Gonzales Checkmate

Not to be confused with the smarty pop musician and frequent Feist collaborator of the same name, Italian punk band Gonzales come barrelling into North America with the release of their second album, Checkmate. Full of shout-along choruses catchy enough for any Underground Operations outfit to lay claim to, and backed by a constant wall of blistering Ian Blurton guitar tones, Checkmate grabs the best parts of '60s garage rock and rockabilly for a sound that always has a camp of rabid devotees (see: White Cowbell Oklahoma). Social Distortion may have beaten them to the punch with their snarling Orange County take on Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" but Gonzales do respectable justice to the track with their band-defining spirit of fun and earnestness always lurking just underneath the aggressive attitude. You don't need to be able to handle this sort of thing for long because at a breakneck pace of ten songs in 26 minutes it's done before you'll have a chance to get tired of it. (Chorus Of One)