Young Hunter – Stone Tools (18 May 2012, Self-released)
A couple days ago, I saw an announcement that Cormorant would be heading out on an eight-night tour all along the west coast. (If you need a refresher on that band, check out this review of their latest album Dwellings, which incorporates a discussion of their entire discography.) Now, as they operate independently and self-fund all their activities, they don’t get the chance to do shows all that often, so for them to announce a multi-date tour is a pretty big deal. (Full details are included later in this post.) When I read that all the arrangements were made in collaboration with another DIY band, Young Hunter (who are also appearing on almost all of the scheduled dates), it made me want to check these guys out as well.
I’m glad I did, and now I’m going to share them with you — so you can be glad too.
Last summer, the band put out a two-track (eleven minute) demo recording, in a limited edition cassette release. That quickly sold out, but is now available to download (for free!) from Bandcamp. More on that later. Two weeks ago, that was followed by the full-length Stone Tools, which contains a re-recording of the two songs from the demo (“Cities of Black Mesa” and “Children of a Hungry World”), plus seven more.
Mostly very mellow, dirgey, and droney, the album is practically the embodiment of a meditative trance. There are a few exceptions — such as the frantic intro to “Cities,” which briefly evokes a black metal vibe, and a few other spots where the band reaches a dynamic peak, but in each case things quickly wind back down. Supported by psychedelic guitars and ritualistic percussion (including some rather primitive-sounding shakers and rattles in addition to the drums), each of these songs seems to come from a higher level of existence.
The vocals tend to enhance that perception: the lead part, while usually somewhat melodic, typically resembles the reading of poetry more than actual singing — akin to the lyrical delivery of the Velvet Underground, or perhaps a beat poet’s drug-induced recitations. Furthermore, the backing vocals that appear frequently throughout the album have a trancelike quality to them — like the sing-songy chorus of brain-washed cult members engaged in a call-and-response with their leader.
Considering Young Hunter’s Arizonian origin, the temptation exists to classify them as “desert rock” or “stoner rock,” which would be somewhat appropriate in describing their sound, but not completely. The tags on their Bandcamp page also include the terms “nomadic” and “psychedelic,” which I also like, but personally I’ve decided to use the phrase “peyote rock.”
Listen to Stone Tools and buy the download using this widget. You can also visit the Bandcamp page for CDs and shirts.
Like I said earlier, the cassette demo is no longer available, but you can hear the original versions of those two songs (or download them for FREE!) using this widget.
Cormorant DIY OR DIE Tour 2012
- 01 June – Rohnert Park CA – Quincy’s Bar (w/ Hell Ship, Seeds of Hate, Fear the Fiasco)
- 02 June – San Francisco CA – Thee Parkside (w/ Slough Feg, Young Hunter)
- 04 June – Eugene OR – The Wandering Goat (w/ Young Hunter)
- 05 June – Portland OR – The Know (w/ Young Hunter, Fellwoods, Hungers)
- 06 June – Seattle WA – The Crocodile (w/ Young Hunter, Curse of the North)
- 08 June – Tacoma WA – Hell’s Kitchen (w/ Young Hunter, Psychonaut Deathtrip, Bloodhunger, The Drip, Defenestrator, Onset the Shores)
- 09 June – Bellingham WA – The Shakedown (w/ Young Hunter)
- 10 June – Sacramento CA – The Town House Lounge (w/ Young Hunter)
NOTE: Tomorrow night (01 June 2012) while Cormorant is kicking off their tour in Rohnert Park, Young Hunter will be appearing at the Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics in Santa Rosa, alongside Starskate, Laina Torres, Space Hunter, and Tierras Altas. Full details on that show can be found here.