Adult Swim has been on a roll with music lately. If you recognize the name at all, most know Adult Swim from their late night spot on Cartoon Network, giving home to cult classic TV like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, and Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and also ridiculous parodies including Childrens Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV. But last year, Adult Swim curated an excellent Singles Program, giving viewers a free compilation of 13 exclusive singles from some fantastic names on the indie scene, including Wye Oak, Wavves, Flying Lotus, the Field, Com Truise, Death Grips, and Liars. This month, Adult Swim gives us another fantastic collection of new tunes with Garage Swim, a blazing mix of up and coming garage rock acts from all corners of the genre.
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If garage rock is your gig, Garage Swim is 53 of awesome. With the more all encompassing Singles Program, the compilation occasionally lost its sense of continuity (Wye Oak’s zen foray into electronica, “Spiral”, being followed by Absu’s blistering speed metal thrasher “Hall of the Masters”, et cetera). But despite its eclectic nature, Garage Swim plays altogether like a dream. Garage Swim visits pretty much all corners of garage rock at different places on the tape. Fat Possum band Bass Drum of Death (you might have seen them at the Sunset with Japandroids back in 2011) open the compilation up with “Dregs”, a crunchy offering of distorted, lo-fi goodness. A couple tracks in, KEXP favorite Thee Oh Sees, who just released excellent new album Floating Coffin, give us yet another new track “Devil Again”, a danceable throwdown that plays right into their newly developed sound. After that, Sub Pop rockers King Tuff come in with their psychedelic surf rock jammer “She’s On Fire”. Then Nashville two piece JEFF the Brotherhood (appeared with Best Coast at Neptune last year) give us the scorching “Melting Place”, which starts as slow-burner before turning up the heat into a 70s rock face-melt. All that’s only five tracks in. Black Lips throw in a typically playful jam with “Crusing”, and King Khan appears in two different musical iterations.
But the two highlights of the tape may be the points at which Adult Swim reaches farthest out to the fringe of garage rock. Mikal Cronin has been receiving a lot of positive press lately for his fantastic second solo record MCII, and his Garage Swim contribution “Better Man” gives us more of the same fantastic new sound. Mixing a melodic acoustic riff with a massive thrashing chorus, Cronin’s track is as raw and unfiltered as it is polished and pristine. The dichotomy of the two sounds makes the impact of both all the more effective. Ending the compilation is San Francisco lo-fi/shoegaze outfit Weekend, who give us a rough demo of new track “Teal Kia”. From the top, Weekend give us a swirling, lo-fi acoustic guitar echo spiral mashed against sampled drums and noisy vocals. All put together, the band sounds delightfully akin to British 90s pioneers Disco Inferno. The track is a lo-fi masterpiece and sees Weekend at their absolute best, and makes us all excited to see what the band is busy doing to follow up their 2011 EP Red.
Garage Swim is a kick ass collection of garage rock that ranges from distorted, fuzzed out madness to quiet lo-fi wonder. Adult Swim made a fantastic choice to release a slightly more focused musical compilation, and if we are lucky, maybe they’ll tackle another one of their favorite genres later this year, be it experimental hip hop or indie electronic. But for now, enjoy Garage Swim for free and discover some great new acts rising on the garage rock scene.