Garage Rock

New album: Mark Le Gallez || Mark Two

Guernsey’s singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mark Le Gallez (The Risk, Speakeasy, The Redbones, The Sacred Hearts, Thee Jenerators, The Crowman, The John Wesley Stone, …) has been active for decades in the right corner of the music world, the corner with power pop, mod and garage rock artists that is. In 1984 he released the EP Mark One, and – wait for it – almost 40 years later here’s successor Mark Two. The jacket the musician is wearing in the cover photo is the same as it was back then, and the 10 new songs are at least as energetic as the old ones – they sound a lot better though (we have to thank producer/engineer James Le Huray for that). This is mouthwatering mod-rock, with relatable lyrics and weathered vocals, but it’s the irresistible organ melodies that steal the show. If the rest of the world had the same good taste as that one corner, these would all be hits. For example, listen to standout track Elvis, with a glam rock opening and a guitar solo and drum break towards the end, and try not to get excited.

Mark Two is out on vinyl LP via F.A.B. Records. Add to wantlist: Discogs

New album: Lester Greenowski || Kover All Over

This year, Lester Greenowski celibrates his twenty year anniversary as a musician, and what better way to do that than by paying tribute to his influences. More tribute albums are apparently on the horizon, but on Kover All Over, Greenowski tackles the discography of Kiss, including the solo records. Greenowski joins forces with Lester and the Landslide Ladies bandmate Vinn Borawski, and Irene Viboras (Viboras), Faz La Rocca (Faz Waltz), Matteo Bassoli (Me And That Man), Paul Del Bello (Dobermann), SJ Aschieris (Aschieris), Nick Mantoan (Piggy Slot) and many others all make guest appearances.

The best part about this tribute to “the hottest band in the world”? How Greenowski and friends put their own spin on the originals. In these reimagined versions,  Kiss would have fit perfectly on a bill with Ramones and New York Dolls in CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City in the ’70s. Fun stuff indeed!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Guppy || Big Man Says Slappydoo

Californian mall rock trio Guppy turned heads with In The Garage (2017) and In Heat (2019), and now they’re back with their full-length album Big Man Says Slappydoo. The 11 songs here are the most ambitious, diverse and thoughtful to date by Julia Lebow (guitar, vocals), Marc Babcock (bass, vocals) and Ian Cohen (drums, vocals), very well produced by Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin, also heard on keyboards.

Probably primed by the colorful and cuddly cover art, the first 37 seconds of the awesome opening track Aliens make you think it’s music for kids, but after that it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t meant for their ears. This is colorful indie pop / garage rock in which the punk roots of the band members still seep through, although doo-wop influences are just as easily embedded. Listening evokes many different associations – fun, quirky, humorous, explicit, sensitive, painful, danceable, sentimental, awkward, happy, noisy, theatrical, etc. – but these alternate from one moment to the next, just as the fine melodies and compelling vocals surprise time and again.

Big Man Says Slappydoo is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Lauren Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Lauren Records

New album: Mala Vista || Ruthless & Toothless

Mala Vista is one of those punkrock’n’roll acts that take you back to the NYC of the late ’70s. Not that I lived the experience, but based on what I’ve read and heard about that era. Mala Vista sounds equally fun and perilous, like their live shows at 315 Bowery could end in the best night ever or as a threat to your personally safety. But it’s not the late ’70s anymore, so let’s go with FUN.

If there is one knock against Ruthless & Toothless, Mala Vista’s new LP, it’s that a significant portion consists of previously released material from 2019 complemented with unreleased recordings from 2021. That complaint goes out of the window once you press play, because most (if not all) Mala Vista songs are absolutely killer. I mean, just listen to songs like Summer Weekends, Ole Blue Eyes, and Baby So Wasted. The hooks of Mala Vista are assault weapons, where melody and aggression are in perfect synergy, and feeling victimized actually feels like a positive. Play Ruthless & Toothless loud. No, louder!

Ruthless & Toothless is out now through the band in the US and through No Front Teeth Records (UK/EU).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mary Ann Hawkins || Mary Ann Hawkins

When I pressed play without any prior knowledge, I expected to be listening to a Nashville-based folk singer-songwriter with a banjo, curly gold hair, and a pink-checkered blouse. I was wrong, once again: Mary Ann Hawkins turns out to be a surf rock outfit from Helsinki featuring five tough guys dressed in black, named after a Californian surfing pioneer, diver, swimmer and stunt double. The band, praised for their narrative music videos and sweaty live shows, previously self-released two EPs, but now here’s their self-titled debut full length. A pretty cool one, with twelve near-instrumental songs that are never boring: in every track there is a bigger idea that takes it to the next level, like shouting the title in Snake Planet, or the spaghetti western horns in Night Hawk. This is cinematic surf rock that sounds more South American than Finnish, cool music that’s exciting and danceable. Regardless of what associations you have with Mary Ann Hawkins, it’s all street credible enough to print the name on a shirt and walk around proudly.

