Lifetime Shitlist – Lifetime Shitlist (Grimoire Records, 10 June 2014)
Well holy crap. When did this happen — I can’t believe it’s more than halfway through August already! (Well, to be honest, just the fact that we’re more than halfway through 2014 seems kind of insane…) The past month or two has completely been a blur to me, mostly in regards to craziness at work. My company bought another company, adding tons of extra paperwork for us pencil-pushers, exactly at the same time that someone in my department who’d had lots of responsibilities had to suddenly go out on medical leave. Add in all the usual week-long summer vacations that people tend to take, plus new temps who’ve needed training as they’ve come and gone randomly over the past several weeks, and I’ve barely been finding time to breathe or eat (let alone sit still long enough to even LISTEN to much music, nevermind trying to actually WRITE anything!)
But I have had the chance to listen to some stuff recently — some really good stuff — and gradually things will be settling down a bit. And anyway, I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten about you, readers! So I’ll be trying to take advantage of what little freetime I can find (for example right now I’m writing this intro on the bus at 4:30 am, instead of sleeping, since I found myself inexplicably unable to sleep most of last night anyway), to share with you some new releases that you really ought to hear. Besides, this particular EP I’d like to tell you about today is only sixteen minutes long, give or take, so I’ll try to keep this relatively short.
Wisconsin. America’s dairyland. The Badger State. Home of the Packers. And next weekend, the site of one of the summer’s biggest showcases of filthy, ugly, underground metal.
Gilead Media has made quite a name for itself, mostly by issuing highly sought after vinyl versions of some of the best names in bleak, black noise. And for three days (18-20 July), a huge collection of those will be converging on the city of Oshkosh. I know several people who are making the trip out there, and every year I wish I could too because they always have an incredible “no filler” line-up. This year is no exception, and I’ve got all the details for you below.
But many of the bands playing at the fest have also arranged a series of shows in various other cities on the dates before and after next weekend. Several of these will be hitting Pittsburgh over the next week or so, and chances are some of them may be coming near where you live too. I’ve got details of those tours too (at least, I’ve tried to make this as comprehensive as possible). So check it out.
Mortals – Cursed to See the Future (Relapse Records, 08 July 2014)
I don’t know who wrote the official band bio for Brooklynite trio Mortals (the one that accompanies their press kit and also appears on their record label’s website), but I don’t think I really understand what it’s trying to say. It starts off by contrasting this band with the way most other bands come together:
Many heavy bands follow a straight line — they start a band with some people they know, they pick a well-worn genre, they write riffs and drum beats that sound pretty similar to all the other riffs and drum beats that have been written. That isn’t Mortals.
…but then it goes on to explain how the three members met when they were involved with various other bands (for example, two of them were in a Slayer cover band together, two of them were in a math-rock band together) and eventually the three of them found they had enough common interests that they decided to form a new band; chemistry developed and gradually they found themselves evolving into their own style. Which, in essence, sounds like a variant of the history behind almost every band I know. So that’s got me feeling slightly confused.
But anyway, none of that really matters. What the band sounds like is far more important than any written description, when it comes to me picking what I want to write about and share with you, and the music should be able to speak for itself. And here it certainly does. It also helps that I’ve been watching for news from this band over the past couple of years — on the advice of Meat Mead Metal (whom you should absolutely familiarize yourself with immediately if you aren’t already a regular reader, because not only is this without a doubt the best music journalism you’ll find here in Pittsburgh, but this guy churns out high-quality writing with a consistency that could rival just about anyone else out there!), who has had plenty of good things to say about Mortals on several occasions (like here, for example). About a year after that particular article was written, the band had signed a deal with Relapse Records, and today marks their first release with that label, the full-length Cursed to See the Future.
Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!
But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…
Dendritic Arbor – Sylvan Matriarch (self-released, 26 March 2013)
Good morning, folks! What’s new with you?? I have to tell you a story about what happened to me recently, but it’s a little bit embarassing…
So I’m sure you all remember Quercus, guitarist/vocalist for that band of black metal eco-terrorists Dendritic Arbor — he and I had a conversation about his band last month when they were performing at the Winter’s Wake pre-fest show (which you can read here). As you’ll recall, there was some discussion at that time about their forthcoming release Sylvan Matriarch…
Anyway, fast-forward to a couple days ago, and I got a message from Mr. Quercus, where he asked me whether I do album reviews on this website. Well. That was sort of a reality check for me — I know that I’ve been very preoccupied lately and have been writing very, very little. And what I have been posting recently has largely consisted of interviews, either conducted by myself or by someone else. But at that moment I realized, geez, you really couldn’t tell just by looking — unless you were to dig pretty deep — that reviewing music is sort of supposed to be the primary purpose of this website!
So I got my hands on a copy of Sylvan Matriarch, which is officially available today — it actually went up on Bandcamp yesterday, but tonight Dendritic Arbor will be playing a show to celebrate the release. I’ve got all the information you need about the album, the show, AND a special super-limited bundle were you can get a whole bunch of goodies for a really low price, IF you’re one of the first few people to jump on this deal!
The Winter’s Wake 2013 Thursday Night Pre-fest Show is coming up very soon! Here’s an interview with another band that’s playing tonight!
Once more, since there have been so many different bands to talk to, I’m keeping these relatively short and sweet. Hopefully there’ll be enough here for you (the reader) to get a bit of background info about each band, and you’ll get excited about getting to see every single one of them this weekend!
Below you will find the result of chatting with Quercus, guitarist/vocalist for the ecologically-minded harsh black metal band Dendritic Arbor…
So all the final details for this year’s Winter’s Wake festival are finally here! The venues, scheduled bands, and ticketing information all have been announced, and I’ve collected all of it right here for you!
So are you excited yet!?? The Winter’s Wake festival will be taking place in exactly ONE MONTH, right here in Pittsburgh!
Venue and ticket information will be released for the two-day show later this week. (I know, it seems like we’ve been waiting a long time for these details, but I’ve learned that the folks who run the production company sponsoring the event, Allure of the Earth, have been dealing with a sudden tragedy in their family — so I think we can certainly forgive a bit of a delay…)
Anyway, the full list of bands playing on Friday and Saturday (the 22nd-23rd of February) were announced last month, so really all we’re still waiting for is the exact schedule order for each day, as well as where and when we can get tickets…