None or Unknown
Upstate NY's Surmiser are a grunge, hard rock and post punk marriage who play every note with the conviction of lifers who have long since given up the notion of turning back. The band is an excellent power trio and have just released their buzzed about latest effort Hold The Static. Songs about depression, addiction and self assessment pair with focused but inspired soul eruptions that take you on a journey through a wide range of emotions. Surmiser are very much worth checking out, constantly working on ways to expand their impact and body of songs to mirror their experiences into something representative to their values in sonic form.
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In the microcosm of friends that I live in there are many women coming together to support and exalt one another in the arts. This is a marked shift from what you see in pop culture which is women competing with one another, exploiting their selves and each other for success, and approval from our patriarchal culture. – Sera Timms
Ides Of Gemini are one of the more deserving bands in the underground, always searching for both revelatory experiences and the breaking of new ground within their art. While the band have benefited from strong support from major players within the scene, from early support from Neurot to a tour with Ghost to finding a new coveted home with Rise Above Records, the band have also faced their share of setbacks that have forced their momentum to sort of develop via ebb, flow and word of mouth despite their hard work. Original drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson incurred a career-threatening injury while on tour in the US in 2015, causing founding members J. Bennett and vocalist (and then-bassist) Sera Timms to reassess their next move. After enlisting Scott Batiste of Saviours as a stand-in drummer for a short West Coast tour, things clicked and Scott soon became a permanent member. The band then expanded to a quartet for the first time, as Sera relinquished her bass-playing duties to newcomer Adam Murray.
The band have never shied away from making their own path and now return with an album called Women, a simple celebration and study of the sacred feminine perfect for these times when the President sexualizes his own daughter while cutting off all funding to UN Family planning or when just the other day one of the premiere and most dedicated writers in metal – who happens to be female – was attacked deplorably by a site for having a disability . It is great to see some bold art from a band that is far more respectful and also features a woman in a primary – not token/ fashion appendage – role. Sera’s drifting vocals on the hook of new song “Mother Kiev” are positively consuming yet far from predictable, while many still gush about the band’s bold recent take on “Strange Fruit” as a doom dirge. You can hear a mid tempo new track “The Rose” now at Cvlt Nation.
Women is produced by the talented Sanford Parker and features guest appearances from Tara Connelly of Clay Rendering (on Queen Of New Orleans) and Marriages and solo singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle (on She Has A Secret), a personal favorite of mine. Nicola Samori’s cover art looks like something out of a museum, delicate and yet strong and romantic despite being interpretively marred by a partial smear. But perhaps that is up to the viewer or listener to decipher if the art or songs indicate damage, obscurity or survival.
Read my latest interview with the band, this time with vocalist Sera Timms, below.Add to My Radar
Ides Of Gemini just sadly had to cancel their support slot on the Mountain Goats tour but if you listen to unstoppable new single “Carthage” you’d never assume there was any force capable of stopping the iron backbone in this music. CVLT Nation has the stream HERE. Seriously, when the heavier guitars first kick in I dare you not to have at least a tiny orgasm.
I just smoked a bowl and watched the half of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies I had yet to see to celebrate Earth Day, after spending my afternoon in Woodstock, NY watching His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje (the peace advocate who the Chinese didn’t want to be allowed to speak to American students here for fear his message would spread), tell a warm and jubilant crowd that Woodstock’s hippies are similar to most Tibetan saints in “loving nature and unity”. This “Carthage” track is about all I could have hoped to follow up such a day of sweeping fantasy cinema and my earlier outside spiritual afternoon revelation amongst like minded folk who care and know that compassion is a tougher face to wear than hate.
