Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

The Hussy

Wisconsin’s finest, The Hussy, have been holding down the garage gamut in the Midwest for years now and they’ve consistently churned out a string of albums that synthesize sweat into fuzz-crusted hooks. Their latest, Looming, is more fodder for the fans who’ve already made them staples of the listen list, though it should entice any diehard of dinged and damaged garage in 2019. Bobby and Heather expanded their sound a bit on Galore and Looming finds itself a natural sequel to that hook-slinger. The guitars still grind, the drums pop n’ punish, and the vocals whip back and forth between the pair, with Bobby giving his tracks a nasal hammer that’s heavy and hurtin’ while Heather softens the blow (just a touch) with some smolder and soul. Though, she can bring just as much invective to a track as her counterpart to be sure.

The record culls in some new sounds, with flutes tickling the underbelly of “Sorry” but they make their biscuit from the overwhelming abundance of fuzz n’ rumble that they kick up over the course of 27-minutes. The band recently spent a tour opening and acting as backing band for Nobunny, and the experience doesn’t seem to have been lost on them. They channel a good dose of the feelgood recklessness that the Bunny has always captured into their new set, proving that they were perfect choices for the job all along. There’s been a slight shift away from the snotty punk vein with a heart of gold that was long being flayed by Jay Reatard prior to his tragic death and has been constantly caved at by Ty Segall, but The Hussy place themselves in the same school as both of these artists, finding the axis between pop and pummel and making it sound good. If you’re not down with The Hussy, you reconsider some life choices. Looming is a Midwest ripper to the core, and endlessly entertaining on each new listen.




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Allah Las

Been a few years since Allah Las issued that last foray into the surf-splashed waters of their sunshine soul and their latest, LAHS, arrives not a moment too soon. The band has long been buttered by a carefree approach to garage, folk and psychedelia, but the new LP seems even more soaked in the languid love of the West Coast sounds than ever before. The songs here don’t fuss or grumble. The Las long ago threw their watches into the surf and let them float away. When the sun dips low they know it’s time to head to the covered patio perch that drives the night. Skin tightened by the sun, but never burned, this is the soundtrack to communal Mezcal flights – melding the salt air with the salt rim as the fingerpicked guitars burble in the background.

While the vibe is wholly Californian in nature, there’s also a sense of travel and wanderlust in the bones of LAHS. They take their relaxed attitude with them while they ramble on to the next locale. The band sparked the match on this particular sound with the soundtrack to the surf doc Self Discovery For Social Survival – turning the oceanic churn into musical motion – and they continue to fan the flames here. There’s a natty, ‘60s sense of properly buttoned, yet relaxed style to the album. The smells of linen and leather waft on the breeze. The yurt they hunkered down in is communal and the days are without itinerary. Even if you can’t get away, LAHS can act as a 45-minute microcosm of vacation and leisure.

Allah Las are the guides, shifting off the path and immersing the listener in a sea of unfamiliar voices – utilizing Spanish and Portuguese to add a new dimension to their songwriting. The veil of anonymity slips over the traveler in a new land and it is as comforting as the menagerie of spices that fill the air, balanced with damp wood and that familiar snap of salt on the wind. It’s the tie that binds. No matter where they roam, the sea is always lapping at the lashes of an Allah Las record. The band slips the ties between George Harrison, José Mauro, Curt Newbury, Curt Boettcher and UK folk group Heron, weaving together an album that exudes ease from every pore.



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Kelley Stoltz

Just a quick jump after his last offering from Banana & Louie, SF one-man supergroup Kelley Stoltz returns with the even more enticing My Regime. The record is one of Stoltz’ most packed platters in a long time, absolutely awash in bittersweet New Wave touches and moments of pop perfection. He’s long since jettisoned the garage gears from his persona, but there were still some inklings on last years’ Natural Causes and 2015’s In Triangle Time. This one falls closer in spirit to the prismed perspective of 2017’s quiet gem Que Aura, his last for Castle Face. Crammed with strums, multi-part harmonies, and an ingrained melancholy that imprints these songs on the high registers of the listeners’ soul, this is exactly where Stoltz excels.

He’s been found cropping up behind the boards more often these days, with his name swirling about the inserts for Spiral Stairs, RAYS, The Love-Birds, and The Staches, but unless he’s in front of the mic, I always feel like he’s a bit underused. There’s been shades of his work as a sideman for Echo & The Bunnyman on the last album, but as his tenure ended with the band it seems he’s processed even more of the imprint the band had on his formative songwriting years. There’s a warmer aura about Stoltz than Ian McCulloch would often employ, but the insistent, and emotionally complex pop hallmarks line up quite nicely here – think more along the lines of Crocodiles rather than Porcupine. Speaking of ‘80s impressions, and (sadly) timely reminders, there’s also a pretty heavy Cars shadow on this one and, if anyone can make it work, Stoltz is up to the task. There’s a dense catalog of works when approaching Kelley’s work, but after a few spins through My Regime, I’d say this is as good a place to start as any. Among his very best, to be sure.



