Review: Wet Fruit – S/T

The songs just skitter away in a delightful pop of Roman candles on Wet Fruit’s self-titled, debut LP, out last week on digital and cassette via Seattle’s Halfshell Records, each composition uniquely frenetic and painted with minute detail to texture and tone. But to write off the ascending Portland quartet as some incantation of art-rock…

Review: Alder & Ash – “The Crowneater”

There’s no place to enter The Crowneater – the new LP from Alder & Ash, out Dec. 6 via Mendicant – because the whole record is just that damned incredible. From the fine-textured drones of opener “Breath of the Ashen Earth” to the cello-whistling dissonance that kicks off closer “Still Breathing, Still Born” eight tracks…

Review: Monotrope – “Immutable Future”

Monotrope’s new record is a wondrously dense thatch of black thorns and I love it for that. In case you’re just joining the show, the quartet, which should be storied by now, features a Touch and Go Records alumnus (who also happens to play in Bellini), a Pittsburgher and two members of Unraze. And, if…

Review: Memory Drawings – “Phantom Lights”

Phantom Lights is the new mini-LP from sorta-post-rock-ish neo-classical ensemble Memory Drawings, out two weeks ago via the Greek boutique label Sound In Silence. But, truth be told, it’s not really a “new” record. The self-described “Anglo/American collective” actually first self-released the six-song offering as a limited-run, tour-only CD in 2018. But Sound In Silence…

Review: Pan-American – “A Son”

A Son is the name of Chicagoan Mark Nelson’s latest release as Pan-American, out last week via Kranky. And, even by Pan-American standards, it is a startlingly human and naked thing. Nelson’s outside-Labradford project often has come loaded with the lynchpins of glitch and dub: the careful arrangements, even – sometimes especially – of arguably…

Review: Fox Medicine – “Procedures Mystique”

No less an authority on sludge and the seedy intersection of punk and metal than Melvins/Tool board-helmer Toshi Kasai recently described Portland duo Fox Medicine as an amalgamation of “Black Sabbath with J-Pop vocals.” And, yeah, that sounds about right. (The band offers up a description of a fictional noise-genre: “bubblegum doom.) The nascent band’s…

Review: Pray For Sound – “Waves”

Sorry, I don’t dig on proselytizing. So, okay I’m biased. And when I heard, via advance PR notes, that the quartet Pray For Sound was out to preach (connotation intended) a little bit of happiness and hope with its brand of instrumental post-rock, contrary to many of the genre’s sometimes-sullen standard bearers, I was pretty…

Review: Catholic Action – “One of Us”

50 words on Catholic Action’s one-song drop, minus those words, smartass. Talking Heads meet Franz Ferdinand in this herky-jerky amble from Glasgow. Guitars skitter skatter across the landscape, with bass and drum syncopating, as the band’s frontman blasts out Freaks-appropriate lines like “Chemical walk through the family home/ Destroyed his nerves for the sovereign bones.”…