Tag Archive: “Thrill Jockey”

This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. Below are songs that sound great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.

Outkast – “Humble Mumble” (Stankonia, Arista Records) 2000


“Humble as a mumble in the jungle of shouts and screams” serves as both the hook for Humble Mumble and a good descriptor of the songs place in Outkast’s output. Stankonia is one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time and contains “B.O.B,” “Ms. Jackson,” and “So Fresh, So Clean” so it’s easy to overlook “Humble Mumble” in relation to the album as a whole, even though it deserves to be in the same conversation as those seminal hits. The song has so many quotable lines it seems unfair, from the introduction of “The funky engine that could” and asking “what’s your locomotive” to Andre 3000 saying “don’t discrimihate til you done read a book or two” to a critic who “thinks hip hop is only about guns and alcohol.” Lyrically it’s just a really fun song and it follows suit musically as well. It’s a song done in three movements, which are distinctive but still very cohesive as they all eventually blend together. It’s absolutely a song only Outkast could’ve made and I haven’t even mentioned that it features Erykah Badu yet, which is a treat all in itself.


 

Fleetwood Mac – “Storms” (Tusk, Warner Brothers) 1979


Tucked into Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s most experimental album, “Storms” is a song that is easy to overlook. It’s a serene and heartbreaking song of lost love over a simple folky guitar sung wonderfully by Stevie Knicks. Yet, as is the case with Fleetwood Mac’s best songs, nothing is as simple as it seems. The chorus of “Storms” features some of their best harmonies, which is really saying a lot for this band. Slowly over time percussion and organ build ever so subtlety, resulting in an absolutely beautiful song. On the surface the lyrics seem to be your standard lost love song fare but Knicks’ emotive delivery packs more and more of a punch as the song goes on. Everything culminates together as Knicks sings: “But never ever been a blue calm sea / I have always been a storm” repeating “always been a storm” several times with each time more powerful than the last. Listening to this song is like sitting on a deck watching a slow storm roll in over an otherwise peaceful lake.


 

Matmos – “Tunnel” (The Marriage of True Minds, Thrill Jockey Records) 2013


Matmos has made a career out of gimmicks. This isn’t a negative thing by any means as their gimmicks have mostly paid off. They make experimental electronic music and normally operate within some put-upon-themselves framework for each album. They have an album built around sounds from surgical procedures, another inspired by old instruments and sounds that wouldn’t sound too out of place at a Renaissance festival and most recently an album made almost entirely out of sounds from a washing machine. The Marriage of True Minds, quite possibly their strongest album, took on a strong framework, yet is by far the most abstract they have worked within. They had people go into a sensory deprivation chamber while they transmitted the theme of the album to the subjects telepathically. They would then interview the subjects asking them what they heard or saw. Some would hum melodies, some would describe images and they took these recordings and based an album off of them. It’s a fascinating listen with some absolutely stunning songs. “Tunnel” is an obvious standout track even without the backstory of how it was conceived. Didgeridoo is set atop pulsating rhythms, bombastic funky guitar sounds and screeching synths in a truly fantastic way. Towards the middle of the song a male voice recording taken from the interview after one of the sensory deprivation sessions whispers “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel … But it isn’t daylight”, giving the song an absolutely chilling vibe as it continues.


 

Tyvek – “Wayne County Roads” (On Triple Beams, In the Red Records) 2012


People who have never had the pleasure of continuously having to drive in Wayne County Michigan really have no idea how cathartic it is to listen to a song that yells “Wayne County Roads” over and over as the chorus. They are quite terribly painful to deal with. Tyvek is a great five piece band who makes straight up rock music, which is refreshing in a time with so many genres and subgenres. The song is built around a couple of Television-esque catchy guitar riffs. Again, this is just great solid rock music from a totally Midwest band who has been making under known music for years. On the surface this is a pretty simple song about the roads that take you home but nothing in Wayne County is quite that easy.

 

Wrekmeister Harmonies return with their most sonically varied album to date, Light Falls, due out on September 16, 2016 from Thrill Jockey. On Light Falls, the core of Wrekmeister, JR Robinson (vocals, guitar) and Esther Shaw (keyboards, piano, violin, vocals), are joined by Godspeed You! Black Emperor musicians Thierry Amar on bass and contrabass; Sophie Trudeau on piano, violin and vocals; and Timothy Herzog on drums. Chicago musicians Ryley Walker and Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas) make guest appearances on the album as well.

