Oct 302018


(Despite what the title of this post says, Andy Synn hasn’t managed to review every fine 2018 album and EP we’ve heretofore failed to write about, but he does catch up with more than two dozen of them.)

While lots of blogs/zines are already (or soon will be) switching their focus away from covering new releases and towards consolidating their annual “Best Of…” lists, here on NCS island we’re still doing our very best to bring as many new (and some not so new) albums/artists to your attention as possible.

Of course the truism that “there’s simply too much music out there” remains as painfully accurate as ever, and it pains me to admit that I/we simply can’t cover all the releases we want to, in the depth we want to, no matter how hard we try.

So consider this article a voluntary mea culpa acknowledging our limitations and a (probably futile) attempt to make amends a little bit to all the bands and artists who we may have missed or ignored over the last several months, as well as to shine a light on a couple of upcoming releases you’ll probably want to keep your eyes/ears open for. Continue reading »

Sep 112018


So much obvious contemplation and care has gone into the debut album, The Heavens Are Not On Fire, by the genre-bending Houston band Wills Dissolve that it became a many-layered artistic achievement, from the conceptual framework to the album art to the music, which is itself multiply textured, technically impressive, and constantly changing but coherent.

Perhaps it’s best to begin with the album’s concept, which is itself fascinating. It’s based on the Leonid meteor shower of November 1833, the first great meteor storm of modern times, in which hundreds of thousands of meteors blasted through the atmosphere per hour. In rural West Texas (as in other locales), it was mistaken as a sign from God, followed by destruction. From that event, Wills Dissolve have crafted a musical meditation on religion, violence, and cosmic chaos  — or as one band member has remarked, “the grave consequences of misapplied dogmatic zeal.”

The concept is reflected in the album title, but also in the song titles themselves, which together form a sentence: “The heavens are not on fire, so do not mistake these ashes for signs from on high on this cold November night, 11-13-1833“. Continue reading »