New EP: Veps || Open the Door

“Her fingers wrapped around in all her secrets // Tearing down the walls is getting frequent // She’s the kind that’s always insecure // She’s lonely so she never shuts the door.” These are the beautiful opening words of Girl on TV, the opening track of Open the Door, the debut EP from Norwegian four-piece Veps. Words that won’t let you go, words you want more of. Impressive, especially when you realize that the four girls of Veps (translated: Wasp) are only 17 years old. Laura (guitar), June (bass), Maja (drums) and Helena (keys/piano) have been playing together since they were 14, which probably explains their mature sound and strong synergy. Their six first songs are varied, authentic and convincing – powerful indie pop/rock with bursts that prove they know how to use their instruments and vocals for maximum impact. Music you want more of.

Open the Door is out digitally and on 12″ vinyl through Kanine Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dirty Flix || Set Your Radio On Fire

Set Your Radio On Fire is the debut full length of Dirty Flix. That title could either be read as a command or as a warning, because a) the music of Dirty Flix is clearly out of step with what gets played on the radio nowadays, and b) if you play this one loud your radio may in fact catch on fire. That is, Dirty Flix’s mix of glam, sleaze, rock’n’roll, powerpop and punk is highly combustible, full of energy and contagious as hell. Underneath the sleazy guitars there is a lot of pop, which should come as no surprise. The members of Dirty Flix used to play in bubblegum pop punk outfit The Lettermans and cite Cheap Trick as one of their primary influences. Dirty Flix sounds much louder and faster than Cheap Trick though. I see The Cry! and Barreracudas as more recent reference points of the band’s sound – the band also namedrops The Rolling Stones, The Replacements, and New York Dolls.

Speaking of the radio, the band’s lead single Hollywood Dreamgirl already received airtime by legendary dj Rodney Bingenheimer on the underground Garage. Not all radio sucks right? That song is a major hit, but that applies to A LOT of songs on Set Your Radio On Fire, including a fun cover of The Jags’ Back Of My Hand. Perhaps my favorite track on the record is the kickass anthem Dying Of Boredom – by far the longest track on the record but still one I have on constant repeat right now.

Set Your Radio On Fire is a hook-filled high octane rock’n’roll party that will test your speaker system and your neighbors’ patience. Stream the record now, buy later: LPs in different colors coming soon at Punk Head Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Punk Head Records

New compilation: Various Artists || Heroes Of the Night – Punk, Pop, And Wave From The UK Underground ’79-’83

We recently wrote about The Go-Go’s, one of the first all-female bands to write their own songs and have a number #1 hit record. But they were not the only female pioneers trying to break barriers. Heroes Of The Night is a new compilation that pays tribute to a specific group of boundary movers: frontwomen in the U.K. and Irish Punk, Powerpop, New Wave, Hard Rock and Synth-Pop underground of the late ’70s, early ’80s. The compilation features 12 artists including The Russians, Cheap Cinema, Vermillion and the Aces, The Chevrons and Teachers Pet. Three Phase provide the closing track, exclusive to the vinyl release.

The compilation features some of the coolest and rarest singles of that scene and era. As separate 45s, these songs are either impossible to find or will cost you a fortune. Thanx to Brooklyn label Reminder Records, conveyors of quality punk, glam & powerpop reissues, we can finally own all these underground classics on one convenient platter. It’s not like we needed a reminder (pun not intended) that this was probably the best era for this kind of music, but I’m grateful for compilations like this one. Three-word review: Must own compilation.

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

Gimme 5! Stephen Steen of Megadose Shares His Five Favorite Records

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.

It’s been a while since our last Gimme 5. Stephen Steen must have thought so as well, because out of nowhere he sent me his five favorite records. How did this happen? Well, when you release a superb record with the potential to cross over to a major audience, you get a lot of requests and e-mails all of a sudden. And it’s easy to mixup requests from different music sites. Our win! That superb record by the way is Wild & Free by his band Megadose (our review here). It’s a record that slowly wins you over; a record on which Megadose put their own spin on ’00s indierock. If you are a fan of acts like Bands of Horses, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs and Frightened Rabbit, I believe you will like this band a lot. Recently, Megadose released its first video ever which should give you a good sample of their music. [post continues below]

New EP: Slack Times || At The Blue Melon Rendezvous

If you like The Feelies, garage pop that is upbeat and jangly, or the Athens indie sound of the early ’80s, Slack Times may well turn out to be your new favorite band. Slack Times are Chris McCauley, Will Stewart and Stuart Norman who, in different cross-links play(ed) together in The Blips, Bad Hops, and Holy Youth. The band name is a nod to the pandemic lockdowns. The trio started recording in the fall of 2020 and released their first EP last spring. That EP already showed a lot of promise, but their new EP is even better *. And with better I mean all killer, no filler. Lead single Can’t Count On Anyone alone is worth the purchase of this EP that is out now on Earth Libraries.

What about that weird title for their EP? Apparently, it’s a reference to an art gallery in downtown Water Valley the band frequently encountered during their walks across the city.

* On the EP, Slack Times is helped out by producer Bronson Tew on drums on the recordings, and Matt Patton on bass.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Wolf Willow || Old Guitars & Shooting Stars

Wolf Willow is a band from Regina (Saskatchewan) that makes me want to dust off the old country tag – arguably the least used genre tag on our site. To be more specific, Wolf Willow play countrypolitan, a subgenre of country characterized by a smooth sound with weeping steel guitar, strings, and sweet background vocals. The band is not afraid to dive into other genres though. They start their new record Old Guitars & Shooting Star with the surfrock instrumental Lovers Lane, and other songs sound more like classic country (An Old Guitar & A Shooting Star) or honkey tonk (Heaven Didn’t Seem So Far). Oh and don’t forget the tasteful addition of jazzy trumpets in certain songs, or the hints of Belle & Sebastianesque indie pop (All I Can Say, Love Letters Left Unsent). This is a sophisticated and delicate record full of pleasant surprises.

For some reason, I keep associating the songs on Old Guitars & Shooting Star with movie soundtracks. Perhaps it’s the orchestral sound, but there are songs on the record that would work in a Tarantino movie, whereas others would fit perfectly in a classic Western, and still others in a James Bond flick. Wolf Willow are a guilt evoking kind of band for not listening to this kind of music more often.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pokey LaFarge || In The Blossom of Their Shade

American songwriter / musician / entertainer Pokey LaFarge has been releasing records for about 15 years, records with swing and blues-infused roots music that sounds like it came from before the rock ‘n’ roll era we love so much. On his seventh full-length studio solo album, In the Blossom of Their Shade, he has managed to keep the good of the past – the ten new tracks have been created with great care and an eye for quality -but it’s literally and figuratively a step forward, a bit more modern but also a bit more mature. We still hear jazz, folk and doo-wop influences, and somehow it reminds me a bit of Jonathan Richman too, but it fits surprisingly well in 2021. Actually, this LP should have been released three months ago, because this would have been a perfect soundtrack for the summer holidays. It showcases the positivity of coming out of the darkness and into the light (from Get It ‘Fore It’s Gone: “Don’t throw shade on my sunny day”). Only the tribute to the Netherlands’ coolest city (from Rotterdam: “Where I wanna be is not where you’d expect // They have a place for me down on Nieuwe Binnenweg”) and the beautiful closing time song Goodnight, Goodbye (Hope Not Forever ) make the purchase of this record worthwhile, but it contains more fine fine tunes.

In The Blossom of Their Shade is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through New West Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || New West

New album: The Courettes || Back In Mono

Everything from the fabulous Courettes nods to the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll — their vintage instruments, their fashionable clothing, their old school cover art, their videos inspired by those of their heroes from a bygone era, but most importantly their 60’s girl group-echoing music. So it seems obvious that the new (third) full-length album by the Brazilian/Danish garage rock duo is called Back In Mono. Their previous work was already good, but with these 14 new original tracks – all killer – Flávia & Martin Couri outdo themselves. This is soulful fuzzy garage rock with hints of surf and doo-wop, with great playing and great vocals, with bells and harmony woohoos, with handclaps and screams, in an irresistible Phil Spector sound. The structure of the LP is balanced, with mainly dancers but also some tearjerkers. You really shouldn’t miss a song, but please pay extra attention to R.I.N.G.O., a tribute to Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr, which was also released separately on vinyl 7″ on the same day as the album.

