TRACK | Liquids – Dont Wanna Get to Know You

5/5 golden merles

Solo project of Mat Williams of Indiana, Liquids’ Life is Pain Idiot is beaming, howling punk rock. Too many tracks to feature appropriately, so featuring the first I heard. The album end-to-end holds consistently and admirably steady delivering a series of lean and singed tracks.

That it’s a largely solo effort is truly impressive, no sense of motion or desire is lost in the administered layering. The vocal performance is appropriately clutching and cracking, landing as though live, buzzing over the vehement instrumentation. The vision is readily apparent and highly realized.

Discogs chatter claims a vinyl is in the works, hopefully this is the case. Until then it’s $5 on the digital platform all listening would take place on anyway.

TRACK | Christian Fitness – Kill the Bored

5/5 golden merles

Finding a bit of humor in the proverbial hemorrhage, Christian Fitness is equipped to reframe the general malaise in a way that may bring you amusement. Striking synths and string-approximations hammer tones into shapely assemblages, with much invention in the language, its phrasing of fine hooks.

Would you say you are a timebomb ticking / or just a normal person dealing badly with change?

There’s a great deal of care put into the honing of textures and lines. Blatantly tactful, manifesting the mess but with levity, it’s truly a nice state of mind to get trapped in. Not a band I know well. It didn’t stick on first exposure but the tab was still open in the rancid nest of endless windows, and now I realize I’m about a 100 tracks behind on something quite special and good.

TRACK | Beta Maximo. – Busco corazones.

5/5 golden merles

Spanish lo-fi eggpunk from Úbeda. Grab the intangible digi-drum and sync your muscles to its writhing. Described on their instagram as DIYARI (Do It Yourself And Release Immediately), this aesthetic remains intact and uncompromised.

Spain vice. is a great set. Composed of no track longer than 1:45, it moves relentlessly, flashing past. Nothing overstays, everything burns out immediately in the friction of a few overlapping melodies of synth and guitar crammed into the centrifuge.

You can pay for it, to show your respects, on a donation-basis, howsoever many euros seems appropriate. It’s yet another admirable EP found through the exceedingly reliable hunting of

TRACK | Beach Fossils – Twelve Roses

5/5 golden merles

“Twelve Roses” is super catchy lo-fi pop rock which conveys the weathering of a state of ennui and a longing to locate some channel or undercurrent of escape. It contains a cryptic nursery rhyme of a melody and two octave vocal layers collapsing into one another above some enduring, tinny drums and tambourine.

The delicate bass line runs part counter and part concert to the melodic vocal phrasing but compliments adding breadth to the aural tide. Depending on the bass levels of your setup maybe it comes in somewhere beneath the consciousness threshold but your heart probably noticed it, or anyway some intermediary of the limbic system.

It reminds me of an era of early dietary restrictions, huddling behind a desk in a closet (all eras really, but one specific desk, one specific closet), and growing a real bad, patchy beard through the power of neglect. Anniversary edition available on the Bandcamp from Bayonet Records.

TRACK | Twain – Young God (gotta lotta feeling)

5/5 golden merles

Twain’s “Young God (gotta lotta feeling)” is a bundle of tones and tethered vibrations, plaintive and patiently emitting. It functions on its own accord, a kind of Americana with spirit; unfortunately an exception to the rule.

There’s a kind of masterful, natural skewer and slouch to the unfolding instrumentation, definitely some majesty among the assembled merits. Not overworked, but still intricately plotted, just enough without getting lost in form or sacrificing the feeling.

And it builds up to something moving and unencumbered: naturally ascending tambourine, flush with guitar and a parading piano. Part of its glory is not being able to pin it down or put it dead under the glass. But some copy of it has been captured and maintains the illusion of a living body. And that can be bought for $8-20 in various forms.

TRACK | Simon Joyner – Joy Division

5/5 golden merles

Shattered in the heart and scattered in the brain... you asked for a chorus but you got a refrain.

Such is the quality of the storytelling that I’m hearing it for the some-hundredth time and still unearthing new lines or implications within couplets.

It probably gets a bit tiring being called a songwriter’s songwriter. But I have no time and I refuse to look into it. It’s a great compliment. Please just take the compliment, Simon.

