Archive of ‘music’ category

an intractable aversion

an intractable aversion from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Nightsongs for hermits.

Track list:
The Rains by Age Decay | Nocturne by Mark Lanegan Band | Weary Eyes by By Opium Dream Estate | There Must Be More Than This by Gemma Ray | I Don’t Want to Know by Marissa Nadler | Tired As Fuck by The Staves | Missoula by Tasseomancy | Sylvan by Esben and the Witch | Go Ye Light by Wovenhand | Let Me Get There by Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions

Moon Duo’s Occult Architecture Vol. 1

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Released appropriately on February 3, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Moon Duo’s fourth album Occult Architecture Vol. 1 offers a cosmic glimpse into the hidden pattern embedded in everything, and is, I am told,  “an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.” Hm!

Written and recorded in their hometown of Portland, Oregon, the two-part epic reflects the hidden energies of rainclouds and sunshine and the deep creep of Northwest forests along with their effect on the psyche, and was inspired by the occult and esoteric literature of Mary Anne Atwood, Aleister Crowley, Colin Wilson, and Manly P. Hall.

According to guitarist Ripley Johnson, “the concept of the dark/light, two-part album came as we were recording and mixing the songs, beginning in the dead of winter and continuing into the rebirth and blossoming of the spring. There’s something really powerful about the changing of the seasons in the Northwest, the physical and psychic impact it has on you, especially after we spent so many years in the seasonal void of California. I became interested in gnostic and hermetic literature around that time, especially the relationship between music and occult qualities and that fed into the whole vibe.”

Okay, that’s all terribly fascinating, poetic, even, but what does all of that mean? Moon Duo’s last album didn’t immediately grab me, but I’m willing to give things another go, and admit if I have been hasty to judge, and to be honest, I often find that what I don’t care for one day will become my absolute very favorite thing the very next week.

And I am here to tell you that the psychedelic krautrock space jams found on Occult Architecture Vol. 1 are indeed my current Favorite Things. A hazy, hypnotic ride, buzzing with repetitive grooves, long, droning synth-laden refrains, and drowsy vocals, this is the background music I imagine playing if William Hope Hodgson’s reclusive narrator in The House On The Borderland were to describe his time spent astral-traveling to all those freaky, terrifying places that he mentions in his manuscript, but through, you know, the filter of rose-tinted glasses, and with an “…ahahaha, so THAT happened” kind of attitude.

Like, if he were traversing the vast desolation of space and time, not alone and afraid, but instead accompanied by his rad cousin (the one who shares all of his acid and shrooms) and just exploring the cosmos and visiting dying stars and dead planets in his dope ass El Camino, high as balls.

Which is not to say it’s all woozy sonic delirium and a miasma of languorous psychedelia. To my (admittedly untrained ear) I hear fuzzy, feisty post-punk garage band and 80s new wave influences, and the pulsating, throbbing beat of something one might even be compelled to dance to –if you’re at some far-flung space rave, I guess, at the outer edge of the galaxy. The cold, machine-like yet passionate beat of the album’s second to last track, “The Will of the Devil” even has a goth pop/cold wave vibe to it, that I especially dig.

On the whole, this is an unexpectedly catchy album (I am literally tapping my feet to it even at this moment, while at the same time bemoaning all of the drugs I never did, because man, hallucinogenics and space travel sounds like good times) and if this is Moon Duo’s dark side, I cannot wait to see what they deliver when they step into the light with Occult Architecture Vol. 2

Find Moon Duo on the web: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter
Release date: February 3, 2017 | Label: Sacred Bones Records

a shifting impermanence

a shifting impermanence from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new 8tracks playlist for the year’s end;
rifts & shifts & passages.
Artwork by Brittany Schall.

Track list:

Hypatia, WRAY | Value, Hideous Towns | Abstinencia, Linda Guilala | Pale Surrender, Savage Sister | Eudamonia, Them Are Us Too | These Times, Night School | Horror, Wildhoney | Shiver, FVNERALS | Walk the Water, Casket Girls | White Hot Moon, Pity Sex | From The Outside , Omega Vague | Loom, Somali Yacht Club | Nothing Is Lost, Ultra Material | 39, DRAB MAJESTY | Morphine, Boy Harsher | GODS, Clovvder

An Infinite Tenderness: HÆLOS’ ‘Full Circle’

full-circle-packshot[As we near the end of 2016 and folks are posting their “best of” lists,  this album stands alone for me as my favorite recording released this year. This was a review I’d written earlier this year and was previously published at Dirge Magazine. It is no longer on that site, so I am taking this opportunity to give it a home here,  where I think it best belongs.]

There is a surreal stretch at the end of an evening of good times that have carried on perhaps an album’s length or a bottle too long. A half-lit, fuzzy spell between two and three in the morning where you’ve had far too much too drink with friends and the euphoric effects of the alcohol are wearing off: you’re left with a sleepy nostalgia for the good times you were having mere hours before and tomorrow’s hangover is a distressing memory that hasn’t happened yet.

You’re in the cramped backseat of a car, cocktail-fevered forehead resting against the cool glass of the passenger side window, your reflection too dark to see. The palm trees are towering overhead–mesmerizing, celestial giants as far away as the distant planets–and the glimmering streetlights are stars that stretch and fade to the edges of your vision like you’re jumping into hyperspace. You want to laugh at the absurdity of the imagery but all of a sudden, and from out of nowhere, this late night is on the other side of too late. This beautiful, astronomical onslaught is too much; it’s triggering memories more terrestrial and summoning that nostalgic, aching void that’s perpetually lurking at the edges of your experience.

I overheard a conversation recently in which it was mentioned that oftentimes one forgets that words ending in “-algia” indicate some sort of pain. So while we frequently refer to nostalgia in a terms of sentimental longing or wistful affection, we cannot deny the twist of the heart that accompanies it, the grief and distress that tinges it. The pain that gives definition to these wispy, amorphous moments, this euphoria we summon and cling to for far too long on evenings like this.

I’m reflecting on these things during my initial listen to British trio HÆLOS’ debut album, Full Circle, which has been described by some as “darkly euphoric dance music”– but I don’t immediately feel like dancing when I hear it. I’m instead reminded of the hair standing stiffly at the back of my neck and my worldview shifting slightly but irreversibly after having heard the tinny, ominous strains of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” on the radio while my mother sunbathed on a sunny afternoon in southwestern Ohio. In my brightly colored J.C. Penney’s sundress I sat still in the flower bed and listened intently, internalizing a despair I couldn’t possibly understand at the age of six, and yet somehow recognizing that one day I would know it all too well. I didn’t feel like dancing then, either.

It was this same visceral reaction that HÆLOS’ nocturnal, throbbing first single, “Dust,” conjured in me when I initially heard it in late fall of 2014, released quietly on Soundcloud. This song, with its otherworldly, multi-layered, airy vocal tracks, reverberating melodies, and the repeated lyrics, “what happened to us?” almost begs the question: You and Me, us? Or the bigger picture Us, all of Us, humanity as a whole? It evoked the compulsion to desperately dial a loved one at the darkest hour of night, just to hear their voice, and have them assure you that they are okay. Or… to assure yourself that you are okay.

There is faint light dawning on the horizon which soon becomes a blinding corona in the morning sky, faithfully moving throughout our day, infinitely shining above. The darkness of the night, the void, and the loneliness abate in the face of this splendid constancy. And too, with a closer listen to the shadowy trip-hop, shimmering electronica, and hushed, intimate lyrics that comprise the entirety of Full Circle, you will hear this gentle movement, this infinite tenderness. It reveals something deeply human, achingly authentic and at its heart, a far cry from the bitter angst of that iconic hit from 1981 that unnerved me so at such a young age: breathtakingly explosive hope.


Hope and human connection are pervasive themes throughout the album. Uneasy reflection on the pain of emotional distance, and “the moment when you are choosing between staying or leaving and the underlying love that keeps you there”– as explained in a statement from the band–is explored in “Separate Lives,” the album’s eighth track and most recent video release.

The band has noted a love of the atmospheric trip-hop and turntablism of the ’90s–Portishead, Massive Attack, and the like–and there is much of that smoky, late night ritual and narcotic, reverberating poignancy to be heard weaving in and out and linking the songs on Full Circle. In particular, “Earth Not Above,” the album’s fifth track, is brimming with this down-tempo, melancholic dissonance, but along with lustrous synth, and cinematic, kaleidoscopic strings, HÆLOS’ sound is wholly their own.

These are songs of grief, and of vulnerability, but ultimately of release: “Some of us need kindness… some people need love” they sing. And in these lush, hauntingly beautiful harmonies on this sweeping, meditative album, it becomes clear that this is the sound of one no longer being alone in the dark; it’s the steady, gorgeous thrum and throbbing heartbeat of a hand in your own.

I had insisted that HÆLOS’ Full Circle doesn’t move me to dance, but perhaps this quiet realization is a still, joyous, hopeful dance of its own.

“Witches” by Vaginapocalypse

I know I shared this song last year, but I love it more and more every time I hear it, especially today. Maybe even more tomorrow, 11/8, when there are important choices to make and history to be made. So this song is especially on my mind right now.

Nasty women and Hildabeasts with your vagendas, I think you’ll love this folk-punk from Vaginapocalypse song, too.

For Your Ears: 10+ bandcamp picks

Ayla Nero, Code Of Flowers album art

Ayla Nero Code Of Flowers album art

It’s been a good, long while since I’ve put together a For Your Ears post–which isn’t to say I am not listening to music, of course. When the day comes that I am not hunting out new sonic gratification, well, you’ll know it’s because I am dead or something.

Previous installments: For Your Ears (midsummer 2016) // For Your Ears (August 2015) // For Your Ears (June 2015) // For Your Ears (April 2015) // For Your Ears (March 2015) // For Your Ears (February 2015) // For Your Ears (January 2015) 

See below for 10+ (it’s actually more like 13) fantastic bandcamp picks that are currently in heavy rotation ’round these parts. What are you listening to right now? Anything you think I should add to the list? Link me in the comments!

2016 Halloween-themed offering from VHS Glitch, full of ambient dark synth and reminiscent of such gems as Ghoulies or Night of the Demons.

Kristine Barrett’s intimate collection of experimental traditional folk music, sea shanties, & hymns from Ireland, Scotland, America, & Iceland.

Golden Garden’s particular blend of mystical, luminescent dream pop, an “invocation to the warrior queens and the enchantresses, the mystics and the misunderstood.”

Ethereal, evocative, and entrancing new offering from Ayla Nereo, an artist who makes music with a love for the earth, a devotion to our planet.

On Gramarye, Lotus Thief’s atmospheric post-black metal, space rock and ambient sound is inspired by and brings life to ancient texts, secret grimoires and forbidden rituals

Mournful balladry, pure and furious, revelatory and unsettling, from Emma Ruth Rundle (whose earlier work, Some Heavy Ocean, was also excellent)

What do we call this guy? Neo-folk? Post-punk? I find King Dude’s stuff simultaneously starkly morose and strangely catchy, and I couldn’t agree more with the reviewer who notes that this is probably what “rock and roll sounds like in hell”.

I can’t have a list like this without some melancholy piano tinklings. This offering from Murcof x Vanessa Wagner is moody and minimal, dreamy and delicate.

A singular and entirely heartbreaking concept: this album features the sounds from the journey The Caretaker will make after being diagnosed as having early onset dementia. Each stage will reveal new points of progression, loss and disintegration. Progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness.

Immensely beautiful and intensely dark; I initially found her through Katie Metcalfe of Wyrd Words & Effigies recommendation

Blackgaze darlings Alcest’s Kodama is heavy stuff, both ecstatic and sorrowful.

Still Corner’s broody, swoony, shimmering synth pop is an aural treat and Dead Blue is probably my favorite entry on this list.

Bonus

Meredith Yayanos released this new Parlour Trick track on Halloween, a 33 minute, terrifying sonic hellscape, a piece called “Wandering Room”, about which she says: “It’s… not cute. Sometimes, you have to go back to some dark and nasty places to rescue your inner child.”

For The Dead Travel Fast

An eerie new playlist, “For The Dead Travel Fast” is up at playmoss today & brimming with strange and beautiful music from my/your favorite horror films. 💀

There are 62 disquieting melodies here, so this is definitely long enough for your Halloween friends & fiends & guests & ghosts to enjoy through the witching hour and beyond. 💀

{image: Simon Marsden}

Secret Spaces

Secret Spaces from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new 8tracks mix, inspired by sunlight dimming in autumn’s shadows.
{Image credit: Matthias Lueger}

Track list:
Our Love Will Carry On by King Dude | Wound Of The Warden by SUBROSA | What finds me by True Widow | Marked For Death by Emma Ruth Rundle | Stranger by Miserable | from mound to mound by stroszek | Lovesick by Mayflower Madame | Whispers by Ayla Nereo | Margo by Haroula Rose | Gold by The Handsome Family | Familiar by Agnes Obel

Needful things

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A Love That Casts No Shadow by EC Steiner

There must be something exceptionally splendid and special in the air right now (or could it simply be that we are now in the month of October– the most wonderful time of the year?) My beloved friends are really outdoing themselves with regard to their current creative ventures and artistic endeavors, and I wanted to take a moment to spotlight, (for all of my twelve readers, haha) some of the remarkable things that are available right now from these dazzlingly brilliant visionaries.  See below for an array of outstanding projects and collaborations resulting in needful things of the most enticing and uncanny sort.

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Whispering Death by Becky Munich

Munich Art Studio and Casketglass Art have teamed up to celebrate a month of haunted days by releasing an extremely limited set of art prints inspired by the mystery and magic of Halloween. An intimate experience, only 20 print sets are available for purchase and will not be re-released, and in honor of the joyously macabre traditions of the Halloween season, each order is shipped with additional ghoulish treats for you to keep or share with others.

Order the 2016 limited edition Halloween art print set here

 

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For the scented tapophile: in what will be an on-going collection, the new Haute Macabre + Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab collaboration is launching with two new fragrances, Burying Point and St. Louis #1. Made exclusively for Haute Macabre by master perfumer Elizabeth Barrial, the collection is based on favorite cemeteries around the world; the first installment features St. Louis #1 (drooping Spanish moss and crumbling marble, sweet olive blossom, 13-year aged black patchouli, and offerings of Bay Rum, Florida water, and tobacco), located in New Orleans, and Burying Point (damp clusters of brown patchouli, dried maple leaves, black sage, spikenard, and curled, misshapen mandrake roots), the oldest cemetery in Salem.

Purchase Burying Point and St. Louis #1 here.

 

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Two beautiful new pins are available for pre-order from our friends at Wormwood & Rue!

DAWN: Our hard enamel pin featuring a white hare wreathed in morning glories is 49mm (1.9″) tall and finished in gold plating.

DUSK: Our hard enamel pin featuring a black hare wreathed in glow-in-the-dark moonflowers is 49mm (1.9″) tall and finished in nickel plating.

If you choose to pre-order them individually they are $10 a piece, or you can get the set for $20.

 

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Friends who have visited our house and wondered at the ghostly chamber music and dark, dreamy sounds we sometimes haunt you with? It’s Meredith Yayanos‘ eerily beautiful music from The Parlour Trick’s Blessed Unrest album …and right now you can get the digital version on bandcamp for a mere $6.66–OR!–you can pre-order the vinyl repress (which you should do, because it will sell out in the blink of an eye!)

Purchase both digital and physical copies of A Blessed Unrest here.

 

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Visit Haute Macabre to read the introduction to the bloodmilk Book Club for this season, with Sonya Vatomsky’s “Salt Is For Curing” as the current selection. Also included in the post are two special giveaways: one, a chance to win a copy of Sonya’s book, and a second, a chance to win a jewel from the bloodmilk shop. The giveaway runs until November 1st, so there is still plenty of time.

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As you know, we sold out of the Occult Activity Book Volume Two even faster than anticipated! Neither this volume or the previous will ever be re-printed or re-created, so if you missed out on the opportunity to purchase this rare tome full of fantastical arts and word witchery, you will never again have another chance. HOWEVER! Don’t summon the demons to do your freaky time travel bidding just yet! Our friends at Haute Macabre are giving away one deluxe edition of The Occult Activity Book Volume Two, which includes the book and all the goodies. If you missed out on this exceedingly special project and are hovering at cusp of committing dire and dangerous magical crimes to acquire one for yourself, why not enter the giveaway instead?

 

AND, a few upcoming things that you need to keep an eye out for!

 

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Artist: Dana Glover

Morbid Fantasies is a richly illustrated reader’s guide to Gothic literature, guiding fans both old and new over the ever-changing face of this most ghoulish of genres. In its pages, scholar Jack Shear covers the history, key themes, and major books in the Gothic movement from its inception through the current day. It’s a love letter to this often misunderstood and under-appreciated form of entertainment, hand-bound and designed by Tenebrous Kate with featured illustrations by Dana Glover, Becky Munich, and Carisa Swenson.  I hear this may be available as soon as next weekend, so be sure to check over at hereticalsexts.com to grab a copy for yourself!

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California sprawls across a multitude of landscapes and has amassed a history full of the strange and unusual. There are secrets in the desert. Secrets in the cities. Strange and unusual happenings in the odd, dark places of the coastal state.

Strange California is 26 tales of strangeness, lavishly illustrated, that will pull you into another world, a world where migrant girls stand up to witches who live in orange groves, where trickster magpies try to steal souls from Russian sisters in the early days of Fort Bragg, where water is both currency and predator, and Gold Rush-era ghosts wander the streets of San Francisco alongside panther ladies.

I am particularly excited about this book because writer friend and fellow blogger Patricia Lundy of Something Eldritch will have a story in it! Back the book over on kickstarter here.

 

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