The Electric Mess – The Beast is You

New York City’s The Electric Mess return with their 4th album chock full of blistering rock ‘n roll, punk anthems, and garage rock freak outs. The band’s been at it for over a decade and this familiarity with each other bears stunning fruit on The Beast is You. The band is led by frontwoman Esther Crow with Dan Crow (guitar), Oweinama Biu (keyboards, vocals), Derek Davidson (bass) and Alan J. Camlet (drums). That lineup is mostly the same as it was on their last record, with a change on drums. Alan J. Camlet fits within the band’s framework nicely, providing a propulsive, steady backbeat. Hard to believe it has been over 4 years since I’ve reviewed this band (and this review is long overdue) – but holy hell, it was worth the wait. The Beast is You is my favorite album by the band to date.

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RunHideFight – He’s A Jerk b/w Because I Love You

Philadelphia’s RunHideFight are a breath of fresh air and are a fitting band to kick off 2019 reviews with. This is their first release, a 2 song 7 inch that clocks in under 5 minutes total – but what an incredible blast of brilliance to introduce themselves with. The band features Geeta Dalal Simons on guitars & vocals, Christine Weiswer on bass & vocals, John Terlesky (aka Brother JT) on guitars & vocals, and Jon Kois on drums. Collectively, the members of the band have a ton of connections and experience playing in the Philadelphia region with various bands. After a decade+ away from the music scene Geeta Simons was ready for a return – now approaching the music with the perspective of being a parent. It makes for interesting and heartfelt approach. The band name? That’s the new stop drop and roll for kids – run hide fight is a catch phrase for active shooter situations in schools across America. The new normal.  The band excels at fuzzed out garage rock rave ups. He’s A Jerk is the A side and it is a noisy 2 minutes of white noise bliss. The band is locked in sync and I’ll tell ya, Geeta’s scream is absolutely killer.  Because I Love You has a slightly less aggressive approach with a sing-a-long vibe and catchy guitar riff pulsating throughout the entirety of the tune. I can’t wait for the full length.

You can buy the single here – physical copies or digital. Follow the band on The Social Network and if you are near a major Northeast city, keep your eyes open for their tour schedule.

Verdict: Fiery debut

For Fans of: The Raveonettes, The Sonics, The Runaways, R.E.M.

Pierced Arrows – This is the Day

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

This past weekend I finally had a chance to see Pierced Arrows in Portland, OR at a co-headlining show with The Sonics. Featuring Fred & Toody Cole, it exceeded my wildest expectations. The friend I went with was familiar with The Sonics (who hasn’t heard the best version of Louie Louie ever laid to wax?), but wasn’t too familiar with Pierced Arrows. The best I could come up with was “a punk rock version of Neil Young w/ male + female vocals. Also, they are peers of Neil Young”. Something like that, and certainly doesn’t do the band justice. Singer / guitarist Fred Cole has led many bands, the most famous being Dead Moon. He also led Portland punk stalwarts The Rats, the early 70’s hard rock band Zipper, and became famous with his first band in the late 60’s – The Lollipop Shoppe / The Weeds (band name was changed from The Weeds). Pierced Arrows were formed when Dead Moon ground to a halt in 2006, after being active since 1987. Featuring Fred Cole on guitar & vocals, Toody Cole on bass & vocals, and Kelly Halliburton on drums, they are a slightly less shambolic unit than Dead Moon were and feature some of my favorite songs the Cole’s & company have laid to tape. This is the Day features emotionally bare vocals from both of the Coles as well as an infectious punk rock chorus. It encapsulates everything that makes the band so great. Starting anew, putting past mistakes to rest – lyrically, it is universally resonant. Thankfully they played it when I got to see them live, and they absolutely nailed it. It is a performance that will stay with me forever. The song can be found on the band’s 2010 record, Descending Shadows. It’s a great entry point for the wonderful world of the Coles, and you’ll find yourself collecting every one of the records these great musicians have been involved with.

The Sonics – This Is the Sonics

ThisIstheSonics

A couple of weeks ago in the city of Seattle, WA I bore witness to an aural assault not witnessed since the last time I saw Mudhoney live and in the flesh. That I had just taken part in the live Mudhoney experience just 30 minutes earlier has no bearing on what I am saying. The Sonics – forefathers to garage rock, punk, and grunge were headlining a star-studded affair to launch the release of their 1st full length album in 49 years, This Is The Sonics. Rooted in the 60’s, yet sounding delightfully abrasive and modern, it was easily one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the privilege of attending. Do you know how sometimes artists will insist on playing their new songs and the audience is polite until the better known tracks come along? The Sonics didn’t have to worry about that – the batch of new songs slot in well alongside their covers of Louie, Louie and garage rock classics / originals such as The Witch and Strychnine. In fact, I think quite a few younger bands would do well to see The Sonics and take notes on how to deliver raw, energetic songs that still have the ability to engage with the audience on a visceral level.

