New single: The Fleshtones || Mi Engañaste Bien b/w Decimos Yeah!

Prejudices are stupid, I’ve noticed again. Since my mother* was a Cliff Richard fan when she was young, I never really got into the English singer, because I had to have a different taste, right? Wrong assumption, it turns out. I just saw an awesome video of a We Say Yeah performance (1961) with The Shadows, and it made me quite happy. We are 60 years later and it’s still cool. Another “discovery” courtesy of New York four-piece The Fleshtones. The mighty garage rock heroes mark their 45th(!) anniversary with a limited edition 7″ single, featuring a Spanish language cover of We Say Yeah on the B-side, in their inimitable “super rock” style. A-Side Mi Engañaste Bien is a groovy Peter Zaremba original, which only increases my joy. Two great party tunes to celebrate this momentous anniversary or any other celebration!

Mi Engañaste Bien / Decimos Yeah! is out now digitally and on 45 single (1,000 copies worldwide) through Yep Roc Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

*Update: It turned out she had the original single in an old record case. Now it’s mine. 😉

New album: The Pulsebeats || Lookin’ Out

Whenever Josh “Lord” Rutledge calls a record easily one of the best punk rock albums of 2021, you bet it immediately goes to the top of my listening pile. I am referring to The Pulsebeats’ Lookin’ Out. It’s the third full length by the band from Santander (Spain), and one that quickly transformed the band from a blip on my radar to the center of my attention.

There is something contagious when a band sound as energized and inspired like The Pulsebeats. None of the songs on Lookin’ Out sound alike, but the common denominator is the fun The Pulsebeats clearly are having performing these songs. The songs go from fast punkrock to powerpop to garagerock’n’roll, with influences ranging from the early days of rock’n’roll, to the early days of NYC punk to the powerpop of the late ’70s and the punkrock of the mid ’90s. But for me, The Pulsebeats are at their best and most likeable form in their poppy songs, like Burn The Guy, Life As A Movie, and the Undertoneseaque title track.

I am resisting the urge to namedrop bands that come to mind while listening to this one. But If you like the kind of music we write about on our blog, you are sure to like at least a couple of the bangers on Lookin’ Out. Or, if you are like me, you will like most of them and will quickly have this on heavy rotation. Lookin’ Out will be out on Rum Bar (US) early next year, but the CD is already out on Spanish label Folc Records, who also released that killer Sanitizers EP recently.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Deactivations || Deactivations

One thing I love about working on this blog is the kindness of most artists we cover, and how easily approachable and down to earth they are. Passionate but not pretentious, they care about the music regardless of making any serious money or playing for big crowds.

Deactivations is a fine example of this. Deactivations are a new band consisting of 3/4 of the members of The Passengers. I stumbled on their self-titled debut record on Bandcamp and took an immediate liking to the record which balances between solid indie rock and pop punk. In some songs Deactivations remind me of those US bands in the ’80s and early ’90s that blended pop and punk so well like Big Drill Car, Doughboys and early Down By Law. In other songs (e.g., Busy Signal, My Direction), they also remind me of the solo work of Dr. Frank of Mr. T. Experience. But I wouldn’t necessarily call Deactivations a pop punk band. There is plenty of power pop, and college rock as well.

Deactivations guitarist and singer Mario Viele – the three members share vocal duties, provides some background on the record.  “We just tried to make a good record to share with our friends and community. Our previous band (The Passengers) came about after we’d all been younger and had touring punk bands (Sex Robots , The Modern Machines, Liarbirds, etc.) and our two albums with that band were about chilling out a little more, exploring songwriting and midtempos and stuff. After one of us moved away we decided to press on as a trio with a new name and throw together a record that leaned back a little more to our roots of up tempo punked out RnR to give the band a shot in the arm in our new formation. The record is pretty lean, not a lot of overdubs, we tried to just write ten good songs and put them down hot without too much thinking about it. I think the result’s pretty cool. Stuck in a Loop fulfills my lifelong dream of writing a song using just one chord.”

