Portlandite post-punk trio Vice Device leads this split with yearning vocals and dissonant riffs on “Fractured Desire.” “Even Blind” has more of a dark wave feel with copious feedback. “Symmetry” delivers likewise pitch-black wave with duet vox, and “Bound” slows the pace a bit. Self-described “_____ WAVE” solo project Void Vision aka Shari Vari is minimal, cold wave-inflected, lovely dark synth pop. Vari’s allegiance to analog synths and drum machines and her ethereal vocals call forth three dance floor-ready tracks: “A Version,” “Not Much of Anything” and Queen cover “Take My Breath Away.” This limited edition release comes on weighty 180-gram vinyl, allowing for deeper grooves.
Let’s get the Sonic Youth reference/reverence out of the way first. Yes, Lee Ranaldo was a cofounder/long-term member of alt.punk darlings Sonic Youth. But Ranaldo’s 10th album is a total stunner and worthy of any rock and roll acolyte’s time. Recorded with Ranaldo’s new band, The Dust—featuring ex-Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, who most recently picked up sticks for Disappears—Last Night on Earth delivers plenty of the righteous riffs and experimental noodling that one might expect. But the infusion of elements of prog-rock is what really makes this a stellar album. Standout selections include the title track, “Key/Hole,” “Late Descent #2” and closer “Blackd Out.”
It has been six long years since Japanese noise rock outfit Melt-Banana released a full-length studio album. Bambi’s Dilemma, a disconcertingly deep-fried poppy diversion from the trademark Melt-Banana grind, left fans wondering where the cult band was headed. Founder and vocalist Yasuko Onuki aka Yako and her spastic, yelping vocals—along with surgical-masked guitarist Ichirou Agata aka Agata’s noisy, progressive, frantic soundscape that calls to mind the group’s mid-’90s style—answer that question on their latest, a prog-core masterpiece titled Fetch. These 12 tracks range from around four minutes to barely over a minute, and the work reaffirms Melt-Banana as noise heroes. Album standouts include opener “Candy Gun,” “Vertigo Game,” “Zero+” and “Then Red Eyed.”