Carolyn Keddy

Bart and the Brats Bart and the Brats LP

Lo-fi and trashy garage punk from La Rochelle, France. BART AND THE BRATS take us back to the ’90s when bands played to have a good time with their friends in a cavernous, sub-street-level, dingy club. They are humorous without being too silly. For a good time, check out “Records I Used to Hate,” “Constant Nonsense,” and “A Boss is a Boss.” But skip “Predictable,” which rhymes the title with “suck my dick-table.” Yikes.

The Loons Cry Cry Cry EP

The LOONS, led by Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine, present four cover songs on this EP. As is to be expected, the songs are expertly and authentically performed. Included are songs by the UNRELATED SEGMENTS, the SECOND HELPING, 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS, and the BUSH. Another fun release in Back to Beat’s Moody Garage series.

Ivy Green I’m Sure We’re Gonna Make It (Wap Shoo Wap) / Pak ‘m Beet 7″

IVY GREEN was a bunch of teenage punks from the Netherlands. The A-side was written by their singer in 1972 when he was fourteen years old. He got the band together a few years later, forming one of the first Dutch punk bands. “I’m Sure We’re Gonna Make It (Wap Shoo Wap)” was originally released as a one-sided single in 1978. It’s a snarly, attitude-filled joyride. This reissue has a second side—“Pak ‘m Beet” is a wild song on 45 for the first time, and the only one the band ever sang in their native language. This is worth it for that alone, but both songs are fantastic. You need this reissue.

Your Pest Band Reflecting Board LP

Sometimes bands get it right with their album title. Reflecting Board is spot-on for this collection of introspective punky power pop tunes. It is mood music for when staying home and lounging seems like the right option. The album contains seven tracks that were released in Japan in 2021, now available on vinyl.

The Berzerkers For Love / Rest Yer Bones 7″

Two straight-up, hard-rockin’ tunes from Orange County. Both songs feature wailing guitars and snarling vocals recovering from the trials and tribulations of the year 2021. The way the singer pronounces “head” in “For Love” makes it occasionally sound like “hair,” making me repeatedly chuckle at the lyric “head on straight.” I always found the phrase “Rest Yer Bones” a bit corny. Does anyone say that anymore? I’ll stick with the A-side.

The Mickey Finn 1964/1967 LP

This is a nice collection of singles and unreleased songs from this English beat band. Their best-known song “Garden of My Mind” leads the way for a fun mod head trip. Most of the tracks are fast-paced, upbeat rockin’ ’60s numbers to get you grooving. There are a few duds in the repertoire (“God Bless The Child,” “Please Love Me”), and Jimmy Page makes some obligatory session cameos, but when the MICKEY FINN is on, they are on. Great liner notes by Mike Stax, too.

The Fuzztones Encore CD

A compilation of unreleased tracks from this long-running garage rock band, with seven covers and one original song, although judging by the original “Barking Up The Wrong Tree,” the band should stick to covers. Hearing a 70-year-old man announce in song that he is not gay is pretty pathetic. The lyrics, including “My backyard, babe / Is a no bone zone” and “I’m founding father of the paisley pussy posse” are cringeworthy at best. Time to leave the songwriting to others. The covers, including songs by MARBLE HALL, the BEVIS FROND, and the PRETTY THINGS, are obscure enough to make them interesting. There are guest appearances by Wally Waller of the PRETTY THINGS, STOOGES’ saxophonist Steve Mackay, and the GRASS ROOTS, too. The CD features two bonus tracks not on the 12”.

No Brains Certified Mullet EP

This is a charmingly dumb record. The songs have an early hardcore style. They are trashy while being a bit poppy. The drums plod along while the bass thuds with them. The guitar is barely discernible. The silly lyrics are spit out between breaths. Throw it all together and you a get a fun record that pretends it’s still 1982.

The Frowning Clouds Gospel Sounds & More From the Church of Scientology LP

Faithful ’60s-style music from Melbourne. The songs are groovy fun with bits of folk, psych, and surf, along with a touch of Ray Davies. This album is a collection of tracks recorded in 2012 at the same time as their second album, Whereabouts. Some tracks were released as a European tour cassette, others as singles, with a few unreleased ones thrown in for good measure. It’s a nice album. Members would go on to form HIEROPHANTS, AUSMUTEANTS, and ALIEN NOSEJOB, among other cool bands.

V/A You Didn’t Think We Could Take It, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Subsonics LP

Graduating from the 7” format of the first volume is this second tribute to Atlanta’s SUBSONICS. The band’s lo-fi, minimalist songs allow for interesting interpretations. The bands doing the covering are from all over the globe, including KID CONGO POWERS, SLOKS, BLACK MEKON, BANG BANG BABIES, DISTURBIOS, COLT COBRA, and more. A fun collection whether you are familiar with SUBSONICS or not.

Dangerous Girls Present Recordings 1978–1982 LP

This is a great collection. Not one song included here is from their four 7”s, yet almost every one seems like it could have/should have been released on one. DANGEROUS GIRLS were from Birmingham, UK and existed for four years, 1978 to 1982. The songs on this collection span those years. The earlier stuff is more poppy punk with a snarky attitude and humorous lyrics. The later stuff gets more arty in cool ways. Unlike most collections of this type, there is only one live song (“Plug Me In”) included, and it is an unreleased one, too. The live track brings the album’s momentum down a bit (it appears halfway through the second side) and doesn’t sound as good as the studio songs, but it’s a pretty good song so I can forgive the misstep.

Protex Wicked Ways LP

This is the second album from the reformed Northern Irish punk band PROTEX. The best thing you can say about a reunited band is that they still sound like their old stuff, and PROTEX does a good job of sticking to that old sound. Wicked Ways has that punky power pop sound and the songs are introspective in an almost teenage-like way. They are dreaming and wondering. The only original member is singer Aidan Murtagh, but as I have read, he feels no pressure for this version of the band to become successful with any new recordings so it has freed him up to just have fun. I think that is a great attitude. I am sure some naysayers will complain (they always do), but after they have been listening to this album for forty years, they’ll have to admit I was right. If they are still around, that is.

The Front Wet Things LP

A collection of poppy, goofy new wave songs from this Miami, Florida band. They were around from 1980 to 1983, and released two singles and a posthumous album. Some songs from those releases are here, plus a bunch more. There is no info about when the other tracks were recorded, but they sound like studio recordings. Unfortunately, only one of the three songs from their debut First Strike EP is included. The standout track is the B-side from their second single—“Poor People,” a catchy, upbeat synth-led song with silly lyrics like “Ship them off to Arkansas or somewhere else that sucks.” The FRONT was apparently on its way to major label stardom, but broke up instead. They made the correct choice.

Trancefusion Incredible But True! LP

TRANCEFUSION was a first wave Italian punk band that would have been lost to the ages if Federico Guglielmi didn’t save that cassette of recordings the band made in 1978. They marked it “incredible but true!” Twelve of the fourteen tracks from that cassette are here, plus four live songs, of which two are the songs from the cassette that couldn’t be included because they deteriorated. The music is rough, trashy, and urgent. The singing is gruff and spit at you. They probably could have put out a 45 or two from these back then. This collection is an interesting look at Italian punk history.

V/A Sharptone Records Presents LP

It’s confusing why this is called a compilation when it is actually the band BLUE ECHO backing a few different singers, some of whom are also in BLUE ECHO. But hey, everyone is entitled to refer to their record whatever they want. Side A is the better of the two, featuring songs from CLAY SMITH (two songs), JAMES GARCIA, MANSFIELD SHARP, and NIK SEDAN. The songs are power pop with a heavy ’80s style. SMITH has more of a bluesy country twinge to his songs. Side B has another song from SMITH and GARCIA, plus one each from BLUE ECHO and DAN GARCIA. This side sounds more hippie-ish with that rambling country rock style that immediately brings to mind the GRATEFUL DEAD, except for BLUE ECHO’s track which is appropriately an instrumental surf song. Everyone involved has been playing music for decades, but there is nothing too exciting here.

Badhabit Detroit 1980–1981 LP

Music-obsessed teenagers from the suburbs of Detroit dream of being in a band, and BADHABIT is formed before anyone knows how to play an instrument. A few years later they are playing Detroit clubs and ultimately take off to New York to record some songs. Those songs are included here, along with one song recorded live in Cincinnati. Their sound is a combination of heavy Motor City proto-punk and poppy punk, with an occasional English accent popping up on a couple of songs. Fantastically naïve and overconfident. I bet “Political Men” was their crowd-pleaser. “The only good politician is a dead politician / Oh yeah.” The songs are really good, but the recording needs a little oomph. Even still, it’s great to hear.

Cramp Suzy Lie Down / She Doesn’t Love Me 7″ reissue

CRAMP was from Portrush, Northern Ireland. This is a reissue of their 1979 7” originally released on Rip Off. The music is straightforward pub rock, played slowly and thoughtfully. The lyrics are sung nonchalantly. On “Suzy Lie Down,” a man sings of trying to convince a woman to sleep with him, including questionably accusing her of being a slut even as he exclaims that he loves her. The B-side “She Doesn’t Love Me” is a song of unrequited love. She does even give him the time of day. Both songs are catchy, but the lyrics make my eyes roll.

Kids Born Wrong Book of Vile Darkness LP

Just looking at the song list for this album makes me smile. “Bury Me Someplace Bad and Ugly,” “Mermaid Blues,” “Killed On Video,” “Full of Bugs.” The titles paint a picture that is backed up with some fuzzy, retro-ish indie rock. Some lyrics are screamed while others are spoken calmly. They save the best song, “We’re All Gonna Die Down Here,” for last. The music pulses and the vocals panic. Just weird and wicked in the right ways.

The Dogs John Rock / Younger Point of View 7″ reissue

Reissue of the Detroit band the DOGS’ debut 7”, originally released in 1976 after the band moved to Los Angeles. The two songs reveal the band’s hippie roots. “John Rock” is an ode to MC5 manager, White Panther Party founder, and pothead poet JOHN SINCLAIR. It is a rollicking, catchy tribute. The B-side “Younger Point of View” utilizes a groovy psychedelic ’60s free love sound to sing of the end of the hippies, and I would assume the band’s hippiness too, as their next release two years later would be “Slash Your Face.” The original 7” had no sleeve, so this reissue uses the werewolf from the original label as a cover.

Smallspeaker This Record Kills All Trend Scums EP

A great new single from Japan’s SMALLSPEAKER. The band features Hiroshi Otsuki of the REGISTRATORS and Masa Seventeen of COCKSCRATCH. Three songs of overblown, trashy garage punk. Dirty, nasty, and cool. “Pop Killer” is my fave, but all the songs are great. The sleeve is screened on an 8” envelope and makes the whole package look really nice. Now I just need to find one of these.

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.

Model Zero Little Crystal / Leather Trap 7″

Two perfect, catchy songs from this great Memphis band. “Little Crystal” is a psychedelic garage dance tune with electronic flourishes. “Leather Trap” is a rocker that blasts out from the first note, yet still has a similar wild psych-y style. I am dancing from room to room. I just can’t get enough. I love this.

