TRACK | Ambulanz – Wire

5/5 golden merles

Another gem in the Leipzig scene, Ambulanz makes an opposable and articulated sort of garage punk. It feels specialized, amalgamated with magma and deviating, mutating, evolving in inhospitable terrain. There’s real nuance to the vocalizations and utterances, both the phrasing and the way they stack; it’s literally and figuratively marching to the contemplatively staggered, intricate beat of its own drum.

A good mix of drone and pulse, bones and meat, the track is brought into being with intuitive and intelligent design. And it is convincingly conjured. It takes great empathy to orchestrate tactically such a wrath, placing the pieces in the proper sequence to collapse for the sake of conveying a message in the pile that remains. Even the outro pulls you into that excavation, the room, the rain, the noise; whatever it is, breathing.

I initially missed it when Groschi posted about it in June and won’t crib the sounds-like list but if you like this go there and see, you’ll have (metaphorical) fuel for a month. Tapes are out as of September on the bandcamp for €6 EUR.

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 | Padkarosda – Bujk​á​l Benned Valami

5/5 golden merles

Hardcore post-punk from Budapest, Hungary, “Bujk​á​l Benned Valami” (something is hiding inside of you) has a kind of clinical precision, extracting the still beating heart for display. The melodic vocals, tones and textures are nailed on to the eternal side of things, pulsing and phasing with great craft between the well refined passages and instrumental chambers. The rate of rising is consummate with the range of depths fallen, the whole album holds together in this sense of wondrous breadth.

The fury and panic of the feeling is offset by the gorgeous construction. There is the instantly recognizable and heartily apportioned alienation that holds constant. While the lyrics are missing from this set on the bandcamp, they are present on the earlier records, and you can directly feel that steady/familiar estrangement enveloping, it’s omnipresence and the comprehensive and many-angled approaches to addressing it. It feels like a thorough account of groping at the dungeons walls in the dark.

The record was found today through the great TegosluchamPL. Black vinyl limited to 300 worldwide, look to World Gone Mad Records for the shipping over the seas. Or digital album for $8.

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 | Smirk – Minuscule Amounts

5/5 golden merles

Some of the finest lo-fi punk you can gather in your basket, recently brought back to my attention by the Tr0tsky’s mixcloud show, “Pretend You Like It.” Criminally, I didn’t write on it yet, only mentioning one from the prior pile. Smirk’s 2021 EP has cornered the market on collapsible hooks, retracting into the deep fried tones, only to be strategically released upon closer inspection. It bites back.

An analgesic itself, the staggered overlap of the chorus and the tones & textures on these guitars make most other production look like a pile of puke. I shudder for those who can’t hear the nuance in the noise, this one is calibrated. Some field/sample elaborations round out this alternate dimension in which everything can be found in its right place.

Supporting music video is gorgeous and crafted with a commensurate amount of care to parallel the track itself. Digital for the cost of naming your own price. Or the vinyl is on a second pressing through Portland’s Total Punk Records.

TRACK | SOOKS – U.D.

5/5 golden merles

I’d advise you to at least consider any track that contains the line: I will find my enemies / and crush them in a warm embrace. Or at least this one, who knows what the future brings. “U.D.” is punk rock from Perth, Australia. With righteous anger the track laments the impotence of citizens within modern nation states, navigating the hoops and decoy levers of power, while true power is held through legalized corruption and representatives beholden to special interests.

But far from defeated, the chorus beseeches real organizing and the active deconstruction of unjust hierarchies. All generations seem to eventually sour and amalgamate in the hospice or the home, but hopefully we can productively stagger a few more feet further afield than is traditionally within one eras capacity.

The other good news is that in addition to the smiting and fury it’s a lot of fun and sharply constructed rampage. Seek out the whole set. Physical pulp from Richter Scale Tapes who also put out the superb Rude Television – Distractions, Demo 22 is five lbs for the Cassette while supplies last. These are both listed as free downloads, you ghoulish ingrates. Found through Amber Rambo yt curation.

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.