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 | 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 | 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 | FLASH – Nazkauta Nitxiok

5/5 golden merles

From the Spanish Gipuzkoan coast, FLASH fabricate rabid and relentless noise/punk rock. Careening into a controlled burn of synths and axes, it will get your blood moving forward. It has an enduring wrath and commits to the conundrum, frantically yowling in Basque a mantra of renunciation.

The style is warped and gently deteriorated but maintains its melody, so it rests at the only available precipice to us. Which is to say it is found on the periphery of both major pits (pure indulgence/abstraction or commercial solicitation).

Regardless, the balance is truck. The zeitgeist is favorable to it. The sound squirms from the hand of capital, repelling like a magnet from its grasp, while still affording a refined articulation and immediately resonating. The ground will shift and it will fall toward one side or the other, and down we will go with it.

But for now it’s fun and good. I am looking forward to hearing the remainder of the tracks. The vinyl for the album is black & blue and releases September 2nd from La Vida Es Un Mus Discos.

TRACK | Mustard – Sentirsi inutile

5/5 golden merles

Lo-fi Rock from Rome, extracted partially dissolved, partially preserved in formaldehyde and resurrected one day before retirement. A refreshing mastery of tone on this one, rising to meet the moment of a lot of ongoing dialogs in garage and noise as we attempt to make the preceding epochs palatable without discarding them entirely.

That is the negotiation and dialog on offer here, if you are attuned to it or sympathetic to this. It is a love letter that may alienate some of its recipients but will land well with those of similar predilections. Utilizing a few old flourishes and forms, teasing apart the tropes, using the crutch as a cudgel, breaking and building. It is to me very compelling and a lot of fun.

Out on cassette from Spya Sola in Cologne, Germany, and Face Melter. Spya Sola also putting tapes out in the region from Rude Television and Beta Maximo. New but with an already stellar track record — follow their shit if these align.

I was thinking I was going to write about something he’d love half an hour before Groschi/, but then there is his smiling face on the Mustard February EP. If you like this style, follow that blog. He has his finger not so much on the pulse of it but one plugged in the aorta.

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.

TRACK | Druggy Pizza – Like Pigs In A Slot

5/5 golden merles

Featuring members of Dusty Mush, Cédric Bottacchi/Druggy Pizza’s “Like Pigs In A Slot” convenes the crunching and crushing of waves in a not dissimilar manner. Unrest and deliberate deconstruction, it’s surf rock on a sea of molten gloom and Midas detritus.

The blistering, proximal bass synth continues grinding in perpetuity, as the focus shifts from the background grind to the central figures portrait, breaking the established mold a few times in a matter of minutes. The whole EP/split’s worth spending some time with.

If you, like me, hold its contortions in high esteem, look also into the 2020 set and checkout the handful of vinyl from the Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali split.

TRACK | Sterile Cuckoo – The Ghost of Saint Claire

5/5 golden merles

“The Ghost of Saint Claire” has a composition that incorporates more creative tools than most songwriters employ and with more conviction. I’m very fond of these configurations, their sequencing — from field, to shoegaze, to ambient drone — is always dreamy, always threatening to break into bloom. It is mesmeric, captivating material.

Three things primarily pique my interest among its graces: First, the cohesion of its assembled genre influences. Second is the structural invention and pacing. And third is the collaborative element. Each of these involve their own degree of risk and reward.

There is some risk in breaking free from the yoke of strictly enforced genre limitations, attempting to create the more refined/unique niche, and the prospective audience readily available to receive it. Another risk is in leaning into the expanse, allowing the void to patiently fill itself with subtle field and noise cues, breaking the form but maintaining a series of footholds. Yet another risk is in collaboration with others to contribute toward the fundamental ideas and ambiance (orion lake & Antonio Svisa).

But, truly, they’ve all paid off tremendously well here. And, from the outside, that act of crafting feels honest and refreshing, to have honed the influences or held a vision intact throughout. It’s realized to a point that probably none of it seems like risk at all to its progenitor, but rather the only way to properly render the material and synthesize the influences. Listening to it feels a little bit like taking part in that conviction and it is a joyful event. There is much to admire in its grandiose and ephemeral lo-fi textures, and the deteriorating and rising of its well designed phases and fractals.