A few Editor’s picks for April 2016:
The Deadly Ones
“It’s Monster Surfing Time”
(Concord Music Group)
In cooperation with Vee-Jay Records, Concord Music Group reissues this 1964 vintage surf rock album (on translucent, “slime-green” vinyl, no less). The original vinyl release has been sought after for years (auctioning for hundreds of dollars online). This reissue will, of course, excite fans of the genre, but mainstreamers will recognize the familiar eerie twang and reverb of hit-makers like Bobby Boris Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers (“Monster Mash” ) and might be tempted to buy. You can also imagine contemporary indie rock acts like Clinic being influenced by these weird sounds (and the ghoulish/campy yells and groans) that bring instrumentals “Help!” and “There’s A Creature In The Surfer’s Lagoon” to life. And then there’s the party-like classic “Monster Surfing Time” — worth the possession of the album alone!
When Pittsburgh punk/metal musicians —guitarist Rob Tabachka, bassist Ted Williams and drummer Ron Reidel — invited vocalist Bruce Lentz to a jam, the result became a pleasant surprise in the form of Volcano Dogs. Volcano Dogs is a band with a big heart, and an even louder passion for ’70s rock, and the proof is in the release of their self-titled debut. The VD band pines for the good ‘ol days when analog, FM radio and rock mags ruled America (and you’ll get that sense when Creem magazine is mentioned in a lyric). The band members have lived that era and the record is autobiographical. If you dig the Stooges, Ramones and Grand Funk, you’ll turn tunes like “Rock N Roll Party” or the Dead Boys’ “Ain’t Nothin’ To Do” to 11. Note: The band even released a beer-yellow, limited edition vinyl record for their debut!)
The Paul Nelson Band
Johnny Winter’s right-hand man is out on his own and worth following. “Badass Generation” is influenced by all the good hard blues rock of the ‘70s (Bad Company easily comes to mind) but mixed with a contemporary cool. Nelson’s guitar solos are top-notch — refined and restrained without a guitar-god shredding. And the talented Morten Fredheim could have been a vocalist Ritchie Blackmore easily embraced back in Deep Purple’s heyday.
“You’ll Pay For This”
A Depeche Mode-ish electro fury jumpstarts the full-length “You’ll Pay For This” with the wonderful “I Won’t Pay.” Indie rock heaven soon follows with delightfully dreamy beats and peppy synths (and only a few cloudy missteps). The best example of this entrancing track list is a Flaming Lips/Shins affinity called “The Shallows.” If you don’t opt for the LP, a download of “The Shallows” is a requirement — it’s that good.