8track: S3LF, Toko Joyce, Thrillhouse, Pedazo de Carne Con Ojo, Dear Moon, Mollie Coddled, Great Wave, Vain Pursuit

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 S3LF, Toko Joyce, Thrillhouse and Pedazo de Carne Con Ojo, while Program 2 features music by Dear Moon, Mollie Coddled, Great Wave, and Vain Pursuit.

 

Program 1

 

A1: S3LF feat. Jai – “Don’t Think You Want It”

s3lf
S3LF

It will forever be a small tragedy that this Friday night party hip-hop gem courtesy of Sacramento rapper S3LF is being shared by us on a Saturday, but alas. “Don’t Think You Want It” is smooth. Silky smooth. And sly. S3LF effortlessly rides an impeccably groovy and infectious beat (courtesy of production duo Mind Majors) while dropping lines in reference to Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and seducing the song’s subject. Basically, it’s a “get drunk and fucked” hedonistic pop rap banger, but a real classy one, and when R&B vocalist Jai delivers the sung hook, not a single panty remains un-dropped. You can here more from S3LF here(socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

 

A2: Toko Joyce – “What Do I Know About Stars?”

toko joyce
Toko Joyce

And now we have a Sunday night song! We just can’t get anything right, can we? Next, we have “What Do I Know About Stars?” from Antwerp five piece Toko Joyce, a funky dance-punk number contemplative of how little we know about the universe. If you’re a Talking Heads fan, especially of the Songs About Buildings and Food era, here’s you new favorite song: Byrne-isms abound, especially in the guitars and vocals, and we can’t forget to mention the bongos. Yes, bongos, the only truly good instrument, make a glorious appearance on this quirky, philosophical ass shaker. The video is simple but good fun as well, green screening the windows of a room and rotating the settings of Earth and outer space to create the illusion that the band are flying through the sky as they play. You can check out more Toko Joyce here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

A3: Thrillhouse – “One of These Days”

Thrillhouse - Press Photo
Thrillhouse

Following the Talking Heads-indebted Toko Joyce, we have… another band that probably appreciates Talking Heads! Alright, Thrillhouse are a little less on the nose about it with their debut single “One of These Days”, and are probably more Speaking in Tongues Talking Heads, but there was still no way we wouldn’t do these two back to back. “One of These Days” is definitely less spastic and eager, pushing a thick bass riff to the front and locking into a cool, easygoing groove. This isn’t to say there aren’t more chaotic moments: there are, particularly when the guitars burst forth with noisy blasts of distortion, but these moments are more impactful due to the generally relaxed movement of the track. I sent this one to my aunt and she mentioned that it reminded her of Miami Vice, which might have been aided by the DIY diorama music video in which a plastic toy car coasts down a road at slow, scenic pace surrounded by knick-knacks and memorabilia: plastic dinosaurs, Transformers, etc. Our favorite moments included when the car is abducted by some Bionicle-looking monstrosity and when it drives into GoldenEye 007 N64 cartridge, showing gameplay footage. “One of These Days” is Thrillhouse’s only track right now, with more to come in 2020, and you can keep up with them here(socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

 

A4: Pedazo de Carne Con Ojo – “Hold Me Down”

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Pedazo de Carne Con Ojo (photo credit: Emily Burtner)

Closing out program 1, we have “Hold Me Down” from Pedazo de Carne Con Ojo. If you’re familiar with Body Meat (whose Truck Music made Secat’s top 40 albums of 2019 list), Pedazo comes from the same Philadelphia scene of glitched out experimental R&B, incorporating footwork rhythms and elements of trap, with a blaring horn-like instrumental hook while drums erratically shuffle underneath. Pedazo’s vocals are something of a peculiar high-pitched mumble: an introverted delivery among the wild, extroverted production. You can also find touches of influence from folktronica, freak folk, and neo-psychedelia at moments, particularly when acoustic guitar and a sample of chirping birds emerge partway through, as well as the beat switch into the trance-inducing ending. “Hold Me Down” is off of Pedazo’s new LP ¿Pero Like Cómo E’tá?, released just yesterday at a price point of whatever-you-want. If it weren’t for that though, we might suggest holding out: just like Body Meat in the past, the album is set for release on cassette on Citrus City “soon” (a must buy, at least for us). (socials: Twitter, Instagram)

 

Program 2

 

B1: Dear Moon – “Queen of Silence”

dear moon
Dear Moon

Opening program 2, we have “Queen of Silence” from Scandinavian electro-rocker Dear Moon. Described as good fit for Alternative Nation if it were still around, there’s some truth to that statement: Dear Moon in form alone are perhaps closer to a more mainstream brand of alternative rock than you might be used to hearing from us, but there are a number of details that keep things interesting, namely the raw, rough-hewn vocals, rhythmically complex drums, and the massive 80s-esque synth passages. The band also recorded “Queen of Silence” in a living room in hopes of capturing a more lo-fi sound. Ultimately, what’s fascinating about “Queen of Silence” and Dear Moon is the oddity of making arena rock at home while also smashing together ideas from multiple past decades of popular rock music together. “Queen of Silence” is currently the band’s only released recording, but another single and full-length are planned for 2020 and you can keep up with their music here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

B2: Mollie Coddled – “Love Deprived”

mollie coddled
Mollie Coddled

Next, we have the Leeds-based Mollie Coddled with her latest single, “Love Deprived”. Certainly an attention grabbing choice, it begins almost faster than immediately, Mollie already partway through her opening “hey” as the song opens, giving an immediate impression of urgency to a track that is otherwise a light and adorable slice of vintage soul pop. Comparison to Rex Orange County and especially Clairo are inevitable and invited by Mollie herself, which is far from a negative. Not everything needs to redefine music as we know it: being absolutely lovely is more than enough. If Mollie is deprived of love, there is something seriously wrong, so go give her some by checking out her other excellent single “Honey”, maybe throwing a couple bucks her way, and keeping an ear open for future work. (socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

 

B3: Great Wave – “Sorry, Darling”

great wave
Great Wave

Scranton, Pennsylvania shoegaze band Great Wave are next with their second and most recent single “Sorry, Darling”. The shoegaze standards are here: hushed, sugary vocals and gauzy textures stacked on top of each other until they become near impenetrable. However, the depressive vocal register drop downs leading out of the chorus into ominous instrumental passages, as well as the cacophony of the final section, with clattering percussion and swirling, warping guitars swallowing up the song’s form like a vortex of dark matter, create a somber, eerie tone that helps to distinguish it from much of its ilk. You can pay-what-you-want for both of Great Wave’s singles, “Sorry, Darling” and the preceding “Garlic & Sage”, on Bandcamp(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

B4: Vain Pursuit – “On and Off”

vain pursuit
Vain Pursuit

Closing out this 8track is “On and Off” from New York’s Vinny Ball aka Vain Pursuit. There were originally hopes to release Vain Pursuit’s Disease of More EP through our on-its-last-legs label branch before life happened and other things didn’t. For this song, I had even conceptualized and written up a script for a potential short film/music video featuring a gender swapped 1980s high school house party where a couple slow dance under neon light, alternating red and green, each crying tears red and green as well: when one cried green, the other cried red, shifting back and forth, never on the same page at the same time. It captures perfectly the bombastic angst of tumultuous teen love, where every little thing is so complicated and feels like the end of the world: slow moving, every detail stretched out, massive synths awash in nostalgic memories of messy romance, and pained, dramatic vocals. It’s almost cheesy, it’s almost too on-the-nose, but it’s entirely too earnest, charming, and emotionally effective to dismiss as such. Maybe everything happens for a reason. As we lack affiliation with Vain Pursuit, we can now say from an unbiased perspective: “On and Off” is an early SOTY candidate. Disease of More is available pay-want-you-want here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

And here’s the full playlist:

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