The Annihilated Submission To Annihilation LP (Annihilate Music)
Argh more gut-twisting hardcore from London! I’m not going to attempt to understand how or why it keeps happening over there, but thankfully a record like Submission To Annihilation doesn’t require much in the way of deep thinking. Like a pair of spiked boots flying towards your face, either they connect or they don’t! It’s precisely by-the-books on Submission To Annihilation, complete with song titles that are names of other hardcore bands (“Abuse Of Power”, “Malfunction”, umm, “Body Count”), but there’s no need for innovation when you’re able to distill the finest hardcore-punk as The Annihilated do. The guitar has that tinny early Dischord fuzz, and these songs move from No Future Records-styled stompers to the violent speed of Negative Approach and the scrappy d-beat of early Discharge with fluency and ease. Playing spot-the-influence can be fun (is that more of a Battalion Of Saints or Sick Pleasure vibe to “Normality”?) but The Annihilated make classic hardcore come vividly to life here, a righteous form of cultural communication if there ever was one. A little off topic, but I don’t understand how vocalist Bobby Cole doesn’t have a British accent. Considering how many American bands have faked British accents through the years, Cole has every right to sing in an American (or at least not overtly British) style, and his throaty exhortations are perfectly suited to the band. Heck, he could do his best Paris Hilton or Steve Urkel impressions if he wanted – it wouldn’t slow down Submission To Annihilation any!

Barricaded Suspects Terminal Growth LP (Closet Landscapes)
I’m a fan of the 1983 Toxic Shock Records compilation Barricaded Suspects (whew that track by The Dull!), so why not peep this Nashville hardcore band by the same name? They play a youthful and loose form of hardcore-punk, the kinda sound that makes me think of warped backyard skate ramps, 7-Eleven parking lots and sparsely-attended local VFW firehall shows. All good thoughts! Terminal Growth is an appropriately jumpy record, recalling some of the lesser-known (but equally personally beloved) hardcore groups of the Y2K thrash era like Out Of Vogue and Puncture Wound, or any of the bands that came across like the frantic younger siblings of more established bands such as Nine Shocks Terror and Life’s Halt, if that makes sense to anyone besides myself. A touch of Brown Sugar is in there too, if Barricaded Suspects isn’t quite as personality-driven. Twenty-one tracks here and it moves fast, with throaty, out-of-breath vocals and drums that keep up 97% of the time. If you’re a hardcore-punk band and you’re not constantly pushing beyond the technical capacity of your drummer, you’re doing it wrong! I hear conflicting reports about Nashville, that it sucks and also rules, so I’m going to assume they’re both right, with Barricaded Suspects defiantly kicking against the authorities even with the understood knowledge that we can’t win, no way.

Commodo Deft 1s 12″ (Black Acre)
A new sweet spot is hereby discovered by Sheffield, UK’s Commodo, who has a rich prior discography I’m going to need to investigate. On Deft 1s at least, he seems to follow Moin’s trail, one where post-hardcore guitars and bass are utilized for avant-garde electronic means. Only in Commodo’s case, the artiness gives way to the crushing groove of classic speaker-wobbling dubstep. “Deft 1s” is the perfect a-side cut, utilizing a Korn-heavy bass line over a slow-motion thrust ala classic Mala, and by the time the Wes Boreland-style guitar shows up, I’ve already creepy-crawled my entire living room. “Forester” kicks off the flipside with a slinky, creepy-sensual groove, similar to Parrish Smith’s Light, Cruel & Vain with its American Horror Story style of seduction. “Living Bones” wraps the single sounding like a remastered Bauhaus instrumental remixed by Massive Attack or something – just a really cool collision of classic gothy post-punk guitars and leadweighted dubstep production. I hope that this nascent goth/dubstep/post-hardcore genre continues to evolve in such a pleasing manner, with Commodo leading the charge.

Marcel Dettmann Fear Of Programming 2xLP (Dekmantel)
Marcel Dettmann is practically synonymous with the erotic industrial techno of Berghain (where he is a resident DJ), but the story with Fear Of Programming is that he’s somewhat grown up and out of the endless party scene. While he still appreciates concrete and black leather aesthetics, he’s a family man now, and this full-length album (his first in nearly a decade) reflects a more open-ended vision of techno than what he’s normally been associated with. Personally, I could listen to his stiff industrial-techno on endless repeat, but his productions here vary more in sound palate than overall design or constitution. Which is to say the pulses remain pounding and ominous and the rhythms are partial to jackhammering, but instead of a purely greyscale setting there are injections of blood red and midnight blue, just like the album’s cover. He melds house drums with queasily twinkling synths on “Renewal Theory”, takes some tubular bells on a high-speed passenger train (with tunnels) care of “Reverse Dreams” and brings the house down on “Water (feat. Ryan Elliot)”, which sounds like Actress’s “Rainy Dub” if Gregg Turkington got the chance to toast over top. Those are some of my favorite cuts here, but as far as lengthy techno albums go, Fear Of Programming is solid the whole way through, proof that you don’t need to toss your leather jacket once your hair starts going grey.

