The Friday Fire Track: Stonefield – “Delusion”


Australia’s Flightless is a record label that’s on a roll. They are home to one of the most talked about bands in the world right now, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Plus their roster of artists continues to drive psychedelic music to new heights. Artist that include The Murlocs, ORB, Pipe Eye, The Babe Rainbow, and now Stonefield.

Stonefield consists of four sisters: Amy, Hannah, Sarah, and Holly Findlay. What’s their purpose? To play heavy, burning psychedelic music. “Delusion” is a majestic supernova that burns with mysticism. They’re a band that fills the Dream Machined shaped whole in my heart- and does a better job of it.

The news about Stonefield is that a full-length LP is expected early next year. Anything beyond that is a mystery. “Delusion” only gets me excited to hear more. Expect to know more when we know more.

Stonefield Website
Stonefield Facebook
Flightless Records

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Polygonwanaland [Album Review]

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Polygondwanaland
No Label [2017]







Fire Note Says: This King Gizzard is free for everyone!

Album Review: I have no problem calling King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard the most ambitious band of 2017. The band seems to be on track to keep their promise, a year with 5 releases. So far, we’ve received Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe, Sketches of Brunswick East, and now, believe it or not, the strongest release so far, Polygondwanaland. What makes this release unique aside from being the 4th launched this year? You own it, i own it, everybody owns it. The album was released for free in to the creative commons for anybody to do as they wish. Download it for free, start your own record label and make a vinyl pressing, heck, make a cassette tape if that’s your thing.

Polygondwanaland, for me, is the tightest Gizzard release this year. Yes, Murder of the Universe was a RUSH inspired fever dream that was broken down into 3 chapters with excellent cohesion. But, Polygondwanaland has the most exhilaration out of any of their releases this year. “Crumbling Castles” is an absolutely one of my favorite tracks this year. Stu and co. form a sort of hypnotic urgency that permeates the song at every turn. It feels both Nonagon Infinity and Quarters all in one song. The best qualities of Polygondwanaland are it tendencies to stray farther from their garage/psych sound. Tracks end begin and seep into each other depending on the thread King Gizzard wants to continue. The title track tip toes through whispered lyrics into a flute based outro. That then bleeds into the narrated, cool, synthy, renaissance groove of “The Castles In The Air.” To finish the 3-song movement, heightened, jagged guitars rip to and from between space bound synths.

For Polygondwanaland there really are a lot of flourishes here that make the music feel just as experimental as the release method. “The Fourth Colour” trills its’ way into your ears along with pitch shifting kaleidoscopic voices that bounce from ear to ear.

Polygondwanaland is the strongest Gizzard release this year. Its’ construction shows a focus towards overlapping prog grooves, thematic illustrations, and acute brand of storytelling. While it lacks a form of tightness presented by albums such as I’m In Your Mind Fuzz and the prog, psych doom and gloom classic Nonagon Infinity. Polygondwanaland has to be one of the best free albums you can download all year. Now I can only imagine what Stu and the boys have in mind for this year’s final LP. Whatever it is, it goes without saying this year has been huge for Gizzard fans.

Key Tracks: “Crumbling Castle” / “Inner Cell” / “The Fourth Colour”

Artists With Similar Fire: Oh Sees / The Babe Rainbow / Ariel Pink

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Website
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Facebook

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Japanese Breakfast: Soft Sounds From Another Planet [Album Review]

Japanese Breakfast
Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Dead Oceans [2017]



fire-note-headphone-approved






Who: Japanese Breakfast is the solo project of Michelle Zauner of Little Big League. She’s released two albums under the Japanese Breakfast moniker entitled Psychopomp in 2016 and her latest Soft Sounds From Another Earth.

Sound: I have to say that Michelle Zauner has one hell of a solo project. It’s music that doesn’t even sound like a solo project. Zauner takes wide open lush sounds of shoegaze to mix with dance like synths and interesting indie rock.

TFN Final Take: I really hate that I let this one linger as long as I have, it’s really an album to hear. While it can be somewhat melancholy, Soft Sounds From Another Planet comforts and caresses like a nice warm blanket. “Boyish” is a smooth crescendo of beautiful choruses and a lightly feathered down slope. Soft Sounds From Another Planet shows Zauner creating weightless music that’s light effort with maximum impact. “Road Head” showcases this in spades with a restless night sky bass line, a littler dipper dabbed guitar lead, and a comet synth that flutters up and down. This drives Zauner’s point home that this album is inspired by the cosmos and our lives on Earth in relation to it. I really only mention two songs because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. It’s been one hell of a year from music with an acclaimed album that seems to come once a week and Zauner has come out of nowhere deserving equal praise. Japanese Breakfast’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet is a beautiful and tight introspective on how Zauner views life, love, and the strange. It’s an album that will be seen on my end of year list.



Japanese Breakfast Website
Japanese Breakfast Facebook
Dead Oceans

– Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Queens Of The Stone Age: Villains [Album Review]

Queens Of The Stone Age
Villains
Matador Records [2017]







Fire Note Says: In a world of posers, Homme and Co. return to maintain the fact that rock can still be cool.

Album Review: Queens of the Stone Age have been making records since 1998. In fact, frontman Josh Homme has been influencing music ever since he was churning out fuzzy, scuzzy riffs out of a Ampeg 8×10 bass cab for Kyuss. Being in the game for so long, Homme and Queens of the Stone Age could be considered elder statesmen of the genre of rock n roll. Their previous work, 2013’s Like Clockwork… was a thoughtful marriage of groove, beauty, and terror mixed with ideals of futility, madness of idolatry, and vicarious delusions. Queens of the Stone Age’s seventh studio album, Villains isn’t exactly a philosophy record but an imagery record that shows us guitar rock isn’t dead.

I’m sure most QOTSA fans-like me- has a bit of a uneasy shudder when Mark Ronson was producing. With that too came more questions. What dose a guitar part on Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” mean for Queens? Are Queens going more pop? “The Way You Used To Do” is fine but, rubs me the wrong way at times, what’s the rest of the record going to sound like? Well friends, I can assure you that all is well and the out reach of Queens into projects such as Gaga, Iggy Pop, and The Dead Weather have shaped the record for the better. Villains has a handful of tracks that get better with every listen. Opener “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” has Homme getting biographic to a Led Zep boogie that’s sure to get your foot to the floorboard. Domesticated Animals scratches with desperation of druggie imagery. Lyrics such as “Tell us where you keep the gold (For what?), We wanna help you rule the world (I think not), We won’t tell a single soul (So they all say), So tell us, where’s the goddamn gold?” recreates the unrelenting, feral itch of an addictive drug habit. “Fortress” shows QOTSA’s penchant for love showcased in songs such as “Auto Pilot” and “Make It Wit Chu.” Homme calls out “If ever your fortress caves / You’re always in mine.” which really communicates the relationship as a loving safe haven.


Queens of the Stone Age’s Villains is a little less stoner and a bit more groove. The tracks all have a length to them that actually ends up working out for the better. It’s hard for me to tell what Ronson added to the mix however, pop really isn’t my forte. But, what I do know is a good Queens of the Stone Age record when I hear it and Villains just happens to be that.

Key Tracks: “Domesticated Animals” / “Head Like A Haunted House” / “The Evil Has Landed”

Artists With Similar Fire: Them Crooked Vultures / Arctic Monkeys / The Dead Weather

Queens Of The Stone Age Website
Queens Of The Stone Age Facebook
Matador Records

– Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Sketches Of Brunswick East [Album Review]

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Sketches Of Brunswick East
ATO/Flightless Records [2017]

ratings3_5







Who: Ever since our first review of 2014’s I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, The Fire Note has been big fans. Psychedelic Aussies King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is an expansive band that doesn’t shy away from musical challenge and experimentation.

Sound: King Gizzard has so many forms of expression from the spaghetti western album Eyes Like The Sky (2013) to Nonagon Infinity (2016) which plays like a tribute to Rush, Hawkwind, and Deep Purple. They’ve even recorded an album in microtonal tuning, 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana. That seems to barley scrape that surface.

