Category: garage punk

New Audio: Hot Snakes Return with a Classic Anthemic Ripper

The acclaimed punk act Hot Snakes can trace its origins to when its then- San Diego, CA-based Swami John Reis founded the band back in 1999. That year Reis’ primary gig Rocket from the Crypt had gone on hiatus after their longtime Atom Willard left the band — and coincidentally the band was in between labels. As the story goes. while searching for a new label and drummer for Rocket from the Crypt, Reis founded his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which eventually resulted in the formation of two side projects — Sultans and Hot Snakes, which began in earnest when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72’s Jason Kourkounis. Reis then recruited his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals — with most of the material they recorded, eventually comprising their full-length debut Automatic Midnight. 

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge: Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. This resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some obvious musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, their sound was more primal, garage rock-based one, influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band split up in 2005. But in 2011, they reunited for a world tour, which reportedly set the stage fr the band’s fourth, full-length album, last year’s Jericho Sirens, which was coincidentally the band’s first album in over 14 years. 

Recorded in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And what more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

The material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we haven’t had a fucking clue. As the band’s Froberg said at the time, “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Just a few weeks before they head off to a 12 date UK and Ireland tour during the month of December, the band released a new single “Checkmate,” a blistering AC/DC-like track centered around booze-soaked power chords, howled lyrics and a chugging rhythm section. As the band’s Rick Froberg says in press notes, “‘Checkmate’ is big, fatty content freshly extruded from the Hot Snakes sausage machine. Same ingredients, new flav.” The single is available through all the digital service provides but it’ll also be available directly from the band as an extremely limited physical 7″ vinyl with the exclusive b-side “Not in Time.”

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New Video: Madison WI’s The Hussy Release a Satirical Take on Commercials

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite about the Madison, WI-based punk act The Hussy, an act that formed back in 2008 as a duo featuring its founding members Bobby Hussy (guitar, vocals) and Heather Hussy (drums, vocals). The Hussy quickly developed a reputation for a trashy and scuzzy take on punk and for a chaotic live show that had the duo playing shows alongside a who’s who list of indie rock and punk — including Mudhoney, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Twin Peaks, Reigning Sound,Spectrum, Black Bananas, Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ, White Fence, The Faint, Tenement and countless others. All of that helped the band gain a cult-like following across the Midwestern underground scene.

Between 2009 and 2015, the band went through one of their most prolific periods of their history, in which they released material through 20 different labels and in countless different formats. During that same period, the duo also went through a relentless touring schedule across US and the European Union, including an appearance at Gonerfest after the release of their beloved sophomore album 2012’s Weed Seizure. Additionally, they also pulled double duty as the opening and backing band for NOBUNNY through tours of the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

Since touring with NOBUNNY, the band’s founding duo have split time between The Hussy and a series of other creative pursuits. Bobby Hussy has continued to tour off and on with NOBUNNY as a touring bassist. His other projects include playing in Fire Heads with Tyler Fassnacht, who recently joined The Hussy to help further flesh out their live and recorded sound — and synth wave post-punk act Cave Curse, who released a full-length in 2017. Heather Hussy is also a member of Proud Parents, an act that released their full-length debut through  Dirtnap Records last year.

Now, as you may recall, towards the end of last year, the members of the newly constituted trio began tracking their soon-to-be released full-length album Looming, the follow-up to 2015’s Galore. Galore saw the band moving into a more focused direction with their songwriting, and it included material with more complex arrangements paired with a mid-fi production. And while the album reflected an evolution in their sound and approach, they managed to retain the infectious pop-leaning hooks that won them cult-favorite status. Interestingly, Looming, which is slated for a Friday release finds the band going in a much darker thematic direction with the material touching upon death, sudden loss, divorce, addition and our current horrifying, infuriating, and depressing sociopolitical moment.

