Quarantine Music, Part 1: Eryka Fir, Undercliff, Army of Karens, and Turkey Vulture

If you’re not an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably finding yourself with a lot more time on your hands — and even if you are working in healthcare or essential retail, your social life is shot.  All this “extra” time at home is giving birth to some unique projects….

First up is Vice & Avoidance, released on April 13th by Rhode Island musician Eryka Fir.  She says on bandcamp, “Some of these are ideas I’ve had for a long time that I just haven’t had the time to record, others were written during this period of isolation we’re all facing. Decided to use this time off to flesh them all out. Everything is played, written, and recorded by me at home with just an interface and a microphone.”  The result is seven bluesy, down-tempo songs, plus an alternate version of one of the tracks.  Fir weaves guitar and vocals in an entrancing slow dance with the plague doctor; Mlny Parsonz meets Alice in Chains with a hearty helping of desert sand poured on top.  Have a listen and check out Fir’s band Coma Hole too!

Next we’ve got The Comfort of Innsmouth from Connecticut doom metallers Undercliff.  This was not recorded during the quarantine and it comes out on June 5th, but it’s fittingly ominous for the current atmosphere.  You can stream and download the title track now, and preorder digital, vinyl, and CD formats.  I had the opportunity for an advance listen — let me say your preorder money will be well-spent.  The title track is the opener as well, hearkening a fictional New England town created by H.P. Lovecraft (a very cursed one, as you can imagine).  It melds seamlessly into”Pharma Funeral,” perhaps a musing on the more recent New England curse of opioid addiction; double bass under long riffs turns the intensity up a couple notches during this one.  “Crimson Canine” builds the intensity further, conjuring up sonic hellhounds with singer Paul Litewka’s characteristic snarl.  Closing track “Blacksmith’s Robot” brings it back to the slow burn of the first two tracks, ending the album on a foreboding note.  Fans of  Eyehategod, Neurosis, and fellow Connecticut locals Gorge will appreciate the straightahead doom grooves that Undercliff has to offer — get in front of this one.

Far from Alternative Control’s local scene, Justin Pierrot of Stormland teamed up with another Twitter person named @ShinyPointy and created ARMY OF KARENS.  (All-caps mine.)  As you can imagine, the Karens have had enough of this quarantine and they’d like to speak to your manager NOW.  The entire EP is about four minutes long, a death grind ode to entitlement.  Definitely click on each track to read lyrics like, “Don’t you know my husband’s a cop / I’ll give this place just one star on / Yelp.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself, Karen.

And of course, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t shamelessly promote your own projects, amirite???  Turkey Vulture wrote and recorded “The Quarantine Song” over the past week, adapted from the music of one of our old tunes from the band Jimmy Junk Bird and the Stiffs.  My husband Jim, the other half of Turkey Vulture, recorded it for us in Garageband.  I’m a little biased, but I think the “Old Man” character he adds to this song is really freakin’ funny.  If you think so too, download it!  It’s NYP with no minimum and any proceeds will be donated to local businesses.

That’s a wrap for now, but I’ve gotten many responses from people who have been creating during the quarantine — so stay tuned for more posts, including a quarantine video roundup!

For more from Alternative Control, find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramSoundcloud, and bandcamp.  Plus, follow our 2020 coverage playlist on Spotify to hear Stormland, Turkey Vulture, and more!

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