optic nerve - The I-94 Bar

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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Up yer bum is code for fun

gymslips cvrRocking with the Renees – The Gymslips (Optic Nerve)

If East London’s The Gymslips swapped warm beer for weak cat’s piss and pretended to be in high school would they have presaged The Donnas? The English all-girl band (that’d be The Gymslips) haven’t been active since 1985 so it’s a moot point, as they say in philosophy texts.

This re-release of the Gymslips’ 1983 bubblegum punk debut LP brings a lot of froth and fun to the table. If you hadn’t worked that out by the first verse of openenign song “Renees” with its lyric “We’re the Renees/Here we come/1-2-3 and up your bum” you’re probably not trying.

“Rocking With The Renees” includes their debut single (a faithful cover of Suzie Quatro’s “48 Crash”) and 14 other tracks, one of them enigmatically listed as “Untitled”. There another four available on a vinyl EP, “Silly Egg”.

I-94 Bar