Primus, Mastodon, All Them Witches, and Jjuujjuu announce big U.S. tour.

Weird rock maestros Primus, metal giants Mastodon, psych-rockers Jjuujjuu, and blues-psych heavyweights All Them Witches are going on tour starting in May.  Primus and Mastodon will share the stage with Jjuujjuu and All Them Witches on various spots of the tour, but any of these dates are worth seeing.  This will probably be one of the heaviest / trippiest tours of the year, so don’t miss it.

Keep your mind open.

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The Sword’s new album, “Used Future,” is due March 23rd, but the first single is already here.

Metal masters the Sword will release their next album, Used Future, on March 23rd and are planning a U.S. tour to promote it.  They’ll be touring with another fine stoner rock band – King Buffalo.

The first single from Used Future, “Deadly Nightshade,” is already available and will be an instant download if you pre-order the record.

Keep your mind open.

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Clutch announce spring tour with Red Fang, the Bronx, and Fireball Ministry.

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE SPRING HEADLINE TOUR DATES 
January 30th, 2018 – Clutch has just announced a string of Spring headline tour dates starting on April 27th in Chattanooga, TN.  Supporting the tour will be The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry.  Fan club pre-sale tickets will go on sale today, Tuesday, January 30th at 2:00 pm and will be available through Thursday, February 1st at 10:00 pm.  Fan club tickets will be available at https://www.mt.cm/clutchPassword: fans1. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, February 2nd at 10:00 am at local outlets as well as at pro-rock.com and  www.facebook.com/clutchband.
The band is currently in the studio working on their new record with producer Vance Powell (Jack WhiteChris StapletonOld 97sTyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Red Fang) at Sputnik Sound in Nashville.
Clutch, The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry Spring Tour Dates:
*Festival date 
04-27-18  Chattanooga, TN  The Signal
04-29-18  Jacksonville, FL  Welcome To Rockville*
04-30-18  Athens, GA  Georgia Theater
05-02-18  New Orleans, LA  House of Blues
05-03-18  Birmingham, AL  Iron City
05-04-18  Memphis, TN  Beale Street Music Fest*
05-05-18  Lexington, KY  Manchester Music Hall
05-06-18  Charlotte, NC  Carolina Rebellion*
CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:
Official: www.pro-rock.com
Keep your mind open.
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L7 – Detroit (live)

There aren’t many better ways to start a new year than a release from L7, and it’s ever better when it’s a recording of a crazy 1990 live show in Detroit.  Detroit begins with the band apologizing for arriving late, co-lead vocalist and guitarist Donita Sparks making fun of a drunk guy in the crowd, and then having issues with guitarist / co-lead vocalist Suzi Gardner‘s microphone before unleashing a sonic assault with “Fast and Frightening.”  Thankfully, Gardner’s microphone works just fine for “(Right on) Thru” as she belts out the vocals like a professional boxer.

“Scrap” chugs along like a monster truck.  “Broomstick” is a forgotten metal classic.  “Packin’ a Rod” seems to fly by at 100mph (and ends with more great banter of Sparks taking down the rude drunk).  The inclusion of one of their earliest hits, “Cat-O’-Nine-Tails” is a welcome one, and the first time I’ve heard it live.  It’s crazier (and better) than I’d hoped it would be.  “Deathwish” is like a saw slicing through a log while the lumber mill is being swarmed by killer bees.  It ends with more fun banter like Sparks promising she’ll learn how to play guitar before their next tour.

“Till the Wheels Fall Off” has drummer Dee Plakas going bonkers through the whole track and probably terrifying most of the men in the crowd.  Gardner’s vocals on “Shove” are, as always, more like a hockey check than a push.  They end on “Bloodstains” before coming back for a fiery encore.  They initially offer to take requests, but that quickly devolves into drunken chaos in the crowd and Sparks dealing with tuner problems.  Bassist Jennifer Finch briefly teases playing some Black Sabbath before they announce “This is really going to suck, but we’re gonna do it anyway,” and launch into “Shitlist.”  This was when “Shitlist” hadn’t reached its levels of popularity that it has today.  This is the first time I’ve heard reverb effects on Sparks’ vocals (as she dedicates the song to her broken tuner), and they push her voice to the back wall of the venue.

