Feb 132018


I have no trouble expressing my enthusiasm for individual songs in words that usually spill out in a rush. Reviewing albums, on the other hand, isn’t so easy for me. Reviewing albums like this one by Starkweather and Concealment (set for a March 9 release by Translation Loss and available for purchase here) is an especially difficult challenge.

I’m not a musician, and I’m certainly under no delusions that I’m some kind of music critic. I like to think I have a discerning ear, but about all I know how to do is describe the sensations of what I hear, the way the sounds make me feel, and perhaps provide a bit of guidance to readers. And in the case of this massive, labyrinthine split, that somehow seems grossly inadequate.

The fact that this is a split release poses a further challenge:  I usually refrain from comparing the music of one band to that of another, even as a short-hand reference point. With any split release, however, it’s very tempting to compare and contrast the two sides. After all, they’re being served up in a single package, and sometimes (but not always) the music of the participating bands has a stylistic, conceptual, or aesthetic connection, i.e., they’re intended to function as integral parts of a unified whole, to provide a single experience rather than separate ones. Here, I haven’t resisted the temptation to compare, as you’ll discover at the end of this very long review.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you thinking, Will you just shut up and get on with it? So I shall. Continue reading »

Jan 122018


Editor’s Note:  starkweather vocalist Rennie Resmini is not only a very talented music-maker, but also a man with tastes that match up unusually well with may own inclinations… and he has a way with words. I’ve been following him on Facebook (here) for a while and I see what he recommends, and he also sends me recommendations from time to time. As you know if you read my round-ups of new music regularly, he has been a source of great discoveries.

For all those reasons, I asked him if he would be willing to provide a year-end list for publication here. For those who follow him on FB, you know that he posted extensive separate lists of albums, EPs, demos, and splits. For us, he whittled those down considerably to the 15 titles you will see below, using as one factor what he listened to the most. As he told me, “Here it is, quick and dirty so I don’t overthink… though by tomorrow I’ll have changed my mind”.

If you’re not familiar with starkweather’s music, go here — and get ready for something new from them in a few months’ time… Continue reading »