SARGENT HOUSE NEWS

Delicious Audio interviews Rory Friers of And So I Watch You From Afar 

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The guys in Irish “post-math” band And So I Watch You From Afar are the kind of people who never choose the simple route. Blending metal, psychedelia, post rock and prog rock, their music is like a kaleidoscope of fragmented sounds and sections frantically chasing each other. Their focus on originality and experimental guitar tones makes them an ideal candidate for an interview about the creative process. Guitarist/vocalist Rory Friers answered a few questions in this regard.

INSPIRATION

What was your initial motivation to form a rock band?

Initially it was just so we could play shows, it was always about live in the beginning, hoping we would maybe get to tour one day like the bands we would go see play in venues in Belfast. But it was always about the scene and playing music to our friends.

Have your sources of inspiration changed throughout the years?

I suppose they have and haven’t, I’m still inspired primarily by music I like though some of that music has changed over time, and by places I’ve been and spent time in, which again has changed and broadened as I’ve gotten older. Playing live and the experience of being on a stage in front of people who care about your music has a huge impact on how you write your next songs I think, imagining playing them in that environment can’t help but shape your songs I think.

Also, we’ve traveled a lot, seen lots of new places. We’ve also all become uncles since the last record and our bassist Johnny has become a dad so there’s a lot of new lives around us which has been very inspiring, we actually named the new album in honor of them all.

Is inspiration some kind of random blessing, or is it possible to set it in motion?

I’ve tried in the past to “get inspired” by locking myself away or putting myself in an isolated environment or trying to read a bunch or listen to a lot of music, and although sometimes something clicks it’s generally you just have to keep writing and creating and outputting and – before you realize it – you’ll suddenly be in a good place and making good stuff. You just hope you stay there for as long as possible.

Your music seems mostly focused on forging new sounds – rather than, say, on lyrics or emotions. Do you ever feel limited by this approach?

It can be hard, and I sometimes feel we’re always chasing after this perfect record which is just one step ahead of us all the time. I just want to always feel like I’m not scared to do something that’s new or out of my comfort zone. But I guess it has the potential to make you a bit dismissive of ideas that aren’t totally fresh feeling even if they are good, in that respect it has the potential to be limiting, but I want to try and let myself just be open to everything moving forward, I think we’ve been brave and made sure we didn’t get stuck in a genre.

Is there a rational conceptualization behind the band’s sound (i.e. are you purposefully trying to achieve something musically?) or are you just following your musical instincts?

We just follow our instincts really, in the past we might have tried to come up with a sound we want to go for or the type of record we want to make but what we end up doing is never what we talked about.

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BEING A BAND

Are you guys DIY or professionally trained musicians?

DIY. None of us have had any lessons really, I was at college studying recording for a year when I was 20, and Niall did the same, but musically everything has come from trial and error and forcing ourselves to play better so the songs can be better.

What’s the songwriting/arranging process in the band? To what extent is each band member’s role defined?

The initial ideas come from me and now Niall as well, we bring those into the rehearsal room and start to try and arrange and piece together the parts and figure out what has to happen to make it a song we love.

Are bands ever true democracies? What about yours?

I don’t know, we try and make it that way, in the past we’ve probably been too democratic and so decisions always took forever and we would talk and discuss everything for days, it was like no one wanted to offend anyone else but then it actually ended up making things quite tense because we all would have an opinion but nothing was getting decided. I think now though we all trust each other’s strengths a bit more and we’re able to follow each other’s lead a bit more without feeling discounted.

What do you guys do when you are stuck in one of those “negative” sessions, or one of those periods all bands seem to experience at some point, when nothing productive seems to happen?

We’ve been there many times, and the best way to get out of it is to keep working until you’re there. It can be scary, because you can end up being stuck in this horrible rut where nothing’s coming together and you wonder if maybe you’ve reached the end of any sort of good output. You’ve no idea how long it will last, but as our guitarist Niall always says you have to write your way out of it.

MUSICAL TOYS AND RECORDING

Are there any instruments, pieces of equipment or musical toys that lately made you rediscover the playful side of creating?

