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.
Your friendly neighborhood record label is near ecstatic to share our new lineup! Assuming you have been following us since the beginning, you have seen/heard records from TLVS & asentimentalsong (both acts were part of our 10″ series a few years back). No introductions needed there. Over the past year, honeybrandy has developed into an ethereal drone project all to itself (both Joey & Nathan are members of TLVS). On the strength of recent Lynchstock performances & sheer creative output, HSAL is uber-proud to welcome KillGXXD & Lloyd Harmon to the family. Both of these additions will be working on new releases over the summer months. For KillGXXD, it will be his first foray into live instrumentation as he partners with several folks from the Hill City musical scene. Lloyd Harmon, alongside of his stunning rhythm section, will be tracking material for a new EP with Chris Schlarb (countless collaborative recordings, the Psychic Temple being his most recent trend).
As we work through the back half of 2016, look for the following releases to surface:
#29: honeybrandy/Oahu – (AUG/SEP) split cassette with each group presenting a single 20+ minute composition!
#30: KillGXXD – (late winter/early spring) CDEP mixing original material & a choice cover or two…LIVE INSTRUMENTS!
#31: Lloyd Harmon – (early fall) CDEP of “RA-K35H” material. Mainly the trio, but a few guests may sneak in!
This past Friday, asentimentalsong & honeybrandy traveled east to space out for the patrons of Cure Coffeehouse & Brasserie in downtown Norfolk. It was great to spread the HSAL love to the tidewater folk. Highlights included complimentary Bellinis, strange sounds emanating from delay pedals during Himalayan Belles’ set, & honeybrandy inadvertently lighting patch cables on fire. Many thanks to Todd Webb for show set up & hospitality! In related news, look for TLVS to make their way back to Hampton Roads in the coming months…
We were so jazzed to start the festival off with the “tailgate” stage just outside the main gate entrance at this year’s Lynchstock! All three acts created the perfect entrance/ambiance to the day’s melding of different stylistic & artistic visions. Thanks to DJP & MrT (pictured above), asentimentalsong, & Seamonster (pictured above) for taking to our stage. We were also happy to present TLVS with some special guests on stage for their set in the afternoon. The “Discover” stage proved to be a really great melting pot of sounds all day long. Here’s a clip from the TLVS performance. It features Mike Tannian in the intro before the group storms into “Perseus Cluster”…
In case you weren’t aware or just missed our previous announcement, we’ve been afforded the honor of running a “tailgate” stage to help usher in the Lynchstock Music Festival! We wanted to put together a special treat for those who arrive on time or even (dare we say) early! We’ve secured a generator & are setting up to help celebrate the auditory magic that our Old Dominion continues to birth. Tentative schedule for the “Tailgate Stage” is as follows:
11:00A – 11:18A: Seamonster (super cute iPad-friendly pop tunes)
We’ll have everything set up for each act to happen one right after the other! The last sound from our stage will be done in enough time for you to rush the stage for the first official act of the festival. HSAL will also be taking care of the TLVS merch table/area. We’ll make sure there are some sweet deals on other Virginia-based vinyl, cassettes, CD’s, & other sundries available.
NOTE: We put together a playlist of all the HSAL related acts playing Lynchstock. Check it out ———–>
Speaking of TLVS, they are slated to perform on the Discover Stage at 2:05P! They are working on something rather interesting for their set & will have some special guests on stage with them. We are planning to document the set, but would love some assistance. If you end up filming any of the set or snap a couple of photos, we’d love to see your handiwork. Should we end up posting anything, we’d be delighted to post it (giving you the credit for it, of course).
We’ve worked out a really cool opportunity to join in on the Lynchstock festivities next month! As you all (should) know, TLVS will be playing the festival again this year. It should prove to be a wild ride, as Joe & Nathan are working on some special guests to assist them in performing a track the new record for the first time!
The new news is that HSAL has been given the honor of starting the whole day off! We have curated a pre-show stage that will be set up at the entrance gate to the festival grounds. We are going to have HSAL friends & family perform short sets leading up to the gates opening at 12P. We’ve confirmed sets by asentimentalsong (Joe from TLVS), DJP & Mr. T (featuring Jackie from Wyteshayds), & Seamonster (who will be releasing an ambient set on cassette/digital with HSAL this summer)!
