Posted in Whathaveyou on October 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m a little torn on the prospect of a new Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. Can be a fine line between ‘holy fuck’ and ‘fuck yes.’ Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one and go with it as a reaction. Wait! I got it:
New Brothers of the Sonic Cloth in the works? Holy fuck yes.
The Tad Doyle-fronted Seattle megacrushers have announced their final show of the year, set for later this month. After that, the band’s intent is to adjourn into a writing process for a follow-up to the self-titled debut (review here) that left such massive craters when it was released last year on Neurot. They’ll embark on this effort with the contributions of new member Andrew McInnis in tow, who seems to be charged with adding atmospherics, doubtless from an array of noisemaking devices electronic and otherwise.
An intriguing expansion there, and considering it was years waiting for Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s debut, a turnaround in 2017 for a sophomore offering would seem to speak to a creative surge on the part of the band, which is never a bad starting point.
Details from the PR wire:
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: Seattle Doom-Bringers Announce Final Show Of The Year; Band Welcomes New Member + Sophomore Full-Length In The Works
Seattle-based doom-bringers, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, are pleased to welcome the addition of multi-instrumentalist Andrew McInnis to the fold to add atmospheric glaciers of resonance and texture. McInnis will appear with the band on their headlining show Saturday October 29th, 2016 at Seattle’s own premier underground venue, Substation. There are only 100 tickets available. The bill also includes Black Bone Exorcism who will be celebrating the release of their Crack The Bone, Break The Heart full-length (recorded, mixed, and mastered at Tad Doyle’s Witch Ape Studio in 2015) as well as Summoned By Giants and Guest Directors the latter of which features original TAD guitarist Gary Thorstensen. The performance marks the final BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH show of the year.
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: 10/29/2016 Substation – Seattle, WA
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH will spend the remaining months of 2016 and early 2017 preparing the next level of low-end power and irrefutable rhythmic dimensionalism that was being hinted at on their 2015 self-titled debut. In the writing of their next recording, the band will be taking new paths and push themselves beyond what they know of their instruments and voices.
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH – guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle (formerly of Tad and Hog Molly), bassist Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Anunnaki) – unleashed their self-titled debut album last year via Neurot Recordings. Captured at Robert Lang Studios and Doyle’s own Witch Ape Studio and mixed by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Zoroaster, Eyehategod, Taurus, Ommadon etc.), Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth is the sound of earthly decomposition and planetary ruin; a slow, suffocating, spellbinding dance towards a looming apocalypse.
Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day Two starts now. I don’t know if you’re ready for it. I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I love this stuff. No place I’d rather be right now than pounding out these reviews, batch by batch, all week. This one gets heavy, it goes far out, it rocks hard and relentless and it gets atmospheric. And more. But don’t let me try to sell you on reading it. Even if you skim through and click on players, I hope you find something you dig. If not today, then yesterday, or tomorrow or the next day. Or hell, maybe the day after. It’s 50 records. There’s bound to be one in there. Here we go.
Quarterly Review #11-20:
Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze
A relatively quick two-songer issued via RidingEasy to mark the occasion of the Swedish trio’s first US headlining tour this summer, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze offers a more stripped-down feel than did Monolord’s second full-length, Vænir (review here), which came out last year. The roll elicited by guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki, however, remains unspeakably thick and the band’s intent toward largesse and nod continues to ring true. They’re in and out in 11 minutes, but the ethereal, watery vocal style of Jäger and the more earthbound pummel of the three-piece as a whole on “Lord of Suffering” and the grueling spaciousness of “Die in Haze” – not to mention the bass tone – show that Monolord are only continuing to come into their own sound-wise, and that as they do, their approach grows more and more dominant. They make it hard not to be greedy and ask for a new album.
Seattle two-piece Teacher served notice early this year of their then-forthcoming self-titled, self-recorded debut LP, and it was easy to tell the Tony Reed-mastered full-length would be one to watch out for as it followed-up their prior EP1812, released in 2015. Arriving via Devil’s Child Records, the 10-track Teacher does indeed dole out a few crucial lessons from drummer/guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Ethan Mercer and guitarist/vocalist Solomon Arye Rosenschein. Whether it’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot 1979” or the swinging “Peripatetic Blues” or the gone-backwards psych interlude “Wildcard Jambalaya” that immediately follows, the record basks in an organic diversity of approach drawn together by the clear chemistry already present between Mercer and Rosenschein. A harder edge of tone keeps a modern feel prevalent, but even the forward punker charge of “Mean as Hell” has classic roots, and as they finish with “Home for the Summer” as the last of three out of the four EP tracks included in a row to round out the LP, they seem to have entered the conversation of 2016’s most cohesive debuts in heavy rock. Their arrival is welcome.
