Murcielago, Murcielago: Like Bricks

Posted in Reviews on November 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

murcielago murcielago

Listening to Murcielago‘s self-titled, self-released debut, it’s not a huge surprise that some of it comes across sounding akin to Boston heavy rock headliners Roadsaw. There are commonalities superficial and otherwise. First of all, their lineup boasts guitarist Ian Ross, who also plays in Roadsaw. The album was recorded by Benny Grotto, who has also helmed outings for Roadsaw, at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, which is owned by Roadsaw vocalist Craig RiggsRiggs also makes a guest appearance on the boogie-fied penultimate cut, “Zora,” backing up bassist Neil Collins, who works in a somewhat likeminded style vocally at points throughout as well. And aside from the consistency of Ross‘ guitar tone and being demographically similar — at least the three-quarters of the band that’s not Ross; that part is demographically the same — the two acts share a core approach based around giving modern heavy interpretation to classic methods. As I understand it, Ross joined Murcielago after they had already been together for some time with Collins, guitarist/backing vocalist Matthew Robbins, who also sings lead on “Fairlane Swain” and took the photo on the cover, and drummer Brian Chaloux, so I don’t know where they were in terms of writing this material when he came aboard, but his tone, even in combination with Robbins‘, is recognizable. Murcielago distinguish themselves through what they do with their riff-led heavy grooves, and in the subtly brooding personality that emerges on cuts like opener “Bulldozers,” which leads off the 10-song/43-minute offering nestling quickly into a steady rolling groove that proves to be a specialty of Murcielago as the album progresses. Ultimately, if they prove anything across Murcielago‘s span, it’s that they know what they want sound-wise and they know how to make it a reality, which is more than a lot of “first albums” can offer.

If you’re a fan of unpretentious American heavy, Small Stone-style rock, there’s going to be little here with which to find argument. “Bulldozers” and “Money,” both right around six minutes, show off the fullness of sound Murcielago can harness when they so choose and the swing that they can bring to a rhythm, Collins giving away some punk roots in the chorus of the latter, which hits hard after a start-stop verse. Unsurprisingly for a two-guitar four-piece, there’s a good bit of soloing to be had, and Ross and Robbins trade off readily — the former in the right channel, the latter in the left — adding salt to “Money,” which but for “Fairlane Swain” is the longest track here at 6:01. “Cheebahawk,” which follows, is shorter and faster both, but not so far removed in spirit, its straightforward push, crisp cymbal sound and Collins‘ vocal command guiding from a riff-heavy beginning into a quick, semi-twanging midsection that presages some of what’s to come on “Smoke Season” before returning to the thick-toned riffs and a one-into-the-next solo from Robbins and Ross, leading to the last verse and chorus. When it arrives, “Smoke Season” is the first of three shorter pieces. It and the later “Like Bricks,” which provides a split between highlights “Way too Far” and “Fairlane Swain,” are interludes, and the backwards-cymbal-forwards-guitar “The Last Line” is the album’s outro after “Zora.” They get progressively longer until the last one, but the difference is “Smoke Season” is acoustic — Collins and Robbins working together on guitar — and it’s probably the most classic rock stretch of Murcielago, which is fitting since it kicks off a strong middle-third and comes before the fuzzed out “Don’t Do Nothin’,” Collins channeling his inner Riggs with just the right riff to do so over. One of the record’s most resonant hooks, “Don’t Do Nothing” gives way to the no-frills stomp-and-run of “Way too Far,” and the two make for an excellent pair, showing off some of Murcielago at their best.

murcielago

That said, Murcielago is also a record that becomes a richer listen as it goes on. If one looks at the tracklist as divisible into three sections, “Bulldozers,” “Money” and “Cheebahawk” make for a solid lead-in, “Smoke Season,” “Don’t Do Nothin’,” and the mega-catchy “Way too Far” push further into quality songwriting and begin to expand the instrumental scope, and with “Like Bricks” as an intro, “Fairlane Swain,” “Zora” and “The Last Line” show that they’re not afraid to shake up their own approach, whether it’s with Chaloux‘s backwards cymbals on the outro, bringing in Riggs on “Zora” — which seems to be about a two-year sailing trip undertaken by Collins from 2004 to 2006 — or Robbins taking lead vocal charge on “Fairlane Swain.” At 7:44, the latter strikes a balance between instrumental progression and a foundational hook revolving around the lines, “Heavy metal parking lot/Just a dimebag of shit pot…” describing scenes taken from what seems to be personal reference — a photo of a 1966 Ford Fairlane provided by and presumably featuring one Steve Swain flipping off the camera is included in one of the inside panels of the six-panel digipak — atop a riff that’s just about universal before delivering the title line with underclassman’s reverence to a classic image of cool. Or is it contempt? Either way, the album’s instrumental payoff follows, built from the ground up and boasting highlight guitar work from both Robbins and Ross, and “Zora” gives a Dozer-worthy last kick in the ass before the quiet psych-bluesy “The Last Line” caps off a record that doesn’t seem to want to end. Fair enough, but by the time it gets there, Murcielago‘s Murcielago can’t be accused of leaving something unsaid. Rather, the foursome’s debut delivers a complete-album feel and a vibe that develops as it unfolds and helps greatly to individualize the band. Whatever, and whoever, they may share, Murcielago leave their first long-player behind them having given the listener a sense of who they are musically and what they want to accomplish here and going forward stylistically. They’re not green as musicians and they don’t sound like it, but the self-titled neither lacks pulse nor wants anything for songwriting.

Murcielago, “Way too Far”

Murcielago on Thee Facebooks

Murcielago on Bandcamp

Murcielago at Bull Moose Records

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Space Guerrilla New EP Boundless Available Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

space guerrilla

Classic stoner nod permeates Boundless, the debut release from Brazilian instrumental trio Space Guerrilla, but I think what really won me over was the Planet of the Apes sample in opener “Lift Off,” taken from the film’s opening monologue, by a pre-“cold dead hands” Charlton Heston. Haven’t watched that movie in a while — though I just saw the second reboot flick that came out last summer, and meh; Andy Sirkis is a highly-specialized genius and no James Franco is always a plus — but might have to break it out again and see if I can line it and the EP up to play at the same time. I doubt it’ll have any strange synchronized effect or anything, but might be fun either way, though the Planet of the Apes lines are just one of a multitude of samples used throughout the five-track outing.

The whole EP is available to stream on the band’s Soundcloud, so feel free to dig in on the player below if you’re looking for something riffy and spacey for the afternoon. Also included is some background on Space Guerrilla, should you want to familiarize yourself. They like stoner rock:

space guerrilla boundless

In August 2013, a journey through time and space began. The cosmonauts Angelo Boose (guitar), Cristiano Muniz (bass) and Guga RB (drums) reunited in the city of Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, to start the deep space cruising by Space Guerrilla. Throughout long smokey reharsal sessions, they wrote five songs which are part of its first EP “Boundless”, recorded at Hurricane Studio by the wizard Sebastian Carsin.

Gathering inspiration from distant galaxies, Space Guerrilla’s music is influenced by stoner rock bands such as Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Unida, Dozer, Truckfighters, Weedpecker, and 60’s-70’s rock bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream and others.

EP Boundless (2014)
https://soundcloud.com/spaceguerrilla/sets/boundless

soundcloud.com/spaceguerrilla
facebook.com/spaceguerrilla
spaceguerrilla.tumblr.com
twitter.com/SpaceGuerrilla_

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Mountain God to Release New EP in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time it comes out, it’ll be about a year since the first announcement from Brooklyn’s Mountain God of their forthcoming EP, Forest of the Lost. Why the delay? Well, aside from playing shows, which they’ve done all year, most recently at Brooklyn’s Sludgefeast this past weekend alongside Naam for their final gig, It’s Not Night: It’s Space and an impressive assemblage of others, they’ve also had a few lineup changes, trading out drummer Ian Murray for Ryan Smith (also of Thera Roya) and losing keyboardist Jon Powell to a move, only to fill the gap with noisemaker/vocalist Chris “Dickler” Dialogue, formerly a bandmate of Mountain God bassist Nihil Kamineni in AlkahestKamineni, who also handles recording for the band, and guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi remain from the original lineup (pictured above), and though both Murray and Powell played on Forest of the Lost, it seems like Mountain God‘s expanding conceptual basis — not to mention their biography — is only going to get more complex as time goes on.

If you look out the right side of the plane, you’ll see this off the PR wire:

mountain god logo.jpg

On February 20th, 2015, Mountain God will release its sophomore record, “Forest of the Lost”. The EP is a concept record, consisting of a single song broken down into different movements.

The diverse track twists and turns over the course of 20 minutes, focusing on the plight of a medieval village, located somewhere in the deepest recesses of mankind’s history. The village children, left to their own devices, disappear into the night searching for proof of a local witch, all the while their parents engage in acts of depravity and debauchery.

As the story reaches a climax, the listener is challenged into thinking about the cast of characters, and the true nature of good, evil, neutrality, and indifference. Musically, the record is a melding of 60s and 70s psychedelics and aesthetics with the heaviness, crunch, and shattering riffs of traditional doom and metal.

“Forest” builds on the ground covered in “Experimentation on the Unwilling” (released July 2013), exploring new sounds and textures, all the while continuing down the pathway of socially conscious topics.

The band will play a record release show February 20th in Brooklyn, and the track will have a physical release. Mountain God will release more information about each of these points later in the year.

https://www.facebook.com/MountainGodBand
http://mountain-god.bandcamp.com/releases
http://archaicrevivalrecords.bandcamp.com/

Mountain God, Live at Sludgefeast, Brooklyn, NYC, Nov. 15, 2014

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Face on Mars, Face on Mars: Getting Loud

Posted in Reviews on November 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

face on mars face on mars

Though Mississippi-based five-piece Face on Mars got together in 2006, their recent self-titled full-length is their debut. They had a track feature on a StonerRock.com compilation back when such things existed and released a split in 2011 with punkers Before I Hang, the song from which, “Jump the Gun,” also appears as the centerpiece of the nine-track Face on Mars. They position themselves as a psychedelic fuzz band, and eight-minute closer “The Last Astronaut” has some trippy effects and a jammier feel to bear that out, but the bulk of what the album has to offer is straightforward, Small Stone Records-style American heavy rock, guitarist/vocalist Drew Kern tapping into his inner Dave Wyndorf vocally while the band — Kern, guitarist/vocalist Matthew Curtis, bassist Jonathan Lee Parks, drummer Jarod Lumpkin and keyboardist/guitarist Drew White – drive home riffs somewhere between a less-garage Baby Woodrose and, particularly in the case of opener “We Get Loud,” earlier Queens of the Stone Age‘s still-accessible sprint. A love of classic heavy is professed, and I don’t doubt it, but the production is modern across Face of Mars‘ 43 minutes, which play out in capably heavy, somewhat predictable fashion their riff-led, full-toned thrust.

An earlier cut like “Golden Throne” and the later “Screaming Boy” seem to have some touch of Lord Fowl-style boogie, but not knowing when in the last eight years these tracks were written, I wouldn’t want to cite an influence mistakenly. No doubt the Chris Goosman mastering job had some effect in that regard — Goosman handles a lot of work for Small Stone, including the aforementioned Lord Fowl‘s 2012 outing, Moon Queen – but Face on Mars inject some classic Sabbathism into “Beat ‘em Dead”‘s bluesy roll and find further distinction through White‘s various synth/key/lapsteel contributions. Kern is an able vocalist well suited to the riffs he’s topping, his style gruff but not caricature dudely, and over Lumpkin‘s cowbell and funked out start-stop riffing in second cut “Psychedelic Jesus,” he keeps a solid balance of restraint and blues in what he does, bolstered by echoes so that the style comes across somewhere between KISS and Mountain as filtered through the second Sasquatch record. Face on Mars have a few killer hooks up their collective sleeve, and “Psychedelic Jesus” is one of them, and the fuzzier “Jump the Gun” is another, but there’s room to grow as well in the handling of a lower tempo in “Source of Ignition.” They’re right to want to change things up, and they’re right in where they want to do it, but while the second half of the track takes off in an airy barrage of guitar leads (before returning to the chorus), the earlier verses don’t have the same kind of power. “Screaming Boy,” which follows, is a suitable kick in the ass to get things moving again.

face on mars

The instrumental “Minnows” (shortest here at 2:12) is a lead-in for “The Last Astronaut (longest at 8:37), but has its own progression as well, and particularly with how well the one plays off the other, I wouldn’t call what Face on Mars present on their first album underbaked or overblown — they simply give themselves avenues for further development should they embark on a follow-up to their debut. I’d be interested to hear them continue to toy with psychedelic elements — the keys, the wash of leads — as they refine their verse/chorus tradeoffs and tighten some of the transitions like that coming back to the hook in “Source of Ignition.” “The Last Astronaut” isn’t close to being their most raucous moment, but I’d argue it’s their most commanding, and the exploratory feel that comes forward as it moves past the halfway point (not to mention Parks‘ bassline) satisfies immensely. I guess that’s the kind of thing you do in your last song, but Face on Mars prove throughout this outing that they know what they’re doing enough to be more daring should they want to be. Among the elements that ultimately work greatly in their favor is the production of Face on Mars – helmed by the band with engineering/mixing by Mark Black at Black Magic Studios in Hattiesburg — sometimes in areas not known for a huge heavy rock scene, bands come out with records that sound either too metal and have no low end or too flat and lack warmth. Face on Mars sound crisp and come through clearly on these tracks, and are plenty full between the guitars, bass, and synth, but still have enough natural edge so that they don’t sound completely divorced from what the songs might be when coming from a stage. Whatever they do from here, however they might evolve, they’ll do so from a worthy first outing light on pretense and assured of where it wants to be sonically.

Face on Mars, Face on Mars (2014)

Face on Mars on Thee Facebooks

Face on Mars on Bandcamp

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On Wax: The Cosmic Trigger, The Cosmic EP

Posted in On Wax on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-cosmic-trigger-voltaire-cover-and-record

There is a stark contrast between the A and B sides of The Cosmic Trigger‘s new, self-released 7″, The Cosmic EP. The Fort Worth four-piece’s release, pressed to thick vinyl and arriving in a quality-stock matte-finish gatefold sleeve with righteous vertical cover art by Michael Sturrock, is two songs, “Voltaire” and “Catharsis,” totaling just over 11 minutes, and they vary their sounds widely from one to the next. “Voltaire” owes some of its rocking bounce to Thin Lizzy, the guitars of Spenser Freeman and Tyrel Choat meshing along a running, winding course, while Choat‘s vocals growl out a kind of drawn-back Metallica gruffness in the verse, only to open to a cleaner shout in the chorus, given steady punctuation by drummer Josh Farmer‘s sharp snare and a low-end foundation for the guitars by bassist Dustin Choat. It’s catchy, and the recording — by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas — the cosmic trigger the cosmic ep coveris clear and crisp. It seems initially that perhaps too much so, and like The Cosmic Trigger would benefit from being roughed up a bit, but particularly for those who didn’t hear their 2012 debut full-length, The New Order of the Cosmos, “Catharsis” goes a long way toward explaining where the band is coming from.

Not to be confused with the YOB song of the same name, “Catharsis” works its way around a prog-metal bassline from Dustin and, though Tyrel works in largely the same vocal style, the lyrics (printed on the inside of the vinyl gatefold) give a different take, a severe narrative of betrayal and a murderous chorus of, “You ain’t going home tonight/You’ve seen my face/I’ll see the light drain from your eyes/But you ain’t going home tonight,” blindsiding with its violent intent. By contrast, “Voltaire”‘s lyrics call out the philosopher and question the prospect of modern mortality, but if they’re concerned with death, it’s certainly not death by the speaker’s own hands directed at what seems like an ex-girlfriend. Maybe I’m reading too much into metaphor, but it comes on pretty strong in the song itself, the tapped guitar and basslines building to a head before launching into a riffier closing section after the lyrics, “You’ve made your choice and/Now you’re dead to me.” Fair enough. It may be that The Cosmic Trigger enjoy toying with these ideas as much as they clearly enjoy pitting subgenres against each other, but if you were to take on The Cosmic EP unawares, it could easily be jarring. I guess, if you’re going to take a listen, the cosmic triggerjust be warned. Someone might get hurt.

The full-length, though it featured a different guitarist alongside Tyrel, worked in a similar stylistic vein on the border between heavy rock groove, metallic aggression and progressive intricacy. Listening to The Cosmic EP, it seems the band are still figuring out where on that spectrum exactly they want to position themselves, or at least which stylistic basis from which they want to explore outward. Performance-wise, they’re tight and cohesive enough that there’s nothing to make me think they wouldn’t be able to arrive at that point, and both of these songs are well constructed, it’s just a very ambitious aesthetic they’re trying to capture and they have work to do before they get there.

The Cosmic Trigger, The Cosmic EP (2014)

The Cosmic Trigger on Thee Facebooks

The Cosmic Trigger on Bandcamp

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Stone Machine Electric Announce Garage Tape Remix

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

stone-machine-electric-(Photo-by-Lynda-Kitchens)

Arlington, Texas, two-piece Stone Machine Electric are moving ever closer to the heart of the jam. They’ve set a Dec. 9 release date for the limited cassette issue of Garage Tape, the title of which seems to tell a lot of the story. It’s Stone Machine Electric — the once again and seemingly permanently sans-bass duo of guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/thereminist Mark Kitchens — jamming in a garage. In August, they had Erik Carson of Tin Can Records record them at their practice space, and the fruits of that session are what you get with Garage Tape. Considering the band’s last release was the show-recording 2013.02.07 (discussed here), they seem to be pushing further toward giving listeners an inside look at what they do, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s always an awesome thing to see with a band like this.

