What Down the Line is and isn’t… a Letter to Nobody and Everybody

Down the Line started years ago, Matt and I had a vision that is coming to fruition with each and every issue we put out. What was the vision, you ask? Check out our zine to get it:) What we are is simple: we are a collective of people who put out a free zine, we do stories/articles/interviews solely out of our love for the music, and we hope that in some small way we can spread the word about new independent artists as well as the “established guard” that comprises the mix of music and interviews that we cover. That means that out of the 6-8 contributors for each issue, we make time in our personal lives to put out a lot of hard work and effort into doing stories that interest us, and hopefully interest you (the reader) as well. The Zine itself encompasses hours of work in not only the articles, but also the reviews and the technical aspect of the layout, etc.

I’m stoked that the Zine is growing, I regret that usually I am the hold up to an issue getting out because I am perpetually late with everything. I’m excited that we have some unique perspectives and musical tastes that vary with each contributor, and with that being said…

We cover music and artists and stories, what we have never done and will never do is cover artists personal life unless it directly relates to the music. We don’t go around dishing dirt on people we cover because we are interested in the music, not on personal shortcomings of the artist represented. Every artist represented in our zine is human just like everyone else. If we choose not to cover someone based on their ‘past’, their ‘sins’ and their ‘shortcomings’, we would quickly run out of bands to cover. Again, we are interested in the music, not the limitations of who we ‘can/can’t’ cover because of their past, regardless of how vile it may be.

Consider this as well, just because we do a story does not mean that we know the ins and outs of the people involved. I know that I don’t generally have a back story on individual people and their personal lives, I only know about the music or the art they have created. I honestly do not keep up with many things in “Christendom” (or in the CCM world), I do keep up with the music that we cover, and the artist as it relates to the music. Sometimes you do an article and find out later that the person covered is not a nice person – that happens – but to pull out because of that seems disingenuous to me.

We’ve been accused of all sorts of stuff in the few years we’ve been doing this, and most recently accused of endorsing a criminal in one of our stories. My feeling about that is that if anyone looked at my personal past, I might be considered a criminal as well. So would many of the good people we’ve done stories on in the zine. Considering what Jesus said to the criminal next to him goes a good measure in my mind, and Paul (who gets quoted more than Jesus) called himself ‘chief’ among sinners. People do crappy things, it’s human nature… does it mean that we shouldn’t discuss something positive they have done as well? How many people quit listening to The Who after Pete Townsend’s child pornography charges? If we did an article or a review of The Who’s albums, would we be endorsing child pornography as well?  How many people quit listening to Phil Spector albums after he was found guilty of murder and Lord knows what else? If I talk about how great someone’s music is when they are known to have glaringly obvious character and ethical defects, am I endorsing the music or the music and everything that individual has been involved in? What if the person was convicted and time/punishment served, does that matter? I’m asking the question because I genuinely want to know.

Why does any of this matter??? It matters because it covers a range of issues when writing in a ‘Christian’ Zine. Readers, and people who don’t read us, look at stories from a broad perspective. In the ‘Christian’ community these stories also get filtered through every readers individual bias on what is morally or ethically correct, it gets filtered through the lens of what is or isn’t ‘sin’. It gets held to a different standard because it gets judged through each person’s religious belief as it pertains to right and wrong. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, take comfort that we’re not trying to please anyone ever; we’re doing what we do because we want to shine a light on some really great art, it would be nice to start a discussion on social issues as they relate to us all as well, but for now we cover music.

Thanks for reading the Zine to those that actually take the time to digest and flip through what’s in between the pages. There is no shortage of good music coming that we will cover, and feel free to email or message us at any of the copious amounts of social media where you find us, let us know what you like, don’t like, or what you want to see covered more or even covered less…we’re all in this together, right?

Posted in August 2015 | Leave a comment

Daniel Amos delivers! Doppelganger 2 disc re-issue


Daniel Amos


Stunt 2014


Daniel Amos has put out some really quality re-releases the last few years, add this one to the list of must haves! This band has always been one of the most difficult to categorize because their music is always so unique on each release, so varied and so far ahead of their contemporaries not only in sound, but lyrically Tarry Taylor is in a class by himself. My introduction to Daniel Amos came in 1986 with Fearful Symmetry, but upon discovering this I also immediately picked up Vox Humana and Doppelganger. There is something so unique with this band that seems to really start to shine with the Doppelganger release. This album originally came out in 1983, and it was not only way ahead of its time, but it musically tilled a new ground not heard in many music circles, but especially not in Christian music circles. It sounds like new wave music floating on a magic carpet, transporting you to a time and place that you’ve never experienced before. The entire album is a journey in a world that both delights and amazes, it puts you on edge with anticipation, and the delivery and arrangements of the songs are so well done that this album literally becomes an experience.

