Search Results for "Pop Punk"

Album Review: Pkew Pkew Pkew – “Optimal Lifestyles”

Man, I’m not sure a band has ever spoken to me quite like Pkew Pkew Pkew has. This is a band that meditates on intense life issues like: wanting to order a pizza, but not wanting to be the one that calls; skateboarding, and subsequently getting hurt in your mid-20s; and of course, the age-old battle of people calling you ‘chief.’ Pkew Pkew Pkew is deeply indebted to minutiae, raucous singalong odes to sweating the small stuff. I’ve liked a lot of albums in the last couple years, but these Toronto pop punks are the only ones to make a perfect one. With Optimal Lifestyles, we have their sophomore release—one, ironically, with a lot of weight riding on it, despite the low-key slacker vibe of their music. The drunken louts who practice in apartments, gang vocal about getting drunk (before they go out drinking, of course) are now in the unenviable position of following up perfection.

For those that don’t know Pkew, think of them like PUP’s underachieving cousin. Both bands have a melodic, audience-informed approach to the genre—complete with gang vocal chants you can’t help but get amped for in a live setting. But where PUP is ambitious and technically proficient, Pkew Pkew Pkew play their power chords with an almost garage rock intensity. They come off as just a bunch of dudes who have no idea how their band made it to where they are. They play funny songs with lots of fun parts to shout along to, and they’re really good at it. On Optimal Lifestyles though, the trend is upended, with a few returns to forms. The band has expanded their instrumentation for one, getting weird with their production when the opportunity occurs (check out the sax on “Point Break”), but they also sound less emphatic, less ballsy this time around too—embracing more mid-tempo, alt-rock sounding melodic punk a la Nothington.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but: Optimal Lifestyles is not as good as the self-titled. For all of the original’s charms, the band seems to be trying to shift their core identity, and unfortunately: the new Pkew is not as good as the old Pkew. At times, Optimal Lifestyles is just too damn serious. It’s also too damn long. At fifteen tracks, the fast, loud, brash, and silly vibe of a bunch of twenty-something slackers is lost in a sea of growing and learning that feels continuously off target.

Still though, as much as this is not as good as their first album, it’s also still pretty good. The original band is still in here, somewhere, even if it takes a little cutting through the fat. “I Wanna See a Wolf” is possibly the best song on the album, a perfectly executed banger about something so mundanely stupid I can barely believe it was written in the first place. This is the essence of Pkew Pkew Pkew. Here, we have such delicate lyrics as, “I don’t wanna settle for a coyote, I know they’re easier to see, well fuck that.” There’s also “Adult Party,” which I think straddles the line between new and old the best, where painting a picture of a shitty party full of shitty people builds to an epic gang vocal singalong of, “Rich kids, go fuck yourself, if there’s some in the audience, go somewhere else.” That’s the kind of bravado I love and expect from Pkew.

Album ender, “Thirsty and Humble,” bridges this gap pretty well too. It’s a massive singalong that talks about drinking beers in alleys, the new Red Dead, and caps off with a neat thirst metaphor. The problem with Optimal Lifestyles is that there’s not enough of these moments to make the new Pkew palatable. It almost feels like a third album in that respect, as if we’re missing a link between two vastly different bands. Is the more serious approach bad? Is Pkew Pkew Pkew bad at writing serious songs? No, not really. The songs are fine, but they don’t conjure the excitement and newness (nor the wonderful brevity) of the first album. Slowing down and singing about depression is hardly a novel progression in punk rock in 2019. But maybe, it’s necessary. Maybe the clowns are tired of honking their noses and making us laugh at how dumb they can be. Optimal Lifestyles isn’t perfect, but it is good—and for all of its changes, it doesn’t feel calculated in the least—one sure reminder that buried in this new sound, Pkew Pkew Pkew still lives.

 



Album Review: A Crash Republic – “Homewreckers: Sweet Apathy”

Boston’s A Crash Republic have been around in one form or another since 2008, their middle school days. A couple of the guys studied music at fancy pants universities then they reconvened, found themselves a drummer and self-record, produced and released Homewrecker: Sweet Apathy. The EP is the beginning of a trilogy, chronicling the main protagonist’s embracing of counterculture and (presumably) dropping out of ‘normal’ society. The theme is evident without becoming all consuming in case you are not quite ready for another immersive sci-fi saga complete with comic books, novels and masks (ahem Coheed, we’re looking at you).

