Sunday, May 27, 2018
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I grew up in a very pop-friendly house. The Beatles reigned supreme, but Elvis Costello and REM lurked around every corner. When I was about 11, I found an old copy of Jimi Hendrix’ Smash Hits, and I was obsessed. I specifically remember listening to Voodoo Child (Slight Return) over and over and over, and thinking “I want to do that!” My life changed that day, but when I found John Lee Hooker, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath later on, they were similarly revelatory. Kyuss too.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Riffs come first, to be sure. We’ll play around on a riff I discovered during the week together as a band during practice and decide if it’s something we can really sink our teeth into. If we play it, and it seems to really be grooving, we’ll sit down and work out the different parts together. Our songs really are a collaborative effort in that respect. It usually enters our practice rotation, and after a while a vocal melody starts to form (don’t ask me how), and I’ll write words that have been on my mind. The song lyrics end up being a manifestation of the headspace I happen to be in at the time; things I’m feeling, thoughts I’m having. It’s all really personal. I think a lot of the unique space our songs tend to occupy really does come from the fact that they’re all just “jams” turned into songs. If we could, we’d probably play each one of them for 20 minutes… but nobody wants to watch all that!
Who has influenced you the most?
For me, it has to be the blues greats like Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf. Their style, their attitude, the way they were able to emote through song, to express themselves and comment on their times, the way they played guitar, the way they sang, it all speaks to something inside me that won’t go away. All I’ve ever wanted is to do what they did. But the band’s influences are all over the place; we all listen to a lot of blues rock like the Allman Brothers or ZZ Top and Psychedelia like Hendrix and Cream. I think all those elements show through.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
Musically, all three of us are music junkies. We’re constantly buying new records, showing them to each other, going back further and further to the roots of what we love, and I think every new discovery shows up somewhere or another in our playing. I don’t know that we ever consciously “look for inspiration” so much as we “look for new music” and end up inspired by it. Also, a lot of the inspiration for the lyrics to the songs come from this messed up world we live in right now. People hating each other, killing each other... these are scary, desperate times, and that’s why some of the lyrics to our songs are scary and desperate. Then again, the beauty of the human condition (and this is a major motif of the blues) is the ability to find love and good times despite that darkness, and so some of our songs reflect that side of life as well.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
Holy smokes, this is a great question. Auburn CA is exactly the kind of place you’d expect Shotgun Sawyer to come from. It’s a little town up in the hills, one of the sites where gold was discovered in 1848, and you can feel that history when you walk around there (the good and the bad). It’s the kind of town that has 3 classic rock stations on the radio, and all 3 of them play Creedence Clearwater Revival most of the time. In our music, you can hear us playing guitars down at the river, you can hear the cops coming to break up a backwoods house party we got hired to play, and you can hear trucker hats, oak leaves, and weeds growin’ up to your chest out in the pasture. They’re cow tippin’, moonshine sippin’, road trippin’ songs. We are Auburn.
Where'd the band name come from?
We had a lot of trouble coming up with a name. When you try to make up your own name, there’s way too much temptation to try to be “cool” (and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that trying to be cool is the lamest thing you can do). You end up with names like Lazer Death of the Blood Skull... which sounds pretty rad now that I think about it. But we had a lot of trouble coming up with something until Brett’s brother suggested “Thunderchief.” We called ourselves that for a while until we found out there was a one-man doom band out in the Carolinas calling himself that too. So we asked Brett’s brother if he had any other ideas and Shotgun Sawyer was at the top of his list. It sounded right, so we went with that.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
Django Unchained, all day.
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
One of ours, or any song out there? If I had to choose one of ours, I’d write about Soldier Song from our first record. It’s about PTSD and the experiences of veterans of war. I have a lot of friends who have served, and have expressed how difficult it is to assimilate back into civilian life after experiencing such violence. There isn’t enough awareness or support for them, just a lot of empty talk. If I were to write about any song out there, I would probably write an essay about “Hounddog On My Trail” by Robert Johnson. The song is a metaphor for Johnson’s experience living through the era of the resurgence of the KKK in the 1920s, and uses a lot of really interesting lyrical strategies to describe something he didn’t feel safe expressing openly. It’s about as close to “perfect” as a song gets, between Johnson’s playing, expression, literary devices, themes of fear and hope… I could probably write 2000 words on that.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Hmm, I think the most Spinal Tap thing I’ve ever done is throw my guitar. It actually happens pretty often too; when I’m on stage, something happens and I lose most of my control and judgement, and if my guitar won’t stay in tune or a string breaks mid-song, I completely lose it. I’ve actually broken 2 or 3 guitars just since we started playing in this band, which means that Brett and I have gotten pretty good at puttin’em together again! Besides that, our amps only go to “10,” I’ve never shoved a cucumber in my leather pants (I don’t wear leather pants), and I’ve thankfully never been accidentally locked inside a translucent egg-sack stage prop.
Playing live is the only reason we play; comparatively, recording is like the homework we need to do in order to justify playing out. I feel safe saying that its the favorite experience of every member of the band. We love dropping into heavy riffs and feeling everyone in the room join us in moving to it almost as much as we enjoy taking off on some speedfreak double-time rampage while folks headbang. I’ve personally felt very blessed because our fans enjoy the music and lyrics enough to learn them (more than I usually remember) and sing them with me (better than I do). We make every show unique, never play the songs the same way twice, and bring as much energy to every performance as is physically possible. It’s equal parts violent and sacred; like being in a fistfight at church, then having sex after... but a little better.
What makes a great song?
I have a pretty strong opinion on what a great song is, and especially what it isn’t. A song isn’t time signature changes, complicated techniques, perfect tones, the “right” instruments, or even verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge. Lots of songs have those things, but that’s not what a song is. A song is connection; a pure expression of the human condition, like all “art.” As such, a great song is one that speaks to me (or you, anyone). It might make you laugh, it might make you cry. It can make you smile, make you feel, make you think, make you reflect, make you change. Catchy songs, innovative songs, and songs which pioneer new styles can still be “bad” songs if they don’t engage with your experience; and because your experience is so unique to you, a song you think is awful, might be great to me. Can I have a 2000 word essay on this topic, too?
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
I’m sure the “first song I ever wrote” was some awful, predictable, sappy bullshit about a girl when I was 15, I honestly don’t remember. But, the first song Brett and I ever wrote (a long time before Shotgun Sawyer) was the song “Lawman,” which, after several iterations, ended up on our first record. I remember that I had a heavy riff, and Brett had this excellent acoustic part, and we just looked at eachother like, “well, what if we just decided to throw those together?” It really wasn’t any more complicated than that. We still play it live every now and then.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
I think I’m most proud of the song “Son Of The Morning” from the upcoming record. I don’t want to talk too much about what it means specifically because I’d like folks to decide what it means for themselves. But in terms of exposing myself in song and opening up to express some very personal emotions, it’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever let myself be, and that was a real challenge.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
There’s a Portland transplant blues duo that lives in Reno for the moment called “Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil.” Jack writes blues for today, best shit I’ve ever heard or seen. I feel lucky being able to say he’s my friend, or maybe more like my older brother. Now that I think about it, I feel like I’m friends with the best songwriters I know about. Garage-soul band Failure Machine, Stoner-punk trio Joan And The Rivers, Ripple’s own Salem’s Bend and Mothership, Slow Season down in Visalia. Someday documentaries are going to be made about all of these groups, and I’m gonna be able to tell my kids I knew them.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Gotta be vinyl. It’s the ritual, the reverence, the art, the collecting, the audio, the pops and scratches, everything.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice
Whiskey, I’m not in junior high anymore
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your hometown, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
See, that’s a complicated question. In Auburn proper, you’ve got Cherry Records. Al (the owner) is a real stickler for quality records only. That’s where I bought my mint, original Song Remains The Same along with many others but, he charges a lot for his quality. Shop at your own risk, and don’t come cryin’ to me when you go broke. A little ways up the hill, you got Clocktower in Grass Valley. They’ve got the best blues section in the area (so that’s where I hang out a lot). We play there for Record Store Day as tradition. You’ve also got Ron’s Real Records, and Ron’s got a lot of the cool stuff. I bought Captain Beyond, Aphrodite’s Child, and Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends up there, and cheap. The condition of Ron’s records can be hit and miss though (but don’t tell him I said that; just make sure you play it there in store before you buy). So I guess it all depends on what you’re lookin’ for.
What's next for the band?
Well, we’ve got a European tour lined up this Summer (2018). We’ll be hanging out in Belgium for a fair piece, but we’ll also be in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, etc. After that, we’ll probably try our first real set of full-blooded American tours and get into the UK eventually. Like I say, we’re just tryin’ to play live, and there’ll probably be another couple records in between all these shows, but all we really care about is hitting a bar we haven’t passed out in yet.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
We’d all just like to say thanks for keeping Rock n’ Roll alive; folks talk about “music back in the day” like it was the only time cool bands were around. Not so! There are great bands everywhere you look, and the Waveriders are the ones keeping them on the road. Keep on keepin’ on, and buy us a drink when we come through!
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Photo Credit: Wynne Harrington
North Carolina riff-rockers ASG share the official video for "Execution Thirst" off the impending Survive Sunrise full-length album. Watch the full video now on Revolver Magazine HERE.
Additionally, ASG have announced a US headlining tour surrounding the release of Survive Sunrise. The tour begins June 17 in Raleigh, NC, traverses through the East Coast and ends in Asheville, NC on June 30. Support provided by Lo Pan and Beitthemeans. ASG will also tour the UK in May for Desertfest and support dates with Weedeater. A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.
ASG’s sixth studio album Survive Sunrise is due out June 15th on CD/2xLP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages are available via Relapse.com HERE and Digital Downloads / Streaming Services AT THIS LOCATION.
Recorded, mixed and mastered with longtime producer Matt Hyde (Deftones, Slayer, Monster Magnet), Survive Sunrise further expands upon ASG’s trademark blend of heavy, southern-fried, alt-rock fury and infectious, hook-centric accessibility. With unabashedly hooky vocals, evocative lyrics and well-honed musical chops, ASG create soaring, melodic rock anthems with a sunny, colorful vibe that are reminiscent of the album’s electrifying cover art, designed by Malleus (Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, The Melvins). Survive Sunrise is the perfect summertime hard rock album, one that rocks with wild abandon and will burrow into your head for years to come.
Album Art Credit: Malleus
ASG Tour Dates:
--- All Dates June 17-30 w/ Lo Pan & Beitthemeans ---
Jun 15 Wilmington, NC @ Reggies ^
Jun 19 Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor
Jun 20 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Jun 21 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Jun 22 Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo
Jun 23 Kent, OH @ Outpost Bar
Jun 24 Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club
Jun 26 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Jun 27 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Jun 28 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Jun 29 Chesapeake, VA @ Riffhouse
Jun 30 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
Jul 01 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 ^
^ ASG Only
Formed in the North Carolina coastline community of Wrightsville Beach in 2001, the riff-fueled, distortion-driven rock of ASG that can be found on their latest effort has actually been at the band’s core since its inception. Initially forming as a three-piece instrumental project, due to the lack of a dedicated vocalist, ASG were intensely focusing on devising tight, driving guitar riffs, locking guitarist Jason Shi in with the rhythm section of bassist Andy Ellis and drummer Scott Key.
But as time passed and no vocalist was found, Shi was eventually forced to step up to the mic. With Shi becoming more comfortable as a frontman, the group found themselves connecting with Volcom Entertainment, who signed the band and put them in the studio in 2003, to record their debut album, …The Amplification of Self Gratification. In 2005 ASG found themselves in a proper studio with proper producers, Matt Hyde and Phil Caivano, recording their sophomore album, Feeling Good Is Good Enough, an album that summoned all the band’s potential and spawned a thunderous hard rock creation that equaled what the band had been working towards for the past 3 years. Shortly after completing Feeling Good Is Good Enough, second guitarist, Jonah Citty, was added to help recreate the album’s sounds live, which was none too soon as the band quickly found themselves on the road with the likes of Motorhead, The Sword, Torche, Dwarves, and CKY.
In June 2007 ASG returned to Los Angeles to record their fourth album, entitled Win Us Over, with Matt Hyde again. Win Us Over, is a vivid, psychedelic, and panoramic thrust that is just as much for the ears as it is for the aura; an experience. In late 2011, the band signed to renowned independent label Relapse Records and entered the studio in February 2012 to record their fifth full-length entitled Blood Drive. The album went on to garnered near-universal critical acclaim since it’s release and raise the band’s profile to an even bigger level.
Now in 2018, ASG re-emerge with their six-full length and first new album in five years, Survive Sunrise. Recorded, mixed and mastered with longtime producer Matt Hyde, Survive Sunrise further expands upon ASG’s trademark blend of heavy, southern-fried, alt-rock fury and infectious, hook-centric accessibility. With unabashedly hooky vocals, evocative lyrics and well-honed musical chops, ASG create soaring, melodic rock anthems with a sunny, colorful vibe that are reminiscent of the album’s electrifying cover art, designed by Malleus (Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, The Melvins). Survive Sunrise is the perfect summertime hard rock album, one that rocks with wild abandon and will burrow into your head for years to come.
Friday, May 25, 2018
"Universally beloved... Swedish doom royalty." -- Noisey
"A truly modern sound: recognizably doom, but with glistening production values and adventurous songcraft." -- Consequence of Sound
"The Platonic Form of doom...perfection... faultless." -- Echoes & Dust
"Hugely accessible without having sacrificed their crushing heaviness." -- Metal Hammer
"Monolord's records have only gotten heavier, and now the band has taken a turn for the catchy (yet still crushing)." -- Metal Injection
"Rust is perfect; it's as fuzzed out as any of the genre's great records, but the mix is clean and even, allowing the drums and vocals to cut through. Most importantly, there are songs aplenty: you'll be humming the riffs and vocal hooks immediately." -- Metal Sucks
Gothenburg, Sweden trio Monolord announce U.S. headlining tour dates following their performance at Psycho Las Vegas festival in August. Please see all dates below.
Monolord's recently released third album, Rust received universal praise in reviews, and landed atop multiple Album of The Year lists for 2017 -- including the #1 Album of 2017 on the Doom Charts collective of journalists, bloggers, radio and podcasters. Rust is available to hear & share on YouTube and Bandcamp.
Monolord is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase in short order since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band's third full length, truly exemplifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom.
Monolord's enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, it's a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that's more total environment than collection of songs. Together, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member.
Rust is available on LP, CD and download, released September 29th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records.
MONOLORD U.S. TOUR 2018:
08/18 Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel (Psycho Las Vegas)
08/22 Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone
08/23 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
08/24 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
08/25 Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie's
08/26 Newport, KY @ Southgate House
08/27 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
08/28 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
08/29 Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary
08/30 Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit
08/31 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (Scorched Tundra)
09/01 Millvale, PA @ Funhouse
09/02 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk
09/05 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
09/07 Raleigh, NC @ Raleigh (Hopscotch)
09/08 Richmond, VA @ Capital Ale House *
09/09 Washington DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel *
09/10 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar
09/11 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
* with Red Fang
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: September 29th, 2017
01. Where Death Meets The Sea
02. Dear Lucifer
06. At Niceae
On The Web:
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Let's start with your name and your site. Let's have it.
