Dublin’s The Murder Capital has been one of the main buzz bands of post-punk of recent years and its Tapetown Sessions video of “For Everything” gives you a little taste of why. The group builds a brooding, seething, abrasive-yet-entrancing mood. The guitar bends and stretches into disorienting shapes while percussion and bass build a tense momentum that unleashes and releases a third of the way into the song. Echoing slashes of sound flash through the song and the hollow, forceful vocals haunts the sound with a commanding critique of a political and economic system that is failing everyone. But it is not didactic, it is visceral and comes from a place of genuine pain and frustration, of disappointed aspirations that need to be channeled into something productive and emotionally fulfilling. The song is six minutes long but it’s so electrifying and compelling you forget the time and get swept along in the shared catharsis.
On its Tapetown Sessions recording of “Content Jungle,” Vancouver, BC-based band Dumb sounds like the missing link between Sonic Youth, Parquet Courts and the Reatards. Its brash guitar riffs indulge beautifully odd bends and fragmented melodies. The shout along vocals do little to undermine the clever lyrics that cite dated cultural references that take us out of the current era (Kool Aid and cathode rays?) while injecting more contemporary cultural artifacts like Netflix to comment on the way so much of our documented history has been plumbed and gives people the impression that it’s all accessible and understood sans proper context simply because you can pick and choose and find anything on the internet for which the title of the song, “Content Jungle,” could be another name. The lyrics neither condemn nor glorify this feature of the world now but does highlight the absurdity of thinking mediated access to culture and the world is the same thing as direct experience.
The Tapetown Sesssions recording of Bull’s “Eugene” demonstrates how the band crafts what seems like a simple melody and song from complex components showing in detail the level of attention and effort and care went into the song’s dynamic structure and atmosphere. Even more so than seeing a live gig, the way the video is put together highlights the way Bull pulls off the delicate moments and play off each other in sync with each other as they shift from the quiet and delicate to the more impassioned passages of song. That the band has great chemistry together contributing in seeming equal measure to the graceful power of “Eugene” is on clear display. Listening without seeing gives one a sense of a band with more than four members but that’s just a testament to the songwriting and band logistics in making a mini-orchestral piece with what might otherwise be standard rock band instrumentation. And there’s nothing standard about the song other than maybe some conventional pop structure. Its chord choices reflect a coming at music from a refreshingly different angle the way maybe Pavement or Built To Spill have done—classic rock and punk elements skewed decidedly differently enough to be fresh. Watch the video below and follow Bull at the links provided.