It’s our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, featuring an exemplary emo cut in wud’s MEANT TO COLLIDE and The Ooz’s life framing EP SUB HUMAN!
The Ooz – SUB HUMAN
Genre: Post-Punk, Shoegaze
Favorite Tracks: “Violence,” “Brain Dead”
I’ve been thinking about my dead dad again. Specifically, his music collection—this dusty old briefcase of ancient cassette tapes from The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and other rock n’ roll dinosaurs. He’d pull them out from time to time and get good and lost inside his little apartment in central Phoenix. It taught me a valuable way of truly appreciating art: some things need to be squirreled away, not lived with in full, and used as imperfect machines for managing a moment or calling on old ghosts. That’s sort of how I’ve already come to appreciate SUB HUMAN.
That’s the ironically-named, five-track effort from The Ooz, a post-punk-meets-shoegaze trio hailing from North Macedonia. There’s very little info available online for The Ooz, and that narrative mostly fits; SUB HUMAN is less a proper album and more like my dad’s “artifacts”—a thing to be remembered randomly and “rediscovered” as needed. It’s not as powerful as my dad’s mint copy of THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, but I think it’s wholly indicative of how he’d experienced music. I turn on “Honey” and get lost in the hum of ethereal shoegaze, remembering sounds and ideas nigh elemental to a life properly adoring post-punk. Or “876,” where I recall the joys of weird rock music evolving in my ear canal in real-time. And I know music’s awesome true power when the six-minute beast “Brain Dead” starts bashing around my rib cage with its crunchy barrage. This is music as a chronicle, a thing to pull down from the wall to freeze a moment and spin it around endlessly in your palm.
This project feels like sketches of its chosen genre; soundscapes forged of history and ideas that blur time and space and memory into momentary experiences. “Violence,” I swear, is every post-punk jam you’ve ever heard, and it fills me with quiet ecstasy and longing. “Venom in Your Teeth” may be a little repetitive but it’s the sound of every rock band figuring itself out. Every song seems to scratch a slightly different itch, but the result is the same: pops of familiarity; muscle memory activating air guitar; and echoes of music that forged a young man’s mettle. I’ve spent ample time with SUB HUMAN since I stumbled upon it in mid-April. It can’t ever mean as much to me as some other records, and there’s always this divide given how I’m already treating it as part of some personal ritual. But it brings me closer—to my dad, to how we wrap ourselves in music, and how art can quiet the world’s tumbling for a few fleeting moments. For that, it deserves my endless love—until I stick it in the closet for a time. Listen to it now over on Bandcamp. [Chris Coplan]
wud – MEANT TO COLLIDE
Genre: Math Rock, Emo
Favorite Tracks: “Barnum’s Circus,” “cul-de-sac”
In recent years, many math rock bands seem less occupied with writing good songs and more with writing good riffs. Or, perhaps, with writing impressive riffs—not necessarily good ones that fit in the context of the song, but ones that demonstrate their technical skill absent anything else. wud, from Torello, Spain, sidestep this common pitfall, imbuing their latest album, MEANT TO COLLIDE, with a passion and a sensibility that ventures far beyond the surface. The bouncing, interlocking guitar acrobatics that define math exist not as ends in themselves on MEANT TO COLLIDE but as textures to accentuate the various other tricks the band pulls over this half hour.
On lead single “(sirens wailing),” the soft, lovely riffs that open the track lull you into a comfortable daze before the band pummels you with a harsh, dissonant coda worthy of the song’s title; “cul-de-sac,” too, disintegrates in its final minutes into smoldering, jittery noise rock finale. But elsewhere the songs build to less violent ends: opener “The Last Course” spirals into a bright, airy hook, and “The Watchdog Committee” teeters towards explosiveness without ever giving in. The record’s six-minute closer “Barnum’s Circus” pulls all these disparate threads together, weaving them into a noisy three-part suite that begins with the delicate chime of loose arpeggios before skyrocketing into the atmosphere as a fireball of distortion and metallic grit until in its final seconds all the loose pieces burn off and its left with only a wandering piano line to close out MEANT TO COLLIDE. It’s one of the genre’s best offerings in recent memory, a little of everything in a concise package. [Zac Djamoos]