TRACK | pH people – Film For Slugs

5/5 golden merles

pH people released a super demo in December 2022 I have belatedly become acquainted with. It maintains its form throughout, brute force submerged in a 12 meter tall wave of damp fuzz, a sort of struggle like torpor struck into motion. It is a kind of lurching hazard or volatile demystification, but still a sort of salve. Direct and effective, the EP is faithful to its own internal logic and a relief in contrast to overly elaborate rock artifices that lack conviction.

Explaining this particular kind of music is a kind of sickness that doesn’t need doing. The consistent balance of the impulsive and incoherent makes what might otherwise seem a mess into its own sort of ameliorating force, reliably adhering to principles and rules that reinforce and corroborate between the tracks.

It sounds like you’re already deaf, hearing it. Or taking a joy ride in your friend’s dad’s hearse, listening from inside the coffin through the division, the curtain, the speakers obstructing. This is the experiment: devolving to a form that remains recognizable and appreciable, a couple stages before alienation. In my beleaguered state of obligations and unease it feels pretty perfectly balance with personal failings, pairs well.

From Urticaria Records, Nantes, seventy were made in the 5 EUR set of cassettes.

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 | CRASH THE SUPERYACHT – Sitting on the stairs

5/5 golden merles

Timeless lo-fi bedroom punk sounds from CRASH THE SUPERYACHT, maybe avoid this one if you’ve made a happy habit of spurning the uncommonly good or fixating on the dawning of doomsday. There’s a rich vein of diy charm and pop cunning to the set. I put to the forefront the closer, “Sitting on the stairs,” fortified with hooks and familiar tone, easily believably extracted from an indie 80s alt history timeline.

Wading through the windows, you’re first met with those resonant sentiments about part-time pals, the ones you can always sync up with, wavelengths and bullshit tolerances amenably aligned no matter the interim eons. I’ve never seen EastEnders or any soap opera outside of by accident and in a laundromat. But if it inspires this quality of rock-ooze, let them rip. Similarly bring on lockdown 4 or 5 or whatever, let’s recreate these ideal conditions and spawn another tape: £3GBP for digital files or £7 for the cassette + zine.

TRACK | Freak Genes – Strange Charm

5/5 golden merles

“Strange Charm” arrives in a set of consistently plumbed concepts and a larger narrative fixated on the veil, particularly in a Bostrom/Boltzmann sense. And there should be more of this in the world as we know it, simulation or other, because it’s just so damn much fun. The track is composed of sheer keys and guts, synth punk with fervor as the foundation, maniacally forecasting the intricacies of an artificial future.

In the manufacturing of a new and immediate heaven there will be gradients of adaptation and those left behind, some willingly. “Energy bars low above your head,” a beach devoid of touch: the details are effectively populated.

There is within these elements a great deal of world building done (–about world building), new classifications and clearances, presaging emerging rifts that we only have the slightest direct precedents for, despite very familiar themes. It’s full of playful prescience and with enough hooks to convince you to gladly remain and be absorbed within the futurist subject matter.

It arrived today and is fully streamable: there are vinyl variations in limited runs for $20-22 from the esteemed Feel It Records; suitably the digital version is name your own price.


5/5 golden merles

UK lo-fi punk that “hate(s) music… and will make you also hate music.” The work is offering similar sentiments to Csehak singing, “I don’t want to kill The Killers anymore / … now I know that music itself is wrong.” BRIAN DISEASE are found here raiding a zeitgeist which frankly deserves whatever pillaging and plundering comes its way.

If somewhere in the region of 99% of a medium seems to offer no value to you, to be wallowing in tradition, without invention, built of tropes and cloyingly posturing, what else would the proper response be? “The good” is well within the margin of error, the exception to the rule.

Still, on BRIAN DISEASE, there is provided an example that there remains a bridge out of the thing, the structure is largely intact, approachable and traversable. Here we’re shown that there’s much to be salvaged from the culture, even in profound disillusionment.

In the coursing and the clatter, there’s a resplendent, breathtaking bile here and proof of what can still be extracted from the old genres. There are nourishing guts in it but loose in a slurry, the kind of stuff you reluctantly feed your cat, for now. It can be reconfigured compellingly together and we can subsist upon it. Casettes out on Just Step Sideways Records.

TRACK | EEL MEN – Intro / Ode To Mr Hudson

5/5 golden merles

Garage rock goods from London, EEL MEN’s “Intro / Ode To Mr Hudson” is the very best track about a stolen credit card you’ll hear this week. The guitars radiate stunning, excess tones and the drums sculpt the structure. Everything metered and scaling, solidly worked into a nice, smiting tune.

The narrative scope and melodic shifts are perfected for the genre, it seems clearly made by folks living and breathing the medium. Thriving in the carport habitat, it’s clear across the altogether effective set and the record a joy to sift through. £3 for the digital files or £5 tapes out through London’s Just Step Sideways Records.

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 | Akusmi – Divine Moments of Truth

5/5 golden merles

An inspired enmeshing of momentum, electronica curtailed to contain only the essential. Of a stunningly metered jazz/experimental set, “Divine Moments of Truth” stands out to me as a pinnacle of those forms.

The relative minimalism of what transpires builds into a great escape, evenly, cleanly out of its abstraction. It feels as though there is something at stake and yet remains “as simple as possible but not one bit simpler,” the energy is convincingly condensed in such a way as to warp your perception of relative space time. A credible spell, intuitively assembled, or the result of finely tuned music theory, I don’t know. But the kind of wonder and admiration I feel for its accumulated reserves is like the saying that any technology produced by a significantly advanced civilizations is indistinguishable from magic.

Arriving last week into the world, there’s ~30 clear vinyl remaining from a set of 300. Not a bad return on anything in the common era, much less a finely rendered crop of electronic jazz concoctions.

TRACK | TV Priest – Lifesize

5/5 golden merles

Beneath the bluster and bruised flesh it has a great heart to the thing. The drilling of those two synths into the skull, it’s something to be admired. There’s a clarity to the production that works its way into the gray matter without destroying anything essential in the process. A good balance to strike.

This is in the vein of Christian Fitness, Protomartyr, Idles, and Ought, if you like that kind; all the revelry of an adjunct professor shouting at you, and about a subject they don’t specialize in, and for your own good. At least they seem to think so. It’s nice in small doses, for a few years at a time, maybe there’s an accreditation granted at the end of it all.

It’s a vengeance pastiche, the elaborately fractured usage of language as a cudgel to get at something deeper than our collective descent. It’s an attempt to get ahead of the thing. Purposefully disoriented and in synopsis, it’s a poem. The language is essential and central and the language is sturdy. I don’t know how it holds up in a decade but I recognize its assessment of this brazen, dilapidated zeitgeist.

66 degrees and a haze today, and Subpop has delivered something I admire. Haven’t gotten to the ’22 full length, but excited to spend a minute with it.

TRACK | Christian Fitness – Kill the Bored

5/5 golden merles

Finding a bit of humor in the proverbial hemorrhage, Christian Fitness is equipped to reframe the general malaise in a way that may bring you amusement. Striking synths and string-approximations hammer tones into shapely assemblages, with much invention in the language, its phrasing of fine hooks.

Would you say you are a timebomb ticking / or just a normal person dealing badly with change?

There’s a great deal of care put into the honing of textures and lines. Blatantly tactful, manifesting the mess but with levity, it’s truly a nice state of mind to get trapped in. Not a band I know well. It didn’t stick on first exposure but the tab was still open in the rancid nest of endless windows, and now I realize I’m about a 100 tracks behind on something quite special and good.