Posted in On the Radar on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If nothing else, Kiev one-man outfit Stonefromthesky has the most honest moniker I’ve ever encountered having anything to do with post-metal, the Ukrainian project taking its name from “Stones from the Sky,” the closer of Neurosis‘ 2001 A Sun that Never Setsalbum, which — to simplify it — is a founding moment for the genre as a whole. Fortunately, it’s also just a beginning point for what Alex Zinchenko, the self-recording, self-releasing human at the root of Stonefromthesky, has to offer on his debut EP, Orbital.
A five-track collection that’s in and out in a sneaky 22 minutes, Orbitalblends post-metallic ideology — undulating, massive riffs, harsh vocals, a generally sludgy feel — with electronic music, dance beats underscoring huge guitars for a blend that’s immediately marching on largely uncharted territory. There are acts out there tapping into industrial retroism, but that’s not quite where Stonefromthesky is coming from on a song like the EP centerpiece “Weightless,” which steps into open air ambience and obscure sampling while permeating a synthesized drum beat behind. That’s a breather compared to opener “Interstellar” and viciously heavy highlight “Irreversible” before it, both of which plunder claustrophobic riffs, clever stutters, and somehow defiantly human growling to concoct a feel both familiar and foreign. It’s not until “Altered” that any of it resembles Godflesh in the slightest, and that in itself is an achievement.
Even then, Stonefromthesky holds to an identity of its own, a swinging beat and low rumble meeting with Zinchenko‘s rhythmic growling and a post-rock guitar as a dysfunctional feel results from mixing beats, the rhythm at the fore while the melody acts as the bed behind — a direct reversal of what one generally expects from heavy music. A guitar solo is a grounding force compared to what’s going on alongside it, and a quick breath teases a larger payoff that never comes as an experimental vibe persists through the end of “Altered,” leaving the three-minute closer, “Forlorn” the heady task of rounding out, which is does with progressive synth melody and a building wash of rhythmic noise, slow moving but ready to be played at unspeakable volumes, keeping the tension as much as releasing it, frenetic, kinetic, but obviously controlled as well.
Zinchenko, who handles guitar, programming, and vocals himself, has quickly established a mastermind sensibility, and it seems coming into his first outing as Stonefromthesky that he knows exactly where he wants the band to go. All the better for a self-contained project like this, since if Orbitalis anything to go by, he’s more than capable of acting as the driving force of his own exploration. Here’s one for the “heard it all” crowd to prove them wrong once again.
Posted in Reviews on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
According to the liner panel of the digipak, Morbid Beauty, the debut full-length from Berlin-based DIY heavy rockers Rodeo Drive, was recorded in “October 2014.” Certainly anything’s possible, and if the album does indeed hail from the near-future, it’s got a modern take on fuzz and flourishes of heavy psychedelia to match what one might expect. Featuring Samsara Blues Experiment‘s Hans Eiselt on bass and vocals and recorded by Richard Behrens, formerly of the same outfit and currently handling low end in Heat, Rodeo Drive hit on classic power trio methods and present them with a newcomer act’s intensity of purpose. Joined in the band by guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and René Schulze on drums/synth, Eiselt takes some cues in patterning vocals from his main outfit — one might recognize throaty, echoing shouts from Samsara Blues Experiment‘s earlier days — but on the whole is more stylistically geared toward straightforward, traditional stonerisms. Stemmer leads the charge throughout most of Morbid Beauty‘s eight tracks/41 minutes, but moments of adventurousness shine through and Rodeo Drive show a bit of boldness in their choices throughout, like opening with “Stoner of Mass Destruction,” a six-minute instrumental that, until closer “Snuff Eater,” also proves to be their jammiest stretch. Even there, however, what Rodeo Drive most specialize in their first time out is establishing a riff, working around it, and then returning to it in bigger, sometimes slower form. “Stoner of Mass Destruction” does this effectively, as do “All in Vain,” “Poultry Bro,” “Vlansch” and “Snuff Eater,” though the moods of these tracks vary around a consistent, jazzy chemistry between Eiselt and Schulze and the varyingly psychedelic and dense tonality in Stemmer‘s guitar.
