Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Salt Lick – “Dirty Dream”

Another ripper out of the Permanent Records camp this week. Coming on like an MC5 fever dream, this b-side from Salt Lick’s debut 7” shakes the window panes until they beg for mercy. See-sawing on a monster riff, the track is muddied and murky but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t knock the wind out of you. Salt Lick rounds up members from the Permanent staff, but its more than just a bit of nepotism here – it seems that those curating the power of pummel can also deliver it just as well. This is scuzzy, crusted, exhaust huffing garage rock with no spit shine in sight. The band lets loose with the new single on Wednesday and precedes it with a hometown release show in LA, so if you’re West Coast centered you can experience the brutal beatdown in person.



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Kelley Stoltz

San Francisco’s secret weapon is slipping out his tenth (!!) album on low key label Banana and Louie. Feels like Stoltz has been a part of this site for the better part if its duration and whether he’s behind the boards (The Love-Birds, Rays, Sandwitches) or working as a studio rat (Thee Oh Sees, Sonny & The Sunsets, The Fresh & Onlys) he’s a welcome name in the credits of any release. More important yet, his own mounting discography is packed full of jangled-nerve post-punk and paisley pools of pop that mark him as not only a conduit for others’ excellent visions, but as a purveyor of his own unique strain of pop psychosis. Natural Causes comes fresh off of last year’s Que Aura. a highlight in the songwriter’s late period catalog. While the short, but sweet, nine-cut album doesn’t quite dig in its heels as hard as last year, there are some moments of pure Stoltz on display here.

The record is valiantly attempting to balance Kelley’s love for light-touch jangles and sunshine shimmy with his weakness for a darker side of the ‘80s. “Decisions Decisions” packs up some of his most shimmering strums, while eschewing the darker threads of post-punk that work their way through his pieces. Similarly, he’s huffing a dose of verdant vapors throughout the handclap-infected shaker, “Are You An Optimist.” The album caps off with one of his most fun tunes in a while, the light-hearted jangler, “Rolling Tambourine” – a barrelhouse romp through 60s’ pop impulses. That’s not to say he’s shed the post-punk pound just yet. There’s a post-disco shiver that runs through “Static Electricity” and he adopts a spaced ominousness for the particularly on the nose “How Psychedelic Of You.” When Stoltz wants to bring on the preening intensity, he’s got you more than covered.

For an artist who has released albums everywhere from Sub Pop to Third Man to Castle Face, this seems to come with desperately little fanfare, which is a damn shame. While he’s got albums that outstrip it in scope and style, there’s a lot to love on Natural Causes and Stoltz never leaves listeners without a few hooks stuck in their heads. There’s some great polish on the album and its clear that Stoltz keeps enough of his studio tricks for his own albums. Don’t let this one slip away in the flood of 2018 albums. Kelley Stoltz remains a modern songwriting workhorse and this small collection does little to tarnish his reputation.



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Ty Segall & White Fence

Insane schedules and myriad commitments can’t keep Ty and Tim from gravitating back together it seems. While Hair wasn’t received as a major event on its release, it remains a frozen moment of fuzz-whacked garage-psych that’s a highlight in both artists’ catalogs. Segall was but an upstart wading his way through seven-inch stacks to nestle albums one after another until the accolades couldn’t help but catch up to his frantic pace. Tim was fresh from his years in Darker My Love and building a wobbly psych-pop prominence of his own. The album lit a match on the powder keg of creativity that was buried knee deep in Syd Barret B-sides, deleted Pretty Things cuts and the kind of Nuggets-worthy references that stretched from July to Grapefruit and from Kaleidoscope to, well, Kaleidoscope (UK).

Seven years on from their first matchup the pair are worlds removed from the scrappy sonics that defined them both in that moment. Still, with the best of a decade behind us, its good to see that the pair have no intentions of digging in another pile of toys to build their collaborative sound. Joy bears many of the best hallmarks of Hair with an improved fidelity and the steady hands of two artists who know exactly what they love and how to pull it off. The album is stuffed with psych pop that still chews at the same wobbly wrappers littered behind by Barret (Presley’s influence one can only assume) but they also charge head on to some fuzzier fodder that’s got Ty’s footprints firmly embedded in its DNA.

