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Garage Monsters 

by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & et us escape, now, into nostalgia. Go ahead, take out those old photo albums and sit yourself down in that patent leather chaise that's beautiful and retro and totally uncomfortable: It is time to remember the 1990s. Before we had iPods or even CDs, we had cassettes. Before we had reality television, we had MTV actually playing music. Before we had trendy social networking sites, we had the garage -- an iconic place, if ever there was one. The garage typifies the ideal spot for every young person to take refuge. It was a hangout, a club, an entire subculture -- it even created its own musical genre. It was youth personified.

Recapturing the magic that once held every young person so tightly in its mentality ("I lack any sort of recognizable talent, but I'm still going to make it in the music business somehow") seems almost impossible in the era of ProTools and Apple's Garage Band. It would be a welcome break, though, to hear slacker-rock without all that artificial sheen -- just big sloppy guitars and tinny drums echoing off the bare sheetrock of Mom and Dad's carport.

Enter Super Monster, bringing back the glory days of garage rock. Initially a one-man band side project of Joseph Weiss (guitarist, lead singer, avid reader), the band now also includes Matthew Berger (drummer and best friend) and Christoph Knaplund (bassist and a former Pacific Northwesterner). A relatively new band, only forming in 2006, Super Monster has been busy: They've released two EPs and a compellingly appropriate cassette entitled the "Super Monster-TAPE," and they have played a lot of shows in between while avoiding traditional venues in favor of more intimate house parties. Now, on their first tour (with 13 dates taking them all across the country), Super Monster is letting their homespun sound out of the basement.

It's surf-rock guitar and Gordon-from-the-Violent-Femmes-style vocals wrapped in the youthful Polaroid of the Lo-Fi sound. Their familiar, under-produced resonance is easy to relate to. They even have a song devoted to the iconic "Oohla." (It is, of course, called "Oohlalala" -- a summery, upbeat tune that claims "We're gonna make it right to the end" -- and they almost have you believing it, too. There's no need for lyrics when you have nonsense instead.) Super Monster is a cross between a less experimental Pixies and an even more Lo-Fi Mountain Goats. They have created for themselves a sort of surf-meets-folk aesthetic.

Yes, while the days of youth may be long gone for some of us, the days of the garage will live on forever. Super Monster, sojourners of that good old-fashioned garage beat, will see to that.

Super Monster at Caterina Winery on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 9 pm. $5. Call 328-5069.
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