TRACK | vivi milne – In 2

5/5 golden merles

Solstice is bedroom/lo-fi folk that is elaborately cut together, pulling at interpersonal strands and cogently tracing them back into their universal underpinnings. It follows closely on the heels after 2020’s also great Double Headed Deer and is akin to that cloth. “In 2” is a good representation of the style and substance of that storytelling, demarcating the unease in the daring, fractured totality.

The vocal tracks heavy leftward arc feels present in the room, the thoughtful melodies are at all times in a state of serenely careening. It feels like a personal but not indulgent document, a good, individual archive of the era and that is rare and valuable. “There are certain memories that remain inviolate to the ravages of time,” fortunately.

Sometimes songwriters use both style and text and it is a great relief. Maybe you think this is the default, but I tell you it is not. At least not to the extent by which both are refined or cataloged. It’s a lot less poised to perish than anything else you’ve been sold this month, musically or otherwise. $7 on the bandcamp for the set.

TRACK | Dumb Idea – Piece By Piece

5/5 golden merles

The Freakin’ Split is two great sets of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hardcore/punk in which each track burns brightly if briefly into existence. The cast amends and shuffles midway throughout but everything seems to share a common vision. Of course I latch onto maybe the most accessible segment and gesture toward the proverbial pasture: “Piece by Piece,” the rampant closer in which late on the tempo shifts and hints at what is to come, some further prospects of recourse to take when navigating a culture that is combusting all around us.

If you’re feeling some resonance with it after 10 seconds, the whole set comes as a great relief. I may prefer Side A overall, but this is my favorite individual track. All across the runtime the form and function operate on the terms of the genre, but bigger, distinctly so, starkly within their own individuated/inventive modes of conduct, if you’re familiar enough to appreciate the terms. There’s tons of capable nuance in the alternating, impaled drum and octave scaling guitar; every modestly elongated track is rich in careful detail that is then smashed in celebration right in front of you.

If that is your idea of fun then probably you should buy the digital album from Earth Girl Tapes, name your price on the bandcamp.

TRACK | Stuck – Do Not Reply

5/5 golden merles

Eloquent Chicago post-punk embracing the only remaining righteous fury, “Do Not Reply” corroborates your feeling that the present strait we reside within is relatively dire. Early on the tempo shifts and scales with the realization of these guiding affirmations, “I see you thrive / but I just know your soul’s diseased.” If we are to address the rot at the core of our civilization (…the leeches at the top which insatiably siphon wealth to such extreme severity with no regard for the common good) the language of morality, as it is here, must be employed to express the enormity of the grievance.

If you’re looking for escape then look elsewhere, this is commiseration, for humans as they were traditionally known, prior to incorporation, with aspersions directed at the insatiable ghouls that head our oligarchy. Miranda Winters lends chorus to the band, layering and reinforcing the accusations, shoring up a united front confluent to address these unjust hierarchies. Even the title speaks clearly to the alienation of the era: being contacted but unable to reply to the relentless barrage of bullshit to which we are inundated with impunity…

It remains yet to be seen if we can acquire a future worth having, to pry it from the hands of mediocre men upon seemingly unassailable pedestals of capital. If we don’t hedge and cower our way toward that new and immediate hell they envision, something will need to be done about turning that pedestal into a pyre.

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter. Just try to consume things you’re ideologically aligned with and support their labor. It is $1 on the bandcamp if you’re not already hopelessly indebted.

TRACK | Melaina Kol – Nu

5/5 golden merles

Melaina Kol creates Youngsville, North Carolina-based lo-fi bedroom rock. AMOSAT is layered in rich and compelling material, a delicately discordant ambiance constructed with much persistently viable misdirection stacked around the solid songwriting. “Nu” offers loads of angular pieces approaching of their own accord, an entire woven world of it to delve and get lost in, subtle hooks and abundant texture.

If I ever make anything good, I’ll have taken some lessons from this: its patience and sense of rerouting the narrative within the greater whole. There a lot of skill in guiding the persistent observer or judge in a kind of favorable figment or refracting everything in a favorable light; it’s nice to see such skill given to the refinement of experiment and innumerable unique transitions between tracks.

All of that is of value and is a kind of expertise that slowly accumulates an audience in the world, at least you hope so. It can be held by Naming your price at the bandcamp. Also check out the re-release of a set of 2017 tracks now out on tape/digital from 7th Heaven.