Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Far be it from me to tell you your business, but if you’re not listening to the heaviest thing possible right now, you might want to put on some Holly Hunt. The instrumental Miami two-piece of guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro took a minute to confirm upcoming tours with To Live and Shave in LA and Mono, one almost right into the next, and that’s really all the excuse I’ve needed this afternoon to run through their Bandcamp and revel in the crash and tonal overload they proffer like some kind of forklift for riffs.
To wit, their 2014 split with likeminded onslaught specialists Slomatics, which you can hear below. You’re probably well hip to these cats, and that’s cool, but sometimes a reminder is just the thing, and this is hitting the spot for me, so hopefully your experience is similar. Dates, links and audio follow:
To Live And Shave In LA / Holly Hunt – tour 2015 Sat May 23rd – Atlanta @ 529 Sun May 24th – Nashville @ Betty’s Mon May 25th – Dayton @ Canal Public House Tue May 26th – Chicago @ CLVBRECTVM Wed May 27th – Detroit @ Trinosophes Thu May 28th – Cleveland @ Now Thats Class Fri May 29th – Rochester @ Monty’s Crown Sat May 30th – Boston @ Deep Thoughts Sun May 31st – NYC @ Palisades Mon Jun 1st – Philadelphia @ Vat Tue Jun 2nd – Baltimore @ The Bank Wed Jun 3rd – Richmond @ Auxiliary Thu Jun 4th – Chapel Hill @ Nightlight
Mono / Holly Hunt – North American Tour 2015 Jun 9, 2015 | Rock & Roll Hotel | Washington, DC Jun 10, 2015 | Johnny Brenda’s | Philadelphia, PA Jun 11, 2015 | The Ballroom at The Outer Space | Hamden, CT Jun 12, 2015 | LPR – Le Poisson Rouge | New York, NY Jun 13, 2015 | Middle East Downstairs | Cambridge, MA Jun 14, 2015 | La Tulipe | Montreal, QC Jun 15, 2015 | Ritual Nightclub | Ottawa, ON Jun 16, 2015 | Lee’s Palace | Toronto, ON Jun 17, 2015 | Majestic Cafe | Detroit, MI Jun 18, 2015 | Bottom Lounge | Chicago, IL Jun 19, 2015 | The Rave Bar | Milwaukee, WI Jun 20, 2015 | Cedar Cultural Center | Minneapolis, MN Jun 23, 2015 | Wonder Ballroom | Portland, OR Jun 24, 2015 | Neumos | Seattle, WA Jun 26, 2015 | The Independent | San Francisco, CA Jun 27, 2015 | Troubadour | Los Angeles, CA Jun 28, 2015 | Casbah | San Diego, CA Jun 29, 2015 | The Crescent Ballroom | Phoenix, AZ Jul 1, 2015 | Club Dada | Dallas, TX Jul 2, 2015 | Red 7 | Austin, TX
For today’s lesson in obscure pop culture history, we turn to Memphis four-piece Hosoi Bros, and their new video for the track “Hands of Stone.” It’s been a couple years since we last heard from the heavy punk rockers, who’ve got two 7″s under their collective belt in the form of 2012’s Snorlokk (video here) and earlier 2012’s Wine Witch (review here), but they’re set to issue a debut long-player and are currently in the somewhat harrowing process of finding a label home. For a band who occupy a kind of sonic nether region between tonally weighted groove and punkier roots, it can be difficult, but if time has proven anything about Hosoi Bros, it’s that they know how to blow off some steam.
Which brings us back to where we started: that lesson in obscure pop culture history. “Hands of Stone,” the new song and video from Hosoi Bros‘ upcoming full-length, refers to professional wrestler Ron Garvin who, in a 1980s feud with Ric Flair, was called “The Man with Hands of Stone.” So be it. The song’s lyrics make numerous references to classic professional wrestling, from Dusty Rhodes to the Legion of Doom, but even if you didn’t happen to be an ’80s kid, I think the point comes across in the catchy hook of “Hands of Stone,” and Hosoi Bros reinforce the charm and will to not take themselves too seriously that they showed on their initial singles.
