted”
New York-based THINNING THE HERD announces the completion of their new studio full-length as they plan for its liberation into the general population before the end of the year.
Over the Summer, the band shacked up with studio guru Steven Albini to harness the newest tunes for what will be the metallic doom/rock act’s third studio effort. Entitled Freedom From The Known, the ten-song crusher features an entirely new and improved THINNING THE HERD lineup, revamped once again by founding member Gavin Spielman and now including drummer Rick Cimato (ex-Locked In A Vacancy) and bassist Wes Edmonds. An act constantly striving to not be pigeonholed as “another doom band,”’ the newest material reflects more of the members’ blues and NYHC influences, though the presence of classic doom metal and 90’s grunge/sludge influences still shine through, and alien life forms, motorcycles, ego death, higher consciousness, transcendentalism and racism are just a few of the issues touched upon lyrically. Freedom From The Known is due out in December on the band’s own Saint Marks Records as with their previous album and EP.
Freedom From The Known Track Listing: 1. Never Wanted 2. Dr. Reed 3. Sludge 4. Buildings 5. Rabbits 6. White Liver 7 Blood 8. Path of Gold 9. Gaikat Mountain 10. In Front Of Me
Posted in Reviews on October 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Another shitty day in another shitty week had me in full-on Fuck Everything Mode. Riffy redemption? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, but it wasn’t going to be easy going, and the traffic en route to The Grand Victory in Brooklyn to catch Boston’s Elder, with NYC natives Thinning the Herd, Reign of Zaius and Pants Exploder wasn’t helping. You ever yell at someone in your car with the windows up? I do it. All. The. Time. I honestly don’t know how I’ve made it this long.
So obviously I was drinking, right? I mean what’s better than the existential boner pill alcohol provides? What’s that? Depressant? Fuck that, let’s rock and roll.
I was (born too) late getting there, and so Pants Exploder – who immediately won moniker of the night — were already on. It was my first time at The Grand Victory, which is right across Grand St. (fancy that) from the Trash Bar, but I could tell right away when I walked in that I liked the place. Small, longer than it was wide, the bar was on the left side walking in, loaded with decent micro taps — I had a Brooklyn Somethingorother to start and switched after one to Kelso’s Pilsner, which I found wanted for crispness but went down smoothly nonetheless — and the small stage was in the back of the room. It was unrepentantly a rock and roll bar, but dark in the back and intimate enough that even if there wasn’t a show, I’d drink there. Maybe that’s not saying much these days.
Upon hearing that there was a band called Pants Exploder on the bill, I knew I wanted to see them. I mean, some names just dare the act to live up to them. It’s like naming your band We Will Blow Your Fucking Mind, right? You wanna be like, “Okay, so go ahead, make my pants explode, I brought an extra pair and they’re in the car so I’m ready to go.” They gave it their best shot. A noisy trio, there were elements on hand of High on Fire thrash offset by Torche-type melodies, and they showed they could rage when they wanted to, and they were metal-tight and punk-energetic, which is what you want on a hoppy Thursday night. Good fun. One more band to make me regret living in the suburbs.
There wasn’t much of a changeover, but I had another couple beers and before long, Reign of Zaius started up. It was my second time seeing the Brooklyn newcomers — the first was at Public Assembly in August with The Midnight Ghost Train (review here) — and I don’t know whether it was the beverages, the sound at The Grand Victory or just my already vastly-improved mood, but I got way more of a sense of where they were coming from this time around. Their sound has its classic ’70s elements in the riffs, but with charismatic vocalist David “Viking” Damiecki up front, they seemed way more in line with a post-grunge heavy ’90s rock this time out. One of their songs started out so much like “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” that I thought they were doing a Primus cover. They weren’t, but they put that riff to good use anyway.
Elsewhere, Kyuss flourished as an influence, but there was a garage-type feel to their sound as well, guitarist Brady keeping a subdued presence while drummer Brian and bassist Davis added groovy push to the varying tempos. They’re pretty straightforward, and still feeling out where they want to be, but they seemed to have a much better idea last night than even two months ago, so I take that as an encouraging sign. It’ll be interesting to hear where they go sound-wise next time they hit the studio, and ditto that for Thinning the Herd, who followed and once again found guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman surrounded by a different band.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen them, but even since last year’s Oceans Rise(review here), Spielman has revamped the three-piece, bringing in mustachioed bassist Wes Edmonds and drummer Rick Cimato to underscore his should-be-heard riffs and solos and bluesy vocal delivery. I dug the band before — I’m pretty sure they’ve had a different bassist every time I’ve run into them, but none of them have been bad — but the latest incarnation seemed to be the most professional-minded. I don’t know what their plans are, if they’re looking to tour or whatever, but they were apparently recording with Steve Albini in August, so they’ve got something in the works.
