8track: Char & Crock Taylor, The No. 44, Carter Fox, Baltimore, Emeraldd, kelz, Elder, Panther Hollow

8track is a new COUNTERZINE feature where we review 8 tracks by 8 artists and arrange them in sequence like those old 8-Track tapes (the WCW of portable analogue audio media you don’t remember). This edition, Program 1 includes tracks by Char & Crock Taylor, The No. 44, Carter Fox, and Baltimore, while Program 2 features music by Emeraldd, kelz, Elder, and Panther Hollow.


Program 1


B1: Char & Crock Taylor – “It’s the Lo”

Kicking off this 8track is a hip-hop collaboration between Dallas rapper Char and Queens rapper Crock Taylor. “It’s the Lo” precedes the release of their upcoming project Supervillain Stories and we’d wager is the opener, introducing the listener to the ‘Lo-Fi Gang’, which seems to be their own League of Supervillains. The beat courtesy of Save Allen is smooth with a kick like a good whiskey and Char and Crock Taylor’s bars are as cold as the ice in the glass. Sure, we’ve heard supervillain rap from MF DOOM and Czarface, but when it’s done this well, keep it coming. You can listen to more Char and Crock Taylor via SoundCloud by clicking on their names in this sentence. Yep. Proud of you. (Char socials: Twitter, Instagram; Crock Taylor socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


B2: The No. 44 – “On the Ground of Grounds (There Is a Bed)”

The No. 44

Gearing up for the release of their debut album Reflexive // Repeater on January 31, The No. 44 deliver a propulsive, pedal-to-the-floor rock ‘n’ roll rager in the form of “On the Ground of Grounds (There Is a Bed)”. The consistent, driving forward momentum of this one along with the guitar tone and pedal effects make a comparison to early-mid 2010s Oh Sees (though with more singing and less yelping and trying to devour the microphone) pretty easy, so that’s what we’ll do. You can check out The No. 44’s material on Spotify and they just dropped their album’s second single “Here We Are” today. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)


A3: Carter Fox – “Zombies in the Forest”

Carter Fox

Philadelpia-based producer Carter Fox is a familiar entity to us here at COUNTERZINE, from back when we unofficially-officially premiered his track “Nethergate” in a mix curated by Biblioteka Records. If “Nethergate” was a precious, twinkly lil drift through space, “Zombies in the Forest” is wet. It’s wet. It’s a slow chase through a muddy river in the rain with the zombies swiping at your neck in an ’80s B-movie horror. But like, a real groovy one. You can stream Carter Fox’s discography on Spotify or SoundCloud(socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


A4: Baltimore – “Bubble”


Closing out Program 1 is Belgian band Baltimore’s “Bubble” (say that 87 billion times fast). A huge psychedelic pop song with, you guessed it, a bubbly synth lead, “Bubble” is about those who live inside a bubble and believe everything’s fine because the ills of the world aren’t apparent in their immediate vicinity. Considering the band’s geographical location and recent political events, we are dubbing this genre ‘post-Brexit pop’ until we hear otherwise. Tight, stable drums give this one a real solid post-punk backbone and it gets all jangly at the end, which is great. You know how we love the janglies. You can check out and buy Baltimore’s tunes here(socials: Facebook)


Program 2


B1: Emeralld – “You Sang”


A true International Band of Mystery, we know precious little about Emeraldd, the artists behind our next track “You Sang”. We know they’re a three-piece from London; we know some dude named Al Grant is in the band (presumably the frontman); and we know they kinda kick ass. “You Sang” is a hyper-addictive blend of dance-punk, noise pop, and indietronica that absolutely refuses to sit still. I tried to count the number of shifts in this thing on my hands and I had to chop my friend’s fingers off and sew them onto me (sorry, mate) and the lead riff has burrowed its way into my subconsciousness to probably never go away. Also the vocalist kinda sounds like the dude from Soul Coughing, which is sick. You can not only stream, but DOWNLOAD FOR FREE Emeraldd’s catalog on SoundCloud.


B2: kelz – “Passerby”

kelz (photo credit: Diane Lac)

It’s not often we find ourselves falling in line with large swathes of the blogosphere, so the fact kelz’s “Passerby” is having a lil mini blow-up right now and we’re fully on board is a testament to how universally great it is. So many ‘chill’ songs are dull: exceedingly few manage to merge relaxation with a catchy melody or an active groove. “Passerby” does both with gently plucked acoustic guitar and a shuffling drum beat respectively, with some ambient synth work and what sounds like a sample of a chirping bird coloring the track as it progresses. I am soothed, but not bored. You can check more of kelz’s tunes here(socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


B3: Elder – “The Commute”


Next we have the lead single off of Brisbane band Elder’s upcoming debut album on 4000 Records, “The Commute”. While most definitely not Fairhaven’s Elder, the two bands do share something beyond the name in common: they’re pretty damn heavy. Elder’s billed as “progressive jangle”, and while that paints part of the picture (namely the guitar tone and the way “The Commute”, well, progresses), it does little to prepare you the oppressively thick and dark atmosphere the band put forth and “The Commute” has as much in common with post-punk, gothic rock, and even doom metal as it does with prog or jangle. Nobody puts Elder in a corner. You can check out the rest of their catalog including their great 2018 Cyril EP here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)


B4: Panther Hollow – “Mars”

Panther Hollow

You know what Townes Van Zandt’s Sky Blue taught us last year? That there’s entirely not enough lo-fi country. Luckily Queens singer-songwriter Panther Hollow is here to supply with his latest single “Mars”. Quite the departure from his Atoms in the Universe EP released earlier in 2019 (a pretty creative set of indie rock jams that we’d also easily recommend), “Mars” sees him stripped down to acoustic guitar, tape hiss, and his voice to deliver a raw, twangy crooner. Favorite part in this one is the self-harmonized vocal that comes in on the second of the three verses that make up the song. You can pay-what-you-want for “Mars” and check out the rest of Panther Hollow’s catalog here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

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