Wino Wednesday: Wino and Jennifer Herrema Cover the Rolling Stones, Live in L.A., 2011

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In one of a very long list of guest appearances, Wino played guitar and sang with Royal Trux vocalist Jennifer Herrema on a cover of the Rolling Stones‘ “Sway” that was used as the B-side to a Herrema collaboration with Kurt Vile released as part of Volcom‘s vinyl series a year ago. The plugged-in studio version of the track was premiered here to mark the release (by amazing coincidence, it went up while I was in Europe last year), and it was something different from nearly everything else in Wino‘s sizable discography, even the acoustic stuff.

But it’s that acoustic stuff — namely his late-2010 mostly-unplugged solo debut, Adrift (review here) — that had Wino doing an in-store Jan. 15, 2011, at Volcom‘s L.A. retail store, where Herrema joined him in front of some snazzy pairs of slacks and button-downs to take on “Sway” live. I don’t know how the duet came about and if it was this performance that perhaps sparked the studio version that would be released more than a year later, but it’s out there and as well as it worked in the finished product, I think I might like the live version even better.

Not to mention Herrema‘s poncho looks comfortable as hell. Here’s the live version of “Sway,” recorded in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2011. Please enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday.

Wino & Jennifer Herrema, “Sway” (Rolling Stones cover) live at Volcom in L.A.

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Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13, 13 in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

There hasn’t been an update to Premonition 13‘s Thee Facebooks page since last July, and even that was about Wino doing the South of Mainstream festival with The Obsessed, so with their last release as a contribution to a Volcom split with Radio Moscow and Earthless (featured here), and the band having ended their European tour playing as a trio, I think it’s probably safe to assume they won’t be following up their 2011 debut LP, 13 (review here) anytime soon. So it goes.

Aside from having been the first Wino Wednesday post, Premonition 13 had something unique to offer from among Wino‘s many projects — namely, the jam. It didn’t really come across on 13, because after so many years of doing so I don’t think Wino can help but turn a jam into a song, but particularly seeing the double-guitar four-piece live, the character of the project revealed itself most of all in the spontaneous interplay between Wino and fellow guitarist Jim Karow. Wino‘s played with few enough other six-stringers over the course of his career, and whatever else the band may have done, they jammed the hell out of those riffs. That was, as they themselves stated, the foundation of the band.

But the album 13 was still very much an album in its construction; a collection of songs put together in such a way as to create an overall arc or full-length flow. Though it moved away from the basic jams that served as its starting point, there were still plenty of memorable moments on it, whether it was the single “La Hechicera de la Jeringa” or Karow taking on the frontman role for the classically hooky “Modern Man.” As always, groove and tonal warmth abounded, and though Premonition 13 will likely remain a short-lived experiment in the longer run of Wino‘s career, they did touch on something distinct within that vast catalog.

Here’s the album in full. Have a great Wino Wednesday:

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Radio Moscow’s “Rancho Tehama Airport” to See Volcom Vinyl Club Release

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Even as Radio Moscow‘s current European tour gets underway, the news emerges that the single for “Rancho Tehama Airport’ b/w “Sweet Little Thing” will be released to the public as part of Volcom Entertainment‘s limited Vinyl Club subscription package. Past installments have included the likes of Wino, the Melvins and High on Fire, so Radio Moscow are in good company with the tracks, which represent their first new material since 2011′s The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz.

The band previously posted both songs for advance checking out via YouTube (link above), but here’s “Rancho Tehama Airport” as a refresher, courtesy of Volcom, and info about the 2013 subscription package for the Vinyl Club. Enjoy:

Volcom Announces Volcom Entertainment Vinyl Club’s 2013 Subscription

We are excited to announce the launch of the VEVC 2013 subscription, our 6th year running a limited edition 7″ singles club. For those unfamiliar with the Volcom Ent Vinyl Club (VEVC for short), a 1-year subscription to the Volcom Ent Vinyl Club, includes:

• Shipment of six 7″s throughout the year: VEVC0031, VEVC0032, VEVC0033, VEVC0034, VEVC0035, VEVC0036.
• Subscriber-only colored vinyl on some releases.
• Subscriptions are limited to 300.
• Subscribers get a 20% discount on the purchase of any other vinyl releases made in our subscriber store.

