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The Loons

Red Dissolving Rays of Light

Bomp! Records / 2010

San Diego's Loons deliver 11 heaping helpings of psychedeliciousness on this template for 21st century garage rock. This should appeal to the hardcore devotees of '60s nuggets as well as to all the kids who could give a shit about the Seeds and just want to rock.

There's a lot here to like: "Between Grey Slates" comes off like a heady mix of early Stones, Graham Parker, and The Replacements. "La Mesa Boulevard" features great Mamas and Papas-style harmonies. The title track has sterling pedal steel by Glen Ross Campbell (from '60s band The Misunderstood, whose "Before the Dream Faded" is considered essential listening in this genre). I like the lyrics throughout, especially on "The Losers Win": "Sprinklers hiss as the sunlight grows paler/Between the trashcans and creeping azaleas/Beating out a soundtrack to failure/Behind a garage door/The sound of obscure." Pretty smart for "dumb rock."

So there's much to like… and there's one to love: "Summer's End" is the song of the summer of 2010. Sorry, Katy Perry, "California Gurls" is swell, but it doesn't have both the shimmer and the depth of "Summer's End." This is a gorgeous song with a catchy melody and terrific harmonies. I first heard it in early summer and instantly fell in love. And, as the song says, "When we reach the summer's end/Let's all fall in love again." This is a winner for all seasons.

—Bob Brown