Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou: "Ancestral Recall"

Album Artwork | Photo By Craig Mulcahy
At the expense of objectivity, I'll just state for the record that I enjoy the music of Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou and that their collaboration, which has resulted in a new album called May Our Chambers Be Full, sounds very promising thanks to this lead single, "Ancestral Recall." Stylistically, Rundle's lush vocal works very well with the scream-prone Thou, her emotive delivery well entwined with the already affecting guitar phrasing at work. The sound is gratifyingly huge and, based on the strength of this single, I would call this pairing kindred, comparable to Jarboe's partnership with Neurosis, or Cult Of Luna's work with Julie Christmas, both of which produced excellent albums. But, again, this is a fan typing.

May Our Chambers Be Full is due to release on 10/30. You can pre-order the record at Sacred Bones. (Sadly, I missed out on the "Diehard" LP. Congratulations and "eat a dick; I hate you" to everyone that managed to procure a copy.) 

The album is also available at Thou's Bandcamp

All info comes courtesy of Rarely Unable. 


Today, Thou have announced their collaborative album with Emma Ruth Rundle (appearing courtesy of Sargent House),
May Our Chambers Be Full which sees its release October 30 via Sacred Bones. Its monolithic lead single, “Ancestral Recall” exemplifies the spirit of the collaboration. “It’s an easy marriage of our styles that was truly enhanced by everyone’s input during the arrangement process." Thou’s guitarist Andy Gibbs explains. “When I first wrote the main two riffs (the first one being an homage to A Perfect Circle’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’), I didn’t know if it would fit with the vibe we were pursuing because it didn’t sound “Thou-y” enough nor did it sound like something Emma would normally put on a record. Ultimately, I realised how important that trait is; this record is all about exploring territory we wouldn’t usually explore with our own records.”

Emma adds, “Andy originally wrote the riffs and I believe I referred to it as the ‘Guitar Hero’ jam -- it was hard for me to keep up and I felt like I was doing an obstacle course (in the best way). Because of the differences in our guitar tunings, it was difficult for me to match the rest exactly and I ended up coming with a single note passage to play over the most difficult section. For me this was a good example of the collaboration and that I was able to express my style despite my limitations in a way that added to Andy’s riff. Working with him on guitars was a challenge, but most rewarding, and I feel proud of our child.”

While their solo material seems on its face to be quite disparate, both prolific groups have spent their lauded careers lurking at the outer boundaries of heavy scenes, each having more in common with DIY punk and its spiritual successor, grunge. The debut straddles a similar, very fine line both musically and thematically. While Emma’s standard fare is a blend of post-rock-infused folk music, and Thou is typically known for its downtuned, doomy sludge, the conjoining of the two artists has created a record more in the vein of the early ’90s Seattle sound and later ’90s episodes of Alternative Nation, while still retaining much of the artists’ core identities.

Lyrically, May Our Chambers Be Full is a marriage of mental trauma, existential crises, and the ecstatic tradition of the expressionist dance movement. “Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” Melodic, melancholic, heavy, visceral.

The visual art accompanying this work was created in collaboration with preeminent New Orleans photographer Craig Mulcahy. The faceless, genderless models are meant to emphasise this pervasive state of ambiguity and emotional vacillation, the images falling somewhere between modern high fashion and classical Renaissance.

May Our Chambers Be Full is out October 30th as part of Sacred Bones’ Alliance Series of collaborative releases which includes recent works from Uniform & The Body and Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky. To pre-order go here.

Emma Ruth Rundle: Web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple
Thou: Web, Instagram, Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

2020 Playlist — Masma Dream World, Happy Place, METZ, Orochen, B R I Q U E V I L L E, Vatican Shadow, Susanna, ADULKT LIFE

Good evening, 

I heard some good songs today. The coffee intake was high as I was sunk into my headphones this afternoon, finding comfort in the fact that I was able to simply cancel out all unwanted stimuli in favor of tunes aplenty. My ears perked up for the following:


Masma Dream World: "Theta"
(via Clandestine Label Services / Northern Spy Records / Bandcamp)

Play At Night releases 9/25/20

Album Pre-Order

via Clandestine Label Services
Masma Dream World—the solo recording project of multi-disciplinary artist/healer Devi Mambouka—today shared the lead single "Theta" from her forthcoming full-length, Play At Night, releasing September 25th, 2020 via Northern Spy Records. Devi (pronounced day-vee) provides insight on the track, which is releasing the day after Gabon’s Independence Day (August 17th): “From age 0-7, the human brain is in “theta,” a state during which our minds can be programmed to believe anything. I became quickly aware of that programming growing up in the African country of Gabon, where, despite its Matriarchal roots, young girls are groomed to be wives and mothers only—there are no other options.” Mambouka wanted to create an anthem for these young girls, which developed into the otherworldly trip-hop song “Theta,” driven by a deep sub-bass and kick drum. The lyrics, which are heard both forward and in reverse, translate to: “We are girls from central Africa. We are Gabomas!” Gaboma refers to a young hip Gabonese girl. As with the rest of her debut album, the music is designed specifically to awaken one’s power source from within.


Happy Place: "Illuminations"
(via Exit Stencil Recordings / Bandcamp)

Tendrils releases 10/9/20

Album Pre-Order

via Exit Stencil Recordings
The band’s line-up comprises vocalists Elaine Lachica (New York Collegium, Early Music New York) and Charlotte Mundy (TAK ensemble, Ekmeles); guitarists Andrew Smiley (Empyrean Atlas, Will Mason Ensemble) and Dan Lippel (International Contemporary Ensemble); and drummer Kate Gentile (Phalanx Ambassadors, Miles Okazaki) in addition to Mason on drums and electronics.

On album opener “Illuminations”, a bracing introduction finds the guitars tuned in 1/4-tones over an irregular tom-tom beat. After a frenetic solo from guitarist Andrew Smiley, vocalists Lachica and Mundy conclude with a forlorn, lilting melody. On “Tarnish,” Mundy sings of desiring decomposition. At 5:20, she gasps in a high register:
“I want to be dried grass / thirsty and underfoot / I am of the mud / I gift my thorny fists to the dirt.” The song concludes with Mundy shouting “admire! admire!” until subsumed by clangorous guitars.