Over the past couple of months, I wrote about two previously released album singles: “Coast,” a scuzzy power-chord ripper with an infectious and rousingly anthemic hook and “Sorry,” a decidedly 90s alt-rock-inspired, fuzz pop anthem featuring ironic lyrics that sonically brought to mind a series of 120 Minutes-era MTV titans, like Hole, Veruca Salt, The Breeders and others with a similar gritty and bilious quality. The album’s latest single “Cornflakes” is a mischievous and scuzzy garage pop track that recalls Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” The Go-Gos and others as its centered around an infectious, shout along worthy hook. 

Directed and edited by Austin Duerst, the recently released video stars the band’s Heather Hussy, Bobby Hussy and Tyler Fassnacht. in a wild satirical take on cereal commercials and other commercials. 

New Video: Watch Baby Shakes Go on a Godzilla-Styled Campy Romp Across New York

Formed back in 2005, the New York-based rock/punk act Baby Shakes, comprised of Mary  (lead vocals), Judy (guitar, vocals), Claudia (bass, vocals) and Ryan (drums) have released a handful of one-off singles, a singles compilation, a 10 inch heart-shaped vinyl EP and three full-length albums that have firmly established their sound –a sound that generally draws from Ramones, Chuck Berry, 60s Motown-era girl groups with melodic vocals, fuzzy and distorted power chords and enormous hooks within breakneck songs. And building upon a growing profile, the members of the band have toured across the US, Japan, China, Ireland, the UK and the European Union and shared stages with The Romantics, The Boys, The Shadows of Knight, The Undertones, The Barracudas, Protex, Black Lips, Paul Collins’ Beat, Iggy Pop and a growing list of others.

Baby Shakes’ fourth album Cause a Scene is slated for a Friday release, and as you may recall, the album is reportedly inspired by and indebted to the original wave of punk— in particular, The Nerves, The Kids, early Bangles and The Go-Gos, The Runaways, as well as the Ramones. Cause a Scene’s first single “Nowhere Fast,” was a breakneck bit of fuzzy, old school punk paired with an infectious, power pop hook, making the song a sort of seamless synthesis of Ramones and The Go-Gos. “Love Song In Reverse” continued in a similar vein — fuzzy and distorted power chords and enormous, infectious hooks. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, album title track “Cause a Scene” is a straightforward, old-school garage rock track that sounds indebted to Sweet’s 
“The Ballroom Blitz” and T. Rex, as the track is centered around 12 bar blues-like guitar riffs, enormous hooks — and a pop-leaning infectiousness just underneath the grit and sleaze. (After all, the song is about two of rock’s greatest, undying tropes — how awesome being in a band is and shaking your ass to a great song.) 

Co-directed by Scott Mason and Claudia de Latour, the recently released video for “Cause a Scene” is an old-school-styled campy romp around New York that follows the members of the band as Godzilla-sized characters bringing rock ‘n’ roll grooves to any and all comers. as well as some mayhem, too. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Garage Punk Act The Bobby Lees Release a Feral and Energetic Visual for “GutterMilk”

The Booby Lees are an up-and-coming Woodstock, NY-based garage punk act, comprised of Sam Quartin (vocals, guitar), Kendall Wind (Bass), Nick Casa (Lead Guitar), and Macky Bowman (Drums). And over the past year, the up-and-coming, garage punk quartet have honed their live show opening for The Black Lips, Murphy’s Law and Boss Hog. 

The band’s latest single, the Jon Spencer-produced “GuttterMilk” is 94 seconds of feral garage punk, centered around a rumbling and propulsive baseline, thundering drumming, buzzing and slashing guitars and Quartin’s howled vocals that nods at Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jon Spencer’s work with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. 

Directed by John Swab, the recently released video employs a simple concept — the band performing the song with in an abandoned building with raw and hungry energy. 

Live Footage: The Mystery Lights Perform Material off “Too Much Tension!” at Paste Studios

Comprised of founding members Mike Brandon and L.A. Solano with Alex Q. Amini and Zach Butler, the New York-based quartet The Mystery Lights have received attention across the blogosphere for an old-timey garage rock/garage psych sound and aesthetic that recalls The Who Sings My Generation-era The Who, The Animals, Raccoon Fighter, The Black Angels and 70s art punk — and for being the the first rock act to sign with Daptone Records subsidiary Wick Records.

Interestingly, the band can trace its origins back to Salinas, CA where Brandon and Solano grew up, met and played in a nubmer of different local bands in their teens before relocating to New York. The band’s lineup solidified with the addition of Alex Amini, Kevin Harris and Noah Kohll. And despite lineup changes, the band initially developed a word-of-mouth reputation over the period of a few years for explosive live shows across town. Naturally, those live shows helped the band develop their sound and approach. 

2016 saw the release of the band’s self-titled debut, which they supposed with a wild array of touring, including the now-prerequisite stop at SXSW. Over the past couple of years, the members of The Mystery Lights have been relentlessly playing shows everywhere — and they’ve been busy writing and recording, their Wayne Gordon-produced sophomore album Too Much Tension! Recorded at Daptone Records’ famed House of Soul Studios, the recently released album finds the band digging deeper into their influences to enrich their sound — without echoing the past. Thematically, the album touches upon substance abuse, self-care and the recognition of happiness only once it’s lost, imbued with a post-modern anxiety.  

The New York-based band was recently invited to Paste Studios at Manhattan Center to perform material off the new album that included the fed-up anthem “I’m So Tired (of Living in the City),” the tense and uneasy “Someone Else Is In Control,” the slow-burning The Animals-like ballad “Watching the News, Gives Me The Blues,” and the rollocking “Traces” — and all of the tracks performed at the live session were delivered with the raw, fiery intensity of their live set.

Currently comprised of founding members Laila Hashemi (keys, vocals) and Lexi Funston (guitar, vocals) along with Staz Lindes (bass, vocals) and David Ruiz (drums, vocals), the Los Angeles-based punk act The Paranoyds can trace their origins to the longtime friendship of its founding members, who met when they were both in preschool. Eventually moving from the playground to the practice room, the band’s founding duo met Lindes and Ruiz, who joined the band in 2015.

Since becoming a full-fledged band in 2015. the Los Angeles-based punk quartet have  crafted material with the gritty spunk and dark playfulness of a cult-classic splatter film while developing what they’ve described as a “sister vocal act,” that effortlessly moves from scuzzy surf-pop to power chord-based garage rock. Interestingly, the members of the band have generally kept a low profile on social media, instead keeping in the old-school punk tradition of hitting the road, playing shows and kicking ass wherever they go; in fact, over the past few years, they’ve built up a reputation as an in-demand opener, opening for the likes of DIVV, Albert Hammond, Jr., Sunflower Bean and BRONCHO.

Slated for a July 12, 2019 release through Suicide Squeeze Records, the band’s “Hungry Sam”/”Trade Our Sins” 7 inch is a sort of one-off single that finds the band playfully expanding upon their sound and approach, before the release of more new material and a West Coast tour with blogosphere darlings Tacocat. “Trade Our Sins” is a slow-burning apocalyptic waltz centered around a simple arrangement of guitar, organs and drums that focuses on two lovers, in a now-or-never moment to share decadent, sinful delights before the end of everything. And while self-assured in a fashion that recalls JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, the song manages a sultry coquettishness.

Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

06/11/19 – Seattle, WA @ Belltown Yacht Club

06/12/19 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett w/ Tacocat

06/13/19 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux w/ Tacocat

06/14/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court w/ Tacocat

06/15/19 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge w/ Tacocat

06/17/19 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada w/ Tacocat

06/18/19 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (upstairs) w/ Tacocat

06/19/19 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda (outside) w/ Tacocat

06/21/19 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf w/ Tacocat

06/22/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar w/ Tacocat

06/23/19 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah w/ Tacocat

06/25/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater w/ Tacocat

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the London-based garage punk quartet The Cavemen, and as you may recall, the band can trace its origins to when its founding members, Paul Caveman (vocals), Jack Caveman (guitar, vocals), Nick Caveman (bass) and Jake Caveman (drums) met attending high school in Auckland, New Zealand. Reportedly, the members of the band bonded over a shared love of sniffing glue and wild rock ‘n’ roll. After spending several years drinking and loitering in their hometown’s basements, graveyards and parking lots, they honed their sound, eventually spending the better part of 2014-2015 recording their full-length debut. Interestingly, their debut album received attention locally for their ability to craft furious, face-melting power chord-based punk, inspired by The Ramones, The CrampsThe Stooges, and The MC5. Thematically, the material found the band making references about grave-robbing, necrophilia and other perverse, Troma Films-inspired shit but with a sneering sense of humor.

