Garage Rock

New single: Friends Of Cesar Romero || Spiral Eye Roll

This is not the first time we write about Friends Of Cesar Romero, and based on past experience, it won’t be the last. The three-song Spiral Eye Roll single is the latest release in the Doomed Babe series. For those keeping score, we are up to episode 34(!).

By now, we know exactly what to expect with FOCR. Accessible, crisp and scrappy powerpop and pop punk hits that are upbeat and super catchy. J. Waylon Porcupine, who is the kind of prolific and consistent songwriter that simultaneously fills you with envy and gratefulness, sounds particularly inspired on this one. The Spiral Eye Roll single is 5 minutes of pop punk bliss.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Unknowns || East Coast Low

What better way to start a new week than with loud guitars and uncomplicated catchy tunes. Well, I guess you could make the same argument for the end of the week or the weekend off course. Let’s just say that the new LP by Brisbane based The Unknowns is a blast for any day of the week. The Unknowns are the kind of band that makes up what they lack in subtlety and nuance with excitement, energy and determination, and killer guitar work.  East Coast Low is a record that makes you raise your fist and exclaim “Rock-‘n’-roll!”

The Unknowns channel fellow Australians AC/DC on the opening seconds of East Coast Low – watch video below. After that, The Unknowns take you on a raucous trip of punk fueled garage rock. Straightforward, yet effective, this record hits a lot of the right (loud!) notes. Available now through Bargain Bin Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Nude Party || Rides On

With their first two year-end list worthy albums – the self-titled debut (2018) and Midnight Manor (2020) – and numerous live shows, New York-based 7-piece The Nude Party has shown that there’s still a need for 70s-driven bluesy folk ‘n’ roll. Provided it’s done as well and infectiously as Patton Magee, Shaun Couture, Connor Mikita, Zachary Merrill, Alec Castillo, Austin Brose and Jon “Catfish” Delorme do of course. Everything on their self-produced third full-length Rides On shows how much fun they have in their playing, as if a masterpiece like this can be created without any significant pressure if you have the time and a relaxed atmosphere in your own studio space. The 13 new songs here, including outstanding lead single Ride On and a sympathetic cover of Dr. John’s Somebody Tryin’ to Hoodoo Me, are anything but naked and they’re not exactly party tunes either, but they certainly make for a very entertaining listen.

Rides On is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through New West Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || New West

New EP: The NAGGS || The NAGGS

The NAGGS are a new band from Düsseldorf and sound like Germany’s answer to the Pale Lips. The five songs on the debut EP of the five-piece features the kind of powerpop’n’roll that will never bore me.  The NAGGS not only have a great name, and great accompanying artwork for their debut, they sound pretty great as well. Whereas three of those songs are covers – Picture My Face (Teenage Head), It’s True (The Meanies) Can We Go Dancing (The Ambers Squad), the two originals are an easy match. I could say that The NAGGS show a lot of promise for the future – they do, but that wouldn’t do justice to this first batch of songs. Keep an eye on The NAGGS!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Surf Cult || Beach Noir

Now this is a disturbing glimpse into the near future. According to the listing on Bandcamp, this EP will release on March 3, 2028*. The cover art is beautiful, but literally and figuratively quite dark, and the six instrumental tunes are just as haunting. We’re talking about Beach Noir by North Carolina (US) outfit Surf Cult, written and produced by Ward Picklesimer. This is heavy and angry but melodic music, which evokes a restless feeling extremely well.

Beach Noir is out NOW digitally via Future Light Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

*Update: That the release date was set for 2028 turned out to be a small mistake (not a deliberate one, as I thought/hoped), which has since been adjusted to 2023. Quite reassuring, that this simply concerns the current situation, right? When asked, the band indicates that the future of surf rock is taking on elements of modern rock and metal. We’ll keep an eye on it.

