Posts Tagged ‘garage punk’

Wet Ones

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Wet Ones LPWet Ones LP
Black Gladiator, 2016

For too many years the musical exports of the Kansas City area rarely captured the quality and quantity of what this midwestern mecca in the middle of the swollen gut of the United States has had to offer. For all the good shit tearing up sketchy, short-lived clubs and out-of-control house parties, the only groups ever to get much attention outside the sprawling expanse of the I-435 loop tended to be on the tame and conventional side of the rock ‘n roll spectrum. And while that’s probably how things should be, it’s always disheartening to witness how little of the crazed energy buzzing around the KC/Lawrence area ever gets adequately captured on wax. Thankfully that all changed early this year when the ace Slovenly offshoot label Black Gladiator unleashed this 13-track wrecker delivering frenzied garage punk every bit as vile as its predecessor Fag Cop. With the in-the-red burn of The Fatals and the panicked contagious energy of The Reatards earliest excretions, this record has slowly festered into the feel-bad hit of the summer. That’s fitting too, since the Wet One are a lot like summer in KC: hot, nasty and ready to beat your ass.

Wet Ones on Slovenly.com

Watch It Sparkle

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Rocket Surgery CD
Like A Shooting Star, 2011

I had the good fortune of stumbling upon this raucous Seattle quartet after they were bumped into an opening slot of a Human Eye show in Lawrence last March. Their live show kicked ass, culminating with singer Justin scooting across the floor on his back, recklessly strumming his guitar, right into the handful of lucky bystanders subjected to their snappy mod-style garage punk. If you don’t find your head bobbing or your body outright flailing to their Billy Childish/Modern Lovers-inspired trash rock, than you’re about as useless as a limp dick on prom night. Lucky for you, their sound has been pressed onto a killer 7″ and this 10-song CD, so you can experience the Sparkle any damn time you please. I find the need to Sparkle every couple of days.

LINKS

Watch It Sparkle on MySpace
Watch It Sparkle on Bandcamp
Video for “Your Heart Will Throb Hard”

Subtle Turnhips

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Terd LP
Hozac, 2010

Apparently the Turnhips have been around for a while — their first ragtag LP came out in 2002 — why the fuck hadn’t I heard of them? They’ve got a solid Hozac 7″ from 2008 and now this raging LP which begs to be blasted continuously at all hours of the day. Totally worth your time if you’re a devotee of the type of cranked tunes found on early Swell Maps records, with crazed singshouts over loose, blaring riffs and sloppy-but-solid beats. Although the Turnhips are a bit meaner, kinda like what you’d hear if you starved the Swell Maps for a week and then invited them to play a set of Brainbombs covers at your Sunday afternoon picnic. Brash and obnoxious, but completely endearing to coarsened ear holes. The songs on this album have a little meat to them than their early records, as shown with the start/stop song structure of “Sonic Tooth” and “Comment” where all elements blast off and then quickly fall apart, creating elastic time signatures that are far more interesting than your typical 4/4 garage banger. And the song “Two Two” is essentially a remake of “Files” from their first LP that transforms it from a decent but forgettable tune into a punchy jam from the gut with layered, mantra-like vocal effects and weirdness. Despite the ugly-ass cover art, you’re gonna want this Terd.

LINKS

Subtle Turnhips on MySpace
Hozac Records

DOWNLOAD

Subtle Turnhips Internet Album

The X-Rays

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Speed Kills CD
Empty, 1996

A number of my favorite records made me laugh the first time I heard them. Melt-Banana‘s Scratch or Stitch LP was so ridiculously jolting and squeaky that I grinned ear to ear in bemused amazement. Emperor‘s Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is so preposterously melodramatic and fast that I still can’t take it seriously. And who can listen to Xerobot‘s dazzlingly robotic Control Panel CD with Greg Peter’s spastic vocals without busting a chuckle? All classic, all amazing, and all noteworthy for an x-factor quality that really made them stand out from the pack. In this great pantheon of underground benchmark albums lies The X-Rays’ Speed Kills CD. While they were part of the mostly unremarkable Gearhead zine garage punk scene of the mid-1990s, they upped the ante with an outrageously loud, fast, and over-the-top take on the whole leather jacket punk rawk thing. I can still distinctly recall hearing the first few seconds of “Racin’ Outta Napolis” for the first time, shaking my head and laughing at the audacity and overdrive of this Nottingham psycho squad. It begins like a number of lesser gearhead punk albums, complete with revving engines throttling to take off, but after a quick count it lurches into crazy territory and races into one of the more noteworthy garage punk records of the genre. Their Empty follow up Double Godzilla with Cheese continued the wacky hi-jinx with the entire album playing backwards after the last track.

