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SalomeMarriages is a new band comprised of Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals, guitar), Greg Burns (bass, synthesizer) and David Clifford (drums). Their sound is a singularly sensual kind of heavy, dramatic rock, but perhaps the most stark contrast to their other band, Marriages employs vocals in their songs. Their music is also considerably darker and more experimental, drawn from a wide range of styles and ideas. Emma's breathy, understated delivery provides a focal point, the eye of the proverbial storm. A haunting presence, as elusive as it is alluring, her voice is a shore upon which waves of overdriven bass, thunderous drums, and cosmic guitars and synths swell and crash.
Kitsune is their 6-song debut release, a short introduction of an album whose undeniably epic proportions suggest massive things to come. Recorded with the formidable Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Red Sparowes, Tool) at the controls, Kitsune presents a collection of poignant, emotionally-charged tracks that wriggle free of easy classification. The comparisons are diverse; Cocteau Twins and Zola Jesus would appear to be as influential as Boris and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The songs came together quickly as the band wrote and played their first shows in November of 2011 and wrapped recording in January of 2012.
Album opener Ride in My Place sets the tone, immediately revealing the undulating, reverb-cloaked darkness at the band's core. Sounding not unlike PJ Harvey fronting an overdriven rendition of Pink Floyd's Echoes, the fittingly-titled song arrives as a fully-formed companion piece for expansive landscapes, perhaps traversing the vastness of the American west. Hardly overstaying its welcome, the track soon gives way to Body of Shade, whose cryptic lyrics suggests a sort of transcendence echoed in the music itself while Clifford's steady backbeat, the tense rhythm and the swirling interplay of synth and cascading guitars recall the finer moments of The Verve's early recordings.
Opening with a celestial keyboard loop and quickly gaining weight, third track Ten Tiny Fingers builds upon a heavy dirge-like rhythm punctuated by Rundle's vocals, which by now clearly occupy a place among esteemed peers such as Chelsea Wolfe and label mate Lisa Papineau. The song's cryptic, claustrophobic lyrics, contrasted with a loose (but by no means less thunderous) atmosphere and sense of impending collapse bring to mind The Cure, circa Pornography. The next track, Pelt, is born from the decaying remnants of Ten Tiny Fingers. A menacingly hypnotic three-minute meditation on minimalist doom, it serves as the perfect introduction to the distorted, bass-driven hard rock and wailing psychedelia of instrumental track White Shape.
Seven-minute closer Part the Dark Again is a song whose cinematic scope recalls precisely the kind of grandiosity the Red Sparowes are synonymous with, taken to its logical extreme. The impassioned, struggling-against-the-odds sentiment of the vocals takes things over the top emotionally, culminating in a soaring, melancholic riff that grinds to a halt far earlier than you'd expect. Throughout, Rundle unassumingly steps to the forefront, showcasing her unique talents as a guitarist often overlooked within the Red Sparowes' three guitar onslaught.
Kitsune is an exciting debut release from a band well aware of their potential, harnessing the skills to fulfill it. Marriages are an expansive, visionary development, a unique combination of elements, a sound signposting the path ahead. Kitsune will be released courtesy of Sargent House.1. The Liar
3. Santa Sangre
4. Southern Eye
7. Less Than
8. Love, Texas
9. Contender$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ApokalypsisChelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk - a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. After The Grime & The Glow, Wolfe relocated to Los Angeles and recorded her second album, 2011's Apokalypsis, which found her in an actual studio with her live band.1. Primal/Carnal
3. Tracks (Tall Bodies)
5. Movie Screen
6. The Wasteland
9. Pale on Pale
10. To the Forest, Towards the Sea$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Grime And The GlowChelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk - a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. She began toting around an 8-track and recording as the mood hit, eventually editing her findings into a breathtaking debut album, 2010's the Grime & The Glow. Marrying the gentle intimacy of folk, the atmospheric voodoo of death rock, and the bleak, sullen nihilism of black metal.1. Advice & Vices
2. Cousins of the Antichrist
4. Deep Talks
7. The Whys
10. Bounce House Demons
11. Widow$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
AbyssSleep paralysis plagues singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, and that strange intersection of the conscious and the unconscious has inadvertently manifested itself within her work. Across the span of her first four albums, there is an underlying tension, a distorted and nebulous territory where dark shadows hover along the edges of the sublime and the graceful. But until now, Wolfe''s trials and tribulations with the boundaries between dreams and reality have only been a subconscious influence on her work. With her fifth album, Abyss, she deliberately confronts those boundaries and crafts a score to that realm she describes as, 'the "hazy afterlife , an inverted thunderstorm , and the dark backward the abyss of time."'LP 1
1. Carrion Flowers
2. Iron Moon
3. Dragged Out
5. Grey Days
1. After the Fall
2. Crazy Love
3. Simple Death
5. Color of Blood
