Tag Archives: Black Sabbath


Up-and-Coming L.A. Four-Piece Starcrawler Play Rough Trade NYC

February 15th, 2018

Influenced by the likes of the Runaways, high school friends Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) have been doing their own take on post-punk since forming Starcrawler—“a hard-swinging stoner-metal quartet with a taste for ’70s glam and dazed SoCal sleaze,” per the Los Angeles Times—three years ago in L.A. Their catchy singles and feisty live shows (in Europe and at home) have earned praise from Dave Grohl, Elton John and Ryan Adams, the last of whom produced the band’s self-titled debut full-length (stream it below), out last month on Rough Trade Records. “They are raw, have attitude and strut with brazen impunity. For all their unabashed posturing, they could very well be the millennial Stooges; they’ve certainly got the demeanor,” said Exclaim. “In an industry littered with sycophants, Starcrawler’s brand of exuberant noise is refreshing. The future may be bright for these young guns.” Currently making their way across North America, Starcrawler (above, performing “I Love LA”) play Rough Trade NYC on Friday night. Sundown Club and Dr. Danny open the show.


Power Trio Earthless Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

December 12th, 2016

Influenced by krautrock, Japanese psychedelia and heavier rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Isaiah Mitchell (guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums) formed the (primarily) instrumental power trio Earthless (above, performing “Uluru Rock” earlier this year) a decade-and-a-half ago in San Diego. Their most recent release, Acid Crusher/Mount Swan (stream it below), came out earlier this year. “Forget traditional structure, the verse-chorus-riff stuff that your parents instilled in you. Forget the jams the Grateful Dead laid out or the way the Allmans did witchy stuff over at the Fillmore. Forget the way that Can could take you deep inside the music. Forget all that and then brace yourself when it kicks in overtime via your genetic memory. It’s like déjà vu all over again,” raves PopMatters. “Earthless is stoned. Immaculate.” And they are currently working their way up the East Coast to play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Psychedelic five-piece Ruby the Hatchet open the show.


Northside: Music Hall of Williamsburg and Rough Trade NYC Shows

June 7th, 2016

The Northside Festival—the annual eight-day showcase of music, film, food, ideas and entrepreneurship in Brooklyn—returns this week, for the eighth time. The fest began yesterday, but the music portion kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday. And we’ve got plenty of action all four nights that you won’t want to miss.

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Steve Gunn and the Outliners, Yonatan Gat and Cut Worms
Rough Trade NYC: the Prettiots, Chaos Chaos and Long Beard

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Jeff the Brotherhood, Flasher and Bombay
Rough Trade NYC: Dawn Richard, Kingdom and DJ Earl

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Psychic Ills, Weyes Blood and She-Devils
Rough Trade NYC: Frankie Cosmos playing songs from Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, Ava Luna playing songs from Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson and Deradoorian playing songs from Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality

Rough Trade NYC: Into It. Over It. and Hurry and Clique


A Sold-Out Sunflower Bean Party at The Bowery Ballroom

February 26th, 2016

Sunflower Bean – The Bowery Ballroom – February 25, 2016

A Sold-Out Sunflower Bean Party at The Bowery Ballroom
It doesn’t take much to turn something ordinary into something festive. For The Bowery Ballroom last night, all it took was some streamers hanging from the balcony and Mylar balloons (birthday-party chic?) to turn the rock club into party central. For Sunflower Bean there were plenty of reasons to celebrate: new album, hometown show, achieving “keep hearing their song on SiriusXM” status and that important on-your-way-up milestone of selling out the Bowery. After a good and rocking are-you-warmed-up-yet opening set from Honduras filled with Flying V guitar solos and plenty of fist-pump adrenaline, the packed house was ready for the party’s hosts and guests of honor, eventually chanting, “Bean! Bean! Bean!” as they took the stage.

