Mikal Cronin – Self-titled

Out of the same scene that birthed Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, The Fresh and Onlys, Sic Alps and many more noteworthy acts comes Mikal Cronin. Some may be familiar with his work in Moonhearts whose s/t full length (Tic Tac Totally, 2010) proved to be a garage punk barnburner. Well, now he’s giving us 10 new tracks of solo material that combines elements of folk, garage, psych, surf, grunge, and even some middle eastern sounds. With that many genre references, one might think that the album’s a disjointed affair, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Cronin combines his influences seamlessly to create a sound that’s simultaneously referential and incredibly fresh. The songs on this album boom with youthful exuberance, but they’re also clearly arranged by an experienced player. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that Cronin’s friend and occasional collaborator Ty Segall is producing the album. Cronin’s also summoned the help of Eric Bauer of Royal Baths and Ty Segall to man the tape machine, and John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees makes a guest appearance. San Francisco’s always been a hot bed for good music, but there seems to be something really special going on in the city right now, and Cronin’s right in the thick of it. Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut comes out on Trouble in Mind September 20th, 2011. Check out a couple songs from the album below – “Get Along” and “Apathy.”

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Jacuzzi Boys – Glazin’

Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys are following up their debut LP No Seasons with an album they’re calling Glazin’. The new album will be put out through Hardly Art and will offer up 10 new garage punk anthems. The boys spent more time in the studio recording this one – 12 days in Benton Harbor, MI at Key Club Studios, and the record promises a fuller sound with just a bit of a spit shine. Check out “Cool Vapors” below, which is an excellent example of the Jacuzzi Boys’ brand of garagey power pop. Expect to see Glazin’ in stores August 30th, 2011, just in time for the tail end of Summer.

Here’s the tracklist:

1. Vizcaya
2. Automatic Jail
3. Glazin’
4. Cool Vapors
5. Libras and Zebras
6. Crush
7. Silver Sphere (Death Dream)
8. Zeppelin
9. Los Angeles
10. Koo Koo with You

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Fungi Girls – Some Easy Magic

The Texas-based Fungi Girls are a group of youngsters (all of the members are under 21) who have been raising some eyebrows with their mix of garage, surf, and psych rock. Combining reverb, fuzz pedals, and bubblegum pop hooks, these kids do a great job recreating the hazy sounds of yesteryear with enough of a modern take to keep things interesting. Yet, while their new album Some Easy Magic features some excellent vintage guitar tones with catchy songs, there are a few moments that sound all too familiar. The main riff of “Honey Face” sounds awfully similar to the 13th Floor Elevators “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and “Lucie” gives me the impression Ty Segall’s Lemons is in heavy rotation for the Fungi Girls (listen to “Die Tonight” and tell me otherwise). It’s inevitable that chord progressions get recycled in this genre, but it’s difficult to tell whether these are intentional nods, blatant pickpocketing, or none of the above. Nevertheless, despite these couple moments of musical deja vu, Fungi Girls manage to create a unique sound for the garage world through their combination of subdued vocals and energetic guitars. It all meshes sonically to create a blend that feels as familiar as it does new, and these kids clearly have an ear for good tunes and catchy hooks. It will be interesting to see how they develop over time as they resist the urge to emulate their heroes and develop their own ideas and sound more fully. Definitely a band to watch. Fungi Girls’ sophomore album Some Easy Magic is out now on Hozac Records. Have a listen to “Velvet Days” and “Lucie” below.

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Human Eye – They Came From the Sky

Detroit’s Human Eye recently released their third full-length on Sacred Bones Records entitled They Came From the Sky. Fronted by Timmy Vulgar (Timmy’s Organism, Clone Defects), Human Eye plays a monstrous combination of psych and proto-punk with science fiction inspired lyrics, which makes listening to Human Eye kind of like watching an old sci-fi B-film on acid, or so I assume. They Came From the Sky features a wide range of sounds throughout the album – heavy bursts of effects-laden guitars, simple punk chugging, slow psych meltdowns, and the occasional electronic embellishment – all of which combine to create Human Eye’s dystopic future-punk soundscape. The lyrical content may be a little tough to chew for those who can’t embrace its campy absurdity, but for the rest of us, Human Eye’s They Came From the Sky makes for an extremely entertaining listen. Check out “Junkyard Heart” below, which happens to be one of the most aggressive and trippy songs on the album.

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Purling Hiss – Lounge Lizards 12″

Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss has released another 6 songs through the fine folks at Mexican Summer. The 12″ is titled Lounge Lizards and offers up more of the blown-out rock and roll we’ve come to expect from these guys.  If you’re not familiar with Purling Hiss, you should know that their recordings have been steeped for hours in low-fidelity fuzz, so these songs demand some work from the listener, but if you forge through it, Purling Hiss certainly rewards your efforts. Often they come across as a lo-fi Dinosaur Jr., with Polizze and company’s giant distorted guitars breaking through the tape hiss, a sound especially present on “The Hoodoo”, which strikes a compromise between some of the band’s poppier sensibilities and their affinity to psychedelic noise. Have a listen to “The Hoodoo” from Purling Hiss’s Lounge Lizards 12″ below.

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Night Beats – S/T

Everything’s bigger in … Seattle? Night Beats may hail from the Pacific Northwest, but their self-titled full-length is 100% Texas psych rock worship. As Trouble In Mind states in the press-release “Any number of bands cite 60’s Texas psych as an influence, but rarely does a group actually capture what made those bands special.” I concur. The band proudly wears their influences on their sleeves, with echoes of the 13th Floor Elevators and Golden Dawn ringing loudly on this release, and they’ve really got the sound nailed. Yet still, despite their glaringly obvious influences, Night Beats plays with such intensity that it’d be foolish to simply write them off as retro pastiche. The guitar work on this album is explosive, with blistering solos throughout, and though some tracks stay a bit purer to their roots, other times they come across as fellow revivalists The Black Angels jamming out with Thee Oh Sees and Jack White. If you’re a fan of Texas pysch and blazing guitars, Night Beats should give you the trip you’re searching for. Check out some videos for “Ain’t Dumbo” and “Useless Game” below.

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Bleached – Carter 7″

California’s all-girl punk group Mika Miko may no longer be active, but a couple of their members (Jesse and Jennifer Clavin) have gone on to form Bleached, who have recently put out a 7″ entitled Carter through Art Fag Recordings. These two songs take the previous punk energy of Mika Miko and inject it with both a smidge of surf and a healthy dose of the Ramones to create some pretty catchy tunes. Simple progressions of power chords drive these tracks along, but the standout moments occur when they open up the songs to breathe and offer up an infectious interplay between guitar and bass, as exemplified on”Think of You.” This is simple, solid, girl-fronted punk rock that’ll be the perfect backdrop for the upcoming sun-filled days of summer. You can check out the aforementioned “Think of You” below.

 

If you happen to be in California, you can check out Bleached at one of their two upcoming shows in July. Details are listed below.

7/2/11 – Half Off Books – Whittier, CA – 6:00 PM
7/31/11 – The Smell – Los Angeles, CA – 9:00 PM

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