Archive for the ‘Steph Up to the Mic’ Category

In Love and Lust We Worship the Heavy

August 1, 2012 Leave a comment

by Stephanie Vossekuil

I have recently gone through an interesting plethora of challenges that life had in store for me for the past few months. In a state of almost constant emotional fluctuation, I have turned to familiar methods of potential distraction (though they can at times serve to further envelop us in the wake of our own tension), such as writing, listening to music of course, and pretending to jam vile, droney, stoner grooves on my shitty Dean bass with good friends who can largely ignore my supreme lack of ability and dive in deep with me. Life is so fucking beautiful and treacherous and I cherish every minute of it as I hope you do. Here are some of the albums that I have been returning to time and time again to help me celebrate my days here to the fullest extent. You might notice a trend, because indeed, like a true metallian, in my love, lust, and hardship, I gravitate to the heavy, but there are other releases scattered about in there that might satisfy the sweeter parts of the palette. Enjoy!

1. Olde Growthe – Olde Growthe
Probably the most flawless album in its entirety that I have recently been introduced to. Seamless transitions between NOLA beat-downs and more melodic breaks that you might expect from the Sword, circa Age of Winters. Beautiful and penetrating. Never forgotten.

2. Weedeater – God Luck & Good Speed
NOLA sludge that reminds me of living in my own filth in a room covered in cigarette butts, beer cans, and other questionable items. An instant classic in its own right. One that made me acknowledge my base involvement in this universe and revel in a gluttonous grime.

3. Pentagram – Relentless
Yes, it’s a classic. First Daze Here could also fill this slot. It’s early balls-to-the-wall heavy groove that sincerely puts hair on your chest. Cheers, little fella!

4. Batillus – Furnace
This grimey and ambient slice of filth goes down nicely with a fifth of Jameson and a world of problems. Nasty enough for the blackest of hearts and droney enough for the slow rockers.

5. R.L. Burnside – A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
Hard-hitting blues with one of the best album covers to have graced a CD in the past 10 years. It features an illustration of Burnside with his belt in hand and two white women in Daisy Dukes standing behind him. Best enjoyed cranked up high on a porch in the afternoon summer heat with cigarette and cold beer in hand.

6. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Blood Lust
I want this shit on vinyl so bad. Southern Lord reissued it recently, but I was broker’n a joke, so I might have missed my opportunity. I’m sure this has appeared on at least one of my earlier lists, but gawdamnit, it’s so psychedelic and drenched in ’70s macabre that I can’t stop engaging with it!

7. Portrait – Portrait
Swedish, wannabe Mercyful Fate fucking rules! The first track, “Hell,” has been blasted through my car stereo speakers countless times as of late as I charge triumphantly into the abyss of my day to day. Get this if you are a fan of true, soaring heavy fucking metal. Hipsters need not apply.

8. Deceased – 13 Frightened Souls
This ’90s death-thrash classic has fun elements of dirty crust punk and good ol’ ass-kicking metal.

9. Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult – Saldorian Spell
If you’re into Christ-Raping Black Metal, it’s pretty cool, I guess…

10. NunFuckRitual – In Bondage to the Serpent
Super slow, ugly, blackened doom type metal that soothes the raging fires of the souls of any hellbeast. Weird and unsettling- the type of feeling you might get around that one creepy uncle you have.

11. Motorhead – Another Perfect Day
A super posi, yet still totally ass-kicking Motorhead album that pulled me out of the pains of a break up and boosted me to the stars. Still dirty, always appreciated. Thank you, Lemmy, for being as fucked up as I am.

That’s about all for the moment. Keep truckin’.

Categories: Steph Up to the Mic Tags:

Takin’ You to Fist City

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Women who gave the “Stand By Your Man” classic country girl image the bird

by Stephanie Vossekuil

I’ve always been a fan of ass-kicking in general and when it comes to classic country, unfortunately, some of the most popular ladies in its history have been forced to adopt that southern belle, baby’s mama material, doe-eyed flavor of twang that I find to be particularly distasteful. But there’s more fun to be had out there, with songs that kick that pile of horse pucky aside, sung by women who filled their glasses to the brim with gin and fought hard and strong for what they desired.