The Drin Today My Friend You Drank The Venom LP (Feel It)
“The Drin” is the kind of band name that feels like it’s missing a few letters, like a faulty neon sign or something, and while it’s not as eye-catching as “Groinchurn” or “Bathtub Shitter”, I’d say it suits these exceptionally warped and weary post-punk tunes well. All that bands can hope to do at this point is mix up different previously-established styles into a fresh new concoction, and The Drin do precisely that, coming forward with a gnarled take on moody post-punk, somewhere between haunted house and drug house. There’s a sort of gross swamp-rock menace happening that I find highly appealing, akin to The Scientists’ Blood Red River or TV Ghost (I hope all those guys survived being in that band), smartly paired with plenty of sick bass-lines that bring fellow Feel It comrades Waste Man to mind. Heck, they even go full-on dub-punk on “Eyes Only For Space”, plundering similar vaults as Non Plus Temps but with a sinister (or at least spooky) presentation reminiscent of the under-appreciated Ukiah Drag. Each song is its own little room but they all link together; for example, “Peaceful, Easy, Feeling” is an empty bedroom with a pile of dirty laundry and a crappy flatscreen with the Roku screensaver going. Plenty of rhythm and plenty of blues here but no Rhythm & Blues, if you know what I mean. Best Feel It release in a minute!

Sam Gendel Blueblue LP (Leaving)
Though I consider myself a proud Sam Gendel fan, I didn’t realize he added some fourteen new releases to his discography in the past two years. That’s a Zoogz Rift level of productivity, and as his records often sell out upon immediate Bandcamp drop (usually with a pre-order that takes a few months to arrive…), I can only do what I can. Had to check out Blueblue though, a new album that seems to get to the core of Gendel’s music – jazz rooted in traditions (both modern standards and ’90s indie-experimental), bathed in ambiance and run through just the right sequence of electronic filters to bear his signature saxophone sound. Interestingly, Gendel is credited with all the music here, which is intriguing considering that many of these pieces (such as “Toridasuki (鳥襷, Interlaced Circles of Two Birds)”) are full ensemble pieces, with drums, guitar, bass and horns all in full swing. It sounds like a quintet of tightly-rehearsed players live in a room, and even though I understand that to not be the case, my ears keep telling me otherwise. They make for a nice flow with some of the percussion-less pieces here, nylon string guitar tweaking out over subliminal bass tones and Gendel’s expressive saxophone. I love Gendel’s endlessly restless spirit and the various collaborations he’s constantly undertaking, but Blueblue cuts right to the core of his musical persona.

Green / Blue Worry / Gimme Hell 7″ (Feel It)
There’s a certain kind of band that can carry themselves with a mature, considerate composure and get wasted in the daytime at Goner Fest, and it seems that Minneapolis’s Green / Blue are one such band. Minneapolis has an illustrious history of exquisite songsmiths who spend their weekends getting tossed out of clubs, and while I don’t expect Green / Blue to reverently pursue DUI charges, I can confirm that they are absolutely bursting with songs, from two full-lengths last year and this two-song single that directly followed. Those albums are cool, but a band like this is kinda made for singles, jamming econo as it were. “Worry” has the hearty strum of The Clean and wears it proudly; the drummer wisely avoids his cymbals for the entire song, and vocalist Jim Blaha splits the difference between The Oh Sees and Spoon. “Gimme Hell” arrives on that same momentum, classic glam stomp via Kiwi-pop candor. It takes guts to write songs this simple, particularly when you’re writing a ton of them, but Green / Blue whip these basic ingredients into remarkable tunes over and over. All that and they understand the aesthetic superiority of naming your thing after some basic colors (ahem).

