Reviews

Knuckles on Stun

Achterlicht Demo II cassette

High-energy, lo-fi garage punk from the Netherlands that sounds a lot like the SPITS. That’s not a bad thing—the five rockers here (plus one sound collage interlude) have a familiar “crunchy guitar with synth lead” formula, and the songs bounce with infectious melodies and personality. Recommended for switched-on garage freaks.

Cromm Fallon Presents the P200 cassette

Las Vegas-based rock’n’roll which seems to have at least started as a solo project. This is the second full-length recording under this moniker, and it doesn’t say in the liner notes if this one is also done entirely by CROMM or if the press photos of the band looking cool means it’s a full band on the recording. Thirteen songs of mostly predictable, by-the-numbers rock’n’roll stuff. The harder stuff is slightly reminiscent of later-era HELLACOPTERS, but there are some straight up harmonica-driven blues standards, as well as an instrumental yacht rock song on here. I dunno, maybe it’s good and a punk review site just isn’t the right place for it?

Headwinds A.I. cassette

With a few records in their bin, Las Vegas’s HEADWINDS put out A.I.—songs are fun, dirty and have plenty of grit, with great-sounding guitars toned to hollow out yer bowels. There’s a little imperfection on the recording that sounds like a stylus hitting some dust, and is fairly apparent on the opener “Desire” during the longer-than-necessary outro. But they’ve got that desert-pysch thing going on, and used a 1959 reel-to-reel to record on, so I’ll give them a pass!  After a few times through, this really grew on me—the reverb-soaked vocals on the anthemic “Wild & Free” is an instant hit, and deserves a listen. The songs rollick around, kicking up dust, and give the illusion that everything will be okay, especially on the sandy-strummed acoustic closer “Melody” that sweeps beautifully to a finish.

Late Show Late Show demo cassette

Sorta so-so trash garage from Seattle. It’s not bad, just not super memorable. Good vocals, nice guitar sound, but they just need a hard kick. Sorta like the CANDY SNATCHERS if they smoked weed instead of meth. Don’t give up on my account. Gurgle sounds…cough, cough, hack.

Pure Sport Bigger Business cassette

Las Vegas band whose music barely fits under the punk umbrella, but here we are. Bigger Business sounds radio-ready; QUEEN OF THE STONE AGE-leaning boogie crunch with clean production, frequent wah-wah solos, and “oh yeeeaaah!”s. This is a generous comparison, but “Waterboy” has fast spoken-sung verses that remind of MCLUSKY’s freewheeling vocal style. The music itself, though, is predictable, neutered modern rock. “One Too Much” sounds like that band JET blues-screaming through a plodding song about beer. Catch these folks at your local corporate radio station’s Summer Jam second stage. They will probably be huge.

The Shakewells Who the Hell Are? cassette

Surfy garage rock that reminds me of the VENTURES, the MUMMIES, and MAN OR ASTRO-MAN? all rolled into one. Very impressive musicianship here; very tight and never cluttered. I think it can be a challenge when you throw an organ player into the mix, but the SHAKEWELLS do a good job of not playing over each other. Otherwise, this is your typical spooky-adjacent rock’n’roll release. Not bad by any means, but nothing really groundbreaking. If you enjoy the genre, you’ll probably love this. A perfect soundtrack for the Halloween season.