It’s tough to merge typically self-serious dusty garage rock with a loose, carefree attitude, but Automagik treads that line quite well. “The Road” grooves hard, putting a seriously killer bassline behind a guitar straight out of Jack White’s kit and just a touch of disco influence. It’s also high-energy, enjoying itself in a way that White would never be caught dead doing. Jangly keys, seemingly mis-mastered vocals, and the gorilla suit inject some levity into a genre whose stoicism can be frustrating. It rocks, but it’s also fun, and it bridges some necessary gaps between snarling guitars and goofy stage presence.
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The whole idea of what makes “real punk” can be a corrosive one, since too-broad definitions can alienate hardcore fans and too-narrow ones can shut really good punk artists out of the genre. Regardless of definition, though, it seems fairly safe to claim Riverboat Gamblers as definitively part of the genre. Rollicking guitars, distorted vocals, and uptempo drums certainly fit the bill, and these qualities are on full display on their cover of the Dicks’ “Hate the Police”. It’s packed to the gills with furor and vigor, and it’s always good to hear this kind of raw stage presence on display.
Of the dozens of factions of rock consumers and producers who spearhead movements based around what rock should and shouldn’t be, one of the most prominent claims that rock should be, above all else, primal. The Wans fit squarely into this movement as their brand of rock aims straight for the groin, rollicking and raunchy. It’s a sound that draws from the riffs of Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains, and Queens of the Stone Age and it’s a sound that is covered in grime and dust, looming large. Subscribing to the Spinal Tap philosophy of “turn it up to 11”, their new EP Run Baby Run pumps wall after wall of sound out of disintegrating amps; it’s the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that made the parents nervous 40 years ago.
Laser Background’s brand of psychedelic rock is one which looks firmly backwards in a good way. More Merry Brand of Pranksters than Tame Impala, more mid-period Beatles than current-day Foxygen, it’s immersive in a weirdly analog way. The winding, labyrinthine structure of his songs is immaculately reflected in the video for “Slip n Slide”, whose variegated palate captures a layer of dust shared by the music therein. Shakily filmed and colorfully edited, its fuzziness is an excellent complement to the song it accompanies.
Nathan Bell’s music comes from a place of exhaustion. His mellow, world-weary folk music chronicles the endless grind of all shades of the working person in America, from mine workers to middle managers. Bell writes from personal experience: his musical career bookends a 15-year hiatus in the ‘90s and ‘00s, during which he worked as both a manual laborer and a phone company manager. He’s been involved in both blue-collar and white-collar life, and understands that both lifestyles are uniquely draining. His new album I Don’t Do This For Love, I Do This For Love examines the different stripes of dead-end Americana over guitar and mandolin.
// Channel Surfing
""The Memory Remains", with a few minor exceptions, borrows heavily from a season one classic.READ the article