Howe Gelb on Unknown Sundays 2023

There are a lot of talented singer-songwriters out there (there still is, as this article was done back on September 25th of 2016).  There are some that you keep track of that are just not mainstream popular because their talent speaks to you from the first moment you hear them, and continues album by album to some degree.  Then, there are those that you enjoy, but you lose track of them as the year ends, as the next year starts, and you suddenly are re-discovering them because you really (unfairly, unless you are the Quentin Tarantino of music memory) can’t remember and follow everything you really like (that’s being honest, as you know I do try to listen to everything despite the impossible task it is).  These are truly the unfortunate moments in the music multiverse in my opinion.  So today, I’m going to not only explore an unknown artist (except for those in Tucson and those really paying attention to the explorative alt-country scene for the last decade or more), but I’m going to tell you how I lost track–and how a seemingly new album brought about a musical re-discovery. This “Unknown” Sunday is all about…Howe Gelb, the legend of Tucson and a musician with his fingers on the pulse of alternative country-rock in everything he touches.

The Coincidentalist, that’s  the album where I remember Howe Gelb.  But how I got to there was researching a fantastic collaboration piece–appreciating the stunning, past talent of Rainer Ptacek of Giant Sand, which Howe Gelb has been a major creative force behind for decades. This year (back in 2016 remember) marking the end of the band, which for many is a very sad year indeed.  The Coincidentalist album was three years ago, and I was interested in hearing it because I was really amused by the clever title, and the lyrical, provocative delivery that comes at you with every pun and play of the album title, even in the form of the musicianship.  But, somehow, during that year, I forgot all about Howe Gelb and his three decades of work spanning from solo artist since 1991 to genre bending bands since 1985 like Giant Sand, Op8, Arizona Amp Alternator, and The Band of Blacky Ranchette.  He even is an exquisite producer when he has an ear for an artist (example being Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist, KT Tunstall).

So, imagine my surprise, when I’m looking up this week’s new album list, and there’s this new album (getting wicked love from everywhere) called Sno Angel Like You + Sno Angel Winging It.  I’m thrown by the title, but there was the familiar name, Howe Gelb.  And so, another musical journey courtesy of Mr. Gelb.  And, what a great album!  The accolades are certainly well deserved, but what I got most out of it was a reinvention of clever Raymond Carver storytelling with a much more sly Bob Dylan-like devotion.  There’s all kinds of acoustical genre mystification, bluesy slides, and (as the album’s title suggest) some unconventional–improvisational areas, as well as the interesting live versions that round out the 30 songs for the entire experience.  But, wait a minute!  This isn’t really a new recording at all!  It’s from 2006!  What!?  Yes, this is the 10th anniversary re-issue created masterfully by Gelb, truly showcasing a remarkable record of quick, spontaneous reaction, which apparently came from a gospel intervention (you can read all about that while you further investigate the absorbing genius).

So, what am I saying?  Howe Gelb is worth a broader trip through his history of music and musical collaborations.  The longevity isn’t survival, it’s always evolution, contemplation, and inception.  I’m saying you need to explore the bands and solo works however you like.  Go backward in time, or start at the beginning and see the development–and what the process, passion, and experience has brought to what might be some of the best work of his career.  It reminds me how I rediscovered Neil Young in places, songs, and tributes.  I think it is totally worth it!  There’s more in this catalog than most, and at the end of it all, Gelb’s confidence is showing..that..,“That’s How Things Get Done,” when you’re in his musical presence.

And, I know for certain, whether it’s vocals, piano, guitar or production, that I’m going to remember the name, Howe Gelb.  I am going to seek it out.  He is going to have a lot more air time in my musical multiverse. When you’re done–you might just feel the same!

Sider bar–“Unknown”…this is why you make fantastic re-issues! There are appreciative music listeners who deserve another chance, and artists who value a new audience.  Rediscovery is a truly fantastical experience!  One I wish on every one until the end of our time(s).

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Howe Gelb Albums in my collection:  The Inner Flame – A Tribute to Rainer Ptacek (1996), The Coincidentalist (2013)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on September 25, 2016.  While the tribute record above with all its known talent on it, it was Howe that was new to my ear, and  the reason I took the journey.  His album, Cocoon in 2020 comes with a message on Bandcamp directly from Gelb, which certainly speaks to the mind of the time(s).  I wish I would have caught it (as I am only seeing it now that I wrote this article surprised that there had been nothing from him since Future Standards or Not On The Map.  The only reason I saw it was in finalizing the end of this archive article when doing a deeper dive, as this album does not show up on my streaming service at all.  So, here I go to check it out!  Maybe it will come up on a future show or as #album4today on our social media.  For now, you and I have tons of albums to check out between Giant Sand, his solo records, and a few other side projects.  An interesting artist to put on your music multiverse map, if he was not already.   – Mark Kuligowski  [October 29, 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 32

Sometimes there is no correlation I can muster in my selection for the three (3) albums I’m reviewing.  However, this Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 32 they are all on the light and string oriented, alternative-folk-like mode, but all of them bring various elements of their own design into the mixes.  One is an accomplished song-writer and Oscar winner that is respected just as much for his musicianship and abilities to morph into ensembles.  The other has always been brilliant on the indie scene with his soft melancholy delivery, unique storytelling and pitch, blended marvelously with his Louisiana tinted feel and musical accompaniment minimalism.  The band we’re featuring today has sold millions of albums and has been the opening act of such stadium acts as Blur, Oasis, and the Arctic Monkeys, while maintaining their own successes since 2002!  It’s time to say “folk” it, people and dive into Album Review Saturdays 2023!

 

The YouTube Version Link
(This includes a video version of these articles with two additional reviews)

 

 

Glen Hansard – All That Was East Is West Of Me Now

We’re always excited to get a new record from Mr. Hansard.  We feel we have to call him that, considering his accolades and all of the worthy albums we have loved over the years, as well as the brilliantly written and done, Once movie.  Along comes All That Was East Is West of Me Now, and we find ourselves in a familiar framework of powerful song writing and musicianship surrounding the album, which is evident immediately on ‘The Feast of St. John,’ which finds the albums title in the lyric.  The album is direct and filled with all kinds of emotional, soulful lyrics that at times make you feel like he might have been channeling a bit of The Frames (an outstanding Irish band that he was a major part of).  While this album has a folk lyric sensibility, it does drive harder in the guitars at the start, and there’s no doubt that the alternative side of Mr. Hansard (see we can’t help ourselves) has a bigger grip on the first part of the production (perhaps that’s the “All That’s East” influence).  He is careful though to maintain the power of the song writing and delivery to be the most powerful as the flow moves to what’s apparently “West” of him now, which comes as what we’ve truly come to expect from his as the soloist he is — basics and style with ‘There’s No Mountain’ through to ‘Ghosts.’

