TRACK | RODODENDRONS – Hunger

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 | thanks for coming – losing touch (nyc)

5/5 golden merles

Direct and daunting in its indexes, “losing touch (nyc)” is a track about friends idly assuming divergent trajectories and how relationships either require continual maintenance or they stagnate, starve, or dissolve into thin air. It is a great conversational pop song about a lack of communication.

I wasn’t sure whether to feature the demo variation or the latter above with its assured layers of instrumentation, usually favoring the former for its sincerity and getting a bit closer to the moment the track takes shape. But nothing seems lost in the interim, and, alternatively in the latter, some phrasing is refined and the bass glows underneath.

There is an inspired octave shift that hones the verse and particularly the chorus hook. The modular orbit of the verse-chorus-verse syncs up solidly. It’s a heartrending and elegant track; it’s great.

TRACK | Household – Phases

5/5 golden merles

I am very happy to pay tribute to the minimalist post-punk of Household’s “Phases” every time the shuffling god demands it. In the rumbling and rancor, there is also a kind of courtesy in its blunted cutting.

this is no accident / it’s never yielding fate
rationalize my friend / but it is far too late

A small, honed document of some devastation, the designated point at which two trajectories were changed from alignment. Not ending in undue harm, but an extraction.

There is undoubtedly a bit buoyancy in the blood feud, the mutual respect to at least document the severance. To take its significance and repurpose it into a new beginning. And an explanation provided before the exodus; the point of a breach and breaking as an amelioration. I do love these tracks that in this processing can be seen demonstrably contorting the bad to good.

TRACK | EULA – I Collapse

5/5 golden merles

Foreboding and uproarious, EULA’s “I Collapse” kicks. The oscillating vocals unnerve and taunt around a gloom-core structure of perpetual/grinding bass. In this internet dipshit’s humble opinion, it’s great.

Structurally the thing has more than a few asides which all conspire and compile credibly. The kinetic has been captured pretty well intact. It is always eroding and disintegrating but in a stable sample both capable and worthy of study.

TRACK | Celestial Shore – Now I Know

5/5 golden merles

“Now I Know,” though it comes down slightly on the side of content, has an elevated form and does great justice to both. It almost seems as though a song can have both things, style and substance. Judging by the great glut of output across and throughout civilizations, this is something often lost on most people, of which I am regrettably one.

I’m not sure a guitar’s tremolo has ever sounded better. The elaborated drums feel like a chaotic shadow realm behind the composed articulation on the surface, a disunity in the ranks that meet behind a common banner. At first I wanted them buried in the mix, clipped and curtailed. But on repeated listening it is a great strength and attribute. I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the thrum.

If some fool hadn’t written a paragraph about it, I don’t think you’d notice on an early pass the graceful/perpendicular/complimentary “I was in love with an idea” backing vocal layer buried at the 1:12 mark. Aside from an articulation onslaught, this is what I mean about the form rising to meet the moment. Get you a songwriter that can do both, lol. Memes aside, it is tremendously well made.