Bi-Hour Regional Indifference LP (no label)
Bi-Hour are a duo out of Hobart, Tasmania, and I’ll be damned if they sure don’t sound like one, proudly weird and out of step with any sort of mainstream behavior. This ambitious twenty-track album covers a lot of ground, none of which could comfortably be considered normal, even by indie-rock standards. A track of minimalist drums and vocals recalling a relaxed Ed Schrader’s Music Beat will segue into a dramatic synth-laden carol, then shift into an inside joke that only amuses the two guys making the music. There is apparently a concept running through the entire album (maybe some sort of testament to the duo’s lifelong friendship?), but I’d lose my mind trying to catch sight of that tiny thread in such a big pile of ideas. More than anything else, I’m reminded of that weird half-musical 49 Americans LP, in that these tracks all feel like they were meant to be performed on stage to a captive audience, with the band members quickly changing into funny sunglasses and hats, Carrot Top style, when the cheap electro-funk of “Fridge” kicks in. There’s a startling lack of self-consciousness at work here, perhaps because they understand that the biggest audience they’ll ever possibly annoy probably won’t reach into the triple digits. Or maybe they’re bold in spite of that, knowing they’ll have to encounter members of their crowd at the market or bank the next day. If you wish you investigate further, there is a video clip for “All Work And No Facial Piercings Makes Jack A Dull Boy” on YouTube. I have a feeling you do.

Death Of Lovers The Acrobat LP (Dais)
Based on the backstory, I was already skeptical about Death of Lovers: members of shoegaze-grunge-etc. rockers Nothing (whose records never connected with me, although I respect their tireless promotional and self-branding abilities) doing a fey goth-rock side-project. Just what we don’t need more of, right? Well explain to me then why I’m sitting here all confused, swishing around and tapping my Crocs to these indulgent and unabashed cuts of ’80s new-wave pop-rock worship. It opens with the single, “Orphans Of The Smog”, which is so simple and easy I’m shocked it hasn’t already been written decades ago, but none of that negates the fact that it’s so good. I like my New Order worship to be sturdy and simplified, not expounded upon, and this track pretty much immediately settled into my head and has yet to leave, much to my surprise. The rest of the record takes other specific and timely inspirations, most notably Tears For Fears and Duran Duran. Much of the record sounds like a particularly forelorn emo boy taking out his grief on his parents’ copy of Rio, with all the precision and delicacy it requires. If you want to hear that point being hit (and I sincerely do), The Acrobat delivers the knockout blow. The only remaining matter at hand is which of the seven vinyl color variations will you choose?

Avalon Emerson Whities 013 12″ (Whities)
I’m doing my best to listen to new Avalon Emerson music without immediately comparing it to her 2016 cut “The Frontier”, possibly the greatest instrumental techno track of the decade (yes, I went there). It’s a feat no one should be expected to repeat, so I’ve been trying to pull back and listen to Whities 013 with untainted ears. It’s been pretty easy, actually, as a-side “One More Fluorescent Rush” is distinct and vibrant, a friendly new world of its own. This cut has a unique gravitational pull, like one of those gas-giant planets whose surfaces you could never actually stand on. I’ve always wondered, what do you do instead, just endlessly tumble around in all that gross gas? That’s the feeling I get from this cut, although this gas isn’t gross, it’s lavender and birthday cake and rosewood scented, all thanks to an endlessly tracking trance arpeggio that keeps promising a drop or crescendo (but none ever arrives). “Finally Some Common Ground” is the flip and it feels like something I’d hear on a Perlon comp and immediately check the track ID to hopefully locate more (case in point: Dandy Jack’s “Show You My Tent”). It’s light and intricate and soothing and strange, leaving me feeling as if I tried to vape the a-side’s gas instead of merely politely sniffing.

Lars Finberg Moonlight Over Bakersfield LP (In The Red)
After nine albums owned and operated by The Intelligence, Lars Finberg steps out under his own name for this new one. I wonder if The Intelligence is done, or if this is just more of a personal pet project than The Intelligence (which I thought was also a personal pet project, or started out as one at least?). Maybe he just wants to prove that not all rockers named Lars are lame. Regardless, I’ve been a fan of Finberg’s since his A Frames days, and The Intelligence’s Boredom And Terror got repeated play in my room throughout the ’00s, so let’s check into this new one. On general review, Moonlight Over Bakersfield seems pretty similar to an Intelligence record: jumpy basslines, noisy synths on the brink of failure, taut drum patterns, inclinations toward bizarre sonic motifs while still retaining a firm pop core. Interestingly, Ty Segall sings on a lot of these songs (you know, just in case he’s not involved in enough other stuff), and it adds a smoother mid-range to the excitable yelp I’m used to hearing from Finberg. Some tunes recall Beck, others Hubble Bubble, but they’re all a part of Finberg’s musical vocabulary, even the song with vocoder vocals. Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel to Bakersfield to hear them!

