New EP: Crosshairs || Demo 2022

Ready for something a little shorter, faster and louder? Meet Crosshairs, a new three piece from Vancouver Island (Victoria) featuring members of Kraxxa, Bootlicker, Off The Clock and Last Crusade. Crosshair’s sound is a mix between classic ’80s American hardcorepunk and second wave UK Punk – a bit like The Chisel, but more hardcore-oriented. They open the EP with the insanely catchy stop-go moshpit inducing Picked Clean. By the second track, the rock-and-rollin’ Lechon, I was all in. They finish the EP off with two effective bullets that barely surpass the one-minute mark.

Four songs, six minutes of exciting hardcorepunk. If this is only a demo, I can’t wait for what’s next. Out now on limited cassette Slow Death Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Bad Bad Bird || Ni Peine Ni Peur + Voudras​-​Tu ‘adorer?

My French is pretty bad, but when I read Bad Bad Bird’s tagline of “chansons d’amour power pop en français” my heart made a petite jump. To my ears, the French language and powerpop are a match made in heaven, the peanutbutter and jelly of rock-‘n’-roll music. Somehow they are a perfect fit.

Technically, both songs on this cd-single were released individually on streaming services last year, but since we totally missed those, we’re happy to share them now that they will be out on the almost extinct CD-single. Of both songs, my favorite is Ni Peine Ni Peur which I think fits the late ’70s, early ’80s powerpop label better than the more contemporary sounding Voudras​-​Tu M’Adorer – a song that is constructed well and gets more powerful the longer you listen to it.

Hopefully Bad Bad Bird will find some extra time to work on more tunes like these two, because I think they are tres bien!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Les Salvatges || El Caliu I La Cendra

Les Salvatges (“The Wild Ones”) are a poppy punkrocktrio from Barcelona. Their latest album is filled with easy to digest, highly enjoyable tunes. Only one song passes the 3-minute mark, and most songs have a punk pace and a pop heart.

With El Caliu I La Cendra, Les Salvatges will make you bop your head and brighten your day – even though the lyrics are quite dark. And with the album art, they entice you to get creative doodling in your notebook during boring video calls or meetings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Joyride! || Miracle Question

With Easter 2022 in the books, let’s kick of the work week by injecting a high dose of energy and melody. San Francisco indiepunks Joyride! went on hiatus in 2016 – finishing school, starting professional careers and all that, but kept on writing songs throughout the years. When the band decided to finally make a comeback, they had plenty of songs to pick from.

And that shows. Their new record Miracle Question is all killer, no filler. It’s full of life and heart, it’s scrappy and super catchy. Its scope should appeal to a broad audience, from indie rock aficionado’s to fans of pop punk and even twee. What makes Miracle Question such a tight and effective record is that Joyride! have mastered the art of trimming songs to their best parts only. The 86 second jolt of energy that is Flyover States is probably the best example of this. Routine Maintenance is another example. Why waste time on intro’s, when you can  seduce listeners from the get-go?

With Miracle Question, Joyride! come eerily close to indiepunk perfection. If you’re looking for 28 minutes of uncomplicated fun, look no further. Out now through Salinas Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Salinas Records

New EP: Stephen’s Shore || Green

The five members of Stephen’s Shore (Sweden), arguably one of Europe’s finest janglepop bands of today, share a love for California, skateboarding, moody pop songs and jangly guitars. You can tell from their sound that pop music is in their DNA – kind of a common theme in the country of Sweden. Stephen’s Shore play a special kind of pop though.

The band’s newest release is a 4-song EP called Green, which follows the Brisbane Radio EP (2021) and the September Love LP (2018). To be fair, I loved the Brisbane Radio EP and would have been happy if the band had just kind of copied that EP song-for-song. But now that I’ve heard the Green EP, I’m amazed by the growth of the band. Stephen’s Shore sound more confident, patient and in fuller posession of their powers than before. Unafraid to let their strong melodies simmer and their guitars jangle, Stephen’s Shore will slowly break down your defenses and let their songs find a permanent home in the reward centre of your brain.

The first song to find its way? Probably Ocean’s Calling, which I think is the best Stephen’s Shore song to date. I could play that one all day, and immediately feel like I’m taking a beach walk during a gorgeous sunset.

The Green EP is out now through Meritorio Records – on green vinyl of course.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio

New album: Christian Blunda || Funky Punks In Space

“Any place but here.” That must haven been the thinking of Christian Blunda during the social isolation and pandemic lockdowns. Full of dread, boredom and feeling boxed in, you start to think of different times, better places, or, in the case of Blunda: space travel. So he started writing “party platters with a zero gravity kinda vibe.”

