Breathe Stone - "Hex Thistle" (September Gurls 2003, SGCD 29)
The Does/Breathe Stone - "Sleep Deprivation Blues/Crow Omens" (Hand/Eye 2003, H/E012)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: March 2004
If the name Breathe Stone sounds a bit familiar it may be due to this group is related to the group Stone Breath, a modern Wyrdfolk group led by Timothy Renner. They have been around for a while and released several very fine records. Apparently, Breathe Stone has come about because of the desire to incorporate electric instruments, and Stone Breath was apparently envisioned as an acoustic group. Alright, that’s the back story - so how does it sound, you ask? Well, the full length CD on September Gurls sounds like, well, Stone Breath with some electric instruments in the mix - hey, it’s true, what can I say, the acoustic instruments still seem pretty dominant and with Timothy’s rather deep and distinctive vocals spinning tales of bodies, funerals and similarly cheery subjects over beautifully woven music, I wouldn’t be able to easily distinguish this from any of the Stone Breath releases. It’s not a slag either, this is another very fine record from Mr Renner and Co, and I totally love it.
The electric instruments are featured much more prominently on the three tracks from their split CD with The Does, on Renner’s own Hand/Eye imprint. The first track and last tracks, “Rara Aris” and “Maria Walks Amid the Thorns”, are chugging pieces of minimalist electric guitar riffage. The title track is a fine slab of Appalachian style folk, with alternating male/female vocals over banjo and fuzzed out electric guitar. These three have more of a raw, kicked out in one take feel than the tracks on the full length. This approach definitely is the better fit with The Does (as in female deer), who knock out three tracks of sludgy post punk noise rock. The opener, “four am”, actually reminds me a bit of Sonic Youth or even more the very fine and neglected NYC 80’s group Dustdevils. The second song is closer to the bluesy punk model that they describe themselves as in the press release, with some ripping slide guitar to boot. “Sleep Deprivation Blues” is one of those nasty distortion - laden crawls that ends up somewhere between early Pussy Galore and The Melvins. Can’t say that I really listen to this kind of music too often these days. I kinda had my fill of it back in the mid 80’s, but they do a nice job of it, so if yr an old fart like me and hankering for a return or still into this sort of stuff then you know where to look.
For more information you can visit the Breathe Stone web site at: http://www.SomeDarkHoller.com.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the September Gurls web site at: http://www.septembergurlsrecords.com.
Reviewed by Brian Faulkner