New album: The Monofones || Loud & Lousy

OK, let’s play some good old rock ‘n’ roll with a punk attitude. Swiss garage rock trio The Monofones are back with their sixth full-length album, with the revealing title Loud & Lousy. It sounds like a thunderstorm is approaching, but when there’s a cheerful whistle after 15 seconds, you get the feeling you don’t really have to worry. Yet the threat lingers for 15 songs, gets even more powerful – over 35 minutes with lightning guitars and thunderous drums. The screaming female vocals easily rise above the musical violence, to assure you in confident lyrics that you don’t have to make any illusions that you won’t be hit. Only in the closing song does the storm decrease in strength and you can breathe a sigh of relief, with your hair messy and in amazement at what you’ve just undergone.

Loud & Lousy is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Little Rebel Records. RIYL: Guano Apes, The Distillers, The Jackets.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Little Rebel

New album: Green/Blue || Offering

Green/Blue made some waves with their self-titled debut in 2020. This week, the band dropped the follow-up called Offering. It’s a must hear if you like music that doesn’t suck.

Green/Blue consists of three veterans of the Minneapolis underground scene: Jim Blaha (Blind Shake/Shadow In The Cracks), Annie Sparrows (Soviettes/Awesome Snakes), and Dan Henry (Sgt 6 Assault/Dummies/France Has The Bomb). Green/Blue finds synergy between their sound and their art direction. Both are collages, a mixture of different styles where the look and sound of its parts may sound familiar, but the whole becomes its own new (and improved) thing. In the case of Green/Blue’s music there are parts of lo-fi jangle, gbv-fi, post punk, garage rock and a whole lot more. It’s hard to pinpoint any of the songs on Offering to a specific period or genre. All I know is that I’m blown away by this record.

Offering is a beast of a record. It is both subdued and exuberant, both complex and accessible, both instantly likeable and a grower. I am definitely buying this. Offering is out now on Hozac Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Gabriella Cohen || Blue No More

Australian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (and actress) Gabriella Cohen has released her third full-length album, Blue No More. It’s  poppier than the music we usually share here, but it has so many appealing elements that I don’t want to withhold it from you. You’ll hear pinches of country, folk, blues, and gospel, but also influences from indie pop, 60’s girl groups, and even glam rock. The 10 songs may be genre-transcending, but are always soulful, warm and laidback. Side A is energetic and contains the hits, with earworm I Just Got So High as the greatest test of aptitude, on side B the tempo is reduced with dreamy, cinematic ballads in which synths and soundscapes appear. If you want some variety from the riffing guitars we’ll be writing about for the rest of the week, you should check this out.

Blue No More is out now digitally and on vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Kids On A Crime Spree || Fall In Love Not In Line

Has it really been ten years since Kids On A Crime Spree emerged seemingly out of nowhere with their debut (mini)LP We Love You So Bad? It was love at first sight. An one-sided love perhaps, because the three-piece has been playing hard to get in the past decade, only releasing a handful of songs on three singles, two of which were splits with different bands.

No hard feelings though, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that. But seriously, Fall In Love Not In Line was worth the wait. The reverb heavy bubblegum powerpop of these ten songs surely will create some tsunami sized waves in the underground pop scene. The opening combo of Karl Kardel Building and When Can I See You Again? alone is worth the price of admission. All Things Fade and Boomdoom are also standouts, but you won’t find any fillers on Fall In Love Not In Line. Whatever they do, Kids On A Crime Spree make it sound all so spontaneous and effortless, almost like they can’t help writing hits like these.

What a week for Slumberland Records who simultaneously released that amazing Artsick record last Friday. If this is the bar for the good kind of pop music in 2022, we’re in for a treat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: The Caroline’s || On My Way To U

Indonesion Twee pop band The Caroline’s is making my heart beat faster with their first EP. The four songs on On My Way To U are upbeat but they feel melancholic due to the dreamy awesomeness of the band’s vocalist. I have a sense that this won’t be the last time we’ll be hearing from this band.

On My Way To U is out now on Paska Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Artsick || Fingers Crossed

If you press the play button below, you’ll hear an indie rock band that clearly intends to deliver a convincing LP. Enthusiasm, fun and C86 influences radiate from the 11 short but powerful songs. We’re talking about Fingers Crossed, the debut full-length album with which Artsick follows up their 7″ single Going Down / No Clue (2018). We already knew the three band members from other admired projects – Christina Riley of Burnt Palms on guitar, Mario Hernandez of Kids On A Crime Spree* and Ciao Bella on drums, and Donna McKean of Lunchbox and Hard Left on bass – so we could expect some fine music, but their mutual chemistry creates a result that is more than the sum of its parts (apparently this is a successful remedy for their “artsickness”, which was the reason to do something else). “Satisfaction, where are you?” is the question in opening track Restless. The answer lies in this timeless, energetic record. RIYL: Talulah Gosh, Jeanines, Veronica Falls.

Fingers Crossed is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP through the always reliable Slumberland Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Slumberland

*Kids On A Crime Spree also released a new album this week, more on that in the coming days.

