UP ALL NIGHT: The long-awaited and, unfortunately, previously delayed new album Vampire Hours by The Humms is finally out now, a full decade after 2010’s Lemonland. As longtime fans will expect, it encompasses smokin’-n-kickin’ garage rockers (“Lady Low,” “Level With The Devil”), groovy and funky soul numbers (“Howl”) and tastes of tiki-tinged exotica (“Easy To Forget”). This album is a real expansion, though, and there’s a cinematic quality to the open-highway bliss and worry of tracks like “Blue Bite” and “Miss No One.” Similarly, the galloping charge and retreat of “P.G.P” is unlike anything they’ve done before. Most importantly, though, is the unbelievably tender and reflective “Forward Cue.” While not exactly a love song with discernible subjects, it’s very much a song on resolve/resignation with an ambivalent longing and, perhaps, a jaundiced eye towards any actual resolution. It’s just stunning. At least it stunned me. Vampire Hours is available both digitally and on vinyl. Stream along and lay your money down at gypsyfarmrecords.bandcamp.com.
AUTUMN ATTIC FOR THE PEOPLE: Composer and author Grant Evans (Quiet Evenings, et al) has a new tape out via Los Angeles label Monorail Trespassing, and it’s called Albatross. Described both creatively and accurately as Americana-concrète, this release scrapes along Evans’ familiar dark path of experimental doom but never crosses into brute coldness. It’s the sonic equivalent of a time-lapse film of a flower disintegrating and uses both the mechanical and organic in similar fashion. Dig it at monorailtrespassing.bandcamp.com.
KICK UP THE DUST: For a painfully long time it’s been unnecessary to actually listen to any band using the descriptor “doom metal” because it’s all been, basically, three Sabbath riffs played at half speed on the dark side of the moon and—whoopdeedoo!—right? So when the new two-song release from Sacred Bull crossed my desk, I was naturally a little apprehensive. Well, punky, I dove in anyway and learned these dudes are well versed in crafting legitimately interesting, spacey metal more than a little informed by 2000s instrumental rock. I’m more partial to the A-side here (“Creeping Serpent”) because it employs a much wider base of melody and dynamism than the flipside track (“Galvanic Battery”) but, hey, that’s why it’s the A-side, right? All in all, it’s a not bad slice of up-and-coming Athens metal. Sacred Bull also did a five-song EP last year named Subtle Phase which, in addition to being a solid release in its own right, is a nice roadmap to where they are now. Check both of these out over at sacredbull.bandcamp.com.
SWIRL AROUND: Athens producer and engineer Annie Leeth recently released her first song since last December. It’s named “Tired Eyes,” and it’s melodically lilty, vocally pleasant and, of course, produced very nicely. Unfortunately, it’s also completely based around a pulsating track that affects my ears just like so many modern dance and experimental tracks that use a swooping in-and-out oscillating roller coaster audio effect: It makes me dizzy, and I need to go lie down. That said, this particular mode of composition and production was deliberately crafted to impart a sense of dissonance such that the music aligns with the lyrics. So, I can respect that. Your particular experience may vary, so take a chance at annieleeth.bandcamp.com.
BELATEDLY RELATEDLY: The aforementioned Grant Evans and partner Rachel Evans continue to move forward the engine of Athens outsider composition and the documentation thereof. In the past two months, the pair have released new collections from Wipe, Ross Gentry (Asheville, NC), Uaxactun (Guatemala) and Rachel Evans’ own Motion Sickness of Time Travel. The limited-edition cassette copies of both the MSOTT and Ross Gentry releases are sold out, but all of this is available digitally at adversaryelectronics.bandcamp.com. I actively encourage you to spend some time there and really dig through what the pair have been spending so much time and energy with. Speaking for myself, I’m sometimes confounded but never disappointed.
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