Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, my growing list of albums to look forward to in the New Year gets another name added to it today with the word come down that Seattle’s Ancient Warlocks have handed in the masters for their next full-length to NJ-based STB Records, who’ll be handling the release early in 2016. No word on whether Lay Bare Recordings, which did a European pressing to complement STB‘s award-winning US run of Ancient Warlocks‘ 2014 self-titled debut (review here), will be involved in what’s been revealed as being titled II, but it looks like we have a few months before we get to the release, so plenty of time to find out.
In the interim, STB is also overseeing a final pressing of that self-titled LP, dubbed the “Funeral Press” and boasting revamped artwork and other extras. The band recently gave some details and posted a live clip of a song called “Seven Eight” which will appear in some reworked fashion on II. Here goes:
YES! It’s official!!!
The mastered audio tracks have been turned over to STB Records for the Ancient Warlocks II LP! There will be an STB Records “Funeral Press” of the 1st LP very soon, with some new goodies, and then there will be a release of the 2nd LP in early 2016. Cheers!
The “Funeral Press” of the “s/t” debut LP will be coming out on STB Records soon. It will feature a new layout, pullout poster, flexi single, download code, and more! After that, the Ancient Warlocks II LP will be coming out!!! 7 new songs! So… to give you a little taste of some of the new stuff while we’re all waiting, here is a live at Big Sound Productions video by Chris Mathews Jr. (Joonior Studios). This song is called “Seven Eight”, and a different recorded version of this song will be on the 2nd LP. Cheers!
(“ANCIENT WARLOCKS II” LP) Steve Jones: Drums Darren Chase: Rhythm Guitar Aaron Krause: Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar Anthony “Oni” Timm: Bass
Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day one down, four more days to go. I forget each time how different it is writing shorter reviews as opposed to the usual longer ones, but kind of refreshing to bust through something, force myself to say what needs to be said as efficiently as possible and move on. Reminds me of working in print, with word counts and such. Only so much room on the page. Not something that usually comes up around these parts, but I guess it’s good to keep that muscle from complete atrophy. Though taking that line of thought to its natural conclusion, I have no idea why. Anyway, feeling good, ready to take on another 10 records, so let’s roll.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #11-20:
Holy Sons, Fall of Man
It would be hard to overstate the smoothness with which Emil Amos, who serves integral creative and percussive roles in both Grails and Om, brings different styles together on Fall of Man, his second album for Thrill Jockey under the Holy Sons solo moniker and upwards of his 11th overall. An overriding melancholy vibe suits dark, progressive pop elements on the opener “Mercenary World,” Amos at the fore playing all instruments and still vocalizing like a singer-songwriter, while the later wash of “Being Possessed is Easy” takes on ‘90s indie fragility and turns what was purposeful minimalism into an expanse of melody and “Discipline” creeps out lyrically while forming experimentalist soundscapes around a steady line of acoustic guitar. Joined by bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem on “Aged Wine” – the only other players to appear anywhere on Fall of Man – Amos leads the trio through soaring leads and heavier crashing to give the album a crescendo worthy of its scope, which while astounding on deeper inspection presents itself with simple, classic humility.
WEEED, Our Guru Leads us to the Black Master Sabbath
From the opening drone-groan throat-singing of the 14-minute “Dogma Dissolver,” it seems like not-quite-Seattle trio Weeed are making a run for the title “Most Stoned of the Stoner” with their second full-length, Our Guru Leads us to the Black Master Sabbath. They earn that extra ‘e.’ A double-LP on Illuminasty Records, the album is a 54-minute trip into low tone and deep-running vibe, spaced way out, and well at home whether jamming heavy and hypnotized on “Rainbow Amplifier Worship” – a highlight bassline – or nestling into an ambient stretch like “Bullfrog” preceding. Mostly instrumental, Weeed hit their most active in “Enuma Elish” and then chill and strip back to acoustics and sax (yup) for the Eastern-flavored “Caravan Spliff,” bringing back the throat-singing in the process. How else to finish such a work than with the 15-minute “Nature’s Green Magic,” a 15-minute push along a single build that goes from minimal, pastoral acoustics to nod-on-this megastoner riffing? Weeed might be going for the gold, but they end up in the green, and somehow one imagines they’ll be alright with that. They get super-ultra-bonus points for sounding like Kyuss not even a little.
Formed in 1999 and having made their full-length debut a decade later with The Shadow Tradition (review here), last heard from in a 2012 split with Boise’s Uzala (review here), Austin, Texas, doomly five-piece Mala Suerte return with the 10-track Rituals of Self Destruction, which moves past its four-minute intro into chugging The Obsessed-style trad doom with a touch of Southern heavy à la Crowbar and a generally metallic spirit in cuts like “Utopic Delusions” that gets expanded on later cuts like the swirling, crawling almost Cathedral-ish “Labyrinth of Solitude.” Comprised of forward-mixed vocalist Gary Rosas, guitarists David Guerrero and Vincent Pina, bassist Mike Reed and drummer Chris Chapa (now John Petri), Mala Suerte sound as rueful as ever across the album’s span, rounding out with the hardcore sludge of “Successful Failure” and “The Recluse,” which builds from slow, brooding chug to a more riotous finish. It’s been a while, but it’s good to have them back.
