Posted in Reviews on August 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Certainly the announcement that vocalist Uta Plotkin will leave Witch Mountain following their Fall US tour with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind places Mobile of Angels, the band’s fourth album overall and third with Plotkin fronting, into a different context. If nothing else, it lets lyrics longing for escape in “Psycho Animundi” and “Can’t Settle” — lines like “Living in filth and dirt in rooms less colorful and cheerful than the cages in which we put animals in a zoo” from the former and the richly, beautifully crooned “Oh, it’s time to go” in the back half chorus of the latter — be read in ways opposed to how they otherwise might. Witch Mountain‘s music has never been particularly upbeat, but the blues in Plotkin‘s voice seem to have a focal point here and if it’s a change that needed to happen, then the only really unfortunate part about it is that it comes as the four-piece of Plotkin, guitarist Rob Wrong, drummer Nate Carson and bassist Charles Thomas (also of Blackwitch Pudding and the latest in a succession of bass players) reach their highest creative watermark to date. Released by Profound Lore in North America and Svart in Europe, Mobile of Angelsfollows two strong outings in 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild (review here) and 2011’s South of Salem (review here) — their debut, Come the Mountain(discussed here) having been released in 2001 on Rage of Achilles before an extended hiatus — but it is leaner than Cauldronand more developed than Salem, the band’s considerable road-time paying dividends in the tightness of performance and the ground they’re able and willing to cover stylistically. Production by Billy Anderson never hurts either, but what’s most striking about Mobile of Angelsisn’t how the five songs sound so much as where they go.
The lurching chug in Wrong‘s riffs is a signature element in Witch Mountain‘s approach, and as the opener, “Psycho Animundi” dives immediately into an affirmation of it. Cauldron of the Wild‘s “The Ballad of Lanky Rae” was similarly direct, but the bluesier atmosphere of that track is contrasted by “Psycho Animundi”‘s purely doomed stomp, underscored by the slow march in Carson‘s drumming. At nearly nine minutes, it’s second only to centerpiece “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn),” and fittingly immersive, but there’s still a right-down-to-business feel, and the vocals start less than a minute into the track, beginning a tradeoff of verses and guitar solos that carries the central chug through a duration that feels less extended than it is. Plotkin‘s voice is given to soaring, and it does so liberally here, finding contrast in secret-weapon growls in the metallic midsection of “Can’t Settle,” the second half of which stands as an early apex of the record, perhaps rivaled by the guitar nods to YOB‘s “Catharsis” in closer “The Shape Truth Takes,” but a moment unto itself for the vocal harmonies at play in any case. That one would even be tempted to hyperbolize and call it Plotkin‘s best performance in Witch Mountain should be enough to emphasize the point. The 10-minute “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)” follows, executing a few quiet/loud tradeoffs en route to Mobile of Angels‘ most patient build, the full band in complete command of their movement as soulful backing vocals guide the way through the early stretches and the guitar, bass and drums begin their push toward a peak that arrives after seven minutes in, Wrong taking the fore for one of the album’s best solos — he also works in layers — and giving way to a morose final verse before a more open, ethereal ending shifts into the otherworldly title-track, relatively quick at 3:30, but hypnotic thanks to organ scratch and an interweaving of spoken and sung incantations.
A subdued finale, maybe, but “The Shape Truth Takes” is glorious in its melancholy. Plotkin seems to be playing off Debbie Harry‘s unrealistic range, and the quieter instrumentation behind her gives a perfect showcase in the song’s initial moments, the lead-in from “Mobile of Angels” opening fluidly to the peaceful noodling of the guitar, Witch Mountain proving just as capable of conveying weight in emotionality as in their tones, Plotkin‘s swirling layers recalling “Can’t Settle” as Thomas, Carson and Wrong weave their way through a forward but deceptive progression, finding an explosive point after the three-minute mark, at which point “The Shape Truth Takes” opens to a fuller but still not overblown breadth. Regret? Sadness? It’s hard to know what’s in there without reading too much in, but it’s not bitter in the way “Psycho Animundi” is. Maybe it’s just a moment of resignation that gets swept up in Wrong‘s solo before five minutes in, the album’s final crescendo coming in the solo/vocal trade much like that of “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn),” but leading to a relatively quick outro and final chug of the guitar, as though it’s looking to hold onto the song even as it’s already passed. Witch Mountain, which was founded by Wrong and Carson in the late ’90s, has said the band will continue without Plotkin, but there can be little doubt they’ll have their work cut out for them in assembling a new dynamic after the utter mastery they show on Mobile of Angels. That’s not to say it can’t be done, only that it will take time. When one considers the efforts put in by the band on tour and over the two records leading to this one, Mobile of Angelslooks all the more like a high point reached, the culmination of the years since Witch Mountain came back together and the arrival at what they’ve been pursuing all along. If subsequent outings show that’s not the case — i.e., if that pursuit continues off in a different direction — then all the better, but no question Mobile of Angelsmarks the end of something special for Witch Mountain and is bittersweet for American doom. All is fleeting.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Bit of a blindside here but I guess that kind of thing can’t be helped. On the eve of Witch Mountain releasing Mobile of Angels, their third album since coming back in 2011 with South of Salem(review here), vocalist Uta Plotkin has announced her intention to leave the band following their upcoming fall US tour with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind and Hedersleben. Plotkin, whose bluesy singing style and powerful delivery has greatly helped the Portland outfitfurther their doomly cause these last three years, will leave a significant void in the front of the stage, though Witch Mountain have stated their intention to continue anyway, guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nate Carson having started the band together in the late ’90s and released the full-length Come the Mountainin 2001 before a 10-year break.
I’m loath to pilfer news from anyone — and feel inclined to acknowledge the irony that the story broke via Revolver, whose “the hottest chicks in metal” undermines the legitimacy of singers like Plotkin and other players more or less every time it’s published — but this is a big story and worth spreading, considering that any change of frontperson is bound to have a sizable impact on the personality and style of Witch Mountain as a whole. It will be interesting to see what and who they come back with, but as they rightly point out, Witch Mountain was a band before Plotkin, so it’s not unreasonable to think it can be a band after. If anyone at Revolver is pissed at the cut and paste, I apologize, but at least I gave credit and linked back to the original story.
Obviously, best of luck to Plotkin on her next endeavor, whatever that may be, and to Witch Mountain for the reconstruction process. Text from Revolver, plus the tour dates:
Frontwoman Uta Plotkin to Leave Witch Mountain after Release of New Album, ‘Mobile of Angels’
Witch Mountain’s upcoming fourth album, ‘Mobile of Angels,’ and their summer shows with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind will be their last record and tour, respectively, with lead singer Uta Plotkin. The new album will be unleashed by Profound Lore Records in North America September 30, and via Svart Records in Europe and beyond. ‘Mobile of Angels’ was produced by producer Billy Anderson, tracked and mixed in Type Foundry studios Portland, OR.
“It’s been a rewarding experience being in Witch Mountain,” says Plotkin, who joined the group in 2009. “I’ve met many wonderful people and helped make a lot of great music but after three albums I feel it’s time for me to move on to new projects, musical and otherwise. My creative spirit has always been a restless one. I hope our fans continue to enjoy our music and support Witch Mountain in its future incarnations.”
“We love and support Uta in whatever direction her life takes her,” the remaining members of Witch Mountain comment. “Our collaboration with her over the last five years, three albums, and hundreds of shows has been a privilege. But the band existed long before we met her and will continue into the future. Somewhere in this wide world is a voice with the talent and ambition to help Witch Mountain continue to improve as we have with each new release and passing year. Someone (male or female) will eventually send us a demo that brings us to tears. Until then, we remain focused on our final tour with Uta, and promoting our brand new album. Thanks to all for your support.”
If you want to catch Uta Plotkin with Witch Mountain on stage, please mark your calendar because this is your last chance:
NIK TURNER’S HAWKWIND + WITCH MOUNTAIN + HEDERSLEBEN NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2014
Tue 8/26 – Oakland, CA – Uptown Wed 8/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room Thu 8/28 – San Diego, CA – Casbah Fri 8/29 – Tucson, AZ – Hotel Congress Sat 8/30 – Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad Mon 9/01 – Austin, TX – Red 7 Tue 9/02 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia Wed 9/03 – Birmingham, AL – Bottletree Thu 9/04 – Memphis, TN – Hi-Tone Cafe Fri 9/05 – Lafayette, GA – Meltasia Fest Sat 9/06 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Fest* Sun 9/07 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter Mon 9/08 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery Tue 9/09 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot and Saddle Wed 9/10 – Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theater Thu 9/11 – New York, NY – Webster Hall Fri 9/12 – Boston, MA – Middle East Sun 9/14 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore Mon 9/15 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison Tue 9/16 – Rochester, NY – Bug Jar Wed 9/17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom Thu 9/18 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen Fri 9/19 – Rock Island, IL – RIBCO Sat 9/20 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club* Sun 9/21 – Saint Paul, MN – Turf Club Mon 9/22 – Winnipeg, MB – Pyramid Cabaret* Tue 9/23 – Saskatoon, SK – Vangelis Tavern Wed 9/24 – Calgary, AB – Palomino Fri 9/26 – Vancouver, BC – Venue (early evening show) Sat 9/27 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey Sun 9/28 – Portland, OR – Star Theater
Posted in Features on July 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Before I even start, let’s get one thing out of the way. I want a new Sleep album too. My not including them on this list isn’t due to the fact that I don’t think a new Sleep album is a good idea, but just because I haven’t seen anything about it being recorded or released in the next five-plus months. If it hits on Jan. 1, 2015, I’ll be the happiest Baby New Year you ever saw, but that’s a different list altogether.
Ditto that Om and High on Fire. The latter were writing as of May, and I know Om did some recording way back in January, but I’ve yet to see solid word of new records at all, let alone before the end of the year. Either or both or all three may happen, but until I see some hint of it, all I can go on is the info I can find.
Seriously though, how badass would it be if all three put out albums before the New Year? That excitement is kind of what this list is about. Some of these records I’ve heard, but most I haven’t, so it’s just basic speculation about what I think could be some of the best releases in the next couple months. You’ll note that while there are plenty of dates TBA, nothing listed arrives in November, so as 2014 winds down, there’s bound to be even more quality stuff than appears here.
In fact, I struggled to take things out to get it down to 30. And it still goes to 31! I figured no one would mind. They’re numbered, but the list is in alphabetical order.
If I left something out you’re dying to hear, please let me know in the comments.
