New singles: Formal Wear || Suffer Today & Germ House || Record The Mistakes

Last friday, Chunklet Industries released not one but two singles that I am exited about. Both will be hard to get as they are limited to 45 and 50 copies.

The first single is from yet another project originating from the pandemic: Formal Wear. The A-side is called Suffer Today, which is just perfect for imagining the next time you’ll be wearing formal wear. It is an awesome garagepop tune where the vocals sequence nicely with the central guitar lick. The flipside (Timekeeper) is another goody with a repetitive chorus that gets under your skin. Perhaps I’d be less surprised by the strength of this single, If I’d read before that Formal Wear consists of Eli Kasan and Ryan Oxley from The Gotobeds and Wicketkeeper respectively.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

The second Chunklet single is from one-man band Germ House. Based out of Rhode Island, Justin Hubbard has been releasing music since 2014 or so, and I definitely recommend diving into his back catalogue with Germ House. This new two song single is the latest illustration of the catchy garagepop with post punk leanings Germ House produces. Both songs are excellent, but I am particularly impressed with Record The Mistakes which surpasses the 4:30 minute mark (I apologize for my short-attention span), but remains interesting throughout.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gebre || Riu Amunt

Gebre is a foursome from Spain including Aleix Ferrús, Adrià González, Dani Cervera and Llorenç Coca. For these four hombres, music has a therapeutic power helping them to deal with the problems and difficulties of modern life. Gebre’s debut full-length (Riu Amunt) sounds far from difficult or troubled though. Gebre plays the kind of guitarpop Teenage Fanclub would play if they lived in a country with better weather. Call it sunshine pop if you will.  Some well timed jangle guitars and high pitched backing woohoos add to that summer feeling (e.g., listen to Me Van Salvar). Plenty of hits on this one! Grab the CD at Barcelona label The Indian Runners.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || The Indian Runners

New album: Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony || Blizzard of ’82

I was unaware of Blizzard of ’82 until a recent Instagram endorsement by Stateline Records pointed in its direction. It’s the solo debut of Danny Carney, who used to play in Roll The Tanks, but now operates under the moniker Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony. Hard not to be intrigued by that name, and the same applies to his music. Press play on opening track Maraschino University and you’ll discover that this is not your average record. That song stays under 3 minutes, but it is layered and catchy despite its lack of a clear chorus. It even has a intense sax solo. And that’s just the first song. The second song (VCR) does have a clear chorus that is massive  and absolutely pop oriented, but the song also have the feel of a punkrock tune. Track 3 Glomar Blues somehow moves into ’80s hardrock territory, not unlike the direction A.F.I. took  mid-career. I could go on, but the surprises keep coming and I am not sure if I have the words to explain the sound of Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony – nor do I want to spoil the record. It’s definitely indie rock, but it very much is its own thing. It’s diverse and eclectic but not incoherent. It’s loaded with hooks. It’s an exiting record to dive into and explore in full. Basically, I have no idea what Danny Carney is up to, but it works and I want more.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Danny Carney Chainsaw Symphony

New album: Slap Happy || Prophylatic Shock

Let’s hear if for bands who evoke a sense of nostalgia without sounding redundant. Slap Happy (Denver, Colorado) manage to do exactly that on their debut Prophylatic shock, a record that works as a portal to the mid-nineties punkrock and poppunk scene. Sure, there are hints of early Green Day, Parasites and many other bands, but who cares when the songwriting and harmonies are this good. Songs like Freak Out, Same Old, Kingsley Manor, Cement Foot and These Times are a welcome reminder of the allure of this kind of music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Coruscants || Coruscants

Coruscants is what happens when members of ramonescore acts Parasite Diet, The Barariettes, Classic Pat & The Putz! share a love for the Star Wars prequels and the Riverdales. On Coruscants, the trio (under their new names Kylo Ben, Dan Solo & Dan Dodonna) play the first Riverdales album note for note with a Star Wars themed update. Fun Tonight becomes Podrace Tonight, Judy Go Home becomes Jar Jar Go Home, Wanna Be Alright becomes Wanna Be A Jedi. You get the picture. It’s well executed and a fun distraction, and sometimes that’s all you need. Out now on not so cheap vinyl at Outloud! Records. Oh, and if you want more Star Wars & Riverdales crossover tunes, make sure to also check the bands reworking of The Riverdales’ Storm The Streets (Stormtrooper The Streets). (Note: feel like you are missing some context? Wookieepedia has got you covered.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Spaghetti Stains || Essential Ingredients

Last year, The Spaghetti Stains won a Level Up Grant from Triple J Unearthed. That money went into recording their self-released debut Essential Ingredients. The band members (Pantjiti, Emmah and Rose) grew up in GunaiKurnai Country (Gippsland), which (I Googled) is a gorgeous little region on the south-eastern coast of Australia. It’s easy to see a direct relation between that location and the sound of the band. Let’s call it surfy altrock, with straight up bangers alternating slower moody tracks. On their best tracks (No Wuckin’ Fay, Toast To The Coast, Caveman Diet), The Spaghetti Stains approach the level of acts like The Beths, Alex Lahey and Best Coast, and I have a sense The Spaghetti Stains are only going to get better. They have good taste as well, as illustrated in this entertaining 7 hour playlist of their musical influences on Spotify .