Of course, it all works because of his compelling vocal timing and the style each song is delivered in.  The variety continues with ‘Bearing Witness,’ a hooky riff that balances the lyric and vocal, and ‘Short Life,’ which simmers  as a memory burner that’s right in the wheelhouse of everything that makes Glen Hansard wonderful.  However, we do end the album in a flat out whimper that to me has very little potency or conclusion, ‘Reprise.’  So you get, eight tracks here that are totally Glen Hansard with a few tracks that hint at the past alternative that must bubble up from time to time within him, which is so something we miss, but does become reflective from the halfway point.  Reflection is his signature for sure.  And, at 42 minutes, it’s a wonderful, easy, yet emotional recording that is worth just about every minute as you ponder if what lies ahead really has more that was you’ve already experienced (perhaps that’s why the last track is so not inspiring as a conclusion to the record?).  Oh, that’s how deep it is people.

The Band

  • Glen Hansard – Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Mandolin
  • Rob Bochnik – Guitar
  • Joseph Doyle – Bass
  • Earl Harvin – Drums

All That Was East Is West of Me Now Tracklisting

  1. The Feast of St. John
  2. Down on Our Knees
  3. There’s No Mountain
  4. Sure as the Rain
  5. Between Us There Is Music
  6. Ghost
  7. Bearing Witness
  8. Short Life
  9. Reprise

 

 

Dylan LeBlancCoyote

Dylan LeBlanc is in our Unknown Sundays archive, so we have been a fellow music multiverse follower of him since then.  He has a lovely, unique vocal delivery that feels so natural and modest and matter-of-factly driven it’s hard not be drawn to his music.  The real problem in the past, would have been finding it, considering the lack of music industry support despite his credentials with Emmylou Harris, opening for such acts as Lucinda Williams, The Civil Wars, and Calexico, and the overall fantastic folk writing talent he has harvested throughout his career.  Coyote is another example of a man who knows how to sew his musical seed and bring forth with a bounty of worthy material to the starving audio masses.

Coyote is truly and utterly about survival.  The tone, the tension and the unique scope from which it has emerged is all woven throughout the album in either acoustic or electric or mandolin, it unfolds and progresses as if in real time (although only 50-some minutes).  You certainly love the picking, the strumming, and the intentional emotion that flows in and out of the foreground and background.  He has a Neil Young-like knack, but here he’s upped his game with strings and allowing some pop-harmony to dangle into the mix, like on ‘Stranger Things’ which has a lovely familiarity to it set in the musical past.  The picking gets intentful and stressful as the record winds toward it’s conclusion, and he reaches to with his voice.  You start to hear the coarse electric guitar background, revealing a density, too, that’s starting to creep to the surface of awareness.  It’s intentional I’m sure, and he’s not done!  There’s nifty left-fielder called ‘The Crowd Goes Wild’ that pushes a disco-alt-folk feel just before we come to the ‘Outsider’ conclusion, where we feel more like — wait, let’s listen again!  You will trust me!  Oh, and while you’re there…go back to Cautionary Tale from 2015 they make great companion listens!

The Band

  • Dylan LeBlanc – Vocals, Electric/Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin
  • Fred Eltringham – Drums
  • Jim “Moose” Brown – Piano
  • Seth Kaufman – Bass

Coyote Tracklisting

  1. Coyote
  2. Closin’ In
  3. Dark Waters
  4. Dust
  5. Forgotten Things
  6. No Promises Broken
  7. Stranger Things
  8. Hate
  9. The Crowd Goes Wild
  10. Wicked Kind
  11. The Outside

 

The Coral – Sea of Mirrors

I’m fairly new to The Corals, which is interesting considering they’ve been around since 2002, creating quite the nice catalog and a million in albums sales.  The only album I have of theirs seemed to have been lost in my collection, Magic and Medicine (their sophomore release).  Enter Jeff Criden (panelist on a few of our shows as of late) who brought them up on Panelist Favorites Show: Albums of 2010, where he mentioned Butterfly Houses, and he mentioned they had a new release coming.  So, just prior to this coming out, I went back a few albums and re-acquainted myself with the band, which has been in an evolutionary creative state since the very beginning, which for me is always the sign of great musicians that I should be paying closer attention to!

Eleven studio albums in, Sea of Mirrors, starts off in familiar acoustic soft guitar leading to that near rockabilly pace, as would be expected from a song called ‘The Actor And The Cardboard Cowboy’ dangling well against the strings and harmonies that this band has been absolutely nailing down since the mid 2000s.  The jangle-pop that they might have been sort of noted for is slightly lingering but in an entirely different tone, with a variety of instruments that fit more in folk and alt-country-spaghetti western than in the pop marketplace.  This is what makes it both charming, comforting, and easily indulgent.  Each song is carefully crafted to stand on its own musically while softly, subtly connected to each other as if a soundtrack or concept album, which I’m not quite sure I would say I felt (probably because of the wonderful harmonies, strings, and the old school piano)‘Wild Bird’ and ‘North Wind’ certainly make the case for the entire record, and I felt that dusty alt-country rock, like Calexico minus the heavy spanish influence.  But, if you’re a fan of that — this is definitely the album for you and then some!

There is, apparently, another album coming, Holy Joes Coral Island Medicine Show, on the heels of this one, so I’m not sure where to put this right now in my list of albums reaching for the brass rings of best albums of the year, but I do have this album growing on me with every listen.  I know for a fact that this is going to bring me back to prior records, too, which is the mark of great songwriting and musicianship!  I highly recommend you– look — into Sea of Mirrors and get it on your preferred medium of music delivery!

The Band

  • James Skelly – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, lyrics
  • Paul Duffy – bass guitar, (not sure if there was saxophone this time), backing vocals
  • Nick Power – keyboards, organ, melodica, harmonica, piano, backing vocals, lyrics
  • Ian Skelly – drums
  • Paul Molloy – guitars (2015–present)
  • (Former member re-appears) Bill Ryder-Jones – lead guitar, bass guitar, trumpet
  • Johnny Echols – Guitar (from the band, Love)
  • (Actor/Musician) John Ronald Simms – Backing vocals, (might have played backing guitar)
  • (Actor) Cillian Murphy – Narration

Sea of Mirrors Tracklisting

  1. The Actor and the Cardboard Cowboy
  2. Cycles of the Seasons
  3. Faraway Worlds
  4. Wild Bird
  5. North Wind
  6. Eleanor
  7. Sea of Mirrors
  8. That’s Where She Belongs
  9. The Way You Are
  10. Dream River
  11. Almeria
  12. Child of the Moon
  13. Oceans Apart

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 31

This Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 31 probably should have been held to be number 32.  The number 2.  The roman numeral.  The notification of another part or the first sequel.  The indication that there was more to be shared, or perhaps like the movies, a pouring of affection for the original.  Sometimes the affection for the original lingers, not just with the participating audience in the music multiverse, but truly within the band.  As is obvious with our second review, it was apparent that the band realized the music-wheelhouse they were in and how it sort of fit as a sequel to that effect.  In our third second (there’s words that will never be next to each other again), it’s straight up feels like a drop dead – bang it out – sequel, going further than the original.  But, what the hell was going on this year in the album release universe?  Here are those number “II’s” from this year so far, and this is based on my quick lists of albums I might have an interest in hearing, reviewing, and bringing up to Beyond Your Radio panelists (you can have your sequel party after you’re doing with these reviews).

