New album: Dan Vapid & The Cheats || Welcome To Dystopia

Wait, didn’t I just write about Dan Vapid & The Cheats? I had to look it up and it was only ten months ago we covered Escape Velocity. It feels even more recent. Well, here’s Welcome To Dystopia, album #5 by pop punk and ramonescore legend Dan Vapid (Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Mopes, The Methadones, The Vindictives). I liked Escape Velocity a lot, but Welcome To Dystopia may be even better.

Welcome To Dystopia is an album of contradictions. It sounds super smooth but its themes touch upon the rough direction society is taking. Sweet and sour, light and dark, it’s all there on the record. It’s political but communicated through personal experience, frustrations and anger. Dan Vapid uses that fuel to create something that sounds anthemic and joyful at the same time. What better way to deal with that hateful narcissistic populist leader than by shouting along to Big Boy Is Crying Again. What better way to sing away your frustration about friends and family lost to conspiracy theorists than with Fact Or Fiction?

Can a record about such negative themes that are all too familiar still be fun? Leave that in Dan Vapid’s capable hands. This is pop punk bliss. Out now on CD through Eccentric Pop Records, LP expected eventually.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Manges || Book Of Hate For Good People

It’s a pretty safe bet. Ask any fan of ramonescore/pop punk about the best European bands and The Manges will pop up sooner or later. Take a quick dive in their discography and you’ll wonder what’s left to prove for The Manges. It’s just packed with hits and quality records and singles. The Manges have made their point, proven their worth, built their fan base, so why bother recording new material if you could just tour your old stuff every now and then, knowing the fans will show up and sing along.

Apparently (and fortunately!), for The Manges this poses no dilemma at all. They sound extremely inspired on their new record. It’s hit after hit after hit. I see no reason to skip any of the songs – 11 originals and a fun cover of The Fleshtones’ I’m Not A Sissy. On Book Of Hate For Good People, The Manges combine experience and skill with youthful punk energy with us listeners as the main beneficiaries. Out now through Striped Music (blue vinyl) and Hey Suburbia (yellow vinyl)!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Striped Music || Hey Suburbia

New album: Outtacontroller || Come Alive

I love it when an album opens with a call to action. Of course, that call should feel urgent and authenthic to actually strike a chord. Come Alive, the title track of the new Outtacontroller is exactly that. “Are you still here? Do you still care?,” Outtacontroller wonders. It’s a rhetorical question. I mean, it must be right? A new Outtacontroller record? Plenty of reason to get excited, because these Canadians (Halifax, Nova Scotia to be precise) always deliver. Most importantly, an abundance of hooks.

Come Alive is no exception. By now, you should be familiar with the main ingredients of an Outtacontroller release: garage powerpop with pushy urgent drumming, simple but effective guitar riffing and the delayed (but guaranteed!) gratification of killer hooks. Come Alive delivers on all fronts without ever feeling redundant of like a been there done that record. Outtacontroller sound like they are just getting started, like they can’t wait to get your garage party started. The hits on Come Alive are too many to highlight. Here are a couple of personal favorites though: Time To Crash (prototypical Outtacontroller), Hit And Run (those sweet guitar licks!), Show Me How It’s Done (glammy and earwormy), and Hanging Over You (sooooo catchy).

Outtacontroller has been teasing some of these songs in the past 18 months or so, and Come Alive definitely makes good on the promise of those tracks. Come Alive is another win for Outtacontroller. It is out now, and currently appears to be streaming only – which kinda worries me, since I’d like to add it to the collection soonish…guys?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Flash || Flash

Flash are from the Gipuzkoan coast in Basque Country. Their self-titled LP was released earlier this month and kinda is an enigma. It’s hard to grasp how something so loud, played at such a blistering pace can sound so fresh and melodic. Hearing this record is like hearing Chubby And The Gang for the first time. It’s the moment where you suddenly are on a rollercoaster ride that increases your heartrate, slows down time and you want to invite all of your music friends to the party. Listen to how Antitodo comes crashing out of the gates; listen to how a single cough sends Ansiedad into killer punk overdrive; listen to how the out of tune guitar in Saco De Arena proves that imperfections are punk’s greatest fertilizer.

What an exciting record. Flash is out now on LP through La Vide Es Un Mus.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Choke City || Bringing Me Down

Here is a quick post with the simple goal of sharing some excellent throwback ’70s sleazy and punky rock’n’roll. Meet Choke City. Their latest two-song single had great energy and is reminiscent of The Heartbreakers, the NY Dolls and The Stooges. Hope a full length is up next!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Neil Evans Shares 5 Albums That Have Impacted Parallel Bars

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share five records THEY love.

It’s exactly one year ago that I stumbled upon Parallel Bars, an “irreverent and irrelevant” solo project by American artist Neil Evans. I really liked his album Malaise, which reminded me somewhat of bands that combined rock and rap-like vocals 20-30 years ago, but seasoned with emo, punk, and ska influences (for example, listen to the earworm I Like What I Like). Today he releases his new full-length album, What Are You Doing?, a question the musician probably asks himself. The opening tune with the telling title Too Young To Quit, Too Old To Care reflects his attitude:  “Another dumb song you can roll your eyes at // Another dive in my mind for the panic attacks.” Obviously, Neil Evans is far too modest (or unjustly insecure about his qualities). The ten fresh Parallel Bars songs pick up where the ten previous ones left off, although the sound focuses more unequivocally on light-hearted emo rock, with relatable contemporary lyrics. Very likeable.

Neil previously indicated that he’s influenced by just about anything with great melody, lyrics, energy, and riffs, but I didn’t expect the albums he chooses below. Hold on tight for a surprising and eclectic episode of our Gimme 5! feature, with a wonderful insight into the soul of a musician who should receive more appreciation – from the audience, but also from himself.

New album: Geoff Palmer || Standing In The Spotlight

Kurt Baker covered Mondo Bizarro with the K7s and Brad Marino covered Subterranean Jungle. But the latest Ramones (related) cover album by a member of The New England Mafia arguably is the most surprising and boldest yet. Who else than Geoff Palmer would have picked Dee Dee Ramone’s polarizing rap/rock/punk solo record Standing In The Spotlight – released as Dee Dee King in 1989.

Palmer’s version of Standing In The Spotlight is another example of his genuine love and passion for music. And how he’s still broadening his horizons and developing his skillset. This arguably is the most diverse Palmer record yet. Part of that of course has to do with the source material which is all over the place. But if you take a step back, you have to be impressed by the craftmanship on this record.

Surely Palmer had a lot of fun recording these songs. Not just because he could finally rap on a record, or that he was joined by a long list of friends that contributed to the record (the liner notes includes Kurt Baker, Brad Marino, Zach Sprague, Kris Rodgers, Mass Giorgini, Phil Reid, and many others). Surely the killer harmonies you can produce with said friends, and the addition of instruments like the sax, piano, and glock all contributed to the fun. But that’s not all. I can’t help but believe that, at some point during the recordings, what once started out as a fun idea suddenly started to feel like a great idea. And the group of friends fully went with it. There is a total lack of parody or cynicism on this record. It’s a loving treatment of a hit-and-miss record. It is a joy to listen to and in my book an improvement over the original.

Standing In The Spotlight is out now through Stardumb.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb

New album: Dadar || Iron Cage

There is no shortage of present day bands going for that synth/garage/punk sound – some would refer it as egg punk perhaps, but I’d count Dadar in the highest quartile in terms of quality. The band from Parma returns to Goodbye Boozy with an 8-song LP. Music fans with a short attention span should be pleased. Not just about the short playing time of Iron Cage (about 16 minutes), but especially how these songs are packed with thrills, adventures and cool melodies.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Added Dimensions || Added Dimensions

Sarah Everton (Virginia) is an illustrator and comic book artist who is equally talented in writing lo-fi bubblegum pop punk songs with a bite. Everton’s approach to songwriting? Writing “lots of riffs and then strings them together with neurotic lyrics about being confused.” Helped out by her Bleeding Rainbow, Rabbit U.S., and Telepathic bandmate Rob Garcia (recording, mixing, mastering and drums), this Added Dimensions record is straight up fun. FFO: Peach Kelli Pop, La Sera, Colleen Green, and White Wires. Out now in a very limited Cassette run.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Green/Blue || Worry b/w Gimme Hell

Green/Blue already released not one but two of the finest records of 2022, and somehow still have gas left in the tank. Here is a double A-side single that only further cements Green/Blue’s reign of the airwaves. Worry and Gimme Hell were recorded in the Paper Thin sessions – the band’s second LP of 2022, but somehow didn’t make the album. Imagine writing songs this great and leaving them out of your record. Imagine being scene veterans and still be this relevant after twenty plus years. What a band. Pre-order the 7″ now through Feel It Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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