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Once in a while, a band catapults itself from the least likely (or really, more overlooked) corners of the world, shifting the gaze of punk fans and hocking a ginormous loogie into our eyes as if to say “It’s about time you noticed.” That pretty much sums up the entire essence of Charlotte’s own Brain F≠. The band runs through their latest LP, Empty Set, with a consistently raw power, combining the proto-punk rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Ann Arbor in 1969 and the hardcore fury of D.C. in 1981.
As most great origin stories go, the tale of how Fantasmes became such a force to be reckoned with is one with many twists and a short turn. It began as Mario Negrón’s project when he self-released his debut EP The Reveller. He recruited fellow scene musicians Darío Morales, Daniel Sierra and Juan Arroyo (ex-Dandy and the Walkers) for the live act and the rest is strange, psychedelic history.
There’s something to say about BFlechas’s unabashed flouting of genres. In her debut full-length, βeta, the galician songstress dabbles everywhere from synthwave to R&B, house and 2-step in a way that’s highly studied while dodging pretension. It is pop in the purest sense, rooted in Spain’s own rich tradition — namely ’80s-era new wave — yet poised and persistent in its resolve to push things forward.
After spending three years working on another musical project with her best friend, Majke Voss Romme gradually found herself as a solo artist, releasing her debut single last November. Self-produced and stitched together from hundreds of mini demos recorded over the past three years, her debut album, May, is a super minimalist collection of songs somehow filled by vast spaces between notes and Romme’s lonesome voice.
DIY punkers Household avoided the sophomore slump with Elaines, their acerbic follow-up to Items. These six songs sound off like a volley of eye-rolls at the mundanities of existence. Household utilized every crevice of this twelve minute EP. There is no room for filler, and each song is integral to the next, with things growing more tensely wound and jittery as it progresses. Talya Cooper’s pensive and sardonic lyrics bounce between the sturdy bass lines and taut, punchy drums, creating a muted minimalist punk soundscape.