Not only are they going as raw as possible, though, but as a bonus, they’ve partnered with Texan countryman expirimentalist and lower-case practitioner the owl and the octopus for a special remix of Garage Tape itself. I guess the whole thing? I’m not really sure, but it’s a fascinating idea. The PR wire has more:

stone machine electric garage tape

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Garage Tape Remix

On December 9th, 2014, we will release the “Garage Tape” digitally and on cassette. This outing will show you what it is like peer into our jam space. These jams weave in and out of consciousness, glazing the listener with tonal build-ups and tearing out landscapes with riff-laden precision. “Garage Tape” demonstrates how to lose your head and see what happens.

Texas heavy duo, Stone Machine Electric, will be releasing the “Garage Tape” on December 9th, 2014. In anticipation of this, the band has decided to add a little something extra to this release.

Stone Machine Electric has recruited local noisemaker extraordinaire, the owl and the octopus, to do a remix of the “Garage Tape”. It will be included as an extra with the download of the tape. Please note that all tapes will come with a digital download included. Hopefully it will be ready by release…

Release show is set for January 16th, 2015 at The Grotto with Wo Fat and Maneaters of Tsavo, with special guests Whoa! Fat Machine.

To check out the owl and the octopus, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/owlandoctopus

http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stone-Machine-Electric/280507262510

Stone Machine Electric, 2013.02.07 (2013)

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XII Boar Release Motörhead Cover Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

xii boar

UK burl rockers XII Boar — which even though I know it’s pronounced “twelve boar” I still always say as “zhee-boar” — have issued a new digital single that’s a take on Motörhead‘s “Damage Case.” The Southern-styled sludge rock three-piece, somewhat unsurprisingly if you’ve heard their stuff before, beef up the Motörhead original, which appeared on side B of 1979’s classic Overkill. It’s a pretty bold cover to take on, but XII Boar have specialized in the brash since they got going, as their 2014 single Truck Stop Baby will attest, and they’re right in their element with the bruiser groove of “Damage Case,” which can be downloaded free via their Bandcamp page.

They sent word down the PR wire of the new track, and I spliced in a bit of bio background in case you’re unfamiliar. The track itself you can check out on the YouTube player below:

xii boar damage case

UK Metal & Roll Heavy Weights ‘XII Boar’ pay tribute to Motörhead

UK stoner and sludge scene regulars, ‘XII Boar’ have done a surprise release covering Motörhead’s classic ‘Damage Case’ for your audio pleasure. Putting their own slamming take on the tune and reworking it in their southern fried, crushing, sludgey style, it has been a smash hit across the interweb and already received rave reviews!

Speeding at you like an out of control train, XII Boar (pronounced ‘Twelve Boar’) have been tearing a new one into the stoner/sludge/metal scene over the last 2 years. The three-piece wrecking ball from Aldershot, Hampshire, blast their way into your skull with ear-splitting leads, sonic riffs, filthy bass lines, whiskey drenched vocals and a sweet southern groove.

Combining Motörhead’s swagger, Sabbath’s downtrodden doom and the swinging crunch of Corrosion of Conformity – these Hampshire louts lay down a colossal slab of rock n’ roll-infused groove metal that fuels even the greatest parties.

Not bad for a band who literally do all the hard work in house. Having independently recorded, produced and released two EPs since their inception, they have garnered much attention and rave reviews from both the press and fans alike.

You can get a free copy via their bandcamp: http://xiiboar.bandcamp.com/track/damage-case-motorhead-cover

and view it here on youtube: http://youtu.be/MUY89L-g94I

Watch out: It may blow your eardrums into smithereens.

www.facebook.com/xiiboar
www.xiiboar.com

Xii Boar, “Damage Case”

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High Fighter Release Debut EP The Goat Ritual

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

high fighter

With former members of A Million Miles and Buffalo Hump in the ranks, Hamburg five-piece High Fighter have released their debut EP, The Goat Ritual. It’s available now using something called the “internet” — I think I spelled that right — and features five tracks that pull together elements from classic stoner rock and modern metal, screams intertwining with melodic vocals over heavy and propelled riffing. The full thing can be streamed on the player below, and they’re asking one euro for a download, which I’m pretty sure translates to $75 by now. Ask about generous interest rates.

Info and audio:

high fighter the goat ritual

HIGH FIGHTER: Former members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump & Pyogenesis Unveil New Band!

Stream First EP The Goat Ritual in Full

After the release of their critically acclaimed album in early 2013 & their surprising split right after in early 2013, former A Million Miles frontwoman Mona Miluski & guitarist Christian Shi Pappas, have teamed up with Stoner Rock group Bufallo Hump – who had already been joined by ex-Pyogenesis drummer Thomas Wildelau – have just unveiled a brand new band known as HIGH FIGHTER!

Born in summer 2014 & with those great, former bands involved, HIGH FIGHTER delivers heavy stoner metal riffs, sludgy blues rock, hardcore elements and the relentless, intense and almost violent vocals by Mona. The band just recorded their first EP called The Goat Ritual – accordingly to the band live over one weekend in their rehearsal room – “no studio, no highclass polished production, just pure, simple and heavy!” stated the band just recently on their Facebook page.

And from there it became more than just a representable demo. HIGH FIGHTER’s brand new EP The Goat Ritual is now available to stream free at: http://bit.ly/1nHeqnC

Based in Hamburg, Germany, HIGH FIGHTER have announced their first show in their hometown on December 19th 2014. The band is currently in writing process for a full-length album and will be unveiling more gigs & news soon!

