Album Review

Cleared – Drown (Immune, 2014)

cleared - drown album cover
Cleared – Remote Ocean Prayer (Immune)

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Cleared is drummer Steven Hess (Locrian, Pan-American, etc) and multi-media artist Michael Vallera (aka COIN) and with only a few killer releases under their belt, Drown is looking to be their breakout record. So while this is essentially a guitar/drum duo, these dudes take that trope to a whole new level, making an almost-but-not-quite-metal noise/drone record that’s bookended with two amazing tracks that go way out into dream pop & shoegaze territory, something that walks the line between dark & heavy and light & drifty, with tons of feedback drone, static skitter, dark ambient shadows, cosmic expansion, shimmery guitars, and hypnotic percussion, it’s really just the fucking best, an absolutely stellar weird droney poppy record that’s hitting all the right spots for me right now, I honestly can’t get enough of this. Brought to you by the strangely underrated Immune, a seven year old slow burning label that’s doing everything right.

Concert Review

Cleared, Koen Holtkamp, Mind Over Mirrors At O’Brien’s

Mind Over Mirrors: set up in front of the stage facing the stage, old wooden harmonium draped with electronics, processed to the high heavens, gritty & beautiful, impossibly lush, a giant space drill boring through a star, shards of gold radiating everywhere, I wanted to bow before him and worship every moment of sound

Koen Holtkamp: somber rapid eye movement, supreme squiggle dreams, guitar and analog synth breaking through the atmosphere of transcendence, soaring among clouds of blissful regret

Cleared (Michael Vallera & Steven Hess): guitar/drums/electronics duo, walking the line of peace & disgust, would be nice at home on Enemies List, sludgy gloom pop back to back with black ambient industrial drones, creaks and crackles, pounding new wave stutters, grand upon grand

Update: Mind Over Mirrors & Koen Holtkamp sets already streaming over at Spectral Rehab’s Soundcloud.

Mind Over Mirrors

Koen Holtkamp