We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. Over the past month, we’ve posted a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Steve Scott, author, poet, & spoken word performer, turned in:
The year 2018 was consumed with moving out of our old house/selling it, living in an apartment while the new house was finished so I’m going to base my list a bit on that experience…
The hesitations and rationalizations that go through your head when contemplating discarding things/books you will never use/have time to read etc. (you hear about this sort of thing, but the actual experience is inspiring / sobering)
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Joe Morgan, guitar player (TLVS, asentimentalsong), turned in:
These guys released an album in 2018 called “Arbiter” and it was their first release in over 10 years. This was a comeback/reunion album from a band I really enjoyed in the early 2000’s. They are a melodic hardcore band with a big emphasis on spacey guitars and atmospheres. I thought this was a very well done record with some great riffs and some catchy vocal hooks. Really feel like they captured their old sound but also put together something new and fresh.
Kyle Bobby Dunn is one of my favorite ambient/drone artists. He has come out with several albums that make sad sound so good. He put out a split LP with Wayne Robert Thomas in 2018 called “KBD/WRT”. This split introduced me to Thomas who is also a very talented ambient/drone guitar player. In fact, his whole discography, besides this split, is available for “pay what you want” on his bandcamp page. I spent a lot of time listening to his releases this last year and grew to really enjoy his sound. It is great to be able to listen to his work and lose yourself in the calming tones and textures of the soundscapes he creates. #
This is another band that I enjoyed in the early 2000’s that I have followed on and off ever since. I hadn’t listened to them very much until their previous album “Pale Horses” that was released in 2015. They started off their career with a pretty aggressive post hardcore sound that had a unique screaming/spoken word type approach to their vocal delivery. I felt they were getting back to this sound on this album. In 2018 they released the “untitled” LP and the “untitled” EP. They continued this more throwback sound specifically on the LP while the EP contained more calm vocals and tamer songs. The full-length album definitely has some great lyrical content and gets pretty heavy at spots with big drums and great guitar riffs. They throw in some pretty aggressive vocals at the right moments and even have a great reinterpretation of an old hymn. It was nice to spend some time with this album the last year and take in this unique band’s sound.
This guy is a very prolific Japanese ambient/drone artist. I have found myself listening to him more and more the past couple years. I got a copy of his album “Scene” on tape in 2018. It is 4 pieces of music and it is some of the prettiest and saddest music you will hear. Lovely quiet drones and textures with so much melancholy seeping through. I feel that everything he puts out is great and I’ve spent a lot of time digging into his large discography this last year. Whether you are looking to dive into the deep drones he creates or to be swept away by the spacious sounds, there is something very special and rewarding about listening to his work.
A special vinyl reissue of The Mercury Program’s 2002 album called “A Date Learn the Language” was released in 2018. They also did a small east coast tour that I was able to attend that was in support this reissue. I had seen these guys once before many years ago and it was really neat to see them again. Being older and more learned in my musical knowledge let me appreciate this experience even more. The mix of electric piano, delayed guitars, vibraphone, and a great rhythm section makes these guys a solid act. Their music is instrumental and contains a post rock feel with some jazzy elements as well. Really pretty music that also grooves very nicely. It was really nice to get to not only get this album on vinyl after it being out of print but also to see some really great musicians perform it extremely well.
…a few more thoughts…
2018 was also a great year to spend writing and performing music with TLVS. We created and recorded some great ideas and were able to develop a solid live presentation of our art. I’m looking forward to big things in 2019 with them and also with my solo musical endeavors. I spent a lot of time in 2018 with my family as well. I am very thankful for my lovely wife Amanda and our amazing daughter Hannah. Family is so important and I’ve learned to appreciate the time I spend with them so much more this last year. They inspire me to create new sounds and enjoy the beauty God puts in front of us each and every day. I’m looking forward to a great 2019 with many new and exciting things to come.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Andrew Weathers, composer, collaborator extraordinaire, & label head over at Full Spectrum, turned in:
The land is its own entity, people are places; how does a place you’ve never lived become a home; we see a glow in the forest, I wash my face in the river and feel my own self alive; to be with friends and not feel the crush of capital is rare and cherished.
It takes at least two years for a place to be a home, and we’re not there yet; we’re learning and building slowly, the only way to do it; vision is necessary to see it, not everybody has vision; one day we’ll have a kitchen again; the sheet rock in my life.
Wake up before sunrise to avoid the incredible heat that sets in by 9 am; you understand water more; you understand fear more; you understand what this earth can do to us; you understand better the rapidly deteriorating climate brought on by the greed of wealthy white men; sleep on a mountain top to stay cool.
The sweet smell of a rotting saguaro in the heat; the cicada brood that makes more interesting music than every fool with a $10k synthesizer; the wash looks just like the trail; two miles in 100 degree heat is not what you think it is.
