Punk

New album: It Thing || Syrup

The 9-song debut (mini)LP by Hobart (Australia) four-piece It Thing is titled Syrup. Don’t let the title set you on the wrong foot, the music of It Thing poses no danger to your dental health. Rather, the band plays an explosive mixture of styles that ranges from modern indie punk, to ’80s punk and new wave and ’90s alternative rock.

It Thing distantly reminds me of A Giant Dog. Sonically, but also because It Thing singer Charlotte Gigi, like A Giant Dog’s Sabrina Ellis, is a force of nature that takes this kind of music to another level. And like A giant Dog, It Thing is full of cool attitude and swagger.

Syrup is out now on Marthouse Records. It is a powerful and highly energetic record, with memorable hooks. With this band and Rabbit, rock-‘n’-roll clearly is alive and kicking in Hobart.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Gun Control || Gun Control

Again, I quickly jumped to conclusions. I fully expected Gun Control to be an American band. Of course, because gun control is such a major theme in the US, but also because the band’s sound seems heavily influenced by American alternative music. Gun Control are from Sweden though, Stockholm to be precise

Gun Control describe their sound as sad dad rock, but rather than classic rock or slowcore or emo, the band relies strongly on distorted guitars. Combined with an emotional edge, Gun Control kinda sounds like the more melodic and mellow side of Boy Sets Fire. Silver Screens is the standout track for me.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Chisel || Retaliation

For a band that started in 2020, The Chisel has been crazy prolific. Following a trilogy of quality singles, the band released their debut LP this week. It’s called Retaliation and it’s a certified fresh and thrilling record.

Unintentionally, I’ve always regarded The Chisel to be the little brother of Chubby And The Gang – Chubby frontman Charlie Manning Walker plays guitar in The Chisel. But listening to Retaliation, that doesn’t make sense anymore: The Chisel step out of the shadow of Chubby And The Gang. Still, the two bands aren’t all that different sonically. But whereas the hardcore of Chubby And The Gang is heavily informed by pubrock and rock’n’roll, the hardcore of The Chisel has a much stronger streetpunk/oi vibe. Mixing aggression with melody, and working class urgency with gang mentality, Retaliation offers cathartic release in times of frustration.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Coruscants || Trilogy Three

Kylo Ben, Dan Solo & Dan Dodonna return for the third installment of their ramonescore mashup of Star Wars and Riverdales. Under the name Coruscants, they previously reimagined Riverdales’ self-titled debut with the prequel trilogy, and tackled the original trilogy with Storm The Streets. To complete the set, they’ve just released their version of Phase 3 that is filled with references to the sequel triology.

Of course, if you are a Star Wars aficionado of a Riverdales fan, Coruscants may well be the next best thing to the original. But you need not be a fan of either to enjoy this record. In 1-2-3-4 you’ll be singing along to “Hey! Poe’s gotta get away ay ay.”



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Pulsebeats || Lookin’ Out

Whenever Josh “Lord” Rutledge calls a record easily one of the best punk rock albums of 2021, you bet it immediately goes to the top of my listening pile. I am referring to The Pulsebeats’ Lookin’ Out. It’s the third full length by the band from Santander (Spain), and one that quickly transformed the band from a blip on my radar to the center of my attention.

There is something contagious when a band sound as energized and inspired like The Pulsebeats. None of the songs on Lookin’ Out sound alike, but the common denominator is the fun The Pulsebeats clearly are having performing these songs. The songs go from fast punkrock to powerpop to garagerock’n’roll, with influences ranging from the early days of rock’n’roll, to the early days of NYC punk to the powerpop of the late ’70s and the punkrock of the mid ’90s. But for me, The Pulsebeats are at their best and most likeable form in their poppy songs, like Burn The Guy, Life As A Movie, and the Undertoneseaque title track.

I am resisting the urge to namedrop bands that come to mind while listening to this one. But If you like the kind of music we write about on our blog, you are sure to like at least a couple of the bangers on Lookin’ Out. Or, if you are like me, you will like most of them and will quickly have this on heavy rotation. Lookin’ Out will be out on Rum Bar (US) early next year, but the CD is already out on Spanish label Folc Records, who also released that killer Sanitizers EP recently.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Deactivations || Deactivations

One thing I love about working on this blog is the kindness of most artists we cover, and how easily approachable and down to earth they are. Passionate but not pretentious, they care about the music regardless of making any serious money or playing for big crowds.

Deactivations is a fine example of this. Deactivations are a new band consisting of 3/4 of the members of The Passengers. I stumbled on their self-titled debut record on Bandcamp and took an immediate liking to the record which balances between solid indie rock and pop punk. In some songs Deactivations remind me of those US bands in the ’80s and early ’90s that blended pop and punk so well like Big Drill Car, Doughboys and early Down By Law. In other songs (e.g., Busy Signal, My Direction), they also remind me of the solo work of Dr. Frank of Mr. T. Experience. But I wouldn’t necessarily call Deactivations a pop punk band. There is plenty of power pop, and college rock as well.