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Ty Segall

There’s always a fresh hit of Segall on the horizon and 2019 is no gap year. Skidding out of the last two heavy hitters – the acerbic ball of anxiety, Emotional Mugger, and the grandiose vision of Freedom’s Goblin – Ty’s turning inward for an album that’s got less boogie in its butt, less angst in its eyes, but no less experimental spirit than his last couple of outings. Musically Segall is plucking from several camps. There’s a freshly pumped in Eastern air, some sax teeth – not skronking quite as vicious as on Goblin – but still toasting the edges, and he’s littering the album with plenty of prog-minded excursions that twist sound into ragged towers. Lyrically, he’s looking for inspiration at home, in a more settled life, but that’s not always apparent when the guitars flare and the mutant cicadas set the pace.

It’s a bit telling that, in a recent Hidden Gems for the site, Ty cited Greek prog album 666 by Aphrodite’s Child as a recent favorite, admitting its shade had fallen on his more recent sessions. That album is nothing if not eclectic, finding its tone more in cumulative excess than cohesion and First Taste operates much in the same way. Every sonic scrap is at his disposal as long as it pushes the final result further from the bounds of this Earth. That’s not to say this is just a collection of chaotic experiments, there’s always that refreshing thread of pop running through Ty’s albums and its here in fine form.

The folk cool-down “I Sing Them” is up there with Segall’s great acoustic material, but twisted with a dissonance that doesn’t always creep into his sweeter songs. “Whatever” sounds like it could have met with the Emotional Muggers in a darkened alley, a slight vicious smile between its lips. “Radio” is a pop heater that won’t quit and “Ice Plant” plays with space and patience more than most of Segall’s fare, haunting in a way he rarely does. First Taste is the sound of Segall enjoying his freedom. Ascending to the heights of the indie scaffold is no easy task, but this doesn’t feel like an album for the masses, more for Segall himself. That his own winking indulgences also happen to be endlessly entertaining is just a bonus for the rest of us.

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Dan Melchior Band

There are few forces as pungent, as potent, or as prevalent as Dan Melchior. The garage vet has a formidable cache of records piled under his belt and he’s constantly slipping in new entries under the cover of night. 2019’s volley comes with the Dan Melchior Band tag, last used on 2017 single. This time he’s swinging for Atlanta’s Midnight Cruiser Records and it’s a damn sight better use of the DMB moniker than others have hoisted in the past (sorry Ryley). Outside In has a cinder-scorned midnight feeling to it, slinking through the darkened streets in search of some some forgotten solace, some inner peace that never quite conjures through the haze.

Falling in the blues-buttressed valley between his fuzz-freaked noise offerings and his poppier days in the Broke Revue, the record is a greasy slide that hops back and forth with a pugilist’s swagger. Melchior doesn’t quite curry the same cache that some of his contemporary garage-slingers with equally prolific output’s might, but in my book he’s a rock solid bet every time. Outside In crushes some gravel in its teeth, spits splinters to the wind and lets fly with a few rusted hooks that leave a mark and warrant a check at the clinic. Though there’s a haze hovering over the record, Melchior can still land a decent dent when he’s aiming for it. For the completists, it goes without saying this is an easy pickup, for the first-timers, maybe this isn’t the way in. For those looking to blast a bit of rust and rancor through the speakers, I say go for it.



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The Hussy – “Coast”

After a few great side hustles (Proud Parents, Cave Curse) Bobby and Heather are back in the saddle as The Hussy and by the saint’s of the garage gutter, a new LP is on the way from Dirtnap this fall. The band bursts out of the gate with album opener “Coast,” a track that’s steeped in the popped-vein psych-punk that’s wound up the hallmark of their sound. The pair hand vocals back and forth along their records but this one’s a true Bobby thrasher — nervy, fried, and collapsing to the floor by the time the the track tumbles to a close. They’re slicing the skin and inserting just a touch of itchy sci-fi punk creep this time around.

Damned if this record isn’t poised to be among their best. Bobby’s spent a lot of the interim backing up Nobunny as a sideman and he’s bringing quite a bit of that manic, whirlwind energy with him here. Add in some great lost Jay Reatard vibes and this one’s hitting the spot. A lot of bands that shot out of the garage-punk gauntlet of the early 2010’s have sought to sand their edges and spit-shine their sound, but The Hussy remains a dirt-caked fireball of fury, proud of the crust under their nails and ready to scratch you with them if need be. Madison’s never been a hotbed of hype, but every time there’s a new Hussy LP, I think that maybe it should be.

The Looming hits shelves September 27th. Be ready.

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CFM

On his second solo album as CFM, Charles Moothart distances himself further from his closest collaborators — shying from the glam-garage punch of Ty Segall and the more metallic slap of Meatbodies. CFM carries a lot of the same DNA, though, so its not entirely shod of the shadow of Segall and co. just yet, but Moothart comes into his own with some tender tugs at the heart and some psych burn that dabbles in shoegaze fizz. The album opens with a few burners, proving he’s got his own heat at the ready. “Black Cat” and “Sequence” tussle with hot tar licks, and “Street Vision” slows the choogle to a steady swagger, but its not until the wound opens for “Green Light” that the album shows what Moothart has at his disposal. The track’s fraught with menace and pain but also an open woundedness that’s not often seen in his particular pack, save for maybe Mikal Cronin.

He returns to the fray for a few more songs, and pulls it off with a more than serviceable acid burn, but he returns to the raw nerve on the album’s title track, “Soundtrack to an Empty Room,” which makes a double case for Moothart to dispense with the amplifier fry altogether and explore a full album of guarded bloodletters that aren’t at all interested in proving his weight in riff returns. Likewise the stately sway of “River” gives the second side a shove towards transcending his roots. There’s plenty to love for the buried needle brigade here, and I’m all for the fuzz, but there’s also an inkling of where Moothart might be headed. I’d say if he can go all in on the tender trappings, he might just have a stunner on his hands.



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Purling Hiss – “Interstellar Blue”

Over the last couple of years Mike Polizze has favored the short format over the album and its been a good run of chasing his respective pop demons in different directions. Out Tonight tumbled down a JAMC / Suicide spiral, but it beat with a fuzzy pop heart, hungover from his previous albums. The flip covered Spacemen 3 in earnest, letting the influences affix themselves firmly to his sleeves. But Interstellar Blue is a different animal. Its as far out as Polizze’s let himself get in quite a while, chomping the fuzz and fray like a man happy to be back in the plume of amplifier fallout once again. He eases in with “Useful Information,” still toggling on a strum, though it revels in a bigger guitar bite. Its on the next track that he returns to the days of Hiss yore, while pushing the formula forward with vision and clarity. Back when they were slaying for the altar of Hissteria, there was a din that surrounded them, dirty, dirgey, and spectacularly loud. But that loudness came with a price in fidelity. The din threatened to subsume them.

Here they’re back at the altar, laying a six-stringed sacrifice down on the lacquer for the world once more, but this time they’re bringing their dedication to higher-fi along with them. “Ostinato Jam” is pure Hiss, damaged and deranged just the way you like it. The wire-tightened “Naut” is frantic and fuzz-caked and the title track is a dropout boogie of the highest order, sniffing at the cosmos with redline abandon. The band hasn’t sounded this good in a long time and its, admittedly, great to have them back.

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Black Mekon – “Immunity”

New ripper in the mix today from PNK SLM garage vets Black Mekon. The group, now expanded to a trio but still operating under an aura of anonymity, pummels the punk buttons on their latest single “Immunity.” At just over a minute the song doesn’t waste any time, full of fuzzing guitars, thick n’ meaty riffs and a slapback pound of drums. The band pairs the cut with an 8-bit aping video that would slide in nicely alongside the recent clip from Oh Sees. It’s giving some similar throwback vibes, despite the fact that their album is entitled Destroy Nostalgia. The whole thing’s in and out and leavin’ you sweaty before there’s time to asses, but its good for a dozen or so repeat plays to let it all absorb. The album lands August 16th



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Ty Segall – “Radio”

So, while I was away last week the music world didn’t stop turning, which leaves a few good bits by the wayside. I’m going to use today to catch up on the best of the bunch. Wouldn’t be a year on the books if Ty didn’t have at least one or two irons in the fire. He’s back with a new solo LP with the usual cast of garage gremlins behind him — “Radio” features Mikal Cronin weirding a bout of buzzing sax, Emmet Kelley and Charles Mootheart holding down the rhythm, and relative newcomer to the Segall Circus, Shannon Lay, chipping in some backup vox. This time around Ty’s cutting down the grandeur of last year’s Freedom’s Goblin, but that by no means equals austerity. The track’s got a bit of an Eastern buzz to it, hammering the guitars like sitars in the sun. Cronin’s sax lights a fire from the outset and the whole thing’s dipped in a layer of reflective paint that shines like some extra-dimensional sun. Sounding like another good one on our hands when First Taste lands August 2nd.



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