Archives for posts with tag: garage rock

Na Noise return with a 7″ single featuring two blistering new tunes warping old-style 1960’s beat-group-pop through their distinctive stylistic blender and time-machine into the 21st century. Here’s “Open the Door”:

Na Noise colloborators Yolanda Fagan and Hariet Ellis have also worked together on BOZO, Vincent H.L, Echo Ohs and Thee Crockettes, so their synchronous combination here of guitars and twinned vocals and exclamatory yelps is as natural as it is compulsive.

“Open The Door” and “Dance With Me” both continue the Na Noise tradition of being musically and stylistically all over the place and totally great. Both songs on this single are timeless fuzzy ye-ye beat-pop garage-rock goodness, with deep wells of surf-guitar reverb, and quivering Electric Prunes toned lead guitar solos, blasting over irresistible hypnotic dance grooves.

They say: “have a rascally take on traditional song — with their new-old songs, the band introduce a new-old sound. Joined by multi-instrumentalist Christopher Varnham who provides organ, drums and various other percussive elements, the three have cultivated a dark sound that is more carnivalesque than it is psychedelic.”

So good I ordered two of the 7″ singles. One to play until it wears out, and the other a back-up spare.

Little Desert_HappyLittle Desert is a 5 piece dark garage/punk psych-rock punk ensemble from Melbourne. “Happy” here is a brand new song, just released ahead of a new EP slated for release in 2019. Buckle in – it’s a W I L D (but happy) ride…

There’s nothing held back here. This is pure, unrestrained, wild, searing garage-psych rock energy. Vocalist Esther Rivers’ delivery commands the song – an ode to sisterly love and embracing life.  In the engine room, Ash Wyatt (Red Red Krovvy/ Masses) propels the song with urgent floor-tom heavy drums, Bonnie Mercer (Dead River/ Breathing Shrine) adds the classic buzz-saw guitar, Ema Dunstan (Hi-Tec Emotions/ Synthetics) shakes the foundations with ominously low bass rumble and Roman Tucker (Rocket Science) provides that psych-essential swirling keyboard atmosphere.

Esther Rivers – “Written on the train on the way back from Scotland it’s our first curt, “optimistic” song with no hidden meanings. I wrote it about my sister as I left her behind after visiting her after ages and finding her in a really good place. We’ve gotten a bit more B52s with these new songs! A bit more groove but still with passion and the psych-out at the end. A bit of a punk edge too. We love playing this song at the end of the set.”

“Happy” is A-grade wild psych rock and roll. Can’t wait for the EP, and I’ll also be examining the Little Desert back catalogue. “Saeva” below has a hard-to-categorise, winning mix of psychedelic garage-rock and doomy/ proggy UK 1970s heavy metal. While you are falling down the Little Desert rabbit hole be sure to check out each of the members other bands in the links above. There’s much more to discover in this noisy Melbourne underground scene.


MelenasMelenas are a guitar/ bass/ keyboards/drums band from Pamplona, Spain and “Mentiras” (which translates as “Lies”) is from their fabulous self-titled debut album of jangling psychedelic garage rock which is well worth exploring in detail… and then buying.

While some will hear the spirit of Look Blue Go Purple in that robustly rhythmic guitar strum, it reminds me more of the perpetual nervousness of The Feelies’ guitar sound. In recent years the only other band I can recall to evoke those same touchstones so well was Veronica Falls, who also shared a fondness for driving songs along with a heavy floor tom beat as Melenas do.

However, the songs here are also just as likely to evoke the spirit of the classic late 1960’s era of proto-psych-pop garage-rock fuzz, jangle and melody (as compiled on the “Pebbles” and “Nuggets” LP series) as they are any possible ’80’s influence. There’s a lot going on; from simple propulsive drums to a solid mesh of rapidly strummed 12 string guitar, soaring vocal melodies with layered backing vocals and a winning way with keyboard flourishes providing the sonic icing on Melenas’ psychedelic pop-tart.


The Know NothingsOK, buckle in – our 2nd ‘send as a gift’ tip for December is this cracking, snot-caked garage-punk nugget from Community 4 – a compilation of Hobart music – one of the two excellent Hobart music underground compilations featured on PopLib earlier this year.

“Ain’t no Shame in my Game” may be formulaic snotty garage punk but The Know Nothings have clearly discovered the secret ingredient to that formula and this song is perfect enough to grace any Nuggets type compilation from any era. Ever.

The song gets extra attitude points for the twin lead vocals and the honking saxo-cacophony. The Know Nothings are Keith Hinde on vocals and guitar, Bek Binnie on vocals and bass, Sam Harrington on drums and Dave Holmes on even more guitar.  You’ll find it and even more splendid feral garage-punk nuggets on their album “Days of Foolishness, Nights of Idiocy”.

The entire compilation album is recommended as a gift for anyone you know who likes Australian alternative music but thought the plug was pulled on that sound in the 1990s. This particular track is highly recommended as an upgrade gift for annoying little brothers or sisters who listen to cartoon radio-punk like Green Day too loud while curling their lip. Get real.

Romulan Records - cover for "Girls in the Garage" Vol 6 & 1/2 7 EP

Romulan Records – cover for “Girls in the Garage” Vol 6 & 1/2 7 EP

This song “Whirlwind” occupied my thoughts for over 15 years. Not even the whole song. Just the first half of it. I heard it on a cassette tape of the John Peel show around 1990. It was at the end of a side of the cassette though and the song ended just as it got interesting, just as the phasing effects started to kick in.

Fortunately Peel had introduced the song before playing it so I knew it was on Volume 6 1/2 of Romulan Records’ “Girls in the Garage” series and was by Corky Rae & Audio Phase. Except it wasn’t.

It was Corki Ray with Audiofaze as I found out 15 years later when a friend in the US finally tracked down a copy of the 7″ EP of Vol. 6 & 1/2 for me.

That may have explained why I couldn’t find it for over 15 years. I tried regularly, searching on-line for either the song or even the volume of the compilation series, which also didn’t seem to exist. It was top of my wish list when I visited Amoeba Records in San Francisco in 2007 but even their experienced staff couldn’t locate it on the internet or their own extensive database.

“Whirlwind” was originally released on the Brent label in the US in 1964. It was written by Jody Reynolds, a rockabilly star famous for the spooky hit “Endless Sleep” which was a #5 hit in the US a year before I was born. Jody Reynolds died on my birthday in 2008.


Here’s Day 15 of the 31 days of May New Zealand Music month Bandcamp challenge.

The Shrugs are from Hamilton. Guitar, bass, drums, and a voice. It’s a voice that sings in a New Zealand accent, and the stories are often the stuff of everyday small town New Zealand. I know Hamilton is, technically speaking, a Big City. But whenever I’ve been there it has a small town feel. Just on a very large scale.

I saw The Shrugs play down in Dunedin at Chick’s Hotel (which is just outside Dunedin itself) a few years ago. They were fun and they were funny. Their kind of self-deprecating humour worked around the minimalist garage pop they make. The songs also have some elements of classic melodic power pop, but on the economy setting. Full of clever hooks but never overblown. ‘Skinny Arms’ is a perfect example. Seeing the girl of your dreams walking down the road with a knuckle-dragger boyfriend and thinking ‘But what can I do to make it all right?/ I’ve got two skinny arms to hold you tight.’