Sonic Reducer: Drifters And Beyond

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Lo-fi, no-wave gem Dirty Beaches is Taiwanese-born Québécois rocker Alex Zhang Hungtai. I’ve been nursing a heavy crush on “Sweet 17” from 2011’s Badlands, so my expectations were stratospheric as I queued up Drifters / Love is the Devil. That crush has progressed into full-on psycho-hose-beast obsession. This double LP—standout tracks include openers “Night Walk” and “I Dream in Neon,” “Greyhound at Night,” “Woman” and every single track—has etched its groove upon my auditory cortex.

Pharmakon Abandon (Sacred Bones)

New Yorker experimental/noise hub Margaret Chardiet conjures up self-described “power electronics/death industrial music” under nom de guerre Pharmakon. Brutalist debut LP Abandon didn’t come out of nowhere. Seven years of exploring atramentous aural realms led to this cavernous, chilling work, and her signing with Sacred Bones draws attention to her dedication and talent. Including a bonus track, Abandon’s five songs range from six minutes to 27. Test the viscous water with “Milkweed/It Hangs Heavy” and “Crawling on Bruised Knees.”

Palms Palms (Ipecac Recordings)

Post-rock sonic shot Palms is three jiggers Isis alums—Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer—and one splash Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno. The focus on the group’s debut LP is melody and dynamic composition. Electronics and sampling are joyfully incorporated and while there are riffs, they aren’t the sort of sounds you expect from ex-Isis members. I’m sure Palms will showcase their penchant for brutal riffs on their next release, but for now, I’m content to bathe in this heavy, tropical whirlpool. Standout tracks include “Patagonia,” “Shortwave Radio” and “Tropics.”

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