Well folks, it’s that time of year again when the semester winds down and leaves you wondering what even happened in the last four months.
Throughout the semester, we’ve looked at the factors that have inspired kickass new songs, artist influences, bands straying from the path, time warps back into the ’90s (was I the only one who enjoyed those?) and so much more. We’ve also explored patterns and themes that make up much of the music that we hear, as different as all the styles might be.
For this week’s New Noise, though, let’s throw those themes behind. The only connection these songs have with each other is plain awesomeness. The four garage bands featured are taking the independent genre in new directions with unique sounds and compelling lyrics.
The summer is crawling toward us and the inevitable restlessness that comes along with the warming weather is mighty hard to ignore. It’s the last week of school — how about we just turn off our minds for a hot minute and enjoy some music?
The Family Rain: “Trust Me… I’m A Genius”
Who says family members can’t work together? Besides the Gallagher brothers from Oasis. And the Davies brothers from the Kinks. And the Reid brothers from Jesus and Mary Chain.
OK, point taken. Luckily, the Family Rain has (so far) been an anomaly to the sibling rivalry rule.
The band is made up of three brothers — including a pair of twins — from Bath, England, and plays raw and in-your-voice old school rock and roll, soaking all its songs in a bluescore vibe. The band sounds along the lines of Cold War Kids and Jack White, but with more of a hip-hop edge, almost.
“Trust Me… I’m A Genius” is not only what this column should have been called, but it’s also an epic new song from the Family Rain. The metronomic piano intro that bleeds into the verse is heavily reminiscent of a Cold War Kids song, but overall, the track plays like what the Black Keys would sound like if the band stopped being so mellow and actually got pissed off once in a while — blues rock with a kick (to the face).
Childhood: “Solemn Skies”
Let’s stay on the Atlantic for a bit longer and check out Childhood. The London indie-rock band has a sound that is so authentically ’90s shoegaze that it’s unbelievable that they just formed in 2011.
Its latest release, “Solemn Skies,” is anything but solemn.
The song is wonderfully breezy and carefree, sounding like a lovechild of a Horrors song and an old school Charlatans tune. The guitars are big and loud, with wistful reverb creating a slick veneer over the entire sound of the track. Building up easy and slow, the song erupts into a euphoric mess of a finale, with dreamy guitars, drums and vocals joining together for some beautiful anarchy.
The track takes the listener on a blissful ride for five minutes and 17 seconds, in which everything is truly (and happily) forgotten. “Solemn Skies” is from Solemn Skies, set to be released on 10-inch on June 10, with “Semester” featured as a B-side.
Deerhunter has been around for 12 years now, and the band has dipped its toes into numerous genres and influences over the years. Noise rock, ambient, psychedelic rock, shoegaze and post-punk — Deerhunter has been there and done that about five times over.
Its latest album, Monomania, is out on May 7 and finds the band heading downstairs to the garage to whip out some perfectly crafted “nocturnal garage” (a term coined by lead singer/co-founder/musical genius Bradford Cox).
“Sleepwalking” is as much of a reverie a song can be and perfectly lives up to its title. The faraway echoes of the instruments and vocals carry away the listener to a tropical, aural paradise of reverb and musical ricochets. The Strokes-like guitars dance around in the background, and Cox’s vocals are pleasantly nonchalant. Deerhunter definitely has a doozy with this one.
Thee Oh Sees: “Devil Again”
San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees have been rocking people’s socks right off since 1997, and its newest tunes show that it doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Though the band has just recently released its seventh album Floating Coffin, Thee Oh Sees’ latest song comes courtesy of a compilation album.
Anyone familiar with the hilarious and one-of-a-kind ways of TV’s Adult Swim network know that they’re not just amazing at airing brilliant comedy shows, but also pretty great at throwing out solid compilation albums. Its latest compilation album is Garage Swim which, not surprisingly, features garage rock to blow your mind with.
“Devil Again” is the teaser track to the compilation (officially out on May 6), which also features garage regulars such as the Black Lips, King Tuff, Mikal Cronin, King Khan, Cheap Time and much more. The real star of “Devil Again” is the paranoid-sounding keyboard that echoes in the background and just doesn’t let up. With a wonderfully catchy and simple “ba-ba” chorus, the song is impossible not to dance to and has definitely upped the standards of the compilation album.
Rishbha Bhagi is a graduate student pursuing a degree in communication management. Her column “New Noise” ran Wednesdays.