A home I have left, but remains close; the powerful resistance to colonization by Tech and fake-cultured suburbanites continues to be a beacon; I still dream about the cool air from the bay; I still can feel the weight of a burrito from El Metate in my hands; I miss my friends and I am grateful that we have the work to do together.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Allen Bergendahl, studio nerd & all around great guy, turned in:
#1 – Friends, though…
Years ago, I met Nathan McGlothlin while recording his band at the time. We made few records together, but we slowly drifted apart – as you do. I was so excited to hear from him in late 2017 and we started laying the groundwork for a few projects we would be working on together in 2018. One of those projects was HSAL #44. I didn’t really know what to expect, but let me tell you, the bands he enlisted were incredible! L.A.Dies, Overlook Hotel, Good Dog Nigel, TLVS, and Quick On My Feet showed up and showed us how it is done! Super fast, super fun sessions with great people! Working with an old friend to make new music with new friends is such a delight for me. I will have the pleasure to work with some of these artists again in 2019 and I can not wait!
#2 – That one band, though…
Sungazer is a band that I have worked closely with in years past and this year saw us get a little closer. Marc Adams plays bass in the band and has a studio setup in his basement and they have been working on overdubs for a new record and for some solo material from the band members. This fall we began a weekly work night at Marc’s studio to make progress on any of our various projects. It is time set aside to get into the hairy details of songwriting and recording. The work sessions are primarily Marc and Matt and let me tell you, it is humbling to look inside the process of such talented musicians. I feel like you learn a lot when trying to keep up with very talented people, I know I am.
#3 – That space, though…
I began doing a lot of overdub and mix work at Kevin Cornell’s studio and we really hit it off. We started off by working on songs for his band Glass Twin and it snowballed from there. He had built a great studio, but needed some outside input. I was very happy to lend a hand to further outfit the studio and add my vision to the space and the workflow. We’re not done yet, but we are building a space that will be practical and feel like home for any artist that walks through the door.
#4 – That project, though…
Another friendship that was rekindled was with Joshua Britton and his project Psalmships. He sent me some demos of some new songs he was working on and asked if I wanted to help bring them to life. We had worked together on a previous record and I knew we worked well together, so it was an easy “yes“. We talked a lot about influences and the direction we would like the record to go. Joshua writes songs that emote in a big way, so we tried to bring that passion and size to the new recordings. We did a long weekend tracking what would be the basic tracks for *most* of the record and followed up a while later for overdubs and some rough mixes. I even got to play on it a bit!
#5 – That mutual respect, though…
I am not sure exactly how much work we did in 2018, but LJ from V.E. (Various Eggs) is a frequent collaborator and an even more frequent lunch date. We seem to have some session going at all times. In 2018 we saw the release of several singles, a video, and recording some solo piano work that will appear on new releases in 2019. I think I may be only engineer he’s worked with since he moved to Richmond and I like that. He is always a helpful ear for bouncing ideas off of and at this point we seem to speak the same language. LJ is another artist whose songwriting I am privy to all the details of how it is made and he has a deliberate and economical way that he shapes and directs songs. It’s fascinating.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Melody Ouellette, songwriter/vocalist, & guitar player for L.A.Dies, turned in:
This was the first book I’ve read of Mary Oliver‘s, and it’s still my favorite. The connection she makes between nature, humanity, and spirituality in this collection of poems is something that has really stuck with me throughout this year, keeping me mindful and reverent of the beauty in the world around us.
I was really nervous to play this show. We had just come back from tour with Dover
and I think we were all pretty sad to see it end. It’s easy to get caught up in the anxiety of
showing a crowd of people something you made, but it ended up being one of the
biggest turn outs we’ve had. I remember
looking into the crowd and feeling proud that we had made music that resonated
with people–all the work we had put into L.A. Dies felt worth it. We had shared a connection with people and
made so many friends that regardless of where we would go with the band, we had
made it to that point and I was proud of us.
We recorded in a studio for the first time this
year. Going into it we were all
apprehensive because we had only ever recorded at home. We were nervous to put
ourselves in the vulnerable position of entrusting our idea with people we
barely knew, as well as to put our project, and its production, in someone
else’s hands. But after eight hours and a trip to Chipotle, all those anxieties
subsided, and the music and new friendships we left with that day could not
have been recreated without the collaboration and openness of other creative
Even though I moved in with three my closest friends earlier this year, we’ve all been so caught up with working and keeping up with our families that we’re rarely all home at the same time–when we are, I try to convince everyone to play tennis with me. We’re so busy trying to be productive and accomplish whatever task is next on our list, that the time we have for doing things simply because we enjoy them is (increasingly) limited. When we’re playing tennis, all we can do is play tennis, together, present in the moment.
