Review: The Dazies/Courters – “Seen A Ghost”

There’s something wondrous about the noise that emanates from a garage. Now, I’m not talking about the groan and rumble of a Harley’s engine or the clang of metal tools on the underbelly of a car. I’m talking about music here, and many who have applied their own fingers to the neck of a guitar or splintered them on a busted drumstick know what I mean. The intersection of pop structures and punk sensibilities in a half-assed garage is long and legendary.

Enter The Dazies and Courter, two bands from the American Northeast whose new split EP, Seen A Ghost, breathes fire from the very lungs of the garage. The record, all nine songs, is well-recorded and falls somewhere in high mid-fi terrain – that’s not what I’m referencing; its soul, though, is rock-n-roll-rough and battered with distortion. On this great disc, available on Bandcamp and vinyl, the bands meander among the anthemic (the Pixies-copping “Suffocate In The U.S.A.,” by The Dazies), the blues-drenched (“High Test,” by Courters) and the balladeering (the surprising and excellent “Dancing Bones,” which Courters use to close the EP). But this is not reductive punk or some Sonics cop-out cover-act. The bands flash little signs that they know how to craft a hook (The Dazies’ catchy “Pawn Shop Guitars”) or a melodic chorus (the shredding guitar solos give way to the hummable in Courters’ “Up To You”)

While both bands could court comparisons to Mudhoney (“Stinky Pete,” yowsa!), the EP’s finest moments come courtesy of the unexpected – the way whoo-ing background vocals seem to flirt with what sounds like electric buzzing on Courters’ “May Song,” the softer edges at the beginning of The Dazies’ “Misery,” and –it’s worth noting – the unexpected Dazies ballad “You, The Moon and I” and (again) the atmospheric closer, Courters’ “Dancing Bones.” These guys collectively show there’s more dimension to garage-rock than the monotonous rumbling of tube amps and, if you’re no fan of subtlety, don’t worry about it. When this things gets cooking, it can rock. – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, Jan. 4, 2018

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.