Gary Arce/Hotel Wrecking City Traders - Self Titled (Blue) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition of only 300 copies on aqua blue vinyl.
It’s a cross-continental collision of sounds, and aside from being into both the Aussie noisemaking brotherly duo Hotel Wrecking City Traders and the work of landmark desert guitarist Gary Arce of Yawning Man, what most drew me in to the idea of their collaborative studio project was how different the two sides are. Hotel Wrecking City Traders are a fittingly tight unit. The sounds on their Black Yolk full-length and follow-up Somer/Wantok 12” were rife with intensity and an impatient mathematical feel. By contrast, Gary Arce is considered one of the founding figures of desert rock. His laid back, airy tone and improvisatory will have been a key inspiration for bands literally all over the world, and when it comes to jams, there are few guitarists out there who can add as much personality to a piece of music as he can. Apart from working instrumentally, they seem to be driven by completely different musical ideals.
And maybe that’s what makes their joint Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Gary Arce 12” so damned interesting. The two-song, 20-minute release combines the disparate elements at work in the total three players involved for a double-guitar brew that’s based as much on improvisational noodling as it is on noisy crunch. It works, too, which is the miracle of the thing.
It’s an encompassing sound, made all the more hypnotic by Arce’s work, but Hotel Wrecking City Traders manage to do here what they did on Black Yolk and Somer/Wantok as well, and that’s demand your attention. You can put the Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Gary Arce 12” on and zone out to it, or you can put your ear to the speaker and try to get a direct line into what the trio is doing, and either way, come out of it with a satisfying listen. I don’t know if this is to be an ongoing collaborative project – i.e., if they’ll make an album – but if they decided to keep it going, both sides bring enough to the table here that they have plenty to work from in further development. Fans of Arce will be interested to hear his resonance offset by the Matthews brothers, and those who noticed the hints of pastoral influence on Somer/Wantok will be glad to discover Hotel Wrecking City Traders pushing themselves deeper into new territory.
Gas Giant - Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes (Blue/Green) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition of only 205 copies on blue colored vinyl with green speckles.
Reissue of the 2001 album by this Danish psychedelic stoner rock band, originally released as a CD only on Burnt Hippie Recordings. Expect powerful yet catchy songs as well as some extended guitar jams that are heavy, stoned and jamming!
Gates of Slumber, The - The Wretch (Grey) (IMPORT) (2LP)
Limited edition of only 300 copies on grey vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
The Wretch sees The Gates of Slumber pushing its trademark blend of skull-crushing riffs and pounding rhythms to new heights and marks a return to the slower all-out doom tempos of the group's early albums combined with "true doom metal" lyrical themes.
Geezer - Self Titled (2LP)
Limited edition of only 200 double LP's.
The third full-length by New York's heavy psych/blues/stoner trio GEEZER offers thick, heavy grooves rooted in the tradition of pre-war slide guitar blues, while simultaneously breaking boundaries through sonic experimentation and improvisation.
Ghold - Of Ruin (Clear/Black Swirl) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition on clear smoke colored vinyl. Download code included.
Intrinsically heavy and elastically supercharged, Ghold creates a strain of viscous rock that is as plainly devastating as it is capricious, pushing down the scales in a myriad of manners to achieve an ever heavier outcome. The wealth of ideas presented by Paul Antony and Aleks Wilson on 'Of Ruin' surpass the imaginations of the majority. The alchemic duo fuse elements of power violence, doom, gloom and heavy rock with enchanting vocal incantations. 'Of Ruin' was mastered by James Plotkin, and artwork features different paintings by Alex Virji.
Ghost - Infestissumam (Red) (LP)
Limited edition on red vinyl. Includes a download code for the entire album. Gatefold sleeve.
Ghost's throwback nature, pleasant-yet-heavy sound, and preference for secrecy when it comes to just who the men behind the black masks are drew me to their debut record Opus Eponymous and forever sucked me into their world. Satanic Blue Öyster Cult mixed with traditional heavy metal as performed by five guys in hooded robes and an evil Pope? The formula worked, and I fell in undying love with every single song on that record. Now 2 1/2 years later and one new Papa Emeritus later, Ghost have unveiled, as they would prefer to call it, their newest "ritual" in the form of Infestissumam, and not only is it as good as Opus Eponymous was, it might possibly even be a little bit better. On this record, the band has expanded beyond Opus's 70s-styled nature for something much bigger and more epic than before. Throughout the record are bombastic elements such as Gregorian chanting, full fledged choirs, and even the occasional symphonic flair.
Musically the band has begun to experiment with different styles beyond their original throwback roots, incorporating elements from circus music on "Secular Haze", really evil disco with "Idolatrine" (love the pun, by the way), and even a kind of Danny Elfman vibe throughout the closer "Monstrance Clock". Each song contained within this record's covers has its own identity, from the heavy metal riffage of "Per Aspera Ad Inferi" to "Jigolo Har Meggido"'s feeling of if "Call Me" by Blondie was about Satan to "Year Zero"'s absolutely epic chanting chorus to, as a friend of mine put it, the "Christian rock Alice Cooper" vibe on "Body and Blood". They haven't forgotten where they came from though, as is shown with "Depth of Satan's Eyes", easily the most Opus sounding song on the record. The pinnacle of this experimentation however comes in the form of "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen". Beginning as what can only be described as the most evil song The Beatles never wrote, the song morphs into a depraved Halloween jamboree.
Ghost with Infestissumam have proved that not only are they not just some flash in the pan throwback nostalgia act, but that they are capable of building upon that throwback style and have created something truly magnificent.
Ghost - Meliora (LP)
Limited edition on black vinyl. Includes free download code, and artwork booklet.
The third album from the mysterious Swedish band, steeped in subversive themes of humanism, counterculture and anti-establishmentarianism.
Ghost - Meliora (Popestar Deluxe) (2LP)
Deluxe edition on black vinyl. This edition includes Ghost's Popestar EP and free download code.
The "Meliora" Deluxe Edition held secret until the publication date "Popestar" EP as a bonus, the existence of which was covered up with the pseudonym "ghost father"! The EP contains five songs: "Square Hammer" plus the four cover versions "Nocturnal Me" (cover of ECHO and the Bunnymen), "I believe" (cover of Simian Mobile Disco) "Missionary man" (cover of EURYTHMICS), " Bible "(cover of Imperiet).
Ghost - Opus Eponymous (Blue/White) (LP)
Limited edition of only 2000 copies on half transparent blue and half white colored vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Standing motionless and anonymous beneath the painted faces, hoods and robes (which their sect demand), the six nameless ghouls of Ghost deliver litanies of sexually pulsating heavy rock music and romantic lyrics, which glorify and glamorise the disgusting and sacrilegious. The simple intention to communicate a message of pure evil via the most effective device they can find: Entertainment. This is Black Metal at its most original and deceiving; compositions such as "Ritual" and "Death Knell" majestically weave their melodic spell of evil through the senses until the listener finds themselves utterly possessed and open to any diabolical suggestion.
Ghost - Opus Eponymous (Picture Disc) (LP)
Ghost reminds me of being home sick from school (faking) on a rainy day while playing Ghosts 'n' Goblins and reading comics. The vibe is authentic.