Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Okay, so this one’s been out for a couple weeks. I’ll admit I stumbled on it yesterday while I was revisiting — yet again — the Bandcamp page of Idaho’s Sun Blood Stories to take another listen to their 2015 album, Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), as I have throughout much of this summer while guilting myself for having not yet shelled out for the CD or tape version. There it was: Live from the Banana Stand. And it’s a name-your-price download, no less.
Recorded in Portland, Oregon at the Arrested Development-referencing venue named in its title (“Always money in the banana stand”), it’s got excellent versions of some of the tracks from Twilight Midnight Morning, and confirms for me the open sensibility that the album presented, more specifically the feeling that on any given night the songs might wind up someplace very different from where they started. Vibe all over the place.
I dig it. Since you might too, here’s the info and stream:
Sun Blood Stories – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded before a live audience on June 20th, 2014 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was recorded and mixed by Matt Thomson and mastered by Chris Vita. Dane Brist produced art for the album, which includes original photography from Banana Stand staff. Videos of Sun Blood Stories’ performance at Banana Stand feature footage from camera operators Michael McInerney, Tyler Bertram, Nick Gattman, and Alexei Shishkin, and were directed and edited by Michael McInerney. Banana Stand would like to thank Sun Blood Stories (Amber, Ben, and Brett), all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.
Boise’s Sun Blood Stories wrote us in early 2014 to share their track Desert for Days. Heavy, distorted, and spooky, the song’s distinctive, psychedelic energy felt like a midnight mushroom trip careening into and out of control. We were hooked. Emailing with Sun Blood Stories rapidly revealed their thoughtful approach and professionalism, and made us all the more excited to host the band in June 2014.
Listening to their performance, I feel very lucky they made the trip. Ben Kirby’s cool, fuzzy guitar riffs, Brett Hawkins’ garagey, off-beat drumming, Amber Pollard’s otherworldly slide-guitar, and Pollard’s and Kirby’s eerie vocals combined to make a uniquely haunting live record, and one which we’re proud to add to our library. You should add it to your library, too. It only costs pay-what-you-want.
If Sun Blood Stories and Treefort Music Festival are any indication, Boise really might be the post-Portland cultural mecca we’re all looking for. Sorry in advance, Boise.
Posted in Reviews on June 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
[Please note: Press play above to hear the full stream of Sun Blood Stories’ Twilight Midnight Morning, which is out June 23. Thank you to the band for allowing me to host the stream, and I hope you enjoy it.]
At the moment in Sun Blood Stories‘ second full-length where it seems most likely that you finally have the album figured out — that’s when it turns. Twilight Midnight Morning, as a title, might well describe the varied moods of the release’s 10 tracks/50 minutes, but the actual front-to-back listening experience, from the count of three that seems to signal a dip into hypnosis to the fading guitar echoes that close, is more complex than a linear progression of hours, and experimental flourish of effects-laden viola from Judah Claffey, slide guitar, ambient feedback, drones, swirls, keys — whatever it might be — is never far off. There are stretches of Twilight Midnight Morning where the Boise, Idaho, five-piece revel in flat-out gorgeous post-rock melody-wash, as on the brooding contemplation of “Found Reasons Found Out,” with swirling guitar, dual vocal croon and a wide-open structure that, like much of the record, takes nothing away from its memorability or lessens the impression made.
Not every song has a hook but those that do, like early landmarks “West the Sun” and “Witch Wind,” showcase a swing and willingness to vibe that’s little short of masterful, guitarist Ben Kirby channeling a heavy psych Nick Cave on “West the Sun” as lap steel guitarist/vocalist Amber Pollard joins in, duet style, adding texture to the jam that’s about to unfold as pushed forward by drummer John Füst and given further nuance in the subtly meandering bass work of Nik Kososik. And that jam, when they get there, is beautiful, exploratory but not cloying, and as rich tonally as it is inviting. They push back to the verse and beyond, the 8:30 runtime gives “West the Sun” plenty of time to unfold in following the nighttime desertism of opener “Palace Mountain Mirage,” and though there’s a lucidity underlying — Kososik seeing to its care and maintenance — the lushness of the sounds Sun Blood Stories create is still just beginning to unfurl its full scope as the aforementioned “Found Reasons Found Out” turns its backwards intro forward to begin a linear build that remains sweet, dreamy and sonically free as it moves ahead toward consciousness.
