Author Archives: HalfEdgeMedia

A Post Modernist Road Movie

West Coast Sick Line

The Road to Billinge Hill

German Shepherd

1st August 2014

Billinge Front Adjusted Black Border Option 1

When it comes around to album of the year it will be a straight up fight between Kill Pretty‘s “Bubblegum Now!”, which hopefully will be out in September, and this third outing from West Coast Sick Line.

And yes I know that  there have been plenty of great albums this year already, and no doubt there will be a lot more to come, but I am convinced that nothing else will come close to what we have here, and the aforementioned planned double CD set from the Pretty ones.

We’ve been building up to this of course, the progress from “Hope You All Have Nightmares, Except Kirsty” through “Our Name on the Door” to this collection of songs is evident and immensely pleasing. The trade mark Dusty Moonan tunes are here, but Stacey Bates is clearly a more potent force in the partnership this time around. The writing has moved up a notch, and as usual it’s lyrically excellent with the usual balance of wry humour, intemperate ranting and sardonic observation.

There is a sort of concept thing going on here, a journey if you would, but it’s not a linear tale, more a series of observations. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end but they aren’t obvious, a post modernist take on a love story perhaps?

The journey starts with a train announcement from Colwyn Bay station mapping out a journey east to Greater Manchester – the drums kick off in tribal style and we are off with a guitar riff in Knack territory with Moonan venting through filtered vocals. A great opener. The short “Keep Her Talking” with its call and response between Dusty and Stacey is a breathtakingly glam-tastic slice of pop-punk. With “You Again” Bates is to the fore with a stunning vocal performance via a tune which echoes Dusty Springfield, an amazing song which places North Wales kitchen sink drama in a para-Motown world – Moonan plays clever little musical tricks, dropping referential hints, the song moves from moody UK soul to straight out rock and roll with effortless wonder, it’s like he has extracted the high points of UK pop over the last 40 years and distilled them in an impossibly wonderful song. Imagine Burt Bacharach co-writing a tune with Godley & Creme with orchestration by John Barry.

“Polygramme Video” is repetitive  in an ear-worm sense, Dusty looks back to the days of VHS/Betamax wars with a caustic wit.

“Into Ya Home” is a typical Moonan rant focusing on some sort of tirade against the middle classes – insanely catchy glam-rock hooks, pumping beats and funky bass, with some sexy uttering from Stacey, make this rather special.

“Wasp In The Car” is pure genius – echoing Roy Wood at his best – the Beatles come to mind as well – both the lyrics and the melodic development is mesmerising taking 60s pop hooks and placing them very firmly in the 21st century. Compare this say with Elbow and their recent releases and this frankly wipes the floor with the Bury misanthropes.


The second half of the album gets a little more experimental and varied- “Harry Christ” is an acoustic led exploration – I wasn’t sure about it at first but it grows on repeat plays into an impressive tour de force.

“Be The Sunrider” deals with the myth that “Blade Runner” the film was filmed at Stanlow Power Station, “Roundabouts of Birchwood” gets into rock and roll/jive territory no doubt will sound great live, and concludes with a self-deprecating comment.

The last ten minutes of the album are breath-taking – the epic “Bubonic Church” is a triumph of light and shade – with a catchy refrain builds into a crescendo chorus. They say you should always leave them wanting more and closing track “She Reads Subtitles Aloud” certainly does the trick. Starting with a basic guitar line and matching vocals it develops into a catchy pop/rock tune, which then morphs into a piece of experimental word play and then resolves in a superb coda. If you aren’t immediately pressing the repeat play button on this one then I despair of you!

If you want a comparison or two lets say Todd Rundgren at his most inventive, 10CC at their height and in terms of structure and content, but not necessarily sound, I guess i’m looking at something like The Go-Betweens “Tallulah” or “Hex Enduction Hour” by The Fall. There is real genius at work here and you need to listen.

And here is a virtual interview conducted via cyberspace with Dusty about the album…..

So,  the third album – what were you hoping to achieve?