There’s an element of danger to Rosy Finch’s debut long-player, Witchboro (on Lay Bare Recordings). Actually two. One: it sounds like it could come apart at any given moment – it never does. Two: any given one among its nine component tracks could wind up just about anywhere. Though the Spanish trio of bassist/vocalist ElenaGarcía, guitarist/vocalist Mireia Porto and drummer Lluís Mas keep individual songs relatively raw sounding – or at very least not overproduced as something so progressive could just as easily have wound up – but even the soothing “Ligeia” holds to a driving sense of foreboding. Punk in its undercurrent with more than a touch of grunge, Witchboro is as much at home in the atmospheric crush of “Polvo Zombi” as the quick-turning finale thrust of “Daphne vs. Apollo,” and its overarching impression is striking in just how readily it manipulates the elements that comprise it. Ambitious, but more defined by succeeding in its ambitions than by the ambitions themselves.
Holy Mountain Top Removers, The Ones Disappearing You
Psychedelic surf? Wah-soaked, bass rumbling foreboding? Euro-inflected lounge? All of the above and much more get a big check mark from Nashville instrumentalists Holy Mountain Top Removers, whose The Ones Disappearing You LP covers an enviable amount of stylistic ground and still leaves room near the end for bassist/keyboardist Mikey Allred to lead a blues dirge on trombone. He’s joined by drummer/percussionist Edmond Villa and guitarist Anthony Ford, as well as guest trumpeter Court Reese and violinist Allan Van Cleave, and as they careen through this vast terrain, Holy Mountain Top Removers only seem to revel in the oddness of their own creation. To wit, the early jangle of “Monsieur Espionnage” is delivered with gleeful starts and stops, and the later “Serenade for Sexual Absence” given a mournful snare march and what sounds like tarantella to go with Van Cleave’s violin lead. Playful in the extreme, The Ones Disappearing You nonetheless offers rich arrangements and a drive toward individuality that stands among its core appeals, but by no means stands there alone.
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, The Rarity of Experience I
Philadelphia four-piece Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band must have worked quickly to turn around so soon a follow-up to last year’s debut album, Intensity Ghost (review here), but their second offering, The Rarity of Experience lacks nothing for growth. A two-disc, 72-minute 10-tracker also released through No Quarter, The Rarity of Experience hops genres the way rocks skip on water, from the exploratory psychedelic vibing of “Anthem II” to the Talking Heads-style jangle of “The Rarity of Experience II” and into horn-infused free-jazz fusion on “The First 10 Minutes of Cocksucker Blues” – which, by the way, is 12 minutes long. A big change is the inclusion of vocals, but the penultimate “Old Phase” still holds to some of the pastoral atmospherics Forsyth and company brought together on the first record, but principally, what The Rarity of Experience most clearly shows is that one doesn’t necessarily know what’s coming from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, and as much as they offer across this massive stretch, I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to expand their sound.
Initially released by the band in January, the self-titled debut from Munich heavy rockers Swan Valley Heights sees wider issue through Oak Island Records in an edition of 200 LPs. After rolling out the largesse of welcome-riff in opener “Slow Planet,” the three-piece dig into longform groove on “Alaska” (9:09), “Mammoth” (11:02) and “Let Your Hair Down” (9:35), finding a balance between hypnotic flow and deeply weighted tones. Riffs lead the way throughout, and while there aren’t a ton of surprises, once they make their way through “Caligula Overdrive,” the shimmer at the start of “Mountain” and some of the more patient unfolding of closer “River” called Sungrazer to mind and I couldn’t help but wonder if Swan Valley Heights would make their way toward more lush fare over time. Whether they do or not, their debut engages in its warmth and cohesion of purpose, and offers plenty of depth for those looking to dive in headfirst.
