Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pressed in a total edition of 400 copies, the new split between Mos Generator and Stubb, titled The Theory of Light and Matter, is available now to preorder from HeviSike Records. The release (track stream here) will be out next month in time to coincide with Mos Generator‘s upcoming European tour dates, and will be available in either black/red marble or white vinyl, sold with an included download. Stubb have gigs coming up supporting The Midnight Ghost Train and Siena Root, while Mos Generator will spend the summer on the road with Elder after hitting the East Coast again for the Eye of the Stoned Goat fest on June 13.
Band : Mos Generator, Stubb Title : The Theory of Light and Matter Label : HeviSike Records Catalog ref. : HVSK-1207 Format : Vinyl HVSK-1208 Mos Generator // Stubb – The Theory of Light & Matter
– Limited Edition with OBI Strip –
Two of the most exciting power trios combine forces to deliver a split album on HeviSike Records. Washington, USA stoner rock titans MOS GENERATOR explore a more progressive territory akin to their 2005 album ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’. London, England three-piece STUBB who are well known for their high-energy blues-rock demonstrate their more experimental side.
MOS GENERATOR have built a dedicated following through a heavy touring schedule and releasing consistently top quality music. The band’s 2015 schedule includes tours of both West Coast and East Coast, USA before visiting Europe on a 33 date European summer tour in support of ELDER. 2014 saw the Port Orchard trio release their opus ‘Electric Mountain Majesty’ (Listenable Records).
STUBB are familiar to the European touring circuit having made numerous appearances at events such as Freak Valley and Desertfest and have shared a stage alongside heavyweight contemporaries such as Earthless, Gentlemans Pistols, Sungrazer and The Machine. The London trio recently released their second LP ‘Cry of The Ocean’ (2014, Ripple Music) to critical acclaim.
Available as a strictly limited edition vinyl LP and digital download, THE THEORY OF LIGHT & MATTER is an essential purchase for fans of heavy psychedelic rock. Mastered specifically for vinyl. Cover art by Harley & J. 150 copies Red/Black Marbled (HeviSike Exclusive), 250 White (Band and Distribution)
Pressing Details: 150 Copies – Black/Red Marbled – HeviSike Records Exclusive 250 Copies – White vinyl (For distribution, only 30 copies available here) Total press: 400 copies Artwork by Harley & J Contains OBI Strip with all information Mastered specifically for vinyl
PRE-ORDER: Friday 22nd May 2015 RELEASE DATE: Monday 22nd June 2015
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Suffolk, UK, trio Old Man Lizard have signed to Heavy Psych Sounds and will release their sophomore, self-titled full-length through the Italian label this fall. Their debut, Lone Wolf vs. Brown Bear, arrived in Sept. 2014 after a demo, a debut EP, a single and a split with Earthmass and found the band merging sludge, hardcore punk, twanging guitar and bruiser Southern heavy to raise blisters across a nine-track span. In addition to the new album, they’ll be touring with Black Rainbows for five shows in the UK next month.
The PR wire tells it like it is:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is stoked to announce the signing of a new awesome band ***OLD MAN LIZARD*** (UK)
Formed in 2011, Suffolk sludge/stoner outfit Old Man Lizard are Jack Newnham, Gav Senior and Dan Beales.
They sounds like Kyuss, Baroness, Earth, Mastodon and Sleep all in one band!
Shared the stage with bands as Dead Meadow, Dopethrone, Conan plus a mini UK tour with Black Rainbows begin of June 2015, they already toured their country several times, and invited at Desert Fest Belgium and Hard Rock Hell.
Heavy Psych Sounds Records is going to release their second, selftitled album. Six brand new songs slow doomy melodic stoner tunes.
