Toeheads A Cruel Winner’s World LP

Garage punk played straight is a hard thing to make interesting these days. Emphasize too much of the garage side of things, and you end up sounding like you’re doing SONICS cosplay. Tip too far in the other direction, and now you’re some sort of Rip Off Records tribute act. That’s not to say you can’t do that kind of stuff well or it can’t be fun—it’s just that those types of acts generally have a tougher time standing out, especially with no shortage of contemporary projects vying for your attention. TOEHEADS, an act out of Detroit with a couple of tapes and split 12” under their belt, manage to hit the sweet spot on this debut LP by playing straightforward garage rock infused with enough vitality that it can’t help but be punk. The twelve tracks on here—ten originals and two classic covers—are loud, raw, sloppy, tuneful, and just a good-ass time. It reminds me of what I’ve loved about the GORIES, OBLIVIANS, NEW BOMB TURKS, or CHEATER SLICKS. Obviously, this isn’t on the same level as those classics—their songwriting isn’t quite there yet—but it’s close enough that it certainly warrants your attention. Pick it up!