Monty Vega & the Sittin’ Shivas


Monty Vega & the Sittin’ Shivas Sonic Gloss cassette

Sometimes when I start writing a review, the record’s description ends up coming out as something I would never want to listen to even if I am enjoying what I am hearing. Sounds like the RAMONES (boring!). Songs about unrequited love (yawn!). A song called “Facebook Fighting” (who cares?). Goofy band name (eh). An odd selection of covers (OK, that’s fun). It is best to let go of all musical knowledge and preconceptions with this one and simply enjoy the tunes. The songs are peppy and straightforward poppy punk, but not in that annoying pop punk way. MONTY VEGA’s vocal style is bratty, but more Dee Dee than Joey. The best song on the cassette, “Gravity Man,” has the band moving into the garage rock lane. As for the covers, “Ghost Rider” is slowed down with spoken-style vocals making it sound really cool, and “Hungry Heart,” a song BRUCE SPRINGTEEN originally wrote for the RAMONES, is better than expected. I like this no matter what I say.

Monty Vega & the Sittin’ Shivas Closed (No Fun) cassette

RAMONES-influenced rock that has a good bit of depth musically and lyrically. MONTY VEGA’s webpage cites paying musical respect to Joey and they also have a song entitled “Poor Dee Dee.” There’s a bit of GROOVIE GHOULIES here and the keyboards bring in some punk new wave Á  la the MINDS, which culminates in a great cover of “Goodbye To You” by SCANDAL. The social commentary video “Failed State” is worth checking out and furthers the case that this isn’t just a homage party band. Seems like this is a two-piece quarantine project, but post-COVID they should be back to a full band which gives me something to look forward to.