Buried Treasure: The Johnny Arzgarth Haul

Posted in Buried Treasure on November 7th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

The loot was manifold. Priority Mail flat-rate boxes spread across a long table in a dining room, packed full of old promos from years past. Many of them were familiar to me — sleeves of this or that label release, jewel case demos from just a few years back when such a thing didn’t seem outlandish. Bent-corner digipaks, some of records I’ve known, enjoyed, reviewed, or put on an office shelf to languish, and many others unfamiliar, new names, or older releases from recognizable purveyors of the peculiar styles that were once lumped under the general banner of the old StonerRock.com.

Small Stone bands — Roadsaw, Lord Fowl, Freedom Hawk — played through computer speakers, which was appropriate, since it was the same night as the Boston Small Stone showcase at Radio. This, however, was earlier in the afternoon, and the boxes, the table, the computer speakers and the lovely house in Massachusetts in which they all resided belonged to one John Pegoraro, also known as Arzgarth. The promos were discs he’d accumulated over the years writing for the aforementioned and still-missed outlet, and I was more than happy to give them a good home.

There was some genuine treasure in the mix, and some albums John seemed loathe to part with — a feeling I can certainly understand, owning as I do many CDs that I’ll probably never want to listen to again and still others I never listened to in the first place and yet can’t seem to wrap my brain around getting rid of. Not to say anything against Mountain Mirrors or Whoremaon or Dark Fog or Lost Youth, whose discs I haven’t even had the chance to hear as of today, but it was probably harder to let go of older stuff like Bible of the Devil‘s 2002 sophomore outing, Firewater at My Command, Throttlerod‘s By the Horns 1999 demo, Freedom Hawk‘s Universal demo or Roadsaw‘s Takin’ Out the Trash. No joke, I was honored to be able to take these things and the rest with me when I left.

Along with stuff by Slomatics, Assrockers – from whence Borracho sprang — and Michigan devil worshipers Beast in the Field (their first and third), those were some of the highlights of the haul, but things like Mean Mother ‘s 2009 self-titled, the self-titled Telestrion and a promo-only copy of Yellow #5‘s Demon Crossing, which featured Brant Bjork on drums and Dave Catching on guitar and basked in Palm Desert weirdness, were a boon as well. I grabbed the first Mind Funk, which was recommended to me a long time ago, two records from Iron Giant, the self-titled Maligno, some Hawg Jaw, an L7 live record on Man’s Ruin, and stuff by Lords of Bastard, The Red Plastic BuddhaObskuria, Upwards of Endtime and The Valley as well.

Collector’s impulse, which I suppose is what had me there in the first place, led me to pick up the jewel case promo of the self-titled debut from Kalas, released on Tee Pee in 2006. The band was a side-project for Matt Pike at the time, and I already own it — I actually never got a full-artwork copy, so now I just have two of the promos — but it’s not something you see around, and again, I figured better to have it than not. You never know when a meteor will strike the ‘Ka-Ki’ shelf and you might need a replacement waiting in the wings.

It was an exceptional opportunity from an exceptionally good dude (you can read Arz‘s review of that night’s showcase here), and I look forward to continuing to dig through the box, pull out discs at random, and enjoy listening. I’ve got a ways to go, but if it’s a long haul, count me in. Thanks John for the chance.

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Where to Start: The Obelisk’s Guide to Small Stone Records

Posted in Where to Start on May 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Founded in 1995 by Scott Hamilton, Detroit imprint Small Stone Records is the single most influential American heavy rock label of the post-Man’s Ruin era. What started as Hamilton releasing local Detroit acts of varied genres like Morsel, 36D and Perplexa soon took on a dedication to the heavy aesthetic that remains unmatched in both its scope and its reach of influence. Looking back, Five Horse Johnson‘s 1997 Double Down debut, seems to have been the beginning of Small Stone‘s turn down the fuzzly path. It’s like Hamilton followed the riff right down the rabbit hole and never looked back.