Loretta Lynn – “If You’re Not Gone Too Long”
Loretta is true to the one she loves, but she’s a woman, flesh and blood, and knows that hornyness is like a ticking time bomb so you better git on home you cheatin’ scoundrel, you; before she nails someone else!

Dolly Parton – “Dumb Blonde”
Yes, that busty, bottle-blonde country icon knows you think she’s not sittin’ on a full bale of hay, but goddamnit, she’s here to let you know that she’s nobody’s fool and her elevator does go all the way up.

Jeanie C. Riley – “Harper Valley P.T.A.”
Written by that good ol’ singin’ storyteller, Tom T. Hall, this track is about a fiery mama who tells the P.T.A. of her daughter’s school that accuses her of being too promiscuous to take a long one. With Riley’s saucy delivery drenched in raw attitude, it’s no surprise that this track became an instant classic.

The Miller Sisters – “Someday You Will Pay”
Probably one of the more obscure artists on this list, this ’50’s duo eventually moved to a more rockabilly sound, but not before backhanding the tar outta the masses with this catty single. Karma is a regular bitch, and it will have that heart-breaking sucker in tears for what he’s done.

Polly Possum and Joe Wolverton with the Dog Patch Boys – “Don’t Talk to me About Men”
Post WWII country of the hillbilly persuasion was laden with grime and reeking of last night’s booze. This lonesome ditty is no exception. Also, instead of lamenting over the man and what went wrong, Miss Possum wearily sings, “Don’t talk to me about men, just fill my glass up with gin…”

Jessi Colter – “You Ain’t Never Been Loved (Like I’m Gonna Love You)”
This smokin’ hot lady outlaw is most often remembered for her meandering (and quite frankly, annoying) hit song, “I’m Not Lisa”, but on the same side of its debut album, a forgotten sultry number awaits with peering bedroom eyes. Here’s the earliest country song that I can think of where a woman is reveling in her own sexual prowess and exerting a traditionally more dominant role. Jessi Colter will ruin all subsequent sex for you.

[Sorry, couldn’t find a video of Minnie’s version of this one]
Minnie Pearl – “Careless Love”
This old blues classic, the origins of which, are uncertain, was a track that the legendary Minnie Pearl would frequently use to open or close her live shows. The ragtime piano and goofy banter lighten up this otherwise high intensity track that ends with the shooting of said careless love.

Kitty Wells – “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”
In 1952, Miss Wells had an astonishing breakthrough hit with this song. Not only was it one of the first country songs sung by a woman that was actually recorded and widely distributed, but it directly called into question the sexual double standard that was prevalent at the time and essentially blames married men with a wandering eye for that blessed increase of otherwise good-moralled christian women in your local bar.

Seems Like Forever Since I Heard One Like This

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Fu Manchu if it Suits You: The Action is Go and Your Opportunity to Burn some Road

by Stephanie Vossekuil

I’ve been cruisin’ hard as of late to some serious Fu. The Action is Go has been on heavy rotation in my day to day and I have officially become obsessed. Though it was released going on 15 years now in October on Mammoth, it has taken me a while to fully engage (I must have been about nine when it hit the shelves and was much more interested in radio-friendly Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne), but I am pleased to emerge victorious once again from my ongoing quest for hard-hitting, LSD-laced jams. One of my super slow rockin’ classic rock guy buddies introduced me to this album a few months back and I haven’t returned since. I’m sure most of you know it, maybe have listened to it countless times, but its praise bears repeating. Plus, I can’t shut the hell up about it.

The Action is Go instantly transports you to the throws of the best acid trip you’ve ever been on. It’s tasty tuneage for “big kids.” There’s all the heaviness you could wish for in a stoner band, plus the added bonus of silly overtones that remind you of your days as a wee lad. The album flawlessly transitions between more peppy skate riffs and lingering ice cream smooth breakdowns laden with catchy riffage. The drawn out vocal delivery reminds you of that classic image of a slow-talkin’, easy livin’ bro of yours who has totally dropped out of life with bong in hand. I won’t bore you with a meticulous analysis of how each tack on the album sounds and makes me feel, or how I detect a running lyrical theme in this album dealing with various quantities of time (“A million years ago,” “It’s been hidden away for fifty years,” “For two days long,” etc.) but I do hope that if you haven’t already, you will take a listen for yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you have, I hope this motivates you to take yet another trip to the riff-filled land.

