Salad Boys: Metalmania (2015)

I've long extolled the magic of the New Zealand indie scene of the 80s (and on into the early 90s), that whole stable of great bands on the Flying Nun label who mined the sounds of 60s garage bands, the Velvet Underground, and early punk-adjacent acts like Television and the Feelies -- bands like The Clean, The Bats, The Chills, The Verlaines, etc.

And while those bands and myriad others have continued to kick around in one form or another, it's been awhile since I've come across a next-generation band recapturing that same vibe.  At least until a few years ago, when the Salad Boys released their stellar debut.

The album is most reminiscent of the Bats' outstanding Daddy's Highway, and, perhaps even more so, the Feelies' legendary The Good Earth.  The album is pretty much evenly divided between simple, fizzy rave-up rockers (most notably "Dream Date," pure distortion-laden bliss; and the Clean-like garage band howler "I'm A Mountain," little more than a repeated pledge "I won't let you fuck it up" over insistent guitar riffage); and quieter, more pastoral tunes (jangly opener "Here's No Use," a Daddy's Highway/Good Earth dead ringer; the sweet, midtempo gallop of "Daytime Television," lackadaisical guitars and vocals with an odd synth bridge).  As with many of the NZ bands, the accents and at times buried vocals keep the lyrics at arms-length, but this album is more about the guitar grooves than anything else.

I wouldn't say this breaks a lot of new ground; but if any of the bands name-dropped above are on your shelf, you're gonna dig this just fine.  (Their 2018 follow-up This Is Glue is pretty much cut from the same cloth, with a little more stretching out by the band keeping it interesting.)

Here's the video for "Dream Date":
...and "Here's No Use":
Here's "No Taste Bomber" live in the studio:
...and "I'm A Mountain" live in the studio: