Gary Wilson – It’s Friday Night with Gary Wilson


I’ve been mildly obsessed with Gary Wilson’s music since seeing him perform at Levitation Chicago earlier this year. It’s to the point where I’m probably dressing up as some variation of him for Halloween. I’ve been awaiting his new record of avant-garde lounge music, Friday Night with Gary Wilson, for months.

It starts with the brief, chaotic, and weird “A Tree Cries in the Wind.” It’s some sort of tape-looped fever dream of a car crashing through a swanky bowling alley lounge and then into the recording studio next door. It moves into “I Want to Hold Your Hand Tonight,” which gets us back to familiar Gary Wilson material – A guy just wants the chance to treat his lady (the ever-mysterious Linda, in this case) right. “Every night is Friday night,” Wilson sings as he lays down peppy electric organ grooves. Every night can be Friday night with Wilson’s music if you open yourself up to it.

Wilson tells Linda “I’m Going to Take You to a Thousand Dreams,” including flying to the moon, walking through the park, and making sweet love to the sound of a rather hot guitar solo. “You’re the Coolest Girl Tonight” isn’t about a girl who’s cool as in Miles Davis / Fonzie / Joe Cool-type of cool. It’s about a girl who’s cold to everyone around her, but Wilson can’t resist her beauty and the chance to thaw out this fine lady and show her a good time.

Gary Wilson’s Fridays aren’t always smooth, however. “Sick Trip on Friday Night” has him too timid to talk to Linda, even though he knows he’s the right guy for her. He goes through it every weekend. The quirky synths on it bounce like the thoughts and dreams in his head.

“Yeah, let’s swing,” says Wilson at the beginning of “We’ll Dance into the Stars.” Dancing on the moon and through the galaxy is a common theme on the record, and this groovy lounge cut is perfect for a slow dance (or an all-skate) aboard your favorite starcruiser.

Wilson’s obsession with Linda continues on “Like a Scene from a Movie Long Gone.” It even starts with the lyric, “Gary loves Linda.” Wilson sings about himself in the third person and then in the first, so you’re never sure how much of his songs are fantasies and how much is something that really happened to him. The song has some of his best electric piano work on the record.

“The Mermaid Song” is about a dream in which a mermaid sings for Wilson from the ocean, possibly luring him to either the love of his life or his doom. Wilson drops Linda, Cindy, and Cheryl’s names, but is any of them the mermaid, or is the mermaid a composite of all of them? Wilson’s synth work on it is outstanding. Beck wishes he had grooves this good.

The drums on “Soon I’ll Be Kissing Sandy” almost sound reversed, but the song is too playful to be weird. “Linda” returns after that, with some nice strings accompanying her. Wilson name checks his band (the Blind Dates) in it, and even one of his best hits, “Linda Wants to Be Alone,” in it. The groove on this is so sick that it needs antibiotics.

Even a song with such a blue title as “You Made Me Feel My Misery” can’t avoid Wilson’s ultra-lounge grooves. Wilson pines for a lost love, even though the relationship was miserable. “I Thought of You Last Night” is a weird mix of crowd noise, ambient piano, drunk synths, and something a bit nightmarish. It quickly fades into “I’ll Make You My Dream Girl,” which makes me wonder about Wilson’s obsession with the girl mentioned in the song.

The album ends with “Sometimes I Cry Late at Night,” an instrumental that showcases what a damn good pianist Wilson is. His skills are easy to miss in many of his songs as you listen to his quirky lyrics or dance to his lounge grooves, but Wilson is a fine jazz player who can put it down with the best of them.

You could spend your Friday night watching bad TV and eating those leftover chicken wings, or you could spend it with Gary Wilson, the Blind Dates, Linda, Sandy, Cheryl, Cindy, and a bunch of other fine ladies. I know what I’d pick.

Keep your mind open.

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Pink Floyd to release 27-disc set of early and unreleased material.

Members of the psychedelic pop group Pink Floyd. From left to right, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright.   (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Members of the psychedelic pop group Pink Floyd. From left to right, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)


Start your Christmas wish list now because Pink Floyd is set to release The Early Years 1965-1972 this November – a 27-disc box set covering not only albums like Atom Heart Mother and Ummagumma, but also rare BBC sessions, unreleased studio sessions, remastered singles, unreleased video, and over seven hours alone of unreleased live audio tracks.

