I find myself yearning for sonic texture paintings. Stoneburner/Carrion/eHpH

Lately I have really been immersed in music that takes me somewhere. A picture of sound that swirls and shakes me. Something where I don’t focus on the words or melody but drown myself in the image from 1000 miles away. Trying to see it all. Here is some of what is taking me there.

Stoneburner – (Beauty Is Terror) I feel like watching this project from Steven Archer is like seeing a blacksmith always sharpening a blade with a whetstone. Each album just keeps getting cleaner and sharper. You really can see the sound itself gain more technique and mastery with every release. It builds on itself and takes new shapes. In particular the vocals on this album are both more of an instrument but also crisper and more distinct.

Beauty Is Terror – Title track slams hard out the gate. I’m hit first by the construction. The efficiency of every sound there. Nothing overpowers or takes away. Keep yourself from fucking up. The cymbal crash sounds seem to strike at just the right moment to feel like the sound is cooking but the tempo is in reality a steady medium groove. This song feels like the early moments of an origin story. Someone just coming into their power in defiance.

Are You There The Way I’m Here – This his me like a concrete brick sledge hammer. It’s so different from everything Stoneburner. It’s smooth, sleek, sexy, it’s almost like Peter Gabriel doing triphop industrial. Again I love the connected story of this record. It isn’t so much the lyrics as the natural progression of each songs sound. Two stars synchronized across the black.

London – I love when songs are places. When you hear a song and are immediately been to a place you have been. Wet old brick walkways in a dark city full of tight alleys. The doubled vocals here, one electric and buzzing. Another chanting and organic to make a glorious effect. This song is a reflection, both the puddles on the street and the way it leaves you thinking about actions.

I know I often gush about Steven’s work, but I really believe this is the best music I have ever heard him produce to date. Take my recommendation and buy it. You won’t be sorry.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

Carrion – (Testament Ov The Exiled) If Stoneburner was a hero’s journey rising then Testament ov The Exiled is the hidden horror lurking in that alley. It drones and stalks, but with the smoothness of a predator you never see. Whispering to you. Just the quick glimpses of Flashing yellow eyes in slashing distortion. It’s the atmosphere that builds the horror here. Like an old Vincent Price movie that never needed to show you the monster to scare you. This is music to test your bravery against. Light a single candle. step outside the comfort of your door, and test the strength of your courage.

https://officialcarrion.bandcamp.com/

eHpH – (Infrared) – This is a turbulent time, you can taste it in the air. Division and fear are everywhere in the soul of America. This album takes that tension and spins it into thread. Weaving a tapestry. Heavy use of samples and thick pad sounds. Who says you can’t dance and think at the same time. This is a sound hungry for revolution. Fernando’s vocals come from behind a distorted shadow but ring clear. The fighters of freedom wear masks and carry an axe. I love challenge and FLA dance beats.

https://ehph.bandcamp.com/album/infrared

Steven Archer Rants: Writers Block

One of our most popular segments the thoughts and musings of Artist, Writer, Musician Steven Archer (Stoneburner/Ego Likeness). This time discussing writers block. A topic that has surely plagued me the last two weeks.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

The Creative Block

This is for those of you who identify as artists. You know who you are.

Maybe you do it as a hobby, maybe full time. But that is how you see yourself.

“But Steven I don’t see myself as that.”

Then don’t fuckin worry about it. You’re either saying that because you really mean it, and that’s totally fine. Or you’re saying that as a way of staying safe, so that if someone calls you on something that you make you can say “well I’m not really an artist.” In which case, you are correct. You’re a student, (totally fine, we are all students) someone who just doodles for fun (also fine if you enjoy it) or a coward (much less fine, commit to the bit, let yourself get hurt.)

The medium you work in, or the tools you use are irrelevant. They do not define your job. They might from a marketing standpoint, but not internally, inside you’re just one of the tribe.

The physical act of making the thing, it’s a just a small part of your real actual job which is… ideas.

Playing ,”what if,” or “make believe,” or whatever you want to call it.