I can’t help but feel like Portland, Oregon’s Cambrian Explosion are selling themselves a little short by calling The Moon an EP. At five songs and 35 minutes, the follow-up to their 2013 The Sun outing boasts a richly progressive front-to-back flow, deep sense of psychedelic melodicism and enough crunch to wholly satisfy each of the payoffs its hypnotic wanderings demand. Sure sounds like a full-length album to my ears, but either way, I’ll take it. The four-piece set an open context in the intro noise wash of “Selene,” and while “Looming Eye” and “Mugen = Mugen” push further into ritual heavy psych, it’s in the longer “Innocuous Creatures” (9:24) and closer “Crust of Theia” (8:23) – the two perfectly suited to appear together on the B-side from whatever label is lucky enough to snap them up for a release – that The Moon makes its immersion complete and resonant, blowing out in glorious noise on the former and basking in off-world sentiment as they round out. Gorgeous and forward-thinking in kind. Would be an excellent debut album.
Not sure if there’s any way to avoid drawing a comparison between Italian five-piece Haunted’s self-titled debut (on Twin Earth Records) and Virginian doomers Windhand, but I’m also not sure that matters anymore. With the two guitars of Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando meting out post-Electric Wizard churn and Cristina Chimirri’s vocals oozing out bluesy incantations on top as Frank Tudisco’s low end and Valerio Cimino’s drums push the lumber forward, it’s all doom one way or another. “Watchtower” has a meaner chug than opener “Nightbreed,” and the centerpiece “Silvercomb” delves into feedback-laden horror atmospherics, but it’s in the closing duo of “Slowthorn” and “Haunted” that Haunted most assuredly affirm their rolling intention. They’ll have some work to do in distinguishing themselves, but there’s flourish in the wash of guitar late and some vocal layering from Chimirri that speaks to nuance emerging in their sound that will only serve them well as they move forward from this immersive first offering.
Taking their name from a track off Monster Magnet’s 2010 outing, Mastermind, Brazilian heavy rockers Gods and Punks mark their debut release with The Sounds of the Earth, a self-released five-track EP awash in classic influences and bolstered through a double-guitar dynamic, maybe-too-forward-in-the-mix vocals and a rock solid rhythm section. These are familiar ingredients, granted, but the Rio de Janeiro five-piece present them well particularly in the mid-paced “The Tusk” and the catchy, more extended closer “Gravity,” and are able to put a modern spin on ‘70s vibing without becoming singularly indebted to any particular band or era, be it ‘70s, ‘90s or the bizarre combination of the two that defines the ‘10s. Gods and Punks are setting themselves up to progress here, and how that progression might play out – more space rock to go with the theme of their excellent artwork, maybe? – will be worth keeping an eye on given what they already show in their songwriting.
Mostly instrumental, deeply atmospheric and clearly intended to divide into the two sides of a vinyl for which it seems more than primed, A Cure for Time is the second album from Copenhagen post-metallers Gaia. Each half of the four-track/39-minute outing pairs a shorter piece with a longer one, and the flow the trio set up particularly on the closing title cut calls to mind some of YOB’s cosmic impulses but with a spaciousness, roll and context that becomes their own. Shades of Jesu in the vocals and the balance of rumble and echo on the earlier “Nowhere” make A Cure for Time all the more ambient, but when they want to, Gaia produce a marked density that borders on the claustrophobic, and the manner in which they execute the album front to back emphasizes this spectrum with a progressive but still organic flourish. I wouldn’t call A Cure for Time directly psychedelic, but it’s still easy to get lost within its reaches.sh
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s the kind of record one might be tempted to refer to as a ‘slab,’ and the announcement has come through that the debut release from Washington bashers Black Bone Exorcism, Crack the Bone, Break the Heart, will be released on CD through DHU Records on Oct. 29. For you vinyl heads — and I know you’re out there — it’s looking like the first part of 2017, though I don’t have an exact date as yet. Black Bone Exorcism will celebrate the coming of the CD/DL version by joining forces with none other than Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at in Fremont, WA. Should be an evening of much tonal heft and revelry in deeply-weighted plunder. If you’re not sure just what the hell that means, check out “Unknown, Against Light” below.
Black Bone Exorcism posted the following update about the signing and other doings:
Black Bone Exorcism is VERY proud to announce that we have signed an international vinyl distribution deal with D.H.U. Records. D.H.U. has been a HUGE force in supporting the heavy DIY scene all over the world, and it’s an honor to be part of the Blackened Filth that they will be infecting this dark planet with! The vinyl release is set for early 2017, so be on the lookout for it’s availability both at shows and in our online merch shop (opening soon).
