At long last The Jackets have released their fourth album, Queen of the Pill. It’s a brilliant record that shows off the logical evolution of the sound that made Way Out and Shadow of Sound great.
Queen of the Pill boasts the raw snarl of the fuzzed out garage-punk found in Way Out and combines it with Shadow of Sound’s refined freakbeat influenced garage-psych style. However, what sets Queen of the Pill apart from the previous records is The Stooges-esque proto-punk attitude twisting with elements of King Khan & The BBQ Show’s style, which should come as no surprise since King Khan was involved in this record’s production.
The Revox In Mono Soundflat Records September 14, 2018
All the way from Switzerland, The Revox embody the voracious spirit of sounds meant for the wild and untamed. They celebrate a style mixing the essence of the raucous Black Lips twisted with The Chesterfield Kings, but emphasizing the moody but primitive nature of Los Saicos. Their new record In Mono exemplifies their talent to blast out raw garage punk stompers through hi energy tunes of desperate rock n’ roll with dashes of fuzzed out psychedelia.
In Mono is an album that immediately grabs the unwary listener’s attention by the extremities and holds tight. The opening track “Father In Low” boasts a savage sound demanding listeners move around like bewitched dolls. This song brilliantly blends essential elements of snotty punk with a certain maddening defiance. As a far as 1960’s revivalist garage rock goes, this track nails it and cements what is to be found within In Mono.
Another top tune is “Gloria Stompers.” This one easily rips from the riffs of the iconic Van Morisons “Gloria.” It’s a song stepped in a moody garage punk with a definitive attitude. While the instrumentals borrow heavily from “Gloria” it’s a tune that pays homage rather than imitation. Another familiar song on In Mono is the cover of The Leave’s “Hey Joe.” Like Gloria Stompers, The Revox makes a clear nod to the legendary time of the 1960’s, and in doing so it does the garage punk legacy justice.
The real magic on this album is the tune “Never Ending Trip” It’s got a strong build up to a fuzzed out guitar riffs that give way to the infectious chorus of “I’m freaking out!” “Never Ending Trip” could easily be found in a Back From The Grave compilation, if it wasn’t a modern tune. This track is a personal favorite from In Mono. It’s not only catchy as hell, but this song truly demonstrates The Revox’s natural ability to hold their own in the expanse of garage punk music. To not find oneself singing along to “Never Ending Trip” might warrant a keen head examination.
The Revox truly out do themselves with their new record. Compared to their recent single release on Voodoo Rhythm Recordings, In Mono is a little more cleaned up, but that doesn’t hamper their impressive style in the slightest. In Mono is a fantastic album and If one did not consider it as a worthy part of their record collection, that oversight would be a clear indication of a drastic mistake. So beware, get this record and play this one loud enough to upset the neighbors. You’ll be glad you did.
Wild Evel and The Trashbones Digging My Grave Dirty Water Records Released: 11/24/2017
Digging My Grave is a brilliant album that compliments a long standing legacy of garage punk. For me, it captures the essential ingredients that combine the raw nature of garage rock with the defiant attitude of punk. Wild Evel and The Trashbones excel with a musical presence that vaunts the essential essence of adolescent angst, but with a sound arguably more refined. It’s style that is rooted in 1966, but celebrates a likeness to Screaming Lord Sutch, with the fury of The Cramps.
As a whole Digging My Grave is comprised of solid bangers. Each song shows off Wild Evel and The Trashbones exemplary talent to tug on all three chords of the garage punk heart-strings. However, the tracks “Digging My Grave,” “Why Can’t We Be” and “Gotta Leave Town” clearly stand above the rest.
First off the title track “Digging My Grave” harkens on the demonic nature of Screaming Lord Sutch while borrowing the spooky theme from Larry and The Blue Notes “Night Of The Sadist.” It’s the kind of tune to grab your soul and twist you into a savage kind of possession. Perfect for blasting during the witching hour, play this one loud to the haunting benefit of those around.
“Why Can’t We Be” is a humbling tune that pays homage to the all mighty Satelliters. Wild Evel and The Trashbones easily hold their own in comparison to their German cousins. However, as illustrated by this tune, credit is due to The Satelliters for fueling the garage rock torch throughout the European continent.
“Gotta Leave Town” is among the best that Wild Evel and The Trashbones have to offer. This mooder borrows from a blues sensibility while firmly grasping the shy yet primitive nature of sounds emanating from the crypts of teenage-garage punk. While many modern garage rooted tracks place an emphasis on unrelenting passion or attitude, this track dares to be vulnerable with it’s theme of being overwhelmed and seeking to desperately skip town. For like-minded tracks check out check out the newly released Sites and Sounds “The Night Is So Dark” 7” released by Slovenly Records.
This is an album that ought to be among any garage punkers record collection. If you lack excitement, then Wild Evel and the Trashbones are your kind of feral entertainment. Digging My Grave is filled with tunes to excite, make you moan and even inspire one to pull on their chelsea boots, and go out to cause some rebel-without–a–cause kind of hell. So, don’t be square and dip out on this record.
Los YaYaz Right to Left (Shane Kiel, Aaron Wilkison, Mariano Wilson and Micheal Flecha.
Los Yayaz Born Dead Self-Released
Los YaYaz have blazed through the Salt Lake City music scene by combining the wild and primitive style of Los Yetis and Los Saicos with the intensity of The Sonics. This new record maintains their iconic blended style with all the trappings of repressed teenage angst and longing desperation. Their delivery is raw and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn Born Dead was some long lost garage-punk- unknown. Historically, Los YaYaz perform both in English and Spanish. Born Dead, however, has all tracks recorded in English. This album was recorded live, and is only available on cassette or via their bandcamp.
