Pickle Darling - “Bigness”

(Z Tapes)

Musician and producer Lukas Mayo returns with another release under his Pickle Darling moniker. Each of these ten tracks is a unique and tightly produced blend of electronic pop, and intimate singer-songwriter musings. These songs sound like they were written on guitar first and elevated with all the electronic goodness. There’s an earthiness and down-to-earth feel behind all the bright rhythms and beats.

A good example is the track Rinse Spin Cycle / Nicolas Cage. This six-minute track exudes the warm, buzzing energy, clean lines, and personal writing that exemplifies everything we love about Pickle Darling. “What if no one likes my music?” sings Pickle Darling. Not a problem, Lukas. We really dig this.

Standout tracks include: Soft Cars, an intimate ballad that begins with good guitar textures, and slowly introduces bass and drums to fill out the track, as the lyrics meander through a story in a string very casual, conversational lines, and Greta, which is built on a warm synth line and some curiously tune bent vocals.

Bigness represents to me a movement from the lo-fi beginnings of bedroom pop to a much more polished sound that still retains the innocence and personal connection that made bedroom pop so popular to begin with, and is a logical successor to the previous Pickle Darling album, which hit a lot of the same marks. This album is a realization of more, further, and higher.


Gray Lee



True Blossom - “Heater”

(Citrus City Records)

Atlanta pop band True Blossom brings us this striking ode to traditional studio sounds, with lovely throwbacks to 70s grooves & rhythms, with warm, shimmering vocals that would melt the most frozen of hearts. This is Heater, the ten-track debut for the band, and a compelling listen throughout.

The opening track Baby, kicks off this release with a thumping, funky bassline, vibrant synths, and enough wiki wiki guitar licks to get your bell bottoms moving. Singer Sophie Cox smoothly tops the groovy concoction with soft, inviting lyrics and harmonies. The band’s fascination with studio technique shows in the cleverly layered mixing of this album, with a rich selection of finely tuned sounds - but underneath is a real nuts-and-bolts framework of songwriting and arrangement that really brings up the temperature.

The lyrics and content here are not out of place - Heater is proudly pop music. You’ll hear of heartbreak, love, sadness, and bliss. Mostly, it all turns to bliss. In the track We’ve All Been Here Before, there are themes of breakup and failed reunion, but with the hot synth hook, driving bass, and perky drums - you can’t help but feel good. The beautiful harmonies of Grave Robbers, and the tight groove of I Still Hate You bring depth to the album. The title track, Heater, really bumps with locked in bass and drums, thrilling vocal embellishments, and fun synths. You may hear a small sound inside yourself - that’s your icy heart melting with Heater.


Gray Lee

TMBOY - "Steam"


TMBOY - “Steam”

Normally, music categorized somewhere between “dance” and “pop” will have certain common elements, such as a driving 4/4 beat, and computerized voices singing empty platitudes about imaginary, idealistic infatuations. Such is not the case with this album. Electronic duo TMBOY releases Steam, a full length record that blends the high energy of electro-pop dance music with the subtlety, nuance, and vulnerability of singer-songwriting.

This music is charged with kinetic energy, surging with hard hitting EDM beats and buzzing with smooth lines of delicious synth - it's music that emerges from, speaks to, and urges movement. Each track draws the listener in from the opening notes, and holds that attention through to the end. Listening to the instrumentation on these tracks, produced by electronic composer Will Shore, would be enjoyable enough - but add the phenomenal vocal work by Sarah Aument, and this record skyrockets to new heights. Her effortless, charming, and powerful delivery leaps from each arrangement from smoky, intimate passages to full-voiced splendor that soars skyward. The brightness of her voice, and the raw beauty of the streamlined lyrics she sings, cast across the shadowy, atmospheric backdrop of synth bliss, makes Steam an emotional and urgent listen. Channeling beloved voices from the 90s,  Aument’s style brings to mind powerhouse voices such as Eddi Reader, Björk, Tracey Thorn, or Cocteau Twins - but never gets hung up on emulating the styles of others. She has a strong, confident presentation that is distinctly her own.

