It’s been a long time since I’ve paid to see a band I’ve never heard. Full stop. It’s been even longer since I paid to see a band I’d never heard before and actually enjoyed myself. But seeing The Herms a few weeks ago at El Cid, I paid to see that shit, I fucking loved it and I jumped around and had a great time. Since that day, I have not been able to put down their LP Drop Out Vol. 1. Rereleased by the ever perfect Castleface Records this is a delightful collection of their early, raw Tascam demos recorded in the early 00s.
Part of the appeal of Drop Out Vol. 1 is the range of weirdo bedroom pop and that peculiar San Franciscan brand of garage rock. Volleyball is a sublime little cut of indie pop complete with a farcical keyboard line that will stick in your head all day. Drop Out is a summation of a few parts: a little country twang, a lot Velvet Underground, and a little oddball hip wiggling bravado. The irresistibly raw Power Joystick is some of the best garage rock on the album — a beautifully dingy, live sound complimented by a kooky keyboard solo before descending into noise. But for me, the piece de resistance of this LP is The Organization which I literally cannot put down. The keyboard stays on the creepier side of slapstick, and singer Matt Lutz’s conspiratorial vocals are riveting, a winding tour of monotony and repetition has never sounded so good. I just want to take a moment to emphasize how excellent and seductive Lutz’s voice is because I can’t get over it. This LP is filled with great song-writing, catchy and ridiculous keyboard lines, and their live set was impeccably tight. As always, we end by holding hands and chanting “thank you for turning us onto this Jon Dwyer”.
Listen to The Organization below and pick up this crafty gem of an LP at Castleface Records store.
While I wasn’t blogging, my favorite release that I came across was a split co-release between French labels Frantic City & Inch Allah Records. Inch Allah has been releasing some of the best shit in France for as long as I can remember, and these labels previous collaboration was on repeat around NRBW for a while from the defunct Teenage Moonlight Borderliners. Before I knew the Borderliners had split, I was investigating what they’d been doing recently and was turned onto White Ass. Weirdos from Viscous Brothers, Teenage Mutant Borderliners, Crash Normal, TITS and more have combined to form the ungoogleable White Ass. This split cassette (b-side features The Skeptics, which is also worth a spin) showcases their very first recordings and is a shining example of what trashy, dirty basement garage rock should be. Their five songs are tight as hell, meticulously reckless, and catchy beyond all measure. Wild men for sure, making wildly infectious, heavily reverbed, full-moon garage rock — you can almost feel yourself sweating up a storm in a packed bunker in Paris (La Mécanique Ondulatoire perhaps?) with like, really good looking people around you and listening to White Ass. But I guess I’m just reminiscing now. Check out ‘Nothing‘ below, the one that lodged itself in my head and wouldn’t leave with it’s catchy yelling, weird noises, and that divine organ. Buy your copy of the cassette or the digital download via either Inch Allah Records or Frantic City Records.
Leeds’ Eagulls have long since been NRBW favorites and are absolutely the first band I want to hear when I’m in a particularly fuck-you-mood. Their talent for audacious and brazen post-punk is being critically recognized and we couldn’t be happier. Their debut self-titled LP will be with us shortly, due out March 4th thanks to Partisan Records and ‘Possessed‘ is just another enticing, brazen slice of their opinionated, rebellious brand of post-punk — if I could be so flippant, but Eagulls consistency is enduring. There’s a sublime tension between George Mitchell’s harsh, disaffected vocals and the buzzy, melodic guitar that is captivating and part of what has always appealed to me about Eagulls. An excellent taster from what will surely be one of the most anticipated albums of 2014 — by me anyway. Pre-order your copy of their debut LP through Partisan Records.
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