Indonesian Junk are one of those bands that, on the surface, have seemed to get better over time. Their self-titled debut album was a bit of a mess with rough production values. Hampered further by a sloppy vocal, it was the kind of record that would only ever find love among the most die-hard garage rock fans. Their second LP featured much sharper songs which truly showed a band with great promise and their third release (2018’s ‘Darkness Calling’), although essentially a stop-gap EP, demonstrated a world of sharp riffs and even sharper attitude. It resulting in a release that truly – and finally – showed Indonesian Junk to be a riff-heavy trio that could take on New York Dolls at their best. With 2019’s full length ‘Spiderbites’ more than keeping up momentum, it seemed as if Indonesian Junk had really hit their stride.
Sheffield duo Get The Fuck Outta Dodge are one of the best two piece garage punk outfits ever. Their fuzz heavy debut LP ‘Climbin’ Higher Than King Kong’ valued heavy fuzz over almost everything and by combining intensive riffs with a dual vocal attack, their barrage of crashy noises and shouting made an instant impression. It wasn’t especially original, but between some massively sweary hooks and lo-fi sounds it managed to be the best hardcore influenced noise since Mongol Horde unleashed their debut LP in 2014.
With five tracks of riff-heavy and fairly trashy hard rock, The Hÿss sound particularly assured on their 2020 release ‘Extraterrestrial’. Although claiming stoner rock roots, this recording shows off much less of the genre’s typically fuzzy sound, preferring instead to latch onto several crushing, concrete infused riffs. Any stoner intents are more likely to come from the disc’s lyrical content; one that drops the listener straight into a self-made world of spaceships, alien creatures and disco monsters. Although not necessarily coming from the same musical roots, in terms of concept, this is an EP that would make the Misfits and The Groovie Ghoulies proud.
It took Milwaukee garage punk trio three releases to strike gold. Their debut album was ragged beyond belief and very much an acquired taste; its follow up, 2017’s ‘Stars In The Night’ took their hybrid of garage rock, punk and sleaze up a notch, and although it included a couple of far superior songs, it would still be a stretch to call it an essential listen. With 2018’s ‘Darkness Calling’, they finally released a disc that showed their true potential as heirs to the Johnny Thunders and New York Dolls legacies. Its blend of trashy riffs, big choruses and party attitude deserved to be appreciated by fans of a proto-punk sound everywhere.
Hi/Jack’s 2016 album ‘No Cover’ is one of those records that lacks something. Across its forty minutes, the duo pound through eleven tracks that blend a garage punk aesthetic with furious metal riffs. They certainly couldn’t be accused of approaching their work in a half-arsed way, but it shows why the guitar/drums/no bass set up is perfect for a purer garage rock sound but not much else. When applied to music that should be given the full bells and whistles approach – as with the semi-metallic influences that infuse most of Max Liam’s guitar playing – the lo-fi approach just sounds shoddy.