METZ: "Hail Taxi"
(via Sub Pop / YouTube)

Atlas Vending releases 10/9/20

Album Pre-Order

via Sub Pop
Today METZ shared the video for the second single off Atlas Vending, “Hail Taxi.” If METZ’s current mission is to mirror the inevitable struggles of adulthood, they’ve successfully managed to tap into the conflicted relationship between rebellion and revelry with the song’s tactics of offsetting their signature bombast with anthemic melodic resolutions. “‘Hail Taxi’ is about looking back. The lyrics deal with the idea of reconciling or coming to terms with who you were and who you've become,” shares frontman Alex Edkins. The stunning video, directed by A.F. Cortes, heightens these themes and expertly captures the same intensity as the alternately brutal verses and beguiling choruses of “Hail Taxi.” Of the video, Cortes says, “I wanted to tell a simple story that captures the song’s overarching theme. The idea of longing for the past creates many visual motifs and I wanted to create a piece that feels timeless and conveys a sense of isolation, highlighting that while we can hide our feelings, we can’t run from them.”

Atlas Vending, the band’s most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career will be released on October 9th. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Atlas Vending, the band’s fourth full-length album, sounds massive, articulate, and earnest. 


Orochen: "Burial Mounds"
(via Viral Propaganda / Suicide Records / Bandcamp)

Thylacine EP releases 9/18/20

Album Pre-Order

via Viral Propaganda
Orochen is more than a band, it´s a collective with the purpose to always refine and develop their novel sound. A new member in Suicide Records family, Orochen will now release their third EP titled “Thylacine” that shows a band sounding stronger than ever.

The backbone of Orochen’s music is based on dark contemplations of a world where humans and the environment are thought of as economic resources. A society formed under a new religion that most of us know as capitalism, a religion that alienates people from the natural psychological mechanisms shaped by evolutionary processes over millions of years.

The band’s musical influences comes from a rich blend of genres such as modern Americana, indie, folk music, sludge, hardcore and early 00’s post rock that really gives the band a truly novel sound.


B R I Q U E V I L L E: "Akte XIII"
(via Earsplit PR / Pelagic Records / Bandcamp)

Quelle releases 10/2/20

Album Pre-Order

via Earsplit PR
The contemporary Belgian heavy music scene continues to spawn some truly enigmatic bands, and B R I Q U E V I L L E - the spaces between the letters are indeed part of their moniker - are among the most intriguing and compelling of them all. The meditative heaviness of their sound and the careful engineering of the visual aspects of their mesmerizing live performance rituals are awe-inspiring and challenging in equal measure.

Following 2017's dazzling instrumental opus II, the Flemish five-piece finally return with their third studio album,
Quelle, one of the first real pandemic-albums to be released on Pelagic. The band members had to finish the album in separation, which worked out better than they had initially expected: the forced distance allowed them to distance not only from each other, but also towards their own song material. Some pieces grew larger than originally intended, others were stripped down to the essentials and reinvented. The end result is a staggering album that is sophisticated and smothering at the same time, made up of altogether shorter songs as compared to the previous release, and there is a more prominent focus on those tasty electronics, which have always been an integral part of
B R I Q U E V I L L E 's sound.

The album is also the first one with an album title: "Quelle" means "source" in German and "which" in French. Issues the band,
"We strongly feel that this record keeps all the ingredients of previous records and explores them further than we ever did before. The theme of a 'source' and the 'which' linking it reflexively to our previous album artwork gave us the feeling that we stayed true to our original concept, music, artwork and clips; water and sand as a source of life and death; how an isolated soul deals with these elements."

Quelle shows that B R I Q U E V I L L E individually and collectively have a big heart for the gritty, dark, psychedelic, heavy, and other-worldly, as much as a love for beauty and melody. It's a soundtrack to the pandemic, written and recorded not before, but during isolation - and a testimony that isolation can spawn the greatest creativity.


Vatican Shadow: "Rehearsing for the Attack"
(via Earsplit PR / 20 Buck Spin / YouTube)

Persian Pillars of the Gasoline Era releases 9/18/20

Album Pre-Order

via Earsplit PR
20 Buck Spin presents "Rehearsing For The Attack," the lead single from Persian Pillars Of The Gasoline Era, the anxiously awaited new LP from Dominick Fernow-created project, VATICAN SHADOW.

For a decade now, VATICAN SHADOW, one of the many guises of Dominick Fernow has blurred the lines of rhythmic industrial, ambient and soundscapes to weave throbbing frontline communiques of war, terror, media manipulation, and anxiety disorder. One of the most prolific underground artists of the 21st century, living his art down to minute detail, Fernow's penchant for seamlessly spanning underground subcultures finds VATICAN SHADOW now aligned with 20 Buck Spin for the first time.

Persian Pillars Of The Gasoline Era, the deconstruction continues, with layers of collaged synth stabs, low end pulsing dread, and ominous sand-swept melodies. And where VATICAN SHADOW often sets a rigid musical focus with each release, here the full multi-faceted embodiment of the project comes to fruition from hypnotic dance floor repetition, cold metallic percussion, martial bass strikes, and dark melodic noise.

To further intensify the album, Fernow brought aboard Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu, JK Flesh) for the painstakingly detailed mastering process, adding the mysterious vibrance of cold morning mountain light that presages a conspiracy about to unfold. The album is completed with photography by Anonymous Soldier.


Susanna: "Longing for Nothingness"
(via Stereo Sanctity / SusannaSonata / YouTube)

Baudelaire & Piano releases 9/11/20

Album Pre-Order

via Stereo Sanctity
With her new album 'Baudelaire & Piano' set for release Sept 11th via SusannaSonata, where Susanna has used 10 poems by Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) from his masterwork The Flowers of Evil (translated by Anthony Mortimer) as the backbone for the project, Susanna is sharing the third single from the record with new track "Longing for Nothingness".

Speaking about the track, Susanna said "
'‘Longing for Nothingness’ is such a melancholic statement - the true feeling of hopelessness described with beauty and viability” Susanna says. “The power of these words actually gives me yearning to live instead of giving up. And last but not least, it’s my whistling debut.”

Recorded at Atlantis Studio in Stockholm, the album is a complete solo effort by Susanna, stripped back to just her expressive, soulful voice and skeletal, trancelike piano playing.


ADULKT LIFE: "Country Pride"
(via Stereo Sanctity / What's Your Rupture? / YouTube)

Single Purchase*

*Those who download “County Pride” from Bandcamp will also receive the first of three fanzines, which the band intend to “try and recapture the feelings not just in rediscovering music but all the other crucial elements that go alongside it, the passion to share and scrutinise and play poetically with brut force and argue.” More info HERE.

via Stereo Sanctity
Today, Huggy Bear’s Chris Rowley, Male Bonding’s John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick, and drummer Sonny Barrett announce their new collaboration, Adulkt Life. In conjunction, they announce their signing to What’s Your Rupture? and present their debut single, "County Pride.”