New album: Pedico || Sock Hop

There is fine line between punk covers that are fun and those that are absolutely cringeworthy. I absolute put ATW alumni Pedico in the first category with Sock Hop, a ten song cover album the band recorded last year. On Sock Hop, the New York pop punks expertly and lovingly shake out ten classic oldies-but-goodies .

For some background on the record, I reached out to Pedico. “We’ve always been inspired by early rock & roll like Ritchie Valens, Dion, Buddy Holly… Back when it was fun dance music before it got turned into weird, psychedelic, hippie shit with violins and long solos; Think poodle skirts and necking in cars. Real 1950s Americana. This was back when black groups would do original songs, then white groups would cover them and actually get played for the whole country (The Clovers, James Brown, etc.). It was kind of the backbone of the genre and what we’ve always tried to come back to. Fast, catchy tunes with a back beat. And the songs we covered for the Sock Hop record were some of our faves.”

In my opinion, fifties and sixties music is the musical era best suited to get punked up. And Sock Hop, from start (Yakety Yak) to finish (Splish Splash), is an absolute blast. If you are looking for a good start of the weekend or a rock-‘n’-roll dance party, play this on repeat! Spoiler: You’ll be rewarded with an hidden bonus cover.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Teini-Pää || Maailma Kyllä Odottaa

I only took one look at the cover and I already knew that I would enjoy this one. Then I saw the bandname and recalled Teini-Pää’s killer EP from 2019 (Täynnä kysymyksiä), and the band’s cover of SOS by ABBA, and I got really excited. Maailma Kyllä Odottaa (The World Is Waiting) is the band’s debut full length, and I’ve been playing it all morning. Teini-Pää are Jesse, Johanna, Luca, Reetta, and Sara from Helsinki. With three guitarists, one bass player and a drummer, Teini-Pää plays a catchy form of powerpop that has as many hooks as their songtitles have vowels. If you’re looking for a comparison: kinda like the Finnish Go-Go’s.

The opening 1-2-3 punch of Heartbreaker, Downtown, and Ote Lipsuu sets the stage for a record that is as fun as it is rewarding. While I prefer the punkier side of the record, Teni-Pää is unafraid to show their pop sensibilities (and talent!) with the more subdued Soitellaan and Kissat Ja Koirat – two songs reminiscent of the melancholic indie pop of Alvvays. In addition to 11 Teini-Pää originals, there is a gratifying cover of Cub’s Pillow Queen, sung in the band’s native language (Silmät Kiini).

I’m going to play this a lot this year. And I don’t think I will be the only one. If Google Translate doesn’t lie, Maailma Kyllä Odottaa will be out on vinyl through Soit Se Silti. Straight to the wantlist it goes!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Roxies || Don’t Wanna Dance Because I’m Told To

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how The Roxies would release their debut full length sometime this year. Apparently, that turned out to be sooner than later. And that is fine by me, because with this record and the one by The Cheap Cassettes that was released last week, 2022 is off to a highly promising start for fans of power pop.

The Roxies are from Berlin, although their singer Matthew is originally from England. In addition to powerpop, The Roxies cite ’77 Punk Rock, Garage, Post Punk as influences. To my ears, they sound like a late ’70s, early ’80s classic powerpop band though. Expect strong songwriting with a rock-‘n’-roll heart.

Don’t Wanna Dance Because I’m Told To is the kind of record where, with each play, you’ll increasingly notice how well constructed the songs are. You’ve probably already heard the major hits Beat Of The Street and Down, and songs like Stereo and Lovedrunk also have that instant likeability. But I also really like the more subtle Scapegoat, with its great build up to something that isn’t necessarily a chorus, but nonetheless tickles my brain in all the right places.

Now that they have finally arrived, I hope The Roxies are here to stay. Don’t Wanna Dance Because I’m Told To is out now on Family Spree Recordings and Dirt Cult Records. We’ll have two please!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Kung-Fu Girl || Sunset Park

I’d like to nominate Sunset Park by Japanese four-piece Kung-Fu Girl as the most fun release of 2022 yet. Sunset Park is the follow-up to the band’s 2019 self-titled debut – a record I regretfully overlooked. On Sunset Park, Kung-Fu Girl have found the perfect synergy between the cute charm of indie pop and the energy and upbeat quality of pop punk.

Kung-Fu Girl namedrops Tiger Trap, Dressy Bessy, Tallulah Gosh, Go Sailor and The Apples In Stereo as influences, which at the very least showcases their good taste. While good taste doesn’t automatically translate in good music, in the case of Kung-Fu Girl you need not worry about that all. Call it poppy indie punk or punky indie pop, or whatever; If you like energetic pop music with warmth, a pulse and an edge, Sunset Park will make your day!

Ghost Girl Friend and Rabuka, just two of the many hits on Sunset Park, may sound familiar since earlier versions of the songs were part of a cassingle from 2021  – that cassingle also included a cool cover of a GBV classic by the way. The updated versions of the songs sound crisp and fun, but Sunset Park has many songs equally great or even better, like Yesterday, 8 Minutes Of Magic, and hhltm.

Sunset Park is out now on CD at Testcard Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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