Sekunderna have been described as the perfect mix between ABBA and Marked Men. That ABBA reference is far-fetched, even though the band is from Sweden. But clearly, Sekunderna know how to make their garage poppunk melodic and memorable. This EP stands out from the pack. Out now on a 7″ at Luftslott Records.
So Far No Further, the first album by Sweet Soul, provides 23 minutes of pop punk bliss. It does not sound like your typical pop punk record though. It is neither ramonescore nor overproduced poppunk of the 00’s. And although I hear ’90’s influences, Sweet Soul would have looked out of place on the top pop punk labels of that era, e.g., Lookout! Records, Fat Wreck and Epitaph. Sweet Soul apparently has roots in the hardcore scene, but their sound is neither agressive nor overly fast. Anyway, So Far No Further is most definitely a pop punk record. It is catchy as hell and full of hits. My current favorite is Noises Drown, a song that evokes Lemonheads and Big Drill Car.
It’s been quite the week for indie rock from the flatlands of Europe. Last week’s posts include excellent new work by Dutch bands Teddy’s Hit and FuckFuckFuck. Here we have the second album by Teen Creeps from Belgium. If you are into well executed ’90’s indie rock, make sure to give this a try.
Scooter James formed Pinhead Circus in 1992, a punk band that made noise for ten years. After a stopover in Love Me Destroyer, his next project Tin Horn Prayer found him in the element that fit him best as he became older and wiser (for example watch the video for Crime Scene Cleanup Team). This is where he reshaped his voice and his relationship with music, the road to now be a solo artist (we saw with Frank Turner that the road from punk band to solo folk artist can lead to success). Scooter James’ first single We Bend / Dear Friends was released a year ago and now there is a follow-up, of which A-side Way Too Heavy in particular is worth your time, not in the least because of that great snarly voice. Now digitally available through Snappy Little Numbers Quality Audio Recordings.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (pay what you want download)
Did you know the mysterious story of three young boys that enter an empty 80’s arcade room filled with flickering neons, in order to play an old arcade game called Program & Control? That’s what the third album by French power pop / garage rock band Fuzzy Vox is all about. Then you’ll understand why computer sounds have been added to the guitars and drums and how to interpret lyrics like “Suddenly I’ve found my treasure” (Charm) and “A drunk guy took my ankles somehow” (Mario Kart). Nice approach, and the music is also quite entertaining, not a bad soundtrack for a night out at the game hall.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
Party punk bands that have been traveling along filthy concert stages for some time, think of FIDLAR or Black Lips, at a certain point become less wild. But there will always be long-haired rockers who will fill the need to pogo on songs about “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”. The Dutch band FuckFuckFuck takes that quite literally with their new single Bad Habits (Googling the combination of band name and song title is NSFW). As soon as the lockdown is over, it will probably go loose in all pubs as in the accompanying video. Enjoy your weekend!
Add to wantlist: Linktree
Stephen’s Shore are from Sweden. The band members share a love for California, skateboarding, moody pop songs and jangly guitars, and you can tell. Their new EP is full of moody and breezy jangle pop goodness. You may have heard the standout title track already, but the other three songs are worthy additions, particularly closing track Up To No Good.
I regularly miss Mozes and the Firstborn, the Dutch rock band that stopped (temporarily?) In 2019. Fortunately their music lives on, but I would have liked to hear a lot more from them. Today I discovered a great alternative: I listened to Painters, the debut full length by Teddy’s Hit (also from the Netherlands), and that reminded me at times of the work of Mozes and the Firstborn. For example, listen to Liquid Juice (check out the entertaining video below; an ode to the first time), and you’ll know what I mean. I could also name Parquet Courts, Vampire Weekend, or a combination of slacker rock and 90’s indie as influences, but these comparisons don’t really do the indie rockers justice. Their songs are very strong, melodic, energetic and catchy, performed with nonchalanche and humor. The LP is out now through I Love My Label. I can enjoy myself with this for a while.
Alex Garcia, Sal Samano and Josh Lane formed Thee Sacred Souls in 2019 but they are quickly becoming an established name with soul lovers. Their first 7 “, the wonderful Can I Call You Rose? / Weak For Your Love, sold already for € 164 on Discogs. And now the American soul trio has released a new single, of which both sides, Will I See You Again? and It’s Our Love, are just as wonderful. Out now on Daptone’s imprint Penrose Records. A band and a voice to cherish.
I’ve been looking forward to this day: January 22nd, arguably the first great release day of 2021. Plenty to write about this week. First up: Cooler Returns, the new Kiwi Jr record. The band already leaked a couple of great songs last year, which is kind of standard practice nowadays to hype upcoming releases. A practice that often results in disappointment once the album arrives. Not in this case, far from it. From album opener Tyler, it’s clear that Kiwi Jr. have not been messing around in 2020. Kiwi Jr. still play the jangly indie rock of their debut we all fell in love with, but on Cooler Returns they upped their game in almost every way. The subtle addition of a saloon piano, organ and harmonica creates a fuller and more mature sound. And with mature, I don’t mean “well they developed their songwriting skills but now sound kinda boring.” This record is fun as hell, and the songwriting is great. Trust me, you can skip adding it to your wantlist, just buy it ASAP. Kiwi Jr. sets the bar high for other bands that are planning to release a new record this year. By the way, kudos to the band for picking the perfect title for a sophomore album that exceeds its predecessor without losing any of the appeal of their debut.