June 2020///Leather Feather///Favorite Judas Priest songs

Last month saw the release of the Ether Feather covers EP entitled "Leather Feather".  I''d been sitting on the title for about a decade and finally had the material to put together a little compilation of the cover tunes we've performed over last few years.

Leading off is the locked-in-place current line-up of Sylvia Black, Tim Young, and I.  We do a version of "The Ripper" by Judas Priest, mostly using the live in Japan version of the tune as our template.  Sylvia has been with us for about two years, but this is the first release to feature her on vocals.

I did a small interview talking about my favorite Judas Priest songs.
Here's the piece that originally ran in New Noise Magazine May, 2020:

Ether Feather’s latest EP, Leather Feather, out May 22, is all old-school metal covers, all the time. We chatted with them about the record and why they love Judas Priest so much.

“Cataloguing a short list of favorite Judas Priest songs is a tall order,” the band explains. “With bands like Priest who have massive, diverse catalogues plus a multi-faceted evolution, it seems like the favorites are always rotating, so this is pretty much an acknowledgement of the songs closest to the heart at the time of compilation. We probably could have had a blast compiling separate lists of early, mid, and late Priest, but here are five tracks in no order that have inspired Ether Feather.”

Out In The Cold (Turbo, 1986) One of the best love songs Priest did during this period between Defenders… and Painkiller (and there were quite a few). The side-two opener is definitely a divider among fans, but it’s an amazing use of production as a writing tool for a stadium rock band. I get the sense they could totally imagine how huge it was going to be, live in a packed arena, when the song fully kicks in after that synth intro and endless snare drum set-up. Heavy Metal Parking Lot is shot on the tour that would have first included this song, and I love imagining that kid in the Zebra leotard completely losing his mind to “Out In The Cold.”
Exciter (Stained Class, 1978). Certainly among the songs most influential in crafting the blueprint for what was to become thrash. The riff is so tight and hypnotic with the double bass work mirroring the guitar rhythm. This is some phenomenal Les Binks drumming. His contributions to the feel on the Live in Japan record is a big part of why we wanted to cover “The Ripper.” It’s way hipper than the studio version. This cut sort of does what “Painkiller” does in ’90, where they introduce Scott Travis via this completely psychotic break right at the top of the record.

Nightcrawler (Painkiller, 1990)
In true Halford fashion, he croons about a supernatural entity that visits its victims under the cloak the night (in the midst of a tempest no-less).  “Nightcrawler” was our soundtrack of choice in the late ’90s for stoned speeding around Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago like River’s Edge meets Thief. The whole Painkiller record is amazing and damn near any song could be on a list of favorites. It totally has a fuck-off attitude to everyone after the subliminal message trial. The record as a whole introduces Priest version 3.0, and they demonstrated that they could easily play shows alongside the younger thrash acts at the top of their game like Death Angel and Pantera.

Dissident Agresor (Sin After Sin, 1978)
This one has it all: a weird, non-sequitur shuffle, a quintessential, Halford scream, and one of the best opening lines ever: “Grand canyons of space and time universal.” Another amazing, proto-thrash masterpiece. Simon Phillips is drumming on this one, and the whole rhythm section delivers an amazing canvas for Rob to paint these long, sumptuous phrases over. I could make a list of just my favorite Priest songs that incorporate progressive rock, and this one definitely be included on that. The alternating solos between KK and Glenn are among their most savage, and you can see why the Slayer cover of this song shines so bright. Also, Sin After Sin has some of the best pre-Screaming For Vengeance cover art.

Love Bites (Defenders Of The Faith, 1984) This is kind of a recent re-discovery, and another great example of Halford’s supernatural, nocturnal imagery.  I think as a younger listener I was always a little deterred by the title, but the post-bridge breakdown of this song has been knocking me out the last few years. It’s a good example of how Priest uses tempo, and especially rhythm section feel, as writing tools. I love the delicate, upper-register guitar work that floats over what is basically a krautrock groove.  There’s not that much happening apart from the beat, and that makes it all the more brutal when the riff returns after an epic build. Live, it perfectly sets the tone for downstage trio formation and iconic unison head-banging choreography. Masterful arena rock.

Ether Feather are the brainchild of L.A. drummer/vocalist Dylan Ryan, who has also played with Man Man, Cursive, Red Krayola, and more. The newly-minted trio include guitarist Tim Young (guitarist on the Late Late Show and studio player: Mike Patton, Fiona Apple) and recently added bassist/vocalist sylvia Black (Lydia Lunch) who makes her debut on their cover of Judas Priest’s “The Ripper.” 
Previous band members who also appear on the recording include Devin Hoff (Sharon Van Etten) and Chris Welcome (The Flying Luttenbachers.) 
Band photo by Marfa Capodanno


February 2020


A few things in the works.  Ether Feather  is in the studio this month finishing up our follow-up to last fall's debut devilshadowlesshand.  We've been having a great time stretching out and inviting some of our friends to come in and play on the album (Ben Boye, below) and should be in the mixing stages soon.  We're also finishing up a covers EP with some choice cuts from the 70's and 80's.  

In addition, Herculaneum is re-issuing the last two albums that never came out digitally, this spring.   

Also, Marjorie Fair  has been casually playing shows around LA trying out new material from the record we are currently wrapping up.  

Furthermore, Man Man is a band I've been playing drums with this last year, and there are some nice things in the works that I look forward to presenting in this blog soon. 

To boot, McGaughey and I wrote several new Bronze songs that we're almost done with recording and getting the art together for a release, although you may have already heard some of those songs if you watch TV or go to the movies.

Other than that, I'm reading Mario Puzo's The Sicilian and listening to lots of Helms Alee.  


Solo EP is out

I snuck one more release before year's end; a 5 song EP of solo music I've been working on for the last few years called We Disappear  It's not Ether Feather, SAND, or Bronze, all of which I've been writing songs for this year, it's just a little batch of weird alternative rock that I thought worked nicely together.  Hopefully I'll perform them someday.


Man Man 7"

This month Sup Pop released some new Man Man music I drummed on.  It's the newest release the Sub Pop Singles club has done.  Starting from Love Buzz leading directly to this.  https://www.subpop.com/releases/man_man/beached


New Ether Feather album is out

It's been a long time in the works.  The new Ether Feather full length came out earlier in September and the video made its premier via The Obelisk.  Shot over two days in April 2019, the premise is an collage of several giallo tropes and soaked in Dario Argento references.  Great lengths were taken to make sure to have the J&B bottle as often as possible.  Featuring Torrie Bogda, Alison Schulnik, and Jonah Olson.