Monday, February 26, 2018
I know I've said this two or three or seven times before, but I urge each and every one of you to purchase the entire Murph & The Gazorpos discography from the Nerve Centre Records Bandcamp. That will cost you a grand total of like $15, and that's an investment that will bring endless joy to any fan of peppy, punchy pop. Seriously: how could you not love this band?!!!
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
K7s are Luis Sanchez (Los Reactivos) on guitar and vocals, the great Kurt Baker on bass, and Jose Andres Albertos (Airbag) on drums. That's an awful lot of star power from the worlds of garage and power pop, but these guys had something far more specific in mind with this project. Take 1 is the kind of record that reminds me why I was so hooked on pop-punk in the days of my youth. Without apology, K7s knock out one perfect two minute pop song after another that worships at the altar of the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, Queers, and Green Day. This, my friends, is pop-punk by the book. You like buzzsaw guitars? Melodic leads? Sticky sweet melodies? Heart on sleeve lyrics? Take 1 delivers all of that in abundance, with tremendous production from Wyatt Funderburk that accentuates the pop and the punk. Sanchez is a likable presence on lead vocals who can pull off lovelorn and snotty with equal effectiveness. He really has a knack for writing these simple yet impossibly catchy pop songs. And as a musical trio, these three are as tight as it gets!
What I appreciate about Take 1 is that although it's a classic pop-punk record, you can't say that every song sounds the same. It's got everything from the textbook pop-punk of "Running Back To You" to the power pop leaning "All About Me" to the darker-sounding "Go Away" to the totally sappy "Your Lips Met Mine" to the punk rock kick in the nuts of "It's The CIA". Funderburk did a great job of letting the hooks shine while still playing up the inherent punch of this trio's attack. With a record like this, you don't really want to mess with the formula. What you do want to do is execute it to perfection, and that's what K7s have done so well. If you're looking for new ground to be broken, this is not your band. But if you desire a record that's a whole lot of fun and sure to have you singing along for weeks on end, Take 1 is hard to beat.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
web site even contains a "13-point program to end sonic austerity" (my favorite is Point 5: "Dboy is a rite of passage, minus the 'p'") and offers fans the opportunity to apply for membership in the Official Dboy Scout Order. Most importantly, the music will more than justify anyone's commitment to the cause. This is some great straight-ahead catchy punk rock n' roll that takes absolutely nothing seriously except its mission to melt your face off. Think Hex Dispensers or Misfits (minus the horror) with the spirit of early Turbonegro. The band tears through 12 songs in under 25 minutes, and it's a ripping good time to the very end. And while song titles like "Born With A Hard-On", "Fecal Alcohol Syndrome", and "Dboy Balls" are in no way misleading, it would be going too far to dismiss this as a joke record. Especially on killer tracks like "Three Piece Band" and "Prove Your Luv", Dboy demonstrates that any underlying gimmicks are secondary to the music itself. If you enjoy ballsy garage punk with hooks, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this mysterious power trio from the land of Cal Clutterbuck. Neckerchiefs sold separately!
Monday, February 12, 2018
I like that Scrap! was put together to document both the quality and variety of sounds that have been been coming out of Japan's punk scene over the last few years. The first thing that often comes to people's minds when you talk about Japanese punk rock is the garage/trash stuff, and you certainly get some of that here with three great tracks from KBD inspired crazies Car Crash. But the bands here run the gamut of punk styles, from the mod meets jittery new wave of Dials to the blistering sing-along '82 punk of Centipede to the dark post-punk of Middle Edge to the thumping three-chord punk stylings of Black and White to the pure snotty fury of Loudmouth. It's clear that Mangrove insisted on "A" level material from these bands, and that's what makes this compilation so worth the while. There are no throwaway tracks here, and I can honestly say I am looking forward to hearing a lot more from all of these groups. I was especially pleased to be so into Centipede and Middle Edge - bands who bring something a little different to sub-genres that I'm generally not a huge fan of. Over the course of just three tracks, Middle Edge manages to bring to mind The Wipers, Swedish post-hardcore, and Joy Division! My fave cut out of the 17 is Black and White's "One Way Street", which gave me a similar feeling to hearing The Registrators for the very first time back in the day. Honestly, though, I believe that six different people could listen to this comp and identify six different favorite bands from it.
I don't wanna catch anyone talking about how Japanese punk rock "used to be" so great. It still is, and Scrap! proves it!
Thursday, February 8, 2018
I always love a band that aspires to write anthems, and I can think of no better word to describe the majority of these songs than "anthemic". And that's really what separates Down and Outs from a lot of similarly styled bands. These songs are so genuinely rousing that they continually have me out of my chair and pumping my fist as if the band were right there in front of me. Mark Magill has written some very serious songs about a variety of subjects, and he really has a way of imbuing these songs with a passion that's palpable. While not fully a "political" record, Double Negative does contain a number of songs that speak to our present condition. The folk anthem "You Can Have This Country Back" is specifically about the state of affairs in a post-Brexit U.K. Yet it's remarkable how everything this song rails against is just as pervasive and problematic on my side of the pond as well. "What Did You Do In The Culture Wars?" reflects on how recent political events have emboldened those who revel in intolerance. It's based on a real-life encounter that Magill had with an individual who advocated the banishment of disabled people. As you can imagine, he did not stand silent!
When it's not political, Double Negative is deeply personal and extremely emotional. "Astoria" is a break-up song that's about as gut-wrenching and cinematic as you can get in 91 seconds. In other spots, Magill pours all he's got into songs about death and grief. Even "Heartbreak Radio", a song ostensibly about mixed tapes, digs deeper into the things from which we're often trying to escape when we turn to the healing power of music. I appreciate the amount of heart and intelligence that went into these songs. But what really brings it all home is how fervently the band sells each track. Magill sings his guts out, and the band powers through every note like it really means it. The energy is undeniable, and man do those choruses ever deliver! All in all, an absolutely brilliant album!
Monday, February 5, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
Telephone Lovers are definitely one of the best new bands going in power pop today. And perhaps that's because they don't sound like a power pop band of today. Teddy Too Much may wear his songwriting influences on his sleeve, but he absolutely has the talent to honor them well. He's joined by a stellar cast of players including Billie from Black Mambas, Pat Salway from Dr. Boogie, and top-notch power pop drummer James Carman (Images, Maniac, LA Drugz). Vinyl for "Two Dollar Baby" will ship early next month. Via Telephone Lovers' Bandcamp, you can buy the digital version of the single or pre-order the 7". Man, this is really shaping up to be a great year for power pop!