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Saturday, August 29, 2020

GAR GAR, Boss Rush, Coffin Club, Brandy, Emboscada, Jay Royale

"GAR GAR !!" by Gar Gar: 7 track EP released on vinyl August 21 by Portland's Pleuracanthus Records. Gar Gar, the mutant from the swamps of north Lousiana, is back with his one-man band blending of Misfits style punk sprinkled with rockabilly, dada and dark humor. It starts off with some weird swamp friend sounds and what may be a squeaky clown shoe that leads into a drum solo that sounds like it was inspired by a 60s exotica percussion album, then we get to spend around 18 minutes inside the mind of a mutant whose backing band when he plays live is a gumball machine, a mannequin, and a Halloween skeleton. The album is a celebration of a lot of things Gar Gar holds dear -- Austin ("Austin"), brain eating amoebas ("Amoeba"), sno-balls ("Sno-Balls"), and above all, nostalgia -- for breakfast cereals ("Cereal"), the Gong Show ("Gonged"), and goth ladies from TV and bands Gar Gar crushed on growing up ("Not Peggy Sue). I love references in lyrics to specific places (the Waffle House on 18th Street in Monroe; Hoeks Pizza in Austin), and the songs are full of fun pop culture references, from Power Trip (R.I.P. Riley Gale) and Mojo Nixon to Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles, Chuck Barris, the Addams Family, etc. The love song to Austin ("Austin"), gets on my nerves a little because A) Austin is an over-crowded, over-priced dump and shouldn't be romanticized, and in the song Gar Gar disses Dallas as the pits (Dallas is fine). But that's a personal hang-up for me, the song is good otherwise. The album is fun kicks all the way through, and there's even a little branching out from the punk wheelhouse in the neo-psych pop intro to "Sno-Ball," a song about how much Gar Gar likes Sno-Balls. Also the vinyl packaging features fantastic cover art by Andrew Goldfarb, plus lyrics on the sleeve and pics of Gar Gar, the bitchin' green mailtruck he tours in, and "the band." Highly recommended:

"Happy Fucking Whatever" by Boss Rush: a new single from an 8 track digital album to be released September 22. Boss Rush is husband and wife duo Eric (guitar, vox) and Daina (drums and occassional vox) Mason from Birmingham. The single for "Happy Fucking Whatever" has a video on Youtube you can watch below. Treading a line somewhere between Superchunk, aggressive punk, and early century pop-punk, the album shines when it's more raw and raucous than pop-inflected, and mostly it sticks to the former, with pretty bleak lyrics that I can get behind. A solid effort from this DIY couple. This video is funny, too. At some point, a child is pushed down (the kid deserves it):

"Nowhere Nowhere" by Coffin Club: Debut EP from this Auckland three piece, released August 19. Well produced alt-rock in the vein of No Age. A great, energetic debut:

Brandy: "The Gift of Repetition": The second LP and first release on Florida's Total Punk Records, you can pre-order the vinyl on Bandcamp, it's due out on September 18. Brandy is also a three piece, from New York City. The single and first song on the album, "(Wish You Was) Madball Baby" is the most infectious thing I've heard in a while, and I couldn't get the chorus out of my head for a solid week after hearing it. I immedietly pre-ordered the album on Bandcamp, and you get the rest of the songs that way too. While there's nothing else quite as mind-blowingly fun as "(Wish You Was) Madball Baby" on the remainder of the album, it's still a fine release -- 8 tracks of chaotic punk with some synth sprinkled in for good effect. You're not going to get bored, but you may still be singing "wish you was madball baby fucking oh my god" over the chorus to the other songs:

"Demo" by Emboscada: Two track demo, released August 13, from Argentinian band Emboscada. Each song under a minute -- hardcore punk with rar rar rar vocals, I can dig it:

"The Baltimore Housing Project" by Jay Royale: Sophomore full length release from Baltimore rapper Jay Royale, released on August 7. Holy geeze, this is excellent. Is it excellent enough for the $19.99 digital release price tag on Bandcamp? Yeh, I think so. Is it excellent enough to pay $25 for a tape or a CD plus $5 shipping (ships out September 1st)? Yeh, probably. Has my cheap ass shelled that out yet? Not yet. But give it a listen and see why so many on Bandcamp have. An instant classic:

That new Bully, SUGAREGG, is just ok, y'all. I'm a big fan of the previous two albums, and I'm glad she's getting a lot of accolades for this one. But it feels like these are just lesser versions of the rockers on Feels Like and Losing...just treading the same post-grunge ground, with nothing to keep me all that interested in repeated listening like the previous albums.