Ghost Cult scratched one off the interview bucket list recently by chatting with Andy Gibbs of Thou! We talked all about Thou’s new collaborative album with Emma Ruth Rundle – May Our Chambers Be Full (read our review here), due out on October 30th via Sacred Bones. Andy candidly chatted about writing with Emma, long in the works and put into fruition via Walter Hoeijmakers of Roadburn, how the band and Emma complemented each other, the concepts delved into the album, working with photographer Craig Mulcahy, their hoped-for joint tour and festival plans for the album getting ruined by covid-19, the bands’ penchant for covers and slowing down on them in the future, and what the next phase of Thou music might look like. Purchase the album here and listen to our chat.
Roadburn Festival, largely due to the impetus of its main organiser and curator Walter Hoeijmakers, has often acted as a hub for all manner of interesting collaborations between artists who sit in the arty or experimental corners of the heavy music world. May Our Chambers Be Full (Sacred Bones) the new collaboration album from Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, is the latest creation which owes a debt to the festival, conceived as it was in the wake of the two artists’ joint set at 2019’s Roadburn. Continue reading
Brighton UK quartet Collectress is pleasantly barking. Not the London borough, you understand: just barking mad, in an endearing way. Describing their two-decades-old history as one of Chamber Krautpop doesn’t do it justice: instead, try SubRosa without the weight but with mischief lurking around every corner. Latest album Different Geographies (Peeler Records) is so named as a tribute to the band’s ability to maintain creativity over new, split locations and life priorities – a testament to love and loyalty rarely able or evident in the music world today. Continue reading
The haunting Goddess that is Emma Ruth Rundle just doesn’t know when to stop. Since releasing an EP as a founder member of The Nocturnes in 2008, she has released a product every year with Post-Rockers Red Sparowes and under her own guises. Oft mentioned in glowing terms alongside such powerful performers as PJ Harvey, Tori Amos and Lana Del Rey, On Dark Horses (Sargent House) is the LA chanteuse’s fourth album under her own name, and is again filled with deep, shuddering emotion. Continue reading
For those unaware of the sinister, weird magnificence of David Lynch, his films and series are usually accompanied by equally strange yet wonderful music: edgy, dark, seductive, indulging the seedy side of Americana. Young Widows frontman Evan Patterson’s solo project Jaye Jayle fits this bill perfectly, its Dark Country-style jangle carrying a profound melancholy, and with sophomore album No Trail And Other Unholy Paths (Sargent House) being produced by Lynch’s musical adviser Dean Hurley, there’s an added resonance here. Continue reading
Those unfamiliar with the sonic charms of Purson may wonder if the glut of praise engulfing the Southend quintet is garnered mainly by mystical talisman Rosalie Cunningham. There’s more than enough retrograde magic oozing from the pores of second album Desire’s Magic Theatre (Spinefarm Records), however, to justify the hype.Steeped in Folk-Pop whimsy, ‘Electric Landlady’s blend of mid-70s Glam and Prog is graced with oscillating organ notes: its wistful melodies leaning towards All About Eve, alongside Cunningham’s Julianne Regan-like plaintiveness. The vocal lines of the Folky, progressive ‘The Sky Parade’ possess that band’s brittle, striking harmonies and evoke their halcyon days beautifully, whilst the body of the track retains an eerie chord structure and pungent atmospheres. ‘The Way It Is’ and ‘Mr Howard’, however, bring comparison with the Indie-Pop of Regan’s short-lived Mice project: despite this, the Psychedelia coursing through the album increases the heavy feel of the latter’s rhythms.
Creativity abounds throughout: ‘Dead Dodo Down’ intersperses circus-style cascades with the brassy quirks of Tori Amos circa Boys For Pele (Atlantic / East West), all underpinned with that heady whiff of patchouli oil. Indeed, it’s not the only nod to the Goddess of Heartbreaking Piano: ‘Pedigree Chums’ remains rooted in the …Pele experimentation, seedy sax embellishing a lazy, hypnotic delivery and Raphael Mura’s mesmeric drum sequences. The languid, swaying ‘The Window Cleaner’ and closer ‘The Bitter Suite’, meanwhile, perfectly embody the retro, ‘60s Hippie’ feel, possessing subtle Eastern progressions and an air of The Doors’ lighter moments. ‘…Suite’ is the most experimental chapter: moving passages accompanied by flute solos and Jazz inflections, whilst the elongated bridge is reminiscent of Bugsy Malone’s introspective scenes.
Nobody, however, can deny the influence of latter-day Beatles on the whole set. The dreamy ‘I Know’, its gently infectious vocal marrying with a ‘Sgt Pepper’-style centrepiece, is the greatest example: but the hallmark is everywhere and, strangely, it’s no bad thing when conducted by such a free, mischievous spirit. Radiating sunshine from even its most melancholy moments, Desire’s Magic Theatre will delight anyone who yearns for that 70s quirkiness to infect their lush, harmonic heaviness.
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There are a plethora of super young bands being scooped up by big labels left and right lately. Remember that when weighing the merits of wunderkind types, you need to judge slowly. From Mozart to Louis Armstrong, Sinatra to Little Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos to Jason Becker, Fiona Apple, Devin Townsend an now Adele; the bristling energy of a talented prodigy can make hearts pound. Recall that except for Adele, they didn’t have to deal with trolls on current social media who have neither talent nor any nurturing it seems. Since forming ten years ago Floridians Black Tide broke out with their explosive début Light From Above (Interscope), and they blew up as fast as their riffing little fingers were moving. In the years passed they have dealt with changing times, changing members, and a back biting scene.
