Posts Tagged ‘HoZac’

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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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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Premiere: Oister – “Lovin’ Me”

HoZac has been doggedly reissuing lost singles from power pop legend Dwight Twilley and this time they’ve got a real gem and true fan release on their hands. Pre-dating The Dwight Twilley Band, the pair of Twilley and Phil Seymour went under the name Oister around their stomping grounds of Tulsa, OK. They operated under this moniker from around 1967 until they broke through in 1975. The pair’s legendary ‘Teac Tapes’ contain recordings from this time period and they’ve yet to see release until now. HoZac Archival will issue Oister 1973-74 a double LP set of recordings from Twilley and Seymour before they shook power pop forever with “I’m On Fire.”

“Lovin’ Me” harnesses a bit of the same vein of dirty twang that their seminal hit taps, though it’s rougher with the band still finding their explosive footing. The track proves that both songwriters had plenty of chops from the outset. These were home recordings, laid to an early edition Teac four-track before accessibility made everyone a bedroom sound engineer, but they still sound remarkably crisp. The pair put these tracks down to tape and pressed the results to acetate to sell to friends and at shows. This era of the band is deserving of its own deep dive, and thankfully now these recordings have been shined up for power pop completists no doubt waiting to hear a clean copy. Check out “Lovin’ Me” below:


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Miss Destiny – “Law and Order”

Following up on a single for Hozac last fall, Melbourne punx Miss Destiny are ramping up for a long player on the venerable R.I.P. Society in June. The first taste of the album is a bail jumping, octane burnt slice of rock that’s barrelling towards your ears on the gnarled strength of Harriett Hudson’s gravel and glam vocals. The track barely takes a breath, pounding at the pavement harder than a jackhammer and somehow evoking Shannon Shaw at her most accusatory (think Hunx’s “You Think You’re Tuff”) and The Donna’s at their most acerbic. That actually sounds like a pretty perfect combination to me, so all the more reason to be excited for the rest of this one.



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Chicos de Nazca

Chilean Psych is becoming a real genre these days, not quite on par with their Japanese or Swedish counterparts, but coming on pretty strong indeed with bands like Holydrug Couple, Föllakzoid and La Hell Gang acting as chief exports for their country’s psychedelic set. Chicos de Nazca have spun off from members’ previous outfit Cindy Sisters to form a heavier, headier brand of clouded and shrouded psych warfare. The record lays down a huge offering at the altar of Spacemen 3 and perhaps a few tithings at the table of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, but they seem to find space to take that sound and make it their own. It doesn’t hurt that the riffs are as thick as truck exhaust and almost as poisonous, powering through with a storming wall of sound that buries most everything in its path. The record comes on quick and flashes its blade pretty much from the outset, tumbling into a fight to fit as much sound as possible into the bounds of its fat black plastic cage. Definitely a record that’s seemed to get lost in the last couple of months of releases but one worth taking some time to head back in for a few more listens.

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