New album: Teen Line || Collecting To Collect

An Australian band that names itself after one of the greatest should-have-been-chartopping power pop singles of all time? Well, if you want to know how high my expectations were for Teen Line’s debut LP, imagine standing on your toes and raising your hand as high as possible. I am pleased to report that this Geelong band featuring members of The Floaties, Vintage Crop, Luke & The Typicals and The Sues do the name justice.

Teen Line’s debut album Collecting To Collect showcases a raw and dynamic blend of power pop’n’roll characterized by lively guitar slinging, energetic drumming, and infectious honesty. The recordings exude a sense of spontaneity, almost like they’re first takes with no need to polish any imperfections. Teen Line doesn’t adhere strictly to a classic power pop blueprint; instead, they knead, pull, and twist the genre in their preferred direction. The result is something hearty and nourishing—not overly sugary or radio-friendly, but refreshingly authentic. Get ready to hit repeat!

Collecting To Collect is out now at Weather Vane Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: twisted teens || twisted teens

Here is a mysterious record by a mysterious project that simply is too much fun not to share despite me having next to nothing to report about it. Twisted teens is comprised of Cas P. ian, Razor Ramone, CPN Hollywell and C-SPAN which my intuition tells me may not be their real names. After a little extra investigation, I am now fairly certain twisted teens is actually C.P.N. (Blackbird RaumChardonnayPale Robin) and Ramon Joseph Santos – those two persons on the front cover? It’s them.

Perhaps it’s best to let the band do the introducing. By the time they kick off the chorus of the catchy and high octane garage rockin’ album opener, you will be bought and sold. “I don’t need a reason to be here i got twisted dream and that’s why they call us the twisted twisted twisted teen,” they howler. Good luck trying to stop listening to this record after that first track. Mixing elements of folk, punk, blues, garage and rock’n’roll and everything between, twisted teens hit fast, hard and often. The eleven songs cover a lot of bases, but each of the songs sounds raw and real and original in multiple ways and honestly, that voice of C.P.N. is sheer awesomeness.

Time flies when you are having fun, they say. Well this record makes time soar!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Josie || Demo 2024

If you are into ramshackle budget garage pop, these are excellent times. That Itchy & The Nits record is something else, and the emergence of CB Kiddo (aka Emily Williston of Phone Jerks) is pure ear candy. Copenhagen’s Josie is the latest addition to the mix. Each of these acts brings a different sound to the table, and it’s telling that Josie have tagged themselves as twee punk and C86 on their Bandcamp. Their new 4-song demo is super sweet and catchy, embodying their motto: One, Two, Twee! I’ve mentioned this before, but punks playing pop is such a winning concept.

Josie is Charlotte Fischer (Vocals & Guitar), Dawn Bruce (Bass & Vocals), and Martin Herskind (Guitar & Jangle)  – typical Danish names, huh?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Floppy-Pinkies || Bells From The Bottom

The Floppy-Pinkies are a three-piece poppy punk rock band from Tokyo. Recorded in 2023 and released last month, Bells From The Bottom is their sophomore album. I stumbled on the record when visiting the basements of Bandcamp and was immediately grabbed by the band’s infectious songs. The Floppy-Pinkies evoke the raw, melodic punk rock vibes of the ’90s, reminiscent of bands that were on the roster of Go Kart! Records or Liberation Records rather than Fat Wreck or Epitaph. Admittedly, there are more than a little ’70s pop punk touches on Bells From The Bottom as well. The vocals of The Floppy-Pinkies are a major strength. The main singer has a range and sound comparable to Cinder Block of Tilt, and the band knows their way around catchy harmonies – listen to Bayside High School as exhibit A.

Included among the tracks is a cover of The Muffs’ Everywhere I Go. The high level of songwriting leads me to believe there may be more covers that I am missing. But regardless, this record is a whole lotta fun!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Faulty Cognitions || Somehow, Here We Are

Punk rock has been around for ages, but in my humble opinion Faulty Cognitions is way up there in terms of the punkest band names. In psychology, cognitive distortions refer to erroneous thought patterns that skew one’s perception of reality, often leading to negative emotions and mental health challenges. From catastrophizing to black-and-white thinking, these distortions are ubiquitous themes in punk rock lyrics.

Enter Faulty Cognitions, a band that hails from San Antonio (Texas), features Chris Mason (of Dirt Cult Records, Low Culture and Shang-A-Lang) and arguably is one of the more exciting new punk bands of late. The band’s debut LP Somehow, Here We Are offers a potent antidote to these entrenched cognitive traps: heartfelt punk rock anthems delivered with a passion that is life-affirming. This is a record that rewires the cognitive landscape of your brain, and evokes cathartic release of your frustrations.

