New album: The Melmacs || Good Advice

A band with four members adorning themselves with the same last name, then you know what time it is: the alarm clock displays punk ‘n’ roll. Here are The Melmacs, from Germany: Bimmi Melmac, Max Melmac, Connie Melmac and Remo Melmac. You now can hear their full-length debut album Good Advice, featuring ten pieces of catchy power-poppin’ punk rock, and lyrics with an uplifting message. The energy and enthusiasm splashes off the record, and you can tick off just about everything we love, like gritty gang vocals to shout along to, a danceable drum beat, hip-shaking guitar riffs, a waltzing organ, and all the other tricks that can thrill a stadium audience – irresistible. Life is fun on Planet Melmac.

Good Advice is out now digitally, on cassette and vinyl LP through Barkraufarfita Records, Wanda Records and Tape Or Die.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Barkraufarfita || Discogs || Tape Or Die || Wanda

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of September 2022

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

In September we heard Rita Wilson’s Now & Forever cover LP featuring duets with Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Elvis Costello and other big names, Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe SuperSession featuring 33 artists interpreting the music of James Toth (Wooden Wand), Geoff Palmer’s version of Dee Dee Ramone’s Standing In The Spotlight album, the 15-track Sea Creatures compilation as a homage to the songwriting of Jeffrey Lewis, a sponsored Old Man cover by Beck that Neil Young was unhappy with, and previously we wrote about releases from Herman Hitson, Hayley And The Crushers, Crocodile Tears, Dangüs Tarküs and The Manges with some successful cover versions. We actually saw too many other cover versions come along, most of which were slow and subdued – apparently fall has has caught up with music too. Below is a selection of songs that haven’t yet received the attention they deserve.

I Just Wanted To See You So Bad || Cover: Quivers || Original: Lucinda Williams
On the flip side of their new single If Only, Melbourne four-piece Quivers cover a hidden gem of Lucinda Williams’ 1989 self-titled LP, sung by Bella Quinlan: “It felt so good to have a bit of a shouted call and response.” Out on red colored vinyl 7″ through Ba Da Bing!.

New album: The Big Peach || Observations

We often write about raw and raucous garage rock releases, but sometimes cool things happen on the poppy side of the genre too. On Observations, the new full-length album by feel-good rock ‘n’ roll outfit The Big Peach, you can hear ten excellent examples of this. The UK five-piece build on the better British pop, rock, beat and glam of the 60s and early 70s, but every time you think you recognize a melody or riff, the musicians give it an original spin. Anyway, here are ten entertaining, catchy and uplifting rock ‘n’ roll tunes with a good backbeat and great harmony vocals. Fifty years ago these would have been hits, for us they will be in 2022 too. File under: pub rock that makes you happy.

Observations, produced by Borja Regueira, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Sour Grapes Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Lee Baggett || Anyway

A year after his “long-awaited, long-lost” Just A Minute LP, American singer-songwriter Lee Baggett (aka Lee Gull) is back with a new full-length album called Anyway. The ten new songs of the seasoned musician – performing and recording since the 1980s – are more outspoken and more diverse than his previous output (and luckily still a bit shaky), making this a captivating listening experience. At times you might think Strange Boys are covering the Stones (lead single Fruit Dog) or that you hear a rare country classic (the swaying Highway Roll), but more often it has laid-back vibes like Kurt Vile is sending out into the world. Lee Baggett (vocals, guitar, piano) is backed by Zeb Zaitz (drums), Sam Farrell (bass guitar), Nick Aives (electric guitar, banjo), Cory Gray (keyboards, piano, trumpet), Bob Thayer (acoustic guitar, harmonica), Sterling Schlegel (acoustic guitar, mandolin) and Wiley Laufman (acoustic guitar), together they have made a timeless indie folk rock / cosmic country record, melancholic, honest and atmospheric.

Anyway is out now digitally, on cassette and vinyl LP through Perpetual Doom.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Perpetual Doom

PS  Lee Baggett also just made a notable contribution to The Lagniappe Sessions, covering Def Leppard, English Beat and Van Halen.

New album: 2nd Grade || Easy Listening

“Ringing from hi-fi headphones and blown-out boombox speakers alike comes the overloaded guitar genius of Easy Listening, a record of rock ‘n’ roll daydreams and terminal boredom,” so starts the press release of the latest 2nd Grade masterpiece.

The rock’n’roll romanticism and worship is present front and center on Easy Listening. Take a look at the song titles: Keith and Telecaster? Wouldn’t It Be Nice? Beat Of The Drum? The music speaks even more loudly. Just press play on opener Cover Of Rolling Stone and get swept away by the classic and super sweet melodic guitarpop/powerpop of 2nd Grade. I had absolutely no complaints about the band’s previous output – both made my AOTY lists and both have found a permanent home in my record collection. The same goes for Easy Listening, which indeed is very easy on the ears and highly enjoyable. And although the songs are uncomplicated and straightforward – something 2nd Grade utilizes as a strength rather than a limitation, you’ve got to be impressed by the sheer quality of this hit-after-hit fest.

