Threats & Promises

Ornamental Onion’s Secret Snow, And More Music News and Gossip

DIGITAL TRACK STOMP: The now-legendary Chickasaw Mudd Puppies have been recording new music lately and have one song available for y’all to check out. The new track, “Little Man,” isn’t as bombastic and immediately explosive as the band’s music from decades ago, but it would be unreasonable to expect it to be. It is, though, a nice run through the garden, so to speak, of semi-swampy tunesmithing—and catchy to boot. The band is promising more to come, so stay tuned for now over at

FIVE FOR FIGHTING: Ixian, distinguished here as one of the new noise vanguards in town, has a new split release out with Portland, ME project Crouching Nude. For our local hero’s part, Ixian contributes “Pearls of White,” a single 10-minute track of doom-y metal that occasionally slips into black metal territory but for the most part stays its course. Our friends to the north participate in the fun by giving us four glitchy and static-y tunes that are an aural respite at first but, eventually, a little same-y. You’ll have to surf to two sites to hear it all, so right-click on and at will. This release is limited to 40 cassette copies, which should be enough for anyone. 

TAKE ONE, PASS ‘EM DOWN: Ex-members of The Eskimos, Fairburn Royals and VG Minus began an all-instrumental project a while back for a “future unnamed project” but have now completed a whole album, Secret Snow, under the name Ornamental Onion. Recording finished just before the COVID lockdowns, and the record was mixed by Sarah Tudzin (Illuminati Hotties). There’s a soundtrack quality to most of this in that it’s easy to imagine these songs forming the backdrop for some ongoing drama or comedy, depending on our current disposition. Musically, I’m most partial to the keyboard-driven opening song, “Mufen Man.” Likely due to this originating as sketches for the future, there are a handful of styles going on here. There’s the celebratory anthem “MQN,” the Eels-ish “Hello World” and even the Gorillaz-styled “Monoblock.” I’m not sure how well it all works as an album, but there are certainly individual tracks here worth a listen. Check it out at

THAT OLD, FAMILIAR TUNE: Composer Andrew Steck, formerly known best for his work in rock bands such as Liberator, has a new full-length album coming out Nov. 20, but the first single comes out this week on Oct. 29. It’s titled “100 Nowheres” and it’s a real treat. The fully orchestrated tune has bits of tango, cha-cha and even klezmer in its composition, and especially nice are the marimba sections. Depending on one’s point of view, this will recall old-time Hollywood cast-of-thousands features or pre-feature cartoons. In any case, it’s a sweepingly nice tune that should tune up your ears right quick. Check it out at 

TORCH SONGS: Current Master of Fine Arts candidate and songwriter Matthew Hoban has made music under the moniker Torchiana for a while now. He has a new album out this month named Machine of Mirror, and its 13 tracks run a gamut of emotions and intentions. Musically speaking, it’s generally a softly played collection with light acoustic guitar, some piano and occasional other instruments for punctuation. Although the album opens with the nearly impenetrable “Unreconcilable,” I retained the personal fortitude to plow ahead and listen to the rest. Highlights here are the three-part “In Loving Memory” and “For My Friend.” Overall, though, it’s a bit much, and while it’s undoubtedly a very personal set of tunes for the artist, the listener’s experience is quite removed and a little cumbersome. Your mileage will vary, of course, so start your journey at