 This was supposed to be our second album. However, the guys didn’t like the idea at the time. In retrospect, they were right as ‘Our name on the door’ really did depict where we were. Getting drunk and having fun.  The Pop element of it kicked down doors and introduced us to an audience we may never have got if we went straight into a concept album at that point. ‘Kirsty’ has a vague theme and I wanted ‘Our Name’ to do too, but it didn’t and that’s just the way it went. But I didn’t want another Pop album this time. If we tried to do stuff like ‘The North’ or ‘431’ again it would have felt like we were forcing it.

States (Stacey Bates)  is more of a partner in this release – was that deliberate?

States being more involved was totally deliberate. There have been so many occasions where I have listened to the previous two albums and wished she sang more. Ever since I came back from Glasgow three years ago she has been the only constant when everyone else has come and gone. I really wanted her to take the lead on some from the start, but it’s difficult, as I write impulsively. It was a happy accident that the parts she sung on sound like they were written for her as she does such a great job,  “You Again”, which I think she could have written herself. One of my favourite aspects of Billinge is States being involved so much.

Is it a concept album? What’s the underlying message.

The concept initially came about because I’ve been accused of always writing in character. I find it’s a good disclaimer for when I write something a bit lewd. I still do on this album, but much of it is from personal experience. Even stuff like family troubles. Some of the lyrics are uncomfortably personal, but I lighten them up with humor so they sound more flippant. It kind of freaked me out a bit when I got too close.

My whole world until the age of about 22 was Colwyn Bay to Wigan and all in between. The fictional part comes in the form of the characters in the story. It’s based on a teenage love lost when the girl moves to Billinge leaving the main protagonist in Colwyn Bay. Some of it is based on real relationships where you mould them all into one, then its part road story about getting to Billinge by any means to rekindle the love that died 20 years before.


There is a strong 60s feel on some tracks – do you agree?

Yeah, I agree. A bit 70’s too. I’m unsure if some of that comes from the players. Like Dragan’s drums or Mark’s Piano. Some of the nervous energy that dominated the previous two albums was gone and I think the songs are more crafted. I hate that term ‘Crafted’, makes me sound like a twat. But the songs rely more on dynamics and emotion, rather than fun jams. I possibly wanted to conform on the previous album, but it was important that this album sounded exactly how I felt. A journey we can take the listener on. Pleasing anyone was the last thing on my mind in regards to how commercial the songs were. I thought we had enough pop songs on the previous album, so we could please ourselves this time. If any of them sound like singles, that’s fantastic, but it wasn’t deliberate. I think it’s more focused as a result and stands up more as a complete album.

What is Bubonic Church about?

Haha. It was originally the opening track and the story was supposed to start off with a murder. Inspired by Raymond Pettibon’s artwork on Sonic Youth’s ‘Goo’ of  Hindley & Smith. Then the two characters ran off to Billinge. I was talked out of that idea by States, so I came up with the love  story. That’s why ‘Bubonic ‘and ‘Into Ya Home’ sound out of context, lyrically. They are mainly there as I thought they were strong songs. Actually, the folks at German Shepherd talked me into putting “Into Ya Home” on the album. I mean, some of those psychedelic road movies don’t even have a beginning, middle or an end. It has all of them. So the narrative is a lot clearer than some of that stuff.

You are rehearsing the live band at the moment – gigs soon?

We’ve been rehearsing for about two months and we’re just about ready. Got an amazing rhythm section in Nathan & Richie as well as States shocking us all with how quickly she’s picked up the keys. We’ve worked on making the songs more of a performance, so we’ve changed a few things around. One thing is for sure, you won’t be seeing your average shoe gazers when you come to see us.

A limited edition CD version of the album will be available via German Shepherd and for sale at gigs.

The album will be available from German Shepherd from Friday 1st August  – here


Over there in Barrytown they do things very strange…..

Curry Quiche are back with a new single, and there is a forthcoming album I am advised, it’s as good as the last one we are in for a treat

As Old World New Wave, the long-awaited new full-length from Los Angeles’ otherworldly doom weavers, Ides Of Gemini, draws near, the band offers up a haunting new trailer to whet the appetites of fans hungry for their forthcoming platter of ethereal nightmares. Directed and produced by singer/bassist Sera Timms and shot by Timms with drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson, the stunning, near-five-minute clip is pretty damn impressive.