Out mid september 2015 in vinyl, ltd vinyl, cd and digital
Black Rainbows & Old Man Lizard UK tour: Thursday 4th June – Bristol, Stag & Hounds Friday 5th June – Northampton, Labour Club Saturday 6th June – Oxford, The Wheatsheaf Sunday 7th June – Basingstoke, The Sanctuary Monday 8th June – London, The Macbeth
Bio: Formed in Autumn 2011, Old Man Lizard wasted no time in recording and self-releasing a five track EP showcasing their uniquely heavy and majestic sound. Complete with beautiful artwork from Michael Dicken, the EP quickly gathered attention and critical praise leading to a slew of invitations to play venues all over the country – from converted churches to the legendary Underworld, London.
In their short time as a band, Old Man Lizard have shared stages with seminal bands Dead Meadow, Arabrot, and Honky to name just a few, and have already been booked to play alongside heavyweights Conan and Dopethrone this year. Made up of Jack Newnham (also of Meadows – Superfi Records, Head of Crom Records), Gav Senior, and Dan Beales; Old Man Lizard are a power trio in the same vein as Cream or Blue Cheer, but the influences of contemporary bands from Taint to Yawning Man set Old Man Lizard apart from the often crowded and unvaried sludge and stoner scenes. Not content to retread the same old tired ground, Old Man Lizard make exciting and original heavy music without compromising the art of the riff.
Posted in Reviews on May 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a fascinating journey Mat Bethancourt has undertaken for the last half-decade or so. Since putting underrated fuzz rock trio Josiah to rest in 2009 with Procession (review here), a collection of unreleased and live tracks, the Leicester-based guitarist/vocalist has spent time in Dexter Jones’ Circus Orchestra, been in and out of The Kings of Frog Island and founded and released two, now three, albums with Cherry Choke, all operating under different parameters within the umbrella of heavy rock and psychedelia. With The Kings of Frog Island, Bethancourt explored a fuzzed-out expanse on the first two records and then stripped down the methods for his final album with them, 2010’s III (review here), his songwriting not comprising the whole core of their sound — as subsequent Kings outings would prove — but having a significant impact on it all the same. That more garage rock style would seem to be foundation on which Cherry Choke was based. On Elektrohasch, the trio released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2009 and followed it relatively quickly with A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here) in 2011, the second album expanding on the ideas of the first but keeping the elemental feel intact. Four years later, Cherry Choke offer Raising the Waters, their third full-length on Elektrohasch, recorded and mixed analog with label head and Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek at his Colour Haze Studio (Koglek also adds some vocals and 12-string acoustic), which brings together Bethancourt and drummer Daniel Lockton with bassist/vocalist Simon Beasley, formerly of — wait for it — Josiah.
So yes, more than half a decade and numerous twists and turns of sound and cohort later, Cherry Choke brings together a two-thirds reunion of Josiah on their third album, but they’re doing precious little across the 10-track/50-minute outing to recapture former glories, and instead, Cherry Choke‘s Raising the Waters pursues a blend of classic, laid-back heavy rock songwriting and psychedelic exploration, beginning with the seven-minute “Rage On,” which presents with its first lines one of the record’s landmark and defining hooks, “You move like Lucifer on the floor/Hypnotize me with your flesh and bone,” around which the three-piece builds a psychedelic roll that proves immediately immersive, Bethancourt‘s well-established penchant for layering wah leads and nodding rhythm tracks met by Lockton‘s swinging groove and Beasley‘s warm-toned low-end. The opener is a fitting summary of what the album as a whole has to offer, and there’s no shortage of vibe throughout the rest of side A, but as the hooks of the speedier, Monster Magnet-esque “Mindbreaker,” the preaching “Black Aniss” and the jamming-but-still-chorus-driven “Used to Call You Friend” play out, it’s easy to lose touch with the more psychedelic aspects presented in “Rage On,” perhaps even more so since the aforementioned “You move like Lucifer…” line is given a reprise on “Hypnotize Me,” but the second half of the tracklist brings this further into focus, making Raising the Waters not just a step forward in the aesthetic presented on the first two Cherry Choke outings, but a grander leap into a pool of tone that more than lives up to the goal a title like “Hypnotize Me” sets forth. With guest sitar from Mario Oberpuncher — who also mastered with Koglek — and Hammond M3 and Fender Rhodes by Martin Bischof, the back end of Raising the Waters fulfills in short order the atmospheres that “Rage On” seems to promise, still in league with the memorable songwriting of “Mindbreaker” and “Black Aniss,” but pushing throughout the rolling “6ix and 7even,” the grounded “My Mind to Lose” and acoustic-led “Discarded Hearts” into a bliss of their own making.
