Eric Miller: drums & percussion
Sue Lott: bass & vox
Phil Dürr: guitars & leads
Scott Hamilton: guitars & effects
Eric Hoegemeyer: piano, backing vox, percussion, sounds
Matthew Richards: backing vocals and other noises
Produced by Eric Hoegemeyer and Luder .
Recorded and engineered by Eric Hoegemeyer, Steve Lehane, and Alex Kaye.
Recorded at Rust Belt Studios - Royal Oak, MI.
Vocals recorded and engineered by Clyde Wilson at Mount Doom Studio - Warren, MI.
Mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer at Tree Laboratory - Brooklyn, NY.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio - Ann Arbor, MI.
Art by Matthew Richards and Sue Lott (mochimad.com).
Photography by Matthew Richards and Sue Lott.
Lighting assistance by Rich Watson (digitalfarm.net).
Textiles by The T-Shirt Guy - Warren, MI.
All songs written by Luder, except "I'm Afraid Of Americans" written by David Bowie, Brian Eno, published by TINTORETTO MUSIC / UPALA MUSIC INC (BMI).
Published by Small Stone Records (ASCAP).
A winning mix of shoegaze and Sabbath-inspired riffage from female-fronted Detroit four piece.
If a band was to pick a Davie Bowie song to cover, most would opt for for something from his '70s or early '80s output. There are not many bands that would choose Bowie's 1997 single “I'm Afraid Of Americans”. But there again Luder (for it is they) are no ordinary band. On Adelphophagia, the band's 2nd long-player and follow up to 2009's Sonoluminescence, the band's version of the lesser-spotted-Bowie-single adds a rock guitar slant to Bowie and Eno's squelchy electro-funk. It's a choice that tells you much about Luder. They've one foot in the four-square grunge rock classicist camp, while slyly casting admiring eyes and taking note of the more avant-garde, artful and experimental. The Lady Gagas of rock if you can picture that for a second. Well maybe not, but if anyone remembers electronic rock duo Curve, that may give you an idea of what we're dealing with.
It's this mix of leftfield rock and big choruses that gives the album it's strength. It's moody, but big on groove. The album's release on Small Stone Records marks something of a stylistic departure for a label that's usually associated with a more macho stoner rock sound. This branching out into more cerebral meditative territory can do no harm though. The riffs when they do come will still satisfy die-hard rock fans, they're hard hitting and perhaps all the more effective for the band's otherwise restrained use of dynamics. While difficult to pigeon-hole into one stylistic genre, as there are various strands in Luder's musical DNA, it's this effortless blending that ultimately stands in the band's favour, and anyone willing to listen will no doubt be won over. Oh and the album title? It's what happens when an embryo consumes another in utero. So now you know!
Initially they came across as in the stoner rock mould of Fu Manchu, but there's more to Luder's expansive space-rock than first meets the ear. Far from being simply stoner rock with some progressive pretensions, this flirts with genres as diverse as Soundgarden-esque grunge (opener "Never Like You") and gauzy shoegaze ("Ask The Sky"). "Astrolabe" harks back to The Verve's inimitable debut A Storn In Heaven, all those loose grooves and freeform, spaced-out guitar. "Dirge" and "Heartfelt" represent the most indulgent side of the album. Reminiscent of classic rock like early Sabbath cobined with the expansive sonic palette of 70s prog pioneers, the kitschy feel here doesn't detract from how enjoyable this band is. On the tail end of the record the cover Bowie's "I'm Afraid Of Americans," which morphs from the original - an industrial-electronic Trent Reznor collaboration - into a monolithic psych-metal anthem. Bassist Sue Lott's snotty vocal performance here does the track justice, but her normal delivery is much more restrained. Carrying the melody without being too high in the mix, she gives the recordings an organic, vintage feel that will lure in casual and intense listeners alike.
A female fronted four piece from Detroit, Luder, on this 9 song album “Adelphophagia” stick to a doomy brand of groove-worthy stoner rock that would make people into Clutch, Queens of the Stone Age, and Soundgarden very giddy. Bassist Sue Lott has a sultry sensibility to her enchanting melodies, sweeping your ears into another dimension on “Astrolabe” and the slightly latter day Beatles-esque “Ask the Sky”. Expect songs that occasionally jam from an instrumental standpoint, allowing for extraneous repetitive build-ups or noise that fuel the arrangement to a crescendo, the closing 9 minute plus “Remember What I Said” a clear example as guitarists Phil Durr and Scott Hamilton tastefully alternate between clean and electric motives.
I feel the band’s musical chemistry and think Luder can go places with plenty of touring to spread their philosophy to more.
Rating: 4 / 6
- Matt Coe
Having made their debut some time in 2009 with ”Sonoluminescence”, Detroit-based four-piece Luder have since marked themselves by sounding as intriguing yet ‘hard-to-get’ as their equally difficult album title – making them intriguing in more than one respect. Having since returned with “Adelphophagia” – equally challenging for the standard vocabulary, Luder seems to have been wasting no time in developing their skills and exploring new sonic territories since their quite praised debut. Wasting no further time let us then have a look at “Adelphophagia”.
With opener of the album “Never Liked You”, we get a rare glimpse into the shorter songs of Luder, effectively making it the only track on this sophomore outing to dip below the 5 minute mark. Interestingly so, the crunchy 90’s-like riffing of this track seem all the more focused for it. Rather than throwing an otherwise great riff into a puddle of psych, the riff has been granted a unique opportunity of standing on its own – making this the first truly diverse experience of the album, portraying that Luder have indeed grown on their sophomore effort.
