Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Revitalized psychotronic wizards Terminal Cheesecake have announced that their first studio album in 22 years, Dandelion Sauce of the Ancients, will be released on Nov. 11 via Box Records. The band has been kicking around live shows for a while now — they played Yellowstock in Belgium this August, for example — and last year they released the Cheese Brain Fondue live outing on Artificial Head, but their last actual full-length was 1994’s King of all Spaceheads, so yeah, it’s been a minute.
To advance the coming of Dandelion Sauce of the Ancients, Terminal Cheesecake are streaming the new track “Song for John Pt. 1” that you can check out below, along with the cover art, tracklisting, lineup info and other sundry thisses and thats that tend to provide useful when one is, say, reviewing an album later and wants to look back and see where it was recorded. Ha.
From the PR wire:
Terminal Cheesecake announce new album – Dandelion Sauce Of The Ancients
Terminal Cheesecake return with ‘Dandelion Sauce Of The Ancients’, the band’s first studio album since 1994!
Forming in London in 1988 Terminal Cheesecake made waves releasing an uncompromising blend of psych, dub and industrial grooves across two EPs, six albums and a now infamous session for John Peel.
Last year the band celebrated their reincarnation with the release of an outstanding and deservedly praised live album ‘Cheese Brain Fondue’ released on US based label Artificial Head.
‘Dandelion Sauce Of The Ancients’ will be released on Orange Crush colour vinyl via Box Records on 11th of November.
1. Birds In 6/8 2. Poultice 3. The Winding Path 4. Dandelions 5. Mr. Wipey’s Daytrip To Guilford Haven 6. Song For John Pt. 1 7. Lord Jagged (The Chemical Teacake Quintet)
Terminal Cheesecake are Russ Smith, Gordon Watson, John Jobbagy, Neil Francis and Dave Cochrane Cover Design/Layout by Dave Cochrane Artwork Photography by Craig Earp Recorded at Runway Studios and Bear Bites Horse Studios
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Thus ends the tale of atmospheric megadoomers Undersmile. A rather unceremonious finish, actually, but so it goes. The UK four-piece have decided to call it a day after seven years. No farewell show, no drawn out fanfare, just “hey we’re not a band anymore and that’s it.” They’ve always had something of a cold streak running through their music. I guess it would make sense they’d finish their run in similar fashion.
During their time together, Undersmile released two full-length albums. Their debut came in 2012 with Narwhal (review here), and they followed it up last year with Anhedonia (review here), released through Jon Davis of Conan‘s Black Bow Records imprint. Both records were mesmerizing in their darkness, the kind of lumbering weight that seemed at all times to be dragging you further down into some impossibly claustrophobic abyss. Needless to say, I’m glad I got to see them live, and they’ll be missed.
They’ve got a couple shows they’re pulling the plug on, and you’ll find those dates and their announcement below, as well as the Anhedonia stream, in case you’d like to climb that mountain of madness one more time. Goes without saying that I wish all the best to everyone in the band.
Here’s what they had on it:
We’ve decided, as friends, that Undersmile has come to an end as of today. We’re all hugely proud of what we’ve achieved with the band. We’ve been honoured and humbled by the support we’ve received from fans of the band and the international doom community as a whole in the seven years that we’ve been together. With so many things going on in our lives at the moment we don’t have the time and energy necessary to move the band forward.
All outstanding merch orders will be shipped this weekend, all outstanding gigs are regrettably cancelled.
Undersmile cancelled shows: Oct 01 O2 Academy Sheffield Sheffield, UK Oct 15 Rebellion Manchester, UK
Undersmile: Tom McKibbin – Drums Olly Corona-Brown – Bass Hel Sterne – Vocals and Lead Guitars Taz Corona-Brown – Vocals and Guitars
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
UK rock enigmas Crippled Black Phoenix made their debut on Season of Mist late last year with the New Dark Age EP, and they’ll return a year later with Bronze — another age — as the follow-up full-length. The group, led by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, is currently streaming the track “No Fun,” taken from the album, and its vibe runs a gamut between dark folk, goth, deep-toned heavy and I don’t know, probably six or seven indie bands smarter critics than I will be able to pick up. Joy Division? Probably. It’s always fucking Joy Division. You get the point.
