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Lolas / Bulletproof

Lolas

Bulletproof (self-released)

https://lolas.bandcamp.com/album/bulletproof

The Lolas have existed in one form or another, since 1998. Head Lola, Tim Boykin, has been the one constant since then, providing lead vocals and guitar. Lolas’ records have always been tight, no-nonsense affairs, and “Bulletproof” is no exception. Most of these tracks clock in at around the three-minute mark.

Boykin’s voice cuts through the mix like a young John Lennon, although the songs have many influences. “Desstroy” comes on like Ray Davies at his roughest and “Oceans Of The Moon” combines a Motown beat with a 90’s alt-rock attitude. It’s refrain of “Would you believe, there’s an ocean on the moon?” is catchy as can be.

My fave of the set is the driving “She Will Shake The World.” With a relentless drum beat and Ramones-inspired guitar work, it’s a head-bobber of the highest order. “Bulletproof” is probably the best full-on rock album I’ve heard yet this year, and will no-doubt end up on many year-end-best lists.

D.P.

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Maurice & The Stiff Sisters/Welcome To Love

Maurice & The Stiff Sisters

Welcome To Love 

http://www.facebook.com/mauriceandthestiffsisters/

Speaking as a person who consumes a large quantity of new music, I’m especially partial to artists that put a smile on my face. That unconscious action is the undoubted precursor to what we humans call happiness. Maurice & The Stiff Sisters, a swell outfit hailing from Portland, Oregon, are particularly adept at smile inducing.

The opener, “French Exit,” heralds the following nine tracks with a ringing guitar figure that starts the excitement. It’s a peppy pop song complete with staccato horns, about wanting to be invited to big events, even though you wouldn’t want to go. It’s an anthem for introverts and misfits of all shapes and sizes.

“Our Old Haunts” borrows a Motown beat, once again covering a sorrowful subject with energetic aplomb. “Punk Rocker” and “Unlucky In Love” both match modern problems and relationships with vintage flare. This is new music that strikes just the right chord, sounding vintage without being too precious about it. Very well done.