Particularly with Eiselt‘s vocal delivery, the recording captures a live feel, and that proves all the better for the deft rhythmic changes that begin to show up on “Stoner of Mass Destruction” and continue into the shorter “All in Vein” (tied with “Poultry Bro” for the briefest here at 2:38) and well beyond. The second cut has less space for jamming out, but serves to demonstrate early the diversity in Rodeo Drive‘s approach, which continues to shift as Morbid Beautyprogresses, whether it’s to the extended drum solo intro to “The Void,” which unfolds with a Songs for the Deaf-style thrust, or “Poultry Bro,” with its circular vibe and intricate boogie feel, Schulze running back and forth on toms to build a tension that opens to a wide-strummed chorus. If one was to divide Morbid Beautyinto sides, “Vlansch” would likely end the first (the back cover of the CD supports this), and it does so playing slow psychedelic blues off bigger-riffed nod, keeping the tempo down, especially in relation to “Poultry Bro,” out of which it emerges, and the mood wistful even as Stemmer‘s winding lead opens to jammier wah-shuffle. It’s not long before they’re back to the turned-on downer vibe, Eiselt‘s voice raw without sounding like a put-on, and the lumbering riff from whence they came, building it to a finish that fades its rumble out before the grunge guitar opening of “Earth Dark Diseases” begins the album’s second half, which isn’t necessarily more stylistically adventurous than the first, but differently arranged, with three tracks instead of five, “Earth Dark Diseases” (7:35) and “Snuff Eater” (7:55) being the longest songs with the instrumental “Aggrestic” (4:37) between.
As noted, “Snuff Eater” is where Rodeo Drive are at their jammiest, and though it reaches similar lengths, “Earth Dark Diseases” has a different personality. Eiselt‘s vocals are almost a growl over Stemmer‘s plus-sized riff, and while it opens up in the middle, there’s a moody sensibility maintained even during the instrumental build, coming to a head just before the five-minute mark when the guitar and drums drop out and the bass leads back into the progression that will serve as the foundation for the next two minutes’ groove. The bass also starts “Aggrestic,” though Eiselt‘s soon joined by Stemmer and Schulze, and what seems like another jangly sort of rush is offset temporarily by noodling and subsequent forward motion. It ultimately adds little the album hasn’t already put in Rodeo Drive‘s wheelhouse, but as a precedent and a break between the two longer cuts, an entirely instrumental track isn’t a bad thing to have. And though it reaches nearly eight minutes long, “Snuff Eater” doesn’t lose track of where it’s headed, and the immersive jam pulls back to the verse/chorus structure before the song is over, as if to remind listeners that Rodeo Drive haven’t forgotten. As the first public offering of their songwriting, that’s good to know, and like the bulk of Morbid Beauty, “Snuff Eater” sets the trio on a path from which to progress from here on out. They’ve reportedly been a band for eight years, so I don’t know what kind of pace they’re working with in terms of releases, but Morbid Beautyestablishes a chemistry worth a follow-up and provides a strong front-to-back level of quality in the meantime. I’ll take it on its own if that’s how it’s coming, but I’d much rather see Morbid Beautyas a sign of things to come when Rodeo Drive get to the actual near future.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches have announced that in September they’ll embark on a round of dates in the Midwest, Northeast and into Canada supporting Richmond, Virginia, ethereal doom outfit Windhand. For the four-piece, the tour comes situated between two other runs. The first is in late August with King Buffalo, and the second will take the band to Europe in October for appearances at Desertfest Belgium and Germany’s Keep it Low festival, presumably with at least a week of dates in between still to be announced.
All Them Witches and Windhand also shared the stage in May at the Scion Rock Fest in Pomona, California. Since then, they’ve released the free-download Effervescent EP (review here), a single-track, 25-minute jam that serves as the follow-up to 2013′s self-released second full-length, Lightning at the Door (discussed here). That album is set for a vinyl issue sometime as the summer winds down, as LPs are expected to be in hand by the time All Them Witches and Windhand hit the Sidebar in Baltimore on Sept. 4 to launch the tour.
This round of shows is especially notable for both bands as well for the size of the venues. I know Windhand has topped bills at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar before, but with this tour they clearly move further into genuine headliner status, which, if you’ve ever seen them, you know is right where they belong.
TOURING WITH WINDHAND IN SEPTEMBER!
9/4 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar 9/5 Pittsburgh, PA – 31st St Pub 9/6 Akron, OH – Musica 9/7 Columbus, OH – The Basement 9/9 Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s 9/10 Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge 9/11 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock 9/12 Milwaukee, WI – Metal Grill 9/13 Ferndale, MI – Loving Touch 9/14 Toronto, ON – Coda 9/16 Ottawa, ON – Cafe Dekcuf 9/17 Montreal, QC – Petit Campus 9/18 Cambridge, MA – Middle East (upstairs) 9/19 Providence, RI – AS220 9/20 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz have more than a few things in common: They share geography in being based out of Boston. They’re both committed to self-releasing albums without charging for them, and they both do so at a prolific clip. Both bands have a varied and open sound, and while Ice Dragon lean more toward a doomed-out psychedelic nod, recorded raw with physical pressing a matter left to the ages — their Dream Dragon(tape review here) has a CD issue coming — and Space Mushroom Fuzz tend toward the progressive and space rocking side of the heavy spectrum while periodically gathering single tracks and other output for collected release — their 2013 double-tape, Back from the Past(review here), brought together four outings — I don’t think there’s anyone who’d argue they don’t make a solid pair.
To be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping that Crystal Futurewould be a collaborative release from Ice Dragon. As Space Mushroom Fuzz is a one-man project — helmed by Adam Abrams, also known for Blue Aside – it would be easy enough to bring him into an Ice Dragon session, but the four-song release is a proper split, each act on their own. I’m not about to complain. Each band contributes a longer work and a shorter ambient piece, and as ever from both, the resulting EP is available as a free download.
Links, info, Samantha Allen‘s gorgeous cover art and Ice Dragon‘s announcement follow:
We have a new split out with Space Mushroom Fuzz. Their track is most excellent, and definitely gets stuck in your head. Little interlude action in there too, ours is from an old 4-track tape we did on the porch while recording a few Tome tracks.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last year, UK space metallers Enos released a live EP called The East Slope. It came out in April 2013 and was captured — live, obviously — about a month earlier. Here we are, more than a year later, and the Brighton two-guitar foursome have sent word down the PR wire that Live at the East Slopewill now be put out as a DVD on Aug. 2, an occasion they’ll celebrate by playing a release show alongside Bright Curse and Wizard Fight.
What’s the lesson? It takes much longer to make a live video release than a live audio one.
Kudos to Enos, and to Rapture Films as well I guess, for making it happen at all. In this age of instant YouTubely gratification, it’ll make a fine inclusion at the merch table for anyone who wants to delve deeper than an album might allow for, and while one awaits their next studio outing following late-2012′s All too Human, it should provide enough of a fix to hold even the most ardent of followers.
Details and whatnots:
Live Enos DVD released 2nd of August 2014!
Well, it’s been a while but we’ve not been dragging our heels. After a lot of work (and swearing) by Rapture Films and ourselves the Live at The East Slope DVD is set for release on the 2nd of August 2014! The film captures our Sussex University show from the 22nd of March 2013 (the release show for the vinyl version of All Too Human) and features over an hour of psychedelic noise. The set is made up of tracks from both All Too Human and Chapter One and a couple of tracks from this show were released on The East Slope live EP last year. Filmed live at The East Slope Bar on the Sussex University campus Live at The East Slope features the show as it was on the night from start to finish (with a few additional animations here and there) and we fell it perfectly captured the atmosphere of the night. On the night we had the full light-show from Innerstrings Psychedelic Lightshow as well as a guest appearance from Sigrid Jakobson for a rendition of Collisions. The full track list is…
1. All Too Human 2. In Space 3. Floating 4. Left For Dead 5. Collisions 6. Another Solution 7. Launch 8. Devil Makes Work 9. Transform 10. Who Knew? 11. Back To Earth
And just to whet your appetite here’s the live version of Left For Dead.
To celebrate the release we’ll be performing live at The Unicorn in Camden on the 2nd of August, this will be your first chance to pick up a copy for yourself. Support comes in the form of Wizard Fight and Bright Curse, doors are at 7.30pm so get there early!! As well as that we have another Brighton show at The Hope on the 8th of August with support from The Ingrates, Deaf From Behind and The Tricks. Doors are at 8pm,tickets available here.
There doesn’t seem to ever be a break with this stuff. 16 records joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, and that’s still got me behind on checking out more to add. I don’t know what the state of that hard drive is, but I might not be far off from needing to add a second one. It’s become an archive for me.
Diligent and admirable bastard that he is, Slevin is working on an automatically refreshing script that will allow listeners to see what was played over the last 24 hours, which will be a big help if a file is missing its ID3 tags — that being how the player identifies the songs — as I know things sometimes are. I get asked regularly what was played at a specific time, so hopefully this will be able to answer that question.
