Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
It’s about damned time. After a procrasturbatory four year wait, local garage-rock rapscallions Action Makes have finally dropped their debut album. Sure, much-delayed projects often produce underwhelming results, but thankfully, Chinese Democracy this ain’t.
Action Makes is an edgy, rattled mess steeped in unabashed retro-fetishism. And lucky for these Dan Burke–approved underdogs, one trend that’s remained cool since last decade is bands that are reminiscent of bands that came before them. There’s a bit of Stooges in the skuzzy-sexy swing of “Sandworms,” some MC5 in the grimy, kicked-out jams of “Drive My Truck,” and a touch of 13th Floor Elevators in the druggy, harmonica-addled haze of “Buddies.” All the while, frontman Clint Rogerson tastefully vandalizes the tunes with his Iggy Pop–meets–Rocky Erikson sing-squalling, best represented on hypnotic standout “Let Them Go” (streaming right), where he shrieks, snarls, and licks his paws amid a nasty storm of guitar skronk and feedback.
At its core, this disc captures the zeitgeist of late ‘60s/early ‘70s post-flower power psych and garage, replete with a snotty, “Don’t give a shit” aesthetic. No messages of peace and love here, just killer guitar hooks, gritty production (by Mike Kuehn of Scarborough’s now-defunct studio Sleepytime Sound) and lyrics about “jerking off at the cemetery” (as on riotous blues-punk closer “Pleasant Hymn Pt.2,” which also includes the line, “Forgot to clip your obituary/I’ll grab the Globe and Mail when I go home”). So irreverent are these scalawags that they openly admit “This album took a long time to make” in the liner notes without making any apologies. Of course, given that the record kicks ass, this transgression is easy to forgive. For once, procrastination makes perfect.