The Sonics

SonicsThe Sonics
‘Bad Betty’
Revox Records

We’re all used to reunions, cash ins and very vague versions of classic bands coming back to have another go at reigniting their long lost youths but as come backs go, few can challenge The Sonics for sheer ability to pick up and kick back into where they left off some forty years later!

It’s impossible to over exaggerate the influence that The Sonics had when they detonated out of Tacoma, Washington in the early sixties. Their primal fuzz, distortion and garage rock grooves was so far ahead of their time they practically invented every form of rock music that’s come since.

The Sonics have had a few reunions over the years but this coming March 31st sees the release of their first new studio album since the release of Introducing back in 1967. Titled This Is The Sonics and due to be issued through their own label, Revox, the first taster from its grooves has just been released and ‘Bad Betty’ very quickly asserts itself as a comeback worth waiting for. High energy, explosive and full of fuzz, despite fast approaching their seventies, ‘Bad Betty’ sounds like no time has passed since and The Sonics have effortlessly recaptured the energy and aggression of their teenage years.

Produced by Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Dirtbombs) and featuring original members Jerry Roslie, Larry Parypa, and Rob Lind, The Sonics also now feature Freddie Dennis from The Kingsmen and Liverpool Five, plus Dusty Watson who played with Dick Dale and Agent Orange. And if ‘Bad Betty’ is anything to go by, This Is The Sonics promises to eclipse even their early material for amp-slashing, foot stomping garage rock mania. Bring it on!

James Sherry

BC Camplight

BC_CamplightBC Camplight
‘You Should’ve Gone To School’
Bella Union

BC Camplight is the alter ego of Philadelphian songwriter Brian Christinzio, who, after releasing two eloquent psych-pop albums in the mid-00’s, now finds himself reborn into his recently adopted home of Manchester. Though this seemingly simple change of location becomes intriguing when partnered with the knowledge that his brand new album is titled, How To Die In The North. Regardless, the album’s lead track, ‘You Should’ve Gone to School’, see’s the self-proclaimed “guy who blew it” eating his own words.

Opening with a bassline that could have raised the eyebrows of Bernard Edwards himself, this single sees BC Camplight boasting inscrutable song-writing prowess. His hooks are so simple it hurts. The most prevalent being a swirling, cylindrical vocal siren that looms above the chorus, surrounded by an airy and effortless chord progression that never tires. Breaking into the verse, BC explores all manner of lyrical avenues, flying through the glass in his automobile after enduring the cold harsh stare of the creatures in the air, adding a mind bending charm to this marvellously crafted pop tune.

How to die In the North is out now on Bella Union. Check out the video bellow starring Felix the cat.

Gengahr

Gengahr
‘She’s A Witch’
Transgressive Records

gengahr_loresstevegullick__large

At the back end of 2014 it was Genghar‘s seductive Powder tune that left us salivating for more, and now the wait is over, but it’s even better. Brand new tune ‘She’s A Witch’ sees them move into pole position as one of the most exciting bands of 2015 armed yet again with vocal steez most bands can only dream of.

Some will have spectacular oracular shivers as the four piece canter towards a superb bass laden chorus that you don’t want to end. It has psych, it has pop but most of all it has sheer class. There are no donkeys here, just pure thoroughbreds, as we await an album on Transgressive sometime this year that we hope just gives even more.

This single is out on March 16th, look out for them on the road in the UK at the following dates:

Feb 25th The Eagle Inn, Manchester
Feb 26th The Waiting Room, London

GANG

gang_silverbackGANG
‘Silverback’
Sexx Tapes

Kick off the week with your ears stinging as Brighton’s GANG emerge with their treacherous head-banger of a new single, ‘Silverback’.

As soon as this monstrous riff kicks in you almost jolt 40 years back in time. These three scuzz mongers make no attempt to hide their love for ‘70s throwback octofuzz and maxed out organ tones that Jon Lord himself would surely give a tip of the hat to. Vocally, frontman Eric Tormey stands alone, howling his pained damnations high above the din.

Coated in sludge, GANG catapult into their filthy basement jam B-side with gusto. Mashing slack chord abuse against a fierce throat shredding mantra, this trio are daring you to question ‘Not A Reason’ as the ideal house party scream-along.

The ‘Silverback’ cassette also features a bonus mix by fellow Brightonite and fuzz advocate Theo Verney, grab a copy of this sludgy sleaze via Sexx Tapes from January 30th.

