New album: The Cowboys || Sultan of Squat

After a duo of releases with his new outsider pop project Good Looking Son, Keith Harman returns with his quirky protopunk band The Cowboys. Sultan of Squat is the fifth full-length by the Bloomington (Indiana) outfit – sixth if you count their 2015 live record. Like some writers are perceived as writers’ writers, receiving critical acclaim rather than commercial success, I’ve always felt The Cowboys flew under the radar of a major audience despite being critics’ darlings. This may change soon. While every record by The Cowboys had its share of major hits and creative highs, Sultan Of Squat is the most consistently accessible record by The Cowboys yet, without giving up any of the intangibles of what makes The Cowboys such a special band. If there was any point in time where the stars aligned for breakin’ out and simultaneously receiving rave reviews, it would be now.

From the first twenty seconds of the album opening The Sultan Of Squat to the dying seconds of the stellar American Boy, The Cowboys will renew your faith in the power of music. They lift me up like few records have managed to achieve this year. Sultan Of Squat is not the record we deserve, but having The Cowboys irrigate our collective soul is exactly what we need.

Sultan Of Squat is out now through Feel It Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Lost Noise Figure || Get It On

Remember Greek psychedelic garage rock band The Lost Noise Figure? Eighteen months after their debut album Alive, George Kiriakidis (bass, vocals) and Tolis Michalopoulos (guitars, drums, backing vocals) are back with six new songs. The sound on the Get It On EP is less hallucinatory and somewhat more mature and unambiguous, leaning towards sunny surf rock with reverb-soaked guitar melodies. Hook-filled, laid-back and magnetic.

Get It On is out digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: King Khan || The Invaders – Original Film Score

Music enhances moving images and vice versa, but it’s not self-evident that they also convince without each other’s context. Soundtrack wizards like David Holmes (Ocean’s Eleven / Twelve / Thirteen, Analyze That, …) and recently Lionel Limiñana & David Menke (The Ballad Of Linda L., The Devil Inside Me, Thatcher’s Not Dead.) have proven that this is certainly possible, and King Khan now joins them with an impressive production. ‎We know (and appreciate) the prolific Canadian musician/producer as an indomitable maverick in the garage rock scene, so frankly I was a little surprised to see him in a more obliging role: he’s responsible for the original score to the Mass Appeal x Thirteen Ten Florida Street documentary The Invaders (watch the trailer here), which recounts the rise and fall of a militant black power group in the late 1960s. It works out very well. King Khan composed and performed* eighteen soulful garage psych tunes, largely more subdued than we are used to from him, but each with memorable hooks or a mesmerizing melody – from haunting string pieces and propulsive instrumental grooves to full throttle rock songs. Standout tracks include protest song America Goddamn, the hip-swinging A Tree Not A Leaf Am I, and the intense Children Of The World which is most classic Khan, but there are many more good ideas here. Cool, funky and urgent.

“The Invaders film is not just a documentary it’s a hard core lesson to all activists to put in the work and find out what every community needs, addressing these individual needs and simply caring for the wounds that rot when ignored.” – King Khan

The Invaders – Original Film Score is out now digitally and on limited multicolored interstellar splatter vinyl 2-LP (45 rpm) through Ernest Jenning Record Co. / Khannibalism. Note: a handful of these tracks have previously appeared on limited and now out of print 7”s during the filmmaking process, often in alternate versions, but this mark’s the first time all of are available in one place. *With King Khan on vocals, guitar, piano, bass, organ, bongos, synth. Also featuring Saba Lou, Amabelle Anjum Khan, Reka Cziser, Big Fred Roller, Jeans Redemann, Nene Baratto, Max Weissenfeldt, Mirko Wenzel, Omri Gondor, Till Timm, Adan Jodorowsky, Kim Tibbs, Larry Mullins, Ernest C. Withers, Miron Zownir, Cody Simpson, Johnny Grew, Trishes Jackson, Ben Ra, Pamelia Stickney, El Congo Allen, Simon Wojan, Gillian Rivers, Simon Nussbruch and Ian Svenonius.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Ernest Jenning

New album: Black Bats || Stay Dead

Just in time for sweltering late summer nights, Melbourne, Australia-based garage psych band Black Bats have released their new (third) album Stay Dead. The cover art reveals that they can now also tolerate some sunlight, which is reflected in the sound of the fresh work. David Houston (guitar, vocals, organ), Kelly Watson (guitar), Neil Smith (bass) and Keith Ratnan (drums), with the help of Jesse Bolte (sax) and Shelby De Fazio (vocals), deliver twelve fuzzy songs that are equally surfy and ritzy as bluesy and hazy, floating between a pleasant fever and a dark daydream. For fans of The Growlers, Los Palms, Dead Ghosts.