I’m still in love with effects pedals, we’re always getting new ones and spend all day making noises in our rehearsal room. My favorite new one is a [dual delay with reverb and modulation] Disaster Transporter Sr by Earthquaker Devices, it’s amazing.

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Has a piece of gear alone ever inspired a song? If so which?

Yeah lots, ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ happened because I discovered using an Ebow and a pitch shifter pedal together thanks to my good friend Dermot. ‘Animal Ghosts’ off the new record was thanks to a technique I made up shifting the sound in 5ths and arpeggiating the strings. There’s a song we still are yet to release which which was entirely made around a pedal called Arpanoid by Earthquaker Devices which I used with an Ebow. A good pedal almost always inspires a new idea straight away.

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How much of your recording is done at home versus in the studio?

Before the last record it was almost all recorded in the studio, but over the past few years we’ve become way better at recording and collected some gear so we were able to make a lot of music in our rehearsal room, some of which made it onto the record.

If you use a studio, what do you record there and what do you record by yourself and why?

We record at Start Together Studios with Rocky O’Reilly, we go there because we work so well with Rocky and he is very very talented. The studio is also full of incredible sounding equipment so we can make things that sound really amazing there. We record the first drafts and demos of everything ourselves, but we are limited to what gear we have and how well we can produce.

What are the pieces of equipment that you find particularly inspiring when recording at home?

First an foremost my guitars which is how I start all my music. I use two Fender Telecasters, one ’73 Thinline and one US Deluxe. I have loads of effects I use, reverbs and delays are always not far from hand, as I mentioned before the Disaster Transporter is my favorite delay at the moment. Other than guitar and pedals I use Logic to make songs in and I use some gorgeous synths in there to create texture at times.

What synths?

Logics’s ES1, Retro Synths, a Juno, some old Moogs belonging to our producer Rockys and some old battered ones I can’t remember.

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Tell me about other pedals you love.

I create my drive using an Orange Thunderverb, I still haven’t found anything better than my gain channel on that.

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I love the Line6 Verbzilla, I get a really nice reverb sound from it, and I like that is very detailed in terms of changing and tweaking your sound.

Everything Earthquaker Devices does is always amazing, we’ve been really lucky to have gotten a lot of support from those guys.

Line 6 M9, I like this pedal because I can make patches of effects for specific songs so I don’t have to try and switch 3 pedals all on at once, it’s helpful at times and although I prefer using my own delays, verbs and distortions, it works great for all the other sound combinations I might need.

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Do you have a particular recording style that you aim for?

Personally I never try and polish things too much when I’m producing stuff myself but the main objective it always to make it impactful.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspects of the recording process? On the flipside, what aspects are the most rewarding?

The most challenging is the endless options, I have to try hard to not get stuck in the paralysis of that. Sometimes that can really slow things down or halt it completely… I like to limit my options and select my arsenal of sounds at the start and stick to it. The most rewarding is always the moment you manage to create the thing you had in your head and make it a real song that people can hear, that’s always very special.

(via Delicious Audio)

Noisey premieres new Mutoid Man song // “Reptilian Soul” 

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It’s hard sometimes to listen to music and not go out and commit some kind of act of vandalism. You hear some sick riffs, and you want to just throw a brick through the window of your dad’s Volvo. It’s a pretty natural reaction; when something kicks super hard and you can feel the rhythm and punch of a song, you want to become that song. Which is why Mutoid Man’s “Reptilian Soul” will unconsciously make you want to build some kind of small explosive while listening to it.

Mutoid Man is a spazzy yet technical supergroup featuring members of Converge, Cave In, and All Pigs Must Die. We’ve been down with the band since the beginning in doing one of their first ever interviews, so we’re stoked to show you this new track off the album. Their new track “Reptillian Soul,” off their forthcoming record Bleeder is a nearly three minute crusher that blurs the lines between hardcore and rock. Usually when we think of “progressive rock,” its 20 minute songs that are different perspectives of the half-elven experience during Lord of the Rings. But Mutoid Man take progressive to be something that really pushes the limits of their genre. From Stephen Brodsy’s falsettos and incredible range to Ben Koller’s insanely complex drum fills that he completes with a flick of the wrist. “Reptilian Soul” shows the band evolving from a showcase of the individual members raw abilities into a rock song that’s as complex as however closely you want to listen to it.

