Solar Halos, Dreamless, Weird God
Behind Solar Halos’ Carrboro, NC practice space there are train tracks and a concrete factory. You feel the rumble of diesel engines and sliding stone as much as you hear it. Like the digestive noises of a nation-sized beast, it jars your teeth. It rattles your marrow. It makes you feel small.
Within Solar Halos’ practice space, however, John Crouch (drums and percussion), Nora Rogers (guitar, cello, vocals) and Eddie Sanchez (bass, keys, vocals) take the long view. There is an even larger, more patient, more powerful beast, and it will level the field. “When time awaits / when monuments breathe / when mountains return to the sea,” rings Rogers’ clear and confident call over nuanced, propulsive sludge. “The calm water hides.”
Human endeavor can rumble and rattle and challenge nature, like the heavy industry all around, or it can tap into forces older and more powerful than anything anthropocene. This is a band that thinks in geological time, and an air of levelheaded patience pervades even the most driving songs. With obliquely poetic lyrics that wax mystical and scientific both, Solar Halos sings to the stones, the grass, the sea, the stars and time itself on second LP Coiled Light.
Recorded summer 2017 by Kris Hilbert at esteemed Greensboro, NC studio Legitimate Business, Coiled Light finds Solar Halos tightening its already impressive structures and expanding its expressive horizons both. “For a heavy metal band, the trio exhibits an emotional range far greater than stereotypical aggression,” observed INDY Week’s Jordan Lawrence. Indeed, on “Nebulas” dual vocalists Rogers and Sanchez adopt a Carl Sagan-esque wonder at humanity’s vulnerability to cosmic forces: “It won’t warn you when it fades to black / it won’t charm you as time yields to mass.”
Coiled Light is psych-metal for naturalists, for philosophers and for listeners willing to take the long view, to accept our species’ impermanence and to walk paths that fade in the light of day.
Despite both being longtime fixtures of the North Carolina music scene, Dreamless’ Finn Cohen and David Mueller never connected until years after Cohen left the state, first for Russia and then New York City. After a chance encounter at a Tony Conrad show in a desanctified church, the two struck up an aural correspondence that spanned several years, trading scraps of abandoned audio, Rube Goldberg grooves and surrealist soundscapes.
Over time, these iterative dispatches congealed into a surprisingly cohesive collection of songs, evoking spectral geographies traversed by misshapen creatures, endlessly shuffling between Fisher’s modes of the Weird and Eerie. After Cohen relocated to North Carolina in 2018, the duo recruited a quintet to interpret their creations for live performance. The debut release from Dreamless, Beastiary, arrives November 12th.