Zelienople – Stone Acadamy (Digitalis) 2006


This was a recommendation from one of the staff members at Red Eye Records in Sydney. I had read about this record by a sound archivist who put together the sounds and music of Appalachia under the auspices of the US Academy of something or other. It sounded pretty cool but I couldn’t remember the name of it. I gave a general description of it and instead of punching me in the face the staff member suggested this. Which, you know, is kind of gracious because I admit that describing something as, “There is this guy, Appalachia, recording um … do you know anything like that?” must be pretty fucking irritating. Now the store description on the slip case contained three of my current favourite words: bleak, drone and folk. I’m happy to report that those three word capture this record beautifully. It’s as bleak as Arab Strap, as minimalist and pastoral as Earth’s Hex, as folksy as the Woods and with the odd drone that wouldn’t be out of place on a Birchville Cat Motel record.

Stone Academy was originally a vinyl only release before being released on Digitalis. The band hail from Chicago and have a number of “official” releases that you can pick up off Amazon. The band have a great myspace site that’s worth checking out www.myspace.com/zelienople. They refer to their music as Ghost-rock. I don’t know if that description really works for me but I know that this is an extraordinary record that is both fragile and powerful at the same time. And without a blundering description of another record I would never have heard it.

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