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…
Death Alley – Live at Roadburn (Tee Pee Records, 24 February 2017)
Hey, have you heard the news — the Netherlands’ biggest annual hard rock party Roadburn is coming up this weekend! (Oh wait, of course you already knew that — because you read this review yesterday of a band who’ll be playing there!)
But first, why not check out this local (well, only about 100km or so away) band who appeared at the festival in 2016? Following their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut Black Magick Boogieland, Amsterdam’s Death Alley was invited to perform at Roadburn, where their set was reportedly so “moving” and “magical” that Tee Pee decided to document it and make it available to the public in various physical and digital formats.
Bi-coastal DOOM duo Insect Ark is made up of film music composer and animator Dana Schechter (Angels of Light, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Zeal & Ardor, Gnaw) on bass and lap steel, and electronics expert Ashley Spungin (Taurus, Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Negative Queen) on drums as well as various synths and analog noise pedals she created herself. With this unique arrangement (featuring zero electric guitars, in the traditional sense), the instrumental assembly has brought forth their latest sonic creation (through a combination of long-distance collaboration and in-studio cooperation).
Although nearly two months have passed since the record’s Profound Lore release, last night (Sunday, 15 April) was the celebratory release show in Brooklyn. Next up, the pair will be hitting the Roadburn stage later this week followed by a month-long tour through Europe. You can find a listing of all those dates at the bottom of the page, but first, check out Marrow Hymns!
Hivelords and Sadgiqacea Are Embarking on a Joint Summer Tour
Hey folks, if you live in the eastern half of the U.S. (that is, anywhere between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River, plus just a little further west in the case of Kansas City, Columbia, and Des Moines), you’re in for a real treat sometime in the next six weeks. Two Philadelphia-based bands who each play a uniquely interesting variant of black metal — Hivelords and Sadgiqacea — are heading out on the road, starting tomorrow night in New Jersey, and spiralling their way through the northeast, midwest, and southeast, before finally finishing up back in Philly at the end of July.
I saw these bands last July when they both played a show in Pittsburgh, and it made for a pretty amazing experience. I’d highly recommend it if you are able. I’ve got a video from each of their performances at that show, below, and then I’ll share the full list of dates for their current summer tour.