June 23, 2012 by Dan Swinhoe
Originally pencilled in for a Record Store Day release, the first original release from Maryland’s premier rock outfit since 2009’s Strange Cousins From The West was delayed til this week, but was well worth the wait. Carrying on the blue trend they’ve slowly been moving towards on the last few records, this acoustic number has more urgency and feels far more inspired than the majority of their last release. Good news that bodes well for the next record. The b-side, Motherless Child, was one of the better cuts from Strange Cousins… and gets given an acoustic stripping down. Simliar in style to the re-workings of old tracks for last year’s excellent Basket Of Eggs EP, the source track lacks the memorability of the those tracks, but still remains a decent number.
Hammer Of Heaven
A left over from the Age Of Winters recording sessions (a long time ago now) and set to appear on the Avenger’s Movie Soundtrack, it was pulled at the last minute. Given a release anyway, it’s a good reminder of how The Sword used to sound like. Featuring a slow but pounding Sabbath-worshiping riff that follows into a cow-bell groove, this would’ve sat nicely on the 2006 debut and easily outdoes any of the over-Thin Lizzy-inspired tracks featured on 2010’s Warp Riders. Hopefully this might remind the band of better days and steer them back towards recording heavy material for the forthcoming Apocryphon release.
Feistodon (w/Feist) & Spoonful Weighs A Ton (w/ The Flaming Lips)
Following last year’s RSD release of a yellow 7″ featuring a cover of ZZ Top’s Just Got Paid on one side and the original on the other, the mighty Mastodon take two different approaches this year. On one release, they apply the same logic to The Flaming Lip’s Spoonful Weighs A Ton, and for Feistodon, they take on Feist’s A Commotion while she tackles the band’s Black Tongue.
Spoonful… stays faithful to the original and is about as far away from Mastodon’s core sound as they could possibly get. Slow, melodic, and oddly sweet, it’s a decent song but not particularly what fans will want. For that, see here.
Feistodon was the headline grabber out of these two releases. After meeting on Later With Jools… the two groups decided they needed to work together, and the results are impressive. Mastodon turn A Commotion into a sludgey number the Melvins would be proud of, yet retains a sense of melody the original had. Feist turns Black Tongue into a surprisingly eerie quiet number, a surprising twist, but one that works really well.
[Normally I don’t bother with single reviews, as the ‘everything online’ nature of music negates the need, plus there’s only ever so much you can say about one song. But the release of so many vinyl singles within the space of a month made me decide I should do a special singles round up]