SHOVEL: IT'S FUN TO BE A NOTHING

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       Diggin' right down into your skull with their devilish charm is SHOVEL, whose signature brand of modern garage is strikingly barbed while maintaining a slightly laid-back couth. Comprised of drummer Ward Reeder and singer/guitarist Dusty Rose, the Phoenix, AZ duo began in 2012 and has since made themselves a fixture in the Southwest music scene. With their latest album, It's Fun To Be A Nothing, we get to bear witness to their wild power and fiery strut.

     Out of the gates, the track "Monty" is already waiting at the door to slap you in the face and kick-up your pulse with it's fuzzed-out, mid-tempo swagger. "With You" is a cooled-down demeanor is an intensely groove-oriented retreat into psychedelia while "Milkweed" and "Shop Class" throw you right back into the thick of drivin' guitars and saturated vocals. Followed up by” Ooze Ooze” and it's sugary sweet garage soul that leaves me in an absolute hip-shakin' frenzy, while "Psycho Babe" wraps up Side A with it's sun-drenched pop-melodies and distinctly Reid Brothers-esque attitude.

       Kickin' off Side B is "Invisible Duncecap" with it's thunderous dynamics between focused control and full on fuzzed-out intensity, accompanied by "Satan's Inside" which is a smokey saunter that careens into noised-out bliss in only a moment’s notice. "Clouds Are Fun" is a further extension of their bluesy roots, while "I Dream Of" launches you back into full throttle punk delivering crushing guitars that are accented by incredibly infectious vocals. “Space Heater” is a quick ditty that sets you up for the final, "Don't Follow Me," which is bound to leave you in the dust while you do your best to catch your breath.

        Between it's raw rock n' roll nature, powerful dynamics and playful songwriting, this album is definitely a great candidate for some serious cruisin' tunes as well as an overall must listen rocker for 2018.  Lucky for all of us, we can pre-order limited-run blue 12" vinyl now through the consistently top-notch Dirty Water Records USA as well as catching them open for incredible acts the likes of Guantanamo Baywatch, Alice Bag, Ex-Cult and Shonen Knife.

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CHRIS KENNEALLY