Huggy Bear led the UK’s answer to riot grrrl, inspired by the “seismic shock” of witnessing a Nation of Ulysses performance together and galvanized by Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail’s germinal riot grrrl zine “Jigsaw.” In the 25 years since Chris Rowley played with iconic Huggy Bear, starting a new band hasn't felt right. But after John Arthur Webb (Male Bonding), who Rowley met while picking up records at a Rough Trade shop, asked if he wanted to play music together it
“suddenly it felt super exciting.” Years later, Webb and Rowley befriended a then-teenage drummer, Sonny Barrett, now 23, who worked at a different Rough Trade location. After a mysterious letter from Rowley arrived for Sonny at the shop, Sonny finally decided to check out Huggy Bear, promptly offering to drum in Adulkt Life. The Adulkt Life lineup was finalized when Webb enlisted his best friend and longtime collaborator, Kevin Hendrick—who has in recent years turned towards solo industrial noise poetry as Middex—on bass.

Now, working with these musicians and their combined perspectives, Rowley makes a striking return. The need for change that Huggy Bear sought is no less relevant today - Adulkt Life inquires but offers no easy answers, instead instigating punk’s eternal invitation to see:
“Wow, I should do something—make something, start a political party, just do something rather than not do something.” Their debut single, “County Pride,” offers a first taste of their frenetic sound. It brings together three generations of punk energy, creating a timeless sense of urgency.

"Early in Adulkt Life songwriting we wanted to make a song like Devo - something herky jerky with a future disco swing for a party crowd - but we were all too angry,” says Rowley. “The song is about the need to escape from hostile small town awfulness and the weird ways you choose to get out. It’s a dark ride with sparky edges through small town/new town bid for blood... Adulkt life haven't learnt to be flippant yet just flipped out ….Ricochet and rockblast vs racism."

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mr. Bungle: "Raping Your Mind"

Today's "HOLY SHIT!!!" moment is brought to you by Speakeasy PR and Mr. -Motherfucking- Bungle!

And, yes, this has been pre-ordered. You should do the same:

via Speakeasy PR.



Photo credit: Eric Larsen
Aug. 13, 2020, Eureka, Calif. – Mr. Bungle, who a year ago today announced their first live outings in two decades, have announced the release of The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo on Oct. 30 via Ipecac Recordings.

As was the case with the live performances, original Mr. Bungle members Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton, and Trey Spruance are joined by Scott Ian (Anthrax, S.O.D.) and Dave Lombardo (Dead Cross, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies).

The 11-song release features tracks written by the Eureka, Calif.-born band for their 1986 cassette only demo as well as a reimagined cover of the S.O.D. classic “Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere” (a.k.a. “Speak English or Die”) and Corrosion of Conformity’s “Loss For Words.” A video for “Raping Your Mind” is available now ( The album was produced by Mr. Bungle, recorded by Husky Höskulds at Studio 606, and mixed by Jay Ruston. Rhea Perlman narrates “Anarchy Up Your Anus.”

"Recording THIS music with THESE guys was an enormous head-rush of virtuosity and surprises every day in the studio,” explains Patton. “Trey’s video game-esque solos, Scott’s bionic right hand and cyborg-like precision, Dave’s caveman-meets-Bobby Brady-like drum fills, Trevor’s solid foundation and laser-focus to detail. There is nothing sweeter than getting your ass kicked by true comrades…where everyone has a singular drive and mission.”

Trevor Dunn adds: “Recording this record felt like we were finally utilizing our Ph.Ds in Thrash Metal. All we had to do was go back to our original professors for some additional guidance and talk them into joining us. Turns out we were A+ students. We even went for extra credit by revisiting some tunes that we'd given up on back in the day. It was less like a trip of nostalgia and more like the refining of an original, worthy document. We were haunted for 35 years by the fact that this music wasn't given it's due respect. Now we can die.”

The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo pre-orders are available now (, with the release available as a standard digipak CD and digitally as well as a collection of limited edition offerings:

CD Yearbook - 5000
Cassette Webstore Exclusive - 500
2LP Translucent Ruby Red Vinyl - 6500
2LP Webstore Exclusive Clear with Black Splatter Vinyl - 1000
2LP US Webstore Exclusive Silver with Red/Black Splatter Vinyl - 1000
2LP US Retail Exclusive Clear with Blood Red Splatter Vinyl - 2000
2LP International Retail Exclusive Transparent Red Smoke Vinyl - 3500

Mr. Bungle was formed in an impoverished lumber and fishing town by a trio of curious, volatile teenagers. Trey Spruance, Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn beget the amorphous “band” in 1985 up in Humboldt County, Calif., sifting through a variety of members until around 1989 when they settled on a lineup that managed to get signed to Warner Bros. Records. No one really knows how this happened and it remains a complete mystery that even the algorithms of the internet can’t decode. Up until 2000 they released three albums (Mr. Bungle in 1991, Disco Volante in 1995 and California in 1999), toured a good portion of the Western hemisphere and avoided any sort of critical acclaim. Some argue that the band subsequently broke up but there is also no proof of this. What is true is that they took 20 years off from performing under said moniker while they pursued various other musics that, in contrast, paid the rent.

# # #

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 07, 2020

Bangladeafy: "Bloom"

Bangladeafy, whose abbreviated and complex musical exercises seem designed with intent to either test endurance and dexterity or simply cheat carpal tunnel, are releasing an album this September titled, HouseflyMetal Sucks premiered "Bloom," an unrelenting minute-and-a-half of Bangladeafy's prog-centric battery that's interestingly been steered away from the duo's usual bass-n-drum combo. Finding some commonality with Zombi and Lightning Bolt, Jon Ehlers snarls his way through the track, his four-string supplanted by synthesized drones as drummer Atif Haq fills every available second with snare sound. Shifting mediums perhaps grants this creative venture more opportunity to expand their sound, which may be evident following a fully considered listen to the record. But, "Bloom"'s composition and urgency should be familiar enough to anyone acquainted with Bangladeafy, bass or not. 

Pre-order Housefly at Nefarious Industries

The band's 2016 LP, Narcopaloma, was reviewed for No Ripcord.

All info comes courtesy of Earsplit PR.

BANGLADEAFY: MetalSucks Premieres "Bloom" Video By NYC Duo; Housefly Album To See September Release Through Nefarious Industries

New York City-based duo BANGLADEAFY has deployed a new single from their impending Housefly full-length, creeping towards release in September through Nefarious Industries. The whack attack of "Bloom" has been delivered through a tripped-out roller-coaster-style visualizer video, which makes its premiere through MetalSucks.