They closed out by covering Fu Manchu‘s “Hell on Wheels” like it was no big deal, and that was an awesome surprise, since I don’t generally think of them as being aligned to that kind of sunshiny fuzz — their sound is dirtier, rougher around the edges — but they pulled it off well, and even in the back of the room, I was singing along. With just Elder to go, the night had already proven solid. All three of bands who’d played were going for something different under the umbrella of capital-’h’ Heavy, and the varying senses of identity on stage made it an interesting show as well as just being good sets. Right about when I got to thinking about how many different ways there are to spin your red sun blues, Elder got on stage and moiderlized the joint.
Elder were on their way south to this weekend’s inaugural Autumn Screams Doom fest at the Sidebar in Baltimore, and well, I was really glad they made a stop in town. This was my second time being fortunate enough to see them without a piano falling on my head or some such other hindrance (the first was at SHoD in Sept.), and the trio just flat out destroyed. It was the kind of good that makes you stand back and go, “Holy fuck this is good,” backing it up with all kinds of ridiculous hyperbole about how they’re the best band you’ve seen since this one time 17 years ago when you saw someone else who were really killer. Point is, they’re something special to watch on a stage.
It should say something to that effect that when we did that informal Top 10 Stoner Rock Albums poll last month, their last full-length, Dead Roots Stirring, was right on the cusp of making the list – Brant Bjork and High on Fire aren’t bad company, if you have to tie with somebody. They started their set with the title-track from that record, and played material off the Spires Burn/Release 12″ as well (streaming here), guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto missing no steps in the songs and seeming to outmatch even Pants Exploder‘s volume level. Donovan had his mullet in a ponytail — I guess you can’t unleash a beast like that every single night, lest the back of your neck overheat — but they made the most nonetheless of the small stage and proved it was no fluke when after last time I said they’re some of the best American heavy psych I’ve ever seen. If you’re in Baltimore tonight, count yourself lucky.
I’d lost the cap to one of my lenses, and by the time I got back to my humble river valley, I was back to being impotently furious at everything, but it was probably good to get out of my own head for a couple minutes, you know, like a real human being might. Nonetheless, I stomped my feet like a spoiled child taking out the garbage and debated further beerings, but eventually crashed out, gritting my teeth in my sleep to the point of waking up with a sore jaw this morning. Went well with my half-hungover headache.
Posted in Reviews on April 21st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
New York City is always wanting for bullshit-free rock and roll, and joining the thin ranks of those trafficking in it is the trio Thinning the Herd, whose debut full-length, Oceans Rise, is a quick eight tracks of sans-frills doom rock. Led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman – who seems as ready at any given moment to unleash a killer riff as he is to rip a solo – Thinning the Herd transcend the C.O.C.-isms that made up so much of their prior Devil Mask EP, keeping the groove but putting a more individual stamp on it. Bassist Nick Lee throws exceptional fills in to complement Spielman’s playing, and drummer Ben Proudman lands heavy on his snare to ground the material and keep the pacing fluid. As a trio, they work well together across the album, and at a quick 34-plus minutes, Oceans Rise (released via St. Mark’s Records) has a few standout tracks of which anyone hungering for a break from the onslaught of hipstamatic Big Apple indie rockers calling themselves psychedelic should be aware.
There’s a darker edge in Spielman’s guitar tone, not so much fuzz, and it’s mostly for that reason that I hesitate to call Thinning the Herd a stoner band, but there’s no mistaking that they’re both heavy and riff-led – which is more than enough for many to make the designation. Oceans Rise launches with its title-track, a slower, doomier number that hints some at the band’s songwriting prowess. Lee gives one of several really strong bass performances (he also proves his abilities as a member of tech-weirdos Exemption), and Spielman’s gruff-but-clean vocals set a pattern that continues throughout the ensuing cuts. It’d be easy to liken it to Deliverance or Wiseblood-era Pepper Keenan, but even comparing Oceans Rise to Devil Mask, it’s clear he’s growing into his voice and becoming more of his own singer. Doubtless confidence is a part of that and he’ll continue to develop over future Thinning the Herd releases, but there’s plenty engaging about his work on the catchy “Look Behind” and the even-riffier “Defiler,” which is a highlight not only for Spielman’s layering, but Lee’s running lines as well and the conviction that seems to be in Proudman’s mashing of his hi-hat. As “Chill in the Air” wraps the first half of Oceans Rise, it’s with more strong rhythm section interplay and another well-crafted chorus.
Posted in audiObelisk on April 1st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seems like easy math, but if there’s one thing in this world I like, it’s a band from New York City that doesn’t suck. There’s a couple out there, to be sure, but the five boroughs are awash in acts who blow hipster chunks all over the place in some kind of fashion show of who can out-horrible each other, and quality rock is a boon when you find it — which is why I’m into Thinning the Herd. They don’t suck. It’s a pretty simple formula.
As the PR wire previously informed, the NYC trio — led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman — will release their new full-length, Oceans Rise, this coming Tuesday, April 5, and because I dig the band and because the opportunity to do so was offered, I thought I’d share with you the closing track from the album, “On Fire.” It rules more than a little bit.
