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.
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.
Recorded in a day during the summer of 2018, Indonesian Junk’s ‘Darkness Calling’ EP presents the sound of a band who’ve finally matured. They sounded incredibly ragged on their debut from just two years earlier; 2017’s follow up ‘Stars In The Night‘ was sharper in almost every respect but stlll hit and miss, but three of the four tracks on this third release make good on previous glimmers of hope and half-promises – musically, Indonesian Junk finally sound like heirs to the New York Dolls and Dictators legacies.
A yearly tradition, the Real Gone Sampler is one of the most popular things in our calendar. In previous years, we’ve given away great music by Kurt Baker, The 1957 Tail Fin Fiasco and Black Moth. Every year, the project rounds up the very best in DIY acts and aims to get great music out to a new audience.
On occasion, we’ve even been lucky enough to give you two end of year samplers. This year, the download is only one disc long, but we bring you over seventy minutes of underground sounds. We’ve got dream pop, shoegaze, roots rock, garage rock, singer songwriters and a whole bunch more. It could just be the best Real Gone freebie to date.
As always, reviews for each album can be found behind the band name links.
Sleeve art designed by Elena Barrio.
Whether conjuring memories of ‘Surrender’ by Cheap Trick – the song from which this US band have taken their name – or Manic Street Preachers’ deliberately provocative 1991 single ‘Motown Junk’ (how many bands would dare to snipe “I laughed when Lennon got shot!” in little over a decade since the former Beatle’s assassination?), there’s something edgy and exciting about the word junk. Whether meaning trashy or the slang for heroin, it has a certain connotation. However, Indonesian Junk really aren’t as spiky or as confrontational as their chosen moniker suggests. For this Milwaukee based trio, it’s all about the relatively lo-fi, the fuzzy guitars and a general noise rather than any actual sharp edges, either musically or lyrically.