TFN Final Take: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are indeed mad men that are slowly taking over the world. A promise was issued at the beginning of the year that said the band would record and release 5 albums by the end of 2017. Having released Flying Microtonal Banana in February and then Murder of the Universe in June, we now have the third album. Sketches of Brunswick East which is a jazz album in collaboration with Alexander Brettin, founder of the band Mild High Club. To pinpoint its closest relation, Sketches of Brunswick East plays loose like the flow of 2015’s Quarters with the airy whimsy of Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015) with a touch of muzak and Vince Guaraldi trio. Now that muzak relation isn’t a jab, but I feel it really helps describe what you might be getting into. “Sketches Of Brunswick East II” highlight the docile meander of Stu’s Flute along with swimmy keys and xylophones. Some of my favorite tracks include “Rolling Stoned,” “The Spider And Me,” and “You Can Be Your Silhouette’ and that’s because of the ease of listen. This is a chill album that paces oddly, an album that might turn off newly found Gizz fans. But, for those who have been on the ride for a while now, this is Gizz with Alexander Brettin experimenting and that’s not a bad thing.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Facebook
ATO Records
Flightless Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Mastodon: Emperor Of Sand [Album Review]

Mastodon
Emperor Of Sand
Reprise Records [2017]

ratings3_5







Who: Atlanta, GA’s Mastodon has been a prominent member of the metal community ever since they released their 2002 debut album Remission. Mastodon adhere to many influences but, their albums are usually influenced by personal events and take on a somewhat conceptual nature.

Sound: Mastodon have always kept it heavy with influences ranging from King Crimson to Baroness, Pink Floyd to Gojira, Rush to Kylesa. It’s their progressive tendencies that continue to make them an interesting band.

TFN Final Take: While Mastodon really seemed to struggle with their last release, Once More ‘Round The Sun. Emperor of Sand seeks the balance the past release could not find. Tracks like “Steambreather,” “Ancient Kingdom,” “Andromeda,” and “Jaguar God” play like greatest hits bringing elements of Blood Mountain, Leviathan, and Crack The Skye together. Emperor of Sand strikes personal notes based on friends and family being diagnosed with cancer and it really makes the album that much more impact. If you’re a new fan coming to Mastodon then this is a perfect place to start. Emperor of Sands has many steady foundations that built the Mastodon catalog to greatness. For fans who have known Mastodon for years, this is another solid entry that will satisfy those who want more.

Mastodon Website
Mastodon Facebook
Warner Bros. Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Richard Edwards: Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset [Album Review]

Richard Edwards
Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset
Joyful Noise Recordings [2017]



fire-note-headphone-approved






Fire Note Says: Pain, torment and anguish turn Richard Edwards’ near demise into a biographical rebirth.

Album Review: Through my musical journey, Margot and the Nuclear So and So‘s is a band that‘s meant quite a lot to me. Not only have they shaped what I look for and enjoy in music, they also taught me that music can be a deep, intimate form of story telling. Maybe it was pure genius, maybe it was dumb luck but the major label release of Margot‘s Animal and Not Animal is a sweet spot that music in general rarely ever hits. But, I digress not that this praise goes unwarranted, however the bio for Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset, Richard Edwards’ first solo album uses the word “erstwhile” which means former in regards to Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s.

Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset is an album that sounds like it was recreated again and again against all odds. To paraphrase the album description: good times long passed, a broken body, Clostridium difficile a.k.a. c. diff, and a scrapped marriage-that only seems to be the half of it too. The last edition to the album just so happens to be the first song on the album, “Lil Dead Eye-d” which takes a beautiful approach with a “Going to California” feel and a Nick Drake type of mood. “Git Paid” is a powerful, lazy, sunset drenched anit-anthem with lyrics that ring, “Can’t afford to love myself, so I never even tried.”

What really helps drive the point of Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset home is the production by Beck/Elliott Smith/Joyce Manor producer Rob Schnapf. Songs like “Moonwraped,” the nightmarish “Disappeared Plants,” and The Cure “Lovesong” base chorus of “Lemon” all resound heavy with rage, anguish, and emotion that gets it hooks in you. “Fool” feels like it could either be place along side the Rot Gut, Domestic or Sling Shot to Heaven sessions. The trio of beauty that really centers the album and makes it work are my key tracks: “Management of Savagery,” “When You Get Lost,” and “Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’”. These songs are the reason that a hopeless Edwards would listen to Randy Newman’s “Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father,” or why the beauty of “Management of Savagery” spills the beauty of its’ astral choruses across the entire record, or why a lonesome L.A. cowboy wanders the street looking for any bit of solace that he can find.

It’s the autobiographical nature that makes Richard Edward’s Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset feel like more than an assemblage of songs. The vulnerabilities expressed are gripping and catchy, hateful yet beautiful, and endings and beginnings. In what seems to be a post Margot world, Edwards is now unhindered, out in the open and it shows. This is not an Edwards album in Margot clothes or a Margot album in Edwards clothes. There are nods and stylistic choices to the past, however Edwards has presented his “Odyssey.” With the completion of this solo album what also brings much excitement is where Edwards will pop up next? Having fronted a band and just become a solo artist does he revert to a new band project? Or does he continue to grow his solo chops? And if the latter does happen can he top himself? That’s a real tough question to answer but one we can’t wait to find out!

Key Tracks: “Management of Savagery” / “When You Get Lost” / “Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’” ”

Artists With Similar Fire: Elliott Smith / Sun Kil Moon / Fleetwood Mac



Richard Edwards Facebook
Joyful Noise Recordings

– Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana [Album Review]

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Flying Microtonal Banana
ATO Records [2017]

ratings3_5







Who: The Fire Note was very lucky to get a jump on story telling psych lords King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Coming from Melbourne, Australia this septet has had us captivated since their acclaimed release I’m In Your Mind Fuzz all the way to this point.

Sound: While this LP, Flying Microtonal Banana is a bit of an adventure for the band. Their typical sound carries influences from psych rock, garage rock, heavy metal, surf music, folk, and even some jazz.

TFN Final Take: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a very prolific group. Their latest Flying Microtonal Banana is going to be the first in a series of 4 to 5 albums released this year. Flying Microtonal Banana-if you couldn’t already tell-is the group experimenting with specially built and tuned microtonal instruments, particularly the 24-TET tuning. What’s the result? While it doesn’t push boundaries, it’s King Gizz’s grooviest albums yet. “Rattlesnake” is a near 8 minute exercise in groove repetition-it really helps that the hook is catchy. “Open Water” hit’s a menacing gallop that’s quite effective. “Sleep Drifter” gives a good Hindi, GOAT vibe with the burning desert sun riff and bongo drums. “Doom City” goes from crunchy swamp psych to an up tempo, urgent escape. “Nuclear Fusion” takes the cake as one of my favorite songs on the album. Not only is it mesmerizing and sexy but, it also has guitarist Joe Walker’s using a technique called Gregorian throat singing.

King Gizzard has always been adventurous and Flying Microtonal Banana is Gizz at their most-maybe even niche. If this is a glimpse into the future then I do enjoy it only because King Gizzard is one of the best things going not in just psych music but, music in general.



King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Website
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Facebook
ATO Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Pissed Jeans: Why Love Now [Album Review]

Pissed Jeans
Why Love Now
Sub Pop Records [2017]



Fire Note Says: In a world of “locker room talk“ Pissed Jeans return to kick shit in the face of mundane, modern life.

Album Review: Pissed Jeans are my unlikely heroes right now. Why you ask? If you look and listen to what the new album, Why Love Now says, a lot of it could apply to everyone of us. When they were first put on my radar with 2013’s Honeys I considered them the equivalent of a musical middle finger. Fast forward to today and that middle finger seems to holds truer.

Why Love Now just rings out as a completely raw, dirty, sweaty record. No Wave legend Lydia Lunch helped produce the album and to quote lead vocalist Matt Korvette, “We wanted to mix it up a little bit. I like how she’s so cool and really intimidating. I didn’t know how it was going to work out. She ended up being so fucking awesome and crazy. She was super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I’m not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn’t joking. Under that pressure, the quarter really seemed to give their all. As soon as Korvette growls about kickin‘ life‘s big behind on “Waiting On My Horrible Warning“ you know you‘re in for a treat. “The Bar Is Low” has a riff that rattles and cuts like dull silverware. Korvette wails on about how every guy reveals themselves to be a shithead across entertainment, politics, and music.


