Dishital Weekly is Counterzine’s weekly roundup of 5 digital only releases we think are worthy of your attention. The only rules are that we like it and there’s no readily available physical version at the timing of writing. When it was released, genre, platform: none of these matter. If it’s new to us and it’s new to you, it’s new.
1. Dynamilla – The You II Demonstration
If Destroyer’s Dan Bejar were to apply his signature phrasing, verbosity, and eccentric minstrel-isms to the stylings of sixties psychedelic garage rock, the end result might end up a bit like Peter Christian Ness’ Dynamilla. His debut album The You II Demonstration sees him run through eight guitar-led jams: some forward-propelling blasts of dynamic energy (“Under Dog Spawn”), some adorned with harmonica (“When the Clock Strikes Gold”), some acoustic folk fare (“Farewell Faded Memory”), some rousing theme songs (the titular “Dynamilla”) and even two instrumentals. However, more often than not, Ness has something to say. A lot to say. At least some of it is about power structures, and the not liking of them. Ness has also more recently released his “Police Elections // Aye Says I Nays Says Me” digital single (yeah, he doesn’t like cops), with the latter a bomb of mainstream success set to blow with enough luck, featuring with a hyper-addictive melody and guitar tone. A real freewheeling and refreshing project out of Victoria where ‘rules’ don’t seem to be much of a bother.
2. eodum – the sequence of events
Eugene, Oregon’s Britt Brady is eodum, a producer blending elements of IDM, experimental electronica, ambient, and hip-hop to craft beats grounded in a grainy, earthly aesthetic but not opposed to flirting with the ethereal. There are moments on the sequence of events that are strongly reminiscent of J. Dilla’s Donuts (“geombop” sounds like an undiscovered donut), which given the circumstances isn’t all that surprising. the sequence of events, beyond simply being a beat tape, is a conceptual record concerning the loss of his father and grandfather and as such is similarly inexorably linked to tragedy. What results is a powerful emotional through-line that lifts it far above much of its ilk. As an aside, Brady is also a founding member of doinksoft, the development team behind recent Devolver Digital-published Meowtroidvania Gato Roboto. Brady also composed the OST for that game, so if you’ve been enjoying the sounds tracking your search for mechsuit upgrades for Kiki, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the sequence of events as well.
3. Self-Help – No Returns
North Carolina’s Self-Help are in the business of peddling catchy, relaxing indie jangle pop, and if that were all, that’d be fine. However, what makes this 4-piece particularly special is the technicality of their melodies. Lead guitarist Edward Rojas’ style is comparable to that of many math rock axemen, but rather than using this prowess to craft leads that might be overly mathematical or stilted, he applies it in such a way that Self-Help come across as a more melodically engaging take on the Real Estate formula, or, taking into account the elements of psychedelia and light smatterings of country influence, a calmer, less weird golden age Meat Puppets. There’s a slight shift from the former to the latter over the course of the five tracks of No Returns, and with much of the lyrical matter tackling subjects of depression, anxiety, and philosophy, these comparisons hold further water. Perfect music for those who have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
4. Toxic Chicken – Noodle Soup
The absolute madman behind our favorite absurdist music blog Yeah I Know It Sucks, Dutch transplant and Bangkok resident Kai Nobuko is Toxic Chicken, an experimental electropop artist who handles the ridiculous the way a noodle master hand-pulls noodles. On Noodle Soup, Nobuko is the noodle master, pulling your noodle and stretching it until it’s become delicious starch to be consumed whole by their swarm of electronics, misfit musical toys, and hypnotic, repeated mantras.
Toxic Chicken also has a new CD out June 7 on Wormhole World, fittingly titled Wormhole. While the self-imposed rules of Dishital Weekly prohibit us from shining the full spotlight on it here, surely our readers won’t rip off our noodles if we just give it a mention and drop a link to lead single “Down the Wormhole”, a perhaps more serious, ambitious, and beautiful instrumental piece, but still delightfully odd.
5. Zado & the Frail Bodies – s/t
Singapore’s Zado & the Frail Bodies pull you behind the bleachers and make sweet, late-seventies style power-pop-punk love to you. No frills, no gimmicks, Zado and Co.’s self-titled debut is about charm, energy, and song-craft at their highest levels, the way the used to be it back in the days of Undertones, Tours, and Buzzcocks. In fact, make your way through closer “Sleepless” and you’ll find the ‘second half’ is in fact a very solid cover of the latter’s “Promises”.
There are rumblings of physicals to come in June, but what these rumblings actually mean is unclear as of right now. Until then, what’s not unclear is just how fun this album is.