Heavy Glow Headlining Tour Starts Sept. 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

heavy glow

I have no argument with Heavy Glow. Dudes clearly have their shit together, believe in what they’re doing and are working hard to get their music in as many ears as possible. Their 2014 album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine, is a more than solid slab of well crafted, straightforward songs. The production is a little smoothed out in the QOTSA tradition, but beyond that, there’s really nothing I can think of to ask that they don’t deliver either in terms of catchiness, melody or personality.

But, as any number of bands can tell you, sometimes these things take a while to catch on in a bigger way, so all the better Heavy Glow are getting out to hand-deliver their fuzz to those clued in enough to show up and receive it. They’ll head east and north from Texas starting on Sept. 18, and the PR wire checks in with dates and whathaveyou:

heavy glow fall 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, Motown-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 North American Tour Dates:
September 18 Ft. Worth, TX Lola’s Saloon.
September 19 Oklahoma City, OK The Blue Note
September 20 Kansas City, MO Mike’s Tavern
September 21 Lincoln, NE Duffy’s Tavern
September 23 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Iowa City
September 25 Burlington, IA The Washington
September 26 Grand Rapids, MI Billy’s Lounge
September 27 Cleveland, OH 5 O’ Clock Lounge
September 30 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
October 1 Rochester, NY The Bug Jar
October 2 Hamilton, ONT This Ain’t Hollywood
October 3 Toronto, ONT The Cavern Bar
October 4 Toronto, ONT Duffy’s Tavern
October 5 Windsor, ONT The Phog Lounge
October 8 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Cafe
October 9 Long Branch, NJ The Brighton Bar
October 10 New York, NY Piano’s (as part of 2014 CBGB’s Festival)
October 11 Philadelphia, PA North Star Bar
October 12 Boston, MA The Spot Underground

Live and on stage is where HEAVY GLOW makes its heaviest impression and on the upcoming headlining tour, the group is set to show that its stellar reputation precedes it for a reason. Seeing is believing!

Follow HEAVY GLOW on social media:

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

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (2014)

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Lord Stream Alive in Golgotha EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on September 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

lord

I always wanted to be in Lord. Since the days of their 2006 demo, Under the Sign of the Maker’s Mark, the Fredericksburg, Virginia, outfit has been a raging tumult of sludge extremity. Born of the same scene that gave us Valkyrie, VOG, Durga TempleOl’ ScratchAncient Astronaught and any number of other underrated acts outside the sphere of Richmond’s varied metals and Maryland’s doom yet somehow in line with both, Lord have proved over the years to be the most chaotic, the most turbulent of the pack. On the rare occasion one might see them live, they’re staggering in their intensity, and the sheer fact that they manage to hold it together somehow makes the experience all the more visceral.

The volatility has a price, however. Lord released a full-length debut in 2006’s Built Lord Tough (a play on Ford’s logo appeared on the cover), and that was it until 2011’s riotous Chief (review here), which brought a new lineup and a take more indebted to Southern metal than they had been five years earlier, but was still plenty maddening, vocalist Steven Kerchner adding experimental abrasion by manipulating his screams through a range of effects. Three years after ChiefLord return with yet another new lineup — you can see why I thought I might’ve had a shot at being in the band — and a brandlord alive in golgotha new four-song EP, Alive in Golgotha, recorded by Vince Burke (Beaten back to Pure/Hail!Hornet) at his own Sniper Studios.

Comprised here of Kerchner, guitarist/vocalist Will Rivera and drummer/bassist Stephen Sullivan — the lineup has already changed again to the four-piece pictured above; Rivera, Kerchner, bassist Chris Dugay (Reticle) and drummer Kevin “Skip” Marrimow (Ol’ Scratch, Palkoski) — Lord are no less a beast than they’ve ever been, the opening cut “We Own the Storms” setting a quick reaffirmation that time has not dulled the band’s edge or tamed their ferocity. Fast, aggressive, almost punk in its rawness, “We Own the Storms” leads to the more decidedly Southern “What You May Call the Devil is Amongst Us,” reminiscent of the last album’s grooving take. “With Reaching Hooves” jumps back and forth between grinding verses and a sludgy chorus, giving a tension/release vibe before moving into a heavy rock shuffle masterfully balanced in Burke‘s mix, and the closing semi-title-track, “Golgotha,” offers the EP’s most lethal groove of the bunch and speaks to the realization of the potential that’s been in Lord‘s chemical imbalance all along.

