In the midst of the thick New Orleans summer of 2017, Chris Lyons of garage punksBottomfeeders found himself sitting on a small batch of songs that didn’t quite fit the fuzzed-outpileups of that band. The new songs were more chiming, driving but relaxed, full of little cornersbegging to be filled with classic pop harmonies and wayward country licks. He called in histrusted confidants: Bottomfeeders drummer and longtime musical partner Lucas Bogner—thetwo started playing music together at the tender age of 15—plusbassist Pete Campanelli, and Kunal Prakash (Jeff the Brotherhood) dug the songs and signedon, and the quartet started playing in earnest, hunkering down in the practice space.By the time the band played its first gig in late 2018 at the opening of Nola’s ManRay Records,the songs had multiplied and the members of the newly christened Silver Synthetic had becomegenuine rock & roll craftsmen. In a world that doesn’t seem capable of swaying, SilverSynthetic’s self-titled debut shakes and boogies.It makes sense that the band’s first gig was in a record shop ‘cause folks, this is recordnerd-core in a major way, evocative of the LP's first golden era, as the late sixties oozed into thestrange 1970s, with the requisite T-Rex stomps, Britfolk twists and turns, and duelingVerlaine/Lloyd guitars. It’s about warmth, and you can practically smell the gently glowing amptubes on “In the Beginning,” which wafts along on a gust borrowed from Lou Reed’s beatificConeyIslandBaby breeziness. With “Chasm Killer,” the boys lean into jammy heartland rock,almost approaching Silver Bullet Band territory at one point! Even when the band kicks intocharging lean rock-n-roller, like on the Kinksy “Around the Bend,” there’s a laid-backness thatallows more room for the spirit.“We’ve all been in punk bands and to a certain extent it felt like the most punk thing to do was tochill out a bit and work up a bunch of hooky, danceable rock-n-roll music with lots of guitar solosand vocal harmonies—you know, real punk shit,” Prakash says.While many of their peers would be lost without their daisy-chained and tangled pedal-boards,there’s a refreshing directness here, unassuming but confident, the result of a band deliberatelynot fussing too much over the thing, maintaining a connection to the feeling of hearing a wellbalanced two-guitar/bass/drums combo at a house show. Right up close, the smell of adomestic knocked over on a carpet wafting, the cheap PA redeemed by the purity of themoment.And it kinda wasa house show. The album was recorded with Ross Farbe of Video Age, wholugged his mobile rig over to Lyons’ place in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. With theband set up in the living room (and the spare room converted into a makeshift isolation booth),the crew got down to business, striving to adhere to the live, honest approach. Minimaloverdubs, dialed in tone, a good vibe. When it came time to take a break, there was no studiomanager around to object or keep the clock running, so the band could hit pause to make agood lunch, talk about the songs, and play with Prakash’s schnauzer mix Shakey. The relaxed nature of the sessions lead to nuanced approaches. “It seems really simple andobvious but once you trim the fat in all those kinds of moments the songs really come intosharper focus,” Prakash says. “There’s definitely fuzzy, fried bits—but only where they need tobe.”You could call Silver Synthetic rock & roll formalists, but the truth is they're more likeminimalists, stripping away tired clutter and unnecessary bloat and just zooming in on theessential.
COUGAR SWEAT IS A DEFINITELY LIVE BAND CREATED BY TWO HAPPY-TO-BE-HERE GUYS CALEB CHAUNCEY AND NATHAN COOK. THEIR EAT-YOUR-CYMBALS ROCK-N-ROLL MAKES IT HARD TO SIT AND VERY EASY TO TANGO AND YELL SOMETHING LIKE “I LOVE MY LIFE” OR “THIS IS A VERY COOL EXPERIENCE!” WHETHER YOU HAVE A COUPLE BEERS IN YOUR BELLY OR A VIRGIN STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI, COUGAR SWEAT DELIVERS AN INVITINGLY THRASHING NIGHT THAT WILL EVEN MAKE INTROVERTED DWEEBS THROW TWO THUMBS UP. THEIR MUSIC HAS A PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE STYLE TO IT, STUFFING A VENUE WITH SOLID SOUNDS AND BROTHERLY LOVE.