Void Vision, Dead Wife, Leather

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There's a darker undercurrent running through all of our choices this week. We don't really know what to attribute this to, but we've decided to embrace it anyhow. At any rate, we reckon this lot of bad bummertime vibes are just the thing to help shock everybody out of their sunshine comas, or at least give them something to listen to on those uber-rainy days when the beach(house/fossils) just isn't an option.

We plunge in this week with Philly minimal-synthstress Void Vision aka Shari Vari and the “In 20 Years” b/w “Black and White” single on Blind Prophet Records. While most of her contemporaries are dwelling in utterly cold and macabre waters, Vari brings a joyously dour sound on her debut outing, channeling the melodiousness of synth-pop minus the self-indulgent cheese. Her lovely and only slightly processed vocals are the centerpiece of “In 20 Years”, as a whirring melt of pulsating synths encapsulate her, wafting her into the upper reaches of the stratosphere. On the flip, “Black and White” is almost better still, with a swell of crystalline chimes leading you into a matte black web of forbidden desires and secret revelry, all wrapped up in a chorus to die for. How she manages the trick of being romantic and robotic in equal measure is anyone's guess, and if there's any justice, she'll have the opening slot on the upcoming Autolux or Cold Cave tours offered to her while her tunes are soundtracking vampiric trysts on the silver screen. Edition of 500 available from the label and a handful of good distros.

To follow that we've got the debut from Montreal punks Dead Wife, their Self-Titled 3-song EP on Psychic Handshake. Before you get your misogynistic panties in a twist over the band's name, know that 3/4 of the group is female, so the name is really just a big piss take. Assumedly so is “Gentleman Rapist”, a full-bodied shout-along that redolent of L7 or Bikini Kill with guitars set to castrate. “DxWxSxYxHxF” probably stands for something we're not clever enough to comprehend, but it's garroting riff is dumbed-down enough for us to enjoy it all the same. “TXT Me”'s herky-jerky cadence will have you scrambling off the port side to vomit, however, the riffs are sharp enough to draw you back in. There's just the slightest bit of Bush Tetras' angular ferocity and snarling early '80s L.A. bombast boiling in this lot's pot. Is that fucking Ethan Hawke on the cover? At any rate we've got a gaggle of female punkers from Canada that sound nothing like Kittie, so we can all rejoice. Snag one from the label or your favorite local record hovel.

To kill it off this week we've got more Philly filth, this time in the form of Leather's Anchorite EP on the newly minted Caesar Cuts imprint. Though not quite as vile as citymates Salvation, this quartet attempt to lay a filthy-fingered claim to their city's scum-rock crown with a brutalizing swell of mid-tempo hardcore that juxtaposes actual sung vocals and gruff barking a la Keith Morris. While they might unceremoniously get lumped in with them, Leather aren't willfully obtuse like so many of the so-called mysterious guy hardcore acts, instead taking the reigns of their aggression and riding it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell. “Prince of the Salon” belies its goofy title with furious riffing and a sludgy bass fill that overlaps the drums, making the rhythm seem as though it's going to implode at any second, while “The Sportsman” is degenerative blast of utter pessimism delivered with enough scuzz, self-doubt and shitty attitude to make even New Yorkers stand up and take notice — the true sound of South Philly. Easiest to grip this direct from the label if you feel this slab should be infecting your turntable.

While we're done ruining everyone's good time this week, we've got some exciting new sounds coming your way in the coming weeks, including a MASSIVE update courtesy of our friends at Rococo Records. Until then, pull out that SPF 200, them rays is hot enough to flay concrete. Ciao fr now, chicken shits.