Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AoH via Wierd

The Anatomy of Habit LP can now be found via the Wierd Records webstore:
Chicago's Anatomy of Habit are a musical entity like none other. While veteran listeners of dark, difficult, and heavy music may detect elements of perennial acts from Swans to Neurosis to early Neubauten, newcomers will discover something at once melodic, moody, and punishing. Their debut LP is comprised of only two 16+ minute tracks that peak with thunderous walls of guitar and industrial noise, and settle into gentle, yet tense interludes. Beyond any single genre or subgenre of music, Anatomy of Habit has created a towering, patient sonic work for people who prefer the most challenging and confrontational aspects of that universe. Fans of classic post-punk, death rock, and industrial music will be in for a wild ride here, and find it hard to take this one off your turntable, or out of your mind. The sleeve and design are beautiful, with a black and white die-cut sleeve that holds a metallic silver and black heavyweight Euro-style innersleeve. This incredible album is certain to be near the top of our favorite releases of 2011! Get yourself a Habit, and feel the darkness tear you apart.

Monday, October 17, 2011

More nice coverage of Anatomy of Habit on Brooklyn Vegan today:

Anatomy of Habit LP - Distro Update

The Anatomy of Habit LP is making its way into the world, slowly but surely.  Revolver USA has copies in stock, so stores can order directly from them, while individuals can also pick up copies through their Midheaven retail mail-order service, as well as from the associated Tedium House mail-order, which caters to the noise crowd, of course. Here is what Revolver said in their listing:

Emotionally charged doom metal that pensively slashes and burns by Chicago ballcrushers BLAKE EDWARDS (VERTONEN), DYLAN POSA (FLYING LUTTENBACHERS, CHEER ACCIDENT, BRICE GLACE), KENNY RASMUSSEN (NO FUNERAL), GREG RATAJCZAK (PLAGUE BRINGER), and MARK SOLOTROFF (BLOODYMINDED, THE FORTIETH DAY). The two side-long tracks display enviable balance of power, heaviness, and delicacy. Die-cut jacket, printed innersleeve.

Our friends at Apop Records in Saint Louis should have copies soon, as will Insula Music in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Pitchfork on The Atlas Moth

It is fitting that, after seeing The Atlas Moth last night, who played a triumphant homecoming show, Pitchfork just published an extremely positive review of their new album, with an interesting mention of "Courage"...

An Ache for the Distance

The Atlas Moth

An Ache for the Distance

Profound Lore; 2011

By Grayson Currin; October 17, 2011


"Horse Thieves" is the final and best track on An Ache for the Distance, the second album by Chicago's distorted doom squadron the Atlas Moth. It opens with a pit-of-hell black-metal sigh: Vocalist/guitarist Stavros Giannopoulos sounds as malevolent as Malefic once did on Sunn O)))'s Black One, when the Xasthur leader infamously recorded his vocal parts from inside a coffin that was itself inside a Cadillac hearse. Appropriately, Giannopoulos sings of the end with apocalyptic imagery, a would-be horseman requesting that a "divine mare" help him spread an unspoken plague. "Our light has been eclipsed, the tides washing ashore," he screams, his voice so serrated, his tone so saturated, that the words are barely decipherable. The sound is threatening enough, with words or not. Indeed, even during what turns out to be a fairly indelible chorus, "Horse Thieves"'s voices vacillate between dark, darker, and darkest. It's like a seven-minute history of the progression of black-metal vocals from the basements of Oslo 20 years ago to, these days, high-end recording studios.

But the Atlas Moth aren't a black metal band-- at all. Rather, they're one of a growing legion of bands to use bits of that form-- and, really, everything from stoner metal to psychedelic rock, free jazz to electric blues-- to make militantly adventurous heavy metal. In fact, when Giannopoulos is howling his imprecations during "Horse Theives", he's backed by a slow, stubborn, swaggering blues riff and a rhythm section that has more to do with Mono's escalating brood than Mayhem's shrieking ferocity. Jamie Branch streaks the song's bridge with trumpet hiss, while Andrew Ragin puts down his guitar to add eerie piano jet wash. It all sounds like some awesome, evil vaudeville after-party that, after an impasse, somehow erupts into a sludgy sing-along about a serpent's tongue and staying alive.

Such patent unpredictability and versatility fuel the entirety of An Ache for the Distance, a dense, 45-minute listen that never seems to stop revealing new aspects and assets. The Atlas Moth are an excellent three-guitar quintet as capable of heroic, spiraling leads (see the start of "Coffin Varnish") as they are thick, interlocking lines that serve more as a working matrix for the lyrics, as with "Your Calm Waters". Giannopoulos takes the lead on that track, crying out for a commitment of assistance should he not make it out alive. "Before you climb off, check the pulse/ Bring me back to life," he yells. His call is actually answered by David Kush, the Atlas Moth's sort of hook singer (the liner notes credit him with "clean vocals"). Throughout Distance, he and Giannopoulos trade lines and parts, occasionally creating conversations between hope and despair.

Lyrically, Distance is anchored on old-fashioned worry for the future; as with those blues guitars and rock'n'roll drums, Kush's hooks, which strangely split the difference between Hawkwind and Hot Topics, create tension for Giannopoulos' protestations. They make his bleak seem that much bleaker. What's more, Kush's singing prevents the album's one collaboration from seeming out of place. Mark Solotroff is best known for his work in power electronics as Bloodyminded, but on "Courage", he sings like Mark Kozelek fronting Jesu. The unlikely ballad offers a perfect respite for Distance's general roar and, once again, reveals another capability of the band without squandering too much of the album's propulsion.

The divide between advocates for purity and post-everything blends feels particularly polarized right now-- not just in metal or even music, but in entertainment at large and politics. The Atlas Moth certainly falls into the latter category, churning ideas sometimes considered mutually exclusive inside one relentless package. Importantly, though, it feels neither like a pastiche nor like a pretense. On only their second album, the Atlas Moth have successfully captured a signature, singular mix of ideas and impulses, quickly covering a distance that others waste careers trying to match.