That’s not to say the earlier tracks aren’t likewise tripped out or that Raising the Waters plays out like two records in one. There’s a flow between the album’s two halves and the creativity across both is open to be sure, it’s just a question of structure, and what turns out to be side B on the vinyl is clearly intended to expand on the ideas of side A, bringing about a bold, unexpected sonic foray into Euro-style heavy psych that, by the time “Discarded Hearts” is over, has offered as much emotional as aural breadth. “Where the Sun Rises” is an instrumental highlight as deep and lush in sound as one might ask, and “6ix and 7even” picks up that psychedelic thread and adds — Hammond! — yes, the Hammond, but also the fervent rhythmic push of “Mindbreaker” and “Rage On”‘s clever structuring, and while “My Mind to Lose” has a back-to-earth-again effect for the clarity of its chorus, it still spreads wide across a back-half lead section that recalls the best of Bethancourt‘s work with The Kings of Frog Island. A tone wash emerges to carry “Discarded Hearts” into a moment of silence, from which “Where the Sun Sets” picks up as the album’s closer and, entirely backwards, provides a mirror to “Where the Sun Rises” in much the same way “Hypnotize Me” answered back “Rage On” on side A. It’s a dreamy, droning kind of finish a long way from the already-stuck-in-your-head “Rage On,” but fitting somehow for the progression that Cherry Choke have undertaken across Raising the Waters, as Bethancourt, Beasley and Lockton take the band to ground new and familiar and forge a character sound-wise that’s neither one thing nor the other, but encompassing with songwriting that remains graceful in the expanse. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but Cherry Choke make it seem easy and manage to stay afloat no matter how high the waters rise.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you feel the ground shaking for the next couple weeks, don’t sweat it. That’s just Conan on their inaugural US tour. Just hang out and wait for your eventual destruction. They’ll get there sooner or later. Unless you live in Boston. Ha.
The tour starts tonight, which seems like an occasion worthy of note, given just how badly the US is in need of the ass kicking that Conan is about to deliver upon it. Support comes from Mantar and Samothrace, and includes stops at Psycho California and Maryland Deathfest. Conan are of course supporting last year’s pummeling Blood Eagle (review here), a record the devastation of which is still being tallied. If you haven’t heard it yet, shame on you. Have you learned nothing from all the hyperbole?
Tour dates follow here. One can only hope that when they find the ruined cities left in Conan‘s wake, future archaeologists give credit where its due:
CONAN North American Tour Starts Today – New Dates Added
Support Coming From Samothrace and Mantar
Latest Album Blood Eagle Available Now on Napalm Records
The English CONAN follows the ideals of their namesake and continue their path without compromises. The second album Blood Eagle is a Doom Drone Metal monument filled with monolithic riffs, hypnotic melodies, brutal drumming and an archaic atmosphere. Blood Eagle was released last March in North America via Napalm Records. The album can be ordered iTunes and Amazon.
CONAN will be kick off a North American headline tour tomorrow May 6th in Atlanta, GA and will wrap up May 23rd in Philadelphia, PA. Support on the tour will come from Samothrace and Mantar. Additional dates have been added in so be sure to check out the entire list below. Support on the tour comes from Samothrace and Mantar. Press opportunities are available at all shows!
