Thursday, May 24, 2018

Folks Behind The Music: Billy Goate of Doomed & Stoned


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. 

What's the hardest thing you encounter in promoting shows?

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.

White Wail
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. 

Reptile Master
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.

Chrome Ghost
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

The Xroadie Files


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.  


-Xroadie

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Religare" is the second full-length from the french female-fronted band BVDK


"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.

Lineup:
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.

Links:
 

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
8. L'amovrevx

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           
Glendale, AZ           
Gila River Arena

July 14, 2018   
Oklahoma City, OK           
Chesapeake Energy Arena

July 16, 2018           
Austin, TX           
Frank Erwin Center

July 17, 2018           
Houston, TX           
Toyota Center

July 18, 2018           
Dallas, TX           
American Airlines Center

July 20, 2018           
Nashville, TN           
Bridgestone Arena

July 21, 2018           
Louisville, KY           
KFC Yum! Center*

July 22, 2018           
Atlanta, GA           
Infinite Energy Arena

July 24, 2018           
Miami, FL           
AmericanAirlines Arena

July 25, 2018           
Tampa, FL           
Amalie Arena

July 27, 2018           
Baltimore, MD           
Royal Farms Arena

July 28, 2018           
Philadelphia, PA           
Wells Fargo Center

July 29, 2018           
Uncasville, CT           
Mohegan Sun Arena

July 31, 2018           
Boston, MA           
TD Garden

August 01, 2018           
New York City, NY           
Madison Square Garden

August 04, 2018           
Pittsburgh, PA           
PPG Paints Arena

August 05, 2018           
Detroit, MI           
Little Caesars Arena

August 07, 2018           
Montreal, Québec           
Centre Bell

August 08, 2018           
Toronto, Ontario           
Air Canada Centre*

August 09, 2018           
London, Ontario           
Budweiser Gardens - On Sale May 14

August 11, 2018           
Columbus, OH           
Schottenstein Center

August 13, 2018           
Chicago, IL           
United Center - SOLD OUT

August 14, 2018           
Chicago, IL           
United Center

August 16, 2018           
Kansas City, MO           
Sprint Center

August 17, 2018           
Indianapolis, IN           
Bankers Life Fieldhouse

August 19, 2018            
St. Paul, MN           
Xcel Energy Center

August 20, 2018           
Omaha, NE           
CenturyLink Center

August 21, 2018           
Sioux Falls, SD           
Denny Sanford Premier Center

August 24, 2018           
Seattle, WA           
KeyArena

August 25, 2018           
Portland, OR           
Moda Center

August 27, 2018           
Oakland, CA           
Oracle Arena

August 28, 2018           
Sacramento, CA           
Golden 1 Center

August 30, 2018           
Los Angeles, CA           
The Forum - SOLD OUT

August 31, 2018           
Los Angeles, CA           
The Forum

September 01, 2018           
San Diego, CA           
Viejas Arena

September 02, 2018           
Las Vegas, NV           
T-Mobile Arena

September 04, 2018           
Salt Lake City, UT           
Vivint Smart Home Arena

September 05, 2018           
Denver, CO           
Pepsi Center

September 07, 2018           
Boise, ID           
Ford Idaho Center

September 08, 2018           
Calgary, Alberta           
Scotiabank Saddledome - On Sale May 14*

September 09, 2018           
Edmonton, Alberta           
Rogers Place - On Sale May 14*

*Without Metric

The Smashing Pumpkins

 Metric

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Rob "Blasko" Nicholson



Let's start with your name and what you do.  Let's have it.

- Blasko. I wear many hats, but most commonly I am the bass player for Ozzy Osbourne.

Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of spreading the word about music?

- I was in a thrash metal band in the 80’s and that was the scene. A lot of tape trading and fanzines. Sharing music and turning your friends onto cool music was just what we did. Metal and Skating were all consuming!

As a busy musician how do you find the time to stay in touch with the underground, and what do you see happening there that excites you?

- Spotify and Band Camp are great tools for music discovery. But the real winners are the blogs and DJ shows / Podcasts like Electric Beard of Doom, Into the Void and Fuzz Heavy. The Doom Charts and the Obelisk are amazing portholes into the underground as well.

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?

- Kiss Destroyer was the beginning of the end for me. It all starts there and everything that followed was a natural progression; AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Metallica, Slayer etcetera. You know the story. Kiss and Sabbath is what set my course for all things heavy and dark, but Slayer is the band that made we want to be in one of my own.

What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?

- Wow, it’s gonna be tough to narrow it down to one, but I would say Rituals by Rotting Christ.

What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?