Beginning quiet, spacious and lurching to life the way a swamp does the farther in one wades, “Witch Wind” is both the most straightforward inclusion on Twilight Midnight Morning and the most singular standout, though it’s worth mentioning that as much as its sultry call and response between Kirby and Pollard in the hook “I know, the way the witch wind blows,” to which she answers and he joins, “To the west, to the west,” resonates, it does nothing to interrupt the overarching flow of the album, which remains paramount, whichever way the wind is blowing, or even in that fuzz-topped moment when Kirby hits into a falsetto and the effect is so fucking cool over Kososik‘s righteous bassline that psychedelic supremacy feels inescapable. And that’s it, right there. That’s where you start to feel like you might have Sun Blood Stories figured out. But nope.
At just 1:40, “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Space” is an ambient interlude of drone and cosmic hum, vague, echoing voice and raw spontaneity that one might even pass over the first time through the album, it’s so hypnotic, but is actually the point at which Sun Blood Stories stare expectation in the face and turn left to go around it, the subsequent “NighTremor” reestablishing a rhythmic footing with low end, tension in the drums and sparing guitar, but already the context has begun to shift. It will continue to do so after the peak of the track, as it devolves into echoes and ethereal swirl, Pollard‘s voice with it, and into the seven-minute dronefest of “Time Like Smoke,” which is the point at which, if Twilight Midnight Morning is a dream, then that dream takes a darker turn. There’s still a human element in it, distant echoes of voices whispering behind waves of feedback, slow notes, samples like half-forgotten memories appearing in unconsciousness, but it’s easy to imagine we’re pushing toward the “midnight” portion of the album’s title, and already it feels like it has been a significant journey with a ways still to go.
What makes a shift like “Time Like Smoke” work is the fact that Sun Blood Stories have basically set a context where anything is possible, sound-wise. It’s not a question of whether something fits — there’s room in the scope for anything they might conjure, and that includes the experimental, minimalist spirit of “Moon Song: Waxing,” which is the first of a three-part closing series finds Pollard singing far back behind swells of viola and eerie guitar, which comes forward particularly in the last of the three minutes to underscore the trance, which continues after bleeding directly into “Misery is Nebulous,” on which Füst‘s drums make a return after a lengthy absence and work their way forward in the mix complemented by atmospheric but wordless vocal melody.
And how else to finish but by stripping it all away? “Moon Song: Waning” does precisely that, Kirby running through simple lines of acoustic guitar and vocals with backing moans from Pollard, the two coming together in folkish style to “Sing sing sing sing to the fallen moon” at the end, a kind of foreboding echo of electric guitar notes surprising in their arrival but ultimately providing a cinematic kind of epilogue as they fade away, taking the record with it. With the amount of territory Sun Blood Stories cover, it’s easy enough to believe that Twilight Midnight Morning winds up north of the 50-minute mark, but the vitality and adventurousness of this material means it never drags (unless it wants to), and it never veers so far as to lose its way entirely. It is admirable all the more because it is so amorphous and so complex and so molten stylistically and yet cohesive in its presentation and acting almost to guide the listener through its varied bends and twists. The smoothness of its movement and the command that Sun Blood Stories ultimately show in steering its path are staggering, and the album winds up nothing short of a joy to take in over multiple return visits.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I gotta be honest with you. I don’t know much about Sun Blood Stories other than they’re from Boise, Idaho, and the upcoming Twilight Midnight Morning is their third album, but god damn, the vibe is absolutely slaughtering me right now. Headphones in, the 10-tracker is a gorgeous wash that careens between minimalist openness, dual vocals that capture folkish intent with zero folkish pretense and psychedelic guitar howl, all the while swirling with experimental undercurrents and ambient heft — a weight that doesn’t force itself on you but has enough presence to pull you along for sure.
Hey all you labels who pick up bands and put their stuff out on vinyl: If you’re reading this, you might want to pay attention. Meantime, I’m gonna go email Sun Blood Stories back and ask them if I can stream the whole record because that’s how much of it I think you should hear.
