Alibi V.27 No.21 • May 24-30, 2018 

Sonic Reducer

Mountainhead Act Natural (Empty House Studios)

Mountainhead - Act Natural
Act Natural is one of those singular works that doesn’t attempt to sound like anything else you’ve heard before. Sure, the Eastern-style guitar riffing on the opening track, “Egyptian Ratscrew” might have traces of Dick Dale’s worldly influence layered in-between crunchy, scratchy guitar moments interlaced with spooky vocalizations that come outta nowhere, but overall this work is unique—genre- and sound-wise, as far as local rock outfits go. Among all of this guitar-centered diversity, listeners will find heavy jazz chordage, bitchin’ slap bass (“Bushido Slap Kick”) and mystically translucent melodies, as on closer, “Moon.” It all drifts together with an authenticity that’s hard to find in today’s over-produced, super-deriviative rock music scene.

Foster Dog Bean Room Basement (Self-Released)

Foster Dog - Bean Room Basement
I really like how the first track on this punk rock extravaganza, “Smells Like Splat” comes off like a hidden track from GodWeenSatan, all full of Lemmy-esque vocals and restrained Stratocaster droolings. After that, it’s full speed ahead to epic tuneage like “Out of Control Rollerblader,” a tussling, tripped out adventure complete with paradiddles and lo-fi chanting that refers to said rollerblader even as the whole scenario, narrative and all, comes apart at the seams. There’s enough rock-referential material on this recording (from early Descendents to FIDLAR) to keep music nerds busy for days, and this record is buoyed by some fine self-reflection too, as evidenced by the final track, “Berkinstocks and Socks.” Brighton Beach awaits, sabes?

Beryllium With Gold Into The Galactic Sea (Self-Released)

Beryllium With Gold - Into The Galactic Sea

At some point while navigating that rocanrol lifestyle, you’re going to need to chill out, amirite? Well, do I have the record for you: It’s Into The Galactic Sea for you and your ilk, fellow rockers! There is some mighty fine, dream-inspiring, life-questioning, flowing through the universe casually, mightily—and I might add, mostly happily—guitar playing on this five-track wonder that takes listeners from places one might not go if not prompted by an underlying craving for peace and understanding. At some point, the proceedings, followed as they are by airy, distant vocalizations, urge one away from the world as it is to a place that attempts beauty without ego. Favorite tracks on this monster-relaxer: “Galaxy,” “Giant” and “Dust.” That last track supposes a universal end, but is really just a call for more joy.