Records that don’t fit easily into one genre tend to grab my attention, especially if those records also heavily draw upon way out there psych, punk and avant noise all at the same time. Needless to say, the newest release by Moniker Records, Hot & Cold’s Border Area is right up my alley.
The band is comprised of two brothers from Canada by way of Beijing whose instrumentation belies their psych rock attitude: nothing but drums, bass, keyboards, samplers and a drum machine—nope no guitar. This is punk rock as Suicide played it, early 80s psych style. Their sound is comprised of a melodic blown out keyboard and catchy repetitive bass lines grooving over a warped percussive backdrop, and yes some vocals that seem to be recorded via damaged microphone. Droning at times and throbbing at others, the motorik rhythm of Border Area keeps you bobbing your head through both sides of the record.
The extendo sonic explorations put Hot & Cold in the same psychedelic camp as Cave, Oneida and Moon Duo, yet unlike those other groups, the absolute bare bones minimalism of their new record is what makes it so hauntingly good. On a song like “Sweet Fatigue”, the keyboard intertwines with the bass and nothing else. Then even the keyboard drops out, so there’s space for the vocals. “Model Farm” and many of the other tracks on the album continue on with the simple drive yet add the feedback dissonance of Chrome, the punk synth thrash of the Screamers and the angular post punk rhythms of Wire.
The hypnotic melancholy of “Sister Told Me” is perhaps one of the most anthemic songs on the LP, sprinkled with 60s organ rave ups and wry chanting vocals that spit with the best of the early punks on the relentless drum loop. “No Dreams Tonight” could be the perfect buzzing dark wave mash up of Can and A Certain Ratio. But most of Border Area and especially “Out of the Grey” reminds me of the prog/avant grind Amun Duul, Neu! and Klaus Schulze (minus the self indulgence) distilled into a more sweaty basement party vibe. Yes, when the kids get their hands on those weirdo records from the seventies and eighties, strange music is made, and Hot & Cold leave you with nothing short of a new twist on synth damaged nuevo krautrocked post punk.
You may not have heard of these guys, but now’s the time to introduce yourself to Hot & Cold.
Listen to the entirety of BORDER AREA below and pick up a copy from MONIKER now before its super limited pressing is gone for good........