This was the first year I was really excited to
vote. I felt more informed and connected
to this election than I ever have.
Regardless of the stress in the current political climate, as I’m sure
everyone, no matter how they see things, has been worn out by our seemingly
unending cultural divisions, seeing the voter turn out and the diversity of
candidates inspired a hope that we were headed in the right direction.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Nathan McGlothlin, HSAL founder & part of both TLVS & honeybrandy, turned in:
#1 –St. Basil The Great, “On The Holy Spirit“: After spending a year reading through an orthodox daily planner, I decided to dig deeper into works written by the people who were influential as Christianity (in various strands) came into its own. As I read, I was continually fascinated by two things: 1) the logic that 4th century men used to explain the supernatural & 2) how much of the grammatical structure I had attributed to “English” was alive, well, & utilized by the learned in late antiquity.
#2 –“Mr. Robot (Season Two)”: There was quite a bit of engaging television released this year (“Stranger Things”, “Westworld”), but I found myself especially drawn to the continuation of this story. Even more so than the inaugural season, I was enamored with the way sounds & music were woven into the storytelling. Without giving too much away, the use of “story within a story” over the season’s arch may have been the best I’ve seen. Oh, & the episode where the lead character’s mind melds his world with an alternate universe based on the USA Network of the early-to-mid 90’s was fantastic.
#3 –Battle Trance, “Blade Of Love“ (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes): My connection with this album was unique in that I purchased the LP via pre-order, but saw the quartet perform it live before hearing the recorded version. Hyperbole aside, the live performance was something my soul needed. It was this incredible moment of release. Times that felt like directionless wandering were suddenly important because of their beauty in their moment. When I was able to spin the record for the first time & realize that everything I heard in the live setting was orchestrated to be that way, I was all the more impressed. It didn’t surprise me in the least to see this record show up on top of year-end lists.
#4 –Todd Webb, “Basic Forms“: In mid-October, honeybrandy was invited to play Webb’s gallery opening (this made sense b/c Webb’s “Oahu” project shared a split cassette with us earlier in the year). Having been a fan of his work for a while, I felt like I had an idea of what to expect. When we arrived at the gallery (“Thank You” in Norfolk VA), there was an immediate invitation to engage the art. Todd had prints of original drawings & was asking attendees to color them using pieces from the old-school 64-crayon Crayola box. He had comics that were begging to be thumbed through. He had over a dozen original drawings with different motivational or life-affirming statements. He uploaded twelve different color-coded audio files to an Instagram account & invited attendees to create their own mix of sounds by connecting their phones to a mixer & playing different files. A wonderful experience!
#5 –Tracking the honeybrandy record at BIG EGO: In November, Joey, Joanna & I made the trip out west to work with Chris Schlarb on what we hoped would become the first full length for honeybrandy. It was wonderful to step away from everyday life & focus on this project & southern California proved to be the PERFECT setting. Schlarb had arranged for some world class additions to the session – Phillip Greenlief on reeds & Kris Tiner on trumpet. We thought to ourselves “If we come away from the weekend with enough material for a full-length, we’ll call it a success”. After a day of tracking & a day of mixing, we headed back east with nearly two hours of spacey ambient jazz. 2017 will be a wild ride as we figure out how to share this one with you all!
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Andrew Horton, social media provocateur & young hierophant, turned in:
#1 – Sound of Ceres’ live show: I loved their record on Joyful Noise, but now Jacob Graham (the Creatures of Yes, Cascading Slopes) has created a completely amazing DIY live show with lasers, fog, and more. It’s like a band brought Epcot with them on tour, even if they’re playing in a storefront space. Best live show I’ve seen in years.
#2 – The Makenoise 0-Coast synthesizer: I’ve been a fan of their modules for years, but this is the culmination – a small, affordable, cute desktop box that can turn on a dime and take you to entirely new sound worlds. It’s a brilliant design that does more than many full modular systems and it sounds amazing.
#3 – The Norfolk, VA music scene: I moved here after a long time in Chicago, where in big city style everyone is in constant competition and would rather balkanize scenes into increasingly fragmented camps. It’s amazing to see how everyone acts like they’re in it together; we just want something cool to do. People come out for shows and support each other. Bills are never not diverse. The future of music is local and provincial; flee the doomed megalopolis!
#4 – Health: Do everything in your power to take care of yourself and have healthcare. Beg, borrow, steal. I had a surprise incident this year that left me with $6,000+ in debt and a shaky sense of my own mortality and that’s with good insurance and a safety net. For your health!
#5 – Big Sur, CA: I can’t even put into words how special this place is. It’s primordial. It’s overcrowded with tourists but it’s also as alone as you can get in the Conus at the same time. One of the most legitimately magical places I’ve been.