Don’t get too comfortable though, because with “Heartfelt” the band throws themselves directly into a pool of acid-drenched riffing once more, living high and mighty on the gloomy tones and the repetitive riff that lays the foundation for their sonic explorations – all the while leaving plenty of room for each member of the band to test the boundaries of the instrument being played. It’s a playful listening experience, but also on you’d have to be into beforehand to really get.
Equally so, the band continues in this direction on the following track “Ask the Sky” – albeit in a slightly more airy fashion, portraying a somewhat progressive side of Luder. On this particular track, I’m constantly getting the vibe that I should be into this, yet I’m not. As of yet, I’m still quite uncertain as to why that is, but my best guess at this moment could very well be the stale development of the track when comparing it to others of equal length on this album. The equilibrium seems rather off, as the track constantly seems to be ‘building’ with the listener never really receiving this huge climax one would initially expect to come. Ergo, the whole thing comes off rather unbalanced – making “Ask the Sky” an unexpected low of this otherwise quite solid effort.
In short, Luder seems to have improved on certain key areas since their debut. Yet somehow, I still seem to have trouble fully appreciating certain key aspects of their sound as a whole. Perhaps I’ll get it eventually – I’ll certainly keep trying.
Download: Never Liked You, Heartfelt
For the fans of: My Sleeping Karma, Causa Sui, Monkey3
Given that they lean more towards Slint than Sabbath, Luder's heavy shoegaze is something of an anomaly for Small Stone but they're not as far from their brasher contemporaries as it may first seem. It's largely the gracefully drifiting vocals of Sue Lott that lend these nine tracks such a dreamy air but her basswork is contrastingly grounded, a thick burr that shackles itself to the serpentine guitars of Phil Durr and Scott Hamilton. At times, they could be mistaken for a rootsier Bardo Pond, at others an astral-travelling Pearl Jam, though there's no mistaking that Adelphophagia is a wholly unique work. Full of warmth, colour and soul, there's nowt better to cure your winter blues.
- David Bowes
Let’s just say this isn’t your typical Small Stone record. Gone are the fuzzy guitars, downtuned tempos and resin-coated vocals. But, speaking of guitars, label head Scott Hamilton handles axe duties for this Detroit outfit, so in case you’re wondering why this came out on Small Stone, well…
That said, there’s some pretty decent fuzz riffage on opening track “Never Liked You,” although it almost drowns out the water-logged female vocals at times. Think 90’s alt-rock outfit Garbage, but with guitars. Elsewhere, “One Eye” sounds like The Gathering at their mid-90’s best, before they got a little weird. “Heartfelt” has some slow, wandering passages that are just as heavy as anything on the last couple OM albums, while “Dirge” is somewhat reminiscent of Neurosis in their somewhat quieter moments.
So yeah, maybe this isn’t so out of place on Small Stone, after all.
- gary delusion
Detroit based band Luder must receive an arrogant enjoyment from self-promoting themselves as the smartest kids in the class. I could almost envision the smug smile as they conceived the name of their first album Sonoluminescence, referring to sound waves reacting on passing through a substance to create light. This trend continued on the new release Adelphophagia (a phenomenon where an embryo consumes another in utero). Upon listening to the album, as conceited as this tactic could be perceived, it is almost symbolic of the band themselves. On Adelphophagia, Luder showcases their unbridled intelligence and creativity to construct an album that is sensually textured yet approachable.
Immediately, “Never Liked You” defibrillates the album with a groovy bass backbone as illuminated guitar riffs enliven the song’s once melancholy scenery. Following quickly is the psychedelic “Astrolabe”, where Sue Lott’s (bass/vocals) brooding bass and soaring vocals create an opaque atmosphere. Imagine the stoner rock equivalent of A Perfect Circle and that is where Luder finds their musical solace. Lott’s range is far from a Maynard James Keenan, as his vocal style resides at an above whispering cadence for most tracks, but is whimsical in its execution. “One Eye” is a haunting epic with heralded guitar work from both Phil Dürr and Scott Hamilton. Late in the lengthy track, dueling guitar solos bolster up the momentum as the track slowly turns decrepit. The next song “Heartfelt” is the beginning of a three part series of downtrodden, long-winded tracks that while promising in spots, can be lethargic as pace is sacrificed for these dreary centerpieces. Adelphophagia is rejuvenated with the voluminous “Dirge”, a buoyant rhythm supported by a delicate framework that is ultimately captivating.
Adelphophagia begins to reach its final descent with the 1997 David Bowie cover “I’m Afraid of Americans”. While interesting and ambitious in its approach by replacing the industrial undertones with lustrous melody, it is no true equal to the paranoid plight of the original. The progressive clamor of “Remember What I Said” is a collective effort from Luder, not only in instrumental terms but in an impressive inhibited patience. Sprawling guitars, jabbing drums and vulnerable rustles, each broad segment’s pace is methodical and vital to the next nearing the eventual climax. Throughout the album Adelphophagia, Luder is a perplexing unit on the sluggish middle yet beyond enthralling on a strong start and mesmerizing finish. Even with its faults, Adelphophagia is a deep, expansive record that is a creative wonderland that will only transfix its intended audience.
- Cody Jones
The title of this album refers to a type of cannibalism that takes place in certain organisms and if you want you can interpret that as a reference to how thoughts can swallow each other under the influence of psychedelic substances. Better yet, forget any possible meaning and just dig the music: a pastiche of slow, loping rhythms, fuzzy guitars and floating-in-the-ether vocals from bass player Sue Lott. A tribal drumbeat provides the backbone for "Dirge;" the rhythm is not quite Native American but the song would certainly not be out of place as an accompaniment to a peyote trip. Included amongst the impressive set of originals here is also a take on David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans."
- Kevin Wierzbicki
I was going to damn Luder with faint praise, and talk about how I liked them, but knew it was mushy, sugary ear candy, but then, I found myself listening again and again, and I started to realize they're really good.