Nov. 4 is the release date. Preorders are up now, for those who don’t like to leave things to chance:
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce new album, stream new track
International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have revealed new details, artwork, and the first new track from their forthcoming album. The album, titled ‘Bronze’, will be their first full-length with Season of Mist, and will be released worldwide on November 4. ‘Bronze’ is available for pre-order here now.
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming the first new track from ‘Bronze,’ an incredibly dynamic and driving piece titled “No Fun.”
Regarding the brooding track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founder and vocalist comments, ” It is time to give the world a glimpse of our new album with the track ‘No Fun’. This song might raise an eyebrow or two amongst our amazing fans, but then again, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have always liked to lay musical traps to lure people into our orbit. ‘No Fun’ is far from giving it all away as regards our new album –and this riff has been on demo since 2004, but only now was given birth. Yet it fits the sound, which is our best yet in my opinion and I am extremely happy with how the new album turned out. Stand by for more, but enjoy having ‘No Fun’ for now.”
Track List: 1. Dead Imperial Bastard 2. Deviant Burials 3. No Fun 4. Rotten Memories 5. Champions Of Disturbance (Pt 1 & 2) 6. Goodbye Then 7. Turn To Stone 8. Scared And Alone 9. Winning A Losing Battle 10. We Are The Darkeners
Founded by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, the inimitable CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have earned a large cult following on the backs of their extensive catalog.
Line-up Justin Greaves – Electric guitar, drums, saw, keyboard, acoustic guitar, banjo, effects, samples Daniel Änghede – Vocals, electric guitar Mark Furnevall – Synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals Daisy Chapman – Piano, Vocals Ben Wilsker – Drums Niall Hone – Bass Jonas Stålhammar – Electric guitar Belinda Kordic – Vocals
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Long live the Kings! UK heavy psych rockers The Kings of Frog Island have secured an awaited vinyl release for their 2013 album, IV (review here), through Bilocation Records, and preorders are up now. This will mark the first time IV has received a physical pressing, and to be frank I’ll say it’s one well earned for the flowing psychedelia the band brought to it, as you can hear in the video for album highlight “Long Live the King” below. Some records are just a joy. This is one of those.
The Kings of Frog Island followed IV in 2014 with V (review here), another self-release, but this one pressed to a platter on their own. If the photos and vague posts on Thee Facebooks are anything to go by, work may or may not be underway on what I assume will be called VI when it’s done (if, you know, it exists), so I’ll be interested to find out in the weeks and months ahead what might be up in Amphibia these days.
For now, here’s the new cover for the record, the info on the vinyl and that video, ready for the digging:
IV now available on vinyl. Exclusive.
THE KINGS OF FROG ISLAND draw on a collective passion for cult movie soundtracks, mammoth riffs and high times. Stashed full of heavy psych rock and fragile laments to love, life and the eternal sleep. Journey across the mountains of madness, beyond the big black to the shores of Frog Island and on to the gates of Amphibia. Come take a trip …
After three successful releases on Elektrohasch Records The Kings Of Frog Island from Leicester, UK recorded their fourth effort – but unfortunately never released it until this day. The album shows the band in best form: tight stoner rock combined with amazing psychedelic touches, but never loosing their unique tone and style. A great blend, very refreshing in these days.
VINYL FACTZ – Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl in Germany – 111x green black white marbled (Exclusive mailorder edition, hand numbered) – 200x transparent green – 100x black – matte laquered 300gsm gatefold cover – special vinyl mastering
Posted in Reviews on August 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Wounded Kings began their career in 2004. They ended it in 2016. By the time they got around to releasing their first album, 2008’s Embrace of the Narrow House, their lineup consisted of guitarist Steve Mills and vocalist George Birch. The UK outfit’s fifth and last long-player, Visions in Bone (released by Candlelight/Spinefarm), was recorded in part by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio and also features those two founders, but to call the route they took to get to that point circuitous would probably be underselling it. They’d appear together again on 2010’s The Shadow over Atlantis (review here), but by the time the band got around to releasing their split with Cough, An Introduction to the Black Arts (review here), that same year, the lineup had begun to shift from a duo to a four-piece, and the changes would continue for the next half-decade-plus.
