Australia and New Zealand have become a hotbed for a lot of today’s best punk acts, with Amyl and the Sniffers, Dennis Cometti, the Chats and Stiff Richards. The Cavemen are cut from the same mold. Their 2019 record Night after Night comes highly recommended. On their latest single Euthanise Me, they blister through 4 classic punk tracks in less than 8 minutes. High intensity, plenty of melody.
Adele & The Chandeliers is a new project by Adele Pickvance of Go-Betweens fame. Adele’s bass-playing is a driving force on their debut First Date, which consists of ten groovy radio friendly post-punk tunes with dashes of 60’s pop, soul and power pop. Pre-order now at Pretty Olivia Records (Spain).
I am terrible in estimating a band’s popularity. Here is a band, a duo actually, that have a sound for which clearly there is a wide audience. Think Superchunk, think Bob Mould, think Japandroids. They release a well produced filler-free record that sounds mature and self-assured. A record that is instantly satisfying, but also becomes better with every play. A record that has great artwork as well. I am talking about Calming Pink by Eaten by Snakes. That band has 175 monthly listeners on Spotify. Shakin’ my head in disbelief.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Shield Recordings
The Last released their debut L.A. Explosion in 1979 on the legendary Bomp! Records. I only discovered the record when my all-time favorite bands, Descendents, cited them as their primary inspiration. I fell in love instantly. L.A. Explosion sounds like a beachy mashup of Nerves and the Clash. Despite their pop sensibilities, great harmonies, and sheer variety in songwriting, the Last never made it out of their L.A. scene. To add insult to injury, their DIY attempt to record their sophomore album ended in a warped sound, and zero label offers. Fast forward 40 years (!), modern technology fixed the original tapes and the record is out at last. It’s a bittersweet release that I can’t wait to have in my collection. Fingers crossed that they will do a deluxe remastered reissue of L.A. Explosion next.
New band alert! Brooklyn based Heavy Lag say they play dirt pop, which is an apt description of their fuzzy and punky take on powerpop. The A-side has the second best use of an intro sample of the year (#1 here). It is short, and so catchy I played it thrice before moving to the B-side. That offers another killer track, reminiscent of Marked Men. Curious to hear what these guys will cook up next.
Add to Wantlist: Bandcamp
SBDC stands for Stupid Bitches & Dumb Cunts, which suggests these riot grrrls don’t take themselves to seriously. Fortunately, their new record on Kingfisher Bluez is no gimmick. It is a strong collection of very catchy pop punk songs. More punk than Holly & the Italians, and more rawk than fellow Canadians Pale Lips. SBDC takes a well-trodden path, but their execution, especially in the vocal department, puts them ahead of the pack.
Early this year, Romero released a two song single which is still one of my highlights of 2020. Today, they released their latest recording, a self-described “golden old soul that smoothes out the bumps of at-home frustrations and reassures you on the existential path ahead.” Slightly lower paced, but with the same swagger of their previous work, it is another showcase of the sheer vocal power of singer Alanna Oliver.
If there is one thing this compilation of obscure mid-eighties US bands shows, it’s that great jangle pop is not exclusive to the UK, AU and NZL. That’s not to say that the bands on display are mere copycats of the C86 or the Flying Nun sound. They incorporate American influences to create their own version of jangle. Slightly more production, a bit more powerpop, a lot of catchiness. All in all, this is a very strong start of Captured Tracks‘ new Excavations series – inspired by the infamous Pebbles, Killed by Death, and Numero Group compilations. It is not cheap, but you get four sides of melodic guitar catchiness as well as an 80+ page booklet with an oral history of this particular music scene. Musthave.
Slumberland Records is celebrating 30 years of quality twee, shoegaze, jangle, indiepop and poppunk releases with a singles series. I’ve had its latest installment, by Bay Area (SF) postpunkers Neutrals, on constant repeat. It has the immediate appeal of those classic late ’70’s punk singles that are now way overpriced on Discogs. The full single is available for streaming on Spotify, but it is the A-side that is the true gem here.