Sun Blood Stories to Release New Album, Twilight Midnight Morning
Sun Blood Stories (BOI), will release their new album, Twilight Midnight Morning on June 23, 2015. The new album will be the first full length released since the band’s 2013 vinyl release, The Electric Years – and they promise it will destroy the previous album in terms of overall awesomeness and heartfelt sonic cacophony. Over the past two years, Sun Blood Stories has kept busy performing locally, touring, and writing music for Ballet Idaho.
Over the past year, the band has been busy writing and recording new music for Twilight Midnight Morning in their basement. The lead single, Palace Mountain Mirage, has been spinning on Radio Boise, and other community radio stations across the country, since March 2015.
This summer they’re keeping busy on the road with 5 music festivals booked and a 2 week California tour.
May 29 The Sickhouse Idaho Falls, ID w/ Snoozy Moon, Lea… May 30 Camp Daze Music Fest Missoula, MT Jun 05 Deadbeat Records Olympia, WA Jun 06 Big Bldg Bash Seattle, WA w/ Kithkin, Charms,… Jun 12 Hogan’s Clarkston, WA w/ Snoozy Moon Jun 13 Neato Burrito Spokane, WA w/ Stucco, Space Mo…
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Boise ethereal doom trio Uzala will hit the road for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The impetus behind the trip in support of last year’s way-better-than-the-amount-of-coverage-I’ve-given-it Tales of Blood and Fire seems to be a stop at the No Thanks Fest in Texas on Nov. 8 with a varied host of badass acts, but just as well since they’re playing with some excellent company along the way there and back, including Sorxe, He Whose Ox is Gored and Eagle Twin. After an initial pressing of Tales of Blood and Fire on tape in chrome red — I managed to pick one up at a gig in Rhode Island last year — they’ve also got a new version through Gypsyblood Records in a variety of colors, each limited to 100 and linked below.
The PR wire takes us there:
UZALA: Boise Psych-Doom Coven Announce November Tour
Following the release of last year’s critically-acclaimed LP Tales of Blood & Fire and a triumphant appearance at this year’s Gilead Fest, Boise fuzz-doom peddlers UZALA will once again take their spellbinding show on the road, joined by a few very special guests. For the first leg of their upcoming NovemBer tour, the Northwestern trio will be joined by Oakland doom raiders CARDINAL WYRM before meeting up with PINKISH BLACK at No Thanks Fest and forging ahead towards home.
UZALA NOVEMBER TOUR Nov. 1 Bay Area, CA TBA with Cardinal Wyrm Nov. 2 San Bernadino,CA with Cardinal Wyrm and Ancient Altars Nov. 3 Las Vegas, NV at Dive Bar with Cardinal Wyrm, Demon Lung, He Whose Ox is Gored Nov. 4 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room (FREE SHOW) with SORXE, Cardinal Wyrm, Funerary, He Whose Ox Is Gored Nov. 5 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad with Cardinal Wyrm Nov. 6 drive day/look at Texas out the van window/day off Nov. 7 Austin, TX at The Lost Well with Pinkish Black, Old and Ill, Garrett T. Capps Nov. 8 Emory, TX NO THANKS FEST with In the Company of Serpents, Sabbath Assembly, Pinkish Black, and many more!!! Nov. 9 Little Rock, AR at The Rev Room with Iron Tongue and others Nov. 10 Columbia, MO at TBA Nov. 11 Kansas City, KS at Vandals Nov. 12 Omaha, NB at The Hideout Nov. 13 Denver, CO at Bar Bar Nov. 14 SLC, UT at Bar Deluxe with Eagle Twin and Making Fuck Nov. 15 Boise, ID at Crazy Horse with Eagle Twin and Black Cloud
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s good to celebrate the milestones in life, and to honor their announced signing to Relapse Records today, Idaho duo Wolvserpent have made their Perigaeademo available as a free download. Back in the day, that used to be called “sharing the love,” but in the case of Wolvserpent‘s bleak aural dreariness, we’ll probably have to come up with another name for it. Feel free to get creative while you peruse the PR wire info below and listen to the Bandcamp stream of the demo:
Wolvserpent Sign to Relapse Records
Relapse Records is extremely proud to announce the signing of Boise, Idaho’s mysterious occult duo WOLVSERPENT. Formed in 2010, WOLVSERPENT consist of Blake Green (guitar, vocals, keys) and Brittany McConnell (drums, percussion, violin) playing a masterful mix of apocalyptic doom, avant-orchestral drone and blackened, sepulchral ambience. The duo will enter the studio to record their sophomore full-length entitled PERIGAEA, a four song 80 minute opus, this November with producer/engineer Mell Dettmer (SUNN 0))), BORIS, ASVA, EARTH) in Seattle and in Idaho at in their home studio.
