(Resurrection Records / No Rules! Records)

As stupid, shallow, and a little bit narcissistic as it sounds, the first thing I noticed when inspecting the Primitive Hearts cassette is that the guy in the album art holding the clippers has a shirt with “Roy” written over the chest pocket. It’s not every day I get to admire an illustration of a droopy eyed gentleman and a cigarette dangling out of his mouth wearing a polo with my name on it. Fellow Roys will understand and appreciate the significance of this. Since the vast majority of people are not named Roy, I will move on to reviewing the actual contents of the album. There is a lot more to appreciate besides the album art.

Coming in at just shy of 25 minutes, “High & Tight” is the debut album (released April 9, 2013) from Primitive Hearts. The band is a three piece garage pop unit from Oakland, California who cranked out some pretty cool songs on this tape. Subject matters on the tape range from pleading with a lover not to leave (“Believe Me”), living uninhibited by social conventions (“No Rules”), being a wanderer who prefers solitude to company (“Lone Wolf”), and a girl named Harmony who the singer is apparently very fond of (“Harmony”). However it is track #4, which shares its title with the album, which ended up being my favorite. The song mirrors the entire effort not only in name but also in the sense that it is upbeat to the point of compelling the listener to bob their head, tap their foot, dance, flail, shake, rattle, roll, or in some other way move in response to what they are listening to. I’ve concluded that the only way to make it through the duration of the song, or the album for that matter, without doing any of those things is by actively suppressing urge to do so. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself while listening.

There are literally hundreds of acts making garage rock/pop albums currently. An epicenter of it all, arguably THE epicenter, is California. With new output to explore being released on a daily basis, if you only have time to choose a few Primitive Hearts are more than worthy of consideration. Give “High & Tight” a chance and see if you agree.

Stream/buy the tape here:

-- Roy Blumenfeld