Category: power pop

Formed back in 2005, the New York-based rock/punk act Baby Shakes — Mary  (lead vocals), Judy (guitar, vocals), Claudia (bass, vocals) and Ryan (drums) have released a handful of one-off singles, a singles compilation, a 10 inch heart-shaped EP and three full-length albums that have firmly established their sound — melodic vocals paired with fuzzy power cords that generally draws from the likes of Ramones, Chuck Berry, 60s Motown-era girl groups.

The members of the band have toured across the US, Japan, China, Ireland, the UK and the European Union and shared stages with the likes of The Romantics, The Boys, The Shadows of Knight, The Undertones, The Barracudas, Protex, Black Lips, Paul Collin’s Beat, Iggy Pop and a growing list of others. Interestingly, the New York-based punk act’s forthcoming album Cause a Scene is slated for a September 20, 2019 release, and the album is reportedly indebted to the original wave of punk — in particular, The Nerves, The Kids, early Bangles and The Go-Gos, The Runaways, as well as the Ramones.

Clocking in at exactly two minutes, “Nowhere Fast,” Cause a Scene‘s lead single is a breakneck bit of fuzzy, old-school punk with an infectious, power pop-like hook — and while clearly indebted to Ramones, Go-Gos and the like, the song is one part snotty and in your face, one part sweet, and one part cynical scowl, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.

 

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New Video: Don Vail’s Lo-Fi Classic MTV-Inspired Visual for Anthemic “On The Wire”

Mitch Bowden is the founder of Mechanical Noise Studio, a recording studio that reportedly sits at the en dog a quiet, winding country road in Dunnville, Ontario, Canada; the sort of road frequently hared with foxes, windmills and little else. He’s also the founding member and creative mastermind behind indie rock act Don Vail — and over the past decade, all of those different identities have blurred into something synonymous for him. 

Bowden emerged into the Canadian indie rock scene with the release of his 2009 Jordon Zadorozny-produced, self-titled debut, an effort that deftly paired harmonic warmth and dispassionate math rock riffs. And instead of serving as a launching pad for Bowden’s career and rising profile, he spent the better part of close to a decade, releasing eight songs and playing two shows.  2016’s self-recorded, self-performed effort Fades managed to be a carefully crafted effort that on a certain level revealed the effect that isolation can have on an artist — way too much personal control, mastery of their craft countered by crippling perfectionism and a lack of urgency. 

Interestingly, during the spring of 2017, Bowden (and in turn, Don Vail) received a rather fortuitous invitation as a result of the previous year’s Fades — an invitation to record material at Grouse Lodge Studios in Ireland. Of course, there was a major catch: the window to show up and record wasn’t open indefinitely; in fact, Bowden only had a matter of a few weeks to turn sketches and pieces of ideas into fully fleshed songs. And at the time, Bowden realized that the band needed to be more than just him. So he enlisted the assistance of longtime drummer Victor Malang, guitarist Matthew Fleming and keyboardist/vocalist Kori Pop for the recording sessions for the act’s forthcoming third full-length album That Stand of Tide. 

The newly-constituted quartet wrote and rehearsed material together — and they all treated the experience at Grouse Lodge as an opportunity not to be wasted. And although the album was finished back at Mechanical Noise Studios in a similar fashion to his previously released material, the trip to Ireland pushed Bowden to get his shit together and finish the album. Reportedly, the album’s 13 songs at points recall Guided by Voices, Jon Biron and Figure 8-era Elliott Smith. While that may be arguable, the album’s latest single “On The Wire is an anthemic bit of fuzzy power pop centered around big and seemingly effortless hooks, and a palpable anxiety and uncertainty; but at its core is an intentionally heartfelt earnestness. 

Directed by Mitch Barnes and the band’s Victor Malang, the recently released video for “On The Wire” follows a painfully awkward and incredibly sad sack man, desperately trying to figure himself out and forge his own identity. And as he does so, he fails miserably — at everything. If there’s one thing that he’s good at, it’s his own nerdy awkwardness. Interestingly, the visuals are purposefully lo-fi, and bring to mind classic MTV with a mischievous aplomb. 

Slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Dirtnap RecordsLove Keeps Kicking, the forthcoming, third, full-length album from County Durham, England-based punk rock outfit Martha reportedly is partially a breakup record in which the album’s material goes through the familiar spectrum of emotions associated with heartbreak but while reminding the listener that what hurts now, won’t hurt forever — and that the hurt they experience will be a vital part of their life story, informing who they are, who they will become and how they treat others.

Centered around enormous and rousingly anthemic hooks, big power chords, a motorik-like groove and boy-girl harmonies, Love Keeps Kicking‘s latest single “The Void” is an urgent and frenzied bit of power pop tinged punk — but thematically, the song as the band explains in press notes is “about the cosmic darkness that’s engulfing the planet and all life on it. Impending ecological catastrophe, nuclear Armageddon, ancient gods awakening, suicidal sedation . . . We’re staring into the void . . .”

The band are currently in the middle of a lengthy UK and European Union tour. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour dates

06 April – UK – Margate, Elsewhere

07 April – BEL – Antwerp, Trix

08 April – DE – Bochum, Rotunde

09 April – DE – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof

10 April – DE – Köln, Sonic Ballroom

11 April – DE – Jena, Kassablanca

12 April – CZ – Prague – Klub 007 Strahow

13 April – DE- Alte Mälzerei, Heimspiel Festival

16 April – UK – London – The Garage

20 April – UK – Manchester – Manchester Punk Fest

26 April – UK – Bristol – Exchange

27 April – UK – Brighton – West Hill Hall

28 April – UK -Birmingham – Hare & Hounds

3 May – UK – Glasgow – Mono

5 May – UK – Leicester – Handmade Festival

13th July – UK – Cheltenham – 2000 Trees Festival

28th July – UK – Steventon – Truck Festival

29 Aug-1 Sept – UK – Larmer Tree Gardens, End of the Road Festival

8 Nov – UK – London – Heaven

 

New Video: Follow Bad Sports’ Orville Neely on a Drunken and Lonely Spree in Video for “Don’t Deserve Love”

The Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports, comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass) featured some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of the acclaimed OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Now, as you may recall, the band released their fourth album Constant Stimulation through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records last October, and the album which marks the band’s tenth anniversary, also found the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction. centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration, tension, and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” further cements the trio’s reputation for crafting power chord-based punk but there’s a decided power pop bent, as the song reveals a deliberate and thoughtful attention to rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest emotion. Sonically, the song manages a contemporary take on a familiar sound without being soulless mimicry. But interestingly enough, the song may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written and released as it’s fueled the crippling self-doubt and insecurity of a vulnerable adult, who has openly and freely admitted that while life has made them a survivor, they’re lonely, desperate, broken, fucked up, confused, and afraid — of connecting with others and getting heartbroken and having to start again; of being a failure and a fraud; of a world that’s going up in flames and not caring or not knowing what to do. 

Directed by Z.W.Sprague and written by Orville Neely, the recently released video for “Don’t Deserve Love” stars Neely as a self-conscious, lonely, and somewhat awkward man, who acts in an out of control fashion — drinking way too much, doing way too much coke, smoking too many cigarettes and takes jokes way too far. And as a result, the video’s protagonist winds up frustrating and annoying everyone around him. After being discovered vomiting in a bar bathroom, Neely gets tossed out of the bar, stumbles off to a convenience store for more booze, vomits once again and ends the night drunkenly passed out, disappointed and alone. While being profoundly sad, the video illustrates a much bigger point — that for many of us, we’ve been that lonely, drunken slob, lost in their sadness, self-flagellation and inability to do anything about it. 

New Video: Introducing the Mischievous and Breakneck Power Pop of Coughy

Comprised of Ava Luna’s Julian Fader and Speedy Ortiz’s Andy Molholt, Coughy initially began as a late night recording experiment that the duo started while teaching at a performing arts summer camp. Eventually taking a life of its own in 2016, the project became a recurring obsession with Fader and Molhott challenging one another to write what they’ve referred to as “tiny songs” which pack as many logical twists and turns within the confines of about a minute whenever possible. After releasing some of those mini songs on a cassette tape back in 2017, Fader and Molhott went on to write their full-length debut Ocean Hug, which is slated for a March 29, 2019 release through Joyful Noise Recording. 

Clocking in at 56 seconds, Ocean Hug’s first single V is a breakneck bit of grungy, power pop centered around distortion and effect pedal-fueled power chords and thundering drumming. And despite its quick run time, the duo manages to throw in a rousingly anthemic hook within a classic 90s alt rock-like song structure — except everything is super truncated, as though the duo were double parked and were worried about getting a ticket. 

Directed by John Andrews, the recently released animated music video for “V” is a playful, squiggly line drawing-based take on The Three Little Pigs that features the three little pigs rocking out while the big bad wolf watches. 

Founded by the New Jersey-born, Seattle-based singer/songwriter Jay Louis, and currently featuring Joe Oakes (drums), Tom Moskal (bass) and Jackson Fahey (guitar), the Seattle-based indie rock act La Fille can trace their origins to when Louis relocated to Seattle in search of like-minded musicians to collaborate with. And upon his arrival in Seattle and inspired by his uprooting, Louis began writing the material that would eventually comprise the band’s full-length debut, Alright Already, which is slated for a March 15, 2019 release. As he writing material, Louis met Oakes through a Craigslist ad — and although, Oakes initially intended to start a punk band, he had hit it off with Louis and decided to start La Fille with him instead.

Shortly after forming La Fille, Louis and Oakes went to the studio to record the material that would become Alright Already with Telekinesis‘ Benjamin Lerner. Since then, Louis and Oakes recruited Moskal and Fahey to complete the band’s live lineup.

Alright Already‘s latest single “Everyday Feels Like I’m Getting Older” is 90s alt rock-inspired power pop tune centered around jangling power chords, plaintive vocals, a propulsive rhythm section and a rousingly anthemic hook — but underneath all of that, the song’s narrator is attempting to get their shit together, because time is flying and there’s no time to waste on childishness or bullshit.

 

In the very early days of this site, I wrote quite a bit about the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based Steve Adamyk Band, and although it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them, they’ve remained one of Canada’s contemporary, premier power pop/punk acts. Throughout the past decade, the band has toured Japan, North America and Europe while releasing five full-length albums and a lengthy list of seven inch singles. Back in 2016, the band’s most consistent and longest-held lineup split up, and it would have been accepted and natural to call it a day and move on with something else; however, the band has managed to continue with the same relentless touring schedule — and a new lineup featuring the band’s only remaining original member Dave Williams (guitar, vocals), The Acorn’s Pat Johnson (drums) and Uranium Comeback’s Johnny O (bass).

The newly constituted trio’s forthcoming full-length album Paradise was recorded by Mike Bond at Wolf Lake Studios and mixed by Jesse Gander in Vancouver, and the album reportedly finds the band retaining some of the same vibe that fans and critics have come to know and love — but with a larger, beefed up sound. Clocking in at a breakneck 93 seconds, Paradise‘s first single is the scuzzy and anthemic power chord ripper “In Death.” Just listening to the song brings back warm memories of dark dive bars and sweaty, foul-smelling punk rock clubs in the Lower East Side with sweaty dudes in a mosh pit, shouting along to the song’s enormous raise-your-beer-aloft hook.

The members of The Steve Adamyk band will be on tour to support the new album. Sadly, there aren’t any NYC area tour dates (as of yet at least) but check out the dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
2/15 – Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks (with Teenage Head)
2/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ NorthSide Yacht Club (with Raging Nathans,
Vacation, Dopamines)
2/23 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Berry Street Recording (with Raging Nathans)
2/24 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s Tavern (with Raging Nathans, Proud Parents)
2/26 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Street Entry (with Mike Krol)
2/27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Back Room at Collectivo (with Mike Krol)
2/28 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (with Mike Krol)
3/01 – Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx (with Mike Krol)
3/02 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison (with Mike Krol)
3/23 – Ottawa, ON @ House of Targ
4/26 – Ottawa, ON @ The Dominion Tavern
5/09 – Quebec City, QC @ Scanner Bistro (with DeeCracks)
5/10 – Moncton, NB @ The Caveau (with DeeCracks, Chiller, Phone Jerks)
5/11 – Halifax, NS @ Gus’ Pub (with DeeCracks, Outtacontroller)
5/12 – Shawinigan, QC @ Brewery (with DeeCracks)
5/16 – Ottawa, ON @ Black Squirrel Books (with DeeCracks)

 

New Audio: Introducing the Urgent Power Pop of Norway’s Spielbergs

With the release of their urgent debut single “We Are All Going To Die,” the Oslo, Norway-based indie rock trio Spielbergs, comprised of Mads Baklien, Stian Brennskag and Christian Løvhaug, quickly established themselves as a band to watch as they received attention across the globe, eventually topping the Hype Machine charts as one of the most blogged about bands in the world and eventually receiving airplay on Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 program. Building upon a growing profile, the Norwegian trio released their debut EP Distant Star to critical applause — although after such immediate success, there was one question that frequently followed: “How do you follow that up?” Well, if you’re an up-and-coming band, much like Speilbergs you continue on the momentum of the previous year with the highly-anticipated release of your full-length debut; in the case of Spielbergs, their full-length debut This Is Not The End is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through By The Time It Gets Dark Records. 

This Is Not The End’s first single “4AM” is a breakneck and ardently urgent ripper, centered by big power chords, shout along worthy hooks and a heart-worn-on-the-sleeve immediacy that’s endearing and necessary within a world that’s inching towards its inevitable destruction. Interestingly, the song is underpinned by a power pop-like sense of melody that recalls Cheap Trick.  

Last month, I wrote about the Sudbury, Ontario, Canada-based punk act Tommy and the Commies, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of  Jeff Houle, best known as the creative master mind of Strange Attractor; Jeff’s brother Mitch, with whom he’s played in power pop act STATUES; and frontman Tommy Commy can trace their origins to when Commy dragged Jeff Houle into a punk rock venue bathroom stall to play an inaudible demo on his phone. And as the story goes. the Houles decided to collaborate with Commy, after being impressed by his vocals.

The trio’s full-length debut, Here Come .  .  . is slated for release later this month through Slovenly Records, and “Devices,” the album’s first single revealed a band that specializes in a furious and blistering mod punk that recalls power pop and  The Ramones on speed,  while centered by an incisive criticism of our addictive obsessions with our electronic devices. “Suckin’ In Your 20s” the Canadian trio’s latest single off their full-length debut continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its an angular bit of breakneck power pop-influenced punk with enormous, rousing hooks that manages to be reminiscent of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO-era DEVO; in fact, the song seems underpinned by an anxious nihilism that evokes our socioeconomic moment.

 

 

Comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass), the Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports features some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Interestingly, the trio’s fourth full-length album Constant Stimulation is slated for an October 29, 2018 release through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records, and the album, which finds the trio celebrating their tenth anniversary together, also reportedly finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction, centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” continues in the power chord-based punk vein that won the trio attention across the blogosphere but there’s a decided power pop leaning with their deliberate and thoughtful attention to crafting crowd pleasing hooks — but where their previously released material was the sort of stuff you’d shotgun beers to in your favorite dive bar, there’s a subtle acknowledgement of the fact that a world and civilization inching towards its annihilation will force you to put down the childish concerns of one’s youth and grow up a bit, all while still knocking you on your ass. Interestingly, the track may be the most personal one they’ve written in quite some time, as its fueled by a crippling self-doubt and insecurity that hide an adult vulnerability; the sort of vulnerability in which you’d freely admit that life can make you a broken and fucked up person — but a survivor all the time.