There are twelve songs on Somehow, Here We Are, with seven new songs alongside five rerecorded songs from their spectacular 2023 demo. Those “older” songs have lost none of their original power, and songs like Sad Sack and Let The Kids Have The Scene sound just as raw but are now also suited for speakers on a higher budget. And those new songs? They confirm that Faulty Cognitions’ should be at the top of punk rock bands to listen to right now. A song like Roller Skating At The End Of The World is a three minute punk rock clinic.

Somehow, Here We Are is out today on Dirt Cult Records and Cercle Social. It’s a must buy.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Wendy Darlings || Lipstick Fire

Clermont Ferrand (France) three piece The Wendy Darlings have been a band for over 15 years. Their third LP is called Lipstick Fire and it’s out now through Lunadélia Records and Influenza Records.

The Wendy Darlings are not just ticking some boxes, they’re checking off most of what I look for in music. On Lipstick Fire they sound like either a garage band creating ’60s girl group songs, a twee pop band playing punk music, or a bubblegum band going riot grrrl. But really, it’s all of the above. This is DIY indie pop bliss in a concise, scrappy and ramshackle package created by a band that knows that this kind of music works best when played with genuine enjoyment and with all imperfections retained. Essentially, Lipstick Fire sounds like an invitation by Suzy (vocals/guitars), Baptiste (drums) and Sylvain (bass) to start your own garage pop band.

Of the 13 songs, just one is sung in French, but it sure is one of the highlights on the record. It is Ridicule, a song that already made quite the impression on that spectacular 227 compilation that came out last month. There is also a song titled Auf Wiedersehen, but that one is sung in English. But honestly, who cares? Lipstick Fire has a universal charm that transcends linguistic boundaries. It is out now on CD and vinyl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Hook || Pool

There a loads of bands called Hook, but here is a relatively recent band that goes by the name from Finland who play melodic, midpaced guitar-driven punk rock. The eight songs on their debut full length Pool have echoes of late ’90s and early 00’s emo but also the alternative rock that came before. Several songs evoke the spirit of both Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr., and there is a subtle grungy aesthetic to their powerful sound that sets them apart.

Pool is out now through Shield Recordings & Keep It A Secret Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: The Yum Yums || Poppin’ Up Again

There are bands out there who have to break a sweat convincing listeners with each new album, juggling sky-high expectations and pressures to evolve their sound to please music critics without alienating their fan base. Then there’s The Yum Yums from Norway, whose mere mention of a new record is like finding out your favorite ice cream shop is giving out free samples. You already know it’s going to be a treat, but damn if you aren’t excited anyway!

Enter Poppin’ Up Again, the sixth album and latest serving of sugary goodness from these Scandinavian masters of bubblegum pop punk. To absolutely no one’s surprise, The Yum Yums have stuck to their A/B tested pop punk formula. The band’s reservoir of effervescent charm appears limitless and fueled by a secret stash of bubblegum, sugary drinks, sweet harmonies, and lyrics inspired by clandestine readings of teenage diaries. The 14 songs invite spontaneous sing-alongs, complete with rich harmonies that are not just catchy but quickly become downright addictive.

The Yum Yums make it all too easy to fall in love with their record and forget everything that is going on in your personal life and the world around you. Poppin’ Up Again is a worries melting, existential crisis averting record, a sonic serotonin boosting reminder that, sometimes, music is meant to be enjoyed carefree and with dance moves and out-of tune singalongs that will emberass everyone around you. So, grab your headphones, press play, turn the volume up and embrace that sugar rush. Poppin’ Up Again is streaming now, Screaming Apple and House Of Rock Records have the vinyl release – and yes, that is Natalie Sweet as the lollipop model on the front cover.

Add to wantlist: Discogs

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: The Phase Problem || The Power of Positive Thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking is the second album by UK-based The Phase Problem, a band that made their debut last year. If you, like me, don’t know the band yet, you may be familiar with the people involved. The Phase Problem is Flav Giorgini (Squirtgun), John Bonnar (Haiver, P*ss Bath, ex-Paws), Alex Keane (Roach Squad, ex-Murderburgers, ex-City Mouse) and Fraser Mudderbang (Wrong Life, Murderburgers, Bike Notes). Oh, and there are some special guest stars making the round on The Power of Positive Thinking as well, including Heather Tabor (Teen Idols), Matt Hart (Nevernew, Squirtgun, Bruce Stuckey (Toxic Reasons), and Vess Ruhtenberg (Toxic Reasons, Zero Boys, Lemonheads). Another pop punk record for the wantlist this week, huh?

But even without all this namedropping you need only one spin of this 33 minutes, 33 seconds record to know whether you’ll like it. This is pop punk made by students and fans of the genre who know what came before (Middle Aged Lobotomy!) and what ingredients are needed to cook up a tasty dish. But they are also at the point that they are unafraid to infuse their own personal touch, like an extravagant guitar solo. The Phase Problem are not at all reinventing the genre, but they play with a flair that I find quite rewarding.

The Power of Positive Thinking is out now through Lavasocks Records (US) and Brassneck Records (UK).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Lavasock Records

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