Guitarist/vocalist Ken Wohlrob leads Brooklyn’s Eternal Black through the riffy doom of their debut self-titled three-track EP. Unpretentious in the style’s tradition, the trio is anchored by Hal Miller’s bass and pushed forward by the drums of Joe “The Prince of Long Island” Wood (also of Borgo Pass), the rolling groove of Sabbathian opener “Obsidian Sky” setting the tone for straightforward, few-frills darkness, and Eternal Black follow it up with the workingman’s doom of “The Dead Die Hard” and “Armageddon’s Embrace,” the former started out with an extra lead layer before it unfurls the EP/demo’s most satisfying crawl, and the latter a little more swinging, but still Iommic metal at its core, Wohlrob’s gruff vocal and Wino-style riff backed by Miller’s deep-mixed rumble as Wood goes to the cowbell/woodblock (it’s one or the other) during the guitar solo. Even if Joe Wood wasn’t one of the best human beings I’d ever met, it would still be pretty easy to dig what these cats are doing, and it’ll be worth keeping an eye for how they follow this first installment.
Austin, Texas-based trio Were-Jaguars have already issued a follow-up EP to their earlier-2015 second album, II, but from its opening and longest track “Between the Armies” (immediate points), the three-piece dig into weirdo psych vibes and dense tones across their latest full-length, released through respected Russian purveyor R.A.I.G. Not at all a minor undertaking at 13 tracks, 68 minutes, it gets into garage ritualism in “Let My Breath be the Air” and unfolds immediate doomadelia on “Bishop Kills Enchanter,” but if you need confirmation that Were-Jaguars – the three-piece of Chad Rauschenberg, James Adkisson and Rick McConnell – aren’t just screwing around in these songs and lucking into a righteous result, let it come on the later “Lost Soul,” which melds a flowing instrumental roll to a host of spiritual and pseudo-spiritual samples, loses itself completely, and then returns at the end to finish cohesive, engagingly complex and sure in the knowledge that all has gone to plan. Figuring out what that plan is can be a challenge at times, but it’s there.
The Fuzzonaut split between Mexico’s Vinnum Sabbathi and Bar de Monjas takes its name from the closing track, provided by the latter act, but it serves as a fitting title for the work as a whole as well. Vinnum Sabbathi launch the six-track offering with “HEX I: The Mastery of Space,” a slow-rolling instrumental topped by samples pulled from rocket launches, and after the 1:45 droning interlude “Intermission (Fluctuations),” they melt their way into the companion “HEX II: Foundation Pioneers,” doomier in its chug, but similarly-minded overall in intent, with the warm bass, copious samples, and planet-sized riffing. Though their portion is shorter overall, Bar de Monjas answer back with relatively upbeat push in “Hot Rail,” winding up in stoner rock janga-janga before stomping their way into “The Ripper,” cowbelling there as part of an impressively percussed spin and capping with “Fuzzonaut” itself, a shroomy 7:45 creeper with big-riff bursts that rises and recedes effectively, ending with a long residual hum.
An immediate touchstone for the droning pastoral drear that Saskatoon three-piece Black Tremor elicit on their four-song debut EP, Impending, is Earth’s HEX: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, but the newcomer trio distinguish themselves immediately with an approach that replaces guitar with violin, so that not only can Black Tremor tie into these atmospheres, they can do so in a way that speak to country roots in a way their forebears didn’t at the time date. Bassist Alex Deighton, violinist Amanda Bestvater and drummer Brennan Rutherford have only just begun the work of developing their sound, but already nine-minute opener “The Church” and its buzzing follow-up “Rise” prove evocative and come across as more than exercises in ambience. “Markhor” hits with an even heavier roll and an almost Melvinsy undertone, while the title-track makes its way through horse-trod mud to emerge at the end not only clean but positively bouncing. It’s still pretty dark, but they’ve given themselves a vast Canadian Midwestern expanse to explore.
A bright tonal bliss pervades There’s Nothing, the Rock Ridge Music debut long-player from Nashville all-lowercase psychedelic post-rockers aave. The band court indie progressivism across the album’s eight component tracks, but with just one song over four minutes long – closer “Turn Me Off” (4:30) – there’s little about it that feels overly indulgent or beyond the pale stylistically. That is to say that while aave set a sonic course for great distances, they get to where they’re going efficiently and don’t hang around too long in one place. That has its ups and downs in terms of vibe, but the resonant vocal melodies of “Nothing Here” – hard not to be reminded of Mars Red Sky’s sweet emotionality, but there are other comparisons one might make – the focus remains grounded in an accessibility that goes beyond getting lost in dreamy guitars. Aesthetically satisfying, they find an intense moment in the later thrust of “Blender,” but even that retains the overarching wistful sensibility of what’s come before and that unites the material throughout.
Spacious, melodic and entrancingly heavy, Derelics’ debut EP, Introducing, indeed makes a formidable opening statement, and in a crowded London scene of post-Orange Goblin burl and Downy sludge, the trio set more progressive ambitions across “To Brunehilde,” “California” and “Ride the Fuckin’ Snake to Valhalla,” psych-funking up the centerpiece after the grooving largesse of the opener en route to the wider-spreading tones of the closer, guitarist/vocalist Reno cutting through his and bassist Nacim’s tones easily with higher-register vocals that push the limits of his range as he encourages one to “ride that fuckin’ snake,” before cutting out to let drummer Rich lead the charge with toms through a build-up bridge that returns to the echoing fullness conjured earlier, ending on a long-fading organ note. An encouraging first offering from the three-piece, and hopefully they continue develop along an original-sounding path as they move ahead. Already they seem to show a knack for melding atmospherics and songwriting toward the same ends.
True to its krautrock-style cover art, Desert Brain, the third outing from Detroit’s Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, has an element of prog at work within its psychedelic unfolding. But that’s reasonable. With four years since their second release, Spectra Spirit (review here), and the inclusion of bassist/keyboardist Eric Oppitz and drummer Rick Sawoscinski with guitarist/vocalist Sean Morrow, the dynamic in the band has legitimately shifted, even though Oppitz (who also did the aforementioned cover art) has recorded all three of their records. Still, they keep the proceedings fluid across the two vinyl sides, finding their inner garage on “Major Medicine” and tripping out easy on “What’s Your Cloud Nine, 37?” on side A before digging in with fuzz and push on side B’s “The Prettiest Sounds of Purgatory” and stretching into ritual stomp on the title cut. All the while, they’re drenched in vibe and a flow that’s languid even as it’s running you over, and while some songs barely have a chorus, they implant themselves in the mind anyway, almost subliminally.
Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to this Quarterly Review since the last one ended. Not necessarily since it clears the deck on reviews to be done — it doesn’t — but just because I feel like in any given week there’s so much more that I want to get to than I’m usually able to fit into posting that it’s been good to be able to say, “Well I’ll do another Quarterly Review and include it there.” Accordingly, there are some sizable releases here, today and over the next four days as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with the project, the idea is over the course of this week, I’ll be reviewing 50 different releases — full albums, EPs, demos, comps, splits, vinyl, tape, CD, digital, etc. Most of them have come out since the last Quarterly Review, which went up early in July, but some are still slated for Oct. or Nov. issue dates. Best to mix it up. My hope is that within this barrage of info, art and music, you’re able to find something that stands out to you and that you enjoy deeply. I know I’ll find a few by the time we’re done on Friday.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #1-10:
Steve Von Till, A Life unto Itself
A new Steve Von Till solo outing isn’t a minor happening in any circumstances, but A Life unto Itself reads more like a life event than an album. As ever, the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist puts a full emotional breadth into his material, and as it’s his first record in seven years since 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse, there’s plenty to say. Sometimes minimal, sometimes arranged, sometimes both, the seven tracks feature little of the psychedelic influence Von Till brought to his Harvestman project, but use lap steel, strings, electrics, acoustics, keys and of course his meditative, gravelly voice to convey a broad spectrum nonetheless, and cuts like “Chasing Ghosts,” “In Your Wings” and the centerpiece “Night of the Moon” (which actually does veer into the ethereal, in its way) are all the more memorable for it. The richness of “A Language of Blood” and the spaciousness of the drone-meets-sea-shanty closer “Known but Not Named” only underscore how far Von Till is able to range, and how satisfying the results can be when he does.
Bizarro vibes pervade Devil Worshipper’s debut LP, Devil Worshipper, what may or may not be a one-man project from Jeff Kahn (ex-Hideous Corpse, Skeleton of God; spelled here as Jevf Kon), mixed by Tad Doyle and released on Holy Mountain. Based in Seattle (that we do know), the project wields molten tones and slow groove to classic underground metal, heavy psych and bleary moods to hit into oddly cinematic moodiness on “Ash Brume” and even nod at Celtic Frost from a long ways away on closer “Lurker (Death).” Most of the drums are programmed, save for “New Spirit World Order,” “Ash Brume” and “Lurker,” but either way, they only add to the weirdness of the chanting layered vocals of “New Spirit World Order,” and just when it seems like eight-minute second track “Chemrails” will have been as far out as Devil Worshipper gets, side B’s “Desert Grave” takes hold for a five-minute dirge that turns out to be one of the record’s most satisfying rolls, reminiscent of something Rob Crow might’ve done with Goblin Cock on downers. Unexpected and living well in its own space, the album manages to be anchored by its lead guitar work without seeming anchored at all.
