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: 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: 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

New EP: Nooks || Boys Are Back

If you are in need of an adrenaline rush, or a kickstart to get you out of the procrastination stage of your day, here’s something that might help: Nooks! Nooks are a new hardcoreband from Indonesia heavily influenced by ’80s hardcorepunk. They make their debut with a 6-song EP. It’s loud, it’s primitive, and I quite like it!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dany Laj And The Looks || RetroSpectacle

I used to own a shirt with the following text on the front: “I Only Listen To Bands That Don’t Exist Yet.” The shirt, of course, was a snarky reference to elitist music fans debating trivial preferences, with exclamations like “I prefer the demo,” or “I only listen to the live version from that one show back in the ’80s.”

But still, I can relate to music fans prefering the early material of artists. The early stuff often has a level of spontaneity, naivety, energy and pureness that is hard to retrieve in later releases. That certainly applies to RetroSpectacle by Dany Laj and The Looks. Without taking anything away from the band’s past couple of records of energetic powerpop, which have been decidedly great, I may like this greatest hits compilation featuring the best songs of the early records and singles even more.

RetroSpectacle truly showcases Dany Laj’s talent for writing hooky guitar driven power pop, and there isn’t a song I don’t like on this comp. If you are already a fan, the renewed acquantaince with songs like Sweet Pretender (the first Dany Laj song I fell for) and Best Thing In Town will be a joy. If you are unfamiliar with these songs, I envy you for experiencing them for the first time.

Add this to you wantlist. No add this to your cart, and give Dany, Snap! Records, Kick Out the Jam Records (Spain), or Rum Bar (CD-version) your money!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (Rum Bar) || Discogs || KOTJ Records

New album: Ricky Rochelle || So Far So Good

Does a record that was released one song at a time in the last trimester of 2021, with a physical release due in 2022, count as a 2021 or a 2022 record?  Naturally, the answer to that question isn’t all that important. But it will matter to the AOTY purists, because here is a record that will likely pop up in several pop punk year end lists.

On So Far So Good, Young Rochelles drummer and singer Ricky Rochelle emerges as a solo artist. He is not the first drummer to make the transition, and while Ricky Rochelle may have found the slipstream of Mikey Erg, his record sounds more like the bubblegum pop punk of The Yum Yums and Chixdiggit! If anything, Ricky provides a pop punk fun fest in which he will make you smile about heartbreak (All She Needs (Is A Broom To Ride On)), politics (Don’t Put The Chimp In Charge), and self-awareness (I’m A Jerk).

So Far So Good is available to stream anytime, anywhere. LPs expected sometime this year at the consistently awesome Eccentric Pop.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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