The Dredge

The Dredge: Eunix, Bat Lips, and Forests

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Over the many years contributor Chris Coplan has been writing for Merry-Go-Round Magazine, readers have no doubt come to learn that he loves his punk music in every shape and form. Last year, Chris launched The Dredge, a newsletter you can subscribe to here, in which he further highlights his ever expanding collection of hardcore, noise rock, Riot grrrl, Oi!, and more! MGRM is happy to be editing and re-publishing old editions of The Dredge into a regular column you can explore here on the site! Enjoy!

Eunix's Demos Cover

Eunix – DEMO

Fear for your life.

In the realm of hardcore, the vocalist as snarling beast is king. In the case of Eunix—a St. Louis supergroup made up of members from established outfits BCC, Bib, Freon, and Shux—singer Bethany Lumsdaine is a divine force of unfettered savagery. Whether she’s stalking an ’80s pit like an irritated rattler (“Can’t Get Enough”), slowly shedding her sanity amid the end times (“Face Down”), or summoning some ancient leviathan (“Hysteria”), Lumsdaine is a shining star of deep bile and endless psychic dissonance. But like all great front people, the band’s always there to lend support, knowing when to bash out at full speed or draw things down to maximize Lumsdaine’s work of consuming listeners in full. In fact, it’s their subtle, but never any less visceral support that crafts some unique spaces for Lumsdaine’s displays of vocal magic. This is music as interpersonal conflict, and you’ll celebrate every lash and left hook in equal measure.

Final Thoughts: Animal-like Singer Joyously Ravages Hearts and Minds, 7.2 / 10
RIYL: X-Ray Spex, Oathbreaker, and abject horror
Get The Album Here

Bat Lips EP Cover

Bat Lips – BAT LIPS IV

Everything’s bigger (and bolder) in Texas.

If a band promises a sonic smorgasbord (like melding thrash, surf, and hardcore), it’s okay to steel your little loving heart for some disappointment. But in the case of Austin’s Bat Lips, their fourth self-titled affair (released in January) delivers upon this sonic stew—and in some utterly compelling ways. “Satan’s Sluts on Speed” is all batshit kinetic momentum (like a cruise missile on bath salts), but it injects 20 ccs of hardcore gruff that both grounds and expands the proceedings. “Beneath the Terrordome” amps the technicality and mutates basic structures—and yet the end result remains as gleefully assaultive with heaps of texture. “DethVision” may be the “slowest” of the three cuts, but all that added nuance just gives listeners more room to stew and fret. Clearly they’re each distinct experiences, but they’re aligned around this interplay between cutting minutia and bone-shattering overtures. That overlap doesn’t just give us optimal bang for our buck but it creates this novel space for wondrous and weird musical and emotional interactions. In short, steel your body for the musical equivalent of getting powerbombed through pane glass.

Final Thoughts: Seriously, Don’t Mess With Texas, 7.5 / 10
RIYL: Dicks, Power Trip, and light masochism.
Get The Album Here

Forests Album Cover

Forests – SPENDING ETERNITY IN A JAPANESE CONVENIENCE STORE

Punk as the guiding force for international relations.

Despite punk’s often uncertain origins, Americans are quick to claim it. (Kinda like with rock ‘n’ roll in general—detecting a trend?) Yet the rest of the world makes equally vital punk rock—if anything, I’d argue that a global approach elicits something all the more pure and explosive. Case in point: Singapore’s Forests. Everything about 2019’s SPENDING ETERNITY IN A JAPANESE CONVENIENCE STORE paints this trio as whip-smart students of punk. They channel pop-punk and emo with that perfect album title—not to mention songs titled “I Miss Your Dog (More Than I Miss You).” They mix the saccharine joy of gang vocals with intricate math rock (“This Town Needs Fun,” “You Must Be Fun At Parties”). Heck, “How’s Leaving Coming Along?” alone is a masterclass in genre-blurring and emotional precariousness as fostering faux-maturity. Their geographic location means they approach these tropes with a vigor and passion that makes them feel shiny and novel once more—a celebration of cultural disconnect and discovery. Forget about ZIP codes; these gents do big, sentimental punk that speaks to Peter-Panned hearts everywhere.

Final Thoughts: Great Punk Spits on the Idea of Hometowns and Addresses, 6.5 / 10
RIYL: Blink-182, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Slurpees
Get The Album Here, and Read Our Bandcamp Pick Of This Record From February 2019 Here!

Chris Coplan
Chris Coplan is a writer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2008, he's worked as a music reporter/critic, marketing copywriter, and resume editor/writer. (Also, two months spent at a tennis club.) His journalism and non-fiction have appeared in CONSEQUENCE, TIME, AIPT, COMPLEX, and PHOENIX NEW TIMES, among others. He lives near the Melrose District with his wife, stepdaughter, a handsome dog, and two emotionally manipulative cats.

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