Conclave, Sins of the Elders: Cold Comforts

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

conclave-sins-of-the-elders

On no level is Sins of the Elders a minor undertaking. The debut full-length from Conclave arrives via PATAC Records and Lost Apparitions Records as a 63-minute-long slab of doomed punishment, telling much of the story of its sound with its cover: harsh, draconian, violent. Stoned to death. And so they are. Marked out by their lineup featuring members of unsung heroes Warhorse in bassist/vocalist Jerry Orne and Noreaster sludge bastards Grief in guitarist Terry Savastano, along with guitarist Jeremy Kibort and drummer Dan Blomquist, Conclave bring a pedigree of extremity into their debut that builds on the downward vibes of their 2014 debut EP, Breaking Ground (review here), while seeming to build an impenetrable wall with its heft of both tone and atmosphere. Easy listening it is not.

Recorded by Eric Braunschweiger at Raven’s Head Studio in MA, the majority of the nine tracks on Sins of the Elders — which I actually suspect is something of a gag title; the band being the elders, the songs being the sins — rests comfortably in the eight-to-nine-minute range, with the exception of the intro “Descend,” the quiet outro “Kaltas” and the more raging “Cold Comfort,” positioned before the pre-outro title-track, and its feel becomes as much about the entire forward slog than any individual piece’s bludgeonry. Standout moments like the second half of centerpiece “Mammut,” with its German samples and war sounds and landmark riff, and the chorus of “Cut it Off” prior, do much to anchor the proceedings, but taken as a whole, the cruel design of Sins of the Elders is encompassing in its darkness and unremittingly extreme.

That’s not to say it doesn’t groove, because it absolutely does, just that it has the absolute potential to overwhelm some listeners and that’s according to what sounds like the band’s obvious intent. Those averse to growling vocals will bristle at Orne‘s gruff, sometimes grunted, delivery, timed rhythmically to the riffs and almost universally miserable-sounding, but it’s an essential component in the atmosphere Conclave conjure. Credit to Blomquist for making a track like “Funeral Fyre” — which follows the quiet, spacious, raining, spoken-word-over-guitar intro “Descend” — have such a sense of march. While KibortSavastano and Orne are chugging away at the second verse, the drummer is subtly injecting a bit of swing and getting away with it admirably, double-kicking through a quick standout lead section and a late chorus before crashes complement the rumbling and sparse, mournful guitar ending, which leads right into “Black Lines.”

conclave

Slower at its start, “Black Lines” is among the album’s most aggressive cuts by the time it gets to the midpoint, and damn near uptempo in its last minute-plus, picking up a faster riff and riding it toward the eight-minute finish line. The aforementioned “Cut it Off” follows, finding some balance in terms of pacing but letting go of none of the severity for its relatively straightforward verse/chorus structure, breaking in the second half after its first guitar solo to bridge to a second, longer one before another faster ending takes complete hold, almost blindsiding the listener even though they did basically the same thing one song before. Easier to pull that kind of thing off when you have a varied songwriting process, it would seem.

Air raid sirens blare at the start of “Mammut” and the intro riff to the song itself serves as the bomb being dropped. Fair enough. Apart from the already-noted samples, “Mammut” is the only instrumental on Sins of the Elders apart from the opener and closer, and all the more interesting that they should make it the centerpiece, but it leads into the grueling and massive “Aethereum,” which echoes out its central guitar figure over a rolling beat that somewhat revives the march of “Funeral Fyre” but turns toward a guitar solo in its midsection and then back for another round through the verse and chorus before its fade. One might expect “Cold Comfort” as the only non-segue track under seven minutes long to be faster or more geared toward the death metal side of Conclave‘s sound, but it isn’t, really.

Like its surroundings, it lacks nothing for force, but doesn’t seem to be willfully readjusting the scales when it comes to one aspect of their personality over the other as it makes its way toward the title-track, which is the longest cut on Sins of the Elders at 9:31 and from which no light seems to escape. Between Orne‘s shouts and the push of guitars, bass and drums accompanying, its second half particularly is like a revelry of the damned, moving toward and through a chorus and solo that serve as the album’s apex before finishing noisy and turning over to the quiet guitar, bass and cymbal wash of “Kaltas” that bring the madness to an end. That Conclave would have an idea of what they wanted to accomplish going into their first full-length isn’t really a surprise given their experience and what they were able to bring to the prior EP, but Sins of the Elders excels in its pummel and its blend of heavy riffing and harder sentiments. It is brutal in concept and execution.

