22 July 2009

Eagle Twin —The Unkindness of Crows

Back in March a few friends returned from SXSW with real good things to say about a couple bands they caught down in Austin. One of those bands was Eagle Twin, the new project from former Iceburn "collectivist" Gentry Densley. At the time I was not aware of the connection and, really, there isn't too much to suggest one—aesthetically anyway—between the two. The Iceburn Collective was, for the sake of brevity, a music-major's hardcore band that, over time, morphed into a sprawling avant-garde jazz ensemble. I'm not familiar with their whole catalogue, but what I know never ceases to impress; straight-up punishing, heady, hardcore jazz in the early days to free-form jazz improv later on. Good stuff that I need to get further into, but I digress...

Eagle Twin, on the other hand, is a far cry from the cerebral hardcore-cum-jazz of Densley's former work. Here, with his baritone guitar, he has teamed up with drummer Tyler Smith to form a wondrous hybrid of doom on their debut, The Unkindness of Crows. "A hybrid of 'doom' and what?" You may ask. That's where this duo gets interesting.

As they hail from Salt Lake City, there is a noticeable lack of the "sludginess" found in their peers from more humid climes. Eagle Twin, much like Kyuss or Earth's Hex album, is a strictly desert West affair. Wind howls, blows sand and tumbleweed and carries your scent off to the scavengers who've taken brief refuge from the sun. This is monolithic stone, canyons and salt flats; a harsh, yet majestic landscape that holds a deep echo of banditry, solitude, peace and foreboding. Think of the forgotten country Americana of Hex occasionally interspersed with Kyuss-ian grooves and you'll have a rudimentary idea of Eagle Twin.

While the Kyuss comparisons might be a bit of a stretch, their low-end fire rumble was always Dr. Gonzo tearing through Death Valley. Eagle Twin keeps toward a slower, Earth-like pace, but with more growl and grime—here a mixture of sand and motor oil—seeping through. These towers of doom happen to also be new labelmates, as The Unkindess of Crows is being released by Southern Lord. I highly, highly recommend picking this up and checking them out live, as they'll be touring with Earth (yay!) and Pelican (blehh, boring) later this fall.

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