If you’re fortunate enough to have an authentic German restaurant in your hometown, more than likely you will dine there (if you like that cuisine) and engorge yourself with sauerkraut-smothered bratwurst, applesauce meatloaf, potato salad, goulash, and perhaps the sauerbraten. You’ll also want to elevate your experience with some “Old World” brewskies like Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier (5.4%), Augustiner Vollbier (5.2%), and Paulaner Salvator (7.9%!). Or if you’re one of those Applebee’s frequenters, you’ll probably just ask for a St. Pauli Girl in one of those flip-top steins. In any event, you’ll also be regaled in live music. No, most German eateries are not going to book Accept, Helloween, Grave Digger, nor Gamma Ray (although that would be awesome), but they will indoctrinate you with that ‘ole-time stand-by, polka, and very loudly. The point is, that yes, you can experience the land of Snoopy’s nemesis in a very safe and commercial environment (here in the U.S.). But if you want the real sausage and potatoes of underground culture, primarily of the garage punk ‘n’ roll kind, you’ll need to grab that sixer of Erste Kulmbacher Actienbrauerei EKU 28 (11%!) and seek out the Vagoos.
Hailing from the Upper-Bavarian Alpine Foothills, precisely in the province of Rosenheim, the Vagoos have been producing their brand of wonderful clangin’ and bangin’ noise since 2009. Fronted by the dual assault of vocalists/guitarists Dominik R. Wolf and Christoph Kreppner, the band is rounded out with bassist Martin Fehling and drummer/vocalist Dan E. Dee. The ‘Goos made their usual rounds of live gigs, performing at parties, clubs, beach bars, concert halls, youth centers, restaurants, libraries, squats, and even out in the streets. They partook touring schedules that had them rumble throughout Germany, Austria, France, Spain, and Portugal. Along the way, they shared bookings with Reverend Beat-Man, the Movement, Las Aspiradoras, the Razorblades, Juke Joint Pimps, and other international rock ‘n’ rollers. In 2011, they produced a 7″ single, “The Devil” b/w “Hard Times” (on green vinyl) that was sold only at their shows. They followed this with a self-titled full length album in 2014 from off label records (yes, it’s in lower case), and then a 10″ titled “Love You” was released the next year from the same label. In 2016, the guys/’Goos jumped on the cassette craze and re-released “Love You” along with new material collected as “Acid Punk” on the “2 Albums 1 Cassette” limited edition release (yes, on cassette) from Wiener Records. Having built up a sizeable following with their music, the Vagoos found themselves the darlings of many garage/punk podcasts and radio shows, as well as more touring that solidified their reputation as a supreme live act.
The latest release from the Vagoos, “Heat Wave” (from off label records), is a solid collection of garage and surf spread out over 12 tracks. Reminiscent of Brimstone Howl and the Porch Ghouls at times, or even a lo-fi Dee Rangers, most of these tunes come at you fast with all of the trademarks of an “all-killer no-filler” must-have. The opener, “Fidget”, is a take-no-prisoners manic assault that hints at the eargasmic joys to come. With the blood pressure pumping and the mood set, the second track “Must Be Voodoo” doesn’t disappoint with its speedy beat and signature garage punk sound. If you thought things couldn’t get more upbeat, “No Rock On Mars” will definitely get you twitching in your seat, and if you don’t at least “fidget”, then you’re a friggin’ corpse, you arschloch. The title track is another sublime piece of ‘Goos goodness, along with “Golden Key”, “Blues Without A Reason”, and “Time Is Right”. The party does slow down a bit with a couple of surf perfections, “Hideaway” and “The Order Of Laissez Faire”, which allows the listener to catch their breath and reach for another Beck’s. Overall, this album is truly a front-to-back “Top 10 of 2017” that destroys the myth that German bands only play polka…or power metal.
Keep up with the Vagoos, including tour information on Facebook.
Check out all Vagoos happenings on their official website.
Order “Heat Wave” and “2 Albums 1 Cassette” on Bandcamp.
Watch (and hear) numerous Vagoos tracks on their You Tube channel.
Here’s the opening track, “Fidget”: