TRACK | Jason Hill – They Like Me, They Love Me

5/5 golden merles

Experimental LA pop rock from Jason Hill, “They Like Me, They Love Me” is a dreamy and delicately disoriented tune. Lyrically ponderous, an obsessive narrative yarn is delivered concerning personal presentation and the series stories that ultimately construct the self. The tale is told over some faded percussive gears and accented with a richly detailed accompaniment that allows the 4:45 runtime to feel positively tight. There’s a lot of pretty shimmer coinciding with the dreary divulging, everything broken up in an intriguing elaboration.

The tune has rightly captured the feel of an interrogation, including the competing of illusions and a progressively faltering devotion to a lie. A cello punctuates the middle movements as the rhythm guitar sways across the soundscape, dancing by itself on the periphery. Vocal layers clamber along the octaves, corroborating in the chorus half the time, probably contradicting elsewhere. All of that lumbers harmoniously along, graceful enough to warrant further study.

There’s a great warm wrath to it, derived from fermented fog and bottled in. The track was featured in Netflix’s The Confession Killer and written from the perspective of Henry Lee Lucas, “once suspected to be the biggest serial killer of all time but was really just a serial liar.” It stands up on its own, the wilted and creaking confessional, but you get the feeling there’s further illumination in the coupling of these spectacles. What’s the harm in hearing what they have to say?

TRACK | Liquids – My Best Friend (Stab Me In The Back Again)

5/5 golden merles

NW Indiana’s Liquids have returned with more proto garage feelings nailed onto the egg punk skeleton. Songs is more raw and seeping, less refined in production than Life is Pain Idiot. The rate at which these things degrade is variable. Less a crack in the foundation of the prior effort and more a rebuilding upon the rubble of the pile of limited releases. Half digested or about three quarters gestated, anyway, viable, and better out than in. New: now with more new.

There’s plenty of melodic invention within the parameters of the genres sterling decrepitude. And the murk it’s packed with keeps things fresh upon repeat listens. With respect to production, everything’s overheard through a wall in the next room. But there’s some preservative properties in the goo emitting from the gears into the end product; it leaves plenty of room for magic and misinterpretation.

The ‘punk’s dead’ discourse is a trope and the trope itself must die. Surely the answer is something akin to the perpetual cycle of rebirth and death much like the organisms that make it: Emerge, decline and diminish. Symbols corrupt and the language adjusts, later the symbols are replaced by something that better gets at the feeling while the old symbol rots back into the earth. There is a natural discordance of definitions in this process. Temporary end or intermittent beginning, either way it’s nice to have the document.



TRACK | Tee Vee Repairmann – Bus Stop

5/5 golden merles

From the C:/ of Ishka Edmeades, in the style of garage punk and powerful pop: some new, prolific and defiant portents for the year in death ahead. “Bus Stop” wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination sound out of place in a Riptides/Numbers set, save maybe for its general state of tightness and refinement. A warmth of tube derived tones coincide with a lament for missed opportunities, experiments wide in the channel with the organ/lead pulsing.

For better or worse it’s a timeless track, at least for the last 50 or 60 years. That’s a lot of influence to synthesize, to reconstitute from constituent parts in some manner that again feels alive. Rest assured, he’ll keep rewiring the available woes into good hooks and relaying them over digital mainframes regardless of your support. But I for one think that it’s nice to have something this reliable that isn’t a bad thing. Most reliable things are bad. but this is good and should be encouraged.

February 10th, 2023, is the arrival of the record, the tapes and vinyls seem destined to quickly diminish. US version out on Total Punk Records in Portland.

TRACK | Frankie Traandruppel – Ocean Song (featuring bontridders)

5/5 golden merles

We previously celebrated Frankie Traandruppel’s timeless “The Darkness (Comes to town),” and on the strength of that track I am obligated to consider anything else he’s putting forward. On Yadda Yadda the most effective track is the collaboration and closer, “Ocean Song,” featuring Anderlecht’s bontridders. It’s something like unreckonable lo-fi bedroom rock stained with texture and tonal radiance.

The track is warm and refractive, a brightly self-contained geode of a tune. In it the plaintive gliding vocal scales the percussive friction of a looping synth-string sample and the steady bloom of the rhythm guitar. It’s a lot bigger than the sum of these crassly cataloged parts, concave, immense and foggy around the edges of the glittering expanse. For a sense of scale you can, for instance, pretty happily live and die in it.

It motions to you from the beach. It’s intentions aren’t clear but the attention is enough. Music is a tool that can be used for many different things. I don’t know what it does but it seems useful. Yadda Yadda is out now on Ronny Rex for the low, low cost of making up a number.

TRACK | Decomisos La Toledana – Deprisa, Deprisa

5/5 golden merles

Madrid lo-fi burning with the light, gently obscured but unquestionably recognizable. The track is transcending time through the amalgamated fuel of rock influence and intentional media consumption. And in converting this into a new unit, its value is immediately apparent. The entire demo set has that character, driving at something greater than the genre but utilizing it as a medium for the purposes of conveying. That is hopefully what you want from all art: taking what is at hand and what has resonated, and then tuning it to your own frequency. It does this.

The engine is guitar tone, a viscus echo bleeding off the lead vocal melody, and some tight and direct drumming. It’s familiarity and form that can feel frontloaded with nostalgia, as though it is a unit of articulation convenient to assign a period of your own life, characteristics that are endearing and worthy of application. You could have had it then, but you didn’t, now you do. That is the joy of the thing; another lovely arc of the echo as it emits, another good ring charted around the base, some momentum to keep moving at all or in sync to, a record of our dendrochronology.

Found through Groschi’s tireless searching, part of a four piece mix that will work perfectly as an antidote to all the Christmas playlists you will likely subjected to.

TRACK | Busted Head Racket – Wouldn’t you like 2 Know

5/5 golden merles

Bedroom lo-fi synth pop from Australia, the release from Idiotape Records (Paris) contains two ounces worth of delightful and difficult to kill earworms. The refinement is pronounced and very much appreciated: layers phasing and melodies shifting in precise sequence, the variance in lyric keeping us sated in the recurrent loops.

There’s great detailing in the margins, like the delicate death rattle production on the vocal lanes or the tinny-washed out drums that splash late on in the dying embers. It has great density to it but the appearance of pure candy and handles like a cartoon mallet: swiftly, against the odds, pleasantly gruesome.

The track features the dogged honing of hooks as previously manifested by so many of our senescent idols, by that I mean maybe it has some golden era le tigre feelings about it, maybe a touch of Metric, or of times new viking; things I like and you likely liked too.

The cost is €2 on the bandcamp for the files or €5 for the tape before shipping. See what you can do.

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.