TRACK | Cherry Cheeks – UFO

5/5 golden merles

“UFO” is unrepentant lo-fi synth punk, newly released Cherry Cheeks, the 1st in track on the Cherry Radio EP. Each track is subsequently fanning these early flames. Hallowed modulations and percussive rhythm guitar snap over harmonic backing screech, the indulgences collude with and sustain one another. It’s good, I think; really good. But its long-term effects have yet to be determined.

All that texture is prefaced on the metaphorical hooks which multiply rapidly and indefinitely here. Lots of these to relish on repeat exposures, these bits that immediately conspire to occupy your attention and root in the sensory and short term memory like a beachhead for the broader absorption. I’ve had the self-titled on Total Punk Records open in the forest of Firefox tabs for over a year and now it is demanded by this qualitative excellence I go back and find it.

This EP is released by Under The Gun Records, sorta/it was gone real quick and they’re working at building something bigger than a digital swarm. You can hear it there but the vinyl’s sold out and there’s no discogs page yet so just go wander about outside until you stumble across it.

TRACK | Water Treatment – Solid State Relay

5/5 golden merles

Atlanta-based bedroom post-punk to be filed under that which is pleasantly afflicted and capable of conspiring, about or because of the former. The tremolo is molting, synths are sawing and trembling. If you’d like more tracks carved out of a headboard, weird and poetic ones, colorfully cryptic in their phrasing, you should surely give it a shot.

The track has got a greater historical and philosophical scope than the early plunk of digi drum might imply, a vantage point with some comprehensive gaze. If your world seems small, describe it and watch it expand beyond measure, and escape and evade all capture. It’s well suited for fawners at Woolen Men, Gen Pop, and Smirk. Maybe it’s one town over from Protomartyr, Christian Fitness and TV Priest, but somewhere on the same metaphorical continent of contents, maybe requiring a few bridges over frozen water here and there.

Incentivize and support strange and nascent things, pay what you want in one non-recurring statement. It was of course found through the new Verspannungskassette #43 from onetwoxu.de. If you’re not one of the 17 people who have already played the thing at time of writing you should do so.

TRACK | Cluttered Grotto – Pest

5/5 golden merles

More iridescent synth and egg punk from the young Californian, Cluttered Grotto has summoned a very strong set of the lo-fi and the sub-genre’d bedroom rock. “Pest” is my favorite of that lot, spurning excess in favor of burning briefly and brilliantly. If you’re fond to a fault of irrefutable and jagged things like Billiam, DADGAD, C.P.R. Doll, then you likely can’t go wrong here.

Folding into the verses, obsession and evasion are the subject; how desire turns to dust, then distraction, and the cycle repeats ad infinitum or until you croak. It reminds me of a few triumphant lines from Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow:

For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.

The longest track of the album at 1:53, when the solo hones in and bleeds off that chorus bringing it all home, you sorta hope it won’t end. But it’s off on to the next thing, of course. That is what the loop-repeat function is for. Nothing overstays and runs the melody into the ground, instead it lands briefly before it relaunches.

Two (2!) tapes remain from the newly minted legends at Painters Tapes, think of that.

TRACK | DADAR – Desperate

5/5 golden merles

“Desperate” is the immediately engaging opening track on DADAR’s new Italian eggpunk repeater Iron Cage. Gleaming lo-fi synth punk, the track concerns a particularly heavy son stealing away from daylight, pinning himself private in his chamber, shutting up his windows, locking fair daylight out and making himself an artificial night. It is effectively nailing the froth and fever of confinement, self-imposed or otherwise.

The guitars have the proper amount of jangle and bluster, the production consistently owning the excess, everything is gilded in synths. At times it approaches hardcore and anthemic in the vocal ranges, the accompaniment always elevating to meet it in these new plateaus and vistas. A nice fire to gather around, offering commiseration in mutinous hymns.

I am slightly belatedly joining the chorus in bleeding the needle up another notch. I was excited to see it pop up on Tremendo Garaje, KOOP Stronger Than Dirt, and other reliable buyers overnight. When a set of consistent nodes crop up like that it is a very good sign. And the remaining 300 LP discs cannot last long from Goodbye Boozy/Teramo.

