Derek's 2011 year end list

Music -
  There were dozens of records released last year, most of which I'm sure I did not hear yet, but of the ones that I did these few really stuck with me and were played and continue to be played in heavy rotation.

- Gorod - Transcendence
- Deathspell Omega - Diabolus Absconditus
- Grails - Deep Politics
- Zombi - Escape Velocity
- Grayceon - All We Destroy
- Pyrrhon - An Excellent Servant But a Terrible Master
- Jesu - Ascension

Most listened to but not released in 2011
- Tera Melos - Patagonian Rats
- Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
- Thou - Summit
- Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
- Del Rey (their entire catalog)
- Deathspell Omega - Paracletus

Live Shows -
- Jaga Jazzist at the Troubadour June 21, 2011 -
  This was the best live music experience of my entire life and I would do just about anything to experience it again. I forgot the exact counts I made but it was something like 9 people, 1 drum set, 5 guitars, 4 synths, vibraphone, trombone, tuba, flute, bass and lots of instrumental multitasking. The word amazing is much over used today as many people have pointed out but in this case it absolutely applies. I was speechless, I was moved, it was Amazing!

Comedy -
- Doug Stanhope - Oslo: Burning the bridge to nowhere
- Jim Norton - Despicable
- Louie CK - "Hilarious" and "Live at the Beacon"

TV -
- Breaking Bad
- Shameless (US)
- Beavis and Butthead
- South Park
- The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour
- Louie

Food -
- Grill 'em All Truck - great burgers and fries
- Ricky's Fish Tacos
- Kimchi and Korean food in general
- real Baltimore crabs
- Poutine

Movies -
  there were no good movies in 2011. were there?

Biggest Disappointments -
- Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour
- Dexter - Season 6

What did I forget?


Darin's Favorite Albums of 2011

In my humble opinion, 2011 was a pretty damn good year for new music. Because it was so difficult to hone my list down to 20 albums, I'm also adding two more lists for EPs and honorable mentions.

I'm not under the pretension that these are the "best" albums of the year. These lists just reflect my personal tastes and cover the albums I've enjoyed throughout 2011. Feel free to send other suggestions as comments.

2011 Full Length Albums

Battles - Gloss Drop
With Tyondai Braxton leaving during the recording of Gloss Drop, Battles had a huge challenge to re-create this album. The guest vocalist selections worked pretty well for me. My Machines featuring Gary Numan is my favorite track with vocals on the album.

Bjork - Biophilia
This time out Bjork took a more minimalist approach to the song arrangements. This minimalism, the custom-made instruments (Gameleste, Sharpsichord, etc.) and her willingness to dwell on dissonant chords made this record very enjoyable for me.

Capillary Action - Capsized
NSL opened for this band and they made us look like amateurs. By using only acoustic instruments, Capillary Action can no longer be compared Mr. Bungle or other genre-shifting rock acts. Capsized embraces art rock, jazz, world, and tropicalia influences in a set of impressive yet very listenable songs.

Cave In - White Silence
White Silence was both a welcome return-to-form effort and the next evolutionary step for Cave In. Beginning with black metal screeching on the title track and concluding with the Beatles-esque harmonies of the final track, this musically diverse stew makes me hungry for more.

Craig Taborn - Avenging Angel
These piano compositions inspired by jazz, classical, Brian Eno's Music for Airports, John Carpenter's Halloween score, and other soundtracks highlight the versatility and beauty of the piano as an unaccompanied instrument.

Craig Wedren - Wand
Shudder To Think singer/guitarist returns with a DIY recording that covers familiar territory and parts unknown for a diverse set of songs. Wand is a must have for fans of Shudder To Think and/or his more recent soundtrack work (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models).

Grails - Deep Politics
Frankly, I'm a bit embarrassed that I just heard of Grails in 2011. Deep Politics is cinematic post-rock masterpiece. After listening to their back catalog fairly frequently this year, I equally impressed that their sound continues to evolve with each record.

Grayceon - All We Destroy
On their third album, this San Francisco trio continue to prove modern metal knows no gender or bounds. In addition to taking over most of the lead vocals, Jackie Perez Gratz continues to destroy on the cello...the ideal instrument for their prog/classically influenced metal.

Harold Budd - In The Mist
Brian Eno's partner in the 1980 classic Ambient 2: The Plateau of Mirror returns with another blueprint for piano-based soundscapes and meditative music. When I think about this music being created by 75 year old man, it gives me hope for old age.

Helms Alee - Weatherhead
As a fan of both metal and OG indie stuff (mostly on SST, Touch & Go, AmRep, Dischord, etc.), Helms Alee were a welcome surprise. If you imagine The Breeders jamming with The Melvins or Sonic Youth collaborating with Isis, then you might come close to describing their sound.

Jesu - Ascension
Justin Broadrick mastered the Jesu sound on this recording. Acoustic guitars and live drums are very welcome to addition to the sonic palette of Ascension. If Broadrick puts Jesu on hold while re-focusing on Godflesh, this album will satisfy my Jesu craving for a good while.

