Stone Machine Electric Working on New Album; Live Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Never ones for keeping still for too long, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric have announced they’ve begun work on their next batch of material, presumably with an eye toward an upcoming studio release. Their latest outing, you’ll likely recall, is earlier 2017’s Vivere (review here), a live album issued as a companion-piece to the 2016 sophomore full-length, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). We might very well get a release from them before another record surfaces, as they have done in the past putting out tapes of jams or intermittent live digital offerings, etc., but cool that they’re working on new stuff either way, in whatever form it might show up.

They’ve got live dates booked for the summer months around TX, and in October they’ll take part in End Hip End It alongside DoomstressThe WellAmplified Heat, the new lineup of Josefus and a slew of others. More to come on that, I’m sure. In the meantime, Stone Machine Electric sent the following down the PR wire:

stone machine electric

What’s going on with Stone Machine Electric? I guess we can tell you…

Looks like everyone is digging our latest release – VIVERE. You can still pick up a copy on our bandcamp site, along with any other merch you should be interested in. Europe folks can get them at Shiny Beast and save on that shipping!

Us two dudes have been working on a handful of new songs. This means our live set is fresher (because it is always fresh, but now fresh-er), so you should come to an upcoming show if we’re near you. If we’re not playing close enough, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

SHOW DATES
5/19 – Hellcat Cafe – Houston, TX (w/ Boudain and The Dirty Seeds)
5/20 – Babylon Sportsbar – Metairie, LA (w/ Boudain)
5/26 – The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX (w/ Doomstress)
6/30 – The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX (w/ Burn Thee Insects and Mountain of Smoke)
7/1 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX (w/ Burn Thee Insects)
7/14 – Division Brewing – Arlington, TX (w/ Forming the Void and Orcanaut)
10/22 – Walter’s Downtown – Spring, TX End Hip End It

http://www.shinybeast.nl/item/442600/stone_machine_electric_vivere.html
https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric, Vivere: Dormiendo Somniare

Posted in Reviews on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stone-machine-electric-vivere

Last Spring, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric — who by my estimation remain underrated as only a non-touring band can — self-released their second long-player in the form of Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). The timing on that is important. It was May, and as a grueling primary season wound down, the US presidential election was beginning to take shape as a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Hurst-based two-piece acknowledged these current events in the cover art, which depicted a rat in a suit and a telling red tie standing in front of an audience of sheep, with his arm raised in front of a building burning with a giant skull behind it. Not subtle in visual metaphor, and the translation from Latin of the title — “nightmares are reality” — was correspondingly blunt.

Among what passes for a left-leaning contingent in the States, it would be difficult to see Sollicitus es Veritatem as anything other than prescient in hindsight. Songs like “Dreaming” had a bent of social commentary that never came at the expense of the liquidity of Stone Machine Electric‘s jamming, which has been central to their appeal over the last half-decade-plus, across offerings like the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here), 2014’s Garage Tape (review here), their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) and their 2010 demo, Awash in Feedback (review here). Working frequently in the studio with Kent Stump of Wo Fat, guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens (also synth and backing vocals) have developed a sound able at once to convey straightforward heavy roll and an echo of unpredictability, so that the listener never quite knows when they might take off and just where they might be headed on a given track.

That ability is a big part of why I call them underrated above, and it’s writ large over Vivere, their new live CD recorded June 3, 2016, at the Doublewide in Dallas and issued through Off the Record Label. As the Latin title — the infinitive form of the verb meaning “to live” — hints, the six-song/40-minute set is intended as a complement to Sollicitus es Veritatem, and it very much functions on that level. Its longer tracks, opener “I am Fire,” “Dreaming,” “PorR” and the finale “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” all come from Sollicitus es Veritatem, and with the proximity of one to the other, another mixdown by Stump, and the general live feel that Irvin and Kitchens bring to their material, there’s no shortage of commonality between Vivere and its studio predecessor. Particularly for someone who’s grown to be a fan of the band and hasn’t been fortunate enough to see them play live — as I have and haven’t — the draw should be obvious.

For others, the question becomes what does Vivere have to offer that Sollicitus es Veritatem doesn’t? Fair ask. For one thing, like the studio counterpart, it’s the most cohesive Stone Machine Electric live outing yet. Their last one, 2013.02.07 (recorded, clearly, in 2013), was performed as a trio with Mark Cook on warr guitar, and caught them in the midst of a series of lineup shifts before they settled on the Dub/Kitchens duo as their seemingly permanent configuration. I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets in saying they work best in this form, and that shows itself from the nodding “I am Fire” onward here. It’s not uncommon for a live album to represent a band’s stage presence well — there are very few that are truly “warts and all” — but something else Vivere does is mirror the immersive listening experience of Sollicitus es Veritatem in how one song plays into the next via two short, seemingly-improvised transitional pieces: “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages.”

Though these are quick courses run at 2:54 and 2:42, respectively, and the broader impression of Vivere is found in moments like Dub‘s execution of the hook in “Dreaming” — the lines “Hustlers ain’t in the alley/They’re runnin’ the global scene/They’ll take you down/And take you further/Oh, how I wish I was dreaming” standing out as something of a centerpiece and summary of the set as a whole, let alone the track itself — and the raucous uptick provided at the end by “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” on which Kitchens joins in a vocal call and response, both “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages” are crucial to the flow of Vivere. The first arrives between “I am Fire” and “Dreaming,” and gives Stone Machine Electric an even more atmospheric space in which to work, shifting via guitar lead and drum fills between the one longer song and the other without stopping. They are a band of few words, it seems.

Amid an initial hum at the outset of “I am Fire,” Dub says, “Yeah, we don’t talk. We’re just Stone Machine Electric,” and over a closing bed of synth drone in the ending of “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” he follows up with “We’ve been Stone Machine Electric…” and something else only semi-intelligible, but other than that, they move from song to song without stopping. Accordingly, “Invented Passages” rises from the end of “Dreaming” with a bit of rhythmic push from Kitchens and a winding riff to accompany but hits the brakes well in time to start the familiar drift of “PorR,” which tops 13 hypnotic minutes riding that progression — down from over 14 for the studio version — and builds to an apex of thud, rumble and slow-motion riffing that moves via feedback into “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” feeling both practiced and unforced; the closer picking up after about a minute and providing Vivere‘s final movement, which turns to brief cacophony just before ending in a way that seems only to re-suggest the improvisational elements at root in their creative approach.

The reinforcement thereof is another aspect of Vivere that shines through especially in its following Sollicitus es Veritatem, which was arguably the most song-based outing from Stone Machine Electric to-date. Still, this is the part where I say that one doesn’t need to have heard the studio album to appreciate the live one. A cliché, and probably only half-true, but valid when considering the molten nature of the band’s execution in either sphere. One of the joys of following Dub and Kitchens over their years together has been the way in which one release has always fed into the next — the debut into the first live album and Garage Tape into The Amazing Terror into Sollicitus es Veritatem — and Vivere adds to that line, acknowledging what they’ve done before and using it as a basis for moving forward.

What makes it even more engaging, though, is that the songs themselves do the very same thing on a meta-level, and are reshaped and recontextualized by this performance on this given night. One expects that as Stone Machine Electric put more distance between themselves and their second full-length headed perhaps toward a third, the evolution of their ideas will likewise continue, and the multi-tiered fluidity they’ve thus far shown will reach its next stage. That’s the hope, anyhow. But though their heavy psychedelia is often tinged with a darker, brooding sensibility, and Sollicitus es Veritatem certainly had its air of cynicism, I hear nothing on Vivere to make me think that core vibrancy will dull anytime soon. And who knows? If the live album turns out to be as predictive as its predecessor, we might all just survive these curious times in which we’ve found ourselves.

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2016)

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Off the Record Label website

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Stone Machine Electric Release Vivere Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

“We don’t talk. We’re just Stone Machine Electric.” So begins the (spoken) introduction to Vivere, the new live album from the Texas two-piece to complement their 2016 studio offering, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). Opening with the rumbles and roll of “I am Fire,” Vivere also features “Dreaming,” “PorR” and “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” from the record, as well as a couple off-the-cuff transitional pieces and for those of us who’ve yet to have the pleasure of seeing the band live, it’s an appreciated glimpse of the flow that William “Dub” Irvin and Mark Kitchens are able to bring to the stage these days. A mix by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump doesn’t hurt either, of course.

It’s true though, they don’t have much to say throughout the set banter-wise, but as it’s streaming in full now I think you’ll find that only makes the listening experience more immersive. If you didn’t check out Sollicitus es Veritatem, you should, but whether you have prior knowledge of these tracks or not, they’re still likely to swallow you whole, so while advised as a proper course, it’s not 100 percent necessary. Can’t imagine that if you take the time to listen to Vivere you’re not going to want to chase the studio versions down anyhow, so either way.

Better band than people know.

Dig it:

stone machine electric vivere

Off The Record Label based in The Netherlands has got the CDs for “VIVERE” on the way to us! So you folks in the states will be able to get them from us soon. The release date is scheduled for 01/27/2017. You can order from www.clearspot.nl, or if you are in The Netherlands, go by Off The Record’s shop and get one. Tjeerd will also be sending some copies to All That is Heavy for distribution in the states.

Here’s the track list for the album:
I Am Fire
“mindless meanderings”
Dreaming
“invented passages”
PorR
I Am Fire (Slightly Burned)

Recorded live on June 3rd, 2016 at the Doublewide in Dallas, TX by Rob Stercraw. Mixed by Kent Stump and mastered by Ryan Lee at Crystal Clear Sound. Available on CD from Off the Record Label – www.offtherecordlabel.com

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric Announce Vivere Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Texas duo Stone Machine Electric have a new live release coming next month through Off the Record Label. Titled Vivere, suitably enough, it will be their first outing since the almost woefully prescient Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here) studio offering came out earlier this year. Seems like no matter what Dub and Kitchens are up to — and they’re usually up to something — they’re never too far removed from the live experience anyway, so a proper live outing recorded this past summer around the time the latest album came out makes a lot of sense. Fact is I dig these cats and will take what I can get at this point when it comes to their releases. Live record it is.

Note the consistency in Latin titles. Makes me wonder just how much of a companion for Sollicitus es Veritatem the forthcoming Vivere is intended to be. We’ll find out next month I suppose.

From the PR wire:

stone machine electric

Stone Machine Electric to issue Live Album through Off The Label Records

In Stone Machine Electric’s last release, these two gents built on the previous jam-based albums – the Garage Tape and The Amazing Terror EP. The duo merged the slow and ominous riffs of their song writing style with improvised grooves locked inside them to pull you into their realm and take you on a tour of your own mind. The five tracks of Sollicitus Es Veritatem compose one cohesive journey from fire to dreams and back.

Culled from this last year, the band has teamed up with Off The Record Label in The Netherlands to release a live album. This performance was recorded at the Doublewide in Dallas, Texas on June 3rd by Rob Stercraw, and mixed and mastered at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Texas by Kent Stump and Ryan Lee. This performance captures how the duo crafts and intertwines structured songs with improvised jams, thus creating a continuous, trippy journey from start to finish.

A release date has not been set, but should be out in January.

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/

Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)

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Stone Machine Electric Announce “Hot and Sweaty” Weekender

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The title of Texas duo Stone Machine Electric‘s latest album, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here), translates to ‘nightmares are real,’ and yeah, that sounds about right for an early September drive through West Texas into Arizona and New Mexico. Hope the air conditioning is working in whatever vehicle the two-piece are using to make that considerable drive.

They’ve got four shows lined up, two in TX, one in Tempe and one in or near Albuquerque still TBA (if you can help there, get in touch with the band via Thee Facebooks), and in addition to stuff from the new album, they’re apparently already looking to road-test some new jams via improv or I guess however they might come out. Their style is pretty open and I’d imagine at this point, Dub and Kitchens can pretty much just plug in and go for it. All the better.

Two things I really, really dig about the announcement below. First, they refer to themselves as “two-piece weirdos,” which is something I’ve insisted on doing for the last several years nearly every time I’ve written about them, and two, they not only made a poster, but they made an awesome poster that involves absolutely zero cartoon boobage. Kudos all around, gentlemen.

Behold:

stone machine electric tour poster

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Hot+Sweaty Weekend

Hurst, Texas two-piece weirdos, Stone Machine Electric, are set for a small tour westward over the Labor Day weekend. They’ll make their way through Texas, into Arizona, and hopefully survive the trek through New Mexico.

Stone Machine Electric will be playing songs off their latest album, Sollicitus Es Veritatem, along with their usual/unusual improvised transitions. There is always the possibility they might play something new, since they’ve got some in the works…

Hot+Sweaty Weekend Dates:
September 1st – Depot Obar in Lubbock, TX
September 2nd – The Sandbox in El Paso, TX
September 3rd – Tempe Tavern in Tempe, AZ
September 4th – TBD around Albuquerque, NM

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/

Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)

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Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem: Inside the Nightmare

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Stone Machine Electric Sollicitus Es Veritatem

One of the most impressive aspects of Sollicitus es Veritatem is that it is so grounded in its theme while being so open and spaced out musically. It’s the self-released second full-length from Texas heavy jam duo Stone Machine ElectricWilliam “Dub” Irvin on guitar/vocals, Mark Kitchens on drums/theremin — and in relatively impressionistic fashion, its five increasingly extended tracks take on the current political climate with predictive fervor and a healthy sense of dread. They’re not running down poll results by any means, but the interpretation of the album’s cover, its rat in a red tie, and Dub‘s gravely repetitions of “I really wish I was dreaming” in second cut “Dreaming” (10:17) both make the message pretty clear.

That’s an aspect of their approach that has developed in the three years since their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), though looking back there were certainly real-world elements at play there, as well as in the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here) that arrived at the start of primary season to set the table for this album, the Latin title of which translates to “Nightmares are Reality.” They may well be, but Stone Machine Electric meet them head on with languid roll, heavy tones and an underlying cohesion to their jams. Recorded by Wo Fat guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, the groove at times bears some resemblance to Stump‘s own outfit, but Sollicitus es Veritatem goes far, far out when it goes, and from the quiet, creeping three-minute start of opener “I am Fire” (7:08), the flow that Dub and Kitchens conjure is almost entirely their own, a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming and heavy blues melded together in seemingly amorphous shapes.

Together, the five tracks total 57 minutes, so Sollicitus es Veritatem is a substantial commitment in the listening if you’re going front to back, but the individual pieces that make it up sort of blur the lines one into the next and that makes the journey more fluid. That’s not to say that “I am Fire,” which is arguably the most straightforward-feeling of the inclusions even with that intro, doesn’t stand well on its own, just that while too long to fit on a single LP, the CD version of Sollicitus es Veritatem benefits from the smooth and linear progression of its component parts. In addition to leading the listener into the band’s world via cymbal wash, drone atmospherics, and guitar minimalism, “I am Fire” offers a declarative hook in its title line, and in light of the apparent thematic intention one has to wonder just who the speaker in the song might be.

stone machine electric

A chugging riff keeps the second half earthbound, but already Stone Machine Electric have set a focus on ambience, and the rest of the material — including the slight-return-style complementary closer, “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” (6:57) — continues to build on that, beginning with “Dreaming,” which picks up from the end of “I am Fire” with exploratory guitar feeling its way through the surrounding emptiness. Around two minutes in, after Kitchens has joined, the riff solidifies and the verse starts with Dub working quick to deliver dire warnings — not directly political in a naming-names sense, but applicable nonetheless — before a first chorus and quick trip solo that’s a precursor for the extended instrumental jam to come, brought back around to the chorus at the end for a satisfying bookend effect.

In centerpiece “PorR” (14:25) and the subsequent “Demons” (18:46), Stone Machine Electric get to the thick of Sollicitus es Veritatem‘s jam-room vibe, though layering would seem to be an essential part, obscure volume swells and noises in the background — could be theremin with effects, I suppose — an essential part in the quiet open of “PorR,” the main progression of which is a rolling guitar figure that kicks in loud in a manner with which I’ll admit some personal association I can’t quite shake, but serves as the foundation for the album’s most resonant jam, Dub pulling back on his gruff vocal delivery for a more melodic take well suited to the creeper vibe. Though it ultimately has enough room to cover its wide swath, “Demons” is more progressive at its heart, dooming out on either side of a long middle stretch of jazzy shuffle that starts after “Moonchild”-style noise past the seven-minute mark and eases into a long and welcome airy solo topping a steady rhythm.

Guitar and vocals harmonize together past 14 minutes in, and from there the riff re-thickens, diminishes, and returns with YOB-esque push toward the fadeout, giving the album a fitting apex before “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” begins its cymbal washes recalling the opener. The lyrics are different and the instrumental approach is different — definitely some theremin — almost like Dub and Kitchens took the basic instrumental foundation they had put down for “I am Fire” and built it out in another way. A studio experiment, maybe, but its weirdo vibe is right at home on Sollicitus es Veritatem, and its raucous, noisy and swirling crescendo not only serves as an epilogue post-“Demons” but a manifestation of the otherworldly nightmarish realization Stone Machine Electric would seem to have been moving toward all along. I’ve been a fan of the band since I first heard their demo in 2010 (review here), and though they’ve walked a difficult, sometimes rough path between trying out third members and so on, their second full-length brings a sound and vibe that suits them remarkably well and, as a fan, I can only hope they continue to move forward in this direction.

Stone Machine Electric, Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)

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Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

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Stone Machine Electric Premiere “I am Fire” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

Wade patiently into the murky depths of Stone Machine Electric‘s first single from their new album, Sollicitus es Veritatem, and imagine that the Texas two-piece are setting the stage on which, as the title indicates, nightmares might become reality. Of course, the nightmare they’re talking about — at least if the album artwork is anything to go by — is 30-plus years of Republican anti-government rhetoric coming home to roost, but that otherworldly sense of darkness is evident in the opening of “I am Fire” as well. And as much as Stone Machine Electric — the duo of guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/Thereminist Mark Kitchensstone-machine-electric-posterteased jammy vibes with their late 2015 EP, The Amazing Terror (review here), “I am Fire” does wind up with a hook to go with its rolling groove, centering the nightmare in a real-world structure.

As much as this is the real world, anyway.

As previously announced, The Obelisk is presenting Stone Machine Electric‘s release show for Sollicitus es Veritatem, which takes place at The Grotto in Fort Worth on May 27 and finds Dub and Kitchens joined by FoggThinman Conspiracy and The FTW. My reasoning for climbing on board for said event was pretty simple: I dig Stone Machine Electric a lot. Their material has always kind of a weirdo underpinning, whether they’re working in open structured jams or more grounded songcraft, and in combination with a richness of tone often captured by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump, the appeal is that you never quite know what Stone Machine Electric are going to do next. You’ll know what I mean as “I am Fire” jumps from its intro into the nod of the first verse. They’re still able to catch their audience off guard. I like that.

Sollicitus es Veritatem is out May 17 — though if you’re in Europe, you can apparently buy copies from Wo Fat‘s merch table now — and you can find the premiere of the “I am Fire” video below.

Please enjoy:

Stone Machine Electric, “I am Fire” official video

The Obelisk presents “I Am Fire” – the first track off Stone Machine Electric’s anticipated album “Sollicitus Es Veritatem”. The new album is set to be released May 17th, 2016.

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The Obelisk Presents: Stone Machine Electric Album Release Show in Fort Worth, TX, 05.27.16

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on March 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric poster

Texas two-piece Stone Machine Electric are getting ready to release their new full-length album, Sollicitus es Veritatem, in May. The release show is set for May 27 at The Grotto in Fort Worth, where Stone Machine Electric will be joined by Texas outfits FTW, Thinman Conspiracy and Fogg.

If the album artwork (posted here) and the translated title “nightmares are reality” are anything to go by, it seems more and more like Stone Machine Electric are commenting on the times in which we live. If that’s so, then all the better have their jam-prone bizarro rock as the soundtrack, since if our ultra-self-aware-yet-utterly-blind post-post-modernism has taught anyone anything at all, it’s that it’s not like we’re going to turn a corner and have existence suddenly make sense. We, as a species, might as well get down with some heavy exploratory grooves and vibe out while we wait for that comet to hit.

Guitarist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens offered a glimpse at the record to come in late-2015’s The Awesome Terror (review here), and they’ll release Sollicitus es Veritatem officially on May 17 as nearly an hour of forward-thinking output captured by Kent Stump of Texas fuzz forerunners Wo FatFogg, who offered up their self-titled debut (review here) last year on Tee Pee Records, have a new improv jam EP out called Pinko, and between that and the burly rock of FTW and Thinman Conspiracy‘s progressive methods, it should be a night worthy of ringing in the arrival of Stone Machine Electric‘s latest opus. I’m proud to be involved and thank the band for letting me be a part of it in the small way I am.

Show particulars and links follow:

Live at The Grotto: The Obelisk Presents – Stone Machine Electric Album Release Party featuring FTW, FOGG & Thinman Conspiracy

The Grotto
517 University Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Doors 9 • Cover $7

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Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

The Grotto website

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