So, how many guitars on London trio Dr. Crazy’s 13-minute/four-song EP, 1,000 Guitars? Two, I think. The side-project of Groan vocalist Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen and Chris West, formerly the drummer of Trippy Wicked and Stubb who here plays guitar and bass while Groan’s former guitarist Mike Pilat handles drums, make a bid for the possibility of playing live in bringing in Pilat to fill the role formerly occupied remotely by Tony Reed of Mos Generator on their 2014 debut EP, Demon Lady. Whether that happens will remain to be seen, but they affirm their ‘80s glam leanings on “Bikini Woman” and keep the message simple on opener “Hands off My Rock and Roll” while “1,000 Guitars” makes the most of guest lead work from Stubb’s Jack Dickinson – he’s the second guitar, alongside West – and yet another infectious Mazzereth-led hook, and well, “Mistress of Business” starts out by asking the titular lady to pull down her pants, so, you know, genius-level satire ensues.
An aggressive core lies beneath the progressivism of German five-piece Linie (actually written as ?inie) on their debut full-length, What We Make Our Demons Do, but the material holds a sense of atmosphere as well. Vocalist/guitarist Jörn is very much at the fore of post-intro opener “Blood on Your Arms,” but as the crux of the album plays out on the chug-happy “Lake of Fire” and “No Ideal,” Linie showcase a wider breadth and bring together elements of post-hardcore à la Fugazi, darker heavy rock and purposefully brooding metal. Comprised of Jörn, guitarist/vocalist Alex, bassist/vocalist Ralph, drummer/vocalist Alex and keyboardist Iggi, the band impress on their first offering with not only how assured they seem of their aesthetic, but the expansive manner in which they present it. Their songwriting is varied in approach but unified in mood and while I don’t know what has them so pissed off on a cut like “Inability,” there’s no question whether they’re putting that anger to good use.
Austrian trio The Heavy Minds make their full-length debut on Stone Free with Treasure Coast, a seven-cut LP that fuzzes up ‘70s swing without going the full-Graveyard in retro vibe. “You’ve Seen it Coming” seems to nod at Radio Moscow, but a more overarching vibe seems to share ideology with Baltimore three-piece The Flying Eyes, the classic rock sensibilities given natural presentation through a nonetheless modern feel in the tracks. The bass tone of Tobias (who also plays guitar at points) alone makes Treasure Coast worth hunting down, but doesn’t prove to be the limit of what the young outfit have to offer, drummer Christoph swinging fluidly throughout “Diamonds of Love” in a manner that foreshadows the emergent roll of “Seven Remains.” That song is part of a closing duo with “Fire in My Veins,” which boasts a satisfying bluesy howl from guitarist Lukas, rounding out Treasure Coast with an organic openness that suits the band well.
Momentum is key when it comes to Road Warriors, the new full-length from Detroit four-piece Against the Grain. They amass plenty of it as they thrust into the 12-track/38-minute rager of an outing, but there are changes to be had in tempo if not necessarily intent. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Chris Nowak, guitarist/vocalist Kyle Davis, guitarist Nick Bellomo and drummer Rob Nowak, the band actually seems more comfortable on fifth-gear cuts like “’Til We Die,” “What Happened,” the first half of “Afraid of Nothing” or the furious “Run for Your Life” than they do in the middle-ground of “Guillotine” and “Night Time,” but slowing down on “Sirens” and “Eyes” allows them to flex a more melodic muscle, and that winds up enriching the album in subtle and interesting ways. If you want a clue as to the perspective from which they’re working, they start with “Here to Stay” and end with “Nothing Left to Lose.” Everything between feels suitably driven by that mission statement.
Angel Eyes, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl
With the ‘t’ and the ‘ought’ in its title, Angel Eyes’ posthumous third full-length, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl, brims with oddly rural threat. Like the things are people. The Chicago outfit unfold two gargantuan cascades of atmosludge on “Part I” (15:54) and “Part II” (19:18), pushing their final recording to toward and beyond recommended minimums and maximums as regards intensity. They called it quits in 2011, so to have the record surface four years later and be as blindsidingly cohesive as it is actually makes it kind of a bummer, since it won’t have a follow-up, but the work Angel Eyes are doing across these two tracks – “Part I” getting fully blown-out before shifting into the quiet opening of “Part II” – justifies the time it’s taken for it to be released. They were signed to The Mylene Sheath, but Things is an independent, digital-only outing for the time being, though its structure and cover feel ripe for vinyl. Who knows what the future might bring.
Textured, hypnotic and downright gorgeous in its psychedelic melancholy, Baron’s Torpor is a record that a select few will treasure deeply and fail to understand the problem as to why the rest of the planet isn’t just as hooked. A thoroughly British eight-track full-length – their second, I believe, but first for Svart – Torpor creates and captures spaces simultaneously on organ-infused pieces like “Mark Maker,” executing complex transitions fluidly and feeding into an overarching ambience that, by the time they get around to the eight-minute “Stry,” is genuinely affecting in mood and beautifully engrossing. The Brighton/Nottingham four-piece fuzz out a bit on “Deeper Align,” but the truth is that Torpor has much more to offer than a single genre encapsulates and those that miss it do so to their own detriment. I mean that. Its patience, its poise and its scope make Torpor an utter joy of progressive flourish and atmosphere with a feel that is entirely its own. I could go on.
