Havadine Stone already made one of my favorite albums of 2021 and now she’s joined forces with Ben Baker Billington as Blue Lick and with “II,” we get our first peek inside the glass jar. Stone’s words sting like the fury of 100 fire ants, zigzagging between blades of grass seeming innocuous until the moment they make contact. “I love watching people I love,” she half-whispers on top of Billington’s growling synth, the low hum a subterranean asteroid that tried to destroy us once, waiting for another turn. Liquid rhythms rise from these sonic ashes, a prickly effervescence contrasted against the rotten soil.
Stone pushes ahead, “This… is the Midwest. It’s flat and wide open. When something is flat and wide open, you can’t hide. Can you?” Her monologue spread across 12 tracks on Hold On, Hold Fast, is the mordant lighthouse casting a luminous shadow across Billington’s sundry aural landscape.
Hold On, Hold Fast is out September 17 on the inimitable American Dreams Records.
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