Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator have signed a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds for European booking and will tour Europe this fall. The trio are preparing to release their new album, Abyssinia, this August in North America via Listenable Records, and recently took part in filming for an experimental concert video titled Songs for the Firmament at Joonior Studios in Seattle.
“This will be our first headlining tour of Europe and we are really excited to return to some places we know well and also hit some cities we’ve never been to,” comments founding Mos Generator guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed. “We will be adding a lot of songs from the new album Abyssinia to our set and we will also be revamping some old numbers that haven’t been played in years or have never been played live.”
Exact dates for the European tour are TBA, but it is set to run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, and so will start just days after the band’s recently announced appearance at Erosion Festival 2016 (info here). That slot follows a summer US tour set to kick off in mid-June alongside Year of the Cobra, for which you can find the dates below.
Mos GeneratorUS tour: 6/16 Portland OR – High Water Mark lounge 6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace* 6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest) 6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive 6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater 6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar* 6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store) 6/22 St Paul MN – Big Vs (night show)* 6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub* 6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s 6/25 Columbus OH – Ace of Cups 6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611 6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s* 6/28 Birmingham AL – The Nick* 6/29 Little Rock AR – Vino’s* 6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store) 6/30 Tulsa OK – Downtown Lounge (evening show)* 7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto* 7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well* 7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad* 7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom* 7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar* 7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux* 7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation* 7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC* 10/14 Missoula MT – Erosion Fest * w/ Year of the Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
In the realm of ‘signature sounds,’ there are few who can claim a space as individualized as that of Dylan Carlson. As the spearhead of Earth, he’s refined drone rock into something that can be minimal as easily as orchestral, evocative or off-putting depending on whims, and his solo work as Drcarlsonalbion only moves further out from there, whether it’s the soundtrack he did to the film Gold (review here), reminiscent of Neil Young‘s for Dead Man, or the explorations of British folk that he’s taken up the last several years with Earth and in his own outings, typified in the upcoming solo release, Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion.
What may or may not be a collaboration with Coleman Grey in its final form, the album was initially funded through a (successful) Kickstarter last year and will be officially issued next month. It’s streaming now on Bandcamp, however, and you can hear it on the player below. Like everything the man touches, it’s worth getting lost in.
Have at it:
Drcarlsonalbion self-release – Falling With A Thousand Stars And Other Wonders From The House Of Albion
Dylan Carlson is to officially self-release Falling With A Thousand Stars and other Wonders From The House Of Albion on 25 June.
“The concept behind this album ‘Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders From The House of Albion’, was my interpretations of Scotch-English folk ballads about human/supernatural interaction, specifically those ‘spiritual creatures’ known as ‘fayres/fairies/etc.’ Not the tiny winged ones of Victorian nursery stories and decor, but the beings of folklore and the historical records (mostly trial dittays from witch trials). The genesis was my own personal encounters that occurred in 2010-11 and that have occurred occasionally since that time. The album is solo guitar played by myself. It was originally going to have environmental recordings from sights of human/fayre encounters, but unfortunately those recordings were unusable. The album was recorded at crackle’n’pop studios in Seattle with Johnny Sangster as engineer. It is part of a project that was funded initially by kickstarter, and self funding on my part. There is also a short film, dir. Clyde Petersen, released with the cd, and a book (tba).” – DRCARLSONALBION
Having founded seminal rock band Earth in 1989 in Olympia, Wa., Dylan Carlson has since been recognised as the originator of what came to be known as ‘drone metal’ or ‘ambient metal’. As the sole original member and principal songwriter of the Seattle based band, Carlson continues to explore new ground and remains an innovator in his musical career and a compelling character outside of it.
As Earth continues to reach new heights, Carlson also extends his musical repertoire towards solitary endeavours. His solo projects, initially under the moniker ‘drcarlsonalbion’, continue the sustained, expansive motifs found in Earth, but under the influence of the traditional folklore, fayre lore and occult history of England and the British Isles. Shorn of band interplay, the focus is on Carlson’s unique ‘voice’ of amplified guitar and tone.
