Niek

New album: Teen Line || Collecting To Collect

An Australian band that names itself after one of the greatest should-have-been-chartopping power pop singles of all time? Well, if you want to know how high my expectations were for Teen Line’s debut LP, imagine standing on your toes and raising your hand as high as possible. I am pleased to report that this Geelong band featuring members of The Floaties, Vintage Crop, Luke & The Typicals and The Sues do the name justice.

Teen Line’s debut album Collecting To Collect showcases a raw and dynamic blend of power pop’n’roll characterized by lively guitar slinging, energetic drumming, and infectious honesty. The recordings exude a sense of spontaneity, almost like they’re first takes with no need to polish any imperfections. Teen Line doesn’t adhere strictly to a classic power pop blueprint; instead, they knead, pull, and twist the genre in their preferred direction. The result is something hearty and nourishing—not overly sugary or radio-friendly, but refreshingly authentic. Get ready to hit repeat!

Collecting To Collect is out now at Weather Vane Records.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Poison Boys & Jonesy || Split LP

A couple of months ago, Ghost Highway Recordings released a split LP by Poison Boys (Chicago) & Jonesy (Montreal). Although we covered these two bands before (here and here) I held off on sharing my thoughts until I had heard both sides of the LP, and now I have finally checked that box, it’s an instant add to the wantlist.

That these two bands would one day team up for a split LP seemed inevitable as they are complementary in their approach to keeping the spirit of ‘70s glamrock’n’roll alive. Of the two, Jonesy leans slightly more towards classic rock whereas Poison Boys have a rougher edge to their sound. But, at the bottom line, both bands like their guitars loud and sleazy, their choruses anthemic and hooky, and their drumsticks smoothly rolled between fingers. Each band covering a song from the other underscores the natural and genuine connection between Jonesy and Poison Boys.

This is music from a bygone era, proudly unfashionable—and thank goodness for that!



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (Poison Boys) || Bandcamp (Jonesy) || Ghost Highway

New album: twisted teens || twisted teens

Here is a mysterious record by a mysterious project that simply is too much fun not to share despite me having next to nothing to report about it. Twisted teens is comprised of Cas P. ian, Razor Ramone, CPN Hollywell and C-SPAN which my intuition tells me may not be their real names. After a little extra investigation, I am now fairly certain twisted teens is actually C.P.N. (Blackbird RaumChardonnayPale Robin) and Ramon Joseph Santos – those two persons on the front cover? It’s them.

Perhaps it’s best to let the band do the introducing. By the time they kick off the chorus of the catchy and high octane garage rockin’ album opener, you will be bought and sold. “I don’t need a reason to be here i got twisted dream and that’s why they call us the twisted twisted twisted teen,” they howler. Good luck trying to stop listening to this record after that first track. Mixing elements of folk, punk, blues, garage and rock’n’roll and everything between, twisted teens hit fast, hard and often. The eleven songs cover a lot of bases, but each of the songs sounds raw and real and original in multiple ways and honestly, that voice of C.P.N. is sheer awesomeness.

Time flies when you are having fun, they say. Well this record makes time soar!




Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Josie || Demo 2024

If you are into ramshackle budget garage pop, these are excellent times. That Itchy & The Nits record is something else, and the emergence of CB Kiddo (aka Emily Williston of Phone Jerks) is pure ear candy. Copenhagen’s Josie is the latest addition to the mix. Each of these acts brings a different sound to the table, and it’s telling that Josie have tagged themselves as twee punk and C86 on their Bandcamp. Their new 4-song demo is super sweet and catchy, embodying their motto: One, Two, Twee! I’ve mentioned this before, but punks playing pop is such a winning concept.

Josie is Charlotte Fischer (Vocals & Guitar), Dawn Bruce (Bass & Vocals), and Martin Herskind (Guitar & Jangle)  – typical Danish names, huh?



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: James Sullivan || Vital Signs

Just because James Sullivan pulled the plug on his band More Kicks, doesn’t mean he’s stopped being an artist. His sophomore solo LP Vital Signs, written and recorded in his home studio in 2022, is out today (on CD & LP) via Stardumb Records. It broadens both the artist’s and label’s horizons, and I am all in!

Freed from the confines and expectations of his former band, Sullivan now has a blank canvas to draw on. Like its album art suggests, Vital Signs is a vibrant and colorful record, blending various styles and influences. Despite the minimalistic percussion and instrumentation, the LP sounds surprisingly rich.

Even more so than on his solo debut Light Years, Sullivan distances himself from the catchy garage power pop he played with Suspect Parts and More Kicks – although songs like Best Friend and Day Late Dollar Short are easily reimagined as songs from said bands. The remainder of the record is full of surprising touches and decisions.

The record opens with It’s Good to be wrong, which carries an almost hymn-like feel yet maintains suspense. My Right Boot, anchored by a groovy bass riff and steady electronic drumbeat, will make you want to get up and move. In contrast, All I Wanna Do (Is Do Nothing With You) with its beautiful finger-picked acoustic guitar, draws you back in your seat. The track is followed by La Rochelle, an emotional heavy song featuring Sullivan’s voice accompanied by a captivating string arrangement. The two songs allow for a natural rest point on the record, quickly followed by the designated hit Day Late Dollar Short – watch the fun video below. Guilty as Charged is another highlight for me. If you have a soft spot for singers weaving stories over hypnotizing music, this one will be right up your alley.

