Johnny Lawhorn and the Pentagram String Band – Blood On The Wall
Friendly stereotyping might have kept traditional country bands safe from public judgment. But not groups like Johnny Lawhorn and the Pentagram String Band are ready to show themselves, complete with their expansive dark side, for all to admire or to be struck with fear by.
There used to be a moral panic in popular music. Don’t you miss those days! It had everything to do with rock bands, particularly heavy metal groups. Their lyrics and stage antics were deemed to be a bad influence on audiences. These bands talked about violence, various narcotics, or the horned one himself. This must’ve all just made country musicians chuckle.
Throughout the last century, American country music has been populated by the toughest cases in the music industry. “Blood on The Wall” is an expression of that, a tune seemingly written with the intention of being covered by Nordic black and death metal groups. If they do, however, they’ll also need to pick up the subtleties involved in the playing captured on Lawhorn’s recording. And, subtlety, as we know, is something that country music can do, but hard rock rarely finds it simple.
Hashshashin – Ghanzi (Avidyā)
Genre: Progressive Rock, Post Rock, Math Rock
Interesting music makes you want to go out into the world and embrace what it has to offer. Poor, cookie-cutter music makes most people want to hide from the world and create their own reality. Hashshashin works as a kind of Google Street View of global sound.
It’s nice to be reminded of the potential of modern music every once in a while. It’s fine to consider that we might be using it wrong. While the 3-minute pop single certainly has its role, the potential of more ambitious, strange, exploratory pieces to activate the imagination in unexpected ways should always be considered.
Far cheaper and less dangerous than illegal chemicals, naturally psychedelic world music ought to always be encouraged. Hashshashin’s “Ghanzi (Avidyā)” follows an Eastern motif inspired by Afghan music and rides it toward its natural conclusion, in this case, a kind of modern prog-rock. The trick lies in how unexpected these kinds of sounds will sound for most people and in the way it should make you curious about the world and everything it’s hiding in plain sight.