Record Store Day Spotlight: Ides of Gemini + Black Mare

Despite its original purpose – to show appreciation for the role of independent music shops in our communities – Record Store Day (RSD) is overshadowed by increasing criticism for its apparent devolution into just another manufactured holiday orgy of consumer spending, spurred by major record labels and unscrupulous music collectors. Taking a page from the book of holiday optimists, however, this year we honour the True Spirit of Record Store Day with a brief spotlight on Los Angeles’ psychedelic doom troupe, Ides of Gemini.

Ides of Gemini - Carthage 7-inch (album cover)

Ides of Gemini – Carthage 7-inch, album art by Jas Helena

The band’s month-long spring tour was cancelled last week when drummer Kelly Johnston sustained a herniated disc, a painful and debilitating spinal injury. A two-song 7-inch single, featuring the gorgeous black-and-white cover art by Jas Helena (pictured above), is scheduled for RSD release tomorrow via Magic Bullet Records (and digitally via Bandcamp.) Purchasing the single is an effective way to help support the band when it counts the most.

A-side track, “Carthage”, recorded during sessions for their most recent full-length Old World/New Wave, opens with a brooding acoustic guitar part and Johnston’s stark toms before leading into trademark Ides territory, resounding with Sera Timms’ haunting vocals and the electrified snarl of Jason Bennett’s guitar work. A moody cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” fills out the B-side.

Additionally, Timms’ side project Black Mare releases its own RSD 7-inch tomorrow, a split with Lycia featuring one Black Mare track, “Low Crimes”, for which a video premiered yesterday at Noisey.

Black Mare - "Low Crimes" video still

Black Mare – “Low Crimes” video still