Lord will reportedly be hitting the studio again next month to record for a split EP with Black Blizzard, so maybe Alive in Golgotha will mark a turning point for the band in terms of activity. If history has shown anything with these guys, though, it’s that you never really know what’s coming next. I’ll never get to be in the band — Kerchner‘s a better screamer than I ever was anyway — but I’m thrilled to host a full stream of Alive in Golgotha ahead of the release on Heavy Hound Records. Please find it below, and enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

To keep up with Lord and get more info on Alive in Golgotha, as well as to score a copy, check the links.

Lord on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Hound Records

 

 

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Ice Dragon Release New Album Seeds from a Dying Garden

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was late Friday night when, in their usual fashion, Boston doom experimentalists Ice Dragon posted a link to their new album, Seeds from a Dying Garden, available to stream and download on their Bandcamp. This was surprising at first — not because it’s a new Ice Dragon; they’d said they were working on material and they’ve been almost maddeningly prolific over the last several years — but because it wasn’t free. A $7 download. Quite a jump from their usual “here, take it” name-your-price methodology.

I assumed at first there was something they were raising money to buy. Some piece of ancient and obscure recording or synth equipment, a Moog that George Harrison once looked at in a store or something like that, but nope, apparently they just ran out of free download credits on Bandcamp, which is apparently a thing. I’d never heard of it, but I don’t have a Bandcamp, so there you go. They’ve since lowered the price to a measly buck, and I think once you check out Seeds from a Dying Garden itself, you’ll find it worth the investment.

ice dragon seeds from a dying gardenFor their latest and umpteenth outing, Ice Dragon dive deep into classic psychedelic pop rock — as their Beach Boys-esque cover indicates — and emerge with Beatlesian characters like “Mr. Merry Melan Man” and the winking weed puns of “Mary Wants a Sunset” to craft a sound still characteristically their own, shades of doomed march working their way into languid progressions, an abidingly stoned sensibility arriving with the eight-minute dream-out “Your Beauty Measures More.” Front to back, it is a consuming journey into psych-ic expansion, but as ever, Ice Dragon maintain the penchant for songwriting that has made them forerunners among garage doom and the unflinching creative will that sees them so constantly broadening their style.

And while they often toy with biting metal tones and lunkheadedly badass riffing, Seeds from a Dying Garden feels more like it’s working to push the boundaries of last year’s Born a Heavy Morning (review here), and it does so even unto its ambient interludes “To Everything that Was” and “To Everything that Might Have Been,” which appear three tracks in and three tracks from the end to draw a linear thread through the album’s widely varied course. No doubt Ice Dragon will tackle their metal side again at some point, but for the boldness with which they approach psychedelia when they choose to do so — their sound also isn’t necessarily limited to one or the other — I tend to find this path even more engaging. The title may hint at some sense of loss or foreboding, but the general mood is more suited to the bright nostalgic wash of the cover photo, though of course if Ice Dragon only did one thing all the time, it just wouldn’t be them.

Seeds from a Dying Garden is available now for download and follows Ice Dragon‘s July 2014 split with Space Mushroom Fuzz (info here). Check it out on the player below.

Ice Dragon, Seeds from a Dying Garden (2014)

Ice Dragon on Bandcamp

Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks

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Duuude, Tapes! VidaGuerrilla, Música, No Moda

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

vidaguerrilla musica no moda

It becomes clear pretty quickly that Spain’s VidaGuerrilla have no interest in compromising on their self-released debut tape, Música, No Moda. The cover of said cassette, is a copy of a hand-drawn cartoon, presumably by and of Gaspar Hache Eme, who may or may not be the only person in the band, whose mouth is open to say “Estoy muy cansado de tu opinion,” which translates to: “I am very tired of your review.” Fair enough. I’d take it personally but for the fact that the drawing doesn’t seem to be original — the label on the tape is, handwritten in permanent marker — and the Bandcamp stream has the same art. I don’t know how many copies of Música, No Moda are being pressed, or for how long they’ll be available, but a DIY ethic runs strong in the release, which takes blown out garage punk and thickens the tonality to a point of fuzz overload.