What’s more, Fu Manchu will be making hot, sticky, heavy psychedelic love to your earhole (if you so choose to accept your mission) right here in our beautiful home of Santa Cruz, CA, at our swanky downtown nightspot, the Blue Lagoon, on Wed, January 11th. I think I speak for the best of us when I say that we’ve all been in need of a thorough sonic lubing. Good thing we have bands like this to rub us down with that sweet molasses groove.

Delightfully Destructive Damsels Causing Distress

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

High Priestesses of Metallic Rage: Part Deux

by Stephanie Vossekuil

After submitting my previous list of awesomely disgusting bitches in metal who seldom receive the recognition they deserve for beating us to a bloody pulp with the fury of extreme noise, I realized I couldn’t let that be my final submission regarding this topic as I had obviously left out so many key figures. Alas, here is another installment of Steph Up to the Mic; bowing down gracefully to these divine goddesses of metal.

1. Bonnie Bloodshed (Shanghai) (Vocals) of Neurotoxicity Oakland’s own mosh-beckoning death thrash outfit is fronted by Bonnie Bloodshed, a science nerd with a taste for raw evil.

2. Trish of DödsÄngel This one-woman, blackened punk project sadly has only one album out that defaced us with its presence in 2009. Still, it’s a low-fi, twisted piece of music that should be enjoyed by all. (See also: Gate to Khaos, Hinsides, and Nidvind).

3. Lynda “Tam” Simpson (vocals) of Sacrilege Birmingham’s Crusty Thrash turned Doom metal band that hit it big in the ’80s was fronted by a crimped-haired blonde woman that had a sinister, harsh, thrash vocal soaring high with the rest. All hail Lynda!

4. Angela (guitars) of Clair Cassis Although I am not as fond of Velvet Cacoon, her more popular project, Angela’s haunting black metal tones in the Clair Cassis releases are an adequate ambient representation of your worst nightmares.

5. Athena (bass) and Amy Lawless (Vocals) of Vöetsek SF’s crossover thrash assault warriors have conquered the pit and kept the grime and ugliness of metal alive by saying straight to hell with your polished fashion metal! Let’s sweat and bleed.

6. Liz Buckingham (Guitars 2003-Present) of Electric Wizard If you’re good enough for the Wiz, you must be close to godliness and Liz’s groovy thick guitar fuzz worship sends us straight to the towering heavens of that chronic kingdom. Bow to your master, weedian!

7. Betsy Bitch (vocals) of Bitch Back in the ’80s, one bondage and leather-clad woman flogged us with metal until we were bleeding and begging for more. That woman is Betsy of San Francisco’s heavy metal slaves, Bitch. Listen to “Be My Slave” over and over again for optimal sexual results.

8. Lori S. (Guitars, Vocals) of Acid King You are doomed to be stoned and Lori is loading your bowl for you.

9. Michelle Nocon (Vocals 2006-2010) of Serpentcult Solid female doom vocals. This lovely lady appeared on Serpentcult’s 2007 EP as well as their first full length. Belgium sure knows how to grow ‘em!

10. Anahita (Vocals, Bass) of Seeds of Iblis… and sole mastermind behind Janaza, which is believed to be one of the first female solo black metal projects to have emerged from Iraq. This is the only feminine face of anti-Islamic, destroying black metal. Bend over and receive her with a smile.

Categories: Lists, Steph Up to the Mic Tags: ,

This Year’s Bleeding Eargasms

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

by Stephanie Vossekuil

Here are some of the noteworthy releases of 2011 that drilled a permanent rust encrusted hole right through my beating heart. They are in no particular order, and yes, a couple have been chosen more or less for their comedic value because no one likes a weenie who takes everything so goddamn seriously.

1. Wolvhammer – The Obsidian Plains Raw and totally unforgiving. A must have for anyone who likes to listen to metal that hands their ass to them.