So things are in the works, but of course there’s a ton of music to talk about in the meantime, and that’s the fun part anyway.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 11, 2014:
All Them Witches, Effervescent EP
There are at least two distinct jams at work in the 25-minute single track that makes up Effervescent, the 2014 EP from Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches. The Fender Rhodes of Allan Van Cleave and airy guitar of Ben McLeod feature heavily in both, as bassist Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer Robby Staebler (interview here) provide a foundation on which to space out, and the two pieces find a bridge in hypnotic, psychedelic stretching and backwards noise beginning at around 13 minutes in before building back up. All throughout, the vibe is central, there is movement, and the four-piece demonstrate that the chemistry they showed burgeoning on last year’s brilliant Lightning at the Door(discussed here) was no fluke, but the beginning of a grand and creative exploration that finds its next installment here. It may be a stopgap — formerly their primary means of release, they’ve recently pulled their full-lengths down from Bandcamp; one expects big, got-signed-type news from them at any moment — but Effervescentis fluid and rich, and as deep as you want to go in listening to it, it’s willing to take you there and further. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Nyarlathotep, The Shadow over Innsmouth
Some six years after releasing their initial The End is Always Near demo, New Jersey black metal outfit (whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I know personally) Nyarlathotep follow-up with the Lovecraftian full-length, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Based around the short story of the same name, the album breaks down into five extended tracks plus an intro of rage-fueled atmospherics. Using programmed drums to their advantage on “Old Zadok Allen” — the only proper song here under 10 minutes — they add an industrial feel with a keyboard-led midsection backed by vague, ambient screams. The density in the material is striking, but even at their most unbridled — as on the blasting, solo-topped early moments in the title-track – Nyarlathotep hold their commitment to setting a mood firm, and the blown-out, distorted soundscape they create across the release is grim and otherworldly enough to be worthy of its subject matter. It is a complex, biting execution that won’t be for everyone, but that seethes in its quiet parts and gnashes its pointed teeth with monstrous force. Nyarlathotep on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Oklahoma City trio Idre specialize in ambient fluidity and deeply-weighted tonal crush. Their self-released, self-titled debut long-player is comprised of two extended cuts — “Factorie” (26:41) and “Witch Trial” (13:17) — that each impress with their patience, their impact and their ability to contrast the generally claustrophobic feel of post-metal with an open-spaced, salt-of-the-earth pulse. Within its first 10 minutes, “Factorie” has moved from undulating waves of riffing to vast, strumming, Across Tundras-esque roll, and never does it seem to be meandering without purpose in the noisy stages to come. It builds and collapses, and when they seem the most gone, the clean, twanging vocals return to finish out, leading to the parabolically constructed “Witch Trial,” which marries Earth-style drone and galloping drums effectively to create a decidedly Western feel while still building toward, and eventually moving through a sonically pummeling apex. Once again, vocals are sparse, but perfectly placed almost as if to remind the listener of how small a human being can be in so wide a space as the Midwest. Like that landlocked region, Idre‘s Idreis expansive and lets you see for miles. Idre on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Rainbows are Free, Waves ahead of the Ocean
Led by the substantial pipes of vocalist B. Fain Kistler, Norman, Oklahoma, four-piece Rainbows are Free seem keen on finding the place where classic doom and heavy rock meet, and on their second full-length, Waves ahead of the Ocean (released by Guestroom Records), they just about get there. Kistler is a singer worthy of comparison to Grand Magus‘ JB Christoffersson, but Rainbows are Free are less grandiose overall, early songs like “The Botanist,” the title-track and the cumbersomely-titled opener “Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place beyond Hell” nestling into heavy, engaging grooves marked out by the choice riffing of Richie Tarver, the bass work of Chad Hogue and drums of Bobby Onspaugh. Unpretentious and professional in their presentation, they doom up an otherwise Clutch-style boogie in “Cadillac” before going full-on trad metal in “Snake Bitten by Love,” and ably making their way through a Dio Sabbath push on “Burn and Die,” which works well despite feeling a long way from the upbeat rockin’ of earlier highlight “Sonic Demon” and leads smoothly into closer “Comet,” the six-and-a-half-minute spacier thrust of which seems to be seems to be where Rainbows are Free most choose to harken to the psychedelia one might expect from their moniker. They most drive toward the epic in their finale, and the payoff there is churning and insistent in a way that more than justifies the song’s position on the 37-minute record, but even then have a keen eye for structure and holding the attention of their audience. An impeccably put together album from a band more than ready to turn heads. Rainbows are Free on Thee Facebooks, Guestroom Records on Bandcamp.
Panopticon, Roads to the North
Despite the bluegrass influence and liberal inclusion of banjo amidst its blackened onslaught, Panopticon‘s Roads to the North (released on Bindrune) is perhaps most American of all for its pulling together seemingly disparate elements in defiance of European traditionalism. Billed as and creating the standard for American folk metal, it nonetheless is in conversation with European black metal — a conversation that in my head looks something like it’s being chased à la Benny Hill for its heresies — while purposefully working against its tenets. Roads to the Northis the fifth full-length from the one-man project of Kentucky’s Austin Lunn, and made in collaboration with Krallice‘s Colin Marston (among others), it elicits a sprawl through both its metallic extremity and its devotion to the aesthetic it pioneers. It makes for a heady 74-minute listen, but Panopticon are cohesive throughout — five records deep, they should be — and one doesn’t embark on an album like Roads to the Northlightly or without wanting full immersion into an evocative and blistering landscape. That’s just what you get. Panopticon on Thee Facebooks, Bindrune Recordings.
For the full list of albums added to The Obelisk Radio this week and to see the latest updates, click here.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I like this idea. Texas duo Stone Machine Electric have shown plenty of adventurous spirit over the last couple years, be it in their Kent Stump-recorded 2013 self-titled (review here), or bringing in a Warr guitarist (only to shortly dismiss him), or their prior 2010 live demo, Awash in Feedback(review here), so it seems to me they’ll be right in their element when it comes to wheeling in a portable recording setup and just seeing what happens.
