This band of brothers (two pairs of them) have been consistently putting out some quality ’60s infused rock and roll for years now. The People’s Temple released their highly anticipated third album, Musical Garden, just last month on HoZac Records and these guys from Lansing have only improved with time.
They released the album in style, along side fellow HoZac acts Radar Eyes and Outer Minds and a slew of new craft brews from Wisconson’s Ale Asylum. Midwest Action was there and I of course made sure to pick up a copy of the album for myself along with a few photos of the band.
Without reading too much into the fact that two of my favorite bands have derived their names from fellow midwesterner Jim Jones and his mass suicide cult (devotees of the blog should be able to guess the other), I delved right into Musical Garden.
The opening track “Crimson Rose” is a strong introduction to the album. It’s best heard on a good pair of headphones so you can let the tape echo and the vocals pan back and forth from ear to ear.
The single “Handsome Nick” comes soon after and sounds as if it jumped right out of a “Nuggets” collection. It calls to mind bands like The Electric Prunes and The Sonics, with its fast-driving beat, wild vocal effects, and some catchy tambourine. Hear it for yourself:
Another brief but memorable interlude on the album is “I Don’t Mind (Reprise)”. The home recording is full of Beach Boys-esque vocal loops that create a dreamy soundscape over a simple tambourine rhythm. It leads into the A-side closer “Good Times, Bad Luck” which is an instant garage rock favorite that you’ll be singing along with the first time through.
Flipping the record, the B-side has some deep cuts that deserve your attention. The screaming guitar leads and bass interludes on “Fast Thrills” are hard to ignore. This is the closest the band gets to surf rock, and it’s a great instrumental tune.
“Back to Zero” channels some of that Detroit rock influence the band is known for, with vocals reminiscent of Iggy and riffs that would make the MC5 proud. Followed by “If You Wanna Roll”, this track brings the album back to its psych pop roots, sounding a bit like The Byrds if they learned a few guitar licks from Led Zeppelin. It’s the kind of song that wouldn’t be totally out of place in any decade of rock and roll.
The beginning of the end comes in the form of “Speak No More”, a hard rocking, almost new wave, tune that devolves into a gentle psychedelic melody and back into an erratic hard-hitting punk sound. The final track, “The Dreamer” doesn’t have quite the same energy as the previous, but still serves as a nice reminder of what the band’s “softer side” sounds like.
Everything about these guys feels vintage, right down to their Silvertone & Harmony guitars and the analog-sounding recording techniques they use. This third release is just as impressive as the first two. I’m always excited to see these guys live and can’t wait to see what else they have to offer in the future.
They’re just about ready to hit the road this spring supporting the reunion tour of ’90s indie/psych rockers LOOP. Don’t miss that lineup and snag a CD or Vinyl LP copy of Musical Garden over at HoZac. If physical isn’t your thing, you can always grab the digital download over on iTunes.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
March 6th Hamtramck, MI – Hamtramck Music Festival
March 8th Lansing, MI – Mac’s Bar
April 23rd Detroit , MI – Magic Stick *
April 25th Iowa City , IA – Gabe’s Oasis *
April 26th St. Paul , MN – Turf Club *
April 27th Chicago , IL – Bottom Lounge *
April 28th Kansas City , MO – Record Bar *
April 29th Louisville , KY – The New Vintage *
April 30th Knoxville , TN – Pilot Light *