Whenever Myles Donovan sends me an email about a new project, I know without question that it's going to be something special. I'm a massive fan of his work in Disemballerina, and in general, he's one of those rare humans blessed with both a pure heart and a prodigious appetite for excellent music, so of course I picked up my headphones as soon as I opened his email about A Stick and A Stone's new album, The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost.
This Oregon-based project features Donovan on viola and drummer Daniel Eppihimer, with bassist Elliot Harvey handling the lion's share of the composition as well as the ghostly, harmonized vocals, and traffics in the kind of muted, languid melange of folk, sludge, neoclassical, post-rock, and doom that renders bands like Amber Asylum and Wolvserpent so mesmerizing.
A Stick and A Stone's true power lies in its restraint; the tension between the notes, the tonal colors of Harvey's voice, Donovan's frenetic strings—each is a small force on its own, but together, the album's moving parts coalesce into a truly dynamic, enigmatic masterwork. Harvey, who is a transgender male, is possessed of a decidedly androgynous vocal range that complements the highs and lows of The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost, cooing sweetly and calling down the moon while exorcising the demons who run rampant in his lyrics.
The star-crossed "Spider Bite" is a personal favorite; forceful percussion and Donovan's sharpened strings cut through the fog while its dancing singsong harmonies recall an older, wilder world, where witchery and danger lurked beyond every corner. Elsewhere, Harvey manipulates metaphors and digs deep into themes of alienation, mental illness, and nature worship in lyrics that read like poetry. On face value alone, this is is atmospheric, minimalist, exploratory doom at its peak, and once its emotional depth is taken into account, we're left with an inarguably essential release.
The record's out July 21. Preorders are live now—grab those from Breathe Plastic (EU tape/pre-order), Sentient Ruin (US tape/vinyl/pre-order), Cold (EU vinyl) and Sprit House (CD/pre-order), and listen to the album in its entirety below.
Kim Kelly is hypnotized on Twitter.