So, on the first listen, you'll hear a band that sounds exactly like Medicine meets Lacuna Coil. Yes, it's a hybrid thing, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't ( For example, I've seen several blogs going all runny over Watertank. Watertank are a great idea on paper- post-hardcore, a la Quicksand and Helmet meets Stoner Rock a la QOTSA. In practice, the result is Nu Metal. Seriously, several tracks end up sounding like Taproot. I still think they have some talent, but, ultimately, they're not for me) . But, upon a repeat listen or two, I started to realize it was a bit more progressive than all that- more like Medicine ( Singer Sue Lott is a sonic dead ringer for Beth Thompson) meets Isis, or maybe Pelican. Yes, it gets a bit drone-y, and yes, they can beat a riff into the ground, but mostly, it's pretty engaging stuff. It takes some patience, but ultimately, I think what they could put up on the website would be " Luder is not Stoner Rock. Luder is rock that will make you stoned" .
So, despite the death metal title ( something to do with baby death in the womb) this isn't obscuro progressive, either-but, well, I can say this by way of a negative- one problem I have with psychedelic music is that most of the time, the band sounds like they're about to break into either "Tomorrow Never Knows" or "Sweet Emotion"- there's none of that here. More like they sound like they're going to beat up A Perfect Circle. If you're a hard sell, try starting with the crushing twisted metal cover of "I'm Afraid of Americans" then, try "Ask the Sky" then go back and listen to the whole LP- this is truly progressive rock, if that term is supposed to mean rock music that's going somewhere, not just guys showing off how many scales they can play. I'm thinking , for example, of the difference between Jane's Addiction, and Phish. Both could be said to play "progressive rock" yet which one pushed things further? Luder are pushing things forward. I don't want to put down Small Stone, but give this band the kind of budget and push that Relapse and above can afford? They'd eclipse bands like Royal Thunder and Blood Ceremony.
So, despite my initial doubts, I'm really glad I gave this hybrid a chance to grow on me. What I'd really like now is to see them on tour...
- Matt "Max"
The album title is so unique I had to look up the meaning. It relates to the consumption of one embryo by another. I now have a larger vocabulary but no idea how it relates to Luder’s new release from Small Stone Records. That sounds like a good interview question… Any way, let’s talk about the music contained with in the hallowed plastic of Adelphophagia, Luder’s 2013 offering to the music world. Sue Lott, singer and bassist, has one of those voices that can be described as ethereally beautiful. I can picture heavenly choirs with voices like hers singing praises to the lord of all mankind for eternity. Underneath these angelic melodies lurk something more akin to those things attributed to the fallen, a more sinister dirge (which is also the title of track 7) that’s laden with chunky grooves and killer beats. Add to this a killer version of David Bowie’s I’m Afraid of Americans and you have an album that’s a triumphant soundtrack for the modern age. Any one of these songs would be great at that point in a movie where the good guys have vanquished the enemy and the credits are about to roll. Hell, from the first notes of opening track Never Liked You, even I was in a better mood.
- Jim Dodge
Luder’s Adelphophagia was always going to be interesting; in fact, it’s a thrilling album that both picks up where the previous full lengther left off and continues the journey, or evolution, into dark and murky waters. The four musicians of Luder are all accomplished individuals, but together they seem to manage to pull every ounce of misery and pain, resulting in songs that, while not without hope, pull at every heart string. The sound would sit comfortably in the late ’80s/early ’90s, yet Luder doesn’t sound in the least bit dated. There are no filler tracks here, though the cover of Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” is a real treat, Sue Lott’s voice offering another dimension to the Earthling-era gem.
- Brett Callwood
Count me intrigued by any album named after the phenomenon of one embryo cannibalizing another, such as Luder's latest Adelphophagia. Based on the grisly nature of their album title, I was prepared for the delightful sounds of violence and mayhem that were to ensue and even began typing a thank you letter to our glorious Editor for assigning me this review. But wait, Luder is a Prog/Psych band? Warm fuzzy music like this should not be associated with adelphophagia, right? It's ok, maybe they have a propensity for obscure scientific phenomena, after all, their debut was titled Sonoluminescence, which as we all know are light bursts from a liquid stimulated by sound waves.
Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks. There are passages on this album that are very psychedelic, case in point the song coursing through my headphones right now, "Heartfelt." Hearing the looping, jam inspired guitar takes me back to the sixties, a time that brings to mind, incense burning, black light posters, bead walls, shrooms, and long, wavy hair. When Luder get their groove on, as they do in "Heartfelt," they can be hypnotic. However, when they venture into shoegaziness, as in "One Eye," rather than hypnotic they become bland and forgettable. Despite this misstep, Adelphophagia is full of fuzzy goodness, with Sue Lott's angelic voice floating above intoxicating, spacey jams. The heavier moments, "I Never Liked You" and "Dirge" could pass for true Stoner Metal, crackling with heavy riffs and chugging bass. The one cover, David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans" is an interesting diversion into a place where fuzz and new wave can co-exist peacefully.
While I was disappointed the music did not match the graphic visual of adelphophagia the scientific phenomenon, I'd happily recommend Adelphophagia the album to all my tie-dye wearing friends and relatives.
- Eric Marvin
There is an art to a music press release. Certain information must be conveyed; a brief bio, record label and release date, any possible tours, lead singles, etc. But after those necessities comes the sell. Part of that is assigning genre, a worthwhile yet often futile gesture when it comes to the metal audience and its fierce policing of those boundaries. Then there are the sonic comparisons thought up by the band and their representatives, or taken from reviews (e.g. "influenced by Mantovani and Motörhead, the resulting sound is like Fudge Tunnel, Blind Guardian and Necro Deathmort licking bleach off a slaughterhouse wall").
