5/5 golden merles

Immense and unmitigated punk from the Chicago/Boston-based RODODENDRONS. Synths accompany like a halo hanging over the hellion, frantic, proving that being maladapted to madness is a asset. A warm catalog of our collective descent or rising; it’s all relative to where you are already. But a log nonetheless of some motion, somewhere, through the void, and its approximate rapidity.

Most of that motion is flames. Sometimes burning down the house, sometimes burning up and upon reentry. Its bedrock too is combustible. This 4 track demo is pushing the year-end list, it’s that strong and steady. If not on it then at least among the honorable men-shunned as we wait for a full length. It’s intricacies are irate but amenable, the combination of articulation and fervor that compliments our common ruin.

The set is a split release by RoachLeg Records (Brooklyn) and Unlawful Assembly (Milwaukee).

TRACK | Thick Shakes – Friends Like These

5/5 golden merles

“Friends Like These” finds psych and synth pop alive and well in the heart of 2012. Frenetic and full of venom, it’s composed of much good garage rock tones and texture. After the requisite feedback and count-off, the track promptly hurtles forward with conspicuously limited relent.

Fusing together in an abiogenesis of noise, the reverb becomes an instrument itself. A beachhead of melody is quickly established and familiarized through repetition. Nothing overstays. In the sub-2-minute run-time, most effort is spent building our amusements into monuments, decorating, and then deconstructing them.

The plate tectonics shift. A tidal wave rises from the sea to vanquish the invading army. The cassette remains buyable from Aurora7 records via the Bandcamp.

TRACK | The Needy Visions – shitty magazine

5/5 golden merles

Nothing is sacred, please relax. The word ‘Zeppelin’ can be uttered, at least a few times, under ones breath now and then. Though it seems like something that can only be summoned indirectly.

The Needy Visions “Shitty Magazine” though does feel a bit like those early numbered albums: all guts and daggers, a kind of rock music that is honed from the homespun into something very special, the wavering grit and spiraled smoke emitting from a stage. Out of place but ideal.

Maybe in this telling the author is proximally more rural, and there’s more collaboration in the composition of the wailing. Maybe it is a little less otherworldly; maybe there’s some more cartilage in the coursing about it. Neither echo nor homage, but not entirely dissimilar: another kind of cathartic and good in its own right.

TRACK | Saralee – The Motion

5/5 golden merles

Saralee’s “The Motion” has some immediate, panoramic, and vivid language. It is for me instantly displacing of my own or transportive to its own universe.

The lo-fi demo-like quality of the seemingly live recorded accompaniment provides both urgency and credulity as the track leans into the gutsy performance. The variable ranges of emphasis on the lead vocals conduct well the underlying unrest.

A small memory or anecdote, well detailed, acts here as an entryway into a great expanse of wondering, empathy and the unknowable. It is immensely effective storytelling.

So much of pop music is a kind of shoddy mesmeric and definitive declaration, an unconvincingly detailed and performative edict of eternal truths: hollowness and posturing. So, instead, there is a striking and surpassing power in embracing doubt and continuing to operate from a position of uncertainty. I have a great admiration for songs that end in inconclusive proclamations.