Our self released recording “Crack the Bone, Break the Heart” will be unleashed on October 29th, 2016, opening up for none other than Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at our new favorite joint, Substation in Fremont.
Again, we are beyond stoked to be part of the D.H.U. Tribe! They will truly help us get our art to places we could never touch, and this has been our mission since day one.
For now, we give you a taste of what is to come. View the sorrow and crushing force that will change your view of the world in our Album Trailer below. Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the past 3 years. This is just the beginning…
Dave Krön: Guitar & Vocals Brandon Wilder: Guitar & Samples Keith Greer: Drums Mike Lee: Bass
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Okay, collector types. Feast your hungry eyes on this. Bound to be so rare it’s ridiculous and I can only imagine the silliness of the prices it will fetch on the secondary market. It’s Dale Crover from the Melvins, with 12 solo tracks all of which are under a minute long, split up into six separate records pressed to both sides of a single LP, hand-pressed to clear vinyl. Even Joyful Noise Recordings, which helmed the project, seems to admit that the technology involved produced a pretty rough sound, but let’s face it, if you’re buying this thing, you’re not buying it because you’re gonna slap it on your turntable and play it until the needle digs through to the other side. You’re buying it to take pictures and brag on social media that you got one of the 127 copies in existence. And I honestly don’t think I could fault you for that, given how gorgeous it actually looks and the clear passion that has gone into making it.
For sale at $100 a pop, they’re already gone.
From the PR wire:
Dale Crover (the Melvins) Releasing 12-Sided Record ‘Skins’ via Joyful Noise Recordings
Watch Instructional Video (on how to play “the most impractical record of all time”)
Dale Crover, best known as the drummer of the Melvins, teamed up with Joyful Noise Recordings to create a 12-sided record called Skins. The first release of its kind, the unique art object was hand made by lathe virtuoso Mike Dixon and is limited to 127 signed copies. Each record features six spindle holes, which correspond to twelve short songs written by Crover (six on side A and six on side B.) Joyful Noise created an instructional video demonstrating how to access each track.
This unique format required Crover to work within a highly constraining framework, creating individual pieces of music that almost mimic haikus. Each piece is less than 30 seconds in length, and these distinct works ultimately became the seed for Crover’s upcoming full-length album, slated for release in 2017.
Because each record was individually cut using 1940s technology (on a 1942 Presto 6N record lathe), these are lo-fi, mono records that will not possess the same fidelity as a modern record. Each of the 127 copies available required more than an hour of work to produce. See below for additional notes on playing the record.
Turntable Setup: Lathe-cut records have more shallow grooves than pressed records, which can make them difficult to play. Adjustments to your standard turntable setup may be required. If the only turntable you own is a Crosley, do not buy this record. Not only will it not play on your setup, but you’ll likely damage the record in the process. Due to the multi-spindle-hole design, we cannot guarantee that this record will be playable on all turntables.
A note about the price: Yes, it would be totally insane to pay $100 for 5 minutes of audio. But music is not all you are buying here. This is one of the most unique records ever made in the history of music. Each of the 127 copies required over an hour of work to make, not to mention the countless hours that were put into the design, composition and recording. If you cannot afford this art object, feel free to wait for Dale’s full-length. But to those who can, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that in the not-too-distant future, this record will be sold on eBay for a far more obscene amount of money.
TRACK LISTING 01. Slide On Up (0:27) 02. The Short Con (0:26) 03. Our Supreme Leader (0:16) 04. String Bean (0:32) 05. Why Not? (0:11) 06. Prismo (0:15) 07. Trick Dirt (0:29) 08. Chicken Ala King (0:30) 09. Vulnavia (0:30) 10. None No More (0:31) 11. Horse Pills (0:30) 12. Just Walk Around (0:29)
This past weekend, West Coast riff-rollers Snail got together for rehearsal before they come east to play The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Nothing weird about that, right? Bands rehearse all the time.
Snail are spread out between Los Angeles and Seattle — and for those of you unfamiliar with American geography, that’s not a minor distance, even for being on the same coast. They don’t always get together to record, let alone practice, so to have the three of them in the same room performing material at all is something special, let alone their traveling across the country to play a gig.