The results — whatever they might turn out to be — will be pressed to a cassette and released sometime in the coming months. They’re calling it the Garage Tapein advance, which already speaks to a raw, jam-room feel. Stone Machine Electric is guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/thereminist Mark Kitchens, and while they don’t have an exact release date for the tape yet (the art below is also not necessarily the cover, just a logo I grabbed), it’s one I’ll look forward to hearing in the months to come.
Dig, Lazarus, dig:
Stone Machine Electric – Garage Tape
Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, is planning to have the studio come to them in the next month to record what is being called the “Garage Tape”.
Good friend and owner of Tin Can Records, Erik Carson, will be dragging his equipment into the practice space of the band. He’ll set up and record whatever Stone Machine Electric plans to do, which is unknown at this point.
The agenda for this outing is to provide a raw account of what goes on in their confines, which usually ends up on the stage. This could turn into an all out improvised jam, some new tracks the duo has been working on, or all of the above.
No release date is set. The outcome will be put out on cassette to provide that garage demo feel.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Based out of Boston, four-piece drone-folk magnates Owlfood, who released their fourth long-player last year in the form of the 27-minute single-track Destroyers of the Moon, have been confirmed for this year’s Gilead Media Fest in Wisconsin on July 19. Accordingly, they’ll head west next week and make four stops along the way with travel time in between, hitting Boston, Brooklyn, Columbus and Chicago before getting to Oshkosh, and sharing the stage with the likes of Windmills by the Ocean and Taiga.
I hadn’t heard Owlfood before the PR wire sent along the info and dates below, but the lineup for the Boston gig on Sunday looks right on, and unless a piano falls on my head between now and then, I’ll be there. More to come.
Until then, check out the Bandcamp stream of Destroyers of the Moonbelow for your fix of moody, dark psychedelics and minimalist, hopefully-no-one-talks-over-it-at-the-gig ambience:
OWLFOOD: Experimental Drone Folk Quartet To Kick Off US Tour En Route To Gilead Fest
Boston-based experimental drone folk quartet, OWLFOOD, will levy their bleached-out desert tones upon adventurous ears beginning next week. The short journey will begin on their home turf on July 13th and run through Brooklyn, Columbus and Chicago. The band will be joined by instrumental psyche rockers Windmills By The Ocean featuring members of Isis and Blacktail as well as the undulating and cinematic Taiga project featuring Bryant Clifford Meyer (Isis, Palms, Red Sparrows) on select dates. OWLFOOD will make their final descent in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 19th at Gilead Fest where they will share the stage with the likes of Thou, The Body, Inter Arma, Sea Of Bones and many more.
OWLFOOD will be journeying in support of their fourth LP, Destroyers Of The Moon, self-released last April. Featuring one twenty-seven-minute movement, the soundscape evoked in Destroyers Of The Moon began as a drawing; a graphic landscape. Conceiving the composition in a visual register in which, for example, barren plains give way to mountainous peaks, allowed OWLFOOD to develop a fuller tonality; a sonority richer and more differentiated than any of their previous recordings. Fans of OM and Scott Kelly pay heed. Dubbed “a glorious epic landscape of cinematic swirls,” by Aquarius Records and, “beautiful and exceptionally original,” by Anti-Gravity Bunny, Destroyers boasts a host of collaborators including Greg Moss (27), Meghan Mulhearn (Divine Circles, The Judas Horse, U.S. Christmas), David Bently and Nicholas Giadone Ward (both of Hallelujah The Hills).
OWLFOOD Live Rituals 2014: 7/13/2014 Middle East – Boston, MA w/ Windmills By The Ocean, High Aura’d, Neptune 7/15/2014 Matchless – Brooklyn, NY w/ Windmills By The Ocean, 27, Thurn & Taxis 7/17/2014 The Fuse Factory – Columbus, OH w/ Taiga, DOT 7/18/2014 Burlington Bar – Chicago, IL w/ Taiga, Rare Animals 7/19/2014 Gilead Fest @ Oshkosh Masonic Temple – Oshkosh, WI
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Call them the highwaymen. Inventive, progressive Southern California trio Old Man Wizard have announced a two-week West Coast run in support of their impressive late-2013 debut LP, Unfavorable (review here). The tour will begin next Friday in San Diego and wrap in Los Angeles — the band makes its home in both cities — on Aug. 2, with not a day off in between.
It’s an ambitious course for the three-piece to set as their first tour, but I’m sure they’ll come out of it with a few new friends made along the way and probably a good sleeping-on-the-floor kind of story to tell.
