Jul 072023

My stack of links to new songs and videos is so high it would fall over and crash if they were dominoes. Here are just two, by good friends, that I’ve enjoyed which came out during the week that’s about to end. Barring unforeseen disasters, I’ll pick many more to share tomorrow and the next day.


Austin Lunn encouraged Panopticon fans to send messages to the county commissioners with permitting authority over Wyoming’s Fire in the Mountains festival by promising to release a new song if 100 or more such messages were sent. That goal was more than met, and so true to his word, Austin released “Cedar Skeletons“, which will appear on Panopticon‘s new album The Rime of Memory. As Austin has explained, the song includes some very talented guest performers:

“It features guest vocals by my friend Victor Sanchez and a choir comprised of many of my collaborators (Andrea from Exulansis, William from Dalla Nebia, and Andy, whom yall know as the bass player from our live band.) Patrick Urban (Dämmerfarben) wrote and performed Cello, Charlie Anderson returned to collaborate on this album on fiddle, and we had a great time recording and arranging together.”

Continue reading »

Jan 302022


Before we get to the music I have a few announcements:

First, Sundays at NCS are usually reserved for the SHADES OF BLACK column. I’ve made the music selections for it today, but it’s only partially written. Hopefully I’ll finish and post it before I have to depart the site this morning. Whether I do or don’t, my traditional efforts to blacken the sabbath influenced my picks for today’s installment of this list (to see the preceding picks, go here).

Second, my song choices for today’s segment are unusual because I’m opening and closing with two very long songs. Long songs can be fantastic, but I think it’s rare for them to strike people as “infectious”. I think both of these are, in the sense that they are both so memorable.

Third, I’ve been persuaded to break my self-imposed rule that this list must end on the last day of January. I’m going to keep it going for a few more days into February. More on that in what was supposed to be the last installment of the list tomorrow. Now let’s get to today’s selections…. Continue reading »

Jan 042022

(As our 2021 Listmania series winds its way to the end we are again delighted to present one of our most anticipated features in the series every year — a year-end list from our friend Austin Lunn of Panopticon, whose latest album …And Again Into the Light has rightly found its way onto many a 2021 YE list itself.)

Hello again,

I want to take this opportunity to preemptively apologize for the intense length of my list here… I swear I actually cut stuff out… but there was just so much amazing music this year, I decided to sacrifice brevity for thoroughness and make a list that is, from my view, obscenely long.

This list is in no particular order… it’s just a long list of records I thoroughly enjoyed this year… I am sure after this is posted I will be kicking myself because someone in the comments will express their disappointment in me by saying “ what, no _________?” And I’ll inevitably say to myself ,” dammit I can’t believe I forgot that!”

2021 was a gnarly year and presented a lot of huge changes for me and my family, as well as many changes for people we know. Many tragic events, joyous triumphs, crushing losses, and heartbreaks. In the end, all I can do is express gratitude to the folks who were there for me, and to the folks I was able to be there for…. I am appreciative of the sense of community I have had the privilege to enjoy this year. I hope to return this favor as best as I can.

So thanks for kindness, friendship, and support. And thanks for MUSIC.

Here’s my list: Continue reading »

Apr 152021


Next month the world will get a new Panopticon album. Like all Panopticon albums, but maybe more so than any other, it’s a very personal expression, a reflection of a pivotal time in its creator’s life and a form of therapy as well. Its principal theme or message, as Austin Lunn told us in the interview that accompanied our announcement of the album in mid-January, “is atoning for wrongdoings and failures, growing and changing, casting off darkness and returning to hope again… returning to and improving on a better version of myself”.

In that same interview, Austin described the message in another way, with reference to the photographs of his partner and aesthetic collaborator Bekah that accompany the record: “All of the photography Bek took for the album are of places within a couple hours’ drive from our house, either in Minnesota or Wisconsin. The places aren’t as meaningful as the plants that grow there are… a metaphor for regrowth, healing, and survival. The photography is mostly taken in bogs… so the plants grow top towards the sun from the murky waters and moss below. That’s essentially the concept of the album”. Continue reading »

Jan 192021


In a new year that has already brought an over-sized share of awfulness in very short order, we bring you good tidings: By the coming spring, Panopticon will release a new album, through its steadfast partner Bindrune Recordings.

The name of the album is …and again into the light. It consists of eight songs encompassing 70 minutes of music. And today, in addition to the good news, we’re presenting a video for one of those eight songs. Entitled “Know Hope“, it’s the extensive track that brings this stunning album to a close.

