And back into the garage…
It seems like there’s a big “garage rock resurgence” every five years or so, but that’s pretty much just for people who are looking for something to write about in fancy music magazines. The reality is that there’s never NOT a bunch of garage rock bands kicking through some corner of the underground. Lucky for me, most of them put out records, so I get to write about them in my non-fancy non-magazine.
I used to go see the Gentleman Callers all the time. Featuring 3/4 of the late lamented El Gordo’s Revenge, the GC’s took their high school band’s rawer, thrashier garage punk & slowed it down to a shimmy, trading in the noisy metal guitar solos for bluesier ones, & the pop culture joke lyrics for more basic girl-done-me wrong type stuff. When it worked, it was great, & they were always a blast live. Their sole vinyl offering, 2002’s 3-song 45, is a little more hit-or-miss, though, at least in retrospect. The tempo is a lot slower than I remember it being, & man, these songs are LONG. I almost got a little bored re-listening to this, & again, I used to go see these guys all the time! Trash Dog’s solos are pretty righteous, & Kevin had a pretty good snarl, though, so there’s still plenty to dig for fans of the garage scene.
Soda Boys take a step from the refined side of the garage back into the dirty, oil-stained side. As far as I can tell, all of their songs are about soda and/or fast food, & that fry grease gets all over their tunes. Their just-released debut 45 is a short, fuzzy, entertaining slap in the nuts put out by Total Punk (home to other Rebellious Jukebox-covered artists Black Panties, Cal & the Calories, & Lumpy & the Dumpers!). The two songs blur by in a lo-fi haze, though the clear & confident (even if occasionally iffy-pitched) lead vocals recall the early days of the LA garage punk scene. Angry Samoans come to mind, maybe. The current garage scene seems to have little or no reverence for them’s what came before, though, & good for them. If you’re drawing from a style of music that pre-dates the Beatles, no sense in studying the past. You’re gonna repeat it anyway, so who cares?
Soda Boys-Burgers & Fries
Gentleman Callers-not a song from the 45, but this reminded me why I went & saw ’em a lot (actually, if I really looked, I could probably find myself in this video)