THE SUNN ALSO RISES: Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson, A.K.A. Sunn O))) (pronounced simply 'sun' for the uninitiated), released their latest opus, 'Monoliths & Dimensions,' recently via their label Southern Lord. The album is the band's most accessible to date, but that certainly doesn't mean a typical Metallica fan or Pantera devotee will be rocking out to this duo's dirges anytime soon. With the introduction of strings, horns, and a female chorus, on 'Monoliths & Dimensions' Sunn O))) seems to have settled into the void between contemporary underground heavy music and 20th century composers like Steve Reich, John Adams, and Philip Glass. Fans of both of these disparate worlds can find something to relate to here.

The band will be hitting the Midwest for a few live appearances, during which O'Malley and Anderson will be joined by Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Steve Moore (Zombi), both of whom lent their talents to recording 'Monoliths & Dimensions.'

BEHOLD THE ELDER: Massachusetts stoner rockers Elder may look young, but they sound a great deal more competent than your average high school garage band. This trio play bluesy, stoner rock that would please fans of Sleep, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, and 35007 and, though some of their riffs are ultimately forgettable ("White Walls" and "Riddle of Steel Pt. 1" being notably brilliant exceptions), they display no shortage of potential for future development. And it's not like the band has any delusions of grandeur at this point anyway: their MySpace page simply states the word "obvious" under the 'Influences' header. And under the 'Sounds Like' header? "Also obvious." Meteorcity released the band's five-song debut last year on CD, but true music fans will be glad to know that Belgium's Electric Earth Records picked up the slack and dropped the album, simply entitled 'Elder,' just this month on vinyl.

I CAN'T THINK OF A CLEVER HEADER FOR NEBULA: California heavy psych rockers Nebula (featuring Eddie Glass, formerly of Fu Manchu) are back with a new album, appropriately titled 'Heavy Psych,' which hits eardrums on July 7 via the venerable Tee Pee Records. The full-length is a reworking of the band's 2008 EP of the same name, with the addition three brand new songs. 'Heavy Psych' is audio retro-futurism, successfully capturing an appealingly fuzzy 70s sci-fi aesthetic. The trio plans to tour in support of 'Heavy Psych,' details for which are expected to surface soon.

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