New album: Teenage Hearts || Didn’t Get Invited

Teenage Hearts is a classic power pop name, but the band from Nantes plays a more straightforward mix of late ’70s punk and oi. The band features familiar faces with members of Janitors, Daltonz, Puissance Cube, and Bart and the Brats. On their new LP, Teenage Hearts kick it old school and do so loud and proud. Didn’t Get Invited is out now on three labels: Primator Crew (Nantes), Tough Ain’t Enough (Madrid) and Insurgence (Toronto).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: The Subjunctives || Let’s Try This Again

The ashes of Seattle pop punk heroes Sicko proves to be a fertile breeding ground. We loved getting to know The Drolls featuring two thirds of Sicko, and here are The Subjunctives featuring the other third of Sicko (Ean Hernandez) as well as members of Four Lights and Desolate Coast. The Subjunctives sure keep the Sicko spirit alive on their second LP Let’s Try This Again. Not just because they cover Sicko’s Believe, it’s the contagious nature and vibe of the tunes. To be sure, The Subjunctives have created their own distinct sound, but if you are a fan of Sicko you’ll like The Subjunctives’ new LP as well. Full of sweet harmonies and well constructed songs with no wasted space or down time, this is one killer old school pop punk record.

Extra credit to the band for the nods to some well loved bands, like Mr. T Experience (the ba ba ba ba ba ending of I Don’t Have The Time), Black Flag (the Rise Above intro of The Henry Rollins School Of Menacing), J-Church (It’s A Shame We Didn’t Get More Time Lance), as well as brainy punks like Greg Graffin and Milo Auckerman in Smart Punks – “smart punks reading books / writing hooks ergo sum / punk rock doesn’t have to be dumb.”

Let’s Try This Again is out now through Hernandez’s own Top Drawer Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Top Drawer

New EP: Robots || El Plan

Barcelona three-piece Robots have a new EP out called El Plan. The majority of the seven songs on the EP are melodic pop punk, with hints of indie pop as well as garage pop. What these songs have in common is how easy to digest and instantly likeable they are. Fun stuff.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: TV’s Daniel || Never Change

Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fried made his mark in bands like Bad Sports, Radioactivity, Mind Spiders, Video, Wax Museums and Silver Shampoo, but ultimately he also wanted something with his own name, his own sound and his own principles. It led to TV’s Daniel, and to this full-length debut album, Never Change. Ever since the release of the Maybe We’ll All Die 7″ in 2019, with the amazing anthem Better Than It’s Been on the B-side, I’ve been looking forward to this moment, only now understanding why it took so long. We get ten diverse songs (including the A-side of the aforementioned single) exploring heartbreak, death and self-worth, songs that are difficult to pigeonhole due to their atypical orchestration and structures. At its core this is punk rock, but influences from Britpop, glam rock and even electronic dance music make this a lot richer than usual. From cinematic soundscapes to bombastic percussion and a closing track of almost 8 minutes: it’s a lot to take in, but I think TV’s Daniel has just raised the bar for contemporary alternative music.

Never Change, produced by Chico Jones and Daniel Fried, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Wild Honey Records. Featuring Daniel Fried (vocals, guitar, bass, synth), Lisa Alley (bass, vocals), Jason Smith (lead guitar, synth), Mike Garrido (guitar, space drum, vocoder), Chris Prorock (drums), Zach Blair (guitar, vocals), Chico Jones (vocals, piano, additional instruments), Erin Frazier (additional vocals) and Something Samuel (saxophone).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Rang-Rangs || 9 Jahitan

It took Indonesian pop punk trio The Rang-Rangs seven years to create their debut album 9 Jahitan. That’s quite a long time to create 32 minutes of music. Fortunately The Rang-Rangs makes most seconds count on 9 Jahitan. Their poppy punkrock is characterized by sugary harmonies and bubblegummy hooks and it’s not really a stretch to call The Rang-Rangs Jakarta’s answer to The Yum Yums.

9 Jahitan is not available on Bandcamp (yet?), but it’s out on Tape (see link below) and not that hard to find on the streaming services. Highlights for me are Lekas Pulang Johnny, Sekarang Juga en Aku Cium Pacarmu.