What I like best about Música, No Moda is that there are points — the closer, “El Punk Original,” comes to mind first — at which what VidaGuerrilla does is almost entirely indistinguishable sonically from lo-fi black metal. That track and the tumultuous “Porno” and “Apoya Mi Escena” seem bent on reminding listeners that Venom was a punk band before they were anything else, and the lesson comes well complemented by the classic heavy rock swing of “Draggin'” and the unhinged guitar wankery of leadoff cut “Kaoskosmos.” Distortion is all the more distorted thanks to a rough-edged production value, and Eme‘s snarled vocals only add furor to the already cantankerous aesthetic. It is fairly fashionable, in a particularly anti-fashion kind of way, but fuckall is fuckall, and that of VidaGuerrilla is recognizably genuine.

Most of the songs are short, two minutes or under — “So Gross” is just a belch — and VidaGuerrilla‘s sound is suited to the quicker bursts and fits. Exceptions to the rule arrive with “Zombis del Más Acá” and the penultimate “Caras Bronceadas/Dragged,” both of which top four minutes, and while the former manages to support its weight, the latter meanders somewhat and seems to get caught up in distraction. Fortunately it has “El Punk Original” afterward to provide one last jolt to Música, No Moda, leaving the listeners burnt by what they’ve heard but not burnt out on it. The tape plays out on one side only. All nine tracks fit easily on side A of the home-dubbed copy I got — it had been a while since I last saw a blank tape with the “UR” markings — and there was apparently no need to repeat it on side B. I suppose that plays into the general malaise one gleans from the release overall, but if it’s apathy VidaGuerrilla are looking to portray, he/they show a resonant passion for it as various genre lines are blurred.

VidaGuerrilla, Música, No Moda (2014)

VidaGuerrilla on Thee Facebooks

VidaGuerrilla on Bandcamp

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Sorxe Premiere “The Mountain Man” from Surrounded by Shadows

Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“The Mountain Man,” the rhythmically-centered, viciously lumbering finale of Sorxe‘s self-released debut album, Surrounded by Shadows, is led directly into by the title-track, a five-minute alteration of consciousness via ambience, some touches of brooding Neurosis drone emerging amid the Phoenix-based four-piece’s own exploratory sensibility. The pummel that emerges from the drum intro is all the more devastating for the extended break beforehand. As such, before you click play below, take a deep breath.

Sorxe‘s Surrounded by Shadows draws on the best elements left from the largely washed out post-metal movement. They tradeoff atmospherics and churning, crushing riffs, vary their approach widely, and toy with structures and builds to create a full-album sensibility that each individual song feeds into. The lineup of bassists Christopher Coons and Roger Williams (the latter a founding member of Graves at Sea), guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Tanner Crace (also synth) and drummer Shane Ocell made their debut in 2013 with an EP called Realms, and all three of those tracks reappear on Surrounded by Shadows, including the 10-minute “Make it So,” which on the full-length functions as the centerpiece around which the rest of the album swirls, darkly hued and rife with multi-directional aggression.

For having two bassists, the guitar isn’t lost in the mix — one always imagines a consuming wave of low end, as if the extra four strings preclude being able to hear anything else — but when Sorxe lock into a full-brunt weighted stretch, you can feel the impact of that extra heft. Even their quieter reflections seem to have a moody feel, and as Crace layers and alternates his vocals between cleaner singing, growls and screams, the band fluidly transcends the bounds of post-hardcore, doom, sludge and post-metal, while effectively maintaining an identity of their own that never seems content to commit to one or the other. No doubt that’s a big part of what makes Surrounded by Shadows such a satisfying front-to-back listen.

But that closer. “The Mountain Man” has its stomp and plod in rounding out the nine-track/55-minute offering, and its initial explosion in chaotic, crushing noise is high among Surrounded by Shadows‘ most satisfying moments, but there’s consciousness at work behind all that bludgeoning. It would be hard for any individual piece to completely sum up everything Sorxe have on offer with their debut, but in providing the album with its apex, “The Mountain Man” also provides a showcase for Sorxe‘s burgeoning dynamic. It is encompassing in its heaviness.