*this is the third of our split 10″ series. the idea is to feature one of our own on the A side, with a friend of the label holding down the B side.*
the simplicity & openness of minimal music has always been near & dear to the heart of the assembly lab & this release allows for that affection to make itself known. j morgan’s (of TLVS) first released outing as “asentimentalsong” is a single fifteen minute composition that flirts with tension will riding down streams of swelling guitar layers. the b side, courtesy of brooklyn’s guilty ghosts, is comprised of three guitar pieces that rely less on rhythm & more on anticipation. these songs were dreamt up by tristan o’donnell during the tracking of his most recent “veils” LP.
AVAILABILITY: marbled burgundy vinyl + digital download, limited run of 100 ARTWORK: jacket courtesy of HSAL, insert courtesy of the artists PURCHASE: hardingstreet.bandcamp.com
– White Laces: our RVA darlings are SUPER busy these days. they skipped SXSW in lieu of working out ideas for their upcoming full-length. they have been accepted to this year’s MACRoCk festival (04/06 & 07, harrisonburg va) & will be playing with the likes of creepoid, lower dens, & big troubles! they are currently playing shows in support of HSAL #17 & a recently released split 7″ with arches (worthless junk).
– TLVS: they made it back from SXSW in one piece! they will be playing out this spring in support of HSAL #16, which should be shipping out from the lab in the final days of march. joe & nathan are continuing to work out new ideas, building off of “eid mar”, which will appear on the upcoming 12″ comp. their self-imposed goal is to have a new record done by summer’s end.
– Virgineola: stripped down to a four piece (with the occasional guest), virgineola are actively working out sound ideas for their role in this summer’s re-telling of shakespeare’s macbeth. a recent performance to support endstation theatre’s upcoming season proved to be a successful test run for the new line up, as reverb drench banjo, electric drones, simple synth driven low-end, & brushed percussion echoed through sold out auditorium. highlights from their 2010 run with “hamlet” can still be downloaded for free here.
…whew! halloween is tomorrow & we are too busy to even don costumes this time around. instead of leaving a bowl of candy on our porch, we figured we would catch you up on what we have going on at the lab:
– HSAL #10, the self-titled debut LP from our most recent signing, alaska, is just about done. we are running into a bit of a hold up from the presses, but we still hope to have copies ready to ship out on tuesday, november 9th. if you will be in lynchburg next weekend, alaska will be celebrating the album’s release down at rivermont pizza (2496 rivermont ave, 24503). also performing will be local skewed pop duo rugby, who are currently finishing up songs for a cassette they will be self-releasing (perhaps our first foray into distro?)…alaska is also setting up to finish the calendar year playing shows around virginia & north carolina.
– on the cusp of their first live performance, herizon is has filled out with virgineola serving as the session musicians. in addition to this performance (part of our 1st year anniversary showcase – 11/12 @ the muse830 in midtown!!! – see poster below), tim & kim are working on a one-sided LP that will feature a collection of herizon works on the A side & an etching by a friend of the label on the B side…
– last year, joe from TLVS & our friend pd wilder of hotel hotel sat down & tracked a 30 minute, 2 guitar drone piece. after the original tracking, nathan from TLVS assembled a noise collage to “complete” the piece. the result is “the trail at blackwater creek”. we will be releasing a small run C-30 cassette (HSAL #13) for this piece. look for that around the start of the new year.
– we are putting together another digital comp! as with the first comp we did back in the spring, this collection will feature unreleased work by our artists (herizon, TLVS, white laces, goodwill falcon, & more) as well as by friends of the label, both new & old (the snowy owls, rugby, evenings, & more). our hope is that this collection, HSAL #12, will be released around the holidays.
it’s high time for an update from the lab…and, away we go!
– our music groups have shows going on all month long! from local sightings by members of TLVS (asentimentalsong is performing @ the white hart downtown) to dates in preparation for a stint at this year’s CMJ festival (white laces are playing with sore eros, eternal summers, & more up the east coast), the assembly lab is coming on strong at the onset of autumn. you can check out a full listing of show dates & venues here.
– richmond based blog “in the black & white” recently featured the lab in their weekly write-up! plenty of great B&W photos as well a streaming sampler curated by pj sykes, whose photography has recently been showing up in LP art from the likes of versus & superchunk! click here to read the entire article.
– ALASKA has finished up their debut full length! we are currently waiting for the LP’s (white vinyl!!!) to return from press & anticipate a 11/09/10 release date (just in time for the group to finish the year strong with a series of shows in support of the record). the album features 7 solid jams filled with quick changes ushered in by a powerful rhythm section & tons of catchy licks that seem to have time traveled to this record from some old ventures outtakes! you can stream “our kind of weather” here.
– finally, more mentions of our groups along the information superhighway:
goodwill falcon: click here…
white laces: click here & here…
CAVE DRUMS & ommacobba: click here…