$ollar$ $ollar$ LP

Solo experimental/psych bedroom project recorded during 2020–2021. Raise your hand if you made home recordings during the COVID lockdowns (I am raising my hand). Now keep your hand up if they are worth listening to now (putting my hand down, and I hope most of you are doing the same). $OLLAR$ is proud of his, to the point that there are seven record-plus-merch options for this release available on Bandcamp, including a $300 option that includes a blanket of some sort. Pass. The music itself is a mix of written and improvised bluesy dirges about that era, sounding like a no-fi Homestead Records release or something Lou Barlow would have cooked up in the early ’90s. Slow strumming, slurred vocals, and songs like “Amazon” (it’s about Amazon), “Block Chain” (it’s about cryptocurrency), “Vaccine” (it’s about the Covid-19 vaccine), and “2020 Election Night Eve” (this one’s actually an instrumental, but you get the idea) are too on-the-nose and over with to be interesting. Creating art in times of fear and uncertainty is healthy. This one would have been better kept private.

Egzoz Smoking Jacket LP

Simple and effective guitar/drums garage rock band featuring members from the US and Turkey. Stripped-down, flanged-out guitar lines and catchy vocals make this an enjoyable, conceptual romp through Beyoğlu, Turkey. The track “SlightlyDelic” stands out from the rather primitive garage stompers on the record with a fast and funky post-punk approach, complemented by commanding spoken word vocals. Several songs center on themes of late nights in the city’s streets and include sound clips and Turkish lyrics mixed with English that give the record a cool, culture-straddling flair. One of the band’s vocalists, Chris Sollars, recently released a solo project called $OLLAR$, which I mention because this release contains three of those songs in more polished, upbeat versions.