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July 2015
The Great Void
"Shift Age

If you're one of the few not plagued by thoughts of mortality and burdened by self-reflection, consider yourself lucky. If you're a brooder, however, then Shift Age, by NYC dark electro-rock project The Great Void, might be the record for you. It bears all the outwards signs of happy pop music, though the longer you listen, the more surreal it gets. Especially vivid is “Medicine Ball,” whose plunky synths and new-wave vocals divert bleakly-rendered lines like, “I know we'd have fun/But you're much too young.” By “Shift Age (Part 2),” it's clear the gloss is just a cover for deconstructing nostalgia itself. “Out with the days of the old ways” sings leader Josh Ascalon before a barrage of high-pitched squeals surge towards an apocalyptic finale. Or maybe that's just the hardware inside his keyboard threatening to fry out? - Brian Chidester

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Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"

Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"


"Now is time a for darker stuff!" yells Henry Kammerer, one-half of the Portland-based duo Hillstomp on the second track of their new album Darker the Night. And dark stuff is exactly what they give the listener.

The duo's third studio release - which will be available in stores July 20 - is crammed with 14 driving and dirty ballads of debauchery, and loaded with tales of embracing late night bouts of drinking, waking and repeating the process without the blink of an eye. The whole album has a very consistent brooding mood, with unique banjo rythms that take the forefront unashamed and relentless..

While firmly grounded in the blues, Hillstomp departs and adds many different influences, from folk to garage-punk, all expressed through a soulful intensity. Considering the band is known for its captivating live performances - replete with foot-stomping slide guitar riffs and John Johnson's ramshackle percussion hammering away on plastic buckets or whatever he can grab nearby, Darker the Night does not dissapoint, and invites everyone listening to join in and sing the songs of kissing the bottle and losing love without regret.

- Stirling Myles


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