Green Elder / Pensive Ceremony – Split (self-released, 11 August 2016)
Twilight Fauna – Fire of the Spirit (Ravenwood Recordings / Fragile Branch Recordings, 19 August 2016)
Hello, and happy Friday! Today I’d like to call your attention to a pair of releases you may enjoy, that just came out last month. The second one is an album called Fire of the Spirit, Twilight Fauna‘s sixth full-length record over the past several years, in addition to numerous other discographical items. (As you may or may not be aware, Twilight Fauna is a solo black metal project with strong Appalachian folk roots, with everything written and performed by sole member Paul Ravenwood of Johnson City, Tennessee.) But before that, in light of it having been released a week earlier, we’ll talk about a 12″ split record that features Green Elder — also a Ravenwood solo gig, but this one entirely eschews the black metal aspects in favor of a more somber, pure Appalachian folk style. The flip side of this split consists of yet another single-member ensemble — one that’s even more elusive than the others we’re discussing today, in terms of sharing any personal information. It’s called Pensive Ceremony, and everything here is done by an individual known only as Pythagumus, apparently from somewhere near Tacoma, Washington.
The Ravenna Arsenal – I. (self-released, 23 February 2013)
Gholas – Litanies (Dullest Records, 11 February 2014)
Hello out there, folks. Hope this week has gone well for you all. Over the past few days — during which things got pretty crazy busy, to the point where I didn’t have any time to get anything written — I’ve heard some pretty incredible brand-new releases, and I definitely look forward to sharing those with you. But not quite yet; instead, today we’re going to turn back the calendar a little bit, and spend some time with a couple of my favorite releases from years past that I just never quite got around to writing about yet. These were featured in my Top 13 of 2013 and Top 14 of 2014 lists, respectively, chiefly due to the fact that both of these bands know how to write a hell of a song. These are both albums that I’ve listened to front-to-back like dozens of times, and I feel pretty certain you’ll agree that every single song on each is of excellent quality …
All right, people. Today we’re going to kick it old school.
Please accept my apologies for such a lame introduction, but honestly it’s all I have the energy for right now. After a busy weekend that was capped off with watching the Penguins seal a Stanley Cup victory late last night, I barely managed about three hours of sleep.
So anyway, here’s what I’ve got for you: a pair of newly reissued classics by two bands who — while I definitely wouldn’t call either of them unknown or obscure — have never seemed to achieve the level of recognition that they each seem to deserve …
Druids – Cycles of Mobeum (Sump Pump Records, 03 June 2016)
If These Trees Could Talk – The Bones of a Dying World (Metal Blade Records, 03 June 2016)
Okay people, today let’s take a look at another two bands. Both of these are American — one from the Hawkeye State, the other from the Buckeye State — and each of them will be releasing the third album of their respective careers tomorrow (Friday the 3rd). When I came across these two albums recently, it was my first time listening to either of these bands, but right away I found them both to be quite enjoyable (albeit in different ways). I’ve got a feeling you may agree. So let’s get started, shall we?
Ruby the Hatchet – Ouroboros (RUR Records, 29 April 2016)
Mars Red Sky – Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (Listenable Records, 20 May 2016)
Good afternoon. Today I’d like to talk to you about two different bands who each fall under the general umbrella of “psychedelic/stoner rock.” Both have new releases out (recently, or within the next two days), and both will be hitting the road (separately) playing various shows and festivals across the USA over the next few months. First I’ll introduce you to those recent releases, and then head down a little further to the comments section where I’ll share the scheduled tour dates!
So Hideous – Laurestine (Prosthetic Records, 16 October 2016)
So Hideous – Laurestine Orchestral (Prosthetic Records, 06 May 2016)
Back in October, Brooklyn-based blackened post-hardcore band So Hideous released their second album Laurestine. The group has described their writing process as beginning the structural components of each song on the piano, then fleshing out the composition for all of the orchestral/choral parts. Once each piece of music is fully composed, then they add the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals as necessary.
This seems a bit backwards from how most bands work: orchestral elements are usually sprinkled on top of otherwise fully-formed songs, as complementary parts or occasional embellishments. But here, the underlying compositions (performed by the 30-piece First Light Orchestra) are intended to be complete works capable of standing on their own. To drive that last point home, Prosthetic Records recently announced the release of an alternate edition of Laurestine consisting solely of the orchestra and chorus components, and — guess what! — it totally does hold up, independent of the rest of the band. Keep reading to learn more about both versions of this incredible album …
Karma to Burn – Arch Stanton (FABA Records, 18 August 2014)
The Atomic Bitchwax – Gravitron (Tee Pee Records, 30 December 2015)
Hey folks, HAPPY FRIDAY! As you’ve surely noticed, we’ve spent a lot of time this week talking about tours kicking off this weekend, and bands who are coming to Pittsburgh, but believe it or not I’ve got another announcement for you!
Starting TONIGHT (Friday, May 13th) instrumental legends Karma to Burn from West Virginia and long-running stoner trio The Atomic Bitchwax from New Jersey will be heading out on a month-long tour all across America, opening for The Obsessed (which was one of the earliest of Wino‘s plethora of bands).
The full list of dates for this tour (including a stop at Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar tomorrow night) will be listed down at the bottom of this page — in the comments. But first, lets take a closer look at a (relatively speaking) recent album from each of those two supporting bands …