Friday Full-Length: Minsk, Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

With its 15th anniversary impending later this year, Minsk‘s debut album, Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive, still sounds like the end of the fucking world. Issued through At a Loss Recordings, the full-length built directly on a prior 2004 demo that made the band’s signing mandatory — had to happen — with two of the tracks from that independent offering re-recorded and positioned as part of the monstrous opening salvo of the LP proper. Those songs are “Waging War on the Forevers” (10:40) and “Narcotics and Dissecting Knives” (10:57), and together with the universe-consuming 14 minutes of “Holy Flower of the North Star,” they assured Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive‘s place in the then-burgeoning pantheon of post-metal’s most glorious moments.

As the mid-aughts found Neurosis and Isis exploring some of their most ambient material and bands like Mouth of the ArchitectRwakeBurst, Amenra and Rosetta started to establish the aesthetic tenets of the style, Minsk were almost singularly chaotic. Like no one before them, the Chicago-based outfit were able to harness the tempestuous rhythms of Neurosis‘ Through Silver in Blood and bring that kind of intensity to their own approach, pairing it with standout riffs and vocal lines as well as effective linear builds like that with subtly leads into “Holy Flower of the North Star” before letting go of the listener’s hand and tossing them over the edge into the churning fray. Though the record’s impact was not immediate, with the quiet opening sample at the start of “Waging War on the Forevers” before the thrust kicks in at 1:29, once Minsk unveiled their full tonal weight, there was no way to stop the ensuing crush, and who the hell would want to anyway?

Though the fact that he’d helmed Pelican‘s Australasia certainly didn’t hurt his cause, and also the fact that Buried at Sea‘s Migration remains one of the heaviest records ever released, period, Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive seemed to serve particular notice of Sanford Parker‘s accomplishment as a producer. His ability to harness low frequency resonance is writ large throughout the 65 minutes of Minsk‘s debut, and of course that he wound up playing bass in the band, taking over for Drew McDowell in the lineup alongside vocalist/percussionist/keyboardist Tim Mead, guitarist/vocalist Chris Bennett, guitarist Dustin Addis and drummer Tony Wyioming (aka Anthony Couri), was a bonus that only added to their sonic impact. The use of percussion and keys whether in stretches of maximum churn or atmospheric reach, was also a distinguishing factor for Minsk, and made their sound all the more inventive and distinct from their peers amid what was at the time a stylistic boom, and as much of their impression would Minsk Out of a Center Which Is Neither Dead nor Alivebe made across those first three tracks — the original At a Loss vinyl edition reordered the songs to fit neatly as a 2LP — the subsequent “Three Hours” (11:11), “Bloodletting and Forgetting” (8:26) and “Wisp of Tow” (9:28) pushed ever deeper into hypnotic sway and contrasting pummel.

“Three Hours” still feels especially raging once it builds the proper momentum, with intertwining lines of vocals reaching up from out of the grueling ether with a kind of desperation that seems as emotionally raw as the proceedings around it are sonically complex. By the time the track crosses its halfway point, with its swirling effects leading gradually to a chugging that is all the more vicious for the undercurrent of keys and the glorious opening that follows, Minsk are both nearly impossible to follow and impossible to turn away from. The sheer aural demand of Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive remains staggering. Not only is it the kind of record in which, almost 15 years later, one can still hear new aspects of the band’s approach — it’s the kind of record whose urgency time has done nothing to dull. Which is all the more impressive when one considers how much of it is given to quiet parts.

“Bloodletting and Forgetting,” which follows “Waging War on the Forevers” on the vinyl side A, is the penultimate cut on the CD, and positioned well behind “Three Hours” as something of a comedown with its extended quiet start working as the launch of a linear build that, sure enough, hits a raging crescendo, but still gives over to closer “Wisp of Tow” with a psychedelic fluidity that the guest saxophone spot from Bruce Lamont, then of Yakuza, only drives into the broader reaches of the “far out.” Of course, they finish with a payoff that borders on Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive‘s most extreme moments before returning to lucidity for a few final lines before cutting out, but by then the feeling of consumption is long since established, and Minsk‘s refusal to bask in their own accomplishment — leaving as they do largely without ceremony — highlights the prior intensity. Though it was the earlier demo that set the foundation on which the album would flourish, they left no question as to their forward-thinking intent or their strength of purpose.

I recall it wasn’t long before Relapse Records came knocking. The venerable Philly imprint snagged Minsk and issued 2007’s The Ritual Fires of Abandonment and 2009’s With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here), as well as a split with Unearthly Trance concurrent to the latter, before Minsk took part in Neurot Recordings‘ Hawkwind Triad (review here) with U.S. Christmas and Harvestman in 2010. Half a decade passed before they returned with The Crash and the Draw (review here), a fourth LP once again on Relapse, and a split with like-minded Swiss outfit Zatokrev, titled Bigod (review here), followed in 2018 to mark the occasion of a tour and the 15th anniversaries of both bands.

Their first demo, 2003’s Burning, was reissued on tape in 2018 by Three Moons Records — it seems to be sold out, which I know because I just went to the label’s webstore to try to buy it — and they’ve had a beer collaboration and periodic local shows since. What their plans might be going forward, I don’t know, but even if it’s another three years before they release another album, The Crash and the Draw certainly proved worth that wait, and whatever they do, they’ve never given a reason for their audience to anticipate anything but creative and structural progression. When and if there is a “next record,” I’d expect no less of it than to live up to that high standard.

Still, Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive was and is a landmark for them and for post-metal as a whole, and as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I left the house this week. That was good. Took half a xanax to get me out the door, but we got there. And the show was good. And the people were good. I had fun and when I felt like a weirdo, I just took my little red laptop and started writing in the corner. Problem solved and it got the review done quicker. Can’t do that at every gig, but when I can it’s kind of nice to get the immediate impressions down rather than letting them filter through a night’s — or half a night’s, as it were — sleep.

I’m talking about this show, if you’re wondering. Sorry, should’ve made that clear.