Born Dead contains covers of well-known tracks like The Sonics “The Hustler” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man.” Listening to these covers it’s clear that the Los Yayaz have done their homework and almost own each song as their own. The the cover of The Bel-Aires “Ya Ha Be Be,” really shows of Los YaYaz their musical tightness. It comes across as a more comfortable tune to cover as it appears that they are having a blast recording this track.
Out of all the covers on Born Dead, “All Black & Hairy” is easily my favorite. This track captures the haunting nature of Screaming Lord Sutch with the moody yet dirty nature of rock n’ roll found six feet deep. Joining Los YaYaz on the organ for “All Black & Hairy” is producer Dennis Fuller (also of The Boys Ranch).
The real magic on Born Dead is the original Los YaYaz material. Largely written by vocalist Mariano Wilson,songs such as “Just a Little Bit” and “Sad and Blue” stay true to 1960’s garage rock form by betraying the familiar teenage garage punk themes of snotty adolescent defiance and love. With “Sad and Blue” the Los YaYaz boast a real moody groover. In a way it almost reminds me of the recently unearthed Sites N’ Sounds “The Night Is So Dark.” The difference between the two is a discernible roughness that will inspire listeners to sway and stomp their way to the grave.
The only departure of from the garage rock sound is with Aaron’s Wilkinson’s’“Nerd Basher.” While definitely influenced by a more aggressive late 1966 garage rock sound, this track falls more in line with the attitude of 1970’s punk with the jet-fuel aggression of The MC5.
Overall, Los YaYaz bring a much needed revived sense of passion into garage rock. It’s clear that with Born Dead that they have refined their sound. Furthermore, these guys know their roots and have yet to cease bringing back a bordering untamed nature. Their use of covers are fine here and there, and they do them justice, but Los YaYaz demonstrates the knack for solid material with their own songs. Looking forward, I hope to hear more Los YaYaz originals—maybe even a return to some Spanish sung tunes.
It would be a tragedy if Born Dead is lost to unknown pages of history, so do yourself a favor and pick up their tape. Los YaYaz’s Born Dead demonstrates that rock n’ roll is here to stay and it’ll never die. Born Dead is a must own for anyone who boasts a love for garage rock. Pick it up.
THE RIPPERS A GUT FEELING Slovenly Records Release: 06.02 The Rippers = The Satelliters + The JuJus + Bo Diddley + The Jackets
The Rippers come roaring back from the dark and dimly lit scum-filled alleyways with their new LP, A Gut Feeling. Those familiar with these mod-inspired maestros will no doubt be aware of their wild and raw sounds. Their garage rock is infamous. It is meant to annihilate and rip through the senses, and with previous records, they have done just that. A Gut Feeling, however, shows a kind of maturity. It’s well polished, but still maintains The Rippers’ bluesy, freakbeat sensations.
THE JACKETS BE MYSELF/QUEEN OF THE PILL Voodoo Rhythm Records Street: 06.30 The Jackets = The Seeds + King Khan and the BBQ Show + The Satelliters
Hailing from Bern, Switzerland, The Jackets are Jack Torera (aka Jackie Brutsche) on vox/lead guitar, Sam Schmidiger on bass and Chris Rosales on drums. With a combined love for The Seeds, The Music Machine, The Lyre and The Gravedigger V, The Jackets boast an exposition of untamed garage rock that is uniquely executed. It’s a style that is well refined, raw and carefully delivered. I would have thought it would have been hard to top their last record, but it’s not necessarily a surprise that this single breathes new life into their already vibrant sound.
Band: The Madcaps Album: Slow Down Label: Howlin’ Banana Records Release: March 31, 2017
The masters of poppy garage are back with their new album Slow Down. Since The Madcaps last album Hotsauce was a hit for this reviewer, it’s not necessarily a surprise to see that with Slow Down they indeed have something special.
The Masonics Obermann Rides Again Dirty Water Records February 24, 2017
With Obermann Rides Again, it’s clear that The Masonics are experts in love, loss and yearning. This is a formula that has proven the test of time, and pop rock n’ roll song approved. Like others before, The Masonics invoke a style of rhythm and beat served with excellence.
Escobar Bird of Prey Self-Released Release: September 14, 2016
If one had to provide a simplified description of Escobar’s new album, Bird of Prey, it would be summed up as a barrage of electrified grunge trash rock ‘n roll, which serves only to excite. This is more than obvious after checking out the opening track, ‘You Must Get Stoned.’ It sets the tone for Bird of Prey by inviting the listener to a sound that is profusely upbeat, wild and frenetic.
Suicide Helpline Self-Titled EP Self-Released Street:05.28.2016
Creeping through the airwaves out of Edmonton, Alberta, Suicide Helpline has the sounds that invokes excitement and originality in this oversaturated age. Suicide Helpline initially come across with catchy rock n’ roll that speaks of ‘60s garage rock, but then maintain a firm, raw attitude that harkens on socio-political stances found in that of ‘70’s punk mentality. Unlike others who profess the genre , this four tracks on this EP deliver with a certain and charming diversity in style. The EP is admittingly a little rough around the edges, but after listening to there will be no trouble being inspired to jump about. The opening track “Living is A Curse” serves to wake the listener up with an up-tempo sound that would rouse the dead.
“The Future Looks Bleak And If You can Tell Me Otherwise You Have Five Minutes Go” is a groovy number that sparks a feeling of foreboding while also giving you something to move to. “I don’t Care” is that simple defiant garage punk number that every album needs. However, the magic that holds this EP together is found within the fuzz laden track “More Than Just Friends.” It’s jumpy with a strong back beat and slick fuzz filled riffs. “More Than just Friends” is easily the mover and shaker on this EP. If this is what I can expect from Suicide Helpline, then I’m eager to see what comes next from these lads. Please send more. — Nick Kuzmack