100% Support: A.B.C. – Always. Be. Consuming.
On Friday August 7th, Bandcamp will once again waive their percentage of proceeds, so that 100% of the money goes directly to the artists. Consume! Consume! Consuuuuuuuume!
The perfect version of this iteration of the 100% Support series is 100 words about 100 albums, but we’ll all have to settle for 100 words about five albums. And this stupid intro! Which will also be 100 words. Not 100 unique words, mind you, but 100 words en toto. In 100 days, you could be 10 days into your fourth 30-day yoga challenge on YouTube, or you could have written 100 haikus about life under COVID-19. Hell, you could do both of those things. I can’t believe I still have fifteen more words to type after all that nonsense.
No Chemistry – Dead Wait
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Choice Cut: “Your Problem Now”
This might be my favourite discovery of 2020. But don’t just take it from me; two of my BFFs are just as enthusiastic: “Damn! That is so sweet! I’ve been yard working and listening all afternoon! Can’t stop!” and “I’ve already listened to the No Chemistry record countless times. It’s a delight!” A solo project of sorts from Ben Murray (of bands I’ve never heard of Heartsounds and Light This City), No Chemistry is sweetly crafted and expertly melodied emo-bliss that sounds like Piebald turned down to an early-career Turnover simmer. Endlessly repeatable for a summer of endlessly repeated activities.
Choir Boy – Gathering Swans
Release Date: May 8, 2020
Choice Cut: “Eat the Frog”
Gathering Swans glitters under a pale Western moon like the microscopic minerals of Utah’s salt flats. If you like Dais Records, the word “pop” when it’s modified by either “dream-“ or “synth-,” or anything that reminds you of the 1980s, then you’ll be swaying under the enchanting rhythms of Choir Boy’s retro new wave swoon. Adam Klopp’s voice feels like wisps of cigarette smoke wrapping around you and your dry gin martini as you laugh through the haze of a sweltering summer night on your favourite bar’s patio. Remember bars? Remember night life? Well, stop it. Stay inside. Dance anyways.
Holy Grinder – Divine Extinction
Release Date: May 27, 2020
Choice Cut: “Knurling Flesh”
For Trans Rights Crazed Noisegrind Freaks Only! Toronto’s Holy Grinder is a pink fanny pack stuffed to the zipper with bootleg Full of Hell stickers and DIY Godstomper patches. Swallowed microphone vocals puke all over mangled bass riffs, spastic drums, and squealing feedback, as the band rips through 11 songs in 11 minutes. Divine Extinction is a supersonic blitz of anti-Nazi, anti-cop fasc-bashing madness, and it’ll be over by the time you’ve read through this review and looked up whatever the hell “knurl” means. (It means “to crenate” or “to make beadings, or ridges” as on a coin or screw-head.)
Lustre – The Ashes of Light
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Choice Cut: “Part 3 (Like Music in the Night)”
A clear starry night hangs untroubled over a line of mutely moving trees standing on the other side of a ragged greenhouse and a field of cover-cropping winter pea. The party’s long over, but you and two friends are hanging onto its fraying threads. All you can hear is Lustre’s spa metal: the trickling keys, lush synths, and buried guitars braided together like a lullaby. You notice your friends are sleeping in the warm embrace of the softest, most wistful black metal, and you realize then and there that this is exquisite beauty, safety, and trust of an intimate friendship.
Emanation Body – Many Blessings
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Choice Cut: “Immersion”
The first of two 2020 releases by Ethan Lee McCarthy’s (Primitive Man, Vermin Womb) dark ambient/drone/noise side-project that reminds me of Crimewave, Hive Mind, and Daniel Menche. Though this came out on Translation Loss Records, it could have easily found a home on Cryo Chamber or even Posh Isolation. A constant fizzle of feedback coats an unsettling admixture of disembodied voices, tape loop distortions, corrosive echoes, and itchy soundscapes. Many Blessings possesses an arresting sense of storytelling, particularly on “Pandæmonium,” which sounds like what Milton saw when writing Paradise Lost. Put it on at dawn and get discomfited with me.