Hope you enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Sorxe will release Surrounded by Shadows on Sept. 9 with Bandcamp streams beginning one week before. They’re also slated to appear at this year’s Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18 in Tucson, AZ, where they’ll share the stage with Neurosis and The Body. More info at the links below:

Sorxe on Thee Facebooks

Sorxe on Bandcamp

Southwest Terror Fest on Thee Facebooks

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All Them Witches Announce Sept. 16 Release for Lightning at the Door Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, didn’t this album already come out, like 10 months ago?,” yeah, it pretty much did. Nashville heavy psych blues four-piece All Them Witches issued Lightning at the Door last November, just kind of tossed it up on Bandcamp and let their burgeoning (that’s not to say “booming,” though that might be more accurate) fanbase have its way with it. CDs were printed up, twice, since then, but basically what makes this new, Sept. 16 date different is that it’s the official release for the vinyl. If you follow them on Thee Facebooks, you may recall they pulled the Bandcamp stream of the album down a couple weeks ago. This was why.

Also hitting the road alongside King Buffalo this week — my plan is to drive to PA to catch the Sherman Theater show; King Dead are also playing — they’ll be on tour with Windhand when the album releases. This weekend, All Them Witches also put out word that their debut European appearances at Keep it Low and Desertfest Belgium and the touring surrounding them are canceled for this fall, presumably to be rescheduled for some point next year.

The PR wire has tour dates and other info:

all them witches lightning at the door

ALL THEM WITCHES RELEASE LIGHTNING AT THE DOOR ON SEPT. 16

JOIN WINDHAND FOR U.S. TOUR; PLAY NASHVILLE’S LIVE ON THE GREEN

SINGLE “CHARLES WILLIAM” STREAMING NOW VIA SOUNDCLOUD

All Them Witches, the Nashville-based quartet who made waves in underground psych circles when their 2012 debut album Our Mother Electricity received praise from Roadburn and a rerelease via Stefan Koglek’s Electrohasch Records, return with Lightning At The Door, on Sept. 16.

The album’s first single, “Charles Williams,” is already enjoying airplay at WRLT and was featured in the band’s recent Daytrotter session. All Them Witches have made the song available for streaming/embeds via Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/allthemwitchesband/charles-william).

The eight-song album finds the young band’s sound much more evolved, merging their psych-background with the rustic inspiration their stomping grounds afford. A sweaty, Southern rock outing, the band was so inspired during the demo process they recorded Lightning At The Door in mere days. “We tracked everything live in the same room,” explains singer/bass player Michael Parks, Jr. “We got a lot of bleed form the mics and the amps being together. Everything felt organic.”

The album comes as the band is in the midst of an extensive North American tour, with stops at Nashville’s Live on the Green (Aug. 28), the Midpoint Music Festival (Sept. 26 in Cincinnati), Day of the Shred (Nov. 1 in Santa Ana) and also includes a two-week span with Windhand (Sept. 4 to 21).

All Them Witches tour dates:

August 21 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
August 22 Philadelphia, PA Milkboy Philly
August 23 Stroudsberg, PA Sherman Theater
August 24 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
August 28 Nashville, TN Live on the Green
September 4 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
September 5 Pittsburgh, PA 31st Pub
September 6 Akron, OH Musica
September 7 Columbus, OH The Basement
September 9 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s
September 10 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
September 11 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social club
September 12 Cudahy, WI Metal Grill
September 13 Ferndale, MI The Loving Touch
September 14 Toronto, ON Coda
September 16 Ottawa, ON Café Dekcuf
September 17 Montreal, QC Petit Campus
September 18 Cambridge, MA The Middle East Upstairs
September 19 Providence, RI AS220
September 20 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
September 21 Ithaca, NY The Dock
September 26 Cincinnati, OH Midpoint Music Festival
November 1 Santa Ana, CA Day of the Shred

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

www.facebook.com/allthemwitches
www.twitter.com/allthemwitches
www.allthemwitches.org

All Them Witches, “Charles William”

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Should’ve Been Sooner: Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider

Posted in Reviews on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure if I’m going to make “Should’ve Been Sooner” reviews a series or not, but I’m backed up enough on records that I probably could. Either way, after Demon Eye yesterday, it seemed only fitting to follow-up with another long-standing pile dweller, so here goes:

Arizona heavy rock four-piece Powered Wig Machine have the fuzz, they have the riffs, they have the groove, and yet there’s something about them that still seems to be working against expectation. At least the expected expectation. I’ll explain. The Sierra Vista natives make a self-recorded, self-released debut with Supa-Collider, and while its methods are familiar enough — a Clutch-style sway in closing nod-maker “Brain of Hank Pym” and a classic stoner rock toss-off lyric in “Wizard of Orgy” — for actually being near desert if not in it (Sierra Vista seems to be dry, but a mountain town), their sound is much more derived from barroom blues than laid-back Yawning Man-style jams. Supa-Collider is a quick listen at a thoroughly unpretentious seven tracks/33 minutes, the band — guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell, guitarist/organist/engineer Brian Gold, guitarist Dusty Hinkle, bassist/backing vocalist Joseph Rudell and drummer Daniel Graves – starting off with a showing of classic heavy rock influence in “At the Helm of Hades,” which reminds of some of the grooves Deep Purple was apt to nestle into at their peak, with Gold‘s organ moving alongside his and Wayne‘s guitars and the bluesy vocals overtop. While it’s among the most resonant of them, “At the Helm of Hades” is hardly all Supa-Collider has to offer in terms of hooks, and both the shorter, bouncing “Led Masquerade” and subsequent “Here Come the Freaks” find their moments of distinction, the latter with a shuffle in its midsection that opens up to bigger grooving toward the finish as Graves gives his crash cymbals what for before stepping back into the start-stop progression of the verse.

I’d call the straightforward, un-Kyuss-ness of Supa-Collider jarring if Powered Wig Machine weren’t so solid in their performance and if the grooves weren’t so inviting. These aren’t dudes looking to change the world, or even to fix what isn’t broken about their genre, but neither should the quality of their output be written off nor should they be considered entirely unoriginal. Wayne comes across as an able frontman and vocalist, and the interplay throughout of guitar and organ — the latter appearing here and there in a flourish, then gone to make way for a solo or some other part — gives a sense of character and arrangement to these songs beyond what would seem to be the standard, “Led Masquerade” jamming itself to a finish as a lead-in for the starts and stops of “Here Come the Freaks,” the fuzz of which is all the beefier for the complement of keys. “Wizard of Orgy” follows, its “time-traveling pervert” chorus serving notice to anyone who might’ve through Powered Wig Machine were in danger of taking themselves too seriously, and “Mother Rocker” and the title-track deliver a one-two punch of heaviness — the latter is probably the band’s most singularly Clutch-derived groove — before the 6:18 “Brain of Hank Pym” rides in like a bluesy cavalry, putting the guitars even more in the lead as the vocals follow along, and encouraging the listener to fall in and do likewise. It’s the brain of Hank Pym — aka Ant-Man — as opposed to the body of John Wilkes Booth, at least going by the construction of the chorus, but as they’ve done throughout, Powered Wig Machine bring a spin of their own to established stylistic parameters. Keeping in mind that Supa-Collider is their debut even though they’ve been around since 2005/2006, it’s hard to ask more of the album than it delivers.

And Supa-Collider is all the more encouraging since not only is it a capable execution, but it’s self-made. Tony Reed mastered, but Gold recorded and mixed, the latter with Joey Rudell, who also designed cover and did the layout for the four-panel digipak pressing. Being self-contained on multiple levels has its ups and downs — see also: booking shows — but according to the liner, Gold built the studio in which Supa-Collider was tracked, so to think of them becoming more comfortable in a recording space as they continue to progress in terms of their writing and aesthetic only adds to the potential they show here. What matters most, however, are the songs themselves, and Powered Wig Machine already have the songs working in their favor on their debut.

Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider (2014)

Powered Wig Machine on Thee Facebooks

Powered Wig Machine on Bandcamp

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Bloodcow Launch Kickstarter to Press New Album Crystals and Lasers

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

bloodcow

If we lived in a universe where justice and righteousness reigned, Bloodcow wouldn’t have to come a-knockin’ with a Kickstarter campaign to finish mixing and press their forthcoming fourth album, Crystals and Lasers, because they’d already be millionaires. The riotous, hook-laden, perma-sarcastic DIY outfit began the recording process early in 2012 — the song “Little Chromosome” was streamed here in October of that year — and though I don’t usually like to post crowdfunding-type stuff, my motivation here is the thinking that the sooner they reach their goal, the sooner I can get to hear the album, which is the follow-up to their logic-defying 2007 outing, Bloodcow III: Hail Xenu. Selfish reasons rule the day.

