HI/JACK – Rank And File EP

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.

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45 RALLY – Tweets For My Sweet

With a truckload of 60s riffs, an organ sound stolen from ? & The Mysterians and a frivolous sense of humour, 45 Rally deliver something special on their 2019 release ‘Tweets For My Sweet’. Not only do their sounds serve up a few lovingly created homages to a garage rock past, but they juxtapose their love of the retro with the more modern concept of social media used for malicious purposes.

As the title more than hints, ‘Tweets For My Sweet’ blends the familiar concept of 60s teenage love and other things with a bunch of Donald Trump’s most awful tweets, creating a potent mix of retro sounds and sensationalism. Not that 45 Rally use any of this to create any big(ly) political statements – more as a springboard for hooky choruses and fun. Obviously, though, when it’s made so obvious how and where the songs got their names, there’ll always be a certain feeling of commentary…even if, as in this case, its more of an impish subversiveness.

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THE MAD DOCTORS – RIP EP

After the release of The Mad Doctors’ second album (the excellent ‘No Waves, Just Sharks‘), the Brooklyn garage rockers released a few standalone tracks that helped cement their cult status. Nearer the end of that year, their ‘Yeungling Malmsteen’ showed off their uglier side on a number loaded with buzzsaw guitar riffs and a world of distortion; 2018’s less than subtle ‘Fuck Sean Hannity’ took a rare detour into the political realm where the band sounded angrier than ever and the dark and bluesy ‘Sister Act II…’ presented some great basslines mixed with an almost space-rock trippiness.

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CHEAP GUNSLINGERS – Cheap Gunslingers

Formed in 2015 by one-time Gotohells man Edo McGrady and guitarist/performance artist Melissa DuCasse, Cheap Gunslingers set about creating a sound that blended garage rock riffs with a few power pop hooks and plenty of fuzz. By the time of recording their debut LP four years later, Melissa wasn’t such a big player within the band, appearing only on three tracks (and two of those are for backing vocals), but between McGrady’s sheer sense of drive and a pleasingly dirty sound, the Cheap Gunslingers were far from depleted.

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BASIC BITCHES – Relatable Content EP

Basic Bitches began as a band in 2014 but it would be another four years until a stable line up was established. That line up featuring Naomi Scott (gtr/vox) and Krystal Grow (drums) entered the recording studio soon after and the resulting EP ‘Relatable Content’ was released to an unsuspecting world in the Spring of 2019.

Its four numbers offer the finest in hard garage rock sounds, recorded in such a way that the loud end of the drums and the fuzz from the guitar give off a very natural and live sound. Unlike some similar bands you might come across in your quests for relatively lo-fi goodness, though, there’s just enough polish to ensure Basic Bitches don’t ever sound like they’ve been recorded on a portable cassette deck from the far end of the room.

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