New album: Pale Lips & The Sorels || Do the RUM BAR RUMBLE

The bad news is that this split cd between two of the finest garage rock-‘n’-roll acts of today contains no new songs. The good news is that all songs are hits. The CD compiles two Pale Lips 7″s and two singles by The Sorels. To be specific, it features Pale Lips’ 2015 debut Got A Sweet Tooth, and their 2017 single Should’ve Known Better. From the Sorels, it features their self-titled debut single (2019) and their 2021 Spring Break single – I wrote about that one here. It’s rather nice to revisit these songs. Candy Song was the tune that ignited my interest in the Pale Lips, and Don’t Take You Switchblade To New York remains one of my favorite songs of the band. She’s In The Gang by the Sorels is a killer track as well, and Spring Break provides as much joy as ever. Can’t wait for new music by both bands!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Valley Gals || Snake Oil Salesman

Here’s another one of those releases where you have to doublecheck if it’s not some sort of reissue from a classic ’80s punk record. That’s how authentic Valley Gals sound. But Snake Oil Salesman most definitely is a new record. It’s the band’s follow-up to their 2019 debut Real Rock.

Valley Gals make no bullshit garagepunk that is dynamic and melodic and driven by the powerful voice of singer Miranda Wiley. A song like Sugar, Yes Please should come with a warning, it’s just so so addictive. Snake Oil Salesman is currently out on pretty red glitter baby tape through the band. Graveface Records will release it on vinyl later this year. RIYL: Amyl And The Sniffers, The Lunachicks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Hipshot Killer || Guns And Gas

I am pretty sure that the new Hipshot Killer EP Guns And Gas is my first taste of the band. It’s just one of those bands that makes an impact right off the bat. The band essentially plays a solid form of melodic punkrock, where the guitar work is more complex and layered than the average punkrock band and the vocals take the songs to another level. The band’s singer Mike Alexander, who played guitar in ska outfit The Gadjits, has the perfect voice for this kind of music. He adds plenty of soul and emotion to this strong collection of songs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Crime Line || Crime Line II: Violent Urges

Crime Line are a band of five hardened veterans of the Norfolk (Virginia) music scene. who played in bands like Norfolk Nightmares, Great Dismal Swamis, Constrictor, and the Lousy Savages – all bands worth checking out. As Crime Line they released their debut EP Locked And Loaded earlier this year. The follow up EP is already here. It’s called Crime Line II: Violent Urges and offers an exciting blend of garagepunk and sleazy rock-‘n’- roll. The amount of swagger, energy, and melody in their music, which kinda sounds like a hybrid of The Hives and The Bronx, makes Crime Line stand out from the pack.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Tuff Talk || Shelly/Never Say Die

Left of the dial hits alert! Tuff Talk is a three-piece from Seattle, featuring Ben Muha (drums & vocals), Wes Isbell (bass & vocals), and Riley Plumb (guitar). The band released a promising demo late 2019, and now make good on that promise with their newly released single. It has two songs, both of which are the kind of killer guitar-riff heavy powerpop you just have to play loud and bop your head to. The single is produced and recorded by Aaron C Schroeder whose personal mission is to prevent amazing bands to sound shitty. Mission accomplished with this one!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Yellow Melodies || Pleasant Dreams

The well of inspiration the Ramones provide is everlasting. I don’t think there’s a band that’s been covered more, at least in terms of full album tributes which we see a couple of each year.  Often these renditions stay true to the originals, like recent tributes by Brad Marino (Subterranean Jungle) and K7s (Mondo Bizarro). Here’s a completely different approach though by Spanish indie pop band The Yellow Melodies. They celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pleasant Dreams (1981) by transforming it into a heartfelt indie pop record. I can’t help but smile while listening to the orchestrated twee pop versions of songs like The KKK Took My Baby Away, You Sound Like You’re Sick and 7-11. For now, the release is available on cd and digital only, but a vinyl co-release by Hurrah! Música, Old Bad Habits, Discos Imprescindibles and Snap!! Records will follow later this year.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pony Hunt || VAR!

