Fen – Dustwalker (2013)

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FenDustwalker (Code666, 21 January 2013)

 

Hey, people. It’s time once again to take a little stroll back in time — all the way to last year. I am determined to finish reviewing everything on my top albums of 2013 list before the end of 2014, and with this one I’m publishing today, I’ll officially reach the halfway point! No worries, there are still over three months for me to work through the rest of these (while still somehow trying to keep up with newer stuff, too). Oh well, I’ll get there eventually (hopefully). It just gets kind of frustrating sometimes, especially when bands keep putting out newer stuff faster than I can keep up with them — as is the case with UK atmospheric/progressive black metal band Fen (not to be confused with the Canadian prog-rock band of the same name). They’ve just announced that their fourth LP Carrion Skies will be coming out this November through Code666, which is exciting news for sure, but first I need to share their awesome THIRD album Dustwalker with you!

I publicized some of the details about this album when they were first announced, nearly two years ago, and I have been really enjoying listening to it ever since it was released (about three months after that). I’d say it’s about time I got around to following up and writing about the album itself!

 

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Black Tar Prophet – Deafen (2014)

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Black Tar ProphetDeafen (Domestic Genocide Records, 22 April 2014)

 

Hey, folks. How’s it going? I’ve got some more music here I’d like to share with you. I think you’re going to like it.

A lot of times when I write about a band, you may have noticed I will include some kind of anecdote about how I first heard about them — whether I’d seen them perform live at some point, or sometimes it’s someone I get introduced to through another website or another band. But the vast majority of the stuff I have here to write about came to me as the result of being contacted by either the band themselves, or their record label, or the PR person who represents the band or label. I get a TON of stuff emailed to me — seriously — and it can sometimes be a bit taxing to sort through it all. But in the end it’s completely worth it, because I’ve discovered some amazing stuff this way that might not have come to my attention otherwise. In fact, some of the bands I would consider to be among my favorites to listen to (not even exaggerating) were ones I had never heard of until I’d been contacted by their label or PR company.

For this reason, I make it a point to listen to absolutely everything that anyone sends me. Because there’s no way of knowing whether something might end up surprising me and being awesome. In fact, I go into every new album with as little knowledge as possible, and with the hopes that it’ll be something that completely blows me away. Of course, this leaves me feeling pretty disappointed much of the time, but occasionally I come across some real gems. When I do, that’s when I generally will go back to the original email (and then Facebook or Bandcamp or the band’s own website, wherever they have some sort of online presence) to learn more about the band — such as where they’re from and a whatever history I can learn about them.

This is sort of what happened when I first heard Black Tar Prophet‘s new album Deafen, which came out earlier this year. When I started listening, I knew nothing about the band other than their name, but before I reached the end of the first song, I was already rushing back to find that email, to see where these guys were located — and not just from curiosity. This time, I needed to know how close to here (Pittsburgh) they lived, so I could gauge the chances of them ever playing in this area. Once I found out they were from relatively nearby (Tennessee, which is just three states away, or about 8-9 hours driving), I immediately started considering the possibility that they could someday be on tour somewhere in this direction, and furthermore I decided that if this happened, I needed to get them a show here in town, and that my own band Last should open for them.

Well… I’m very excited to tell you that in just a couple of weeks, both of those things will be coming true! This instrumental heavy sludge/noise duo will be hitting the road in October, and I’ll include all the details about that right after I’ve told you some more about this album that had piqued my interest so much when I first heard it…

 

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Details of NEW Pink Floyd Album Have Been OFFICIALLY Announced!

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Rumors have been flying around for the past few months, as some details had “accidentally” been released earlier this summer. But today, the legendary psychedelic/classic rock band Pink Floyd has announced that their new album The Endless River will be available for pre-order.

 

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Recreant – Still Burn (2014)

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RecreantStill Burn (Halo of Flies, 02 September 2014)

 

Until sometime last summer, there used to be a house out in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Well, actually I suppose the house is still there. But previously it had been the home of a couple friends, who (at the time) had been members of a few local bands including Cerebral Apophysis and Old Man of the Mountain. This little urban bungalow was referred to as the Gopher Hole, and it was here (specifically, in one small room which adjoined the kitchen) that a great many DIY shows were held, which featured a huge assortment of local and nationally touring bands.

At one such event, back in April 2013, my wife and I had dropped by to see local hardcore sensation Meth Quarry, and we also got to check out the grindy-screamy bass/drums duo Shiff. Later that evening a band from Florida, whom I’d never heard before, called Recreant was supposed to play, but unfortunately we had a prior engagement and had to leave the show early. While we were there, though, we briefly met some of the members of the touring band, who seemed like really nice people. Half based on that, half based the fact that it had some really sweet artwork, we decided to buy a copy of the record they had for sale. The idea was, it’s nice to help out bands on tour — especially when they’re playing a free DIY show — and if it wasn’t very good, well, we know enough people who collect vinyl and surely we could find a good home for it.