Offers BANGLADEAFY's Jon Ehlers,
"There's an instrumental lead in 'Bloom' that became an important motif on Housefly and can be heard in multiple points throughout the album if listened to attentively. Lyrically, the song is an expression of apathy, which is referred to in the form of a 'tar pit wormhole.' While going through the portfolio of the animator, Joey Carlino, I became inspired by what I felt could be a fun, visual interpretation of such tar pit wormholes. In the process of reviewing drafts for this visualizer, Joey had no problem meeting my demands of 'more grossness.'"

With the drums recorded and mixed by Mike Gatto of Gatto Records, Housefly was otherwise engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jonathan Vergara of Pancake Studios, and completed with artwork by Bryan Elkins.

The limitless and ever-evolving duo BANGLADEAFY - drummer Atif Haq and bassist/pianist/vocalist Jon Ehlers - comes slamming back with a new beast. Housefly brings you thirteen anxiety-ridden compositions performed live on hardware synths, sample pads, and acoustic drums, and entirely abandons the electric bass acrobatics the tag team has become known for. Inspired by the human manipulation of electronic sounds, Housefly sees BANGLADEAFY revisiting influences of their youth such as Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, and Devo.

Marking a development in the band's philosophy and approach to songwriting, particularly in the vocal department, Housefly embraces more personal lyricism and an uncharacteristically up-front vocal presence. In 2020, BANGLADEAFY have freed themselves of all expectation and restraint - now, anything goes.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, August 06, 2020

2020 Playlist — numün, So Sure, SUMAC, Bent Arcana, Daniel Blumberg, Hekla, Butcher Brown, Bully

To whom it may interest,

Collecting sounds over the past couple weeks for a new entry for my 2020 Playlist. I'd been largely absent for most of July thanks to the demands of my day job, the high doses of pain killers I had to ingest thanks to a severe back issue, and other distractions and otherwise tiring things that required attention and focus. I'm hoping to have more to say in the coming months, (though I've made THAT promise before).

If you've hung in there, thank you. If you haven't, maybe I can win back your approval.

Hope you're all well and staying safe. Please wear your masks.



numün: "voyage au soleli"
(via Clandestine Label Services / Musique Impossible / YouTube)

Album Pre-Order

via Clandestine Label Services

Numün is a trio of New York City soundscape designers who combine a wide range of music and visual influences to create hypnotic aural and visual experiences. The band members include “ambient country” pioneer Bob Holmes (from SUSS) as well as new music composer and artist, Joel Mellin, and percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Romero (both from Gamelan Dharma Swara). Their influences range from sonic artists like Brian Eno and Morton Sobotnick, to the environmental visual artists Olafur Eliason and Elias Romero, to Balinese composer I Nyoman Windha and shadow puppet master I Wayan Wija. As individual artists, their work has been seen and heard at MOMA, The Met, Basilica Hudson, The Bali Arts Festival, NPR, New Sounds, Echoes, and has been featured in Mojo, Wire, Pitchfork and Aquarium Drunkard.

Numün’s first album, “voyage au soleil”, will be released on Musique Impossible in Fall 2020. The original sessions came out of a project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon. The initial track, “Tranquility Base” was featured on the compilation, “The Moon and Back – One Small Step for Global Pop” and released on London-based WIAIWYA that same year. With 1969 as a starting point, numün began exploring what that period of history meant to them both personally and musically. Using a combination of traditional Balinese and Americana instrumentation, along with synthesizers and loop manipulation reminiscent of their musique concrete forbearers, numün created soundscapes that explored the hope, turmoil, and psychedelic escape and promise of that pivotal era. The final result is 6 tracks that take the listener on a trip to the heart of the sun. 


So Sure: "Paper Thinned Skin"
(via MPress Records / Noise Trade / YouTube)

Album Order

via MPress Records

Caffeine Drip is the first offering from So Sure, which was officially formed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The EP features songs that are all-too-timely and reflect the international frustration and anxiety due to the virus and recent protests sparked by the tragedy in Minneapolis. Initially, the group's bond was their common love of bands such as My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Slowdive, and the Cocteau Twins. And a front-to-back live performance together of My Bloody Valentine's seminal Loveless album sealed the deal.


SUMAC: "The Iron Chair"
(via Thrill Jockey Records / Bandcamp)

Album Pre-Order

via Thrill Jockey Records:

Following the recent announcement of their new album May You Be Held, out Oct. 2nd, SUMAC have shared the record's first single "The Iron Chair". SUMAC's creative improvisations defy expectations and “The Iron Chair,” a spontaneous moment in the studio, is at once a cathartic and uninhibited release and heavy dive into what can only be called alien logic.

May You Be Held's compassionate tone stands in stark contrast to the misanthropic and death-obsessed nature of most heavy metal music. The album's emotional resonance is bound less by melody, but each member's considered performance and interaction with one another. Here, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner’s bellows and howls seem less threatening than wounded, primal, and mammalian. On guitar, his subversion of melody and penchant for noise seems less like aural punishment and more like an open horizon for frequencies and timbre. In a traditional metal context, drummer Nick Yacyshyn’s dexterous beats, exhilarating fills, and creative flourishes might seem like the pinnacle of rhythmic ferocity, but on May You Be Held there’s a kind of ecstasy in his performance, a fluidity and ability that conveys both urgency in purpose and joy in execution. Bassist Brian Cook glues it together with a heavy handedness that could be seen as hostile or malicious if it didn’t also provide the clearest path to navigating the band’s thorny arrangements.

May You Be Held is a record that feels more human than anything else—at times flawed and wounded, at others, triumphant, purposeful, and pensive. The music is by no means a salve or anodyne, but neither is it nihilistic. Rather, its forceful approach and challenging timbres are like a confrontation, a baptism by fire, a therapeutic razing.


Bent Arcana: "Oblivion Sigil"
(via Tell All Your Friends PR / Castle Face Records / KEXP / YouTube)

Album Pre-Order

via Tell All Your Friends PR:

Bent Arcana have shared the third single, "Oblivion Sigil" off of their upcoming self-titled debut. The track was shared exclusively with KEXP praising, "Each of the group's many players, through virtue of their talent, explore these long instrumental passages with the verve of soul seekers walking along busy city streets like wanderers in a desert seeking the clarity of the world's meaning with the help of a peyote and ayahuasca cocktail. Like suited-up ensemble players dwelling life's big questions every night in a hole-in-the-wall jazz club reeking of the foulest of dank smells, clouds of smoke filling its tight space." 

