Sunday, February 25, 2007

Archons, Hostile Combover, Earthless and Om at the Casbah, San Diego February 24, 2007

Wow, back to back posts on gigs! I doubt this will happen again. Despite being located up in San Francisco, this was Om's first time playing in San Diego and I wasn't going to miss it. Going to the gig I knew nothing about Archons and Hostile Combover. I didn't want to do much research on them as to not have any bias seeing them for the first time. Turns out that both are based in San Diego along with Earthless.

First up was Archons, a trio of bass, drums and guitar. Their influences seemed to be from more traditional forms of metal along with it's subgenre of doom. They would trade doom riffs with a more fast style of riffing of traditional metal which made for some long songs that had some nice variations. Their sound reminded me of the recent High On Fire album which has a similar combination of metal influences to it.

Next was Hostile Combover, the second trio of the night. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a band with such a name and I'm still not sure who they'd compare to. They weren't heavy but have metal-esque riffing at times. They played too slow to be either punk or speed metal. For the most part their songs were long, but they didn't have the dynamics you'd see in the post-rock influenced metal bands. Their last two songs were the best when the guitarist and bassist switched instruments which created a more driving rhythm with their very solid drummer pounding away. He reminded me a bit of Dave Grohl in his style.

When Earthless came on there was more of a buzz in the room. Seems like the audience was really into them unlike the two previous shows I saw them. The played a blistering set as always that when on for a good 30+ minutes. Despite a mic problem on one of the bass amps, this was the finest set I've seen from them. I'm much looking forward to their new albums which is due in April.

Taking their time setting up, the ex-Sleep rhythm section that forms Om finally took the stage. Idiots yelling "Sleeeeep" and "play Dragonaut" peppered their set throughout. While it seemed that everyone showed up to see Om, the audience for the most part didn't seem to be into them. The set started a bit sloppy with the mellower track from their latest album 'Conference Of The Birds'. I thought it was a great way to start the show before getting into the more heavy tunes in their catalog. The wall of amps behind the duo was the largest I've seen in person and the bass filled the room and pounded on your chest, just the way I like it. I think a bigger venue with a better PA might have suited them better. I'm not sure if it was the band not into because the crowd wasn't great or vice versa, but they didn't quite live up to my high expectations for them. Still it was a very solid set and they played all my favorite songs. It was very hypnotic at times when you just close your eyes and forget everything.

So overall it was a great night. I don't think I'll ever go to a gig where actual bands (not solo artists) are playing and have the largest ensemble being a trio.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Astra, Earthless, and Red Sparowes at the Casbah, San Diego February 16, 2007

It's midway through February and finally went to my first gig of the year. On the bill was Astra, Earthless with headliners Red Sparowes. I had never heard of Astra prior to that night but apparently they used to go by Silver Sunshine until their lineup and sound changed. Both them and Earthless are bands local to San Diego with Red Sparowes up the road in L.A.

The previous times I've been to the Casbah there was a line out front waiting for the doors to open but this time there wasn't one. I though there might be a low turnout but eventually folks showed up. They started about 30-40 minutes late with Astra taking the stage first.

Astra reminded me a bit of less instense/noisey version of Comets On Fire with huge influence on psychedelic and progressive rock bands like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. The dummer was impressive on the kit and also doubled on flute (sometimes going through an effects box with it, hence the Hawkwind comparison). Along with a bassist and guitarist/singer was a keyboard player (Moog and mellotron) who also did backing vocals and played lead guitar. I enjoyed their ~50 minute set and am looking forward to their debut album. Nice to see there are some decent bands in San Diego these days.

Next up was Earthless, another band from San Diego. This was my second time seeing them (and certainly not the last) and they are loud power trio that played a ~45 minute set that contained all of one "song". With a some fuzzy, Geezer Butler-esque bass playing, manic drumming and some lead guitar playing that's a mix between Hendrix and Makoto Kawabata, it was nice to hear some new material from them. There was a bit less guitar soloing than the previous gig but the bass playing was more varied.

About ten till midnight Red Sparowes finally hit the stage with their three guitarists, bassist/pedal steel guitar player and dummer. Perhaps the because its such a small venue or the equipment isn't great, but the with all those guitars the sound was very muddy. While the wall of guitars was great and the bass thudding against your chest, the beautiful melodies they create were sometimes lost in the mix. I would have like to see more pedal steel playing and less of the three guitar attack. But as the set progressed the band really started clicking and had some very hypnotic and powerful moments of brilliance.

It was a nice gig overall despite running later than I'm used to and the fact that I forgot to bring ear plugs and I'm still paying the price with ringing in my ears a day later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The New Fu

The new Fu Manchu album, 'We Must Obey', arrived today directly from the band. Since they're just up the road it got here way ahead of the street date. It's one of my favorite releases of the year so far. Just some fantastic tunes on this disc. I also pre-ordered this album on clear vinyl which is due in late April/early May.

