Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s new album, “Lavender Blood,” due October 27th.

Detroit psych-rock trio Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor have announced the release date of their new album, Lavender BloodBandcamp page – October 27, 2017.  You can pre-order the album now and even hear one track, “Milky Water Jesus,” on their Bandcamp page.

The album was at least partially inspired by a trip the band took to Greece during which their plane depressurized during the descent.  The plane landed safely once pressure was stabilized, but an experience like that certainly changes your perspective on things.  Two of the album’s tracks are “Die Die Die” and “Sky Greece,” so it will be interesting to hear the music inspired by their near-death experience.

SOYSV also plan to tour to support the album, starting with shows in the Midwest and Canada.  Keep your eyes peeled for them.  They always put on a great set.

Keep your mind open.

ORB’s new album is due October 9th, but you can hear the first single now.

ORB ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, NATURALITY, OUT 10/6 ON CASTLE FACE

LISTEN TO “YOU ARE RIGHT

An exciting development from under strange Australian lab-lights: ORB have respawned from last year’s Birth with a further mutated slab of paranoid heavy shred, Naturality, out 10/6 on Castle Face (Flightless in Australia). They bring the dread with a kinetic muscularity and a pleasantly evolving synthetic strangeness, as if having eaten of the wrong part of the garden, familiar things start to seem less so. The effects of these spores on your modern brain, already clogged with a steady drip of zips and zooms, are freshly heard and confusing. ORB are young and fleet-fingered, and certainly know their way around a riff, but they bring everything into an almost alien clarity both blunted and futuristic.  ORB, you see, have ripened quite radically, one can only think at an accelerated pace upon their travels with King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, and Naturality finds them sprouting new appendages and clawing at their enclosures. This is potent stuff, be careful. Listen to the first single, “You Are Right.”

“YOU ARE RIGHT” STREAM
https://youtu.be/cQymyuYSSlQ

PRE-ORDER NATURALITY
https://midheaven.com/item/naturality-by-orb

NATURALITY TRACKLISTING
1. Hazlewart
2. A Man In The Sand
3. You Are Right
4. O.R.B.
5. Immortal Tortoise
6. Motherbrain
7. Flying Sorcerer
8. Rainbow’s End

ORB Online:
https://soundcloud.com/orb-9
https://orband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/ORB-475112932588695/

Thundercat – Drunk

I don’t remember where I first heard of Thundercat (AKA Stephen Bruner), but I remember being amazed by his bass guitar skills. His fingers seemed to move on his guitar frets as nimbly as a spider racing across a web. I caught him live at Mamby on the Beach earlier this year, keen on hearing him live. He didn’t disappoint. He wowed the crowd with a jazz-fusion set that was unlike anything you heard the whole weekend.

His newest album, Drunk, is also unlike anything you’ve heard in a long while. It blends electronica with jazz, yacht rock, funk, and even a bit of trip hop. “Rabbit Ho” is a quirky intro with Bruner’s falsetto singing about friends coming and going from his life before it slips into “Captain Stupido,” which is a collaboration with one of his best pals – Flying Lotus. “I feel weird,” Bruner sings, perhaps speaking for all of us, as he struggles to get through the odd feelings that surround everyday activities like brushing your teeth. His bass and Lotus’ loops and beats are a killer combo.

“Uh Uh” is an instrumental showcase of Bruner’s stunning bass skills. Seriously, it will leave you dumbfounded. I have no idea how he plays that fast and that well at the same time. “Bus in the Streets” has Bruner watching the world go by and not wanting to get involved in the rat race. “Won’t you leave some things a mystery?” he asks in this age of everyone Tweeting, hash-tagging, and posting everything at every moment.

“A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)” is perhaps the greatest love song written to a cat of all time. Bruner sings about his admiration for his cat having nine lives, doing what he wants, and lying in the sun all day. “Everybody wants to be a cat. It’s cool to be a cat.” It has a groove as smooth as a cat’s walk, too.