Vital Signs showcases a liberated and inspired James Sullivan finding his groove. Alex Chilton, Paul Westerberg, Robyn Hitchcock, and Jonathan Richman would (or will) be bobbing their heads in approval.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb Records || Discogs

New EP: Softjaw || Softjaw

A Big Star pin on the jacket of Tanner Duffy (Justus Proffit, Hilary Chilton) made Dustin Lovelis (The Fling) reach out. The shared love of power pop marked the birth of a new Long Beach super group that also includes Vinny Earley (Vaguess, Diode) and Daniel Michicoff (Tijuana Panthers). The name of the band? Softjaw!

The band debuts with a 5-song self-titled EP of nod-your-head and tap-your-feet sunny and nostalgic power pop that channels classic (Beatles, Byrds, Big Star, and Nerves) and more modern (Teenage Fanclub) influences. It’s the kind of EP that can only be the product of shared passion, equity of talent and record collection overlap. I definitely want more of where this came from!

EP out now through Dream Machine Records.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Chloe Hawes || Remains​/​Reminders

With four EPs in the pocket, Chloe Hawes finally promotes to the full length format with the nine-song Remains​/​Reminders. It’s an excellent singer-songwriter indie punk folk record that distantly resembles Rocky Votolato but cranks up the volume and intensity.

You don’t need to read between the lines to feel the emotional weight of the themes explored in this record. Hawes’ voice alone conveys it all. It sounds sandpapered, bruised and battered, but vulnerable and gorgeous as well (like in First To Leave). Their voice plays a major role in why this collection of songs is so mesmerizing. When Hawes sings “Can’t you see, this don’t affect the life you lead. Me and my friends, just coz we don’t fit in the space between your binary bookends That’s alright. Yeah we didn’t choose this life. But that’s just fine. You can get on with yours without taking down mine,” these are no empty words, but lived experience. There is a realness and rawness in Hawes’ delivery on Remains​/​Reminders that makes it stand out.

Remains​/​Reminders is out now through Nasty Cut Records (EU), UTB Manchester (UK), Mt. Crushmore Records (US).


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Floppy-Pinkies || Bells From The Bottom

The Floppy-Pinkies are a three-piece poppy punk rock band from Tokyo. Recorded in 2023 and released last month, Bells From The Bottom is their sophomore album. I stumbled on the record when visiting the basements of Bandcamp and was immediately grabbed by the band’s infectious songs. The Floppy-Pinkies evoke the raw, melodic punk rock vibes of the ’90s, reminiscent of bands that were on the roster of Go Kart! Records or Liberation Records rather than Fat Wreck or Epitaph. Admittedly, there are more than a little ’70s pop punk touches on Bells From The Bottom as well. The vocals of The Floppy-Pinkies are a major strength. The main singer has a range and sound comparable to Cinder Block of Tilt, and the band knows their way around catchy harmonies – listen to Bayside High School as exhibit A.

Included among the tracks is a cover of The Muffs’ Everywhere I Go. The high level of songwriting leads me to believe there may be more covers that I am missing. But regardless, this record is a whole lotta fun!



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Blackburns || The Blackburns

Joel Tannenbaum (Plow United, The Rentiers) and Nick Palmer (Wax Wav, The Danger-Os) started The Blackburns at some point last year. The creative synergy between the duo, along with additional members Lynna Stancato (vocals and synth) and Abe Koffenberger (guitar) was so strong they have released their full length debut within a year. It is out now courtesy of Sell The Heart Records.

The Blackburns are the kind of band I think will resonate with many of our readers. For starters, this band rocks! What’s more impressive though is their refusal to be confined to any specific subgenre. The album kicks off with Hooks, a glammy radio friendly rocker. It’s followed by Southern Chester County, which to my ears sounds like a modern power pop update of Shoes. Chill City Population You is ’90s alt pop hit material, while Status: Someday embodies the ’00s indie rock vibe. Drama Club sounds like Bob Mould at his catchiest. Listening to this album feels like tuning into a self-sustaining radio station where, instead of changing the channel, you’re eager to learn more about the band. It that applies to you as well, read more about The Blackburns in this interview at Sweet Sweet Music Blog.

Currently, only Hooks is available on Bandcamp. Find the remainder of the record on the streaming service of your choice.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Baby Blue || Of My Window

Of My Window is Baby Blue’s debut record, but the Melbourne act has been around for a decade or so, initially as the solo project of Rhea Caldwell before evolving into a five-piece. Caldwell’s voice, characterized by a beautiful country twang, imparts a subtle Americana flavor to the band’s indie pop, which is further enhanced by the instrumental arrangements. The band’s sound also has elements of surf pop, resulting in a finely crafted indie pop album perfectly suited for the onset of Spring. I particularly like Hills Hoist, which is the kind of opening track that makes you sit straight in anticipation what comes next. Throughout the remaining seven songs, Baby Blue pretty much maintains that high standard. This is excellent stuff.

Of My Window is out now through Lost & Lonesome.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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