Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Henrik Appel – “Wake Me Up”

PNKSLM is always a solid bet for garage pop and psych sway and this new cut from Henrik Appel is no exception. Falling into the garage camp, the label starts out 2021 strong. The former Lions Den member, Appel, struck out solo on an LP in 2018 and his sophomore step expands on some of his whims from the LP that crept away from his former bandmates. There’s a low-slung quality to “Wake Me Up,” a simmering just below the surface that never quite explodes through but rocks back and forth with a quiet cool. The song saws on a gritted riff, but sweetens itself with some harmony vox and a skid of sax as the song slides to a close. The label’s been making a name for itself with sour-pop gems like Cherry Pickles and ShitKid and this one files in quite nicely alongside those others. The new LP arrives January 8th.




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The Cowboys

Bloomington’s best kept secret has always deserved wider acclaim, With each new release The Cowboys continue to cement their status as a garage-soul force for good in the world. The band’s last few records have refined their sound, giving a glint of pop preen to their sometimes rough garage swagger. Room of Clons, released earlier this year, pushed them perhaps a bit further towards darkness, but they’re wandering back into the light with the newly minted Lovers In Mable EP. The songs here are out from under the umbrella obfuscation and reveling in the sun that shone on their 2019 LP The Bottom of a Rotten Flower. Like that charmer, this short-form dose of swoon and swelter is doused in the big-hearted soul of frontman Keith Harman and its hard not to be taken in by his warmth.

While The Cowboys might nip from power pop well that fed Emitt Rhodes or Van Duren and mix in a crunch of the less psychedelic arm of Nuggets-era poppers a la The Mickey Finn. the band’s croon contenders find them transported back to a kind of transfixed ‘70s pop star moment. There’s a feeling of Harman occupying a state of mind that’s between Todd’s Runt years, or mocking up his best unbuttoned Bowie by way of Kevin Ayers pose There’s a shabby grandness that’s packed with allure. His tie’s undone, the ash on the cigarette is long forgotten. The lights cook deep into his features and the slight wobble of a disco ball gives things a ballroom appeal. When The Cowboys are at their best the speakers seem to sigh. They’re picking up a torch from the past to light a new path for all garage-soul sweaters. The EP is out today, so feel free to nab it up quick.

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Wolfmanhattan Project – “Summer Forever”

A nice surprise this morning in the form of a new track from Wolfmanhattan Project. Wasn’t expecting anything new from this team up of Mick Collins (Dirtbombs), Kid Comgo Powers (Gun Club, Bad Seeds), and Bob Bert (Pussy Galore), but they’re back at it after their debut LP from last year. “Summer Forever’ slides in on a queasy, greasy guitar vibe that sees Mick and Kid trading riffs. There’s a powerful wave of overindulgence wafting off the track – an endless summer that may or may not be a good thing in the end. It seems its the end of the world as we know it but the beaches aren’t closed and there’s still time for a dip before the bloodshot sun dips below the horizon. When the lineup includes legends like these, there’s always some high expectations, but they continue to come through with a dose of edge-of-the-apocalypse fun. Summer Forever And Ever is out soon on In The Red Records.



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Death Valley Girls – “Hold My Hand”

There’s a raucous spirit that inhabits the first single from the upcoming Death Valley Girls’ LP. Nailed to whatever ghosts used to inhabit the garage barrage of a few years back, DVG take the best elements of that California crunch and make the jump to an untethered fuzz pop that’s pulling at a hip-swung rhythmic pulse. They’re able to funnel the cracked window crush that flew through blurred psych-pop divining rods like Crocodiles and soul-soaked party poppers like Shannon and the Clams alike. With a swaying organ and ten-foot tall riffs the song isn’t short on impact, but its the shout-along vocals that make it feel like an anthem in a time when its hard to get the motivation to move, let alone dance. And as far as pandemic prepped videos go, this one’s got my vote for style. Its been a struggle to avoid the band members in isolation feeling, but the barrage of paintings that populate the screen reach out like handmade cards catapulted into consciousness from afar. The band’s new record, Under The Spell of Joy lands October 2nd on Suicide Squeeze.



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Jacuzzi Boys – “The Pits”

I will alway be a sucker for the outsized garage pop that Jacuzzi Boys have been crafting for over a decade. The band’s sound only gets bigger with time and, while they’ve been a bit silent since 2016’s Ping Pong they hit back today with a new single backed by Third Man. The song’s off an upcoming 7”, and in the drought of Jaczzi gems I’ll take whatever they’ve got to give (though one can hope for an album, right?) The song springs off of the power pop with grit formula that they’d brought to a head on the last album and its hard not to bump this one right up the ranks of some of their best. The song blares from the speakers with a summertime glee. Fuzz, hooks, a little bass jab that knocks the gearshift down at just the right time – what more are you looking for on a Friday afternoon?

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Jess Williamson on Living Grateful – Peace Mob

Its always when coming to something late that the feeling of being left out seems to burn like a secret shame in the cheeks. As much music as passes through the pages here, I somehow missed Jess Williamson’s first LP for Mexican Summer until about a year after it was out, but once it graced the speakers I was drawn in tight. With a second LP for the label (fourth overall) on the horizon, I’ve keep a much more perked ear in the direction of Mexican Summer these days. Her latest album is everything that the last promised — lush, honest, swooning, and surreal. Its the album of a songwriter comfortable in her discomfort and able to translate it into the kind of Laurel Canyon-dappled folk that seems instantly timeless. There seemed no way that Jess doesn’t have quite a few gems tucked away in her collection that may have proven influential, but rather than dig deep into the past she lands a band that was almost gone before they began, highlighting that feeling of seeing something great as it’s just being formed. Check out her recollection and ode to the sole LP from Living Grateful below.

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Mixtape: Young Hearts Unite

There have been a lot of genres that have given support through the lockdown juggling act over here – Sunshine Psych (done that one), jangle pop (ditto) but I locked into a specific branch of latter day power pop and it all started to coalesce into a new mixtape. The formative years of power pop are captured endlessly on comps, often with the same tracklists shuffled and reshuffled, but there’s less documentation on these past ten years to be sure. Now, while that period of time might not be known as a heyday of power pop, you’d be wrong in that assessment. There’s a lot of high-profile, excellent stuff that crosses boundaries and digs out earworms (see: Ex Hex, The Bad Moves, Martha) all great but not what I was looking for in this regard. For this mix I focused on a strain of power pop that was derived directly from those late ’70s, early ’80s types that populated the comps circulating my youth. There’s a certain loose, edge of punk, but more lovesick and soft strain here. I find that sunny days and power pop go hand in hand, so this just seems like fortuitous timing. Hope it brightens someone’s day and sends you riffling back through the stacks of the last decade.

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Galore – “Lydia”

One of the standouts from the recent comp from SFs Rocks in Your Head, Galore packs up what works when things are just barely hanging on. The band dredges up visions of Kleenex’ early days, Olympia upstarts, and NY No Wave luminaries (from whom the song takes its name). Gnarled, unpolished, and unapologetic, “Lydia” is an untethered careen through post-punk, loose-linked jangle, and garage pop that feels like even duct tape couldn’t keep it together and yet it works. The song is infectious even when it tears itself apart at the seams. Grit never sounded so good and the band has a full length of more of the same on the way June 1st. Definitely worth a couple of spins through the speakers.



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Tijuana Panthers – “Current Outfit”

Another one that snuck out after the sun sunk on Friday, this new cut from Tijuana Panthers gives a nice shake to the band’s sound. Surf waxed like they haven’t been in some time, this one pulls my ears back around after the last album didn’t quite hook me as hard as they have in the past. “Current Outfit” is a definite twang-tipped corker though and makes this EP from the band coming up in a couple of weeks one to watch out for. Built on a roiling riff and vocals that hit like a D-cell to the temple, its West Coast baked and bred bit of garage pop that makes me fall for ‘em all over again. Pull The Chute is out on May 8th from Innovative Leisure.




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The Cowboys

While its a weird time to have any music on the dock that’s not just an uneasy drone whirring down to the bone each day, there’s still plenty to love sluicing out of the slicer this week. Bloomington’s Cowboys have been on a personal streak over the last couple of years, kicking out a number of low-key tapes and transitioning to a run of LPs for Feel It / HoZac / Drunken Sailor recently. Their latest scatters some of their more rambunctious garage tendencies and introduces a more brittle brand of post-punk that’s in line with the rising stress levels in a world gone wrong. This pops up on the first single “The Beige Collection” and in turn on “Wise Guy Algorithm.” As the album eases in though, the band can’t help but let their usual shaggy charms seep into the sound once more. They were never built to be the bearers of bad news anyhow.

There’s sobering tones on the spiraling, lonesome, “A Killing,” but even this has a humanness to it that’s well in line with The Cowboys cache. After a short reprieve they find themselves swimming in the same swell later on with “Sweet Mother Earth” — a candlelit, wine-stained ode to diminished resources. They might have gone a bit far into the bottle on the following “Ninety Normal Men” which borders on home grown musical territory, but then again who’s to say they aren’t fucking with us as usual. The band excels at letting the corners of their smile soak into the songs. They’re not looking for a joke in everything, but they’re not above it. Yet when its called for the band brings a real twist of soul to garage, finding common footing with the likes of Black Lips and Royal Headache (though never reaching the alchemical brilliance of the latter). ]

The LP feels like the band in transition. It’s not quite reaching the slapdash superb moments of last year’s The Bottom of a Rotten Flower, but there are more than a few great impulses here. The hearts are peeking out of the sleeves just a tad bit more and they make it work. Interspersed with a couple of welcomed sunshine strums, some hip-shake and shimmy and sonic simmer that never boils over, the band continues to be ones to watch and probably wont’ shake that status anytime soon.


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