Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Ty Segall – “My Lady’s On Fire”

Well I’m a sucker for a soft Segall ballad, that’s for sure. The parts of his previous S/T record that hit me hardest were the moments when the lights went low and the volume got bumped a touch out of the redline haze. “My Lady’s On Fire” kicks in with the same intentions – jangles leading the charge and feeling every bit the folk-popper in the making. Segall takes a swerve though and blows this up to a sunset ’70s showstopper full of horns and a swaying chorus that proves he’s getting comfortable in his role as a topline songwriter. There’s a something here that’s chasing the infinite classic, a Last Waltz ensemble piece that’ll someday bring the house down in tears.

Still not sure what this blocked primary release schedule is leading up to, but Januarys are becoming traditional months for Ty to release a new album so there’s always hope that this is pointing that direction. If it’s just a good shake on the bag of tracks without a home, though, I’m not going to complain either.




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The Cowboys

Bloomington’s Cowboys spit-shined their work for Volume 4, the first of their records that found them studio bound. That record snuck out on tape last year and caught a few ears, but hardly enough, given the promise the band showed and the kind of sweat ‘n soul whirlwind they were showcasing between those two spools. Happily, a couple of folks agreed enough to press it down to LP this year and the band follows on with their a brand new LP for Hozac.

They’ve strayed from the studio back to their home setup, but despite cranking these tunes to 8-track, they’ve still managed to keep the crust at bay. Despite a little tape hiss, the transition isn’t too noticeable. Forging on with plenty more sweat-wrenchers, the band’s prowess is cemented within the grooves of the new record, and on 3rd LP, they should rightfully garnish comparisons to Aussie exports Royal Headache. For all their shakin’ bouts of guitar twang their true asset is apparent in vocalist Keith Harman, who’s got a a leather-scratched soul wail that’s as classic as any. His delivery bumps them up out of the cattle call of garage bands that swarm the country. Though, to say Harman’s the only reason to listen isn’t giving The Cowboys enough credit.

The band’s also got a real affinity for shying away from the cliches of garage’s past and present. They’ve got a lighter touch and aren’t afraid to swagger into territory that’s more Todd Rundgren than tortured fuzz (“Mike’s Dust”, “Like A Man”) and it suits them well. Even when they’re still hitting the gas, Harman pulls them closer to Jagger blue-eyed soul territory rather than tumbling through the Sonics/Stooges axis that’s often split by so many these days. The record’s got a ton of appeal and feels like it’s constantly just a hard push away from making something that’s indelible in the halls of rock. This feels like its going to be a watershed moment to look back on from their undoubtedly future classics.




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Sunwatchers – “Silent Boogie”

Brooklyn’s Sunwatchers follow up their chaotic record for Castle Face with a new slab for perennial favorite Trouble in Mind. The first cut off of Sunwatchers II is a searing skin-melter with Jeff Tobias’ sax splitting hairs between the fult-tilt simmer of ’60s garage-punk and the unrestrained reaches of free jazz. They come down hard with a rhythm tumble that’s unstoppable and a sway over skronk that’s formidable and menacing. They remind me of the psych-jazz tumble of Cato Salsa/The Thing/Joe McPhee’s Two Bands and a Legend in a very good way. Gonna want to get into this when February rolls around, it’ll brighten up a the dark days and warm the cold nights.




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Acid Baby Jesus

Greek’s best current export returns fresh faced and going for a more laconic vibe than they’ve embraced previously. ABJ has traditionally gone for the garage gusto and held on tight, but now they’re folding in plenty of ’70s folk/psych touches to the mix and pulling it off with a pretty solid hold on their history. They can still drive a hook, though, and while the overall vibe of the album has backed away from the intensity of their youth, they still wind up a garage hook now and again on Lilac Days.

The album blows by quickly. It doesn’t mire itself in an obsession with working psych over the barrel of length to draw out the kernel of raw vibe at the center of the beast. They get in and out without overstaying their welcome, and the brevity wears well. What’s striking, though, is when they play things slow – work the ambience more than the stomp n’ twang – they wind up in a place that’s positioning them as heirs apparent to a soft psych mantle that’s in sore need of pickup. “Birth” and “Love Has Left My House Today” in particular find the band lapping at the shores of a calm iridescence that could use more prominence in today’s psych scene. There are plenty that want to proselytize at the altar of groove, but sometimes we all need to simmer and let the damp chill seep into the bones. Acid Baby Jesus ride the vibe well and it would behoove them to follow this muse where it leads.




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Ty Segall – “Alta”

Ty’s been working overtime, dropping non-album nuggets all over this year – 7″s and EPs and now a live favorite tamped down to tape for your listening pleasure. Again wrung out with Albini, this time on a quick break from touring last spring, “Alta” shares much with the sessions that wrought Ty’s last eponymous monster. The track pools in, cool and sparkling before launching into a wall of ’90s grunge that tears the roof off the place. This is a showstopper, an ozone-huffer that reaches for the guitar god in Segall’s bag of personas. It’s easy to see how this one grew out of live performances first and it seems like it might very well cement itself to set-ender placement for quite some time. As far as unexpected presents go, this one’s a pretty sweet package.




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Timmy’s Organism

The garage demons are runnin’ amok this fall as renown gutter necromancer with a telecaster Timmy Vulgar lays down a new slab of dust choked bile on hometown label Lo & Behold. Vulgar has never steered me wrong and, as he digs deeper into his Organism moniker, this band only becomes further entrenched as the brutal defensive pincer of his personal universe (see also: Human Eye, Clone Defects). Eating Colors culls together a few singles that seeped out of the swamp following the band’s brush with infamy as part of Third Man’s expanded roster, but it all careens together seamlessly into a prime slice of Detroit fuzz as the Organism’s fourth album proper.

Vulgar channels the specter of Don Van Vliet as he gargles acidic syllables over the Motor City’s true export – raw, unrefined, diesel-burning rock ‘n roll. He hoists his guitar like a sonic halberd, cutting down swaths of listeners swarming to the mecca of diseased fuzz that spews from the band’s aural wellspring. The Organism is best looked at indirectly, so as not to turn to stone on sight of the beast, but its best listened to at top volume, careening out of car windows and down cracked city blocks like an air raid siren of doom for all to hear. If ever there was a band that embodied, embraced and emboldened the idea that rock might open a mental portal to another plane, Timmy’s Organism is that band. The very blood of the band runs green with a radioactive pulse that’s melting minds with guitar vomit and on this latest slab, they’re bound to induce a nervous breakdown or two. This might be just what you need to sandblast the barnacles of 2017 from your system.





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Omni’s Frankie Broyles on China Crisis – Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms – Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain

After splitting from Deerhunter, Frankie Broyles has taken a tumble through post-punk’s most angular avenues with his band Omni. The band’s debut for Trouble in Mind was a loving run at Television, The Voidoids and Wire, a sound which they only crystallize on their follow-up this year. For the latest Hidden Gems, Boyles takes a run at an album he feels has been left out of the public conversation, the synth-pop debut from Brits China Crisis. If the album’s cover is any indication, they’ve at least lifted a bit of aesthetic vision from the band but Frankie explains how the music has seeped into his own life below.

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Ecstatic Union – “Illuminator”

L.A. psych rockers Ecstatic Union slipped a solid release out on Lollipop recently and their single “Illuminator” encapsulates the feel good summer vibes that soak the entire record. Huge pop hooks are doused in the kind of glowing ’60s pop that permeated the Elephant Six catalog, taken even bigger by graduates like Beulah and The Sunshine Fix. The video has fun with a rapscallion beach rat character that brings a smile to any viewer. The rest of the record is worth a run as well. Get down with some sunshine vibes before they’re all gone.



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The Surfing Magazines

The Surfing Magazines knot their slackened indie impulses through a slow-simmer debut filled with rope-burn riffs and a midnight vocal slink. The London foursome drags the line directly from the VU and Jonathan Richmond schools of aloofness, swaggering through songs with an innate eloquence that hasn’t really been felt since guitar rock’s mid-aughts bubble. They embody the essence of detached cool, strumming with a purposeful, but decidedly laconic touch that flicks out frayed runs with a sigh that seems at odds with the lacerations they leave. If this were another era, one could only imagine a cigarette dangling unperturbed from the mouths of players in forgotten accessory.

However, while they find roots in an American past, there’s something indelibly British about the album – a stateliness that hangs in the air as the notes decay behind the fold. And thankfully there’s very little actual surf influence here, aside from the loungey instrumental “A Fran Escaped,” it’s kept to just a flourish and a name. Instead, the band projects an image of art-dallianced mod rockers whose jazz friends have come to rock a horn session, beefing up their stripped bare rumblers with equal doses of swing and skronk. Somehow they make it sound refreshing and, while there’s definitely a note of pretension here, like VU they get away with it since their charms outweigh their indulgences

The bones of the band crib decisively from the Wave Pictures half of the members’ background, with no real shreds of Slow Club’s lush indie-pop in sight. Though, what they’ve done with the same basic structure far outstrips Tattersall and Rozycki’s previous catalog. It’s hard to hammer at the essence of The Surfing Magazine’s sound without acknowledging that it carries deep debts to tried and true tropes, but what makes their version stand out is that they pull it off effortlessly and with such a cocked smile that the listener just has to appreciate their confidence and nod with appreciation.




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The Schizophonics – “The Train”

San Diego’s Schizophonics tap the primordial soup that fuels the rawest riff on rock n’ roll – the kind that left crowds slack-jawed and jonesin’ after performances by The MC5 and their siblings in sweat, The Stooges. The Schizophonics pump that strain of heat through every inch of “The Train,” coursing 1.21 gigawatts of disjointed guitar fury through any speaker that thinks it has a shot to handle the noise. They’re picking up the mantle once held high by frayed freaks like The Sonics. They’re donning the cape and bending down to the same twisted Tiki God that bestowed King Kahn with the very tempest of Soul that infected James Brown and Little Richard before him. With no small amount of blood letting, they’ve caught the manic itch of rock’s own riotous ripple and they’re spreading it far and wide here. Their LP is out now on the famed Sympathy for the Record Industry, so dig in for a full helping.



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