TRACK | Melaina Kol – Nu

5/5 golden merles

Melaina Kol creates Youngsville, North Carolina-based lo-fi bedroom rock. AMOSAT is layered in rich and compelling material, a delicately discordant ambiance constructed with much persistently viable misdirection stacked around the solid songwriting. “Nu” offers loads of angular pieces approaching of their own accord, an entire woven world of it to delve and get lost in, subtle hooks and abundant texture.

If I ever make anything good, I’ll have taken some lessons from this: its patience and sense of rerouting the narrative within the greater whole. There a lot of skill in guiding the persistent observer or judge in a kind of favorable figment or refracting everything in a favorable light; it’s nice to see such skill given to the refinement of experiment and innumerable unique transitions between tracks.

All of that is of value and is a kind of expertise that slowly accumulates an audience in the world, at least you hope so. It can be held by Naming your price at the bandcamp. Also check out the re-release of a set of 2017 tracks now out on tape/digital from 7th Heaven.

TRACK | Goon – Angelnumber 1210

5/5 golden merles

Los Angeles’ Goon has delivered to us more hypnotically drifting, catastrophe cooing psych rock. The band is in a unique place, confidently contorting melodies and multifaceted textures around otherworldly tales. There’s much care and craft to its interlocking layers and marbled phasing.

From the first moments of the field recordings discordant rumble, then the turning into a steady spine of percussion, it carries itself forward into being with great assurance. The piece feels sculptural and fills the audible void by pushing in many directions. There’s plenty of subtle sequences and attention to detail, each caringly extracted from the aether and melded into the elaborated structure.

The language is casually cryptic or explicitly ambiguous: environmental, a gathering, on earth, belated or in dream. The point is the feeling and the sense of collaborating within a stunning phenomenon and in a world of possibility.

The vinyl is delayed a few months from shipping due to manufacturing shortages but there are digital, tapes, and assorted articles of clothing if you would like to affiliate your physical body with their audible output, all coordinated at the bandcamp.

TRACK | Cotton Jones – Blood Red Sentimental Blues

5/5 golden merles

Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw have always had a great sense of production, properly documenting the smoke in the air, the curving and crashing that elevates the storytelling. This is still firmly in that tradition but a bit bigger.

When they gradually grew away from the charmed lo-fi folk of Page France, the goal seems to be to create a warm ambiance of fertile soil in which to grow their melodies.

“Blood Red Sentimental Blues” would work as a title alone. But there’s a lot more to it than that. The organ cements the foundation of the thing. The dual vocals route a pincer maneuver on the heart. When the tambourine track clicks the drum into a richer stereo around 1:23, all of this gets more tactile. It is eminently lovely stuff.

TRACK | Lean Year – Come and See

5/5 golden merles

It is within our capacity to build better worlds.

This is a song that encourages this practice, implores a reassessment of unjust hierarchies, and seems to reference one of the greatest films ever made, Elem Klimov’s Come and See.

“Fuck off, the old world.”

With a rich and subtle arrangement, Lean Year provide a good base for reinvention. Like Adam Curtis in Can’t get you out of my head: This entry is not the vision but a request for one.

The song is a precursor to the vision, but nonetheless a necessity, a rebuff, and a necessary bridge to what is coming. A good prompt and great entreaty.

TRACK | Amy Annelle – Miss it more than you know how

5/5 golden merles

Amy Annelle is a national treasure, albeit a Texas-based one so it’s a bit of a gray area.

In the alternate timeline in which Bernard Sanders has become the president, I imagine she is universally well regarded and heaped+drowning in praise.

But here we are in this rendition. The good still draws to it the good, but with slightly less gravity.

Regardless, The Cimarron Banks is a great album. The opening title track, the hellhound’s address, wounded man, forever in-between, and Miss it more than you know how, here featured, are all noteworthy achievements in songwriting and performance.

Annelle offers first-rate lyrical content interwoven with enduring melodies and an extremely technically accomplished delivery that is not stripped of character and nuance but rather plastered in them. It is difficult to ask for more than this.