Sydney, Australia’s Straight Arrows have long (in garage rock band years, of course) been making very straight-forward, frenetic and pleasing 60s referencing garage rock, and their brand new HoZaC Hookup Klub 7″ is no different. Can’t Stand It, which has been making the blog rounds recently, is a succulent sliver of crunchy garage pop that’s effervescent as it is short. There’s no shortage of fuzz and reverb going on here and the vocals are almost incomprehensible, but it matters not as the lyrics seem fun to shout. If you’re looking for more than a summer fun jam, look elsewhere, but this is a feel good, sunny Sunday kind of head-bopping jam for you to waste your afternoon listening to on repeat (ie: me right now). If you’re in Australia you can potentially pick up a copy at Straight Arrows live show — if you’re in the US or anywhere else, you’re pretty much screwed. Enjoy.
When I heard Adelaide, Australia’s Bitch Prefect‘s debut EP a while back, I fell in love with their cool, laid-back melancholia, their concern for Californian vacations and fallen American icons. With their stellar debut LP, Big Time, they turn their focus from outward bullshit to inward bullshit and the misery and stagnation that comes from living in a dead-end town and being a young fuck up. We can obviously all applaud this transition, being relevant to each of our lives as it is. Perhaps I’m projecting. Regardless, Bad Decisions from Big Time is a hell of a jam. Wrapped up in shoulder-shrugged nonchalance, this depressing future suicide anthem reminds me of all the terrible things I’ve done throughout my years. The yelping caterwaul vocals drive home the misery of youth and bad decisions, but this is all done over some rather affable jangle-pop, of course, and hooks on top of hooks. I fucking love this song and the whole record. Pick up your copy via Bedroom Sucks and try to forget that this was released last September and pretend I’m on my shit.
Yesterday, I felt like blowing up the world. Today, I wax poetic about the perfect soundtrack for it. Greece’s Bazooka, famous for their anthemic love song I Wanna Fuck All The Girls In My School, released their long-awaited self-titled debut album via Slovenly Records last month and it makes me want to destroy shit (more so than I do already on a daily basis, I guess). While this album includes known rippers Shame Take My Brain and Ravening Trip (from their beautiful 7″ on Inch Allah Records — a must own), I’ve fallen in love with the rest of their melodically fierce, butt cutting, riff heavy debut album. Spanning the spectrum of what can be reasonably considered garage rock, one can surmise that this affair will be both searing and dark, damp and humorless and dirty like a basement floor. What else can we expect from people living through this Greek financial crisis? On the ‘lighter’ end of a dark record, Penny obfuscates Bazooka‘s adroit melodies behind layers of fuzz, reverb and the crashing waves coming from their two drummers. Like I said, go out and destroy shit and listen to this while you’re doing it.
Stream the rest of this record at Slovenly’s Bandcamp,where you can also purchase this must own record.
There’s no irony in the fact that it is difficult to be a successful band that so thoroughly channels the 50s & 60s to the point where journalists refuse to discuss anything else when talking about their music. Not everyone is Hunx & His Punx or Shannon & The Clams. Thankfully, San Francisco trio Primitive Hearts fall on the side of fun & humour, sunshine & laughter, as well as the familiar touch points of boy&girl harmonies, 50s&60s and anything else you can put an & in between. Having just released their debut LP, High & Tight, through Resurrection Records, FDH and P.Trash, I’d like to go back to their self-titled debut 7″ they released last year through No Records. I’m just beginning to dig into their full length, but I’ve been on this single for a while and it is some excellent noise. You’ve already been given all the key words and references to know if you’ll like this — but Killin’ Time is a beautifully trashy little slice of perfect pop, perfect to do the Swim or the Monster Mash to, of course, wearing your cat-eye sunglasses. As if I needed to say, this band is total Burger fodder. Jump on everything that they’ve released over at their bandcamp and be sure to wade into their stuff like you would a crisp pool in your frilly, high waisted bathing suit — fucking quickly.
Formerly known as Jerry Tropicano, Danny Nellis’ newish incarnation, Charles Howl, has finally released his long awaited debut 7″, Surf Trem via Lo Recordings. Although I’ve written about this song before, I wanted to bring it up again because I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Before the name-change to Charles Howl, one of my favorite shows that I ever saw in London was Jerry Tropicano opening up for The Castillians and although I never thought I’d say this, ramshackle as it was, Jerry Tropicano were equal to or better the Castillians. I wanted to remind us all that Surf Trem is a delicious slice of dark, pulsating garage rock. Though the simplicity belies the dexterity in the songwriting that Charles Howl displays, Danny’s vocals steal the show here and leave me intrigued and wanting more. Hopefully there will be more.