Back In Mono is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Damaged Goods.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Damaged Goods

UPDATE: On May 27, 2022, Damaged Goods released a 10″ mini-album featuring outtakes and re-recorded B-sides from the Back In Mono sessions, eight songs that are a valuable and fun addition.

New album: The Brothers Steve || Dose

Okay, let’s start with some background. The Brothers Steve is fronted by singers and guitarists Os Tyler and Jeff Whaler, helped out by Steve Coulter on drums, Jeff Solomon (bass), and Dylan Champion (guitar). It’s not the first time we covered some of these dudes on Add To Wantlist. Whaler, Solomon and Coulter played in the band Tsar, whose debut Rob Nesbitt of The Suitesixteen dubbed “a near perfect record” in his Gimme 5 feature. We covered the writing of Steve Coulter (under the pseudonym S.W, Lauden) in a post about the legendary Santa Barbara band Popsicko. The Brothers Steve debuted with in 2019 with #1. Today marks the release of the band’s second album Dose.

Listening to Dose, there is almost nothing to suggest that this is in fact a 2021 record. Rather, the sound of The Brothers Steve harkens back to different golden eras of guitar music, most notably ’70s powerpop and glam, late ’60s psychedelic rock, and bubblegum pop. In less capable hands, Dose could have been a hot mess of false sentimentalism and opportunistic revivalism. The hands (and feet) of The Brothers Steve seem perfectly fine though: Dose is a timeless record if ever. What stands out first is how authentic and well built the record sounds. But the real appreciation, at least for me, starts once you notice how much fun the record is. Sugarfoot and Better Get Ready are smile-inducing bubblegum pop classics in the making with instantly sing-alongable lyrics. Griffith Observatory is layered in harmonies and backing vocals and its chorus should come with a warning sign for risk of addiction. Oh, and don’t overlook the booty shakin’ glamrock’n’roll hits Wizard Of Love and Electro-Love.

In a world of short attention spans looking for the shiny and loud objects, Dose is the kind of record that will easily be overlooked. The qualities of Dose may be too subtle at first. I kindly recommend not giving in to that temptation and giving this a chance. The Brothers Steve will reward you for your patience, I promise.

Dose is out now on CD at Big Stir Records.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: First Boy On The Moon || First Boy On The Moon

Listen, here’s the self-titled debut album from First Boy On The Moon — one giant leap for Californian singer/songwriter David Pedroza, now based in Sweden. I asked David about his moniker: “It was a song that I wrote a few years ago for my young son. He had been having a tough time adjusting at school, so I was trying to sooth him with something fun to hear. When I played it for some musician friends of mine, one of them suggested that the song title should be the name of the band.” Besides David (vocals, guitar), the band consists of Julius (lead guitar), Jens (bass), and Johannes (drums). On their LP you’ll hear nine captivating alternative pop / rock songs, in which I mainly detect influences from later U2, but also from early Bowie and contemporary The War On Drugs. The music doesn’t seem so special at first, but slowly but surely you discover more and more irresistible hooks and appealing lyrics — it gets under your skin and in your heart. A track like Pretty Vicious could easily become a radio hit, but actually that goes for every tune. Not unimportant, the artwork is pretty cool too – David was a graphic designer before he moved to Europe (a good one, as you can see). In every way this will be a gem in your record collection.


First Boy On The Moon is out now on limited transparent blue vinyl through Manic Records, available in select record stores. On Bandcamp, YouTube and streaming services you’ill find the individual songs. The album as a whole is exclusive to vinyl.

Tracklist: Drown It Out // Straight Up With You // The Truth // First Boy On The Moon // All Right Already // Grim Reaper // If This Isn’t Love // What Alice Was Talking About // Pretty Vicious

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