Golden Teacher No Luscious Life LP (Golden Teacher)
How are Golden Teacher gonna put out an album called No Luscious Life that’s as luscious and full of life as this? This mobile party unit has been transmitting their eclectic, feel-good jams for a few years now and this is their first proper full-length album, a well-deserved dive into much of what Golden Teacher has to offer. Big percussion (both acoustic and electronic), universal rhythms, outer-space synths, neo-disco prancing and the downtown cool of Liquid Liquid, all hosted by two fiery vocalists who seem to be locked in a competition to determine once and for all who is sexiest (I’d declare it a draw). For all the players involved (at least six?), Golden Teacher don’t overstuff their grooves, instead preferring to keep things as stripped down as possible while still giving everyone something to do. Maybe one guy gets to play the Funkadelic bass on “The Kazimier”, then sparingly twists the echo knob on “What Fresh Hell Is This?”, for example. That sense of communal sharing and collective participation (the “one nation under a groove” philosophy) is strong with Golden Teacher, and if No Luscious Life doesn’t infect you with that feeling, you’re wearing too much protection.

GŪTARA KYŌ GŪTARA KYŌ 10″ (Slovenly / Mondo Mongo)
To celebrate their 200th release, Slovenly went a little wild with this one, a 10″ record with a big 45 hole (never saw that before!), filled with screaming manic garage-punk from Kobe, Japan’s GŪTARA KYŌ. Might sound a little Third Man-ish, but that’s the extent of the gimmickry, as GŪTARA KYŌ rip through these tunes as if they’re crunched for time, only taking a brief respite from the speed as they start the second side. It reminded me of Fuck On The Beach at first, and not simply because I’m racist, but because I had the same immediate concern listening to GŪTARA KYŌ as I did when I first heard Fuck On The Beach: this can’t possibly be the right speed, can it? Well it is – GŪTARA KYŌ’s snare drum is pitched to a red-hot ping, the guitars are a distorted mess of treble and feedback, and the screaming seems to come from the back of the throat, teetering on the edge of a frequency suited for canines. I’d say the only thing missing is one band member in a tight n’ skinny long-sleeve shirt that has thin black and white horizontal stripes (this punk shirt could be a genre of its own), but nope, they’ve got one of those on the cover!

Helena Hauff Have You Been There, Have You Seen It 12″ (Ninja Tune)
Helena Hauff is a true Acid Queen, noted for her cunning and brainy DJ sets the world over. I’ve only had one conceivable chance to see her perform thus far and I blew it, though, so my admiration comes from her productions, particularly 2015’s Discreet Desires, which more or less redefined what an album of acid techno could sound like (dynamic, sensuous, rich, fleeting, etc.). I didn’t blink before smashing the PayPal button on this new Ninja Tune 12″, and after sitting with it for a few weeks, I’m reluctant to admit that I wish I perused some online samples first. There are four tracks here, and they’re all fairly basic and unassuming forms of updated acid techno, like Drexiya remixed for a Hospital Productions anniversary soirée. The first side plays out without much to grab onto; it’s the first cut on the flip, “Continuez Mon Enfant Vous Serez Traité En Conséquence”, that really starts to dip its manicured fingers into the fresh cement, but it might just sound particularly raw and gnarled by comparison to the others here. Maybe it’s not too late to trade this one in for Hauff’s A Tape vinyl reissue, as I never snagged that and I’m hankering for something gritty and dark as opposed to predictable and pretty good.

Heavy Metal Smash Criticism Smash Optimism Smash Arachnophobia LP (Static Age)
Yeah, you heard me: the band called themselves “Heavy Metal”. What could that even mean in this day and age? Well, the hilariously-titled Smash Criticism Smash Optimism Smash Arachnophobia is one of two albums Heavy Metal released in 2017, the other on Harbinger Sound, who put out ear-piercing noise until hitting the royalty jackpot with Seaford Mods. Heavy Metal open this one with a funny sample into what appears to be a serious electro-pop anthem. They follow that with a cretinous punk stomp right out of Good Throb’s back alley and then a twitchy post-punk ramble that recalls the mellower side of Priests, at least until the cartoonish vocals kick in, like a catchy Wat Tyler nugget (and the song is titled “Dingo Ate Your Baby”). Dizzy yet? Somehow, while clearly intent on delivering the mightiest clusterfuck of a “punk” record possible, Heavy Metal achieved greatness… it’s simply because their songs, varied and idiotic as they may be, are all quite catchy, raw, fun and memorable, and their interludes are hilarious and well-timed. Now can someone just tell me what the cover art is a parody of? Some classic rave record, right? It’s killing me.

Ice Balloons Fiesta LP (Volar)
Warmed my heart a little to see Ice Balloons described as a “Brooklyn noise-rock supergroup” – I figured everyone had already gone off and started their solo techno projects at this point, that noise-rock was merely a distant object in the rear-view mirror. But alas, Ice Balloons are here, featuring members of bands as diverse as TV On The Radio, Samiam, Surfbort and Fuckemos (to name but a few), and be assured they sound like none of that. Rather, they have the noise-drenched psych spirals of Gasp, the anthemic weirdness of Les Savy Fav and the mammoth chug of Shellac in their toolshed. They seem pretty comfortable and cozy with what they’ve decided to do, as these songs all kinda drag out a bit, content to rumble with long interludes or outros; to play things a notch slower than, say, Metz; to look inward rather than outward. I prefer more of a direct or upbeat or brutal approach, particularly if you never actually come around to bringing forth any sort of memorable hook (those are in short supply here), or at least a little more energy… something to make me willing to stand while listening instead of looking for a chair. Not going to be spinning Fiesta far into the future, but if these six(?) friends wanna get sonically lifted in their practice space once or twice a week, I offer my full support.

Liquids Heart Beats True EP 7″ (Digital Regress)
Been considering an all-Liquids cleanse for the new year: they seem to be one of the last bands standing out of that great burst of NWI punk in the past few years (either that or the other acts have stopped releasing records and posting their demos to YouTube in an effort to achieve a more extreme form of hermeticism), but that’s okay, bands come and go, and I’m going to enjoy Liquids while they’re here. As expected, their seven tunes here are great, ultra-caffeinated snot-punk, propelled by drums that are far quicker than they have any right to be and great wiry guitar lines. They touch on early ’80s teenaged pop-punk and driving proto-hardcore (they certainly maintain a Middle Class-worthy level of mania), firing off rapid shots somewhere between the rotten punk grooves of The Lewd and the hysterical dorkery of Adrenalin OD. I’ll never connect with people who love sorting through Spotify playlists, because all I wanna do is physically handle glorious slabs of nervous punk angst like Heart Beats True and listen to them one at a time in my own private comfort.

John Maus Screen Memories LP (Ribbon Music)
Few things are valued in today’s indie underground like a true weirdo – not someone who desperately wishes they were strange (of which there are countless hordes), but an actual freak that couldn’t pretend to be normal if they tried. Like John Maus, for instance: he lives in some remote frozen field in the upper Midwest, is a nuclear physicist or something, has a bowl cut, and methodically puts out albums of very specific-sounding retro synth-rock. And apparently he screams like a maniac at his shows, which are essentially karaoke performances (and I still need to witness it personally to wrap my head around the idea, as his vocals on record are muted puffs, not veiny screams). I loved his last album, We Must Become…, because not only was it distinct, nearly each song was an alternate-reality hit. I was excited for Screen Memories, and after a few listens, both engaged and distracted, I’m just not feeling it the same way. I know he’s found his sound and is sticking with it, but something about this album feels like it’s all the same exact frequency, and his vocals are echoed and buried just enough that I have to strain to understand the few lyrics there are. “Touchdown” has a cool Knight Rider vibe, and I’d love to watch Marshawn Lynch twerk to it, but ultimately Screen Memories is a nice-sounding, surprise-free record that lacks the memories Maus promised. I’ll keep listening though, because even without exceptional tunes, there’s no denying that the Maus sound remains sweet.