6. The Abyss$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Hiss SpunFeatures Etching On Side D (No Music)
While past albums operated on the intimacy of stripped-down folk music (The Grime and the Glow, Unknown Rooms), or the throbbing pulse of supplemental electronics (Pain Is Beauty, Abyss), Chelsea Wolfe's sixth official album Hiss Spun wrings its exquisiteness out of a palette of groaning bass, pounding drums, and crunching distortion. Recorded by Kurt Ballou (Converge), the album was conceived as an emotional purge, a means of coming to terms with the tumult of the outside world by exploring the complexities of one's inner unrest. I'm at odds with myself, she explains. I got tired of trying to disappear. The record became very personal in that way. I wanted to open up more, but also create my own reality. Hiss Spun features contributions by Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC) and Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure).1. Spun
2. 16 Psyche
3. Vex (feat. Aaron Turner)
5. The Culling
6. Particle Flux
7. Twin Fawn
9. Static Hum
11. Two Spirit
12. Scrape$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Thought Forms / Ebsen & The Witch Split LPEsben's side immediately reaches a fever pitch as 'No Dog' drags itself up from the primordial ooze of Sonic Youth's early years mastery of cacophony and dissonance, underpinned by the volatile rhythmic propulsion of Fugazi or Hoover. The lone voice left unadorned in the eye of the storm comes from bassist and vocalist Rachel Davies, who summons up the fiery catharsis of Chelsea Wolfe or Sharon Van Etten. The trio's other contribution here, 'Butoh', pursues an altogether more tribal path, kicking up a fury and intensity rarely matched this side of the pond these days. Thought Forms find an equally cathartic voice across their four songs, but achieve it by totally different means: dressing their tracks up with the swirling swathes of guitar you'd expect from the dreamier edges of the '80s US lexicon. 'For the Moving Stars' jolts forward from the off with the sort of driving, hypnotic lead lines you'd expect from J Mascis, that is were he armed with Steve Turner's pedal collection. 'Your Bones', meanwhile, is a disarming slow-burner that creeps its way into the back of your mind, erupting from what could have been an early Low cut into an uphill battle against tumbling drums and guitars that crackle like a bonfire on a crisp Autumn night.1. Thought Forms - Your Bones
2. Thought Forms - Sound of Violence
3. Thought Forms - For The Moving Stars
4. Thought Forms - Silver Kiss
5. Ebsen and the Witch - No Dog
6. Ebsen and the Witch - Butoh$29.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Holographic ViolenceIn the five years since Grave Babies' debut album Deathface was released, founder Danny Wahlfeldt has been handling all songwriting and recording duties for the Seattle-based band, with invaluable help from friends in performing their material live. For their newest album entitled Holographic Violence, Wahlfeldt chose a different path, causing a significant change in the band's overall sound.
Holographic Violence is Grave Babies' second Hardly Art full-length after Crusher (2013), and further explores the themes of nihilism, the pending doom of mankind, and shaming humanity, which the band has been building their gloomy reputation on since the beginning. This time however, instead of recording everything in his basement, Wahlfeldt enlisted the help of Bryce Brown (Crypts) on bass and Mark Gajadhar (Blood Brothers, Past Lives) on drums in the early stages of recording. The songs on Holographic Violence fell into place in Mark's studio on Orcas Island, Washington. Mixing was handled by Matt Bayles (Alice in Chains, Mastodon), with final mastering by Chris Common (Chelsea Wolfe, Mars Volta). As a final touch, Claire Haranda was added to the lineup on keyboards and synth to round out the band's live sets. By leaving the edgy, lo-fi haze of earlier output in the past, these songs have clarified what the music of Grave Babies has to offer the future.
That is, if humanity has a future?
"I wanted it to be a last cry for sanity going into our dystopian future," Wahlfeldt says about Holographic Violence. Grave Babies has long held a crush on morbidity, death, and corruption, building a romantic relationship around the juxtaposition of the dark contextual matter with hook-heavy songs rife with pretty melodies and harmonies. The 11 new songs on Holographic Violence present this powerful combination from a science fiction perspective, begging the question: has our imagination outpaced the confines of our reality as we keep going down the same path, believing there's hope? Playing anthemic pop songs with a strange male choir-esque sound to the vocals adds a distinctly cultish feel to the abrasive exercise of figuring out if it is possible to circumvent destructive human predispositions.
Thus, Holographic Violence is a lesson in authenticity as we must look deeper into the subject matter for the finer details, instead of skimming the surface and believing we have things right at a mere glance. Maybe we just have to come to terms with the fact that the things that we're constantly running away from are inherent in ourselves and inescapable? Grave Babies mission is not to find the answers to these questions, but to challenge the listener and on Holographic Violence, their uncompromising aesthetic makes the suffering a little prettier.1. Eternal (On & On)
2. Beautiful Lie
3. Try 2 Try
4. Something Awful
5. Punishment (Only A Victim)
6. Metal Me
7. Pain Iz Pleasure
8. Positive Aggression
9. N2 Ether
10. Concrete Cell
11. War$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now