“But Steven I do photorealistic illustrations.”

Good for you, it’s still the same thing, because you are drawn to specific things to do those illustrations of. What you put out into the world is still influenced by you and your aesthetics if not ideas.

Why am I talking about this?

Because some of you are running around saying “I have a creative block! I can’t come up with new ideas!”

Shut up.

Of course you can.

You already have.

You have tons of ideas, and if you don’t, then you may want to reevaluate how you see yourself.

Because, again, it’s your job.

Here’s the situation.

It’s not that you don’t have ideas.

It’s that you are scared to implement them because you are worried you will get laughed at by…. someone?! Who, dunno.
But for some reason you just don’t see yourself as the type of person who does ,”X.”

Too bad.

The world needs more ,”X.”

And if you are reeeeeeally really stuck, and just can’t produce something you’ve already done, the problem isn’t the ideas, it’s you.

Garbage in, garbage out.

If you keep rehashing the same shit, it’s because you aren’t feeding your brain new information. Pick up a book. Pick up ten, twenty, five hundred, live other people’s lives, write their songs, paint there stories, look through their eyes.

You need to be fascinated by things.

And the more things that you are fascinated by, the wider the range of ideas you have to draw from.

Otherwise you’re not making art.

You’re performing a trick.

It may be a good trick, but if it’s the only one you know, then that’s all it is.

It’s a craft.

A series of actions that anyone can do that will eventually yield a similar result.

Like basket weaving.

Which is, again, totally fine.

If you want to weave baskets, fuckin do it.
But don’t run around expecting applause.

Because in the end, art is as much about the person that the work is filtered through as it is about the work itself. And the wider the width and breadth of your interests and knowledge the larger the vocabulary you will have available to express your ideas about a wider range of subjects.

“But steven, all I do is paint the same thing over and over with vaguely different permutations.”

That’s not art.

Even if people put it up on their walls.

Now, the fact that you have convinced people that your trick is worth spending money on and putting on their walls… that could very well be art. In which case, well fuckin done.

*Yes yes, baskets can be art.

Look, I get it, you vaguely feel attacked, so you want to try to pedantically find little shit to bitch about, because if you can tear down one aspect then hopefully the rest will fall down and you don’t have to take it seriously and you can keep just farting around and blaming other shit for your shortcomings. But that is just Soooooo fuckin tedious. If you used the time and effort you put into your defense mechanisms to pop a few humility pills and just got to work, we wouldn’t even be having this hypothetical conversation.

Really. Try it.

Or keep making excuses while knowing down in your secret heart that you’re just a coward.

I’ll Give You Something To Cry About

It’s been a really tough week for me. It’s been hard to find the motivation to write or do much of anything. Today was a little better. I haven’t found myself listening to less music, just finding it harder to hear the words to describe it in my mind. Today was the first time I had felt like I could talk again. So I have an enormous backlog of music to write about. Lets get some of that out now.

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) – “Eat Their Young” If ESA’s latest album Burial 10 was a barb wire wrapped bat beating the shit out of you with electronic destruction. The new EP Eat Their Young is the same effect with a razor sharp sword. It has a purpose and intent with it’s execution. Back again is Corlyx Caitlin Stokes adding a sensuality and velvet glove to the relentless destruction. Power and Beauty in equal measure in this must have EP from London England. Also the video for the single is a masterclass in modern music/image synthesis

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/eat-their-young-the-scorn-ep

Corlyx – “Together Apart” – Speaking of Caitlin, her and band mate Brandon Ashley are back for a follow up to their album “In2 The Skin” 1st single is out now for a Sept 15th release. It’s another burner. Porcelain Skin brings that same darkpop flavor of broken glass candy and ghostly light. Caitlin has a beauty and truth with crawls under your skin and infects you with a cracked mirror of perception. Can’t wait to hear how the rest shakes out.

