TRACK | Liquids – My Best Friend (Stab Me In The Back Again)

5/5 golden merles

NW Indiana’s Liquids have returned with more proto garage feelings nailed onto the egg punk skeleton. Songs is more raw and seeping, less refined in production than Life is Pain Idiot. The rate at which these things degrade is variable. Less a crack in the foundation of the prior effort and more a rebuilding upon the rubble of the pile of limited releases. Half digested or about three quarters gestated, anyway, viable, and better out than in. New: now with more new.

There’s plenty of melodic invention within the parameters of the genres sterling decrepitude. And the murk it’s packed with keeps things fresh upon repeat listens. With respect to production, everything’s overheard through a wall in the next room. But there’s some preservative properties in the goo emitting from the gears into the end product; it leaves plenty of room for magic and misinterpretation.

The ‘punk’s dead’ discourse is a trope and the trope itself must die. Surely the answer is something akin to the perpetual cycle of rebirth and death much like the organisms that make it: Emerge, decline and diminish. Symbols corrupt and the language adjusts, later the symbols are replaced by something that better gets at the feeling while the old symbol rots back into the earth. There is a natural discordance of definitions in this process. Temporary end or intermittent beginning, either way it’s nice to have the document.



TRACK | Tee Vee Repairmann – Bus Stop

5/5 golden merles

From the C:/ of Ishka Edmeades, in the style of garage punk and powerful pop: some new, prolific and defiant portents for the year in death ahead. “Bus Stop” wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination sound out of place in a Riptides/Numbers set, save maybe for its general state of tightness and refinement. A warmth of tube derived tones coincide with a lament for missed opportunities, experiments wide in the channel with the organ/lead pulsing.

For better or worse it’s a timeless track, at least for the last 50 or 60 years. That’s a lot of influence to synthesize, to reconstitute from constituent parts in some manner that again feels alive. Rest assured, he’ll keep rewiring the available woes into good hooks and relaying them over digital mainframes regardless of your support. But I for one think that it’s nice to have something this reliable that isn’t a bad thing. Most reliable things are bad. but this is good and should be encouraged.

February 10th, 2023, is the arrival of the record, the tapes and vinyls seem destined to quickly diminish. US version out on Total Punk Records in Portland.

TRACK | Frankie Traandruppel – Ocean Song (featuring bontridders)

5/5 golden merles

We previously celebrated Frankie Traandruppel’s timeless “The Darkness (Comes to town),” and on the strength of that track I am obligated to consider anything else he’s putting forward. On Yadda Yadda the most effective track is the collaboration and closer, “Ocean Song,” featuring Anderlecht’s bontridders. It’s something like unreckonable lo-fi bedroom rock stained with texture and tonal radiance.

The track is warm and refractive, a brightly self-contained geode of a tune. In it the plaintive gliding vocal scales the percussive friction of a looping synth-string sample and the steady bloom of the rhythm guitar. It’s a lot bigger than the sum of these crassly cataloged parts, concave, immense and foggy around the edges of the glittering expanse. For a sense of scale you can, for instance, pretty happily live and die in it.

It motions to you from the beach. It’s intentions aren’t clear but the attention is enough. Music is a tool that can be used for many different things. I don’t know what it does but it seems useful. Yadda Yadda is out now on Ronny Rex for the low, low cost of making up a number.

TRACK | Stuck – Do Not Reply

5/5 golden merles

Eloquent Chicago post-punk embracing the only remaining righteous fury, “Do Not Reply” corroborates your feeling that the present strait we reside within is relatively dire. Early on the tempo shifts and scales with the realization of these guiding affirmations, “I see you thrive / but I just know your soul’s diseased.” If we are to address the rot at the core of our civilization (…the leeches at the top which insatiably siphon wealth to such extreme severity with no regard for the common good) the language of morality, as it is here, must be employed to express the enormity of the grievance.

If you’re looking for escape then look elsewhere, this is commiseration, for humans as they were traditionally known, prior to incorporation, with aspersions directed at the insatiable ghouls that head our oligarchy. Miranda Winters lends chorus to the band, layering and reinforcing the accusations, shoring up a united front confluent to address these unjust hierarchies. Even the title speaks clearly to the alienation of the era: being contacted but unable to reply to the relentless barrage of bullshit to which we are inundated with impunity…

It remains yet to be seen if we can acquire a future worth having, to pry it from the hands of mediocre men upon seemingly unassailable pedestals of capital. If we don’t hedge and cower our way toward that new and immediate hell they envision, something will need to be done about turning that pedestal into a pyre.

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter. Just try to consume things you’re ideologically aligned with and support their labor. It is $1 on the bandcamp if you’re not already hopelessly indebted.

