River Cult – Chilling Effect (2020)

River CultChilling 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?

Anyway, it’s time for another discussion about new music. Those with really acute memories might recall talking about River Cult, rock trio (with bits of stoner and psychedelic influence) from Brooklyn, about two years ago when they had released their debut LP.

Well they’re back with another five tracks of fuzzy goodness, pushing even further into both the stoner and the psychedelic territories. Let’s check out Chilling Effect!

 

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Problem with Dragons – Ascendant (2019)

Problem with DragonsAscendant (self-released, 23 August 2019)

 

So… longtime readers with very good memories may find the name Problem with Dragons sounds familiar, because in early 2016 we had discussed their 2015 debut full-length Starquake.

Well, this past August the New Englanders put together a follow-up LP called Ascendant. Somehow that fact had escaped my attention until nearly the end of the year, but I finally got my hands on a copy in December. Right while I was in the middle of putting together my “Top 19 of 2019” list, in fact, which turned out to be fortuitous timing: upon initial perusal it became immediately apparent that this high-quality record belonged among those ranks.

And at this very moment, PwD are engaged in a tour that will take them out to the American west coast and back, throughout most of February. In fact, the tour officially kicked off on Saturday the 1st with a show in their hometown of Easthampton (MA), and the westward push continues tonight (Monday the 3rd) in Kentucky.

Below we will delve into the new album itself, but below that you will find a list of engagements where folks may have the opportunity to witness the band performing live. And for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to be near one of these scheduled stops (which includes practically the entire eastern time zone, plus of course all of you who live in other countries), at least there’s the option to listen to the recorded version of the band — and to follow them on various social media. Which is highly recommended, as they spend a lot of time sharing crazy science or space-related news, and also they frequently post about literal problems with literal draconianism. Get on board!

 

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Holy Rivals – Self-titled (2016)

Holy RivalsHoly Rivals (self-released, 25 May 2016)

 

Hey folks, remember all the way back to yesterday, when we talked about a pair of Howling Giant releases from 2016 and 2017? If not, make sure to go check it out! Anyway, way down at the end of that post you might notice that the Tennesseans are heading out on a tour of the eastern United States tomorrow night (Thursday, the 10th of May) and swinging through Pittsburgh soon after (Saturday, the 12th).

Well as it turns out, one of the local bands performing at that show also happens to be someone whose music we’ve been meaning to share with you for a while — in fact, their self-titled debut EP came out two years ago this month. So before any more time passes, today let’s listen to the self-described “three sludge/grunge dudes from Pittsburgh” known as Holy Rivals!

 

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Ketchup Day: Upcoming Release News (Septicflesh, Unsane)

 
Yeah, it’s a silly name and a silly concept, but we’re doing this thing again. Further explanation for those who need it here.

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Northless – World Keeps Sinking (2013); Primitive Man / Northless – Split (2016)

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NorthlessWorld Keeps Sinking (Halo of Flies / Gilead Media, 23 August 2013)

 

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Primitive Man/NorthlessSplit (Halo of Flies, 04 March 2016)

 

As the end of the week draws near — if you didn’t have enough of Primitive Man after Tuesday’s post, maybe this will do it. Like Fister, whom we discussed on Monday, these Denverites tend to keep themselves pretty busy. Actually, it’s not that surprising to learn, those two bands did a split record together once upon a time! But that’s not what we’re here for right now — rather, I wanted to let you know about a much more recent release: a split that Primitive Man did earlier this year with Milwaukeean band Northless. And that reminded me that a full-length of theirs has been on my to-do list for quite a while (as it happens, 2013’s World Keeps Sinking was that band’s last release until this newer split record). Buckle up, this might be a bumpy ride …

 

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The Mound Builders / Pale Horseman – Split (RSD 2016) +3 Pale Horseman Albums (2013, 2014, 2015)

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The Mound Builders / Pale Horseman – Split (Failure Records & Tapes, 16 April 2016)

 

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Pale HorsemanPale Horseman (self-released, 17 April 2013)

 

Pale Horseman - MournTheBlackLotus_cover

Pale HorsemanMourn the Black Lotus (self-released, 07 July 2014)

 

Pale Horseman - Bless The Destroyer (2015) cover

Pale HorsemanBless the Destroyer (Bullet City Records, 30 November 2015)

 

Here at Valley of Steel headquarters, we’ve been trying very hard to bring you quality reviews almost every day (sometimes two at a time!) as a public service, so that you, the reader, get the opportunity to check out as much new music as possible. Hopefully some of you folks out there appreciate that, and you’ve managed to discover at least one thing you’ve really enjoyed after reading about it here.

Well yesterday there was no new review (but as a side note, for those who live near Pittsburgh, have you entered yesterday’s contest for Chelsea Wolfe tickets yet? — And as a side side note, have you also entered our other current giveaways, for Baroness or Thy Art Is Murder yet??), so to make up for that, today we’re presenting an unprecedented quadruple review!!

…Ok, ok, that’s not exactly how this came about — the truth is, just a couple of days ago, we received word that Failure Records had a special release lined up for this year’s Record Store Day (which is this Saturday, the 16th!), a split record featuring a pair of songs each from Lafayette, Indiana’s The Mound Builders and Pale Horseman from Chicago. And the second of those names really rang a bell, because over the past few years Valley of Steel has received a total of three albums from that band — all good ones, too — but somehow we just never have gotten around to writing about any of them.

Until today. Sit down and buckle up, because we’re about to cover all of it.

 

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Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (2013)

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IntronautHabitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones) (Century Media Records, 19 March 2013)

 

Hello there! “TFIF” and all that stuff. I wanted to get one more thing written and shared with you before the weekend, and in deciding what to talk to you about, I was feeling kind of reflective: looking both forward and back. Forward, because (as I mentioned yesterday) this year seems to be slipping by at an alarming rate. Before we know it, it’ll be time for year-end summaries and lists already! There are a few new records that’ve either just come out (or will be soon) that I’m sure will rank pretty high, as well as some from earlier this year I’ve listened to a whole bunch but maybe just haven’t had the chance to review yet. I’m going to want to get moving on posting something about all of those, lest I find myself in a situation like I did at the end of 2013 (where I put together a list of my favorite 26 releases of the year, 25 of which I hadn’t yet written about!) … which, of course, is what also has me thinking backwards. Almost nine months later, I’m still not quite halfway through reviewing last year’s list yet!

So I decided, there’s no time like the present; let’s discuss another of last year’s best albums. This is one of the more high-profile items on that list, or at least one that was put out via the biggest label. So a lot of you are probably already familiar with this band. But there may be some out there who haven’t heard Intronaut before, or may have missed out on this album — which would be a shame, because it’s really good stuff!

 

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