Yearly Yinz 2021: Songs

Memory Wound – Prehistory

Watery gray light breaks over a smog-drenched horizon. An insistent thrum fills the air, pulsing like a panicked heartbeat submerged under layers of quicksand, before easing off into nothingness as a humanoid figure falls in a hail of gunfire and a grainy gale envelopes a petrified forest.

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Calyx – Americana Get A Break

On February’s Stay Gone, the trio riffed and whirled their way past mere pop-punk and into the realm of pure, burning catharsis. The album, of course, kicks off with a road anthem with a punny name. Rubbery bass, jackhammer drums, frantic riffs, and unbridled vocals create the sound of absolute freedom.     

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Barlow – At Home

As they have been known to do, Barlow once again wrung an evocative epic out of a basement and a TASCAM recorder. “At Home” bobs like a DIY boat on an enormous sea of fuzz before erupting, gaining brawn and volume while frontman Ethan Oliva sky-writes unrequited love letters with his guitar.

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Benji. – On God

This Nice Rec-produced victory lap—enjoyed after a multi-year rise from the bowels of depression—revels in life’s messy glory, positioning philosophical musings next to awed boasts (“Can’t believe I made it/Sorta, kind made it!”). By the time Benji. exclaims, “Hail Mary, full of jungle juice,” you’ll be raising a solo cup high.   

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Monochromatic Residua – Eternal Mountain

The traditional Western music scale is built around 12 notes, separated by semitones. Guitarist and composer Aaron Myers-Brooks uses crushing death metal as a vessel to explore microtones, the points that lie between those well-trodden frequencies. Chugging lows transition into disintegrating high harmonies while Lovecraftian roars abound.

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W00DY – Neck Spasm

There’s nothing more satisfying than throwing down a quick headbang in the middle of a dance floor. I can no longer do this (getting old, aka being in my mid-20s, means that 1. I don’t find myself on dance floors anymore and 2. My neck gets sore easily), but W00DY’s music, a frenetic blend of thrash, punk, and breakcore, carries on the legacy of headbanging in the club.

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Trapgurl Rea – Box

This track’s title refers to a maverick’s exhortation (“Don’t get put in a box!”), but Trapgurl Rea’s bars just so happen to hit like a Mike Tyson punch to the face. Rea will steal your girl and then bury you and your favorite rapper and your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper under the booth.

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Niku Daruma – temperance

The experimental noise duo’s Arcana album introduced the faintest bit of melody to their screeching maelstrom. Here, a melodic pulse disperses delicate notes into a staticky void—a scarred heart pumping blood—while synth arpeggios flit like enraged moths around a flame.

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Invader Lars – Dark Angel

Invader Lars is the grindhouse rapper. Here, a bed of glimmering organ provides backing for bars about napalm beverages, nylon garrotings, and white people who think they have an N pass because they heard it in a song (“That word ain’t for you, sucka!”). Kyles and Karens, Lars is coming for your soul.

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Rave Ami – The Hexer

Rave Ami once released an album called All Great Bands Break Up. I think they’re selling themselves short, since they’re still alive and kicking (their latest album is called Let It Be, though, so Rave fans who are also Beatles maniacs may be sweating a bit). “The Hexer” is a fuzzy, driving thing that features buoyant harmonies and screaming guitar riffs. No frills, no filler.

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