Thanks in advance for reading:
1. Alunah, TBA (Sept.)
Birmingham’s Alunah, like several others below, are a holdover from the Most Anticipated Albums list back at the start of the year. The difference between now and then is that, while its title still hasn’t been revealed so far as I know, their Napalm Records debut has been recorded, mixed and mastered, the latter by Tony Reed, the former by Greg Chandler of Esoteric, and given a September release date. Two years after Alunah made riffy doom sound easy on their sophomore outing, White Hoarhound (review here), I look forward to hearing how they’ve grown and shifted in their approach to warm-sounding tones and memorable hooks. They’ve set a pretty high standard for themselves. Alunah on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
2. Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (Oct.)
These guys. I don’t mind telling you it was a thrill when Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude were announced as having signed to Cruz del Sur to release their third album, Of Woe and Wounds, this fall. Their second outing, 2010’s Last Sunrise (review here), didn’t get the attention it deserved, but the handful of songs they’ve made public since have shown much promise, and as the first Apostle of Solitude full-length to feature guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (also Devil to Pay) in harmony with guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown — the band is completed by bassist Dan Davidson and drummer Corey Webb — this is definitely going to make for a doomly autumn. Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks, Cruz del Sur Music.
3. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance (Aug. 26)
Recorded late last year at Amps vs. Ohms in Boston, the third album from Maple Forum alum Blackwolfgoat — the prog-drone alter ego of guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, Black Pyramid, The Scimitar, Roadsaw, etc.) — is the project’s most expansive outing yet, and it seems Shepard is moving more in a song-based direction, rather than some of the building loops of the past two offerings. Of course, there will be plenty of those as well, but watch out for some acoustic guitar, and deep-in-the-mix vocals, as they could easily hint of things to come. Or Darryl could turn it on its head and do a calypso record. Either way, I’m on board with no pretense of impartiality. Blackwolfgoat on Bandcamp, Small Stone’s Bandcamp.
4. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (Aug. 5)
The much-heralded Swedish/French/American psych-blues conglomeration Blues Pills will make their self-titled debut (short review here) next month, and while it’s probably going to be a bigger deal in Europe than in the States — at least until Nuclear Blast brings them over here for a tour, then the country is going to go apeshit for them — the songwriting and soulful execution of their tracks justifies the hype. There’s a bit of retro posturing to what they do, some Graveyard shuffle (it feels inevitable at this point with a ’70s-influenced band), but the grooves are easy to dig into and the potential is basically limitless for where they want to go. It’s scary to keep in mind, but this is just the beginning. Blues Pills on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast.
5. Bongripper, Miserable (July 7)
You may notice something strange about the date above for a list of upcoming albums in that July 7 was yesterday. Well, Chicago’s Bongripper posted their new three-track full-length monster Miserable on their Bandcamp for stream and download ahead of the vinyl’s arrival, and it was just too righteous to leave out. Those seeking landmark riffing need look no further than the 19-minute centerpiece “Descent,” which meters out stomp enough that future “scientists” will study its footprint, and closer “Into Ruin” (28:25) is guaranteed to be the heaviest half-hour you’ll spend today. Miserable feels like a no-brainer, but maybe that’s just because Bongripper have such a propensity for pounding skulls into mush. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, Miserable on Bandcamp.
6. Botanist, VI: Flora (Aug. 11)
I feel like I missed a couple numbers from San Francisco-based environmentalist black metal unit Botanist along the way, but they’ll nonetheless issue VI: Flora on The Flenser next month, furthering their marriage of destruction and beauty and insistent percussive expression. The spaces Botanist — a one-man project from Robert Martinelli — create feel ritualistic without the dramatic posturing that pervades much of the genre, and sound, somewhere between raging and mournful, is hypnotic. Whatever your expectation might be, Martinelli seems pleased to use it to their advantage, and ultimately, defy it. Post-human, hammered dulcimer-laden black metal. It would be harder for Botanist to not be unique. Botanist on Thee Facebooks, The Flenser.
7. Brant Bjork, TBA (TBA)
When Brant Bjork‘s next album might show up, I don’t know. I know he’s signed to Napalm, and I know the photo above was snapped as he finished some vocals before going on tour with his Low Desert Punk band that includes guitarist Bubba DuPree, bassist Dave Dinsmore and drummer Tony Tornay, but whether or not the album they made is the funk-inspired Jakoozi that’s been in the offing for a while, or another collection of songs, and if Napalm will get it out before the end of the year remain a mystery. I do find it interesting that for his first “solo” outing post-Vista Chino (that band being on hiatus), Bjork has assembled a new band to work with rather than record multiple instruments himself, but no matter who’s involved, when it’s Brant Bjork writing the songs, it’s gonna be high rock from the low desert. Can’t wait to dig into whatever comes. Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
8. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (Sept.)
The headline for Earth‘s new album is it’s the one where they experimented with vocalists. And hey, if you’re going to toy around with the idea, you might as well get Mark Lanegan involved. The former Screaming Trees frontman is one of several singers appearing on Primitive and Deadly, due in September on Southern Lord, and it would appear that Earth‘s sound — always evolving, always somehow changing — is about to take another considerable turn. Fortunately, the Seattle band, led by guitarist Dylan Carlson and now approaching their 25th year, have long since proven worthy of trusting with their own direction. Earth will never be huge, by the simple nature of what they do, but their influence resounds and the quality of their output is unmatched. Earth on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.
9. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (Sept.)
“Wake up baby/It’s time to die.” So goes the title-track hook of Electric Wizard‘s new album and Spinefarm Records debut, Time to Die. As ever, it’s simple, hateful, drenched-in-fuzz misanthropy, and Electric Wizard revel in it accordingly. Their witchcult continues to grow in their native UK and abroad, and while their last two records have divided some listeners, they’ve invariably gained more ground than they’ve lost. A legal dispute with Rise Above finds them on the new label, and if there’s even the slightest chance that change will bring them to the US for a tour, I’ll take it. Expect 66 minutes of glorious filth. Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks, Spinefarm Records.
10. Fever Dog, Second Wind (TBA)
Palm Desert youngsters Fever Dog have been kicking around the last few years finding their sound in varying elements of heavy rock and psychedelic experimentation. Most recently, they impressed with the single “Iroquois” (review here) taken from their new album Second Wind, and in looking forward to the full-length, I’m eager to learn how their style has solidified and what sort of vibes they conjure over its course. They’ve shown plenty of propensity for jamming in their prior work, so hopefully there’s a bit of that on hand as well. I’ve said before they’re a trio of marked potential, and nothing I’ve yet heard has dissuaded me from that impression. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.
11. Goat, Commune (Sept. 23)
Somehow, a band from Sweden who dress up in tribal costumes (problematic) and play Afrobeat psychedelia became a very, very big deal. I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to, and I won’t try, but I know that when Sub Pop releases Goat‘s second album, Commune, it’s going to be to a flurry of hype and heaps of critical fawning. It would be tempting to call Goat a novelty act, but their 2012 debut, World Music (discussed here), showcased a legitimately creative musical approach to go with the visual aspects of their presentation, and I find the fact that I have no idea what to expect from Commune to be refreshing. Goat on Thee Facebooks, Sub Pop Records.
12. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren (Aug. 11)
UK heavy rockers Grifter will make a welcome resurgence on Ripple Music with The Return of the Bearded Brethren, an album that builds on the straightforward, catchy sounds of their 2011 self-titled label debut (review here) and takes their infectiousness to new places lyrically, such as exploring issues of aging via an ode to Princess Leia from Star Wars. That particular brand of humor and is writ large on Grifter‘s second Ripple outing, and the trio set to work refining their take without losing the engaging feel of their self-titled. It feels like a long three years since that record hit, and I’ll be glad to have a follow-up in-hand. Grifter on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.
13. Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future (TBA)
Unclear at this point whether Boston outfits Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz collaborated on New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future, or if it’s a split. Either way, the prolific acts make a sound pairing. Both are vehemently creative and exploratory, psychedelic and progressive each in their way, and if what’s presumably a single finds them working together, all the better, but even if not, new material from either is nothing to balk at, particularly when topped off by such gorgeous artwork. Neither act is ever long from putting something out, so to have them come together one way or another makes a weird brand of sense, which I’m relatively sure the songs will as well. Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks, Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks.
14. Ides of Gemini, Old World New Wave (Sept. 16)
Ides of Gemini‘s 2012 Neurot Recordings debut, Constantinople (discussed here), established the three-piece as freely inhabiting either side of the imaginary line between ambience and heaviness, J. Bennett and Kelly Johnston providing sometimes minimal, sometimes consuming foundations for vocalist Sera Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman, also Black Mare) to cast ethereal melodies. What Old World New Wave will hold sound-wise, I don’t yet know, but Ides of Gemini‘s otherworldly resonance and ultra-patient approach makes it well worth finding out. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
15. John Gallow, Violet Dreams (Aug. 4)
Frontman of Blizaro and Orodruin guitarist John James Gallo adds a ‘w’ to his last name and steps out solo on the I, Voidhanger Records release, Violet Dreams, the title hinting at some of his on-his-sleeve affinity for Italian psych-doom master Paul Chain and Swedish legends Candlemass. Gallo‘s work in Blizaro has a tendency to lean toward the progressive and cinematic, but as John Gallow, the focus is more on classic doom riffing and darkened metallurgy. As one would expect, he’s well in his element on the hour-long album, and I hope he decides to call the next one Ancient Theatre. Also note the incredible artwork of Costin Chioreanu. John Gallo on Thee Facebooks, I, Voidhanger Records.
16. John Garcia, John Garcia (Aug. 5)
A long-discussed solo debut for the former Kyuss frontman following a stint alongside Brant Bjork in Vista Chino, John Garcia‘s John Garcia (review here) finds the singer right in his comfort zone, topping desert rock riffs with his trademark guttural vocals. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’d trade a second Vista Chino outing for it if given the choice — that band seemed to be on course for a sound of its own, separate from Kyuss‘ legacy, and that struck me as worth pursuing — but these songs have a similar enough production style that it’s easy to think of the one as an offshoot of the other, and of course Garcia calls his shots well throughout. John Garcia on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
17. King Buffalo, TBA (TBA)
Including King Buffalo here was pretty speculative on my part, but I dig the Rochester, NY, outfit and didn’t want to leave the prospect of their STB Records debut long-player out. It probably won’t land until 2015 — the future! — but their demo (review here) still gets regular plays around these parts, and I’m very much looking forward to catching them with similarly-minded Nashville blues rockers All Them Witches when they tour together next month. Whatever King Buffalo‘s recording/release plans might be, they’re definitely one to keep an eye on in the back half of this year. King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks, STB Records.
18. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy (TBA)
Love these guys, love this band. I make no bones about it. Their third record, self-titled and produced as the last two were by Sanford Parker, is as close as they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound, and while they’ve yet to nail down an exact release date, they have a couple very cool tours in the works for this fall, including dates next month with Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger, that will make a fitting lead-in to their best outing yet. I’ve heard this and had the chance to see some of the material live, and they’ve outdone themselves again, which, considering the esteem in which I continue to hold their 2013 sophomore full-length, A Time of Hunting, is really saying something. Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.
19. The Kings of Frog Island, V (Fall)
Easily one of the LPs I’m most eager to hear over the next few months, and specifically on vinyl. The Kings of Frog Island have shown themselves to be so dedicated to the format that their early-2013 album, IV (review here), was presented as two bundled sides even digitally. They recently gave a taste of what their fifth album will in-part hold via a video for “Sunburn” and I’m told more jamminess ensues elsewhere to complement that track’s easygoing flow and platter-ready hook. All the better. The Kings of Frog Island on Thee Facebooks, The Kings of Frog Island on YouTube.
20. Lonely Kamel, Shit City (Sept. 9)
I’d be lying if I said part of my immediate interest in Oslo heavy rockers Lonely Kamel‘s fourth record wasn’t due to the cheeky title, but it’s been three years since the Napalm Records four-piece released their last album, Dust (track stream here), and as they’ve put in plenty of road-time, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to go into this time around with elevated anticipation. I’m not sure you could get away with calling an album Shit City unless you meant business. Got my fingers crossed that’s precisely the case with Lonely Kamel. Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
21. Lo-Pan, Colossus (Oct. 7)
Fucking a. Doing the research for this list was the first I’d seen the Jason Alexander Byers cover art for Lo-Pan‘s fourth album, Colossus, or its Oct. 7 Small Stone release date. I haven’t heard the tracks yet — they recorded in Brooklyn back in March, and while I got 2012’s Salvador (review here) pretty early, the Columbus four-piece seem to be keeping a tighter lid on the follow-up — and I can’t help but feel like that’s my loss. Judging by what I’ve heard of the material live, Lo-Pan have dug further into their individual brand of riff-led soulful heavy, and I’ve got a high wager that a few months from now, Lo-Pan‘s latest will make an appearance on another list. More to come. Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
22. Novembers Doom, Bled White (July 15)
One of doom’s most fascinating and largely ignored progressions is that of Chicago melancholists Novembers Doom, who, when they started out 25 years ago, did so largely as a death metal band, and then moved on to pioneer an American interpretation of what’s commonly thought of as European doom, until, over their last several records, as they’ve started to move back to a more extreme, double-kick-drummed style. Bled White, on The End Records, continues along this path, but especially in the cleaner vocals of frontman Paul Kuhr there remain shades of the morose emotionality that typified what’s now become their mid-period doom idolatry. Unheralded, Novembers Doom keep exploring deeper, darker terrain. Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks, The End Records.
23. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (Aug. 19)
Foundations of Burden is unquestionably among the second half of 2014’s most anticipated albums. Arkansas-based doom four-piece Pallbearer will mark its release with extensive European and North American tours, and where their 2012 Profound Lore debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), came out and caught listeners off-guard with its unabashed emotional core, their sophomore outing finds them positioned at the forefront of American doom. Already the hype machine is rolling out the red carpet for the Billy Anderson-produced Foundations of Burden, but no one can say these guys haven’t put their work in, and the record is indeed one to look forward to. Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.
24. The Skull, TBA (TBA)
For The Skull to put out an album of original material is a unique challenge. Their earlier-2014 first single (stream/review here) found them standing up to it on the new song “Sometime Yesterday Mourning,” but at least half the point of the band since its inception has been to pay homage to legendary doomers Trouble, from whence vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson come. For their Tee Pee Records debut full-length — yet untitled and hopefully out before 2015 — it’ll be most interesting to see how guitarists Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) and Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) rise to the occasion of building off some of doom metal’s most celebrated tones. Fingers crossed on this one. The Skull on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
25. Snail, Feral (TBA)
Nothing has been formally announced yet, but on Small Stone Records‘ website, they list Snail‘s Feral among their upcoming releases. It would make a suitable pairing, the West Coast riffers having previously worked with MeteorCity on their 2009 post-reunion outing, Blood (review here), prior to independently releasing 2012’s Terminus (review here), and Small Stone seems like a good home for their fourth overall record and return to form as a trio, which was their original incarnation before their original dissolution circa 1994. How they expand on the heavier crunch of Terminus remains even more a point of fascination, and surely their cult following will be glad to find out. I know I will. Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
26. Steak, Slab City (Sept. 9)
After two strong EPs in 2012’s Disastronaught (review here) and 2013’s best-title-ever-boasting Corned Beef Colossus (review here), it’s time for London stoner rockers Steak to step up their game for their Napalm Records debut full-length. The four-piece headed to the Californian desert to record Slab City, and so it’s fair to think some of that atmosphere may have worked its way into the material. Would be an awfully long way to go, otherwise. In either case, Steak have showcased considerable songwriting chops already, now it’s just a matter of sustaining it for a full album’s runtime and keeping enough variety in their approach. I have no doubt they’re ready for this next step. Steak on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
27. Stubb, Cry of the Ocean (TBA)
It is with simple, unabashed warm feelings that I look forward to hearing Cry of the Ocean, the second long-player and Ripple Music debut from UK riffers Stubb. They’ve traded out drummers since 2012’s self-titled (review here), bringing aboard Tom Fyfe with guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland, but I’m excited to hear what changes and shifts in sound Cry of the Ocean might have in store to match its provocative title. Goes without saying the photo above isn’t the final artwork, but instead Tony Reed‘s mastering sheet from back in May when he worked on the tracks. No solid release date yet, but hopefully soon. Stubb on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.
28. Torche, TBA (TBA)
Torche‘s new album and Relapse Records debut was originally slated for the end of the summer. Given that no official word has come out about a title or anything like that and the members of the band have been busy with other projects, it seems unlikely as of now that they’ll hit that target, but after something of a break so frontman Steve Brooks could focus on the resurgent trio Floor, Torche are in fact getting going again, beginning with their first tour of Australia this fall. Maybe their LP will be out by the time they go and maybe it won’t, but word on the street is that whenever the thing arrives, it’s gonna be heavy, which I have no problem believing. Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
29. The Well, Monomyth (Late Summer)
I’ve been waiting since the March announcement that Austin trio The Well signed with RidingEasy Records for further word of their debut full-length, Monomyth (pretty sure that’s not the cover above), but thus far to no avail. Their 2012 single, Seven (review here), was a repeat-listen thriller, and anticipation abounds for what sort of psychedelic garage riffing they’ll conjure up for the album itself. It’s been a couple months at this point, and maybe it’ll be 2015 before Monomyth gets out, but screw it, a boy can hope. The Well on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
30. Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels (Sept.)
Please note: The original cover art with this post was not final and has been replaced with the above band photo.
Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain have spent much of the two years following their 2012 third LP, Cauldron of the Wild (review here) on tour in the US and abroad, playing fests, headlining, supporting, but generally putting in a lot of time. As such, Mobile of Angels, which will be out on Svart in Europe and Profound Lore in North America, comes as the end product of a considerable touring cycle. Has all that gigging worn Witch Mountain into the ground, or will they rise above it with metal-loving doom-blues supremacy? They’ve got a vinyl-ready 38 minutes on tap for September and if they’ve ever been in a position to make their case, it’s now. Watch out for the killer sway in “Can’t Settle,” the title of which seems a fitting theme for the band. Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.
31. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (Sept. 2)
Yet again — as was the case back in January — alphabetical order forces me to end with YOB, whose seventh full-length and Neurot debut might just be my most anticipated of all on this list. The recently-unveiled Orion Landau cover speaks to a brooding sentiment, and from the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it to-date, the four-track album from the Eugene, Oregon, natives corresponds to its visual side in being a more aggressive push than was 2012’s Atma (review here), but also more exploratory and contemplative in its approach. Now statesmen in American doom and the forebears of a cosmic-minded sound, YOB stand ready to showcase a creative progression that has yet to find its end point. YOB on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
Other Notable Mentions
Just a couple of these I’d be remiss if I didn’t note. Some were carried over from earlier this year, others just come up along the way. Not sure on all the release dates, but these are worth keeping an ear out for:
Acid King — Were listed in January, but their record has a Feb. 2015 release date.
Bright Curse — Second album recorded at Skyhammer Studios.
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — My understanding is the album is done and they’re waiting to secure a label. Seems like a good occasion for Southern Lord to step forward, if not Profound Lore or Neurot.
Eggnogg — Not sure if it’s their full-length, You’re all Invited, or something else that’s coming, but whatever. More stoner-funk riffing needs to be had.
40 Watt Sun — There was some word of this early in the year, but nothing since.
Godflesh — Their first in 15 years, A World Lit Only by Fire, will be out Oct. 7. A fuckup not including them on the list proper.
It’s Not Night: It’s Space — Eagerly awaiting the Small Stone debut from this instrumental outfit, but it might be next year.
Karma to Burn — New album, Arch Stanton, out in August. I emailed for a review promo and never heard back. Always a great feeling.
Larman Clamor — Solo-project from Alexander von Wieding has a new one in the can, but I’m not sure on the release schedule.
Lowrider — They’re working on it, but don’t hold your breath to have it out by December.
The Machine — Kind of a slow year for Elektrohasch, but the new one from these Dutch fuzzers would be a nice way end up.
Nachtmystium — Century Media releases their final album, The World We Left Behind, on Aug. 5.
Orange Goblin — Seriously debated putting them on the list, since I know they’ve recorded, but they seem to be promoting a recent reissue of 2007’s Healing through Fire and their upcoming European tour with Saint Vitus rather than their new album, so unless news comes out about it like this week from Candlelight, I wouldn’t expect it until early in 2015.
Pink Floyd – Believe it when I see it, but I honestly couldn’t care less either way if I tried.
Ruby the Hatchet — Their full-length Tee Pee debut is due sometime in the next couple months.
Sun Voyager — Upstate NY youngsters had hinted at new recordings.
Again, if I forgot anything — and I’m sure I did — please let me know in the comments.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Called to assembly by Hovercraft Amplifiers and Nanotear Booking, the first annual Hoverfest is set to unfold on Aug. 23, 2014. They’ve put together a maddeningly good lineup for their initial installment, culling together Oregon-based acts YOB, Witch Mountain, Holy Grove and Eight Bells, rounding out with New York ambient sludgers Mountain God and getting none other than Billy Anderson to run the sound for the night. Figure it’s gonna be a good time.
