TRACK | Fili – Automatic

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi garage thrash from Mexico, Fili’s “Automatic” is my favored track off a real superb, tarnished and smeary set. Egg punk tones and bedroom recording methods combine to contaminate one another, a resourceful and regenerative dossier.

From the intro we are fed the requisite raving through a grit of vocals so tactile they’re practically percussive. A series of small instrumental melodies combine to make one great net that effectively colludes to capture. And all this lovely melding and mashing affixed to the discursive litany, today / i don’t want to be disturbed. The album art alone should warrant a peak; it’s good & fun.

TRACK | GEE TEE – Mutant World

5/5 golden merles

More common era essential lo-fi punk rock by Kel Mason (DRAGGS), “Mutant World” has all the essential vitamins: it is blown out but remarkably to a more ideal proportion, the synths are sampled from a Godzilla mouth beam, and it contains the unmistakable reflection of your face reflected back in a pool of your own blood.

The track’s a well worked clobbering. Over 81 seconds, ascendant minor melodies combine to accent the the nebulous bulk and vividly this breach is annexed and incorporated into the spiraling form. At the chorus the vocal channels rend apart, tearing across the sound scape. It’s sensed then plotted out with a lot of care and calculation.

It’s a good week for new media. After the JWST release today, there’s a new GEE TEE 7″ out Friday on Goner Records.

TRACK | Cindy Lee – I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again

5/5 golden merles

“I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again” is yet more Flegel, one of the great living builders of audible notes in aether. Sparkling, it is lo-fi rock with some experimental aspects. There is Reverb, tremolo and the metallic ash of drums, their coordinates coalescing in improbable simplicity and phases.

The work is well modified tradition, timeless infliction of temporality and texture. Not waiting, but hesitating at the start, the world holds off for about a minute, collecting itself prior to forming, knowing all that entails. Deceptively simple, attuned to the eternal, in so far as I understand it within our shared cultural conditioning, in the relative terms of our existence.

What Flegel has done throughout, in Women and Cindy Lee, is forge the familiar with the foreign, survey the zeitgeist and collective comprehension and reflect it back in a manner that is uniquely compelling, catchy and memorable. That’s what any artist is doing, to some extent: building out from the established, branching as far as is possible. But this is a level of fluency that speaks with uncanny accuracy and conviction. It’s good and to be admired.

TRACK | Wren Kitz – Hexed

5/5 golden merles

A deliberate and ravaging album of many intricacies and plenty of codas, Early Worm by Wren Kitz is a real fine set of musical numbers. Promptly following the raw and expansive “Georgie,” the gentlest entry point comes through “Hexed,” a song about crying moons and the digging of bones.

The track is considered and palpable psych-folk and rock. It describes a kind of anti-heroes journey or an escape from ones self in the service of traversing an emotional landscape. The problems are bound to proximity, figuratively or literally — I don’t know. But born of an immediacy that can be at least differed and approached later from another angle or as another person, weathering the hex or inverting the curse.

It is a glinting and extensive track and album, with much fine detailing and world building. It should be a little or a lot more celebrated. And further evidence of the good drawing to it the good, there’s cover artwork by Dylan Jones, who’s also done some for Woolen Men.

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 | The Mountain Goats – Aulon Raid

5/5 golden merles

A wonderful project, series of songs, and example of adapting material between mediums to appeal to a different audience. Life is brief and it’s a gift when two fine storytellers combine in collaboration. Also it’s the first set recorded straight to boombox since All Hail West Texas.

From the mouth of the horse:

“I WROTE A SONG EVERY DAY for the next ten days while reading A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, starting with “Aulon Raid” and working in exactly the style I used to work in: read until something jumps out at me; play guitar and ad-lib out loud until I get a phrase I like; write the lyrics, get the song together, record immediately.”

I was late to this one and maybe you missed it as well, but a nice reminder Darnielle and goats are on tour.

TRACK | Gen Pop – Bell Book Candle

5/5 golden merles

Olympia-based Gen Pop’s “Bell Book Candle” is some good guts on display, smearing and smashing guitars decay alongside some thundering and twisted vocals. The production is a fair simulation of the unadorned and apparently undeniable.

I have no idea if the title/chorus is based on the Richard Quine directed film from 1958 or Pope Zachary’s 8th Century decree of excommunication for “exceptionally grievous sin.”

But my name is the same as that Pope. And I did once cohabitate with a Siamese cat. And I did recently watch Jimmy Stewart in Harvey. These combined attributes make me more qualified than most to tell you with some authority that the track is good regardless.

TRACK | Samuel Campoli – One Eye

5/5 golden merles

Samuel Campoli’s “One Eye” is a delicate and multidimensional track, something who’s size is difficult to assess. It is a kind of glittering aura phasing through a rift seen from great distance.

Parts psych-folk and freak-folk, there is within it an array of quasi-familiar attributes positioned on a foundation of vibration. The concerted warble feels equal parts ornate and obliterated.

Still, the sway has a good sense of purpose to it and in this weaving course we are united. When the drums pick up the ponderous becomes quietly devastating. The feeling reminds me of a quote from Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”:

For softness is great and strength is worthless. When a man is born, he is soft and pliable. When he dies, he is strong and hard. When a tree grows, it is soft and pliable. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Flexibility and softness are the embodiment of life. That which has become hard shall not triumph.

Glacial and gracious, it can be purchased here.

TRACK | Staring Problem – Eclipse

5/5 golden merles

Staring Problem’s “Eclipse” has a kind of masterful production which clocks in somewhere around the hi-er-fi of the lo-fi. Seemingly unadorned but performed and engineered with great precision.

The driving bass keeps all the moving parts locatable, everything in its right place. Discrete and eerie, the lead vocals amass into a rolling wave, layered but unvarnished.
Many admirable and complimentary tones are situated within this lucent and mammoth track.

I’m the sort of fella that thinks the generic pop music over the radio starts to sound a lot more compelling when the signal gets worse. And much of it, frankly, once consumed in pure static. But there is only a bit of noise here, the right amount, to politely remind us of our return to dust and that entropy will eventually triumph.