Good day. If you’re new to this, welcome to the Tower of Stone. Our tower now stands high enough to oversee the western United States, which we will promptly visit to regale with our tales of heroes, travellers, and fools. If you live in or near any of the cities listed above, we hope to see you in the flesh, and we hope you bring your comrades to share the experience with.
Today I am writing for one purpose and one purpose alone: To tell you how important it is that we bring people to these shows. There is no such thing as an independent band that tours or sells records. We are dependent on you: Our friends and fans. Without you we would be an independent idea, hungry for people to share itself with. Let us burn with life and be content.
Old Man Wizard’s Summer Tour Dates: 7/18/2014 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar 7/19/2014 – Tucson, AZ – The Rock 7/20/2014 – Tempe, AZ – Rogue Bar 7/21/2014 – Anaheim, CA – Doll Hut 7/22/2014 – Oakland, CA – Eli’s 7/23/2014 – San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern 7/24/2014 – Eugene, OR – Tiny Tavern 7/25/2014 – Portland, OR – East End 7/26/2014 – Tacoma, WA – TBA 7/27/2014 – Seattle, WA – Highline 7/30/2014 – Boise, ID – The Bouquet 7/31/2014 – Salt Lake City, UT – Shred Shed 8/01/2014 – Las Vegas, NV – The Divebar 8/02/2014 – Los Angeles, CA – Loaded
Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If Wasted Theory‘s intent in naming their self-released debut full-length Death and Taxes was to call to mind “sure things,” then they’ve chosen wisely. Accordingly, the eight-track, 34-minute stomper from the Southern-minded Delaware double-guitar foursome unpretentiously plays off any number of them, be it crunching heavy riffs, “whiskey-soaked” throaty vocals, lyrics about booze and cars, or classic stoner metal grooves. As Wasted Theory‘s first long-player, it builds on the steady momentum the band — comprised of guitarist/vocalist Larry Jackson, Jr., guitarist Dave McMahon, bassist Jonathan Charles and drummer/lyricist Brendan Burns (also the organizer of the Eye of the Stoned Goat festival series) — built over the course of the last couple years and two EPs, 2012′s Cinco Dechado de Cancionand 2013′s GodSpeed(discussed here), as well as a split with Jaw Horse to result in a cohesive outing based around familiar ideals. There are selections and sections where it feels like they’re playing more to expectation, particularly late on the album with the closing duo of “Tire Iron (The Stone Giant)” and “Black Widow Liquor Run,” but they never fail to engage with strongly constructed hooks and a clear-cut love of The Riff. I refuse to rag on a self-releasing band’s debut for delving into the cliché. That’s what debuts are for, and it’s to the credit of Wasted Theory that the professionalism of their production – Death and Taxeswas engineered by Paul Janocha at Ken-Del Studios in Wilmington, DE — might draw out the expectation of a more established individual sensibility. Ultimately, there are parts of their game Wasted Theory are still figuring out and parts they very much have nailed down. The “be very heavy” is taken care of.
As is the songwriting. Front to back, Death and Taxesdelivers on what the live-recorded GodSpeedpromised, which was that Wasted Theory were well on their way toward crafting lasting heavy hooks that stayed with the listener after playback stopped. Across the board the album seems to work in pairs, and cuts like opener “Dead is Dead” and the ensuing shuffle of “Boogie on Pony Boy” immediately establish the band’s methodology without giving away the total stylistic range, nestling into the particularly American dudely burl that has emerged over the course of the last several years in the wake of Down, C.O.C., Clutch, and particularly in Wasted Theory‘s case, Alabama Thunderpussy, whose earlier days seem to find a modern reinterpretation in Jackson‘s vocals. Retaining their penchant for nod-ready pacing, “Hellfire Ritual” and “Hexes” — which also appeared in that order on the Jaw Horse split — add in a less jammy take on some of Wo Fat‘s swampadelia, the latter standing out as a particularly strong ending to what would no doubt be the end of a vinyl side A before the vibe gets pushed even further on the feedback-intro’ed “Celestial Voodoo Lounge,” the only track on Death and Taxesto saunter past the five-minute mark. As side B should, “Celestial Voodoo Lounge” expands the sonic palette, with a more subdued verse and play of open parts off denser stretches, riffs at the fore either way. “Celestial Voodoo Lounge” is paired next to “Absinthe Queen,” the shortest of the bunch at 3:18, which strips the approach down to its barest parts and gives a no-frills showcase of the structures Wasted Theory are working with, verses and choruses intertwining smoothly before a guitar solo leads the way to the finish. It is both well executed and, by then, well expected.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It didn’t take much more than the swinging, catchy chorus of “Fuck yesterday/Fuck today/Fuck tomorrow” from opener “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” for Kings‘ debut EP, I Trust the Hounds are Hungry, to have me hooked. The leadoff track from the Leeds-based five-piece featuring former Humanfly guitarist/vocalist John Sutcliffe (here just vocals) as well as guitarists Jonty Shaw and Joe Hodgson, bassist Paul Handley and drummer Simon Blakelock — all who formerly worked together under the moniker Shields — establishes the base for the rest of the release in tying together a sharp lyrical wit with weighted but upbeat doom-pop push. At times Kings sound like they’re working within the post-Floor/Torche framework, but Blakelock‘s drumming is coming from someplace more metal, swing though it does, and their take is rawer overall despite the accessibility of their hooks and fervent melodicism.
