TRACK | MIINT – Farmacopea

5/5 golden merles

Mérida, Mexico-based psych punk, with a great acuity of influence, blending many genre elements of surf, garage, shoegaze and some field-recording experimentation toward the latter stages of the album. Opening salvo “Farmacopea” stretches to what would seem a breaking point. But before you know it it’s wrapped back around, the ouroboros insatiable, the spine of bass holding steady.

In light of all that, the production is equal parts bone crunching and soaring. Change is constant and the track is always moving forward, chimeric, feinting and lacerating. These whims come naturally and compound in the cloth of the thing, all of the delirious addendums arriving to seize and gratify. Much is made from the synthesis, its hybrid and contorted form a myriad of chaoses I find to be compelling.

Proceeding to the bandcamp, the digital ghost of the record can be captured for $26 MXN ($1.29 USD).

TRACK | Mustard – Sentirsi inutile

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi Rock from Rome, extracted partially dissolved, partially preserved in formaldehyde and resurrected one day before retirement. A refreshing mastery of tone on this one, rising to meet the moment of a lot of ongoing dialogs in garage and noise as we attempt to make the preceding epochs palatable without discarding them entirely.

That is the negotiation and dialog on offer here, if you are attuned to it or sympathetic to this. It is a love letter that may alienate some of its recipients but will land well with those of similar predilections. Utilizing a few old flourishes and forms, teasing apart the tropes, using the crutch as a cudgel, breaking and building. It is to me very compelling and a lot of fun.

Out on cassette from Spya Sola in Cologne, Germany, and Face Melter. Spya Sola also putting tapes out in the region from Rude Television and Beta Maximo. New but with an already stellar track record — follow their shit if these align.

I was thinking I was going to write about something he’d love half an hour before Groschi/, but then there is his smiling face on the Mustard February EP. If you like this style, follow that blog. He has his finger not so much on the pulse of it but one plugged in the aorta.

TRACK | Needle Exchange – Shut Up, Shut Down

5/5 golden merles

Berlin-based punk with melodic surf and garage elements, “Shut Up, Shut Down” pounds about, nimbly refractive, mutinous. The residual discontent is ingrained in the sturdy melody, collecting like soot between the abbreviated rotary of the verses.

Having grown accustomed through regular exposure to either the empty vessel or diatribes devoid of style, for my tastes the balance of muck/bile to harmonious refinement is well weighted.

I have been assuming the title has a reference to Nowak’s 2004 book and poetry collection of the same name concerning corporate greed. If that’s wrong I’ll gladly correct and update it with some other half formed idea. Some used versions of the vinyl run are scattered about Europe.

TRACK | Druggy Pizza – Radium Canyon

5/5 golden merles

More glint and relentless corrosion from our friends at Druggy Pizza, “Radium Canyon” spells doom for us all but in a good way. Garage and psych rock veiled in withering and decadent tones, I wager the rendering of which will please fans of good things and anger or confound most of those who aren’t.

The melody of the guitar lead roams freely around the bass’ substratum, prowling the chasmal expanse. The reverb is slathered across the channels and stings. A Fender quad is purring, graciously and expertly propelling the audible tones produced by the bending of metal at certain wavelengths.

The heat comes off it in radiant streaks, it bends the light around it. It’s a good approximation of a fruitful fever. It deserves to be wound into wax, if it wants. But for this digital 2020 set you can name your price.

TRACK | Dead Ghosts – What To Do

5/5 golden merles

“What To Do” is rapid, direct garage pop/rock. The static-distortion rises up to embrace you from the pyre beneath, fizzing and rasping. It’s finely fermented in its own haze and heartache; a joyous melodic sludge.

The production is a slushy stint of metallic rust, stormy and straightforward, strung together with the copper wire pulled from an abandoned home. Akin to The Riptides or Charlie and the Moonhearts, or any garage within view of the ocean.

Like the recently covered Can’t Get No, the Burger vinyl can be found across the globe with various dings and dents.

TRACK | Dead Ghosts – Summer with Phil

5/5 golden merles

One of my favorite garage-surf records, Can’t Get No has a wealth of hooks and much nuanced noise in the murkiest depths of it’s of lo-fi production.