“Sometimes you have to let it go,” Bruner sings in the opening of “Lava Lamp.” The song moves as languidly as its namesake. “I’m so tired. Where can I lay my head?” Bruner asks. It’s a common theme for a lot of us in these times. We’re so overwhelmed that we’re losing time to decompress. Flying Lotus comes back on “Jethro,” and brings wicked beats with him. “Show You the Way” has powerhouse guests Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, and both men show they can still slay a microphone (and a keyboard, too, in McDonald’s case). It’s a glorious return of yacht rock that you won’t realize you missed until you hear this track.

The special guests keep on coming as Kendrick Lamar drops some guest vocals on “Walk on By” – another groovy, smooth track. “Blackkk” is the smoothest song about overcoming fear of death I’ve ever heard. “Tokyo” would be great to have in your ears as you cruise through the city. Bruner sings about eating too much fish, blowing all his money on anime, and wanting to stay another night there.

“Jameel’s Space Ride” has Bruner dreaming about driving into space as he’s pulled over by the cops. “Friend Zone” is a sharp dis on someone keeping him at arm’s length instead of embracing him as a lover. “I’m your biggest fan, but I guess that’s just not good enough,” he sings as his bass and Mono/Poly’s synths deliver dance beats. “Don’t call me, don’t text me after two a.m., unless you plan on giving me some, ‘cause I got enough friends,” Bruner sings. Ouch.

In contrast, “Them Changes” (the first single) has Bruner singing about heartbreak. “Nobody move there’s blood on the floor, and I can’t find my heart. Where did it go? Did I leave it in the cold?” His bass groove on it gets into your circulatory system and won’t leave until you dance. Flying Lotus’ beats sure help, too (as they do on the next track, “Where I’m Going”). “Drink Dat” is a slow jam for people starting to wind down after partying in the late hours. “Can’t open my eyes, girl, ‘cause I’m just too wasted,” Bruner sings between raps by Wiz Khalifa.

“Inferno” is the most psychedelic track on the record with Lotus’ trippy beats. “3AM” has Bruner still awake despite being (according to the theme of the album by now) drunk and tired. His bass groove in it is something Christopher Cross hears in his dreams. “Drunk” gets as wobbly as its namesake thanks to Bruner’s reverbed bass and Flying Lotus’ melted cheese synths.

“The Turn Down” is a witty song about the aftermath of too much partying. Bruner laments the mess in his house, the location of Captain Planet (who might be one of Bruner’s cats), and guests who have lingered too long. Pharrell teams up with him on the track, and Bruner has said multiple times that Pharrell’s contribution to the track blew his mind. He does nail it.

The album ends with the great, keyboard-driven “DUI.” Bruner’s night went from drowning his sorrows, to a fun time, to exhaustion, to annoyance, and then either back home, jail, or the grave.  “I’m so tired,” he sings again just before the keyboards turn into the sound of screeching tires and then fade into distortion. Did he crash? Did he make it home? Is he in the hoosegow?

Drunk is masterfully crafted, and the best-engineered and mixed album I’ve heard so far in 2017. It’s a stunning, eclectic piece of work. Only good things are ahead for Thundercat. Get Drunk.

Keep your mind open

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Elephant Stone announces Europe and North America tour dates.

Elephant Stone have been on tour for seemingly all of 2017, and now they’ve added more tour dates throughout Europe and North America that go into the winter.  They’re playing gigs with the likes of the Black Angels, A Place to Bury Strangers, and the Dream Syndicate.  Any of these shows would be well worth your time and money.  Here are the dates:

8/11 Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle TICKETS | FB EVENT

8/12 Gaspe, QC @ Festival du Musique au Bout du Monde TICKETS | FB EVENT
8/13 Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC @ Sea Shack TICKETS | FB EVENT
9/1 Rouyn Noranda, QC @ Petit Theatre de Rouyn Noranda TICKETS | FB EVENT ^
9/7 Berlin, DE @ Bassy TICKETS | FB EVENT *
9/8 Cologne, DE @ Gebäude 9 TICKETS | FB EVENT *
9/9 Hamburg, DE @ Molotow TICKETS | FB EVENT *
9/12 Malmo, SWE @ Plan B FB EVENT
9/13 Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset TICKETS | FB EVENT #
9/16 Angers, FR @ Theatre le Quai TICKETS | FB EVENT ~
9/18 Le Havre, FR @ McDaid’s Live FB EVENT
9/19 Leiden, NL @ Gebroeders Nobel TICKETS
9/20 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso TICKETS | FB EVENT @
9/22 London, UK @ O2 Forum TICKETS | FB EVENT #
9/23 Liverpool, UK @ Baltic Triangle TICKETS | FB EVENT &
9/27 Theossaliniki, GR @ Rover Bar 
9/28 Arta, GR @ Miles Bar 
9/29 Athens, GR @ Death Disco FB EVENT
12/3 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups TICKETS  +
12/4 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall TICKETS  +
12/5 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line TICKETS  +
12/6 St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway TICKETS +
12/7 Nashville, TN @ High Watt TICKETS +
12/8 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl TICKETS  +
12/9 Raleigh, NC @ Stag’s Head Music Hall TICKETS +
12/10 Richmond VA @ Capital Ale House TICKETS  +
^ w/ A Place to Bury Strangers
# w/ The Black Angels and A Place to Bury Strangers
@ Indiestadt Festival w/ The Black Angels,A Place to Bury Strangers, Beach Fossils
& Liverpool Psych Fest with sets by Elephant Stone and Acid House Ragas
+ w/ The Dream Syndicate

Rewind Review: Ty Segall – Live in San Francisco (2015)

Ty Segall is so prolific that I’m surprised it took him until 2015 to release a live album. He seems to put out a new record every month, so it feels like he should have three live albums by now.

The psych-fuzz whiz kid opens his live set with, oddly enough, “Wave Goodbye.” It starts out with low bass and then kicks into squealing high gear that has the small crowd cheering in joy. It sounds like something Tom Petty wishes he could release on his new record, but fears it would alienate his long-time fans. “Slaughterhouse” (from the album of the same name) is pure freak-out punk rock with a little Nirvana vocals sprinkled on top for good measure. “Death” mixes stoner rock with punk so fast it might give your ears friction burns. It’s one of the best cuts on the record.

“I Bought My Eyes” is one of Segall’s biggest hits, and he lets it rip on this live album. The guitars seem to come at you from all sides while Segall’s vocals are somehow gentle in the din. “Feel” borders on arena rock territory at first, but the sleeveless denim jacket riffs cut it off at the front door (which is a good thing).

“The Hill” follows the band’s friend, Julie, telling a joke, and next up is “Thank God for the Sinners,” which sounds like something Buzzcocks cooked up at their second jam session. Segall claims “Standing at the Station” “is about the cow trade.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that it’s a swaggering, wild blues-influenced tidal wave coming out of your speakers.

The album ends with another of Segall’s hits – “What’s Inside Your Heart.” I’m sure the fans at this gig told him how their hearts were full of palpitations from being shaken by so much rock. It’s a strong ending to a strong record.

I know this entire review has essentially been me saying this record is non-stop blaring madness, but that’s the best way I describe it. You’ll understand once you hear it. Ty Segall is making crazy records, and we should all be grateful to him for doing it. The world needs more live records, and live performers, like this.

Keep your mind open.

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Buy Ty Segall’s new EP and support the ACLU.

TY SEGALL RELEASES NEW “FRIED SHALLOTS” EP VIA BANDCAMP!

ALL PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO THE ACLU

In order to survive this long, hot season of discontent, you gotta have something new to turn up and tune into! It’s vital to chew down on stuff that’s not just all negativity, you know? If you wanna stay positive, throw Ty Segall’s “Fried Shallots” into your brain pan and flame on for a quick snack.