Kevin Hufnagel - Tranparencies
After opening up for Dysrhythmia, I bough Kevin Hufnagel's first solo album and its been on heavy rotation ever since. Hufnagel is one of the few modern guitarists that truly inspires me. After only a few weeks of listening, these haunting guitar-based soundscapes have quickly become a soundtrack for my everyday life.

Mastodon - The Hunter
Unlike some metal fans, I'm all about bands progressing beyond their "classic" recordings as long as they don't pull a Metallica! Even though The Hunter features more traditional hooks and structures, the songs still balance Mastodon's trademark riffs and prog influences along with some of the best harmonies by the band yet.

Neil Young - A Treasure
Although these songs were recorded during Young's 84-85 tour, it was never released due to record label issues. A Treasure features five previously unreleased tracks along with twangy versions of older songs. Accompanied by a few noteworthy Nashville session musicians, this is an authentic country record by a songwriting legend.

Opeth - Heritage
Opeth is another example of a metal band that continues to evolve with each new recording. While I wasn't too surprised by the more laid back/classic rock vibe of Heritage, I didn't expect the jazz influences, super dynamic drumming and upfront bass parts. There is a good reason why Opeth are one of the most influential bands in progressive music and metal today.

Other Lives - Tamer Animals
Other Lives sound sort of like Ennio Morricone writing modern psychedelic indie rock. This multi-talented group of musicians alternates between keys, guitars, cello, violin, clarinet, castanets, pump organ, glockenspiel, timpani, autoharp and other instruments to create a dense yet at times sparse atmosphere for their songs. Go see them open for Radiohead in 2012!

Russian Circles - Empros
Remember all the instrumental post-metal bands that came out in the last decade? Russian Circles is one of the few bands to transcend that micro-trend for a good reason. On Empros, they continue to improve on their heavy, melodic and atmospheric take on instrumental music.

Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning
After just discovering Insurgentes in 2011, the release of Grace for Drowning was one of my most anticipated. Wilson's knack at writing inspired pop songs, 70s prog influenced rock, and soundtrack worthy interludes has made me a lifelong fan. I can't wait for the Mikael Akerfeldt/Steven Wilson collaboration record!

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts
By using all acoustic instruments (guitars, violin, harp, and upright bass), Demolished Thoughts is sometimes like Sonic Youth unplugged. Although most of the tracks are fairly subdued, there are a few surprising dissonant/no-wave inspired sections. This was definitely my rainy day album of 2011.

Zebulon Pike - Space Is The Corpse of Time
With shifting tempos, exotic melodies, spacey sections, dissonant slide and detuned guitar parts, Zebulon Pike have quickly become one of the my favorite heavy guitar-based instrumental band since the early Don Caballero records.

Favorite 2011 EPs/Singles

Cloudkicker - Let Yourself Be Huge
Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy
Deathspell Omega - Diabolus Absconditus
Gorod - Transcendence
US Christmas - The Valley Path

2011 Honorable Mentions

Crone - Endless Midnight
The Globes - Future Self
Krallice - Diotma
Liturgy - Aesthethica
Mammifer - Mare Decendrii
Office of Future Plans - s/t
Primus - Green Naugahyde
Radiohead - The King of Limbs
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
Zombi - Escape Velocity


pre-order Massless by Graviton now

Translation Loss Records just put up pre-orders for Massless by Graviton, our other band. pre-order now and receive the album 2 weeks before the street date April 26th.


Translation Loss Records signs GRAVITON!

Translation Loss Records are extremely excited to announce the addition of Los Angeles' GRAVITON to their roster!

GRAVITON formed when Intronaut guitarist and vocalist, Sacha Dunable, approached the prog-metal duo National Sunday Law (Derek Donley and Darin Tambascio) about recording a few songs that didn't quite fit with Intronaut. Fueled by pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and a shared string theory fascination, the band quickly began collaborating on a diverse set of material that featured distinct musicianship, vocals and songwriting from each member.

By incorporating synthesizers, organ, piano, drum machine, samples, lap steel and acoustic guitars as well as the standard heavy rock instrumentation, GRAVITON'S TL debut "Massless" (which streets April 26th) proves to be a meticulously crafted masterpiece of ambient electronic fusion, shoegaze and melodic metal. Recorded by Derek Donley just prior to Intronaut's highly praised 2010 album Valley of Smoke, Massless is an album that reflects a remarkable time and place in minds of these three musicians.

For more information on GRAVITON and a preview of tracks on "Massless", visit their Facebook page:



Darin's 2010 Year End Recap and Music Lists

I read Derek's post, so I figure the other half of NSL should weigh in...

Its been a really strange year for me. Moving back to Maryland was extremely difficult decision to make, but sometimes you are just a victim of circumstance. Now that I'm back in my home state and I have a full time job that I don't totally hate, it was the right decision for me. The cross country drive with my girl was an another amazing experience in my sometimes scattered existance. The visit back to LA was definitely fun and productive. Hopefully, we can keep NSL going as an ongoing project for years to come. Finally, I'm very excited about the upcoming release of the Graviton record. Its definitely a great curtain call for my times in LA. Here are a bunch of lists...

10 favorite albums of 2010:

Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea
Del Rey - Immemorial
The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
Ga’an – S/T
Intronaut – Valley of Smoke
Kayo Dot – Coyote
Keelhaul – Triumphant Return to Obscurity (Out in 2009, but I didn’t hear it until 2010.)
Kevin Hufnagel – Songs for the Disappeared (Out in 2009, but I get into it until 2010.)
Steve Moore – Primitive Neural Pathways
Univers Zero – Clivages

New albums that I still need to pick up in 2011:

Helms Alee – Night Terrors (new to me anyway!)
Kayo Dot – Stained Glass
Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent
Neil Young – Le Noise
(What am I missing?)

Most anticipated albums of 2011:

Aphex Twin - TBA
Battles – TBA (hopefully)
Grayceon – TBA
Graviton – Massless (FINALLY!)
Krallice – TBA
Portishead – TBA (hopefully)
Radiohead – TBA
Solar Wimp – TBA

10 classic albums in constant rotation throughout 2010:

Camel – Mirage & Moonmadness
Crosby, Stills & Nash – S/T
Genesis – Selling England By The Pound
George Harrison – Wonderwall Music
John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic
Queen – A Night At The Opera
Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run
Rapeman – Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
Yes – Close To The Edge

Top 20 artists of 2010 (not always accurate) according my Last.fm page -http://www.last.fm/user/Dakron:

1. King Crimson
2. Rush
3. Genesis
4. Harold Budd
5. Battles
6. Camel
7. Queen
8. Lynx
9. Procol Harum
10. Thin Lizzy
11. Paul McCartney & Wings
12. Opeth
13. Simon & Garfunkel
14. Bob Dylan
15. George Harrison
16. Jawbox
17. Traveling Wilburys
18. Le Orme
19. Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys
20. Paul McCartney


"Life itself is only a vision, a dream, nothing exists but empty space and you and you are but a thought"

It's been roughly 6 months since we've been gone… I always intended to keep writing updates on NSL, other projects, my biking and things I think are interesting but as you can see that didn't happen, until now. I do have a few new projects in the works but this is just a tease, more about them soon.

Graviton (our band with Sacha from Intronaut) will be released next year! more on that soon too.

Darin returned to LA for a long weekend last month and we layed the ground work on 2 new National Sunday Law tracks. We're each continuing to work on these on our own sharing files via the interweb and each working in protools. This process is slower than we're used to and certainly provides it's obstacles but gives me comfort in knowing that NSL is not dead.

Favorite records of 2010

Ihsahn - After
Del Rey - Immemorial
Inrtonaut - Valley of Smoke
Jaga Jazzist - One Armed Bandit
Kruger - For Death, Glory and the End of the World
Kayo Dot - Coyote
Isis - Wavering Radiant
Fear Factory - Mechanize
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
Gladiator - Circular Reasoning
Cloudkicker - Beacons (I'm listening to this for the first time as I write this and I can already tell this should be on this list)

Most listened to but not released this year:

Ephel Duath - Pain Necessary to Know
Gorod - Process of a New Decline
Del Rey - A Pyramid for the Living
Riddle Of Steel - 1984
Irepress - Sol Eye See I
The Faceless - Planetary Duality
Dysrhythmia - Psychic Maps

Did I forget anything?

-- Derek.

**It's always nice to hear if anyone is still listening and reading so please comment, drop us an email nationalsundaylaw@gmail.com and friend or like us on Facebook.


National Sunday Law Goes on Vacation

After playing over 50 shows with some of our favorite bands (Intronaut, Mouth of the Architect, Irepress, Behold...The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Exhausted Prayer, Solar Wimp, Hurt Model, Fight Amp and so many more), we are taking a break from National Sunday Law.  Due to
a dire financial situation and ongoing employment issues, Darin will be moving back to his home state of Maryland in late June.  Therefore, the band will be on an indefinite hiatus after two more shows.
This Thursday (June 3rd), our friends at Ear/Splitters are hosting a show at the Relax Bar in Hollywood with Salvador, Of The Horizon, Nameless Lights and us.  We’ll go on second at 9:55pm.  Then on Monday (June 7th), we'll be playing a short set at Vacation Vinyl starting at 7pm sharp.  Like all Vacation Vinyl shows, there will be free Colt 45 and lots of awesome records to check out.

In other news, we're excited to announce that Graviton (our new side project with Sacha Dunable of Intronaut) has finished recording a full length album.  We hope to have it available by the fall, around the same time as the new Intronaut record!  Rough snippets of the songs can be heard at:

While the news of this relocation is sad, both of us will continue making music in some form or another.  We want to thank everyone who supported us or played with us in the past three years. We hope to tour after gaining more fans and getting our financial issues under control.  So tell your friends to download our new EP (it’s FREE) and keep a look out for the side project album.