Two of Northeast Ohio’s finest underground outfits have joined forces for this split EP with each contributing three tracks, which will see release by Poland’s Interstellar Smoke Records. Surprise surprise the artwork caught my eye, evoking the dark satirical style of Raymond Pettibon and his work with the likes of Black Flag, Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Off! and unbelievably The Foo Fighters.
First up we have Ghost:Hello, made up of married couple Nina Skok and Will Jennings as well as long-time friend Pat Delagrange, who recently replaced drummer Joe Kidd. They have been touring extensively since 2013 and this release is the follow-up to the live sessions EP that was released in September, 2019’s debut The Sound Of Color In Space and the S/T EP, also from 2019.
The band start their side with Suit Up, a rather fantastic combination of cool swaggering Big Business fashioned stoner rock (especially Jared Warren’s vocals) with Middle Eastern tinged new wave synthpop. The song is so well composed that neither style clashes with the other and it flows with ease as a result. Next is a cover of Tyler by underrated early 90s alt-rock/grunge legends Toadies taken from their Rubberneck album, although you may be more familiar with the ubiquitous Possum Kingdom single. Whereas the original was a bracing slice of Pixies inspired power-pop, Ghost:Hello give it their own spin by slowing it down considerably and giving it an interesting atmospheric expansive feel. Finally there is the live version of Burnout that originally featured on the aforementioned debut album, and is the lengthiest track on the EP. Sound-wise you get a tasty slice of space-rock which builds up slowly before hitting its groove, and if the likes of Nebula, Monster Magnet and Hawkwind tick your boxes, there is every chance you will be stoked with this number.
a fresh injection of creativity to both the stoner rock, sludge and noise-rock scenes…
Next we have Night Goat for whom this is the first release since their 2019 album Milk, and not forgetting the 2017 debut EP Tria. They are made up of Julia Bentley on vocals, husband Chris Bentley on guitar/vocals and Dalin Jones, Donnie Casey, Mike Pavia rounding off the rest of the line-up. For the more observant among you, the band are named after the Melvins track of the same name, which is coincidentally one of my favourites by that band and bodes well for the music to come. They’ve also supported some fantastic bands such Cherubs, Whores, Backwoods Payback and False Gods.
Night Goat commence with Inverted Burial, which I can only describe as deathrock, and seeing as the band have listed Samhain as an influence, this is somewhat inevitable, but I also hear elements of Siouxsie and the Banshees and early Christian Death too. This slow and claustrophobic start sets you up nicely for the tracks to follow. Possession continues the eerie gothic deathrock vibes of Inverted Burial, but incorporates Melvins style sludge and shades of Helmet’s brand of staccato styled riffing to the mix as well. All this makes for an intriguing combination that will have you hitting that replay button again and again. Cult takes more of a post-punk direction, reminding me of Joy Division with some Ian Curtisesque vocals, and seeing as this is the concluding track on the EP, its downbeat, depressive nature makes for an apt conclusion.
Considering this is the first time I have encountered either of these two bands, I was impressed with the differing styles and how they complemented each other. There is enough diversity to keep one engaged and serves as a fresh injection of creativity to both the stoner rock, sludge and noise-rock scenes.
Scribed by: Reza Mills