New album: Calyx || Stay Gone

From what I’ve read, Calyx are a band from with quite the live reputation. I am not sure how well known they are outside Pittsburgh, let alone outside the US. That might change with the release of their debut full length Stay Gone. On the record, Calyx offer a vibrant and dynamic take on punkrock. Calyx draws you in from the terrific opener Americana Get a Break, releasing their grip only at the end of the album: a two minute dose of feedback to get you back to earth. A joint release by four (!) labels, it’s another testimony of the resilience of the punk community. BTW, that brown white swirl vinyl looks very pretty. You bet I am excited about this one. RIYL: Discount, RVIVR, The Lippies, Good Luck.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Salinas Records || Ethospine Records

New album: The Backstops || Losers

What are your thoughts about pianodriven rock music? Hate? Like? It depends? If you are a hater, you will probably dismiss The Backstops’ debut album Losers within 10 seconds. I mean, that intro sounds eerily similar to Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles right? But then again, that album cover design looks pretty sweet – we included it in our gallery of great artwork. Okay, you think, let’s give this band a try. I mean, there was that period in your life where you were a fan of Ben Folds, and now that you mention it, this sounds more like him than her. Wait, what happens? This first song becomes pretty fast and anthemic all of a sudden. And is that a guitar solo? Wait, they added a Clarence Clemonsesque sax part? This actually sounds pretty good. Okay, this next song has a strong chorus, and soft loud dynamics that work well. You are starting to get why they describe this as Piano Punk. But then, you come across a song that is a bit too dramatic for your taste, too theatrical. But still, you keep on listening, because now you are intrigued, and because this sounds different from most music that comes out today. You know what, you think…I have some friends who may like this.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

GIMME 5! || Rob Nesbitt (The Suitesixteen) Shares 5 Monumentally Important Albums That Deserve Another Look

(Photo by Wendy Nesbitt)

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.

We started Gimme 5! out of curiosity and a desire to discover must-own records. We’ve been amazed by the lists so far. In addition to the picks, the best part of the feature has been the artists’ introductions and explanations. It’s a thrill to see artists share their passion and love for the music that inspired them. In fact, when the artist of this week’s Gimme 5! sent me his list, I literally got goosebumps from reading his words. I am talking about Rob Nesbitt. Rob played on the first BUM album Wanna Smash Sensation – an early nineties somewhat overlooked powerpop/pop punk classic. He then quit the band and spent the next 25 (!) years working on a Suitesixteen record. It came out last year, and it’s perfect. It is available in a custom triple gatefold, double vinyl package with a 50-page book and beautiful photography.

Rob’s list includes 5 records that were “monumentally important to him and perhaps overlooked.” Click below to read and listen. Rob wrote an extensive introduction to his list and explanations for each pick. He apologizes for it being long, but if you are like me, at the end of the post he leaves you wanting more. Thanks a lot for your generosity, Rob!

New album: Wild Sandals || Sandale Grande

Wild Sandals is a German pop punk band by Florian Favorat and Beppo Hawaiian of The Favorats and The Hawaiians. You need not read the credits to know that these two guys worship The Queers, Ben Weasel and the Beach Boys. From the opening ’til its dying seconds, their debut full length brings quality bubblegum punk with solid harmonies. The record features eight (!) covers of classic songs by Beach Boys, Beatles, Herman’s Hermits and The Monkees. But to be honest, I think I like the six originals that round out the album even more. Taken together, the record sounds like a reworking of the Don’t Back Down album by The Queers. Safe to say, if you are into this kind of pop punk, you will enjoy this one. Includes cameo’s by Hayley of Hayley and the Crushers and Joe of The Queers.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Sick Thoughts || Poor Boys

The Italian DIY label Goodbye Boozy Records is a trusted source for fans of classic Killed By Death punk. The new single by Sick Thoughts offers precise that, plus some raging guitar work. That guitar work is probably what I like most about this single. Both songs are great, but check out how the band closes out the final 30 seconds of the A-side with a crazy guitar solo. Then you switch to the B-side, and 5 seconds in, there is another crazy solo. Hard not to pump your fist and scream YEAH!

