April 2020 Roundup – Volume 2

While we all may be stuck at home, great music continues to pour in through our mailboxes and computers. Here are some more of the best sounds that have reached our ears this month…

The Prefab Messiahs – “21st Century Failure”


Always with their finger on the pulse of society’s ills, The Prefab Messiahs have returned with the timely anthem, “21st Century Failure.”

With crunching guitar and biting humor, The Prefabs tackle in this one song everything from the lack of action against global warming, to the dehumanization of smart phone technology and even the current COVID pandemic.

Of course, this catchy as hell song is accompanied with an equally entertaining day-glo animated video produced by the band themselves:

It’s comforting to know that whatever garbage the world hurls at us, The Prefab Messiahs will always be there to write a fun rocker about it to help get us through.

This garage banger is available today, so be sure to grab it here.

Matthew J. Rolin – Ohio + Gerycz/Powers/Rolin – Beacon


As I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, Matthew J. Rolin is certainly creating some of the most captivating recordings within the world of modern guitar soli music.

Garden Portal did the world a favor and put out two excellent releases from Rolin last month, Ohio and Beacon (which is credited to Gerycz/Powers/Rolin).

Ohio finds Rolin flying across the fretboards of his six and twelve stringed acoustics with ease. His playing here is quite lyrical at times, as his fingerpicking chases down melodies which implode into barrages of frenzied notes and tangental phrases.

Occasionally, the album dips into Rolin’s more experimental side, like the ethereal “Brooklyn Centre,” where his unusually tense playing is accompanied by the eerie and mystical sounds of singing bowls (provided by Jayson Gerycz). Another fine example of this is the album’s closer, “Farther,” which starts as a Fahey-esque fantasia and slowly mutates into a howling maelstrom of drones and clashing feedback.

This raw ending of this album serves as a perfect segue for the sounds you hear on Beacon


Beacon is another beast entirely. This record, which again, is credited to percussionist Jayson Gerycz, Jen Powers (on hammered dulcimer) and Rolin, meditates heavily on texture and  harmony.

Throughout most of the songs, Gerycz’s ragtag percussion rattles, clinks and jangles like a miniature Jamie Muir locked inside a kitchen cabinet—which might sound totally random at first, but if you really listen, you’ll find that he’s actually keeping time perfectly with Powers’ ringing dulcimer and Rolin’s rapid-fire notes. It’s moments like these that show just how strong the unity and musicianship is between these three artists.

There’s also of course, a great deal of beauty to be found in this tape. “Velvet,” for instance, is a soul-stirring composition, which is made all the more poignant with the addition of a subtle, yet wistful saxophone (provided by Dylan Baldi).

If you enjoyed the Powers/Rolin duo LP, which I reviewed last week, then you absolutely need these two albums as well. You can grab Beacon here and Ohio here.

The Perfect Trip – S/T


Another name that shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone who’s frequented this site over the last year or so, The Perfect Trip has finally released their debut full-length album and wow, was it ever worth the wait!

There are very few modern day albums that truly capture the playful yet heady spirit of classic ’60s UK psychedelic folk acts like The Incredible String Band, Dr. Strangely Strange and Dando Shaft than this one. The Boston-based Perfect Trip totally nails the whimsy, the eclectic instrumentation and even the theatrics that were all trademarks of these infamous bands.

Some of the singles that we’ve loved and covered from this group in the past make appearances here, but the new songs also leave memorable impressions. “Four Seeds and Laffy Taffy” is an especially strong highlight. The song is perhaps the most ambitious of the bunch, with all sorts of hallucinogenic effects being applied throughout the recording. The vocals weave and soar feverishly around breezy flutes and sauntering nylon stringed-guitars. The song is so dreamy, you cannot resist being pulled deep into its hallucinated world.

If you’re like me and you practically wore out your copies of The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, The Madcap Laughs and Behold and See, then you’re going to fall head-over-heels for The Perfect Trip. Get their album from their Bandcamp today.

Molly Ringworm – “Stale”

stale cover2-

New Jersey representing! The amazingly-named Molly Ringworm’s first release of 2020 is a real heavy hitter.

Despite its name, “Stale” is a real breath of fresh air thanks to its easy going melody and ear-catching hooks, which are punched-up with some nasty buzzing guitar. This is the kind of song that you’ll catch yourself singing along to, even during your first listen.

The lyrics, which are sung with passion by rhythm guitarist and singer Sarah Holt, are relatable and filled with so many specific details and references, you can’t help but love them.  Lines like, “recite things like a movie line, make vulnerability seem so Lifetime, why cant it just feel real this time?” both make you smile and feel a little cringe at the same time. In that way, the songwriting here is reminiscent of Courtney Barnett, which is indeed, a very good thing.

For those of us who can’t get enough garage rock albums released by the likes of Burger Records and the crew at King Pizza, then you need Atlantic City’s Molly Ringworm in your life. You can get this single today right here.

  Magic Cobra – Skin Suit


Philadelphia’s Magic Cobra revel in the darker edges of the psychedelic realm, and the world is quite the better for it…

“Skin Suit” is a shadowy spell of a track that drifts with a laidback groove. The band sings like they’re in a trance, as their guitars sizzle and flicker over a stoned beat in a way that brings to mind the likes of Spacemen 3 and The Vacant Lots.

The guitar solo during the instrumental break just slays. It sounds like it’s was recorded in a cavernous basement, deep within an abandoned church. Haunting yet, still totally on fire.

Grab this song here before it gets exorcised off of the internet. If you dig what you hear, be sure to check out their other, equally fun track on their Bandcamp page.


If you like what you’re reading, please help keep RCU thriving. You can show your support by becoming a Patron at our Patreon account or you can make a donation to our PayPal account below.

Every little bit helps!


Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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