TRACK | vivi milne – In 2

5/5 golden merles

Solstice is bedroom/lo-fi folk that is elaborately cut together, pulling at interpersonal strands and cogently tracing them back into their universal underpinnings. It follows closely on the heels after 2020’s also great Double Headed Deer and is akin to that cloth. “In 2” is a good representation of the style and substance of that storytelling, demarcating the unease in the daring, fractured totality.

The vocal tracks heavy leftward arc feels present in the room, the thoughtful melodies are at all times in a state of serenely careening. It feels like a personal but not indulgent document, a good, individual archive of the era and that is rare and valuable. “There are certain memories that remain inviolate to the ravages of time,” fortunately.

Sometimes songwriters use both style and text and it is a great relief. Maybe you think this is the default, but I tell you it is not. At least not to the extent by which both are refined or cataloged. It’s a lot less poised to perish than anything else you’ve been sold this month, musically or otherwise. $7 on the bandcamp for the set.

TRACK | Melaina Kol – Nu

5/5 golden merles

Melaina Kol creates Youngsville, North Carolina-based lo-fi bedroom rock. AMOSAT is layered in rich and compelling material, a delicately discordant ambiance constructed with much persistently viable misdirection stacked around the solid songwriting. “Nu” offers loads of angular pieces approaching of their own accord, an entire woven world of it to delve and get lost in, subtle hooks and abundant texture.

If I ever make anything good, I’ll have taken some lessons from this: its patience and sense of rerouting the narrative within the greater whole. There a lot of skill in guiding the persistent observer or judge in a kind of favorable figment or refracting everything in a favorable light; it’s nice to see such skill given to the refinement of experiment and innumerable unique transitions between tracks.

All of that is of value and is a kind of expertise that slowly accumulates an audience in the world, at least you hope so. It can be held by Naming your price at the bandcamp. Also check out the re-release of a set of 2017 tracks now out on tape/digital from 7th Heaven.

TRACK | los spunky’s – te escribiré canciones de amor

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi bedroom punk from Santiago, Chile, providing great heart and guts among other inexplicable innards throughout the convection. The tracks give some heavy pop sensibilities but offer them estranged from professionalized depersonalization of corporate art. Some direct, convincing evidence these tunes and textures can be held in high esteem outside of what has become of our culture, and can persist without ulterior motives. It is a welcome reminder.

It has the inevitable influence of radio, youth, nostalgia and combines it with the human desire for direct melodies about extremely simple/impossibly complicated things like ‘love.’ But in doing so also is stripping out the obligatory advertisements and operates similar to other independent media as though a musical ad blocker. Working directly without the pretense of polish, dissipating the sickly attaché which has been engineered to leech off our every action, while maintaining the preferences that seem to us inextricable from systems of oppression but are very much not.

Taking the good while shedding the parasitical, this feels healthy. And another glimpse of some small, personal vision of a way forward. Lots of good dreaming coming out of Chile lately, despite the turning down of the constitution. A different world is possible, break through the bullshit, return to basics and reinvent the world. Name your price on the Bandcamp.

TRACK | Abi Ooze – Cry Alone

5/5 golden merles

Timeless and mighty punk from Hammond, Indiana. “Cry Alone” is informed by and in dialog with rock culture, extending its reach into what seems to us now like the future, without history’s patented musty reek of decomposing dreams. A great threat of things to come for the remaining tracks on Forestdale Sessions, releasing tomorrow, October 12th. Textually it holds some eternally relatable commiserations on isolation and ostracization, some outcast’s well-honed and worthy lament.

Backing vocals sustain on the gilded periphery and lyrics hammer home the sentiment; it is a finely crafted thing and hitting what it’s aiming at. Composed and cut from the same cloth as the blindfold so not to let it go to waste, nothing is excess in the track’s sharp detailing, imperious fills and proper solo. Tapes incoming from Rotten Apple records in St. Louis for $7 or pre-order at a price of your own choosing.

This is the 365th straight day of Plainly & Painfully and concludes the year of daily posts. I’ll still be posting regularly but not every god damned day. Thanks to anybody following along, definitely crying a little less alone these days and appreciate the company.

TRACK | Woolen Men – Why Do Parties Have to End?

