Stone Machine Electric – Darkness Dimensions Disillusion (self-released, 26 April 2019)
Good afternoon! Here’s some news that recently came across our desk here at VOH headquarters, which we felt obliged to pass along to you: guitar/drums/vocals “doom jazz” duo Stone Machine Electric have decided to make all their past releases “pay what you can” (including free) on their Bandcamp page. Naturally, that includes their 2016 record Sollicitus es Veritatem which we dug into at that time, right here.
Excluded from this offer is the band’s latest release Darkness Dimensions Disillusion which just came out a few months ago. But fear not, the price is still pretty cheap, or — even better — you can snap up a free download of this album when bundled with one of the band’s t-shirts!
BREAKING NEWS: as an added bonus, just as we were about to go to press with this, we just learned that the band also plans to include a free patch with CD/shirt/cassette orders — but hurry because supplies are very limited!
The Pod – The Pod (Accident Prone Records, CD/digital 02 June 2017; LP 25 August 2017)
I’ll admit, I don’t really listen to electronic or synthesized music, because I have trouble getting into anything that’s too inorganic or artificial. Just a matter of personal taste, I guess, but whenever something shows up in my inbox that’s full of bloops and beeps and (especially) fake digital drums, it generally finds its way to the trash folder pretty quickly. Not intending to offend anybody here, I mean I understand there is certainly a market for that type of thing because it does appeal to a lot of people, but I just happen not to be one of them — and it wouldn’t make any sense for me to waste my time trying to write about something that I just don’t understand (or for you to waste YOUR time reading it).
However, when I find out that there’s a drone-ambient-synth project created by Mr. Scott Endres, guitarist and one of the songwriters for MAKE (one of my favorite bands, as you surely have noticed by now), and someone with whom I know (via the magic of social media) I share a rather large overlap in musical taste — well, I’m going to take notice, and give it a chance. I’m glad I did. Now I’ll share it with you, and I think you’ll be glad too.
Heathen Beast – Rise of the Saffron Empire (Transcending Obscurity Distribution, 25 April 2016)
MAKE – Pilgrimage of Loathing (Accident Prone Records, 15 July 2016)
It’s pretty much a universal truth that there are terrible people and terrible situations everywhere in the world, often when it comes to people who have power and influence over other people and the ability to make decisions about the laws and how the public is governed. This has been a societal problem for as long as society has existed, and people have always tried to find ways to protest or fight back. Back in olden times, folks like Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul and Mary would sit around, holding hands, and singing about how the times were a-changin’. But since then, the times have a-changed; from MC5 to Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine protest songs have increasingly shifted from blowin’ in the wind to fighting the powers that be.
To illustrate that concept, today we’re going to take a look at new or recent releases by two bands from different sides of the world, which nevertheless seem to share a similar ideology.
MAKE – Demos & Outtakes (self-released, 26 January 2013)
MAKE – The Golden Veil (Black Iron Records, 17 July 2015)
MAKE – In Pursuit (self-released, 30 December 2015)
Okay folks, lots of ground to cover today, so let’s just jump straight in. Cool? Cool.
The last time we talked about MAKE, the Chapel Hill band that combines blackened atmospheric doom with blackgaze and drone/ambient elements (for lack of a more concise description), it was a little over three years ago, and the band had just put out an EP of material that didn’t quite fit on their previous album (one which had ranked among the best albums of 2012), but also wouldn’t quite match the direction of their next one — which they had said they were beginning to work on around that same time…
Solar Halos – Solar Halos (20 January 2014, Devouter Records)
When halo rings the moon or sun, rain’s approaching on the run.
So goes the old saying. The atmospheric phenomenon known as a halo (which could be solar or lunar) involves the refraction of light through ice crystals in the air; as a beam of light strikes the crystalline structure at just the right angle, it is refracted as if passing through a prism, and the rays end up being bent into an arc shape that appears (to the viewer on the ground) to encircle the source of that light (i.e. the sun or moon). Traditionally this has been seen as an omen of approaching bad weather — which makes sense because, as people discovered when they started learning more about the science behind meteorology, the conditions that produce this optical wonder involve a certain amount of moisture being in the air as well as the approach of a warmer front which would generally precipitate (pun intended) impending rainfall. A quick Google image search shows that these halos are beautiful to look at, even though they may be foreshadowing that things could soon turn dark and unpleasant.
There’s another truism that says an email that comes from Devouter Records is a sign of excellent music on its way. Although not nearly as old or well-known, I’ve found this statement to be 100% accurate, dating back to the 2012 LP Trephine by MAKE and through every release since then. Added just a week ago to this impressive list is the debut album by Solar Halos, who just happen to come from the same North Carolina town (Chapel Hill) as their labelmates.
* Happy National Day (for those who live on the island of Menorca)!
* Happy Feast Day of Saint Achilles the Confessor (for those who follow the Eastern Orthodox Church)!
* Happy Birthday to Benjamin Franklin “The Guy on the Hundred Dollar Bill,” James Earl Jones “The Voice of Darth Vader,” comedian Andy Kaufman, bassist Andy Rourke, boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Betty White, FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and singer Eartha Kitt!
* Let’s also commemorate the passing of music producer Don Kirshner, chess player Bobby Fisher, and former U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes!
If you can’t tell, I’m sort of reaching here, for any sort of a special occasion or commemoration to celebrate today. Since we’re now so long past the beginning of the year, I feel stupid saying “Happy New Year!” to you. But 2013 is still relatively new (and the majority of it is still yet to come), so I guess it really doesn’t hurt to still wish you a happy one.
MAKE – Axis (01 November 2012, Black Iron Records)
Hellooooooooo out there, readers! I vaguely remember that I used to do this thing where I’d listen to music, and then write about it, and then you’d read it and listen to the music too, and then everyone was happy. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing much of that recently — I guess a variety of reasons which could pretty much be summed up as “life getting in the way” — but I do want to get back into the habit.
Today let’s talk about this EP that was released by the North Carolinian post-atmospheric-ambient-blackish-doomy band MAKE back at the beginning of this month. I told you it would be coming (here and here) and if you’ve been reading my stuff for a while you already know how much I fawned over their debut LP Trephine (reviewed here).
Somehow during the course of all of that, I neglected to share the preview video for the EP — for which I apologize, but I shall make up for it by adding it here: Continue reading →