Eddie & the Hot Rods Guardians of the Legacy LP

Life on the Line is on a short list of essential records…but this is EDDIE & THE HOT RODS in 2023, folks. First-wave punk veterans who do indeed have one hell of a legacy to guard, but I give this LP a solid shrug. Good, solid, mainstream pub rock—not bad at all but far from essential.

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.

King Flamingo / Nico Bones split EP

KING FLAMINGO get things going with some awesome local-fi power pop, which sort of reminds me of WHITE WIRES. Song number one is bare-bones garage rock with a definite 60s feel. Next up is a slower ballad with a certain DANIEL JOHNSTON quality, I’m not sure if it’s the vocals or the sort of spacey effects they employ. Fresh off an an attempt to win American Idol, NICO BONES start side two with a peppy rockabilly-inspired number. They finish things off with a rocker that has definite doo-wop components, even starting off sounding like a cover of “Runaround Sue.” I’m not sure I’d say any of the tracks are knock-yoursocks-off outstanding, but they all keep your attention. Not bad.

Richie Ramone Live to Tell LP

First they put something in his drink, and now they’ve gone and stolen his wig. I’m talking, of course, about RICHIE RAMONE! This talented drummer/songwriter/singer is still out here rocking all these years after he began his iconic tenure with the RAMONES back in 1983. Live to Tell is his latest solo LP, containing twelve jams that showcase a fresh take on his classic punky sensibilities. With songs like the smoky and haunted “I Sit Alone (Yeah, Yeah)” and the catchy riffs of the stellar “When The Night” (love those backing vocals), to speedy blasters like “Suffocate” and “Who Stole My Wig,” and even a decent cover of the Lost Boys anthem, “Cry Little Sister,” there’s plenty to chew on here. It’s a smooth listen and a nice follow-up to 2018’s also very good Cellophane LP, proving that the guy is still at the top of his game. Fans of the Animal Boy/Too Tough To Die era should especially dig it.

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.

The Flytraps Kitten With a Whip / Nice Boys 7″

A hard rock/punk hybrid from Southern CA, complete with punky porno sleeve. “Kitten With A Whip” sorta recalls LOUDMOUTHS in terms of theme and yowl, though there’s a studio schmaltz that doesn’t sit quite right with me. Ditto for their flipside take on the ROSE TATTOO classic. A total time warp sort of affair…It’s as if Junk Records has risen from the dead or something.

The Out-Sect Out-Sect Theme EP

Sunglasses, leather jackets, Vox guitars, fuzz, use of the word “sect”—yup, we’re dealing with some genuine garage turkeys here! After a handful of digital-only singles, this Philadelphia outfit is dropping their debut 7”, featuring three originals and a cover of “Go Away” by ’60s garage punk unknowns the PLAGUE. I don’t know that the contemporary punk landscape has anything like a predominant sound, but this has to be the opposite of whatever that would be. I haven’t heard too many folks clamoring for a turn-of-the-millennium garage rock revival revival. But maybe we’re due! This thing rips. It’s a great pastiche of that mid-’60s sound with just enough modern punk thrown in to prevent it from seeming like total cosplay. Plus, it sounds real cool! Sims Hardin (MESH, TOE RING, SOCIETY) recorded and mixed this thing, and he’s given the record a really thin and buzzy production that nevertheless packs a wallop—it comes off sounding like someone wrapped the SONICS in wax paper. Give this one a go!

The Premonitions Give Back What You Take / Sun Goes Down 7″

Those gosh darn ’60s, lemme tell ya! The PREMONITIONS kick a fair amount of rear end on this lil’ jukebox jewel: the A-side’s a total workout, obviously indebted to PRETTY THINGS or CHANTS R&B, while the flip’s a fuzzier, mod-leaning hipshaker with prominent organ grindin’. Really head & shoulders above the overt retro-raunch that’s hit MRR in recent months, so good on ’em for not sucking the dog. Worth a lookie-loo for all you daddy-o-diddley dude-a-bopper turkey dorks!

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.

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.