Conclave on Thee Facebooks

Conclave on Bandcamp

Lost Apparitions Records

PATAC Records

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Buzzard Canyon Sign to Salt of the Earth Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Connecticut heavy rockers Buzzard Canyon have been signed by Salt of the Earth Records for the September release of their debut album, Hellfire and Whiskey. I was fortunate enough to catch the band playing live last fall at Vultures of Volume II (review here) and from the demo-type release I got from them at the show, they run the line between Northern and Southern visions of riffy groove, the vocals of Amber Leigh and guitar of Aaron Lewis (also When the Deadbolt Breaks) leading the way through classic-feeling material of which you can get a sample now with the streaming track “Soma’Bitch.”

Lewis also recorded at his Room SevenZeroEight studio, which indeed, is in the back woods of CT. More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

buzzard canyon

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS proudly announces the signing of the big rock riff cult, BUZZARD CANYON!!!

The sixty cycle hum of a tube powered stack bellowing through the silence. The deafening roar of a 454 throwing power at some winding dirt road up riff mountain. This is full fledged Camaro rock.

BUZZARD CANYON have been amassing a loyal following, built upon the bands delivery of massive riffs and endless gigging. Gigs that have included performances on notable stoner and doom metal fests throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. As well as many direct support slots for national acts. And with the impending release of “Hellfire & Whiskey” this September 2016, Buzzard Canyon will be expanding their reach and broadening their audience via an even larger onslaught of road work: Bringing the loud to the stage. So be prepared. They are coming for you.

Recorded in the back woods of Connecticut at Room SevenZeroEight, Buzzard Canyon’s “Hellfire and Whiskey” holds heavy grooves, whiskey fueled lyrics, dual vocals and rippin’ Thin Lizzyesque twin guitar harmonies as it winds you through twisting dirt roads, stories of oceanic battles and dark internal struggle. This album will be an instant classic to old and new fans and will be offered on Vinyl, CD and digital formats.

Check out the new single Soma’ Bitch

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzardCanyon/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Buzzard Canyon, “Soma’Bitch”

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Melvins Post “Hideous Woman” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

melvins

I’ll admit I’ve become less of a Melvins fan over time. The Seattle mainstays-of-riff are well over the 30-year mark at this point, and you won’t in the least find me denying the massive impact Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover — as well as a series of bassists; six on their new album, Basses Loaded (see what they did there?) — have had on underground rock and roll especially over the last two decades or the fact that they absolutely slay live, but they’re impossible to keep up with, Buzzo‘s a dick to press in the Jello Biafra/Henry Rollins tradition and frankly, no matter who’s playing on it or whatever, there’s a lot of what they do at this point that I think comes from the same place. Even the chug of “Hideous Woman” from the new record should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s listened to any given amount of their material over the last 10 or 15 years.

So why am I posting about the Melvins? Because I respect the shit out of them. Look at that list of tour dates below and ask yourself how many groups have been around for that long and still have that kind of drive to do what they’re doing. True, they’re making a living off it and at this point it’s easy to imagine they don’t know how to live any other way, but even so, the sheer factor of the Melvins having trudged back and forth across the planet, again and again, while putting out albums at a continually impossible rate, means that yes, I still think they’re worth posting about even if I’ll just about never actually put on one of those albums.

There you go. An honest post about the MelvinsBasses Loaded CD is out now on Ipecac. Vinyl on Friday.

Video is below for “Hideous Woman.” Whatever, go to a show. Then watch Bob Hannam‘s documentary. Or watch the documentary first. Either way.

Alright:

Melvins, “Hideous Woman” official video

The Melvins, who recently wrapped up their latest European tour, debut a video for “Hideous Woman” from their recently released album, Basses Loaded (Ipecac Recordings).

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR HIDEOUS WOMAN, DIRECTED BY DAVID HALL

The 12-song album features six bass players: Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, Butthole Surfers’ J.D. Pinkus, Big Business’ Jared Warren, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn (aka Melvins Lite) and Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover swapping the drum kit for bass in the Melvins 1983 iteration.

The Melvins return to U.S. highways this summer, launching a seven-week tour on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas. The touring line-up features Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald.