The title of the album originates from the text of If This Is A Man, Primo Levi’s meditation on the year the author spent as an inmate at Auschwitz. The Italian Jewish chemist and anti-fascist resistance fighter suggested in this seminal work that inhumanity comes about when things change slowly and people begin accepting things that they would normally find reprehensible. Robinson adds:

“I wanted to sonically convey the idea of slow, creeping change. When I came up with the title I was thinking of how when daylight turns to night time it’s a very gradual process. You are lulled into watching this slow, peaceful sunset but then all of a sudden you look up and it’s dark.”

Following the release of their album Night of Your Ascension last November, Wrekmeister Harmonies have toured relentlessly with the likes of Bell Witch, and members of Dead to a Dying World throughout North America and Europe. Wrekmeister will be touring North America and Europe in the new 5-piece format this fall/winter.

Wrekmeister Harmonies are on tour in North America this summer with Marissa Nadler, performing as a duo.  Tour dates and Light Falls track listing can be found below; look for more information on Wrekmeister Harmonies to be announced soon.

Wrekmeister Harmonies Duo Tour Dates*

Jul 5 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge

Jul 6 – Boise, ID – Neurolux

Jul 8 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court

Jul 9 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge

Jul 10 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge

Jul 11 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry

Jul 12 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

Jul 13 – Detroit, MI – El Club

Jul 14 – Toronto, ON – The Drake Hotel

Jul 15 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa

Jul 16 – Hudson, NY – Half Moon

Jul 19 – Boston, MA – Great Scott

Jul 20 – Providence, RI – Aurora

Jul 21 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

Jul 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s

Jul 24 – Washington, D.C. – DC9

Jul 25 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle Backstage

Jul 26 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl

Jul 27 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa

Jul 29 – Austin, TX – Sidewinder

Jul 30 – Dallas, TX – Dada

Aug 1 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar

Aug 2 – San Diego, CA – Casbah

Aug 3 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo

Aug 4 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

Aug 5 – Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library

Aug 7 – Vancouver, CA – Cobalt

Aug 8 – Seattle, WA – Barboza

* w/ Marissa Nadler, Muscle & Marrow

SUMAC first came to fruition when Aaron Turner, also of Isis, Old Man Gloom and Mamiffer, had the urge to once again create colossal-sounding music. A goal for the band to strive for was to write some of the heaviest music Turner had ever written, and he found an ideal partner with Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn. The duo added Brian Cook, of Russian Circles, Botch and These Arms Are Snakes, and released their debut, The Deal, via Profound Lore Records on February 17, 2015.

The band’s sophomore LP, which has already been generating excitement from music media taste makers and fans alike, was announced via the band’s Facebook page, and What One Becomes will see the light of day via Thrill Jockey on June 10. What One Becomes was tracked at The Unknown in Anacortes, Washington, and mixed at GodCity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts with Kurt Ballou. The resulting five-song, hour-long LP is a dense aggregate of rhythm, force, and vigor. 

Ghettoblaster recently spoke with Turner about the band, the new LP, self-exploration, facing challenges head on and creating honest and adventurous music.

How did Sumac become an endeavor that you all decided to pursue? 

The idea for the kind of music SUMAC is now making has existed for some years now, and it wasn’t until 2013 that it actually started to take shape. I’d had the desire to start a new band for a while, though I wasn’t actively pursuing it as I had no idea who else would be in it. I knew the music was going to be demanding on a number of levels, and finding a great drummer was the first piece of the puzzle.

While attending local shows I was casually looking around for someone local who might be a good fit, and there wasn’t anyone whose playing I really connected with. At some point in mid-2103 I saw Nick performing with Baptists and was immediately drawn to his playing and intensity. It took a while for us to connect as at first I didn’t consider it a great prospect practically speaking – he lives in Vancouver which was far enough away to present a problem.

