TRACK | That Ghost – Moon And The Almighty

5/5 golden merles

Previously I’ve written on Ryan Thomas Schmale melancholic and gorgeous work under Myers Rooney, I Hope It Is Only a Room. “Moon And The Almighty” is an earlier, coarser garage rock track. It was provided to a defunct compilations project made by a defunct label that was funding largely defunct DIY venues.

A marching eulogy of a track, it burns and it is glowing. The vocals and instrumentation collude in a fine mist of metallic static. The unraveling is a spectacle, with vocalizations cruising along it’s descent, Death is coming / To take me soon. Transitioning, the passage moves to favoring yowling at the point of disintegration, embers still alight.

In contrast to the Myers Rooney To Bleed album, this conveys Schmale’s great range of evocation; there a drifting and gilding the expanse, here a measured writhing and smiting. A strong working songwriter that deserves a bit of your support if you are able.

There’s a new 2022 split with mr submissive also to check out.

TRACK | OK Cool – Self-Sow

5/5 golden merles

Chicago’s OK Cool are making ruminative and well crafted hooks, angular and blazing within a shoegaze/bubblegrunge genus.

While lyrically pensive and introspective material, the instrumentation is sheer revelry and admirably honed to a point of exacting precision. There is great density within its melodic ornamentation, and seemingly always another generous layer or accent driving the tracks metering forward.

Sonically rich, there is considerable attention put into the pacing of all the accompanying forms. The vocal effects are an early ghostly clarion, but equally laudable are the vaporous, sophisticated guitar tones phasing in and out of the mix. It is a joyous thing to behold in the headphones.

TRACK | Bnny – I’m Just Fine

5/5 golden merles

Coming off of 2021s Everything, Bnny moves from strength to strength with this remarkable single, “I’m Just Fine.

In a few direct lines recounting a brief encounter, swiftly this microcosm extrapolates into wide avenues of longing and of unrealized eventualities. The subtext is immense. This moment, or it’s recollection, acts as a portal to the vast emotional ocean of undercurrent that undergirds our every interaction.

And, yeah, most songs should do this. And most try to, if sort of inadvertently. But rarely do they render this phasing of micro to macro as convincingly, or wed the everyday to eternity in a manner that allows for direct intellectual as well as emotional resonance. Rarely do you feel as though the ground has opened up beneath you. And, better yet, by design.

There is great refinement in the two guitar leads, the quiet chorus of backing vocals that swells late on, and the elegant drumming variance. Where most songs would put the full burden of focus upon one of these individual endearing elements of instrumentation, the glut of quality coalesces here into one hell of a stunning track.

TRACK | Angel Olsen – My Last Date (With You)

5/5 golden merles

This was my first exposure to Angel Olsen and I’m glad at least one track is easily available on bandcamp to still preview. The talent and emotive power was early and obvious.

The EP is a list of covers (Skeeter Davis, here) and not one of them is done poorly. Straight to mic, a handful of layers laid over the top, it is immediately compelling and convincing material.

I’ve been calling this the “Our” Lady of the Water Park EP for the last decade and am surprised to see it has none of the religious connotations to it I’ve ignorantly applied. Woops. The experience itself is still a bit akin to it, I think, but ours no more. and not for a long time. and also never.

TRACK | Stephen J. Denning – Out of My Depth

5/5 golden merles

On bandcamp Denning describes this as “fuzzy, midwestern surf rock.” And that it is.

Well, I don’t know if he’s midwestern. I have no way of knowing where Stephen J. Denning is at any given moment nor even any reliable means of adequately tracking him to within a region of several miles. And I’ll testify to that in court.

But listen here you assembled invalids, you timeless quant of dullards, you lil’, diminutive shits: there are more agreeable tones in this tiny tomb than all the Muppet mass graves of our youths combined.

There’s no easy way to say this. But I don’t think words themselves can do the track justice, I’m sorry. You’ll just have to listen to it, there’s no way around it.