Augusta Palmer Made Us a ‘Moving-Image Mixtape’ of Memphis Country Blues

Fire-Toolz – Breeze 

Fire-Toolz opens Breeze in supplication. “Please,” she sings, “I’m not ready to die!” With the record that follows, the experimental artist reckons with what exactly it means to have this plea answered.

More from Spin:

Breeze follows Angel Marcloid’s five LPs on Chicago label Hausu Mountain since 2017, but she’s been writing, producing, and releasing music since age 8, with records spanning the past two decades under several aliases. On Breeze, she leans into her heavier influences, more discernibly embracing screamo and death-metal (both vocally and musically) alongside electronic experimentation.

Marcloid’s ambition is the most exciting thing about her record, if also her biggest stumbling block along the vast and wonderfully uncanny landscape that Breeze inhabits. Opener “Everything & Everywhere Is Grace; Heaven Is a Decision I Must Make” moves immediately from Marcloid pleading for her life to existing within the mundanities of it: bringing Chewy delivery boxes in from the front yard, loading and unloading the dishwasher, feeding the cats. Her vocals are guttural and grinding, and the dissonance between her subject and delivery lands squarely in the sweet spot between absurdity and profundity. Her attempt at manufacturing mundanity feels natural, creating a palpable bleakness despite its maximalism.

In true more-is-more fashion, Marcloid quickly moves on to other surprises. Some are flashes of artistic brilliance—including the shiny glitchiness that gives way to ‘80s-inspired synth-pop on “That makes a lot of sense. Given what you’ve been through.” and Cole Pulice’s jazzy saxophone line on “Window 2 Window 2 Window 2 Window 2 Window 2 Window.” Some, however, do more to confuse than to create, like the abrupt breakbeat that follows the first minute and a half of ambient drone—Marcloid-style—opening “A Considerate Amount of Pining, an Invasive Species of Spiritual Anguish.”

Breeze lives in the extremes: among the worms in the dirt, amidst the rainbows in the sky. The album is an exploration of texture, of the relationship between the body and the computer in symbiosis, altering each other to create noise. It contains both the mechanical glow of a cool, white laptop screen and the grinding of stone against stone, the scraping of her voice. For a record that attempts—and pulls off—so much at once, it’s no surprise that it doesn’t always feel perfectly cohesive or entirely fully formed. – GRADE: B

To see our running list of the top 100 greatest rock stars of all time, click here.