Update: Video of both songs here.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Heads up: Invasion Of Quality Pop Punk Albums

My mailbox is exploding with bandcamp announcements today. No surprise since it is yet another Bandcamp Friday. On Bandcamp Fridays, the site waives its share and sales fully benefit the artists. Of all the announcements, what made me most excited is not one, not two, but three pop punk albums that are coming up in the next couple of weeks or months. On February 23, Matt Ellis will release Full Moon Fever. Three days later, Mikey Erg will release a self-titled record with a Clash-inspired album art. Two months later on April 16, we have Jakob Mind’s solo debut The One That Got Away. I wrote about two previous leaks from that one here.

Judging from the first taste, al three look to be winners. Check them out below!

GIMME 5! || Jacob Lewis (Western Threads) Shares Five Albums That Inspired ‘Cowboys in Montmartre’

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.

Collecting records is not only about the sound, but also about the visual aspect. So browsing through the endless stream of new music on Bandcamp I’m more likely to give it a listen if the cover art is cool. Usually the expectations that an image creates are not fulfilled, but sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. That’s how I discovered Cowboys in Montmartre, the debut album by indie pop band Western Threads that will be released at the end of this month. Great music, great design.

I am very honored that Jacob Lewis, who together with Christopher McBee, Ainsley Richter, and Michael Sherer make up Western Threads, and is also responsible for the cover design, is willing to share with us some of the albums that inspired Cowboys in Montmartre. Click below to read and listen. Jacob added short explanations for each pick. We added YouTube videos and Discogs links so you can add these records to your wantlist. Thank you very much Jacob!

New single: The Sorels || Spring Break

With temperatures of 20 degrees below zero this week, Winnipeg is an unlikely location to birth summertime glammy poppunk. The Sorels are probably hardened by the cold or simply don’t care, because today marks the official release of their Spring Break single. The 7″‘is available in North America through Reta Records, and in Europe through the ever reliable Surfin’ Ki records.

Spring Break! // Can’t Wait! // Summer’s coming // Come On // Give Me A Taste

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New on vinyl: Fun Time Objects || C20/20 GO-GO!

Fun Time Objects have a playful take on garagepoppunk. The songs on C20/20 GO-GO! are bouncy, catchy and full of hit potential. Fans of Pale Lips and Nikki and The Corvettes, and fans of bubblegum punk in general will appreciate this one. For a sample, check out the video for their Ramones tribute Hey Joey. The record was originally released in 2020 as a tape on Fuzzy Warbles Cassettes, but is now also available on vinyl thanks to the kind folks of the GOOD TIMES Rock N Roll Club label. The name of that label basically says everything you need to know about this release. Enjoy!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Liquids || Life Is Pain Idiot

Please, if you ever hear someone exclaim that “Punk is dead,” put them in a chair, and let him or listen to all 27 tracks on the new Liquids record Life Is Pain Idiot. Then ask whether they are sure.

Liquids play relentless garagepunk with snotty vocals at a blistering pace. And yet, underneath that trashy sound, the band often sounds surprisingly melodic and musical. For example, listen to Don’t Wanna Get To Know You or Think Too Much. Both songs sound like lost Exploding Hearts tracks (I am aware this is my second Exploding Hearts reference of today, but listen to those songs and tell me I am wrong). Or what about the r’n’r party track on speed Lemon Rice (Doomed To Live). Liquids even make Meatloaf sound good in their cover of Bat Out of Hell – don’t worry, they cut the ten minute original by almost 7 minutes with blunt force. Many of the songs on Life Is Pain Idiot have surfaced before online, but digital only. If I am not mistaken, the songs have been rerecorded with/by Erik Nervous. Anyhow, Liquids has never sounded this good before.  A vinyl release of the record with alternate “scary” artwork is due this summer. It’s a must own.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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