New single: Friends Of Cesar Romero || Spiral Eye Roll

This is not the first time we write about Friends Of Cesar Romero, and based on past experience, it won’t be the last. The three-song Spiral Eye Roll single is the latest release in the Doomed Babe series. For those keeping score, we are up to episode 34(!).

By now, we know exactly what to expect with FOCR. Accessible, crisp and scrappy powerpop and pop punk hits that are upbeat and super catchy. J. Waylon Porcupine, who is the kind of prolific and consistent songwriter that simultaneously fills you with envy and gratefulness, sounds particularly inspired on this one. The Spiral Eye Roll single is 5 minutes of pop punk bliss.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Brix Smith || Valley Of The Dolls

Singer/guitarist Laura Elisse Salenger, better known as Brix Smith (Brix as a tribute to The Clash’ Guns of Brixton, Smith from her ex-husband Mark E. Smith), played with The Fall, The Extricated and the Bangles, but she also stands her ground solo. On her full-length album Valley Of The Dolls you’ll hear hear ten powerful songs that are reminiscent of the work of Hole, The Breeders and Liz Phair. Youthful but strong sounding vocals over melodic guitar rock with a 90s feel, that still works pretty well in 2023.

Valley Of The Dolls is out now on CD and vinyl LP through Grit Over Glamour Records. Featuring guest appearances from Susanna Hoffs (Bangles) and Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama, Shakespeare’s Sister).

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Music Glue

New album: The Unknowns || East Coast Low

What better way to start a new week than with loud guitars and uncomplicated catchy tunes. Well, I guess you could make the same argument for the end of the week or the weekend off course. Let’s just say that the new LP by Brisbane based The Unknowns is a blast for any day of the week. The Unknowns are the kind of band that makes up what they lack in subtlety and nuance with excitement, energy and determination, and killer guitar work.  East Coast Low is a record that makes you raise your fist and exclaim “Rock-‘n’-roll!”

The Unknowns channel fellow Australians AC/DC on the opening seconds of East Coast Low – watch video below. After that, The Unknowns take you on a raucous trip of punk fueled garage rock. Straightforward, yet effective, this record hits a lot of the right (loud!) notes. Available now through Bargain Bin Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Liquid Mike || Liquid Mike

The last time we checked in with Liquid Mike (Marquette, Michigan), the future of the band was in doubt. With drummer Cody Marecek moving to a different part of the country, I kinda expected the band to call it quits. I recall Liquid Mike’s Mike Maple sounding pessimistic about the band’s future in a social media post. But lo and behold, this week a new Liquid Mike record dropped, simply called Liquid Mike. It was recorded remotely last Winter, and despite the increase in physical distance, Cody still is involved in writing songs and recording drums. Zach Alworden joined on bass, and brought new inspiration with his playing style.

Inspired is the word that keeps coming to mind while listening to the 11 songs on the record. Energetic another. Liquid Mike sounds like the people involved simply plugged in their instruments, pressed record and had a blast together. The record combines the spontaneity of first takes with the tightness of a well oiled machine. Liquid Mike sounds super catchy, accessible and good mood inducing on this one, like they found another gear. Happy to see Liquid Mike alive and kicking, even more happy with how good and how much fun this record is. Barely 18 minutes long, the Liquid Mike album doesn’t demand much of your time, but believe me, it’ll be time well spent.

Liquid Mike is streaming now. Kitschy Spirit Records is handdubbing the record on a limited run of Tapes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Covids || Bust To Bits

Dutch punk band The Covids was conceived in the first round of lockdowns. In the two years since, the band released a killer debut single (and video!) and planned an international tour that will touch USA, Mexico, France and Spain this Spring. Yesterday, The Covids finally dropped their highly anticipated debut LP on the increasingly awesome Wap Shoo Wap Records. Bust To Bits features the two songs from their debut 7″ in rerecorded versions as well as nine additional hits (find earlier versions of some of the songs here). Bust To Bits should appeal to any fan of classic ’70s punk. The Covids match sharp and smart songwriting with tight playing, and a willingness to shred their instruments. Bust To Bits sounds energetic and intense, but always in tune and with a strong sense of melody. In short, and it sounds like a pun intended to say this, but The Covids sound mighty contagious on their debut. They do! And they look pretty cool as well, with the singer’s already iconic red overalls and matching glasses.