How does that sound? Punky, funky and synthy. Blunda takes ingredients from ramonescore, ’80s new wave, synth and sci-fi movie soundtracks. Songs like Hyperblaster, Every Day I Go To Space and Zoner would not look out of place in his main project (Mean Jeans), and kinda sound like Ramones broadcasting from Mars. Then there is the weird ’80s synthpop of I’m An Alien and Chain Wallet In Zero Gravity. To top it off, there are some vintage instrumentals that seem to come straight out of old sci-fi movies.

Funky Punks In Space is fun and weird in all the right places. With the fan base he build through his work in Mean Jeans, Touchy and Patsy’s Rats – and his recent emergence as a composer of movie soundtracks, I’m pretty sure a lot of fans will follow Blunda on his travels through the universe. Hope there’s some room for me as well!

Funky Punks In Space will officially be out April 22 on Dig! Records, but is already available for streaming on Bandcamp.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Forests || Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation

2022 is turning out to be quite the year for fans of twinkly mathy emo. We recently covered the excellent Carly Cosgrove record, and I’d now like to direct your attention to the new Forests record Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation. It is the Singapore band’s third record, and I think it’s their best yet.

The band self-describes as mathpop, which is probably a more apt description of the band’s sound than the emo label often associated with this kind of music. The new batch of songs are no sad bangers or introspected jerkers, but sound jubilant, cathartic and anthemic. Above all, on a superficial level, Get In Losers… sounds absolutely FUN. A closer inspection reveals the intricate and awesome instrumentation – no small feat for a band of three. I also love how Forests effortlessly switches from pop punk (Saint Loser) to alt pop (At The End Of The Day, It’s Night) to emo (Value Dollar Fire Sale) to math (Resting Peach Face); from song to song…and often within songs. And as these song titles show, Forests do not take themselves too seriously. They do take their music seriously though.

Get In Losers, We’re Going To Eternal Damnation will be released on vinyl through Dog Knights Productions (hopefully in May), which is a guarantee that the record will not only sound good but will look great as well – make sure to check out that label if you are into special color variations. By the way, Dog Knights simultaneously released a compilation solo LP of Forests singer/bassist/lyricist Darell Lazer. Give that one a try as well!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dog Knights 

New album: Oceanator || Nothing’s Ever Fine

Last month, in anticipation of the new Oceanator record, Elise Okusami did a Gimme 5! feature with our site. She was kind enough to send us an advanced stream which we’ve been playing a lot at ATW HQ. Here’s a friendly reminder that said record (Nothing’s Ever Fine) is out now, and worthy of your time and hard earned money.

My first impression of the record, which I shared in the Gimme 5! post, hasn’t really changed. If anything, Nothing’s Ever Fine has grown on me even more. So hope you don’t mind me copy pasting snippets from the previous post on the record, here we go: “Nothing’s Ever Fine showcases Okusami at her brightest and boldest yet. Oceanator sounds bigger than ever, and given the size and frequency of the hooks on the record, I fully expect Oceanator to reach even bigger crowds while making her existing fanbase ecstatic. Highlights aplenty on Nothing’s Ever Fine. What about Bad Drain Daze, a song that perfectly fits the mold of the sad banger. Or the super catchy one-two punch of The Last Summer and Beach Days (Alive Again)?”

Nothing’s Ever Fine is out now (on sweet looking colored vinyl) on Polyvinyl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Polyvinyl

New album: Yesterday’s Ring || Goodbye Nightlife

Yesterday’s Ring was founded 20 years ago by the singer and two guitarists of Montreal punkband (and Fat Wreck alumns) The Sainte Catherines. The project was born while touring with their main project in the US, and inspired by country radio and befriended punk bands branching out towards something more traditional and acoustic. Throughout the years, Yesterday’s Ring has become an outlet for the band members paying tribute to their musical heroes, including Springsteen, Cash, Earle, McGowan (The Pogues) and Armstrong (Rancid).

The band’s latest record (Goodbye Nightlife)- their first in over ten years, is a strong collection of blue collar countryfolk and americana tunes with a punk rock heart. With their songs “born out of good and bad memories from their days living after midnight,” Yesterday’s Ring provide a varied take on traditional American music. It’s a take I quite like, thank you very much.

Goodbye Nightlife is out now through Milk And Cookies Records. [updat July 13, 2022: Rad Girlfriend has the vinyl release.]

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Culture Trap || Different Kind Of Summer

Let’s make a short stop in Helsinki (Finland) to meet another act to add to your bands-to-watch list. Culture Trap are four punk rockers with a pop heart: Antti, Sunny, Günter & Johannes. Their first single is digital only I guess, but the two songs show a lot of promise. Different Kind Of Summer particularly is great and full of contagious energy. Its appeal is solidified once a short but sweet guitar solo kicks in after a minute or so.

If you like to reside in that awesome musical niche between punk rock and power pop, make sure to keep an ear and eye out for Culture Trap!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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