Body Shop Hissy Hits Live at Pulp Arts cassette

Catchy, garage-y pop from Orlando, FL. BODY SHOP formed while the members’ bands were on pandemic hiatus. As the title says, this cassette was recorded live at Pulp Arts studios. There are a couple of songs that were also included on BODY SHOP’s debut Fl3sh World. These versions are rougher and tougher, the music more lo-fi while sounding more powerful. The vocals are extra breathy and occasionally remind me of Siouxsie Sioux, especially on “Love’s a Blonde.” Fun stuff.

Nestter Donuts Flamenco Trash CD

The label describes NESTTER DONUTS as “thee one and only flamenco trash one-man band.” They had me at “thee” (hee hee). I am MRR’s resident one-man band expert after all. Fun, rocking, trashy garage music with a foot-stomping style. DONUT is energetic and dramatic in the best possible ways. It’s a rollicking good time.

Lightheader Lightheader cassette

LIGHTHEADER has a math-rock musical style. The music is busy, sometimes frantic, sometimes drifting. The vocals are laidback and sincere. The combo flows pleasantly from my stereo speakers, occasionally perking my ears up to some odd sound.

Richard Hamilton Memory Palace cassette

My introduction to RICHARD HAMILTON was as RICKY HELL AND THE VOIDBOYS. I’m 100% in favor of giving the elders of punk a hard time. I was amused, then I was fascinated. Only the name seemed joke-y. On this cassette, RICHARD HAMILTON delivers introspective, indie pop songs. Like seemingly the majority of recordings made in these pandemic times, Memory Palace is a one-man-band affair with HAMILTON handling every aspect of it. It gives me ’80s flashbacks with a bit of Madchester stylings thrown in. The result is a sweet and melancholy collection of songs with great lyrics. It’s catchy from the onset. The highlights are “Happy Go Lucky,” “South of France” (I’m a sucker for any song that mentions specific places in San Francisco) and “Traffic on the 5.” This is a great cassette.

Eyes and Flys Asbestos Fiber in a Sunbeam / Sad Labor 7″

There’s something about the title “Asbestos Fiber in a Sunbeam” that makes me happy. The picture I have in my mind is somewhat uplifting, and I really need that these days. The song is a rollicking, fuzzy stomper. It’s energizing. “Sad Labor” is slower with a lilting off-kilter quality that grows to sound big and expansive, then ends with the guitar just strumming slowly. I like this a lot.

Schoolgirl Bitch Abusing the Rules / Think for Yourself 7″ reissue

Reissue of the lone 1978 from this band from Northwest England. Two catchy-as-heck, properly angst-filled tunes. The guys responsible for this excellent 7″ are Nick Name, Phil Serious and Kid Sick. Great names and great songs. If you have not heard this, don’t wait a minute longer. Fantastic.

Gentleman Jesse Lose Everything LP

Melancholy songs always sound beautiful. If you are someone who does not pay attention to lyrics, you will easily be lost in the pleasing, comforting sounds of “Lose Everything.” If you pay attention to lyrics, the disillusion and desolation being sung is wonderfully cathartic. It’s been ten years since the last GENTLEMAN JESSE record. On this one, the pandemic forced him to go it alone and play all the instruments. The isolation and self-reliance adds to the effect. My mind starts going as the music plays and then an interesting lyrical line will jump out of me. The result is an intimate collection of songs that reminds me of some of the more introspective ’80s college rock bands. 2021 was a shitty year and 2022 is starting off worse. As ELTON JOHN once said, sad songs say so much.

Spike and the Penetrators History With a Beat, Music With a Purpose cassette

This is a reissue of a 1984 cassette. It is a collection of the singles and some new at the time stuff that have not yet been reissued. If you’re like me you know most of these songs by heart. Fun, rockin’ early punk from Syracuse, NY with the perfect amount of attitude and fun. As the cassette states “History with a beat. Music with a purpose.” Oh yeah.

Alvilda Négatif EP

ALVILDA plays garage rock wonderfully. ’60s girl group vocal harmonies backed by a tough punk-y guitar sound with pop flourishes. The songs are so catchy, you start to sing along on the first listen. The French accents lend an extra air of coolness. Great stuff.

Adam Roth and His Band of Men Down the Shore Original Soundtrack LP

A very nice reissue of this 1981 film soundtrack. The film is a trashy, low-budget teen sex flick more commonly known as Beach House. The music sounds much more professional. ADAM ROTH AND HIS BAND OF MEN, which includes Adam’s brother Charles, play very catchy power pop. The songs are punchy and fun. The title track lays out the plot humorously as a good movie theme should. Bonus fun fact: one of the songs on this LP, “Judy Won’t You Dance With Me?,” was co-written by Denis Leary. The film is silly fun and the soundtrack rocks.

Pet Mosquito The Last Goosebumps Walkaway CD-R

PET MOSQUITO is a quartet of teenage punks from Illinois. In a recent interview, singer/guitarist Everett Gariepy explained their band name: “…the four of us are pesky and annoying, like teenage mosquitoes.” That makes me laugh and appreciate the band more. The song titles such as “I Hate Illinois Nazis,” “Two Way Mirror In A Halfway House,” and “Deadbeat Town” give you a good idea what you are in store for. The music has a rough pop punk sound. It’s messy and lo-fi. The lyrics are spoken with a snarl and filled with social commentary.

Newborn Naturals Newborn Naturals LP

A band from New York City that immediately brings to mind a JOHNNY THUNDERS/HEARTBREAKERS style does not make me happy. NEWBORN NATURALS’ songs are straightforward, basic rock’n’roll played with distorted guitars and a driving drum beat. The music is accompanied by drawled, nonchalant vocals. It is what it is. The songs on this LP were recorded between 1998 and 2004, a time when THUNDERS worship seemed at its height. Most of the songs are previously unreleased, a few appeared on 7″s.

Hans Condor Breaking & Entering CD

Hard rock out of Nashville, TN. HANS CONDOR is heavy riffs and tough guy posturing. The songs are rough and the vocals are spit at you. The titles speak volumes: “Pent-up Aggression,” “Blood on the Rug,” “Instant Gratification Generation.” I am glad they have an outlet, but I don’t have time for this kind of stuff these days.

Mustat Kalsarit Yö cassette

MUSTAT KALSARIT is a peppy lo-fi band from Finland. Their music is catchy while being linear and earnest. It is heading somewhere and will arrive on time. The vocals enhance the musical sound. The combination of male and female harmonies sung in the Finnish language creates a unique aural experience. “Ulmaan” (“Swimming”) is a distorted rocker. “Harmaata Massaa” (“Grey Pulp”) is my favorite. It has a cool rhythm with an interesting guitar sound and the vocals have a more stern cadence. I like it.

Patologia Ciąży Dziennik Trwa LP

PATOLOGIA CIĄŻY was playing around Poland between 1982 and 1984. They unfortunately never released a record, but recorded these demos in their rehearsal space. Their name translates to “Pregnancy Pathology,” which does not accurately reflect their sound. The songs are upbeat and catchy in a post-punk way. There is a sense of urgency and impatience. Yet, there is also, dare I say, a professional style to the band. They were getting airplay on local radio and playing festivals around Poland. It’s the great naiveté of the early days of punk when you were just playing some rock’n’roll, and though you were much better than what was popular at the time, unfairly most people never got to find out. The lyrics undoubtedly are political (if only I understood Polish) with titles like “Niemądre Pytania” (“Unwise Questions”), “Godzina Policyjna” (“Curfew”), “Atomowa Śmierć” (“Nuclear Death”), “Paranoja System” (“Paranoid System”), and “Bez Przyszłości” (“No Future”). The later song incorporates the riff from the SEX PISTOLS song of the same name for a fun ending. This is a great collection. I am so happy to finally be introduced to PATOLOGIA CIĄŻY. You should be too.

Vacation Existential Risks and Returns LP

VACATION gives me big GUIDED BY VOICES vibes. It’s lo-fi, introspective garage-y pop with dreams of rocking the stadium. The songs are catchy and driving. The vocals have that flat, spoken style that are earnestly trying to get your attention. Then they suddenly fly off into the atmosphere. It’s an interesting combination of sounds that work well together.

Kalle Hygien Songs About Chuck LP

KALLE HYGIEN is a Swedish electro-punk band with a singer who sounds like he should be in COCK SPARRER. He’s got that tough guy, plain-spoken style and an English accent. The music is high-energy and futuristic. It’s like listening to the music of multiple amusement park rides while in a nightmare. All the songs on this record are really catchy and the catchiest is called “Nazi”. KALLE HYGIEN is weirdly fun. Highly recommended.

Eddie Mooney & the Grave Lockdown Baby / Working Man 7″

Two songs from this Manchester, UK power pop band. The newest, “Lockdown Baby,” was recorded in 2020. It is a song written by and featuring a guest appearance by non-band member and Still Unbeatable Records owner Malte Buhr. The subject seems a little bit tired in 2021. Yeah, that’s correct. We were in lockdown. How romantic. Maybe in twenty years we’ll look back on it fondly. The tune, however, is catchy with straightforward style. The B-side “Working Man” is a previously unreleased 1979 recording featuring the band’s original lineup. It is a lo-fi, nostalgic ode to the value of hard work. The style is very familiar to the more famous bands of the area, but the ease of performance gives the song a distinct sound. Both songs are a compelling and fun introduction to the band.

Tracks Brakes on You LP

TRACKS were a Boston band who released one 7″ single in 1977, moved to New York in 1978 to join the scene, and promptly broke up in 1979. The single tracks “Brakes on You” and “Bombs Away” are included here along with 1976 live recordings from Cambridge, MA’s The Club. Led by the snarling, tough gal vocals of Lorry Doll, TRACKS have a nasty, don’t-give-a-shit attitude. The music is sped-up hard rock with a bit of punkiness to it. These recordings are rough, but there is something there. Perhaps with a proper recording, some publicity, and the necessary luck, they could have made the history books. But you also get the feeling that isn’t what they were looking for.

Guardian Singles Guardian Singles LP reissue

Like me and seemingly every other discerning garage and post-punk fan, Trouble in Mind was enthralled by Gonerfest 17’s New Zealand band showcase last year. I bought every release by every one of the bands that I could get my hands on. Trouble in Mind took it further by reissuing this, the debut album by Auckland’s GUARDIAN SINGLES. It was originally released in a tiny 150-copy pressing with only a few copies making it out of New Zealand. Now those who unluckily missed out the first time get another chance at this fabulous record. The music is breezy and jangly with a jagged edge. The singing is tense and determined, earnest and dreamy. The songs swirl around the room and my brain making beautiful patterns. I want and need more. Bonus points to the label for pressing this on heavy vinyl.

Imagine Leeches / The Jet Stars Aburaya split 7″

This is kind of genius. Aburaya, Oakland, CA’s Japanese fried chicken palace, teams up with Oakland’s kids’ music program 3 O’Clock Rock for some shameless self-promotion. JET STARS do “Aburaya Theme,” a surfy, breezy number clocking in at under a minute, perfect for use on Aubraya’s commercials. IMAGINE LEECHES do a garage-y ode to all the reasons they love Aburaya. They also remind you to “tip them for their labor.” It’s catchy, rockin’, and classy.