After a two year writing period, WOLVSERPENT first recorded the PERIGAEA 2012 demo (pronounced “pear-a-guy-a”) in Dec ’11-January 2012. Choosing initially not to release it….but to hold onto it for another 9 months and re-write it, they are now offering it as a free stream atBandcamp and download via their official sitehere. The upcoming full-length version of PERIGAEA will be an entirely different manifestation of the ideas heard on the demo.
WOLVSERPENT commented on the recent signing and new material:
“We are very pleased to be working with Relapse Records on this upcoming album. We are excited to join forces and foster the potential of our best work to date.
We don’t want to say much about the concept now. But we will say this: PERIGAEA is inspired by the four stages of existence and with that, the phases of humanity within the Earth and the greater Universe. PERIGAEA explores and reinforces our qualities and struggles as humans in this life. Our relationship with the Earth and our place as spiritual beings in what some believe is the final phase of this cycle. There are many names for it, one of those names is ‘Kali Yuga,’ the age of Kali, the dark age. The serpent that eats it’s own tail will once again devour itself and give to itself a new birth and a fresh start.”
This demo represents the early stages and younger concepts of PERIGAEA. We decided to set new standards for ourselves, working longer and investing more in our music, allowing the pieces to breathe and gain new life. Created from the strength and seeds of ideas past, this demo has served as the roots from which we have grown. We want to share this process of growth with our fans. We have taken Wolvserpent’s concepts to the stone and sharpened our vision.”
Posted in audiObelisk on November 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
In mid-November, King of the Monsters Records will release a new split 7″ between Uzala and Mala Suerte. Now, if like me you’ve lost all sense of time and space, that sounds like a really long way away, but you’ll pardon if I blow your mind and say that mid-November is next week. So yeah, it’s sooner than you might think.
This isn’t the first time I’ve streamed material from Uzala. The Boise, Idaho/Portland, Oregon, psychedowner four-piece premiered the cassette-only “Cataract” from their self-titled debut here late last year, and it was awesome. Their album was unremittingly atmospheric, biting fuzz off Electric Wizard and adding a touch of newer West Coast fuckall, Darcy Nutt‘s vocals keeping a mystique in the croon while bassist Nick Phit (ex-Graves at Sea) thickened the tonal lurch into a fine oozing mess.
Their new track for this split, dubbed “Burned,” follows a similar but developed course, and pairs well with the more stripped down riffing of Austin, Texas-based doomers Mala Suerte. The cut they contribute, “The Veil of Secrecy,” takes a conspiracy-minded political bent, calling for — among other things — an end to the Federal Reserve, vocalist Gary Rosas noting in its opening lines that, “The road to Utopia is paved/With the bones and blood of the common man.” I guess that settles that.
When I posted the news that this split 7″ was coming, the response cool enough that I asked permission to host the release in its entirety for streaming, and I was lucky enough that said permission was granted. You’ll find “Burned” and “The Veil of Secrecy” on the player below, followed by info from the PR wire and a preorder link. Dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
King of the Monsters has announced the upcoming release of one of the heaviest splits of 2012 – a 7″ collaboration between Boise fuzz-doom shamans UZALA and Austin, TX’s own psych-minded doom fiends MALA SUERTE. Preorders are now up on the label website, and orders will ship in early November. The split features a brand-new track from each band, as well as mind-blowing cover art, courtesy of UZALA chanteuse, axe-slinger, and celebrated tattoo artist Darcy Nutt and MALA SUERTE vocalist Gary Rosas.
The release is limited to 500 copies, with the first 100 available on black/white split vinyl and the remaining 400 entombed in obsidian black.