U.S. tour dates:
August 3 Las Vegas, NV Backstage Bar & Billiards
August 4 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room
August 6 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre
August 7 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
August 9 Sioux Falls, SD The District
August 10 Fargo, ND The Aquariaum (Dempsey’s Upstairs)
August 13 Eau Claire, WI Eaux Claires Music Festival
August 14 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company
August 15 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
August 16 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 17 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
August 18 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
August 19 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue Theatre
August 20 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
August 22 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
August 23 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 24 Buffalo, NY Iron Works
August 26 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 27 Northampton, MA Pearl Street
August 28 Hamden, CT The Ballroom at the Outer Space
August 29 Providence, RI Fete Ballroom
August 31 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
September 1 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
September 3 Cookeville, TN Muddy Roots Music Festival
September 5 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 6 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
September 7 Charleston, SC Music Farm
September 8 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
September 10 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
September 11 Jackson, MS Duling Hall
September 12 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 13 Little Rock, AR Metroplex
September 14 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
September 15 Oklahoma City, OK The ACM @ UCO Performance Lab
September 16 Norman, OK Opolis
September 17 Austin, TX The Sidewinder
September 18 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 20 El Paso, TX Lowbrow Palace
September 21 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
September 24 Long Beach, CA Music Tastes Good Festival

Basses Loaded is available now via the Ipecac webstore, Bandcamp, Amazon and iTunes. The vinyl release arrives on July 1.

Melvins on Thee Facebooks

Melvins on Twitter

Melvins Instagram

Melvins at Ipecac Recordings

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The Well Announce New LP Pagan Science out Oct. 14

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-well

There hasn’t been any kind of official announcement from the PR wire about it, but savvy social media types that they are, both The Well and RidingEasy Records have been dropping hints about the former’s follow-up to 2014’s most excellent debut, Samsara (review here). The most solid word from the label has come down to confirm the title of the Austin, Texas, trio’s second outing as Pagan Science and an Oct. 14 release date. Preorder info, reportedly, is coming soon.

The Well — bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley, guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham and drummer Jason Sullivan — toured hard behind Samsara, so it seems reasonable to expect that Pagan Science will benefit from that. Like its predecessor, Pagan Science seems to have been tracked at Ohm Recording Studio in Austin, though if it was Mark Deutrom (also of Bellringer) once again at the helm as producer and Chico Jones engineering — the team that handled Samsara — I don’t know for sure. Doesn’t seem unlikely, considering how well that album captured the band’s live sound.

Doesn’t seem at all unlikely either that they’ll hit the road hard once again either before, after or during the release of Pagan Science, but The Well also recently had a song feature as the opening theme of Ride with Norman Reedus, starring the titular actor best known at this point for his role as Dale on The Walking Dead. That’s not likely to hurt exposure-wise either, especially leading into a new record.

RidingEasy‘s announcement was short and to the point. Will keep you posted when I hear more about a firm release date, tour in the US or abroad, or any of that other good stuff.

For now, here’s what the label had to say and the Samsara stream if you’d like a refresher:

[UPDATE 6/30: The PR wire sent the album art as well. It follows here.]

the-well-pagan-science

Stay tuned for @thewellband pre-sale info on the new album “Pagan Science” out worldwide October 14th. Are you ready for some new Jams?

http://www.facebook.com/thewellband
http://thewellaustin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/

The Well, Samsara (2014)

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Oak Release New EP Oak II

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

London heavy rockers Oak have issued Oak II, their aptly-titled follow-up to their self-titled debut EP (review here), which came out late last year. Like that release, the new four-tracker is available now as a name-your-price download via the band’s Bandcamp page. I haven’t seen anything about a physical release for either EP, or both together for that matter, or anything else, but Oak seem to be making their way toward these things one step at a time, and I look forward to digging into these new tracks to hear what they’ve been up to for the last seven months.

Art and release info follow, courtesy of the PR wire, Bandcamp, and the social medias:

oak ii

We’re proud to announce that we’ve just released another batch of 4 tunes for you to enjoy. Several sets of strings, a few drumsticks and a studio loudspeaker have given their lives during the making process of this EP. So we’re hoping you’ll have as much of a blast listening to it, as us making it.

Recorded over a weekend in London’s Kore Studios back in May, Oak II sees the band take on a heavier, more focused sound with the new addition of Clinton Richie on drums.

Formed in the summer of 2015, London stoner rockers Oak have just released Oak II, the follow up to November 2015’s debut EP Oak.

The band combine desert rock grooves with fuzzed out 70s inspired hard rock and have spent 2016 gigging – sharing the stage with bands such as Elephant Tree, Welsh uber-dudes Sigiriya and Black Lung from the USA.