When the new album might arrive is up in the air, but I’ve got the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “Hands of Stone.” If you’re wondering whatever became of Garvin, he did some time in what was then called the WWF and now owns a couple used car dealerships in North Carolina and is a licensed pilot. Hosoi Bros give him due homage with “Hands of Stone,” and you’ll find the video on the player below. Please enjoy:
Posted in Reviews on May 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Merrimack River, in addition to connecting inland Northeast Massachusetts and New Hampshire with a direct line to the Atlantic Ocean — when there was a thing called “industry,” that was useful; in the before times, the long-long ago — has had homage paid to it in the past by figures as disparate as Henry David Thoreau and Mandy Moore, so rather than being first to tackle the subject, Lowell, MA, five-piece Ichabod are instead part of a longstanding regional tradition. That’s important to keep in mind when listening to Merrimack itself. Their sixth album is a take-it-as-a-whole eight-song/49-minute full-length with songs purposefully bleeding one into the next expansive in both its sonic breadth and emotional core, dedicated to the memory of the mothers of founding guitarist Dave Iverson and vocalist John Fadden, who made his debut with Ichabod on 2012’s Dreamscapes from Dead Space. That album was a beast of aggressive metal, heavy rock vibing and psychedelic density, but with the concept or at very least central thematic that Merrimack holds, and for the worn-on-sleeve personal attachment made so plain throughout the sixth outing’s span, it would be a mistake to call Merrimack anything other than Ichabod‘s finest and most complex work to date. Persistently underrated throughout their 15-plus years and across records like 2003’s Let the Bad Times Roll, 2005’s Reaching Empyrean and 2009’s 2012 (review here), they’ve always had the ability to bring a sense of mood to their output, but Merrimack brings this to a new level, and whether it’s the raging “Squall” on which one can almost hear intense rain pounding windows or the Blind Melon-style serenity found in the midsection guitar of the subsequent “Watershed,” the band — Iverson, Fadden, bassist Greg Dellaria, guitarist Jason Adam and drummer Phil MacKay — prove utterly fearless throughout Merrimack‘s winding, flowing course.
Performances across the tracks bear that out, and Merrimack likewise benefits from the clarity of its production, helmed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms in Cambridge, MA. The sound neither lacks punch nor is too muddled, which seems to bringing out the dynamics all the more of turns in songs like “Life at the Loom” and “The Ballad of Hannah Dustin,” whose kidnapping by Native Americans in the 1690s and her ensuing killing 10 of them with a hatchet became a rallying narrative more than a century later as destiny was manifest in settlement expansion and genocide — Thoreau also wrote about her. Ichabod open with more modern fare in “The Strong Place,” a 1:50 acoustic-led workingman’s folk shanty that boasts group backing vocals behind Fadden‘s northern twang, a stomp behind him in verses that opens with electric guitar in the chorus to give a somewhat auspicious, resoundingly dudely first impression, more outright fun than a lot of what follows on “Two Brothers Rock” and “Squall,” the former taking hold with a gradually unfolding post-grunge psychedelia, wah prevalent in Iverson‘s open-spaced progression. They’re building subtly throughout the first half of the track, and sure enough, “Two Brothers Rock” kicks into a heavier push shortly before the four-minute mark, Fadden switching to harsher shouts for the first of many such fluid transitions. His ability to match his approach to the instrumental turns behind him — he is a powerful singer, clean or otherwise — is key to Merrimack‘s ultimate success, and he carries the intensity of “Two Brothers Rock” into a noise-laden solo and building wash of noise, the track eventually brought down amid a chugging rumble that leads to “Squall,” both the longest and most accomplished cut on the album.
