Having already released one of the year’s best LPs solo, Rosali Middleman aims for a second slot on the tally with the debut from her duo Monocot with Jayson Gerycz (Cloud Nothings). Gerycz himself has been working more experimental tributaries than his tether to Cloud Nothings would suggest, anchoring a collab with Jen Powers and Matthew Rolin and a duo with Ben Kudler over the past few years. Middlman on the other hand pushes much further afield than her solo work has hinted at in the past. While her songs have let their teeth show in the guitar department, on the band’s eponymous LP she’s swinging from barren landscapes that recall the scarred visions of Steven R. Smith and Evan Caminiti to walls of noise-sculpted crush that ring around the headspace in cavernous waves.

The duo’s dynamic has a much softer touch than a few others carving in the same realm. This year’s excellent offering from Corsano/Orcutt poses a stark counterpoint here. Where they both seem to be singular maelstrom’s circling one another until the high pressure zones overlap, with Monocot, Gerycz’ playing acts as more of a cool down than anything — a tempering to Middleman’s towering cumulonimbus of sound. As his playing skitters around the edges, attempting to fence in a force that refuses to be restrained, Rosali conjures a deluge unlike any she’s summoned before. The tension is intoxicating and Rosali’s riffs beg for volume on the speakers fit to shake the walls a bit. Its looking very likely that she’s just added another year-ender to her run on 2021.

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