CONAN 5/6: Atlanta GA @ The Earl # 5/7: New Orleans LA @ Siberia # 5/8: Austin TX @ The Lost Well # 5/10: Ft. Worth, TX @ Lola’s % # 5/11: Denver CO @ Marquis Theater % # 5/12 Salt Lake City UT @ Area 51 % # 5/14: Oakland CA @ Oakland Opera House % # 5/15: Santa Ana CA @ Psycho CA, The Observatory 5/16: Tempe AZ @ 51 West % # 5/18: Oklahoma City OK @ The Conservatory % # 5/19 Memphis TN @ Hi-Tone % # 5/20 Johnson City TN @ The Hideaway % # 5/21: Baltimore MD @ Maryland Deathfest # 5/22: Brooklyn NY @ Saint Vitus Bar # 5/23: Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie % #
% with Samothrace as direct support # with Mantar (direct support on dates without Samothrace, 1st of three on dates with Samothrace)
There are plenty of people around more qualified than I am to comment on Budgie‘s enduring legacy or their effect on heavy rock and metal, but one doesn’t exactly need a masterful knowledge of the form to hear the roll of “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman” and have a lot of things subsequently make more sense. The Welsh trio’s self-titled 1971 debut is one of those albums you hear and recognize pieces of from the work of other bands who’ve snagged a riff here, a melody there, and really you can take your pick from among their first three full-lengths — this, 1972’s Squawk and 1973’s Never Turn Your Back on a Friend — for supremacy. What ultimately does it for me is Burke Shelley‘s bass tone. With guitarist/vocalist Tony Bourge and drummer Ray Phillips along with Shelley on bass/vocals, Budgie was nothing if not a power trio, but to hear the weight in the production by Rodger Bain (who also helmed early outings for Black Sabbath and Judas Priest) as “Guts” gets the album going, yeah, it’s a pretty easy sell.
And in classic ’70s heavy form, they open with this killer heavy track and then move immediately into ballads, in this case the quick “Everything in My Heart” and subsequent “The Author,” which picks up as it makes its way to toward the aforementioned “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman,” which rounds out side A. From there, “Rape of the Locks” picks up with an immediate slam and proto-shredding solo, and all the swing and swagger you could hope for, leading to the fuzzed out “All Night Petrol,” an acoustic resurgence on “You and I,” and the unfuckwithable closer “Homicidal Suicidal.” In the spirit of many of the best records of its era, it gets in, kicks ass and gets out — probably because by the time it was finished Budgie were due either out on tour or back in to start tracking Squawk.
If you know heavy rock or doom, you don’t need me to tell about this one I’m sure. Frankly, I was surprised to find that I’d never closed out a week with Budgie before, so consider this my way of making up for lost time. Of course, I hope you dig it.
Nothing to say, really. If you’re wondering about that job, I heard today [after this post first went up] that they want to do another interview. Between phoners and in-person, this will be number four. It’s in two weeks.
I also put in for a bartending gig yesterday, just out of a need to try for something. No word back.
Next week, audio from Insect Ark and Mos Generator and reviews of Cigale and Ichabod. Akris interview too at some point. Unless I get a call in the next two hours telling me to start work Monday, I was supposed to head to Brooklyn on the 5th for Kings Destroy‘s record release with Elder, Apostle of Solitude and Clamfight, but it occurs to me that in addition to having no job and no money, my car is also dead in the parking lot outside and needs a new battery before it can go anywhere. Which of course I can’t afford. So we’ll mark those plans as “tentative” for the time being.
Got some cool vinyl this week though and was referred to twice as a “legend.” Feels great. Feels legendary.