Viet Cong

viet_congViet Cong
‘Silhouettes’
Jagjaguwar

Fast approaching their self-titled debut album, Canada’s Viet Cong have shared a colossal new single titled ‘Silhouettes’.

Despite arriving with their deliciously lo-fi and psych’d out ‘Throw It Away’ cassette in 2013, the Calgary quartet’s latest offering sees them veering into the black with a huge post-punk synth sound and grinding bass guitar riffs.

Their clashing guitar chords almost recall of Silent Alarm-era indie before Matt Flegel’s damaged croon soars high above the din into a shimmering pre-chorus, shining a piercing light into the sinister gloom Viet Cong show such prowess in conjuring.

‘Silhouettes’ follows the equally affecting ‘Continental Shelf’ with gusto, find both singles on their forthcoming self titled album, due January 19th on Jagjaguwar.

Francisco The Man

Francisco The Man
‘It’s Not Your Fault’
Fat Possum

Francisco_The_Man

Combining dreamy shoegaze-pop with a dose of high end, 90s indie rock, LA’s Francisco The Man have not only released a beautifully crafted track in ‘It’s Not Your Fault’ but also delivered a video to remember to go with it.

Director Alec Nicholas is said to have mimicked his own self obsessions with online viewing to get the most out of his work on this production. The story line is based around an internet stalker whose problem rises to shocking levels with an unhappy ending.

This band may not be a household name here in the UK yet but if their debut album Loose Ends is made up of more songs as amazing as this then 2015 will be their year.

OFF!

jackblack

This will probably go down as one of the funniest music videos of 2014 and of course it’s coming from hardcore legends OFF! who have a habit of rolling out videos you will never forget.

In their new video for ‘Over Our Heads‘ they literally hit the jackpot for LOL’s. Jack Black stars as a stage diving coach, acid is taken, blood is spilled, bears go nuts, mutilation occurs, it’s amazing!Just hit play and wait for part two!

Crushed Beaks

crushed_beaks
Crushed Beaks
‘Rising Sign’
Matilda Records

Even as a two-piece, London’s Crushed Beaks harboured a wide and expansive sound on record, now joined by Scott Bowley on bass duties, their chugging riffs sound mightier than ever before.

Let new single ‘Rising Sign’ set the standards – two and a half minutes of relentless chord bashing leaves your ears under severe tension, yet the sugared tones of Matthew Poile’s vocal cut through the mix with vigour, hurling his simple but sincere mantra into the foreground.

‘Rising Sign’ is taken from Crushed Beaks’ upcoming debut album Scatter, due for release on February 9th 2015 via the band’s own label, Matilda Records.

January Live Dates 2015

14th Leeds, Nation of Shopkeepers
16th Sheffield, Great Gatsby
17th Manchester, Kraak Gallery

Bonfire Nights

Bonfire_NightsBonfire Nights
‘Ego Death’
Bad Vibrations

How could you refuse four aussies decision to juxtapose their psychedelic rock music with old footage from Soul Train? Wonder no longer as Bonfire Nights arrive with their new single, ‘Ego Death’.

Despite their trivial visuals, Bonfire Night’s aural offerings are sincere and cocksure. An alchemic groove transpires as organs purr, harmonies soar and riffs cascade around your vulnerable ears. Naturally, ‘Ego Death’s cool tempo reaches a breaking point where it can plod no longer, switching to double time fuzz for a coda of space-rock-epic proportions.

Bonfire Nights release ‘Ego Death’ as part of a split 7” with Tripwires this December 8th via Bad Vibrations. Catch them at The Shacklewell Arms this month.

The Proper Ornaments

now_i_understand_ the_proper_ornamentsThe Proper Ornaments
‘Now I Understand’
Fortuna Pop Records

There was a time this year when the only time I could hear this track was on Marc Riley’s 6Music radio show. I searched high and low for it online, like a hopeless addict, thinking that someone, somewhere would have uploaded it, but no. It was a wait that I had to endure until it legally emerged on their debut LP Wooden Head but it was worth the wait.

Since then, ‘Now I Understand’ has been on repeat weekly. It’s like driving an old American car that’s been rusting and dusty under a sheet for 20 years. You find her, start her up, cruise until you reach your destination with a smile on your face and then re-take the journey back to the beginning all over again because it felt so good.

One of the best tracks of the year for these ears. All hail.

Zac