Sklitakling - Sklitakling

Fol­low­ing a thor­ough­ly en­tic­ing de­but EP last year, Bergen, Nor­way group Skl­i­tak­ling present an even stronger first LP, re­tain­ing the strum­my, quirky charm of the de­but while ex­pand­ing and branch­ing out styl­is­ti­cal­ly. Their song­writ­ing has won a lot of con­tour since then, their idio­syn­crat­ic arrange­ments com­ing across much crisper now. De­spite their nor­we­gian ori­gin, i can't help but feel re­mind­ed of the dan­ish scene of the past decade - the Copen­hagen ap­proach to post punk you might say - with the likes of Iceage, Melt­ing Walk­men, Spines and, just re­cent­ly, Pleas­er com­ing to mind at var­i­ous points as hav­ing a sim­i­lar sense of melan­choly and melody. In ad­di­tion, there's a dis­tinct cow­punk vibe at play here, kin­da like an LSD-soaked ear­ly Angst, Gun Club and, es­pe­cial­ly, the more re­cent hal­lu­cino­genic ex­is­ten­tial night­mare of Mur­der­er.

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The Abdo Men - Ulcer Anthology: Laff Your Way To Total Destruction

What­ev­er there is to be found out about this Cincin­nati, Ohio group is cloaked in a veil of un­cer­tain­ty, not helped in the least by that kin­da stereo­typ­i­cal "los­er band" his­to­ry giv­en on this cassette's band­camp page. So, prob­a­bly, there are folks known from groups like The Serfs, The Drin, Crime of Pass­ing and Mo­tor­bike at work here and at least some of the songs on this can be traced back to the year 2019, when they first ap­peared on the Pedes­tri­an Sen­ti­ments EP. Oth­er­wise i'm re­al­ly not too sure if any of the de­tails giv­en are to be be­lieved. You can't ar­gue with the mu­sic though, which kicks ass from start to fin­ish, in some way evok­ing the aes­thet­ics, vary­ing fi­deli­ty and styl­is­tic va­ri­ety of gold­en era Guid­ed By Voic­es, oth­er­wise rough­ly os­cil­lat­ing be­tween jan­g­ly pow­er pop in the vein of, say, Bed Wet­tin' Bad Boys or Bad Sports in tracks like Cow­ard Of The State, Wannabe (A Star) and Sil­ver Queen; grimy psy­che­del­ic garage rock (Didn't Win The Lot­tery, Ob­nox­ious And A Neu) as well as a cou­ple of catchy melod­ic garage punk smash­ers car­ry­ing the sig­na­ture of groups á la Boo­ji Boys, Tyvek and Par­quet Courts. It's Been A Bad Week kin­da re­sem­bles the garage-drenched noise aes­thet­ics of A Place To Bury Strangers, Peyton's Kids has sort of a Woolen Men feel to it and through­out, the folk-in­fused post punk of ear­li­er Chronophage comes to mind more than once.

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Cel Ray - Piss Park

Yet an­oth­er kick­ass EP by Chicago's Cel Ray, pick­ing right up where they left off on their Cel­lu­lar Ray­mond EP ear­li­er this year. I might be re­peat­ing my­self here but once again their in­ven­tive and play­ful sound kin­da strikes me as a com­bi­na­tion of some of the past decade's great­est fe­male front­ed groups á la Vexx, BB and the Blips, Neg­a­tive Scan­ner, Gen Pop or Amyl and the Snif­fers on one hand, while al­so be­ing some­what rem­i­nis­cent of that cur­rent breed of squig­gly garage-meets-post punk groups like Ura­ni­um Club, Re­al­i­ty Group, Pat­ti, Dumb or R.M.F.C..

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Ismatic Guru - III

Buf­fa­lo, NY group Is­mat­ic Guru's two pre­vi­ous EPs were a promis­ing and en­joy­able af­fair al­ready but it's on their newest cas­sette that their sound fi­nal­ly clicks in­to place, their vi­sion ma­tured and tight­ened-up sig­nif­i­cant­ly. I'd say their mix rough­ly lo­cat­ed in the fuzzy realms of garage-, synth- and egg­punk has carved out their own lit­tle niche for them by en­hanc­ing their quirky aes­thet­ics with plen­ty of funky ac­tion end even some slight touch of kraut-y and psy­che­del­ic vibes, most no­tably in the open­ing and clos­ing tracks.

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R.M.F.C. - Club Hits

These folks have been around for a cou­ple years al­ready and i'm kin­da sur­prised to re­al­ize this is ac­tu­al­ly their first re­al full length re­lease to date. The in­tro false­ly hints at a some­what pro­gres­sive-ish di­rec­tion, though sub­se­quent­ly they set­tle in­to a more fa­mil­iar aes­thet­ic, a sound that's ab­solute­ly of their time yet kin­da sin­gu­lar among their peers in its an­gu­lar, elab­o­rate el­e­gance - a mix­ture of post- and garage punk hit­ting the per­fect mix­ture of smart and fun, kin­da re­laxed yet in­cred­i­ble propul­sive all the same, re­mark­able for its lay­ered tex­tures and ef­fort­less ex­e­cu­tion, al­so pre­sent­ing them at their catchi­est so far. At times you might com­pare them to art­sy post punk groups á la more re­cent In­sti­tute, Ex­it Group and Mononeg­a­tives, the slight­ly psy­ched-up vari­ant of this as played by, say, Mar­bled Eye, Waste Man, Bruised or Pub­lic Eye as well as play­ful, clever garage punk acts like Erik Ner­vous, Clarko, Tee Vee Re­pair­man, Mononeg­a­tives, Pinch Points, Dumb, Ura­ni­um Club, Re­al­i­ty Group… and i could still come up with many more awe­some ref­er­ence points. This shit rules, plain and sim­ple!

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Daydream - Reaching for Eternity

This Port­land Group's third full length fur­ther re­fines their ex­plo­sive for­mu­la of se­ri­ous­ly noise- and slight­ly garage-in­fused post­core in­to their most re­al­ized and elab­o­rate ef­fort do date, their hy­per­ac­tive vi­sion of struc­tured chaos con­stant­ly shapeshift­ing and throw­ing curve­balls all the way, lead­ing in­to all kinds of in­ter­est­ing ma­neu­vers. Al­though no two songs are too much alike on here, the most fre­quent­ly ap­plic­a­ble com­par­isons i can come up with are groups such as the var­i­ous in­car­na­tions of New York's Ka­le­o­doscope, ear­ly Bad Breeed­ing, Acrylics and, in some parts, Cri­sis Man, ear­ly Video and As­cot Stab­ber.

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Anytime Cowboy - Demons Obey

Over the past two years, Port­land la­bel Spared Flesh Records has proven it­self a re­al pow­er­house of weird and off­beat nois­es in the realm of post-, garage- and art punk and this new LP by Reuben Sawyer aka Any­time Cow­boy is yet an­oth­er rough gem to be­hold. His blue­sey low-key cow­punk sound comes across kin­da like an in­car­na­tion of ear­ly Gun Club in­cred­i­bly mind­ful of not wak­ing the neigh­bors or a su­per-mut­ed ver­sion of Par­quet Courts, Tyvek, while in parts al­so not en­tire­ly dis­sim­i­lar to that re­cent Peace de Ré­sis­tance al­bum. It's a sound­scape that could soft­ly lull you to sleep if it weren't for that per­va­sive sense of un­speak­able abysses lurk­ing just around any cor­ner now, with Sawyers calm deep voice fur­ther adding to the music's quite un­can­ny yet weird­ly com­fort­ing qual­i­ties.

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Adhesive - October 2023

Hav­ing done an al­ready pret­ty fuckin' neat first EP ear­li­er this year, this duo (i think…) from Hol­ly­wood, Flori­da fol­lows up on that with an even more weird, ec­c­cen­tric and eclec­tic new cas­sette, once again op­er­at­ing on the fringes of post-, garage-, egg- and art punk. Right out of the gate i'm re­mind­ed of the first Peace de Re­sistánce EP's crude pro­to-meets-post punk sketch­es, com­bined with the re­laxed acid-/space rock lean­ings of the lat­est Scoot­er Jay tape. Dig­ging my Grave sur­pris­es and de­lights with its odd­ball cow­punk feel while the over­all vibe and any­thing-goes ap­proach most of all makes me think of acts á la Print Head, Elec­tric Prawns 2. The brand new Any­time Cow­boy record wouldn't make the worst com­par­i­son ei­ther in some places while oth­er bits and pieces then have a dis­tinct smell of ear­ly Snoop­er, Met­dog, Check­point, Sil­i­cone Prairie… even a tiny smidge of ear­ly Woolen Men!

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Institute - Ragdoll Dance

On their fourth al­bum, the Texas post punk over­lords In­sti­tute present them­selves as strong as ever with plen­ty of tricks left up their sleeve for keep­ing lis­ten­ers on their toes, nev­er know­ing what they're gonna do next. Over­all, the pre­vi­ous LP's trend to­wards a more melod­ic and re­laxed sound is con­tin­ued here, creep­ing a lot clos­er to the aes­thet­ics of singer Mose Brown's NY based project Peace de Ré­sis­tance, tak­ing cues most­ly from the first wave of art- and post punk groups. There's a strong vibe á la Tele­vi­sion, Mod­ern Lovers or ear­ly Soft Boys goin' on in songs like City and Won­der. Dead Zone then feels a bit like Wipers-meet-Saints while All The Time echoes the likes of Met­al Ur­bain, MX-80, Sui­cide and Chrome. Dopamine for my Ba­by weird­ly has a strong touch of con­tem­po­rary NY group Straw Man Army to it. All of it then cul­mi­nates in the epic, slight­ly Wire-es­que clos­ing track War­mon­ger.

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Checkpoint - D R I F T

An­oth­er in­sane qual­i­ty re­lease cour­tesy of Er­ste Theke Ton­träger by a Mel­bourne group fea­tur­ing mem­bers of such house­hold names like Pinch Points, Dr. Sure's Un­usu­al Prac­tice, Gonzo and Drag­net. Right out of the gate we're greet­ed with an ad­ven­tur­ous sound some­where in­be­tween garage-, synth- and art punk call­ing to mind acts like Ghoulies, Set-Top Box, Iso­tope Soap and a bit of Erik Ner­vous. Sec­ond track Friends con­tin­ues in that di­rec­tion, then takes a sharp turn in­to psy­che­del­ic post punk ter­ri­to­ry some­what rem­i­nis­cent of groups like Mar­bled Eye, Yam­mer­er, Waste Man or Pub­lic Eye. Break sur­pris­es with a re­laxed psy­che­del­ic garage- and fuzz pop groove, fol­lowed by Ice Sum­mit, a com­pact, eco­nom­i­cal garage rock­er echo­ing the likes of Par­quet Courts, Tyvek and Shark Toys. Then, shit gets tru­ly weird with Drift - a sprawl­ing garage-and-egg­punk-goes-pro­gres­sive-rock kind of ex­er­cise un­afraid to go re­al cheesy in the ex­pan­sive mid­dle part. Side B then comes across more ho­moge­nous, less am­bi­tious but by no means less en­joy­able, these straight­for­ward bangers re­flect­ing the likes of Cher­ry Cheeks, Smirk, Met­dog, Pow­er­plant and Freak Genes, among a ton of oth­er shit.

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