Dan Melchior Road Not Driving 12″ (Ever/Never)
Anytime’s the right time for some new Dan Melchior, and the benevolent folks over at Ever/Never recently hooked it up with this stately six-song EP. He’s got a simple but highly effective approach to the first few tracks: repetitive mega-fuzz guitar licks, some light percussive accompaniment, sharp vocal lines and a slight wisp of audio detritus. I can almost see a parallel here to Oren Ambarchi’s use of classic riffage on his Stacte Karaoke recordings, but Melchior dices it into easily digestible pop nuggets. Flip it over and the mood has taken a turn – the next two tunes sound like Melchior performing from the darkened underside of some passing asteroid, transmitting his thoughts while coasting through a vast expanse of nothingness. And it’s catchy, too! He returns to Earth for closer “Rd Nt Drvng”, the sorta title-track that cruises with a nice manic pace, especially considering that the percussion is nothing more than some wobbly sci-fi effect. More top-shelf lo-fi skewered pop from a man whose well seemingly never runs dry.

Monotrope Unifying Receiver LP (New Atlantis)
Three massive, imposing columns greet us on the cover of Monotrope’s Unifying Receiver, grand in their majesty and apparent human creation. That seems to be the effect Monotrope wants their instrumental post-rock / math-rock to have on the listener as well, and while they are fine purveyors of their chosen profession, those big gray pillars stir my emotions a shade more than Monotrope’s orchestrations. That’s not to say they aren’t a talented group – this quartet (drums, bass, guitar, guitar) take their grand and sweeping rock music seriously, shifting between intricate riffs and varied tempos as thought it were automatic. Their songs aren’t playful or messy in that “is it or isn’t it improv?” sorta way; if Monotrope ever smiled in the studio, it’s because they nailed one of these lengthy tracks in a single take, not because there is any inherent amusement in these tracks. It’s music built for seriously nodding one’s approval at, and maybe that’s why Unifying Receiver doesn’t connect with me (much like the genre of long-form instrumental rock in general): it’s serious and stoic but doesn’t really convey much beyond that. Or maybe I’m just a numbskull who needs to hear someone occasionally scream over music like this for it to have any lasting appeal.

Mutant Video Vanity Of Life LP (Iron Lung)
Didn’t know much about this one going into it, but you can never go wrong with Iron Lung, right? I was hoping for some grisly hardcore from a run-down cabin in the woods (a sonic mix of Mindless Mutant and Sex/Vid, perhaps?), but wait, didn’t Vanity also name their first record Vanity Of Life? (Editor’s note: it was Vain In Life, but close enough, beloved critic.) Anyway, forget everything I just said, because Mutant Video is pure slo-mo sludge industrial. It’s clearly coming from a hardcore background (something about it just sounds like people who used to play blast-beats, not “dark folk” on lutes), and as far as menacing, harsh electro-doom goes, it’s quite nice. I’m reminded of Black Mayonnaise (their TTSSATTSR CD is a landmark, I swear), with a touch of Wolf Eyes circa “Stabbed In The Face”, some Hunting Lodge, and a strong similarity to the more pensive and creepy moments in Pig Heart Transplant’s catalog, who I’ve learned shares members with Mutant Video. And the second track seems like it barely avoids infringing on the X-Files theme before churning into an early Haus Arafna-style furnace burn. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna let Vanity Of Life rip while I try to figure out which one of my friends on this camping trip is the murderer.

Nike Flea Bytes 7″ (Pocket Producer)
Seems like there’s been an influx of corporate brands borrowed as band names… did Tyvek start that? I don’t necessarily mind it, but I think it works best as a one-off joke (ala the Wal-Mart logo on the Prurient / Panicsville split 8″, or James Ferraro’s brutal Best Buy appropriation on Last American Hero). And hey, maybe Nike are a one-off joke, who knows! They’re another garage-friendly band living in Austin (they only have garages not basements in Austin, right?), and they’re a fine little dose of G-rated fun. I thought I was smart when I listened to “Flea Bytes” and immediately thought of Nodzzz, but Pocket Producer’s press-sheet mentions Nodzzz too, so nevermind! Maybe a touch of Versatile Newts on the flip too, very much in the vein of “the lighter side of” the UK DIY sound, Thin Yoghurts and all. Kinda off-putting that they’re wearing Adidas and Vans on the cover, though – maybe the initial sponsorship care package hasn’t arrived yet?

Not Waving Good Luck 2xLP (Diagonal)
As much as I enjoy his music, it’s been easy for me to overlook Not Waving, as I’ve kind of mentally filed him away as “Powell Jr.” in my mind. Their musical approaches are certainly quite similar, but based on Powell’s two New Beta releases this year, and Not Waving’s newest album, Good Luck, it seems as though the pupil’s talent may have surpassed the master. At twelve tracks across two LPs, there’s a lot to dig into here, but Not Waving makes it easy, repeatedly cutting to the chase and dishing out cut after cut of mangled EBM laced with electro grooves and a healthy sense of pranksterism. Which is to say, it’s very much still of Powell’s MO, but Not Waving doesn’t seem as fidgety or restless – he builds up some sort of mutant electroclash ripper over the course of three minutes, doses it with a hilarious little sample, and moves on. Unlike Powell’s recent recordings, Not Waving seems eager to give us what we want. “Where Are We” is particularly undeniable, as Montreal’s Marie Davidson renders the mundane into an icy refrain that feels like a dance-floor call-to-arms, like a noise-scrubbed version of Powell’s “Frankie”. Now more than ever, Not Waving feels like an artist working with similar tools from a similar Diagonal Records mindset but streamlining and trademarking it as his own. He didn’t invent this wheel, but Good Luck spins on its own power.

Poizon Church Is Poizon LP (Twistworthy)
Had pretty high hopes for this one – funny spelling twist on a classic band name, cool title (reminds me of Talk Is Poison but with a relatable sentiment), all with a big bothered baby greeting you on the cover. Not sure what I expected exactly, besides it being good, and while Poizon didn’t force me to re-evaluate my life due to their sonic superiority, it’s a fairly fine slice of raucous, blues-inspired grunge-punk. I don’t think I ever really listened to the Mudhoney side-project Monkeywrench, but this is what I’d imagine them to sound like: loose n’ flailing garage rock that accidentally unplugs itself at least once per live show, perhaps dressed like Reservoir Dogs but going crazy anyway, musically not very risky but perfectly fun for clinking back a beer or four. Maybe a touch of teenage punk spit in there too, like Redd Kross or Peer Pressure lurking in the back of the basement, picking up half-smoked cigarettes and re-lighting them. Pretty cool overall, especially if you’re in the mindset of low-level crime and tomfoolery and in need of a soundtrack. They should tour with Whiteznake!

Regis The Master Side 12″ (Blackest Ever Black)
Regis has been an ever-present force for the Blackest Ever Black label, releasing an early 12″ with various appearances since, always offering a revered and unassailable touch of blackety blackestness. I figured it was time I checked in with him again, and this smart-looking 12″ doesn’t disappoint. “The Master Side (Version 1)” chugs along on the slippery hide of an acid worm, quite flexible yet still equipped with the standard sonic force of a Regis production. It essentially holds that pattern until fading into a tasteful violin concerto, as if Regis was so moved by his own techno prowess that he had to grab the nearest violin and weep all over it. “The Master Side (Version 2)” opens with some abstract electronic muttering before bringing back another heavyweight arpeggio, chased by a mighty snap. It moves less like a high-powered Regis commuter train and more like the agile grooves of Afrikan Sciences or Surgeon, but it’s still covered in soot and misery. Very heavy and enjoyable, and the cover art / center label combo of some sort of cybernetic sperm cell entering a digital maze gives me plenty to mull over while listening.

Shimmer Shimmer LP (Drop Medium)
Much like the Dog LP that also came out on Drop Medium not too long ago, my initial thought upon hearing this Shimmer LP was “man, I wish Load Records was still around to release and help elevate this cool gnarly noise-punk band!”. On further thought, I do miss Load, but I should be thankful that Drop Medium are doing the good work, and if there’s any righteousness on Earth, Shimmer will get the shine they’re due, as they’re quite fantastic. Their music is primarily deconstructed rock somewhere between US Maple, DNA, Coughs and Royal Trux – guitar, bass and drums all trying to hobble around on crutches in the same bent time signature, eventually making sense to the listener upon repeated exposure. It sounds great, but the vocalist really kicks things up a notch, screaming with complete disregard for vocal cord safety. Imagine if Courtney Love’s throat actually had a throat of its own, and that inner throat was dealing with a nasty case of strep, and you’re close to the vocalist’s sandpapery tones. It would be pretty sweet even if Shimmer didn’t know how to craft actual songs, but there’s a surprising amount of staying power in their anti-hooks: check “High Gloss” and “Hold It”, and see if you can keep from singing along to the auctioneer-style intro of “Heavenly”. Recommended!

Spray Paint and Ben Mackie Friendly Moving Man / Dumpster Buddies 7″ (12XU)
So the story is told: Spray Paint were in their studio, working on their eighth album of the year, when Ben Mackie, he being the singer of one of Australia’s most unfortunate bands, The Cuntz, stumbled down the cellar steps in search of vape juice and wifi. An unexpected friendship was immediately struck, and they recorded two songs together, immortalized on this 7″ released by the one label you can trust to release every single Austin-related musical entity, 12XU. It’s a 45, but I swore “Friendly Moving Man” was spinning too fast at first, as the drums are taut and faster than acceptable, the guitars buzz uncomfortably and even Mackie’s relaxed muttering seems slightly agitated. Maybe he wishes they played it slower. “Dumpster Buddies” is nearly as frantic, with a cool stuttered-snare rhythm that eventually collapses before building back up into something. Mackie seems unfazed by it all, as if he merely agreed to join the group in order to gain access to Spray Paint’s fridge and couch for a night or two. Whatever his motives, the results are win/win.

The Trashies The Octagon LP (Fine Concepts)
The Trashies should’ve named this record …Are Still Around?, because I had no idea they were, did you? They struck me as very much of the late ’00s era, but shows what I know. I thought I remembered them as a snotty garage-punk band, but they’ve really decomposed here (The Composties?), and it’s a great fit. True weirdo punk, with songs just as likely to use slide-whistles and bicycle horns as guitars and drums, full of amusing gibberish lyrics. Very much in the vein of Folded Shirt and Sportscreme, and so damn Midwestern oddball-ish that I’m wondering if the group didn’t relocate to Cleveland from their far more respectable Seattle residences. This sorta thing can fail pretty hard if it’s not funny, or at the very least entertaining, but The Trashies are fully committed, delivering a song called “Heavy Door” about a heavy door with all the gusto it deserves, at times recalling Factums if they weren’t a Siltbreeze band but a Tim & Eric sketch. Let’s just hope their current mutated state is irreversible, or that the antidote is hidden far away.

Uniform No Trending LP (State Laughter / Scavenger Of Death)
Is there room for two Uniforms in essentially the same underground punk community? Apparently so, says this Uniform (of Atlanta, not the Sacred Bones industrial-rockers). I bet both bands enjoy lots of the same things, like sitting on a worn-out couch listening to No Trend, for example, but thankfully even the untrained ear would be able to tell the two apart almost immediately. This Uniform is a morose, vaguely sinister post-punk group, very much in the vein of Parquet Courts, Minneapolis Uranium Club and Whatever Brains. Uniform seem less quirky, though, or at least less prone to fits of zany behavior, with more of a menacing edge, like the post-goth pre-grunge of Live Skull or Nice Strong Arm. Of course, I’m fairly certain Uniform is sharing rowdy bills (and probably band members) with labelmates like Nurse and GG King, so it makes sense that they maintain an energetic approach even if they are decidedly not playing hardcore. They certainly kept my interest with No Trending, and I hope the two Uniforms continue to co-exist in peace, a lesson we could all learn from.

The Zoomers Exist LP (Mighty Mouth Music)
I was starting to wonder if the Mighty Mouth empire had run out of ultra-obscurities to be reissued, but this Zoomers LP arrived and it’s a blast worthy of vinylization and more (a commemorative plate set would be nice). It’s amazing Exist never saw the light of day in its time, because it blasts out like a fully-realized DIY glam-punk dynamo, bursting with personality, melody and irreverence. The Zoomers were from Baton Rouge, and probably mostly if not totally unaware of groups like Homosexuals and Reptile Ranch, but they certainly fit right in, a smooth mix of Modern Lovers, Wire, Roxy Music and whatever weirdness was naturally occurring in their own brains. This is the sort of loosely-punk music that only seems to grow when no one is watching, with a band of culturally-isolated oddballs coming together to brew up their own small dose of magic. Very thankful I’m able to enjoy them now, as well as marvel at their haircuts and necklines on the cover (give the standing guy a dangly earring and I’d believe it if you told me he was in Hank Wood & The Hammerheads). Mighty Mouth recently reissued the Zoomers 7″ (also reviewed with praise in these pages), and two of those songs (including the sensational “From The Planet Moon”) are included on Exist, so I’d certainly recommend you go after this one first and foremost – the most essential non-essential reissue of the year!