TRACK | Pigeon – Permanent Quest

5/5 golden merles

Berlin post-punk from Pigeon, “Permanent Quest” offers a cascading lead riff and the ominous, conspiratorial raving that just so happens to ring exclusively true. The subject is our collective dystopian inhabitancy, with talk of a perpetual tasking and the surveillance required by our benefactors to monitor compliance. Thundering and scraping at the lid, I like this grim approximation and its framing of the morgue as monument.

The performance is to be found somewhere between the land of post and present punk; the distinction doesn’t matter, but the frothing is slightly tempered after having had some time to reflect before conveyance. Still, the production affords us drums like a punctured lung, a sampling from the initial pop. And everything maintains that heat amidst dry powder. I’m very much looking forward to the full length.

Name your own price” in ones and zeroes Or vinyl for €6 from the formidable Mangel Records.

TRACK | S.U.G.A.R. – Heartbreaker

5/5 golden merles

Berlin-based gargoyles S.U.G.A.R. have returned with an insultingly good garage punk record, II. Selected track “Heartbreaker” is beaming through a patina of crud and graced with a few golden riffs. It meets the criteria of control achieved through a willing proximity to its loss, shakes and thuds with ease and comfort within that chaotic coil.

The production is aiming for and hitting the best live show you’ve ever seen, coherency emitting from the swell of reverberations; that sort of rare swill composed of bottled blood and lightning. It is perched on the peak of something that is crumbling, all the boys say so.

If you want an informed and competent review, look to Groschi, I’m just here to belch up my impressions and fill a bit of space. It comes in solid gold and/or black vinyl, or digital for the mark of the beast (EU style) from Alien Snatch Records.

TRACK | BRAK – Smashed Tape

5/5 golden merles

More lo-fi noise punk from Berlin which seems to clearly be making an era of it, “Smashed Tape” is another corroborating witness to that moment. With feedback as the fuse, frenzied and full of an apportioned insolence, it is the refreshing kind of well-tempered visceral filth that comes arranged in sequences and accompanied by drums.

The track offers a guilty plea as a celebration, the confessed breaking as deliverance. It is a modern post-punk, no-wave, noise rock assemblage, and has the texture of few ounces of name-brand bottled miasma. It falls under the category of those few precious things that as we become inured we also become enamored. We’ll be looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP when it surfaces. There’s a bonus track on the 7 euro tape, out from adagio830 August 13th.

TRACK | GLAAS – Concrete Coffin

5/5 golden merles

Berlin punk rockers GLAAS have released their album Qualm, and this is the formidable lead single “Concrete Coffin.” Kinetic and harshly configured hardcore elements emerge derived in collaboration with members from Clock Of Time, Exit Group, Cage Kicker, Idiota Civlizzatto, Lacquer, among others.

It’s has that fraying and bashing you’d want if you could tolerate a little chaos to reshuffle the deck. The vocal implores from inside the metered mire, considered and class. There are a few brutalist synths fountains populating the general state of ruin. It is this kind of realized honing of dread that we recognize our collective discontent, see it embodied.

That’s a good and worthwhile endeavor. The vinyl is out from London’s Static Shock Records, clear or black, however you paint your windows. Fun, bleak rock.

TRACK | Needle Exchange – Shut Up, Shut Down

5/5 golden merles

Berlin-based punk with melodic surf and garage elements, “Shut Up, Shut Down” pounds about, nimbly refractive, mutinous. The residual discontent is ingrained in the sturdy melody, collecting like soot between the abbreviated rotary of the verses.

Having grown accustomed through regular exposure to either the empty vessel or diatribes devoid of style, for my tastes the balance of muck/bile to harmonious refinement is well weighted.

I have been assuming the title has a reference to Nowak’s 2004 book and poetry collection of the same name concerning corporate greed. If that’s wrong I’ll gladly correct and update it with some other half formed idea. Some used versions of the vinyl run are scattered about Europe.

TRACK | Rouge – Aversion

5/5 golden merles

Delivered by Phantom Records on either the day of fools or the day of fooling fools, April 1st, Rouge’s self-titled is a record full of refined rage, defiant sludge and radiant sulk. At just under 14 minutes, the EP is extremely consistent and well crafted work.

It’s a very solid punk/synth EP. Its primary concerns are those of social and bodily autonomy and the confrontation of unjust hierarchies. I like this style and share these worries. If these are concerns you share and a style of music you appreciate, the odds are very much in favor of you liking it, too. Ok?

There are within the set lots of influences piled together from punk, synth-punk, post-punk and surf & garage rock. It is both irreverent to predecessors but reverent to form itself. The primary constant behind the curated veil are the hooks that lend themselves readily to easy piercing.

Surprised to see this only show up so far on the great 12xu and Tremendo Garaje, it’s an extremely easy sell; and the digital album is also listed at “Name your own price.” The least you can do is nothing, but it is also quite easy to do a little bit more.

TRACK | Sneers. – Black Earth Shining

5/5 golden merles

From Rome via Berlin, Sneers. “Black Earth Shining” is a track of woe and woah. What a terrible sentence! But nonetheless true. Nonetheless, accurate. It is morose and glowing.

The singular note and choral monosyllabic chant transubstantiate the early soundscape, teasing the tattered and triumphant. The minimal but staggering instrumentation is soon accompanied by a raw and irrefutable vocal delivery. Ossified and merciless it proceeds in a manner reminiscent of our dear friend Tom Waits at times, in form but also the play with melodic structure and of the appropriately designated repetitions within it.

This is some very keenly constructed hybrid of anti-folk partnered by the tone of doom-core. It is a rarity to find this level of clarity and simmering rage properly incorporated and articulated. It normally vents into another form or genre, and it is more than a little refreshing to find it refined in this manner. Grim, gnarly and a lot of fun.

TRACK | The Mokkers – Peace of Mind

5/5 golden merles

One excellent album from 2016 that even James Acaster himself overlooked, The Mokkers’ In a Daze is tremendous, tremulous Berlin-based surf/garage rock.

I really need a change /
I need it like the plants need water when there’s no rain

Well-versed and wholehearted, “Peace of Mind” is a searing and self-assured cut. More or less timeless, it dissects a few essential organs steeped in history that are worth preserving and successfully transplants them.

Smoldering vocals, speaking in and with instrumental accompanying tones of the past, beseeching, to reconfigure the present on better terms. In league with others who do this properly, like our dear parasocial friends Shannon and the Clams and Sheer Mag.