New album: All Away Lou || Things Will Change

It’s easy to root for someone who is still passionate about playing punk rock three decades in her career. It becomes self-evident when that person wrote and played a kickass record all by herself.

I’m talking about Lou Hanman, who is best known as the singer of Caves, but also played in RVIVR, Worriers, Queen of Jeans, Katie Ellen, Mikey Erg’s band and Thin Lips. Aside from technical and production support by Kyle Pulley (Thin Lips) and Jackie Milestone, Things Will Change is all Lou Hanman. Or, should I say All Away Lou, which I assume is a reference to her move from the UK to Philadelphia six years ago.

Anyhow, Lou wrote all the songs and plays all the instruments on Things Will Change. The record is a must for fans of Caves of course, but also for fans of indie punk in general. Expect a diverse albums of pop punk bangers, indie rockers and headboppers, where Hanman’s vocal melodies shine bright. There is no lack of highlights on the record, but may I suggest a taste of Looks Right, Try As I Might, The Point, and the gorgeous Joyful Life? I think you’ll like it.

Things Will Change is out now on Specialist Subject Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Specialist Subject

New EP: Bedbugman || Sentimental Cowboy

Somewhere in Cape Town (South Africa) lies the Bed Bug Studio. Even though I can’t seem to find it online, it’s where Sean Baron (of Runaway Nuns) writes and records garage pop nuggets under the moniker Bedbugman. And I have to say, his songs range from pretty good to pretty exceptional.

In the past two months, Bedbugman dropped three releases on Bandcamp. The first is a collection of songs from 2020. The second is a four song EP called Temper Tantrum. His third, and most recent EP features one of my favorite songs of late: Whistling By. It’s a garage pop ballad reminiscent of Jacuzzi Boys, full of heartfelt and nostalgic sentiments. It’s as bittersweet as it’s a killer track, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Keep an eye out for Bedbugman. He may be flying solo, but his powers are not to be underestimated.

“I remember living my life || Now I think I’m wasting my time || Life’s so different, I’m done”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Hooper Crescent || Best In Town/Instant Lawn

Hooper Crescent are a band of five from Brunswick (Australia). The band released a double A-side single on Spoilsport Records last week. Of course, in objective terms there is no flipside when a single is digital only. But if there was a physical release, either song could have been on the A-side.

Hooper Crescent plays a form of artsy indie pop or poppy postpunk that is scrappy yet melodic. The DIY video of Instant Lawn is as sweet on the eyes as this single is on the ears.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Stiff Drinks || New Anxiety/Crashing

Here’s a new band I’m adding to my watchlist. Stiff Drinks are a new outfit from Maryland, whose love for mod, powerpop and garagepunk shines through in their songs. Their 2021 demo showed promise, but this single is definitely a step up. Both tracks are a lot of fun, and I am particularly fond of the rock’n’rolling Crashing Down.

Keep an eye/ear out for more from this band!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Kat Haus || Manic

A freak chemical accident caused Alberta native Colton Benson to change his name to Kat Haus. Or so the story goes.

The 7-song Manic EP is the delightfully weird result of Haus experimenting with home recording. Haus explains: “I sorta drove myself crazy, learning how to record, mix and all that fun stuff, but I like how it turned out.” I have to say, I like it as well. Backed up by a drum computer, Haus has one foot in egg punk territory, with the other somewhere at an intersection of classic punk and postpunk. The addition of the occasional sample is pretty cool as well.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Concrete City || Lovers In Love With Nothing

Both this post and my previous one features a band from Baltimore. Both bands use similar instruments, but the similarities between that band (Ravagers) and this one (Concrete City) end there.

The four members of Concrete City have played in bands like Sick Sick Birds, Roads To Space Trabel, The Fuses, ADVLTS and Squaaks. As Concrete City, the four-piece self-describes as power pop for a disappointing world. The band’s music is far from disappointing though, although their songs are easy to overlook. Concrete City’s brand of indie rock, with its altpop, new wave and post punk leanings, has that bermuda triangle quality of being understated, sophisticated and melancholic.

The songs on Lovers In Love With Nothing were recorded in the past 3 to 4 years and, if I’m not mistaken, most of these songs were released previously as digital singles. That, in combination with the understated nature of their music may explain why I haven’t written about this band before. But this is good stuff. And to be honest, I feel these songs work even better in album form.

Lovers In Love With Nothing is a record that gets better with each play. It’s out now on Ashtray Momunent, limited to 165 copies of randomly colored vinyl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Ashtray Monument

New album: Ravagers || Badlands

Throwback monday? Badlands is the first full-length album by Baltimore glampunk’n’rollers Ravagers. It was recorded recently, but to my ears Badlands sounds like a mid-to late ’80s glammetal band. To be sure, I don’t mean the glossy kind, but rather the metal bands that were heavily influenced by ’70’s punk.

Hence the throwback feel to the record. I’m getting just as much touches of New York Dolls as Skid Row from Ravagers. And at certain times the band even reminds me of A.F.I., and not just because Ravagers singer Hagen has a similar sound as Davey Havok, but also because both bands write similar massive catchy choruses.

Barely touching 28 minutes, there is a lot to like about Badlands. Play it loud!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Vulture City

New album: El Camino Acid || Sunset Motel

Safe to say, this year we’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of releases that were shelved in the hope that the pandemic would end sooner or later – or due to pressing plants unable to keep up with demand. Take Sunset Motel, the sophomore record by Columbus (Ohio) indie rockers El Camino Acid. Sunset Motel was recorded in the Summer of 2020, and it’s such an accomplished and confident record, I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for the band to wait so long to release it.

El Camino Acid see themselves as garage rockers with a love for power pop. I would place them in the indie rock bin though, although their love for power pop definitely shines through – listen to Get Along and Mirror Mirror for example. I also sense a touch of americana in some of their songs. Sunset Motel was recorded by Twin Peaks multi-instrumentalist Colin Croom, and while the two are decidedly different bands, El Camino Acid kind of has a similar vibe as Twin Peaks, particularly in the more laid-back tracks.

One word that keeps coming up when I listen to Sunset Motel: Solid. This is not the kind of record that will shatter your world. But, it’s hard to find fault with it. It’s well executed, it has plenty of variation and swagger, and it rocks. Sunset Motel is out now, self-released on Sunset Orange Vinyl and available on the band’s website.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Melanie || ABCD

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Melanie-for-fun dot bandcamp dot com. The simple addition of ‘for fun’ in the Bandcamp address of New Zealand indie punks Melanie tells you all you need to know about this band.

For starters, the music is FUN. It has that Jeff Rosenstock energy and Joyce Manor like songwriting that combines a strong sense of melody with spontaneity and looseness. If you love those two acts, you should press play below immediately. But if you are looking for proof that there is still room for exciting punk rock in 2022, press play as well. Also, if you are feeling down, or low, or lacking energy, press play. Scratch that, just press play regardless of your feelings and musical tastes. ABCD is a feel good record, not necessarily in lyrical content, but it offers manic energy and infectious melodies that sound certified fresh.

You know what is also fun? Using an acronym for the title of your EP: the four songs respectively start with the letters A, B, C, and D. The B and D song (Brains and Delivery Boy) are particularly great, and I can only think of one thing that is not fun about ABCD. It’s too damn short!

(Fortunately, there is this full length from 2020 I totally overlooked.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Dreamcoaster || Dreamcoaster

Dreamcoaster is a musical project by Brighton (UK) residents Jane and Andrew Craig. Both are obsessed with 80s/90s indie music, which you can tell from the sound and look of their latest self-titled EP – their first for Spinout Nuggets and their first to get pressed on vinyl.

The Dreamcoaster EP is definitely pop, and the Craigs know their way around a melody. But Dreamcoaster is by no means a lo-fi band. The songs are punchy and quite powerful, and the fuzzy guitars and the strong vocal job constantly compete for your attention. Good stuff, really!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Spinout Nuggets

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