Stay Dead, mixed by Josh Whitehead & mastered by Joe Carra, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Cactus Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Baby Jesus || Rock And Roll Music

Swedish garage rock outfit Baby Jesus are back with their new (fourth) full length album, which bears the promising title Rock And Roll Music. Although that genre naturally forms the basis of the eleven songs here, the four rockers put it through the shredder with gusto, after which they blow up the remains to blast out of the speakers as loud, gritty and wild noise. It’s sweaty garage punk with beat and psych elements, raucous and intense, that  pioneers in the 60s would have been proud of. The great thing is that there are a lot of good ideas that push the dirt to the background, from memorable guitar riffs and compelling organ melodies to catchy hooks and scream-along choruses. Extraordinary.

Rock And Roll Music is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through La Pochette Surprise Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || La Pochette Surprise

New album: Age of Iguana || Creature Comforts

“Shoot the messenger // Right between the eyes.” That’s the powerful premise of one of the standout tracks on Creature Comforts, the first full-length album from Melbourne-based psychedelic rock band Age of Iguana. Fortunately, on we only share music that deserves our stamp of approval, so I assume that Ben George (guitar, vocals), Bernard Hickey (bass, backup vocals), Chris Taranto (guitar, backup vocals) and Aidan Smith (drums) do not put their threatening words into action if they stumbled upon the next paragraph.

This LP is easy to love. No difficult stuff or hallucinatory fumes as not uncommon in the genre, but sweat-drenched vintage rock with a pure and loose sound. You get nine fuzz-laden songs with steaming guitar riffs, straightforward lyrics and an energising live feel. Characterful, vibrant and immersive. “No one wants the truth // Just some pretty lies?” Sorry guys, we mean it.

Creature Comforts is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp


ICK are a band from Newmarket (New Hamspire) that debut with a six-song EP called SICK. They sure make an exciting entrance. Put ICK in the folder of bands that mix familiar elements to create something that sounds fresh and distinct. The SICK EP is a diverse affair and not just in its tempo variations. It’s definitely punk at its core, and the recordings have a played-directly-to-tape ramshackle charm. But listen with open ears and you’ll discover the wealth of styles (surf, psych, postpunk, garage, underground pop) ICK are fooling around with for our listening pleasure.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Psychiatric Metaphors || Flower Market Exchange

Psychiatric Metaphors is the neo-psych project of prolific New Jersey-based artist Sam Taylor. On his new (seventh) full-length album Flower Market Exchange, he explores a new sound – less exuberant, more cohesive – that will probably have wider appeal. That doesn’t alter the fact that there is a lot to discover on the ten original songs here – this record is atmospheric, boisterous, cinematic, dreamy, ethereal and at times funky, with drifting melodies, shimmering vocals and alienating soundscapes. As colorful as the album title implies.

Flower Market Exchange is out now digitally via Acid on Toast Records. All songs are written, recorded and mixed by Sam Taylor.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of July 2023

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

July brought us tributes to Pierre Kezdy of Naked Raygun (Godspeed), Bob Dylan (Bob for Bob), Nick Drake (The Endless Colored Ways), The La Bamba soundtrack (by Classic Pat) and Beach Boys (by Pedico), to name a few, but probably most notable in the cover area were the A.I. generated Barbie Girl version by (not) Johnny Cash and FIDLAR’s take on Limp Bizkit’s Nookie. However, we prefer some other releases.

Big Mouth || Cover: Geoff Palmer || Original: The Muffs
How cool is this? An International Tribute to The Muffs, that sounds like a great idea, right? Let’s thank Argentinian community label Grudda Records for making this a reality. You get no less than 26 punk rock acts that play a song by the amazing band of the late Kim Shattuck, including Caroline & The Treats, The Queers, The Hawaiians, Janelles, Fievre, F.A.N.T.A., Beatnik Termites and Geoff Palmer. You’ll understand how difficult it is to choose just one track.

New album: SLW cc Watt || Purple Pie Plow

And now for something completely different, as the title and cover art imply. Purple Pie Plow is the new full-length album from American psychedelic art-rock duo SLW cc Watt: singer-songwriter/guitarist-keyboardist/illustrator Samuel Locke Ward and singer/bassist Mike Watt are back with a whopping 24 new tracks, though nearly half of them are short spoken or musical interludes (‘spiels’ – unobtrusive like most hip-hop skits but actually functional and entertaining). The ‘ordinary songs’ are not really ordinary either, but a weird and eclectic mix of psych-pop with glam, noir-jazz and doo-wop influences laced with saxophone melodies, which amazingly form an organic unity. This record, which originated from a remote collaboration, is a cinematic trip along fascinating stories.

Purple Pie Plow is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Kill Rock Stars. Also featuring Dean Clean (drums, percussion), Joe Jack Talcum (guitar, keys) and Bob Bucko JR (sax, flute).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Kill Rock Stars

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