Ides Of Gemini features Timms (also of Los Angeles dark-psych alchemists Black Mare), Johnston-Gibson and guitarist Jason Bennett. The follow-up to the band’s 2012 Constantinople debut, Old World New Wave was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Johnston-Gibson.

Old World New Wave will be released on CD and digitally via Neurot Recordings and on vinyl via SIGE Records on September 15th, 2014.

The culmination of four years writing and editing, Anjou marks the first collaboration between Labradfordʼs Robert Donne and Mark Nelson since the release of that groupʼs fixed:context LP.

Combining modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation, Anjou deftly weaves noise with gentle ambience and melody with texture. Guitar, bass and Steven Hessʼ (Locrian, Fennesz, Pan American) live percussion give the eight pieces an immediacy and create a framework for the more abstract sounds of digital and analog synth programming.

The product of twenty plus years of friendship, Anjou is refined and challenging. An extension of the Labradford sound-world but no mere victory lap, Anjou represents Donne and Nelson stepping out and forward, their eyes firmly focusing on the future.

Here is a preview of the track “Sighting” from the album…..

Southern Lord have revealed the full details for Poison Everything, the debut full-length from Southern California’s unhinged punk/hardcore outfit, Obliterations.

Comprised of current and ex-members of Black Mountain, Saviours and Night Horse, Obliterations deliver a blazing blend of Poison Idea, Discharge, and Black Flag, set to a wild and thrilling live show. A day after returning from their Southwest US Tour in March, the band recorded with producer Chris Owens (Lords, Coliseum, Young Widows) at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in only three days. Mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire, Black Breath) at God City Studio in Salem, Massachusetts, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Tragedy, Integrity, Sleep) at Audiosiege, the end result of Poison Everything is a thirteen-song, twenty-nine-minute record full of raw brutality, darkness and aggression, the album weaving its way through the annals of punk and hardcore, while still sounding fresh and vital.

The lead track “Mind Aint Right” is a two-minute blast harkening back to early ‘80s Japanese hardcore akin to Gauze, Lip Cream and GISM, whereas the scorcher, “Scapegoat,” walks a razor’s edge between d-beat Discharge influence and Swiss pioneers Celtic Frost, and “Shame,” which opens with a riff that lodges itself nicely between Spacemen 3 and The MC5. The band has always been very open to expressing their influences and inspiration by a bevy of diverse muses including Alan Watts, Laughing Hyenas, Blue Oyster Cult, The Stooges, Alice Cooper, Paul Bowles and Suicide. The blueprint isn’t the point here, it’s the results. The sound is abrasive and raw, driving and aggressive, and fully infectious. Obliterations’ mission is simple a one; write, record, tour, and that’s just what they do.

Poison Everything will see release on Southern Lord, October 27th in the UK/Europe. The track listing and cover artwork by renowned tattoo artist, Derrick Snodgrass have been released, with samples of the album’s destructive audio content, several official videos and much more to be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, Obliterations will embark on a two-week US West Coast Southern Lord tour in October, including dates in Canada with fellow labelmates Baptists and Torch Runner, and also joined by ‘80s Texas punk legends, Offenders, on select dates in California. The band will then fly over to the UK/Europe in November and December for an extensive run of dates throughout. More details on both tours to follow.

In celebration of the band’s upcoming European Tour, Portland, Oregon’s  huggable hard rock supervillains Red Fang have released a free acoustic EP via Metal Hammer, Bandcamp, Amazon MP3 and all streaming portals. The EP was recorded this past March in London as an Absolute Music Bunker session for The songs mark the first time the band recorded any acoustic interpretations of their material and the EP includes the original album versions of each track as well. Additionally, the band recently shot a music video for their new song “The Meadows” from their Scion A/V 7” released in May.  The video was directed by David Brodsky (Kylesa, Helmet, Municipal Waste) and will premiere shortly.




Death Metal, Electronica, Aural Terror and Manchester Pop

I have to admit I have found it hard to sit down and write stuff over the last few weeks. Apart from the intense heat, there’s been the distraction of several cricket matches to attend, plus the Manchester Jazz Festival –  however the last 48 hours has seen a cascade of new material to talk about so I thought I’d better something down before I get so far behind i’ll never catch up with myself.

Anyhow – first up some exciting news – the excellent Dope Body , from Baltimore, have a new album out on October 21st on Drag City. It’s called “Lifer” and if the preview track below is anything to go by it should be a bit of a corker…..

San Antonio’s black death metal  band, Hod, release their long-awaited new full-length on 9th September  via Arctic Records. Titled “Book of the Worm” , the follow-up to last year’s “The Uncreated Demo”  teaser, which was likened to a “snake eating itself and a bigger snake eating the smaller snake, a kind of infinite and horrifically malign Ouroboros,” was produced by Dennis Munoz (Solstice), features the recording line-up of guitarist Necron, vocalist Vladibeer Reebs, bassist T.A. and former drummer Dennis Sanders and boasts eight blasting tunes  Comments the band, “Finally, it  is finished! Through Hell and back we went to get this completed. Comrades fell. Labels failed. Studios changed. But we soldiered forth with iron determination and it is done. Blood, sweat and sacrifice are the ingredients”. Listening to it on a hot summers night was a delightful experience. Here’s the aforementioned teaser which will give you a sense of what to expect – I will feature a track on next weeks Sonic Attack podcast

After just over a year of waiting Borland have finally released part one of their “Omar” self styled quadrilogy, and it’s been well worth the wait, and is remarkably refreshing. All of the usual Gregg/Breen things are here but it kicks off with a haunting piano ballad which is light years away from their usual output, I say a piano ballad it soon develops into something a little more than that,  with some remarkable tonal shifts, and trademark laminal morphing. After that it’s the usual attention to orchestral detail that sets them apart from the usual purveyors of electronica. Particularly notable is the chilling “Valentine” which manages to balance malevolence, eerie vocal utterances, and delicate tendrils of sound – coming across like a mutant version of Sigur Ros.  As with track one the excellent “Idea Diamond” takes the piano as it’s core instrument and builds a serial repetition of notes under a distant collection of voices – both epic and emotional. I await, with some anticipation,  the remaining three parts of this release.

You may remember radio show favourites Da Mutts who morphed into Boxhead & Gloves , and who released a remarkable concept album called “Soldier” which I featured on the podcasts. Well they are back with a couple of tracks “Naughtiness” and “Parades” – the former a mind-flipping switch in direction into motorik  electronica, the latter more of their usual output, with a delicious piece of Manc Pop which quotes Percy Shelley and reflects the rich musical heritage of the northern capital with echoes of 10cc. I ran into Stan from the band at Steve Hanley’s book launch the other week and I am pretty sure we had a good conversation about what they were up to, but a combination of cider and red wine on the evening appears to have wiped that from my failing memory.

Taser Puppets have sorted out their new line-up, and have a set of mostly new tunes to share in a live setting according the latest reports from Mr Maxwell.  As a bridging transitional type thingy they have released “The Ralph McTell Must Die Album” which features a bewildering array of tunes from across the recent history of the band – mostly acoustic, but notably the excellent “Revolution Wall” which is a blistering piece of pop-psych-garage, and another version of the cover of Bowie’s “Five Years” featuring itinerant troubadour and all round genius Dusty Moonan on guest vocals. Well worth checking out.

I’m slowly working my way through the aforementioned Steve Hanley (auto) biography which is called “The Big Midweek” – it is highly enjoyable, well written, and it does confirm some of my already well embedded views about life inside The Fall. As co-author Olivia Piekarski said at the launch it comes across more like a novel, there are some interesting hitherto unknown revelations which are remarkable in the context of the output of the band. Even if you are not a fan of The Fall the book is well worth a read in respect of understanding the internal dynamics of a band and the balance between “real life” and life in the music business. I am particularly impressed that it does not trade in on nostalgia but instead provides an effective perspective of the world of independent and alternative music over the last twenty plus years.