“Fried Shallots” is a handful of numbers from different times and places over the past few years that all work together in a weird way. That’s something we should all be striving for: all working together in a weird way. For Ty, that requires rock with the gears shifting and stripping, tempos and tropes mashing up; a primal outburst, a quick-and-fuzzy soundtrack of rock, folk, r’n’b and pure power pop, to give us a chance to chill and do the new century twist for just a minute. That’s good, for in twist we trust!

“Fried Shallots” isn’t simply just good fun. The profits from this release will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, whose defense of our rights is badly needed now – especially in the face of the government pigs who don’t care about the constitution and are determined to thin our herd so that they and their corporate sugar-daddies can grow ever fatter off the deprivations of the common man-clan! Don’t you let ’em do it! Organizations like the ACLU help secure freedoms that allow individuals to stay individual in the face of the choking tides of oppression. Ty Segall’s “Fried Shallots” is here to help us surf those tides and not be swept under.

“Fried Shallots” is available for digital purchase exclusively on Bandcamp and a physical release will follow on August 25th!

“Fried Shallots” EP Tracklist:
1. Big Man
2. Dust
3. When The Gulls Turn To Ravens
4. Is It Real
5. Another Hustle
6. Talkin’Purchase “Fried Shallots” Digitally — 
https://tysegall.bandcamp.com/album/fried-shallots

Pre-Order “Fried Shallots” 12” EP — 
http://www.dragcity.com/products/fried-shallots

Ty Segall & The Freedom Band Tour Dates:
8/2/17 at The Capitol Theater in Olympia , WA, USA
8/3/17 at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
8/5/17- 8/6/17 at Pickathon in Happy Valley, OR, USA
8/17/17 at Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium
8/18/17 at Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
8/19/17 at Festival Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, Portugal
8/20/17 at La Route du Rock Festival in Saint Malo, France
8/23/17 at Den Graa Hal in Copenhagan, Denmark
8/24/17 at Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, Germany
8/25/17 at Le Cabaret Vert in Charleville Mezieres, France
8/26/17 at Nox Orae Festival in La Tour de Peliz, Switzerland
8/27/17 at Rock En Seine in Paris, France
8/29/17 at Atabal in Biarritz, France
8/30/17 at Le Bikini (Bikini Fest) in Toulouse, France
8/31/17 at Ebrovision Festival in Miranda De Ebro , Spain
9/1/17 at The Coronet in London, United Kingdom
9/2/17 at End Of The Road Festival in Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, United Kingdom
10/5/17 at 191 Toole in Tuscon, AZ, USA
10/6/17 at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM, USA
10/7/17 at Summit Music Hall in Denver, CO, USA
10/8/17 at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO, USA
10/10/17 at The Bunkhouse Saloon in Las Vegas, NV, USA

Rewind Review: Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

I’d heard and read that Blue Cheer (Dick Peterson – bass and vocals, Leigh Stephens – guitar, Paul Whaley – drums) were among the loudest bands of all time. Eric Clapton mentioned this in an interview I read once when he was talking about the psychedelic / stoner rock scene in late 1960’s. Other musicians seemed to whisper about Blue Cheer like speaking too loudly of them might unleash a sonic boom at any moment. So, I figured I should buy their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (which is Latin for “blue cheer,” by the way).

The album opens with what is widely considered to be the first heavy metal song ever released – their cover of “Summertime Blues.” It immediately pours on the distortion and drumming that sounds an army of Orcs is playing it. My favorite part of the cover is how they don’t bother singing the parts when the boss or the congressman in the song speak. They just play a quick bass, drum, or guitar solo instead. “Rock Me Baby” is a blues standard, showing that Blue Cheer could groove as well as blow out your eardrums.

“Doctor Please” is the first track on the album written by Peterson, and it’s almost eight minutes of howling vocals backed by wailing guitar, heavy drums, and angry dog-growl bass. “Out of Focus” almost starts that way with its funky, weird bass groove, but soon Whaley’s drum licks bring everything into a (somewhat fuzzy) focus.

