New album: The Uplifting Bell Ends || Super Giant IV

Australian psych-folk outfit The Uplifting Bell Ends (aka The Bell Ends) conclude their “Super Giant saga” with their new (fifth) full-length album, Super Giant IV. In the ten new original songs here, Chet Tucker, James French, Luke Moroney and Jack Whittingham revive bluesy country rock from the late 60s and early 70s. You’ll hear stories of travel, nature, isolation, love and longing for connection, written in the desert during the pandemic. The sound is melancholic, warm and atmospheric, for example beautifully reflected in That Old Familiar Feeling: ‘As the dust settles I start thinking // If we can put back the pieces ever again // I’m a man that doesn’t mind changing / / But if I can I can’t say when.’ Life is good Travellin’ Home this way: ‘Nah nah nah nah no // Hey hey hey hey // Oh yeah // Hey hey hey hey.’

Super Giant IV is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Third Eye Stimuli Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Third Eye Stimuli

New album: Talco || Videogame

Punkchanka! Italian ska-punk band Talco have been hyperactive for over 20 years, with about ten albums and countless sold-out live shows to their name. Less than half a year after new EP Insert Coin, they’re already back with their next full-length, called Videogame. You’ll hear 13 more infectious tunes of what Talco is known for: a danceable potpourri of punk-rock, folk, Latin, brass and ska music. The band explains that the pandemic led to an introspective journey about the mind and the concept of time, restoring their ability to manage life as they prefer, but also the theme in their new work: “It is a simple story that, revolving around the concept of escape from fear and anguish, deals in parallel with introspective and committed reflections, in a metaphorical plot that starts from the dream of an awakening inside a video game.” Influenced by Californian punk-rock, the sound here is more powerful than before, something we don’t mind. Although there are more hits on the LP, Garage Jukebox is the track that stands out, both musically and lyrically (it also shows that the band is much more than a party outfit) – an energetic but melodic song about unconditional love for writing and making music, in a creative oasis hidden by everyone.

Videogame is out now on vinyl LP through HFMN. Add to wantlist: Discogs

New EP: Humanga Danga || Watusi Peak

Four years after their very nice self-titled debut EP (and two years after their Shady/Girls single), Belgian surf rock outfit Humanga Danga are back with a new EP called Watusi Peak. Stefan Valenberghs (lead guitar), Jonas Eliano (rhythm guitar, keys), Bart Steyaert (bass) and Louis Van der Linden (drums, percussion) strive to make strong, melodic guitar tunes with tons of reverb and tremolo, in which they do not shy away from genre-foreign influences. The six fresh, original tracks here totally meet that objective, these tunes really enrich the genre. While all of the Humanga Danga videos are pretty amazing, I really have to share their self-made animation for Lima Bean Bunny Board – very cool how the instrumental music is translated into language: “Tew Tiew! Te-ueeng! De De De Dum Tweng!”

Watusi Peak is out now digitally and on CD (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Dave’s Doors Of Perception || Shake It!

In the rich garage rock / rhythm & blues history the verb “shake” occurs frequently, but UK four-piece Dave’s Doors Of Perception confidently add a new anthem to the canon. Four years after their full-length debut album Apophenia, Dave Door (drums), Blair Dean (vocals, guitar), Rob Doherty (bass) and Mark Lacey (lead guitar) are back with the awesome single Shake It!. The soulful and tight tune rocks and swings like in the heyday of the genre. B-side Wasp Honey (I initially understood “Bugs Bunny”, haha) is just as much fun.

Shake It! b/w Wasp Honey is out now digitally and on vinyl 7″ through Well Suspect Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Well Suspect

New single: Meltheads || Na​ï​ef

Meltheads are a dangerous garage rock / (post-)punk band from Antwerp, who are rightly seen as one of the biggest promises in the Belgian music scene due to their first singles (check out the videos for Disco of L’Amore, Sweet Monica and I Wanna Be A Girl), but even more so because of their intense live shows. On their new single Na​ï​ef, the heavy rhythm section of Yunas de Proost (guitar), Tim Pensaert (bass) and Simon de Geus (drums) slows down the tempo a bit, and front man Sietse Willems doesn’t sing in English this time. Yet it’s probably their most powerful, urgent, furious and impressive achievement to date. The lyrics are in Dutch/Flemish, but even if you don’t understand them, you probably still feel the message (translated): “I don’t believe in nonsense // I’m not naive // Fight with me // I’m not naive.” An instant classic.

