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Vinyl Cave: Hangin' in the garage with Hollywood, Nobunny, The Wax Museums, Tyvek, Gentleman Jesse & His Men, White Mystery

Once again, here's the "let's use garage as a catch-all term" edition. There are a couple new releases in here, along with some more catch-up reviews of albums you may have missed until now -- like I did.

Hollywood: Hits! An All Time Low
Hits! is a bracing crap-bomb of nasty awesomeness, combining guitar amps and recording equipment pushed to the limit with a caveman lyrical esthetic. Any band kicking off their album with a song about "Ione Skye" that sounds like Mudhoney on meth is all right by me. Apparently they're from Baltimore, which explains a few things. Further research indicates a few tracks here were previously released on singles. This is recommended for anyone who enjoys the heavy garage raunch of Milwaukee's Mistreaters or, really, anything on the Big Neck label. Oh, and the cover's pretty hilarious, too. (Big Neck, 2008)

Nobunny: First Blood
Nobunny in hi-fi! The sonics are crisper than past efforts and the volume's dialed down a bit. But this is still Nobunny, so the man in the rabbit mask's new album includes offhandedly outrageous moments such as "(Do the) Fuck Yourself." But, overall, First Blood is less overtly low-budget Ramones/bubblegum than debut album Love Visions, and consequently somewhat less initially gripping. The calmer sound does allow room for country-tinged experiments like "Pretty Please Me," some violin and viola parts, and lets Nobunny's essential sweetness shine through the occasional randiness more clearly as well. Whether those factors are good or bad probably depends on the listener; for me, First Blood has some great songs but could use a tad more of the freewheeling spirit of Love Visions. (Goner, 2010)

The Wax Museums: The Wax Museums
No time for finesse, Dr. Jones. These Denton, Texas, natives kick out 14 tracks of fuzzed-out, speedy old school punk on their debut album, which emerged following a series of singles on HoZac, Kenrock and other labels. Songs with titles such as "Locked in the Mall," "Girl Problems" and "The Smell" are self-explanatory yell-alongs, but "Glass Miniatures" and "Safety in Numbers" will make the listener pause a little longer trying to decipher the meaning. Either way, their mix of semi-monotone yelling and distorted guitar chords will be stuck in your head after one or two spins. The Wax Museums are rockingly stupid and all the more brilliant for it. (Douchemaster, 2008)

Tyvek: Tyvek
What's wrong with these guys? It sounds like old Nuggets or Killed by Death comps as interpreted by people playing whatever instrument they happen to grab first, whether they know how or not. That was my initial impression, and as it turns out it's pretty close to the truth for these Detroiters. I really disliked this the first time I listened to it, but I was wrong. Tyvek is undeniably a mess and goes on too long for an album following such an unfocused muse. But like Siltbreeze labelmates Psychedelic Horseshit, Tyvek is a swamp worth wading into. They've just released a new album on In the Red, and it'll be interesting to see if it maintains their unstructured sound. (Siltbreeze, 2009)

Gentleman Jesse & His Men: Gentleman Jesse
Hardcore power pop fans need to get theeselves to a record store and pick this one up immediately, if not sooner. I'm probably preaching to the choir since I was way behind on hearing this band, which has been around since 2005 as a side project of Carbonas members Jesse Smith and Dave Rahn. This is their 2008 debut album, released after a string of singles; since its release, there are new members playing guitar and bass joining with Smith and Rahn. Gentlemen Jesse is the best recreation of late '70s jangle pop I've heard since The Exploding Hearts, albeit with less of a punky edge. Much of that harder edge is present now in the current group's incendiary live show, though. To the band's credit, there's nothing fancy going on here -- it just sounds like the best lost album from 1978 you never heard. They've released at least a couple singles since this LP, including a brand new one on HoZac, and hopefully another long-player is in the works. (Douchemaster, 2008)

White Mystery: White Mystery
Self-titled day continues with the new project from Miss Alex White, late of The Red Orchestra. White Mystery is a duo with brother Francis White, but unlike sonic cousins Jack and Meg, the Chicago-based duo are actually siblings. White Mystery distills the duo sound down to a pounding core even more powerfully basic than early White Stripes efforts, due to the no-nonsense guitar attack of Miss Alex (a Rickenbacker through an Orange when I saw them live) and gorilla drumming of Francis. Time will tell if they develop a knack for packing in as many clever hooks into the format as Detroit Jack did. (self-released, 2010)

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