New album: Dave Strong || Dave Strong

Look! There goes Dave Strong following the footsteps of his The Guts buddy Geoff Palmer, finally releasing his first solo full length. The self-titled debut marks the unexpected yet inevitable emergence of Strong as a solo artist, which began with the killer Little Girl single two years ago. The single was followed by several others, and all of these singles are now brought together and released on LP (through Phameless Records), and CD and Tape through This Is Just A Record Label. Of course, you could apply the understated matter-of-fact name of the label also to Strong’s debut. It’s just a record. But if you’ve been following Strong on social media, you’ll find that this record means much more to Strong, an underdog artist who had to overcome several personal battles to get to this point.

The self-titled record documents Strong finding a style of his own. The cover songs on the record are a good indicator of that style, from pop punk to good old rock’n’roll. Strong opens the album with a rendition of Katie is a Chainsmoker  – one of two The Guts’ songs included on the record that Dave wrote back in the day for the band (Still Thinkin’ About You is the other). Strong also covers a Ramones song and an Eddie Cochran classic. With his original songs, Strong presents himself as pop punk kid at heart with a fondness of oldies but goodies rock-‘n’-roll, and rockabilly as well. Those styles match well together and the songs on his solo debut are instantly likeable. Keep doing your thing Dave, we’ll be listening!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Phameless

New album: Illiterates || No Experts

Remember Illiterates? The Pittsburgh band made an immediate impact with their self-titled debut back in 2021. Two years later, Illiterates come out of the gates swinging and moshing on their follow up No Experts, which is out now through Sorry State Records.

Short? Check! Fast? Check! Loud? Check! Illiterates waste zero time with this 11 song (in 12 minutes!) collection. Expect old school hardcore with a vocalist that channels Ray Cappo’s growls. If you’ve ever been a fan of hardcorepunk, press play on Chips Away. Feel you heart open and your brain recall your finest memories of being a hardcore kid. Illiterates provide a shot of adrenaline, a burst of energy, a dopamine rush with this kickass throwback hardcore record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New single: Friends Of Cesar Romero || Spiral Eye Roll

This is not the first time we write about Friends Of Cesar Romero, and based on past experience, it won’t be the last. The three-song Spiral Eye Roll single is the latest release in the Doomed Babe series. For those keeping score, we are up to episode 34(!).

By now, we know exactly what to expect with FOCR. Accessible, crisp and scrappy powerpop and pop punk hits that are upbeat and super catchy. J. Waylon Porcupine, who is the kind of prolific and consistent songwriter that simultaneously fills you with envy and gratefulness, sounds particularly inspired on this one. The Spiral Eye Roll single is 5 minutes of pop punk bliss.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Sewage Farm || Mould

In the world of new releases, new often is a relative term. That certainly applies to the Mould EP by Sewage Farm. The UK band recorded the EP live in their rehearsal room back in 2019, coincidentally their final band time together before the pandemic. In 2022, Sewage Farm revisited the songs added some extra vocals and guitar tracks.

Sewage Farm was an unknown band to me, despite this EP, their first on Safe Suburban Home Records, apparently succeeding three albums. The Mould EP changes that instantly. Sewage Farm mix ’90’s alt pop with classic indie rock influences. They know how to write a hook, and combine loud guitars with pretty sweet melodies. Listen to Broken Bridge for example. That is a hell of a track! Limited Tape run available at Safe Suburban Home.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Unknowns || East Coast Low

What better way to start a new week than with loud guitars and uncomplicated catchy tunes. Well, I guess you could make the same argument for the end of the week or the weekend off course. Let’s just say that the new LP by Brisbane based The Unknowns is a blast for any day of the week. The Unknowns are the kind of band that makes up what they lack in subtlety and nuance with excitement, energy and determination, and killer guitar work.  East Coast Low is a record that makes you raise your fist and exclaim “Rock-‘n’-roll!”

The Unknowns channel fellow Australians AC/DC on the opening seconds of East Coast Low – watch video below. After that, The Unknowns take you on a raucous trip of punk fueled garage rock. Straightforward, yet effective, this record hits a lot of the right (loud!) notes. Available now through Bargain Bin Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Liquid Mike || Liquid Mike

The last time we checked in with Liquid Mike (Marquette, Michigan), the future of the band was in doubt. With drummer Cody Marecek moving to a different part of the country, I kinda expected the band to call it quits. I recall Liquid Mike’s Mike Maple sounding pessimistic about the band’s future in a social media post. But lo and behold, this week a new Liquid Mike record dropped, simply called Liquid Mike. It was recorded remotely last Winter, and despite the increase in physical distance, Cody still is involved in writing songs and recording drums. Zach Alworden joined on bass, and brought new inspiration with his playing style.

