A band with a crap name and a proggy looking album cover. Why should we delve any deeper music lovers? Well the fact that ‘Selfish Propensities’ is on the mighty Rum Bar Records is a reason to give it a (virtual) spin for starters. Secondly, Nana are a garage rock ‘n’ roll band featuring Boston rock royalty and happen to be fronted by The Dirty Truckers singer Tom Baker.
Formed back in the mid-nineties, Nana were a short lived band who played dirty, Boston style alt-punk rock. Featuring Paul Janovitz (guitar), Roland Smith (bass), Jim Delios (Drums) and the aforementioned Baker, they released just one album on Diorama Records, produced by Kevin Salem of Dumptruck and Sir David Minehan.
Fast forward 25 years and some bright spark unearthed a box of CDs of the long lost, only album released by Nana and traded them all with Rum Bar Records for $200 and some polaroids of Joan Jett…or something like that!
Opener ‘Annoy’ sets the tone as dirty riffs burst from the left and then the right speaker. Tom Baker’s dulcet tones the perfect catalyst to induce a ramshackle burst of garage level power pop.
‘Percy’ follows and is as instant as Nescafe coffee. When a song grabs you from the first few bars you know you’re on to something special. An instant hit of energy, with melody and a certain urgency that demands you turn it up and shut the fuck up!
They then take things down with the more emotive ‘The Run Around’. With a picked chord progression that come on like a slowed down ‘No More, No More’ and an ear splitting solo, you could say Nana have delivered with their opening salvo.
But there more delights on offer. The cow punk, southern rock of ‘On My Way Down’ is more Georgia Satellites than a Dan Baird album. And it resides somewhere in the key of “kiss my ass goodbye!” Guitars ring and drums crash as Baker belts out an anthemic chorus full of passion, emotion and southern drawl. This is the sound of a man with something to prove and nothing to lose, a killer tune make no mistake.
This album has a rough n’ ready sound for sure, but the songs are spot on. Mixing up the melodic, garage rock suss of The Replacements, with the alt rock/countrified grooves of the likes of Soul Asylum and the aforementioned Satellites, it’s a glorious cacophony of garage rock noise. While it’s raw and raucous, it does lose momentum mid album with the so-so ‘Fake Me Out’, but
‘Dirty Bit’ restores faith, coming on like Elvis Costello on crack. Great vocal delivery and guitars shooting from the hip make this essential rock ‘n’ roll listening any day of the week.
Elsewhere, ‘Permanent’ is a song that channels mid 70’s Stones to great effect. The band takes things down nicely; great guitar tone and emotive vocals harmonies make it a stand out track for sure.
‘Selfish Propensities’ is a little lost gem of an album that deserves to sit in your CD rack proudly amongst garage rock royalty. The band members may have gone on to bigger and better things, but this one album from Nana is a testament to humble rock ‘n’ roll beginnings and shows flourishes of greatness throughout its ten tracks. Nice find Rum Bar!
Author: Ben Hughes