They weren’t the first stoner rock band to come from the UK, but with their third album, 2000’s The Big Black, London outfit Orange Goblin more or less perfected the form. Produced by Billy Anderson and released through Rise Above and The Music Cartel, it produced a couple of classics for the Orange Goblin canon, the band — who were then a five-piece with guitarist Pete O’Malley alongside the steady-to-this-day lineup of vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner — still regularly featuring “Scorpionica” and “Quincy the Pigboy” at, well, certainly at every show I’ve seen them play. These songs are quintessential Orange Goblin, and as a one-two punch at the start of The Big Black, the album sets itself a high standard to meet, but to ignore “Cozmo Bozo,” “Alcofuel” and “The Big Black” itself is to ignore the axe swinging down on the back of your neck. Front to back, Orange Goblin‘s third is all the whisky stomp and riffly righteousness that has come to define them in the years since, and a record that, at 15 years old, sounds more vital today than when it was released.
It closes the week with Desertfest in mind, the festivals in London and Berlin held this weekend. Orange Goblin played The Big Black in full last night in Berlin, and they’ll do the same tonight in London before a hometown crowd that’s the center from which their influence has spread out worldwide. I can only imagine the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town going off to “Hot Magic, Red Planet” as the band storms through the album, and yeah, I’ll cop to a bit of jealousy for those who are there or were in Berlin to see it. I haven’t been to Desertfest in two years, and the festival has grown substantially in that time in terms of the names they bring in, but to have Orange Goblin nail down The Big Black for all to see shows their roots are strong in heavy, and however they may have expanded — geographically or stylistically — that continues to be an essential part of what they do. And The Big Black is nothing if not essential heavy. Seems like a good fit to me. Wish I was there.
Hope you enjoy.
Had that job interview Wednesday, and I have no problem admitting it has utterly consumed my consciousness since. Sleep’s a respite, and I’ve been working hard to keep working hard both because there’s stuff to do (already behind for Monday, thanks) and because I’ve needed the distraction from waiting to find out if I got the gig or not. I don’t know, incidentally. Another phone interview Tuesday and then hopefully some word. Apparently it’s down to me and one other person. I want the job. I mean, I need a job. I want this one. I can do this one. Fingers crossed for the next 90 hours or so, and then probably a while afterwards as well.
Next week kind of depends on how that turns out, but I’ve got an EP stream slated for Sinister Haze and reviews due for Lamp of the Universe, Samurai and Cigale, and golly it would be nice to get through all of them. Tuesday’s actually kind of a special deal as well because I’ve got an interview going up with the guys from Death Alley that was really cool. Whole-band interviews are kind of a crapshoot, could go either way, but this was one of the best interviews of any sort I’ve done in a long time. I’ll be transcribing it this weekend and it should go live with a stream of the title-track to their upcoming debut LP, Black Magick Boogieland, which is also awesome.
That’ll be up in the afternoon, probably, so keep an eye out, and if you’re interested (or if you’re not), I’ll probably give some update on my professional situation when I have an update to give. The last couple days have been full-on hurry-up-and-wait, and I expect this weekend will be more of the same. At least baseball’s on.
I put a thing out on Thee Facebooks earlier today, but worth noting here as well that The Obelisk Radio hit a new high for the amount of people listening at once this week, more or less blowing the last one out of the water, and that is thoroughly appreciated. If you’ve listened at all, thanks.
Have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy and we’ll see you back here Monday. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Further proof of how deeply the adage of never-say-never applies to rock and roll. Loop, classic logo and all, have a new EP coming this summer. Array 1 will see release through ATP Recordings, the label arm of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, and will be the first new stuff to come from the Robert Hampson-led outfit since 1990, which if you’ve lost count, was 25 years ago. Twenty-five.
Loop have been doing live shows for over a year now — they killed in 2014 at Roadburn and Hampson did likewise this year sitting in with Hugo Morgan, Wayne Maskell and Simon Poole (all also of The Heads) for a Kandodo set — but new studio material is something different entirely. Morgan and Maskell and guitarist Dan Boyd join Hampson in Loop, and Array 1 promises to be the first in a series of outings from the revived underground legends.
