Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Denver heavy three-piece Cloud Catcher impressed earlier this year with their debut full-length, Enlightened Beyond Existence, and as it happens, they’re now taking preorders for a vinyl version of the album, which they’re releasing on Far Out Man Records. Playing deep into Captain Beyond-style prog, the record did not at all forget the “rock” side of that equation, and struck a resounding balance that was doubly engaging for being their first time out.
They’ll hit the road on the West Coast in Oct. to celebrate the vinyl release. Info and dates follow, as seen on the PR wire:
Hey, friends! So our debut album “Enlightened Beyond Existence” has just been sent to the record plant and we are expecting to have them the 3rd week of September. These records are being pressed in a limited batch of 250 so get yours ASAP! We plan on sending them out on the FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER which is one week before we start our west coast tour. Purchase your pre-order today and expect to see a goodie or two in the package! Thank you all for the support, and we look forward to tearing up your town!
‘Enlightened Beyond Existence’ channels the essence of early 70’s-era hard rock, yet propels it so far beyond orbit, transmuting it with astral brilliance. Cloud Catcher resonates to those who worship heavy acts such as Captain Beyond, early Grand Funk Railroad, Spirit Caravan, and Earthless. The trio summons thick, fuzz-laiden, mountainous riffs, sub earthly jams, and the long lost art of guitar solos which unite in crushing harmony. Cloud Catcher has received the esoteric “cosmic nod” and is unrelentingly wielding it in an attempt to pry open the mind’s eye of collective consciousness. Be forewarned…
Cloud Catcher on tour: Oct. 17th Denver, CO – Hi Dive Oct. 18th Co Springs, CO – Flux Capacitor Oct. 20th Sierra Vista, AZ – Jr’s Bar Oct. 22nd San Diego, CA – Til Two Club Oct. 23rd LA, CA – All Star Lanes Oct. 24th San Fran, CA – Hemlock Tavern Oct. 25th Nevada City, CA – Cooper’s Oct. 26th Fresno, CA – TBA Oct. 28th Las Vegas, NV- TBA Oct. 29th Salt Lake City, UT – TBA
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
German dream rock twosome Paper Spook made their debut in June with the single “Seven Dimensions,” and from what I can tell that’s the first collaboration between guitarist David Nilsson and vocalist Juju Lund, who self-recorded the lo-fi track to be included as one of seven on their 27-minute debut EP, Midsummer Sensation. Perhaps aspirational in its title, the collection is nonetheless a brightly colorful and immersive rending of stylized psychedelia, Lund‘s vocals at the head of a languid, full-band flow marked out by the interplay of reverb-heavy guitars and periodic bouts of keys and other floaty-type swirls.
As to whether the Berlin outfit wind up the midsummer sensation in terms of the response to the release, that remains to be seen, but whatever else Lund and Nilsson do on their first outing, they do capture a particular warmth and haze true to the season. The tracks are out now through various digital outlets — as they say, the usual suspects — and a vinyl edition is reportedly to follow, though I don’t have an exact date on when. For now, I’m pleased enough to let my brain drift along “Because of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The rest can sort itself out later.
Announcement — more or less as it originally appeared – and audio follow:
Paper Spook debut EP out now
Exciting news for Paper Spook! After an 18 hour-mastering marathon we are excited to announce that we are going to release our debut EP “MIDSUMMER SENSATION” on August 9th.
The EP contains 7 psyched out, reverb-soaked, magic dream-pop california roadtrip rock’n’roll tunes and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and the other usual suspects.
We recorded the EP over the last couple of months in our home studio in Berlin and it was mixed and mastered by the legendary Kevin Reiter at Kaleidoscope Studios Berlin.
Posted in Reviews on August 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It would be hard to review Crystals and Lasers, the fourth full-length from Council Bluffs, Iowa, five-piece Bloodcow, and not focus on the lyrics. Operating under various assumed names/titles — Bones and 1987 on guitar, Navin on bass, Run DMFC on drums and The Corporate Merger on vocals — cleverness and delinquent charm is nothing new for the band or to any listeners who might’ve caught onto them since the 2007 release of their third offering, Bloodcow III: Hail Xenu, but Crystals and Lasers brings that element more forward than it’s ever been. It is not the only way in which Bloodcow are going for broke. The 13-track/54-minute album was recorded and mixed by Jim Homan, and was finished and pressed thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign (to which, in the interest of full disclosure, I contributed), and it’s easily the most professional-sounding work they’ve done.
