New album: No Tears || Heart Shaped Eyes

If you are familiar with the music of the infectious Swedish horror pop punk band The Dahmers, discovering that frontman Christoffer “Stoffe” Karlsson went solo to unleash his love of classic powerpop is something to get VERY excited about. The project is titled No Tears and I’ve loved each and every single that was teased this year. Further adding to the hype, I received a message from one of our Swedish followers. He owned an advance copy and confidently stated I was absolutely going to love this record. Now that Heart Shaped Eyes is out, I fully agree. What an insanely smooth, catchy and fun collection of power pop tunes.

Karlsson clearly set out to write A-side singles, and the trouble I have identifying a designated hit on Heart Shaped Eyes is saying something about the amount of hits je penned. The record opens with two highlights in Dreaming and I Wanna Be With You (Tonight) and closes on two songs that are its opposite and atypical to the sound of No Tears: the inhibited instrumental The Silence Is Speaking and a semi-acoustic country duet Without Your Love that is so well executed I wonder we can expect a country side-project from Karlsson next. Between these bookends, Heart Shaped Eyes turns out as a record that can easily be played alongside the recent records by Geoff Palmer and Kurt Baker – two artist who take an similarly broad perspective informed by classic powerpop, rock’n’roll and pop punk. Plenty to like, lots to love on this one.

I probably have said this before, but how awesome is it to reside in the same timeline as bands like Uni Boys, The Whiffs, The Rubs, The Speedways, and now No Tears? Heart Shaped Eyes is out now on Luftshott Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Luftslott Records

New album: Autogramm || Music That Humans Can Play

Just a couple of songs in and it becomes clear that the meter on Autogramm’s third album tilts heavily towards new wave, ’80s revivalism, and irresistible feel-good tunes. Autogramm brought in Lars Swenson (Catheters, Bread & Butter) as an additional member during the making of Music That Humans Can Play – a record born in the heatwave of 2022. They sound rock-solid, tight and inspired as a four-piece, and ’80s synths and majestic hooks go hand in hand on the new LP.

Everything sounds big and crisp. Whether by chance or deliberate intent, Autogramm has crafted a record that could easily have dominated the charts four decades ago, offering an impressive array of potential singles. Born Loser (with MTV-ready video), Mapee (Don’t Screw Up), Hey Allie and Love Is For Fools all are candidates, while the upbeat Plastic Punks and Westbound are personal favorites.

I can’t help but perceive the title as a commentary on the threat posed by A.I. The authentic ’80s vibe and songwriting on Music That Humans Can Play is so striking, it prompts the question: Could artificial intelligence truly craft something of this caliber if fed prompts from the defining bands of the power pop and new wave era? I doubt it. The album resonates so profoundly human, it is a confident challenge of the capabilities of A.I. by a band in absolute top form.

Music That Humans Can Play is out now on Stomp Records and Beluga Records. Stoked that this band is touring Europe next Spring!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stomp Records || Beluga

New album: Big Mess || Cleaning Up With

One-word review of Cleaning Up With, the fourth album by Big Mess: WOW!

Big Mess’ new LP, their first for Specialist Subject Records, is an explosive mix of punk, pop and rock’n’roll. This essentially is a pop record built on barely contained youthful energy and a wall of noise. Big Mess keep a high gear on these twelve songs, each one peppered with infectious melodies. Everything is flying frenziedly around, and Big Mess effortlessly switch from street punk influences (Working, Shit On My Shoe) to powerpop’n’roll (Doo-Lang Doo-Lang, Hangin’ Round). Opening track Grooving sets off the record on the right foot, and each time you think you’ve found your favorite track on the record, Big Mess throws another standout at you. Like Telephone, a gritty powerpop classic in the making, or Messy Xmas, a sloppy theme track that is plain fun.

Perhaps somebody put something in their drink, somebody gave them their number (and they decided to use it), or they finally discovered who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp and the ram in the rama lama ding dong? Who knows, but the Copenhagen quartet sounds better than before. Warning: Cleaning Up With Big Mess is addictive.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Specialist Subject

New album: Owen Adamcik || Ickle Stardust’s Crime

“A few months ago I was arrested for standing up for my girlfriend. This is the album I made when I got out of jail.”

As if the prolific punkrock’n’roll prodigy Owen Adamcik needed any more inspiration, now this happened? Whether it is under his own name, or under his alter ego’s Ickle Stardust and Owen Hollywood, Adamcik is churning out songs like a manic maniac. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote and recorded his new 22-song album Ickle Stardust’s Crime in one sitting, all 24 minutes of it. The songs sound like first takes, imperfect and glorious, with punk and rock’n’roll history shining through in most if not all of these songs. Listen to incel bait, which sounds like a draft of an Exploding Hearts track, hot doggage which sounds like early Descendents, or the Bubblegum Ramonesey do you wanna hangout tonight? Adamcik seemingly can do it all, from primitive proto-garage to ’77 UK pop punk and from American hardcorepunk to ’70s rock’n’roll romanticism.