Bent Arcana features Ryan Sawyer, Peter Kerlin, Kyp Malone, Brad Caulkins, Tom Dolas, Marcos Rodriguez, Laena "Geronimo" Myers-Ionita, Joce Soubiran, Andres Renteria and John Dwyer.
Bent Arcana is the inceptive chapter in what I hope to be several releases showcasing these types of off-the-cuff musical compositions. So you can try your fry on and turn off. This one is very much on the ECM / 70s hard fusion / prog-kraut tip. It is a many pronged weapon, swung by the spontaneous sentinel.

It’s out on Castle Face Records August 21st.


Daniel Blumberg: "On & On & On & On & On"

via Mute

Daniel Blumberg has released his new album On & On, a 9-track song cycle that confirms the London musician and visual artist as a unique creative force, and pushes the art of song into expansive new territories.

On&On is out now on vinyl, CD and digitally via Mute, and is accompanied by an essay written by the author David Toop. Album available physically in the US/CA from August 28.


Hekla: "Tvö Þrjú Slit"
(via Phantom Limb / Soundcloud)

Album Order

via Phantom Limb:

Icelandic theremin maestra Hekla returns with the gorgeously sparse and haunting new EP Sprungur, out digitally and limited cassette on August 28. A follow up to her acclaimed 2018 debut album Á, the upcoming EP was written and self-recorded at her home studio in Reykjavik during maternity leave.

Hekla's delicate, spectral music pierces the dark negative space within Iceland’s dreamy, permanight magick and folklore with a deep, intense sonic soundworld all her own. A long-term scholar of solo theremin, Hekla (shortened from her own name Hekla Magnúsdóttir) coaxes otherworldly and powerfully evocative sounds from her instrument, alternately howling and yearning with equal grace.

Hekla's debut album Á was released by Phantom Limb in 2018, attracting high praise for its beautifully expressive range and its eloquent spareness. For her latest release Sprungur – she develops her palette to include gently reverberated piano lines and subtle synth parts alongside the theremin and her own ghostly vocal delivery. Opening single 'Tvö þrjú Slit' begins as a haunted waltz, the forgotten memory of an abandoned ballroom, trading its melody between voice and theremin. 'Sofðu Unga Ástin Mín' is an arrangement of a traditional Icelandic lullaby (Hekla writes that it “always scared me out when I was little” - you can see why). Its mournful theremin melody blooms amid a garden of dulcet synthesis and twinkling piano. And within the lyrics lies the line "Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur" [Eng: In the glacier rumbles deadly deep cracks], from which Hekla took the title of the EP, exploring the imagery of great mythical beasts inhabiting the earth and causing deep fissures from their rumbling movements.

In Hekla’s hands, the theremin covers an enormous range, from skittering birdsong of high frequency chirrups and chirps, to grinding, tectonic sub-bass. She is a rare virtuosic player, joining a miniscule group of musicians in mastery of such a notoriously difficult instrument. While classically informed, her playing style allows a crucial distinction from kitsch or tokenistic use of the theremin, instead offering gravity and a sombre melancholy. Her fans in the wider music community - PJ Harvey, for example - describe her alongside experimental musicians such as Colleen, Julia Holter or the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.


Butcher Brown: "Cabbage (DFC)"
(via Clandestine Label Services / Concord Jazz / YouTube)

via Clandestine Label Services:

#KingButch—hashtag proudly attached—is the title of Butcher Brown’s soon-to-be top-trending album, the eighth in the band’s up-from-the-roots legacy, and their first with Concord Records, on the Concord Jazz imprint. The 13 tracks collectively represent a bold step forward for the 5-piece group from Richmond, Virginia. Remaining true to the group’s heady fusion of contemporary hip-hop, ‘70s fusion, ‘60s jazz and funk—even echoes of Southern rock and marching band music show up—#KingButch is a powerfully original statement that reaches across divisions of genre, generation, ethnicity, and geography. Significantly, the new recording also reveals a side of Butcher Brown that’s been developing and is now in full-flower: a song-crafting, studio maturity on a par with their national reputation as an explosive live act.

#KingButch, like previous Butcher Brown recordings, was recorded in their home recording facility—Jellowstone Studios (the group’s “nerve center”)—and features the striking and diverse talents of the band’s members: deejay / producer / keyboardist DJ Harrison; drummer Corey Fonville; bassist Andrew Randazzo; trumpeter / saxophonist / MC Marcus “Tennishu” Tenney; and guitarist Morgan Burrs. The album also benefits from the production skills of Chris Dunn (N’Dambi, NEXT Collective, Leela James, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah), Concord Records’ Sr. Director of A&R, and was recorded in a furiously creative, two-week period last October. The cover art was created by famed designer Lou Beach, famed for his iconic cover of Weather Report’s 1977 classic, Heavy Weather. Butcher Brown’s career has been guided for the past four years by veteran artist manager David Passick (Herbie Hancock, Don Was, Maxwell), whose management firm represents a number of pioneering musicians in the jazz/hip-hop overlap; #KingButch is dedicated to Passick’s long-time partner, Jack Leitenberg, who passed away last year.

Track by track, the musical menagerie on
#KingButch is a balance of stylistic flavors—polished and raw, urban and country, North and South—offering a fluid, feel-good sonic journey: from the party-starting, neo-soul lope of the opening track “Fonkadelica”, and the exuberant, horn-driven energy (serious EWF echoes!) of “Cabbage (DFC)”; to the hypnotic, guitar-driven groove of “Broad Rock”; the ethereal cover of Ronnie Laws’ “Tidal Wave”, fusing it with flavors from Black Moon’s 1993 classic “Who Got Da Props” which sampled it; and the soaring, skipping-through-clouds feel of “Love Lock”, reviving a 1978 Mtume tune with a melodic line that stays for days. There are the album’s four tunes highlighting Tennishu’s rhymes and flow: the relaxed, acid-jazz vibe of the title track; the skillful, free-styling “Hopscotch”; and the bossa nova-flavored “Gum In My Mouth”. “For The City” offers a taste of South Coast hip-hop flavor, and features RVA rapper Fly Anakin.

#KingButch is a direct outgrowth of Butcher Brown’s burgeoning popularity, building since the group’s first homegrown releases in 2013. Many of the songs were born on the road during a busy two-year period, when they shared the stage with such jazz, funk, and jam-band favorites as Kamasi Washington, Galactic, Turkuaz, and Lettuce. “We did so many tours from 2017 through most of 2019,” Corey Fonville says. “We were working on much of this material, working it out every night like an open rehearsal, developing a set list and sharpening these songs until it just felt natural once we got into the studio.”

