River Cult – Chilling Effect (Tee Pee Records (digital) / Nasoni Records (vinyl), 01 May 2020)
Good afternoon, everyone! Do you still get a sinking feeling of dread every time a Monday rolls around — even though every day feels exactly the same and they all seem to suck equally now? Or is it just me?
Hello again from the unofficial VOS WFH substation. Things are starting to settle down around here, at least to some small degree. At least, we’re all doing the best we can to adapt to this new reality of staying cooped indoors and never interacting with anyone except via a computer or other electronic device. To be honest, aside from no longer driving to and from work each day, that description isn’t all that far from how things have always been for me.
But anyway, disruptions to the day job modus operandi have really wrecked my publishing schedule, especially with large chunks of each day now spent on conference calls and in Skype meetings. But it’s time we get back into doing what we love best around here: talking about music we’ve enjoyed hearing lately and that you also may enjoy hearing.
First up is cinematic doom duo Insect Ark. Since the last time we checked in with them, founder/composer/bassist/slide-guitarist Dana Schechter (who has added collaborating with Swans to an already impressive resume that included work with Wrekmeister Harmonies, Gnaw, and others) has now been joined by new drummer Andy Patterson (who coincidentally had been looking for a new gig following the dissolution of his former band SubRosa right around the same time this group’s drummer had moved on).
And then more recently, Insect Ark‘s third album The Vanishing had just been released and the twosome had just headed out on a scheduled tour of Europe and the UK throughout the month of March, when the whole world suddenly went to hell (leaving the band with numerous cancelled dates and scrambling to find their way back to the USA). So, without any further ado…
Tombs – The Grand Annihilation (Metal Blade Records, 16 June 2017)
Hey! Remember almost a year ago when we let you know that Brooklynite post-black metal ensemble Tombs would be releasing a new record — the fourth full-length in their decade-plus of existence, which would be the first thing coming out via the band’s new relationship with Metal Blade? And furthermore, that it would be the first LP featuring [the bulk of] the new line-up that had debuted a year earlier on the All Empires Fall EP?
Well anyway, that happened, and with Tombs hitting the road tonight for a handful of shows across the northeast over the course of the next week, it seemed like an appropriate time to finally get around to sharing that new album with all you swell people. Those dates are listed down at the bottom of the page.
Eternal Black – Eternal Black (Obsidian Sky Records, 30 June 2015)
Eternal Black – Bleed the Days (Obsidian Sky Records, CD/cassette/digital 08 August 2017, vinyl 04 February 2018)
Is it just me or has this week been dragging on way too long — like, excruciatingly, brain-deadeningly long? Just me? Ok. In any case, I feel like I need a break from anything that requires too much thinking. So I’m going to take a moment and share some music with you.
This is coming courtesy of old-school stoner/doom trio Eternal Black from Brooklyn. We’ll start with their self-titled debut EP from a few summers ago, and follow that with their first full-length which came out last year but just recently got pressed to vinyl for the first time (all via the band’s own Obsidian Sky label). Hope you enjoy it.
River Cult – Halcyon Daze (Magnetic Eye Records / Blackseed Records / Nasoni Records, 09 February 2018)
In the grand tradition of classic power trios like Mountain or Cream, infused with the loud and fuzzy psychedelics of Blue Cheer, Brooklyn’s River Cult ought to be bursting onto radar screens all over the place with their first LP Halcyon Daze. Only five tracks long but with a running time around forty-two minutes, the record came out earlier this year via a handful of labels in New York, Pittsburgh, and Germany — but if it has somehow managed to elude your attention thus far, our job today is to fix that!
Anicon / Forest of Tygers – Split 7″ EP (Acteon Records, 03 October 2017)
Hey folks! How’s your day going so far? Got another one here to toss your way: a quick one this time, two different bands with one song each, right around five or six minutes apiece. Both of these — Brooklyn’s Anicon crew, and husband-and-wife team Forest of Tygers from Nashville — have been discussed around here previously, and personally I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from both groups. So naturally it was exciting news when I recently learned that Acteon Records (which is run by the Tygers folks) had put out this split release of brand-new material last month!
Anicon – Exegeses (vinyl Gilead Media / CD Avantgarde Music, 08 July 2016)
Good morning, reader — hope you’re having a good, relaxing weekend! Normally this would be my time away from writing, too, but I just realized that Anicon are coming to Pittsburgh tonight. And I realized that last year when these blackened Brooklynites came to town, I had their 2015 EP Aphasia on my to-do list, but something came up that prevented me from attending that show or even getting a chance to write about the band’s most recent release. (I eventually did get around to it earlier this year, but I still felt bad for my negligence.)
So this time around, the band has a brand-new album which just came out earlier this month, and — even though, due to some rotten luck, family obligations will prevent me from being able to see this fantastic band perform again — I definitely did not want to miss the opportunity to share this with you people before tonight.
For those of you in the Pittsburgh area, The Smiling Moose on the Southside is the place to be; here are all the details. For those living elsewhere, the band’s scheduled dates can be found here, and in either case, keep reading to check out their newest record …
Pigs – Wronger (Solar Flare Records, 02 October 2015)
Sofy Major – Waste (Solar Flare Rcords, 29 October 2015)
Hey folks, how are you? Today has seemed like the longest day — like since I left home this morning, it seems like at least two whole days should have passed, so we should be reaching the end of Friday and heading out for a nice holiday weekend by now. (For those readers who live abroad, this coming Monday will be Memorial Day here in the U.S., a day of rememberance and — for most people — a day of not going to work.) But no, incredibly it’s still Thursday and the day still isn’t quite over yet. Not cool.
Anyway, I’ve got a couple albums I’d like to share with you today — both of them released by Solar Flare Records back in October. The first one is the second full-length by Pigs, the Brooklyn trio whose highly enjoyable debut You Ruin Everything was discussed right here, when it was released about four years ago.
The second album we’ll be listening to is by Sofy Major, whose bassist/vocalist just happens to be the head guy in charge of Solar Flare. Furthermore, starting tomorrow night (Friday the 27th) and running through the end of next month, this band will be touring across Europe alongside Pigs guitarist/vocalist Dave Curran‘s “other band” Unsane. After you’re finished reading here, head down to the comments section where I’ll have that list of dates for you all.
So Hideous – Laurestine (Prosthetic Records, 16 October 2016)
So Hideous – Laurestine Orchestral (Prosthetic Records, 06 May 2016)
Back in October, Brooklyn-based blackened post-hardcore band So Hideous released their second album Laurestine. The group has described their writing process as beginning the structural components of each song on the piano, then fleshing out the composition for all of the orchestral/choral parts. Once each piece of music is fully composed, then they add the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals as necessary.
This seems a bit backwards from how most bands work: orchestral elements are usually sprinkled on top of otherwise fully-formed songs, as complementary parts or occasional embellishments. But here, the underlying compositions (performed by the 30-piece First Light Orchestra) are intended to be complete works capable of standing on their own. To drive that last point home, Prosthetic Records recently announced the release of an alternate edition of Laurestine consisting solely of the orchestra and chorus components, and — guess what! — it totally does hold up, independent of the rest of the band. Keep reading to learn more about both versions of this incredible album …