The first release, VEVC 0031, is a face melting two-sided slab of new material from psychedelic blues rockers Radio Moscow. This record is already in production and we hope to ship these by early March. VEVC 0032 is also in the pipeline and you can trust us when we say that it will be a rowdy split shared by two of Los Angeles’ grittiest bands, The Shrine and Zig Zags, each contributing new tunes. You will want to turn this one up!

We’re really excited about the rest of the 2013 roster that is coming together and for those of you who’ve subscribed before, hope that you can trust us when we say we have some cool releases up our sleeves!!

Also as a special gift to 2013 subscribers who act fast, we’ll be including a free copy of the Volcom x Yo Gabba Gabba 7” to the first 150 subscribers with the shipment of VEVC 0031. This record is super limited to 500 red vinyl and 500 green vinyl and the 150 copies that we can offer are the last remaining ones. In case you didn’t see this one fly by last year, the record features a collaboration between hip-hop legend Biz Markie and Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips on one side and on the other side “He’s a Chef”, the first new Rocket From the Crypt recording in, like, 5 years… no big deal.

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Torche, Harmonicraft: Inverting the Reverse, and Vice Versa

Posted in Reviews on May 8th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Miami-based rockers Torche don’t do anything so well as they seem to delight in contradiction. Even on their third full-length album, Harmonicraft, there’s a palpable joy that comes through in the band’s defiance of the expectations placed on them. On the most superficial level, Harmonicraft is released by Volcom, where the bulk of the band’s various splits, singles and EPs have arrived via Hydra Head, and in terms of function, though the 13 songs here seem to go punch for punch with the 13 songs on 2008’s Meanderthal and wind up just a minute longer in total – 37 as opposed to 36 on the prior outing – they do so with the pivotal inclusion of a new guitarist/vocalist. Torche, who recorded 2010’s Songs for Singles EP as the three-piece of bassist Jon Nuñez, drummer Rick Smith and vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks, are joined here for the first time by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Elstner, who came aboard to fill the spot formerly occupied by Juan Montoya, currently of MonstrO. As Montoya had previously played with Brooks in seminal Floridian doomers Floor, who reunited for several shows in 2010 to celebrate a 10LP box set, his absence from Torche was significant despite the common perception that it’s Brooks doing the bulk of the writing, but Elstner fits smoothly into that role (especially vocally), and Harmonicraft shows no backward movement on the part of the band either in performance or creative scope. As ever for Torche, songwriting is paramount, and they continue to refine their blend of weighted underground metal tonality with classic pop structures, upbeat, catchy choruses and melodies. They’re a band known for offering a lot of substance in a short amount of time – indeed, several of Harmonicraft’s tracks hover below or around the two-minute mark, and that novelty has always been part of Torche’s contrarian nature as regards the tropes of doom – and these songs keep that pattern going, with a memorability factor that at points mirrors the strength of the hooks.

Sandwiched by near-manically upbeat opener “Letting Go” and the five-and-a-half-minute relative downer closer “Looking On,” the bulk of Harmonicraft settles into Torche’s creative sphere comfortably, with the band sounding confident in their presentation. The album was recorded by Nuñez and mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (High on Fire, Black Cobra, etc.), and sounds crisp and clean, and cuts like “Kicking,” which follows the opener, and the playful later arrival “Kiss Me Dudely” offer landmarks of a quality no less forceful than prior Torche high points like “Grenades” from Meanderthal, “Tarpit Carnivore” from 2007’s In Return EP (though for my money, they’ve never been that heavy before or since) or “Mentor” from 2005’s self-titled debut. These tracks are Torche at their best, and on an album like Harmonicraft, which doesn’t follow a plotted narrative – at least to my knowledge – are essential in the overall effect on the listener. Other songs seem to serve to bolster their position, like the skater-punkish 86-second blast “Walk it Off” that ups the energy following “Kicking,” leading to the more mid-paced groove of “Reverse Inverted,” or likewise, the slower, more openly-riffed “Solitary Traveler,” on which Brooks’ vocals arrive from deeper in the mix and coated in sub-psychedelic echo. One hears shades of U2 sentimentality in the lead notes of mid-album cuts like “Snakes are Charmed,” but Torche’s tonal heft is maintained through Nuñez’ bass and underscored by Smith’s tom work. Particularly without Montoya’s involvement, it’s easy to read Torche at this point as being Brooks’ band – and maybe it is, I don’t know the realities of their songwriting process – but even if that’s the case, everyone here contributes. Following the more foreboding Melvins-style chug of “In Pieces,” “Snakes are Charmed” is one more shift Torche skillfully pull off on Harmonicraft, Smith’s frantic snare on the 1:18 “Sky Trials” acting as a palate cleanser before “Roaming”’s nod-worthy groove exemplifies the mixture of influence that has come to typify the band.

