Glam Rock

New album: Poison Boys & Jonesy || Split LP

A couple of months ago, Ghost Highway Recordings released a split LP by Poison Boys (Chicago) & Jonesy (Montreal). Although we covered these two bands before (here and here) I held off on sharing my thoughts until I had heard both sides of the LP, and now I have finally checked that box, it’s an instant add to the wantlist.

That these two bands would one day team up for a split LP seemed inevitable as they are complementary in their approach to keeping the spirit of ‘70s glamrock’n’roll alive. Of the two, Jonesy leans slightly more towards classic rock whereas Poison Boys have a rougher edge to their sound. But, at the bottom line, both bands like their guitars loud and sleazy, their choruses anthemic and hooky, and their drumsticks smoothly rolled between fingers. Each band covering a song from the other underscores the natural and genuine connection between Jonesy and Poison Boys.

This is music from a bygone era, proudly unfashionable—and thank goodness for that!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (Poison Boys) || Bandcamp (Jonesy) || Ghost Highway

New album: The Blackburns || The Blackburns

Joel Tannenbaum (Plow United, The Rentiers) and Nick Palmer (Wax Wav, The Danger-Os) started The Blackburns at some point last year. The creative synergy between the duo, along with additional members Lynna Stancato (vocals and synth) and Abe Koffenberger (guitar) was so strong they have released their full length debut within a year. It is out now courtesy of Sell The Heart Records.

The Blackburns are the kind of band I think will resonate with many of our readers. For starters, this band rocks! What’s more impressive though is their refusal to be confined to any specific subgenre. The album kicks off with Hooks, a glammy radio friendly rocker. It’s followed by Southern Chester County, which to my ears sounds like a modern power pop update of Shoes. Chill City Population You is ’90s alt pop hit material, while Status: Someday embodies the ’00s indie rock vibe. Drama Club sounds like Bob Mould at his catchiest. Listening to this album feels like tuning into a self-sustaining radio station where, instead of changing the channel, you’re eager to learn more about the band. It that applies to you as well, read more about The Blackburns in this interview at Sweet Sweet Music Blog.

Currently, only Hooks is available on Bandcamp. Find the remainder of the record on the streaming service of your choice.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Videoflip || Videoflip

Sometimes, quality rushes in like a gust of wind. Last year, members of Scaners, Beaten Brats, Claimed Choice. and Mogs spontaneously formed Videoflip out of a shared love for early pub rock and punk out of Australia and the UK. The band only needed a couple of rehearsals and a few days in the studio to create their 7-song self-titled debut LP. The LP is out now through Dangerhouse Skylab, which is the in-house label of the Dangerhouse Record Store in Lyon (France).

Starting with the standout opener Mauvaise Humeur, Videoflip blast through genres with reckless abandon, delivering a turbocharged mix of pub rock, punk, and glam. This is raw energy yet melodic rock’n’roll with a gritty, sleazy sound that adds a layer of primal urgency. From Lyon to your speakers, Videoflip’s debut LP is proof that sometimes, good things arrive in heartbeat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Boston Babies || Boston Babies

Even though they’re in their early twenties, labeling Madrid trio Boston Babies as mere rookies would be a serious misjudgment. In fact, they operate like seasoned r’n’r pros on their self-titled debut (mini)LP; skilled and hungry, perhaps a bit unlucky, being born 25 years too late. But they look and play like they don’t care at all. The band’s raw punk rock, with more than a hint of glamrock’-n’-roll, is explosive and stage ready to light a fire under audiences worldwide.

It’s inspiring to see a fresh breed not just proudly pay homage to the classic punk forefathers, but also succesfully resurrecting the gritty spirit of ’70s-era NYC. LP out now at Slovenly!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Slovenly

New single: CLAPPER || Feels Right

The Feels Right 7″ by the brand new CLAPPER (Berlin) is the end product of a 30-hour studio lockdown by members of Küken and Slander Tongue – two bands that have made the wantlist and collection several times already. The Germans recorded three songs under the CLAPPER moniker that did not fit their respective projects, and I am definitely happy to see these tunes come to live.

Sonically, the three songs are much closer to Slander Tongues’ sleazy and glammy rock-‘n’-roll than the raw punk rock of Küken. But I’m pretty sure fans of either band will enjoy this one, as the guitar riffing here is simply too tasty and contagious to resist – not surprising as the guitar work is a shared strength of Küken and Slander Tongue.

I think I became a fan of this band after the opening guitar work of Feeling Right, then felt affirmed once the second track (Baby You Know) kicked in. And yet, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by the final song. Get Over It showcases a power pop side of CLAPPER that is simply marvelous.

Three songs, barely seven minutes, I definitely want more from this outfit! 7″ single available through Wild Wax Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Sheer Mag || Playing Favorites

If you’d ask me to list my favorite bands of the past decade, Sheer Mag is probably the first band I’d write down. Few bands can match the rush of excitement their music ignites. In fact, I’ll admit, there’s a slight tinge of nervousness that creeps in whenever they drop new tracks. It’s not just because of the lofty expectations they’ve set, but also because Sheer Mag operates in a realm all their own, effortlessly traversing across hard rock, metal, and disco within the same album.  The question of course, and herein lay my anxiety when the band’s latest LP Playing Favorites arrived on my doorstep, is how far they will stray from their guitar-driven roots toward a more pop-centric funk-a-delic sound?  More selfishly, will I actually like the record?