VAR! is the second album by Pony Hunt. The press releases describes the sound of the band as psychedelic folk, which makes sense I guess, but it understates how varied the soundscapes are on VAR!. The album opens strongly with Pulse, a mesmerizing song that seems to come from a different era. It’s the first of many standouts, like the gorgeous Stardust, the dreamy Rise and the modern indie rock oriented Stardust and That Feeling.

In terms of its direction, VAR! is an outlier in my musical diet, but one I find myself returning to. Most likely, this is due to the power, honesty and vulnerability in the voice of Jessie Antonick, who truly takes these songs to a different level. Her voice goes beyond mere talent. I like to believe that her life experiences and travels add an additional emotional layer to her voice – at different times, Antonick lived on a sailboat and in a chevy van. Antonick’s identity struggles, a central theme on the record, likely also factor in

The second main draw of VAR! is Pony Hunt’s ability to create something fresh and exciting out of the many different generations of American music. Pony Hunt makes you get lost in the woods and then drops crumbs of doo-wop, folk, country, indie rock, blues, soul and punk to help you claw your way back; It’s quite the adventure. VAR! is out now on Wing And Wing, including a limited edition with a handmade lyric book.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wing And Wing

New album: Metalleg || Totally Distant

The new Metalleg record has 8 songs. It’s increasingly common for band to release 7, 8 and 9 track records and I’m never sure what to call this grey area between EP and LP. A mini LP? A maxi EP? Anyhow, it’s appears to be the right format for Totally Distant, a record that leaves you both satisfied and hungry for more. Metalleg operate on that continuum between powerpop, garage and rock-‘n’-roll where I feel right at home, or gutterpop as the band self-describes their sound. If you wonder why this band sounds familiar, and kinda like Dirty Fences, it’s because this band shares members with…Dirty Fences. That band already released two great singles this year, and this Metalleg record is another strong outing. Clearly, the pandemic hasn’t hurt their creativity. Songs like Radioactive, Seconday Love, and Back Around are instant hits, and with Hardest Part the band shows they need not turn their amps up to record great tunes. Good Stuff!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Geoff Palmer || Charts And Graphs

Geoff Palmer’s 2019 solo debut Pulling Out All The Stops is a modern day pop punk classic. Given the acclaim he received for the record and his ability to write insanely catchy tunes with self-deprecating and funny lyrics, I’d expected Palmer to take a similar approach with his follow-up album Charts And Graphs. But no, on Charts And Graphs we see him expanding his sound, trying out new directions and instruments (pedal steel, organ, harmonica), and writing songs that are a bit longer. Before you get worried, Palmer definitely pulls it off with the help of a strong supporting cast including Zack Sprague, Dave Strong, Kris Rodgers, Perry Leenhouts and many others. The main difference is that whereas Pulling Out All The Stops had that instant sugar rush, Charts And Graphs is winning me over one song at a time – probably more healthy in the long run.

That isn’t to say the  sugar rush has evaporated. Album openers Many More Drugs and Don’t Be provide the familiar classic pop punk we all love about Palmer’s previous outing. Every time I play Don’t Be, with its infectious truth-to-power chorus (Don’t Be, Don’t Be, An Asshole // Don’t Be, Don’t Be, A Jerk), it brings a smile to my face, but I am also thinking the song should be mandatory listening for anyone who posts on social media platforms. [post continues below]

New EP: Meal || Jimmy

Each day we receive many Bandcamp notifications of new releases. When we hear something we like, we usually try to find the band on Spotify and add one or two songs to our new music playlist. It’s always a surprise to see how many monthly listeners a band has on the platform, and for a blog like ours it becomes a sport to find cool new artists with as few listeners as possible. Here is a band that currently has zero (!) monthly listeners. I don’t mean that as a brag, but as an encouragement to become an early adopter, because they sound pretty good.

I’m talking about Meal, a band I only know four things about: they are from Finland, they started the band in 2019, they are impossible to google, and their (debut?) EP is out now on cassette on State Champion Records. The six songs on the Jimmy EP jump from indie rock to post punk with angular guitars to altpunk, sometimes all in one song like the standout title track. Another band that deserves way more listeners.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || State Champion Records

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