High Fighter are:
Mona Miluski – vocals (ex-A Million Miles)
Christian “Shi” Pappas – rhythm guitar (ex-A Million Miles)
Ingwer Boysen – lead guitar (ex-Buffalo Hump)
Constantin Wu?st – bass (ex-Buffalo Hump)
Thomas Wildelau – drums (ex-Pyogenesis & Buffalo Hump)

For More Info Visit:
www.facebook.com/HighFighter
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual (2014)

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All Them Witches Release Live Recordings and New Video; 2015 Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

all them witches

Since Nashville’s All Them Witches hit the road back over the summer, I’ve heard a couple times they were recording the shows, and those recordings have now come to fruition in a series of bootleg-style releases. Each of the 12 currently out shares the same cover, and the live shows have taken over the four-piece’s Bandcamp, which previously housed their two albums, this/last year’s Lightning at the Door (review here) and 2012’s Our Mother Electricity (review here), as well as several other one-off singles, jams, etc. They’re on tour now, having just played at Day of the Shred out in California — dates below — and one can’t help but wonder if they’ll continue to record and release gigs in this manner. Two bucks per show isn’t awful. I seem to recall when Primus first did it, they wanted $10 a pop, but that was 2007 and downloads had only existed for like six months or something.

All Them Witches also have a new video out for “Charles William” from Lightning at the Door, which seems to have become the de facto single of the album, reasonably so for its burrowing hook, and they’ve just announced their first round of tour dates for the New Year. More to follow, I’m sure.

Info and links:

We are now using our bandcamp page exclusivly for live show recordings. We will be uploading a shit ton of shows on a regular basis. $1.99 for a whole show ain’t a bad deal! There are some sick jams too.

All Them Witches tour dates:
November 4 San Francisco, CA Hemlock Tavern
November 6 Eugene, OR Cozmic Pizza
November 7 Portland, OR Bunk Bar
November 8 Seattle, WA Sunset Tavern
November 9 Vancouver, BC The Cobalt
November 11 Salt Lake City, UT The Shred Shed
November 12 Denver, CO Lost Lake Lounge
November 13 Omaha, NE Reverb Lounge
November 14 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room 
November 15 St. Louis, MO The Demo
November 30 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley

February 4 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
February 5 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
February 6 Cambridge, MA Middle East (Upstairs)
February 7 Toronto, ON Horseshoe
February 8 Rochester, NY Bug Jar
February 10 Pontiac, MI Pike Room
February 11 Indianapolis, IN Hi-Fi
February 12 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
February 13 Minneapolis, MN 7th St. Entry
February 14 Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
February 15 Rock Island, IL Rozz-Tox

All Them Witches is Ben McLeod (guitar), Michael Parks, Jr. (vocals/bass), Robby Staebler (drums) and Allan Van Cleave (Fender Rhodes).

allthemwitches.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/allthemwitches
twitter.com/allthemwitches
allthemwitches.org

All Them Witches, “Charles William” official video

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Video Premiere: Disenchanter, “Green Queen” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

disenchanter

If you want a little extra thrill, plug in some headphones and turn the bass up as Disenchanter run through the below rendition of the song “Green Queen.” The track, which of course shares its name with a strain of weed — wasn’t that just a given? — makes a fantastic showcase for the low tone of four-stringer Joey DeMartini, and with Sabine Stangenberg‘s riffs and vocals leading the charge and Jay Erbe playing one tom against the other on drums, it’s halfway between boogie rock and all out heavy rager, and seems content to find a place somewhere not quite one or the other. This version was recorded earlier this year in Disenchanter‘s hometown of Portland, Oregon, at the Ceremony of Sludge festival, and is part of a series of clips I’ve been fortunate enough to premiere recorded over the course of that fest’s two days.

Disenchanter opened the second day of Ceremony of Sludge, which was held at Club 21, and while ceremony of sludge posterthey’ve showcased a penchant for epic metallurgy or at least an appreciation for the grandiose on their two three-song releases to date, 2013’s Back to Earth and this year’s On through Portals (review here), “Green Queen” hones in a more straight-ahead heavy rock sound built around a strong hook, a still driving riff and the melody in Stangenberg‘s voice. I don’t know if that’s meant to be emblematic of some shift in direction or if Disenchanter were pulling a one off or if the song might even be a cover — go Google “Green Queen” and you’re only gonna find pot info — but it’s a cool groove one way or another and the band carries it just as well as some of their more epic material.

You can click here to see the other clips thus far released in the Ceremony of Sludge 2014 video series, and check out Disenchanter‘s “Green Queen” on the player followed by video info below. Please enjoy:

Disenchanter, “Green Queen” Live at Ceremony of Sludge

Disenchanter perform “Green Queen” live at the third annual Ceremony of Sludge (Club 21, Portland, Oregon, 3/8/14).

Edited by Cole Boggess.
Cameras: Cole Boggess, Justin Anderson, Justin Brown, Eli Duke.
Audio: Tim Burke

Ceremony of Sludge on Thee Facebooks

Disenchanter on Thee Facebooks

Disenchanter on Bandcamp

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John Wilkes Booth, Useless Lucy: Soaking the Perimeter

Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

john wilkes booth useless lucy

Long Island heavy rockers John Wilkes Booth will mark their first decade together next year. 10 years. The band — who, if you’re wondering, took on what I think even they’d tell you (perhaps while smirking) is a lousy name in order to capture something universally hated — made their full-length debut in 2008 with Sic Semper Tyrannis (review here) following a split with 12 Eyes and my former band, Maegashira, and a 2006 self-titled EP, and five years later, they answer their long-player with the eight-track/34-minute sophomore outing, Useless Lucy, which both beefs up the production overall and delves into darker noise rock terrain on cuts like “From the North” and “Masturbation Song” while tapping various veins of ’90s alt rock in “Six One” and the later “Ladder and Vacuum,” at least before the latter switches to its crunching hook, Tool-style bleaker prog riffing from guitarist Jason Beickert winding out a resonant chorus that consumes much of the three-minute song’s second half, vocalist Kerry Merkle recounting an everyman tale of woe overtop, somewhat ironically (and again, perhaps smirkingly) following the parental love-letter “Soaking the Perimeter.” The Booth have always had something of a progressive drive, musically and vocally, and Merkle does well in changing his approach here from gutting out the start-stop chorus in “Masturbation Song” and the verses in “13 Years” to more cleanly riding the funk-rock push of “Ladder and Vacuum,” bassist Harry Vrooman and drummer Christian Horstmann stepping up the bounce there where in the midsection of closer “Family Crest” they smoothly hold together a post-bridge jam as Beickert embellishes an exploratory-sounding lead.

To make a prior allusion explicit, I’ve known the John Wilkes Booth guys for years, played shows with them, collaborated on releases, and so on, so I’m not about to claim a measure of impartiality when it comes to appreciating what they do. They are one of those bands. Nestled into their geography out on Long Island, separate from the entirety of the country with the morass of New York traffic between, they rarely get out, have never toured for any length of time, but have continued to hone their craft at familiar local spots, have kept a consistent lineup because they must genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and have put together a solid album of new material written not with the rush of an impending touring cycle, but with time taken to fully embrace the process of hammering out parts and making the songs sound the way they want them too. Would they be a bigger, more solidified unit if they’d hit the road six years ago and never looked back? Probably. Or they might’ve broken up. Who the hell knows? The point is that when it comes to Useless Lucy and the Booth in general, what you see is what you get. They might cop an experimental vibe here and there — with its slower progression and foreboding vibe, opener “From the North” is probably the farthest they veer from their more straightforward norm — but by and large they traffic in unpretentious heavy rock and roll, vibed out with various echoes in the guitar and vocals and made stronger by the chemistry of the rhythm section. They’re not looking to be a huge band or to “get a buzz going” in any other than the beery sense of the phrase. As I’ve always seen them, their motives are pure. They create because they feel joy in the expression. That’s kept them going for a decade so far.

john wilkes booth

And somewhat more astoundingly, they do so without really ever pushing into self-indulgence. Even the penultimate “Intro 2 (Lick My Spacesuit),” which is essentially 90 seconds of an effects buildup leading the way into “Family Crest,” serves a purpose in adding to the atmosphere of the album overall and giving the listener a breather after “Ladder and Vacuum” and before the finale. Earlier, “Six One” showcases an airier sensibility than either of the opening duo in front of it, but neither that nor the rolling fuzz of “13 Years” which follows, fail to convey a well-developed songwriting process, and everywhere John Wilkes Booth go on Useless Lucy, that’s what remains most consistent. They’ll never be a big band — even the phrase “I like John Wilkes Booth” pushes the boundaries of taste; they prefer “F the Booth” as a slogan — and they’ll probably never quit their jobs and go on perma-tour, get big press and whatever else, but frankly, the fact that they’re going to do what they do regardless makes them all the more admirable in my eyes. There’s nothing insincere about Useless Lucy, or that feels cynical or like it’s just there because it’s what’s popular. It’s not what’s popular. If it was they’d sound like Graveyard or Uncle Acid. Instead, they sound like the Booth. It won’t turn heads, and the album’s not perfect by any stretch — Merkle‘s voice comes across high in the mix in places, and the recording is clean more à la modern rock than heavy rock — but it’s honest, and going into a band’s new record with the expectation of honesty is a rare and not-to-be-understated delight.

John Wilkes Booth, Useless Lucy (2014)

John Wilkes Booth on Thee Facebooks

John Wilkes Booth on Bandcamp

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Heavy Glow on Tour Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

heavy glow

San Diego three-piece Heavy Glow have been on tour for the better part of a week now, supporting their new album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. That is, of course, unless you count their previous tour, which ended just three days before this one began. How that even splits up tours, I have no idea. Pretty much, when it’s all over, Heavy Glow will have been on the road for a stretch running from September into mid-November. The current run ends Nov. 14. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point they announced a tour starting Nov. 17 and going into December.

Because touring!

Here are the remaining dates and some whathaveyou off the PR wire:

heavy glow tour

HEAVY GLOW Announces North American Headlining Tour

San Diego Rock Trio Heading Out to the Highway in Support of Celebrated New LP

Electric San Diego rock band HEAVY GLOW has announced a North American headlining tour in support of its new LP Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine. Set to kick off on September 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, the 18 city jaunt will showcase the trio’s unhinged explosiveness, which blends post-millennial blues-rock and haunting, Mowtown-esque hard soul, calling for comparison to The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Afghan Whigs and Cream.

Led by guitarist / vocalist Jared Mullins, HEAVY GLOW has been called “a bluesy slice of Free-meets-Grand Funk” and “an impressive Hendrix / ZZ Top hybrid that pays homage to other blues masters (Clapton, Cray) and modern-day fuzz tone titans.” Recorded with producers Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer) and Nic Jodoin (Spindrift, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine has been hailed as “blistering” and has yielded the crunching cuts “Headhunter” and “Look What You’re Doing to Me”; the latter track’s music video starring actress Mayra Leal of the Robert Rodriguez film “Machete.”