Add to wantlist: The Rang-Rangs

New EP: The Casper Fight Scene || Haymaker

The Marquette music scene is alive and kicking. Type in Marquette in the search bar and you’ll find some of my favorite finds of that area. The latest one is a new EP by The Casper Fight Scene. Haymaker contains five songs of emo tinged indiepunk. Fabric is the song that sees The Casper Fight Scene shine brightest. It’s not the only song that is reminiscent of Joyce Manor. The slow burning Soft Parade is the outlier track, but in a way that makes for a fantastic closing track. The Haymaker EP was originally self-released a couple of weeks ago, and immediately got picked by No Sleep Records. Seems like a strong fit for both parties. I am definitely keeping an eye out for this band!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Toxic Neurotic || Toxic Neurotic

What’s this noise? It’s Matty, Buzzy and Tater blowin’ the doors off the neighbor’s garage with their Toxic Neurotic band. The Lancaster (Pennsylvania) three-piece play collage punk, cutting and tearing pieces of rock’n’roll history to create something wild and exciting. Listen to The Fisherman’s Wife for example, a song in which Toxic Neurotic find a way to mix the Bro Hymn chords, the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann, and classic rock’n’roll banters and even build in a scorching guitar solo.

Stooges’ guitar work, ’80s American Hardcore and punk, ’80s pop punk (We Like Trash TV sounds like an early Descendents track), and late ’70s UK punk all have a place in the sound of Toxic Neurotic. Of all the things I like about (what I assume is) the band’s self-titled debut album, I like the unpredictable nature of the songs the most. Each song is full of surprising turns. And just when you think you’ve found your favorite new song (Been To The Zoo), you find another (Hollywood Starlet).

I have absolutely no idea who these guys are, nor where they are headed. Perhaps this record is a lost gem from a past era. I do know one thing: This one is freakin’ fun!

Toxic Neurotic is out now at Narcotique Music and Tiger Hawk Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pkew Pkew Pkew ||| Siiick Days

On their first couple of albums, Pkew Pkew Pkew have shown they can make a statement of fact sound anthemic (e.g., “This Is A Building” from 2016’s Asshole Pandemic) and that self-deprecation and punkrock are a match made in heaven. On their new LP Siiick Days, the band’s fourth LP and first on Stomp Records, the Toronto band again find inspiration in the mundane. Like regret selling your Playstation when the world’s closing down because of the Covid Pandemic. “Really hope that guy sell me my Playstation back” sure makes for a killer chorus. It is no surprise the literary genius Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) is a massive fan of Pkew Pkew Pkew. Finn also is credited as lyrical consultant for the record, which I assume means he wrote some red inked comments like “awesome,” “love this” and “this made me LOL” on the papers the band sent him.

Pete Steinkopf from The Bouncing Souls produced Siiick Days. I think it may be the best and most accomplished Pkew Pkew Pkew have sounded yet. Buy Siiick Days now at Stomp Records!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stomp Records

New album: The Fauxs || Burn The City

That’s a way to kick off your album: “Smash the lights you know // See the urban glow // Tell the stores that it’s time to go // Light a match // It’s time to burn this town // Grab a mask, don’t choke // And a yellow coat // Snort a line and I guess you’re fine // Light a match // It’s time to burn this town.” If badass glam punk and/or feminist discontent is your thing: I’d like to introduce you to Portland’s femme powerhouse The Fauxs, who describe their music as something between a protest and a party. In the nine songs on their high-energetic debut LP Burn The City, Melanie Hindman (vox/guitar), Aliah O’Neill (guitar), Tara Umesh (bass) and Kara Lancaster (drums) make a stunning impression with a swinging rhythm section, passionate guitar riffs, cheerful sing-along harmonies, and explicit but witty lyrics (“I dance in bed like Fred Astaire // And please pardon my Français // I like it in the derrière” – from Madonna/Whore). There are nice covers of Ça Plane Pour Moi (Plastic Bertrand) and Don’t Dictate (Penetration), and Sheela nods to Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (Ramones), but the originals are at least as cool.

Burn The City, produced & engineered by Kara Lancaster, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: 7 Years Bad Luck || No Shame

This is the moment where No Shame, the latest album by Austrian pop punk veterans 7 Years Bad Luck clicked with me. Third song (I’ll Forget You), first line: “We’ve had a run, some solid years // But I just have one life, You said // and ran into the night.” That is a great line to sing over palm muted guitars and what turns out to be a tuneful poppy punk rock hit and one of several highlights of No Shame. What makes 7 Years Bad Luck stand out is that they effortlessly switch between different styles of pop punk, in part due to having two lead vocalists, and can still make it sound like a coherent whole. Fans of Banner Pilot, Lawrence Arms should enjoy this record, but that applies to fans of ’90s pop punk and punk rock as well.

Tip to the hat for the band going fully DIY for this one, doing the recording, mixing and mastering themselves. Fun Fact: The art piece on the album cover is a 1968 piece by the grandfather of two of the members of the band. Gosh, this is one easy-to-like band! No Shame is out now on Monster Zero Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Monster Zero

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