The Bug Fire 2xLP (Ninja Tune)
Crazy to think that I was first blown away by The Bug’s mega-heavy dancehall back in 2003 with Pressure, and now some eighteen years later, his music has grown even more exciting and ferocious. Impressive! I hadn’t checked out The Bug for an album or two, and maybe the breather is responsible for some of the impact Fire is leaving on me now, or maybe it’s simply that exceptional. I’m leaning to the latter, as his beats here behave like lead-plated thermal detonations, like a fifty-pound dumbbell dropping on an ant (and you’re the ant). At times I’m reminded of the doom-laden industrial-techno of artists like Kerridge and Emptyset, but The Bug is always clearly The Bug, thanks to a host of incredible guest vocalists. They all sound unhinged and hungry and like they’re having the time of their lives, and I hope they’re getting paid handsomely for it! The post-apocalyptic theme is exceptional (though things veer into weed-centric themes on a few tracks), and the beats exceed expectations. On “Vexed”, the usually even-tempered and prophetic Moor Mother goes absolutely buck, threatening to kill you while gnashing her teeth. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Container Creamer 12″ (Drone)
Has it really been five years since the last Container EP? In the beginning, I was suspicious of this noise-rocker-turned-techno artist, but that was really only in the very beginning – I am happy to declare that Container has been a distinctive and downright brutal participant in American techno for a decade now with some downright magnificent recordings under his belt (not to mention countless sweat-soaked live gigs across the globe). This new four-track EP reminds me of how great his music can be, finding another way to push acid-techno deep into the molten red without sacrificing nuance and texture. These four songs are different but the same, each lined up with powerhouse beats and absolutely stinging acid lines. You’ll want to handle these tracks with rubber gloves, so destructive and potent are his synths. The secret’s gotta be in the pedals he runs things through, right? I don’t know of any keyboards that are halfway as demented and violent-sounding on their own as the ones Container is using here, which he uses to surprisingly propulsive measure. Recommended!

Equipment Pointed Ankh Without Human Permission LP (Astral Editions / Sophomore Lounge)
If I’m understanding this right, the memorably-named Equipment Pointed Ankh started off as a side-project for the freakier, less rock-based musical ideas of Tropical Trash’s Jim Marlowe alongside a few friendly conspirators. Not sure if their priorities have shifted in the last couple years (or if, under current circumstances, “being in a band” is anyone’s priority at all), but Without Human Permission is a bold and ear-catching album, a colorful smack upside the head. They create a variety of intricate pieces here, seemingly leaving room for improvisation but often so finely performed that I can’t quite be sure of their compositional basis (“Chrome Run” is particularly dazzling). I’m hearing Blues Control and Rastakraut Pasta at one point, and Terry Riley and Harry Partch the next; Equipment Pointed Ankh weave through all sorts of intriguing sounds in pleasantly beguiling manners, never resting on any instrumental or melodic motif for too long. Honestly, the instrumentation as a whole is a bit of a mystery to me – did they rig up some of Harry Bertoia’s old sound sculptures; is someone using the dog-bark sound effects from Mario Paint? – but whatever they’re doing, the varied pieces of their puzzle fit snugly. Often this sort of “punk guys moving towards a semi-krauty avant-garde sound” thing can feel like a temporary form of cosplay, but the oddball tunes of Without Human Permission flow as naturally and intuitively as a game of catch.

Eugh The Most Brilliant Man Alive 7″ (Svart Ljud Rekords / Savage)
Time for your monthly dose of beep-beep honk-honk punk, this time coming from Melbourne’s Eugh. Overloaded synths and too-fast drumming are the name of Eugh’s game, very much in line with Erik Nervous, Count Vertigo, Schizos, Coneheads, Cereal Killer… yet another player in a genre that’s gotta be standing-room-only at this point. What else can one expect from punk’s modern era, where the ability to self-record one’s music and the desire for it to sound raw (read: crappy) have intersected so powerfully? I’ve certainly grown a little weary of this particular sound, if that isn’t already evident by my grumbling, but I don’t want to hold Eugh to the fire. They do DEVO vocals and melodic bass-runs and sci-fi noise as well (or as badly) as anyone else in the game, and I’d much rather their music be filling up what precious quantities of polyvinyl chloride are currently available. Songs like “Irritating Song” and “Galactic Terror” deserve it far more than whatever dumb Record Store Day-branded Pokémon soundtracks are currently clogging up record pressing plants worldwide.

Fashion Pimps & The Glamazons Jazz 4 Johnny LP (Feel It)
I instantly recognized the handwriting of Steve Peffer on the cover of this new Feel It release, which is precisely the sort of can’t-be-taught critical expertise you’ve come to expect from this blog. I’m presuming he’s also the “Steve Chainsaw” credited with bass-guitar and vocals here, and speaking of the credits, I was delighted to see that Noah Anthony (whose work as Profligate I strongly endorse) plays synth! Fashion Pimps & The Glamazons certainly seems to be a lark for these fellas, as serious of an investment as the band’s name would imply. They’ve definitely got that modern Ohio punk sound, with a tweaked guitar tone, inane lyrics and a mellow straight-facedness in the general delivery. Very much in line with Perverts Again and Knowso, who were probably influenced by Peffer’s earlier bands… the circle of life continues. Reminds me a bit of Folded Shirt too, another group he’s in, though Jazz 4 Johnny prefers to sputter and bop rather than wheeze and contort. I love the ease with which that Cleveland crowd churns out these projects, even if it seems like they forget about and move on from their own bands quicker than their fans like you and me.

Friendly Boyfriend Pick Up! 7″ (Happiest Place)
I love that Happiest Place shares a love of both harsh noisy experimentation and simplistic guitar pop, of which Friendly Boyfriend is the latter. They appear to be either married or brother and sister, or if not, it’s fascinating to think that two unrelated people named Tyra Hasselrot Uksila and Vihtori Hasselrot Uksila found each other. Anyway, four tracks here, one of which is a Clean cover, and also a decent reference point to start with when examining their sound. It’s filled with chiming guitars, buzzing keys and harmonious vocals, but the whole thing is recorded with such extreme tape warble that it almost sounds like the recording is falling apart in real time, twee-pop meeting The Disintegration Loops or something. The Clean always managed to record themselves with some level of clarity if not a glossy big-budget sound, but Friendly Boyfriend remind me more of Pumice or Flying Saucer Attack in the way that tape hiss and room noise are as inherent to their sound as the melodies themselves. Makes me want to pick a flower and then photocopy it over and over until the resulting image is only a coarse grey-black outline of its natural beauty.

HTRK Rhinestones LP (N&J Blueberries)
One cool thing about bands is that it’s impossible to hear them all. Case in point, Australian duo HTRK. They’ve garnered a substantial cult following that gobbles up their records even if they aren’t limited edition, playing what I understood to be a downbeat minimal electro-wave style that I usually find appealing, and yet I hadn’t heard them until now. I’d love to talk to some HTRK fans, because Rhinestones isn’t what I had expected, considering the album is mostly acoustic guitar and vocals. They weren’t always like this, right? Anyway, my expectations dashed, it took me a minute to settle into the soft and dare-I-say-ethereal sounds here, as intimately solemn as the final flickers of a candle. It’s a classically 4AD sound, like Hope Sandoval quietly sussing out her feelings alongside an acoustic guitar and Slowdive’s shoegaze production, or The Xx taking a staunch stance against mainstream pop. It’s not until the fifth track “Fast Friend” where any sort of percussion appears, a dubby electronic heartbeat alongside delayed guitars and vocalist Jonnine Standish’s bedside lamentations. Nothing about Rhinestones jumps out – this is a record that waits for you to come around, inspect it, and raise the volume loud enough so that its seductive qualities might reveal themselves. A few listens in and I’ve developed a fondness for the understated artful sophistication at work here, though I may have to dig into some of their earlier stuff to hopefully find that minimal synth-wave I was initially looking for.

Al Karpenter Music From A Private Hell LP (Bruit Direct Disques)
Al Karpenter arrived on the scene with a blistering, almost too blistering garage-noise EP in 2017, and followed it with an Ever/Never album that dissected noisy post-punk into patterns befitting a fractured iPhone screen. I’m still not sure “Al Karpenter” is a real person and not simply another Mattin alias (Mattin himself is credited here with various instruments, production, mixing and design), but I suppose that doesn’t matter in the end… it feels as if Al Karpenter (the person) is never meant to be known in any real sense, and I am willing to go along with that. So what does Music From A Private Hell sound like? Well, it’s pretty great! Lonely post-industrial weirdness is the name of the game, with Karpenter muttering over digital bass, twinkling pianos, acoustic bass, a host of electronics and even some guitar (often delivered one note at a time). The title is stark, and Karpenter lives up to it with these songs, really pushing for a zone of rich inner turmoil and musical cacophony that avoids feeling like your run-of-the-mill musical cacophony. I’m reminded of Alexis Marshall’s solo debut from earlier this year, in the way both men plaintively choke out their bluesy words in seeming obliviousness to the harsh or dreary soundscapes that accompany them, and in both cases, it works effectively. Though of course, one of the two is very popular and posts black and white photos of Blixa Bargeld and Nick Cave on his Instagram page and the other very well might not be a real person at all.

Lore City Participation Mystique LP (Lore City Music)
Normally, when a band I’ve never heard of sends in a record and they have a professional-looking promo sheet that features a long list of positive critical quotes from websites I’ve also never heard of, it’s a red flag. Are there really sites called Destroy//Exist, POST-PUNK and MangoWave that are offering worthwhile critical evaluation? (They’re probably saying the same thing about Yellow Green Red, of course.) Anyway, my guard was up, but Portland duo Lore City quickly eased my tension with their pulsing, drone-y, psych-y grooves. Art-school-tribal, we could call it? They remind me a bit of Fabulous Diamonds (though they tend to fill up more of the available sonic space), or perhaps a softer Rakta? I prefer when the drums are programmed in a krautrock manner over the ritualistic tom patterns, but it all works for what Lore City seem to be going for, which would be an approachably-witchy take on repetitive drone-rock grooves. I’m not certain that my chunky amethyst necklace would start to glow if I saw them live, but at the same time I’m not ready to rule it out entirely.

Mujeres Podridas Muerte En Paraiso LP (Beach Impediment)
Glad to see this new grip of Beach Impediment releases, as the Richmond label was surely, umm, impedimented by the same vinyl production delays as every other indie label over the last year. Anyway, this one comes from Austin, what seems to be a not-quite-full-time punk group featuring members of Criaturas and Vaaska (among others). They play a darkly jangly, moderately aggressive form of classic hardcore-punk, in ways reminiscent of groups like Gorilla Angreb, Kalashnikov, Cola Freaks, The Stalin and probably a good thirty percent of the P.E.A.C.E. compilation. I’ve been seeing people excited about this record on the internet, and I certainly don’t want to ruin anyone’s good time, but this strikes me as one of Beach Impediment’s weaker recent releases. There’s nothing wrong with Muerte En Paraíso, I just don’t find it particularly exciting, what with its tame tempos, infrequent hooks or riffs of distinction, and general gloomy vibe. They kind of sound like a Chicago punk band to me, which, let’s face it, is not on the top of anyone’s list. I’m sure they’re very cool people who have surely kicked ass in various ways both personally and musically throughout the years, so I offer them not only my respect but my honesty, too.

Neutral Live PÃ¥ Autodidaktik LP (Happiest Place)
There have been many times over the past few years that I took note of the fact that I never heard Live PÃ¥ Autodidaktik, a live tape by one of my favorite current acts, Sweden’s Neutral. Thanks to Happiest Place and this stately vinyl reissue, I no longer have to wonder! As a big fan of the group, I’m hungry for new material; normally a live set from any group’s earliest days wouldn’t be my first choice, but I have to say, this rips pretty hard. Neutral always seemed to be fully formed from the get-go, and that case is supported here: bong-ripping riffs (played on antiquated keyboards) are drenched, smothered and ignited with tape experimentation and harsh(ish) noise, often met with the commanding-yet-murky vocals of Sofie Herner. It feels like Nocturnal Emissions in their Sterile Records phase had they summoned the melodic doom of Black Sabbath from deep within, if you’re not already familiar with Neutral’s fantastic sound. Some of these tracks I’ve never heard before, while others come from their first two albums (though, as expected, are far from exact replicas). Excellent stuff! And while we’re on the subject of Neutral vinyl reissues, can one of you fine Swedes step up and press Neutral’s contribution to the On Corrosion ten-cassette compilation box-set? I’m ready when you are!

