TORONTO BANDS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT: Low Orbit

 Let’s face it, the Toronto stoner-rock scene is past its prime. Not sure if I was even here for its heyday, but from around ’06 to ’08 there were no shortage of heavy bands around town. Nowadays, you rarely hear about any new local stoner outfits…so when one scrapes together the cash for a professionally recorded album, I tend to take notice. Meet Toronto trio Low Orbit, and dig their self-titled debut.

Instrumental intro “Space Capsule” sets the stage with some OTIS-style FX, before “Uforb” gets us into the groove with some space bass and more effects-laden guitar riffs. Bit of a fuzz-rock sound here, somewhat akin to Truckfighters, but maybe a bit more stoned. Oh, and just enough cowbell, BTW.

A thick, chunky bassline begins “Witchking,” a sticky-sweet slice of retrofied stoner doom that brings Ogre to mind. “International Bass Station” is pretty spacey, with some thickly-distorted grooves atop pounding percussion. “Angel Lust” also has a cosmic vibe, with one particular riff that recalls space travel (or something), with shades of Sleep, or even OM.

“Spaceships and Monoliths” is another variation on the theme, but this one’s more mellow, albeit with bits of Black Pyramid. Vocals actually sound somewhat like Danzig, which is interesting… No Danzig to be heard on “Lost,” mind you, tis another rollicking stoner-rock track. “Tree Howl” mellows things out even more, a nice rolling groove with a coupla heavy riffs chucked in for good measure.

Instrumental “Cosmic Wobble” also contains cowbell as part of a steady beat accented by wah and other effects—again, sounding somewhat like an OTIS jam. “The Sloth” is another solid stoner/doom jam; while not a Vitus cover, it has a similar vibe. Again, really diggin’ the bass tones here—hell, all the tones, for that matter.

These guys are having their CD release party on December 20, which is a little too close to Christmas, but hey, if you need a last-minute gift for the bong-smoker in yer basement, you could definitely do worse…

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Never thought I’d say this, but the real Hickory Sticks just don’t taste the same…

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Good news: contrary to popular belief, as previously reported, Hostess Hickory Sticks have not gone extinct.  They just don’t stock ‘em at Metro anymore, or at the Toronto Bus Terminal.  While the U.S. parent company has gone out of business, you can still get them in Canada, at fine retailers such as Longo’s or Shoppers’ Drug Mart.  In fact, there’s a pretty brisk trade on eBay of Canadians charging exorbitant prices to sell ‘em in the States.  Hey, if I ever fall on hard times, it might be a second career in the making.

However, it took this intrepid reporter some time to uncover this great Hickory Stick caper, and in the meantime, I’d actually developed a taste for the no-name, imitation, Metro brand.  Yes, they are too thick.  Yes, they have too much seasoning.  But when given the choice between a weak knockoff and quitting cold turkey, I still need my fix.

But hey, I’ve recently been able to quit–the bargain brand that is.  Since finding a store that stocks my Sticks, I’ve come running back to Hostess like I was a victim and they were, I dunno, a Catholic priest or something.  Only this time, they really don’t taste so good; they seem too thin and lacking in flavour.  So yes, I have a confession to make: the knockoff, no-name, Metro imitation brand has ruined the taste of Hickory Sticks for me.  I just might hafta switch to jalapeno chips, or something.

Episode 144 of Gruesome Tunes now available for download!

gruesometunesnew

CLICK HERE.

11/23/14 PLAYLIST

At Devil Dirt – El Dios que faltaba (self-titled) 2:18

Noothgrush – Jundland Wastes (Live for Nothing) 4:50

Naam – Lands Unknown (The Ballad of the Starchild) 5:02

Revelation – Jones Falls (Inner Harbor) 7:05

Norska – Cholera (self-titled) 5:24

The Asound – Joan (self-titled EP) 4:50

 

Traitors Return to Earth – Black Mercy (Smoke Screen) 8:28

Today is the Day – Outlaw [acoustic] (Animal Mother) 3:49

Connoisseur – Full Blown Marijuana Addict (Stoner Justice) 3:44

Unearthly Trance – Adversaries Mask 1 (V) 4:21

Heat – Illusion (self-titled) 5:34

Clamfight – I vs. the Glacier (I Versus the Glacier) 5:38

 

