Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

CFM – “Rise And Fall”

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2017 appears to be the year when the members that have made Ty Segall’s backing bands so potent get their own shared glow of the spotlight, and deservedly so. With Meatbodies heading up the glam-psych concept album and The Cairo Gang shined into pop prettiness, it’s left to Charles Moothart to lift the garage baton high and get into some dirty riffs. The first taste of the band’s upcoming LP on In The Red is the tar-thick garage-pscyh stickiness of “Rise and Fall.” The recording here, like Moothart’s compatriots in Meatbodies, takes a notch up from the shredded psych salad he’s released in the past. He has West Coast studio wizard Eric Bauer and old pal Segall to thank for that, as the pair get down on recording and mixing duties. There’s an air of Motorhead’s laryngitis howl, a thatch of Sabbath via Satori riffs and a cloud of smoke so thick that the band can cut their dry ice budget in half. Couldn’t be happier to see all these solo runs adding up to a year of heavy gems.




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Mind Meld

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L.A.’s Mind Meld follow up their tease of single, “The Viper,” with a full length that makes good on all the promises locked into that rock candy double-shot. The album shares a a few obsessions with the current crop of metal-dipped, space-rock altar worshipers, and they’re making a very worthy bid to be running in the same pack that Ty, Meatbodies and Aussie heavies like King Gizzard and Orb are heading up. The band knows their way around the yoke of heaviness, but for every Winnebago flattening riff they add a dose of catchy crunch topping and an air of spaciness that speaks to their love of ’70s wizards like Hawkwind or The Edgar Broughton Band. The latter, they even pay double down respects to here with a cover of the band’s Why Can’t Somebody Love Me”.

The eponymous album is pure hedonistic fury, amps on fire and tumbling down with pumice and ash. Though that almost tips a cap into doom territory, and while its obvious that the record shelves of Mind Meld members are not without a few Sabbath records, they actually keep the tone celebratory. Its heavy, but not evil. There’s more Blue Cheer in their growl than anything, frying out the West Coast vibes and feeling like they’re having a pretty good time doing it. Check out the band’s album in full below, dressed up in all is garage-psych glory. Recommended you tip the volume knob rightward here. Shake the windows.



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Paperhead

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A distinctly polished upgrade of Paperhead’s nostalgia-centric rock trip, their latest Chew is an ambitious reach that pays off for the most part. The Paperhead is one of those band’s that has been clanging around in RSTB’s reach for a few years now. They came up as underage wunderkinds with a taste that spoke to hours dosed in YouTube fodder that knocked through Nuggets-era material like Kaleidoscope, Gandalf, Tomorrow, July and Rainbow Ffolly. They emulated the off-kilter, day-glo pastiche so well that it was charming, but not didn’t necessarily speak to carving out their own space. They’d excelled at winking at collectors who couldn’t help but feel that “the kids were all right.” But on Chew they begin to move away from that and into their own space, finally coming to terms with the influences that have bubbled up in their formative years, blending that ’60s sweet tooth with a more complex pop that speaks to their familiarity with the Elephant 6 catalog as that stable developed out of their own adolescence.

Tracks like “Emotion (Pheromones)” speak to the kind of lush pop made by Beachwood Sparks and middle marks of Beulah. “Little Lou” is a hazy dose of Olivia Tremor Control’s outer reaches. Elsewhere they fully embrace a ’70s eclecticism that found a home for country’s mellow glow within psych-pop’s walls. They dabble in dual languages on standout “Dama De Lavanda” and they seem to fully swell into a sense of who they want to be. Yes, they are still quite smitten with the seeds of the past, but now they appear to have let more of themselves into the mix. As an added plus those skin deep and sleeve worn influences have all seeped deep into the system and germinated in delightful ways. This is a band still having fun with the kind of music they enjoy, indulging but also adding to the conversation. It’s psych-pop with a human heart.




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Mac Blackout Band

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Mac Blackout (aka Marc McKenzie) has been a fixture here for a while, running a vein through Chicago’s garage rock underground for a good solid clip at this point. As leader of RSTB faves Mickey, McKenzie will always have a soft spot in my heart for creating one of the last ten years’ most fun power pop records. As the Mac Blackout Band though, the pop side has melted away a bit and the full on garage-punk assault is in total swing with just a whiff of metal floating on the air. Burning Alive is a raw nerve of pent up aggression and full bore rock shot out of the barrel wild and loose. The album is practically shaking with beads of sweat, tumbling and scuffing its way through the speakers looking to get into a fight as soon as possible.