What stands out most is the labor involved in honing these complimentary tones and the stunning results from this joy of invention.

“Summer with Phil” is quietly ornate, teasing out melodies, amorphously coagulating and decaying. The passages are faithfully and formatively statured throughout, with consistency rising from the formidable 2010 s/t.

I have not spent enough time with 2020’s Automatic Changer, but will rectify this in the near-term. Can’t Get No has a few colored vinyl on the second hand market.

TRACK | The Shivas – Beach Heads

5/5 golden merles

“Beach Heads” is a track both levitating in a vacuum and yet bound to the surf. The breadth of it’s soundscape is the width of radius between the earths crust and the outer exosphere.

With most tracks you’re lucky if you make it within a country mile of the mesosphere. Meanwhile this tune is demonstrably adrift, both pristine and coated in sand.

For the first minute exactly there is nothing but the ba’s. And they’re very fine ba’s at that, probably the finest since Ben Kweller fell through that very same aether packed envelope in the year 2000.

The views that are expressed thereafter appear to embrace uncertainty, a kind of doubt that is plotted on the horseshoe of future expectations somewhere between enlightenment and resignation. Time is rapidly expiring but panic won’t help. Calmly survey the expanse for some kind of clue as how to proceed.

TRACK | The Numerators – Dead

5/5 golden merles

“Dead” is Psych-Surf circa 2013. With a loping start that builds into a veritable gallop, the essential elements of the genre are soon assembled into a, to mix the metaphors, well-earned avalanche. Why didn’t I just say stampede, hm? No.

A little hard to place in the homestead: maybe equal parts garage and bedroom. It features a bit of the grit and pulp of either.

Full of texture and heart in a way that resonates with my cultural conditioning, the track reverberates in the manner only matter can seem to muster. By which, to add to the confusion, I mean energy condensed to a relatively slow vibration. But, fortunately, its output is one within the audible range of our lowly species, the decline of which the song itself laments and celebrates in equal measure.

When it pours from the speakers there is a comforting nuance to the noise, the distinction a product of tens of thousands of hours you and I have spent consuming similar external stimuli. And within all that experience, narrowing and selecting, “Dead” is plotted within the very narrow percentage of what I arbitrarily consider to be Good. Credulously, gullibly, naïvely I take it to be an earnest testament. And if it isn’t, so what?

TRACK | The Mokkers – Peace of Mind

5/5 golden merles

One excellent album from 2016 that even James Acaster himself overlooked, The Mokkers’ In a Daze is tremendous, tremulous Berlin-based surf/garage rock.

I really need a change /
I need it like the plants need water when there’s no rain

Well-versed and wholehearted, “Peace of Mind” is a searing and self-assured cut. More or less timeless, it dissects a few essential organs steeped in history that are worth preserving and successfully transplants them.

Smoldering vocals, speaking in and with instrumental accompanying tones of the past, beseeching, to reconfigure the present on better terms. In league with others who do this properly, like our dear parasocial friends Shannon and the Clams and Sheer Mag.

TRACK | Lomma – T. Hanks

5/5 golden merles

Tube amp and tremolo powered revenge anthem that it is, “T. Hanks” is a lot of fun. If you’d like some reference points that are fundamentally inaccurate but broadly reasonable in comparison, there is a bit of Ty Segall, The Fresh and Onlys, and Kasabian in there. It is driving, garage-y surf-pop.

It’s a good track for when everything is falling apart and forfeit and no effort adds up. It is a bit of commiseration in a miserable era. And in its buoyant forms and affable uttering, does a good job of making this all seem more or less fine while proclaiming the opposite.

And while we know from… life that the squeaky wheel more likely gets executed at dawn, locked in an Ecuadorian embassy, or exiled to Russia, there remains inherent value in the logging of the complaint.

So what if the world is an unforgiving and hellish place and that every ounce of good is drained out in a vice, cut with chemicals, and then sold back to you at 10x the cost? We can still refine our critiques to be appealing and catchy. There’s some good resilience here in this track and in the lessons it provides.

[Something I didn’t notice until after selecting the track but may have been subconsciously seen: our projects were featured on bandcamp daily on the same entry a week back. That doesn’t need to be disclosed I just wanted to brag a little and am glad to be associated further in this linkage.]