Never one to be confined to a single genre or label, Carlson’s solo ventures have given him the freedom to experiment with other genres and musicians alike: from his ongoing improvisational work and performances with Dutch free-jazz drummer Rogier Smal, to his collaboration with British experimental dub artist Kevin “The Bug” Martin for the Bug vs Earth Boa / Cold EP in 2014. Most recently he joined forces with Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span, recording a song commissioned for broadcast on BBC Radio. (Psalm For A Revival, 2015)
Guitar remains at the forefront of Carlson’s solo work. His Gold soundtrack (2014) – composed for Thomas Arslan’s German feature film of the same title (2013) – features deliberate and lingering guitar themes. They evolve into forms that fade into the horizon, evoking the desolate wilderness of the American continent. Depth becomes apparent in negative space.
His latest album, Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion (2016, self-released and initially funded via Kickstarter, consisting of a documentary film and book) sees a return to Carlson’s love of Albion’s supernatural days of yore. Through droning 6 and 12-string guitars, he reinterprets traditional old English and Scottish folk ballads into sombre instrumental pieces. Though a solitary venture, the textures are lush and immersive, summoning the ambiance of a lost time. Ever-present is that meditative, yet meticulous, “restrained majesty” of uncompromising repetition and intensity that is so characteristic of Carlson’s signature sound and style.
TRACK LIST: 1. Reynard The Fox 2. She Moved Thro’ The Faire 3. Alisson Gross 4. Rose In The Heather 5. Tamlane 6. King Orfeo 7. The Elfin Knight
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Washington heavy rock trio Mos Generator and duo Year of the Cobra recently got together to record songs on a 4-track tape for an upcoming split single, with Mos Generator‘s Tony “The Restless” Reed at the helm. The news today is that this split, which will be out on Ripple Music and H42 Records, will coincide with a US tour beginning in June that also leads Mos Generator closer to the release of their new album, Abyssinia, on Listenable Records in July. I’d expect this to be just the first round of what will probably be a several-legged run to support Abyssinia. Ever since Mos Generator took to the road following 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) with a revamped lineup, they have basically never looked back.
Year of the Cobra‘s debut long-player is set to arrive later this year as well. Not sure if it’ll be out by the time of this tour — STB was handling the release, last I heard — but they’re sure to be heralding its coming one way or another. Their 2015 EP, The Black Sun (review here), can be streamed below.
Tour dates and the recently-unveiled art for Abyssinia follow, as seen on the social medias:
“Been waiting to announce this for a while… Year of the Cobra and Mos Generator have a split 7″ record coming out on Ripple Music and H42 Records. Both bands will tour the U.S. together this summer to support it. Check the poster for dates! Also, both bands will be playing separately on the dates not listed – check our websites for more info on that. Looking forward seeing and meeting some new friends this summer.”
Mos Generator have unveiled the cover artwork of their new full-length album, ‘Abyssinia’, scheduled for a July release.
Tony Reed comments”These new songs show major change and growth for the band, I wanted the cover to represent that as well. I knew it was going to be collage art style and in searching for an image that moved me I came across this untitled piece. Abyssinia is slang for “I’ll be seeing you”. Sometimes my brain feels like the image on the cover.”
Here are the complete dates for the Mos Generator U.S. tour. More Regional (northwest) dates and European dates for MG coming soon.
6/16 Portland OR – 6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace* 6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest) 6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive 6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater 6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar* 6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store) Big Vs (night show)* 6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub* 6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s 6/25 Columbis OH – Ace of Cups 6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611 6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s* 6/28 6/29 Little Rock AR – Vito’s* 6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store) Downtown Lounge (evening show)* 7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto* 7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well* 7/03 OFF 7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad* 7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom* 7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar* 7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux* 7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation* 7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC* * w/ Year of the Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle instrumentalist four-piece X Suns made their self-titled debut in 2012 and have released two EPs since: 2013’s The Greys and 2015’s III. The latter two offerings will be compiled by Devil’s Child Records April 15 as III / The Greys, a twofer vinyl to be available in sundry editions and what will no doubt be limited numbers, presumably with all of III on one side (though that’s a crunch) and all of The Greys on the other. It’ll mark the first vinyl release for the band — who pronounce their name “Ten Suns” — and another step in an intriguing progression that blends post-rock evocation with weightier crunch while managing not to sound like either Russian Circles or Pelican. That in itself is something of an accomplishment.
