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Touche Amore – “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”
In February of 2011, Touche Amore piled into their beat up tour van in an Los Angeles suburb and set off on a twenty six hour journey to Eudora, Kansas. With a population of just over four thousand people, Eudora may be a peculiar place for a punk band to go, but nestled in its rural isolation is acclaimed engineer Ed Rose and his Black Lodge Studios (formerly Redhouse Recording Studio). There under Rose’s attentive ears, Touche Amore poured their patchwork soul into their latest work, “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”.
In “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”, Touche Amore’s creative formula is driven by emotional affect, not contemporary studio effects. In the purest form possible, raw shouted vocals and clean manic guitars fight for volume over roomy bass and percussion. Creating a sound that is shockingly simple as it is emotionally engaging. The serene and fragile opening notes of “Tilde” serve as the album’s introductory serenade before Touche Amore pound and jangle into the hook-laden song. And seconds later, when vocalist/lyricist Jeremy Bolm screams “…I’m parting the sea between brightness and me…”, a tone of desperation sets in that resonates throughout the duration of the album. His straight forward cries convincingly tell his own personal story. To some, this lyrical writing could read as a diary based purely in self deprecation, but his words cut and pull from a much deeper place in the heart. Serving as an open window into his constant soul searching amid life’s constant trials and tribulations. Songs like “Home Away From Here” and “Sesame” are great examples of this, infectious in their sound and moving lyrical spirit. While “Method Act” and the emotional “Condolences” show the band experimenting with epic leanings while maintaining their beloved trademark character. Without a doubt, Touche Amore’s “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me” is a stunning full length achievement on any scale. Proving that there is true beauty within the concept of artistic simplicity.
Deafheaven – “Roads to Judah”
Recorded by Jack Shirley (guitarist of Comadre), “Roads to Judah”, is a hypnotic thirty eight minute plunge into hazy musical darkness. A dizzying hybrid of Shoe-gaze shimmer, Hardcore vulnerability, and Black Metal intensity.
From the opening drone of the album it’s as if we are are peering through a dream into the private world that is Deafheaven’s “Roads to Judah”. Layers and layers of instrumentation build, tangle and swirl before the real onslaught begins. A ferocious drum fill then thrusts us from the serene into a free fall, as if the ground below suddenly gave way. From there we plummet through one awe inducing sonic fog into the next, blurring the traditional lines of song. Hyper blasts of speed rage and pulse while lush guitars bellow, roar and whine with unorthodox melody. And just as we feel we’ve departed from reality from the aural overload, tortured vocals cry out from afar. Serving as a stark reminder that there is something very human about “Roads to Judah” and Deafheaven themselves.
Though the title could suggest something otherworldly, the “Judah” referenced is in fact the “N Judah” train, the busiest line of the San Francisco transit system. A relatable landmark to compliment the haunting ambiguity that surrounds Deafheaven and the music that they collectively create. On it, much of the lyrical writing and personal reflection for this album took place.
With that said, “Roads to Judah” isn’t Heavy Metal role play, but a beautifully blackened artistic exploration of the issues and self loathing that can cloud every day life. A stunning a achievement emotionally and musically that will surely shape aggressive music for years to come.
These and more artists like Blacklisted, Converge, Heiress, Oathbreaker, Shipwreck a.d., Victims avaialble soon in all good music stores. More on the label at www.deathwishinc.com