  1. Smashing Pumpkins – Atum Act I & II & III
  2. Killing Joke – MMXII
  3. Faust – Momentaufnahme II
  4. Devil Driver – Dealing With Demons Vol II
  5. Blackbraids – II
  6. Ring Van Mobius – Commissioned Works Pt II: Six Drops of Poison
  7. Ten Kills the Pack – That You For Trying:  Act I & II
  8. Mammoth WVH – Mammoth II
  9. Victoria Monet – Jaguar II
  10. Dave McMurray – Grateful Dedications, Vol 2
  11. Joe Bonamassa – Blues Deluxe Vol 2
  12. Ten56. – Downer Part 2
  13. Corey Taylor – CMF2

Plus these three albums, below, it’s been a year of number “2,” and we might even have a few more before the year’s over? (and yes, I checked ahead, there are actually a few more coming).  Now the moment you’ve been waiting for.  It’s time for Album Review Saturdays 2023 records that went for number “2!”

 

The YouTube Version Link
(This includes a video version of these articles with three additional reviews)

 

 

Margo Price – Strays II

Ms. Price’s vocal and delivery is a unique alt-country weapon.  Strays, which was released back in early January of this year, continued her very direct, singer songwriter approach coupled with the alt-country musicianship, moving back and forth between simple, lovely ballad and modest spitfire awareness she put out a ten song standard.  I remember it well, and while I felt the connection and enjoyed it, the ending track ‘Landfill’ left me kind of perplexed about the flow.  Then, last week, here comes Strays II, which when I clicked it to get into it, I immediately realized that the tracks were identical.  I look again, and I finally realize there are more tracks, and they come right after ‘Landfill.’  So, I’m sort of excited because I remember that confused or lacklustre feeling I had back in January.

The oddity here is the fact the title track finally arrives, nearly nine months after the original release.  Crazy right?!  And considering how well ‘Been to the Mountain’ came off as the first track, here we are wondering how this was left off.  Naomi Ludlow of New Zealand comes in on the next track, and I’m starting to feel a greater attachment to the record and the flow.  Just more substance maybe and levels of music entering now.  Jonathan Wilson’s entry into two tracks, and probably production direction really links to the original but brings a lot more!  Yes, there’s another track featuring Mr. Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, too!  A lot to be excited about here, and the tempo of the record overall is more balanced and hooked beyond the vocal delivery and lyrics, allowing the music to provide some interesting additions to the melodies.  A much more complete experience on Strays II.

The Band

  • Margo Price – vocals (all tracks); bells, maracas, tambourine, percussion, acoustic guitar
  • Alex Muňoz – 12-string acoustic guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, baritone guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar
  • Jamie Davis – acoustic guitar, background vocals (all tracks); electric guitar
  • Jeremy Ivey – acoustic guitar (all tracks), bass guitar
  • Dillon Napier – drums , drum machine, percussion
  • Micah Hulscher – keyboards (all tracks), organ, piano, synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta
  • Kevin Black – bass guitar
  • Mike Campbell – electric guitar
  • Jonathan Wilson – Moog bass; guitar, timpani, bells, piano, acoustic guitar, castanets, tambourine, percussion
  • Sharon Van Etten – vocals
  • Ny Oh – vocals
  • Dexter Green – drums
  • Jess Wolfe – vocals
  • Holly Laessig – vocals
  • Jacob Braun – cello
  • Zach Dellinger – viola
  • Andrew Bullbrook – violin
  • Wynton Grant – violin

Stray II (including the Strays I) Tracklisting

  1. Been To the Mountain
  2. Light Me Up (feat. Mike Campbell)
  3. Radio (feat. Sharon Van Etten)
  4. Change of Heart
  5. County Road
  6. Time Machine
  7. Hell In the Heartland
  8. Anytime You Call (feat. Lucius)
  9. Lydia
  10. Landfill
  11. Strays
  12. Closer I Get (feat. Ny Oh)
  13. Malibu (feat. Jonathan Wilson, Buck Meek)
  14. Black Wolf Blues
  15. Mind Travel
  16. Unoriginal Sin (feat. Mike Campbell)
  17. Homesick (feat. Jonathan Wilson)
  18. Where Did We Go Wrong?
  19. Burn Whatever’s Left

 

 

Metric – Formentera II

Emily Haines and her bandmates seemed to be surprised (at least in their interviews) as to their continued ability to remain a band, make the music they want to make, and continue to press against the norm of their debut and sophomore records.  While I do agree with them in that perplexity of maintaining their ability to flow freely in the music multiverse, I am more in tune with the fact that I’ve been less smitten with where they’ve been and what they were doing before Formentera came around in 2022.  I felt like some thing were a bit “tired” and that they had strayed from the bass delivery and pulse that made them unique in the indie alternative music of the time.  Against Emily Haines’ tone-minded and shoegaze ready vocal, Formentera II, definitely finds some of what I lost in them, as well as how to accentuate the dull drums of their brand of shoegaze into a dance and club atmosphere without truly pushing themselves and their audience all-in.  It’s a very tricky and clever undertaking, and they have seemed to start that on Formentera and be way more in control of it in Formentera II.

Companion pieces?  We can argue that until their next record (unless there’s a third coming in a few week), but I do believe the albums do stand much on their own.  Formentera II finds more of the bass and clever tricks to punctuate Haines and the lyrics, as well finding great areas and space to add tempo and pump up the background.  This augmentation feels somewhat like a reminder of where they came from, allowing some of their alternativeness to shine in all the right places, while it still fits beautifully in melody and comfort to the continued vocals of Emily Haines.  Formentera II has a bit more of what I’ve loved about the band; some sonic distortion, some really well hit bass lines and synth.  Nothing is perfect.  They’re not giving up pushing the electro-alternative indie-pop clubbing vibe, which is commendable (as it still works and the audience is probably bigger), but I do feel that in the concept of having a number “II’ album they’ve done this very well, and it was the right time and music space to do it.  It’s very worthwhile experience, and you pick up more each listen.

The Band

  • Emily Haines – lead vocals, keyboards
  • James Shaw – guitar, backing and occasional lead vocals
  • Joules Scott-Key – drums, percussion
  • Joshua Winstead – bass guitar, backing vocals

Formentera II Tracklisting

  1. Detour Up
  2. Just The Once
  3. Stone Window
  4. Days of Oblivion
  5. Who Would You Be For Me
  6. Suckers
  7. Nothing Is Perfect
  8. Descendants
  9. Go Ahead And Cry

 

 

 

Blue October – Spinning the Truth Around Part II

The ever-transforming, intelligent, and emotional charged rock band from Texas from 1995 is not only still going, they’re continually becoming inventive beyond their alternative rock roots, engaging in pop-turbulent song-writing, swaying unpredictably from rock to shoegaze to edgy adult contemporary, as well as even some hooky bluesy soul thanks to some clever beats and flow.  That’s where we get the contradiction of their “vibe” — what it is?  Hell, the Spinning the Truth Around 2022 album utilized the very issue in their second song on the album.  For me, it was so cool, so out-of-left-field.  It also informed me that Blue October has a front man and band mates that were really, truly capable of making a real push musically, experimenting with how their sound could bend to their maturity, lend a ear, and even up-stage the ballad and Imagine Dragons pop-circuit.

Enter the sequel, to a very good 2022 record, Spinning Around the Truth Part II.  And, enter the first song, ‘Sideways,’ which definitely, immediately picks up where Part I left off.  The vocal and raise-the-bar ballad exposition here set the tone and arena for what might be the most memorable Blue October record!  Vocally speaking, this album utilizes Justin’s vocals to truly be the powerhouse we’ve always known they could be, and the band has allowed themselves to be completely comfortable in the pop-rock wheelhouse of their current incarnation.  It’s larger, deeper, and definitively filled with great expressions of all kinds of current situations, emotions, and an edgy hopefulness that kind of rivals a certain Coldplay record.  There is just a lot of songs to appreciate and some vocal shifts that are unique to a band of their past nature.  There’s Eddie Vedder in ‘Leave Room For A Miracle,’ and ‘Last Look Moving Forward’ and then into a fast paced pop tempo vocal in “Down Here Waiting” (which is not my most favorite, but very respectful to what they’ve accomplished here).

There’s nothing this band cannot do, and I think people should pay more attention to them than they have in the past.  They are truly an all-in work that has a true grasp of the overall experience of a record, what you can push, where you can experiment, and where you can really deliver — not only a great song or lyric or hook — but an entire album.  And in this case, they did it back to back despite push back from the pop-rock environment and the alternative place where they technically started.  I’m in for Part III.  Yes, it’s coming, I believe.  It was their intention from the start, so here’s to hoping they don’t pull a Matrix error.

The Band

  • Justin Furstenfeld – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Ryan Delahoussaye – violin, mandolin, mandocello, keyboard, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jeremy Furstenfeld – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Matt Noveskey – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Steve Schiltz – lead guitar, bass-guitar, vocal, backing vocals

Spinning the Truth Around Part II Tracklisting

  1. Sideways
  2. All I See Is You
  3. Sobriety
  4. Magic Isn’t Real
  5. Leave Room for a Miracle
  6. Last Look Moving Forward
  7. Down Here Waiting
  8. Goodbye to the Old Days
  9. Slow Down
  10. 1222 Bay Oak Street
  11. A Better Man
  12. Down Here Waiting [Mark Needham Mix]
  13. A Better Man [Brooklyn Mix]
  14. The Flood  (NOT AVAILABLE ON MY COPY ALTHOUGH AMAZON SAYS SO)

The Gaslamp Killer On Unknown Sundays

I am not the foremost authority on the DJ category of music, and with that being said…I certainly wouldn’t be for any underground genre musician within this musical category (that has not changed since this article was written, but I certainly am attempting to enlist those that might be more capable of broaching this subject — Mr. Jeff DeYoung, potential panelist). It takes a very long time for me to warm up to the often basic scramble of noise selected to make an entire record. I often wonder if it sometimes as complex and improved as Jazz, or as carefully calculated as a symphonic piece. There are those in the genres that are very accessible and easier to wrap your ears around. There are arrangements with spasms and shifts of tempo made to shock and awe the listener at nearly every turn, which have their own fantastic–yet brief–moments. Then there are the risk takers and just full on “out there” artists, requiring experience (or tolerance) of time to give give it all a chance– come to an appreciation of the musical work involved.

I have come to terms with my need to delve more into this diverse field of musicianship. I have promised myself that there have been missed opportunities to take pleasure and inspiration from their skillful concoctions. But mostly, I have come to the conclusion after five choices, that the wickedest of names give me the most hope that there is greatness within the unknown sampling, computer-turn table musical deliverance. Just please, no more PacMan-ish, Galga on speed, or keyboard laser beaming backgrounds, all right?! Get my attention the right way…with sound quality and creative, meaningful arrangements.

So, I land today at an artist with a killer name, The Gaslamp Killer to be exact. Hoping that Instrumentalepathy might be a great way to dive into the underground, I plunged into it for 50 minutes, and I was actually finding myself in rapture by the diabolical production quality and sound orchestration that William Benjamin Bensussen weaved. Sure there’s the Doctor Who-vian sound effects that are like nails on a hippie chalkboard, but the dominant music has continual classical, electronica, string and world instrumentation that really resonates well with the tempo changes and psycho-delic pitch.

This sophomore recording does not reflect his debut, Breakthrough, which has much more of the humdrum electronic noises (in my opinion) that are distracting. It still, though, had the elements and composition talent that brings the “hip” in its hip/hop side, as well as an intensity of string arrangements.

There are many singles and collaborations that you can discover, too, as I did, but I’ll leave those for your musical journey if you so chose to rave on down to Gaslamp (a district in San Diego California, where he was known for his unique sets that stuttered the music vibe of clubs). Ahead of his time for the Gaslamp region, or ahead of his time or not for the musical multiverse is for you to decide, but Mr. Bensussen is worth a deeper listen beyond the DJ stereotype. There’s a lot more under his “underground” genre than I was expecting.

 

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

The Gaslamp Killer Albums in my collection: Instrumentalepathy (2016)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on September 18, 2016, and I was definitely going on a journey with the artist.  Since then, until this opportunity to go back into the old archives of articles from the old website, I had not played anything from The Gaslamp Killer since then, as there was very little activity or reminders coming to me from my services.  This is what can happen in the music multiverse.  Now with the placement of this Unknown Sunday article, I was able to not only track one album, Heart Math from 2020, and one EP, Break Stuff from 2019, I also got to check out Legna [pictured above] which is a collaborative album with the Heliocentrics (whom I adore, and have been in my top albums before in prior years).  Legna is a solid and unique album filled with all kinds of intricut electronica that’s menacing, haunting, memorable, and emotional.  You definitely should check it out, as it’s definitely a best of this year in its genre, and it’s definitely in consideration for albums of this year!  His website isn’t quite ready, I guess, but you can certainly listen to the albums.   – Mark Kuligowski  [October 15, 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 30

Welcome, again, to another Album Review Saturdays.  See how I did that, bowed to the algorithm? I hate having to do that.  I could have been valuable words deep into talking about these three albums this week, but I have to mention the title.  Stupid.  Accomplished.  Done.  This week I listened to a wide variety of albums, and there was a lot to choose from.  There were those sent to me for review, so I picked one that definitely slid into a type of delivery that I am the most uncomfortable with (for me it always has a hard sell).  There were a few that I had been anticipating, hoping, and I chose one of those, which I have to say was truly a great showcase album for this legend (for most of us), and a catalog that I feel those that are just getting into music should explore.  Then there several that I had never heard of, so I grabbed one of those.  The odd story there is, I actually knew the band and some of the artists on the record, what I had NO IDEA of was the story of “the Viking of Sixth Street.”  Curious?  Of course you are.  It’s Album Review Saturday Episode 30, and you’re raring to go! (Okay, one more algorithm jab – so painful).

 

The YouTube Version Link
(This includes a video version of these articles with three additional reviews)

 

VoidescentDust and Embers

The music multiverse is all-encompassing, and there are such forms of music out there that are mathematical challenge, a conceptual challenge, as well as even a genre challenge.  Everyone knows I do not have an affinity for country pop music, but I love bluegrass, rooted country, alternative country, and other spin offs and throwbacks, but the overall genre is a arena I step into with trepidation.  In the hallowed halls of death metal, I find myself in the same conundrum.  While I do enjoy the machine gun drumming and fast feet bass drumming and out of control metal riffs and screaming guitars that are the sanctuary of the metal genre, when it splinters into death metal, where my definition means that the heaviness is compounded by rough-gutteral inaudible at most times vocals, I find myself struggling to follow, comprehend, and enjoy.  However, when the chips are laid down, I pick up the album and jump into it with the goal that this time my experience here will lead me to the promised land, so I can join the dark masses, the power head jolting, mosh monstrocity, and music intensity that continues to thrash the sinister venues around the globe.

Enter (thanks to Marco at Metaversus PR), Avantgarde Music‘s entry from the great country of Spain into the death metal multiverse, Voidescent.  The name, yeah, it’s fitting!  Okay.  Dust and Embers is the album title, and that too definitely fits the sound that is about to fill the dark chasms of my candlelight only basement mood.  Even the album cover is pressing the death metal flesh, if you will.  So, we got three checkmarks in the death metal wheelhouse before we’ve even scratched its vinyl surface!  Now, let’s crank this and prepare for that which we believe is coming, and will it finally change my position and fear.

The first immediate ear thrashing experience is the overall crashing of the instruments together within the monumentally mind melding drum work that is all out warfare from all sides with very little break.  It’s almost as if the drummer is playing both sides of this war with incredible aptitude or somehow has been possessed to die at the drum seat from catastrophic overload.  The guitars are marching, surrounding on all sides, riffing and bashing within the studio walls trying (probably with some success I would imagine, as I would have no idea how a studio would hold together amidst this) sealing their commitment to death metal lovers everywhere!  Hell, they can probably be hear from everywhere!  That’s cool, and I get it.  The gutter growl and dragonic in audible vocal is the only mere set back for me (and I certainly attempted), but it didn’t deter from the scary, exhilarating and anxiety tripping experience.  In fact, I saw it as other-wordly chaotic callings to summon more mounting sound and minions of the mosh to the fiery depths of metal mayhem swallowing this record, until it is sucked into a black metal vortex at the end.

There are slower dark elemental openings that are heavy still and gripping, but they last mere moments against the pure relentless this album represents. The drumming is absurd and shocking.  He probably didn’t survive and needed to be replaced.  Thrown away like some pawned spawn of drummers of the deep that spewed into human form from the dust and embers.

The Band (oh yeah they’re committed)

  • L. – bass
  • Th. – drums
  • A. – guitars
  • Kv. – vocals, guitars

Dust and Embers Tracklisting

  1. Black Crowned Triangle
  2. Crosstunnel Descent
  3. The Necrotic Veil
  4. Cauldrons of Sabbath
  5. Venom Scythe Liturgy
  6. Arcane Enlightenment – The Bone Offering

 

 

Trevor RabinRio

This genre exploding, cover to cover, vocal extortion album, does one thing really really well in my opinion.  Rio showcases the guitar talent, compositional aptitude, and overall concept entirety that is present in the house and mind and skillset of Trevor Rabin.  Rio is a treasure of rock parts, clever rock-jazz combinations, manifestos of tapping progressive movements that flutter and vibreate feverishly throughout despite the voice modulation that slightly hinders the listen.  The musicianship and orchestration is so well held together and irresistibly put together with in the tracks and in the production flow, which might seem like an impossible feat once you’ve completed your first listen.

There’s no mistaking the Yes impression, as the opening track (Big Mistake) has that Big Generator, 90125 feel, and it’s a great hook into the start of the record, putting the listener into a familiar place and pace.  It also has some wicked fun guitar moments in it that might be a kind-of-new solo orgasm if you will.  From there we are definitely headed into the progressive environment, and the tapping and synthesizer, which is more familiarity but hinting more to past influences.  All of this while his voice never wavers, holding true and perfect within the tracks paths.  There are just way too many instrument maestro moments to mention, and they span keyboard, guitars, bass and drums, leaving no one to common place practices.  It’s got hooks, grooves, and mind melding progressiveness galore!  There are songs that start in an Al Di Meola meets Rodrigo y Gabriela acoustic force, then with addition of warm, reaching vocals, then to brilliant progressiveness.  ‘Oklahoma’ is a massive example of this – just fantastic!

Why is called Rio?  I have no idea.  Why did he have to use synth-vocals?  I have no idea.  There’s my only two problems with album, and it’s kind of minimalistic thinking on my part (or hearing if you will), but it is distracting for me, and seems slightly cheap as to how far those vocals do extend into the record.  The album name, for a South African, and a musician that is basically letting it all out on this record, seems more like it should have been appropriately titled something in the “Opus,” or “Wow” if he just wanted to have three letters.  It’s absolutely, just that — wow!

The Band

  • Trevor Rabin – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, and whatever else he felt like playing.
  • Lou Molino and Vinnie Colaiuta – Drums
  • Violins were done by studio musician(s)

Rio Tracklisting

  1. Big Mistakes
  2. Push
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Paradise
  5. Thandi
  6. Goodbye
  7. Tumbleweed
  8. These Tears
  9. Egoli
  10. Toxic

 

 

Ghost Train Orchestra & Kronos QuartetSongs & Symphoniques: The Music of Moondog

So, I love it when I discover something completely off the wall.  A story within an album I’m going to listen to.  Finding something way too cool, juicy, or odd about either the making of, the people involved, or the history within.  When I saw the album name, Songs & Symphoniques:  The Music of Moondog, I did not think anything of it.  I just saw Kronos Quartet, and I had heard some really cool things from Ghost Train Orchestra, so I was in anyway.  The title meant nothing to me, and I even figured I wouldn’t understand anyway, considering the knowledge and scope of Kronos Quartet in the classical world as well as even the folk-classical and crossover accompaniments they continue to fuse with from year to year.  Actually, I just thought they wanted a different word other than symphony.  I also figured that Moondog was some figure in the grand space of folklore, an odd constellation name, or a Peruvian mountain cat.  I had no idea it is an actual person, not to mention the oddity, influence, and story behind him.  So, here we go.