With that in mind, read the following description of Luder's new album: "…another deeply varied collection of textural, smooth, frequently heavy rock and roll that has as much in common with Portishead as it does with Black Sabbath." There are thousands of possible bands to reference. There are a million ways to describe sound. This is nebulous and high-handed, saying nothing while reaching for the stars. Yet perversely, because of its overreaching comparisons and utterly bland sonic descriptions, it begs to be heard.
Upon listening, Luder's Adelphophagia proves not so easy to laugh at or dismiss. No, it doesn't sound like Black Sabbath. And except for a similar soft vocal tone from bassist/singer Sue Lott, it doesn't sound like Portishead. Luder's sound is akin to the heavier side of late '80s/early '90s alternative rock; Adelphophagia would slot nicely in with Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, My Bloody Valentine, Kings X, Kyuss, Screaming Trees and their contemporaries.
Sometimes those luminaries from another era are a little too present in the music. For example, it's pretty easy to sing Jane's Addiction's "I Would For You" to the tune of Luder's "Ask The Sky". That isn't to say it's a rip or even intentional, but the feel of that song from start to finish is very Los Angeles circa 1988. This isn't really a bad thing, as the sound of those artists has for the most part not been touched upon in years.
However, when Luder is able to subsume those broad influences, they are able to craft songs that can stand side-by-side with them. The melodic and molten "Dirge" still calls back to those bands, but indirectly; the closest comparison is probably Soundgarden, but it's both heavy and melodic in a way that no single track from that band ever managed. The shoe-gazing of "Astrolabe" doesn't sound like a track from Isn't Anything yet sits comfortably in that neighborhood. "One Eye" brings to mind the hazy center of Blues For the Red Sun but somehow isn't aping Kyuss in the slightest.
Luder is able to draw on these disparate elements through the immense talent and musicality of the four musicians involved. Despite the challenges involved in playing their brand of progressive hard rock, they never sound fussy or lose the feel of the music. Nor do they make the listener feel trapped in difficult time signatures or make changes for the sake of changes. Sue Lott's vocals never sounds rushed, flustered or anything other than in complete control.
All in all, Adelphophagia is a satisfying mix of metal, psychedelia, and alternative rock from a time when that last wasn't a pejorative. It's also a reminder that a poor press release will almost always be ignored, while a good one will help elicit that closer look for all the right reasons. Luder is a band that deserves to be heard, and warrants the attention of an audience as broad and varied as their sound.
- Erik Highter
Given the six-string driven extremes to which both styles will go, the blend of stoner rock and shoegaze seems like a natural – both evolved out of psychedelic rock, after all. It’s not a path many artists have walked, but Luder fearlessly treads it, reaching a peak of ax-saturated acid phantasia on its second album Adelphophagia. Wave after wave of riffs, chords, fills and solos flow from the fingertips of guitarists Phil Dürr (ex-Big Chief, currently Five Horse Johnson and Giant Brain) and Scott Hamilton (owner and operator of Small Stone), a tsunami of excess from which melodies both dreamy and earthy emerge simultaneously. Drummer Eric Miller, meanwhile, satisfies a Keith Moon jones on his kit without ever losing the pocket. Singer/bassist Sue Lott (late of Detroit’s Slot, out of the ashes of which Luder evolved) skips across the top of the amplifier storm like a wind-walker from some ancient legend, contrasting her ethereal coo with her partners’ psylocibinized crunch for a combo like chocolate and peanut butter – cf. “You Try It” and “I Don’t Like You” for perfect examples.
Unsurprisingly, the band is at its best when it stretches out – the alternately wispy and massive “Dirge,” the majestic “Remember What I Said” and the gracefully apocalyptic “Heartfelt” make the most of their epic running times, rising and falling on emotional dynamics rare in music this heavy. Add a quirky, crunchy take on David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” and you have the icing on top of a beautifully baked cake. Stylistic details aside, Adelphophagia (which, by the way, is the situation in which one embryo consumes another while in utero) is a testament to mind expansion through amplification, a great psychedelic rock record for the 21st century.
- Michael Toland
Detroit four-piece Luder made their debut with 2009′s Sonoluminescence on Small Stone. A band born from tragedy in that it was the death of Slot guitarist Billy Rivkin that led that band’s bassist/vocalist Sue Lott and drummer Eddie Alterman — the latter replaced by Novadriver‘s Eric Miller before the first album was released — to enlist guitarists Phil Dürr (Big Chief) and Scott Hamilton in the renamed outfit, they nonetheless immediately set about exploring a vast sonic scope on Sonoluminescence (review here), and in a few key ways, the sophomore outing, Adelphophagia, follows suit. Aside from being likewise syllabically cumbersome, the second Luder album picks up in some respects where the debut left off, pushing forth stylistically open and progressive vibes tied together through brisk melodicism and Lott‘s varied singing. Songs on the nine-track/62-minute full-length are mostly extended, with opener “Never Liked You” being the only one to dip below the five-minute mark, and the chief difference between Adelphophagia and Sonoluminescence lies not necessarily in a dramatic shift in approach — certainly there’s stylistic growth evident, but it doesn’t feel forced or the result of some master plan — but in the warmth of the tones and the foursome’s willingness to explore the textures they’ve created. Longer pieces like “One Eye” (7:33), “Heartfelt” (8:57), “Dirge” (9:48) and the closer “Remember What I Said” (9:19) make use of the room in their runtime to allow Hamilton and Dürr the space to enact a rich tonal wash, and with a kick drum less forward in the mix and excellent balance of Lott‘s voice in the mix — you can hear it particularly on “Remember What I Said,” but it’s true of the album as a whole as well — Adelphophagia hits a remarkable mixture of heavy psychedelia, progressive rock, and ’90s-style riffy crunch, coming across on the whole as less aggressive than its predecessor, but all the more aesthetically accomplished for that because of the sense of flow within and between the songs included.
Not to speak for anyone else, but I think there’s a certain reticence on the part of reviewers to gush when it comes to Luder because of Hamilton‘s involvement in the band in addition to his being the head of Small Stone Records. That’s fair enough. While Luder don’t sound like anything else on the Small Stone roster, between their Detroit roots and the underlying heavy rock sensibility – Lott‘s bass is thick the way you think of Michigan snowfall as a blanket — I can see that side of the argument. Nobody wants to appear as being in someone else’s pocket. Frankly, I don’t either, whether it’s Small Stone or anyone else. The validity of critique relies on the illusion of impartiality — and yes folks, it’s an illusion. At the same time, Adelphophagia‘s achievements stand worthy of praise regardless of who’s in the lineup, and in fact the effects Hamilton brings to the mix alongside Dürr‘s leads are a big part of what makes the record so immersive and easy to get lost within as “Never Liked You” — the lyrics of which cast an immediate indictment that stands in line as a follow-up to “Selfish and Dumb” from Sonoluminescence – transitions into the slowly churning groove of “Astrolabe,” an early one-two shot of progressive heft further distinguished by the underlying heft of Lott‘s bass and the smoothness which which their choruses are launched. A dreamy but solidified course for Adelphophagia is set, “Astrolabe” building instrumentally to a formidable crescendo before ringing out into the languid guitar intro of “One Eye,” which in like form sets about rising from the bed its made itself. There are verses and choruses, but the central riff is a hook unto itself, building tension but staying in control even as the second chorus gives way to the more raucous crashes that launch the instrumental build that brings “One Eye” to its greatest wash, guitars embroiled alternately in leads and sustained, hard strums echoing in a plod of their own while Miller‘s drum fills add a sense of chaos before the quieter ending cuts to the start of “Heartfelt,” similarly minded in its scope, but even airier and more fluid in its transitions.
Structurally, Adelphophagia works in pairs — fitting to its titular theme referring to the phenomenon of intrauterine cannibalism; one twin fetus eating another — and plays shorter songs off longer ones, two by two, until inserting the David Bowie cover “I’m Afraid of Americans” between “Dirge” and “Remember What I Said” as the penultimate cut. It probably wouldn’t have worked as the closer and there’s nowhere else to really put it. Still, though it’s kicking off the second pair of shorter songs, “Ask the Sky” (6:02) makes a rousing centerpiece for a linear listen of Luder‘s latest, with a clarion guitar line acting as the center of shoegazing dreaminess that calls to mind late ’60s psychedelia that also winds up in one of the album’s strongest choruses. The song meanders but loses neither its gorgeousness nor its flow, that same clarion line returning at the start of the second verse, shorter leading into a louder, more forward chorus that in turn morphs into a lead section, becoming more and more of a swirl until before you even realize as you listen, Luder have shifted into a space-rock freakout with such subtlety and patience that it becomes a shame when it ends. Guitar also starts the subsequent “You Try It” — another direct address — but the mood is darker. A foundation of background distortion lets a winding guitar line come forward with the bass, but even the more active chorus and bridge keep to the more brooding vibe. Resting on the title line, the chorus stands up to “Astrolabe” and “Never Liked You” well enough, but on such an impeccably structured album there are no real accidents, and the placement of “You Try It” isn’t one either. To be fair, almost anything would have trouble sandwiched between “Ask the Sky” and “Dirge,” the sleepy progression of which is probably Adelphophagia‘s single greatest achievement, Lott coming more forward vocally and casting off some of the echo in the earthier verses only to open in kind with the instruments surrounding for the chorus. As has been the case several times by now, her bass and Miller‘s drums are the glue holding the piece together when the guitars go exploring, Hamilton with effects, Dürr with solos, but there’s no single element in “Dirge” that isn’t made stronger by the others around it.
An extended instrumental section following the last chorus feels well-plotted to the most effective build possible, breaking from the lines, “This fear has gone away/I know I’m on my own/Lord I hope he understands,” to the best solo and psychedelic wash Luder have to offer. The music writhes and twists gracefully, but keeps forward motion as well, moving you along even as it continues to hypnotize, slowly deconstructing over the course of its last two minutes or so to let the last give over to noise and effects and feedback. There’s a brief spoken sample near the end — maybe Rivkin? — and the last echoes of “Dirge” fade in such a way that probably could’ve capped the record, but Luder decide to keep going and throw a curve in the form of “I’m Afraid of Americans.” The song was topical enough when Bowie teamed with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails for the original version in 1997 and it’s not like American culture or foreign or domestic policy has gotten any more rational since, so yeah, alright. I’m not sure how much sense it makes following “Dirge” on Adelphophagia, but at very least Luder perform it well and it allows them to play to some of the trip-hop ambience that showed up on Sonoluminescence and are otherwise largely absent here, expanding the already considerable breadth and grounding the overarching flow of the release with what even for David Bowie was a landmark hook en route to “Remember What I Said”‘s revival of psychedelic vibing. There’s a bit of tension leftover from “I’m Afraid of Americans” that bleeds into the finale, but over the course of its first couple minutes, “Remember What I Said” sets its own course, arriving early at a satisfying wash to echo “Dirge” — albeit with more serenity — and breaking after four minutes in to start over from the ground up, a flourish of effects backing all the while. Lott‘s vocals are something of a guiding force over obscure guitars and bass and drums that seem to be given to their own movement, but as the last build unfolds, it’s more than enjoyable to be led into the fray by the layers of sweet melody. Dürr takes the fore with a last solo, and they finish languid under big skies with ringing tones that suddenly cut out as if to convey there’s still more to be said. There may well be, since for an outing as sonically engaging and stylistically expansive as Luder‘s Adelphophagia is, it’s hard to imagine that it’s also where the band’s creative evolution ends. If it is or it isn’t, we’ve probably got a while before finding out — it was four years between the first and second albums and Luder don’t appear to be in any hurry — but fortunately, Adelphophagia provides a deep enough listen that it should be no problem holding over till the next one.