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Wino Wednesday: Previously Unreleased Premonition 13 Jam from Split with Radio Moscow and Earthless

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 21st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy Wino Wednesday.This week we take a break from exploring the deep past like we’ve done the last couple Wino Wednesdays to focus on something brand new. The below jam, taken from the Volcom Entertainment page on SoundCloud, was recorded when Premonition 13 was in the studio making their debut (and possibly only; though one hopes not) full-length, 13. Dubbed “Noche Oscura,” it comes from a new Volcom split 12″ between Premonition 13, Radio Moscow and Earthless. Good company to keep.

Really, it’s kind of two smaller jams they put together to make one longer piece, but if it was played as it appears below (you can see the fadeout and return in the wave form) I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, as watching Premonition 13 on stage last year in Brooklyn, it seemed their jamming dynamic was well honed, and actually the core of the band, however much those jams might have been distilled into the structured songs that appeared on the album. Nothing against that process, there’s a lot of killer music made that way — including that record — but what you get with “Noche Oscura” is the unrefined core of what Premonition 13 was/is, and it’s worth it alone for the wistful drama that plays out between Wino and fellow six-stringer Jim Karow‘s guitars in the second half of the song.

They also lock in a right-on heavy groove, and 30 weeks of Wino Wednesday later, I haven’t refused a heavy groove yet. Certainly don’t intend to start now. For more on the split, which is limited to 1,500 copies, check out Volcom‘s store, and in the meantime, here’s “Noche Oscura.”

Happy Wino Wednesday:

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Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13 Live in L.A., 2011

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 21st, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

There isn’t much live footage of Premonition 13 out there, because, unlike every other project Scott “Wino” Weinrich has ever been involved in, he hasn’t had the chance to tour the hell out of it yet. As the PR wire informed yesterday, though, that’s about to change, and Premonition 13 — which released its debut, 13, on Volcom earlier this year (review here) — have announced their first two runs of North American shows with Witch Mountain and The Gates of Slumber. Right on.

What’s most interesting about Premonition 13 in comparison to the slew of Wino‘s projects is the inclusion of guitarist Jim Karow, a friend of Weinrich‘s going back to the days of The Obsessed, for whom Karow‘s wife served as the first manager. What Karow brings to Premonition 13, though, is a sense of being a co-headliner. Where in Shrinebuilder, there’s the formidable likes of Al Cisneros and Scott Kelly to play off of, in the realm of “Wino bands,” it’s always been Wino up front. Now he’s playing off of Karow. The elements of Wino‘s playing and songwriting are there as they’re always going to be, but it’s different.

To wit, the clip below for “Modern Man” from the 13 album with Karow on lead vocals. One of my favorite tunes from this record and I thought a great way to change it up this Wino Wednesday. Make sure to check out the tour dates under the player. Hope you dig:

Premonition 13 on tour:
10/04 Monterey, CA Jose’s Underground Lounge (w/Wino solo acoustic opening)
10/06 Seattle, WA El Corazon*
10/07 Bellingham, WA Shakedown*
10/08 Portland, OR Branx (Fall into Darkness Fest)*
10/09 Arcata, CA Alibi*
10/10 San Francisco, CA Elbo Room*
10/11 Los Angeles, CA Handbag Factory*
10/12 San Diego, CA The Shakedown Bar*
11/04 Providence, RI AS220=
11/05 Newark, DE Mojo Main=
11/06 Baltimore, MD Sonar=
11/07 Richmond, VA Strange Matter (w/Wino solo acoustic opening)=
11/09 Charlotte, NC Tremont Music Hall=
11/10 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn=
11/11 Nashville, TN The Muse=
11/12 Indianapolis, IN Melody Inn=
11/13 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge=
11/15 Pittsburgh, PA 31st St Pub=
11/17 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus=
* w/ Witch Mountain
= w/ The Gates of Slumber

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New Premonition 13 Video: A Little Wino for Your Wednesday

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 24th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Can’t help but think maybe it’s time I institute Wino Wednesday as a regular feature on this site. Any thoughts? Jeebus knows he’s got enough of a back catalog that I could post something different every week for a year, and by then, he’s bound to have put out two or three new albums, prolific as he is.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. While you’re mulling it over, check out this new clip for the Premonition 13 track “La Hechicera de la Jeringa” from the band’s Volcom debut, 13:

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audiObelisk: New Premonition 13 Track Available for Streaming

Posted in audiObelisk on July 26th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today, July 26, marks the release of Premonition 13‘s full-length Volcom debut, 13. The album finds legendary guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich pairing with guitarist/vocalist Jim Karow and filling the bassist role as well in the studio for what would be (and has been) a four-piece live. Together, Weinrich, Karow and drummer Matthew Clark forge a sound that’s at once in line with Weinrich‘s past work in his various trios — Wino, The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan — but a step away as well for the interplay between the two guitars and vocalists.

And it’s that interplay that’s at the core of Premonition 13‘s 13. I’ve already reviewed the album, so I’ll spare the longwinded opining, but suffice it to say that fans of Weinrich will be as much thrilled by what’s familiar about 13 as they will by what’s different about it. The record is raw and natural, but still has that essential core of classic doom riffing that has made Wino the influential figure he is, and the balance works.

Volcom was kind enough to give me permission to host the nine-minute album opener “B.E.A.U.T.Y.” for streaming, which you’ll find, followed by some info from the label, on the player below.

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

The Premonition 13 debut album, 13, is now available for purchase in all formats (LP and CD orders come with an immediate digital download). The pre-orders for this album came in fast and heavy, so the limited edition orange LPs are close to being sold out. T-shirts are indeed sold out, but when you scroll to the bottom of the offers page you can view the bundles and individual items still available.

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Premonition 13, 13: The Sorcerers Stone

Posted in Reviews on May 26th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

If legendary doom guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich has proven anything over the course of his career, it’s that he’s a fan of the trio. Between The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and his Wino solo outfit, there’s obviously something about the chemistry of three players on stage and in the studio that holds great appeal. It’s a classic formula, anyway, and Weinrich is essentially a classic player in a rock sense, and on the heels of his successful Adrift solo acoustic offering and with new albums from Saint Vitus and the supergroup Shrinebuilder still nebulous on the horizon, he unveils Premonition 13, his latest trio band. The twist here is that it’s a four-piece. On their self-titled 7” single, released earlier this year, Weinrich handed bass as well as guitar and vocals, and he does the same on the follow-up full-length, 13, which is also issued by Volcom. Former Meatjack bassist Brian Danilowski (also of the droning Darsombra) was playing with them for a while, but that seems to have dissipated, putting Weinrich in the rhythm section along with drummer Matthew Clark as well as dueling it out on guitar with Jim Karow, whose longtime friendship with Weinrich seems very much to be the impetus behind starting the band.

Karow also adds vocals to Weinrich’s trademark style, and the two offset each other well. In that regard, Premonition 13 has something in common sound-wise with The Hidden Hand, in which bassist Bruce Falkinburg also contributed both lead and background singing in a similar fashion to what occurs with Karow on 13. Still, there’s no question that Premonition 13 is its own unit, and that it’s the double-guitars that make it so. Longtime followers of Weinrich will recognize many of the elements at play immediately – the downtrodden riffing, dynamic shifts, fire-red solos and Wino’s half-snarled/half-crooned singing – but just as people have different personalities, so do bands, and with so much to compare it to, 13 still emerges as somewhat unique within the context of the vast Weinrich catalog. A thread of strong songwriting emerges throughout the nine component tracks, and the two-guitar factor allows more room for the music to breathe, as Premonition 13 shows with subtle psychedelic flourishes in passing moments like the intro to opener “B.E.A.U.T.Y.,” the centerpiece interlude “La Hechicera de la Jeringa (Prelude)” and closer “Peyote Road.” 13 begins with a fade-up of e-bow guitar, giving an ethereal hum for the first two of the song’s total nine minutes (it’s the longest on the album; bonus points in my mind for putting it at the start), before the riffing starts and Karow and Weinrich trade off vocals to excellent affect, following the undulating riff to make the song both engaging and memorable in a way that’s no less so for being what you’d expect.

