By the end of every summer I am usually ready to take a break from scuzzy, tape-hiss filled bedroom recordings that dominate during warm weather season. It’s April now so that season is just starting and “Blue Eyes” from veteran bedroom rocker Cough Cool isn’t a bad way to tee things off. Guitar is the real driving force behind this track as the vocals take turns humming into the soaring guitar lines. If you’re not experiencing the warm weather yet you should listen to this song, decide it’s time to move and then listen to the song properly again. Do it for real though.
It’s easy to write off Menace Beach for being one more scuzzy, surf-punk bands that have been consistently invading our blogosphere for the past few years after taking one look at their art work and making a sarcastic chuckle at their name. Of course I wouldn’t be making this blog post if that was all there is too Menace Beach and as it turns out there is a lot more to the UK band than first impressions would let on. For better or for worse, a lot of surf-punk neglects putting time into writing a memorable verse as long as the hook is catchy enough. With ‘Dream Out’, Menace Beach ditch that idea and experiment with psych-rock sounds and as a result their verses and instrumentation are incredibly melodic and instantly catchy. Through their entire Dream Out EP, Menace Beach make the kind of music that I would expect from John Lennon if he had grown up as a skater in Southern California during the 90s. They have an ear for grand, psychedelic compositions but have enough pop sensibilities to keep their jams under 3 minutes. Stream ‘Dream Out’ below and check out their entire EP over at their soundcloud…
One of my favorite albums from last year came from European noise-rockers The Uptights so I set some pretty high expectations when I saw this submission from Danish lo-fi ruffians The Beardy Durfs. Meant to be played at an incredibly high volume, ‘Dead Poncho’ absolutely delivers on their noisy promise of an irresistibly sweet blend of raw energy and a cacophony of fuzz and static. Instead of focusing on tight and precise guitar work, The Beardy Durfs simply strum as fast as they can through sometimes broken guitars to create the huge wall of sound that builds up throughout the entirety of ‘Dead Poncho’. The lyrics are hardly discernible and at points sound like someone trying to yell over an orchestra of helicopters, which is exactly how it should be.
After dominating our spring with an onslaught of sun-saturated and endlessly catchy tunes, Splashh made us wait all through the summer before finally dropping some new material. The sun may not be out in full force anymore, but it hardly matters if Splashh keeps dropping music like this. ’Vacation’ is a song that demonstrates Splashh as a proper four piece. Throughout the composition, Splashh create some great instrumental interplay between the dynamic bass lines and guitar with plenty of guitar solos scattered throughout the mix. Lo-fi and fuzz-rock are often criticized for being overly simplistic and straight forward and ‘Vacation’ provides a strong case against that assumption by demonstrating a group that is dripping with songwriting inspiration and a knack for creating great hooks. I haven’t heard a bad song from them yet so I’m excited to see how the continue to develop going into 2013.
UK may be getting most of our praise right now for providing a non-stop supply of incredibly talented fuzz-pop, garage-rock, lo-fi and noise-punk bands but a solid group of bands (Twerps, Royal Headache) are making sure that Australia stays on the front pages of blogs across the indieverse. The latest group to rep the country down under is Mining Boom, a Perth based three piece who have been knocking around the Melbourne scene for a minute now. Of their admittedly small amount of recorded and released material, ‘PDA’ is their calling card. ’PDA’ is a four and a half minute rocker with some of the most sweetly crunchy guitar chords you’ll hear all day. The trio produces a huge wall of sound that together drives the track endlessly forward at a stampede like pace. The fact alone that Mining Boom can write such an instantly catchy track that lasts over two minutes (let alone four) demonstrates that these guys have a lot of songwriting talent behind their hooks and fuzz.
Let’s be honest, we all need a little more fuzz in our lives and luckily Shinies have our backs. Part of the huge UK fuzz-rock revival that took over this past spring, Shinies basically faded out of the blogosphere for the duration of the summer. Fall is coming and Shinies are back crafting some of the finest fuzzed out tunes this side of the century with their new track ‘Ennui’. ’Ennui’ isn’t just another slacker anthem with some huge guitar riffs, driving percussion and lyrics dripping with hypnotic, wide-eyed optimism. They may have made us wait an entire season but ‘Ennui’ has placed Shinies at the top of the impressive pack of UK fuzz-rockers.
The latest entry in the always strong Art is Hard Records’ “Biweekly Pizza Club” is this fuzzy jam from the noise pop duo Playlounge. ’Boner Hit’ is a KEEL HER cover which is pretty interesting to hear considering that KEEL HER are a contemporary of bands like Playlounge. While the original ‘Boner Hit’ was already lo-fi enough, Playlounge manage to slather another coat of the noise sounding much more like No Age than the girl-lead pop of KEEL HER. More than anything, I’m really digging this track because it has introduced me to two equally awesome bands through their takes on the same song.