Deactivations guitarist and singer Mario Viele – the three members share vocal duties, provides some background on the record.  “We just tried to make a good record to share with our friends and community. Our previous band (The Passengers) came about after we’d all been younger and had touring punk bands (Sex Robots , The Modern Machines, Liarbirds, etc.) and our two albums with that band were about chilling out a little more, exploring songwriting and midtempos and stuff. After one of us moved away we decided to press on as a trio with a new name and throw together a record that leaned back a little more to our roots of up tempo punked out RnR to give the band a shot in the arm in our new formation. The record is pretty lean, not a lot of overdubs, we tried to just write ten good songs and put them down hot without too much thinking about it. I think the result’s pretty cool. Stuck in a Loop fulfills my lifelong dream of writing a song using just one chord.”

Running score for Deactivations? Pretentions: zero. Quality songs: ten. The record is officially out on the next Bandcamp Friday (Dec. 3rd), but you can already listen to it in full. Stream now, buy on Bandcamp Friday.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Joe & The Shitboys || The Reson For Hardcore Vibes (Again)

And now over to the Faroe Islands for some veganpunks who go by the name of Joe & The Shitboys, who are unafraid of bad grammar and who somehow manage to fit a ten-song album on a 7″ single.

Joe & The Shitboys provide a fun throwback to ’80s hardcorepunk with topics that are very much 2021 like cultural appropriation (Rock & Roll (We Stole That Shit), homophobia (Closeted HomoFObe), wokeness (Pull The Trigger) and climate change (Save The Planet You Dumb Shit). The Reson For Hardcore Vibes (Again) is the follow up to the bands debut The Reson For Hardcore Vibes. It’s short, it’s loud, it’s weird and I kinda like it.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jim Lindberg || Songs from the Elkhorn Trail

What is it with experienced punk rockers who go solo and turn the volume down a bit? Actually, the result is almost always satisfying, because when they don’t hide behind a wall of noise, you really hear how good their melodies, playing and vocals are. That certainly applies to singer / songwriter Jim Lindberg, who with Pennywise has provided skate punks their soundtrack for the last 30 years. On his acoustic solo debut album Songs From The Elkhorn Trail he lets out a different sound, quiet and intimate. It feels very fitting to his more personal lyrics – about his life story, family and friends, loneliness and alienation, memories of his late father. Although the 12 original songs are not necessarily cheerful, musically they are certainly not depressed – the tracks radiate hope and understanding, as if a good friend puts an arm around you in comfort. Satisfying.

“Hello, goodbye, hello again // Loneliness, you are my only friend // It’s just you and me inside my head”

The album is produced and mixed by Tedd Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Dropkick Murphy’s), and features David Hidalgo Jr. (Social Distortion) on drums, Joe Gittleman (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Avoid One Thing) on ​​bass, and Marc Orrell (The Dropkick Murphy’s, The Walker Roaders) on guitar and keys. Connor Vance (cello, viola, violin) and Glen Marhevka (trumpet) make valuable contributions. The album title and Bob Dob’s cover artwork reflect the fact that many of the songs were written at Jim’s father’s Palm Desert rental house near the Elkhorn Trail.

Songs From The Elkhorn Trail is out now digitally, and May 6 (2022) on CD and vinyl LP, via Epitaph.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Epitaph

New single: Pinch Points || Reasons To Be Anxious

Australian turbopunks Pinch Points return with a new two song 7″ in anticipation of their new full length (out March 2022 on Mistletone Records and Exploding in Sound). The B-side track Boy is exclusive to the single, whereas the A-side is the first single of their new record. If this song (Reasons To Be Anxious) is an indication of what to expect from the rest of the record, we are in for a treat. Simply put, Reasons To Be Anxious is an anthem for our times. With powerful and relatable lines about feeling anxious while not being at home, not having your phone, while reading the news, the song aims right for the gut. “Home is where the WIFI is,” the band exclaims. What a scorcher of a track.

I GET ANXIOUS WHEN I GET A TEXT
I GET ANXIOUS WHEN I DON’T GET A TEXT
I GET ANXIOUS WHEN MY DOORBELL RINGS
I GET ANXIOUS ABOUT FUCKING ANYTHING
I GET ANXIOUS WHEN I TAKE TIME OFF
I GET ANXIOUS THAT I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH
I GET ANXIOUS GOING TO THERAPY
TO TRY TREAT MY ANXIETY

Limited  to 500 copies (250 on orange), don’t sit on this one!


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Good Looking Son || Fantasy Weekend

Good Looking Son is a new band that has Keith Harman’s (the Cowboys) marks all over it. His instantly recognizable voice, his quirky songwriting and his strong melodic hooks will sound familiar to anyone who has ever heard his music. The main difference between The Cowboys and Good Looking Son is that the former has its roots in punk, whereas the latter is informed by the garage pop of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Fantasy Weekend is the first offical release of Good Looking Son. All 6 songs on the EP are written by Harman. Jerri Queen (Vacation) produced the record and played on several of the songs. Cowboys bandmate Jordan Tarantino and longtime Queen City rocker Andrew Jody also helped out with the recordings.

Fantasy Weekend is a strong first outing that makes me curious about what’s next for this project. Stream my favorite two track on the EP below – both of which would not look out of place on any Cowboys record.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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