New album: Neckscars || Don’t Panic

Neckscars is what happens when four veterans of the NYC indie scene (including former members of Gameday Regulars and The Connection) start a new band without a specific formula or musical direction in mind. Apparently, the band’s North Star pointed towards a punk sound that is melodic, anthemic, multilayered and with a strong rock vibe. Add some gruff vocals and cool harmonies and Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Off With Their Heads become likely benchmarks for Neckscars. Don’t Panic is a strong first outing with few to none weak spots and several highlights in songs like Born Sick, Jarring, and Not Enough JPM’s.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Kronstadt || Quai De L’ouest

The punk rock of Kronstadt on their latest album Quai De L’ouest is layered, diverse and melodic. The songs are in French and to fully appreciate the band’s sound, it’s worthwhile to put their lyrics through a translator. They are personal, heartfelt, have a dark edge and communicate a sense of desperation. But even if you don’t understand the lyrics, Quai De L’ouest sounds like it’s made by a band of true believers who deeply care about the music and about our society.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Destructure || Une Vie Pour Rien 

New single: Otts || One Two Three Stand

Otts are a three-piece from New-Zealand who effortlessly blend alternative rock with punk attitude and pop sensibilities. The band released two singles last year called Old Tree Tire Swing, and Over There To Shake. Their latest single again is made up of the letters of the band: One Two Three Stand. Both songs on the single rock like crazy, and the louder you play them, the better they will sound. I am keeping an close eye on Otts: Outstanding Teamwork Tremendous Songs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Mark Murphy And The Meds || Crest Of A Different Wave

“Hey, have you heard Mark Murphy’s latest project yet?” In a different world, this question would lead to excitement and curiosity. In the real world, I am getting blank stares. Which is a pity, because Mark Murphy is a master in churning melodic pop punk tunes and his batting average is well above the mean. Murphy’s previous bands include The No Marks, Crocodile God and Hey Maxine. His latest project is Mark Murphy And The Meds. Crest Of A Different Wave is the band’s debut EP. It features the kind of pop punk that would have fit on the ’90s roster of Fat Wreck but also on Lookout! Records, which I believe is somewhat rare and pretty cool. My favorite song on the EP is Cider, a perfectly constructed punk anthem of two minutes that staples reward on reward. Keep an eye out for a full-length record later in the year!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Teenage X || The Point Of Everything

If I had to do an one word review of the new self-titled EP by Canadian powerpop band Teenage X it would be HOOKS! Or HITS! Teenage X create the kind of massively catchy and well produced punk infused powerpop songs that would have been radio hits in a different era. It’s a glorious return by the Toronto band who’s been together for almost 14 years, but hasn’t released new music since 2013. In fact, according to the band’s Facebook page, they started recording this EP in 2019 and finished it right at the start of the pandemic. Anyhow, The Point Of Everything was worth the wait. Let’s hope, it’s a sign of more to come.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

“New” EP: X Ray Cat Trio & Harriet Hyde || Bubblegum

Originally released on a 7″ late 2020 on Buzzard’s Claw Records, it took me a tape reissue by Belgian label Nosebleed Records to discover this gem of a single by X Ray Cat Trio & Harriet Hyde. X Ray Cat Trio are a surf-punk-rnr-rockabilly-doowop hybrid from Leeds. They team up with fellow Loiner Harriet Hyde (Black Moth). If we can get Hyde to permanently join X Ray Cat Trio, I would be all for it (with the obvious name change of course), because it’s a winning combination. Only One and Chainsmoke are straight up Shannon And The Clams material, whereas Bubblegum is an instant garage pop classic. I want more of this authentic throwback to the ’50s and ’60s!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: The Shine || The Shine

Tetryon Tapes strikes again! In April they released an awesome tape by Danny’s Favorites. This week, they released another project by the two members that make up Danny’s Favorites, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Lake and drummer Aaron Mika. Together with Lake’s brother Brendan (bass/vocals) and Derek Sapienza (guitar/vocals) they are were * The Shine. Two years ago, the band recorded an album of lo-fidelity throwback rock-and-roll-and-soul-and-garage. I totally missed this 2019 self-release on Bandcamp, so thank you Tetryon Tapes for giving this self-titled album a second life.

