Tag: garage rock

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.

 

SadGirl is a Los Angeles-based garage rock trio who specializes in a vintage sound — and interestingly, their newest album Water, which is slated for a June 14, 2019 release through Suicide Squeeze Records reportedly finds the trio tapping into the romantic and nostalgic spirit of their hometown while exuding an authenticity that suggests that they’ve peeked at the scuzzy underside of the manicured lawns, glitzy boulevards and relentless sunshine.

“If you want to learn about water, go to the desert,” the Los Angeles-based garage trio’s recording engineer and friend Max Garland has sagely said, and unsurprisingly that statement made a huge impact on the band’s Misha Lindes (guitar, vocals). “Here we are in Los Angeles, a desert ping-ponging between drought and El Nino. This record is just an attempt to share a very small portion of my experience growing up and living here,” Lindes says of the album. “It’s basically just about the fluidity of water and its power and importance.” And while seemingly post-apocalyptic, the album is a collection of old-school tinged pop songs, recorded with vintage recording techniques; in fact, the album was pieced together out of a series of recording sessions over the past two years using a variety of tape machines in different set ups — from living rooms to professional studios.

Interestingly, Water‘s later single is the slow-burning, Roy Orbison-like ballad “Miss Me.” And while rooted in a traditional of bittersweet and aching love songs written from the perspective of the tortured and heartbroken lover, yearning for that love interest, who has cruelly spurned them — for another or for no particular reason. But underneath that bitter sentiment is a heartbroken tell-off to that lover, to “miss me with that bullshit” before walking away from them for good with your sanity and dignity. “This song is about realizing someone close to you isn’t the person you thought you knew, and coming to terms with the fact that they may never share the same values as you,” SadGirl’s Lindes says of the song. “Getting to that point where you decide that it’s no longer worth the effort and it’s better to walk away with what’s important to you still intact.”

The members of the Los Angeles-based garage rock will be embarking on a tour. Check out the current collection of tour dates below.

Tour Dates

May 18 Elm Street Festival – Dallas, TX
May 24 Holland Project – Reno, NV
May 25 ORMF – Davis, CA
May 26 Slims – San Francisco, CA
July 11 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA

New Video: The Murlocs Strutting Glam Rock-like Take on Psych Blues

Led by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and featuring Kenny-Smith’s bandmate Cook Craig, as well as Cal Shortal, Matt Blach and Tim Karmouche, The Murlocs specialize in a fuzzy and distorted psych blues. In their native Australia, they’ve played across their homeland’s festival circuit and have opened for the likes of internationally acclaimed acts like Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. 

Building upon a growing profile, the Aussie quintet’s forthcoming Stu Mackenzie-produced third full-length effort, Manic Candid Episode is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Flightless Records. The album’s second and latest single “Withstand” is a swaggering and strutting blues ripper that nods at classic glam rock, complete with rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy hooks, explosive blasts of harmonica and big, distortion-filled power chords. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — brings T. Rex, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and King Bee-era Muddy Waters to my mind but with a lysergic haze. Fittingly, the Alex McLaren-created video for the song draws from classic 60s and 70s rock promotional videos, as it features the members of The Murlocs performing the song in front of a psychedelic backdrop. 

New Video: Melbourne Australia’s Money for Rope Releases Frenzied Visuals for Blistering and Swaggering New Single

Money for Rope’s forthcoming sophomore album Picture Us comes on the heels of a four-year period of relentless and intense international touring that saw the quintet comprised of Julian Mckenzie (vocals, guitar, sax), Rick Parnaby (keys, telephone), Erick Scerba (drums, tambourine), Chris Loftis (kazoo, drums) and Ted Dempsey (bass, laser printing) tour across Europe, America and India, including a short run of dates with Courtney Barnettt, who was an early supporter. Adding to a growing international profile, the band played sets at Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Primavera Sound Festival. 