They also plan to release a two-disc (and far more affordable) set called The Early Years – Cre/ation.  This stuff is gold if you’re a fan of Pink Floyd, classic rock, prog rock, or psychedelic rock.

Keep your mind open.

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Massive Attack release two new singles.

MAElectro and trip-hop legends Massive Attack have released two new singles this week – “The Spoils” (which isn’t yet available in the U.S.) and “Come Near Me” (teaming with Ghostpoet on that one). “Come Near Me” is, no surprise, excellent and both tracks hopefully portend a full-length album later this year.

Keep your mind open.

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DJ set list for July 24, 2016

Thanks to all who tuned in to my WSND show last Sunday.  There was a brief kerfuffle when lightning knocked out the FM transmitter for about 15 minutes, but things otherwise went well.  Here’s my set list for those interested:

  1. Neko Case – Wild Creatures
  2. Lou Reed – Adventurer
  3. The Smithereens – Long Way Back Again
  4. The Coathangers – Make It Right
  5. Treat Her Right – Tease Me
  6. Eagles of Death Metal – I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)
  7. Primus – Intruder
  8. King Khan and the Shrines – (How Do I Keep You) Out of Harm’s Way
  9. Night Beats – The 7 Poison Wonders
  10. St. Vincent – Birth in Reverse
  11. Chelsea Wolfe – Dragged Out
  12. The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?
  13. The Death Set – Spaz
  14. Junior Brown – So Close Yet So Far Away
  15. Corb Lund – Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Owner
  16. Tiki Zombie – Rock A Hula Baby
  17. Screaming Females – Lights Out (live)
  18. Mudhoney – Poisoned Water Poisons the Mind (live)
  19. The Ty Segall Band – I Bought My Eyes (live)
  20. Goggs – Falling In
  21. Ron Gallo – Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me
  22. Curtis Mayfield – Freddy’s Dead
  23. The Jesus and Mary Chain – My Little Underground
  24. Ancient River – Desolation Song
  25. Emil Richards – Hot Fudge Sundae
  26. Afterdawn – Blank Page
  27. Ladytron – Black Plastic
  28. Suuns – Translate
  29. White Prism – End of the Line

I should be back on air July 31st.  Give me listen.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: Bebel Gilberto – Tudo (2014)


I don’t know how I missed that the lovely Bebel Gilberto released Tudo in 2014, but I’m glad seeing her live reminded me to pick up this record. It’s another beautiful mix of bossa nova, electro, and lounge music that only she seems to be able to create.

The opening track, “Somewhere Else,” is sung in English and Portugese and lures the listener into taking their dream vacation, be it for real or even in the vastness of one’s mind. It even includes birdsong in the background, which I assume happened because someone left the window of the recording studio open and birds naturally land and sing whenever Ms. Gilberto even hums a tune.

“Nada Nao” (“Nothing”) is just Gilberto’s voice, an acoustic guitar, and hand percussion. It’s a fun, toe-tapping track. “Tom de Voz” (“Tone of Voice”) is a short and sweet song highlighting (What else?) Gilberto’s lovely voice.

“Novas Ideias” (“New Ideas”) has Gilberto singing alongside her frequent co-writer Seu Jorge. It will instantly make you happy, as it’s a fun samba-influenced cut that you need to play on your next date or slip to the DJ at the next wedding reception you attend. Her cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” is outstanding and brings a whole new feel to the ballad.

The title track (which means “All”) has some of Gilberto’s best vocals, as she dances around tricky words like a ballerina spinning across stage. I love the simple organ and synths on it, too, as they float behind her vocals with the hand percussion setting the beat. “Saudade Vem Correndo” (“Longing Comes Running”) is one of her many songs that will instantly make you happy. The flute backing her up on it is a great touch. “Areia” (“Sand”) begins with chimes that remind you of sand falling through an hourglass. The guitar work on it is a hypnotic low rhythm with a slight Flamenco feel. It’s even a bit dark until Ms. Gilberto glides in to rescue us and make us think of strolling on a Brazilian beach and enjoying an ice cream cone with a lover.