Background on the band follows, as well as the stream of III courtesy of X Suns‘ Bandcamp:
X SUNS (Pronounced “TEN” SUNS) is an instrumental space rock band from Seattle, WA.
X Suns started as Keith Furtado, Trent McIntyre, and Adam Tricoli in Seattle sometime in 2009. They started playing live at the start of 2010 (as Ten Suns).
In Oct. of 2011, They recorded a 5 song EP with Justin Armstrong at Electrokitty Studios. Soon after, they changed their name to X Suns (“X” as the roman numeral for ten), after finding out about a Canadian band of the same name. After self-releasing the E.P. on CD and Digital Download in January of 2012, the band decided to add Skippy King (Formerly of the Seattle band Patrol) as their second guitarist. They continued as a four-piece until May of 2012, when Keith Furtado decided to part ways with the band. He was replaced by Richard Burkett (from the Seattle sludge-metal band Giza) in August of 2012.
Now with a heavier sound, they began to craft new songs and re-work old ones. In March of 2013, they entered the studio to record what would become “The Greys” EP. Recorded by Christiaan Morris at Red Room Studios, and mixed by Matt Bayles (ISIS, Botch, Caspian, Minus the Bear, etc.). The Greys was self-released digitally, and on a limited run of cassette tapes on October 31st, 2013.
Prior to the release, Richard Burkett quit the band to focus on his band Giza. He was quickly replaced by Erick Hohnstein-Von Etten, formerly of the band Claymore (from Port Orchard, WA).
This new lineup started writing new material immediately, and played tons of shows around the northwest. They shared the stage with such notable bands as Pelican, Tombs, And So I Watch You From Afar, Junius, InAeona, North, Dead Meadow, Bearcubbin, Boyfrndz, TTNG, Mylets, Jucifer, and many others. They also did a short northwest tour with Dust Moth & Hooves, and performed at Volume Fest in Spokane.
In Dec. of 2014, they recorded a 4 song EP, titled “III”, with Chris Mathews Jr. It was then mixed by Matt Balyes, and Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering in Seattle. During this time, Erick decided to part ways with the band. He was replaced by Jared Burke Eglington, formerly of Akimbo, Patrol, Caligula, Bitches Crystal, etc.
Their third EP, “III”, was released on Oct. 14th, 2015, with a west coast tour to follow.
Trent McIntyre- Drums Adam Tricoli- Bass Skippy Tim King- Guitar Jared Burke Eglington- Guitar
I’m happy to report the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY, will also mark the first-ever East Coast appearance of Snail.
The band, who released their finest outing to-date in last year’s Feral (review here), go back some 23 years, having gotten their start with an underrated self-titled album that was followed the next year by an EP and then 16 full years of silence before 2009’s Blood (review here) brought them back. That record, 2012’s Terminus (review here), and Feral established them as masters of heavy psych grooves, rolling maximum-density riffs with a laid back vibe that few dare to be chill enough to match, full in sound and soothing even in its most chaotic moments.
I was fortunate enough to see Snail play a few years back in San Francisco (review here), and they were killer then. Now, back to their original trio incarnation with guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson, Snail will hit the Eastern Seaboard for the first time to play a full-hour set and join the bill with France’s Mars Red Sky (also their first East Coast appearance), Texas trio Funeral Horse, Rochester, NY’s King Buffalo, and more TBA at The Obelisk All-Dayer. It wouldn’t be a party without them.
Comments Mark Johnson on making the trip from the West Coast to play: “People have been asking us to play on the East Coast for years. Honestly, personally, this is one of the most exciting things in my life. I’ve been to Manhattan once and completely fell in love — so super-happy to be going back to NY… this time Brooklyn!!! And it feels like going home in some way since we’re all friends and you are putting this on.”
That’s precisely the vibe I’m going for with this whole idea. We’re all friends, it’s gonna be a good time, and we’re all hopefully going to feel at home in some big ol’ heavy hippie kind of way. I’m dead serious. The closer we get to this thing happening, the more excited I am. I hope you feel the same, and I hope to see you there.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Stay tuned for announcements to follow.
[Click play above to stream Ancient Warlocks’ II in full. Album is out March 19 on STB Records.]