So get this. For their first EP, Swedish trio Creedsmen Arise – guitarist Emil, drummer Simon and bassist Gustaf (since replaced by Jonte) – have taken it upon themselves to pen a sequel to Sleep’s Dopesmoker that, “tells the story about what happened centuries after the Dopesmoker Caravan and it’s [sic] Weedians reached their destination.” Admirably ballsy terrain for the three-piece to tread their first time out. It’s like, “Oh hey, here’s my first novel – it’s Moby Dick from the whale’s perspective.” The three tracks of the Temple EP are fittingly schooled in Iommic studies, but the band almost undercuts itself because they don’t just sound like Sleep. They have their own style. Yeah, it’s riffy stoner metal, but it’s not like they’re doing an Al Cisneros impression on vocals, so while the concept is derived directly, the sound doesn’t necessarily completely follow suit. Between the 10-minute opening title- and longest-track (immediate points), “Herbal Burial” and “Circle of Clergymen,” Creedsmen Arise make perhaps a more individualized statement than they intended, but it’s one that bodes well.
Nola’s cool and all, but when it comes to the nastiest, most misanthropic, fucked-up sludge, choosy moms choose Ohio, and Deadly Sin (Sloth) are a potent example of why. Their Demo Discography tape revels in its disconcerting extremity and seems to grind regardless of whether the Xenia, OH, trio are actually playing fast. Comprised of Jay Snyder, Wilhelm Princeton and Kyle Hughes, Deadly Sin (Sloth) cake themselves in mud that will be familiar to anyone who’s witnessed Fistula on a bender or Sloth at their most pill-popping, but do so with sub-lo-fi threat on the tape and are so clearly intentional in their effort to put the listener off that one could hardly call their demos anything but a victory. Will not be for everyone, but of course that’s the idea. This kind of viciousness is a litmus test that would do justice to any basement show, maddening in its nod and mean well beyond the point of reason.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
One can hear a bit of electric guitar tucked in at the end of “Easy Evil,” but no question it’s a different listen than has come to be expected from the Tony Reed-led Port Orchard, Washington, riff specialists, who’ve probably spent more time on the road in 2015 than in the decade and a half preceding. They’ll look to keep their rather considerable momentum going into the New Year with the release of the first unplugged-style offering in the band’s history. Comprised at this point of Reed (guitar, vocals, keys, recording, studio drums) and bassist Sean Booth, Mos Generator have always had their foundation in memorable songwriting, and as it’s impossible to sustain an unplugged offering without that, it makes sense that sooner or later they’d wind up working in the form. As Reed notes in his comments on making the record, which will be out early 2016 on H42 Records, the project was inspired by a few acoustic shows he did earlier this year.
The album, still waiting to reveal its title and artwork, will feature material old and new. “Easy Evil” doesn’t come across so differently in structure from a lot of what Mos Generator have done across their two full-lengths — last year’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) and 2012’s Nomads (review here) — and sundry shorter releases, splits, etc., since returning to activity following several years’ absence. Its structure is straightforward and the guitar leads the way. Reed‘s penchant for classic rock raucousness that shows itself live is given a back seat, however, to the central melody, and that winds up being how the track makes such a memorable impression. As a first taste of a larger work yet to be revealed, it teases flourishes of arrangement in its vocal layering and the already-noted electric guitar line in the back half, but winds up in a subdued place without sounding like it’s pandering to some forced idea of moodiness. Not an easy tightrope to walk for a band on their first acoustic outing, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that stands out.
Mos Generator will release their unplugged debut on H42 Records early next year. Please find the official announcement, including Reed‘s comments, after the stream of “Easy Evil” on the player below, and enjoy:
MOS GENERATOR’s FIRST ACOUSTIC ALBUM COMING EARLY 2016
The plugs are pulled! The very first Mos Generator acoustic album is in the works!
End of August 2015 Mos Generator went for a short first stop into the studio to records old songs as well as new songs and packed them into an acoustic garb. After their ongoing US tour with The Atomic Bitchwax they will stop for a second time in the studio to record the remaining songs for their first acoustic album.
The album appears as a limited edition Vinyl only on H42 Records early 2016!
Artwork is still in work and will be realized by the amazing Frank Popp from Germany, Berlin.
Comments Tony Reed:
This acoustic album will have some drastically different versions of songs from our back catalog and also a few new songs. I never considered doing an acoustic album for MG until I was forced to do some shows acoustically earlier this year and I realized how much different the songs were when played with open chords and sang with a mellow delivery. It’s been fun to rework the material for this style.