More immediate in its impact than “Two Brothers Rock” — that’s not to insinuate that Ichabod should be doing the same thing all the time, just noting a difference in structure — “Squall” emerges from a seamless transition and casts a vision of metal that moves outside its own genre bounds. The push of its early going gives way to a psychedelic, gorgeously melodic, ebow-inclusive turn in the second half, Fadden again making the shift naturally, that itself is a build back toward the initial intensity of the chorus, which serves as a landmark for Merrimack as a whole, even as early into the record as it arrives. For an album the stated intent for which is a front-to-back listen to have such a defining moment in its third (really second) track is a risk of sequencing, but Ichabod work around it by continuing to expand the scope of the tracks, first with the aforementioned “Watershed” and its peaceful roll, which even when it gets heavier, retains its sun-drenched feel, memorable repeated lines “All I wanna do is just be a part of it” and “Saving all my sunshine” typifying the bright, hopeful mood that seems so far removed from the dense impact of “Squall” — a triumph though that was — and then with “Life at the Loom,” which follows a somewhat similar course in its atmosphere but is more upbeat and has an underlying tension that finds payoff in a more intense second half. To contrast, the repeated line there — another landmark hook — is “I wish I could sit around and talk about the weather forever,” and it’s screamed, the speaker in the lyrics seeming to be working at a textile factory, wondering earlier in the song what’s happening at home over more wistful ebow, a highlight bassline from Dellaria and MacKay‘s keep-it-moving drums. One might expect that kind of thrust to continue to bleed over into the next track, as Merrimack has managed to do up to this point, but “Life at the Loom” shifts in its last moments to something of a comedown, and the shorter “Child of the Bear” picks up from that with spacious guitar noodling immediately reminiscent of The Doors and, by then unsurprisingly, vocals and poetic lyrics to match, the river once again the central theme.
Put together, “Child of the Bear” and “The Ballad of Hannah Dustin,” which follows, are shorter than “Two Brothers Rock,” “Squall,” “Watershed” or “Life at the Loom,” but both make a considerable impact in mood, the former with its wandering sensibility and psychedelic brooding and the latter with a descent into screaming, chugging madness that serves to efficiently summarize just how quickly the band can shift between vibes. A dominant-culture folk hero as its focus, “The Ballad of Hannah Dustin” is the shortest track at 3:13, but it leaves a considerable impact nonetheless and leads the way into 6:32 closer “The Return,” which has the difficult task of somehow tying the album together. Spoken word and tense drumming move into burly echo-shouts, ambient screams, churning riffs and an atmospheric intensity to complement that of “Squall” without being directly linked to it. A descent into tearing-itself-apart noise and feedback plays out before a long fade carries Merrimack to its finish, Ichabod choosing to end on a note of marked foreboding. Taking into account some of the more easy-tempered stretches of “Watershed” and “Life at the Loom,” and the toss-a-few-back good times of “The Strong Place” — that title, of course, being a translation of the name Merrimack itself — it underscores the journey the band has crafted here, and perhaps that’s the point in the first place. Merrimack bleeds out its regionalist love with zero irony and unabashed affection for the places, the people and the history of New England, but I think even taken out of that context and for those who listen elsewhere, it’s an easy record to appreciate for simply giving tribute to the band’s home and for conveying the spirit that birthed it in the first place.
Posted in Reviews on May 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It is a humble start in just about everything but its sound. Cigale‘s self-released, self-titled debut full-length is flush with gorgeous melodies, resonant soulfulness and an airy psychedelic sensibility that’s prone to taking off in one direction or another but never loses itself completely or drifts farther from the song than it wants to. The Dutch four-piece craft an engaging sweetness throughout, the intertwining vocals of guitarist/keyboardist Romy Endeman, bassist Roel Imfeld and guitarist Rutger Smeets working fluidly to provide not only variety, but moments of engrossing richness no less lush than the guitar or bass tones. One might recognize Smeets or drummer Hans Mulders from taken-too-soon next-gen fuzz hopefuls Sungrazer, and Smeets‘ guitar retains its Gary Arce-worthy sound, but Cigale is a much different band with a much different dynamic, and what they’re doing across the seven songs/37 minutes of their first album is immediately their own. You can draw a line from one otherworldly sensibility to another, but it’s an easier and more satisfying listen to take songs like “Grey Owl,” “Random Day” and “Eyes Wide Shut” as they are rather than trying to fit them somewhere they don’t want to be. Endeman‘s strength as a vocalist makes her a major presence throughout — the Celtic flair she brings to “Eyes Wide Shut” over Mulders‘ far-back percussion and the subtle but building wash of cymbals, toms and guitars stands that song out as a highlight — and if a challenge before Cigale was establishing a personality of their own apart from what those who heard Smeets and Mulders‘ might expect coming into a new band featuring the both of them, then it’s a challenge Cigale meet well across their self-titled’s flowing, hypnotic span.
