Tersdee Los Natas

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

It’s 10PM and I’m due awake in six hours to begin a drive to Michigan. In case you didn’t know I sing in a band (I usually make a point not to talk about it, but we’re called Maegashira, and we fucking rule) and in addition to playing two shows while we’re out there — one in Lansing, one in Detroit — we’re hopefully going to be recording a new album (our second) completely live. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, I’m about to pick discs off the shelf to bring along on the road trip, so enjoy the above Los Natas video while I figure that out.

Sorry about the site downtime today. I don’t really know what happened, but I’m glad I was able to bring it back without really losing anything and I’m glad the internet didn’t totally succeed in its seemingly ongoing mission to eat The Obelisk. We live yet another day, my friends. Let’s be thankful while we can.

Next week we’ll close out April and I’ll give the numbers and post an interview with Primordial‘s Alan Averill, as well as the usual bunch of reviews and so forth. T-shirt news is coming soon, I promise, and Roareth are hitting the studio this weekend as well, so we should have more on that forthcoming as well. I say this all the time, but it remains true nonetheless: good things ahead, so stay tuned.

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JPT Scaring up Some Buried Treasure

Posted in Buried Treasure on April 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

A while back, I reviewed RumDum Daddy by Kansas City rockers JPT Scare Band, and as a result, the band was kind enough to send me two more of their discs, 2007’s Jamm Vapour and the 2009 reissue of Sleeping Sickness (both on the band’s own Kung Bomar label). Now, as I said in the initial review, RumDum Daddy was my first real exposure — I own Past is Prologue but don’t really count it for whatever reason — but on the occasions I’d heard the band’s name, it was usually in connection to Sleeping Sickness, so I was glad to get the chance to listen. And now that I’ve spent some real time with both it and Jamm Vapour, I thought it warranted a quick note, if only to say “no regrets.”

2000’s Sleeping Sickness was the first album JPT Scare Band put out on CD. The two preceding — 1994’s Acid Acetate Excursion and 1998’s Rape of Titan’s Sirens — were vinyl only and have never been reissued (good luck finding them), so for most of us, Sleeping Sickness is the earliest glimpse at JPT Scare Band we’re going to get. Of course, the legend goes the band got together in 1973 and just never put out an album, but hey, 27 years late is still better than never, and listening to the mighty guitar solo work of Terry Swope on the 15-minute title-track, I’m certainly not about to start complaining.

What amazes me is how JPT Scare Band manages to capture the spirit and sound of early ’70s heavy/acid rock without coming off as retro or over-stylized. Jamm Vapour is even more given over to that spontaneity, but even on Sleeping Sickness, it’s right there waiting to be heard. JPT Scare Band pull off what every retro act in this generation has been trying for, and by all accounts, they do it in a basement in the Midwest. They’re like a mathematical equation that makes two and two equal five, and they kick ass in the process.

Bassist Paul Grigsby and drummer Jeff Littrell do an excellent job backing Swope throughout (Swope and Grigsby handle vocals when they come up), but there’s no doubt that both Sleeping Sickness and Jamm Vapour are vehicles for the guitar to shine. And man, it does shine. Swope‘s got the kind of lead playing used to make bands famous, and these songs feel like what Blue Cheer could have become after their first two albums if they’d been able to keep it together. Thanks to the band for sending this stuff over for me to experience. It’s been a pleasure getting to know this work.

And by the way, JPT Scare Band reportedly have a new double-vinyl/CD, Acid Blues is the White Man’s Burden, due out this year on Ripple Effect Music. More info on that here.

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Black Pyramid Announce Two-Week Eastern US Tour; Not Coming to Jersey

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

…And you know, they’re fucking right. There isn’t shit happening in New Jersey for underground heavy music. I look at this itinerary and it’s good for them that they’re not coming anywhere near my home state. It’s a bummer that if I want to see them play I have to go to Brooklyn to do it, but what the fuck? They play a show in NJ and the five people with a fucking clue show up (myself included), it’s a waste of a night, the promoter probably dicks them out of money and they don’t even get free beer. Sometimes I think I really need to get the hell out of here. Maryland here I come.

By the way, here are those dates. They come courtesy of the PR wire:

http://www.meteorcity.com/bp_ltnr_admat.gifFast-rising doom rock trio Black Pyramid has announced additional May, 2010 US tour dates in support of their much-talked-about full-length debut Black Pyramid (MeteorCity). The power-driven band will launch a 16-city tour beginning May 5 in Wallingford, CT.