Just two weeks before the band was about to relocate to London, they went on a national graveyard tour that became infamous for its tackiness and for being ill-fated: the band’s Nick Caveman died in a tragic car accident, which forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Since then, Dirty Water Records released their debut across the European Union and elsewhere — and as a result of album single “Stand By Your Ghoul” and their “Burn Out For Love” 7 inch, the now London-based received international attention for boozy and filthy punk rippers.

They built upon their growing reputation for old-school-inspired punk rippers with the release of last year’s Nuke Earth and the “Lowlife” 7 inch, which featured the Johnny Thunders‘ “Born to Lose,” Highway to Hell-era AC/DC and New York Dolls-like “Lowlife.” Interestingly, this year has been a rather busy year for the London-based punk rockers, as they quickly followed the “Lowlife” 7 inch with the breakneck, filthy, troglodyte stomp of “My Baby Knows.” Centered by buzzing power chords, a rousing, mosh pit friendly hook, shouted vocals and a boozy Chuck Berry-like solo, the track is frenzied and furious take on ’77 era punk, compete with Troma Films-like lyrics.

 

 

 

 

 

Consisting of Accorinrin ( vocal, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals), the Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese) trace their origins to when they met while beiner g members of Kyoto University‘s music club. The Japanese garage punk quartet quickly built a profile both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with Accorinrin’s confrontational stage presence; but when Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based quartet received airplay internationally from the likes of BBC Radio 6′s Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft, XFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPRi-D and The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella. The up-and-coming band’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records, and from the album’s first two singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi” and “Don’t light my fire,” you’ll see why they’re so buzzworthy: their feral rippers draw from from noise punk, no wave, prog rock, riot grrrl-era punk in a way that bear a resemblance to Bo Ningen while being defiantly feminist.

 

 

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Jon Spencer Releases Kaleidoscopic Visuals for Bruising New Ripper “Beetle Boots”

Best known as a founding member of renowned local alt rock acts The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer released his long-awaited solo debut Spencer Sings the Hits last November, and as you may recall, the Bill Skibbe-produced album, finds the renowned guitarist and frontman embracing a DIY approach while collaborating with Quasi‘s and Heatmiser’s Sam Coombes and M. Sord. So far I’ve written about two album singles — the blistering and abrasive ripper “Do The Trash Can,” a track centered around a snarling, garage punk attitude, abrasive and enormous power chords and an oddly danceable groove and “I Got The Hits,” an equally explosive ripper, featuring abrasive power chords, a shit ton of double entendres and a propulsive, junkyard groove that’s danceable yet mosh pit friendly. 

Spencer Sings the Hits’ latest single “Beetle Boots” is a straightforward garage rock ripper, featuring around a downright nasty, snarling, power chord-based guitar riff, a propulsive groove and shouted call and response lyrics centered around picking up a guitar, joining a band and trying to kick ass and take over the world — but with the reminder that being in a band ain’t easy; that if you come in faking the funk, the game will chew you up and spit you out. 

Directed and edited by Andrew Hooper, featuring photos from Jon Spencer, Michael Lavine, Ebru Yildiz, Patrick Houdek, Myranda Baert, and Bob Coscarelli, art by Katie Skelly Visual and visual elements by The Verite Messengers, the recently released video is a trippy and kaleidoscopic treatment that draws from found footage of 60s psych pop concert films, young bands jamming, photos of Spencer and his bandmates — and all of it serves as a powerful reminder: that being in a rock ‘n’ roll band is fucking awesome.