The Second Coming of Heavy, Chapter One – Geezer / Borracho (Ripple Music, 26 July 2015)
The Second Coming of Heavy, Chapter Two – Supervoid / Red Desert (Ripple Music, 27 February 2016)
“Now it’s time for YOUR Classic Rock” says the title at the top of Ripple Music‘s website, and the slogan is fitting: since its formation back in 2010, the label has made a name for itself as one of the premier sources for stoner rock and metal, psychedelic rock, and all things fuzz-laden. We’ve talked about some of their releases in the past, for example here and also here, but more generally, the label has come to be known for putting out music of consistent quality, within the circles of those styles. And now (starting last summer), they have begun a brand-new series of 12″ splits called The Second Coming of Heavy, which so far has featured some pretty serious heavy hitters, with plenty more on the way. Today we’re going to take a look at the first two of these, Chapter One which came out nearly eight months ago, and Chapter Two which hit the streets at the end of February.
Gholas – Litanies (Dullest Records, 11 February 2014)
Hello out there! I’m going to make this quick — because these folks are playing a show in Pittsburgh in just a couple of hours, and I wanted to make sure I told you all about them before that happens. Also they’ve got a brand-new album that just came out earlier this week, and so for those of you who don’t live near this area (or near any of their remaining tour dates — listed below), you’ll want to go check that out anyway.
I’ve written about new albums from people who happen to be touring and coming through this city before, but this one is pretty unique for me — because it just happens that my band LAST has been added as the opening act for this particular show! We’ll be joined by locals Low Man and SuperVoid (each of whom I’ve written about several times — see here and here) at the Rock Room in Polish Hill (1054 Herron Avenue). But of course the main attraction will be Gholas who are coming from Philadelphia. Based on their just-released album Litanies, I’m really looking forward to this one. You should be, too…
Borracho – Oculus (digital version self-released 18 July 2013 | vinyl edition released December 2013 on No Balls Records (Germany) / Strange Magic Records (US) / AM Records (Japan))
Hey there, readers. There’s been a bunch of great music released this week, and I can’t wait to share it with you! I’ll get to that very soon. First, there’s something else I’ve been meaning to tell you all about for months and I really don’t want to let it wait any longer. Those of you who’ve been around here a while will surely remember Borracho: I’ve been way into this band ever since I stumbled upon Splitting Sky, their debut album, back in 2011, which immediately found its way onto my list of the best releases of that year. For those who haven’t been paying attention, it doesn’t take much research to find that I’ve written about them or mentioned them quite a few times since then. Just something about those heavy-as-balls riffs and mind-bending instrumental passages really grabs my attention and refuses to let go.
So anyway, naturally, after a series of vinyl reissues and 7″ singles and 10″ singles, the news that these guys were releasing a second album of brand-new material would be very exciting to me. Combined with the fact that the band swung by my city for the first time ever — and the second time ever — all within the past year, yeah I’d say I was pretty thrilled. That new album — Oculus — was unleased (online) on the same day as Borracho‘s second Pittsburgh show of the year, which was mid-July 2013, and so I’ve been listening to it ever since then (and, as you may recall, history repeated itself as it was also included on my list of last year’s best albums). I did start writing about it around the time it was released, intending to publish this review before I went to the show that night, but something came up — I think work was especially busy that week or something. Then for most of the rest of the year I was frozen in Carbonite. I dunno, I have no excuses, really. But that’s why, like I said, I want to bring this album to your attention as soon as possible.
Fist Fight in the Parking Lot – Year of the Ox (self-released, 11 January 2014)
Good afternoon, readers! Happy Monday to you all. Hope you had a good weekend. I was out of town visiting relatives the whole time — which, surprisingly, wasn’t really as bad as that sounds. So that’s cool, I guess. Although being away from Pittsburgh did have one unfortunate consequence: I wasn’t able to make it to the Fist Fight in the Parking Lot CD release show that took place Saturday night. They always put on a very energetic, entertaining show (and plus, our Ohioan neighbors Black Plastic Caskets also played that night, and I’ve only seen them once and have really been looking forward to having another chance).