Album Title: TBA Album Art: TBA by Frank Popp Release: Early 2016 Tracklist: TBA Label: H42 Records
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Those rascally Melvins kicked off their latest run through the UK and Europe a couple nights ago, having once again joined forces with Jared Warren and Coady Willis from Big Business, and the long-running specialists-in-the-zany have newly announced the release of Across the USA in 51 Days: The Movie!, which chronicles their 2012 tour playing all 50 states plus Washington D.C. between Sept. and Oct. 2012. It’ll be out on DVD, presumably through Ipecac, on Nov. 13. Please note, this is not the same as the Melvins documentary The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale, which successfully beat its crowdfunding target earlier this year.
Take it, PR wire:
THE MELVINS RELEASE ACROSS THE USA IN 51 DAYS: THE MOVIE!, RELEASED NOV 13; ON TOUR NOW
The Melvins, who are currently in the midst of a European tour, flash back to their 2012 attempt at a world record setting tour of the United States (plus DC) with the Nov. 13 DVD release of Across The USA in 51 Days: The Movie!
The tour launched on Sept. 5, 2012 from Anchorage, Alaska and wrapped up fifty-one days later, Oct. 25, on the sunny shores of Honolulu, Hawaii. “We figured it was time for us to do something REALLY crazy,” Buzz Osborne said at the time of the band’s transcontinental trek. The band documented the outing via Spin and also through a collection of never-before-seen video footage.
Check out the full tour itinerary below from one of the world’s most active touring bands:
September 16 Tilburg, Netherlands Incubate Festival September 18 Angers, France La Chabada September 19 Paris, France La Bataclan September 20 Belfort, France Poudriere September 21 Koln, Germany Underground September 22 Hamburg, Germany LOGO September 23 Bremen, Germany Lagerhaus September 24 Berlin, Germany Berghain September 25 Leipzig, Germany UT Connewitz September 26 Prague, Czech Republic Futurm September 27 Budapest, Hungary A38 September 28 Austria, Bezirk Landstrasse Arena Wien September 29 Zagreb, Croatia Mochvara September 30 Bologna, Italy Locomotiv Club October 1 Milan, Italy Leoncavallo October 2 Lyon, France L’Epicerie Modern October 3 Pratteln, Switzerland Up In Smoke Fest October 5 Munich, Germany Feierwerk October 6 Frankfurt, Germany Zoom October 8 Reading, UK Sub89 October 9 Manchester, UK Gorilla October 10 London, UK Electric Ballroom October 24 Los Angeles, CA The Echo October 31 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
Posted in audiObelisk on September 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle progressive heavy rockers He Whose Ox is Gored release their debut full-length, The Camel, the Lion, the Child, on Oct. 9 through Bleeding Light Records (LP/DL) and Breathe Plastic Records (tape). The album follows a couple of shorter releases — EPs like 2014’s Nightshade and Rumors (review here) — that have helped spread the word and develop the four-piece’s particular brand of weighted and atmospheric plundering, but the substantial feel throughout the eight-track/51-minute LP defies the “debut album” stereotype for how assured the band sounds and for how solidified their aesthetic seems to be. Tracked by Robert Cheek with additional recording by Randall Dunn and mixed by Matt Bayles, it is as satisfying in its textured feel as in its level of impact, songs like “Omega” slamming hard into the consciousness even as they seem to be expanding their own context through fluid rhythmic turns, overarching washes of synth and vocal arrangements.
Ultimately held together by the foundation provided by bassist Mike Sparks and drummer John O’Connell, The Camel, the Lion, the Child fades in gradually with an immediate eerie synth line and tapped guitar, the former provided by Lisa Mungo and the latter by Brian McClelland, both of whom also contribute vocals. It’s a tense start to the record and that’s clearly on purpose, the band thinking more about the album front-to-back than any single track’s impression. A series of one-word titles leads to the finale “Weighted by Guilt, Crushed by a Diamond,” with “Oathbreaker” doling out near-frenetic rhythmic turns sans mathy-pretense, McClelland‘s few lines shouted deep in the mix but still blown out, before the aforementioned “Omega” takes hold, introduces waves of synth and the ambience they’ll come to add throughout. That song builds to an apex satisfying melodically and in its heft, but the subsequent “Crusade” pushes further, starting melodic before unfolding The Camel, the Lion, the Child‘s most progressive interplay of vocals between Mungo and McClelland — is there such a thing as post-post-hardcore? — and setting a theme of multiple-element cohesion that continues through the following “Zelatype” to round out side A in a manner both emotionally resonant and otherworldly.
