Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (Ván Records, 06 December 2013)
Good afternoon. It’s been about eleven days since you last heard from me — sorry, but I’ve had shit going on. Like one of those times where everything decides to break all at once, and everything needs urgent attention. Whatever. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me when you hear the ABSOLUTE FUCKING MASTERPIECE that I’m sharing with you today. This album — a solo work by the former guitarist of Dutch occult band The Devil’s Blood — was released to not-a-whole-lot-of-acclaim at the tail end of 2013, and then was tragically overshadowed by its creator’s death just about three months later. A huge surge in attention for his former band ensued, but it felt (to me, anyway) like this record accidentally got swept under the rug. Which is really a shame, because it’s sheer genius.
Cave of Swimmers – Cave of Swimmers (The Path Less Traveled Records, 15 April 2014)
Cave of Swimmers – Reflection (self-released, 4 May 2015)
Dear Friends, I am thoroughly confused about something. It’s been about two months since Cave of Swimmers, the Venezuelan-American guitar/moog/vocals/drums duo who live in Miami, released their second album Reflection. This is a collection of four songs that are sheer excellence — every bit as fantastic as the four songs on their self-titled debut which had been released about a year prior — unquestionably one of the most incredible things I heard in 2014, and quite a pleasant out-of-nowhere surprise. So what I can’t understand is, at this point, why is this band not just exploding, and being lauded with overwhelming international renown??
To a small extent, I accept and acknowledge my share of the blame: on both occasions I’ve let trivial things like “being too busy at work to get much writing done” keep me from publicly sharing my thoughts on the release of these two brilliant albums (with one minor exception). Well that all ends today. Get ready to fill your ears with this…
The Lion’s Daughter & Indian Blanket – A Black Sea (Good Die Young Music, 12 November 2013)
Hello out there, hope you all are having a good afternoon! If you caught the article I wrote yesterday, you would have been treated to an unsettling combination of folksy Americana (Bask) and grimy, noisy metal (American Heritage). Writing about those two bands together reminded me of another incredible album — one which actually combines an American folk band with a heavy, sludgy metal band (Indian Blanket and The Lion’s Daughter, respectively), both of whom are from Saint Louis. This album was released nearly two years ago, and I’ve been in love with it ever since, but somehow never got around to writing about it.
I was actually excited about this album from the first time I heard that it was being made — before I ever heard any of the music on it — because I was already familiar with one of the bands involved. The Lion’s Daughter had been on tour with another band from St. Louis, the amazing Fister, when I wrote about that band’s album Gemini on the day that they both came here to Pittsburgh — which, by some remarkable coincidence, was exactly two years ago today! It may have been because I’d listened to Fister a lot prior to the show but hadn’t really known anything about their tourmates at the time, so I didn’t really have any particular expectations before seeing them, but The Lion’s Daughter completely blew me away that evening. I feel like both bands managed to bring equal amounts of intensity and sheer volume (and for those of you who’ve seen Fister, you’ll know that is no easy task!)
Anyway, several months later a collaborative effort with their friendly neighborhood folk band came to fruition, and it was every bit as cool as I had hoped for — in fact, it has seemed to grow on me even more with repeated listens, to the point where I ended up including it among my favorite albums of 2013. Check out A Black Sea for yourself, and I think you’ll see why.
Hey folks! Happy Thursday to you. (Does it seem strange to be excited that it’s the second-to-last day of the week? Like, the week isn’t almost over yet, but it’s almost almost over? I don’t know. But I’m definitely feeling that way this week.) Anyway.
So you might have noticed, a few days ago I wrote a thing about some Canadian bands I listened to last week on Canada Day. Well, a few days after that holiday is Independence Day for the United States of America, so it only seems natural that I should follow that post about Canadian music with one that is American-themed.
In digging through my massive archive of Stuff To Eventually Write About And Share With You, I selected two things that feature the word “American” — one in the band name and the other in the album title — although beyond this (and the fact that both actually live in America), there is very little in common between the two. I’m not saying that they’re quite polar opposites — not quite — but I’d imagine that a Venn diagram showing fans of these two albums wouldn’t have a huge amount of overlap. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe lots of you will absolutely love both of them. That would be cool. But there’s only one way to find out…
Hello, Readers! Here we find ourselves on another Monday, and I’m sure you all are about as excited to be returning to work as I am. You may have noticed — or maybe you didn’t, I don’t know — that I hadn’t managed to write anything throughout most of last week. Such is the unfortunate result of being busy working extra hard, making sure everything is as caught up as possible, before missing an extra day of work due to the holiday weekend. The holiday in this case is America’s Independence Day, which took place this past Saturday but most businesses were also closed on Friday for its observation. However, while I may not have had time for writing during the week, I spent plenty of time listening to music. Always listening to music.
And I noted that during those days there was another holiday celebration taking place — Canada Day, the celebration of the anniversary of the official formation of Canada as a country (technically, as a Dominion under the British Monarchy), was last Wednesday. Therefore, it seemed fitting to spend the day perusing all of the Canadian music I currently have on my MP3 player. I noticed that this included a handful of recent (within the past month or four) independent releases from Canadian thrash bands. And then I decided to attempt a feat that (as far as I remember) has never before been accomplished on this website: a triple review! It’ll help that two of these three releases are actually three-song EPs, but still, this is an unprecedented level of ambition. So with that in mind, let’s get straight to it….
Aethyr – Corpus (Cimmerian Shade Recordings, 19 February 2015)
Hello, Readers, and welcome to yet another paradisiac Monday. I could bore you all with another long intro filled with whining about being stuck back at work again after another too-short weekend, but today I’m choosing not to. Instead, I would like to pass along with you some interesting food for thought — something that was published last week, but I came across this morning on the bus when I saw that our fellow metal journalists at Broken Amp had shared it on Facebook. This article on Last Rites entitled “Heavy Metal in the Modern Age” discusses the role of the Internet in terms of the music industry — not just as the instrument that killed most of the previous infrastructure and completely transformed the existing business models, but as a tool that has leveled the playing field and removed many of the obstacles that were in place for bands, while offering far greater access and connectivity to fans. Much of the article, though, also relates to the changing role of the media outlets in this new superconnected world. Too often, says the author, websites are so busy clambering over each other to be the first to jump onto the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing that they forget to take the time to enjoy the music.
I can relate to a lot of what is said here: this new “level playing field” environment certainly lends itself to an overwhelming amount of materials available out there, and the absence of some of the former obstacles does result in a much wider range in terms of the quality of what ends up getting disseminated out there. But as I’ve stated in the past, I don’t mind wading through all the junk that exists, because the feeling of unexpectedly coming across something truly amazing more than makes up for it. Out of necessity — since this website is mostly a single-person operation with some rare exceptions — it takes a lot of time to go through everything that comes my way, so I hardly ever find myself playing the get-it-written-as-far-as-possible-before-the-release-date game. Rather, (as I’ve occasionally noted when writing about various albums) I sometimes will spend months (or longer!) enjoying something before I actually get the opportunity to write about it. But I don’t look at this as being negative; just because something has already passed its release date doesn’t mean it no longer needs to be promoted, or that it can no longer find its way to an appreciative audience’s ears. So this article has made me feel like my approach is somewhat vindicated. In any case, I will continue to share with you Readers as I come across things I feel are worth sharing.
For example, I’ve got something for you today from a Russian doom metal band called Aethyr. Here again is the link to that Last Rites article; you can bookmark it for later or you can check it out now and come back when you’ve finished. Either way, you won’t want to miss this….
Season of Arrows – Season of Arrows (The Path Less Traveled Records, 15 April 2014)
Hey there, folks — happy Friday! For a while it seemed like an end to these days of drudgery would never arrive, but finally it’s here! Hopefully you all have something exciting planned for the weekend — myself, not so much. If it ever stops raining, my yard needs cut badly, and then for an extra special treat, I get to head out to my Grandma’s house and do even more yard work there!
But before we all head out to do whatever it is we’ll be doing for the next couple of days, I wanted to leave you with a little something you might like to listen to: the self-titled album by Nashville’s Season of Arrows that came out a little over a year ago. If you like it — and I think you might — AND if you don’t have any weekend plans yet, AND if you happen to be within driving distance of Frederick, Maryland, you can go check out this band in person at the Maryland Doom Fest! More on that later, but first…