Radio Moscow

3 and 3 Quarters

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Led by guitarist and songwriter Parker Griggs, Radio Moscow are an Iowa-based band in love with the resin-soaked sounds of heavy boogie and raunchy psychedelia from the late 1960s, but once upon a time Griggs had other musical interests. In 2003, the 18-year-old quit the hardcore band he'd been working with and started a project of his own called Garbage Composal, which was heavily influenced by mid-'60s garage rock, with a hint of late-'70s punk for seasoning. Griggs began committing his new tunes to tape, handling guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals all by himself. He eventually completed an album's worth of material before Garbage Composal evolved into Radio Moscow with the arrival of bassist Serana Andersen and the group started exploring new territory. Nine years later, Griggs has opted to release these early recordings under the name Radio Moscow as 3 & 3 Quarters, and fans who latched onto the monster guitar riffage and heavy tread of Brain Cycles and The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz will be a little puzzled to hear Griggs making like a cut-rate version of the Lyres or the Chesterfield Kings. 3 & 3 Quarters isn't bad when one considers this is a kid fresh out of high school making a nuevo-garage album all by himself; Griggs was already a capable guitarist and drummer, and if he had a long way to go as a vocalist, he certainly had the right sneering attitude to go along with that wicked fuzztone. However, while Radio Moscow's music owes a hefty debt of influence to the sounds of the past, most of it isn't nearly as derivative as 3 & 3 Quarters; the performances are good enough, but the songs are rote garage rock by numbers, dealing with the usual treacherous girls and lamentable squares trying to foil his coolness. Judging from 3 & 3 Quarters, Parker Griggs might not have needed a band in 2003, but he sure needed a songwriting partner who could give this material some patina of originality, and this album may be fun in fits and starts, but it doesn't hold a candle to what he'd accomplish just a few years later. In the liner notes to 3 & 3 Quarters, Griggs mentions he'd sent a copy of these recordings to Bomp/Alive in 2004 but never heard back from them, and it's not hard to see why they didn't make it out of the slush pile the first time around.

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