Now, 17 years on, Small Stone has a reach that goes beyond even the distribution of the albums it puts out. Thanks to the diligent work of Hamilton and oft-encountered names like Mad Oak Studios engineer/mixer Benny Grotto, mastering engineer Chris Gooseman, graphic artist Alexander von Wieding, among others, the label has earned a reputation for quality output that new releases are constantly reaffirming. Over the years, Man’s Ruin refugees like Sons of Otis, (The Men Of) Porn, Acid King and VALIS have come into the fold, but the crux of Small Stone‘s catalog is made up of acts like Roadsaw, Dixie Witch, Halfway to Gone, Throttlerod, Puny Human and Novadriver, who no matter what else they put out or who they put it out with, will always be considered “Small Stone bands.”

That designation and those groups specifically have helped establish a core American-style heavy rocking sound that the label seems to delight in toying with even as it continues to promulgate. Next generation bands like Gozu, Lo-Pan, Freedom Hawk, Backwoods Payback and even newer newcomers Wo Fat, Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Mellow Bravo — who don’t yet have albums out on the label — are expanding its breadth, and recent international signees Asteroid, Abrahma, Mangoo, Nightstalker and Mother of God should help ensure that Small Stone keeps pushing both itself and genre boundaries well into the next several years.

One of the hazards, however, of an ever-growing catalog, is that it can be hard to figure out where to start taking it on, and to that end, I’m happy to provide you with 10 essential Small Stone picks. Note I didn’t say “the 10 essential Small Stone picks,” because the reality of the situation is this is just the tip of the fuzzberg. If it’s any indication, I started out with five and couldn’t leave the rest out.

Here they are, ordered by the date of release:

1. Novadriver, Void (ss-022/2001)

Still an album that’s more or less impossible to pin to just one genre, the stoner/space/weirdo jams of Novadriver‘s 2001 outing, Void, reside somewhere between Monster Magnet‘s early Hawkwind worship and the unbridled intensity of groove that came out of Detroit’s early- and mid-’70s heavy rock and proto-metal. The fact that Novadriver also came from the Motor City speaks to the label’s local roots, but if Void was coming out even today, it’d be coming out on Small Stone.

2. Los Natas, Corsario Negro (ss-028/2002)

Personally, I think 2005’s El Hombre Montaña is a better album and 2009’s Nuevo Orden de la Libertad is an even better album than that, but Corsario Negro earns the edge as a starting point because it was the beginning of the Argentinian rockers’ relationship with Small Stone (they too were left without a home in the wake of Man’s Ruin folding). Plus, if you haven’t heard them before and you get this, you can still marvel at the subsequent offerings. Either way, totally necessary.

3. Various Artists, Sucking the ’70s (ss-032/2002)

In a lot of ways, this is what it’s all about. Badass bands playing badass songs. By this point, The Glasspack, Los Natas, Fireball Ministry, Halfway to Gone and Five Horse Johnson (who lead off the first disc) had already put out at least one album through Small Stone, but Sucking the ’70s made the most of the label’s burgeoning reputation, bringing in Clutch, Alabama Thunderpussy and Lowrider, along with bands who’d later add records to the catalog like Roadsaw, Suplecs and Lord Sterling, all covering hits and obscurities from the heavy ’70s. A gorgeous collection that would get a sequel in 2006. Still waiting on part three.

4. Dixie Witch, One Bird, Two Stones (ss-037/2003)

The Austin, Texas, trio would go on to become one of the most pivotal acts on the Small Stone roster, and they’d do so on the strength of their Southern riffs and the soul in their songwriting. Led by drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal, Dixie Witch hooked up with Small Stone on the heels of their 2001 debut, Into the Sun, which was released by Brainticket, and quickly gained a reputation for some of the finest classic road songs that Grand Funk never wrote (see “The Wheel”). Their 2011 offering, Let it Roll, affirmed their statesmen status among their labelmates.