Info follows, courtesy the PR wire:
Loop Announces First New Material in 25 Years, Upcoming Shows
New ‘Array 1′ EP Available 6.22 Digital, 7.24 Physical on ATP
Towards the end of 2013 saw the reformation of one of the most revered and respected late 80’s UK alternative bands, LOOP. The group, founded by Robert Hampson, hadn’t played together since the early 90’s but got together to curate a night at the legendary All Tomorrow’s Parties at Camber Sands. US dates followed in 2014 and they then got back in the studio to start recording. The result is three brand new releases coming over the next year which see the band return to their hugely unique and era defining sound whilst sounding fresh and exciting.
The first release is ‘Array 1’, four tracks and 32 mins of haunting, aggressive, beautiful noise. ‘Precession’, ‘Aphelion’, ‘Coma’ and ‘Radial’ are the first songs to be heard from their recording session done in Sub Station Studios in Rosyth in Scotland with the current line up of Robert Hampson (vocals/guitar), Hugo Morgan (bass), Wayne Maskell (drums) and Dan Boyd (guitar). With only an early version of ‘Precession’ having had any previous outing (at a show at the Garage in London at the end of 2014), this is the very first new music from the band since their third album, 1990’s lost classic ‘A Gilded Eternity’.
The next tracks will be released in the Autumn in keeping with Loop’s previous habit of putting out music in batches, Hampson describes it as “one project, with the same concept, delivered in bulletins”.
With the music out on 22nd June 2015, this ties in with a show at the Roundhouse in London on 28th June where they are part of the line-up of ATP’s Season at the Roundhouse. The event, curated by post rock band Mogwai to celebrate their 20th Anniversary, will be spread over six nights and see performances from the likes of Public Enemy, GZA, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Tracklisting A1. Precession A1. Aphelion A3. Coma B1. Radial
Posted in Reviews on April 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Here we are, the final day of The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy this whole time, but the challenge has been worth it. Will I do another one? I guess that depends on how backed up records get. Even with all of this, I haven’t managed to fit in everything, so yeah, it doesn’t seem unlikely I’ll wind up with fodder for more of this kind of thing. Once again, not at all a hardship to have people interested enough in having me write about their music to send it to me. Not at all something I’m going to complain about.
Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read or share the link or whatnot, and of course to bands and labels for caring enough to send the music.
Quarterly Review #41-50:
Bubonic Bear, Shaved Heat
In and out of their three-song Shaved Heat tape in under 10 minutes, one could hardly accuse Philly guitar/drum duo Bubonic Bear of being overly elaborate in their approach, but the tracks, particularly closer “Clean,” drive home their post-hardcore rawness with suitable intensity. No frills, just impact. Vocals are raw shouts and the blue tape, which is limited to 50 copies through Bastard Sloth Records, has a kind of avant garde charm, underground in the house-show sense and mean, mean, mean, but probably nice enough to talk to. “Chlorine,” “Witch Pyle” and “Clean” are arranged shortest to longest, but all three hover around three minutes and tear into frenetic turns and let’s-call-it-spirited pummel. Andrew and Dustin, the pair involved, have a slew of EPs and splits and one full-length under their belt, and their six-plus years together are evident in the sheer fact that they can execute material so chaotic without having it fall apart under their stamping feet.
From its biker chug to its unabashed confrontationalism and attitude-laced approach to songs like “Who Crowned You King” and “Axe to Grind,” The F.T.W.’s Vendetta Kind of Mood just screams oldschool New York. Not the New York that’s the family-friendly (as long as you’re rich) center of the fashion world, but the New York that was really eager to tell you about how it was going to kick your ass, if not actually do so. The 10-track vinyl self-release is clean in its production and straightforward structurally, but has a gritty undercurrent anyway, showing some thrash (or is that NYHC? So hard to tell sometimes) influence in “Bleed Out” and a bit of rawer punk in “Billy Bats,” though they wait till the closer to actually extract a “Pound of Flesh,” which they slice with a choice solo and some Judas Priest riffing from guitarist TheMajor Nelson, joined in the trio by bassist/vocalist Michael Dolan and drummer Jason Meraz. Something tells me they’re not abbreviating “for the win.”
