TRACK | Cluttered Grotto – Asbestos Sandwich

5/5 golden merles

California bedroom punk with more melodic sense than a hijacked ice cream truck and a voice that sounds like cleaning off your lucky blood diamond with a stainless steel scouring pad. All of this is very good and meant to sound appealing to you, as it does to me. It is the relatively happy bastard child of subversion and invention, driving drum loops draped in human pelts.

Canonical-grade commiseration, it’s seated somewhere among the premier set of atomized and alienated subjects of oligarchy, each in isolation making lo-fi melody-rich synth punk. The craft is immediately recognizable. It’s a competitor, in the top tier. I’ve somehow managed to avoid it like an inverse minefield to date.

The turns are abrupt and appropriate, it mends and mangles in good order. If you are synced up with the wavelength fluctuations of the incessant vibration in dichotomy between deathly serious and inconsequential, it comes as a great relief. It feels a little like driving down a cliffside highway when you unexpectedly smash through a thin wall’s painted vista only to find on the other side not impending death but the true, identical vista itself and above it a prop plane trailing a banner containing the message, “haha, sorry.” It’s that kind of fun.

The EP was found on DJ Simon’s fine Infernal Racket. Really excited to dive into the self-titled from May.

TRACK | Klint – Selected Welcome

5/5 golden merles

German synth/egg punk, “Selected Welcome” is tinged and tainted with a lot of good grit and a prodigal pounce. The chorus is a simple phrase that contains the seeds of an adventure, the trek at time of reception, sometime before the hubbub gets hashed out. It has tones that seep in and the pulse of something fretful and not long for this world; it provides a good example of how to proceed if you are looking to leave a mark.

For at least several minutes the lord is baptized in his own blood and there is much singing in the ensuing confusion. I thought for one second I’d written about Klint before but it was Kieff, and through my idiotic error I was greatly rewarded. The whole set clanks and saunters in its own fluids for right around one half of one hour. It’s a soundtrack in two parts, both of them uncannily accurate approximations of being strangled by a stethoscope.

It will be €4 for the digital set split into two halves. Or it’s about $6 for the tape cut up into digestible chunks from Japan’s superb Dial Club.

TRACK | Leoni Leoni – If there is Magic it is made in your Womb

5/5 golden merles

Starry and skeletal with a rich contemplative warp, “If there is Magic it is made in your Womb” is a strain of diy lo-fi ambient synth-pop. Neither orthogonal nor evil, the price of the piercing is being held together around the hole after. There are concerns expressed and they are catchy, lots to empathize with in speculative and instructive the utterances.

There is a command not to misunderstand. Winter crumbles away, summer is a stain left from dust; the only constant is change. The percussive instrumentation is in a sort of sequence within the sickly gunk of time, by which we are affixed to this or any given era. The rhythm is the minimal rate by which we must claw through it to get anywhere at a respectable pace, or before it’s too late.

Anyway, it’s skirting the edges of eternity. Anyway, seen from above it resembles a gulch filled with jello and paved over, gauged and assuaged. There is vinyl available from Les Disques Bongo Joe in Geneva, black for €18 & white for €20.

TRACK | CRASH THE SUPERYACHT – Sitting on the stairs

5/5 golden merles

Timeless lo-fi bedroom punk sounds from CRASH THE SUPERYACHT, maybe avoid this one if you’ve made a happy habit of spurning the uncommonly good or fixating on the dawning of doomsday. There’s a rich vein of diy charm and pop cunning to the set. I put to the forefront the closer, “Sitting on the stairs,” fortified with hooks and familiar tone, easily believably extracted from an indie 80s alt history timeline.

Wading through the windows, you’re first met with those resonant sentiments about part-time pals, the ones you can always sync up with, wavelengths and bullshit tolerances amenably aligned no matter the interim eons. I’ve never seen EastEnders or any soap opera outside of by accident and in a laundromat. But if it inspires this quality of rock-ooze, let them rip. Similarly bring on lockdown 4 or 5 or whatever, let’s recreate these ideal conditions and spawn another tape: £3GBP for digital files or £7 for the cassette + zine.

TRACK | MENU – Actually Dreaming

5/5 golden merles

“Actually dreaming” is a thing of lo-fi shoegaze and uninhibited abstraction. It was summoned in or near Philadelphia. It has a great sense of how long to linger in the status, levels with you, offers a stasis of texture and tone, any intent amplified by their deteriorated beauty. Rarely is your patience punished here, cutting content with form in an imminently compelling fashion.

Concentric in form for the most part, each loop banishing another or building off its remains. You can more or less see what you like in its patterns, it’s a foggy mirror with some writing you got to breath on a bit to see. There’s lots of graceful skulking about and premonitions of indeterminate value. Lately, if Eno/Ricky landed, maybe this will too for you; a means and agent for teasing your own ideas out, another kind of catalyst for coherency.

Generally speaking I am suspicious of abstraction as it can be a salve for my enemies. However (!) with this much form/balance and pulse there are always exceptions. Original found on Tremendo Garaje via the intrepid scouting of @u2_is_a_government_drone / Sims / Mesh.

TRACK | That Hideous Sound – Funny Insides

5/5 golden merles

That Hideous Sound has built a bedroom lo-fi rock track from discarded sunshine, utilizing twisted blood as a propellant. Its alternating sync of garage tone is held aloft and amended with a density of layered backing vocals, their varied trajectories glowingly cascading downward. The whole miscellany is shining and the right kind of sordid.

