(Before It's News)
Bongo Boy has released another album featuring tracks from one of my favorite genres, Garage Rock and they have asked me to share my thoughts regarding the album. So, it is with high expectations I cue up a pre-release copy of Out Of the Garage Volume 3.
First up is the Doug MacDonald Band with their song Jacks Joke Shop - This is a great track! Firstly, I like the pounding drums and the buzz of the guitar. What really makes me smile though is the fact that Doug has managed to incorporate the old "Pull my finger" joke into the song. He isn't done there though, he also manages to bring up Mickey Mouse kazoos and whoopee cushions. Who says Punks don't have a sense of humor.
Track 2 - The Sloths - One Way Out - Out of the box I like these guys, because they have such a cool name. (Of course this is coming from a guy whose ex-wife insisted that my Indian name would be Lazy Pig...). The Sloths are not afraid to play less than thrash speed music. This is a strange song that I actually really like. The closest description I can think of is Charlie Daniels' demented cousin. The Sloths have some serious story telling chops although whereas Daniels sings about patriotism and vigilante justice, the Sloths describe a dystopia that would make Margaret Atwood nod in agreement. (If you are wondering who Margaret Atwood is, read her story The Handmaid's Tale).
Track 3 - British Invasion All Stars - Shapes Of Things - Man, what a great song! The name of the band says it all. This track is pure British Invasion. Weird psychedelic guitars and haunting harmonies. I find myself thinking that perhaps this is a dusty track from the past. I really like the guitar! Despite the Flower Child vibe, this is a rocking song that I will listen to over and over.
(featuring members of The Yardbirds, Procol Harum, Jimi Hendrix, Experience, The Pretty Things, The Creation, Downliners Sect and Nashville Teens)
Track 4 - Susan SurfTone - Bottom Of My Glass - Up front I have to say, I really like Susan's music. She can ROCK. I love music like this. Bands like Susan's or the Gore Gore Girls really make me smile. Why you ask? Simple, so many idiots seem to think women can't rock. Well, listen to Susan SurfTone and tell me women can't rock. Ha! This chick blows the roof off - and I love it! Man, I would love to see her live show. What fantastic guitar work, really this is great stuff.
Track 5 - Kyla - Don't Ya Worry 'bout Me - Kyla has a very good voice. Personally, I could listen to her sing all day. She just grooves; she has enough snarl in her voice to be provocative. All in all Kyla provides the listener with a pleasant musical escape - she also make me laugh. The Mr. Ed imitation along with the Bela Lugosiesque singing of the word fangs cracks me up. The thing that makes this song fun is that the listener has the feeling that Kyla is in on the joke. Lest, you are tempted to think this song might devolve into a parody, the moments of humor are just that, moments from which Kyla quickly returns to her signature strong soulful expression of emotion. All in all Kyla made me smile and I enjoyed her song. Give it a listen. I think you will like it too.
Track 6 - Barley Station - Must Be Something - I dig the rhythm and the minimalist guitar around the edges are really nice. I find myself nodding my head in time to the drummer's enthusiastic pounding. Lest you think this song is simply an infectious rhythm, I should mention that the vocals are really...sweet. The singer has a very nice voice that somehow blends in well with the incessant banging of the drums.
Track 7 - Pamela Davis - You Make Me Feel Special - This track starts off with a funky groove that really got my attention. The vocals are good, but, for me, what makes this song is that I can easily imagine a young band cutting their teeth on this track. The music is fairly simple yet when all of the pieces come together the end result is a really good jam. I think the most difficult part of this song for any young band would be getting the vocals right. Nevertheless, I love songs like this because they are simply pure rock and roll. (I even dig the little out take at the end.)
Track 8 - The Forty Nineteens - I'm Free - First off, I dig the Forty Nineteens. If you have not heard their version of Frosty the Snowman, I strongly recommend you give it a listen.