Stream it on the player below:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
In case you’re too lazy to click that link above, here’s the info for Oceans Rise again:
Set for release on April 5, 2011, via NYC-based St. Mark’s Records, the eight-song rager Oceans Rise boasts the band’s soulful brew of grunge-fueled, blues-driven, stoner-infused rock, and was put on tape by the engineering masters at Seizures Palace in Brooklyn (ChildAbuse, Swans, OvO, Dresden Dolls). The album surges with soul over its 35-minute life span, alive with groove and stories, inciting a trampled but triumphant sense of survival and good times.
Oceans Rise tracklisting:
1. Oceans Rise
2. Look Behind
4. Chill in the Air
6. Wide Crossing
7. My Wake
8. On Fire
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Buried Treasure and live review veterans Thinning the Herd are apparently on the cusp of releasing a new full-length. According to the PR wire, their new album, Oceans Rise, will be issued April 5, but that’s not stopping the band from playing a release show next Thursday at Europa in Brooklyn. So maybe they’re a little ahead of themselves. Whatever. Maybe if you’re nice they’ll let you buy a copy at the gig.
PR wire sends love and this:
Set for release on April 5, 2011, via NYC-based St. Mark’s Records, the eight-song rager Oceans Rise boasts Thinning the Herd’s soulful brew of grunge-fueled, blues-driven, stoner-infused rock, and was put on tape by the engineering masters at Seizures Palace in Brooklyn (Child Abuse, Swans, OvO, DresdenDolls). The album surges with soul over its 35-minute life span, alive with groove and stories, inciting a trampled but triumphant sense of survival and good times.
Thinning the Herd’sOceans Rise record release show: 03/10 EuropaBrooklyn, NY w/ God’s Green Earth, Hovel, and Cold Fur
Posted in Reviews on December 8th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was a Sunday night in Brooklyn and Crowbar was at the recently-busted Santos Party House, so I thought I’d skip out on the Boardwalk Empire season finale (DVR’ed it) and check out the live set from Allston heavy rockers Black Thai at Hank’s Saloon. Between all these factors and the fact that it was cold as fuck out, I didn’t anticipate much of a crowd at Hank’s for Black Thai or Thinning the Herd, who opened — all the better to go. Fewer people means fewer assholes. Woody from Mighty High was there, and a few others, but Hank’s is a small room anyway, so it worked out.
This was the second or third time I’ve seen Thinning the Herd, and of all the bands kicking around New York right now, I just get the feeling these guys are on the right track. Especially in the work of guitarist/vocalist Gavin Spielman, they’ve got tremendous potential, and if they got hooked up with the right recording engineer, who understands their kind of music — riffing and aggressive, but still aware of melody — they could come out with something really killer. They weren’t as tight at Hank’s as when I saw them last at The Trash Bar, but a little looser worked great for the Sunday night and the laid back atmosphere of the show.
Black Thai killed. They barely fit on the stage, the four of them, but even in tight quarters, they rocked hard and heavy, drummer Jeremy Hemond (Roadsaw, Cortez) reaching high to nail his cymbals time and again, and guitarist Scotty Fuse (also Cortez) and guitarist/vocalist Jim Healy (ex-We’re all Gonna Die) emitting riffs and solos with charisma and energy while bassist Cory Cocomazzi filled out the low end and added a moodier feel to the material. They’d played the release show for their Blood from on High EP (review coming soon) the night before in their native Massachusetts, and some of that energy clearly carried over to Brooklyn. It was a welcome addition to the evening.
It wasn’t the highest profile show happening in New York Sunday night — for that matter, neither was Crowbar — but both Black Thai and Thinning the Herd delivered big, making it well worth the drive from Jersey on my end. It was great to see Black Thai for the first time live after listening to the two tracks from their demo (with which they opened the set) and to get to know Thinning the Herd better as a live act. The night wrapped at about midnight and I headed back through Manhattan and the Holland Tunnel feeling better than I’ve felt coming back from Brooklyn in a long time.
Their recent set supporting Roadsaw and House of Broken Promises at the Trash Bar in Brooklyn (Alkahest opened) was my first experience with New York trio Thinning the Herd. I’d seen the name around, but never actually heard the band, and once I did that, buying their 2009 Devil Mask EP was unavoidable. Sometimes these things just happen.
Pepper Keenan-era C.O.C. is a good point of reference for a song like “Philistine,” but Devil Mask opener “Won’t Abide” is all Iommi, and specifically the Iommi solo record or Sabbath‘s Dehumanizer in terms of tone. The guitars are spot on. “Kitchen Sink” has a more Judas Priestly vibe, but the trio — Gavin, Rich and Dan on the disc — have a pretty clear idea where their doom comes from, and it comes from Birmingham.
What interests me most about Devil Mask, though, isn’t the guitar or the voting-with-a-bullet vocals, it’s the drums. It’s amazing, but if you go back in the annals of metal history, you’ll see even more than makeup, hair-size and jean-tightness, the eras are marked by drum sounds, and the feel of Thinning the Herd‘s kit for “Won’t Abide” and the biker-doomly “Uninformed” (the only song on Devil Mask that’s not available for hearing on the band’s MySpace) is metallic classicism through and through. Not something you hear every day, especially in New York, especially on a weeknight. Was a cool surprise and easily worth the purchase price for the EP.