Or maybe the beach is in France, considering the next song has a French title – “Tout Es Bleu” (“All Are Blue”). It’s a great electro-jazz track that has probably been remixed by DJs across the world by now. It deserves to be played at your next late night party. You can’t be blue during it, so thanks to Ms. Gilberto for giving us a cure to our doldrums.

“Lonely in My Heart” has Gilberto’s vocals slightly reverbed as some acid lounge electric beats shuffle behind her and trippy synths creep in now and then. They might be evoking the ghosts of a relationship Gilberto sings about in the track. They bring a cool energy to the song even if they don’t.

When it comes to Ms. Gilberto and I, “Vivo Sonhando” (“I Live Dreaming”). I live dreaming of her singing to me in a dim club as we sit at a small table and enjoy fresh juice and a jazz band. This song pretty much describes a scenario like that and I’d probably melt right there in my chair if that ever happened. It’s a gorgeous track that, like any good dream, is over too soon.

“Inspiracao” (“Inspiration”) is a cool electro song. I love how she can jump into electro and lounge music without any trouble. “It’s All Over Now” is a heartbreaking song about a breakup and how Gilberto wishes the best for her lover and hopes they cherish the good times they had. It’s a sublime ending to a lovely record.

You need to hear Bebel Gilberto if you haven’t before. Her songs can change the mood of any place, person, or function for the better.

Keep your mind open.

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Elephant Stone offer new album and great goodies through PledgeMusic.


Montreal psych-rockers Elephant Stone are set to drop their latest album, Ship of Fools.  You can order a digital download of it for only 8 bucks and a lot of other neat stuff through the PledgeMusic campaign for the record.  That digital download, by the way, is an early release, so you’ll get it before most of the general public.

Other fun goodies include the album on CD, cassette, and vinyl, exclusive T-shirts, signed CDs and albums, Indian cooking and sitar lessons with Rishi Dhir, a signed vinyl test pressing of the album, and even the first sitar Dhir owned.

You also get to download four tracks from the album right away – “Manipulator,” “Where I’m Going,” “Andromeda,” and “The Devil’s Shelter” (all of which are excellent) – when you make any purchase.

Keep your mind open.

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Screaming Females interview – June 26, 2016


Many thanks to Screaming Females who were kind enough to invite me into their tour van for this interview before their June 26, 2016 show at the Brass Rail in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

7th Level Music: Is this your first time in Fort Wayne?

Jarrett Dougherty (drums): Yeah.

7LM: You’ve got one more gig to go before the end of the tour.  How’s it been?

Mike Abbatte (bass): Pretty good.

Marissa Paternoster (vocals, guitar): Smooth.

JD: Yeah, it’s been pretty easy.  We did three weeks, and then the two weeks off, and then this is the end of another two weeks after that.  We went down to Florida and then back up the coast over the three weeks, so the drives were really easy, and then we just went through Canada for a few days, and then Michigan, Wisconsin, and Chicago, and now we’re here.  It’s all been pretty easy.

7LM: You’re off to Pittsburgh next?

JD: Yeah.

7LM: Where are you playing there?

JD: It’s a venue we haven’t been to yet.  Cattivo.

7LM: If you can get to the Warhol Museum there, it’s amazing.

MP: We got a tour of it the last time we were there from…Andy’s nephew?

7LM: Oh, right on.

JD: Yeah, Donald Warholia.

MA: Warhola.

JD: Warhola.

MP: It was awesome.  There was so much stuff to look at, it was overwhelming.

7LM: Weren’t you in Australia earlier this year, or maybe last fall?

JD: We’re going for the first time.  It’s at the end of our summer, so it’s the end of their winter.


7LM: You get there in time for the good weather, then.

JD: Yeah, they said it’ll be a little cold when we first get there, but by the end of the trip spring will be kicking in.

7LM: I imagine that’s hard to change your logistics of planning for packing and moving all your gear.

MA: I have not thought about packing.