But still, what I did not anticipate is that, rather than hit a ceiling, Peter Gill’s songwriting could reach another level.  On Easy Listening, effortlessness is a virtue and rock’n’roll music something to celebrate and pursue rather than proclaim dead.

Easy Listening is my favorite 2nd Grade record yet. It is out now on Double Double Whammy.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Double Double Whammy

New single: Doctor Velvet || Put The Hurt On Me

Released this spring but overlooked at the time, and too much fun not to share six months later. Put The Hurt On Me b/w Snake Pit is the debut single by Amsterdam-based rock ‘n’ roll outfit Doctor Velvet. David Grutter (vocals), Jerome de Vijlder (guitar), Sam Ghezzi (saxophone), Finn Meulenbeld (bass) and Yoad Korach (drums) play raw and energetic rhythm ‘n’ blues as you know it from the garage rock heroes of the 60s – gritty vocals, a screaming sax and jangly surf guitar riffs that will make your hips shake. Live even better. It’s never too late for this kind of music.

Put The Hurt On Me is out digitally and on vinyl 7″ through Wap Shoo Wap Records. RIYL: Devin, MFC Chicken, JD McPherson.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Wap Shoo Wap

New album: DANGÜS TARKÜS || Concrete Hearts

DANGÜS TARKÜS is fronted by Joe Sussman (NANCY, MUFF DIVERS). When Sussman releases new music it is guaranteed to be super catchy, kinda weird and released by a band in all caps. Concrete Hearts is the first release of DANGÜS TARKÜS in 5 years. The EP has four mutant pop punk songs that are lo-fi, fast, loud, snotty, and somehow also super melodic.

Five word review: This EP is a blast. Halfway through my first play of the title track, I found myself singing along to the chorus (“Concrete Hearts Never Last // Now They’re Beatin’ Eachother With Baseball Bats // Concrete Hearts Never Last”). It’s not even my favorite song on the EP. I’m So Bored (Talkin To Myself) is the cherry on top, what an exciting battle between killer guitar riffing and poppy vocals. Just when you start to think this EP couldn’t get any better, DANGÜS TARKÜS closes the single with the fastest Proud Mary cover in existence*.  John Fogerty goes Motörhead.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

* if you’ve got a faster one, let us know in the comments!

New album: Celebration Summer || Patience In Presence

The debut album from Celebration Summer (Virginia) contains a lot of the right ingredients for a strong punk rock record: politically charged lyrics, heartfelt emotions, gruff vocals, sing alongs, palm muting, and an awareness of what came before. Let’s start with the latter. Named after a Hüsker Dü song, and sonically a mix of Samiam, Leatherface and Dischord Records, I would definitely check that box. That applies to the other ingredients as well. Celebration Summer not only sound good on paper, they play their songs with such an honest passion that, before you know it, you’ll be stepping up front and screaming along to their anthems.

Patience In Presence is out now (CD and LP) through A-F Records and Shield Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Shield || A-F

New album: The Chesterfields || New Modern Homes

In the wake of the C86 movement, UK indie pop outfit The Chesterfields (written as The Chesterf!elds) released three full-length albums. After Kettle (1987), Crocodile Tears (1988) and Flood ‎(1994), they now are back with new LP New Modern Homes, and what a pleasant surprise it is. I think they’ve missed making music a lot, because you hear (and see) how they enjoy it. The current line-up featuring Simon Barber (bass, vocals), Rob Parry (drums), Helen Stickland (guitar, vocals) and Andy Strickland (guitar, vocals) recorded twelve tunes covering all corners of the jangle pop genre. Thanks to appealing lyrics – the song titles alone already feel like chapter titles of an exciting novel – and changes of singers and tempo, the album remains captivating for 38 minutes. This is a sympathetic and well-crafted album that easily floats into your heart.

New Modern Homes, produced by John Parish, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Mr. Mellow’s Music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New EP: Animalmore || Fade, Out

Thoineau Palis from TH da Freak (who just has a new single out, Pretty Cool) turns out to have a brother who is also quite musical, who also creates idiosyncratic indie rock. Please meet Rémi Palis, who just released his debut EP Fade, Out under the moniker of Animalmore. You’ll hear five lo-fi guitar songs with psych pop influences and catchy choruses, energetic, hooky and ramshackle. RIYL The Strokes, Holiday Ghosts, The Bug Club.

Fade, Out is out now digitally trough Flippin’ Freaks Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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