With six years between records and a tenure as a band that now spans more than 12 years, one might forgive them the record being on the longer side, between a general buildup of material and the lingering who-knows-when-they’ll-get-to-make-another factor. Still, they rise to the occasion, and while songs like “Keys to the Kingdom,” “Dick for Days,” “Ultra Super Sexual” and “After Party” are all the stronger for the attention to detail on every level. While the music behind varies between punk, thrash, stoner riffing and various kinds of classic metals — Run DMFC proving versatile in anchoring every turn and keeping the record at several points from flying completely off the handle — The Corporate Merger spits out lyrical themes ranging from crossdressing on “Another Country,” “Ultra Super Sexual” and “After Party” to cocaine “After Party,” “HIVampyre” and the faux-tropical ’80s-style instrumental “Coke Break” (though one might call the background yips a cocaine reference, given the title) that serves as the centerpiece, but nothing is quite so prevalent as death.
Opener “Blood and Guts,” “Keys to the Kingdom,” which follows, “Exploding Head,” the masturbation-themed “Sock,” “Crystals and Lasers,” “Little Chromosome,” “After Party” and closer “Torture Days” all feature some explicit reference to death, and that’s just what I could deduce without a lyric sheet. In “Sock,” it’s the narrator dead in front of a computer with porn on repeat. In “Crystals and Lasers” itself, it’s death at the hands of a robotic future. In “Blood and Guts,” it’s a nightmarish devouring, and so on. Nearly each song has its own personality, from “Ultra Super Sexual”‘s self-mocking sleaze — “Do ya wanna do me baby?/Do ya wanna do me now?” — (the ending of that song might also be the pinnacle of the record in terms of vocal arrangements), to the almost unfortunately catchy “Dick for Days,” which revamps Bon Jovi-style glam to a lyric about an all-male gangbang, The Corporate Merger adding whispers of “No you didn’t” after each chorus only to answer, “Yes I did.”
The arrangement on “Dick for Days” is especially telling of the kind of nuance and effort Bloodcow put into this material and their overall mindset. What seems at first not only politically problematic but just plain dumb is actually subverting any number of stereotypes, from the hyper-chauvanistic vision of glam (“I got your medicine inside my fucking dick”) denying its own homoeroticism to the simple fact that while “Dick for Days” could easily tip into some childish mockery of gay sex — particularly two tracks after the very-hetero “Sock” — it never actually crosses that line. Similarly, “Sock” acknowledges the ridiculousness of male fantasy — “They love me, this world of young coeds” — after blindsiding the listener with the opening lines, “When I was just/A young man/I started fucking myself with my own two hands,” and rattling off a list of pornstars, mags and sites perused. That turn isn’t new for Bloodcow either, but between the crispness of the production here, the instrumental tightness of the performances and the ease with which they shift between the freneticism of “Exploding Head” and the later “HIVampyre” and the more complex metal structures of “Sock” and “Little Chromosome.”
“Little Chromosome” is a highlight of the back half of Crystals and Lasers, but the real standout, musically, vocally and thematically, is the penultimate “After Party,” which directly takes on the issue of aging in a party lifestyle:
You have to tell me everything is cool with my life
I’m at the doctor’s office, they’re telling me
That they’ve got some bad news
And it’s time to go under the knife
Repetitions of “Bad for your heart” follow before the song careens into a slowdown wherein The Corporate Merger, as his own doctor, rips him off and tells him he’s going to die because he doesn’t have insurance. As brutal conceptually as it is sonically riotous, “After Party” perfectly sums up the perspective from which Bloodcow work on the album — self-aware within a kind of nihilistic safe zone. Followed by the subdued beginning of closer “Torture Days,” it hits with all the more impact, and while earlier cuts like “Keys to the Kingdom,” “Blood and Guts” and “Exploding Head” seem like they’re all in good fun, it’s “After Party” and the escapism of the prior “Another Country” — early call and response leading to an overwhelming crush of financial worry — that add the depth to make one look beyond the “I’ll push your balls to the side” in “Dick for Days” to really try to understand where they’re coming from.
Ultimately, Bloodcow will not be for everyone, and that point of view is going to be part of it, but it has value as an expression and even when it’s raging about cyborgs and robot lords harvesting unicorn organs, Crystals and Lasers keeps a sense of honesty at its center that makes it an even richer listen. When, or if, Bloodcow might put out another album, I don’t know. This one was in the works for at least three years. But if this turns out to be their last or if it doesn’t, it’s difficult to give Crystals and Lasers repeated listens and not consider it a definitive work, because while they seem to be creating a tornado that touches down on these multiple aesthetic points, they’re also very clearly guiding that energetic tumult with an admittedly unlikely steadiness of hand.
Posted in Reviews on August 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It had been just over two months since I last saw a show. Two months. I cannot remember the last time I actually let it go that long. Combination of things: Frustration with local venues, fatigue from going back to work, wanting to spend what time I have with The Patient Mrs., seeing family and so on. I’ll be honest and say I barely had this one in me, but after work Friday, I was heading to Connecticut and a loop through Worcester to catch Brooklyn’s Reign of Zaius worked out enough timing-wise that I felt like I could make it happen. I was sort of right.
I know I’ve said this before, but Ralph’s Rock Diner is a fucking treasure. Best venue I’ve been to in the state of Massachusetts, and that includes every single room of comparable size in Boston. Great sound, great lights, great vibe, good stage. It’s a comfortable, creative space that doesn’t feel like it was set up in 1992 and left for dead, as do so, so, so many other places. The town of Worcester itself? Not so great, but Ralph’s is where it’s at. Not many people know it, but I was glad to see a few heads hanging around the show, at least drinking and spending money if not actually upstairs checking out the bands.
There were four on the bill. Insano Vision and King Bison, from Connecticut and Pennsylvania, respectively, Reign of Zaius and CT’s Gasoline Therapy, who opened sometime shortly after 9:30PM, the room still mostly empty save for the other bands, myself and a few others. They played a familiar kind of melodically-conscious heavy rock, the sort that continues to populate New England in a post-Milligram/Roadsaw wave and a sound to which Cortez and a few others have managed to bring an individual edge to go with the catchy songwriting that is a staple of the genre. A dual-guitar approach and standalone vocals showcased roots between punk and metal, but the overall affect was unpretentious and not really looking for anything other than a good time.
Whether or not they got it, I’m not sure, since they looked kind of bummed out about the lack of crowd, but they played well anyway, the title-track from their upcoming Judas Goat full-length appearing late in the set before “Consumed” closed out, kind of balancing a moody atmosphere on top of more straightforward rhythms. It was a nice night, so I cut outside when they were done and as Reign of Zaius loaded onto the stage to sit in the open air for a while. The venue was playing Sabbath and people talking about other people they know and whatever else — things from which I’d likely have felt distant even if I hadn’t kept my earplugs in — but it looked like a good time anyway in the way that always does if you can actually hold down a conversation with somebody. Not a skill I have. When it was time, I sort of lumbered my way back upstairs to the big room to watch Reign of Zaius.
Just earlier in the day, I had checked out their new single “Power Hitter,” that marks their first recorded output with vocalist Leon Chase fronting the band. It had been well over two years since I last saw them play, so it would also be the first time I’d caught them with guitarist Mike O’Neil alongside bassist Davis and drummer Brian Neri. They had, perhaps unsurprisingly, much more than one song to offer, though “Power Hitter” was aired as well. This was the second night in a weekender trip, following a gig the night before at Bar Matchless in their native borough and to be followed by a stop at 33 Golden St. in New London, CT, where Gasoline Therapy would also play.
As I watched them get started, I couldn’t help but wonder how Neri managed to put together a “Rowdy” Roddy Piper outfit so quickly. I’d only seen news of the former pro-wrestler’s death that afternoon, and I know only too well that it’s at least a four-hour trip from New York to Worcester, so let’s say they got there around eight to load in, they probably would’ve left Brooklyn at 4PM, maybe, what, an hour or two after the news broke? Did Neri just happen to have a kilt and sleeveless “Hot Rod” t-shirt laying around? Entirely possible, I suppose, since the foursome would also pay the fallen Piper homage with the song “They Live,” taking the “consume” and “obey” that appear in block letters in the 1988 John Carpenter illuminati masterpiece of the same name and turning them into a punker’s chorus, Davis shouting into his own mic to back up the wide-eyed Chase, who also managed to work a reference to sunglasses into the verse.
Fair enough. Reign of Zaius were still fairly raw in their presentation, Chase pacing back and forth and jerking his head this way and that while keeping an unnerving and unblinking stare over the audience. They Live would not be the only referential material either, as “This Man this Monster” was announced as being about the Fantastic Four and finale “A Farewell to Arms” was a clever take on 1987’s Evil Dead 2, complete with repetitions of “I’ll swallow your soul” and mentions by name for both Henrietta and Linda. Clearly the late ’80s was a pivotal cinematic time for somebody in Reign of Zaius, though by then the Planet of the Apes franchise from which they actually take their moniker and, presumably the thematic content for set-opener “Heston,” was long over. Until the remake, reboot, etc.