Naturally, Hovercraft will provide the backline, and company founder Nial McGaughey provides some insight below via the PR wire on what brought it all together:
HOVERFEST: First-Annual Portland Heavy-Music Festival Featuring YOB, WITCH MOUNTAIN & More Announced
On behalf of Hovercraft Amplifiers, we are thrilled to announce the first-annual Hoverfest, a festival of friends of and music created with Hovercraft amps, which will take place on August 23rd, 2014 in the blocked-off alleyway by Type Foundry Studios at 611 N. Tillamook St. in Portland, Oregon. Presales will be available in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is some info on this incredible event. The event is being graciously hosted by Cravedog Media, booked by Nanotear, and the live music on the day of the show will be mixed by the legendary Billy Anderson. Presales will be available in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is some info on this incredible event.
Initial Lineup (More TBA): YOB Witch Mountain Holy Grove Eight Bells Mountain God
More info on the inception of Hovercraft Amplifiers and Hoverfest:
As the world of heavy music continues to burst at the seams in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide, so does the need for the equipment to keep things loud. Nial McGaughey, local Portlander and engineering wizard, has been building custom, recycled tube amplifiers since 2010 under the name Hovercraft Amplifiers, a name which is becoming increasingly synonymous with the ear-crushing, chest-thudding sounds of Pacific Northwest heavyweights like YOB, Blackwitch Pudding, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, and many more.
After 13 years of playing in bands and building amplifiers for 65amps in Los Angeles, McGaughey returned to Portland to start a new life. The very first Hovercraft amp was built in his living room as he was going through a divorce. Once he figured out how to replicate the sound of highly sought-after, generally unobtainable vintage or custom tube-amps using recycled and sustainable materials, he kept tweaking the sound to improve it even further.
Once he was satisfied with the sound he had created with his own custom amplifer, he consigned it at Old Town Music. Within a couple of weeks he got a phone call that it had sold. That first customer was so satisfied with the amplifier that he started telling people how great it sounded—he loved how reasonably priced it was and the fact that it was made locally, from recycled parts. The demand became so high that Old Town Music requested that McGaughey bring more in to sell. From there, he opted to post some amps on Ebay, which began selling within five minutes of being listed. 500 amps and four years later, the shop space has been transformed into a pile of parts that reaches the garage rafters.
More recently, McGaughey’s self-described “oh shit” moment was when he was in the audience at Stumpfest, and all of the bands were using a backline of Hovercraft amplifiers and cabinets. It was then that he realized he had done something incredibly spectacular and special and wanted to give back to the bands that create such amazing music using the gear. The first annual Hoverfest is the perfect way to celebrate how far Hovercraft Amplifers has come and to reflect on the amazing support the business has gotten from the people who love what they do.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not going to claim to know the ins and outs of the dispute between Nik Turner and Dave Brock over the name Hawkwind or who’s got what right to call themselves Hawkwind at any point in time. What I do know is that if there’s a band called Hawkwind playing in your town on any night, then that’s probably the place you want to be. Turner, who also toured the States with his band last fall, is bringing his incarnation of the legendary space rock progenitors back for a coast-spanning run beginning in late August, starting on the West Coast and ending on the West Coast a month later, with plenty of stops and only three days off along the way. Ambitious to say the least.
Joining Turner and his cohorts will be Witch Mountain and Hedersleben, who are based in the Bay Area but have ties to Turner‘s band andBrainticket, among others in the prog/krautrock realm.
Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, Witch Mountain and Hedersleben North American Tour Dates announced!
Tue 8/26 – Oakland, CA – Uptown Wed 8/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room Thu 8/28 – San Diego, CA – Casbah Fri 8/29 – Tucson, AZ – Hotel Congress Sat 8/30 – Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad Mon 9/01 – Austin, TX- Red 7 Tue 9/02 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia Wed 9/03 – Birmingham, AL – Bottletree Thu 9/04 – Memphis, TN – Hi-Tone Cafe Fri 9/05 – Lafayette, GA – Meltasia Fest Sat 9/06 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Fest Sun 9/07 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter Mon 9/08 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery Tue 9/09 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot and Saddle Wed 9/10 – Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theater Thu 9/11 – New York, NY – Webster Hall Fri 9/12 – Boston, MA – Middle East Sun 9/14 – Montreal, QC – IL Motore Mon 9/15 – Toronto, On – The Garrison Tue 9/16 – Rochester, NY – Bug Jar Wed 9/17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom Thu 9/18 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen Fri 9/19 – Rock Island, IL – RIBCO Sat 9/20 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club Sun 9/21 – Saint Paul, MN – Turf Club Mon 9/22 – Winnipeg, MB – Pyramid Cabaret Tue 9/23 – Saskatoon, Sk – Vangelis Tavern Wed 9/24 – Calgary, AB – Palomino Fri 9/26 – Vancouver, BC – Venue (early evening show) Sat 9/27 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey Sun 9/28 – Portland, OR – Star Theater
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’ve ever wondered when you might finally get the chance to see Black Oak Arkansas and Lecherous Gaze on the same bill, behold the Meltasia Music Festival 2014 and its bizarre possum mascot, Melty. The three-day outdoor campout/fest is set for Sept. 5-7 in LaFeyette, Georgia, about two hours outside of Atlanta, and it’s a more eclectic lineup than just those two bands even would lead you to believe, with the likes of Witch Mountain and Danava coming east to join a widely varied group of acts in a range of styles. You (and by you I mean me) might not be into all of it, but the mission is admirable anyway, and a celebration of the weird is something worth noting wherever and whenever it might be happening. Shit, Nik Turner‘s gonna be there. Anywhere that guy goes, it’s news.
In case you’re feeling artsy, Meltasia is currently running a contest on the fest’s Thee Facebooks wherein whoever draws the best version of Melty gets a free three-day pass. I can’t draw, but seems like it might be worth a shot anyhow.
The PR wire offers makeup tips and advice on how to win friends and influence cleverly-named noisepunk bands:
MELTASIA MUSIC FESTIVAL
3 Days and 3 nights of camping & music
September 5th, 6th & 7th
Cherokee Farms, LaFayette Georgia www.meltasia.com
For five years, Andy Animal, (who was described by MTV as the “Wavy Gravy of the Black Lips generation,”) has been throwing an annual private gathering in the Catskill Mountains, called ANDY ANIMAL’S MELTDOWN FUNABRATION. But it maxes out at a few hundred, and the party’s too good to keep under wraps. So Andy’s decided to take his circus down South, with MELTASIA. Get ready for three days of camping, vendors, vintage, swimming, food, beer, bands and bonfires. Because Andy wants to party with you.
Bands: Black Lips, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, Bloodshot Bill, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Cherie Currie, Shannon & The Clams, Black Oak Arkansas, Danava, Vockah Redu, Shazzula, Daddy Long Legs, Biters, The Coathangers, Ice Balloons, Cheap Time, Gringo Star, Apache, Liquor Store, Barreracudas, Witch Mountain, Dinos Boys, Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Dirty Fences, Predator, Ravi Shavi, GG King, WEATHER WARLOCK, Golden Pelicans, Atlantic Thrills, Lecherous Gaze, Rapturous Grief, Birdcloud, Expo 70, Crazy Spirit Gymshorts, Black Linen, Hedersleben, Manic, JP5, Zoners, Fletcher C Johnson, White Mystery, Bummers Eve, The Mold, The Neighbors, Rattlesnake Milk, Tight Genes, Classholes, Froth, Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel, Dancer, Golden Grass, T3rd, The Wildtones, Ecstatic Vision, GHB, Citizen Blast Kane, Deadly Lo-Fi, The Birdwings, The Golden Grass, The Mumzees, Gorgeous, Cy Barkley & The Way Outsiders, Turf War, Las Rosas, Corners + a few more TBA
DJs Jonathan Toubin (New York Night Train) Cole Alexander (Black Lips) Howie Pyro (ex Danzig, Intoxica Radio) Josh Styles (Daddy Long Legs) + many more
Sponsors and vendors TBA
Nik Turner’s Space Ritual, “Children of the Sun” live in Silverlake, 2013
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Portland four-piece Witch Mountain are headed back to Europe to tour at the end of the month and into next. That’s great. Go get ‘em. What I find even more exciting than that prospect is that Witch Mountain‘s fourth album, the Billy Anderson-helmed Mobile of Angels, is set to release in September. Svart will have it out on Europe and Profound Lore in North America, and Witch Mountain will team with Oslo doomers Tombstones for the tour, so if nothing else, they’re going into the follow-up to 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild(review here) in good company. I’d expect this is the first of several tours to come in support of Mobile of Angels. In addition to crisscrossing the US for Cauldron of the Wild, the band also toured Europe with appearances at Roadburn and both Desertfests, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.
The PR wire has it like this:
WITCH MOUNTAIN returns to tour Europe – new album in September
WITCH MOUNTAIN is pleased to announce its second voyage to the old world. This tour comes shortly before the release of WITCH MOUNTAIN’s highly anticipated fourth album, Mobile of Angels. The new record was produced in May 2014 at Type Foundry studios in Portland, Oregon by master “Engine-Ear” Billy Anderson and will feature the artwork of Mark McCormick. With Mobile of Angels, WITCH MOUNTAIN stretches out into new musical frontiers, while still remaining firmly in the tradition of classic heavy doomed rock ‘n’ roll. The album will be released in September 2014 in Europe by SVART RECORDS, and in North America by Profound Lore.
To coincide with the Euro tour, SVART RECORDS is also issuing a limited vinyl version of the band’s earlier album South of Salem. This edition of the classic album is expanded to a double-LP with a second disc consisting of rare tracks, unreleased cover songs, and demos.
