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 | RODODENDRONS – Hunger

5/5 golden merles

Immense and unmitigated punk from the Chicago/Boston-based RODODENDRONS. Synths accompany like a halo hanging over the hellion, frantic, proving that being maladapted to madness is a asset. A warm catalog of our collective descent or rising; it’s all relative to where you are already. But a log nonetheless of some motion, somewhere, through the void, and its approximate rapidity.

Most of that motion is flames. Sometimes burning down the house, sometimes burning up and upon reentry. Its bedrock too is combustible. This 4 track demo is pushing the year-end list, it’s that strong and steady. If not on it then at least among the honorable men-shunned as we wait for a full length. It’s intricacies are irate but amenable, the combination of articulation and fervor that compliments our common ruin.

The set is a split release by RoachLeg Records (Brooklyn) and Unlawful Assembly (Milwaukee).

TRACK | Zero Percent APR – Heavy Fucking Metal

5/5 golden merles

Immense and worthy, Zero Percent APR refines lo-fi psych punk roundabouts Austin, TX. “Heavy Fucking Metal” applies the rightful insolence due the stupid world but with a craft and consideration for their contemporaries who must endure its excesses alongside them (this means you). Yarns spun and death belittled in the thorough classification, there’s masterly world building before the stylistic dismantling.

I’m enlightened now, can’t you tell / when I die I wanna burn in hell. To explain why it works is a bit nasty and brutish, the rigors and ardor self-evident, sorta ineffable. But I have no shame, so: with its great consistency of the segments and variations on the heavy metal definitions, it has a feeling of the range, method and effect of great rock like Destroy All Monsters, “You’re gonna die.” It is one hell of a preview for the album to come, 23 tracks of this gleeful venom releasing on November 4th.

Preorder black vinyl from the label that knows your innermost thoughts and doesn’t care, Spared Flesh, for $20, digital is $8.

TRACK | Padkarosda – Bujk​á​l Benned Valami

5/5 golden merles

Hardcore post-punk from Budapest, Hungary, “Bujk​á​l Benned Valami” (something is hiding inside of you) has a kind of clinical precision, extracting the still beating heart for display. The melodic vocals, tones and textures are nailed on to the eternal side of things, pulsing and phasing with great craft between the well refined passages and instrumental chambers. The rate of rising is consummate with the range of depths fallen, the whole album holds together in this sense of wondrous breadth.

The fury and panic of the feeling is offset by the gorgeous construction. There is the instantly recognizable and heartily apportioned alienation that holds constant. While the lyrics are missing from this set on the bandcamp, they are present on the earlier records, and you can directly feel that steady/familiar estrangement enveloping, it’s omnipresence and the comprehensive and many-angled approaches to addressing it. It feels like a thorough account of groping at the dungeons walls in the dark.

The record was found today through the great TegosluchamPL. Black vinyl limited to 300 worldwide, look to World Gone Mad Records for the shipping over the seas. Or digital album for $8.

TRACK | GLUER – The Double

5/5 golden merles

Swedish hardcore garage punk from Stockholm, “The Double” offers some agreeable scourge. It has a highly refined and nuanced wrath of instrumentation with motion itself as the prime mover. The screed concerns the nightly death addendum, an insufficiently examined phenomenon of working the full day in dreams only to then rise the next morning into doing it all over again. Relentless and calculated rock.

Bad enough that you sell your waking life for minimum wage, but now they get your dreams for free. At least in this humble interpretation, so far as I am able to determine. Maybe form is favored. Then what. The saturation of the vocals is skillfully melded into the accompaniment, cohesive in the assaulting, producing a unified front that can be learned from for anyone looking for a scale to calibrate a balance.

There is a vinyl edition forthcoming on Push My Buttons & Svart Ljud Rekords, stay tuned to those channels. For the time being, €5 will get you the whole digital kit and caboodle.

TRACK | The Gobs – Tuffer Than You

5/5 golden merles

Hard to pick a single track off this exceptional Split EP shared between The Gobs and Ex-White. But I’ve settled on the first track of this side, “Tuffer Than You.” It’s exquisite synth accented garage punk, composed of hardened snow scraped out from under the car and built into a brilliant effigy. The production decay is a correcting mechanism, it better represents the environment from which it was derived.

Notably, the reverence is low. The melodies are quality and effortlessly interlocking; it’s bound up nicely in this loaded frame. Free reign is given to some selected tones and the others are curtailed dutifully around the stomp and stagger; together they’re textured/paced to allow the happy suspending of doubt in the murk of it all.

Truly the 4-track split itself will likely end up on the year-end list. The 300 wax pieces have some yet to be disseminated from Germany, $20 to Turbo Discos with shipping is a steal if you have the cash to ship.

TRACK | EXXXON – CHEVRRON

5/5 golden merles

EXXXON’s DIESEL TAPE DB#22 is hardcore punk rock from Wyoming with titles that recontextualize the wrath. A culture becoming more accustomed to the naming of names is hopeful, and seemingly more willing to address systemic fault, to the extent that remains a possibility. And the rage is refreshing. And the reframing is welcome. Maybe we are entering a new era of mutually assured destruction and there should be an appropriate soundtrack for it.

The levels are blown up, charred and lacking in pretense. The production is expertly rendered within this context, keeping all the components uniquely salient despite their unity of purpose. There is always a great sense of motion and dread.

Most hardcore bands I was exposed to the inadequate sample-size of my youth were, when comprehensible, preoccupied with naval gazing. And while that has its place (the bit beneath the sternum), it is a relief to see something worth shouting about more explicitly incorporated. Something like, for instance, the world’s foremost profiteers in the decline of a habitable planet and their knowing immiseration of the species. The EP is attempting to rise to address the enormity of the problem. It is working within the available genre pallets and emotional gradients of conveying discontent. And seems to be approaching through that symbolism an almost appropriate level of panic and rage.

The early tapes are sold off, nestled all snug in their deck-beds. But the digital representation of the audible range remains available for you to Name Your Price.