There are a few genuine highlight cuts on 13 – third track “Clay Pigeons” and the later, infectious “Modern Man” on which Karow takes the lead vocal come to mind most readily – but it’s important to note that Premonition 13’s first LP, is very much that: An LP. It’s structured into sides, and the flow from one song to the next is smooth and easy. In a way, “B.E.A.U.T.Y.” is a microcosm of the album itself, it’s grand, open-string ending sounding huge with Clark’s capable but not flashy drumming behind. Followed by the shorter, more driving “Hard to Say,” the tempo gets a kick and a highlight solo is provided, if one more deeply mixed than it might be on an album that doesn’t have two guitars. There’s another strong chorus that the verse seems to be in a hurry to get to (though maybe that’s just the impatient riff), but “Clay Pigeons” overwhelms its lead-in both in terms of execution and complexity. Weinrich and Karow infuse the back end of the song with some of 13’s best guitar interplay, and the long fadeout sets up the quieter “Senses,” which closes Side A in semi-ballad fashion, with a quiet verse and heavier chorus structure that repeats twice and leads to a bridge and chorus ending that works well. Like a lot of 13, it’s been done before, but is still a boon to the converted.

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Premonition 13: Wino Rows His Boat Ashore

Posted in Reviews on March 15th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Longtime fans of guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich will recognize his signature tone almost immediately on Switchouse/Crossthreaded, the debut 7” from his new project, Premonition 13 (released via Volcom Entertainment’s vinyl club in a limited edition green-record pressing of 1,000), but there’s something different going on too. Something strange. Spoiler alert: It’s another guitar. Though Premonition 13 remains, as of this release, a power trio with Weinrich adding bass to his guitar and singing duties, he’s joined in this new project by guitarist and longtime friend Jim Karow, who proves no slouch when it comes to keeping up with the blazing leads and huge-footed stomping grooves. The two tracks they present – “Switchouse” and “Crossthreaded,” oddly enough – find Weinrich well in his element songwriting-wise, and though it’s not the first time he’s worked with another guitarist, it is the first time he’s worked with a guitarist doing this. Where the supergroup Shrinebuilder, in which he shares six-string responsibility with Scott Kelly of Neurosis, draws from elements of its various members’ bands, Premonition 13 feels very much in the vein of Weinrich’s trio projects – Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, the Wino band – though perhaps more the former than the latter.

“Switchouse” begins immediately with a solo and moves quick into its verse. Judging by tone alone, I’d guess it’s Karow’s lead with Weinrich on the backing track, but I could be wrong, and before you know it, the song’s started anyway. The double-guitars don’t affect arrangement much, at least as compares to a record like the Wino band’s Punctuated EquilibriumWeinrich’s prior release in the trio format, now over two years old – in that the song is rife with soloing in almost every bridge, which is how it should be, or at least what expectation dictates. Drummer Matthew Clark keeps a standard middle pace, not unreasonably fast, not overwhelmingly slow, but steady on his cymbals and snare. There isn’t any trickery going on stylistically, either. The song is more or less straightforward in its structure, verse/chorus, etc., and apart from some backing “ooh”s from Weinrich, there isn’t much to catch listeners off guard. That’s not to say the song is boring. Rather, it harkens at a similar kind of easy-riding atmosphere as Spirit Caravan’s landmark debut, Jug Fulla Sun, and blends it with a kind of “you’re going to get screwed over” social critique in the lyrics to result in a brew so distinctly Weinrich’s that I almost feel like I’m downplaying Karow’s involvement by not including him more in the description. If Premonition 13 is looking to make an opening statement with Switchouse/Crossthreaded, side A does so definitively.

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Live Review: Weedeater, ASG and Naam in Manhattan, 02.24.11

Posted in Reviews on February 25th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was my first time at Santos Party House. The club, famously shut down last year for dealing drugs, resides in that not-quite-Chinatown, not-quite-financial-district section of Manhattan below Canal St., down by where the Knitting Factory used to make its home on Leonard. It’s kind of a nether-region in New York, at least after 6PM when all the suits have gone home. Stores close. There’s parking. Santos seemed to be doing alright anyway for attracting a crowd; last night’s was the most packed Weedeater show I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few.

Over in the Webster Hall basement, The Brought Low and Puny Human were opening for Danko Jones and if I’d had half a brain in my head or a memory to retain what goes into said brain, I would have headed into the city early to catch their sets before hitting up Santos, but no, I was playing it cool, waiting to get to the club at around 9:30. Clubs in NYC can go either way these days. In Brooklyn, you’re more or less guaranteed a late night, but you never know who in Manhattan is going to decide at 11PM that it’s time for the dance party to start. To Santos‘ credit, the dance party was downstairs by the bathrooms and Weedeater, ASG and Naam played upstairs. A few years ago, that would have been the other way around.

