Posts Tagged ‘Pop Punk’

Martha – “Heart Is Healing”

I dug Martha’s last album of emotionally raw power punk, but came to it late, making me feel like I’d been missing out until that moment. The band picks at the bones of pop punk but adds a heavier hit with touches of Ted Leo in their DNA and a jangle splattered twang that belies their UK roots. This time I’ve vowed to pay attention and it seems to have paid off. On their way to what I’d hope is an announcement for LP3, the band has offered up a new single and video for the strummy, knotty, and as might be expected, emotionally fraught “Heart Is Healing.” The video is a dizzy, homey shot of the band lounging, but it lets the song stand out as the focus here. The track lands among their stronger singles, hinged on a hook but letting some slippery slide work smoothe the edges on those jangles. Its a damn fun ride and hopefully a herald of new works to come.



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Bloods – Feeelings LP

Great news for stateside fans of Aussie poppers Bloods. The band has signed to Share It Music, a new imprint headed by Sub Pop’s Cayle Sharratt that doubles as non-profit, splitting the proceeds between the artists and a charity of their chosing. The label is, naturally, distro’d by Sub Pop over here, making their new record a hell of a lot easier to get hands on than their last. Per the band’s direction, half the proceeds of Feelings will go to the Australian-based Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The sophomore LP will make it to shelves on August 17th and based on the first couple of singles (including the already loved “Feelings“) its gonna be a sugar shock of garage punk with a fuzz pop chaser. The record boasts a bigger sound than they’ve delved into in the past and a bleeding pop edge exacerbated by the production of Liam Judson (Cloud Control, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever). If you’re unfamiliar with the band, there’s no time like the next month to hunker down and get familiar.



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Booji Boys

Usually it’s time to lull into that nook of time between end of year lists and the first creaks of January releases, but looks like 2017 still had some fight left in her with the release of Booji Boys’ latest LP on Christmas Day. The second record from the Halifax band sees them careening down a similar speed curve as their past work – somewhat out of control, mussed, fussed and finding solace in those cracks that appear in their veneer. The band might take some naming influence from Devo, but sonically they’re ripped from a crud-fi, 8-track version of pop-punk that straddles garage like a well-worn saddle. They bang these tunes out like a mid-90s band cramming as many tracks as possible onto both sides of seven inch for gas money and it sounds great to hear them go for it.

Maybe that’s what’s most endearing about the band, they’re not busting the bar or breaking any molds but they have a tenacity about them that’s stuffed full of pure nostalgia for skate-punk youth. They feel like old friends who just never grew up. Though, by the end of Weekend Rockers even they prove that’s not entirely true. They stretch out on a seven-minute rocker that’s full of twists and turns beyond the 1 1/2 minute hook hump that they’re often hugging. They claim some influence from prog-punk kingpins Fucked Up, though they fall a bit short of the fellow Canadians’ scope. Still, Weekend Rockers winds up a solid slapshot to the skull and as good an album as any to get the blood flowing in these cold, doldrum days.




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Susan – “Little Notes”

Volar’s grasp on the scuzz-flung rungs of punk in L.A. is pretty strong, but they’re also a divining ride for some of the city’s catchiest collectives. They’ve tucked into a few releases from hometown charmers Susan, but the latest track from the band’s upcoming single is packed with pop-punk hummability and backed with a strangely nostalgic quality that lets it hit home harder than some of their previous material. Couple that with some of the thickest, most refined sounds the band has put forward yet, and its a potent combination that’s well worth your time.


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Clowns

Melbourne’s slightly ill-named Clowns shore up their third album with a delightful mix of grit and pop bounce. They’re laying down in the grunge gutter, dredging up dreams of Seattle’s ’90s hangover, but like fellow Aussie’s Dune Rats, they have a rat tail of pop punk hidden in the necks of their tattered sweaters. They ricochet the grunge impulses through a run at SoCal’s skate set, pushing tempos perilously fast, with frontman Stevie Williams screaming like blood through caffeinated veins. They make the combo work almost enviably well, straining the calamitous pop chunks into muscular riffs, roughed up with snotty angst that should shake the walls and drown out even the most persistent parent.

Clowns sprinkle a fair amount polish on this record, despite it’s chaotic crunch, showing an ear for production with acoustic touches, a lite-psych sprinkling, and a penchant to push punk past the four-minute mark. There’s been a rash of sub-Millenial bands cherishing the ’90s through an internet-film filter, and despite their tendency to gloss over the rough patches and the inexplicable ubiquity of Carson Daly, it’s been fun to take the trip to the mall once again. Sure, a good chunk of us have been here before, god knows I have, but its freeing to feel the circle pit roar up again for 40-minutes or so.




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Shy Mirrors – “Cements”

Swedish export Mike Downey has found a similar muse in the short form pop-punk that drives Tony Molina to bash out jingle-sized nuggets of fuzz pop that are steeped in their love of Guided by Voices and, well, slightly less Weezer than Mr. Molina seems to favor. However, the same power pop elements and ’90s overtones are in place, just slimmed down to the hook and fed bite-sized to the listener. “Cements” doesn’t last long but it gets its claws in quick and feeds on a cocktail of nostalgia and a hunger for the hook.

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Bleached

By now you should need very little reason to queue up to listen to Bleached, but Welcome the Worms is certainly another strong argument in their favor. Doubling down on the pop aspects of Ride The Heart, the band teamed up with producer/engineer Joe Chiccarelli to take their sound from big to huge. The songs on WtW are stung with post-relationship crumble, the beautiful chaos of youth and a welcome kind of self-assured bravado that knows that sometimes everything can be solved with the ozone crunch of guitars and a hook that snags hard and twists deep. In a way there’s a part of me that laments the state of modern radio here, because its a damn shame that “Sour Candy” will never get to be the kind of ubiquitous pop hit it deserves to be. Its one of the strongest moments on an album full of strong moments and has that feeling of endless summer in its veins mixed with a pang of ennui for every night that passes.

The tone of WtW is shifted to a heavier place, not only emotionally but musically. There was still an element that could be construed as girl group or surf in Ride The Heart, but here they’ve embraced the heart of punk-pop and deepened their roots in a 70’s and 80’s radio ready sheen that explodes these songs across the panorama of your speakers. A love letter to their city of Los Angeles, the album is crammed with photo booth vignettes that wiz by in a blur but leave their mark on you much longer than the needle runs the groove. They’ve wiped clear any doubts that Bleached aren’t sitting at the adult table, even if they’re still telling a few YA tales.



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Outtacontroller

Halifax’s Outtacontroller have a lock on buzz saw fuzz with a heavy dose of pop thrown on top to keep you constantly coming back for more; knocking out aural Adderall for the ADD generation. Their sophomore LP, a three-way tag team from Southpaw, P-Trash and Young Modern, is full of scuzzed out riffs, the loose, swagger bounce of drums and the cavestomp echo of vocals n’ handclaps pushing tempos towards the red. They’re not rewriting the book but they’ve studied well and there’s more than enough room in this world for a few more pogo rounds about girls, pizza and R. Stevie Moore? Eh, why not, I’ve got more than enough love for Nashville’s ringleader of weird, so why shouldn’t he deserve an anthem of his own? The boys keep things down and dirty and hewn close to the Ramones-rooted school of faster, louder, done. Though they seem to add more fizz than bands with lesser marrow in their bones. This one’s been stuck on my headphones for more than a few go ’rounds and it doesn’t look to be leaving anytime soon. Not much here breaks the three minute mark, but that’d be way too long to stretch these buoyant blasts anyhow. If you can’t pick up and run with it 90 second caffeinated bursts then the hell with you, Outtacontroller probably don’t have time for you anyhow.




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Phylums

A nice stab of garage goop out of Milwaukee, dubya eye. Phylums tackle the garage rock canon, launching through three chord wonders and doubling down on the Nuggets psych touches, swirling organs and some dark clashing guitars find their way into the mix n mire. They tend to brush aside the usual carefree fare of relationships and big dumb fun that often act as fodder for their respective genre, instead delving deeper into an alienation and desperation lyrical cycle that adds a measure of depth to their initially foamy churn. Though it doesn’t get dire by any means, no no, the band turn their dismay at monotony into fun for the whole family and Phylum Phyloid sits well among their Dirtnap peers as a bit of candy pop that crests well out of the speakers of the dodge on summer days. Hell there’s even a ditty about speech therapy. How can you say no to that? More down and dirty punk for the denim set.

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