New EP: A-Go-Go || Super Sport Singles

Over the past 12 months, Columbus garage pop outfit A-Go-Go released a trilogy of singles. Those three singles are now available on one convenient Tape via Super Sport Records that is called the Super Sport Singles. It offers a perfect introduction to the music of A-Go-Go, a band that blends infectious garage pop with subtle country influences. The six songs show the many talents of the band. They can do melancholic and dreamy (Keep On, Union Gate), upbeat and raucous (Dressed Up, Lender) and something more traditional (Polly). Not unlike Jacuzzi Boys meets Allah-Las meets Jaill, I’d say. More than anything, the Super Sport Singles Tape makes me curious about what is next for the band. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band break out sooner or later.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Super Sport

New album: Spirit Ghost || Melting Right Before Your Eyes

Very nice, a new full-length album from Spirit Ghost is floating out of your speakers. In ten years, this project by American songwriter Alex Whitelaw (vocals, guitar) has grown from solo bedroom music exercises to a venerable garage pop band featuring Billy Hickey (drums), Guitar: Tim Zoidis (guitar) and John Bergin (bass, violin). The nine tracks (there are also two interludes) on Melting Right Before Your Eyes are richly orchestrated and sound amazing, with influences ranging from folk and crooners to surf rock and garage psych – as if Bryan Ferry has taken care of Mystic Braves. Somehow that combination works wonderfully, and a moody and jangly chamber pop song like single I Prayed turns out to go well together with infectious and energetic neo-psychedelic tunes like Got a Feeling, Walk Back and No Future. And although most of the lyrics are on the gloomy side, this record still has an uplifting effect.

Melting Right Before Your Eyes is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The New Brutarians || Don’t Want To Know Your Secrets

Adam Turkel and Christina Wright make a glorious return as the prolific lo-Fi Glam Pop Rock N’ Roll duo The New Brutarians. Call them inspired or possessed, but Turkel and Wright somehow keep churning out gems of songs. The Don’t Want To Know Your Secrets EP is the latest and greatest, with 6 songs that were created in the afterwake of the band working on their new album. Self-produced and recorded in spontaneous fashion, songs like I Don’t Want To Know Your Secrets, In My Next Life, and Enterprise have all the charm I’ve come to associate with The New Brutarians: Ramshackle and pure rock’n’roll romanticism distilled to its essence. The EP also offers some surprises, like the addition of horns to some of the songs. Or what about the ecccentric 7 minute closer Standing In The Doorway?

The New Brutarians do whatever they feel like, and it’s a joy to witness.

Add to wantlist: Streaming only, I guess

New album: Ron Gallo || Foreground Music

If you’ve called a previous album Heavy Meta, you really have nothing left to prove. But American singer/songwriter/guitarist/cool kid Ron Gallo simply transcends himself on his new full-length Foreground Music, also a telling title. This is a strong and urgent record for so many reasons: it’s versatile and complete, it’s raw and rocking, with lyrics that are full of humorous observations and big life questions, disturbing and relatable but also personal and sensitive, totally in line with our life in 2023. From the title track: “I take my life pills one day at a time // My favorite thing to do is lie awake and panic // Is it supposed to feel like this? // Is it me or is it all of it? // I’m a forward person in a backwards world // This is foreground music, you don’t need a background.”

Foreground Music is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Kill Rock Stars.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Kill Rock Stars

New single: Frankie || Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon

We knew Frankie ‘Fuzz’ Lamberts from bands like The Colour Collection and The Ballet Bombs, so we realized that the Dutch singer-songwriter has something to offer, but what he now has cooked up solo is quite remarkable. His debut single Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon works like a time machine that takes us back to the psychedelic 60s. The cheerful Nederbeat song is listened to from Helsinki to Miami, and although people over there probably don’t understand the lyrics, the sound evokes both emotions and images that everyone feels. The B-side shows another side of the artist: The Babel Library (inspired by the book by Jorge Luis Borges) and You Won’t Let Down Your Hair (a fairy tale about an unworthy prince) are dreamy psych-folk songs that recall the baroque pop of Jacco Gardner’s first album.

“Als sneeuw voor de zon” translates as “like snow In front of the sun”, an expression to indicate that something disappears without a trace. However, something tells us that Frankie has created a classic that we will enjoy for a long time to come.

Als Sneeuw Voor De Zon, recorded by Arjan Spies, is out on yellow-white splatter 7″ vinyl through Soundflat Records.

Add to wantlist: Soundflat Mailorder

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