Butcher Brown settled into Jellowstone studio last October with Harrison engineering and Chris Dunn producing, setting their sights on creating a new level of experience for their fans. “All the guys in Butcher Brown are great players but also can think like producers,” says Chris Dunn. “For a few tracks, they brought in music from their live shows, some that were more than twelve minutes long. We discussed what the recipe should be, and they jumped right in trimming, shaping, adding, and finally fashioning a blend of rawness and lo-fi sophistication that was all their own. Watching it come together track by track, I believe #KingButch opens up an exciting new chapter for the band creatively.”

Two weeks was the longest the group has devoted to a single recording project. “We were all in the room together, no other dates to get to, no other distractions,” says Harrison. “Some days we went from 11 to 7, some it was 12 noon until super late at night but nothing else. It was like the whole Quincy Jones-Bruce Swedien-Michael Jackson team aspect.”

Harrison’s familiarity with the recording team behind Thriller suggests his—and Butcher Brown’s—fluency with the musical tradition they are carrying forward, and their appreciation for the production and engineering side of their craft. The group’s decision—and Concord’s—to release #KingButch in the midst of the current pandemic was not one they made lightly, but with the conscious intention of sharing a needed spark of joy and connection. “It’s a time now when people need to be uplifted, they need to hear new music,” says Chris Dunn. “Of course we were worried about releasing an album without the chance to tour, especially with a live band like Butcher Brown, but we said, no—we can’t wait. This music has to come out.”

#KingButch will be released in full on September 18, with a number of single tracks dropping before then, as part of the Butcher Brown’s mission to share the music and their message.


Bully: "Hours and Hours"
(via Sub Pop / YouTube)

Album Pre-order

via Sub Pop:

Bully’s “Hours and Hours” is the latest standout from SUGAREGG, her incredible new album out next month on Sub Pop. Alicia Bognanno offers this about the song, “‘Hours and Hours’ is about my mother and I finally figuring out our relationship. She and I had a really hard time connecting growing up and at times felt like it would never happen. Over the past five years we have become best friends, she is now the very first person I call when I am at my absolute lowest and has saved my life. I realize now how similar we are and how that probably had everything to do with why we had a difficult time with each other growing up. I wish I knew sooner how much we could relate but am eternally grateful that we have figured it out now and I’m just so thankful to be on good terms, I love her dearly.”

Bully will release SUGAREGG on August 21st, 2020 worldwide through Sub Pop. LP preorders through and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on a translucent blue w/white "smoke" colored vinyl. Meanwhile, preorders in the U.K. and Europe through select independent retailers will receive the Loser edition on transparent red vinyl. There will also be a new t-shirt design available.

SUGAREGG was produced and mixed by John Congleton and Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, with additional production and mixing by Graham Walsh, recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and Palace Sound in Toronto, Ontario, and mastered by Heba Kadry.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Anna von Hausswolff: "Sacro Bosco"

A new single from Anna von Hausswolff surfaced today, announcing her upcoming new LP, All Thoughts Fly. Following the heavily arranged intensity of her 2018 release, Dead Magic, "Sacro Bosco" (which translates to "Sacred Grove") could suggest that this new release may provide more of a meditative, if not eerie or immersive, listen. But, that could change as more becomes known about this album, which is scheduled to release on 9/25 via Southern Lord Recordings

All Thoughts Fly was built entirely from compositions performed on the pipe organ, which brings to mind Aine O'Dwyer's 2012 release, Music For Church Cleaners. While O'Dwyer's after-hours interactions with the instrument also relied upon the realtime and almost episodic goings on that occurred around her as she performed, von Hausswolff is treating this release as purely solo: single instrument; single presence. "Sacro Bosco" is cavernous, the breath of its machinery audible and moving until the harmonies gain dominance, almost glory-like, and overwhelm the sense of space that the recording conveys.  

Digital pre-orders are available at Bandcamp.

Info, links and sounds come courtesy of Rarely Unable.



Sacro Bosco (“Sacred Grove”) is the starting point for Anna von Hausswolff’s new album All Thoughts Fly, incoming on Southern Lord on 25th September. Here in solo instrumental mode, the entire record consists of just one instrument, the pipe organ, and represents absolute liberation of the imagination. All Thoughts Fly radiates a melancholic beauty, and is distinguished by fluid transitions of contrasting elements; calmness and drama, harmony and dissonance, much like the place that inspires the music.

Sacro Bosco is a garden, based in the centre of Italy, containing grotesque mythological sculptures and buildings overgrown with vegetation, situated in a wooded valley beneath the castle of Orsini. Created during the 16th Century, Sacro Bosco was commissioned by Pier Francesco Orsini, some say to try and cope with his grief following the death of his wife Guilia Farnese, others speculate the purpose was to create art.

About the album Anna explains
“there’s a sadness and wilderness that inspired me to write this album, also a timelessness. I believe that this park has survived not only due to its beauty but also because of the iconography, it has been liberated from predictable ideas and ideals. The people who built this park truly set their minds and imagination free. All thoughts fly is a homage to this creation, and an effort to articulate the atmosphere and the feelings that this place evokes inside of me. It’s a very personal interpretation of a place that I lack the words to describe. I’d like to believe Orsini built this monumental park out of grief for his dead wife, and in my Sacro Bosco I used this story as a core for my own inspiration: love as a foundation for creation.”

The accompanying video for the first single "Sacro Bosco" is, just like the music, an interpretation of the park with an imaginary twist. Directed by Gustaf and Ludvig Holtenäs

Anna summarises, “Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo is a creation carved out from one man’s head. A frozen thought lasting throughout time and touching people across generations. All thoughts fly, Ogni Pensiero Vola, is about this: the importance of sharing for surviving, creating space and evolving. Once you’ve shared your words they are not only yours anymore."

All Thoughts Fly ultimately embodies the exploration of any and all possibilities, and the audience is invited to listen, liberate the mind and let it wander.

Southern Lord will release All Thoughts Fly on LP and digital formats on 25th September. Digital pre-orders are now available via Bandcamp.