5. Sasquatch, Sasquatch (ss-044/2004)

I was pretty well convinced that when the L.A.-based Sasquatch released their self-titled debut in 2004, rock and roll was saved. Whoever it needed saving from, whatever needed to take place to make that happen, this record did it. Truth is, rock and roll didn’t really need to be saved — it needed a stiff drink, as we all do from time to time — but Sasquatch would’ve been right there even if it had. They’re a Small Stone original with all three of their records to date out through the label, and still one of the strongest acts in the American rock underground, even though they’d never be quite this fuzzy again.

6. Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens (ss-061/2005)

Even now, seven years later, I can’t look at this album cover without hearing the chorus to “The Roof, the River, the Revolver.” Between that and songs like “Man of Fire,” “Born a Legend” and “From Fire Fell,” Swedish rockers Dozer made their definitive statement in their label debut (fourth album overall). Another former Man’s Ruin band, they’d already begun to grow past their desert rock roots by the time they hooked up with Hamilton, and Through the Eyes of Heathens played out like what heavy metal should’ve turned into after the commercial atrocities of the late-’90s. A gorgeous record and still a joy to hear.

7. Greenleaf, Agents of Ahriman (ss-074/2007)

It’s like they built nearly every song on here out of undeniable choruses. Even the verses are catchy. I’ve championed Agents of Ahriman since before I started this site, and I feel no less vehement in doing so now than I did then. A side-project of Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa that on this, their third album, included and featured members of Truckfighters, Lowrider, The Awesome Machine and others, Greenleaf became a distillation of many of the elements that make Swedish heavy rock unique in the world. It wasn’t aping classic rock, it was giving it a rebirth, and every Hammond note was an absolute triumph.

8. Iota, Tales (ss-084/2008)

Once, I had a t-shirt with the cover of Iota‘s Tales on the front. I wore it until it got holes, and then I bought another. That’s the kind of album Tales was. A trio crawled from out of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, Iota took Kyuss, launched them into space, and jammed out for five, 10 or 20 minutes to celebrate the success of the mission. Recently, guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano has resurfaced in the bluesier, more earthbound Dwellers, which teams him with the rhythm section of SubRosa. Their debut, Good Morning Harakiri, was a highlight of early 2012, building on what Iota was able to accomplish here while pushing in a different direction.

9. Solace, A.D. (ss-093/2010)

It took the better part of a decade for the Jersey-bred metallers to finish what became their Small Stone debut after two full-lengths for MeteorCity, but when it finally dropped, there was no denying A.D.‘s power. My album of the year in 2010, the band delivered front to back on seven years’ worth of promise, and though it was recorded in more studios than I can count over a longer stretch than I think even Solace knows, it became a cohesive, challenging album, giving listeners a kick in the ass even as it handed them their next beer. I still get chills every time I put on “From Below,” and I put it on with near-embarrassing regularity.

10. Lo-Pan, Salvador (ss-116/2011)

If you know this site, this one’s probably a no-brainer pick, but the Columbus, Ohio-based riff merchants took on unabashed stoner rock fuzz for their Small Stone debut (third album overall) and made some of 2011’s most memorable songs in the process. Subversively varied in mood and heavy as hell no matter what they were doing, every part of Lo-Pan‘s Salvador worked. There was no lag. Small Stone also reissued the band’s 2009 outing, Sasquanaut, in 2011, but Salvador surpassed it entirely, bringing the band to new heights of professionalism they’d confirm by touring, well, perpetually. They’re still touring for it. You should go see them and behold the future of fuzz.

That’s the list as much as I could limit it. If you want to immediately add five more, throw in Roadsaw‘s self-titled (they’re writing the best songs of their career right now, I don’t care how attached to the early records you are), Puny Human‘s Universal Freak Out, Halfway to Gone‘s High Five, Milligram‘s This is Class War and Five Horse Johnson‘s Fat Black Pussycat. If you want to semi-immediately add five more than that, get the reissue of Acid King‘s Busse Woods, Mos Generator‘s Songs for Future Gods, The Brought Low‘s Third Record, Tummler‘s Early Man and Erik Larson‘s The Resounding. There. We just doubled the length of the list.

