TRACK | Obnox – It’s so hard to break a habit

5/5 golden merles

Obnox’s phenomenal cover of The Webs is what I imagine American pop music would presently sound more like if we were better capable of grappling with our shared degraded condition.

Never has such unimaginable wealth been localized within a region and disseminated so unevenly among it’s inhabitants. With every opportunity for alternative, there is an extreme disregard offered the general well being.

Simultaneous with this disparity, no other nation has such a collective misunderstanding of itself, it’s glories and indignities.

Not only are the people defeated, routed, but proudly so. Rabid nationalism is exclusively here an obvious humiliation, frothing and raving, we pledge our devotion to an oligarchy, a plutocracy, and a kleptocracy, which hold dominion under the false label of democracy.

And how do you make pop music within this context, knowing the conditions? It’s hard to break a habit.

TRACK | La Secte Du Futur – Future is Better

5/5 golden merles

From the bass synth and bass guitar out the gate intermingling, to the vocals metallic net of echo, every tone in this is great.

There are a couple buried synths in the mix, something I am deeply sympathetic to, offering up their own variant melodies to the alter of noise. They are just apparent enough to flesh things out and keep things interesting.

This gentle revisionism speaks to the chaos at the heart of the track. Whether The Future is Better or Never is better, something must change.

TRACK | Jeans Wilder – Sparkler

5/5 golden merles

As mentioned in the prior post, The Mountain Goats’ The Water Song feeds nicely into this track, in tempo, theme and texture.

And it is all a lot of texture, isn’t it. It’s such a lovely, warm, lugubrious track.

The 50s pop influences are here, gently warped through the lo-fi bedroom lens. If it’s not already in some slow motion film sequence or twenty it will be soon enough.

The mood has been captured or crafted and awaits appropriation, to be shuffled sequentially, reformed into a new purpose. It’s too good not to be gathered up and set against new backgrounds, some complimentary, some gaudy and/or heartless.

TRACK | The Mountain Goats – The Water Song

5/5 golden merles

John Darnielle has carved out a place in the world for himself through an exhaustive output of decades worth catchy and insightful pop music.

It is seemingly self-sustaining and I admire him a great deal for this achievement. As the gears about us churn and crush everyone else, John has managed not to be ground into a fine paste.

That is not at all to say that he didn’t have his fair share of hard times, from what I understand, those due all sentient beasts. But that he continued to create throughout them and continues to make interesting media. At some point most people stop.

This song is gleefully dire. There are some field recording elements for texture, subtle but sticky backing vocals in the chorus, and the bareness of John’s grating/glorious voice.

I am most familiar with this song in the context of a mix in which it feeds directly into Jeans Wilder’s Sparkler. And that will be posted next. Due to the way chronology works in archiving posts, it will be in order but now perceived out of order. The trick is that it doesn’t matter.

TRACK | Son of Salami – Baby Mayo

5/5 golden merles

Baby Mayo is a blast from the not so distant past of 2012.

It was a simpler time. Instagram gave a generation of not-yet-middle-aged millennials a reason to live. One neoliberal oligarchy apologist was our symbolic figurehead instead of another. And the domestication of the dog continued unabated.

Looking back over it now it is a real triumph of lo-fi bedroom rock. Both melodically interesting, lyrically playful, strange but also truly pretty.

I am all for representations of abrupt and seemingly arbitrary deterioration, having experienced them personally as a bipedal multicellular biological organism, like when the track hits a disintegration loop or two.

There is a lot of craft and detail going into this track which may be lost on some less familiar with the genre. Mostly because it sounds like an ice cream truck falling apart upon reentry. but it is there.

TRACK | Grass Widow – Disappearing Industries

5/5 golden merles

The mind is pretty easily fooled into seeing miracles wherever someone has put in a small amount of effort. Some well-honed slight of hand or a few rehearsals later, we spectators are ready to see the divine. It is evident.

In Disappearing Industries keenly crafted melodies careen about the finely tuned structure. To me, it seems like a kind of magic.

It is, at least, a minor engineering marvel, like the innerworkings of a clock, gears interlocking, determined to determine. The albums title is appropriate, few songs have as compelling an internal logic.


5/5 golden merles

Z-ZERO is 90 seconds of blown-out synth pop punk.

The bifurcated melody lets for once the bridge also be the chorus, and it is no small wonder that this works out fine. Yet again, Australia has shown us the way.

It’s all very good. There’s enough style that it lapses back into substance at some point in the general mire, the rhythm guitar bounding back and forth across the soundscape throughout.

TRACK | Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Tom Justice, The Choir Boy Robber, Apprehended at Ace Hardware in Libertyville, IL

5/5 golden merles

“26 without a shot / that’s more than Bonnie and Clyde got”

Never one to shy away from a lengthy title no matter whose blog title section it will disrupt, CFTPA/Owen Ashworth writes songs plenty good enough to overlook this flaw.

It starts with twinkling starlight keys affixed to a broad void of bass drum, just listen to the song. It is all beginning. Synthetic clapping, you should listen for that. And there’s a tremendous organ solo that plays Tom off. You can just listen to it.

TRACK | The Stevens – Chancer

5/5 golden merles

“Give me a chance to be a stranger / give me a chance to be forgotten”

The drums land in the mix somewhere at the base of the skull, in the limbic system or lizard brain. I’m not sure I heard them the first 10 times I listened to the song, but you feel them.

And anyway with Chancer the guitar hooks are the centerpiece, adorned in fuzz and jangle.

There are at least three vocal tracks spread across the headphone range in various states of singsong and staggered slightly in delay and octave. They all unite in a fine megazord in the mix, sword accessorized.

TRACK | Total Revenge – Jeep Cherokee

5/5 golden merles

There’s a few great tracks on Total Revenge’s S/T, but Jeep Cherokee is my favorite of the set.

Drums that register somewhere between trashcan and streetlight corral a blown out but triumphant melody, bleeding out graciously into the verse. All of this builds pretty quickly to some kind of boil before dissipating in feedback to close out the record.

“I do all the things that I should / For once in my life I feel good”

Check out also The Fair for similar sludgery that reaches comparable heights of wonder.