MP: Yeah, I haven’t thought about it.

MA: This is the first I’m thinking about it.

7LM: Oh, I’m sorry to plant that seed of panic in your head.

JD: Mainly the panic’s been about how long the plane ride is to get there.  Marissa doesn’t really like planes, Mike doesn’t like that he has trouble fitting in the seats, and then I just get really bored, but that’s not nearly as bad as compared to what they’re going through…but at the same time I don’t want to be bored.

MA: I’m a giant so I’ll end up sitting like this (turns sideways in the driver’s seat of the van).

MP: And I’m crazy, so I’ll be having a nervous breakdown.

7LM: Have there been any countries where you were surprised to discover how popular you are?  Have you ever heard from fans from some place where you never imagined we’d get played there?

MA: Florida.

MP: (laughing) I wish it was another country.

JD: Well, yeah, other than Miami, already for the Australia stuff, it’s pretty amazing.  We’ve already been getting all these e-mails from people who are like, “I can’t believe you guys are coming here.”  We’ve done a number of tours in Europe, and there we have really good experiences and a lot of the shows are really good, but it’s a lot of promoters who are just good at having people that come out to shows regardless if they know the bands or not because the promoter’s like, “Everybody should show up for this one.”  But, already for Australia it seems like there are people who are excited about us getting there.  We did a bunch of interviews the other day for Australian things, and people were like, “Oh, yeah, I saw your band at South by Southwest one time.  I’ve been waiting for you guys to get here for years.”

7LM: That’s fantastic.

JD: Yeah, so that’s pretty exciting already.  I feel like the number of people who said they were excited about our band is equal to all the people in Europe who know who we are.

7LM: I was wondering about your songwriting process.  Grooves first or lyrics first?  Or does it depend on the song?

JD: Always grooves first.  Yeah, for sure.

(Marissa and Mike bump fists.)

JD: Occasionally, Marissa will come in with a song that’s pretty formed already, lyrically.  For the songs we’re working on coming up, eventually it will be a new album, but we’re just writing the songs right now, Mike brought in a song like that as well.  But the vast majority of stuff is us getting together and just playing music together.

7LM: One of the things I love so much about the stuff you guys play is how you’ll sometimes go from a song that’s quiet and just heartbreaking and then you’ll make this right turn and it’s like a punch in the gut and you’re hitting so hard and knocking walls down.  I wondered if there were songs on the new record or ones you can think of where you came in thinking, “Okay, this is going to be kind of a mellow heartbreaker,” but then one of you thought, “You know what?  This just needs to be like a kick in the junk, or vice versa.”

MA: (laughing) With the new stuff that we’re currently writing, it all has just come together naturally.

MP: Yeah.

MA: There hasn’t been a song where we went into it thinking one thing and then it turned out completely different – that I can think of.

JD: The one I can think of that most dramatically represents that is on Ugly.  The song is “Expire.”  When Marissa first made a demo of that, it had this very…

MP: (chuckling) It was like a merengue.

JD: Yeah, it had a very arpeggiated Latin acoustic guitar feel, and then it turned into something entirely different by the time we were done.

MP: (laughing) That’s probably a good thing.

MA: I don’t remember that at all.  “Hopeless” (from Rose Mountain) had a bit more of an Americana vibe to it and then we took that and made it more straight-ahead.  We turned it into like a Weezer song.

JD: We had a couple ideas about that one, too, that included thinking about the beginning of Stop Making Sense.  David Byrne comes out to do “Psycho Killer” with just the boom box and that idea stuck in my head, that you could do a song in that fashion.  So when we were working out “Hopeless,” I was thinking about playing very robotically, like a drum machine.  We even tried to drop a drum machine in on that first part of that track to see if it would work, but we couldn’t get one work that mixed with the vibes of the instruments.  So we left the drums, but I was trying to play like a drum machine.

7LM: Nice.  I know on Chalk Tape you three basically wrote the stuff out on a chalkboard and kind of went with “First thought, best thought,” kind of thing?

JD: Absolutely.

7LM: Did any of that carry over into Rose Mountain at all on any of the tracks?

MPChalk Tape was like a vacation away from overthinking things, and then we revisited overthinking everything when we got to Rose Mountain – which is not something we necessarily dislike doing, I think.

MAWait, Chalk Tape was before Rose Mountain?

Everyone else: Yeah.

(Laughter fills the van.)

MP: Because Ugly was such a big project and there were so many songs, and we demoed everything five thousand times.  We demoed songs at different speeds.  We like doing stuff like that.

MA: It’s true.

MP: I mean, I do.  It’s fun for me.  So Chalk Tape was like a little bit break from that and we threw caution to the wind and just had fun.  Demoing stuff is fun for me.  With Rose Mountain we definitely were very focused on melodies and songwriting and analyzing our demos and getting rid of things that we were like, “This is extraneous, and that’s unnecessary. It doesn’t benefit the song in any way.”

7LM: What are your favorite misheard lyrics?  Do you have any that just crack you up?

MA: We have a couple.

MP: One I can’t say.

7LM: No, you can say it.

JD: About our band? (Looking at Marissa) You like those misheard lyrics about the Fall Out Boy video.

MP: Yeah, it’s just “don-don-don-loora-loora.”

MA: Yeah, it’s like “Ooo-lee-ooo-rah.”

JD: We watch that video a lot because they attempt to animate what they think these nonsense words mean and it’s really, really good.

MP: Misheard lyrics from other songs?

7LM: Or from yours.

MP: There’s this one song we have called “Pretty Okay,” and I say, “You make me feel so enlightened,” and our friends in a posthumous band called Full of Fancy thought I said, “You make me feel like Steve Martin,” which I think is a better lyric.

MA: The next line is “A lady found God in her purse,” and another friend of ours said it sounded like “A lady found God in her puss.”

MP: It’s a little risqué.

JD: We didn’t say it!  They just thought we said it.

MA: I just said it.  It just came out of my mouth.

MP: I think Full of Fancy did that, too.  It was always them.

MA: No, it was probably (producer Steve) Albini.

7LM: It wouldn’t surprise me.  Are there any bands that have inspired you that you fans might be surprised by?

MA: (no hesitation) Fall Out Boy.  We love Fall Out Boy.

MP: (laughing) Yeah, we love Fall Out Boy.

JP: Just the one album, though.

MP: I celebrate two albums.

JD: I mean, collectively, we like the one album.

MP: Yeah, that’s true.

JD: I love a lot of hip hop.  I don’t know if people think that’s weird, but it definitely doesn’t seem like it’s attached to Screaming Females.  In high school I listened to a lot of world music and jazz and stuff, but I think a lot of that comes out in my playing, and I think people who are familiar with music like Fela Kuti and Gangstarr, could hear that I play drums more like what those artists think of rhythms like instead a punk band.

7LM: Are there any bands you’ve played with on this tour that you think your fans should hear more of?

MP: The first night of tour we played with two of the coolest bands I’d seen in a long time.

MA: Chipped Nails.  They were cool as hell.

MP: Chipped Nails from Montreal.  It was like their second show ever.  They were so good, I wanted them to play forever.  They played for, like, ten minutes.

JD: They played this really hypnotically repetitive, slightly funky groovin’ music that was completely atonal and nonsensical, and it was amazing.

MP: They were really good.

7LM: I’m all over that.

MP: They don’t have any Internet presence yet.

MA: They have no music.  It was their second show.

JD: Everybody in the crowd, their jaws dropped like, “I don’t know what I’m witnessing.”  They were bopping their heads.  It was the grooviest show of all time.

MA: We did a couple shows with our friends in this band called Vacation who are really, really good.

JD: Yeah, they’re from Ohio.

7LM: I’ve heard of them somewhere.

JD: Yeah, they’re on Don Giovanni, which is the same label that has been putting out stuff for a long time.  They’re from Cincinnati and Columbus and have been playing shows for years and years.

7LM: I go to Columbus a lot, so that’s probably where I heard of them.

JD: Have you ever been to Ace of Cups?

7LM: No.

JD: Okay, it’s a cool venue there.  Our friend, Evan, who plays in Vacation is usually working the door.  So, if you ever end up there, you’ll probably meet Evan.

