October 19, 2021

Proto Idiot – For Dummies Your new favourite garage band

Bad Paintings Records    27th May 2016

This one presses the right buttons for me. With an album-opener sitting somewhere between early Who and The Buzzcocks, this is garage rock heaven. Next up, Real Boy, sounds like the Television Personalities being interrupted by a slightly more art-agit-prop band. There’s a lot of references to be made with bands that channel the DIY / Garage / Punk spirit, many of them from decades past as there aren’t ever too many in the present day and some don’t get recognised till they’ve shuffled off-stage. Try Failing (“if at first you don’t succeed, try failing”) owes a debt to Yo La Tengo’s Nuclear War. But then, that owed debts to Sun Ra and half of Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation.

This is slightly tinny, a bit ramshackle, apparently the work of rock and roll obsessives and appealing to the rock historian /obscurantist wanting to pick up on a riff from a record barely scratching contemporary sensibility in its day. I hear traces of Swell Maps, The Adverts, and bands I heard just the once on a John Peel show under the bedcovers some time in 1981. Amazing that this is a band with nearly ten years behind it and still wilfully naïve in their belief in the power of simplicity, velocity, semi-ineptitude and first takes.

I could play an old Rough Trade compilation or Nuggets or I could go for a living, breathing, touring band, channelling the spirit of bands that thrived on rattly guitars and records made for 20p and a can of pop. I’ll take the latter.

Loving the pure DIY attitude here. This is the sort of band that makes people pick up an instrument and make noise in a cellar with their mates. Anyone can do it? Well, go on then!