The timing couldn’t have been better to have bassist/engineer Matt Lynch record some of their time together and put it in a video clip for “Smoke the Deathless.” Comprised of Lynch, guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson and drummer Marty Dodson, Snail come to The Obelisk All-Dayer on the heels of their finest work to-date, 2015’s Feral (review here), which was released by Small Stone.
It’s the third album they’ve put out since 2009, but their fourth overall. Their debut came in 1993 and was followed by an EP and a 16-year disbanding. Even since coming back, they’ve toured only sparingly, so I cannot emphasize this enough — if you ever want to see these guys, take advantage of this opportunity. It may or may not ever come again, let alone on a bill shared with Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Kings Destroy, Eye, Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple.
Thanks to Snail for making the trip to Brooklyn on Aug.20 to play The Obelisk All-Dayer and the trip to get in a rehearsal beforehand. You can check out the video from their session of “Smoke the Deathless” below in tripped-out style, then pick up your All-Dayer tickets at Ticketfly. Do that. Really.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
By the time they got around to putting it out last Fall, it was kind of hard to believe that The Camel, the Lion, the Child (review here) was He Whose Ox is Gored‘s debut full-length. The Seattle-based outfit had spent years busting out singles and EPs and splits with damn near the entire Pacific Northwest — “dude, did you hear the Ox/Whole City of Seattle split?” — and I guess their sound was just so established by then from those releases and the touring they’d done that it made more sense to think of the record as one by an experienced band than a group of newcomers. Sounded that way, anyhow.
They’ll hit the road once again at the end of the month alongside Retox and Silent on a coast-to-coast stint mostly centered around major markets. The PR wire brings the update:
HE WHOSE OX IS GORED: Atmospheric Progressive Sludge Collective Announces Tour With Retox And Silent
Atmospheric progressive sludge collective HE WHOSE OX IS GORED will bring their audio conjurings to the stage later this month for a run of live rituals with Retox, Silent and Netherlands (on select dates). The band’s latest trek well commence August 30th in Tuscan, Arizona and run through September 16th in Portland, Oregon.
Comments the band of their upcoming journey, “We are excited to announce that we’ll not only be expanding dates to the south, east coast and midwest, but that we’ll be supporting the awesome Retox and Silent. Last time we caught Retox in Seattle, they packed the house and brought the shred with precision and snarl. Can’t wait!”
HE WHOSE OX IS GORED w/ Retox, Silent: 8/29/2016 The Soda Bar – San Diego, CA ** 8/30/2016 Club Congress – Tucson, AZ 8/31/2016 Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM 9/1/2016 Three Links – Dallas, TX 9/2/2016 Dirty Dog – Austin, TX 9/4/2016 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA 9/5/2016 Shakas – Virginia Beach, VA 9/6/2016 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Netherlands 9/7/2016 Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Netherlands 9/8/2016 Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA w/ Netherlands 9/9/2016 DC9 – Washington, DC 9/10/2016 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH 9/11/2016 Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL 9/12/2016 Fubar – St. Louis, MO 9/13/2016 Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA 9/14/2016 Hi Dive – Denver, CO 9/16/2016 High Water Mark – Portland, OR ** **HE WHOSE OX IS GORED only
HE WHOSE OX IS GORED will be touring in support of their critically-lauded The Camel, The Lion, The Child released late last year via Bleeding Light Records. A monolithic, eight-track, near hour-long exercise in sonic alchemy, with The Camel, The Lion, The Child the Seattle collective travel far beyond the confines of traditional musical boundaries with a sound that’s at once cinematic, ethereal and sprawling yet unequivocally heavy. The Camel, The Lion, The Child was captured at Red Room and Ex Ex Audio in Seattle by Robert Cheek (Serial Hawk, Noise-A-Tron etc.) with additional recording at Avast Studios with Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Wolves In The Throne Room etc.), mixed by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon etc.) and mastered by frequent collaborator, Blake Bickel, The Camel, The Lion, The Child is a truly cathartic audio expedition not to be ignored.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Back in May, Seattle trio Mother Crone were confirmed to take part in the Erosion Festival in Montana this October (info here), and it seems they’ll test the waters in August on a quick run through the Midwest and West Coast still supporting last year’s Awakening (review here) debut full-length that recently got them picked up by DHU Records for the release of their next album.