Naam were on stage when I got in, bathed in blue light, playing songs from their self-titled Tee Pee Records debut and Kingdom EP, which, try as I might, I still can’t find a copy of on CD. They had the vinyl for sale, but any disc smaller than that was a no dice. I’ve seen them a couple times now, and as they make ready to head over to Europe for a Tee Pee label tour that includes a stop at Roadburn, they sound ready for it. “Kingdom,” which they closed with, sounded especially killer, beardo bassist John Bundy‘s backing vocals giving that last chorus an extra push behind guitarist Ryan Lugar.

There are printed signs posted all around the club with messages like, “Santos Wants You To Be Happy” and “No One Knows Who You Are” and an attendant in the bathroom to hand me a paper towel, so there were some mixed messages in terms of what the vibe of the club overall was supposed to be, but I could easily see it being a rave-type place. Still, a ton of people came out for the show, and young people, and girls. Not just girlfriends, either. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know quite what to make of it.

For their part, ASG — who share Weedeater‘s hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina — were heavier than I thought they’d be. I vaguely recall their 2008 Win Us Over debut on Volcom, and it was passable in terms of West Coast-style riff rock, but nothing really landmark. Likewise, their live set was full of killer guitar work, and crowd ate it up each time drummer Scott Key locked into a half-time groove (who could blame them?), but overall, I was left somewhat cold by the performance.

When the lights came down at the start of their set, guitarist Jason Shi took an extra five minutes to check and get the levels on his mic, feeding back into the crowd and apologizing for it, but doing it anyway. Maybe I never got over that. Not to hold wanting to sound as good as possible against the guy, but come on dude, at some point it just has to be what it’s gonna be. I’m sure thinking that makes me a prick. I’ll live.

The last time I remember seeing Weedeater (which, since it’s Weedeater, isn’t necessarily the last time I saw them) was a few years back in an Alphabet City basement that’s not there anymore called Club Midway. Or if it’s there, they stopped putting on this kind of show because they weren’t making any money. Anyway, the place had a decent amount of people in it — not a crowd by any stretch, but a good showing of the NYC faithful. Santos was jammed. I guess the people who’ve moved to the area over the last five years, mostly Brooklynite hipsters, but some humans as well, are of a different mindset than the last generation of showgoers — mine — and more open to this kind of thing.

Part of me wants to be the grumpy old man and tell the damn kids to get off my lawn, but on the other hand, fuck it, good for the bands. If Weedeater can pack a house in NYC and have people moshing to songs on an album that isn’t even out yet, maybe Manhattan will start getting more shows again. And if that saves me driving two hours to Brooklyn at any point, it can’t be all that bad.

Weedeater opened with the start of their new record, Jason… the Dragon, which they were also selling in advance of its release date. “The Great Unfurling” intro led into “Hammerhandle” led into “Mancoon” led into “Turkey Warlock,” and it was a violent, energetic start to the set. Guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd sounded huge through a spraypainted Marshall stack, and recent Obelisk interviewee “Dixie” Dave Collins might have the best bass tone in sludge. His cackling vocals seemed to be swallowed up in the distortion and groove surrounding, but he managed to cut through well enough, on more or less equal footing on the stage with Shepherd and be-dreadlocked drummer Keith “Keko” Kirkum.

The highlight of the set and the night for me was “Homecoming,” which Collins introduced by saying something like “Here’s a new song, I hope you fucking hate it.” That riff is one of the best they’ve ever come up with, and whether or not the audience had heard the track before, they dug it hard. Moshing at a stoner show. I guess that’s what happens when the kids show up.

Some bands act angry on stage, posture and look pissed off, but there’s something about the contempt with which Collins delivers his performance that makes me believe it’s genuine. And being in New York, I’m used to bands coming through who hate the town — half the time I’m there, I feel the same way, and it’s only going to take me an hour to get home — but with Weedeater, it was more than that. Some kind of drunken misanthropy-turned-rage that only got more visceral as the set wore on. Toward the end, when Collins said, “We’re gonna play a couple old songs now,” and then launched into “God Luck and Good Speed” from the 2007 album of the same name, I wondered if maybe there was a little extra edge of “fuck you” in his voice, as Weedeater had two albums out before then that, in all likelihood, the crowd wouldn’t know nearly as well.