Kristalliarkki is the third offering from Finland’s Seremonia on Svart Records, and while all of their albums have thrilled in that quiet, warm-toned, psych-proto-ritual kind of way, the crystal ark is where it’s at. The record lands big with penultimate 14-minute sprawler jam “Kristalliarkki I,” open enough to set down a blanket and have a picnic next to the tree line, but before they get there, the five-piece of vocalist Noora Federley, guitarists Teemu Markkula and Ville Pirinen drummer/flautist Erno Taipale and bassist Ilkka Vekka vibe out fuzzy hypnosis on eight shorter native-language tracks, otherworldly from the word “go” and held together with a glue of ‘70s-style shufflebuzz on “Lusiferin Lapset” and the quick bouncer “Kuolema Voittaa” that beg to be dug on repeat visits. At just 1:14, “Kristalliarkki II” taps punker soul to close out with a sudden finish that leaves one wondering what the hell just happened, and no doubt that’s exactly what Seremonia had in mind.
JPT Scare Band, Acid Acetate Excursion & Rape of the Titan’s Sirens
A twofer! Kansas City acid rockers JPT Scare Band – Jeff Littrell (“J”), Paul Grigsby (“P”) and Terry Swope (“T”) – dig into their archival material to couple their first two records, Acid Acetate Excursion and Rape of the Titan’s Sirens, for Ripple Music. Both were recorded in the ‘70s but not released until 1994 and 1998, respectively, and the trio’s blown-out heavy continues to wear its years well, the bluesy fire in Swope’s guitar work leading the way through 81 minutes of long-range jams and classic vibes, still underrated after all these years. The second record has more bite tonally than the first, the recording is rougher, but I won’t take anything away from the force behind the 13-minute “King Rat” from the debut either. Think of it as an archival release more than a reissue, and if you haven’t yet been introduced to JPT Scare Band, think of the vinyl as an educational expense.
Bordeaux trio Libido Fuzz trip out pretty hard on heavy ‘70s influences, but I feel like their Kaleido Lumo Age debut LP (on Pink Tank Records) is all the more praiseworthy for the simple fact that it doesn’t sound like Graveyard. Casting off much of the blues that seems to have afflicted so many the world over, Thibault Guezennec, Pierre-Alexis Mengual and Rory O’Callaghan dip back maybe a couple years before ’71, let’s call it ’68, but filter the Hendrix and The Who influences through modern tonality, which means that a boogier like “Raw Animal” and the proto-stoner shuffle of “Enter the Occult” satisfy in concept and execution. Each of the evident two sides caps with a cut past the eight-minute mark, and both “Redemption of the Bison” and album closer “Haight Ashbury” offer significant heavy psych immersion, though it’s the side B finale that ultimately wins out thanks to its second half journey into noise wash, lysergic swirl, last-minute nod and epilogue of birdsong-esque feedback.
Filth-caked Montreal trio Dopethrone eat crust and shit riffs on their Totem Cat-released fourth record, Hochelaga, coating themselves in backpatch-worthy tone and throat-searing screams that would do Bongzilla proud. Weedian scummery through and through. Save for “Dry Hitter,” each of Hochelaga’s seven tracks starts with a sample, as if to emphasize the utter stoner fuckall with which Dopethrone – guitarist/vocalist Vincent, bassist Vyk and drummer Borman – execute their rolling grooves and lumbering viciousness once it kicks in. “Sludgekicker,” “Vagabong” and “Riff Dealer” tell the tale, and the record’s 40 minutes play out in largely unipolar but universally righteous fashion, “Scum Fuck Blues” summing up the ethic nicely with the line, “Smoke, drink, die.” Dopethrone make a show of their rawness, but Hochelaga’s fullness of tone and clarity of aesthetic speak to an underlying sense of knowing what they’re doing, and a record this cohesive doesn’t happen by accident, much as it might be telling you otherwise. That doesn’t mean they’re not also high as hell, just that they can keep it together.
