Released via Chicago DIY label Girlsville Records, Our Voltage is a collection of tracks from an array of bands embracing a similarly broad landscape of sounds from garage and post punk to psych, noise, and Lo-Fi Trash Pop. It is one of those independent treats which come along now and then to introduce new bands to the ears and new tracks from those which may already be on the radar. Our Voltage is also here to help raise funds for great causes; its proceeds benefitting legal aid for anti-racist activists and a new community self-defence gym in Chicago called Haymaker.
As with all collections there are tracks which hit the spot and passions more central than others, understandable when 14 bands are coming together but it is honest to say that every encounter within Our Voltage had us off eagerly exploring their creators with further treats the reward.
The album opens with OFF DUTY NUNS from Olympia, Washington trio UK GOLD. The band consists of Matt Murillo (Ka-Nives, Jewws) Forrest Peaker (Wisdom Teeth), and Vadi Eredal (Pitted Youth) and released their debut single last April. Off Duty Nuns is a brand new slice of the band’s post punk shuffle which, with guitars spiralling with their flavoursome jangle around senses badgering metronomic beats and one instincts pleasing bass line, is pure magnetism capped by just as tenacious vocals. At barely one minute 45, the song is too short but oh so addictive.
THE BUZZARDS offer up TENNESSEE next, the Detroit outfit featuring Joe Burdick (The Dirtys), Maribel Restepo (Detroit Cobras) and twins Nancy and Leslie Paterra. It too is a brand new song grabbing quickly attentive ears with ease; the band’s garage rock ‘n’ roll a boisterously rapacious proposal with thumping beats and vocal zeal aligned to angular guitars and another bassline which danced with personal tastes. It is not necessarily a unique encounter yet everything about it rouses body and attitude like all potent rockers.
Raw noise/punk rock is offered up next by GERM HOUSE in the shape of 7 INTO 7, a gripping burst of dirty rock ‘n’ roll with the catchy instincts of pop rock. The band is the solo project of Justin Hubbard, formerly of Boston band Turpentine Brothers, which expands live with the addition of his wife Tara McManus-Hubbard (Mr. Airplane Man / Turpentine Brothers) and Joe Ayoub (Marked Men / Shangalang). The song has the kind of mouth-watering DIY glaze which nurtured so many treats in the late seventies and similarly coats the album’s fourteenth and final song which sees Hubbard inciting ears just as potently through a second song in SHOWING SYMPTOMS.
Before then the fun keeps coming as firstly THE MYRMIDONS unveils a gorgeous cover of the Siouxsie and The Banshees classic CHRISTINE. The band is the union of Ted Ottaviano and Lauren Johnson of first wave electronic pop group Book of Love and Lori Lindsay of The Prissteens and Purple Wizard. Together they have taken an already irresistible track and coated it in a darker gothic almost predacious sheen whilst invigorating its natural infectiousness. Its post punk bassline just hits the spot, a feature recurring between instrument and appetite over numerous songs it seems.
PILOT’S PIPE from DAMAGED BUG, the solo project of Oh Sees vocalist/guitarist John Dwyer, is a tantalising psych pop seduction; a woozy slice of temptation uniting synths and guitars under a psychedelic glaze and sounding like something you would expect in a Lewis Carroll penned Barbarella seduction. It is quite mesmeric before making way for WHAT DID YOU SAY? from UK post punks VIRVON VARVON. The London-based band comprises of members of The Jazz June, Black Time, and Candy Highway and creates a trespass, on the evidence of this track, which is inherently catchy but with great volatility in its heart which leads ears into rapacious noise and cacophonous punk ‘n’ roll. We would offer up comparisons to give you an idea of its raw beauty but we could not find any, a splendid sign.
FREAK GENES step forward with HE’S UNHAPPY, a British band which lists the likes of Swell Maps, Nick Lowe, and Devo among their likes, of which the first pair do come to mind almost weirdly within the slice of lo-fi punk pop and add a whisker of MC Lars to that thought and you get a real feel of the band’s excellent offering. Featuring Charlie Murphy of Red Cords and Andrew Anderson of Hipshakes, Freak Genes tease and taunt ears, and a lusty reaction, throughout their two minutes before handing over to BEASTII the moment to uncage their cover of The Violators track, SUMMER OF 81. The Chicago psych/pop trio initially coax ears with their own possessive treat of a bassline before wrapping it in siren-esque harmonies and brining in mischievously rousing beats. It then all unites in a rousing slice of punk ‘n’ roll which reminds of something akin to Fatal Microbes meets The Kut and more than does another classic song justice.
The devilish garage punk of DO THE OCTOPUS keeps the passions flying; the track from Kansas duo MR. AND THE MRS. Primarily an instrumental with vocal devilment, the track recalls the fuzz antics of The Cramps, the punk salaciousness of Dick Venom, and the gothic contagion of The Orson Family as it has hips swinging and dark deeds brewing before a never before released track from 90’s gracing NYC punks THE PRISSTEENS. STUPID NOTHING serenades in tone and voice within a fuzz lined tunnel and is simply as captivating as you would expect from the excellent outfit.
One of our already favourite bands is next; London garage punk noiseniks ATOMIC SUPLEX stirring up trouble with a cover of Bo Diddley’s WHO DO YOU LOVE? It might be the dirtiest, scuzziest thing heard from the band yet as they if not making the song their own, give it a seriously stirring feral work over.
MARCUS from Cincinnati garage fuzz stirrers BUMMERS EVE strolls in next, the trio providing a beat textured ballad about 3-year-old autistic boy who was murdered by his foster parents while MR. AIRPLANE MAN dance with the senses and imagination through BELIEVE. Both tracks spark a need for more, the first with its insatiable scuzz hustle and the second through its psychedelic blues punk shuffle and vocal seduction.
With that second Germ House offering completing the line-up, we found the only thing to do after listening to Our Voltage just the first time around was press play again and go exploring. The rewards have been quite refreshing.
Our Voltage is available now through Girlsville Records @ https://girlsville.bandcamp.com/album/our-voltage
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Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018
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