Beyond The Implode This Atmosphere 7” (Siltbreeze)
Here’s a nice reissue of two cuts from Beyond The Implode’s debut EP, supplemented with two tantalizingly unreleased tunes. Initially pressed in a scant 250 copies, this is the closest I’ll be getting to these quality DIY stumblers without emptying a year’s worth of PayPal funds. Like with most of its records, Siltbreeze lets the music do the talking, with very little in the way of liner notes or ephemera (I got the majority of my info on this record from the Siltblog). “This Atmosphere” and “Steel Car” are both upbeat, catchy rock tunes not unlike Desperate Bicycles or Reptile Ranch at their most accessible and percussion-less. “Mid Ad Version” is a swirling, phasered take on “Midnight Adventures” and “Disperse the Clouds” is somewhere in between. Neither bonus cuts have the immediacy of the others, but it’s still a fine slice of British post-punk worth investigating, $13 price-tag and all.

Bone Awl Night’s Middle 7” (Klaxon)
Been waiting for a new Bone Awl record. I loved their Nuclear War Now! opus Meaningless Leaning Mess, which demonstrated that their noisy ire could easily sustain itself for the life of an album. Night’s Middle is the new one, three fresh cuts that perfectly quench the need for more Bone Awl in my life. They don’t deviate from the original formula at all; these tracks are all cut from the same Ildjarn by-way-of Riot City Records formula that made them so distinct to begin with. The drums rarely deviate from the sinister oompah beat, the guitars/vocals are red-lining but fierce and it all continues to work perfectly. The artwork (this time in a nice booklet layout) is as intricate and thoughtfully crafted as ever, the type of thing where you can’t tell if it’s Satanic or ripped from some invisible society or actually completely innocuous but it scares you just the same. Nothing new here, and this record probably won’t sway anyone to the Bone Awl camp who wasn’t impressed by previous releases, but the dedication to their approach is fine by me.

Endless Humiliation My Wife Is Willing LP (Peel Back The Sky)
Absolutely wild carnage from Endless Humiliation on their debut album. Played with the ferocity of a budding Arsedestroyer and the panache of vintage Seven Minutes Of Nausea, Endless Humiliation charge through a couple dozen tracks of visceral noise. The, umm, endless Black Metal drumbeat might lead to an Ildjarn comparison or two, but My Wife Is Willing is far less musical than that would suggest. It’s unhinged and sloppy, but tightening up this sort of affair would only subdue the unbridled hatred these guys spew forth. I’m reminded of the b-side of Hijokaidan’s Viva Angel or Prurient circa The Baron’s Chamber, but Endless Humilation is far bleaker than that. There are no expenses-paid European tours or art gallery performances in Endless Humiliation’s future, just a pile of old polaroids and a cold sandwich in a deli basement.

Fresh Meat Sweat Her 7” (Breathing Problem Productions)
Debut single from this new Allentown band certainly fits snugly with other modern noise-rock bands like Drunkdriver and Francis Harold & The Holograms. These guys opt for a Brainbombs-esque menace, as far as the tone is concerned, but the songs rotate through parts in a way that their hardcore punk background would suggest. It’s all pretty serviceable, although I don’t think the lo-fi live recording does their sound justice. The vocals are reverbed out, which only renders them more inaudible; I end up a little more confused than creeped out, which I’d imagine would be the intended effect. B-side “Man Or Woman” is the better of the two, ending on a nicely tape-warped vocal outro. I certainly appreciate that they found it appropriate to warp the actual recording itself, shifting vocalist Ray Gurz’s words as if an exhumed DJ Screw got his hands on the master.

Kutz Drumz Of No Return 12” (Soul Jazz)
It’s been pretty foolish of me to ignore the non-reissue output of Soul Jazz Records if this Kutz single is any indication. “Drumz Of No Return” starts off with an industrial drip that switches into the heaviest dub track I may have ever heard. Totally evil too; I could see this being the track to finally unite the rastas and Sabbath freaks. Really thick and nearly moshable in a slow-motion pit. B-side “Tarantula” is another big winner, some eerie winds kick up the dust into a Benga-sized bass malfunction. Deep in all the right places, and surprisingly catchy for such a sparse setup. Hard to pick the better side on this one. I am gonna pick up the other Kutz 12” that was released in tandem and hope it’s half as good as this.

Mi Ami Watersports LP (Quarterstick)
Mi Ami have really come into their own on this, their debut album. I could see some clueless nerd filing it under “dance-punk”, but Watersports transcends that empty genre the same way This Heat did post-punk. On the whole, Watersports is less frantic than the first two 12”s, really carving out some nice echospaces in these long cuts and just letting the music breathe. The tension and release hinted at by “African Rhythms” is nearly perfected throughout this record, the type of thing that a group of rock musicians can only hope to naturally cultivate through some sort of Carduccian power-trio magic. Blissfully dubbed out, equally inventive and familiar, Mi Ami really hit a resonant spot with some of the most urgent music I’ve heard in a while. I love Mi Ami and really hope that whatever hiccup (or terminal illness) Touch & Go / Quarterstick are going through doesn’t hinder this band from continuing to grow and explore as comfortably as they should.

Mr. Raoul K Jenseits 12” (Baobab)
Mr. Raoul K’s story as I know it is such: born and raised in Africa, moved to Germany as a teen, started making music and became a licensed carpenter in his early 20s. Pretty good life, right? None of that would really matter though if Jenseits and his other Baobab 12″s (most notably Himalaya) weren’t all out-of-this-world good, but they are. I suppose you could squeeze “Jenseits” into the micro-house genre, but then it kind of lulls you in with its hypnotic, Krautrock-y beat, and then some African drums cascade over top and some chilling piano chords are layered in… I don’t feel this much humanity from the sounds of most rock bands these days, let alone a guy working it out in an instrumental electronic fashion. The two sides of this 12″ feature “Jenseits” in both long and short versions, although I think the “short” version is still a good nine minutes or so. I say, play them back to back, it’s really best to just stick your head inside Mr. Raoul K’s world for at least half an hour. It’s a subtle burner that might not provide much immediate gratification, but Mr. Raoul K is all about the slow build, more apt to slowly walk into the ocean than fly down a waterslide. It’s nearly as profound, too.

Omar S Blown Valvetrane 12” (Sound Signature)
I was really looking forward to this single, especially after reading that Resident Advisor interview with Omar S where he says Theo Parrish was jumping around making “fucked up faces” after hearing this cut. Sadly my faces were more in the shape of a frown, as I haven’t found much to keep me coming back to this one, even after multiple listens with the hope that there’s something that I’m missing. “Blown Valvetrane” starts off sounding like I dropped the needle in the middle of the record, like it’s already been going for eight minutes and starting to wind down. Kind of a raw recording on this monotonous beat, which could be cool, but when all I’m hearing is the phaser effect put to different uses and the occasional hiss, it just doesn’t feel right. Eventually the beat crawls to a stop, then winds back up and ends. A far cry from the sweet spot of “Psychotic Photosynthesis” (but the title is almost as cool, I will admit). “Busaru Beats” and “Deep Valve Cover” on the b-side are nearly as unremarkable; maybe I need to play this side first so I’m not already feeling bummed by the a-side. My expectations were probably too high, especially for a dude who is so cool that he just always does whatever he wants, which very well might be to make a boring record once in a while.

Omar S Fabric 45 CD (Fabric)
Maybe it’s my own fault for getting so hyped up on Psychotic Photosynthesis and that Tecky Alexander 12″ from last year, but Omar’s Fabric mix fell short of my expectations, much like Blown Valvetrane did. I was psyched to find out that this mix was nothing but Omar S originals, especially since he is a revered party expert notorious for his impressive live technique, but really this mix is more of an Omar S sampler than any sort of fresh new mix. The tracks generally lead into one another via simple crossfades; I figured since he has all the original tracks he could’ve done some serious damage here, but really a rudimentary iTunes shuffle is not too far off from Omar’s own track-by-track maneuvering. A shuffle might even find a better flow, as it moves awkwardly at times (see the jump from “Psychotic Photosynthesis” into “The Maker”), not the type of amateurism I’d expect from Omar S. The few previously unreleased cuts on here are cool though, especially the openers “Polycopter” and “Flying Gorgars” (weren’t they a boss in Metroid?), the type of unique but simple sounds that slowly mutate around the beat and convinced me to fall in love in the first place. Fabric 45 is still classic Omar S and you really can’t go wrong, but anyone already familiar with this great dude and hoping for a new milestone in his discography ala Villalobos’ Fabric mix will probably be left with the same disappointment I am currently wallowing in.

Telepathe Dance Mother CD (Iamsound)
Telepathe are a female duo from Brooklyn, wearing feathers and facepaint and working out some sort of non-descript electro groove on Dance Mother. It’s a bit too straight-faced to be considered Electroclash (a term I’m sure they are eager to avoid), opting instead for a modern shoegaze by way of electronics vibe. Unfortunately, nothing about this album sticks out. The vocals lack any real personality and seem to represent the same boredom I am feeling, and not a cool Chromatics-styled vocal boredom, just a boring boredom. The music is pretty much undanceable, but not in a Tigerbeat6 fashion; it’s the type of thing I can only imagine the crowd working up a good sway to if they are truly digging it. Seems like there is a lot of promotion going for this band, at least in the form of busy indie publicists, and I have to wonder why so many people are willing to put in the time for something so bland and unmemorable. This isn’t the next Hot Chip, guys. There’s even already a band called Telepathique doing a very similar thing musically and aesthetically, and they’ve already been in Spin and played on NPR and enjoyed other successes and opportunities that I’m sure Telepathe are currently pining for. Just seems like a waste of time.