I failed to muster a roundup last month, so there's much to catch up on. As is often the case with these sets, expect an oddly divergent batch of selections, in alphabetical order...
This promising new side project from Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead started rolling out tracks from their Orbiting a Dark Star album back in May, and as with everything the duo puts forth—under any name—the material is impressively high-quality and deserving of far more attention. Armed Memory explores a more melodic spin on the members' longstanding industrial mastery, bringing in a tactfully beat-centric synthwave/EBM aesthetic, and even some subdued doom/drone undercurrents on occasion. I'm sure there are some legendary classics to which parallels could be drawn here, but my familiarity with this genre is simply too limited to properly do so. I just like what I like, and these tunes are atmospherically superb, so I highly recommend 'em.
I'm guessing the three compositions that are out there now are not yet representing the complete effort, but keep an eye on Bandcamp for possible new additions moving forward.
Next up from the always-on-it Crafted Sounds label will be the eight-song Diving cassette from Philadelphia quartet Buddie, due out early next month. There are only two songs streaming so far, which should give you a feel for the group's latest excursion into heartfelt emo/indie rock. Their sound flirts with a little bit of a Weezer-ish catchiness, but tends to be more mid-paced and somber, delving into gritty/grungy/twangy accoutrements for added energetic diversity. Good stuff.
Haugar is a new project out of Reykjavík, Iceland featuring my old pal (and Mystery Grab Bag partner in crime) Birkir on drums, alongside other veteran musicians with quite the collective résumé of bands between them. Pitched to me as tipping a hat to "early Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and The Wipers," "Hvaða fólk býr í svona blokk?" is the group's very first single of fuzzed-out alt.-rock with subdued singing that lends a certain earnestness to the vibe. The band is not sure what will come next, but apparently has a bunch of other material in the works, so I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more.
Lansdale, PA's LMI recently issued their third full-length, Excess Subconscious, as a split release between Handstand Records and Maniyax Records, and this is some seriously unusual hardcore/punk that's kinda all over the place! At its core, the approach is discordant and noisy but still energetic and memorable, with relentlessly yelled vocals at times joined by more guttural shouts. However, there are roving basslines and angular textures aplenty, not to mention undercurrents of noise-rock-gone-screamo, some sludgy or trippy passages at times, etc. That being said, the excellent recording is super clear and organic, which aids in the quality of the band's atypical delivery. Plus, the nuances of the tones totally add to the mystique of their overall aesthetic.
Edwin from the good ol' One X Path blog mentioned Second Wind from Houston, TX on Twitter a couple of weeks back, and—sure enough—Testament of Pain, their latest EP, unloads 18 minutes of crushing metalcore with just the right amount of modern groove. The vocals are higher-pitched and more authentically searing than usual, which really seals the deal for me. So often I check out bands of this nature and give up as soon as the vocals kick in, as they're either too forced or sound just like everyone else. Here, the performance feels much more genuine and pissed and—god damn—it makes a huge difference. Beyond that, expect an onslaught of chugging riffs with tons of low-end rumble and a dash of speed. No nonsense, and I'm all about it.
Quarantine is the second EP from Estonian solo project Thunraz, and this shit is H-E-A-V-Y. We're talkin' guttural, tormented strains of throat-shredding desperation over ultra-dense rhythms with plenty of jagged dissonance, at times reminiscent of the heaving skronk of later Starkweather—just with more of a lurching, doom-tinged math metal twist. Most of the tracks are surprisingly short, though, in contrast to what would more typically be expected of this niche. This is a definite step forward from the outing's 2018 debut, and I can hear loads of potential herein.