Stream the track below, and pre-order Bleeder before it drops June 30 right here. Check out their tour dates with The Dillinger Escape Plan as well:

June 16  Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel *
June 17  Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
June 18  Boston, MA @ Royale *
June 20  New York, NY @ Irving Plaza *
August 8/9 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade ^
August 15 - Richmond, VA @ Gwar-b-q

* w/ Dillinger Escape Plan
^ Wrecking Ball 2015

STREAM “REPTILIAN SOUL” HERE

Marriages’ Greg Burns Talks to Arctic Drones About “Salome” and More 

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Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Marriages is the product of Greg Burns and Emma Ruth Rundle from the post-rock band Red Sparowes. In 2012 they released their debut EP Kitsune gathering a lot of deserved attention, before recruiting Andrew Clinco on drums and hiding for three years to work on their debut full-length album. This spring they came back to us with “Salome”, an exceptional record that explores new territories of their creativity, and more experimentation with the vocals and rhythms. We got in touch with Greg Burns to chat about the new record, their life on the road and their plans for the future. 

First I’d like to congratulate you on your new album “Salome”. Going through it I see a lot of changes from the previous record. The tones seem less heavy and the vocals seem more dominant and confident. Can you tell us a bit about the composing journey for this record and how  the addition of Andrew Clinco before this record affected it? 

Thank you, I appreciate that.  The writing of Salome was very different from Kitsune.  Kitsune was very much a stream of consciousness; meant to be one cohesive piece of music that evolved over time.  It was important to us that the songs on Salome could each stand on their own as independent pieces, so we spent quite a bit of time crafting each song to be unique.  We also really worked to define our identity as a band while writing Salome, and I feel that the album represents a larger musical scope and landscape as a result.

Having Andrew Clinco join the band had a definite impact, not only for the drums on the record, but the overall songwriting and aesthetic.  Andrew is a strong musician and guitar player, so he had an equal voice in the crafting of the record.  Additionally, his style of drumming is unique and very musical – I think it helped steer the band in a more interesting direction rhythmically.

What was the recording experience for Salome like? Were there any special moments during it you can recall?

Pretty rough, honestly.  There were a number of challenges, both as a band dynamically and throughout the recording process itself.  For a while, I think we all felt like the record may never happen – we were done with the record about a year before we actually finished recording it.

Personally, the most satisfying moment was actually after the record was recorded, when we toured Europe with Wovenhand.  The tour started when the album was released on April 7th.  Having it come out, and to play the songs to people who knew the record was incredibly satisfying.  Also, it allowed us to really put the challenges of the record behind us and reconnect around the live experience, which has been really invigorating.

The story of Salome seems to be contributing to a lot more than the album’s title. Many of the tracks’ lyrics and the artwork seem to be affected by this character. What does Salome represent to you and how did it affect your creativity during the composing process? 

This is a question better answered by Emma, but I can tell you that the character Salome and her story, more specifically the violence and eroticism, resonated with Emma and some personal events in her life.  We worked together to create an aesthetic in the artwork that would match that of the lyrics and general theme, but this was not overt, rather a subtle influence in the music and artwork.

I heard that Fred Sablan contributed some of the guitar lines on the album. How was the experience of working with him, and are there any specific musicians you wish to collaborate with in the future?

Fred is a great friend of ours; we were really excited to have him play on the record.  It was impressive; he came in one day and within several hours had tracked guitar parts on several songs that we were all thrilled with.  We didn’t give him any direction at all, we just looped the tracks and he went for it.  I think it worked great, and I’d love to have him play on future records.

As far as other musicians, the list is huge. It’s important that collaborators are people we know personally.  Without thinking too hard; anyone in Master Musicians of Bukkake, the guys from Isis, the huge circle of Sargent House friends (Deafheaven, Tera Melos, Mylets, Russian Circles, etc., etc.).  Honestly, I could go on and on.  I’m sure we’ll get together a good group of guests for the next one!