Doomed & Stoned is really not meant to be edgy, though it has a nice ring to it. It came to me as a simple way to sum up the genre of heavy music that’s the heart and soul of our writing: doom metal and stoner rock. I consider those to be the classic, enduring styles of rock and metal, best encapsulated by Black Sabbath. Sabbath played music that was slow, low, and somber, but they had up-tempo songs that captured the feel-good era of the ‘70s, as well. It’s the quintessential doomed and stoned band.
As soon as I got turned on to the doom-stoner vibe, I began to look into my own backyard to see what was happening here. At the time, Oregon’s proudest exports were bands like Witch Mountain, Yob, Lord Dying, and a dozen others that were being signed left and right to Relapse, Profound Lore, and other labels. I started documenting everything, including bands that were flying below the. It started with me just showing up at shows and shooting live footage. As I became more accepted by the community, filming led to interviews, album reviews, and the scene compilation series that many people know us best for.
Then, I started meeting aspiring and experienced writers and photographers who caught the vision and wanted to document their scenes, as well. It all happened very naturally and organically, fueled by a mutual love of fuzzy, downtuned riffs and a desire to bring more meaningful, in-depth coverage of the music for fans of the genre.
Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of promoting music? How has it grown and changed over the years?
Doomed & Stoned originated out of a frustration I had in sharing discoveries like Windhand, Saint Vitus, Sleep, and Goatsnake with my metal friends. Many wouldn’t give these bands a chance or listened for half-a-minute and gave up. Surely, I thought to myself, there must be others out there who were just as in love with the doom-stoner genre as I am. It wasn’t long until I met Melissa, my Executive Editor and first contributor, in a metal forum and together we burrowed in the heavy underground and discovered a whole community that welcomed us, as well as a number of other sites covering the doom-stoner scene around the world. Most of them have been very friendly and we’ve even had the opportunity to collaborate with folks like The Sludgelord, Outlaws of the Sun, The Ripple Effect, and many more. There are others that won’t acknowledge our existence to this day, I’m guessing because we were viewed as unwelcome competition in an already small market with tight friendships. The thing is, we never really wanted to compete with anyone – we just wanted an outlet to share our love of music. It’s hard not to be competitive sometimes, of course. Competition can be positive in that it inspires you to push yourself, try new things, and grow. But since none of the 20+ contributors to Doomed & Stoned are doing this full-time, we want to have fun, too, and you can’t have fun if you’re constantly trying to outdo this site or that. We found our niche in digging into local scenes and telling the stories of the bands who may very well be the next Sleep or Windhand five or ten years from now.
Now that we’re closing in on the fifth year of our existence, I feel we’re becoming known as people who are willing to cover the scene in the depth it deserves. That’s our motto, in fact: “Sharing the music and the stories of the heavy underground, with an emphasis on the Sabbath Sound and local scene coverage – by the underground, for the underground.” Since we first began, the scene has absolutely exploded and we were lucky enough to time our entry, completely by coincidence, to ride that wave as it was cresting. Right now, the scene is at least twice as big as it was five years ago and it’s becoming increasingly impossible to listen to all the new albums coming out, even if we limit our consideration to just record labels, which of course we don’t want to do. Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to discover bands like Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, and dozens of others that have risen to prominence in our scene. Just being a small part of boosting those bands and watching them get the recognition they deserve is extremely gratifying.
We're all the product of our musical past. What's your musical history? First album you ever bought? First musical epiphany moment? First album that terrified the hell out of you?
I was raised by parents who came of age in the ‘50s and ‘60s, so I was exposed initially to a lot of late-‘60s rock, big band jazz, and later the ‘70s radio pop. Mom was fond of playing three classical music albums with a mix of music by Mozart, Beethoven, and Rossini, and that left a very powerful impression on me early on. She also was fond of Olivia Newton John, so I have “Jolene” permanently etched on my psyche and every so often vainly attempt singing it in the shower.
My first vinyl was the Ghostbusters soundtrack, which dad bought for me, and it unleashed a curiosity for the popular music of the ‘80s. Like a lot of my friends at school, I was nuts about Michael Jackson and I remember asking dad if I could have one of those swank red jackets that he wore so famously in “Thriller” (I was denied, though I did get quite good at grade school moonwalking). I distinctly remember the day my family got cable TV for the first time and with it MTV, which brought the music of Metallica, Boy George, Madonna, Aerosmith, and Run-DMC into our conservative Texas household.
It didn’t last long, because somewhere in the mid-‘80s, my family got caught up in the whole “Satanic Panic” movement. They started monitoring my listening habits vigilantly. One day, for instance, my mom was horrified to find her ten-year-old boy singing along to “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella during Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 show. From that point on, both rock and metal were banned from the house and my radio was confiscated. It was too late, though, because I was hooked – particularly by metal. Something about it has always moved me in a way that only classical music has matched. My first metal album, which I purchased in secret, was ‘Appetite for Destruction’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses – which at the time represented the pinnacle of late ‘80s heavy metal. People need to understand how revolutionary it was to hear something that “hard” on mainstream radio and MTV. I listened to it and ‘Lies’ incessantly on my Walkman and continued listening clandestinely to FM hard rock and heavy metal.