Notes on the recording process:

The organ on All Thoughts Fly is situated in Gothenburg and is a Swedish replica of the Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. It is the largest organ tuned in Quarter-comma Meantone temperament in the world. With it’s four manuals, one pedal and 54 stops, it was built as part of a ten-year research project reconstructing 17th Century North German organ building craft. The tuning temperament is an important detail to note here, as it deeply affects the sound and tuning, and thus radically changed the process of creating this album. Anna speaks of a pleasant surprise during recording, the organ's ability to create beautiful "pitching" notes through its stops and air supply system. She remarks “We took advantage of this so most of the pitching sounds and notes that you hear on the album comes from the mechanics of this organ, effects made entirely acoustically." The organ was recorded with two room mics for atmosphere and two pairs of close mics placed inside the organ to capture nuances and detail for further organ sound processing by Filip Leyman in his studio.

Additional credits:
Organ sound design by Filip Leyman and Anna von Hausswolff
Produced and mixed by Anna von Hausswolff & Filip Leyman
Mastered by Hans Olsson at Svenska Grammofonstudion
Recorded in Örgryte New Church, in Gothenburg January 2020.
Organ recorded with mobile equipment from Svenska Grammofonstudion
Cover photo & inner sleeve photo by Gianluca Grasselli
Layout & design by Tina Damgaard

Anna von Hausswolff is a musician and composer exploring the myriad of possibilities and the potential for new expressions on the pipe organ. Anna has performed on pipe organs all over the world, as part of this ongoing quest of discovery. Her polyrhythmic sound is ever-changing and full of contrasts, often distinguished by fluid transitions of calmness and drama, harmony and dissonance, with various overlapping elements. Her imaginative approach is open-minded to sonic possibilities and different perceptions, drawing inspiration from wherever it may appear.

Anna has written and released four full-length albums; Singing From The Grave (2010), Ceremony (2012), The Miraculous (2015) and Dead Magic (2018), often recording with a cast of other musicians. Her forthcoming release, All Thoughts Fly on Southern Lord sees Anna in solo instrumental mode. The entire record is just one solo instrument, the pipe organ, all songs written and played by Anna von Hausswolff. Recorded in Gothenburg at Örgryte New Church, on their Quarter-comma Meantone tempered North German Baroque organ. All Thoughts Fly was recorded in 7 days in January 2020, the songs were written in 2019 and 2020.

Anna has recently toured the UK with Sunn O))) (and guested on their live session for Mary Anne Hobbs airing on BBC 6 Music), has supported Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Swans, Efterklang, Refused to name a few. Anna was invited by Nils Frahm to perform his curated event "Possibly colliding" at the Barbican, London and by David Byrne to perform at his curated Meltdown festival at Southbank centre, London. Other key live appearances include performances at Primavera festival, Roadburn, Roskilde festival, Aural Festival in Mexico City, End Of The Road, Green Man Festival, Way Out West, MONA FOMA Australia and more.

As a spirited collaborator, Anna has worked with Swans (guesting on their album Leaving Meaning), Yann Tiersen (guesting on his album All) and Wolves In The Throne Room (guesting on Thrice Woven). Anna notably performed at the Nobel Prize Dinner (2018) with material written in collaboration Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson. In the same year, Anna performed as a solo vocalist in Alexander Ekman's ballet "Midsummer Night's dream" with music written by Mikael Karlsson. Anna has written theatre music for "Gösta Berlings saga" a play by Rikard Lekander (2017).

A restless creative, Anna owns and runs Pomperipossa Records, with several small and experimental releases, that often sell out quickly. Anna also plays in BADA who released their self titled album earlier this year, and is one half of Hydras Dream, a collaboration with Matti Bye (Swedish pianist and composer for film, TV, theatre and dance) who released the album The Little Match Girl (2014).

As an enthusiast of visual arts, Anna has a Bachelor degree in Contemporary Art, studied a masters in music & contemporary art at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, and Printmaking at Gothenburg Art School. In late 2019, Anna combined her passion for pipe organs and appreciation of visual arts when hosting her first ever large-scale solo exhibition at Galleri Backlund, Sweden. The work on display was images of imaginary pipe organs, visualised on copperplate engravings, made through various techniques.

Always embracing ambitious undertakings, Anna is currently working on film music for a documentary produced by Swedish television, due to premiere either late 2020 or in 2021. A process which inspired her compositional approach on All Thoughts Fly (2020).

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Online Sounds: Boris — “鏡 -Zerkalo-“ & NO

Released: 7.3.20

Boris ain't fuckin' around. The band's latest release, NO, was released as a digital LP on Bandcamp and finds the trio conjuring amplified gargantua via Discharge-blessed tempos ("Anti-Gone"), mountain-crumbling doom-laden immensity ("鏡 -Zerkalo-"), or softening sheets of ethereal tonality ("HxCxHxC -Perforation Line-"). NO functions well as an immediately gratifying and unbridled release of bullshit-free guitar-n-drum relayed energy.

Sincerely,Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, July 02, 2020

J Zunz: "Y"

Album pre-order

J. Zunz is the solo work of Lorena Quintanilla of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. The new single and video for the track "Y," which is featured on the upcoming new LP, Hibiscus, exudes an ever-heightening level of electro-induced tension despite its minimalist presentation. Effectively discomforting, the subtleties of Quintanilla's work are intensified once the addition of abrasive synthesized elements.

Hibiscus will be out 8/21 via Rocket Recordings.

All info and links were provided by Rarely Unable.




Hibiscus is the strikingly confident and singular second album from J. Zunz, the solo reinvention of Lorena Quintanilla - better known up until this point as one half of Mexican duo ‘Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.’ Upcoming on Rocket Recordings on the 21st August across all formats, the album is preceded today by the lead single "Y" and a powerful video inspired by the artwork of Helena Almeida. More on this below. Hibiscus is available to preorder on ltd edition 'Exotic Swirl' vinyl via the Rocket shop from 9am on Friday (3rd July) – to coincide with the Bandcamp 'No Fee' day.

Hibiscus marks a move on sonically from earlier comfort zones in Lorena's work (check, Silente from 2017) into minimal electronics, hypnotic repetition and compelling trance states, arriving at a soundworld in which cyclical synth patterns, eerie ambient textures and cathartic vocal exhortations coalesce into a beguiling atmosphere of otherworldly intensity. Although some might hear echoes amongst these songs of the like of Angelo Badalementi’s ghostly raptures, the bleak epiphanies of Nico’s Marble Index or Fifty Foot Hose’s spare sci-fi psychedelia, both the approach and the resulting tapestry here are Lorena’s and hers alone.

“It is hard to describe any record as they keep unfolding to me in time” says Lorena. “Now it is almost a year since I recorded it. What I know is that I wrote the album during a personal crisis inside and a political crisis outside. After being profoundly hurt by a person I trusted but also by the structures outside of me. I wrote it during sleepless nights filled with overwhelming thoughts and feelings.”