2. Toxic Holocaust – Conjure and Command Aside from Streetlight’s very own wizard of Mammoth Sound single-handedly mastering this unruly beast, it is without a doubt, Toxic’s best album in years.

3. Indian – Guiltless Sludge violation and upsetting shrieks that drown in a flood of noise.

4. Sutekh Hexen – Luciform Noise Black Metal priests of San Francisco smashing your skull against a wall of penetrating sound.

5. Premonition 13 – 13 Because Wino can still kick your fucking ass, and because it’s hard to say… hard to say… I love…

6. The Fucking Wrath – Valley of the Serpent’s Soul Heavy, rockin’ groove jams that prove drinking beer and fucking shit up is still a main priority.

7. Fell Voices – (untitled) Local droney, ambient black metal. One of Santa Cruz’s finest bands. Worth every second of your time.

8. Lake of Blood – As Time and Tide Erodes Stone Conscious LA melodic black metal. Beautiful bearded guitar player. Keeping the gorgeously cold ambience alive.

9. Ash Borer – Ash Borer Fuck, these guys are good. They recently played a show at local venue, 105 Pioneer with the two aforementioned bands above. With songs alternating between driving into bludgeoning frenzies and emerging into a beautifully eerie tone ever so seamlessly, this Arcata band prove themselves to be lords of texture.

10. Burzum – Fallen Submit to Jeg Faller!

11. Pale Chalice – Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation Infectious, ruthless black metal with nice groovy thrash mid-tempo interludes. Plus, the front-man, Ephemeral Domignostika, is his own one man BM band called Pandiscordian Necrogenesis for which he plays all the instruments and howls at the same fucking time. On-turning.

12. Midnight – Satanic Royalty Perhaps a more emphasis put on the rock n’ roll of black rock n’ roll. Still venom worship heavy, still punishing, and as always, a purely evil good time.

Most Excellently Disgusting Bitches in Metal

December 13, 2011 1 comment

by Stephanie Vossekuil

By unfortunate circumstance, I found myself in a goddamn Guitar Center in San Jose with my band [Folivore], looking for a Wah peddle last minute so we could finally record our full length which Wands (Sutekh Hexen, No Funeral) has offered to release on wax hopefully sometime in the next few months. I was actively trying to drown out the shitty Top 40 radio while simultaneously amused by the fact that the clerk (who was wearing a large tag attached to a lanyard around his neck that read “Pro-Coverage” like it was his fucking political stance) was trying to sell my guitarist coverage for an extra bullshit cost that he kept insisting he was not interested in paying.

At the magazine stand, there it was: Revolver’s “Hottest Chick’s in Hard Rock, 2011.” And I thought, “Fuck. Here we go again.” In 2010 I first came across this garbage, though it was the hottest chicks in “metal” at that time, and I of course wasn’t surprised. Most of the credibility women seem to acquire in this genre flooded with testosterone stems more from their good looks rather than the actual talent they bring to the table. I suppose this is evident in many facets of life, but as a woman involved in heavy music, I get particularly peeved by this brand of discrimination. Women like Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, Maria Brink of In This Moment, and Amy Lee of Evanescence were featured in full Maxim-esque spreads looking like models with clean, brightly-colored tats and heavy eye-makeup (which you too can replicate! Just go to Revolver’s site and click the link that will tell you how to achieve that mysterious, smokey eye). And after flipping through all the photos and feeling once again let down by society at large, I simply scoffed and funneled my anger into our recording session.

Yes, of course, these women are gorgeous, and even though most of their bands are total shit, it continues to amaze me how the main way they conjure up mass recognition is through disrobing for a photograph. I have personally come into contact with this type of exposure with articles reviewing our band reading, “Folivore’s hot female vocalist” or “Vossekuil is… More than mere eye-candy,” of course alluding to the point that women in general are firstly hot pieces of ass and secondly, noteworthy musicians. After all, how often do you read an article about a man in a metal band that even so much as mentions what he looks like (as if it fucking mattered)?

Alas, I digress and would like to use this time to acknowledge and celebrate genuinely brutal and amazing women in metal. This is just off the top of my head, and in no way encompasses all the awesome ladies that are growing in number in the extreme music scene, but I feel it is a valiant attempt at giving at least some of them the feedback they deserve.

