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Mover And A Groover EP - Thee Jezebels (State Records)

mover and a grooverProof that their “Black Book”45 was no fluke, this four-track seven-inch vinyl EP from an all-girl trio from the UK rocks like The Pandoras with chops. It’s garage rock in the finest tradition of the early Pretty Things with a splash of glam for good measure.

First impressions count for a lot and lead-off track and title tune “Mover And A Groover” roars out of the speakers like three women on a mission. Laura Anderson’s tuneful but strident vocal is mixed right up front. The primal production has Lois Tozer’s cymbals splashing all over the place but it’s mastered nice and loud with lots of mono-esque punch. The all-important engine room lays down the beat with authority. 

Anderson’s raw and twangy guitar line leads off “Lorelei”, a tribute to a closed Soho nightspot. Sounds like a nice excuse for a re-opening. “Ain’t Worth The Time” nods simultaneously to The Crystals’ “Da Do Ron Ron” and Suzi Quarto. “Jezebel” goes back to the garage and is derivative as hell (you’ll recognise the riff) but infectious as well. An EP worth chasing down.

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Black Book b/w Cried Over You - Thee Jezebels (State Records)

jezebels singleIf this East Sussex, England, all-girl trio is aiming to parachute into the same territory as The Pandoras with their debut 45, it’s found the drop-zone. The engine room doesn’t stomp quite as hard but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“Black Book” is a song about, well, a girl’s black book and it bristles with fuzz tone and bad grace. Bass tones and a touch of the toms signals the start and it quickly locks into a nice groove. Guitarist Laura Anderson has a strong voice and she's mixed right up front. 

Flip it over and you’ll hear a dirtier, drum-led rocker that’s no slouch, either. Skuzzy guitar fights for a place up front at centre mic before handclaps signal we’re on our way out. Another reminder, if it was needed, that garage punk rock isn't entirely down and out in Mother England. 

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One Lie At A Time b/w The God Of Gaps - The Galileo7 (State Records)

g7 singleThis single is great and odds are that the album from which this comes, "False Memory Lane", would be even better. Let’s get the antecedents out of the way first.

The Galileo7 is the latest vehicle for ex-Prisoners bassist Alan Crockford, whose band was at the vanguard of the Medway garage rock wave in the UK. The Prisoners bit the dust in 1986 but Rockford has been dutifully playing this garage rock-pop stuff since then and this is a new line-up of his current band.

Penelope Tuesday b/w Here To Stay - The Optic Nerve (State Records)

penelope tuesdayThis is bright folk-pop from a reformed New York City garage scene band that recorded but never released an album of new material a decade ago. 

The Optic Nerve put out a couple of jangle-pop albums in the ‘80s (on Screaming Apple and Get Hip) and A side “Penelope Tuesday” is in the same folky vein. When Bobby Belfiore (lead vocals) and guitarist Tony Matura lock together harmonically, it’s sunny enough to make you reach for your sunglasses. Think of The Optic Nerve as the opposite of most of the wave of revival '60s garage rock. They owe more to The Charlatans than the Music Machine.

The flipside “Here To Stay” is more downbeat with Byrds-style vocalising and Bay Area six-string jangle that makes way for a nice tremolo lead break. It's like the early Haight-Ashbury got sold and transplanted to Brooklyn. You'll find a copy on State Records where all the best freakbeat and garage rock 45's live.  

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Sweet, Sweet Sadie b/w The Alligator - The Missing Souls (State Records)

state recsA slice of fuzztone thicker than hand-sliced artisan bread and bossy chick vocals fuel both sides of this snarler 45 from French band The Missing Souls. Vocalist-bassist Zaza Sharpe lives up to her surname on the A side, a cover of a song by The Teardrops that's recorded live to eight-track, with guitarist and co-vocalist Little Big Ian chipping in.

A cover song also graces the B side (“Alligator” was by American frat-punkers The US Four) and it’s powered by a storming, dance-worthy beat and a neat duet between Zaza and and Little Big Ian. Soulful and fiery as hell, if this is indicative of The Missing Soul’s output on French label Dangerous Skylab (two singles and an LP) then you and me both need to hear it.

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We Who Are - The Embrooks (State Records)

who we areThere’s a steely edge to “We Who Are” that sets it apart from the pack of ’60-influenced Paisley revivalists and winkle-picker wearing pretenders. It’s apparent in the uncompromisingly serrated fuzz tone of Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri and the economical and direct songs this trio writes.

Most of us have a soft spot for garage rock and ‘60s punk. If you grew up in Australia, it’s probably the US variants (and especially the acid punk end of the genre) that appeals. It fuelled a rash of bands in the ‘80s. You know their names. The Embrooks came late to that particiular party, not forming until 1996, but were no less formidable than their immediate forebears.

If we’re going to talk genre, The Embrooks were masters of freakbeat - the English take on psychedelia, beat pop and Mod - that sprang up in the mid-’60s and fittingly spent time on the Voxx label before calling it a day in 2004. Their reformation for this, their fourth long player, was much anticipated.