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).

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 | Cluttered Grotto – Asbestos Sandwich

5/5 golden merles

California bedroom punk with more melodic sense than a hijacked ice cream truck and a voice that sounds like cleaning off your lucky blood diamond with a stainless steel scouring pad. All of this is very good and meant to sound appealing to you, as it does to me. It is the relatively happy bastard child of subversion and invention, driving drum loops draped in human pelts.

Canonical-grade commiseration, it’s seated somewhere among the premier set of atomized and alienated subjects of oligarchy, each in isolation making lo-fi melody-rich synth punk. The craft is immediately recognizable. It’s a competitor, in the top tier. I’ve somehow managed to avoid it like an inverse minefield to date.

The turns are abrupt and appropriate, it mends and mangles in good order. If you are synced up with the wavelength fluctuations of the incessant vibration in dichotomy between deathly serious and inconsequential, it comes as a great relief. It feels a little like driving down a cliffside highway when you unexpectedly smash through a thin wall’s painted vista only to find on the other side not impending death but the true, identical vista itself and above it a prop plane trailing a banner containing the message, “haha, sorry.” It’s that kind of fun.

The EP was found on DJ Simon’s fine Infernal Racket. Really excited to dive into the self-titled from May.

TRACK | Flop Machine – U.R.A.4.

5/5 golden merles

Machine Beat Rock And Roll is a fleshed out record from the collected set of singles by Flop Machine (Norway), out now on the grotesquely strong roster of reels at Dial Club (Japan). “U.R.A.4.” is synth fueled eggpunk, some craven melodies purged of pretense. Warm plateaus of waveform riding the digidrum rails, a motet raging and decrying, “work your fingers to the bone / paying off your student loan.”

Its production has a great grip, nascent pliers on the nerve. The compressors range has a full punch packaged, breaking the thumb for good measure. The soft tear at vocal peak, looping back and disseminating like fog into the anthemic instrumental accompaniment, is a thing to be admired. It’s a bouquet of firecrackers and wet cement, everything wrapped up in a nice little package.

The tape is ¥800 JPY (that’s $5.62 USD, plus $5.27 shipping for United States), or single use tracks for NOK 7 (0.67 cents). Everything apparently done in the name of love and at a loss.

TRACK | Klint – Selected Welcome

5/5 golden merles

German synth/egg punk, “Selected Welcome” is tinged and tainted with a lot of good grit and a prodigal pounce. The chorus is a simple phrase that contains the seeds of an adventure, the trek at time of reception, sometime before the hubbub gets hashed out. It has tones that seep in and the pulse of something fretful and not long for this world; it provides a good example of how to proceed if you are looking to leave a mark.

For at least several minutes the lord is baptized in his own blood and there is much singing in the ensuing confusion. I thought for one second I’d written about Klint before but it was Kieff, and through my idiotic error I was greatly rewarded. The whole set clanks and saunters in its own fluids for right around one half of one hour. It’s a soundtrack in two parts, both of them uncannily accurate approximations of being strangled by a stethoscope.

It will be €4 for the digital set split into two halves. Or it’s about $6 for the tape cut up into digestible chunks from Japan’s superb Dial Club.

TRACK | Leoni Leoni – If there is Magic it is made in your Womb

5/5 golden merles

Starry and skeletal with a rich contemplative warp, “If there is Magic it is made in your Womb” is a strain of diy lo-fi ambient synth-pop. Neither orthogonal nor evil, the price of the piercing is being held together around the hole after. There are concerns expressed and they are catchy, lots to empathize with in speculative and instructive the utterances.

There is a command not to misunderstand. Winter crumbles away, summer is a stain left from dust; the only constant is change. The percussive instrumentation is in a sort of sequence within the sickly gunk of time, by which we are affixed to this or any given era. The rhythm is the minimal rate by which we must claw through it to get anywhere at a respectable pace, or before it’s too late.

Anyway, it’s skirting the edges of eternity. Anyway, seen from above it resembles a gulch filled with jello and paved over, gauged and assuaged. There is vinyl available from Les Disques Bongo Joe in Geneva, black for €18 & white for €20.

TRACK | Catastrophic Dance Ensemble – Panko

5/5 golden merles

The assignment understanders have arrived. What do the rest of you have to say for yourselves? Cincinnati-found Catastrophic Dance Ensemble make rapid, roaming, detailed eggpunk. Gently putrefied, as a measure of gauging its place within the world, and thriving in the rot all around us. Its welts and warp mirror many of my own less convincing accusations; a fiery and balanced form.

In recent surveys most people claim they know when it is appropriate to twist a melody like pulling someone by the lapels out of the window. But in reality hardly 7 in 10 could do it if pressed. Beyond the hypothetical, these Ohioans have done it here. The instrumental backend is even an excellent melodic tumble, all of it finding some much needed humor in the hemorrhage and goes some way toward explaining why we can’t have nice things.

In league with the good goings on of Leipzig, Berlin, Melbourne and Montreal, the Cincinnati punk rock scene is strong, it seems, from afar. If you’ve recently granted positive appraisals to egg and experiment kings like Mesh, FIVE BUCKS, and C.P.R. Doll, I suppose this would be an easy affixation. Name your price at the bandcamp.

TRACK | CRASH THE SUPERYACHT – Sitting on the stairs

5/5 golden merles

Timeless lo-fi bedroom punk sounds from CRASH THE SUPERYACHT, maybe avoid this one if you’ve made a happy habit of spurning the uncommonly good or fixating on the dawning of doomsday. There’s a rich vein of diy charm and pop cunning to the set. I put to the forefront the closer, “Sitting on the stairs,” fortified with hooks and familiar tone, easily believably extracted from an indie 80s alt history timeline.

Wading through the windows, you’re first met with those resonant sentiments about part-time pals, the ones you can always sync up with, wavelengths and bullshit tolerances amenably aligned no matter the interim eons. I’ve never seen EastEnders or any soap opera outside of by accident and in a laundromat. But if it inspires this quality of rock-ooze, let them rip. Similarly bring on lockdown 4 or 5 or whatever, let’s recreate these ideal conditions and spawn another tape: £3GBP for digital files or £7 for the cassette + zine.