They do it well, and sound more accomplished on their first release perhaps because four-fifths of the band has worked together previously – Shields had songs recorded and had been playing live — but however they got to cohesion, the important thing is they did. Cumbersome in its title but direct in its impact, second cut “Matron, Hand Me My Revolver, I’m Going for a Walk in the Woods, “I May be Some Time” affirms the quality craft of the opener and overarching efficiency of the release; I Trust the Hounds are Hungryisn’t without atmosphere, but the material is still pretty pointed. A swaying groove leads finishes out and leads to the airy opening of “Fuck Quest,” which has a more manic feel thanks to double-timed hi-hat work, but opens up to a mosh-ready chorus, Sutcliffe‘s vocals further back in the mix but still clean as Shaw and Hodgson play off burgeoning lead/rhythm dynamics. “Helen Earth” is probably their most Torche-sounding, but they maintain a progressive feel leading to a chugging build in the second half that answers back the gulping Hungry Hungry Hippo riffing that capped “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” and moves forward into the instrumental “Shit Leopard” (presumably with its shit spots) smoothly, a cold stop giving way to some sampled crumpling noise and a more mellowed-out progressivism in the guitars.
Rounding out, “P.S. Go Fuck Yourself” brings in elements of post-Mastodon riffy largesse, but Kings continue to keep motion central to their approach, a cyclical pre-chorus opening to one of the EP’s most effective hooks. As one might expect, the finish is big and chaotic, and that adds to the full-length feel of the 25-minute I Trust the Houndsare Hungryand bodes well for the construction of Kings‘ first full-length, making it an impressive first outing for a band who write their potential into each of the six included tracks.
Kings will release the I Trust the Hounds are HungryEP this Saturday, July 5, but you can hear it in full using the player below. Thanks to the band for permission to host the stream:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was hoping this would happen sooner or later. Last month, when All Them Witches released their new EP/single Effervescent – a single instrumental jam spanning over 25 minutes — the Nashville four-piece only put it up on YouTube. Not the worst thing in the world, at least it was out there, but for those of us who might like to, say, add the mp3 to an online radio playlist that already includes All Them Witches‘ two albums, Our Mother Electricity(review here) and Lightning at the Door(discussed here), it made things a little more difficult. Fortunately, the band has rectified the situation and posted Effervescenton their Bandcamp page for a free download.
And by “free,” I don’t mean “name your price.” I mean they’re not charging for it. And they probably could. Yeah, it was recorded on a four-track, and yeah, it’s basically the dudes the band noodling out for nearly half an hour, but the fact of the matter is simply that there are people who undoubtedly would shell out some cash to hear what All Them Witches sound like in the rehearsal space. It doesn’t sound like the worst way to blow a couple bucks. Nonetheless, this one’s on the house. If you haven’t heard it yet, “Effervescent” is an engaging, hypnotic and psychedelic affair that still maintain’s the band’s connection to the blues. There isn’t a huge wash of effects, but a feeling of raw exploration throughout that makes it a pleasure to get lost in as
You can download All Them Witches‘ EffervescentEP via the Bandcamp player below. The band will be touring this fall with Rochester, NY, outfit King Buffalo on the East Coast in advance of heading to Europe to play the Keep it Low festival and Desertfest Belgium, and will reportedly have Lightning at the Doorout on vinyl prior to hitting the road. Dates follow the player.
7/30-Atlanta, GA – The Drunken Unicorn 7/31-Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia 8/1-Birmingham, AL – Secret Stages 8/21-New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/ KING BUFFALO 8/22-Philadelphia, PA – MilkBoy Philadelphia w/ KING BUFFALO 8/23-Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater Living Room w/ KING BUFFALO 8/24-Richmond, VA – Strange Matter w/ KING BUFFALO 8/26-Ithaca, NY – The Dock w/ KING BUFFALO 8/27-Rochester, NY – Bug Jar w/ KING BUFFALO 8/28-Nashville, TN – TBA
The amorphous (and amphibious!) UK collective The Kings of Frog Island have new vinyl impending. A little more than a year after the self-release of their fourth album, IV (review here), the Kings will follow it up with V, their second long-player since parting ways with Elektrohasch, who released their first three records. I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but the band have unveiled a video for the song “Sunburn” from the new one, and it certainly sounds like things are right on track and that all is as it should be on Frog Island.