And the real trouble? I could go on. We didn’t even touch on curios like Axehandle, Lord Sterling and Brain Police, or The Might Could‘s Southern aggression, Hackman‘s instrumentalism or the druggy post-grunge of VALIS. Suffice it to say that Small Stone is one of very few labels out there from whom any output will at least be worth a cursory investigation. As the label continues to grow and develop in 2012 and beyond with new bands and new releases from its staple acts, taking on new avenues of commerce — like releasing vinyl for the first time, which it did in 2011 — whatever changes might crop up, Small Stone seems ready to meet the future, distortion pedal first. Can’t ask more of rock than that.

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Notes and Pics From the Small Stone Showcase in Philly, 09.24.11

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

I woke up at the hotel in Philadelphia yesterday late, after a disturbing dream of a sexual nature and saw, in the angled mirrors of the bathroom, the burgeoning bald spot on the back of my head for the first time. That was a bit of a bummer, but the day picked up from there. I was ridiculously, laughably exhausted after night one of the Small Stone showcase at The M-Room, but with one more night to go, it wasn’t quite time to punch/crash out yet.

Taking the bus down for the day, The Patient Mrs. met me in town (this weekend is our wedding anniversary) and we loafed around for a bit before eventually settling in to do some work, and then eventually I dropped her off at the 30th St. Station, so she could head back north and I could run over to the venue for the start of the show. I’ll confess that despite having seen the Brian Mercer poster above on more than one occasion, I didn’t even remember who was first on the bill, so when I walked in, it was a bit of a surprise to hear Ironweed playing.

We’ll begin with that:

Ironweed: Of all the acts on the Small Stone roster, they’re probably the one I’m the least a fan of, but I’ll hand it to the Upstate New Yorker double-guitar four-piece anyway and say they were tight as hell. Their stuff is just on the other side of commercially accessible from what I really get down with, but they do it well, and though I haven’t listened to their Your World of Tomorrow album since I reviewed it back in April, I still recognized some of the songs from it. That alone should say something about the strength of their songwriting, wherever how they use it might lie on the spectrum of my personal taste.

The Might Could: Don’t even like Pantera anymore. Despite not being able to stand too close to the stage on account of the formidable body odor emitting therefrom, The Might Could were loud enough that I could’ve probably sat on the on-ramp to I-95 a few miles down the road and still heard them. Both guitarists/vocalists Erik Larson and TJ Childers played through full  stacks, and though I think going on earlier didn’t necessarily suit the band’s performance — bassist Rob Gouldman (ex-Lord) mentioned from the stage several times they wanted drink tickets — they killed. There should’ve been more people there to see it, but the songs, the tones, the mix of Southern, stoner and sludge made The Might Could‘s set stand out. They were loose and clearly wanted to be that way, but sounded even fuller live than they did on their self-titled, and Ryan Wolfe started off a string of insanely good drumming that lasted the rest of the night.

Throttlerod: Kevin White continued that string that Ryan Wolfe started, and added a more technical sense to it, some theory to go with the speed. There were different styles throughout the evening, and with people doing different things musically, it’s hard to say who was the best, but White was up there, whatever metric you might want to use. Aside from rocking, Throttlerod‘s set was fascinating because of the noisy course the band’s sound has taken over their last couple records, Nail (2006) and Pig Charmer (2009). Seeing northerners take on a Southern aesthetic is nothing new, but the Virginian three-piece — which as of Pig Charmer featured Brooklyn-based bassist Andrew Schneider, also engineer and co-founder of Coextinction Recordings, who was absent — have gone the opposite route, adopting a start-stop crunch that’s straight out of the classic Amphetamine Reptile playbook. With guitarist/vocalist Matt Whitehead adding melody vocally, it’s a distinctive mix.

