New at Southwest Sound: Sept. 22

by Cooper Stapleton

Sept. 22Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Luciferian Towers”Post Rock is not for everyone. Its lack of traditional song structure can be off-putting to those not prepared for it. In that strange shape is where “Luciferian Towers” finds its beauty, a hum and a drone that consistently rises from sounds evoking nothing and everything. The cavernous wail followed by a laugh that could come from mirth or fear or a combination of the two. “Luciferian Towers” is the joviality that follows the burning of a draft notice, or deciding that the bank has already taken enough. At its root, a rebellion whose fingers stretch from every familiar small act of kindness in the face of unrelenting hatreds to a future where roads may be paved or may be dirt. All I can ask of anyone who reads this is for you to open your heart to something special, and sounds that bring all of us, in the uncertain times, together. This record is a celebration that the enemy has finally shown us its face, and the place to strike it. And it will be the soundtrack to the aftermath, with as much hope as anything has ever had.

Mastodon, “Cold Dark Place”Oh boy oh boy, two releases from one of my favorite bands in one year. “Cold Dark Place” began its gestation as a solo project of guitarist Brent Hinds, eventually gathering interest from the rest of the band and culminating in this EP release. While it still feels very Mastodon, the EP has a very stripped-down feeling compared to most of their earlier work, while also being a little on the mellow side. Throughout the album, there are their trademark wonderful vocal harmonies that hit previously unknown timbres, layers of deep baritone voices melding into an all-powerful roar. The highlight of the record is the previously released single “Toe To Toes,” which shows that guitarist Brent Hinds is at the top of his game, both in technical skill and songwriting ability. Every moment of this track speaks to me as a Mastodon fan.

Chelsea Wolfe, “Hiss Spun”The progression that Chelsea Wolfe has made over the course of her career is so in keeping with my personal tastes that it is almost as if she knows. From the dark folk of “The Grime and the Glow” and “Apokalypsis,” the industrial-tinged “Pain is Beauty,” the dirgey doom of “Abyss,” and now the almost full-on embrace of metal in “Hiss Spun,” her discography holds something special within each of its labyrinthine corners. “Hiss Spun” is no different. It brings a lovely balance of quiet and absolutely bombastic sound, with tracks like “Offering” acting as the breaths between being thrust into deep water on a moonless night. The addition of Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age and his lap steel guitar setup brings even more sonic dynamics, and allows a breadth of sound that is new to the Chelsea Wolfe style, and adds to it.

Also releasing this week: Black Country Communion, Cut Copy, Horrors, Sleeping with Sirens, Cradle of Filth, Electric Wizard, Enter Shikari, Fergie, Metz, Macklemore, Tricky, Satyricon, Midland, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers.

Cooper Stapleton


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