If you, like myself, have been waiting years and years for this TV Colours release, savoring over their split 7″s that were just never going to be enough, wondering when, why and how it would get into your hands — our time has finally come. With big thanks to Dream Damage Records & our favorite French label XVIII Records, we can now listen to Bobby Kill’s genius through TV Colours debut album, Purple Skies, Toxic River. The album’s loose narrative follows a boy as he leaves the city and loses his mind along the way and the effectiveness of the exquisite dissonance, the barreling riffs, blown out beauty bring coherence to an album that ostensibly sounds fractured. The story of my life here is obviously the thundering yet incredibly dismal future suicide anthem The Kids Are Alright, which we have previously heard and fell in love with on their first 7″. My new go to, though I must admit I am still ingesting and coming to terms with this album, is standout jam Lost Highway. I have always admired TV Colours dexterity at masking beautiful and melodic sounds under madness and discord, yelling and reverb, and creating a weird frankenstein that is refined in all it’s pop glory and hideous simultaneously. This song, and this whole damn album make me want to blow my own ears out. In a good way.
To celebrate the start of the season, and to celebrate my brilliant idea to draft Chris Davis of the Orioles to like, four of my fantasy teams, I bring to you this wonderful mix that has nothing to do with baseball and has everything to do with being songs that I have been listening to a lot recently. Enjoy.
01 Unwed Teenage Mothers – Forever Until You Are Bones
02 Hypocrite in A Hippy Crypt – Freak Me Out
03 Ooga Boogas – It’s A Sign
04 The Growlers – One Million Lovers
05 The Babies – Wandering
06 Danger Beach – TV Glow
07 JC Satan – Unhappy Girl
08 Catholic Spray – Hustling in Barbes
09 Jack of Heart – Marry Me
10 Audacity - Punk Confusion
11 The High Drops – Part of the Brigade
12 Dead Gaze – You’ll Carry On Real Nice
I can’t even begin to pretend to know whats going on in the Eddy Current Suppression Ring scene, but I do know that Mikey Young’s Ooga Boogas returning for their second album is a great thing. Joined by Leon Stackpole, Richard Stanley and Per Bystrom, the group has recently released their self-titled follow up to 2008′s Romance and Adventure and it has captured my heart from the first listen. The album is a genre-melting affair, there’s definitely some garage rock, some Fall influence and even some Talking Heads-y grooves but it never strays too far from the core of excellent song-writing and weirdness. Everyone out there has been writing about Sex in the Chillzone, the 8-plus minute super jam that spaces out into some agitated funk zone, but I’m more partial to Archie & Me. Harkening to their garage roots, Archie & Me as described by the band ponders the idea of returning, in a distant and strange future, to their swaggie roots. A swagman, by the way, is a transient worker who carried with him his swag, a bed roll. While it taps lyrically into a desire to return to a simpler past in a strange future, it’s also a fun little romp with outsider vocals and the sunny ease that lots of Australian bands have in spades. If that’s not enough, check out It’s A Sign and both these will convince you that this is a solid ass record and you need to pick it up thanks to Aarght Records. If that’s still not enough, you need to know that this band is the Australian Cheveu. That’s enough.
(Shouts out to Emma for the heads up on this!)
Sometimes, as a blogger, you run into a release that you like so much, it’s difficult to figure out what song to talk about. Of course, this is a problem I like to have, and I’m having it bad right now with Unwed Teenage Mothers’ Forever Until You Are Bones 7″ from the good people at Hiss Lab. Four tracks long, this 7″ of quick hits is one of my favorite things I’ve found in a while. Each track clocks in under two and a half minutes: all fast and furious, a glorious rumpus on beautiful black vinyl, “just like your heart”. But in all seriousness, the eponymous track ‘Forever Until You Are Bones‘ is the most evolved track here, not losing that punk backbone (present here in the kickass drums), but infusing a catchy as fuck melody with a insidiously fun chorus to create something that feels more substantial than the rest. It’s not to say the other three tracks lack, they are all equally infectious and capable of inserting themselves into your brain and not leaving, but they just don’t have the same the je ne sais quoi of the the eponymous track. And, well, it’s just that ‘Forever Until You Are Bones‘ has been on repeat for days round these parts and shows no signs of stopping. So grab your copy and shit before it’s too late. This is really promising stuff.
Manchester’s favorite left-handed people in a band, the Bell Peppers, just released their debut cassette called Saved By The Bell Peppers out via Captured Cats at the beginning of the month. And the second best part about it, is that their genius digital debut EP Cooking With The Bell Peppers. It’s been a while since we last heard from them, with the mp3 of Golfshack and the Bell Peppers have been and hopefully always will be a bit of a mystery. So I’m not sure if they’ve added Ben Brown Brogues for good, or if he even appears on drums for these recordings, but gee it’s sure nice to hear from them again. This EP furthers the ground they tread with their first release, keeping their engaging instrumentals and adding weird, far out and fuzzed up vocals which fits excellently in their aesthetic. It’s a beautiful thing to hear aesthetic choices working harmoniously and naturally, without an ounce of pretense or irony. Their particular sect of retroism, focusing heavily on the doo-wop, the forgotten sounds of the 50s, the melancholy, and the down right weird is all encompassing. I could get right up and have a damned little dance party to instrumental jam The Hoofstomp, but really, I just want to be in the desert with a drink and a smoke and raccoon eyes from crying and too much make-up and listen to Moonlight Heartache forever all while being filmed in black and white. Of course. The whole thing is worth your 2GBP for the digital download or just get the cassette for 5GBP. If you have no way to play it, you can send them all to me, my best friend’s car has one. So there.