So hey, Gimme Radio has come through the round of specials they were doing I guess to finish out 2019 and they’re bringing back The Obelisk Show to its every-other-week scheduling. I’m stoked. It was kind of a bummer just to do it once a month, but I like the alternating weeks. Next show is Jan. 31 at 1pm Eastern. I hope you can tune in: http://gimmeradio.com.

That was good news to get this week. I got kind of hosed on two of the “premieres” over the last few days, so makes up for a bit.

We’re coming up on the start of The Patient Mrs.’ next semester, which I know will be an adjustment to schedule that, where The Pecan and I are concerned, takes about three weeks to really get in a groove with. He’s also starting daycare part-time, four-hours, for two days a week, before the end of the month, so that’s a further tweaking of routine. It’ll be good to get him some time with other kids though. He needs it. Spends too much time with my cynical ass.

He’s up now, running around the living room as I type. And his approaching me to read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus — which I’ll pause to do — is probably my cue to wrap it up.

Next week there’s a premiere on Monday that I don’t think I can talk about yet, plus announcements on Tuesday that I know I can’t and a premiere of Grimoire Records’ next release. Wednesday I’m going to try to review the new Ripple split — new series, might as well at least start to try to keep up with it. Thursday’s open at the moment but something will come along or I’ll do another review, then Friday is a Lowrider track premiere and review, which, yeah, I wrote the liner notes for the Postwax version of Refractions, but fuck it, Lowrider’s first album in 20 years, you’d have to hit me with a bus to stop me from writing about it. I’ll do a full disclosure note before the review starts and then proceed with the hyperbolic praise accordingly.

Should be fun.

Today’s off to Connecticut, then back this afternoon. Tomorrow I have a press release to write for another announcement that’s also happening sometime early in the week, and then before I know it I’m neck deep in the week. That and cheesy taco dip are my big plans for the next couple days. Maybe a few minutes of reading during nap if such a thing can be finagled.

May yours be great and safe as ever. Have fun and be kind.

FRM: Forum, Radio, Merch at MiBK.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Hippie Death Cult Premiere “Treehugger” Video; 111 Repress Preorders Available Today

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

hippie death cult

The riff that opens Hippie Death Cult‘s 111 (review here) sounds so much like Alice in Chains‘ “Junkhead” to my ears that I keep half-expecting Layne Staley to start in with the “yeah-yeah”s over the lumbering guitar of Eddie Brnabic. He doesn’t, of course, but the key word there is “keep” — as in, I keep listening. To that song, to the album in general, and to the rampant praise that’s flooded over 111 before and since its release on vinyl through Cursed Tongue Records.

Usually that kind of thing is an immediate turnoff for me, and indeed, all the “holy shit!” around the work of Brnabic (who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album initially; Tony Reed did vinyl mastering, as he will), vocalist/keyboardist Ben Jackson (also of the undervalued Sioux), bassist Laura Phillips and drummer Ryan Moore (who was also in Nether Regions) had me hesitant to really dig into the record. And I’m not saying my opinion means anything one way or the other, because it doesn’t, but the fact is there is a draw to 111 that not only holds attention in the immediate, but keeps the listener coming back, in part to figure out what that draw is.

Near as I can estimate, it’s the balance of Brnabic‘s tone, which is very much Hippie-Death-Cult-111at the forefront of the band’s sound and sets their range in terms of depth of mix, driving both their heaviest moments and the acoustic centerpiece interlude “Mrtyu,” etc., and Jackson‘s soulful, at times gruff, vocals. The singer brings a bluesy sensibility that, in a song like the penultimate “Treehugger,” for which you can see a video premiering below — if you didn’t already see it premiering on YouTube at midnight Pacific last night; always love getting the exclusive, thanks y’all — almost touches on country, as though Hippie Death Cult were filtering a Texas heavy rock mindset through Portland’s attention to detail when it comes to tones and riffy tradition. With subtle lyrics touching on issues of faith and politics in opener “Sanctimonious” and elsewhere, there’s all the more depth to explore for the audience.

You’ll note the rhythm section has gone yet-unmentioned. That’s because their work is an utter given. Phillips, who also did some of the camera work in the video, alongside Brnabic and Alice Kollinzas, and Moore nail down and fill out the grooves of 111 with an understated fluidity that is never overly showy but is also never anything less than it needs to be. The balance, in other words, is just right, and in the respective eight- and nine-minute side A and B finales, “Unborn” and “Black Snake,” the full band works to enhance each other’s contributions so that it’s not just about the guitar or the vocals or the bass, drums or keys. It’s all of it, together. Considering 111 is a first album as the title would seem to indicate, this accomplishment isn’t to be understated.

Preorders are up as of today for the Cursed Tongue repress of 111, and you’ll find that info under the video for “Treehugger” below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Hippie Death Cult, “Treehugger” official video premiere

CURSED TONGUE RECORDS IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE: PRE-ORDER AND OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE FOR THE REPRESS OF GRUNGY STONER DOOM ALBUM ‘111’ BY HIPPIE DEATH CULT

REPRESS RELEASE FEBRUARY 14TH 2020

PRE-ORDER STARTS JANUARY 17TH 6PM CET* ON:
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/

Stream/Buy: https://hippiedeathcult.bandcamp.com

hippie death cult 111 vinylDue to continued high demand for the vinyl release of HIPPIE DEATH CULT’s debut album ‘111’ that has sold out completely from the label and all distros, we are thrilled to announce the REPRESS of this belter of an album!

HIPPIE DEATH CULT have been hitting it hard since laset summer both live on the stage and in the online spheres, where they have amazed many heavy heads across the globe as well as received an impressive amount of high ranking scores on a wide array of Best Of 2019 charts. Now a new year has begun and more new endavours lie at the feet of the death cult hippies in 2020.

The REPRESS of “111” on dark ‘Treehugger Green’ vinyl will see the light of day on February 14 2020 via Cursed Tongue Records with pre-orders starting later today!

This premium vinyl release boasts high quality 180 grams vinyl plated and pressed in Germany, housed in 6mm spine full colour gatefold cover with smoking hot artwork by the singer Ben Jackson in collaboration with guitarist Eddie Brnabic. This CTR Exclusive REPRESS is ltd. to just 300 copies and comes with a super rad A3 sized poster by Shane Horror Design (ltd. 100 copies) and digital download coupon for the full album plus two kickass stickers.

