After a pleasant summer in the mouth of madness, playing Russian roulette with the the vast opportunities that breathe within instant gratification, problematic self-admiration, and self-loathing, I finally found the motivation to reconnect with some incredible new music after making a deliberate effort to disconnect from writing about anything, period. Getting lost in the winding waves of anonymous highways, dizzying displays of lights, and rechargeable personalities that wander like ghosts provided an opportunity to spark and drown in the rise and fall of summer 2015. Where does one go after such a thing? Fate decides that or spontaneous decision-making, whatever you want to call it. Two brand new releases caught my attention in the last two weeks that gave my nervous system a much-needed jolt of garage born electro-shock rock.
Radiohearts – Lot To Learn (No Front Teeth)
The brand new EP by Long Beach, CA’s power-punk-mod kings rages and roars like the bastard child of the Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady and the Damned’s Machine Gun Etiquette, staying out past curfew and stealing the neighbor’s car, running it straight into the ocean. Last year the band released the very solid Nothing At All EP, showing off their Clash inspired power-pop prowess. However, their latest offering is by far their best to date. The band’s sonic assault is more aggressive and cohesive in its delivery with the guitars up front and Ed Stuart’s vocals displaying moodier nuances than on their previous outings. With the rhythm-section providing a dirty and menacing pop swagger, bass lines twist and the percussion bounces in a volatile but sophisticated fashion that makes the band rank high among their fellow pop-rock noisemaking peers.
This four song collection wastes no time in delivering its infectious creations, I’m talking straight and no chaser. It’s pretty impossible to stop listening to the first two tracks “Lot To Learn” and “Decisions” (my pick for the “hit song” here). These two are a classic single in themselves with punky chord crunching and contagious hooks that dance and slice with the perfect bite. The two closing tracks “Heartbeat” and “Let Them Know” continue the razorblade-sugar assault with slick verse-chorus combos bringing to mind the intelligence of vintage Blondie and sharp attack of early Generation X. Kill the future and free your mind, you need this band. It’s hot and it’s happening now.
Jukebox Zeros – Count To Ten (Rankoutsider Records)
The long awaited full length from these infamous Philly garage-rock demons has finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait! Produced by the legendary Dean Rispler, this album is a monster. A fun-filled terror train crashing through the streets of Philadelphia at 2 a.m., this Molotov cocktail of cheap booze, prescription pills, and rock n roll angst terminates everything in its path. Search and destroy is the mission and this record accomplishes it and even more. The Zeros have upped their game with Peter Santa Maria delivering unforgettable vocal performances on all the tracks, emphasizing melodies while using syncopated punk snarl to burn the house down. A heavy dose of pissed off punk infects the proceedings and the band heavily utilizes its secret weapon, powerhouse drummer Justin Lee. Lee pounds the drums like there’s no tomorrow and adds a whole new dimension to the garage-punk genre with his combination of thunderous floor tom bashing, pounding surf grooves, and 4/4 grind. The band dynamics blend in perfectly, explosive and trashy, this kicks ass.
“Snot Rocket”, “Hey Now! Oh My!” and “B Train” take the genre of punk rock n roll to dizzying new heights. “My Love” and “Green Wave” show off the power-pop chops of the band with sleazy guitar finesse and insidious surf stylings. “Drama Queen” and “Insomniac” are classic Jukebox Zeros with an enhanced 2015 venom that puts this band in a category of its own. Before you have your next nervous breakdown, drink a 40 oz. or three, shoplift some frozen pizzas, and tear the town up with this impressive and memorable powder keg of punk rock fury.