Doppelganger is the album that I feel began DA’s journey into becoming what I considered to be a truly alternative band. For a group to have right around 40 years together is staggering, for my tastes Doppelganger is where I felt they really began to shine with a unique sound that they have carried to this day. My favorite thing about this reissue (and there is a lot of stuff here) is the clarity of the music. I recommend listening with headphones to really grasp how clear and distinct the sound is. There are so many samples on this album and various sounds that can really be heard clearly and it adds to the overall experience, I honestly felt like I was hearing this album for the first time. In addition, the second disc of alternate takes, rough mixes and live cuts that have never been released before add an entirely new dimension to the package. Hearing the second disc is like experiencing the album completely differently, and both discs sound better than ever. Check out the links below to purchase the album and read more about it, I’ll also paste in the band’s review of what this 2 disc package includes. Doppelganger is a testament to the talent these guys possess, it was an excellent choice for a reissue that is so top notch it paints the album in a new light. Here’s hoping that one day Fearful Symmetry will get a re-issue of this quality J


“Two-Disc Collector’s Edition of Doppelganger by Daniel Amos. The Stunt team has put the same care and enthusiasm into putting this project together as you’ve seen from the previous DA Deluxe Edition releases. Disc one of this collection presents the entire Doppelganger album, carefully and respectfully re-mastered by J Powell at Steinhaus. Disc two includes 17 bonus tracks, including alternate versions of album tracks – never before heard by the public, alternate mixes, early takes, and more! The beautiful 6-panel Digipak and 24-page booklet presents all of the original LP artwork, along with never-before-seen photos, DA memorabilia, complete credits and lyrics and the entire text of the Alarma! Chronicles Volume II.”

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Bill Mallonee & the Darkling Planes – Winnowing


I’ve been a big fan of Bill Mallonee’s music ever since Vigilantes of Love put out Killing Floor. I can’t remember exactly what song the college radio station played, it was either Motel Room or Anybody’s Guess, but I was hooked. I immediately picked up his previous releases and have been a fan ever since. It’s a rather remarkable thing I discovered recently on my birthday, I was 18 in 1992 when I discovered Mallonee, that means I’ve been listening for 22 years… for over half of my life I have found great comfort in his music and it has been a staple through many years and experiences.

His latest, Winnowing, is affecting in every sense. Mallonee’s ability to write through the eyes of the “everyday man” is so perfected and honest, and that makes it relatable and why I think it leaves such an impression. The songwriters gaze is a commentary, sometimes it’s focus is social and other times it focus is naked and introspective, but it is all about the journey that we all toil under. The heartache and the heartbreak, the struggle with being human, and yet he confesses these stories with a sense of redemption and the encouragement to embrace the experience of life.

Winnowing is a defining album in Mallonee’s 60+ catalogue. This is the real deal, the music sounds astonishing, and you can hear the dusty, road worn miles in Mallonee’s voice. For a singer/songwriter to release such a staggering amount of work that is so intuitive is a quite an accomplishment, and it is a pace that I have never seen anyone else establish.

I honestly feel that this is Bill’s best work to date, and it is a fitting thing that this will be his first release on vinyl. You can still get pre-orders, digital files and CD’s of not just Winnowing, but his catalogue of 60 or so records can be found at www.billmallonee.net There is a link there to his bandcamp page, which right now he is offering a “buy one get one” for his entire discography. There is an entire world of music to discover for people who like great Americana music, if you like storytellers and enjoy the experience of music that evokes deep sentiment, check Bill Mallonee out. This latest offering Winnowing is an absolute must, it is Mallonee at his best.

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eymard – light Rick McDonough’s latest sonic pleasure

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eymard – light

2014 hill deg maria records


If you’re reading this then hopefully you know who Rick McDonough is, if you don’t, this is a good place to start. Rick is a musician, a photographer, a family man and a genuine purveyor of electronic wizardry. This eymard project of Rick’s is just one of many outlets…he’s one half of the duo that is Struck Last May with Michael Knott, his indie band is Hidden From Blackout, he plays in Paravell as well as contributing to While Rome is Burning, and I’m sure there is more that I just can’t recollect right now. So, on to this impressive release…


Eymard first released Ambient Tracks for Film:One back in 2011, and feel free to check that out here: http://downthelinezine.com/reviews/ambient-tracks-for-film-one-by-eymard/

This is a much different release from the first album, but the direction of the project is full of surprises and sonically enticing. This release, titled Light, seems a bit more playful and energetic. While it is full of layers and dimensions, the layers all coalesce to form a grand design that takes the listener in. There’s a whimsical anticipation from the first track that builds through each and every song. When you fully engage this album it becomes very hypnotic and relaxing, almost as if anticipating the arrival of a newly discovered truth, or at times it feels like the connection between dreams and ideas. I highly suspect that the birth of Rick’s daughter played heavily into the recording of these songs, because there is the unhindered sense of wonder that echos through each track. There’s a hope that reverberates with each listen, and each song plays a part in the story that culminates in the unique and joyous final track, where once again we here Rick team up with Knott for a truly original song that can only be found when these two play together.


Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this release! While you’re at it, scoop up the first eymard release as well. If you like ambient soundscapes you will enjoy both of these albums, and you can fill your ears and support independent music that needs a voice.





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Wovenhand Refractory Obdurate



Refractory Obdura

Deathwish Records


I have heard three albums lately that have blown me away completely. I did a review on

one of them, CUSH SP3, and you can read it here…


The second album to level my senses is Wovenhand’s new Refractory Obdurate. I’ve been a fan of DEE’s music for years and have enjoyed everything he’s done. I didn’t know what to expect from this album, DEE plays guitar as well in the newly re-formed Crime and the City Solution, so stylistically I was curious as to where it would land. Well, it landed in new territory that demands you listen. This album is David Eugene Edwards at his absolute best.

This is an album that beats you up with every listen, it digs in your mind at every turn.


Not since Nick Cave’s Birthday Party has someone so violently captured the God of the Old Testament, and begged for the salvation of the Christ through such desperate music and lyrics. There’s something so intense about Edward’s voice, his voice disarms you, and the music drives it in without warning. It’s like he spits in your face to take you off guard, and then punches your teeth into the back of your head. WIthout notice you bend over to spit out the broken teeth and the pooling blood, he kicks you in the gut with his boot and you crumple…what happens next is that you turn to look at him, you lock eyes and say “thank you”. This album is a harrowing journey that beats the shit out of me everytime that I hear it. It causes me to reflect, to question and to feel the unmistakable punch to the face of exorcising inner demons. It’s an album that demands attention at every turn.


This is post punk at it’s absolute best, amped up and swinging on full speed. When DEE plays, you listen…when he sings and plays, you’re put on notice. DEE’s delivery comes like spears to the face, his message is unrepentant and his attack is without defense.This is the best Wovenhand by far…listen with caution…you’ve been warned.



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Northern Records

The new SP3 record has been one that fans of the entitiy CUSH have been waiting on for a long time. I was super stoked to get this for a review, and almost asked to get it sooner than I did just because I hard a hard time waiting to hear it knowing that it was completed. Fortunately, a little self control and patience paid off…in spades! In what I hope honors this offering of songs, I’m going to discuss the music first, and then a little info on CUSH last. The music here is the goal, the art is the destination…the players, even as is important as they are, are mere details standing next to the manifestation of the music.

This release has really blown my mind for numerous reasons, and the format as well as the art/video that accompanies each song is a really impressive package of art. The music that comes from this band is always unique and challenging, challenging in a way that is a very reflective experience for me. It’s an album that brings out the postive side of human nature and the emotions that coincide with that, as well as a very sombre and thoughtful dwelling on Christ that is deep and liberating at the same time. The music here creates a vehicle and relays the story through the ambience and the sounds of a very different style of Cush record than I’ve heard before. That alone adds to the aura and the mystery of Cush.

SP3 is truly the best album that Cush has ever delivered, and that’s noticable in the first song. I find this to be hands down the best release by whoever contributed on this record. Cush does not identify any specific players in the band, I have my lists of usual suspects that I hope are in here, but who knows. The music is absolutely the driving force here, and the talent on this record is of the calibre that I wish more people had access to hear it and spread the word.

It’s hard to convey it through a review, this is one that must be experienced through listening (with headphones), and really absorbing the sounds that are communicated. This gem is available on vinyl too, with brilliant packaging to boot! This quote in the bio summs it up…

What matters is the attention the authors paid to detail, except the one detail of who the author really is. But all of this, even the delivery of this album, is a symbol of the concept of SP3. It is as if it cannot be helped.

And when you think you got it, allow for the possibility that you didn’t – and listen again.”

~ Jesse Nason

Support this release with your purchase, your ears and mind will thank you.





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Tim McAllister returns…

I first found out about Flock 14 after I had purchased the World Theatre release and absolutely fell in love with it. I think I bought the tape because the name and the artwork appealed to me, but what I discovered between the reels was so fresh and unlike anything else that I had ever heard in Christian music at the time. I didn’t know who Tim McAllister was then, but his music left a solid impression on me as a teenager, and I’ve carried the fondness for his music into middle age.

I know comparisons are lame, but no band in the “Christian” realm came close to capturing the “feel” of a band like The Cure for me…until I heard World Theatre. They had that emotionally dense, dark and heavy sound. The music was punctuated by McAllister’s melancholy drenched vocals that absolutely carried the vibe and the aura of the music. It was amazing stuff. That kind of amazing music that doesn’t come around with another release unfortunately, BUT there is going to be an acoustic gig with World Theatre/Flock 14 in Portland on Saturday May 31st!

All the details are here…  https://www.facebook.com/events/853822777967416/

If you are anywhere around Portland you should really check this out. I wish I lived closer, I’ve never seen Tim McAllister live, and that means I hope some kind and generous soul records this with audio and/or video and hits me up at brokenagain143@yahoo.com Go to the show and support great music!

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I know we posted to the facebook page about Bill Mallonee’s new pre-order album Dover Beach, but I have to push it a bit further…there are 2 pre-mastered songs up for your listening pleasure via his bandcamp page. I was listening to some of the music from my younger days last night, stuff that reminds me of where I was born… Athens, GA. I lived there until I was in 4th grade…went back to visit all the way into my late teens, maybe my early 20’s. There were 3 bands that encapsulate the Athens scene to me, they were Vigilantes of Love, Drivin N Cryin and Guadalcanal Diary. Those were my favorite bands from Athens, while the majority of folks latched onto REM and The B-52’s, I was soaking up the fusion of good ol’ punk rock (like The Clash), mixed with folksy Americana music influenced by Cash and Neil Young. Another worthy mention as well is PYLON, but my real point is that when Bill Mallonee came across my radar, he opened up my ears to some of the best records that I have ever heard.

The Vigilantes of Love Killing Floor was my first Mallonee purchase, and then it was the couple of records prior, and the entire catalog ever since. Bill is one of those artists that I believe become stronger and more distinct when they strike out on the solo path. After disbanding the Vigilantes a long time ago, his music has become one of the soundtracks to my life, his writing has never sounded better, his lyrical reflections that straddle the earth and the sky have become much more intense and personal, and his output of quality work is unmatched by anyone. Mallonee’s ability to convey his life experience in such a relatable way is part of the magic of his art, his ability to bottle the essence and spirit of the everyday man is remarkable, and the deeply emotional images that his dusty tales paint in my mind are the kind of stuff that bolster me on most days. He is one of my top 3 favorite artists of all time, and I wish more people could hear him and his music…spread the word!





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BEST OF 2013

imagesRNKZH7AYBest of lists are hard…12 months of music means many great releases can be buried under a gazillion other releases and forgotten when the list is compiled…well, what’s a boy to do? Here is my “best of” list with the top 5 listed first and in no particular order because I just can’t do that. Support the music you love, that means, BUY IT!

( top 5) Lifesavers – Heaven High – Michael Knott, Josh Lory, Rick McDonough, Nick White and Masaki Liu return with a cohesive album of some of the best written Lifesavers songs ever recorded.

(top 5) Bill Mallonee – Dolorosa – Hauntingly beautiful, pensive and poetic, Mallonee’s best solo album to date.

