From: Des Moines, Iowa
Genre: Power Pop/Punk
If there was ever a band to epitomise the term “Ramonescore” it would be local Des Moines brats The Blendours. This is 60’s Beach Boys-influenced surf-pop in a loveable and punky American nerd-rock style. Just a glance at their Bandcamp page is pretty overwhelming with what appears to be dozens of albums worth of catchy 2-minute ditties, all released within a two year timeframe, all acoustic and even including a covers session of artists such as Herman’s Hermits, Freddy and the Dreamers and Buddy Holly. Given a good indication of exactly who helped inspire the Blendours sound, it is the complimentary female vocals that really give that extra sunshine feel to the “doo wops” and “woah woahs”, making you suspect that Rivers Cuomo is currently kicking himself wishing that he could come up with such perfect and simple throwback harmonies.
Whereas one could criticise them for over-saturating their output (and reasonably so with some albums cramming in up to 20 tracks), there does remain a nested egg in the band’s arsenal that could well serve the mainstream… one which involves plugging in their guitars. A split 12″ was released on Eccentric Pop Records in 2013, along with Canadian power-punkers Old Wives, where The Blendours gave us their first taste of how it is to be 4-up electric artists as opposed to the traditional duo who are used to taking care of the acoustic recordings and performances. Although it isn’t uncommon for them to perform as a 4-piece (or 3-piece as the case seems to be now, following some lineup changes), this record is a splendid intro into the world of physical releases for them, one which touches on everything you would really expect, from Ramones hooks to Manges punk and Green Day pop.
In fact, the first Blendours track on the split Molly E would have done just fine as a Ramones tune had they some female presence; keeping it short, simple and fun “She’s Molly E and she’s way cooler than me” loops along with pop-laden hooks before the faster but just as melodic Artificial Meat stories a bad dinner experience resulting in a fear of… you guessed it, artificial meat.
With Fat Wreck Chords pushing this style of punk a bit more over recent years, it is easy to draw comparisons to Masked Intruder on track B-L-E-n-D-O-U-R-S and also Teenage Bottlerocket on the darker, but still poppy, closing track I Hope You Die. More punky numbers along the lines of Chixdiggit! can be heard on the fun Johnny’s Goin Nuts and slightly disturbingly themed Hump Me To Sleep, before the “Wah wah wahs” return during Blind Date, bringing the rock and roll back full circle… Happy days (pun intended).
So what do The Blendours have on The Ramones? Well although simple is often better, let’s just say that for every Ramones “oooh-wooo-hooo” The Blendours give us a “shooo-bah-bah-bah-oooh-wah-oooh” and then some. Go check out penultimate track Paralyzed to testify.
Hopefully there will be more electric (re)recordings in the future, but until then check out the band’s links below and show your support by liking their pages, sharing the tunes you think are rad and spreading the word. They deserve it.
Here is a song to keep your ears busy whilst you explore the above links… It’s the original acoustic version of Artificial Meat: