Album review: The Routes, “Dirty Needles and Pins”

by Jon E. Lynch

The Routes, “Dirty Needles and Pins”

Available: Friday, Nov. 17, via the NYC and Long Beach, New York, label Greenway Records in what I imagine will be an impressive vinyl offering with a somewhat limited pressing. Digital versions may or may not be available from UK’s Dirty Water Records (Archie and The Bunkers, The Darts, Suicide Generation, etc.) sooner to now.

When you are thumbing through stacks of records or compact discs, whether in the new or used bin at your favorite local record store, thrift store, record swap, or wherever you pick up physical mediums of music, sometimes you have to judge an album by its cover. Now, I do realize your handheld computer allows you to listen and preview any music at any time and taking a plunge on looks alone is, in this day and age, somewhat unnecessary. So I’m not only dating myself, but perhaps whatever audience there is for reviews like mine, but sometimes that random grab is not just fulfilling but exciting. As I’ve mentioned before, you can also judge a band by the company they keep.

Case in point with Japan’s premier garage surf psych export, The Routes. Dirty Needles and Pins is the second release this year from Chris Jack (guitar, bass, vocals, and organ) and a rotating cast of live players. Drums on the album are handled by Jonathan Hillhouse. The touring lineup includes Shinichi Nakayama on drums and Toru Nishimuta on bass. The band’s online bio via the Dirty Water website states the band is “based in a bowl in the mountains (Hita City, Oita prefecture)” and gigs “independently over 600 miles south of the Tokyo garage scene.” They bash out cuts that feel familiar and draw influence from a slew of great rock forbearers such as The Kinks, Dirty Pretty Things, The 13th Floor Elevators, Loop, and early Spaceman 3.

Recommended for fans of any of the aforementioned, or for those that dig taking a chance on a band based on album and tour art. Give it a go!

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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