New album: Dumb || Pray 4 Tomorrow

In a musical landscape overloaded with new music each week, an 18 song 40 minute record can be a lot to digest. However, in case of Dumb’s new record (Pray 4 Tomorrow) it’s a thrilling adventure that provides as many detours as rewards. At its core, Dumb (Vancouver) play the kind of postpunk that brought fame to Parquet Courts. The average Dumb song is shorter though. There are more fast songs, and Dumb effortlessly switch groovy post punk, classic indie rock, slacker rock, stop-start punk, indie punk and even ska. Variety is a strength on Pray 4 Tomorrow and the cool guitar riffs and groovy bass lines are superfluous

Dumb’s previous records (Seeing Green (2018) and Club Nites (2019) both found their way into my collection, and Pray 4 Tomorrow will follow asap. It is out now through Mint Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tulu and Wimpy || Fly Like A Cucumber

Scott Gildersleeve (aka Tulu) and Jack Hayes (aka Wimpy Rutherford) were founding members of The Queers. The pair also played together in The Monsignors and Drunken Cholos and had plenty of their own musical projects. In 2014, Tulu and Wimpy started recording Fly Like a Cucumber with Marc McElroy of the Electric Cave Recording Studio in 2014. Sadly, Tulu (aged 56) died just weeks before finishing the record. Wimpy promised to finish the recording “as Scott would have wanted me to.”

Fast forward seven years and Fly Like A Cucumber is finally here. It contains Tulu originals, as well as some unreleased/remixed songs by the Monsignors. With one of the creators no longer around, Fly Like a Cucumber is a bittersweet record. Its release stings a little, especially given the positive reviews the record will surely generate. It offers a varied trove of gems waiting to be discovered. It is not a record to quickly scan. You’d probably miss out the best parts if you do. For me, that is the subtle beautiful classic (soft)power pop song Over You. Build on a lovely jangly guitar lick, it’s a song that I can keep on playing.

Fly Like A Cucumber is out now through Pine Hill Records. This is how Wimpy announced the record: “…finally, I am able to release this truly outstanding record, that I had the pleasure of being able to create with my best friend. I feel it is by far the best record I have ever been involved with in my 40 some years of recording. Tulu, may you stay…Forever Young.”

Add to wantlist: Pine Hill

New album: Fruit Tones || Pink Wafer Factory

Pink Wafer Factory is the second full length of Manchester (UK) trio Fruit Tones. If the name Fruit Tones evokes bubblegum associations, you are not necessarily wrong. But bubblegum only accounts for a small part of the band’s sound, and primarily in the vocal melodies. Above all, Fruit Tones sound too dirty, too loud, too sleazy and too rock’n’roll to place them in the bubblegum category. A more apt comparision of the sound of Fruit Tones is early Stones, or even better: recent bands that do a garage take on the Stones like Natural Child. In fact, I am fairly certain you will like Pink Wafer Factory if you like Natural Child – particularly the more uptempo work of that band.

Pink Wafer Factory is the kind of record that combines ’60s and ’70s rock’n’roll nostalgia with craftmanship and provides contemporary fun. It’s the kind of music that is best experienced live, but I believe the recordings have captured that energy and spontaneity nicely. Buy this one with zero regret guarantee, but if you need more reason to give this band a chance, note that the LP is released by the always delivering Alien Snatch! Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Snoopy And The Who?! || Snoopy And The Who?!

Snoopy And The Who?! To be honest, the first time I heard the name, my curiosity was peaked. The two songs the band teased last year showed a lot of promise further building up the buzz. Both these songs (My Regeneration and Shadow & Shade) are on SATW?!’s self-titled debut EP, which is out now. It’s a solid first outing that sees a band channeling ’70s rock, unafraid to step over boundaries between styles and genres. I guess you could call it garage rock -certainly in its approach and attitude, but it is also glitter rock, arena rock (distant touches of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC), and Velvet Undergroundesque rock’n’roll.

Perhaps it’s the name letter effect*, perhaps its because the four members are lifelong friends, but there is something really likeable about this Brooklyn band. Most likely, it’s just the music. More to come in 2023!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

* The name letter effect is our tendency to evaluate alphabetical letters (particularly initials) we share in a name favorably. …And The Who, Add To Wantlist. ATW!

New EP: Dan Webb And The Spiders || Hey Guys

Just because Dan Webb is on a touring hiatus to spend quality time with his loved ones, doesn’t mean he stopped writing great tunes. Hey Guys is his second EP of the year, and another fine one. Dan Webb is pushing all of the buttons on the Hey Guys EP, from writing to playing all the instruments and singing, and from recording to mastering -with a special shoutout to Shawn Higgins who did the gorgeous art work.

Webb opts for a varied sound on the EP, effortlessly mixing ’90’s alternative and punk rock. The approach pays off. Before you know it, passing through a noisy one, a catchy one, a slow burner, an acoustic driven one, you’ve arrived at the final track of the EP, the standout Stranger To Failure. The Hey Guys EP is another W in the DWatS discography.

