The Woolly Bandits Join 80/20 Records With A New EP!!!

The Woolly Bandits from Los Angeles have now become the fifth artist to join 80/20 Records roster and to celebrate they have released a furiously paced six song EP to celebrate this! Joining labelmates Captain Squeegee, Fairy Bones, Zero Zero and Statues of Cats (also from LA) they add another definitive layer of exciting Garage Rock to the growing local label. I recently caught The Woolly Bandits at the Lowview Magazine release party and they happened to let it slip that they had just joined 80/20 Records and I was pretty much beyond excited. They are a great band (it was my third time catching their live act) and they are a perfect match for the label which features five of the most wonderful acts in the Universe right now. The Woolly Bandits are certainly no stranger to Arizona and they play here with a fair amount of frequency, I’m hoping that they play here more often with this partnership now in tow and I certainly wouldn’t mind an 80/20 Records Showcase in the near future, because the entire roster rocks and it would be an amazing musical evening. Sure, 80/20 Records may only have five artists on their label, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the only label around where I can say that I love every single one of them, including the newest addition.

The band itself has a very rich and intense history, right down to the roots of the garage rock aesthetic–The Seeds. It all began with the legendary 60’s group The Seeds, when original front man Sky Saxon joined up with Rik Collins. While touring fans and industry types wanted to know who the younger band was backing Sky, Rik along with guitarist Mark Bellgraph decided to start The Woolly Bandits. Christa Collins joined The Woolly Bandits in 2007, she had not performed since a guest appearance on Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” in 1991. It turns out that she was Disney’s first recording artist and the prototype for the child music star (Christa Larson – Minnie and Me), her career was on a trajectory for stardom until tragedy struck. While on tour in Australia supporting her new CD, Christa’s mother, Denice, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. More recently Christa made a big impression on the commercial music world with her appearance on season 1 of X Factor. After several national and international tours she has preformed with the likes of Little Richard, Iggy Pop, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, The Damned, and many more. With that in mind, this is a hell of a combination of talents under one umbrella.

Photo by Click Chick Photography

And now The Woolly Bandits have a brand new EP on 80/20 Records and it’s magnificent. You have to be a high energy band to slam six songs into just under 15 minutes and that’s exactly what they’ve done here. Christa Collins is on vocals and tamborine, Rik Collins is on bass and backing vocals, Mark Bellgraph is on guitar and backing vocals, and Tom Sanford is on drums here. Add to that, one Nicole Laurenne (Zero Zero, Love Me Nots, Motobunny) on Farfisa organ and you have a pretty amazing array of talents that will rock your world. With the intense opener of “Last Night” that clocks in at just under two minutes, you are immediately drawn into the breakneck speed and shotgun delivery of The Woolly Bandits at their best, whether it is Collins rapid fire vocals or Bellgraph’s searing guitar, it’s damn difficult to resist this song–a perfect salvo to an EP that never lets up once. “What Are You All About” sounds like it should be the soundtrack for driving around LA or Phoenix or Las Vegas in a cherry classic car, with the top town and your Wayfarers on, wind in your hair. There is a subconscious sense of predatory darkness found in this song,  Collins sounds like she is stalking prey in search of something or someone she has to know. The results are electrifying. With “Let Me Know”, Sanford’s pounding drums introduce the feeling and its one of the few songs that border on a pop aesthetic, the closest they come to head bopping fun–part of that is due to the Farfisa being way up in the mix. It’s like they are covering an early Blondie track, except that it’s completely original and has no new wave tainting.

“Don’t Want You Around” has a great rockabilly groove and Rik Collins is really in the spotlight here with his fantastic bass groove. This is one of my favorite tracks on the entire affair, mainly because of the crazed way it takes off a minute in with wild guitar madness. This should be in consideration for a single if it isn’t already, because it’s so hook heavy and addictive, I imagine people will be carrying it in their mind for weeks or months to come. On “Hard To Forget You”, Christa Collins approaches the vocals with a sultry swing unlike anything else found here, the harmonies loom brilliantly behind here, the guitar is a wild sensation and the whole thing comes down to a damn sexy number. The organ drives into pure frenzy at just the right moment, followed by a perfect drum solo, then each instrument steps in and brings it all back home. I decided after about the fifth listen to the EP that a 45 of “Don’t Want You Around” b/w “Hard To Forget You” would be a perfect old school single in every way. The finale of “Without You” caps off this entire affair perfectly, heavy on the fuzz, the great rhythm groove and tricky beat, it’s a head turner and one that get’s you moving in your seat. Once more a slightly different vocal style for Christa, it becomes evident across this EP that she has a hell of a depth in talent and delivery. The explosive build up to the final crescendo is worth every second, you are left starry eyed and stunned at how much excellence has occurred in your ears for the last fifteen minutes. There is nothing lacking here. Each song is its own universe of garage rock perfection and the talents of everyone involved are showcased brilliantly. Keep an eye on The Woolly Bandits, I certainly hope this EP is only the preview of another great full length album soon to come, because I want more. Give it a listen below, if you love garage rock, your going to dig the holy hell out of this!

Check Out 80/20 Records Here!!!

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