Garage Rock

New album: Tacoblaster || Automate

French musician Tom Caussade aka Tacoblaster had a lot of inspiration this year. With his solo project he launched a first LP called Not Now in August, and after the release he immediately worked on a second one that he called Automate. Not only did he write ten damn nice songs twice, but he also did the drums, bass, guitar, synth, and vocals himself. He plays radio-friendly indie pop/rock with a garage feel, songs that aren’t too complex on first hearing but turn out to be well structured on closer inspection, with short but powerful lyrics that are repeated just enough times to get stuck in your head, in combination with appealing hooks. Very fine discovery that deserves a wider audience, and who knows… Anything can happen…

“Wherever you’ll go, take heed of ’em // Whatever you’re going through, anything can happen // Before you know it, anything can happen”

Automate is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Fleshtones || Mi Engañaste Bien b/w Decimos Yeah!

Prejudices are stupid, I’ve noticed again. Since my mother* was a Cliff Richard fan when she was young, I never really got into the English singer, because I had to have a different taste, right? Wrong assumption, it turns out. I just saw an awesome video of a We Say Yeah performance (1961) with The Shadows, and it made me quite happy. We are 60 years later and it’s still cool. Another “discovery” courtesy of New York four-piece The Fleshtones. The mighty garage rock heroes mark their 45th(!) anniversary with a limited edition 7″ single, featuring a Spanish language cover of We Say Yeah on the B-side, in their inimitable “super rock” style. A-Side Mi Engañaste Bien is a groovy Peter Zaremba original, which only increases my joy. Two great party tunes to celebrate this momentous anniversary or any other celebration!

Mi Engañaste Bien / Decimos Yeah! is out now digitally and on 45 single (1,000 copies worldwide) through Yep Roc Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

*Update: It turned out she had the original single in an old record case. Now it’s mine. 😉

New album: The Pulsebeats || Lookin’ Out

Whenever Josh “Lord” Rutledge calls a record easily one of the best punk rock albums of 2021, you bet it immediately goes to the top of my listening pile. I am referring to The Pulsebeats’ Lookin’ Out. It’s the third full length by the band from Santander (Spain), and one that quickly transformed the band from a blip on my radar to the center of my attention.

There is something contagious when a band sound as energized and inspired like The Pulsebeats. None of the songs on Lookin’ Out sound alike, but the common denominator is the fun The Pulsebeats clearly are having performing these songs. The songs go from fast punkrock to powerpop to garagerock’n’roll, with influences ranging from the early days of rock’n’roll, to the early days of NYC punk to the powerpop of the late ’70s and the punkrock of the mid ’90s. But for me, The Pulsebeats are at their best and most likeable form in their poppy songs, like Burn The Guy, Life As A Movie, and the Undertoneseaque title track.

I am resisting the urge to namedrop bands that come to mind while listening to this one. But If you like the kind of music we write about on our blog, you are sure to like at least a couple of the bangers on Lookin’ Out. Or, if you are like me, you will like most of them and will quickly have this on heavy rotation. Lookin’ Out will be out on Rum Bar (US) early next year, but the CD is already out on Spanish label Folc Records, who also released that killer Sanitizers EP recently.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

Gimme 5! Ryan Hamilton Shares 5 Albums That Influenced ‘1221’

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

When I ordered Ryan Hamilton‘s solo debut album Hell Of A Day (2015) at the time, he wrote a personal thank you note, which shows how sympathetic this guy is. Since then, the Texan singer-songwriter has been continuously releasing new music, with a new LP every year: The Devil’s In The Detail ‎ (2017) and Traitors Club Year 1 (2018) by Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors, and This Is The Sound (2019) and Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (2020) by Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequin Ghosts. Little Steven heard it right (again): this is a cool musician who creates cool songs, an artist that deserves a cool label and more appreciation. During 2021, when touring was not possible due to the pandemic, Ryan has been releasing a new single the 12th of each month via Wicked Cool, for his project 1221. They include originals of his own as well as some covers, including The Refreshments’ Banditos.

The 2021 standalone singles will be bundled as one full album, titled 1221. Prior to its release this Friday, we asked Ryan about his sources of inspiration for all those great songs, and he was kind enough to answer in detail. His choices make perfect sense if you are familiar with his sound, but they give a new dimension to listening with his explanations.

New album: The Vernes || Nuclear Winter

“Dead // Sleeping on the floor // Blame it on the weather // A nuclear winter.” The lyrics of the closing title song of the new full-length album by Philadelphia four-piece The Vernes doesn’t really paint an attractive picture, and that goes for more of the songs here. Quite a contrast with the sound of the garage pop / indie rock band, which is vibrant and uplifting. Compelling synths and restless guitars are kept in line by the rhythm of the drums, while you wander around in a dystopian world. There’s more music been made about the contradiction “Everything is going wrong // But we’re so happy“, but The Vernes add a successful slacker rock chapter to it. For example, listen to standout track Time (Cool Version): you hear “When the weight // Of the world’s // Crushing down // On your skull // Overload // Gravity // Sensory,” but an irresistible organ makes you dance on the table instead of sitting under it. Suddenly, radioactive energy doesn’t seem so bad.