Gregory Burns: “We really worked to define our identity as a band while writing Salome, and I feel that the album represents a larger musical scope and landscape as a result.” Photo by Nick Fancher
 

Emma and Greg have been playing together a long time ago in Red Sparowes before starting Marriages. How did the idea to start a new project grow? And did the fact that the two of you played together before affect your harmony and inspiration in the new project?   

Haha, yeah we put some years in.  Basically Marriages started for two main reasons: because Emma and I started to bond over musical ideas that didn’t fit in Red Sparowes, and we both wanted to tour more than Red Sparowes was able to do at the time.  It made sense that we find an outlet, and that very quickly became Marriages.

Obviously our history playing together impacted Marriages, but in some interesting ways.  It became important to us not to fall back on musical ideas that were too comfortable and similar to Red Sparowes.  We really wanted to challenge ourselves to do something different that could stand on its own.  This continues to be important to us; we don’t want our success to be tied to the fact that we were in Red Sparowes.  In fact, we intentionally excluded references to Red Sparowes from our marketing and PR as much as possible so that we could create our own identity.

Your first record “Kitsune “ seemed in some way more homogeneous with your musical background in Red Sparowes, while “Salome” stands more on its own and offers something away from your comfort zone. How did you manage to explore this new side of your music and was this drift intentional? 

Kitsune was written very quickly, and while we were still in Red Sparowes.  I think it was just a natural part of coming from that band that we were used to writing in a certain way.  Salome was an attempt to evolve from that and, like I said, create a separate and independent musical statement.  It’s not that we don’t love Red Sparowes, but we didn’t want to create another version of the same band, that just didn’t make sense.  I hope that we’ve been successful; obviously we have our personal styles which have informed both bands, but we really try to break out of that context as much as possible, both for the Marriages identity, and to challenge ourselves as musicians.

You have been touring all through Europe this month with Wovenhand, playing in many countries and headlining many sold-out shows and festivals from the UK to Croatia. How is the experience so far and is there a specific city that you wish to visit againin the future? 

Yes, it’s been an incredible experience.  I’m so thankful to Wovenhand and their crew for bringing us along – they’re all such sweet, talented people.

The shows have been great – the Wovenhand audience has been really receptive and supportive.  We played a handful of headline shows without Wovenhand which was great, and really allowed us to see that we have our own audience in Europe as well – which set a precedent for us coming back soon.

Some of my favorites … I mean the entire tour was really amazing.  I love Leipzig, Germany – the city in so energized, and UT Connewitz is one of my favorite all time places to play.  Traveling down the Danube river on our way to Romania was incredible … I’d love to see more of that country.

You have an exciting summer ahead of you especially with the ArcTangent Festival performance. What are your expectations for the festival and which bands are you looking forward to see there?

Yeah, I’m really looking forward to ArcTangent.  There’s a large Sargent House presence there, so it’ll be kind of a reunion, which I’m sure will be a blast.

With any festival, I tend to look forward to the bands that I’m not aware of, or haven’t heard – there are plenty in the line-up.  It’ll be a great opportunity to check out some new music for me.  That said, I’m sure I’ll try to catch the SH bands, as well as Deerhoof and Joan of Arc.

So what does the future hold for you guys? Any new projects or records we may see soon? 

We’re doing a full US tour starting on July 11th.  As you mentioned, we’re going to ArcTangent, and will be playing some additional dates in UK/Europe around then – those are being booked now.  I’m sure plenty of more touring to support Salome is coming in 2016. 

Besides that, we’re working on a Marriages art book; all three of us are visual artists so we’re going to release something that will be a supplement to Salome.

We’re also going to start doing some songwriting for our next record, just playing around with ideas here and there.  Possibly we’ll record a one off for a split with another band soon.  We’re thinking about renting a cabin and getting weird in an effort to kick start writing for the new record.

via Arctic Drones

Mylets: Live at Islington Assembly Hall 

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A skinny, geeky-looking blonde in a vest walks onto the stage. To the unsuspecting, he could be a roadie or a lost audience member looking for the bar, but it isn’t. This is Henry Kohen, the mastermind behind Mylets, Indiana’s one man loop rocker. Humbly he picks up his guitar, greets his audience, then quickly and efficiently fritters away at strings, pedals and a synthesizer. Bemused the audience look on as he lays down the founding blocks of “Trembling Hands” but within a few seconds he punches out riffs that forcefully remove most of our socks!

