Alternative Rock

New compilation: Various Artists || Heroes Of the Night – Punk, Pop, And Wave From The UK Underground ’79-’83

We recently wrote about The Go-Go’s, one of the first all-female bands to write their own songs and have a number #1 hit record. But they were not the only female pioneers trying to break barriers. Heroes Of The Night is a new compilation that pays tribute to a specific group of boundary movers: frontwomen in the U.K. and Irish Punk, Powerpop, New Wave, Hard Rock and Synth-Pop underground of the late ’70s, early ’80s. The compilation features 12 artists including The Russians, Cheap Cinema, Vermillion and the Aces, The Chevrons and Teachers Pet. Three Phase provide the closing track, exclusive to the vinyl release.

The compilation features some of the coolest and rarest singles of that scene and era. As separate 45s, these songs are either impossible to find or will cost you a fortune. Thanx to Brooklyn label Reminder Records, conveyors of quality punk, glam & powerpop reissues, we can finally own all these underground classics on one convenient platter. It’s not like we needed a reminder (pun not intended) that this was probably the best era for this kind of music, but I’m grateful for compilations like this one. Three-word review: Must own compilation.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Reminder Records || Discogs

Gimme 5! Stephen Steen of Megadose Shares His Five Favorite Records


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.

It’s been a while since our last Gimme 5. Stephen Steen must have thought so as well, because out of nowhere he sent me his five favorite records. How did this happen? Well, when you release a superb record with the potential to cross over to a major audience, you get a lot of requests and e-mails all of a sudden. And it’s easy to mixup requests from different music sites. Our win! That superb record by the way is Wild & Free by his band Megadose (our review here). It’s a record that slowly wins you over; a record on which Megadose put their own spin on ’00s indierock. If you are a fan of acts like Bands of Horses, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs and Frightened Rabbit, I believe you will like this band a lot. Recently, Megadose released its first video ever which should give you a good sample of their music. [post continues below]

New album: First Boy On The Moon || First Boy On The Moon

Listen, here’s the self-titled debut album from First Boy On The Moon — one giant leap for Californian singer/songwriter David Pedroza, now based in Sweden. I asked David about his moniker: “It was a song that I wrote a few years ago for my young son. He had been having a tough time adjusting at school, so I was trying to sooth him with something fun to hear. When I played it for some musician friends of mine, one of them suggested that the song title should be the name of the band.” Besides David (vocals, guitar), the band consists of Julius (lead guitar), Jens (bass), and Johannes (drums). On their LP you’ll hear nine captivating alternative pop / rock songs, in which I mainly detect influences from later U2, but also from early Bowie and contemporary The War On Drugs. The music doesn’t seem so special at first, but slowly but surely you discover more and more irresistible hooks and appealing lyrics — it gets under your skin and in your heart. A track like Pretty Vicious could easily become a radio hit, but actually that goes for every tune. Not unimportant, the artwork is pretty cool too – David was a graphic designer before he moved to Europe (a good one, as you can see). In every way this will be a gem in your record collection.

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First Boy On The Moon is out now on limited transparent blue vinyl through Manic Records, available in select record stores. On Bandcamp, YouTube and streaming services you’ill find the individual songs. The album as a whole is exclusive to vinyl.

Tracklist: Drown It Out // Straight Up With You // The Truth // First Boy On The Moon // All Right Already // Grim Reaper // If This Isn’t Love // What Alice Was Talking About // Pretty Vicious

New album: Fuzz Gun || Silverstoned

Garage rock comes in all shapes and sizes, and one rehearsal room is not like another. Although Portland, Oregon six-piece Fuzz Gun say they play dirty, fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll, I suspect they’re a lot tidier than many other bands in the genre (note: I wrote this before watching the video below ;-)). The guitar riffs may be heavy, and the lead vocals gritty, but they manage to avoid an overcrowded wall of sound; the instruments give each other space and the handclaps, backup vocals, and clear production provide a nice contrast. Not unimportant, the starting point is good, because Todd Eaton (vocals, guitar, keys, percussion), Robert Trujillo (bass), Mark Wanaka (guitar), Brian Smith (drums, percussion), Lori Van Dreal (vocals), and Ditte Kuijpers ( vocals) know how to write catchy songs. They prove that eight times in a row on their new full-length album Silverstoned. Listen carefully, because the band members challenge you: four tracks were already recorded in the studio before the pandemic broke out, the other 4 tracks were recorded remotely by themselves. Can you distinguish which is which?

Stream the full LP below.

Silverstoned is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mike Skill || Skill…Mike Skill

You know The Romantics’ 1979 hit What I Like About You, right? You’ve probably heard it many times (just like their other hits, but that aside), but Mike Skill, co-founding member of the American rock band, has made a new version of the classic party anthem for his debut solo album, self-titled in the James Bond way: Skill…Mike Skill. With The Romantics touring halted during the pandemic, he turned to songwriting in his home studio, reflecting on the music that he grew up with. The old rocker recorded 11 original songs – he did the vocals, guitars, and bass – along with Brad Elvis, and Kevin Rankin. In addition, Wayne Kramer, Chloe F. Orwell, and Patrick Harwood also stopped by for guest appearances. Chuck Alkazian was in the producer’s chair.

