Slide 1
Guest Playlist #06: Matt Bower of Wizards Tell Lies

By Steve Dewhurst

“When I started buying films on VHS, I would record the sound onto tape so I could take the film with me on journeys.”

Pete Swanson
Enough Dark Intensity: An Interview with Jimmy Lacy of SiP

By Jason Cabaniss

"I like the idea of “cocktail music.” Something intentionally light and pleasant. I’m always trying to write music that communicates some type of positive mood and when I’m playing, trying to focus my energy there"

Slide 2
Clean is Dirty: An Interview with Flowertown

By Lindsay Oxford

The birth of San Francisco’s Flowertown makes for a good story: longtime Bay Area scene compatriots Karina Gill (Cindy) and Mike Ramos (Tony Jay) compose a song together for an upcoming show in later winter 2020, and the day before they’re slated to play it, the world stopped.

Slide 3
Needles and Pins: Derek Piotr's Journey to the Heart of Britain's Folklands

By Steve Dewhurst

“Yorkshire is not so dissimilar to my home in the Northeast of America,” Derek Piotr tells me from York, the latest stop on his great British journey. “Connecticut is part of New England, so that makes sense.”

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Night Beheaded, “Enter Earth”

A new project from Rob Fisk on the fledgling Breath Sun Bone Blood label he’s running alongside regular collaborator Yan Arexis, Night Beheaded blends the ritual doom of the former’s Common Eider, King Eider with the bleak subterranean black metal howls of the latter’s Cober Ord

Most of the action here sounds as though it’s taking place several dilapidated rooms away, creating a haunted house atmosphere that slides between genuine horror and dreadful temptation with sinister ease. Fierce blasts of squalling guitar and screaming vocals carry through fractures in the architecture on the back of frigid swirls of ceremonial ambience – no single development holds for long, resulting in an intentionally discombobulating listening experience. The blast beats – they are there – rumble up from such cavernous depths as to mimic raging plumes of hellfire.   

When things get closer – take the supremely creepy “Swords of Ash” – the effect is startlingly claustrophobic, bringing a prickly heat to the skin before lifting with a suddenness that leaves you shivering in a void of acrid air; and yet you are forever drawn on, and in. Opening gently with the pluck of a lone guitar forming footsteps on uncertain ground, “Milk of the Wild” soon sucks you over the threshold with back-breaking force. Gnashed vocals swirl amid tremolo squeal and form a vortex as the walls close in – you feel the light drop out and the air pressure rise only for “Feral Spirits” yank open the curtains again.

In truth, this second track plays an almost identical trick to the opener in the way it descends, albeit this time with enough fury to battle off the brief respite that befalls it three quarters of the way through. The effect is to solidify the sense this is more than just a nightmare – if you woke up from “Milk of the Wild” then “Feral Spirits” ensures you’re well aware it’s not quite that simple. You do not belong here and the door is locked behind you. 

By the time you reach the relative calm of the title track, having passed through the eye of the storm with “Swords of Ash” and been flayed alive by “Inverted Rome,” the feeling is not one of relief but exhausted acceptance. A funereal organ drones as disembodied growls skirt the scene like so many drooling hyenas. The wait is over; you have reached your final destination.