Looking at the three members of Sunflower Bean, it seemed like each major high school clique got to send one representative to the trio. And their music felt the same way, deftly combining nerdy prog, stoner metal and cool-kid indie rock into a high-energy rock show of the sort that rightly fills a room with slam-dance-y kids and nodding, appreciative insider elders alike. They opened with “Human Ceremony,” the title track off that new LP, Julia Cumming’s gurgling bass riffs matching Nick Kivlen’s tie-dyed guitar riffs in the middle. By the third song, the appropriately named “Tame Impala,” off last year’s EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets, the trio had already channeled some combination of Black Sabbath, Rush and Blondie, and the front half of the room had devolved into a happy mosh pit, unable to contain the energy with mere head bobbing any longer. After Cumming chugged a possibly unnecessary Red Bull, they launched into “2013,” drummer Jacob Faber driving the trio like a high-end sports car in a commercial, beginning as a groove-rock thing before a swerving metal explosion and whiplash 60-to-0 ending.

At this point, there was no going back, the energy increasingly ratcheted up onstage and in the audience with each song. They bounced between brand new tunes, older numbers—one felt like just an excuse to jam out, Cumming ending up in the audience dancing, rocking the bass and looking good doing it all the while—and plenty of crowd-pleasing material off the album, all showing off their wide-ranging influences and skills, and with “Easier Said,” they showed they can do a very radio friendly indie-rock song as well. All parties, no matter how great they are, must come to an end, and Sunflower Bean encored with “Come On,” putting an exclamation point on an evening filled with them and ensuring that everyone there will RSVP ASAP when they get their invitation to the next one.
—A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Julia Berke | juliashootsfilm.tumblr.com


Wand Provide a Double Dose of Psychedelic Rock This Weekend

November 13th, 2015

Cory Hanson (vocals and guitar), Daniel Martens (guitar), Evan Burrows (drums) and Lee Landey (bass) formed the fuzzy-guitars-fueled psychedelic band Wand two years ago in Los Angeles. And, mentored by Ty Segall, they’ve been pretty busy ever since: Their debut LP, Ganglion Reef, came out in 2014. “The Los Angeles four-piece have a true sense of something shuddersome and darkly penetrating oozing through their absorbing debut,” proclaimed the Quietus. “Wand’s resultant mixture of the frenetic and the smooth is intoxicating.” Not to be outdone, the band (above, frontman does “1000 Days”) found the time to release a pair of full-lengths this year. The heavier Golem (stream it below) arrived first, back in May. And according to AllMusic, it “cuts out anything folky, paves over some of the fragile psych weirdness, and instead piles on the heavy, heavy noise, stomping into protoplasmic Black Sabbath territory at times.” In late September, 1000 Days came out, impressing the Los Angeles Times: The “album mixes tripped-out psychedelia, glam and rock with washes of analog electronics to create a wonderful retro-futuristic mess…. If 1000 Days sounds schizophrenic on paper, it all comes together when heard at full volume.” And you can hear Wand at high volume when they play The Bowery Ballroom tonight and Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night.


King Gizzard & the Little Wizard Take Music Hall on a Wild Ride

September 17th, 2015

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 16, 2015

Given the number of New York City shows King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have played in the past year, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re from around here—or at least nearby. It’s a little absurd then to remember that they’re actually from Melbourne … Australia. But like their Dungeons & Dragons–on-acid band name and their three-guitars-two-drums-bass-harmonica-and-occasional-flute lineup, there is little about these guys that isn’t absolutely absurd. So making NYC their Western Hemisphere outpost is right in character and, judging from the absurd energy inside Music Hall of Williamsburg last night, the crowd is happy to have them call our town home.

Before King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard got started, Toronto’s Michael Rault perfectly set the stage with an excellent set of overdrive garage rock that featured odd, shifting tempos, vocal harmonies, two-guitar jams and a nonstop flow of delectable bass playing that got the full house in the mood. After a quick changeover, the sound of Men at Work’s “Down Under” filled the room—a cheeky reminder that, no, the headliners didn’t just drive in from their Bushwick walk-up. The prolific seven-piece opened with some new material that nonetheless had the crowd bouncing and stage diving within minutes as brain-trip projections flashed behind them at an epileptic rate that kept pace with the intense two-drum rhythms. “Hot Wax” earned a roar of approval with its hot fusion of sounds, like the punk rock of CBGB and the psychedelic jams of the Wetlands exploding together in an at-home-in-NYC flash.

