Tag: Rocket from the Crypt

New Video: Oakland’s Strangelight Releases a Pummeling New Ripper

Strangelight — Nat Coghlan (vocals, guitar), Tony Teixeira (guitar, vocals), Ian Miller (bass) and Julia Lancer (drums) — is a Bay Area-based punk All-Star band featuring members of Transistor Transistor, Kowloon Walled City and a slew of other notable local bands.

And although the band is relatively new, the band’s origins can trace its origins back to the early ’00s: New Hampshire-born Nat Coghlan met The New Trust’s Julia Lancer while touring California in the early ’00s and the duo bashed out a handful of demos together. About fifteen years later, they reconnected in Oakland, unearthed those early demos and recruited their friends Tony Teixeira, who has played with Swingin’ Utters, Cobra Skulls and Western Addiction — and Ian Miller, who has played with Kowloon Walled City and Less Art to flesh out the demos.

The end result is the quartet’s full-length debut Adult Themes, which was recorded in three days at Shark Bite Srudios by Kowloon Walled City’s Scott Evans, the week that the local and national governments began locking things down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing in the reputation of the individual band member’s previous work, Adult Themes’ 10 songs rage — and rage hard; but with the world-weariness, disappointment and discontent of 40 somethings, who have had lengthy careers. “The album is called Adult Themes because the lyrics deal with the monotonous aspects of life as an adult,” Coghlan says in press notes. ” “I don’t pretend to have any great insight into the human condition. There are songs about mortgages, there are songs about retirement plans. And since it was all written and recorded before the pandemic, it’s kind of a weird snapshot of life as it was, for better or worse.”

Adult Theme’s first single “Walks into a Bar” is a furious and pummeling aural assault, centered around Coghlan’s howled vocals. fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and mosh pit friendly hooks, the song evokes the frustration of life — whether personal or professional — at a standstill. In some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that “Walks into a Bar” sonically brings JOVM mainstays Hot Snakes to mind. “I distinctly remember being in high school, driving to band practice, and hearing Hot Snakes’ Automatic Midnight for the first time,” Nat Coghlan recalls in press notes. “I was floored. In some way or another, I’ve been doing my best approximation of Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt ever since.”

The recently released video for “Walks into a Bar’ features artwork by the band’s Tony Teixiera.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Hot Snakes Releases a Defiant Anti-Work Anthem

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite about the acclaimed — and downright legendary — punk act Hot Snakes, and as you may recall the act can trace its origins to when its then-San Diego, CA-based founder Swami John Reis founded the band in 1999: that year, Reis’ primary gig Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after longtime drummer Atom Willard left the band. Coincidentally, the band was also in between labels. And as the story goes, while searching for a new label and drummer for Rocket from the Crypt, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which eventually led to the formation of two acclaimed side projects — Sultans and Hot Snakes. 

Interestingly, Hot Snakes began in earnest when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72′s Jason Kourkounis. Reis then recruited his former Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu bandmate and collaborator Rick Froberg to contribute vocals. Most of the material that they recorded wound up comprising their full-length debut Automatic Midnight. Although Reis and Froberg had collaborated together for years, Hot Snakes proved to be a logical challenge: Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. As a result, the members of the band had sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules, which featured Beehive and the Barracudas’, Tanner’s and Fishwife’s Gar Wood on bass. 

And while Hot Snakes’ sonically and aesthetically bears some similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous work, the band’s sound leaned towards a more primal, garage rock sound, influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band. Along with that, the band developed a now, long-held reputation for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise — with the band releasing their earliest material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After the release of 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band split up in 2005. In 2011, they reunited for a world tour, which eventually set the stage for the band’s fourth album, 2018’s Jericho Sirens, which was coincidentally, their first album in over 14 years. Recorded in short bursts in San Diego and Philadelphia during 2017 and features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And what more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Thematically, Jericho Sirens’ material commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we haven’t had a fucking clue about anything. As the band’s Froberg said at the time, “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album found the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences. including AC/DC.

Late last year, the band released “Checkmate,” a decidedly AC/DC-like track, centered around booze-soaked power chords, howled lyrics and a chugging yet forceful rhythm section. Interestingly, while being the first bit of new material from the band after the release of Jericho Sirens, the track was the first of a series of four 7 inch singles that will lead up to the band’s highly-awaited fifth album; so each single is a seasonal release. Hot Snakes begins 2020 with their Spring 7 inch installment, the defiant anti-work/anti-working for the man anthem “I Shall Be Free.” Centered around slashing, face-melting power chords and chugging rhythms, the track continues a run of decidedly AC/DC-like singles with a boozy air. 

The recently released video features some trippy, line animation by Swami John Reis’ 13-year-old son Tiger Reis that morphs into stick figures, tanks, rockets, a skeleton and even airplanes that move and undulating to the accompanying music. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Hot Snakes Return with a Sly Commentary on the Proliferation of Tech and Screens in Our Daily Lives

The acclaimed punk act Hot Snakes can trace its origins to when its then- San Diego, CA-based Swami John Reis founded the band back in 1999. That year Reis’ primary gig Rocket from the Crypt had gone on hiatus after their longtime Atom Willard left the band — and coincidentally the band was in between labels. As the story goes. while searching for a new label and drummer for Rocket from the Crypt, Reis founded his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which eventually resulted in the formation of two side projects — Sultans and Hot Snakes, which began in earnest when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72′s Jason Kourkounis. Reis then recruited his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals — with most of the material they recorded, eventually comprising their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge: Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. This resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some obvious musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, their sound was more primal, garage rock-based one, influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band split up in 2005. But in 2011, they reunited for a world tour, which reportedly set the stage fr the band’s fourth, full-length album, last year’s Jericho Sirens, which was coincidentally the band’s first album in over 14 years.

