Welcome to my new music column, where I discuss all the stuff I’ve been listening to lately.
Spotlights, Seismic: Available October 6, 2017 (Ipecac Recordings)
Married couple Mario and Sarah Quintero are releasing their full length follow up to Tidal this October and I have to give them high praise for taking a doom metal foundation and layering it with beauty. Adding shoegaze pop vocals, keyboards, and Moog to a sludgy, thunderous undercurrent of heavy guitar work, Spotlights creates a truly kick-ass listening experience that will appeal to a wide array of rock fans, but I think particularly to people who remember Smashing Pumpkins at their best. LISTEN
Death Bells, “Something Above” from Standing At The Edge Of The World: Available September 29, 2017 (Funeral Party/Burning Rose)
Death Bells, formed in Sydney, Australia in 2014, are set to drop their debut album following the lauded Roman Candles EP. There’s good reason to be excited for this release, as the first single, “Something Above,” suggests an energetic group creating fantastically rich, dark dream pop. Their songs sound like they come from a bygone era, without simply being a throw-back act. LISTEN
Low Estate, “Masked Illusion” from Covert Cult Of Death: Available October 22, 2017 (The Flenser)
Featuring Dwid Hellion of Integrity on guest vocals, Low Estate’s new single for their forthcoming album is a swirling, punishing, exciting, hunk of blackened noise core. The impression I get from listening to the first two tracks (the other being “The Rope”) is that the band works on two very distinct levels; the first is a band I would listen to with headphones to immerse myself in the sound, and the second is a band I would want to see live for the pit experience. LISTEN/WATCH
Usnea, Portals Into Futility: Available now (Relapse Records)
Ah, Portland’s Usnea is right up my alley. Long, sludgy songs, reminiscent of the best of Saint Vitus, but with better production and songwriting that is both cinematic and symphonic. These five tracks stretch over nearly an hour of playtime and while there is a lack of diversity between songs, it serves to create the feel of a cohesive musical statement or an epic tale. I think Portals Into Futility is destined to be a doom metal classic: excellent musicianship, a nice mix of vocal styles, and an eye towards something bigger.