The record closes out on the acoustic break the law for you: “Stand up for my girl, I’ll fight the demons of this worlds. Stand up for what’s right, I’ll get locked up for a night.” One night in jail, point made, 22 hits. All in all a good score.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Scumming || Some Kind of Cap Swallower

You need not be Sherlock Holmes to induce that New Jersey duo Scumming are fans of Algernon Cadwallader. It’s right there in the title and cover art of their three-song single Some Kind of Cap Swallower – the nod to Algernon Cadwalladers’ Some Kind of Cadwallader album is far from subtle, nor should it be. The three songs are a poppy version of the mathy twinkly music of their heroes. “Twinkle Daddy Noodle Punk” is how the band’s Biff Swenson and Rudy Meier call it. It’s a familiar sound, but Scumming know how to execute. And honestly, that glockenspiel is hard to resist.

Released digitally by Mint 400 Records and physically by In The Clouds Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Jerry A & The Kings Of Oblivion || Life After Hate

Jerry A. Lang of Poison Idea is still kickin’ out the jams, brothers and sisters. His latest is a project alongside The Kings Of Oblivion who are actually Amsterdam street punkrock’n’rollers Savage Beat. The Life After Hate EP features two originals (the title track and Pink Clouds) that are both characterized by awesome guitar work and Jerry A. in top form. Four cover songs round out the EP and they are not the most likely picks in Blitzz (Degeneration), Pink Fairies (City Kids), Shitdogs (Reborn), Bonnie St. Claire & Unit Gloria (That’s My Music).

The Life After Hate EP is out now on a 12″ at American Leather and TKO Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Tyvek || Overground

Buckle up! There is no time for a warming up excercise on Tyvek’s latest album Overground. The race is on from the get-go, propelling you into a hyperactive collision of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, and the free-flowing delivery of a talk-singer. While it might flirt with punk or post-something, Overground is unmistakably Tyvek, showcasing the Detroit band in all its frenetic glory.

After ten songs, Tyvek finally take their foot of the gas, letting you cool off and catch your breath to the closing title track. By its end, you are all ready for another tour of Overground. LP put now on Ginkgo Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New Album: The Young Rochelles || Kicked to the Curb

Having aged a decade since their start in Long Beach (NY) in 2013, The Young Rochelles still are pop punk kids at heart. Just take a listen to their new LP Kicked To The Curb, the band’s second, which is out now through Sounds Rad. The record illustrates the increased skill and songwriting prowess the band picked up throughout the years. The record opening on a vocal performance that had me questioning if it were an outtake from the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle sessions is just one example. The End Of Us is another early highlight on the record. At three quarts of the song, The Young Rochelles strip away all instruments, leaving only a drum-backed gang vocal of its infectious chorus. This well-executed maneuver, essentially a tried-and-true technique, works seamlessly.

I am finding something new to like about this album with each play, and every time I get a kick out of how well constructed and executed Vacation sounds. What a championship-level tune! Kicked To The Curb is not just testament of a more ambitious band, it also shows that the mixed emotions of a bad break-up and subsequently meeting your soulmate is pure oxygen to pen sugary pop punk hits.  The Young Rochelles, now with added hooks, bigger and better melodies, and pretty sweet harmonies, I like ’em!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Sounds Rad

New album: Nico Bones || Lipstick Alley

If you like your rock ‘n’ roll dirty and dangerous, bold and bruised, raw and radical, please listen to Nico Bones’ debut full-length Lipstick Alley. We’re talking about the untamed Los Angeles-based band featuring Nico Bones (guitar), Kristin Cooper (bass), Mick Jaguar (guitar), Beef Stew (drums), Joe Guevara (keyboards) and Gabriel Sundy (saxophone), who follow in the footsteps of 70s troublemakers like Hollywood Brats and New York Dolls. In 32 minutes, 14 high-energy songs – an electrifying mix of proto-punk and glam rock – rush by that will knock your socks off. This is fast and furious guitar violence attacked by brave sax and piano shots. Breathtaking.

Lipstick Alley, self-produced, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Dental Records and Savage Magic Records. Except for the covers of She’s So Tuff (The Demons) and Worms (traditional) all songs are written by Nico Bones.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Bat Boy || Fun Machine

Bat Boy is a three-piece from Richmond and their debut LP Fun Machine has been out for a couple of weeks.  However, it remained untouched in my playlist until this week. What prompted the change? The shuffle function threw the wonderful Noticing Things in my lap. Perhaps it was a cosmic sign, but I didn’t even notice the song’s title before deciding the record deserved more than a cursory glance.

And so I played the record front-to-back without skipping any of the tracks. I did that a couple of times more, and I was so wrong to sit on this record. From the get-go, Fun Machine has the making of a quality indie punk record. It boasts strong melodies, a playful and energetic sound, and strikes a perfect balance between nostalgic vibes (RIYL: Discount, The Muffs,Tilt) and contemporary influences (RIYL: Lemuria, Worriers, Muncie Girls). All these elements find their rightful place in the capable hands of Bat Boy.

Four-word review: Cool band, cool record.

BAT BOY is Jake Guralnik, Cory Chub, and Hannah Eagle, who you may know respectively of Spraynard, Sundials and the podcast I’m In Love With A Girl Named Spike “A Degrassi Podcast.” Fun Machine is out now on Asian Man records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Scroll to Top