Harsh R Seek Comfort LP (Phage Tapes)
Cascadian Goth? If the genre doesn’t already exist, Olympia’s Harsh R may have unwittingly created it. Following numerous tapes and singles, Seek Comfort is the first full-length from Avi Roig’s Harsh R alias, and it conjures the wet-black basement of a goth club as much as the solemnity of some ancient Pacific Northwest mountain forest. True goth behavior without the melodrama or cosplay. Within Seek Comfort, the EBM-industrial beats are precise and more slow than fast, kicking on and off in a way that has me imagining Front Line Assembly covering Swans’s Holy Money on occasion. Though there’s a song intriguingly titled “Instagram Witch”, the proceedings here are consistently resolute and severe (no funny business), from the more melodic album-closing “Syster Sol” to the distorted and aggro “Devotional”. The violent vocals are often at odds with the tuneful synths, but it works well as a contrast in emotions, frequently pairing vulnerability with anger. After all, why scream if you don’t really mean it? Even at its most hostile, Seek Comfort maintains rhythm and melody at its core, an album that allows for plenty of creepy sashaying and sensual batwing flapping, and, if you really insist, sparse amounts of glow-stick twirling out near the woodland clearing.

Holsen & Cassiers Walking In Circles LP (Stroom)
Thought I had Stroom mostly figured out as a label interested in the furthest vestiges of obscure ’80s and ’90s electronic music, but they keep upending my expectations in a good way. This new one from Hilde Marie Holsen and Lynn Cassiers is electronic, no doubt, but it’s essentially improvised noise / drone composition, albeit a wide variety of styles within those parameters. It’s great! Holsen is on trumpet and electronics, Cassiers is on voice and electronics, and they layer these somnambulant drones with distorted gasps of trumpet, misty vocals and whatever the hell else they feel like contributing. I suppose you could file it next to the multitudes of noise/ambient records coming out these days, but the common thread here is an assertive approach, actively pushing through these pieces as opposed to the minimalist-to-the-point-of-passive style I’m getting used to hearing. I appreciate the lack of field recordings or incidental sounds happening here – I get the feeling that Holsen and Cassiers took plenty of time to map out and wrangle these tracks before sitting down to record. “Time Is” could expertly soundtrack a video of guided submarines investigating shipwrecks, “Opening” is a masterful sweep of electronically-aided brass, and “Life Stages Are” is Schimpfluch-styled convulsive sonic warfare. No street traffic or bird sounds needed when your noise is already this expressive!

Kalle Hygien The Raft 12″ (Push My Buttons)
From its earliest days, certain sects of punk have always had a predilection for the demented, the shlocky, the corny-on-purpose. Depending on how much irony you can stomach, and how committed the artist is, it can be great or terrible. All that to say I’m not sure if Kalle Hygien’s newest twelve-inch The Raft is great or terrible! Probably more terrible than great, but a little of both? Unlike the fairly standard garage-y fuzz-punk of previous records, the title track is like ABBA fronted by Alien Nosejob on a budget-priced cruise ship. No idea who this music is for, which is kind of perversely pleasing (but only kind of). Flip it over and “Dope Him Up” is extremely Sleaford Mods-like, right down to the aggro rhyming and cheapo keyboard sounds. That’s kind of what the rest of the record does, a sort of spooky, Mark Mothersbaugh-esque version of ISS’s model with repeated choruses and shouted verses that verge on rapping. Hygien is clearly having the time of his life, with no concept too audacious or clichéd to consider throwing in the pot. I’m not sure I’m fully on board, but hey, at least it’s not the same old crap! Sometimes you need some new crap.

Icebear White Dove Dream LP (Weeding)
The name “Icebear” immediately calls to mind Grauzone’s cold-wave classic, but the artist Icebear opts for a completely different approach. It’s the alias of Irish producer Eilis Mahon, who makes music that sounds more like a solitary bear caught on some sliver of iceberg, drifting out into an endless subzero abyss. In a way, a good bit of White Dove Dream could be filed under power-electronics, but there’s a coziness to the album, or at least a lack of aggressive nihilism, which arrives at odds with some of the genre’s generic signifiers. These six tracks take their time, with electronic interference, amplifier feedback and effected synths all churning along, not entirely unlike Hototogisu or a less academic take on some of Fennesz’s harsher material. “Funny Games / Garfield” opens with a screeching whirlwind ready to match Incapacitants, but it quickly unfolds into a serene melodic vista, the sunrise we never thought we’d see after slogging through those fields of painful sonic brambles. I dig a noise record where I never know when I’m going to get stung, or for how long, and White Dove Dream does a fine job of alternating between poison and salve.

