TRACK | memory card – hook

5/5 golden merles

Memory card makes lo-fi bedroom rock in Birmingham, AL. This s/t set is full of poise and promise, hollowing out the heart for examples: playing back memories until the tape disintegrates / you don’t get to understand until it’s over with.

In “hook,” after some brief confessions, a quiet crescendo rises before the track decomposes back into the trailing synth that lurks at the root of all things. Friends of Elverum or Windowsill will probably feel in good company throughout the albums turns. There’s much compelling invention in the language, minimalist detailing, and deceptively simple drums with effective interworking.

Other highlights are “red w/ mila moon” and “dead of night,” the genres vacillating faintly in the service of greater effect. It’s a consistently built sequence with plenty of subtly shifting melodies and structures, intricate enough for some salience without any alienation. That all makes for some direct/conversational storytelling, thoughtfully crafted in a very unguarded and approachable document. The price is pay what you will.

TRACK | Guitar – Double Down

5/5 golden merles

“Double Down” is freshly forged Portland-based lo-fi garage and post-punk. A slightly disoriented rendition of what you’ve come to expect: the atoms scrambled up, the collider coughing up something new. The work is recoiling from structure and form a bit and thereby moving closer toward tone and feeling. It feels singular despite the common pallet. It unravels for a couple minutes before snapping back into a likeness for what you might favor.

The album didn’t immediately burrow into my skull on the first pass when I saw it come up at the esteemed and endlessly reliable tegosluchamPL. But a second pass as the closing track on‘s recent Verspannungskassette #40 finally got it through the thickness and had me excitedly searching “guitar” in google like a jackass for a bit.

What should rock music sound like in a geriatric oligarchy? It’s a tool, as always, but one of escape or commiseration? In Guitar’s self-titled you can have a bit of both. From where I sit —fleeing one price gouging to another, within a gauntlet of diseases, no prospects or future— it feels like a good approximation: the sound of disillusionment compounding. There are plenty of bits where the melody and traditional structure is subverted, detuned and driven off the cliff or into a pit. And ringing truer because of it. And with plenty of cohabitant reference points for footing. And the work is overall stronger for it, ending with this, the most approachable track, “double down.” In a class of them it would be voted most likely to succeed, but, in god’s name, at what? It is the most at ease with expectations and a great tune, bigger within the context of a really good set.

The cassette is out on Spared Flesh Records.

TRACK | Mesh – Ur Dead

5/5 golden merles

Art punk and garage rock from Philadelphia, pretty great and the amorphous sound of coddling a curse as it’s brought to fruition. Or a few of them. “Ur Dead” is in good company, a super strong set of clank and strum; vocals are traded, guitar tones are produced to an insultingly good state, a film of collateral detailing enveloping the fundamentals.

The track is about the days burnt up within the relative niche of ones life, leaning into the decline, time whiling toward an untimely and self-contained exit. But it’s all for the best, more or less, to the extent that any of it matters. Lots of good humor and shake, reminding a bit and fondly of The Rangoons and Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, if you’ve found comfort in their ilk.

For the price of $5 USD (or more) for digital or tapes from Chicago’s Born Yesterday Records.

TRACK | The Archaeas – Absent Mind

5/5 golden merles

The Archaeas “Absent Mind” is a dose of fiery garage-punk imported from Louisville, Kentucky. Recent P&P favorites Wombo are also from the neighborhood. But the ultimate embodiment of human evil Mitch McConnell also resides there, lest you think it strictly heavenly indie rock turf.

The track has all the peculiarities of elegantly controlled chaos and strikes a marked balance between its upfront, surgical pop characteristics and the smoldering, ruptured punk elements.

In the series of humiliations and degradations known as ‘the world,’ this can be a difficult balance to strike, what with all the distractions and immiserations afoot. But, considered or intuited, it has been achieved; the whole s/t album is great. With respect to Style vs Substance, Content vs Form, Design vs Function, Et Cetera vs Etc, there is enough tasteful thrash and tarnish around the imminently coherent core for you to invest your credulity in.

As the empire collapses, turns its exported brutality inward, and quality of life decline for us all, we’ll surely turn on one another instead of our shared oppressors. But one thing I hope we can all agree upon is that Louisville is making some sick tunes and that we’re both proud of and thankful for them.