Niek

New album: Rata Negra || Una Vida Vulgar

Let’s make the jump from Barcelona (see my previous post on Enamorados) to Madrid. It’s worth the trip, I promise. Una Vida Vulgar (‘A Vulgar Life’) is the third LP by the mighty Rata Negra. The band plays pop punk you can dance to, even if you cannot dance. While still very much rooted into punk, Una Vida Vulgar is Rata Negra at their most pop yet, and songs like El Escarmiento have the potential to cross over to a mainstream audience. Out now through Humo Internacional (Spain) and La Vida es un Mus (UK).


Add to wantlist: Discogs || Humo Internacional || La Vida es un Mus

New album: Enamorados || Baila mi Ritmo

Of all European countries, none embraced powerpop and rock-‘n’-roll music more than Spain. And Spain’s not just a fertile touring ground for foreign bands, they have many bands that stand their own in terms of catchy guitar driven music with a healthy dose of punk and rock-‘n’-roll attitude. Take Enamorados from Barcelona. Their new 8 song mini-album Baila mi Ritmo (‘Dance to my beat’) is full of bubblegum pop punk that aims straight for your heart. It’s the follow up to their self-titled debut. That one was released 5 years ago, has only 7 songs, but is much fun and you should be able to snatch it on Discogs for a budget-friendly price.  With 5 years between two releases, Enomarados aren’t the most prolific band. Perhaps they understand the allure of scarcity and delayed rewards – the band’s tagline reads ‘the favorite band of your ex-girlfriend.’ Anyhow, when they do record music, it’s right on the money. Songs like En Mi Corazón, Te Pedí Vernos are instant hits. Out now on Hotel Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Blue Ocean || Blue Ocean

Blue Ocean is not the most inspired bandname. Rather, it invokes David Attenborough explaining how vast our oceans are and how humans are ruining the habitats of sea creatures. I forgive the band for their rather generic and hard to google name though, because their self-titled album is a pleasant surprise.

Blue Ocean play indie pop mixed with a healthy dose of shoegazing, C86 worship and plenty of punch. That punch may be a remnant of the band members’ past in Boston punk band Puke – these guys know how to pick their band names, don’t they? Currently, the duo that makes up the band (longtime buddies Rick Altieri and David Stringi) reside in Oakland, and I like to believe the sound of Blue Ocean reflects that bay area vibe. Songs like Summer Of Hands and Human Now are excellent starting points to get into Blue Ocean. All in all, another great find by Paisley Shirt Records – the album compiles two of the band’s recent EPs: Summer of Hands and Fade. . With the cassette quickly selling out, let’s hope more physical copies are in the works.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Ghoulies || Reprogram

Perth four-piece Ghoulies released their debut album Flat Earth last year. It was full of high octane synth punk with a healthy dose of melody to balance the relentless hyperactivity of the songs. A year later, Ghoulies return with a new EP on Goodbye Boozy records – a perfect fit if you ask me. The EP builds on the sound of Flat Earth, and yet feels like a step forward by the band in term of their songwriting skills. It’s a lot of fun, and Petey Jones’ Locker and No More Bands have the potential to become modern day punk classics. It has 7 songs that fit on one 7″ and I am adding this to the list.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: MikeTeeeVeee || Greenland

If you like your music well produced with a glossy finish, you may want to skip the Greenland EP by Roald Dahl aficionado & TV-addict MikeTeeeVeee. MikeTeeeveee is the solo moniker of Michael Maple from Michigan. “My Bandcamp page is kind of my space where I just put everything out with no filter. Maybe these songs will get re-recorded for my band (We Should Be Laughing) in a year, maybe they won’t. But it gives me a chance to play all the instruments and put the songs out my way I guess,” Mike explains. I’m glad he did, because the songs on Greenland are a prime example of the joy of simplification. There are no bells and whistles, just lo-fi melodic powerpop and indierock – the songs were recorded on 4-track cassette.

To give you a some idea of his sound, Mike draws influence from Guided By Voices and Pavement, and he was listening to plenty of Ramones and Marked Men when recording this EP. Fans of all four acts will definitely enjoy Mike’s music. If songs like 45, Oscar and Tommy are any indicationMike has a bright future in music. And in television perhaps? “Joe Pera talks with you has been my favorite show in the last year. I keep coming back to it over and over again. It’s filmed in the city in living in so hopefully if it gets picked up for another season I can find a way to be an extra in it haha.”


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Namen Namen || Riding In The Wind

Namen Namen are outliers in a digital world. They don’t care about social media, and lack the money for proper recording equipment. They do care about music though, as illustrated in their excellent new single Riding In The Wind. The single  features two killer ramshackle lo-fi garage pop hits. The band draw their influences from classic acts like Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Beach Boys and The Fall, and it shows. Good stuff! Too bad a limited run of 7″ singles was sold out in 24 hours.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Gran Nada || Gran Nada

If I am not mistaken, Gran Nada is the first Chilean band we covered on this site. The four-piece just released their debut EP. It has 7 pretty good to pretty great songs of breezy surfrock and beachpop. RIYL: Beach Fossils, The Drums. [update: Not sure why, but this EP seems to be taken down from Bandcamp]

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Brad Marino Shares 5 Records That Influenced His New Record Looking For Trouble (out 4/30)

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

This week’s Gimme 5! features one of our favorite songwriters of the past decade, Brad Marino. Brad played in Rydells, The Connection, The New Trocaderos, and Tommy and the Rockets. In recent years, the multi-instrumentalist has been a prolific solo artist. In 2019, he released his debut Extra Credit, which was followed by an EP (False Alarm) and a tribute LP to the Ramones’ Subterranean Jungle in 2020. On June 4th he will release his third solo album in three years (update: Read our review here). It’s called Looking For Trouble and this will be a must own for any self-respected fan of powerpop & rock’n’roll. Pre-order the LP now at Spaghetty Town (USA), Ghost Highway (Spain), or Beluga Records (Sweden). Rum Bar Records has the CD-version covered.

Building up to its release, we asked Brad to share the albums that influenced Looking For Trouble.  Check out his 5 picks below. Spoiler alert:  Those influences are on full display in his latest hit single Even The Score.  Thanx a bunch, Brad! [continues below…]

New EP: Hideous Sun Demon || Development Hell

How is your monday so far? I am pretty hyped. I just played Gimmicks by Hideous Sun Demon (Australia) four times in a row. It’s a tight angular punk tune, with repetitive lyrics full of frustration and anger delivered in a talk screaming manner. It’s perfect, and it is followed by another winning tune: Squitter. The songs on the Development Hell EP are quite the departure of older recordings of the band, which had more psychelic garage leanings. “We had grown pretty bored of our old sound. We had kinda gotten into this formulaic approach to songwriting that was defined by fuzzy guitars and doomy riffs. We were eager to adopt a wider breadth of influences, especially since Jake and Vin had bonded over their love of post-punk and new wave in their youth,” the band explains at Life Without Andy. I am totally behind the new trajectory of the band, and the four song Development Hell EP is the first release by the band that has made my wantlist. Out now through Marthouse Records.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: (T-T)b || Suporma

The Tiny Telephone Boys are a threepiece from Boston and not your average band. Their write their bandname in formula: (T-T)b, and they add chiptunes (i.e., those synthy sounds from old school arcade games) to their classic emo sound. Chiptune emo? Really? But it actually works quite well on their Suporma EP. RIYL: The Hotelier, Modern Baseball, The World Is Beautiful… Available for pre-order now on limited colored cassette (silver w/ pink splatter) through Acrobat Unstable.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Acrobat Unstable Records

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