Running score for Deactivations? Pretentions: zero. Quality songs: ten. The record is officially out on the next Bandcamp Friday (Dec. 3rd), but you can already listen to it in full. Stream now, buy on Bandcamp Friday.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Swansea Sound || Live At The Rum Puncheon

Here’s another indie supergroup that has spent time in lockdown very well. We’ve heard songwriter Rob Pursey (bass, guitars), Ian Button (drums), and Amelia Fletcher and Hue Williams (shared lead vocals) previously in cool bands like Heavenly, The Pooh Sticks, Talulah Gosh, The Catenary Wires, Tender Trap, etc, but together – under the moniker of Swansea Sound, named after (and a requiem for) a lost radio station – they have created some incredibly catchy new songs. The UK four-piece stand certainly in the C86 tradition with its discordant, jangly, and jittery guitar rock, but that statement actually falls short. The 13 tracks on their full-length debut album Live at the Rum Puncheon – the title is somewhat misleading as this isn’t a concert registration – are completely present-time, with clever references in the lyrics where rebellion and fun alternate, well-found hooks and vocals that complement each other in a great way.

I can’t get the opening track Rock n Roll Void out of my head for days, what a hit it is (when a record starts with words like this, you know it’s meant for you: “Went to the Ramones // When I was thirteen // They’re the coolest thing // I had ever seen”). The criticism in I Sold My Soul on Ebay is obvious (“I sold my soul on Spotify // Get a doctor, someone get a doctor // I’m earning 0.000000000000001p // But several thousands follow me”) – a sign of the time that a one-off 7″ lathe cut single of this song was auctioned on Ebay (with a £400 winning bid). The Pooh Sticks is a heartfelt tribute to the band that Hue and Amelia were in. And so we could go on and on to indicate how many appealing and smart things have been incorporated into this album (that also applies to the videos). The Swansea Sound can grow into a genre in itself.

Live At The Rum Puncheon is out now digitally, on cassette (via Lavender Sweep Records (UK, Europe), Austin Town Hall Records (North America), and Shiny Happy Records (Indonesia)), and on CD and vinyl LP (via Skep Wax Records (UK, Europe), and HHBTM Records (North America)). The album doesn’t stream on Spotify etc.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Joe & The Shitboys || The Reson For Hardcore Vibes (Again)

And now over to the Faroe Islands for some veganpunks who go by the name of Joe & The Shitboys, who are unafraid of bad grammar and who somehow manage to fit a ten-song album on a 7″ single.

Joe & The Shitboys provide a fun throwback to ’80s hardcorepunk with topics that are very much 2021 like cultural appropriation (Rock & Roll (We Stole That Shit), homophobia (Closeted HomoFObe), wokeness (Pull The Trigger) and climate change (Save The Planet You Dumb Shit). The Reson For Hardcore Vibes (Again) is the follow up to the bands debut The Reson For Hardcore Vibes. It’s short, it’s loud, it’s weird and I kinda like it.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Ryan Hamilton Shares 5 Albums That Influenced ‘1221’

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.

When I ordered Ryan Hamilton‘s solo debut album Hell Of A Day (2015) at the time, he wrote a personal thank you note, which shows how sympathetic this guy is. Since then, the Texan singer-songwriter has been continuously releasing new music, with a new LP every year: The Devil’s In The Detail ‎ (2017) and Traitors Club Year 1 (2018) by Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors, and This Is The Sound (2019) and Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (2020) by Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequin Ghosts. Little Steven heard it right (again): this is a cool musician who creates cool songs, an artist that deserves a cool label and more appreciation. During 2021, when touring was not possible due to the pandemic, Ryan has been releasing a new single the 12th of each month via Wicked Cool, for his project 1221. They include originals of his own as well as some covers, including The Refreshments’ Banditos.

The 2021 standalone singles will be bundled as one full album, titled 1221. Prior to its release this Friday, we asked Ryan about his sources of inspiration for all those great songs, and he was kind enough to answer in detail. His choices make perfect sense if you are familiar with his sound, but they give a new dimension to listening with his explanations.

