Sun Blood Stories, Twilight Midnight Morning: All Hours (Plus Album Stream)

Posted in Reviews on June 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sun blood stories twilight midnight morning

[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.

sun-blood-stories-Photo-by-Kate-Grosswiler

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.

Sun Blood Stories on Thee Facebooks

Sun Blood Stories on Bandcamp

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Steve Von Till Announces Solo European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Steve Von Till, best known as guitarist/vocalist in Neurosis, has announced a European run that will start June 29 in support of his new album, A Life unto Itself (review forthcoming), which is out now on Neurot Recordings. It is the Idaho-based Von Till‘s fourth solo full-length, and like 2008’s A Grave is a Grim HorseA Life unto Itself explores a variety of textures and arrangements while keeping a central, if-not-acoustic-at-least-intimate spirit at its core, though it’s worth noting that the seven years between records has resulted in prevalent growth as well, Von Till becoming an even more patient, exploratory songwriter while reveling in tradition as much as experimentation.

Tour dates and album info follow, fresh off the PR wire:

steve von till (Photo by Niela Von Till)

STEVE VON TILL Announces European Live Dates In Support Of His New Solo Album, A Life Unto Itself, Out Now On Neurot Recordings

Neurosis guitarist/vocalist and Neurot Recordings founder, STEVE VON TILL, reveals a string of European live dates in support of his latest solo album, the immense and celestial, A Life Unto Itself. From June 29th through July 5th, SVT will trek through the UK, Germany and France.

STEVE VON TILL Solo Shows:
6/29/2015 St Pancras Old Church – London, UK
7/01/2015 Jägerklause – Berlin, DE
7/02/2015 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE
7/03/2015 Jubez – Karlsruhe, DE
7/04/2015 La Peniche – Lille, FR
7/05/2015 Espace B – Paris, FR

A Life Unto Itself ventures into compelling uncharted territory for its maker. STEVE VON TILL’s weathered, distinctive voice and sparse acoustic guitar provides a foundation, but a much wider variety of sonic textures are presented here. Bold and ambitious arrangements weave vintage synth, sublime strings, percussion, and electric guitars throughout these unique and expansive songs, as VON TILL’s raspy whisper dives deeply inward, and speaks genuinely of visions, memories, and self-reflection in a way that feels both seasoned and exposed.

The majority of A Life Unto Itself was captured at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle under the direction of producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Marissa Nadler and Rose Windows), with additional recordings handled at STEVE VON TILL’s own The Crow’s Nest, and the final product was mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service. With guest viola contributions from Eyvind Kang, pedal steel from J. Kardong, and percussion courtesy of Pat Schowe, the album is enshrouded in artwork bearing the recognizable style of Aaron Turner (Sumac, Isis, Old Man Gloom, Hydra Head). All of these factors culminate into a twelve-passage voyage with over forty-five minutes of stirring textures which drill their way immediately to the core of your bones, gnaw your heart’s defense mechanisms to their foundations, and invoke a wellspring of emotions.

A Life Unto Itself LP is out now via Neurot Recordings. Packages for the digital download, CD, and 12″ LP on both black and red vinyl, including t-shirt bundles, are AVAILABLE HERE.

http://www.vontill.org
http://www.facebook.com/SteveVonTill
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Steve Von Till, “A Life unto Itself”

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Sun Blood Stories to Release Twilight Midnight Morning on June 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sun blood stories (Photo by Kate Grosswiler)

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.

Info:

sun blood stories twilight midnight morning

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…

SunBloodStories.com
facebook.com/sunbloodstories
twitter.com/sunbloodstories
Instagram.com/sunbloodstories

Sun Blood Stories, “Palace Mountain Mirage”

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Steve Von Till Announces A Life unto Itself Album Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Been a quick seven years since Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till released his last solo album, A Grave is a Grim Horse. Or maybe it’s been a long seven years. I don’t know. It’s been seven friggin’ years, either way, which is long enough. In May, Von Till will issue the Randall Dunn-recorded A Life unto Itself on Neurot as his fourth solo outing. There hasn’t been any audio yet, but I’m interested to hear how the thread from A Grave is a Grim Horse plays out. The last Von Till record had more of an arranged sense, less of a guy-plus-guitar folkishness than the preceding 2002 long-player, If I Should Fall to the Field. Hard to believe that album is 13 years old now. Wow.

