Baroness’ guitarist Gina Gleason guides us track by track through the band’s sixth studio album ‘Stone’, which is out now via Abraxan Hymns.
“We are excited to release our new entirely self made album ‘Stone’. Recorded by us, primarily in a remote home in the small mountainous river town of Barryville New York with some additional tracking done in singer John Baizley’s basement and a trailer in the woods of Pennsylvania. Making this record was incredibly labor intensive in all the best ways. We hope that the depths of ourselves that we’ve poured into each song translates and has the capacity to stick with any listener on an emotional level for a lifetimes worth of listens.”
“The first thing you’ll hear on the album ‘Stone’’is the audio captured in a backyard lot behind a double wide trailer in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. As we set up to record two acoustic guitar tracks outside, there were barking dogs, birds and other ambient sounds out of our control. It seemed fitting to leave those sounds in as a nod to the way in which we completely self engineered and produced the record and to the surroundings in which we inhabited.
‘Embers’, a short piece with lyrics invoking some of the albums cover imagery as well as foreshadowing many of the lyrical and emotional themes to come from the rest of the record. It was written to sort of compliment and preface to the albums closer, ‘Bloom’.”
“To me, ‘Last Word’ encapsulates so much of who we are as a band, while pulling together many of our individual influences. Its super high energy with lots of riffing, unexpected moments and big choruses. The ending is indicative of an integral part of how we write and play music together in a live sense; to have been able to capture a bit of that for the album was very satisfying. While there is lots of wild guitar playing and guitar tones on this track, I love how Sebastian and Nick’s dynamic as players shine on this song!”
Beneath The Rose
“The main riff of ‘Beneath the Rose’ was originally written in the ‘Gold and Grey’ era but didn’t become fully developed at that time. It was one of the first songs to get taken off the shelf in the earliest stages of ‘Stone’. Its an intense song musically and lyrically, and presents some new vocal territory for John! We hope listeners enjoy the three song journey that comes along with ‘Beneath The Rose’ and the following two tracks to close out Side A, which were created in the spirit of and as responses to Rose in many ways.”
“This was one of the most fun songs to record as we explored the rhythmic motif of ‘Beneath the Rose’ in a more psychedelic and expansive way.
We really hope people can get totally lost in the driving nature of it. Creating it felt like an exercise in musical restraint in some ways. By having one very specific idea, we sort of exhausted all the ways in which it could be presented while trying to maintain subtle guitar interplay. This was a really cool process and left a great bed for John to explore more completely wild parts of his voice.”
“‘The Dirge’ is… a dirge. We tracked this one in the wee hours of the morning in Johns basement. We wanted a simple piece to wrap up the journey of ‘Beneath the Rose’ and ‘Choir’. There was originally a different piece in mind for this role until John started strumming this beautiful little chord progression. Without hesitation we started recording, adding vocals and rounded it out with some organ parts played on a late 70’s Lowrey organ that we drug from his garage to the basement at some ungodly time of morning.”
“Big fuzzy riffs and lots of guitar harmonies to open up Side B of ‘Stone’! ‘Anodyne’, with its super driving groove has a cool contrast in its heavy riffing paired with dreamy vocals. It creates a cool dreamlike world for you to come into and hang out with us, for about 3 minutes or so!”
“‘Shine’ is a long epic, that takes you on a journey! It starts off with a super clean intro and glockenspiel melody that acts as a herald to the rest of the song. Before long the listener is faced with propulsive drumming, an intensely spirited vocal and sawing guitar riff that hurls you into a wide open chorus. Definitely hoping this is a chorus that connects with everyone on a deep level and one we might hear being sung back to us at maximum volume on our upcoming tour! ‘Shine’ also has one of my favorite guitar solos on the record. We didn’t hold back when it came to the sheer amount of stacked guitar tracks.”
“‘Magnolia’ is one of my personal favorite songs on the album. Its inception was early in the writing process but didn’t come fully into focus until we could all start tracking and working through the details and even still, it wasn’t for another year or so of vocal work and trials that the song came to its full form. The intro was recorded outside in the absolute frigid cold just as it began to snow. You can even hear the wind brush through the mics at one point. The guitar layers are some of my favorites as we experimented (as with all the songs) with ways to create the most supportive and unique tones, this song just really sticks out for me. Another song that I hope to one day hear screamed back to us, the ending just feels like a big communal release of the things that weigh heavy on you.”
Under The Wheel
“This song was initially presented by Nick as a bass and drum piece. He had even included bowed upright bass layers in his demo that he had recorded in his apartment in New York. That same string arrangement recording is still in the final cut of the song! This is a super brooding and heavy piece. It was a bit of a mystery as to how we could arrange vocals to fit the song. Eventually we were able to find a simple three chord guitar progression within Nicks parts which helped the song come into focus in regard to singing. That simple three chord song within the song is the acoustic guitar you hear under the first verse!”
“This acoustic song was written pretty early on in the writing stages of ‘Stone’. It was the first song to have recorded vocals on it. We didn’t realize at the time but it is sort of the perfect closer in the ways the lyrics wrap up the emotional weight of the record.”