ALBUM REVIEW: In The Company Of Serpents – Lux

Denver Stoner/Sludge outfit In The Company Of Serpents has spent most of its eight years as a fluctuating two-piece, with only vocalist and guitarist Grant Netzorg as the constant. The arrival of Vermin Womb‘s JP Damron to the drumseat has seen an expansion to a trio with the addition of ex-Black Sheep of Kali stringman Ben Pitts and, maybe as a result, fourth album Lux (Self-Release) adds elements of invention and atmosphere to the core sound, demonstrating welcome growth. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Insect Ark – The Vanishing

For over eight years, Dana Schechter and Ashley Spungin created heavy, eerie soundscapes as Brooklyn-based duo Insect Ark. When this fragmented last year, with a new album and US tour in the pipeline, leading force Schechter found herself in a tight corner until a serendipitous union with former SubRosa drummer Andy Patterson enabled the renewed probability of both. Tour almost complete, it’s time for the fourth album The Vanishing (Profound Lore Records) to hit the airwaves and Patterson’s influence, together with a more intense writing process, sees the band’s sound throb with added weight. Continue reading

Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower

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“Go on and do something good for me now…”

Merely to read the above line evokes Film Noir or a seedy novel. Yet, from the mouth of Dorthia Cottrell, it is a resigned, dreamy incantation to the skies. The hookline to ‘Two Urns’, the opening track from Richmond Doom quintet Windhand’s third album Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse), drifts across the band’s trademark fuzzing, mind-crushing furrow like a mellow breeze.

This new venture possesses even more of the languid infectiousness evident on second album Soma (Relapse Records): Garrett Morris’ and Asechiah Bogdan’s riffs deceptively fluid and versatile; Ryan Wolfe’s cascading stickwork simplistic yet mind-blowing. It could almost be anachronistic yet sounds so vital, blending elements from the edgy Indie-Folk of Kristin Hersh with the Proto-power of Sabbath and the violent boundings of Soundgarden. As the bewitching centrepiece, full of mystic escapism, it’s easy to fix on Cottrell as the figurehead: yet the trance-like delivery is merely the most noticeable element of a unit as one, fully invested in its resonant creation.

The ensuing ‘Forest Clouds’ appears indolent yet gradually gains natural emotion and shuddering power: a slow, pulsing groove, made all the more seductive by those rising, subtly roared intonations and phenomenal rolls and fills from Wolfe. Despite the overriding Occult feel, these lazy, crushing waltzes reek of the insouciant yet bilious depression of Grunge, from that occasionally zoned-out drawl to the grimy riffs and plaintive, oscillating solos. The mournful acoustics of Soma reappear also: the intro to the dropped-out, Nirvana-like fuzz of ‘Crypt Key’ paving the way for the gorgeous, tragic smokiness of ‘Sparrow’ and heartbreaking closer ‘Aition’.

Parker Chandler’s pulverising notes add weight to the calming heaviness of ‘Hyperion’ while the crawling terror of the epic ‘Hesperus’, packing a sinister punch to dwarf Electric Wizard and with some deliciously drifting harmonies, develops a nasty quality which surprisingly suits the sound. The similarly lengthy ‘Kingfisher’, meanwhile, features switching rhythms and melodies evocative of The Wounded Kings: the howling, pedal-affected solos and atmospheric ambience reflecting the Devon fivesome’s invention.

At over 70 minutes long this is a typically ambitious Windhand offering. It is also undeniably ‘them’ yet something has happened here; an unsettling event or rite of passage, propelling this captivating outfit to the stars without drastically changing their identity. In doing so it has enabled the band to create its most sombre, hypnotic, emotive and supreme piece of work.

