Radio Moscow: 3 & 3 Quarters – album review

Radio Moscow – 3 & 3 Quarters (Alive Natural Sound Records)
CD / DL / LP
Available now

The newest album features the oldest material from Radio Moscow. Noisy, lo-fi, garage rock played with passion.

Think of this album as the start of the big bang! Here, the building blocks of the Radio Moscow universe just begin to burst forth preluding the insane explosion that has created an absolutely brilliant band.

This is considered their ‘unreleased debut album’, a prequel I suppose.

Apparently, Parker Griggs, who basically was all there was of Radio Moscow at the time, recorded this album all by himself, playing all the instruments and, apparently designing the album cover as well. He began this project when he was 17, originally under the name Garbage Composal. I don’t know about you, but this fact impresses the hell out of me (the age/solo production thing, not the Garbage Composal part, although that is a cool name).

Now, it is a bit rough around the edges at times, but that’s part of this albums charm. Well, that, and some downright great songs. There is a whole lot of raw and loud wall-shaking garage music here, which makes sense seeing as it actually was recorded in a garage.

It has an almost completely live and off the cuff, one-take feel which is pretty amazing again seeing as it would be physically impossible to do this with just one guy. The vocals are nicely distorted and fuzzed out making them sound as though some serious damage is being done to Griggs’ tonsils. Tambourines are smashed to bits, guitars are chugged upon and cymbals are obliterated. Again, all very impressive seeing as it is just one dude doing all this damage.

Listening to this is like listening to Turbowolf, The Hives or The Hellacopters through a pair of ratty speakers from an Oldsmobile station wagon lifted from the trash can in the back of a pawn shop. Imperfectly perfect! Spotlessly dirty!

You can’t help but mention and make a few comparisons to The Black Keys who thankfully got Radio Moscow hooked up with indie garage/blues-rock/punk label Alive Records (who the Black Keys were previously signed with). Now, Radio Moscow have developed more of a stoner, psych-blues band sound and reputation on more recent (er, older?) albums (2007’s “Radio Moscow”, 2009’s “Brain Cycles” and 2011’s “The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz”) and have about mastered that, partly through stunning guitar work by Griggs.

But on 3 & 3 Quarters it’s still pretty straight ahead rock with a ton of un-stoner-esque energy. These are brief, powerful, fun, songs played with passion and love.

Cherish them because this kind of stuff doesn’t come along often. And, there aren’t many Parker Griggs’ out there these days either. He and his band deserve all the attention and praise they can get. Go buy everything they’ve made! Now!

All words by Chris Hearn. You can read more from Chris on LTW here.

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Deep in the heart of Canada, on the north shore of frigid Lake Superior, is a town called Thunder Bay. That\'s where I am from. That\'s where I started to write. And that is where I started to discover music. Now, I\'m a married man with two boys. I still love music. I still go to shows. And I still visit Thunder Bay, even though I haven\'t lived there for many years. What will you find on my iPod? You\'ll find lot of Americana, classic country, heavy stuff, punk and plenty of “guilty pleasures”.

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