Rainbows in the Dark: Aaron Turner and Jon Mueller — “Now That You’ve Found It”

Aaaah, it feels good to be back at my old station.  While this year has been an absolutely incredible year for metal, I guess I’m taking a page out of my sibling’s book and diving more into the non-metal territory recently.  Even if that wasn’t the case, though, any project with Aaron Turner’s name on it is enough to get my attention, and when he is collaborating with Jon Mueller (whose most recent solo release I had the absolute pleasure of reviewing) you *know* things are going to get weird.  On Now That You’ve Found It, weird is certainly one way of putting it.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Pianos Become the Teeth — “Drift”

Pianos Become the Teeth are a band that has had their career marked by changes in sound, both great and more subtle. Beginning their days combining post-rock and screamo (Maryland’s answer to envy, as I liked to think about them), the band eventually went from shrinking the post-rock influences in their music to dropping their screamed vocals entirely on 2014’s Keep You, confidently taking on a new role as a modern alt-rock band. Now, their fifth full-length release, Drift showcases the subtler shifts the band has taken over the course of their musical journey.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Pencey Sloe — “Neglect”

I have not been listening to much, if any metal in the month of August at all. What started as a lack of interest in the vast majority of new releases coming out turned into a sort of challenge for myself to see how deeply I could dive into my other musical passions. As briefly mentioned on our last Album of the Month podcast episode, 2022 has seen me reignite my love for, and attempt to fill in, the gaps in my knowledge of the classics of goth rock, and August has seen that expand via exploring the venerable 4AD records roster, to include early 90s shoegaze as well. Through discovering classics I had previously missed like Ride’s Nowhere and Pale Saints’ The Comforts of Madness to revisiting old favorites like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, I remembered just how much I really enjoy shoegaze outside of when it mixes with black metal. It felt like a good portent, then I saw the promo for Pencey Sloe‘s Neglect coming out when my fervor for the genre was at its height.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Christian Death — “Evil Becomes Rule”

Do I really need to give you a primer on Christian Death at this point?  They’ve been around for over forty years, and while their membership has been a little inconsistent (to put it mildly, but we’ll get there), their overall impact on the musical landscape cannot be understated.  Even if you somehow have never heard of them, they fall into a category of bands that I find the history of unique and captivating.  They are your favorite band’s favorite band, and on their most recent release, Evil Becomes Rule, they double down on just what makes them so appealing across a wide spectrum of artists and fans.

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Rainbows in the Dark:  Wardruna — “Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven”

A perfect offering for Earth Day, Norse legends Wardruna have released a majestic two-part album titled KvitravnFirst Flight of the White Raven.  The first 11 songs are a re-release of Kvitravn which debuted in 2021 and scored numerous international chart entries, while the remaining 13 songs are live recordings consisting of new songs from Kvitravn as well as old favorites from across the band’s discography.  Everything fans enjoy about Wardruna is present here including a use of traditional and historical instruments such as Kravik-lyre, Trossingen-lyre, Taglharpa, Sootharp, Langeleik, Crwth, Goat-horn, Lur, Bronze-lur, flute, and Moraharpa.  This album also features guest vocals by a small group of prominent traditional singers, elevating the compositions’ worldly and historical feel while adding a dynamic beauty.  With lyrical themes and matching atmospheric elements centering on Northern sorcery, spirit-animals, shadows, nature and animism, the wisdom and meanings of certain myths, various Norse spiritual concepts, Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven is a deep and prolific artistic release capturing the splendor of Northern nature and culture.

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