Library L’Amour Premier Caprice 12″ (Stroom / Kontakt Group)
“These tracks were recorded over the course of our three-and-a-half year relationship”, reads Library L’Amour’s Bandcamp page for Premier Caprice. It’s a fitting statement for a record as blurrily romantic as this, one that leaves open-ended questions as to the nature of Yasmine Ixe and Richard Wenger’s time together as Library L’Amour. I can only imagine it was at least somewhat steamy, and though I haven’t seen pictures of either member, I can only assume they’re both at least somewhat hot, as ugly people don’t make music like this. Extremely downtempo beats, swirling synth chords and plumes of guitar smoke waft out of Premier Caprice, the faint aftertaste of a voice occasionally leaving a smudge on the glass. Kinda similar to Torn Hawk at his saddest and Philipp Otterbach’s ambient-noir, or Victor De Roo, who is credited with “supervision” for this EP. Did Ixe and Wenger accidentally fall in love with De Roo, tearing the whole thing apart? Seems possible! This powdery ’80s sheen can call to mind Cocteau Twins as much as daytime network soap operas; Library L’Amour, for however long they exist(ed), reside somewhere in between.

Pavel Milyakov Project Mirrors LP (AD 93)
Pavel Milyakov is deep in my good graces after the past couple years: 2019’s Badtrip under his Buttechno moniker is still one of my favorite techno albums of recent memory, and 2020’s Masse Metál is one of my favorite industrial albums also of recent memory. He’s been plenty busy ever since but those two overwhelmed me to the point where I’m only now checking back in with his output, specifically this new AD 93 album. The man loves thematically styled releases, and Project Mirrors is quite simply “a collection of loops recorded between 2016-2021”. It seems like an intentional distinction to classify these tracks as “loops” instead of songs, as they are free of bass-lines, percussive elements or hooks. Each loop has its own little ecosystem, often in the form of trance-y arpeggios and krauty keyboard spirals. Defnitely the Klaus Schulze-iest I’ve ever heard Milyakov get, and surely his most meditative, far from windowless European club floors or whatever toxic construction site Masse Metál was produced at. A Russian native who’s since relocated Berlin, it’s not a surprise that his sonic interests have moved from the raw and heavy to the light and uplifting, considering the misery and conflict that continues in the Ukraine without end in sight. It’s a pleasant listen, though closer “Epic” might be my favorite, sounding like a gang of Slashes on the cliff of the “November Rain” video, except they’re playing bagpipes and Korgs instead of guitars.

Kassem Mosse Workshop 32 2xLP (Workshop)
Deeper than the universe’s bellybutton, this new double twelve-inch album from Kassem Mosse is a beautiful beast. He’s been around for years now, lurking on the periphery of the techno/house scene and (as far as I can tell) operating the great Workshop label. It’s all alluringly low-key – it often feels like Mosse makes the listener come to his music rather than vice versa, and those willing to pull one of his plain-looking EPs into their bag will be rewarded by his oblong, dance-if-you-want-to styles. Workshop 32 actually comes with a picture cover, and considering its lengthy runtime and the variety of sounds within, it feels like his updated state of the union address. Many of these tracks share Omar S’s playfulness, often with the various techno necessities (4/4 kicks, bass-lines, builds and drops) truant or misplaced. It sometimes feels like I’m listening to techno upside down, though the loopy whimsy of “D2” has my brain swimming in my skull in the nicest of ways. It’s clear that Mosse could craft some Prince Of Denmark-styled artisanal techno any time he wanted, and while he does display his prowess throughout, he loves scuffing up the zone with abstract vocal samples, be it strangers chatting in a corner or the asthmatic huff that permeates “B2”, perhaps my favorite cut here. Pound for pound, probably the best way to spend thirty-five bucks on techno this month!

Narrow Head Moments Of Clarity LP (Run For Cover)
The predecessors are obvious: Hum, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones and Rival Schools all laid the groundwork upon which Texas’s Narrow Head travel. And yet, as is the case with a few other modern artists who refine and clarify previously-established sounds, I find myself listening to Narrow Head more than the originators! Maybe it’s simply that they’re excellent at this form of ’90s snowboarder alt-rock, because the songs here are lively and fun and memorable, if obviously indebted to prior generations. 2020’s 12th House Rock got plenty of play around these parts, and I think I’ve spent more time with Moments Of Clarity than any other record this month. It feels good always, with its huge alt-rock grooves (very Hum and Helmet), sky-ripping Siamese Dream-styled guitar solos and pleasingly-whiny vocals (I can’t help but hear a sleepy Mike Herrera of MxPx in the voice of Narrow Head’s Jacob Duarte). It’s no departure from 12th House Rock, but a further concentration of the group’s strengths: heavy melodic grooves, quiet/loud dynamics and painless hooks with a drowsy emo delivery. It takes a truly masterful group to get me singing along to lines like “how good does it feel / to be you, to be real”, and yet here I am doing just that, wishing I was wearing the Jansport backpack and baggy skate jeans required to complete the experience.