Black Pyramid tour dates:
(* All shows also include Let the Night Roar)
May 5   Wallingford CT Red Scroll Records (w/ Nightbitch [feat. members of Hour of 13])
May 6   Worcester MA Ralph’s Diner (* Metal Thursday Four Year Anniversary w/ Sexcrement and Abnormality)
May 7   Portland, ME Genos (w/ Sun Gods in Exile, Ocean)
May 8   Allston MA     O’Briens (w/ Blue Aside, Cortez)
May 9   Providence RI The 201 (w/ Desolate Wind, Wall)
May 10  Northampton MA The Elevens (w/ Elder, Overman, Magna Mater)
May 11  Keene NH      Armadillo’s (w/ Ponds, Black Norse)
May 12  Buffalo NY     Mohawk Place (w/ Sonorous Gale, Chylde)
May 13  Cleveland OH Now That’s Class (w/ Red Giant)
May 14  Grand Rapids MI Mulligans (w/ Greenthrone, Bullpig, Balboa MI, The Plague Years)
May 15  Chicago IL The Rockbox (w/ Blood of the Tyrant)
May 16  Indianapolis IN The Melody Inn (w/ Apostle of Solitude, Necropharmacon)
May 17  Cincinnati OH The Comet (w/ Saber)
May 18 Columbus OH    Cafe Bourbon Street (w/ Masters of Luxury)
May 20  Wilmington DE Mojo 13 (w/ Backwoods Payback, Pagan Wolf Ritual)

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The Skinny on Reznik

Posted in Reviews on April 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Spanish instrumentalists Reznik formed in 2005, and since the movie The Machinist was released in Spain in December 2004, it’s entirely possible the band — initially a four-piece, now a duo — took their name from Christian Bale’s character in that film, Trevor Reznik. Whether or not that’s the case, I don’t know, but the dates work out and I thought that movie kicked ass, so I’m going to run with it. If I’m incorrect and there’s some other significance to the band’s moniker, I’ll leave it up to the vast knowledge of the intertubes to correct my erroneous thinking.

Wherever they got their name, Didi (guitarra) and Lolo (batería) offer a ‘90s-influenced mix of noise rock and stoner groove, occasionally hitting a reference point of Fatso Jetson or some others from the Palm Desert scene, but usually relying on more grit than fuzz sonically. Of the 15 tracks on their first LP, El Mal (Alone), which follows two demos and a number of splits, not one of them is over three minutes long, which is probably for the best. What makes El Mal work is that it never really has time to get mired down in its sameyness. If Reznik were just jamming endlessly on the same riff for six or seven minutes, it might get tired really quick, but by the time a riff has worn out its welcome, à la later cut “Octiembre,” the song is over. It’s not a bad system they have worked out.

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Kings Destroy Do So with Efficiency and the Class Befitting Their Regal Nature

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Given the personnel involved, it should come as no surprise that Kings Destroy are about as straightforward as doom rock gets. The Brooklyn-based five piece boasts members in its ranks of NYHC luminaries Uppercut and Killing Time, as well as Electric Frankenstein. Clearly people who’ve been around a while; clearly people whose interest in fucking around is going to be slim to nil. Which is good, because the double-guitar five-piece’s first output is a self-released two-song 7” named Old Yeller/Medusa after its component tracks and the whole thing is in and out in just about nine minutes, so there’s no room for it anyhow.

Beginning with side A, the guitar-led “Old Yeller” starts off with a creeper Sabbath riff and some solo-era Ozzy vocals from Steve Murphy. Guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski (both of Killing Time) keep the structure simple and slow, which works just fine for drummer Rob Sefcik, who seems to have no trouble keeping the drums lumbering while Ed Bocchino’s bass rumbles underneath. The pace picks up just before three minutes in with a “Children of the Grave”-type rhythm line that adds some shuffle before some more complex Porcaro/Skowronski interplay hints at what might be good things to come from Kings Destroy’s first full-length, set to be recorded this summer with Sanford Parker.

