I really do love bands that are able to straddle a fine genre line well. Honeycomb Bones are a UK duo who seem equally influenced by BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB as they do the 2-step-dub-house-laptop-bass-step-wave that England has coming out the ears right now – spiraling psych guitar lines crossed with crisp, snapping drums. It’s an interesting mix – similar to THE KILLS, but more developed, less slinky. If use of a drum machine was all that HB had going for them, though, there’d be a lot less to say. Fortunately, the Bones also bring some good tunes to the party. Opener “Catherine Wheel” features a slow, dirty guitar line, with nimble drum programming that keeps the thing moving along – it gives the impression of a steam train that takes a while to start up, but is impossible to stop once it’s got going.
It’s hard to know what exactly is going on sometimes, the vocals are buried in the mix and some reverb, and the guitars are huge sounding, but this record takes a few listens to get a feel for. There’s not really a bad track on here, but it’s not easy to find a hook. Fortunately, there’s enough cool rhythmic work – especially on 3rd track “Penny Black” – to keep you coming back. I won’t be getting rid of this any time soon, though, and I look forward to whatever else is coming.
LISTEN: MEDIAFIRE (courtesy of the band)
BUY: Honeycomb Bones Tumblr
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.
Thee Dirtybeats promise “maximum vintage garage and psychedelia,” and after listening to their first batch of songs, I can say with confidence they deliver in full. I give these guys serious props – they’ve recorded this strictly with vintage equipment – “vintage KAPA, Mosrite, Rickenbacker and Fender guitars, Fender and Ampeg amps, Big Muff fuzzes and Morley wahs” – and they’re giving it away for free on their bandcamp. This is music from Thee Holy Church of NUGGETS, and these guys mostly nail it. The vocals, playing, and sound are pretty faithful to the source material – I do wish the production was a little bit dirtier; for the vintage sound and trappings, this recording is oddly clean and polished.
Anyway, onto the music. “You Lied to Me Before” is a good mid-tempo number, featuring solid guitar work and an awesome quasi-whispered bridge. It’s fairly revival-by-the-numbers, but it’s done really well. The first few songs follow much the same formula. Their brand of 60’s revivalism is largely reminiscent of what THE GREENHORNES were doing 10 years ago. It’s not original music by any means, but that doesn’t stop the songs from being any less danceable! It’s all good, but it’s not until “Stop It Baby” that the album really starts swingin’ – the track opens with awesomely snarly guitar and a fast, nimble beat with more teeth than a lot of the emanations from the Nuggets altar. This is simple and brash in the best way – combining the economy of hardcore with garage cool. This leads into “Wild Man,” which features a Twilight Zone-like intro, and a pretty badass TRASHMEN-esque chant. The record is heavy on covers which are faithfully rendered, but often lack the menace and wild sloppy abandon of the originals. The record closes out with “Cool One,” which is just fucking incredible. Freako guitars, burning drums – serious goddamn boogie here. Some songs fly, some don’t – but how can I possibly fault any band for not matching the SONICS or the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS? Thee Dirtybeats aren’t re-inventing the wheel, but they do an adept job of proving that a great fucking wheel never goes out of style.
LISTEN/FREE DOWNLOAD: http://theedirtybeats.bandcamp.com/
Genital Hospital are a vicious band from Montreal, specializing in house-wrecking, breakneck garage rock. Combining the energy of hardcore with the tunefulness of garage, this is something to throw on when you’re already drunk and getting drunker. The band sent me 3 songs from their LP “Eyes Full of Terror,” released on Germany’s P-Trash records (which I’ll say now – I will be buying this). The first track, the leadoff on the LP, “When The Cops Come In” lays the GH blueprint out immediately, stomping drums, gang vocals, and balls-to-the-wall intensity – like a slightly less scuzzy REATARDS. The track features some seriously badass harmonica, and beautifully serves as an example of the best kind of punk: simple, fast, and rocking. “They Were Lies” follows much the same formula, ratcheting up the energy level by adding some more amazing guitar work, and call-and-response vocals reminiscent of “Rise Above.” I’m reminded of the BASEBALL FURIES classic “Chinese White.” I should note that the production on these tracks is pretty fantastic – drums are crisp, guitars are razor sharp, and the vocals are even semi-intelligible! They cut a nice middle ground between total lo-fi muck and excessive studio polish. That being said, though, the last track “Suzie’s Rubies” is my favorite, perhaps because the band dirties it up. Here, the production is fuzzier, dirtier, and way trashier – fucking wonderful.
I’m reluctant to give a number rating, because I haven’t got the album proper, but Genital Hospital is worth checking out – these songs are a serious tease, given how much I’ve been replaying it since the band kicked them over to me. Seriously, this LP can only be amazing – certainly worth the 12 euro/13 buxx.
BUY: http://www.ptrashrecords.com/startseite.html (Europe)