7LM: Finally, I thought this would be fun to ask you – Who are your favorite scream queens?

MA: What?

7LM: Your favorite Hollywood scream queens.

MA: What’s that?

7LM: Horror movie stars.  Screaming females, literally.

JD: Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween is the classic.

7LM: Oh yeah, of course.

MA: I don’t do movies.  I can’t sit still that long.

JD: (looking at Marissa) Green Room?

MA: Maeby from Arrested Development?  I don’t even know what her name is.

MP: Yeah, me either (Alia Shawkat).  I’m not much of a movie buff.  I don’t know too much.  I like Hellraiser, that’s a movie I enjoy.  There’s two female characters in there.  I don’t know either of their names.  The woman who’s seducing the men and bringing them to the guy’s room so he can reanimate them.  She’s cool.  I don’t know what her name is (Julia – played by Claire Higgins), but I like her style.  She’s ruthless.  She doesn’t give a good damn.  Yeah, I think that might be my favorite horror movie.  I haven’t seen the others, but I do really like the first Hellraiser.

7LM: Once I was at a horror movie convention and saw Doug Bradley, who plays Pinhead, and Robert England, who plays Freddy Krueger having lunch together.

JP: Whoa!

MP: My girlfriend at the time really wanted to get into the franchise, and I think we got up to the third one and I was like, “I can’t watch these, they’re so bad.”

7LM: They get progressively worse.

MP: The first one’s so cool, and the second one was okay, and by the third one I was like, “What’s happening?”  But my friend, Mark Bronzino, who plays in this metal band called Iron Reagan, he was like, “Yo, Marissa, Hellraiser 14 is pretty good, you should go see it.”  And I was like, “I’m not gonna see it.”

7LM: Well, they’re remaking it.

MP: The first one?

JD: The fourteenth one.

7LM: They probably are.

MP: I don’t know, apparently it’s pretty good.

7LM: Thanks again.  Is there anything you want fans to look up, or anything you want to plug?

JD: is the easiest place to find our real tour dates, because now there are tour date aggregators out there all over the Internet that put up tour dates from five years ago.  That’s the best place to find information about us, but we’re pretty easy to get in touch with.  You can literally e-mail us and one of us will probably answer you.

7LM: And you’re all on Twitter and Facebook for sure.

JD: Yeah, so if you’ve ever encountered the Internet, you can probably find us.


Keep your mind open.

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Atlanta’s Music Midtown announces lineup for 2016.


Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival has announced its 2016 lineup for September 17-18th  It’s a good mix of rock, rap, electro, and R&B.  Beck, Deadmau5, the Killers, Alabama Shakes, and the Coathangers are all worth seeing.  Weekend tickets start at $125.00 and will only go up as the dates get closer.

Keep your mind open.

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Dunsmuir – self-titled debut


Dunsmuir are a metal supergroup consisting of Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath (drums), Dave Bone of The Company Band (guitar), Brad Davis of Fu Manchu (bass), and Neil Fallon of Clutch (vocals). That should be all you need to know to buy their self-titled debut, but if not then knowing that the record is a concept album about a group of shipwreck survivors who struggle to stay alive against natural and supernatural forces should seal the deal. Again, what more do you need?

“Hung on the Rocks” begins the story of our doomed crew, and Bone’s guitar work cooks from the opening riff. Fallon sings, “When you’re hung on the rocks, do you stand by your captain or run ashore with the natives?” It seems a fitting lyric for someone frustrated with bumbling workplace management as well as someone freaking out as the ship goes down and “the chaplain is content to dance.”

“Our Only Master” (which, according to Fallon, is science) reminds us why Appice is one of the best metal drummers out there. Davis has a blast keeping up with him and Bone’s licks venture on the edge of stoner metal. The breakdown on it is fantastic. “The Bats (Are Hungry Tonight)” is great chugging metal, with Fallon’s vocals echoing off the back wall and Davis’ bass line charging through it.

