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…
Idre – Unforgiving Landscapes (Wolves and Vibrancy Records / Breathe Plastic Records, 19 May 2017)
Not to be confused with the municipality in Sweden, Idre (who insist, in a Young Frankensteinian way, that the name is pronounced to rhyme with “Hydra”) is a three-piece band from Oklahoma City, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Davis, bassist Austin Wylie, and drummer Nicholas Wojcik. My first exposure to the group was when they recently wrote to me about their second album Unforgiving Landscapes — which impressed me so much just from a compositional standpoint from the moment I hit “play” on Bandcamp, that by halfway through the first song I had already added the album to my list of things to write about, and before the whole thing was over I was pencilling it into my list of the year’s best releases so far.
Keep on reading, then check out the album for yourself, and see if you don’t feel the same way. If you do, be sure to use the social media links down at the bottom of the page to keep track of the band, since they’re currently working on setting up tour dates for later in the year …
Slomatics – Flooding the Weir (original release 2005 / reissued by Black Bow Records, 20 November 2015)
Slomatics – Kalceanna (original release 2007 / reissued by Black Bow Records, 20 November 2015)
Here we find ourselves in the midst of another magnificent Monday. It’s kind of shocking to realize how much of each day (and therefore how much of the workweek) is spent basically sleepwalking, semi-conscious, sort of in that fuzzy slow-motion daze that they always use in movies and tv shows when someone has been drugged or tranquilized or something. And I mean, a large portion of each day even after a cup of coffee or two. Maybe this is why I find myself drawn to low-tempo, fuzzy, swampy/sludgy, crawling-through-quicksand styles of music so much of the time?
I don’t know. But that’s exactly what the music we’re here to talk about today sounds like. Slomatics, from Northern Ireland, have been actively creating heavy fuzz-sludge music for about a dozen years now. Their first two albums were released in 2005 and 2007 on CD, but have been out of print for years. So naturally, after they had signed to Black Bow Records (the label run by their neighbor across the Irish Sea, Conan‘s Jon Davis), while the band got working on their upcoming fifth album (which is set to release in early September), the label decided to once again make those early two releases available in digital format.
Menhir – Hiding in Light (Tartarus Records, 17 April 2016)
Sunwølf – Eve (self-released, 18 April 2016)
Good afternoon, and a very happy Friday to you all. I don’t know about you, but for me this week just couldn’t end soon enough. It’s been kind of rough around here. Of course, for those of you reading this in Europe, it’s already late Friday evening and your work week has probably been over for several hours by now. And for those who are way on the other side of the world, it’s already Saturday morning and maybe you’re hungover by this point and already totally forgot about this week. I don’t know. But for me, the day is just about over and I’m totally ready to head home. Before I do, I’d like to share a bit of music with you, though. After all, that’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it?
After yesterday’s whopper of a review, I figured it might be nice to scale it back a little today, and only focus on two releases. The two that I’ve chosen to write about actually have very little in common with each other apart from the fact that they’re both scheduled to come out within the next few days. But I found them both quite enjoyable, and I suspect several of you might also like each of these — or at the very least one or the other just may be your cup of tea …
Clouds Taste Satanic – To Sleep Beyond the Earth (Kinda Like Music, 01 May 2014)
Clouds Taste Satanic – Your Doom has Come (Kinda Like Music, 01 September 2015)
Well as I had predicted, I didn’t manage to get any writing done yesterday. I still don’t know if I’m fully recovered from the night before last, but in any case, here we are. I will just say this: it was totally a surreal experience, and if you happen to live near any of this tour‘s few remaining stops, or if either of thesebands should come anywhere near you in the future, DO NOT miss the opportunity. Seriously.
So anyway, speaking of things that are surreal, today I’d like to talk to you about a pair of albums that have been released over the past two years by my all-time favorite band-whose-name-was-adapted-from-the-title-of-my-second-all-time-favorite-Flaming-Lips-album, namely, Brooklynite instrumental doom ensemble Clouds Taste Satanic.
Good afternoon, everyone. Today I’ve got two different albums to introduce to you, which coincidentally have a common thread between them. Released just a week apart, one of these was conceived as the soundtrack to an imaginary western movie, while the other features incidental music that was recorded for the score of an actual western film.
Both of these are purely instrumental affairs, and they’re both more on the mellow side. If that sounds appealing to you, then there’s a pretty good chance one or the other may be right up your alley. So just pour yourself a tequila sunrise, grab a pack of rolling papers, kick off your boots and relax.
If you’ve come here expecting a discussion of classic literature or descriptions of Chinese peasant life, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. But that’s somewhat appropriate because disappointment is one of the major themes of the story I’m about to tell you.
However, the title of this article (which I’ve stolen from the book pictured here) is intended to illustrate a comparative concept: that to the extent that there is a “Good Earth,” it logically follows that there would exist a “Not-So-Good Earth.” Bear with me, it’ll all make sense soon enough. Probably.