Fuzz Fest 4 Set for June 1-3 with Lo-Pan, BoneHawk, Child Bite, Cruthu and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

From June 1 through June 3, the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will play host to Fuzz Fest 4. It’s a massive all-day-three-day event with 11 bands playing each night over the course of the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and it features names like Child BiteLo-PanBoneHawkThe Amino Acids, Wild SavagesLavamothCruthuWizard Union and many others. I’ll admit that I don’t know everyone listed below, but from those I do and the glances I’ve made, it seems like a diverse bill that’s as wide-ranging as it is packed. Sometimes it’s nice to go, set up shop in a venue for three days, and let a whole shitload of new music come your way. I guess that’s my motivation in posting the lineup here. Been a while since I did that kind of thing.

Full roster of acts follows here, in case you’d like to do some homework:

fuzz-fest-4-poster

FUZZ FEST 4, GONNA DO IT SOME MORE!

Now in its fourth year, Fuzz Fest returns to the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan to bring the people of the mitten state the high energy Rock N Roll they crave and deserve.
Headliners for this year’s installment are Child Bite on Thursday June 1, S.N.A.F.U. on Friday June 2nd, and the Amino Acids on Saturday June 3rd.

Jukebox Productions presents
FUZZ FEST 4!
June 1-3 at the Blind Pig!
3 nights, 2 stages, 33 bands, 11 bands each night.
$10 advanced tickets, $12 day of, Three day pass $20!

Lights by The Overhead Army.
Sponsored this year by VG Kids, ARBCO Records, Life in Michigan, and the Music & Arts Guild

THURSDAY JUNE 1
Child Bite
Human Skull
JUNGLEFOWL
Wild Savages
Bubak
minihorse
Duende
The Jackpine Snag
Warhorses
Visitors
The Gruesome Twosome

FRIDAY JUNE 2
S.N.A.F.U.
BoneHawk
Lo-Pan
Wizard Union
Stone Ritual
The Lucid Furs
Cruthu
Red Stone Souls
Rotokiller
Lavamoth
HELLGHiLLiES

SATURDAY JUNE 3
The Amino Acids
Caveman & Bam Bam Detroit
Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor
Disinformants
Scissor Now
Skin Lies
Wiccans
Shells
Seritas
Steve Harvey Oswald

Day 1 – http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7391915&pl=blindpig&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Day 2 – http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7391925&pl=blindpig&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Day 3 – http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7391935&pl=blindpig&dispatch=loadSelectionData

3 Day pass – http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7391945&pl=blindpig&dispatch=loadSelectionData

https://www.facebook.com/events/1565187043497449/
https://www.facebook.com/fuzzfestmichigan/
http://www.blindpigmusic.com/

Junglefowl, Live at Fuzz Fest 3, June 11, 2016

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The Obelisk Presents: Burnin’ Turf II at Parisville Saloon, Ruth, MI, on June 3

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on February 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I’m thrilled to count The Obelisk among the slew of sponsors for Burnin’ Turf II at Parisville Saloon in Ruth, Michigan, this June 3. After seeing the first installment come together last year and look like such a damn good time and catching wind of this year’s formidable lineup, it was a no-brainer to get involved in this small way immediately upon being asked, and between the chopper show, the van show, and the show-show itself, the event put together by the dudes from Bison Machine — who are also playing — looks like it’s going to be a killer party and something really special in a sense of more than just a show-up-and-stand-there-bands-changeover-gear kind of fest. All the better.

Ticket presale starts on April 20, but today marks the official unveiling of the lineup, which you can see in the announcement below, which the festival sent down the PR wire.

One more time, let me say out loud how much I appreciate being involved in this. Thanks to Anthony Franchina and all at work behind the scenes on making it happen.

Here goes:

burnin turf ii poster

BURNIN’ TURF II – June 3rd 2017 Parisville Saloon – Ruth, MI

“We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! … And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time… We are gonna have a party.” -Russ Tamblyn (The Wild Angels)

The Gassers R/C, Parisville Saloon and Bison Machine want you to hop on your bike, pack up your van, grab your friends, grab your tent, leave everything else behind and head up to Parisville for one of the best parties of the year. Burnin’ Turf has returned and its bigger than ever. Seven bands, chopper games, raffles, prizes, drink until you can’t stand because no one needs to leave. Set up camp and live it up because you came to the right place. Everyone is here for the same reason.

Pre-sale goes live on April 20th 2017
More info to come!

LINE-UP
Bison Machine
BoneHawk
Wild Savages
Red Stone Souls
Dead Feathers
Gear Jammer
Rip Vanripper

Heavy boogie vinyl spun by DJ Smoak

SPONSORS
Lowbrow Customs
Small Stone Records
Rerun Cycle Works
The Obelisk
Bombs Away Moto Works
Lucifer’s Death Squad
Strange Cycle
Moto Cantina
Rumbleville
Wonderland Tattoo

https://www.facebook.com/events/985074104958214/
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2870480
https://bandsintown.com/event/13873337-burnin-turf-ii-pre-sale-ruth-parisville-saloon-2017?artist=Burnin%27+Turf+II+Pre-Sale&came_from=192

Bison Machine, Live at Culture Clash Records, May 2016

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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Bison Machine, Wild Savages & SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. I Split: The Good Times, Rolling

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sweet leaves volume one

[Click play above to stream Sweet Leaves Vol. I in full. Release date is Jan. 22. Thanks to the bands for letting me host the tracks.]

