Brooklyn’s Sirs&Madams is very much a band of two distinct moods. On this debut release, when not laying down thoughtful pastel sounds with an alt-folk leanings, they’re tearing it up via some chunky and melodic indie rock workouts. While this perhaps might sound a little too broad stylistically speaking, they have one absolute constant. Whether rocky or rootsy, the bulk of the material is held together by some truly outstanding performances from frontwoman Laura Gwynn. Her voice, a confident, belting array of sounds with a sheer melodic edge cutting through at all times, is one of the finest voices to appear on the DIY music scene for a very long time. It’s one of those voices that has such power, she could sing almost anything and make it sound utterly spellbinding.
At the beginning of 2015, Brooklyn’s The Rizzos released their debut EP ‘No Parents, No Rules’. Far from perfect, it showed a great promise for the future and was worth checking out for ‘Vomit Kiss’, a punky number that showed the energy within the band in a brattish and youthful manner. That glimpsed promise comes really through on this seven track cassette – issued just six months later – where The Rizzos really hit their mark consistently, blending their garage rock roots with some serious early sixties bubblegum vibes and some classy power pop.
Reappearing at the beginning of 2013 after a brief hiatus, Brooklyn’s End Men made a big statement with their second LP ‘Play With Your Toys’. From that point on, there seemed to be no stopping the blues/garage rock duo, with live shows aplenty following – including a recorded appearance at CXCW – and a quickly released compilation of odds and ends filling the gap until their next studio bookings. Released seemingly weeks after their last recordings, ‘Terms & Conditions’ picks up exactly where you’d expect, with the gravel-voiced Matthew Hendershot weaving tales of woe and drunken forboding while percussionist Livia Ranalli plays by the seat of her pants. With such a quick turnaround of material, are The End Men in danger of burning themselves out? On the basis of their 2015 release, it’s a case of anything but…
As the light faded upon the last days of 2014, Brooklyn garage-psych merchants Sun Voyager put their stamp upon the year’s last essential purchase when they dropped a few tracks as part of a split release with label mates The Greasy Hearts. The Hearts’ trashy, Stonesy energy provided the perfect foil for the Voyager’s swirling swamps of sound, and were perhaps more accessible of the two acts, but Sun Voyager’s commitment to deep psyche noise suggested there would be more great music to come from their neighbourhood in the future. ‘Lazy Daze’ (their third EP) presents the band on a bigger scale than ever before, its five numbers bringing fuzzy guitars galore, often coupled with other-worldly vocals that sound as if they’re drifting in from another room.
A lo-fi alt-rock trio from Brooklyn, The Rizzos will already be familiar to some DIY music aficionados due to their inclusion on the second King Pizza Records sampler issued in November 2014. Their track ‘Do Anything I Want You To’ celebrated the sounds of early 60s girl groups with its post-doo wop sounds, taking Phil Spector’s dream and running it through several fuzz pedals en route, ending up sounding like a restrained Kat Bjelland playing The Crystals. In just under three minutes, The Rizzos proved they had some reasonable chops, paving the way for their then upcoming release.