208 Red Cat / That House 7″

This record is blasted out to an extreme. Nothing is distinguishable. The vocals, guitars, drums, and every other instrument you can’t make out blend together into a noise soup. Through that all that remains is a really primal energy. It’s that loud, unrestrained, caustic energy that really invigorates the soul. There’s not much left to say about this. Despite its rough recording, it still rocks seriously hard.

Fully Evacuated Forget We Said This cassette

FULLY EVACUATED is a band from Southern California that explores the sounds of garage punk with a proclivity towards psych-rock and proto-punk. There are familiar elements that harken to bands like the VELVET UNDERGROUND, the CRAMPS, and even HICKEY. Songs start and end unexpectedly, and even jangly guitar solos are cut short, which creates a final presentation that uses the sounds from the past with little respect or regard. Kinda punk rock. “Haunted Beach” is a really sick surf track.

Shimmer Bed Divine cassette

An eclectic mix of punk, garage, and psych rock that culminates into an album that is rather difficult to pin down. Something about the off-kilter, pseudo-melodic approach reminds me of Hate Your Friends-era LEMONHEADS, but more loose and fuzzy. Curiously, SHIMMER BED shares a member with GREEN JELLŸ, the “comedy rock” band best known for their 1992 fairytale adaptation “Three Little Pigs.” How this informs their sound is not for me to say, but there is a level of proficiency at play that signals that these guys have been at this music thing for a while. Divine was recorded live in the studio, and that lends the album an energetic quality that suits the general delivery. A bit raw, a bit sloppy, but intentionally so from what I can tell. Stylistically, this seems rooted in a bygone era, blurring the line between punk and alternative rock. If in description that sounds utterly terrible, in practice it’s not so bad…but also not so good. SHIMMER BED is based in Los Angeles, and that makes more sense to me than anything else about this band. Inoffensive, milquetoast L.A. rock, featuring someone that made a name for themselves in the ’90s. Guess I pinned it down after all.

The Pontiac Stags Nothing cassette

Nothing is a quirky little EP by a Detroit group without a clear sense of identity, but they do have a couple good songs, so that’s something. “Fur Coats From Outer Space” takes the CRAMPS on a pleasant Sunday drive, which is followed by the unmistakable BEAT HAPPENING homage “Higher Power.” “Arctic Eyes” slinks back into the goo goo muck with a decent little mover, but the last song is where a tighter focus would have paid off. It’s called “Down With Acid Punk,” but instead of a snide takedown of, say, Timmy Vulgar, or a savage example of the genre in the manner of many a classic piss-take, it’s just another pretty good garage rocker. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, he said, as he scratched his head.

Toeheads Mixed Up / Told You So 7″

Detroit’s TOEHEADS do their best early OBLIVIANS impersonation. It’s a hard-to-fuck-up formula guaranteed to get Mom shakin’ it. They do it well, and they have a fuck-ton of other releases online, including a MISFITS cover EP(!). Bedtime.