New York Rifles sound like nothing else, exactly, that I know. Scott Young's lead vocals are a unique amalgam of Bon Scott/Bob Dylan/Grace Slick– with Patti Smith's phrasing. The Portland, Oregon-based trio's approach? The title track lopes along in minimalist folk-rock mode. But there's an edge to the way the words are sputtered, and a tension in the interplay between emphatic drum thuds and walking guitar lines, that smells distinctly like "punk." So it's no surprise when the track evolves, organically as a heartbeat, into a full-volume slice of punkish rock that sounds familiar while still coming across fresh as a just-cut rose.
The shading of New York Rifles' tones is pretty. The delivery is biting. Together, the effect is not entirely unlike that of a radicalized Feelies, a Feelies that maybe wanted to be the Stooges. If I were to hear Girl Shaped Girl at a party, I might think it was a sub-underground gem from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, one I'd somehow missed. Re: where to start, with the Rifles' latest, I'd say the primal blast of "N Train" is as good a place as any.
You can check New York Rifles out at its label's site: www.inmusicwetrust.com. Although Girl Shaped Girl isn't out until October, here's footage of the band throwing down one of the album's tracks, "I Spy Spider Eyes." Bassist Jamie Gould's clear Angus Young influence is more than enough reason for the click-through… as long as ya hurry back to Punk Globe, of course: