Track Review: Janitors – “Your Son”

[Self-released; 2012]

I can’t tell you how many new synthpop bands I’ve heard of this year, but I can tell you that there are significantly more of them than there were two years ago. On the other side of the coin, I could probably count on one hand how many garage-rock bands have made it through the blogosphere to my ears this year. It’s not a bizarre phenomenon, either. Garage-rock bands have been around ever since the beginning of rock and roll, but synths have only been around for so long. And with the technology of this day and age and the advent of distribution platforms such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud, it seems easy for anyone with a song in his or her heart and a synthesizer in his or her bedroom to record an album and have it heard by millions.

If on the other hand you want to make garage rock in this day and age, it’s much harder. You need a garage and at least one friend, you need to be able to coordinate, and you have a much longer history of generic garage rock from which you must distinguish yourself. You do, however, have the advantage of distinguishing yourself from the overabundance of bedroom synthpop, and if you’re really good at what you do, it can work wonders. R.E.M. found fame and fortune playing pure power pop when everybody else was riding the New Wave, The Antlers were showered with praise for their heart-tugging balladry when so many were riding the Chill Wave, and now Toronto’s Janitors have earned my adoration for their unhinged brand of lo-fi psych-rock

“Your Son” is a refreshing listening experience unlike any other I’ve had this year. In the span of just under three minutes, Janitors manage to evoke the driving energy of the Ramones, the wackiness of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, and the care-free spirit of a Nuggets compilation album. The band manages to cram so much exuberance into every single strum and silly syllable, it’s hard not to shout along with the raucous refrain of “Your son is a nun/ And he ain’t having no fun.” Unlike the titular son, though, Janitors are having shit-tons of fun playing their music, and I’m having similar shit-tons of fun listening to it. They have but a single page on Soundcloud and but a single follower in yours truly, so I beseech you: If you ain’t having no fun with that billionth boring bedroom-pop album you’ve bought, put on Janitors, and listen to them absolutely (wait for it) wipe the floor with it.