The combination of this duo’s powers is evident in tracks such as No One, where crucial timing and contrast between tender, reflective verses and bold, vibrant choruses create a dynamic feel. The title track, Steam, pairs a textured, exotic beat with singsong lyrics, precise harmonies, and a wide open chorus that hits hard with sweeping, anthemic power and resonant waves of synth energy.

Another highlight track, Zephyr, begins with a looping synth arpeggio with some exquisite falsettos, a supercharged pre-chorus that buzzes with tension, and a beautiful chorus backed by distant orchestral synths. “What if I am so small, I am nothing now?”  is the beautifully self-reflective line from the chorus - one of many such lines in the uniquely minimal and poetic lyrics found here. Each of these tracks is blessed with stylish, relatable, and intimate writing.

Overall, Steam is what we would classify as an essential release. There isn’t a note out of place. Every selection has its own identity, yet the release is a solid listen. Just like its namesake, Steam is full of rushing heat, immediate kinetic power, and the simplicity of combined elemental forces. The album is available in compact disc, LP, or digital. We highly recommend that you put this in your ears.

Gray Lee



KATE CAN WAIT - "Howl Youth"


Kate Can Wait - "Howl Youth"

(Grimalkin Records) 

Perfectly capturing the lo-fi feel of heartfelt singer-songwriter self-recordings of the early 2000s, Puerto Rico's Kate Can Wait utilizes jangly acoustic guitars, layered harmonies, and charming bilingual lyrics to craft a solid release.

This recording reminded me so much of the Tascam rich days of the 00s when indie musicians flooded a burgeoning social media scene with home recorded music. The acoustic stylings of Kate Can Wait are a refreshing listen, full of soulful harmonized vocals and natural guitar sounds submerged in living tracks filled with warm room reflections and distant night noises. Howl Youth invokes the feeling of an all night campfire with friends, contemplating life's mysteries and making wild plans for the future. Musician and singer Molly Kate Rodriguez fills each recording with multi-tracked guitars and vocal work that creates a strong sense of togetherness. Using multiple takes to build up the sound, Rodriguez is able to cancel solitude and loneliness by sounding like a group of close-knit individuals.

Highlights include Licantropia, a song sung in spanish with a beautiful, twisting melody and tangible guitar work. Below The Sea, brings us beautiful harmony, strummed rhythms, and Stormbreakerz is full of urgent texture and a memorable chorus. Overall, Howl Youth is a flavorful presentation of lo-fi, acoustic recordings that showcase Kate Can Wait's ability to write and sing heartfelt, engaging music.

Howl Youth is available on digital & cassette. A six track 7" lathe cut is also available. Proceeds from all digital only sales and cassette sales of the full length version of howl youth go to the True Self Foundation, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a non-profit supporting the LGBTQIA+ community with various services and programs:  www.trueselffoundation.org

Gray Lee


Whettman Chelmets - Infant Eyes and Baby Steps


Whettman Chelmets - “Infant Eyes and Baby Steps”

(Girly Girl Musik)

The indefatigable Whettman Chelmets drops his first release for 2019 in the form of a tight, little EP that communicates the travails and triumphs of raising a newborn but in a style that only Whettman can deliver.

The droning, ambient post-rock of the tracks certainly convey the surreal, sleep-deprived state that all parents have experienced. Indeed, track titles such as TFW it’s 400 am and you’ve been up 3 times already and MRW I Drop the Passie in the Dark express a verisimilitude of lived experience, and the field recordings of life in the Chelmetts’ household further amplify the authenticity.

Fans of Whettman’s previous work such as Annihilate your Masters and Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive will recognize the expansive soundscapes he can create with with reverb-drenched shoe-gaze guitar work and ambient synth. However, where Annihilate Your Masters stayed gritty and nihilistic, this latest EP goes to uplifting and hopeful places. Likewise, where Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive could be overly giddy, Infant Eyes and Baby Steps is touchingly heartfelt.

All in all, another solid release for the Whettman discography and the soundtrack for sleep-deprived new parents everywhere.

Theron Willis


IMP OF PERVERSE - "Imp In Reverse"


Imp of Perverse - “Imp in Reverse”

(Under the Counter Tapes)

I make it a point not to read press releases that come packaged with music until after listening to said music. When it came to listening to Imp in Reverse, I had no idea what I was dealing with. I really dig this cover art. but I must admit the hypnotic background and slimeball cartoon splatters had me imagining some pretty damn weird music to go along with it.  My mind immediately went with odd instrumentation, maybe some creepy whispers, perhaps an uncomfortably chorused and phased tuneless voice belting out nonsensical lyrics - All of which would have been perfectly fine, because that’s exactly what I was expecting.

Instead, my ears were greeted with 83 minutes of psychedelic pop, with catchy, melodic guitar hooks, expertly managed percussion, and smooth, 90s styled rock and roll lyrics.

Imp of Perverse is the solo project of Sean Lochridge, drummer for the Austin, TX pysch pop band, Sherry.  This career-spanning release explores the evolution of The Imp, as a writer, creator and all around mad genius of off-the-wall rock musings. The catch here is that this litany of creative output is presented in reverse chronological order - allowing the listener the unique experience of starting at present day, and traveling backwards in one song increments as The Imp slowly grows younger, and wilder. 

Interested yet? You should be. The entire release is a solid musical odyssey full of hook-laden rock melodies, killer rhythms, and a quirky atmosphere of irreverent fun that keeps each new track fresh and engaging.  Imp in Reverse is divided neatly into four musical zones for the time-traveling listener to meander through:

Act 1 - Not Getting What You Want, One Step at a Time

The first four tracks of Imp in Reverse comprise this act. This music represents a seasoned Imp, using all the art rock skills he has developed to craft dream-like arrangements and catchy, melodic wordplay. Whether it’s the laid back acoustic vibe of misunderstanding, or the clean electric line, background organs, and breathy Lou Reed styled whispered lyrics of decisions, this chapter of the story could be considered the most ‘commercial,’ although that is a dangerous word to use in this context.

Act 2 - There's Everything

Tracks five through nine allow us to see the experimental side of The Imp, with selections that employ complex structures, off-the-wall writing and unpredictable, yet satisfying results. What we see here is a strong, confident Imp who is ready to challenge us. The thesis of this segment of the Imp’s progression can be found in the existential buzzing curves of the track, Pixelated Mindfuck in the Infinite Reality Corner, which blends tightly controlled psychedelic rock recording with chaotic-leaning dream passages. This act is also home to Gulliver’s Tail which is an objectively great track, built on a solid lead guitar riff, and a great bridge with punchy bass and the repeated motto of “Some people never change/ but over time they don’t seem the same.” Afterwards, a lengthy guitar amp buzz leads the track back into the main drag for some echoed final vocalizations.

Screenshot 2019-02-04 at 11.51.54 AM.png

Act 3 - Togethercoloured Instant

This section of Imp in Reverse could be considered the calm before the storm. It is a beautiful three-track presentation featuring jangly guitar scrollwork, warmly looping synth arpeggios and gauzy arrangements of floating fuzz.

Act 4 - Who Knows

The end of this backwards story is the beginning. This nine-track entry in the Imp of Peverse saga is the debut of Sean Lochridge's solo efforts - and it is a mighty tome of psychedelic rock goodness, full of heavy, grunge-slinging guitars and gobs of furious percussion. The opening harsh drums and wailing guitar leads of steponthisflowerpedal lead the way for avant-garde art rock madness to spill over the track in broken chunks of pop rock laden with young lad lyrics and curling electric embellishment for punctuation. Each track in this act is a careening container of rhythms, hooks, thumping bass, and assorted psych elements - all pleasingly jumbled messes of young rock swagger.

Overall, Imp in Reverse may seem like a daunting release for an uninitiated listener to sink their teeth into, but don't be discouraged by the amount of material here. Finally, you get bang for your buck. Every track of this release is high-quality, and we found it perfectly suitable to experience this release in its entirety.  

Gray Lee



[Album of the Month] VINYL DIAL - "Space Wizard"


Vinyl Dial - “Space Wizard”

(Flamingo Vapor)

Space Wizard is a wide-angle, prog-synth explosion of complex compositions, bursts of anthemic power, and energetic futuristic fun. Built from layers of tightly managed electronic instrumentation, UK artisan,Vinyl Dial, wields a uniquely honed power to spin an upbeat, concept-driven architecture of driving rhythms, soaring melodic themes, and dense world-building atmospheres.

The album is engineered to continuously flow from one varied musical idea to the next, which can be felt right away as album opener, Into the Oversky, leads from cloudgazing wonderment, to ramping forward momentum that transitions into the tense technological interplay of Areonausea. The story hook is here - presenting the first set of problems for the protagonists. Spectral Universe is a spaced-out break in the action to admire the grandeur of it all. Sparse, computerized vocals add storyline to the action.

Fast-paced thriller, Solar Sands, gives us the first furious space battle, with plenty of intricate, sweeping note runs that are almost vaguely Celtic, while Anunnaki is a cooler, jazzier number, with flirty synth embellishments and fuzzy guitar fills.

The closing track, Bad Trip is a sidelong arrangement that defies comprehension. The compositional movements in this grand final chapter of the Space Wizard story are worth repeat explorations.

Space Wizard is an entertaining and engrossing oddysey of electronic prog rock that we highly recommend. It is an energetic exploration of theme with enough artfully managed intricacy to become a favorite repeat listening experience.

Gray Lee





Goblinsmoker - "Toad King"

(The Sludgelord) 

Heavy sludge drips over every inch of this driving slice of stoner metal. The toad king is indeed alive and well, and he's got some dastardly deeds in store for the dwellers of murky, shadowy places.

Crunchy guitars of doom lockstepped with throbbing stabs of toxic bass and banging thuds of percussion dominate the track as an unholy minion of the underworld screeches out gargled incantations of filth in the opening title track of this terrifying triptich.

The second offering in this slimy ritual is a lenghty tome of unfortunate, and muddy profanity known as Take the Dead. We are not certain where the dead are being taken, but we do not care to argue with the growling creature that directs the dead to be taken. A slowly churning chord progression of psychedelic death echoes across the swampy pits of ruin that the Toad King inhabits, only ordered from chaos by clang and clamor of orc-hammered drums. A inhuman litany of unspeakable deeds is hurled from the witch-mouthed amphibian as the dissoving waves of sludge boil and swirl faster, sweeping up into a funnel of dark, dingy muck.

At last, a dank stone door is heaved aside, and in a rank cave filled with toadlings, a dark ceremony begins in the track Time to Ride. The hideous creatures gather their ill-begotten powers to mount a new offensive, screaming into the night sky that "The time has come." As the final driving pulse of rotten metal surges in intensity, the Toad King laughs manically and orders his murderous army to march upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of the earth.

Gray Lee




Mister Dizzy - “LoVape”

(DMT Tapes)

Mister Dizzy spins us around with this sample-free vaporwave toke known as LoVape. Smokey tracks with plenty of buzzing VHS distortions abound in this release, blending a variety of musical styles to concoct a vibrant potion of delicious lo-fi jams.

Highlights include the gain heavy brightness of toga party or the Casio-rich keyboard ballad rainy window. The crunchy overdriven bass of groggy morning paints a vape-heavy backdrop for woozy synth melodies to slide across like Salvador Dali melting into a davenport after a night of absurdity. An award of 'best title' should be bestowed upon ninja sax party, although the track speaks for itself, sounding like a sleazy Saturday Night Live commercial break bumper that's been demagnetized.

The closer, credits music is crafted to slowly break the spell and return the listener to waking life. LoVape remains at our beckon, however, for the next time we need a good puff of the magic formula.

