By crediting themselves as “garage pop from the desert”, French Girls instantly disarm the listener by suggesting there will be an obvious pop (or power pop) element to their sound. On this self-titled EP from 2021, any allusions to making obvious pop sounds are fleeting and most sugary melodies are quickly kicked to the kerb with a hefty amount of distortion. Although you will find an occasional nod to Phil Spector girl groups, such moments are delivered with a massive sneer. This EP is raw, attitude filled and sometimes ugly. From a garage punk perspective, it’s also brilliant.
Somewhere near the beginning of their career, blues duo Black Pistol Fire released ‘Big Beat ’59’, a raw as hell album that cast them in a musical mould somewhere between The White Stripes and The Dead Exs. It didn’t always show a lot of invention in terms of garage blues, but it had a lot of balls, resulting in the kind of rough and ready record that should’ve appealed to all lovers of the style. The albums which followed showed a slight musical progression each time, along with a slightly slicker sound and the suggestion of a slightly bigger budget. This culminated in the release of 2017’s ‘Deadbeat Graffiti’ where the expected Black Pistol Fire raucousness was tempered by far more of an indie rock/blues hybrid sound in places. It was a sound that suited the band well, and on tracks like ‘Fever Breaks’ and ‘Bully’ they even appeared to give Arctic Monkeys a run for their money.
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.
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.
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.