Get Smart! Oh Yeah No CD

Lawrence, Kansas’s GET SMART! never finished these six songs when they were recorded back in 1987. They had released two albums when they began working on the third, but it never happened. When the band got back together last year, they got Steve Albini to finally mix them. The end result is a familiar sound if you are a fan of Lawrence bands. The music is poppy while being a bit off-kilter. The vocals have a relaxed quality to them. The songs are catchy. Music for living rooms and house parties. Fun stuff.

Hooper / Spells Rock N Roll Swap Meet: Day 1 split EP

It’s a stunt release! Each band covers a song by the other and also plays a song written for them by the other band. What fun! Both bands have a ’90s indie rock sound. Their songs are earnest and heartfelt. There are harmonizing vocals and fuzzy, jangly guitars falling somewhere between SUPERCHUNK and J CHURCH.

Research Reactor Corp. Live! at Future Techlabs LP

This album is taken from a December 2020 live stream. It is a frantic, heart-racing performance of skronky, blitzed-out keyboard punk. SCREAMERS worship on full alert. The set list features a bunch of songs from their cassettes (also compiled on the excellent LP from last year, The Collected Findings of the Research Reactor Corporation). Wildly fun. I wish I was there.

Jo Kusy Sixteen Wierd & Wild Lo-Fi Hits Vol. 1 LP

This is a collection of songs JO KUSY recorded between 2009—2017. His style is laid-back and confessional. The songs are catchy and intimate. I appreciate the little flourishes like the bicycle bell in “Girls on Bikes.” It’s a fun record.

Low Rats Year of the Rat MMXX CD

LOW RATS are out of Minneapolis and play punk-y garage rock with a bit of a rockabilly twang. It’s a standard variation on genres. I can think of bands from the ’80s, ’90s,’00s, etc. that have gone in this direction. At first listen it seems like I have heard this before, but after a few more listens, their sound hooks me. I particularly like the lead singer’s pleading vocal style. “Ex-Crisis” featuring an out of the blue female backing vocal is my fave on this. They slow it down a bit and lean toward their punkier side. It’s cool.

Fright Eye Black Holes LP

FRIGHT EYE is a hard-rocking rock’n’roll band from Denmark. Their music veers into punk territory at times and garage-y territory at others. The music is high-energy, pedal to the metal. The vocals are bratty while also being laissez faire. One of those bands you’d be kicking back a few beers with. Plus they do a nice version of one of my all-time favorite songs, “Learn to Hate in the 80s.”

Leopardo Malcantone LP

I picture LEOPARDO being some kind of hippy, freeform communal group. Their music is an eclectic collection of styles. There’s the usual instrumentation—guitars, bass, drums—but also banjo, synths, percussion, drum machine. It gives you a feel of people just bringing whatever they want to the group and seeing what happens. Yet, this record still seems cohesive. There’s poppy songs. There’s psychedelic songs. Some are slow. Some are upbeat. It’s a record for listening while lying down.

The Rabies (My Girl’s a) Hologram / Criminal 7″ reissue

This is a reissue of the RABIES’ debut record from 1982. “(My Girl’s a) Hologram” is an extra-catchy power popper. It’s a fun tune. The flip “Criminal” is darker sounding and lyrically forward-thinking and engaging. Plus it’s also catchy, but more new wave-ish. This is a great record.

Fotomatic Bipolarity / Take a Ride 7″

This 7″ is so amazing. Two songs of minimalist post-punk with a phenomenal female singer. It’s hard to believe this is not from the late ’70s. Catchy as hell and great lyrics, too. “I’m so lost in time and space / Can’t find a place.” The B-side “Take a Ride” is one of those instant classic songs. The first time you hear it you can’t believe you haven’t heard it before. Then you want to play it for all your friends. Fantastic.

Ramona Una Banda De La Provincia De Sevilla LP

The label describes RAMONA as a lo-fi bubblegum garage band. That about explains it. They are extra peppy with very simple beats that make you smile. Sometimes less is more. You don’t need to overdo it to have a fun time. RAMONA seems to be enjoying life and now I am too.

Carbur Action Woman EP

CARBUR is a French band playing garage-y rock’n’roll in a heavy, macho style. You can’t go wrong with covering “Action Woman” and they don’t. It’s a good version. The other three songs have that metal-y hard rock sound that gearheads enjoy. I assume that’s why they are called CARBUR. This 7″ was released in 2019.

The Outta Place Prehistoric Recordings LP

This is a reissue of the 1983 demo tape from these New York City garage rock revivalists. Seven of the songs would appear on their first EP. Those are included here along with three others and four live tracks. The thing I enjoy most about the ’80s garage rockers is their sense of fun. They know the genre inside and out, yet it is not by the books. They are willing to kick in their own style. They’re having a good time playing and you’re having a good time listening.

The Cavemen Am I a Monster? / Schizophrenia 7″

An Auckland, New Zealand band that just lays it out there and lets the listener decide if they want what is being offered. In the case of the CAVEMEN, I do. This 7″ has two songs that are so distorted and messy, but also so damn catchy. It’s fast and frantic and it’s great.

The Higher State You Might Find Out / Come Winter Rain 7″

Two songs of authentic ’60s-style garage rock. If you’re going to do it, do it right. The HIGHER STATE does. They have that great organ sound leading the jangly rhythms topped with laid-back vocals. It’s not quite the summer of love, but someone may have some flowers in their hair. Fun stuff.

The Stools Live at Outer Limits 12-28-19 LP

My feeling on live records is it was probably better if you were there. The STOOLS are a rockin’, rollicking, fun-time band. This is better than your average live recording. The music is clear and has an energetic presence. The STOOLS play bluesy garage rock. They give it their all and the audience screams with delight. It sounds like it was a great time.

Girl Guided Missiles Desperate Men / Fully Qualified Robot 7″ reissue

This is a reissue of the GIRL GUIDED MISSILES’ only 7″, originally released in 1979. They have a catchy, amateurish sound that will be familiar to fans of late ’70s post-punk bands from the north of England. The songs are longer than most bands of the era, but they never lose steam. They keep on rockin’ out to the end. Two great songs. A great reissue.

Germ House Spoiled Legacy +7 cassette

GERM HOUSE is a jangly, poppy indie rock band out of Rhode Island. This is a US edition of their cassette with the addition of seven compilation tracks. The vocal style is laid-back yet defiant. The keyboard pops in at just the right moment. “Nothing is Like They Wanted” is my favorite track. It’s a GO-BETWEENS-style rocker with politically aware lyrics. It’s a sing-along anthem.

Wood Chickens Live at Spicoli’s cassette

WOOD CHICKENS are a high-energy, punky rockabilly band from Wisconsin. This live cassette captures them in a full-swing rocking state. They sound like they are having a really good time. There are some fun song titles like “Return of Skunk Ape,” “We Skate in Boots,” and “Emilio Estevez,” too.

Christopher Alan Durham Peacetime Consumer 7″

This is my kind of weirdo rock. The two songs on this 7″ are in different styles. The A-side “Gratoit Crawl” is a mad, drug-induced sounding jam. It’s all over the place, noisy and lo-fi. I want to just play it again and again. The B-side “50’s House Blues” is a more straightforward bluesy garage rocker. It repeatedly mentions potato vodka which makes me giggle and also has the great line “I’m as useless as can be.” CHRISTOPHER ALAN DURHAM is from outside of Detroit and is formerly of ROACHCLIP and the BIBS. Cool stuff.

Smirk Smirk LP

This one is too upbeat to be classified as a pandemic project. Yet, I suppose when you start something in 2020 it is impossible to avoid the connection. Under that sunny exterior lurks some annoyance and frustration. SMIRK is the solo project of PUBLIC EYE’s Nick Vicario, playing jangly, bright, minimalist pop. The vocals are a bit bratty. My fave is “Goons on the Beach,” which I will assume is about watching spring break idiots on TV. Good times.

Invisible Eyes Live at Glastonbury 2019 CD

I assumed they meant the Glastonbury Festival and since I don’t know anything about that, I checked the lineup for 2019. No INVISIBLE EYES listed. I guess they fooled me? The band also states: “Dan mixed this album whilst positive with COVID-19 with his head and ears exploding at war with the virus so it’s known as The COVID Sessions“. But who knows if that is true? Those pranksters. INVISIBLE EYES’ music is appropriate for a giant outdoor festival. The swirly guitars go off into extended fuzzy jams. The vocals are laid back and seem to be telling me a story, but I can’t seem to give them my undivided attention. Includes two previously unreleased songs.

No Friends Band To All My Friends LP

NO FRIENDS BAND is Kevin Cascell, formerly of TRUMANS WATER. The songs on this LP were recorded between 1999—2007. It is one of those albums that sends me back in time to the ’90s. The songs are country-tinged, bluesy garage rock with a cantankerous attitude. Cascell’s vocal style reminds me of Don Howland and I like it. The more I listen to this, the more I want to flip the record over and play it again. Also includes some great covers of BOB DYLAN, DEAD MOON, and PERE UBU. Fun stuff.

Toeheads Animal House cassette

TOEHEADS are an angst-filled Detroit band. There’s lots of screaming and jerky rhythms and anxiety-inducing beats. But they also have a lo-fi garage rock undertone. “Graveyard Walk” reminds me so much of CHEATER SLICKS. This would be perfect if I was still driving my dad’s ’80s Pontiac that had that great cassette deck in 2001. The sound reminds me of the perceived freedom of my youth. Give me more.

Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters Live Comp 2019—2020 cassette

My second live cassette review in two months. I guess people are missing that live music experience. I know I am. JACKSON REID BRIGGS & THE HEATERS are on my list of bands I want to see once this shit is over. They are high-energy, anthemic garage rock. The kind that gets you up to the front of the stage. Three songs each from two different shows—Last Chance Rock and Roll Bar, January 2020, and The Old Bar, February 2019. The songs are from their last two albums, which if you don’t already have you should pick up, too.

The Tenderfeet Black Winds / Hold Back the Sunrise 7″

This is Volume Two in the “Moody Garage” series. That’s an understatement. Two cover songs that tell harrowing tales of broken hearts. The music is mellow and beautiful, but the lyrics are extra dark. The chorus to “Black Winds” includes “Oh lord, let me die.” “Hold Back the Sunrise” includes the line “Don’t let it shine for me.” If you enjoy pretty garage rock with extra downer lyrics, this record is for you. It’s definitely for me.

V/A Paper Doll: The Very Best of Sister Tiffany Lee Linnes cassette

This is a great collection. It is an assortment of songs from Linnes’ bands the STUCK UPS, ROYAL PAINS, the BUFFETS, the PAPER DOLLS, and the KILLER-DILLERS. Each one is a rollicking, garage rocking fun time. Linnes’ vocals are full of life, high-pitched and powerful. She’s my favorite kind of singer. You just want to sing along. Humorously, the STUCK UPS’ “Suicide” from their debut LP suggests drinking bleach. Hello 2020 from 2001!

