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Burnt Hills

Non Compos Mentis

    For the past ten years, Albany, New York free-rock family Burnt Hills have gotten together every Monday night in the basement of the now legendary Helderberg House (in fact the home of the band's head honcho Jackson Wingate) and blown out the cobwebs of sanity with monstrous, chooglin', improvised jams that pay only the barest of mind to the platitudes of rock form. As the layers of guitars build and build, the very notion of structure is pushed to its absolute extremities and the result is an ecstatic, cacophonic wall of soloing that smashes open the boundaries set by more tepid rock forms (kraut-, space-, even noise-). The four walls that contained this gnarling, celebratory howl - their 20th album to date - withhold a secret that few, except those lucky enough to have attended one of the band's fabled house parties, know about. Because Burnt Hills almost NEVER play outside their Helderberg Headquarters. This is a dispatch from the very epicenter of extremity. Fans of Les Rallizes Denudés, Castrato Attack Group, Endless Boogie will have the proverbial cow.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: Limited to just 100 copies with silk screened covers.

    Tom Settle is one of those guys that everyone likes when they meet him. A gentle soul with a sharp, understated wit and endless good humour. And, above all, humble. It comes across not only in the way he plays and writes music, but in the way he eschews acknowledgment for doing so. He's played in the wonderful Serfs with Jon Collin on and off for over ten years, as well as Beach Fuzz, Former Bullies, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura and Dinner Party. He's even released a couple of tapes under his own name that no one really got to hear as they were put out in such small numbers, which is a shame (not least because his cover of the Dead's "Dire Wolf" was enough to melt your cold heart).

    He's not only one of Manchester's finest guitar players but, Golden Lab thinks, one of the most intuitive and evocative in the world today. This 2LP (with a limited 100-copy run including a bonus third LP of entirely different and equally amazing material) featuring guests including Jon Collin, Nick Mitchell (Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura), Edwin Stevens (Irma Vep) and more, is a stunning example of his creative prowess and features a host of original compositions and improvisations as well as a handful of lesser known covers and traditionals, including some hitherto ignored-by-the-underground Lancashire folk music.

    It's far and away the most accomplished (if roughly recorded) psychedelic folk record to have been made in Britain in the last 40 years as far as GLR is concerned. Sitar, guitar, drums, bells, penny whistles, recorders and more gorgeously rough vocal harmonies than you can shake a stick at. We who call ourselves his friends haven't stopped crying since we started listening to it. Time ya got up to speed with what's going on with Lancashire's mellowest lad. Don't hang about. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: I love the sound of a meticulously recorded album, the way the highs and lows mix together, the attack of a good compressor as it activates. This is not that, it is a rough and ready collection of campfire songs and folk odes, and all the better for it. Warming and serene, these tracks are bursting with emotional depth and stylistic intricacy without ever feeling pretentious. Old Wakes is a visceral and highly rewarding journey through traditional and psychedelic folk across the globe, guided by the infinitely talented Mr. Settle.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    3xLtd LP Info: 3LP gatefold edition, inc. bonus disc (140g vinyl), limited to 100 copies.

    2xLP Info: Standard double LP.

    Burnt Hills

    Live At The Low Beat

      'Hey daddy-o, I don’t wanna go down to the basement,’ spat some lanky bespectacled dope once a long time ago. Trust Burnt Hills to wait until he was long enough dead to afford the opportunity to not have to. Holed-up at the Helderberg House in Albany, NY, these cuddly middle-aged monsters of tuff, levitational, psychedelic thug punk swirliness have made an avant-rock legend of their agoraphobia. They played out a few times over the years – Bard College, NY; Weirdo Records, MA; Ron Schneiderman’s Festival Of Endless Gratitude back during the heyday of that ‘New Weird America’ boom; the legendary Elevens show in Northampton, MA – but their collective heart has remained between four breeze-blocked walls, surrounded by the washing machine, some DIY tools, a wall of 4×12 cabs loud enough to be heard four streets away and an occasional Monday night party crowd, every member of which knows how utterly blessed s/he is to be there witnessing this glorious band take flight.

      When the party’s not there, the band still is – pretty much every Monday for the past 10+ years now – doing it purely for its own reward. Real goose bump shit. Golden Lab feels no smugness in having witnessed this thing in action seven times now (and sat in on one unforgettable occasion). Rather a sense of longing that the rest of the right thinking world could be afforded the same opportunity. But then, isn’t it the inaccessibility that makes it so special?

      Live At The Low Beat does much to disprove that theory. The show presented on this LP, recorded to digital handheld recorder and mastered in Manchester, UK by Dom Tanner, took place at a local eatery regularly frequented by the band (the restaurant boasts bottles of BH founder Jackson Wingate’s homemade ‘Flipped Out Records Habanero Death Sauce’ on its tables) on December 4th 2014. It was the first of what, it has been decided, will be an annual Burnt Hills performance outside the basement. Nine of the ten full-time members of the band were in attendance on this night (guitarist Panda was absent) and it’s safe to assume that they were all pretty well smoked, fed and oiled by the time they took to the stage as it doesn’t take long for shit to really fly. Close to 50 minutes in total, this is the most savage, raging, oblivion-bound Burnt Hills set yet committed to wax.

      There’s a whole bucketload of sensitive noodling amidst the chaos – along with the obligatory shred – but it’s, of course, the six-guitar pile-up that really takes this crescendo-obsessed troupe of suburban weirdos into the ‘Lord take me now!’ zone. As with the prior two Burnt Hills releases on Golden Lab, we feel blessed to be the label putting this out into the world. In an edition of just 250 copies with stunning psychedelic splurge art by Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura guitarist Dylan Hughes, this is gonna fly far and fast. Grip one while ya can.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: EDITION OF 250 COPIES ONLY. 140g vinyl in super heavyweight casebound jackets with black paper inners. Cover art by Dylan Hughes (Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura).

      Michael Flower & Neil Campbell

      Wharf Cat

        Second outing on Golden Lab for the pairing of Michael Flower & Neil Campbell (following a limited, instant sell-out double cassette in 2011). Best known for helping to establish the entire British underground psychedelic noise/drone scene as members of legendary unit Vibracathedral Orchestra, they are today, quite rightly, two of its most lauded proponents. This release - a beautifully packaged CD/7"/book set with stunning silk screened print work by Manchester artist Lucy Jones - pays reverence to that fact. The music was recorded spontaneously at live shows at Leeds' Wharf Chambers and Hebden Bridge's Trades Club, as well as at Michael Flower's home, and it demonstrates a more mellow, major scale bliss out version of the Sister-Ray-inspired endless web of intricate psychedelia that appeared on their previous release. It is, needless to say, utterly without peer.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        CD & 7" Info: Full-length CD + 7" single + silk screened art book by illustrator Lucy Jones. Limited to 250 copies.


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