Nothing about this CD is supposed to work.
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t sitting around, daydreaming about the holes in my life, and just wishing a bunch of guys from trash garage punk bands like The Come Ons, Bantam Rooster, New Bomb Turks, The Dirtbombs, and El Smasho, would get together and put out an album consisting entirely of cover songs from the old Bob Seger System. You can almost visualize how this thing came together. Said guys from above bands hooked up at a party or a basement jam, drank a ton of beer, smoked something illegal except for medicinal purposes, and on a whim pounded out an unbearably rough version of Seger’s “Heavy Music.” Amidst the laughter and drunken chuckles that followed someone said,” Dude, we should make an album like that. It fucking rocked!”
And he was right.
Seger Liberation Army rocks. This is maximally fuzzed out, lo-fi produced garage rock for the ages. Belting out eight covers of old Bob Seger tracks from the sixties, this is big, messy dumb fun. Now, I’ve got nothing against Seger but we all know he went a bit MOR as the ’80’s wore on. So it makes it easy to forget that long before Beautiful Loser, came out in 1976, Seger had been tearing them up since the early sixties with angry, hard-driving Motor City garage rock along side Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. But SLA hadn’t forgotten.Snagging some of Seger’s best tracks, playing them dead on, and infusing them with a modern edge of urgency, SLA come at you with a double barrel shotgun of ‘60’s garage fuzz. “Heavy Music,” sounds thick and ominous, shades of MC5 with a beat that won’t stop. “Chain Smokin’” throws in a wildly distorted garage-surf vibe, like the Beach Boys on smack, complete with out of tune harmonizing vocals. “2+2=?” is my favorite, as mean and angry an anti-war track as was written in the sixties. Sung in a vocal style caught somewhere between Green on Red’s plaintive shouting and Jonathan Richman’s apathy, it’s a haunting track of a teenage kid sent off to war to kill. In light of our world’s current situation, it has resonance still.
“East Side Story,” is maximally fuzzed out rawk and roll, sounding much bigger than it has any right to, with the ascending chorus and harmony vocals. “Down Home,” is just down and dirty garage stomp with rusty guitar riffs and a beat that won’t stop til next decade. “Ramblin Gamblin Man,” rides across a swoop of sixties organ all the way to that chorus that you’ve heard a million times. It sounds energized, punked up, fuzzed up and funned up. “Get Down on Your Knees,” is another masterwork of rock from so deep in the garage, they had to move my ’69 Ghia out of the way before they recorded.
Not all the songs work. “Florida Time,” comes across like a cutout from a bad Jan and Dean album, but other classics like “East Side Story,” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” and the inspiring performance on “2+2=?,” make up for it. SLA won’t change the world with this release, nor do I think they want to, but for fans of ‘60’s garage rock with a touch of punk energy, they certainly are going to make this place just a little more fun.
It seems to me that the two genre’s that’ve been digging the deepest into my brain recently have been the great psychedelic/stoner explorations of bands like and Colour Haze and Dead Man, and balls out, maximally distorted garage rock and roll. In fact, I now run a garage rock group over at last.fm. Come on over and join us at From the Garage, we’re just getting started but can make that group a lot a fun.
On those lines, I’d like to introduce you to another massive wall of terminally fuzzed out garage trash this time coming from Dead Beat Records. This debut disc from the Nebraskan kids is a cacophony of garage distortion molded into infectiously hum-able songs. Influences from the Gun Club to the early Stones, pour through this disc like exhaust belching from a ’56 Chevy. Next in Line,” begins with a meaty guitar riff to start things off, before dropping into a head bopping roar of fuzz and vocals that sound like they were recorded by being sung into an empty gasoline can. Dig the bass breakdown half-way through and again that meaty hook. Ragged and raw, home-brewed punk.
“Black Hole Control” the second song, is so encrusted in the lo-fi production of the garage you can see the oil stains and smell the diesel. There’s a killer beat and a melody here, mutated into a chugging riff. “Neanderthal,” is a screeching platter of noise and rusted car parts, with the gang vocals of every mechanic in town. “White Red White,” is sharp and focused, rolling off the unplayed Rolling Stones set list of 1966. This is a beautiful slab of garage noise rock.
Overall, The Forbidden Tigers succeed in ripping through the delicate membrane of your inner ear with shrieks of feedback and fuzz, bring on a raunchy amount of oil-stained fun. Quick and nasty, short and raw. Bring your own tool kit. This is garage punk for the new generation.
Niether SLA or the Forbidden Tigers have a video, but their members from the Dirtbombs and the Come Ons do, so we'll post those to give you a taste of their fuzzed out vibe.