With 2012 over halfway over, this seems like as good a time as any to start getting things together for the inevitable “year end” list. So let’s keep it simple: Here are ten awesome and overlooked trashy, garage rocky, power poppy, grungy, grimy, slimy, noisy releases that I haven’t already talked about in this column this year.
1) Spacin’ – Deep Thuds
Over in Philadelphia, critical attention has rightfully been focused on Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs. But the city’s unsung hero is Richie Records, the label run by Richie Charles that puts out scuzzy gems like the debut offering from Spacin’. Deep Thuds is equal parts spaced out atmosphere (duh) and classic rock hooks. The band’s led by Jason Killinger of the great Philly band Birds of Maya, and even though the album only had a whirlwind micro-pressing, it’s well worth seeking out.
2) Thee Marvin Gays – Thee Marvin Gays
This thing actually came out late last year, but I’m lumping it in my year end list as a release that “made impact” this year. (Analogy: Remember when R. Kelly’s Love Letter came out and nobody reviewed it until the next month? This is like that. Yeah, that’s the ticket.) Infectiously hooky garage gems from Belgium.
Check out Thee Marvin Gays Bandcamp.
3) The Raw Nerves – The Raw Nerves
Nearly every song on the Auckland, New Zealand band’s self-titled album is under two and a half minutes long, and each one is a hit. They’ve got tracks that hint at choogling late ’50s rock’n’roll with the snarling energy of Memphis garage.
Check out The Raw Nerves Bandcamp
4) Heavy Cream – Super Treatment
Super Treatment, the Nashville band’s sophomore LP, gets some of that San Francisco shine. This album was produced by Ty Segall and his longtime collaborator Eric Bauer, meaning the fuzz is heavy. Of course the band’s to blame for the punk rock muscle, growling vocals, and kinetic energy.
5) Apache Dropout – Bubblegum Graveyard
[Trouble In Mind]
The Bloomington boys play primary colored rock songs that reference old novelty tracks, the Archies, ghost stories, and candy while shrieking over psychedelic jangle and blown out power chords.
6) Spider Fever – Spider Fever
The first track of the San Diego band’s debut full-length is called “Pub Rock’n”, which is a nice descriptor for what they do. It’s rock’n’roll slathered in grime and barroom menace. Mario Rubalcaba, the drummer for OFF! and Rocket From the Crypt is on lead vocals and guitar — it rocks.
7) Puffy Areolas – 1982: Dishonorable Discharge
Puffy Areolas deliver a post-apocalyptic weirdo jam record from the 1982 hardcore dirges. The titular lyric from “Not Tonight” is a pretty good sample of the album’s tone: “Just working all day,/ Just working all night,/ Just wanna get high,/ But not tonight.”
8) NÃ¼ Sensae – Sundowning
Aggressive, drone-flirting hardcore from Vancouver. It’s a ripping and brutal 35 minutes, and well worth that time.
9) Natural Child – Hard In Heaven
These two Nashville longhairs might not seem like it, but they’re one of the best live bands going. Live, they were greasy and did a country fried cover of “Tumbling Dice”. That killer live show translates beautifully to their album (which is actually out September 11th).
10) The Crusaders of Love – Take It Easy… But Take It
If you haven’t gotten your fill of late ‘70s powerpop from the folks at Douchemaster in the recent past, this band’s latest album has you covered. French dudes delivering throwback power pop in the vein of King Louie, the Exploding Hearts, Gentleman Jesse, and the Barreracudas (whose album last year, by the way, was severely underrated).
Evan Minsker writes for Pitchfork, blogs, and tweets. Not included here: Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Timmy’s Organism, Royal Headache, King Tuff, Sic Alps, Radar Eyes, Mind Spiders, Useless Eaters, Outer Minds, and probably more things I’m forgetting. For even more great overlooked garage records, check out Martin Douglas’ piece for MTV Hive.