The Black Black Careful on Your Way Out LP

This is super catchy, dance-y rock’n’roll. It’s got an ’80s sound without sounding dated. High-energy and bouncy with some politics thrown in for laughs. Standout track is “Fun Police”—”Who made you the fun police?” A good question. Pretty swirled, tan-colored vinyl, too.

The Fadeaways Bad Dreams / Don’t Tread on Me 7″

Two fun songs from this Japanese power-poppy garage band. The FADEAWAYS’ sound is steeped in ’60s style. The A-side is a 21st century take on the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS classic. The B-side is a cover of KIT AND THE OUTLAWS.

Benni Diamond Man / Heavy Metals 7″

BENΝI is Ben McCullough from WIZZARD SLEEVE, NATURAL CHILD, and HEAVY LIDS. He plays the synthesizer in a rollicking tribute to KRAFTWERK. I enjoyed listening to this on repeat while walking the still-empty streets of San Francisco, taking in the post-apocalypticness of the first anniversary of the pandemic. It’s just the right soundtrack. On the cover, BENΝI is wearing a chainmail hood and black sleeveless shirt, looking like an extra from a Monty Python film. That juxtaposition is just another part of the fun.

The Gorls Fall in Love 1992–93 LP

Before I even took this record out of the sleeve, I noticed a song called “Planet Vator” and thought of one of my favorite songs from the ’90s called “Planet Vator” by the DOBERMANS. I immediately played that track and it was the same song. A quick scan of the liner notes of the DOBERMANS 10″ and sure enough, the GORLS’ singer Dawn Johnson wrote the lyrics. Though that seems to be the only connection between the bands. I am immediately intrigued. Fall in Love 1992-93 collects all the recordings by this Seattle band. Eight of the tracks are unreleased. The music is catchy, lo-fi, garage-y rock. Johnson’s vocals are amazing. They are deadpan and easygoing with a wonderful lilt to them. She has such a distinct sound. Her style lifts the songs to a different level. The lyrics are cool, too. I am always in favor of songs about potato chips. Plus there is a great cover of the VICTIMS’ “Television Addict.” I can’t stop playing this record.

Ex-White Stalker cassette

EX-WHITE is a garage punk band from Germany. They are steeped in the ’00s style of the genre. Their sound is bratty and gritty. It is messy and trashy, distorted and angsty, but there is also a melodic side.

The Hussy Live at High Noon Saloon 1/7/17 cassette

I figure the point of releasing a live tape would be to let everyone know what a fun live band you are. In that aspect, the HUSSY succeeded. I’ll be sure to check them out next time they are in town. The HUSSY is having a good time, introducing every song as their last song, demanding the people in the audience get closer to the stage, and shouting out thanks to their friends. The music is primitive and garage-y. I also enjoy that they leave in the silences in addition to the between song banter. It’s just like being there. The downside of a live recording is that it is lo-fi, rough-sounding, and not always pleasant to listen to. You really need to be a fan and in a certain mood to pop on a live recording. Recorded in Austin, TX.

Bipolar Depression EP

First thing’s first. The title track is the most catchy, sing-along song about depression since BLACK FLAG’s. I also like that they were able to incorporate the phrase “I am a gentleman and a scholar” into the song without sounding goofy. Secondly, I do not like clowns. This cover photo is downright revolting. But in this case, these demented clowns are A-OK with me. BIPOLAR is out of Brooklyn, NY via Tehran, Iran. Their music is a high-energy, synth-led punk. In addition to “Depression,” there is also “Virus,” “Fist Fight,” and appropriately “Sad Clown.” Short bursts of frenetic exuberance. Fun stuff.

Staffers In the Pigeon Hole cassette

STAFFERS play lo-fi poppy rock. The rhythms are quirky and sound like they are off-balance. The contemplative lyrics are enthusiastically spoke-sung. It’s part outsider rock, part straightforward indie rock. It’s odd, yet familiar.

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks Put You in the Gulag EP

It takes a special talent to write super catchy pissed-off songs. This EP contains three. Minimalist trashy garage punk with biting lyrics that cause you to sing along while also looking over your shoulder. The topics are mindless consumerism and herd mentality. “I Would Rather Die” uses the riff from “Nervous Breakdown” for a humorous anti-technology tune. The title track reminds you “Money is your shitty God.” Great stuff as usual from BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS.

Melt Citizen Life’s a Joke, Then You Croak cassette

From out of El Paso, Texas. I am enjoying that the band sounds like a bunch of disparate instruments that don’t quite go together, but manages to make it work. I picture a few friends getting together to play music with whatever instrument they had closest at the time. The guitars blast fuzzily and noisily, but then a tinkling organ pops in for a while. The drummer is getting out every frustration possible. Everybody is playing at full speed. The vocals don’t quite go with the music either. They are stylistically closer to those of a ’70s prog rock band. They float on top of the cacophony, but are just weird enough not to be as annoying as that would seem. To quote the song “Exhumed 2 Soon,” “It’s a sense of joy and impending doom.” Yee-ha!

The Fuzztones NYC CD

This CD is the FUZZTONES’ tribute to their hometown of New York City. They do covers of RAMONES, the CRAMPS, DEAD BOYS, HEARTBREAKERS, the FUGS, PATTI SMITH, among others in a mellow garage rock style. They have changed some song’s lyrics. “Microdot” instead of “Chinese Rocks”? “53rd & 3rd” sounds extra creepy done in this slowed down in the “Crimson and Clover” melody. They even cover FRANK SINATRA’s “New York, New York” as the album opener. This is for fans only.

Lamps People With Faces LP

First off, I love the title of this album. Of course, a good title doesn’t mean anything if the music doesn’t back it up. This does. Tense music with screechy vocals. It’s distorted and echo-y leaving me in a state of agitation. Ideal sounds for the end of 2020.

Werewolf Jones Premium LP

We always hear that Detroit bands incorporate the sounds of their surroundings into their music. If that is true, WEREWOLF JONES must be living next to a construction site where a piledriver is operating 24-7. The vocals react to that nuisance by spitting the lyrics at it. The music is repetitive and dirgelike. It gets you in a mood.

The Froys Seaweed / Under a Tie Dye Sky LP

This is fuzzy garage rock moderne from Mexico City. High-octane playing and performance style is reminiscent of their more well-known contemporaries of the genre. If you are a fan of the modern garage sound, the FROYS will be a perfect addition to your collection. This LP combines the band’s two EPs from 2019 and 2018, respectfully. As a nice retro touch the LP includes a full color fold-out poster, too!

The Gingerbread Men Witches House CD

GINGERBREAD MEN were one of my favorite ’80s Boston bands. Witches House was recorded in 1987 and was supposed to be their debut album, but due to the usual band nonsense it was never released. They did release two 7″s back then and all four songs are included here. Catchy, poppy garage rock with a flavoring of college rock and early hardcore influences. The lyrics are fun and funny. “Happy Squirrel” from their first 7” is an immediate standout. It has a cool MISSION OF BURMA sound with humorously morbid lyrics: “My heart beats a rhythm like a twisted rhyme / When I saw her hopping on the power line / And then the flash I knew she was fried.” Yikes! Catchy and twisted! There’s a lot of that here: “Day Job, Night Band,” “That Ain’t Your Car,” “Battle Bones.” A vinyl version will be out in early 2021, but the CD version has eight bonus tracks.

Pölykuu Historia Palaa LP

PÖLYKUU has an interesting sound. It’s ’80s college rock meets new wave meets jangle pop. Those go together, right? PÖLYKUU manages to make it work. It’s peppy, then it’s mellow. Add some distortion or an acoustic guitar. Now it sounds like the FEELIES or the EMBARRASSMENT. Is that a BAND cover? Whoa.

Soft Shoulder Not the New One LP

Certain records require listening at specific times of the day. I kept trying to listen to this LP in the evening and it just wasn’t working for me. Now listening to it on a cold-but-sunny Sunday morning while I drink a steaming cup of tea, it all makes sense. It’s like having a nice conversation. The vocals are sing-spoken in a relaxed tone while the minimalist music peppily and jerkily moves them along. It is jazzy math rock with art-punk musings. Not the New One is a collection of songs from many different versions of the group recorded between 2015–2019, but it does not feel disjointed. It keeps you entertained and even gets you out of your chair to dance a little bit.

Rebel Truce The Lost Tapes EP

I really shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised that there are still really cool unreleased punk songs to be discovered in 2020. There seems to be so many labels trying so hard to uncover this stuff, then out of the blue comes REBEL TRUCE. The New Zealand band released only one song, “The Man Inside,” included on the Class of 81 compilation LP. The song is included here along with four others, one from the same recording session and the other three from their second recording session with a new bass player and drummer. The music is amateurish, charming, lo-fi punk music. It is really catchy. Singer Adolf Soeteman has a great voice and a charismatic style. The record insert tells the band’s story, with the photos of the red cassette with yellow handwritten sleeve containing the songs and some newspaper clippings including a story of the band playing for some shoppers and the local music promoter trying to sneak away unnoticed. It is limited to 250 copies so do not miss out. I feel so lucky to have one. REBEL TRUCE did their first reunion on Halloween 2020 to celebrate the release of this record. I would have liked to have been there.

The Nettelles Do You Believe In… LP

The NETTELLES are a fun, garage-punky ’60s-style (mostly) girl group. Catchy, rollicking songs with surfy guitars and stomping drumbeat. It would be easy and lazy to compare them to THEE HEADCOATEES, but they definitely have that sound. It’s lo-fi and sassy. Sadly, singer, co-founder, guitarist, and songwriter Clare Scrivener passed away from cancer in August 2020. A loss for fans of great garage music, but at least we have this debut LP.

Obnox Savage Raygun 2xLP

A wildly schizophrenic album for a tremendously fucked up year. My mind has been working overtime since the beginning of 2020 and it seems that LAMONT THOMAS’s brain has been, too. Fortunately, he got some of those thoughts down on vinyl. The sounds OBNOX presents on this double LP take a while to digest. So take your time with it. Try listening at different times of day and in different settings. Use headphones or blast it out of a crappy boombox. There are psychedelically mellow guitars, whispered vocals, receptive drum machine beats, chaotic noise and funky bass parts. The record does not stop giving. For me the simple one-two-three shot of “Heaven,” “Misery” and “Return Fire” just about sums up my 2020 (lack of) thought process.

F.E.I.D.L. Glaub Da Nix EP

F.E.I.D.L. is a garage-y post-punk band from Vienna. They play repetitive beats topped with fuzzy guitars. The bass and drums stomp out a catchy, yet mechanical locomotive chug. Based solely on their sound the vocals seem frank and earnest. I have no idea what they are saying so they could be really sarcastic and silly which would make me happy. Mixing all of that together F.E.I.D.L. gives off a detached type of cool noise that’s appealing to my ears.

Ray Gun Lunkhead EP

This one starts off really noisily. “Lunkhead” is screeching vocals and distorted guitar squawks. It’s all over modulated and wild. As the EP continues, things settle down a bit ending with the more lo-fi poppiness of “I Am the Rat.” The vocals on the song are panicky, but the music has become cleaner and more garage-y. I like it.