While I go attempt to process those numbers, dig into the PR wire info below on A Life unto Itself:

steve von till (Photo by Niela Von Till)

Steve Von Till reveals details of an astonishing new solo album, A Life Unto Itself, upcoming on Neurot Recordings in May

The title doesn’t quite say it all, but it says some of it: A Life Unto Itself is as much the name of Steve Von Till’s fourth solo album as it is the perfect description for the 25-plus years he’s spent forging, with his brothers, the incomparable musical force that is Neurosis—not to mention the numerous sonic tapestries he’s woven with Tribes Of Neurot and under his alter ego Harvestman. You can hear that rich musical history, and all the life experience that goes with it, on his new solo album A Life Unto Itself – and this album goes deeper still.

Where Steve Von Till’s previous solo recordings took on a more traditional approach with a respectful nod toward American and European folk music, A Life Unto Itself expands and ventures into compelling uncharted territory for its maker. Steve Von Till’s weathered, distinctive voice and sparse acoustic guitar provides a foundation, but a much wider variety of sonic textures are presented here. Bold and ambitious arrangements weave vintage synth, sublime strings, percussion, and electric guitars in and out of these unique and expansive songs as Steve Von Till’s raspy whisper dives deeply inward and speaks genuinely of visions, memories, and self-reflection in a way that feels both seasoned and exposed.

A Life Unto Itself is a powerful and evocative collection of beautiful Celtic balladry, haunting folk songs, dark psychedelia and expansive Americana, transporting one to the very heart and soul of its creator. If you allow yourself to fully submit to it, abandoning all preconceptions, the rewards can be magnificent.

http://www.neurotrecordings.com/home.php
http://www.vontill.org/
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Steve Von Till, “Looking for Dry Land” from A Grave is a Grim Horse (2008)

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Steve Von Till: New Solo Album Recorded, Mixed and Mastered

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last night on Thee Facebooks, producer Randall Dunn (Master Musicians of Bukkake) confirmed that he’d heard the mastered version of a new solo album by Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till. No release date has been set for the yet-untitled offering, and things like artwork and Neurot Recordings‘ scheduling will no doubt factor into when it’s made public, but even that a new outing has been recorded with Dunn at the helm is news enough for me, particularly considering Neurosis are also slated to begin writing a new album in February according to guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly.

Whenever it arrives, the next Von Till full-length will be his first since 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse, which was his third and presented something of a shift from the folk of his first two, 2000’s As the Crow Flies and 2002’s If I Should Fall to the Field, to a fuller sound, which was further developed on 2009’s In a Dark Tongue (review here), the second LP from Von Till‘s psychedelic, exploratory rock project Harvestman. Seven years between solo albums seems like a long time, but between HarvestmanNeurosis‘ 2012 LP Honor Found in Decay (review here), that band’s increasingly busy live schedule — they just did three New Year’s shows in San Francisco to kick off what promises to be a busier 2015, even apart from the writing sessions — his participation in the first Songs of Townes Van Zandt tribute with Wino and Kelly, and Neurot‘s reissue of As the Crow Flies last year, marking its first release on vinyl, there hasn’t been any deficit of output.

More to come as I hear it, but until then, here’s Von Till to stare you down and the post from Dunn:

steve von till

Listening to the master of the new Steve Von Till solo record I produced and recorded. It sounds amazing! cannot wait for you all to hear this very psyched out and heavy. Thanks to J.b. Kardong , Eyvind Kang and Pat Schowe for your great contributions. Thanks to Steve Von Till for asking me to do it!

https://www.facebook.com/randall.dunn.90
http://www.vontill.org/
https://www.facebook.com/SteveVonTill
http://www.neurotrecordings.com/artists/svt/svt.php

Steve Von Till, “A Grave is a Grim Horse”

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Uzala Announce November Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

uzala

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 SorxeHe 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:

no thanks fest poster

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

The album is now available from King of the Monsters Records here: http://kingofthemonstersrecords.bigcartel.com/

Those who prefer a more lo-fi approach can preorder the cassette version from Gypsyblood Records here: http://www.gypsybloodrecords.bigcartel.com/product/uzala-tales-of-blood-and-fire-cassette-preorder

Stay tuned for more bewitching UZALA news in the new year!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/UZALA
http://uzala.bandcamp.com/

Uzala, Tales of Blood and Fire (2013)

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Wolvserpent Celebrate Signing to Relapse by Giving Away Their Demo

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 Perigaea demo 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 at Bandcamp and download via their official site here.  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.”

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audiObelisk: Stream Uzala & Mala Suerte’s New Split 7″ in its Entirety

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 SUERTEPreorders 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. 

Preorder here: http://kingofthemonstersrecords.bigcartel.com/product/uzala-mala-suerte-split-7-preorder

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