TRACK | The Gobs – Tuffer Than You

5/5 golden merles

Hard to pick a single track off this exceptional Split EP shared between The Gobs and Ex-White. But I’ve settled on the first track of this side, “Tuffer Than You.” It’s exquisite synth accented garage punk, composed of hardened snow scraped out from under the car and built into a brilliant effigy. The production decay is a correcting mechanism, it better represents the environment from which it was derived.

Notably, the reverence is low. The melodies are quality and effortlessly interlocking; it’s bound up nicely in this loaded frame. Free reign is given to some selected tones and the others are curtailed dutifully around the stomp and stagger; together they’re textured/paced to allow the happy suspending of doubt in the murk of it all.

Truly the 4-track split itself will likely end up on the year-end list. The 300 wax pieces have some yet to be disseminated from Germany, $20 to Turbo Discos with shipping is a steal if you have the cash to ship.

TRACK | Gen Pop – Bell Book Candle

5/5 golden merles

Olympia-based Gen Pop’s “Bell Book Candle” is some good guts on display, smearing and smashing guitars decay alongside some thundering and twisted vocals. The production is a fair simulation of the unadorned and apparently undeniable.

I have no idea if the title/chorus is based on the Richard Quine directed film from 1958 or Pope Zachary’s 8th Century decree of excommunication for “exceptionally grievous sin.”

But my name is the same as that Pope. And I did once cohabitate with a Siamese cat. And I did recently watch Jimmy Stewart in Harvey. These combined attributes make me more qualified than most to tell you with some authority that the track is good regardless.

TRACK | La Luz – Call me in the Day

5/5 golden merles

Previously we’ve covered Shana Cleveland’s Night of the Worm Moon.

Call me in the Day is another track of her affiliation that is never skipped when it comes up on the infinite rotation.

There is a lot to learn from it’s construction, in the phrasing and resource distribution of the instrumentation. And the way the lead guitar feeds into the organ solo, when the vocals retire for nearly 90 seconds midway through, but never disrupting the ongoing celebration.

Then, later, the majesty of the slightly staggered cymbal splash on the half beats. The track is reliably, inventively playing with genre forms and templates that are at least half a century old and nevertheless coming up with some new and fresh ways to modify the material.

All that ignores the salient greatness of the core vocals and backing vocals that are the soul of the thing. And the bass that carries everything, always. It’s remarkable stuff.

TRACK | Naomi Punk – Gentle Movement Toward Sensual Liberation

5/5 golden merles

In somewhat keeping with the aside, this is an instrumental track on an album that otherwise features exceptional vocal production and performances.

And within that context, after the also superb track Burned Body, Gentle Movement toward Sensual Liberation lands with the most wobbled grace and poise.

An enclave of singing synths deliver a kind of orchestral chamber pop, built around two well textured, extra-strength melodies.