TRACK | Frankie Traandruppel – Ocean Song (featuring bontridders)

5/5 golden merles

We previously celebrated Frankie Traandruppel’s timeless “The Darkness (Comes to town),” and on the strength of that track I am obligated to consider anything else he’s putting forward. On Yadda Yadda the most effective track is the collaboration and closer, “Ocean Song,” featuring Anderlecht’s bontridders. It’s something like unreckonable lo-fi bedroom rock stained with texture and tonal radiance.

The track is warm and refractive, a brightly self-contained geode of a tune. In it the plaintive gliding vocal scales the percussive friction of a looping synth-string sample and the steady bloom of the rhythm guitar. It’s a lot bigger than the sum of these crassly cataloged parts, concave, immense and foggy around the edges of the glittering expanse. For a sense of scale you can, for instance, pretty happily live and die in it.

It motions to you from the beach. It’s intentions aren’t clear but the attention is enough. Music is a tool that can be used for many different things. I don’t know what it does but it seems useful. Yadda Yadda is out now on Ronny Rex for the low, low cost of making up a number.

TRACK | Decomisos La Toledana – Deprisa, Deprisa

5/5 golden merles

Madrid lo-fi burning with the light, gently obscured but unquestionably recognizable. The track is transcending time through the amalgamated fuel of rock influence and intentional media consumption. And in converting this into a new unit, its value is immediately apparent. The entire demo set has that character, driving at something greater than the genre but utilizing it as a medium for the purposes of conveying. That is hopefully what you want from all art: taking what is at hand and what has resonated, and then tuning it to your own frequency. It does this.

The engine is guitar tone, a viscus echo bleeding off the lead vocal melody, and some tight and direct drumming. It’s familiarity and form that can feel frontloaded with nostalgia, as though it is a unit of articulation convenient to assign a period of your own life, characteristics that are endearing and worthy of application. You could have had it then, but you didn’t, now you do. That is the joy of the thing; another lovely arc of the echo as it emits, another good ring charted around the base, some momentum to keep moving at all or in sync to, a record of our dendrochronology.

Found through Groschi’s tireless searching, part of a four piece mix that will work perfectly as an antidote to all the Christmas playlists you will likely subjected to.

TRACK | Busted Head Racket – Wouldn’t you like 2 Know

5/5 golden merles

Bedroom lo-fi synth pop from Australia, the release from Idiotape Records (Paris) contains two ounces worth of delightful and difficult to kill earworms. The refinement is pronounced and very much appreciated: layers phasing and melodies shifting in precise sequence, the variance in lyric keeping us sated in the recurrent loops.

There’s great detailing in the margins, like the delicate death rattle production on the vocal lanes or the tinny-washed out drums that splash late on in the dying embers. It has great density to it but the appearance of pure candy and handles like a cartoon mallet: swiftly, against the odds, pleasantly gruesome.

The track features the dogged honing of hooks as previously manifested by so many of our senescent idols, by that I mean maybe it has some golden era le tigre feelings about it, maybe a touch of Metric, or of times new viking; things I like and you likely liked too.

The cost is €2 on the bandcamp for the files or €5 for the tape before shipping. See what you can do.

TRACK | vivi milne – In 2

5/5 golden merles

Solstice is bedroom/lo-fi folk that is elaborately cut together, pulling at interpersonal strands and cogently tracing them back into their universal underpinnings. It follows closely on the heels after 2020’s also great Double Headed Deer and is akin to that cloth. “In 2” is a good representation of the style and substance of that storytelling, demarcating the unease in the daring, fractured totality.

The vocal tracks heavy leftward arc feels present in the room, the thoughtful melodies are at all times in a state of serenely careening. It feels like a personal but not indulgent document, a good, individual archive of the era and that is rare and valuable. “There are certain memories that remain inviolate to the ravages of time,” fortunately.

Sometimes songwriters use both style and text and it is a great relief. Maybe you think this is the default, but I tell you it is not. At least not to the extent by which both are refined or cataloged. It’s a lot less poised to perish than anything else you’ve been sold this month, musically or otherwise. $7 on the bandcamp for the set.

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 | los spunky’s – te escribiré canciones de amor

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi bedroom punk from Santiago, Chile, providing great heart and guts among other inexplicable innards throughout the convection. The tracks give some heavy pop sensibilities but offer them estranged from professionalized depersonalization of corporate art. Some direct, convincing evidence these tunes and textures can be held in high esteem outside of what has become of our culture, and can persist without ulterior motives. It is a welcome reminder.

It has the inevitable influence of radio, youth, nostalgia and combines it with the human desire for direct melodies about extremely simple/impossibly complicated things like ‘love.’ But in doing so also is stripping out the obligatory advertisements and operates similar to other independent media as though a musical ad blocker. Working directly without the pretense of polish, dissipating the sickly attaché which has been engineered to leech off our every action, while maintaining the preferences that seem to us inextricable from systems of oppression but are very much not.

Taking the good while shedding the parasitical, this feels healthy. And another glimpse of some small, personal vision of a way forward. Lots of good dreaming coming out of Chile lately, despite the turning down of the constitution. A different world is possible, break through the bullshit, return to basics and reinvent the world. Name your price on the Bandcamp.

TRACK | Cherry Cheeks – UFO

5/5 golden merles

“UFO” is unrepentant lo-fi synth punk, newly released Cherry Cheeks, the 1st in track on the Cherry Radio EP. Each track is subsequently fanning these early flames. Hallowed modulations and percussive rhythm guitar snap over harmonic backing screech, the indulgences collude with and sustain one another. It’s good, I think; really good. But its long-term effects have yet to be determined.

All that texture is prefaced on the metaphorical hooks which multiply rapidly and indefinitely here. Lots of these to relish on repeat exposures, these bits that immediately conspire to occupy your attention and root in the sensory and short term memory like a beachhead for the broader absorption. I’ve had the self-titled on Total Punk Records open in the forest of Firefox tabs for over a year and now it is demanded by this qualitative excellence I go back and find it.

This EP is released by Under The Gun Records, sorta/it was gone real quick and they’re working at building something bigger than a digital swarm. You can hear it there but the vinyl’s sold out and there’s no discogs page yet so just go wander about outside until you stumble across it.

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 | 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).