Detroit is a welcome edition to L7‘s catalogue, and a nice time capsule of raw 1990’s rock.  By the way, they haven’t lost a thing.  They still hit as hard almost thirty years later.

Keep your mind open.

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Witch Mountain releases new single to help heat your home through the coming winter.

Portland doom metal powerhouses Witch Mountain have released the first single, “Midnight,” from their upcoming self-titled record.  It will melt your face and possibly power your furnace through even the harshest Seattle winters.  It has all the trademark touches you’d expect from them – Mordor army drums, sludge guitars, and powerful female vocals.

You can listen and buy the track on their Bandcamp page.  It’s an ominous, but good, sign for the new record and 2018.

Keep your mind open.

Northumbria – Markland

My wife and I were staying on the eighteenth floor of a downtown Toronto hotel while on vacation, and one night I could hear dark, heavy drone rock coming from…somewhere. It seemed to be coming out of the sky like the hum of UFO engines and up from the darkest parts of the city’s sewer system at the same time.

“Do you hear that?” I asked my wife. “I think someone’s playing some drone rock over at the plaza.”

“Is that what that is?” She asked.

It was Northumbria. To be specific, it was Dorian Williamson and Jim Feld playing a guitar and bass loud enough for us to hear it one block away and eighteen stories above the street. Furthermore, it wasn’t just noise. It was ambient, haunting waves of sound that immediately changed the feel of everything around you. Their new album, Markland, is an impressive journey through shadows and starlight.

Take the opening track, “Torngat,” for instance. They somehow manage to create guitars that sound like baritone saxophones. “Sunstone” is appropriate for druidic rituals and flying through a rainy street while hunting replicants. “The Night Wolves / Black Moon” is sure to freak out your dog (as it did mine) with its creepy sonics.

Thunder hails “Ostara’s Return,” which seems like the right way to start such a heavy and creepy track. “Still Clearing” does bring to mind an early morning on a beautiful glen, but there’s a hint of menace underneath it – as if the glen is haunted by a dark tragedy. I think the sun referred to in the title of “Low Sun I” is the setting sun, because it has a creepy dread to it.

That dread is amplified to near-horror movie soundtrack levels in “The Shoes of the Suffering Wind.” It evokes images of rocky shores, ship graveyards, and glistening fish-men rising from black depths in search of prey. “Low Sun II” is the soundtrack ofa tired army marching across a swamp for dry land before the sun sets on them. The beautiful “Wonderstrands” gets me thinking about string theory, and with “The Stars As My Guide” to end the album, I suppose that thought process shouldn’t surprise me. The final track is full of cosmic guitars that eventually whittle down to a lonely hiss not unlike an open communications link between a dead astronaut and mission control.

Another amazing aspect of this album is that there is no percussion in it. It’s all guitar and bass effects (as far as I know) and it’s never boring. Markland changes your perception of everything around you whether you’re across the room or eighteen stories above the street.

Keep your mind open.

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Clutch announces winter tour dates.

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE WINTER PSYCHIC WARFARE TOUR DATES WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OBSESSED
Clutch has just announced Winter tour dates for the continuum of their Psychic Warfare tour. Supporting the tour will be Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Fan club pre-sale tickets will start at 2:00pm ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday.  Exclusive fan club pre-sale tickets and show info available here: mt.cm/clutch.  The on sale date for the 4 Florida shows is TBD due to the hurricane in the region. Check the bands official website www.pro-rock.com for all upcoming ticket and show info.
Clutch will be entering the studio in early 2018 to begin work on their 12th studio album.
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch.  The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent,  No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts.     Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).
Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17               Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17                  Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues                         
Sat, 12-02-17                 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live                                          
Sun, 12-03-17                Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution                    
Tue, 12-05-17                Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17               Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall                          
Fri, 12-08-17                  Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre                                                     
Sat, 12-09-17                 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre                       
Sun, 12-10-17                Houston, TX at House Of Blues                         
Tues, 12-12-17               Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre                       
Wed, 12-13-17               Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre                       
Fri, 12-15-17                  Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex                     
Sat, 12-16-17                 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17               Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17                Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17                  Richmond, VA at The National                      
Sat, 12-30-17                 Knoxville, TN at The International                 

Sun, 12-31-17               Columbus, OH at Express Live

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

Rewind Review: Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

I’d heard and read that Blue Cheer (Dick Peterson – bass and vocals, Leigh Stephens – guitar, Paul Whaley – drums) were among the loudest bands of all time. Eric Clapton mentioned this in an interview I read once when he was talking about the psychedelic / stoner rock scene in late 1960’s. Other musicians seemed to whisper about Blue Cheer like speaking too loudly of them might unleash a sonic boom at any moment. So, I figured I should buy their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (which is Latin for “blue cheer,” by the way).

