Kermes – Peeling Off The Rind / Terms (Amateur Pop Incorporated)

Kermes – Peeling Off The Rind / Terms (Amateur Pop Incorporated)

Hitting 2021 hard from the start Leceister-based queercore artist Kermes release double A-Side Peeling Off The Rind and Terms. It’s their first new music since 2018’s We Choose Pretty Names and released exclusively on Bandcamp via their own label, Amateur Pop Incorporated.

KermesArtist: Kermes
Tracks: Peeling Off The Rind / Terms
Label: Amateur Pop Incorporated
Released: 1 January 2021
Find it: Bandcamp

Returning with their first new music since 2018 debut album We Choose Pretty Names Kermes have surprise dropped a Bandcamp exclusive double-A single to kick off 2021. And they are hitting 2021 hard with this pairing of alt-rock bangers bubbling under with anger-fuelled empowerment.

Peeling Off The Rind adds an edge to a ’90s slacker pop vibe, with sunny rise and fall guitar lines and chant vocals under-pinning the lead. The track brilliantly and beautifully summons memories of togetherness while giving out a knowing warning that identity and collectivism is not available to be co-opted for kudos or capitalist gains.

As with all the best punk-pop and true to Kermes as a band this is delivering serious, earnest and needed statements in a musical wrapper which is anything but somber or staid. Rather it is shot through with the joy of creation, and so becomes an extra layer of resistance beyond the themes tackled.

‘If we let them set the terms / they will always win / our worthiness is based / on their concept of sin’

Terms starts far more gently, with sparse scratchy instrumentation around vocal this track stands as much as a manifesto as a single; a blunt reminder that allowing those with the power set the terms for relinquishing it, or those with prejudice define the boundaries of being, will allow for further oppression. The lullaby introduction soon gives way to a woozy rock n roll cacophony, where ’60s Girl Group vocal harmonies are disconcertingly but evocatively off-set with each other.

Not only does this production elevate the alt-rock standard into more interesting territory but it underlines the calm assurance and hard-line boundaries with which deconstructing oppressive structures have to be faced. In the squall of vocals, the screech of guitar, and the dropping in and out of blasts of sound there is the harnessing of power thematically as well as some real punk-pop chops.

Recorded and produced during 2020 lockdown the pair of tracks – Peeling Off The Rind and Terms – see Kermes with a refreshed line up with Alex Goodwin (also sweetbellechobaby – see our Albums of the Year list) joining Emily Rose Teece. With them handling every part of the single from conception to release it’s further testament to their DIY approach as an artist, and label.

Peeling Off The Rind and Terms by Kermes are available exclusively (for now) on Bandcamp as a digital release and limited edition cassette via Amateur Pop Incorporated. An LP is expected to follow later in 2021. We also recommend the excellent recent compilation from the label – All We Want Is Everything – which also includes tracks from Boarder, Gordian Stimm, Slash Fiction, sweetbellechobaby, DJFP, and Moan Didion.

Find Kermes: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify
Art work: ert

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We took a hiatus at the end of 2020 but put together a list of our Top 40 albums from the year – check it out here.

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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