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 | 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.

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 | OUZO! – State of Affairs

5/5 golden merles

Australian Garage punk that has become sentient and aware of the existential threats which are damning us to an arbitrary and relatively abrupt end. A dangerous prospect, hopefully. The track contains a litany of discontents, each censure delivered with savor. Racing through the excess offenses of the era, OUZO! continues smashing and grabbing back at the daily gauntlet of inadequate empathy.

And, of course, rightfully so. God damn the status quo, the complacency which empowers it, and the fervor with which its defenders somehow manage to live with themselves. In the fine form the critique holds up and is elevated. Tradition is presently the cancer of culture, by and large, we just hope for the benign kinds cluttering up our chest cavities.

But, also, contradictorily, ritual can reinforce behavior, and maybe with nice, catchy, scathing, fun, fiery tracks like these that tradition can be reinvented, with some small part played as a salving commiseration, consensus building catalyst, or soundtrack for direct action. I don’t know. Adam Curtis would politely laugh in my face for discussing tracks in these terms. But he provides no practical alternative and is himself caught in the indefinite arts feedback loop.

The 7″ is sold out from Weather Vane Records (AU), Polaks Records (EU) but some remain for €7 on the French Wine Records (EU) bandcamp. Or $3 AUD for the digital remains straight from the horses’ mouth.

TRACK | Pigeon – Permanent Quest

5/5 golden merles

Berlin post-punk from Pigeon, “Permanent Quest” offers a cascading lead riff and the ominous, conspiratorial raving that just so happens to ring exclusively true. The subject is our collective dystopian inhabitancy, with talk of a perpetual tasking and the surveillance required by our benefactors to monitor compliance. Thundering and scraping at the lid, I like this grim approximation and its framing of the morgue as monument.

The performance is to be found somewhere between the land of post and present punk; the distinction doesn’t matter, but the frothing is slightly tempered after having had some time to reflect before conveyance. Still, the production affords us drums like a punctured lung, a sampling from the initial pop. And everything maintains that heat amidst dry powder. I’m very much looking forward to the full length.

Name your own price” in ones and zeroes Or vinyl for €6 from the formidable Mangel Records.

TRACK | Klint – Selected Welcome

5/5 golden merles

German synth/egg punk, “Selected Welcome” is tinged and tainted with a lot of good grit and a prodigal pounce. The chorus is a simple phrase that contains the seeds of an adventure, the trek at time of reception, sometime before the hubbub gets hashed out. It has tones that seep in and the pulse of something fretful and not long for this world; it provides a good example of how to proceed if you are looking to leave a mark.

For at least several minutes the lord is baptized in his own blood and there is much singing in the ensuing confusion. I thought for one second I’d written about Klint before but it was Kieff, and through my idiotic error I was greatly rewarded. The whole set clanks and saunters in its own fluids for right around one half of one hour. It’s a soundtrack in two parts, both of them uncannily accurate approximations of being strangled by a stethoscope.

It will be €4 for the digital set split into two halves. Or it’s about $6 for the tape cut up into digestible chunks from Japan’s superb Dial Club.

TRACK | Total Luck – Ramble

5/5 golden merles

“Ramble” is rampant Birmingham-based (UK) post-punk offering a coming to terms with degrading conditions and offering some expression of our common terror. Through its intricate phases we receive a fair extrapolation of the nascent era, our present spent staggering out from a stupor in search of a few reliable harbingers.

The track is appropriately naming names, resilient in conviction, a good preface to our collectively entering another period of overdue righteous fury. There is a good sense of how things will progress, whose mistakes are forgiven and which ones are kept on the mantle as a centerpiece or conversation starter. Much pointed instrumentation and detailing throughout accompanies the excellent vocal phrasing, bleeding the blisters where appropriate.

As the regressives mourn their genocidal aristocrats and strip rights from half the population with respect to their own bodily autonomy, there is significance in creating ideologically sound tracks with that sort of anthemic prestige. Many individual’s hearts are in the right place, but they lack the aesthetic. Many others still get lost in theory and form, while either lacking courage or capacity for a clarity of language. It’s nice when there’s a balance to this weighting and each quality is strong in both respects. It can be obtained for the cost of naming your own price on bandcamp.

TRACK | M.A.Z.E. – Spread the Germicide

5/5 golden merles

II is a vital and frenzied Japanese punk/post-punk rock with enough energy and inventive instrumentation to make its own wave outside the new/no paradigms. Phrenetic and more fun than falling out through the bottom of your own confetti-stuffed coffin.

It is always acting, moving, while we’re all left cleaving to causation, digging about for clues from which actions can be derived, meanwhile M.A.Z.E. have become motion itself. It reminds me of another maelstrom of an album I admire, Black Bug’s 2010 s/t. Each track deviating, but also revolving around its own star and in its own solar system of songs.

It’s a little bit of a revelation that makes me slightly sick to my stomach, a solution that evades this sort of pretense; just lean into it and never stop enduring. Like any good media worth it’s weight in physical space, it creates a world of consistent rules and value and adheres to them. It can be got on black vinyl from Lumpy Records for $17 / $6 for digital folder in perpetuity.

TRACK | S.U.G.A.R. – Heartbreaker

5/5 golden merles

Berlin-based gargoyles S.U.G.A.R. have returned with an insultingly good garage punk record, II. Selected track “Heartbreaker” is beaming through a patina of crud and graced with a few golden riffs. It meets the criteria of control achieved through a willing proximity to its loss, shakes and thuds with ease and comfort within that chaotic coil.

The production is aiming for and hitting the best live show you’ve ever seen, coherency emitting from the swell of reverberations; that sort of rare swill composed of bottled blood and lightning. It is perched on the peak of something that is crumbling, all the boys say so.

If you want an informed and competent review, look to Groschi, I’m just here to belch up my impressions and fill a bit of space. It comes in solid gold and/or black vinyl, or digital for the mark of the beast (EU style) from Alien Snatch Records.

TRACK | Why Bother? – Cut to Pieces

5/5 golden merles

Devolving, sonorous synth punk from Mason City, Iowa. There’s a lot more warmth than seems warranted to these melodic forms, fixated fondly as they are around the horror-themed act, telling of and centered on America’s real past time. The production is agreeably amending the timeless proto garage, a pleasant and productive mutation in the lineage.

There’s sufficient synth warble and echo apportioned gluing all other components together. The drums fan the hammer, everything tuned to the clang. It’s all calibrated to killer sensibilities, stylistically/tonally, and the additional morbidly themed track titles offer heaps of promise for the full release.

The files can be got for $1 preordered or white/black vinyl variations are $20. The full album set is arriving September 16th from the highly reliable plague of contents administered by Feel It Records.