Posts Tagged ‘Burnt Hills’

Spiral Wave Nomads

One of the great pre-pandemic joys I had was the beginnings of putting on some Upstate NY shows in 2019. It was a tip towards momentum that was sadly cut short along with the rest of society over the past year, but I still hold the show that Spiral Wave Noamads opened in high regard as a memory of what I’d like to get back to someday. Alongside Jesse Sheppard and Turner Williams and Wet Tuna, the duo tore down Half Moon here in Hudson with a singed psychedelic experience that expanded on the music from their excellent Feeding Tube debut. The magic there was Eric and Michael feeding off of one another, something that was surprisingly not the case in their debut, which had been recorded between them remotely, trading files between one another in home studios.

For the second go ‘round at the Tube, the pair enter the studio together and find that symbiotic glow they had on stage one October night. The simmering tension, the push past the boundaries of the brittle veil, the urge to cave noise out of beauty and beauty out of pain are all here on First Encounters. They lead off with a monster, 13+ minute sweat box before squeezing their sound through a black hole of psychic damage on “Fitful Embers.” Though the contact burns off of “Radiant Drifter” might mark themselves as the highlight of the LP, before they tumble down another 13-minute meditation to close out the the LP. The final track cements their psychic link — a slow-motion tidal wave of sonic crumble that threatens to cave in the speakers from the inside out. Glad to see that the first LP wasn’t just a one-off crusher. Spiral Wave continue to establish themselves as ones to keep tabs on.

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Spiral Wave Nomads – “Radiant Drifter”

On of the great improv psych bands to emerge out of the Upstate NY / CT / MA area in the last couple of years has been Spiral Wave Nomads. I had these guys on a show with Wet Tuna and they burned down the Half Moon stage with a barrage of jams (one of which is on their last EP here). Now the band feat Eric Hardiman (Burnt Hills, Sky Furrows) and Michael Kiefer (More Klementines) is back with a sophomore LP again split between Michael’s Twin Lakes Records and Feeding Tube. The first taste of the First Encounters is the contact burn of “Radiant Drifter.” The pair has only burrowed further into their den of knotted riffs, amplifier spray and turbulent rhythm on this record and I couldn’t be more excited to hear the whole thing when it lands in the first week of January.



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Sky Furrows – “36 Ways of Looking at a Memory ”

Capturing a vibe halfway between Patti Smith and Sonic Youth, Albany’s Sky Furrows bring together poet/writer Karen Schoemer and members of psych rock unit Burnt Hills. The latest taste of the album winds in crouched, its surfaces calloused — a song pent up and pacing around the streets looking for an outlet. The first sip of the album, “Alyosha” started tense but burst into serrated shards of guitar, but here the relief never comes, the song strapped with tension to the last moments. That palpable tension works well. The guitars are still pulled taut, tripwires in waiting, tiny traps without prey. The narrative spins — drudgery or dream, its hard to tell. Sky Furrows have a way of capturing the ‘90s burn that skirted experimental while seeping into the mainstream as labels scrambled to get their alternative ducks in a row. For casual listeners something like “36 Ways of Looking at a Memory” was a head scratcher between the more explosive moments on a favorite album, but for those with the right kind of ears, it’s the bound confusion we were looking for all along. The eponymous record is out October 15th.

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Spiral Wave Nomads

Feeding Tube is often so busy its hard to keep up with the output, and this year has had such a solid roster of releases that it’s a shame to miss any. The debut from Spiral Wave Nomads proves this point nicely. The LP, a co-release with Twin Lakes Records, embraces a shimmering batch of psych-ragas that are burnt to the core. The band snags in two long-time psychedelic spool party regulars – Eric Hardiman (Burnt Hills, Century Plants) and Michael Kiefer (Myty Konkeror, More Klementines) and they continue their search for the bottomless pit of bliss that bubbles just below the acid-fried surface of a distant sun. Ambling and aching, the tracks on their eponymous debut squeeze dropout drones and square-wave boogies through a strainer to serve.

Throwing varying degrees of noise debris the listeners’ way, from cosmic dust to the kind of fuzztone flakes that get stuck in your teeth, the record doesn’t seek to salve the soul entirely, but rather to rumple, reorder, and render it before melting it into a puddle of pulses. The duo skates the edge of oblivion and anguish, feeling like they might topple either way at any time during the record. They build up a good deal of tension through chewed tin transmissions on “Wabi Sabi,” and then shave it to the bone on the languid “Floating on a Distant Haze” and closer “Patterns of Forgotten Flight.” The LP stands up nicely next to much of the Tube’s heady output this year (pairs nicely with Village of Spaces and Maxine Funke, not to mention the Fog Window LP on SFTRI I mentioned last week). If this one melts your core there’s bonus bliss to be found in the More Klementines release that just came out on Twin Lakes as well. I recommend lining those up on the turntable in tandem.




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