He was known as “the Viking of Sixth Avenue” in New York City, as to his poetic readings and playing his compositions on the particular corners of either 53rd or 54th and Sixth Street.  As for his compositions and his musical position in the music multiverse, let’s just say that due to an incredibly freak accident he was left blind, so a turn to music would certainly be a soul saving and emotionally immersive profession for him.  He hung with the likes of Benny Goodman, Leonard Bernstein, and Charlie Parker.  Louis Thomas Hardin had become a player in the jazz community, a sound like no other, and after branding himself as “Moondog” (after a dog that would howl at the moon like no other, and having to win a lawsuit against a radio DJ in 1954 to secure that name, thanks to the influences of Mr. Benny Goodman and Arturo Toscanini.  He is not only a composer that influenced the likes of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, but adored by Frank Zappa and Igor Stavinsky.  His style was unfit for genre, reaching all over the place, but he was definitely one that did not like structure and it was evident in music, but also in a direct quote from him that he would “not die in 4/4 time.”  He even has a recording with Julie Andrews, if that doesn’t say the span and scope.  I’ll let you dig into the rest and there’s even a documentary featuring Phillip Glass, Jarvis Cocker, John Zorn and Debbie Harry.

The album is stretching, interpreting and delivering some songs and compositions of this very interesting, avantgarde musician which features Jarvis Cocker, Rufus Wainwright, Marissa Nadler, Joan As Police Woman, Petra Haden and others.  It’s classical expose is very interesting, incorporating the very likes and ambients that he was noted for as he kept defying structure.  Some might say he might have been a father in the realm of the early stages of ambient music.  This a record with whimsical moments, rhythmic drive that even includes the lyrical deliveries of the guests, as well as making sure to hold homage and composition moving within and from song to song.  ‘All Is Loneliness’ and ‘High On A Rocky Ledge’ and ‘Behold the Willow Bows Before Me’ I found uniquely engaging with the vocal additions, but there is a lot here to digest in various genres, especially in older bluegrass feel.  You need to be paying most attention to the structure, absorbing the Moondog experience and then you’ll start to realize the lesser known legacy hidden within that so many in the music world of the time so the triumph and beauty in.  Then, you can decide how far down the music rabbit hole you want to go in songs and symphoniques of either Kronos or Ghost Train Orchestra, as you have to understand how brilliant they all are to pull off something of this nature.

The Band

  • Kronos Quartet – Violin(s), Viola, Cello
  • Ghost Train Orchestra
    • Brian Carpenter – trumpet, harmonica, musical director
    • Curtis Hasselbring – trombone
    • Ron Caswell – tuba
    • Andy Laster – alto saxophone
    • Matt Bauder – tenor saxophone, clarinet
    • Dennis Lichtman – clarinet
    • Mazz Swift – violin, vocals
    • Emily Bookwalter – viola
    • Avi Bortnick – guitar
    • Brandon Seabrook – guitar, banjo
    • Michael Bates – double bass
    • Rob Garcia – drums
  • Joan As Police Woman – Vocals
  • Rufus Wainwright – Vocals
  • Marissa Hadler – Vocals
  • Petra Haden – Violin, Vocals
  • Karen Mantler – Piano, Vocals
  • Jarvis Cocker – Vocals
  • Sam Amidon – Banjo, Fiddle, Vocals
  • Aoife O’Donavan – Guitar, Vocals

Songs & Symphoniques: The Music of Moondog Tracklisting

  1. Theme
  2. Be a Hobo (ft. Rufus Wainwright)
  3. High on a Rocky Ledge (ft. Marissa Nadler)
  4. Caribea
  5. Why Spend a Dark Night with You (ft. Joan as Police Woman)
  6. Enough about Human Rights (ft. Karen Mantler)
  7. I’m This, I’m That (ft. Jarvis Cocker)
  8. Speak of Heaven
  9. The Viking of 6th Avenue
  10. Down is Up (ft. Petra Haden)
  11. Coffee Beans (ft. Karen Mantler and Brian Carpenter)
  12. Behold (ft. Sam Amidon & Aoife O’Donovan)
  13. Choo Choo Lullaby (ft. Brian Carpenter)
  14. Fog on the Hudson
  15. See the Mighty Tree (ft. Petra Haden)
  16. Bumbo
  17. All is Loneliness (ft. Joan as Police Woman)

 

Sierra Swan on Unknown Sundays

 

It was 2006 when I was introduced to Sierra Swan, through the album Ladyland. which showcases the tutelage that can sometimes be bestowed by the most unlikely rockers (in this case Linda Perry). Before the moment of her blessed union with Linda Perry, she recorded a track with the Black Eyed Peas (an interesting side note, as well as her dad being a musician that played with Kris Kristofferson). The voice I heard was astonishingly original, erotic, and developed emotionally with a hint of Tori Amos-style piano and lyrical delivery, which immediately drew me in.

Linda Perry has a genuine gift for conceptual development of a musicians, as well as collaborative songwriting and album production maestro. The band that had first introduced me to her, 4-Non Blondes, might be at the top of the most disappointing moments in rock-n-roll sophomore albums.  Why you ask? Well, because it never happened.  Bigger, Better, Faster, More! was just easy swallow, having a blast, rock-pop-n-roll that deserved a follow up record.  It’s unknown why, suddenly, so many years later, I was drawn to Sierra Swan, not knowing the background, or the lurking guise, missing from the scene, talents of Ms. Linda Perry,  But, all good musicians and producers find their way to each other and projects of brilliance. This I can be certain, as a traveller of the music multiverse that goes beyond the single, beyond the cover, and into the guts and thank yous of an entire record.

Sierra Swan actually released records in consecutive years from 2007 – 2009, which you can definitely have a good time working through, as they slide from piano and guitar driven, dramatic and emotional levels of adult alternative. Like, 2007’s Coward, which has a cover that makes you think Courtney Love, but is really a triumphant release of tension from the six song recording,  starting with a stripped down guitar title song and continues intimately with the two instruments she is most comfortable with.  There was little production, when you think back to the first record–that was for sure. Queen of the Valley moved back into the bigger production–and in some cases moved a bit beyond that, especially when you’re recalling “Sex is Keeping Us Together” and “Distraction.”  A clever departure with a lot of playful parts.  They are hard albums to find, as I have had no success in used bins.

Then comes The Girl Who Cried Wolf, which begins with Sierra Swan reminding you just how prolific and lyrically savvy she can be (as if she might have been the younger sister of Fiona Apple).  And, like her early producer, she finds something–well someone–Carina Round (whom we might have to discuss in another article) that invigorates and adds composition to the record. Again–musicians find their way to each other, right!?  She appears twice on the record, lending her voice and creativity to the landscape of Sierra’s best album start to finish.

Now married and holding her own sessions with a family, one can understand a break in the dedication. We can certainly appreciate the depth of attention that is required as well as the amount of money to make such endeavors for a self produced artist without record contracts.  However, that has not stopped Sierra Swan, in fact, the impact values of social media and that lovely site called PledgeMusic have afforded her the ability to reach out directly to her fan base and beyond to kindle the 2014 recording, Good Soldier, which–remember–musicians, producers find each other, right?!  Yep!  This album was produced by Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan.  There are a lot of heavy kudos for this album, and it certainly found its way to another level of respect for this artist and her voice, and this video attached for “Emotional” is a visual testimony to the legitimacy of this particular work of musical art.

It’s unknown how talents of different and non-popularity rise to meet and collaborate with each other, but be certain that they do–and they have such wonderful affects–effects on the creative complex that is “the making of sound.”  Indulge yourself in Sierra Swan, Linda Perry, Carina Round, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan, and you will find others within the sleeves of production, background singing, or even song-writing to lead you further on into the music-multiverse.

 

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Sierra Swan Albums in my collection:  Ladyland (2006)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on August 7th, 2016, and that was almost a decade after I had heard Ladyland.  I was listening to the Good Soldier album, which was produced by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, a little bit, but I had seen Sierra Swan perform at Nietzsche’s in Buffalo, NY with opening act Mozella.  I always thought that Ms. Swan had everything a record company could want in a musician; talent, enbolding command of her art, multi-instrument for cheaper production costs, and unique song writing. With Ladyland really not really catching on, that debut album probably made it impossible to get beyond.  I realize that she still is making recordings to this day (that’s right — I believe the new album System Breaker releases next week – our timing is awesome) that it is a good run still considering.  A major record label deal, touring with Smashing Pumpkins, and then going self-production with wonderful backing from Corgan is a very decent, on-going career.  And, with a voice like hers as Billy Corgan states “the most pure I’ve ever heard,” she’s going to find another showcase in music multiverse, exposing her to a brand new, adaptive, smart audience!  But, for now, this is a talented rabbit hole to dive into, I assure you.   – Mark Kuligowski  [October 8, 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 29

Sometimes as much as you want to have the experience that everyone else is having with a band’s album, you just don’t hear it.  It can certainly be the vocal, the style, or even the lyrics and how it reaches you in audio and emotionally.  Other times it can be how an instrument within the structure of the song is violating your sense of sound.  Finally, it can be your mood, your position in life that day that dictates how you are listening, the environment around you, as well as the type of music you should be listening to that day, versus what you have attempted.  It’s not complicated, and it is completely understandable, natural, and honestly, it is what I love about having panelists on the shows.  Today, on Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 29, I had intentions of going at three albums that I was feverishly interested in listening to, but to be honest with you — it was not the mood nor time for me to take them on.  It doesn’t mean they’re not going to be reviewed here on Album Review Saturdays — just not today.  And, I am not going to divulge those records, until my actual review.  What I am going to divulge is my mood and how these three albums fit perfectly within my current state (whether that’s mind, body, or soul — or all, that’s a private matter I guess).  Let’s let the albums out!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION!!
(Featuring two additional album reviews)

 

La Chinga – Primal Forces

First of all, when Ripple Music‘s stoner, psychedelic doom, metal minions of the social media get pumped about vinyl, I’m all ears (well, I guess technically I’m all eyes, looking at their posts and pictures).  Do I ever look and go “I don’t think so,” when I see it?  No.  I don’t have that luxury in my position as a music obsessed, try it all, talk about it all, manic in search of the next greatest record that will dominate my ears for years to come.  It’s just a question of whether I chose to move it up the ever-growing, insanely long list (that list is comprised of digital lists and piles of CDs, and in special cases, Vinyl).  La Chinga’s Primal Forces was instantly moved up the list when it popped into my collection (yes, I’m a Ripple subscriber, for wickedly obvious reasons, but they made me a musical offer I couldn’t refuse).  The posts, their name, the cover, and the emojis that followed the text roped me in!

Primal Forces is an old-school hard rock, slammer, busting at the seams with glam-metal and relentless pacing!  You’ve got this Scorpions, AC/DC, and Guns n’ Roses vocal delivery with that hard rock late 80’s style and sensibility that’s not afraid of anything, reaching for whatever the band can.  They spare no guitar riffing space, metal scream, bass thump, and raspy moment to rough-house each blistering track!  They call to the wild, they yell for the witches, and ride off to thunderous ruckus and riot stirring drumming!  They serve up delicious solo guitar, stunning grooves and harmony, too, so you don’t forget the roots of rock and roll and blues they display at warp speed!  It’s so primal, and you will not be able to deny the force of any of it!  By the time they’re done, you’ve realized; (1) The vocalist can bring it!  (2) The band is no joke!  And, (3) You’re really sweaty from air guitaring and drumming along with them!  If only there was a La Chinga Mosh Pit nearby…horns in the air — both hands!

The Band

  • Carl Speckler – Lead Vocal and bass
  • Ben Yardley – Guitar
  • Jay Solyon – Drummer

Primal Forces Tracklisting

  1. Light It Up
  2. Ride The Dragon
  3. Bolt of Lightning
  4. Backs To The Wall
  5. Witch’s Heart
  6. The Call
  7. Stars Fall From The Sky
  8. Electric Eliminator
  9. Rings of Power
  10. Motor Boogie

 

Steven WilsonThe Harmony Codex

Steven Wilson is in elite status in the music multiverse.  He is probably one of the most coveted producers and resurrectors of remastering at a level of suuuuper genius.  Then he’s got fantastic progressive band, Porcupine Tree, that he’s been leader and chief orchestrator of, as well as Blackfield, No-Man, and probably other’s I’m forgetting at the moment that I’ve indulged in knowing how good and diverse his ear for music is in mood, styles, and genre manipulation.  Producer and/or Mixing (studio involvement/great ear); Steve Hackett, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Gentle Giant,  Tech N9ne, and Ian Anderson to name some.  Yes, he even contributes artwork, too.  I’ll let you look that up on your own.  When you dive into a Steven Wilson solo project, I believe you’re jumping in with him, ready to swim without an understanding of the water’s temperature, weather, and direction.  Which is very, kind of, cool, if you really think about it.