So if you missed out on the 1st pressing or simply want to add this sick REPRESS edition to your vinyl collection, now is time to start your engines!

Video produced, Shot & Edited By : Eddie Brnabic
Additional footage shot by Laura Phillips & Alice Kollinzas

Hippie Death Cult live:
Feb 07 Hawthorne Theatre Portland, OR
Mar 19 McFiler’s Chehalis, WA
Mar 20 Substation Seattle, WA
Mar 21 High Water Mark Lounge Portland, OR
Mar 22 Sessions Music Hall Eugene, OR
Apr 15 The Big Dipper Spokane, WA
Apr 16 Badlander Missoula, MT
Apr 17 Royal Canadian Legion Branch 1 Calgary, AB
Apr 17 Rocky Mountain Riff Fest Kalispell, MT

Hippie Death Cult are:
Eddie Brnabic : Guitar
Laura Phillips : Bass
Ryan Moore : Drums
Ben Jackson : Vocals/Keys

Hippie Death Cult, 111 (2019)

Hippie Death Cult on Bandcamp

Hippie Death Cult on Instagram

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Hippie Death Cult website

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

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Review & Video Premiere: Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on January 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

yuri gagarin the outskirts of reality

[Click play above to see the premiere of Yuri Gagarin’s new video for ‘QSO.’ The Outskirts of Reality is out Jan. 31 on Kommun 2 and Sound Effect Records.]

One tends to think of the motorik beat and the notion of the kosmiche in terms of kraut- and progressive space rock as being ideas drawing from influences half a century ago, but Yuri Gagarin readily demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be so. The Gothenburg-based troupe realize a modernist vision of krautrocketing hypnosis on their third long-player, The Outskirts of Reality, and drill to the molten core of a planetoid all their own with an approach that, far from reckless, approaches grandeur as though wielding a cosmic hammer, ready to smash the last vestiges of the reality in its title to shards floating in the sonic ether. Instrumental and running over a stretch of 44 minutes that begins with the ultra-fueled 10-minute blaster “QSO” and follows immediately with the 13-minute dimension-bending immersion of “Oneironaut,” resulting in a side A that seeks to pummel brain cells through the subspace barrier, never to be seen or heard from again. But the important thing to remember amid all this we’re-all-star-stuff-so-let’s-start-acting-like-it aural going-boldly is that Yuri Gagarin, in following up late-2015’s sophomore LP, At the Center of All Infinity — which was also recorded with Linus Andersson — is that Yuri Gagarin manage to pull together this sound of such a vast range and atmospheric willfulness without simply repeating the past. The Outskirts of Reality isn’t classic space rock. At least not yet. It’s forward thinking. It’s urgent and it’s energetic and it’s not just about who plays to what time or what stylistic rules are being followed. It’s about rewriting those rules to suit its own purposes.

And what are those purposes? What is it that Yuri Gagarin seek there in the outskirts? If the synth-laden closing title-track — which follows the delightfully airy “Crystal Dunes” and the even-more-experimentalist “Laboratory 1” on side B — has secrets to unveil, it’s doing so in the wash of guitar and keyboard creating melodic instrumentalist surges setting themselves to convey a feeling of “The Outskirts of Reality” as a point of arrival rather than a place of departure. That is, if we’re buying into the cliché of the album as a journey — and hell yes, we most certainly are — then ‘the outskirts’ is clearly the place we’re headed. The positioning of the title-track last speaks to this, as does the progression of the song itself, which one might think of as answering the liftoff-ignition-blast of “QSO” with a last, consuming wash of noise. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t think so, because while Yuri Gagarin are jamming here in the sense of following instrumental paths of their songs to the places they might naturally lead — linear builds, ebbs and flows, and so on — the dynamic the Swedish outfit bring to space rock has so much intentionality behind it that to give anything less than full consideration to its complexity feels half-assed. Even as the push-push-push of “QSO” departs and the song’s last two minutes or so are given to a stretch of quiet guitar fade that lead directly into “Oneironaut,” there’s a plan at work, if not a direct narrative. This isn’t just about self-indulgence or a showcase of effects wash. There’s more to it.

yuri gagarin the outskirts of reality

Certainly Yuri Gagarin are aware of space rock’s past glories. Almost 50 years later, Hawkwind looms over the entire genre as much as ever, but there’s a significant difference between being aware of something and beholden to it and it seems to be the latter where the band draw the line. It isn’t just a question of having modern production or a sleek gatefold by Påhl Sundström — though neither hurts in terms of presentation — but about the forward push in the material itself. To wit, the winding guitar of “Crystal Dunes” and how that song touches on Middle Easternism or Mediterranean folk without fully abandoning the overarching outward thrust of The Outskirts of Reality‘s entirety, instead bringing those elements into the context of the song and the record as it moves ahead toward the track’s emergent wash and eventual dissolution around a final resonant hum and strum. That this happens en route to the time-warp manipulations of “Laboratory 1” likewise isn’t a coincidence. Aside from being a fit in terms of runtime, the otherwise-interlude is a readjustment of mentality that sets up and reinforces the spirit of arrival at “The Outskirts of Reality” itself. And while the title-track doesn’t hit 13 minutes like “Oneironaut” or even the 10 of “QSO” back on side A, it doesn’t need to.

Rather, the point comes across in the encompassing effects and keys and the scorching guitar soloing, as undulations and surges of melodies take hold and recede and return in nigh-on-maddening fashion. They’re five minutes in before you realize what’s happened, and by then, you couldn’t get out if you wanted to. The shift to the final progression is subtle, but there, and soon Yuri Gagarin are engulfed in a last wash of noise that takes hold despite the ongoing and adjoining loops. If you’re wondering who wins, the answer is noise. Noise wins. The band doesn’t so much deconstruct the piece as let it drift off into the crushing vacuum, and as harsh as the noise is, it fades out in surprisingly gentle fashion. Perhaps there’s room for sentiment in the cosmos after all. One way or the other, Yuri Gagarin‘s The Outskirts of Reality portrays space rock as a reinvigorated aesthetic in such a way as to make it exciting not just to established fans of the style, but those who might be taking it on for the first time. It’s a rare sense of outreach in terms of audience-building, and thus something of a gamble on the part of the band, but in terms of world-building and making its own impression, it is likewise resonant and organic: An ultrasonic blowout for all tomorrow’s todays. Sometimes with records that see envelopes as things to push there is purist backlash as a result, and maybe Yuri Gagarin are at least potentially exposing themselves to that, but there’s much work being done on The Outskirts of Reality to open the minds of those who take it on, and those willing to meet the band on their level will find doing so all the more rewarding.

