5/5 golden merles

UK lo-fi punk that “hate(s) music… and will make you also hate music.” The work is offering similar sentiments to Csehak singing, “I don’t want to kill The Killers anymore / … now I know that music itself is wrong.” BRIAN DISEASE are found here raiding a zeitgeist which frankly deserves whatever pillaging and plundering comes its way.

If somewhere in the region of 99% of a medium seems to offer no value to you, to be wallowing in tradition, without invention, built of tropes and cloyingly posturing, what else would the proper response be? “The good” is well within the margin of error, the exception to the rule.

Still, on BRIAN DISEASE, there is provided an example that there remains a bridge out of the thing, the structure is largely intact, approachable and traversable. Here we’re shown that there’s much to be salvaged from the culture, even in profound disillusionment.

In the coursing and the clatter, there’s a resplendent, breathtaking bile here and proof of what can still be extracted from the old genres. There are nourishing guts in it but loose in a slurry, the kind of stuff you reluctantly feed your cat, for now. It can be reconfigured compellingly together and we can subsist upon it. Casettes out on Just Step Sideways Records.

TRACK | EEL MEN – Intro / Ode To Mr Hudson

5/5 golden merles

Garage rock goods from London, EEL MEN’s “Intro / Ode To Mr Hudson” is the very best track about a stolen credit card you’ll hear this week. The guitars radiate stunning, excess tones and the drums sculpt the structure. Everything metered and scaling, solidly worked into a nice, smiting tune.

The narrative scope and melodic shifts are perfected for the genre, it seems clearly made by folks living and breathing the medium. Thriving in the carport habitat, it’s clear across the altogether effective set and the record a joy to sift through. £3 for the digital files or £5 tapes out through London’s Just Step Sideways Records.

TRACK | Stereolab – John Cage Bubblegum

5/5 golden merles

I found “John Cage Bubblegum” through Carolyn Hawkins’ (School Damage, Parsnip, Chook Race) Sight of Sound Society Radio Mixcloud feature. It appears on the remastered Stereolab singles and rarities collection Refried Ectoplasm Vol. 2, first issued in 1995 and collected/reissued in 2018.

Drenched in reverb and surrounded, it leans heavily on a few formidable vocal melodies. There are a handful of phrases, breathlessly repeated in French, It’s the most beautiful / and it’s the saddest / it’s the most beautiful / landscape in the world.

As at least partially confirmed by the experimental composure and artist’s name in the title, there is an unreviewed post from claiming the track is made in reference to one of Cage’s most famous pieces, 4’33”. In this piece a performer intentionally plays nothing, allowing the audience/ambient noise to become the song.

True or not, there is a fun dialog in the play between these two ideas: lo-fi and no-fi. One is the direct embrace of the erstwhile void and the absence of all else other than that which is usually considered undesirable or an extraneous defect. The other a form that balances leaning into a celebration of melody and tone but also in a lo-fi, human manner, incorporating the place and performers, containing breaths between phrasing and elements of performance that likewise embrace these, to some, imperfections.

The former is the absolute extreme of this idea, but for my tastes, the latter, in contrast to the dehumanized/decontextualized refinement of the last few decades of modern pop, is not too dissimilar either.