SLAM Alternative Music Magazine and Vibra Booking present:
WITCH MOUNTAIN – Europe 2014 27.05.2014 NO – Oslo, Pokalen* 29.05.2014 SWE – Tyrolen, Muskelrock* 30.05.2014 DK – Kopenhagen, Musikcafeen* 31.05.2014 DK – Aalborg, 1000Fryd* 01.06.2014 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang* 03.06.2014 GER – Berlin, Cassiopeia* 05.06.2014 A – Vienna, Arena* 07.06.2014 I – Bologna, Freak Out Club* 08.06.2014 I – Milano, Lo If Club* 10.06.2014 F – Paris, La Fleche D’Or* 12.06.2014 UK – Barrow, New Cons* 14.06.2014 UK – London, Underworld* 15.06 2014 UK – Bournemouth, Anvil* 16.06.2014 B – Antwerp, Kavka* 17.06.2014 NL – Tilburg, Little Devil* 18.06.2014 GR – Thessaloniki, Eight Ball 19.06.2014 GR – Athens, Six Dogs 21.06.2014 F – Clisson, Hellfest 2014 *Tombstones supports
Posted in audiObelisk on September 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Of all the batches of Roadburn 2013 audio that have thus far come to light, this one might be both my favorite and the most comprehensive. From Pallbearer‘s morose doom to Elder‘s heavy psych righteousness, the progressive metal of The Ocean and Spiritual Beggars‘ classic heavy rock, seething black metal from A Forest of Stars, with post-metal from Process of Guilt, blues doom from Witch Mountain and prog from Camera and Astra between — that’s not to mention the genreless freakout of Seremonia — it’s a series as varied as the fest itself.
Please enjoy the Roadburn 2013 streams on the players below and kiss your afternoon goodbye. As you make your way through, don’t forget to check the news below about The Shrine, Papir and Glitter Wizard being added to the Roadburn 2014 lineup, as that continues to impressively take shape.
Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew:
A Forest of Stars – Live at Roadburn 2013
Astra – Live at Roadburn 2013
Elder – Live at Roadburn 2013
Pallbearer – Live at Roadburn 2013
Process of Guilt – Live at Roadburn 2013
Seremonia – Live at Roadburn 2013
Spiritual Beggars – Live at Roadburn 2013
The Ocean – Live at Roadburn 2013
The Ruins of Beverast – Live at Roadburn 2013
Witch Mountain – Live at Roadburn 2013
As noted above, Roadburn 2014 has continued this week to add bands to its already considerable lineup. Here’s the latest, courtesy of the fest:
LA’s The Shrine To Bring Some Heavy, Psychedelic, Riff Based Rock n’ Roll To Roadburn Festival 2014
Grab a six pack! It’s time for some high energy, rock ‘n roll action when Los Angeles’ The Shrine hits the stage on Thursday, April 10 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. We’re feeling inspired… should we put up a skate ramp at Roadburn 2014?
No, let’s empty some pools, and conquer these concrete bowls! Right here, right now, as the hairy dudes in The Shrine could easily have been part of the 1970s Zephyr skateboard team. Or at least, they would have put up their big ass amps (draped with an American flag, of course) next to the pools, and crank some drug addled, SoCal primitive blast to get it all going, pure and simple!
Denmark’s Papir To Transcend Heavy Psych Territory at Roadburn Festival 2014
We here at Roadburn are on our own path and we ensure that when booking the festival it encompasses everything we like – from krautrock through post rock to heavy psych.
Papir, hailing from the suburbs of Copenhagen, are definitely kindred spirits, as this fascinating instrumental three piece have created their own extraordinary type of semi-improvised psychedelic rock by transcending the usual labels – something we immensely admire. Thus we simply can’t wait to dive headfirst into the band’s richly textured sound on Saturday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Take A Trip Way Back Into The Future With Glitter Wizard at Roadburn 2014
In our ongoing quest to exhume every artifact of 60s and 70s proto metal, we recently stumbled up on San Francisco’s Glitter Wizard. For a moment, it seemed that we unearthed a forgotten gem, as Hunting Gatherers, the band’s sophomore album, could be easily mistaken for a long lost album from the early 70s.
In our hazy minds’ imagination, the band shared the stage with Steppenwolf, Bloodrock, Black Widow, The Stooges or Iron Butterfly, but Glitter Wizard‘s trippy, swinging sound — replete with catchy riffs, amusing lyrics and space-age keyboards, sax and flutes — isn’t some kind of Nuggets discovery, they are here and now.
Don’t get behind the times when the devil worships Glitter Wizard at Roadburn 2014 on Saturday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. They will take you into future through a doorway hidden in the past.
Posted in Features on April 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.20.13 — 00.52 — Saturday morning — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
I was early to Het Patronaat for the start of day two of Roadburn 2013. Stupid early, as the kids might say. Dread Sovereign – the new and doomly trio from Primordial vocalist Alan Averill and drummer Simon O’Laoghaire, also with Bones on guitar — were going on until 14.00, and I rolled up to the old church roughly an hour before. It was in time to catch their soundcheck, as it happens, which I watched from the door into the upstairs of the venue as a prelude to their actual set, which followed a much-needed cup of coffee. I had thought of bringing a book to read and ultimately decided against it. Can’t say it was the right choice, but there you go.
Averill handles bass in Dread Sovereign as well, and dialing his stage makeup back to some eyeliner but keeping the hood — Bones had one as well — his stage presence was a far cry from what it had been the night before, less interaction with the crowd, less rousing to fit with the music, which in turn was less rousing. There’s a 12″ they’re selling here, limited, whathaveyou, that I’ve had my eye on for two days now, and watching Dread Sovereign live did nothing to dissuade a purchase. Bones was a ripper on guitar, thrashing out like the kids do while he tossed off lively solos to counteract the songs’ marked plod. For his part, Averill‘s vocal style was roughly the same as in Primordial — after a point, you’re going to sing how you’re going to sing, no matter the context — but he had room to breathe between lines for the slower tempos.
Less adrenaline all around, then, but that was to be expected, and there were still a couple flashes of more uptempo groove to be had. “Pray to the Devil in Man” may have beat out its anti-Christian miseries, but “13 Clergy to the Fire” had some swing to it, with a chorus pattern distinctly in Averill‘s sphere that was immediately memorable. Solid beginning as it was, though, even Dread Sovereign‘s fastest stretch was little indicator of what German retro rockers Kadavar had on offer, playing songs from their two albums, 2012’s self-titled debut and the brand new Abra Kadavar (review here). I think for lack of material, as they’re a pretty recent band, Dread Sovereign ended their 45-minute set early, so there was a break in between, but as soon as Kadavar started checking their sound, it was clear things were about to take a turn in a much different direction.
One thing about the German three-piece: They’ve got the look down. Also the sound. Between two songs early into their set, someone in back shouted out, “Hair metal!” and received a couple boos. I can see the point of the critique, that Kadavar are so much leading with their aesthetic, the vintage production, the shirts, necklaces, beards, the bellbottoms and so on, and I guess if they sucked, it would be an issue, but they clearly take it seriously, and they’d more or less melted Het Patronaat by the time they were through their third song. Wolf Lindemann‘s vocals were spot on, and Tiger (drums) was responsible for a good bit of the energy they exuded from the stage. Say what you want about their haircuts, a drummer who can headbang like that to his own rhythms is something special to watch. They had a fill-in bassist, but once they got going, there was really no stopping their momentum.
The drums were set up toward the front of the stage, off the riser, so I don’t know how it looked from the back, but from where I was, people ate up “All Our Thoughts,” “Doomsday Machine” and Abra Kadavaropener “Come Back Life,” and rightfully so. In their tones, in Lindemann‘s vocals, in Tiger‘s riotous playing, Kadavar delivered an early highlight to the day and rounded out with a massive jam, bringing up DJ/filmmaker/psychedelic manipulator/etc. Shazzula Vultura – who was also showing a movie in Stage01 at 013 today — to add swirl via a Theremin run through a Moogerfooger. Shit got real wild real quick, and it was a stretch that brought to mind the later moments of Abra Kadavar. True to the record, they held it together live as well and crashed to a finish as crisply and vibrantly as they’d started, having played their full hour.
At that point, I’d been standing in the same spot at the front of the stage for about two full hours, but I knew I didn’t want to move until I got to watch at least part of Witch Mountain, who were playing Europe for the first time and on the road for four weeks with Cough, who played later tonight. It was another abrupt change in vibe, but neither did Witch Mountain disappoint. The abundance of talent in that band is nigh on ridiculous, and between drummer Nate Carson‘s work with Nanotear Booking (he’s giving a master class tomorrow on touring the US, which he knows both ends of, having done it a few times himself at this point as well as sending others on their way), guitarist Rob Wrong‘s history of reviewing albums for StonerRock.com and penchant for counteracting lumbering riffs with shredding solos, vocalist Uta Plotkin‘s intense range as she varies from growls to soaring, clean high notes (while actually hitting them; I don’t know if she’s a trained singer, but she certainly sounds like one) and bassist Neal Munson‘s tonal heft and nod-out rhythms, it’s hard not to root for them both here and in general.
“The Ballad of Lanky Rae” and “Beekeeper” from last year’s Cauldron of the Wild(review here) and the extended build of “Aurelia” were welcome, and as they seemed really glad to be playing, there resulted the kind of wholesome atmosphere that emerges when doom gathers to celebrate itself. I dug it, which was doubly fortunate because watching Kadavar and Witch Mountain meant missing out on Dream Death. There was some strategy involved in this, as staying at Het Patronaat instead of going over to the 013 Main Stage for Dream Death freed up scheduling conflicts to come and I’ll be able to catch Dream Death in June at Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin — most assuredly about as “in their element” as they’re going to get. So I felt bad for missing out on Dream Death, but will make up for it later. Every Roadburn brings hard choices, and every attendee has to carve out his or her own path through the crowded lineup. You know, like life.
Already at Het Patronaat the temperatures were reaching unseasonable highs. Witch Mountain had started early on account of this, and it was largely the thermostat that had me split partway through their set — still fun to start today with two full sets, as opposed to yesterday with all the running around early on — to head across the alleyway to the 013 and check out the “The Electric Acid Orgy” curated lineup by Electric Wizard guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn. The Wizard‘s own set was still a ways off, but as I walked in, the Green Room was just starting to fill up for upstart doomers Witchsorrow, who soon came on with their peculiarly British kind of traditional crushing riffage. At some point I’m going to have to sit down and really hammer out the differences between British trad doom and American trad doom and see what I can come up with, but watching Witchsorrow after Witch Mountain underscored how wide the margin between two doom acts can be, however similarly witchy their names might wind up.
They too seemed glad to have been asked to play — who wouldn’t be? — and the Green Room did indeed pack out for them, guitarist/vocalist Nick Ruskell craning his neck upwards to a high microphone as though to invoke Lemmy’s occult powers and further drive the band’s Cathedral-inspired take into wretched oblivion. And so on. Ruskell, bassist Emily Witch and drummer David Wilbrahammer also had a limited-edition cassette for sale over in the merch area to mark the occasion of playing Roadburn 2013, but I didn’t see it over there when I went today to pick up the new Toner Low CD from the Exile on Mainstream table (one of these years, I’ll introduce myself to Andreas from the label, but frankly, people with taste in music that good intimidate me) and must have missed my shot at one. Too bad, but I’m glad I got to catch them for a bit before I headed into the Main Stage area for the start of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.