But anyway, at least I can check out the new FFITPL CD, and I can tell you about it so you can go check it out too. And then we can all party like it’s 2021.
Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!
But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…
The Smiling Moose (South Side / Pittsburgh, PA), 31 May 2013
Dethlehem – “Valley of the Blades” and “Oathbound” (New Song)
The week of this show marked the birthdays of two of the band’s members (drummer Overlord Brom and guitarist Hildor), so the audience joined in singing to them. Here’s a video of that, plus the song “Sky Palace of the Dragonriders” (with a guest appearance by former vocalist Lord Bonecrush, currently a member of Supervoid):
Wrought Iron also played at this show, and I swear I got video of one, maybe two, of their songs. But apparently those haven’t been uploaded to YouTube. I’ll have to search for them and make sure they didn’t just disappear into the ether or something…
Valley of Steel private picnic event (South Park, PA), 08 June 2013
Six Questions with Steve Kaczynski (guitar) and Aaron Kaczynski (vocals) of Jericho Theory
by Mrs. Valley of Steel
Here I am again, writing another Person or Persons Unknown about another Pittsburgh band member, but this time I decided to change things up a bit. This time I am focusing on two guys actually: Steve Kaczynski and his son Aaron.
While I have never really had too much interaction with Steve in the past, I have seen their joint band Jericho Theory and was impressed with the chemistry and talent they both posses. I must admit, doing this particular article was one of the main reasons for starting these interviews. In truth, I have known Aaron for a while now, and I’ve liked him from the first time I met him. He’s got an infectious enthusiasm that you couldn’t fake if you tried. I have gotten to know him better through this journey of Facebook messages, attending shows together, and also attending shows that his bands have played. I am not sure if I have ever met a more honest and caring person in our music scene. He is that guy that knows all your songs, and knows what shows you’re playing; he’s the kind of fan that makes playing in a band in Pittsburgh worth it. I don’t even think people realize what a positive and caring member of this circle he really is. He has a way of making shows I attend with him more fun — even with my weird habit of buying him a PBR at least once a show — it’s more a level of comfort and happiness when I know he’ll be attending a show. He’s kind of turned into an unofficial little brother for the husband and me, and listening to him tell me at least once during each show that this is his favorite band or his favorite song makes me happier then I could ever state — because his influence has actually made me want to be a better fan.
So with that, I figured that this kid with his infectious nature and love of music had to have an amazing musical role model just like I did. Now that I have the ability to figure that out, I was on a mission to do so — hence the reason for this interview, so I could see if my inkling about him was correct. I am very proud to call Aaron a friend, and I hope after reading this you’ll want to be friends with him and his dad too, and I hope it will make you want to see them in action this Saturday, March 30th, at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.
It’s been nearly two years since Borracho, the heavy stoner-fuzz-rock band from Washington DC, graced the world with their debut album Splitting Sky. Since that LP was released (and subsequently landed on my Top 11 of 2011 list), there has also been a 7″ single (and video) for “Concentric Circles”, a video for “All in Play”, and a 10″ single for “Plunge/Return” (which was included in the digital and CD versions, but didn’t fit on the vinyl pressing of Splitting Sky).
Now, all that has been really cool, but we haven’t heard any NEW songs in a while! Well as it turns out, that’ll be changing soon, because in a few months the band will have a follow-up album out…
[In mid-February], we entered the studio to lay down brand new music for a proper follow-up release. We’ve reunited with Splitting Sky producer Frank Marchand at his brand new Hudson Street Sound studio in Annapolis MD. The as-yet untitled record will be co-released on limited edition 12″ vinyl by No Balls Records (Germany) and Ghost Highway Recordings (Spain) in June.
So that’s pretty exciting, huh? But that’s not even all of the good news I have for you! Although it’ll still be a few more months ’til we get some new material, right now you can get treated to some OLD stuff — plus select east-coast cities are due to be visited by the band this weekend!
So here’s something pretty neat. I was playing with this over the weekend and announced it all over Facebook, but if you aren’t one of the select few that get to see my posts in your news feed — or even worse, if you somehow forgot to “like” my page in the first place! — I figure I ought to say something about it here, too.
So there’s officially a Valley of Steel Youtube channel now.