Zoikle Zoikle LP

Former EX vocalist G.W. Sok started ZOIKLE almost ten years ago, but they’ve effectively been on hiatus since 2013 and this LP is the group’s first release since their debut 7″ in 2011, collecting fourteen recently fleshed out demos and fragments of songs that were started (but never finished) before that lengthy break. During his time with the EX, Sok helped set the bar for wildly smart and creative avant-punk over the course of three decades, and in more ways than not, ZOIKLE is a natural continuation of the outside-the-box approach that the EX had really come into by the early ’90s. Those familiar spoken/ranted vocals are still central, backed here by an ascetic foundation of cello, guitar, and drums scratching out a perfectly high-anxiety clamor—the presence of the cello invites some obvious parallels to the collaborative albums that the EX did with TOM CORA, with songs like “Happy” and “Waiting” leaning into Dragnet-era FALL/early MEKONS-ish pointed friction, while “Gangrene” and “4Q” throw in some busted-up electronics for a slightly more technologically-aided take on ramshackle art-punk. I can’t really think of many other people actively creating punk music today with this long of a completely unfuckwithable track record…