The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2014

Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

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thesis statement for the novel the help: our professionals can make a feast from anything. Don't believe? Just try out the prime quality now by visiting our site. Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.

I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put  Master Thesis Marketing Mix on our Best Writing Service NerdyEssays.com, that youll be proud to submit at really astounding prices. Become our regular customer Elder‘s  British Essay Writers delivers quality go at affordable price, Get Upto 30% discount on your first assignment help order now! Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.

For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.

No, not really. At least not this year.

If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:

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The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014

1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha

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A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.

One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.

Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.

Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.

There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.

As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Fatso Jetson, Demon Head, Naga, Seattle Noise, Wren

Posted in Radio on May 16th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click here to listen.

I said at the end of last week I was planning to change how I organized the adds for The Obelisk Radio, and here we are. Gonna try this for a few weeks and see how it works out. Might vary number of adds depending on what comes in and how, but this should be a good start and there’s some cool stuff here, so please dig in.

Adds for May 16, 2014:

Fatso Jetson, Live at Maximum Festival

This Go Down Records vinyl recorded last year at Italy’s Maximum Festival is the second Fatso Jetson live release behind a 2007 Cobraside outing simply called Fatso Jetson Live, but as lethal as the seminal desert rockers are on stage, it’s a wonder they haven’t done more live recordings. “Bored Stiff” is a highlight here, and you’ll find it on side A — even digitally the set is split into two sides — but the Mario Lalli-led unit with Larry Lalli on bass, Tony Tornay (now also playing with Brant Bjork) on drums and Dino von Lalli on guitar, kill it to such a degree that I was all the more into adding multiple songs grouped together. Their grooves are surf-rock turned punk frenetic and their vibe is dirt-rock blues raging on a wavelength that by the time you’ve caught up to it, they’re two songs ahead, and Live at Maximum Festival proves what anyone who’s seen Fatso Jetson already knows: They simply cannot be stopped. They get into some bizarro psych-jazz in the second half and it’s all the more glorious, and make sure you listen for Mario shouting out Gabriele from Black Rainbows. Good times. On Thee Facebooks, at Go Down Records.

Demon Head, Demon Head b/w Winterland

I immediately dug the Demon Head Demo 2014 tape upon hearing it last month, so a quick follow-up single is welcome by me. The two songs “Demon Head” and “Winterland” follow suit stylistically on the Copenhagen five-piece’s initial studio effort, cleaning up the sound so that their eponymous riffer comes through with clearer Witchcraft allegiance in its classically fuzzed-out guitars. Watch out for the ultra-Sabbathian lead work in “Winterland” as well as this still relatively nascent outfit answer the potential of their demo and keep their momentum moving forward. Theirs is an excellent balance of clarity and organic sound that never quite tips over into retro-mindedness. Call it “neo-drunkard,” but it’s worth hearing. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Various Artists, Seattle Noise Vol. 1

Worth noting that the above isn’t the cover for the Seattle Noise Vol. 1 compilation — that’s here — but the list of bands from the back cover is pretty convenient and it emphasizes the primacy of all these tracks being previously unreleased. For those who know them, the prospect of a yet-unheard Sandrider cut will probably be enough of a draw for the Good to Die Records/AVR Music collaboration, also presented by Seattle’s Cha Cha Lounge, but the comp, the full title of which is This T-Shirt is a Record: Seattle Noise Vol. 1, finds like-minded ballbusting from Tacos!, the punkish Trash Fire, Constant Lovers‘ jagged “A Lullaby” and the blown-out finale of Theories‘ “Petrifaction.” Any number of kicks in the ass to be had, much homework for those willing to use it as a tool to dig deeper into a scene with a distinct and ferocious sound. Good to Die Records, AVR Music.

Naga, Hen

Out on vinyl through Lay Bare Recordings and CD via Shove Records, Fallo Dischi and La Fine, the full-length debut from Italian post-metallers Naga, dubbed Hen (actually there’s an accent over the ‘e’ that I can’t get to show up, thanks Obama), starts off with the 13-minute plunder of “Naas,” quickly establishing a wide sonic range for the Napoli trio. Thick sludge meets blackened vocal impulses throughout the disc, but Naga keep a pervasive atmospheric sensibility as well, with samples in the pummeling “Hierophania,” psych-effects swirl in “Eris” and a YOB-style roll emerging in the penultimate “The Path.” Nothing to complain about. They dodge the loud/quiet tradeoffs bullet for the most part, which is all the more impressive considering how extended the five-tracks of Hen are. No better way to spend the time than bludgeoning. On Thee Facebooks, Lay Bare Recordings.

Wren, Wren

A self-releasing London-based five-piece, Wren issued their self-titled debut EP in February. The four-tracker sparks an engaging interaction between patient, Pelican-style post-heavy rock instrumentalism and deep-in-the-mix psychedelic black metal-style vocals. It’s legitimately a combination I haven’t heard before done in this ay, and for as well as Wren do both on “Nørreport” and for the spacious ambience of “Habeas Corpus,” they show a progressive mentality right away their first time out. As a sample of what they can do, Wren bodes exceedingly well, and the flow they create from seemingly disparate elements hints at a richly individualized approach in the forming. One to watch for sure, and all the more encouraging for how comfortable Wren seem tipping the balance to either side. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

For all the latest adds, check out the complete list on The Obelisk Radio update page.

Thanks for reading and listening.

 

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