The track is full of wonder, much compelling musing and brooding. It hosts a novella of characters conveyed in rapid sequence, their dialogs interleaved and exposed in momentary visions. The pastiche is formed from a scattershot of misgivings, commiserations granted a ceremonial quality, and articulated in a structured sequence that captures a larger feeling chronically an era of impressions. The thread is maintained in a consistent tone from a narrator that endears throughout by the beauty of his phrasing.

It is a testament. And it is beautifully balanced to captivate. If it wasn’t immediately apparent from the tremolo and distortion off that early strumming, when the instrumentation hits around the four minute mark, and the wailing rises to meet it, there is created a small clearing. You can escape for a couple minutes into it.

TRACK | Tender Prey – Time Will Steal

5/5 golden merles

“Time Will Steal” is some foreboding and explosive Welsh garage pop from Cardiff-based Tender Prey. Echoing and incisive, it’s part incantation, part tempestuous alt-rock anthem.

The track really feels as though it was recorded at the ideal moment: somewhere nearing the end of the creative refinement but before the melodies stales from performance and repetition. The result is some soaring and mesmeric lo-fi rock.

The ephemeral and forceful vocal core, it’s delivery and production, is formidable. When the refrain hits and the gears shift again, interleaved harmonies coalesce and something good becomes great.

For more check out the Bandcamp for Tender Prey’s additional EPs and LPs, including the 2017 release “Falling Off Chairs.

TRACK | Ricky Eat Acid – april six

5/5 golden merles

“April Six” is my favorite of a very fine set of tracks, more instrumental material of imminently lovely proportion from Ricky Eat Acid (Aka Sam Ray).

I’m a month (and a decade) behind posting this empirical wonder here in March ’22, but the piece feels to me like a pretty fair embodiment of spring (What year? Every year. Get out): a fragility of form, but resolute and more or less eternal.

There is documenting here the capturing of ‘becoming’ as a measure of being. It feels simultaneously like an end and a beginning. That is likely what all art should hold a bit of, the acknowledgement of phases: more ambiguity, more uncertainty, more transitory; that which appears to be paying respect to change.

The collision of time with tone and whatever runoff makes its way along the sluice onto the tape. Anyway, it’s quite pretty and you can take it however you like at whatever price seems fair.

TRACK | Gus Englehorn – Exercise Your Demons

5/5 golden merles

Gus Englehorn’s “Exercise Your Demons” is solid, spectral pop. The Alaska by-way-of Montreal singer-songwriter has bottled a sample of corrosion and blood in this one, a cocktail forged from the extraction of the heart and its subsequent erosion.

The tissue sample of a track is a pleasantly scalding synthesis of lo-fi garage and folk-pop confessional. It is impassioned and it is earnest, and it quickly endears you to its progenitors.

22 to 25 / I don’t know how I survived / yet I did survive

The song concerns the literal and figurative action of sunlight as the best disinfectant, how with concerted motion the body and the brain release their chemical excretions, and how these mend or mire us. It is a very literal call to action, and that in exercise you sometimes also find an adjacent exorcism.

Visceral and vehement, the elemental and orchestral waves of textured conveyance are spellbinding stuff. There is sentiment, fever and a tangible fervor tied to the recollecting. It is a welcome missive and highly relatable to those among us who have survived the rigors of youth or are presently experiencing them.

Please see also the wonderfully rendered vid and buy the tape, vinyl, cd and album zine constructed with great craft and intention from artist, director and drummer Estée Preda over at Secret City Records.

TRACK | Hanoi Janes – Across the Sea

5/5 golden merles

Joyous but bittersweet lo-fi garage pop, “Across the Sea” by Hanoi Janes is another from the Captured Tracks era of indie rock hegemony, when I first became acquainted with so many peeking widows and voided dogs.

Waves of reverb break against the shore. The approximation of a xylophone stutters, piercing. A heart is thrown across the sea and there’s one final pledge to remain the same.

The overwhelming sense is one of revelry in the time of adventuring. But there’s also a remorse at the opportunity cost of ever doing any one thing, the instead, those left behind, going as opposed to staying: the prospective revelries or troubles on either end.

Very few lines rapidly convey the universal conflict. The rest of the story is told in the tones of tremolo and the rapturous melodies and these speak clearly more to a promising future than the dread of absence or omission.

There are again Discog links for a reasonable price in the assemblage of atoms.