Since I couldn’t listen to it openly, I started developing an interest in the darker side of classical music, the moodier pieces by Beethoven, Liszt, and Scriabin, and took up playing the piano around 13. My family was supportive of that talent and I would spend hours and hours a day for years playing the piano in solitude. That was my first introduction, in kernel form, to “doom” – especially late Beethoven, when he started growing deaf and began expressing his frustration and despair more poignantly through dark tones. Franz Liszt, later in life, experienced so much tragedy that he begin to write very bleak, obscure music and was one of the first to experiment with atonality.
It wouldn’t be until my college days that I’d come face-to-face with doom at a Saint Vitus show in Portland. From that moment forward, I knew I’d discovered my soul food. Doom metal made an immediate connection, as it addressed the fucked up nature of life and society in a way that felt authentic to me. It wasn’t just anger. It was dark, slow despair and even a blithe kind of acceptance to it all. It was refreshing to have those feelings mapped out in song like that. That triggered a wave of discovery that led to Eyehategod, Usnea, Cough, Demon Lung, and others that are now staples of my musical diet.
What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?
Definitely ‘Celestial Cemetery’ (2017) Purple Hill Witch. I was only a nominal fan of their first album, but their second one was quite convincing, emotionally. There’s an underlying sadness to the record that appeals to me as a person who has long battled depression.
What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?
More people are digging to the doom-stoner sound and the scene is growing exponentially. The internet has democratized music in a way that has made it easier than ever for bands to form, record, and share their music. It’s also made it much, much harder for a band to get discovered. We’re simply oversaturated by it all. We’re reaching peak information and a lot of listeners have just stopped exploring altogether. I think there was a study done some years back that said by the late-20’s/early-30’s the average metal listener typically hardens in their musical tastes. I don’t know how true that is still, but I know that I’ve been increasingly suffering from listening fatigue. 2014 was the last year I felt on top of it all. 2015 was explosive and every year since has found me woefully behind in my listening. I’m still digging through the rubble and discovering incredible records that I share now and then in a series of short reviews I call, “Doomed Discoveries.”
Among the trends I’ve seen in our scene in particular is the increase in female-fronted bands, which I tried to document in our compilation, ‘The Enchanter’s Ball’ (2015), and more experimentation with genre blending. It’s becoming harder to find bands who traffic in traditional doom, but that’s fine because I think we all needed more diversity in our playlist to keep us from becoming jaded. For a while, it seemed every other band was “witch” this and “black” that. I’m the last person to judge a band by its name, but it was leading to a ton of criticism from fans – to the point I’d have a hard time getting doom-stoner listeners to take a chance with a newer band that had the word “wizard” in their name. One thing that seems to be a theme of the doom-stoner scene is a continual drive for excellence and evolution. On the negative side, we tend to expect more of our heroes, as a result – which is why bands like The Sword and Electric Wizard have been criticized for producing music that would have otherwise excited us if they were a brand new band.
What's been your all-time greatest "Find"? That band you "discovered" before anyone else and started the word spreading?
It’s hard to pinpoint one band, but I’ve been instrumental in boosting the music of Holy Grove, Disenchanter, and Year of the Cobra – all bands from out of the Pacific Northwest. Initially through Doomed & Stoned and then through Psycho Las Vegas, which was very involved with in its inaugural year. Over half of the bands that played the Vinyl stage in 2016 were my recommendations. Though I was less involved in the following year, Psycho Las Vegas booked most of the bands that had appeared at own Doomed & Stoned Festival. It was a huge confidence booster in Doomed & Stoned’s ability to be “taste testers.” This is not to say my taste in bands has always been picked up by big festivals or record labels. The scene is getting bigger and there are more and more “taste testers” now, just because there’s too much music for one outlet to cover now, so there are plenty of great recommendations coming from a number of amazing blogs and webzines.
Convincing people that live music is worth leaving the comfort of our homes to experience, to say nothing of many benefits that come from connecting others in the underground music community. These days, we tend to value how conveniently something can be brought to us – audio books have replaced the need to sit and read, our homes have become veritable theaters so no need to go out for movies anymore, and streaming high-definition music makes us feel like we’re in some sense getting the real deal. Of course, those of us who go out to shows know there’s just no substitute for the excitement, energy, and sound of a well-produced live show – especially in a small venue. With that said, even I struggle with convincing myself to go out. It’s the introvert in me, I suppose. However, I have a saying that I try to live by, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
If you could write a 1,000 word essay on one song, which one would it be, and why? What makes that song so important?
Funny, I actually did write a 1,000+ word essay on Cough’s “Possession” – the only song I’ve been moved to write an entire piece about so far. I think it’s because it spoke to me during a time in my life where I was feeling such raw, charged emotion and witnessing a personal transformation from being a happy-go-lucky, easy-going dude, to someone emptied of hope and weighted down by nihilistic thinking. I’ve always valued music for its ability to commiserate with me in my circumstances. During Basic Training it was ‘Superunknown’ and ‘Down on the Upside’ by Soundgarden. In my college days, it was Alice in Chain’s last album before the death of Layne Staley. And in 2016, Cough returned after a long absence, released Still They Pray, and headlined the first ever Doomed & Stoned Festival in Indianapolis. It was a year of transition for me with a lot of upheaval in my personal life and “Possession” seem to capture my inner storm perfectly.
Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.
The grooviest psychedelics this side of Berlin at the moment are nested right here in Yob country, my hometown of Eugene, Oregon. White Wail are best described as part Graveyard, part Radio Moscow, with a special DIY electricity that has made them hands down one of the most entertaining live acts in the region. Their upcoming second album is going to put them on the map for many people, I predict.
Norwegian doom-sludge clan with two guitars, two basses, a drum, and one unhinged vocalist. You’ll find none fiercer. “The Sorcerer’s Weed” (opening number off their first LP, In The Light of a Sinking Sun) is positively frightening. I can feel its seething rage filling up my chest cavity like pneumonia every time I listen to it. I believe they’re expecting a new album out in the first quarter of 2019, if not sooner.
The ultimate contrast of light and dark come to us from a relatively unknown band in Roseville, California. The secret sauce here involves incredible vocal harmonies pitted against massive, crunchy riffs, something that’s done very effectively in their recent EPs, ‘The Mirror’ (2018) and ‘Reflection Pool’ (2017). Now, they just need to take this show on the road.
Tell us about your personal music collection. Vinyl? CD? What's your prized possession?
People think I have a huge vinyl collection, but mine is quite modest, really. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a bigger collection and show it off, but unfortunately, I haven’t a lot of money to put into it, really. My most prized records come from bands I’ve supported from their earliest stages, like Holy Grove, Menin, or Vokonis. CDs have come to dominate my collection, not so much by choice, but a lot of promos get sent to me that way. Mostly, I have a vast digital collection that takes up almost six terabytes of data. Since I’m doing a lot of podcasting, this allows me the easiest point of access to put together my mixes for The Doomed & Stoned Show.
What is it about this particular type of heavy music that makes it mean so much to you?
To me, doom metal and stoner rock has incredible staying power. It’s something I can listen to over and over again without growing weary of it. Add to that the fact bands in this genre take so much care in crafting their live sound and you can go to any doom-stoner show knowing you’re going to have an incredible time, perhaps even walk away with a better experience than the record gave you. I was constantly disappointed by the concert experiences I had while immersed in mainstream metal. It just never sounded as good as the records did. With doom-stoner music, my experience has largely been that concerts typically sound better than the records. It’s just the ethic of our scene.
What makes it all worthwhile for you?
My philosophy is that as long as we’re all still having fun, it’s worth it to keep doing Doomed & Stoned. With that said, it can be very demanding and stressful, especially as we’re increasingly turned to by bands, labels, and PR firms to host track and album premieres. The gratification of a piece well done – whether by me or by one of my team members – is ultimately what keeps me going day-to-day. I find a lot of joy in developing talent and even helping writers and photographers hone their craft, gain greater name recognition, and develop the confidence to even branch out on their own as freelancers. When Melissa first started, she wasn’t confident at all that she could do an interview. Next thing you know, she’s interviewing Wino and organizing a music festival with international bands. I’ve very proud of the team and everyone who has been a part of it, if only for a season.
How would your life be different if you weren't spreading the word about music?
I suppose I’d be spending more time playing the piano, something I’ve neglected more than I’d like to admit since starting Doomed & Stoned. Either way, I don’t think I can stay passively involved in music. I have to be playing it or writing about it, preferably both.
Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?
No, but I’ve been doggedly pursued on Facebook by overly enthusiastic bands trying to get me to review their albums. What they don’t realize is that I’ve got a very heavy editing backlog – it takes at least 2 hours and usually 4 hours – to prep a piece of the average size that Doomed & Stoned does for publication. For me to review a record, I need even more time to let it soak in. I have to find something in it that connects with me on an emotional or at least an intellectual level or I can’t write about it. Because of that, I don’t write very many reviews a years. Maybe a half-dozen traditional, track-by-track reviews, though I do try to write at least one short review a week.
Part of the blessing and the curse of doing this as a hobby, as opposed to full-time, is I don’t have a lot of time to hear gossip, get into interpersonal dramas, that kind of thing. I wish I could spend more time responding to every message I receive and developing deeper level friendships. Perhaps in time I will. I’m such a workaholic right now that it’s very hard for me to tear away and just relax and get to know people. On the positive side, it does save me from a lot of inter-scene drama and allows me to be more of a neutral party when issues arise between bands, venues, promoters, forums, or fans.
In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?
I’m hoping we can be remembers for documenting this special era in heavy music history. I want to get better at showcasing the bands in their scenes and telling their stories, just like the writers and photographers of the Seattle grunge era were able to capture the imagination of the world with the vibe of the early-to-mid ‘90s. I also hope I’ll be remembered for writing interesting, engaging, and relatable music reviews that aren’t pretentious crap. That’s still a work in progress!
Many people may not realize the hours you devote to what you do for little or no pay. Is there a day job? If so, how do you find the balance?