“Carthage” is full of resolve and beauty as well as a feeling of sorrow and somber, intricate textures. But the main thing is a stomping near grunge metal riff and soaring melodic banshee cries. It is the A side of their Record Store Day vinyl (the B side is a cover of “Strange Fruit” that will drop you to your knees). Head over to CVLT Nation and tell ’em Metal Riot sent ya.Add to My Radar
Due to a medical injury sustained by drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson, West Coast sound enigmas, IDES OF GEMINI — who are currently in the midst of a tour with acclaimed indie rock unit, the Mountain Goats — are unable to play their forthcoming New York shows.
In an official band statement: “Due to Kelly’s injury, we will be unable to play the scheduled NYC shows with the Mountain Goats at Webster Hall (tonight) and the City Winery (Saturday and Sunday), as well as our scheduled headlining show at Saint Vitus Friday with Kosmodemonic and Steve Brodsky. With a few days of rest and a little luck, we’re hoping we can rejoin the Mountain Goats tour in Philadelphia on Monday night.”
Hopes for a speedy turn around. Great band. Their Magic Bullet Records new 2 song “Carthage/ Strange Fruit”- which is out April 18th for Record Store Day- is insanely gothy, triumphant and majestically good. I heard an advance.All copies are pressed on limited edition, one-time-only runs of clear and black vinyl. The title goes immediately out-of-print after Record Store Day. Exclusive cover art by Jas Helena (seen above), and music that will stay with your for possibly ever.
Remaining tour dates BELOW.
IDES OF GEMINI have announced additional dates in support of their Chris Rakestraw (Danzig)-produced Old World New Wave full-length released in September via Neurot Recordings. Read a full length interview on the record HERE.
When asked about his aspirations for the band’s live performances last year, J. Bennett told me, “Definitely better. Hopefully bigger. I want it to be a real spectacle, with pyro and lasers and flying unicorns and shit, but I’m guessing I’ll get outvoted on that score.”
For dates see BELOW.Add to My Radar
Ides Of Gemini are one of the more meaningful acts operating on this barren Earth today, a synergy of ritual and romantic hymns to nature and the forces of spirit and self amidst the cosmos and this dark modern world. I recently was pleased to interview J. Bennett for this site and now the acclaimed dreamers have a new video out for you moody types. Ides sort of fill the same place in my hard heart as the much missed Ludicra or the active (last I checked) Amber Asylum, different in tone and sound but so compelling they cradle your heart in burnt hands. The buzzng guitar and bewitching vocal melody will sneak into your bone marrow.
In celebration of its release, today Noisey, reveals the vibey video vibes s of their erotic Daciana Birladeanu-directed “Seer Of Circassia” video. Elaborates singer/bassist Sera Timms, “The concept of the album traces the symbolic-psychological breakdown of a character over ten days [‘Seer Of Circassia’ takes place on day four]. We’re working within the structures of psycho-spiritual alchemical transformation, utilizing Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology. Essentially we have a story of the psychological conflict of opposing forces — yin-yang, male/female/dark light, etc. — each driven by desire. The masculine archetype in this story desires control and structure, while the feminine archetype desires recognition and equality as it has been repressed in the ‘Old World.’ Our protagonist is the Emperor, based creatively on the last Emperor of Constantinople, who represents the ego, masculine, solar consciousness along with control, structure, domination, force and power.”
View the gorgeously shot “Seer Of Circassia” video at THIS LOCATION.
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Ides Of Gemini are a constantly evolving mosaic, a poem of high magnitude and natural reverence. Listen to “Seer Of Circassia” from new Neurot release Old World, New Wave and you will marvel at how both history repeats itself and everything changes. While comparisons to Sub Rosa or Dead Can Dance have some merit, there has never quite been music like this before.
It was a pleasure to speak with IoG’s Jason Bennett (also of Decibel Mag) about the deep alchemy of this musical brew, ideal for both celebration and brooding.
Click HERE for the discussion. R.I.P. Robin Williams.
Ghost B.C. will be touring in support of their upcoming album, Infestissumam, out later this Spring, while Ides will be supporting their album Constantinople, out last spring via Neurot.
Check out the tour dates here.Add to My Radar