Orchid Spangiafora + Glands Of External Secretion Couscous Bizarre LP (Feeding Tube)
The live performance I witnessed of Orchid Spangiaflora and Glands Of External Secretion very well may have been the most entertaining show I caught in 2019, its flyer replicated in full color on the back of Couscous Bizarre. Thus, I couldn’t help but jump on this new album that features collaborations from that same general moment. While witnessing the two regular-looking old men chuckle on their stools as they whizzed through an unthinkable collection of sampled dialogue was the absolute best, this album is an excellent document for posterity as well. The gist is this: these two guys must’ve spent countless hours sampling bits and pieces of radio shows, documentaries, news reports, reality shows, podcasts, etc. etc. and so on, and loaded them up on their Neil Young Ponos or whatever, playing them back and forth in a seemingly improvised fashion. And yet, there is a clear constitution to these pieces – these guys lay out their samples in unexpectedly poignant, hilarious and connectable ways. It reminds me of those refrigerator magnets with various phrases or letters that you can put together in some novel new way, except instead of casually piecing together one nonsensical sentence, Orchid and Glands have put together enormous and fascinating verbal collages. Sometimes it helps to have our culture slightly rearranged to be reminded of how utterly mad and disturbing it all is, of which Couscous Bizarre is a potent example.

Ponys Auf Pump Wirt Schon Wieder LP (Phantom)
What does “Berlin punk” mean to you? To me, it doesn’t come loaded with any overbearing stereotypes, at least in my narrow view, which is kind of a nice setting to exist: no baggage. So here comes Ponys Auf Pump with their full-length vinyl debut, and I can safely say it hasn’t uprooted my notions of Berlin punk and what it can or cannot be. They’ve got a fairly well-traveled sound going, reminiscent of a groovier Gorilla Angreb, a non-gothy Subtonix or many of the vaguely garage-y, vaguely dancey punk bands that were around at the dawn of the ’00s. They seem to be having fun, but I can’t say I’m feeling much inspiration when Wirt Schon Wieder spins here, familiar as I am with the many bands who’ve done a similar thing in catchier or livelier ways over the past three decades. Not trying to be a curmudgeon – I would never begrudge a punk band their existence – but I can’t imagine much happening here would floor anyone who chooses the garage-punk bands they listen to with selectivity and discrimination.

Rat Heart Rat Heart LP (Shotta Tapes)
Exceptionally British-sounding mutant techno here from Rat Heart, a new alias bandied by one Tom Boogizm (is it pronounced “boo-gizm” or “boog-izm”, I wonder?). It’s a vinyl record, but the album feels more like a dusty cassette dub, or perhaps even more accurately, a late-night pirate radio show of which you happen to be the sole listener. Grubby beats, rickety drum machines and DIY dub effects stitch together nicely, all with Boogizm’s seemingly improvised toasting over top (which usually consists of the phrase “rat heart” over and over). It’s an oddly soothing pair of syllables when coming out of Boogizm’s mouth, a breathy rah-TAHH punctuating drowsy or frenetic grooves reminiscent of MF Doom’s Special Herbs & Spices series, O$VMV$M and Omar S at his most unhinged. The fourth track (they’re all annoyingly untitled) is a good example, with crackling hi-hats, tickled keys and a single guttural howl crudely interjected – there’s an inherent fun to this music, fully aware of its built-in obscurity and not giving an F. Grimy house is a certified style at this point, but Rat Heart has enough of its own playful energy to stand out.

Rearranged Face A Rare Caged Fern 12″ (Tomothy)
LA label and recording studio Tomothy has quickly established their lane, which is DIY neo-no-wave post-punk. Not a bad place to be! I appreciate that they continue to offer a platform to local acts that aren’t putting out records elsewhere, and recording it in their own studio for a real communally DIY (perhaps “do it together” is more appropriate?) feel. Rearranged Face are spastic and fun, file-able as a punk band but also a fine purveyor of borrowed disco beats, keyboard squiggles and vocals that sound like they’re delivered by a person wearing a pantsuit three sizes too small. I’m hearing Ex-Models, Uranium Club and Guerilla Toss here, certainly in line with the rest of the Tomothy roster of energetic and freaky punk bands (which of course includes a band called The Freakees). Is it possible that Los Angeles is really this fun, in a sincere no-frills DIY punk way? I want to believe it’s true.

Jacques Renault Sky Island 12″ (Let’s Play House)
Don’t close up the grill just yet, Brooklyn’s Jacques Renault is here to soundtrack the remainder of your summer parties, even the ones that are awkwardly masked or distanced. Not sure how I hadn’t encountered his music before, as he seems to run in similar social circles as a lot of DJs whose work I enjoy, but I’m glad I “discovered” him now because Sky Island is great. It’s a playful, non-stop selection of disco edits, house jams, roller-rink pop and convivial dance styles, reminding me of Tensnake, Daphni’s remix of Paradise’s “Sizzling” and The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, which is probably like comparing any given hardcore record to Minor Threat but what can I say, I hear it in there. Great live bass-lines, vocal hooks, funky drums, sound effects, party claps and melodic bluster really push this collection over the top, and at twenty-three tracks in less than half an hour, Renault keeps the party moving in a way that reminds me of Edan’s Echo Party mix. Now that pumpkin-spice-everything is back, I might have to tuck Sky Island away for a few months, but it’ll be back next summer alongside my inflatable pineapple-shaped raft.

Répéter Bad Twang LP (Bokeh Versions)
Props to the Bokeh Versions label for consistently doing the best, most difficult thing a label can do: provide music I didn’t know I wanted to hear. That’s certainly the case with this album from Austria’s Répéter, who had the good sense to combine surf guitar instrumentals with dub sound-system grooves. Sure, most things can be successfully mixed with dub – it’s like the garlic of the music world – but this mix of subdued dub grooves and active guitar twang hits particularly nicely. Each track is kind of the same, but the realms of dub and surf are broad enough that it feels fresh and interesting throughout… either that or I just really enjoy the combination. Don’t be scared, go straight to the track “Corpse In The Attic” for a tight percussive hook, a nimble Dick Dale-inspired riff and the sense that James Bond is about to stumble upon a crucial clue to push his mission forward.

Roadhouse Aladdin Sales LP (Sophomore Lounge)
Is that supposed to be a riff on Aladdin Sane, do you think? I’d assume so, but it’s still kind of baffling, which I suppose is an attribute most weirdo home-recording artists find appealing. Such is the case of southern Indiana’s Roadhouse, presumably a single person who spent some quality time in their music room editing beats, loops, samples and rhythms into easily-parsed tracks. The beats are usually a little cluttered, or at least frazzled sounding, reminding me of early cLOUDDEAD, Babel Fishh, Snakepiss, the Los Tres Pericos LP and at least a few things coming from the Radical Documents label. You know, unorthodox-sounding samples and instrumentation resulting in dance music that no one has ever actually danced to. Not exactly what I’d expect from someone called Roadhouse on Sophomore Lounge, but I dig it! I think I prefer when it reminds me more of lunatic early post-punk (see “Ballad Of Oberhansley”), sounding more like a precursor to what Beau Wanzer does than a noisy hip-hop instrumental. Not sure this record is a particular standout in the very crowded field of folks making random beats by themselves for fun, but I stand in solidarity with anyone out there who partakes in the age-old craft of making random beats by themselves for fun, Roadhouse included.

Rommel (ロンメル) セクシー スマイル b​/​w 甘いキッス 7″ (Bitter Lake Recordings)
Good Lord, I thought Bitter Lake had already outdone itself in the realm of underground Japanese archaeology but this single by the unfortunately-named Rommel takes the cake: it was released at a sole 1978 gig in a scant edition of one-hundred copies, fifty sold and fifty given to friends (though I doubt anyone counted the specific breakdown). What’s next, a reissue of a song a guy thought about once in Sakai in 1980 and forgot immediately thereafter?? Anyway, this one departs from the usual punk-or-electronic Bitter Lake aesthetic, offering up two well-polished power-pop gems. This is power-pop without any punk influence, closer to Bay City Rollers or Jefferson Starship than The Jam or 20/20. That’s not a detriment, though, as Rommel swing and bop through these two feel-good pop songs with precision and flair, if perhaps lacking in unique distinction. And now, decades later, what was all but forgotten is available once more (and without pandering to Western audiences, as the band name and song titles appear only in Japanese on the cover and center labels).

Jana Rush Painful Enlightenment 2xLP (Planet Mu)
So often, footwork is a musical style that I appreciate more in theory than practice, but whatever is lacking in either my understanding or the music itself, Jana Rush’s Painful Enlightenment is knocking my socks off. Perhaps it simply goes harder than many of the other records I’ve heard? And not hard in the sense of macho physicality, but in the intense selection of sounds she uses. Rush digs deep to find the strangest combinations of sounds, from gloriously bleating horns (opener “Moanin'” is a gorgeous shock) to raunchy porn sounds (“G-Spot” has a surreal, almost mournful flow that is usurped by some decontextualized, well, moanin’). I was reading an interview with Rush, where she talks about butting heads with her radio director during her time as a radio DJ who wanted her to play more palatable, pop-friendly tracks, and her dedication to the uniquely raw is on full display here. Like many records that will be coming out over the next year, there’s a depressing serenity to some of these tracks, very much an isolated Covid state of mind, but there’s also rambunctious joy, hilarity, and wisdom to be found within Painful Enlightenment. And it slaps tremendously.

The Soul Patrol Mara / Take Back The Night 7″ (Feel It)
At first spin, I was thinking goddamn, these New Orleans bands are getting so incredibly good at aping classic punk-wave that it’s scary! And then I realized that, at least in this case, The Soul Patrol were a short-lived Louisiana act from back in 1979 and this single was originally released back then. I blame the cover art, which is very much in line with today’s graphic aesthetic (I swear it looks like it should be some new project featuring members of Public Acid or Warthog), for duping me for those first five minutes. Anyway, kudos to Feel It for rescuing this one from total obscurity, as both tunes here hit that sweet spot between proto-punk and proto-heavy metal. “Mara” sounds like Joey Ramone back when he still wore his wizard costume singing with friends in his teenage neighbor’s basement all fueled on cigarettes and detention slips. “Take Back The Night” stomps even harder, recalling White Boy And The Average Rat Band if they removed their aviator sunglasses. Both tunes seem to be the product of bandleader Buckshot Coxe, an impossibly cool name of a man who is sadly no longer with us today. I hope to one day follow his lead!

Terrine Les Problèmes Urbains LP (Bruit Direct Disques / Tanzprocesz)
Listening to Terrine’s newest album for Bruit Direct and Tanzprocesz, you’d have no idea Covid ever happened – hers is a gloriously warped, carefree and social vision of the world. I heartily enjoyed her previous album on the label, and I’m happily cackling at Les Problèmes Urbains too. You know how some artists throw everything at the wall to see what’ll stick? It seems as though everything hurled by Terrine sticks firmly, from sputtering drum machines to cartoonishly gloomy synths to piano/horn improvisations to clips of French men raucously clapping and singing at a bar. Her mind moves fast, but pleasantly so – I never entirely forget where I am while listening to Terrine, but often it feels like she’s gripping my wrist as she pulls me through a crowded and bustling Parisian piazza. Fans of Ekoplekz, Jac Berrocal, The Residents, Nina Harker and Luc Ferrari might wish to stay a while if they ever find themselves in the company of Terrine’s Les Problèmes Urbains.

Li Yilei 之 / OF LP (Métron)
Métron seems to have made their name on the music of Japanese modern-ambient master Meitei, among some other fine releases, so Meitei fans similar to myself may have found themselves peeping this new one from China-born, London-based sound artist Li Yilei. If you’re hoping for soothing synth drones, blissfully cascading tones and bird song, your order’s up! On one hand, a lot of this stuff has become so predictable and formulaic that engaging with a new record of soft “experimental” ambient can feel as reliable and unexciting as tying my shoes, but at the same time, if it sounds good, who cares how many times it’s been done and how many people are currently doing it? The sound of rushing water, Tangerine Dream-y arpeggios and digitally-manipulated string instruments are a trustworthy balm for my ears in this time of so much mental turbulence, and 之 / OF provides a bouquet of delicate comforts. Am I sad that I missed the limited version that came with a ceramic xun (a xun being a “globular vessel flute” dating back hundreds of years in Chinese culture)? Sadder with every passing day.

Spasmes Du Hasard compilation LP (SDZ)
A label-centric compilation LP is pretty rare these days, but one where the artists involved all seemed to give the best they’ve got for it? Downright impossible to find, yet that’s how I’d qualify SDZ’s Spasmes Du Hasard. SDZ is a quality underground French label that has apparently been around for twenty-one years now, hence the basis for this compilation. It showcases a somewhat wide range of underground indie / post-punk / experimental music, though certain qualities are a constant throughout: a detached coolness, a slightly nihilistic streak of humor, and raw guitar sounds. I’d hope you are familiar with personal faves like Exek and The Rebel, and they’re in good company alongside Nathan Roche, Pierre & Bastien and Rose Mercie (whose wobbly, skeletal “Marie Toi De Moi” might be my favorite cut here). Rose Mercie’s post-punk goes nicely with Marie Mathématique’s “Holopherne” following it, a charming drum-machine indie-pop tune with a whistled chorus. See what I mean? SDZ knows what they like, and I like it too.