Recorded in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And what more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

The material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we haven’t had a fucking clue. As the band’s Froberg said at the time, “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Just before they were about to embark on a 12 dat UK and Ireland tour during December, the band released “Checkmate,” a blistering, AC/DC-like track centered around booze-soaked power chords, howled lyrics and a chugging yet forceful rhythm section. As the band’s Rick Froberg said in press notes, “‘Checkmate’ is big, fatty content freshly extruded from the Hot Snakes sausage machine. Same ingredients, new flav.” The single is available through all the digital service provides but it’ll also be available directly from the band as an extremely limited physical 7″ vinyl with the exclusive b-side “Not in Time.”

Co-directed by the band’s John Reis and the band’s longtime friend John Oliver, the recently released video follows digital representations of the band invading and infesting a house, making the video a sly and mischievous commentary on the proliferation of screens and digital content in our daily lives. (Essentially, you can’t take a leak without a screen popping up somewhere!) 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Creepy Halloween-Themed Visual for “Wear Black”

I’ve managed to write a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Death Valley Girls over the past few years, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey can trace their origins to when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Despite the series of lineup changes throughout the band’s history, the JOVM mainstays’ sound and aesthetic has primarily been influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically focusing on the occult.

Interestingly, last year’s Darkness Rains might arguably be the darkest and most menacing batch of material of their growing catalog. Sonically, the album found the band crafting  a feral mixture of proto punk, proto metal and stoner rock  with a healthy dosage of mysticism. “Wear Black,” the album’s latest single features a hallucinogenic and sweaty arrangement of thunderous and propulsive drumming, glistening organ arpeggios, fuzzy power chords, enormous hooks and soaring vocals. Much like the rest of the album’s material, the song manages to evoke occult-inspired sacrificial rituals while sonically recalling The Black Angels, Roky Erickson and others.

Just in time for the holiday season, the members of Death Valley Girls released a Brandon McKnight-made video for “Wear Black” that’s split between live footage of the band performing at Saint Vitus Bar — occasionally through kaleidoscopic filters,  edited stock footage, old horror movies featuring hellish and unnatural medical procedures and people behaving as though they were possessed, as well as footage of masked figures performing bizarre and occult-like rituals. It’s appropriately creepy — and absolutely perfect for today.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Hallucinatory and Menacing Visual for “Dream Cleaver”

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock/proto metal act Death Valley Girls, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps Laura Kelsey can trace their origins to when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). 

Although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound and overall aesthetic throughout their recorded output has largely been influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically their work has touched upon the occult. Last year’s Darkness Rains may arguably be among the most menacing and darkest of their growing catalog. The band has been busy touring over the past year or so since the release of their third album, but they’ve managed to set some time aside to write and record — with their latest single “Dream Cleaver,” being the first batch of new material from the act this year. 

Interestingly, the hook-driven new single finds the band’s sound subtly moving to a New Wave-like sound along the lines of The Psychedelic Furs and Echo and the Bunnymen, as you’ll hear brief blasts of bluesy saxophone floating over jangling guitars, gorgeous girls group-like harmonies paired with a motorik-like groove. And while possessing a newfound sheen, the manages to retain the menace and unease of their previously released material. 

Directed by Casey Rup, the recently released video for “Dream Cleaver” is a nightmarish and anxiety-including hallucination that follows three murderous witches as they search for materials for a neon-colored and bubbling potion. 

New Audio: Hot Snakes Return with an Anthemic Mosh Pit Worthy Track from First Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard — and being in between labels. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72‘s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, with some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

You might remember that last month I wrote about the Curses-era Rye Coalition-like album single “Six Wave Hold-Down,” a single that possessed a furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air with rousingly anthemic, raise your beer in the air hooks and a frenzied urgency. Unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Death Camp Fantasy” possesses the same frenzied urgency, centered around a swaggering, muscular and insistent riff, howled vocals, propulsive drumming, and shout worthy, mosh pit-friendly hooks; but underneath the swaggering, whiskey and piss fueled storm is a sentiment reminiscent of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up The Outside World” — a sick of this bullshit, let’s blow it all the fuck up and start over vibe. 

Along with the release of their newest album, the band’s entire back catalog will be re-issued and to celebrate that, the band will be touring to support it. You can check out the first batch of tour dates, below. Interestingly, as the band’s Gar Wood notes, the band has finished writing and recording two more albums, and Jericho Sirens will give fans and listeners a chance to catch up to the new recordings.

New Audio: Hot Snakes Release an Anthemic Piss and Vinegar-Fueled Single off First Full-Length Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after being in between labels and the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72’s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and as it turns out most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. While Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. In fact, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label. 

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, which is slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was reacting his collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says. 

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fingers of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Album single “Six Wave Hold-Down” while reminding me of Curses-era Rye Coalition, thanks to an furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air, and anthemic raise your beer in the air hooks. But along with that the song possesses the sort of  urgency that’s absolutely necessary. 

 

With the 2014 release of their self-titled debut and the 2015 release of their sophomore effort IIToronto, ON-based trio Metz have received attention across Canada, the States and elsewhere for sludgy, face-melting power chord-based sound reminiscent of Bleach and In Utereo-era Nirvana, A Place to Bury StrangersJapandroids and others. While the Canadian trio was on tour in San Diego last August, they had a few hours and caught up with Swami John Reis, best known for his work with Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From the Crypt, Night Marchers and Hot Snakes and went into the studio to collaborate on a special Record Store Day 7 inch “Let It Rust”/”Caught Up” which will be released through John Reis’ Swami Records on black with gold swirl vinyl. Simply put, the song is a noisy and explosive burst of power chords and thundering drumming that will melt your fucking face off and have you begging for more.