The Coathangers: Suck My Shirt
Suck My Shirt is the fourth full-length for The Coathangers. "It's a balance between overthinking and just going for it," guitarist Crook Kid (Julia Kugel) says of their songwriting strategy. It's a duality immediately apparent with the album opener "Follow Me." It’s a classic Coathangers tune with Stephanie Luke's raspy vocals belted out over their signature ragged garage-rock. But the chorus opens into one of the most accessible hooks in the band's canon, just before segueing into the next verse with a squall of violent dissonant guitar. From there the band launches into "Shut Up," a title that harkens back to the brash sass of their first record. The song still has its spikey guitar riffs and shouted chorus, but here The Coathangers sound less like a jubilant version of Huggy Bear and more like the art-pop of late-era Minutemen. Dedicated Coathangers fans will recognize the re-worked versions of "Merry Go Round," "Smother," "Adderall," and "Derek's Song" from their run of limited edition split 7"s, and hearing them in the context of the album shows that these tracks weren't merely isolated examples of the band's more sophisticated side, but were actually demonstrative of the group's increasing capacity for nestling solid melodic hooks and rock heft into their repertoire. By the time the band wraps up the album with the humble pop perfection of "Drive," it's hard to believe this was the band that garnered their reputation off of raucous bombasts like "Don't Touch My Shit."
Various Artists: Suicide Squeeze Records Presents Forever Singles
Forever Singles captures the rowdy garage rock of The Coathangers and Davilla 666, the scraggly dirt-ridden guitars of JEFF the Brotherhood and Heavy Cream, the nostalgic '60s girl-group melodies of Bleached and La Luz, the exuberant power pop of Audacity, King Tuff, Nobunny, and Meat Market, the hazy noir soundtrack of Dirty Beaches, the vitriolic basement-show noise-punk of Nu Sensae, the sinister post-punk of Wax Idols, and the West Texas-bred Twin Reverb rock of The Numerators. Bundled together onto one record, the collection perfectly captures the spirit of Suicide Squeeze in the current decade: rambunctious youthful urgency tempered with a hat tip to rock n' roll's gritty unsung heroes of the past.
Eating Out: Burn
Eating Out is the crunchy, distorted, pop-oriented project of Nü Sensae drummer Daniel Pitout. The big distorted guitar riffs and heartfelt melodies of Pitout’s brainchild are a notable departure from Nü Sensae’s roaring assault. But Eating Out also has the proud distinction of being a Vancouver supergroup of sorts. While Pitout assumes the songwriting duties and the accompanying positions of guitarist and vocalist, fellow Sensae Brody McKnight rounds out the guitar department, White Lung vocalist Mish Way lends her bass skills, and Peace’s Geoff Dembicki fills in on drums. While vestiges of Nü Sensae’s brash tonalities, White Lung’s melodic treatment of hardcore, and Peace’s bold anglophile pop can all be heard in Eating Out, Pitout’s songs owe more to girl-grunge groups of the early nineties than to any of his co-conspirators’ primary projects.
Natural Child / Guantanamo Baywatch: Surf ?N’ Turf
There couldn’t be a better title than Surf N Turf for a split 7” between Portland, Oregon’s Guantanamo Baywatch and Nashville, Tennessee’s Natural Child. While Guantanamo Baywatch bask in the coastal traditions of surf rock, Natural Child deliver the backwoods boogie of the landlocked Southern interior. To be fair, there’s much more to GB than vibrato-soaked Mosrite guitars. The recent Suicide Squeeze signees offset their Dick Dale-styled twang with the trashy hybrid of garage punk and surf rock spewed out by The Mummies. Sure, “Raunch Stomp” is in step with the Ventures’ tremolo-picking tradition, but a song like “Love This Time” explains why the band spent time on the boisterous Dirtnap Records roster. Neither is Natural Child to be mistaken for mere good ol’ boy sons of Skynyrd. Though they’ve certainly got a knack for a country-fried ballad (as evidenced on “Don’t Wake The Baby”) or a sweetly stoned fuzzed-out lead on guitar, the trio are better suited for sharing a beer-soaked bar stage with fellow Nashevillians JEFF the Brotherhood and Heavy Cream than headlining the mainstage at the state fair.
Audacity: Butter Knife
Audacity’s latest full-length Butter Knife is still, at its core, a garage rock record. The economic instrumentation, grit-tinged guitar jangle, pogo-prompting tempos, and sing-along choruses can all be traced back to the seminal Nuggets collections. But ultimately, Butter Knife doesn’t sound so much like an homage to The Sonics as it sounds like a young band striving to make the most ebullient and jubilant noise possible. Album opener “Couldn’t Hold A Candle” is a perfect introduction to Audacity’s battle plan—a balanced blend of pop sensibility and ribald power. “Hole In The Sky” showcases the band’s gift for the on-the-dime changes, sophisticated melodies, and clever instrumental interplay. “Red Wine” demonstrates a Robert Pollard-like knack for turning an unexpected chord combination into a remarkably punchy chorus. And album closer “Autumn” harkens back to the balladry of power pop kings Big Star. All of which is to say, Audacity are tighter and more clever than your average suburban band, and consequently they’re one of the strongest acts in the Southern Californian garage rock scene.
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN: UZU
It is safe to say there is no other band like YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN on the planet. In a world that is increasingly homogenized, a record like UZU is all the more important for demonstrating how disparate cultural perspectives can merge into something entirely new while retaining their individual sovereign character. This meeting of East and West is perhaps most visible in UZU’s lead single “One”. As the first YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN song to extend the songwriting credits beyond the core duo, “One” incorporates the indigenous upbringings of the extended group by leading off with a traditional Iroquois song. The introductory chant is a social song calling all people together, and is performed by people of the Mohawk tribe. From there, the band kicks into a driving guitar line and a vocal hook as sweet as any J-pop hit. Metal riffing, free-jazz cacophony, and meditative Eastern percussion patterns accentuate the song. The hybridization is evident throughout UZU--you can hear it in the operatic piano-and-vocal opener “Atalanta” segueing into the dynamic prog of “Whalesong”, the Eastern melodies seamlessly melding into the synth arpeggio and guitar dirge of “Windflower”, the musical storytelling tradition of “Seasickness Pt. 1” juxtaposing with the Heart-like classic rock gallop of “Seasickness Pt. 2”, and the closing choir passage of “Saturn’s Return” descending into Merzbow-esque white noise.
The Coathangers / Audacity: Adderall b/w Earthbot
The Coathangers are a relentless force. Not content to rest on their laurels with 2011’s sweaty summer classic Larceny & Old Lace, Atlanta’s roadwarrior daughters delivered a new split 7” every six months courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records. Previous installments have paired their no-fucks-given badassery with Puerto Rican partiers Davila 666, Canadian bass-riff maestros Nu Sensae, and Nashville vintage-rockers Heavy Cream. The Coathangers’ final chapter in the series has them sharing a slab of vinyl with recent Suicide Squeeze signees Audacity. Hailing from Orange County, Audacity perfectly embody Southern California’s polarizing elements of sunshine and urban density. While not exactly “Good Vibrations” or “Welcome To The Jungle”, Audacity’s split-exclusive “Earthbot” shows both undeniable pop savvy and savage fretboard awareness. For their side, The Coathangers pay homage to driver’s-little-helper with “Adderall”. Showcasing the grittier side of their sound while still maintaining all of their token swagger, “Adderall” is a fitting cap on the split 7” series that carried through two years of relentless touring across North America and Europe. The Coathangers/Audacity split 7” is limited to 750 copies and is also available digitally worldwide on October 15, 2013.
Minus The Bear: Acoustics 2
In Winter 2008/2009, Minus the Bear released an EP called Acoustics featuring newly recorded acoustic versions of fan favorites from the quintet's prolific career along with one new track. Limited to 5000 copies of vinyl, Acoustics is now out of print. Acoustics 2, the second volume in the acoustic series, is a full LP containing eight newly recorded and reinterpreted standout tracks in addition to two brand new songs: "The Storm" and "Riddles." Acoustics 2 is sure to please longtime fans and welcome new fans to this critically acclaimed rock band.
Meat Market: Too Tired
Meat Market offers up two new songs via Suicide Squeeze. “Too Tired” perfectly encapsulates their sound: a marriage of propulsive Stratocaster riffs with a big catchy chorus. B-side “The Return of Prince Donathunn” is an even stronger nod to the wave-riding instrumental groups of the ?60s, with the steady 4/4 beat and dueling guitar leads belying the bands outspoken apathy towards surfing.