MELOMANIA has seven new titles that you may not know - but
you are going to LOVE at least one - or two..possibly three.
NIGHT PALACE - Diving Rings [LP/CD](Park The Van/Redeye)
With her dreamy, dense Weyes Blood-ish Pop, Avery Draut creates sonic worlds within her effervescent songs. “Stranger Powers” takes its drowsy but steady beat to lull you toward its country-ish lilting chorus. “Enjoy The Moon!” is a breathy Stereolab-ish Sixties Pop song beautifully arranged around strings and a wordless chorus that gives you flight. At her best, Draut pulls it all together on “Into The Wake, Mystified” where her production (the building flutes and xylophone) turns that Fleetwood Mac midtempo drives into a dreamscape capturing the excitement of a budding relationship.
CASSELS - A Gut Feeling [LP](God Unknown UK)
There are so many of these two-member bands with guitar and drums. The brothers of Cassels do strip it down like the rest of them - but their inspiration comes from those daring AmRep albums where the noise was everything and the pauses made you genuinely nervous. Less the sprachensung that continues to go around, “A Gut Feeling” follows the Slint methodology of actually telling stories - with a myriad of ordinary characters finding themselves in weird circumstances. “Your Humble Narrator” is both savage and clever, the angular “Pete’s Vile Colleague” is biting like Sleaford Mods with a guitar break that is huge. However, it is the mixture of complex rhythmic bursts and lyrical simplicity on “Charlie Goes Skiing” that really pushes their limits. Cassels is layering one riff after another like a Metal band but it makes the unnatural feel completely natural. With “A Gut Feeling” as their third album, Cassels is poised for a breakthrough.
PSYCHIC GRAVEYARD/USA NAILS - Split [12”](Skin Graft/Redeye)
If two bands belong together on a split single it is the sometimes frightening (the Butthole Surfers-esque “Wrecked At The Yankee Swap”) industrial-strength noise of Psychic Graveyard and the bullet-train avant-garde Post-Punk of USA Nails. The five Psychic Graveyard tracks blend together like dancing in your nightmare with a headless ghoul. “Building You A Rainbow” is a howler with both bracing voices and noises. “Strangest Hobbies” digs deeper into the swirl of noise and repetition (“I enjoyed it” will not sound the same for a while.) Even when they crank it a la USA Nails on “What Happens at Zero” it always feels like you are about to careen off the rails. USA Nails emerges with a six-song set of blistering and concise Noise Rock. “It’s All in The Context” is Girls Against Boys played with air siren-guitars. Their wild sound goes even more untamed on “A Two Footed Jump Into A Wall Whilst Chewing On Fingernails,” but it’s the early Lower East Side-living Sonic Youth punch of “Tooting Broadway” that brings the whole split home. Like Warhol said, each artist gets their fifteen minutes - when it is over - you will be altered.
SANKT OTTEN - Symmetrie Und Wahnsinn [LP](Denovali)
As a SynthPop duo, Sankt Otten has always made great albums. For “Symmetrie,” their compositions grow dramatically in scope (the beautiful “Sei Symmetrisch zu mir” is a stunner from start to thrilling finish) while always maintaining that Musik Kosmiche feel of traveling without moving (the poignant melodies on the opener “Hymne der Melancholischen Programmierer.”) However, it is there switching between drum machine and drum set that really brings out a “live Motorik” pulse in their music that makes it stand out. Sankt Otten has always pushed the limits. However, on cuts like the 10-minute near symphonic bursts in “Die Ordnung Des Larms,” Sankt Otten sounds light years ahead of us all.
WITCHPIT - The Weight of Death [LP/CD](Heavy Psych Sounds ITA)
South Carolina’s Witchpit comes out with a sludgy, yowling old-school Metal mixture on their debut. Vocalist Denny Stone has a real Kirk Windstein-esque bite. In their slowest, grinding moments (“Autonomous Deprivation”) his guttural howl stretches beautifully across their chord changes. When the band cranks up to Motörhead's speeding bullet tempo on “Fire and Ice” and the biker-rock gallop/Doom crusher “OTTR” that opens the album, Witchpit pumps out maximum riffage with jet engine force. Prepare to be blown away.
BACKSLIDER - Psychic Rot [LP](To Live A Lie)
This Philadelphia Metal/Punk outfit tread into dangerous waters on their latest. Stripped down to a trio, “Psychic Rot” gives them so freedom to be chaotic and brutal. The two standouts on the album “Collision of Desire” and the bracing “Bone Thief” operate outside of both Metal and Punk rules. “Collision” opens in its most out of control almost Grindcore bludgeoning and then slows down to a death rattle leap-into-the-pit swirl before leaving in a blaze of guitar shredding. “Bone Thief” starts out dark and foreboding before morphing into an old-school AmRep style stomp with metallic stairstep chromatics. All their ideas on “Psychic Rot” (even the samples) somehow find a place in this burning miasma of extreme Grindcore Punk.
NED COLLETTE - Jokes & Trials [LP](Feeding Tube)
On the 16th anniversary of this lost Indie Folk gem, the Australian singer/songwriter re-releases it in a world where everyone with a guitar and a computer thinks they can make an album like this now. Collette’s warm baritone and the hints of his accent (the cavernous prayer/remembrance that is “Heaven’s The Key”) make “Jokes & Trials” both as dramatic as Nick Cave and as warm as Bert Jansch. Collette is reaching deep into his marrow for these songs many of which unfold in layers (“A Plea For You Through Me” and the twisting opener “Song For Louis.”) Along the way all the touches of synth, choir, and percussion are perfectly used to give it gravitas. “Janet” begins with a massive echoed almost-tribal beat before switching to just Collette and his winding guitar figure. After the voices come in to accent the chorus, you hang on every word Collette says. By the time the album is over, you really know Collette and you know that all the acoustic confessional albums in its wake simply do not compare.
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