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The Sonics – Louie Louie

The Sonics

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

If you were to ask me where the roots of Seattle grunge lie (and you are reading this, aren’t you?), I’d tell you to look 40 miles to the south in the city of Tacoma and go back in time to the mid 60’s. The Pacific Northwest music scene was a vibrant community that leaned towards the garage rock end of the spectrum. The Sonics were rougher than all of their peers, sounding truly possessed on their records. Abrasive (though melodic) sax by Rob Lind was part of their signature sound, along with Gerry Rosalie’s unhinged vocals. Rounding out the classic line-up were the Parypa brothers – Larry on guitar, Andy on bass, and Bob Bennett on drums. For the recording of their 2nd record, Boom, The Sonics ripped the sound proofing off the walls at Wiley / Griffith studios in Tacoma to get a rawer sound. The cover photo for the record, of course, is one of the most famous record sleeves in history – the handiwork of Jini Dellaccio.  An exhilarating mix of covers and originals, it features the definitive version of Richard Berry’s Louie Louie. Originally an R&B hit from 1955, it was covered in the early 60’s by The Wailers, The Kingsmen, The Beach Boys, and Paul Revere & The Raiders. All of those versions are great and stand on their own – but they pale in comparison to the aggressive version offered up by The Sonics in 1966. A fuzz drenched guitar riff opens the tune with Rosalie’s entering the mix at the 7 second mark sounding like a man absolutely possessed. This is THE definitive version of this song, sounding like a precursor to punk AND grunge. It should be mentioned that even later versions by punk legends Motorhead and Black Flag don’t sound this aggressive. Lind’s sax lines keep the tune from falling apart, while the band creates a storm of white noise. Absolute perfection. I’m looking forward to seeing this performed live by The Sonics at their Seattle show in April (with Mudhoney opening up!).

The Electric Mess – House On Fire

The Electric MessThe Electric Mess hail from New York City and embrace the ethos of honest, in your face Rock ‘n’ Roll. This isn’t a revival – this is music that could have been recorded at any point in the last 45 years or so. The band describes lead singer Esther Crow as “androgynous and dynamic” which is an apt description for her unique affectations. The band also features Dan Crow on lead guitar, Derek Davidson on bass & vocals, Craig Rogers on drums, and Oweinama Biu on keyboards & rhythm guitar. Garage punk mixed with a bit of The Doors? Think along those lines, and you might be getting warm.

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Mudhoney – You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)

YouGotIt

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

At some point I’d imagine this section of the site could turn into “Mudhoney Corner”. For 26 years now, the band has cranked out punk-garage-grunge rock at a healthy clip. Saturday the 15th of February I had a chance to see the band live for the 2nd time in 7 months. A certain benefit to living in the Seattle region is that Mudhoney plays local shows at a regularly, even when not touring the US. I missed out on their opening slot for the sold out Pearl Jam show, and I couldn’t make their small gig at Full Tilt Ice Cream a few months ago so you could say that I was determined not to miss this show at the Tractor Tavern. The show didn’t disappoint – Mudhoney displayed a youthful vigor that would put bands half their age to shame. What had me smiling the most was watching the band (late 40’s to early 50’s) spit out punk rock gems with absolute glee on their faces. “You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)” was originally released as a single in 1989 and appears on the extended SuperFuzz Bigmuff EP as well as the self titled debut full length. A catchy intro, with lyrics that initially seem positive, it builds to a chorus that is anthem for the ages. This song came out as grunge was exploding, but to these ears it sounds like garage rock with punk attitude. The band is on fire – Mark Arm’s vocals are menacing, Steve Turner’s guitar is melodic yet heavy, Matt Lukin’s bass is perfect, and Dan Peters lends an almost jazzy feel to the drums. What initially sounds like praise – “They say you’ve got it / I see you got it / You got it good” quickly turns to condemnation of the braggart stance “You got it / Damn right you got it / SO WHAT / KEEP IT OUTTA MY FACE”. This, my friends is punk and garage rock perfection. It was one of the highlights for me at the show last weekend, so I’ve embedded the studio version as well as a version from a relatively recent concert. It sounds just as incredible in 2014 as it did in 1989.