Recording information: Magnetic South, Bloomington, IN (2012).
Since the release of the Nuggets compilations in the early '70s helped ignite the revival of garage rock and psych, those descriptors have gotten muddled, tossed around to the point of almost losing their meaning, and generally making it a challenge to trace how the music has evolved over the intervening decades. Conversely, contemporary bands like Apache Dropout are on hand to carry the flame, stomping, shouting, and going bananas like it's 1966 with their real-deal, raw rock. In 2011, the Bloomington, Indiana-based trio hit the mark with their fuzzy, freaky, self-titled debut record, and with follow-up full-length Bubblegum Graveyard a year later, they slightly clean up the production while still capturing a red-eyed, acid-damaged vibe. The bubblegum in Bubblegum Graveyard emerges in tracks like the bouncy opener "Archie's Army" and swaggering, yearning love song "1-2-3 Red Light," frothing with silly sugariness, sweetly simple singalong harmonies, and soda shoppe party rhythms. Meanwhile, "graveyard" applies literally -- Apache Dropout sneak into the cemetery, crack open the crypts of the Standells ("Robbin' the Bank"), the 13th Floor Elevators ("Katie Verlaine") and Syd Barrett ("Hey Va lentine") and get to rocking -- as well as figuratively -- with alternately surreal and spooky lyrics about fortune-telling confections ("Candy Bar"), shrieking creatures in the dark ("Ghost Stories"), and restless nights under a full moon ("Lady Blood"). A candy-coated, trippy treat, Bubblegum Graveyard has the ingredients to please listeners, from crate-digging collectors to messy haired kids who are discovering that "Good Guys Don't Wear White" isn't originally by the Vaccines. ~ Chrysta Cherrie