Northeast Regional Brand Managers Of The Mid-Atlantic LP (Magnetcoil Media / Tor Johnson)
Here’s another punk band operating under a dismally-corporate moniker – both band name and album title conjure painfully boring Zoom meetings and gravy-colored office cubicles, presumably to be taken ironically (or at least with a grain of salt). While the other bands who opt for names in this style generally play punishing noise-rock or nervous post-punk, Northeast Regional play a deeply positive form of poppy hardcore, a sound I’d equate with “The Fest”, Jade Tree Records, Fiddlehead, Kid Dynamite, Militarie Gun and so on. It’s an enduring sound (there are probably kids born in the year of Kid Dynamite’s debut that are moshing to Fiddlehead now), and the genre should feel proud to have Northeast Regional in its ranks, particularly as they keep it interesting with weird moodier cuts amidst the posi-mosh rockers. It’s the project of Jeff Byers (of Wow Owls and Roomrunner), though calling it a solo project is inaccurate as he’s enlisted a good number of friends to play these songs with him. It can be hard to wrangle a full-time band as a full-time adult, but Northeast Regional sounds perfectly in sync with each other, like they’re primed to open for Fugazi and Good Riddance in 1997, or Touché Amoré in 2013, or Drug Church last week. Barring time travel or an unforeseen desire to “make it”, at least we have this nice LP.

Phil & The Tiles Phil & The Tiles 7″ (Anti Fade)
Maybe it’s an Australian thing, but I feel like I’m missing some sort of pun in the band’s name. If Phil was joined by the Istines it’d be obvious, but who can really say. He’s got The Tiles backing him here, a whopping six-piece group delivering four playful fits of indie post-punk. It certainly fits with the Anti Fade style – non-aggressive punk reliant on melody and personality – and these four songs wander the same line between cheery and sarcastic that I’ve come to expect. When they slow it down and the keys drive the tune, I’m reminded of The UV Race; when the guitar leads the way, I’m reminded of Eddy Current dipped in a paisley psychedelia. I like Phil & The Tiles best when they lean further into funky hippiedom, like “Nuns Dream”, where everyone is grooving and multiple members are singing different parts at the same time. This four-song EP is a fine way to reveal your band to the world, though I’d imagine seeing them all crowded on a small stage together, bopping around like Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem, is the best possible way to experience Phil & The Tiles.

Speed Plans Statues Of God 12″ (Iron Lung)
That Welcome To Pittsburgh… compilation from a couple years ago might be the best regional hardcore comp of the modern era, establishing the Steel City as an undeniable hotbed of true-blue hardcore-punk. Speed Plans had a track on it, and Iron Lung wisely took it upon themselves to release this new one-sided twelve-inch EP (presumably because selling seven-inch EPs is a far more difficult proposition in these sad times). Anyway, it’s the music that matters, and Statues Of God is a fantastic ripper, grounded in the first-wave but taking cues from various fast, thrashy waves that succeed it. The guitar has a Jan’s Rooms tone, the drums flail beyond their pay-grade like classic Neos, and the vocalist has a suitably gruff bark. (The bass is unremarkable, which of course is how it’s supposed to be when it comes to true hardcore-punk.) When they really blast off, I’m reminded of Capitalist Casualties and No Comment, though any resemblance to grind-core seems based on Speed Plans’s outsized intensity rather than any intentional genre-abiding behavior. Jerry’s Kids, Mecht Mensch and contemporaries Electric Chair come to mind as well, particularly regarding the group’s ability to dish out memorable hooks amidst the hardcore fury. “Jesus Christ” is a personal sing-along favorite, but I can listen to ’em all, and right in an uninterrupted row no less!

Spray VT Trad 12″ (Kalahari Oyster Cult)
The ’90s nostalgia/cultural excavation has overturned every last stone at this point, and on the whole, I’m not entirely mad at it? It seems like most ’90s-worshipping artists know how to highlight the aspects worth highlighting and discard the bits that aged poorly. So when the cool Kalahari Oyster Cult label released this new 12″ of ’90s-devoted progressive trance by Spray, I decided to give it a shot, and I’m pleased I did! These four tracks are throwback dance-floor euphoria, replete with high-energy BPMs, gleeful synth stabs and meditative voice-overs. It definitely sounds like the background music anytime the local TV news reported on dance-clubs in the ’90s, but that’s a pleasant memory for me, and Spray is clearly a studied craftsman of the genre. No breakbeats, no outdated cultural references, just driving trance that would sit comfortably next to Hawke’s 1993 bliss-out 3 Nudes In A Purple Garden or at any rave that featured at least one psychedelic smiley-face on the flyer. There’s a track here called “Zippycher”, which sounds like someone’s AOL handle that you met in a Happy Hardcore chatroom, an appropriate signifier for its Drexciyan groove. I tend to think I’m too cynical and cautious to ever get sucked into a cult, but these Kalahari Oysters are looking pretty good right now…

Tongue Depressor Bones For Time 2xLP (Worried Songs)
Four rich sides of rustic zone-outs here from New Haven, CT duo Tongue Depressor, and rightfully so – their sound greatly benefits from ample time and space. Over the past few years they’ve released a ton of tapes, most of which I haven’t heard, but I get the impression that Zach Rowden and Henry Birdsey cycle through various soundmaking devices when making Tongue Depressor music, usually somewhat organic in nature, favoring strings that can be bowed incessantly and surfaces that hum when scraped. Across the four tracks here (each over eighteen minutes in length), they utilize double bass, tape loops, pedal steel, bagpipes, harmonium and cello to craft these large-scale atmospheres rich with aching drones, unsettling hum and the crackling of an AM radio roasting on an open fire. I’m reminded a bit of Bill Nace’s solo material here, in the way that a queasy buzz will be utilized as a backdrop for more active textures, all from unplaceable analog sources. At least on record, Nace is more apt to switching the settings every few minutes, whereas Tongue Depressor take the long way home and lose themselves along the way, which of course is why Bones For Time works so well. Wander through any holler long enough at night and it starts to feel like some alternate world, much like the sounds of Tongue Depressor.

The Tubs Dead Meat LP (Trouble In Mind)
There are a handful of British vocalists who could sing the phone book and I’d contentedly sit and listen, and though The Tubs are a relatively new group, their singer Owen Williams is one of them. His voice calls to mind Morrissey, Tweed’s Stéphane Savary and Paul Weller, emanating both vulnerability and strength, confidence and peril. A subway poet with a shrouded (and thus universally appealing) sort of sexuality, or so his voice would lead me to believe. Anyway, it’s probably hard to go wrong with any band fronted by Williams’s distinguished voice, but The Tubs make fine work of it on their debut full-length. The long-haired mods play a fittingly jangly form of morose indie-pop, with enough grit to ensure it’s taken seriously and top-shelf melodies that haven’t been played to death by others. The street-smarts of The Jam butt up against the disarming sincerity of Eddy Current, often in the same song. Plus, they hit hooks like The Police without, umm, being The Police. They’re in the same sonic ballpark as The Reds, Pinks & Purples but I’m reminded of them more for the way that they both share a sort of “I’m heartbroken even though I know better than to be heartbroken” attitude… both groups are able to assess their fragile conditions from all angles, and the songs are all the better for it. Far and away the best jangle of the month!

Beau Wanzer A Dead Person’s Monologue 12″ (iDEAL)
I own maybe a dozen Beau Wanzer records at this point, and could easily go for a dozen more – this Chicago freak is in a league of his own, with a very distinctive aesthetic that he can apparently mine without end. A Dead Person’s Monologue is one of his best yet, which also follows his usual anti-linear timeline, as the tracks here were recorded between 2009 and 2015. How does he have endless tapes of killer tracks, and how does he manage to sit on them for over a decade before releasing? I don’t understand it, but I sure do appreciate a cut like “Warm Waterboarding”, which slinks into the room like a human-sized slug on a basement budget, the soundtrack to a homemade horror movie 1-800-HOT-DUCK (check the Instagram) would screen. The rest of this EP (which, at eight tracks is pushing “mini-LP” status) are equally infectious and gross, though not nearly as in-the-red as many of his prior productions. “Melt And Smelt” isn’t hindered by its lack of sonic grit, however, as the synthetic bells he deploys are as bilious as ever, and it contrasts nicely with the title track’s paranormal voice modulation over an extremely minimal death march. Can’t wait until 2033, when he releases the tracks he’s making right now!