In 1966 The Paragons recorded the ebullient, melodic, infectious, and danceable song Abba (no, it’s not about the Swedish pop group ABBA). At the time it wasn’t a national (or international) hit, but it’s now seen as one of the best garage rock classics. The track is still played by DJs with taste, and countless bands have covered it (The Satelliters, The Cynics, The Rosalyns, The Madd, etc.). For a copy of the original 45 you have to pay a ridiculously high amount, but the German independent music label Altercat comes to the rescue with the first official reissue of the 7″, an affordable one. The single comes with a 12-page info booklet with liner notes and previously unseen pictures.
Despite the corona pandemic, showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) has not been canceled this year. Understandably not as usual live with an audience in Groningen, the Netherlands, but online short performances by around 350 European artists can be streamed online these days. Yesterday Drens provided one of the most fun concerts, which can be viewed below. The surf punk four-piece from Dortmund played two songs from their EP Pet Peeves and their new single M vs. D. The show was also released today as a digital album (name your price download). Can’t wait to see some real live shows again, but for now this is a commendable alternative.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
I’m still hoping that the Made Violent EP (2016) will be released on vinyl someday, but right now I’m especially happy that there is a new full-length album from the American rock band Made Violent. Wannabe rocks hard and old-fashioned, at the same time it swings smart and melodic in a modern way, convincingly played and sung – like The Strokes on speed. The LP is out today through Sakers. Yeah!
Add to wantlist: sakersland.com
Seeers, where have you been for the past five years*? In 2015, The Seeers were my band to watch and I frequently played their single in the Windian Records Subscription Series featuring the awesome Without Lites. But then…crickets, like they vanished. It’s absolutely a nice surprise (2021, let’s keep em coming okay?) that they released a full length this week. But is it any good? YES! Better than that actually, it’s full of garagepoppunk hits with a healthy dose of psych influences. Crossed fingers for a physical release, because I need to have this in my collection.
*UPDATE: The band informed me that technically this is not a new release. Happy Peaks was recorded back in 2015 on a Tascam 4-track tape machine. It was never released and this is the first time it’s made available online. Regretfully, this the last recorded material of The Seeers. They stopped being a band in 2016.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
By now I thought I knew most of the last of the garage punk unknowns, but The Treez’s 60’s track You Lied To Me Before was new to me. Discovered thanks to a nice cover by the Scottish garage rock band The Nettelles on their debut album Do You Believe In …. – released last month through Back to Beat Records, both digital and on vinyl. The LP contains a few more covers, but most of them are own songs, all equally fun. The band members have been around for a while in different other bands, but this music is played with audible enthusiasm and enjoyment as if they had just started. I particularly enjoy the organ and the choirs. RIYL Thee Headcoatees, Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS?.
PS Very sad to read that the band’s co-founder / lead songwriter / vocalist / guitarist Clare Scrivener died of cancer way too young last August. All proceeds made from these record sales go to two charities: Maggie’s Center Edinburgh and Girls Rock School Edinburgh.
Okay, enough with the 2020 reflections already. Time for the first 2021 release I am genuinely excited about: the Skin People EP by The Morgus Creeps. This UK band, who I guess are named after a 1964 horror single by Daringers, play a creepy kind of garage rock. The songs on this killer EP would fit perfectly on the garage compilations of Crypt! Records. For now, this appears to be a digital only release, available as a name-your-price download.
Add to Wantlist: Bandcamp
I’ve been checking out several 2020 AOTY lists in the past couple of weeks and have to admit: I missed a few. It happens, right? Perfection is overrated anyway. Here are 20+ releases from all kinds of musical directions that I either overlooked or was too quick to dismiss in 2020. They are on my wantlist now, that is all that matters. Click below to check them out. As always, I’ve included links to the purchasing locations for these releases. ICYMI also check out my favorite 2020 albums, singles and EPs, 2020 playlists and Dennis’ 2020 AOTY list. Happy new year!
Rum Bar Records just released EST 81 by The Dogmatics in digital format, a collection of the songs of the Boston garage / pub rock band from the 80’s. Not really a new compilation, because available on CD in 1998 as Dogmatics 1981-86, but very welcome. Now, over 30 years later, the band is back, with the excellent single She’s the One (2019), singer-guitarist Jerry Lehane released an equally excellent self-titled EP (2020) and more new music is expected to follow in the new year, but it’s cool to hear the old work again. They are still great songs! What would be even more welcome than these downloadable tracks, is a vinyl version of EST 81. Please!?
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
What a pleasant surprise from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard! The Australian rock band released Teenage Gizzard, a compilation of their first songs, recorded in 2010 and 2011. Very cool to hear how they started: short rock songs with surf influences, in which the characteristic singing style and hypnotic guitars are already central, but less complex and drawn-out than in their later work. The ten tracks are available as a digital album, but you can also bootleg the album yourself (like seven other albums – live shows or demos). The audio master files and cover art can be downloaded for free by anyone who wants to release this album (in 2017 they did something similar with Polygondwanaland, now 288 different versions have been made). I look forward to the creative outbursts this new challenge will yield and I want to have at least one of them in my collection.