- H.P. Taskmaster
Luder is really a strange beast, one of the stranger entries in the Small Stone label's roster of bands. In many ways it's a monster, though not terrible to behold. The songs are far too long to be considered pop, and the songs are too poppy to be considered heavy psych, the band occupies a little pocket of reality all their own. It's a place of brightness and gloom, a place where opposites attract and like forces repel.
Dream-like melodies glide on swaying rhythms. 'Adelphophagia' features an expansive sound full of darkening blue skies after sunset. There's a camera zoom quality in effect at times, zoom in, zoom out. When Luder zooms in, low hanging clouds roll in creating pressure and feelings of calustrophobia and a foreshortening of the world. Possibilities have ends and even skies have limits, limits which can be halved at a moment's notice. Zoom out to reveal a reversal of the effect. It seems the 'camera' is operated by drummer Eric Miller, here, who provides much of the point / counterpoint while the rest of the band plays on, it's up to him to provide commentary and close-up shots or gorgeous landscapes depending on the tempo and urgency of his playing. The world of Luder is one of being wrapped in warm blankets and tossed off a bridge into ice cold water, unable to escape, locked into a groove, trapped in sound.
The zoom effect is also effected in the middle sections of the longer numbers of 'Adelphophagia'. Three of the nine tracks in total reach for or exceed the nine minute mark. Like true sound junkies, Luder won't rest until every nook and cranny of a composition is exploited to its limit and they give you your money's worth with over an hour of music to explore. Album opener "Never Liked You" is the shortest cut at 4:27 which may give you an idea of what this album is made of: darkly inviting vocals courtesy of Sue Lott, a minimalist approach to structure while wringing out every last drop of inspiration from a tune. It's not a bad way to go about it and leads to some truly inspired improvisational moment, such as on "Ask the Sky" and "".
Much of what Luder does is understated. "Dirge" provides a strong example of this. Just as the song is reaching a peak in the chorus and shit is about to bust loose, the drums begin to drop out and the updraft of this parachute opening effect creates a huge rush (though, an understated one).
An excellent way to get to know what Luder is all about is to listen to their take on David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans". Where Bowie's original was robotic and industrial, Luder's cover version is wispy and ethereal, not quite a man/machine dichotomy, but machine/spirit seems to fit the bill nicely. 'Adelphophagia' is full of ghosts, perhaps the ghosts of those titular brothers who have been eaten, ghosts who cry out not for revenge or rest, but exclaim with the joy of discovery. Luder tells us that the world beyond is not always a scary place, although it can be. That there is a serenity in letting go of control and letting the current pull you along. There's no clearer statement of this than on the song that closes out the album, "Remember What I Said". Turn off you mind, relax and float while listening to Luder. They all float while listening to Luder.
And remember ...
TIME IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
Highlights include: "Never Liked You" and "Remember What I Said".
- LK Ultra
Sometimes you pick up an album and you think straight away “what the hell is this all about?” just from looking at the cover, even before you actually purchase it. If the LP in question also comes from one of your fave labels Smallstone, which it does in this case, then the interest gets even more piqued.
If you then, while looking at the track listing, spot a track from one of your favourite artists, namely David Bowie, which in this case, is the song ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’ from his VERY much return to form ‘Earthling’ LP it begins to get my mind racing before I even start.
This is Luder’s sophomore album, following on from their cracking debut ‘Sonoluminescence’, which I reviewed here on Uber Rock. ‘Adelphophagia’ really sounds like a band happy in their own skin, with the LP kicking in with Sue Lott’s ethereal vocals beseeching you “what’s it like?” all on top of a cracking rock riff that wouldn’t be out of place on a classic Soundgarden album.
This moves into the psychedelic swirls of ‘Astrolabe’, which is vocal led not riff driven, the music providing the platform. This is actually very much an album of contrasts, which at times moves through almost a trip-hop vein a la Martina Topley - Bird era Tricky, Portishead, or even early Morcheeba. Whilst on the other side of the musical coin it is almost Soundgarden-ish, with sometimes the odd hint of Curve or The Nymphs. There are definitely a mixture of influences driving these guys and a gal along. In all honesty I really like this LP, it’s one to drift along to, with heavy distorted psychedelia, ethereal female vocals and the added bonus of a Bowie cover, which as with any good cover Luder really have made their own.
Go on then, if you really want to know, Luder is actually German for whore and Adelphophagia refers to twin foetus where one consumes the other whilst still in the womb. So with that in mind iif you like your music, dark, distorted, heavily psychedelic, and intense at times look no further than ‘Adelphophagia’, its good stuff.
- Nev Brooks
Alright, on the block today we have Detroit, Michigan’s Luder; who has the hardest record names to pronounce ever. Adelphophagia. What a tongue twister. Alright, enough comedy, let’s get to the brass tacks and brutal honesty.
The honesty is on me this time. I kind of ignored Luder. Why? Well, I’m an opinionated asshole. I’m working on it. Give me a break. So what that just said is that I missed out on some great music. In my defense, they didn’t quite fit in with my riff-centric, distortion-addled, psychedelic mind warp that I was going through when I was introduced to the band. That is not to say that they don’t have great riffs, aren’t psychedelic, or don’t use distortion. That would be totally incorrect. In fact, they have ample amounts of each. Luder’s strongest point is that they utilize these musical devices and put their own spin on it.
Ok, so, imagine Portishead (II was happy to see this reference in the press kit, it is really fitting) getting down on some Big Muffs. Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Take the best of the 90’s alternative scene, add some more muscle when needed and you a general idea of what the sound they have made on (here it comes again...) Adelphophagia.
I don’t know if it is worth noting this or not, but I’m going to; guitarist Scott Hamilton is also the man behind Small Stone Records. This is one reason I wrote them off, so to speak. I have noticed that other people do as well for the same reason. That’s dumb, let me tell you. So, for the haters, if you start and develop a record company into a success, it’s because you might know something about music...which by pop radio standards isn’t necessary to make it, but this isn’t pop music is it?
From the start, Adelphophagia (I’ve had to cut and paste it to make it through this article) creates a mood similar to being suspended in a warm pool of water, staring off into a panoramic vista of the cosmos. Luder fills the cracks left by modern bands that are overly spacey and/or overly distorted (not that it’s bad to do so, just....played out for a bit). Adelphophagia can boast of well crafted tunes supported by carefully dialed in tones, especially in Hamilton’s guitar. On top of being stacked from start to finish with incredibly listenable hard rock originals, there is a cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” that absolutely slays. It had to be mentioned, but don’t get caught up on it. The whole record is really fantastic. Adelphophagia should creep on some of this years ‘best of’ lists. If not, it’s because they didn’t listen to it.
Don’t make that mistake.
- The Grime
Luder’s first album, “Sonoluminescence” was a journalist’s dream allowing the writer to throw a plethora of adjectives at the wall and see what stuck…dreamy, dark, sensual, grungy, pop, cinematic, atmospheric, ethereal…etc. The album all at once defied yet prompted description with its scope yet unfamiliarity with the rest of the Small Stone roster and rock music in general. This latest effort, “Adelphophagia”, which apparently refers to the phenomenon of one twin subsuming the other in utero, takes the blueprint of the first album and builds and stretches it out into a bigger, darker more magnificent beast.
Opening track “Never Liked You” slams in with a sound probably more reminiscent of other Small Stone acts with a hard hitting, heavy rock riff that is soon displaced by Sue Lott’s dreamlike, sensual vocals that create an irresistible push and pull in the music between the muscular and the cerebral.
Once the tone has been set Luder work their way through a classy set of tunes that succeed in being heavy without being metal, fuzzy without being indistinct, intellectual without being unapproachable, sensual without being titillating, dreamlike yet well grounded, psychedelic without being unfocussed, dark yet beautiful and enticing. Imagine Garbage with bigger amplifiers and bigger dreams or perhaps the Cocteau Twins jamming with Kyuss, All About Eve making sweet love with The Smashing Pumpkins.
Throughout the course of these nine songs the guitars of Scott Hamilton and Phil Durr weave in and out of each other in a twisting, shape shifting, effects laden barrage that is almost telepathic while Sue Lott’s bass and Eric Miller’s drums lock into a sympathetic groove that bring to mind the classic Eric Avery/Stephen Perkins axis that underpinned Jane’s Addiction’s finest work. In fact Jane’s Addiction are by no means a bad reference point as Luder take that band’s esoteric style and smooth off the metallic and aggressive edges to present something no less affecting but warmer and more inviting. If anything this latest release sees the band moving from the more pop elements of their debut into more expansive, trippier territory without sacrificing their sense of melody and structure. It may not be as immediate a hit but the extra work involved in getting under this album’s skin could well prove to make it a more satisfying long term proposition.
The best way to approach Luder is not to judge them against the rest of the Small Stone family but as a beautiful, exhilarating entity in their own right…they exist in a world of their own yet will welcome you with open arms. Give them a hug!!!
- Ollie Stygall
One of my favourite things about writing about music is that I get the chance to listen to and review music that I have never heard of before. Some albums simply don’t move you, but once in a while, an album finds its way to you and smacks you square in the face. Luckily, the latest album from Luder falls into the latter of the aforementioned categories.
From the off, the album is a groove laden feast for the ears. The bass tone is awesome. It rolls around and simmers throughout the whole record. Match these up with some stunning guitar work that veers between sludge, stoner, doom and psyche rock, and the concoction is lethally good. Driving the album on is the drumming that switches tempo throughout with aplomb. It really is tremendous. The mix of male and female vocals are dreamy throughout which heighten the predominantly stoner vibe, although the band definitely cannot be pigeon holed as a stoner rock band.
Of the tracks, I'd struggle to find fault with any of them. ‘Never Liked You’ has some glorious open riffs with driving drums which whet the pallet perfectly for the rest of the record. ‘One Eye’ is a sprawling beast that festers anxiously before exploding with cymbals crashing and a euphoric guitar melody. ‘Heartfelt’ plays with many tempos and allows the guitars to build to a climax of ‘wah-wah’ effects. One of the album’s many high points is the expansive ‘Dirge.’ The track is a near ten minute psychedelic delight. The rolling bass and crashing drums again possess the track with untameable groove, whilst the guitars and vocals add some stunning colour to the picture. An ambitious take of David Bowie’s ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ pays off in abundance. Some of the riffs at the start of the track and throughout are reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine. Album closer, ‘Remember What I Said’ is another slab of pure groove and goodness.
‘Adephophagia’ is a triumphant record. When there is so much dross around in the music world, Luder can help restore your faith. Whilst being riff laden, and heavy, the album is certainly a record that could appeal to a wider audience. If you’re a fan of Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Sleep or Fu Manchu, this album will certainly not let you down.