LISTEN to this song! This is one of the best, garage/ rock songs I have heard. Man, the guitar is just outrageously intense. I swear I hear some old R&B keyboards way in the back. The singer has such an intense, emotion-filled voice with which he proclaims his joy at having recently been released from a less than desirable situation; I just can't help but smile and wish him well.
Track 9 - Mark Lindsay - New Thing - I became a Mark Lindsay fan when I reviewed his album Life Out Loud. If you have not heard it, you really should give the record a listen. I freely admit that if you had told me about Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere & the Raiders five years ago, I would have laughed and asked if he was still wearing that stupid blue three cornered hat. Live and learn is all I can say. This track is absolutely fantastic. Similar to the above mentioned album, this track features really strong vocals and blistering guitar! Add in the grinding, gnarly groove and what you have is simply magic! This is my favorite song on the entire album. Well, done Mark, well done indeed!
Track 10 - Nick Marr - Tell Me Why - Killer! I dig the intro with the lone guitar cranking out the riff. In come the vocals and the rest of the band and all I can do is grin. Watch out, a wicked lick might sneak up on you. These guys are having so much fun, I find myself wishing I was in this band. This track is a true rock and roll gem.
Track 11 - Susan SurfTone - Up Down and All Around - Susan is back with a 2:30 blast of
intensity. This song has an almost Doo Wop feel until Susan really plugs in and kicks out a blinding guitar jam. Man, I still want to see Susan live! Her show must be brilliant.
Track 12 - Spyder Darling - New York Walkabout - What a cool song. I keep asking myself is this song a cover? There is a definite Lou Reed vibe here. The vocals are nothing short of haunting; the background vocals provide a stark contrast to the lead vocals and together they simply smoke. The underlying grinding rhythm is enthralling as the rest of the band grinds in time and the vocals resonate with pain. This combined with the almost orchestral sounds in the background make one realize this track is much deeper than one would think.
Track 13 - Gar Francis - Rainy Day Women #12 &35 - How exactly do you cover a legend? Especially a legend built on the solid foundation of aggressive intellect? I am not sure I can answer that question, but what I can say is that Gar Francis knows the answer! Listen to this song. Gar has taken a sip from the cup of the gods. Gar is a wicked player who can get some nasty, gritty sounds out of his guitar. The vocals have a decidedly menacing snarl which are dripping with sarcasm. Simply put, it takes a punk to cover the proto-punk. Gar is that punk. Listen to this song and tell me if I am wrong. I give this track 5 out of 5 scowls.
Track 14 - Zombie Garden Club - A Whiter Shade Of Pale ft. Johnny Douglas - I was excited to listen to the Zombie Garden Club's newest single which is a cover of Procol Harum's 1967 single A Whiter Shade of Pale. I was unsure how Johnny Douglas, the head Zombie in the club, would handle such an iconic song. (Johnny, before I listened to the track I half expected something similar to Marilyn Manson's cover of Come Together or Siouxsie and The Banshees cover of Dear Prudence.) Simply put, this song is nothing like either of those covers, although a strong case can be made that Siouxsie's version of Dear Prudence is quite beautiful. Listen to this song. You will be amazed. If I were to sum up the Zombie Garden Club's cover of A Whiter Shade of Pale in one word that word would be beautiful.
There is really nothing more to say. The piano is beautiful and his vocals will send a chill down your spine. I am literally speechless. I could go on about the soulfulness of his voice or the fact that Johnny studied classical music for several years in his native Canada, but sometimes it is best to simply let the music speak for itself. Listen to this song. You will be blown away. I was.
Track 15 - The Chords UK - Dedicated Follower of Fashion - God I love rock and roll! This song is great. The music is fun and energetic while the vocals are just over the top and dripping with good old Punk irony. I have a feeling that these guys put on a really fun show!
So folks, what is the bottom line you ask? The bottom line is the third time really is the charm. While each of the Out of the Garage albums is good, in my mind, this one is the best! ---- The Grouch