No time for intros. Good music. In alphabetical order. Listen. Enjoy. Thank you. Until next time...
Not long ago, I wrote about Dissolve's shipping-any-day-now new 12", Until the Drugs Wear Off, and now they've already gone and dropped a new 17-minute digital single—name your price, even!? Fans of their trippy 'n' twisted brand of caustic math metalcore will not be disappointed. And if you're still unaware—why!? Damn near 30 years on, they're still immediately identifiable. I can really get down with these lyrics right now, too:
We all decompose.
Give up hope.
Not to mention the slick little nod, "Like Burn, I'm falling faster and faster..." Fuck yeah.
The Ditch and The Delta
I'm ashamed to admit that I've done a piss-poor job of keeping up with Salt Lake City's The Ditch and The Delta since their debut cassette back in 2015. Thankfully, their latest self-titled album crossed my path a couple of times this month and I was quickly schooled on the fact that I need to catch the hell up—and not just because there's a lineup connection to the almighty Parallax. Imagine a stripped down Neurosis gone math metal reinforced by surging, sludge-soaked melodicisms—a sound that would've been adored via Hydra Head Records around 20 years ago. Speaking of said melodicisms, as soon as "Exile" hit my ears, I fell hard—just in time to scoop up one of the last vinyl copies of the album (cassettes appear to be sold out, too). Back-to-back with "Aesthetics of Failure," this has gotta be amongst the group's finest material to date. Top-shelf, my friends.
The Ditch and The Delta is available digitally through Prosthetic Records (I'm not clear on why they didn't do a proper physical run—the band pressed 100 LPs and Sludgelord Records did the tapes), so look to Bandcamp or Spotify.
I've been minimally exposed to En Nihil through a couple of comps over the years, but the project has amassed quite a discography since the mid-'90s, so I was surprised that Existence in Reverse—one of three releases already this year—was my first exposure of slightly more significance. I say "slightly" because this effort is a single-track 3" CD-R clocking in at 22 minutes, but it's certainly a style of dark ambient/death industrial that hits the spot for me: stripped down and raw, but not crude, nor too minimal. Plus, even the abrasively distorted segments have some undercurrent of atmosphere and feeling, so there's no "harsh noise wall" nonsense or what have you—there's some semblance of droning melody buried within, plus some abstract percussive elements, etc. The composition ebbs and flows in and out of itself with tone and texture, and there's a fair amount of variety and gradation throughout. I should find the time to explore some earlier work as a comparison.
This one's not on Spotify, and frankly I'm good with that. Visit Bandcamp for the goods.
I tried to pin down some more substantial coverage for Fearing months ago, but things fell through and I just haven't had enough time or energy lately, so this mention will have to suffice for now. Shadow marks the Oakland unit's debut full-length after a couple of EPs that I still haven't had a chance to check out, and this is some very promising post-punk/deathrock with strong songwriting and a really evenly balanced mix—in a way that adds to the ambient character of the atmosphere in an interesting manner. "Good Talks" is one of the more catchy and energetic tunes, but this is by no means a monotone or one-sided LP. Totally recommended.
I discovered Kevin Keith on YouTube years ago and instantly became a massive fan. Like, seriously, in terms of current artists that I follow closely and with great enthusiasm, this dude ranks very high on the list. Most people reading this probably won't be interested, I don't know (nor care), but Mr. Keith is a freakin' slick Chapman Stick badass. I've been eagerly anticipating some new material for far too long, so I bought a download of Rebirth right away. Kevin's funky, smooth jazz/R&B throwback vibe has its own feel due to the Stick as the centerpiece. I'll be the first to admit that lyrically tracks such as "Like a Holiday" are the polar opposite of anything that would ever hit me in any form of personally significant manner, but I don't care in the least, 'cause the song rules. I'm a total sucker for this shit!
A second excellent post-punk outing from Oakland in the same batch!? Yes, it appears so! And, coincidentally, I also wanted to do something more for Ötzi weeks ago, but I just couldn't make the timing work. Storm is the band's second full-length, and though I'd never heard them prior, their dark yet energized brand of uniquely catchy post-punk piqued my interest within minutes. I often tend to get sucked in when rock-solid bass runs are front and center in the mix—as is the case here—so it was an added bonus that their whole approach takes a familiar foundation into a direction that's obliquely different. I've been really intrigued by the way the guitar melodies toss in lots of sleek harmonics, for example. I don't know, it's fuckin' cool, so check it out!