Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Archive CDs, An Order From Aquarius and A Couple Discs Lost In The Shuffle

Slipping through the cracks was a pair of releases by Half Makeshift that arrived earlier in the month. A one-man project, Half Makeshift uses piano and organ as lead instruments to create atmospheric and at times heavy music (such is the case on the 20 Buck Spin release). The other release on the new CD-R label Small Doses maintains the more atmospheric and ambient drone side of Half Makeshift and makes for some excellent background music.

Continuing to try different ways of packaging a CD, Archive has released two new albums that come in vellum overlays with graphics by Chase Middaugh. A three song, single live track from Japan's Suishou No Fune has the group in duo form drenched in echo performing an excellent set that I like much better than their last release. Heavy Winged's second release of the year is more psych-noise jams that go over 10 minutes each. I also picked up the new James Plotkin CD (part of Utech's Arc series) through the distro.

Finally arriving from Aquarius Records is the debut full length CD from San Francisco's Wooden Shjips. The limited edition includes all of their vinyl releases on a second disc which is a great to have a pressed CD of all that material. Their new material is a bit different from the vinyl but I think I'll like it just the same. After enjoying a track with a split with Hush Arbors, I ordered the new album from Voice Of The Seven Woods. Certainly a heavy Six Organs Of Admittance influence apparent on the full length album.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

20 Buck Lore

Couple of orders arriving in the mail on Monday from Profound Lore and 20 Buck Spin.

Profound Lore has recently released sophomore albums from Atavist and The Angelic Process. Atavist sounds very similar to earlier Sunn O))) but with more going on behind the subsonic riffage. The Angelic Process reminds me of a mix of Jesu, The Goslings and Nadja.

From 20 Buck Spin one of their new releases is a split CD from Grey Daturas and Monarch!. The former I've never heard before while the latter has a huge Thorr's Hammer/Khanate influence to them. Turns out Grey Daturas also have similar influences but go with instruments only. I also picked up some distro items like the debut EP from Zoroaster, the 3-way split from Discordance Axis, Corrupted and 324 and Deathspell Omega's 'Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice'.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Week In Review

Lots of new stuff arriving this week in the post. First in was the latest vinyl release from Three Lobed Recordings. A 12" from Sarin Smoke (the duo of Peter Swanson and Tom Carter) along with a CD EP live recording is some mellow, "meditative" guitar duo work that works great as background music or something to relax to. Nice silk screened black and white artwork and thick heavy black wax make for another solid release from Three Lobed.

Coming from No Idea Records, who are mostly a punk rock label, was three albums from Atom And His Package ('Package' being his sequencer) and the second "lost" album from Floor. Atom is someone who I heard about years ago in college and I finally got around to buying some of his albums. I've not heard Floor's 'Dove' yet but hopefully it's as good as their self-titled album.

Forgetting that I was going to see them on Thursday, I made the mistake of ordering the deluxe edition of High On Fire's new album from Relapse. It comes with a "making of" DVD that hopefully is worth the few extra bucks. But I did finally order the latest full length from Zombi, who I saw live last year. The album is good but it doesn't match the experience of their live show. Also coming in the order is the remaster of Sun Dial's 'Other Way Out' psych rock album along with an outtakes disc titled 'Other Way In'. They sort of fit in with the Spaceman 3/Spiritualized side of psych rock.

Friday, September 21, 2007

High On Fire, Mono, Panthers, Coliseum at the Cashbah, San Diego September 20, 2007

It was a sold out show at the Casbah last night as High On Fire and company kicked off their tour. Coliseum, hailing from Kentucky, started the night playing their punk-tinged doom metal. After breaking a snare drum on the first song and dealing with other drum issues described by their singer/guitarist as their "broken drummer", they ripped their set. Not quite my type of music but it was they were a good opener. Hope their drum issues get worked out for the rest of the tour.

From Brooklyn, New York Panthers were slotted next. After a couple songs apparently the power went out on stage left and the guitarist had a broken string. Panthers have that New York garage rock sound mixed with the heaviness of Black Sabbath for a sound I haven't come across so far. Usually with their type of music the vocals are never melodic, but their singer brought a Strokes-like vibe with his delivery.

Continuing with the diverse lineup was the New York-via-Japan instrumental band Mono. This was the second time I've seen Mono and they put on a hell of show. Perhaps it was because it was my second time seeing them, but I thought their set wasn't quite as good this time around. They've been touring for a long time and starting to tire of it. Nonetheless they played some of their best tracks incorporating the quiet to loud formula to perfection.

Closing out the night was the mighty High On Fire whose fourth album came out on Tuesday. The trio is getting huge and probably could have played a much larger venue. This was my first time seeing Matt Pike and company and they sounded great with their new bass player. New songs like 'Death Is This Communion', 'Turk' and 'Rumors Of War' were highlights of the show. An interesting note is that Mike is playing a 9-string guitar on these tracks. That certainly helps fill in the gaps that a trio usually has.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Robotic Empire

Picked up a CD and double LP from Robotic Empire. After being out print for years now, RE has reissued Isis' epic 'Panopticon' on vinyl. I went for the silver wax. The CD is the self-titled album from Floor, who no longer exist but whose members went on to form Torche. Floor certainly shares a similar sound.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The New Rig

Getting a nice bass guitar and having to play it on a cheap combo amp was just not going to work. So the search began for a new amp. My uncle had two cabinets from DeCuir loaded with 15" JBL K140 drivers that he's not using so I only needed to find a new head. At the Carvin showroom I played my bass on their BX1200 dual mono amplifier that was getting good reviews in the bass magazines.

So upon further testing on the BX1200 and their other bass amp (the BX1500), I felt the BX1200 was the right choice based the price and features on the amp. So I have my work cut out to find a tone that I like.

Next on the want list is a quality tuner (in pedal form) along with a fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedal.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Heavy Stuff

The latest batch of purchases focuses mostly on the heavy side of rock music. I picked up the new Baroness album simply titled 'Red Album'. A departure from their two EPs as the aggression has been turned down for more varied songwriting. Nadja's millionth release of the year is an EP called 'Guilted By The Sun' that is probably the heaviest thing they have done so far as well as their shortest release and individual songs. Valkyrie's self-titled debut album came recommended and after liking the first track I ordered the CD. I still need to listen to the whole thing.

For some older albums I picked up The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight's self-titled album that has some fine southern-inspired (instrumental) swamp jams on it. For a freebie I got Stinking Lizaveta's album 'III' which I believe is all instrumental as well. The lone LP in the group is a reissue of Sleep's coveted second album 'Sleep's Holy Mountain'. Comes in nice gatefold sleeve with original artwork and lyrics. Nice to see this hit the wax.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A New Toy

At the end of June I made the decision to get a new bass guitar. I've had a cheap Squire P-Bass since 2000 but I've never gotten around to learning how to properly play the damn thing. Now that I have time to play, looking at the Squire didn't give me much inspiration.

So after a quick trip to Guitar Center to see what they had, I went to the Carvin factory here in San Diego. After playing a few of their basses I knew I had to order one. Being left-handed limited my selection so ordering a custom bass was the way to go. I decided on the IC5WP, a 5-string with piezo pickups on the saddle and walnut wood. For options I went with the 5 piece maple neck with walnut strips, abalone black inlays, stainless steel frets and black chrome plated hardware.

Now the search begins for a new amp as my cheap 50W combo isn't cutting it. Oh and now I have to learn to really play...