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 | Total Luck – Ramble

5/5 golden merles

“Ramble” is rampant Birmingham-based (UK) post-punk offering a coming to terms with degrading conditions and offering some expression of our common terror. Through its intricate phases we receive a fair extrapolation of the nascent era, our present spent staggering out from a stupor in search of a few reliable harbingers.

The track is appropriately naming names, resilient in conviction, a good preface to our collectively entering another period of overdue righteous fury. There is a good sense of how things will progress, whose mistakes are forgiven and which ones are kept on the mantle as a centerpiece or conversation starter. Much pointed instrumentation and detailing throughout accompanies the excellent vocal phrasing, bleeding the blisters where appropriate.

As the regressives mourn their genocidal aristocrats and strip rights from half the population with respect to their own bodily autonomy, there is significance in creating ideologically sound tracks with that sort of anthemic prestige. Many individual’s hearts are in the right place, but they lack the aesthetic. Many others still get lost in theory and form, while either lacking courage or capacity for a clarity of language. It’s nice when there’s a balance to this weighting and each quality is strong in both respects. It can be obtained for the cost of naming your own price on bandcamp.

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 | 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.

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 | BRAK – Smashed Tape

5/5 golden merles

More lo-fi noise punk from Berlin which seems to clearly be making an era of it, “Smashed Tape” is another corroborating witness to that moment. With feedback as the fuse, frenzied and full of an apportioned insolence, it is the refreshing kind of well-tempered visceral filth that comes arranged in sequences and accompanied by drums.

The track offers a guilty plea as a celebration, the confessed breaking as deliverance. It is a modern post-punk, no-wave, noise rock assemblage, and has the texture of few ounces of name-brand bottled miasma. It falls under the category of those few precious things that as we become inured we also become enamored. We’ll be looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP when it surfaces. There’s a bonus track on the 7 euro tape, out from adagio830 August 13th.

TRACK | FLASH – Nazkauta Nitxiok

5/5 golden merles

From the Spanish Gipuzkoan coast, FLASH fabricate rabid and relentless noise/punk rock. Careening into a controlled burn of synths and axes, it will get your blood moving forward. It has an enduring wrath and commits to the conundrum, frantically yowling in Basque a mantra of renunciation.

The style is warped and gently deteriorated but maintains its melody, so it rests at the only available precipice to us. Which is to say it is found on the periphery of both major pits (pure indulgence/abstraction or commercial solicitation).

Regardless, the balance is truck. The zeitgeist is favorable to it. The sound squirms from the hand of capital, repelling like a magnet from its grasp, while still affording a refined articulation and immediately resonating. The ground will shift and it will fall toward one side or the other, and down we will go with it.

But for now it’s fun and good. I am looking forward to hearing the remainder of the tracks. The vinyl for the album is black & blue and releases September 2nd from La Vida Es Un Mus Discos.

TRACK | 208 – Red Cat

5/5 golden merles

“Red Cat” has aggregated all the wasted clipping segments hacked off of more thoroughly manicured garage rock and built a monster of a track/album from them. The momentum built from it pouring from the speakers is a slipstream that makes your escape a little easier. It emulates well a live set at the last concert you ever properly hear.

Self-confessed audiophiles may hear an emaciated range but this is far from it. There is a rich pallet of combustion and deterioration, tonally frayed and saturated. The ideal is in keeping the contours of the collapse in tact, while deriving the implicit energy of its destruction. You can’t properly find the edge without going at least a bit over and it is refreshing to see people working in this territory while maintaining a bridge back to some familiar landmarks.

TRACK | All Saints Day – It’ll Come Around

5/5 golden merles

“It’ll Come Around” is soaring but densely knotted dream pop, shimmering and shoegazing with an acoustic rumbling as the engine beneath. The lead vocals are provided by Vivian Girls/La Sera’s Katy Goodman, who has always been juxtaposing DIY aesthetic and the acutely anthemic. It’s well calibrated and the great resonance is in the balance of its dissonance.

The intention is direct effectiveness not the comforting simulacra of it. The snare drum snaps drifting centrally above the nested snarl. The synths claw a path forward. As one who feels like writing is at least partially the evasion of your own boredom of repetition, I am somewhat resentful of the resilience to remain within that loop and alter only slightly, coming up for breath in the bridge or verse variance amidst so much crushing chorus — and yet still have it work forcefully.

There are black and red versions of the single (along with similarly great “Only Time Will Tell”).

TRACK | Fili – Automatic

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi garage thrash from Mexico, Fili’s “Automatic” is my favored track off a real superb, tarnished and smeary set. Egg punk tones and bedroom recording methods combine to contaminate one another, a resourceful and regenerative dossier.

From the intro we are fed the requisite raving through a grit of vocals so tactile they’re practically percussive. A series of small instrumental melodies combine to make one great net that effectively colludes to capture. And all this lovely melding and mashing affixed to the discursive litany, today / i don’t want to be disturbed. The album art alone should warrant a peak; it’s good & fun.