I’ll continue to keep an eye out for new stuff from them — one assumes “Power Hitter” won’t be their only recorded output, and though there were still two bands to come on the bill, I had to cut out and head south, so I made my way out past the assembled sorts outside and was gone on the quick, as though if I walked faster I-395 wouldn’t be under nighttime construction. At least I had plenty of time to appreciate the blue moon.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Been a while since the last time we heard from Brooklyn heavy rockers Reign of Zaius. Long enough, as it happens, for them to revamp their lineup and re-embark on a long series of regional gigs. It’s been a few years since I last was able to see them on stage, but they’ve been a steady presence around New York City’s heavy underground, and they’ve just put out a new single called “Power Hitter,” which marks the first time I’m hearing them with vocalist Leon Chase, and it’s an immediately favorable impression with some punker edge that suits the band’s roots well.
They played Brooklyn last night at Bar Matchless as the first of a three-night weekender that continues this evening in Worcester, MA, and concludes tomorrow in New London, CT. Single announcement and show details follow:
Reign of Zaius Releases “Power Hitter”
Brooklyn-based stoner rockers Reign of Zaius have announced the earthly debut of a brand new single: “Power Hitter”. The song is available as a free download at the band’s website:http://reignofzaius.net/sounds
“Power Hitter” was recorded by Reign of Zaius at their secret headquarters (a.k.a. “the practice space”) in Brooklyn. This is the band’s first recording since a series of massive lineup changes—first with the recruitment of singer Leon “Space” Chase in 2014 and then, more recently, the addition of guitarist Mike “Creepy Mo” O’Neil. The change in personnel brought a definite shift in sound—with “Power Hitter”, the band’s previous two-guitar bombardment has given way to the much grittier, stripped-down feel of Mo’s single Les Paul. The new single arrives just in time for Reign of Zaius’ “Obesity in Three Cities” mini-tour of the Northeast, beginning Thursday, July 30th at Brooklyn’s own Bar Matchless, and ending all the way up in New London, Connecticut on August 1st. Complete show info is available here:http://reignofzaius.net/events
It will not take too long into the seven minutes of “When all You’ve Got is a Hammer” before the progress in Bedroom Rehab Corporation‘s style, songwriting and performance shows itself. The Connecticut two-piece were last heard from on their 2013 debut long-player, Red over Red (review here), and having seen them only get better on stage over numerous shows the last two years or so, I’ve been somewhat anxious to get my ears on some new audio, to see if they’d be able to translate their development into a studio setting. Recorded by Justin Pizzoferrato (Elder, Black Pyramid) and finished in the cold winter hours of early 2015, the new Fortunate Some EP will be released Oct. 3 (preorders are available as of this premiere) and if “When all You’ve Got is a Hammer” is anything to go by, it will find them doing precisely that: bringing the tight heaviness and aggression of their stage show to completed studio tracks.
Bassist/vocalist Adam Wujtewicz and drummer Meghan Killimade are each well in command of their modus throughout the song’s semi-extended course. The verses showcase an increased capacity for melody and the chorus is more aggro, but still catchy in its shout and stomp. As the first audio to be made public from Fortunate Some it bodes well in its captured energy and also its spaciousness, the middle of “When all You’ve Got is a Hammer” moving into an effects-laden instrumental section so fluidly you almost don’t know until you’re already in it working your way back, but of course they slam through with full tonal and percussive brunt to finish out. Directed by Peter Huoppi, the video takes the titular imagery head on. We see a blacksmith and a guy hammering rocks toward some unknown end out in the woods — that’s a job, right? — and both come to discard their hammers and hit the bar where Killimade and Wujtewicz happen to be playing. Somehow at the end, after a trek through the same rocky woods and what looks like the train tracks by Cherry St. Station in Wallingford, CT (actually they’re in Norwich, about an hour’s can’t-get-there-from-here New England drive away), the duo pick up both castaway hammers and make their way down the line.
There’s a lot to enjoy here for those who heard Red over Red, but even if “When all You’ve Got is a Hammer” is your introduction to Bedroom Rehab Corporation, it’s a good time to be introduced, as they’ve just brought their approach to an entirely new level to emerge as a more confident, sonically powerful band.
Video and info follow. Please enjoy:
Bedroom Rehab Corporation, “When all You’ve Got is a Hammer” official video
Bedroom Rehab Corporation – “When All You’ve Got is a Hammer” from the new EP ‘Fortunate Some’ available on LP/Digital October 3, 2015.
Director: Peter Huoppi Featuring: Chris Holdridge, Clint Wright & Rich Huoppi Live footage filmed on location at 33 Golden Street, New London, CT
Featured in live footage: Marko Fontaine, Stephanie Johnson, Pete Egner, Ben LaRose, Bobby Crash, Tim “Grim” Riley, Suz Manning, Corina Malbaurn, Kim Zajehowski Case, Tracy Tremblay, Paul Brockett, Tracey Hollins, Sean Beirne, Greg Gates, Jim Villano, Courtney Cole, Jerrica Cole
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Los Angeles heavyweights Behold! the Monolith are taking orders now for their third album, Architects of the Void, which is set to release Sept. 29. The band have a bunch of different bundle deals set up for those who’d like a shirt to go along with their CD or vinyl (or both), and it’s their first outing since the death in a car accident of vocalist Kevin McDade in 2013, which is about as heavy as context gets, quite frankly.
The album was recorded and mixed by the one and only Billy Anderson, and the striking cover art is by Dusty Peterson. For more, we turn to the PR wire:
BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH to Release ‘Architects of the Void’ on September 29
Los Angeles stoner/doom metal band BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH will release new album Architects of the Void September 29 on CD, digital, and vinyl formats. The album can be pre-orderedat this location.
Legendary producer Billy Anderson has expertly harnessed the band’s smoke-belching locomotive style, while the songwriting is the most captivating of the quartet’s career. Guitarist Matt Price had this to say about the results:”It’s a relatively dark album, which is probably fitting. A few of the riffs and ideas had pretty much coagulated right before Kevin’s accident, and most of the others were colored by it, so yeah it feels kinda heavy and dark to me. I hope I don’t sound like a high falootin’ artisté, but it felt personal for me and Chase, so it wound up being more than just stringing riffs together, ya know? That being said Cas and Jordan came in and kicked ass and brought their own stamp to the sound. So it’s a bit different, but I think it captures the essence what Behold! The Monolith is all about!”
Architects of the Void follows critically acclaimed 2012 release Defender, Redeemist and marks the debut of vocalist Jordan Nalley who took the reigns following the tragic 2013 death of Kevin McDade in a car accident. The album will also be the first for new bassist Jason “Cas” Casanova (SASQUATCH). The album artwork was created by Dusty Peterson (Bloodbath, Six Feet Under, Oceano).
Jordan Nalley – Vocals Matt Price – Guitar Jason “Cas” Casanova – Bass Chase Manhattan – Rhythm and Lead Drums
Produced by Billy Anderson and Behold! The Monolith
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
German heavy psych four-piece Sonora Ritual have announced that their sophomore outing, to be titled Dust Monument, is currently in progress. That could mean any number of things, really, from the earliest writing sessions to mixing and mastering, but the point is that they’re somewhere in the process and that’s better than nothing. Their warm-toned psychedelia was last heard from on their 2013 debut long-player, Worship the Sun, and they have done shows along the way with Wight and Bushfire and appeared at the Stoned from the Underground festival in their native Germany.
The debut earned a pretty fervent response, and reasonably so. It was enough either way to get Sonora Ritual picked up by Kozmik Artifactz, who first announced their signing last year and has had a vinyl release for Worship the Sun listed as coming soon more or less since. No word on whether Dust Monument will be issued through the label as well, but Sonora Ritual were featured on Kozmik Artifactz‘s Home of the Good Sounds Vol. 2 comp (streamed here) last month, so presumably they’re looking to continue the association past this upcoming issue of their first release.
Word was quick from the band, but the cover art has also been revealed, and it looks like this:
We’d like to announce our new album we are working on. It’s called ‘Dust Monument’ and is going to be some sort of concept sequel. Join the hermit once again continuing his journey. Stay tuned for tracklisting, artworks and other stuff.
Sonora Ritual is a band of different influences and styles of heavy music. No overblown adjectives that describe the sound of these guys. It’s up to you, to make your own opinion.
Grab a beer and enjoy the ride.
Fartface Johnson – Lead Vocals/Guitar Franklin D. Boozewell – Bass Wifebeater McKenzie – Guitar Snuffy O’Brian – Drums