 

8.5/10

 

PAUL QUINN

Exclusive Stream: Nostalgist – Of Loves and Days Ago Album

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Nostalgist, photo by Shane Williams

On the verge of releasing their new album, Seattle post-punk shoegaze act Nostalgist have teamed up with Ghost Cult to present a full stream for Of Loves and Days Ago (Nostalgium Directive) due out on July 10th. To celebrate the release, the band is undertaking a West Coast tour starting this Friday, with a hometown show at Barboza with VibraGun and Winnebago. A full list of dates can be seen below. A haunting sonic throwback full of clever songcraft, hear Of Loves and Days Ago now:

 

Led by Asa Eisenhardt on vocals and guitar, Nostalgist also counts Connor Keogh on bass and Mark Knowles on drums in their ranks. Formed in late 2012, Of Loves and Days Ago is the follow up to 2013’s acclaimed Monochromantic EP, which featured Nick Bassett (Whirr, Nothing, Deafheaven) on lead guitar and engineered/mixed/mastered by Jack Shirley.

 

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Of Loves and Days Ago track listing

1. Cold Open

2. Pull of the Plow

3. Dreaming in Celluloid

4. The Derelict

5. Stillframe

6. An Unbroken Take

7. Blast of Silence

8. The Void at My Feet

 

 

Nostalgist tour dates:

July 10: Barboza – Seattle, WA w/ VibraGun, Winnebago

July 11: Rotture – Portland, OR 21+ 315 SE 3rd Avenue w/ Satsuma, Sabonis, Spirit Host

July 12: Old Nick’s- Eugene, OR w/Satsuma, Paleons, Josh Finch

July 13: Press Club- Sacramento, CA NMBRSTTN (Number Station), Fifi, Color of Closure

July 14: The Hemlock – San Francisco, CA w/ Lotus Thief, Whatfunlifewas

July 15: Third Eye Records- Long Beach, CA w/ Crisis Arm, Cruelty Code

July 16: Sweet Springs Saloon – San Luis Obispo, CA w/ Hollow Sunshine, Crisis Arm, Paperman

July 17: PTP La Cita PTP – Los Angeles, CA @ La Cita w/ Crisis Arm

Nostalgist online

Nostalgst on Facebook

Nostalgist Book West Coast Tour Ahead of New Album

NostalgistTourDates (1)

Seattle post-punk shoegaze act Nostalgist have booked a west coast tour to support their new full length Of Loves and Days Ago (Nostalgium Directive) due out on July 10th. A full list of dates can be seen below.

Led by Asa Eisenhardt on vocals and guitar, Nostalgist also counts Connor Keogh on bass and Mark Knowles on drums in their ranks. Formed in late 2012, Or Loves and Days Ago is the follow up to 2013’s acclaimed Monochromatic EP, which featured Nick Bassett (Whirr, Nothing, Deafheaven) on lead guitar and engineered/mixed/mastered by Jack Shirley.

NostalgistLiveatHighDiveHi-Res

Nostalgist live, photo by Shane Williams


Of Love and Days Ago track listing

1. Cold Open

2. Pull of the Plow

3. Dreaming in Celluloid

4. The Derelict

5. Stillframe

6. An Unbroken Take

7. Blast of Silence

8. The Void at My Feet

 

 

Nostalgist tour dates:

July 10: Barboza – Seattle, WA w/ VibraGun, Winnebago

July 11: Rotture – Portland, OR 21+ 315 SE 3rd Avenue w/ Satsuma, Sabonis, Spirit Host

July 12: Old Nick’s- Eugene, OR w/Satsuma, Paleons, Josh Finch

July 13: Press Club- Sacramento, CA NMBRSTTN (Number Station), Fifi, Color of Closure

July 14: The Hemlock – San Francisco, CA w/ Lotus Thief, Whatfunlifewas

July 15: Third Eye Records- Long Beach, CA w/ Crisis Arm, Cruelty Code

July 16: Sweet Springs Saloon – San Luis Obispo, CA w/ Hollow Sunshine, Crisis Arm, Paperman

July 17: PTP La Cita PTP – Los Angeles, CA @ La Cita w/ Crisis Arm

Nostalgist online

Nostalgst on Facebook