Oak II tracklisting:
1. Mirage 05:36
2. Against The Rain 05:41
3. A Bridge Too Far 06:30
4. Smoke 05:48

Andy Valiant: Lead Vocals
Kevin Germain: Guitars, Backing Vocals (tr. 1 & 2), Talk Box Voice
Scott Masson: Bass, Backing Vocals (tr.3), Talk Box Guitar
Clinton Ritchie: Drums

All songs by Oak
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Kevin Germain
Artwork by Unexpected Specter

https://www.facebook.com/oakstoner/
https://oakstoner.bandcamp.com/

Oak, Oak II (2016)

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Slomatics, Future Echo Returns: Into the Eternal (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

slomatics future echo returns

[Click play above to stream a premiere of ‘Supernothing’ from Slomatics’ new album, Future Echo Returns, out Sept. 2 on Black Bow Records.]

One can only wonder if it felt like going home when Belfast’s Slomatics showed up at Skyhammer Studio to record their fifth album, Future Echo Returns, with producer Chris Fielding. The fit between engineer and band is remarkable, and in addition, it furthers an alliance between the Northern Irish sans-bass double-guitar trio and Fielding‘s own outfit, Conan, with whom Slomatics released a split in 2011 (prior to Fielding joining; review here), and whose Jon Davis co-owns Skyhammer and runs Black Bow Records, through which Future Echo Returns is released. The two acts share a decent amount of common intent, both geared toward consuming tones and lumbering rhythm, and Conan has acknowledged at several points that Slomatics — who made their debut in 2005 — were an influence.

That’s audible throughout Future Echo Returns as it was through its predecessor, 2014’s Estron (review here), but brought out even more through the Skyhammer recording, though Slomatics continue their own sonic development throughout the included seven tracks/40 minutes as well, bringing a spacious feel to go with all that crushing guitar via keyboard and synth flourish and by pushing forward with a melodic range that so much stood the last record out from its surroundings, as one can hear on the harmonized album-apex “Supernothing,” as well as in the key work on the earlier “Electric Breath,” which follows the rolling instrumental opener “Estronomicon” to begin a flow that continues all the way through 10-minute closer “Into the Eternal.”

The link between “Estronomicon” and the title of the prior outing is no accident either. Rather, after Estron and the record before it, 2012’s A HochtFuture Echo Returns is the third in something of a narrative trilogy, recently described by guitarist Chris Couzens — joined in the band by guitarist David Marjury and drummer/vocalist Marty Harvey — as a kind of moment of resignation or acceptance of one’s fate. Clearly the end of a story, but still vague enough to be left open to interpretation. That actually suits the vibe of Future Echo Returns, which only seems to offer more to dig into on repeat listens, and which weaves into and out of songs with the fluidity of book chapters so that “Estronomicon” builds into the start of “Electric Breath,” which cuts off so the chugging opening riff of “In the Grip of Fausto” can pick up on the beat, and so on.

slomatics

Having an instrumental opener nearly five minutes long also has a hypnotic effect on the listener, so that when the vocals kick in on “Electric Breath,” it’s a readjustment of head space, and that feels purposeful as well. Slomatics are toying with their audience somewhat, and at this point they have the command to do it. “Electric Breath” and “In the Grip of Fausto” both offer choice hooks, and the ease with which the band shifts into different methods of expression becomes a big part of Future Echo Returns‘ personality, as shown already with the key-laden ending to “Electric Breath,” and in the move from “In the Grip of Fausto” to the quiet atmospheric guitar and synth of “Ritual Beginnings,” a six-minute instrumental that develops some movement within its ambient context but departs boldly from the heft that surrounds it on all sides.

Still brooding and foreboding as it starts to thud into its last minute, “Ritual Beginnings” is the presumed closer of side A (also the CD/digital centerpiece), and leads into the crashing “Rat Chariot,” which may or may not feature guest vocal spots from both Fielding and Jon Davis in its second half, introduced by a break from the roll soon enough to resume and hit a particularly memorable peak that keeps going even as it fades out into the sudden jolt at the start of “Supernothing.” Again, the penultimate track on Future Echo Returns is also the apex, while “Into the Eternal” comes across as something of a denouement for this series of three albums, and it’s also the most melodically resonant chorus they offer, Harvey‘s voice harmonized in post-Floor form, as opposed to some of the Black Cobra-ish style on “In the Grip of Fausto” or “Rat Chariot.”

