New single: Street Sweeper || Street Sweeper

If you are worried about the Aussies ruling the airwaves, I’ve got bad news for you. Their reign got even stronger.

Meet Street Sweeper from Melbourne, a four piece that Rock-‘n’-Rolls with capital R’s on their self-titled debut single. The three songs on the 7″ sound like a punked up Thin Lizzy by the way of Eddie & The Hot Rods and The Dictators, or better said, freakin’ awesome. Street Sweeper are here to scratch that itch for loud, groovy and catchy rock-‘n’-roll.

Get this one before they run out at Legless Records, whose roster (including Split System, Stiff Richards, Jackson Reid Briggs and many others) has become a thing of beauty. Oh, and about those airwaves….If I’d tell you Street Sweeper is currently working on a full length, that would be pretty great news right?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Dan Webb and the Spiders || WELL WELL

Dan Webb’s new single is called WELL WELL. It follows four recent EPs called Hey Guys and Guess What, Ghost Pipe and Pipeline 2020. Webb sure has a preference for two word titles, doesn’t he? It’s not the only consistent aspect of these recent releases of DWatS. Dan Webb has been on a roll for quite some time, finding the right balance between quantity and quality in his songs.

Webb is the kind of artist that is always open to new experiences and learning from others. That’s why he recorded the two songs on the WELL WELL single with the legendary Steve Albini. Webb explains: “The Spiders and I had recorded some songs at Electrical Audio for our 4th LP, Perfect Problem, back in 2015. At that session I was really impressed with how open Steve was to sharing his process and recording insights with us. These days I have been recording a lot of my own releases. So in an effort to improve, I decided to go back and record some more material there, this time with a new focus on learning as much as I could from the experience.”

WELL WELL is more than a succesful learning experience. Both songs are excellent, with Albini giving the song zero polish and a lot of punch. Kid has an alternative ’90s feel to it. Breaks has hints of Mikey Erg who recorded his most recent LP with Albini as well.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Monty Vega & The Sittin’ Shivas || Affordable Excellence

Portland r’n’r lifers Monty Vega & The Sittin’ Shivas play Beach Boys and bubblegum infused ramonescore that is unpolished and infectious. If I had to do a three-word review, I’d say their latest (mini) album Affordable Excellence sure is Fun, Fun, Fun.

Compared to their previous two records, Affordable Excellence is the first full-band release of Monty Vega & The Sittin’ Shivas – now a five piece. Songs like Bad Connection show the benefits of this approach. It is a massive pop punk hit with infectious vocal harmonies coming straight out the book of surfrock’n’roll. Affordable Excellence is full of songs like that. It’s not just the hooks that will put a smile on your face, the band has a good sense of irony as well. Listen to Me for example, a Ramonesesque anthem for narcissists. The antithetical Bruce Springsteen song Too Jersey is another one. Like I said before, if you’re looking for some Fun, Fun, Fun, give this one a try!

Add To Wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Itchy & The Nits || Itchy & The Nits

“THEE BEST GARAGE BAND in Sydney” ~ Wartmann Inc

“Succumb to your new favorite band! Sydney’s best weird budget-garage squad ever” ~ Tremendo Garaje

Just two blurbs on Sydney trio Itchy & The Nits to give you a sense of what other people are saying about their debut Tape. That amount of hype can be a blessing in disguise, better to underpromise and overdeliver and all that. But press play below, and within seconds you’ll quickly discover that everything you’ve heard and read about this band is true. Itchy & The Nits are fun, trashy and catchy as hell. Think early Donnas and you’re not far off.

Itchy & The Nits open their record with their eponymous theme song. It is brief, funny and cheeky, and if a song is this much fun on record, I can only imagine how great it will be at their live shows. It brings a smile on my face that lingers after listening to the final track I’m Not Listening. Believe the hype, jump on the bandwagon, The Itchy & The Nits Tape is ten minutes of trashy bubblegum garage awesomeness.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Local Drags || Mess Of Everything

This doesn’t happen often, but for once I received and listened to the physical copy of a record before its digital release. I’m talking about the new Local Drags LP Mess of Everything – out now through Stardumb (LP) and Memorable But Not Honorable (Tape). I guess Stefan Stardumb was in a hurry to make some much needed room in his office, with all those highly anticipated boxes of Apers and Groovie Ghoulies vinyl reissues lying around.

Pre-ordering the new Local Drags (essentially a solo project by Lanny Durbin) was a no-brainer. I loved his two previous Local Drags albums, as well as his recent release with Starter Jackets. Mess Of Everything marks a new step in Durbin’s career. It’s not a giant leap, this still very much is a Local Drags LP. But it is noticeably different from Keep Me Glued and Shit’s Looking Up. Like the artwork, Mess Of Everything is more abstract, more colorful, and less easy to grasp in a couple of listens. While Durbin draws from a punkrock lineage, he has created something contemporary and fresh without losing any of his melodic touch. Mess of Everything sees Durbin exploring different instruments (is that a slide guitar?), tones and take a more ambitious and layered approach. Luke McNeill (The Copyrights, Starter Jackets, Hospital Job) did a great job recording this record as well.

One of the strengths of Local Drags has always been the stripped down quality of the songs that automatically find their way underneath your skin. Mess Of Everything offers deeper levels to explore. Standout songs like Good For Nothin and Total Down, two songs that mark the end of Side A and start of Side B (ending one side and starting another on a high note, I love that sequence), are great examples of Durbin broadening his songwriting to something bigger, with great harmonies to sooth your soul and tickle your ears.

