In this day and age, punk rock is dying in little underground bars that only wish they could be compared to CBGB's. What’s surprising is the garage-rock revival--the closest label we now have to punk rock. The garage-rock revival is made up of several indie bands ranging from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Jet, with roots centered more in synth-punk than their founding fathers of the 60’s.
Of course, there are obvious exceptions to the “average” synth-punk based garage-rock band. Take Jack White’s bands—The Raconteurs and The White Stripes—both of which have strong blues-based roots behind them ( “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes, and “Carolina Drama” by The Raconteurs). Yet,in most of today's garage revival groups one can hear inspiration from the early days of Joy Division rather than the 13th Floor Elevators or the Electric Prunes.
The Horrors are not to be excluded in the synth-punk garage revival syndrome, although they have a unique sound of their own. Both of their albums—the brand new, victorious Primary Colours, and the murderously, creepy, punk-rooted Strange House—have an equilibrium of the sounds of Joy Division and Suicide (“Sea Within A Sea” off of Primary Colours, “A Train Roars” off of Strange House, and “No Love Lost” a favourite of the Horrors’ set-list). The Horrors have made reference to 60’s garage inspiration in the past, though, citing The Music Machine (to quote the Horrors’ organist Rhys Webb as “the best dressed garage band” [Nardwuar]), and the Count Five, as well as early garage revival bands like the Gruesomes.
THE MUSIC MACHINE: THE FUZZ ATTACK DRESSED IN BLACK
Suicide made a noticeable impression in the works of The Kills, as well. Suicide presents a more spoken word way of singing, which The Kills imitate (“U R A Fever” off of Midnight Boom). The incessant beat of a drum machine is clearly audible in The Kill’s music (“Tape Song” off of Midnight Boom), which was the one object that was prominent in most of Suicide’s music. The Kills also share visual components with Suicide. Both bands are a two-piece ensemble lacking a non-programmed rhythm section.
And so, the question remains: does garage-rock really exist anymore? Or will we always revert back to the crackle and pops of the ‘60’s garage-punk bands?