Also arriving was yet another order from All That's Heavy. I got Acid King's 'III' for very cheap since it was part of their daily deals. I also gambled on a CD by a band called Saturnia titled 'Muzak'. Nik Turner of Hawkwind fame and David Allen from Gong each play on a track. That sample I heard sounded very much like early Pink Floyd. Hopefully it will be another great psych rock album from Elektrohasch Records.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Archive CDs

It's always a great day when the latest releases from Scott Slimm's Archive Records arrive in the mail. Being mostly a documentation of live shows, both of the new releases are actually studio works. First up is a collaboration between Carlos Giffoni and Lasse Marhaug titled 'Lesbian Brunch'. Second is a release from Aidan Baker under his Nadja moniker titled 'Thaumogenesis'.

I also picked up a couple of distro items he had: Titan's untitled album on Paradigms and a live tour-only CD from acoustic guitarist James Blackshaw titled 'Waking Into Sleep'.

Monday, February 12, 2007


While I do see the Southern Record's Latitudes series at Lou's, it's always hit and miss with what they had. So I put in an (expensive) order across the pond to Southern to secure Circle's 'Tyrant' full-length and the fabulous EP 'Interpretations Of Three Psychedelic Rock Songs From Around The World' by Grails. They did throw in a comp titled 'Southern Records Presents: We Got Actions Too' which has some songs I already have but for the most part contains artists I'm not familiar with.

Friday, February 9, 2007

ATH Part 2

It's been a great week of new arrivals. My second order from All That's Heavy arrived along with an order from Robotic Empire. Both shops are excellent when it comes to mailorder.

The following are all CDs and include a couple of new releases:
Baroness - First (EP)
Baroness - Second (EP)
Neurosis - Times Of Grace
Orange Sunshine - Homo Erectus [2005 Reissue]
Orange Sunshine - Love=Acid, Space=Hell
Orange Sunshine - Bullseye Of Being
Reino Ermitaño - Reino Ermitaño
The Hidden Hand - Mother, Teacher, Destroyer
The Hidden Hand - Devoid Of Colour (EP) [2007 Reissue]
The Hidden Hand - The Resurrection Of Whiskey Foote
Titan - A Raining Sun Of Light & Love, For You & You & You

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

CD and a LP

Back to back days of getting a CD and LP in the post. Today brings the first 500mg LP called 'Vertical Approach'. It's a split release from Galactic Zoo Disk and Eclipse Records. I bought it in anticipation of the new 500mg LP and CD coming out by the end of the month (or early next month) from Three Lobed.

The CD is Ulver's second release 'Kveldsfanger'. After releasing their debut album of black metal they completely went in the opposite direction and made a Scandinavian folk album. Lots of acoustic guitars, flute and strings (mostly cello) along with some traditional sounding vocals. Although the atmosphere is at times similar to black metal, the production is excellent. I only wish this album was longer than 36 minutes.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

ATH Part 1

The first of my two recent orders to All That's Heavy showed up today which included the new 10" from San Diego's Earthless and a CD by the mysterious band Morkobot.

The live set from Earthless includes two excerpts from their 'Sonic Prayer Jam' and features some blistering guitar playing with a solid groove. I might be catching their gig later on in the month.

I know nothing about Morkobot other than they might be a side project from Italy's Ufomammut. The artwork is all hand silk screened from Malleus on thick cardboard-like paper. It's an absolute stunning CD package, one of the best I own. The music is not bad either. Pure instrumental music that ranges the spectrum from heavy to ambient. For more on Malleus' work go here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Moving Sale

The All That's Heavy online store recently had a moving sale and many of their titles were $5 off. So I picked many discs to fill in my collection. Also arriving very quickly was the new Blood Of The Black Owl album. The first 50 copies came with a reissue of the demo EP on CD-R in separate, handmade packaging. Blood Of The Black Owl was formally known as Svart Ugle, one of the many projects from Chet Scott (Ruhr Hunter, The Elemental Chrysalis, etc.).

Today's massive haul on CD:

Blood Of The Black Owl - 2007 - Blood Of The Black Owl (with demo CD-R limited to 50 copies)
Clutch - 1993 - Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes And Undeniable Truths
Clutch - 1997 - Impetus (EP)
Clutch - 1998 - The Elephant Riders
Clutch - 1999 - Jam Room [2004 Reissue]
Clutch - 2004 - Blast Tyrant
Core - 1999 - The Hustle Is On
Down - 1995 - NOLA
Hawkwind - 1970 - Hawkwind [2001 Reissue]
Hawkwind - 1974 - Hall Of The Mountain Grill [2001 Reissue]
Jesu - 2005 - Jesu
Jesu - 2006 - Silver (EP)
Spirit Caravan - 2003 - The Last Embrace (2 Discs)
The Stooges - 1969 - The Stooges (2 Discs) [2005 Remaster]
The Stooges - 1970 - Fun House (2 Discs) [2005 Remaster]

And the loan LP:

Hey Colossus/dot(.) - Split LP