Bandcamp Friday x Extended Pleasure: The Collaboration Part Deux
Bandcamp Friday is back, baby! Extended Pleasure is back, baby! The Iron Goddess is back, baby! Get your babies ready for these little baby records that even you, a little baby, can afford with your teeny baby wallet. Do you have the financial flexibility and attention span and temperament of a baby, you soaked-diaper baby? Then let’s dance, baby, as the whole world burns. You know the deal: five EPs, 100 words each. Just because everything is different, baby, doesn’t mean that anything’s gonna change. So strap into your babybjorn, run for your bassinet, and pray that that cradle won’t fall.
I love that “Rabbit” is just a slight aural slide towards “Rabid,” because this Brooklyn band are a bunch of berserk bunnies. Other websites seem dedicated to drawing comparisons to those short-lived legends in Gulch, and who am I to stake any other claim? Distorted and deranged vocals rip through a thick slog of pounding hardcore that sometimes veers towards powerviolence/grindcore but mostly balances any blasts with big two-step and mosh breakdowns. “Worse” and “Pigpen” are the superlative tracks here, though closer “Withdrawal from Mass Grave”—the album’s only song to crack three minutes—is a journey through hell worth taking.
Long-time collaborators Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb the Music Industry!) and Laura Stevenson partner up for a second helping of Neil Young covers. Alongside standards “Comes a Time” and “Everybody Knows…,” Rosenstock and Stevenson do so much with the unheralded “Razor Love” (Silver & Gold) and overlooked “Hey Babe” (American Stars ‘n Bars). “Razor Love” alone is worth the low price of admission, as the duo harmonizes gorgeously over a mix of simple strumming, a quiet drumbeat, light synths, and a little horn play. The whole project is one of friendship, reverence, and fun, and I can’t wait for a third helping.
Monochromatic Rainbows – “Agnosthesia” b/w “Anaphasia”
Releases like this 12-minute debut make me feel lucky to have music. “Agnosthesia” sits uncomfortably at the intersection of post-rock, ambient, and drone. There’s a surprisingly robust structure to a song that should be forever drifting away from itself, yet everything coalesces into what is the most beautiful track I’ve heard in 2023. “Anaphasia” is less plaintive, less affectively inclined. Buzzing noise, a musique concrete sense of looping, and haunting samples disabuse the listener of the comfort afforded them on Side A. It’s the sound of a dopamine fry—a sizzling of synapses as the colour drains from the world.
One Step Closer – Songs for the Willow
A ten-minute follow-up to 2021’s This Place You Know that finds Wilkes-Barre’s most precocious sons not only honing the melodic hardcore that made This Place You Know so powerful but pushing their sound to even more emotionally raw and melodically satisfying places. The songwriting is a little tighter, as the band slides effortlessly between verse, chorus, and bridge in a way the band slightly struggled with on earlier releases. Opener “Dark Blue” serves as a perfect link between records, while closer “TTSP” will have old and new fans dreaming about just how special the next release is going to be.
Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean – I Tried Catching You But You Fell Through Me
It’s sort of cheating to say that Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean sound like if Thou wrote Dead Cab for Cutie lyrics, seeing as the band recorded a pitch-perfect sludgification of Death Cab’s “I Will Possess Your Heart,” but maybe we just need to bite the bullet and call Chained to the Bottom of Ocean what they are: sludgemo. That ugly portmanteau, that groaning neologism, might sound awkward but only so much as this sound needs a disjointed name to represent it effectively. As misanthropic as ever, let’s not overlook just how sorrowful an affair this truly is.