“What Manner of Bliss” has some of Davis’ best bass work, and Bone sounds like he’s playing for an audience on the moon. Appice’s beats are simple but heavy. He doesn’t need to put in a lot of fancy fills because he doesn’t need them. He hits heavy and conveys power like the master of his craft that he is. “Deceiver” has our shipwrecked survivors lost in the supernatural as Fallon sings about the secrets of the universe and how such knowledge might be a terrible curse.

The survivors are off the deep end by the time we reach “…and Madness,” which has Bone apparently playing while someone sets his guitar on fire (judging by how hot the riffs are). Only Neil Fallon can sing a song like “Orb of Empire,” with lyrics of royal intrigue, magic, and dark societies. His vocal style is a perfect match to the band’s sledgehammering instrumentation. It’s the best metal song I’ve heard so far this year.

I love how “Church of the Tooth” starts out with slick and heavy stuff that sounds like, yes, Black Sabbath, and then Neil Fallon starts singing about iguanas, tortoises, crabs, and dark things at the bottom of the ocean. The band sinks into the Marianas Trench with a great finish of doom-metal sludge.

The remaining survivors are at the breaking point when we reach “The Gate,” as Fallon sings that his mind is about “to implode.” “Crawling Chaos” has Fallon reaching deep down for guttural vocals about the Old Ones and terrible things best left behind the veil that separates this world from a much darker one. The band plays like they’re trying to hold back or cause a volcanic eruption. I’m not sure which.

Dunsmuir is everything you want in a metal supergroup record. Again, the lineup alone should make you buy it. The two-ton weight heaviness of it is an added bonus.

Keep your mind open.

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Live: John Carpenter – July 15, 2016 – Detroit, MI

The Detroit Masonic Temple Theatre building is a massive, imposing place.  It’s gorgeous, and this is the first thing we saw there.


We were there to see John Carpenter’s live film music retrospective, so this sign was a good one that the show would be outstanding.

Carpenter and his band (which includes his son, Cory, on keyboards and synthesizers, and his godson, Daniel Davies on lead guitar) have been on tour most of the summer and the Detroit date was one of the last three in the U.S. before embarking on a tour of Europe and the United Kingdom.  I wasn’t going to miss this show, and I was delighted to see a screening of Escape from New York had been added to the bill since I bought the tickets.  The screening was a hoot, with people hissing every time Snake Plissken was on screen, cheering for every major cast member, and laughing at Lee Van Cleef’s giant “futuristic” walkie-talkie.

Carpenter and crew opened with the Escape from New York theme and then gave us a great show combining film theme music and cuts from his two recent albums – Lost Themes and Lost Themes II.

The “Escape from New York” theme while recent 90-year birthday boy Harry Dean Stanton watches over us.

IMG_3034“Vortex” from Lost Themes was particularly good live, and the crowd went crazy for the theme to Assault on Precinct 13.  Of course, they put a fog machine to good use for the theme from The Fog (one of the best ghost movies ever made).

John Carpenter in stage fog playing the theme from “The Fog.” What more could you want?

The crowd was having a ball (and many were hammered drunk) by this point.  The theatre’s air conditioning was working at minimal levels, so everyone in the joint was sweaty and a bit rowdy.  We would’ve been miserable had it not been for Carpenter and his band tearing it up through the theme to Big Trouble in Little China and nice cuts from Lost Themes II like “Distant Dream.”  Davies, by the way, is a great guitarist.


The crowd went absolutely nuts when this happened.


The subliminal messages from They Live played on the screen, cutting into the film scenes shown throughout the theme.  The movie, which is more prescient now than ever, and its theme struck a chord with the audience, and it was great to see the whole band wearing sunglasses in the spirit of Roddy Piper and Keith David.

Of course, they got a standing ovation for the Halloween theme.


I was also delighted to see and hear them play the themes from some of Carpenter’s lesser-seen works – In the Mouth of Madness (which I really need to see again) and the completely bonkers Prince of Darkness.  They ended with Carpenter telling us, “Remember, as you go home, drive safe.  Christine is out there!” before launching in to the Christine theme.

It was a great show, and one I’m glad I didn’t miss.  Catch them if you can.  It’s a must-see if you’re a fan of horror films, film scores, Carpenter’s work, or cinema.


Keep your mind open.

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