If you’re looking for a sampling of the madness infecting the Motor City’s underground these days, look no further than Sweet Leaves Vol. I. Detroit has long been an epicenter of all things raw and visceral in American rock — and by that I mean The Stooges and MC5 were from there — but in bringing together newcomer acts Bison Machine, Wild Savages and SLO across a limited-release three-way split tape, the classic form proves continually vital in the more recent outfits, each of which brings a grit of their own to reside under a heavy rock umbrella.

Appearing in that order — Bison Machine, then Wild Savages, then SLO — the tape gets more formative as it progresses through each pair of tracks, Bison Machine being the most established of the three with their debut long-player, Hoarfrost (review here), released last year on Kozmik ArtifactzWild Savages have an EP up for streaming and SLO a demo, both issued in Sept. 2015, but both of the newer acts also share ties to Bison Machine through current and former members. Wild Savages features guitarist Casey O’Ryan, who also plays in Bison Machine, and SLO guitarist/vocalist Dusty Jones is an alum as well. Clearly as each of these bands spun off or came up around the same time, everyone remained tight enough to continue to collaborate, which in giving an idea of where the Detroit area is at (Wild Savages claim Ann Arbor as home, SLO Detroit proper and Bison Machine Hamtramck), is at very least a show of overall strength.

More importantly, the tape — which is a quick listen at a little over half an hour — rocks. None of the three groups wastes any time getting down to business, and with Bison Machine‘s “Hawk on the Wind,” the Sabbathian reference of the tape’s cover proves not to be the only classic heavy source from which the release draws. The recording that produced “Hawk on the Wind” and the subsequent “Soul Seeker” is older, with guitarist John deVries in the role that O’Ryan now occupies alongside vocalist Tom Stec, bassist Anthony Franchina (who put the split together) and drummer Breck Crandell, but their methods are no less righteous than on Hoarfrost, quick-turning shuffle pervading “Hawk on the Wind” amid a catchy hook while “Soul Seeker” rests on a bed of low-end chugging and Motörheady skate in the guitar.

sweet leaves volume one tapes

The second track trips out a bit at the end, but in general, Bison Machine play it tight and don’t let up on the throttle, which makes for an easy transition into Wild Savages, who seem intent on living up to their moniker in grit, ’70s bass warmth and persistent proto-punk fuckall. “Stage Fright” has one of the most resonant hooks on Sweet Leaves Vol. I once you have a grip on what bassist Joe Kupiec is talking about — O’Ryan also provides vocals — and transitions easily into a dual-channel guitar jam atop some of the best vintage-sounding drums I’ve heard since Kadavar‘s debut from Stefan Krstovic, who has swing to match. By the time they get there, they seem to have left the verse structure behind, but even among the late-arriving boogie onslaught, they bring back the chorus for one last go. With funkier starts and stops in its early going and a similar overall approach, “Queen Bee” affirms no fluke on the part of Wild Savages, who rage in layers but with an energy that one imagines has no trouble translating live.

For SLO, their “The Darkness” and “Shield Maidens” follow a two-song demo recorded on a four-track, but already one can hear in their sound a beefed up dual-guitar via Thin Lizzy approach that, in “The Darkness” delves in its midsection into some transposed “Hole in the Sky” riffing as if to remind the listener what it’s all about. Fuzz in the guitar and bass goes full-on hairy as the song rolls to what seems to be its finish before the initial groove is revived and swirl-faded out to end, which lets “Shield Maidens,” the only song on the release that tops six minutes (though each band has a track that comes close), close out with proto-metallic rush and a grander approach vocally.

Whether that’s drummer Charlie McCutcheon or bassist Brian Blair joining Jones singing — Kevin Sullivan is the only member of the four-piece not credit with vocals on the prior demo — I don’t know, but it adds a classic metal sensibility to complement the quiet midsection and deftly intricate guitar line that transitions into an instrumental finish, thick tonally but still ready to move and keeping that fist-pump feel thanks to a late solo either from Sullivan or Jones. Their cap for Sweet Leaves Vol. I is encouraging, and that descriptor seems to apply to the release overall as well. Of course, one can’t completely summarize the complete breadth of a region’s output by getting together a couple similarly driven bands and putting together a split tape — if one could, I’d expect to see more of them — but, even in showing the direction a few of the Detroit area’s groups are taking with a brash, classically-minded heavy rock sound, Sweet Leaves Vol. I serves notice of attention-worthy doings in volume and aesthetic.

Bison Machine on Thee Facebooks

Bison Machine on Bandcamp

Wild Savages on Thee Facebooks

Wild Savages on Bandcamp

SLO on Bandcamp

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