And finally – the second full-length release from Pig Heart Transpant – the solo works of Jon Kortland of Iron Lung — will be released this September, as a conjoined release between 20 Buck Spin and the band’s own Iron Lung Records. The album entitled “For Mass Consumption”  and is composed of twenty-eight tracks, each approximately forty-four seconds long, each song bearing a four-letter word. Electronic manipulation, no wave guitar noise, abrasive hammering and eerie synthetic ambiance remind me of early Swans on tracks like “Film” or “Pigs,” the pulsing throb of Brighter Death Now and IRM on “Coma” or even Robert McNaugton’s soundtrack work for Henry: Portrait Of Serial Killer on “1970” or “1980.”
Devotees of early Swans, SPK, Test Dept, Bastard Noise, Pharmakon, Godflesh and of course, Iron Lung, will enjoy this one. Again I shall feature this on next weeks Sonic Attack.




What is this & what is that?

India Mill


Bold Venture Music via AWAL distribution

15th September 2014

I played this some time ago whilst I was still on the steam wireless and it got into my Top 100 tunes of 2012,  any way that lovely Mr Gilberg says It’s been remixed and remastered and will now be on the album ‘Under Every Sky’, which is due for release November 2014.

I liked it then and I like it even more now.

You can catch them at the excellent New Continental in Preston on 5th September along with New York Tourists and Good Foxy.

Contacts and such like:



India Mill


Heart felt emotion

The Shaker Hymn

Rascal’s Antique

Heavy Noids

Out Now

Shaker Hymn

The Shaker Hymn is a young four piece alternative rock band from Cork, Eire.

Their debut album is rather good indeed. Melodically strong, well written, and, and a lead vocalist in Caoilian Sherlock  who can hold a tune and deliver it with a fascinating  mixture of nonchalance and heart felt emotion. The great thing about this band is that they are not immediately comparable with what is hip at the moment – they have a unique alt.rock feel which does not immediately bore, like so many bands tagged with that epithet. There’s an assuredness in these performances which belies their youthfulness and for a first outing it is remarkably good. Not only in sound, but in sensibility and song-craft, I am reminded of the best of The Go-Betweens and The Triffids- strong praise indeed! I can’t find a bad song in the ten tunes on the album.

Many thanks to James Scanlon for bringing this to my attention.

I highly recommend this album and suggest you have a listen to it. A strong contender for album of the year.





Noise News

Obake are back, with a second album out in October on Rare Noise Records. We are advised to expect something where the energies of metal fuse with ambient electronica, jazz, and noise with the precision of math-rock and the groove of blues.

Here is the band,  with Trevor Dunn on bass, at the Assymetry Festival in 2012

Le Butcherettes have joined Ipecac Recording’s roster and will release their second album release, Cry Is For The Flies, on Sept. 15 via the Bay Area label in conjunction with Nadie Sound. The album features guests Henry Rollins (“Moment of Guilt”) and Shirley Manson (“Shame, You’re All I’ve Got”).  Le Butcherettes is Teri Gender Bender (vocals, guitar, keys) and Lia Braswell (drums). Pending that here’s something from the Sin Sin Sin album

Pallbearer‘s new track “The Ghost I Used To Be” is available.   This is the first new Pallbearer song to surface from their forthcoming new album, Foundations Of Burden, which will be available on August 25th from Profound Lore and is available for pre-order now:

I’ve reviewed the Wolves In The Room new album Celestite elsewhere on the blog, here’s another preview track….

Some forthcoming releases to keep an eye out for this month


This release is an expansion of their digital only debut Five Minutes which they gave away last year as a free download via their website. Bowl Ethereal are a duo from Virginia comprising Brian Metz (Amish Control Tower) on guitar, bass and production, and influential math metal luminary Pen Rollings (Honor Role, Breadwinner, Loincloth) on drums and also arrangement and deconstruction duties. On this Brad Boatright mastered 7″, the band opt for brevity, offering up 6 songs in 6 minutes (adding one more song to the original five). This 7″ is limited to 600 copies and shall be available at this link and here’s a link to find out more
As previously reported hey have a string of dates coming up, none of which in the Manchester area – nearest options are 23rd July Maguires, Liverpool and 24th July Packhorse, Leeds. The album is described as a mixture of sludge and punk – looking forward to getting an advance copy to share with you via podcast.
A fully-comprehensive discography from Swedish raw punk act, Electric Funeral is due for release. The brainchild of Jocke D-takt – also of Paranoid, Desperat, Warvictims, Totalt Jävla Mörker and countless other acts – Electric Funeral’s pure angst-ridden style explodes out of the speakers with relentless noise, bursting with energy. The album surges with the sounds of Anti-Cimex, Gloom, Discharge and the like, to blazing speeds in the vein of Disclose and Krömosom, and charges straight at the listener with unstoppable force from beginning to end of every single track recorded to date, all of which are now packed into Total Funeral, with over an hour-and-a-half of carnage with fifty-three tracks in total, including the Harvester Of DeathMake Noise Not War,D-Beat Noise AttackThe Face of WarMake A ChangeGröndalenIn League With Darkness and Order From Disorder releases, the split with Go Filth Go, and even several previously-unreleased and new/unreleased tracks. Here is their 2012 release.
Martyrdöd have completed recording their fifth album, Elddop, at Studio Fredman – the follow up to the powerful declaration of political rage that was Paranoia in 2012.  The band’s fifth LP is the most emotionally intrusive record of the Swedish four-piece yet. Relentlessly forcing its way into the most obscure corners of the human mind, Elddop challenges the darkness by way of confronting it, and thus already pierces its way through the black, towards spiritual release.

 The daring 14 song record allows Martyrdöd to elaborate on some of the musical themes and influences that have long characterised their sound. Securely placed in traditional Swedish hardcore punk such as Anti-Cimex, Martyrdöd stands on the shoulders of giants, seeing further, wanting more. Enchanting melodies and Bathory-esque folk music finds a perfect fit in war charged d-beat mayhem.
 They have also recruited Fredrik Reinedahl on bass, who has stacked up production and engineering credits for bands, Sólstafir, Abandon, Burst, Crowpath, Dimension Zero, Gadget and Memfis to name a few.

Southern Lord release the CD/LP release in July with a special European version of the vinyl coming out on La Familia & D-beat Raw Punk. This release comes as perfect timing as the band shall be touring the UK and Europe with Converge throughout August, a great opportunity to hear their new songs live. The play Club Academy, Manchester on 4th August.



A persistent smile…….

When All This Was Fields

Volume One


Out Now

Well this cheered me up on a damp Friday afternoon in July whilst waiting for the football to start. In fact i’m grinning from ear to ear sitting here listening to it.

And how good to hear from James Stone (he of Soul Saboteur, The Loaded Dice etc) with news of a couple of new projects. The first of which is this collaboration with Jason Griffiths called When All This Was Fields.

I’ve always been particularly fond of Mr Stone’s voice and I am pleased to report he is still in fine form. The fruits of their labour is an EP called “Volume One”.

There are four tracks which can be found at the duo’s Soundcloud page. Here is strand out track “Shades of Red”, but I do encourage you to check out the rest as they are quite exceptional.

Stone’s blue eyed soul is complimented with impressive string sounds, and bright arrangements which carry melodic tunes – instantly memorable and had me reaching for the repeat button. Imagine Van Morrison singing over a Joe Boyd arrangement for a Nick Drake album and you are getting somewhere close to the sound.

The insanely catchy opening track “That’s Not Me” is a stunner.

It’s high time that Stone’s voice was given a much wider audience and hopefully this collaboration will gain some plaudits and attention.

The E.P. was recorded at West Orange Recording Studio by Alan Gregson.

The other project is a band called “Porter’s Forces” – more on them once the material is sent through.

I strongly suggest you check this out.


Souls Saved Here


Strength and Conditioning

316 Productions

29th July 2014


Long-running Queens, NYC-based punk/hardcore crossover act, SOS, has completed their fifth full-length album, and are preparing to release Strength And Conditioning this July.

Since the late 1990s, SOS, has expended their energetic and dynamic melodic punk/hardcore/thrash upon locals across the New York City area and beyond, as well as internationally via their own self-released albums. Their sound has continually shifted into more chaotic and rampant directions on record, but has continuously held true to their own identity. Elements of buoyant punk rock and melodic post-hardcore meshed with big leads and solos give way to crushing hardcore with a lunatic edge. Layered backup singing and gang chants jack-up the unhinged lead vocals which virtually defy any genre categorization alone. The raging but cohesive end product is always a unique listen, on everything the band has released, including their 1999 debut, SOS, The Mob and The Limo Love Scam, 2001’s Adios Bandito, 2005’s A Guide To Better Living, and most recent album, 2008’s Adult Situations, all of which were independently released on CD and digital via the band’s 316 Productions, and are available for free download at their Bandcamp page.