If you were born too late to experience Buzzcocks, The Damned, & Wipers in their heyday, The Covids offer an opportunity to revisit those days and remove that nagging feeling of having missed out. They sing their throats sore, play their hands bloody and pogo their way to their set of songs that are tailor made to experience in a live setting. Buy the LP, catch them live. If you haven’t already, now is the time to jump on The Covids bandwagon.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Wap Shoo Wap

New EP: The NAGGS || The NAGGS

The NAGGS are a new band from Düsseldorf and sound like Germany’s answer to the Pale Lips. The five songs on the debut EP of the five-piece features the kind of powerpop’n’roll that will never bore me.  The NAGGS not only have a great name, and great accompanying artwork for their debut, they sound pretty great as well. Whereas three of those songs are covers – Picture My Face (Teenage Head), It’s True (The Meanies) Can We Go Dancing (The Ambers Squad), the two originals are an easy match. I could say that The NAGGS show a lot of promise for the future – they do, but that wouldn’t do justice to this first batch of songs. Keep an eye on The NAGGS!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Comic Sans || Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos

Naming you band after one of the least cool and most hated fonts is a bold move. But Comic Sans adds a lot of cool points to the typeface of questionable repute with their new (I guess 2nd?) full length Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos. The LP offers 21 minutes of twinkly and mathy emo goodness. Not the slowcore, but the energetic and dynamic kind of emo, with timely group vocals for that anthemic feel that works so well in this kind of music. The songs on Éramos Felices Y No Lo Sab​í​amos are smartly build and have a visceral effect. Feel those twinkly guitars tickle your brain, your head boppping automatically, your pulse racing and slowing down like ebb and flow.

Consider the labels involved in the vinyl release: BCore, La Agonía de Vivir, Through Love Records, Pifia Records, Eternalis Records, Clever Eagle Records, Saltamarges, Navalla Discos, Mise-en-Scéne Records, and Azkar Zintak. When you get that many labels excited about your music, you are doing something right!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: I Recover || Until I Wake Again

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Truth Cult takes hardcore into modern and exciting directions. Here is slightly more traditional, but still exciting approach by I Recover (Cologne, Germany). Like Truth Cult, I Recover seem to share a genetic line with the Revolution Summer. Their debut 12″ (following several singles and cassettes) would not look out of place on the Dischord roster, but a split release by Crew Cuts, I.Corrupt, Boslevan, Extinction Burst, STTW, Sakanade and Hi Liberate will do just fine, thank you!

The post-hardcore of I Recover is intense, and has a melodic and emotional edge to it. If that kind of music at one point in you life appealed to you, the Until I Wake Again 12″ is a perfect candidate for reigniting that love and passion.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Fernet Underground || Esimerkkejä Yksinäisyydestä

My first taste of Fernet Underground, a trio from North Finland that was founded in the early days of the pandemic, left me heavily infatuated. Their second album Esimerkkejä Yksinäisyydestä confirms and strengthens those feelings. Whereas Fernet Underground’s debut had firm roots in the pop punk and powerpop of the late ’70s, early ’80s, the new LP sees the band branching out to ’90s altpop as well. The ten song record is poppy, upbeat and uncomplicated. Nothing life changing, but surely capable of improving any day.

Esimerkkejä Yksinäisyydestä is out now on your desired streaming platform. Oh, and the band is having trouble releasing the songs on Bandcamp. Anyone capable of providing them some support on that end? (Update 3/12: the amazing Teini-Pää reached out to the band, helping them setup their new album on Bandcamp. Added embeds of some of our favorite tracks on the record)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Rough Kids || The Black and White and Gray

Rough Kids are an underrated punk rock band from Los Angeles. The good news? You should be able to pick up the band’s past releases without having to break the bank. The bad? Rough Kids deserve a much bigger audience. That may occur pretty soon. The band just dropped their third LP this week through Dirt Cult Records, and it has twelve powerful guitar driven punk rock songs full of swagger and cool guitar leads. Modern? Yes, but with hints of ’70s punk as well. The Black and White and Gray should invite new listeners as well as please old fans. It’s exhilerating to hear Rough Kids shred, rock, roll and asskick their way through the 12 songs on The Black and White and Gray.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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