A presumed sequel to their 2013 debut, They Fall, Hamburg trio The Moth‘s sophomore full-length, And Then Rise, pulls off heavy rock ethics with a heavy metal sense of purpose and basks in an overarching tension throughout its nine tracks. Fast or slow, doomed or thrashing, cuts like “Battle is Over” and “Travel Light” carry a progressive feel to match their hooks, later doomers like “Slowly to Die” and closer “Fire” – which hides a bonus track in its span – holding onto the tightness even as the relinquish in terms of pacing. Dark atmospherically but brazenly intricate, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Freden, bassist/vocalist Cécile and drummer Tiffy are never showy or putting on a technical clinic, but everything seems to be geared toward the purpose of enhancing the songs, which of course is the ideal. Because the sound is so condensed, it might take a couple listens for And Then Rise to sink in – not saying the chug of “Last Times” doesn’t also have immediate appeal – but The Moth’s genre-bending compositions prove worth the active engagement.
I’m pretty sure War Iron could play fast and it would still sound slow. They don’t really try it. Deep, deep low end is cut through by indecipherable-but-get-their-point-across-anyway screams on the Northern Irish four-piece’s third album, Precession of the Equinoxes, which plods out a grueling extremity of doom across its four included tracks, the shortest of which is the 7:37 “Summon Demon Scream the Abyss,” a harsh ritual of sonic heft and disaffection well met by its compatriots, from the churning opener “Bludgeon Lord,” to the title-track – which actually does up the pace somewhat, relatively speaking (and yes, it still sounds slow), and only temporarily – which crushes hopes and eardrums alike leading into the closer “From Napalm Altar,” a final affirmation of the deathly miseries at heart in War Iron’s approach, vocalist Baggy going high-low with screams and growls over the Ross’ guitar, Dave’s bass and Marty’s drums. It is a fearsome and challenging listen.
Guitarist/vocalist Owen Carty, formerly of underappreciated, coulda-been-contender sludge rockers Dopefight, lends his riffy services to the cumbersomely-named trio Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters (also stylized all-lowercase), who make their debut with the self-released five-song Earth Hog EP. Bassist Will Hart and drummer Mark Buckwell swing heavy and land hard on the opening title-track, and there’s not much letup from there, wah bass and cowbell leading to some fervent stomp in the second half of “Chopsticks and Bad Meatballs,” which starts out as a punk song, and “Devil’s Buttermilk” brazenly tackling Southern riffing without the chestbeating that way, way too often accompanies. More cowbell there too, because if you’re going to do something, overdo it. “Mother Chub” and “Riff Richard” close out, the latter with a slowdown that emphasizes the point: the kush may be bad, but the riffs are primo. Silly name or not, I’ll take this shit any day of the week, and considering Earth Hog was recorded in a living room, I have the feeling it’s only going to get louder from here. Right on.
With a sense that they’re continuing to feel out where they want to be sonically, Brazilian three-piece Red Mess follow-up last year’s Crimson EP (review here) with the newly-issued two-tracker Drowning in Red – apparently working on a theme chromatically – the cuts “Daybreak’s Dope” and “Ready to Go” impressive in performance and tone as guitarist/vocalist Thiago Franzim shreds out on the latter atop Lucas Klepa’s bass and Douglas Villa’s speaker-popping kick. Each song has a markedly different approach, with “Daybreak’s Dope” topping seven minutes via a Sleep-style rollout while, true to its title, “Ready to Go” seems to have no interest in holding its shuffle still. Pairing them shows sonic breadth, and in the case of the second, a bit of ‘70s influence to coincide with what they showed on Crimson, though the results will still ultimately be familiar. They’re making progress, though, and their cohesiveness and catchiness through stylistic shifts is encouraging.