Album Review: Land of Blood and Sunshine — ‘House of Bellow’

Listening to Land Of Blood and Sunshine is being taken on a journey through a fantasy world of damaged misfits moving through surrealist landscapes. From their first album, 2009’s Magick Carcass Ride, through their last, 2015’s Lady and the Trance, they’ve continued to spin fables in song form. Their sound has a lot in common with the fairytale psych-folk of early Elf Power combined with the new age sing-a-along hymns of the Danielson Family.

House of Bellow, their sixth full-length album, takes these same influences, then turns them upside down to see if they still tick — in the process, making one of the best psych records of 2019.

Opening track “The Orchestrate” lays the groundwork, opening with funky guitar plucking that disappears as the collective vocals arrive. A minute in and the mix is overwhelmed by a prog-y organ that delivers a near sugar rush of glee. It isn’t until the doomy guitars and forced growl vocals take over that we become aware that this trip is about to become darker and stranger.

“Driving With A Ghost,” track two, changes the mood slightly. It’s the closest the album gets to a rock song, and it does a fine job setting us up for the next turn. “The Fifth Field” starts with spaghetti western guitars that slowly deliver us into a child-like creepiness, both innocent and unsettling.

As the album continues I am more and more aware that LOBAS have spent their 10-plus years together sharpening the edges of their songwriting, where most bands become formulaic. This is most evident on songs like “Leaf Merchant,” with its Amon Duul stylings, and the fragile warbling of “Fossil Toss.” It continues with the melodic guitars that give in to a hidden anger in “Keeper of the Cabin” and on “The Portable Forest,” which might as well be an anthem for the feral climate change children who will take over the world.

With the addition of Land of Blood and Sunshine to their eclectic roster, Sump Pump Records continues to shine a light on some of the best music made in Iowa.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 267.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


World of Bikes presents:


Come talk with our experts about ways to stay on the bike this winter! Find out more at World of Bikes.

Get Started

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.