They open quietly, with the fitting melodic hum that eases the listener into “Grey Owl,” warm bassline from Imfeld and what sounds like brushed if it’s not drumbeat from Mulders arriving as a precursor to the dreamy guitar tone and Endeman‘s vocals for the first verse. Her command is palpable immediately amid the echoing lines, but backed by Imfeld and Smeets, she is hardly carrying the song by herself. “Grey Owl” has an exploratory feel, lyrics repeating in the second half to lead the way into an open section of atmospheric guitar interplay and tom runs from Mulders, who flourishes in Cigale‘s quiet spaces as well as its louder moments, the track moving toward a still-understated apex that drops out to make way for one of the record’s defining hooks in “Steeplechase,” a somewhat moodier atmosphere emerging, but the tones remain bright as the vocals run through a processor at first then step out for a more forward, upbeat verse and chorus. Ultimately, the structures of the first two cuts are similar, but the impression they give is much different between vocal arrangements, general lushness and ambience, Cigale using their spaciousness and songwriting well to bring the listener into the album and not so much try to hold attention with cloying hooks as to slow everything down so that attention doesn’t wander in the first place. The subsequent “Feel the Heat” might be the strongest piece included — it’s also the longest at 5:54 — offering a particularly soulful progression with Smeets‘ guitar rumbling in a vast, open movement behind, the bass and drums tying the whole thing together so subtly that one almost forgets there is a build underway. Some improvised-sounding guitar weaving stretches out over an instrumental finish that’s less crescendo than thematic exploration, and a few seconds’ silence stands between “Feel the Heat” and “Random Day,” the centerpiece of Cigale and its quietest, most contemplative-feeling moment.
Percussion, which might be keyboard-programmed initially, is intermittent, guitars quietly noodling, bass minimal, cymbals washing every now and again, but Endeman‘s vocals croon over a quiet key line and that turns out to be more than enough to carry the soft flow of “Random Day,” which picks up in the guitar, adds some background singing, but never comes close to the rhythmic push even of “Feel the Heat,” which seems a world away about three minutes later. No matter how far out or spacious Cigale get, there seems to be one element responsible for providing the foundation — much to their debut’s benefit, that element changes — and on “Random Day,” it’s the keyboard built upon, but “Harvest Begun,” which follows, offers another shift. The shortest song on Cigale at 3:54 and arguably as close as the four-piece come to heavy psychedelia, it offers another album-defining hook and a satisfying lockstep of organ sounds and bass initially before opening its fluid motion and shifting into a wash, first of vocals, then lead guitar, coming to as much of a head as anything does across the record, but still ending quietly and giving way to the peaceful plucked notes, slide ambience, cymbal wash and percussion of “Eyes Wide Shut,” a linear build playing out in probably the most direct a-to-b included, the earlier structural similarity cast off in favor of a more stark turn, Endeman and the backing vocals topping the ending with suitable, tasteful energy, leaving closer “Pieces” to develop that momentum and finish out the album with all the rhythmic swing of “Harvest Begun,” but a more patient progression overall, unfolding through keys and guitar as the rhythm section sets the bed for the jam that winds “Pieces” to its last fadeout, the final statement of Cigale‘s Cigale finding a balance between catchy songcraft and (purposeful) instrumental meandering. The soothing atmosphere of that ending is as much easing out as “Grey Owl” was easing in, and it demonstrates the prowess either conscious or not of Cigale for creating an undercurrent of structure for their sonic expanse. As they continue to develop sound-wise, that’s likely to act as the keys, guitar, bass and drums do throughout the tracks of Cigale — as a foundation from which absorbing, varied and colorful explorations are launched. For now, it serves as one of 2015’s most promising debuts, and that seems like plenty to ask.
Posted in audiObelisk on April 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Though its production is modern, the roots of Sugar Fly‘s “Blind” are almost exclusively classic. From the heavy rock groove that rolls the track out to the crooning soul of the vocals that top it, the L.A. outfit (a studio trio, a five-piece live) call to mind decades past and unload classy vibes and assured performance over a quick four minutes. The band was formed late in 2014 by bassist Collyn McCoy, also of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, and drummer Noah Lifschey (who’s done studio work across genres in composition, production and playing), who soon joined forces with powerhouse singer Tia Simone to record “Blind,” which is probably one of the most professional-sounding demos you’ve ever heard.