Yuri Gagarin on Thee Facebooks

Yuri Gagarin on Instagram

Yuri Gagarin on Bandcamp

Yuri Gagarin BigCartel store

Kommun 2 Records website

Sound Effect Records website

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Red Mesa Premiere “Route 666” Video; New Album Written

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

red mesa

As announced last month, Albuquerque, New Mexico, heavy rockers Red Mesa started writing material for their next album — they just finished this past weekend, by way of an update — as yet untitled, which will be out presumably later this year also-presumably through guitarist Brad Frye‘s Desert Records imprint. Well, that’s still neat news and all, but again, it was last month, which also makes it last year, which basically makes it ancient history even though the album in question hasn’t happened yet — behold the internet age! — and so it’s onward to the next thing, which also happens to be the last thing.

Yes, before Red Mesa — the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Brad Frye, drummer/backing vocalist Roman Barham and bassist/vocalist Irish Cantwell — set themselves to the task of recording the band’s second LP, they’re giving the first one a proper sendoff. Thus arrives their new video for “Route 666,” the penultimate track from Red Mesa‘s 2018 debut, The Devil and the Desert (review here), which you’ll recall was split into semi-acoustic and harder-hitting halves. As the immediate fuzz riff of “Route 666” tells you, the track comes from the heavy half of the record, and that’s just fine.

The secondary point the track raises in bidding farewell to The Devil and the Desert is that Red Mesa are much more of a band now than they were when the debut was put together. Founded by Frye, the lineup at the time split just as Red Mesa was getting ready to hit the studio to record, so he and producer Matthew Tobias went ahead and made the album anyway with studio collaborators. It was a bold play and it made sense in how the record came out, but with FryeBarham and Cantwell as a more established trio, it seems safe to me to expect a different dynamic from their follow-up. They’ve toured together and done shows both plugged and unplugged, and all that “makes a band” stuff is kind of a cliché at this point, but it’s also true. I’ll be interested to hear how the second record moves forward from the first.

We’ve got a while to go before we get there, though I hear details are forthcoming in a couple weeks or so. In the interim, get all desert-y with “Route 666” on the embed below. More info follows.

Enjoy:

Red Mesa, “Route 666” official video premiere

From Red Mesa’s “The Devil and The Desert” album, ‘Route 666’ is fast and full of heavy, desert rock riffs. Inspired by the old north-south U.S. highway in the Four Corners regions of the United States southwest, Route 666 was known as the “Devil’s Highway”. Due to the New Mexico portion being known as a dangerous highway with a long history of death and violence, and a growing superstition of the highway being “evil”, Route 666 was renumbered in 2003 to Route 491.

The band was also inspired by the gritty charm of Albuquerque, and the weird tales along old Route 66 that weaves through the city. Crime, poverty, and Breaking Bad lifestyles mix with artistic creativity and a hungry music scene that is growing quickly in New Mexico’s only metropolis.

The music video was filmed and edited entirely by Hunter Dawson of Desert Dwellers. This video features Red Mesa members Brad Frye (guitar/vocals), Roman Barham (drums), Alex Cantwell (bass/vocals).

The music video captures shots of the Sandia Mountains that loom over the city of Albuquerque.
The live performance was filmed at the Taos Mesa Brewing in Taos, NM on August 30th, 2019.
The street shots are in Downtown Albuquerque on Central Ave.
The music venues and businesses that Red Mesa frequent and/or partner with are featured in the video such as Desert Records, Launchpad, Sister Bar, Arise Music and Coffee, and Bar Uno, and Monolith on the Mesa.

Red Mesa is:
Brad Frye: guitar, vocals
Roman Barham: drums, backup vocals
Irish Cantwell: bass, vocals

Red Mesa, The Devil and the Desert (2018)

Red Mesa on Thee Facebooks

Red Mesa on Instagram

Red Mesa on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Desert Records BigCartel store

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My Dying Bride Post “Your Broken Shore” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

my dying bride

As threatened when My Dying Bride released the song as a digital single and announced the March 6 landing of their first album in five years, The Ghost of Orion, there’s now an accompanying video for “Your Broken Shore.” The big difference here, of course, is that it means those without a Spotify account — I actually re-signed up for one (had one, but seem to have lost it somewhere along the way) just for the song — or who don’t feel like shelling out the 99 cents for Apple Music or Amazon or whoever can hear the track, but the video is well-produced and directed as well, so it’s not like it’s a hardship to watch. I kind of like the dueling Aaron Stainthorpes, one lurking in black water or dressed in a monk’s robes screaming at the sky and the other brooding melancholically with a furrowed brow at the microphone, and the rest of the band appear in front of a wall of Marshall stacks that I imagine are just kind of around in founding guitarist Andrew Craighan‘s living room. “Oh that? That’s just my 35th guitar cab. More tea?” and so on. A splendid afternoon had by all.

So if the song was already out there to some extent, why am I posting the video? Well, the democratization of the track and the atmosphere inherent to a visual representation aside — though either of those would be reason enough, or just the fact that it’s My Dying Bride and I felt like it — it reinforces two key points about The Ghost of Orion I put forth when the release date was announced. First, I think the record’s going to be really good. I haven’t heard it yet (tear), so I’m only going on “Your Broken Shore” and my own anticipation, but it’s been half a decade and the band have now signed to Nuclear Blast, so they’ve got a whole new reason to bring their top-level game to the proceedings. Second point, the label’s going to really give this album a push. It’s kind of a risk because while My Dying Bride are legends in doom and hugely influential, I don’t think they’ve ever been a break-the-bank commercial band with mass appeal, but just from the fact that they’ve spaced out the track and video releases over two separate announcements means Nuclear Blast are looking to build momentum going into the arrival of The Ghost of Orion, and with preorders up now, I’d only expect that to continue.