From there, things got, well, absurd. Songs leaped from genre to genre, from the metal of Black Sabbath to the flute-prog of old Genesis, from cosmic doo-wop to jazzy improv. Themes flipped from one to another without warning but also without whiplash, long extended jams sometimes circling back around again leaving you with a sensation of headbanger’s déjà vu (“Is this the same song?”). The set list bounced between yet-to-be-released new ones and what constitutes older material for a band that’s been churning out music for the past five years. “The River” was a representative highlight, beginning with a swinging jazz riff and then launching into a lengthy go-everywhere jam led by 12-string-guitar exploration and weird-out animations on the backdrop. “Head On/Pill” was another highlight: an epic that grew very quiet before a full-band spastic freak-out and a triumphant mid-song melodic climax, hitting a few other sweet spots before eventually coming back. After 90 minutes of breakneck no-encore-necessary playing and a promise to return soon (like there was any doubt!), there was only one way to describe King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: absurdly good. —A. Stein | @Neddyo




The Wytches End American Tour Tonight at Mercury Lounge

November 24th, 2014

Kristian Bell (vocals and guitar), Gianni Honey (drums) and Daniel Rumsey (bass and vocals) have been making doomy yet infectious music as the Wytches for three years. Based on the south coast of England, the surf-psych trio began to gain a following in the U.K.—including shout-outs from the Guardian and NME—thanks in part to the release of their debut single, “Digsaw,” an EP and because of their mesmerizing live shows. Their impressive debut full-length, Annabel Dream Reader, came out this past August, and NME made comparisons to Nirvana and Black Sabbath while mentioning “exceptional songs full of both melody and menace.” The Wytches (above, doing “Darker,” live in studio for WFUV FM) have been traveling the country in support of their new album, and that tour ends in New York City tonight at the early show at Mercury Lounge. A pair of Brooklyn bands, neo noir punk trio Lodro and doo-wop garage quartet the Teen Age, open the show.


Pond Evoke the Past While Providing a Glimpse at the Future

October 16th, 2014

Pond – The Bowery Ballroom – October 15, 2014

61-atxl1Having never been there, I imagine Australia to be like a bizarro northern hemisphere— perspective is flipped, up is down, the earth spinning in the other direction. For all I know, it’s possible the arrow of time is pointing in the other direction, so a band like Pond isn’t influenced by past greats, but is somehow instead influencing classic rock’s future past. As they tore through their late set last night at The Bowery Ballroom, the Perth quintet evoked the sounds of prog and psych rock—bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Black Sabbath and even David Bowie—but made these sounds their own from an alternate universe where those bands don’t even exist yet. Maybe that doesn’t make too much sense, but these are the kinds of things that run through your head when your body and brain are being jostled around by Pond’s live set.

Things got to that place quickly, particularly with “Giant Tortoise,” off last year’s Hobo Rocket, early in the set. With pixilated stripes of primary colors jiggling on the screen behind them, Pond deftly switched gears, high then low then back to high again, propelled by Jay Watson’s superlative drumming. The guys in the band didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously at all. Guitarist and lead singer Nick Allbrook wore a dress more appropriate for a picnic date and a Justin Bieber sweatshirt that only muddled the ensemble, plus he went on a long ad-libbed bit in the middle of “Fantastic Explosion of Time” that touched on a number of topics, including the taste du jour, pumpkin spice.