Nuclear Winter is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Good Looking Son || Fantasy Weekend

Good Looking Son is a new band that has Keith Harman’s (the Cowboys) marks all over it. His instantly recognizable voice, his quirky songwriting and his strong melodic hooks will sound familiar to anyone who has ever heard his music. The main difference between The Cowboys and Good Looking Son is that the former has its roots in punk, whereas the latter is informed by the garage pop of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Fantasy Weekend is the first offical release of Good Looking Son. All 6 songs on the EP are written by Harman. Jerri Queen (Vacation) produced the record and played on several of the songs. Cowboys bandmate Jordan Tarantino and longtime Queen City rocker Andrew Jody also helped out with the recordings.

Fantasy Weekend is a strong first outing that makes me curious about what’s next for this project. Stream my favorite two track on the EP below – both of which would not look out of place on any Cowboys record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Sakkaris || Admire

Sakkaris is a musical project by LA based Alex and Kevin Liu. The twin brothers, who grew up playing music together, go fully DIY as Sakkaris, performing, recording, producing and engineering the songs at home. The results will please fans of lo-fi garagepop, and skateboarders and surfers looking for a fresh soundtrack to their home videos.

RIYL: a mellow and surfy version of Jacuzzi Boys

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Johnny Jetson || Overheated

Tattooed Millionaires frontman Johnny Jetson started rockin’ out in the gritty lower east-side (NYC) in the 1980s. He moved to L.A. in the 1990s, where he formed The Space Age Playboys with Warrior Soul frontman Kory Clark. That band received some serious tailwind in the early days of file sharing and for a while topped the charts at MP3dotcom. His next band The Tattooed Millionairres became the first unsigned band to reach one million streams online. The succes made Johnny a wanted commodity and he wrote, played, recorded and party’d with the likes of Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Chris Holmes (WASP), and Snoop Dogg. His band toured with Metallica, Motorhead, Monster Magnet, Backyard Babies and Hardcore Superstar.

This week Johnny Jetson releases his latest solo collection Overheated. Featuring ten throwback anthems of glamrock’n’roll, Overheated is the logical successor of the record he released last year (Make Your Move). The songs of Johnny Jetson are no nonsense pretentionless bangers, all about having a good time. Surely, Jetson succeeded with Overheated.

Jetson closes out the album with Rodney On The Rock, a Ramonesesque tribute to legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. “Stay tuned for more rock-‘n’- roll radio!”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Sanitizers || Kiss me, I’m vaccinated + 3

Do yourself a favor and don’t skip this one because the title above doesn’t appeal to you. The pandemic is still not done with us, but we are done with the pandemic, so we try to avoid news, books and music on that subject. But, as always, there are exceptions, as this socially isolated supergroup* – members of MFC Chicken, King Salami & The Cumberland Three, The Nettelles, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, Lyres, among others – have put good advice to good music. Under the moniker of The Sanitizers the musicians previously released the disinfected tunes Kiss Me, I’m Vaccinated, Sneeze In Your Sleeve, and Sa-Ni-Ti-Zin, and together with a fourth, new track EE-NO-CU-LA-SHON!, these are now available as EP. Classic garage and surf rock riffs are combined with semi-serious lyrics that will make you laugh, and thanks to a saxophone and toy piano it sounds like catchy pub rock. It may be a gimmick, but it’s also a sensible use of the lock-down time: I wouldn’t be surprised if these songs are a more effective way of communicating than the government’s rational public service announcements, but what I know for sure is that this is a lot more fun. 

*The Sanitizers are Spencer Evoy (vocals, saxophone), Dan Criscuolo (guitar), Eric “Baconstrip” Boitier (toy drums, percussions), Angus McPake (vibraphone, organ, piano), Phil Lenker (bass), and Peter Greenberg (guitar, extra sneezes). Their EP Kiss me, I’m vaccinated + 3 is out now digitally and on vinyl 7″ through Folc Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Betty Won’t || Lucky

It took me a while to decode what’s in the cover photo, but my attention was captured. The band name of this five-piece hailing from South Minneapolis also raises questions: who is Betty and what does she refuse to do? That’s guesswork, but what we do know: the band consists of Margo (guitar, vocals), Eliot (lead guitar), Sheela (keys), Fletcher (bass), and Jackson (drums), and they play tender twangy rock ‘n’ roll with influences from country, blues and soul. If Tami Neilson had played in a garage rock band back in the day, I guess it would have sounded something like this. Their own description is more telling though: Betty Won’t sings with a tear in her eye and a skip in her step. Their debut album Lucky, just released, consists of five new original songs and four re-recorded tracks that were previously on a demo with the Guarantees. Lo-fi, honest, raw and authentic, captivating in every way. One question remains: would the stuffed animal on the cover be the Demon Dog they’re singing about?

Lucky is out now digitally and soon also available on cassette. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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