MALA SUERTE’S “The Veil of Secrecy” is an older fan favorite, recorded in winter 2012. The UZALA song was recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, OR in August 2011 with Alex Yusimov at the helm, mixed by Blake Green at WOLVSERPENT STUDIOS, and mastered by Mell Dettmer.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a while since we heard anything from the camp of Austin, Texas-based doomers Mala Suerte, whose 2009 offering, The Shadow Tradition(review here), still gets broken out for periodic plays. But the PR wire brings the latest! It seems as though they’ve teamed up with Boise cult wizards Uzala (track stream here) for a split 7″ that’ll be out on King of the Monsters Records next month.
Behold the story, preorder link and whathaveyou:
Doom Sorcerers UZALA Announce Split w/ Sludge Destroyers MALA SUERTE via King of the Monsters
King of the Monsters has just announced the upcoming release of one of the heaviest splits of 2012 – a 7″ collaboration between Boise fuzz-doom shamans UZALA and Austin, TX’s own psych-minded doom fiends MALA SUERTE. Preorders are now up on the label website, and orders will ship in early November. The split features a brand-new track from each band, as well as mind-blowing cover art, courtesy of UZALA chanteuse, axe-slinger, and celebrated tattoo artist Darcy Nutt and MALA SUERTE vocalist Gary Rosas.
The release is limited to 500 copies, with the first 100 available on black/white split vinyl and the remaining 400 entombed in obsidian black.
MALA SUERTE’S “The Veil of Secrecy” is an older fan favorite, recorded in winter 2010. The UZALA song was recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, OR in August 2011 with Alex Yusimov at the helm, mixed by Blake Green at WOLVSERPENT STUDIOS, and mastered by Mell Dettmer.
TRACKLISTING Uzala – Burned Mala Suerte – The Veil of Secrecy
Posted in audiObelisk on December 13th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
The cultish and furry-toned drone of Portland (and Idaho) foursome Uzala will be familiar to anyone pulled by the gravity of Megaton Leviathan‘s Water Wealth Hell on Earth, but on their self-titled debut vinyl/tape, Uzala are less concerned with expansive, infinite exploration than they are refining the process and cutting it into songs. Uzala‘s Uzala sounds open and rough in its production, but at the core there is a base of structure — it’s in there somewhere — that allows the noise a foundation to rest and build upon.
That winds up making a big difference as the album progresses. The lead vocals of guitarist Darcy Nutt provide an ethereal mood worthy of the latest incarnation of The Wounded Kings or Jex Thoth, but the black metal influences worked in by guitarist Chad Remains, who also provides backing screams behind Nutt‘s varied crooning on midsection songs like “Fracture” and “Wardrums,” put Uzala in a category more their own: definitively doomed, but working on an expanded definition of what that means.
At its strongest points, though, Uzala‘s Uzala is slow and classically menacing. Drummer Stephen Gere varies his tempo but seems to lumber no matter the speed, and bassist Nick Phit (ex-Graves at Sea, Atriarch) offsets the riffs with doomly groove, adding depth to the fuzz and reverb-soaked guitar lines and furthering the sense of ritual brought out in Nutt‘s singing.
The album is limited to 333 LPs through At War with False Noise and on cassette via Witch Sermon Productions. I was lucky enough to be given permission to host the cassette-only bonus track, “Cataract” for your streaming, which you’ll find on the player below, followed by some PR wire info. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
At long last, the blistering debut recording from one of the most-talked about doom bands of the past year is nearly within our grasp! Boise/Portland vintage doom merchants Uzala have aligned themselves with At War With False Noise and Witch Sermon Productionsto unleash their monumental debut. The self-titled album will be manifested in wax byAt War With False Noise, while WitchSermon will handle the cassette version (which will feature a special bonus track, “Cataract”). Featuring NickPhit (formerly of Graves at Sea, Atriarch) on bass, Uzala‘s lineup is rounded out by drummer StephenGere, guitarist/hellish vocalist ChadRemains, and chanteuse & axe-slinger DarcyNutt (a world-renowned tattoo artist and devastating talent).
The album’s crushing, velvety fuzzed-out sound is attained by a Blake Green (Wolvserpent) production and mastering by long-time At War with False Noise cohort AndyLippoldt of Persistence in Mourning. The simply amazing artwork was created by vocalist /guitarist Darcy Nutt, while layout and design was summoned by Stephen O’Malley.