Last Year, Part Four

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:

Morgan playing with TLVS, 2019 (PC: Nick Scheetz)

#1 Hopesfall

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. 

#2Wayne Robert Thomas

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. #

#3mewithoutYou

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.

#4Chihei Hatakeyama

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.

#5The Mercury Program

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.

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top of the month updates!

…so, DECEMBER is finally here! ’tis the season, & your friendly neighborhood record label is pretty jazzed at all the happenings around the lab of late:

HSAL #12 Cover

our second digital compilation is set to be released on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7th! much like last time (HSAL #08), we have looked inward to find interesting music from ’round here. this go around, we have the fortunate opportunity to showcase new tunes from a few of our own (herizon, TLVS, & goodwill falcon all have new, unreleased pieces!). the current tracklisting is as follows (we reserve the right to add a track or two before the release date):

– brian hall (gladys va), “cinco de mayo (single edit)”
– the snowy owls (richmond va), “meadow”
– long division (norfolk va), “mutations”
– boas (richmond va), “all things”
– white laces (richmond va), “red buffalo check (white laces redux)”
– goodwill falcon (norfolk va), “from the lowest shelf”
– rugby (lynchburg va), “sick box”
– evenings (charlottesville va), “babe”
– the late virginia summers (lynchburg va), “matisse (early version)”
– herizon (lynchburg va), “chesapeake bay”

in other news, goodwill falcon will be joining a few tour stops with rugby in january. this tour pretty much hits every “cool” spot in virginia, so there’s no excuse not to catch one of these dates. as dates are confirmed, they will be listed here.

finally, HSAL #04 is set to be released TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28th. “the trail at blackwater creek” (due out as a cassette w/ digital download) was recorded in a single session back in june of 2009. it was a guitar duet b/t joe morgan (TLVS, asentimentalsong) & pd wilder (hotel hotel). after the initial recording, joe had nathan from TLVS assemble a sound collage to work as an accompaniment for the piece. the final result is a 30 minute piece that serves as a soundtrack to a walk through the underbelly of lynchburg virginia. as artwork is finalized for this cassette, we will post more details. if you are a fan of super minimal progressions & long, drawn out layers of guitar washes, this could be your favorite release of 2010!

a handful of things.

first, a huge “THANK YOU” to any & all who made it out to the good cherry last night. we were able to help out the venue in a big way. we are hoping that all of the winter weather is over & done with by the 19th, when they host local indie rock stars quick on my feet & williamsburg’s goodwill falcon.

second, the good word on our first records seem to be coming from parts near & far. we have just received another favorable review of HSAL #02 from mid-atlantic art critic blog the zenith. you can read the entire write up here.

finally, we are still keeping finger crossed on the TLVS show with charlottesville’s astronomers this saturday night. this date, 02/06 @ rivermont pizza, is a rescheduled show from december’s snowstorm. as we get details on this show, we will keep you informed…