Haun’s Mill: “Away”

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Haun’s Mill’s new album came out on September 21. They sent me a copy for review more than two months before that. And I’ve been listening to it regularly in that time, but what with touring (theirs) and illness (mine) and losing things (universal), this darn interview has taken for bleeding ever to get into a final form. But we arrived! And it was worth it!

Because of my ongoing inability to embed videos on Linescratchers, the full version of this interview will appear only on A Motley Vision, but to whet your appetite, here is an excerpt:

Continue reading “Haun’s Mill: “Away””

Haun’s Mill: “Away”

Album Review – ELiZA WREN Returns to Oz

When I review an album, I listen with pen and paper. I take notes song-by-song, recording the vibe and mood of each song, how each flows, and how they work together to make a complete album.  While listening to ELiZA WREN’s Returns to Oz, I wasn’t able to do that, and I could not be more delighted.

This double album of 110 minutes of music is set to the movie Return to Oz, one of my childhood favorites.  If you are not familiar with Return to Oz, watch it right this minute. Otherwise, here’s a three sentence synopsis:  It’s a very dark, somewhat creepy non-musical 80’s sequel to the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz in which an inexplicably younger Dorothy, played by Fairuza Balk (who I had a crush on as a kid and again later after watching The Craft), gets sent to an asylum by her loving aunt and uncle to get electroshock therapy to rid her mind of the Oz mumbojumbo that she won’t shut up about. Whilst escaping the asylum, she falls asleep and wakes up in Oz, only to find it has been ruined by the creepy wheelers (imagine less cool flying monkeys on rollerblades), a gnome king who is sporting the ruby slippers, and a headless witch who has a varied collection of heads she can swap.  Oz can only be returned to its former glory by stopping these evil characters, and the only ones who can stop them are Dorothy and her verbose chicken, along with the help of a robot soldier, a jack-o-lantern headed dude, and a flying couch with a talking moose head.

If that amazing preview didn’t immediately compel you to watch Return to Oz, I have yet another excellent reason: EliZA WREN’s album Returns to Oz.  Much like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz (the syncing of which is commonly known as Dark Side of the Rainbow), ELiZA WREN’s album can be synced with the film Return to Oz.  However, when playing Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, coincidences are few and you really have to be generous in accepting things that seem moderately in sync. With Returns to Oz, the songs are purposefully and amazingly crafted to accompany the movie, and they do a fantastic job of enhancing each other.  The moods of the songs fit perfectly, and the lyrics are usually, though cryptically, describing what is happening in the movie.  I can’t quite describe the audio/visual aspect of the whole experience, all I can do is recommend you try it (start by watching the trailer).

Apart from the visual, the music definitely holds on it’s own.  The album uses ongoing motifs and recurring song themes that range from old timey bluegrass and folk music to indie rock to piano-based spacey tunes that would fit very well on a Pink Floyd record.  Whether you experience the album on its own or accompanied by a delightfully creepy Disney movie, I highly recommend giving it a watch and/or listen!

Album Review – ELiZA WREN Returns to Oz

Haun’s Mill: The handsewn CD

When Syphax first emailed the Linescratchers’ author list about Haun’s Mill, I was instantly intrigued:

… an awesome group from Texas called Haun’s Mill (formerly Haun’s Mill Massacre). They do old-timey music but it’s more of a Southern Gothic-type thing, and their stage show includes weird and admittedly creepy projector movies. A lot of their lyrics deal with old dark times, like the Spanish Influenza epidemic or the Great Depression, etc.

I immediately replied that they sounded awesome—like someone had tapped into my id and found the music it secretly wanted. An hour and fifteen minutes later, he wrote back to say he might be able to get an album sent to me. It was too late because I had already bought it. My id would not be denied!

I knew this could go either way. It could be my fate to love this band because, really, how could I not like a gothfolkMormoncreepoöldtimey band? Or it could be that, with my expectations running so high, even the greatest gothfolkMormoncreepoöldtimey band ever to play Kolob could not live up to what I envisioned.

Continue reading “Haun’s Mill: The handsewn CD”

Haun’s Mill: The handsewn CD

Interview – Haun’s Mill

Haun’s Mill is certainly a unique addition to Linescratchers. Part husband-and-wife acoustic folk duo, part performance artists, part historians, part film-makers, Eliza Wren and Nord Anderson take listeners back to darker, but not different, times in our country’s history. From the Spanish Flu outbreak, to quiet, intimacy in poverty, to the Great Depression, these stories and themes find a new, added relevance in our society today. Highly recommended.

So for the record, you two are husband and wife?
N&E: Yes.

Our other favorite husband-and-wife duo, and the inspiration for Linescratchers, is Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low. Are you familiar with Low?
E: Funny, we just recently discovered them – I’d heard of them a bit before but didn’t know so much about them – nice stuff!

Is playing in a band your full time job then, or do you have day jobs?
N: Ha! That’s the goal, to not have day jobs. I quit the job I had for 8 yrs. so we could move to Austin & do more music. Here in Austin I got another day job – but yes, full-time music is the goal. Continue reading “Interview – Haun’s Mill”

Interview – Haun’s Mill