1. Laura Pleasants of Kylesa (Guitars, Vocals)
This woman will drown you in a thick Savannah sludge and leave you begging for more.

2. Vivian Slaughter (Bass, Vocals) and Risa Reaper (Drums, Vocals) of Gallhammer
Nothing quite like two Japanese women pulling you down into the depths of hatred and despair with raw blackened doom.

3. Kanako (Bass), Makiko (vocals), Tomoko (drums), and Noriko (bass) of Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation
Disgusting and bludgeoning death grind from the metal sisters in Tokyo. Prepare to have your balls handed to you.

4. Runhild Gammelsaeter (vocals) of Thorr’s Hammer
This woman’s gutterals are the fabric of nightmares. Though they only released a demo and an exalted EP back in ’96, the resulting product was nothing short of legendary.

5. LunaLoca (bass), GypsyWitch (guitars, vocals), and BitchHammer (drums) of Grey
US doom band musically trudging through the bowels of paganism and magic.

6. Rachel (vocals) of False
This black metal band from Minneapolis released their first EP this year and it fucking rips. Nice to hear a woman with a truly cold and fitting black metal shriek.

7. Danielle (vocals) of Iskra
Joining this blackened crust project at the release of “Bureval” in 2009, Danielle and her grimey pipes conquer the shit out of your soul.

8. Stevie Floyd (vocals, guitars, and keyboards) of Dark Castle
This woman is totally my recent girlcrush. Dark Castle, who recently opened up for Yob in SF, was fucking amazing live, creating a stifling cloud of doom and gloom over the heads of us all.

9. Grace Perry (vocals) of Landmine Marathon
A Pheonix death thrash act that totally rips your tits off. I think this is the only woman on my list who actually fucking appeared in Revolver for the Hottest Chicks in Metal of 2010. Fuck that. But no one can deny her raw talent and I would feel remiss not to include her.

10. Amber Valentine (guitars, vocals) of Jucifer
Georgian sludge duo that always seems to come out with really interesting shit. Inventive music and good vocal range that will tear you up with ferocity and leave you feeling uneasy with haunting clarity.

Saddle the Fuck Up

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Feed that Jukebox Son, I Lost My Heart to a Woman no Bigger’n a Popcorn Fart: Part Two

by Stephanie Vossekuil

Love is a real fucker, ain’t it? And no one knows that more than our favorite country heroes. Last week’s list might have set more of a silly, honky-tonkin’, pickin’ and grinnin’ tone but in this latest installment of Saddle the Fuck Up, we’re gonna dive on into that pure heartache and literally choke on homesickness and downright helplessness. Yes’m let’s get real deep into those country blues and take some time to ponder the days when our twangy forefathers were cranking out real musical sorrow-not the current tear-jerkers falling dangerously short of pass-ability urging all those little southern cuties to save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Maybe you’ve heard them a thousand times, maybe this is your first rodeo. Whatever the case, I hope by the end of it, there will be many a tear in your cold, cold beer.

Lefty Frizzell – Always Late (With Your Kisses)
Stop dickin’ ol’ Lefty around, cowgirl! He’s sad…

Faron Young – Hello Walls
Another classic incident of heartbreak-induced psychosis. Faron is talking to his goddamn house.

Bobby Bare – 500 Miles Away From Home//Detroit City
My vote goes for both of these classic tunes about homesickness and driftin’. Plus, Bobby Bare is a regular badass.

Townes Van Zandt – Waiting Around to Die
Watch this fucking clip from the movie Heartworn Highways. Just tell your friends you have something in your eye.

Tennessee Ernie Ford – 16 Tons
This song is one of the greatest songs recorded, period. It’s somber, gritty, and ass-kicking.

Johnny Bond and His Red River Valley Boys – All I Can Do is Cry
One of the more obscure hillbilly recordings dealing with the hardships of being a ramblin’ man.

Eddy Arnold – You Don’t Know Me
What happens when you’ve been friend-zoned. Hard.

Marty Robbins – They’re Hanging Me Tonight
The man with a tear in his voice always nails the heart-wrenchers. This one is particularly juicy.

Aight, cowfolks! Hope you enjoy. Until next time….