Punk

New album: Drip-Fed || Kill The Buzz

Okay, this one may be my favorite surprise among this week’s releases. Hardcore kids may have seen this one coming given the band’s past releases, but for me Drip-Fed wasn’t even a blip on my radar.  I’m glad that has changed because  Drip-Fed have a very interesting sound that’s loud yet dynamic, hardcore yet melodic, and agressive yet catchy. In short: it rocks.

I’ll let you in on how I fell for this record. The first two tracks on Kill The Buzz definitely warmed me up, breaking down my defenses for what comes next. The opening track is particularly strong, with excellent drums and guitar interplay.  But it is track 3, the title track, where everything clicks. That song hits all the right notes at the most unexpected but still perfect time. It starts with a bass riff, quickly mirrored by the drums and guitars, creating a wave of groovy loudness. After 30 seconds or so, the band eases up with cleaner sounding guitars. It’s when the screaming starts, moving towards a gang vocals chorus that feel more like a battle cry. It’s the remainder of the song where I finally get hooked in full. There is an amazing, super catchy middle part to the song, where bass, drums and guitars bouncing off each other. And if that’s not enough, the band slides into an insane guitar solo. The song is less than 3 minutes long, but it’s packed, and it’s blast. And that’s just that one song. The record is full of great moments like that. Drip-Fed keeps you interested and intrigued throughout. This is rockin’ hardcore in the vein of Every Time I Die,  Fucked Up and Touché Amoré (24 Hour Firework Stand), but slightly more accessible, and may appeal to fans of metal and alternative rock as well.  Out now at Head2Wall Records (US) and  i.corrupt Records (EU).


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Head2Wall Records || i.corrupt Records

New album: Early Riser || Vocations

Early Riser are a quirky band from Brooklyn. And by quirky, I am referring to their cello-driven punk sound. That cello gives the songs on their new record (Vocations) a folky vibe, but in a nuanced and subtle way: Vocations essentially is classic pop punk and in no way sounds like Flogging Molly. On the record, founding members Kiri Oliver and Heidi Vanderlee are joined by Nicole Nussbaum & Mikey Erg – who icymi released an excellent solo record a couple of weeks ago. A strength of Early Riser is that all four member sing, with plenty of harmonies and group vocals, giving the song a communal and upbeat feel. My early favorites on the record are Metronome Heart and the title track. For the latter, the band has created one of the most inspired stuck-at-home video’s I’ve seen yet, see below. Vocations is out now on A-F Records in vinyl colors that mirror the album cover.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || A-F Records

New album: Civic || Future Forecast

Today is extremely loaded with new releases. One I looked forward to the most is the debut full-length from a band that released one of my favorite singles of 2020, the phenomenal Melbourne punkband Civic. The A-side to that single, Radiant Eye, is the opening track on Future Forecasts. I’ve just listened to the rest of record and I’m floored. I could write a long post, but I am pretty sure many much bigger outlets will cover this. I hope they do, because this is a record that deserves to be heard. In short, Civic play late 70’s punkrock infused with awesome guitar riffs and solo’s and the intensity of bands like MC5 and the Stooges. A sound like that could overstay its welcome, with the songs becoming one giant blur of noise, but Civic sidesteps that pitfall on Future Forecasts, by adding plenty of variety in pace and intensity. For example, the awesome groovy rocker As Seen On TV is sandwiched between two straight up punk jams Another Day and Just A Fix. And what is perhaps the darkest sounding track on the record (Shake Like Death) is followed by the much brighter and very fun Back To You. Civic have manufactured an electric listening experience  and musthave for my record collection. They set the bar high for punk releases in 2021, and I am sure Future Forecasts will end up in many AOTY lists.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Flightless Records

New EP: Star 99 || My Year In Lists

I am fascinated by band dynamics. The synergy of band members’ creativity, the power struggles, the lack of communication, the passive aggressiveness, they all are elements I can appreciate from an objective perspective. But I have a weak spot for bands that start out of comradery. Take Star 99, a San Jose band comprised of four longtime friends : Saoirse (lead vocals/rhythm guitar & artwork), Cole (lead guitar/backing vocals), Chris (bass), and Jeremy (drums).  Their friendship started in the Bay Area scene where they attended and played shows – their past bands include Great Hart, Matsuri, Bread Club, and Drop In, and Saoirse’s solo project. Currently, they reside in San Jose, where they are all active member of the DIY community. For a time, they even lived under  the same roof in San Jose’s Hot Box house.

I like to think that comradery shines through on Star 99’s debut EP My Year In Lists. The band plays a wholesome form of indiepunk and altpop that feels like a breathe of fresh air. It is a sound that fans of bands like Swearin’, Discount, & Tacocat will fall for.  There is not a weak  song on the six song EP, but the first 4 songs (loose, algae, wyoming and sleep talker) are particularly great. They reflect that bay area attitude where melody and sensitivity are not the antithesis but a  fundamental part of punkrock.

Lead guitarist Cole filled me in with some more details on the band and the EP: “Star 99 is the culmination of years of friendship and our EP is a reflection on love, loss, anxiety, self-healing and personal growth. My Year in Lists’ speaks to each of the band members as a response to uncertainty and neuroticism: As life, whether personal or interpersonal, is subject to ups and downs, ‘My Year in Lists’ represents an attempt to exercise intentionality and self-reflection. Our songs are meditations on dating, on picking up the pieces of broken friendships, and on self-inventory and assessment. ‘My Year in Lists’ is a mantra of introspection and a reminder that while life moves on, that it’s normal for us to occasionally leave a foot locked in the past. Also, ‘My Year in Lists’ is the name of a pretty rad Los Campesinos song.” As for the band name, “Star 99′ is inspired by a local SJ adult film store which closed up recently.” What’s not to like about this band?!


