Mail Room: Vol. 1

Post Author: Jeff Cubbison

To all the bands & artists that mailed me their albums, I deeply and sincerely apologize

For the past few years, Impose Magazine has had a section on our contact page encouraging bands and artists to mail us physical copies of their music: “Note: If you can send a release digitally, please do. Analog releases are also welcome.”

Due to the transitory nature of my existence, the address on display is the most permanent one I can think of: my mom’s. However, while my mom has been saving all of this Impose mail this entire time, somehow the idea of going through it all has completely eluded me until now. For that, I deeply and sincerely apologize to all the aspiring bands, artists, and labels who have sent us their music over the years. I wish to offer a mea culpa, and am now determined to review all of the vinyl, CDs, and digitally coded copies of music that continue to stack up by the day.

As editor, I vow to do better, which is why I’m launching this new column called Mail Room, in which I discuss each piece of physical music that has been sent my way. From here on out, please feel free to send us stuff, and I promise I’ll get to it more promptly than I have in the past. With that, here’s Vol. 1.

Body Shame – Casual Death

I did not sleep on this one timing wise; in fact, Casual Death is the most recent record that was sent to me, and it officially drops this Friday! Portland’s Body Shame crafts freaky, avant-electronic experimentations with plenty of buzz-sawing sonic elements that all coalesce in dastardly ways. Noise and industrial freak-outs galore. I’m not familiar with Body Shame’s past work, but this new EP is the latest in a pretty deep discography that spans four other albums. After listening to Casual Death, I’m determined to dig through the rest of their catalogue. You can purchase it HERE.

Chloe K

Los Angeles-based musician Chloe K sent me a flyer with links to her material, which I found myself really enjoying. Wide-eyed, emotional, wistful piano pop is the crux of her brand, and she wields it well with a powerful singing voice and poignant lyricism. Standout tracks include 2022’s “Noise,” which wafts from one grand crescendo to the next, and recent-ish stripped-down ballads “Heart Won’t Let Me” and “How Long Will I Love You.” For fans of 2000s-style singer-songwriter pop like Natasha Bedingfield and Vanessa Carlton.

Dead Horse One – Seas of Static

One of my favorite micro European labels Requiem Pour Un Twister is about to release the latest album from French band Dead Horse One called Seas of Static, which I received a copy on CD in the mail. Pummeling ’90s-style grungegaze and alt-metal with dueling male and female vocals is the name of the game for this group, brought to life with power and precision through rollicking bangers like “Raindrops” and “Kathleen.” Somehow I got to this one right on time, as its set for digital and physical release on June 7. You can go ahead and preview and pre-order the album HERE. For fans of Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Failure, etc.

Graham Repulski – Zero Shred Forty

Philadelphia experimental indie musician Graham Repulski gets downright delirious on the lo-fi slacker album Zero Shred Forty, whose production is so warped, faded, and muffled it sounds like it was recorded in a barn attic. There’s a lot of bleary, off-kilter jams on here, like “Flaming Television” and “Boiled Again.” A lot of this sounds strangely reminiscent of Guided By Voices’ weirdest stuff. According to RateYourMusic, Repulski has released over 15 albums since 2010. Color me intrigued – he conjures a truly strange psychedelic elixir. I’ve got a copy on CD, but you can purchase the digital album HERE.

Hi My Name Is Ryan – Merry Go Round: A Live Tribute to Wild Man Fischer

Hi My Name Is Ryan is the solo moniker of Arizona-based “entertainer” Ryan Avery. I was sent this on cassette and it’s…um…something. It’s literally just Avery “covering” the ramblings of cult street performer Wild Man Fischer, by reciting the lines into a microphone at a crowded bar in Tempe as people talk loudly over him or occasionally “sing” along with him, with absolutely zero backing music to speak of. It’s a truly bare bones roughshod recording of incoherent ramblings. After a quick sampling of his Bandcamp, this appears to be Hi My Name Is Ryan’s entire schtick. I guess you could say, decisions were made, and times were had. I don’t get it, but unironically, I would’ve loved to have been a patron at the bar when this shit went down.

