TRACK | Melaina Kol – Nu

5/5 golden merles

Melaina Kol creates Youngsville, North Carolina-based lo-fi bedroom rock. AMOSAT is layered in rich and compelling material, a delicately discordant ambiance constructed with much persistently viable misdirection stacked around the solid songwriting. “Nu” offers loads of angular pieces approaching of their own accord, an entire woven world of it to delve and get lost in, subtle hooks and abundant texture.

If I ever make anything good, I’ll have taken some lessons from this: its patience and sense of rerouting the narrative within the greater whole. There a lot of skill in guiding the persistent observer or judge in a kind of favorable figment or refracting everything in a favorable light; it’s nice to see such skill given to the refinement of experiment and innumerable unique transitions between tracks.

All of that is of value and is a kind of expertise that slowly accumulates an audience in the world, at least you hope so. It can be held by Naming your price at the bandcamp. Also check out the re-release of a set of 2017 tracks now out on tape/digital from 7th Heaven.

TRACK | MENU – Sorcery

5/5 golden merles

“Sorcery” is the first single off the upcoming album from MENU, Pushpin, out October 31st. It follows in the vein of April’s superb/experimental art rock PROOFS (OF THE TRICKS WE PLAYED). It heads off expectations, narrowly avoiding them, in pacing and then pivoting, grappling with guts of the track and turning them back into functional systems of consequence. In playing with tradition through a kind of invention it is achieving a type of escape velocity.

It has some semblance to the works of Flegel/Women/Cindy Lee in the emergence of delicately over elaborated melodies that turn out to be entirely and immediately structurally sound; that selfsame feeling of walking out into the dark and finding sure footing. The presence of the drums is compelling and propulsive, more so than supportive and undergirding. There is some energy in its construct, as if to say: What if traces of math rock could be enjoyed by humans? A proposition I hadn’t seriously considered. But there are tinges and tints to this of that, humanely and held all together.

Look for the album at the end of the spooky month. For now the single is a sole dollar on the bandcamp for the digital experience, which directly supports the artist. Or you could wait and listen to it on Spotify approximately 277 times and the royalties will also accrue to roughly one dollar (not including the fees of distribution).

TRACK | Palánta – Éhség

5/5 golden merles

Hardcore synth punk from Budapest, “Éhség” is the 3rd track on Palánta’s super demo. Melodies allocate across the runtime like a fine cognitive dissonance, only in stepping back through the frames and on repetition are we able to admire the whole from outside. While it is not a servant to structural form, it maintains a steady groove inside the atomic levels with undeniable tones and talons. All passion and experiment, what is provided is plenty compelling.

When the vocal hands off the melody 90 seconds in, the relay refines further. Through the strong performance is transmitted a tale of merger through devouring, the escalating and the colliding. There is a metamorphosis recounted, achieved through ritualized abuse or hunger and dehumanization, the conscripted contortions of nature dubbed natural. Sneering and smirking at history, we continue to repeat every mistake, possibly by design.

The set is coming soon in a physical form through SZÉGYEN KAZETTÁK. For now, name your price on the digital wares. Found through the reliable stewards of rock at Tremendo Garaje.

TRACK | MENU – Actually Dreaming

5/5 golden merles

“Actually dreaming” is a thing of lo-fi shoegaze and uninhibited abstraction. It was summoned in or near Philadelphia. It has a great sense of how long to linger in the status, levels with you, offers a stasis of texture and tone, any intent amplified by their deteriorated beauty. Rarely is your patience punished here, cutting content with form in an imminently compelling fashion.

Concentric in form for the most part, each loop banishing another or building off its remains. You can more or less see what you like in its patterns, it’s a foggy mirror with some writing you got to breath on a bit to see. There’s lots of graceful skulking about and premonitions of indeterminate value. Lately, if Eno/Ricky landed, maybe this will too for you; a means and agent for teasing your own ideas out, another kind of catalyst for coherency.

Generally speaking I am suspicious of abstraction as it can be a salve for my enemies. However (!) with this much form/balance and pulse there are always exceptions. Original found on Tremendo Garaje via the intrepid scouting of @u2_is_a_government_drone / Sims / Mesh.

TRACK | The Drin – Reach Through the Midnight

5/5 golden merles

“Reach Through the Midnight” is substantive and transportive proto/post-punk, a strong prelude and segue into the larger album which releases from Mangel Records (EU) / Future Shock (US) on the 21st of September. Forecasting, slightly sickly, resting on the border between worlds, both marking and blocking the portal. You’d do well to study its habits. The phrasing and motion gives one the impression of basking in the warmth of the pyre.

A sound melodic refrain is coupled with the expression of unnerving/foreboding visions; immense texture and instrumentation rise to meet the mood, ardently rattling before burning out. These are things I can relate to. The recitations involved will either manifest or undermine their impending summoning. We’ll just have to wait and find out which. The album is primed to deliver.

The sluice of culture that I’ve cut into the mountain face of the void, the one responsible for draining all content toward me, has determined that I should hear this track a couple times. And it was right, it has won me over. All hail the sluice of culture dug out by hand from the mountain of void to deliver tonal sustenance. Particularly, Snooping The Bandcamp, OneTwoxu.de and Manierenversagen. Look to them for more if you like this.