While his live performance comes across much as he does on his LP, Henry’s sung vocals seem stronger and his screams positively cut through me. The thing that really comes through however, is his energy, which is utterly dumbfounding. He plays everything live and in order to successfully play his complexly layered loops in the right timing, he has to be insanely fast and rhythmical. Even when no sound is coming forth, he seems to be working to an inner metronome and his hands and feet are like lightening. You can watch him perform on YouTube all you want, it won’t compare to watching Mylets live. He follows “Trembling Hands” with his album’s title track “Arizona” and while he speaks little to the audience, they are captivated.

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He is impressive to watch and he holds your attention solidly as he storms on through. Aside “Cartilage Colosseum”, all of tonight’s set is taken from Arizona and twice the set Henry stops only briefly to thank ASIWYFA for having him on tour and to make a dedication to a friend. Otherwise he’s a picture of whirring movement and solid concentration, blistering through his heavy rock stylings like a hurricane. After a what seems like much less, he finishes his 30 minute set, with “Retcon”, after which he simply and humbly says ‘Thank You’. To the sound of an appreciative audience’s applause, he exits the stage, making way for tonight’s headline act.

ASIWYFA won’t be far behind.

Set List: Trembling Hands / Arizona / Honeypot / Ampersand / Cartilage Colosseum / Retcon

Live Review From Marriages’ London Performance at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen 

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Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London | May 1, 2015
by Dan Salter

Sometimes, when you’ve waited so long for something you’re looking forward to so much, anticipation can ruin an experience; it can build up your expectations to a level that reality can not hope to meet. Fortunately seeing Marriages for the first time, something which I have waited over three years for, was one of those rare occasions when the reality not only met all my expectations but far exceeded them.

Before I get further in to quite why, a quick shout out to the night’s support band Violetic. Sadly, we only caught the second half of their set but what we heard was mighty impressive. Yes, they sound like an amalgam of most of the records I loved when I was 19, and were young enough to have not been born when most of them came out making me feel very old indeed, but they clearly had a lot of talent and if they can craft their own unique voice from the obvious set of influences they had on display they could be very good; ones to keep an eye on.

Now back to the main event. As stage time grew near a reverential hush settled over the assembled audience, broken as the band came on stage to raucous hollers and whoops. Without any further ado they launched in to ‘Ride In My Place’, the first track from their debut Kitsune and the first Marriages track I ever heard when said album landed in my inbox back in the spring of 2012. ‘Body Of Shade’ and ‘Ten Tiny Fingers’, the next two tracks from Kitsune, followed in quick succession, all three run together as one wonderful, desert-blown piece. As the dying strains of ‘Ten Tiny Fingers’ faded away there was a weird moment of silence as a palpably stunned crowd momentarily forgot to clap, and then the storm broke and a rapturous ovation rang out.

The main body of the set is of course dedicated to tracks from this year’s Salome album and it’s here the band really hit their stride and take things to a yet higher level. Live they are a tight unit, Andrew Clinco providing a powerful bedrock with the drums, Greg Burns switching effortlessly, often mid-bar, between keys and thumping bass and Emma Ruth Rundle bringing what can only be called the magic, not just with her extraordinary voice and guitar work but with PRESENCE.

In my 25 odd years of going to gigs I’ve seen a lot of bands and performers and there are definitely some that have that little bit extra that is almost indefinable. I think of it as a particular intensity, an internal singularity that generates a visual gravity, you just can’t tear your eyes away. People like David Bowie, Patti Smith, Andrew Eldritch, Mark Lanegan and Trent Reznor all have it and to that list you can most definitely add the name of Emma Ruth Rundle.

From then on it all becomes flashes and moments; when the heart-rending chorus of ‘Less Than’ drops, when the extended ambient section resolves in to the opening guitar line of ‘Skin’ and ‘Salome’, oh sweet lord, ‘Salome’. All punctuated with collective gasps and sighs from the rapt crowd.