- Dominic Walsh
It is the new album by Luder is finally here! We can say we will have waited exactly four years since their last album Sonoluminescence. Quartet Detroit struck me at the time by the unique mix of songs that remind some groups 90s grunge like Smashing Pumpkins or Trip Hop as Portishead with finely chiseled riffs sounding Stoner and especially by the bewitching voice in all sweetness and delicacy of Sue.
I would say at the outset that I was captivated by this new opus "Adelphophagia" always produced by Eric Hoegemeyer, which comes out in digital form via their Bandcamp page label Small Stone and who is really in line with their previous LP, for nearly an hour auditory feast and musical sophistication.
First we note that it is the voice of Sue Lott beautifully framed and highlighted by a pair of musicians past master in the composition of brilliant riffs that "sound" and a rhythm section that provides a density and further the dynamic compositions.
Among my favorite songs of this album I would cite "One Eye" with its haunting melodies, the haunting voice of Sue leaves no loophole and a final beautiful. "Ask the Sky" with its sweet melodies with psychedelic atmospheres that gently caress the ears.
"You Try It" space for his guitar riffs in total weightlessness and voice any sensuality Sue. "Dirge" for the admirable work of the rhythm, so that low battery, which gives so much depth to this piece completed a beautiful sonic and air chorus wonderfully stunning. The amazing "I'm Afraid of Americans" with an incredible groove, which intelligently away from the clichés of Stoner with carnivorous riffs that make you want to move imperceptibly head rhythmically.
One of my best albums of the year no doubt I suggest you discover more quickly!
What happens when the intense full throttle sound of Five Horse Johnson's lead guitarist, who loves blues and classic rock, Novadriver's heavy hitting drummer, who loves hard and heavy rock, Small Stone Record's head honcho, who loves the classic sounds of The Who and The Cult, and Slot's dulcet toned vocalist, who loves the mellow sounds of indie rock get together to form a band? The short answer is Luder. Go a bit deeper and the response is an intriguing, unique, deep, soulful blend of styles that yields a sound that surprisingly satisfies a craving you might not have known you had.
One of my all time favorite things is the sound of that wonderful, soul stirring, stoner guitar riff, the kind employed on many great albums by some of the genre's best known and most accomplished artists such as Truckfighters, Dozer, Summoner, Steak, and Kyuss, just to name about half a percent. It is an incredible, vibrant guitar riff and plays well in every setting in which I've ever heard it. I've often wondered how applying that riff style to mellower rock or songs that are perhaps more poppish in nature might improve their sound. With Luder and their latest release "Adelphophagia" my curiosity has been assuaged, and then some. Does it work? HELL, YEAH!!! it works. "Adelphophagia"'s songs are exciting and invigorating, due both to the unique blend of sound and style as well as to the musical talents on full display in each of the piece parts of the band's members.
Luder have been making music for quite a while, hearkening back to 2006 as a culmination of efforts to honor the band Slot, who had lost their guitarist and main creative force, Billy Rivkin, just a few years earlier. Small Stone Records first released Slot's music in 2006. That release stirred 2 of Slot's remaining members, vocalist and bassist Sue Lott and drummer Eddie Alterman, and Five Horse Johnson's guitarist Phil Dürr as well as Small Stone Record's Scott Hamilton, also on guitar, to play Slot's music at SXSW in the spring of 2007. Afterward, the feeling they could, and should, create a fresh style of rock music led to the official formation of Luder and a changing of the guard at drums in which Eddie was replaced by Novadriver's Eric Miller. Soon 2009's "Sonoluminescence" was released, and now "Adelphophagia".
Dürr's guitar charges out of the gate straight away on the opener "Never Liked You" in a prelude of the sonic bursts he has peppered throughout the song. In much the same way Lott flexes big bass muscle in antipodal display to her soothing and confident vocals. The drumwork rides a wave of clearly defined execution, never simply underpinning the more obvious guitarwork. Listening to the varied and brilliant pieces on display here gives you an immediate sense of just how incredibly gifted these musicians are.
In second position is "Astrolabe", a song of psychedelic tendencies, richly layered with compelling and dexterous instrumentation. And again, despite the high powered lead guitar riff hammer of Phil Dürr, the biggest guns might just be from the same person who lays out the sweet sounding vocals as she practically lays waste with her booming, athletic bass licks.
Sublime stoner fuzz accentuated with enveloping avalanche blitzes propel "One Eye" on an engrossing journey, followed by "Heartfelt" with its almost strident riffage encompassed in rich, deep, blended psychedelic tones.
"Ask the Sky" gives Lott a chance to shine even more than usual with her rich, measured vocals, turning on a sublime and haunting charm that stands out as the focal point for the accompanying melody, while the haunting quality of "You Try It" shifts slightly to the dueling guitars of Dürr and Hamilton.
The melody and music of "Dirge" is a tight and powerfully executed anthem of haunting beauty.
A change of pace awaits on "I'm Afraid of Americans", a funky and fun exhibition that throws some unusual sounds into the mix while making it all work effortlessly and seamlessly.
The closer is the slow burning "Remember What I Said". Whether or not you remember what I said today or not doesn't matter so much as remembering the sustained immersion and profound experience of this unique and wonderful album.
- Nuclear Dog
For a deathhead like me, Luder aren't particularly heavy - but they are very good; and if I had to choose one or the other, I'm going with the latter. On their second album Adelphophagia, shoegazing psychedelia wanders into desert rock territory ("Luder is not stoner rock" according to their website ...point taken). It's like Lush or Mazzy Star got lost at a Kyuss gig, and then decided while they were there to do a cover of David Bowie's "Afraid of Americans". The album is available as a digital download for $10.