It was plain even before they played one note that Uncle Acid were a major draw for the day, and in the five Roadburns that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, I can think of very few times that room has been that crowded. Sleep last year, Saint Vitus in ’09, and oh yeah, Electric Wizard later in the evening. Usually there’s somewhere to go in the Main Stage area, whether it’s up front in a corner on the floor, or up in back on one of the raised steps, or even up on the balcony, but not for Uncle Acid. There was just no corner that didn’t have someone already there. I knew that a lot of people were looking forward to seeing them play, and so was I, but I suppose I hadn’t realized how that would translate to the actual numbers. They had their work cut out for them in living up to expectation.
But that, they didn’t fail. Opening with “I’ll Cut You Down” from their landmark 2011 sophomore outing, Blood Lust, they had the place immediately in their grip, the song’s psychotic verse swing and chorus hook delivered by both of the UK four-piece’s guitarists, Uncle Acid himself front and center, with backing in the chorus and here and there throughout from the bassist. People watched from out the side door as “I’ll Cut You Down” led to “Mt. Abraxas” from their third album, Mind Control(review here), the stomp in the finish winning favor readily even though the record is still pretty recent, as is, I’m told, the drummer. “Valley of the Dolls” provided a slowdown and “Death’s Door” was a highlight, the band playing mostly in the dark but for a few flashes here and there. I guess as regards the light show, I expected Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats to come bathed in psychedelic purples, oranges and pinks the whole time — they were for flashes in the beginning — but they did just as well in hair-down-lights-down blue and there was little I could’ve reasonably asked for that they didn’t deliver. My one per year, I stood on the side of the stage to watch for a few minutes. Not too long, but long enough.
From there, I popped out to grab a quick bite to eat — roasted chicken, potatoes au gratin and a couple piece of fried fish; I’ve always been a cheap date — and figured I’d get a spot for Moss in the Green Room after. No such luck. By the time I got there, not only was the room itself full, but the space in the hallway outside where one would be able to see the band through the open doorway was also full. My loss, this Moss. They also had some tapes for sale. I should’ve bought everything. Didn’t. Hazards of doing a Roadburn sober, it seems. Back to Het Patronaat, then, my mind still reeling from the Uncle Acid set, to catch the start of French post-black metallers Les Discrets. Roadburn 2013 artist-in-residence, Neige of Alcest, played bass alongside guitarist, vocalist, visual artist and principle songwriter Fursy Teyssier and in comparison to Les Discrets‘ albums, of which I’ll make no bones about saying I’m a fan, the live incarnation was much heavier. This could just as easily be a byproduct of the house P.A., or of Neige‘s bass along with Teyssier and the second guitar, but it added to the dynamism of the band’s already dynamic material.
Also, but for Witch Mountain‘s Plotkin, Les Discrets also had the best vocals I’ve heard so far into the fest, Teyssier harmonizing with his fellow six-stringer and resting just under the lush wash of melody in the guitar and bass. It was gorgeous. Painfully so. I thought the mix on last year’s Ariettes Oubliées(review here) was stronger than that of their 2010 debut, Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées (semi-review here), but even the heaviest moments on record didn’t really prepare me for seeing them live, and while they may share a lot in terms of style with Alcest, it was never quite so apparent as it was watching them how different the two acts actually are and just how much of himself Teyssier puts into his work. I was really, really glad I got to see them, which as usual was becoming kind of a theme for the fest as a whole.
By the time they were really dug in, I could feel the day starting to wear on me, so I came back to the hotel for a few minutes to regroup, take my shoes off, drink a bottle of water, etc., so that when I got back to the 013 for Electric Wizard, I was good and ready. There was some hubbub about the band saying they didn’t want any photographers or something, an email sent to some people apparently, but there was still a decent population in the photo pit by the time the headliners started. I don’t know and I suppose it doesn’t matter anyway at this point, though I was worried Jus Oborn would stop the set and tell everyone to get the fuck out for breaking the rules. I tried to ask him while he was setting up his gear, but if he heard me, there was no indication.
Once more, Oborn had curated the day, so it was only fitting that Electric Wizard should headline — it would be fitting anyway, honestly — and the chance to see them for the first time was a considerable percentage slice for why I came. They toured the States over a decade ago (speaking of hubbubs, I seem to recall something about the Oborn‘s pants? I don’t know), but I didn’t see them then, so they were a must and a major cross-off for my must-see-before-I-die-in-a-fiery-plane-crash list. Yes, I have one, and it’s shorter by one band following Electric Wizard‘s set, which they launched with “Come My Fanatics,” Oborn stepping right into the cult leader role that he more or less legitimately is now, considering how many bands have followed in his drugged-out horrordelic footsteps. Joined by guitarist Liz Buckingham, returned drummer Mark Greening, who came back to the band following the dissolution of Ramesses, and bassist Glenn Charman, Oborn led the way through “Witchcult Today,” “Black Mass,” “Drugula,” “Legalise Drugs and Murder” as the packed crowd willingly went into something like a simultaneous nod trance, chanting lyrics back as screams entered the fray with extended verses and endings for the songs. I stood by the far-left side of the stage and watched riff after pot-addled riff met corresponding clouds of smoke in the crammed-in audience. I didn’t, but if you were ever gonna, this would’ve been the time.
I managed to get back to the other side of the stage by something I’ll just call “Roadburn magic” and ran by the Green Room to watch a few minutes of Finnish weirdo acid rockers Seremonia. Perhaps because everyone was either in the Main Stage space or over at Het Patronaat anticipating the arrival of Goat, the Green Room wasn’t overly crowded and I was able to walk right in. Kind of a bummer spot for Seremonia to have, competing with stoner legends and fascinating newcomers at once, but at least they were here. They just have one record out and from what I saw, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if they made another appearance down the line sometime. Their self-titled debut (track stream here) is better than people seem to have caught on to yet, perhaps intimidated by the many syllables of the Finnish lyrics. Couldn’t say for sure.
And though I wanted to stay and bask in the sort of folksy traditionalism of Seremonia, Goat beckoned. The Swedish outfit will apparently release a new 7″ on Sub Pop in the US in June, so somebody’s taken note following the critical tornado of fuckyessery that surrounded their 2012 World Musicdebut. Fine. I’m still not sure I’m really down with Goat. Maybe this is an all-too-American perspective, but you’ve got a bunch of people in masks running around playing psychedelic Afrobeat flailing arms and shouting whooping chants, I guess my big question as regards the band is what part of it isn’t minstrelsy. Obviously Sweden doesn’t have the history of troubled race relations that the US does, and I’ll be straight, I liked the record for what it was musically, it’s the theory behind it that has so far left me scratching my head.
Nonetheless, I ended the day same as I started it — standing in the doorway of Het Patronaat — only this time it was because the room was so full that there was nowhere else for me to go. The line to get in to see Goat stretched out the door and down the alley, and security was letting people in as others came out, so clearly the band was a major lure. Again, they’re good at what they do — I’m not saying they’re not — it’s all the other stuff besides the music I’m talking about. That said, judging by the smiles on the faces of those around me and the expectant/impatient looks of those waiting on line outside (far more wanting to go in than coming out), they probably made quite a few peoples’ day.
Late-night Tilburg echoes with the throb of the dance club across from the Mercure and drunken aus uur blijfts on the street below my open window. It’s just past four in the morning as I finish this post and if last night is anything to go by, it’ll be another two hours sorting photos [actually it was only an hour and a half!]. So be it. Roadburn 2013 day three kicks off tomorrow at 14.30 and I’ll be there.
Thanks (again) for reading. More pics after the jump.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Imagine being the one to have to break the news to European bands how much shittier they’ll get treated if they decide to make a run of it in the States. The bold impresario taking on the task of imparting such wisdom that our nation’s humble scene is… getting better… is none other than Nathan Carson, drummer of Witch Mountain and founder of Nanotear Booking, who count YOB, Primordial, Acid King and the recently-reviewed Helen Money among many others on their client roster.
What can Carson (interview here) teach attendees at Roadburn 2013 about hitting the road both in the US and in general? Plenty, I’ve no fucking doubt — and better, he can do it not only as someone who runs a respected booking outfit, but from the perspective of someone who’s put in significant road time himself.
One not to miss, and one more way in which Roadburn continues to push the boundaries of what a fest can do. Here are details:
This year, Roadburn Festival is pleased to present master classes and performance clinics for the first time. It seems like a great opportunity to give those of you attending the festival, many of whom are in bands or enjoy playing music on your own, and some of the folks on the bill an opportunity to meet and learn from each other.
On Saturday, April 20th, Nanotear Booking‘s Nathan Carson will focus on what it takes to strategically tour in the US, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that can put tours in jeopardy (financial and otherwise). Questions from attendees will be welcomed.
Nathan Carson is a musician and booking agent from Portland, OR USA. A member of the international doom scene since the 90s, he taught himself to book DIY tours for his own band Witch Mountain, and soon after for his first official clients YOB. Nanotear Booking was founded in 2004 based on the success of those tours and Carson‘s growing network of connections, which he built first-hand on the road.
In 2013, Nanotear represents over twenty-five uncompromising artists, including Agalloch, Jarboe, Lene Lovich, Corrupted, YOB, and Witch Mountain. Riding the fine line between DIY ethics and sincere professionalism is what sets Nanotear apart from many other booking agencies. Artistic curation, fair deals, and humane practices are all a part of this successful formula.
Touring The US is available for Roadburn ticket holders (no additional fee) and will be held between 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM at the Hall of Fame in Tilburg, Holland.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
More good news out of the Desertfest Berlin camp in that Witch Mountain and Cough will be hitting up the Austra Kulturhaus on their European run as a part of the fest. The two forward-thinking American actswill also play Desertfest London and Roadburn, representing some of the best doom the opposite US coasts have to offer. Desertfest sent over the following announcements:
WITCH MOUNTAIN (USA)
On tour from April with COUGH, we are thrilled to announce that WITCH MOUNTAIN is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !! WITCH MOUNTAIN is classic doom metal band delivering a magic potion of massive and rumbling riffs that bore you skull, and bluesy, ballsy, and sensual vocals that attract everything with their seductive wildness.