Hibiscus is the result of a metamorphic process whereby the minimal is rendered maximal and the personal fused with the political. This is apparent on the video for the lead single "Y" about which Lorena comments, "The video was inspired by the artwork of the great Helena Almeida. It is about giving movement to some of her photographs and maybe imagine a story in between them. Abstract enough to give space to any interpretation. Sometimes it is necessary to make a video about violence because looking at it directly is unbearable. We make metaphors of violence because nobody wants to accept that every day we make a woman suffer."

The initial vision for the J. Zunz project was for Lorena to strip her approach down to the basics - “I remember I was reading a biography of John Cage and that book detonated something in me. The author was referring to the influence of Buddhism and meditation, and modern artists like Sonia Delaunay, Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc, Duchamp, futurism. I was very charged with ideas.”

Hibiscus more than anything else is a process of alchemy - turning a less-is-more approach into a formidable psychic assault, and undergoing an artistic transmutation that renders compelling and uplifting work from trying times. “I didn’t want these songs to sound vulnerable.” Lorena reflects. ”I wanted the songs to be everything I wasn’t at that moment: strong and fearless.”

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Uniform: "Delco"

A new single from Uniform is out today for the group's upcoming release, Shame. "Delco," (or Delaware County, a Philly suburb not too far from where I live in Montgomery County), is a personal and cathartic distillation of hometown abuse and its subsequent impact upon vocalist Michael Berdan. If you've heard Uniform before, you know that they, (Berden, guitarist Ben Greenberg, and drummer Mike Sharp), are adept at converting pain into decibels. "Delco" is no exception: Berdan's bark reverberating over a calamitous barrage of drum fills and riff-borne fuzz. Sometimes, making a loud noise is the best form of therapy.

Shame is due out on September 11th from Sacred Bones.

Uniform's 2017 release Wake In Fright was reviewed for No Ripcord.

All info was provided by Rarely Unable.


New York City, NY (June 24, 2020): What if the antihero in your favourite film or book had no chance to repent, reconcile, or redeem himself? There’s no victim to rescue. There’s no evil to thwart. There’s no tyranny to turnover. Instead of saving the day against his better judgment, he just walks a Sisyphean circle of existential malaise doomed to repeat yesterday’s vices without the promise of a better tomorrow. Rather than tell this story on the screen or on the page, Uniform tell it on their fourth full-length album, Shame. The trio – Michael Berdan (vocals), Ben Greenberg (guitar, production), and Mike Sharp (drums) – strain struggle through an industrialised mill of grating guitars, warped electronics, war-torn percussion, and demonically catchy vocalisations.

Today they hit us with the album’s massive opener “Delco” which fuses guttural distortion to haunting chants buttressed by muscular percussion. Short for ‘Delaware County,’ the track reflects on Berdan’s upbringing in a suburb west of Philadelphia and how beatings and bullying by the local hellraisers taught him how to keep his guard up and navigate a violent world.

Berdan reveals, “During my adolescence I would get routinely picked on and beat up by some of the kids in the neighbourhood who I desperately wanted to like me. The more beatings I caught, the more I’d go back to try and impress them. My self esteem was nonexistent and I developed psychological calluses. I learned to repeat some of the behaviours that had been leveled my way on those beneath me in the pecking order. In time, I became numb. Getting older and attempting to reconcile with personal demons surrounding depression, anxiety and substance abuse has forced me to take a long, hard look at my childhood. In the process I've realised to degrees just how I've perpetuated learned cycles of harm. A terrified part of me is still a little kid in Delco. This song is an exercise in trying to come to terms with these ghosts and let go. Some days are better than others.” 

“Thematically, the album is like a classic hard-boiled paperback novel without a case,” says Berdan. “It focuses on the static state of an antihero as he mulls over his life in the interim between major events, just existing in the world. At the time we were making the record, I was reading books by Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and Dashiell Hammet and strangely found myself identifying with the internal dialogues of characters like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.”

The lead-up to this moment proved just as intriguing as any of those characters’ exploits. Born in 2013, Uniform bulldozed a path to the forefront of underground music. Following their acclaimed works Perfect World (2015) and Wake in Fright (2017), the group’s third offering, The Long Walk (2018), represented a critical high watermark. In addition to touring with the likes of Deafheaven and Boris, they joined forces with The Body for a pair of collaborative albums – Mental Wounds Not Healing (2018) and Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back (2019) – as well as the live release, Live at the End of the World (2020). When it came time to pen Shame, Berdan made a conscious decision to include lyrics, marking a first.

“I wanted my words to carry a degree of weight on this record,” he says. “Books and cinema have always been integral to my life, and that is often because of how I relate to the themes and characters therein. I am naturally shy and terrified of being misunderstood. This time around, I endeavoured to trudge through those fears in order to explicitly articulate what goes on in a dreary corner of my inner life. To put it plainly: I was in a dark place. It was the culmination of years of thinking everyone in the world was wrong, but me. I realised that I couldn’t control the attitudes and behaviours of other people, but it was my responsibility to look inward and fix what was there. I had to articulate what was going on in my heart, my head, and my soul. As I set about the task of writing everything down, I experienced exorcism. If I wanted any kind of reprieve, I had to let go of the narrative that the demons in the back of my head had been constantly whispering to me. For years I held onto my lyrics like personal diary entries. Now is the time for a different approach.”

This record marks the debut of Mike Sharp on drums, adding a natural fire to the engine. His presence grinds down their metallic industrial edge with a live percussive maelstrom. Once again, Greenberg assumed production duties behind the board at his studio, Strange Weather. Building on the approach from their last LP, the band perfected the powerful hybrid of digital and analog, electronic and acoustic, synthetic and actual that has become their hallmark. In another first, mixing duties were not handled by Greenberg, but rather handed off to the inimitable Randall Dunn at his studio Circular Ruin. This time around, Dunn’s fresh set of ears pushes their sound to its limits, giving us Uniform’s most powerful records to date. 

Shame sees its release September 11th, 2020 via Sacred Bones. There will be limited edition LP colour variants available. For more info and to pre-order go here. Keep up with the latest Uniform updates on Instagram here.

Follow Uniform: Instagram - Facebook - Bandcamp - Spotify - Apple

Letters From A Tapehead

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou: "Ancestral Recall"

Album Artwork | Photo By Craig Mulcahy At the expense of objectivity, I'll just state for the record that I enjoy the music of Emma Ruth...