I’ve said on many occasions that I do not know how Los Angeles sustains life, let alone creative life, but that these parties would manage to find each other and craft something together makes a fervent argument for the city’s continued existence. To think of sidling up to some dim-lit bar with the sun still outside as it must perpetually be at midnight in Southern California by now — climate change, the shifting rotation of the earth, dust bowl apocalypse and all — and find Sugar Fly slingshotting attitude at unsuspecting would-bes is an image easily conjured by “Blind,” which seems to owe as much to Soundgarden as to Betty Davis and other underheralded badasses of yore; funk and heavy are treacherous elements to meld, Sugar Fly make it work.
If you can dig it, they’re setting themselves up here for a crucial blend of styles. Imagine a slow-groove turn, heavy tones and lounge mood, Lifschey crashing down hard while Lunar Electric‘s Dre DiMura tears into some wah and Simone pushes her register through the comfort zone and into that place where the guttural side of soul comes from? Yeah, it’s a beginning, but “Blind” sets the stage for that, and it’s worth checking out the start before we find out where it’s all headed.
Track’s on the player below, followed by a bit of promo-type background on the band snagged out of their EPK. Enjoy:
Sugar Fly is a ROCK N’ SOUL band with the charm of scuffed wooden bars, whiskey soaked cigars and bootleg rye. Formed in late 2014, Sugar Fly blends the best qualities of classic rock, West Coast funk and Motown soul and injects those familiar sounds with an infusion of modern heavy rock.
Sugar Fly was conceived by Collyn McCoy (bass) and Noah Lifschey (drums), after performing together on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s TV show, HitRecord. Fueled by a steady diet of thrift store vinyl, vintage tube amps and Kentucky bourbon, the two sequestered themselves to Noah’s studio and birthed the nascent sound that had been swimming in their heads. All that was missing was a singer. But not just any singer would do. They needed a vocalist with the power of Aretha, the passion of Etta, and the prodigious balls of Bon Scott. And that’s when by some manner of miracle (i.e. the internet), Tia Simone dropped from the Cloud. Together these three filled their bubblin’ cauldron with equal parts Stax and Black Sabbath, a dash of Tina Turner and a pinch of Led Zeppelin, to summon the sounds of Sugar Fly from the ether.
Sugar Fly’s live band is composed of Tia Simone (lead vocals), Noah Lifschey (drums), Collyn McCoy (bass), Dre DiMura (guitar) and Esteban Chavez (Hammond organ/analog synths).
Posted in Reviews on April 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Samurai‘s second album, Sol de Sangre, is 86 minutes long. Obviously that’s too much to fit on a single compact disc, let alone a vinyl LP. In the digital realm, it doesn’t matter — make your record three hours if you want, it’s just another file — but for Sol de Sangre the length seems like a particularly deliberate choice. Their 2011 debut, Todo el Odio del Unicornio (review here), was 45 minutes, about the length of either of Sol de Sangre‘s two component 43-minute discs, each of which features seven tracks. So why double-up? Sol de Sangre has no fewer than six songs over six minutes long, and pressing a second disc for an album is a considerable expense. Surely one of them could have been cut to make it work as a single-CD if the band had wanted to do so. So what’s the motive to essentially release a sophomore outing that’s two albums? The ambition is noteworthy and commendable, and the results are engaging to and beyond the point of hypnosis — particularly in some of those longer tracks like “Cigarro Americano” or “Primavera Arabe” — but there has to be some root reason whythe trio wouldn’t just save the money and give one of these cuts the axe. Near as I can read into it, the first half of Sol de Sangre has more of a focus on hooks and catchy traditional songwriting, while the second disc, which opens with the extended trio “1870,” “Viento Negro” and “Ninja del Silencio” (all over seven minutes long), is farther ranging and more psychedelic. But it’s not always as clear a line between the two sides as one might think.