They’ve got some legitimately cool rewards as well, including original art and, if you live close enough to Council Bluffs, Iowa, a house show they’ll come play for you. Lock up the fancy silver and soundproof the living room if that’s the one you go for, but either way, if you giving them money means Crystals and Lasers gets done, then yeah, do that.

Here’s the info and their campaign video:

Fucking a.

New Bloodcow Record – “Crystals and Lasers”

The fourth full length release from Bloodcow, ‘Crystals and Lasers’ is their most ambitious to date. One word description? Epic.

How it started.

When we started writing songs for this new album, we talked a lot about how rock music was consumed in the past, how you might sit in a poorly lit room full of smoke with your headphones on and trip out on the music while staring at some cool artwork. That’s how we wanted people to be able to enjoy this record…not only a collection of songs, but our contribution to an experience.

What’s the plan?

To fund the release of Bloodcow’s 4th full length entitled ‘Crystals & Lasers’ on multiple formats including vinyl, cd, and digital download.

Where we are right now.

We were fortunate enough to record at ARC in Omaha, NE with uber engineer Jim Homan and also in the science lair of uber producer Aaron Gum. All the music is in the can (that’s music business lingo) and we have since mixed 3 songs. We have album and CD artwork finished and are coming up with the sticker and T-shirt art as you read this.

What are you funding?

Remainder of mixing with Jim Homan.
Mastering at TurtleTone Studio with Mike Fossenkemper.
180 gram Vinyl Records.
CD Digipaks.
Digital download cards.
Stickers
Kickstarter only T-shirts.
The Kickstarter/Amazon fees that have to be paid in order to run this campaign.

What if the goal is surpassed?

We have ideas in place to record a music video with Aaron Gum involving drag queens in an awesome club setting…and yes that was totally serious.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bloodcow/new-bloodcow-record-crystals-and-lasers
https://www.facebook.com/Bloodcow
http://www.bloodcow.com/

Bloodcow, Crystals and Lasers Kickstarter video

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On the Radar: Spiritual Shepherd, The Monkey’s Paw

Posted in On the Radar on August 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Riffs abound on The Monkey’s Paw, the debut from Las Vegas instrumental trio Spiritual Shepherd. Lots of riffs. The young self-releasing trio seem to be working their way into their sound even as the songs play out, and the album — a full-length at 44 minutes — has an exploratory, demo feel while still keeping an overarching flow from track to track. It’s worth noting that Spiritual Shepherd, nascent though they may be for having been around just over two years, are twice-over veterans of Vegas’ Doom in June fest, have shared the stage with Pentagram (review here) and Eyehategod, and will take part in this year’s Southwest Terror Fest in October. So while they may be and sound formative, no one can say they didn’t dive in head-first. The Monkey’s Paw works similarly, with a moment of psychedelic post-rock flourish in the centerpiece “The Mountain Told Me So” and a surrounding barrage of riff-grooving progressions that put the three-piece square in the realm of modern stoner rock.

Self-produced and pressed, the album varies some in tempo and approach within tracks, moving from big-stomp riffing to more upbeat fare in songs like “The Monkey’s Paw” and “Milky Way,” but the bulk of the material balances influence from Sleep and the Melvins while searching out its own identity. The recording is raw, but clear enough to show the band’s potential for establishing themselves at the beginning point of their progression, a cut like opener “64” getting its footing in fuzzy Monkey riffs!stoner sway before guitarist Sean van Haitsma takes forward position in the mix for a howling, distortion-caked solo. Thickened by the hefty tone of bassist Omar Alvarado and propelled by drummer Ian Henneforth – whose active hi-hat would seem to indicate he hasn’t quite let go of his metal roots, despite a prevalent swing to coincide with an emphasis on precision — van Haitsma‘s riffs have a fitting complement, and if the fluid transitions in boogie-minded closer “Interstellar Superhighway” prove anything, it’s that they’re well on their way to figuring out how to make the most of a trio dynamic, Henneforth‘s tom runs and Alvarado‘s punchy basslines filling out the last couple minutes of the song while van Haitsma quietly spaces out on guitar.