Brandy The Gift of Repetition LP

We can all agree that 2020 sucks. For months, when I have been getting down or am feeling lethargic or just need a boost of energy, I have been putting on the first track off this album “(Wish You Was) Madball Baby” and it picks me right up. I cannot sit still nor stop singing along when it is playing. It instantly improves my mood and gets me ready to deal with the next onslaught of bullshit. “(Wish You Was) Madball Baby” starts with a dance-y drumbeat then the bass plays this catchy riff and we’re off. The dual vocals have a call-and-response slash anthemic quality and the two voices perfectly complement each other. I don’t know what it means to be “madball,” but I am pretty sure I am. I love this song! Total Punk got me hooked months before Gift of Repetition came out so I was eagerly awaiting its arrival. It does not disappoint. Although “(Wish You Was) Madball Baby” will always remain my song, the other songs on this LP have similar qualities. The catchy combo of the drums and bass with the aggressive singing and tingling guitar noises. Fun fun fun. One of the few things to be happy about in 2020.

Spyroids Paperboy EP

I have been watching a lot of Survival Research Laboratories videos this week and this SPYROIDS record fits right in with that mindset. The music is a throwback to the electronic sounds of the ’80s. The keyboards are cheesy in the best possible way and very peppy. They set an interesting foundation for the madman vocals. His style is aggressive and manic. It’s familiar yet demented. It’s catchy yet annoying. It makes me smile.

Martin Savage Gang Now We’re Rollin’ LP

I have been a fan of MARTIN SAVAGE since the 1990s. His former bands the BLACKS and the LOCOMOTIONS remain in high rotation around my house. MARTIN SAVAGE GANG continues his remarkable musical legacy. High-energy garage punk with frantic guitars, stompin’ drums and distorted organ. But it’s the vocals that reel me in. He has such a distinct, wonderful singing style and sound to cap off the great songs. Fantastic.

James Williamson & Deniz Tek Two to One CD

The second collaboration between JAMES WILLIAMSON (Raw Power STOOGE, IGGY POP collaborator) and DENIZ TEK (RADIO BIRDMAN). The music is pretty good. It’s got TEK’s signature guitar sound. WILLIAMSON and TEK know how to write a riff. There are some nice ones on here. They try to hit on some relevant topics (“Climate Change”) as well as personal stuff. It’s the vocals that are lacking. I hate to trash one of my all-time favorite musicians, but there was a reason TEK wasn’t the singer of RADIO BIRDMAN. That said, I give them both credit for trying new stuff and not just rehashing their infamous pasts. Keep making music, guys.

14th Wish 14th Wish / Gotta Get Rid of You 7″ reissue

Reissue of the sole record from the apparently forgotten New York band 14TH WISH. It was originally released in 1980 on Orange Records. I’ll fall in line with the label’s hype. How did that happen? These two songs are great. Laid-back vocals with biting lyrics backed by a great band with a driving style and lo-fi sound. They simply exude coolness and the songs are so catchy. This band could have easily filled the HEARTBREAKERS’ shoes while they were off shooting up, or taken the place of any other overhyped first wave punk band. 300 copies so don’t snooze (again).

Whirlywirld Complete Studio Works 1978-80 LP

This is an amazing compilation of all three releases from Melbourne’s WHIRLYWIRLD. WHIRLYWIRLD was led by Ollie Olsen previously with the YOUNG CHARLATANS and drummer John Murphy formerly of NEWS. The music is minimal electronic sounds, guitar, bass, drums and occasional squawking saxophone. Strikingly Olsen’s vocals have similar cadences and style to Nick Cave and Peter Murphy. They are dramatic, repetitive and playful with the sounds being emitted. The vocals may be the focus of the songs, but the experimental punk-y music forms a catchy foundation that I find equally fascinating. WHIRLYWIRLD was short-lived, only playing fourteen shows, but their music should be remembered along with their more well-known and celebrated contemporaries. Good thing Hozac decided to remind us of that.

The Cowboy Feel the Chi Releasing From You flexi EP

I won’t buy a flexi disc just because it’s what’s available. It is the most annoying format. The band and their songs need to make it worth the hassle. I’m happy to report that the COWBOY passes the test. Three catchy, post-punk-ish-style songs. Jittery and choppy music with bended guitar strings and spoken lyrics. I’ll flop this piece of plastic on my turntable any time.

ISS Too Punk for Heavy Metal EP

It’s too silly and too brilliant at the same time. You know the story. The label guy ignored the band when they were unknown, then he wants to do a record with them. Instead of holding a grudge or talking shit about him behind his back or telling him to fuck off, ISS writes the story in song and lets him release it. They also print the lyrics on the front of the record cover in case the listener can’t make out any of the details. The best revenge is that “Too Punk for Heavy Metal” is such a catchy song, I can’t stop playing it. The epitome of what punk should be—fun, obnoxious, rockin’ and witty. “Are you really sure you deserve ISS? I’m not.” And good on the label for releasing it. Cool to see both sides have a sense of humor. The other two songs are extra-short, but still as super catchy and fun. Are they both also about Richie from Total Punk Records? Could be. I love this record (and all of ISS’s stuff).

Mal Thursday / Neal Ford & the Fanatics / The Tree Every Night a New Surprise / No Good Woman 7″

I am 100% perplexed by the existence of this record. A current garage rock singer MAL THURSDAY inserts his vocals on two ’60s recordings—one unreleased and one released. Why? I am guessing because someone found the tape of this unfinished 1966 version of “Every Night a New Surprise” by the songwriter Steve Ames’s band NEAL FORD & THE FANATICS (you might know the song from the MOVING SIDEWALKS’ version on the B-side of their “Need Me” 7″) and wanted to finish it. Ego, convincing or whatever got MAL THURSDAY to sign up for the job. The recorders and mixers do a decent job blending the vocals in with the music, but as expected something is a bit off. THURSDAY has a tough-guy-type voice that doesn’t meld that smoothly with these ’60s musical sounds. Yes, that’s a picture of THURSDAY from 1966 photoshopped into the band photo on the cover. For the B-side “No Good Woman,” the original 1967 vocals are removed and replaced with THURSDAY’s. Since I know this song too well, the vocals don’t sound right. Again, I’ll ask: Why? Why not simply record the songs with your own band? This is titled Karage Vol. 1 so we have more of these to look forward to?

Mal Thursday Mal Thursday’s Greatest Hits That Missed CD-R

Part two of my series of MAL THURSDAY release reviews. This CD-R from 2018 is a collection of THURSDAY’s bands the MALARIANS (his 1980s band), MAL THURSDAY AND THE CHEETAHS (his 1990s band), the MAL THURSDAY QUINTET (his 2010s band) and plain old MAL solo (origin somewhere in between). Beside being a singer, THURSDAY has also run a record label Chunk Records, booked shows and DJed on various radio stations and websites. THURSDAY’s vocal style is macho braggadocio. The music leans toward the harder rock side of the garage rock revival. It works together when the songs are faster and higher energy. Some of the slower ballads seem to be reaching too much and “What’s Up Pussycat?” was not an appropriate cover choice. When the songs do click, like on “Get Outta Dallas!” and “A Taste of Five,” it can be some stomping rock’n’roll fun.

Fatal Figures X Minus One LP

Each time I listen to this record, I like it more. The vocals seem to be flying at 100 MPH backed by sped-up, slightly rockabilly-ish, noisy-as-hell garage punk. These days of staying at home and doing nothing don’t really require this type of angst, but I’ll take it anyway. That random, out of place, high-pitched note of feedback half way through “You Hardly Ever Crawl” makes me smile each time it catches me off guard. The inclusion of an UNWOUND cover and a BEGUILED cover poses an interesting insight into the band’s philosophy, and I approve.

The Prof. Fuzz 63 Owls LP

Peppy, organ-led garage rock with a monotonic singer. The high-pitched organ sounds and the low-register vocals match perfectly giving PROF. FUZZ 63 a more unique sound than the average 21st century garage band. The drumbeats and guitar riffs are simple and add just enough foundation. The RAMONES update “Sheena Is a Soccer Mom” is a bit too corny, but the two (!) FLIPPER covers are pretty cool.

Lost Cat Don’t Need a Man EP

LOST CAT are a 21st century version of a 1960s girl group. They are sweet and sassy and they throw in the occasional bad word. They can still be tough even when their heart is broken. The music is catchy and rockin’. There’s a syrupy ballad called “Fuck You.” Amusingly, the song’s title does not even appear in the lyrics. Fun stuff.

Soul Butchers Skin on Fire CD

This record starts off rather generically. The first song “Skin on Fire” has a ’90s-hard-rock-wanting-to-be-garage-rock sound that immediately turns me off. I didn’t like it back then and I still don’t like it. That’s unfortunate because if I wasn’t obligated I probably would have just turned this CD off. Track two “Yoo Hoo” has a much more interesting ’90s style going for a dirty, distorted bluesy garage rock sound. The record gets more enjoyable from there, but their sound is a bit random. There is an attempt at ’80s gothy post-punk complete with a sampling of the riff from “Public Image” on “Make Me” which kind of makes me smile. They go for a serious REPLACEMENTS homage with “See Me Again.” They will occasionally veer back into the hard rock thing a few times, but not too much to make me turn the record off.

V/A Days of a Quiet Sun LP

Days of a Quiet Sun is a compilation of recordings made by music producer Martin Gary between 1966 and 1973. Gary was the son of a record store owner who grew up immersed in the retail side of the music business. From there, he expanded to record producer and label owner by recording bands from his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The tracks on this compilation feature some of his earliest recordings and some are unreleased. They are surprisingly polished for a kid who was just learning the ropes, though probably a direct result of his record store experience. In the detailed liner notes, Gary recalls his processes of bringing bands he enjoyed seeing into studios in Washington, DC and Delaware due to lack of studios in Richmond. Gary would then release the records on his own labels and after getting local radio airplay, with some even becoming hits on the stations, he would bring the records to major labels trying to get the bands contracts. Though he was ultimately not successful in doing so, he was successful in his promotion of and preservation of these bands who might otherwise have been forgotten. Included here are the HAZARDS, the BARRACUDAS, KING EDWARD & HIS B.D.’S, BERNARD SMITH & JOKERS WILD, GROUP NINE, DUCK BAKER and the BOSOM BLUES BAND. Most started as teens playing at dances and frat parties. The music included is rock’n’roll, soul and blues similar to other bands at the time. The album title track by the BARRACUDAS features early use of a Moog synthesizer. Not surprisingly, the original records go for big bucks today. As a music connoisseur, I am always interested in the history of different scenes, what happened and why. Knowing next to nothing about the early Richmond music scene, I enjoy getting a sense of it through the ears of ones of its fans and participants. It is a nice collection.


Caveman and Bam Bam Gotta Dance EP

Appropriately primitive modern garage rock. The title track also has some pop stylings and distorted vocals. Side B starts with a harder edged sound and more screaming on “Enuff Is Enuff” and ends with an instrumental tribute to Dick Dale that is very low on surfiness. CAVEMAN AND BAM BAM play basic rock stuff that is probably enhanced live by the fun costumes.