The album opens with what is widely considered to be the first heavy metal song ever released – their cover of “Summertime Blues.” It immediately pours on the distortion and drumming that sounds an army of Orcs is playing it. My favorite part of the cover is how they don’t bother singing the parts when the boss or the congressman in the song speak. They just play a quick bass, drum, or guitar solo instead. “Rock Me Baby” is a blues standard, showing that Blue Cheer could groove as well as blow out your eardrums.

“Doctor Please” is the first track on the album written by Peterson, and it’s almost eight minutes of howling vocals backed by wailing guitar, heavy drums, and angry dog-growl bass. “Out of Focus” almost starts that way with its funky, weird bass groove, but soon Whaley’s drum licks bring everything into a (somewhat fuzzy) focus.

“Parchment Farm” has guitar work that you can hear influenced bands like Earthless, Sleep, Kadavar, and Wolfmother. Stephens melted the first faces in 1968, and some people still haven’t recovered. Listening to “Second Time Around” is like hearing the first cries of Baby Stoner Rock. It’s a wild, bluesy, psychedelic trip with a crazy drum solo from Whaley. The band is allegedly named for a type of LSD, after all.

As wild as it is to hear Vincebus Eruptum now, it must’ve been mind-blowing in 1968. No one had done anything like this before, and many are still trying to do it now. From now on when people ask me, “What should I listen to if I want to get into stoner rock?” I’ll tell them to start with this.

Keep your mind open.

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Rest in peace, Chris Cornell.

I’m not sure what I can add to the thousands of words already written on the death of Soundgarden and Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell.  He was one of the best rock singers of my generation, and even sang the Bond theme for the modern version of Casino Royale – “You Know My Name.”

I’ll always remember him for his work on Soundgarden’s masterpiece album Superunknown.  The whole record is a stunning piece of work, and Cornell’s voice ranges from screaming metal work to psychedelic wanderings to doom metal growls.

He was open about his drug addictions, and there is already talk that his death might be the result of suicide.  I wish him peace and his bandmates and fans strength.

Keep your mind open.

 

Rewind Review: Fuzz – self-titled (2013)

Not one to rest on his laurels, Ty Segall has more side projects than a street hustler. Fuzz is one of his loudest and best. Along with Roland Cosio (bass) and Charlie Moothart (guitar), Segall (on vocals and drums instead of his usual guitar) and his pals created an album of metal distortion that was hard to match in 2013 and is still hard to match today.

The band is appropriately named, as the opener, “Earthen Gate,” starts like a bluesy heavy metal ballad but transforms into a heavy chugging fuzzed-out battle hymn. “Sleigh Ride” has, as far as I can tell, nothing to do with Christmas and jingle bells, but everything to do with the band’s love of Cream and Black Sabbath. This love of 1960’s metal bands continues on “What’s in My Head?”, in which Fuzz drifts back and forth between psychedelia and stoner metal.

“HazeMaze” hits hard right out of the gate. It’s like the soundtrack to a battle between giant robots. Seriously, someone needs to put this in the next Pacific Rim movie. “Loose Sutures” is excellent stoner metal. It’s full of reverbed vocals, heavy guitars, and pounding drums that sound like Segall decided to skip a day at the gym and made up for it on his kit.

“Preacher” is Cream mixed with Blue Cheer. “Raise” is Cream if Clapton, Bruce, and Baker said, “Screw it, turn up full volume on everything.” when recording (which, actually, I’m sure they did now and then). The rhythm grooves in it are superb. The album ends with “One,” the longest track on the album at just over six minutes (Fuzz doesn’t mess around.). It’s glorious, hard-hitting controlled instrumental chaos. The mosh pit this must induce is probably batshit crazy.

This record would’ve been in my top 10 of 2013 had I been keeping lists back then. They’ve put out a second record by now, II, so I need to seek it out pronto. You should, too. Seek out both. Get fuzzy.

Keep your mind open.

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