Wizard Eye Premiere “Stoneburner” from Self-Titled Album

Posted in audiObelisk on October 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wizard eye

Philly trio Wizard Eye issue their self-titled sophomore outing via Black Monk Records on Oct. 10. And yeah, it’s about riffs. And yeah, it’s about being heavy. And yeah, it’s about that crusty kind of vibe in the vocals of guitarist/thereminist Erik Caplan and bassist Dave Shahriari. It’s definitely about those things. But for me, listening to the album’s nine-track/53-minute unfurling, it’s even more about the roll. Not to say Caplan, Shahriari and drummer Mike Scarpone are entirely singular in their focus the whole time — it’s not like they’re doing the same thing over and over, in other words — but the overarching nod of Wizard Eye‘s Wizard Eye is so prevalent that no matter where they might go musically, it seems to unite the songs in a singular purpose. It turns tonal thickness into a roiling sludge goo and then serves that up chunky-style on a two-sided platter that, for those who’ve ever worshiped a riff, should be an essential pilgrimage.

Beginning with the thud-led noise of the instrumental “Eye of the Deep,” Wizard Eye work quickly to justify the anticipation for a follow-up to their 2010 debut, Orbital Rites. “Eye of the Deep” establishes the first of the record’s irresistible grooves and feeds directly into “Flying Falling,” which puts the bass tone front and center before slicking-out perfectly-paced nod-fodder, Caplan and Shahriari combining forces vocally as they do at several points in higher and lower-register gruffness. In addition to the low-end wah that emerges later, “Flying Falling” introduces another key element in the band’s arsenal — Caplan‘s theremin, which adds weirdo flavor to the late solo section and adds a spacey vibe to the album overall without actually pushing the band into space rock indulgence. Scarpone again drives the groove ahead on “Phase Return,” and Caplan and Shahriari alternate vocals between that song and the subsequent “Graybeard,” both cuts brought together by a foundation of swing that’s refreshing
for being so un-subgenred in its complete lack of pretense.

WIZARD-EYE-WIZARD-EYEFront to back, Wizard Eye gets down to business. The maybe Corrosion of Conformity-referencing “Drowning Daydream” (they did have a song called “C.O.C.” on Orbital Rites) follows, drawing the listener deeper into an instrumental languidity that winds up with a touch more swirl than they’ve yet shown, but the oddball “My Riposte is Like Lightning” — the shortest track at 3:42 and even odder for how straightforward it is — snaps back to attention ahead of the semi-plugged nine-minute “Nullarbor,” which moves from early ritualism as it nears its midpoint into the record’s most satisfying march, announced first by the bass and soon taken on by drums and guitar as well. Caplan seems in conversation with the self-titled Clutch record in his shouts on “Thunderbird Divine,” but by then the context is such that the song is entirely Wizard Eye‘s — they’ve taken stoner nod and shaped it to their will, sounding jammy without actually doing much jamming, just chill, chill, chill in its beefy swagger and readiness to vibe out into a perpetuity undercut by the harsh reality of a five-minute runtime.

What’s left to do but close out with an eight-minute affirmation of method? Ain’t exactly like they’ve been screwing around the whole time, but “Stoneburner,” which caps, feels especially well suited to its position. It doesn’t quite speak for the totality of the record — Wizard Eye don’t really give it all away in any single song; it’s an album’s album to be sure — but in its blend of a virulent hook cast into some deep region of subspace on an internal wide-band frequency and how-do-they-get-it-to-move-like-that riffing, “Stoneburner” is a more than worthy freak flag for Wizard Eye to fly on their way out, Caplan returning to the theremin one last time in the final jam to give further depth to what’s already dug in far enough to come out on the other side. And in case I haven’t yet mixed metaphors enough to give an impression of just how trippy this shit is: rutabaga.

It’s felt like a long wait for Wizard Eye‘s second to arrive. Somehow, when I put the record on for another go, time doesn’t seem to matter at all.

Get yourself a piece with the track premiere for “Stoneburner” below. PR wire info follows. Enjoy:

Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, WIZARD EYE, will release its self-titled new full-length this Fall via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey’s Gradwell House Studios with the imminently irascible and talented Steve Poponi behind the board and mastered by Dave Downham, the long-awaited follow-up to the band’s 2010 Orbital Rites debut takes WIZARD EYE’s signature brand of mind-bending riffs and kaleidoscopic soundscapes to a new level of titanic glory. A fusion of bottom-heavy grooves, fiery fuzz, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals with roots still planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ‘70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

Wizard Eye will be released via Black Monk Records on October 10th, 2015 digitally and on limited-edition swirled vinyl.

Erik Caplan – guitar, theremin, vocals
Dave Shahriari – bass, vocals
Mike Scarpone – drums, percussion

Wizard Eye on Thee Facebooks

Wizard Eye on Bandcamp

US preorder

International preorder

Black Monk Records

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Michael Rudolph Cummings Announces Fall Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Incidentally, my favorite memory to-date of going to a local show since I moved to the Boston area was when Mike Cummings of Backwoods Payback — who operates these days under the somewhat more formal Michael Rudolph Cummings banner, sometimes with the backing band The Souvenirs — played with Jim Healey at Radio in Somerville (review here). The show itself was really cool, downstairs at the venue which like so many others is defunct at this point, but afterwards a few people stayed and sat around a table and all just kind of chatted and hung out and while that kind of thing is usually terrifying to me, I actually really, really enjoyed it.

While we’re free-associating, I tried very hard to buy Radio when I first moved north from New Jersey. Was back and forth with the woman who owned it and everything. Things were moving forward and next I knew, she sold it out to someone else and skipped town, never to be heard from again. Since then, living here has more or less been a succession of, “Hey this place is for sale” and nothing coming of it. I’ve been dying to get in somewhere but unable to make it happen. Mostly because I don’t have money, I suppose. If I could roll up with a wad of cash, I expect the reception would be different. In the meantime, venues close, those that don’t just suck and put no effort into running shows, and I’ve gotten a job, cut my hair, struggled to find time for things that matter to me, like music, my relationship with my wife, my family, and so on. Normal existence, near as I can tell.

Sorry. I got off track. Cummings, with his band, released the More Barn EP earlier this year and will tour — solo, I believe — in Nov. headed south from his homebase in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Dates, links and the EP stream from Bandcamp follow here:

michael rudolph cummings fall tour

michael Rudolph cummings Fall Tour 2015

hitting the road this fall

traveling with some friends and meeting up with some from across the way…

3 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia PA wAmigo The Devil, Kermit Lÿman III, Patrick Shannon (hold down the ocean)
4 – The Hook Up, Virginia Beach VA w/Amigo The Devil
5 – A Tasting Room, Wilmington NC w/Amigo The Devil
6 – Bone Lick BBQ, Atlanta GA w/Amigo The Devil
7 – TBA, Nashville TN w/ Rob Snyder
8 – The Cave, Chapel Hill NC w/Brian McGee (Plow United)
27 – Ortliebs, Philadelphia PA w/Thee Nosebleeds



Michael Rudolph Cummings and the Souvenirs, More Barn EP (2015)

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Rosetta West Coast Tour Starts Oct. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Well, there goes Rosetta again, outworking damn near everybody. The Philly post-metallers offered up the textures of their fifth album, Quintessential Ephemera (review here) this past summer, and starting Oct. 8, they’ll embark on a West Coast tour to support the record alongside Braveyoung. Self-released as a name-your-price download and also issued on LP and CD through War Crime Recordings and Init RecordsQuintessential Ephemera marked a decade since Rosetta‘s debut and their first album as a five-piece, but more than that it just continued their string of quality output that’s been reliable and woefully taken for granted for most of their tenure.

Seriously. Show up and buy a shirt. 1,000-plus gigs later, I feel like we all owe them that much:

rosetta tour poster

Rosetta Confirms West Coast Tour

ROSETTA has announced a run of West Coast tour dates this October, with long-time friends Braveyoung, in support of their newly released Quintessential Ephemera LP, independently released by the band themselves.

With a ten-date run confirmed, ROSETTA will begin their 1st tour of the West Coast since Summer 2010 in Bellingham, WA on October 8th, followed by shows in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Tucson through October 17th.

ROSETTA Tour Dates:
10/8 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown
10/9 Vancouver, BC – Media Club
10/10 Seattle, WA – The Highline
10/11 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
10/12 Eugene, OR – The Wandering Goat
10/13 Sacramento, CA – The Press Club
10/14 Oakland, CA – The Golden Bull
10/15 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
10/16 San Diego, CA – The Hideout
10/17 Tucson, AZ – (Secret Show) *
* no Braveyoung

The tour dates are the just the latest installment of news and media coverage surrounding ROSETTA’s new Quintessential Ephemera LP.

Quintessential Ephemera is now available — digitally via the band for “pay what you wish” HERE, North America CD is available HERE, N America 2x LP available HERE, Europe CD/2x LP + Japan extended CD HERE.

Mike Armine – vocals, electronics
Dave Grossman – bass, vocals
Eric Jernigan – guitar, vocals
B.J. McMurtrie – drums, vocals, ‘barsista’
Matt Weed – guitar, piano, vocals


Rosetta, Quintessential Ephemera (2015)

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Monolith Wielder Announce Fall Release for Self-Titled Debut

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Pittsburgh newcomers Monolith Wielder have announced they’ll release their self-titled debut full-length this fall. The album was recorded by Jason Jouver (Don Caballero) and mastered by Jack Endino (WindhandHigh on Fire, etc.), and some preliminary audio has been posted in the form of unmastered mixes for “Angels Hide” and “Illumination,” which you can hear below. The four-piece position themselves between stoner and doom, which is fair enough, and get underway with some familiar but welcome swing and a touch of grunge-style aggression.

You can hear the latter particularly on “Angels Hide,” which is longer and slower than its counterpart as Monolith Wielder make sure to show off a bit of variety in the songwriting while still keeping it universally heavy. Their backstory and the audio follow:

monolith wielder

Monolith Wielder was formed in Pittsburgh, PA in 2014 when guitarist Justin Gizzi (Molasses Barge) approached singer/guitarist Gero von Dehn (ZOM, Von Dane) about forming a new, heavy project. With the schooled and skilled Ben Zerbe (Mandrake Project) on drums the band had a foundation with which to lay forth doom laden riffs lathered with stoner rock grooves. Rounding out the four piece would be bass man Ray Ward, formerly the six string axe man in Dope Lake.

With the lineup intact the band went about writing their first collection of powerful, earthshaking jams rich in honesty and intensity.

Spring of 2015 found Monolith Wielder entering Plus/Minus Studio to record the debut full length. The capable hands and ears of Jason Jouver were behind the console to oversee the heavy storm that he would be tasked with corralling. The final step of mastering the record would be handled by Jack Endino, who recorded classics by Nirvana, Soundgarden, High on Fire as well as the latest by Windhand.

The self titled Monolith Wielder debut has an expected released in the fall 2015.

Monolith Wielder shows:
10.21 Brillobox Pittsburgh PA w/ Spirit Caravan & Dirty Streets


Monolith Wielder, “Illumination” (Rough Mix)

Monolith Wielder, “Angels Hide”

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Supervoid Post Video for “Against Sunrise”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Pittsburgh riff metallers Supervoid initially released the single “Against Sunrise” last April. In fact, you can still download it name-your-price-style from their Bandcamp. The song was recorded for inclusion in the soundtrack to the locally-produced zombie film, The Other Side, and the four-piece — who may have still been a five-piece when the track was recorded — played last Dec. at a special event for the movie, billed as “concert and a movie” the Hollywood Theater in Dormont. At the time, it was the first show Supervoid had played in six months.

Footage from that set and footage from the recording sessions for “Against Sunrise” has been put together into a new clip by Team Orchard, the production company also behind The Other Side — which is on Amazon and Playstation and iTunes and Vudu and is coming to DVD early next year with the “Against Sunrise” video as bonus material — and it gives a sense of how they work both live on stage and in the studio. Less screamed than some of Supervoid‘s material, “Against Sunrise” remains a catchy thriller with a metallic edge, and whether or not you’ve heard it in the year-plus since it was first made public, it remains worth the time.

Supervoid will take part in the next installment of Ripple Music‘s split series, The Second Coming of Heavy, sharing a vinyl release with Red Desert. Last I saw the test pressings were done, so keep an eye out for the announcement of the release date, which can’t be too far off.

Until then, enjoy:

Supervoid, “Against Sunrise” official video

Back in March of 2014 we recorded Against Sunrise to be used in a local zombie film The Other Side. The awesome production team was kind enough to record us in the studio and also our live theater performance. The video is now live on youtube, and you can watch the movie on most major on demand outlets. Big thanks to Orchard Place Productions for the video!

Supervoid on Thee Facebooks

Supervoid on Bandcamp

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Wizard Eye Self-Titled Due Oct. 10

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

Philly psych-sludge rollers Wizard Eye first announced their alliance with Black Monk Records this past Spring, and the vinyl of their self-titled sophomore full-length has just been given a solid Oct. 10 release date through the label. It’s been five years since the three-piece (who then had a different lineup) issued their Orbital Rites debut, and I’m not saying I’ve heard the new record or anything, but it smokes the first one.

Seriously. Rolls it up and smokes it. Puff puff.