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! || Simon Jackson Shares “Five” Songs That Reflect The Eclectic Sound Of Hogchoker

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.

I am not really open to electronic dance music and some extreme niches, but otherwise I try to listen to many different music styles. However, when I came across Hogchoker, my head almost exploded: the band from Shanghai plays original, theatrical, punky world music with a message of social justice and inclusivity, spiced by anarchic humor and big brass jazz, funk, salsa, klezmer and ska riffs, with guest musicians like Argentinian opera singer Ernesto ‘Ruso’ Bauer en reggae legends Max Romeo and Big Youth. That intrigued me to the extent that I was very curious about their sources of inspiration. Simon Jackson, singer, songwriter and sax player of Hogchoker, is kind enough to explain this to us in detail. A lot to discover – very interesting, very cool!

Simon Jackson (Hogchoker):
‘Having spent over a year recording what I hope is the most eclectic and entertaining set of songs you’ll hear this year, playing with artists from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Ireland, Jamaica, the UK and US, I’ve tried to put together a list of the songs that reflect the mix of genres, nationalities and influences on the album. I’m Simon, singer, songwriter and saxophonist for Hogchoker. The album is Roll Up for the Crazy Sound of Hogchoker, our 8th so far (with nearly as many line ups).

New EP: Vinny and The Hooligans || You’re Never Too Far Away

Time for some good old punk rock & roll rock from New York, New York. Vinny and The Hooligans – Vinny Hooliganz (rhythm guitar / vocals), Bryan Lopez (lead guitar), Dave Casale (bass), Chris Von Nolte (drums) – know how to write catchy songs and here are four of them. The EP is a tribute to their old drummer Vinnie Value and childhood friend Ricky Sofo, who both passed in 2020. Hence the title You’re Never Too Far Away and the call to waste no more time. Shout along: ‘Whoa oh oh oh ohh // Ro oh oh oh oad trip!’

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

‘New’ album: Rexxx || Pure Pleasure II

Shame! Shame! Shame! Here is another “can’t believe I missed this one” posts. Let me introduce you to the latest addition to a long lineage of superb Midwest US powerpop bands: Rexxx.  This band from Milwaukee is made up of members of hardcorepunk band Sex Scenes, dreamy indiepop band Surgeons In Heat, and sleazy rock and roll band King Eye & The Squirts. Rexxx doesn’t sound anything like those bands though. This is punk infused late ’70s/early ’80s powerpop done right. From the killer opener Can’t Help It with its infectious guitar riff to the insanely catchy closer Animal, Rexxx’s debut Pure Pleasure II is twenty minute of rock-‘n’-roll worship that demands to be played at maximum volume. Originally, it was released in February of last year, but for those who missed it back then (guilty!), Big Neck Records will release it May 7th on seductive red vinyl. In all honesty, you don’t need a seductive vinyl color when your songs are this awesome.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jacob The Horse || College Party Mixtape, Vol. 1

“Sounds like: a punkrock version of The Decemberists.” That truly is a spot-on description on the Spotify page of Jacob The Horse, whose new record College Party Mixtape. Vol. 1 is out now.Like Larry David would say, it’s pretty, pretty, pretty good. It is like Colin Meloy has joined Jeff Rosenstock and Piebald to relive their college days. The result is perfect road trip music: it has soft-loud dynamics, anthemic choruses and essay length lyrics drenched in melancholy. All these elements are on full display in the excellent album opener Stealing From Friends Have Never Been So Easy. If you like that one,  you can safely add this one to the wantlist. Out now on blue vinyl.

Every song’s a copy of a copy of a feeling I had once || Maybe we should just give up on metaphor || Thinking that the modern day’s unworthy of Future introspection or dramatic verbs || Singing about the internet and mobile phones || How our lives are just performances in binary code


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Les Shirley || Forever Is Now

Forever Is Now, the debut album of Montreal trio Les Shirley, has a budget friendly album cover with a hairmetal font. Add in song titles like Easy Target and Pick Up The Phone, and one could mistake this band for a Donnas ripoff. That’s definitely not the case. What do you get? Straightforward catchy pop tunes with a rock and roll edge, and a full guitar sound. Two-thirds of Les Shirley also play in NOBRO, so you may already know that these women have a knack for writing songs that earworm their way through your brain. Les Shirley is a different beast though, sounding somewhere between Wyldlife and Ex-Hex. Do not expect this record to shatter your world in terms of originality or complexity (who cares anyway), but it’s hard to find any fault in songs like sadgirlsclub, Courtney and hit single Fuck It I’m In Love. For radio stations that may object to that last one, Les Shirley even include a radio friendly version (Forget It I’m In Love).


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New EP: Ex Press || Itchy To Move

Drop everything you are doing. Here’s an EP from a new band that absolutely deserves your attention. Don’t worry about your work, you will catch up later, and you will do so fully energized.

Ex Press are Devon Milley & Matthew Fudge, who provide even more evidence that the finest powerpop nowadays comes from Canada. Okay, technically I am not sure whether this counts as powerpop. Ex Press have created their own hybrid of synthpunk, powerpop, new wave and pop punk. On Itchy To Move, Miller & Fudge (not a bad name for a band or a bookstore now that I think of it) are assisted by a strong supporting cast. Most notably, Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo provided keys on the majority of songs and helped recording, mastering and mixing the EP. Palumbo also sings on the lead single Headrest. That single also offers interesting use of horns provided by The Key Group Horns. Watch the video produced by Daniel Fried (TV’s Daniel, Bad Sports, Radioactivity) below. From the high octane opener Mystery to the midpaced moody album closer Act Surprised, it’s hard to really highlight one of the songs. There are no fillers here. Fingers crossed that a physical release is in the works.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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