Learning to Crawl

Waaaay back in May this year, when we were still enjoying torrential rain of Biblical proportions, I posted about a band I had picked up on called Crawl, who hailed from Douglasville, Georgia.  At the time, I described their initial outings – little more than demos posted on Soundcloud – thus:

“A recent discovery has been a band that hails from Douglasville, Georgia and who go by the name of Crawl.  Only formed this spring, the band comprises Eric Crowe on guitar[of FULCI and ex-Social Infestation, Molehill & Hog Mountin], John Holloway on bass [Of Legend] and Tommy Butler on drums. This three-piece like to play heavy, downtuned southern rock with gusto.  Not yet in possession of any releases, you’ll have to check out these two tracks from Soundcloud and make your own mind up, but early signs sound promising.”

Well, they’ve now got their proverbial shit together and produced a really cracking 4 track ep, which is so sleazy and dirty it makes you afraid to touch the speakers.  The line up for this release is: Tommy Butler – Drums , Eric Crowe – Guitar & Vocals , Brad Claborn – Guitar, Bass.

In case you don’t know, Crawl delight in getting soaked in southern bluesy sludge – think Weedeater having a whiskey and crack evening with Tony Iommi and you’re not even close!  Slow and enjoyably fast in the same song, they have really come together on this release, a notable progression since their initial forays.  My feet were tapping away as I listened to this on the Mac, and I can only imagine how great this sounds in a smoky, sleazy club with the bass cabs pushing the fetid air right into your chest!

This eponymous slab of doom is buzzing with low frequency mischief and it shoots right up to the higher reaches of Rip It Up’s releases of the year.  There are, it has to be said, far too many bands out there unwilling to get a bit of dirt under their fingernails, and frankly this is the aural equivalent of an evening of the strongest pale ale and the hottest curry you can imagine – searingly good stuff, boys.  Play this loud, right now!

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[Zombie] School’s Out!

Today’s musical interlude is actually a really old one.  A post I picked up on the PPMB advised me of the fact that this had been uploaded to Bandcamp, a full decade after its release.  That’s some delay! But the band is Last Chucks, who are still going today.  They decided to make this a free download to celebrate the good ol’ 4th July 2002 release date for the album. 

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the three – piece features members Mike “Last” Cammarata on guitar and vocals, Daniel Dorris on bass and backup vocals and David “Goose” Bilsland on drums.  Mike served in The Queers and hence has a pedigree in the kind of tuneful hardcore pop-punk that this band proffers.  The well-tested formula – 2 to 3 minute songs, singalong choruses, harmonies aplenty rarely alters throughout the impressive 18 tracks on offer on this album, released on Diner Junkie Records.  It reminds me, as you would expect, of early to mid – period Weasel or Queers, which is of course not a bad thing at all.

Anyway, if you were expecting some kind of ‘sadly they’re now long gone, none of them plays in a band and Mike farms turkeys in Atlanta‘ kind of story, it would appear that the all the evidence points in another direction entirely.  In fact, the band is still going, and they have released a split 7″ ep with The Evil Eye in February this year, and now in late June a new track, ‘Homeless Romantic’, which is a bit of a change in style, being a lot slower and more considered.

Mike informs me of their current news:

“We’ve recently been in the studio, working on a new full-length, St/Art A/N r/eVoLuTIOn, which is a huge departure from the Zombie High sound. They are also in the process of putting together a bunch of songs (old, from comps, unreleased, etc.) for a digital release titled, dig it, Al.”

I’ve included a sampler of the first album below, but you may also like to wander over to Diner Junkie Records’ website and check out their other stuff too.

Order of the Owl: Power Sludge from Atlanta

Main photo (c) Shawn Evans with thanks & respect.

Order of the Owl is a band out of Atlanta, Georgia.  They are fronted by Brent Anderson (Zoroaster, Terminal Doom), which suggests a fine pedigree in itself.  I was lucky enough to see Zoroaster last year supporting the mighty sludgelords Weedeater, and the power of that band is evident here.  Anderson is joined by  Corey Pallon, Casey Yarbrough and studio member Richard Googe.  Between them they have created a massive sound which defies even our usual superlatives.

The EP ‘In the Noon of the After Day‘ is on Bandcamp, containing two tracks – ‘Cocaine Super Demon‘ and ‘Bandsaw’.  Both tracks, it is no exaggeration to say, are dense and crushing.  This is vintage stuff.  Classic, psychedelia – influenced rock played through vintage Orange amps yields chorused chanting, slapping, thick drums, and slower-than slow power.

Order of the Owl releases should come with simple instructions painted clearly on the sleeves: “press play…..stand well back!”  Because what emerges from the speakers is a doom jam that recruits all the most primal, brutal and therefore soulful grooves that have been made by cats as righteous as the Motor City 5, Sabbath and Motorhead.

The deep, distorted bass, the four thick strings vibrating slowly and at a frequency several octaves lower than any guitar string rightfully should, provides a foundation to the tracks.  The drums, thick and leathery as they receive the mother of all poundings, construct a metronomic framework that resembles a vast, shabby gallows lit by an angry, red sky.  Amid a lazy blue haze of smoke, the fuzzed out guitar, drop tuned to an indecent extent, constructs wave after wave of riff power that simply builds and each layer seems to feed off the one below it, lending the whole track an awesome depth.

Sludgy doom metal of this kind is rarely played as convincingly as this.  It’s what Wayne Kramer and the boys would have produced if they had been born 35 years later and soaked in Bourbon and Southern blues.  And yet you might feel your revolutionary soul shout ‘Wait!, They’re not shouting political lyrics! How could they be compared to the ‘5 ? ‘.  Well, kids, my ageing, tattered mind says different.

Y’see, the very nature of this slow, sticky sludge music is so utterly Pagan, operating as it does on frequencies so low that they both move your soul and damage the constraints imposed on you by this unjust society, that just by taking a deep draw on a spliff and cranking up that bass, Order of the Owl are sticking it to The Man in their own way.  The message they are sending doesn’t need to be cut into the run out groves or the album played backwards to reveal it.  The message is clear: let’s play heavy rock and fucking roll!

You feel like you need to take a shower after listening to this a few times.  Your skin has been coated in grimy, oily, toxic gloop, it’s in your hair, your eyes and your ears.  Your clothes will require washing at 60 degrees.  The speakers will be oozing it too.  Utterly, transcendentally wonderful.

Crawl: Solid Southern Sludge

A recent discovery has been a band that hails from Douglasville, Georgia and who go by the name of Crawl.  Only formed this spring, the band comprises Eric Crowe on guitar[of FULCI and ex-Social Infestation, Molehill & Hog Mountin], John Holloway on bass [Of Legend] and Tommy Butler on drums. This three-piece like to play heavy, downtuned southern rock with gusto.  Not yet in possession of any releases, you’ll have to check out these two tracks from Soundcloud and make your own mind up, but early signs sound promising.