Joy’s only stumble can be its apparent need to stuff itself to the seams. While its stretchier length doesn’t give it the same edge of your seat whiplash that accompanied Hair, the duo takes advantage of the space to shake out all their ideas. T&T fleck their creation with echoplex blowback and spine compressing feedback. They dip into post-Mothers chewed psych-soul mantras, wonky intermediary tracks that would make the Small Faces proud, and folk pop that sees them reaching for shades of Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher. Though, unlike that songwriting pair, they’re clearly not striving for perfection. There are some great cuts on Joy and a whole lot more that sound like two crate diggers riffing on one another. Its fun, because you can feel them having fun but it also feels a bit like they’re missing the opportunity to stuff it full of hits.





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Ty Segall & White Fence – “Body Behavior”

Its definitely good to see Ty Segall and Tim Presley jumping back in the same sandbox again for round two on their collaborative LP from way back 2012. They were both just barely eking out their own legends at that point, so Joy comes with higher stakes and a whole lot more studio wizardry behind it. They still careen down the madcap halls left barren when Barrett died, but they’re giving the take on “Body Behavior” a lot more grit. The track dips into the garage grease a bit when the guitars get their speed up, putting a bit more hair on this than some of the other tracks on the album. It doesn’t pull the track too far into modernity though, and this is still pure ’60 psych in its heart. Their collabs always come out heavier on the White Fence side of the equation, playing with Presley’s scattered pop sensibilities as a base. Though, while I love White Fence’s take on the spindly sounds piped into the psych ward of DMT casualties, I’ve always thought that he and Ty take the sound to its fullest realization together.




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Hoover III – “Taste In Highlife”

For the flip of their upcoming 7” LA’s Hoover III go full bore psychic shakedown instrumental, slithering their way through motorik beats that stop over at the houses of Can and Düül before snaking down through the dens of Morricone and Jodorowsky. The track builds slow, dripping with humid tension before lighting the match and letting fly with an indomitable wall of guitar scorch. The improv style looks good on the band (which features mems of Mind Meld, Jesus Sons, Numb.er, and Babylon) and they make the most of this mind flayed backer to their “Guillotne” single for Permanent. Get on it fast and there’s a super limited purple edition ltd to only 100.



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Simply Saucer – “Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette”

As reissues begin to mount interest in bands the next stage brings the inevitable rumblings of reformation. For fans that missed out on the live shows of ‘blink and you miss ‘em’ bands this is sometimes a godsend, though it also holds the possibility of besmirching a tight catalog with an experience that can’t hope to live up to the originals’ weight. Its with such weight that bands also embark on the endeavor to extend the catalog. It’s a hard rope to cross without leaning too far into imitating one’s prime or updating it into something that’s well out of the scope of what fans came to hear. Canadian psych obscurities Simply Saucer have been having a year full of reissues and they now come to the precipice of adding to the conversation with new works.

Their first single in 40 years ropes in two original members along with studio friends and Jesse Locke (Century Palm, Tough Age) who has been instrumental in getting the band’s work back out to the public. The songs are sown from their same well of weirdness, though it’s clear in their present state they’re working with much better equipment than the machines that wrought Cyborgs Revisited. With the technical upgrade comes some wish fulfillment in fleshing out their sound with a battery of keys and backup vocals. They don’t push too hard into making it a recording “of its current time,” so it sits well with their back catalog, but it loses a bit of the immediacy and electricity of something like “Bullet Proof Nothing” and neither captures the off the rails quality inherit in “Instant Pleasure.”

That said the single’s not without its charms and indeed its not an addition that falls into the besmirch category. 40 years is a lifetime and that the band still have some of the same tinfoil wobble that blew through their amplifiers when they stood on the edges of punk is a testament to their core. “Alien Cornfield,” taken without expectations and stripped of associations is a prime slice of sci-fi garage, though “Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette” gets a bit grandiose for my taste. Regardless, its good to have the band back in the public eye. As I mentioned with the reissue, they’re an essential piece of the psych-punk lineage.



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Baby Blue – Do What You Like

Melbourne’s Baby Blue tap into a mournful ‘60s pop that swings between grey-skied girl group melancholy and a tough-kneed brand of garage pop. The band’s Rhea Caldwell packs a sharper punch on their sophomore outing, a five-song EP that employs some nice gloss touches that distance them from the bulk of their Aussie indie compatriots. Do What You Like finds more in common with West Coast US stompers like Bleached, though they share a great deal of crossover with fellow Aussie RSTB faves Bloods as well, putting them in good company.

While the breezy pop of opener “I Like You” feels pleasant, but overly familiar, the EP works its into darker dens as it wears on – adding a dark, caustic bite to “Dream Life” and a touch of progressive propulsion to closer “Fire and Ice.” Caldwell’s got her head ‘round the hooks but its when she adds power and darkness to her bag of tricks that the songs begin to stand out. If the standouts here are an indication of where the band is headed, then we should all keep an ear perked for Baby Blue’s next move.



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Beach Skulls – “Sacred Citrus”

Manchester garage slingers Beach Skulls have popped up here in the past with their low-slung, amp-fried pop nugs. They’re at it again with “Sacred Citrus” from their upcoming PNKSLM LP and it continues the tradition of swagger-addled garage-pop that they’ve made their bed in over the years. The track trades in hammock-swung vibes of calmly festering fuzz and rumbling toms then slides into a fiery chorus that’s tipping the sweat gauge a few notches harder. The push-pull makes for a nice dynamic positing this as a summer soother that’s more aloe and ice crush than high octane workout.



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The Buttertones

L..A. foursome Buttertones have been working their way through the chutes and ladders of indie garage for some time now, looking for their place in a sweatbox scene that’s crowded at best. Following up on Gravedigger, they look to the oil slick riffs and curled sneers of The Cramps, Gun Club, Hasil Adkins and maybe even a touch more Cramps (for good measure) as their inspiration. Rolling their hip-slung swagger in twang worthy of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and gripping an ace horn section to fatten things out, the band hangs a crisp white collar on typically dirty linen. Their clean lined delivery pines like Nashville looking down Memphis way. They’ve got the studio set up right, the moves practiced until they’re seamless but they need to scuff the tape and aim the dial towards the red to really push this sound into its comfort zone.

Like their labelmate Nick Waterhouse, they’re adept at emulating eras and tone and for what its worth they find purchase in some genuinely fun moments here – the Lux Interior grease stain hop of “Baby C4,” the lounge comedown of “Don’t Cry Alone” – but something in the margins feels like for all The Buttertones’ bravado they’d probably blanche at trying to bum a smoke off of Nick Cave. When you name a song “You and Your Knife” there needs to be a feeling that the danger is real, and even though the rumble on Midnight In a Moonless Dream is more Jets vs. Sharks than Warriors vs. Rogues, they give the danger enough spark to feel fun. The band clearly know which shelves in their collection hold favorite LPs and they’re making the stretch to try to hit the marks. Might just need a few more scraped knees to pull off the darker direction, but I appreciate the effort nonetheless.



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The Sueves

Still plenty to love in the Chicago punk scene these days and the sophomore LP from The Sueves proves it. There’s a slight bump up the clarity counter from their debut, and yet this new record is still torn and tattered and ripped to shreds in all the right places. The band’s core is a visceral gut punch, relying less on hooks than on the lock top drumming of Tim Thomas (formerly of Heavy Times) and a few chemical burn guitars to get the point across. That’s not to say there aren’t any riffs slicing through R.I.P. Clearance Event, there are plenty, but the band utilizes them like a saw blade, tearing at the listener with their insistent teeth.

The Sueves have studied up on their Stooges, their Hot Snakes and their Seeds catalogs, borrowing heavily from the wild man aesthetic and turning sweat into joy over the course of these some sixteen tracks. Songs swerve and duck and shimmy as the album works its course, fighting not to be pinned down. They relent the hammer down determination a few times and let through a smirk on “Slammer” and rope in the barroom crowd for “What They Did,”- sounding not unlike The Strange Boys for a bit – but otherwise this is a breathless buncha bashers. Good for what ails ya, and ready to rumble when you are, R.I.P. Clearance Event leaves a few turf marks on the turntable to be sure.




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