In 2001, the Port Orchard, Washington trio of Shawn Johnson (drums), Scooter Haslip (bass), and Tony Reed (guitars/vocals) emerged from the jam room and studio to the live stage as Mos Generator and began to shake the Pacific Northwest with their incendiary and uncompromising live performances. Between 2002 and 2007, the band four full length studio albums and, in 2008, released a collection of some of Mos Generator’s finest moments by way of “Destroy! The Mos Generator”. By 2008, the band needed a well deserved break to clean up their lives, follow a different muse, and to recharge the energies that make a hard rock band successful.
In 2010, Tony Reed began a relationship with Ripple Music that saw the re-release of the entire Stone Axe catalog, which opened the door to the possibilities of re-launching Mos Generator, and in late Fall of 2011, the long out-of-print debut self-titled “Mos Generator” album saw its re-release in a grand deluxe package. And, by the time of the re-issued debut album hit the streets, the band had already laid down the basic tracks for their first album of new material in over five years.
In October of 2012, “Nomads” will be received by a world-wide audience, who will experience an introspective journey into the depths of interpersonal relations, the struggle for soul survival, and the optimistic hope that it will all work out in the end, all performed over the bands trademark sound of explosive heavy dissonance combined with equally beautiful melodic passages.
You can wade through as many press quotes about “Texas-sized” as you want or see how many top-whatever lists Wo Fat have made since the Dallas trio got started in 2003, but none of that is going to be the same as staring down their swampadelic fuzz groove for yourself. If you want to know the monster, shake its hand.
In 2014, Wo Fat will release “The Conjuring”, their fifth full-length and second through Small Stone. Like their last two, 2012’s “The Black Code” and 2011’s “Noche del Chupacabra”, it’s a heavy-riff/heavy-jam blast of a time – the kind of record that turns the vaguely interested into converts and that makes the corners on squares look even sharper. Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter are jazz-combo tight and their roll is easy and natural, like you remember Fu Manchu being, but bigger-sounding and in the case of “The Conjuriing”, darker as well.
There’s been a creature lurking in the woods since Wo Fat’s 2006 debut, “The Gathering Dark” – their second album, 2009’s “Psychedelonaut”, pulled back on the threat some to lighten the mood – but whether it’s the motor-driven rush of “Read the Omens” or the you’re-already-lost-in-it riff-exploration of 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker”, “The Conjuring” is indeed a backwoods ritual. Bluesmen have sold their souls for less.
Veterans of Roadburn, slated for Freak Valley 2014 and self-sufficient with Stump handling the recording at his own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Wo Fat push their jams farther than they’ve ever gone before on these five tracks. Topped off with a mastering job from Nolan Brett at Stump’s studio and an otherworldly cover courtesy of Alexander Von Wieding, the beast that Wo Fat’s tectonic riffage calls to earth has never seemed more real or more alive than it does on “The Conjuring”.
Space is trippy, Witch is heavy. Let it be known that the ones who are called Space Witch were spawned in the shining month of July 2007 AD in the kiln strewn kingdom of Stoke on Trent.
They unleashed their astral drone, and the peasants were afraid and they flung themselves down and prayed to the one, for they knew the time had come for the Space Witch, in all her arcane and timeless glory, to finally return to the earth and claim what was rightfully hers.
Press “play” on Slow Season’s second full-length album “MOUNTAINS” [RidingEasy Records], and you might just forget what era you’re in. It could very well be the sixties, seventies, or now. It almost doesn’t matter though because this is hypnotic, heavy, and howling rock ‘n’ roll that defies both musical and temporal categorization. The Central California quintet—Daniel Rice [vocals, guitar], David Kent [guitar], Hayden Doyel [bass], and Cody Tarbell [drums]—scale new heights, while recognizing where it all began.
“I’d love for people to wonder if this record is actually from 1969,” grins Cody. “We wanted to capture that spirit. That was the goal.”
In order to do so, the musicians holed up in Cody’s home studio, which actually doubles as his parents’ garage, and cut the ten tracks on “MOUNTAINS” throughout the course of early 2014. Hayden had just returned home from a short detour at college in Idaho before recognizing he belonged jamming with his brothers. Officially back in the fold, excitement to record proved pervasive. Moving when inspiration struck, they actually recorded the songs live on reel-to-reel tape. Eschewing the digital mindset of today and not even uttering the words “Pro Tools”, everything was caught on analog, giving the music a crackling kinetic energy.
“I like everything associated with reel-to-reel,” Cody goes on. “I love the sound. I like the mojo that comes along with it.”
“Working with the limitations of tape really pushed us to play our best,” adds Daniel. “You have to prioritize your ideas. You can’t layer too much on there. You also have to nail the takes. You don’t get to go back and cut paste. You have to feel it when you’re playing it. When everything comes together, it really shines because we’re all playing together on tape.”
They lock in during the album opener and first single, “Sixty-Eight”. It snaps into a bluesy riff and bombastic beat before Daniel lets out a soaring refrain and a screeching solo roars. “We wanted to nod back to Led Zeppelin,” the vocalist says. “We managed to get this really big sound in the garage. It’s very organic and natural. The subject matter is pretty gnarly, and I’d encourage everyone to take a close listen to the lyrics.”
That mystique carries over to the hazy “Synanon”, which details the exploits of a mountain cult nearby where the boys reside. Meanwhile, “Endless Mountain” drives forward on robust guitars and propulsive drums. It also reflects the overarching theme inherent within the title.
“MOUNTAINS embody a few things,” explains Daniel. “They’re difficult, seemingly insurmountable, and bigger than us. They’re both foreboding and beautiful at the same time. I had been doing a lot of hiking and backpacking in the higher Sierra Nevada. It all fit together. We live right next to Sequoia National Park, and we go up there all the time. We connect with the idea of man versus nature.”
Slow Season first emerged in 2012 with their self-titled debut. Supported by shows throughout California and nationally, they began to garner palpable buzz. Now, “MOUNTAINS” kicks off their next chapter. However, they’ll continue to exist within an epoch of their own.
Daniel leaves off, “I want to people to walk away knowing there’s integrity behind the music, the process, the words being sung, and the notes being played. We love what we do, and we hope that listeners do too.”