Extended Play: More EPs for your Listening Pleasure
5 more shorties on 5 more shorties that are gonna bust the house down.
Oh, look: a short review about an EP that came out in February from an artist who just released a full-length. Timely stuff! For all its brevity, Agnus Dei feels the most connected to Kristin Hayter’s aesthetic background. A drunken child extols the virtues of speaking in tongues (the “unknown language” that is lingua ignota) and compels his listeners to keep their funnels open. A warped, baroque cover of Iron Lung’s powerviolence classic “Sexless // No Sex.” Alexis Marshall (Daughters, As the Sun Sets) reads a Hermann Hesse poem over a gorgeously noisy transubstantiation of Handel’s “Where’er You Walk.” An extended meditation and corruption of Bach’s “Agnus Dei.” You need an MFA from Brown to keep up with the depth and breadth of cultural and religious touchstones Hayter reassembles into this quiet and contemplative affair. Consider it a prayer to that which remains holy even after its desanctification.
I want to talk about Patrick Kindlon, arguably the most magnetic, thoughtful, irreverent, and challenging vocalist in punk rock, but it wouldn’t be talking so much as it would be awkward gushing and starfucking, so let’s skip it! Drug Church showed up quietly amidst the End of a Year-to-Self Defense Family transformation but quickly proved itself to be an alt-rock revivalist powerhouse. Tawny, the band’s latest EP and first release since 2018’s Cheer, is the band’s best material since Hit Your Head. Catchy as hell (“Tawny”), dense in its politics (“Head-Off”), funny and bleak (“Bliss Out”), and touchingly tender (“Remember to Forget”), Tawny is 11 minutes of sneering-lipped and wide-eyed anthemic ennui. This is a Gen X fever dream written in the midst of Millennial collapse. It’s all over. We’re all self-obsessed fools. Let’s try to make the most of it. Don’t ever disengage. Pin your hopes somewhere. Maybe larger-than-life hooks, a heavy reading list, and the right company will save us.
A barbed-wire helix superimposed over a swirling cosmos encased in a rectangle of spiky and dripping bones all held together by a lone atom. That’s a pretty straight-forward description of the cover art for ANTIHÆLIX’s demo tape and not a bad review of the album itself. You’ve got your fuzzed-out tremolo riffs, your blast beats, your otherworldly screams, your relatable sense of capricious morbidity—everything that a raw-but-in-that-listenable-sorta-way atmospheric black metal album needs. “Mass Extinction Perversion” and “High of Devine Poison” churn through black metal motifs with acuity and precision, but “Epicurean Savagry” is the true gem here, stirring some franken-hardcore into the band’s mephitic soup. It is, to not put too fine a point on it, the rusty barb sticking out of the band’s charred DNA. At 15 minutes total, this demo is easy to put on repeat.
This one goes out to the skramily. Though sold as a proper LP, snag. tear through 7 songs in well under 25 minutes, making Death Doula technically an EP. Imagine the glass-shard jangle of Love Lost But Not Forgotten, the mathy destruction of Lickgoldensky, and Crestfallen’s spastic hardcore pulled taught like a bow and arrow and aimed directly at the heart of climate terror. Let snag. provide you the support and assistance you might need in the enduring and assumedly endless crisis that is climate change. There are no techno-fixes coming. Duluth, MN, can only hold so many people. We (probably) cannot out-adapt petro-capitalism. Still, always remember: “Our love is a conspiracy / Our bodies are a mutiny.” You can get this absolute ripper from Middle Man Records or directly from the band. I’m mad about all the coolest merch being sold out, though; I need that mushroom shirt and that hex candle.
Once upon a time 311 and Righteous Jams had a baby and that baby grew into a breakout crossover trendsetter named Turnstile. Though I used to feel pretty strongly that Turnstile moved in the wrong direction after Nonstop Feeling, I am also happy to admit how wrong I was. Turnstile figured it out. They figured out how to stay the coolest band in hardcore, and apparently that involves full-length films for short little EPs. “Holiday” is obviously a Song of the Year candidate, while “Mystery” and “T.L.C.” are both absolute bangers, and the only problem with “No Surprise” is that it’s not longer. So don your best Pacsun bucket hat, hike up those khakis, tuck in that white tee, and learn some sweet moves. Because once the Earth takes back the fields of human folly and we’re all living in picturesque treehouses and LARPing old variety television, you’ll still want to dance forever. New LP coming soon!