One of the most surprising aspects of IVwas just how jammed out it felt. The Kings of Frog Island, recording in their own Amphibious Sound Studios II, stretched beyond the garage styling of their third outing, the nighttime desert-isms of their second and the territory-scoping fuzz of their debut to toy with a whole host of new vibes. Made for vinyl and broken into two extended sides even digitally, IVknew what it wanted in terms of aesthetic and got there boldly, but it was clear The Kings of Frog Island were trying new sounds and reaching out into different spheres on purpose.
Part of that is lineup, the notable absence of Josiah‘s Mat Bethancourt, etc., but there’s a creative push at the heart of The Kings of Frog Island that remains consistent no matter who’s involved, and going by “Sunburn,” that remains true on Vas well. The new song retains the ultra-blissed out feel of IVto some degree, but to compare it to “Long Live the King” (video here), which was the public introduction to that album, its structure is much more straightforward and traditional, less jam-intensive. I don’t know at this point whether that will be the case for Von the whole — and, frankly, I can’t imagine The Kings of Frog Island would stick to just one approach the whole time anyway — but the catchy dreaminess of “Sunburn” makes an interesting first look at Vand shows the group’s progression is as alive as ever.
The video for “Sunburn” was made by Bulletree Films in Brazil. Enjoy:
The Kings of Frog Island, “Sunburn” official video
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I think we’re still a ways off from getting a release date for the long-awaited debut from Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, but that the mix has been finalized and the album has entered the mastering stage is news of progress, and I’ll take what I can get. The Tad Doyle-fronted outfit released their demo (review here) and a split with Mico de Noche (review here) in 2009, which just to save you the math, was five years ago.
So yeah, this one’s been a while in the making, though Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (who are also my most comfortable t-shirt) have been playing shows most of that time and Doyle has also recorded other bands at his Studio Witch Ape, including the Lumbar project, in which he also took part with Aaron Edge and YOB‘s Mike Scheidt. Better delayed than never, and I have the feeling once the record — which was recorded by Billy Anderson – arrives, I won’t give a shit how long it’s been since the demo came out.
Still, the sooner the better. Their update:
Recording update: We have the final mixes for the record and we are extremely satisfied with the Billy Anderson mix treatments that we did at Everything Hz. Nine songs have been mixed.
Billy has been a excellent to work with and has added dimensions and sonic depths that only he could have brought to these songs. When a band talks about having a fourth member, (a mix engineer/recording engineer/soundman) that have contributed to the music in such a way that it brings out things in the mix and out of the songs that is greater than the sum of it’s parts, we know what that means.
We will be working with Billy in the future for our next recording. In the meantime, we can’t wait to find a home for these songs with a record label that understands us and is willing to back us to get this music to the people. Next up is analog mastering with Justin Weis at Trakworx!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I had both of these bands on my “gotta see in 2014″ list, so I’ll be glad to kill two birds with one stone and catch All Them Witches touring with King Buffalo in the Northeast. There are just a handful of shows, and while I’m sure both will tour again and hit more towns that, say, aren’t a four-hour drive, the chance to see them now, and together, makes these gigs something special.
For Rochester, NY, heavy rockers King Buffalo, the tour is more their home turf. They’ll be out supporting their late-2013 three-song demo (review here), which showed their growth out of half the band’s former outfit, Velvet Elvis, and toward a more atmospheric approach, varied and tonally warm even on demo recordings. That demo was one of the best short releases of 2013, and King Buffalo were picked up by STB Records for the release of their first full-length as a result. The album is expected before the end of the year.
The recently-interviewed All Them Witches released a new single on June 15 called “Effervescent” that offered the strongest look yet at their jammier side. Heavy psychedelic blues made languid and sprawled over 25 minutes made an engaging follow-up to 2013′s excellent Lightning at the Doorfull-length, and as they promise to have vinyl with them on the tour, even though they don’t say vinyl of what, I can’t imagine it won’t be welcome by anyone who passes by the merch table.
All Them Witches will play a few shows in the south before the tour starts in NYC. Their full schedule goes like this:
Got some summer dates confirmed. We will have VINYL.
7/30-Atlanta, GA – The Drunken Unicorn 7/31-Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia 8/1-Birmingham, AL – Secret Stages 8/21-New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/ KING BUFFALO 8/22-Philadelphia, PA – MilkBoy Philadelphia w/ KING BUFFALO 8/23-Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater Living Room w/ KING BUFFALO 8/24-Richmond, VA – Strange Matter w/ KING BUFFALO 8/26-Ithaca, NY – The Dock w/ KING BUFFALO 8/27-Rochester, NY – Bug Jar w/ KING BUFFALO 8/28-Nashville, TN – TBA!!!!!!!!