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RATING: 8/10

Sometimes you have a shitty, mundane, boring day, and then an unsolicited submission shows up in your inbox and saves it. Such is what Perugia, Italy’s The Mighties have done for me. This 5 track EP is straight-forward garage revivalism; the kind that fits in neatly on CHILDREN OF NUGGETS – nothing mind-expanding, but it’s a damn good time. Rollicking, rocking garage-punk at its most direct. “Misty Lame” opens with “Kelly Ride,” a 3 minute CRAMPS-y blast, complete with lyrics like: “Shake your love like a jellyfish.” Fuck all your colleges – THIS SHIT is REAL philosophy. If you’re not dancing to this, your ass is clearly broken.

The Mighties (I give them major points for managing to resist the temptation to dub themselves “Thee Mightees”) whip through 4 more tracks, rarely deviating from the formula, but when it works this well, who cares? I do like “The Seducer” a great deal – it’s a great track in its own right, but it also reminds me a lot (and possibly cops a melody from) fellow Italians SMART COPS, albeit without the speed-freak sensibility. My favorite track here is “The Mighties Theme,” pairing a huge, bombastic opening with a razor-sharp riff – usually I don’t care for band theme songs, but when they rock this hard, i’ll let it slide. Maybe the best part of the song, though is the background vocals/noises.

It’s certainly not a paradigm shift – it’s all a little bit cheesy, but the energy and number of genuinely memorable moments on this short EP makes it worthwhile.

LISTEN: http://www.myspace.com/themightiesband

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Rating: 6.5/10

By now if you’re hip to this shit, you know the deal. 2-piece Wisconsin garage, dropped 20 minutes of serious fire with Cement Tomb Mind Control last year (including the ferocious and almighty “Have A Say”)…and I’d guess this is meant to tide us over till Weed Seizure drops on March 12, even though this 7” isn’t out till March 1 on Goodbye Boozy. Anyway, it’s a pretty bite-size release, both songs are done under 1:30. The A-side, “Dokks,” isn’t bad. It’s a bouncey little tune, with a catchy enough riff. Problem is, it could be snuck in between BLACK LIPS songs and I probably wouldn’t even realize. It’s a good song, but not anything I haven’t heard done better before.

The B-side is more likely to earn repeat listens. “On The Cover” has a strong, thumping drumbeat, with some crazy guitar work (sounds backmasked: +2 points). The overall feel of the song (vocals especially) is really reminiscent of THEE OH SEES’ latest, “Carrion Crawler/The Dream,” but this is better in my mind, keeping it short and sweet, instead of the aimless kraut-y vamps that album fell into sometimes. Neither song really has a hook the size of anything from Cement Tomb, but they’re competently played and written. All in all, it’s 2 middling songs from a good band. It’s fine enough, but it feels tossed-off: a bit of a let-down off the heels of something as hot as Cement Tomb, but Weed Seizure is still a bright spot for 2012.

LISTEN HERE: http://thehussy.bandcamp.com/album/dokks-b-w-on-the-cover-7

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Rating: 8.5/10 – TOP TRASH

There’s really not much that I know about these guys beside the fact that they’re from Brooklyn, and for whatever reason I keep seeing them mentioned alongside Thee Oh Sees, which makes no fucking sense. If Thee Oh Sees are an acid trip beach party, Royal Baths are like smoking some weed laced with something sinister, and you kind of want everyone to stop leering at you. This is slinky, late-night shit, think THE KILLS, but for weirdos – especially tracks like “Nightmare Voodoo” or the strange, codeine-soaked sing-along of “Black Sheep.” It’s simple music, really. A bluesy framework, dual male/female vox (which earns any band extra points in my book), grafted onto hypnotic Bo Diddley grooves, as on “Burned”. The strongest influence here is probably the VELVET UNDERGROUND, circa white light/white heat (see: “Faster, Harder” for the s&m crowd) – weird lyrics, feedback squalls, fairly long songs (the shortest clocks in at 3:23). Other highlights include the eastern sounding rumble of “Contempt” and the almost BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE jangle-fest “Map of Heaven.” This is probably the first 2012 album to really turn my head, guaranteed to see a lot of play – at least until the King Tuff LP drops. Certain reviewers have complained about the ‘blase attitude,’ but ignore that nonsense. Anybody can scream about how we “share a wicked world,” but Baths only mumble it. They don’t give a shit about the world, and they don’t give a shit whether you listen to their record, but you should anyway.

Cheap Freaks – Teenage Brains EP

Big Neck Records

8/10 – Ass-kicking Dublin garage rock (i guess it’s GERR-uj, not guh-RAWJ?)

I thought there wasn’t good rock’n’roll coming from anywhere but the American South and Australia these days, so imagine my surprise when I transplant my ass to Dublin and find out there’s actually some pretty fucking good music going on. This 4 song EP, made available as a free download here -> http://cheapfreaks.blogspot.com/ is one to throw one before you head out to a show, as you try to drink away the sorrow over the fact that you’re not seeing these badass motherfuckers. Haven’t had the good fortune to see the Freaks live, but I can only imagine it’s an experience – this EP is more enjoyable than most live shows I see.

It kicks off with a serious ripper, “Can’t Fool Me.” Classic Big Neck shit – I wanna say the BASEBALL FURIES are a touchstone, and I’m feeling like these guys might replace the hole in my heart the Furies left after their 2009 turd of an LP. Thank god, the Freaks break free of the Fury-aping muck that sinks some other BN releases I’ve heard – this is all the intensity and fun minus plus some original shit of their own. It’s got a solid thump to it, and it’s over way too fast. Production values are fucking delicious – lo-fi without falling prey to shit-tier Wavves scuzzery – think CHEAP TIME.

“Cryin’ Shame” opens with a hum, then grabs you by the balls and twists them once for good measure. You will rock, and you will roll, ya pansy. Sweet Jesus, “Sleep With You” has a tasty-ass guitar line, which slides into a bouncy little chorus. This beat is titanic…good lord, those keys. This song is almost like Reverend Horton Heat, but interesting to listen to past the 1 minute mark. Also, tape echo’s pretty cool – I wish more bands would make songs like this. “I’m Coming Home” is pretty solid, but nothing compared to the glory of the last one. The indebtedness to Thee Mighty Greg Cartwright, THE OBLIVIANS and REIGNING SOUND, is pretty strong, but if the tunes are there, the tunes are there. Plus, it’s fuckin free.

BASS DRUM OF DEATH ‘GB CITY’ LP

RATING: 8/10

GB City is a cool, catchy, thrashy garage rock n roll party album that will hit you like 1000 flaming bong-headed dragons.  John Barrett, the guitarist/singer/songwriting mastermind behind BASS DRUM OF DEATH, claims this album was recorded under the influence of a terrible new drug called “Marijuana”.  Single-handedly responsible for WAVVES, WIZ KHALIFA and other wretched abominations, “Marijuana” seems to have no effect on BASS DRUM OF DEATH’s ability to kick ass!

2-pieces heavily rely on the talent of the frontman, and John Barrett has no problem filling the lead role.  The dude has a cool voice and sings his repetitive blues-based melodies with a cocky attitude, in this sorta-twangy, sorta-aloof, sorta-snotty timbre.  He mostly strums just a few macho bar chords and throws in some basic pentatonic riffs that powerfully chug along to Colin Sneed’s pounding straight ahead rock beats.  Verse/chorus/verse/chorus awesomeness.  It’s all very simple but stupidly effective.

The production on this record is really fucking perfect.  The vocals are up-front like they should be, double-tracked and filtered through distortion fx for that classic 2000s garage sound you crave.  The guitars are loud, slashing, dirty, murky; the drums are thunderous!  Every last note on this platter just pops, baby!  The vinyl is mastered loud as DEATH.

‘Young Pros’ is the hit, with an uncharacteristically swingin’ beat and a doowop chord progression sprinkled with sugary pop hooks, catchy falsettos and AHHs and oohs and bright trebly guitars.  The track wouldn’t sound out of place on a TURBO FRUITS album (when he’s trying hard enough, John Barrett sings a lot like FRUITS frontman Jonas Stein).  The pot-punk anthem ‘High School Roaches’ is the best song WAVVES never wrote.  There are a few songs that are extremely reminiscent to that human-garage-rock-factory TY SEGALL (‘Heart Attack Kid, ‘I Could Be Your Man’).  But my favorite track is definitely ‘Get Found’, a helluva mid-tempo rock stomper featuring an addictive opening riff with STOOGESy meatiness, driven by that lovable ol’ VELVETS beat, and a most charismatic vocal performance by Johnny B (Goode). 

There is probably not one guitar riff or melody on this album that you haven’t already heard before.  But the rhythms are so utterly driving, the hooks are so incessant, and its all got this youthful, jaunty exuberance that only a coupla baby-faced reefer tokin’, rock n rollin’ rascals from the boondocks can deliver! So many….hits…maaann… 

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