An unnamed bonus track follows the end of “Interstellar Superhighway” and further proves the theorem, Alvarado going full-funk on the bass while Henneforth keeps the beat and van Haitsma stomps his wah like it was any number of desert-dwelling insectoids. For personality, the bonus cut might be the three-piece’s best showing, since it demonstrates their willingness to toy with genre conventions and shape heaviness to suit their own ends, even when those ends are basically just screwing around and having a good time. Great records are made that way. Spiritual Shepherd have a ways to go before they get there, but they’ve already got plenty to offer for riff hounds and they’ve given themselves a foundation on which to build their next time out. With the experience they’ve already set about gathering and the blueprint they’re working from here, I wouldn’t be surprised if they solidified into a powerful and progressive unit.

Spiritual Shepherd on Thee Facebooks

Spiritual Shepherd on ReverbNation

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Merlin, Christ Killer: To Hell and Back

Posted in Reviews on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Beginning with the foreboding organ intro of “Overture,” there’s a lot more to Merlin‘s Christ Killer than it immediately seems. The self-releasing Kansas City, Missouri, double-guitar five-piece preceded their sophomore full-length by making a single out of second cut “Execution” (review here), but even that on its own doesn’t provide a context for what the album as a whole seems to be trying to accomplish, blending various genre elements together in a psychedelic brew that’s admirably individualized. A cinematic ramble of Western-style acoustics threads its way across the severely-titled CD’s five-track/39-minute run, guitarists Carter Lewis (also piano) and Benjamin Cornett leading a vinyl-ready march through the sundry peaks and valleys within the songs, building up in length shortest to longest until the final duo of “Lucifer’s Revenge” and the instrumental closer “The Christkiller” top 10 and 11 minutes, respectively. Comprised of LewisCornett, bassist Evan Warren, drummer Caleb Wyels and standalone vocalist Jordan KnorrMerlin reportedly based Christ Killer around an unmade screenplay by Nick Cave for a sequel to the film Gladiator, and Knorr shows something of a Cave influence singing as well, a low-register sneer à la The Birthday Party working its way into the eight-minute centerpiece “Deal with the Devil,” topping a cresting wash of noise, building, consuming, and finally, receding.

As the single for “Execution” hinted, Merlin are a much different band on Christ Killer than they were when they issued their self-titled debut digitally last year or any of the sundry other live outings, or demos that have popped up since their start in 2012. It could be that they’ve found their style with this album and will continue to work to refine it, or that from here, they’ll explore a completely new direction their next time out. Frankly, based on the audio here, I wouldn’t put myself on the hook for betting either way. Though the material — even on “Deal with the Devil” and “The Christkiller” — always has direction if not a distinct verse/chorus structure, Merlin conjure an abidingly open feel in the songs, and while the production is crisp and their performances nodding at the Melvins and Clutch and other heavyweights of that ilk, there’s a darkness at the sonic heart of what they do that matches the album’s theme. Cave‘s screenplay follows the tale of Russell Crowe‘s character, dead in the first movie, as he’s sent by the gods to kill Jesus and his followers on their behalf in order to live again with his wife, but is ultimately tricked into killing his own son and then becomes war through all time. Not a movie that would ever get made — certainly a far cry from Crowe playing Noah in a Biblical epic earlier this year — but decent fodder for the likes of Merlin to go exploring, the opening guitar/bass-drum sally of “Execution” reminding again of Clutch‘s “The Regulator” but unfolding with Knorr channeling his inner King Buzzo over the album’s most resonant hook. Liberal use of slide and wah ensues, but Merlin never lose control of the song, and that remains true of “Deal with the Devil” as well, as far out as that piece goes and as unwilling as it seems to step back from its atmospheric distances.

No doubt “Execution” is Christ Killer‘s catchiest moment and “Deal with the Devil” the most experimental, but “Lucifer’s Revenge” seems to be where they find the balance between the two impulses and even blend in some of their earlier (speaking relatively, we’re still talking about a band that’s been around for about two years) heavy psychedelic impulses in both guitar and keys. A classic doom feel emerges, presented with the same rich production but a garage-style simplicity, and as one part meshes into the next, Merlin make their way toward a post-jam apex that harkens directly back to “Execution”‘s chorus vocal patterning and simultaneously channels elder Pentagram in its deranged bluesy sway. It is Merlin‘s ability to make these things fluid and their sheer command of their own direction that makes Christ Killer so hard to pull your ears away from. I’m not sure they’re doing anything that’s never been done, even as “The Christkiller” begins its mournful roll with percussion and twanging acoustic and howling wind, gradually building over its 11 minutes to what might’ve been the end credit chaos — the film was said to cap with an extended montage of wars over the centuries — but their clearheaded execution is undeniable, and that Merlin would prove not only so ambitious, but so able to meet their ambition head on, makes Christ Killer impressive beyond its titular silliness and forceful in ways more subtle even than the smoothness of its instrumental flow. Merlin are still growing, but they’ve constructed a work of relentless creativity here, and while it may prove a stepping stone along one or another path as they continue to progress, it’s worthy of attention in its own right as well.