DOWNLOAD

The X-Rays – Speed Kills (28.1MB)

The Spook Lights

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Teenage Maniac / Night of the Queerwolf 7″
Self-Released, 2010

Like the previous post, here’s another underrated midwestern freakshow featured in the Horror Punk 101 countdown last Halloween. Lawrence, Kansas’ kings of reverb-drenched Cramps worship finally got pressed to wax—red wax no less—the perfect format for their brand of throwback garage stomp. And don’t assume that this is some showy retread tribute group dimly aping their heroes. The Spook Lights craft an aesthetic that draws from and extends their influences, keeping them as relevant and vital as anything you’ll find seeping from the underground in 2010. This debut 7″ captures their outstanding track “Teenage Maniac” from the KJHK Farm Fresh compilation and backs it up with a slithering B-side, “Night of the Queerwolf”, packaged up in fine, screen-printed PBR case paperboard. Fans of Haunted George, Kid Congo, and of course The Cramps, take note.

LINKS

The Spook Lights on MySpace

Jay Reatard

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

1980–2010

It’s been a month since the Memphis garage maestro died and I’m still recalling all the raging records he left behind. I remember the first time I heard The Reatards, blown away by the intensity and freshness he brought to the safe, conventional confines of the garage punk scene. Jay really took it to the next level and influenced a whole generation of in-the-red ragers as a mere teenager. He continued to evolve and was never afraid to push into new territory, as demonstrated with the darkwave synthpunk of the Lost Sounds, or the jerky, angular postpunk of Nervous Patterns and Angry Angles. Even his last solo release, Watch Me Fail, the most polished and commercial album of his career, his masterful combination of KBD-style primitive punk and classic pop tweaked convention enough to make his music his own distinct beast. It’s ridiculous how many quality releases the guy had under his belt. It may have seemed like overkill at the time, but ya gotta be thankful for the massive back catalog he left behind without even reaching 30. Here are a few of my favorites…

DOWNLOAD:

The Reatards – “Blew My Mind”
The Reatards – “Sick When I See”
The Reatards – “Teenage Hate”

Final Solutions – “Eye Don’t Like You”

Nervous Patterns – “Beautiful Brutal”

Angry Angles – “Apparent-Transparent”

Lost Sounds – “Dark Shadows”
Lost Sounds – “You Don’t Know Remote Control”
Lost Sounds – “Black Flowers”

The Night Kings

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Brainwashed 7″ EP
Dope Records / Bad Vibe Zine, 1993

A recent repost on the excellent Detailed Twang reminded me of Rob Vasquez’s pre-Night Kings band, The Nights & Days, who I’d somehow missed after many years of being a Night Kings fan. I’d heard some of his other bands, like The Chintz Devils, The Gorls, and Right On, but the Nights & Days escaped my pursuit of all things Vasquez. Gotta do your homework, I guess. My introduction to this garage punk maestro came from a copy of the Chicago-based Bad Vibe zine in the form of this smokin’ 4-song Night Kings EP giveaway. The tracks pump Vasquez’ classic garage stomp riffs, delivered with a relaxed, defiant swagger, along with his soulful punk wail — a pairing that distinguishes his bands from the rest of the garage punk crop. Two of the tracks (“Death” and “Increasing Our High”) wound up on their sole Super-Electro LP, Increasing Our High, which can still be found HERE and in used bins across the country. I see it around more than I should, since it’s a bona fide classic in my book and should be snagged by any self-respecting garage punk connoisseur.

DOWNLOAD:

Night Kings – “Brainwashed”
Night Kings – “Death”
Night Kings – “Earthquake”
Night Kings – “Increasing Our High”

Frigg A-Go-Go

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Everything Around Me / Pre-Teen Love 7″
360 Twist!, 1997

There’s never been a shortage of 1960s-style garage punk — pick any subsequent decade and you’re likely to find at the very least a few dozen bands firing off some raw ’60s guitar stompers — but finding a band doing this style with that extra but of spunk and spirit to stand out from the crowd is a rare thing. This mid-90s smoker from the long gone 360 Twist! label is one of those rare finds, perfectly capturing some of the finest recorded moments of this classic Lafayette, Louisiana band. While the rest of the Friggs’ catalog is pretty good, if not standard fare, this little gem really delivers the goods with an electrified charge and snarling attitude, balanced by some well-placed electric piano (the finest I’ve heard since The Misfits “Cough/Cool”) and sharp-n-snappy punk guitar. “Everything Around Me” is the ultimate fuck-it-all song, with spitefully fun snotty vocals that come off like the fratboy cousin of the Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators fronting a hopped-up version of the Sonics. Neither track breaks the 2-minute mark, making this 45 short, sweet, and snappy. It’s perfect.

DOWNLOAD:
Frigg A-Go-Go – “Everything Around Me”
Frigg A-Go-Go – “Pre-Teen Love”

LINKS:
Frigg A-Go-Go on MySpace