TRACK | Thee Marvin Gays – Iron Maiden

5/5 golden merles

Sounding suspiciously like your neighborhood middle-american egg punk, Tournai’s (Belgium) Thee Marvin Gays own and operate guitars.

The tones are framed in a glaze of static residue, gently smudged, and securely off kilter enough to be believed: some of that magic which has not yet departed the world.

A friendly slap in the face. Sounds a bit like P&P favorites Together Pangea and Dead Ghosts. By some means the 2014 release Sleepless Nights has escaped my gaze to this point and I am looking forward to pouring over it’s excesses.

TRACK | The Mokkers – Peace of Mind

5/5 golden merles

One excellent album from 2016 that even James Acaster himself overlooked, The Mokkers’ In a Daze is tremendous, tremulous Berlin-based surf/garage rock.

I really need a change /
I need it like the plants need water when there’s no rain

Well-versed and wholehearted, “Peace of Mind” is a searing and self-assured cut. More or less timeless, it dissects a few essential organs steeped in history that are worth preserving and successfully transplants them.

Smoldering vocals, speaking in and with instrumental accompanying tones of the past, beseeching, to reconfigure the present on better terms. In league with others who do this properly, like our dear parasocial friends Shannon and the Clams and Sheer Mag.

TRACK | Daughter Bat and the Lip Stings – chrissy dins

5/5 golden merles

More Love Songs was released on New Years Eve, maybe to spite the compulsive year-end-listers, maybe not. I think it’ll still make its way onto my 2022 set because it is deserving of praise. And, though it may try, the Gregorian calendar alone doesn’t dictate when or what we listen to.

Lots of formidable flux here, and it’s a little unnerving in it’s unfaltering shimmer.

Melody and tone are of paramount importance. But also up there in import is the character of the tones themselves, vocally and the instrumental accompaniment, which envelop a delirious kind of defiance, defiant but grotesque.

You can have it both ways, transformative between each line, the grave seriousness and the severed irreverence. It’s more fun that way, in fact, and richer. There’s a lot of value in taking either of these divergent impulses and honing them into a few heightened hooks which share a purpose. In that stylistic choice is a brighter/weirder future that maintains its sense of humor throughout the collapse.

TRACK | Cupid and the Stupids – Burn the Mattress

5/5 golden merles

Having featured these gentle giants on a previous mix and once earlier on this eternal tomb, I was excited to see the new album, 99 ways to fix a broken heart, appear in the Tremendo Garaje feed.

It’s a joyous and raucous set, tactile in that lo-fi measure that puts you in the room. 99 ways is 36 minutes of the fervent and the gushing. Recorded over three days, it really feels like it, or maybe even more like one afternoon of unsupervised pyrotechnics.

Mostly incandescent, its poignant haranguing is a lot of fun. Antithetical to most music that is built to bracket advertisements, it is built with a different purpose. And this almost seems like a mistake or misdirection within the current structures that determine what has value and why.

But, knowing the dominant alternative, it is a great relief to have access to this sentiment and viscera… particularly on this day of all days. I am of course referring to the fact that it is exactly 74 days until Arbor Day. Good luck out there, my friends.

TRACK | LAFFF BOX – We Hear You Talking

5/5 golden merles

Equal parts ripping and roaring, there’s not one Florida ounce in this track that isn’t a good time. Both terrorizing and playful, sort of reminiscent of the common era. Crooked and delightful.

There is a fine patchwork of influences that I have been culturally conditioned to respond positively to.

It has theatrical and melodic elements of Rocky Horror and belligerent/lacerating subsections of Kel Mason’s superb GEE TEE and DRAGGS. And, of course, all the fine roots of whatever compost fed those grubs to their formidable and resolute selves.

Never mind the origins of these things: Australia, US, UK, Germany, whatever; we all live together now more than ever in one another’s minds. And it’s crowded. And this is the result of that digital brain swelling, a fine and upstanding cesspool of innovation.

TRACK | Goon – Fruiting Body

5/5 golden merles

With Goon’s Fruiting Body, I haven’t heard such a fine widening gyre of a track in a fortnight or forty.

There is something to the incantations, the “blood red” mantra metering our absorption into the grand stream, a kind of cozy induction, in league with the frothing pool.

Gentle and elegant under the melted mix of lo-fi fixtures, it’s in the vein of Andy Shauf and Hovvdy. But also ends up stretching a bit more with the undercurrents into the psychedelic/experimental sort.

found some pink glass / buried under the deep end /
say something untrue and kind

It is difficult to imagine fans of the genre not getting hooked on that guitar-lead harmony accompanied with this level of smoggy and vibrant utterance. Looking forward to the remainder of the release from the EP appearing February 25.

TRACK | moodlighting – Ahead of myself

5/5 golden merles

There is room on this ledger for indie-pop and twee-type rock, particularly when it’s this well arranged and strikes such a balance of buoyancy and dread.

It is difficult to form this combination of melody and malaise, at least so far as I’ve seen in my searching. And the group seems uniquely thoughtful in a timely way that updates the genre into the demonstrably forsaken but sometimes pretty pleasant common era.

Lyrically the track is uncertain yet defiant (come change my mind for me), eager within the context of melancholy, and creates a lovely space in which to brood.

For fans possibly of the Pants Yell!’s instrumentation variety and storytelling, a Pastels gleaming murmur, and in the vocal range and register of Broadway Hush/Page France, if these are things you’re eager to explore the neighborhoods of.

TRACK | Hovvdy – Easy

5/5 golden merles

The melody sprouts from the structure in Easy like a seedling through the roof of an abandoned weigh station. There is an ease and levity to the vocals amidst the weight of concrete piano and drum instrumentation. The collaboration of these elements across the soundscape provides us with an admirable expanse.

The spiraled knots in the melodic structure keep it familiar even as it extends to otherwise untenable lengths.

There is some very interesting techniques of pacing that might otherwise go unnoticed. That it is the work of two drummers seems to make a lot of sense. There are many kinds of ways to build a melody and embed it in memory and this one is both unique and lovely.

TRACK | Bad Deals – Paint

5/5 golden merles

Recalling the careening melodies and cutting guitar riffs of Women at their best, “Paint” is a stunning track from Boston’s Bad Deals.

The vocal layers agreeably proffer through and alongside the rampant lead guitar, hectic and harboring great detail. In the unfolding events it is clear that there was great care put into the balance of the soundscape.

That I am the incalculable dullard writing about this good work, presently more fixated on personal creation than curation, seems undeniably cruel.

“Paint” is one of those bandcamp gems that is another in the series of deeply concerning by it’s so-far limited fanfare. That something this well realized and refined lacks an audience is very frightening. It seems a logical step from greatly loved traditions. The algorithm at play hasn’t figured out yet how to read these things properly and deliver them to those who would immediately appreciate them.

TRACK | Jeanines – Where We Go

5/5 golden merles

Jeanines’ 2019 self-titled album is full of killer hooks and excellent melodic structuring. A couple months prior to the pandemic I was fortunate enough to see them rip through a set at one of Brooklyn’s premier indie venues, Wonderville.

Golden, bright and jangly guitar tones consistently drift over some highly refined ruminations. The well crafted bass and drums are immensely complimentary, enrich the melodies and keep everything moving at pace. The songs are in fact refined to the point that no track on the record stretches beyond the 2:34 mark.

It is the output of aficionados, the zealots, the genre purists, and it is I think even more than most records meant to be consumed as part of the whole set or album foremost.

With the deceptive brevity, one track, any really, acts as an entry point that demands the others be likewise appreciated. There isn’t a weak point in the chain.

In its episodic and relative conciseness there is a mechanic here that plays with perception through a more manageable and enforced segmentation (Like happily binging a 12 hour limited series and it appearing less daunting than a single 4 hour film). These are 16 excellent tracks in just over 25 minutes and well worth a visit.