Local Love: Mikey & The Drags
Mikey & The Drags, Photo: James Medford
The garage rock meets psych rock genre has been littered with bands that made it onto a label, or perhaps toured with a particular band, but who themselves didn’t really represent the genre. That’s not the case with Houston’s Mikey & The Drags. These guys have been dropping garage rock infused with psych elements since their inception, and they’ve gotten stronger and stronger with each passing year. Recently, the four piece dropped a new full length with the sonic and hook heavy album, “Make You Mine.” Released through German label SoundFlat, these guys take their sound further than before in just nine tracks while still keeping their core sound intact.
The band doesn’t hesitate to open with the barn burning track, “Make You Mine,” where they incorporate all of the elements that make a garage rock band so swinging. Just a little over two minutes long, the band has that swag that you remember from most sixties acts. Heavy on the organ, group vocals, and snappy drums, the track makes you feel like you’re at a the Whiskey A-Go-Go and you’re waiting for an act like The Doors to take the stage. They follow this with a trippy a slinky sounding jam, “Come Along.” Feeling like an LSD induced groove, the organ really sets the mood while the guitar hops on and off the tune, and Mikey’s reverbed vocals just add to the experience. There’s an added bonus to the song when a small section of group vocals pop on the track to just make it more pleasurable. They pick the pace back up on the third track, the close to instrumental jam, “Hey Hey Hey!!!” The addition of horns to the recording add a nice element to the song that sounds as upbeat as when it gets performed live, just a little fuller here.
Around the fourth track, “Don’t Be Shy,” you should realize that this band takes this genre very seriously. The song literally sounds like it was recorded in the sixties, and the pop hooks that are written throughout the track make it that much more enjoyable. The drums and bass take the song o a joyride, while the guitar and keys add spice to the track. The same goes for the way the fifth song, “I Want It,” comes across. The song makes you feel like you should be smoking a cigarette and hanging with the cool kids who have turtlenecks and dig beat poetry. A nice jammy guitar solo hops on the track that almost emotes handclaps and dance moves. The seventh song, “Cold And Hungry,” the band mixes things up by going a little closer to a love song complete with almost doo wop verses. The backing vocals and the track’s pace give it that early sixties feel, while the way in which the guitar, bass, and keys all meet together to take the sound for a stroll really adds a richness to the song. The follow it with the quicker stride of the short and snappy song, “Farmer John.” The closest to punk that the band gets on the whole album, it gets finished before it really gets going, but definitely has its place on the album.
They close out the album with the well crafted song, “I’ve Got A Bottle,” that at times has an almost improvised feel without ever coming off of the rails. Like any good record, this one needs to be listened to on repeat. From start to finish, Mikey & The Drags find a way to continuously top themselves without ever losing their place. You can pick up your own copy of “Make You Mine,” when the band performs at the Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival on November 27th at 7:00 pm.