The Lamplighter – Mim

This EP from the Olympia, WA-based one-man-band project The Lamplighter is full to the brim with ’60s-’70s hard rock, psychedelia, desert prog rock and any other heady styling in between. Mim, which I was sent a copy of on CD, is a musical short story of a persistent wizard named “Mim” as she journeys through a landscape of mystical turbulence and sonic enchantment. The tale begins with the dark face-melter “The Cauldron and the Chemist” and ends with the hypnotic, groovy jam “A Wizard’s Duel.” For fans of acts like Black Sabbath, Zappa, Kyuss, etc. Released last year, you can purchase HERE.

Life in Sodom – Fate

Life in Sodom are a Miami-based group formed by Gerrie Brand, and they’ve been around since 1991. They make dark and poetic new wave music with an anthemic kick. I wasn’t familiar with their game prior to receiving their CD in the mail, but I quite like the dark and wistful tones combined with the simmering guitars and pulsating electronic percussion, especially on the title track. The tag-teaming of male and female lead vocals is haunting and infectious. If you’re in the mood for some melodic goth soundscapes, you can’t go wrong with Fate, which dropped all the way back in 2022. You can check out more of their discography HERE.

Nicky Click – Reductive Nostalgia

New Hampshire-based pop singer Nicky Click brings a real DIY electroclash and queercore vibe to her 2022 album Reductive Nostalgia. It’s an addicting concoction that recalls the peak of indie sleaze electro – acts like Fischerspooner, Peaches, Scissor Sisters, etc. But there’s a potent modern club kick to it all that keeps it fresh and unpredictable, as evidenced by slinky anthems like “Teenage Lifestyle” and “Can’t Touch Anything.” I was sent a copy of the album on CD, but it’s also available on all streaming platforms.

Saint Black – Saint November

I was sent a CD of this EP, released via New Jersy label Semi-Permanent Records, and found myself really digging the vibe. Saint Black are a New Jersey band or solo project that conjures staticky lo-fi indie rock with a bit of a folk twang. The vocals are quite deep and distinct, and the experimental aura of the project is quite intoxicating. Pensive tracks like “Saint Action” and “Saint Hound” will scratch the itch for any lover of DIY-home recording indie. For fans of early Alex G, Fog Lake, 40 Watt Sun, etc. You can listen and purchase HERE.

Somerset Meadows – Recycle Your Dreams

Recycle Your Dreams is the first full-length vinyl release from veteran Portland band Somerset Meadows, and it’s a crime that this record flew under my radar when it was originally released. Thankfully, they sent me a 12″ a while back, which I just dusted off, and it’s a truly blissful listening experience. ’80s-’90s-style left-of-the-dial college radio-meets-Slumberland jangle pop vibes for days. “Just Another Lifetime” had me basking in its lo-fi guitar noodling, while “The Waterfall” is a garage-punk earworm that I imagine inspires plenty of in-concert singalongs. For fans of Dinosaur Jr., Galaxie 500, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Reds Pinks & Purples, and more. You can purchase Recycle Your Dreams HERE.

Vinyl Williams – Cosmopolis

Hey, I know this guy! He’s great! Although we’re going back so far that he’s already released another album since this one dropped in 2022. Vinyl Williams is an L.A. psychedelic staple who is responsible for some of the best sounds to come out of the scene in the past decade. This album, Cosmopolis, is a bit more jazzy and groovy than some of his more uptempo rock records, demonstrating just how versatile he is. Laid-back and sun-baked tracks like “Probably Cause” and “Beaming” are the perfect showcase for Williams’ musicianship and vocal stylings, and the ideal soundtrack to reel in the start of summer. Very cool packaging on the CD as well. You can’t go wrong with any of this guy’s records, and his live shows are dynamic. If you’re not quite acquainted yet with Vinyl Williams, educate yourself. You can dig into the rest of his discography HERE.

War Honey – Sweeter Than The Average Fudge

First time listening to War Honey, an indie rock band from Brooklyn led by powerhouse vocalist Gabrielle Dana. There’s a shimmering dream pop quality on display on opening track “Even Sleep is Exhausting” that pulls no punches. Their music is big, glistening, and totally heart-on-your-sleeve. The rest of the record is full of buoyant pop and rock that ebbs and flows in poignant, hypnotizing ways. My personal favorite track on the record is the wistful, emotional “Racehorse.” Released on CD via Handstand Records last year, you can also purchase the album and listen to the rest of their discography HERE.