The New Lo-Finds: Garage Surf
Welcome to an installment of The New New Lo-Finds, where clever wordplay meets fresh, and most of the time unknown, bands and artists.
I would like to quickly introduce myself as this is my birth post as part of The New Lo-Fi family. I am N., and I will be doing various nonsensical posts mostly dealing with unknown lo-fi bands that deserve that same respect you give your mother. I’ll be varying formats for this column, it will either be focusing on one band’s release or many single tracks from various different artists, or whatever I feel like doing that doesn’t make me end up kicked out of this beautiful new family that has adopted me, or in jail. Now, let’s open our eyes and ears to obscure bands that float around the ether of the global internet and pinpoint why they are deserving of standing ovations —ok, maybe not standing ovations, but definitely deserving of an appearances in your cellphones (does anybody use standalone mp3 players anymore?). So, without further ado, we begin with a focus on a single band and their first release.
Band: Garage Surf
Album: Welcome Tomorrow
Sounds Like: Lo-fi, Garage Rock, Yuck, Best Coast, Wavves, True Widow, a lo-fi Interpol
We keep this off with Garage Surf, a rock band from Slovakia. They definitely put their marketing skills to work here by naming the band with two of the rock genres where they dabble in: Garage Rock and Surf Rock, though it also contains hints of shoegaze and even some (almost inevitable) pop.
I have to say, I myself am a lo-fi music snob. Anything that makes you picture a bunch of kids (or adults too, I guess —hinting at Guided By Voices here) inside a small dormitory wearing torn jeans and band t-shirts trying to put on record those sonic ideas they’ve been working so hard on for the past months while juggling jobs, school, and maybe even some days tripping on certain substances, any music that creates that vision for me is very welcome in my music library and they become guests of honor in my lo-fi playlist.
Welcome Tomorrow opens up with “Beach,” a track filled with reverb drenched vocals reminding me of Wavves and some ad-lib screaming reminding me of Perfect Pussy. The fuzzy guitar lines do an excellent job tiptoeing between hard rock riffs and that surf ambient. “I’m running away, I’m running away,” sings Karolinka, the vocalist that plays the tambourine as well. You can feel that lackluster vibe with the vocals, the too-cool-to-be-cool feel, they pull off sounding like rockstars. I can picture them all in Ray-ban sunglasses in a very dim lit room staring down at the ground, shoe gazing the entire time with a heavy veil of cigarette smoke between them and the audience, being almost indifferent to everyone listening to them; who are now in utter ecstasy from just being close to these fellows. And every five minutes or so a different member of the band mutters, “thank you.” Nah, man, thank you.
Though “Beach” is a really catchy tune, the following track, “Sunny Town,” sounds almost like it’s just “Beach” playing over again but with a male vocalist, Majulo, in this case. “Hero” has a more noir feel to it which brings some Interpol to mind, as well as some Best Coast, good stuff. “House of Moonsters” is one of my top picks off of Welcome Tomorrow. With that grave unintelligible mumbling over the vocal melody hinting at M.J’s Thriller, this song would be perfect as the credits roll at the end of A Cabin In The Woods, if you haven’t watched that movie, on your browser go to bookmarks>bookmark this page, click it, then get off your bee-hind, go to the nearest red box and rent it, watch it, write me a letter thanking me and then snail mail it with a bunch of candy in it to show your gratitude (bags must be unopened, I know what some of you weirdos do to candy in halloween, razorblades? Seriously?!). Now back to the stars of the show. “Shoes” is another track sung by the male vocalist, Majulo, but to be honest I think they should leave the vocal duties to Karolinka (the female vocalist, in case you didn’t pay attention at the beginning of my beloved article). His voice almost caresses the right notes but never quite grabs them, so a little hard on my ears, skip that track.
Now the LP is supposed to play through as all the tracks bleed into each other, but the drums counting in sometimes for eight bars or so breaks the flow, that should’ve been taken out in the production stage. In moments where all you need is ambient, you get the dry sticks smacking against each other (this article is rated PG, you sick-o’s), it keeps you grounded when the music is making you want to fly. “Tell Me Silently” sounds a lot like a Best Coast track again, but just like every pop song sounds like every other pop song, I guess a surf rock song reminding you of another surf rock song is almost inevitable.
I like this album a lot, it’s my kind of thing, and I sincerely think Garage Surf should be given a chance. I understand that lo-fi music fits a very specific niche, meaning it’s not music that anyone can ‘stumble upon’ and say, “wow, that song is really cool,” I think one has to be nurtured by their environment to love lo-fi music, one has to be excited and intrigued by that raw, underproduced sound. Listening to lo-fi music is an experience all on its own, it gives you a feeling of being there when they were just testing the track, making you feel closer to the artists as though they are confiding in you the early stages of their music, and it also gives you that feeling of being there when they played it live. It’s a bit strange to describe, but oh, how I love it. Garage Surf embody these feelings I’m trying (and probably failing) to describe. They should be very popular, please support them, because I want to see them playing a live show and I don’t have a private jet to fly to Slovakia (I only fly in private jets, which is why I’ve never left this city. High standards, man, that’s what life is about). Also, It just came to me that this band is like a more pop, happy True Widow, which are also an awesome band, check ‘em, boys.