Having so thoroughly engulfed the listener with its first half, He Whose Ox is Gored set about further developing the progression across side B, with “Alpha” starting on a slow fade to mirror “Oathbreaker” but keeping a more post-rock vibe to complement its guitar noodles, which will be a recurring theme throughout the following “Magazina” and “Cairo,” both of which feel more patient than their counterparts, “Magazina” in particular calling to mind a more lush vision of earlier Kylesa, still set to land heavy with O’Connell‘s pervasive thud, but in less of a rush, Mungo shouting at the fore backed by McClelland, winding riffs leading the way to a finish and the quiet start of “Cairo,” which develops in layers of guitar and keys across its first two minutes before righteous, angular plod takes hold with synth on top to push The Camel, the Lion, the Child to its crescendo — all the more stunning in headphones for the deeply buried vocals and the gorgeous mix-placement of the keys in the mix — the closer “Weighted by Guilt, Crushed into a Diamond” offering a suitable apex of its own but accomplishing even more in its atmosphere and slow-rolling immersion.
He Whose Ox is Gored have put in some obviously-valuable road time over the last couple years, so maybe it’s not such a shocker that The Camel, the Lion, the Child would be so assured of its goals and so up to the ambitious task it sets for itself, but taken across its span, it still feels surprising just how far beyond expectation the band go in their songwriting and in their big-picture conceptual construction. That is to say, I expected the record to be good, and it’s a better album than I expected.
All the more, then, I’m very happy to be hosting the premiere of “Crusade” from the album, which again, is out Oct. 9. Find it below, followed by more info and linkery, and enjoy:
Titled The Camel, The Lion, The Child, the eight-track, near hour-long sound exhibition was tracked at Red Room and Ex Ex Audio in Seattle by Robert Cheek (Serial Hawk, Noise-A-Tron etc.) with additional recording taking place at Avast Studios with Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, etc). Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon etc.) handled mixing duties and frequent collaborator, Blake Bickel, mastered the album at Dynamic Sound Service.
Both sonically and conceptually engrossing, with The Camel, The Lion, The Child HE WHOSE OX IS GORED — Brian McClelland (guitar, vocals), Lisa Mungo (synths, keyboards, vocals), Mike Sparks (bass) and John O’Connell (drums) – transcend musical boundaries with their meticulous yet organically-executed amalgam of technical guitar compositions and atmospheric synth over a pummeling rhythm section manifesting a uniquely cinematic soundscape that paints a world ready to thrash and burn.
Elaborates McClelland of the band’s latest output: “The Camel, The Lion, The Child is a cup that runs over. From the writing process and through the studio, we made it a point to make the record that we wanted. The songs grow and breathe with their own lives and personalities, and unfold with layers that surprise us to this day. The excellent engineering and mixing of Robert Cheek and Matt Bayles raised the bar, and pushed us to make the best record we could. Now, we share it with you.”
Posted in audiObelisk on September 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle trio Serial Hawk release their debut full-length, Searching for Light, on Sept. 18 via Bleeding Light Records. The four-track, 38-minute LP splits neatly into two sides, but that’s pretty much where the “easy” ends, unless you count the apparent simplicity with which the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Will Bassin, bassist Adam Holbrook and drummer Sean Bulkley enact a groove on top of nodding riffage. The bulk of Searching for Light is very, very heavy, and I’m not going to take that away from it, but even more than the weight of its impact or the edge of bombast in rolling opener “Desolate” that reminds ever so slightly of defunct chaosbringers Akimbo, Searching for Light is immersive. More than that. It’s a record that opens wide and takes you in as it sets out on this course, sometimes fluid, sometimes jagged, loud, quiet, shouting, mourning, on and on across this river of contrasts that are made to work smoothly with each other.
Side A brings three tracks in “Desolate” (9:06), the shorter “Lying in Wait” (3:55) and “Of Decay” (7:05), and side B is comprised entirely of the 18-minute title cut. Throughout, the band benefits greatly from the natural recording style of engineer/mixer Robert Cheek (Chelsea Wolfe, Tera Melos) at Red Room Studios and ExEx Audio, but it’s more about the changes in the songs themselves, which work on top of a foundation of newer-school heavy riffs without losing a sense of atmosphere only bolstered by the strange, eerie realness of Samantha Muljat and Sara Winkle‘s cover art. In being sandwiched by “Desolate” and “Of Decay,” “Lying in Wait” could have easily come across as an afterthought or an interlude, but it’s a major factor in the ambience of the record overall, and some of the slower, crashing movements around the halfway point in “Of Decay” seem to be mirroring similar ideas, layers of guitar teasing melody through the pummel and expanding the breadth even further as Serial Hawk make their way toward a how-did-we-get-here final movement of plodding lumber.
All of this, of course, pushes the band toward the inevitable focus point that is “Searching for Light” itself. The title-track, closer and longest singular piece is as ambitious as it is sprawling, but still maintains its landing force, pushing through a minimal, quiet opening into a patient stretch that sets up the build to the album’s final payoff, every bit worthy of the investment of time and the punches to the gut Serial Hawk deliver along the way. It’s the kind of debut that makes it easy to forget it’s a debut, but I have my doubts that the band are finished working in long-form songwriting. If they wanted to, there’s nothing evident here that makes me think they couldn’t get up to a single-song album. They’re halfway there, and while they’ve worked hard to get to this point across a prior demo, EP, live record and single, as well as several cross-country tours, they’re still really just at another starting line with Searching for Light. One hopes they continue searching.