That is to say, more to come.

Enjoy “Your Broken Shore”:

My Dying Bride, “Your Broken Shore” official video

After returning with a giant strike and announcing their new album, the British doom death legend underlines its words with stunning pictures: MY DYING BRIDE release the video for”Your Broken Shore” today, taken from the upcoming album “The Ghost Of Orion” which will be out on 6th March.

The new record of MY DYING BRIDE is the product of a vibrantly creative band that is more than willing to build on their successes in the past. Singer Aaron Stainthorpe about “Your Broken Shore”:

“The first song from MY DYING BRIDE for five years comes laced with passion, power and their unyielding desire to create the most thoughtful and heavy music possible.

‘Your Broken Shore’ is recognizably theirs despite an evolution spanning 30 years, it’s new and fresh but with unmistakable provenance and production surpassing anything they have previously released.

This track represents just a taster of things to come as the new LP “The Ghost of Orion” is upon the horizon containing seven further compositions of deliciously crushing gothic doom/death metal.”

Pre-order “The Ghost Of Orion” here:
https://nblast.de/TheGhostOfOrion

My Dying Bride website

My Dying Bride on Thee Facebooks

My Dying Bride at Nuclear Blast website

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Darsombra Post Video for Entire Transmission LP; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

darsombra

This shit is insane. Do I really think you’re going to sit and watch all 43 minutes of Darsombra‘s video for the title-track and only-track from their 2019 LP, Transmission (review here)? Well, when you put it like that, no, I don’t, because who the hell has 43 minutes to do anything ever, but whether it’s the frenetic, full-body-suit-clad fire-dancing ritual followed by a bit of shoulder boogie near the halfway point or some more serene nature shots of waterfalls, mountains, animals, caves and so on captured during the two-piece’s many adventures hither and yon on this silly planet, I’m really glad the clip for the entirety of “Transmission” exists. Put together by Ann Everton, whose visuals have become an essential component of Darsombra‘s live presentation yet inherently go underrepresented when it comes to their studio work, the video makes its interpretive aspects plain to follow as “Transmission” shifts between parts and moods, as her own various instrumentation and Brian Daniloski‘s guitar intertwine with a fluidity that, frankly, to call it drone would be underselling its complexity and psychedelic nuance.

Not to mention, Transmission is active. It’s not bouncing to a catchy, danceable drumbeat — or any drumbeat at all, mind you — but it is a work of pointed exploration and movement. Darsombra‘s pieces have certainly done their share of adventuring in the past, real-world and ethereal as some of the footage captured while driving through various landscape portrays, but the will to push these impulses further to new places can be heard even as parts loop around and are manipulated by various effects and added layers of synth, maybe-vocals, definitely-vocals, and so on. The video goes so far as to involve the viewer, turning white letters of its later chanting yellow in follow-along fashion — only the bouncing ball is missing. And it’s fitting that what began with birds flying under the sun and a spinning moon should close with a solar eclipse and that same returned moon, which appears over silence as the song itself has ended. For those who stick it out or those who skim, the resonance goes well beyond the tonal.

As ever, Darsombra will tour. They’ll do a Northeast weekender this weekend, then head to the West Coast for shows in Tijuana and CA ahead of an appearance next month at Shadow Frost in Maryland. Then in Spring it’s off to the UK and Europe alternately alongside fellow Exile on Mainstream types Conny Ochs and Kristian Harting. They’ll stop at Roadburn in April, where I look forward to seeing them.

Dates follow courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Darsombra, “Transmission” official video

Following the release of their sprawling fifth album, Transmission, Baltimore, Maryland’s audiovisual progressive/psychedelic duo DARSOMBRA has digitally released a film, to accompany the entire record. In addition, the band is expanding their upcoming tour itinerary with new North American and European dates booked in support of the record.

Released independently by the band last summer, Transmission consists of one continuous forty-one-minute flood of DARSOMBRA’s sprawling, mind-expanding, musical exploration. Ranging from relentless, charged, and cinematic, to ephemeral, transcendent, and delicate, the song embraces its many qualities as it wraps itself into a thematic, uncompromising saga with a million different interpretations available to the listener. The band’s filmmaker, Ann Everton, directed, shot, and edited the new film accompanying the album, backing the entire song with a visual experience as vivid, vast, and harrowingly psychedelic as the music itself.

DARSOMBRA Tour Dates:
1/17/2020 Sacred Root – Ithaca, NY w/ Ruckzuck, Dead Nettles, Shaawano
1/18/2020 Honey Room – Buffalo, NY w/ Circular Logic, Pam Swarts, Different Planets, Cacklmancy, Lala Funstar, Magisole, Isometrics, God Hates This Band, Djinn, American Raga
1/23/2020 Lyncanthro Pub – Tijuana, BC w/ Astral Azif
1/24/2020 Til-Two Club – San Diego, CA w/ Amerikan Bear, Soul Juice, Infinity Eyes
1/25/2020 The Paramount – Los Angeles, CA w/ All Souls, CFM, Biblical Proof of UFOs, DJ Dale Crover
1/26/2020 Golden Heart Space – Santa Barbara, CA
2/22/2020 Shadow Frost Music & Arts Festival – Frederick, MD
4/02/2020 West Street Live – Sheffield, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/03/2020 Conroy’s Basement – Dundee, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/04/2020 Tooth & Claw – Inverness, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/07/2020 The Cellar – Aberdeen, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/08/2020 BLOC+ – Glasgow, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/09/2020 Henry’s Cellar – Edinburgh. UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/10/2020 Cluny 2 – Newcastle, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/11/2020 The Exchange Basement – Bristol, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/14/2020 The Underdog – London, UK w/ Conny Ochs
4/18/2020 Roadburn Festival – Tilburg, NL
4/22/2020 VEB – Siegen, DE w/ Kristian Harting
4/23/2020 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE w/ Kristian Harting
4/24/2020 Zukunft am Ostkreuz – Berlin, DE w/ Kristian Harting
4/25/2020 Chemiefabrik – Dresden, DE w/ Kristian Harting
4/30/2020 Punctum – Prague, CZ w/ Kristian Harting
5/02/2020 Soul Kostel – Verné?ovice, CZ w/ Kristian Harting
5/03/2020 Kapu – Linz, AT w/ Jarboe, Kristian Harting
5/04/2020 Grillx – Vienna, AT w/ Kristian Harting
5/06/2020 Galerie Kur – Zürich, CH w/ Kristian Harting
5/10/2020 MCP Apache – Fontaine-l’Évêque, BE w/ Kristian Harting

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Friday Full-Length: Wo Fat, The Black Code

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

 

Heavy rock and roll’s history — and that of rock more generally — is replete with vehicular infatuation. From Chuck Berry‘s “No Particular Place to Go” to Deep Purple‘s “Highway Star” to Nebula‘s “Down the Highway,” it is a thread that unites subgenres around notions of self-direction, freedom and, of course, movement. In the hands of Dallas three-piece Wo Fat, the idea of the “highway” became “Lost Highway,” with a darker, swampier spin on the trope befitting the album it led off, 2012’s The Black Code (review here; LP review here). The first of two offerings they’d make through Small Stone Records, it followed just a year behind 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), which if I’m not mistaken gave Wo Fat the distinction of being one of if not the first American band to release through Nasoni Records — if they weren’t actually first, it’s still very select company to be in — and continued momentum built from the success of their 2009 sophomore outing, Psychedelonaut (review here; discussed here). That album solidified elements present on 2006’s nascent The Gathering Dark and established the penchant for hooks and bluesy and well-fuzzed tone of guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, and furthered a penchant for jammier vibes between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter that would continue through all their subsequent work to-date.

What makes The Black Code‘s five-track/46-minute stretch a landmark in Wo Fat‘s catalog, however, is a combination of three factors. I’ll bullet-point them to make everyone’s life easier:

  • The songs.
  • The evolution.
  • The timing.

The first one is probably the most straightforward. “Oh yeah we’re goin’ down the lost highway/Oh yeah there’s gonna be hell to pay” is as righteously catchy as it is righteously simple a hook, but it’s just the first of the bunch on The Black Code, and even the 12-minute “The Shard of Leng” has a chorus it drives home, let alone the album’s 10-minute title-track or closer “Sleep of the Black Lotus.” The centerpiece “Hurt at Gone” would seem to veer elsewhere structurally, but it makes a point to drive wo fat the black codehome repetitions of its title as well, and proves memorable for its use of slide guitar ahead of the Rhodes on “The Shard of Leng.” The songs all came together around an open-feeling sensibility, not necessarily meandering, but willing to flesh out with a natural patience and explore the territory around them with Stump‘s soloing leading the way. Noche del Chupacabra made a point of its swampiness on “Bayou Juju,” but The Black Code — if it didn’t come right out and say so — continued the theme fluidly.

Which brings up the second point. The reason it’s fair to call The Black Code a landmark isn’t just because it’s been influential in the years since it was released, but it was a critical moment in Wo Fat‘s development as a band. There was a lot that worked from the outset on The Gathering Dark, and that potential came forward on Psychedelonaut. Noche del Chupacabra stripped down some of the second album’s reach and put the focus on the combination of craft and jams. The Black Code ultimately succeeded because it — just a year later — took the lessons of all Wo Fat‘s prior LPs and put them to use in a span of songs that brought together in a way that made the record equal parts immersive and memorable. It was a culmination of everything Wo Fat had accomplished to that point, and those accomplishments had already been significant. In short, it was the moment where Wo Fat “figured it out” as regards the band they wanted to be and what they wanted to do with their music. It pushed them past their influences and onto ground more thoroughly their own.

And the timing for that couldn’t have been better. Consider the spread of mobile social media, the advent of YouTube Channel proliferation of music, Bandcamp, Spotify and so on. I don’t think StumpWalter and Wilson were sitting at a Wo Fat board meeting planning out their digital strategy as to how to get the most out of the solo-into-oblivion methodology at play on “Sleep of the Black Lotus,” but no question that word spread of Wo Fat‘s excellence in a space that, even a few years before, didn’t exist in the same way, and that that had an impact on how they were received, particularly by a new generation of fans. They hit their stride, as it were, and the music-on-social-media infrastructure was there to let them reap the benefits. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Wo Fat went to Europe for the first time supporting The Black Code, playing Roadburn 2013 (review here) in the Netherlands and a slew of other dates besides.

In 2013, Wo Fat also released their split with EgyptCyclopean Riffs (review here), and that momentum would continue to carry them through 2014’s The Conjuring (review here), a more than worthy follow-up to The Black Code. A limited 7″ split with The Re-Stoned arrived in 2015 ahead of their Ripple Music debut, Midnight Cometh (review here), in 2016. In 2017, Ripple took the 2015 live album, Live Juju at Freak Valley (review here), and with additional tracks, offered it as Live Juju at Freak Valley… and Beyond! on CD and LP, but 2020 will make it four years since their last proper studio offering, which is the longest stretch of their career to-date. They went to Australia in 2019 though and they’re set to play Monolith on the Mesa this year and other gigs, so they’ve been plenty busy one way or the other. Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a new record sometime before December.

I’ll admit it felt almost too easy to close out the week with The Black Code, but in thinking about why, it’s because the record so damn relevant. It doesn’t seem nearly as close to eight years old as it is, and given the impact it’s had on the structure of Wo Fat‘s work since — I would expect a new album to bring something of a shift in that, but I’ll save that speculation for another time — the recent discussion here of the best albums of the 2010s, and the ongoing spread of their influence more generally, it speaks as its own best argument. Maybe I’ll shut up finally and just let it do that.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading.

I lost The Pecan’s hat yesterday evening. Actually my hat, but he has taken it for his own and I have another of the same one, so whatever. Yes, we have matching winter hats. It is a white knit hat that my wife’s grandmother, Helen, first made for me well over 15 years ago. At some point, I came into the second one, and that was the one that didn’t make it out of Stop & Shop at Rt. 10 & 202 last night. Not a tragedy — it’s not like I lost the kid, right? — but an object of marked sentimental value to me and a genuine bummer. I called the grocery store and asked them to keep an eye out. The poor customer service woman thought I was insane. I spared her the full explanation of the hat’s origin.

My sister went twice and looked in the parking lot for it. She also went in and talked to customer service. Her husband went on his way to work this morning too. And The Pecan and I were out this morning early as well. I looked in the parking lot as the sun was coming up and then looked again in the back of the car by his seat and it was there under the floor. It had been there apparently the whole time. Real human relief. Exhale.

Last night, after he went to bed, I also accidentally broke my Chemex carafe that I use to make coffee. I had poured water in the coffee maker (8 cups, same as ever) and was shaking out the excess in the sink and the glass caught the faucet and broke. Again, could’ve been worse. Not a big mess of glass to clean up on the floor, and not the actual, much more expensive, coffee maker broken. But after the day I’d already had running solo point on Pecan duty as The Patient Mrs. is away on a work trip — dude was pissed to have a no-mommy day — and after the thing with the hat, it was clearly time to cut my losses, have dessert and get in bed.

This morning, before I even found the hat, I woke up to a message from a record label whose work I respect telling me that an artist whose work I very much respect has a yet-unannounced new album, and did I want to write the album bio for it. I said yes, and it’s a quick turnaround, so I’ll have to write it tomorrow, but I’m listening to the album now (it’s not Wo Fat, though that’d be cool too), and it’s really good, so all the better. It’s something to look forward to writing about tomorrow, and as it happens, getting blindsided by a new album and then looking forward to writing about it is among my very favorite things in the universe. Right up there with roasted garlic and hot showers.

That was a welcome start to the day, and I haven’t bought a new coffee carafe yet as of this writing — I got a cup at the Panera drive-thru, which was at very least better than Dunkin’ or Starbucks in the realm of “loosely acceptable in a pinch” — but obviously that’s on the agenda. I’m also making pesto this afternoon with kale and hazelnuts and my own roasted garlic that I’ll eat tonight with cauliflower and leftover chicken for dinner. Need to get parm reg at the grocery store when I buy the carafe.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 12:30 — it’s 10:30 now — to do a follow-up ultrasound I guess because they’re worried I might throw a clot after the surgery I had a week ago on my leg and they want to make sure everything’s kosher. Whatever. My father threw a clot in his leg a while back; didn’t kill him. Dude’s heartier than me, but if I dropped dead, well, at least I found that hat and got to hear one more good record that I was looking forward to writing about.

If I did though, I’d miss Ode to Doom next Wednesday in Manhattan, and that’d be a bummer. Apparently it’s Joe Wood from Eternal Black’s birthday. Dude is more than a prince. He’s a king. Seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you ever have the opportunity to know him, take it. It will make your life better.

One would expect his birthday would draw a good crowd, even for a weeknight in January.

Tomorrow’s plans include a drive to Connecticut so that The Pecan can visit with The Patient Mrs.’ family and I can continue on to Rhode Island to purchase chicken from the Buffoni Poultry Farm in Johnston. I will get at least 40 pounds of chicken, no bullshit. I was thinking about getting 30 pounds of thighs if I can. It’s almost the start of the semester, so basically we’re stocking up for the next few months ahead of The Patient Mrs.’ break ending, and it’s not like I want to make a three-hour drive for chicken every week. So yeah, I’ll be buying in bulk.

No one in New Jersey runs a free-range, preferably organic, farm that does their processing on-site and sells boneless thighs. These are very exacting standards, and I’ve yet to find anyone who meets them. Plus the chicken from the place in RI is better than anything I’ve had here, and I’ve been through a few farms at this point.

I could go on, but this post is already beyond manageable. Guess I feel like writing. Bodes well for the weekend if I can keep it up. Always plenty of work to do.

Real quick — next week: Premieres for Red Mesa (video), Grey Skies Fallen (track), Yuri Gagarin (video), and another video I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about ahead of time but that’s slated for next Friday. Also the Ode to Doom review will be up Thursday.

So good stuff to come.

Please, great and safe weekend, and thanks again for reading.

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Friday Full-Length: The Devil’s Blood, III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The 2013 release of the third and final The Devil’s Blood full-length, III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars, will be forever tainted by the context of the subsequent suicide-by-overdose of the band’s founder and mastermind Selim Lemouchi, but even by the time the record came out, the band had broken up. Based in the Netherlands, and with a legacy there that continues to spread thanks to the likes of erstwhile The Devil’s Blood members Oeds Beydals and Ron Van Herpen — not to mention vocalist Farida Lemouchi, sister to Selim, whose singular voice was essential in conveying The Devil’s Blood‘s theatricality and thereby setting the course of European cult rock for years to come — The Devil’s Blood were only together for about seven years, but their work continues to resonate for those who’d dare take it on. In the case of III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars, it is an alternately dense and sprawling inwardly-churning cosmic storm, with 22-minute opener “I Was Promised a Hunt” set up across side A of a 2LP like a wall to keep out all but the bravest of listeners, harnessing krautrock-derived repetitions, spacious echoes in the vocals of both Lemouchis and a nigh-opaque feeling of purpose behind its expression. By the time it’s nine minutes in, it’s almost gothic in its level of drama, and the atmosphere it creates is pervasive throughout subsequent tracks “The Lullaby of the Burning Boy,” “…If Not a Vessel?” and “In the Loving Arms of Lunacy’s Secret Demons” on side B or the second platter’s longer stretches in “Dance of the Elements” and “White Storm of Teeth” and the consuming/consumed finale “Tabula Rasa.” With the years of hindsight, it is a powerful and at times overwhelming listening experience.

“Overwhelming” simply because of its scope. The Devil’s Blood had already proven expansive at an increasing rate on their prior full-lengths, 2011’s The Thousandfold Epicentre (review here) and 2009’s The Time of No Time Evermore (review here), and even the formative 2009 Come, Reap EP (review here) as well as other itinerant short releases demonstrated the potential in their craft and style. III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars, however, was simply working on another level. Refusing genre constraints, it was as much progressive as it was psychedelic, as much metal as dark heavy rock, and it was as much spirit and soul as it was tied to the earth as it was unwilling to do anything but soar. With guitar, bass, drum programming, vocals, music and lyrics and recording by Selim, vocals by Farida and a mix and master by Peter G. Kloos, it was nothing short of a vision manifested and turned into reality — such as it was — through songwriting of rare introspective urgency. Self-indulgent? You bet your ass. From the invocation of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” in the last movement of “I Was Promised a Hunt” down through the intertwining bass/guitar noodling of “In the Loving Arms of Lunacy’s Secret Demons” and the galloping final build and Floydian wash of “Tabula Rasa,” the seven-song/65-minute offering carried a sense of pushing The Devil’s Blood‘s sound as far as it could go — all the more in light of the band’s breakup. It was and is gorgeous and damaged, deeply human andthe devils blood iii tabula rasa or death and the seven pillars otherworldly, and propelled as much by these conflicts as by Farida‘s operatic vocals.

A masterpiece, in other words, and the work to which everything The Devil’s Blood had done up to that point had been leading. Releasing through Ván Records in Europe and Metal Blade in the US as of the second album, they’d taken on increasing notoriety. They’d toured the States as well as Europe and were already seen as having some measure of influence, and that has only continued to grow as the years have passed and the wound of Selim Lemouchi‘s death has, if not healed — because it hasn’t; it looms over the songs on III and is inseparable from the album — then at least become less fresh with time. But it’s important to remember that came later. Selim had already moved on to Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies, and it was The Devil’s Blood‘s breakup that so much snapped their forward momentum. Metal Blade gave a cursory push as I recall, but really, what was to be done with III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars if The Devil’s Blood weren’t a band anymore?

But that circumstance, bummer as it was, can’t now take away from the accomplishment that III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars represents. In the barrage of verses throughout “White Storm of Teeth,” the final lines of the album are delivered thusly:

I fall into the spaceless space
The timeless time, the endless end
Neither here nor there, above or below
Into the night I go

Even this final statement seems to carry extra weight because of Selim‘s death. It made it all real and terrible, and even years later, it makes listening to III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars harder — and the album is by no means easy listening anyhow, despite its melodic range. But the album also stands as a testament to how beautiful the work could be, and as time passes, that seems to come more into focus. One hopes it will continue to be the case.

Among the most touching live experiences I’ve ever witnessed was at Roadburn Festival in 2014 as Farida LemouchiOeds Beydals and others took to the Main Stage as Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies and paid tribute to Selim little more than a month after his passing. By then, Beydals had already formed Death Alley and was ramping up momentum with that outfit, and other Job Van De Zande would join Dool while Ron Van Herpen continued on periodically with Astrosoniq and Rrrags, etc. Farida would remain unheard-from until 2019 when, again at Roadburn (review here) she appeared fronting Molasses with BeydalsVan Herpen, Van De Zande and other The Devil’s Blood associates in tow. A concurrent single was released in the form of Mourning Haze / Drops of Sunlight, but at the time it was a question as to whether or not the project — commissioned specifically for the festival — would continue, and certainly considering the emotional drain of performing essentially together without Selim there, especially on Farida Lemouchi, it’s easy enough to understand why. They have two live performances booked thus far for 2020: The Abyss Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 28, and Eros at Arms in Zürich on April 25. After that, your guess is as good as mine.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

I slept an extra half-hour this morning on a gamble that The Pecan: Toddlerian would also sleep late. It seems to have worked out thus far — quarter after six — but I expect him up at any minute. Nothing major, but I’m having a kind of minor outpatient surgical procedure done on my left leg later on, and they said no coffee beforehand — I could cry — and it was that much harder to get out of bed with the extra incentive of turning on the Chemex in the kitchen to make the first pot of the day. I had a protein bar and drank a bunch of water instead. Not nearly the same, but so it goes.

Rumor has it I’ll be laid up for a good portion of the weekend — at least tomorrow — so it seems like a good time to begin work on the Quarterly Review, which is precisely my intention. It’ll be next Monday through Friday, 10 reviews per day, 50 total, kind of putting a bow on 2019 and a little bit looking ahead to the months to come. It’ll be fun. Usually is, anyhow, by the time it’s finished.

There’s also a new Gimme Radio show today at 1PM Eastern listen here: http://gimmeradio.com.

I like doing that a lot, and I wonder if now that I’m back in NJ I might be able to volunteer at WFMU as a DJ. Think they’d take me? They sure as hell didn’t last time. I cut a voice sample and then never heard from Brian Turner again. He works at Gimme now. We email a lot. Go figure. Seems like a nice guy. I’ve never reminded him of the time I tried to join his staff. That was maybe 2007-2008. I was still at Metal Maniacs.

My illustrious career.

What a wreck.

I don’t have any New Year’s resolutions, and I frankly believe they’re bullshit, but it is important to set reasonable, attainable goals for oneself, and at some point in the next 12 months, I’d like to conceive of and begin a new book project. What does that look like? I have no idea. Could be a children’s book I’ll write in a day and spent two months revising to get the meter right. Could be a collection of essays I’ll map out and put together over the next couple years. Could be a compilation of stuff from on here. I don’t know. But I’d like to get something moving in that regard. I don’t think it’ll be fiction on the order of the first book. It started to feel too formulaic and “literary,” which, I’m sorry, but screw that. The universe needs my white-cis-male ass to be making literary proclamations like it needs a supermassive black hole in its infinitely expanding head.

So I’ve been thinking about that and will continue to do so and see where it takes me and where I take it. I’m sure I’ll find some way to keep you posted if you’re interested, if not here then on thee social medias.

Oh, and I put out the notion of doing a newsletter a bit ago and seemed to get a positive response. Then I signed up for MailChimp and forgot all about it when the holidays hit. Ha. Survival-mode came on. I’ll maybe get on that sooner or later if anyone really cares.

And speaking of the social medias, I put out word there that the Decade-End Poll was staying up an extra week. If you haven’t turned in a list or however many picks for your favorite records of the 2010s yet, please do so here.

It’s also my mother’s birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday, mom.

Alright, I think that’s everything.

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