However, the story does not end here and the arc of Black Tide’s career does fade out yet. Founder Gabe Garcia and longtime guitar partner Austin Diaz have matured past the Trivium-esque neo-thrash of their début and the active rock of Post Mortem to make an interesting mix of all those influences and much more. Chasing Shadows (Pavement Music) sees the band come into its own and becoming comfortable with uncomfortable: adulting in this cray decade.
When Chasing Shadows rocks, it blazes hot. After a dramatic classical intro ‘No Guidelines’ just rips. There is a confidence to match the talent now that has seasoned into form. Thrash, heavy metal, harmony guitar solos, great singing: all in the kitchen sink of well written songs. ‘Angel In The Dark’ has a faint hint of a pop-rock chorus, but doesn’t lose the script of a ballsy rocker. ‘Predator (Animal)’ is the best song on the album. Gabe and Austin are super talented shredders and when the band lets their inner Iron Maiden loose, you are sure to smile.
There are other worthy gems on here such as the title track, the stellar ‘Before We Form’ and the epic thrash closer ‘Promised Land’. There are some missteps too, and despite some competently performed balladry the band will always fall nearer to mid-era Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine than Shinedown or Seether. Nothing wrong with that at all by the way.
Those who caught last year’s startling eponymous EP from Danish priestess Myrkur will surely be frothing at the mouth in anticipation of début album M (both Relapse). The bewitching amalgam of aesthetics and frozen agonies decorating that EP is, it seems, the template here also: the tremendously affecting medieval harmonies and instrumentation of opener ‘Skøgen Skulle Dø’ gradually fired by a solitary scream and tremolo underpin, while the drop into the eerie coda is both stirring and unnerving.
The early stages of the album show a progression from that début, thanks in no small part to the production skills of Ulver’s Garm, and a host of guest musicians including Teloch and Christopher Amott. The tuba and piano marking ‘Hævnen’ are incredibly effective, whilst truly powerful roars and explosions of sound are balanced by winsome intonations. The lead guitar of ‘Onde Børn’ is augmented by apt pedalwork, giving it an ethereal quality which deafens the down-mixed, trad metal-style riff and blastbeats. As subtleties threaten to engulf, harsh strings produce a delightfully jagged, edgy coda for an almost perfect unity twixt the two poles.
Vocals are at times both exquisite and euphoric: the spellbinding ‘Vølvens Spådom’ a siren’s call, the blend of ecstasy and mourning given staggering might by a reverberating riff. The marching, resonant drums of ‘Jeg Er Guden…’, meanwhile, are enhanced by chiming bells and delightful switches from languid inflections to coruscating rasps. Indeed it occasionally feels as if the Black elements of Myrkur’s sound are something of a supporting cast: the heartbreaking beauty of the Tori Amos-esque ‘Nordlys’ and closer ‘Norn’, plus the lamenting ‘Bissan Lull’ sticking in the mind longer than the nonetheless effective ‘Mordet’ with its blend of Black and NWOBHM rhythms.
There remains enough hostility on offer to keep our extremists intrigued: ‘Skaði’ in particular, with truly chaotic, fearful passages akin to Aevangelist infesting its haunting body, leaves the bones nicely chilled. That something special is at work here cannot be ignored, and M is further proof that this talented, inventive lady is set to confound, attract, entrance and unite disparate factions for years to come.
Now apparently, this latest effort from Leaves Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine has been sold to us as ‘Ambient doom’. I can safely say that no version of doom has been anywhere near Vervain (Napalm) but within is a sound of some melancholy, despite adding only a touch of gravity to the more expected symphonic template.
Opening track ‘My Wilderness’ houses a sense of despair, lush keys creating a stirring atmosphere while Liv’s heavenly tones are accompanied by haunting backing vocals. The ensuing ‘Love Decay’ features dramatic 80s goth vocals from End of Green‘s Michelle Darkness, adding to the dark pop-rock feel which is given further piquancy by an spiky riff and crashing drums. The title track’s strange synths and gentle but driving beat underpin a gorgeous vocal which is Tori Amos-like at its height: indeed the quirky Goddess is evinced on a number of tracks here, not least in the roughed-up dub of ‘Creeper’ and closer ‘Oblivious’, both full of sparing leads and woolly key fills in the worst traditions of 80s AOR.
It’s a plaintive sound, that largely gothic instrumentation and dark, icicle-drop keys giving the style expected to the Benatar-ish ‘Stronghold of Angels’, which is given a harder edge by a wonderful contribution from Doro Pesch and some heady harmonies. Though devoid of extremity, even weaker moments such as the occasionally feeble ‘Hunters’ are given a little oomph by Kristine’s soaring, crystal-clear voice, full of emotion; the layered backing vocals; and those ‘riff and rhythm’-laden choruses. There’s a hint of Kate Bush also on the edgy ballad ‘Lotus’, evincing a bitter coffee in a lonely Parisian cafe.
There’s an unmistakable air of European rock about it all, even when that riff kicks in, yet it’s emotive despite the clinical over-production and delicious for devotees of heartfelt operatic rock. Liv’s honeyed notes are effortless, even aching on the mournful ‘Two and a Heart’, and overall it’s fairly pleasant though not the sort for rough old me. Catchy, sweet, and choc-full of darkness and melody, it’s Gothic Symphonia with an even softer heart.