By the time 2011’s In the Chapel of the Black Hand (review here) arrived, Birch was out and Mills had already revamped the rhythm section, as he’d continue to do for the next several years. Vocalist Sharie Neyland took the reins and worked fluidly enough with the band’s cultish themes that 2014’s Consolamentum (review here) found them swapping labels from I Hate to Candlelight, taking advantage of wider distribution despite continued lineup shifts. They were a double-guitar five-piece at that point, but Visions in Bone brings their number back down to four, with Mills and Birch joined by drummer Mike Heath (on board since 2011) and bassist Alex Kearney (who also joined in 2011, but on guitar).
In some ways, it feels like a miracle The Wounded Kings pushed ahead as long as they did, and I’d call it a miracle but for all of the obvious hard human effort put into their songwriting and presentation, which have always provided stability despite whatever tumult surrounded. The Wounded Kings never had a “down” album. Well, unless you count in mood, in which case they’re all pretty “down,” but whoever happened to be in the band at any given time, they never failed to deliver quality output and as they wrap their tenure after a respectable 12-year run with these five tracks, they remain a forward-thinking, progressive outfit working in defiance of expectation for what one might commonly think of as “traditional doom,” turning convention on its head with a sound it nonetheless seems fair to think of as classic in its roots.
Birch‘s vibrato makes itself welcome almost immediately as he takes command of 14-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Beast,” and while his reunion with Mills — whose guitar, as ever, conjures the kind of darkened swirl that worshipers of Electric Wizard would envy if they knew what was good for them — is a bit part of the narrative of Visions in Bone, as is the ending of the band, neither should be considered without due thought to the level of execution across the album’s 48 minutes, “Beast” webbing its way into a creeper solo section around the halfway mark and building to a Candlemass-worthy crescendo before Birch returns and a final slowdown brings on “Vultures.”
Visions in Bone‘s structure is such that it works from longest to shortest in terms of track runtimes, but on two different wavelengths. Three longer tracks — “Beast” (14:03), “Kingdom” (11:14) and “Vanishing Sea” (10:12) — appear as the opener, centerpiece and closer, while two shorter ones — “Vultures” (8:40) and “Bleeding Sky” (4:21) — split them. Probably still fair to call “Vultures” extended, but particularly coming right after “Beast,” it feels like a marked shift in approach, is speedier and more raucous in its crash early on and the hypnotic wash of bleak psychedelia in its second half, to which Birch adds far-back chants even as Mills‘ last solo rounds out, bringing on the big-rock opening of “Kingdom,” soon giving way to a more swinging doom boogie that the band have rarely embraced.
It swings in the first half, but the song essentially breaks in two, a long sample setting up the foundation for another dark-psych build to start, but Heath‘s drums signal a change and a slower rumble begins as the vocals return and the band rides out the slower groove for the remaining two minutes, fading on feedback as the penultimate “Bleeding Sky” takes hold with a simple hi-hat march soon joined by guitar, bass and vocals.
One might expect “Bleeding Sky” to be more straightforward with its relatively abbreviated runtime, and that’s more or less how it works out, though The Wounded Kings never really depart from the dreary lurching mood regardless of tempo or structure. They end with “Vanishing Sea,” which announces the arrival of its first verse with a quick sample and a righteous roll, Birch once more obscure in the mix but unmistakably present. Layers of guitar surround, the bass and drums provide effective anchor and movement, and the band once more follow the construction of breaking around halfway through to set up a larger build, this time going deeper and closer to absolute silence before working their way back to that pivotal explosive moment of resurgence.
The last two-plus minutes of Visions in Bone are dedicated to an instrumental apex of multi-tiered soloing, rolling crash and rumbling low end. It’s as fitting an end to The Wounded Kings‘ swansong — if it is (never say never in rock and roll) — as anything one might script, since it underlines just how much they went from “project” to “band” during their time together and what a force they ultimately were by the end. In a crowded UK market for doom and other forms of underground heavy, The Wounded Kings never failed to distinguish themselves in their atmospherics, their tone and their craftsmanship, and it’s easy to imagine their records will continue to be discovered for years to come.
