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

New album: BAITS || Never Enough

For a moment I thought I heard some overlooked work by The Muffs, but no, it is the debut album of the Viennese “beach grungers” The BAITS. Coming After Me and Shed Your Skin in particular are huge hits, at least on my laptop, but you don’t want to skip the other songs either. Hookline after hookline, furious rough vocals and wild guitar solos, if this band had operated in the 90’s they would have been on big stages. The 4-piece live is said to be a force of nature, so hopefully they will be able to do that even after the heyday of this kind of music. The artwork, made by drummer and producer Fazo, in the form of a burger symbolically shows what an album production is made of: love, tears, pain and joy – the ingredients of what music and life can serve you. The difference is this album doesn’t leave an annoying aftertaste and you can’t get enough of it. Never Enough is out now through Numavi Records.

Add to wantlist: BAITS Shop || Bandcamp

New album: DeWolff || Wolffpack

The first time I saw DeWolff live, about 12 years ago, the three men were still boys. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, they played music made long before they were born. Their show and songs were pretty convincing back then, but they’ve only gotten better. Wolffpack is already the eleventh album of the psychedelic Southern rock band (if you count their great live LPs), which brings together the best from the history of quality rock (fizzing riffs, marauding organs, a funky groove, …). Out now through Mascot Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Mascot

New song: Acantha Lang || Lois Lang

Acantha Lang’s first single He Said / She Said was one of my favorite tracks from last year. That song came out on October 28, just before we started this website. So I was not able to share that with you here then, but I have waited for the day when more music would appear so that I could write about it. Today is that day: here’s Lois Lang, a tribute to Acantha’s mother: ‘It tells the story of her life growing up in New Orleans, a young girl living during segregation, bringing up 4 kids as a single mother, losing everything in 3 major hurricanes.’ Given the subject, this song is less exuberant than the debut, but just as impressive.

“Her name is Lois Lang // But she ain’t have no superman”

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: Sweat Enzo || Painting Salmon in Salmon Colored Rooms

Sweat Enzo might be my favorite discovery of 2021. Apparently, the band has been releasing music since 2012, and from what I hear they like to switch up their sound with each release. For example, Talking Rock (2016) sounds like a Pavement take on classic rock, whereas Rok n Roll Porch (2017) has an early Replacements feel to it – listen to Go To School for example. Twee Bongos, in contrast, sounds like a mix of twee pop and slacker rock. And on most records they pull it off. It’s baffling how many gems a quick dive in their back catalogue on Requested Records uncovers.

Their most recent record, however, is something else. I am counting Painting Salmon in Salmon Colored Rooms as a 2021 record in spite of it being recorded mostly in 2016, revisited in 2018, finalized in 2020 and ultimately released on the final day of 2020. It’s a record I gladly paid for on the most recent Bandcamp Friday. In fact, I had to, because I had exceeded its streaming limit on the site. On it, Sweat Enzo play the type of powerpop that fans of Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Fountains of Wayne and Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin will adore. The pop sensibilities on this record are front and center, and the songwriting is too good to overlook despite the lo-fi production. Honestly, I don’t mind that lo-fi production at all. And yet, I cannot help to wonder how broad the appeal of this record would be with a fuller, more produced sound. It’s THAT good.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Coastal Surf Club || 難忘的衝浪歌曲 no​.​1

Who would have thought they also play surf rock in China, and pretty good too, as you can hear below. Please meet Coastal Surf Club, who capture the rolling of the waves in 7 instrumental songs of around 2 minutes each. I don’t speak Chinese very well, actually not at all, and since there is no singing that’s not a problem at all, but according to my translation app this music reflects the sound of ocean waves that belong to southern China and become the ghost of spring reverberation in Xiamen.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New post: Hoodna Orchestra || Alem Alem

And now for something complete different. Hoodna Afrobeat Orchestra is a 14 piece Afrobeat group from Tel Aviv (Israel). They describe their music as a blend of free flow Afrobeat riddims and heavy dance-floor Afro funk. Their new EP Alem Alem is a tribute to Ethiopian Jazz legends Mahmoud Ahmed, Tilahun Gessesse and Alemayehu Eshete. I would describe it as five swinging instrumental funk tracks by a great group of skilled musicians. Out now digitally trough Agogo Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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

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