Trippy, spaced-out vocals follow the charm of psychedelic drone that hasn't been done with such precision since Spacemen 3. This San Francisco combo is cornering the market on the soundtrack to the modern nod-out; wah-wah guitars never flowed through your veins so easily. Much like a digital photo, though, it's too perfect in its replication and needs some distinguishing character.
"In the City"
This trio from Nowhereseville, Calif., is towering and grandiose in only the most Ziggy Stardust of ways.
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
Free News Projects
Paul Simon's Julio down by the schoolyard if he'd listened to the Shins as much as Afro-pop. Both sides have rapid-fire keyboard fusillades that are too close to the Cure's "Close to Me." But VW's become all the rage, so that must be a good thing.
Montreal scuzzers slob out another slice of predictably capable rawk. Straightforward almost to the point of anonymity, CPC still throbs with enough energy to push it all over the edge into something you should investigate at least once.
What's Your Rupture?
Open your eyes! One of the greatest bands of our age is here in Detroit, right under your sniveling little noses. Tyvek's latest in a string of smash singles is equally subversive and clever with its paradoxical sullen tempos and observant, low-key lyrics. This is the sound of your city.
The Duchess & the Duke
Boom Boom Castle
Wow. Dust Bowl folk-blues reinterpreted for modern times in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring glimpses of Beck's One Foot in the Grave, Dylan's lilting vocal delivery and an ebullient secondary female voice, this is mighty choice.
"Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind"
Two sides of shimmering U.K. '60s feminine pop on par with Sandie Shaw and Marianne Faithfull, with the A-side penned by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards themselves. Bunyan is better-known for her moody folk efforts a la Judee Sill or Karen Dalton. But this dissimilar reissue is an otherworldly treat.
"First Day of School"
Rob's House/Die Slaughterhaus
Precocious debut single from the 6-year-old daughter of demi-legend King Khan. With her dad providing the sloppy fuzz instrumentation, Saba Lou delights with precious parts from Langley Schools Music Project and the Shaggs ... all slightly inept but still astounding.
Fronted by Brett Lyman, a recently repatriated southeastern Michigander with ties to the Time Stereo collective, "Non-Violence" is chippy post-punk with clear inspiration from Gang of Four and Delta 5. The flip strikes a tenuous balance of guitar feedback freakout and Beat Happening vocal nonchalance. Detroit needs this.
Striking British groove with instantly infectious dollops of the Creation's freakbeat, a pinch of Pink Floyd's acid blues, a wisp of coupled Cream-y vocals and a dash of the Deviants demeanor. The result is a flawless fusion of everything that made England a hotbed of important rock music in the late '60s. This single is impeccable. Bravo!
"In My Brain"
With almost two decades logged in as the driving force behind biker punk stalwarts Dead Moon, Fred and Toody Cole have finally moved on to a new project that sounds exactly like Dead Moon. The picture sleeve is even printed on the reverse of unused DM tour posters. Out with the old and in with the same.
To title a song after an existentialist author is ballsy. To have that song shine like mid-'80s Sonic Youth hallmarks like "Expressway to Yr Skull" is classy. The B-side, "Upon Viewing Bruegel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus," calls to mind the classic poetry of William Carlos Williams and W.H. Auden and makes me want to go back to college.
This nimble Pebbles-appropriate jangle attack is the tastiest thing to come out of the Sunshine State since Gatorade. Fire up the hot tub and let this simmering slab stew your insides to a gooey gob of garage punk goodness.
Minimalist Aussie dub with each song pretentiously only indicated by its length. The trance echo on the percussion lets this rumble with paranoid abandon. Packaged with a CD of the same five songs included on the 7-inch ... why doesn't everyone do that?
A Visit to the House of the Man Who Invented Sexual Intercourse
Homo-a-go-go that puts the "gay" back into garage pop. Equal parts the Ronettes and the Undertones, these faux fags would rather fight than swish. The title of the single alone is worth the price of purchase.
"Maybe Yes, Maybe No"
Unassuming "Aw hell, let's form a band" material from Kansas that advances on the Del-Monas angry white girl R&B juggernaut. The B-side is wholesome for the fact it takes the Saints' "A Minor Aversion" and makes it sound like Dusty Springfield. Warm and fuzzy in all the right places.
"Drafted Into War"
Rootsy and rural like the Wisconsin countryside from which they hail, "Drafted Into War" spits a wicked effected guitar solo that warps the rest of the song around it. Evocative of the Coral ... and that's a high compliment.
2 Ice Cold Numbers Sure to Make You Dance
Black Owl Radio
The title here's a misnomer. The A-side, "My Empire," is choppy '80s mod pop that betters the likes of Secret Affair or other second wave pretenders, while "Earthworms" is winsome cowpoke lament...neither of which give me the slightest urge to dance. Thomas Function, you lose.
Forgettable retread hardcore sludge unworthy of any subsequent verbiage.
A-side is most commonly referred to as "You know, the song on the new album that sounds like Beck." Exclusive B-side, "Dear God," is speaker-shreddingly lo-fi to the point where the Lord could wear earplugs and still hear the prayer. Join in by screaming "Amen!" until you pop a blood vessel.