Buffet All-American LP

For real: if this is what the crossroads of modern “noise rock” and throwback “emo” and “hardcore” sounds like, then I am fukkn sold. I’m reminded of WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN (high praise) as much as infectious and high-energy early ’90s college radio punk or classic Midwest hardcore—think early Homestead Records delivered with the ingredients that made ADOLESCENTS’ blue album. You recognize everything here, even though you’ve never quite heard it like this…and BUFFET are having fun. And it shows. Full endorsement.

Dry Wedding The Long Erode LP

As the modern dissection of ’80s underground goth continues, it should come as no surprise to hear sounds like the ones that fill the grooves of The Long Erode. Portland’s DRY WEDDING sifts through lesser castings to expose gold—remnants of CRIME + THE CITY SOLUTION, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, and later Wayne Hussey shine through their reincarnated musings while entire experiment is treated to a diet of hallucinatory deprivation. The title track is a disorienting dirge with melting guitars and a rhythm section sinking while the vocalist (formerly of Long Beach outfit SWAMPLAND, which is an indicator to those who recognize the name) moans his way through five minutes of slow motion Western psychedelia. If desert goth psych isn’t a genre….well, maybe it is now.

Obsessions Killing Time / Final Solution 7″

A dreamy, psychedelic take on garage rock, with reverb on the vocals and a heavy tambourine presence. The straightforward minor chord progressions and disaffected, snotty vocals are more emotional and less macho than you might expect from a garage record. While I don’t suspect these guys are actual fascists, it is a bit tone deaf to release a track called “Final Solution” with no lyric sheet.

Pura Crema Fin de la Era / Balada Del Hipocita 7″

Sparse, dark-yet-jangly, dreamy, sometimes surfy, psych-pop from Monterrey, Mexico, that kinda rules. Going down an internet rabbit hole, it seems that after a few years and a lot of digital releases, this is their most professional attempt, both at songwriting and recording. I gotta admit, it’s a good jump, and I can’t wait to hear what they got next.

The Manikins Bad Times LP

Mostly due to their tour de force album Crocodiles, this Swedish band stood out from their peers in the mid-2000s stripped-down power-garage-pop period—thinking bands like TRANZMITORS, the SHOCKS, and the HEX DISPENSERS who were reinterpreting the BUZZCOCKS for a post-Bush world. Crocodiles came out in 2008 and I thought the band had hung it up. Over a decade later they are back with a batch of new songs, but had the supporting tour sidelined by the pandemic. The album lacks the production earnestness of Crocodiles, but despite cleaning it up, there is an angsty darkness throughout the album captured best in the tracks “It’s Not Gonna Be OK” and “Worse Than I”. The songwriting and change-ups have allowed the band to expand their sound and even style a bit. The standout track is the mid-tempo “Make a Run for It”. An excellent album that manages not to rehash or revisit a long-gone time but moves forward in a newly defined way.