In my life time in the Rock & Roll world of Southern California, and it does feel like a lifetime, it seems that there was a cycle that repeated itself; A band would break that sounded substantially different enough from the Last Big Thing to be crowned The Next Big Thing. To be The Next Big Thing you had to define a "new sound" hence we had The Mersey Beat, Folk Rock, Baroque Rock, Garage Rock, Acid Rock, Heavy Metal, Pop Rock, Jazz Rock, Country Rock, Southern Rock, Swamp Rock, Progressive Rock, Theater or Art Rock, Glam Rock, Punk Rock, New Wave and Disco. Bozeman, Montana's King Ropes, featuring Dave Hollier on guitar and noise (according to their press kit), Konrad Meissner on drums, Dylan Treleven on bass and guitars, Ben Roth on guitars and Adam Wolcott Smith on guitars and keyboards proudly claim the genre of Garage Rock.
What exactly does "Garage Rock" mean? In the broadest sense it is meant to convey a crude or rough quality usually associated with amateurs which is why it references bands that play almost exclusively in someone's garage. But over the decades from when the term was first coined to describe the sound of bands such as The Seeds, the MC5 or The Velvet Underground it has become a sound that some musicians, as well as fans, actually prefer. In Garage Rock the studio is ironically important. The very lack of technical sophistication that led to the somewhat derogatory term, okay, not somewhat, it was used as an insult back in the Sixties, is now done on purpose and actually takes a certain amount of skill and technological know-how to achieve. Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet released in 2003 is one of the last blatantly Garage Band songs to become a hit so the sound reemerges from time to time.
King Ropes' well crafted crudity which includes the kind of echo cheap studios give their first time recording customers to make them think they're getting the cool "studio sound", the metallic sounding vocal that simulates the sound of the crappy microphones you can't even buy anymore, the guitar feedback and the "noise" band leader, song writer and producer Dave Hollier actually listed on his press kit bio is all carefully created to give a weathered patina to what is actually more of an Alternative Rock band along the lines of Radiohead.
Even their band photo looks Garage Band (out of focus).
These guys don't fool me. They're a much better band, which is hinted at in their lyrics, then the questionably tuned guitars and sing-songy melodies thrown out in a languid, almost offhanded manner are misleading you to believe. They are not Punk, not particularly loud in any angry, obnoxious way but more dreamy, floating down stream kind of vibe. Their lead off video is Shovel And A Pickaxe (see above) and is a good sample of what they do since they are very consistent. Some bands release a single that is markedly different than the rest of the material on their CD but without saying all the songs sound the same, these all fit together. If any of this sounds intriguing please check them out. They may not be for everybody but no one ever is.