San Diego sludge metal veterans -(16)- recently put out their first new album in four years, Dream Squasher, on Relapse, and it's continued proof that these guys are true lifers who sound as urgent and inspired as they have for the past 25+ years.

Dream Squasher is highly recommended listening, and we also reached out to -(16)- guitarist Alex Sshuster and bassist Barney Firks to see what they've been listening to in these crazy times, and here's what they had to say:


Sepultura - Arise (Alex Shuster)

When we released "Candy in Spanish," the first single out of Dream Squasher, someone mentioned that it reminded them of '90s Sepultura. It immediately triggered me to go back and re-listen to those early '90s albums that I used to have on repeat when I was in school.

Without going into too much comparison, Arise is a great record, everything about it fits perfectly - the artwork, the sound, the songs and obviously the performance. One thing I always admired about Sepultura is their ability to choose a good cover song and make it their own. Motorhead's "Orgasmatron," which is one of the B-sides recorded during the Arise sessions, is a prime example of that. Funny enough, one of the very first shows I ever played was at a local school and we did a cover of "Orgasmatron" in front of all the teachers and parents. That definitely felt special...

Tommy Bolin - Energy (Alex Shuster)

I first discovered Tommy Bolin through his short stint with Deep Purple in the mid '70s. That always felt like an odd choice to me, and who can replace Ritchie Blackmore anyway...

With Corona among us and some free time on my hands, I was finally able to go back and explore Tommy's back catalog a little further and it's full of musical wonders. During his short career, he made two of my (now) favorite James Gang albums, played with drum masters like Alphonse Mouzon, and released few solo records on top of endless sessions and live performances. Energy did stand out for me as an early but well rounded representation of his guitar skills, distinctive tone and song writing that made him such a great musician. Unfortunately he overdosed on heroin after the Deep Purple tour in 1976. Don't do heroin kids!

Magazine - Play (Barney Firks)

Dark, brooding, ethereal, and acerbic. This band is criminally overlooked and sinfully underrated. Fronted by former Buzzcock Howard Devoto; bassist Barry Adamson went on to play with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, and guitarist John McGeoch (who left just before this live disc was recorded) gained fame later with Siouxsie And The Banshees and Public Image Ltd.

Leisure Class - Parents Night at the Leper Colony (Barney Firks)

Formed in Detroit in the late 1970s, and later moving to NYC, this band has had so many members and incarnations, it is hard to keep track of them all. The one constant is lead singer Dimitri Mugianis. This is a band I really wish I had seen live. Their songs hop genres, and they often have manic energy, which helps me too.

Free Salamander Exhibit - Undestroyed (Barney Firks)

Rising from the ashes of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, this album continues where The Museum left off. The perfect mix of brutality and beauty, they always take me through uncharted territory, to destinations both unexpected and sublime. Dan Rathbun, low-end provocateur, producer, and builder of ground shaking musical devices, never ceases to delight with his innovation and deft manipulation of the nether frequencies. Definitely, music to facilitate the journey of your mind and soul to another reality. Don’t we all need that right now?


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