The Zodiac

by Those Darn Gnomes

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skeeterknees thumbnail
skeeterknees i showed my mom the first track and now i'm seeing a psychologist Favorite track: I Advanced, Masked.
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garbageboypersonal Seinfeld amazing track Favorite track: Seinfeld.
José Luis Jiménez Molina
José Luis Jiménez Molina thumbnail
José Luis Jiménez Molina One of the few experimental bands that try not to musically exert control over chaos... But to embrace chaos itself. And while listening to their music, you'll find its pretty obvious they revel in said embracism. The lo-fi aesthetic of this album works in its benefit and manages to create an atmosphere both abrasive and hypnotic. Favorite track: Gloss.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    CD in jacket with additional photography by Lucas Broyles and Nicole Angemi. Layout by Samuel Hinsvark and Christian Molenaar.

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released November 25, 2016

Those Darn Gnomes are:
Mark Steuer
Christian Molenaar
Russell Case
Bryon Wojciechowski

Additional musicians:
Lucas Broyles – voiced percussion
Dee Dreeszen – dulcimer
Kayla Dubin – violin
Christopher Farthing – violin
Greg Kerr – cello
Mortal Bicycle – bass
Erin Monaghan – clarinet, trumpet
Doug Moore – voice
Kim Nakamura – saxophone
Roger Ralphs – voice
Katie Walker – viola, voice

Recorded at Apollo's Crotch.

Praise for this album:

"I can but applaud the insane and forward-thinking experiment, especially on the aspects of composition and musicianship... The avant-garde jazz/mathcore/chamber music ensemble is astonishing and memorable."
-Can This Even Be Called Music?

"You know those times when dimensions collide and overlap, resulting in you getting glimpses of times and spaces that are utterly unfathomable? This is very much how those times sound when distilled in to song."
-Art Failure

"You may remember the arrival of Mr. Bungle’s sophomore album in 1995. It was a bit shocking, this very long, very uncooperative representation of their advance from proggy spaz metal with awesome melodies to antagonistic avant garde. On top of that, Disco Volante is distant and dense, so it took a few listens to make you certain that it is awesome. Here in 2016, Those Darn Gnomes speaks a similar language but way less cryptically. Their new album The Zodiac doesn’t ellude your attention; it is an elephant buttfucking a bus packed with scrap metal. Beautiful. Listen to this at least once."

"It’s maybe safe to say that The Zodiac, the second album from avant-garde/noise artist Those Darn Gnomes, is not an album that will appeal to the mainstream crowd. Best described as an album that is a more ‘acquired’ listen, it is essentially a collective of sounds and noise – yet somehow it works to an extent.

At times, it’s headache-inducing. At other times it will leave you scratching your head about where exactly the track is going. Yet amidst all the chaos, there is a structure to all the madness and a particularly good element of the album is the versatile vocals showcased within the tracks. The yelled and bellowed deliveries slot in very well to The Zodiac‘s general approach and the falsetto-style ones in the end of Seinfield are stunning to say the least.

In all honesty, it’s a little difficult to know exactly what to say about the album due to it being so unique. Those Darn Gnomes are adventurous with their approach – the flute is a particularly interesting element of their sound – but there is also times where you wish there would be just a little bit more melody to give your ears a rest from the noisy assault!"
-Soundscape Magazine

"Those in need of a good mindfuck would do well to feast their ears on The Zodiac. Using noisy and spastic riffs while weaving in distant and creepy jazzy and proggy melodies may be jarring at the start to say the least, but if you give it time, they start to unveil their purpose. It’s by no means an easy listen, with a ton of things going on in the background (a number of stringed instruments and horns for starters), but it’s also an album you won’t soon forget. Only those looking for the eccentric and off-kilter need apply."
-Dead Rhetoric

"Crazy and headache inducing. [...] Still a great record I would say, and one the most challenging albums of this year."
-Metal Storm

"...there's very little I've heard this year that's as insane as this, as well as actually having some decent songwriting behind it, rather than an expected everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach."

"Another heaping helping of broken-brain."
-Fetal Goat Husk (Best of Bandcamp 2016)

"It's super disorienting, it's very aggressive, it's very brittle and noisy. The recording is, um... [laughs] technical terms, ass. But there's something weird about the way that this was put together like I can kind of hear every single instrument and make out everything that's happening so it's not like it's so blown out to the point where it's unlistenable. ...It's like it's intended to be as nasty and disgusting as it is. ...There's definitely a lot of technical ability to what these guys are doing which definitely shines through..."
-The Needle Drop

"The Zodiac is as beguiling as any dark ambient album yet as compositionally byzantine as any extreme metal record, deftly veering from genius to insanity to sheer ugliness in a way that revered weirdos like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and UneXpect can only dream."
-Toilet ov Hell



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Those Darn Gnomes San Diego, California

Don't call us a metal band.