“But I’m no stranger to failure
I’ve been doing it my whole life
And I’ve gotten so much practice that I’m
Finally doing it right”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Nasty Rumours || Bloody Hell, What A Pity!

Take a look at your record collection. Is there room for a killer (fun! catchy!) ’77 punk record? If the answer is YES, well go ahead, give the new Nasty Rumours record a spin. However, I’d argue against it if your shelves are too full, because Bloody Hell, What A Pity! is the kind of record that elicits one response only: I am buying this ASAP!

Nasty Rumours (Bern, Switzerland) may have a familiar sound (FFO: Undertones, Buzzcocks, or more recently Cute Lepers and Impo & The Tents), but their execution is on point on Bloody Hell, What A Pity!  You won’t be skipping any of the 12 songs, and not just because they are so short. They are like hand grenades filled with explosive hooks and melodies that wash over you within seconds. And boy do Nasty Rumours strike hard and often!

Even though these are all originals, the song titles read like one giant tribute to the late ’70s: Get My Kicks From ’76! Modern World! You’ve Got My Number! I Wanna Kill Your Boyfriend! She’s Mental! Play this one front to back. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. If you want to start off your weekend right, let this be your soundtrack.

Bloody Hell, What A Pity! is out now through Wanda Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wanda Records

New EP: Dogeyed || Hot For The Moon

Here is a bittersweet one: the second and final EP by Dogeyed (Bristol, UK). Recorded directly on tape two years ago, it is finally out on 7″ through Specialist Subject Records. It’s been a while since I’ve been this impressed by a pop record, although I’m not sure whether pop is the best decription of Dogeyed’s sound. They are a hard to categorize band who selfidentify as “sad lounge music for fans of misery.” To be sure, the four songs on Hot For The Moon have dark and moody undertones, groovy bass rhythms, and above all are heartbreakingly beautiful. Let’s call it altpop.

All four songs leave a lasting impression, but the standout track for me is True. It’s a song that lets each of the three members of Dogeyed shine, and where the amazing singer Harriet Elder gives me goosebumps when her voice breaks around the 1:12 mark. The sheer quality of this EP is impressive, and I can’t believe it marks the end of Dogeyed.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Specialist Subject

New single: Ingrates || Don’t Be a Stranger b​/​w I Don’t Care

Ingrates (California) released their first single at the end of 2021. Less than 12 months later, they’ve already dropped their third single. In the meantime, Ingrates founders Nick Norrman (Lude Boys, Banshee, Male Nurses) and Justin Jurgens (Sirs, Dust Star) picked up lead guitarist Stephen DeWitt. Oh and Jurgens released a killer power pop record with Dust Star – Norrman made a guest appearance on that record as well.

The new two single finds Ingrates at their glammiest yet, yet still lo-fi and unpolished. It’s a bit like Slade but played by Exploding Hearts. It’s pretty great. Ingrates are quickly rising on my list of favorite new(er) acts. Keep those singles coming, guys!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Yeah Maybe || Yeah Maybe

Yeah Maybe is the second EP by Tacoma (Washington) duo Yeah Maybe. It’s also the second EP the band released this year – the first was called Ok, Sure. For a band with such a non-committal name, they sure are productive and take their music serious. They’ve already planned a 6-song follow up EP, after which they intend to promote to full length format. I hope labels are taking note, because here is a band I think could make some waves in the indie scene. Equal parts indie rock, grunge and punk rock, Yeah Maybe combine loud guitars and drums,  with pretty sweet melodies.

The band went with an old school approach while recording this new EP, using analog equipment in different stages of detoriation. The band explains: “We went with a very spontaneous on the fly recording process. You could say this EP is a very big homage to the garage rock and punk rock I grew up listening to. You might hear recording errors, hiccups, or other stuff, but that’s whatever I need to stop being a perfectionist anyways. Its lofi rock, so I guess I get a free pass on the mistakes?”

I haven’t found anything wrong yet with this EP yet. Keep em coming, Yeah Maybe.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Grey Blue Ashes || Shallow People

Italy is home to so many great bands in the pop punk/powerpop stratosphere, it’s easy to miss a band here and there. Take Rome threepiece Grey Blue Ashes, a band I haven’t heard before. Shallow People is the band’s (Rome, Italy) second album and most recent output, which follows their 2019 debut. On Shallow People, Grey Blue Ashes are not your typical Italian pop punk band though. They sound like punks who play a lot of ‘90s altpop, and ‘80s powerpop and new wave in their tour van. It’s like Jeff Burke and Bob Mould joined forces out of a shared love for the Dirtnap Records catalogue, early The Police, ’80s powerpop and ’90s britpop, if that makes sense.

Shallow People is out now on pretty spectacular looking Half Blue/Half Yellow w/Black Splatter Vinyl through Otitis Media Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Otitis Media Records

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