From Portland, Oregon, WITCH MOUNTAIN was formed in 1997. The band self-released a demo “Homegrown Doom” in 1999, and their first full-length album “Come the Mountain” in 2001. But after a 2002 tour with Eternal Elysium, the band slowed activity for several years…
A July 2009 show opening for Pentagram, with guest singer Uta Plotkin, marked a revival of the band. Uta brought the necessary ingredient that Witch Mountain founders Rob Wrong and Nate Carson had been seeking since they initially formed the group.
She was asked to join the band as main vocalist, and Witch Mountain recorded their second full-length album, “South of Salem” six months later. Produced by master “engine-ear” Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Melvins), it was unleashed in April 2011 through their own label Mountastic Recrods. In November 2011, WITCH MOUNTAIN was signed with Profound Lore Records and released their third full-length album, “Cauldron of the Wild”, in June 2012.
Just after, an invitation to play the main stage at Scion Rock Fest 2012 along with Sleep, Saint Vitus, and Down gave the band an opportunity to return to US stages, successfully headlining in the US and Canada for most of June. This fall, Scion sponsored the band’s most extensive tour to date — a 5-week headlining trek around the US and Canada with witchy friends Castle in support.
They will be in Europe from April, with COUGH, for their first European shows ever!! The DesertFest couldn’t miss this occasion, and you either!!
On tour from April with WITCH MOUNTAIN, we are thrilled to announce that COUGH is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !!
Formed in Richmond, Virginia, in 2005, COUGH is a sludge/doom metal band delivering thoroughly massive, epic and impenetrable walls of sound and volume, at points suffocating and claustrophobic, at others warped and hallucinogenic.
The band self-released an EP, “The Kingdom”, in 2007, and followed it quickly with their first proper full-length “Sigillum Luciferi” in 2008, recorded with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Rwake, Pelican, Nachtmystium). Sporadic gigging followed the release before the band holed up in a Richmond warehouse to write the follow up, but the band slowly laboured forward with the writing. By winter 2009/2010, the band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, Illinois, enlisting Parker once again to record the long awaited “Ritual Abuse”, released in October 2010.
Upon its release the band embarked on two epic North American and European tours lasting almost four months ! In 2012, COUGH performed another US headline run, and their first ever Australian and New Zealand tours. They will be back in Europe in 2013 for a seven-week tour starting from April, stopping at the DESERTFEST Berlin to deliver their impressive monolith of sound !
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Bit of a roundup here of adds to the 2013 London Desertfest lineup. Since the New Year hit, Desertfest has announced a slew of bands for its second incarnation, among them American acts Cough and Witch Mountain, Greek rockers Planet of Zeus, Italian cosmic doomers Ufomammut and local slingers Whoremoan. Info follows culled from the Desertfest website:
Taking their cues from the Jedi knights of Sleep, Electric Wizard, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and King Crimson, the ‘Mammut are heavier than a thousand Hubble telescopes, each lined with the mass of its own internal black hole. They’re also the masters of the long-player format; recent voyage Oro opus was so vast that it could not be confined to a single LP, and its two disks bolt together to form one glorious 94-minute riff labyrinth. Past conquests ‘Eve’, ‘Idolum’, ‘Lucifer’s Songs’, ‘Godlike Snake’ and ‘Snailking’ all spawned marauding, psychedelic orgies of aggressive, yet graceful and pace-varied prog-doom which set these Tortona natives up as one of Europe’s premier heavy music acts. Backed by the Malleus Rock Lab, their one-of-a-kind art-visuals project, Signors Vito, Urlo and Poia have set the controls for the heart of Camden and are preparing their battery of equipment to hurl you into another dimension this coming April at DesertFest 2013.
Cough smashed into worldwide acclaim within doom / sludge circles with the crushing 2008 début album Sigillum Luciferi, followed in 2010 with the fully engulfing psyche-sludge of Ritual Abuse (available on Relapse Records) and a split with the UK’s own doom titans The Wounded Kings. Encompassing monolithically pounding, horror-raising, weed-tuned riffs and vocals stylings ranging from classic occult doom to downright demonic, blackened screams of desperation, the band have proven they are a force to be reckoned with both in this realm and beyond. Having played across the U.S. in the last few years with the likes of Buzzov-en / Weedeater / Eyehategod, as well as even reaching to play a 2011 tour in Australia, Cough will most definitely be a must for any devotees of the heaviest tone with their appearance at The Underworld at DesertFest 2013″
The time is upon us for the arrival on our shores of the magnificent Doom beasts that are ‘Witch Mountain’. Hailing form Portland Oregon, these masters of their art blend crushing sludge riffs with the female classic rock vocal stylings of Uta Plotkin. Its a match made in heaven and one that should not be missed as they have been very hard at work producing not 1 but 2 EPs last year that have been amazingly received and its their first visit to the UK so expect walls to shake and foundations to crumble at the h_d_p/WPC stage!
Parisians set to romance Desertfesters with riffs, licks and pounding grooves. Abrahma was formed in Paris, back in 2005 under the original moniker Alchosonic. The French 4-piece are made up by Seb Bismuth:on Guitar/Vox, Nicolas Heller on Guitar and they are joined by the Colin brothers Guillaume on Bass and Benjamin on Drums. Signed to Small Stone Records, the Psych Rockers have recently released ‘Through the dusty paths of our lives’ which features a guest appearance by the legend that is Ed Mundell (Monster Magnet/Atomic Bitchwax). Very Heavy Rock is very much on the menu, with large amounts of psychdelia running throughout their music, so don’t miss out on the French invasion at Desertfest 2013.
Planet of Zeus
The Greek Stoners were formed way back in the year of 2000 in Athens, and are made up by four demigods, Babis/Vox & Guitars, Yog/Guitars, JayVee/Bass and Syke/Drums. It was 8 years until the they released their debut album ‘Eleven the Hard Way’ this was followed up in 2011 with ‘Macho Libre’. If you haven’t already experienced Planet of Zeus then expect plenty of stoner fuzz riding heavy on plenty of riff. They have shared the stage with many of the biggest bands on the scene like Monster Magnet, Karma to Burn, Hermano and not forgetting their apperance at Stoned from The Underground in Germany. By the power of Zeus do not miss your chance to see these heavy rock gods!
Veterans of 20 years by now, Canvey Island’s Whoremoan have been kicking out the jams since 1992 and working hard at it ever since. Having released a series of EPs and LPs, they keep the DIY punk ethic alive and stick it to the man by recording, producing and selling it all themselves. If you dig the relentless concrete-block barrage of bands like Helmet, a side-order of stoner groove and even a shot of Clutch-lovin’ southern rock, these guys will be just the ticket to a sore neck, a few whoremoans no doubt, and a delierously good time at Desertfest 2013!
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Richmond-based cult sludgers Cough will play Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard‘s curated event at Roadburn 2013. The Virginian outfit have been at the fore of the post-Electric Wizard pack, reveling in horrific atmospheres and massive, droning riffs, so they’re a good fit on what’s quickly becoming an eclectic bill. Their last release was an ultra-badass 2010 split vinyl on Forcefield Records with like-minded British purveyors The Wounded Kings (review here), and I don’t know if maybe they’ll have new material on hand by April, but it’s worth hoping for.
In addition to Cough, Witch Mountain will play Roadburn and SabbathAssembly, Hexvessel, Crown and Tombstonedhave joined the lineup as well.
“Firstly, raise your withered stumps and welcome ye brothers of the bong, Richmond, Virginia bruisers and losers…(cue intro to Sweet Leaf)…Cough… rising through the fog like resin-zombies the appropriately named band are the epitome of evil stoned doom”, says Electric Wizard‘s Jus Oborn. “Violent, bleak and wasted… Ritual Abuse was genius… burnout and clogged with resin. We loved it!! Since then we have had many late night smokeouts with these kindred spirits and hopefully many, many more. The Acid Orgy will be heavily laced with Smoke…Hail Cough!!!”
“Once there was a legend of black cloaked cultists that haunted 1960s London, ominous and dark wearing strange occult symbols”, Juscontinues, “They handed out bizarre literature linking Satan, Lucifer and Christ …Hells Angels were our saviours working for God and Lucifer to cleanse our world. They became linked to the Manson Killings and eventually disappeared in infamy to only be remembered by a chosen few …now Dave Nuss and Sabbath Assembly recreate the rituals and liturgies of this infamous group. We can now see and hear the true vision of this paradoxical acid consciousness cult. Hail Satan, Amen?!”
“Also we have young blood for the growing acid cult… a new power trio of Finnish maniacs that deal in real heavy doom: Tombstoned“, says Jus, “We witnessed them live only a few weeks ago and were blown away (yes…they defiantly had feel of our favourite Finnish band). Heavy and cool as the grave, absolutely no pretense or hipster styling, just solid and real doom music played by people who don’t care what you think. You will fuckin love em!!!! Hail Tombstoned!”
Even More Incredible bands to be announced SOON !!!
Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!
Portland, OR’s Witch Mountainwill bring their crushing doom to Roadburn Festival2013 on Friday, April 19th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland.
Founded by guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nate Carson in 1997, this was not yet the Witch Mountain that would come to fruition. In 2009, the addition of vocalist Uta Plotkin transformed the band into something extraordinary with her bluesy, sensual and commanding voice as captured on both South of Salem(2011) and Cauldron of the Wild (2012).
Plotkin’s powerful and soulful pipes sound almost out of place, but this is exactly what makes Witch Mountain so special. She belts out the band’s massive, doomy, bluesy tunes like a metallized Janis Joplin or the lost sister of Heart‘s Ann and Nancy Wilson who chose the left-hand path.
Distilled from thick churning down-tuned guitars and dense drumming infused with Plotkin’s sad and sweet vocals, Witch Mountain lumbers without plodding and soars without drifting off. The epic sound and unique take on doom metal has earned them both a highly acclaimed reputation and a rightful place among the current crop of wickedly talented female-fronted bands. We are super stoked to welcome Witch Mountain to the Roadburn Festival during their first-ever European tour.
“2012 has been the biggest and best of Witch Mountain’s 15 year history”, says Nate Carson, “Two successful headlining American tours, two albums on Profound Lore, a new single, Scion Rock Fest (with Sleep and Saint Vitus), and now this.”
“It is truly an honor to end this year with the official announcement that we will finally tour Europe. Many thanks go out from us to Roadburn for this fantastic invitation. My only concern is that Cauldron of the Wild LP pre-orders are coming in so quickly that we may run out of vinyl before we get over there! Cheers!”
Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
After seeing them back in June in Brooklyn at ye olde Saint Vitus bar, I’m glad to see it’s not too long before Portland, Oregon, doomly doomy doomers Witch Mountain will be returning to the road. They seemed to be so darn good at it, and Cauldron of the Wild(review here) was killer. The band has teamed up with Scion A/V and will be spreading the tale of Lanky Rae far and wide.
Hearken to the PR wire and receive such wisdom:
WITCH MOUNTAIN Announce North American Fall Tour
WITCH MOUNTAIN have received high marks from everyone in metal’s underground after awaking from their nearly 10-year hibernation. During this period, the band also added the extraordinary Uta Plotkin to the ranks and created one of the most impressive doom records of the year, ‘Cauldron of the Wild’ (Profound Lore). The band also took part in their first full North American tour and made an appearance at this year’s Scion Rock Fest.
Now, WITCH MOUNTAIN is back in action and has teamed with Scion A/V to plot a massive North American trek alongside Prosthetic Records’ new doom three piece CASTLE. The tour will kick-off in Portland on October 11th and run all the way through to another Portland show on November 18th.
10/11 – Portland, OR @ Plan B (w/Rabbits) 10/12 – Vancouver, BC @ Interuban Gallery 10/13 – Seattle, WA @ Highline 10/14 – Moscow, ID @ Prichard Gallery 10/15 – Boise, ID @ Shredder 10/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Bard Deluxe (w/SUBROSA) 10/19 – St. Paul @ Turf Club 10/21 – Madison, WI @ High Noon 10/22 – Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle 10/23 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class 10/24 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar 10/25 – Toronto, ON @ Wreck Room 10/26 – Hamilton, ON @ Corktown Pub 10/27 – Ottawa, ON @ Café Dekcuf 10/28 – Montreal, PQ @ Katacombes 10/29 – Burlington, VT @ Nectars 10/30 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott 10/31 – New Haven, CT @ BAR 11/02 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus 11/03 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s 11/04 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter 11/05 – Asheville, NC @ Static Age Records 11/06 – Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light 11/08 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree 11/09 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s 11/10 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 11/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap 11/13 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah 11/14 – Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar (w/Ides Of Gemini) 11/15 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium 11/16 – San Francisco, CA @ Parkside 11/17 – Arcata, CA @ Alibi 11/18 – Portland, OR @ Ash St Saloon (w/Lord Dying)
Posted in Features on June 25th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The last couple years, I’ve done a top five of the first half, and that’s cool, but as I sat down the other day to make the list that follows, I realized the numbers didn’t work. If I’m going to finish 2012 off with a top 20 — which unless a piano falls on my head between now and then I am — then half of that is 10. Half a year, half a top 20. I was never much for math, folks.
But the important thing is I got there in the end, and with a full top 10, I have a little more room to nerd out on what I think are some (not all) of the best releases of the last six months. And just so I can say I said it twice, these are my personal picks, based on what I’ve listened to most as much as whatever estimation of aesthetic value I might make. Let’s get to it:
10. Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild
If you’re asking yourself, “Hey, wasn’t Witch Mountain‘s Cauldron of the Wild just reviewed the other day?” you’re right, it was. That’s why it’s number 10 — because I know it’s a really good record, but I’m not sure yet what the replay value will be as the year progresses. Let it say something that I didn’t want to make this list without including the third album from the Portland doom bluesers, but without the benefit of a little distance from the songs (I still have “Shelter” stuck in my head from reviewing it, though that may prove a permanent scenario), I thought it better to play it cautious than be overly excited. Sometimes it’s hard to restrain the geek within, and I know I’m not the only one Cauldron of the Wild has had that effect on.
9. Caltrop, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes
Deceptively progressive and study on repeat visits, the newest full-length from North Carolina’s Caltrop, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, is an album that doesn’t bow to accessibility but gets there naturally on its own anyway. The music the four-piece makes is technically complex, but the use they put that complexity to is warm and inviting, where so much prog feels cold and showy. Maybe that’s the Southern heat working its way into the tracks, but either way, with the varied work of multiple songwriters and a consistency of atmosphere running throughout, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes helped me make the transition out of winter and into the warmer weather. I continue to think of Caltrop as a woefully underrated band.
8. Stubb, Stubb
The self-titled Superhot Records debut from London-based trio Stubb (review here) was a simple case of fuzz done right. The rhythm section here also had a strong outing on Superhot in the form of Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight‘s Going Home (review here), but partnered up with guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, the bass/vocals of Pete Holland and drums of Chris West formed a power trio inspired by classic rock but not imitating it, which is increasingly rare. Their stoner groove was straightforward and heartfelt and the songwriting on tracks like “Mountain” and “Hard Hearted Woman” left absolutely nothing to be desired. I consider myself lucky for having seen them live, and doing so only increased my appreciation for the album.
7. Ararat, II
Sergio Chotsourian‘s second album in post-Los Natas project Ararat (review here) was both more cohesive than its 2009 predecessor, Musica de la Resistencia (review here), and thicker. Indeed, it was his bass tone that made the rumble in extended tracks like “Caballos” and “La Ira del Dragon (Uno)” so indispensable. Ararat has a different dynamic than did Los Natas, but hearing the beginning of what will hopefully be a long process of development has been part of the fun of listening to the band so far. Still, it’s the songs themselves more than their context that stand out, and every time I listen to “Lobos de Guerra y Cazadores de Elefantes,” I swear it seems like my brain is going to turn into liquid and start seeping out of my ears. It’s hard not to dig a record that makes you feel that way.
6. Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Primum
I’ll admit, this one’s a bit of a running gag I have with myself. Ever since I put Ufomammut‘s Eve as the number six on my top 10 of 2010, I’ve regretted it, and the thing about Oro: Opus Primum is (review here) that it’s only half the album, with Oro: Opus Alter still to come as the second part of their Neurot Recordings debut. So when I was wondering where to stick this thing on the list, the number that immediately came to my head was six and there it stands. Amazing to think that we’ll get another Ufomammut record before the year’s out. I look forward to hearing that, and in the meantime, there have been several occasions for which nothing has seemed quite doomed enough that Oro: Opus Primum has fit just right. Ufomammut have been and continue to be something really special.
5. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned
What’s not to like about the prospect of a new Orange Goblin record? Nothing, that’s what. With killer songs like “Acid Trial,” “The Fog,” “The Filthy and the Few” and blistering leadoff single “Red Tide Rising,” A Eulogy for the Damned (review here) was the first highlight of 2012 and a fitting summation of much of what’s always been awesome about the band, who’ve become godfathers of the British heavy underground. The production on the album is cleaner than the band comes off live, but the energy in the tracks is undeniable, and it’s with that that Orange Goblin justify the five-year wait since 2007’s Healing through Fire last tore the heavy rock scene a new arsehole. They might be real rock ‘n’ roll’s best kept secret at this point, and their seventh album sends the damned out with a fitting tribute from some of their own kind.
4. Conan, Monnos
Try though I may — and I should probably say here that I haven’t tried — I still can’t get the riff to “Grim Tormentor” from Conan‘s Monnos (review here) out of my head. The album, which was the follow-up to 2011’s split with Slomatics and 2010’s mighty Horseback Battle Hammer debut, found the British trio bringing their songwriting up to a level to match Jon Davis‘ monstrous guitar tone, furthering their dual vocal approach between Davis and bassist Phil Coumbe while upping the pace somewhat on the album’s first half lend fleetness to the stomp in Paul O’Neil‘s drums. Monnos‘ second half was more ethereal, slower, swampier, with the morose “Golden Axe” paving the way for “Headless Hunter” and “Invincible Throne” to level everything in their path with atmosphere as dense as their musical weight. Easily the heaviest album I’ve heard so far this year.
3. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers
Whenever I do these lists, I hit a point where on a given day they’re all number one. Sometimes it’s just between two albums. In 2010, it was six. This list, so far into 2012, it’s three, and Swedish heavy rock supergroup Greenleaf‘s Nest of Vipers (review here) is the first of them. I’ve been stoked on this record since before I heard it, and while that probably doesn’t do much to argue for my impartiality on the matter, I also don’t give a crap, because Greenleaf fucking rules. I’ll have an interview in the weeks to come with guitarist Tommi Holappa (also ex-Dozer) about the band, and once again, this is definitely one that is going to reappear on the top 20 come December. Not a doubt in my mind. I wasn’t sure the band would be able to live up to 2007’s landmark Agents of Ahriman, but the more I listen to Nest of Vipers, the clearer it becomes that they did precisely that.
2. Ancestors, In Dreams and Time Brilliantly melodic, rife with complexity of emotion and execution, Los Angeles-based Ancestors‘ third album, In Dreams and Time, was the full-length answer to last year’s blissfully melancholic Invisible White EP. Finding the band mature, progressive and worshiping the song rather than the form, they transcended genre as easily as they embarked on it, crafting a wash of melody in Moog, synth, organ, guitar and vocals alike in their richest arrangements yet, culminating in what’s probably the single best extended guitar solo I’ve heard in the last five years on 19-minute closer “First Light,” a song that’s got so many ups and downs contained within its runtime that it’s practically an album unto itself. A gorgeous record and one that has enriched my excitement for Ancestors as they continue to throw creativity in the face of expectation and not look back either on what they’ve done before or what others think they should be doing.
1. Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65
I’m more than happy to confess that part of my enduring affection for Lillie: F-65 comes from the fact that it’s Saint Vitus‘ first album in 17 years. If you want to tell me which part of that isn’t a totally valid reason to make it number one on this list, I’ll listen. It might not change my mind about the album, which arrives following three successfully reunited years touring and doing shows together. Led as ever by the stripped-down songwriting of guitarist Dave Chandler (interview here), Saint Vitus perfectly reinvigorated their most classic methods on Lillie: F-65 (review here) without sounding like they were wearing a suit that didn’t fit. The Tony Reed-produced album was the first to be fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich since 1990’s V, and proved that the chemistry between he and Chandler is a huge part of what has made the band legendary in American doom these last several decades. Together with bassist Mark Adams and drummer Henry Vasquez, Chandler and Wino issued the greatest of 2012’s doom triumphs so far, and in a mere fucked-up, feedback-soaked 33 minutes silenced every reunion naysayer with ears to hear their distant scream. Saint Fucking Vitus.
Wouldn’t be a list without a fair bit of honorable mentions. First to Snail, whose Terminus will probably end up on the year-end list when the time for that arrives, and also to C.O.C., High on Fire, Les Discrets, Wino & Conny Ochs and Electric Moon. Been a pretty good year so far. Here’s to the next six months of it.