Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 16

Well, let me first thank the crew at Midas in Wilmington, Delaware [Reese, Mark and crew] for fixing my bad thermostats otherwise this Album Review Saturdays would probably not go off in time!  We talked music for just about the entire time that I was there waiting for them to work their auto mechanic magic on my otherwise unreliable vehicle.  Speaking about new music, as Reese was a very interested party, since he produces and DJ(s), let me tell you a few of new albums that I talked about! We got one the howls the darker blues to takes us (well me) on my first journey with them; we got a band of “the cloth” (wink) that have a thunderously catchy presence, and an always avant garde solo artist that over the last few albums has shimmered in exquisite production accomplishments with her newest being right in that harder listen wheelhouse that always pays off!  Let’s take a ride!  After all, that’s why I got my car fixed — gotta get back out there and put the rubber to the road!  So put you ear to headphones – here we go, again!

Click here for our YouTube Channel “Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 16” which features discussion on these albums, as well as additional album reviews not in this article.

High Priest – Invocation

This cover, their name (and of course it’s of a high nature for a reason), the album title are all clear indications that you’re going to be blasted with some very heavy rock, doom or psychedelia, and the only thing you might not have expected is just how intense the delivery is here.  Don’t worry — it’s a damn good thing, as they put the pedal to the guitars, the drums, vocals and anything else in the studio, which one can assume is a Vatican wall of amplifiers!  High Priest not only have the production chops on this record from start to finish, it’s also extremely rifftastic against the fierce stoner-doom rhythms that bring this album so wickedly close to a sense of easy accessibility.  That’s a lie, somewhat, because if you’re not in this realm often — you might easily dismiss, but you definitely should not!  This record is deeper and deeper than you can imagine and each listen reveals true craftsmanship in pushing doom heavy rock into a space that’s inviting without losing any edge or vigor!  If you love Earthless, Hail the Void and Black Sabbath you’re going to want to douse yourself in this unholy water!  You may also want to consider them for 2023’s best 23 albums, I know I am!

The Band
  • John Regan – Guitarist
  • Justin Valentino – Vocals and Bass
  • Dan Polak – Drums
  • Pete Grossman – Guitars

 

Invocation Track Listing
  1. Invocation
  2. Divinity
  3. Ceremony
  4. Cosmic Key
  5. Down In The Dark
  6. Universe
  7. Conjure
  8. Heaven

 

 

King Howl – Homecoming

Okay, so now we’re going to enter a heavy doser of the blues, but it’s going to be shocked with older style play, wonderful slide guitar and not so common harmonic accompaniment that’s going to showcase one of today’s way better blues experiments in the music multiverse, King Howl.  Hey, great freakin’ band name!  About time someone nailed their signature sound and their name in one awesome swoop.  Love that they are from Cagliari, Sardinia (no not Calgary Alberta).  The greatest thing about this band on my first ever listen is that there’s a common place to start where you’re safe and then that kind of ends and the vocalist, the harmonica and even slide guitar take over in the most impressive and demandingly original way!  If St. Anger was a blues record that tilted into heavy stoner doom rock – this is one that teeters into that brink!  It’s delightful and spiteful, demanding your attention.  It’s a glorious all-kind-of heavy blues ride and complete story that never leaves you thinking, “well that was a little common.”  Trust me, even the lyrics and the pronunciation (ie: From the Cradle) are impeccably done to drive home every single inch of blues.  I really have to hand it to these guys, working in such a way and genre and truly and honestly making a hard hitting, darker blues album that still feels, acts, and spits the blues but also with some psychedlia and stoner amplifications!  They even manage to pull off an interesting cover of The Rolling Stones and end the record at ‘Home’ where you kind of wonder – how did we really get here?  Such an interesting pay off!  “Homecoming” is more than that, they make it into a reckoning with hope in mind but with smashingly excellent reality in lyrics, vocals, and production no matter what the scope of the track is!  This is another year end contender for top 23 albums of 2023.

The Band
  • Diego Pani – Vocals, Harmonica
  • Marco Antagonista – Guitars
  • Ale Cau – Bass
  • Aggeo Solinas – Drums
Homecoming Track Listing
  1. The Rooster
  2. From the Cradle
  3. The Train
  4. John Henry Days
  5. Motorsound
  6. Slowly Coming Down
  7. Tempted
  8. Jupiter
  9. The Great Blue Heron
  10. Gimme Shelter [The Rolling Stones]
  11. Home

 

 

P J HarveyI Inside the Old Year Dying

Ms. Harvey has been fantastic at this kind of record mostly her entire career, and that’s even when she was writing deliberately eerie radio hit songs at the probably request of record label.  “I Inside the Old Year Dying” must be a reference and a record built around the effects, thought process, and pure avant garde emotion from her book of poetry, Orlam.  The poems are in native tongue from what I read, and since the songs on this album have a hint of that, and Ms Harvey doesn’t exactly sound exactly like herself, I’m going to stick with that theory.  In fact I’m going to think it might be purposefully done vocally.  Hell, I’m not going to even attempt to site anything, as now with three listens into this record through devoted, noise cancelling ear buds, I’m still trying to reckon and grapple with the lyrics.  But, I am, as always, amazed by her production quality and the masterful sounds and instrumentations (which she is proably responsible for over 80% of I’m sure) that are so background deep in this record that there’s a faint drum tap that almost songs like it’s in a distance that could never have possibly even been recorded. I’m not going to tell you where because it’s something you should experience on your own — once you realize it’s not some ambient surrounding sound from you, your car, or anything around you.

I have always appreciated P J Harvey’s career, her indie place in music, and her ability to envelope guest appearances or co-writers into her catalog within or far from her wheelhouse.  This album is definitely more her, as it has a lot of her heritage within (and as I looked up is primarily about the poems she produced).  While John Parish continues this collaboration, Ms. Harvey is the sure star here and for more than good reason, but the other co-star is the production and musicianship chosen to surround her!  This soundscape has polish, unmatching depth, and a very creative way of approaching foreground and background, teasing ambient, and of course adding momentum and creative whim-like bridges.  P J Harvey fans will be struck by it, and we’re all going to pay closer attention, listen harder, and really absorb it to experience it — but most of us knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as “To Bring You My Love” – not that that’s a bad thing by any means!  P J Harvey is still in a class all her own, and she’s not only comfortable there, but extremely provocatively creative with perhaps a hint more toward the subtle aspects instead of bombasticism (probably not a word). A challengingly good listen that I’m looking forward to diving back into, as well as hearing how it might play out live.  She’s still the post punk, if you will.  But, she has definitely pushed the boundaries in every direction of that marking.  She is a one-of-a-kind artist on so many levels that she should be mandatory listening for anyone in music studies.

The Band
  • P J Harvey – Vocals and more than likely all instruments.
  • John Parish – Guitar
  • Flood – Producer
I Inside the Old Year Dying Track Listing
  1. Prayer at the Gate
  2. Autumn Term
  3. Lwonesome Tonight
  4. Seem an I
  5. The Nether-edge
  6. I Inside the Old Year Dying
  7. All Souls
  8. A Child’s Question, August
  9. I Inside the Old I Dying
  10. August
  11. A Child’s Question, July
  12. A Noiseless Noise

 

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