As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Voice of the Seven Thunders.
Fans of Rick Tomlinson have been patiently waiting for his emergence from his self-spun cocoon. It’s been a long time promise from Tomlinson that his old caterpillar known as Voice of the Seven Woods would be molted in favor of a new musical phase. Though the change isn’t as radical as one would have imagined -- as Tomlinson’s ragtag band is now just Voice of the Seven Thunders--the band’s self-titled [re]introduction is as powerful and mystique as the Tomlinson of old and we’re all the better for it.
The first release full-length release from Tomlinson’s Tchantinler (a vinyl edition is due in June via U.S. based Holy Mountain) is a mix of burning psychedelia and fine folk craftsmanship. The blending of such distinct styles has been at the base of each scene’s 1960s explosion but few have combined pristine artistry with transcendent fury quite like Tomlinson. Despite trading ‘Woods’ for ‘Thunders’, Tomlinson doesn’t skip a beat during even as bits of garage and no wave find themselves embedded into the canon. The eight-and-a-half minute boogie, “Set Fire to the Forest” stands as the shining beacon, throwing folk, noise, and psych into a giant grab bag and spilling out the contents all over the reel. Surprisingly, the scattered sounds piece themselves together into a hypnotically catchy tune. It speaks to Tomlinson’s talent that he’s able to lend a pop energy to his guitar shredding that bridge the gap between sheer experimentation and drab rock and roll. Deep from the abyss below, the wails of Tomlinson wait to collect the toll for those ready to make the rewarding cross.