Reviews

Lulu’s Sonic Disc Club

Exek Good Thing They Ripped Up the Carpet LP

Archly romantic DIY pop shuffling, built from combination analogue and digital rhythms; distracted and/or stoned-sounding synth parts; textures and layers which read dub through the same lens as, say, YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS once did…this album from EXEK out of Melbourne is apparently half brand new shit (Side A) and half comp/split tracks (B), but it all flows with a lumpy singularity, a jumble with mumbling. The PHEROMOANS from England have a loosely similar line in post-punk/minimal synth low-key chaos, although EXEK doesn’t really go in for social satire in the same way. (They do have a song titled “The Theme From Judge Judy” though, which is something.) Recall their previous album, 2019’s Some Beautiful Species Left, being more linear on average than this, but EXEK does “spacey and weird” pretty well however they tweak their basic template.

Low Life From Squats to Lots: The Agony and XTC of Low Life LP

I haven’t caught up with these Aussies since their debut LP Dogging back in 2017, an album I loved, especially in headphones during the rainy months. Well, their third record has appeared in time for the rainy season again, and despite the years between listening, the band has returned with a record that has everything I found so appealing on Dogging, but just ever so matured and nuanced. I’ve always imagined the LOW LIFE sound being created by some smirking lads, loose and laughing on lager, having made off with the CURE’s gear circa Faith and Pornography, but starting a hardcore band with it instead. Stomping and pushing their chorus pedals to sound less blissed-out and distant than pharmaceutically blurry and smothering, replacing a limp strum with a harder attack. Sonically, there’s some special studio accents like trumpets, orchestral strings, and acoustic guitar textures; song-wise, there’s fewer barreling ragers and more moody meditations, but always brimming with desperation and frustration that frames the album’s spirit around the layers of watery chordage. LOW LIFE is in classically fine form and begs for repeat listening and time for full immersion.