The album a nearly forty-eight minute excursion into rambunctiousness and barrier-free musical chaos. Recorded and mixed by Travis Harrison at Serious Business Studios, mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music and featuring artwork from Louis Campagna from LRC Graphics, the fourteen-track Strength And Conditioning closes SOS’ six-year gap since their last album with more action-packed whacko hardcore mayhem than ever.

A glorious racket, totally unhinged, highly recommended.

David DeCanio – bass
Nick Pursche – guitars
Mike SOS – guitars/vocals
Brett Thompson – drums

sos band pic nyc marathon

Bring Back The Sunshine

Seems like an age since I have heard from young Mr Rice from The Wonderland Trip – who now appear to be a three piece with a new rhythm section (last time I saw them was in the Town Hall Hotel in deepest Eccles a couple of years back)  – anyhow they have a new video out of the excellent “Bring Back The Sunshine” – one of those life affirming tunes that makes you want to leap around a bit…check it out ….

Wonderland Trip

Heavenly Stones

Wolves In The Throne Room


Artemisia Records

7th July 2014

Those of you who will be aware of the orchestral death metal ambience of Wolves in the Throne Room  will be both  familiar and surprised by this latest release from the band.

Celestite sees the band take a deeper excursion into the crystalline synthesizer-driven domains that have long intrigued them. With the aid of producer Randall Dunn, the band unearthed a hidden sound scape that is only loosely tethered to their usual sound, yet is still unmistakably the work of Wolves in the Throne Room.

WITTR_celestiteThe band says : “To make Celestite we delved into the subterranean sonics that are buried in the mix of Celestial Lineage. We isolated them, processed them and took this unearthed soundscape as our starting point. Upon this base we recorded an entirely new album. Some melodies from Celestial Lineage are recognisable, but these familiar sounds appear as ghosts, barely tethered to the original compositions. This new album is an unorthodox foray; a fully instrumental, experimental companion record to Celestial Lineage. We left some work undone with Celestial Lineage. The recording of that album in the Winter of 2011 was a monumental project for us personally, and the creative fire from those recording sessions was still burning. This recording process was an opportunity to journey into our own inner universe to complete that which needed to be completed.”

Paired once again with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Master Musicians Of Bukkake), Celestite came to fruition at Avast Studios and the band’s own Olympia-based studio Owl Lodge. While cloistered during the recording sessions they made use of a mammoth arsenal of crumbling vintage equipment including a Serge Modular System, Korg Poly6, Korg MS20, Korg Mono/Poly, Roland Juno 106, Roland Jupiter 6, Roland Super jx10, Jomox Airbase 99, Access Virus and more. The album also features a guest wind ensemble including friends Josiah Boothby on French Horn, Steve Moore (Earth, Sunn O))), Stebmo) on Trombone, and both Mara Winter and Veronica Dye on flute.

The upcoming release of Celestite is doubly exciting for them  as it will mark another new venture for the duo; the inaugural release on their own new label, Artemisia Records. The band states, “Artemisia Records is the imprint the we created to release Celestite and future albums. Most importantly for us, working on this album has revealed a whole new vein of creative energy for WITTR. Now that the long trip of creating this album is finished, our appetite is whetted for future projects, thus we feel it necessary to pre-empt the inevitable chatter that will accompany the release of this record. WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM has not permanently abandoned the guitar and drums! We sense that one day — perhaps sooner, perhaps later — we will be inspired to return to our stacks of amplifiers and cabinets to create new music.”

Since 2002, over the course of 4 studio albums and hundreds of live performances Wolves in the Throne Room have refracted the transcendent and mythic aspects of Black Metal through their own idiosyncratic approach. The resulting essence is music that is intimately linked to the wild lands of the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

The sonic variations displayed here offer potential new audiences for the band – the layers of guitar and synthesizer provide for a sound scape which emerges from it’s Black Metal roots in a blaze of anthemic ambience. As the title implies this is a meditative and inspirational collection of music which allows the listener time for quiet reflection and deep thought.


Photo credit Chris Beug

Photo credit Chris Beug


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