Collate Generative Systems LP

Scratchy Portland post-punks COLLATE deliver their second LP after about five years and a string of excellent EPs. And despite what’s felt like an eternity passing since we last heard from them (2021’s “Medicine / Genesis Fatigue” 7″), they pick up pretty much where they left off. Generative Systems opens with a bass-forward minimal post-punk number that’s equal parts GANG OF FOUR, the CONTORTIONS, and ROSA YEMEN. It’s energetic without being overtly dancy, and the production is cold and bone-dry—an invigorating way to kick off a record, like the aural equivalent of stepping outside on a crisp winter evening without a jacket. From there, tracks tend to follow a similar formula, maybe cranking up one of the aspects of their core sound—a little more noise here, a little more rubbery groove there, maybe pop in some cowbell and take things in a bit of an ESG direction. It’s ground they’ve tread before, and they continue to do it well. But where this record really shines is when they push things punkward. It’s probably more attitudinal than sonic, but this record definitely has more of a punk vibe than past releases. They strike a tone somewhere between angry and mean, and they really wear it well. A track like “Stocks,” one of my favorites on the record, just really conveys being fed the fuck up in a way that I haven’t heard from them before. It’s an excellent record from an excellent band. Handsome physical release, too. Pick this one up as soon as you get a chance!

Collate Medicine / Genesis Fatigue 7″

Blame COVID for why there’s not a new COLLATE LP primed and ready to sit on your turntable. Still, the Portland trio does us a solid with a short but effective single. “Medicine” is begging to get a sweaty DIY dive packed with awkward weirdos grooving in something close to tandem. COLLATE doesn’t shirk on the ass-shaking aspect of post-punk nor do they let up on the jagged guitar or the eternally cool call-and-response vocals. This shit smokes, call the FIRE ENGINES! “Genesis Fatigue” is even rowdier and could have landed on any number of killer art-punk comps from 1981 and held its own in such hallowed company. Furthermore, as with all Domestic Departure output, this single looks fab.

Collate Communication / Selective Memory 7″

Portland’s COLLATE continue with their angular and distinctive sound. With idiosyncratic guitar and punctuated vocals, it’s like a KRAFTWERK and GANG OF FOUR mashup. “Communication” is almost robotic, with an occasional release, followed by an epic, noisy, and tangled flop at the end. Flip to side B. “Selective Memory” is strange funk with infrequent shouts, and the striking of clean, unfiltered guitar. Art school dropout punk right here.