Two Triangle favorites—Durham roots revitalizer Phil Cook
and Chapel Hill doom dudes MAKE
—offered previews of their forthcoming albums today. Though they take wildly different approaches to their respective topics and tunes, both tracks foreshadow excellent area LPs to come in the next three months.
Due September 11 through Thirty Tigers, Cook’s Southland Mission
is earmarked as his proper debut as a bandleader, despite his previous turns as a solo singer-songwriter and instrumentalist and long history as one-third of Megafaun. Southland Mission
is a vibrant and well-built record, with fiddles and horns, harmonies and keyboards crawling across Cook’s great syntheses of blues, rock, gospel and folk bedrock. With its seesaw movement between reserved verses of tangled guitars and sweet singing and its shout-and-stomp, slide-backed chorus, “Great Tide”
epitomizes the record’s sophisticated arrangements and wide scope. But it’s the mid-song breakdown, where Cook dances with a sharp electric riff and the beat seems to bounce right off his blues, that’s the most invigorating moment here. Southland Mission
seems to delight in the sound of music itself; you can especially hear that in the back half of “Great Tide.”
(And, well, if you want a little laugh, check out Stereogum’s track premiere,
which is mostly an extended excuse to invoke the name of Cook collaborator and Southland Mission contributor Justin Vernon—and to mangle North Carolina geography. At least the commenters, including Duke Performances director Aaron Greenwald, have provided some fact-checking assistance.)
Likewise, MAKE’s “The Absurdist”
shows that the trio is thinking well outside of metal confines for their second LP, The Golden Veil
. They stay still for the start of this seven-minute beauty, with pointillist guitars and a patient rhythm section forming a gray canvas for Scott Endres’ tempered monotone. It feels almost like muted metal Krautrock, where the tune and the texture nearly become synonymous. MAKE ratchet the volume, so that the question isn’t when the eventual outburst will arrive (that’s the five-minute mark) but what shape the paroxysm will take—elevated doom, black metal, stoner gloom? Shouting together over Matt Stevenson’s quickened pulse and an imposing guitar-and-bass riff, Endres and Spencer Lee commingle the three, adding grandeur to irascibility and vice versa. The Golden Veil
is out July 23.