What really lets me enjoy Why Love Now/Pissed Jeans in general is the how they appeal to your baser instincts. “Love Without Emotion”-one of the strongest songs on the album-takes a dirtier Speedy Ortiz flare which pairs with a devoid, detached Korvette snarls the chorus, “I got love, love without emotion.” “I’m A Man” is an interesting “surprise” that I’ll leave for you to find out. “It’s Your Knees” shows Pissed Jeans embracing a heavy Queens of the Stone Age motif that hits hard.

You know it’s easy to love a band when they can write a “sexy” song that compares shitty relationships to yogurt that helps you shit. Therefore, I rest my case on what makes Pissed Jeans’ Why Love Now so special. While this album was recorded in 2016 it feels just as applicable today. It’s easy to label Why Love Now as Honeys:the sequel-and it is easy-but, Pissed Jeans make it easy to for a connection with the album. Shitty politics, locker room talk, internet trolls, and chauvinist assholes are all pressure points of the sane and informed. Korvette said, “A crucial thing, I think, for being a Pissed Jeans fan is just stemming from what I would take away from punk, which is, ‘Question things and think about things.’” I really have to agree.

Key Tracks: “The Bar Is Low” / “Love Without Emotion” / “Activia”

Artists With Similar Fire: Zig Zags / METZ / The Jesus Lizard



Pissed Jeans Website
Pissed Jeans Facebook
Sub Pop Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Cloud Nothings: Life Without Sound [Album Review]

Cloud Nothings
Life Without Sound
Carpark Records [2017]

ratings3_5



Fire Note Says: Leaving some of the angst behind, Baldi and co. turn the music towards inspiration.

Album Review: Ever since we reviewed their sophomore album, 2012‘s Attack On Memory, Cloud Nothings had made nothing but the strongest impression on me and The Fire Note. Their follow up, 2014‘s Here and Nowhere Else, while it had a hard time overtaking Attack on Memory had its own strengths and weaknesses. Almost exactly 3 years later Dylan Baldi, TJ Duke, Jayson Gerycz, and Chris Brown have returned with new album, Life Without Sound

Baldi has said, “generally, it seems like my work has been about finding my place in the world.” “But there was a point in which I realized that you can be missing something important in your life, a part you didn’t realize you were missing until it’s there—hence the title. This record is like my version of new age music,” he adds. “It’s supposed to be inspiring.” Which is a bit of a turn from the first two record mentioned above. Producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie) sonic edge can also be felt with a more polished effect then on previous records. It really makes me appreciate Life Without Sound more when it breaks the mold and finds its’ frantic edge. Songs like “Darkened Rings,” “Sight Unseen,” and “Strange Year” really grind on the disoriented, frantic, and heavy which makes for real standouts.


Life Without Sound does make its’ mark on airy, brisk “guitar pop” with feels like a homage to Cloud Nothings self-titled debut. “Internal World” is a vignette on the uncomfortable dangers of being yourself that goes big with invigorated, oversized guitars and a chorus that will have you repeating “I’m not the one who’s always right.” “Modern Act” is one of the most bouncy and melodic tracks on the album with a nasal toned Baldi crooning “I want a life, that’s all I need lately, “ “I am alive but all alone.”

At age 25 Dylan Baldi has seemed to even out quite a bit. With and album of 9 tracks this quartet has created an album with a passable front half that gains strength as soon as “Enter Entirely” hits. Some might say that Cloud Nothings have simplified their vision with the shiny production values, poppier guitar lines and leads, and more optimistic vision. But, with multiple listens the energy that made those other records so great is there, it might just get, at times, overshadowed.

Key Tracks: “Things Are Right With You” / “Enter Entirely” / “Sight Unseen”

Artists With Similar Fire: …And You Will Know Us By Our Trail Of Dead / Japandroids / Cymbals Eat Guitar



Cloud Nothings Website
Cloud Nothings Facebook
Carpark Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

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