What do you do on your first solo LP after four decades of The Romantics? Exactly, doing what you are good at: playing loud! These new power-pop tracks are catchy as can be, with good old-fashioned guitar solos and drum breaks, to dance and sing along to. In both the lyrics and the vocals you can hear the experience and life on the road from all those years ago. This is a debut rooted in the past but to be cherished in the present, a debut to be very proud of. Stream the full album below.

“I’m an Iggy Sympathizer // A Scott Rationalizer // A Wayne K Rocker // A Fred Sonic Shocker // And Matheu on the lens // With a Sonic Rendezvous mobster // Got Ron and Scott haulin’ // A Locomotive Destroyin’ Monster / Yeah yeah yeah” – from We Got Your Rock’n Roll

Skill…Mike Skill is out now digitally, a vinyl LP will follow later this year. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Compilation || SLN-210: 10 Year Anniversary Compilation

Snappy Little Numbers operates out of Denver and have to be one of the hardest working labels out there. Or maybe they are extremely efficient? Anyhow, it seems that they have a couple of new releases out each month and not just digital. To celebrate its 10th year anniversary, this week the label released a 30 song compilation of past, present, and future bands they have worked or will work with. We covered quite a lot of the bands on the comp including Autogramm, Jiffy Marx (who contributes a very fun rendition of one of my favorite Resonars songs), Hooper, Spells, Friends of Cesar Romero, State Drugs, and The Animal Steel. But, if I’m not mistaken, most (if not all) of the songs are comp exclusives.

Snappy Little Numbers’ roster is very broad, even though most of their bands fall under of the many subgenres of punkrock and alternative rock. A consequence of SLN’s broad focus is that you are unlikely to fall for each of their releases. However, on a comp like this, the varied roster actually works to the comp’s advantage. Listening to this compilation is like finding a radio station you don’t want to switch off, and driving another block because you want to find out what the next song is. Cool stuff from a cool label. Happy Birthday SLN, Keep doing what you do!

30% of every compilation sold (both physical and digital) will be donated to Stop AAPI Hate (20% – stopaapihate.org – USA) and Elimin8Hate (10% – elimin8hate.org – Canada).



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || SLN

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of September 2021

Not all new music is really new, as many artists occasionally play a song they know from one of their heroes. Often they are songs that deserve to be dusted and polished, simply because they should not be forgotten. Some of those cover versions are so good, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in alphabetical order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

96 Tears || Cover: Oort Clod || Original: ? & The Mysterians
Manchester-based five-piece Oort Clod released a nice 12-track split EP (together with Priceless Bodies), on which the 1966 garage rock single is doused with a post-punk sauce. Out on cassette through Alphaville Records.

New album: The Mother Gurus || The Mother Gurus LP

The Mother Gurus is a trio from Melbourne, a city that harbours an infinite number of bands. Last week, the band released their 8-song self-titled debut album. And I have to say, I’m intrigued. The Mother Gurus mixes alternative ’90s guitars with the vocal harmonies of the ’60s and the psychedelic rock of the ’70s. It’s all there in the standout album opener As Far As I Can Tell (Papercut), which sounds like The Resonars playing early Nirvana or vice versa.

The record is not available in full on Bandcamp (yet?), so below is an earlier version of the song. You can stream the album in full on Spotify and the other streaming sites I guess. Anyhow, The Mother Gurus provide a cool mashup of styles that work surprisingly well.



Add to wantlist? Nothing to by, just stream it for now.

New album: Molly Hanmer & The Midnight Tokers || Get Loose

You don’t hear them like this often: Molly Hanmer writes strong songs, knows how to play guitar and harmonica, is blessed with a sensual but powerful voice, and if that isn’t enough, she also has good taste. Along with her band – Keith Palmer (drums, backup vocals), Alan Hampton (bass), Claudia Miles (back-up vocals), John Bird (keyboards), Mickey Madden (lead guitar), and guests Joe Sublett (saxophones ), and Mark Pender (trumpet) – the American garage rocker / pop punker has released their sophomore full-length album Get Loose, with nine original songs, and a nice cover of CCR’s Born on the Bayou. This is swinging, bluesful soul (or: soulful blues) infused with psychedelic folk, roots rock, and even gospel, both musical and lyrical highlight after highlight. You don’t hear them like this often.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jackie Venson || Love Transcends

“They say freedom is in the mind // Well we lose our freedom when we get too scared to fight // One step forward is another step farther behind.” After half a minute of music, with these first lines, you know this is a special release. We are talking about Love Transcends, the new full-length album by American singer / songwriter / guitarist Jackie Venson. She wrote the songs across a decade (and added a new version of the classics Down By The Riverside and Up Above My Head), recorded them in a pandemic, played in a style a century old, but completely contemporary in every way. This is soulful blues rock, where Venson’s awesome, powerful distinctive vocals take your breath away, whether she screams or whispers. As if that isn’t impressive enough, she also throws out some stunning guitar solos, and she’s joined by a great band (Marcus Clark on bass, Jon Deas on piano and organ, Rodney Hyder on drums). This is Jackie Venson’s unique sound, the sound of a great star in the making.

Love Transcends is out now digitally and on CD. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

PS  Do yourself a favor and also watch the recording of the live concert that Jackie Venson gave in Texas late last year. Enchanting.

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