It’s a moment of arrival, and very much sounds like it. A slower progression only enhances the sense of grandeur, and though it’s only four minutes long, “Supernothing” leaves one of the album’s most lasting impressions, complemented by “Into the Eternal” after it, which picks up (again, on the beat) with an initial stretch of choral keys leading to a mostly instrumental lumber that moves through its runtime with similar tonal entrancement as “Estronomicon” but is airier in its midsection guitar lead and in some swaying non-lyric vocals (also harmonized) that reinforce the feeling of resignation the song is intended to convey. It’s not a riotous, unhinged finish at all, and neither is it intended to be. It’s the graceful conclusion of a longer arc that has covered the last four-plus years, and if Future Echo Returns is really the final installment of that story, “Into the Eternal” makes for a gorgeous finish. The sense of continuity it brings is all the more appropriate considering the breadth it shows and how it ties the whole album together, completing a triumph writ large over the entire span.

Slomatics on Thee Facebooks

Slomatics on Bandcamp

Black Bow Records

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Black Rainbows Announce July & August Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Italian heavy psych forerunners Black Rainbows aren’t so far removed from their last run through Europe, which they capped off just a month ago at Freak Valley 2016 in Germany as they heralded the arrival of their fifth LP, Stellar Prophecy (review here), but they’ve already announced a stint for the absolute dead of summer that will take them to Austria and to Cypress in addition to their home country. July and August on the Mediterranean? Sounds sweaty. Probably just what Black Rainbows are looking for.

If you happen to be in that part of the world or you don’t, Black Rainbows continue to be worth your time and attention. I also doubt they’ve been completely still for the past month, as they’re just about always writing new songs or putting something to tape, so, you know, keep an eye out.

Here’s to quality work:

black rainbows

Black Rainbows summer dates!

30.06.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
01.07.2016 IT Trieste-Covo de Jameson
02.07.2016 AT Salzburg-Dome of Rock Fest
30.07.2016 IT Isola D’Elba-Neverending Music Fest
01.08.2016 IT Roma-Villa Ada Incontra Il Mondo
06.08.2016 CY Agios Sozomenos-Into The Limbo Fest
19.08.2016 IT Cagliari-Tattoo Convention

Since they formed nine years ago in Roma, Italian trio BLACK RAINBOWS have established themselves as one of the most active fuzz-fueled rock acts in Europe, with four albums, a remarkable handful of EPs (including a split record with L.A.’s space rockers Farflung) and countless tours and festival appearances across the continent.

Blending the drive and swagger of 70’s hard rock with the sun-baked thickness of 90’s stoner rock, BLACK RAINBOWS have managed to create their own sound imprint, that could be described as “Hawkwind, MC-5 and Nebula crashing cars in the middle of the Mojave desert”. Closely following with their highly acclaimed effort Hawkdope, the band is set to deliver another tasty piece of their fuzzy cake with fifth full-length Stellar Prophecy, out on April 15th via Heavy Psych Sounds.

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
https://twitter.com/BLACKRAINBOWSii
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (2016)

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Hermano Debut New Material at Hellfest 2016

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

hermano new song video

It’s been a while since last we heard from Hermano. Really, since their 2007 album, …Into the Exam Room, the band has been pretty quiet. Early this year, word started kicking around of a new record in the works for release in 2016. We’re about halfway through the year now and whether they get there or not by November/December will remain to be seen as frontman John Garcia — see also KyussVista ChinoUnidaSlo Burn, et al — is also said to have not one but two solo offerings in the works, one an acoustic record, and the other a full-band follow-up to his 2013 self-titled solo debut (review here). Doubtless those kinds of things take some time to put together. The acoustic record, for example, is reportedly due in October.

But, for being on the backburner while Garcia mostly-revived Kyuss with the Kyuss Lives! project that became Vista Chino, did peridic shows with Unida and developed his solo-project, Hermano were never completely absent, and the note on which they “went out” still stands among the finest performances Garcia has put to tape in any band. In the clarity of his voice, the depth of the arrangements and the sheer force with which he was able to deliver his lines, Garcia — joined in the band by bassist Dandy Brown (who also played Borderland Fuzz Fiesta this year), guitarists David Angstrom and Mike Callahan and drummer Chris Leathers — was only bolstered by varied arrangements and moods throughout, marked by crisp songcraft and a produced but still natural instrumental feel.

Hermano played Hellfest 2016 in Clisson, France, 10 days ago, and the video below of this new song — whatever it might be called — is the first I’ve seen or heard of any new material since the last record, so it definitely seemed worth posting. When and if I hear of their hitting a studio or anything like that, I’ll update, but until then, at least we know some of a follow-up for …Into the Exam Room has been put together enough for stage presentation.

Enjoy:

Hermano, New Song Live at Hellfest 2016

John Garcia on Thee Facebooks

Hermano at Suburban Records

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