PFTSD vinyl4Sons of Perdition's immoderate album "Psalms for the Spiritually Dead" (PFTSD) has never been released physically. Until now. It was originally released in 2010 as a download only album. In 2014 a remastered version followed. According to Zebulon Whatley, it's louder and a bit brighter than the original version. Nine years after the original release the small label Secret Records in Madison, Wisconsin will release the gloomy album on vinyl. The label specializes in very limited editions of vinyl and cassettes. It's run by Vincent Presley (touring member of Those Poor Bastards). Preorder the vinyl here (opens in a new window). Secret Records offers a wide range of different alternatives: a limited edition Bone/Black/Orange swirl for $30 (100 copies), a limited edition GOLD vinyl for $25 (150 copies) or Test pressing on black vinyl, white labels and hand-written jackets for $75 (5 copies). You can also preorder the Vinyl/CD/Tape BUNDLE DEAL for only $40. It contains PFTSD on either color of vinyl, a CD of Trinity, and; the Gathered Blood / Spilt Blood Cassette at a discount. That's what I call a good deal. All offers includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app. Zebulon Whatley's idea for the sound on PFTSD was "overwhelmingly bleak". Mission accomplished and greatly exceeded. It takes a certain kind of disposition to listen to the album in one swipe. The vinyl format has the advantage that you can divide the overwhelmingly bleakness into two fairly equal parts. 

   

snakehandlingsoundtrackSnake handling, a.k.a. serpent handling, is a religious rite practised in a small number of churches in the United States, usually characterized as rural and part of the Holiness movement. The dangerous rite is a demonstration of strength of faith. If you are bitten, and die, it can be interpreted as a lack of faith or failure to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If you are bitten and not treated, and live, you are regarded as a strong believer. It can go either way. Over 60 deaths have been documented in the United States. The practice began in the early 20th century in Appalachia and is based on a literal interpretation of the biblical passage in Mark 16:17-18 (King James version): "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." The best known example is "Church of God with Signs Following", which is characterized by the five signs in the biblical passage: exorcisms, speaking in tongues, handling of serpents, drinking of poison (preferably strychnine or lye) and laying on hands. The founder of snake handling, minister George Went Hensley (who lived a troubled and dramatic life), claimed to have been bitten over 400 times by various snakes. Snake handling of today (prohibited but still practiced) is sometimes accompanied by music. I visualized slow and monotone banjo picking stripped down to the bare bone. However, a reliable source revealed to me, that the music being played is fleshy Southern rock in the same vein as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. I'm shocked and appalled.  


 

makegothiccountrymusicgreatagain"You look at what’s happening" Trump told his supporters at a rally in Februari 2017. "You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?" Not the Swedes, anyway, since nothing happened that night (or any other night for that matter). I'm more concerned of what has happened in America. More precisely, I'm referring to the decline of gothic country music. It didn't happen over night. It's been a slippery slope for a decade. This sad development wasn't predetermined. America has always been a source of attraction. I really believe in America when it comes to gothic country music. Heritage, culture and talent in abundance. But how has these great assets been managed? America, what is wrong with you? You must make your heart steel. The social media platforms are flooded with artists that you never heard of and, hopefully, never will. Their biographies are written by content marketing editors. It seems like an unproportional share of the artists grew up by a riverbank listening to old-timey music in grandpa's lap. Yeah, right. It's pretty awful to read. I must restrain myself not to explode. A new order is needed. Make gothic country music great again. It's going to be tough. As the philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli realized five hundred years ago "It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones." I have no idea or plan of how gothic country music will be great again. And maybe I'm longing for the old order, not a new order. But, we can start by speaking the truth. "Hello, we play gothic country". No, you don't. "Hello, we are a gothic country band". No, you aren't. "Hello, we are the real thing". No, you are fake. Strong words indeed, but I had to say it. Thruth will set you free.  


repeat400Here are some new hard facts. A scientific study has shown that for every hour of music-listening in a typical person's lifetime, 54 minutes are spent listening to songs they've already heard. There are several factors at play here. Nostalgia is one factor, for sure. Introspection is another in the sense of reflecting on yourself trough the music you used to listen to when you were young. The latter is a risk venture. A simple test: how do you - after all these years - feel when Ozzy Osbourne screams "You Bastards!" in the song Sabbath Bloody Sabbath? Does it (still) send a chill down your spine and do you (still) feel a little rebellious? I passed the test with flying colours. I'm evidently not dead, yet. Still, the 54 minutes leave me no peace. It's 90 percent. Are we humans really so limited and unimaginative? But after thinking back and forth, 90 percent may be acceptable. Personally, I believe that I'm closer to 100 than 90. It's an age thing. When you're young you listen, learn and absore. However, you aim and fire with a shotgun and not with a fine-caliber rifle and telescopic sight. At that age you haven't developed your ability to evaluate and select. Some of the music you used to listen to will live up to your standards today, while other music will definitely end in a facepalm. There's also the law of diminishing marginal utility. Wading through a quagmire with loads of music will make you quality conscious, but disillusioned. You will not get exited and expectant when someone says: believe me, this band is the new "The Smiths" (oh, no they're just another example of bleak britpop copies). With age, conservatism tends to take a firm grip of you, an early form of rigor mortis. You can try to convince yourself that you're open-minded and like to try new things, but that's probably not completely true. The management consultant says: step out of your comfort zone. Hmm, I kind of like it here. Besides, my comfort zone is probably, if not certainly, much larger than most people in my age. At least when it comes to music. And 90 percent of a record collection of 3 000 cds is more than 90 percent of a record collection of 50 cds. Some acquaintances ask me "do you still listen to music" as if music listening is an transition illness. I read the following summary in another science study: "As a person ages, perception declines, accompanied by augmented brain activity. Learning and training may ameliorate age-related degradation of perception, but age-related brain changes cannot be undone. Rather, brain activity is enhanced even further, but for other reasons and with different outcomes." I read between the lines. Work with what you got until you're dead and gone. I will keep on pushing the repeat button. Repetition is the mother of all learning.












 

before protectedTake a close look at the beverage crate on the left. This unglamorous crate is probably the most common place to store vinyl records. At least in Sweden. The crate on the picture is the classic 25-bottle quadratic model without partition (5*5). There are many of them out there, mostly in yellow but also in dark green. The model was taken out of circulation in the 1980s and replaced by the more ergonomic 20-bottle crates with partition (4*5). You have to take care of your vinyls and cds. Many people treat their vinyls and cds very carelessly. In my opinion, some people aren't equal to the task. Neglect and abuse of vinyls and cds should fall under mandatory reporting. A beverage crate doesn't signal respect for the product or the work behind. Lack of respect is universal. Respect is earned and not given. One who really deserves respect is the German company Protected.de who specializes in products for record collectors. They have virtually everything when it comes to cleaning, protecting and storing vinyls and cds. Their product catalogue is vast and the price level is moderate. A couple of years ago I bought their LP shipping box #1 1-3 LPs (article no 1051) with DHL shipping directly to my front door for €39,85 EUR ($45). A real bargain for 50 cardboard boxes of top quality. If you double-click on their logo below you will be directed to their impressing website (opens in a new window). Even window shopping is a delight with opulent displays of their wares.  
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