This is most certainly not a day job. I have a full time job that I work 40-50 hours a week and I do Doomed & Stoned in the evenings and weekends. Right now, I’m not doing very good with the balance, to be honest. I’m a workaholic, if I’m honest with myself. That said, every other weekend, my mind and body revolt and refuse to allow me to do anything except sleep or just lay around watching movies or doing normal things like, you know, mowing the lawn. If I could will it, I would not sleep more than four hours a night, hit every show that comes to town, review every new release, put out a podcast every week, edit every submission within a few days of submission – in other words, manage Doomed & Stoned as if it were a full-scale webzine. I have to remind myself that I started this to build community and to have fun, so it’s okay to operate on a different model.
What's next? Any new projects?
This year, we’re on a roll with our compilations, thanks to some wonderful organizers who are embedded in their local scenes and are good at rounding up tracks from all the participating bands. We’ve released Doomed & Stoned in Ireland, Doomed & Stoned in Philadelphia, and Doomed & Stoned in New Zealand. Coming up, we’re doing Doomed & Stoned in South Africa, Doomed & Stoned in Sweden, Doomed & Stoned in Deutschland, and our fifth anniversary compilation, Doomed & Stoned in Portland III. Other than that, we’re in the third year of our flagship festival, Doomed & Stoned Festival, which takes place in October. Over the summer, we’ll have two new festivals: Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival and Ohio Doomed & Stoned Fest. We’ll likely be doing a festival in Portland later in the summer, too, perhaps doing an all-dayer in Eugene, too. We’ll see.
Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?
I have cats that I love to death. I’m a fanatical collector of B-movies, from the ‘60s and ‘70s especially – the more awful the movie is, production wise, the more I delight in it. Probably that has a lot to do with growing up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. When B-movies and cats collide with music, I’m in a very happy place (see the band Gurt!).
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Eye of The Destroyer – Starved And Hanging
Joe Randazza – Drums, Chris Halpin – Guitar, Christopher Vlosky – Vocals, Dan Kaufman - Bass
Obsessed with Death pounding heavy demonic death metal that tries to crush you. Crushed Between Earth And Bone slow plodding like being run over by a steam roller slow and painful. Starved And Hanging dark heavy deep demonic riffs that just try to steal your very essence. Mandatory Bludgeoning grabs you and pounds you into submission.
Arkheth – 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew
Tyrone Kostitch – All Instruments, Glen Wholohan – Saxophone
Trismegistus sounds of war evil and storm building with women weeping then just pure black demonic metal assaults you. Dark Energy Equilibrium deep dark melancholic evil ascends from under you to devour you. Where Nameless Ghouls Weep wolves howling witches conjuring and evil abounding. The Fool Who Persists In His Folly dissonance and evil intent surrounding and devouring. A Place Under The Sun dragging you down to hell slowly and painfully.
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Louis Rando – Drums, Lynton Cessford- Guitar, Jamie Kay – Vocals, Ainsley Watkins – Bass, Jarrod Curley – Guitar
Manic Onslaught spoken words and then death and destruction rain down on you in immense proportions. Insanity Reality the pity goes wild and crazy with evil aggression. Repugnant sounds slowly building thundering along with power and warlike intent. Despondency chained to the road a steam roller working its way toward you ready to smash your entire body into the asphalt. The Great Divide searching for a way to cross the great divide of evil. Victimizer being pounded and victimized in every way possible thru dark heavy music. Tormented just jackhammers you from start to finish. Evil Upheaval evil rises from the black abyss and just takes over the entire world. Vile Defloration slow melancholic melodic guitars and percussion that works its way into a frenzy.
Gygax – Second Edition
Eric Harris – Vocals/Bass, Bryant Thockmorton – Guitar, Jeff Potts – Guitar, Peter Campbell – Drums
Dice Throwers Rock N Rollers just good old fashioned blues based rock n roll that makes you move and groove. It Makes It Worth It foot tyappin air guitar playing solid bluesy hard rock that will make you close your eyes and just drift along. The lascivious Underdark sit down kick back and enjoy some excellent drum bass interplay with a catchy riff and great sing along vocals and soaring guitar leads. Pure Hearts is a very Thin Lizzy Influenced melodic hard rock song that will stay with you for days. Song Of The Silver Hands is a style of song that you would walk into an old backwoods bar and hear the band jamming out to. Wish is an excellent 70s style of melodic hard rock ballad full of emotional playing and singing. Heavy Meddle awesome bass guitar work that just works its way into your brain with great playing and bluesy emotion. Second Wind a great song to cruise down the road listening to and tappin your foot to.
Nest – Metempsychosis
Kyle Keener – Guitar, Corey Stringer – Drums/Vocals
Metempsychosis industrial sounds. The Cowardice And Rashness Of Courage slow droning music demonic vocals that drag you to the black abyss. Gallows Of Forever weird melancholy guitar the a sound that grabs you by the throat and chokes the life outa you. Heretic plodding droning music and rough demonic vocals that just rip into you. Diving By The Entrails Of Sheep plucking slow guitar that moves into overdrive dissonance. Jewel Of Iniquity slams into you from the first riffs and just tears you apart. From Darkness In Me Illuminate evil rising from below taking you back down with it. Life’s Grief death stoner rock metal that just slowly takes you down to hell. Outro high pitch noised and weird sounds.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
"Religare" is a tribute to all the Asian influences who inspired the band and is out now.
"Religare" is the mix of Post-Black Metal, Jazz and Acid Jazz influences, organic drums and electronic / breakcore beats.
Some of their musical influences for this album are: Igorrr, Chic, Blacklodge, Aphex Twin, Pavillon Rouge, Mr. Bungle, Pryapisme, Persona 5 OST, Miles Davis, Deafheaven, Krallice, Macross 82-99.
Lvx : Vocals, Electronics.
A-152 : Bass, Guitars, Drums, Drum Beats, Electronics
Scree : Guitars
Benjamin Marchal : Additional Drum Beats
"Religare" was recorded by Benjamin Marchal in October MMXVII at "La Main Noire Studio".
Mixed and Mastered by Benjamin Marchal.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BVDKvlt/
1. Le Chariot pt. 1
2. Le Soleil pt. 1
3. Le Soleil pt. 2
4. L'Arcane Sans Nom
5. La Maison-Diev pt. 1
6. La Maison-Diev pt. 2
7. Le Chariot pt. 2
Monday, May 21, 2018
The Smashing Pumpkins Announce Additional Dates On The Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour, Metric Announced As Support For Tour
Photo credit: Olivia Bee
GRAMMY® Award-winning, acclaimed alternative rock pioneers, The Smashing Pumpkins today announced additional dates on their upcoming Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour. The band will perform in London, Ontario on August 9th, Calgary, Alberta on September 8, and Edmonton, Alberta on September 9. Tickets for the shows will go on sale to the general public starting this Monday, May 14th at 10:00am local time and be available at www.smashingpumpkins.com, LiveNation.com, and via the Live Nation App.
The Smashing Pumpkins today also announced indie rock band Metric will support them on the tour. A complete list of upcoming Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour dates can be found below. Tickets for the tour's previously announced dates are on sale now.
Produced by Live Nation, the Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour is The Smashing Pumpkins' first tour in nearly 20 years to feature founding members Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin, and James Iha. Produced by Live Nation, the 39-city tour will kick off in Glendale, AZ on July 12, 2018 and visit North American arenas throughout the summer.
The monumental tour, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the band's formation, will highlight music from the group's inception through 2000, and will exclusively feature material from their groundbreaking debut Gish through Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Adore, and Machina. Longtime Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder will also take part, as the band moves to a three guitar lineup to better emulate the signature tones and textures of their albums.
Formed in Chicago, IL in 1988, The Smashing Pumpkins released their heralded debut album Gish in 1991 and found mainstream success with 1993's 4x multi-platinum Siamese Dream and 1995's 10x multi-platinum Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. With nine studio albums and over 30 million albums sold to date, the GRAMMY®, MTV VMA, and American Music Award winning band remains an influential force in alternative rock.
The Smashing Pumpkins are represented by Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group.
In 2009, Metric self-released their 4th studio album Fantasies, which sold over 500,000 albums and millions of singles worldwide. Fantasies was followed by the band's 5th studio album Synthetica (2012), and more recently Pagans in Vegas (2015). The band has completed their next album, which is expected out in 2018. Metric became the first band in history to have a Top 20 hit at US commercial radio without the backing of a label. Metric also collaborated with legendary composer Howard Shore on writing the official theme song and score music for the Twilight saga's blockbuster film Eclipse, which was nominated for both Grammy and Oscar awards.
Smashing Pumpkins 2018 North American Tour Dates
July 12, 2018
Gila River Arena
July 14, 2018
Oklahoma City, OK
Chesapeake Energy Arena
July 16, 2018
Frank Erwin Center
July 17, 2018
July 18, 2018
American Airlines Center
July 20, 2018
July 21, 2018
KFC Yum! Center*
July 22, 2018
Infinite Energy Arena
July 24, 2018
July 25, 2018
July 27, 2018
Royal Farms Arena
July 28, 2018
Wells Fargo Center
July 29, 2018
Mohegan Sun Arena
July 31, 2018
August 01, 2018
New York City, NY
Madison Square Garden
August 04, 2018
PPG Paints Arena
August 05, 2018
Little Caesars Arena
August 07, 2018
August 08, 2018
Air Canada Centre*
August 09, 2018
Budweiser Gardens - On Sale May 14
August 11, 2018
August 13, 2018
United Center - SOLD OUT
August 14, 2018
August 16, 2018
Kansas City, MO
August 17, 2018
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
August 19, 2018
St. Paul, MN
Xcel Energy Center
August 20, 2018
August 21, 2018
Sioux Falls, SD
Denny Sanford Premier Center
August 24, 2018
August 25, 2018
August 27, 2018
August 28, 2018
Golden 1 Center
August 30, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
The Forum - SOLD OUT
August 31, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
September 01, 2018
San Diego, CA
September 02, 2018
Las Vegas, NV
September 04, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT
Vivint Smart Home Arena
September 05, 2018
September 07, 2018
Ford Idaho Center
September 08, 2018
Scotiabank Saddledome - On Sale May 14*
September 09, 2018
Rogers Place - On Sale May 14*
The Smashing Pumpkins