The fundamentals are nailed and the tonal textures irradiated, slickly building momentum throughout. With that rising, explicating over the expanses as it does, I’d wager most will rejoice to share in it. The final minute of three involves transitioning into some controlled experimentation, concluding in a sundry of cloaked loops at the latter stages. It’s all very good and pleasant, if you ask me.

A digital copy of the track can be downloaded to your personal solid state or hard disc drive for $1 USD. Or, for the wise investor, the album of 10 tracks is aggregated at $7, a savings of 30%. It is to be released October 7th, should the world continue to exist at such a time.

TRACK | Goon – Angelnumber 1210

5/5 golden merles

Los Angeles’ Goon has delivered to us more hypnotically drifting, catastrophe cooing psych rock. The band is in a unique place, confidently contorting melodies and multifaceted textures around otherworldly tales. There’s much care and craft to its interlocking layers and marbled phasing.

From the first moments of the field recordings discordant rumble, then the turning into a steady spine of percussion, it carries itself forward into being with great assurance. The piece feels sculptural and fills the audible void by pushing in many directions. There’s plenty of subtle sequences and attention to detail, each caringly extracted from the aether and melded into the elaborated structure.

The language is casually cryptic or explicitly ambiguous: environmental, a gathering, on earth, belated or in dream. The point is the feeling and the sense of collaborating within a stunning phenomenon and in a world of possibility.

The vinyl is delayed a few months from shipping due to manufacturing shortages but there are digital, tapes, and assorted articles of clothing if you would like to affiliate your physical body with their audible output, all coordinated at the bandcamp.

TRACK | Repulsion Switch – Optimista

5/5 golden merles

Repulsion Switch’s EP features variations on a theme via accelerated lo-fi Buenos Aires egg punk. Rapid, minimal and winged, the sort of scuttled remains of rock a low ranking demon might envision during a weekend away at a sensory deprivation tank. It breaks into being at four tracks in three minutes and forty two seconds. It is better than most formative fiction you have consumed.

The balance is admirable. Venturing out into abstraction despite the commitment to form, it is consistently corroded and it’s playing with how many pieces can be removed before collapse. It has cracked the code and is now faithful to the formula.

As it evaporates upon entry, we may as well start it on the first track, “Optimista,” but I prefer the third best, “Flavors,” as the most choice from the set. Anyway, If it makes it down the track list, there is not much of an impact crater visible after. But it is a spectacle worthy of consumption in either case. I’m glad to know it. Etch it into your hard drive and heart for a mere $1 USD (or more).

TRACK | Troll Dolly – Pooly

5/5 golden merles

Vancouver’s Troll Dolly has crafted some truly special experimental folk. Kindness is rarely given this level of craft and careful introduction into the world, for either one’s self or the other, and here it is both. Usually, its refinement is often hurried or perfunctory, the author somewhat slack, neither on the attack or defensive. Generally it is delivered with the understanding of either immediate acceptance and dismissal or an insurmountable suspicion/doubt enforcing its limitations. “Pooly” conveys a intricate context promptly and stunningly with both credulity and grace.

There’s a great deal of nuance to it, reflected in the production and the concepts, it contains the toil and tact needed for coherent processing of more complex ideas and emotions. The strongest line of the track, for me, is one that is not repeated, and regarding the expression of love: I’m afraid to ask for it / because I wake up in a deficit. Even when there is redundancy, for effect, it is accompanied by a new melody driving the point in a slightly different direction, providing scope. Grief, gray areas, and equal parts mournful and hopeful.

Its effect feels vast and outsized within the framework of the album/set of songs. Similar to the rawness combined with confrontation of A Crow Looked at Me, the medium is granted a status/use it doesn’t usually fulfill. And that is exciting and rare.

It runs parallel to precious and mighty things like Doiron’s I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, Olsen’s If It’s Alive, It Will, and Martch’s Now You Know. A kind of self-actualized consideration without a compromise to form.

If a song is a way of remaining within a conversation, this is approaching a healthy version of that honing and mantra refinement. Music is storytelling provided the greater context of form, style affording weight/significance that otherwise requires time or additional context to establish. These are simple definitions but their qualitative realization is a uncommon and welcome. Seeing as we seem to be approaching an era in which we will be covering ourselves in blood to stop from burning, it is a relief to see something moving in the opposite direction, offering healing and a compelling vision.

TRACK | Frances Chang – flower childs

5/5 golden merles

Frances Chang’s “flower childs” is made up of the stuff of slowcore, psych-singer songwriter, and expertly extracted from the bedroom recordings. It has an arc that rises from the hope found in craft, the most direct determination of destiny, and then, meteorically, quickly, pivots into some dearly dreaded speculation: i’m so happy / i could cry / i’m writing and music sounds good again. It operates with all the damning and deliberate wonder you could hope for.

The melodies are found in their nascent form before repetition hammers them into rote reminders and set queues. The reverb hangs around, an intermittent percussive xylophone accentuates it. In the telling, some halcyon days are recounted which needed to be lost in order to be truly valued, or maybe even realized for their worth.

Forever is found wanting, concepts collide with the earth, invariably misaligned in manifestation. Forgiveness is afforded or withheld, to be redeemed later with interest. what if you don’t forgive me? / or even worse if you do… Is the best way forward a doubling down on delusion or maybe in the end (there is no end) living as comfortably as possible in perpetual doubt.

I wrote recently about Haneke’s Amour, “I guess this is what films would be like if they were made for humans and by humans instead of by corporations and for money,” and this is near enough the musical equivalent; limited in posturing, full of exploration. There are tapes for $10 and FLAC files for $8.