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ruby Bones || Laser Tooth Tiger

Are you sick of pundits predicting what happens after the pandemic yet? I’ve seen some predicting a summer of love and partying, with more pessimistic others forecasting a seemingly neverending rotation of pandemics  and lockdowns. The thing is, who knows? As such, I can appreciate the direction self-proclaimed nostalgic indie rockers Ruby Bones took on their new record Laser Tooth Tiger. They opted to write a soundtrack for the aftermath of the pandemic, a celebratory record for friends and fans, a record about getting up and moving forward. They dove into their indierock record collections for inspiration and used that to write a hook filled record that has an immediate sense of familiarity and is instantly enjoyable. My  prediction? Fans of early zeroes indierock will appreciate this record a lot. Music fans who are looking for some uncomplicated fun when finally able to visit shows will do so as well. Out now on Mint 400 Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Spud Cannon Shares 5 Albums That Influenced Good Kids Make Bad Apples

Spud Cannon photo by Juan C Quimper

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

This week’s Gimme 5! is a full band effort by Spud Cannon from Poughkeepsie (NY), who will release their third album on June 25th on Good Eye Records. That record is called Good Kids Make Bad Apples and has quite the backstory. It was recorded in 2019, with the band close to calling it quits due to internal struggles.  At a late minute surprise show, the band serendipitously discovered the perfect location to record their third album: The Vassar College (NY) campus squash courts. And so they did, sneakily entering the courts after midnight, setting up their gear and recording their own wall of sound until 6 AM, before anyone could find out about their endeavours – check out the band’s Instagram for background footage of these late night shenanigans.

Fast forward two years, and we finally are able to hear the results. My early thoughts: 1) despite internal band struggles, this very much sounds like a team effort and like the band actually had a lot of fun recording these songs, 2) The squash court as a recording studio…actually  works? Good Kids Make Bad Apples sounds huge, and has a roomy feel to it. The band wanted to approach the sound and energy of their live shows. I haven’t seen the band live, but that raw energy and authenticity is definitely there. The record does not feel overproduced in any way, and yet it is very much a pop record. The band credits Chris Connors at Concrete Sound for his great work mixing and polishing the songs which were all recorded in one take as a full band. That is, the band allowed no editing, so they played a song until they were happy with the take and moved on to the next. Some songs took time. To the band’s estimate they had to play album standout Juno 70 (!) times before being satisfied with the result. And yet, despite the sleepless nights on the squash courts, none of these songs sound tiresome: Good Kids Make Bad Apples is high on energetic and celebratory indiepop’n’roll with plenty of bite. Get a taste of the record with early singles Supersonic and Juno. Pre-orders for the record are up now (on red apple red naturally) at Good Eye Records or on Bandcamp[continues below]

New album: Heavy Comforter || Joey And The Rapid Dogs!

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of motivational quotes about the motivational power of setbacks. Why waste time on those when there are so much tangible examples of interesting new musical projects that came out of the pandemic. The latest one is Heavy Comforter, a solo project William Johnson of Future Virgins, Sexy, Big Kitty, and Listening Skulls. Joey And The Rapid Dogs! is the first record under his new moniker. It was born out of boredom and heartbreak while living in quarantine. It’s full of straightforward and parsimonious midpaced garagepunk tunes with plenty of pop sensibilities, not unlike Terry Malts. Have a taste of songs like Welcome Home, J + R.D., Alana To Breathe and Human Conditioner and it’s likely you will become hooked. Tip of the hat to Let’s Pretend Records. who have a way of finding these kinds of edgy punkrock acts. Out now, limited to 200 LPs.

Add to Bandcamp: Bandcamp || Let’s Pretend Records

New album: DYE CRAP || DYE CRAP

French garagepunkband DYE CRAP grew up on a steady ’90s diet of Jackass, South Park and Tony Hawk videogames. Starting out as The Baked Beans, they opted for a name change to DYE CRAP in 2020. They recorded their self-titled debut that year as well which, desperate to play the songs on stage, they sat on for a year. I guess the band could not wait any longer, because the record is finally here. It’s full of energetic and celebratory garagepunk in the vein of Mozes And The Firstborn, Fidlar and Dune Rats. It is well executed and much fun. Le Cèpe Records has the (milky clear) vinyl release.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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