While it’s been an excellent home for new guitar excursions and post-wook nodules from Walker himself, Ryley’s Husky Pants label has now shifted into preserving the past he’s so adamantly avowed over the last decade. Walker has always been vocal about the records he loves and starting with the reissue of Sonora Pine’s II, he’s working to preserve some of that past as well. For many, 1997 had very different connotations than those that are found within the realms of II. Far from the plastic flash of the late ‘90s’ public persona, Sonora Pine was mapping out the rougher edges of rock. Formed in the wake of Rodan’s dissolution, the record became a new outlet for Tara Jane Oneil’s works. After some lineup shifts, the band settled into the trio of O’Neil, drummer Kevin Coultas, and Samara Lubelski on violin.
Originally released by Quarterstick Records, the record was Sonora Pine’s sophomore release, and it found them letting a beautiful darkness into their sound. In contrast to the band’s debut, which also featured Sean Meadows in the lineup, the record was more measured, colored by patience, following Lubelski’s string lines through fogged emotions that put them in league with works from Low and Dirty Three. The band would dissolve shortly after this record, but the sound that O’Neil shaped on II would come to inform her solo works in the coming years. With Touch & Go and Quarterstick’s catalog’s often left hanging in the ether, it’s nice to see Ryley give this one a remaster an reissue to remind a new generation about how bruised the ‘90s could be.
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