https://corlyxngp.bandcamp.com/

MelodyWhore – “This Is How We Were Taught To Pray” New single release from electronic sin wizard MelodyWhore out of Texas. This single was written as a charity donation for BLM. Jimmy called in some of the top names in the scene to contribute with remixes and vocals. The song is a powerful hymn of equality in a call to take down an unfair establishment. This one gives me chills with it’s intensity and soul shaking faith. I was lucky enough to contribute myself on the Gothic Tabernacle Choir remix. A Great cause and outpouring of talent forged together into one of the most spine tingling singles of the year.

https://melodywhore.bandcamp.com/

Carrion – “The Tempest” Swirling ash and oblivion from Norway’s Carrion. A new single of slow fuse creeping doom that shows you the horror to come and leaves you chained waiting for the inevitable destruction.

https://officialcarrion.bandcamp.com/

Hallowed HeartsInto The Fire” I really like the way this album bends the line between goth and post punk with a slight lean towards goth. It’s emotional and flows like a rippling black ribbon. The melody lines are captivating and seamless. Some beautiful guitar rock elements with gentle curves to match the tight post punk base lines. Impressive.

https://hallowedhearts.bandcamp.com/

Stoneburner – “Dark Ambient Album” Steven Archer is always twisting the joint to find a new position. Never comfortable in one concept he is an ever moving force. This new 6 song EP steers away from the vocal driven industrial of the last few albums into texture sonic painting. Full of strong effects and video game soundtrack pastels. From one mountain many rivers may flow.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

EchoBeryl – “The Awakening Of The Mutant” From Cold Transmission this French synthtrance retro dance dream keeps the imagination flowing. The album is an homage to 50’s and 60’s sci-fi drama. It’s a modern concept through a retro lens. Set to release Aug 21st currently 2 tracks are available for pre order and both are a teleport beam to both the past and the future.

Steven Archer Rants ” Getting the Word Out”

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

This was my advice to a friend who is frustrated that his new band hasn’t been getting the attention he feels it should.

And he’s right, it’s good shit, he’s an established musician. It should be getting out there more.

“The best results I have had are by doing advertising.

It’s not particularly expensive and it does work.

You know, for fans of “x,y,z”!

It’s gonna be hard during all of this, to start a new band. Since there’s just no way to get a foot hold.

Were i you, I would do a few things.
1. Pay for advertising. Do a slow burn type thing. Spend $200 for a month of Facebook advertising directly fans of similar acts.

People who see something over and over are more likely to click it. Because it seems familiar.

2. Focus on making videos. Get creative, I shot that video I did for Inertia creeps in about two hours. Same with the light.

3. Don’t let your frustrations out in public. It’s just a bad look. The last thing you want is people checking out your band because they feel pressured to.

Regardless you gotta post about that shit all the time.

When I have something new out, I try to talk about it every day.

But people are gonna miss it anyway.

I did a bunch of videos for Belligerence and posted them everywhere for months.

A few weeks back I posted one, and a good friend and fan reposted it saying “new material from Stoneburner!”

It’s easy to get locked into the idea that everyone sees everything. But most people don’t. There’s just too much information out there to keep track of.

Particularly now with all of the bullshit going on. Every day there’s a new thing to talk about that isn’t your band.

So you gotta werk, gurl! “

Ring The Bells For It Is Bandcamp Day Once Again!

I make this speech a fair amount but bandcamp is the only distributor of music that seems to give two shits for new bands. On Friday once again they are waiving their own fees to give all proceeds to the artist. To be clear the rates they charge are extremely fair. However if you have a band you love that you want to show support for now is the time. I ask our Sounds and Shadows family to shout out what we will be looking to buy on Friday.

Ken (that’s me)

Blak Sunday – Spooky fierce old school bat cave death rock from Indianapolis. Crunchy Riffs and Misfit punk edge by goth members of our community that are POC. What is not to love about all of this. It’s hard and dirty full of fangs and leather. What’s not to love? This is on my must have list.

https://blak.bandcamp.com/album/blak-sunday

Cold Transmission Music (Zeitgeist 13) – Lucky number 13 of the glorious compilations from Frankfurt Germany’s Cold Transmission. 33 songs for 4 euros that spins the whole wheel of the dark music scene. it has lots of their label bands which are always top notch. As well as several other offerings from around the world. This is by far my top value pick.

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/album/zeitgeist-vol-13

Eva X – From the northern lands of Alberta comes shadow queen Eva X. This album has been on my list to pick up for a while now and Friday is the day. Loving these crashing hand drum sounds and her swirling Miranda’s Sex Garden wispy vocals. That spot on blend of beauty and sinister intention.

https://eva-x.bandcamp.com/album/electrowoman

Daddybear– These are troubling times, sometimes I need a wall shaking, butt thumping, dance party. Matt Fanale of Caustic/Klack has brought that once again. It’s driving, sexy , and guarantied to make your apocalypses shake with the sweaty masses until oblivion. Also featuring the heavingly vocal stylings of grabyourface.

https://daddybear.bandcamp.com/album/ebdsm

Dead Agent – Ed Finkler once again unleashes an assault of mechanical disaster on the unsuspecting world. 24 tracks of remasters and remixes and remixes including a straight inferno from Joy Thieves. It makes me want to build a mech and fight stuff.

https://deadagent.bandcamp.com/album/fight-like-a-robot-v2

Stoneburner(Soundsystem) Glorious new album of covers of Industrial greats like Chemlab/Covenant/Gary Numan/Ministry/Massive Attack. Also some new versions of the last few albums. If you read this page you know of my deep admiration for the art of Steven Archer. This album gives a chance to hear some of what Steven pays homage too. It’s beautifully crafted and a bit of a love letter to what inspired him. Plus it thumps.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/stoneburner-soundsystem-kompromat-1

Katy’s Picks

Backxwash This occult hip-hop album got me really excited. I hadn’t heard of this artist before, but I loved how the genres met.  The latest album, “God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It,” is a huge, symphonic level hip-hop album that scratched the pop sound and emphasized a witchy feel. 

https://backxwash.bandcamp.com/album/god-has-nothing-to-do-with-this-leave-him-out-of-it

Fearing – “Shadow” was released in early April and should get some recognition. This album is dreamy and poppy with a huge wash of reverb over top. There’s passion in each track with a familiar ’80s tone. 

https://fearing.bandcamp.com/album/shadow-2

New Haunts– This UK artist is making waves and just released a full-length album today. As Ken would say, “it bops!” The new album, “Fight/Flight” will make you dance from beginning to end. 

https://newhaunts.bandcamp.com/

 

Adrian’s Picks

 The Wraith – (Gloom Ballet) – LA Deathrockers The Wraith released this album late 2019, November to be exact and I have not stopped listening to it ever since. I found this band through having been a fan of Lost Tribe, singer Davey Bale`s previous band. Gloom Ballet serves excellence on each track which during these goth revival times is few and far between as the revival brings a certain amount of mediocrity with it.

https://thewraithsl.bandcamp.com/releases

Jessica93 – (Guilty Species) Jessica93 is a one man band from France, this album in particular is one I listen to on a nearly daily basis, it`s filled with rhythmic, catchy songs that just gets stuck in your head and forces you to listen to it. This album in particular leans more towards post punk although Jessica93 seems to hold no regard for genre and just do what they feel which is a trait I greatly value in artists.

https://jessica93.bandcamp.com/album/guilty-species-2

The Cult Sounds – (S/T) The self titled debut album from The Cult Sounds is yet another of those gems such as Guilty Species and Gloom Ballet where you`ll find great variety in each track, ranging from classical post punk but without feeling like tired repetition to more mellow ambiance.

https://thecultsounds.bandcamp.com/album/the-cult-sounds

Hide – (Hell Is Here) Hide is to me one of the most important bands within industrial right now. Utilizing found sound, field recording and old school sampling in modern ways all wrapped with a political message they stand out amongst the crowd and yet can not be compared to anyone.

https://hide3.bandcamp.com/album/hell-is-here