Their Skynyrd cover of “Gimme Back My Bullets” followed “God Luck and Good Speed,” and they closed with “Weed Monkey,” also both from God Luck and Good Speed, and at the end of the set, Collins — if I heard correctly — advised everyone to “get high as eagle pussy on stilts.” Sound advice, and a little ironic after I watched Santos security drag a dude out by his hair presumably for smoking something he shouldn’t have been, but I didn’t take it.

Instead, I headed down the block to the car and drove back to the valley to be up for work this morning, the wackiness of my recently-purchased Leeches of Lore CD keeping me company along the way. I wound up with a bunch of extra pictures from the show, so if you want to have a look, feel free after the jump.

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Live Review: Scott Kelly, Wino and Man’s Gin in NYC, 02.12.11

Posted in Reviews on February 14th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

If it wasn’t enough that it was The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday and I still got to go to the show, I knew walking into The Mercury Lounge that it was going to be a good night because the dude at the door said, “Hey man, I dig your beard.” Had it been anyone else playing that night, I might have just cut my losses and gone home right then, opened up my diary (or WordPress) and written, “Today was a good day.” Instead I celebrated with an $8 Sierra Nevada.

I figured out the last time I was at the Mercury Lounge was a couple years back to see Dax Riggs, and though I expected my skin to be burned off in hipster hell, it wasn’t actually that bad. Well, maybe it was, but the last acoustic show I went to was Six Organs of Admittance, and the volume of that crowd was so loud it was offensive, and that definitely wasn’t the case here. I don’t care how ironic your flannel is so long as you’re there for the music and you’re not a dick about it.

Opening the show was Hunter Hunt-Hendrix of black metallers Liturgy doing a solo performance that turned out to be him, a looper, some vocal effects, and nothing else. His voice mimicked strings and he set up elaborate choruses of himself over the course of a couple separate pieces. It was brave, but probably not something that should be done for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, as after that the “What the hell am I doing here?” impulse kicked in and I went to the bar out front for another drink and to wait for Man’s Gin. People were in and out from the back room and I could hear just fine in case he, you know, took out a guitar or something. Nope. Semi-melodic moaning all the way.

The plan for the night was Man’s Gin, then Wino, then Scott Kelly, then Wino and Scott Kelly together, and it was a good plan by me. I dug Man’s Gin‘s Smiling Dogs record and was psyched to see the Erik Wunder-fronted outfit in their full-band incarnation after when I last caught them at Lit Lounge and it was just Wunder and standup-bassist Josh Lozano with percussion behind. Fade Kainer (Inswarm, Batillus) handled drums and Scott Edward guitar, and they were loose, but sounded good all the same.

They got a mixed reaction from the crowd, but it seemed more positive than ambivalent, which translates to triumph in Manhattan. Everyone in attendance who was conscious of their surroundings during the grunge era probably had a better idea of what they were going for than those who weren’t, whatever that says. Highlight of the set was the Neurosis-style drum jam at the end and “Doggamn.” Still waiting for them to do “The Ballad of Jimmy Sturgis” live.

It was a party when Wino took the stage, and that spirit continued through his set, numerous whoops and hollers coming from the crowd. Wino, up there by himself with just an acoustic guitar, couldn’t help but rip into a fuzzed-out solo about halfway in, but aside from playing them a bit faster (as he acknowledged he had a tendency to do in our interview), he was loyal to the versions of the songs that appear on his Adrift album. The split 7″ single he shares with Scott Kelly was mentioned as being for sale for just $5 — end of tour blowout price — and it seemed only proper to pick one up.

He covered Townes Van Zandt, as would Kelly when he took the stage later, but the highlight of Wino‘s set was probably “I Don’t Care,” which he prefaced with a story about being 15 and getting locked up in a Maryland juvenile detention center and writing the song then. It was one of my least favorite tracks on Adrift, but the performance live and the context made it a high point of the evening. I actually saw people dance. It happened.

The thing about Wino is that, even if he’s doing something else (i.e. playing acoustic), he’s a classic rock songwriter, and he can’t help but rock out. He brought the crowd along with him for the trip, and when Scott Kelly took the stage later, it was clear that, despite their apparent friendship and cohabitation in the supergroup Shrinebuilder, they’re two very different performers.

