New album: Cherry Cheeks || Cherry Cheeks

Cherry Cheeks is what happened when the pandemic caused Kyle Harms to spent countless hours behind his computer screen. His self-titled debut LP, a perfect fit with Portland’s primary punk label Total Punk Records, is exhibit A of how boredom, anger, and frustration often results in great music.

Despite the anger and frustration, Cherry Cheeks is not your average punk act. The songs are hyperactive and spazzy,  and the music is bass, riff and synth heavy. The record is a cathartic release of boiling frustration, and while Harms’ vocals sounds pretty pissed, there is a strong sense of melody throughout. Listen to the infectious chorus of Go Outside for example, or the bouncy headboppers Two Bugs and D.A.C. And what about Trickin’, a song that makes me want to turn the volume all the way up – sorry neighbors. Boxes is another standout track. Album closer Gone is the killer outsider track on the record. Here, Cherry Cheeks take the foot of the gas pedal, and play a glam rock guitar lick over a steady beat. What a track. What a record!

Cherry Cheeks is out now on tape, with the vinyl release facing some delays. Rumor has it that the next release will even better…kinda crazy.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Total Punk

New album: Evening Standards || Rainbow Shrimp

Basement Pop is the home of the collective musical projects of musicians Chris Mott & Daun Fields. It is also an apt description of the music of my favorite Basement Pop band: Evening Standards. Mott (guitar) & Fields (bass) take on dual vocal duties in Evening Standards, and are joined by Jacob Hamilton on drums. They play a kind of punkrock and indie rock that is hard to pinpoint. They don’t seem to care about speed, or attitude, or what is cool or happening. What they do care about is writing heartfelt tunes with a lot of melody. That show of heart, that emotional aspect, but also the dual vocals and harmonies give the songs almost an americana or alt country feel. While destined to be overlooked by many, Evening Standards are an easy band to fall for if you just give them a chance.

Rainbow Shrimp is the band’s third album, and if this is your first taste of the band, I highly recommend checking out the band’s previous output. Rainbow Shrimp builds on the previous records, but sounds slightly more lo-fi. It’s another great collections of songs that gets better with each play slowly crawling its way on your end-of-the-year lists. Enjoy the two Evening Standards’ basement pop tunes below, and get ready to develop warm feelings  for this band.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Postage || Postage

Band names raise certain expectations. The first time I heard Postage, a four piece with a history in bands like Signal Lost, Male Patterns, After The Fall, they already had that competitive advantage by naming themselves after a classic All track, from one of my favorite All records (Allroy For Prez). Then again, if their music would’ve sucked that bandname would have been the piece of concrete sinking them to the bottom.

Fortunately, we need not worry about that. Postage’s self-titled debut is filled with melodic punkrock for fans of bands like Dear Landlord, The Dopamines and Leatherface. The record only has one downside: most of these songs have been previously released on the band’s two EP’s, and their split single with Mikey Erg. I’m not complaining though, those releases were digital only and I’m happy to finally be able to own these songs on vinyl. Postage is out November 5th on Dirt Cult Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dirt Cult

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of October 2021

Not all new music is really new, as many artists occasionally play a song they know from one of their heroes. Often they are songs that deserve to be dusted and polished, simply because they should not be forgotten. Some of those cover versions are so good, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door || Cover: The William Loveday Intention || Original: Bob Dylan
It’s unbelievable how much good music Billy Childish continues to create, with originals and covers, but also adaptations of his own earlier work. Last month, with CTMF, he released the great single Bob Dylan’s Got a Lot to Answer For (“Even an idiot must admit that Bob Dylan made some great tunes, but despite his many achievements it must also be said that Bob has got a lot to answer for, so we wrote him a complementary tune”), and from the moniker of The William Loveday Intention also appeared an impressive cover of the master’s Knockin’ On Heavens Door. It’s a classic that has been covered many times, but this is possibly the most epic one. That goes for the 10-minute vocal version (with extra lyrics added), but the even longer instrumental is even more compelling. Out on 12″ vinyl through Squoodge Records and digitally via Damaged Goods.

New album: Fortitude Valley || Fortitude Valley

I’d like to introduce you to Durham’s (UK) answer to Auckland’s (NZ) The Beths: Fortitude Valley! Their self-titled debut provides the ear candy that can only be the result of hitting the sweet spot between indie pop, powerpop and pop punk.

Fortitude Valley is fronted by Laura Kovic, who you may know as the keyboardist of Tigercat. She found her bandmates through the much missed Fortuna Pop! label. Those bandmates? Bassist Greg Ullyart from Night Flowers, Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums) and Daniel Ellis (lead guitar). Ellis also plays in Martha, which is probably my favorite UK pop punk band of the past decade. I love how several of the chord progressions and guitar fills on the record are reminiscent of that band, most notably on the sweet album opener Baby, I’m Afraid.

While decidedly pop-oriented, the music of Fortitude Valley is quite the departure from Kovic’s previous output. “In the past I’ve usually written more gentle melodic pop songs,” she explains in the press release, “but I’ve tried to move away from that slightly on this album and experiment with adding more deliberate bite to my songwriting. Nathan, Daniel and Greg definitely helped to make it more punk.”

The record is timely as well, touching on themes like the passage of time, friendships and relationships growing apart, and feelings of insecurity, depression, and anxiety—as well as searching for love and salvation—, and maintaining to sound joyful and fun throughout. Having two kittens from rescued street cats at home, I can particularly relate to All Haill The Great Destroyer, “a tribute to Margie the rescue cat who destroys everything for fun and is an absolute legend.”