Eventually though our mutual friend (and eventual engineer), Kurt Ballou put us in touch. That was in early 2014 at which point I was more heavily invested in writing what would become the first album. After Nick and I played together for the first time it seemed pretty clear that it was a combo worth pursuing. Brian was an obvious choice – we’ve been friends for a long time, I love his playing and we’d discussed doing something together over the years. The initial work was truly a shot in the dark which was part of the fun of doing it, and it came together with surprising fluidity, and fortunately, deeply satisfying results. It was exactly what I’d hoped for, and it seemed Nick and Brian were just as enthusiastic and surprised by it as I was.

What was it about the other two musicians’ technical skills and the chemistry that you have with them that continues to make the band a fulfilling pursuit?

As alluded to earlier, Nick’s intensity was the main factor in wanting to play with him – there is wild forcefulness and conviction in his playing that is incredibly powerful. Beyond that, he’s a very inventive player, his choices are far from obvious, yet never take away from the music – it’s the perfect combo of providing strong support and creative embellishment. It’s a good counter-balance to the role that guitar plays in SUMAC – the drumming is very musical and the guitar is often more rhythmic and textural than overtly melodic.

Nick and I didn’t know each other at all, and as it turns out we get along very well on a personal level which is another crucial factor. As for Brian, he’s been on many of the Mamiffer records I’m also on, so we’d already worked together in that context. I’ve been a longtime admirer of his playing, starting in Botch and on into These Arms are Snakes, and now Russian Circles. His playing is also perfect for SUMAC as there’s a sense of gravity and determination in the way he plays, and the sound he’s developed over the years is appropriately immense. He’s restrained and solid in the best sense possible, has a great deal of soul in his playing, and great harmonic/melodic sensibilities.

The three of us are a very compatible unit in how we get along, and I can’t emphasize enough how important that is and how much more enjoyable it makes the experience of doing this band together.

Also, is there a nicer dude than Brian Cook?

Get in a car with him in heavy traffic and you’ll see his dark side. Otherwise no, I know few people who are as kind and gentle as Brian Cook. Nick is alright too.

What were you hoping to accomplish artistically with What One Becomes? There are some pretty deep questions about self and self-discovery you were wrestling with here, correct?

Making music is a constant process of self-exploration, and by extension a point of connection to others and to collective life force. Seeking understanding, striving towards acceptance of life and self, and working towards ecstatic states of joyfulness through playing music are the goal – not only in SUMAC, in just about everything I’ve been lucky enough to participate in.

In the context of What One Becomes part of the process involves confronting things in myself that I’ve had difficulty with and have caused me suffering, and also those reflective facets that come through interaction with others. I’ve found part of my experience as a constantly evolving/transforming human has been about who I wish myself to be vs who I really am, and about the latent aspects of self that are revealed in times of emotional distress or circumstances of extreme pressure. The desire to hide those parts of myself is strong, as has been the desire to hide from or run away from difficulty when it arises. I’ve found that the process of hiding and escaping often causes more suffering than the things themselves that I’m striving to avoid. Fear is the motivating impulse behind these behaviors, and in that sense the album is ultimately and expression of, and potential exorcism of fear, beyond which lies a widened experience of total life and expansive love.

When did you begin writing the record?  

Very shortly after the release of The Deal in 2015, in fact some of it may have even been parts I discovered during the writing of that album and wasn’t ready to integrate into it. So far the inspiration for writing in this band has been strong and consistent. It’s tempting to just keep writing new material in lieu of rehearsing/performing what we’ve already made, so I’m trying to find a balance between touring behind the albums we’ve made and beginning work on whatever will come next.

I’m really enjoying playing this material live and it is meant to be experienced primarily in that context. It’s just a matter of finding the time to pursue playing live, and also following the path of creating new music that we’ve set out on.

Were there things that you discovered about your intent here or the compositions of the songs that you realized in the studio?

Yeah – this material is even more challenging than I initially realized. It’s one thing to play the parts alone for hours on end. It’s quite another to get a group together on what are some fairly rigorous pieces, which alternate between that which is carefully composed and that which is almost entirely free form. Trying to verbally convey what the intent is with a song, both the emotion behind it as well as what the structural devices are is difficult. Fortunately we’re operating on an advanced level of intuitive communication and mutual understanding that helps push the music in the right direction without having to scrutinize and negotiate every move we’re making.

What are you hoping your audience takes away from the experience of listening to it?