Green/Blue Green/Blue LP

An album of catchy, modern-style new wave post-punk featuring Annie Sparrows of the SOVIETTES and Jim Blaha of the BLIND SHAKE. The guitars and drums chatter with the bass pulses. The music they make is jumpy and jittery then it mellows out for a song before getting all excitable again. The female and male collaborative vocals sound great together and remind of a more polished LOST SOUNDS. I like it.

Acid Baby Jesus Selected Outtakes 7″

Two early versions of songs that were renamed when they appeared on 2014’s Selected Recordings album. ACID BABY JESUS are from Athens, Greece. They incorporate some of their hometown’s traditional musical styles into their psychedelic garage rock. The result is droning, repetitive and slow with an unique atmospheric feel. I can picture lying on a rock by the ocean as the clouds move slowly overhead while listening to these songs. Groovy.

MM & the Peculiars Paean 12″

I am always a fan of the 12″ 45 RPM EP, especially when the sound is big. MM & THE PECULIARS’ big sound comes in the form of singer Maegan Mills. Her vocals are emotive, powerful and overly dramatic. The music punctuates the singing perfectly. It is grunge-y and math-rock-y and flows and rolls along keeping the words afloat. It’s an impressive combination.

The Rabies Adderall Girl / You’re the Glue 7″

The RABIES released two singles in 1982. This is their follow up 38 years later. The vocals have the same nonchalant, monotone style. The music is a bit more slick than their early three-chord punk way, but it still maintains that ’80s-college-rock-meets-post-punk style. Not bad for a band that hasn’t played for decades. Plus, I found it completely cute that they include a CD version of the two songs with the record. I haven’t seen that in a while.

Low Rats The Corner / Weird Tales of the Falling Down 7″

LOW RATS have a proto-punk meets ’90s garage rock style. Rockabilly-ish guitars with boogie-woogie piano playing topped by a crooning singer. “The Corner” is IGGY meets NEW YORK DOLLS, while “Weird Tales of the Falling Down” moves into the early CBGB’s meets Goner Records scene. The music is well-played with a bit of grit, and the vocals are drawling and whiny in interesting ways. Both songs are pretty catchy, too. Available in a super limited, handcut run of 25 copies. Probably too late.

Lost Puppy Forever Year of the Dog 7″

San Francisco wife/husband duo, featuring Boom of BOOM & THE LEGION OF DOOM and the IDIOTS, and Scarlet from the MEAT SLUTS. Four songs of catchy, lo-fi, trashy punk rock. Simple rhythms emphasized by Scarlet’s screeching powerful vocals. As the band says: “lots of bark, sweat and treats on this EP,” indeed.

Spit Kink Yes to Everything EP

SPIT KINK sounds like a new wave kid’s first attempt at singing PRINCE songs. There are simple electronic beats backing breathy vocals. At first it seems all wrong, but then about halfway in, I am starting to enjoy it. It’s just weird enough while also being peppy and dancey.  Best track title: “Ted Talkin’.” Best track: “Yes to Everything.” 100 copies lathe-cut 7″. Don’t snooze.

The Prissteens The Hound LP

The PRISSTEENS were a poppy, mostly female NYC garage rock band that got swept up and subsequently overlooked in the ’90s major label signing frenzy. They released one album Scandal, Controversy and Romance in 1998. Most of the songs on this album were meant for their second album which was never completed. Also included here are some tracks that were released as 7″s. With the hindsight of twenty-plus years, it is hard to believe the band didn’t have more of an impact. It was just bad luck. Their sound is a tougher version of the ’60s girl group aesthetic. Catchy songs with rocking guitars and harmonizing vocals. The cutesy, PG-13 rated version of the UNDERTONES’ “Teenage Kicks”, called “Teenage Dicks” (B-side of a 1998 single) is OK for one listen, but I think I’ll skip that one during future plays. Otherwise, this is a really fun garage rock record. Girlsville has also put out two collections of the PRISSTEENS’ unreleased material that are worth checking out, too.

Walter Daniels and the Hungry Hearts Out at Dusk / Where’s the Pain Point 7″

Two tracks of dirty, bluesy garage rock punctuated with DANIELS’s distorted, drawled vocals and punchy harmonica playing. The HUNGRY HEARTS are Texacala Jones, Marco Butcher (JAM MESSENGERS), Cypress Grove (played with Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Lydia Lunch) and Luis Tissot (JESUS AND THE GROUPIES). It’s a messy, raucous affair that sounds as if it was recorded in the early morning hours before the sun rose. It would have been fun to attend this party.

Night Slaves Three and a Half LP

I admire a band whose sound perplexes me on the first listen. I’ve heard a lot of records in my life so it’s not usually the case. This LP has a slick sound while managing to be lo-fi. There is a SQUEEZE-meets-NINE INCH NAILS vibe which makes me chuckle. It’s an interesting combination. A poppy piano style with high, monotonous vocals and harmonies backed with a drum machine, electronics and a repetitive chorus. It’s pretentious while also being laid back. Then the last song “Bag” does a 180 and goes for an upbeat, dance-y, almost commercial sound. Touché.

V/A Mutations from the Motor City LP

As the title says, this comp is a collection of bands from Detroit, MI. The record starts off with “Limelight” from TIMMY’S ORGANISM. It is a short, thrashy track from this wildly entertaining band. It sets the bar high for the rest of the LP, which is filled with manic, angry, silly, loose and harsh bands. They are WEREWOLF JONES, DEVIOUS ONES, the STRAINS, PRIMITIV PARTS, BUBAK, UDI, LOWCOCKS, ERODERS, THROWAWAY and more. If these songs are representative of what’s happening in Detroit, things are about to explode. Watch out.

Eerie Family Eerie Family LP

ALEX CUERVO’s “Everybody Disappear” is one of my favorite songs of all time. Since I have listened to it innumerable times, it was odd to hear it starting off this album. Not that it is a surprise since CUERVO is in EERIE FAMILY along with Alyse Mervosh—both also of the HEX DISPENSERS. This version of the song is different from the original, but a great song is great in any incarnation. It’s moody and slow, but unlike the other songs on this LP has an upbeat lyrical tone. The label calls EERIE FAMILY “gloom pop” which sounds just about right. The music brings me back to the late ’80s when the English goth rock bands decided they wanted to be cowboys. It’s keyboards and drums with a sparse, expansive sound. The vocals are lethargic and sullen. Perfect for a rainy, chilly winter day spent brooding in the house. Great record.

Enchanters High Heel Roller Skates / Fire Truck 7″

Side A has a ’70s glammy, high-energy vibe. With a name like “High Heel Roller Skates” I would expect nothing less. I don’t know what a high heel roller skate actually looks like, but I imagine this is what one’s theme song would sound like. The B-side goes for a more ’70s butt rock sound. It is also high-energy and includes a prog-ish extended guitar solo. ENCHANTERS features Classy Craig of the LEATHER UPPERS so the retro style is in full swing. Fun record.

Pre-Cog in the Bunker Precog’s Dream EP

An internet search of the meaning of “pre-cog” brings up some differing things. Due to the cover art drawings of brains I am going to assume they’re going with the psychic meaning. However, the song titles “Athermic Man,” “On The Run” and the title track don’t give me much of a clue as to what they are predicting. PRE/COG IN THE BUNKER is a two-piece playing rudimentary garage punk. It is all jagged guitar strumming and pounded drums until “On the Run,” the VELVET UNDERGROUND-sounding rave up at the end of side B. The vocals are somewhat sinister in a hard rock-ish way. An interesting juxtaposition that will hopefully become more smoothly integrated in future releases.

The Toxenes Double Creature Feature LP

This is the LP version of both TOXENES’ releases: 2019’s Highway X CD and 2017’s Electric Shock cassette. TOXENES are a tough, sassy band of women from Minneapolis, MN. Eighteen songs of surfy garage punk with brazen, melodic vocals. It’s catchy, cool and fun.

Jivestreet Revival Jivestreet Revival LP

JIVESTREET REVIVAL sounds like some high school metal kids’ first band, or one of those pre-TESTORS Sonny Vincent groups. The record starts with a noise explosion. Everyone is off and not necessarily in the same direction. The singer sounds laid-back, but also bristling with attitude. There’s swagger and endless guitar noodling captured on some lo-fi recording equipment. It’s a bit too much, but also just enough. Only 100 copies. Don’t snooze.

Vacation Zen Quality Seed Crystal LP

This LP is a collection of songs recorded between 2016 and 2018. VACATION is from Cincinnati, and reminds me of a lot of the ’80s Ohio indie rock bands. The music is lo-fi and fuzzy. The vocals are distinctive and quirky, employing interesting phrasings. The songs are catchy, but not quite singable. Not that I won’t try. I also enjoy that if you go back to VACATION’s earliest recordings, they maintained a similar sound and style. It’s pretty cool.

El Pifco Meltdown / Bananas 7″

A super cool reissue of this Wollongong, Australia band’s one and only 7″ from 1979. A group of beach punks inspired by the Lucas Heights Nuclear Facility as seen through the eyes of the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 write “Meltdown,” a catchy, punky love/lust song about nuclear fission. “Bananas” (originally the A-side) is a more odd, poppy punk song, but just as entertaining. The story of how the reissue came about is equally amusing, and fully explained in the insert. The folks responsible for the reissue are obsessed with songs about Three Mile Island. Before now I never knew I would be thankful for that. This is just great.

LASSIE Collected Cassettes LP

As the title says, this is two cassettes now enshrined on vinyl. The A-side is 2017’s Yes! Like the Dawg and the B-side is 2019’s Just A Couple of Dudes. LASSIE is having a great time blasting out songs like “Phonecalls On My Deathbed” and “Deposit Bottles.” The vocals remind me of DEVO while the music has a amateurish ’60s feel. It’s silly and entertaining poppy garage rock that is also well played and catchy as heck. Just a plain old good time for band member and listener alike.

The Shitdels Shape-Shi[f]t Faces LP

If I had heard the SHITDELS sight unseen, I would have assumed it was the latest John Dwyer record. It’s got all the stylings: jangly guitars, childlike keyboards, reverb-laden vocals and female backing vocals. The songs are noisy, with a catchy dance-y quality. The vocals are high-pitched, and they holler and whoop along the way. The music is peppy and poppy, yet distorted and dissonant. Fun stuff.

