Wouldn’t ya know it, one of the better records of the year comes out by a band that’s already broken up. Punk trio Feature released their debut LP Banishing Ritual last month, but have already moved on. Too bad, because, this group has attitude and style combining elements of Brilliant Colors and early Lush and the Ramones into and undeniable punk melange. The lead off track Psalms grabs your attention immediately with its Lush meets Ramones riff and harmonies. The highlight of the record is Schedules Align which starts with a killer riff and features a monotone melody made infamous by OG punks Wire. Like most great records, Feature’s debuts molds its influences into something that sounds at once familiar and new and exciting.
I wonder if anyone could convince Sauna Youth‘s Jen Calleja, Slow Coaches‘ Heather Perkins and Liv Willars to get back together and make another record? Maybe selling a couple hundred thousand of their debut long player would do it. I bought one so the rest of you 199,000 get on it and do your duty.
You might remember back in the mid 1980’s Pop Will Eat Itself asked What’s so fuckin’ good about candy? Nearly 30 years later Chicago’s Slushy make you forget about the Mary Chain with their own ode to Candy. Well you sort of forget. It’s jangly and sparse like that Scottish band’s acoustic ballads but has a muscle edge to it that also reminds you a little of the Ramones. Honestly how can you go wrong with a set of credentials like that. Flip the record to its B-side Pocket and they mine a more overt powerpop vein. Remember how the Ramones put leather jackets on the Beach Boys’ surf and sand and then the Mary Chain put a storm cloud of feedback on top of that? Slushy put a cherry on top.
Anyone out there remember the Lucksmiths song Detective Agency from their album the Green Bicycle Case? New Seattle band Detective Agency don’t sound anything like that Australian band, but that was the kind of my logic going on in my head when I clicked on a link to listen to them a few months ago. Better points of reference would be Tiger Trap, Ramones, Tuscadero and perhaps the Shop Assistants.
Up until last week they had a few songs floating around the internet. I remember a week back in November of last year when I listened to Daggers about 20 times in a row. It was just a demo. They’ve re-recorded it and made it better. I think I may have listened to the new version 21 times in row. Last week the band put up an official EP over at their bandcamp site as a free download for a limited time (the free part ends Valentine’s Day).
Daggers is on there, but a that ain’t it. Empty Apartment rivals it with its tasty pop licks. Summer Song is no slouch either, it chugs along with cocktail interludes while You and Me is a little melancholy but still hooky. For the final song Smoke a Cig they hand the vocals over to the one boy in the band and he doesn’t screw it up.
You’re still here? Go and download this thing already! It’s five songs that are so good, you’ll wish it was ten.