Tag Archives: garage

Check Out “Soul Mender”, the New EP from Zerodent.

Zerodent, Soul Mender (Almost Ready)

“Soul Mender” cover. Photo credit: Igor Coko.


Zerodent is a four-piece band out of Perth, Australia.  Formed way back in 2015, their excellent self-titled debut came out last year on German label, Alien Snatch! and, lo and forsooth, a new three-track EP, Soul Mender, is upon us…and it is good.

There’s a righteousness inherent in a lot of the best punk, and it’s on full show here.  Mixing classic ℅ ’77 sounds of bands like The Saints and Buzzcocks (the opening riff of the title track reminds of “Harmony In My Head”) with garage, SoCal h/c gnarl and a bit of maximum r&b, the EP is an absolute rush from start to finish.  Vocalist Lee Jenkins spits, snarls and wails, driving the service to completion with the rollicking “This Time” (personal fave, though it’s hard to choose).  Pass the fucking plate.  The only gripe is it’s too short.

Soul Member is out now, via Almost Ready.  You can catch up with all things Zerodent on their fbook, and peruse their catalogue on bandcamp.  Don’t see any tour dates up yet, but hopefully that will change soon.

Obnox Return with a Niggative Approach

Obnox, Niggative Approach (5/30/2017, 12XU)


Obnox is the musical alter ego of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas (pictured).  Having released five long-players under this moniker in the last 3 years, the word ‘prolific’ seems apt.  I must admit that new release, Niggative Approach, is the first one I’ve fully sat down with – and now I’m both damn glad I did and in a hurry to dig deeper into the earlier material.

The title might be a wink and a bow to Detroit hardcore godheads Negative Approach (whose singer, John Brannon, makes an appearance on the album’s intro and outro), but the album is far too diverse, dense and interesting to damn with the faint praise of a hyphenated ‘punk’ or other descriptor.  Frankly, there’s so much going on in this record, it can be giddily overwhelming.  Jazz, psych, garage, soul, blues, punk, funk, r&b, hip hop, Beastie Boys, Funkadelic, Rudy Ray Moore, Kid Congo, D’Angelo, Shabazz Palaces, Sun Ra, War, Curtis Mayfield, MF Doom, sky high riffs, heavy funk bass, kick drum grooves, eye of newt and a partridge in a motherfuckin’ pear tree – all this and more await across the album’s 14 tracks (excluding intro-/outro).

I found it best to just strap in, give in, and let it all wash over me, repeated listens bearing ever sweeter fruit.  The spy theme raga of “You”.  The hot, humid synth feel of “Hardcore Matinee”.  The wide lapel groove of “”Beauty Like the Night”.  The diamond amidst the rough of the beautiful “Carmen, I Love You”.  Exhale.

Niggative Approach is out now, on 12XU.  Monitor M. Thomas’ (social media) movements on fbook and the twitt.  No tour dates as yet, but here’s hoping.

Highlights include: “Audio Rot”; “Afro Muffin”; “Carmen, I Love You”; “You”; “Niggative Approach”; “Beauty Like the Night”.

The Bellamys’ Debut EP is Jangly, Lo-Fi Goodness

The Bellamys, S/T EP (Odd Box Records)

With their self-titled EP, Cardiff trio The Bellamys (though one member now resides in Vancouver), have crafted an indie pop winner.  Opener, “Motorway”, sets the tone nicely – chiming guitars cling and clang over an urgent drum beat and synthesizer that sounds a bit like the droning of a hurdy gurdy, as boy-girl harmonies and counter-melodies delve into the delights of well, driving.  Apex, “Best Friend”’s punk jangle underpins a wistful diary entry describing a would-be companion (“but you don’t notice me/you look right through/me/you think you are so cool/that’s cause you are”).  Closing ballad, “For You to See” conjures Super 8 quick-cut images and is quietly affecting without going full twee.  An absence of artifice makes this a charming, hand-hold of a listen; like having a conversation with an old friend over a beer – hopes, dreams; weighty stuff made to feel less onerous.

That press release accompanying the digital recommends the EP for fans of The Pastels, C86, Tellulah Gosh (I’d add The Vaselines and Thee Headcoats) and, erm, Slayer.  Sly, and (very) thinly veiled Haunting the Chapel references notwithstanding, this is a damn fine, lo-fi indie pop record.  Get on it.

Odd Box Records (which, with a roster boasting such artists as City Yelps, The Manhattan Love Suicides, T.O.Y.S., and Nervous Twitch, has quickly become one of my favorite labels over the past few years of doing this) will release the EP on December 2.  Here’s hoping The Bellamys continue doing their thang, in spite of the geographic separation.  Check more on the band on fbook and delve into their earlier catalogue (the demo from February is also great – paricularly, “it’ll be ok”) on Bandcamp.

On “The Stooge”, CFM Delivers the Proto-Punk Goods

CFM, “The Stooge” (In the Red)

CFM is a four-piece band making good use of main dude Charles Moothart’s initials (Moothart is a frequent collaborator of Ty Segall’s, both on albums like Slaughterhouse and in side projects like Gøggs and Fuzz).  The group released its debut long-player, Still Life of Citrus and Slime, earlier this year, and is now back with a new EP, Homegrown Paranoia.  Recently shared track, “The Stooge”, offers a taste.

“The Stooge” is an open-faced, space-boogie jam sandwich, piled high with the taught, razor-sharp melodies and shag pile layers of fuzz you’d expect from a Segall co-conspirator.  Moothart’s voice has a bit of a keening, early Ozzy feel to it, particularly in the way he rounds out the tone on some of the lyrics.  Things begin to unravel around the 1:45 mark – clarion feedback changing the view through the tv eye of the track’s (almost) namesake; a completely deranged guitar solo feeding a full-fledged MC5-style riot goin’ on – and remains barely hinged through to the end, Moothart repeating the word “desperate”.

Homegrown Paranoia is due next month, from In the Red Recordings.  Credit to the excellent CLRVYNT mag for the tweet tip on this one – check out their write up on the band here, which includes upcoming tour dates (true story: I saw CFM open for Ty Segall and the Muggers in the spring; they’re well worth your hard earned).

Check the Psych-Soaked Garage Rock of “Dark Clouds/Don’t Know Why”, the New Single from Germany’s The Wrong Society

“Dark Clouds/Don’t Know Why” 7″ (13 o’clock Records, 9/6/2016)

The Wrong Society are a 4-piece out of Hamburg, who have been releasing records since 2013 but are new to us.  The band make hazy, psych-soaked garage rock that evokes merseybeat and bands like The Seeds, 13th Floor Elevators, The Monks and The Small Faces.  “Dark Clouds/Don’t Know Why” is the band’s new, 7” single, and it’s a belter.

I actually first heard b-side “Don’t Know Why”, and was immediately hooked by its rain soaked pavement charm, the feel reminiscent of The Kinks’ “So Tired of Waiting”.  A-side, “Dark Clouds”, has the appropriate air of malevolence you want in a garage rock version of a “done me wrong” song – the clouds bring sadness, yes, but with a hint of payback?  Stay tuned.

“Dark Clouds/Don’t Know Why” is out now on 13 O’Clock Records, and can be purchased via The Wrong Society Bandcamp page (as well as the other, usual suspects).  For more on the band,  check them out on fbook

Check Out Boston Band Earth Heart’s Rollicking New Single, “Homesick”

Earth Heart, “Homesick” (self-released, 6/1/2016)

“Homesick” is a new release from Boston, MA’s Earth Heart.  A little bit surf, kinda post-punk, a wee bit C86, some part 90s indie – and it’s all good.  Opening with a chiming guitar and a great, rooted bass line that would make Interpol proud, the drums crash in and work up the lather into a full-on pogo party.  Guitarist/Vocalist Katie Coriander’s vocals are both assured and exuberant – in a way that (in true punk fashion) belies the underlying grit of lyrics like “I was so low/I was underground…right where I belong” – and recall (to these ears), folks like Poly Styrene, Clare Grogan (look them up, kids) on up to Karen O and even Maryjane from Vexx.

“Homesick” is the title track from the group’s forthcoming LP, due August 5 and self-released in cooperation with Planetary Group (per the band’s fbook page).  The track is available for purchase now on bandcamp, as is Earth Heart’s entire discography.

New Music: The Parrots, No Me Gustas, Te Quiero

The Parrots, “No Me Gustas, Te Quiero” (Heavenly Recordings)

Shout along to this shambling psych/garage track from The Parrots, an excellent Madrid-based three piece.

The Parrots bring a similar energy to that of other modern purveyors of slightly inebriated, shamalamadingdong stompers like King Khan or The Black Lips, as well as compatriots like sisters-in-tuneage, Hinds, and thegrindinghalt fave, Wau y los Arrrghs.

The title literally translates as “I don’t like you, I love you” (fun fact, these lines are similar  to the opening lines of The Miracles’ “You Really Got a Hold On Me”:  “I don’t like you/but I love you”).  The detuned guitar strumming and ringing lead melody line, combined with hoarsely cried lines like “I don’t remember too much/if I did something and you didn’t like/sorry, darling” call to mind the image of a late night, drunken plea to a darkened upstairs window.

The track has us all aquiver with anticipation for The Parrots’ upcoming debut release for the mighty Heavenly Recordings, “Los Niños Sin Miedo”, due August 26.  It also had the added bonus of prompting us to go back through the band’s earlier releases, which you can also find and enjoy on their bandcamp page.

“No Me Gustas” comes out physically, as a limited edition 7”, on August 5, together with b-side “Let’s Do It Again” (no slouch of a tune, in it’s own right) – you can preorder it here.  Check out The Parrots on the fbook, the tumblr and the twitter.

The band also have a slew of dates coming over the next few months in Europe and the UK (effing Brexit) – listed below.  Here’s hoping for some US dates soon.

