Standout Track: No. 4, “Give It Up,” which channels Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones in the name of good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll fucking. “You got what I want/Everything I need,” singer-guitarist Sean Crowley declares before asking the desperate lover’s timeless question: “So why won’t you just give it up?” A lick swiped from Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” minus psychedelia plus sex equals two minutes and 36 seconds of transcendent garage rock.
Musical Motivation: “We played high school talent shows and started out as a Cure cover band,” says drummer Michael Sullivan, who grew up in upstate New York with his brother, bassist Matt Sullivan, and Crowley. Still, the trio’s choice of material went beyond Disintegration: “‘Wooly Bully’ was in our set,” Sullivan says. When they reconvened in D.C. early last year, the Hall Monitors added Federal City Five alumna Ginger Richards on second guitar and decided to go garage. “Give It Up” was the first step in this new/old direction. “We are about raw, primitive, passionate energy,” Sullivan says. “We’re not trying to write übercomplicated indie tunes.”
Band of Enchantment: Though urban mods herald the Hall Monitors’ sexy lyrics and reverb-drenched guitars, the band’s timekeeper moved to a less-swingin’ locale last summer. “I am the director of a wilderness education organization in Albuquerque,” says Sullivan, 30, who meets up with his bandmates for tours and recording. “We lead trips through the backcountry.” But will the lonely, wind-swept mesas compromise the Hall Monitors’ gritty aesthetics? “It’s a gritty town,” Sullivan says of his New Mexico home. “I saw my first metal show. I’m not sure if I’m into [the music], but I’m into the spectacle.”