DUSK TO DIGITAL: Perhaps better known in the brick-and-mortar club land for his work with Jet Engine Dragons and Beast Mode, guitarist Corey Flowers is also an accomplished classical guitarist and composer. Indeed, he holds both a minor in composition and a doctorate in guitar performance from the University of Georgia. His newest solo work is titled For Starless Nights and Quiet Times. The five pieces here showcase Flowers’ talent in a taut package which serves as a nice insight into his sense of structure with regard to his other projects. This isn’t in any way an easy listening record or a by-the-numbers classical guitar record. Reflective of its title, the pieces here contain soothingly calm sections accompanied by huge swaths of despair-ridden emptiness and coldness. Also, this is fully electric and, as such, reveals a musical kinship to both black metal and experimental metal in ways that an acoustic rendering would not. Check it out at coreyflowers.bandcamp.com.
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: Longtime experimenter Michael Pierce, who’s spent several years now making music with Wet Garden and as the solo act Leisure Service, has a new project named sweetearthflying. And what does everyone with a new project do? Make a record, that’s what. This one is named spells to hasten the end of u.s. imperialism, and is—purportedly, but I’ve no reason to believe otherwise—11 spells dedicated to the realization of its title. I have it on good authority that Pierce used “a modular synthesizer called the Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus. The circuit board of the Cocoquantus is laid out based on a map of the Pentagon, and these musical excursions are actual spells…[performed] against the U.S. military industrial complex.” Each of the 11 tracks is improvisational, and though they were each recorded the same day (July 4, natch!), they do seem to arrive as movements. Spells 1–4 act as an invocation of sorts, introducing the listener to the project via aggressive and purposefully disjointed electro bit-n-bobs. Tracks 4–7 calm down only in the very slightest way, but, not insignificantly, introduce the first barely-there instances of melody and guitar. Finally, tracks 8–11 wrap it all up while bringing the tension back up a decent amount. Further, the listener gets all of this through head-splitting monophonic delivery. The best tracks here are the ones with room to breathe, and that would mean Spells 8 and 11. Man, I dunno. I mean, the Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon back in ’67 for the purposes of having all the illness tumble out of it, thus bringing an end to the war in Vietnam. Pierce’s purpose here is much broader, and Norman Mailer is dead. So if you dig his thing, he’s gonna need your support. Point your magic wand toward sweetearthflying.bandcamp.com, and get in on this.
TWIN ENGINES: There’s a new split cassette available between Wuornos and Ihlyatt. Although you can only preview two tracks without laying down some bucks, each is a representation of the artists involved. Wuornos has “bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky” up for listening, and it draws in the listener with a nicely repetitive melody before breaking off into a modulating howl which then disintegrates into a screech. Ihlyatt’s preview track, “A Quietly Humming White Box” sounds like exactly that; something ill-grounded that creates a slightly irritating digital earwig. This would be a cool jam to experience in person but this particular track isn’t terribly compelling, which was surprising as Ihlyatt’s other recent work most certainly has been. At any rate, this is also available digitally, but the tapes are limited to an edition of 15. Press the play button over at pisshelltapes.bandcamp.com, and see what you think.
PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE: I’ve written a hell of a lot about our local noise/experimental scene over the past few months, so here’s something that’s decidedly… not that. Pure pop rock band Cloudland has steadily released singles and EPs since 2017, the latest single being “Walking Away,” which came out July 10. More than any other local artist I can think of, this band is 100% of its time. Current fans of Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, et al will feel quite at home with these dudes on the stereo. Importantly, to me at least, there’s no trace of cynicism anywhere across their multiple tunes. No contempt for their audience, no marked lack of hope, and also no clear aping of anyone else, modern influences notwithstanding. Maybe it’s because of our current inundation of bad news, bad vibes and overall global gloom that Cloudland, who as recently as a year ago might have seemed painfully earnest, is today a much needed moment of fresh air. Find these guys on Spotify, or head to cloudlandband.com for more information.
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