So yeah, what I’m trying to say is that I completely fell for the ear candy of Fortitude Valley. Disclaimer: SO MANY HITS!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Fika Recordings

New album: Flangipanis || Fuckin’ Woo

Somewhere in the middle of Perfectly Average, the penultimate song on the new Flangipanis record Fuckin’ Woo, Rocky Balboa shares an important lesson. One we all learnt the hard way, if not before, well than at least at some time in the past twenty months or so. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” You don’t need to be a fan of the Italian Stallion to feel the power of the quote. Its use is timely and a good match with the music.

It is one of several highlights on the record. The songs of Flangipanis (Brisbane, Australia) on Fuckin’ Woo are filled to the brim with ’90s melodic punk nostalgia. Some of the songs even hint upon hardcore, and there are some ska elements as well. The lyrics continually switch between being in-your-face direct, slightly uncomfortable and pretty funny. It’s singer Jodie who takes the record to another level though. In several songs, her sheer power and rock’n’roll attitude reminds me of A Giant Dog singer Sabrina Ellis.

For more on the album, check out Hysteriamag’s track-by-track feature, and have a taste of Clothes (“a song dedicated to creeps who “like women in music” but actually only go to gigs to perve.”) and Perfectly Average below. Fuckin’ Woo is available on vinyl now at the band’s webstore.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Flangipanis Store

New album: Wine Lips || Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party

Wine Lips are a garage rock band from Toronto featuring Cam Hilborn (Guitar and Vocals), Aurora Evans (Drums), Jordan Sosensky (Guitar) and Charlie Weare (Bass). Their latest release features some of the coolest artwork i’ve seen lately, but their music is pretty sick as well. Wine Lips play a modern form of garage, psych and indie punk that sounds fresh yet familiar. Fans of Fidlar, Audacity, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall should definitely take note of this record.

Most songs on Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party are hyperactive, and soaked in buzzsaw guitars and shrieky vocals. But there are also welcome variations on that sound, such as Mall Walker, a song that is slower paced and has a lot of swagger. One of the most interesting songs on the record is the 7-minute trip Suffer The Joy. It’s like a jam session, but one that doesn’t lose focus, builds up tension and provides cathartic release.

When a band manages to capture the level of energy on tape as Wine Lips, I can only imagine how exciting these songs will be in a live setting. Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party is out now on Stomp Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stomp Records

New single: The Unknowns || Monster Mash

Straight from The Sunshine Coast of Australia come The Unknowns. The three-piece deliver compilation ready primal garage rock’n’roll nuggets on their latest 7″ single Monster Mash. Of all the Halloween themed releases that are catapulted into the airwaves lately – a trend which I personally could care less about, this is the one that made it straight onto the wantlist. IT WAS A MASH! A MONSTER MASH!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Right Here || Northern Town

Twang is one of those concepts that is easily ascribed to a certain sound, but much harder to explain what it actually entails. In a literal sense, twang is “the resonant sound produced when a tense string is sharply plucked or suddenly released.” In another definition it’s described as “an ill sound in one’s pronunciation.” Twang is also associated with the sound of the Telecaster guitar, particularly when played relatively fast. Twang is usually associated with country artists, but is also frequently used to describe punkrock bands that have a rootsy, all-american sound with heartfelt vocals and countrified storytelling. Think The Gaslight Anthem, Think Dave Hause. Think Lucero. Think Arliss Nancy.

Minneapolis band The Right Here, who just released their fourth record Northern Town on Rum Bar Records, easily slide into that list. Thematically as well as musically:  “Northern Town represents our best attempt so far at capturing the tug of war between comfort and restlessness, home and the road, leavin’ and stayin’,” the band explains.

The Right Here serve up anthemic and honest rock-‘n’-roll songs like it’s all they’ve ever been doing. Northern Town is an easy record to fall for, with enough grit and pace to rile in the punk kids, and enough sonic depth to keep the americana crowd interested. And with songs like Here We Go Again, Every Once In A While and Good Luck Trying, The Right Here have the fist pumping, head bopping anthems to sway bars and venues around the globe.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Teddy Grey || The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century

There are worse, much worse ideas for a concept album than The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century. It’s the focus of an ambitious project by NY based artist Teddy Grey. Grey picked and wrote songs about 30 celebrity romances that went wrong, including iconic couples (Sid & Nancy, Hepburn & Tracy, Ike & Tina, Sonny & Cher, Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks), but also weird ones (Vanilla Ice & Madonna), and romances that may not have actually occured (Monroe & JFK, Brando & Dean). An extensive supporting cast of musicians helped out in the recordings.

Part satire, part heartfelt tribute to pop culture history, The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century is packed with wit and catchy melodies. Musically, the record is all over the place with each song sounding differently, from pop punk to arena rock, from ballads to retro pop, giving the record a theatrical, musical vibe that harbors more than a touch of Weird Al Yankovich as well. Consequently, the record can be hit or miss depending on your taste. Put differently, you are unlikely to care for all 84 minutes of the record, but there will be a little bit for everyone. It’s no surprise that Grey describes his music as “Rock N Roll McDonalds.”

Highlights for me are the Sid & Nancy jam There’s Nothing That I Love (But You Come Close), Unwritten Gay Romantic History (Greta & Mercedes), Little Black Book (James & Marlon), and Letters (Virginia & Vita). Cool concept, fun tunes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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