An increased awareness of their own consciousness, a desire to live life with passion and determination, to confront and grow with/through difficult passages in life, a deepened sense of connection to self and others, and a sense of primal urgency in relation to the gift of life we’ve all been fortunate enough to receive. I believe music is truly transformative and it’s not too much to ask of it, of its creators and it’s listeners that it improve, expand and ultimately benefit both individuals and collective humanity.

Discovering adventurous music offered me a doorway to a whole new set of perspectives on what it means to be alive, and I hope through our music and all the activities related to it we can help do that for others as well as ourselves.

What have you learned about yourself and your craft by pursuing SUMAC?

It’s helped confirm and in some ways renew the beliefs I’ve outlined above. It’s shown me over and over again just how important connection with others though music is, how my own happiness depends on sincere and focused creative action, and that the willingness to risk failure is still one of the best assets anyone can have – in order to navigate not only creative endeavors, but life itself. It has also helped reveal how my own insecurities and small mindedness can hamper me and constrict my world view and enjoyment of life. It’s been a fascinating portal through which I can examine both the healthy and destructive aspects of ego. I want and need for my work to be loved and enjoyed, I also don’t want that need to manifest in neurotic behaviors that define who I allow myself to be or rob me of the volition to make honest music.

SUMAC begins a tour in support of the record in just a few days.  Will there be other tours in support of this album cycle?

Yep – we’re touring Europe with Mamiffer for a short run later in June/July, and moving on to an east coast tour in August. Very much looking forward to playing this music for more people in as many places as it can take us.

(Pre-order What One Becomes on Thrill Jockey:www.thrilljockey.com/products/what-one-becomes.)

Throws, a new pop duo, has crafted an incredibly catchy, brilliantly varied debut album. Throws is Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders, whose previous band Tunng was beloved in Britain. While Throws hints at the pair’s affection for the British ’60s folk and experimental explosion, the playful attitude here is entirely their own.

The album’s rendering in Reykjavik, where Lindsay lived for four years, was done with instruments and techniques more commonly associated with contemporary electronic music. Icelandic musicians, including múm’s Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, the country’s beautiful landscape, and perhaps even a few of its folk tales all played a part in the recording. Those influences, combined with the powerful vocal harmonies and melodic sense of Genders and Lindsay, resulted in a debut that is wildly playful and beautifully executed. It is a musical adventure that continues to reveal itself with each listen, and contains more than a few catchy songs you simply can’t get out of your head.

The album was recorded in Reykjavik in Lindsay’s studio, a room full of synths and guitars, with big windows that overlooked the sea. Iceland was an escape for the band, and its influence is everywhere: From the energy of Reykjavik that is found in “Knife” to “The Harbour,” a song inspired by the town’s old industrial fishing area. “Bask” opens with some rumbling bass tones, while Sam and Mike’s voices bob among beats as if tossed by the waves. Then, like the sunlight on the shore, the guitar breaks through and the track is lifted by Gísladóttir to its giddy end.   Genders’ soulful falsetto and Lindsay’s vocals play off one another beautifully amid glitchy electronics, piano and strings provided by Amiina (frequent collaborators with Sigur Rós).

Throws is the sound of old friends and collaborators, and there is an undeniable ease that can only come having played together for a substantial amount of time. This renewed partnership has all the energy of friends catching up and all the excitement of getting to know each other again.

To celebrate the June release via Thrill Jockey, the band have shared “Punch Drunk Sober,” which you can enjoy below:

With Aaron Turner on guitar and vocals, Nick Yacyshyn on drums, and Brian Cook on bass, SUMAC invests in the recursive exercises of chaos and control, and the results are a testament to the tour-honed collective intuition and technical skills of the powerhouse trio. What One Becomes is SUMAC’s Thrill Jockey debut, and you can hear “Rigid Man” from the album now! “Rigid Man” highlights the band’s finely-tuned intensity as they rhythmically build towards a crushing wall of feedback.

LISTEN: Sumac, “Rigid Man”

Dave Heumann has an unmistakable voice. Its full and smooth baritone feels somehow lost in time – like it came from a thrift store bin, off of a LP without a sleeve. For the last thirteen years, that voice has been most directly tied to the band he leads, Arbouretum. But 2014 saw that band taking a year-long hiatus and nearly a year after, Heumann has released his first solo album, Here in the Deep.