Gray Lee


MAI 麦 - "Arcadia 1"


Mai 麦 - "Arcadia 1"

(Stolen Mirror) 

Shanghai, China-based artist, Mai麦, brings us this blissful collection of guitar arpeggios and multi-instrumental arrangements. Arcadia 1 is a sleek and stylish blend of ambient synth atmospheres, natural sounds, and acoustic guitar that creates a varied and textural experience for the listener. With a jangly, minimalist fingerstyle guitar embedded in a wide field of electronic sound, Mai 麦 ties together a rich tapestry of color and light that is as engaging as it is soothing.

The release opens with Iridescent, beginning with a simple plucked out chord progression that rises brightly above a mix of humming, crackling electronics that fades into nothingness. The longest piece on the record The Island, begins much in the same way, except with a richer, fuller mix on the guitar that really brings out the body, as a light and peaceful backdrop of tones filters in from the edges of periphery to augment each note. Waterwheel gleams with a natural approach crafted from sounds of gently moving water merging with shifting vibrations and a rhythmic composition. Album closer, Reflected Light, builds feom more ambient tone, finishing the aural experience with a dreamlike lullaby of diaphonus energies.

Overall, Arcadia 1 invites the listener into a tranquil, safe environment with thoughtfully presented selections that allow a meditative journey in a clear, light fashion. Highly recommended for times of relfection or relaxation either in blissful solitude, or in tandem with like-minded participants.

Gray Lee



SPARTAN JET-PLEX - "Godless Goddess"


Spartan Jet-Plex - "Godless Goddess"

(Grimalkin Records) 

Richmond, Virginia-based Grimalkin Records' label boss, Nancy Kells, has a lot of irons in the fire. When she isn't dealing with label-running, performing in numerous other musical projects, or helping vulnerable & marginalized people in RVA and around the world, she creates her own personal music under the moniker of Spartan Jet-Plex. Her latest release, Godless Goddess is a varied collection of experimental, avant-garde neo folk, drone-tinged noise explorations, and intimately expressed acoustic offerings. 

The album opener, Stop, builds on a strong beat, and a looped set of horns and echoed vocalizations, across which Kells weaves an infectious melody with her clear and distinctive voice. Melted and disintegrated samples bookend the track and lead into Chronostasis Interlude, which features circling vocals from another member of the Grimalkin family, Berko Lover. 

 Fear is a beautifully minimal piece featuring a strummed acoustic guitar and a distant organ, lending a sacred air to this ballad. A short interlude, Baubo, blends some spacey synth with distorted laughter.

Everything, like Fear, is a stripped down acoustic track, blessed with haunting and tender vocals.  Entrance brings a blending of songwriting with experimental synth vibes, ending with a thick braid of twisting voices. 

Throughout the release Spartan Jet-Plex weilds the power of raw, unbridled self-expression augmented with electronic & ambient synth interludes, making Godless Goddess an album that walks the line between musical worlds, benefitting from each zone it passes through. 

Gray Lee



ANDROSS 5225 - "Andross 5225"


Andross 5225 - “Andross 5225”


With a warbling vintage electronic sound like the opening credits of an 80s classroom science class VHS about the wonders of space, Andross 5225 is a sweet slice of outer-space future retro. Set in a distant future where artificial intelligence guides travelers on their tour of the galaxy, each selection of Andross 2055 is teeming with fuzzy synths and satisfyingly crunchy rhythms. So, take your protein pills, and put your helmet on - this far out oddity will take you to the stars and back.

After the straightforward opening credits of 5225, strap in with Space Voyage, a track that has all the optimistic hope of unknown sights on the distant starry horizon. This is the kind of music that makes me truly believe that Pluto is really still a planet after all. (I’m not ready to part with My Very Excellent Mother Just Made Nine Pizzas.) The third track, Corrupted AI, introduces a dramatic problem. Up to this point your robotic pilot has taken care of everything and the journey has been smooth sailing - but now something is wrong. Probably a virus.

