Congrats to Little Dickman for five rad years of sweet platters, like the Fruit & Flowers debut EP, Drug Tax, which drops June 30 and will be celebrated with a release party on June 29 at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. More on Little Dickman in a bit, but first, do go check out Fruit & Flowers both live and on record. Their powerful mix of surf, punk, garage, psychedelic rock and pop may sound like it’s been done before, but the ¾-female quartet delivers a dichotomous charm and edge that brings them to the forefront of the surf-punk and psychedelic garage rock movements. The results are as sweet as their name implies.
The seven-song Drug Tax kicks off with “Out of Touch,” a sleepy, gnarly blend of ringing surf guitar; fat, tubular bass riffs and understated girl-band garage strut. Fruit & Flowers then share contagious fun on “Subway Surfer,” an upbeat salute to The Ramones hanging out on a Rockaway Beach with The Go-Go’s. Layers of rich, sweet and varied vocals, plus a shredding guitar solo, add to the track’s strength.
The rousing “Dark Surf” churns up strong emotions as the band rides intensifying rhythms and vocals to calming conclusion, like a salty swell that eventually tickles the beach. “Down Down Down” is its own beach party with a strong ’60s pop sensibility and vocal approach mashed up with a more modern-day grungy guitar attack and taboo drug references. The title track also stands out, especially lyrically, as clever word play is punched with rhythms that lead into another wild guitar wipeout.
As for Little Dickman, here’s some tasty stuff also going on as the label celebrates five years of essential existence:
• June 30: Pink Mexico, Dentist and Psychiatric Metaphors, Asbury Park Yacht Club (free 9 p.m. show)
• July 3: Birdcloud (Nashville), Ex-Girlfriends and Little Vicious, The Saint, Asbury Park (7 p.m., $10)
• July 21: The Off White/Sharkmuffin split cassette
• July 29: TV Tramps, The Anchor’s Bend, Asbury Park
• July 31: Las Pinas (Argentina), Dentist and Partner (Canada), The Anchor’s Bend, Asbury Park (free 7 p.m. show)
• Aug. 4: Looms’ How It Has to Be release.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and the former managing editor of and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him email@example.com.