Wetnap - Gnarled

The full-length de­but of this Tokyo group kin­da plays out like a round-trip through some of the most jan­g­ly and melod­ic sec­tions of late eight­ies to nineties in­die rock, noise pop, post- and emo­core, con­jur­ing up the spir­it of groups like Pol­vo, Su­per­chunk, Un­wound, Bitch Mag­net, Lync, Di­nosaur Jr. and many more, with the oc­ca­sion­al flash of Slint thrown in for good mea­sure and some shoegaze flour­ish­es par­tic­u­lar­ly of the Swervedriv­er va­ri­ety - all of that bot­tled up us­ing fit­ting­ly rough lo-fi pro­duc­tion val­ues. An al­to­geth­er rare and re­fresh­ing thing these days, at least in its raw and undi­lut­ed form as on dis­play here.

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Healees - Healees

I rarely get too ex­it­ed about the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of shoegaze-re­lat­ed groups, who for the most part seem per­fect­ly con­tent with just cre­at­ing a pleas­ant sound­scape to fall asleep to and soon for­get about. This Paris group, how­ev­er, does not on­ly have the son­ics, but al­so the dri­ve and the hooks to make it stick, find­ing kind of a work­able mid­dle ground be­tween the ob­vi­ous gold­en-era Shoegaze acts (es­pe­cial­ly a strong Bail­ter Space vibe go­ing on here), some ear­ly Sarah Records pop and more re­cent noise pop ex­am­ples of the Gold Bears, Seablite or Fly­y­ing Colours va­ri­ety.

Al­bum-Stream →

Weak Signal - War and War

Wow, i didn't re­al­ly ex­pect that much en­joy­ment out of the most re­cent LP by this New York group… in fact, these folks have com­plete­ly evad­ed my radar so far. What we get is a heav­i­ly Vel­vet Un­der­ground and Je­sus and Mary Chain-in­spired melange of fuzz-/pow­er-/noise-/dream pop that con­vinces by sheer strength of the un­der­ly­ing song sub­stance while in terms of son­ics, they sure like to slow-cook their songs at low-to-mod­er­ate heat - the re­sults are fuck­ing de­li­cious, just to­tal­ly melt­ing in your mouth as you rel­ish every sin­gle hook, every speck of low-lev­el tex­ture in their rich son­ic land­scape.

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Star Party - Meadow Flower

With mem­bers of Vexx, Gen Pop and Sweep­ing Promis­es among them, who’d ex­pect any­thing short of sheer awe­some­ness from this Seat­tle group? Sheer awe­some­ness is ex­act­ly what we get, of course. These eight songs are noise pop can­dy of the high­est cal­iber, tak­ing some cues out of the play­book of vague­ly surf-, more or less JMC-in­flu­enced acts such as ear­ly Prim­i­tives, Joan­na Grue­some, ear­ly Wavves, Male Bond­ing or, most re­cent­ly, UV-TV, the un­der­ly­ing songs be­ing strong enough to still work if you strip away the ubiq­ui­tous lay­er of fuzz, as they do in the gor­geous ti­tle track, a melan­choly dream pop bal­lad.

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Vacation - Existential Risks and Returns

Once again stu­pid me was way too late notic­ing that a new record by Cincin­nati, Ohio's pop wiz­ards Va­ca­tion has hit the shelves via Sali­nas Records, re­peat­ed­ly prov­ing their knack for craft­ing re­fined jew­els of melod­ic noise at the in­ter­sec­tion of old­school nineties-style in­die rock, grace­ful pow­er- and noise pop. This shit is catchy as fuck with­out ever get­ting too for­mu­la­ic or pre­dictable. A rare breed these days and even more rarely does it ever come across as pow­er­ful and flaw­less­ly ex­e­cut­ed as here. An al­bum of twelve hits and ze­ro miss­es as for this group, "pret­ty good" sim­ply doesn't cut it.

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Can Kicker - Demo

This de­mo by a Cardiff group lures the lis­ten­er in with an ul­tra-raw hard­core red her­ring, though it doesn't take long af­ter that to re­al­ize there's a lot more to this burst of con­cen­trat­ed Lo-Fi en­er­gy as you blaze a trail through a thick lay­er of fuzz and dis­tor­tion, which fi­nal­ly gives way to bright flash­es of melody and an over­all sound­scape com­bin­ing core in­gre­di­ents of post punk and noise pop, com­ing across kin­da like a beau­ti­ful­ly de­formed cross­breed be­tween Sieve­head and Piles.

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Coach - Coach

An abra­sive yet quite melod­ic wall-of-sound piles up on this Aarhus group's de­but al­bum, a sound in­be­tween the worlds of noise pop, art- and post punk, equal­ly rem­i­nis­cent of Tek­sti TV 666 and Open Your Heart-era The Men, 80's Son­i­cY­outh-isms and some MX-80 edge. And as if all that weren't com­pelling enough on its own, the ad­di­tion of a rest­less brass sec­tion makes the whole thing out­right ir­re­sistible.

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Cosme - Demo

Now that thing's a treat! Some group from Ciu­dad López Ma­teos, Mex­i­co de­liv­ers a truck­load of pure joy on this tape, con­densed in­to three straight­for­ward-as-fuck bangers made out of fuzzed-out garage- and bub­blegum punk with some synth-sweet­ness on top, trans­mit­ting an undi­lut­ed sug­ar rush straight in­to your blood­stream.

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Ope - Tapes 1-3

Here's a holdover from last week by a sin­gle Mil­wau­kee dude (i guess) that i first planned to omit here but on clos­er lis­ten­ing turned out to be much stronger than i ini­tial­ly thought. A catchy, dreamy, melan­cholic blend of lo-fi noise pop, or­gan-and-synth punk un­folds on these tapes that al­so ra­di­ates a good deal of old­school Fly­ing Nun-type psy­che­delia.

Shimmer Bed - Aquaria, Escapism & Other Favorites

The re­cent record­ed out­put by Los An­ge­les garage project Shim­mer Bed is, to be quite hon­est, a bit too pro­lif­ic for me to dive deep­er in­to right now - which is why this ex­cel­lent com­pi­la­tion tape put out by the span­ish la­bel Dis­cos Per­o­qué­bi­en is such a wel­come gift that made me aware of this dude in the first place. Over the span of a whop­ping 22 tracks we get to wit­ness a re­mark­ably di­verse spec­trum of sounds rang­ing from bed­room weirdo garage punk that might evoke the melod­ic­i­ty of Vaguess, the noise pop of Jah Hell and the play­ful­ness of Dee Bee Rich, Nuts or Prison Af­fair, to psy­che­del­ic pop rem­i­nis­cent Rat Columns or var­i­ous eight­ies Fly­ing Nun acts and in­be­tween al this, there's even time for some noisy post punk sketch­es.

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