5/5 golden merles

New materials from Portland’s Woolen Men is always a welcome sight, having previously written incoherently about “On Cowardice” and “Head on the Ground.” After the two year hiatus, they remain one of my favorite presently living outfits, with much reliable hook and clamber in these lo-fi rock pop tones and phrases, some sweetness and perennial dread.

The text originally by Napalm Beach and concerns the temporal, with particular respect to the indivisible nature of time and perception; that linear curse. We’re left behind or simultaneously continuing onward at differing trajectories from the absent/dead — however you want to look at it. The single’s a tribute to some departed friends. Parties and lives collapse of their own accord in the semi-planned obsolescence of existence, all perception seemingly tied to one orb spinning around another at particular, reliable orbits. The pacing of which, having always operated under these auspices, seems very important to us, and the rut of this rotation rules our lives.

Woolen Men always stretch beyond the generic spoils of melody and interpersonal indistinction, building tiny pocket universes. There’s wallowing, sure, but it’s articulated, idiosyncratic, worthy of peering at or visiting often. We are lucky to remain within the same timeline. It’s $1 for the digital track, the hope of more tracks to come is included at no cost.

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 | Egg Idiot – Meltdown

5/5 golden merles

Leipzig eggpunk with the uncanny ability to channel estrangement into melodic rupture. Egg Idiot’s Help ! is hyperactive malaise as an exaltation, serving with distinction in the line of trash punk, and both a degradation of that which is superfluous in rock and a refinement of its redeeming qualities. Composed of composting tones and rotting with true relish, it’s an exquisite set.

It’s a very good achievement, one I’m going to have to sit and absorb and hope its contaminant remains in my blood as influence. Each track is moving swiftly upward, a distinct sample from the mantle of the core. It’s inviably pounding and cracking with more conviction and force than you expect from any one man band, feeding/rallying off its own fury. And maintaining that emphasis within the its intricate layering, burning melodies and segments at a venerable rate. Any track seems like a good entry point, with its extreme consistency.

For more look to the new/magnificent “Feel Like a Dog” video, something significant and full of detail and invention. Or look back also at the beautiful “Barf Life” video and the prior feature . Support your local egg-based cretin by naming your own price or purchasing a cassette for €7 EUR or more.

TRACK | DANGÜS TARKÜS – Concrete Hearts

5/5 golden merles

“Concrete Hearts” is some timeless garage punk filth from Chicago’s DANGÜS TARKÜS. A hook in apotheosis, warranted accusations and all the guttural charm of phlegm gem. It rips cleanly after several folds of the chorus, holding adequate muck and bile in reserve.

The verses propping up that chorus stand up in their own right and a choral passage wraps the body of the thing up nicely. It’s some fine simulacra of a life, a sketch on a napkin that ends up being the best portrait to ever exist of yourself, as you live and subsequently die. Maybe there aren’t too many nutrients in it, the lab hasn’t gotten back to me. But it’s something in your belly and its half-life is measured in eons. Why wouldn’t you follow them and be immediately notified when the full length arrives? There’s no trick to it, it’s just a simple trick.

Good news, the whole new set is $1. Also look for the earlier and also superbly manifested Rock’n’Roll for the People on Dig! Records, $16+ship.

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 | JJULIUS -Hjärtats Slag

5/5 golden merles

“Hjärtats Slag” is minimalistic but utterly expansive and engaging lo-fi pop rock from Gothenburg. Draped over that nonstop synth hook are the warmth of the entwined dual vocalizations and all that elegantly orchestrated instrumental trickling across the soundscape. As its phases run their sequence adorned in percussive accents and precise detailed accompaniments, everything is fitting or sutured cleanly enough together.

The trail of complimentary facets is tranquil and intoxicating, patterned on that serene trajectory, its orbit, or its inhaling and exhaling; whatever recurrence. The merger of this motion and the theme/text is apparent (titled translates as “Heartbeat”), the systoles and diastoles repeating at a measured, resting rate. Maybe the appeal of all simple melodies is based on the breath pattern of someone you admire in the dark.

The texture of the loop and its diversified extensions keep the track lively throughout and almost endlessly repeatable. The album as a whole is 56 SEK (~$5) for the digital ash in the digital urn. $23 for the vinyl on DFA records.