| BS 152
Digital Only

The Golden Hour


At the end of the day, man oh man, this record is a non-stop party.  Sweaty, pissed off and joyous.

A STONE COLD CLASSIC. The soundtrack to an all night party at the edge of civilization!

Full Description

In 2005, Firewater's Tod A embarked on what would become a three year sabbatical through the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. He had recently split with his wife; George W. Bush had just been re-elected; New York, his home for the last 20 years, had become a cold and foreign place. He wasn't even sure he wanted to make music anymore. "I was extremely depressed. The NYC skyline looked like bad wallpaper to me. It was either kill myself or hit the road," he says. He put everything he owned in storage and left NYC with a few clothes and a laptop.

The journey Tod undertook would challenge him creatively in ways he couldn't have imagined in its planning stages. "I traveled overland starting in Delhi, India, across the Thar Desert, then through Rajasthan, onward through the Punjab, and into Pakistan," he recounts. "I had originally planned to continue overland through Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, ending in Istanbul." But things didn't go exactly as planned. Along the way he was drugged, robbed, detained, and later struck down with severe intestinal problems. Travelers were disappearing along the road to Kabul. As Tod puts it, "I was forced to end my trip at the Khyber Pass on the Afghan border, due to general ill health and the unnerving likelihood of kidnapping."

Recording with a single microphone and a laptop in his pack, he captured performances with a vast array of musicians across India and Pakistan--and eventually Turkey and Israel. Bhangra and sufi percussion would form the basis for the songs he wrote along the way--songs about the world he left behind ("This Is My Life", "Electric City"), politics ("Borneo", "Hey Clown"), and dislocation ("6:45", "Feels like the End of the World"). Tod's acerbic wit shines on The Golden Hour, elucidating both the beauty and the absurdity of the world.

Firewater drummer Tamir Muskat (of Balkan Beat Box) produced, mixed and played on the album, along with a strange cast of characters from 5 different countries. Tod tells the story of the trip in a short video, which includes footage from his travels. He also chronicled his experiences on his travel blog, Postcards from the Other Side of the World.


Every damn one of 'em

Short Description
  • If the Clash had been bitten by the global-music bug earlier in its career, it probably would've sounded something like The Golden Hour.

    — Cleveland Scene
  • ...Firewater’s angriest, most poignant and most accomplished music.

  • These cuts chronicle his travelogue with exotically hypnotic grooves, belly-dance melodies and noirish guitar twang. Tour his art of darkness.

    — Winnipeg Sun
  • ...some seriously exotic magic was created....proving, yet again, that Tod A is one of the most criminally under-appreciated artists in the American underground. The alt-music veteran delivers his finest hour.

    — No Depression
  • Sounds like it could have been lifted from a Mekons session, albeit one conducted in a Pakastani market, and all of it builds on Ashley's clear fascination with klezmer, ska, gypsy jazz, Bollywood cinemascope, tango and all of the regional permutations in between. After a decade of fascinating ethnic music hybridization,

    — Cleveland Free Times
  • The trek’s result is Firewater’s most compelling record yet, a funky, furious bouillabaisse of fuzzy Gypsy-punk guitars, tart Bollywood strings and throbbing hand-drums.

    — Time Out New York
  • The Golden Hour radiates excitement, indignation, joy, and rage; it has a narrative force previous Firewater records lacked, and Ashley's tremendously varied road recordings add up to a consistently rich texture.

    — Baltimore City Paper
  • Comes close to being essential listening. In which a Nick Cave/Tom Waits acolyte travels to Pakistan, hangs out with the locals, and makes Sufi cabaret punk rock music ...A superb, disturbing slab of desperation and creativity.

    — Paste Magazine
  • Takes Firewater's gypsy-punk carnival and adds Middle Eastern flourishes to a broader worldview, skewering politics and personal demons along the way. Its author doesn't seem to have had a spiritual awakening so much as a creative one; this record is so lively and rambunctious it makes you want to run away and join Firewater's multicultural circus on the spot.

    — The Stranger
  • Firewater is a longtime world-punk favorite--exuberant but profoundly seedy, hard-nosed, and sardonic. The Golden Hour once again perfectly balances the catchy and the cynical.

    — Village Voice

Track List

  • 1. Borneo
  • 2. This Is My Life
  • 3. Some Kind of Kindness
  • 4. 6:45A Place Not So Unkind
  • 5. Paradise
  • 6. Banghra Bros
  • 7. Electric City
  • 8. Hey Clown
  • 9. Already Gone
  • 10. Feels Like The End of the World
  • 11. Weird To Be Back
  • 12. 3-Legged Dog


You May Also Dig…