While Heumann’s singing remains recognizable for the new album, the songs reach out from Arbouretum’s framework. Folk, country, a few of the psychedelic reelings of shoegaze, all enter into the songwriting for an exploratory but well-tailored collection.

Dave recently answered a few of our questions about the future of his solo music and Arbouretum.

Ghettoblaster: Why did Arbouretum go on hiatus? 

Dave Heumann: It was mainly to focus on personal projects and endeavors that everyone wanted to spend more time with. We were feeling a little burned out at the end of 2013 and needed some time to refocus. I think that’s worked out well.

GB: When the hiatus was decided on, did you immediately think of doing a solo album or was it more a result of growing restless? 

DH: It was not long after the hiatus was decided. I’d had the thought of doing a solo album for a while because I’d at times have song ideas that didn’t seem too Arbouretum-y. With us taking a break for a while, it created an opportunity for me to really pursue the idea.

GB: Was most of Here in the Deep written recently or are these songs that you’ve had for awhile?

DH: There are a couple songs that went back a few years, which I hadn’t finished until the motivation happened to do the record. Others were written not long before the sessions themselves, and with some of them, I wrote the lyrics only after the instrumental tracks were recorded.

GB: Here in the Deep works so well as an album, are there songs you wrote that you didn’t feel fit the sound of what you wanted in a solo album?

DH: Thanks. There were definitely some ideas I’d had that didn’t make the cut, mainly because I felt the direction they were going in wasn’t necessarily what I wanted the record to be. I believe I kept more than I threw out, though.

GB: Would a second solo album be a continuation of Here in the Deep or do you see these projects as ways to explore all of the ideas that otherwise wouldn’t have homes in your body of work?

DH: I’m not certain what it would be if I did another. At one point before I started this, I’d thought of doing a record entirely of folk songs. I still might do that, but I’m not planning on having it be the very next thing.

GB: You worked with a lot of people for this record, Lower Dens’ Walker Teret, Mike Kuhl, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Hans Chew, John Parish handling production – could you see any of these collaborations going further out than just this album?

DH: Sure. Walker and I have played together on and off for years. Mike and I play pretty regularly, and it was definitely great working with the others you’ve listed. 

GB: The musical difference is definitely apparent, but when it came to the lyrics did you approach these songs any differently then you would have with the band?

DH: A little, yeah. Rob Wilson helped with a couple of them as he has with Arboureum songs in the past, though this time it was in more of an advisory role. I find myself with Arbouretum songs taking on something of a transpersonal perspective, while these songs feel slightly more down-to-earth, while still not being entirely personal. The exception to this would be “Holly King on a Hill”, which is sort of a rumination on the solstices and Druidic myth surrounding them.

GB: Have Corey, Brian or Matthew talked to you at all about the record? Not to ask you to speak directly for them, but I’d be interested in knowing if you’ve had any conversations about the album.

DH: Yes. We talked about it when I was putting it together, and in fact they all play on the song “Ends of the Earth”, which has been a frequent staple of our live sets since 2013 when it was written. I just presented it as something I felt I needed to work on during our downtime, and everyone has been pretty supportive of it. Matthew is actually part of this European tour that I’m on right now, which is great.

GB: Is there anything you think that you’ll take from working on this album into the next Arbouretum?

DH: Yes. It doesn’t mean I’ll even go for trying to write similar songs with the band or anything, but I’ve felt that bringing these songs to life was a prerequisite for getting my head around writing songs with Arbouretum again, imagining the kinds of spaces that they can occupy.

GB: Do you think Arbouretum will play these songs live or are they very separate projects in your mind?

DH: I think we’ll do some of them, but maybe not all of them. I think about how Jerry Garcia went on to play several songs from his first solo record with the Dead. It could perhaps make sense for me in a similar way.

GB: What’s 2016 look like for you and the band? 

DH: Hopefully recording early in the year, and touring extensively to support it later in the year. I hope it’s a big year for us!

(Visit Dave Heumann here: www.facebook.com/daveheumannmusic?_rdr=p)

EYE from Boredoms has teamed up with Japanese noise rock duo Gagakirise for Gagakiriseye, a limited 7-inch release out August 21.

Gagakiriseye combines EYE’s distinctive percussive, maniacal presence with the noise duo’s frenzied, colorful sounds. This is the first new material to feature EYE in over five years.