The short answer is HELL YES! Sheer Mag go from Thin Lizzy to Jackson Five, sometimes within the same breath, and they make it work. Playing Favorites has that special quality of triggering automatic responses and exclamations. Good luck sitting still to the title track and Eat It And Beat It – what a way to open the record! While listening to this record, my inner voice becomes a relentless cheerleader, showering the record with childlike enthusiasm and profanities of joy. Admittedly, Sheer Mag changes tones and styles on the remainder of the record. In lesser hands the incorporation of disco, funk, pub rock and country could have resulted in a mixed bag. But, to my ears, Sheer Mag melds it all together seamlessly. What a band, what a record!

Playing Favorites is out now on Third Man Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Daniel Romano || Too Hot To Sleep

The endlessly talented, genre hopping and prolific Daniel Romano returns for yet another release. Too Hot To Sleep, a 10-song masterpiece, pulsates with sweat-drenched exhilaration, evoking a nostalgic nod to the raw energy of ’70s rock, garage, and proto punk. It’s an electrifying accumulation of Keith Richards’ guitar work, Stooges swagger and MC5 attitude.

Whatever Romano does, it’s always performed with full conviction. Created together with his brother Ian, Carson McHone, Julianna Riolino and Roddy Rossetti, Romano holds nothing back. Too Hot To Sleep is the definition of a well-oiled machine. It is in constant motion with instruments bouncing off eachother and the harmonies always on-point.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Romano’s Attack In Black project, but this may be my favorite LP he’s been involved in yet. Too Hot To Sleep is out now on You’ve Changed Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Mala Vista || Fun Time

Finding the sweet spot between punk, garage, power pop and rock-‘n’-roll is like hitting the dopamine jackpot. Once experienced, you’re hooked, always on the hunt for that next hit. NYC’s Mala Vista already proved they know how to get there with their 2022 album Ruthless & Toothless, and they are doing it again on their new 9-song LP Fun Time – out today at Spaghetty Town Records.

Keeping the spirit of Johnny Thunders alive, Mala Vista wield sleazy and dirty guitar riffs and combine them with contagious choruses, punk attitude and rock-‘n’-roll rhythm on Fun Time. I love how this band doesn’t hide their influences, but still make it into something of their own, transitioning into a pubrock version of the Ramones in one song (Don’t Owe You), and then dialing it back to full-blown powerpop-and-roll in Juana La Cubana, and next kick it up a gear or two to rock out in glammy punk rock fashion (Die Waiting). Mala Vista stand out not just because of the quality of their songwriting, but because they show so many different faces. Going from bratty to snotty, and from fiery to super sweet, this band makes it near impossible to sit back and nod along. You’ll want to dive right into Fun Time and let the good times roll!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Drowns || Blacked Out

Seattle-based punk ‘n’ roll outfit The Drowns released the songs Just The Way She Goes and 1979 Trans Am last November on a year-end list-worthy 7″, and if you haven’t bought it yet, you can now also find these tunes on their new full-length album Blacked Out.

There are twelve tracks in total here, in which gravelly vocals and infectious guitar riffs are wrapped in a coat of street punk and glam rock – that’s what Aaron-Rev Peters, Andy Wylie, Jake Margolis and Simon Short can do, and they do it very well. It’s impossible not to smile when hearing the cover of Chinnichap’s 1973 classic Dynamite (Mud’s Dyna-Mite), a worthy successor to their earlier take on The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz, but the originals are actually just as appealing and entertaining. For optimal effect, all clichés are pulled out – greasy guitar licks, stomping drums, whoo-hoo gang vocals, handclaps – just the way we like it. After eleven bangers with a big sound, the ballad Born To Die in NYC closes the record, and it doesn’t even feel out of place because it comes from the same hearts.

Blacked Out, produced by Ted Hutt, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Pirates Press Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Pirates Press

New album: The Weirdolls || Almost Unbreakable Toys

Loud toys for grown-up kids: please meet The Weirdolls, a fun new rock ‘n’ roll band from Cesenatico, Italy, featuring Edoardo Artibani, Leonardo Degli Angeli, Nico Ferriccioni and René Ramos. On their debut album Almost Unbreakable Toys you hear ten melodic garage/glam rock songs that will do well on the dance floor in a sweaty pub. The covers – Teenage News (Sylvain Sylvain) and Do Anything You Wanna Do (Eddie And The Hot Rods) – are finger-licking good. The originals – catchy Berlin is the biggest hit here, subdued Teenage Fault is the most surprising – will make you jump as if you’ve just stepped on a LEGO block with bare feet, but with joy. These are the kinds of discoveries why we blog.

Almost Unbreakable Toys is out now digitally and on CD via Slack Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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