arti+mestieri - tilt

Arti + Mestieri: Tilt (1974)

It was a rare opportunity: I managed to take two weeks off from work and spend time with family, doing one week in Mexico with my in-laws and another week in Daytona with my brother. Normally that means nothing but classic rock and sunny beach tunes to keep my mind relaxed, but thanks to another Sea of Tranquility video I started getting caught up in 70s Italian Prog. There was one band that I couldn’t readily find streaming (turns out you can find here on Spotify), and so here we are with another impulse buy, Tilt, the debut by Arti + Mestieri, which loosely translates to “Arts and Crafts”. We’re going in blind (or deaf) here, so let’s do this…

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hawkwind - doremi fasol latido

Hawkwind: Doremi Fasol Latido (1972)

It took forever to find a good copy of Doremi Fasol Latido, the third album from space rock pioneers Hawkwind for a price that wasn’t outrageous. The band’s third studio album – and the first to feature one Mr. Ian Fraser Kilmister on bass – marks the change of emphasis of their signature space rock sound from the “space” to the “rock” but I feel like the album gets a bit of short shrift since the live album that documents the touring cycle of the record might be one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. It’s definitely the place where I first heard most of these sings. But the studio effort has a lot going for it, so for me it’s still a part of the band’s essential discography.

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black sabbath - mob rules

Black Sabbath: Mob Rules (1981)

Despite being a massive Black Sabbath AND Dio fan, I’m here to sheepishly admit I rarely if ever listen to the albums the two made together. I usually stick to the first six album for both parties, but when I saw a great condition original pressing of Mob Rules at my shop I couldn’t pass it up and take a chance to dig deeper and see what works, what doesn’t, and how it compares to the discography I tend to stick to. Plus that album art…damn if this isn’t maybe one of the best covers in all of heavy metal.

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darkthrone - a blaze in the northern sky

Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992)

I am so far behind in cataloging my recent vinyl acquisitions (not to mention all the CD box sets I’ve been picking up) that I’m going to try and buckle down and get some short entries up, and at the very least explain WHY I have not one but TWO copies of A Blaze in the Northern Sky, the seminal black metal classic by Norwegian institution Darkthrone. They were the band that paved the way the way for my own music in Necrolytic Goat Converter, showing me that my musical expression could best be achieved via tremolo riffing and strained, raspy vocals that can’t quite hide the influence of old school melody. By any standard this is a classic of the metal genre, so let’s give it some thought.

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The Rationals: The Rationals (1970)

Sometimes you take a chance. It’s not quite like the old days when you would stroll through a record store and something would catch your eye: a name, some art. But it’s close, and as I was flipping through the Record Store Drop releases at my local shop I saw the reissue of the sole record from Ann Arbor’s The Rationals. The hype sticker drew me in as much as the colors on the album art: you put the words “Detroit R&B Garage Band” on your sticker and you’re going to hook me. I’m glad it did because it turns out The Rationals delivers precisely on the sticker’s promise: down and dirty rhythm and blues that has a foot firmly in the 60s while calling out to the more rock-centric power the 70s would deliver.

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snake mountain revival - everything in sight

Snake Mountain Revival: Everything In Sight (2021)

On paper there’s nothing I shouldn’t love about Snake Mountain Revival, the Virginia Beach psychedelic/stoner trio who after two successful EPs released their debut full length Everything In Sight back in November of 2021. Late one night before the release I listened to the available singles and made a judgement call, preordering the vinyl. Almost seven months later I finally got that vinyl, and listening now I can hear things that are appealing, but there’s a sameness to the tracks that, when taken as a whole album I’m finding frustrating. Was this always the album, or was the frustration of waiting contributing to my less than enthusiastic attitude toward the band and album? I decided to listen again song by song and see if I could get to the bottom of it.

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