Reviews

Camylle Reynolds

Whisper Hiss Everything Must Go EP

You know, their band name pretty much hits the nail on the head on how I would define their sound. Soft as a whisper, with the wheeze of a hiss. Heavy on feels, WHISPER HISS offer up soft-edged darkwave post-punk, that’s dark with a heady innuendo of uncertainty. All the melodies are carried by synth and thick bass, and guitar is absent to their binary sound that is only punctuated with vocals. And I’ll be honest, I was waiting for them to really bite into it, or perhaps unravel, but they stayed steady on a slow-weaving and steady course with “Everything Must Go,” “Telepathy,” and “Undone.” The only song that seemed to veer into looser, weirder, and more screamy territory was “Wake-Up Call,” which of course is always well-received on my end. Very chill post-wave punk for these Portlanders.

Weird Numbers Minotaur Dreams EP

If you are familiar with L.A.’s power pop punk band MANIAC, then you will instantly recognize Zache Davis’s fuzzed and angular vocals. He has such a signature sound I don’t think he could (or should) ever shake it. “Dolphin Encounters,” “Minotaur Dreams,” and “Switching the Code” all are heavy on power pop downstroke, with well-crafted hooks and earworm melodies that give their melodic pop punk a fuller and more complex sound. My favorite on this EP is “Obsolete Man,” which is the sweetest of the bunch, with full weaving angular melodies and just a damn good pop song. WEIRD NUMBERS is a modern twist on retro power pop, and it’s solid. This particular arrangement of Zache Davis (MANIC, GIRLS), Colin Griffiths (GIRLS), and Ethan Jocobsen (TOURIST) is a Seattle outfit. However with Zache’s roots in L.A., I have a feeling that they’ll be cruising up and down the West Coast soon.

MENTIRA Autointitulado 2x7"

Electro-darkwave duo from Barcelona. Simplistic bass with shouty vocals spattered over a sparse Casio melody, and it’s pretty cool. “História Sem Graça” is an obscure, early ’80s techno tune—equally sparse, and equally rad. It comes with the Guerra flexi, which has a lighter more pastoral sound, with vocals dreamier than the 7”—almost like the vibrations of spring. It’s just off-kilter enough to lighten the melodic drone, and keep things from getting stagnant.

Collate Communication / Selective Memory 7"

Portland’s COLLATE continue with their angular and distinctive sound. With idiosyncratic guitar and punctuated vocals, it’s like a KRAFTWERK and GANG OF FOUR mashup. “Communication” is almost robotic, with an occasional release, followed by an epic, noisy, and tangled flop at the end. Flip to side B. “Selective Memory” is strange funk with infrequent shouts, and the striking of clean, unfiltered guitar. Art school dropout punk right here.

Columna Las Cosas Que Perdemos LP

Spanish punks offer a fresh take on post-punk (minus the flanger) that is heavily based on pop, but never really dredges too deep into either side of the divide. Devoid of any tinges of goth and cleanly recorded, COLUMNA have a continuum of bangers that keeps Las Cosas Que Perdemos churning, and upbeat. RATA NEGRA with a tinge of ÖTZI but perhaps more polished.