The music, though, twisted expertly through multisectioned compositions, heavy two-guitar rock-outs and more prog-y interludes. The crowd pulsed with each shift and crescendo, bouncing and bumping around the Ballroom floor. “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind” was a brilliant Pink Floyd–as-disco jam from their back catalog, while “Xanman” was pure Sabbath fist-pumping energy. As the music pulled in different directions, Pond remained tight, largely on the strength of Watson’s intense playing and focus. The set climaxed with “You Broke My Cool,” off their 2012 album, Beard, Wives, Denim, a dense double helix of psych and funk, and the closing “Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone).” That last tune was pure “save the best for last,” with a long spaced-out bridge zapped with a dreamy slide-guitar riff from Joseph Ryan. Evocative and futuristic all at once, which describes Pond through and through. —A. Stein

(Pond play Rough Trade NYC on Saturday.)


Swedish Extraterrestrials Descend on Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 24th, 2013

Goat – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 23, 2013

The backstory on Goat is that they’re from some isolated region of Sweden, but after watching the great cosmic freak-out that is their live show Tuesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, I’m not so sure that isn’t some sort of elaborate cover story for actually being a bunch of extraterrestrials here to rearrange our brains. The band, their music and the buzz surrounding them seemed to all appear at once in some kind of spontaneous combustion some time last year adding to my conspiracy theory. The coup de grâce, though, was how the entire group appeared onstage with masks on, fully dressed for some psychedelic costume party, hiding something.

Once they started playing, though, each instrument jumping in one at a time, the sold-out crowd wasn’t too concerned with Goat’s origins. The music was largely from last year’s World Music album, which is an apt title: Their show was like these aliens had swallowed the planet whole—the people, their music, their clothing, their cultures—and then regurgitated it in mind-numbing musical form. The result was Indian raga crossed with Afrobeat and Native American tribal rhythms through some sort of Black Sabbath-meets-the-Grateful-Dead rock and roll lens. In a word: Whoa!

The set was 60 minutes of relentless activity, the crowd alternating between funk-night boogie, arms-raised raging and eyes-closed beatification. Most pieces opened into an extended instrumental jam, guitars, bass, drums and congas reaching some interplanetary spot. As awe-inspiring as these forays were, the keys to the operation, surprisingly, were the two ladies up front who sang, undulated, danced and maraca-ed their way across the stage in constant motion. Their voices brought form to the songs, their percussive flourishes were the imported finery the music was draped in, their movement rooted the audience to terra firma, lest our bodies join our minds on the mother ship, to be taken back to that spot in Scandinavia, or whatever planet Goat call home. —A. Stein


Opeth Bring Swedish Metal to The Wellmont Theatre Tonight

April 19th, 2013

The Swedish metal band Opeth formed in Stockholm more than two decades ago, influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and “occult-infused Scandinavian death metal.” There have been multiple lineup changes since the band’s debut, Orchid, was released in 1995. But the one constant has been frontman (and guitarist) Mikael Åkerfeldt, who is now joined by guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, drummer Martin “Axe” Axenrot, bassist Martín Méndez and keyboardist Joakim Svalberg. And while Opeth (above, doing “The Drapery Falls” at Royal Albert Hall) have long embraced a heavy metal sound, on their 10th album, 2011’s Heritage (stream it below), the five-piece veered in a new direction, employing clean vocals, progressive rock and even jazz fusion to achieve critical and commercial success. (The Guardian called it “brave, melancholic and often beautiful….”) But of course, this doesn’t mean the band’s gone soft. Make no mistake: When they play live, they still bring it, which you can see for yourself tonight at The Wellmont Theatre.


The Sword Rock Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

November 13th, 2012

The Sword—singer-guitarist John D. Cronise, bassist Bryan Richie, guitarist Kyle Shutt and drummer Jimmy Vela—have been making quality heavy metal since forming in Austin, Texas, in 2003. While some have labeled the band’s genre doom metal, stoner rock or even hipster metal, make no mistake, that influenced by Black Sabbath and Slayer, the Sword straight-up rock. They recently released their fourth LP, the acclaimed Apocryphon, which, with its increased focus on songwriting, is “more diverse musically…. It’s a little more a rock album than previous records,” says Cronise. And now the Sword (above, doing “Freya” at last year’s Bonnaroo) are out on the road, crisscrossing the country in support of their new LP. See them tomorrow night at Webster Hall. Just be ready to rock.