As a final edition to their catalog, Visions in Bone answers their earlier work in summarizing some of what’s always been best in their sound, but even more appropriately, it represents the band’s ethic never ceasing to progress from one release to another. 12 years seems like too few.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Chicanery-prone tye-dye aficionados Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters — just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? — were last heard from this Spring when they posted the bonus track from the vinyl version of their debut release, Earth Hog (review here). That LP was released by Stone Stallion Rex and that song was the seven-minute “Bongwater Blues,” which was posted for streaming. It lives up to its title on both fronts — the bongwater and the blues — moving from early swing into driving and almost punkish heavy rock by the end. Even when these guys sound like they’re doing absolute tossoffs, they make it memorable. I’m gonna have “Yes my baby, got the bongwater blues” stuck in my head for the rest of the day and I don’t even smoke.
Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, however, very likely do. They’re heading out on tour in November alongside UK countrymen Ten Foot Wizard from Manchester, and they’ll hit cities across the Channel in Belgium and the Netherlands — they have one last date open if you happen to be in that part of the world and have a space they can play on Nov. 7 — before returning to England so Chubby Thunderous can play at the Buried in Smoke All-Dayer in Oxford on Nov. 12.
If you feel like you can dig it, then dig it:
Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters – TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT
We are joining our hallucinogenic feline brothers Ten Foot Wizard on tour this November and need help filling the last date.
Can anybody help us in filling our last date on Monday 7th November in either Northern France, Western Germany or The Netherlands?
Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters and Ten Foot Wizard 3/11 Rock Cafe Jinx Zaandam NL 4/11 De Loft Herent BE 5/11 Kinky Star Ghent BE 6/11 Music City Antwerp BE 7/11 Need Help! BE FR NL 12/11 Buried in Smoke All-Dayer Oxford UK* *Chubs only
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
With five dates, it’s more than a weekender — one even tends to think of a long-weekender as three or four shows — but still under the full-week tour, but Nomad and Mower will head out together either way from their home-base in Manchester, England, playing in London, Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield as well as finishing with a gig in their native city. Both go supporting EP releases — Nomad‘s latest having come out last year and Mower‘s debut earlier in 2016 — and both promise one thing for which the UK scene is becoming increasingly known: Riffs. It’s a pretty riffy time over there. Bands gots riffs. Only fair to spread that love around a bit.
Also, this is the press release that taught me the word “Mancunian,” which apparently means “of or related to the city of Manchester, England.” I’ve had plenty of conversations about Manchester — Lee from The Sleeping Shaman comes from there — and never heard that word before. Thanks, the PR wire. I learned something today.
Sludgers Nomad announce UK tour with fellow Mancunians Mower
Mancunian underground heroes Nomad have announced a UK tour for this September and are taking relative newcomers Mower with them. Since forming in 2012, Mancunian sludge four-piece Nomad have shared stages with the likes of EyeHateGod, Conan and Bongripper. Metalheads in the north west of England are under no illusions as to the ferocity of their live shows.
Frontman Drian Nash is known for tempering his confrontational performances with a self-deprecating Manc sense of humour, firmly establishing Nomad at the heart of Manchester’s burgeoning stoner/doom scene. This tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how Nomad have achieved their unrivalled reputation within such a competitive scene in England’s north west.
Their debut EP (released in 2014 by renowned underground label When Planets Collide) was followed by a split EP with Wort released by Red Valley Records the following year. Nomad frontman Drian: “It’s always a blast playing with the Mower guys so this tour should have enough planet-sized riffs and carnage to be lasting us. We are sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands along the way? Elephant tree, Iron Swan and Kurokuma. Also Stoked to get to finish it all off with a huge party in our hometown. That’s if we don’t crash into a mountain in a big ball of fire blasting Toto and sipping cocktails.”
Relative newcomers Mower are a doom/noise trio from nearby Wigan whose debut EP “Meathead”, released at the start of this year, is already turning heads. As a live presence they’ll be known by attendees of MammothFest, Tombstones all-dayer and RiffFest as a band not to miss on what will be their first gigs in a number of cities outside of Manchester.
