Friday, May 27, 2011

Lidtoker, Insidious, I Will Kill you Fucker, Stormcrow, and a Gatefold Sextuple Album

Lidtoker has members from Stormcrow, I Will Kill You Fucker, Exit Wound, and Insidious. I once saw Lidtoker at Hazmatt, and recall that during a pause in one of their songs the members left the room. They then came back and played the next note.

I tell you this because Lidtoker is one of the most epic stoner sludge doom bands around. The thing that makes Lidtoker interesting is that they don't just stay in one mood. There are numerous changes in tempo and rhythm, albeit all with a drug(ged) out stoner feel. Even the galloping drums seem to lurch more than drive. Of course against the backdrop of a fifteen minute rest between chord changes such lurching gallops seem like blast beats in comparison.

This video is a good example of Lidtoker playing fast:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Embers has just been given 3 out of 5 horns at metalsucks. Check out the in depth analysis, and let them know what you think in the comments section as well.


If you haven't heard it yet you can stream it here:


Friday, May 20, 2011

Laudanum, Brainoil, and Asunder. Greg Wilkinson and Salvador Raya's Unique Contributions.

Laudanum has recently switched bass players. Now this may seem inconsequential to many who worship at the altar of metal guitar and have not developed an appreciation for the artistry of bass guitar. For those who feel this way I encourage you to reconsider this perspective and listen more intently to the intricate nuances and unique contributions of Laudanum's previous and current bass players; Greg Wilkinson and Salvador Raya.

First before I start contrasting Greg and Sal's approach to the instrument it should be known that they both have long musical resumes and are both partners in the recording studio, Earhammer Studios, where Embers has recorded all of our music. In fact Laudanum has also recorded at Earhammer with Greg as the bass player and Sal as the engineer. Because of this both Greg and Sal have been intricately involved in Laudanum for quite some time.

Greg Wilkinson

Greg Wilkinson has been in to many bands for me to name. Actually I admit that he has probably been in more bands than I am aware. Recently he has played in at least four projects simultaneously which include Laudanum, Brainoil, and Lidtoker. Perhaps because of his hectic schedule he left Laudanum last year.

Greg has a very particular style. His bass tone is huge and abrasive. His technique is aggressive bordering on violent. The sound he produces resembles the growl of big truck with someone revving the engine. 

He plays melodically. Rather than playing the root notes of chords Greg will play tones in between the chord changes often producing musical lines that could stand alone and imprint itself on ones mind. Often after seeing Greg perform in his band Brainoil I will leave the concert with his bass melodies rattling around in my brain for an hour or so.

Rhythmically Greg plays on the beat. This approach makes the music surge and roll aggressively. This produces a frenetic energy beyond the tempo that encourages one to head bang and fist pump with a great deal of force and vigor.

Laudanum are currently the best doom outfit in Oakland hands down. Greg's contribution to the music gave Laudanum a hard, sludgey feel which showcased the drummer, Becky Hawk's cyclical pattern and the bands experimentation with alternate time and time manipulation.

Here's Laudanum with Greg:
Currently Greg is focusing on his band Brainoil. Listening to Brainoil really helps to get an idea of Greg's background, and how it affects the mood and feel of

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Acts of Sedition and Boneblack vs. Catheter and Agents of Satan on 5/20/11

Two amazing shows in one night here in Oakland, California. What to do. What to do. I'll tell you about both of them and let you decide.

Acts of Sedition and Boneblack
at the Swamp

So Acts of Sedition are the current maestros of hardcore punk chaos. They are a cacophonous whirlwind of drums laden with chainsaw guitars ripping your head open so they can scream in chorus directly into your brain. Acts of Sedition is one of my favorites of this genre. If you liked our previous band Lesser of Two then you will love them.

I first heard about Boneblack when Lesser of Two's old drummer Dave Earle's was visititng from out of town. He told me that he was good friends with Boneblack and asked for my help and advice to get them a show in Oakland. After a while I started corresponding with them via email swapping tour stories and booking contacts. It was through this conversation that they got in touch with Clint who booked the showand also drums for Acts of Sedition.

