Last Rites: Outré Monde – Blood of the Black Owl and Ampacity

Craig and I return to our periodic conversation, this time discussing Blood of the Black Owl’s dark ritual music and Amapcity’s chugging space rock.

Besides my eternal love for space rock in all it’s many shapes and forms, I felt that Ampacity’s debut, Encounter One, was criminally overlooked last year. I’m pretty sure you heard it – or at least heard of it – because I yelled about it on twitter and Facebook and elsewhere. But damn it, I wanted to make sure you listened!


Last Rites: Tweak Bird – Any Ol’ Way

I reviewed the new Tweak Bird album, Any Ol’ Way, for Last Rites:

It’s not just the tighter focus that sets Any Ol’ Way apart from their prior releases. Tweak Bird has typically employed the near constant high and tight harmony falsettos of the brothers; this time around, the twinned vocals rarely soar together into the upper part of their range. Either Ashton, Caleb, or both are most often in their lower register, which grounds the songs without anchoring them. When they choose to rise high the effect is greater for it isn’t the baseline sound. In addition, by more often separating their voices into high and low, the harmonies are stronger and easier to discern. The change is welcome. 

PopMatters: Dex Romweber Duo – Images 13

I reviewed the newest release from Dex Romweber for PopMatters:

Yet for all his obvious strengths as a singer, he may be an even better guitarist. He’s always been a nimble player, whether with rapid runs, fine picking, or with manically strummed chords. But regardless of tempo or tone, Romweber plays with an understated lyricism. As he’s aged, that has come even more to the fore. As a result, he has finally found the perfect harmonic support and counter for those powerful vocals. “I Don’t Want to Listen” finds him digging deep into his lower vocal register, with the guitar holding the highs in bright relief, before dropping in turn as his voice climbs up near it’s breaking point. The guitar solo, a simple melody with just a few bent notes, ties the highs and lows in a pretty bow that anchors both the song and the album as a whole.

Steel for Brains: SfB vs. Psych Fest

A while back, Jonathan asked me to join his small coterie of writers at Steel for Brains. Life meant I couldn’t contribute right away, but I always hoped to get started in early May. When I offered him my Psych Fest diary he said yes before reading a word. After I gave him over 7000, I expected him to pass. Instead he asked for the poor photos I took to go with it.

For over 20 years, Bardo Pond has been chugging along, their thick psychedelic space rock fueling a generation of distortion loving cultural misfits like me. Somehow, in all those years, I’d never made it to one of their many shows. I wasn’t going to miss this chance, and I nabbed a seat on the front row of the Amphitheatre. With my earplugs firmly in place, I closed my eyes and let Bardo Pond wash over me. Psychedelic heavy music has always been a way for me to release my cares and worries; whether played loud enough to make the walls shake or pumped directly into my skull with headphones, it’s transportive and transformative power helps me put things down, aside, or in a new order. It takes a magnet to the iron filings of my jumbled brain. Bardo Pond served to do just that on Saturday, their resonant fuzz a mental refresher that let me not only enjoy their set but to prepare me for more. The day was still young. There were more amazing experiences ahead.

Last Rites: Planet of Zeus – Vigilante

The crazy Greeks of Planet of Zeus get their Clutch on as well as anyone. Vigilante shows there’s more to them than mere worship of that venerable Maryland band:

With Vigilante, Planet of Zeus have given us a further 45 minutes of BF-ORs and shout-along choruses, all with a serious helping of Southern rock boogie. That last bit is what sets them apart from the legions of Clutch worshiping, cowboy hat wearing, Confederate flag waving choads who prowl the States from Dallas to Dothan.