The Harmony Codex is such an experience!  Now, I’m not a Tom Hank, too long on the Island, obsessive with Wilson, but I can certainly understand, appreciate, and suck in the sounds that this specialist of audio perception is puttin’ down!  This album is a  magical, impressive deep swim from a lovely lake like calm exuded by the tempered electronica feelings, and then swelling gorgeous humpback like rolling waves from the bass and jazz tempests that arrive, and then the consistency in the groove that moves us from the lake, to the ocean, or even a raging river.  You swim, though, and while you might panic a smidge, you ears keep you holding on to that life-raft, driftwood, or doggie-paddling to the various voices (including that of Steven Wilson) that call out to you from the shore, or the ethereal.

I’m not going to get into the possibility of this being a conceptual record, because I believe anything he does has a conceptual design and musical storytelling grip, or in some cases strange stranglehold.  A journey, goddamnit!  One of the most beautifully produced journeys this year without a doubt.  The harmony, while not always how you expect harmony to be, is gorgeous, intriguing, devouring and in some cases soothing and enlightening.  This album has the right amount of everything his progressive ear can encompass and pass on to the listener.  It sounds amazing!  There is a voice in the lead track that is more than half-way through the album that states, “I came here searching for something,” and that timing is important, as the rest of the record assures you that the search, the struggle, the moments are all part of a fantastical audio journey.  There’s piano jazz against electronic mood and bass, and progressive lyrical delivery, and then ‘Actual Brutal Thoughts‘ brings in the darker aggressive harmonics and fearfulness, attempting to pull away, leading to the ‘Staircase’ finale that brings in slow hand blues guitar and rich tempo without losing any momentum (maybe even Pink Floydian if you will).  I’m sure, too, that the more we listen to this — the closer The Harmony Code is going to come to audio perfection, but you need to be locked in and fearless, so keep that in mind and ear.

PS:  If you go all in on the Deluxe version you are in for some Harmonic Distortion on the second CD, and then an immersive Blu-Ray which could be mind-blowing, considering what we see on website!

The Band

  • Steven Wilson – Composer, vocals (tracks 1–6, 8–10), acoustic guitar (tracks 2–4, 8), ARP 2600 (tracks 1, 4, 7), audio feedback (track 9), bass guitar (tracks 3, 4, 7, 8, 10), celesta (track 8), Cobalt 8 synthesizer (tracks 4, 5, 7, 10), electric guitars (tracks 2, 4–6, 8, 9), electric piano (track 9), harp (tracks 4, 5), Hammond organ (tracks 2, 4, 10), horn (track 10). Mellotron (track 9), Moog Arpeggiator (track 10), Moog Sub 37 synthesizer (tracks 2, 4–9), percussion (tracks 2, 6), piano (all tracks), programming (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8–10), Prophet-6 synthesizer (tracks 5, 7, 8), Rhodes piano (track 4), Solina Strings (tracks 2, 4, 6, 8–10 and track 9 on Harmonic Distortion), strings (tracks 3–7, 10), theremin (track 9 on Harmonic Distortion), voices (track 3)
  • Adam Holzman – Rhodes piano (tracks 1, 4, 7), piano (track 9), DFAM loops (track 10), Modular synthesizer (tracks 1, 3, 6), Moog synthesizer solo (track 10), Wurlitzer organ (track 5)
  • Ben Coleman – violin (track 4)
  • Craig Blundell – drums (tracks 2, 5, 6, 10), hi-hat (track 9), percussion (tracks 6, 9)
  • David Kollar – lead guitar (tracks 1, 9), ambient guitar (track 4)
  • David Kosten – programming (tracks 1, 10)
  • Guy Pratt – bass guitar (track 2)
  • Jack Dangers – electric beats (track 6), programming (track 9)
  • Jason Cooper – tom drum (track 6)
  • Lee Harris – psychedelic guitar (track 4)
  • Nate Wood – drums (track 4)
  • Nick Beggs – Chapman Stick (tracks 6, 10)
  • Niko Tsonev – guitars (tracks 1, 4, 10), lead guitar (tracks 5, 8, 10)
  • Nate Navarro – fretless bass (track 1), bass guitar (track 9)
  • Nils Petter Molvaer – trumpet (track 1)
  • Ninet Tayeb – vocals (track 5), guitars (track 5), backing vocals (tracks 1, 2)
  • Pat Mastelotto – drums (track 1), percussion (track 1)
  • Rotem Wilson – voices (tracks 7, 10)
  • Samuel Fogarino – drums (track 10)
  • Theo Travis – flute (track 1), saxophone (track 4), duduk (track 6)

The Harmony Codex Tracklisting

  1. Inclination
  2. What Life Brings
  3. Economies of Scale
  4. Impossible Tightrope
  5. Rock Bottom
  6. Beautiful Scarecrow
  7. The Harmony Codex
  8. Time is Running Out
  9. Actual Brutal Facts
  10. Staircase

 

Dopelord – Songs For Satan

I told you, I just was not in the right mood!  Bet you were not expecting this?  Let’s get the doom, sludge metal seeping in on all earbuds – Polish style!  Poland’s Dopelord, is easily plodding (not plotting people) fiendishly through the hooky dark maze of infinitely sludge metal blues with a sense of sick Sabbath purpose in more ways than one.  But, I don’t need to get all sacreligious to appreciate the amped up fuzz-drenched thrashing of angst trashes oppressiveness.  I liken this to a war.  Let’s start in literal sense, where in the past they went relentlessly into doomed battle against metal destructive machines without hope – obliterated foolishly.  Now they have garnished, polished and branded a metalic monster of their own to stomp their enemy at the gate.  Figuratively, sure they had some electric guitars and could play, but now they’ve found a horrific muse and angst to yield like a thunderous wall of sound at their oppressors and anyone in the front row without earplugs.

Songs For Satan is pure delightful, blistering sludge evil in delivery at every scale, note and lyric.  Are you damned listening to this, or are you damned it you don’t!?  Don’t find out.  Just put it on and get consumed if you’re in the wheelhouse of tormented Alice In Chains, monstrous Black Sabbath, and Earthless meets Acid Mammoth in rated-R Godzilla showdown.  Inevitably, when you get to ‘Worms’ you’ve lost all hope.  Cower or walk aimlessly into the vocal rapture and relentless rhythm of the non-repenting few that will survive.  Accept what’s coming like you did when Sleep Token unleashed the ‘Vore.‘  Oh, my, I’m slipping…where’s my John Mayer sedative? (I’m kidding, you can do this!  You will want to do this!  They don’t end the album there).

The Band

  • Paweł Mioduchowski – Guitars and Vocals
  • Piotr Ochociński – Drums
  • Grzegorz Pawłowski – Guitars
  • Piotr Zin – Bass, Vocals and Mellotron

Songs For Satan Tracklisting

  1. Intro
  2. Night of the Witch
  3. The Chosen One
  4. One Billion Skulls
  5. Evil Spell
  6. Worms
  7. Return to the Night of the Witch