sky furrows - reflect and oppose (Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube Records) 5 Left
RELEASES - 24th NOVEMBER
Europe - Cardinal Fuzz
USA - Feeding Tube Records & sky furrows
Albany, New York’s Sky Furrows—guitarist Mike Grifin, bassist Eric Hardiman, drummer
Phil Donnelly and poet/vocalist Karen Schoemer—release their second album, Relect and
Oppose (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube) on November 24, 2023. Recorded in 2022 with Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab Studios and Pete Donnelly at Katonah Sound, the album’s eight songs crush and crunch, agitate and sprawl. All songs were written by Schoemer/Grifin and arranged by Sky Furrows, except for “Koba Grozny,” with music by Grifin and words adapted by Schoemer from Martin Amis’s 2002 book Koba the Dread.
Sky Furrows formed in 2016 and released their self-titled debut album in 2020 on Tape Drift/Skell/Philthy Rex Records, but band members had been crossing each other’s paths for decades. Schoemer and Hardiman overlapped in the late ‘80s at WCWM, a college radio station in Virginia. In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Donnelly used to trek from his home in Saratoga Springs to Hoboken, New Jersey to see shows at the legendary club Maxwell’s, where Schoemer was a regular. By the mid 2000’s all four were living upstate. Grifin, Hardiman and Donnelly have roots in the local experimental scene and are longtime members of Albany psych band Burnt Hills.
Schoemer, a former music critic for the New York Times, was developing her craft as a poet and began contributing to music projects around 2013. She has an MFA in creative writing from The Writer’s Foundry in Brooklyn, NY and collaborates with Mike Watt in the bassvoice duo Jaded Azurites and with Oli Heffernan and his rotating cast of free-jazzers in Ivan the Tolerable. Grifin records and performs as Parashi and with the band Valley of Weights; Hardiman operates solo as Rambutan and plays in Century Plants and Spiral Wave Nomads. Sky Furrows’ aggregated knowledge of, dedication to, and participation in postpunk, psych and experimental music scenes is vast and deep.
This institutional commitment infuses every moment of Relect and Oppose. Grifin’s razor shred and calamitous distortion ind a foil in Schoemer’s semi-spoken delivery and onslaught of observations and images. In “Shopping Bags” a woman doesn’t realize the loneliness she’s carrying around, while “No Cause for Concern” relentlessly builds into a mental and physical breakdown. Hang on the words or cruise on waves of sound—Relect and Oppose melds both, forcefully.
Reviews from the self-titled debut LP:
"Poetry-rock is such a high-wire act...[and] Sky Furrows just fucking nails it on all counts. Schoemer's words are dense and beautiful...blend[ing] impressionistic storytelling, philosophical intimations, and the occasional pop culture reference.." (Auxiliary Out)
“Way out songs and stories from four musical sages, a controlled burn of combustive guitar, piston-ired rhythms, and incendiary poetry... It feels like a lost SST classic, like something between Minutemen and Saccharine Trust, but more outward bound than either." Marc Masters (the Wire/Pitchfork/Washington Post)
"...shifting tempos and dynamics keep things diverse....while Schoemer's narratives are at the center of the album, the music...always remains in perfect balance." (Brainwashed.com)
"....[pointing] skyward at times, dying in the groove lines at others...stories, poems, anecdotes [delivered] with captivating energy..." (Foxy Digitalis)
“Poetry across crystalline music. The rhythm of guitar, bass and drums driving emotions into the depths of mind and body. Words describing dreams and a surreal splintered reality. Together, vocal reciting and tightly played music are both soothing and penetrating… Sky Furrows balances many attributes with beautiful agility. Beatnik origins escorted with exponential gracefulness into modern times. Poetry beyond its hours. Sonic process weighting absorbing thoughts.” (Lost in a Sea of Sound)
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