TRACK | Cut Worms – Like Going Down Sideways

5/5 golden merles

One of the strongest 2-song 7″ I’ve come across, a pair of my favorites from the buildup to Alien Sunset. “Like Going Down Sideways” is delicate and dreamy alt country. It is also an expert projection of layering a demo into a fully fledged lo-fi phenomenon.

There’s a lot of wonder to the piercing polarization of the complimentary layered vocal lanes, creeping in solemnly from the treetops of hell before the chorus raises. The track also features texturally many deliberate flourishes, like a couple of the briefest xylophone or glockenspiel cameos known to man; arriving to puncture amidst the plucking and contribute just a bit more of the percussive, glinting and gleaming.

The persistent room noise in this version is lovely. This one came out perfected and doesn’t need refining. You can still buy the split from Randy Records for all of $6.50 plus shipping.

TRACK | Druggy Pizza – Like Pigs In A Slot

5/5 golden merles

Featuring members of Dusty Mush, Cédric Bottacchi/Druggy Pizza’s “Like Pigs In A Slot” convenes the crunching and crushing of waves in a not dissimilar manner. Unrest and deliberate deconstruction, it’s surf rock on a sea of molten gloom and Midas detritus.

The blistering, proximal bass synth continues grinding in perpetuity, as the focus shifts from the background grind to the central figures portrait, breaking the established mold a few times in a matter of minutes. The whole EP/split’s worth spending some time with.

If you, like me, hold its contortions in high esteem, look also into the 2020 set and checkout the handful of vinyl from the Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali split.

TRACK | Sterile Cuckoo – The Ghost of Saint Claire

5/5 golden merles

“The Ghost of Saint Claire” has a composition that incorporates more creative tools than most songwriters employ and with more conviction. I’m very fond of these configurations, their sequencing — from field, to shoegaze, to ambient drone — is always dreamy, always threatening to break into bloom. It is mesmeric, captivating material.

Three things primarily pique my interest among its graces: First, the cohesion of its assembled genre influences. Second is the structural invention and pacing. And third is the collaborative element. Each of these involve their own degree of risk and reward.

There is some risk in breaking free from the yoke of strictly enforced genre limitations, attempting to create the more refined/unique niche, and the prospective audience readily available to receive it. Another risk is in leaning into the expanse, allowing the void to patiently fill itself with subtle field and noise cues, breaking the form but maintaining a series of footholds. Yet another risk is in collaboration with others to contribute toward the fundamental ideas and ambiance (orion lake & Antonio Svisa).

But, truly, they’ve all paid off tremendously well here. And, from the outside, that act of crafting feels honest and refreshing, to have honed the influences or held a vision intact throughout. It’s realized to a point that probably none of it seems like risk at all to its progenitor, but rather the only way to properly render the material and synthesize the influences. Listening to it feels a little bit like taking part in that conviction and it is a joyful event. There is much to admire in its grandiose and ephemeral lo-fi textures, and the deteriorating and rising of its well designed phases and fractals.

TRACK | Aldous Harding – Beast

5/5 golden merles

“Beast” is a prized prophesy of a track from Harding, lightly picked, all mysticism, scattershot and scorched earth. The slow accumulate crushing is combined with an intricate immediacy of language, using intrigue of veiled prescience to keep your attention. It contains one of my favorite lines of any era:

Why breed a boy for his meat /
To teach the child cruel rituals of ruin to repeat?

My greatest affection is for the early Aldous Hardling project output, like Beast here and the early live Horizon performances, although it remains inventive and interesting in all guises. The language hits on something larger, older, something like in Epic of Gilgamesh:

The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor, and collected like flies over the sacrifice

There are mechanics properly employed, like preying on our propensity for favoring the augural. But in a fun way that respects the audience enough, doesn’t get lost believing its own lies, material made of savoring the act without taking itself too seriously at the same time. There’s a world tour going on right now if you’re interested.

TRACK | That Ghost – Moon And The Almighty

5/5 golden merles

Previously I’ve written on Ryan Thomas Schmale melancholic and gorgeous work under Myers Rooney, I Hope It Is Only a Room. “Moon And The Almighty” is an earlier, coarser garage rock track. It was provided to a defunct compilations project made by a defunct label that was funding largely defunct DIY venues.

A marching eulogy of a track, it burns and it is glowing. The vocals and instrumentation collude in a fine mist of metallic static. The unraveling is a spectacle, with vocalizations cruising along it’s descent, Death is coming / To take me soon. Transitioning, the passage moves to favoring yowling at the point of disintegration, embers still alight.

In contrast to the Myers Rooney To Bleed album, this conveys Schmale’s great range of evocation; there a drifting and gilding the expanse, here a measured writhing and smiting. A strong working songwriter that deserves a bit of your support if you are able.

There’s a new 2022 split with mr submissive also to check out.

TRACK | Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – The Story of the Wind

5/5 golden merles

In our time of interregnum and on a day in particular upon which our nation further disgraces itself — beholden as it is to a coalition of the corrupt and a cadre of geriatric oligarchs, theocrats, conservatives, regressives, and the other assorted dregs of civilization — here is a piece from someone still living once held in a fascist prison.

With much beautiful elaboration, this is a beacon of an instrumental, a melodic gift guided in staggering nuance and mannerisms. The cultured style is rich work of formidable detailing. Intriguing and memorable in its immediately accessibly direct form, it nevertheless contains such subtlety and distinction within its variances. Until you hear it, with all its salient graces, you don’t quite realize how much you have settled for in substitution.

For more excellence from Ethiopia check out the earlier post on Getatchew Mekurya and/or listen to Guebrou’s full Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo here.

TRACK | cool sorcery – Sea Dream

5/5 golden merles

Bedroom-based Brazilian garage rock, striking and resourceful in its conceits and reimagining. There’s plenty of genre blurring in the service of tone, punk and dream pop, and all culminating in much good from where I’m sat. One of the best produced lo-fi albums I’ve heard in ages.

“Sea Dream” caps off the album and brings the set to a close with a little bit of the venom tapped, but the whole set is filled with pointed and momentous hooks. Smoggy, snarling and slick, it’s a bit melted and mystifying, with much fine attention to detail including the field recording to place the epitaph.

The weighted mix of live and drum machine is an emphatic and impressive simulacra instructing you how to build out from the skeleton to craft a convincing body of work; how to reinforce and animate the heart without inhibiting credulity. It’s $5 USD on the bandcamp page.

TRACK | TV Priest – Lifesize

5/5 golden merles

Beneath the bluster and bruised flesh it has a great heart to the thing. The drilling of those two synths into the skull, it’s something to be admired. There’s a clarity to the production that works its way into the gray matter without destroying anything essential in the process. A good balance to strike.

This is in the vein of Christian Fitness, Protomartyr, Idles, and Ought, if you like that kind; all the revelry of an adjunct professor shouting at you, and about a subject they don’t specialize in, and for your own good. At least they seem to think so. It’s nice in small doses, for a few years at a time, maybe there’s an accreditation granted at the end of it all.

It’s a vengeance pastiche, the elaborately fractured usage of language as a cudgel to get at something deeper than our collective descent. It’s an attempt to get ahead of the thing. Purposefully disoriented and in synopsis, it’s a poem. The language is essential and central and the language is sturdy. I don’t know how it holds up in a decade but I recognize its assessment of this brazen, dilapidated zeitgeist.

66 degrees and a haze today, and Subpop has delivered something I admire. Haven’t gotten to the ’22 full length, but excited to spend a minute with it.

TRACK | Wand – Flying Golem

5/5 golden merles

Psychedelic rock from LA, “Flying Golem” convincingly summons something strange and special from the inanimate. The instrumentation approximates something graceful, aloft and massive. Driving melodic guitars grind and latch to the steadfast percussion, synths delicately sprout from the structure.

I have very limited patience for guitar solos in general but this one is adequately shattering and incorporates the discordant with deliberate experimentation. Through its winding and dissolution it manages to say something new and complimentary within the context of the demolition.

Sadly the bandcamp has one selectively available track, so the YouTube link won’t show up in the hype machine. But also check out the beautiful video on youtube directed and animated by Meghan Tryon & Garrett M Davis. $9 for the digital, abridged in its preview. The vinyl’s relatively rare but can be located for the right price.

TRACK | checkpoint – gravedigger

5/5 golden merles

Kicking and combustible punk from Melbourne, “gravedigger” is structurally inventive and paced in variable pulses that keep the ballistic style and texture fresh. Rewardingly unyielding and pleasantly vile.

The digi drum metronome acts as a petri dish that the crust of a culture grows rapidly out of. Ruthless and rejoicing, what lyrics crack through the veil of muck beyond the title concern epistemology, the nature of knowledge. What is known before the graves are dug, what can and can’t be passed on.

An attitude so churlish it would be to the surprise of no one if they were to have dinner with Groucho tonight. On the Bandcamp they threaten an upcoming LP that we look forward to.