I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere for “Of Decay,” which as standard procedure dictates you’ll find on the Soundcloud embed below. Beneath that, you can dig into the dates for Serial Hawk‘s upcoming release tour, which starts Oct. 1 and will once again take them from coast to coast. Have riffs, will travel.
Seattle, Washington’s hypnotically heavy three-piece sludge/doom act SERIAL HAWK will release their long-awaited debut, Searching For Light, via Bleeding Light Records September 18th. The band’s penchant for punishing, building riffs and reputation for bringing live audiences to their knees with a wall of sound has been encapsulated in this long-awaited album, which will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital download.
Serial Hawk on tour: 10/01 – Boise, ID – The Shredder 10/02 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Underground 3 10/03 – Laramie, WY – Baby Hospice 10/04 – Colorado Springs, CO – Flux Capacitor 10/05 – Omaha, NE – O’leavers 10/06 – Minneapolis, MN – The Hexagon 10/07 – Chicago, IL – Burlington Bar 10/08 – Dayton, OH – Blind Bobs 10/09 – Syracuse, NY – Gorham Brothers Music 10/10 – New Haven, CT – Crunch House 10/11 – Brooklyn, NY – The Acheron 10/12 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD 10/13 – Washington, D.C. – The Pinch 10/14 – Atlanta, GA – The Basement 10/15 – Birmingham, AL – The Firehouse 10/16 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s 10/17 – Austin, TX – Sat – The Lost Well 10/18 – TBD 10/19 – Santa Fe, NM – The Cave 10/20 – Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap Room 10/21 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar 10/22 – Oakland, CA – Golden Bull 10/23 – Sacramento, CA – Cafe Colonial
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
By the time Snail‘s new album, Feral, arrives, it will be almost six months to the day since the Seldon Hunt artwork was premiered here. That is not an insignificant stretch, but until you actually hear it you’re just going to have to take my word for it when I say it’s worth every second of the wait. After a strong comeback outing in 2009’s Blood (review here) and a definitive step forward in 2012’s Terminus (review here), Feral takes Snail‘s songwriting to places it hasn’t yet been and retains a sense of laid back heaviness and melodicism that has become their signature these last six years. If you don’t already have it on your gotta-hear list, put it there.
The PR wire brings affirmation, the preorder link, a bio I’m pretty sure that I wrote, the tracklisting and the stream for “Building a Haunted House,” which opens the record. Dig in:
Seattle psych metal trio SNAIL return with fourth album “Feral”, this month on Small Stone Records.
Seattle based psych metal forerunners SNAIL are making a great comeback with their heavy, hazy and stirring fourth record “Feral”, to be released this September on Small Stone Records.
Stream SNAIL’s intoxicating new song Building A Haunted House
SNAIL formed in 1992 in Los Angeles, consisting of singer Mark Johnson (The Crucified, PASTE, Blessing the Hogs), bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson. The eponymous first album (Big Deal Records) garnered much praise in the press, and gained a loyal following from peers, leading to the DIY, 4-track cassette-recorded All Channels are Open EP, after which SNAIL sadly succumbed to the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle and eroded to the point of breaking up.
After 15 years’ absence, SNAIL reunited in 2008 with longtime friend and guitarist Eric Clausen as a fourth member, and unleashed Blood (Meteor City), which was among the highest-rated heavy rock records of 2009, combining fuzzy guitars and a pummeling rhythm section with layered, soaring melodies rarely heard in the genre. In a time of industry turmoil, the record went from blood-red to “in the black,” even attracting the attention of underground music legend Henry Rollins, who gave it multiple plays on his “Fanatics” radio show on influential Los Angeles station KCRW.
SNAIL’s 2012 follow-up, Terminus, showcased all fresh material, infused with the enthusiasm of newly-minted collaboration. Influences that were not evident in past works came to the fore, steeped in old-school metal and psychedelia. The subject matter was noticeably more mature, delving into the themes of mortality and its implications in our modern world. From crushing doom to head-bobbing Camaro rock and hypnotic psych, Terminus was SNAIL’s most varied work to date; but most importantly, it rocked.
With the challenge of a “first new album” behind them, SNAIL set to work on Feral, their fourth full-length and first for Small Stone. Taking the varied approach of Terminus to new degrees of psychedelia and sonic heft, songs like “Smoke the Deathless” and “Thou Art That” epitomize the weighted melodic appeal of the band, while closer “Come Home” steps forward in its brazen emotionalism. Topped off with mind-bending artwork by Seldon Hunt, Feral is their best work to date, demonstrates the progressive capacity of the once-again trio of Johnson, Lynch and Dodson, and shows that Blood and Terminus may have just been the start of the wildness to come.