The record blasts out of the start with the fiery anthem “Rise Up” and that pretty much sets the tone for the record to come. Once Blackout has you on your feet and ready for a rumble he just stokes the blaze of fight burning in your core and lets the furious riffs and tornado of toms do the rest. The album isn’t remapping the garage rock landscape, but as I’ve said countless times, that’s not always the point. It’s a fun record that’s unhinged at its best, bringing to mind fellow Midwestern legends Timmy’s Organism. At its worst, its still a damn fun ride, that begs for volume, lowered windows and blank stares from the passersby.




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Meatbodies

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So just to get it out of the way, yeah it’s obvious that Chad Ubovich, Charles Mootheart, Ty Segall and Cory Hanson have at one time or another borrowed from each other’s record collections. There are a lot of the same influences at work here, and while the lazy review could write Meatbodies off as just a carbon copy of any of the others, Ubovich has built an impressive tower of psychedelic pop in his own right on Alice. What he’s really excelled at is finding a way to seamlessly intertwine the best hallmarks of any ’70s guitar freak’s record shelf. There’s the Bolan warble bumping into Syd Barrett’s own tremolo madness, neither affectation overtaking the other completely in a dance of madness. The band builds matchstick temples to Sabbath and burn them down with the glee of bubblegum glam. They know that Bowie and The Sweet both wanted to make you bop and treat them on equal footing, no hero hierarchy here, egalitarian aesthetics copped to the core.

In an age when it’s possible to completely saturate yourself in an almost overwhelming amount of musical output, it’s impressive to see someone take his obsessions and lacquer them together into a monster of an album that doesn’t whiplash between styles like a giddy kid in a candy store. Stacking LEGO® pulled from your best bins can muddle more than it can shine, but the band builds a solid psych foundation that keeps me coming back time and again for another dose of cotton thick clouds of fuzz. Ubovich, along with West Coast studio backbone Eric Bauer shellac this sucker into its shiny fanged form. They indulge (heavily) in the effects of their forefathers, but let them color strategically out of the lines in hypnotic shapes rather than make a splotchy mess.

There’s an overarching theme here of “war, sex, politics and religion,” but to be fair that covers a lot of ground and while the lyrics stick Alice together some, it’s more of an album about feel and tone, time and space. It’s the past skinned, sliced, packaged and shuffled into an order that feels natural. It’s the countless hours of a music junkie made material and fed through a Big Muff for good measure. If that’s not enough for you, then door’s on the right, be sure to hit the black light your way out and let the rest of us fuzz out grinnin.’



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Cakefight – Cakefight 7″

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Melbourne duo Cakefight let out a fun garage pop yelp on their debut EP. The single was recorded by Matthew Melton in Austin and it captures a certain economical, yet catchy aesthetic that’s not too far off from Melton’s own works, but without the quite-so-creamy center that permeates something like Warm Soda. The band knows their way around a catchy hook and a summertime chorus that feels like boardwalk nights spent sweating it out in leather jackets in July. Just a four shot pumper of fun tracks, not breaking down the walls, but good garage is never about refining the riff, just harnessing it to let the hijinx flow freely. In that respect, this is doing the job perfectly. Of the fiver of tracks offered up on this short-order platter, the best are the the gnarled beach party of “Sucks Under This Sun” and the pop punk fist shaker, “Who You Are.” Though, the rest of the batch is certainly not without merit. A nice debut from these Aussies, under the watchful eye of one of American power pop’s best.



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Easy Love – “I’ll Be Fine”

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New one here from Easy Love, the solo project from Justine Brown of Summer Twins. The song doesn’t stray too far from the Twins’ breezy ’60s pop overtones and general swooning appeal, but with a thickened sound and a grind of fuzz guitar backing her up, Brown’s new venture is hitting ticking all the right boxes around here. The song is drenched in longing, an ode to lost souls everywhere finding their way back to solid footing. The track is off of her upcoming album on Lollipop / Burger, which seems like a fitting home for her, given an already rosy track record with Burger. The track is probably one of the best I’ve heard out of Summer Twins or Brown’s previous solo work and it begs some attention when the full album drops in Feb.

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Ty Segall

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Just like last year started with a blast from Ty, so starts 2017 with a new album from the hardest working man in garage-psych. For his second eponymous venture, he’s departed from The Muggers, shaken the deliciously diseased vibes that flooded Emotional Mugger and returned to finding peace somewhere between the Bolan bound twinges of psych-folk come down with a beautiful case of the shakes and proto-metal’s thick, earthen hammer of fuzz. Segall’s made no over arching claims on this one, just that its the best batch of songs he’s had in him and that’s what he’s putting forward. No small proposal in a catalog that stretches longer than most artists could ever hope to muster, but the man makes good on his promises to lay down some true new gems, glittering among a career full of amp-toasted earworm nuggets.

He’s both at his heaviest, besting even the electrified armor heft of Slaughterhouse, and his most pastoral, taking Sleeper‘s mellow mind to task. The heavy standout here is the 10+ minute opus, “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)” which goes ques up the guitar god clip for our judges in the audience. If you came for the heavy psych vibes and wallpaper peel, please proceed directly to track three and let your brain melt like butter in the sun. For me though, as much as I appreciate a good, hard mind flay, its the softer side that finds me coming back again and again. Pristine plums like “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair),” “Talkin'” and “Orange Color Queen” beg for quietude, calm air and an appreciation of the artist’s presumably ample collection of ’70s country, folk and psych slabs for their inspiration.

The album employs a new (and yet not so new – welcome back Emmet Kelly, Mikal Cronin and Charles Moothart) backing band that calls up old friends, cuts the crew down to a core that can’t miss and records one of the first true big studio albums in the artist’s career. Cut with minimal overdubs, just a band in a room working as a unit to bring an album beating to life, its an record that won’t let itself slip from view in a year that threatens to be choked with big banner releases. I think, for me at least, that’s why I’ll always be waiting to hear what Segall does next. Every new album will make good on promises to, if not outdo the last one, always be an essential and vital voice kicking holes in rock’s altar.



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Stef Chura

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As a Michigan native, I gotta love Stef Chura, just for stickin’ it out and never pulling roots on the rust belt. There’s a certain kind of malaise and self-flagellation I inherit to living in the mitten and it comes through on her debut record, Messes. She’s landed in Detroit and made the city headquarters to the recording of the album, enlisting fellow Midwest holdout Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good to Me) on production and bass here. The record leans into certain ’90s touchstones that anyone coming of age during the era might let warm their nostalgic heart; the distortion pedal punch of noise rising out of the calm chorus, feminist punk prose, and a starkness that feels like Albini might be creeping ’round the cables (alas, he’s not). The sum of the parts, though, doesn’t sound like it’s lost in the past, just keeping the best parts aloft.

Chura packs the album full of doubts, anxieties, stresses and breakthroughs. Its an album about all the shit that life throws as you and coming out, at least somewhat, better on the other side. It’s not about erasing that emotional heap from your slate, just not letting it overwhelm. Perhaps that vulnerability is what really brings the album swimming to the surface out. Chura’s ability to be self-effacing and pack it on top of thick, fuzzed, slightly knotty, and certainly catchy songwriting lets her stand as not just another artist flipping surf, jangle, or girl-group swoon into faded memories and faint touchstones. She’s cheekily mentioned that she decided she’d had to write at least album before she dies, but now that she has, I’m hoping its by no means a solitary creation.



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Hair – Hair

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More fuzzed goodness from Chicago. Heavy vibes and psych fallout are wafting our way from the windy city trio Hair, coming forth via 7″ on Tall Pat records. The single wraps up three tracks that bash deep into territory that should be familiar to fans of Ty Segall, Wand, Mind Meld, Orb and others finding solace between the proto metal double kick, grunge-punk hammer headlock and psychedelic ripple riot that we all love so well. Sure, its territory that’s been carved out and covered, but as I’ll always be the first to admit, if you’re doing it right, then I’m not going to bust any balls nagging that someone laid the road first. Hair are slowly but steadily melting the paint in any room playing this single. In fact its hard to pick out a standout here, its a triple-A rocker that’s perking plenty of interest as to where they’re headed next (they have but one other, lone Bowie tribute up on their Bandcamp). Hopefully they’ll stretch things out to a proper long player and let the pavement crack under its weight. For now, these three are more than enough to tide me over.




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