We will have much more to say about the album in the coming days, but for now we’ll provide a brief preview, as well as an interview with Panopticon’s Austin Lunn which sheds further light on what inspired the album, the collaborators who were involved in making the music, and other details that ought to pique your interest (as if you weren’t plenty interested already). Continue reading »

Apr 042020



I bit off more than I can chew. As you may recall, in Part 1 of this post yesterday I included 12 new songs and videos arranged alphabetically by band name, which took us from A through F. At that point I had 11 more songs and videos in mind for Part 2, with band names from F through W. Of course, Friday has become a “release day”, not only for new albums but also for new “singles”, so by day’s end that original group of 11 swelled in size based on new things I spotted.

Not having started work on Part 2 yesterday, and having spent more than 3 hours last night on a Zoom happy hour with all my day-job co-workers, I find myself on a woozy Saturday morning daunted by the prospect of writing-up the now-expanded Part 2 list of 16. As you can see, I decided to get these first 6 (one of which is an even more last-minute addition) ready to go before the day wears on too much longer. We’re still going in alphabetical order, and this Part 2 takes us up to P.

At this point I don’t know when or if I’ll finish the list with the 10 songs still left, because I need to make time for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK. Stay tuned… but more importantly, be well and stay safe…. Continue reading »

Jan 282020



On January 31st Bindrune Recordings will release two album-length splits, one by Panopticon and Nechochwen, and the other by Panopticon and Aerial Ruin. Today, Bindrune has made both albums available for streaming, and in addition to presenting streams of both albums we’re also sharing interviews we did with all three bands after we had a chance to spend some time with the music.

In this post we talked with Austin Lunn of Panopticon and Nechochwen about the music on their split. On the Panopticon side, Austin Lunn recorded one very long song (“Rune’s Heart”), and Nechochwen contributed four brand new tracks. I’ve shared some thoughts about the songs by each band in the course of the interview, but in a nutshell this is a powerful album that brilliantly displays the formidable talents of each band, and one that should not be missed.

The split features artwork by Austin Lunn and it’s available for pre-order on vinyl HERE, and digitally HERE.

And now, let’s turn to the interview: Continue reading »

Jan 282020



On January 31st Bindrune Recordings will release two album-length splits, one by Panopticon and Aerial Ruin, and the other by Panopticon and Nechochwen. Today, Bindrune has made both albums available for streaming, and in addition to presenting streams of both albums we’re also sharing interviews we did with all three bands after we had a chance to spend some time with the music.

In this post we talked with Austin Lunn of Panopticon and Erik Moggridge of Aerial Ruin about the music on their split, which is entirely acoustic music that presents a very introspective and personal journey for both musicians. On the Panopticon side, Austin Lunn recorded two original songs and also covered country songs by Blaze Foley and Chris Knight. On the Aerial Ruin side, Erik Moggridge unveils five new original songs.

The album, in a word, is spellbinding. It features artwork by Austin Lunn and is available for pre-order on vinyl HERE, and digitally HERE.

And now, let’s turn to the interview: Continue reading »

Jan 072020


(The year-end lists of Austin Lunn (Panopticon) have been among the most-anticipated features of our annual LISTMANIA series, and after a hiatus last year Austin has again agreed to share with us and you his list of favorite albums from the year just ended — which range across various musical genres, including country music.)


Here is a list of albums I enjoyed last year. There were so many, so it’s hard to remember everything… The past year was really busy for me, and it looks like 2020 is gonna be even busier. I’m glad I had tons of music to listen to… so cheers folks. Continue reading »

Feb 122019


As you can see, I decided to really load up today’s installment of the list, with four songs instead of two or three, and I also decided to lean into black metal for this one. I also thought these songs fit together in a way that would make for a good playlist, in addition to each of them being deserving presences on this list. As a bonus, two of these songs were performed at the Fire In the Mountains festival last summer outside Jackson, Wyoming, and I’ve included quality video of both of those, thanks to (((unartig))), as well as the album tracks.

To check out the previous installments of this still-expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


Without advance fanfare, or any preceding reviews, last April Panopticon released the extraordinary double-album The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (I and II), one half devoted to atmospheric metal and the other half focused on Americana (though the division isn’t a rigid one, with some bleed-over going both ways). Austin Lunn shared the album with me in advance of its release, and I wrote a review, holding onto it (at his request) until the release date — and then I never posted it.

I felt that I owed the music something better than the words I’d cobbled together, which struck me as more emotional and stream-of-conscious in their ramblings than they should have been. And then, with the music out in the world, I just never got back to the drawing board in the hope of crafting a better homage. Continue reading »