The elements that enticed in the debut remain intact. Guitarist/vocalist Vincente Armando, bassist David Parren and drummer Santiago Montricchio conjure warm tones and natural grooves in keeping with Argentina’s rich history of heavy rock and psychedelia. It’s a distinct style within the wider sphere of heavy rock, and Samurai do well to put their stamp on it across Sol de Sangre, beginning with “Balada del Sol,” the leadoff of disc one and the longest song on the album as a whole (immediate points). Where later first-disc cuts like “Higado” and “Este Cuarto” will take a shorter route, “Balada del Sol” sets a tone of not-quite-lush arrangements but an overarching fullness of sound that is maintained throughout, Parren‘s bass beginning the track soon to be joined by Armando‘s desert-hued guitar and Montriccio‘s echoing crash. Instrumental as much of the focus of Sol de Sangre is, it’s the first of the album’s really prime jams, following a plotted course, maybe, but leaving room for spontaneity along that path. “Mente por Hoy,” which follows, shoots almost immediately into its verse, Armando‘s vocals dry and forward in the mix, but giving way in the second half to a momentary guitar blissout before a chorus returns. A telling trilogy is completed with “Cigarro Americano,” which essentially melds the two approaches before it — a jam and a hook — to something of its own. This is the heart of what Sol de Sangre has to offer, and through the Kyuss-rolling “Cuatro Ramas” and “Higado,” the nodding “Primavera Arabe” and relatively brief but spacious finish in “Este Cuarto,” they seem to lean to one side or another of what’s presented in those first three tracks, ending the first half of the album with feedback and noise before an echoing guitar line flourishes out to remind the listener there’s more to come.
What Samurai have done, essentially, is set for themselves a solid foundation from which to branch out, and with the second disc, they do precisely that. No doubt part of the second disc’s overall more psychedelic impression stems from the aforementioned opening salvo of “1870” (7:58), “Viento Negro” (8:23) and “Ninja del Silencio” (7:03), the first of which is perhaps the most molten on the entire 86-minute span, Armando ripping into a layered solo that plays out into dreamy noodling as the song draws down toward its ending. “Viento Negro” has more solidified fuzz, but still spaces out plenty as well, and a similar vibe is enacted for “Ninja del Silencio,” the verses giving way to a layered solo jam that holds sway through the finish, but even the shorter “Perros Locos” seems to play off a more psychedelic feel than much of the first disc. It returns to its central riff toward the end, but by then, has gone plenty far out from its verse and chorus, and though it’s the shortest cut on the disc at 4:09, the ensuing “Flores Azules” is instrumental and essentially built around repetition of a single movement, so that has a more propulsive than grounded feel, despite a departure from some of the reverb wash that has appeared elsewhere on Sol de Sangre. That wash, as it happens, resumes with “Santuario Oculto,” one of Samurai‘s most satisfying included rollouts, the only shame of which is that it’s buried so deep in the album that it’s bound to be lost on some listeners. Still, tonally and in its meld, it’s an efficient mirror of “Cigarro Americano,” and makes for a last-minute underscoring of what has worked well throughout Sol de Sangre before the acoustic-led title-track finishes out. “Sol de Sangre” is the only appearance of acoustics on the album that carries its name, and one almost wishes Samurai had layered them in with some of their more psyched-up moments, since the resonance they carry would work well, but they serve the stripped-down finale ably nonetheless, even if they arrive somewhat out of context after 81 solid minutes of distorted wash and echo.
Another aspect of their sound to develop for next time around? Could be. Samurai‘s approach is already plenty broad within heavy rock and psych, but further dynamic progression and depth of arrangement doesn’t seem like something that would hurt. No doubt Sol de Sangre will be too much for some who’d approach it casually, but as it progresses from its first disc to its second, the album reveals its true strength, which is to become even more immersive as it moves toward that unplugged closer. It is an ambitious follow-up full-length, showing both evolution from the debut and potential for continued growth for the band.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
New Jersey-based heavy psychedelic four-piece Eternal Fuzz are getting ready to release their sophomore full-length. Titled Nostalgia and officially listed as “coming soon” by the band, the record is reportedly due out in a couple weeks, though exactly what form it will take — LP, CD, CS, DL, some other two-letter combinations I can’t think of — is as yet unclear. Nonetheless, Nostalgia will be the follow-up to a self-titled debut Eternal Fuzz put out in 2012, which also had a cover of time-lapse star photography, and a demo released in 2011 (review here) that showed marked promise for their brand of heavy groove, and yes, fuzz.