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Taking the Red Eye with Ojos Rojos

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Claremont, California, four-piece Ojos Rojos (“Red Eyes”) play a psychedelic brand of post-rock that varies in meter, space, structure and memorability. Their new album, Disappear (available via Cobraside Distribution), bravely begins with the aptly-titled, eight-and-a-half-minute “In My Head,” and it’s clear from the start the band aren’t shy about self-indulgence. Anyone who’s ever enjoyed, well, anything, knows that’s not necessarily a negative, but there are moments when I find myself wishing Disappear, or a given track therein, would make its point and be done. The songs tend to meander, lost in swoops and swirls of delay in a kind of ambient desert nighttime vibe that, when it’s nailed, is nailed really well, and would probably come across even better live than on disc.

The band is comprised of Aaron Emil, George Serrano, Luis Vera and Rhett Delang, and though they claim “love” as their primary influence, there’s a good bit of Dead Meadow’s shoegazing psych-rock in there as well. That’s not to say Ojos Rojos aren’t doing their own thing, but they’re working within a genre even if doing so reasonably well. In the end, I find I’m not wowed by Disappear, but neither am I underwhelmed. Again, at night, plugged into a desert generator, drunk on cheap keg beer — and while we’re at it, let’s just pretend I’m someone who can enjoy himself, ever — the case would almost certainly be different. It’s fair to say, then, that Disappear is a strong enough album to accompany such a mood, but not necessarily strong enough to change a contrary mood to better suit listening.

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BREAKING NEWS: Eddie Glass Says Nebula Will Continue

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

According to an in-depth Obelisk investigative report (and by that I mean a comment on the band’s MySpace page), Eddie Glass of lauded Californian heavy psychedelic rockers Nebula has allegedly said that although the band canceled several weeks’ worth of tour dates last month, including several shows at South by Southwest in Austin, TX, they’re not actually done, just on break. Of course, it could have just been someone screwing with the Nebula MySpace account, and not Glass at all (why a comment and not a blog post?). You never know, but more likely Nebula will be reforming shortly with a revamped lineup.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see Glass get together with Mark Abshire and Ruben Romano for a record? I think it would be. I keep a list of things that would be nice, and that’s on it. Unfortunately, it’s under the subheading “Don’t Count on It,” so there you go. Here’s what Glass had to say on the subject:

Hey everyone. This is Eddie Glass. Sorry for missing that last tour. We were really psyched about it. Well, we as Nebula have been touring straight without missing shows since 1999. All over the world. Thanks for all who came and helped in the experience. As of late things started getting a bit rough with the touring and I got sick of it. The last cancellation had nothing to do with us as a band. Our transportation and things outside our control got out of hand. Well, I am starting a new band. I am on drums in one band and playing guitar and vocals in another. Still putting it together. Anyone out there into jamming respond. Hey Jim Jones. Ok. Nebula is taking a break for a while. We will probably play in the future, again, as I enjoy the playing guitar. I enjoy touring. Only problem is I am human and so are the other guys. We need a break. We are all working on new stuff. I am stoked on my new songs. You will be hearing them soon. Eddie Nebula

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Sasquatch Interview with Keith Gibbs: Hollywood’s Monsters of Rock Keep the Trend in Check

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Nearly as rare as in-focus footage of their namesake are rock bands of Sasquatch‘s quality in Hollywood. The trio’s third album for Small Stone Records, III, is perhaps their most potent yet, meshing Grand Funk and Soundgarden and Sabbath in an environment where it’s less about how you play than who you are and what cellphone commercial your song has been in. As much as they don’t fit their surroundings, though, they’re just as necessary where they are: a voice of reason in a land where reason has no place. A rallying cry for the bullshit-free.

Guitarist/vocalist Keith Gibbs, bassist Jason Casanova (ex-Tummler) and drummer Rick Ferrante took part in this year’s SXSW festival and are among the bigger names at the upcoming Doom in June fest, but when I chatted with Gibbs (who is — you read it here first — a good dude) via telephonular apparatus, that had yet to be announced. A good portion of our conversation wound up being off the record, but Gibbs nonetheless spoke openly (and often hilariously) about the band’s excising of former bassist Clayton Charles, about making III and life in the post-apocalyptic hellscape they call home.

From their 2004 self-titled debut onward, I have always regarded Sasquatch as the great American hope for genuine stoner rock, and though, as Gibbs informs, they’ve moved somewhat beyond that classification, I am no less solid in my position today than I was six years ago. One still gets the feeling their best is yet to come.

My Q&A with Keith Gibbs is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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