The Scenics New Part in Town LP

Some 1976 recordings from Toronto teens who managed to knit together the scrappy pop of the KINKS with the freewheeling storytelling and raw edges of the VELVET UNDERGROUND into something new and exciting. The mood here is fun and loose; strummed, harmonized odes to Jonathan Richman meet the proto-garage punk of the title track. The songwriting confidence, which weaves classic suburban wasteland observations with odd cultural touchstones, is incredible. Take the ROLLING STONES-style ballad “O Charlotte”: “Your mama is a swinger she’s a party doll / She said ‘son, you better take good care of my little girl’ / Mama, don’t you worry about your teenage girl / She was in good hands with Allstate / She’s in better hands now.” It’s kind of sweet, kind of grimy, and all rock’n’roll. The band’s ability is on full display as well, even though the production is clearly DIY. Thoughtful arrangements are flush with arpeggiated guitar and three-part vocal harmonies. “In the Summer” touches on TELEVISION-esque guitar interplay that nears sonic perfection. Check out this first entry in a series of SCENICS rarities and reissues for excellent, forward-thinking proto-punk.