HEAVY GLOW on tour:
Oct. 20 Underbelly Jacksonville, FL
Oct. 24 Pegasus Lounge Tampa FL
Oct. 30 The Hi-Tone Memphis, TN
Oct. 31 Daisy Duke’s Nashville, TN
Nov. 1 Hangar Bar, Greenville, TX
Nov. 6 Tiki Bar Shreveport, LA
Nov. 7 Dan Electro’s Houston, TX
Nov. 10 Plush, St. Louis, MO
Nov. 13 Silver Dollar, Texarkana, AR
Nov. 14 Vino’s Brewpub Little Rock, AR

https://www.facebook.com/heavyglowband/
http://instagram.com/heavyglowmusic
https://twitter.com/heavyglowmusic
http://www.heavyglowmusic.com/

Heavy Glow, “Look What You’re Doing to Me” official video

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Leeches of Lore to Record New Album with Toshi Kasai

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

leeches of lore

I felt incredibly fortunate earlier this year when I got to see Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Leeches of Lore in their native habitat, opening for the Pentagram/Radio Moscow/Kings Destroy tour. They killed it that night, and my appreciation for their set has only grown in the months since. The news that they’ll record their next album with Toshi Kasai – see also the MelvinsTool, and so on — is intriguing because that dude knows how to make a weird band sound weird, and it’s another one I’ll look forward to in 2015 without daring to speculate on what to expect from Leeches of Lore, who could break out a horn section or a second drummer at a moment’s notice.

In another show I’d very much like to catch, Leeches of Lore will play this Halloween at the Sister Bar in Albuquerque covering Alice Cooper‘s Love it to Death album in full. They also recorded a live set this week — with the time difference, I fell asleep before it came on — at KUNM 89.9, which if my degree in Communications has taught me anything about call letters is the radio station of the University of New Mexico, or was once affiliated with the school. That set, which also features a take on “Second Coming/The Ballad of Dwight Fry” as a preview for the Halloween gig, has been made available for stream and download from the band’s Bandcamp. Very cool stuff.

They sent along the following update:

leeches of lore logo

Leeches of Lore News!

We are pleased to announce that our next album will be recorded by Toshi Kasai of (the) Melvins, Big Business, Prizehog, Tool, Shrinebuilder, etc, etc fame. Tracking begins in November.

We will also be recording an EP of completely different music soon after.

Last but not least, we will be playing Halloween night at Sister here in Albuquerque. We will be performing Alice Cooper’s “Love it to Death” in it’s entirety.

For a taste of the new album and the Alice Cooper show, here is a link to a live radio performance we just did on Albuquerque’s KUNM 98.9.

https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/album/live-on-kunm-899

Mike Day (Tenderizor, Fando, our favorite guitar player in New Mexico) will be playing second guitar on Halloween!

https://www.facebook.com/leechesoflore
http://flyingmidgetrecords.com/
http://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/
http://flyingmidgetrecords.bandcamp.com/

Leeches of Lore, Live on KUNM 89.9

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Godflesh, Early Man, Temple of Void, Mage and Lamperjaw

Posted in Radio on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

I wanted to make sure I did a round of radio adds for this week. Not just because they’re fun to do and it’s a bit like submerging my head in heaviness for an afternoon, but because I’ve already got one or two records in mind to join the playlist next week (or the week after, depending on time) and I don’t want to get too far behind. As always, these five are just picks out of the bunch. Over 20 records went up to the server today, so there’s much more than this to dig into. As well as all the rest of everything up there. I don’t even know how much stuff that is at this point. Last I heard from Slevin, it was “a lot.” Nothing like more, then.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Oct. 16, 2014:

Godflesh, A World Lit only by Fire

Godflesh A World Lit Only By Fire cover

It seems that after a decade-plus of moving further away from Godflesh‘s sound in Jesu, guitarist/vocalist Justin K. Broadrick has had no problem whatsoever slipping back into songwriting for the ultra-influential early-industrial outfit. Preceded by an EP called Decline and Fall (review here) that was also released through Broadrick‘s Avalanche Recordings imprint, the 10-track A World Lit Only by Fire harnesses a lot of the churn that was so prevalent in prime-era Godflesh and, more impressively, successfully channels the same aggression and frustration without sounding like a put-on. The chug in “Carrion” is visceral, and while “Life Giver Life Taker” recalls some of the melody that began to show itself on Godflesh‘s last album, 2001’s Hymns, and subsequently became the core of Jesu, songs like “Shut Me Down” and the gruelingly slow “Towers of Emptiness” find Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green enacting a familiar pummel that — and this is a compliment — sounds just like Godflesh. No doubt some of that is because so much of the duo’s elements are electronic, and while they might sound dated after a while, electronics don’t actually age in the same way people do, but even in the human core of the band, Godflesh are back in full, earth-shattering force. A World Lit Only by Fire is a triumphant return. I don’t know if it necessarily adds much to the Godflesh legacy that wasn’t already there, but as a new beginning point, a sort of second debut, its arrival is more than welcome. Godflesh on Bandcamp, Justin Broadrick on Thee Facebooks.

Early Man, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All

early man thank got you've got the answers for us all

After starting out in Ohio and making their way to New York around the middle of the last decade, the duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mike Conte and guitarist Pete Macy – better known as Early Man – recorded their new album, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All, as they put, “inside various closets, attics and basements within the greater Los Angeles area over the past year.” I recall seeing them in Manhattan and getting their demo in 2004/2005 and Early Man was the shit. They were gonna be huge. A contract with Matador Records brought their debut and then they went five years before their next album came out, and by then, retro metal and heavy rock has passed them by. Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All taps some of the same younger-Metallica vibing of their earliest work on “Black Rains are Falling” and closer “The Longer the Life,” but the current of Sabbathian heavy that was always there remains strong and “Always Had a Place in Hell to Call My Own” ups the ante with a more punkish take. The recording is raw in the new digital sense, but the tracks get their point across well enough, and Conte‘s songwriting has always produced some memorable results — the keyboard-soaked “Hold on to Nothing” stands out here — but it seems like the story of Early Man is still waiting to be told. Early Man on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural

Temple Of Void - of Terror and the Supernatural - cover

Any given song, it can be hard to tell where Detroit’s Temple of Void come down on the spectrum of doom/death and death/doom, but whatever genre tag you want to stick on it, their debut long-player, Of Terror and the Supernatural, is fucking grim. A roaring morass of thuds, low growls, bouts of extreme violence and bludgeonry, and horror — oh, the horror. Last year’s Demo MMXIII (review here) was fair enough warning, but what the double-guitar five-piece do across these eight tracks is a cruelty of atmosphere and lurch. Squibbles perpetrate “Invocation of Demise,” which also has some surprise key work that sounds like a flute, and a moment of respite arrives with the subsequent “To Carry this Corpse Evermore” in Opethian acoustics, but as the title would indicate, “Rot in Solitude” throws the listener right back into the filth and it’s there Temple of Void seem most in their element. Buried deep in “Exanimate Gaze” is a melodic undertone and 10-minute finale “Bargain in Death” shows a fairly dynamic approach, but the core of what they do is rooted in toying with a balance between death and doom metals, and already on their first outing they show significant stylistic command. If they tour, it’s hard to imagine one of the bigger metal labels –RelapseMetal Blade – wouldn’t want them somewhere down the line. Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks, Saw Her Ghost Records, Rain without End Records.

Mage, Last Orders

Print

UK fivesome Mage debuted in 2012 with Black Sands (review here) and showcased a burly blend of heavy rock and metal, and tonally and in the drums, their sophomore outing, Last Orders, follows suit in copping elements of thrash, Voivod-style otherwordliness and a penchant for shifting tempos effectively while keeping a seemingly downward path. Vocalist Tom has pulled back on the ultra-dudely vocals and it makes a big difference in the band’s sound for the better. He’s much better mixed and exploring some new ground on “The Fallen,” but he boldly takes on the task with the slower “Beyond” — the longest song here at six minutes flat — and comes out stronger for it. Guitarists Ben and Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy showcase some Electric Wizard influence in that song, but I wouldn’t tie Mage‘s sound to any one band, as “Lux Mentis” before offers huge-sounding stomp and “Violent Skies” after feeds an adrenaline surge of chugging and turns before opening to Last Orders‘ satisfying payoff, Tom tapping into mid-range Halford along the way and closer “One for the Road” reminding that there’s still a riffy side to the band as well. Mage on Thee Facebooks, Witch Hunter Records.

Lamperjaw, Demo EP 2014

LAMPERJAW - Demo EP 2014

Formed in 2011, Virginian trio Lamperjaw make their three-track debut with the descriptive Demo EP 2014, drunken-stomping the line between sludge and Southern heavy. One can’t help but be reminded of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s glory days listening to “Throw Me a Stone,” but with guitarist Dedrian, bassist Lane and drummer Codi all contributing vocals, Lamperjaw bring something immediately distinguishing to their approach. “Blood Dreams” aligns them with the burl-bringing Southern set, some screams and a metallic chug surprising after the opener’s booze-rocking vibe, but their real potential comes out on the seven-minute “Menace of a Cruel Earth,” which moves from low-in-the-mouth whoa-yeah-style grit across a successful linear build to a harmonized, well-arranged apex. It’s always hard to judge a band’s intent by their first release, and there’s a lot about their sound Lamperjaw are still figuring out, but they’ve given themselves some directional liquidity on their first demo, and it will be interesting to hear how they proceed from this point. Lamperjaw on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, this is just a fraction of the stuff that went up to the server this afternoon, so if you get a second, I hope you’ll peruse the The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page, or whatever it is I’m calling it in my head this week. It’s the same page as always either way.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Family Announce Tour Dates with Beak, Order of the Owl and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Family Tree FINAL

Haven’t heard much from Brooklyn crunch specialists Family since their 2012 release, Portrait (discussed here), but they’ve obviously spent the two years since it came out making good friends. From Moon Tooth and Weedeater to Lunglust, The Cloth, Beak, Hosoi Bros., Laser Flames on the Great Big News, Order of the Owl and Horseskull, their upcoming tour is rife with badass accompaniment. They’ll alternate between sharing the road time with Order of the Owl and Beak, and that’s already some pretty nifty shakes, but this is one of those lists of tour dates where you go back and check out the acts listed as being played with in each town, since it’s obvious some effort was put into curating each of these bills. Very cool stuff.

The tour starts Nov. 5 out on Long Island and takes off from there around the East Coast and Midwest, with the routing as such:

family tour flyer

FAMILY FALL 2014 TOUR DATES

Wed 11/5 – Long Island, NY – Amityville Music Hall w/Meek is Murder, Bangladeafy, Moon Tooth
Thurs 11/6 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/Sunburster, Bardus, The Cloth
Fri 11/7 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus Bar w/Weedeater, Full of Hell, Lazur/Wulf, Tiger Flowers
Sat 11/8 – Cambridge – TT the Bear’s w/Tiger Flowers, Lunglust, Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan
Wed 11/12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s w/Slaves BC, Edhochuli
Thurs 11/13 – Columbus, OH – Ruby Tuesday w/Denounce Your Martyr, All My Friends Are Dead, Silence the Ocean, Asylum Effect
Fri 11/14 – Chicago, IL – Township w/Beak, TBD
Sat 11/15 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar w/Beak, Quaere Verum, Ashes and Iron, Fumer
Sun 11/16 – Memphis, TN – Hi-Tone Cafe w/Beak, Hosoi Bros, Hombres
Mon 11/17 – Nashville, TN – Springwater w/Beak, Sheep Shifter, Laser Flames on the Great Big News
Wed 11/19 – Atlanta, GA – 529 w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Dead Register
Thurs 11/20 – Charlotte, NC – The Milestone w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Viajando
Fri 11/21 – Wilmington, NC – Reggie’s w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Mountain Thrower
Sat 11/22 –Raleigh, NC – The Maywood w/Beak, Order of the Owl, Horseskull

www.familyslays.com
www.familyslays.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/family.slays
www.twitter.com/familyslays
www.soundcloud.com/familyslays/sets/family-portrait

Family, Portrait (2012)

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