Feb 062024

(Daniel Barkasi returns today with the second of his monthly NCS columns devoted to spreading the word about musical obscurities. What you’ll find below are reviews and streams of 8 records released from around the globe in January.)

To begin, thank you to all who read the first edition of this monthly column. I’m glad folks seemed to enjoy the musical expeditions of my often wacky brain. May you discover something to your liking that’ll (hopefully) give you plenty of enjoyment and respite from the madness of the everyday hustle.

This edition covers records that were released in January, which is how we’ll be covering things month-to-month. This time, we have a cornucopia of flavors to indulge; from atmospheric, epic, and relaxing, to the downright filthy. True that the first month of the calendar is typically a relatively slow month in terms of memorable releases, but this year has started off quite favorably. Plenty of under the surface delights to tear into, so let us begin faster than Jerry Seinfeld’s supposed claim of being quite fleet of foot. We choose to run! Continue reading »

Oct 282023

Autopsy – photo by Nancy Reifert

Prepare for… a lot of sentences that begin “Prepare for….”

It’s a little way for me to say very little about what you’ll hear but without me feeling like I’ve done nothing to induce listening or to thank the bands.

The shorthand is necessary because the past week produced so damn much music I’d like to recommend, and because I got lots of suggestions from other people, including my compadres Andy Synn and DGR. Their picks and mine, which produced a mix of bigger bands and more obscure bands, are arranged here in alphabetical order by band name.

Prepare for… lots of twists and turns…. Continue reading »

Mar 102018


As I woke up this morning and it hit me that the final edition of Oration Festival was over, I experienced a wave of sadness, coupled with regrets over not having made the trek for the first two years of the event. Oration Fest MMXVIII was, by my lights, an extraordinary experience, one formed by the combination of its setting in Reykjavik (a magical place), the wonderful friends, both old and new, with whom I was able to share the experience, and of course the incredible music.

I’ll have some more perhaps excessively emotional things to say about all that at the end of this post, but the first order of business is to provide photos, videos, and accompanying personal reactions concerning the performances last night by these bands, who appeared in this order: Almyrkvi (Iceland), Inferno (Czech Republic), Misþyrming (Iceland), Svartidauði (Iceland), Vemod (Norway), and Rebirth of Nefast (Ireland/Iceland).

Once again, the high-quality photos you’ll find below were made by my Seattle friend Tanner Ellison; I made the rest of them, and the (sadly mediocre) videos, with my phone. Continue reading »

Mar 282016

HammerHeart Ostarablot flyer


(Our guest from the Midwest, Ben Smasher, was fortunate enough to attend the Ostarablot festival organized by HammerHeart Brewing Co. (the brewery and tap house located in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, that’s co-owned by Austin Lunn of Panopticon) and hosted on March 18-19, 2016, at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Here’s Ben’s review of the festival, along with some photos and videos the editor has scrounged from the internet.)


Hammerheart Brewing Company and the amazing people that comprise it consistently put themselves second to their intentions.  Austin once said to me, “I want to make beer that brings people together.”  So, as it would turn out, if you bring the world’s best beer and music under one roof, the best people in North America will join in a two-day celebration of the vernal equinox.

Though 2014’s Winterblot was a pretty remarkable event for bringing UK’s Wodensthrone to the US shores alongside some of America’s finest bands, Ostarablot brought artists from even further reaches to Minnesota.  Vemod traversed all the way from Norway and Germany’s Waldgeflüster came a long way as well. Continue reading »