Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Pearl Earl

Denton is awash in garage upstarts of the denim-donned variety. Testosterone prone outfits that aim to tear a hole in the American dream with a curlicue of amp cable and a four-pack of chords in fuzztone from. Pearl Earl aim to kick a ragged rip in that paradigm, trailing sequins and snake venom behind them as they lay their own barrage of garage, punk and glitter-stomped prog down upon the city of their making. Their debut LP arrives with concrete ton of confidence and a pretty clear cut idea of who they want to be.

Clearly caught in the crackle of ’70s airwaves, the band is mashing their memories with a deft hand and a feminine snarl. With a slightly less buoyant approach, Pearl Earl are finding their way along the same inflamed tributary that carries kindred spirits Savoy Motel. They embody the ten-foot tall ideals of glam, as evidenced in the gloss that shines on the album’s surface, and they pin it well to their flip of the radio dial. At heart the band’s eponymous LP is as punk as any of their myriad homegrown stagemates, but where others go to the well for the simple quench of sweat, Pearl Earl go for the rainbow ripple off the water in the sun. Having fun with the form, they explode punk into shards of psychedelic debris, each looking to streak the sky with its own glittered flare.

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The Murlocs – “Snake In The Grass”

While the gunshot psych train rolling towards damnation that is King Gizz cannot be stopped this year, with five albums promised and two delivered, why shouldn’t that schedule leave room for a side project or two? The band’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith has embarked on another record from The Murlocs, his own garage bound warriors on the edge of time. The clip for “Snake In The Grass” goes full claymation, with a few other swipes at the stop-motions playbook and that’s somehow always a welcomed wayback around here. The song’s hitting the sweat-rock button squarely, with Kenny-Smith’s harmonica blowing hard as ever. If you’re already in for a penny on the Gizz, why not stock up the full pound with The Murlocs on the side? This one’s got bite.



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Premiere: The Cowboys – “I Hope She’s Ok”

The Cowboys’ excellent Vol. 4 was a nice surprise last year. The band cleaned up their act a bit, headed into the studio and laid down an excellent, yet overlooked album. It bumped them onto some radars though, and with luck they’re about to pop on a few more. Their pace hasn’t faltered a step as they head into the Fall with another release on the docket, this time for HoZac. They’ve swapped the studio for the four track this time, but “I Hope She’s Ok” doesn’t show too much crackle for their austerity. As a contrast to the first taste, “Mike’s Dust,” the band kicks the up tempo again and injects a ragged spirit into the track. They cut the edge with a sweet blue-eyed soul stab before the track melts into a molten fray that should play well in this summer of swelter. It’s just more goodness from a band that’s quietly building a reputation as slept on garage-pop heroes.



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RSTB Best of 2017 (so far)

Is it already six months into 2017? Could that be possible? Though it seems there are a hundred other things to distract these days from musical output, it’s been a banner year in terms of albums meeting high expectations and some new surprises sneaking their way into rotation. Somehow, despite plenty of talent bubbling through other genres, it’s just felt right to embrace the blistering squall of psych, noise and punk these past few months. So, as usual, here are the albums that have spent most time on the turntable here. Presented in alphabetical order, its a pretty good roundup with six more months left on the clock.

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Premiere: Pega Monstro – “Ó Miguel”

Lisbon duo Pega Monstro is back with a new LP for UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm. This time they’ve turned down the growl and reclined into the sunny strums of sweet-natured garage pop. It’s not a total departure from their last album, but certainly they’re entertaining the pop half of that phrase more than the garage these days. The new single, “Ó Miguel” jangles its way into your heart in barely two-minutes, but it can’t help but brighten any day. Paired with visuals from Sara Graça, the band’s video for the track comes together like a Wet Hot American Summer dance routine, silly and saccharine, but almost infectiously fun. Casa De Cima found its way out last week and if you’ve missed out, take some time to dig into the sisters’ new charmer.


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The Total Bettys

San Francisco’s Total Betty’s are a country-tinged rock band masquerading in the skin of a garage-pop combo. Though they’ve picked up ranks at the always lovely Lauren Records, they’re skewing more grown up than many of their roster-mates and even their own name checked influences (Bully or Charly Bliss). In actuality the band lands closer to the catalog of Rilo Kiley, finding solace in Jenny Lewis’ wink laden pop docket, before she truly embraced her wandering country soul. The Total Bettys dig into the faded comfort and driving heart of Rilo’s indie past. More so, singer Maggie Grabmeier has a knack for hooking her thumbs into self-deprecation delivered with a touch of honey that can’t help but dredge up comparisons to Lewis.

Repeated listens open this up, not into the jangled garage nugget that it’s perhaps intended to be, but as a bittersweet summer road trip companion that pines for loves imagined and lost. Grabmeier acts as wing-woman and shoulder to lean on, delivering lyrics with a wry humor that’s handily packed into hooks that aren’t outsized, but rather sneakily subtle and seeping into your consciousness through the slight crackle of production that comes on like AM static. As a debut this feels like its just a peek at what Grabmeier and the band have at their disposal. With a larger scale production they could completely shake that garage tag (not that there’s anything wrong with it) and reach for lush hills that give her songwriting a bit more gravitas and still keep feet moving. Certainly a band to keep an eye on as the years click by, but this is lovely on its own merits.




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Dream Machine

Matthew Melton has proven nothing if not mercurial over the years. He’s always been a fixture of the kind of garage that’s beaten and bruised, though doggedly interested in the details. Emerging from the twin spires of smoke-choked garage – Snake Flower 2 and Bare Wires – he dove headlong into the pristine clean of Warm Soda’s power pop with occasional digressions back into garage in his solo work and with short-run stompers Pleasers. So here we stand again on the precipice of another change and this time Melton sheds a great deal of those garage pasts to embrace the blacklit arms of prog and proto-metal.

Along with his wife Doris, who steers the band’s distinctive organ sound, Melton and Dream Machine enter a black drape of dry ice and incense that’s dug deep into the prog mindset, snaking through the corridors of the ’70s on trills of organ that can’t help but bring to mind Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple or Rhinoceros. Doris’ vocals give Dream Machine a nice touch of soulfulness, and a dose of femininity that sometimes eludes Melton’s past projects. He’s often felt like a bastion for young men with record shelving conundrums and while this won’t necessarily scare that set off, it’s got a great deal to offer those that fall outside the devoted choir of believers.

The record even comes with a dive into heady human harmonics in the band’s insistence on re-tuning to accommodate brain-reactive frequencies. Check out their explanation on A=432 that swerves from Joseph Goebbles to The Four Yugas. All these trappings feel essential to their true progression to, well Progressive Rock. The album is, as with most Melton projects, a perfect encapsulation of genre. While there have been plenty of dogmatic psych albums made in the past couple of decades, this one feels like its filling a niche that’s been left behind. With the exception of Black Mountain, the bands that have embraced anything approaching organ-prog in later years get hung up in Rick Wakeman wankerisms that leave out the pelvic thrust at the heart of the original players. Dream Machine manages to ride the line between the dirty crawl of garage and the stadium-sized ambitions of the supergroup generation. You’re gonna want to grab the headphones and sink back in that beanbag for this one.




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Wyatt Blair – “Pop Your Heart Out”

Wyatt Blair’s power pop hockey stop Point Of No Return was a pleasant surprise from an artist devoted to outsized hooks and 200 SPF beach party vibes. So, it’s with equal pleasure that this one-off from Blair drops down into Volcom’s single’s cache as curated by Burger. The rest of the bunch is standard Burger fare, fun but not particularly bursting with fruit flavor. Blair, on the other hand, shows the rest how it’s done. “Pop Your Heart Out” is ten feet tall from the moment it hits and feels continuously like the epic finale of some sort of ’80s college film.

Somewhere between the bars John Cusack is finding resolve, Anthony Edwards is toppling the oppressive scowls of authority and/or Val Kilmer is filling some domicile with enough popcorn to burst a window. More likely though, I think Steve Guttenberg is smirking somewhere and just letting those guitars wash over him. That’s been Blair’s magic in his hi-fi incarnation, he knows just how neon to tint those guitars and synths. He knows just how huge the chorus has to be and then he aims higher. It’s pure cotton candy pop, but everyone likes a cheat day every now and again.




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Mountain Movers

New Haven’s Mountain Movers have been building out a homegrown psych scene since 2006, with releases swerving between hometown label Safety Meeting and their own Car Crash Avoiders imprint. Unless you’re digging into the New England psych pantheon rather heavily, this debut for Trouble In Mind might be their first blip into your world. The band has their psych credentials in order though, stretching out for a fourteen minute opener that flexes with tension and rains down a fair amount of feedback fallout.

The record doesn’t flag after the epic opener either, they flip the switch from walls of squall to echoplexed strums that hang on the air in icy tendrils. They pick up cues from the Nuggets set, but find a more languid purchase on “Everyone Cares,” a subdued standout that still finds time to chew a little fuzz. In fact, as the album progresses, their true strength seems to be balancing their ’60s jangle love with front row seats at Pompeii level burndown amp-friers. They’re always building to an entropy of noise release, but they spend some quality time getting to the punch in each of the tracks that adorn their eponymous LP. The band may have spent the past few years filling out local hangs, but this one might just raise their profile among heads looking for two sides of the of the psych coin packed into one platter.




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Dream Machine – “All For A Chance”

Matthew Melton’s shift to fog machine ’70s prog is perfected on Dream Machine’s upcoming LP The Illusion. Second video out of the gate follows the simple live band floating in color aesthetic, but it’s a perfect fit for the band’s brand of flashback psych. Feeling good about him retiring Warm Soda for this slice of family band FM groove. You can now nab the LP from Castle Face on Boysenberry Swirl, which sounds more like an ice cream flavor than a vinyl pressing, but looks just as sweet.



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