Garage Rock Revival Revival

Bands go back to the basics...er, again

For starters, this playlist is dedicated to one Dave Bookman, or “Bookie” as he was known to untold numbers of Toronto radio listeners. I first learned about a lot of early-2000s garage rock bands like The White Stripes through his time on 102.1 The Edge. Notice I wrote LEARNED as opposed to heard, as no one was better at conveying important information you needed to know on up-and-coming artists while blatantly cheerleading for and championing those he was fond of.

I’m sure he would have loved to have been at Budweiser Stage’s opening night, where The Strokes played their first Toronto concert in thirteen years although they didn’t perform new song “The Adults Are Talking”. He would probably also think it’s cool how outfits cut from the same cloth are experiencing comebacks and increased airplay on his medium of choice. A revival of the garage rock revival, for lack of a better term.

Speaking of The Strokes, Bookie would like to tell how he didn’t go that momentous time the hotly-tipped NYCers were at Horseshoe Tavern 2001:

“The band bailed on their 6 PM interview with me at the Edge, so I bailed on them and spent the night drinking at the Beverly Tavern.” (Courtesy NOW Magazine)

This one’s for you Bookie. It isn’t your Sunday Morning Rock Show, nothing can compare to that. Thanks for getting me into garage rock and the many other music memories.


The Raconteurs – Help Me Stranger
Jack White went from the frying pan of touring behind his third solo album right into the fire of getting super side project The Raconteurs back up on their collective feet after more than a ten year absence. I’ll think of Mr. Bookman every time his fave Jack comes on Indie88.

The Kills – Steppin’ Razor
Alison Mosshart sings in Jack White’s other collaboration The Dead Weather. She is more known of course for her prowess in The Kills with partner “Hotel”, creating indefinable noises not heard in any garage…not to mention covering obscure tracks from reggae rocker Joe Higgs.

Franz Ferdinand – This Fire
Thought I would throw on a few oldies but goodies. 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of Franz Ferdinand’s self-titled debut. Didn’t take long for their name to became synonymous with danceable post-punk rather than the archduke who’s assassination precipitated World War I.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Little Thing Gone Wild
Talk about perseverance. The group that got their handle from Marlon Brando’s biker gang in The Wild One have not only survived the trappings that came with being at the forefront of the new rock revolution, fans “beleahed” in drummer Leah Shapiro for her to beat brain surgery!

Albert Hammond, Jr. – Far Away Truths
The Strokes last released music in 2016, but it’s not like their members haven’t been occupying themselves. Guitar weaver extraordinaire “AHJ”’s most recent album Francis Trouble is replete with riffs familiar to fans of the classic Is This It. He’s not a half-bad warbler either.

The Hives – I’m Alive
If you can’t tell from the impassioned howl of Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist on “I’m Alive”, their first new material in four years, Swedish garage punk is back on the map baby. I definitely missed this tuxedo-wearing quintet, as rock and roll needs a shot of adrenaline!

The Vines – I Wanna Go Down
In the years since The Vines were dubbed the next Nirvana singer Craig Nicholls has been dealing with mental health issues and outside pressure to attain impossible expectations. It’s just been great to see old band members come back into the fold in their native Australia.

The Fratellis – Starcrossed Losers
They never quite became the Ramones of Scotland, but there is a sense of humourous wordplay, onstage shenanigans and willingness for self-deprecation in everything the Fratellis do not unlike four New York City roughnecks from a bygone generation. Strings are a nice touch too.

The Black Keys – Lo/Hi
Dan Auerbach recently commented that when he and drummer Patrick Carney get together as The Black Keys – no matter how long they may have been away from one another – magic happens. That is precisely the word I’d use for five-years-in-the-making, return-to-form single "Lo/Hi".

Death from Above – Going Steady
Another guitar and drums two-piece, albeit one that couldn’t be further stylistically from the blues-at-the-core Black Keys or White Stripes, and the lone Canadian entry on this list. DFA’s raucous You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine is celebrating its 15-year-old birthday as well.

Band of Skulls – That’s My Trouble
Originally a power trio in the vein of UK legends Cream, Band of Skulls are by-products of the initial garage rock assault. Founders Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson have soldiered on and are battle testing electronics “to achieve a rock and roll element with a dance beat”.

Silversun Pickups – It Doesn’t Matter Why
No, SSPU won’t be confused with the Von Bondies anytime soon. They did enlist Butch Vig to produce newest record Widow’s Weeds though, who obviously has oodles of alternative credibility in addition to helming Foo Fighters’ 2011 Wasting Light rock of art in Dave Grohl’s car hole.

We Are Scientists – Your Light Has Changed
Their album title sounds more akin to a futuristic dystopia à la Rush’s 2112 versus say the straight-to-the-point Let’s Rock by The Black Keys. Keith Murray and Chris Cain are two music technologists who have never been afraid to don lab coats and experiment with power chords.