Garage Rock

New Album: 錯乱前戦 (Sakuran Zensen) || I Am Sakuran Zensen

There is a lot I hate about the Internet, but here’s something I love. Two years ago, I received a LinkedIn request from someone from the US I hadn’t met. Let’s call him Dan. Apparently, Dan followed me on Spotify, appreciated some of my playlists and wanted to say hi. That in itself I thought was a cool thing of him to do. Fast-forward two years, I messaged him that my AOTY list was up and that I started this blog with my brother. Dan replied and shared his own Top Ten of 2020 which he was working on for his friends’ annual poll. Dan’s top 10 included 9 excellent picks, and one completely unknown one from Japan: 錯乱前戦 (Sakuran Zensen). I have been playing their latest album I am SAKURAN-ZENSEN nonstop this morning. What an exciting garage rock-‘n’-roll record. Just one look at the album cover and the video below tells me: these guys know exactly what they are doing and are destined for bigger things – they remind me of early Hives in that sense. So thank you, Dan. And welcome to the wantlist 錯乱前戦!

Lookout for a list of records we overlooked in 2020 sometime in the near future.

Add to Wantlist: Discogs 

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Albums of 2020

I am a sucker for year-end lists. They help uncover releases I missed, artists I overlooked, and curators worth following. I equally love the process of creating my own lists. There is an instrinsic value and joy in revisiting and reflecting on the records that come out each year. It offers a reminder that some records take time to appreciate, while others’ immediate appeal ultimately proved to be short-lived. One noticable trend in this streaming age is that artists release a crazy amount of great songs, whereas their albums often fail to live up to that promise. Quite a lot of my favorite songs of the year were on releases I left out my top 50. This top 50 celebrates the art of great collections of songs, records I own, records that are on my wantlist,records I’ve played and enjoyed front to back. What about those great individual songs? I will share my favorites in a playlist before the year is over (Update: I made two). I will also publish a list of my favorite singles (7″, digital) and EP’s of 2020 next week (Update: it’s here). And, of course, don’t forget to check out Dennis’ favorite records of 2020.

Ok, less talk, more rock. Below you’ll find my favorite records of the year. Mostly punk, garage, powerpop, rock-‘n’-roll, indiepop and indierock releases.  I’ve added short descriptions of what I love about each record, and sample songs and video’s. If you like what you hear, just click on the album title and AddToWantlist. Oh yeah, and for you streamers out there, there’s a playlist with my favorite song of each record at the bottom of this post. Let’s go!

New single: The Ar-Kaics || To Be Free / Easy

They perform this task with gusto: The Ar-Kaics keep 60’s style garage rock alive. After full-length albums in 2014 and 2018, a compilation with singles & unreleased work was released earlier this year. And now they are back with a new single: To Be Free b/w Easy is available through Daptone’s rock subsidiary Wick Records. It’s a great band and this is another great proof of competence. This new single could have been a hit from 1965, but maybe it will be a hit in 2021?

Add to wantlist: Daptone

New song: Skegss || Wake Up

We know the Australian garage rock trio Skegss of party bangers like the awesome L.S.D., but their last song is a lot more serious and laid-back. ‘Been living down the wrong side of town, I should move up to the right’, Ben Reed sings accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Beautiful. (Who would have thought that we would describe Skeggs’ music as beautiful?)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2020

OK, let’s start with the obligatory cliché intro text. The only good thing about 2020 was that by being at home more often you could listen to even more music and for those who want to hear it, enough good music has been made. Since January I have checked out 1,100+ new albums. Sometimes after half a minute I knew it wasn’t for me, sometimes I just couldn’t get enough. No doubt I missed a few things that I should not have missed, but right now this is what it is. And it doesn’t really matter either. Music lists are by definition debatable, because they say something about taste and taste is personal. What follows does not really say anything about quality, but simply reflects what I have played and enjoyed the most. In my list guitars and distinctive voices predominate, it’s mostly rock orientated (alternative, garage, jangle, roots, post-punk, …) plus a little bit of soul, with both debuting bands and old rockers with renewed energy who could have been their grandfather. It turns out that 2020 was not that bad at all!

New album: The Mary Veils || Slacker Paint

For obvious reasons, far fewer new albums are released in December than in other months, but luckily there is still some notable new work. Most interesting this week imho is Slacker Paint, the debut LP of The Mary Veils. It turns out to be not really a new album, because the American garage rock band self-released it back in 2017. Apparently most music lovers missed that at the time, the album was not even on Discogs yet, but PNKSLM Recordings now shares it with a wider audience. The second full-length album is due for release next year, but let’s dive into this first; there is much to discover in these varied tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Messer Chups || New Wave or Surf Wave

There are a number of iconic bands that almost everyone seems to be a fan of. Kraftwerk for example. I probably shouldn’t say it, but I don’t feel it. However, if you replace the electronics with guitars, you can hear how strong their work is, but in a style that appeals to me more. That’s exactly what the Russian surf trio Messer Chups did with Kraftwerk’s classic Das Model on their new digital album New Wave or Surf Wave. On this EP you can also hear covers of, among others, Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode) and Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New song: Justin Angelo Morey || (Tell Me) What’s Your Name

Lead singer, songwriter en multi-instrumentalist Justin Angelo Morey taught himself how to play the guitar, bass, and drums by the age of 12. After a career in a few bands (The Black Hollies, Sunshine & the Rain) and establishing his own chocolate line (J. A. Morey Artisan Chocolates) he is now trying to make it as a solo artist. After digital single I Want Your Love / Waving Hello there last October this is a new fine track from his hand, (Tell Me) What’s Your Name, one that you immediately sing along. Out now through Silent Stereo Records. Why don’t they play such songs on the radio?

‘Anna took your order // You wanted chicken parm // And in that moment // I thought you could be the one’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The New Madness || After Hours

Now this is a good way to start the weekend. The New Madness delivers energetic garage / blues rock with punchy riffs, a high-pitched voice and lots of whoohoos. It kind of reminds me of the Cato Salsa Experience, although it has been some time since they were active, but you probably also hear influences like The Black Keys. The debut single Love Sick, my favorite track from the album, was released three and a half years ago and is now bundled with the songs that followed along the way. Berlin-based / Danish-born Bjarke Sørensen wrote the music and lyrics and he’s also responsible for vocals, guitars, synth moog, rhodes, drums, and percussion (yes, there are also some other artists playing along). The LP After Hours is out today through Crunchy Frog.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New Album: The Chives || The Chives

The Chives are pretty loud for a lo-fi band. They act pretty tough as well. They call your mom a bitch, they buy guns, do drugs and steal your candy. You’d almost miss the sweet and catchy bubblegum pop that’s underneath their loud and fuzzy guitars.


Add to Wantlist: Bandcamp || Super Wimpy Punch

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