“Actually,” Picture Us’ latest single is a swaggering and bluesy bit of garage surf centered around a propulsive bass line, fuzzy power chords and howled lyrics within a sprawling song structure — and while sounding as though it were influenced by The Black Keys, the song possesses a feral and unhinged quality, 

The recently released video features a series of dizzying still images of the band rolling around, jamming and fucking around in their house-turned rehearsal space. It’s a scrappily done DIY visual that captures the frenzied passion behind the music — and it’s fun as hell, too.  The band’s Erik Scerba says of the video and its creative process “The photos were very much on the fly although I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. It was pretty much impossible to know the timing of everything, but there’s a part in the song where the crash hits with a shot of me hitting the crash and it just worked. Sometimes that shit happens. There’s a kinda psychedelic aspect to it all which I liked – using the images to do different things like capture some of us in two places at once. The black and white makes it more nightmarish. We wanted to have all the shots happen at once so it had a constant flow of momentum. The hardest part was editing, as 25 frames a second doesn’t match the song’s bpm.”

 

Describing themselves as five dickheads from Melbourne, Australia‘s real Wild West, the suburban town of Werribee, the up-and-coming garage rock quintet Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers, comprised of Dillon Melita (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Kole Karavias (guitar), Cameron McNish (bass), Marcus Melita (drums) and Dean Zitter (keys, percussion) can trace their origins to two rather serendipitous but very real events — exhausted from being kept awake all night by a mutual friend watching the classic Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at full volume, the band unintentionally formed when a misplaced tobacco pouch accidentally left on the roof of their car an later found again on the side of Great Ocean Road on their way home wound up becoming the inspiration for their first demo, “Choice Blues.”

Since then, the band released their critically applauded Wet Brain EP, which they supported with opening spots for Amyl & The Sniffers, Regurgitator, Tired Lion, Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm, Drunk Mums, Mesa and The Bennies, as well as a set at Melbourne Music Week. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers recently released the “Roaches”/”Down” 7 inch, which they’ll support with their first ever headlining national tour of Australia. “Roaches,” the A side single is a sleazy surf rock meets garage rock meets psych rock track that sounds as though it could have been released in 1964 — while simultaneously inspired by JOVM mainstays Crocodiles. Centered by jangling guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm and a stomping and a dance floor friendly hook, the song was inspired by an ill-fated trip to the beach in which an unusually high volume of dead cockroaches washed ashore and ruined what had been an otherwise nice day. The B side “Down,” is a bluesy stomper, centered by wailing harmonica, and looping 12 bar blues guitar. Sonically “Down” bears an uncanny resemblance to L.A. Woman-era The Doors but with a sleazy, boozy air — just how I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the past couple of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written a quite a bit about Ron Gallo, a  Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and JOVM mainstay, whose was a once the frontman of the Philadelphia-based indie act Toy Soldiers. As the story goes, at one point, Gallo was in a long-term, romantic relationship with a deeply troubled woman — and once that relationship ended, Gallo relocated to Nashville, where he embarked on a solo career, writing and recording material that eventually became his acclaimed 2016 full-length debut HEAVY META. 

Thematically, HEAVY META touched upon a number of themes within his own life, including his own personal ideology of abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead and unhappy love, not truly knowing yourself and the things that could happen to you when you don’t, mental illness from the perspective of both sufferer and close observer, and a burning, misanthropic frustration with humanity and civilization. And yet, there was some level of optimism — that music can wake someone up and get them to change what they were doing. As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”

HEAVY META’s follow-up Really Nice Guys EP was released early last year, and the EP was largely inspired by the previous year in Gallo’s life in which he was busy touring and promoting his full-length debut — and as a result, the EP’s material wound up being a satirical sendup of the contemporary music industry with the EP featuring songs about rough mixes, broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned, overproduced to death studio recording; the painfully weird inability for those within the music industry to honestly admit that someone is just an awful musician, so everyone winds up saying “well, they’re really nice guys . . . ,” the number of friends, who will ask to be put on the guestlist so that you can never actually make any money off a show, and more.

Gallo’s sophomore album Stardust Birthday Party was released last October, and the material was inspired by a life-altering, seismic shift in his life. Remember the woman who inspired much of the material on Gallo’s critically applauded debut? Well, as the story goes, she had taken a trip to South America, found a healer and miraculously got herself and her life together. Understandably, when Gallo heard the news, his interest was piqued, and he began reading and searching for a more inward path for his own mental and spiritual development.  Early last year, Gallo booked a trip to a silent meditation retreat in California. Despite his initial reservations and discomfort, the Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter reportedly experienced a profound experience that quickly became the answer for his existential searching — and in turn, the thematic core of the album: how inner transformation impacts both the outside world and your perception of it.