It was only late last year that Seattle four-piece Ancient Warlocks issued what was purported to be the final edition of their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and like all the others, it went quickly. STB Records had it out in the US (Lay Bare Recordings in Europe, with distro through Burning World), and the same New Jersey-based imprint stands behind the first and presumably subsequent pressings of Ancient Warlocks II, the band’s second full-length. Presented in the deluxe style for which STB has become known, even the “not-so-standard” edition of the LP matches its brown-and-bone platter to the Adam Burke cover art, while the OBI strip edition comes in a gorgeous splatter and marble combo on transparent vinyl, and the die hard (100 pressed) is blue splatter vinyl and comes with a previously-unannounced live companion album on which Ancient Warlocks play songs from both records.
Heavy stock jackets, stickers, a test-press edition — II is being given the treatment which the self-titled seemed to earn, and fairly enough so. The new album, seven tracks but just 27 minutes, splits neatly into two sides, begins with its longest cut (immediate points), and wastes none of its relatively brief runtime in honing a live, natural sound, flowing as an onstage set might toward the fuzzy bounce of closer “Benediction” as it reaffirms the band as a Pacific Northwest answer to the sunshiny classic heavy fuzz of Fu Manchu. A little bit bluesier, a little earthier grit to their approach, but still locking in tracks hell bent on groove and hooks and offering plenty of both.
Continuity from the self-titled isn’t a problem here. While Ancient Warlocks — the returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Krause, guitarist Darren Chase, bassist Anthony “Oni” Timm and drummer/engineer Steve Jones — might be said to be stripping down to a degree, pushing toward live analog recording and so on, they’re not so stylistically removed from where they were several years ago. A key difference is in the efficiency of these tracks, “Terrible Touch” launching II with an introductory nod that picks up to rolling fuzz and a bluesy verse from Krause, but they haven’t lost the fluid motion of the first outing as they’ve grown, and that continues to serve them well as the swinging “Charge” picks up from the opener.
The second cut plays more with tempo shifts and features some particularly choice lines from Timm in conversation with the dual guitars, but ultimately makes its impression after the verses and choruses have ended and it works its way toward a noisy finish, crashing and riffing and feeding back as the band might at a show before the quiet start of side A closer “Walk On” brings the proceedings back to ground. They’re more than halfway through the song before Krause delivers the first vocal lines, and the song’s only 3:39, but that exploratory instrumental moment suits Ancient Warlocks, and the riff they shift into as the noodly opening gives way is worthy of highlighting for a few measures. Start-stop chugging backs a shouty verse, and they end on a chorus quickly, again, efficiently, to let “Thunder Punch Elephant Kick” give the start of side B a kick in the ass, running at about as close to full speed as the band come, maybe nodding at some punker roots, but mostly finding a ground just on this side of garage rock as they careen through the tracklisting centerpiece, only 2:26 long.
An evocative title doesn’t hurt, but “The Sun at the Final Rise” also offers II‘s standout hook as Ancient Warlocks ease up on the gas of “Thunder Punch Elephant Kick” and find root in interplay of chug and fuzzy leads, a thickened take on pre-commercial grunge leaving it to the quietly bluesy “Waiting” to blindside the listener. Chase and Krause offer slick guitar interplay as Timm and Jones hang onto the central rhythm, teasing a shift into a chorus before actually kicking into full-tone push just past the two-minute mark, the riff bringing to mind the tube-amp overload of Suplecs‘ first record while also giving Ancient Warlocks an apex for which the instrumental “Benediction” acts as an epilogue, winding in its initial thrust, but soon enough turning to a bouncing groove and driving stonerly nod topped with swirling wah that ends the album on a long fade.
