The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Zim Zam Zim (2014)

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The Crazy World of Arthur BrownZim Zam Zim (Bronze Rat Records, 28 July 2014)

 

For those who may have missed the announcement, about two months ago, the highly influential and iconic Arthur Brown will be performing a series of live dates with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown — for the first time since that group’s earlier incarnation had disbanded after (or during, depending on which account of events you hear) a U.S. tour back in 1969! This new run of shows will be kicking off tonight(!), and we’ve got the details for you down in the comments section. But before we get there, I’d first like to call your attention to The Crazy World‘s newest album — 2014’s Zim Zam Zim

 

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Happy 2017(?)

2017

 

Well folks, here we are, starting another new year. 2016 was quite an eventful one, both on a personal level (Valley of Steel headquarters has relocated within the past few months! — which is why we’ve been so quiet for a little while; we’ve been hella busy between finding a place to move to, moving there, getting settled in, etc. — although for those who may be worried: we’re still in a valley in a former industrial area outside Pittsburgh, so the website title is still accurate, it just happens to be the valley of a different river than our former location), as well as on a sociocultural level (politics, both domestic and foreign, has really been a mess lately, hasn’t it??).

Of course, like every year, tons of great music got released in 2016 as well — and like every year, I’ve failed to write about everything I’ve wanted to share with you folks (or even half of it). We’ll be diving back into the reviewing and sharing of new (and some fairly not-so-new) music very soon. But today, I’d like to hit a few other items as we briefly glance over the year that was…

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Problem with Dragons, Brujas del Sol – Starquake (2015)

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Problem with DragonsStarquake (self-released, 10 March 2015)

 

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Brujas del SolStarquake (H42 Records, 14 December 2015)

 

So within the last year, something kind of strange has happened: two different and (as far as I know) completely unrelated bands, both of them from the northeastern United States, have each contacted me to check out their new album (one was in the spring and the other at the end of the year). Both of these happened to be bands I’d heard before and already liked — in fact, for one of them I had already written about their previous album. The unusual part was that both of these new releases happened to be named Starquake.

Now, that’s certainly not impossible — I mean, thousands of bands put out new stuff every year, and they all need to come up with song and album titles, so I’m sure there is a lot of repetition out there. Maybe you remember, back in 2011, there was a ton of hype surrounding an album called Path of Totality, considered by many to have been one of that year’s finest metal releases, and then a few months later a terrible (although significantly more famous) band did a thing called The Path of Totality?

Surely that sort of thing happens a lot, but still I thought this pair of Starquakes was an interesting coincidence. As it turns out, both of them sound really good too, so I’d like to share them with you now.

 

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Venus Sleeps – Dead Sun Worship (2016), Brigantia – Midnight (2015)

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Venus SleepsDead Sun Worship (on cassette via Tartarus Records, 22 March 2016; originally released 13 March 2015)

 

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Brigantia – “Midnight” (self-released, 28 May 2015)

 

Hello out there, and good afternoon! Hope your week is going well — as for myself, I’m just relieved that it’s halfway over. Anyway, I’ve been planning on telling you about the debut album by Irish psychedelic doom band Venus Sleeps, which has been out for a while now but I just discovered it when it was re-released by Tartarus Records last week.

Well today that’s just what I’m going to do, except that I also decided to throw in an extra treat for you all: a song that was put out last spring by another Irish doom band, Brigantia, which you can download for free. Think of it as kind of a bonus track at the end of the article. I’ve got a feeling you’ll enjoy both of these …

 

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Acid Mothers Temple Coming to Pittsburgh — Win FREE Tickets!!

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Opus One Productions Presents:

Acid Mothers Temple with special guest Mounds

Thursday 31 March 2016

at Club Cafe, 56-58 12th St. Pittsburgh (South Side) PA 15203

21+ only, 8pm show / 7pm doors, $12

 

Tickets are on sale NOW at Ticketweb, Dave’s Music Mine, or the Club Cafe box office… OR you can WIN a pair of tickets FREE, courtesy of Opus One Productions and Valley of Steel! Keep on reading to find out how…

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David Bowie: R.I.P. (1947-2016)

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Just a few hours ago, the Facebook page for David Bowie announced that the iconic performer has succumbed to his long battle with cancer yesterday, just days after his 69th birthday. Waking up to this news — the loss of someone who had had such a profound effect on my life when I was growing up, through both his music and acting — I have decided to delay what I was planning to publish today, to take this moment to say a few words.

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Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (2013)

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Selim Lemouchi and His EnemiesEarth 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.

One quick word of caution, before we get started, though — speaking of genius. This article is going to contain references to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. If hearing those names conjures images of sappy poppy teeny bopper surf music — and nothing further — please take a moment to educate yourself about what is universally considered to be that composer’s (and his band’s) landmark achievement in the history of recorded music. You can thank me later. When you’re ready, please join us directly beneath the following photograph…

 

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