So far, two new songs have been released off Nostalgia — “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” and “Astral Tractor Beam” — both of which showcase a fullness of sound and clarity of approach that seem an immediate step forward for the band from where they were with the self-titled, less melodically assured and tapping partially into a Baroness-style of heavy to some degree. With its slow march and multi-layered vocals, “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” still has some of that modern progressive edge, but seems to bend it to suit a slower, more rolling purpose. They toy some with pacing, but the central feel is patient and engrossing, and that suits Eternal Fuzz well in name and concept.
“Astral Tractor Beam” works in similar form, its big-riff focus reminiscent almost of Snail, but it ties to “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” by its melodic awareness and the fluidity of its loud/quiet tradeoffs. Both songs bode remarkably well for the album to come, whenever it does. Nostalgia was recorded in Fall 2014 with the lineup of Joe, Kyle, Mike and Luke, and you can hear both of the new tracks from it below, hopefully with more to follow:
“Nostalgia” will be available in roughly two weeks! In the meantime, hope you enjoy one more teaser-track up on bandcamp… Astral Tractor Beam
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Nashville heavy jammers All Them Witches have issued a new EP, A Sweet Release. With no coincidence as regards the day of its arrival, the mostly instrumental A Sweet Release marks the second EP the four-piece have done since they put out their second full-length, Lightning at Your Door (review here), in 2013. Following 2014’s single-song Effervescent (review here), it’s worth noting that, for an EP, A Sweet Release is a full 57 minutes long — longer than either Lightning at Your Door or All Them Witches‘ 2012 debut album, Our Mother Electricity (review here).
What makes it an EP, then is the looseness of its spirit. Opening with the 24-minute, three-part, live-recorded “It Moved We Moved/Almost There/A Spider’s Gift,” A Sweet Release is an immediately immersive collection of wandering jams. Both onstage and in the studio, All Them Witches — bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, Fender Rhodes-ist/violinist Allan Van Cleave and drummer/cover artist Robby Staebler (plus King Buffalo guitarist Sean McVay on “A Spider’s Gift”) — have excellent at matching pace and repetition to hypnotic effect, and A Sweet Release stands as another firm example of this, with the rolling “Howdy Hoodee Slank” a wide-open, stonerly soundscape before the quiet “El Paso Sleep on It” urges caution into “Interstate Beach Party,” which oddly earns its title, missing perhaps only “In Space” off the end of it. The shortest cut of the five, “Sweet Bear” (2:26), closes out, a strong current of feedback running underneath to tie together one last bit of purposeful meandering.
Though All Them Witches just once again made Our Mother Electricity available via their Bandcamp, where one can also find the live recording At the Garage and numerous show bootlegs, Effervescent is all but gone, even given the limited tangibility of a digital release. That is to say, they took it down and it’s unknown whether it will show up again. It gives a certain amount of urgency to A Sweet Release — it might not be there forever — and it’s unknown if All Them Witches will press up any physical copies. You never know, but with their concentration turning toward an impending third LP and no doubt a decent amount of touring to support that, it seems unlikely for the time being. Still, the jams are worth checking out while one can.
Some word from the band below, and some tour dates for the showing-up contingent:
It has been a crazy past two years and this upcoming one is going to be a wee bit way more gnarly. Thank you for your support. We play for you. The energy is the fire. Now the important notes: As you prepare to meet your maker, which I encourage you to do on a daily basis, remember – it is important to enjoy this experience. Find another? I think not. There is only one whole – eat it slowly.
And some extra garnish: We’ll be sharing a great size of new tunes with you soon. We do mean soon. And then more music. A body of music to be tasted in one big bite which we’ll be calling our new LP is on the horizon. There will be some information about experiences very important to us that we’ll shed some light on for you all soon as well. It’s all coming together!
TOUR DATES: April 23 – Winston-Salem, NC – The Garage April 24 – Asheville, NC – New Mountain Theater April 25 – Nashville, TN – Lightning 100’s Marathon Block Party May 22 – Chillicothe, IL – Summercamp Music Festival June 3 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios June 4 – Seattle, WA – Barboza June 5 – Vancouver, WA – Levitation Vancouver