About that album: Mother Crone put word out not too long ago that they’re looking for a second guitarist, maybe guitarist/vocalist, so if you’re in the Seattle area, can tour, and get down on stuff that’s ridiculously heavy and well constructed, it might be worth hitting them up. Their post and the tour dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:
Hey dudes and dames, we here in the doom thrash band Mother Crone are seeking a second guitar player for both rhythm and leads. Our current record was written for two guitars and we are in the midst of getting the next record ready to record and would like to expand. We would also like the tunes to live up to their fullest live. If you can sing, that’s a huge plus! Hit us up if you’re interested. Please note, we tour quite a bit, but will have some down time as we get ready for the next record.
Two weeks! Stoked to go out and reacquaint ourselves the likes of Chicago and Minneapolis as well as meet y’all in Omaha and Kansas City!
This whole thing ends at Marymoor Park here in WA for HEMP FEST 2016!!
Mother Crone on tour: 08/09 Missoula MT VFW 08/10 Billings MT Muleskinner 08/12 Minneapolis MN The Hexagon 08/13 Chicago IL Livewire Lounge 08/15 Kansas City MO MiniBar 08/16 Omaha NE Dr. JacksDrinker 08/18 Boise ID The Shredder 08/19 Seattle WA Nuemo’s 08/20 Portland OR High Water Mark 08/21 Seattle WA HempFest
Mother Crone: Jeremy Schulz (AKA Walrusdrummer) – Drums, Joshua Hashman – Bass/Vox, Joseph Frothingham – Guitar/Vox
Earth, HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method (2005)
I think it’s safe to call Earth‘s HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method one of the most pivotal albums of its decade. Released 11 years ago now in 2005 by Southern Lord, it not only marked the Seattle outfit’s first studio full-length since 1996’s also-essential Pentastar: In the Style of Demons and their fourth album overall (not counting a slew of live releases), but it set in motion a new phase of the long-running instrumental band’s progression that continues to evolve over a decade later while also casting out a massive influence over underground heavy rock. At this point, there are atmospheric-minded groups the world over drawing from what Earth accomplished in tracks like “Raiford (The Felon Wind)” who don’t even know they’re doing it. Itself working heavily off of Neil Young‘s Dead Man soundtrack, it’s become part of the pastiche of darker post-rock, heavy Americana and, of course, drone, which is the tag with which Earth are most often saddled, rightly or not.
But HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method has more to offer than a blueprint other bands have (understandably) followed. From the opening role of “Mirage” through the minimalist melancholia of “Tethered to the Polestar,” it is Earth proffering a style of immersion that is entirely their own, capturing something evocative and wistful without words or cliche, without losing themselves in indulgence or letting go of the ambience of the work as a whole. It’s not an easy record to keep up with by any means — sometimes it can feel so still it’s like you’re looking at tiny ripples on a lake, or, perhaps more fitting to the mood, a breeze blowing across the top of overgrown grass — but the subtlety with which Earth, which at the time was comprised solely of founding guitarist Dylan Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies, enact the broad, sweeping scope of tracks like “The Dire and Ever Circling Wolves” and the downward sloping “An Inquest Concerning Teeth” only enhances the effect of those songs and the rest of those around them. It is a landmark both for the band and for a swath of genres.
As noted, Earth have hardly kept still since. In addition to touring heavily, sundry splits and live albums and revisits of older works, they would go on to issue The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (discussed here), which brought rich color into a changing soundscape, and the 2011/2012 pair Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (review here) and Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (review here), which would introduce some of the British folk elements to Earth‘s sound that they’d continue to explore on 2014’s lush Primitive and Deadly (review here) and which would become crucial as well to Carlson‘s solo work under the moniker Drcarlsonalbion, most recently the full-length Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion, which he released last month following a successful crowdfunding campaign for the physical pressing.
I hope you enjoy.
Next week, look out for streams from Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Nathanael Larochette, Swamp Witch and probably more. Still also want to get High Fighter and Colour Haze reviews going as well, and I’ve got an interview with Laura Dolan from Electric Citizen to get posted as well as an Obelisk Questionnaire from David Rodgers of Godhunter and the Southwest Terror Fest in the can, so one way or another it’ll be a full week. Also news and videos and all the rest of that good stuff.
I said as much yesterday on Thee Facebooks, but thank you for your continued support of this site. It’s been a crazy month or so with starting the new job and everything surrounding that, but I cannot tell you how far this project goes toward keeping me sane and I deeply, deeply appreciate your ongoing interest, encouragement and involvement in it. Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you.
Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.