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 | 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 | The Dirts – Waste Of Time

5/5 golden merles

Sweden’s The Dirts have returned with -II- and what an approachable lament the two singles are so far. Garage punk that is swiftly dirging and adeptly demented, with a greatly calcified soundscape featuring plenty of both sediment and heft to the mix. All that barrage is preoccupied with the ephemeral, that is that which rots; i.e. us.

“Waste of Time” is hitting what it is aiming at on the proto-fringes. The lo-fidelity punches are packed and freshly sealed, formidably there are thuds and kicks galore. It’ll fortify your grave for what’s coming. The bone crushing consistency between the two tracks offered makes the prospect of the full cassette release from Helvete’s Kitchen on the 21st of October something to look forward to. Digital is 60 SEK and tapes for 80 (~$5) on the bandcamp.

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.

TRACK | MENU – Sorcery

5/5 golden merles

“Sorcery” is the first single off the upcoming album from MENU, Pushpin, out October 31st. It follows in the vein of April’s superb/experimental art rock PROOFS (OF THE TRICKS WE PLAYED). It heads off expectations, narrowly avoiding them, in pacing and then pivoting, grappling with guts of the track and turning them back into functional systems of consequence. In playing with tradition through a kind of invention it is achieving a type of escape velocity.

It has some semblance to the works of Flegel/Women/Cindy Lee in the emergence of delicately over elaborated melodies that turn out to be entirely and immediately structurally sound; that selfsame feeling of walking out into the dark and finding sure footing. The presence of the drums is compelling and propulsive, more so than supportive and undergirding. There is some energy in its construct, as if to say: What if traces of math rock could be enjoyed by humans? A proposition I hadn’t seriously considered. But there are tinges and tints to this of that, humanely and held all together.

Look for the album at the end of the spooky month. For now the single is a sole dollar on the bandcamp for the digital experience, which directly supports the artist. Or you could wait and listen to it on Spotify approximately 277 times and the royalties will also accrue to roughly one dollar (not including the fees of distribution).

TRACK | Cluttered Grotto – Pest

5/5 golden merles

More iridescent synth and egg punk from the young Californian, Cluttered Grotto has summoned a very strong set of the lo-fi and the sub-genre’d bedroom rock. “Pest” is my favorite of that lot, spurning excess in favor of burning briefly and brilliantly. If you’re fond to a fault of irrefutable and jagged things like Billiam, DADGAD, C.P.R. Doll, then you likely can’t go wrong here.

Folding into the verses, obsession and evasion are the subject; how desire turns to dust, then distraction, and the cycle repeats ad infinitum or until you croak. It reminds me of a few triumphant lines from Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow:

For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.

The longest track of the album at 1:53, when the solo hones in and bleeds off that chorus bringing it all home, you sorta hope it won’t end. But it’s off on to the next thing, of course. That is what the loop-repeat function is for. Nothing overstays and runs the melody into the ground, instead it lands briefly before it relaunches.

Two (2!) tapes remain from the newly minted legends at Painters Tapes, think of that.

TRACK | OUZO! – State of Affairs

5/5 golden merles

Australian Garage punk that has become sentient and aware of the existential threats which are damning us to an arbitrary and relatively abrupt end. A dangerous prospect, hopefully. The track contains a litany of discontents, each censure delivered with savor. Racing through the excess offenses of the era, OUZO! continues smashing and grabbing back at the daily gauntlet of inadequate empathy.

And, of course, rightfully so. God damn the status quo, the complacency which empowers it, and the fervor with which its defenders somehow manage to live with themselves. In the fine form the critique holds up and is elevated. Tradition is presently the cancer of culture, by and large, we just hope for the benign kinds cluttering up our chest cavities.

But, also, contradictorily, ritual can reinforce behavior, and maybe with nice, catchy, scathing, fun, fiery tracks like these that tradition can be reinvented, with some small part played as a salving commiseration, consensus building catalyst, or soundtrack for direct action. I don’t know. Adam Curtis would politely laugh in my face for discussing tracks in these terms. But he provides no practical alternative and is himself caught in the indefinite arts feedback loop.

The 7″ is sold out from Weather Vane Records (AU), Polaks Records (EU) but some remain for €7 on the French Wine Records (EU) bandcamp. Or $3 AUD for the digital remains straight from the horses’ mouth.

TRACK | Ambulanz – Wire

5/5 golden merles

Another gem in the Leipzig scene, Ambulanz makes an opposable and articulated sort of garage punk. It feels specialized, amalgamated with magma and deviating, mutating, evolving in inhospitable terrain. There’s real nuance to the vocalizations and utterances, both the phrasing and the way they stack; it’s literally and figuratively marching to the contemplatively staggered, intricate beat of its own drum.

A good mix of drone and pulse, bones and meat, the track is brought into being with intuitive and intelligent design. And it is convincingly conjured. It takes great empathy to orchestrate tactically such a wrath, placing the pieces in the proper sequence to collapse for the sake of conveying a message in the pile that remains. Even the outro pulls you into that excavation, the room, the rain, the noise; whatever it is, breathing.

I initially missed it when Groschi posted about it in June and won’t crib the sounds-like list but if you like this go there and see, you’ll have (metaphorical) fuel for a month. Tapes are out as of September on the bandcamp for €6 EUR.