Gozu: Their spot on the bill was a clear indication that Scott Hamilton, owner of Small Stone Records, wanted to feature them to the crowd. Otherwise, Throttlerod has been around much longer and The Might Could, though a relatively new band, have added clout owing to their pedigree (Childers plays drums in Inter Arma, Ryan Wolfe was signed to Relapse with Facedowninshit and Erik Larson was in Alabama Thunderpussy), but to Gozu‘s credit, they earned their spot. One of the best aspects of their 2010 Small Stone debut, Locust Season, was the vocals of guitarist Marc Gaffney, and on stage at The M-Room proved no different. Locust Season flew under a lot of people’s radar, I guess because it seems like Gozu came out of nowhere with it, but the record was really strong, and the memorability of the songs held up. Gaffney, playing through a custom Matamp (I think) with “GAFF” on the faceplate, was joined on guitar by Doug Sherman, whose high-slung guitar, angled ballcap and stage demeanor was right out of the New England hardcore scene birthed in Gozu‘s Boston home. Still, with the two guitarists, it was bassist Paul Dallaire‘s low end that dominated the live mix, and coupled with Barry Spillberg‘s intimidating performance on drums, there was no question the band was where they belonged. They played a new song — I believe Sherman said it was called “Bald Bull” (the referential title would be befitting their modus) — that speaks well of what’s to come on their next album.

The Brought Low: Like Suplecs and Lo-Pan the night before, it was my second time in a week seeing Small Stone‘s NYC contingent trio. Their set was mostly the same as it had been in Brooklyn, but at the behest of Hamilton, they also included “Vernon Jackson” from 2006’s Right on Time, which happens also to be one of my favorite songs of theirs. Still, it was the ultra-catchy “The Kelly Rose” from their aptly-titled third record, Third Record, that I walked out of The M-Room singing under my breath at the end of the night. Nick Heller continued the night of 1,000 tom hits, and Bob Russell and Ben Smith did right by material both new and old. “Army of Soldiers” was again a killer inclusion, and though it was enjoyable on their Coextinction EP, I hope it winds up on their next album, because it’s worth highlighting and pressing to disc. They had a couple classic Brought Low barn-burners going, and that was right up there with any of them. It wasn’t like I was dying to hear those songs because it had been so long since I’d seen the band, but The Brought Low never fail to please, and Philly was no exception. They tossed around a few joshing Civil War references (a new shirt features the visage of Ulysses S. Grant) in the direction of The Might Could, and it was another enjoyable — day I say “fun?” — set from a rock band in total command of their style and playing.

Roadsaw: They were simply too big for the stage they were playing on. It was my first time seeing the mainstay Boston foursome of vocalist Craig Riggs, bassist Tim Catz, guitarist Ian Ross and drummer Jeremy Hemond since the release of their self-titled back in January, and the quality of those songs was palpable standing in the crowd, much of which had stayed late. There was a second or two there where I thought Riggs — who is a madman on stage — was going to fall right off, and likewise where I thought the microphone which he spins from the cable, was going to pop off the cord and hit someone in the head. Neither happened and the excitement was located entirely within the set, which is fortunate at least from an injury perspective. It was approaching 2AM, which was closing time for The M-Room, so they clipped a few songs off the top. Riggs said after they were done that they prefer it that way anyhow, short and sweet, and I didn’t hear anyone else complaining. Since coming back to active duty with 2008’s See You in Hell!, Roadsaw have emerged as being among a small number of masters of the heavy rock form, and between the Roadsaw record and the showing they gave in Philly, I’d say that anyone across the Atlantic who happens to catch them on their upcoming run with Dixie Witch and Sasquatch would be lucky to do so. A near-perfect combination of energy and experience, and probably the most fitting end the Small Stone showcase could’ve had short of a Halfway to Gone reunion. It was right on right from the start.