TRACK | Troll Dolly – Pooly

5/5 golden merles

Vancouver’s Troll Dolly has crafted some truly special experimental folk. Kindness is rarely given this level of craft and careful introduction into the world, for either one’s self or the other, and here it is both. Usually, its refinement is often hurried or perfunctory, the author somewhat slack, neither on the attack or defensive. Generally it is delivered with the understanding of either immediate acceptance and dismissal or an insurmountable suspicion/doubt enforcing its limitations. “Pooly” conveys a intricate context promptly and stunningly with both credulity and grace.

There’s a great deal of nuance to it, reflected in the production and the concepts, it contains the toil and tact needed for coherent processing of more complex ideas and emotions. The strongest line of the track, for me, is one that is not repeated, and regarding the expression of love: I’m afraid to ask for it / because I wake up in a deficit. Even when there is redundancy, for effect, it is accompanied by a new melody driving the point in a slightly different direction, providing scope. Grief, gray areas, and equal parts mournful and hopeful.

Its effect feels vast and outsized within the framework of the album/set of songs. Similar to the rawness combined with confrontation of A Crow Looked at Me, the medium is granted a status/use it doesn’t usually fulfill. And that is exciting and rare.

It runs parallel to precious and mighty things like Doiron’s I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, Olsen’s If It’s Alive, It Will, and Martch’s Now You Know. A kind of self-actualized consideration without a compromise to form.

If a song is a way of remaining within a conversation, this is approaching a healthy version of that honing and mantra refinement. Music is storytelling provided the greater context of form, style affording weight/significance that otherwise requires time or additional context to establish. These are simple definitions but their qualitative realization is a uncommon and welcome. Seeing as we seem to be approaching an era in which we will be covering ourselves in blood to stop from burning, it is a relief to see something moving in the opposite direction, offering healing and a compelling vision.

TRACK | fizzface – blinking shivering

5/5 golden merles

Intricate Licorice is eminent experimental noise and folk rock from New Zealand. It is also a guide on how to properly synthesize influence through the prism of a personal vision that can still be accessed and appreciated by outside observers. Maybe that’s just a definition of art. But look: some finely wrought phrases planted in murk-laden hooks, and the ambiance and field to capture the greater multidimensional representation of the arbitrarily defined moment.

That amounts to some superb storytelling. There is invention and quality when the artifice of noise cuts prior to the lyric and the line completes in its isolation: my breath is frail / my hands are shaking / a response to what the wind has taken.

Most of magic is misdirection, how to position the observer and pacing. There is great value in knowing what to cut and leaving the next track to begin with a sigh at the outset of the take. Good work and unique voices are exciting and allow for reassessing the fundamentals which are regularly lost sight of for one reason or another. If you are estranged by the strangeness, it’s all there, the heart and pathos, half a meter underneath and more. 5 golden merles in praise of burnt potions, their efficacy, and addendums applied to horizons.

TRACK | Mirry – Anthem

5/5 golden merles

From the bin rescued personal recordings of Mirabel Lomer, the great aunt of Tom Fraser who found and — with the help of musicians Simon Tong, Antonia Pagulatos, and Michael Smith — collaboratively arranged and reworked the pieces. Her original tape recorded piano tracks are accompanied here by cellos, keyboards, saxophones and synths, interworked patiently and earnestly in an accumulate flood of heartfelt aspiration.

The result is ambient and experimental, delicate and expansive, a lovely tribute that is immediately imbued with implicit meaning through the nature of the finality and tenuousness of its discovering. A context we should all have with respect to all work made by other humans but are deprived of through the mundanity of our manner of existing, the illusion of the banality of daily living as it slips quietly away.

But beyond the affirming story of its origins, the work is remarkably detailed and composed, the swells and pitches elevating and conspiring beautifully across the decades. The original renditions have also thoughtfully been uploaded in their initial scope and design.

If looking for more quality in the rediscovered, see Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green, or maybe Darnielle’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin, for more inspired collaborations with the late and great.

TRACK | GEE TEE – Mutant World

5/5 golden merles

More common era essential lo-fi punk rock by Kel Mason (DRAGGS), “Mutant World” has all the essential vitamins: it is blown out but remarkably to a more ideal proportion, the synths are sampled from a Godzilla mouth beam, and it contains the unmistakable reflection of your face reflected back in a pool of your own blood.

The track’s a well worked clobbering. Over 81 seconds, ascendant minor melodies combine to accent the the nebulous bulk and vividly this breach is annexed and incorporated into the spiraling form. At the chorus the vocal channels rend apart, tearing across the sound scape. It’s sensed then plotted out with a lot of care and calculation.

It’s a good week for new media. After the JWST release today, there’s a new GEE TEE 7″ out Friday on Goner Records.

TRACK | Violent Change – Unit A

5/5 golden merles

“Unit A” is the easiest point of entry to a great experimental lo-fi rock set, VC3. Awash in fuzz and form, the rampant melody augments and deviates in plenty of soaring and delicate ways. There’s enough feinting at traditional form coinciding with the stylistic subversion to keep it fresh and engaging.

There’s a lot in the way of texture and the weighting thereof: the processing all around, the vocal layers elevating at the chorus and a sparingly employed harmonica stretching the tactile wave. All of this is solidly plating the hooks, enshrining and embracing the more established elements.

Within the genre and particularly to those acclimated, there’s a lot of admirable gradation and nuance to the discernible creative problem solving. This refinement pulls some aspects of the abstraction away from suspicion, provides a benefit of the doubt in areas that lack explicit mechanisms of conveying meaning.

See also the Chunklet Industries Honey Radar/VC split from 2021 for some complimentary schemes.