New album: Neverland Ranch Davidians || Neverland Ranch Davidians

Billed as “smoldering, psychotic R’n’B like the missing link between Blues Explosion, Suicide, and Stax Records,” here’s the self-titled debut album from the Neverland Ranch Davidians. (I think we can also safely mention The Dirtbombs and The Gun Club as reference names.) That the L.A. trio mixes punk, blues, rockabilly, psych and soul doesn’t say much in itself, it’s about the who and what. We’re talking about Tex Mosley (guitar, vocals), known from The Hangmen, Will Bentley (guitar, backing vocals) and Max Hagen (drums, backing vocals), and their sound is raw, primitive, distorted and authentic. They cover Link Wray (Butts In My Beer) and Ray Charles (I Believe to My Soul) in a creditable way, but the ten original songs here are even more powerful. As far as I’m concerned, Rat Patrol and Knee On My Neck stand out, respectively a garage rock banger with doo-wop influences and a blues rocker with a message, but actually the whole record is fascinating. Those heavy guitars and screamed lyrics – breathtaking.

Neverland Ranch Davidians is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Heavy Medication Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Heavy Medication

New album: CVC || Get Real

To start with the inevitable comparisons, fans of the records released by JJ Cale, Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan in the 70s will feel right at home with CVC‘s music. However, they are not a pastiche, but live up to the title of their varied debut album: Get Real. CVC, or Church Village Collective in full (named after their hometown in Wales), are a six-piece chamber psych outfit featuring Francesco Orsi (vocals), Ben Thorne (bass), David Bassey (guitar, vocals), Elliot Bradfield (guitar, vocals), Daniel ‘Nanial’ Jones (keys) and Tom Fry (drums). The twelve songs here (two already known from last year’s Real To Reel EP) are sunny, luscious and rousing, and sound as amazing and colorful as the band members look.

Get Real is streaming now and will also be available on cassette, CD and vinyl LP through CVC Recordings. Also available – exclusively from Rough Trade Shops – is a CD EP with four bonus tracks featuring CVC playing live cover versions as The RagTag Wedding Band, partying with AC/DC’s It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n’ Roll).

Add to wantlist: CVC || Discogs || Rough Trade

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Singles and EPs of 2022

We previously shared our lists of favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s and there‘s mine – but there were also some shorter format releases that I noted as wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to the Top 50 singles and EPs that I enjoyed the most last year – quite an eclectic selection, but imho all pretty cool. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my AOTY overview, and also left out individual songs. Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or collection) what you like!

New album: The Point. || Berto’s Banquet

Now this is an interesting release, showing that boundaries don’t really exist for gifted musicians. In the recent past Austin-based duo The Point delivered jazz fusion and blues inspired hip-hop beats, but now they take inspiration from Texas psych and garage rock, Peruvian chicha, dub reggae and funk. Jack Montesinos (guitar, vocals) and Joe Roddy (organ, synth bass) recorded their new mini-album Berto’s Banquet completely live, assisted by Alberto Telo on drums. That approach works out very well, because the 7 tunes here – less than 21 minutes – rock and swing like crazy. Although they incorporate lyrics from Leadybelly and Chance the Rapper in two tracks, this is authentic music – raw, exciting and energetic.

Berto’s Banquet, produced by Nico Leophonte and Alberto Telo, is out now digitally and on CD via Seeedy Jones.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Albums of 2022

While walking and wandering through the streets of my hometown a couple of weeks ago, I had an inner dialogue questioning the tradition of creating these end of the year lists. You see, when you are busy at work (as I was), it can almost start to feel like a chore (it kinda did); just another line on your to-do list. But then I started shuffling and cutting my longlist down to a Top 50. That became a reward in itself.  I had a blast revisiting and rediscovering all the great music that’s been released in 2022. Hindsight’s 20/20, but the process offered a reminder how initial scepticism can turn into an eternal spot in a record collection. And vice versa, how love at first sight ultimately was a crush at best. 

Below, you’ll find the 50 records that meant the most to me in 2022 (with 50 additional recommendations). They are the records that made my head bop, fueled my battery, and made me feel things. Above all, these are the records that fill me with gratitude to all the bands and labels involved. Thank you all for keeping underground music alive and kicking!

Looking for a quick way to check out the list? Check out this Spotify playlist. Also make sure to check out Dennis’ AOTY list – spoiler, my top 50 has 40+ different picks, which I think perfectly reflects the different sides of our site. Reminder: More lists are on their way.

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2022

What to say about 2022? It was a year when the world emerged from a pandemic, only to be quickly knocked down again by other crises. Inevitably, it also affected music: an explosive cocktail of hope and fear, of light and dark, of anger and newfound party spirit. Either way, there were plenty of comforting and entertaining tunes to discover (I mainly searched the crates with indie rock, power pop, garage rock, jangle pop, country, and soul).

I checked out 2,400+ new albums – sometimes moving on to the next one after a few minutes, sometimes all songs on repeat – adding 135 of them to my longlist of wantlist-worthy releases. The Top 50 that emerged after long deliberation, is independent of sales figures, number of streams, expert reviews, or snobbish pretensions. It is simply a matter of what I liked and played the most – records that made 2022 more than worthwhile despite everything. Looking at the result, my choices are more folky and mature and less garagy and raucous than I expected beforehand – getting older daddy? – but with a relatively large number of debuting artists and only a handful of veterans.

So here’s my year-end list (you can also find most of it in a playlist on Spotify). Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or better: your collection) what you like!

New album: Los Palms || Skeleton Ranch

Fans of bands such as Allah-Las, Mystic Braves, Night Beats, The Growlers and Tijuana Panthers should pay attention now, because most likely they also dig Australian “romantic desert jangle” 5-piece Los Palms. Ant Candlish (vocals, guitar), Sam Arthurson (guitar), Nathan Solly (bass), Code Andrusko (drums, vocals) and Will Bahnisch (keys) just released their full-length debut album Skeleton Ranch and it’s – literally and figuratively – a thrilling one. You’ll hear 9 mysterious songs influenced by garage, surf and psych rock as it came to life in the 60’s – raw, dirty and cinematic. Or as they put it themselves: “Neo-psych ghost stories that create a detailed musical landscape by mixing feedback, fuzz, eerie organs and reverb-soaked guitar and vocals.” They may sing out loud that they don’t want to be cool, but of course they are, while their record is so hot you could warm up to it this fall.

Skeleton Ranch is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Fuzz Club Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Fuzz Club

New album: Smirk || Material

Nic Vicario (Autistic Youth, Crisis Man, Public Eye) is so prolific, I had to look up how many records he released under the Smirk moniker. Material which is out now through Feel It Records is LP #3 in just two years. However, it is dubbed the first real Smirk LP, because the previous two are actually three EPs.

If you’ve heard Smirk before, you know what to expect: Groovy and hypnotic lo-fi tunes driven by awesome guitar work and with a punk attitude. Most, if not all of Vicario’s songs are worth your ears, but what I love most about this project are the absolute gems Vicario strategically places on his Smirk LPs. Revenge, which features Iphigenia Karantzas (Foie Gras) on vocals is one such track. The 1-2-3 punch of Living In Hell, Souvenir and Hopeless, are additional examples. Those four songs are in heavy rotation right now and alone make the purchase of Material worthwhile.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Hoop Jail || Health Association

Hoop Jail is a musical/art project by Alan Connor from Long Beach (CA). Health Association apparently is the third Hoop Jail record of 2022, but my first taste of the band. I like what I’m hearing, even though it’s hard to describe. Hoop Jail is the kind of act that tickles the hearing (and reward!) centre of the brain but mutes the language centre. Here’s my try though. Health Association is a wild an unhinged trip around many musical styles but ultimately settling on a mix of protopunk, garage, rock’n’roll, and psych. It’s quirky, experimental and pretty exciting. If you like Tha Retail Simps, Personal and The Pizzas, Smirk and King Tuff, I’m pretty sure you’ll find some gems on Health Association. Read more on Hoop Jail in this exclusive interview at Clear Vision Collective.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Scroll to Top