Toe Ring Footage cassette

Up-and-coming cassette label Spared Flesh brings us four tracks from a new Philly-based recording project featuring MESH’s Sims Hardin and Leslie Burnette of JUICE and LOUIE LOUIE. Opening track “This is the End” should please anyone who came to this project as a fan of MESH—it’s pretty much the same sharp, garage-y post-punk that those guys peddle, only this track has Leslie on vocals. The remaining three tracks are more atmospheric and share a lot of the same DNA with contemporary post-punk bands the WORLD or NAKED ROOMMATE. But this duo’s take on that stripped-down dubby sound is a much lower-fi affair, and where those aforementioned acts get funky or dancy, TOE RING gets punky or weird. The backbone of tracks “Repeller” and “Collapsed Mine” is a looser version of the same driving beat you get on the opening track, but it’s accompanied by a bass that sounds like its strings are about to come completely unspooled. And the guitar is either completely absent—replaced with odd keyboard bleeps and blorps—or comes in sparingly as harsh echoic stabs, while the vocals just kind of float around in the ether. It’s all really cool stuff! But I think the most interesting track on the release is “Staring at the Sunn”. It sounds not unlike a stoner/doom metal track stripped down to just the bass and drums, but the production on the vocals and the synth-y atmospherics reminds me of trip hop. The overall vibe is still very post-punk—it’s just a neat way of getting there. Let’s hope we get more from these two!