Beginning with a welcoming rush of psychedelic cymbal wash and airy notes, the new split LP from harvest rock forerunners Across Tundras and similarly-minded Midwestern outfit Lark’s Tongue sets its sights immediately on the signature blend between the earthy and the ethereal that runs a current through both acts’ contributions. Due April 20 on Cavity Records, it features two tracks from each artist — a longer one, followed by a shorter one — and runs a total of just over 32 minutes of sometimes lush, sometimes sparse Americana-infused heavy psychedelic songwriting.
For Across Tundras, who made their Neurot Recordings debut in 2011 with Sage (review here) after a slew of other LPs and solo offerings from guitarist/vocalist Tanner Olson, this split marks their first studio material since and a precursor to 2013′s forthcoming Electric Nostalgia full-length. The Peoria, Illinois, five-piece Lark’s Tongue boast members of Minsk in their lineup — Chris Bennett and Jeff Hyde — and have released a 7″ and split 12″ with Men of Fortune on their Bird Dialect imprint. Both acts show an allegiance to Earth‘s prairie drone, but each with a somewhat different take that complements the other while maintaining a consistent spaciousness in the music.
That aspect shows up in much of Across Tundras‘ work, which casts off much of the oppressiveness of modern post-heavy in favor of traditional-sounding stomp that somehow sounds modern and like it might also be best presented at 78RPMs. Their two tracks here, “Low Haunts” and “Crux to Bear” are a fitting answer to the stomp and drawl of Sage, with Olson‘s invocations met by a rolling Appalachia of groove fostered by Mikey Allred and Casey Perry as the first unfolds following its initial wash and offsets a thicker intro on “Crux to Bear” with more uptempo swagger and a sense of the song consuming itself in its second half that nonetheless retains the structure a final verse provides.
This is my first exposure to Lark’s Tongue, whose lineup is completed by Nate Lucas, Jon Wright and Andrew Sledd, but especially put in the context of the two Across Tundras tracks, their own contributions make an immediately favorable impression, fleshing out some of the same sonic ideas with memorable choruses in both “Follow Your Nightmares” and “Aluminum” and a strong sense of purpose and aesthetic. “Follow Your Nightmares” takes off on an irresistible thrust but proves not so simple as a follow-the-riff excursion might initially seem, pop meeting with weighted low end and post-rock echoes, even as “Aluminum” seems geared toward an emotional warmth the humanity of which stands in contradiction to its title, its melody both infectious and striking when put to the deceptively heavy guitars and winding effects.
Both bands were kind enough to allow their material to be hosted for streaming ahead of the release and to add some commentary about their tracks, which you can find under the player below. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
The Across Tundras/Lark’s Tongue split LP will be released April 20 on Cavity Records. More info available at the label’s website.
From Lark’s Tongue:
This is our third release, following our 7” and split 12” with Men of Fortune released in 2012 on Bird Dialect. “Aluminum” is a relatively newer song, while “Follow Your Nightmares” has been kicking around since the beginning of the band in 2010.
“Nightmares” is a meditation of sorts on how we face our fears. It’s a journey for sure. “Aluminum” is aimed at a faraway place, at the resolution of that conundrum.
Unleashing this fearsome Janus upon the faithful, singing hymns to the eye of the storm, we herald the triumph of passion and amplification. The finest dream is a siren song to suffer, illuminating the pathways where fear and bliss become one. What starts with pleasure endures in alarm, and only your eyes can look straight at the sun.
From Across Tundras:
These are our first proper studio recordings since “Sage” was released on Neurot in 2011. In the time since we toured the USA up and down a few times and rehearsed non-stop at our Ramble Hill Farm stronghold in the hills Northwest of Nashville, TN. The hard work paid off and yielded these two massive tracks and a new full length record we are currently finishing up as we speak.
“Low Haunts” is a trial by hellfire, and coming out on the green mountainside. “Crux to Bear” is owning and disowning the bonds of blood and history.
Echoes of the past and distant rumblings of the future. Truth be told.