TRACK | The Babies – Wild 2

5/5 golden merles

The Babies were a NY lo-fi rock super group of sorts (Kevin Morby/Woods, Cassie Ramone/Vivian Girls) and the two albums they released did not disappoint (2011 s/t and Our House on the Hill 2012). Solidly forged garage/pop rock focused on love, death, more death, and adventuring. There’s a real joyfulness to the morbidity married to it melody.

This morguementum carries on convincingly throughout on both the wild & mild sides. There’s seemingly a mutual respect in the making between members, every track features a couple compelling hooks, overflowing with enduring licks and brokered compartmentalization. Wild 2 is my favorite for the moment but it could be any featured on the first disc.

This should’ve been borderline infinitely earlier in the series (post a day for the first year [day 284], then whenever), it’s one of my favorite records without qualification. At least part of the delay was that I was hoping it might show back up on bandcamp. But no such luck so linking to some random yt video is the best we can do. It can still be acquired in the physical world, and should be.

TRACK | Household – Phases

5/5 golden merles

I am very happy to pay tribute to the minimalist post-punk of Household’s “Phases” every time the shuffling god demands it. In the rumbling and rancor, there is also a kind of courtesy in its blunted cutting.

this is no accident / it’s never yielding fate
rationalize my friend / but it is far too late

A small, honed document of some devastation, the designated point at which two trajectories were changed from alignment. Not ending in undue harm, but an extraction.

There is undoubtedly a bit buoyancy in the blood feud, the mutual respect to at least document the severance. To take its significance and repurpose it into a new beginning. And an explanation provided before the exodus; the point of a breach and breaking as an amelioration. I do love these tracks that in this processing can be seen demonstrably contorting the bad to good.

ALBUM | Pangea – Living Dummy

5/5 golden merles

Together Pangea’s Living Dummy (2011) is a classic garage rock album. Though they’ve had many fine singles since then, for my tastes, nothing is quite as dense with ideas or as relentlessly resourceful with its inspiration.

Maybe there is something wrong with my brain that this album remains more or less evergreen in its spinning. The variance and hooks, its balance of bile and sentiment, add up to such a lovely document. Think of how much better off we’d all be if this was what passed for a more mainstream branch of pop-punk. It has inspired many, but you know what I mean: household/pop culture level of mind-meme infestation.

It sits with Dead Ghosts, The Cowboys, and The Babies, in my memory of the era which is only (somehow, I don’t know) fairly recently being pulled apart from the present. One of my sister’s earlier memories is my mother pulling off to the side of the road to weep after The Eagles were played on the classic rock radio station. Luckily, I don’t own a car. So there will be no further self reflection on mortality and impending death.

On Living Dummy there is great value in the band’s pushing and perverting of garage rock with idiosyncrasy and heart, infusing life into the curdled maxims and anachronisms of person-with-guitar rock. As F. Scott F. put it, “It takes a genius to whine appealingly.” And that is essentially what is happening here.

Pangea are currently on tour with two California dates remaining at the Observatory and the Regent theater, then they’re off to Europe for a few months. The record is $7 digitally on bandcamp. Or you can stream it elsewhere, I assume, for $0.0014 per play, as rendered accessible by your favored cartel of thugs’ server farm.

TRACK | Dick Diver – Keno

5/5 golden merles

Dick Diver’s “Keno” contains some heartbreak, a lot of precision of phrasing, pacing, and knows when to twist the knife. Previously we’ve written about their similarly excellent “Calendar Days.”

I really like the rising and resourceful merger of the choral vocal delivery. The melodic phrasing latches onto those early vowels, compiling into great peaks for the rest of the sentence to subsequently leap from.

It is almost within the context of the song a form of misdirection, a style-centric focus pulled swiftly/directly in the opposite direction, ushering in lots of warmth and craft to the recollecting.

“Keno” is a strong track. There is a lot of mass to the thing, it could hold up a lot. In “New Start Again,” the song acts like a steady cornerstone for new beginnings.