TRACK | Freak Genes – Strange Charm

5/5 golden merles

“Strange Charm” arrives in a set of consistently plumbed concepts and a larger narrative fixated on the veil, particularly in a Bostrom/Boltzmann sense. And there should be more of this in the world as we know it, simulation or other, because it’s just so damn much fun. The track is composed of sheer keys and guts, synth punk with fervor as the foundation, maniacally forecasting the intricacies of an artificial future.

In the manufacturing of a new and immediate heaven there will be gradients of adaptation and those left behind, some willingly. “Energy bars low above your head,” a beach devoid of touch: the details are effectively populated.

There is within these elements a great deal of world building done (–about world building), new classifications and clearances, presaging emerging rifts that we only have the slightest direct precedents for, despite very familiar themes. It’s full of playful prescience and with enough hooks to convince you to gladly remain and be absorbed within the futurist subject matter.

It arrived today and is fully streamable: there are vinyl variations in limited runs for $20-22 from the esteemed Feel It Records; suitably the digital version is name your own price.

TRACK | Egg Idiot – Barf Life

5/5 golden merles

We may remain in Leipzig for awhile, the scene is flourishing, filled with good and strange things in this baleful era. Egg Idiot is frenzied diy synth and bedroom punk. It may also be the closest thing music has to Ideonella sakaiensis, the bacterium that manages to prosper in the ocean now polluted by plastic; in other words: something seemingly built for, adapting to, and thriving in hell.

The style is rough, rabid/rapid instrumentation, cranked and howling into a vocoder. Many, if not most, submissions I receive contain a distinct lack of muck/bile, but here we have both stylistically and explicitly the proper degree of murky resolve: I’m a bottomless pit / filled with vomit.

It’s a crime not to couple the coverage of “BARF LIFE” without featuring also the video George Bruzzle has concocted to go with his tune. You might have to go back to Chad Vangaalen’s Molten Light vid to find a demon this multifaceted. The cover above is from a super limited run on Berlin’s Henne Records, but it is pay what you will in digi form.

TRACK | FIVE BUCKS – dunno

5/5 golden merles

Egg punk / devocore excellence in its nascent form from Italy, “dunno” leads off a ravenous set of bedroom demos. They are refined well beyond the point of standard demo production, perfectly patina’d in the phaser and verb. Fangs lifted from the nightstand and affixed, it’s come early this year: a very happy underwater Halloween to all who celebrate.

A top tier example of this beaming, radiant golden era of home recordings, producing much in the way of admirable reinterpretations of what constitutes wonder through the prism of shared influence. Things are getting weirder and better, as far as I know. And all while honing the human heart and core of the thing.

A great set and it has received the seal of approval from two global champs in the cause of promoting the intricate and warped: tapes from Painters Tapes (Detroit/US) and Syf Records (Poland) for the EU buyers.

TRACK | R.M.F.C. – Feeder

5/5 golden merles

Garage rock from New South Wales Australia, a bit eternal but it feels fresh as a daisy despite all the elements being composed of cardboard cutouts and wax idols. I don’t know the alchemy of it, maybe melt them down in sweat and blood and they become renewed. It works, somehow, divination or some slight mangling or subversion of the cultural conditioning.

Regardless, it’s strong, inventively building and smashing through the effigies. Follow the uroboros either way around and you eventually get back to the guts. The vocals burrow into your skull and bed down there for the night. There are guitar tones that clip in the cathode manner, gently collapsing and fiercely shedding the echoes of its skin in reverberation. It’s good, fun garage rock that elides the rot all around us. The tapes are sold, but it can be digitally got for $3 AUD.

TRACK | Fili – Tommy

5/5 golden merles

Job For a Cowboy is more tempered fang runoff from Mexico’s Fili, slightly more refined and solemn than Volcom but well within the same anarchic universe of eggpunk and ruthless hooks.

Pleading from a punctured lung, the kind of good ooze you might find emanating among the likes of GEE TEE, Prison Planet, Checkpoint, et al. Look it up if you’ve gladly consumed this discharge, I don’t think your gut biome will reject it.

It’s the brilliant kind of bilge that alienates the right sort, keeping melody in the pocket and pathos near enough to be called upon as needed. Cowboy is a 2022 release that’s definitely competing for the glory and prestige of this humble blogs year end list, cloudy and combustible stuff.