Vocalist Jay says of the tour: “This will be our first tour, and what a way to pop the cherry, making this fine pilgrimage around the U.K, with Nomad! We’re all buzzin’ to go make some Mower-flavoured noise in other parts of the country. We also get to play some new venues with some other amazing bands, a proper privilege indeed. We shall be providing the White Russians and obscene sexual favours as thanks. Riffs await.”
With such a strong stoner/doom scene in Manchester, this tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how this scene’s stalwarts have achieved their unrivalled reputation alongside with one of the area’s most exciting new prospects.
14th September The Unicorn London 15th September The Chameleon Arts Cafe Nottingham 16th September The Phoenix Coventry 17th September Mulberry Underground Sheffield 18th September Rebellion Manchester
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
As if the Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell would keep it any other way. The brash-n-boozy UK trio will issue their new album, Keep it Greasy, through Rise Above Records, and I don’t usually pull-quote press releases, but “Their songs haven’t washed in weeks” is just about the best description I’ve ever heard of what these guys do. Their latest full-length, Check ‘Em Before You Wreck ‘Em, came out in 2014, and one sincerely doubts their capacity for shenanigans has diminished in the interim. Keep it Greasy will be out Oct. 14, and not a moment too soon for a universe that continues to take itself way too fucking seriously.
Have at you from the PR wire:
ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL To Release Keep it Greasy! October 14th via Rise Above Records
There seems to be an endless horde of fresh-faced bands that proclaim to be resurrecting the spirit of rock n’ roll these days. They see themselves to grabbing the genre by the scruff of its neck and dragging it back to its supposed glory years. Yet, few bands can say they’ve lived the lifestyle quite like ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL. These working class grease rock bastards, fuelled by speed, cheap lager and roadside fry-ups, have the scars to prove their worth.
The thing is, The Shovell has never claimed to be the biggest or the best around and frankly they don’t care who is. There is no brash egotism at play here, just a rough-and-ready honesty which permeates in what these three guys do. Their songs haven’t washed in weeks, far too busy spinning crackling Budgie vinyls, knackered Motörhead live albums played at a sluggish RPM and snorting self-inflammatories to do anything hygienic. If you want your music dressed up to the nines like an American prom queen, look elsewhere.
Here’s a band proud to be the soundtrack to your weed smokin’, beer swiggin’ escapes from 2016’s dystopian shitstorm reality; one feverishly decorated with unrelenting commercialism, villainous politicians and godforsaken auto-tune. There may be thousands of musicians who can play their instruments better, write more intelligent and thought provoking music, but when you listen to rugged and guttural ‘tune in, drop out’ vibes of Keep It Greasy, none of that seems to matter.
Their approach to sound and texture makes this record feel like an undiscovered gem from 1971, time worn, warts n’ all. Its beauty is defined, rather than hindered by, its unkempt primalism. As a record too, it displays an improved sense of how to get your heart battering your rib cage – think rattling Geezer Butler bass, gravel-toned vocals and the freewheeling madness of Keith Moon. These new songs are using the tried and tested Shovell formula to find new ways of getting under your skin.
From the jolting opening sex-pest boogie of U Got Wot I Need to the sandpaper smooth, Zeppelin stomp of Tired N’ Wired – its lyrics straight from Lemmy’s freight train of thought – they make the last three decades crumble away. Longer tracks like Hairy Brain Part 2, Paid In Full and album closer Wrong are peppered with many of rock’s cornerstones – twisting harmonies, driving shuffle rhythms and whirling feedback – but never sound impressionistic. They simply absorb you, swallow you whole. But this is no mere pastiche that cashes in on society’s occasional backwards-glancing, nostalgic tendencies. This is down-to-earth and real. Keep It Greasy documents the trials and tribulations these sleezeballs have been through while on the road and beyond.
It doesn’t parade itself as anything immaculate or ground-breaking – and we all know how tiresome such hyperbole infested press releases can be – but it is hellish fun. Stick it on at a neighbour-unfriendly volume and enjoy it for the sordid, fucked up time warp that it is and see for yourself.
Keep It Greasy! Track List: 1. U Got Wot I Need 2. Hairy Brain Part 2 3. Hawkline Monkster 4. Paid In Full 5. I’m Movin’ 6. Potato Boy 7. Tired’N’Wired 8. Wrong