Or, as Ron Gallo says in a lengthy written statement about the album:

Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one human’s evolution: mine, Ron Gallo.  That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.

At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META – my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.

Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.

In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: ‘During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.’

That’s it.  That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists. ”

Stardust Birthday Party’s first single “It’s All Gonna Be Okay,” was an angular ripper centered around two disparate things — the first a relishing of life’s ironies with a bemused yet accepting smile that points out that there’s a larger connection to everyone and everything; and that the only way we can actually change the world is if every individual on this planet began to take a serious and sobering look at their own fucked up shit and then do the complete opposite. Until then, we’re speeding our way down to hell with explosives and lit matches in the backseat.

Always Elsewhere,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor as it was an angular and furious ripper that evoked our age of perpetual and unending fear and anxiety that most of us running around like the White Rabbit, looking at our watches in panic and saying “There’s not enough time! There’s not enough time!” As Gallo says in press notes, “Most of the time we perceive the world, ourselves and others as ideas we have about them rather than what they really are. All our fear and anxiety stems from speculation about what COULD happen, not what is actually happening here and now. I’ve done this most of my life and still do, and the best way I’ve found is to become aware that you are not being aware or present, and suddenly you become present, that’s what this song is for — a frantic representation of modern life and our inability to live in the moment.”

Do You Love Your Company,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s third  single was a tense and anxious New Wave and post-punk take on garage rock, centered around angular blasts of guitar, a steady backbeat and an enormous, shout-worthy hook but underneath the rousingly anthemic nature of the song is something much deeper, more urgent — the very modern anxiousness and uncertainty that comes about whenever we’re left to ourselves. As Gallo says the song is “about self-inquiry. I think a lot of people struggle with being truly alone or fear silence because it forces them to look inward, but ultimately, i think it’s one of the most important things we can do to understand ourselves and others.”

Stardust Birthday Party‘s latest single “Love Supreme (Work Together)” is an angular, New Wave-like track that at points sounds indebted to Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food-era Talking Heads — but centered around a profound observation. As Gallo explains in press notes, “I wrote this song on GarageBand on my phone on an airplane. I was listening to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane, eating my really adorable but terrible tasting airplane meal of bowtie pasta (originally the first verse was about that) and looking down at the earth from the sky where you see no separation between people or things, there is just one thing. The chorus goes ‘God loves it when we work together.’ The God I am talking about is not a specific one, but everything, the one thing that is everything, the common thread in all existence, life, whatever you want to call it. In my head this is the soundtrack to a party in the streets where there is no line between shape, color, size, gender, sexuality, beliefs, anything, none of that shit exists.  Just anyone and everyone dancing kissing hugging laughing at the absurdity that we couldn’t always see that our core we are all the same. Nice!” As Gallo later says of the track,“‘Love Supreme’ is my attempt to write a genuinely positive song, maybe even a song people can dance to (ideally people that normally don’t dance together in large quantities in weird places and pay tribute to John Coltrane on top of that) I wrote this one on my phone on a plane.”

Recently, Claudius Mittendorfer remixed “Love Supreme (Work Together)” and interestingly his remix gives the song a dance floor friendly thump, reminiscent of The B52s.  “We incorporated some new sounds we never messed with before. I feel like I never could’ve written something like this even two years ago but sometimes it feels good to lay down the exhausting, intense, critical outlook and just celebrate life and people and what we all have in common right now, everywhere,” Gallo says. “Thank you to Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Johnny Marr, Weezer) who did this remix, he really brought the song to where it always wanted to go.”

Ron Gallo will be returning to the road this winter on a co-headlining tour with Post Animal. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
January 30th – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose Tap House
January 31st – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
February 1st – Minneapolis, MN -Fine Line
February 2nd – Kansas City, MO – Recordbar
February 5th – Denver, CO – The Globe
February 6th – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
February 8th – Vancouver, BC – Wise Hall
February 9th – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
February 10th – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
February 12th – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
February 13th – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Atrium
February 14th – San Francisco, CA – Chapel
February 15th -Fresno, CA – Strummers
February 16th – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
February 17th – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
February 19th – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
February 21st – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co.
February 22nd – Austin, TX – Barracuda
February 23rd – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
February 25th – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
February 26th – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
February 27th – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
February 28th – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
March 1st – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
March 2nd – Columbus, OH – Skully’s