Merlin, Christ Killer (2014)

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Hercyn and Thera Roya to Release All this Suffering is Not Enough Split CD

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

A heads up from my beloved Garden State in that Jersey City atmospheric black metallers Hercyn are about to issue a limited split CD with Brooklyn post-metallers Thera Roya. You might recall Hercyn released a 24-minute single-track EP last fall called Magda (review here), which they’ve since followed up with an acoustic version, and the allegiance between the two acts gets even more traction with the fact that Thera Roya used to be known as The Badeda Ladies, whom I was fortunate enough to see late in 2012 at The Grand Victory in Brooklyn (review here).

I’ll be interested to hear what kind of growth the moniker swap has brought that trio, and Hercyn have already proved themselves to be stylistically adventurous, so their inclusion on All this Suffering is Not Enough is one to look forward to as well. It’s out Aug. 5 and they’re playing a release show in Jersey on Aug. 2, should you happen to be in that part of the world:

Hercyn and Thera Roya releasing split CD

This spring, Jersey City’s epic black metal band Hercyn joined together with Brooklyn’s own gloomy doom band Thera Roya to record a a CD split entitled “All This Suffering Is Not Enough” on the DIY outfit Ouro Preto Productions.

The release finds both American bands contrasting Hercyn’s epic atmosphere and weaving black metal with Thera Roya’s gloomy and sorrowful doom / post-metal. Hercyn deliver Dusk and Dawn, a 14 minute sprawling black metal piece with sub-layers of synth and acoustic strings. Thera Roya’s side of the split features Gluttony, a 9 minute slowly thundering song drenched in emotion. Both bands have worked in private on the creation of the split. All production and recording was handled’s by Hercyn’s Tony Stanziano (ex-Annunaki, ex-Blood Feast). “All This Suffering Is Not Enough” follow’s Hercyn’s 2013 self-released 24 minute epic Magda (listen here) and Thera Roya’s self-titled (listen here).

The split will see an official summer release of August 5th in hand numbered CDs and will be highly limited to 333 total copies. Pre-orders will be announced shortly here.

In celebration of the split, both bands will share the same stage August 2nd at the Lamp Post in Hercyn’s hometown (382, 2nd street, Jersey City). The release show is free, music starts at 10pm. Opening the show is special guest, Bible Gun – a dramatic piano and saxophone duo from Montclair, New Jersey (listen here). Early copies of the split CD will be available for purchase at the show.

Follow Hercyn and Thera Roya on Facebook.

Hercyn, Magda (2013)

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On the Radar: Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP

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 Sets album, 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, Orbital blends 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 Orbital is 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.

Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP (2014)

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Stonefromthesky on Bandcamp

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Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty: Setting the Balance

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 Beauty progresses, 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 Beauty into 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 Beauty establishes 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 Beauty as a sign of things to come when Rodeo Drive get to the actual near future.

Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty (2014)

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Rodeo Drive on Bandcamp

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All Them Witches Announce Tour Dates Supporting Windhand

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.

Dates follow:

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

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches/

All Them Witches, Effervescent EP (2014)

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Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz Release Crystal Future Split Single

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 Future would 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.

Cover art from the painting “Shape of Things to Come” by Samantha Allen
samantha-allen.tumblr.com

Mastered at Ron’s Wrecker Service, with MAGNETOSONIC sound
www.facebook.com/ronswreckerservice

“A Peak Into the Future” and “A Timely Idea”
Written and produced by Space Mushroom Fuzz
Copyright 2014 BMI

“New Blue Horizon” and “Slowly We All (Into the Bottle) Fall”
Written and produced by Ice Dragon
Copyright 2014 ASCAP

http://icedragon.bandcamp.com/album/crystal-future
https://www.facebook.com/icedragonofficial
http://spacemushroomfuzz.bandcamp.com/album/crystal-future
https://www.facebook.com/SpaceMushroomFuzz

Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, Crystal Future (2014)

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