Review: Cat Clyde – “Good Bones”

Calling something “old-timey” can be a flat-out misnomer. The history of recorded music remains too new, relatively speaking, to know what signatures were writ large on long-long-gone eras and most of what we associate with the genre, the familiar skeletons of it all, aligns with signifiers from contemporary ephemera, particularly other music. That said, Cat…

Profile: Steve Albini (2020)

Eight hours each way. That’s how long Tim Midyett and his friends drove to see Big Black play live in Seattle in 1987. Archaeological artifacts place inhabitants in the Missoula, Montana area at the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Native American tribes like…

Review: Bibio – Sleep on the Wing

The closing and 10th track off Bibio’s Sleep on the Wing, “Watching Thus, The Heron Is All Pool”, is arguably the new record’s finest moment. Like some of the tracks on Ribbons, from 2019, the song wraps itself in the adornments of mid-20th century British folk – the acoustic guitar and accompanying strings do magical little flights…

Review: Mr. Bungle – “Fuck The U.S.A.”

Mr. Bungle, which reincarnated Friday in the form of an online cover of the Exploited‘s anthemic (and rather timely) “Fuck the USA”, has always been utterly chameleonic. Throughout three brilliant studio LPs and four much-sought-after, cassette-only demos, the San Francisco Bay Area pranksters darted headstrong from one idiom to the next, christening themselves in metal’s blood, flirting…

Review: Soft Plastics – “5 Dreams”

Carey Mercer is back! Just two years after the glorious art-rock ensemble Frog Eyes dissolved into the ether, Vancouver’s favorite troublemaker surfaces today with company as Soft Plastics, a band/project both sonorous in annunciation and, obviously, provocative in execution. Listeners don’t have to wait long to cue the drooling. On the very first song, “St. Tosh the Actor”,…

Review: Inventions – “Continuous Portrait”

After some laughter, the song “Hints and Omens” begins with a swirling sci-fi refrain, a keyboard-pulsing “space-themed” trill that could be a stand-in for the promising vistas of Utopian worlds concocted straight to VHS in the 1980s. It’s a little broad, a little too on-the-nose, and that seems to be the intent. Within a minute,…

Review: Stuck – “Change Is Bad”

Holy mother of fuck, how did this one slip below the radar? Born Yesterday Records released the Chicago quartet Stuck’s debut LP, Change Is Bad, mid-pandemic in April and I am left wondering how this atypical and teetering 11-song blessing of angular post-punk didn’t make it itself known on a seismic scale. This thing is that…

Review: David Grubbs/Taku Unami – “Comet Meta”

In “Heart of the Thrumming House”, the fourth track off the new David Grubbs and Taku Unami collaboration, Comet Meta, listeners can be forgiven for feeling the surroundings are a little familiar, that peculiar déjà vu of sensing that they’ve been here before. There are Grubbs’ fragile and sparse, borderline-nonexistent guitar figures, and Unami unleashes undulating waves…

Review: Same – “Plastic Western”

SAME, the post-something quartet with the un-Google-able name, is from southwestern Pennsylvania, the duly coined Paris of Appalachia, but not entirely of the place. Now, Pittsburgh is far from a musical monolith. Most storied bands (a recent example being Code Orange) have come from the city’s punk and metal scenes, but there’s a robust diversity to the…

Review: Melkbelly – “PITH”

Sorry, as much as you want them to be, Melkbelly aren’t a 2020s reincarnation of the Breeders. There are parallels, yes, yes, but it’s not that simple, not that clean-cut a thesis. For one, Melkbelly are rougher around the edges and more likely to lunge at you with the blade than carve out a careful refrain. (In short:…