And then they finish with ‘Part The Dark Again’ and destroy everything. Utterly. It’s hard to put in to words what this song means to me other than to say that since I first heard it three years ago it’s become the most played song in my collection. It is special, moving and cathartic and seeing it played live after all that waiting nearly broke me; there were tears. Floods of them. The most wonderful, beautiful tears.

Then it was over. Too soon but perfect just as it was. Thankfully I only have to wait until August to see them again. Bring on ArcTangent!

via Echoes and Dust

New album Heirs by And So I Watch You From Afar is out today! 

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Happy album release day! And So I Watch You From Afar’s newest album Heirs is out now worldwide.

You can purchase CD or Vinyl copies from our $ Store which ships worldwide, or from our £ Store, which ships anywhere in the EU.

Digital copies are available via Bandcamp or iTunes and all other digital outlets.

And be sure to catch them on their EU tour with support from Mylets – remaining list of dates below and all details HERE:

May 04 - Paris, (FR) @ La Fleche D'Or*
May 06 - Brussels, (BE) @ Vk*
May 07 - Rotterdam, (NL) @ Rotown*
May 08 - Eindhoven, (NL) @ Effenaar*
May 09 - Deventer, (NL) @ BURGERWEESHUIS*
May 10 - Nantes, (FR) @ Le Ferrailleur*
May 11 - Clermont-Ferrand, (FR) @ La Cooperative De Mai*
May 12 - Zurich, (CH) @ Dynamo*
May 13 - Bern, (CH) @ Dachstock, Reitschule*
May 14 - Geneva, (CH) @ Usine*
May 15 - Milan, (IT) @ Leoncavallo*
May 16 - Rome, (IT) @ Traffic Live*
May 17 - Modena, (IT) @ La Tenda*
May 19 - Ljubljana, (SI) @ Kino Siska*
May 20 - Zagreb, (HR) @ Zedno Uho Festival*
May 21 - Budapest, (HU) @ Dürer Kert*
May 22 - Vienna, (AT) @ Arena*
May 23 - Munich, (DE) @ Ampere*
May 25 - Prague, (CZ) @ NoD Teatro*
May 26 - Wiesbaden, (DE) @ Schlachthof*
May 27 - Leipzig, (DE) @ Tåubchental*
May 28 - Berlin, (DE) @ Bi Nuu*
May 29 - Hamburg, (DE) @ Logo*
May 30 - Essen, (DE) @ Zeche Carl*
May 31 - Cologne, (DE) @ Underground*
Jun 01 - Amsterdam, (NL) @ Paradiso*
Jun 19 - Dublin, (IE) @ Olympia
Jun 20 - Belfast, (IE) @ Mandela Hall
Jul 9-11 - Cheltenham, (UK) @ 2000 Trees Festival
Jul 24 - Beelen, (DE) @ Krach Am Bach
Jul 25 - Sheffield, (UK) @ Tramlines Festival
Jul 26 - Chester, (UK) @ The Live Rooms
Aug 29 - Reading, (UK) @ Reading Festival
Aug 30 - Leeds, (UK) @ Leeds Festival

*with Mylets

Earth and Chelsea Wolfe to headline Levitation Festival next weekend 

Chelsea Wolfe has just been added to the lineup for Levitation Festival. She will be headlining the Elevation Amphitheater on May 10th. Earth will be headlining the same stage on May 9th. 

They will be playing alongside some amazing bands, including The Jesus & Mary Chain, HEALTH, The Flaming Lips, This Will Destroy You, A Place To Bury Strangers, and many more.

For full lineup and tickets, click HERE. Schedules for May 9th and May 10th can be found below.

May 9th

May 10th

Pre-orders for Chelsea Wolfe’s Abyss now live 

Pre-orders for Abyss, the upcoming album by Chelsea Wolfe, are now available.

Vinyl and CD bundles are also available on our US $ Store (which ships worldwide) and our EU £ Store, which include the album in your choice of physical format, one of four shirts, and a poster.

A deluxe bundle is also available here, which includes all of the above, plus a fabric tote bag, two patches, 4 guitar picks, a lapel pin, and a signed poster.

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