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Track Name: I Advanced, Masked
I advanced, masked
Dry your eyes like nobody did for me
Spit deposits, you asked for it
I'm a grown woman
I guess I invite this
So I have to allow this
Refuse my hold and tell me no
I know you won't

I rotate and spin
Spit in my mouth and call me daddy
Some kind of scarecrow playboy
Plump you up, analog dog toy

I've been trying
Trying to keep it just like before
The times we never even thought to speak
Got me

I'm cold
The cold comes in at once
And enters into me
I am too weak and too stupid
It comes at the worst of times, the times it is least welcome
When it is in me, nothing and no one can warm me
I need to stop the leaks before all the water runs out
But sleep is calling my name so seductively that I don't mind
Watching everything important go down the drain
I have always been a slow learner of painful lessons

Just too much
Just too much
I want to...
It's this 1 thing that's got me trippin
It's this 1 thing that caught me slippin
It's this 1 thing that caught me slippin

He still know what it's like
The hunt hasn't yet passed him by
The memory fades but the promise is forever
A twinkle in your eye...
Your body is a temple, your body is a rental
You stretch your arms and claw my face
A twinkle in your eye...
Your body is a temple, your body is a rental
You stretch your arms and claw my face
Believe it's this 1 thing you did

High heels walking to the car
Keys jingling, I see you, I see you

Bury your head under the sand
The holy ghost of vermin
Heart clip
Figure in the water, semen clotting
Figure in the water, semen clotting to paste down her throat
Her image deep bescumbered
My song goes high like a rifle crack, bang

And we don't know each other well
So what? I keep thinking to myself
Memories just keep ringing bells
Hear voices I don't want to understand
My car keys are jingling in my hand
My high heels are clicking towards your door

Maybe I just can't believe it
In this 1 thing you did
I can't deny, tired of trying
I can't deny, tired of trying
Open up the door, and just keep on seeing you
I'm hoping you can keep my secret

Owning a liquor store in these parts is almost godly on my behalf
I'm doing so because I provide the blood of life to the patrons of this fair city
Now tell me about, uh...
I'm going nowhere

When the low heavy sky weighs like a lid on the spirit aching for the light
And when embracing the horizon it pours on us a black day which is sadder than any night
When the earth is turned into a gripping dungeon in which hope like a bat flutters blindly and bruises its timid wings and tender head against the walls and rotted ceilings
When the rain stretching down its long streaks of water imitates the bars of an enormous prison
And a silent throng of loathsome spiders come and weave their webs inside our brains
And suddenly, the bells swing angrily and hurl their hideous uproar into the sky like a band of wandering spirits who wail relentlessly
And long hearses without drums or music move in a slow procession through my soul
And defeated hope bursts into tears
And the fierce tyrant, Anguish, sets his black banner on my bowed head

We went into the Hollywood Museum and we learned about how all the makeup there became a thing
Even though it came from humble beginnings of grease paint and cake makeup
They had the costumes of the stars that made something of themselves
Governments from the bottom
Because I remember when I came out to prove myself and flap my wings, spread my wings

It's a nice suit, cowboy,
Polished and shined
And shoved deep in

The offspring of decay and the night
Blood spawned weird sisters
Their sire nutless
by the uneaten who brought his siblings to light
in a sea of vomit
Father time begat unwilling an earth mother
A maiden and a hag
They enter little into this tale

The curse of lesions
that they're laid with
works too well
I have leprosy's younger brother
growing everywhere
A garden state
I could do without

Thirteen black swords each
A noose remnant
The pelvis and legs reddened
The third the head
And a length of spine impaled up his rectum

The rocks keep getting larger
I welcome the coming rains
to dull the marred edges
and scarred face of the soil
where I dug

This that very Mab
That plaits the manes of horses in the night
In foul hairs,
which once untangled,
much misfortune bodes;
This is the lady loved,
when maids lie on their backs,
that presses them
and learns them first to bear
This is she
Track Name: Salome
Nostrils caked in black dried blood
No hands in candles
No twin
No singing
Bang bang, way out in the distance
No glove, no love

Are you there? Are you listening?
It casts a shadow over Tennessee
Are you there? Are you listening?
I'll show you bubble and squeak

Bang bang
In my dreams, my teeth fall out and I crawl
Packing the dirt
The wind quits
And I put my ear to the ground

There's coffee downstairs every morning
I'll hide you under cover of tables
The flies won't touch you
You'll never be tempted

Any trembling you get is just dress rehearsal
I'll hide you when there's no shelter outside
Your cradle is a louse
Your bedspread runs ragged with mud and cigarettes

Posted high on the atoll
Silver mountains and quiet hiccups
The sickening, foul moon won't shine pain on your face
I'll just flit through the dark like a corpulent eel
Your comet falls overhead

You've left everything in a train that is pulling away from the station
Your teeth are forever falling out of your head

Your comet falls overheard
It straightens and falls to the earth

I bite
And I dance
And I pray
Track Name: Two Haikus About Flies
Flies gather to feast
On the semen you left them
I can't remember

The days are long now
Flies born in shit spread new wings
It's your turn to sleep
Track Name: Seinfeld
The prehistoric maps are buried under miles of sand
The land long eroded by hands unrecorded
Pounding rhythms on post-consumer polymer bags
Tails flap, heads shrink and the fish cheer

The golden age packaged for eighty years in the marrow of her bones
Under grass
Deep in the museum, Tobit's son catches a fish
And awaits instructions never to come
Buried in the potter's field and awaiting other daughters
Disguising mother and child
So the students never know

Miles above, each day is commemorated by one million parades
The hotels and aqueducts stretch into the streets
Where thousands mourn the causes they died for
And march to placid songs of domestic birds
For maille books Voynich will buy
Their words mean nothing
And the grid is a loss
No matter what tube from which light shines,
The hand swallows itself

Where his work meant something,
Exit stage right and wait for Orion
Our world is gone from under his coded back
Wash and forget

I don't know if you remember our wedding
Snow in Heaven and animal glue
God's books on tape are still in His pocket

Thrown down a well:
Please tell my wife to get the pictures developed
Yell for the doctor as the blizzard bears down
On Streeton's folly Florry and me
We'll live on only in books

He told me he knew as he took off his belt and climbed the stairs
A man's man, known for his bravery
Manager of the Columbian Order
Cooper's Leatherstocking and the Baptist prophet

Swing from the ceiling, drunk on the fumes of honest souls
Aspiring to be more
More than a hunter, who, in a hundred years or more,
Will walk the land above our bones
And gaze in awe at the rusted carousels and statues

Swing from the ceiling, drunk on the fumes of honest souls
Aspiring to be more
More than a hunter, who, in a hundred years,
Will walk the land above our bones
And gaze in awe at the rusted carousels and statues in the square
We must have been rays from the sun
Track Name: Gloss
I don't care if I'm on my own again
When there's a white river of love and kneeling
Starting them together
String them together
Read my lips
Such a tall light

Sutures past smirk, yeah, I know
You shove that desire in my face
I love it
Scorch my hand where my fingers
Perfectly intertwine with yours
You whisper in my ear
About how you want to get fucked by a real man
While my thoughts became knives through bone
As you scream his name
Bouncing off the walls

Stinging in sync with the changing trees
Calm seas don't change color
Dry swords don't push ashes
A tent full of eggs means hard work
Greek roses down winding roads
They say hello and they're my saints
If I don't... If I didn't laugh

The earth is yawning
Different trains
Have you heard? Bovine tears
Naked bells, the mescaline sun
Swans' laughs ratlle like teeth in a cage
Mice, mice, mice, mice
What man wears your face and chair?
The snow is getting deeper
The snow is getting deeper

I know lenders' lips are moving
Let me be your best girl
Like in a movie
Let me be your raft of abuse
I hope you brought your camera

First you walk up the hill and take your place in line
I don't think ever I've seen you around
Have a sip
How does she hang the clothes climb up on herself?

There's a house, and a porch with a table on it
No one knows how far this stretches on
They stand until they fall down
Going back to school
It's nice to get out from time to time
What if she freezes in mid-air
While the apples roll away down the hill?

I put on high heels for the first time
In the attic across the field going home

I fell asleep underwater and everything made sense
Cracked tile melting information
Cracked tile melting intervention
This town owns me and I'll never leave
They bend down and this deal keeps secrets
Catch and release, catch and release
Better yet, try again and wait another day
Limp into the sea

Tiyn dot, strip of sand
Waves that sigh behind the hand
I stand across the singing shore
The earth and you are round

Chime, the feet dry,
The sand clouds collect out at sea
This pink shell
This gray span
Lonely beach, careless wind
Faster than a skipped

Faster than a skipped beat
Table for one
Faithless dove
Table for one
Faceless dove

Here the blankets fall like snow on wind
From night to night
The air scratches
From the forest came the wanderer
A winged victory for the sullen

The bird ends its flight increased in gravel
This has no words and I am alone