- Well we are in a transitional period which is both good and bad. All the while the only real thing that has changed up till now has been the formats that we choose to listen to whether it be 8tracks or CD’s. The process was always the same…. like a band, go to a store and buy their record. Now the format and the behavior is totally different with streaming. The potential downside of this is that all artists are created equal in that anyone can make music and add it to all the major services and in this case we level the playing field and it becomes more difficult for bands to rise above the clutter as their is much more competition. However the good is that never before have we had so much access to music. As a music fan and consumer I find it to be an amazing experience.

What do you think of the small labels in the underground?

- They are beyond necessary. They still believe in the music. There is still passion there.

What's been your all time greatest "Find"?  That band you "discovered" before anyone else and started the word spreading?

- That might have been the Grey Britain album by The Gallows. A lot of people slept on that band and specifically that album. It is one of the best albums ever made. For them it all kinda fell to pieces after that album, which may be somewhat telling why the album is so next level.

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?

- Black Metal by Venom. I would be curious to know more about the origin of the song. What their inspiration was. Did they foresee it being the seed for an entire genre?

Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.

- Them Evils, Haggard Cat and Haunt… although I am probably not telling you anything you don’t already know.

Tell us about your personal music collection.  Vinyl?  CD?  What's your prized possession?

- I kinda got into this minimalism thing, so got rid of all my cd’s and most of my vinyl with the exception of my Black Sabbath and Black Flag collection. I did however just pick up a new turntable and I am gonna start getting back into vinyl. I always loved the experience.

What makes it all worthwhile for you?

- It’s my life. It’s what I am the most excited about everyday.

How would your life be different if you weren't spreading the word about music?

- Very boring and unfulfilled.

Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?

- Not yet!

In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?

- I am proud that I am self made. I took responsibilities for my own life and made no excuses for any short falls along the way.

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?

- My business is my day job but I am fortunate that I don’t need to consider it “work".

What's next?  Any new projects?

- I am currently on tour with Ozzy in South America. We just kicked off the Farewell Tour so many more shows to go!

Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?

- Cats!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Scientists announce FIRST US TOUR EVER - Aussie garage punk legends return!


Hear & share Absolute "best of" compilation (Bandcamp)



Australian punk legends, and unwitting influencers of the original "grunge" sound, The Scientists announce their first-ever U.S. tour today. the brief trek kicks off September 28th in Portland, OR. Please see all dates below.

Founder and songwriter Kim Salmon has reunited the mid-80s lineup with Tony Thewlis, Boris Sujdovic, and Leanne Cowie to record a new album for In The Red Records.

THE SCIENTISTS FIRST-EVER U.S. TOUR:
09/28 Portland, OR @ Dante's w/ Mudhoney
09/29 Seattle, WA @ The Neptune w/ Mudhoney
09/30 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
10/02 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon
10/03 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon
10/05 Austin, TX @ Beerland
10/06 Austin, TX @ Beerland
10/07 Chicago, IL @ The East Room
10/09 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
10/10 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
10/11 Greenfield, MA @ The Root Cellar


For more information:

DIAMOND HEAD Return to North America!



Diamond Head return to North America on Thursday, May 24 for a string of live dates.  The exclusive performances include the band's return to Rocklahoma where the band are a top billing artist alongside Godsmack, Ghost, Motley Crue's Vince Neill, and Clutch.

Guitarist Brian Tatler comments: "‘Diamond Head are looking forward to returning to the United States to play at Rocklahoma and five other dates in Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois."  Continuing he notes, "we were booked to play at last years Rocklahoma but a storm arrived while we were waiting to set up and the festival decided to cancel all the bands for the rest of the evening. It is in hurricane alley after all, I am hoping this time we have good weather.

In April 2016 Diamond Head released their self-titled album.  It was their first new recording in almost a decade. Embraced by fans, Diamond Head earned critical acclaim worldwide; it was heralded as a monumental comeback for the 40-year old metal band.

Diamond Head are taking a break from recording their new album to perform the select dates.  They have reported that the mixing process is ongoing with an aim to release the album later this year.

5/24 - The Lost Well, Austin TX
5/26 - Rocklahoma, Pryor OK
5/29 - Token Lounge, Westland MI
5/30 - Jergels, Pittsburgh PH
6/01 - Q&Z Expo Center, Ringle Wi
6/02 - The Forge, Joliet IL

Tickets for Rocklahoma are still available at www.rocklahoma.com


Official Website

Official Facebook
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Friday, May 18, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Steve Howe Of Outlaws Of The Sun

Let's start with your name and your site.  Let's have it.

Hi Todd. My name is Steve Howe (Nope. Not the YES/ASIA Guitarist). I run Outlaws Of The Sun. OutlawsOfThesun.Blogspot.com

Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of spreading the word about music?

Well I originally started blogging back in February 2011 when I started and created The Sludgelord.  An ex-friend and colleague needed a review done for his band. So I created the blog just to get the word out for his band and drum up some interest.