Stylistically, this falls loosely under the pop punk banner however that is such a limiting term nowadays. Vocals are shared between Nick Tello and Andrew Sullivan, one snotty ala Devon Williams from Osker and the other a more typical Bostonian/Dropkick Murphys style. The trading back and forth works really well as does the combo of the two in the frequent harmonies. There is a strong metal influence which shines through at every opportunity with Dragonforce-esque twiddling riffs and Steve Rehm’s blast beats getting in on the action too. There’s even a tasty bit of a cappella to close out proceedings at the end of “Watch Your Luck”.

This is a really strong debut, it’s very well produced with catchy and layered tunes that combine into an extremely cohesive 6 song introduction to the world of A Crash Republic. You can check out a stream of the entire release over at New Noise and also on streaming services.  Roll on part 2!

4.5/5



Primetime Failure stream “Memory Lane” ahead of album

German skatepunks Primetime Failure are to release new LP Memory Lane on 10th May on a variety of labels around the world (Uncle M, Disconnect Disconnect, Hectic Society, Shield Recordings and Crystal Meth & Heart Attack). Ahead of the album they are streaming the title track. Have a listen below.

The album is the follow up to 2017’s Home.



Dial Drive (Punk, FL) Stream “Parasite” From Forthcoming Album “Wasted Time”

Florida’s Dial Drive is giving you all another taste of their latest record ahead of its general release on March 8. The tune selected to put out as a single this time is titled “Parasite” and it’s available to stream below.

The release of the full record, Wasted Time, is being handled by A Jam Records.

“Parasite” is the second single from Wasted Time. “Friday Nightmare” was the first. It came out earlier this month.



Introducing Pop Punk Act: Halogens

My New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to have more diverse playlists. I’ll admit it, I get hyper fixated on a band or song and listen to them over and over. On my quest to spend more time listening to new music, I discovered Halogens and I’ve repeated the old pattern. I’ve taken solace in breaking my new year’s resolution because of how dope this band actually is. The catchy melodies are what caught my attention and their unique interpretation of romance and the human psyche is what earned them a spot in the heavy rotation of music I cannot stop listening to.

More importantly, they just released their sophomore EP called Happy Hour. Halogens have refined their sound while covering a variety of emotional musings. They touch upon completely relatable topics like not being able to pull-off wearing a denim jacket, which may or may not be my own personal problem. Let’s face it, we cannot all be Deaglans. So, if you want to get in your feels while bopping around, you should check them out below!



New Found Glory release Huey Lewis and the News cover from “From The Screen To Your Stereo 3”

Pop Punk veterans New Found Glory have detailed the release of “From The Screen To Your Stereo 3”, The full length movie inspired covers record lands on May 3 via Hopeless Records.

The first track to appear from the release is a cover of Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power Of Love”, which you can check out using the player below.

 



The Deadnotes (Punk, Germany) release ‘Makeup’ music video

German Punks The Deadnotes have released a music video for their new single ‘Makeup’, which is out now via their own imprint 22Lives Records.

The band have just kicked off a UK headline tour dates with Kid Dad, and will release an album later this year. Check out the video and the tour dates below.



Coral Springs – “Always Lost, Never Found”

Dutch 5-piece Coral Springs have been around since 2011 and, so far, have put out a few Eps and appeared on a couple of compilations. By their own, admission their output has not been particularly prolific to date, however a line-up change in 2016 seems to have provided sufficient impetus for the band to put out this, their debut album.

The band cite, amongst others, Rise Against and New Found Glory as inspiration – in fact Coral Springs is the name of NFG’s home town! They lean more heavily on the pop punk side of the spectrum however the album is interlaced with noodley guitar riffs to add some extra depth, as well as a few quieter introspective moments. Jo’s vocals sit somewhere between Haley Williams and Cinder Block, working really well with the poppier songs but with enough range to go big or dial it back when needed.

The album gets off to a great start: “I Lost Track”, driving punk rock with a slight metal edge; “Taking A Fall”, classic skate punk palm muting leading to the uplifting chorus; “Voices” with a definite No Use meets Tilt vibe. Next up is a slice of pure pop punk joy, “The Alluring Sea”, which brings to mind All We Know Is Falling era Paramore. The chorus will get stuck in your head instantly and, if you’re like me, you’ll listen to it several times on repeat (much to the delight of my nine-year-old daughter). “State Of Denial” continues in a similar vein before “Ghost” slows things down with a more emo, atmospheric feel building to a full on punk rock ballad. “Anchor” and “One Gesture” pick the pace back up again before “On A Hold” kicks in with its homage to the My Friends Over You riff by the aforementioned ‘Glory. The song also features guest vocals from UK thrashers Almeida which works really well. Next up, “Determined” rocks along nicely with pleasing gang style back-up vocals and “Easier To Hide” gives Jo an opportunity to show off her impressive vocal range. Album closer, “Roam” is another stand out track, similarly finding me reach for the repeat button again and again. It’s another pop punk belter with chugging guitars, awesome harmonies on the chorus and an opportunity for the whole band to get in on the act vocally. There’s a cheeky breakdown that builds back up to a repeat of the chorus (don’t forget the “woah-oh-oh-ohs” in the background) to close out the song. It’s glorious and a fitting way to sign off.