TRACK | Why Bother? – Foot in Mouth Disease

5/5 golden merles

“Foot in Mouth Disease” exemplifies a mastery of lo-fi synth punk production. Down to the layered backing vocal, all the creak and warble on this emulates my near ideal manipulation of the medium: the pans, the guttural synths and they’re coalescing groan, that wide net of distortion of the rhythm guitar crashing over the skull of your chosen corporeal ballast. Really nice, nuanced garble.

While I lean toward Lacerated Nights on the full set, “Foot in Mouth Disease” is undeniably top shelf sludge and more or less fit for human consumption. On There Are Such Things the band is leaning a bit more into experimentation, field and samples, defying the form and framework that was employed so well the previous cycle. And they are having fun while still clearing the high bar previously set with hooks like these.

Name your price on the bandcamp, $10 tapes there or $8 directly from Sorry State Records.

TRACK | Woolen Men – Why Do Parties Have to End?

5/5 golden merles

New materials from Portland’s Woolen Men is always a welcome sight, having previously written incoherently about “On Cowardice” and “Head on the Ground.” After the two year hiatus, they remain one of my favorite presently living outfits, with much reliable hook and clamber in these lo-fi rock pop tones and phrases, some sweetness and perennial dread.

The text originally by Napalm Beach and concerns the temporal, with particular respect to the indivisible nature of time and perception; that linear curse. We’re left behind or simultaneously continuing onward at differing trajectories from the absent/dead — however you want to look at it. The single’s a tribute to some departed friends. Parties and lives collapse of their own accord in the semi-planned obsolescence of existence, all perception seemingly tied to one orb spinning around another at particular, reliable orbits. The pacing of which, having always operated under these auspices, seems very important to us, and the rut of this rotation rules our lives.

Woolen Men always stretch beyond the generic spoils of melody and interpersonal indistinction, building tiny pocket universes. There’s wallowing, sure, but it’s articulated, idiosyncratic, worthy of peering at or visiting often. We are lucky to remain within the same timeline. It’s $1 for the digital track, the hope of more tracks to come is included at no cost.

TRACK | FEN FEN – Insect

5/5 golden merles

Detroit’s FEN FEN have been building a steady stack solid garage punk singles in this year of our absent lord 2022, intimating a great record is forthcoming. “Insect” has hooks you’ll be required to gnaw your own foot to get free of and a gold plated vocal delivery that seems destined to vomit up in harried yelp and shriek prognostications.

It’s ably and faithfully routing the riffs into a sequence while gently blurring and warping the edges of historical precedent for the genre. Otherwise the bulk is hearty fundamentals flailing in the common era, an addendum to the accursed pleas stretching back a generation; the act of devotedly keeping the nightmare alive.

Detroit is experimenting and deconstructing the form, there’s so much good pouring out of those damn lakes around Chicago and Cleveland. Tremendo Garaje has the video. Name your price on the bandcamp.

TRACK | Cherry Cheeks – UFO

5/5 golden merles

“UFO” is unrepentant lo-fi synth punk, newly released Cherry Cheeks, the 1st in track on the Cherry Radio EP. Each track is subsequently fanning these early flames. Hallowed modulations and percussive rhythm guitar snap over harmonic backing screech, the indulgences collude with and sustain one another. It’s good, I think; really good. But its long-term effects have yet to be determined.

All that texture is prefaced on the metaphorical hooks which multiply rapidly and indefinitely here. Lots of these to relish on repeat exposures, these bits that immediately conspire to occupy your attention and root in the sensory and short term memory like a beachhead for the broader absorption. I’ve had the self-titled on Total Punk Records open in the forest of Firefox tabs for over a year and now it is demanded by this qualitative excellence I go back and find it.

This EP is released by Under The Gun Records, sorta/it was gone real quick and they’re working at building something bigger than a digital swarm. You can hear it there but the vinyl’s sold out and there’s no discogs page yet so just go wander about outside until you stumble across it.

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 | Egg Idiot – Meltdown

5/5 golden merles

Leipzig eggpunk with the uncanny ability to channel estrangement into melodic rupture. Egg Idiot’s Help ! is hyperactive malaise as an exaltation, serving with distinction in the line of trash punk, and both a degradation of that which is superfluous in rock and a refinement of its redeeming qualities. Composed of composting tones and rotting with true relish, it’s an exquisite set.

It’s a very good achievement, one I’m going to have to sit and absorb and hope its contaminant remains in my blood as influence. Each track is moving swiftly upward, a distinct sample from the mantle of the core. It’s inviably pounding and cracking with more conviction and force than you expect from any one man band, feeding/rallying off its own fury. And maintaining that emphasis within the its intricate layering, burning melodies and segments at a venerable rate. Any track seems like a good entry point, with its extreme consistency.

For more look to the new/magnificent “Feel Like a Dog” video, something significant and full of detail and invention. Or look back also at the beautiful “Barf Life” video and the prior feature . Support your local egg-based cretin by naming your own price or purchasing a cassette for €7 EUR or more.