Scott Kelly plays s-l-o-w. He’s really, really good at it. The room — apart from one dude who decided it would be a good idea to accompany Kelly‘s guitar by banging on a cinderblock and eventually brought the show to a screeching halt — was dead quiet. So much so that Kelly remarked approvingly on it more than once (we did good!) as he went through his set of morose, low-key but still highly emotive songs. He covered his half of the split with Wino, taking three tries to get through the song because of the aforementioned cinderblock jackass, and by the time his version of “Tecumseh Valley” was done, my arrived-at conclusion of the evening became, “Well, I guess it’s time to buy a Townes Van Zandt record.” He made a pretty convincing argument.

I had been hoping for “Remember Me,” which originally appeared on Blood and Time‘s At the Foot of the Garden before Kelly re-recorded it for his last solo album, the brilliant The Wake. That was a no dice, but the new Shrinebuilder song Kelly brought Wino on stage to play, and the jam that ensued from there, was more than enough to make up for anything lacking. The crowd had thinned some by the time they were done, but not much, and those who were there were entranced by what they were watching. Wino took leads (higher in the mix, or maybe it was where I was standing) while Kelly played rhythms, and each guitarist seemed to enjoy most of all the chance to be on stage with the other. It was something I was glad to have witnessed when it was over.

Something I was less glad about was having lost the ticket from coatcheck. Whoops. It really is a wonder I’m not divorced by now. The Patient Mrs. and I stood, describing the contents of her coat pockets to the heavy-sighs of the girl at the rack, and eventually, we got her jacket and left. I don’t know if it was her best birthday ever, and I don’t know if it’s the only time I’m ever going to get to see Wino and Scott Kelly perform together in this fashion (they looked to be having a good enough time that I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again at some point), but man, if ever there was a time I was happy to be in New York on a Saturday night, this was it.

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Interview: Wino Talks About Signing to Volcom, Going Acoustic, Savoy Brown, Pentagram, Spirit Caravan, New Shrinebuilder, Saint Vitus and Much More

Posted in Features on February 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

He might be the single most pivotal figure in American doom. Scott “Wino” Weinrich, in a career that’s lasted more than 30 years and is only showing signs of speeding up, has assembled the greatest pedigree in heavy music that doesn’t belong to someone with the last name Iommi. From his years in outfits The Obsessed and Saint Vitus to his ongoing involvement with the supergroup Shrinebuilder, Wino has left a stamp on the genre that — try as many might — simply cannot be duplicated.

And yet, it’s not his legacy that he wants to talk about. In our interview last week, there was some discussion of the “old days,” of course, but it was more about the work of others with whom he’s played, or been friends with — and what was coming next — that really seemed to be what was driving him most. The love of the music. What the hell other reason could there be? There’s no glamor in it. Who the hell cares if a bunch of bearded dudes say, “Cool riffs, bro?” If you don’t love Heavy, you go do something else. You certainly don’t make it your life’s work.

Next month, Volcom Entertainment will release the LP version of Wino‘s first solo acoustic album, Adrift (review here; CD available on Exile on Mainstream), and if you’re unfamiliar with the man’s doings in any of the above bands, or Shine/Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Dave Grohl‘s Probot, Victor Griffin‘s Place of Skulls or his innumerable guest spots and contributions to others, let it say something that after 30 years, he’s still pushing himself into new territories.

There was a lot to talk about and limited time, but in the Q&A below, Wino discusses the experience of writing and recording Adrift following the death of bassist Jon Blank of the Wino band (also featuring drummer Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch), the origins of his new, two-guitar outfit, Premonition, where some of the drive to keep starting over comes from, his deep and abiding respect for his fellow players, the status of the Spirit Caravan reunion that bassist Dave Sherman alluded to some while back on this site, and much more.

It was a very conversational interview, as you can see for yourself after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Totimoshi Post New Song, Continue to be Underappreciated

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 13th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles Zapatista rockers Totimoshi are one of those bands who are well overdue some serious appreciation. I don’t know what it is, why they aren’t bigger than they are (one would think all the touring they’ve done with Helmet and Mastodon would help), but for some reason, they just haven’t yet taken off. They put out killer records and play their asses off live. I’m not sure what hasn’t fallen into place.

Whatever the case, they’ve got a new three-song CD coming out in time for their latest European stretch with Mastodon headlining, and they went so far as to post the track “The Avenger” for streaming on their MySpace. As usual for Totimoshi, it’s good and heavy. Be sure to pop over there and check it out. If you’d prefer to stay right here (and who could blame you?) for the moment, since I’m not clever enough yet to rip tracks from MySpace pages, here’s the video for “The Dance of Snakes” from 2006′s Ladrón

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