The Sludgelord escalated from there. As I was doing more and more reviews as time went by. Only meant to be a 6 week project. I stayed with Sludgelord for 4.5 years until I left in June 2015. I came up with the idea of starting a new blog but focusing on the music I originally set up The Sludgelord for.

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?

My musical history is quite varied. When I was a teenager I was mostly into commercial dance and rave music. Then when I turned 18 years old I started getting into the grunge scene with bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. That opened a whole new door for me and heavy music in general.

I soon moved onto Stoner Metal in 1995/96 when I started to listening to Fu Manchu, Kyuss, SLEEP and Monster Magnet.

The first album I ever bought with my own money was a solo Phil Collins album. Can’t remember the title.

So I would say Soundgarden’s Superunknown album was my first musical epiphany moment.

Album that terrified the hell out of me. I think it was Death’s 1991 album – Human. As I never heard anything heavy as that. I was about 19 years old at the time. I only recently started listening to heavy music. So that is was an album that scared the shit out of me.

What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?

SLEEP – The Sciences. I’m a huge SLEEP fan and we’ve been waiting for this album so long that I thought the day it would never arrive.

Thankfully it did. And it’s a brilliant album that grabbed me from the very first listen.

What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?

Hard question to answer. I see the scene continue to go from strength to strength and hopefully some cool underground bands receive mainstream attention.

Bad. Perhaps some bands releasing the same sounding material as each other. Be cool to hear more experimentation within the scene.

With so many music sites, how would you describe what you do?  What's your unique take on the music and writing?

I’m perhaps like the other great sites currently out there. I provide honest and positive reviews for underground bands. Also interviews with bands and artists. Which is what I’ve always done since I started back in 2011.

I don’t have any unique take on music and writing. I just write what I feel personally about the music. If people like what I do then that’s great. If not then there is nothing I can do to change their mind.

Illegal free downloads on your site.  Yes or no, and why?

No. As it’s too much trouble to do this. Since starting the blog I now know that bands, artists and labels lose a lot of money to illegal free downloads. Something I don’t really want to be apart of.

What's been your all time greatest "Find"?  That band you "discovered" before anyone else and started the word spreading?

I don’t know if I can describe my greatest find. As the blogging scene is very active and we all discover the same bands mostly at the same time. Though I have got a few bands record deals over the years. Well that’s the bands tell me.

I was perhaps the first blog (Sludgelord) to publicize bands heavily such as Traitors Return To Earth and OHHMS.

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?

Easy. DOPESMOKER. As it’s perhaps one of the finest Doom/Stoner Metal songs ever written. It’s important as a lot of the mainstream press recognize this as one of the defining moments of the Doom/Stoner Metal movement.

Plus it has a legendary recording process and release process around it. 3 different versions of the same album that was released. Not many albums have that sort of history.

Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.

Morag Tong – Fantastic Ambient/Doom/Sludge Metal from the UK.
Boss Keloid – Mind Inducing Progressive Sludge Metal from the UK who have just released their best album to date with Melted On The Inch
Satori Junk – Italian /Doom Metal who will be releasing their new album very soon.

Tell us about your personal music collection.  Vinyl?  CD?  What's your prized possession?

Vinyl all the way for me at the moment. Prized Possession. Well I do have a few test pressings of Karma To Burn, Clutch, Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu. So I would say those ones.

What makes it all worthwhile for you?

Well I get to listen to a lot of cool music ahead of schedule and I get to write about the album as well.

Seeing bands getting mainstream recognition even though the underground scene knew how great this band was way before them.

How would your life be different if you weren't writing about music?

It would be very different. I would probably be wasting my time watching movies, going to the gym, playing video games and meeting up with friends and family. - Wait that’s my life now.

Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?

Never been threatened physically or in-person. Though I’ve received a few negative emails from bands as I didn’t review their albums. About as nasty as it’s got for me.

In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?

Just providing honest and open reviews and interviews with the bands I’ve featured over the last 7 years or so.

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?

Yeah. There’s a day job. I work a normal 7 to 4 job. 5 days a week. Plus I go to the gym afterwards each work day.

I receive no pay at all. All of this is down to my free time. I spend roughly about 30 hours a week working on the blog. I don’t know myself how I find the balance. I manage to work on my normal reviews and interviews.

I used to have timetable to have reviews completed by. However even this took too much time to complete. So I stopped using that and I just go with the flow when updating reviews.

Plus I have a very cool and dedicated team on the blog that help me out with reviews. So thanks should also go to: Bruno, Todd, Hakan, Simon and Gavin.

What's next?  Any new projects?

Just to carry on the with the blog. No exciting new projects I’m afraid.

Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?

Just the usual. Going to the gym, hanging out with friends. Going to the cinema and watching movies.

I’m a huge comic book nerd. Especially with the films and Netflix TV series.
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