TRACK | DANGÜS TARKÜS – Concrete Hearts

5/5 golden merles

“Concrete Hearts” is some timeless garage punk filth from Chicago’s DANGÜS TARKÜS. A hook in apotheosis, warranted accusations and all the guttural charm of phlegm gem. It rips cleanly after several folds of the chorus, holding adequate muck and bile in reserve.

The verses propping up that chorus stand up in their own right and a choral passage wraps the body of the thing up nicely. It’s some fine simulacra of a life, a sketch on a napkin that ends up being the best portrait to ever exist of yourself, as you live and subsequently die. Maybe there aren’t too many nutrients in it, the lab hasn’t gotten back to me. But it’s something in your belly and its half-life is measured in eons. Why wouldn’t you follow them and be immediately notified when the full length arrives? There’s no trick to it, it’s just a simple trick.

Good news, the whole new set is $1. Also look for the earlier and also superbly manifested Rock’n’Roll for the People on Dig! Records, $16+ship.

TRACK | Water Treatment – Solid State Relay

5/5 golden merles

Atlanta-based bedroom post-punk to be filed under that which is pleasantly afflicted and capable of conspiring, about or because of the former. The tremolo is molting, synths are sawing and trembling. If you’d like more tracks carved out of a headboard, weird and poetic ones, colorfully cryptic in their phrasing, you should surely give it a shot.

The track has got a greater historical and philosophical scope than the early plunk of digi drum might imply, a vantage point with some comprehensive gaze. If your world seems small, describe it and watch it expand beyond measure, and escape and evade all capture. It’s well suited for fawners at Woolen Men, Gen Pop, and Smirk. Maybe it’s one town over from Protomartyr, Christian Fitness and TV Priest, but somewhere on the same metaphorical continent of contents, maybe requiring a few bridges over frozen water here and there.

Incentivize and support strange and nascent things, pay what you want in one non-recurring statement. It was of course found through the new Verspannungskassette #43 from onetwoxu.de. If you’re not one of the 17 people who have already played the thing at time of writing you should do so.

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 | Cluttered Grotto – Pest

5/5 golden merles

More iridescent synth and egg punk from the young Californian, Cluttered Grotto has summoned a very strong set of the lo-fi and the sub-genre’d bedroom rock. “Pest” is my favorite of that lot, spurning excess in favor of burning briefly and brilliantly. If you’re fond to a fault of irrefutable and jagged things like Billiam, DADGAD, C.P.R. Doll, then you likely can’t go wrong here.

Folding into the verses, obsession and evasion are the subject; how desire turns to dust, then distraction, and the cycle repeats ad infinitum or until you croak. It reminds me of a few triumphant lines from Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow:

For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.

The longest track of the album at 1:53, when the solo hones in and bleeds off that chorus bringing it all home, you sorta hope it won’t end. But it’s off on to the next thing, of course. That is what the loop-repeat function is for. Nothing overstays and runs the melody into the ground, instead it lands briefly before it relaunches.

Two (2!) tapes remain from the newly minted legends at Painters Tapes, think of that.

TRACK | Cluttered Grotto – Asbestos Sandwich

5/5 golden merles

California bedroom punk with more melodic sense than a hijacked ice cream truck and a voice that sounds like cleaning off your lucky blood diamond with a stainless steel scouring pad. All of this is very good and meant to sound appealing to you, as it does to me. It is the relatively happy bastard child of subversion and invention, driving drum loops draped in human pelts.

Canonical-grade commiseration, it’s seated somewhere among the premier set of atomized and alienated subjects of oligarchy, each in isolation making lo-fi melody-rich synth punk. The craft is immediately recognizable. It’s a competitor, in the top tier. I’ve somehow managed to avoid it like an inverse minefield to date.

The turns are abrupt and appropriate, it mends and mangles in good order. If you are synced up with the wavelength fluctuations of the incessant vibration in dichotomy between deathly serious and inconsequential, it comes as a great relief. It feels a little like driving down a cliffside highway when you unexpectedly smash through a thin wall’s painted vista only to find on the other side not impending death but the true, identical vista itself and above it a prop plane trailing a banner containing the message, “haha, sorry.” It’s that kind of fun.

The EP was found on DJ Simon’s fine Infernal Racket. Really excited to dive into the self-titled from May.

TRACK | Zero Percent APR – Heavy Fucking Metal

5/5 golden merles

Immense and worthy, Zero Percent APR refines lo-fi psych punk roundabouts Austin, TX. “Heavy Fucking Metal” applies the rightful insolence due the stupid world but with a craft and consideration for their contemporaries who must endure its excesses alongside them (this means you). Yarns spun and death belittled in the thorough classification, there’s masterly world building before the stylistic dismantling.

I’m enlightened now, can’t you tell / when I die I wanna burn in hell. To explain why it works is a bit nasty and brutish, the rigors and ardor self-evident, sorta ineffable. But I have no shame, so: with its great consistency of the segments and variations on the heavy metal definitions, it has a feeling of the range, method and effect of great rock like Destroy All Monsters, “You’re gonna die.” It is one hell of a preview for the album to come, 23 tracks of this gleeful venom releasing on November 4th.

Preorder black vinyl from the label that knows your innermost thoughts and doesn’t care, Spared Flesh, for $20, digital is $8.

TRACK | Discovery – Prescription

5/5 golden merles

Discovery makes raw, proto-garage punk out of California, good for what ails ye. “Prescription” is just that, a dose of the good stuff. The balance of documented frenzy with the coherent tract quickly reveals what kind of a superbly produced mauling you’re dealing with. Guitars crush and cohere the lanes in revving fury, the passionate account of what-ifs and origin stories instruct on death, intention, and how one should or should not go about entering the void.

If you’ve heard of bad blood, this is what good blood sounds like. The levels are bleeding the dial dry with all the requisite clobber and chomp. It moves with all the purpose of a paranoiac on the run. You could ask for worse soundtracks on merits of ritualistic sacrifice. 9 out of 10 dentists agree, who are you and how did you get this number. The team has built a record and in doing so it has bottled primordial ooze.

It was seen in the great triangulation in the sky of onetwoxu.de, tegosluchamPL, and Max Setentista. The 7″ is coming from Manic Noise: please see their beautiful shop here.

TRACK | Ismatic Guru – I Didn’t Like It

5/5 golden merles

To my great and enduring shame, I didn’t catch it when it slithered out from the egg last month. II is garage punk with punch and experiment, all tracks wrapping promptly in an Irish exit, spun tight with purposes and unraveling in a spectacle. I think you’ll like it, it has a lot of good heart chunks floating in a flavorful lo-fi, protein rich gruel base.

There are 5 tracks in 6 minutes then a “so long, suckers,” and it’s off into the sunset. Replete with textured indulgence and with good causes, all the veins are soundly setup and pointed in the right direction. Lots of rhythmic harping and heaving, to my dismay outpacing even The Bouldermobile at times. It’s a sick set and worth your passive and active income.

This has no brainer written all over it, but, in a cruel twist of fate, without a brain I tragically could not decipher the language. Until now! Name your price. Or the physical is set at 100 Tapes with pins and transmogrifying art, from Swimming Faith Records.

TRACK | Catastrophic Dance Ensemble – Panko

5/5 golden merles

The assignment understanders have arrived. What do the rest of you have to say for yourselves? Cincinnati-found Catastrophic Dance Ensemble make rapid, roaming, detailed eggpunk. Gently putrefied, as a measure of gauging its place within the world, and thriving in the rot all around us. Its welts and warp mirror many of my own less convincing accusations; a fiery and balanced form.

In recent surveys most people claim they know when it is appropriate to twist a melody like pulling someone by the lapels out of the window. But in reality hardly 7 in 10 could do it if pressed. Beyond the hypothetical, these Ohioans have done it here. The instrumental backend is even an excellent melodic tumble, all of it finding some much needed humor in the hemorrhage and goes some way toward explaining why we can’t have nice things.

In league with the good goings on of Leipzig, Berlin, Melbourne and Montreal, the Cincinnati punk rock scene is strong, it seems, from afar. If you’ve recently granted positive appraisals to egg and experiment kings like Mesh, FIVE BUCKS, and C.P.R. Doll, I suppose this would be an easy affixation. Name your price at the bandcamp.

TRACK | Honey Radar – Puppet Scripts by the Month

5/5 golden merles

Philly-situated Honey Radar’s newest release is lo-fi rock in line with the high ethic and aesthetic of their own catalogs admirable forebears. Never disappointed, I’ve either always enjoyed it or the first dose quickly mutated me to favor it. There is pathos without treacle, it lives like an apple built around the core. It’s denser at the center. Not like these other songs generated by a team of maestros in a lab, those built without stems, excised from history.

The melody walks along the tops of fences as you drive past. An astutely stagnant vocal core adroitly falls into that melody’s creased fold, the bass is quietly breathing down the barrel of the amp somewhere off camera. Friends and concerned citizens telling me to turn the vocals up: no. This is what a successful version looks like of what I am flailing towards; that restive lurch that contains a furtive narrative, somewhat secluded, intelligible enough; a lyric sheet later to be read at leisure.

Please also see Medium Mary Todd and Scorpions bought me Breakfast, if your fond. A family affair, the full split with Smug Brothers is out presently on Indy’s Third Uncle Records, black vinyl for $10 or $6 for the file share.