On the album, The Shine essentially take you on a tour through rock-‘n’-roll history. They open the record with Give Us Some Credit, which is as close to a classic r-‘n’-r sound they get on the album. Reconcile, however, with Les Greene on guest vocals, has the heart and soul of a Reigning Sound track. And then there are songs like Same Song, Smooth Operator and Lucky One, which have a serious late ’70s powerpop vibe and sound like they come frome the vaults of Paul Collins, Jack Lee and/or Peter Case. Oh, and let’s not forget Give It To Me Straight and When I Think Back. Those are beautiful classic ’60s pop songs with hints of the Beach Boys. You get the point, I like this one a lot!

*Unfortunately, The Tetryon Tapes tape of The Shine marks the first and, most likely, last physical release of The Shine. The band is no longer around. Fortunately, Lake and Mika have a new band together with Lake’s two brothers. They are called Televisionaries, and their sound builds on what they try to do with The Shine. Make sure to check Televisionaries’ video for their standout track Over And Out.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Horseloverfat || Greetings From Nowhere

Horseloverfat is an unusual name. That also applies to their music, which is all over the place and kinda awesome. The band from Italy self-desribes as “a psichedelic (sic) krautrock group, a transnational and stateless parody that encompasses all without regards to purism and coherence.” On their new record Greetings From Nowhere, Horseloverfat goes from postpunk to psychedelic to protopunk to country to kraut to glam in their songs. Somehow, the band manages to pull it off without creating a unlistenable mess. They recorded Greetings From Nowhere in March in an old school fashion: as a live band, and with limited digital intereference. The result is a time portal to the music of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s. Step in, if you’d like!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Cluttered || Accidents

Did you know there is an ongoing war against clutter? Writers are taught clutter is a disease of dullness and unclarity. And home owners increasingly go full Marie Kondo on their house, throwing away much of their belongings and keep the remainder organized. So yeah, clutter is something to avoid, which makes Cluttered such a great band name for a punk band. I am talking about Halifax queer pop punk band Cluttered, who just released a new EP called Accidents. The irony, of course, is that Cluttered play music that is in fact very economical and efficient: two-minute anthems that are somewhere at the midpoint of the classic pop punk sound from the Bay Area and the modern indie punk sound of bands like Radiator Hospital. Catchy and direct, with a healthy dose of quirkiness and dual (trial? quadral?) vocals that give the songs even more energy and melody.

Cluttered is somewhat of a supergroup of the Halifax punk scene, including Matty Grace (Future Girls, Weekend Dads, and of another quarantine project we wrote about a while back: Modern Cynics), Becca Dalley (Designosaur), Danny Bailey and Dylan Mombourquette (Jabber, Crunchcoat). And Cassia Hardy (Wares) sings on one of the tracks of Accidents,The Toll. I planned on writing about the band’s first EP, which contains one of my favorite songs that came out of the pandemic: Pandemic Year (Watching my fading youth // circle the drain // Waiting for tomorrow to start and today to end repeat again // Whats this about a finish line?). That EP is just as cool as the new one. Fortunately, both EPs are now conveniently available on one CD. Just want the tape? The band only made 69. Yep.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Bloated Kat Records

New album: Randells || Kicks

After about 30 seconds of album opener and title track Kicks, the Randells sing “All I want // All I need // Is some bubblegum punk.” It’s a call to action, because the Swedish band is here to bring exactly that. Sure, the cartoonesque and pretty cool album cover of a kick-ass girl with bubblegum under her Chuck Taylors is not necessarily original. The same applies to the music, but I have no issue with at all when the songs are this catchy and fun. The Randells are like the adolescent love child of Teenage Bottlerocket and The Yum Yums who causes an earworm pandemic. If I had to do an one word review of this record, it would be HITS! Out now on Monster Zero Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Monster Zero

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