New album: Slap Happy || Prophylatic Shock

Let’s hear if for bands who evoke a sense of nostalgia without sounding redundant. Slap Happy (Denver, Colorado) manage to do exactly that on their debut Prophylatic shock, a record that works as a portal to the mid-nineties punkrock and poppunk scene. Sure, there are hints of early Green Day, Parasites and many other bands, but who cares when the songwriting and harmonies are this good. Songs like Freak Out, Same Old, Kingsley Manor, Cement Foot and These Times are a welcome reminder of the allure of this kind of music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Coruscants || Coruscants

Coruscants is what happens when members of ramonescore acts Parasite Diet, The Barariettes, Classic Pat & The Putz! share a love for the Star Wars prequels and the Riverdales. On Coruscants, the trio (under their new names Kylo Ben, Dan Solo & Dan Dodonna) play the first Riverdales album note for note with a Star Wars themed update. Fun Tonight becomes Podrace Tonight, Judy Go Home becomes Jar Jar Go Home, Wanna Be Alright becomes Wanna Be A Jedi. You get the picture. It’s well executed and a fun distraction, and sometimes that’s all you need. Out now on not so cheap vinyl at Outloud! Records. Oh, and if you want more Star Wars & Riverdales crossover tunes, make sure to also check the bands reworking of The Riverdales’ Storm The Streets (Stormtrooper The Streets). (Note: feel like you are missing some context? Wookieepedia has got you covered.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Heavy Comforter || Joey And The Rapid Dogs!

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of motivational quotes about the motivational power of setbacks. Why waste time on those when there are so much tangible examples of interesting new musical projects that came out of the pandemic. The latest one is Heavy Comforter, a solo project William Johnson of Future Virgins, Sexy, Big Kitty, and Listening Skulls. Joey And The Rapid Dogs! is the first record under his new moniker. It was born out of boredom and heartbreak while living in quarantine. It’s full of straightforward and parsimonious midpaced garagepunk tunes with plenty of pop sensibilities, not unlike Terry Malts. Have a taste of songs like Welcome Home, J + R.D., Alana To Breathe and Human Conditioner and it’s likely you will become hooked. Tip of the hat to Let’s Pretend Records. who have a way of finding these kinds of edgy punkrock acts. Out now, limited to 200 LPs.

Add to Bandcamp: Bandcamp || Let’s Pretend Records

New album: DYE CRAP || DYE CRAP

French garagepunkband DYE CRAP grew up on a steady ’90s diet of Jackass, South Park and Tony Hawk videogames. Starting out as The Baked Beans, they opted for a name change to DYE CRAP in 2020. They recorded their self-titled debut that year as well which, desperate to play the songs on stage, they sat on for a year. I guess the band could not wait any longer, because the record is finally here. It’s full of energetic and celebratory garagepunk in the vein of Mozes And The Firstborn, Fidlar and Dune Rats. It is well executed and much fun. Le Cèpe Records has the (milky clear) vinyl release.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Fresh || The Summer I Got Good At Guitar

The title of this 5 track EP evokes a world of stories and is worth mentioning for that reason alone. The music lives up to this promise: the UK punk / emo four-piece Fresh tells those stories in convincing, empowering songs. A band to take seriously, with catchy songs to embrace. The Summer I Got Good At Guitar is out now digitally, on cassette, and colored 12″ vinyl through Specialist Subject Records. All 5 tracks are worth listening to, but My Redemption Arc stands out for me.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dead Broke (US) || Specialist Subject (UK)

Shorter, Faster, Louder (April Hardcore Wrap-Up) || Dry Socket, Esperanza, Incisions, Infiltro, Locked In, Pössed, Spleen, Thought Control

Though the majority of my posts are punk and garage leaning, I also listen to music that push the boundaries and expectations of this blog. I am talking about music that is a bit more extreme in terms of length, speed, and loudness. It’s the kind of music that may scare or disturb some, or met with plain disinterest by others, but I believe are still worth checking out. Each month I wrap-up those releases in one post: Shorter, Faster, Louder. [continues below]

New EP: Baby Strange || Land Of Nothing

The sound of the Scottish indie rock three-piece Baby Strange has little to do with the T-Rex song they share their name with. This is not glam, but raw post-punk that will appeal to fans of The Fall, Fontaines D.C., Cabbage, The Ruts – driving guitars and the characteristic talking vocals, but more melodic than usual in the genre. “Now that’s what I call music”, singer / guitarist Johnny Madden shouts in More! More! More!, a delightful indictment of house parties with tunes that give rock heads a headache (it is not without reason that they launched Club Sabbath, their own club night at The Priory in Glasgow and The Old Blue Last in London, to which a song is also dedicated on this mini-album.). The opening track of the Land of Nothing EP is great, but the other four songs are also worth your attention. Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Icons Creating Evil Art (ICEA).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Rough Trade

New single: The Embrooks || It’s Time You Realised

The Embrooks are garagepop & freakbeat legends from the UK. With the exception of several hiatus, they’ve been releasing timeless music since the late nineties. Their most recent one is a two song single for Spinout Nuggets & State Records. The A-side is the mono version of Human Living Vampire, a song from their 2018 LP We Who Are – I think this song works even better in the mono version. The B-side is It’s Time You Realised, a perfectly executed cover of the ’66 punk classic by the Morlochs.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Harker || Axiom

Upon listening to Axiom, I had to revisit Harker’s previous record No Discordance to check if I misremembered the band’s sound. But no, Axiom is quite the sonic leap from No Discordance. What I loved about No Discordance was its heartfelled nature and how the band made up what it may lack in originality (to be honest, a superfluous quality to judge punkrock by) with top notch songwriting and execution. Axiom is a different beast, with the band expanding their sound in every direction. It’s more rock-oriented, it’s more varied, more dynamic. It manifests a band full of ambition and willing to challenge themselves. What particularly stands out on Axiom is the vocals. Harker already had a great singer in Mark Boniface, but on the new record  the harmonies with the rest of the band are a thing to behold – listen to Sigh Of Crows. On Axiom, Harker swims upstream, not sure where it will take them, and I’m curious to see how this record will be received by fans of their previous work – if reluctant, they should at the very least enjoy HellionFlex Yr Head and No Sun, three songs that in terms of that old school Harker sound are among the best they’ve recorded. I for one am rooting for the band to be rewarded for their effort. Axiom is out now through  Disconnect Disconnect Records (UK), Shield Recordings (Netherlands), Wiretap Records  (US) and Fixing A Hole Records (Japan).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Gimme 5! Devon Milley Shares The Top 5 Records He And His Ex Press Bandmate Matt Bonded Over During The Pandemic

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

Ex Press are a new band I’m really exited about. I recently wrote about their first EP Itchy To Move, which Ex Press (Devon Milley & Matthew Fudge) recorded with Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo. If you are unfamiliar with Ex Press, their lead single Headrest is a perfect example of their hybrid of synthpunk, powerpop, new wave and pop punk. Watch the Daniel Fried (TV’s Daniel, Bad Sports, Radioactivity) produced video below.

Given the distinct sound of Ex Press, I was curious about the band’s influences. Devon Milley, who takes charge of vocals, drums & guitar for the band, was so kind to share a Gimme 5! list with the albums he and his bandmate Matthew obsessed over during the pandemic. His list makes me even more excited for the new 3-song Ex Press single they recorded and will release later this year. [Post continues below]

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