(top 5) Chris Taylor – Traveler’s Hotel – Taylor blows my mind with this release that is deep, musically brilliant and lyrically poignant.

(top 5) Seventh Circle – The Struggle 2013 Re-mastered Deluxe Edition – Adam Pederson re-masters a stellar release that exudes with well-crafted songs and echoes with brooding delivery.

(top 5) Unteachers – A Human Comedy – An amazing album from members of Tantrum of the Muse, should be out soon…hopefully.

Corrections House – Mike IX Williams of Eyehategod and Scott Kelly of Neurosis deliver a blistering assault on the senses.

Bill Mallonee – Future Hymns of the New Idolatry – Hymns that I can relate too, worshipful and honest…also, best name for an album all year!

Watain – The Wild Hunt – Black Metal has been redefined and turned on its ear, brutal and unique.

Daniel Amos – Dig Here Said the Angel – Daniel Amos return with their best album from a long and incredible career.

Bill Mallonee Band/The NPR Sessions – Collection of demos, live songs and general brilliance.

Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Say what you want, but the wordsmith returns with an album heavy on emotion and ear bending wordplay.

Skinny Puppy – Weapon – The masters return with an album that bridges the gap between their early releases and the newer direction of hanDover.

Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away – It’s Nick Cave!

Daniel Bashta – The Invisible – The only “praise and worship” album from 2013 that I find moving and outside the industry standard.

Bill Mallonee & Muriah Rose – Town Hall – Excellent live recording with Bill and the unparalleled vocals of Muriah Rose.

Crime and the City Solution – American Twilight – Members of Wovenhand, Einsturzende Neubauten and former Bad Seeds drop a stunning return to form.

Skylar Grey – Don’t Look Down – The beauty in her voice is unmatched in the pop world.

Motorhead – Aftershock – It’s Lemmy, nuff said!

Bad Religion – True North – The punk masters return with what we expect from them, complete brilliance.

Rob Zombie – Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor – The horror show returns with the best album of his post White Zombie career, better than Hellbilly Deluxe and a milestone for his music career…definitely merges the best parts of White Zombie with that deep bass groove and the perfect band of Piggy, John 5’s guitar wizardry and Ginger Fish’s manic drumming.

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Bill Mallonee and The High Desert Freaks – Dolorosa



Unfortunately a very busy 2013 has kept me from what I enjoy most, writing reviews and doing that good ole Down the Line Zine. Getting back into the swing of things, fresh year, a new start and reviews that I need to catch up on. Seems right that the first one I get to is Bill Mallonee and The High Desert Freaks release Dolorosa. This is a distinctive and beautiful album that I think is by far Mallonee’s best release in his solo career. There’s a certain feel that I expect when getting Bill’s music, there’s an ambience in the haunting lyrics and an emotion that is unmistakably human at the core; there’s the honesty in outlook, the gentle ringing backdrop of things unseen, and a perspective that comes from years of travel and experience.

Bill is gifted in ways that I don’t see from many musicians on the scene these days. He’s the blue collar hero in the vein of Woody Guthrie, he’s the poet that outshines Dylan on most days, and he picks, strums and plays those strings that echo the dust and smell of the open highway as he lays all his best hopes, fears and hopelessness out for all to see. There’s a connection to this music, a camaraderie for the weary traveler’s on life’s highway, an unmistakable beauty that the listener finds and can relate to in a way that most musicians cannot express with this type of sincerity and honesty.

This album is an amazing 12 tracks plus 4 additional bonus tracks. It takes the listener on the journey, a journey that we all encounter in various ways, that journey of life and circumstance. A full band release here with point on mixing and mastering, this is a MUST have for fans of folk/Americana, for those who need the reminder of better things in spite of the present trials, for those who feel burnt out but clutch the feeling of better days coming with a steel grip. This album is the best Bill has released, and although it will be hard to top, I know he will…he always does!

As a last note…yes, you can stream this on bandcamp and listen, do Bill a favor and thank him by purchasing this album (and his 56 other albums!) and expressing your gratitude with action and not just words. You can now also purchase albums as gifts for others through bandcamp…support independent music!

” I learned the night skies when I came here
I pinned my hope on every star
I was taught the geography of fear early on
…till I knew it all by heart

’cause the hangman? he’s always ready
to help you straighten up your tie
tip your hat if you should meet him
and by all means: spit in his eye ”



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