Otherwise I knew nothing of their music except what Dave told me which is that they are Anarcho-crust which is an accurate description. This video shows that they have not only mastered the genre, but play with heart. It's also awesome to see women taking the stage, because no matter how feminist bands in the punk scene may say they are it's still often a sausage party on stage.

This video is encouraging that this will be an awesome show!

Here's the flier that Kelly made for the show:

Catheter and Agents of Satan

I've known Catheter for years. If Acts of Sedition is a whirlwind of chainsaws then Catheter is an avalanche of jack hammers. Cathter plays grind ridden crust core with a whiff of doom.

I first saw Catheter play at Libertatia back in the late 90's. Lesser of Two played many shows with them. Whenever we drove through Colorado Heraldo always made sure we had an awesome show at an auto shop in the outskirts of town. Those are some great memories, and I am truly torn. 

Luckily I spoke with Clint and the Boneblack show is starting promptly at 7:30 so

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"The" Saviours at Elis Tomorrow!

Every time I search for new Embers videos I search for "Embers Oakland", and every time this video by the Saviours pops up. This is because the Saviours are from Oakland and San Francisco and have a song called Embers.

What's more the song rocks. Well actually Saviours rock generally. They are playing tomorrow at Eli's Mile High club.

Now we hate it whenever someone calls us "The" Embers and I bet Saviours get that a lot too. Don't do it.

Also the drummer from Embers lent the drummer from the Saviours a kick pedal years ago and never got it back. We're wondering if the song "Raging Embers"is about the Embers drummer still being pissed off about not getting his pedal back and wanting to get revenge when he goes to Eli's to see them play!

Maybe Scott from Saviours has a crush on Jerry and is keeping the pedal as a memento. Or maybe Scott is taxing Jerry for being such a horrible drum student when Scott gave him lessons.

Regardless, Saviours rock and you should check them out!

Oh, and here's that video that keeps coming up in our web searches:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ludicra in Oakland?

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time Ludicra played in Oakland was June 5, 2007. That means we are approaching the four year anniversary since one of the best bay area metal acts has played Oakland. It's not that I'm counting the days it's just that after a while I thought to myself, "Why haven't I seen a Ludicra show in a while."

For photos of Ludicra in Oakland click here.

So here's where I have to admit to being an asshole. Ludicra is one of my favorite bands in the Bay Area these days, yet when they played in San Francisco on May 8, 2010 at Cafe Du Nord I didn't go. Was I just to distracted to have found out about the show until after it was over. Do I have a phobia of crossing the bay that causes me to block out information about shows there. Was there a lack of promotion... Why didn't I go... Whyyyyy!

Also, my frustration is a little misguided for the fact that Embers was fortunate enough to share the stage with Ludicra at 924 Gilman on August 31, 2007 which I believe was their last show on this side of the bay. Berkeley, Oakland, close enough. Right? Well sure, but it's still been a long time.

Is this Ludicra's last show in the East Bay?

Since this last show in the East Bay Ludicra has released a new album entitled, The Tenant. Introductions to the East Bay are in order I believe.

Recently, I started talking with Ludicra's booker Nathan about their future east bay shows, and he told me that Ludicra IS returning to the east bay, and he told me about the festival below:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Makai; an amazing video of an amazing band. RIP

I first saw the Makai at Gilman around 2007, and they blew me away. From that point on they were a mystery to me. I believed they were a local band to the Bay Area, but later found out they were based out of Chico which is a college town between Sacramento and the Oregon border.

Based on my belief they were local I began thinking it was totally weird that I didn't see them at more shows or on fliers. Later when we were asked to set up a show for Nux Vomica Kelly asked me about bands that we could get on the bill, and the first band out of my mouth was the Makai.

What I didn't realize at the time was that Nux Vomica had released a split album with the Makai.

Somebody apparently uploaded this onto a file sharing website if you want to hear it here or here or you can purchase the 10" vinyl here.

When Embers made our way through Chico on tour Zeke from the Makai booked our show, and members of the Makai supported us with their side band Black Hole of Calcutta. It was then that I heard the news; the Makai were breaking up.

