Steel for Brains Podcast, Episode 8: Gilead Fest

Jonathan and I talked with Jordan Campbell of Last Rites about our experiences at Gilead Fest, and what we took away from this very special festival.

Steel for Brains Podcast, Episode 8: Gilead Fest

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Last Rites: 5Q5A – Prizehog Revisited

I did a second email interview with Prizehog for Last Rites:

Back in April, before they started the first tour for their latest album, Re-Unvent the Whool, I reached out to Portland’s Prizehog to see what made them tick. They opened up to my many questions and answered honestly, thoughtfully, and at length. After getting a chance to see them and introduce myself at their tour stop here in Dallas, it was quickly apparent that I needed to follow up with them when they returned. Though the logistics proved a bit more challenging this time – as you can imagine, trying to make up for lost time and money meant life overwhelmed email for a while – Rion, Vern and Zakk all took the time to answer each of my questions on their own. It’s only fitting; though collectively the band is more than the individuals involved, they each bring their own unique viewpoint to the music. It’s interesting to read how the experiences both overlapped and didn’t, and to assemble the puzzle that is Prizehog.

PopMatters: Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket – In A Dutch Haze

I reviewed the Roadburn jam session between Earthless and Heavy Blanket for PopMatters:

But this isn’t 10 or 15 minutes long. It’s an hour. An hour of free-form exploration that inevitably goes off course and has no chance of reaching its destination, assuming one was ever planned for in the first place. Mascis and Clise have plenty of ideas and the skill to execute them, though it sounds that perhaps they hadn’t told each other where those ideas led. Far too often both seem to want to be the trailblazer, and though their sympathies keep them together enough to never fall into a cacophonous clatter, the tension it sometimes brings isn’t a positive one. A few times the rhythm kings are able to assert themselves. Rubalcaba gets insistent around the 23-minute mark with a steady pulse and a series of cymbal crashes, and with the help of Eginton’s repeated bass figure is able to bluntly force the guitarists to regroup. It’s a role he plays in Earthless as well, though with a much greater subtlety than he’s able to display here.

PopMatters: Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls

I gushed about the new Judas Priest record for PopMatters:

But no song is more singular, nor a greater success, than “Sword of Damocles”. From the opening notes, this is both new and, again, a distillation of the many paths Judas Priest explored if not always followed. There is a swing to the verses that feels familiar, like a sped up “United” from 1980’s British Steel; this is an arms across the shoulders of your comrades drinking tune, where choruses are yelled and beers are sloshed. But then, after the short acoustic interlude, the martial aspect overwhelms the carousing and the call to arms is raised. Music for both the night before and the morning of battle has rarely been this good.

Last Rites: The Best of What You Missed, Day Five

I wrote a few words about Black Bombaim for Last Rites:

Portugal’s answer to Earthless are as prolific and adventurous as any artist working in heavy psych-rock today. Every release is worth a listen, and some are worth many more. Far Out, their first album for British label Cardinal Fuzz, is one of those that invites and rewards repeated plays. The trio builds a solid base through repetition, anchoring a rhythm before breaking bits and pieces off to explore before reassembly. Joined here by tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado for the alternately blistering and entrancing “Africa II,” and by modular synthesist Luis “The Astroboy” Fernandes for more eastward-leaning sounds of “Arabia,” Black Bombaim once again prove themselves able improvisors who avoid the trap of mere pointless jamming. This is a conversation and exploration of themes and ideas that keeps the listener fully engaged.