More to come, but for now here’s cover art and album info — including the rather impressive CV of festivals the band has played — as seen on the PR wire:


WIZARD EYE: Philadelphia Psychedelic Rock Trio To Unleash New Full-Length This Fall Via Black Monk Records

Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, WIZARD EYE, will release its self-titled new full-length this Fall via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey’s Gradwell House Studios with the imminently irascible and talented Steve Poponi behind the board and mastered by Dave Downham, the long-awaited follow-up to the band’s 2010 Orbital Rites debut takes WIZARD EYE’s signature brand of mind-bending riffs and kaleidoscopic soundscapes to a new level of titanic glory. A fusion of bottom-heavy grooves, fiery fuzz, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals with roots still planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ’70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

Wizard Eye Track Listing:
1. Eye Of The Deep
2. Flying Falling
3. Phase Return
4. Graybeard
5. Drowning Daydream
6. My Riposte Is Like Lightning
7. Nullarbor
8. Thunderbird Divine
9. Stoneburner

Since forming in 2008, the members of WIZARD EYE have put in countless hours honing their musical craft performing venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region sharing stages with the likes of Wino, Church Of Misery, Gates Of Slumber, Black Tusk, Sourvein, Sixty Watt Shaman, Karma To Burn, Pale Divine, Unorthodox, Lo Pan and countless others. The band has become a staple of the festival circuit, projecting its strength across stages for events like The Stoner Hands Of Doom, Eye Of The Stoned Goat, Autumn Screams Doom, Moving The Earth, Feast Of Krampus, Sludgement Day and Vultures Of Volume. Wizard Eye is the long-awaited release from a band whose time has come.

Wizard Eye will be released via Black Monk Records on October 10th, 2015 digitally and on limited-edition swirled vinyl with preorders and teaser tracks to be unveiled shortly.

Erik – guitar, theremin, vocals
Dave – bass, vocals
Mike – drums, percussion


Wizard Eye, Riff Occult Live (2014)

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Ecstatic Vision Add More Shows to Fall Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


It was already a pretty significant run, but Philly’s Ecstatic Vision have added even more shows around their upcoming tour with Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Ruby the Hatchet. Of course, Ecstatic Vision are out supporting their Relapse Records debut, Sonic Praise (review here), the lysergic nature of which was unveiled last month. These guys have already shown a willingness to hit the road, as they did earlier in 2015 alongside Enslaved and YOB, and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t wind up doing even more in 2016. Maybe a trip to Europe? Maybe in springtime?

And in case that dogwhistle wasn’t loud enough, I was speculating that they’d be the latest Relapse act to make an appearance at Roadburn in April. [UPDATE: I’ve just read that Ecstatic Vision have signed with Swamp Booking and will indeed be touring Europe in April, making that appearance even more likely.] I guess we’ll see if I’m right on that one, but they’re plenty busy in the meantime.

From the PR wire:

ecstatic vision shows

Ecstatic Vision Add More North American Live Dates

Touring with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Ruby The Hatchet

Ecstatic Vision hit the road in a couple of weeks with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Ruby The Hatchet for a full North American trek. Their stunning live show and debut, Sonic Praise earned them a signing with Relapse Records just a little after a year of coming together as a band. Don’t miss them in a city near you – all shows listed below.

In case you missed it: Ecstatic Vision weave the guitar heroics of the 70’s heavy classics of UFO and Hawkwind with the rhythmic intensity of Sun Ra and Fela Kuti. Massive riffs vibe seamlessly with deep rhythms to create one of the most original and best heavy psych debuts in years.

Ecstatic Vision Live Dates:
9/8: The Garage- Winston Salem, NC
9/9: Center Stage – Atlanta, GA #
9/10: The Golden Pony – Harrisonburg, VA
9/11: Baltimore Sound Stage – Baltimore, MD #
9/12: Webster Hall – New York, NY #
9/13: Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA #
9/14: Royale – Boston, MA #
9/16: Corona Theater – Montreal, QC #
9/17: Phoenix Theater – Toronto, ON #
9/18: Mr. Smalls – Pittsburgh, PA #
9/19: Metro – Chicago, IL #
9/20: Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN #
9/22: Summit Theater – Denver, CO #
9/23: Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT #
9/25: Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC #
9/26: El Corazon – Seattle, WA #
9/27: Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR #
9/29: Slims – San Francisco, CA #
9/30: Slims – San Francisco, CA #
10/1: The Fonda Theater – Los Angeles, CA #
10/2: The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA #
10/3: Time Out Lounge – Tempe, AZ
10/6: Sons of Hermann Hall – Dallas, TX *
10/7: Hotel Vegas – Austin, TX
10/8: Vino’s – Little Rock, AR
10/9: TBA – Nashville, TN
10/10: Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
10/11: Blind Bobs – Dayton, OH

# – w/ Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Ruby The Hatchet
* – w/ King Dude


Ecstatic Vision, Sonic Praise (2015)

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Carousel, 2113: Strange Revelations

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


[NOTE: Press play above to hear the full stream of Carousel’s 2113. Thanks to the band, label and PR for letting me host the premiere.]