New album: The Vernes || Nuclear Winter

“Dead // Sleeping on the floor // Blame it on the weather // A nuclear winter.” The lyrics of the closing title song of the new full-length album by Philadelphia four-piece The Vernes doesn’t really paint an attractive picture, and that goes for more of the songs here. Quite a contrast with the sound of the garage pop / indie rock band, which is vibrant and uplifting. Compelling synths and restless guitars are kept in line by the rhythm of the drums, while you wander around in a dystopian world. There’s more music been made about the contradiction “Everything is going wrong // But we’re so happy“, but The Vernes add a successful slacker rock chapter to it. For example, listen to standout track Time (Cool Version): you hear “When the weight // Of the world’s // Crushing down // On your skull // Overload // Gravity // Sensory,” but an irresistible organ makes you dance on the table instead of sitting under it. Suddenly, radioactive energy doesn’t seem so bad.

Nuclear Winter is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Jim Lindberg || Songs from the Elkhorn Trail

What is it with experienced punk rockers who go solo and turn the volume down a bit? Actually, the result is almost always satisfying, because when they don’t hide behind a wall of noise, you really hear how good their melodies, playing and vocals are. That certainly applies to singer / songwriter Jim Lindberg, who with Pennywise has provided skate punks their soundtrack for the last 30 years. On his acoustic solo debut album Songs From The Elkhorn Trail he lets out a different sound, quiet and intimate. It feels very fitting to his more personal lyrics – about his life story, family and friends, loneliness and alienation, memories of his late father. Although the 12 original songs are not necessarily cheerful, musically they are certainly not depressed – the tracks radiate hope and understanding, as if a good friend puts an arm around you in comfort. Satisfying.

“Hello, goodbye, hello again // Loneliness, you are my only friend // It’s just you and me inside my head”

The album is produced and mixed by Tedd Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Dropkick Murphy’s), and features David Hidalgo Jr. (Social Distortion) on drums, Joe Gittleman (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Avoid One Thing) on ​​bass, and Marc Orrell (The Dropkick Murphy’s, The Walker Roaders) on guitar and keys. Connor Vance (cello, viola, violin) and Glen Marhevka (trumpet) make valuable contributions. The album title and Bob Dob’s cover artwork reflect the fact that many of the songs were written at Jim’s father’s Palm Desert rental house near the Elkhorn Trail.

Songs From The Elkhorn Trail is out now digitally, and May 6 (2022) on CD and vinyl LP, via Epitaph.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Epitaph

New single: Pinch Points || Reasons To Be Anxious

Australian turbopunks Pinch Points return with a new two song 7″ in anticipation of their new full length (out March 2022 on Mistletone Records and Exploding in Sound). The B-side track Boy is exclusive to the single, whereas the A-side is the first single of their new record. If this song (Reasons To Be Anxious) is an indication of what to expect from the rest of the record, we are in for a treat. Simply put, Reasons To Be Anxious is an anthem for our times. With powerful and relatable lines about feeling anxious while not being at home, not having your phone, while reading the news, the song aims right for the gut. “Home is where the WIFI is,” the band exclaims. What a scorcher of a track.


Limited  to 500 copies (250 on orange), don’t sit on this one!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Good Looking Son || Fantasy Weekend

Good Looking Son is a new band that has Keith Harman’s (the Cowboys) marks all over it. His instantly recognizable voice, his quirky songwriting and his strong melodic hooks will sound familiar to anyone who has ever heard his music. The main difference between The Cowboys and Good Looking Son is that the former has its roots in punk, whereas the latter is informed by the garage pop of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Fantasy Weekend is the first offical release of Good Looking Son. All 6 songs on the EP are written by Harman. Jerri Queen (Vacation) produced the record and played on several of the songs. Cowboys bandmate Jordan Tarantino and longtime Queen City rocker Andrew Jody also helped out with the recordings.

Fantasy Weekend is a strong first outing that makes me curious about what’s next for this project. Stream my favorite two track on the EP below – both of which would not look out of place on any Cowboys record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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