Mess of Everything is not a copy of Keep Me Glued and Shit’s Looking Up. It shows growth and a fearlesness to mix things up. The result is a truly great indiepunk/indierock record that still gets better with each spin.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb || Discogs

New album: Goodbye Blue Monday || Let’s Go Goodbye Blue Monday By Goodbye Blue Monday

Scottish (Glasgow/Edinburgh) punk four-piece Goodbye Blue Monday pay worship to the altar of the orgcore lords on their debut album Let’s Go Goodbye Blue Monday By Goodbye Blue Monday. You can tell by the 100% beard score of the band members, their song titles – long and quirky, and their anthemic sound as well. Fans of Latterman and RVIVR should take note, even though Goodbye Blue Monday clearly also have a fondness of ’90s melodic punkrock.

For a bunch of self-proclaimed misery punks, Goodbye Blue Monday’s songs are rather uplifting. On Let’s Go Goodbye Blue Monday By Goodbye Blue Monday, it’s like they fell down in a barrel of energy drink. Their energy level goes to the roof, and everyone’s contributing to the gang vocals and harmonies. The band wins you over by sheer determination. The most surprising part of this record is the 16-minute Hara-Kiri, a song that is almost a mini-album in itself. It makes up half of the album and honestly shouldn’t work, but it does. It is an epic track that makes me curious whether they can pull it off on stage.

Let’s Go Goodbye Blue Monday By Goodbye Blue Monday is out now on vinyl and CD through Make-That-A-Take Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Owen Adamcik || Owen Hollywood & The Starcrossed Hearts

Here’s an artist that by now should be on your radar. Not just because he appears to release a new record every couple of weeks, but because of the promise that Owen Adamcik’s productivity harbors. His latest record is his most ambitious and most accomplished yet. A concept album of sorts, Adamcik wrote the record from the perspective of a high school rockstar (Owen Hollywood) in a fictional touring rock band (The Starcrossed Hearts). While Owen Hollywood may a fictional character, Adamcik takes on the role with full conviction. Meanwhile, his band (essentially all Adamcik) does a good job of channeling Exploding Hearts – Lip Bites sure sounds like a Guitar Romantic outtake, doesn’t it? Owen Hollywood & The Starcrossed Hearts is a record that is full of hooky and garage-y powerpop tunes with punk attitude. Still pretty lo-fi, but more polished than previous Adamcik releases, this is definitely a record to get excited over.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Various Artists || Lower Than Underground Vol. 1

Do you like underground pop and punk? Do you like cover songs? Do you like fanzines? Do you like music festivals? Old Bad Habits Label and Shambotic Recordings have got you covered! The first volume of the Lower Than Underground series fanzine has exclusive interviews and articles “by and for Nick Godfrey and his Precious recordings taken by Jim of the Jasmine Minks, Rocker Rosehip, Damo Suzuki of Can, Darren & Caroline of Next phase Normal records and The Manhattan Love Suicides, Kissamatic Lovebubbles, Tim Wells, I, Ludicrous, politics in music by Tim Rippington, record store day by Darren Lockwood, connection between punk and indie pop by Dimitris Patsonis, 1st interview of the next big thing of Greek pop The Secret Postcards,” and much more.

It comes with a 22-cover song cd, 6 of which are exclusive to the comp. It’s the kind of cover compilation that is perfectly balanced between well known hits and deep cuts, and with a variety of approaches and styles by the covering artists. Highly recommended, and if you need an additional reason to purchase this: Proceeds of the sale of the fanzine and comp will help fund the 1st Athens Pop Underground fest & convention, happening in Athens, Greece, at the end of spring (19-20 of May 2023). Lower Than Underground Vol. 1 is a win win win win!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dave Strong || Dave Strong

Look! There goes Dave Strong following the footsteps of his The Guts buddy Geoff Palmer, finally releasing his first solo full length. The self-titled debut marks the unexpected yet inevitable emergence of Strong as a solo artist, which began with the killer Little Girl single two years ago. The single was followed by several others, and all of these singles are now brought together and released on LP (through Phameless Records), and CD and Tape through This Is Just A Record Label. Of course, you could apply the understated matter-of-fact name of the label also to Strong’s debut. It’s just a record. But if you’ve been following Strong on social media, you’ll find that this record means much more to Strong, an underdog artist who had to overcome several personal battles to get to this point.

The self-titled record documents Strong finding a style of his own. The cover songs on the record are a good indicator of that style, from pop punk to good old rock’n’roll. Strong opens the album with a rendition of Katie is a Chainsmoker  – one of two The Guts’ songs included on the record that Dave wrote back in the day for the band (Still Thinkin’ About You is the other). Strong also covers a Ramones song and an Eddie Cochran classic. With his original songs, Strong presents himself as pop punk kid at heart with a fondness of oldies but goodies rock-‘n’-roll, and rockabilly as well. Those styles match well together and the songs on his solo debut are instantly likeable. Keep doing your thing Dave, we’ll be listening!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Phameless

New album: Illiterates || No Experts

Remember Illiterates? The Pittsburgh band made an immediate impact with their self-titled debut back in 2021. Two years later, Illiterates come out of the gates swinging and moshing on their follow up No Experts, which is out now through Sorry State Records.

Short? Check! Fast? Check! Loud? Check! Illiterates waste zero time with this 11 song (in 12 minutes!) collection. Expect old school hardcore with a vocalist that channels Ray Cappo’s growls. If you’ve ever been a fan of hardcorepunk, press play on Chips Away. Feel you heart open and your brain recall your finest memories of being a hardcore kid. Illiterates provide a shot of adrenaline, a burst of energy, a dopamine rush with this kickass throwback hardcore record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

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