More than four years after its last release, Keelhaul has a new record ready, with its fourth album, Triumphant Return to Obscurity, slated for mid-spring release. Avant-metal indie label Hydra Head, home of underground godheads like Jesu, Pelican and Torche, as well as Keelhaul's last two albums, will issue the LP.
"It sounds great," says drummer Will Scharf. "Our drummer sucks, but otherwise, it's pretty solid. Sounds like the same band playing new stuff." The early mix runs 50 minutes. The 12 songs include the breakneck, hyperactive instrumental "Pass the Lampshade" and acid-reflux nightmare "The Subtle Sound of an Empty Milkshake." Brooklyn producer Andrew Schneider (Made Out of Babies, Cave In) returns, producing and mixing. The disc will be released first on vinyl, followed by digital and CD versions. Scharf expects American and European shows to follow.
"There will probably be some touring once it's out, especially if one of the bands with whom we used to tour in the ghetto who has since become successful wants to take us out so we don't eat poo," says Scharf. "Once people see us wheezing, trying to get through our stuff, and see how old we are - our drummer in particular - they run screaming away from the merch table like their hair's on fire."
Keelhaul formally convened in 1998, pooling alums from Integrity and Craw. The band plays the Spitfire (1539 W. 117th St.) with Midnight on Saturday, January 31, to end the club's Metal Month.
Reports of Abdullah's demise have been exaggerated. The group - which Free Times readers voted 2007's metal band of the year - played a farewell show at the Jigsaw on Saturday, January 17. But expect a return. "In all likelihood, we will continue on as a studio-only project and possibly play out from time to time," says frontman Jeff Shirilla. Shirilla's new metalgaze band This Is Antarctica has six rough tracks online at myspace.com/thisisantarctica.
Akron '70s punk also-rans Teacher's Pet returned to action last year for a series of reunion gigs to promote their self-titled CD of previously unissued 1979 material, which was released last spring. The surprisingly explosive sets feature dusty classics like "Cincinnati Stomp" and a scorching rendition of Status Quo's "Big Fat Mama." The band plays Annabell's (784 W. Market St., Akron) Friday, January 30.
The Pretenders are teaming with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and YouTube for a fan-made video contest. Animal lovers are asked to make videos of lip-synch performances of the song "Boots of Chinese Plastic." The band will choose a winner to be featured in the official video. Learn more at www.thepretenders.com/petacontest.html. The band's U.S. tour kicks off January 29. It hits Cleveland's House of Blues on Tuesday, February 10, and the Akron Civic Theatre Saturday, February 14.