Incoming Transmission is a super funky track that lets us know that rescue is on the way. In fact, the transmission is SO funky and jams SO hard, that you’re not even worried about being stranded in space. Cue chair dance! After being picked up by the freaky funkadelic aliens, take a tour of their bizarre alien craft in the vaporious track - Inside. After some hijinx with the alien crew and the completion of our galactic tour, we finally learn some sort of heartfelt lesson about the meaning of true life being love, or some mess like that - in the track, Stardust. And with that, the journey is over.

Overall, Andross 5225 is a lighthearted and enjoyable bit of space-themed vaporwave that entertains without overstaying its welcome or overusing audio gimmicks. There is a good variety of styles contained in the movement of the release, and a narrative is successfully conveyed in a pleasant way.


The cassette edition of Andross 5225 is sold out, but the digital is still available, meaning you can take your very own space journey right now.

Gray Lee




Aloysius Scrimshaw - “Post-Music”

(Pink Dolphin Music)

Just when you thought underground music couldn’t get any weirder, Aloysius Scrimshaw’s latest release burrows to even lower depths of strangeness and insanity.

With his previous album Kind Regards From Isaac, the Dead Musician imprinted his peculiar style on a folk aesthetic. However, on Post-Music Scrimshaw pivots to a more electronic sound.

Imagine a club of undead ravers hypnotically swaying to an unholy amalgamation of throbbing drum and bass layered with unsettling synth pads and accentuated by guitar and assorted sonic freakery.

Atop of the musical morass, Scrimshaw delivers Rorschach-esque narrations of the macabre and morbid.

The time has come for Post-Music. Pray that your ears are ready.

The time has come for Post-Music. Pray that your ears are ready.

Second Wakeup tells the tale of how claustrophobic and tedious environs pushes a submarine crewman to his absolute breaking point.

Wendigo Psychosis recounts grisly scenes of animalistic barbarity and Creature 432 paints an eerie setting of a house by the lake.

All in all, Post-Music is a solid entry in the Dead Musician’s discography and an interesting artifact in his musical quest for the offbeat and unusual.

Check out the link below to add this disturbing little gem to your collection.

Theron Willis


Sing along with the Dead Musician: “Second wakeup for the shipmate, second wakeup for the shipmate…”

BAST - "Nanoångström"


Bast - "Nanoångström"

UK trio Bast slaughters ears and conjures fears with Nanoångström, a concept-driven, megolithic ode to brooding metal forged in the cores of distant planets long since darkened from the view of our own galaxy. A smoky slow burning intro, Distant Suns, leads into an array of five lengthy movements made of adrenaline and fire. While each successive track has its own unique sound, their dynamic structure and scope are always complimentary to the broader picture, and thus move as one.

The power of narrative composition is what sets Nanoångström apart from other metal records. There is a degree of patience and control here, amid the crispy doom metal guitars and pounding rhythms. Long passages of music go by without any vocal commentary. Patterns ebb and flow, grow and change. Amid the dramatically-timed voice work are the aggressive growls and snarls we crave, but also there are surprising moments of harmonized singing that produce some nice chills.

Exploring themes of loneliness, rage, and anguish against a backdrop of science fiction fantasy, Bast elevates the art of metalmaking with longform compositions that blend raw energy with ancient, galactic lore and legend. Overall, the churning rock apocalypse of Nanoångström is outstripped by its own artistry of arrangement, making it an easy repeat listen for the thinking metalhead, with just as many sorrowful asides as chunky doom metal riffs. 

Gray Lee


ARROWOUNDS - "Book of Endangered Species"


Arrowounds - “Book of Endangered Species”

(Histamine Tapes)

With a captivating sound that right away becomes dimensional, Book of Endangered Species presents itself as an audio riddle to be solved by the listener through repeat plays. The opening chapters of this 'book' are embellished with layers of murky, convoluted ambient sound, like a wet layer of forest leaves that must be dug away at to reveal what they are hiding. Turning these earthen pages uncovers muddy drones that move in and out of the listeners space, filling the aural atmosphere with tangible light, and vague tendency to purpose.

While some tracks, such as Glass Cemeteries, tend to drone more directly - there always seem to be shifting levels of texture within the output that continues the interest and thought pattern. Instead of lulling the listener into another consciousness, these sounds invite the listener to explore the current one. Other parts of this story like, the track Rainier, are more cinematic in nature and begin to cycle in light orchestration, and undulate more dynamically than the opening pieces. Throughout the work, varied audio experiences and complex networks of field recording provide a tactile and detailed look at each aspect of the story being told.

The final chapter of the Book of Endangered Species is a lengthy sidelong exploration of a vast, cave-like space. This selection is called Blue Rivers Through Black Earth and is a more traditional droner and is certainly transportive in nature. Overall, this work is a contemplative and multi-faceted exploration of narrative that bears closer inspection and reflection.

Gray Lee


THE MOUND BUILDERS - "The Mound Builders"


The Mound Builders - “The Mound Builders”

(Failure Records & Tapes)

Growing straight out of the Indiana soil, The Mound Builders, release their self titled full length of psychedelic rock infused metal. The album opens with Torchbearer, an epic seven minute riff-worship dug from the very foundations of crunchy, heavy doom-and-gloom metal. Just as the listener expects to hear a nasal vocal about witches and generals, frontman Jim Voelz steps in and begins hurling his trademark howl into the wind. His whiskey burned growl sears the track like a dirt-encrusted, acid-rusted bucket full of red hot coals.

With the introductions out of the way, The Mound Builders climb into other, more fast paced numbers, such as Hair of the Dogma that piles up a cathartic thrash, giving Jim an opportunity to showcase a blistering screech straight from the muddy pits of Hell. The aptly titled track Acid Sludge leads in with a smoldering dirge built from plenty of dirty low end buzz and demonic screams, and a solid, repeating riff that builds in geological layers before kicking into a faster, and more violent earthquake anthem.

The closing of this release, Vanished, is a durable rock journey that shovels together the many elements The Mound Builders draw from to forge their unique sound. Throughout the release, guitarist Brian Boszor, drummer Jason "Dinger" Brookhart, and bassist Ryan Strawsma exert precise control over varied style and rhythm shifts, while consistently delivering a viciously chaotic feel, creating a dynamic listening experience for metal devotees. The Mound Builders plan to unload this new release on Jan 18th.

Gray Lee

Preorder the LP: 



DERE MOANS - "Inglorious Deathsounds Mixtape"


Dere Moans - “Inglorious Deathsounds Mixtape”

(Bad Cake Records)

Dere Moans returns with two sidelong slabs of sonic spaghetti woven together in that special way that only Dere moans can. Inglorious Deathsounds Mixtape is a swirling vortex of plunderphonic scuzz, a deluge of orphaned orchestrations, sliced samples, and deconstructed dialogues, masterfully merged into a tightly controlled audio output that achieves a strange serenity inside the blinding cloud of blended sound.

It is not the chaos itself that draws the attention, but the delicate balance of between that tangled stream of consciousness, and the shaping of the relentless tide. Feel the organic contours that remain after this crashing wave of signals and noises is swept up and bound by invisible powers and contorted into glowing sculptures of wordless wonder.

Prepare yourself for 60 minutes of warp zone refreshment crafted from tumult, honed with cinematic interludes of reflection, and ending in a fading coalescence of what was, leaving a jagged imprint on the auditory psyche.

Gray Lee


[Album of the Month] URSULA'S CARTRIDGES / KIZUNAUT - "07​:​15​:​14​:​05 OFFLINE"



Ursula's Cartridges / Kizunaut - "07:15:14:05 OFFLINE"

(Asura Revolver)

Though this split release is described as a nod to industrial electronic music from the late 80s and early 90s, the music found within is by no means recycled. This one is an absolute banger, all the way through.