As far as debut albums go this is really excellent. Quality from start to finish with a very well-honed sound which is both recognisable and unique at the same time. Always Lost, Never Found is out on Umlaut Records and SBAM Records on 22nd February, I highly recommend you check it out.

4.5/5



New Video: Teenage Bottlerocket – “Everything To Me” from upcoming album, “Stay Rad”

Even more rad news from the Teenage Bottlerocket headquarters today. This time, it’s a brand new video for the track “Everything To Me.” The video, as you might imagine, is about the radness that is being a dad (dadness?!?) and how cool raising a kid can be. It features a pretty lengthy cameo from Ray Carlisle’s rad-as-hell son Milo, and even a few shots of Miguel Chen’s baby kiddo, Olivia. Check it out here!

“Everything To Me” is the latest track to be released in advance of TBR’s upcoming full-length, Stay Rad!, which is due out March 15th on Fat Wreck Chords. Pre-orders are still here. It marks the follow-up to March 2017’s Stealing The Covers, and their first studio full length of originals since 2015’s Tales From Wyoming.



Miguel Chen (Teenage Bottlerocket) Announces New Book, “The Death Of You: A Book For Anyone Who Might Not Live Forever”


Rad news from the Teenage Bottlerocket camp today. The band’s bass player and resident yogi announced details behind his sophomore book. It’s called The Death Of You: A Book For Anyone Who Might Not Live Forever, and it’s due out this coming September on Wisdom Publications. Here’s the book’s description:

DEATH.

Even the word itself probably makes you a little uncomfortable. Just look at it, sitting there, demanding to be acknowledged. It might even make you a lot uncomfortable.

We spend so much time trying to deny death, going on about our lives as if we and our loved ones are immune to it. Then, one day, its truth becomes undeniable. The Death of You doesn’t flinch in looking into this vital, urgent matter. Join Miguel for a wild ride where we get real about death—and even have a few laughs at its expense.

If you might someday die—or if you know someone who will—this book is for you. If you’re afraid of dying, this book is for you. If you’re excited about the Great Unknown, this book is for you. In plainspoken, kind, and encouraging language, Miguel will show you how to transform your relationship with death—and in doing so, you’ll get to know your life in a whole new way. Today is the perfect day to start. Don’t wait—you’re not gonna live forever.

We’re still big fan’s of Chen’s first book, I Wanna Be Well, and have referred back to it quite often since its release last February via Wisdom Publications. We’re sure this one will be much the same! Pre-order yours at Amazon right here while you’re still alive enough to do so!



New Video: Masked Intruder – “All Of My Love” from upcoming album III

Brand new Masked Intruder song and video are now available to get at least two and maybe more of your senses fired up on this Hump Day. The track is called “All Of My Love,” and you can check it out below.

“All Of My Love” is the latest track to be released from the masked ones’ upcoming full-length, III, which is due out March 1st on Pure Noise. Check out pre-orders here.



Gary Yay (solo project/pop punk) releases another song ‘She Came Back From Yesterday’

This site posted a song by UK musician Gary Yay last month ahead of his upcoming solo album. Gary has been on the UK punk scene for a long time now (in bands such as Poindexter, The Telegraphs and Eager Teeth). Ahead of his upcoming album, he has released another song ‘She Came Back From Yesterday’. 

The album ‘When I Grow Up To Be A Man’ will be out in March. Check out the nicely-crafted pop song below.



State Champs announce tour dates

Pop punks State Champs have announced some upcoming tour dates with support from Our Last Night, The Dangerous Summer, and Grayscale.

You can check out all the dates and locations below.

State Champs last released Living Proof on June 15th, 2018 via Pure Noise Records.



Grimetime premiere music video for “Verse / Chorus / Fuck you” (ffo: Descendents)

California based punk rockers, Grimetime, have just released a new video for “Verse / Chorus / Fuck You” off their debut album, I Think We Could Do Better, which was self released by the band in October of last year. Oh wait, what? It’s a premiere!? You can check that out here, first, then… below



The Murderburgers stream “Pick A Knife, Any Knife” ahead of new album “What A Mess”

Scottish punks The Murderburgers are streaming new track “Pick A Knife, Any Knife”, ahead of the release of their upcoming full length, What A Mess, out on Brassneck Records and Asian Man March 15th.

Have a listen below. The album is the follow up to recent EP Shitty People And Toothache.