The Naïef EP, featuring four different versions of the track, is out now digitally on vinyl 12″ single through Mayway Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Let’s Go’s || Kill By Pop

Is it innovative or groundbreaking? No not at all. Is it entertaining and cool? Yes, completely. Just choose what’s more important to you. Kill By Pop is the new full-length album by Japanese all-female punk ‘n’ roll band The Let’s Go’s. Guitarist Coco, drummer Mariko-Mariko and bassist Manami – they share vocal duties – play fast, energetic and melodic guitar songs, with lyrics (largely in Japanese) that don’t necessarily have a deeper meaning – this music is about the music itself, but much less sweet than the cover art suggests. The trio kick off the LP with ロックンロール止めないで (translated it turns out to be a telling title: Don’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll), barely giving you time to breathe in the ten following tracks (including a cover of Shonen Knife’s Girl’s Rock), to leave you exhausted after 40 minutes. Kill By Pop? Fun to the max!

Kill By Pop is now streaming and out on CD through Sniffin’ Glue Records (a new label launched by punk rock magazine Bollocks, published by Shinko Music).

Add to wantlist: Tower Records Japan

New album: The Melmacs || Good Advice

A band with four members adorning themselves with the same last name, then you know what time it is: the alarm clock displays punk ‘n’ roll. Here are The Melmacs, from Germany: Bimmi Melmac, Max Melmac, Connie Melmac and Remo Melmac. You now can hear their full-length debut album Good Advice, featuring ten pieces of catchy power-poppin’ punk rock, and lyrics with an uplifting message. The energy and enthusiasm splashes off the record, and you can tick off just about everything we love, like gritty gang vocals to shout along to, a danceable drum beat, hip-shaking guitar riffs, a waltzing organ, and all the other tricks that can thrill a stadium audience – irresistible. Life is fun on Planet Melmac.

Good Advice is out now digitally, on cassette and vinyl LP through Barkraufarfita Records, Wanda Records and Tape Or Die.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Barkraufarfita || Discogs || Tape Or Die || Wanda

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of September 2022

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

In September we heard Rita Wilson’s Now & Forever cover LP featuring duets with Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Elvis Costello and other big names, Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe SuperSession featuring 33 artists interpreting the music of James Toth (Wooden Wand), Geoff Palmer’s version of Dee Dee Ramone’s Standing In The Spotlight album, the 15-track Sea Creatures compilation as a homage to the songwriting of Jeffrey Lewis, a sponsored Old Man cover by Beck that Neil Young was unhappy with, and previously we wrote about releases from Herman Hitson, Hayley And The Crushers, Crocodile Tears, Dangüs Tarküs and The Manges with some successful cover versions. We actually saw too many other cover versions come along, most of which were slow and subdued – apparently fall has has caught up with music too. Below is a selection of songs that haven’t yet received the attention they deserve.

I Just Wanted To See You So Bad || Cover: Quivers || Original: Lucinda Williams
On the flip side of their new single If Only, Melbourne four-piece Quivers cover a hidden gem of Lucinda Williams’ 1989 self-titled LP, sung by Bella Quinlan: “It felt so good to have a bit of a shouted call and response.” Out on red colored vinyl 7″ through Ba Da Bing!.

New album: The Big Peach || Observations

We often write about raw and raucous garage rock releases, but sometimes cool things happen on the poppy side of the genre too. On Observations, the new full-length album by feel-good rock ‘n’ roll outfit The Big Peach, you can hear ten excellent examples of this. The UK five-piece build on the better British pop, rock, beat and glam of the 60s and early 70s, but every time you think you recognize a melody or riff, the musicians give it an original spin. Anyway, here are ten entertaining, catchy and uplifting rock ‘n’ roll tunes with a good backbeat and great harmony vocals. Fifty years ago these would have been hits, for us they will be in 2022 too. File under: pub rock that makes you happy.

Observations, produced by Borja Regueira, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Sour Grapes Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Lee Baggett || Anyway

A year after his “long-awaited, long-lost” Just A Minute LP, American singer-songwriter Lee Baggett (aka Lee Gull) is back with a new full-length album called Anyway. The ten new songs of the seasoned musician – performing and recording since the 1980s – are more outspoken and more diverse than his previous output (and luckily still a bit shaky), making this a captivating listening experience. At times you might think Strange Boys are covering the Stones (lead single Fruit Dog) or that you hear a rare country classic (the swaying Highway Roll), but more often it has laid-back vibes like Kurt Vile is sending out into the world. Lee Baggett (vocals, guitar, piano) is backed by Zeb Zaitz (drums), Sam Farrell (bass guitar), Nick Aives (electric guitar, banjo), Cory Gray (keyboards, piano, trumpet), Bob Thayer (acoustic guitar, harmonica), Sterling Schlegel (acoustic guitar, mandolin) and Wiley Laufman (acoustic guitar), together they have made a timeless indie folk rock / cosmic country record, melancholic, honest and atmospheric.

Anyway is out now digitally, on cassette and vinyl LP through Perpetual Doom.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Perpetual Doom

PS  Lee Baggett also just made a notable contribution to The Lagniappe Sessions, covering Def Leppard, English Beat and Van Halen.

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