Crime San Francisco’s First and Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Band: Live 1978 2×7″/DVD

The basis for this DVD is live footage Larry Larson shot of CRIME at San Francisco punk club the Mabuhay Gardens on June 24, 1978. The CRIME fliers shown at the beginning of the film contradict that date stating “one night only June 4,” so maybe someone is confused. Larson shot the footage for a planned television project on San Francisco punk. His intro and outro for the segment bookend the film. The footage is great. It’s multi-camera, 16mm shots of the band in action, and also conveys the atmosphere of the club. Larson ran out of money and became ill, so he never finished it. He left the footage to Crime drummer Henry Rosenthal (a.k.a. Hank Rank), and it sat untouched until a few years ago when another filmmaker, Jon Bastian, convinced Rosenthal to let him edit it. The result is a 35-minute document of CRIME performing live, surrounded by the various patrons of the Mabuhay Gardens, and lorded over by the Mab’s booker and resident jokester Dirk Dirksen. Dirksen heckles the crowd while they pose for the camera. Seeing the people who attended punk shows in the ’70s is always good for a laugh. There are also brief interviews with the members of CRIME—Frankie Fix, Johnny Strike, Ron Ripper, and Hank Rank—along with some backstage antics. Bastian’s editing keeps things lively, and although I would have liked him to stay on the band for at least one entire song, I realize most people might find that boring, so things have to keep moving. Plus, the introductory promise of a riot never materializes. There is some extra footage shot by Carola Anderson, inexplicably throw in, of CRIME playing their infamous show at San Quentin. It is quick and distracts from the seedy, dark nightlife attitude of the rest of the film. (I am sure a lot of people know that Target Video shot the San Quentin show, too. There have been clips included on Target VHS tapes and DVDs. After seeing this I just have to say, it’s time for CRIME and Target Video to sort things out and finally release that performance. It would be an excellent complement to this collection.) Overall, the DVD is a fascinating capsule of the time. The film probably won’t attract many new fans to CRIME, but those who already are will enjoy this journey back to when it was happening. The double 7″ is the soundtrack to the film—eleven songs total. Playing the DVD and 7″s back to back, I am surprised at the difference in sound quality. The records don’t sound as good. I assume that is the result of cramming three songs on one side of a 45 RPM 7″ (two on the fourth side). But I guess that doesn’t matter. Everyone knows the draw here is the film.

The Cavemen Night After Night LP

Traditionally, I would object to any band cleaning up their sound. I mostly prefer my records to sound like the live experience: distorted, messy, and lo-fi. Even though I love all the other CAVEMEN records, I have to admit I am glad they cleaned it up a bit for this one. Night After Night is filled with stronger songs and better melodies. The playing is top notch, and the vocals powerful and tough. The songs retain the attitude and tastelessness I expect. They’ve developed into a more thrash-y version of the DICTATORS and I like it.

Eyes and Flys Eyes and Flys / Fall Asleep with the TV On 7″

Debut record from this Buffalo, NY one-man band. The theme song is a distorted, stomping rocker. Repetitive, pained vocals lend a nice sound to the straightforward musical track. “Fall Asleep with the TV On” is a slow, droney tune with acoustic guitar and lulling vocals. It could easily put you to sleep, TV on or off. Cool stuff.

Leopardo Di Caprio LP

LEOPARDO is a one-man band from Switzerland that plays dreamy, atmospheric pop music. The songs stretch and breathe. They are sophisticated, then childlike. I like what Julie Bugnard said about him: “Mais Leopardo se différencie par son romantisme lo-fi si particulier et son garage trash et naïf.” (“LEOPARDO is differentiated by his so particular lo-fi romanticism and his trash and naïve garage.”) Naïve garage is a great phrase, and sums it up nicely.

The Wilful Boys Life Lessons LP

The WILFUL BOYS are a Brooklyn band fronted by an Australian. Their sound has a backwoods, deep-voiced, thundering sound. The music is heavy and plodding with a twinge of poppiness. The vocals are earnest and metronomic. The tunes thrash and shred and get a bit too noodle-y before going back to straightforward rock’n’roll. All that seemingly messiness sounds kind of nice with the lights turned down and your head on the floor.

Extroverts You Gotta Lose EP

It probably wasn’t easy being the first punk band in any city, but I bet it would be even weirder to be the first one in Regina, Saskatchewan. The EXTROVERTS hold that title; the eight songs on this 7″ were recorded in 1979. Like all early punk groups, the EXTROVERTS’ music is catchy and poppy with rough edges and attitude. The recordings are lo-fi, but there is something there. Song titles like “Nobody Knows Nothing” and “Brain Damage” nicely sum up the angst involved. Comes with a booklet containing the band’s story, photos, and fliers. Cool stuff.

The Freeze Calling All Creatures LP

I never have high hopes for reformed hardcore bands, especially when it’s been this long. Unfortunately too much gets lost over time and somehow the band simply forgets what they were all about and why people liked them. That said, THE PROLETARIAT’s new music kills, so there’s always an anomaly. This LP has some moments. Cliff Hanger’s lyrics and delivery are bratty, goofy and paranoid. The music is upbeat, if a bit too busy. This isn’t THE FREEZE of my youth, but there is still some fun left in these aging punks.

Motormouth Mabel Knife Trash EP

Not to be confused with Motormouth Maybelle from Hairspray, this EP is three squealing, distortion filled songs. Rapid fire drums punctuating the wild guitar thrash. There is lots of angst and some pleading from the singer. It’s fast and furious and over before you even know what’s happened. So you flip it over and start again. At least that’s what I keep doing. Cool stuff.

Poizon N.W.O.P.H.M. LP

I was just asked what I was listening to and when I replied “Poizon” I got a sideways, raised eyebrow look. I guess that’s the fun of naming your band something this stupid. POIZON is from Houston, TX and features x-members of SUGAR SHACK, WEIRD PARTY, THE SECRET PROSTITUTES, FATAL FLYING GUILLOTINES, etc. The music is very 90s garage-y punk with a heavy bass sound, angular guitars and sing-songy vocals. It’s catchy and driving. Bands don’t seem to play this kind of stuff anymore. The inclusion of a cover of EASY CURE’s “I Want To Be Old” is nice in its execution as well as its sentiment. Well done. The rest of the record is great too.

Curleys Johnny EP

The label describes them as Gainesville cretins, and I think that’s about right. The kind of people who lurk in the dark corners of the club until it is their turn to play, and then disappear back into the shadows when they’re done. Thrashy and messy. PAGANS at 78 RPM with a brattier attitude. Six songs in about as many minutes. There’s no time for messing around. Cool.

Dana Glowing Auras and Black Money LP

Great album title. If UFOs are real (and I hope they are), I am sure those extraterrestrials would dig DANA’s latest album. The music pulsates in a manic, but subdued way, with swirly synths, otherworldly sounds, bashing guitars, and awesome vocals. Think BUTTHOLE SURFERS at their most rocking. It’s a noisy, skronking good time.

Matt Gimmick Detroit Renaissance 79 EP

Reissue of this Detroit band’s 1979 EP. MATT GIMMICK were STOOGES loving ’70s punks, so much so that no one would think twice if you told them this record was actually the STOOGES. MATT GIMMICK even went so far as to record two at-the-time unreleased STOOGES songs they learned from a cassette they made when they saw the STOOGES live. That’s ballsy and funny as hell. Their versions are much better sounding than the ones the STOOGES would eventually release, too.

Celebrity Handshake Death In Aisle Twelve LP

Could this be a spoken word LP from my favorite Maine panic rockers? It seems like it. Minimalist instrumental sounds punctuating the vocal storytelling. I lie on the couch with my eyes closed / letting the tales unfold. “I started being harassed by the future.” I’ll decipher the meaning one of these days. Until then I’ll just enjoy the yarns.

The Hussy Looming CD

This is a fun poppy garage record. It’s got that modern fuzziness backed with bouncing drums, and some manic keyboard sounds occasionally appear. Heather Hussy has a clear, strong, powerful voice that makes you think she could easily replace one of the current Top 40 female singers if she was so inclined. I’d assume that would be a “no,” but I’m saying it anyway. Bobby
Hussy sings with JAY REATARD-type inflections. His voice is softer and more sing-songy, but the style gives a Reatard impression. The vocal duties are traded off on this LP, which keeps the whole thing sounding fresh.

Gino and the Goons Rip It Up LP

A reissue of the third and my personal favorite LP by these Florida garage punkers. This album is just so great: a non-stop rocking experience featuring amazing songs, performed perfectly, and delivered with the perfect amount of attitude. Any band, from any decade, undoubtedly wishes this was their album. “Outta Control” may be the best rock song of the 21st century. It’s so damn catchy. If you missed out on this the first time around, there is no longer any excuse not to own this. Fantastic.

Sleepover Club W​(​ph​)​oopsie! LP

This LP humorously starts off with the statement “I love Geddy Lee and Geddy Lee loves me.” Fortunately, the RUSH worship ends there. The songs are short blasts of musical fun. It’s lo-fi with attitude. Hi-fi with altitude. Bratty and goofy. A great listening experience.

Boron Heist Ridin’ Rough CD-R

Overly aggro-sounding rock music. I wouldn’t know the band was from Charlottesville, NC if I wasn’t told. The singer does a macho sounding English accent reminiscent at times of Lemmy. The music is rudimentary. Ripping off the HEARTBREAKERS musically and lyrically on the first song “Shut Up & Go.” Back to the drawing board.

Golden Pelicans Grinding for Gruel LP

Another great album from these Florida boys. The vocals are a snarling grumble of fuming attitude. The music is a driving, metallic, distorted force of nature. The two collide in a propulsive discharge of some of the catchiest songs of the year. “Lady Radiation” is my fave with its (sort of) singalong lyrics and stomping beat. Great record.

Ladrones Ladrones LP

There aren’t many female-led bands doing the unhinged TY SEGALL garage thing these days. So it’s really nice to have this debut album from LADRONES. Vocalist Valeria Sánchez has a wild style with frantic yelps and elongated howls. The band plays frenzied, distorted garage punk. It sounds great. The best song, “La Pichaera,” sounds like it could be an outtake from the debut DAVILA 666 album. It’s so catchy and driving and makes you want to sing along. Excellent album.

The Slop The Slop LP

This started out like a record by a generic garage rock band, but after a few listens, it has started growing on me. I don’t want much from garage bands. Just a rockin’ beat and frantic vocals. The SLOP has both. The songs seem like you’ve heard them before, and you probably have. But they make up for it with a good sound.

Xenu and the Thetans Xenu and the Thetans LP

Brandon Welchez from CROCODILES and Johnny Otis Davila aka Dr. Papi, from DAVILA 666, joined forces in Mexico City to form XENU AND THE THETANS. It’s as if they had been held back by their previous musical endeavors and decided to play as fast as possible. Luckily, they are able to pull it off without sounding unhinged or disjointed. The drummer is pretty great. Excellent cover of the SAINTS’ “This Perfect Day,” sung in Spanish.

Model Zero Model Zero LP

Members of the SHEIKS (one of Jack Oblivian’s backing bands) and EX-CULT backed by one of MR. QUINTRON’s drum buddies from this Memphis supergroup. With a pedigree this cool, it would be hard to go wrong. MODEL ZERO does not disappoint. Theirs is a retro futuristic style with whirly synths and repetitive beats. The vocals are soulfully plaintive. Plus it’s got a wacky edge. Buy this.

The Antipatix Psychobilly Gone Bad EP

I guess “psychobilly gone bad” becomes garage rock moderne with its jangly guitars and laid back attitude. The pumping of the bass and snarling vocals are still present which makes it an interesting amalgam. This is the ANTIPATIX’s first record. Perhaps they will work out the kinks in their style and make something truly unpredictable. I look forward to it.

Bikes Bikes LP

Mellow and jamming are two words I never want associated with any music I listen to. Yet, they are the two that immediately pop into my head while listening to BIKES latest self-titled album. Still, I like it. It’s laid back and nonchalant, but rocking. It makes no sense. BIKES are garage rock moderne with no pretension and some catchy riffs. It’s a great album.

Brandy Clown Pain / Rent Quest 7″

The worst job I ever had was working for a balloon wholesale company. As a result, I don’t like clowns. A song called “Clown Pain,” whether or not about literal clowns, strikes a positive chord with me. “Thank you for my clown pain.” Of course, I can relate to “Rent Quest” as well. BRANDY’s music is dirty and throbbing and relentless. It leaves you anxiously on edge. The vocals are rough and pleading. The whole thing is perfect.

V/A Into The Outro: Swingin’ L.A. Sounds LP

This is an interesting compilation of L.A. bands. The genres include garage, surf, pop, metal(-ish), and there’s even a RAMONE (Richie). The LP flow is a bit disjointed, and some tunes are too slickly produced, but there is probably at least one song everyone will like. Some of the standout bands are KID FLAMINGO, the 7 AND 6, the NIGHT TIMES, the AZMATICS, the OSTEOBLASTS, the TURBULENT HEARTS and the SLOP.

Rotties End of You CD

Angsty grrrl rock that is fun. The music is a harder edged metallic rock style, straightforward with no fluff. The vocalists harmonize in a ’60s girl group way. The songs joke about poseurs, haters, and gossip, and include a heavy cover of INXS. ROTTIES are rocking to get their frustrations out, and having a good time while doing it.

Red Mass Kilrush Drive LP

This is RED MASS’ first LP, which seems strange since they have been releasing records since 2008. RED MASS is an eclectic group of musicians led by Choyce, formerly of LES SEXAREENOS, THE DAYLIGHT LOVERS, and many other bands. Their music is an amalgamation of post-punk and modern garage rock. It’s fuzzy with pointy edges. It slowly creeps to the edges of the room. The vocals are serious and intense, but subtle. The combination sounds really nice.

Stereo Creeps Suck LP

Classic example of do not judge an album by its cover. This one looks pretty gothy, maybe psychobilly-ish. However, the music on the disc is more of an indie rock nature. It’s sweeping and sincere, and the singer is schizophrenic. The record lists only one singer, yet he sounds like different singers from song to song. He reminds me of GUY PICCIOTTO, then DAVE GROHL, then D. BOON, and so on. I enjoy the experimentation, and encourage it.

The Sellwoods Two Stroke Smoke! 7″

Four tracks of bratty garage rock from Portland. Two original songs on the A-side, two covers on the B-side of good time, ’60s-inspired fun. Peppy songs with a bit of vocal whining that is emphasized by the organ sound.

V/A Our Voltage CD

This is a cool comp of modern garage rock bands. The bands are lo-fi, fuzzy, surfy, laidback, etc. Includes THE PRISTEENS, MR. AIRPLANE MAN, FREAK GENES, UK GOLD, DAMAGED BUG and more. The title is appropriate: Our Voltage is whatever feels right in the moment, and every band hits it perfectly. Even the covers of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES’ “Christine” (the MYRMIDONS) and BO DIDDLEY’s “Who Do You Love?” (ATOMIC SUPLEX) manage to sound fresh. Nice.

The Whittingtons Human Beingz EP

Recorded in 2016, released in 2017, reaching Maximum Rocknroll in 2019, the ’90s band the WHITTINGTONS are back together or finally got off their asses to make some new music. It’s punk with a hard rock edge. Aggro, macho, and trashy, but catchy. If only they could resist the guitar solos. Regardless, I like it.

Powersolo Backstab / Nedtur 7″

The second TAV FALCO-sounding band I am reviewing this month. I understand it. He’s got a cool style. This one is from Denmark. Two songs of garage-y rock with a lo-fi dirty attitude. The A-side “Back Stab” utilizes “motherfucker” quite a bit. “Nedtur” is in Danish, so it could also be using that word for all I know. Even still, the songs are catchy and edgy. Interesting stuff.

My Favorite Martian Martian Chronicles, Los Angeles 1990’s CD

Way too poppy. The relentless upbeat beat is killing me. MY FAVORITE MARTIAN is Al Bloch’s post-CONCRETE BLONDE and WOOL band. The music is a blatant reminder of the ’90s when every band was trying to and thought they could “make it.” It’s slick, peppy, and anthemic, with little originality. That this band was from Los Angeles is probably no surprise. Not to mention their harder-edged cover of “Pablo Picasso” really misses the point of the original.

Liquor Store Scumbag / We Buy Gold 7″

Since I do study the record sleeve while listening to the music, I got a good laugh. “© 2020,” hahaha. Since it’s only 2019, I suppose that means this music is freely available all year for all your projects, films, and commercials. Go crazy. LIQUOR STORE have a laid back, decadent rock’n’roll vibe. The music is stretched out and catchy. The lyrics are not that brilliant: “Swimming with the fishes / Never wash the dishes,” from the A-side. The two songs go on a bit too long, but are still enjoyable.

Bloodshot Bill Come Get Your Love Right Now LP

The seventh album from this Montreal one-man-band guy. It sounds old-timey, with a country-ish ELVIS PRESLEY twang mixed with a TAV FALCO sound. The music is rough and raw and has a great sound. Catchy, fun, and sultry.

Balladmen Dear Old-Fashioned Rhythm LP

I find it a little disheartening that my last print reviews for MRR should start out this way. I know that over the years, I’ve been pigeonholed into the garage rock sphere, but I’ve been writing for this magazine for 29 years, and I can say to most: “I was a punk before you were a punk, punk.” This is roots rock music with an emotive singer who unfortunately reminds me of EDDIE VEDDER. It’s slick and well-played and Japanese and might come across better if I wasn’t feeling so nostalgic. But the heavy grunge vibe is just too much.

V/A Live Your Gimmick Deuce!!! LP

A compilation of four bands whose collective goal as described by the CD’s narrator is to “take back punk” from the people who impose the punk rules. Isn’t that supposed to be MRR? NEVER SAY DIE plays rockabilly-ish redneck rock. SUPERMEN are macho ANTISEEN types. THE RUNZ play anthemic hard rock. LONG LOST ENEMIES are poppy hardcore. Eh. Good luck.

Timmy Vulgar’s Genetic Armageddon Music from the Other Side of the Swamp LP

I’m afraid TIMMY VULGAR might be getting too stuck in his ways. I wouldn’t say this record is predictable, but I’ve come to expect his records to sound like this. VULGAR plays all the instruments on this LP, as well as singing in his distinctive, emotive style. The guitars are wailing, and the synths are soaring. The sounds are raw and futuristically primitive. “Suction Cup Hands” is my favorite song on the LP. It’s got a catchy guitar riff that combines nicely with the rhythm track and VULGAR’s rambling vocal. It’s pretty cool.

Revenend Beat-Man / Izobel Garcia Baile Bruja Muerto CD

IZOBEL GARCIA is such a nice collaborator for REVEREND BEAT-MAN. His vocal style is rough and gritty, and hers is sassy, tough, and feminine. They sound perfect together. The music is stripped down. It is simply guitar and drums with an occasional bit of organ. It’s primitive garage rock with a snarling attitude. Unfortunately, Garcia doesn’t sing on every song. She should. Especially on the cover of “Love Me Two Times.” That one needed her.

Ravi Shavi Blackout Deluxe LP

Third album from this Providence garage pop band. The music is jangly and upbeat, the songs are catchy and bright, and the vocals remind me of BBQ or KING KHAN: kind of crooning, with moments of vulnerability and desperation. It’s their best record yet.

Thee Irma & Louise Dry Bones LP

This record has such an ’80s feel. Back then, we’d simply call it college rock. It’s got a quirky musical style that is herky-jerky, filled with odd chords and time signatures, and there are elements of surf rock and post-punk. The singer has a serious but goofy vocal style, and the lyrics are thinkers such as “What Did The Deep Sea Say?” THEE IRMA & LOUISE probably would have been big in the ’80s. The insert states “This record is the companion piece to an experimental movie that you are free to shoot.” Hey, why not give it a shot? It’s on pretty, swirly lime sherbet vinyl, too.

Ape Rites Dolci LP

This Swiss band comes across as a straight-up pop punk band. The music is peppy and upbeat, and the singer has one of those high-pitched, slightly annoying sounding voices. Instead of some sappy, lovelorn lyrics, that voice sings tales of some twisted things. The song titles don’t reveal too much, so you’re caught by surprise by these offbeat words. Nice.

Brain Eaters Bad Girls Motorcycle Gang from Tokyo 10″

A male rockabilly band from Paris posing as a Japanese girl gang and starting their 10″ off with a song called “Lobo Loco.” There are some contradictions happening on this record. The music is straight ahead rockabilly. It’s well played and all that, but they need to figure out who they are.

Baby’s Blood Everybody Looks Like A Fucking Idiot EP

Four songs of nasty, bad attitude rock courtesy of DREW OWEN and his Finnish compatriots. I thought the quality of life was better there. Why so pissed off? It’s fast and furious sped-up thrashy garage punk. It’s ugly, mean, and even a bit funny. Right, “Sex Punk”?

Bad Mojos I Hope You OD CD

Judging this band by its cover and its label I was expecting a bluesy garage band. BAD MOJOS are poppy punk with buzzsaw guitars, and a vocalist that sounds like that guy from the SPITS. It’s high energy and every song is under two minutes.

The Sadists The Sadists CD

There are four catchy, early New York punk style songs on this CD. The singer has a bratty, whiny vocal style and the band is tight in a Young Loud and Snotty way. Yet, it’s not annoyingly retro.Great stuff. They just need a better name.

Th’ Losin Streaks This Band Will Self-Destruct in T-Minus LP

Has it really been fourteen years since the first TH’ LOSIN STREAKS LP? Well, that certainly is too long to wait for a second album. During those lost years they may have discovered a time machine and gone to London to play some gigs at the Railway Hotel. This Band Will Self- Destruct in T-Minus has a mod-y garage rock feeling reminding me of a more restrained, early period the WHO. The songs are catchy. The guitar playing is punchy and crisp. Great album.

Legionaires Disease Mass Hypnosis in the Air CD

A compilation of all the LEGIONAIRES DISEASE recordings: the eight-song 1978 studio recording that the “Rather See You Dead (Than With Wool On Your Head)” 7″ would come from, the four-song 1985 studio recording, and a thirteen-song live set from 1980 at Hurrah’s in New York City. The tracks are rough and primitive, but with that compelling rawness of a punk band just having a great time. The CD booklet is really nice too. It starts out with an intro from U-Ron of REALLY RED describing LEGIONAIRES DISEASE’s singer Jerry Anomie getting released from jail, going to see the SEX PISTOLS in San Antonio, and then coming back to Houston inspired and starting the band. The booklet is filled with photos, fliers, interviews, and remembrances. It is really nice collection of this wild first wave punk band.