“Parchment Farm” has guitar work that you can hear influenced bands like Earthless, Sleep, Kadavar, and Wolfmother. Stephens melted the first faces in 1968, and some people still haven’t recovered. Listening to “Second Time Around” is like hearing the first cries of Baby Stoner Rock. It’s a wild, bluesy, psychedelic trip with a crazy drum solo from Whaley. The band is allegedly named for a type of LSD, after all.

As wild as it is to hear Vincebus Eruptum now, it must’ve been mind-blowing in 1968. No one had done anything like this before, and many are still trying to do it now. From now on when people ask me, “What should I listen to if I want to get into stoner rock?” I’ll tell them to start with this.

Keep your mind open.

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The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings

Elmhurt, Illinois’ the Orwells (Grant Binner – bass, Henry Binner – drums, Dominic Corso – guitar, Mario Cuomo – vocals, Matt O’Keefe – guitar) have this neat blend of Chicagoland grit, snotty punk, psychedelia, and Midwestern garage rock that is riff heavy and really catchy. Their newest album, Terrible Human Beings, is a great example of it.

The opener, and first single, “They Put the Body in the Bayou,” is a powerhouse of a tune and one of the best rock singles of 2017. It starts out slow at first, but then bursts out with psychedelic reverb and funky bass. The song is about the pitfalls of the music industry (“All right, make it quick. Good songs make you rich.”) and our culture’s love of sharing others’ misery with our friends (“I came by to see. I just had to know who put the body in the bayou.”).

“Fry” has sizzling guitar throughout it as Cuomo sings about people addiction to television and frying their minds on empty pop culture. “Creatures” depicts us as people “fading, creating, losing all control. Spinning and grinning, looking for a soul. Rollin’ and flowin’, tryin’ to find a role. Before you know it, you’re livin’ in a hole.” A “Vacation” should be a good time, but the Orwells know that often you need a vacation from your vacation.

I’m not sure if “Black Francis” is a takedown on the Pixies’ lead singer, or a what the Orwells think the Pixies (who do seem to be an influence) would think of them: “Have you heard that band? / Yeah, I think they’re shit. / And the way they dress? / Yeah, they think they’re hip. / And the things they say? / Yeah, it’s all a bluff. / And where they’re from? / Yeah, it ain’t that rough. / Black Franky’s got my world in his hands.” It’s really catchy and I’d love to know the story behind it. “M.A.D.” has a nice surf sound to it. The sharp bass of “Buddy” is some of Grant Binner’s best work on the record, and I like how the guitars soar around it at all times. “Hippie Soldier” and “Heavy Head” have great rock hooks throughout them. Both sing about different generations and the faults of each, with “Heavy Head” (a takedown of their own Millennial generation) being the most searing.

The guitars on “Ring Pop” shred as Cuomo sings about things in plain sight being “not quite right.” “Last Call (Go Home)” is a salute to barflies seeking romance. “Double Feature” has Cuomo singing about how he could’ve had any other career than a rock singer, but he “came from the wrong side of the tracks” and was doomed to a rock and roll life.  It becomes a wild, cosmic freak-out by the end.

The running theme of Terrible Human Beings is that we are our own worst enemy. We constantly put limits on ourselves or continue behaviors we know are detrimental. We like to point the finger at anyone else, but we forget about all the other fingers pointing back at us. The Orwells’ new album is an examination of conscience, a Zen story, a therapy session, hidden in a smart, sharp rock record.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Black Keys – Magic Potion (2006)

Every now and then (okay, more than that), an album slips through the cracks and years go by before I pick it up and wonder, “What took me so long?” Such an album is Magic Potion by the Black Keys (Dan Auerbach – guitar and vocals, Patrick Carney -drums). I’m a big fan of their work (especially the first half of their discography), and Magic Potion has been on my “must buy” list for a long time.

The opening chords of “Just Got to Be” exemplify what I love about the band – chugging guitar, rock drumming that borders on being sloppy, and sweaty blues-style vocals. “Your Touch” is one of their biggest hits thanks to its slick groove and sexy subject matter. “You’re the One” is a bit psychedelic as Auerbach sings a sweet song about his mother teaching him about love and how he later carried those lessons to his girlfriend.

