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Desert Sharks "Don't Know How To Dress for the Apocalypse"

Released in late 2019, when heard today “I Don't Know How To Dress For The Apocalypse” sounds like a warning from our past future present. Over a buzzing rush of power chords the Desert Sharks’ lead yelper and bass player Stephanie Gunther laments “the world's a disaster / our leader wants to get there faster.” Mission accomplished. Fast-forward to October 2020 and the power-trio-plus-one have stayed busy with everything from a Zoom-tastic cover of the Misfits' “Hybrid Moments” to a feature on the queer-friendly Twitch rock 'n' roll hootenanny I Want My HYB hosted by Astoria's own Hell Yeah Babies in benefit of The Okra Project—a charity providing meals to Black Trans people-in-need prepared by Black Trans chefs. (Jason Lee)

Dead Tooth & No Surrender "Hate The Precedent”

 A joint effort between underground electro-fusionists No Surrender and psyched-out local supergroup Dead Tooth released earlier this month, “I Hate the Precedent” is the first fruit of an ongoing collaboration. Intro’ed by a slithering bass groove over ominous electronic textures, Dead Tooth vocalist/guitarist Zach James entreats a certain “ol’ blubber leper [to] please spare your rod” (portrayed below wearing what looks like a Michael Myers mask painted orange). Enter the catchy dance-rock hook and lyrical refrain: “I hate the president / and the precedent that he sets.” Following a volley of staccato guitar outbursts the second-verse vocals are taken over by No Surrender's Darius VanSluytman--“my brother’s a stranger / in his very own land”--until all involved ride out the refrain to the end. More succinct and funkier than a filibuster, one hopes this track will inspire more musical crossovers between Brooklyn artists. (Jason Lee

 

Lake Ruth/Listening Center warn of "Law & Disorder"

From its opening moments this collabiration between Lake Ruth and Listening Center--released over the summer with proceeds benefitting the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund--immerses the listener in a gauzily seductive yet apprehensive vortex of sound: "Don't sit and wait / there's no hiding here / unsubtle acts / rule the landscape that you know." Here is a song that acknowledges Law and Order are not the synonyms they’re often assumed to be (Allison Brice’s lyrics are clever enough to apply either to relationships or to politics even if the latter is to the fore). In the familiar music-crit parlance of “If You Like X, Why Not Try Y,” fans of Weyes Blood will likely respond to the layers of chiming guitars, wavering synths, and Grimms’ Fairy Tales vocals. But Lake Ruth conjure up a dark cloud of psych-pop perfection all their own. (Jason Lee)

 

Ela Minus “Acts Of Rebellion” released on 10.23.20

A resident of Brooklyn via Bogotá, Ela Minus cut her musical teeth playing drums in a Colombian hardcore band before moving to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music, double-majoring in Drum Set and Music Synthesis. Today she's an analogue electronics auteur whose musical horizons are seemingly endless. On her debut full-length Acts of Rebellion (Domino Recording Company) Ela alternates between propulsive grooves and floating ambient soundscapes--the latter Eno-esque instrumentals given evocative names like “pocket piano,” “let them have the internet” and “do whatever you want, all the time.” These titles reflect Ela Minus’s lyrical approach elsewhere where she advocates for self-determination, empowerment and the search for one’s own natural rhythms. Speaking of which Acts of Rebellion makes for ideal late-night listening (“I never feel more myself than when it’s dark” she sings at the end of “dominique”) projecting a womb-like warmth onto the listener. (Jason Lee)

Pure Adult debuts new song in 10.16.2020 live set

It was just over a week ago that Pure Adult played a raucous set on BABY TV, the socially distanced version of indie venue Baby's All Right, and this writer is still recovering. The Brooklyn-duo-turned-live-foursome is known for filtering adult concerns--e.g., late capitalism, social control, granny panties--through a childlike impulsiveness whose end result is a big wonderful mess of burbling synths, stuttering drums, gratuitous guitar pedal abuse and brief spasms of strutting rawk. Pure Adult’s mix-and-match aesthetic is not unlike a kid let loose with a 128-count box of crayons, fresh piles of Play-doh and a prescription of Ritalin. The set below opens with the band’s as-yet-unreleased “Ain't I A Woman” (shout out to Sojourner Truth) segueing into “The New Guillotine” (see underwear fetish above), a track from the band's debut EP S/T (self-titled, that is). In these five minutes you get a pretty good idea of what they're about: a feral Foucauldian funhouse ride that's equal parts “queasy listening” and raw ecstatic rush. (Jason Lee)

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