After I heard that I made sure that we played with them at there last show in Oakland. That show also turned out to be our last show with Lillian.

Recently I found a video that captures their music vividly; a youtube video that has very few plays but deserves many more. That is the nature of the Makai. They deserved much more recognition while they were around. Check it out. It will blow you away!

Now the bittersweet irony of a band calling it quits right before they reach a critical mass is that they release an amazing album right before they break up which thus ensures said album to be lost in the shuffle and forgotten. So that doesn't happen I encourage everyone to check out the Makai's final album, The End of All You Know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Skarp, Nux Vomica, and Embers!!!

Skarp, Nux Vomica, and Embers would be an awesome line up! Not long ago rumors started floating around that Skarp was reforming. Recently those rumors were confirmed (well sort of) when Skarp posted on their facebook page:

"Shows?............ coming soon........"

Another rumor that had been floating around was that Nux Vomica was breaking up. That rumour was dispelled recently by the fact that Nux Vomica has been touring Europe and announced plans to record their third album.

So aside from the fact that both of these bands are awesome there are other reasons why I would love for this show to happen. I'll explain why regarding each band:


I first met Skarp when I was on tour with Kelly and my (Steve) previous band Lesser of Two back in 2002ish. Lesser of Two had completed a tour of Mexico and a mutual friend contacted us to see if Skarp could jump on the bill of any shows we had on our current tour. We had booked a show in Tijuana the day that they needed a show, and we were able to get them on the show.

To be honest the music Skarp was playing back then was quite different than the "blackout grind" they later developed. The thing that really impressed me about Skarp was that seemed to be genuinely good people, and not a bunch of pretentious scenesters. We had a lot of fun that night and got drunk on Mezcal. All the bands and all the people at the show had an amazing time. The tiny bar was packed, and despite the lack of a common language among most of the people that night everybody got along wonderfully in our mutual appreciation of music.

Later, when I came up to Seattle I would always meet up with the people in Skarp. Robert would give me the tour of Seattle of entice me to a house show in Georgetown. Joe would play shows with Embers in his other band Book of Black Earth. I remember the guys in Skarp used to live in this huge punk house on a hill. It had a sort of crusty collectivist yet debaucharous vibe to it.

I could go on about stories over the years, but suffice to say I'd see Skarp or the various members periodically over the years and hang out when we could, but over the course of time it became more hit and miss. It would be wonderful to share the stage with them again so could all re-connect personally as well as musically.

Nux Vomica

The first time I met Nux Vomica was at a show at Burnt Ramen in Richmond. My friend Rob from Somnolence warned me that they were an awesome band. I hadn't heard of them, but Rob was right:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Arc of Internet Tentacles as it Applies to Embers' New Album, Shadows

The internet is a funny thing. With facebook, google, and bandcamp it's been easy to track how many people are listening to our new yet officially unreleased album, Shadows; where people are finding out about it; what people are doing in response; and how that creates a discernible ripple effect.

So first there is the not so exciting story of how Shadows was catapulted into the webosphere. Kelly and I left Mr. Toads with a fully mastered recording of Shadows. We had about a week before tour so we slapped together an image with the tour dates for that tour and uploaded Shadows to bandcamp.

Then I sent out an email blast to all our contacts and created a facebook event. (I question my chronology here a bit so bear with me.)

The interesting thing about bandcamp is that it tells you how many people are listening to your music, which songs, and what site referred them. The screen for that looks something like this:

For over a year prior to releasing Shadows our previous albums Memoria In Aeterna and Wrath had received slightly more than 1,100 plays total. Shadows matched that within a few days primarily from our email and facebook blast.

Then things got interesting. Rather than dying down to a trickle again Shadows maintained 50 to 100 plays on any given day which was much higher than our bandcamp site before. The other interesting thing is that people started donating money when before most people just ignored the "name your price" suggestion and paid zero.

It was then that I started wondering what was going on. Using bandcamp's statistics (similar to the image above) I studied where people were hearing about Shadows. It was then I realized that metal bloggers were posting links and reviewing the albums. These are the blogs that covered Shadows within the first week: