It’s Flamin’ Groovy
Chris Wilson = The Rolling Stones + The Flamin Groovies + The Booze
Chris Wilson (The Flamin’ Groovies) released his solo project filled with ’60s-influenced rock n’ roll numbers that evoke memories of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles era. While this certainly lacks the grit of The Flamin’ Groovies, it more than impresses by playing out classic sounding melodies, much in the line of the greats of rock ‘n’ roll. The opening track, “All the Action,” bursts out with an upbeat rocking ballad, sung with wailing, western-styled vocals. “She Satisfies” follows with a heavy bass line and sick guitar riffs that no doubt take influence from Keith Richards. This is also especially heard in the numbers “Down in the Wire” and “Gamblin’ Man.” This is a great listen, definitely worth grabbing for any rockers out there. Now go enjoy. –Nick Kuzmack
The Beatdown = The Clash + Rancid
The Beatdown meets Hugo Mudie is a onetime collaboration between the Montreal ska group and Hugo Mudie (Miracles, Yesterday’s Ring). The resulting album is a perfect example of the fundamentals of reggae rock with a punky edge. It’s got whiskey-soaked vocals and is smooth, calm and soulful with an up-tempo feel while acknowledging a roots-reggae style. Top tracks to dig here are “I’m The War,” “God Is God,” “ Sailing The Sea” and “Crazy.” In all, I recommend this record to be played with the volume dial cranked high for its uplifting effects, or to be set as background noise to drown out the dullness of profound silence. –Nick Kuzmack
Upset the Rhythm
Sauna Youth = The Epoxies + Cheena
Sauna Youth’s second album, Distractions, is the much-needed, bursting electrical current to get my blood pumping again. It offers the best aspects of the short-and-sweet punch of ’70s-styled punk and the overwhelming heaviness of post-punky brilliance. In its entirety, Distractions does not underwhelm, but there are specific tracks that have a certain infectious quality of youthful angst about them. If one were to pick and choose a couple favorites, I’d go with “Transmitters,” “Abstract Notions” and “Monotony.” These three are high-energy numbers with a borderline in-your-face, anarchic touch. “Try To Leave” carries on with that addictive quality but with power-pop sensibilities. To add to its arsenal of superb material, Distractions also has beautiful imagery that can be heard in the spoken-word track “(Taking A) Walk.” Don’t miss out on this album—it’s simply remarkable. –Nick Kuzmack
Monotony = Cheena + Sauna Youth
If you heard Sauna Youth’s Distractions but wanted something distortion-filled and with a totally raw demo–punch and ballistic-type feeling, then Monotony are most likely up your alley. In a way, this album has a certain simplistic and catchy charm to it, but that charm does not go any deeper than a superficial appreciation. Sure, I like my punk punchy, and this has plenty of that, but I’ve heard this rough-and-ready approach before—it’s timeless and well done, if not totally overdone. While these six tracks are nice and gritty, the maximum effect one will get from this album is when the volume knob is twisted all the way to the right and the subsequent result leaves the unwary listener with some well-earned fuzzy feeling in the ears. So rinse and repeat. –Nick Kuzmack
Menial Fare Records
Dead Bod = Germs + Consumers
You and everyone subject to your sound system should note and thoroughly enjoy the sheer, brutal and deadly brilliance of Dead Bod. This self-titled EP beautifully captures a contemporary form of the late-’70s L.A. punk explosion, which inspires nostalgia for the movement. It simultaneously unleashes a furious assault yet demands respect. While Dead Bod have only released these four tracks for your listening pleasure, they should be played earsplitting-ly and window-shatteringly loud so as to provoke the proper response of kicking shit over with angst that’s largely missed out on by today’s unsuspecting and unfortunately pacified youth. Top numbers to dig are “Life’s Out” and “Like Wow.” –Nick Kuzmack
Peach Kelli Pop
Peach Kelli Pop = The Murmaids + The Teddy Bears
If one were to look up bubblegum rock in the 21st Century, they’d almost certainly come across Peach Kelli Pop at the top of a long list. Their records consistently provide a listen that is sugary, sweet and sure to rot the teeth. It is music that one can either ignore or be enveloped by, with its satisfying yet bordering-on-bland poppy flavorings. The Halloween Mask 7” is no different in this regard, although the title song is somewhat sober, if not altogether disarming. Don’t get me wrong, though: Fans of catchy, bubblegum pop made for short attention spans will be right at home with this new release.
The overall, sweet nature of Halloween Mask is plain to see. The sound is simple and lulling. One could switch this on and have it in the background without any disruptive repercussions. If left on, it would serve as the noise with which to filter out the deafening sound of silence. On the other hand, though, if allowed to be on a constant repeat at volume level, that risks the ire of the sleep-deprived. These tracks might subvert any and all who are willing to resist the sweet, contaminated machinations of lo-fi garage pop. Vocalist Allie Hanson is almost unassuming with a voice that lures seekers of pop rock n’ roll to their imminent immersion into the sounds of lollipops and fuzzed-out daffodils. One could almost think of the long idealized personae of 1960s girl groups when considering Peach Kelli Pop, sans the edgy and razor-sharp attitudes. No, Peach Kellie Pop invoked their style, perfecting the short and sharply sweet.
Of note is Peach Kelli Pop’s “Hundred Dollar Bill.” According to an article published by AV Club on April 14, the track was brought on by Hanson’s experiences at several strip clubs in East L.A. She wanted to write about the experience of money, power and sexuality from a woman’s point of view. The number is total and unequivocal power pop. This is probably the one track that, by sheer, uppity sound alone, manages to capture and hold my attention for the short span of about two minutes. In other words, it’s perfect for the addled mind of every poor soul in the millennials club.
Overall, it’s not hard to see or, for that matter, hear why this rock n’ roll is appealing. Peach Kelli Pop’s Halloween Mask maintains the logical continuation of the power-poppy, bubblegummy goodness that we have all come to expect and—let’s face it—love about this band. It’s not complex: It’s cutesy rock n’ roll—with subversive, ready-to-kill, extendable claws. Be sure to pick this up and lump it over with the rest of their records. Halloween Mask is quick and punchy and, perhaps more importantly, really easy to digest. Be sure to play this loud or have it on as subversive background noise. Either way, you’ll be under Peach Kelli Pop’s diabolical bubblegum spell, from which I doubt even you, the ready listener, will be able to escape. ¡Viva! –Nick Kuzmack
Zomboid Surf Attack
The Terrorsurfs = Dick Dale + The Cramps + The Phantom Surfers
The Terrorsurfs are the bastard offspring of surfs meets mutant rock n’ roll meets Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, and they are as diabolical as that sounds. Theirs is music of possession, grabbing ahold of the unwary listener’s soul. This record will cast one under its spell.
As expected, The Terrorsurfs are stunning in their subtle instrumental assault on the senses. This is not much of a surprise, given the sneak peek into their powers of mutant persuasion via their 7” single released last year. The same kind of ferocity is found on this album, with some interesting additions. First, let’s say that the vibrancy of mutant surf is a constant source of enjoyment, even though it is a sound well explored. Its edgy nature is influenced by the crashing waves and long–standing rebellion only found in the surf. This is a style evolved from the greats like Dick Dale or even The Ventures. It is also something found in noises made by The Phantom Surfers and the psychobilly outfit Demoni.
The beauty of this kind of music is how it stretches into seemingly distant genres like garage or spaghetti western influenced rock n’ roll. Not only do the Terrosurfs capture the demonic possession of the ocean waves, but they evoke the vivid imagery of the dry Wild West. Quite a striking contrast, but with tracks like “Dust Off My Boots 1” and “Dust Off My Boots 2,” these cats take mutant rock n’ roll into the realms of orchestral instrumentation. One could possibly imagine Clint Eastwood’s “Blondie” shooting down Lee Van Cleef’s “Angel Eyes” to these tunes. Particularly with the track “It Came from a Toxic Waste Pipe.”
While the track “Schlock Wave” incorporates a cool swagger, others like “Demon Stink Eye” and “Ape Cape” provide a sense of ravaging urgency. “Loco Dinosaurio” and “The Spy Who Surfed Me” drive home the feelings of a freak out with mutant surf-driven guitar.
The Terrorsurfs are a group that shows promise and an evolving repertoire of rock n’ roll styles. Hardly alone in this genre, The Terrorsurfs do their damnedest to carve out a chunk of it for themselves. This is stuff to groove and jump to. It’s got aspects of calming cool and then wild, unadulterated, surf–riddled garage rock that evokes the lustful appetites of the adolescent mind.
One must beware when subjecting younger more impressionable types to these mayhem-inspiring sounds. The results could result in leather-jacketed, surfboard-riding savages running amok. Then again, that all sounds rather lovely. With this warning in hand, position speaker toward places of youthful gatherings and unleash this psychotically good music. Provided they are not of the square type persuasion, the put-under-your-spell consequences will be dire, but oh so entertaining.
The Terrorsurfs’ Zomboid Surf Attack is out now and demands to be acquired. Get it, drop the needle and dig these tunes. The Terrorsurfs have delivered again, and you, the eager listener, deserve the chance to irreparably damage your hearing. Now dig this devilish dominion as only the terrorizing sounds of this mutant rock n’ roll can deliver. –Nick Kuzmack
Secret Stash Records Presents: The One-derful! Records Collection
Secret Stash Records
The One-derful! Records Collection = The Five Du-Tones + Beverly Shaffer + The Sharpees + Wanda Davis
This is the first installment of a compilation than spans from 1962–1971 of rare soul, funk and gospel gems. These come straight from the vaults of the legendary African-American Chicago labels that brought about the mid-’60s R&B dance hits of The Five Du-Tones’ “Shake A Tail Feather” or group soul harmonies of The Sharpees’ “Take Me To Your Leader.” However, while jiving to these, don’t forget the deep, soulful ballads of Liz Lands’ “Seventh Hour” and Betty Everett’s “Your Love is Important to Me.” If that has whetted your appetite, then you’d best break out your wallet for these artifacts, for this is essential for any hip weirdo’s record collection. There is more to come from these collected works down the road, but this is where you start. These 25 tracks are available via double LP or by CD. Stop wasting time and dig this. –Nick Kuzmack