Slide 1
It Can Be A Bit Terrifying: Raul Zahir De Leon on his Return with CANANDAIGUA

By Steve Dewhurst

“Who is America for?” ponders Raul Zahir De Leon when recalling the earliest knockings of what has now become CANANDAIGUA, his first musical project since the dissolution of Stamen & Pistils in 2007.

Pete Swanson
Dissect Yellow Swans: If The World Didn't End (1998-2000)

By Steve Dewhurst

In the opening chapter of the story we join band members Pete Swanson and Gabriel Saloman at the turn of the century as their musical paths converge in Portland, Oregon. Rotating around the creative hub that was promoter Todd Patrick’s 17 Nautical Miles, Saloman and Swanson were joined on the scene by fellow luminaries such as Paul Dickow, George Chen, Ethan Swan and Paul Costuros.

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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Plague Organ, “Orphan”

It’s hard to know exactly where to start with Orphan, the relentless debut by Plague Organ whose membership unsurprisingly ties to Dead Neanderthals.  That band’s side projects and collaborations are now so numerous they’re hard to keep track of but if a release mentions free jazz, black metal, the word “extreme” and the Netherlands in its press notes you can be fairly certain Dead Neanderthals are involved on some level. Here it is drummer Rene Aquarius, providing a hypnotic 40-minute blast beat over which a succession of unholy growls and trance-inducing effects are laid to ever-increasing psychedelic intensity.

Honestly, you could drop the needle anywhere here and get a seriously bloody nose. The brutality is unceasing, the wheeling turbulence dizzying and the sheer force quite frankly awe-inspiring. It’s the heaviest part of the heaviest song you’ve ever heard drawn out ad infinitum – even at the close, the best part of an hour after the briefest groan of introductory throat singing is thumped into silence, the impression is that the tape simply quits in an overwhelmed tangle of abject exhaustion.

At first the vocals are limited to nauseated booms, leering and lurching surfacewards as though infuriated into wakefulness after centuries dormant. It’s a losing battle – Aquarius’ drums actually seem to pick up power and pace as the time passes, striking hard from all angles as sawing drones and disembodied hums build a mighty wall behind. Halfway through you won’t believe you’re only halfway through; by the end you’ll be struggling to take everything in.

It’s the sort of thing you’ve only previously heard made for kicks: think Francisco López’s awesome “Untitled #104,” produced from an unknown number of black metal samples to stun audiences expecting to experience his usual hour of meditative life sounds, or something from Field Hymns’ offshoot metal jape Death Treat Records, for which various synth-scene tricksters goof out with metal under names like Carniwhore, Xenoxoth and Venereal Equinox. But the only kick here is the one upside your cranium; Plague Organ are burning genuine trails, not trouncing around in crop circles.