And now for something completely different, an alt-country supergroup, a blend of words not often found in music. But it’s quite true! Diamond Rugs consists of two members of alt country gods, Deer Tick, Ian Saint Pe of The Black Lips, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate and Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite. With this lineup, the mind immediately goes to some deep Southern punk rock. Well, not too far off. However, there’s something so much more interesting about this band, taking the ever so cliche country lyrics (their song, “I’m So Lonely” is pretty much the standard) but they put it to music that is much more relatable to their captive audience, and somehow they make it listenable. Deer Tick is a deep Southern rock band, full of floor stomping , jangly guitars and harsh voices–and the two members from the group bring that same flavor to Diamond Rugs but instead put it into a more alt-country garage rock mixture. This may sound like the worst mix of music in all of existence, but listening to songs like “Motherland” and “Gimme a Beer”, brings this niche genre together–for they make it possible to cross two genres that should have never met, and they produced an album that people from both genres could appreciate and listen to. With rough sounding, whiskey soaked vocals, harmonica, and some guitars, Diamond Rugs is just a fun supergroup that probably doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Their songs for hipsters are like looking into a whole other world, one that they’ve opened up. Truly, the self titled album is just fun, and in the summer months, what’s better than cranking up some dirty Southern garage rock while people stare at you awkwardly from cars because you’re air drumming?
Now, I don’t proclaim to know that much about punk music, but I do know when I enjoy it, and garage punk rockers, Bad Sports is the perfect music for running around during the summer. Since I just graduated from college, I was looking for some music that I could just fully rock out to that would make me forget that I have to be an adult now. From Denton, Texas this trio understands the art of punk music–quick, short head banging songs bring this short album to a mere 31 minutes. However, it’s the essence of punk, isn’t it? The Ramones and The Clash barely have songs lasting longer than 2-3 minutes, but each song Kings Of the Weekend is full of great musicality and catchy tunes that could easily go against an indie song that lasts 3-4 minutes. Playing at SXSW in 2011, Bad Sports is rising to the occasion; and while Pitchfork called their music, “bubblegum-punk”, it is more the fact that these punk songs are actually musical instead of guitars thrashing about that makes it even more listenable. There are thousands of punk bands that don’t have the lyrical and melodic aspects to the music, and while some may like that, it’s completely unlistenable to me. Bad Sports takes the essence of punk music and turns it sideways and makes it enjoyable. Garage punk has formed its own class in the indie world, bands like Black Lips, The Hives, and The Strokes have made the genre popular again, and Bad Sports can most definitely hold their own within that genre. This review is short and sweet, much like Bad Sports’ album.
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Immediately different from most of the music I’m currently listening to, Spectrals’ Bad Penny hits me like a ton of bricks in such a great way. Instantly detected is the amount of influence from 60′s doo-wop blended with garage rock that graces this album and inspires me to blog about it. British artist, Louis Jones is Spectrals and has been recording under said alias since the 2009 time period when Best Coast started releasing her singles. Both have that surf guitar reverb sound that attracted people so much and started that wave of beach rock that Best Coast and Wavves triumphed on. However, Spectrals seems to go a little unnoticed. Eaily listenable, clocking in under 30 minutes, this album is perfect for a short car trip with the windows down and the sun in your face. It’s one of the those records you have to bob your head too, especially on main tracks like, “Get a Grip” or “Big Baby”. The doo-wop is completely noticeable but he’s basically remade another indie sub genre (like it needs anymore), but the lo-fi, fuzzy guitars take it to a whole other level of great music. It’s hard to blend genres that have no right being blended, but Jones does it in a manner that allows the listener to soothe into it, while some songs are more prominently garage rock and others more doo-wop (definitely shown on “Many Happy Returns”). According to last.fm, he is mostly similar to artists like Veronica Falls, Fair Ohs and Big Troubles–which all completely makes sense–that beachy guitar fuzz plays a major factor in the album, but it’s such a branched off genre that to add him to that list cuts him off from the nostalgic 60′s beach, doo-wop genre that he so brilliantly put together. But, listen to him, make your own opinion, did he make it possible for two completely opposite genres to converge to create a head jingly album?
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