Tapped out by the holidays? Here are two brief recent releases that deliver big bang for small coin.
Quiz Kids, Dynamite!: Quiz Kids is a three-piece “supergroup” of sorts recording for the “micro label,” February Records. This three-song EP was produced, in part, by Mitch Easter, who previously helmed long-players for R.E.M., Game Theory and Velvet Crush, among others.
The Velvet Underground is the most prominent reference point here. The band blends elements of noise pop with strong melodies and an occasional jangle. A lo-fi, analog feel permeates the EP. To that end, Easter assists with an electric sitar on one track, while the other two feature an Electone organ and a Moog synthesizer.
The best of the three offerings, “I Want You To Know,” recalls The Velvets’ “I Can’t Stand It,” with its persistent, steady rhythm and minimal changes:
Dynamite! won’t actually cost you any coin at all, since you can get it free right here, or you can name your own price and drop some cash into the tip jar.
The New Trocaderos, S/T. This is a two-sided single from Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer of The Connection (which released the No. 14 song on my year-end list of the 20 best songs of 2013), and Kurt Baker. There is nothing fancy at all here. It’s just good old-fashioned rock and roll done flawlessly.
The lead track, “Money Talks” is about as old school as they come, with its Chuck Berry-style lead guitar over a basic rock rhythm and blues structure bolstered by perfectly placed harmonies. “Well money talk and boo–she–waw,” Marino sings a couple of times in this tale of love lost to the guy with the much bigger bank account. Words to live by.
Baker takes lead vocal on “The Kids,” a thematic update on the MC5’s “Shakin’ Street” set amid a tight and shiny New Wave/Power Pop groove ripped from the late-70s. “The Kids” is a paean to the potentially transcendent power of rock and roll. No matter how bad things can get growing up in a seemingly nowhere place, there’s always the music to lead the way: “Sometimes my parents take my records away/But that don’t matter, they’re all in my head/Playing all night and all day, yeah.” Yes, indeed:
So, what are you waiting for? Plunk down a couple of dollars, and get five cool songs you probably haven’t heard yet. Your wallet will hardly notice the difference.