Don’t let its minimalist cover fool you, Carousel‘s 2113 is brimming with life. The Pittsburgh four-piece’s second offering through Tee Pee Records after a raucous debut two years ago with Jeweler’s Daughter (reviewed and streamed here), the nine-song/46-minute collection also marks the arrival of guitarist Matt Goldsborough, who doubles in labelmates The Skull. His addition to the lineup with returning guitarist/vocalist Dave Wheeler, bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Jake Leger, is even more noteworthy because, while Goldsborough is is perhaps best known for his stint replacing Victor Griffin a couple years back in PentagramLeger also doubles as the drummer for reunited heavy rockers Bang, so more than most who work in the style, Carousel can claim direct lineage to the classic form from which they take inspiration.

Accordingly, 2113 makes for some of the most seamless ’70s modernization I’ve heard since Stone Axe, songs like “Man Like Me” and the talkbox-infused “Photograph” digging deep into a ’70s-sytle aesthetic and rhythm without necessarily needing the vintage production trappings that others sometimes take on. As was the case with Jeweler’s DaughterCarousel work smoothly as a two-guitar foursome, this time around Wheeler and Goldsborough finding harmonies right from the start with opener “Trouble” that reinforce the timelessness that Thin Lizzy once so readily tapped. It’s a party vibe early, but the bulk of 2113 isn’t so easily caged into one mindset or another, much to the benefit of the album as a whole.

Wheeler‘s frontman presence is a major force throughout, but ultimately it’s his and Goldsborough‘s guitars both that lead the charge, while Wilson and Leger lock in alternately swinging and driving grooves to push songs like “Photograph” forward at an efficient but not at all rushed-sounding clip through its several included solos. The shift in approach between that cut and the subsequent “Buried Alive in Your Arms” — which almost beats the listener over the head with its hook and thus proves among the more immediately memorable inclusions — signals a sense of structural variety that continues throughout the record, but wherever they wind up, Carousel keep 2113 sounding consistent and largely effortless, swagger perhaps the album’s most unifying theme.


Fitting enough, Wilson gives a highlight bass performance on “Jim’s Song,” and the shortest track (at 2:54) winds up smartly placed to hold onto the momentum the band have thus-far built leading into the centerpiece of the tracklisting, “Highway Strut,” which is about as close as Carousel come to a mission statement on the record. Elsewhere, on “Buried Alive in Your Arms” or the later “Man Like Me,” or on the bonus track Joe Walsh cover “Turn to Stone,” one finds tales of loves lost and found, but “Highway Strut” feels like it’s in the middle for a reason. Also likely the opener of the vinyl side B, it’s a classic road song in the Grand Funk tradition of the sort that Dixie Witch once did so well, and while by the time it comes around, Leger has already broken out the cowbell once on “Photograph,” it couldn’t be more appropriate than it is highlighting the titular strut of the centerpiece.

“Strange Revelation” is about as close as Carousel get to psychedelia, with some added spaciousness in the guitar, but the prevailing vibe remains more boozy than druggy. Starting quiet, it trades back and forth for the first couple minutes until locking itself in around the halfway point through its seven-minute run, building to a satisfying apex that prefaces the title-track soon enough to follow “Man Like Me,” which like “Jim’s Song” on side A, is smartly located where it is. In this case, its straightforward thrust, dual leads and catchy chorus not only stand on their own, but act as a buffer between “Strange Revelation” and “2113.” If you want to go one farther, one can hear a touch of Joe Walsh in the guitar progression as well, tying the original song to the finale cover, but most importantly, “Man Like Me” is strong enough to sound like more than just an interlude between 2113‘s two longest tracks, the latter of which checks in at 7:42 well spent between AC/DC chug and some more of that highway strut they noted earlier.

As ever, Wheeler and Goldsborough affirm the forward position of the guitars, a layer of acoustics adding a sentimental touch to the second half of the track, which is entirely instrumental and topped with interwoven solos prior to a long fadeout. I don’t know whether “Turn to Stone” is included on the vinyl edition of the album — I’d assume not, but one wouldn’t want to feign certainty — but they fit the cut by the former Eagles/James Gang frontman smoothly into the overarching flow either way, even if after the fade of “2113,” there’s not much left that really needs to be said. It’s a quick listen, with or without “Turn to Stone” at the end of it, and Carousel‘s second makes a more than suitable answer to their debut, finding them as players working in more nuanced ideas without losing the natural spirit so essential to what they do.

Carousel on Thee Facebooks

2113 at Tee Pee Records

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