That ending, sort of drawn out, is a little ironic given how short the record ultimately is, but the companion Ancient Warlocks Live!, with its cover referencing Van Halen‘s 1978 self-titled debut, provides brisk reinforcement of the band’s energy and a direct comparison point on the proximity of their studio and live sound. Self-titled cuts “Superwizard,” “Sweet’s too Slow,” “Lion Storm,” “Killer’s Moon” and “White Dwarf” feature alongside “Walk On” and “Terrible Touch,” which round out sides A and B, respectively, as the recordings chronicle performances from 2012, 2014 and 2015. I can’t help but wonder what the future might hold for Ancient Warlocks after II, but whatever comes next, the band has given their debut a worthy follow-up with their second outing, building on the foundation of laid back vibe and songwriting with a catchy and fuzzed-out collection that’s sure to find itself no less welcome over time.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle fuzz rockers Ancient Warlocks will release their second album, the aptly-titled II, on March 19 on STB Records. Now, STB needs me to promote its releases the same way it might need an aardvark to paint a house, but as it happens I’ll be hosting a full-stream of the record next week — next Wednesday, if you want to mark your calendar — ahead of the release, which hits at noon on the 19th and will no doubt sell through its initial pressing in no time flat. Ancient Warlocks were through several editions of their 2014 self-titled debut (review here) by the time they were done, and I don’t think any of them lasted. As it’s packaged with an exclusive live outing as well, I’d expect II‘s die hard and other incarnations to be met with much the same treatment. Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but the album kicks ass.
Cover and release info follow, courtesy of STB via the PR wire:
STB Records is proud to announce the release of the new full length album from Seattle’s Ancient Warlocks, “II”.
Vinyl Info: • Die Hard Edition – Limited to 100 180g vinyl, comes with a companion full length LIVE LP pressed on random colors. • OBI Edition – Limited to 125 180g vinyl • Standard Edition – Limited to 250 om 180g vinyl Cassette – Limited to 100, comes in a mylar bag has both the live album and new album on it .
The band says: “Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, and Lead Guitar were all recorded live in the studio at Big Sound Productions (Seattle, WA.) through an analog console to analog 1” reel to reel tape. As a general rule, Ancient Warlocks never play more than three takes of a song while recording, and the vast majority of the time it is one of the first two takes that we choose as our “keeper”. The band puts in the rehearsal time for this to not be simply lazy or unrealistic as an approach, but rather trying to capture lightning in a bottle. After choosing the “keeper” takes, all of the rhythm guitars were simply doubled as an overdub. Then the same was done with doubling all of the lead guitars, even though during certain solo sections, only one would really be used in the mix. Then the lead vocals were added. That’s it. Complete recording. All of the mixing was done on an analog DDA DMR-12 console with the typical outboard processing hardware (no computer plug ins. No computer effects at all, no auto-tune for vocals, no beat correction for the drums… none of that stuff. A human performance recorded to analog tape).
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a hell of a couple years for Mos Generator, who have become as restless on the touring end as founder Tony Reed has been in his songwriting and studio work all along. The Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock and rollers have swapped out two-thirds of their lineup since issuing Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) through Listenable Records in 2014, and been back and forth across the country multiple times, Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jon Garrett working quickly to hammer out a stage chemistry that one will listen for as their new album, Abyssinia, arrives in July.
They’ve already confirmed an appearance at the Maryland Doom Fest to support it, and I can’t imagine that will be their last road show. Also newly announced by the band is a Reed-recorded split with Seattle duo Year of the Cobra that finds both bands using 4-track tape. Not sure on the release date for that one, but presumably it will be out either before or after July (I guess it would have to be one or the other) as Mos Generator set about touring to support Abyssinia. The label confirmed the album thusly:
MOS GENERATOR have just finished mastering their brand new album entitled ‘Abyssinia’ which is scheduled for a July release.
The band’s hyper creative main man and writer of more than 1000 songs Tony Reed comments : “Abyssinia” is the continuation of an open relationship with many musical styles. This kind of exploration has always been a part of my writing but now I am letting the flood gates open and I’m welcoming all of my musical influences to flow through the songs. “Strangest Times” and “Red Canyons” are very typical MG style heavy rock songs but tunes like “Outlander“, which takes a lot from the soundtrack era Pink Floyd, or “Catspaw“, which sounds like something I would have written at age 20 under the influence of Husker Du and Voivod, move the band into a whole new area that I’m very excited to be moving towards.”
TONY REED / guitar, vocals, keyboards, assorted instruments (stone axe, treepeople, goodbye harry, twelve thirty dreamtime.) SEAN BOOTH / Bass (Special Guests, Inifinite Flux, (9999), Second Sun, Drywater) JON GARRETT / Drums (Turbid North)