Pre-order Gagakiriseye on 7-inch: http://thrilljockey.com/thrill/Gagakirise-and-EYE/Gagakiriseye

Emil Amos, the mastermind behind Holy Sons, returns with his second Thrill Jockey release, Fall of Man. The multi-instrumentalist (who also counts himself as a member of Om, Grails, and Lilacs & Champagne) carves out new territory on his most diverse release to date, adding more hooks and pop balladry to his songs while still retaining the intimacy and psychological depth of his earlier records.

Fall of Man was recorded between Portland, Oregon and Brooklyn with producers Brandon Eggleston (Mountain Goats, Swans), Al Carlson (Oneohtrix Point Never) and Jeff Saltzman (Grails). In an exclusive interview with self-titled, Amos talks about the upcoming album and shares a new video featuring a live acoustic version of album track “Mercenary World.”  The video was directed by Ego Sensation of White Hills.

Pre-order Holy Sons’ Fall of Man on LP/CD/digital here: https://holysons.bandcamp.com/album/fall-of-man

Holy Sons US Tour dates with Earth:

August 23 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East (upstairs)

August 25 – Portsmouth, NH – 3S Artspace

August 26 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge

August 27 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus

August 28 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

August 29 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery

August 30 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter

August 31 – Chapel Hill, NC – Cat’s Cradle (back room)

September 1 – Atlanta, GA – Earl

September 2 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub

September 3 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks

September 4 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn

September 5 – Nashville, TN – Stone Fox

September 6 – Bloomington, IN – The Bishop

September 8 – Madison, WI – Frequency

September 9 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry

September 10 – Chicago, IL – Bohemian National Cemetery

Thrill Jockey announced announce it has welcomed two new acts to its roster. This May will see the release of the new album by Circuit des Yeux, the moniker of Chicagoan Haley Fohr, as well as the debut album by Portland via NYC psych trio Dommengang.

Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr has received accolades for her impassioned performances and strikingly emotional songs, and has become a staple of the Chicago scene since since she moved here in 2012. Her 2013 self-released album Overdue received accolades from Pitchfork, KEXP, Rookie, Ad Hoc, and more. Circuit des Yeux has toured extensively and has shared stages with Xiu Xiu, Sir Richard Bishop, Bill Orcutt, Oneohtrix Point Never and more.

Dommengang is Adam Bulgasem, Brian Markham, and Sig Wilson, three musicians with roots in the Portland psych scene. They joined Emil Amos as the backing band for Holy Sons on his last US tour, and thoroughly blew everyone at Thrill Jockey away. The band brings together elements of psych, blues, and boogie that is sure to please fans of Pontiak and Arbouretum.

Here’s a quick taste of what they have in store:
http://dommengang.bandcamp.com

Liturgy is a Brooklyn-based, self-styled “Transcendental Black Metal” band whose yearning, energetic music exists in an uncanny space between avant rock, black metal, fine art and shamanic ritual. Led by songwriter and conceptual architect Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, who is joined by guitarist Bernard Gann, bassist Tyler Dusenbury and drummer Greg Fox, the band exists as a 21st century total work of art (gesamtkunstwerk): activating divine potencies by means of music and culture even as it underscores the contradictions inherent in such a project during the internet era.

Their third full length, The Ark Work, which is out on Thrill Jockey March 24, is a quantum leap forward, a radical change in sound that paradoxically sounds more like Liturgy than ever. NPR today premiered the first track from them, saying “”Quetzalcoatl” is a good representation of where Liturgy stands in 2015: Hunt-Hendrix has ditched shrieks in favor of chants that channel, well, Orthodox liturgical singing. Bassist Tyler Dusenbury and drummer Greg Fox (Zs, Guardian Alien) have returned to the fold, but at times, The Ark Work feels like it was composed with a drum machine in mind; it’s rigorous and detached, even as Fox thwacks “Quetzalcoatl” wide open with gunshot snares. Then there are the purposefully fake-sounding MIDI strings, which soar like the climax to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight,” heightening Hunt-Hendrix’s ecstatic guitar shred. It’s anything but black metal, which just might be the point.”

Click Here To Listen To “Quetzalcoatl”

Watch The Ark Work Album Teaser