“Just a Little Heat” reveals the band’s love for Led Zeppelin, who also loved the blues. Just listen to the opening licks and tell me they don’t remind you of Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.” “Give Your Heart Away” is a great “So long, baby” type of blues song about Auerbach walking away from a woman who treated him like a doormat. “Strange Desire” again brings in some psychedelic guitar work before it becomes a catchy song about dangerous love. “I don’t wanna go to hell, but if I do it’ll be because of you,” Auerbach sings, pulling no punches in the process. “Modern Times” only amplifies the dirty, floor-stomping feel of the record.

“The Flame” has some of Auerbach’s best guitar work on the record as it moves from blues to psych-rock to some Marc Bolan-like riffs. “The times are changin’, and the people need rearrangin’,” Auerbach sings on “Goodbye Babylon” in a sweaty, loud ode to the world of 2006. “Black Door” could be the follow-up to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” with Auerbach and Carney painting all of Keith Richards and Charlie Watts’ red doors, as Auerbach unleashes a ton of skronky, reverbed guitar that Richards would enjoy and Carney puts down a wicked beat behind him that Watts would love. The album ends with “Elevator,” a song that has Auerbach getting freaky with several different women in one building. The guitar goes from smooth groove in the verses to wall-flattening in the choruses. It must be deafening live.

Don’t wait a long time to pick up this record. It’s solid from beginning to end. This Magic Potion is probably just what you need right now.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest (2014)

The Black Angels‘ 2014 EP, Clear Lake Forest, is a fine dose of psychedelia and was a great way to get your summer freak on when it was released that year (and still is).

“Sunday Evening” hits you right away with reverb and the lyric “What if I told you that everything you know isn’t even really true?” Christian Bland’s guitar work on it ranges from skronky to trippy, and the song has probably the hottest tambourine work you’ve heard in a long while.

“Tired Eyes” opens with Stephanie Bailey’s always-dependable thunderous drumming and soon spins into a wild track with lead singer Alex Maas and Christian Bland sharing the vocals about someone who seems tired of living in illusion. I may be wrong. The song is so groovy that it seems to pour incense smoke from your speakers, so I may be hallucinating any meaning I’ve assigned to it.

“Diamond Eyes” is downright lovely. Maas’ reverberated vocals, Bland’s spaghetti western guitar, Jake Garcia’s soothing rhythm guitar, Kyle Hunt’s soaring synths, and Bailey’s military-precision beats all gel to become one of the Black Angels’ best tracks.

“The Flop” was the first single off Clear Lake Forest, and it’s easy to understand why. Hunt’s keyboards sound like he’s streaming them from the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” outtakes. Bailey’s drums hit so hard they may take your lunch money. The bridge plunges you straight down the rabbit hole and doesn’t let you out. “An Occurrence at 4507 South Third Street” is the Black Angels’ second “address” song (the first being “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” from Phosphene Dream). It has a bit of a honky-tonk feel to it (thanks to the snappy beat) and I can’t help but wonder if it’s about another haunting or a murder or suicide that led to the haunting. “The Executioner” is certainly about death (a common theme on Black Angels records). Maas’ lyrics are the clearest on this track (before the freak-out of a bridge, at least). It’s an interesting twist. Maas wants you to know that sin may feel good, but death waits so you’d better get things straight before you meet it.

The closer, “Linda’s Gone,” follows the life of a woman who wants and seeks something beyond her boring life and even the boredom of the illusion around her (and all of us, really). It has all the stuff you like from the Black Angels: tribal drumming, metaphysical lyrics, trance-inducing synths, spacey vocals, and guitar licks that seem to fold in on themselves and then back out into different shapes.

Clear Lake Forest was a solid EP and a great follow-up to their full-length album, Indigo Meadow. Treat yourself to it.

Keep your mind open.

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