Niek

New album: Cereal Milk || Cereal Milk

From the moment I got into punkrock and hardcore back in the mid-nineties, I don’t think I ever fully grasped the concept of emo. To my ears, most of the music I was listening to oozed emotion. Whether it was anger, angst, hate, love, melancholy, hope(lessness) or feeling left out, I always felt that the best punk and hardcore bands have that emotional edge: they feel real, and whatever emotions they convey, they feel authentic, making them stand out from most mainstream music. As such, I struggle considering emo to be a distinct genre, but rather an almost necessary element of great punk and hardcore music. Perhaps this explains why I’ve taken an immediate liking to the self-titled record of Cereal Milk. Here is a band that literally is leaving it all out there: Cereal Milk no longer is a band and this posthumous record will be their final release. Some of its songs have been previously released, for example on the 2017 Amazing Singer Record comp by Emotional Response. Cereal Milk is an intense though melodic record, with a singer absolutely singing his heart out. It’s a dynamic record, with plenty of palm muting, cool guitar riffs, and well timed tempo and soft-loud variations. Shoutout to Californian label Phat ‘n’ Phunky for putting this out.

then, as they dropped the gates // and the bets were placed // your’s was against me // like some insider trade // you were privy to my fate // i’m the horse with the broken leg


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Sekunderna || Hjärtet EP

Sekunderna have been described as the perfect mix between ABBA and Marked Men. That ABBA reference is far-fetched, even though the band is from Sweden. But clearly, Sekunderna know how to make their garage poppunk melodic and memorable. This EP stands out from the pack. Out now on a 7″ at Luftslott Records.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Sweet Soul || So Far No Further

So Far No Further, the first album by Sweet Soul, provides 23 minutes of pop punk bliss. It does not sound like your typical pop punk record though. It is neither ramonescore nor overproduced poppunk of the 00’s. And although I hear ’90’s influences, Sweet Soul would have looked out of place on the top pop punk labels of that era, e.g.,  Lookout! Records, Fat Wreck and Epitaph. Sweet Soul apparently has roots in the hardcore scene, but their sound is neither agressive nor overly fast. Anyway, So Far No Further is most definitely a pop punk record. It is catchy as hell and full of hits. My current favorite is Noises Drown, a song that evokes Lemonheads and Big Drill Car.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || New Morality Zine

New single: Stephen’s Shore || Brisbane Radio

Stephen’s Shore are from Sweden. The band members share a love for California, skateboarding, moody pop songs and jangly guitars, and you can tell. Their new EP is full of moody and breezy jangle pop goodness. You may have heard the standout title track already, but the other three songs are worthy additions, particularly closing track Up To No Good.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio Records

New album: Kiwi Jr. || Cooler Returns

I’ve been looking forward to this day: January 22nd, arguably the first great release day of 2021. Plenty to write about this week. First up: Cooler Returns, the new Kiwi Jr record. The band already leaked a couple of great songs last year, which is kind of standard practice nowadays to hype upcoming releases. A practice that often results in disappointment once the album arrives. Not in this case, far from it. From album opener Tyler, it’s clear that Kiwi Jr. have not been messing around in 2020. Kiwi Jr. still play the jangly indie rock of their debut we all fell in love with, but on Cooler Returns they upped their game in almost every way. The subtle addition of a saloon piano, organ and harmonica creates a fuller and more mature sound. And with mature, I don’t mean “well they developed their songwriting skills but now sound kinda boring.” This record is fun as hell, and the songwriting is great. Trust me, you can skip adding it to your wantlist, just buy it ASAP. Kiwi Jr. sets the bar high for other bands that are planning to release a new record this year. By the way, kudos to the band for picking the perfect title for a sophomore album that exceeds its predecessor without losing any of the appeal of their debut.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New Album: Hjelle || Det Måste Inte Vara Så Här

Hjelle is the singer for Swedish pubpunkband extraordinaire Bäddat För Trubbel. Det Måste Inte Vara Så Här (It Must Not Be Like This) is his third solorecord. It was released last month by the Swedish Ken Rock Label, but only just arrived on Spotify which is how I discovered its existence. The record consists of 15 short and sweet lo-fi tunes that border between pubrock and rock’n’roll with the occasional and very welcome sax-solo. If you like Bäddat För Trubbel, I am pretty sure you’ll dig this as well.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Hepcat.se

New compilation: Various Artists || Fakes

I’ve always had a weak spot for cover compilations, particularly when the originals are classics and the recreations sound faster, angrier of weirder. So thank you, Drunk Dial Records for asking some of today’s best punk and garage acts to cover their favorite song of fictional artists from movies and tv shows. The result is a highly entertaining compilation. What about Pavid Vermin covering The Beets from ’90’s cartoon Doug? Or Jiffy Marx & kcar doing a delightfully weird version of Sugar Sugar? Or Berwanger doing Welcome to the Dollhouse? What about Careful making this Mitch & Mickey song actually sound good? And bless Charlie Continental for changing Wet Wet Wet’s Love is all Around into Covid’s All Around (“there was a start, there will be an end”). Though I hope this will ultimately get a physical release, it’s currently digital only. There are worse ways to spend $5. And if you need any further encouragement, all proceeds will be divided between the bands and four charities.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Overlooked single: The Sound Station || The Sound Station

Thanx to the ever prolific bandcamp label Kafadan Kontak, I came across this killer single by LA garage rnr band The Sound Station. These two songs were part of a split single with The Creepy Crawlies released by Outro Records in 2020. Wanna know why this single is currently at the top of my wantlist? Just check out Give Your Lovin’ To Me.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: The GTO’s || ¡No Están Muertos!

The GTO’s are from Spain and play fast bubblegum poppunk in the vein of Screeching Weasel and The Queers. This type of music is made for summer, but I don’t mind at all that the band released their new record ¡No Están Muertos! in the middle of winter. The songs are catchy, the music is tight and the record injects a welcome burst of energy into my brain. Great album cover as well, which, if I am not mistaken, is taken from a Jack Kirby horror comic.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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