Garage Rock

New EP: Anxious Pleasers || Anxious Pleasers

This Anxious Pleasers EP. Wow. I just can’t seem to stop playing it. Anxious Pleasers are a threepiece from Hamilton, Ontario. It’s the brainchild of guitarist/singer TJ Charlton of the TV Freaks (such a cool band), with Nathan Burger on drums (also of TV Freaks, and Flesh Rag) and Matt Ellis on bass (of Flesh Rag, Plasticheads, The Vapids, and his recent solo project you should definitely check out). The line-up sets a high bar in terms of expectations, but Anxious Pleaser effortlessly surpass those. My fingers automatically turn the volume up to 11 on songs like What Do You Care About and DUH! This is an exhilarating and insanely catchy punk record.  “We wrote and recorded the songs right before covid hit. We played a few shows and everything got put on ice but we decided to release it. It was recorded by the band in our old rehearsal space and mastered by Kenneth Roy Meehan,” Matt Ellis explains. It’s currently digital only, with all proceeds donated to Hamilton Encampment Support Network. A  very limited cassette release is available for pre-order, but I am confident punk labels are lining up to do a vinyl release as well. The future of the band is less certain, given the members’ other responsibilities and one band member moving west to Vancouver.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Throwback Thursday: Lochness Mobsters || She Bit Meh

In 2015, Austin Town Hall released War Tuna, a fun garage / surf rock debut album by American three-piece Lochness Mobsters. Six years later, the catchy standout track She Bit Meh is still a real party banger, one that makes you long to see these kinds of bands live again.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs 

Gimme 5! Jake Sprecher (Terry Malts, Smokescreens & Jonathan Richman) Shares His Top 5 Quarantine Albums That Sound Absolutely Nothing Like His New Project The Wind-Ups

Photo by Beth LaBerge

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.

This week’s Gimme 5 features a multitalented artist who plays (or has played)  with Terry Malts, Smokescreens, Beehive and Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers. I am talking about Jake Sprecher, who made good use of his Covid induced boredom by purchasing a TASCAM 388 and recording a new solo bedroom-project as The Wind-Ups. The result is Try Not To Think, a 19 minute powerpop masterpiece  disguised as lo-fi garagepunk record. Of his previous bands, Try Not To Think is sonically nearest to the early Terry Malts stuff: just as infectious but louder and slightly slower paced. The songs have that deceptive songwriting quality that can easily be misinterpreted as simplism. In truth, it takes skill to write songs that are this straightforward and yet so memorable. To give you an idea, listen to the two prematurely released tracks off the record: Lockdown and Too Many Bibles. I’ll write a longer review near its June 18 release date – spoiler: there are a lot of killer tracks on this one. [post continues below]

New singles: Formal Wear || Suffer Today & Germ House || Record The Mistakes

Last friday, Chunklet Industries released not one but two singles that I am exited about. Both will be hard to get as they are limited to 45 and 50 copies.

The first single is from yet another project originating from the pandemic: Formal Wear. The A-side is called Suffer Today, which is just perfect for imagining the next time you’ll be wearing formal wear. It is an awesome garagepop tune where the vocals sequence nicely with the central guitar lick. The flipside (Timekeeper) is another goody with a repetitive chorus that gets under your skin. Perhaps I’d be less surprised by the strength of this single, If I’d read before that Formal Wear consists of Eli Kasan and Ryan Oxley from The Gotobeds and Wicketkeeper respectively.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

The second Chunklet single is from one-man band Germ House. Based out of Rhode Island, Justin Hubbard has been releasing music since 2014 or so, and I definitely recommend diving into his back catalogue with Germ House. This new two song single is the latest illustration of the catchy garagepop with post punk leanings Germ House produces. Both songs are excellent, but I am particularly impressed with Record The Mistakes which surpasses the 4:30 minute mark (I apologize for my short-attention span), but remains interesting throughout.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Fire Swords || That’s Kinda Kita (and there’s also a 3 O’Clock Rock compilation album)

Three O’Clock Rock is an after-school and summer rock & roll music program for kids and adults in Oakland, California. Students form bands, play shows, make records, and even go on tour. Today they are releasing their 3 O’Clock Rock at Sam Phillips recording Services, Memphis, TN album, digitally and on 12″ vinyl. This LP features original songs by 3 O’Clock Rock artists as well as cover songs by artists who recorded in Memphis. Not all played equally tight and often a bit off key, but all much fun, raw and primitive, with full dedication, as it should be in this kind of music. Listen below.

However, 3 O’Clock Rock has produced more fun music not found on this compilation album. That’s Kinda Kita is the debut release by The Fire Swords from Oakland, CA – an ode to their dog: ‘Kita does tricks // She knows how to sits’. This song by Aiden (guitar / vocals), DJ (drums), and Billy (bass / vocals) is so catchy that it has been singing around in my head for weeks. These kids may be young, but they rock!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mad Daddy || Mad Daddy

On their 1980 album Songs The Lord Taught Us, The Cramps sang about The Mad Daddy. You could wait for a band to be named after that, and look, here’s Mad Daddy. Since 2015 this four-piece of misfits – Dolyn Clucas-Morris (vocals / harmonica), Elvis Palooka (bass), Liam Callow (guitar), and Matt Twist (drums) – from the Isle of Man plays high octane rock ‘n’ roll punk blues, and now they have finally released their full-length self-titled debut album. These are ten powerful, energetic, rocking songs of around 3 minutes long, intended for listening very loud. Out now digitally, on CD and green vinyl LP (self released). RIYL Oblivians, The Stooges, Daddy Long Legs, The Jim Jones Revue. Give It To Me!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Southern Culture On The Skids || At Home With Southern Culture On The Skids

About 25 years ago we were nerdy on time at the concert hall, so we saw Southern Culture On The Skids perform twice: the sound check and the real show. Camel Walk is still one of my favorite songs and new work always leads to a jump of joy. The band – Rick Miller on guitar & vocals, Mary Huff on bass & vocals, and Dave Hartman standing behind the drums – has been playing together for 30+ years, consistently recording and touring around the world. Good news: they have an awesome new album out called At Home with Southern Culture on the Skids (already released March 12, so I almost overlooked it, but luckily our hero Little Steven brought it to my attention by playing new track Run Baby Run this week, on episode 996 of his legendary Underground Garage radio show). The 11 tracks, including 2 covers – Sugar Town (written by Lee Hazlewood, first recorded by Nancy Sinatra), and Dear Mr. Fantasy (written by Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood & Chris Wood, recorded by Traffic) – were taped and mixed by Rick In his living room and at The Kudzu Ranch. And that is also the feeling that the new album evokes: a successful living room concert, a cozy and laidback rock ’n’ roll party with catchy songs that make you smile and sing along. We would have loved to be there, twice.

Out now digitally and on CD via Kudzu Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || SCOTS

New album: Les Envahisseurs || Monkey Monk

Monkeys are just as popular in the music world as they are in the zoo. Lots of good songs about them: Monkey Man (The Specials), Monkey Business (Skid Row), The Ape (The Green Bananas), Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (The Beatles), King Kong Five (Mano Negra), Monkey Gone To Heaven (Pixies), Monkey Wrench (Foo Fighters), Very Ape (Nirvana), Monkey On Your Back (The Outsiders), Too Much Monkey Business (Chuck Berry), and so on, and so on. The latest addition to this list is also a good one. Canadian ye-ye / garage rock band Les Envahisseurs are back with their second album Monkey Monk, after their debut full length Garage Monkeys (2018) and their single Do The Fonz (from 2017, but on the new album). This is garage rock as garage rock is intended: 11 short but powerful, danceable songs, sung (partly in French) and played with enthusiasm. Monkey Monk is one not to be viewed from a distance, but to bring into your home. Out now digitally and on vinyl LP via Family Spree Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Eades || Abstract Education

UK five-piece Eades combine influences from new wave, post-punk and garage rock in six rock-solid new songs. To properly capture the energy of their live set and their rawest and most authentic selves, the instrumentals were recorded live in less than 12 hours. Where in this type of music normally the singer or guitarist steals the show, Eades’ drummer doesn’t let that happen: more cowbell! The Abstract Education EP is out now digitally via Heist or Hit. The song Present In The Moment stands out for me, but the other tracks are also hits.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Heavy Comforter || Joey And The Rapid Dogs!

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of motivational quotes about the motivational power of setbacks. Why waste time on those when there are so much tangible examples of interesting new musical projects that came out of the pandemic. The latest one is Heavy Comforter, a solo project William Johnson of Future Virgins, Sexy, Big Kitty, and Listening Skulls. Joey And The Rapid Dogs! is the first record under his new moniker. It was born out of boredom and heartbreak while living in quarantine. It’s full of straightforward and parsimonious midpaced garagepunk tunes with plenty of pop sensibilities, not unlike Terry Malts. Have a taste of songs like Welcome Home, J + R.D., Alana To Breathe and Human Conditioner and it’s likely you will become hooked. Tip of the hat to Let’s Pretend Records. who have a way of finding these kinds of edgy punkrock acts. Out now, limited to 200 LPs.

Add to Bandcamp: Bandcamp || Let’s Pretend Records

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