July 09 — Quintanilha Rock, Portugal
July 16 — Super Bock Super Rock, Lisbon
July 22 — Siren Festival, Vasto, Italy
Aug. 25 — Rough Trade East In-store, LDN
Aug. 26 — Sea Change Festival, Totnes Sea Change, Totnes, UK
Aug. 27 — The Magnet, Album Launch Party, Liverpool
Aug. 28 — Hare & Hounds, King’s Heath, Birmingham
Sept. 04 — Broadcast, Glasgow
Sept. 05 — Headrow House, Leeds
Sept. 06 — Concorde 2, Brighton
Sept. 07 — The Victoria, London
Sept. 09 — Strange Waves 2016, Manchester
Sept. 10 — Start the Bus, Bristol (free entry!)
Sept. 11 — OnBlackheath, London
Sept. 12 — Le Point Éphémère, Paris
Sept. 14 — Péniche Cancale, Dijon

Review: The Monsieurs, “High School Star” 7″

The Monsieurs, “High School Star” (Goodbye Boozy Records)

Following their crazy good (and, in parts, just plain ol’ crazy) 2014 self-tltled album, Boston scuzz-punk rockers The Monsieurs are back with a new double-a side single, “High School Star/Jack of Hearts”.

We here at thegrindinghalt wanted to give a glowing review of The Monsieurs (the album) but were, frankly, to busy listening to it and breaking shit to actually get around to writing one, so…if you haven’t yet experienced that aural Misfits/Ramones/Monks/Sha Na Na knife fight (actual knife fight, mind, none of that West Side Story or “Beat It” nonsense) do so, ok?  Great, thanks.

Anywho, “High School Star” continues the three chords and a cloud of dust assault of the full-length.  The band is at full strength here, piledriving their way through roughly two and one-half minutes of relentless rock.  Singer Andy California still sounds like he’s sing/screaming through a swarm of bees over a Hilken Mancini guitar slash reminiscent of “Wild Thing”, while Erin King provides the rhythmic stomp.  While I’m missing, a bit, the backup ‘sha la las’ so prevalent on the album, this still rages.

“High School Star” is out now on Goodbye Boozy Records, a label out of Teramo, Italy that is also home to other great bands like Sick Thoughts and The Husbands.

Check out The Monsieurs on fbook or the twit.

Album Review: Choke Chains, S/T

Choke Chains, S/T (Slovenly Recordings/Black Gladiator, 1/29/16)

Full throttle, stridently miscreant rock and/or roll from Michigan’s Choke Chains.  Hints of proto-punk standard bearers The Stooges and Electric Eels, garage idols The Sonics and newer bands like Rocket From the Crypt can be heard throughout (perhaps unsurprising, given the band features alumni of bands like The Dirtbombs and Bantam Rooster), but the band makes room for their own, individual spin.

The groove-centered, r&b swagger on display is infectious, though the music feels more in the ‘punk’ vein than straight garage.  There are some cool production touches, too – the heavy, loose-stringed bass sound is great (particularly on “Let’s Try Suicide”), and the sax stylings on the understated “Rock, Paper, Rapist” are a welcome addition to the sound.  In case you hadn’t already surmised, the band like to play with tongues firmly implanted in cheek – other titles include “Cracked Dracula”, “Moisture Detective” and “Safe Word”.

Eruditely-monikered lead singer Thomas Jackson Potter’s vocals are heavily muffled on many tracks, painting an image of the band bashing away in a supposedly “abandoned”, makeshift practice space, while Potter screams for recognition (vengeance?) from an underground bunker – or maybe that’s just me…  Other tracks lift the veil a bit, with “Random Number Generator” even featuring a hint of – !!!- falsetto.  Throughout, Potter displays charisma to match the band’s assured playing.

The album is out now through the excellent Slovenly Recordings (via their Black Gladiator imprint).  Get to know the band on fbook and on their bandcamp page. While you’re at it, check out the meaty (sorry) vid for “Safe Word”, below, and catch them at their upcoming March 26 gig at the UFO Factory in Detroit, if you’re able – here’s hoping for a tour!

Highlights include: “She Collects Calendars”; “Safe Word”, “Rock Paper Rapist”.

Track Review: Feels, Bitched

Feels, “Bitched” (Lolipop Records)

Joyously rough-edged rock from new (to us, at least) LA-based band, Feels. “Bitched” is a compact, three minute burr of surf rock, ‘70s punk, garage and ‘90s groups like Sleater-Kinney or even Elastica.  The buzzy guitar and sweet ‘la la la’ and ‘whoa, oh h’ backing vocals stick in your brain and won’t let go – kinda like those weird worm thingys in that Star Trek movie (google it, kids), but in a good way.

“Bitched” is taken from a live lp, recorded last summer at LA studio, Gauchos Electronics, out now on the ever-fantastic Lolipop label – it’s been out since January, but only recently burbled to the surface of our Soundcloud stream (we’ll hit “refresh” faster next time; promise).

The band’s debut long-player will be released in spring, 2016 on the equally loveable Castle Face, with production by neu-garage (is that a thing?) hero, Ty Segall. Go forth and like them on the Facebook.