But when it was over, it was nigh on ridiculous o’clock, and with the two-hours northbound ahead of me, I made a quick exit and beeline back to the car. I managed to cut some time off the trip (am I the only person who races to shave minutes off their GPS?) and, by some amazing coincidence, fell into bed just in time to completely conk out. It was a hell of a week, and a hell of a weekend, but it capped just right. I won’t be able to make the Chicago showcase next weekend, but it’s Freedom Hawk, Gozu, Sasquatch, Backwoods Payback, Lo-Pan and Suplecs on Oct. 1, so if you can make it, consider this post and yesterday’s a hearty recommendation to do so.

Thanks to Scott Hamilton and all the bands for making it a killer time, and to The Patient Mrs. for being the kind of lady who doesn’t mind it when she calls her husband to say happy seventh anniversary and The Brought Low is rocking in the background.

More pictures after the jump.

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Small Stone Announces Lineup for Philly Showcase

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s the weekend of my wedding anniversary, but man, the lineup for Small Stone‘s Philadelphia showcase is pretty badass. True, I’ve seen most of these bands, but I don’t imagine House of Broken Promises are going to make a habit of being on the East Coast, Backwoods Payback are buddies, Solace kill every time, Red Giant‘s got a new album coming, I’d really, really like to hear some of the material from Sasquatch‘s third record live, and the Millcreek Tavern has their own home brew. Looks like it could be another test of The Patient Mrs. living up to her name.

Here’s the news from Small Stone:

Small Stone is pleased to announce that we will be doing two back-to-back showcases at The Philadelphia Film & Music Festival in September. Our events will be taking place at the Millcreek Tavern which is located at 4200 Chester Avenue, University City, Philadelphia (215-222-1255). And, now for the lineup:

Friday September 24th: Dixie Witch, The Brought Low, Throttlerod, Lo-Pan, Sun Gods in Exile, Backwoods Payback

Saturday September 25th: Solace, Roadsaw, Sasquatch, House of Broken Promises, Gozu, Red Giant

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Throttlerod Has Some Big Toes Coming Up

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wait. Not “toes.” “Shows.” Throttlerod has some big shows coming up. I’m an idiot.

If you’re anything like me, you think of Throttlerod as the band whose guitarist and vocalist Matt Whitehead made fun of you (playfully, I’m sure) for using the phrase “jagged noise influence” when describing their music in your interview. Then again, maybe you’re not like me in that regard. Might be on my own for that one.

Whatever. I happen to know Throttlerod has some big shows coming up, and I know this because of a mystical email received informing me of same. Observe!

Throttlerod has some big shows coming up [Told you, dude. — ed.]:

3/18/10 Austin, TX @ Encore **Small Stone Records SXSW Showcase** We play at 8PM sharp, so you know what to do.
3/20/10 Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero **this will be our first show [here] in several years and we’ve got a lot in the works, so come early and stay late.
5/14/10 Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St. w/ Hovel
5/15/10 TBD

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Throttlerod Interview: Dude, Has Anyone Seen Josh?

Posted in Features on August 26th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

That's an awful lot of people.The limited acoustic Starve the Dead EP aside (and that’s not one you actually want to push to the side, because it rules; see “Hate this Town” for irrefutable proof), the 10-year story of Virginia‘s Throttlerod has been one of going from noisy to noisier. Over the course of their four full-lengths — including the latest and recently reviewed Pig Charmer (Small Stone) — the Richmond trio has become continually more aggressive and more streamlined, sounding at last as though they’ve stripped their music of any and all frills and honed their most effective balance yet of melody and anger.

Guitarist/vocalist Matt Whitehead, bassist Andrew Schneider (also the Brooklyn-based producer for Cave In, Puny Human and many others) and drummer Kevin White have seen their reputation grow in tandem with their shifting sonic approach, and though they’re a decade into their career, their music has never sounded fresher than it does now. Whitehead took some time out over his lunch break to answer the email interview that follows the jump. Enjoy.