Well. The next day I took that LP with its Crass-inspired logo out of the sleeve (it turns out, it was housed in a recycled old album cover which had been turned outside-in, re-glued, and with the band’s artwork screenprinted on the new blank front), and decided to give it a spin. As I recall, it took less than twenty seconds to realize there would be no need to worry about finding someone else to adopt the record: this was some pretty incredible stuff. (You can check it out right here.)

So anyway, fast forward a bit, and now earlier this month, the band has just put out another record — this one through the Halo of Flies label. It’s awesome, too. They’re on the road again, in the middle of a huge cross-country tour. For months I’ve been looking forward to their return to Pittsburgh (which will be tomorrow night!), but I’ve got the full list of remaining dates here. I’ll share them with you after I talk a little bit more about the new album Still Burn.

 

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Gnaw – Horrible Chamber (2013)

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GnawHorrible Chamber (Seventh Rule Recordings, 15 October 2013)

 

Hello again, readers. As I’ve mentioned numerous times lately, things are still crazy busy around here, and I’ve been having some trouble finding much time for writing. But, I suffered a pretty traumatic experience this past weekend — while attending a bachelor party for a friend of mine, I found myself squished into a van with a bunch of other guys, subjected to something called “redneck hip-hop” at very a high volume. Trust me, the less said about that, the better.

But as unpleasant as that experience was, an even worse thought came to mind: I imagined a scenario in which folks didn’t have access to any good music simply because they didn’t know where to find it. That sounds like a nightmare, for sure! Now, I’m not going to pretend like I’m anybody important, or that there aren’t plenty of other places out there to learn about new music, but if my writing this helps even one person discover something that they might otherwise have missed out on, and if it saves them from listening to some other sort of rubbish, then it’s worth the effort.

Having said that, I’m pleased to bring to your attention Horrible Chamber, last fall’s sophomore full-length from the experimental/industrial/noise ensemble Gnaw.

 

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Indian – From All Purity (2014)

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IndianFrom All Purity (Relapse Records, 21 January 2014)

 

Hello out there, and happy Monday to you all. Back to work today, back to all the same old crap, back to the still-ridiculous workload. I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about a bunch of stuff lately, and it just hasn’t worked out that way. There was actually one day last week I could have had a little extra time to get something done (I think it was Thursday?), but coincidentally that was the same day there was an all-day seminar that involved many of the people who work near me (but not in the same department as me) — which included the lady whose desk is directly behind mine, the one who has really loud phone conversations all day long in a sickeningly cheerful voice, and who always seems to include way-too-personal information about her health or her family (regardless of whether it’s a business-related conversation or not). It was such a pleasant reprieve from the normal torturous conditions I endure every other day, I actually didn’t listen to any music at all that day. Just sat at my desk and basked in the near-silence. But now everything’s back to normal, and it’s in the best interests of my sanity to stick my headphones on and do whatever I can to block out the world around me.

Something loud and utterly miserable should fit nicely with the mood I’m in today, and the latest release from Chicago’s doom/noise band Indian will definitely do the trick. Released back in January through Relapse, From All Purity has found its way into my ears on numerous occasions throughout this year so far, and there’s no doubt it’ll also find its way onto my list of this year’s best releases.

 

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Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (2014)

In the VIP section (balcony) at Mr. Small's Theatre (Pittsburgh), February 2013

In the VIP balcony at Mr. Small's Theatre (Pittsburgh), February 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: for nearly two years, the Arkansas melodic doom quartet Pallbearer has been among my wife’s absolute favorite bands. I know she’d been eagerly snapping up every available bit of information leading up to the release of their second album; now that it’s been released, we listened to it together, and she had some strong reactions and opinions — so I asked whether she wanted to write something about it. So here is her review of Foundations of Burden.

 

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PallbearerFoundations of Burden (Profound Lore Records, 19 August 2014)

reviewed by Asya Yanyo

 

I first heard Pallbearer in December of 2012 on accident. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video that someone had posted, which I thought was something else. I clicked on it, I listened and I had no idea what I was in for ultimately. I have to admit, I felt an immediate kinship to this music. For much of my life, I have felt an attachment to a darker side of my personality; I often embrace being melancholy and don’t always see it as the burden that some people do with those types of emotions. Pallbearer definitely tapped into that for me. I felt instantaneously connected to each riff and sludgy chord. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, this band is mainly responsible for so much of the music I have discovered in this journey with my husband over the past three years. It’s clearly felt personal to me and I am sure, with all the recent hype, that I am not the only one who enjoys dwelling in the despair.

 

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