Bill Mallonee has given new meaning to the word “prolific” in his long and storied career as a traveling troubadour, singer/ songwriter, and all-around provocateur. When you put his work as the creative force and leader of the Athens, GA, band Vigilantes of Love with his fruitful solo career, he’s made 50 LPs worth of tunes. (Many of his WPA recordings never made the journey to plastic and were only available as digital downloads. Still, 2011’s The Power & The Glory and more so here on Amber Waves, Mallonee has captured the energy and creativity of his earliest, most celebrated albums in a way that his lo-fi digital collections could not. First, he’s joined by drummer Kevin Heuer and bassist Jake Bradley (both did a stint in VoL), and, thanks to the support of his Kickstarter fans, they’ve recorded in a real studio allowing for a more artful texture throughout. Of course, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, two to whom Mallonee is often compared, there’s a certain repetitiveness across his lengthy catalog, but on Amber Waves – perhaps his best album in a decade – the guitars are more intricate and beautiful. The songs coalesce around the ideas of overcoming life’s cruel fates and hardships through the power of Love, who “always gets the last word.” It may well be that “Once Your Heart Gets Broken” and it “just keeps on breaking,” you learn a few things worth passing on: “A six-string drag through an old tweed amp/healing spirits and breaking camp/and the high desert kiss of my girl/and God’s face is peaking ‘round the door/ in that high and lonesome tremolo/and in Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World.’” It’s quite enough to make you look forward to the next 50 CDs.
Dempsey Mills is the brains behind Vials of Wrath, an atmospheric solo project rooted in Nordic inspiration, historic genre, and a dichotomy of peace and tension that underlies the heaviness of the music. Just don't call it unblack.Full Feature More from Vials of Wrath
When the going gets tough, artists create art. Despite a world reckoning outside our quarantined doors, musicians relentlessly created new music giving birth to genre-defining releases and, despite a year spent indoors, a marked 2020 full of passion and fervor. Here are our Top 25 albums of 2020.Full Feature More from HM Magazine
The world came to a halt in 2020, but London-based Drones trudged on, giving a voice to the hurt that circulates with (or without) a pandemic: "You shouldn’t underestimate the power of writing things down or literally speaking them out loud, which I’m learning. I’m glad I made these songs, no matter how personal they are."Full Feature More from Drones
...a kind word goes a long way. "When it comes to writing and music, these are the gifts God has given me and that’s what I want to use to further the Kingdom and return those things back to God."Full Feature More from Earth Groans