Holy Mount – Meadowvale (We Fell from the Sky) 6:30

Kylesa – What Does it Take (Ultraviolet) 2:04

Sons of OTIS – Guilt (Seismic) 7:22

Cardinals Folly – Blood Axis Raiders (Strange Conflicts of the Past) 9:59

Orange Goblin – Quincy the Pigboy (A Eulogy for the Fans) 3:56

 

Samsara Blues Experiment – Brahmin’s Lament (Waiting for the Flood) 12:25

Godhunter – Despite All (City of Dust) 6:24

Discharge – Nightmare Continues [live] (War is Hell) 1:53

Beast in the Field – Altar Made of Red Earth (The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below) 7:18

This is another one of those afternoons where I’m gonna need two screens…

 …only this time, I won’t be watching basketball!  With a week to go until the Grey Cup, the Stamps are looking to punch their ticket to Vancouver with their fourth win over Edmonton this season.  The Esks will most likely have Mike Reilly back at QB, but he’ll probably be playing with a broken foot that hasn’t had time to heal properly–making him a sitting duck for the Stamps defence.  I can’t say I’ve looked into buying tickets for the Big Game yet, but I probably will soon. ;)  Calgary 43, Edmonton 20.

How in the wide, wide world of sports did the Arizona Cardinals get to be the best team in the NFL!?  OK, I don’t think anyone’s picking them to win the Super Bowl–even though it’ll be played at their stadium–but at 9-1, the Cards have the best record in the league this season, a couple games ahead of anyone else in the NFC.  The answer is they’ve been doing it with defense (note the American spelling).  Only the Detroit Lions have allowed fewer points than AZ this season, and no one else in the National Conference even comes close.  Is it any wonder that last week’s Lions-Cardinals game ended in a 14-6 win for the home team?

That said, the Cards are about to fall back towards the pack as they travel to the Hawks Nest this week.  It’ll take a lot more than two TDs to win in Seattle, where the home side rarely loses, especially with Russell Wilson behind center.  And considering that Arizona is without its starting QB, Carson “Bad Knees” Palmer, for the rest of the season, they’ll hafta rely on Drew Stanton against the league’s third-ranked pass defense.  Did I mention that they’ll almost certainly be without Larry Fitzgerald, or that their rushing attack is the league’s second-worst?  Coming off a tough loss in Kansas City, this should be a statement game for the Seahawks.  Seattle 38, Arizona 7.

Of course, the Seattle-Arizona game kicks off at 4:05 pm Eastern Time, while the Calgary-Edmonton game starts around 4:30.  My laptop is charging as I type this.  Cuz hey, if you think you can go to a sports bar to watch the CFL Western Final in Toronto…you don’t actually live here, do you? :P

Who says there are no November shows in TO?

True, November tends to be a slow month for metal shows, as most bands tend not to tour in the winter–especially those of the “get in the van” variety.  And with the Leafs and Raptors double-booking the ACC, Hamilton almost seems to be a more happening place than Toronto this time of year…not that there are too many bands I’d go see who play the ACC, anyways.

By contrast, there often tends to be some pretty solid local bills this time of year, and this evening’s no exception.  Mind you, the headliner’s not quite from around here, and their attendance is contingent on them successfully crossing the frozen tundras of Buffalo on their way up from Rochester Rock City.  But dude, definitely don’t sleep on Blizaro.  They sound sorta like Paul Chain playing the Susperia soundtrack…and they ain’t even from Italy!

Support comes from Demontage, my favourite local black-metal band–which maybe isn’t saying much, but I did quite enjoy their most recent record.  We also get both kinds of power metal from the opening acts, with Valkyrie’s Cry playing the fast kind and Cromlech the slow kind.  I’ve only seen the latter in their very early days, but the stuff they’ve got posted online reminds me a lot of Atlantean Kodex, which is definitely a good thing.

All info is on the poster above, yo!