Mary Ann Hawkins is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Svart Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Svart Records

New album: Rat Tamango || As I Live and Breathe

Rat Tamango are a high energy blues rock trio from Adelaide, South Australia. On their debut full-length As I Live and Breathe, Paris Clark-Proud (vocals, guitar, piano), Kynan Duke (bass) and Daniel Duke (drums, percussion) forge influences from blues, hard rock, funk, garage and psych into a unique sound. The first two songs, Show Me What You Got and Gone, come at you like a heavy steamroller. But just when you think you know what kind of album this is, the band slows down with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s I Loved Another Woman (later Robert Johnson’s Rambling On My Mind follows, in two very short parts), albeit they put their own stamp on it. Because that’s the kind of album – 13 songs – it is: diverse and surprising, with satisfying tempo and instrument changes, clever song structures and raw vocals, always powerful, well played and continuously captivating. It’s not hard to imagine packed concert halls clapping and stamping along. Very cool.

As I Live and Breathe is out now digitally and on vinyl LP (self-released). It’s is dedicated to Peter Green – a successful tribute. The track Loved Another Woman is missing from Bandcamp, but is on the record and streaming services.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: 3LH || Silver Dream Road

Fans of bands like Together Pangea, Tijuana Panthers and The Growlers will also love Californian four-piece 3LH, but actually it’s a must-listen for anyone into surf-infused garage rock. Rafa Heredia (guitar, vocals), Johnny Villanueva (keys, guitar), Kevin Carranza (drums) and Favian Vega (bass) just released their full-length debut album Silver Dream Road and we’re going to be playing it a lot this summer. You’ll hear ten triumphant songs that rock energetically – melodic guitars, gritty vocals, catchy hooks and infectious harmonies – but at the same time convey a relaxed vibe. If you have friends with taste (and plenty of beer in the fridge), this record will make your backyard party a guaranteed success.

Silver Dream Road is out now digitally and on vinyl LP via My Grito Industries.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || My Grito

New album: Coco Jumbo || Misbehavin’

The great thing about surfing Bandcamp is that every click on a new release has the potential to trigger a wave of enthusiasm. Usually this ain’t the case, but the discovery of Coco Jumbo‘s debut full-length Misbehavin’ caused a tsunami of emotions. It turns out to be a trio from Melbourne, Australia – the band members aren’t visible in the striking cover photo, which accurately reflects the album title – that swam in the same wild ocean as ATW favs The Chats, Dune Rats, Amyl and The Sniffers, Bad//Dreems and Skegss. Edward Sims (guitar), Christopher Jordan (bass) and Seamus Latto (drums) play an über-catchy combination of dirty garage rock and gnawing punk. You’ll hear 15 short but powerful and energetic songs that will make every live audience stage dive and crowd surf. Cool stuff!

Misbehavin’ is out now digitally and on vinyl LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Coco Jumbo

New album: VISION 3D || Hypnose

The Belgian/French rockers of VISION 3D have released their new album Hypnose, featuring eleven savage songs that are somewhere between garage-trash and post-punk. These are musicians who are well attuned to each other, and who have managed to capture their live energy wonderfully. The tempo is very high, but it’s amazing how much musical variation the tracks – sung in French – hold. The vocals are intense and sincere, the guitars sharp and persuasive, the drums and bass deliver great rhythms. This is an overwhelming LP, and its title – translated: Hypnosis – isn’t an over-promise.

Hypnose is out now digitally and on vinyl LP, co-released by Six Tonnes De Chair Records, Rockerill Records and Belly Buttons.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Christian Family || The Raw And Primitive Sound Of…

Holy shit! You would think that punk and gospel are opposites, but Cherie Cherie’s Ann Seletos aka Sister Ann (vocals, drums, screams) and The Freaks of Nature’s Daniel Shircliff aka Brother Daniel (vocals, guitar) prove that these can be combined very well. As The Christian Family they mix influences from Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Staple Singers with the sound of mid 60’s garage punk and girl groups. On their first full-length album The Raw And Primitive Sound Of… you can hear eleven tracks of lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll trash – devil music with an edifying message – that is indeed raw and primitive. Although there are references to a higher power in songs like Who’s Gonna Catch Me, Time To Pray and He’s Comin’ Down, most of the lyrics are about everyday worries. This is a record that will appeal to fans of raucous outsider music, regardless of whether they are believers or not. If gospel punk is a genre, this is how it should be played.

The Raw And Primitive Sound Of The Christian Family is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Voodoo Rhythm Records. It consists of ten original songs, and one cover – of The Jiants’ 1959 hit Tornado, written by Andy Anderson & Jerry Hedges.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Voodoo Rhythm

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