TRACK | Palánta – Éhség

5/5 golden merles

Hardcore synth punk from Budapest, “Éhség” is the 3rd track on Palánta’s super demo. Melodies allocate across the runtime like a fine cognitive dissonance, only in stepping back through the frames and on repetition are we able to admire the whole from outside. While it is not a servant to structural form, it maintains a steady groove inside the atomic levels with undeniable tones and talons. All passion and experiment, what is provided is plenty compelling.

When the vocal hands off the melody 90 seconds in, the relay refines further. Through the strong performance is transmitted a tale of merger through devouring, the escalating and the colliding. There is a metamorphosis recounted, achieved through ritualized abuse or hunger and dehumanization, the conscripted contortions of nature dubbed natural. Sneering and smirking at history, we continue to repeat every mistake, possibly by design.

The set is coming soon in a physical form through SZÉGYEN KAZETTÁK. For now, name your price on the digital wares. Found through the reliable stewards of rock at Tremendo Garaje.

TRACK | Ismatic Guru – I Didn’t Like It

5/5 golden merles

To my great and enduring shame, I didn’t catch it when it slithered out from the egg last month. II is garage punk with punch and experiment, all tracks wrapping promptly in an Irish exit, spun tight with purposes and unraveling in a spectacle. I think you’ll like it, it has a lot of good heart chunks floating in a flavorful lo-fi, protein rich gruel base.

There are 5 tracks in 6 minutes then a “so long, suckers,” and it’s off into the sunset. Replete with textured indulgence and with good causes, all the veins are soundly setup and pointed in the right direction. Lots of rhythmic harping and heaving, to my dismay outpacing even The Bouldermobile at times. It’s a sick set and worth your passive and active income.

This has no brainer written all over it, but, in a cruel twist of fate, without a brain I tragically could not decipher the language. Until now! Name your price. Or the physical is set at 100 Tapes with pins and transmogrifying art, from Swimming Faith Records.

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 | 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 | 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 | fizzface – blinking shivering

5/5 golden merles

Intricate Licorice is eminent experimental noise and folk rock from New Zealand. It is also a guide on how to properly synthesize influence through the prism of a personal vision that can still be accessed and appreciated by outside observers. Maybe that’s just a definition of art. But look: some finely wrought phrases planted in murk-laden hooks, and the ambiance and field to capture the greater multidimensional representation of the arbitrarily defined moment.

That amounts to some superb storytelling. There is invention and quality when the artifice of noise cuts prior to the lyric and the line completes in its isolation: my breath is frail / my hands are shaking / a response to what the wind has taken.

Most of magic is misdirection, how to position the observer and pacing. There is great value in knowing what to cut and leaving the next track to begin with a sigh at the outset of the take. Good work and unique voices are exciting and allow for reassessing the fundamentals which are regularly lost sight of for one reason or another. If you are estranged by the strangeness, it’s all there, the heart and pathos, half a meter underneath and more. 5 golden merles in praise of burnt potions, their efficacy, and addendums applied to horizons.

TRACK | Mirry – Anthem

5/5 golden merles

From the bin rescued personal recordings of Mirabel Lomer, the great aunt of Tom Fraser who found and — with the help of musicians Simon Tong, Antonia Pagulatos, and Michael Smith — collaboratively arranged and reworked the pieces. Her original tape recorded piano tracks are accompanied here by cellos, keyboards, saxophones and synths, interworked patiently and earnestly in an accumulate flood of heartfelt aspiration.

The result is ambient and experimental, delicate and expansive, a lovely tribute that is immediately imbued with implicit meaning through the nature of the finality and tenuousness of its discovering. A context we should all have with respect to all work made by other humans but are deprived of through the mundanity of our manner of existing, the illusion of the banality of daily living as it slips quietly away.

But beyond the affirming story of its origins, the work is remarkably detailed and composed, the swells and pitches elevating and conspiring beautifully across the decades. The original renditions have also thoughtfully been uploaded in their initial scope and design.

If looking for more quality in the rediscovered, see Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green, or maybe Darnielle’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin, for more inspired collaborations with the late and great.

TRACK | Cindy Lee – I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again

5/5 golden merles

“I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again” is yet more Flegel, one of the great living builders of audible notes in aether. Sparkling, it is lo-fi rock with some experimental aspects. There is Reverb, tremolo and the metallic ash of drums, their coordinates coalescing in improbable simplicity and phases.

The work is well modified tradition, timeless infliction of temporality and texture. Not waiting, but hesitating at the start, the world holds off for about a minute, collecting itself prior to forming, knowing all that entails. Deceptively simple, attuned to the eternal, in so far as I understand it within our shared cultural conditioning, in the relative terms of our existence.

What Flegel has done throughout, in Women and Cindy Lee, is forge the familiar with the foreign, survey the zeitgeist and collective comprehension and reflect it back in a manner that is uniquely compelling, catchy and memorable. That’s what any artist is doing, to some extent: building out from the established, branching as far as is possible. But this is a level of fluency that speaks with uncanny accuracy and conviction. It’s good and to be admired.

TRACK | Violent Change – Unit A

5/5 golden merles

“Unit A” is the easiest point of entry to a great experimental lo-fi rock set, VC3. Awash in fuzz and form, the rampant melody augments and deviates in plenty of soaring and delicate ways. There’s enough feinting at traditional form coinciding with the stylistic subversion to keep it fresh and engaging.

There’s a lot in the way of texture and the weighting thereof: the processing all around, the vocal layers elevating at the chorus and a sparingly employed harmonica stretching the tactile wave. All of this is solidly plating the hooks, enshrining and embracing the more established elements.

Within the genre and particularly to those acclimated, there’s a lot of admirable gradation and nuance to the discernible creative problem solving. This refinement pulls some aspects of the abstraction away from suspicion, provides a benefit of the doubt in areas that lack explicit mechanisms of conveying meaning.

See also the Chunklet Industries Honey Radar/VC split from 2021 for some complimentary schemes.

TRACK | Yumbo – A House

5/5 golden merles

“A House” is determinedly and reverently assembling influence from what’s left of the world into remarkable folk and experimental pop. From the compilation The Fruit of Errata, itself derived from 4 albums appearing from ’98 to the present, the track is composed of inventively paced through orthogonal backing vocals and angular instrumentation.

The patterns are established and subverted, populating the soundscape with many recursions amidst the collapse. That sense of newly cut paths amidst familiar ground feels like exploring amidst friends, like adventuring in good company. It’s absorbing and convincingly arranged.

There are many finely detailed asides within. The Double LP by Morr Music and Alien Transistor can be got for €29.99 with some shipping.