Inspired is the word that keeps coming to mind while listening to the 11 songs on the record. Energetic another. Liquid Mike sounds like the people involved simply plugged in their instruments, pressed record and had a blast together. The record combines the spontaneity of first takes with the tightness of a well oiled machine. Liquid Mike sounds super catchy, accessible and good mood inducing on this one, like they found another gear. Happy to see Liquid Mike alive and kicking, even more happy with how good and how much fun this record is. Barely 18 minutes long, the Liquid Mike album doesn’t demand much of your time, but believe me, it’ll be time well spent.

Liquid Mike is streaming now. Kitschy Spirit Records is handdubbing the record on a limited run of Tapes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Decibels || When Red Lights Flash

The last time we’d heard about Sacramanto (CA) power pop masters The Decibels was four years ago (to the week), when the band released their excellent Scene, Not Herd LP. Apparently, the band started writing new songs soon after said release, but the pandemic brought the process to a halt. A shame, but to be fair, it did open the door for this solo gem of a powerpop album by Brent Seavers. By the time The Decibels resumed recording When Red Lights Flash, they had changed subtly, or so they mention in the press release. To my ears, When Red Lights Flash still very much sounds like a Decibels power pop record, it’s exactly the kind of ear candy I’ve come to associate with the band. It does sound like the poppiest version of the band’s brand of powerpop yet. The ’60s pop filter of The Decibels has never been this strongly calibrated.

We frequently use the term timeless to describe the music we cover on our site, a logical consequence of the types of genres we prefer. If you are looking for a definition for what timeless music is, just listen to When Red Lights Flash front-to-back. You won’t easily find a better explanation. So many great guitar pop tunes! CD out now through Kool Kat Music, vinyl expected to arrive in Fall.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp  || Kool Kat

New album: The Covids || Bust To Bits

Dutch punk band The Covids was conceived in the first round of lockdowns. In the two years since, the band released a killer debut single (and video!) and planned an international tour that will touch USA, Mexico, France and Spain this Spring. Yesterday, The Covids finally dropped their highly anticipated debut LP on the increasingly awesome Wap Shoo Wap Records. Bust To Bits features the two songs from their debut 7″ in rerecorded versions as well as nine additional hits (find earlier versions of some of the songs here). Bust To Bits should appeal to any fan of classic ’70s punk. The Covids match sharp and smart songwriting with tight playing, and a willingness to shred their instruments. Bust To Bits sounds energetic and intense, but always in tune and with a strong sense of melody. In short, and it sounds like a pun intended to say this, but The Covids sound mighty contagious on their debut. They do! And they look pretty cool as well, with the singer’s already iconic red overalls and matching glasses.

If you were born too late to experience Buzzcocks, The Damned, & Wipers in their heyday, The Covids offer an opportunity to revisit those days and remove that nagging feeling of having missed out. They sing their throats sore, play their hands bloody and pogo their way to their set of songs that are tailor made to experience in a live setting. Buy the LP, catch them live. If you haven’t already, now is the time to jump on The Covids bandwagon.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wap Shoo Wap

New EP: The NAGGS || The NAGGS

The NAGGS are a new band from Düsseldorf and sound like Germany’s answer to the Pale Lips. The five songs on the debut EP of the five-piece features the kind of powerpop’n’roll that will never bore me.  The NAGGS not only have a great name, and great accompanying artwork for their debut, they sound pretty great as well. Whereas three of those songs are covers – Picture My Face (Teenage Head), It’s True (The Meanies) Can We Go Dancing (The Ambers Squad), the two originals are an easy match. I could say that The NAGGS show a lot of promise for the future – they do, but that wouldn’t do justice to this first batch of songs. Keep an eye on The NAGGS!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Comic Sans || Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos

Naming you band after one of the least cool and most hated fonts is a bold move. But Comic Sans adds a lot of cool points to the typeface of questionable repute with their new (I guess 2nd?) full length Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos. The LP offers 21 minutes of twinkly and mathy emo goodness. Not the slowcore, but the energetic and dynamic kind of emo, with timely group vocals for that anthemic feel that works so well in this kind of music. The songs on Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos are smartly build and have a visceral effect. Feel those twinkly guitars tickle your brain, your head boppping automatically, your pulse racing and slowing down like ebb and flow.

Consider the labels involved in the vinyl release: BCore, La Agonía de Vivir, Through Love Records, Pifia Records, Eternalis Records, Clever Eagle Records, Saltamarges, Navalla Discos, Mise-en-Scéne Records, and Azkar Zintak. When you get that many labels excited about your music, you are doing something right!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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