Unlike most split releases Kizunaut and Ursula's Cartridges are not relegated to their respective sides of the tape, but instead alternately queue their tracks in a call and response that plays out like a futuristic duel. Kizunaut's weapons are powerful rhythms and hooks, while Ursula's Cartridges relies on compositional subterfuge and cleverly chosen ancient earth samples.

The back and forth play between these two varied electronic artists creates an excellent sense of depth, while their collaboration keeps the release on a steady path. A path of grinding, buzzing, dark synthwave future jam that is going to rock you. 

Gray Lee


QOHELETH - Ape Dog Wars Chide the Stem Toil

QOHELETH - Ape Dog Wars.jpg

QOHELETH - “Ape Dog Wars Chide the Stem Toil”

(Philip K. Discs)

Experimental noise-rockers QOHELETH teamed up with composer/multi-instrumentalist Whettman Chelmets for a complete makeover of their debut album God is the Warmest Place to Hide.

The musical mashup spawned the sonic abomination of Ape Dog Wars Chide the Stem Toil-a bleak amalgamation of industrial sprawl that warps the original source material into bold and demented new forms.

The idea for the musical collaboration came about through social media. On Twitter, Whettman saw Jeremy Hunt-one of the members of QOHELETH-expressing the desire to do a noise rock remix album.

“Jeremy said something in a tweet...regarding all these different styles and sounds he wanted to do with the band but he didn't have the technological wherewithal. I told him I'd be interested,” Whettman recalled.

QOHELETH and Whettman tested the water with a single track, and they were so pleased with the results that they decided to go ahead and remix the entire album.

“It started with just one of the tracks, to see if he would have fun with it and then it just expanded from there,” said Hunt.

“I figured I'd just do a remix or two but ended up doing every song and a couple of other ideas too,” said Whettman.

The band was so pleased with Whettman’s work that they wanted him to take complete artistic license with no inhibitions.

“He would send ideas back to get our feedback, but basically we wanted him to feel the freedom to go crazy with it,” Hunt said.

“They gave me free reign to do whatever…” agreed Whettman.

The ethos of unbounded sonic experimentation shows off in spades. While enjoyable as a standalone, the work can only fully be appreciated as a companion piece to the original.

You then take on the role of an audio archaeologist, uncovering artifacts that point back to the original source material.

On Bombardier, the fuzzed-out and distorted bass loop will point you to Tombs of White.

The melody on Sikorsky will allow you to uncover Heaviness of Presence as the source track.

To give any more clues would totally ruin the listening experience, so go ahead and pick up both albums to revel in the noise and sonic anarchy.

Theron Willis



Note: To see our reviews of Whettman Chelmetts’ previous work, click here, here and here.

FROG - "Whatever, We Probably Already Had It"


Frog - “Whatever, We Probably Already Had It”

(Audio Antihero)

Solid rock and roll with pop inflection, melodic infection, and sing-along perfection greets us in this stellar release from Queens, New York duo, Frog. Whatever… is a precision delivery of high-energy alternative garage rock with sweeping, anthemic choruses, and snarky intimate lyrics full of sarcasm and promise.

After the fun intro track, Frog dons a thick southern accent for the track entitled American, which takes a raucous jab at the stereotypical USA creature. Something to HIde begins as a sardonic breakup song with a soaring chorus with a killer climb, while God Once Loved a Woman is an artistic ballad that slowly builds an enormous power underneath its tender surface.

The immediate driving jam of Journey to the Restroom makes a great contrast for a campfire song, Bones which gives us that great chorus that begins with:

Do you know that you are/

The guardian of a part of my life/

That I had forgotten?

Don’t Tell Me Where You’re Going hits hard with a strong rhythm and a harmonized chorus and closes out the album nicely.

A word that gets overused in the music industry and in music reviewing is “essential”, but in this case, the word applies. Whatever, We Probably Already Had it is a short, but detailed look at life with all the joy, sorrow, and wry humor that comes with it. Each track has its own way of being both familiar and memorable, and the release overall feels like something you should have known about before.

Gray Lee