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Getting Angrier with Throttlerod

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Due in September.Sounds like a douchebag thing to say, I know, but whoever pissed off Richmond, VA/Brooklyn, NY‘s Throttlerod, I’m really glad they did it. Their first two albums, 2000’s Eastbound and Down and 2003’s Hell and High Water get high praise because of their southern attitude and triple-hops rock, but with 2006’s Nail and now even more with their new full-length, Pig Charmer (Small Stone), they move into furious noise-laden riffs and a melodic catharsis that would make Unsane blush.

Bassist/producer Andrew Schneider, who joined before Nail, might have something to do with it. The Brooklyn contingent in the trio, his presence has lent new intensity and though their songwriting has managed to maintain its structure, Throttlerod sound like a band working out a heavy emotional release, with the vocals of guitarist Matt Whitehead alternating between a capable croon and abrasive shouts, all while Schneider gets the best of his six-string tone and of Kevin White‘s drumming as he’s done for the likes of Cave In, Puny Human, Hackman and many, many more. Even the heaviest of the tracks, early cut “Hum” or the later, feedback-drenched “Dink,” keep their heads melodically and Pig Charmer is all the better for it. Without sounding overly commercial or falling into formulaic clean/harsh singing tradeoffs, Throttlerod offer ballsy sonic diversity in a skin-peeling context full of passion and densely pressed onto plastic.

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Throttlerod: Charming Pigs

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Throttlerod brings the rock to even the smallest of rooms.Looks like Brooklyn/Richmond, VA-based noisemakers Throttlerod have titled their new album Pig Charmer. According to a post from Small Stone Records head honcho Scott Hamilton on the StonerRock.com forum, the record will be out late August. Meanwhile, over at their MySpace page, the band has unceremoniously revealed the track listing to be as follows:

1. Clean
2. Hum
3. Serenade
4. Beggar’s Blanket
5. Baton Rouge
6. Jigsaw
7. Buffalo
8. Rider
9. The Sweetness
10. Where’s Josh?
11. Dink
12. Majors

Good stuff, looking forward to hearing it. Throttlerod is always one of those bands I really dig while I’m listening to them and then put the CD away and never go back to it — the exception perhaps being the acoustic EP Starve the Dead. Would be great to see the band cash in on the energy from their last album, Nail, in a memorable way. In any case, you can’t really lose. Hail heavy rock.

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Throttlerod Finishing New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ah, that's nice. They look like they're having fun.Good news from Richmond, VA‘s Throttlerod, whose new album I’ve been waiting to hear since they released Nail in 2006. Hopefully it’s out before the end of the year. Here’s the update from the band:

We are very happy to announce that we are putting the final touches on the new record. Listening to these songs next to Hell and High Water and Nail, it is clear that this is the biggest sounding record we’ve done! There is no release date yet but we should know something fairly soon.

In other news, we are playing shows in May, including one with Clutch. These will be the first shows we’ve done since October, so we`re really looking forward to getting back on stage.

5/21: Norfolk, VA - The Norva, with Clutch, Wino and Maylene & the Sons of Disaster
5/22: Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern
5/23: Charlotte, NC - Snug Harbor
5/24: Greenville, SC - The Handlebar

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EXCLUSIVE: Ben Hogg on Making the New Birds of Prey Record

Posted in Features on February 24th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ben Hogg. Hard to argue with this man.A couple days ago, I sent Birds of Prey vocalist Ben Hogg (also of Beaten Back to Pure and the even more extreme Plague the Suffering) an email, asking him if he would kindly write up a feature on his experience making The Hellpreacher, the third BOP album, due out in April via Relapse. His response was a reassuring, “I’m down. Gimme a few days,” and I knew then the right choice had been made.

True to his word, a couple days later, Ben sent the following report on the origins of the band and the coming together of The Hellpreacher. After the jump, bear witness to the one and only Ben Hogg.

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