Much to my dismay, Guy Fieri’s salsa verde tastes nothing like hairspray…

002I love how the jar has 420 ml in it…

Picked this bad boy up at my local Metro.  While I wouldn’t normally pay, like, eight bucks for a jar of hot sauce, this isn’t your ordinary green salsa, no sir!  You’ve got the creaminess of the xanthan gum, a nice tang from the dextrose and yeast extract, and the “natural fire roast flavor,” which adds a nice kick.  This salsa is so “money” it’s green!  (It actually says that on the other side of the jar.)  And while I wouldn’t put it on a flip-flop, it’s still pretty bananas–and bananas is good!  Can you say “Winner Winner, Fridge Pizza Dinner?”

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Let’s break it down, here.  You’ve got some mini pita bread, warmed up in the microwave, slathered in Guy’s special sauce, with a buncha Parmesan cheese dumped on top.  Shut the front door!  OK, so it ain’t no chicken base ‘n garlic salt…but this dish was still better than those cold pork tacos I had at Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar!

Zags are back, baby!

Remember how a coupla weeks back, I said I’d never been more excited for an NBA basketball season?  Well hey, the Raps are 9-2, tops in the East…aaaaaaand they even beat the league-leading Grizzlies last night.  But I gotta say, halfway through the first full week of college hoops, I’m even more excited for NCAA basketball right now.  In fact, I’ve never been this excited about my Gonzaga Bulldogs since, well, March of last year, when they finished the regular season atop the AP polls.  And yes, I even bought the t-shirt–more than one!

No need to talk about that year’s tourney; let’s just say I hate Wichita State more than Adam Morrison hates UCLA, and leave it at that.  But hey, this season’s Zags could be even better than either the Morrison or Kelly Olynyk-led squads–hell, none other than ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Nate Silver of seeding teams, has them in his preseason Final Four.  Perhaps the fact that they utterly annihilated his alma matter last night had something to do with it?

Granted, it was a late tip on the East Coast, but I went to bed with Gonzaga leading St. Joe’s 48-10 at the half.  And the Hawks (no, not Seattle) wouldn’t even get 48 points the entire game, as the Zags handed them the worst loss in the entire history of their basketball program, 94-42.  Mind you, that St. Joe’s team lost a lotta key players since last year’s tournament appearance…but said soul-destroying defeat came just two days after GU dispatched 22-ranked SMU with relative ease, holding the top-25 school to just 56 points in the process.  Hell, the team that’s put up the highest score against Gonzaga so far was lowly Sacramento State.  They lost 104-58, BTW.

But we’re not just doing it on defence.  This team scores mad buckets, with the kind of post presence not seen since the Harris/Olynyk/Dower days.  Przemek “Polish Shaq” Karnowski, a 7’1″ freshman on that top-ranked team, has started to come into his own in his junior year–but so far, he’s been outshone by a current frosh, Lithuania’s Domantas “Son of” Sabonis.  (Perhaps you’ve heard of his dad?)  Add in the inside/outside threat of 6’10” Kyle Wiltjer, who transferred from Kentucky to Gonzaga to become the next Olynyk, and you’ve got a three-headed monster that would eat Duncan, Robinson and Will Perdue for breakfast!  (OK fine, probably just Will Perdue.)

And that’s not to overlook the backcourt, anchored by four-year starters Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin “Captain Canada” Pangos.  Andrew Wiggins gets all the hype, but if you’re looking for the next Steve Nash, look no farther than Pangos.  The kid has lit it up since Day One, dropping 33 points and nine threes in just his second college game.  He’s also had a spot on the Cousy Award watch list his entire career, and now that he’s fully healthy, Pangos might actually win the thing–provided that Gonzaga goes deep in the tourney.

Hey, I know I went to Vegas to see the 2012-13 team, but this season, I’ve got Seattle on my mind.  No, I’m not talking about that game against Cal Poly…but rather the second/third rounds of the NCAAs, where the Zags should have the home-state court advantage, as long as they secure a top-four seed.  Right now, that doesn’t look to be an issue, but there’s still lotsa games left to play.  Personally, I’m practically shittin’ mah britches for their Dec. 6 tilt against second-ranked Arizona–a possible Final Four preview, perhaps?

Don’t even ask me what I’m doing the Saturday after next, cuz I’ll be watching college basketball!

(OK, so I might only need one screen that time…)