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Rock - Released October 25, 2019 | Tender Loving Empire

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When Portland garage rockers the Shivas formed in 2006, they were teenage kids who sometimes had a hard time getting into bars to play their own shows. Undeterred, the band prolifically toured and recorded nonstop for the next decade and beyond, working with esteemed labels like K Records and Burger as their surf- and punk-edged rock sound took shape. Dark Thoughts finds the band fully grown into their fuzzy and furious style, and the songs here expand into a sinister, overblown atmosphere. The basic elements are still rooted in '60s garage and proto-punk. Rippers like "Can't Relax" and the burning "Gloria" trade in stomping drums and walls of heavy guitar, blasting out with the same dazed, humid energy of the Stooges' Fun House. Surf riffs guide the sultry "Turn Me On," and when the Shivas slow down on album highlight "If You See Me" (sung by drummer Kristin Leonard), they switch gears for a reverb-heavy soul ballad that mixes Red Bird Records-styled girl group melodrama with an undercurrent of spooky uneasiness. It's a tuneful, traditional number that quickly gets buried in a cloud of smoke from the next song, the buzzing rocker "Start a Fire." They bring back the sock-hop vibes for the naïvely melodic "I Want You" and take a side step into psychedelic pop in the intro of "Feels Surreal" before melting into high-potency surfy rocking. The Shivas stick to their formula of retro rock styles on Dark Thoughts, but they turn up the volume and tighten the reins on every song, resulting in their sharpest album to date. The music vibrates at a higher frequency, relaying the Shivas' dark thoughts at full blast through busted megaphone production and inspired performances. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 28, 2014 | Tender Loving Empire

With their 2012 album Whiteout!, Pacific Northwestern garage rockers the Shivas offered up a rich variety of tunes that wandered between Nuggets-esque garage rave-ups, jangly folk, blown-out surf rock, and psychedelic pop. The album, their third overall but first for venerable indie label K Records, had a hefty layer of fuzz on it, but the production, handled by Brian Jonestown Massacre member Collin Hegna, felt almost a little too polished for a band so raw. The 2014 follow-up You Know What to Do takes a step toward more backwards-looking means of production and songwriting alike, sounding like it was plucked directly from a dusty crate of forgotten garage records from the mid-'60s. Recording this time around took place in K studios with label founder Calvin Johnson at the mixing board, and the vintage mikes and straight-to-tape sounds of the studio suit the Shivas' sound perfectly, adding an electric crackle to their already unhinged sound. More than production, this album yields some of the band's best songs and performances. The punky side of the band that shone through so much on Whiteout! has been replaced somewhat with more inventive guitar interplay. Whether it's the interlocking surf spookiness of the palate-cleansing instrumental "Do the Crocodile" or the fluttery arpeggios of the early rock-influenced "Used to Being Cool," guitarists Jared Molyneux and Rob Mannering never let the pace of the album drop below fever pitch, even when the band is running through relatively laid-back tracks like the R&B groover "And On." The bright handclaps and soul-tinged melody of standout track "You Make Me Wanna Die" see the Shivas stretching into even more melodic and catchy territory than the poppiest moments of their last album, and diversions into mellow surf balladry ("Beach Heads") and gauzy, harmony-heavy psychedelia ("Let It Happen to You") offer a wider variety of '60s-influenced sounds than the mostly amped-up garage rippers of their earlier recordings. The variant songs flow together well, and You Know What to Do comes across as a confident statement of excitement and stylistic experimentation up there with the best garage revivalists of all eras. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2019 | Tender Loving Empire

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Rock - Released May 26, 2020 | Tender Loving Empire

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 14, 2019 | Tender Loving Empire

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 18, 2019 | Tender Loving Empire

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Rock - Released March 15, 2010 | Closet Trekkie Records